Balanced application and the attainment of Physiological Synergy

Four transformative disciplines need be practiced simultaneously

There is a physiological state-of-being that is a prerequisite for igniting a radical physical transformation. This miraculous metabolic state is attained by simultaneously practicing four disparate disciplines. If all four disciplines are in place and practiced with the requisite diligence for a protracted period, a metabolic sweet spot is attained and dramatic physical results – rapid and dramatic improvements in physique and performance – occur at an accelerated rate.

With balanced application, tenacious execution and sustained effort, anyone can trigger their very own radical physical transformation. Physical synergy is a term used to define a semi-miraculous physiological state-of-being wherein results manifest at an astoundingly rapid rate. If nothing jostles or derails the “process,” the athlete will continue to reside in this nirvanic metabolic state that occurs when the perfect balance between exercise, diet, rest and stress are attained.  Body fat is oxidized while muscle is built. The four intertwined transformative disciplines are…

  • Strength training
  • Cardiovascular training
  • Nutrition
  • Psychological aspects

Four separate game plans are constructed within each discipline. Game plans are set into timeframes and weekly mini-goals are established through reverse-engineering. Each successive week for 8-12 successive weeks, predetermined weekly goals are achieved within each of the four disciplines. The simultaneous and successful pursuit of mini-goals (within each of the four pathways) forcibly morphs the human body. How would the disparate goals intermingle?

                                                Number of weekly sessions and session length

Strength training         three progressive resistance sessions, 45-minutes

Aerobic training           six cardio sessions, before breakfast, 40-minutes

Nutrition                        lose 1-pound of bodyweight weekly, decrease starch carbs, increase
protein

Brain train                     improve top-set workout psyche, daily mindfulness stress relief sessions

Each week preplanned goals in each of the four disciplines are established and attained; each week every goal is slightly more, slightly further, slightly higher, slightly longer or slightly more intense than the previous week’s benchmarks. Baby steps, “creeping incrementalism”, require the athlete sequentially attain small goals that compound and enable the athlete to attain the larger overarching goal established at the beginning of the process.

Periodization is another name for preplanning. Elite transformational Masters use Periodized goals to generate physiological momentum where none exist. Better to engage in a little of all four disciplines than overindulge in one or two favored disciplines while purposefully ignoring the rest. The classic mistake trainees make is overemphasizing one or two elements at the expense of other disciplines. Everyone has biases and preferences. What the transformational expert knows and understands is that the most dramatic increase in results occur by preferentially focusing on our weak points as opposed to continually playing to our strengths.

It is far, far easier to experience significant improvement working on obvious weaknesses. Instead, 90% of available training time is spent doing the things we like and are already at 90% of realistic genetic potential. Dramatic gains are generated by suddenly and preferentially shifting focus to lagging areas. It is so much easier spark massive improvements in short order by working underworked disciplines. How much easier is it to improve something at 40% of genetic capacity as opposed to something already at 90%?

If a man is strong and can bench press 400 lbs., yet substantially overweight and out of shape, then it doesn’t take a psychic to alert him that he need reapportion his available training time towards diet and cardio. An endurance athlete prone to injury and immune deficiency need reapportion his available training time towards nutrient-dense eating and strength training. A stressed-out individual that cannot sleep and does not exercise needs to engage in intense training, the world’s best sleep-inducing stress-buster.

Forget about strong points, they’ll take care of themselves. Ruthlessly self-assess and focus on obvious weaknesses. Deemphasize favored modes, emphasize the neglected, tighten and tune, attain the balance, hold the course, attain the metabolic sweet spot that signifies synergy. Hold the course for 2-3 months and experience a mind blowing physical transformation: stronger, faster, leaner, more muscular, streamlined, chock full of vitality and vibrancy.

Balanced and disciplined application of the four interrelated disciplines will enable you to attain the metabolic sweet spot.  The synergistic state of balance triggers transformation. However, one bobble, one fumble, one bad meal, one missed workout, one stressed-out day and you are cast out of the sweet spot. You are forced to go back the starting line and reassemble all the broken parts needed to reestablish shattered momentum.

There exists a universe of possibilities within each of the four disparate yet interwoven disciplines. Transformational Masters understand that the only constant is stagnation. The body craves hemostasis, a state of purposeful stagnation. Building muscle, melting fat, improving performance is created by purposefully stressing the body. The traumatized body is then fed and rested to complete the adaptive growth cycle.

Specific procedures enacted simultaneously traumatize and stress the body in a highly controlled fashion. The adaptive response is the opposite of hemostasis. When inertia sets in, a contrasting protocol (to what is being used) need be instituted and executed. The overarching goal is to rebuild and improve both form and function. To accomplish something as profound as reconstructing the human body, there needs to be a comprehensive, broad-based approach; tenacious application is amplified by ferocity in training.

Disciplined nutrition starts with food quality: nutrient-dense, seasonally appropriate locally sourced protein and produce are the backbone of the “gourmet dieting” approach. The mental approach has two goals: developing an effective workout psyche and generate enthusiasm for the process. Sustained enthusiasm creates momentum and factual results fuel enthusiasm. Tangible weekly progress attained within each of the four Periodized discipline combine to create physiological momentum.

The overarching template need be in place in its entirety and adhered to in a balanced and nuanced fashion. Those that successfully adhere to the transformational tenants for three full months will remake their bodies and lives: 90 days of continual and concentrated effort, staying true to the tenants and template will enable the trainee to experience optimal gains in a minimal timeframe.

Make sure to check out Marty Gallagher's latest books, Strong Medicine and The Purposeful Primitive, that are packed with a rich history of the sport of powerlifting and its founding fathers including proven, no-nonsense methods and "old school" knowledge for gaining strength, muscle and becoming leaner.

Photo Credit: IRON COMPANY athlete Kyra Milligan @quads.like.kyra

About the Author
As an athlete Marty Gallagher is a national and world champion in Olympic lifting and powerlifting. He was a world champion team coach in 1991 and coached Black's Gym to five national team titles. He's also coached some of the strongest men on the planet including Kirk Karwoski when he completed his world record 1,003 lb. squat. Today he teaches the US Secret Service and Tier 1 Spec Ops on how to maximize their strength in minimal time. As a writer since 1978 he’s written for Powerlifting USA, Milo, Flex Magazine, Muscle & Fitness, Prime Fitness, Washington Post, Dragon Door and now IRON COMPANY. He’s also the author of numerous books including Purposeful Primitive, Strong Medicine, Ed Coan’s book “Coan, The Man, the Myth, the Method" and numerous others. Read the Marty Gallagher biography here.