Physical fitness affects all aspects of life. It is critical to find a way to stay fit that works with your personality, goals, and lifestyle. Ultimately, you need to enjoy the workout to stay in shape for the long run. If you hate the gym, you won't stick to a long term gym plan. Find something you can commit to; be it running, lifting, hiking, swimming, climbing, sports, etc. That being said, you have to be disciplined no matter what. Pushing through those days you don't feel like working out are the days you make the most gains.
For those with specific goals, a specific training plan is required. I love to hunt, I’m competitive, and I have an occupation where my fitness plays a direct role. Hence, my personal goal has always been to be a well-rounded athlete. I want to haul elk out of the backcountry, run far, run fast, and lift a lot of weight. Physically, I suppose I am a jack-of-all-trades and a master of none. I have tried a variety of programs throughout life and I am constantly learning. The current program I am using, listed below, seems to be the most well rounded program I have been able to find. It includes enough variety that I don’t get bored.
The program runs on a four week cycle. It includes two heavy lift days, two run days, a ruck day, a conditioning day, and a recovery day. All of the workouts fit into a 30 to 60 minute time frame. It is simple to cater this workout plan to your ability level. The lift days are based on the 5,3,1 program: www.t-nation.com/workouts/531-how-to-build-pure-strength. The overall program format I learned from researching Mike Prevost. Prevost has a long and distinguished education and physical fitness background. Read more about him and the program here: www.otpbooks.com/mike-prevost-ruck-training-part-2/. Here's my current program:
Here are a few tips and keys to success for this program:
-Lift days are meant to be heavy. Percentages are of 90% of your one rep max for the first cycle.
-Week four is the deload week. After week four, add 10 pounds to your squat/deadlift max and 5 pounds to your other lifts.
-If you are new to lifting, I recommend the Stronglifts 5x5 program before this one. Start light and focus on form: stronglifts.com/5x5/#gref.
-Mix up the conditioning days and do what you enjoy. If swimming is your thing, this would be a good day to do that.
-Rest days are meant to be rest days. Recovery is critical to growth.
-Remember to warm-up, cool-down, and stretch at the end.
-Listen to your body. If this is too much volume, work in another rest day.
-Remember: quality over quantity. Hit your workout hard and get it done. Life is not about fitness, fitness is about life.
Throughout a year, the workout changes. For example, during hunting season I am in the mountains not the gym. After hunting season, I like to focus on rebuilding my strength and lifting form. That's where the Stronglift's 5x5 program comes in. After I have exhausted the Stronglift's program, I move into this program. As the hunting season approaches, I will focus more on running the mountain and increasing weight on my rucks. As loads get heavier, I may add in another rest day.
I am loving this program. I was initially concerned with having enough days to rest. However, there is enough variety worked in that my body has handled it well thus far. Stay tuned down the road and I'll let you know if it's still working for me.