Hormesis and Hormones – How to Combine Happiness, Chronically Elevated Cortisol, Fat Loss and a “4 Hour Body” Inspired One Week Intervention
Hormesis and Hormones – How to Combine Happiness, Chronically Elevated Cortisol, Fat Loss and a “4 Hour Body” Inspired One Week Intervention

 

Ice Baths - Coming to a house near you! (Laura Agudelo's first ice bath, and no that is not her happy face, though she admitted to feeling amazing afterwards. They get easier - she now jumps in smiling)

hor·me·sis  noun h?r-?m?-s?s

Definition of HORMESIS

: a theoretical phenomenon of dose-response relationships in which something (as a heavy metal or ionizing radiation) that produces harmful biological effects at moderate to high doses may produce beneficial effects at low doses

from Merriam-Websters Dictionary

 

 

Hey mate, I hope this finds you better than ever and by now aggressively implementing some serious deposits into your own version of the  ATM Approach to Cortisol Management.

 

This post is a follow up to last weeks post, so if you missed it, please go read it now then come back – Fat Loss, Cortisol, and You.

 

As mentioned, I believe cortisol and lifestyle management are hugely important for health, happiness, and body composition and rarely given the respect and consideration that they deserve.

 

In short, if you are chasing improved body composition, some muscle, sports performance, or just a healthier, happier life, then ignoring this is tantamount to wasting your time.

 

For the record, in terms of body fat and health I rate lifestyle management just after DIET in the importance spectrum, yes (GASP) ahead of exercise.

 

That said, exercise IS extremely important. Improved insulin signaling, positive hormone status, enhanced (read: optimal) gene expression, and maintaining muscle mass are all important benefits that no human should go without.

 

Not the least of which, exercise makes you FEEL better.

 

While it would be nice to post a straight one week workout for “anyone” with elevated cortisol levels, there is no one size fits all for this puppy.

 

A couple of serious delineations have to occur based on your training age and experience, current training and exercise volume, recovery ability, and what is truly your priority.

 

SO, to pre-empt any ball-busting emails that begin what with “yes, but” or “what about…” I will be very clear on exactly who this type of program is written for.

 

The short version: a reasonably experienced trainee for whom their chronically elevated CORTISOL levels is the number ONE factor holding them back from health, happiness, and a ripped, lean physique.

 

Assumption: no limiting orthopedic issues, no illness, eat very cleanly and currently fighting to control the lifestyle factors as discussed in The ATM Approach to Cortisol.

 

So if you are

Active, exercise 3 or more days per week

Eat very well and don’t see diet as limiting your progress at all

Are showing multiple and ongoing symptoms of chronically elevated cortisol

and Are aggressively implementing the ATM approach to Cortisol Management

 

Then this mate, is for you. Read on

 

hor·me·sis  noun h?r-?m?-s?s

KIWI application of HORMESIS

: a theoretical phenomenon of dose-response relationships in which something (such as a heavy weights workout, sun exposure, a met con session, or the kama sutra) that produces harmful biological effects at moderate to high excessive doses may produce beneficial effects at lower doses

from  The Kiwi-Inglese Dictionary

 

What we are chasing with these particular workouts is the OPTIMUM DOSE RESPONSE as it relates to assisting in the reduction of cortisol and a return to superior hormone status. So…. to be clear this workout is

 

NOT preparing for your upcoming football draft.

NOT trying to put on 20lbs of muscle in 10 weeks

NOT trying to hit your lifetime personal best bench press

NOT taking a beginner strength trainee to their first bodyweight pull up

NOT trying to rapidly reverse major metabolic disorders through smart and progressive met cons and low rest circuit type strength training (btw beginners this is EXACTLY what you should be doing)

And very importantly,

NOT just a back off week (or longer period) for someone whose primary limiting factor is over training. (Side note: We are going to cover back off weeks and periods of de loading in an upcoming post, if you want to start reading now, check out this post by Jason Ferruggia, or this one by Eric Cressey, who felt so strongly about it he wrote an entire ebook on the Art of the Deload. Good reading).

 

Noooooo mate, this is the type of programming is something I would give for a clean eating healthy person, who has been exercising consistently for a period of time, who has the rest of their “health house” in order, but has been having their lifestyle factors (read: sleep and stress) kick their teeth in.

 

As such, we are after the absolute minimum dose to give us a positive hormonal response, some positive stimuli, without adding unnecessarily to the cumulative cortisol load…. and then we are going to walk…. away.

 

The walk away part can be a lot harder than it looks. Since most people in this situation are the type that tend to push themselves through anything, bear with me on this one (it is not forever) and walk away when I tell you to, or EARLIER if you feel fatigued.

 

A couple of weeks of this, and assuming you are aggressively getting your ATM Approach to Cortisol in order, and you should be good to go to head back to more normal (but still smart) training.

 

Alternatively, you could simply start to build some smart progression and intelligent variety into a format such as this. What you do would be goal dependent.

 

I could have written this for you any number of ways, but to have some fun with it, and because many of you have come to Athletic Greens from this book, I have built a lot of this around various elements in the 4-Hour Body.

 

 

As always when I enter into a period of Kiwi mumbling, expect a fair few notes below.

 

 

1-2 Week Protocol for Intermediate Trainee with Chronically Elevated Cortisol and “lifestyle” issues

 

Universal: Eat cleanly every day according to my Food for Fat Loss eating guidelines.

 

Universal: Get outdoors as often as you can, that sun is crucial to your physical and mental health.

 

Universal: Aggressively limit withdrawals and go after deposits in the ATM Approach to Cortisol Management

 

Universal: Not surprisingly, I absolutely recommend you take your Athletic Greens each day first thing on waking. Since you are by nature pretty beat up right now, I further recommend you take a serving of Athletic Greens sometime in the afternoon, again on an empty stomach. Beyond the obvious benefits of improved gut health, immunity, and micro-nutrient absorption, your Athletic Greens also have some very cool adaptogens, (phosphatidylserine, eleuthro root, ashwaganda, and astralagus, for starters) which assist your body’s ability to resist a stressor and improve in tolerance over time – hence adapt.

 

I am assuming you know how to deadlift with good form (if not, you can still do this, but get a trainer to show you how, which will mean a lot more sets deadlifting, but at a lighter weight, and a lower neural “kick” from this type of training), have access to a gym and a foam roller, and have access to a bath. I am also assuming you work a M-F work week.

 

You can start any day, but for the sake of maximum control, lets start this puppy on Saturday NIGHT, we will finish the following Saturday afternoon. Saturdays and Sundays are the days most of us have the most control over when we can go to bed and when we can wake up.

 

I’ve written this in long form, so it is a long post with many parts repeated. Hopefully that makes it easier to understand. Worse case, if it makes you fall asleep, I will rest happy knowing that one way or another, I am helping you with your cortisol levels.

 

Let’s play:

 

Saturday night: faceplant as early as you can, having consumed no more alcohol than 1/2 a glass of red wine for the evening (go back to The ATM Approach to Cortisol Management if you missed this).

 

You will be sleeping in a pitch black, blacked out room, and waking to no alarm.

