When people start with GMB, we almost always recommend starting with Elements. It's our broadest and most foundational program, and it's structured to provide a scalable challenge to just about any level.
But what happens after that?
This is one of the top five questions we get from active clients, and the answer depends on a few things. Many people repeat Elements. Some use it for recovery or warm-ups. Some people move on completely to other training.
This episode goes over the best strategies for moving to the next phase in your training and which factors determine the right move for you.
Andy: [00:00:00] All right. All right. Welcome to the Gargling My Bourbon podcast. This is Andy.
Ryan: [00:00:08] And I'm Ryan.
Andy: [00:00:10] And we are the Three Amigos minus Jarlo.
Ryan: [00:00:14] Minus Jarlo.
Elements & What Happens After
Andy: [00:00:17] So, I'll start off with this. I don't often log into Reddit very often anymore.
Ryan: [00:00:27] Come on, man. We know you're on there every day.
Andy: [00:00:30] Yeah. I like writing. And I there's some communities there. that are really cool, but it's, also just exhausting for me, but I did happen across, I logged in a couple of days ago and it's all that a few days before someone had posted 'GMB Elements Review: the best program I have ever done.' And I swear to God, I did not pay this person. Yeah. I would like to. So there was a Review there and it was, really good because he starts out talking about some of the things, Elements isn't for everyone.
Here's some of the limitations and, and it talks about some of the things that made it useful. And, Elements is obviously, it's our foundation program. It's where we really recommend everyone start. And because it's the intro and the foundation, a lot of people confuse that with being. elementary or easy, and it is basic, but like we've talked about many times before every pro athlete spends a lot of their day practicing basics, basics are important.
And so if it's basics that you haven't practiced deeply, recently, then Elements is still a great fit for you. And so it was really good to see that. And we do recommend that people start with Elements and as a result, most people that do GMB programs have done Elements or at least part of Elements once.
But a question that comes up a lot is 'What happens after Elements?' We get emails every week from people saying, 'I'm in Week 6, I want to know what to do. I'm really enjoying it. I want to know what to do after this so I can prepare.' And there are there's some different options. And so we're going to talk about those today.
So, if you're doing Elements now. It's obvious that this is going to be helpful for you. So you know what to do afterwards, if you have not done Elements or if you're just wondering, if you've ever thought about doing Elements, but you've said, 'Oh, I don't know what I can really get out of an eight week program or what happens after that?'
Well, this will help answer some of those questions and, there's a lot of good things that you can do either completely different or by continuing to use Elements after the eight weeks is over. So let's get into some of that. First let's mention though, that eight weeks is also just an example.
Ryan: [00:03:01] Yeah, I was just going to mention that. Yeah, exactly. And so sorry to interrupt, but basically if you work at your own pace and depending on what you're going to be doing, the duration of time is obviously going to be different. Speaking of repeating Elements, for example, when you come back to it and if you want to do it again, and you have the option to choose how many days a week that you're doing it.
The duration of time that you're doing it. And so if you're only going to be doing it a couple of times a week, obviously it's going to take longer than eight weeks if you're going to do it. And so that's, one of the main things to say, right out of the gate, because you mentioned the eight weeks.
Andy: [00:03:38] Sure. And so it's important to understand that everyone is going to have a little different experience of doing Elements, which is true of any program, but especially something like this, because depending on your training history and depending on, what sort of limitations you have or, weaknesses you find, the way you go through the program is going to be different.
Also, like Ryan said, you might be doing more or fewer sessions per week, and also Elements sessions can scale anywhere from 20 minutes to 45 minutes too, so you're going to be getting a different quantity of training out of this too. So what that means is where you end up. At the quote, unquote "end" of Elements.
If it's eight weeks or 12 weeks or six weeks, it doesn't matter where you end up after this first cycle through the program is going to be completely different for almost everybody.
Cycling through Elements with a Different Focus
Andy: [00:04:29] So when we say 'what happens at the end of Elements,' it depends a lot and everyone's going to be in different places. So let's start from there. How do you assess and figure out what should be your next step?
Ryan: [00:04:47] Yeah, this is really good because when you go through Elements for the very first time, I'm sure you had a different goal for why you were going through Elements. And so by the end of your first round of Elements, you're going to obviously see improvements in your strength, flexibility, and control.
