Be Real: Energy Management

This is my first blog in about a month; in March my writing habit took a back seat to production. I broke the chain of my everyday writing that I’ve kept up since January 1st. I’m okay with that, and like the topic of this post (training); it was a conscious attention-shift out of necessity of the tasks at hand.

The more things you try to do with 100% energy and focus, the more you will suck at them.

Learning how to prioritize has been a critical element of my development on a personal and professional level, and while I’m certainly no master, I’m figuring out what works well for me, and that enables more peace of mind, more focus, and more energy.

Me during pre-production, except not really

In the last two weeks, I produced and acted in 4 total days of filming my original webseries, Asher (we have about one more day to film). Those 4 days were the culmination of many, many months of work, and the days in between those 4 days were full of last minute producing errands, buying props, going to meetings, writing endless emails and texts and other not-glamorous, time and energy consuming stuff, on top of my regular day job’s (personal training/remote training) workload. My own training took a back seat.

That was a conscious decision. I’m learning that these days, I am an all or nothing lifter. I want to be able to go absolutely brutally HAM, or not at all. I haven’t trained since last Wednesday. I think I may train tonight, and if not then definitely tomorrow. Whatever, I’m not worried about it.

New LinkedIn pic?

One week off from training 4-5/week won’t kill you, and it might be great for your training. I also timed my break/deload pretty well, I’m obviously not in the middle of a planned contest ramp up (although that is likely coming soon). Sometimes you need to ride the fatigue roller-coaster of hell, sometimes you need to get off.

If you’re a TOTAL beginner, avoid breaks. You aren’t strong enough and don’t have enough of a muscle base; you need to keep forward momentum to adapt and grow muscle. The work in your training isn’t as taxing as that of someone who has been training for 10+ years. If you only train 2-3 times a week, avoid long breaks; because you’re not getting as much stimulus anyway (unless of course when you do train, you train like an absolute maniac – on that note though, nothing I am saying should be taken as an absolute, these are my own observations). There are so many independent variables at work that it is impossible to make hard rules about these things.

There was a time where I would not skip a training day unless I was close to physically incapable, I would train through feeling like absolute shit, in part because of what I mentally get from training; not even because I was worried about back-sliding. Training was part of the psychological structure of my days, and I really needed that consistency to feel good. That’s still true, but now I’m a quality over quantity kinda gal. I want to leave the gym feeling like I left absolutely nothing behind.

Currently, my life demands a level of high-energy engagement with SO MANY moving pieces, that I have chosen to de-prioritize training a little bit during the peak of production frenzy. I know once filming is wrapped, things will go back to normal and I will be able to claim time for several 2+ hour sessions a week as my schedule returns to normal.

My current training-approach, which is essentially gathering as much energy as possible and completely ripping my face off for 2-3 hours, is not very compatible with what I have had to do the last few weeks. I also underestimated the amount on my plate production wise. Next time production rolls around, I’ll be better prepared, and I might plan so that I can fit in one or two more workouts at an intensity that seems productive. That was not an option this time.

When embarking on new endeavor, it pays to be calculated about how much work you are doing and understanding the demands of said work. This level of film production output is new to me, so it also seemed smarter to just sacrifice lifting temporarily, while I got a handle on how much energy I actually needed (it was a lot).

Some of this also has to do with my current training “age,” I am advanced enough that I can take some time off and suffer very little regression. This was especially true because of the filming time that demanded my physical energy; I wasn’t lying on a beach (hence why I DO train on vacations, something I actually really enjoy) for three weeks. The last day of shooting, I was in probably 70% of the shots, was barefoot and wearing very little in a cold warehouse(so I was moving around a lot to stay warm when not filming), and had to sprint, stunt fall, and sword fight, over the course of 10 or so hours. I was constantly warming up and moving hard. I’m still sore, actually.

As a strength athlete, it’s become very important to me that I go into every session as fresh as possible so that I can absolutely focus on my lifts. There will OF COURSE be times I’m beat up and execute sub-optimally, but I try to minimize that when I can. Whether you are a hobbyist lifter for health, fun, aesthetics, or competition, you will experience times where you have to be tactical about your training. Sometimes more time off for people is really counter-productive and it takes way too long to get back on the gain train (I find this more true of novice -intermediates), and some people (usually very advanced lifters) really need more down time.

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💪PULL YOURSELF DOWN TO PICK YOURSELF UP⛓ . ⛓"PULL DOWN on the bar" is my current favorite back squat cue. It really finally clicked for me; even after having heard it many many many times. I have some scap retraction/midtrap-rhomboid squeeze going on, but mostly I'm gripping the bar hard in my hands and pulling it down into my traps until I feel my lats come to play. . . I do that pull down -before- I unrack. Then I unrack. Then I inhale and push the fuck out of my abs into my belt. Then I pull down again. Then I squat. . . I alternate between a short sharp inhale through the nose AND a mouth breah; the idea being that nasal inhalation is most efficient; problem is I have jacked up nose and can sometimes only inhale through one nostril effectively at a time. So sometimes I gulp air like a drowning man. . Never stop evaluating your technique and working the crap out of it. Extreme focus and effort whenever possible. Sometimes you want to shut your brain off yes, but not when youre trying to ingrain and practice a new skill. . Some squats at 90 kg from yesterday followed by incline dumbbell presses, and shown getting my ass kicked by axle pendlay rows (which were superset w straight arm lat pull downs) while I'm laughing at some @alecjose @paulkostas nonsense. . #ribsdown #tuckuntilyoufeelbuttcheeks #absout #dropdown #squat #strongwoman #strongmantraining #deadlift #axledeadlift #squatforyourdeadlift #useyourtoesandfeet #squatpatterning @andtriana #playyourlife #focusyourwill #moveweight #redcon1

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Last real training from last week

Again, it comes down to your goals, your day to day workload, and how much energy you can really devote to training. For Elite athletes, that means almost everything else may at times take a back seat. For the average person who has man outside work obligations, that might look different. Be honest about what your training demands of you, and what you need from your training.

Okay, I basically wrote this because I needed to write SOMETHING (on a “done is better than perfect” kick right now), but if this resonated with you or you disagree with me on some points, hit me with the comments! I love turning these posts into discussions.

Also,spending two hours writing this made me really excited to train.

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