 

Sunday AM: wake to no alarm

 

Regardless of your regular caffeine intake, today is a ZERO caffeine day! Whooppeee! Start swearing now. Don’t worry, I am going to let you go back to a reduced caffeine habit from Monday.

 

Exercise Goal: light general exercise which coupled with a lack of caffeine and some outdoors oxygen for most people will lend itself to general physical tiredness at end of day, a good warm fuzzy social feeling, and an amazing nights sleep.

 

Do this right, and we quite easily kick the work week off properly.

 

Some time in the AM on Sunday:

 

Full Foam Roller (see notes)

Full Dynamic Warm Up (see notes)

 

Anytime after that….

 

Three options:

1. two to three hour AMBLE with your loved one or family, ideally OUTDOORS

OR

2. 30 minutes or more of play time, by play I mean some exercise that is more fun than exercise. Ie, the goal is fun, not exercise. Examples include playing a social game of touch rugby (had to put it in, sorry), going for a surf, playing ultimate frisbee or soccer with some friends/family in a park, any social pick up game of team sports, kayaking, paddle, going skiing, a hike in the woods, dancing.

OR

3. If faced with limited options due to weather, mates, or locale, your choice of LOW level activity: This would include – mowing or lawn or outdoor yard work. Shoveling snow and building snowmen. Or even a 30 minute slow swim in the local pool or ocean.

 

My preference by far is option 1 or 2. Whatever you do, try and make it fun, low level, social, and ideally, outdoors and something you have not done in a while (or even ever, just don’t go nuts) to assist in general physical tiredness.

 

Get a hearty breakfast in early when you wake up to help off-set the lethargy of going caffeine free.

 

Try to get your dinner in early to assist in sleep quality, if, like me, you find you sleep better if you eat a few hours earlier in the evening.

 

Faceplant as EARLY as you can. All ATM rules for sleeping apply.

 

 

Monday - ideally, wake to no alarm. If you had to wake to an alarm, try and go to bed even earlier this evening.

 

Optional (ideal): assist your body in the natural wake up process by taking an immediate short walk outdoors with big bottle of water

 

Sometime during the day:

 

Monday’s workout: GOAL – improve movement quality, positive neural and hormonal stimulation

Full foam roll: 10 minutes

Full dynamic warm up: 5-10 minutes

Activation sequence of glutes using glute bridges for one set x 10 and then bird dogs x 6 each side (see notes)

 

Strength Protocol: warm up to a heavy triple on the deadlift (see notes for how I want you to do both the warm up and the deadlift)

A1: Deadlift x 3 to just above knees (using a weight that is roughly 4 or better yet a 5 RM of full range normal deadlift)

Rest 20-30 seconds

A2: Box jumps to high box x 4 (be explosive up, “stick” for three seconds at the top, then get off the box carefully, high box means high for you, not Michael Jordan)

Rest 4-5 minutes – during this time, stay warm (using clothing if required), and feel free to stretch your hip flexors, pecs, and lats.

A3: Deadlift x 5 to just above knees (just take 10% off your previous set weight )

Rest 20-30 seconds

A4: Box jumps to high box x 3

Rest 3 minutes – and feel free to stretch your hip flexors, pecs, and lats.

 

By this point you should feel pretty darn good, your nervous system rocking, and rather energized.

 

Lower Body Work

B1: Barbell Hip Thrusters – 1 set of 12 repetitions (at roughly 14-15 RM, finish feeling like you have done TWO more with good form)

Rest 30 seconds

B2: Band pull aparts – 15-20 seconds continuous

Rest 30 seconds

 

(Repeat)

B3: Barbell Hip Thrusters  – 1 set of 8 repetitions (heavier than before, at roughly 9RM – ie, finish feeling like you could have just done one more with good form)

Rest 30 seconds

B4: Band pull aparts – 15-20 seconds continuous

Rest 30 seconds

 

Still feeling pretty darn good.

 

Here we have a split in the path.

 

1. IF either of your deadlift sets above were over 2 x your body weight. THEN

 

(Repeat a third time but a lot heavier)

B5: Barbell Hip Thrusters – 1 set of 6 repetitions (quite a bit heavier than before, at roughly 7RM – ie, finish feeling like you could have just done one more rep with good form)

Rest 30 seconds

B4: Band pull aparts – 15-20 seconds continuous

Rest 60 seconds

 

Then…….  C1 BELOW

 

 

 

2. IF NEITHER of your deadlift sets above were over 2 x your body weight THEN…..

 

 

(Repeat a third time, more or less the same weight)

B5: Barbell Hip Thrusters – 1 more set of 8 repetitions (again at roughly 9RM – ie, finish feeling like you could have just done one more with good form)

Rest 30 seconds

B4: Band pull aparts – 15-20 seconds continuous

Rest 60 seconds

Then…….  C1 BELOW

 

 

C1 : Perform ONE set of two handed kettle bell swings – you are going for the maximum number you can get in TWO minutes. Ideally without stopping, really go after this, it is only two minutes (but stop if you have to!)

 

D1: Static stretches

Stretch hip flexors for 30 seconds, adductors for 30 seconds, and hamstrings for 30 seconds each.

 

Walk out. You should feel energized, slightly sweaty, and like you could do plenty more. You won’t – you are going home.

 

 

Monday NIGHT

 

Recovery and Relaxation push: ENTER THE ICE BATH!!

Take an ICE BATH for 10-15 minutes in the last 30-60 minutes before bed. (See notes)

 

This works amazing wonders for sleep quality, but will also boost immunity, skin quality, and testosterone levels, and help reduce muscle soreness.

 

Try and go to bed early enough that you don’t need your alarm for the morning. Despite the moaning and screaming, most people can accomplish this pretty easily if they cut back or ditch their end of day TV or facebook time.

 

 

 

Tuesday – ideally, wake to no alarm. If you have to wake to an alarm, try and go to bed earlier.

 

Optional (but IDEAL): 10-20 minute walk outdoors with big bottle of water to wake up

 

Eat as you would if following the ATM approach to cortisol management, so get a protein dense breakfast in early.

 

Tuesday’s workout:  GOAL, improve movement quality, light blood flow, light postural activation

 

Full foam roll: 10 minutes

Full dynamic warm up: 5-10 minutes

Planks, front: L side: R side x 20 seconds each. Rest one minute, Repeat 1 time.  (See notes)

Activation sequence for glutes using 2 legged glute bridges for one set x 10 and then bird dogs x 6 each side using a 5 second hold for each.

1 set each of Y, T, W, L’s x 10. (See notes)

 

 

Optional extra after you have done the above: 20-30 minute slow walk outside, or any outdoor activity

 

That is it. No caffeine after 12pm today, and follow the ATM guidelines aggressively.

 

Drink plenty of water, but stop chugging it back in volume about 2 hours before bed to avoid bathroom interruptions to your sleeping.

 

Tuesday NIGHT

Recovery and Relaxation push: Hot bath for 15-20 minutes with 1kg of epsom salts

 

Sleep EARLY

 

 

 

Wednesday – you guessed it, wake to no alarm if possible.

Ideally do this sequence very first thing on waking and definitely PRE coffee.

