The title of this post is actually a quote from the irascible Mike Tyson.

91465-Mike-Tyson-quote-everyone-has-96KdNow, Iron Mike may no doubt be as crazy as a shit house mouse, but there’s a hell of a lot of wisdom in that “punched in the face” statement.  And I don’t even care if the original saying can be attributed to him or not.  In fact, I’m quite sure it can’t.  But the fact that a version of it has been credited to him lends it some serious heft.

But there’s more to the story, of course; the Yin to that statement’s Yang.  For that, we turn to General Dwight D Eisenhower’s

In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable

I’ve long held the juxtaposition of these two ideas as the raison d’etre for my Five Ts methodology.  Failing to plan is planning to fail, no doubt; to be truly optimal, though, is to be adaptable.  Immediate and long-term adaptability, in fact, is what makes our species the formidable contender that it is.  Now hubris may indeed eventually sink us all.  But our ability to scrap game plans (no attachment!!), make halftime adjustments and rally, even against overwhelming odds, may net us a come from behind, 4th quarter win.

Okay, enough of the football analogy.  And slightly tangental here, but you’ll see where I’m going with this in just a moment…

I’ve been putting the finishing touches on an ebook version of The Five Ts for the past few weeks.  It’s a fully fleshed-out version of the original post, and It’ll go out (at least initially) free to newsletter subscribers once it’s wrapped-up and ready to roll.  After that, who knows.  Maybe I’ll sell an Amazon version that will fund my expat existence on the ol’ Nicaraguan coconut farm.  Ha!  😉

At any rate, I’ve been working on these ideas for a while now — the juxtaposition of planning and adaptability, and the at least seeming irony of that overlap.  Then, out of the blue (and very serendipitously, I might add), my good friend and Efficient Exercise partner, Skyler Tanner, clues me in to this post, from Vern Gambetta.

I highly, highly encourage you to read that post.  Essentially what Vern is commenting on is the folly of the periodization model.  Not that periodization doesn’t work — it does! — but only for a limited subset of highly trained athletes.  Namely, specialized athletes.  And even more to the point: drug-taking, specialized athletes.  Those who can afford to devote an inordinate amount of time to not just training, but fueling and recovery as well.  Those who can afford to silo even their personal lives from the rest of the world happily going on around them.  Because for the periodization model to work, all external variables have to be nullified.

Not that I’m a Debbie-downer on totally devoting one’s life for an athletic goal.  I’m not; to each his own.  And just for the record, I’m not at all judgmental about drug use; I’m anything but.  However, if you’re a non-drug taking athlete attempting to emulate the training regimens of  your PED-enhanced brethren, you’re in for a rude awakening.  And you you should know, too, that there is a massive difference between types of athletic endeavors.  Track & field and Olympic lifting events have far less “game day variance” than, say, football, rugby or Crossfit competitions.  And that variance has to be accounted for in training.  Which is to say that the training for those sports, by necessity, has to be more varied and less pinpointed.  The more variables to plan for, the less control you have on the system.  Less control means less day-to-day predictability…

…and the more you’ll need to Autoregulate.

So yeah, by all means, know your latitude, and plan according to “season”.  Have a good idea of what you want to accomplish in each “season”, then sketch out what that will look like week-to-week.  Hell, even day-to-day if you like.  But then, you’re going to need to be ready to go all Ike on those plans.  And if Ike were an S&C coach, he’d autoregulate.


And if he were just a regular brochacho, looking to stay healthy, happy, and as swole as possible given his limited available gym time, he’d damn sure autoregulate.  And he’d Five T, too, because he was was for sure tough.. but he was a smart sum’bitch as well.

The week in workouts

Here we go, in reverse order:

A1) sprints to 2x drop-off. Approximately 8 in total. Full recovery between rounds. Final 5 rounds:
5.01 (best)
5.03 (first miss)
5.01 (tie best)
5.05 (second miss)

A2) 30 muscle-ups on pull up bar

A1) RDL/BOR combo: 135/5, 185/5, 235/5, 5, 5
A2) floor press: 135/7, 185/5, 235/5, 5, 5
A3) ARX Leg Press x 2 (3 working rounds)

RDL/BOR combo?  I demo some at about 1:38 of this video.

hang cleans: 125/5, 175/5,5, 205/7 singles (stop at loss of “snap”)

A1) Russian Leg Curl; 7, 7, 7, 7
A2) cossack squat: 31 lbs/10, 10, 10, 10
A3) Behind the neck push press: 145/5; 175/5, 195/5, 5, 5 (stop at loss of “snap”)

A1) front squats: 135/5, 5; 165/5; 185/5, 215/3, 235/3, 3, 3
A2) chins (trapeze): bw/5, 7; 45/5, 5, 5, 5, 5

A1) power cleans: 135/5, 5, 165/5, 195/3, 205/3, 215/2, 2, 2
A2) ARX Flat Press single (3 rounds worth), then fold in floor press at 215/5, 5, 5.  Autoreg ARXFit flat press, then floor press for added volume.


In health, fitness and ancestral wellness –




  1. This post lead me back to your long essay on autoregulation and the APRE protocol. That covered most of my questions about how to do that. But one remains: how do you handle rest intervals.? If you don’t rest much between the 3rd and 4th set, there should be a considerable fall off in the number of reps you can do, since the third set was taken to failure. So is it implicit in this that you rest long enough to mitigate the effects of fatigue on the rep count for the autoregulated set? Is there a way of autoregulating if you are interested in training with abbreviated rest intervals between sets?

    • Great question, Craig.

      Essentially, the rest interval between sets needs to be established ahead of time and is yet another variable that needs to be manipulated according to the desired training effect. In other words, if you look at my workout logs, you’ll see a number of different deadlift “maxes”. Some of which are paired exercise dependent (deadlifts/dips), rest period dependent (full recovery, OTM, ect). Another great example is sprints. There is a big difference between 60 yard sprints with full recovery between, and those run with 60 secs recovery in between. Both are effective for different reasons, of course.


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