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A while back I wrote an article defining what I consider to be the “Four Ts” that define and describe the process of continued and consistent progress in fitness.

And I’m still solidly behind this idea.  The system forces a trainee to confront the big questions each and every one of us (yes, me included) have to confront and continually reassess in order to push progress.  This much I know to be true: success in the health, wellness and fitness arena hinges on honest reflection and serious process and system revision.

Simply stated, if you’re trying to get from point A to point B, you have to have a system in place that allows for continual analysis of where you are now, and what you need to do now to correct course.  This is paramount to on-going success and goal acquisition.

A simple and age-old idea, yes.  Yet, few do this in the health, wellness and fitness arena.  And I think it’s because such a process (easy as it is) has never really been defined.

Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself. – Leo Tolstoy

The fifth T

This system of Four Ts worked wonders for me personally, as well as my clients.  Upon further reflection on this process, though, it seemed to me that another “T” needed to be added to the list, something that I’ve come to refer to as “trademark”, or that which uniquely defines each and every one of us, in a physiological sense.  “Basecamp” is how I’d loosely defined this concept in the past, and every trainee needs to know what his is.  For example, are you a tall, thin ectomorph, with a scant percentage of fast twitch fiber?  Or are you rather a mesomorph with great muscle insertion points and advantageously-scaled levers?  Because such traits will define what the bulk of your training ought to center around.  And notice I said “center around” — exclusivity is not the right track, here.  For instance, my “trademark” (or basecamp) is repeated, (relatively) short-duration power bursts.  The very thing that defines HIIT and HIIRT modalities.

I try to hang-out in the center of the power output bell curve

Of course, this doesn’t mean that I never venture outside of those constructs.  The very definition of power is the intersection of speed and force, and so ballistic/plyometric training and raw strength work (especially with the ARXFit equipment) can be found in my training mix, alongside some classic, look-good-nekkid, bodybuilding work.  I might even concentrate on a certain aspect for a while — basic gymnastics, say; kettlebell work or Oly lifts — but always with an eye toward returning to my “trademark” for the long-haul.

This, by the way, is what I define as waving and weaving.

And you might wonder what place such a parameter as trademark (or temperament, for that matter) would even have in an on-going evaluation/reevaluation system? I mean, these qualities are “fixed”, are they not?  Rather hardly defined by one’s genetic hand?

Alas, they are not.  I’ve seen wholesale changes in diet and lifestyle “alter the wiring” as it were, of a previously self-proclaimed hard gainer.  I’ve seen the timid become powerful and fierce.  These are real changes, and as those changes occur, alterations and adjustments to the overall system need to be made.

Perform.  Assess.  Course correct. Perform.  Reassess. Course correct. Perform…

It sounds so simple.  In fact, it is simple.  Yet so few do it.  Because, I believe, that until now there has never been an adequate template.

So let’s take a quick look at the new “Five Ts for fitness”

Time – how much are you willing to invest, per week and per day?
Tools – what equipment/facilities do you have available to you?  A full-blown S&C facility, or nature’s playground?
Temperament (tenacity, intensity) – for instance, are you more wood, fire or water?
Techniques – Oly lifts?  Gymnastic moves?  Can you pull off a devastating set of JReps?  Can you effectively mix and match modalities, rep schemes, and tempos?  Are you simply painting by numbers, or are you an artist?
Trade Mark (base camp) – Ectomorph?  Mesomorph?  Ox, or gazelle?  John Henry, or Jack Be Nimble?

Of course, an entire tome could be written with these simple breakouts as chapters.  But you get the idea.  Think of the scales of justice — on the one hand is the Five Ts, and in the other, one’s ultimate goal.  The scales have to balance.

Now juxtapose the “Five Ts” idea against the short clip below.  Whatever your opinions regarding Arnold Schwarzenegger, it’s tough to negate the tremendous amount of work and dedication that he personified over many difficult years, and towards many diverse ventures.  His achievements were not born of mere accident, nor were they simply a consequence of steroid use.

He may not have called his system of constant analysis/re-analysis the “Five Ts”, but you can believe this is exactly what he was doing, whether he was chasing the Mr. Olympia title, acting, or the governorship of California.

Heal thyself, hone thyself, change the world –

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