The definition of ‘Sliver’ I am using here is: a small and narrow portion. The idea came from the smallest weight plate I have in my gym – 0.5kg (1.1lb).
What is The Sliver Strategy?
The Sliver Strategy is a simple plan that:
takes you from where you are now to where you want to be – towards a worthy goal
is set up in progressive increments that are mere slivers (very small and seemingly insignificant up close)
is wise and sustainable over time
Rushing is Not Recommended
In my younger years, when I had a goal, I would rush to get to a destination as fast as possible. This approach often wasn’t effective. Sometimes I would end up quitting on route to the goal. In athletic endeavors, sometimes I would even end up injured due to lack of patience with the process.
Being Patience with the Process
I find that many people approach training, muscle gain and fat loss in an impatient way. They want to attain a goal as quickly as possible. I understand this feeling. I also know that a solid plan with a growth mindset, consistent work and heaps of patience is the best strategy.
An Intelligent Approach to Training
I will share an approach that was inspired by my client Amol Verma, who embodies patience, a growth mindset and consistent work at a very deep level. This is a man who is focused and patient. You can learn more about his approach here in this previous post.
Making Progress on a Key Exercise
I love facing the Barbell Deadlift on ‘Deadlift Day’ once per week. It tests my full-body strength and makes me harder to kill:-) I do 5 reps at about 87% of my 1 rep maximum. That means it’s damn hard in terms of intensity. I take a 2-minute rest between sets and do 5 sets total. So the entire workout on “Deadlift Day” consists of a warm-up, 5 sets of 5 reps with 2-minutes rest between sets. The total reps I aim to complete on ‘Deadlift Day’ is 25. Today that weight was 102.5kg (225lbs). I completed all 25 reps, which is a total of 2,565kg (5,637lbs), in about 25 minutes. Since I completed all 25 reps, I ‘earn the right’ to increase the weight next week when I face the Barbell Deadlift again on ‘Deadlift Day’.
The numbers below the bubbles (5,4,2,3) were what I completed the week prior when I attempted and failed to complete 5 reps per set.
Progressing One Sliver at a Time
Normally I progress my clients at 2.5kg (5lbs) per session when they ‘earn the right’ to progress on a compound movement like the deadlift. For myself, I have decided to progress myself 1kg (2.2lbs) at a time. Here is what 1.25kg (2.5lb) plates look like in comparison to 0.5kg (1lb) plates.
One sliver of progress looks pretty insignificant, right? Well, this small sliver of a plate, increased each week over time, adds up to nearly 50kg (110lbs) in a year’s time. I may not progress every week, but if I do, that is a very significant improvement in my strength in 365 days.
102.5kg (225lbs) completed this week earns me the right to face 103.5kg (228lbs) next week
How Can You Work The Sliver Strategy in Your Life?
I have used an example of a training goal that literally uses slivers, in the form of 0.5kg plates, as an incremental progress measure. I challenge you to think through and use ‘The Sliver Strategy’ in your own life with a goal that you want to progress. You can achieve your fat loss goal one sliver at a time. Here is a previous post that may help. Improving your health in slivers of healthy habits is completely in your hands. Here is a previous post on walking that may help. You can read a book and applying the knowledge therein as a sliver of wisdom.
It will take a growth mindset, setting up consistent work through “The Sliver Strategy’ based on consistent work and patience to get you to your goal. Good things usually take time and consistent effort. You can do it. Plan it and get to work.
If you get stuck, give me a shout. I may have some good ideas for you.
I want to share with you a brief post on what a round of Sprinting 10 seconds up a hill looks like. For those more interested in the nitty-gritty of this type of training, read this detailed post here about how and why I recommend this type of training.
Sprinting is Simple
I want to inspire you to give sprinting a go by showing you that it isn’t hard. All you need is a pair of reliable running shoes, a good slope that is safe to run on and timer of some sort.
Here’s a 15-second video of one of the eight rounds. The slope of the hill is steep, so you can see that generating speed is challenging. This keeps it intense yet safe on the joints. When I first saw this video I was surprised how slow I am actually running. Inside my body, I feel that I am pushing as much speed, power, and energy as I can muster.
Sprinting in the 6th Most Populated City in the World
Sprinting in Tokyo around 10:00 am can get busy! I thought it was funny how many people were on MY so-called TRACK today – LOL. It shows you that 13 million people living in central Tokyo can fill up even the steep side streets during normal waking hours. I wonder if there are any good hills in Shanghai, a city of 24 million people.
It’s Yours For the Taking
Some people hear me talk about “Sprinting” and I can see them mentally shy away from attempting it. As you can see from the video above, it’s really simple and you can choose the speed you sprint. Start at about 60% of your max and each week edge it up by about 5-10%. You will be at virtually 100% speed in a month or two. The benefits are life-changing!