And then at the end, when you decide to go through it again, you need to reevaluate what your new goal is. And your purpose for going through Elements. And whether that be, for example, to combine it with another program, we'll talk about that in a little bit, or it just might be going through Elements again, but the focus of how you go through Elements is different this time around.
And I'd say, when, you go through Elements for the very first time, really don't know what's going on because obviously it's your first time. But now that you're familiar with the movements, you notice that when you were going through it, you notice that your strength improved, and your flexibility and control, but then you decide, okay, you know what, when I go through this again, I want to reframe and in my mind have more of a focus on flexibility. Doesn't mean that really the movements and everything are going to change in Elements. They're going to be the same as you go through it. Thing is, you're reframing the way that you look at it. And by doing this, you can say, all right, When I'm doing this, I want to focus more on, as I mentioned before, the flexibility component of it.
So for example, you might focus on just going maybe a little deeper into the movements, slowing them down to allow you to be able to go into there deeper. So again, it's not that the movements are different but the intent as to why you're doing this, your goal for this is now different. And I think that's a huge thing as you go through Elements and to be honest, any program for that matter, you're on a new plane, if you will.
And so as you go back and do another program again, you're looking at it from a higher level and you have the ability to choose how you want to go through this movement, compared to the very first time you go through a movement and everything just being new and you just be open to everything that's basically being thrown at you.
Andy: [00:06:59] Right, because let's be honest. The first time you go through any program, a lot of your attention and energy is going to be just learning the movements and not feeling awkward, doing them and, building up the strength to do them well. But when you go through them a second time, Ryan, as you mentioned, if the goal is flexibility, then you can, you don't have to worry about that.
You can actually just think of extending further, sinking deeper into things, getting a greater range of motion out of things. And this isn't something that we made up. This isn't just something that's part of Elements. I'll give you a really good example from my martial art that I do is, we have, forms, we call them Hokei, but in Karate, they're called Kata.
So we have these forms that we do and they're sort of ordered from the basic ones to more advanced ones, right? So everyone, when you're a white belt, you learn a certain form that we do. And when you're learning that you're trying to memorize the steps, you're trying to not fall over.
When you do the movements, you're learning how to do it. And so I've been doing this martial art for 35 years. That is. I know that every time I mentioned age, somebody has to email and say, "You're not as old as I am." I don't fucking care, but I know there's somebody who's 193 listening to this thing.
"35 is not a long number of years. Shut up. You're such a whipper snapper." If you ever attempted to use the word whipper snapper, or if you say anything about someone being a spring chicken, that is a clear sign that you are old. No matter the number of your age. I just want to put that out there.
If you're ever tempted to use that, it is a clear sign of you're old. So anyway, I'm mentioning that I've done this martial art for 35 years, and I realize that to some people, I am a whipper snapper. However, it is a fairly long time to be practicing something that is classified as an easy beginner routine.
Yet I spent two hours on it last night. And I can tell you that after 35 years, the way I approach it is different. And it, the way I approach this routine has changed many times over that period. What I focused on last night was I actually focused on a few different things, not at the same time in series. The first couple of times I focused on being very accurate with my hand positioning when I changed direction and making sure that I was covering my body and not leaving any openings for attack.
After that, I moved on to making sure that I was using my knee joints and leg joints effectively with my hip joint. So I wasn't having to muscle-through some of the moves as much. I was able to let gravity do more of the work. And last time since I had done the routine, like 10 or 12 times already, I was tired.
I was mostly focusing on trying to stay as clean as possible with as little effort and without getting out of breath. So this is even in the same session. Three different focuses I've had on a beginner routine I've been doing 35 years. So I promise you at no point, will you ever, get to where you cannot find some way to make the movements in Elements be challenging or interesting to you?
And I'm not changing the moves in the routine. So even without changing anything, you can find ways to emphasize different parts of Elements. And this is one of the things that people do all the time. And I'll just even mention from the same Reddit thread that I brought up, one of the comments, a few comments where people well said that they were, had done it and really liked it.
