Wellness Background and Approach
Active, Meaningful and Productive Life
So, who am I? Who is Tim Garrett? Well, I am nothing special. Just an ordinary guy pressed for time just like all the other ordinary people out there. I want to enjoy an active, meaningful and productive life as long as I can and I fully intend to. I am in a pursuit to continually improve my overall health and wellness. With wellness being an active process through which people become aware of, and make choices toward, a more successful existence physically, mentally and spiritually.
Excuses and Effort
There have been times that I have used my busy life as an excuse. I don’t have time or I am just too tired to exercise or whatever. The reality is that if we want to continue to do the things we love to do we must use it or lose it. Because entropy increases we will inevitably experience some performance loss over time. However, by leading a healthy active lifestyle we can certainly slow the process way way down and in many cases reverse it, all while adding many more productive days to our life.
No Time for Nonsense or Injury
This requires effort and time. However, I simply do not have time for non-sense when it comes to working out or exercise and I certainly do not have time to get injured from some crazy off the wall stuff. I want the greatest results I can get for my investment of time with minimal risk of injury. Hence, my training must be very effective, efficient and sustainable. I must get the most ‘bang for the buck’ kind of thing! I certainly do not have time to throw in an hour and a half workout 4 or 5 days per week. Heck, that's like another part time job and I simply don’t have time for that nonsense.
Over the years my training has varied depending on what I was training for but I have always favored some type of high intensity interval training. When I first started training in martial arts years ago I remember moving quickly between punches, kicks, pushups, ab exercises, squats, and on and on. Each instructor had their own training style or variation. By the end we were all usually breathing hard gasping for air with sweat dripping from our foreheads. There were also those who took it to the next level and worked outside of class. After class I remember doing tons of pushups, ab exercises (my fav: supine bicycle crunches), air squats, punches, pullups, kicks and whatever I could come up. I got results just out of sheer determination and I was pretty lean but the results did not come very efficiently. For the most part my exercise regimen was pretty random. I didn’t really track my progress and I certainly didn’t understand how things like interval, frequency, rest, intensity, time, duration, progressive overload, readiness and failure could be used to push it to the next level much more efficiently.
Systematic HIIT Workouts
As I got a bit older my friends and I began to do a little more research and started doing more systematic workouts that are similar to the common High Intensity Interval Training (a.k.a. HIIT), Tabata intervals, circuit training and tons of body weight stuff. At the time I am not sure we called it HIIT, Tabata or circuit training. We probably just lumped it all together as circuit training but we knew it worked. In fact, research suggests that these are some of the most effective forms of exercise. I will refer to these modes of exercise as as HIIT below.
Here is an example of one of our favorite workouts we did at the park:
Each rounds repetitions were determined by multiplying the round by Round 1 rep.
Round 1: 1 pullup, 2 pushups, 2 air squats, 2 dips then
Round 2: 2 pullups, 4 pushups, 4 air squats, 4 dips then
Round 3: 3 pullups, 6 pushups, 6 air squats, 6 dips and so on.
Continue up until something fails and then bring it back down the same way in reverse. I think one of us got the workout from of some Navy Seal training book or something. We may have even modified it but one thing is for sure, the workout forced our bodies to adapt and make positive changes quickly. Our muscular strength and endurance skyrocketed, we added lean muscle rapidly and fat mass seemed nonexistent. All without using heavy weights.
Rounds, Intervals and Measuring Change
A few years later one of the martial arts instructors invited me to start training with him to kick box. He was a very detail oriented coach and trainer. He had won a state title and totally killed everyone that stood in front of him. It’s like he never got tired. He could punch and kick forever. He was literally a lean, mean fighting machine. His nickname was, ‘Bones’. At that time my training took a much more systematic and methodical approach. Everything was about rounds, intervals, progressively increasing intensity and duration, short rest breaks, measuring change... it was awesome!
