For a habit to endure 40 years or more it must provide comfort by either being very effective by my interpretation or I am addicted to it for some deep and meaningful reason beyond my conscious awareness – either way I will mention some of them here for you to consider – they will include exercise and nutrition habits but maybe more importantly the attitude habits that form the core of all of our lives. Often beyond awareness.Adam
Pierre Bourdieu suggested that we all have what he termed a habitus which is the sum total of habits and behaviours that we live by such as manners and customs – different cultures have different habitus – in some cultures belching and farting in public would be acceptable. Accidentally farting in public in the UK is still possibly one of the most embarrassing things you can do. It would be met with one of 3 reactions – totally ignored – disgust or repressed, uncontrollable giggling. There is a fourth way that is even worse and that is sympathy for your affliction. There is an unwritten law that if you shout or fart thinking there is enough noise to cover you there will instantaneous silence and everbody in the same post(zip) code will take an interest in you for that moment. Be warned it is never safe. personal habitus vary from person to person also. This section explains some of my habitus related to the gym. William James also suggested that we are all bundles of habits. There will be no personal revelations about farting under strain. Sorry!
We can choose how we act in every situation – Pierre Bourdieu was the first to suggest that contrary to Marxist thought we have more capital available to us above and beyond the have’s and have not’s depicted in Marxism. One of these is the capital of one’s character and personal values, including such things as manners, kindness, creativity and the list goes on. It matters not how much money one has or whether you own the means of production for these to develop and often it could be seen as an advantage not to have it all – personal values are riches that we all have access to for our entire lives. Other such capital as I interpret and name them are attitude capital (how we interpret our lives and the world – our state of mind – half empty of half full) social capital (our physical relationships with self, others and our environment – I am excluding social media here) – physical capital (our health fitness and bodies) and for now I will call the one I feel is the key to all that we do. – CHARACTER CAPITAL. Character capital will crop up often in my writing. – ON WITH THE LIST.
- Desiccated Liver and Kelp and Alfalfa and a good multi vitamin/mineral – I have used these tablet supplements for over 40 years – supplements come and go but these endure for me. I used to include brewers yeast with these but dropped the habit along the way.
- I dropped flat bench presses over 40 years ago and have never done them since – Do I suffer because of it? Nope because the most asked question I get is – How much can I bench press? If I didn’t look like I bench press a lot the question might be – Where is you chest? It is not!
- I train calves first in my workouts and have since day 1 – My calves were weak or more to the point I have 36″ inside leg and that’s a lot of lower leg to fill – my calves are no longer a weakness but old habits die hard. people now ask how I got my calves so good. This is the answer.
- I am not keen on single station cardio workouts – so I circuit light weights for my cardio days and it also acts as my active recuperation the day after heavy workouts. Works well for me and keeps my mind busy picking out a circuit route in a busy gym – making it up as I go along.
- On heavy days – We train fast – resting only long enough for the other to do their set – I see great benefit in keeping heart rates at a good level. Always have.
- Where possible and practical we perform pre-exhaust super sets and antagonist super sets often to increase intensity and to keep training volume and time down. We also add double drop sets to the last set when we need to up the intensity. If you need to know what these are contact me in the ask Adam section.
- We never drop below 8 reps – 12 is normal for heavy days but normally higher reps. We often do 4 x 25 reps sessions. I was able to maintain a weight of 125 kilos with such methods. ranging between 8 and 30 reps gives the muscles a durability that helps recovery (more capillaries = more nutrient filled blood) and looks good. And works your heart and lungs. There are infinite ways to make progress. Innovate and enjoy.
- We always use a decent high protein moderate carbohydrate supplement – MCT oil and fish oils. We prioritise protein in the 24 hrs after heavy sessions and slightly less so other days.
- We never do more than 3/6 sets per body part more usually 3 sets except for legs when we use a lot of variety to keep it fresh and motivation high. Abs are normally 3/4 sets as they are always working and if you want to see them stop eating so much. Simple!
- We favour dips and incline presses for chest – dips are a great chest exercise and inclines build the chest higher on the clavicle is my thinking. It has worked well or I have a good chest coincidentally. Either way the philosophy wont change for me. If it is not broke don’t fix it.
- We never do the same workout twice in a row. We have a loose idea of what we are going to do and remain flexible throughout our workout as to what we actually do in any session. No waiting for specific equipment. Keep moving – keep the intensity up whatever we do.
- Currently I don’t own a mobile phone – We NEVER take phones to the gym. Don’t get me started on this one. Our gym is full of misguided machine hoggers on phones between sets for minutes on end and going nowhere. I think the biggest obstacle to progress in gyms in the 21st century is the mobile phone and the biggest obstacle to developing social capital is headphones stopping the chance of any meaningful social interaction or melding with the environment. I remember gyms before phones and headphones and they were far better places – more human. Technology is killing humanity and we seem oblivious to it’s creeping destructive power.
- I will help anyone that asks but I will never give a stand to guys on an ego trip and lifting too much. I politely decline as they are after an audience and I am not playing that game. There are genuine exceptions and I can spot the difference a mile off.
- We always consider the flow of the gym when we workout. For instance we wouldn’t super set using 2 pieces of equipment if it was too busy. Plainly if everybody did that the gym would grind to a halt. We are aware people copy (loosely) what we do and try to be mindful of that responsibility. My observation is that in the last 40 years gyms have become more narcissistic with trainers not considering other trainers. Due mainly to a basic ignorance of gym etiquette and common sense. There was once a well developed gym culture but that seems to have eroded into it being a tool to get what you want but even tools suffer from neglect. But, if you have your head up your arse, lost in your headphones or on your phone that is likely to be the case. One has to be present in the moment to appreciate there is a moment. Moments are too precious not to be present for them.
- We always put the weights we use away and strip off any weights we load up. Sometimes I think we are the only ones. We often have to clear an area before we can work properly. This is another of my annoyances. If you do this? Put your damn weights away – keep the environment a pleasant one to train in. I watched a guy complain about the mess of the gym every morning for weeks and then walk away from a leg press machine leaving 400 kilos on it. I rest my case.
- We always show up – never missing sessions and never going through the motions. With 24 hour gyms there are no excuses. Actually, there are plenty of excuses but none are valid.
- If we see somebody that is obviously new we always say hello and try to make them feel more at ease. Gyms can be intimidating places for those new to them.
- You must be thinking being grumpy is another of my habits. It is not but caring about the demise of standards across our world is a major concern – so maybe being a grump? Guilty as charged. But lets be open – Manners cost bugger all and they are in increasingly short supply from my daily observations.
I have shared just a few of my habits – there are many more, you will have many also. In closing I would like to suggest that we all try to get back to the gym being a place where everyone knows your name and it is a place to develop character and minds as much as it is for developing bodies. A place to unite with others in a common cause. This may seem like a Utopian wish but if we lose this in our practical lives it will fester as a symptom of the growing inhumanity we witness across the world on a daily basis. Fighting separation and encouraging unity is the only way forward. MORE US AND LESS THEM!