Last week I released a video of my top 29 fitness tips to live by in 2017. In that video I highlighted how you can get your mind right for the battle of health and wellness in 2017 by introducing HIIT training, myths of increasing metabolism, foods to eliminate from your diet, and if you should do cardio or weights first.
But since writing it, I noticed there are a few flaws - namely:
1) I didn't include much about mobility training or warming up dynamically with movements such as T-Spine Rotations, Supine Bridge with Reach, Karate Stretch, Ninja Push Ups or anything else similar to the functional movement skills that I discuss in detail in the Functional Foundations E-Book with Set For Set.
B) it doesn't cover various nutrition strategies I've implemented over the years like intermittent fasting, carb cycling, and carb loading to shred massive amounts of fat, or Kaizen shopping hacks to ensure you only have what is needed; a surefire way to eliminate waste and increase efficiency.
C) it doesn't include any specific strategy to string together strength training programs for MMA, bodyweight training, functional training, weight training, VO2 MAX, core, agility, reaction, quickness, and power into a perfect program.
So in this quite lengthy and thorough article, I’m going to tell you exactly how I’m going to personally be structuring my own workout program in 2017 to get the ultimate combination of gorilla like total bodyweight strength, mobility and flexibility for MMA, powerful lean muscle development for sport, brain training for motivation, functional and fluid coordination and agility, and beyond!
In case you want things completely outsourced, I also create structured, calendared “done-for-you” training programs that you can download by clicking here.
Let's start with Strength Training.
Strength is a crucial component of a training program, for both males and females (as I discuss in this article )– not just because it sculpts and tones your body while building bone density, mitochondria and even cardiovascular fitness, but because it can be a potent hormonal and anti-aging strategy. My favorite and most effective ways to strength train is to A) Weight Training - lift heavy weight in a structured and controlled manner and/or B) Bodyweight Training - to train with lighter loads to exhaustion.
Most people’s bodies or nervous systems can handle 2-3 strength training sessions per week (that is if you aren't on a 2 body part bodybuilder split ie Chest & Triceps). Below, I’ve included three options for you to include for strength. I recommend you do these sessions on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, which will allow about 48 hours of muscle recovery, adaptation and growth between each strength session.
Strength Option 1: Bodybuilding Routine, free weights (for beginner/intermediate fitness levels or those looking to put on strength and size)
You can substitute free weights such as dumbbells or kettle bells instead of a barbell for any of the exercises.
I would start each workout with the Dynamic Warm up or Functional Foundations (FREE e-book) to prep for the movements but also to get the plyometric and agility work prior to weight training. Science suggest that performing a bit of aerobic exercise before weight training can actually enhance muscle growth  This is also a perfect time to strap on your Elevation Training mask if you are an athlete and want to work on VO2 Max or Hypoxic Training.
Chest & Tri's:
Incline Chest Press 4 sets of 12 reps
Flat Bench Press 4 sets of 12 reps
Dips 4 sets of 12 reps
Skull Crushers 4 sets of 12 reps
Tricep Kickbacks 4 sets of 12 reps
Back & Bi's:
Rows 4 sets of 12 reps
Face Pulls 4 set of 12 reps
Hammer Curls 4 sets of 12 reps
Preacher Curls 4 sets of 12 reps
Legs & Shoulders:
Deadlift 4 sets of 12 reps
Walking DB Lunges 4 sets of 12 reps
Calf Raise 4 sets of 12 reps
3 Way Overhead Shoulder Press 3 sets of 12 reps
Front, Side, Rear Delt Raise Superset (no break, do each exercise consecutively) 4 sets of 12 reps
If you prefer training in the typical way mentioned above, and like mixing it with bodyweight training, take a look at the 90-day BW44 program.
Alternatively, if you are an athlete, or you want something more functional, then perform the strength workout mentioned below M, W, F. If you want to gain a bit of size, I would keep the above strength schedule on M, W, F and sprinkle these workouts once or twice a week in exchange or combine it with above on a Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday schedule.
