Fitness For Filmmakers Part II

MattFilmmaking, Lifestyle1 Comment

Continuing where we left off last time, this is the third post in a series on fitness for filmmakers and business-people. In this post, I explain how to get more fit and healthy and how it can affect your filmmaking positively.

As we discussed in the last two parts, it’s not just a massively important thing for your filmmaking, but for your overall lifestyle and well-being aswell.

WHY EVERY PERSON SHOULD IMPROVE THEIR STRENGTH

If you want to improve you strength levels, put on some muscle, not to mention learn a boatload about weightlifting of all kinds, you need to track down a man called Mark Rippetoe. Rippetoe, the author of Starting Strength among other books, is a rather cantankerous weightlifting coach, who you will no doubt come to see as a king of drill sergent for your training. Rippetoe’s demenor is stoic and bullheaded, but his knowledge in strength and weightraining is undeniable.

As we mentioned last time around, both men and women are able to work with weightlifting without suddenly bulking up into bodybuilders. I have to get that point across, because a lot of people have this fear that they’ll hit the weights and then suddenly wake up the next day as the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man!

As filmmakers and business-people, we must understand the importance of strength. Not strength in the lame, cliched notion of pumped-up, meathead jocks in tank tops bullying geeky librarians in 80s teen comedies. No, I’m talking about practical, useable strength – Functional Strength, as Rippetoe would say.

THE EVOLUTION OF STRENGTH

You see, as humanity has evolved throughout history, with sedentary jobs becoming the norm, physical strength has been pushed aside, but is no less important to our lives.

In some ways, aesthetic appearance now massively outweighs the desire for functional strength – more guys than ever hit gyms all over the world in order to develop the standard showcase muscles like the biceps, chest and abs, whilst disregarding all forms of exercise that improves strength.

Our strength still plays a massive role in our enjoyment and quality of life. Whereas in the past, our strength levels decided the amount of food we consumed and the quality and safety of our shelter, it now determines how well we lives in these luxurious surroundings we have developed over years of technological and scientific evolution.

Make no mistake, our strength levels and body’s conditioning still play a vital role in our overall health, as well as being a big piece of the puzzle in defining our posture and body language. Just because we don’t have to literally fight for our life giving sustenance anymore, it doesn’t make strength an unnecessary part of our daily lives.

So what can you do to get stronger?

– To get strong, you need to lift heavy things. Weights, found most commonly residing in gyms all over the land, are an accessible conduit. Lift heavy weights three times a week and further your strength building with plenty of protein, especially red meat.

– Along with the protein, in general ensure that you take in slightly more calories than you need. The body’s breakdown and rebuilding of muscle relies on protein for its synthesis and strength and muscle gains feast on the extra calories for vital sustenance.

Improving your strength will improve your life. This I guarantee. From a purely aesthetic point of view, an increase in strength precipitates an increase in muscle – that’s a bigger and better looking body, of course.

Strength improvement also helps you in general day to day tasks. Lifting objects becomes easier, posture and body language improve as muscles in the back, neck and legs become properly aligned and your overall health and well-being improves with the addition of extra life-giving testosterone produced by the weightlifting.

LET’S GET DOWN TO IT

In a minute we’re going to talk about some sample workouts. But let’s just clarify a few things first.

If you haven’t already started working out, do it. Make a commitment now to hit the gym and keep on hitting it. Research shows that it takes 27 days to form a habit.

Search on Google and the numbers will be anything from 21-28 days.

Dr Maxwell Maltz, author of the self-help classic Psycho-Cybernetics (it has zero to do with Cyborgs, I’m afraid) speculated that 21 days was the key to forming a habit because it took amputees around 21 days to adjust to the loss of a limb. Therefore, he argued that it takes an average person 21 days to adjust to major life changes.

30 days is often postulated as the answer to habit forming as it’s a nice round number (as well as being a month) that people can design self-development programs around.

Whatever the number is for you, working out is a great way to test your habit forming mettle, as it’s such a pure form of self-development. You raise the weights, reps or intensity day to day and the changes are evident in the mirror and on the scales, not to mention in the way you feel and carry yourself.

Whilst we can’t always test our newly developed inner strength exactly when we want to, we can test the progress of our workouts by hopping on the scales or standing in front of the mirror.

As they say, the mirror doesn’t lie. 🙂

What I’m trying to say is that working out can become not just a life changing process in itself, but also a metaphor for the inner strength that you’re developing throughout the rest of your business and professional filmmaker life.

In this post, I’ve mentioned on more than one occasion the relationship between mind, body and spirit. This is a relationship that wise and highly developed people have been aware of for a long time. It’s time to become aware of this relationship and make it a part of you.

We’re going to get practical and assign three workouts. Working on your strength and musculature using heavy weights and compound movements will have a positive effect on your body composition whether you’re as skinny as a rake, overweight or pretty average.

Here are three workouts for a range of abilities. First, the standard Starting Strength workout:

Note: I’m going to mention the names of exercises here. If you’re not familiar with what the exercise entails, then please Google the exercise and learn its movements. I’m afraid it’s outside the scope of this post to describe how to do the exercises themselves.

Workout A
: 3×5 Squat, 
3×5 Bench Press
, 1×5 Deadlift

Workout B: 
3×5 Squat
, 3×5 Press,
 5×3 Power Cleans

Workouts A and B alternate on 3 non-consecutive days per week.

The first number before the “x” represents the number of sets and the number after the “x” is the number of reps. So 3×5 is 3 sets of 5 reps.