Training for Real Life
I worked out and lifted weights like everyone else. At 140 pounds I could bench press 225 pounds like 15 times and that seemed like a respectable lift for my weight. I even did typical cardiorespiratory aerobic endurance conditioning (a.k.a. cardio) training like running a few miles. I could run a mile pretty quickly. Consistent 6 minute miles were no problem. However, when we sparred or fought in the ring none of that mattered, I quickly gassed out. My punch and kick power dwindled away round after round. Training for a real life fight was totally different than lifting weights or running a few miles. Using the HIIT methods my coach taught me and the other things I had learned caused my body to adapt. I could punch and kick harder and longer. Not to mention, HIIT fight training for kick boxing directly impacted my physique in a positive way. While performance is more important to me than looks, being ripped was certainly an added and welcome bonus.
HIIT Became Part of My Life
Even my running became based on HIIT. My coach made me run on a track but he had a totally different thought process about it than the average runner. He made me do things like sprint the straight always and jog the corners to recover. I did it for miles and miles. He made me sprint tall hills or steps and jog down round after round. He pushed me harder further, faster, and longer with shorter breaks. All the time he was steadily and progressively increasing the load, intensity and duration of my workouts based on my level. It was all a type of high intensity interval training. Round after round HIIT forced my body to adapt and change. HIIT became part of my life. With HIIT I could easily last the whole fight, my cardiorespiratory endurance increased, my striking power and speed increased, my muscular strength and endurance increased and my lean mass increased. I felt great!
HIITs Profound Effect
HIIT had such a profound effect on my cardiorespiratory endurance that when I joined the military and went to basic training my aerobic endurance was so high entering that it got worse by the end of basic training. The military aerobic conditioning achieved less than what I was already achieving with HIIT. On our first physical training test I ran 3 miles in 16.5 minutes. When I finished basic training it took me over 12 minutes to run 2 miles. I actually got less fit running longer distances. The emphasis of basic training cardio made less fit people more fit but kind of neglected people who were already fit. We ran in groups and there wasn’t opportunity to push and excel at our own pace once you were in the fastest group. So, in my case the fastest group ran 6 minute miles which apparently was less than my previous fitness level when I entered basic training. So, I kind of got stuck there.
Fail to Excel
However, on PT days without running I still remember the drill sergeants yelling, “FRONT, BACK, GO!!!” FRONT meant pushups, BACK meant some core exercise and GO meant run in place. We were doing HIIT workouts and I loved it. I could push myself to failure and it caused adaptation and positive change. Again, my muscular strength, endurance and lean mass increased. Particularly my pushups and sit-ups increased. We had a pushup contest and I did about 200 pushups in around 2 minutes. That was more than 1 pushup per second. I now understand this was directly related to the HIIT and my ability to push myself to the point of failure. This repeated muscular failure caused me to excel.
Since that time I have participated in many different modes of strength and conditioning. I have trained in fitness and martial arts gyms across the country and around the world for decades as well as coached and trained people in various martial arts, wellness, fitness and competitive capacities. I mentioned above that at one time I ran 3 miles in 16.5 minutes. That is 5.5 minutes per mile. It was pretty fast but I only weighed 140 pounds and I was not as strong as I would like to have been. At another time in my life I wanted to get big and strong just like the guys on the body building magazines. So, I changed my workouts and at 194 pounds I could bench press 405 pounds; back squat 495 pounds and dead lift 545 pounds. Those are pretty descent lifts. However, in either case I just did not feel fully optimized or as fit overall as I do now or when my primary workouts were based on HIIT. The heavy lifts negatively affected my neck, back, joints, tendons and ligaments. It actually seemed to be harmful to my overall health and wellness. On one extreme I could run long distances but lacked strength and on the other I had strength and more size but ran out of energy very quickly and seemed more prone to injury. I want to be strong, continue at a high level of intensity and do it all without getting injured. Research shows that you can gain as much muscle with lighter weights as you can with heavy loads as long as you go to failure. Also, lighter loads are easier on you joints and burn more calories and fat.