Strength Option 2: Functional Routine (for intermediate/advanced fitness levels or athletes)
Dynamic Warm-up for 5-10 minutes, preferably with a dynamic warm up routine, functional foundations routine, or anything else that dynamically prepares the body for movement and elevates the heart rate. Again, if you're an athlete, time to strap on that training mask.
Next, choose from the movement list below:
-1 Push Movement
-1 Pull Movement
-1 Leg Movement
-1 Cardio Movement
-1 Core Movement
-1 Total Body Movement
Gradually add weight with each set (if do-able with good form), complete 10-15 repetitions of each movement for 3 rounds. Try to complete the 3 rounds in 30 minutes or less. It's ok if the repetitions decrease as the weight used increases. You'll also notice that this is where we are sprinkling in some speed, power, and agility work.
Cool-down with some foam rolling when complete.
Of course, you can substitute kegs, logs, rocks, kettlebells, sandbags, etc. for most of the equipment below if you’d rather train outdoors like I do in my F3 - Functional Fitness Fast & F3 Black Ops Programs.
- Any of these ladder drills (speed and agility component)
-Suicide Run (as explained in this video)
Full Body/Power Move (this list is not exhaustive, and there may be others that you like:
Alternatively, if you are primarily looking for bodyweight strength for calisthenics or just to balance out your weight training, then perform the strength workout mentioned below.
Strength Option 3: Bodyweight Strength Routine (for beginners, intermediate/advanced fitness levels or athletes)
If you’re an athlete or if you’re someone who simply cares about optimizing their nervous system performance, HIIT or High Intensity Interval Training is a great way to structure your bodyweight strength training.
So, since you’re completing a Weight Training or Functional Strength training routine on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, then on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday you should do some kind of HIIT training. Similar to the strength training routines above, I’ve included below a couple options: one for beginners using less complicated, foundational movements, and one for more advanced exercisers or for a harder day.
Option A: The Ultimate Efficient Body Weight Workout (beginner/intermediate)
You can find complete details and science behind this body weight routine here. Each exercise is to be performed for 30 seconds with no rest in between exercises. Then repeat the entire circuit again from the top.
Technically, one round only takes about 4 minutes, you should attempt to do 5 circuits for a total body 20 minute workout. Use good form on every exercise. Remember, I'd rather 1 good rep than 100 shitty reps.
If you are an athlete, if you are wanting to train more for strength and power, or if the routine above feel simply too simple for you, then do the below routine for this day: “ADV HIIT Routine (for intermediate/advanced)”. Alternatively, if you are already using the more advanced sets but you’re tired or sore today, do the body weight only workout above instead. If you're an athlete, and you're interested in working on your VO2Max Threshold, then I would do the entire bodyweight WOD in the Elevation Training Mask.
Option B: ADV HIIT Routine (for intermediate/advanced)
Some of the listed movements will be completed for reps, some will be done for time.
Alternating Plank Reachers X 10 Reps
Kaizen Mountain Climbers X 1 Minute
Lunges X 15 Each Leg
Box Jumps X 15 Reps
Alternating Plank X 1 Minute
Bodyweight Rows X As Many As Possible
Hindu Push Ups X 10 Reps
Forward Plank X 1 Minute
X 5 Rounds
So far you discovered how to intelligently and properly structure strength, speed and power training into a perfect workout plan. But unless you’re an absolute genetic freak, you’ll need to include additional measures to shred fat, build muscle, fuel your workouts, and keep your brain firing on all cylinders. This is where nutrition comes in.
Intermittent fasting is an extended period without food followed by a designated “window” of time for eating. The typical format is 16 hours without eating followed by an 8 hour feeding window. To put it in “on the clock” terms, a common intermittent fasting protocol would be having your last meal at 7:00pm and then not eating again until the following day at 11:00am. To put it in even simpler terms, you may think of one format of intermittent fasting as skipping breakfast.
What the hell Tee? Skipping breakfast? Most “health experts” will tell you breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Well, Don’t believe the hype until you test it yourself. Everyone is different, and even I use myself as a lab rat to find the best method. What is the worst that can happen with an intermittent fasting experiment? If it’s not working out for you, your fridge is only steps away.
