I have been battling lethargy the last couple of weeks. My schedule has been so full of bank visits, meetings, and research that mustering the energy for a good workout – let alone a week’s worth of programmed sessions – has been almost impossible. Part of it is due to what feels like an onset of exhaustion more mental than physical: I haven’t really had a day off in a long time, so my brain hasn’t been able to recharge. Most days the thoughts spinning around in my skull are too numerous and too hectic for me to get a grasp. Although Headspace has been helpful in calming down, I’m still trying to get enough of a grip on the days to follow the program I’ve been playing around with for almost six months.

Instead of being frustrated at how little I’ve accomplished physically, I’ve decided to start making things more manageable. My goal is to complete four to six short workouts a week – ten to twenty minutes of focused, high-intensity effort. To do this, I keep my chosen exercises to a maximum of four and my rest periods only up to ninety seconds. Some days it’s ten sets of pull-ups and push-ups. Others it’s fifteen minutes of kettlebell swings, split jumps, and hanging leg raises. Once I was so lazy that I just decided to see how quickly I could finish a hundred kettlebell front squats.

The nice thing about these unplanned sessions is that while I haven’t exactly set new personal records and don’t expect to do so, I still manage to feel like I’m doing something good for myself. I’ve managed to hold onto a fair amount of muscle, and kept my body fat from spiraling out of control due to the stress eating I’ve been giving in to. My energy levels are brought and kept up, my appetite feels healthy, and I get a decent night’s sleep most of the time.

It isn’t perfect by any reasonable standards, let alone my exaggerated ones, but I’ve spent most of the last year learning to be okay with “enough”. And as I’ve preached often enough – especially to a close friend who has been having much the same problem – what matters is not that you don’t stop, but that you’re able to keep moving forward bit by bit.




30x 4-way JJ

3 rounds:

5x Jump Squat

10x TRX Row

15x Push-up


10-1x alternating ladders

Burpee Pull-up

Ring Row

10m Farmer Carry @ 2x28kg per rung

Additional Work

4 sets / 90s rest:

10x One-arm Bent-over Row @ 35/45/50/55#

3 sets / 60s rest:

10x Curl @ 2×25#

10x TRX W-Fly



  • Burpee pull-ups suck. It is still amazing to me that someone looked at both exercises separately and said, “Gee, I bet these would go great together!” Still, I find them an excellent conditioning tool, particularly on back/pulling focused days like this. 
  • Assistance work like curls, raises, and flys have been appearing more and more in my workouts. Part of it is trying to bring up body parts I feel are lacking in function and aesthetic, while another part is curiosity about the overall effect on my performance. Mostly I have been enjoying how they add to the feeling of achievement after each session: by giving extra work to the smaller muscles while the exhausted bigger ones rest, I have a much more complete sense of effort. 

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