Intuitive training is something that I do and something that I encourage in my clients to a lesser degree. The degree to which I encourage this for each client depends on their goals and fitness experience. Regardless, it plays some role in the process.
As long as some sort of mental framework is in place for what goal are and how to reach them is in place, intuitive training can work for almost anyone. For me, I know what my goals are and have the knowledge and experience for how to reach each goal.
The Basic Framework
A basic framework is simply a rough idea for how to approach a training program in an intuitive manner. There has to be something in place, even if not on paper. For me, this is often in my mind, but right now I do have something “on paper,” so to speak.
But before we get there, we have to talk about my goals.
My Fitness Goals
Any program begins with goals. Without a set of goals, we cannot target specific areas that will work toward an end results.
Goals + plan + consistent work = progress
My goals are fairly simple: keeping improving in the various categories of fitness, which are: strength, conditioning, skill, and mobility. These are the main categories for a reason, and anything else can be bulked under these categories. I can go over that in a different post, so keep your eyes out for that.
My goals for each category are:
Strength: maintain basic movements such as pressing, squatting, and hinging, while improving other movements such as farmer walks, handstands, and unilateral work.
Conditioning: continue to improve the overall amount of work I can complete in any period (this is very broad, but that is okay in this instance).
Skill: build/improve new skills such as the strict muscle-up, cartwheels, and farmer carries, while maintaining other movements such as pressing, running, and ring rountinues.
Mobility: maintain overall mobility (my mobility is very acceptable)
Pretty simple, but this gives us goal set from which we can build.
The Training Plan
I train twice per day Monday-Friday and once per day on Saturday and Sunday. This equals 12 sessions per week. I enjoy getting active this many times per week, find it helps mentally, and find that splitting my workload into a higher number of shorter session per week equals less soreness and fatigue overall.
My training split for my first session each day is as follows:
- Sunday: run, clean, jerk
- Monday: run, farmer carry, overhead press
- Tuesday: run, snatch, overhead squat
- Wednesday: run, deadlift, front squat
- Thursday: run, getup, l-hang, pull-up
- Friday: run, front lever, back lever, skin the cat
- Saturday: run, any lunge, squat, press, rotation, unilateral work
The second session for any given day focuses on the following: muscle-up, handstand, cartwheel, movement.
Let us talk about the first session.
The First Session
For the first session, the type of movement largely dictates how I approach. For example, on Sunday, the run, clean, and jerk are basic movements I want to maintain. I am not looking to push load here.
In contrast, on Monday, the run is something I want to maintain, but the farmer carry is something I want to improve, and for now, the overhead press is something I want to work on improving.
On Mondays, I seek to only do work that will maintain my current level of ability for the movements, whereas on Monday’s I do work that will improve the farmer carry and overhead press.
This means that Sunday will generally be a lower intensity session compared to Monday. It is easier to maintain something than it is to improve something, and I need to put more effort into Monday for that reason.
Volume and loading vary based on what I think will help me improve at any given period. Right now, I put more volume into the areas in which I want to improve versus the areas I want to maintain. This may mean sets, reps, distance, or another metric, such as time.
The farmer carry is a good example of a movement that gets more volume overall. I vary the type of work I do for the carry, such as short but heavy carrie, moderate weight carried over medium distances, and lighter weight for longer distance.
For context, I may do the same number of sets and “reps” for the clean that I do for the carry, but the time under tension is far different, which pushes the intensity up.
For example, imagina I do 5 sets of 1 rep for the clean and for the carry: the time under tensions is far longer for the carry. Any single rep for the clean last a few seconds. A single “rep” for a cary may last two minutes.
I share this because it give you an idea of how the intensity and volume are different.
Let us talk about the second session
The Second Session
The second sessions revolves around gymnastics movements, which specific standouts and a more general approach. The standouts are:
These are the standout movements as each is a precursor to other more complex movements and the chaining together of movements. In my experience, becoming better at these movements will make any less movement easier and will help build more difficult movements.
These are the basics that should always be in place.
Think about it like this:
You need to be able complete a muscle-up to get to the top of the gymnastics rings. The better you get this, the easier it is to get to the top of the rings. At the same time, the strength you build by completing and improving your strict muscle-up will transfer into other movements above and below the rings, such as lever and planches.
The same idea applies to why the handstand and cartwheel are basics, but the specifics for each differ compared to the muscle-up.
I include each of these movements multiple times per week. The exact frequency and volume varies based on how I feel and how workouts have been going.
General movement is anything lesser than these movements. For example, back rolls, frog, pistols, bear, etc. These “lesser” movement patterns still matter in general movement—and in general fitness—but are not the “big” movements that are going to move me onto more complex movement patterns.
Like with the first sessions volume varies based on movement type, and other factors such as how I feel.
Intuitively Approaching the Week
Using the knowledge base in my head, I look at each week ahead and determine what I need to do to keep seeing progress. I know how different types of volumes work, what intensities should used where, mechanical breakdowns of movements patterns, etc and constantly analyze what I need to do to maximize time in the gym.
Intuitive training is not just an excuse to do whatever. That is just laziness and poor planning.
As the week of training rolls on, I determine if I need to pull back, push intensity, take a sessions off, etc. Intuitive training necessitates listening to the body and determining when and how to make the sessions and overall training period the most effective at any given moment.
I cannot exactly explain this, because intuitive training is not a simple thing. It is why most newbies or even people with years of experience cannot do it. It is an ingrained skill that takes mindfulness, being able to “listen” to the body, putting ego aside, a knowledge base in the areas practice, and an experience base of how to apply the knowledge.
This works for me. I regularly set PRs, and I continue to see progress overall. I am 175 pounds at 8 percent body fat and can farmer carry 540 pounds, jerk 265 pounds, run a mile in 6:40, complete strict muscle-ups, complete CrossFit workout Murph in the 40s, run distances such as 10 miles in the 8s, and so much more.
And that is it. Have questions? Let me know on social media. You can click the links here, or just look up Nathan DeMetz Personal Training on Facebook and Instagram.
Nathan DeMetz holds degrees in Exercise Science, Business Administration, and Information Technology as well as certifications in strength and conditioning, sports nutrition, run coaching, and other areas. His credentials come from organizations such as Indiana Wesleyan University, Ivy Tech College, Utah State University, and the ISSA College of Exercise Science.
Nathan has 20 years of personal and professional experience in the health and fitness world. He works with people from across the globe, including locations such as Kuwait, Australia, and the USA.
To work with Nathan directly on your personal training goals, contact him today!