January 2, 2017
Last year, I wrote the article “Look Good Naked & Live A Long Time.”
In that article, I highlighted how to get a nice body and maximize longevity by using exercise strategies such as mitochondrial density training, super slow sets, plyometrics, power, fat burning zone sessions and beyond.
But there's a glaring problem.
Since writing that original article, I’ve realized it has a few flaws – namely:
A) it doesn’t include much mobility training in the way of movement elements such as handstand, muscle-ups or anything else similar to the gymnastics skills that I discussed with Tim Ferriss in our recent podcast episode.
B) it doesn’t include a significant number of the biohacking strategies and movement “snacks” I frequently sprinkle into my own day, such as hot and cold training, rebounding, hypoxia, foundation training, etc. all strung together into the perfect program
C) it doesn’t include a major component of reinventing, rebooting, resetting or otherwise “fixing” your blood, brain and biomarkers, specifically the type of detoxification strategies I outline in detail in this recent podcast episode.
So in this quite comprehensive article that I'm hoping will help you kick off 2017 in a very big way, I’m going to tell you exactly how I’m going to personally be structuring my own workout program in 2017 to get the ultimate combination of full body sculpting, strength and power development, brain training, coordination, mobility, gymnastics, detoxification and beyond!
In case you want things completely outsourced, I’ve also put the entire routine described below into a structured, calendared “done-for-you” TrainingPeaks training program that you can download by clicking here.
Let's begin with strength. Why start here?
As I highlight in this article about the fittest old people on the face of the planet, strength is a crucial component of a training program – not just because it sculpts and tones your body while building bone density, mitochondria and even cardiovascular fitness, but because it can be a potent hormonal and anti-aging strategy. There are various ways to train strength, but the most effective is to either A) lift heavy and to lift with some kind of a controlled tempo or B) as outlined in this recent excellent article on body weight training, to train with lighter loads to exhaustion.
Most people’s bodies or nervous systems can handle a maximum of two high quality, heavy, tempo-based strength training sessions per week (you can measure your own heart rate variability HRV score each day to see what your ideal volume is). Below, I've included two options for you to include for strength. I recommend you do these sessions on Mondays and Thursdays, which will allow about 72 hours of muscle recovery, adaptation and growth between each strength session.
Strength Option 1: Super Slow Routine, free weights (for beginner/intermediate fitness levels or sore bodies)
Do the exact routine shown in this video.You can substitute free weights such as dumbbells or kettlebells instead of a barbell for any of the exercises. To learn the rationale behind training with a superslow routine like this, then read my previous articles or listen to my previous episodes on super slow training, specifically:
Alternatively, if you are training for strength or size, you are an athlete, or you want something more difficult (warning: try the super slow routine first and be sure to move the weight very, very slowly…you'll be surprised at the difficulty) then instead perform the Strength Sets below instead of the workout above.
On the flipside, if you are already training with the more advanced program below but on specific days or weeks you're sore or need an easier day, then do the Super Slow above routine instead.
Strength Option 2: Strength Sets Routine (for intermediate/advanced fitness levels or athletes)
Next, choose from the “Strength” list below:
-one Upper Body Push
-one Lower Body Push
-one Upper Body Pull
-one Lower Body Pull
-one Full Body Move
Pair each of exercises above with one exercise from the “Core/Mobility” list.
Gradually adding weight and decreasing repetitions or maintaining repetitions with each strength set (if do-able with good form), complete 3-8 repetitions of the first Strength exercise (e.g. Upper Body Push) in a slow, controlled fashion. Next, complete 10-20 repetitions of a Core/Mobility movement of your choice (for active recovery), preferably choosing aCore/Mobility movement that does not exhaust or work the same muscles that you used during your strength set.
