I’ll probably just drop some vague outlines of my workouts here, some pics, and whatever thoughts occur to me throughout the week.
The thing is, I’m a bad lifter. I do everything most strength coaches warn people not to do. Yet, when I go rogue, I feel my best, look my best, and have the most energy. So screw it. I’ll keep doing what works. Because following someone else’s advice just to get worse results is insane.
Here are all the things I do wrong:
• I don’t keep track of the amount of weight I lift. Not on paper at least. Why? Mainly because I don’t care. I lift instinctively in a way that’ll give me the best mind-muscle connection. And progress in the weight room doesn’t mean crap to me if it doesn’t translate to life outside the weight room.
Would an extra 50 pounds on my 1RM front squat make me happier? No. When I strive to go heavy on a lift under 5 reps, or set a new PR, my joints hurt, my appetite is out of control, I’m exhausted, and I’m chubby. I actually love the fact that my working weight is a warm-up weight for a lot of hardcore female lifters. My body responds as if I’m using a lot more. The minimum dose does the trick.
Granted, I’m all for women lifting weights and going as heavy as they want. I also think the fear of getting bulky is outdated. (As you can see, I emphasize the parts of my body that have a propensity to get bulky.) But I have a threshold for the amount of load that actually benefits me. And going above it just makes me fat.
Also if I’m stronger than 90% of the general female population, isn’t that good enough?
• I don’t follow a program. Why? Mainly because I have to train around what hurts (for the past few years I’ve had chronic pain caused by low T) and I’m not about to ask a coach for permission to stray from a program in order to do what I instinctively know would be the best thing for my body.
• I don’t prioritize the big three. Why? Because they don’t do more for me than other things. Sure I do compound exercises, but they’re not the ones certain experts say are the most important (right now I’m loving the leg press, T-bar row, RDL, and dips). But I’d rather do these with pauses, slow eccentrics, super sets, and other intensity techniques than load them up to a weight that might impress a person in my gym.
• I don’t worry about calories, macro-counting, carbs, or body weight. Why? I don’t have to because I don’t eat crap. Despite dealing with low T, relative leanness has been easy enough: just eat a lot of protein, cook food at home instead of dining out, and limit alcohol to rare occasions. That’s pretty much it.
I’m clearly not shredded, but my quality of life is too good to mess up. I also don’t think getting shredded will make me happier. I already walk around like a woman who gets laid all the time. (Because I do.)
• I don’t train, I just exercise. Why? The whole idea of it makes me cringe. This sentiment pops up in the fitness industry on occasion: you must train, not exercise, if you want to be super special and important.
But I don’t get the sentiment. If you’re not preparing for a competition or teaching yourself to fetch balls and roll over, then are you training? It just seems like pretentious semantics. Isn’t the important thing the results we’re getting, and not the labels and identities we give ourselves?
So I exercise.
• I don’t rest 3-plus minutes between sets. Why? Because my body recovers in well under 3 minutes, since I’m not pushing the weight super high for triples or singles. And I often use a timer that’s kind of like an EMOM (every minute on the minute) timer, but I’ll set it so that it goes off every two or two and a half minutes. This means that if a set takes me about a minute, I’ll have another minute or 90 seconds to rest.
“Yeah, but you’d be so much stronger if you rested longer!”
Okay, but again, why should I care about that? Tell me how a heavier (anything) will improve my life, and I’ll consider adopting your priorities.
Going heavier doesn’t even make me more muscular. I’ve tested that out enough times to know. And I already love lifting, so it’s not like I need the positive reinforcement of reaching a PR to keep me consistent in the gym. And, like I said, even when I take longer rests and strive to go heavier, my body looks worse and feels worse.
So that’s a peek at why I’m a naughty lifter by most coach’s standards. Now that you know where I’m coming from, I feel more comfortable sharing my workouts… or gym time randomness with you.
Watch for it.