We’ve all got our own interests and priorities in life, so one of the really important questions our clients tend to ask us is how to adapt their training for their specific needs.
Of course, with infinite variations, there’s some black magic involved – it’s more art than science at times – but there’s a few general principles, and over time we’ve found that most of our clients fall into a handful of broad classes with regard to the kinds of goals they have in their training.
Four archetypes of training goals:
- Overall health and wanting to feel better
- Exploring different activities and needing some exercise to complement those
- Working on mastering specific skills or abilities
- Exercise to supplement and support performance in a single sport or activity
Ryan has example programming for each of those, and we’ll tell you how to organize a routine around what really matters to you.
Best quote of this episode of the GMB Show: “Don’t build a lifestyle around how you look in lycra.”
- Elements – Your Foundation For Physical Autonomy
- Figuring Out Your Training Wants And Needs
- How To Tap Into Your Long Term Motivation
Transcript of 4 Archetypes of Training Goals
Andy: All right, all right, all right. Welcome to the Grinding Maternal Biped podcast. Today, we’re going to be talking about dudes, four of them.
Ryan: Four of them. Because we’re all about the dudes, right?
Ryan: The podcast just took a turn for the worst. Yeah. Anyway.
Andy: So, I mean, we get so many people asking us. We put out a lot of information, advice. We put out tutorials, we put out programs. And I will say that one thing that we hear a lot of is, “Oh, great tutorial. How do I make this work if I’m tall?” Or, “Great tutorial? How do I make this work with my martial arts training? Great program, but I need to make it work for this.” Right? And everyone has their own specific thing. Because we’re all unique, we’re all different, we all have our different worlds. So one of the big things is people want to figure out how to make GMB work for their situation. So, that’s what we’re going to talk about today. Ryan, you’ve picked four dudes.
Ryan: Four dudes.
Andy: You’ve imagined four dudes. They have to be men because obviously GMB doesn’t work for women.
Ryan: Only for guys.
Andy: You sexist prick.
Ryan: No women, at all. Of course we’re kidding. Just using these four dudes. And I will say these are just broad overviews. So, you might find that you’re a dude who likes to mix it up with the other dude. And so you might be a combination of one or two of these dudes. And so…
Andy: You could even be a female combo dude. Anything is possible in this day and age.
Ryan: And the thing is we’re open to anything. So all are welcome. And yeah, let’s get into it. But again, yeah, this is going to be about really figuring out, not just let’s say how a particular program fits into what you’re doing, but if that program is actually good for what you need to be doing in your life. And so that’s kind of what we’re going to be looking at. Just kind of starting off really comes down to knowing exactly what you need. We talked about this in other podcasts before, like finding your why and what’s going on. But I think a big thing that we see is, let’s say we put out a tutorial or a particular program, and people may be think they should be doing that. And so really the big question comes down to is, do you kind of know how you should be working out? And I hate saying working out, but let’s use working out. Do you even know how you should be working out and how much is enough for you?
Ryan: Because sometimes people think, “Oh, I just have to follow that program and do that,” instead of really taking a look at and saying, “You know what? Maybe I don’t need to be doing that. And that’s okay.” And so doing more doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to be better. And it’s really figuring out exactly what you need and just focusing on that. So that’s kind of what we’re going to be going into today, and looking at that. I also want to say sometimes, depending on what you’re doing, you might not be doing enough of the stuff you need to be doing. So there’s also something to be said for that, and that comes down to focus and not just doing more, but doing more of the things that you need to be focusing on.
Andy: Right. And I think that that’s all really important stuff. And I think we’ve covered this in two or three different episodes before. So don’t want to dwell too much on this, but listen back to those other episodes and definitely just remember that knowing a lot of this is self-awareness and finding out what’s going to work for you. But so with that said, let’s give some more specifics. So there’s a few different kinds of themes of types of people and types of situations people ask for more specifics on that we’re going to kind of cover today.