Then go straight back to the Strength set, do another set and follow it up with the same Core/Mobility exercise for active recovery. Continue this scenario until you have completed 3-5 sets for both the Strength move and the Core/Mobility move, and then move on to the next movement category (e.g. Upper Body Pull). Continue until you have finished all movement categories (one Upper Body Push, one Lower Body Push, one Upper Body Pull, one Lower Body Pull, and one Full Body Move).
Cool-down with deep breathing, box breathing, sauna, walking or any other “easier” movements.
Finally, ou can substitute kegs, logs, rocks, kettlebells, sandbags, etc. for most of the moves below if you'd rather train outdoors or Strongman style.
Upper Body Push:
-Barbell or Dumbbell Bench Press
–Incline Barbell or Dumbbell Bench Press
–Standing Overhead Press
–Standing Cable Press
-Loaded Pushup (with Weighted Vest, or Super Slow with body weight)
Full Body Move (this list is not exhaustive, and there may be others that you like:
–Bear Complex (power clean, front squat, push press, back squat, and second push press):
–Deadlift to Overhead Press
–Birddogs (opposite arm/leg extension)
–Yoga Sun Salutation Series
–Banded Side to Side Walks
–Banded Side Walks
–Lunging Mobility Exercises
–More ideas here.
As I recently discussed with strength and conditioning coach Nick Curson on a this podcast, power and speed training are just as important as strength training, especially if you’re an athlete, but even if you're someone who simply cares about optimizing their nervous system performance.
So, since you’re completing a strength training routine on Monday and Thursday, then on Tuesday and Friday you should do some kind of power and speed component. Similar to the strength training routines above, I've included below a couple options for power and speed training: one for beginners or for an easier day, and one for more advanced exercisers or for a harder day.
Option 1: The Ultimate Efficient Body Weight Workout (beginner/intermediate)
You can find complete details and science behind this body weight routine here. Each exercise is to be performed for 30 seconds with 10 seconds of rest in between exercises.
Technically, one round only takes about 7 minutes, but if time permits, you should attempt to do 2-3 rounds. Use good form on every exercise, and, because the focus for this workout is power, try to low yourself slowly, then explode through the work portion of each exercise quickly.
If you are an athlete, if you are wanting to train more for strength and power, or if the routine above feel simply too simple for you, then do the alternative routine for this day: “Complex Sets Routine (for intermediate/advanced)”. Alternatively, if you are already using the more advanced sets but you're tired or sore today, do the body weight only workout above instead.
Option 2: Complex Sets Routine (for intermediate/advanced)
Next, choose from the “Strength” list below one Upper Body Push, one Lower Body Push, one Upper Body Pull, one Lower Body Pull, and one Core. Pair that exercise with one exercise from the “Power” list that falls into that same movement category (Upper Body Push, Lower Body Push, Upper Body Pull, Lower Body Pull and Core/Carry/Move).
Gradually adding weight and decreasing repetitions or maintaining repetitions with each strength set (if do-able with good form), complete 3-8 repetitions of the first Strength exercise (e.g. Upper Body Push) in a slow, controlled fashion. Next, complete 3-8 repetitions of the corresponding Power movement as quickly and explosively as possible. If the Power move is a carry (e.g. fast Farmer's Walk), then rather than completing a certain number of repetitions, instead complete 20-30 seconds of that exercise as quickly and explosively as possible.
Then recover for 2-3 minutes. During your recovery period, you can walk, do more mobility exercises, do foam rolling, dance or do anything else you want that doesn't exhaust those same muscle groups. Then return to the Strength exercise and repeat along with the subsequent Power exercise. Continue this scenario until you have completed 3-5 sets for both the Strength move and the Power move, and then move on to the next movement category (e.g. Upper Body Pull). Continue this pattern until you have finished all movement categories (Upper Body Push, one Lower Body Push, one Upper Body Pull, one Lower Body Pull, and one Core/Carry/Move).
Cool-down with deep breathing, box breathing, sauna, walking or any of the “easier” movements programmed for the day.
