Doubles and Accountability

This week has been a huge success so far, especially in terms of my training.

  • Monday: Shoulders PM, 20 minutes steady-state directly after.
  • Tuesday: 1 hour intervals AM, Legs PM.
  • Wednesday: Chest PM.
  • Thursday: 1 hour intervals AM, 50 minutes steady-state PM.
  • Friday (today): 1 hour intervals AM, Deadlifts and Lats PM.
  • Saturday (tomorrow): 1 hour intervals AM, 1 hour steady-state PM.
  • Sunday: Off, 24-hour fast.

My diet has been (mostly) on point as well, but I’m going to discuss my “doubles” routine instead of going too in depth about my food intake this week (mostly steak, eggs, spinach, some green juice, and two of my three weekly cheat meals).

Why Doubles (two trips to the gym in one day)?

First and foremost, it allows me to hammer out more fasted cardio. AM Cardio is ALWAYS at 9:30 AM. At the absolute minimum, I won’t have had anything to eat for 11 or 12 hours when I start. I never feel faint or dizzy when I do this, rather I start to feel energized as soon as the session hits the ten minute mark, almost always introducing intervals at this point.

Intervals versus steady-state, simplified:

Intervals, or (HIIT): on the elliptical: 1 minute at level 10 followed by 45 seconds at level 18. Go back to level 10 and repeat the cycle as many times as you can in 10 minutes. My heart rate rises from approximately 150 (75%) to approximately 185 (99%) and back down to 150-160 during intervals. Burns more calories and benefits cardiovascular health more than steady-state, but workouts are grueling and leave the body more fatigued. I love intervals.

Steady state: on the elliptical: continued effort at a sustained level. I start at level 12, set it and forget it. Heart rate will remain steady in 130-150 range throughout session. Typically less taxing than intervals, but burns less overall calories.

But why am I going back to the gym later at night?

Two reasons: The first is calories in, calories out. I’m at a deficit, and doing a second (lower intensity steady-state) cardio session (on cardio-only days) burns more calories. Often, much more than I’m taking in during the day. Throwing in a steady-state session at night usually doesn’t beat me up too much, as it doesn’t really require a ton of effort. The second reason is that on strength training days, my body has some time to recover after the morning interval session before giving it 100% in the squat rack or the bench. I’m usually feeling as though my batteries are at almost a full charge when I get back in the gym later in the evening. I’ve also eaten at that point as well.

There’s no sugar-coating it, doing doubles is fucking brutal. There’s a good deal mental toughness and discipline that goes into it. Walking out of the gym in the morning knowing that you have to go back to do it all over again in just ten hours is not an easy thought to process, and if you’re not disciplined, it’s not going to happen. I now have a great support system for this, though.

 

Accountability from an unexpected source

When I moved back to my old hometown, I ran into a lot of friends from my high school and college years. One was Josh, who I ran into on the street one day. We both hung out with the same group for years, drinking and partying, playing in bands and touring. We started talking that afternoon and it turned out he had gotten into powerlifting a few years prior. After a few weeks, I guest-passed him into my gym once or twice. Eventually he switched to my gym, and we started lifting together.

It’s a good match. We lift at nearly the same weight on the basic lifts, and we have the same current goal of losing fat. It’s nice to have someone watching your form, but the big benefit is the fact that we are now accountable to another person.

On Tuesday, he texted me when I was on my way to our squat session. He was tired for work and wasn’t feeling it, he would be staying home. As one would expect, I called him a pussy and told him how stoked I was to throw some heavy squats.

Fifteen minutes later, he showed up. After the workout, he told me how glad he was that I had called him out.

He has done the same for me. It’s a lot harder to justify rotting on the couch when someone is waiting for you. It isn’t “I can wait 20 more minutes… then I’ll go”. It’s “I am expected to be there. I have to get up and go NOW”.

I do not want to let my friend down. I don’t want him to let me down. Going into this war as a team makes the enemy that much easier to take down.

It’s 9:08 AM, and I need to be at the gym in 20 minutes to do my AM cardio session.

Until next time.

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