Full foam roll: 10 minutes

HALF dynamic Warm up: 5-6 minutes (full if you have time)

 

Then immediately do

Funky Speed Walking: head outdoors for a turbo speed walk (see notes). 7.5 minutes out, 7.5 minutes back

 

Really concentrate on drinking a ton of water today, stopping two hours before bed so you don’t go pee all night.

 

Wednesday NIGHT

Recovery and Relaxation Push: Massage for 60 minutes, OR a Hot (Bikram) Yoga session. Book it in, and then do it.

 

Faceplant EARLY

 

 

 

Thursday – ideally, wake to no alarm. If you have to wake to an alarm, you need to SET YOUR ALARM TONIGHT TO TELL YOU TO GO TO BED EARLIER

 

Optional (ideal): wake to short walk outdoors with big bottle of water

 

Thursday’s workout: GOAL, improve movement quality, positive neural and hormonal stimulation

NOTE: this workout is similar to Monday’s workout, but diverges after the deadlifts.

 

Full foam roll: 10 minutes

Full dynamic warm up: 5-10 minutes

Activation sequence of glutes using glute bridges for one set x 10 and then bird dogs x 6 each side

 

Strength Protocol: warm up to a heavy triple on the deadlift (see notes for how I want you to do these)

A1: Deadlift x 3 to just above knees (using a weight roughly equivalent to a 4-5 RM full range deadlfit, feel free to add weight to what you did on Monday!)

Rest 20-30 seconds

A2: Standing vertical jump x 2 (be explosive and go for height, reset properly between each rep)

Rest 5 minutes – during this time, stay warm using clothing if required, and feel free to stretch your hip flexors, pecs, and lats.

A3: Deadlift x 5 to just above knees (just take 10% off your previous set weight )

(No second jump today – if you have got the loading right above, then you should feel awake and energized right now – THAT is what we are after).

Rest 2 minutes, then start warming up for B1 and B2.

 

By this point you should feel pretty darn good, your nervous system rocking, and rather energized. (If you don’t, it is home time.)

 

Upper Body Work

Warm up to a 4 RM in a chest supported row, using either of T-bar chest supported row (preferred), DB chest supported rows, or hammer machine rows. If none are available, do an inverted row (ladies) or a pull up (dudes).

In between your warm up sets for the rows (should take you 1 to 3 warm up sets using a progressively heavier weight)

Warm up to a 4 RM in a DB bench press, neutral grip (your palms face your body)

 

Drop the weight 20% from your final warm up set, resting two minutes from your last warm up set of rows to your first work set of rows (which will probably be about 60 seconds from your last warm up set of presses)…. and perform the following, alternating between a set of B1 and a set of B2 until the required number of sets are completed.

 

B1: 4 sets of 3 reps using the chest supported t-bar row ( or whatever row you are doing) – do these as explosively as possible for the concentric phase keeping perfect form, hold for a 1 second pause at the top, being careful to squeeze your shoulder blades together, and lower under control. Do not bounce into the next rep.

(Yes, these will feel rather light, like you could do 6-8 of them no problem – you are after speed, so are only going to do three reps, keeping the quality very high, we are playing games with your nervous system)

Rest 60 seconds and perform B2.

B2: 3 sets of 4 reps in the DB bench press, neutral grip. Explode up, taking 2 seconds to lower the weight, a brief pause at the bottom of each rep, then explode up again. Once again you are chasing speed and quality

Rest 60 seconds and repeat B1 for the required number of sets. Yes, you will be doing 1 less set in the Push (the press), than you do for the Pull (the row).

 

C1: 1 big long set of Band pull-aparts – stopping as required, but in as few stops as possible, get to 100 reps.

 

D1: Static stretches

Stretch hip flexors for 30 seconds, adductors for 30 seconds, pecs for 30 seconds, lats for 30 seconds, and hamstrings for 30 seconds each side.

 

Walk out. You should feel energized, slightly sweaty, and like you could push over a wall. Once again, you won’t do more – you are going home.

 

 

Thursday NIGHT

Recovery and Relaxation push: YOUR 2nd ICE BATH this week, woohoooo!! Take an ICE BATH for 10-15 minutes in the last 30 minutes before bed.

 

This works amazing wonders for sleep quality and you should know this from your Monday bath. You will note, that it is already a LOT easier to get in and stay there than the first ice bath you took on Monday. It continues to get easier.

 

Try and go to bed early enough that you don’t need your alarm for the morning.

 

 

Friday

 

Optional (but IDEAL): 10-20 minute walk outdoors with big bottle of water to wake up

 

Eat as you would if following the ATM approach to cortisol management

 

Friday’s workout:  GOAL, improve movement quality, light blood flow, light postural activation – identical to TUESDAY

Full foam roll: 10 minutes

Full dynamic warm up: 5-10 minutes

Planks, front: L side: R side x 20 seconds each. Rest one minute, Repeat 1 time.  (See notes)

Activation sequence for glutes using 2 legged glute bridges for one set x 10 and then bird dogs x 6 each side using a 5 second hold for each.

1 set each of Y, T, W, L’s x 10. (See notes)

 

Optional extra after you have done the above: 20-30 minute easy activity outside

 

That is it. Remember, no caffeine after 12pm; follow the ATM guidelines aggressively.

 

Friday NIGHT

Head out and socialize. Remembering your alcohol limits. When you get home, pile in for some fun with your significant other, it is phenomenally good for you. If no significant other is present….. er… meditate, or have the bath below.

 

Recovery and Relaxation push: Hot bath for 15-20 minutes with 1kg of epsom salts

 

Faceplant

 

 

 

Saturday – you guessed it, wake to no alarm if at all possible.

 

Saturday workout: GOAL, improved movement quality, blood flow, anabolic and metabolic response to non maximal sprints

 

If you live NORTH, or anywhere cold then ideally do this sequence early in the afternoon when your body and the day is warm.

 

Full foam roll: 10 minutes

Full dynamic Warm up: 5-10 minutes

 

Then head outside and march off to a hill. Ideally, walk briskly for 10-15 minutes to get there as it will aid in your warm up..

 

Hill Sprints (see notes, I love hill sprints)

 

Find a hill with a 15 to 30 degree incline, and a 40 meter stretch of ground (that is about 45 yards my imperial friends).

 

You are going to do 5 x 40 meter sprints. We want a bit of a cross over from pure performance (full recovery) and some metabolic conditioning, without trashing you too much, so while these are not going to be pure wind sprints, they will be done on a bit less than full recovery.

 

These are not metabolic conditioning sprints per se, as we are looking for an anabolic response.

 

Warm up like this:

Walk 40 meters up it.

Walk back

Jog 40-50 meters up it.

Walk back

Skip 15-20 meters up it (just like in primary school) relax and wave to your neighbors, who after watching your funky speed walk earlier in the week will by now think you are completely nuts

Walk back

Accelerate in a run 40 meters up it (to 75% of your max effort).

 

Walk back. Rest 30 seconds more than you feel you need to.

Accelerate in a sprint 40 meters up it (to about 85% of your max speed)

 

Walk back. Rest at the bottom for about 30 seconds. Feel free to stretch your quads and hip flexors while standing  by pulling your heel to your butt on one leg and squeezing your glutes on that side intensely for a few seconds, or by doing any type of dynamic lunge stretch.

