On-the-Fly Paleo Grub, and Time Under Load

Being creative with the ol’ leftovers is another important piece to maintaining Paleo sanctity.  I live by leftovers, and yeah, sometimes the combinations can seem a little odd.   Go figure, as I’m just a little odd as well.  I think everyone would do well, though, to bust free from the old “that food is for breakfast” or “these foods don’t go together” rut.  Just another useful mind-tool, my friends, to keep you all on the Paleo straight-and-narrow.  Again, this ain’t gourmet, but it wasn’t half damn bad.

Since last Saturday’s kick-ass workout at Efficient Exercise of Austin, Texas, I’ve been leaning toward some higher time under load (TUL, or time under tension, TUT, as some term it) workouts.  Of course, being true to my Conjugate sensibilities, this is only a leaning-toward, and not, so to speak, a change in direction.  I’ll still have workouts emphasizing max effort, speed (power), and strength-endurance, however, you’ll see TUL work take a front seat in the near term.  For how long?  That I don’t know; I’ll ride the TUL horse until I sense that I need to saddle-up a fresh steed, or until my priorities change.  This is how it goes; there are no definites.   Also, I’ve been riding — a lot — and as such, I’ve cut back on my quad-dominant work in the gym, just as I would cut back on my posterior chain work if I were hitting (running) sprints hard.  This is the personalization of workout planning.  To do otherwise — to blindly adhere to a cookie-cutter workout without taking into account my lifestyle and recreation choices — would be to invite regional overtraining and, eventually, injury.

Saturday’s iron works –

feet-elevated, ballistic push-ups: bodyweight x 6, 6, 6, 6

flat cable flye (on a Swiss ball): 60 x 10, 7, 7, 6

bent-over reverse cable flye: 30 x 8, 6, 6, 6

Rep tempo is vastly important in any scheme that emphasizes TUL, and I utilized a 40X tempo (eccentric/turn-around/concentric) today in both the flat and reverse cable flyes.  Note that, in reality an “X” (fast as humanly possible) concentric equates to approximately one second.  As a general rule of thumb, I tend to fall into the Charles Poliquin camp when it comes to correlating TUL to hypertrophy work; 30-ish to 70-ish seconds per set seems to be the sweet spot for me.  The next obvious question is, “ok, how many sets and/or exercises per movement pattern, then?”  Personally, I try, in most instances, to do no more than 1 exercise of a similar movement pattern — in most instances.  Nothing is set in stone.  Usually, though, I try to pick a weight that, under my chosen tempo, will totally zorch me in that particular pattern within a per-set TUL of between 30-ish and 70-ish seconds and an overall, cumulative TUL of between 90-ish and 180-ish seconds.  You can see that this leaves much room for variance and plenty of wiggle-room for set/rep manipulation.  And, again, this is for a hypertrophy emphasis — this, of course, would not apply if the emphasis were, say, speed-strength (power) work.

The movements above were done as a 4-round, compound set, with very little rest between movements.  I followed that up with a little Nautilus 4-way neck work:

front, left and right sides: 35 lbs x 10
rear: 45 lbs x 10

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Will mastering TUL make me swole like the cats in that slideshow?  Well, maybe so.  Hercules, and the Greek Pugilist: The Stark Center for Physical Culture and Sport, UT Austin

And a quick look to what’s ahead:

Monday, weather permitting, I plan on taking the ol’ fixie out to huck the Tour De Raleigh, coupling that ride with a trip to the NC state farmers market, and a run to Trader Joe’s for a coffee and Greek Yogurt stock-up.  On Tuesday, look for the write-up on my most excellent workout at the hands of Skyler Tanner, of Efficient Exercise in Austin.  For a preview, you can check-out the video clips posted at the Efficient Exercise Youtube page.  Here’s a compilation of the entire workout, and here’s a clip capturing Skyler’s expertise in coaching me through the leg press portion of the workout.  This level of professional coaching and guidance is priceless, allowing the trainee (me, in this instance) to focus totally on the “doing”, and leaving the manipulation of the many variables, in Skyler’s control.  Much more on this Tuesday.  ‘Til then, have a great holiday weekend!

4 responses to “On-the-Fly Paleo Grub, and Time Under Load

  1. Nice work, Keith and Skyler!

    My n=1 experience tinkering with TUL correlates with hypertrophy as well. When you don’t have an awesome trainer like Skyler to support you, just flip upside down and do handstand pushups (or other inverted movements) super slowly, and our good friend gravity can be your personal motivator. 🙂



    • Gravity is a great motivator! Quiet, and a bit heavy-handed — he has a way of getting his point across loud and clear, though!

  2. Hey now!

    TUL stuff is fun; the slightly higher (1:30-2:00) is certainly strength endurance but for the purpose of what McGuff calls “Global Metabolic Conditioning” it’s a nice balance between hypertrophy and endurance. Given a few weeks of instruction with Keith, I could have made the weight heavy enough to get into the :45-1:00 TUL range. Better for hypertrophy but still metabolically demanding.

    • No doubt it is fun — everyone wants to look good nekkid, right? Bring on the hypertrophy/TUL stuff, I say 🙂

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