A couple of them comments from people that didn't like it, which is cool too. Where is it? Where is it? Someone's saying, 'I've done Elements several times and I had the same experience and the most surprising development for me that was my L set hold went from 3-4 seconds to a solid 21 seconds without doing any else at practice.
And this person says it's probably the Bear that seemed to do that. And yeah, absolutely. Without even doing some of these other things, you get benefits in this, and that's what makes the programs interesting. You can continue to develop without making any changes.
Ryan: [00:11:25] Yeah, this is, really good stuff. And I'm glad you brought this up. And what we're really looking at here is, looking at each skill and the practice of that skill and sophistication of it. So this is why Elements and the programs that we have here in GMB are different than the other programs out there in terms of how we look at it.
We're not working out we're sophisticating movements and you can always look at any movement out there at any stage in your life and you can always work on further sophisticating that movement. And that's cool thing. That's how you grow. That's how you just get better at stuff and really that's what Elements is about.
It's yes. It's going to improve your strength. Yes. It's going to improve your flexibility. Yes it's going to improve your control, but the way that you look at it, and the way that you can be open to that exploration in order to sophisticate the movement is what's going to allow you to be able to grow and continue to get benefits from, Elements and all the other programs that we have out there.
Doing Elements Alongside Something Else
Andy: [00:12:27] Yeah, absolutely. Let's then move on. We've talked about repeating Elements as is, and, just doing another cycle. And we always say cycle because we always intend with all of our programs for them to be repeated. Elements was made to be repeated. So it's not just, you can repeat it, like we designed it this way. But even aside from that, let's look at some other things you could do.
So there's a couple of options. One is you could move on to another program and we'll get to that in a second. Some of our other things that might be why you might decide on one over another after Elements, but also you could do Elements alongside something else. Let's talk about that first, whether it's alongside one of our programs or another program or another activity that you might be doing.
Ryan: [00:13:22] Yeah so an example that I actually like and I've done in the past is where I will add a pulling component to the Elements. And so my Elements will be, as is, and then what I'll do is add something, for example, the muscle up, or even just a chin up or something seem like that. And I actually have that after or even before my Elements session. So I do that on the same day. And so this is how you can work on adding one particular skill that you want to work on and make it work. So it's not that you're taking two separate full programs and trying to do them at the same time. No, it's looking at a single skill that can fit within this protocol. And what I mean by that is that again, I'm not trying to cram a whole bunch of other stuff in there. There's the muscle up. And I do know that, there's certain components of that which is different, if you're looking at that single skill and pairing that up with Elements works out very nicely because obviously in Elements, we don't have a pulling component.
But to be honest, working through Elements, you are going to actually be able to help prep your body for pulling type movements. It's a whole other discussion, but I'm adding something in like the pulling, a pull, in there. It's going to work very well with Elements. And, yeah, again, I've done that in the past and I still continue to use Elements all the time, like we talked about earlier.
I think that's a good one.
Andy: [00:15:01] Yeah. So I think just a good way to sum that up is that Elements is a, since it is foundational, you can add almost any specific skill to it. And then you don't have to do a lot of accessory work for that skill. You don't have to do, you don't have to worry about other stuff.
You can just focus on a move or a skill or an exercise you're trying to get and do that with Elements. And then you're pretty much covered.
Ryan: [00:15:27] Yeah. Yeah, that's a good, that's a great way to explain it because then it allows you to not have to worry about all the other stuff that's out there. And you can just focus on that.
And I think that's, that's, a really beautiful thing because sometimes we can become so just overloaded and thinking that we have to do all this other stuff and then all this other work and things. No, no, no, no. It's just work on your muscle up or your chin ups or something like that and do your Elements and you're going to be fine. Really.
Andy: [00:15:54] Right. Yeah. What, is the minimum set of things that what you want to do?
Ryan: [00:15:59] Absolutely.
Andy: [00:16:00] So then let's talk about another favorite way that we do this is just, alternating Elements sessions with, it could be another workout, another training program, or it could just be, if you are doing, some sort of activity.
You know, do Elements. It could be depending on where you want it, what you want to do. Let's say you're doing martial arts or climbing or a pick-up basketball or something. It doesn't really matter, but you, can do Elements either the day after a short 15 minute session for like active recovery and not push yourself too hard, but just kind of stretch into things and breathe and relax or if you're doing any of these things and you, feel like you need to improve your capacity, you could do longer Elements sessions and really push yourself during that be your, your supplemental workout for that.