Another common intermittent fasting protocol is to not eat for 24 hours once or twice per week. As an example, if you had your last meal on Saturday at 7:00pm you would not eat again until Sunday at 7:00pm. In my personal experience, the 16/8 regimen works well for me because of my personality (I tend to get REALLY hangry=hungry+angry when I don’t eat) and my regular work schedule. That being said, it sometimes makes more sense for some to fast once per week on an active rest day than using the 16/8 method if the person “must” eat breakfast due to business meetings or other obligations.
Eating in blocks and windows prevents all kinds of bad habits, like the unnecessary night eating (because you ate during the day), or constant snack-eating (which we’re not designed for). Middle-of-the-night eating is notorious for generating unneeded body fat; if you stop eating at 7:00 PM and initiate even a minimal fast of 12 hours each night (eating again at 7:00 AM), watch for the probable difference it will make in cutting unnecessary fat and in how you feel.
Fasting might not be a good idea if you’re taking medication and/or struggling with a chronic medical issue, so make sure to consult a physician in these circumstances before you try intermittent fasting. Because of the difficulty of making wise choices while being inundated with unhealthy pop-culture images of models, actors, and other celebrities whose actual looks have been altered by Photoshop, fasting may also not be a good idea for highly influential young men and women who might seek weight loss as a goal. I believe the goal of intermittent fasting should be metabolic improvements.
Carb loading principles are simple. First you start with the fast. Depending on your goals (fat loss, muscle gain, or maintenance) fasting can last from anywhere between twelve to fifteen hours. Then, you eat one or two meals consisting of approximately a cup of vegetables, accompanied by fats and proteins pre-workout. Post workout, you eat foods like white rice, sweet potatoes, and white potatoes. The science behind it is that it's believed that when we wake, our cortisol levels rise, leading to an appropriate stress response. When we rise, we also get a surge of growth hormone, unless you eat like a typical American and have cereal, toast, or pancakes, which releases insulin into the bloodstream. This insulin effectively switches off our growth hormone production, so our body stops burning fat and starts storing it instead. Furthermore, our bodies are always under constant stress due to training and eating. This activity leads to an increase in IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor), which is a cancer-causing hormone. Fasting allows our body to rest and reduces IGF-1 whilst increasing growth hormone. So, the strategy is to drink a glass of warm lemon juice every night before dinner, abstaining from legumes, wheat, and gluten, fasting for twelve to sixteen hours, and then avoid carbohydrates until post workout the following day. The lemon juice and abstinence helps absorption of nutrients.
In the end, carb loading can help people who:
- Have plateaued
- Struggled with digestion
- Need to kick start fat loss
- Are bored of calorie counting
- Need to fix low testosterone levels
- Have high estrogen levels
- Suffer from adrenal fatigue or high cortisol levels.
Who doesn't want to get lean and build muscle? Well, it's actually easier than you think to get there where you have secret weapons like carb/calorie cycling.
Carb cycling is an eating plan with alternating high-carb and low-carb days, and fasting. It’s that simple. So why do we alternate high-carb and low-carb days in carb cycling? On high-carb days you’re stocking your calorie-burning furnace so that on low-carb days your furnace burns fat. This pattern tricks your metabolism into burning a lot of calories.
Low Carb-High Fat Days
This is how you will eat on non-workout days, or days that you do interval training. Think of it as a fat loss day. On this day, you will not eat any starchy carbohydrates and will limit fruit consumption to just berries and/or apples. Eat a higher amount of healthy fats on this day (nut butters, olive oil, coconut oil, etc.).
Moderate Car-Moderate Fat Days
This is how you will eat on days that you lift weights. Treat this as a day to build a bit of muscle. The first meal after your workout, include two to four palm-sized servings of starchy carbohydrates. Eat a normal amount of healthy fats with each meal (except after your workout). Limit fruit consumption to two servings of fruit.