Accelerate in a sprint 40 meters up it (to about 85% of your max speed)

 

Repeat 3 more times for a total of 5 work repetitions.

 

IF you feel like you have gotten significantly slower in any given rep, then stop; that is the end of your sprinting session for today.

 

You should finish these feeling slightly winded after the last rep, but rather exhilarated.

 

Congratulations, you are done for the week!!  Now go socialize!!

 

 

Let’s look at what you have really accomplished.

 

For the last 7 days, you ate cleanly, limited caffeine and reduced it daily, really went after the ATM approach to cortisol, and made sleeping a priority.

 

You performed foam rolling every day of the week, and dynamic warm up every day of the week. You have vastly improved your tissue quality, and should be enjoying some improved mobility. This means you SHOULD be feeling a lot better in terms of just walking around. This took you about 15-20 minutes each day, and should be considered penance for sitting down or having poor postural habits, ever.

 

It should also be considered very smart insurance against injuries.

 

You worked out with weights with a strength focus for two 25-30 minute sessions (counting from when you first picked up a weight), performed one speed walk of 15 minutes duration, and did some sprints that took you about 10-15 minutes, start to finish. On top of this you walked for a minimum of 2 hours broken across the week, and ideally, a heck of a lot more.

 

You should have gotten 30 minutes per day of SUN exposure per day, or more, Vitamin D makes you happy. (if you didn’t/can’t, then supplement with Vitamin D3, while better than nothing, it is a poor second). Waking to an outdoor walk is IDEAL. If weather does not permit, then at least some activity in natural light is better than nothing (you know, like foam rolling next to a big window).

 

You should be sleeping now a LOT better than you were last week, ideally pushing hard for that 9 hours plus out cold each night. (If you can’t get there due to babies or job, you still TRIED to get as much sleep as you could.)

 

And if you did everything above like you just said you did, you are a much happier, more energetic person than you were one week ago.

 

 

NOTES:

 

Bearing in mind that the notes to this could fill a book, and that there are other posts coming that will explain more of this to people, here are a couple of comments.

 

 

Some notes on the workouts.

 

My number one priority: Don’t hurt anyone

 

My number two priority: Maximize the positive neural and hormonal response to exercise and relaxation therapies to assist other efforts in overcoming a situation of chronically elevated cortisol levels

 

My number number three priority: Make it applicable to as many people as possible.

 

To that end, LADIES, YES YOU CAN ABSOLUTELY DO THESE TOO!! I am NOT one of those people who think that guys and girls should train the same (athletes generally excepted)… all the time. At this volume and intensity, this workout is GREAT for both sexes.

 

Those who have followed me for some time know that I love to include unilateral work (one arm or one leg training) and anti-rotational stability work in some form in pretty much all my workouts. I left them out here for time and simplicity, which won’t kill you for the week or two you follow this format. Going forward much beyond three weeks I would absolutely want you to modify this training to include some unilateral work and some anti-rotational stability work.

 

As you know from earlier emails I follow a pretty similar workout sequence for nearly every bit of training I do. They aren’t always in there, but they are there most of the time, and they are pretty much always in this order.

 

 

Workout Order

 

a. Remove restrictions (foam roller and sometimes a hard ball)

b. Activate (usually stabilizers) with “pre-hab” type exercises and then mobilize and further activate with a serious of dynamic warm up exercises

c. Neural activation of some variety

d. Strength/Power

e. Strength Endurance

f. Metabolic conditioning/energy system work (usually in the form of circuits, giant sets, strongman type training, swings or intervals)

g. Further foam roller work and static stretching as time permits

 

 

Note 1: Foam Rolling

 

When time is limited, I recommend you foam roll only your tightest spots, and those most likely to impact on your performance that day. Invariably, people who SIT need to foam roll their quads and hip flexors. So this goes in at number one for me, and most likely for you too.

 

Secondly, since a tight IT band is more common than caffeine dependence in our society, and since some pretty important muscles connect to it and I like my knees tracking properly, IT bands would go next.

 

What is an IT band? The Ilio (hip) tibial (shin bone) band runs directly down the very outside of your thigh for the length of your femur. You will know it when you foam roll it the first time, trust me.

 

Third in importance for me would be some form of thoracic spine mobilization on the foam roller. This is not rolling per se, but using the foam roller to help mobilize your thoracic spine in a series of extension movements over the roller. (Comes in about 1:30 on the foam roller video below). A “little thoracic mobility goes a long way” (yes Eric! :) and you will find immediate improvements in shoulder range of motion from doing this.

 

Those would be my top three, but since we said FULL foam roller, then ideally you would have about 5-10 passes (roughly 20-30 seconds, remembering to spend more time on extra sore spots) on each of the following (work from bottom to top, then flip sides).

 

Calves and Peroneals

Hamstrings

Glutes (and Piriformis if you have a ball, it is a bit deeper)

Lower back

Middle to upper back (cross arms across your body to free up space between your shoulder blades)

Thoracic “openers”

Lats

(flip over)

Quads

Hip flexors and TFL (front of hip at the top)

Adductors

IT band

Pecs

 

If i have a ball handy, I also “ball” roll the plantar flexors in the bottom of my foot (great for plantar fasciaitis), my glutes, trying to get deep in to hit piriformis (a deep muscle under your glutes, this is often very tight, so you will know it if you roll over it on the ball, work it out), the outside of my calves, and infraspinatus, a rotator cuff muscle in the back of the shoulder, which you can hit pretty easily (trust me you WILL know when you have hit this). See the video from Eric below.

 

Eric Cressey, a friend and one of the Strength and Conditioning Coaches I admire most on the planet, has a neat little video of all of these here. The only down-side is that someone is vacuuming right next to them as they film this, so the video is hard to hear the commentary.

I bought my foam roller on amazon. These are useful to have around. Go the 12 inch if you want to travel with it, as I do, or the 36 inch if for only at home.

 

You can foam roll while talking to someone, watching the tv or listening to something. Or you could just foam roll to the sound of your own moaning and screaming if you have never done this before. Even more fun is to make is social and listen to someone else screaming who has never done this before.

 

Don’t worry, the first day is the worst it rapidly gets better. And, just like a person to person massage, kneading out those small knots of tension produces IMMEDIATE pain relief and improved mobility. You want to use the improved mobility which is why even on “rest days” you immediately go into your dynamic warm up exercises.

 

EVERYONE HAS TIME TO FOAM ROLL. If you watch TV or surf the net for even 1 minute every day, you have time for this. Build it in until it becomes a regular part of your schedule.

 

 

Note 2: Activation/Mobility/Dynamic Warm Up

 

Again my focus here is on what needs waking up/mobilizing the most, not just in general, but thinking about what exercise I have planned later in the workout.

 

This type of warm up gets your body ready for activity, while assisting in undoing the damage we do with our modern, sedentary, sitting habits.

 

Glute bridges in all their varieties turn on the glutes (and help turn off and stretch the hip flexors) nicely. This is generally a good idea for anyone who sits down, well, pretty much ever. (My other favorite is the Bird Dog exercise).