Similar to the strength training routine, you can substitute kegs, logs, rocks, kettlebells, sandbags, etc. for most of the moves below if you'd rather train outdoors or Strongman style
Strength Exercises (if you are still sore from Monday and Thursday workouts, choose lighter workouts for the strength sets, and simply move them in a slow and controlled fashion, or do the body weight workout above):
–Walking Dumbbell Lunge
–Walking Overhead Dumbbell Lunge
–Incline Situp with Rotation
-Any Version of a Knee-Up, V-Up or Get-Up
-Any Version of a Hanging Bent or Straight Leg Raise
–Slow Torso Twists
-Fast Farmer's Walk
–Explosive Stair Climbs
-Explosive Torso Twists
–Medicine Ball Side Throw
-Treadmill or other sprint
–Banded Side to Side Walks
So far you discovered how to intelligently and properly structure strength, speed and power training into a perfect workout plan. But unless you’re a football lineman (for example), you’ll need to include additional training modalities to have a truly perfect training program that targets every component of your body, brain and nervous system.
As you probably know, cardiovascular training is also crucial for any complete training program that is designed to include training for the heart, lungs, metabolic fat burning capabilities and circulation, and (as you may not know) so are “biohacks” such as lymph fluid clearance, lung and oxygenation training, building neurons by trying new sports and new moves and targeting a release of brain derived neurotrophic factor that strength training is notoriously not as good at causing.
As you learned in my episode “Does Weight Training Count As Cardio”, many of the strength and power training methods you learned above will train your cardiovascular system. But if you are an athlete or you want to work on fitness parameters such as your VO2max or lactate threshold or mitochondrial density or fat burning efficiency (all terms and skills I cover here) or you are training for some kind of an event such as a triathlon, obstacle race, etc. then, using bicycle, running, elliptical, rowing, swimming or any other cardio mode of choice, perform the following, preferably on Mondays and Thursdays (the same day you do strength training) or on Tuesdays and Fridays (the same day you do power training)
-VO2 Max Sets: Five 4 minute hard efforts with full recoveries (2-4 minute recoveries)
-Muscular Endurance Sets: 1-2 Tabata sets (Four total minutes of 20 seconds extremely hard, 10 seconds easy)
-Mitochondrial Density Sets: 4-6 thirty second sprints with full 2-4 minutes recovery after each
If possible, choose a different option from the options above when you do your cardiovascular intervals, such as tabatas on Tuesday and 30 second sprints on Friday. To save time, it is fine to do these cardio intervals as a starter or a finisher for your strength training or your power training, or to do your cardio at a different time of day (e.g. cardio morning, strength afternoon/evening).
New Sports & Activities
Let’s review what you've learned so far: you will be training strength on Mondays and Thursdays, and you’ll be training power and speed on Tuesdays and Fridays, then optional cardio training on whichever of these days “fits” for you.
Next, on a middle day of the week, preferably a Wednesday, you should give yourself a chance to challenge both your brain and body with a novel activity. If you're sore or beat up, try something like an easy paddleboard, a yoga class you haven't tried before, hiking on a strange new trail, frisbee golf, regular golf, etc. For more of a challenge, try something slightly more fitness intensive, such as tennis, basketball, ultimate frisbee, soccer, kickboxing, jiu-jitsu, etc.
For example, on Wednesday afternoons, I'm now taking a tennis class with my wife and/or doing “night skiing” with my kids. Basically, this middle day is your “free day” to engage in a hobby of your choice. Just don't beat yourself up too much since both the Thursday and Friday after this Wednesday are relatively physically intensive.
Use the weekend as an opportunity to choose an adventure of your choice, preferably outdoors. This can include hiking, skiing, snowboarding, road cycling, mountain biking, playing on an obstacle course, etc. This session can be longer, and, if aerobic, can be done in a fasted state.
