We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
I have been asked what use my levels of fitness are, and my reasons for pursuing fitness in the ways that I do.
Probably maintaining vigor is my first item, and a vigorous attitude towards life. I like to say "yes" to doing things. About five years ago I felt tired on a hunting trip, and I hated myself for it. That was my wake-up call. Does bedroom vitality matter too, and being appealing to a spouse? Um, yeah. Duh.
Second, the health issue. It is not about living longer because that is not up to us but to fate. Still, nobody wants to become overweight, frail, or rickety sooner than necessary.
Third, to be honest, is looking vital and fit instead of looking older. Posture and movement matter to others. Call it vanity, but it is much more than that. People react differently, as they do to clothing and manners.
Fourth (but not really fourth), I like to be able to do useful and fun things. I need to be able to hike over hill and dale for 12 miles, or scramble boulders, with Mrs. BD and friends. I need to be able to stack 2 cords of wood dumped in my courtyard (as I did this weekend) and to do all of the yard work I have time for. I need to be able to handle my chainsaw. If my right shoulder were not so damaged, I'd love to live on the tennis court. I guess I am restless and love physical activity. I need to be agile and useful on a boat too. I wish I had more sports but I have always had more enthusiasm than athletic talent.
Nutrition is one of my problems. I am not underweight, but I just do not enjoy eating anymore. Some love it, but for me it just is like required fuel no matter how tasty. I have had minimal appetite since I began my intensive exercise program some years ago so I force myself.
RJP keeps nagging me about strength. Fair enough, but two days of weights is all I can fit in right now. Pre-covid I was doing 2 1/2 hrs of weights/wk. Deads are the best thing for me. Regarding recovery, I may not do enough but I feel that I do. Whenever I feel unable to get out of bed at 4:30 AM after a powerlift day, I don't. I love feeling stronger but have competing goals.
I like the "functional" definition. Anytime physical activity or recreation sends me a message (usually "ouch!") I tweak my exercise regimen. Right now I'm good on Farmer's Carries (hauling water buckets during the Texas Snowpocalypse), but weak on leg endurance (6 days skiing kicked my butt). So I gotta up my stair stepping and squats.
Sometimes this is in response to your spouse dieting or more specifically choosing a diet from the many popular diets out there. If that's not the case it could be some of your own choices, perhaps you are denying yourself certain favorites because they aren't "healthy". Or maybe some of your favorites have been replaced over the years because of lifestyle and life changes. Try a favorite from your childhood, could be Mac & cheese or hot dogs and beans. You know, the kind of thing you don't want someone to see you eat because it is a child's meal. Try including a loaf of French bread right from the oven with your meal. My local grocery store has French bread right out of the oven at 4 PM everyday. Kind of a pain to get to the store when you should be preparing dinner but really worth it. If you are a French bread fan perhaps some other choice might work.
As I've said here before, BD, I think you're an inspiration and your blog is performing a great service. Keep it up and more power to you.
But, I am not nagging you, I'm just waiting for an answer to my question that you have, for years now, refused to address. Namely, why won't you take a couple of months, ease off on the cardio stuff and dedicate yourself to gaining some real strength? I guarantee you at the end of whatever time period you choose, you will be able to do burpees even better than before. Whatever endurance you lose (and it won't be much if you do things correctly), will come back very quickly and every physical thing you do will be easier than before. And it's not about time or what you can 'fit in'. You have plenty of time, you just choose to use it not getting strong.
But as to your questions, second one first. That's the thing about strength, it takes some time to build, but it also goes away slowly. Once you build up a base of strength, you will never be as weak as you were before. And I'd be willing to bet that once you have discovered the benefits of increased strength, you will continue beyond a month of training.
As to how many days per week, typically you start out with the Mon-Wed-Fri schedule (or any three days with a day off between each and two days after the third). As things get heavier you can put an additional rest day in there, or change programming to make the middle day a light day, to spread the stress out more.
I agree. Depending on age of trainee and intensity of program, MWF is good place to start although older folks often need an extra recovery day especially if they're also trying to add in a maintenance day (or two) for "cardio" e.g. HIIT which would be the preferred type of cardio for someone concentrating on strength. Some would also consider substituting a HIIT session in lieu of squats on one of the strength days.
The other consideration - especially for guys like BD who tend to overtrain - is to limit the number of exercises, i.e. pick a push (like bench press or overhead press), a pull (like deadlifts or cleans) and a squatting movement, and don't add more crap. Three big compound movements PERIOD. And remember, old farts need intensity, not volume.
#4 is the key - the vigor and vitality rhetoric is meaningless gibberish.
I think RJP and I would agree that instead of trying to max out on all goals simultaneously, you would benefit greatly by concentrating on one goal at a time while placing other goals in maintenance mode.
Related to the preceding paragraph and my prior concerns about your inadequate recovery, one of the signs of overtraining (lack of recovery) is poor appetite.
PS: If you still feel you need to do more work, and enjoy the log pile, I have plenty of wood that needs to be cut and split (no chainsaw, city boy)!