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This Is What an Intense Workout Means

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Accountants, Animals, and The Value of Training Harder

I just vomited.

And it was a good one.

I know it was good, as I tend to rate my vomit sessions. In fact I have a whole vomit rating system. Mainly because I vomit often enough to have need of one; as you might imagine, this frequent practice results in generally high scores.

(It’s all very technical.)

Before everyone freaks out, I don’t have an eating disorder or anything like that. I just have a mildly sensitive system, which reacts to extreme physical demands by rejecting all the wonderful things I’ve put into my body.

So today was a good one—an intense vomit session after an intense training session.

I stood there, bent at the waist, hands braced on my knees to keep me from tumbling over into my own nastiness, thinking, “Hmmm, more distance than usual this time. Must have been the push presses.”

Whether or not there is actually a correlation between push presses and distance hurling, I have no idea. However, what is clear is how great I felt after.

Hear me out.

That must sound strange—which makes sense, because it is—and I should mention that I am not generally into vomiting as a rule. I don’t like, go to vomit parties, or ask girls to do it in bed or watch vomit porn or anything like that. No, that would be too much, even for me.

I just enjoy the way I feel after a workout so challenging that my body responded by voiding the contents of my stomach on the grass. I feel strong. I feel tough. I feel like I accomplished something (outside of the obvious loss of my workout shake and the 100 Calorie Snack Pack I ate before working out).

Training hard just feels right to me, and because of that, I suppose I’ve come to form some strange association between hard work and vomiting.

This is an attitude I seem to have passed onto a lot of my clients.

You see, at Roman Fitness Systems, we train hard. We don’t scream, or throw weights, or go insane and break mirrors. We just push hard, from exercise to exercise, trying to get more out of ourselves than our bodies want to give; trying to walk that terrible, beautiful line between controlled aggression and all out insanity.

We train with purpose and intensity.

Now, from a scientific perspective, intensity in the weight training context refers to the amount of work required to achieve the activity, and is proportional to the mass of the weights being lifted.

That is, how heavy the weight is relative to how strong you are. Or, in more quantifiable terms, the range you are working in relative to your one rep max.

This definition is a little too neat for me, but it makes a good starting point.

Before I continue with the discussion of intensity, I want to side-bar quickly.

I do quite a bit of traveling, so I am fortunate enough to have the opportunity to workout in different facilities pretty often. This is great for me, as it keeps things fresh; it’s funny how even the same workouts feel new when you’re not in your normal environment.

However, as different as these gyms are from one another, I see a lot of trends. While most of that is beyond the scope of this post, I need to mention one thing.

At any gym I go to, I generally see two distinct types of people training:

  1. The Animals: These are the guys we in the fitness world love to make fun of. Their form is questionable, their workout structure is appalling. They’re doing the same chest workout from high school. Sometimes they go in with no real plan, at all, they just go in looking to kill it. But they are working hard. Sometimes annoyingly hard, with the grunting and screaming. They push, though. They push to add rep after rep, or put more weight on the bar. They’re doing a lot of things wrong, but they are doing them wrong with passion. You can spot them because they are wearing unnaturally tight Under Armor shirts.
  2. The Accountants: These are the people that fitness pros love. They read our blogs, our articles, and buy our programs. They have spent time learning form, have some working knowledge of programming, and have an opinion about every fitness trend known to man. They keep careful records, have their programs carefully planned out, and never step into waters they don’t feel they’re prepared to handle. You can always spot these guys by the training logs they carry around and constantly refer to it between sets.

Obviously there are people who don’t fit into these categories, but for the purposes of this discussion let’s just stick with these two.

So no matter where I go, I see both of these groups doing their damnedest to make progress.

Which do you think is better?

Roman Fitness Systems

Well, that’s complicated.

As much as I hate to admit it, in the short term, the Animal has the advantage. Oh, sure, he will have all sorts of imbalances and possibly get injured, but from the perspective of gaining muscle and losing fat, from all the evidence I’ve seen, these guys get the win.

The Accountants have more knowledge, and better programs, and a higher baseline level of training intelligence. But they’re just not working hard enough. (To be fair, most people in most gyms are not working hard enough, not just the guys with training logs.)

They are caught up in minutia. They switch programs from week to week, can’t decide what to do. The worst is that they don’t seem to be working as hard as their less intelligent counterparts.