Since, in the structured “done-for-you” plan I’ve written out for this program you’re reading about, you should ideally be including a 24 hour fast over the weekend, don't make this adventure too “epic” in terms of physical intensity, but instead use this as an opportunity for nature therapy, challenging your brain, doing something novel, etc.
Your weekend adventure can last anything from forty minutes to several hours, depending on your activity and choices! You can do this Saturday or Sunday, whichever fits for you.
And yes, there's a method to the madness. Similar to Wednesday's session, you're targeting new neurons in your nervous system, and you're also, due to the longer nature of this session, building the physiological parameters of stamina and fat burning capacity.
Below are the extras, such as biohacks and additional helpful movements that will bulletproof your body. I’d recommend you sprinkle these throughout the week. I’ve included the days that I recommend you do these activities in the descriptions below:
You're going to need the excellent book “True To Form” to do this properly. You can get it here in Kindle or hard copy off Amazon. Read the whole book, and then do the M/W/F routine on Monday and Wednesday and Friday and the T/R/S routine on Tuesday and Thursday and Saturday every week, preferably in the morning. This will take about 5-10 minutes per day. Get full details in my article How To Turn On Your Butt, Activate Deep Breathing & Decompress Your Spine (And Why I’ve Completely Changed My Morning Routine).
-Hot & Cold:
Using a dry sauna, steam sauna or (preferably) an infrared sauna (read this article to see my own infrared setup), complete 10-30 minutes in a sauna, staying in the sauna at least long enough to begin sweating, and preferably long enough to where you begin to get uncomfortably hot.
It is OK to “kill two birds with one stone” and do any of the other day's activities in the sauna (such as Core Foundation, mobility work, foam rolling, etc.) or to do yoga or workout like my own sauna workout in the sauna. You can also simply read, breathe, etc. Just stay away from phone/WiFi/bluetooth and other forms of EMF. Listen to this podcast to learn why you need to be careful with this kind of electrical exposure, especially when combined with heat.
Another technique that is good to use in the sauna or in the pool (be careful and responsible!) is resisted breathwork, restricted breathwork, breathing exercises or breathhold training. The best current resource on this tactics in this upcoming Wednesday's podcast, so stay tuned (if you click before Wednesday, that's gonna be a dead link).
Finish your sauna session with a 2-5 minute cold shower, cold soak in a bath, cold pool, or any other cold thermogenesis activity. In this particular program, these hot and cold sessions will fit in nicely on a Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday or Sunday.
At any point during the day, jump on a rebounding trampoline for 5-15 minutes. I recommend any of the “JumpSport” models here. It is OK to alternate single and double leg bouncing or to work on your “hypoxic” training below while jumping. Here is a complete podcast episode and article on rebounding and why it is so beneficial for your body.
During any of the day's activities for the week, choose 10-15 minutes to practice hypoxia. For example, during the rebounding session, you could hold your breath for the first 15 seconds out of every 60 seconds. Or during the sauna or yoga, you can hold your breath during certain movements. You can even practice breathholds during the last few reps of a weight training exercise.
In addition, during every activity you do in this program, unless 100% necessary (e.g. you are gasping for breath or getting lightheaded), attempt to *only* breathe through your nose using abdominal/belly breathing.
It is highly recommended that you read the book Breathe and the book The Oxygen Advantage to learn how to “biohack” your oxygen levels for better fat loss, more nitric oxide, improved performance, enhanced sleep and more. You can learn more about the strategies in these books and about proper breathwork by clicking here.
Choose one day of the week, preferably Saturday or Sunday, to do a full body foam roller workout using exercises shown here or here (do approximately 10-15 rolls per body section), or, for a more advanced foam rolling routine, do the routine below. Alternatively, for a bit more rest and relaxation, book yourself in for a 60-90 minute full body massage.
For this, for your massage or for the more advanced foam rolling routine below, if it is possible to do then “blast” your body with healing frequencies the entire time. Do this with the WholeTones CD's as a form of sound and music therapy (full details in the podcast here), which pairs well with more relaxing mobility work
For a more advanced mobility routine, do the routine below.