 

As part of a warm up, I like to do glute bridges with an adduction, squeezing the crap out of something between your knees (could be your foam fouler) for the duration of the exercise.

 


Bird dogs can be seen here, this time in a video by mate and trainer Craig Ballantyne. I like people to hold these at the top for 5 seconds, squeezing the heck out of the glute in question. A slightly more advanced alternative is at the end of your given reps, lock out and hold the position for 30 seconds a side.

 

 

In the same video, Craig also covers off the FRONT PLANK and the SIDE PLANK, which are activation exercises that you do twice in the week.

 

The other exercise you will do, twice a week in this format, is they Y, T, W, L  shoulder sequence, which can be seen here. I would like you to do these on a bench, table, or corner of the bed, focusing on limiting lumbar extension to get range – ie DON’T bend up through the back to get range of motion. Do 10 of each in a row without stopping as little as possible. I am quite happy if you do these in L, W, T, Y order too.

 

 

 

 

The lunge stretches, and just about every lunge variety, are a great way of mobilizing your hip flexors while prepping your body for exercise, since it reinforces firing patterns, especially through your glutes. Incorporate some today.

 

The hand walks wake up nearly every muscle in your body while providing a great hamstring, calf and lower back release, and the walking quad stretch is to ensure the quads and hip flexors are still loose (and glutes are firing, they go together) just prior to starting faster movement.

 

My bare minimum

 

Walking knee hugs x 6 per side

Walking leg cradles x 6 per side

Reverse Lunge with a twist x 6 per side

Forward Spider lunges with trap diagonal arm movement x 6 per side

OR

Forward lunge then press elbow to instep, to hamstring stretch x 6 per side

Hand walks (also called Inch Worms) x 3-6

Single Leg Romanian DL for a hamstring stretch (arms out to side, post rear leg) x 6 per side

Walking quad stretch with glute squeeze x 6 per side

 

That would be my “rapid dynamic warm up” – total time, 6 minutes or less.

 

If i have time, to that I would add

 

Kneeling hip extension mobilization (to wall)

Some form of side lunge

Side lying windmills

Quadraped Extension rotations

Wall slides

3 way Hamstring mobilizations on table

Bowler squats

“Cossacks”

Sumo squat to stand or Sumo squat to diagonal stretch, or sumo squat to hamstring stretch

Acceleration holds against the wall or wall marches

and a host of other varietals, steadily getting more dynamic

 

I would do up to 10-12 of these if very tight or with some form of orthopedic issue.

 

I recommend you google these. Dynamic warm ups rock, perform them barefoot whenever possible.

 

It may be a bit technical for some, but for those of you more detail minded or in the training biz would be well advised to grab a copy of Mike Robertson’s and Eric Cressey’s “Magnificent Mobility” DVD, which provides a total technical breakdown of various dynamic warm up exercises as well as the benefits of each one.

 

 

Note 3: Neural Activation of some Variety plus Strength Power

 

For this we did Deadlifts.

 

Wooohoooo! Deadlifts are my favorite exercise.

 

While this type of rep scheme is not new (people have been lifting for neural effect and coupling it with some form of plyometric for a long time), pulling from the floor explosively to just above the knees and then dropping the weight in this format is something I learned from Barry Ross after reading about it in the book The 4-Hour Body, by Timothy Ferriss. Suffice to say, this was one of my favorite chapters in that book. I don’t want to take anything away from Tim and Barry, so I HIGHLY recommend you buy a copy of The 4 Hour Body.

 

The short version.  For the deadlift, I want you to use a double overhand grip, and pull from the bottom position to just above the knees – do this explosively the second you have the bar moving off the floor. This will feel a bit weird the first time you try it. I want you to drop the bar, as opposed to lowering it. Stand tall, reset, and immediately repeat for your second rep. Continue in this manner until you have completed the required number of reps. This takes out the eccentric portion where most of the soreness (and the injuries) happen, and will greatly reduce recovery time. It may however, greatly annoy commercial gym managers.

 

For the first week you do this, I have no problem at all if you are way off the 95% of 1 RM recommended in the formula given by Barry in the book. If you are regular deadlifter, go for it. If not, build up to this using my recommendations here, and if you continue with this format of deadlifting you can steadily get after it… I am happy for most to use a 5 RM weight on the first day for the first set, then drop 10% off that for the second set. This is a LONG way from 95% of 1RM, but you can build forward very quickly. Focus on moving the bar fast, with perfect form. The next time you do this, add 5% or even 10% to the weight as your heavy set weight if you can maintain fast bar speed and good form. Yes, you will feel like you can do some more. Yes, you will be able to get great bar speed on these lifts (this is a good thing). And yes, you will be able to add weight each and every workout for quite a long time. This is fun in and of itself. Remember, we are training for maximum positive neural and hormonal effect. Note Ross’s recommendation that total concentric time under tension is less than 10 seconds per set.

 

Warming up to your first set is up to you. Generally it should look something like this, though at this level of work set loading it could be shortened a fair bit if you are regularly deadlifting. As it is the first exercise of the day it gets a bit more attention warm up wise. Further if you have not deadlifted in a while, or in this format, I would rather you discovered that you had some issues early, ie with minor loading. Assuming you are going to start with 250lbs as your 3 rep weight, (and that weight would be about your 5 RM maximum under normal deadlift circumstances).

 

45lbs (Bar) x 5

95lbs x 4

135lbs x 3

175lbs x 2

205lbs x 2

225lbs x 2

Rest 2-3 minutes

First work set.

 

This lets you “grease the groove” for what will ultimately be a comparatively light weight for most regular deadlifters (this is intentional!), but is probably a different form of deadlift from how you are used to doing it. (If you read the book, note the hip position and play with it, it feels weird, you will have to go lighter to begin with, but expect to get stronger with it VERY quickly).

 

If you have been training for a while but are a newbie to deadlift, then now is a GREAT time to get in and get some coaching on how to deadlift properly. I follow Eric Cressey’s line of thinking in this and recommend you start with the Trap Bar Deadlift, especially if you have long femurs…. IF you have access to one.

http://www.ericcressey.com/how-to-deadlift-which-variation-is-right-for-you-part-3-trap-bar-deadlift

If you are a newbie to deadlifts, ideally track down a good trainer and tell them you want to do a technical session and learn how to do a deadlift, with a trap bar if they have it, and without if they don’t. In which case, forget all the rep schemes here, and just swap out the two workout days here for deadlift technical sessions, closing each one out with swings. I am happy with that, it is a great investment, you will hardly be overly taxing yourself, and you will be having fun learning something new. All good stuff from a cortisol management standpoint. If due to a total lack of flexibility you can’t pick up the bar from the floor with good form, and you don’t have access to a trap bar, then I recommend you either perform rack pulls from just below the knee, or skip this entirely and focus on getting in better lifting shape.

 

Alternatives: I am not obsessed with you having to do these only the way I stipulated above. While I would suggest you experiment and give it a go, I am totally happy for you to swap out these deadlifts for trap bar deadlifts if you have a trap (hex) bar available, though the movement range is different, it is still a limited range deadlift. Use the high hand setting and again, while you will be able to get a LOT more loading, focus on exploding the weight up. With the trap bar I have no issues with you lowering the weight smoothly by sitting the hips back quickly and smoothly (though you can expect more soreness afterwards).

