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The Three Keys to Achieving Success with the Party Methods

December 31, 2004 12:00 AM

I hear it at least once a week. On the forum or in conversations with potential clients, friends, and family it goes a little something like this:

"I want to lose 5 kg, get in shape for a 10km fun run, improve my bench press by 20kg, put on some mass and improve my skills for football, karate, and tennis. My plan is to do heavy weights Monday, sprints Tuesday, football Wednesday, bodybuilding on Thursday?"

Think it sounds ridiculous? Well the truth is often scarier. People often bombard me with their current training program that consists of 10-14 workouts a week, none of which are the same! And some of these workouts contain a veritable shotgun spread of exercises, for example one set each of up to 15 different exercises!

The biggest mistake I see new trainees (and even some experienced exercisers) make is that they want to achieve everything at once and try to do it by hitting every aspect of fitness at least once a week. The new trainee sees a bunch of great techniques that all offer good results and they are scared of missing out on something. The reality is that in attempting to do everything they miss out on achieving most of the benefits of any of the programs and their results could have been achieved with 3 pump classes a week.

"The biggest mistake? is to want to achieve everything at once..."


Now I admit that it would be nice to have the endurance of a marathon runner, the speed of a 100m sprinter, the pure strength of a powerlifter, and the agility of a gymnast, but it's just not possible to do it all at once!

It is possible however to organize your training in such a way so that you achieve a number of goals without burning out.

For instance.

"How do I mix the Bear program from Power to the People! with high rep bodyweight exercises and interval training?"

I'll let you in on a little secret. EVERYONE wants to lose some fat and gain a little muscle.

Most new trainees will attempt to achieve this by lifting heavy in a bodybuilding format and then do 3-4 sessions of intense aerobic training to burn off the fat. They may also try to add high rep bodyweight exercises to try and build muscular endurance.

Now for a complete beginner or someone who has been sedentary for a long period of time this approach will normally lead to increased strength and definition as the fat disappears. When the trainee finally sees their abs for the first time they proclaim success. The reality is that although they may have achieved their goal they have probably done so in a sub-optimal way.

It's a very fine line to walk if you try to achieve both goals at once. The problem is that the metabolic conditions for fat loss and muscle growth are at the exact opposite ends of the spectrum. Fat loss requires an energy deficit primarily during rest and muscle growth requires both an excess of available energy and a surplus of protein during rest.

Simply alternate 2-4 week Bear cycles and 2-4 week Man Maker type kettlebell type training. During your Bear cycles eat lots of high quality food and rest. During your Man Maker weeks reduce your calories, especially carbs between main meals.

You may gain a little bit of fat with your muscle during a Bear cycle but you will lose it when you do a high rep kettlebell cycle.

You can also change this program to emphasize one goal over another. For example, if you want to pack on mass but need to keep your body fat under control do 4 weeks of the Bear and 2 weeks of the Man Maker. If your goal is major fat loss then do 2 weeks of the Bear and 4 weeks of the Man Maker.

Mixing things up stops your training from getting stale and ensures continued progress. Cycle your loads, cycle your food intake and remember to stay focused on the goal of each cycle in turn.

Once you have achieved your body composition goals you can then choose another goal and focus on that.

Here is another scenario.

"I want a program to improve my overall fitness?"

Every time I see this I want to cry. Of course if you are a 5'6" 250lb. male who lives on burgers and beer then ANYTHING you do in the way of fitness work will help. The problem arises when a reasonably healthy or fit person wants to achieve this.

When most people think of overall fitness they are thinking of a combination of strength, aerobic endurance, and muscular endurance. They think of someone who can run a couple of miles, bench their own bodyweight a few times and do 50 pushups.

Most people try to achieve this goal by mixing a number of training protocols throughout the week until they are spending more time exercising than sleeping. Exotic mixes of GTG, PTP, RKC, and distance running are pretty common.

Again it's a bad idea because your body doesn't know which way to adapt and subsequently does a half-baked job of everything.

And here it is again: specificity is the key to results. You have to choose the results you want and focus in on training that will take you there.

Before you start trying to be good at everything, first get good at one thing.

"Before you start trying to be good at everything, first get good at ONE thing."


I often see people asking for advice on how to mix different routines such as PTP, RKC and NW for the "best" results. Then it comes out that they haven't been following any of the routines consistently. The answer from the senior RKCs and other experienced members of the forum usually runs along the lines of "Go do PTP exactly as described in the book for 6 weeks and then come back to us"

A lot of experienced trainers appear to have this mythical 'overall fitness' but if you look closer you will find that most of them have a pretty narrow focus as to what they are good at. Instead of chasing a bunch of different fitness attributes they will focus on one or two and make them the focus of their training. They then become known for what they can do rather than what they can't do.

"[Strength authorities] become known for what they CAN do rather than what they CAN'T do."


So stop fooling around with exotic PTPRKCNWRISFRWTLSJH2H workout plans and take these three steps.

1) Choose what you want to achieve and be willing to focus on it. If you want to be a powerlifter, then accept that you will never win a marathon and vice versa.

2) Work backwards. If you are going to mix training protocols over a year or so I would suggest looking at what you most want to achieve and then train that last. When I was working with a sprinter recently his end goal was of course to become very fast. We didn't start his training with speed work though, we started it with some hypertrophy training and then moved onto max strength and finally speed training.

3) Simplify. Each of Pavel's methods works very well but the simplicity of the programs invites tinkering from people who think they can improve on what's been described. Cut your workouts down to a handful of exercises and hit them with intensity. Steve Cotter's workouts are a prime example, 15 sets of 15/15 snatches and nothing else. Instead of 15 different exercises choose 1-4 per workout and make sure you do them properly.

The Party methods are right all the time? Just not all at the same time. Simplify, focus on one thing at a time, work back from your goal, and you will reap the benefits of your hard work. Otherwise go back to doing 3 pump classes a week?



About The Author

Don Stevenson, RKC is based in Australia. He is the Head Trainer for Octogen Executive Fitness Consulting. Contact him at don@octogen.com.au.
 

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