Learning how to make fitness fit in with your current lifestyle can seem a bit backwards to most of us.
A common misconception in the fitness world is believing you need to radically alter your current lifestyle to accommodate your new fitness routine. Otherwise, how will you ever achieve the successes and radical transformations promised by all those mainstream fitness programs?
Here at GMB, we know for a fact that achieving your fitness goals doesn’t mean adopting the lifestyle of something you have no desire to become – the hardcore athlete, the gym rat, the 5am cardio slave.
That’s why within the GMB Method is the guiding principle of learning to make fitness fit into your current lifestyle, rather than the other way around.
“It’s not about what other people out there think you should be doing. You’re the only person who really knows what you need, and what you want to be doing.” – Ryan Hurst
In this episode of the GMB Show, Ryan and Jarlo give you a candid look at what they’re both working on currently in terms of fitness routines and how they adapt their fitness to fit their busy lifestyles.
You’ll learn how Jarlo is approaching his training for an upcoming race, while maintaining his martial arts practice, family, and career.
Listen as Ryan explains how he’s pulled his current routine back to only twice a week to accommodate his Jiu-Jitsu training, while still making measurable progress in all of the areas he needs.
Learning to make fitness fit into your current lifestyle means never becoming a slave to your fitness routines again.
How To Make Fitness Fit Your Lifestyle
Ryan: Everybody welcome to this episode of the GMB show. Today I’m in Seattle hanging out with Jarlo.
Ryan: What’s up, man?
Jarlo: What’s going on?
Ryan: Today we’re going to be talking about our version of the GMB lifestyle, and GMB, of course, there isn’t a single way that we do things. Everybody’s different, and that means that we all have a certain way that we live, and in GMB it’s not about changing your lifestyle to meet the needs of the workout program. We have a program to help you in your lifestyle, and so today we’re going to talk a little bit about that.
It’s really great that Jarlo and I can sit down and talk about this because we have such different lifestyles just based on whatever we’re doing. Jarlo, do you want to go ahead and start?
Jarlo: One of the primary reasons that we started GMB was to provide an alternative to people. We were talking about building strength or building flexibility or skill development. A lot of times people get into these heavily structured programs that aren’t adaptable to what they need to do, and what they want to do, and what they’re able to do for a long period of time.
Now, there’s a difference between, say, a 3 to 4 week concentrated regimen. If you’re preparing for something and you only have a little bit of time. In that time frame you can do almost anything in 3 weeks, right?
Ryan: A good example is right now with you, with getting ready for the big climb.
Jarlo: Yeah, so that’s one of the things we want to talk about. Every time we say things like “cycles” and “goal setting”, that’s really the way that you can make programs specific to you. I’m doing this charity climb, this cancer charity climb. We do it every year, and that’s in a week and a half. It’s not too bad at all. It’s 70 floors.
It’s bad if you don’t ever do it, and it’s bad if you’re not used to continuously going up stairs for that 15 to 20 minutes, or whatever it is, but you need to prep for it. One of the reasons I’m prepping for it is just because I don’t want it to interfere with anything else I do. I don’t want to go this thing and then be so wiped out that I can’t do anything for a few days after, because I have other things to do.
It’s been really simple. 3 times a week I just set a timer and I go walk up and down stairs for 30 minutes, and I do it in a way that’s aerobic. I just keep my heart rate under 150, and the first couple times I have to stop, but then the last few times over the last couple weeks I don’t have to stop. I just keep going for the 30 minutes, and I’m underneath the heart rate where it’s not dipping into bad, and to recovery levels so I can’t do the other things I want to do.
That’s a really easy example of a cycle, and it doesn’t’ have to be very complex. You have something that you need to do. Maybe you, instead of this charity climb we’re going to take a vacation and I know I’m going to go hike for a few hours. Then I need to get used to being on my feet. I don’t need to go and do a heavy aerobic, cardio intensive interval session. I just need to be able to be comfortable on my feet and not get tired for a few hours.
That’s a very different stimulus, and a very different thing. that’s the trouble, right? People are like, “Oh, I can go, and I can do these high intensity intervals. I’ve been doing it forever,” right? Then they go out and they go on these day hikes and they wonder why they can’t … Maybe their lungs feel fine but then their feet hurt. Their knees hurt.
