Tough or Rational?

I answer several questions.  I talk on the phone, I answer emails, and I get a lot of text messages about training from a variety of adults, parents, and athletes. I wouldn’t consider myself a “guru” but I like to think by now I know what I am doing when it comes to training a human being regardless of their status or occupation. Human Performance begins with the right mindset, rational training and solid nutrition.

One major thing that has jumped out at me lately is this: People read and watch a lot of television, but sometimes they simply miss the point. They just want to see too much at once.

Dan John said : ” Not every good idea, training device or diet can or should be done all at once.”

I’d have to agree with that because I am guilty of trying to do too many things at once and it has worked against me every single time. So I stopped.

For my younger self, I was never able to explain things as well as I can today when it comes to training. Recently, I have realized that I have to simplify more and more in order to deliver the optimal explanation. Training and nutrition needs to constantly be simplified for any type of clientele. For starters, tough nutrition and rational training.

Rational is based in accordance with reason or logic. When I try to be rational I simply do not like it, I actually fear simple and obvious because I know it works (weird right?). When applying this to diet and exercise a rational approach lacks all of the fun in training, simultaneously we can handle being “rational” for an honorable amount of time. But rational, though it lacks fun, it works well within an individuals training career.

Tough has some pedigree, it’s exciting. But having a solid body and mind requires lifelong dedication and hard work.

So let’s start with this:

Tough Workouts, Solid Nutrition

Everybody wants to lose body fat and gain muscle. In order to do that, you will have to sacrifice something in your life unless you ingest PED’s to give yourself an artificial boost. We shouldn’t be in the business of tying people to trees and leaving them for three or four days, but hey they will lose weight.

Tough nutrition works, we all know this. Unfortunately, keeping a tough diet focusing on lean cut meats/fish, fruit/vegetables, whole grains, and lots of water is the easiest thing to say but the hardest thing to do. Constancy is an issue for our population when it comes to eating well, but honing it in with a tough nutrition plan 90% of the time does the damn job. Some of us become miserable when we try to make a huge change all at once and we turn into hangry individuals, but again tough solid nutrition will be 90% of what you try to accomplish in your training regime. It will get you the results you want to see in the mirror. To make it even more simple, your diet cannot be out trained. So if there is a change to be made immediately in your life, it’s the plates at the table, not the plates in the gym.

When your nutrition is being met by a needs basis ( not wants) and you feel confident about the way you are eating you must be rational with your training. What does this mean?

First of all don’t try to be a Spartan if you’ve never held a shield or a spear. Running yourself through dysfunctional HIT sessions, tabata protocols with burpees, and excessive crunches will not create the optimal training program because it’s not sustainable. Sure, you’ll feel burnt to a crisp, but the dysfunctional HIT sessions and burpees will eventually compromise a joint or two, and the excessive crunching won’t give you a ” six pack” because your pillar transfers, stores, and absorbs energy. It is meant to absorb force, not snap in half like a visa (crunching).

Simple Lifts Performed Savagely Well ( Thanks EXOS) 

Upper Body Pushing/ Lower Body Pushing ( Sagittal, Frontal, Transverse)

Upper Body Pulling/ Lower Body Pulling ( Sagittal, Frontal, Transverse)

Planking & Loaded Carries ( Bilateral & Unilateral)


For starters try to keep yourself in the 8-15 repetition range, get so good at these exercises that they can’t ignore you!

For example:

Week 1:

Push Up 4x 8-10 reps

Goblet Squat 4x 8-10 reps

1 DB or KB Hinge 4x 8-10 reps

Lat Pulldown 4x 8-10 reps

Front Plank 4x :30secs

Farmer Carry with 75% if your body weight (2 DB’s) 4x 20yds

For weeks 2-4 add weight to each exercise by at least 5lbs each set, or add repetitions.

There, keep your nutrition tough and you have yourself a pretty good looking program.

If you are driving all of your focus into your nutrition, choose a rational workout like this that you know you can accomplish. Pick a training program you know how to do when you are in complete ” diet mode” because you want to be able to come back the next day and work out again. Leave some gas in the tank to create consistency in your training week.

Start with simple, be rational in the beginning, lock it in with the nutrition.


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