Updated: Mar 12
This is Nathan writing today. Periodically we share the programs we use to achieve goals and this writing is another one of those instances. Today, I want to talk about our current workout programs. The key word there is "current," since our programs change over time. What we do now is not what we did a year ago and likely will not be what we do a year from now. For example, I ran 1000+ miles in 2018, this year I will run about 500, and in 2020 I will run 1100-1200 miles. So, let us jump into it. To understand more about our programming, you have to understand our goals. The goals Grace and I have are significantly different but equally important to us. My goals and current related stats In a writing from a few weeks ago, we shared our goals for the year. In that piece I noted my main goal is to keep working out with the intensity I have shown in previous years. I also mentioned that if I did target particulars those might include the follow:
Maintain current strength, such as squat and deadlift one rep max remaining between 400-500 pounds
Increase strength such as achieving a 400-pound front squat or 300-pound clean
Maintain or improve other performance metrics, such as speed, distance ran, handstand hold duration, etc.
For context, some of my best runs, calisthenics, and lifts are:
6:00 mile, but current is 6:20
19:00 5K, but current is 22:00
275-pound clean and jerk
Deadlift – 535, but right now I stay in the 450- to 500-pound range, varies depending on my training focus
Back squat – 500, but right now I stay in the 425- to 450-pound range, varies depending on my training focus
Front squat - 360- to 375-pound range, varies depending on my training focus
5-second back lever
5-second front lever
21+ wall-supported handstand push-ups
5 kipping muscle ups and can complete self-assisted strict muscle-ups
Maintaining or improving these are by continuing to train effective as well as focus on nutrition, recovery, and stress management is a general goal this year. At the same time, I prefer a regularly varied program, meaning the specifics of my workouts change each week and I rarely have the exact same workout twice. That said, exercises repletion does occur as does recurrence of conditioning workouts, run distances, etc., but in the conjunction with variables that change the overall workout structure from previous workouts that included the same elements. My workout program My workout program follows a six-day non-repeating design that runs per quarter, for example Q1 2020, Q2 2020, etc. meaning my training cycle is generally 13 weeks, though sometimes I run shorter or longer training cycles. The program is regularly varied, though a structure is present, but that structure may change from quarter to quarter. The program is goal-driven, meaning it only includes activities that move me toward my goal. Activities that do not support reaching goals are not included. The weekly structure is:
Day 1 – heavy lifting focusing on a squat, hip hinge, Olympic lifting exercises, and a pulling exercise. Rep ranges are low, though variable, and set volume varies over time.
Day 2 – one-mile run followed by a conditioning work such as a 5 round couplet or 20-minute AMRAP. Handstand practice at the end.
Day 3 – this workout varies more than the others, but will include a pressing movement (which may be dumbbell overhead presses, jerks, bench press, etc.), a conditioning portion of some kind (AMRAP; 21,15, 9; couplet/triplet for rounds, etc.), and skill work for a calisthenics movement. It may include a short run (no more than three miles) or skill work (such as handstands).
Day 4 – a run 5 to 10 miles in length
Day 5 – a run 5 to 10 miles in length
Day 6 – a run 5 to 10 miles in length
On average, my workouts take 75 minutes.
You can view or download my current program in detail at this link https://drive.google.com/file/d/1TaKlFJFmq4v9_EChND9sIs1rBTegIN89/view?usp=sharing. The layout in the spreadsheet is the rough design I followed. I may change variables based on progress or how I feel that day. For example, during the Day 3 workout I may include a run of 1-3 miles or omit it, I may include handstand practice or omit it, etc. Grace's goal and current stats Grace became pregnant in 2017 and gave birth via c-section in 2018. Pregnancy changes the body, including the way she could work out during pregnancy and after. While she was able to workout during her entire pregnancy, her ability to workout diminished as the pregnancy progressed. For example, as time went on exercises had to be modified or removed for safety. An example is the pull-up/chin-up. Initially she was able to complete them as normal, a few months in she had to move to banded, and around the halfway mark she had to remove the movements. Additionally, with time, workout intensity had to decrease. By this I mean she had to reduce load, reduce volume, and increase rest as needed. This decrease meant that she lost fitness even though she was working out. This is something we cover in more detail in our blog Fitness after a setback. The reason I share this information is for context. Prior to pregnancy, Grace was the leanest and fittest she had ever been. The significant loss of both areas, as well as the complications from the c-section, meant a long road back. Since March of 2018 Grace worked to regain the fitness she lost. Overall, she achieved just that and is now more focused on maintenance. For 2019 and 2020, Grace has fairly simple goals. Her targets are:
Maintain body composition
For context, Grace's bests are:
150-pound back squat
125-pound front squat
115-pound clean and jerk
8:00- to 9:00-minute mile
14-percent body fat at 138 pounds
All Grace has to do to maintain these areas is keep working out and eating as she has been. That said, Grace will continue to push herself in the gym, which will lead to fitness improvements. The program Grace follows is significantly different from mine. She workouts three days per week, Monday-Wednesday, for approximately 45 minutes per session, which includes warm-up and tear down. The training program she follows is a strength based program, with few conditioning workouts or cardio workouts. This is Grace’s preference at this time. The general layout of her program is:
Day 1 – Olympic lift or Olympic lift complex, a pulling exercise, accessory work
Day 2 – any deadlift, a pulling exercise, accessory work
Day 3 – any squat, a pulling exercise or a skill complex of some kind, accessory work
For example, during Day 1, Grace may perform the clean and jerk as well as chin-ups or she may perform a clean, jerk, jerk, clean and jerk complex as well as banded pull-ups. For Day 2, she may perform 10 sets of 2 reps of the deadlift at 80 percent of 1RM with barbell rows or perform deadlift from blocks at 120% of 1RM with ring rows. I am not providing a link to Graces program as it is a simple one-week repeating layout that we adjust week to week based on how she feels, progress, and skill areas on which we need to focus. So, there you have it. Those are the programs we follow. These are not the program we have always followed and may not be the programs we use in the future, but the layouts are what we follow right now. The program Grace follows is minimalist and strength based while the plan I use is more complex focused on overall fitness. Regardless, each helps us reach our respective goals and if you follow the designs, you could progress in a similar fashion. That is the end, but before you go, you read this far, so why not check out our online workout plans and nutrition programs, which include options for at home workouts, gym workouts, and bodyweight workouts.
Nathan DeMetz holds degrees in Exercise Science, Business Administration, and Information Technology as well as certifications in strength and conditioning, sports nutrition, run coaching, and other areas. His credentials come from organizations such as Indiana Wesleyan University, Ivy Tech College, and the International Sports Sciences Association. Nathan has 17 years of personal and professional experience in the health and fitness world. He works with people from across the globe, including locations such as Kuwait, Australia, and the USA.