Ryan: Then afterwards they’re drained for days. Yeah.
Jarlo: It might seem complicated based on what you’ve read, and looking at other people’s programs, but you have to realize, especially if you’re just looking at a snippet of someone’s workout journal, you’re only looking at that little bit rather than the big picture, rather than something that they can do year round.
Ryan: Good thing to think about, too, with this is when you’re doing the climb you’re not looking at winning or crushing it, or anything like that. You’re doing it because for one, it’s a great cause, and you just need to be able to complete it.
Ryan: It’s good enough just to be able to complete it.
Jarlo: Right. Yeah, I’m not racing. There is a race thing, and it’s interesting that there’s … On another day, I forget if it’s the day before, firefighters actually do it with gear.
Ryan: Oh, really? Wow.
Jarlo: Firefighters do it with their 50-60lb of gear, and the racing times are ridiculous, just like 7 minutes. These guys … They’re screaming up the 70 floors. I couldn’t do that without gear, but if I wanted to train for that … I don’t know why I’d want to train for that, but if I wanted to then I’d have to have a totally different regimen for it.
Ryan: The amount of time it would take to train, the lead-up for that would just be so different, but again, that’s a cycle. It depends on where you are in your life, of course. You and I, though, where we are, we’re not out to compete, right?
Ryan: We just want to be able to do the things that we enjoy.
Jarlo: What are you doing right now?
Ryan: My main thing right now is Brazilian jiu-jitsu, and so I want to be able to do it and enjoy it instead of getting on the mat and being so winded, and then the next day waking up and feeling so sore that I don’t want to do it again. Right now my training is basically twice a week I do conditioning for Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
It’s not an every day thing, and this might surprise people, because me as, what, the poster child of GMB, people might think I’m working out all day long, and doing all this stuff, but recently I don’t. The best thing for me is actually more down time.
In my case instead of actually doing more exercise, it’s getting more recovery, and making sure that I’m eating more food, and looking at the other things outside of my workouts to make sure that when I am on the mat I can do it.
This also includes flexibility, working a lot more on my mobility kind of things, and then also working on mobility under load. It’s strength training but it’s not weighted pull ups or anything like that. It’s more about being able to move better in awkward positions so that I don’t get injured, and then also focus on stamina so that I can be able to continue to do it. With me right now that’s about it.
Jarlo: It’d be different right now, that’s what you’re doing, and it’s sort of this particular thing, but when you’re getting ready to, say, when you’re going to be teaching in Hong Kong in April, right?
Ryan: Yes, that’s a great point. Next month I’ll be in Hong Kong teaching for 4 days straight, and so I’ll have to prep to be able to teach. My cycle would change. I’ll be focusing more on the activities and the movements that I need to be able to teach, and making sure I have it.
Now, along those lines, of course, I’m not putting everything else just on hold. I maintain the skills that I currently have, but when I get ready to teach next month I’ll ramp some of those skills up. A good example would be I’d just focus on my big skills, my handstand push ups, handstands.
Then I’ll do my pulling stuff, whether that be on the rings or whatnot, and then I’ll focus on doing tuck planche push ups, and then my leg work. My leg work, like shrimp squats, and I like sissy squats and things like that. Those are the things I’ll ramp up in order to get me prepared for the Hong Kong stuff down the road, and I might back off a little bit in Brazilian jiu-jitsu to make sure that I don’t injure myself getting ready to be able to teach. After all, that’s my job, right?
Jarlo: That’s the important distinction, too. A lot of times when people talk about, how do I keep my gains, or maintain it? They don’t realize that it doesn’t take that much to maintain.
Ryan: No, not at all.
Jarlo: The more you train and the more you are aware of that … We’ve been doing this for years. He has to maintain certain skills, but his maintenance of certain skill levels is going to be different than mine.
Jarlo: For example, handstand work. His handstand work is at a level that’s a lot higher than mine, and then his maintaining regimen would be probably my workout regimen for building it. That’s another thing that’s interesting. You have to consider … You can’t look at someone else’s program and their goals and just copy it.
