Constructive Conversation: Drop It

Chase Erwin: I think we might need to add something to that whole “consistency” talk from before.

Jon Dao: Uh, the one we did a year ago?

CE: That’s right, brother man! No better time than New Year’s, right?

JD: I’m down, but what else would you want to add? Unless… you want to go dark and tell people to give up. I’d actually be okay with that.

CE: Let’s use the word “adapt”. I mean, consistency isn’t just about picking a plan and trying to stick with it.

JD: Yep. Keeping things up can be… hard.

CE: …Right. So when things aren’t working out with working out, what do you do?

JD: Well, one problem of a “never-give-up-no-days-off” New Year’s Resolutioner is pacing. They’re so fired up about jumping into things, but it all becomes about the hustle without the finesse.

CE: So you’re saying the big problem here is speed? That they should slow down?

JD: Not so much the speed itself, but how it comes into play with form. It’s rushing the amount of weight you’re using that’s going to be a mess.

CE: Yeah, we’ve all seen our share of snap city vids.

JD: And it’s not even just that. Injury is an issue, sure, but… Okay, you know how people like to say “Whew, that workout kicked my ass”? They start to chase that kind of intensity each time.

Pushing the pace is a good thing. But they don’t know what’s reasonable.

You don’t prep for a race by running 5,000 miles on day one.

CE: I don’t think anybody’s running 5,000 miles. That’s not what 5K means, Jon.

JD: Well, they should change that because it’s very misleading.

CE: Okay, back to the point here. How can you better sum this up?

Drop the Weight

JD: For the people who aren’t afraid to lift heavy, I’m proud of you. But keep in mind the principle of progression. Just because you’re able to use a 40 lb dumbbell on the first set that doesn’t mean that should’ve been your starting weight. It might turn out that’s the weight for your third set. And then, one day, you’ll hit the gym and get stuck on your very first set. You’ll get frustrated with yourself…

CE: And never be heard from again.

JD: Basically.

CE: A reminder to adjust the weight is good, man. I think anytime you’re feeling frustrated with your workout– whether you’re a beginner or not– can be a good time to step back and re-evaluate.

JD: I think the big kicker that lets people push past the frustration is craziness. I mean, looking back at how I started my first serious trek… I was spending hours and hours at the gym and trying to hit every single machine that was available.

CE: That’s a lot of volume. And how many were you trying to hit per machine?

JD: I don’t even remember. Probably just going til failure.

CE: Johnny boy! I kind of love it, but like we were saying before: you got to watch out for frustration. Having a ridiculously high volume of moves to hit can seem like a chore.

Drop the Volume

CE: With any routine, you always want to be open to changing the reps and sets. 5×5 and 3×10 ain’t magic. If the second set of 10 reps is killing your drive to hit the third, don’t get caught up in that build.

JD: Yeah, the numbers are just a means to an end.

CE: Remember that it’s the quality of the reps, not the quantity that really matter.

JD: Oh, that’s a good line. Hang on, let me tweet that.

CE: You good?

JD: Yeah.

CE: Okay.

JD: Here’s something that might be a little controversial.

CE: Hit me.

Drop the Exercise

JD: You were saying what really matters. I’d argue that even though we have some moves that are the “king of all exercises”, you don’t really have to hit them. There’s always the option to make use of an alternative.

CE: Oh, you going to advocate skipping leg day then, huh?

JD: Hah! Not the entire day itself, but plenty of the big compound lifts are intimidating. Squats especially. And sure, nothing is going to “beat” the squat. You’ve gone on record that you wish you would’ve squatted earlier. And yeah, I wish I would’ve taken squatting more seriously at the beginning.

But if squats are just that intimidating that they might kill your drive to workout altogether? Just do the freakin’ leg press then.

CE: I get what you’re saying. You should still squat though.

JD: What else is there?

Drop the Time

CE: There’s something to be said about putting time into the gym. You don’t have to be putting away hours upon hours. You can be here, there, everywhere without any real focal point.

JD: Just with the reps, sets, and weight, there’s no real magic number.

CE: You’d be way better off trying to hit more days a week with shorter intervals.

JD: I think this happens because people do want to make daily habits. Daily habits take way more time to stick though.

CE: Worry less about trying to do something everyday and focus more on making the time you do spend more effective. Look, all I’m saying is… if you’re the type of person who hates working out to begin with, you’ve fallen off the bandwagon too many times, don’t workout six days a week!

Enjoy the back and forth? Got a topic you’d like to see the Architects discuss? E-mail us your ideas: aoabbu [at]

One thought on “Constructive Conversation: Drop It

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