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When You Don’t Have Time to Build Muscle


April 2, 2020

Time and tide waits for no man.

No one is so powerful that they can stop the march of time.

Yet you still try. "I don't have time... If I just had more time ... I ran out of time."

If you're trying to build muscle and get strong in 2020, and you're busier than a one-legged man in an ass-kicking contest, you're gonna run into this time crunch thing. It's inevitable.

It's happening to me now. I'm trying to balance gym workouts with long walks/hikes in preparation for for my Bataan Death March ruck this March. Walking 6 miles takes two hours and the training plan is moving towards 14 and 15 miles over the next 6 weeks. Literally, I don't have time to fit this in and still do my usual lifting program.

Need a new plan. Forget about managing time better or any of that efficiency crap. That's the wrong angle to attack.

Walking speed can be improved slightly but over varied terrain and with 35 lbs on your back, 3 MPH is about it. Ruck 9 miles, that's 3 hours. It's a given.

So I gotta reduce overall gym time to make it work. I can't spend an hour in the gym 5 days a week.

So here's my plan - OLAD

OLAD can be done in 15 minutes or so. Maybe a little more depending on your warm up but relatively fast when you think about your normal workouts.

And it's super productive if you do it right.

OLAD = One Lift A Day.

When you go to the gym, you've got one objective - to get through a focused effort of just one lift. No more.

Moderate to heavy sets - this is a strength program.

Like anything in fitness (or life), there are many ways to do it (and everything works, pretty much).

I'm thinking about 5 days a week with a Push, Pull, Hinge, Squat and Carry approach. One lift a day.

If you're training 3 days a week, you could do Push, Pull, and a dynamic lift like cleans or KB swings. Or Push, Pull, Hinge. You decide the area focus you want.

Just want the mirror muscles? Maybe bench, rows and overhead press. Push (horizontal), Pull and Push (vertical). This will jack your arms too.

I'm looking for overall conditioning so my approach is full-body. I want to go into the Bataan March light and strong - Lean and Mean.

I'm planning on three, 4 week cycles of OLAD that will bring me right to mid-March.

If you're interested in getting strong in 2020 but not spending a load of time in the gym, consider doing an OLAD type workout with me.

Just hit reply to this email and say "Yeah, OLAD sounds cool" or something to that effect.

True Story:

My first engineering job at Westinghouse in the early 80's had me working with a senior guy named Roy Gioia. He would actually say "Hey, Mark, I know you're busier than a one-legged man in an ass-kicking contest, but ..." then he would ask me to do whatever he wanted me to do. Funny.

Want to do some OLAD training in 2020?

Hit reply and say Yeah!

I am all in on OLAD for the first 12 weeks of 2020.

Mark Fickler

Mark aka The Old Spartan and Over-50 Fitness Savior is a 64 year old coffee guzzling father of five wandering the outdoors around Albuquerque, New Mexico. Mark helps Active Boomers get lean, healthy and strong so they live rewarding, fun lives using his signature 2 Rule Easy Fat Loss training program.

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