 

Beginners, or anyone who has not been training for a long time, you don’t get to do this workout. You are going to get stronger doing almost anything resistance training-wise so I would instead rather you do some type of SMART progressive circuit and metabolic conditioning work that is weights based, three days a week. You will get a lot more bang for your buck, both in terms of strength, fat loss, physical development and a nice gentle physical tiredness that will assist you in sleeping well. We will go over plenty of those in upcoming posts.

 

You are going to be super-setting your deadlifts either with box jumps, or a vertical jump.

 

Vertical jump you all know (jump for height). Remember my comments about no orthopedic issues? If you have any issues with the landings at all then jump UP on to something and repeat the box jumps from Monday.

 

Box jumps you can see here. Remember to stick for 3 seconds at the top. “Stick” means hold your landing position for three seconds without moving at the top. This will help teach your body to decelerate safely.

 

Note 4: Barbell Hip Thrusters

 

I love this exercise, and it is a great supplement lift to the deadlift. Ladies, this will help you develop a rock solid behind like you would not believe. Really squeeze at the top for a second on each rep. I love EVERY variety I have come across in this exercise (and any type of glute bridge/thrust) in the last ten years. One legged, two legged, on the floor, on the bench, jumping, feet fixed, adding resistance with chains, bands, sand bags, barbells, girlfriends, any way you look at it, hours of entertainment.

 

And an awesome training effect. Dive right in.

 

 

 

Note 5: Band pull aparts.

 

I mentioned these in an earlier email. If you missed it, here it is repeated.

 

For this version, done with arms straight out in front of chest.

 

Start with arms straight out in front of you, gripping your band (they vary greatly in strength/tension) about should width apart with an overhand grip.

 

Starting the movement by pulling your shoulder blades together, finish the movement by pulling your arms away from each other. Your arms will end up out to the sides then slightly behind you, the band will hit your chest. That is 1 rep. You can maintain tension on your shoulder blades by never returning the bands all the way in, or you can go all the way in all the way out, play with it.

 

Goal: try and counter the day’s sitting by working some volume in to my upper back, specifically aiming at rear delts and mid trap. You can mix up the focus of this and add in other muscles by adjusting hand position and arm angle, but assuming you are doing these with your arms straight out in front of you, as we are doing here, this is what is going to be getting the bulk of the loading.

 

Since we tend to sit a lot during the day in a shoulders rounded position, this causes what is called stretch-weakness in the scapular retractors (and frequently external rotator) muscles. Add to this that most people have vastly stronger internal rotators of the shoulder than the internal rotators, and we have a need for corrective exercise. (You could also try NEVER SITTING, always walking with good posture and doing three or four pulling reps for your upper back for every one you do for your chest).

 

This is a phenomenally useful exercise and I highly recommend you start asap. They can be done throughout the day or at the end of workouts, and intensity can be modified by adjusting your hand position on the band and the band tension. Great for posture.

 

I got my bands at Elite FTS, but you can also get them at amazon.com or any local sporting goods store.

 

IMPORTANT: before you lay out any cash for any bands, go to a gym that has them and try out the various resistances. If you have never bought bands before, I recommend you also go to your nearest sporting goods store to make your first ever purchase. The range in tension is HUGE. Bands can be the little round ones with handles at each end (don’t grab the handles for this exercise) right up to big slabs of bands that are in a complete circle and can also be used for assistance or resistance in a number of other exercises such as pull ups (assistance), push ups, squats, deadlifts etc.

 

I have the latter in every size and use mine mostly for shoulder and upper back work, as well as for benching and press up varieties

 

Coach Jason Ferruggia shows how it is done here.

 

Note 5: Kettlebell Swings

You can do swings in sets and reps. Or you can play for total reps or total time. Choice is yours, but as minimal effective dose “choose 1″ exercises go, the two handed kettlebell or dumbbell swing is an outstanding option for beginners and advanced trainees alike. We are using it as a quick metabolic finisher here, and you should find it very light after playing with the larger weights.

 

 

IF your glutes are not used to working properly and as are result your hamstrings did too much work (focus on the glutes!) are too pumped from the thrusts and you feel like your hamstrings are getting pulled too much in the swings then terminate this set. This is unlikely, but pay attention to your body.

 

 

 

Note 6: Chest Supported Rows.

 

Two varieties here, t-bar, and Dumbbell. For our variation, do this with a one second hold at the top.

 

Chest Supported DB Row, shown here by Coach John Romaniello

 

 

Chest Supported T Bar Row

 

 

 

Note 7: Neutral DB Bench Press

 

 

 

 

Note 8: “Funky” Speed Walks.

 

These are another “take” from Barry Ross and the 4 Hour Body, that I have promptly adopted with all my fat loss guinea pigs, I mean, clients. A simple conditioning exercise that relies on your body being pushed into very INEFFICIENT locomotion patterns to generate a surprisingly efficient (and almost impossible to mess up) conditioning effect. This is how they are done.

 

Walk as FAST as you can. I mean fast enough that you WISH you were jogging. You can’t, you have to keep walking. This is going to make you look, and feel, pretty funky, hence the name. You will also get surprisingly warm.

 

Two formats, either walk OUT as fast as you can for 7.5 minutes, note where you are, then burn back in the same or less time. You must beat the out distance on each successive walk.

 

OR, let rip for 15 minutes in one circuitous route. NOTE how far and where you get to at the 15 minute mark (it pays to avoid traffic lights) and you must beat this distance on each successive walk.

 

When you are done with these, wave to your neighbors, and feel free to continue walking at an amble for as long as you feel like it.

 

I will do a full post and video on walking varieties in the future.

 

 

Note 9: Hill Sprints.

 

I love hill sprints, hard to mess up if you follow the guidelines I gave above.

 

Rather than go into detail here I have decided I am going to write a full post on hill sprints, so watch this space.

 

BAD WEATHER OPTION for Hill Sprints

 

Note, if the weather is just so shitty that you can’t head outside, rather than heading to a treadmill, I would rather you did the foam rolling and dynamic warm up, then did the following.

 

1 set of two handed Kettle Bell swings for 20 reps to warm up.

 

Stretch hip flexors for about 15 seconds each. Then

 

5 sets of 40 reps of kettle bell swings. (No more than 1 minute working each set)

 

So 40 kettlebell swings (in less than a minute)

Rest 90 seconds (will may feel like it is a long time, well, at least the first one or two sets)

 

Repeat 4 more times.

 

Select a weight you can almost do 100 reps with without stopping for this, and really work on crisp explosive reps.

 

I would rather you did the hill sprints, but this is not a bad stand in. Progression for this is fun as well, as you can simply add reps to each set and shave recovery time to make this more “fun”.

 

Note 10: Ice baths.

For starters, check out the chapter on SLEEP in the 4 Hour Body that covers this and the picture at the top of this blog.

Then, give it a go. I will give my own Kiwi Two Cents on how and why this is a great idea in an upcoming post.

 

******

Whew!! If you are still here, I am impressed.