I highly, highly recommend the “Rumble Roller” for this routine or the ones above. You'll also need an elevation training mask to get full hypoxic benefits during the routine below. You can read more about that mask here. If you need videos or demonstrations of any foam roller exercise, then you can click here for a video in which I walk you through the entire routine below.
This mobility routine combines cardio exercise, breath restriction and foam rolling. Wear elevation training mask for entire routine. For every area that you foam roll, do 20-30 “passes” with the foam roller on the muscle group. One “pass” means you go up the muscle group and back down the muscle group.
-Station 1: 10 burpees. Foam roll achilles and calf R side.
-Station 2: 10 burpees. Foam roll achilles and calf L side.
-Station 3: Foam roll hamstring R side. 20 high leg swings R leg forward to backwards.
-Station 4: Foam roll hamstring L side. 20 high leg swings L leg forward to backwards.
-Station 5: 10 burpees. Foam roll R outside of hip.
-Station 6: 10 burpees. Foam roll L outside of hip.
-Station 7: Foam roll IT band R side. 20 side-to-side leg swings R leg.
-Station 8: Foam roll IT band L side. 20 side-to-side leg swings L leg.
-Station 9: 10 burpees. Foam roll R adductors/inside of thighs.
-Station 10: 10 burpees. Foam roll L adductors/inside of thighs.
-Station 11: 50 jumping jacks. Foam roll back bottom-to-top.
-Station 12: 50 jumping jacks. Foam roll entire right shoulder complex.
-Station 13: 50 jumping jacks. Foam roll entire left shoulder complex.
-Station 14: 10 burpees. Foam roll neck (back, L side, R side)
-Station 15: 10 burpees. Foam roll entire front of quads.
And yes, you get bonus points if you do this routine in a dry or infrared sauna, or wearing an elevation training mask (at TrainingMask.com code GREEN1 gives you a 20% discount)
For the first four weeks of this program, I’d recommend you choose three days of the week (I recommend Monday, Wednesday and Friday) to work on handstands and other gymnastics movements as a crucial component of your “perfect workout” plan.
You can click here to subscribe to my Get-Fit Guy podcast, on which I'm going to describe in the next few weeks why gymnastics training is so effective.
You can do this on three days of the week, as an alternative to your hot and cold session or as an addition (depending on your time limitations) to your hot and cold session. For the first four weeks, I’d recommend starting with this free handstand program from the website “Breaking Muscle” (if you are already relatively fit, do the “Rx'd work”, and otherwise do the “Scaled work”).
After those first four weeks, I’d recommend you shift into the complete full free year of gymnastics training here at the Breaking Muscle website, or simply follow the daily Gymnastics “WOD” (Workout Of The Day) at GymnasticsWOD.com. If you'd like, you can use this Gymnastics work as a “warmup” or as a “finisher” to your sauna session (e.g. 15 minutes gymnastics work, 15 minutes sauna finisher, or vice versa).
Whew! That’s it.
You just learned how to string together strength, power, speed, cardio, mobility, gymnastics, hypoxia, hot, cold, rebounding, brain training and new sports and adventures to create the perfect workout plan for 2017. If you follow this routine, I guarantee that you will achieve a level of full body and brain fitness that you’ve never before experienced, along with getting a very, very nice figure.
If you would like to access everything I've just described in a “done-for-you” calendar format, along with a host of bonus body care and detoxification tips that I'll personally be using in 2017 (such as coconut oil pulling, intermittent fasting, dry skin brushing, anti-aging teas and broths, etc.) then you can click here to download a training plan I’ve written that lays everything out for you in a daily plan with no guesswork.
Or, if you want to really get serious and have me personally walk you through everything over the next few months, then click here and join my detox challenge, which begins January 9.
In the meantime, do you have questions, comments or feedback about the perfect workout for 2017? Leave your comments below and I promise to reply!