Charles is here on a weekly basis to help you cut through the B.S. and get some real perspective regarding health and training. Please post feedback or questions to Charles directly in the comments below this article.
 
Imagine a scenario where you knew with absolute certainly the health and fitness outcome that would bring you deep happiness and satisfaction. Imagine that you knew precisely what training process would lead to that goal. Imagine you knew every movement, rep and set required; the exact proportions of strength, mobility, and endurance work; the optimal frequency of training.
 
What a nice dream that is. In reality, most of us aren’t clear about what outcomes would bring happiness in the first place, nor do we have confidence in the training procedure needed to bring us to that goal. Usually we just make our best guess: “This squat program might be just what I need to squat 500 pounds,” or “Wow, I just listened to this fitness guru and I’m totally convinced that his nutritional recommendations are exactly what I need to get to my goals.”
 
If you could somehow know the optimal path to your goal, and then compare it with your current behaviors, I wonder how close your training process would be to the perfect training needed to reach your goal? In your life, how far does “actual” deviate from “optimal?” 
 
push ups are hard
Your optimal training plan would likely include a whole lot of things you don't enjoy.
 

What Comes Easy Is Not What You Need

We all harbor a behavioral flaw that leads us away from the perfect path: we are unable to recognize and reconcile our needs with our wants. None of us do purely what’s best for us in the long term. Instead, we choose to satisfy wants masquerading as needs. 
 
You might be a 110lb woman who loves to run, probably because it comes easy for you. You feel the need to run a number of times a week. You crave it. But you don’t do any resistance training, because you’re not so good at it. Strength training would contribute to your goals, but you’ve convinced yourself that running isn’t simply what you love, it’s what you need.
 
You’ve deluded yourself into thinking what you need and what you love are one and the same.
 
We all engage in this self-delusion. We take the thing we’re best at, whether it’s lifting weights, yoga, or martial arts, and we build our whole worldview around it. By doing this, we absolve ourselves of doing the things we need to do but don’t love doing. We’ve created a fantasy where we’re already doing the thing we need to do most. We just happen to also love doing that thing!
 
But this fantasy is never the case. If you had that secret knowledge we spoke of earlier and the perfect training plan was suddenly revealed for you, it turns out you’d love some aspects of it, but you'd likely hate large parts of it. Training, by its very nature, requires you to work on aspects of yourself that are poorly developed.
 

Ignoring Weaknesses Inhibits Progress

We all enjoy the things that come easy to us, and tend to subconsciously emphasize those things in our training. The problem is, if we don’t tend to our physical shortcomings, in time they’ll become the governor of our overall progress. No one gets a free pass.
 
Doing only the things you love is not enough to create progress. While I think you can and should enjoy your strengths, you must also tend to your weaknesses. Go ahead and enjoy your dessert, but not before you’ve eaten your vegetables. Enjoy the physical prowess you’ve developed over the years, but don’t let your weakest links go unattended. If you do, they’ll bite you in the ass eventually. 
 
I hope this discussion leads to some introspection on your part, and if it does, please share your thoughts in the comment section below. 
 

This Week’s Training:

Volume: 97,256lb (Last Week: 97,129lb)
 
This is the second week of what I expect to be a four-week phase. I’ll continue to ramp up my training loads for four weeks, then take a one-week deload. I haven’t done much in the way of non-lifting related activities this week. That doesn’t mean I’m dismissing them, it’s just a reflection of limited time and energy.
 
I’m feeling quite healthy so far this year. Aside from a bit of generalized morning stiffness, I have no orthopedic complaints whatsoever. Strength levels are also very good. This week I hit a 10RM PR on the trap bar, and a pretty casual 10 reps with 90lb dumbbells on the flat press. I’m also hitting record weights on the leg press and hack squat.