I have the privilege of working with Chris Lee to help him transform his body and mind into the true superhero that he is.
We are using several movements that Chris requested from his boy, Thor Himself, Chris Hemsworth.
This is a very high-intensity interval training program with a focus on bodyweight movements.
There are 7 movements:
Deep Squats with a Twist
Reverse Lunges with a Forward Knee Kick
Hanging Straight Leg Raises
Athletic-Stance Medicine Ball Wall Dribble
The Interval & Timing System We Use
The interval between movements:
20 seconds of work/5 seconds of rest for a total of 2:55 minutes per round. I am using the Bit Timer app, because it’s quick, simple and effective.
The Number of Rounds Performed in One Training Session
We focus on completing 7 rounds per session. On days that takes him longer to recover between sets, we may only get in 6 rounds max.
The Intensity – 80-100% Max Heart Rate Focus
This is very high-intensity work, so we are aiming for 80-100% max heart rate on this LFBX Superhero Circuit. A simple formula to obtain this is 220 – age and Chris is 26 years old, so that equals 193 bpm (beats per minute). So we want to aim for a max range of about 193 and at the very least 154 bpm, as that is 80% of 193.
The Rest – 60% Heart Rate = Start the Next Round
Now, for the rest period. We will not start the next round until his heart rate drops to 125 bpm (beat per minute), as that is 60% of his max heart rate and that gives him just enough recovery to be able to give his all to the next round. I love this rest interval because it is smart and honest. I highly recommend that for really hard interval training like this, you use this system. Get your heart down to about 60% of your Max before starting the next round.
*Since Chris is a True Superhero, his heart rate sometimes goes to 195, which is 101%:-) This is true, so just be aware that the 220 – age formula doesn’t always apply to superheroes
A Note on Recovery
When Chris’ sleep and recovery is on point, sometimes he recovers within 2:00 between sets. On days where he’s off, he may require 4:00-6:00 for his heart rate to drop to 125 bpm (60% of his max heart rate).
The Chart We Use to Track Progress
We use this simple excel chart to track progress for each session. HR = Heart Rate. We are aiming for 80-100% effort, so his target heart rate ranges from 156-194 beats per minute. The Seven Exercises are printed in the order we perform them and all the results are logged.
The Gear I use to Track Heart Rate
I use a Polar FT7 which comes with a chest strap, which is about 10 years old. My wrist is 48 years old at the time of this photo.
Here is a new Polar H10 at Amazon USA. The Polar H10 is just a heart rate monitor that connects with your smartwatch or smartphone. It’s about half the price of the model I am using above, so I recommend you buy the H10. My old FT7 is still working, that’s why I’m still using it. Here is a review of the best 7 chest strap heart rate monitors for your information.
If you want to know more about how I use my Heart rate monitor for Sprint Training, which is an absolute game-changer for health, see this previous post. I also do a brief comparison of how I use my Apple Watch vs my Polar FT7 here in this post.
Measurable Results with LFBX-7 HIIT
Here is an accountability form I use for all clients to show their attendance and any goals they may have to keep in mind each time we meet. I recommend that clients get their waists measured each time they come in for training because sometimes there may be no weight lost, since there is muscle gained, so the waist shows clearly that fat is coming of the midsection. Look at the fat that came off of Chris’ midsection between 5.1.2019-8.3.2019 below. 9.5cm of fat loss off the waist!
Visual Results with LFBX-7 HIIT
Chris Lee – In the beginning
Other Things that Chris Is Doing to Achieve His Superhero Transformation
It is important to know that Chris has dialed in his diet to match his tastes and what his body can handle. We have found out through trial and error, that even with very little starch (wheat, corn and rice), he gains fat very easily. So we have learned to eschew anything that resembles starch in his diet, He is incorporating a 24-hour water fast once per week and also a Low Carb, High Fat (LCHF) Eating approach to accomplish this, mainly eating Big Green Salads, Meat, Fish and EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil). If you want to know more about how to do 24-hour fasting, see my post here.
Do You Want to Join the Ranks of Superheroes?
If you do and have a few months or more of solid training under your belt, give this a shot. It works! Here is a video of Round One of Seven. Enjoy!
If you have any questions or comments, please them below.
Sprinting full out is hard. It’s something I aim to do once a week but haven’t done in a while. Yesterday as I was taking a shower my mind said, “Bodhi, we are sprinting today.” I realized that the Master (Big Me) had spoken and that is what the disciple (little me) was going to do. My daily commitment is that I don’t play until my work is done, so I fit the sprint in the afternoon. When it came time to getting my running shoes on, I dilly-dallied, paced around in my kitchen, which is about as long as I am tall, and fidgeted with whatever I could get my hands on until I heard the Master firmly nudge me, “Get out there and get it done.” So I acquiesced, put on my running shoes and headed out.