 

Hopefully this post and workout tickles your thinking about exercising while struggling with reduced recovery ability and battling chronically elevated cortisol.

 

If you are suffering from chronically elevated cortisol levels and meet the “this is for you” description, then give this a go for one week, maybe even two or three, and let me know how you find it.

 

I have used this type of approach with great success with people ranging from extremely busy and tired entrepreneurs to exhausted mothers.

 

Remember, it is all about the effective dose FOR YOU and no more. Further remember that you must be aggressively going after the lifestyle factors that got you here in the first place or you are wasting your time.

 

Fire away with any and all questions and thoughts below.

 

 

“100% Focus On Happiness”

 

That is my mantra, and it starts with phenomenal health

 

Best,

 

Chris “the Kiwi”

 

PS: IF i get 75 comments below then I am going to give you guys a simple, easy to use, fat loss for beginners with cortisol issues workout

PSS: IF I get 100 comments below I am going to get Eric Cressey on here for an interview, so fire away.

 

Share this:
About the author
Chris 'The Kiwi'
So named because he comes from a little country in the Pacific called New Zealand where a small, fat, quasi-blind, and largely defenseless bird by the name of “Kiwi” is the national animal, and what we are called when we land in other countries. He is focused on using what he can remember from his studies for a BSc in Sport and Exercise Science and his cumulative years as a nutritionist and strength coach to help other people enjoy amazing levels of health and energy. He enjoys ticking through his list of life goals and meeting new people.
  • Bruce Gudmundson

    Getting close to 75 comments. I am interested in more of the cortisol discussion.

  • http://www.castironfitness.co.uk/ Julian

    Chris..this is another awesome article and definately not too long if u are somewhat ‘geeky’ when it comes to learning about this sort of stuff (I am). I want to start up my own PT business cos I’m sick of my job which I’ve being doing for 20 years,…sitting behind a desk for 8 hours a day and getting shouted at often by customers is really crap for your cortisol levels..trust me. I have some management systems in place but feel that I won’t truly solve the problem unless my job changes..it’s so difficult tho trying to start up at the moment…I tried it 6 months ago with a load of flyers and got myself a website but did not get one enquiry!. Still, gonna re-do my site…try to specialise in fat loss and am also doing Steve Cotters CKT1 course in June (scotland)..anyway, I was just about to begin training 6 days a week with alternate weights/HIIT but now I’m thinking that maybe my cortisol levels are too high for this and will moderate accordingly..but you are right..us fitness geeks always think more is better when chasing fat loss/muscle gain,,…and it ain’t.
    Thanks again for another awesome article and keep doing what you do.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1541994701 Daniel Chetlin

    i have been inspired by the (re?)posting of the food for fat loss article to start eating clean and, after having gone back to read the cortisol stuff which was linked from the most recent post about resolutions, can definitely see that lifestyle and sleep things are contributing to my health negatively. this article is quite dense, as has been mentioned, but i dont think it is a bad thing – i read through the parts that made immediate sense, skimmed the parts that were past where i am, and overall am looking at it as a great reference point which i can come back to when i am ready for it – essentially some motivation to get to intermediate level.

    however, if you are looking for votes, count me as two hands held high for an article detailing some more straightforward beginner workouts. i do ok wandering around the gym from time to time but i feel that i could benefit greatly from a kiwi-style breakdown of how i should work out (like i have for how i should eat and how i should sleep).

    thanks for everything.

    oh, while i’m here and spamming everyone, i have two further (unrelated) questions:
    a) how do you feel about frozen foods, most especially frozen (grass-fed) beef?
    b) how do you feel about (light, especially commute-style) biking instead of walking for the morning … walking? how about in other parts of the weekly range of exercise?

    and finally, i have to give a shout to the incredible customer service at human performance. i was an athletic greens subscriber this past summer, and the service when i cancelled, and again when i resubscribed after the fffl post, was superior. this goes a long way to making me comfortable maintaining a monthly subscription with automatic payments.

    • Anonymous

      Hey Daniel,

      Thank you for this comment mate. Some very good questions.

      For the beginners approach to working out, ok, will put it in the pipeline.
      For the other comments, please see below.

      oh, while i’m here and spamming everyone, i have two further (unrelated) questions:

      You are not spamming mate!

      a) how do you feel about frozen foods, most especially frozen (grass-fed) beef?

      no problems at all, especially as it relates to grass-fed beef. yes fresh is yummier and yes may be slightly better (maybe) BUT if you are looking to save a TON of money and buy half a cow yourself or with friends and freeze it? very good idea and massively lowers cost per lb. go for it.

      b) how do you feel about (light, especially commute-style) biking instead of walking for the morning … walking? how about in other parts of the weekly range of exercise?

      all activity is great. i have no problems with this approach at all if it
      makes you happy and gets you moving. i don’t think we (humans) are
      particularly well suited to extended steady state “cardio” especially of a
      moderate to high intensity. walking we do great. however, if it rocks your
      boat to head out and pound some hills on the weekend on your bike? go for
      it.

      i still recommend you engage in some weights workouts, but you have just
      asked me for those….

      and finally, i have to give a shout to the incredible customer service at
      human performance. i was an athletic greens subscriber this past summer,
      and the service when i cancelled, and again when i resubscribed after the
      fffl post, was superior. this goes a long way to making me comfortable
      maintaining a monthly subscription with automatic payments.

      thank you very much. if ok with you, i would love to forward this to our
      management team as we put a lot of effort into our customer service to make
      it a very easy to use system and i think it would help other people to read
      this to dispel any discomfort they may have with our Loyalty program.

      Cheers,

      C

  • Guest

    so this is incredible

    • Anonymous

      thanks mate

  • Tracey

    I’ve read the entire article, and although it may appear to be overwhelming to some, I feel that if someone reads it with the intent of following it (actually reading it, not skimming it) it’s totally manageable.

    That being said, I would like to follow it, however, I am not eating clean and do not know how exactly. I have had a few different nutritionists suggest different eating ‘schedules’ but I don’t know what to do. You make reference to your “Food for Fat Loss eating guidelines” but I cannot find them on your site (just me?).

    I have purchased athletic greens and have been taking it, although I hate the taste (sorry), but now I need an eating plan that works for me.

    I will follow this exercise plan once I have a supportive diet, so….

    PLEASE HELP! :)

    • Anonymous

      Thanks Tracey!

      No problem. I will make the edits and get it up before the end of next week. Food for Fat Loss rocks, although I may be a tiny bit biased.

      In terms of training, the one I posted here is really for intermediate trainees or higher. I will post a few varieties of minimalist training for people who found this one too dense or too complicated.

      Thanks for your comment!

    • Anonymous

      Hey Tracey,

      Food for Fat Loss and 3 follow up posts now up on this blog. This is how I recommend you eat when looking to kick start fat loss

      Cheers

      C

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=515834927 David Yakobovitch

    Chris, great post – lots of content. As a college student, I worked on Insanity by BeachBody in the summer during April and May and got into great shape. Then I fell off track and got out of shape again, including right now. I never really exercised in high school, and in college just played Ultimate Frisbee and Tennis. At this point I’ve gotten my health back up with AthleticGreens and other nutrition. Now I’m ready to get back in shape. Do you recommend I do Insanity a month or two before going this route again? Mix Insanity with some endurance sport like Tennis and Frisbee? Or also some kettle ball routines, low carb approach, and organic food with thrown in cheat days to set myself up? Thanks mate!

