If variety is the way to life, then it’s the only way I can work out.

I need to be catered to. I’m not a brat and I wasn’t spoiled. I just can’t do something exactly the way someone tells me to do it. I like to think I’m too smart to take direct orders (unless someone really knows better than me, in which case I guess I’ll trust them). I’m also too antsy. I’ll do what someone says, I just need to be able to improvise a little.

The way some women and men are with diets or special projects, I am with workout routines. Since I stopped playing competitive sports in high school, triathlons have given me most stability in working out. I have a difficult goal that requires many different skills and lots of endurance. I train a dozen different ways and wind up in really good shape. But my goal is higher now. I want to be in really, really good shape. Fight Club shape. I am Jack’s semi-attainable goal.

New guy, you're up.

I’ve started dozens of different workout routines. P90X, celebrity workouts, The Spartacus Workout, The 300 Workout, personal trainers, etc. I’ve liked a lot of them, but I flame out after a couple weeks. Sometimes after days. I sort of like intermixing them all into a week or two, but that really isn’t helping me get the best results.

All these workouts tell me what to do, and I get good results. But I’m fickle. God dammit am I fickle. I want to be in Fight Club shape, but I also need to be in really good cardio shape (which requires lots of eating), but I also want to be strong and have noticeable muscles (I was frail as a kid and have a complex now. Back off). I also want to be lazy.

Triathlons are the only things that give me stability. I’ve bought enough books, read too many blogs, and subscribed to too many magazines, and experienced all they have to offer. Can I combine my triathlon stability with my exercise knowledge and experience? Yup.

Wayne Jackson practically did it for me. Wayne is the founder of Go Hard Training, and the only trainer I’ve ever used. Here’s a video of him. You think you know what beast mode is, but you’ve just been re-educated. Because of him I always think: “Is there a way I can activate my core on this exercise?” Always activate the core! I’ll refer back to him in a later post when I talk about how I stay motivated to workout.

Wayne showed me a triathlon training program that mixes resistance training in between sets of cardio workouts. For example, I’d swim a pool length, hop out, and do plyometric push-ups. It’s genius. And difficult. Using that as the basis for my workouts, especially in the off-season when I can spare cardio time, I get the best of both worlds. I lift and get stronger, and in between sets I’m running, cycling or swimming close to my maximum potential. Working out with Wayne reminded me of Fight Club, which I will not hesitate to over-reference. “A guy who came to Fight Club for the first time, his ass was a wad of cookie dough. After a few weeks, he was carved out of wood.”

Workout example: Swim pool length, do plyometric push-ups, swim back, do bent-over rows, then repeat that set two more times. Take a one minute break, then repeat that whole circuit, but doing two different resistance exercises. Do five total circuits. You may need to start at two sets and four circuits. That’s probably what I’ll do tonight, as I’ll be heading back in to the gym for the first time since Christmas.

The resistance exercises I use tend to combine multiple muscle sets. This helps burn calories and fat more efficiently.

Keep in mind I sometimes have a hard time sticking to this, but I do my best to complete the circuit. Also, this isn’t easy at first, so don’t be an idiot and over do it.. You have all the time you need to get in shape. As I get better, I add more sets or swim or run bonus laps. The beauty of this workout is I can change the arm, leg, etc. workouts at any time, just so long as they focus on those muscle groups on the corresponding days. This is what my weekly workout schedule, dubbed the Death Workout, looks like:

Day 1: Wayne (Jackson) Swim Workout, emphasis on legs, shoulders, arms. Followed with Ab Ripper X (from the P90X series)

Day 2: Wayne Cycle Workout, emphasis on chest and back

Day 3: Plyometrics (I mix this up between Plyometrics X from P90X, basketball, or some random internet plyo workout). Followed by Ab Ripper X.

Day 4: Full-body, heavy-weight lifting (I do no cardio, focusing on lifting max weight. This is the day to focus on muscle development, and I hit every group)

Day 5: Yoga. You read right: Yoga. It’s legit and hits the parts of your muscles weights miss. Yoga X (P90X) is a good at home Yoga routine.

Day 6: Wayne Running Workout, emphasis on core. Followed by Ab Ripper X.

Day 7: Off.

These last anywhere from 45 minutes to 1:15. When I’m serious, I stick to this well and will workout closer 1:30. When I’m lazy, I tend to take days off when I shouldn’t. But I always follow the order and finish the workout. When I get closer to races, I spread the Wayne Workouts out between more days of intensive cardio. As strong as I’d like to be, I also want to have enough cardiovascular strength to not drown in front of hundreds of spectators. Nick and my number goal at triathlons is: Don’t drown. Second goal: Beat a lot of people. Brad is a lot cooler out there than us. His goal is to do his best, as he doesn’t worry about things like drowning.

Lastly, again, I’m fickle. Some days I say, “Eff that. I want to do something else.”  I just don’t have that workout in me that particular day, but I do have a hills workout in me, so I do that instead. That’s fine. As long as you do something, that’s better than nothing. And lately, I’ve been doing a lot of somethings and not a lot sensible workouts.

That all seamed preachy, and I think I hate myself a little for it. But I think to understand all the workouts and how I get results, it’s important to understand my mindset and how I came up with this type of workout. And if you want any shot at living a healthier lifestyle that includes working out, you’re going to need variety. Exercise is not a monogamous relationship.

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