Monday, March 7, 2016

 
Bodyweight: 199.4lb
Volume: 28,515lb
 
Goblet Squat
  • Set 1: 30lb × 10
  • Set 2: 30lb × 10
  • Set 3: 30lb × 10
 
Safety Squat
  • Set 1: 65lb × 10
  • Set 2: 115lb × 6
  • Set 3: 155lb × 2
  • Set 4: 170lb × 10
  • Set 5: 170lb × 10
  • Set 6: 170lb × 10
  • Set 7: 170lb × 10 (Video Below)
 
 
Trap Bar Deadlift
  • Set 1: 135lb × 5
  • Set 2: 185lb × 5
  • Set 3: 245lb × 5
  • Set 4: 295lb × 5
  • Set 5: 295lb × 5
 
Leg Press
  • Set 1: 90lb × 10
  • Set 2: 180lb × 8
  • Set 3: 270lb × 6
  • Set 4: 350lb × 10
  • Set 5: 350lb × 10
 
Seated Calf Raise
  • Set 1: 90lb × 9
  • Set 2: 90lb × 9
  • Set 3: 90lb × 9
 
Tuesday, March 8, 2016
 
Bodyweight: 199.6lb
Volume: 22, 593lb
 
Bench Press
  • Set 1: 45lb × 10
  • Set 2: 95lb × 8
  • Set 3: 135lb × 6
  • Set 4: 175lb × 4
  • Set 5: 190lb × 10
  • Set 6: 190lb × 9
  • Set 7: 190lb × 8
  • Set 8: 190lb × 7
 
Chin Up
  • Set 1: 5 reps
  • Set 2: +20lb × 6
  • Set 3: +20lb × 6
 
Hammer Iso-Lateral Incline press
  • Set 1: 90lb × 10
  • Set 2: 150lb × 8
  • Set 3: 150lb × 8
  • Set 4: 150lb × 6
 
Hammer Iso-Lateral Shoulder Press
  • Set 1: 50lb × 10
  • Set 2: 95lb × 8
  • Set 3: 95lb × 8
  • Set 4: 95lb × 8
 
Dual Cable Low Cable Curl
  • Set 1: 100lb × 8
  • Set 2: 100lb × 10
  • Set 3: 100lb × 10
 
Thursday, March 10, 2016
 
Bodyweight: 200.4lb
Volume: 31,848lb
 
Goblet Squat
  • Set 1: 30lb × 10
  • Set 2: 30lb × 10
  • Set 3: 30lb × 10
 
Trap Bar Deadlift
  • Set 1: 135lb × 10
  • Set 2: 185lb × 5
  • Set 3: 225lb × 5
  • Set 4: 275lb × 5
  • Set 5: 315lb × 2
  • Set 6: 333lb × 9
  • Set 7: 333lb × 10
  • Set 8: 333lb × 10 (Video Below)
 
 
Hack Squat
  • Set 1: 90lb × 8
  • Set 2: 140lb × 8
  • Set 3: 200lb × 8
  • Set 4: 200lb × 8
 
Leg Press Calf Raise
  • Set 1: 180lb × 10
  • Set 2: 180lb × 10
  • Set 3: 180lb × 10
 
45° Back Extension
  • Set 1: +140lb × 8
  • Set 2: +140lb × 8
 
Friday, March 11, 2016
 
Bodyweight: 200lb
Volume: 14,300lb
 
Bench Press (Dumbbell)
  • Set 1: 100lb × 10
  • Set 2: 150lb × 8
  • Set 3: 180lb × 8
  • Set 4: 180lb × 10
 
Seated Row
  • Set 1: 135lb × 8
  • Set 2: 180lb × 8
  • Set 3: 180lb × 8
 
Chest Press Machine 
  • Set 1: 60lb × 7
  • Set 2: 60lb × 8
 
Bicep Curl (Dumbbell)
  • Set 1: 60lb × 10
  • Set 2: 70lb × 10
  • Set 3: 70lb × 10
 
Lying Dumbbell Tricep Extension
  • Set 1: 60lb × 10
  • Set 2: 70lb × 10
  • Set 3: 70lb × 10
 
More Reality Checks for Your Training:
 
Photo courtesy of Jorge Huerta Photography.
Topic: