Training Programming: Expectations and Application

The Cultured Warrior #041

Welcome to spring!

Now that the days will be getting longer and the sun shining brighter, it’s time to soak up the Vitamin D and really get after it!

Planning vs. Doing:

Recently I’ve been thinking about training programming and how application (in real world practice) often differs greatly from what got “planned.” I’ve talked about the “planning paradox” before, so I won’t belabor the point here. The idea is that we get a dopamine hit when we see that shiny, perfectly aligned calendar or training schedule written out. The problem is that we’ve tricked our brain into thinking we’ve already done the thing when in reality we haven’t done anything yet.

More to the point here though, you can see in the picture above that I didn’t plan out a certain split — MWF do this, and TR do that — rather most of my goals for the year are based around X hours / year. From that you could extrapolate X hours / month or week without the rigidity of doing X on day 1 and Y on day two — and just get it done however it works out.

Ideal vs. Application:

A few months ago I was talking to one of our black belts and we were sharing ideas about structuring lifting and conditioning on top of jiujitsu training. First and foremost, remember the thing you want to get good at; that will need to occupy about 70–80% of your time. I’ve talked about this before, so have a look back at prior training posts.

I said that I’d do the most skill intensive process first: “train the thing you want to get good at.” Then, I’d move the next most technical component — such as compound lifts, followed by perhaps HIIT intervals. The last thing would be the least technical — LISS “conditioning.” Ideally there’d be a few hours between each training session.

In reality, myself, Fridays and Saturdays, I do all three (technical, strength, and conditioning) back-to-back-to-back. Do I think this is the best? No! Does it get done? Yes! Do I see results? Yes.

The best plan in the world doesn’t mean s*** if you don’t actually do anything. I’ll gladly take a three-day barn burner while I recover (or am significantly less active) at the office the rest of the week; so long as I’m seeing results. This is far preferable to a “perfect plan” that you incessantly futz and fiddle with to make “more perfect” every-other-week and never even get enough data to evaluate the program, let alone accumulate progress.

Remember, showing up is none of the battle and motivation is for people who don’t know what they want. Decide what you want, make a plan, and get it done. Then evaluate and repeat the process. Period.

Fly free and die hard,


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Originally published at on March 21, 2022.



Building better humans through animal-based nutrition, combat sports, and an examined life. | Instagram @savagezen | Twitter @carnivorebjj

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Building better humans through animal-based nutrition, combat sports, and an examined life. | Instagram @savagezen | Twitter @carnivorebjj