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To be “fit,” should we stick with a routine, or constantly switch it up? The golden answer: A little bit of “A,” little bit of “B,” and a lot of “it depends.”

The Random Factor

Some so-called “exercises” may come across as looking a little cool, perhaps a little contrived, weird, or even plain stupid.

But let’s be honest, life throws random stuff at us (an out-of-control vehicle, for example, or the proverbial banana peel underfoot). Close calls are better than devastating accidents, and we can skew the odds in our favour by training to be more ready for surprises such as falls.

A Hip Flexor Detour

For example, I recently took an outdoor survival course… above is the view from my non-existent tent in the morning. Gorgeous. The point, though, is that a few members of the group wanted to apply their newly minted navigational skills as we returned, which led to some unexpected bushwhacking, which led to stepping over a LOT of very high logs while wearing a heavy pack. My hip flexors took several days to get over that…and now I’m adding occasional high step-ups to my workouts as a result.

And a Hamstring Detour

In contrast, too much of the same thing can get you in a different way. Anyone who knows me, really, at all knows that I want to achieve this darn double bodyweight deadlift, get it documented, done and dusted. To that end, I decided to finally give the Daily Dose Deadlift plan a go a few months ago. Verdict? While I enjoyed the minimal time commitment and the focus on one overarching thing, I really strained my hamstring.

Balancing Random and Routine

As always, specificity of training will largely depend on your goals. The more specific the goal, the more specialized the training. For many of us, “GPP,” or “general physical preparedness,” is the way to go, i.e. basically being ready for that sport of life.

For myself, now that I’m physically untwisting and finally moving on from my self-imposed label of being a “remedial” person in the strength world, I’m circling back to what I like about the CrossFit world. I know, I know, bad rep and all that (two of my best training injuries have come from past CrossFit classes) — but I do see them improving greatly with scaling workouts to all abilities, and the majority of movements are as functional as they get, with a good variety of how they are put together. And as they say in their Level 1 training guide (super comprehensive, and free here): the needs of an Olympic athlete and those of a person who’s ready to enter a nursing home “differ by degree not kind.” That part works for me!

Putting It All Together

So my own current approach, as an example, is to deadlift twice a week, with the goal of attaining that elusive double bodyweight number and having it documented at a powerlifting meet in early 2024.

I take an Olympic-style weightlifting class once a week, and also parkour.

Recovery is a real priority! The classes both provide new and highly challenging movements for my body and spirit. (As part of that, this month I’m back to another round of Ground Control, and it gets better every time.)

For variety, about three or four days a week, I throw in a WOD (“workout of the day”) from the main CrossFit site.

Finally, I occasionally test and see how close I’m getting to my 1K run time goal. (I was only 18 seconds off before the wildfire smoke hit a few weeks ago, but that’s really backslid… Oh well, onwards and upwards.)

Over to You Now

And you? What’s your fitness strategy? Please stay in touch, and let me know if I can support you as you move towards your own goals.