I know that is hard to hear, particularly if you are one of those people. It doesn’t make any sense that some “meathead” throwing weights around is going to make better progress than the guys who go out of their way to learn the proper approach to exercise.

If you think it’s unfair, ask yourself this: how hard are you actually working?

Bottom line: this stuff is hard. It’s supposed to be hard. My man Jimmy Dugan, of A League of Their Own fame said, “It’s the hard that makes it great.” True words.

If getting a great body was easy, we’d all be 200 pounds and shredded. Every girl would look like Jessica Biel, and every guy would look like…well, me.

So, what to do?

The answer, of course, is to be somewhere in between, a mix of these two worlds.

That is, to have the proper focus on intelligent program design, and execute it with intensity; to have all the right knowledge, and apply it with gut-wrenching force.

Which brings us back to our discussion of intensity.

If we are not going to define intensity solely as it applies to the relative weight being lifted, how are we using it in the conversation of training?

Simply, we aren’t.

Or rather, we use a more abstract, esoteric definition. You know you’re training intensely because you ARE. That’s it.

We can’t define it, because intensity is as beautifully abstruse as the reason for the training itself. You cannot really define or even comprehend why you are there pushing to the brink – you just are.

If you’ll pardon me leveraging my History minor here, the Roman poet Virgil has a great quote I like share with my clients to help them understand:

“Obsession is the wellspring of both genius and madness.”

Oh, how I love this quote.

The idea is to be absolutely obsessed with your training during your session. Focus exclusively on your program, for 30 or 45 or 60 minutes. Forget your problems, forget your fears, your limits, your homework. Forget that you have a date and need to pick out a sweet outfit.

Just walk the line of obsession.

Use the genius to unleash the madness.

For my fellow comic book nerds, we want to be the Grey Hulk – the general physical embodiment of the Incredible Hulk, but with the intelligence and reasoning of Bruce Banner.

This is what we do at Roman Fitness Systems.

And while vomiting isn’t really necessary to have a good workout, it does happen often.

Here is a video of the workout session from today:

This is my sixth set of log-bar push presses (in between each is a 120 yard sprint), and the end of the video is me walking off to go empty my stomach on the field.

I only got 8 reps here, but you’ll notice they were all hard. In fact, right after rep 6, I almost put the weight down, but I refocus and bang out two more.

These two reps may have what pushed me over the brink, and cost me my pre-workout shake. But they may also have helped me reach the next level of my training.

The point here is that you have to reach a level of tolerance—you have to teach yourself to be comfortable with a certain level of discomfort. From there, you can achieve almost anything you want.

How to do this?

Increasing training intensity is a process, so here is the basic idea. Try to progress, each and every workout, for the next 8 weeks.

For the next two months, every single time you train, do one of the following:

  • Squeeze out a few more reps each set
  • Increase the weight from workout to workout
  • Cut down on rest periods between sets
  • Alternate exercises to eliminate rest altogether
  • Push harder, squeeze the bar harder, and generally lift more explosively

Don’t stop following you program. The fact that you plan is what sets you apart. It’s what helps you develop in a symmetrical, healthy way. Proper program design is of vital importance, and will help you take your development to the greatest level. Knowing the right things to do, and in the right order is what is going to help you strip fat off your body and build lean tissue.

But understand this: the best training program in the world is absolutely worthless without the will to execute it properly, consistently, and with intensity.

Do you have to vomit? Of course not. I just do that ’cause it’s funny.

But this will hurt. And while I would never take the view that pain itself is indicative of progress, pain is usually indicative of having worked hard. And working harder will help you progress faster.

Try the above tips for just 8 weeks, and I guarantee you’ll get better results than ever before.

So get your workout chart, download some new tunes, and when you hit the gym, be completely obsessed with the progress you’re going to make. Push till it hurts. Then push a little harder.

When your body pushes back, you’re on you way.

How hard are YOU training?  Let me know in the comments section!

About the Author

John Romaniello is a level 70 orc wizard who spends his days lifting heavy shit and his nights fighting crime. When not doing that, he serves as the Chief Bro King of the Roman Empire and Executive Editor here on RFS. You can read his articles here, and rants on Facebook.

  • Reka

    A dude with a pot belly just warned me today in the gym sauna that I'm threatened by overtraining :D I used to have the female version of his physique 3 years ago, and if I ever would want those 54 pounds back I hope I will remember to take his advice :D

  • There is nothing like a good “vomit session” —I will tell you this though, there is always a viable piece of information that can be taken from these sessions and that is both:

    A. How far you can really take and that once you're done vomiting you realize “that wasn't so bad!” and like your favorite rollercoaster ride you want to “do it again!!!”

    B. How good of shape you're in and how you can progress from it. I feel that without a good “vomit session” you can lie to yourself how good of shape you're in, but until you actually push yourself to the limit, there is no really telling.

    Great job Roman—sorry I haven't checked in a while my man—hope all is well and talk soon!

    -MA

  • Reka

    I never vomited from exercise and I dont like comiting but training real hard is one of the greatest feelings in the world and I feel sorry for those people I see every day basically wasting their time and not even enjoying it. One of the best things in life is to feel your entire body and every muscle shake from the hard work, and feel your body getting to the next level, I would hate to go to train without a killer effort and miss this.

    And finally we found out how do you get this lean: throwing up the food! a big AHA moment :DDD

  • Johannes

    Do you have any experience with going too hard for a prolonged time? I'm asking because my workout intensity used to be a lot higher than it is now. If I go too hard now, I often spend quite some time on the floor just willing myself to get up. My workouts are by no means half-assed, but I often feel that I could have gone harder if it wasn't for this constant fatigue. I am still giving it all I have, but that “all” isn't quite as much as it used to be.

    It used to be a lot worse for some time. I'd wake up at night from having extremely exhausting dreams and then I'd just lay awake for hours. Fortunately, that has passed. But that intensity from the early days were I'd start my workout, then go completely nuts for 45 minutes, and in the end ask myself “Where the HELL did that come from?!” seem to have passed.

    I took a month long break from lifting weights, but that didn't seem to have helped. So I guess my question is, do you know how to fix this? I just wanna give it everything I have again and be proud of myself for going insane for an hour.

  • randy

    hmmm..i love romans workouts,and other hard shit that can almost make me vomit. Recently ive been reading a lot of the work of the intermittent fasting guys. In my opinion they seem to hate or veer away from the types of workouts that roman recommends. So is that saying that they dont work out intensely? I think ther is a time and place for everything wether you try romans stlye or martin berkhans stlye.

  • I don't do any weight lifting much, I typically do bodyweight workouts, clubbell training (this is new for me) and I train in karate.

    I work with a LOT of intensity, so much so that I always have to lay down after a workout to calm down, then go for a walk to lower by heart rate.

    I never had to vomit though…

    I never train if I can't put in 125% in the workout and sometimes, I get lazy to start because I know that if I start, it will hurt!

    But I understood long ago, and mostly because of Karate, that working out without intensity is a waste of time. So, I am right with you on that one!

    Respect!

    Al

  • Originally Posted By MeshelI read this post when you first posted it and asked myself where I fit among the ranks…accountant or animal. I am definitely an accountant but not so anal-retentive when it comes to the record keeping and planning. What I also realized was that I have never had the intensity in my workout that you talk about in this post. At least that was true until the other day. I had had a particularly difficult and stressful day at work topped off by a family situation that escalated far beyond my level of manageability and tolerance. Knowing that nothing would help me work through it and regain my equilibrium better than a workout I went for it…really poured all of my frustrations, anger and pain from the day into the workout. I didnâ??t vomit but thought I might as I was finishing my post workout shake. It was such a rush. Every muscle and bone in my body quivered like Jello and my stomach was doing back flips but I felt incredibly focused and de-stressed and found I was able to be objective and process the dayâ??s events in a way that allowed me to see things from a different perspective.

    I do not think I can muster that same level of intensity with each workout but I now know that I need to step things up from what has been my norm. And I believe if I do I will see faster results in not only the transformation of my body but in the clarity of mind I find through it.

    All of that said so I could add my thanks. I appreciate the time and effort you put into your articles…they are informative, educational, amusing and downright laugh out loud funny at times.

    Michelle

    Hey Michelle,

    It sounds like that was a great workout.

    Days like that are, for me, when training really proves itself to be one of the guiding posts of my life. On days that make your whole world hurt, training is more than cathardic. For me, it's almost poetic.

    Forgive me for getting a little prose-y, but it is a bit like being at war with both theworld and yourself. Training intensely at such times is like going into battle, with yourself as both your enemy and your ally. It allows you to exist in the gray haze between reason and madness. To walk that excrutiating bed of coals. Training on days like that is to tread the razor thin line that exists, in that moment, between self-abasement and self-agrandizement. It is to be wholly consumed.

    The, of course, isn't to vomit–it's do to what you did. To allow your mind to defeat your body, and, in doing so, reset itself to deal with the stresses that prompted such a frenzied state.

    Of course, days like that don't come around to often, and like you, most of us can't muster 100% intensity without days like that. And it is probably to our betterment that such moments are infrequent.

    While it's unlikely (for me at least) to be able to create THAT level of intensity, I guess the idea is to try to get as close to it as possible.

    I should mention I also keep meticulous records, both for myself and my clients. The accountant/animal comparison was more to provide a context within which to make a comparison. That said, I'm glad you keep careful records!

    Finally, thank you so much for the kind words about my articles. I do put in a lot of thought and effort, and I'm happy it shows. I appreciate very much that you are getting something out of them. I promise to keep it coming.

  • Meshel

    I read this post when you first posted it and asked myself where I fit among the ranks…accountant or animal. I am definitely an accountant but not so anal-retentive when it comes to the record keeping and planning. What I also realized was that I have never had the intensity in my workout that you talk about in this post. At least that was true until the other day. I had had a particularly difficult and stressful day at work topped off by a family situation that escalated far beyond my level of manageability and tolerance. Knowing that nothing would help me work through it and regain my equilibrium better than a workout I went for it…really poured all of my frustrations, anger and pain from the day into the workout. I didn’t vomit but thought I might as I was finishing my post workout shake. It was such a rush. Every muscle and bone in my body quivered like Jello and my stomach was doing back flips but I felt incredibly focused and de-stressed and found I was able to be objective and process the day’s events in a way that allowed me to see things from a different perspective.

    I do not think I can muster that same level of intensity with each workout but I now know that I need to step things up from what has been my norm. And I believe if I do I will see faster results in not only the transformation of my body but in the clarity of mind I find through it.

    All of that said so I could add my thanks. I appreciate the time and effort you put into your articles…they are informative, educational, amusing and downright laugh out loud funny at times.

    Michelle

  • Vince

    Originally Posted By Joel MarionLet's not pretend you work out hard, bro…

    Just kidding. I actually had to lay on the bathroom floor at the gym yesterday because I was so nauseated after my workout.

    It made me think of you.

    Joel

    Yeah but Joel… that's what happens when you drink 6 beers, two bag of chips and 2 cookies before you workout. And 2 sandwhiches… 1 hour before working out.

    Sick post John. Vomit rating system… that's CLASSIC.

  • Let's not pretend you work out hard, bro…

    Just kidding. I actually had to lay on the bathroom floor at the gym yesterday because I was so nauseated after my workout.

    It made me think of you.

    Joel

  • Originally Posted By Ylwa@John Romaniello – Thanks for all the advice! The fact that you actually take time to reply here really shows your dedication. I'll definetely try out your tips and work out with preformance straps when I need to til I get there.

    My hand strengther looks like the captain crush but it's not that one. What I don't like about it is that its a bit to wide for my hands, I have a hard time actually squeezing around the little sucker since the grip has a rather thick rubber grip. I usually do 30 squeezes, hold for 10 seconds on the last one, do 10 more and then hold for another 10 and slowly let go. Two times per hand. Sounds like a good “grip-workout” or how should you train more with an endurance emphasis? Just holding for as log as you can here as well?

    I appreciate the compliment, I really am happy to help.

    With regard to grip training, there are a few ways you can do it.

    What I would recommend is establish a baseline for a maximum hold and go from there. So, hold as long as you can, and time it. Let's assume you get 2 min, or 120 seconds. You can work backwards from that and then develop some different programs.

    So, 3 holds for 80% or max, and then 5 at 60%, with a 50% max as rest time.

    In this case,

    Hold 96 seconds, rest 60

    Hold 96 seconds, rest 60

    Hold 96 seconds, rest 120

    Hold 72 seconds, rest 60

    (repeat 5 times)

    and then finish off with a maximal or supramaximal hold.

    This is just one approach.

    Of course there are thousands of others, but I like short grip workouts like that because you can generally get them done pretty quickly and after other workouts.

    I'll see if I can find some other workouts, or maybe get some guys who are more experienced with grip training to do a guest blog post.

    Thanks again for the kind words =)

  • Ylwa

    @John Romaniello – Thanks for all the advice! The fact that you actually take time to reply here really shows your dedication. I'll definetely try out your tips and work out with preformance straps when I need to til I get there.

    My hand strengther looks like the captain crush but it's not that one. What I don't like about it is that its a bit to wide for my hands, I have a hard time actually squeezing around the little sucker since the grip has a rather thick rubber grip. I usually do 30 squeezes, hold for 10 seconds on the last one, do 10 more and then hold for another 10 and slowly let go. Two times per hand. Sounds like a good “grip-workout” or how should you train more with an endurance emphasis? Just holding for as log as you can here as well?

  • Ylwa

    @Per – Even though they don't increase the strength in you grip it sounds like a good alternativa while working to increase it. I just hate it when my hands fail before the muscle I acutally intend to work do so combining it with the tips from Romanio here should get me somewhere. Thanks for the tip!

  • Thank you for commenting back! You are really real! And thanks for your great blogs. Gives me a huge inspiration. And yes, I will always tell the people to push themself hard and harder! Only that brings actually results. That for I hope to be back in the gym able to lift heavy again :)

  • Ralph

    Originally Posted By John RomanielloOriginally Posted By RalphWell after reading this, I'm pretty sure that I'm training like a little girl. No offense to little girls, I'm just saying that the odds are that they are training harder then I am and could more then likely kick my ass lol :) With that said, I'm down 5 lbs so I guess I'm doing something right.

    You are without a doubt one of the funniest most entertaining fitness writers of all time In my Humble opion. Here's to me stepping up the intensity. This was a great read and I LMAO ans also manage to learn something. Hope all is well

    ~R~

    Thanks for the support and compliment, Ralph. Down 5 pounds is nothing to sneeze at, so it's going well so far. Definitely kick up the intensity and you'll see the results come faster.

    And remember, one of the most important factors is appropriate goal setting. As I mentioned in my fat loss mistakes report, if you take a few minutes to quantify your goals and give yourself time frames, you have a better way to measure progress.

    Between that and increased intensity you should see things speeding along.

    Thanks again for the compliments, again. I'll do me best to keep it coming.

    You are Very Welcome John and thank you so much for even taking the time to reply. I've spent many years BS'ing myself about getting into shape. I'm your classic start and stop guy and my biggest problem is that I got cought up in information seeking instead of actually working out and I used that as an excuse to be lazy. (Facing the truth is a bitch) My Goal is to get my bodyfat into the single digits once and for all. I gave myself 5 months to do it and I plan on sticking to it. Ive already had some health issues in the past but I'm lucky that I beat it and now I want to get myself into shape. This place is awesome and Thanks again. I'd normally have about six or seven exclamation marks in this post by now but I must admit that your other blog hit home with me lol :D

    YOU ROCK.

    All the best.

    Ralph

  • Per

    @Ylwa – The Lynx Performance straps seemed to be kind of cool. I personally have leather straps and it makes a lot of difference in the dead lifts, dumbbell step ups, bent over rows etc. Although it doesn't really increase your grip strength, it doesn't let it limit you. I guess the straps can be a shortcut but the performance grips maybe adresses the cause better.

  • Ricardo

    My second visit to your site and it was better than the first, couldn't stop laughing. How am I supposed to get any work done like this? Although

    I will never be in the same category as yourself John my objective is to

    be and look fit and obviously to feel good about myself, it's a working

    progress . I don't think I want to push myself to the point of vomiting,

    can't good for you! I do my workout at home! so I don't fancy cleaning up

    after every workout. Thanks funny guy I'll be back.

  • Originally Posted By christinehurt is not always a sign of hard work, it is also a sign from your body to prevent injurys. i work out the hardest of all girls together at our gym, but for now my body wanted a break due to a dischernia. not funny at all… i guess i was overseeing the backpains and thought it would be normal, till i got the results.. training hard is good, but try to understand the signs of your body. pain of exercise or pain of physical problems are different.

    Firstly, I'm sorry to hear about your hernia, thats really awful. I know how hard it is to deal wit being put off from training due to injuy.

    Christine brings up a great point here. As I said in the post, pain is not necessarily indicative of progress. Training hard for the sake of making progress does often include pain, thought.

    That said, as Christine mentions it is important to make a distinction between pain from training, and pain from an injury.

    Often, what we'll do is try to categorize training related soreness as “high level discomfort” and anything injury related as actual pain.

    I think most people are aware enough to make the distinction. It my experience, it isn't really all that hard to get people to realize that they're injured. The hard part is convincing them not to train through it if that would be inhibitive to recovery.

    Either way, thanks for bringing up this point. Again, it's really important to be able to make the distinction between good and bad pain. Overall, though, injuries notwithstanding I still think people who train harder get better results.

  • Originally Posted By RalphWell after reading this, I'm pretty sure that I'm training like a little girl. No offense to little girls, I'm just saying that the odds are that they are training harder then I am and could more then likely kick my ass lol :) With that said, I'm down 5 lbs so I guess I'm doing something right.

    You are without a doubt one of the funniest most entertaining fitness writers of all time In my Humble opion. Here's to me stepping up the intensity. This was a great read and I LMAO ans also manage to learn something. Hope all is well

    ~R~

    Thanks for the support and compliment, Ralph. Down 5 pounds is nothing to sneeze at, so it's going well so far. Definitely kick up the intensity and you'll see the results come faster.

    And remember, one of the most important factors is appropriate goal setting. As I mentioned in my fat loss mistakes report, if you take a few minutes to quantify your goals and give yourself time frames, you have a better way to measure progress.

    Between that and increased intensity you should see things speeding along.

    Thanks again for the compliments, again. I'll do me best to keep it coming.

  • hurt is not always a sign of hard work, it is also a sign from your body to prevent injurys. i work out the hardest of all girls together at our gym, but for now my body wanted a break due to a dischernia. not funny at all… i guess i was overseeing the backpains and thought it would be normal, till i got the results.. training hard is good, but try to understand the signs of your body. pain of exercise or pain of physical problems are different.

  • UGH. I feel like such a slug now. Thanks John. You've officially made it perfectly clear that I need to get my tush off the couch watching Giada De Laurentis whip up some gluten-filled pasta dish and get out and do something with myself.

    Thanks for the inspiration. This post along with a hike I went on yesterday was a clear wake up call. Ok, time to move.

    Ciao.

  • Originally Posted By YlwaI think this blog is just awesome! You're one of the sickest people I've come across, besides myself.

    I'm definetely with you here. There is no such thing as crawling out of the gym beging yourself for mercy. And there is no such frustrating feeling as being half-way through a routine and feel like you're not even half way yourself. This happened to me today. I just tried out a new routine consisting of romanian deadlifts, db chestpress, lunges and 1-arm shoulderpresses. Challenging exetcises all of them. Since I aimed for 3×8 reps, it was pretty heavy.

    Then my two girly little hands comes in and ruin the whole rutin, really pissing me off. This is my achillies heel. My grip fails me far before my legs do, cause that's ususally where this becomes an issue. And if you want a vomiting factor you need to whip your legs badly, at least I do.

    Any tips on how to get around this? My hand-strengther wont do it. I've been thinking about switching from dumbells to barbell, or alter every other workout to work on my grip. But I wont solve it when it comes to deadlifts. Help please.

    Generally grip increases happen slowly. My grip was a weak point (and my forearms were visually lacking relative to upper arm development) and then I just started doing a lot of holds for time. Loading up a barbell and holding for as long as possible with as much weight as possible, twice a week.

    Also, make a dedicated effort to grip the bar as hard as you possibly can for each and every exercise you do.

    I also like Lynx Grips (www.LynxPT.com) They make the circumference of the bar a bit thicker, but because they are rubber and have some give, they allow you to grip harder. A few months of these and you strength will take off.

    What kind of hand strengthener do you what? I have a Captains of Crunch and it's helped a lot.

  • @Jadeflame –

    Thanks for the kind words. Regarding the vomit video – well, a friend of mine shot that. Knowing my friends, I can't promise it won't make its way onto YouTube. As if my friends didn't have enough embarassing footage of me.

  • Originally Posted By PerWell I've only been close to vomiting once, and it was after my first spinning session. (Not around a pole trying to run straight afterwards while drunk). However, I do try to put myself in “the hurt box” every workout, and I regularily find myself wishing for a bigger pair of lungs for christmas after my interval cardio. As you say, there's nothing making you break a sweat like super- or trippleseting some exercises, keeps the pulse up and the total time of just standing around waiting for the next set, to a minimum.

    Tip for the rest intervalls: Get a stop watch and really time them so there is no guesswork as to how long rest has been. If possible, also time the entire workout and try to outperform it next time.