Study, HIIT, Progressive Overload & Readiness
So, some time ago, in order to further my health and wellness journey I received certification from the NCCA accredited American Council on Exercise as a Personal Trainer and also received a B.S. Degree in Health and Human Performance. The struggle to squeeze everything in safely and effectively combined with the training I received finally gave me all the tools and motivation I needed to finalize my own unique strength and conditioning program. Simply put, it’s a type of HIIT that forces positive change. Steadily and progressively the frequency, rest, intensity, duration and load are all changed based on each persons level with the specific exercises and movements being systemically arranged to maximize results in minimum time. I am able to accomplish my fitness goals safely and effectively in a reasonable amount of time. These are not new training methods or principals. It is all supported and explained in great detail in exercise science books and fitness journals. The training methods are simply rooted in the some of the most effective principals found in the best and most proven training methods available like High Intensity Interval Training, Tabata intervals, circuit training with weights, compound lifts and tons of body weight stuff all tied together to maximize gains safely and efficiently. There is a growing body of evidence that supports that this type of training is among the most effective and efficient ways to force positive change and adaptation. Check out the HIIT page for a list of benefits.
Convenient and Customizable
For the most part, the training methods and programming can be done at home, in the gym, at the park, or just about anywhere and requires a minimal amount of equipment. It is very flexible programming and can be customized to almost anyone's age or fitness level. Personally, I work out around 30~40 minutes per day 3~4 days per week and that’s all that is required. The best part is I am able to operate at a high level of performance with minimal risk of injury, minimal risk of over training and I feel like I can sustain this type of conditioning for the rest of my life. If you are interested in learning more, check out our Progressive HIIT Transformation Program! The results speak for themselves.
All Coaches Are Not Legit
Now, if you are looking for a coach or trainer I would offer this. There are many good ones out there. However, there are many unqualified coaches and trainers giving people bad information, causing people to get discouraged or worse they are getting people hurt. It seems as though every time you turn around someone that has abs, won some competition or lost a few pounds declares they are now a qualified personal trainer, coach or expert. They might be a great coach but I have heard of story after story where unqualified coaches have caused serious injury from some crazy off the wall coaching or pushing new clients too hard. You should always investigate to find out the credentials and reputation of anyone you take direction from regarding your personal health and fitness. Not everyone that looks fit is actually healthy or qualified to train the general public on how to get fit safely and effectively.
Things to look for and consider when looking for a trainer or coach:
What about Diet and Nutrition?
Quite simply I eat to sustain my level of performance and to support a meaningful active life. My diet and nutrition are based on the recommendations of the majority of fitness and nutrition experts. I have learned many things over the years, taken multiple nutrition courses, was certified by the ACE and have a degree in Health and Human Performance however, I am hesitant to make nutritional suggestions or advice.
Exercising Outside of Your Scope
I am not a registered dietitian/nutritionist and do not consider myself a qualified expert. It is outside my scope of practice to prescribe dietary guidelines. There is a problem in the fitness and wellness industry with unqualified coaches, trainers and fitness enthusiasts offering nutritional guidelines or advice without proper scientific evidence, research or education to substantiate their claims. Advice is often based on opinions or anecdotal evidence at best, completely opposes the majority of fitness professionals and works against the intended fitness goals. It has generated a wealth of fitness and nutrition myths and misunderstandings.
What Do the Professionals Say?
So, in addition to my own fitness training and experience, my suggestions are generally based on the majority of professionals and not based on the latest trend, fad or anecdotal evidence. I try to distinguish between my opinion, fact, fiction, myth and legend. Personally, I eat lots and lots of carbohydrates. You can find more information about my diet and views on the Nutrition page. I will say this; my diet and macro intake is based on the daily caloric and nutritional needs of an inherently healthy, highly active individual without contraindications or significant health problems and one who answered ‘No’ to all the questions in our HIIT Transformation Program Questionnaire.
Have a great day!
Coach Tim Garrett
May 5, 2017
Martial Arts & Wellness Coach
B.S. Health & Human Performance
B.S. Information Technology
American Council on Exercise Personal Trainer - former
Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Instructor
Krav Maga Instructor