So what is “12 weeks the hard way”?
The title of my first 3 months at CNN? No, there are challenges, but I am loving the new team and opportunity.
I write for Men’s Health mag occasionally because it motivates me to keep at my wellness and to try and keep getting better in different ways and fight the aging process.
The m.o is for me to be a test dummy of different fads and techniques so you, the reasonably fit, looking for a better or new way to approach training, can go to school on my efforts.
“12 weeks” is about how much lean muscle we can build without risk or gimmicks. More to follow, but first, the idea was born from an unexpectedly easy cut down in fat for me. Just before Xmas I cut out dairy and bad sugar and cut back booze, then added green drinks to diet and started doing more crossfit. In less than two months I went from an ok 218, to a pretty lean 200-ish. And my body fat plummeted to 12% as muscle increased.
The results were actually atypically large which was an indication of my own sensitivity to dairy as an inflammatory agent and how lousy my diet was. So, I didn’t see much value in writing that one up. Instead my buddy and coach at EVF performance, Eric Von Froelich (you know you got skilz when you put your name on the place) suggested that cutting down is actually easier than building up for someone my age who is already in decent shape.
He provoked a common dilemma: Many want to build more lean muscle but say: I have job and a life, time is limited as is desire to do anything extreme, and I don’t want to take risky supplements. As a result we may stagnate. So, can you build any/10lbs or more muscle in 12 weeks while doing it in a way that is reasonable?
Eric and I and Men’s Health say: MAYBE. The challenge is to design a program and nutrition that ups strength, and adds bulk without it being just water or bad weight. And no extremes. No more than 4 workouts a week, no steroids or dicey supps and no extreme stress on the body like super heavy lifting or gorging calories. Basically, a way you could integrate this goal into your regular life.
My life will throw some curve balls. Rest and recovery is an issue as is consistency because of my job and busy family life with 3 kiddies. But life is about adapting, right?
The main ingredient that you have to bring to this is commitment to stay with the program because it will involve an evolution, a progression in resistance work that will be hard if you skip too often.
So, leaning on Eric’s many years of excellence and some consultancy with nutrition experts, we came up with “12 weeks the hard way” and are currently testing it out on me…your willing lab rat. After a couple weeks refining what we need to do, our early process is basically a mix of sprint work and heavy emphasis on crossfit, such as progressive increases in traditional lifts. We also added a 4th meal a day and a couple extra protein shakes and probiotics. Stretching and meditation as regenerative and focus tools are also important because they allow physical and mental preparation for training – and life. So, that’s why I am training after skiing at altitude…which is definitely the hard way. By the way, thanks for the New Day love and offers for a lift from the nice people in Jackson, Wy who saw me running hills.
The goal is growth and efficiency as well as some insight into what a 40+ reasonably fit person can do without going to extremes. We will see what works and what does not and where I stay with and where I do not. We will start blogging on the Men’s Health site next week, showing food and workout tips and progress.
My last point is what may matter most. So far, this has not been easy. But that is okay. This desire to get things the easy way yields only one long term result: disappointment. Nothing in life that’s worthwhile is easy, right. At least with your body you can have a measure of control of the outcome. As we all know, what you can control becomes more precious as life goes on.
The word diet means “daily” so then idea of a sprint to skinny without staying the course will only set you up for a rebound. We all know this but we often avoid the reality in our habits.
I am not afraid of hard work. I pride myself on it. In fact, I feel I am obligated to work hard because of the blessings and opportunities I have. I am so lucky that I feel I have to make the most of my life to justify what I was gifted from above.
So I will do “12 weeks the hard way”. No shortcuts. No cheating. And we will see what we can achieve. We will let you in on the process and then write it up for Men’s Health.
I don’t know if you will see any of this on NewDay. I think that a show that speaks intelligently on what matters should include wellness, beyond the latest health scares. But that is an ongoing debate. There is a lot of new to cover as it is and we have to make choices.
Feel free to share your thoughts and experiences along the way. My hope is that we discover a system you can use to boost your body and overall wellness
Wish us luck !