I will admit that right now I’m not super motivated on the strength and fitness side. Food-wise things are as steady as she goes (I do a fair amount of intermittent fasting, decent amount of higher protein and fat diet, some fruit and dairy, with probably not enough vegetables). Things could always be a little tighter, but where I am at is not difficult at all to eat well. On the other side of the fence I am 100% in maintenance mode with limited motivation to do more, as my workout blog shows. It is simply a habit, and one that takes limited mental energy to keep up.
A year or two ago, I was still following a modified Outlaw program, a bigger volume strength and conditioning program designed for competitive Crossfitters. It usually took an hour or more about 5 days a week (which I tried to hit, but often ended up with 4 and a little less volume than they programmed). Holly was competing too and we fed off each other’s vibe along with others we spent time with. Since then, I got injured for a bit (sprained MCL rolling brazilian jiu-jitsu with a friend), and decided spending money and traveling and competing, even intermittently, wasn’t something that was a high priority. My workout buddy (my wife) got injured, cut back on her programming as well (until she had surgery last week) and it hasn’t been a super high priority like it once was.
So I am full on in maintenance mode, and I am ok with that for the time being. Maintenance mode for me means doing enough to maintain strength and how I look for the least amount of effort and motivation. Lifting and doing fitness activities are and always will be fun for me, even when motivation is down. I try to get the following in each week:
- Bench Press
- A pulling movement (deadlift, bent over rows, strict pullups)
- Overhead press
- Running (3-6 miles, I have a Tuff Mudder later this year that I am not worried about in the least, and I like running so this is a no brainer)
- Ruck walking (1.5 miles or more with weighted 45 lb. vest)
- At least one 8-15 minute high intensity conditioning piece
Additionally, support or conditioning exercises I often throw in are bicep curls (for the girls), kettlebell swings for that posterior chain, farmer carries, sprinting on occasion, maybe a tabata rowing session if I’m feeling especially masochistic. I still like to do the snatch and clean and jerk, but don’t do them as often as before.
Most of these workout sessions are done within half an hour and leave me with a lot of time for recovery. Today, for example, I knocked out workout at work – 20-25 minutes. Just took off my work shirt and got right into it. At home, after kids were fed and doing piano practice, I knocked out a complimenting work out in the garage. Probably 45 minutes total between two sessions, snuck into my life pretty seamlessly.
Unlike before where I was always felt like I was on the verge of injury, with the lower work volume I feel great. At some point there is a point of diminishing returns on health for how much you invest into a workout. I’ve also since adjusted my goal of hitting certain numbers on the “key” workouts (bench, squat, deadlift) and have made the goal of staying healthy #1. That means I’ve backed off when form starts to fall apart, instead of before when I’d fight through it (a recipe for injury) for the purpose of getting stronger or accomplishing a particular number goal.
Without having a goal to invest in like a competition, it is hard to stay motivated for long stretches. However, that shouldn’t be an excuse to let yourself go or to rationalize poor behaviors. I may not look as good as could, or be as strong or as fit as I could right now, but I am reasonably strong and reasonably fit and look reasonably good especially compared to the masses.
I know that when my motivation does increase again, getting to that next level will be much less effort than if I simply stopped altogether. While it was once a gravitational force all on it’s own (training for Ironman, even the Outlaw/competition days), other things have increased in priority over the last year so this is simply a regular part of the day – not the focus of the day like it once was. It’s actually a rather nice place to be and I feel calmer and happier with this change, and not getting upset if I miss a workout (with 30 minutes, it’s easy to combine a couple if that happens, or split them up morning/night, or add one in during the lunch hour).
I hope your summer workouts are going well and you can stay healthy in how you eat despite all the picnics and bar-b-ques. Just do burgers and no buns, veggies, and fruit instead of the other options people bring to these events and you’ll be fine. When people ask, just tell them bread/flour/gluten/beer doesn’t make you feel very good, so you eat a different way now that makes you feel better (a quick note on the alcohol side, since it is such a big part of our society – I find I prefer wine and clear liquors with light mixers like lime juice over beer, since the next day beer doesn’t make me feel good due to the grains involved in making them – take note and see if you agree). Keep on truckin’.