Ryan: Yes, yes. And let’s just get into it because this can end up being a really, really long podcast. And we actually don’t want that. We want to just give you these four examples, and then once again you can see do I fit within this particular category? And then you can use that to make adjustments depending on what’s going on in your life. And so today, jumping right into the four types of dudes that we’re talking about. So the first person that we’re talking about is the person who just wants to really feel better. And so you can think of this, let’s say for example, that you’re really not into working out. And by the way, that’s cool. Good for you. If you know that you’re…
Andy: That sums me up perfectly.
Ryan: If you know you’re like, you know what, I really don’t want to be working out, but you do want to feel better. You want to improve your general health and your wellness. Okay, good on you. Thing is you don’t need to be doing a whole lot of stuff. And to be honest, when I was writing this out and I was thinking what would be kind of the bare minimum that is going to help a person and just get them to at least do a little bit of something so then they can go off and do whatever else they want to do in life. I would really bring it back to doing the bear, the monkey, the frogger, the crab, adding in some reverse rows. Notice I didn’t say chin-ups, but reverse rows, and then only doing that two, maybe three times a week at the most. I think two really is going to be plenty. If you get in, you do the work and then go do your other stuff. So some of you who are listening to his might be like, “Wow, that’s not a lot of stuff.”
Ryan: Exactly. You might also be thinking, “What about stretching?” Well, okay, that’s actually going to be a part of using the locomotion that I have in here with the bear, the monkey, the frogger, the crab. You’re going to be working on your mobility. You’re going to be improving your range of motion in a sense. It’s not that you’re going to have to go stretch because you want to do something else. It’s simply thinking about you just want to move a little bit better, you want to feel better, and you don’t want to be messing around with working out all the time.
Ryan: So once again, if you fall into this pattern, if you will, good on ya. I’m kind of jealous to be honest because there are times where I’m just like, I wish just do that. Just focus on the bear. Just focus on the monkey, the frogger, the crab. Add in some pulling in there. And by pulling super simple stuff, you don’t even need to do chin-ups or whatnot, just reverse rows, and do it two, maybe three times a week. You can do it on a Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and it could be anywhere from 15 to 20 to 30 minutes. And that’s it. That’s good enough.
Andy: Right. So what you’re really talking about is you’re picking really just a few movements that cover as much of the body’s posture. You’re moving, you’re not just holding your weight or lifting something, you’re moving your body in different ranges. So you’ve got sort of stretching built-in mobility movement. You’re using all of your joints, you’re using your body in a coordinated way.
Ryan: And keeping it simple. It’s not complicated at all. And that’s the other thing too that we’re after is, like you said, it’s kind of looking at the biggest bang for your buck and not over complicating things. I think that’s the big thing. With really everything that we’re trying to do is not over complicate it. I mentioned it earlier, it’s focusing on actually doing less but maybe just more volume and keeping it simple. So you could just do that so you can do the other stuff that you want to do. It’s kind of going to be a theme here with looking at all these four types.
Andy: So if you’re in this sort of situation where you’re just trying to figure out how to feel better, and that can mean a few different things. It could mean you feel stiff because of your job and you sit down too much. It can mean you haven’t really done any exercise, but you’re starting to feel limited or restricted or that you need to be doing something. It could be that you’ve been sick or you’ve taken some time off and you’re trying to get back into things. It could just mean that you are perfectly happy with your body, but you know you need to do something physical for maintenance. So any of these things or different variations on these, that’s basically what we’re getting at here is just pick simple things, pick some movement, base it on movements. And then any exercises, if you have something where you know you need to work on that, pick one or two things. Reverse rows are great because pulling, it’s great for your shoulders and posture and everything and yeah.
Ryan: Core as well. So yeah, a lot of different things in here. And again, it’s not the perfect workout out there, but I will say that this is a go to session, and this is something I actually do as well. So it could be literally for anybody if you just need a change of pace, you’re burnt out and whatever, and you’re just like, you know what, I ain’t got time for that. And you just do it. You’d be done with it.
Andy: Right. And that would be something also work if you’re traveling or something like that too.
Ryan: There you go. Yeah. That’s good.
Andy: Cool. So then let’s move on to the next type, which you’ve got written down here calling the explorer. So this is somebody who is searching for lost cities…
Ryan: Exactly. They’ve got to have the Indiana Jones hat. Yes. Yeah, they explore. To be honest, this is where I see the majority of people be. And so what it is, is they’ve got other stuff in their life that they really enjoy doing. It could be a particular activity that they just want to do and try, and let’s say maybe they enjoy during the weekend going out and riding their bikes with their families and then maybe going kayaking or they go hiking and it’s not just outdoor stuff, but what I mean is they want to do a lot of different stuff. They have interests in multiple things, and they want their focus to be on doing those things rather than working out all the time. And so that’s where this comes into play in terms of the explorer. And so to be honest, I would say just two times a week, that’s all you need to do.
Ryan: If you can hit the session that you’re going to be doing, do it hard two times a week, you’re going to be fine. You’re going to be good. It’s going to help you for all the other stuff that you want to be doing in your life. But what does that mean? What I would suggest is again, keeping it very simple and really just focus on locomotive patterns. So again, you could just use the bear, monkey, frogger and crab. Then I would have a strength circuit, which would include pulling and some harder pressing, pushing movements with some other leg strength. And then focus a little bit on your flexibility. So how would you do that? Well, to be honest, a really, really simple way would just be to start off, and you just play around with the bear, the monkey, the frogger and the crab. So of course if you’ve never done that before, that could just be your session.
Ryan: And so therefore you could think about the the previous type of person that we discussed in spending some time, couple of weeks, just learning the bear, monkey, frogger, crab. But once you’re very comfortable with that, you actually use a bear, monkey, frogger, crab as your warm up. That’s your mobility. And maybe just spending a couple minutes and just going through these movements, and just try and just move your body, get it warmed up. Then after that, I would look at doing a circuit. And so for this circuit for example, you could have a push that could just be a pushup. You could have reverse rows in there, and then you could have let’s say an inverted press, which for those of you don’t know, basically think about being in a downward facing dog type position. You just bend your arms, taking your shoulders towards your hands. You push back up.
Ryan: And then you could just have some body weight squats in there, or even just some jumps. Spending time rather than repetitions doing this. So for example, you could take 45 seconds per movement. You can start off again with your pushups, and after that 45 seconds, you do 45 seconds of a pulling movement and could just be those reverse rows. That’s plenty. After that, you can do the inverted press and you finish off with jumps or these body weight squats for 45 seconds. And if you’re feeling good, you go back and you do another round of that. And you can finish off with a little bit of flexibility, just a little bit of stretching. And wow, really thinking about that, that’s what, 20 minutes. And you hit that really hard two times a week, you’re going to be good to go. And the thing is, again, it’s just helping you to be able to be active in the things that you want to be able to do.
Andy: Right. So this is assuming you have other activities.
Ryan: Absolutely, absolutely.
Andy: This is kind of a combination of preparing yourself for those activities and for a variety of activities. Also sort of you can use this to balance out what activities you’re into too. If you’re doing a lot of hiking and you don’t really do any upper body kind of stuff with that, like your legs are probably going to be plenty strong. But you might need to sort of stretch out the backside of your legs. Hamstring stretches and things like that. And you might want to do some upper body exercise, focus on pushups, inverted presses and those reverse rows or pull ups or something like that. And then you probably don’t need to worry about squatting or jumps or anything like that if hiking is your main thing.
Ryan: Yeah, that’s a great example because you can also look at it in terms of seasonal. And so for example, let’s say you’re coming into the winter sport months and your focus is going to be on snowboarding and going out on the weekends with your family or skiing or something like that. Then you can make that little shift and reframe the goal of those two sessions to reflect and help you with your snowboarding. And going into spring, maybe whatever’s happening, you can focus on the next thing. So I really liked this a lot because again, it’s very simple, and just focus on really doing the work. And it doesn’t have to be a long hour, hour and a half at all. I would go very intense with the strength circuit. That’s really the main thing.
Ryan: So we have the five P’s here in GMB. And so your prep would be focusing on the bear, monkey, frogger and the crab. And then the practice could be maybe just continuing on with that locomotion or maybe just taking one movement that’s going to help you if, let’s say it’s for snowboarding, and then practicing a particular stance or something like that that you know I haven’t really done enough of this and I want to make sure that I can actually continue to snowboard this year. So you practice that a little bit, and then you hit that circuit really hard, stretch a little bit and you’re done. So again, it could just be 20 minutes done twice a week. Okay.
Andy: Cool. Yeah, I like that. I like the flexibility of that and the fact that it can really complement what you’re doing and not take it over. Again, I think that’s something that people worry about a lot is like I do all these things and I don’t want a workout that’s going to leave me too tired to enjoy my ultimate game on the weekend or whatever.
Ryan: Yeah, absolutely. So next up we have, I’m calling it the trickster. So the trickster really it’s the kind of person that’s really interested in skills. It’s I want to get this particular thing. They’re really interested in, in this case, bodyweight training, and so maybe they want to get the muscle up or maybe the handstand or something like that. And so really the focus is on a particular skill.
Andy: Whatever party trick you’re into, how do you build your training around getting that?
Ryan: Right. And we do find of course a lot of people in GMB, this is where they are obviously because we show skills and different things that you can do.
Andy: Go figure. When you make the best tutorials on the internet for certain skills, people looking for those skills will find you.
Ryan: That’s crazy. That’s crazy.
Andy: I know. Somebody should come up with a marketing strategy around this.
Ryan: Oh, I know. They should. That’d be great.
Andy: Throwing that out there as an idea.
Ryan: Yeah. So yeah, looking at these skills, I would suggest only having at the most two skills, and then the other work that you do supports that skill. And so because you’re working on the skills, you’re actually going to have to perform more sessions per week because obviously you’re looking at building that skill. It doesn’t mean that these are going to be super, super hard sessions. It’s just the fact that if you want to get a skill, you’ve got to do more of it. You’ve got to put in more volume. And so it’s not about killing yourself. It’s simply about stepping on the mat and putting in the time to perform and practice that particular skill.
Ryan: So that’s really where you’re going to live in these sessions. Three to four, I would actually suggest upwards of four. If you’re doing two skills, I think four sessions a week is where the minimum that you really need to be focused on, to get in that volume to work on that. Then you will be working on of course some of the strength components of it, but really focus more on what is the strength that you need for that skill. And then do the strength work. And the strength work for this, by the way, can only be twice a week. It doesn’t need to, it shouldn’t be more than twice a week, in my opinion. If you’re hitting it very hard, making sure that it’s reflecting what you need for that particular skill. Along with that, I think it’s also important to add in some plan.
Ryan: So something related or maybe not even related to that particular skill. What this is going to do is just add in a little bit of variety for you, keep things fresh and take your mind away from just pushing yourself all the time to try and just get that skill. So once again, yes, you need to spend time on the mat. You need volume in order to get a particular skill. But sometimes what can happen is you can get burnt out mentally just simply focusing on a particular skill. So having a bit of play in there once at the end of the session or whatever, it could be, again, related to that skill or it could be even just you messing around doing bear, monkey, frogger, crab or something like that. Maybe doing some parkour, whatever. But the thing is, I think that having additional time for play will keep things fresh and keep you motivated to continue working on that.
Andy: Right. Another good thing about play too is that if you are really focused on one or two skills, you tend to… It’s like the filter bubble. It’s a feedback loop where you end up just focusing more and more and more on those things and you don’t have anything else, and that’s not good for you. You’ll find that you’re optimizing your movements around one very narrow set of possibilities. And so having a little bit of time for play to give yourself space, permission and just even maybe some goals just so like, I want to play with this. Whatever. But giving yourself something outside of those skills that you’re working on helps you not just mentally avoid burnout but also just helps your body stay a little more resilient and robust.
Andy: When you start focusing narrowly on certain strengths, then what happens is everything that’s not part of that strength becomes a weakness. It starts to get weak, and so play gives you a little bit of a sort of broad safety net in terms of not going too far, becoming too specialized, I guess. That’s what I’m trying to say. Also really important point I think you said about only picking one or two things because so many people, I mean we get this email like a few times a week. Like, “I really want to get the handstand and a muscle up, and I want to be able to do pistols, but my main goal is preparing for this marathon.” And it’s like, okay, first you’ve got too many skills you’re working on. You need to pick something.
Andy: The other thing that happens is you don’t actually need to work… Even if you have five skill goals, you don’t need to practice all of them at the same time. Developing one or two of those will generally get you closer to the others even if they’re not similar, even if they’re not similar. It’s amazing. Work makes you stronger. I know, I know. I’m going to put that in my book.
Ryan: Yeah. T-shirts. Yeah.
Andy: But yeah, so I mean there’s a lot of things you can organize around what those specific skills are, but I definitely like limiting it. I like the idea. I completely agree with the idea that you need at least four times because you need to practice. Your body needs to do reps of a high quality movement.
Ryan: Yeah. And I want to reiterate the fact too, it doesn’t mean that you’re killing yourself. You shouldn’t. It’s practice. That’s the biggest thing. And giving yourself plenty of rest in between those attempts, those repetitions, so that you can go back and be fresh for the next repetition. That’s really, really important when it comes down to skill work.
Andy: Right. But we should also say just because this might be confusing to people, if your skill is the one arm chin, so you are doing practice with lots of space between reps, but you are also going to be building up strength and you’re going to be doing lots and lots of reps of regular chin-ups, other exercises that are going to strengthen you for this too. So we’re not just saying you’re only going to do practice reps, and you’re not going to do high volume or try to build your strength up. You need both.
Ryan: All right, moving forward now, calling the next one the athlete. I’m not saying that you’re a professional athlete or things like that, but I do know that a lot of people consider themselves an athlete because their main focus is one particular activity. And we talked about in the explorer for example, seasonal things where it’s snowboard during the winter and then moving into the spring, it’s something else. I mean in that sense, I guess you could say athlete, but what I’m really talking about is that you perform your activity multiple times a week, and that’s really your focus in life in terms of your hobby. So let’s say for example that martial artist, if you’re a martial artist and let’s say that you’re a striker and so you do karate or something, you go do karate three times a week.
Ryan: Well the thing is your workouts want to be supplemental in helping you for your practice of karate. So if you’re trying to work out every single day and doing tons and tons and tons of work, it’s going to affect your karate practice. Your karate practice. So when you’re looking at things like if you’re a striker, kicker, things like that, you want to be looking at the major places in your body that are going to be affected through your karate practice that you need to help with you. So for example, if you’re looking at the wrists, you’re looking at the elbows, the shoulders, you need hip strength, you’re going to need a little bit of flexibility. But again, only a couple of times a week is going to be perfectly fine in helping you to either prepare or stay at a maintenance mode that’s going to allow you to continue working on your karate. Thing is if you want to get better at karate, if you want to get better at whatever activity you’re doing, do more of that activity.
Ryan: That’s really what it’s about. Then what you just do is you look at yourself and say, all right, I know I need a little more strength from activity. Do I need a little bit better flexibility or do I just need a little bit better control? Well decide what you need and then spend two sessions a week working on that. The cool thing about this is that you can look at cycles, and so you can focus on a strength cycle if you wanted to where you’re doing two strength sessions during a particular time of the year. Then maybe you focus on just flexibility, then may be just some control. There’s a lot of different options with this, but again, it should be supplemental to your particular activity that you’re doing. That’s the real key thing here.
Ryan: We get a lot of people who are doing their activities multiple times a week, and they start doing a particular program and they’re cranking it out every single day and get an email saying, “You know what, I’m really worried about getting my workout in today because I’ve got X practice tonight.” My suggestion has skip the workout. Go focus on your particular activity. That’s really I think more important. You want to be fresh for your activity, and just adding in another workout session before or even after your particular activity I think in the long run can actually do more harm than good if you just keep pushing yourself that way.
Andy: Right. And I think it’s really important to mention here is that, like you just said, the focus really is on your sport. If you identify as an athlete or if you have one main activity you’re doing, that’s the focus. Just to assume it’s a sport, you’re going to have to have game play, you have to have matches, and you’re going to have to do sports specific skill training. If you do basketball and you play pickup a certain number of times a week, you’re going to do those. You’re also probably going to want to spend some time on the court shooting free throws, shooting three-pointers, practicing you dribbling, your ball handling, stuff like that. You’re going to do those things. But outside of that, how do you train for that? You see a lot of people try to put together sport specific training and be like, “Oh basketball. Well they shoot the ball. So what we’ll do is we’ll have them do medicine ball throws.” No, that’s really, really a bad idea.
Ryan: It’s going to screw up your technique.
Andy: Yeah, you’re trying bad technique. Instead of that, assume that your matches and your skill practice are doing what they need to do for that. But then look for, you don’t need to do a full body routine. You don’t need to mimic the sport, but look for what you need to complement what you’re doing. Do you need to work on improving your jump? Then you can work on building your leg strength, building your explosiveness. Do you need to work on building your core strength for twisting? Well then work on movements for that. That’s a thing you can work on, but you don’t need to try to mimic your sport. Practice those movements outside of that. Don’t try to mix them up.
Ryan: Yeah. Stimulate, don’t simulate.
Andy: Right. And also don’t do so much work in the gym or at home when you’re training that it leaves you tired for the thing that you’re really training for.
Ryan: Exactly. I mean, even with me, I love Brazilian jujitsu. I love hiking. It just so happens that the way that I train supplements those, and they’re actually kind of similar in terms of the leg strength and things that I need for that. And my training has changed a lot, especially in the past year. I’m doing less because I’m actually doing more Brazilian jujitsu and hiking and outdoor activities. So yeah, surprise, surprise. But that’s what we’re after. And so these are just four examples. Once again, you’ve got the well, I just want to feel a little bit better kind of person and realize they don’t want to work out.
Ryan: Cool. Okay. You know the explorer and the trickster and the athlete. And the thing is the only dude on this list really who’s doing more than two sessions a week is the explorer, or excuse me, I lied, is the trickster because they’re focusing on skill work, simply because they need to get in more volume because that is what they’re working on and that is their goal. And so it comes down to that. So really look at what are you doing? What do you want to be able to do? And then just think of it in terms of, is this good enough for what I want to do?
Andy: Right. Yeah. So yeah, exactly. The thing is it’s like Dan John is the first person that I heard say this, but keep the goal the goal. Whatever it is that you’re after here, whatever you’re trying to do, don’t get caught up in, well, I’ve got to do this thing because this expert says this. Now I’m a worker outer and I have to do these things, and I’ve got to fitness every day. And I see all of these Instagram things like it’s not a workout. It’s a lifestyle. Well, my opinion is fuck that. You already have a lifestyle. GMB is not a lifestyle. Your lifestyle is whatever you want to do. Don’t make fitness be your… Please don’t make fitness be your lifestyle. Have a lifestyle that is not boring. Have a lifestyle that has meaning to people aside from yourself. Have a lifestyle that connects you with friends and family and your community. Don’t have a lifestyle that’s about how you look in fucking Lycra. And on that note.
Ryan: I look pretty good in Lycra, but personal preferences though, right? Yeah, exactly. What Andy just said is look at your lifestyle and use GMB to help support your lifestyle. It’s not about working out more. So figure out exactly how much you need to work in order to help you to do the things you want to do. That’s it. If you love to work out, cool, work out. Have at it. But if you’re the kind of person who’s like, I want to get better at X, hey, figure out exactly what you need to do to do that. And there’s no reason to do more. And that’s a good thing because it gives you more time, man, to do the shit that you really want to be doing. And I think that’s really the heart of the matter here, is just figuring out really what you want to be doing and spend more time being able to do that. Okay. All right. That’s all I got today. That’s it.
Andy: Thank you. Thank you for listening. Goodbye.
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