Keeping training productive on little sleep

I’m still finding my way with my current exercise schedule. As I mentioned in my last training post, sleep is quite bad at the moment. It is getting better but day-to-day I’m still dealing with a pretty hefty sleep deficit.

This means that exercise sessions of around an hour feel hard to recover from. 45 minutes is ok sometimes, but it really depends on what I have been doing. I’ve been trying to find a way to arrange everything so that I feel like I’m being productive and am doing something most days, but not leaving myself exhausted in the process.

Luckily Tom Furman recently posted a programme he calls the Isaac Hayes template which gives a great solution. It breaks the days up into a cycle of hard, medium and easy, with a short session each day.

I’ve been using it for a couple of weeks now, running through the cycle twice in a week from Sunday-Friday with a rest on Saturdays.

It’s been working well. The sessions are easy to recover from and sticking with the principles of hard, medium, easy has stopped me worrying about fitting everything into this training session and this week. Instead:

  • Two days a week I work on strength
  • Two days I improve movement and plug any gaps
  • Two days a week I do something restorative
  • And one day I rest and play

As mentioned in Tom’s post: you will not become super-advanced in anything training this way, but instead:

“It’s training for life. You avoid boredom, don’t get overtrained and maintain balance. This truly encompasses the idea of being process oriented vs goal oriented. Show up and do it. The more you show up, amazingly, the better you get. The intensity is built on a base of consistency.

Consistency I can do, it’s the per-session intensity/volume I’m struggling with. So I’ll just show up on a regular basis and see where it takes me.

Here’s how I group everything together. All sessions are done in around 30mins. I will change exercises every 3-4 weeks, but may be a bit more random with the medium days.

Heavy – either 3-5 reps very-hard, or 6-10 reps fairly-hard

  • Gymnastic rings/Muscle ups
  • Dips
  • Push up varieties
  • Chin up varieties
  • Headstand push ups
  • Rope climbing
  • Gymnastic static holds
  • Pistols
  • Natural leg curls
  • Heavy KB swings

Medium – multiple planes of motion, mobility

  • KB timed sets (lighter weights)
  • Powerclub swinging
  • Florieo/capoeira conditioning
  • Prasara yoga
  • Handstands
  • Bridging
  • Postural stuff with bands – pull aparts, good mornings
  • Kettlebell farmers walks
  • Extra ab work

Light – aerobic, stretching

  • Easy running
  • Crawls
  • Light yoga
  • Stretching
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