Can you believe Thanksgiving is in SIX days???
That can only mean one two three things:
1. Stress levels are going to go through the roof
for the upcoming week and through December
2. There’s a better than good chance you’ll be tempted
and might even skip your workouts…
… which means that –
3. You may turn this “just once” event into a habit if
you’re not careful and end up just like an average
American and gain 8 pounds of blubba-lubba-chubba
between now and New Year’s Day.
That’s why I wanted to share my two favorite, yet kind
of weird workout / training strategies to that help me
beat stress and the time-crunch of a busy schedule and
maintain my sanity.
I’ve been using these the last 4 months and they’ve
been a lifesaver.
So I wanted to pass them along to you – I know they’re
going to help you out too.
Before I give you the details, I want to give you the “why”
behind what I’m doing so it makes sense to you – so there’s
no “resistance” for you to implement these pronto and
start getting better, faster results.
STRESS – HOW TO MANAGE IT BY WORKING OUT
– AND THRIVE!
Yeah, yeah, I know – I seemingly violated two of my own
1. Thou shalt not use the words “working out” when
2. Thou shalt not use training or said workouts to manage
But seriously, let me explain.
We all know that movement, any movement is better than
no movement at all.
And often times when we get seriously stressed out –
especially this time of year – workouts go, as my 2.5 year
old says – “bye-bye.”
They just don’t seem to be able to fit into the crazy schedule.
It doesn’t have to be the case.
In fact, the strategy I’m about to share with you is
SO EASY TO USE –
It’d be almost a crime not to use it!
STRATEGY #1: 5 Minute Training Sessions
Did you know you can get strong in only 5 minutes a day?
And no, I’m not talking about doing a 5 minute snatch test
every day or several times a week either.
I’ve timed it.
And I routinely use this methodology. Almost Daily.
(Although, I actually prefer 10 minutes, cuz – hey – if 5 is
good, 10 is TWICE as good… ;-] )
Here’s how you do it:
You simply do 2 sets of 2-5 reps of any exercise you want
to focus on.
You do your first set of 2-5 and then 3-4 minutes later, you
do your second set.
Repeat the next day or even later the same day with a
This relieves stress in two ways at a bare minimum in two
1. You check the proverbial box – you got your workout
done. Great! No feelings of guilt, condemnation, or shame.
2. You just gave yourself a future foothold, no matter how
small you think it may be – for future gains.
The #1 battle in making progress is CONSISTENCY.
Who can’t consistently do 5 minute workouts – ahem –
‘Scuse me – training sessions – each and every day?
NO ONE. That’s who.
EVERYONE – no matter how busy, how crazy hectic they
feel can do this.
Let me show you how I use this, some of my results, and
that’ll show you that it’s completely doable.<
HOW I STUMBLED UPON THIS IDEA
Two years ago, during the first year of my son’s life, he
didn’t sleep well. (My wife says he still doesn’t.)
So I was chronically tired – chronically sleep deprived.
I didn’t have the physical or mental energy to engage in long
So, between clients, I’d do some pistols.
Or when I was working at home, I’d take a break and do some
pull ups or ring dips or L-sit holds or whatever.
And these were literally just 1 or 2 sets, sometimes, 3 – over
the course of just 5-10 minutes.
And yep, you’re right – it does look kind of like Grease the
Groove methodology. The differences were twofold:
1) The frequency was not multiple times per day, daily, or
near daily. This was because –
2) The effort levels varied from easy to medium to hard, using
an RPE scale – based on how I was feeling that particular
THE “SECRET” TO MAKING ALL THIS WORK…
… is Autoregulation.<
What is “autoregulation?”
Hold on to your chair cause I’m about to go all “Weider
Training Principles” on you –
“Instinctive training” – WITH guidelines of course.
Yep, it’s simply listening to your body – not doing whatever
you want – rather doing what you feel like, what you can -
in the context of a plan – albeit in our case, a loose one.
You simply do what you feel comfortable doing on any
given day, based on the feedback your body is giving you.
Here’s what I mean:
Let’s say I just feel like doing some Clean + Presses
with a pair of KBs and I’ve been up all night tossing
and turning with a pregnant wife who’s pushing me
around because she can’t get comfortable and can’t
(Purely hypothetical situation mind you. ;-] )
I grab a pair of moderate sized KBs and do 1 or 2 reps.
From there, I decide how they feel.
Well then I’m probably going to go up a size.
Well then I’m going to stay there.
And I’m going to do as many reps as I feel like doing based
on two things:
1) My immediate goals – fat loss, muscle gain, pure strength
2) My RPE (Rate of Perceived Exertion levels) which I
And I’d keep my RPEs pretty much always between a 7 and
an 8, so I’d never overtax myself.