That’s why in our method we have the assess, address, and apply, and that’s individual to each person. It doesn’t mean the program significantly changes in terms of movements or choice of exercises but it does mean that you change the volume, intensity, and frequency. Those are the main things that you can change and address.
Now, the reason I say that is because there are particularly special exercises, even in the realm of corrective exercise. Most of the things are going to be very similar, but the way you approach it, whether it’s, again, volume, intensity, and frequency, or if it’s just little adjustments in the technique itself to emphasize certain things. That’s the micro look, whether you’re looking at the exercises themselves.
The macro is the training schedule, the training program. Right now Ryan is working on the Brazilian jiu-jitsu stuff. I did a cycle of that last year when I was really trying to ramp up for my next stripe in purple, but now what I have been doing for the last 2 months, and then I’m going to continue on for probably another 3 or 4 is I’m doing a distance learning program with my teacher for Filipino martial arts for the sword.
Sword work is pretty specialized. It’s a pretty specialized skill, and what I’m looking for in that isn’t necessarily a strength, or a flexibility thing. For example, what I need to do is I need to work more on my endurance, and specialize the strength endurance for different scenarios.
In my regimen right now I’m doing 3 to 4 days of endurance work along within time period it’s 4 days or so of skill work. 2 of those days are with sparring, and partner training, and the rest I’m doing solo at home. What I’m looking for in assessing it is I have to go and see, what do I need to work on? That’s a really esoteric example, but if you have something like that and you’re getting into it you already know.
You already know right away what you need, and if you don’t that means you have a coach that will tell you that. That’s the assessment part. Addressing it is choosing the particular methods that will affect that, then applying is your training schedule, whether you’re able to do it sustainably.
You want to be able to do it, especially in this particular skill development with a martial arts example. For Brazilian jiu-jitsu and for sword work, it’s not something you can get in a month. Right? It’s not something you can get in 6 months, but you can do an intensive cycle for that long. I wouldn’t consider a 3 week period enough.
Jarlo: You can do it really intensively for 3 weeks, but I don’t think it’s going to be …
Ryan: Sustainable, yeah.
Jarlo: Yeah. It’s already not sustainable, but it’s also you’re probably not going to get something that will last, that you’d be able to say, “Okay, I got it.”
Jarlo: I mean, you might be able to. You could probably pick one specific thing. Maybe you’re grip fighting for 3 weeks, but I’m talking about the overall picture of it. Like, you’re working on some fundamentals in your jiu-jitsu work, so you don’t want to be hyper-specialized in one thing.
This is really important for people just starting out. You don’t want to get hyper-specialized at all. That seems kind of contradictory to being focused on something but it’s not, because it depends on your particular level of ability.
Ryan: There’s so much revolved in that, because we all come into it a different level. A person’s stamina might be great so they can actually drill a bit more than the other person, whereas somebody coming into it from not doing anything, they’re just going to have to first be able to survive on the mat, and I’m not just talking about techniques. Just get through the warm up.
Jarlo: That’s right.
Ryan: For a lot of people that could just be killer. If you just get too specialized, and think that you’re going to focus on one technique or something, nah, nah.
Jarlo: That’s not what you need.
Ryan: Right. Yeah.
Jarlo: Good example.
Ryan: That’s where the addressing your situation comes in.
Jarlo: A good example of that in Brazilian jiu-jitsu is, say you’re just starting. You have guard, you have mount, side control, back control, all of that. Say if you’re just starting, and we’ve done this. We’ve all taught true beginners, and they don’t even know the positions themselves. Are you going to just spend an hour on leg locks with them? Then they get nothing out of that.
Ryan: Right. Exactly.
Jarlo: If you’ve already been doing this for years, and you decide, “This month I’m going to specialize in leg locks,” that’s good, because you already have the fundamentals.
Jarlo: You already have the fundamentals. You know, I teach a lot of the weapons work, and a lot of times people have this idea in their head that if they have a knife then they’re already good, but that’s not true. Just having the weapon in your hand isn’t going to do anything. You have to have all of these other things as the foundation.
For example, there’s a lot of times when you’re going to be caught up in a certain pattern, and you’d be able to recognize when you’re in that patterns, but you won’t unless you’ve put in a lot of rounds. You’re going to get caught in this, like, “What’s happening? What’s happening? What’s happening?” Kind of spiral.