If you need help with any of the lifts, the Starting Strength Wiki is a great resource.

The next workout is ideal for people who’ve maxed out on the standard Starting Strength workout. This is the Bill Starr 5×5 Power Routine. This is taken from the Starting Strenth Wiki and is not my words:

Monday – Heavy Day

Squat – 5 sets of 5
, Bench – 5 sets of 5
, Powerclean – 5 sets of 5, 
Weighted hyperextensions – 2 sets
, Weighted sit-ups – 4 sets

On Monday, the weight for each lift is increased on each set of 5, from a light warm-up to an all out set of 5. For squats, something like 135×5, 185×5, 225×5, 275×5, 315×5. The weight should be increased evenly from your first to last set. If you are working up to bigger weights, say above 500, you can add a sixth set of 5 just to avoid making large jumps between sets. Your fifth set equals the triple from the previous Friday’s workout

Wednesday – Light Day

Squat – 4 sets of 5
, Overhead Press – 4 sets of 5
, High Pulls – 4 sets of 5
, Sit-ups – 3 sets

On light day, Squat the first 3 sets of 5 just as you did on Monday, and then do a fourth set of 5 with the weight used on the third set. An extra fifth set at this same weight can be added.Overhead Press is done using the same scheme, working up to 2-3 sets of 5, but with about 70-80% of the weight flat bench, to accommodate the leverage difference of the incline. High Pulls are done by feel, but usually pretty heavy.

Friday – Medium

Squat – 4 sets of 5, 1 triple, 1 set of 8
, Bench – 4 sets of 5, 1 triple, 1 set of 8, 
Powercleans – 4 sets of 5, 1 triple
, Weighted Dips – 3 sets of 5-8
, Triceps and Biceps – 3 sets of 8 each

On Friday, the first four sets are the same as they were on Monday. The fifth set, done for three reps, should be a jump of about 2.5% over what you did for your fifth set on Monday. As you become more experienced with the system, you can experiment with the weight you use on this triple. This should NOT be a PR triple attempt every week.

In fact, the goal is to come back the following Monday and get the same weight for 5 reps that you got for 3 reps the Friday before. To avoid missing reps, pick weights carefully. Take it easy the first few weeks, and don’t over do it. In fact if you’ve tested/already know your 5 rep maxes you shouldn’t be using that weight until the 4th week. After the big triple, drop back to the weight you used for your 3rd set and try to get eight reps.

Here’s another good routine for after you’ve completed the standard Starting Strength routine. This is Madcow’s Intermediate 5×5 routine:

Monday – Heavy Day

Squat – 5 sets of 5
, Bench – 5 sets of 5
, Barbell Row or Powerclean – 5 sets of 5
, Weighted hyperextensions – 2 sets
, Weighted sit-ups – 4 sets

On Monday, the weight for each lift is increased on each set of 5, from a light warm-up to an all out set of 5. For squats, something like 135×5, 185×5, 225×5, 275×5, 315×5. The weight should be increased evenly from your first to last set. Your fifth set equals the triple from the previous Friday’s workout.

Wednesday – Light Day

Squat – 4 sets of 5
, Incline Bench or Overhead Press – 4 sets of 5, 
Deadlift – 4 sets of 5
, Sit-ups – 3 sets

On light day, Squat the first 3 sets of 5 just as you did on Monday, and then do a fourth set of 5 with the weight used on the third set. An extra fifth set at this same weight can be added. Incline bench/Overhead Press and deadlifts are ramped up to a top set of five.

Friday – Medium

Squat – 4 sets of 5, 1 triple, 1 set of 8
, Bench – 4 sets of 5, 1 triple, 1 set of 8
, Barbell Row or Powerclean– 4 sets of 5, 1 triple, 1 set of 8 for rows
, Weighted Dips – 3 sets of 5-8
, Triceps Extension and Biceps Curl – 3 sets of 8 each

On Friday, the first four sets are the same as they were on Monday. The fifth set, done for three reps, should be a jump of about 2.5% over what you did for your fifth set on Monday. As you become more experienced with the system, you can experiment with the weight you use on this triple. This should NOT be a PR triple attempt every week.

In fact, the goal is to come back the following Monday and get the same weight for 5 reps that you got for 3 reps the Friday before.

To avoid missing reps, pick weights carefully. Take it easy the first few weeks, and don’t over do it. In fact if you’ve tested/already know your 5 rep maxes you shouldn’t be using that weight until the 4th week. After the big triple, drop back to the weight you used for your 3rd set and try to get eight reps.

These workouts serve as a great introduction to working out for those new to the gym, as well as a brilliant launching pad to big time inprovements and gains for more experienced lifters. As well as giving you a rewarding new hobby, strength training and working out with weights will change your life.

Here are some Action Steps to really help you get going with this:

Action #1 – Choose a workout plan and do your first workout NOW.

It takes 21 days to ingrain a habit – this is day 1, follow through!

If you’re not a gym member, call and join one now.

Action #2 – Get caveman/cavewoman! Lift heavy stuff. Walk around bare footed. Eat red meat.

I’m entirely serious here! Have fun getting all caveman/cavewoman. You can thank me later.

Do you have any thoughts or ideas on what you’ve read in this post? Drop me a line in the comments below!

Thanks for reading! 🙂

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One Comment on “Fitness For Filmmakers Part II”

  1. Pingback: The Do's and Don'ts Of Health and Fitness For Filmmakers • Filmmaking Lifestyle : Filmmaking Lifestyle

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