Mar 29, 2022
Training means you have a script or program that you follow,
but whether by your choice or life circumstances, you may have to
or want to go off script. So, if you're a novice and have to or
want to go off script, how do you navigate the potential
difficulties and tradeoffs of going off script?
21:53 RIP Papa Reynolds
24:53 Off Script as a Novice Lifter
As a novice, you can progress quickly. For strength, this means
that if you graph your progress of the weight on the bar for your
lifts it will follow a line. This is a simple, hard, and effective
way to train, which lets you build the habit of training, gain
confidence, improve your form, and increase strength and quality of
You cannot always--or may not always want to--follow the script.
Some examples of off script events or activities include:
- sickness or injury
- vacation or business travel
- sports or other physical activities
- powerlifting or strengthlifting meet
- unplanned PR
Different situations demand different adjustments, and it's
better to plan for off script events than (e.g. powerlifting meet)
than choose unplanned activities (e.g. unplanned PR) so you can
both prepare and recover appropriately for them.
Consistent "off script" activities will slow your strength
progress, and that's okay. You'll have to adjust your program (so
you'll adjust the script) and adjust your expectations.
If you have a coach and participate in physical activities that the
coach is not programming, communicate with your coach (to the best
of your ability) when, how often, and what those activities are
like. If something unexpected happens (e.g. a BJJ session is much
rougher than expected), let them know.
Vacations and business trips can be planned for, and you'll have to
decide whether you'll train during that period or not. You can
adjust planning before and after (and potentially during), and may
have to take a step back afterwards.
Unplanned PRs can be fun, and for advanced lifters you may develop
a knack for knowing when it's there and take it. For a novice
lifter, you're progressing quickly, so we don't recommend the
unplanned PR...but, if you do it, realize you might have to take a
step back or at least reduce the stress following the PR.
Developing patience can help here.
If you're sick, depending on how sick and what it is, you may still
be able to get into the gym, but might simply take it easy and have
the win being that you got in the gym. If you were really sick, you
may not only have taken off training but might have lost some
muscle if you mostly laid down. Take a step back, and adjust your
mindset--it's a part of life, and you'll get back to (and surpass)
where you were before.
So, training requires a script, that script may need revisions in
advance or on the fly, but to always be off script or revising the
script means you're not really following a script or program at
all, and then you're not training.
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