Ryan: To give another example, even like the handstand. Moving away from the martial arts side of things it’s the handstand. If you were to think that you’re just going to jump up and start working on your handstand you’re crazy. It would just be, for one, too much. You got to start at the very, very beginning.
You got to prep yourself in order to be able to start. If you don’t know what you need to focus on in order to get there, already from the beginning you’re not going to get anywhere.
Jarlo: That’s right.
Ryan: That’s where the coaching comes into play, and then also having a clear path on what you want to focus on. Let’s take it back a little bit and talk about … Let’s say we’re working on a cycle, and we know what we need to address, and we’ll work on that right now. Even within that you’re going to have to come back and make sure that you’re assessing things again.
The cool thing about this is it’s not just something where you assess the situation and then you address and apply. Within that process you’re constantly going back and checking to make sure that you’re on the track. There’s going to be some days where you won’t feel that you’re on track, and you’re actually …
You’re on track but it’s the fact you might need to pull back, and that’s where the auto-regulation comes in, too. You can’t blindly go through things and just keep following the same pattern each and every day.
Jarlo: Yeah, that’s what it is. It’s sort of like you get this perfect program, and the it doesn’t change for months and months. That’s not a program.
Ryan: Yeah, it’s not.
Jarlo: It needs to be adaptable and adjustable.
Jarlo: Otherwise you’re just …
Ryan: Spinning your wheels. That’s it.
Jarlo: Yeah, spinning your wheels.
Ryan: Yeah, that’s it.
Jarlo: A lot of the GMB method is that. Its specific to you, but it’s also adaptable and adjustable within itself. We don’t have arbitrary standards. We don’t have these things that you must do before you move on. That way you’re also not stuck.
Ryan: That’s right.
Jarlo: We talk about the basics and the fundamentals, but that doesn’t mean you don’t ever move on from them. It’s not something you get away from either, so that’s the hard part. It’s both, that you never get away from them, but you also aren’t stuck on them, so what does that mean? That’s where when we talked about maintaining certain things, emphasizing others, and then being able to go back when you need to.
That’s part of the cycling. We’re kind of going all over the place, but once you train for a period of time, either in one of our programs, or with one of our trainers, and even on your own, you’ll be able to find these patterns for yourself. As long as you don’t feel like you have to adhere to a certain …
Jarlo: Yeah. It’s not so much standard, but don’t be afraid to change what you need to, and it doesn’t have to be big things. It can be as simple as decreasing the intensity one day, or decreasing the volume of work one day, and increasing it the next. It’s not a perfect graph of constantly upward movement. Another thing, too, with assessing correctly, and addressing it in a way that you need to is that we all have time limits, right?
Jarlo: We only have certain hours of the day that we could do something, and how much time we can devote to it. You want to spend that time as efficiently as possible. If you have 4 hours to do your workouts, that’s awesome. Then maybe you don’t have to be as thoughtful and as critically thinking about your training, but I know I have to.
I only have on most days probably an hour, hour and a half, so I need to really choose what I need to work on. Then if I’m sparring during those rounds every round I need to have something in my head so that I can [crosstalk 00:17:39].
Ryan: It’s got to count.
Jarlo: It’s got to count.
Jarlo: I don’t have …
Ryan: “You can’t waste that time.
Jarlo: I can’t waste that time, that’s right. If I want to get to a certain goal, certain way that I’m expecting to be in say 6 months, or whatever …
Ryan: Exactly. What we’re really talking about here is a process. It’s not about the numbers of sets and reps. It’s really about 3 things, and the first thing is using the 3 As that we have, where you assess, you address, and you apply. You need to use auto-regulation in order to judge where you are that day. Once you figure out what you need to do, and you go into that workout, then you can auto-regulate.
Let’s say on that day you’re feeling very good. Then maybe you could go at it harder, and you could adjust the intensity. Take it up a bit. Maybe there’s a day where you’re absolutely exhausted. You had to stay up with your kid last night, who was sick, or whatnot, so you need to back off a bit. Then when you’re performing … This is number 3, that it’s having that mindfulness, and that awareness of what’s going on when you’re doing the work.