Sprinting 8 Rounds
I jogged about 5 minutes to my sprinting spot near Komagome station and did some dynamic stretching for about 5-minutes then did 2 rounds of 10-second sprints at about 60% of my max speed up the hill. The first 2 felt pretty good because they were at 60% effort. I had decided to do 8 rounds of 10-second sprints followed by a 60-second, active recovery, rest which was basically a slow walk back to the start line. Here is the course. The slope of the hill starts from the right to the left in this photo, so the start line is the far right of the red line.
Here is me before the 8 Sprints at the bottom of the hill near the start line.
I’m listening to David Goggins, the toughest man alive on Spotify to remind me that 100% is the goal for each round. I am using an app on my iPhone called Bit Timer, which I love for its simplicity and ease of use. It costs $1.99 (¥200-300), but I highly recommend it. Here are the settings I used.
The actual total work on this particular sprint protocol is only 80-seconds – 1 minute and 20 seconds. Only 80-seconds!? Seems like a piece of cake, until you give those 80 seconds 100% effort. And 100% effort is the way I do it.
Once a Week is Enough
Some people may read this and be gung ho to do sprints 3 times a week. If you’re in very good shape, strength training, running or doing other strenuous exercises, you may be able to handle it. But I recommend it only once per week. The reason for this recommendation is to commit to quality above quantity. My aim is to give 100% effort to each of the 8 rounds. However, I don’t believe I am operating at 100% yet. I feel that I am giving my utmost to each round, but my heart rate reading indicates that I am performing at about 92% of my maximum heart rate. I can’t say that this is 100% accurate but it appears to be close. At 48 years old, my max heart rate should be around 172 beats per minute (bpm) and 94% of that would be 161bpm, which is what my heart rate monitor tracked as my highest bpm out of the 8 rounds. The rest I used to give myself was 90-seconds between rounds, which is 30-seconds more rest per round that I gave myself here, so I believe iI will have much better recovery between sets. I am going to do that next week and share my results.
If you want to calculate your max heart rate, use this general formula (220 – your age = your max heart rate). I am 48, therefore 220-48 = 172. So looking at the photo above you can see that 172 x .94 = 161.68, which is close enough to 161. Here’s a calculator if you want to check your max heart rate and target heart rates.
Side Notes on Safe Sprinting
Benefits of running up a hill are numerous. It’s a full-body explosive form of strength training. Even when you start at 60% of your maximum speed, you will probably experience muscle soreness the next day and possibly for several days afterward. The soreness will show you which muscles you used the most or which ones you haven’t exerted in a long time. I am about 48 hours out from the sprint I did in this blog and my calves, hamstrings, quads (thighs), glutes (butt), middle traps (between my shoulder blades) and biceps are all sore.
Hill Sprinting is much easier on the joints as you can’t generate the same amount of speed as you could on a flat surface. The hill I use near Komagome station is probably on about a 20% angle.
I have seen crazy steep hills in Tokyo that I would like to sprint up in the near future. If you know of one, please share a google map shot of it. If it’s safe, fairly straight and not too far away, I’ll give it a go and write about it:-)
Finding Your Own Mini Mountain to Dominate
Look for a street that is on an angle of between 10-20%. If you have a grass or dirt hill near you, that would be even better, as the softer surface will be easier on your joints. Another option is sprinting on the soft sand at the beach, which is very hard because your feet slip so much on loose sand, but it’s very kind to the joints. In the case of the beach, you don’t need a slope.
Wanna Join Me?
If you feel that you are in good shape and are exercising hard at least once a week for over 30 minutes, live in Tokyo, and want to join me, comment below and I’ll do my best to match my schedule to yours. It will have to be in the afternoon between 2-5 pm, so a weekend may work best. The total time investment of the warm-up, the sprints and cool down will only take 30 minutes max. You can practice with me at the Komagome spot (see photo above). It’s probably 70 meters long. If you are new to sprinting, I will ask you to go at about what you feel is 60% of your max speed.
Know that I am not a running coach, so if you join me, you are 100% responsible for your actions. I will guide you in a way that I believe is safe, effective and intelligent. And of course, the only fee you will pay is the energy you put forth in terms of calories. In other words, there is no fee to do this training with me. I am inviting you as a service to your health, growth, longevity, and happiness.
Thank you for reading. I look forward to comments and questions.
I am very excited to meet YOU, the salt of the earth, who is bold, excited to stretch your limits and join me at the party on the hill:-)