Here's why you'll still get fit with the #lazystrong approach

I’ve been working on yet another way to illustrate why our #lazystrong (Alactic+Aerobic, Anti-glycolytic Training) approach works - and why it’s better than glycolytic training. It didn’t all come together in my head until a bunch of us were talking at the gym this week (talking while resting between sets!).

One of our members really tries to get everyone he knows to come to the gym. Unfortunately, he knows too many people who go to gyms focus on glycolytic work, so the #lazystrong is a hard sell. When we explain our approach, we get things like “but you still sweat in a workout right?” (Yes, you’ll sweat, but that’s just because we don’t have air conditioning.)

Getting hot, out of breath, and sweaty is not a workout (any idiot can do that - go do 100 burpees for time!). A real workout is something that makes you feel better when you’re done. If you don’t walk away from a workout feeling refreshed and better than when you walked into the gym, you went too hard.

Let’s say you didn’t believe that staying out of the glycolytic pathway is actually good for you, would you believe the physics argument? Doing the same amount of work faster doesn’t actually burn any more calories. It’s true, work is just the force applied times the distance moved. And energy and work are equivalent.

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1 (food) calorie is about 3000 ft-pounds of work. That is, lifting 3000 pounds 1 foot, or 1500 pounds 2 feet, or 1000 pounds 3 feet, 3-300 lb deadlifts, etc all require 1 calorie of work. Is it better to do 15 touch-and-go reps really fast (a la CrossFit) or to do 3x5, 5x3, or even 15 singles? You’ll definitely feel the burn (and your back) if you do 15 fast reps. It may take a long time to work through 15 singles, but you are doing the exact same amount of work. If your goal is fat loss, you won’t be burning any more calories by going faster.

All you’re doing when you go fast is risking injury and intoxicating yourself with acid waste products from glycolysis.

When you finish your workout with the long kettlebell complex, you don’t get a better workout by rushing it. It’s the same work in the end. If you go slow, take your time, there are even more benefits. If you’re fresh for each round, then each round is done with maximum power and tension. Each rep is perfect and you get the most out of your effort. If you view training as focused practice, you will improve. Movement quality is more important than speed.

In fact, if you are fresh and are working at a manageable weight, then you can actually get more work done, and more of it will be quality work. Imagine the heaviest kettlebell you can press for 6 reps. If I have you do three sets of max effort with that weight, you’ll probably get 6 on the first set, 3 on the second, and maybe 1 one the last for 10 total reps. If we count the good reps, then you probably only have 4 on the first set, the last two probably were sketchy, 2 on the second set, and I doubt the last set even looked good. So that 10 total reps with 6 being quality practice. The rest is just cruft - at best wasting your time, at worst teaching you bad movement or even hurting yourself.

But what happens if I tell you do the same weight in sets of 3. You could probably do 3-3-3-3-3 with no issues. You’ll get more work done (15 reps). And if you’re stopping before fatigue in each set, all 15 will be good, pretty reps. Rather than going to failure and wasting your time with bad reps, go easier, take your rest and do better.

You will get better practice and training done and you will not feel crushed. I know that’s hard to sell to the fans HIIT, CrossFit, and various other colors of theory workouts, but it’s true. You don’t need to feel like you got a workout to get a workout. Use your workout to prepare you for your life not take away from it because you’re too sore to do anything else.

Michael Deskevich