    One variant I've used lately for poundage progress is, if I make all my reps on all my sets, I increase the weight by 5 pounds on each set (except on the warm up set). If next time, I can't complete all reps on one of the sets, I write down how many was missing and try to beat that next time with the same weight.

    I like the system for weight progression. It's similar to what I use with some of my coaching clients. Of course you can't keepadding 5lbs ad infinitum, but you can usually get 15 weeks of progression out of that system.

    Regarding the other stuff – to be honest I don't like a traditional stop watch. I just like a digital wristwatch wth a visible second counter. I used to have a stop watch that I would carry in my pocket or wear around my neck but it was too much of a hassle. I much prefer to just shoot a glance down at my wrist.

  • Ralph

    Well after reading this, I'm pretty sure that I'm training like a little girl. No offense to little girls, I'm just saying that the odds are that they are training harder then I am and could more then likely kick my ass lol :) With that said, I'm down 5 lbs so I guess I'm doing something right.

    You are without a doubt one of the funniest most entertaining fitness writers of all time In my Humble opion. Here's to me stepping up the intensity. This was a great read and I LMAO ans also manage to learn something. Hope all is well

    ~R~

  • Brendan

    So as I read this post, my first reaction was to try and categorize myself as either an Animal or Accountant. As I lean toward Accountant, I at least have the comfort of knowing that I don't walk around with a workout chart, logging my sets and reps etc. However, the idea of not working hard enough strikes a chord. I know that sometimes, particularly when I'm doing abs work, that I sometimes give up simply because it's too hard, and other times I can “bear down” and drive through the number of reps planned, even through the excrutiating pain.

    My problem is that I have an enormous aversion to puking. For some reason, when in a drunken stupor at university, I would have much rather wallowed in it than puke it up, preferring to feel like crap the next day, as opposed to feeling better immediately. Of course today, as I near 45 I don't have episodes of drunken stupor anymore. But when a couple friends of mine keep asking me to join their Crossfit bootcamp sessions that are so intense they puke on a regular basis, I go to extreme lengths to find every excuse to not go. Perhaps if I were to puke often enough, I would develop a tolerance and acceptance, but I just don't see the need.

    So I am comforted with your statement that you don't need to push to the point of puking. But again, the suggestion of pushing harder during my workouts is great advice. Now that Labour (no it's not a typo, I'm Canadian) Day has passed, and the instance of backyard BBQ's diminsh, we can refocus on the workout regimen, and ensure that a high level of intensity is there. Thanks for the blog, John.

  • Ylwa

    I think this blog is just awesome! You're one of the sickest people I've come across, besides myself.

    I'm definetely with you here. There is no such thing as crawling out of the gym beging yourself for mercy. And there is no such frustrating feeling as being half-way through a routine and feel like you're not even half way yourself. This happened to me today. I just tried out a new routine consisting of romanian deadlifts, db chestpress, lunges and 1-arm shoulderpresses. Challenging exetcises all of them. Since I aimed for 3×8 reps, it was pretty heavy.

    Then my two girly little hands comes in and ruin the whole rutin, really pissing me off. This is my achillies heel. My grip fails me far before my legs do, cause that's ususally where this becomes an issue. And if you want a vomiting factor you need to whip your legs badly, at least I do.

    Any tips on how to get around this? My hand-strengther wont do it. I've been thinking about switching from dumbells to barbell, or alter every other workout to work on my grip. But I wont solve it when it comes to deadlifts. Help please.

  • Jadeflame

    Loved your blog, informative and humorous at the same time as always. Great video thank you for sparing us the sight of you vomiting lol. Time for me to go lift now.

  • Per

    Well I've only been close to vomiting once, and it was after my first spinning session. (Not around a pole trying to run straight afterwards while drunk). However, I do try to put myself in “the hurt box” every workout, and I regularily find myself wishing for a bigger pair of lungs for christmas after my interval cardio. As you say, there's nothing making you break a sweat like super- or trippleseting some exercises, keeps the pulse up and the total time of just standing around waiting for the next set, to a minimum.

    Tip for the rest intervalls: Get a stop watch and really time them so there is no guesswork as to how long rest has been. If possible, also time the entire workout and try to outperform it next time.

    One variant I've used lately for poundage progress is, if I make all my reps on all my sets, I increase the weight by 5 pounds on each set (except on the warm up set). If next time, I can't complete all reps on one of the sets, I write down how many was missing and try to beat that next time with the same weight.