You’re trusting in that process, but when you’re doing it it’s not haphazard, and you’re not just going into it blindly, and just going through the motions. You’re making sure that whenever you do anything, whether it be sparring, whether it be working on a particular movement scale of a new movement that you’re mindfully moving, and that’s extremely important. That’s how you can make sure that you’re efficient with the things that you’re doing, and making good use of your time.
Jarlo: I think another thing, too, to consider is how long do you think you’d be able to concentrate and focus on something? How long is that cycle? Usually I would recommend probably 2 to 4 months. 3 months is a nice round number, a nice arbitrary thing.
3 months, 12 weeks, 12 to 16 weeks, something like that, both in terms of your motivation, your focus, and your ability to put forth the right amount of effort, and to not feel bored, or burned out, or stagnant. Then go on to something else.
If we go back to martial arts here, and you think about Brazilian jiu-jitsu, you can spend, say, 2 months on your guard bottom, then the next 2 months you can spend on mount top. Within those 2 months you can have little cycles of, “Okay, so 2 weeks I’m going to work on my chokes.”
Ryan: Yeah, good. Good, good.
Jarlo: 2 weeks I’ll work on defense. Within that you have little adjustments with your main goal.
Ryan: A good example of this is because even though you’re focusing on that one thing you will hit the other things in there. You will be working on bottom because when you roll it’s going to happen. It’s not like you’re not doing the other stuff.
Jarlo: Right. Right, and that’s another thing. In terms of physical fitness maybe you can make it so that you have a really broad thing, like, “This is my strength cycle for 2 weeks.”
Ryan: Yes, yes. That’s good.
Jarlo: Not 2 weeks, but 2 to 3 months. Within that it’s not like you’re never going to stretch, or you’re never going to work on your balance, right?
Ryan: Yeah, right.
Jarlo: That’s your emphasis, and then after that you’re just like, ” Well, once I’ve gotten some good gains out of that,” you’ll switch over to … I don’t know, more of a movement oriented thing where you’re exploring things. Once a week then, you would maintain your strength levels. Maybe even once every 10 days, or once every 2 weeks.
Ryan: You look at it, you say figure out …
Jarlo: Yeah, you’re able to maintain …
Ryan: Yeah, that’s right.
Jarlo: You’re able to maintain things for quite a bit longer than you think, because when you’re moving around, and you’re using your body, how can it be that you regress by doing something else? You would only truly regress if you were just stuck in bed for 2 weeks. You’re not going to lose strength. You’re not going to lose your gains in 2 weeks if you’re active, and moving around, and doing something else. You’ll get rusty.
Ryan: You’ll pick it back up quickly.
Jarlo: You’ll pick it back up quick. Say in this strength thing you’ve got it to a point where you’re able to do 15 pull ups with 25 pounds around your waist, and you’re like, “Oh, that’s good.” Then, say, you don’t do it again for another couple weeks. You’ll probably lose a few reps, and then if you go back to it …
Ryan: You’ll probably be stronger afterwards if you give yourself a break.
Jarlo: You’ll probably be stronger right after you give yourself another couple of practice runs at it. Things are a lot harder to lose depending on your age, for sure.
Jarlo: The younger you are the more definitely it’s going to be so much easier to maintain everything. At the same point, even if you’re at middle age or more it stays with you a little bit. It’s hard to realize that, too, because you’re within yourself.
That’s the hard part, and we realize that you don’t want to feel like you’ve wasted anything, but you would only have really wasted something if you went from all of that to zero. All of that to zero for quite a bit of time, actually.
Ryan: We talked a lot here in this relatively short … We’ve been talking almost about thirty minutes, but we talked a lot of stuff, so coming back, really it’s about that lifestyle, and making sure that you’re focusing on yourself. It’s not about what other people out there think you should be doing. You’re the only person who really knows what you need, and what you want to be doing.
Make sure that you do have a goal. What do you really want to focus on? Find a person to help you with that. That’s why we’re here. Ask questions, because we love questions. Speaking of questions, though, if you do have any questions regarding the show today please leave a comment. You an always send us an email email@example.com, and anything else, Jarlo?
Jarlo: No, that’s about it.
Ryan: All right, until next time. Laters.
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