High Carb-Low Fat Days
I only recommend including this day once per week. This day needs to be treated as a massive muscle-building day. This day will work best on the day that you have your hardest workout (usually heavy lower body lifts, or a full body workout). On this day, eat starchy carbohydrates (two to three palm-sized servings) with every meal after your workout (also known as carb backloading). Feel free to eat as much fruit as you want. Try to workout before 6:00pm. Ingest as little fat as possible this day (take your normal amount of fats from supplements such as fish oil, though).
Why this works?
First of all, this cycle prioritizes fat loss over muscle gain. Why? We want to maximize your control over insulin, first and foremost. You see, insulin is a storage hormone. When there is glucose in the blood, insulin is released to store the glucose as glycogen in either fat, muscle, or the liver. As you start to get leaner, studies show that your body is better at controlling your levels of insulin. This means that it will be easier for you to get leaner while building muscle. In the end, our goal is to get as much glucose stored in the muscle (instead of fat cells) as possible.
It is easiest to control insulin by carb intake. If eaten before a workout, carbs are most likely converted to glucose and stored in fat cells. On the contrary, after a workout they are converted to glucose and used for muscle storage and repair. This, my friends, is your secret weapon.
If you are focused on fat loss, obviously, you need to decrease the total amount of calories you eat per week. For most people, this can easily be achieved by eating no starchy carbs and small amounts of fruit on LCHF days, as well as incorporating full day fasts or intermittent fasting each day.
Below are the extras, such as biohacks and additional helpful movements that will bulletproof your body. I’d recommend you sprinkle these throughout the week. I’ve included the days that I recommend you do these activities in the descriptions below:
You’re going to need the excellent book Functional Foundations to do this properly. It's free at www.setforset.com. Do the movements pre-workout or on an active recovery day. This will take about 5-10 minutes of your training.
During any of the day’s activities for the week, choose 10-15 minutes to practice hypoxia. For example, during the Dynamic Warm Up, or Functional Foundations, you could wear the Elevation Training Mask. Or during the sauna or yoga, you can hold your breath during certain movements. You can even practice breathholds during the last few reps of a weight training exercise.
In addition, during every activity you do in this program, unless 100% necessary (e.g. you are gasping for breath or getting lightheaded), attempt to *only* breathe through your nose using abdominal/belly breathing.
It is highly recommended that you read the book Breathe and the book The Oxygen Advantage to learn how to “biohack” your oxygen levels for better fat loss, more nitric oxide, improved performance, enhanced sleep and more.
Choose one day of the week, preferably Saturday or Sunday, to do a full body foam roller workout. Alternatively, for a bit more rest and relaxation, book yourself in for a 60-90 minute full body massage.
And yes, you get bonus points if you do this routine wearing an elevation training mask (at store.teemajor.com code SERVEOTHERS gives you a 10% discount)
I've relocated to Southern California, and this is a mecca of MMA, BJJ, and Muay Thai studios. I'll be popping in to several studios over the next couple of weeks to determine a good coaching fit. I'm going to mix a day of BJJ and a day of Muay Thai into the routine and increase to 2 days of BJJ, one day of striking after I find my camp.
- Mind Training
- Retrain Your Mind
- Change Your Lifestyle & Diet
- Overcome Overeating
- 15 Reasons to Get Off Your Ass
- 7 No BS Tips To Stay Motivated
- Flip The Switch: Turn On Your Motivation
- 13 Tips For BeastMode
You just learned how to string together mobility, functional training, weight training, power, speed, cardio, bodyweight training, dynamic warm ups, hypoxia, carb loading, calorie cycling, and intermittent fasting to create the perfect workout plan for 2017. If you follow this routine, I guarantee that you will achieve more than ever before this year.
If you would like to access everything I’ve just described in a “done-for-you” calendar format, along with a host of bonus biohacks and massive strength tips that I’ll personally be using in 2017 (such as advanced intermittent fasting, nutrition biohacks, secret strength equipment, etc.) then you can click here to download a training plan I’ve written that lays everything out for you in a daily plan with no guesswork.
Or, if you want to really get serious and have me personally walk you through everything over the next few months, then click here and join my VIP Squad.