    • Anonymous

      Hey David, thanks for commenting. The question for you is what is your biggest issue that you want to fix?
      Is it bodyfat? Putting on a bit of muscle? Just having more energy and living healthier? Or do you want to crush some sport?
      If you are in your early 20’s, sleep well, aren’t being an idiot lifestyle wise, and don’t have any orthopedic issues then mate, the world is your fitness oyster!
      :)

      Let me know a bit more info, and I am happy to take a look

      C

      Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=515834927 David Yakobovitch

        Thanks for the response Chris! My goals focus on energy and living healthier. I’ve accomplished quite a bit into my diet for that (choices when eating out, limiting carbs to early in morning or before exercise, no sodas or diet products, little sugar, less caffeine, more organic). Yet my problem comes in two-folds: regulating sleep and making the time to commit to work-outs. Once I can solve those two underlying issues, I can then focus on dominating a sport or gaining that muscle mass.

        To sleep, I experience night terrors, usually wake up to an alarm because of my 9-5 job, and don’t feel refreshed when I wake up in the morning.

        To committing to work-outs, I can’t find a way to focus and actually ‘commit’ to a program or hold myself accountable.

        Appreciate the help!

        • Anonymous

          hey David, based on that reply I would suggest your absolute best bet is wait a week or so and follow the dietary guidelines in my updated Food for Fat Loss protocol which will be posted in the near future. As for exercise, if time is an issue, the easiest way is to invest in a kettlebell, and crank out 100 reps in as short a time as possible three days a week. This is very much an MED, and it will at least get you going. Anything beyond that, I would go for whatever exercise/activity makes you happiest. I think you will find the sleeping, energy, and fat loss are far more diet mediated, and that changes will come rapidly once you get your eating dialed in. C

  • Ramer

    Great article, Kiwi. Having read (& studied) 4-Hour Body, this all makes perfect sense and ties directly in to many of the approaches explained in the book. It’s good to see that pre-hab & corrective exercises are being more commonly accepted in fitness these days. Those types of exercises have helped me tremendously as an aging (43) exercise enthusiast, as the most noticeable decline in my performance is increased recovery time. It’s just one of those inevitable adjustments that we have to figure out as our limitations change over the years. Your articles are always helpful in this manner…keep it up.

    • Anonymous

      Thanks Ramer, I appreciate the comment and the feedback. Great to hear you are into a longevity, performance and quality mindset with regards to prehab and corrective exercise. Are you training for anything in particular or just for health/feel good/fun?

  • http://www.elisastable.com Elisa’s Table

    Thank you!!!!! THis is a post I will keep coming back to as it so dense with information…so it is now on the favorite bar on my mac. :-)

    • Anonymous

      Elisa!!!!! Thanks sis. I think I over cooked it for most, so next will be a more simple program. On your knee, dead lifts are out. You can probably do heavy romanian deadlifts without triggering any issues. I would also think that the hip thrusters are doable. As for the swings, all day. :) Looking forward to that new recipe!

  • Guest

    AMAZING

    • Anonymous

      Thanks mate! Comments or thoughts welcome!

  • Anonymous

    Hey guys. I NEED YOUR COMMENTS and feedback!

    I get the feeling that this was too overwhelming for many of you?

    WHAT do you need? That is the question, if you don’t tell me I won’t know what to give you.

  • cresta

    The ATM article was amazing. I am slowly trying to be at least aware of what I am doing to myself by burning the candle at both ends. The most important thing I am doing is trying to do is get enough sleep. I am less hungry and don’t feel as bloated all the time. Thank you for your suggestions. Cresta

    • Anonymous

      Thanks Cresta. Really appreciate the feedback, glad you are going after it. Let me know how you get on. Kiwi

  • dianan

    Eating 100% clean after your last post on the ATM approach to cortisol management (following your strict 30 day plan), and have been doing the Kiwi critical (m)ass a/b workouts. Should I continue with that or do the plan above instead? The a/b workout seems manageable, which means I’m more likely to be compliant with it. Thoughts?

    • Anonymous

      Hey Dianan. Great work on the clean eating! The Kiwi A/B workouts are definitely more in line for beginners. the workout i gave above was a complete, “getting control of my cortisol is my priority” one week routine for intermediate trainees. I have realized that i am going to have to post some more genuine entry level or beginner-intermediate training approaches. The a/b with the progression i originally intended with that workout (weights get heavier, rest gets shorter etc) plus few speed walks and the odd interval and you will do great. Compliance is the key.

  • Guest

    Agree that it’s a bit overwhelming for beginners but if that’s what it takes I’m on board. Can you recommend any trainers in San Francisco Bay Area that conduct like minded work outs?

    • Anonymous

      Hey mate. I think the mistake I made with this program is that it is NOT for beginners per se. Beginners in my mind would be best starting with something like the following.

      2-3 days a week, circuits with weights or just a series of supersets (where exercises get paired with each other) with relatively short rest periods
      1 day a week, some form of interval training, starting very light, and building up in intensity.
      Walking as often as possible.

      You would need progression tied in for it to work. Any decent trainer should be able to help you out and indeed is the best option as they can customize the entire approach for you. I am sorry I don’t know anyone personally in SF

  • Ajitk

    Great post. Loads of details to study

    • Anonymous

      Thanks Ajitk. Maybe too much, everyone has gone a bit gun shy on me! :)
      Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

  • Chris VELENIK

    Very cool! And I like the fact that you showed my kettlebell instructor – Phil Scarito at DV8Fitness. He is awesome!

    • Anonymous

      Thanks Chris! Never met him, but I do like that vid for KB technique :)

      Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

  • Simon

    Thanks for the very thorough workout plan and explanations. I have been trying to do a bit of a cortisol recovery deal this last week – eating clean, face planting early, walking as my only exercise. I definitely feel it has helped.

    I am traveling at the moment so I don’t feel like I can implement a lot of the above work (plus I am a beginner and don’t know how to do half of it), but I will continue to soldier on in my own fight against cortisol. I have been inspired to take an ice bath tonight. I have to admit I am a little scared.

    Thanks for all the hard work you do on this blog and your newsletters. It is inspiring stuff!

    • Anonymous

      Thanks Simon! It is comments like yours that make me want to keep doing this stuff.
      Good work on the aggressive approach to your stress levels/cortisol, it is a great step.
      I appreciate that this may seem a bit full on or beyond the scope of experience for many people. I think there are probably a lot of people in your shoes who are starting out, want to get cracking, and also know they have some sort of cortisol problem brought on by travel or life.
      If I get enough interest here I am happy to write up some very fast, simple, and easy to follow workout plans for people getting started.
      As for icebath, I was petrified before my first one, but like me, I think you will love it afterwards.
      Please make sure you share how it goes, and thanks again for the great contribution with your comment.
      Kiwi

      Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

  • Silverbora

    Wow.. Good stuff

    • Anonymous

      Cheers Siverbora! Questions or thoughts at all?

      C

      Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

Follow Me