During my final semester of undergraduate I have worked my way through a program designed by Callum Mahoney. In this time I took my gym PRs through the roof. Before starting the program my gym 1Rms were:
By the end of ten weeks of programming, my gym 1Rms were:
I learned two major lessons from these ten weeks of training.
You can make progress while working full-time
During these ten weeks, I was not only training, but I was also student teaching full-time. The first three weeks were nine hours a day, on my feet, teaching high school students, and in the HS weight room teaching and demonstrating for the strength and conditioning class. Last seven weeks were nine hours a day, on my feet, teaching, demonstrating, playing with these kindergarteners through fifth graders, and then continuing extra hours after school and playing hockey with a group of students who stayed after waiting for rides. I’d get done with these days teaching, and then go to the gym for two to three hours, and just smash things. I made my gains. I made them while tired, beaten down from days of work without pay and additional life stressors, but those gains were still there. Walk into the gym and turn it on. You can make progress even working 40+ hours a week.
Accumulate, Intensify, Destroy
Before and, for that matter, during this cycle of training I did not fully understand the concept of accumulation, intensification, and transformation phases of training. It was not until after this cycle, when I was trying to return to my own programming, that I realized just what these phases meant. I had spent ten weeks building up and chasing new rep maxes every training day. Chasing these “big” numbers week in and week out without any thought to the level of strain I was putting on my body and how there would be a time limit on how long I could push this. When I came out of this cycle and immediately moved on thinking that I could just continue pushing these numbers, I was met with failure after failure. It was at this point that I realized I needed to restart from the bottom. I needed to get more work back under my belt and get my reps back in at manageable weights. Once I have my base set again I can begin to intensify my training before moving on to the transformation phase (or, as I prefer, the destroy phase) where I can chase those PRs in the gym and perform at the top level in sporting endeavors. I realized that the program took me through these phases in a sustainable manner, and that to continue my improvements I needed to cycle back through them. This is where I stand now.
I feel as if having someone else write my programming for a bit allowed me to keep from overthinking my training, and gave me an experience that I as a young coach could not provide for myself because of that lack of experience. However, now I have a deeper understanding of programming demands for progressing in strength performance and can apply them to programming for myself and others.
2013 is in for some surprises.