>(This is KEY for sustaining long term progress.)
Occasionally when I felt good – lots of energy – I’d go to a
9. This was/is rare.
And when I knew I should do something, but felt kind of
crappy, I’d keep that RPE between a 5 and a 6.
THE KEY TO MAKING AUTOREGULATION WORK
… Is brutal self-honesty.
… Not trying to be a “tough guy” (or girl) or prove something
The only thing you want to “prove” to yourself is that you
have 5-10 minutes a day to work out to keep yourself from
being “average” and gaining those 8 pounds between now
and the New Year.
The hardest part if you’re Type A is going to be holding
If you’re a Type B, it’ll be to get yourself to actually DO the
No matter who you are, you win.
So how’s this look in real life?
Well… Glad you asked –
HERE’S HOW I’VE BEEN DOING THIS LATELY
As I write this, my daughter is due in approximately 2 weeks.
My wife has been grossly uncomfortable for the last month-
and-a-half and things aren’t getting any better.
So neither one of us is sleeping very well.
Plus number one son still wakes up about twice a week
at sometime during the night.
Compound that with going to school or doing school-related
activities approximately 6 hours a day and getting everything
set for our baby girl’s arrival, and I don’t have a whole lot
of focus right now to do much more than maintain what I have
and / or – depending on energy levels – make incremental
gains – a rep here, a rep there.
So here’s what my current training schedule/plan looks like:
– 3 days a week, usually M,W,F or M,W, Sa, depending on
how worn out I am by Friday – barbell work, as written by my
coach. (Yes, I have a coach, you should too.)
For right now, this is only ONE exercise per day. And it’s all
based on what I can accomplish on THAT day.
(Another KEY point and a classic example of making
autoregulation work for you.)
PERFECT for a stress-filled environment.
These training sessions take approximately 30 minutes.
– On Tu,TH,Sa/Su, so the other 3 days a week (I always
take one day a week off) I do pure Original Strength work.
Usually some form of crawling – usually loaded.
That takes 10-30 minutes depending on how I’m feeling.
– Now here’s where the short workouts come in –
(And yes, I know I train 1.5 to 3 hours a week, but it’s all
depending on my stress levels that week. And OS is really
incredibly gentle on my body – it’s how I am able to do
the other work, so for me, that’s non-negotiable time that
Pretty much every day I’ll spend 5 minutes in the morning
just before I get in the shower doing some form of OS work.
Nothing strenuous – just 5 minutes of whatever I feel like –
Rolling, rocking, crawling. And only 5 minutes. This helps
combat the next 5 hours or so that I’m going to sit on my
butt and usually helps my concentration levels.
On OS days, I’ll usually come home and do short 10
minute bodyweight sessions – chins or dips on the rings.
I will rotate through one of the following variations:
– straight ring dips / chins for reps
– L-sit ring dips / chins
– weighted ring dips / chins
And the reps vary based on the goal – and the workout.
(I go into great detail on how to do this and it’s importance
in my new book.)
This type of short, frequent, training has worked like a
champ for me over the last 2+ years.
It’s literally been a lifesaver.
Because, and I’m loathe to confess this – I’m one of “those”
people who needs to work out to relieve stress.
(There- you found me out. ;-] )
The difference between me at 41 and 31 is that I’m way
smarter about doing this. I no longer get greedy with my
progress. I’ll take “only” one rep or a new range of motion
or a longer hold at the bottom of a dip than trying to make
giant leaps and bounds between workouts.
It’s the consistency and more importantly – ease of progress
this type of training allows that makes it a no-brainer for
It’s something I can and have been able to sustain.
It’s something that let’s me see and more importantly –
measure – my progress.
It’s essentially how I don’t stress out about what I eat, still
eat what I want, and still get stronger while staying lean.
And when you adopt this type of training during stress-
filled periods, you’ll see the same type of progress too.
With a new baby arriving, in-laws and parents all here
for Christmas, I don’t know how my regular training schedule
is going to play out.
To be brutally honest, I’m not going to really worry (or
even care) too much about it.
I’m going to enjoy my newly expanded family and having
everyone here – for the first time ever – for Christmas.
Thanks to what I’ve learned over the last 3 year or so
about these super short workouts – some of these
“Strength Shortcuts” – I know I’ll be able to enjoy myself,
my family, and still make progress.
And that’s why I’m sharing all this information with you –
Because chances are pretty good that a “perfect storm”
or at least a “storm” is working it’s way into your life this
time of year and I want you to have the peace of mind
going in to the Holiday Season.
Oh, and don’t worry about how you’re going to get this done –
I’ll be providing some templates for you in upcoming emails.