Adam Piggott

Gentleman adventurer

The Sunday lifting thread – Your routine.

Since I returned to full time work this year I’ve been struggling with my gym routine. The previous couple of years were easy; I went to the gym on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. That was it, no discussion, no hint of decision in the process. Which is why it went so well because I removed the ability to decide from the equation. This led to success.

I realised this after reading a post from Ace on the subject this week.

The big Failure Point of any workout routine is, of course, simply deciding if you’re going to work out or not. If you’re making that decision each time you might or might not work out, you’re going to fail, you’re going to choose “nah,” 50% of the time or more.

But once you have the habit of just doing it M-W-F or whatever, that decision point is largely gone. You’re not deciding whether or not to do it; you just do it, because that’s what the schedule says.

So eliminating that Failure Point by just getting into a schedule and treating the schedule as more-or-less inviolable removes all those many, many chances of failure.

Once you’re not making the decision if you’ll work out or do IF today, you just do it. The decision gets taken out of the decision loop.

Mostly. Obviously you’re gonna have some really bad days where you just say “Eff it.”

For the last few months I haven’t had a strict routine. It drifted away due to the combination of work and renovating our recently purchased house. The first stage of the reno is more or less done so I don’t have that problem. But the M-W-F routine is too much for me with the work thing on top of it.

I’ve been experimenting with the weekend days and I’ve come to the conclusion that Sunday is just not possible at all. I need a day where I don’t have any commitments at all. Even doing this weekly Sunday thread is almost too much of a commitment for me after the previous 6 days in the week, (so you should all be feeling lucky, punks.)

Saturday is a definite yes though. The gym opens at 9am on Saturday so I’ll hit it when the doors unlock. After that I’ll go straight out and do the big weekend grocery shop and then the rest of the weekend is mine to do with as I please.

That just leaves 2 days during the week. I’m thinking Tuesday and Thursday. I know that these are going to be tough with work but the truth is that any week days are going to be hard. Life is hard. I just need to bite the bullet and hit it and stop the damn whinging. More than anything I need to get back to that routine where the choice of whether to go to the gym or not is not on the table.

There’s 2 years of gains there that I can’t waste. So back to a routine it is.

Although I’m going to Italy next weekend so that’s going to fuck things up just a little bit.


The Lombok Lodge earthquake appeal.


“‘People are bad. People are evil.’ I don’t buy it.”


  1. Daniel Isenhood

    Another good blog, Adam.

    Routine can be very difficult to maintain when you are focused on and enjoying work and home maintenance. Its also disastrous when you’re feeling overwhelmed and weakened by your predicament

    Here’s what works for me; Alarm goes off at 5.05 am and its ZERO negotiation with my own mind. Don’t let the sleepy wimp in us all win the argument.

    Also, nothing focuses the routine like either; a) A good reliable training partner, and or b) A contest or specific goal and deadline.

    Nothing new here, but its part of the effort for consistency.

  2. David Moore

    Dan John has a good philosophy of the minimum-minimum, the lowest workload you operate with to maintain a reasonable level of condition, for him it was something like, squat, turkish getup, KB swings, once or twice a week.

  3. papastanley

    I started at the gym but then got the shits with when it was open or closed. Stump up and buy a home Power rack and press bench and get a bar and some weights. I made my (mini) power rack myself and scavenged a press bench from the tip shop. Sometimes I workout late at night even, after the kids have crashed.

    • papastanley

      accidentally hit send – one thing I wanted to say was to be reasonable about training to failure when you’re training solo – I had to get out from under a failed bench press this week and it wasn’t much fun at 62.5kg. Better to slowly overload, or even jsut train at a plateau until it’s well easy at your upper limits to keep things safe In my opinion. Love to the missus 😉

      • Adam

        That’s why I chose a gym that has safety bars on the bench presses. You should be training your bench presses inside your power rack.

        Also, in the new digs there is no room whatsoever for a gym set-up. Which is okay because I like working out surrounded by other serious lifters.

  4. Stephen Ippolito

    Great post about an important subject, Adam.

    Some of us – and just about everyone following this site, just instinctively “gets” the truth behind the old saying: “mens sana incorpore sano”.
    You just can’t explain it to someone who doesn’t get it so don’t bother to try.Their loss; their diminished manhood.

    As students of our own European history we know and must always keep in mind that the great Greek philosophers taught their lessons to young men at the gymnasium while they were exercising.The two worlds were just understood to complement each-other. A shame we lost that.

    Once one understands the importance of a strong, fully-actualised body to manhood itself then lifting just automatically, by default, becomes an almost everyday thing – and for life.

    Once that is understood it is just like eating and drinking: you don’t decide to take up these things – you just do. Sure, some days you’ll do it less or not at all due to business or fatigue or illness but you don’t sweat it- same as eating and drinking. You’ll also skip those activities occasionally for the very same reasons but you know that you’ll be back to the iron before long.

    And if the sheer philosophical element isn’t motivation enough to incorporate lifting into your life as a permanent fixture, then there’s always the ego-feeding positive feedback that just seems to flow to a man with a v-taper in an obese soy-boy world.

    At 58 I still average, about twice a year, being approached by young late teen/twenty something girls while I’m standing in lines or seated at a cafe and being asked if I’m a personal trainer and can they train with me. Great for the motivation. (As the great Australian 70’s rock-band, Skyhooks taught us:”‘Ego is not a dirty word”, gentlemen).

    Such things never happened when I was wasting my teenage years running cross-country and was just a giant head on top of a thick pair of legs – with no chest.

    Lifting truly is the best sport in the world.

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