Ryan: [00:16:50] Yeah. I've even seen people, And I've recommended this of actually doing Elements after their particular activity.
In this case, it was a person they were doing Brazilians jiu-jitsu. And what they would do is, after the Brazilian jui-jitsu, and they didn't roll very hard that day at all, what they would do is just a 15 minutes Elements session after their Brazilian jui-jitsu like a finisher, if you will. And they found that they had really good success with that.
Kept it short again, 15 minutes. And the thing is though that it really helped them and they, because they were doing it after their Brazilian jui-jitsu, obviously they're not going to be tired before they do the Brazilian jujitsu, because you want to be fresh and be able to do your practice.
So that's another way to do it, but again, looking at also is that active recovery, as you mentioned, I think that's a great way to use this. And depending on the particular day of your active recovery, you might find that, 15 minutes is great. You can also set it up for a 30 minute session or a 45 minute session, which is also fabulous, depending on what's going on with you that day.
Andy: [00:18:01] Great. So let's talk about combining. One of the things that we've recommended to a lot of people is just taking Elements and Integral Strength and literally just alternating days.
Ryan: [00:18:13] Absolutely. That's probably the easiest way to do it.
Andy: [00:18:16] Yeah. Super easy. You don't have to think too hard about it. Both programs have harder, have had some variation built in and on days that you aren't able to go as hard or don't have as much energy, you can just do shorter sessions. And you can just alternate and do longer or shorter sessions depending on how much energy you have. And you could do that. That's something that you can do that for six months without having to change anything up and be fine.
Ryan: [00:18:45] Yeah. I was just going to say that, this is one of the things where you could just focus on doing that and because of the way that we've got things set up, whereas you mentioned you can change up the duration of that particular program that day, depending on how you feel, using autoregulation listening to your body.
It's great because you can just continue to do it. And set it up so that you're doing, what Integral Strength Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and then Tuesday, Thursday, and maybe Saturday, you could do Elements and good to go. Really, that's it.
Andy: [00:19:17] Both of these programs have enough variation that you could do that, and you wouldn't really hit much of a plateau, at any point. And yeah. It would still be pretty interesting.
We also, we hear people saying, but you should always be progressing, moving towards higher level skills. And I don't know about should. You can, but a lot for a lot of us, training, isn't about getting to a desire, right? If you are in a place where you just want to have all of your physical fitness needs handled.
Ryan: [00:19:57] Yeah, that's it.
Andy: [00:19:58] Elements plus IS is a great combo. You really don't need very much else for most people unless you have a specific weakness you're trying to shore up, or unless you have a specific goal you're trying to meet.
If you just want to keep getting stronger and more mobile and more coordinated and not have to think about it. A good combo.
Ryan: [00:20:20] Yeah, it really is. And along those lines too, let's say that you're doing some activities, twice a week, you have a particular activity. Works great on those days that you have your activities, just don't do Elements or I S and so then that way, then you're doing two sessions of IS, you've got two sessions of Elements, and you've got two sessions of whatever your activity is. It's great. And that's sustainable.
Andy: [00:20:47] Very sustainable. Yeah. Cool. So then, but what if, you've, done Elements and you just want to do something different. Because it's completely viable too. I don't think everyone should be, should feel like they have to be trapped in Elements Land indefinitely, just cause we're saying that you can repeat Elements indefinitely doesn't mean we expect that to be, we're not trying to punish everyone to have to keep doing this. It's not, don't feel like Sisyphis trying to roll the boulder up the hill with this.
Next Program Recommendations
Andy: [00:21:20]So there are other options and there's a world of options. We can't speak to all of them, but let's very briefly talk about, after doing Elements, what would we recommend for our other programs?
Ryan: [00:21:35] Yeah. This is really going to come down to your goal. And with that being said, though, sometimes though it's more a matter of what do you feel like doing? And I think a lot of people kind of miss that and think that they should be doing something because they need to improve their strength or they feel they really need to work on their flexibility, therefore, well, another option is simply just to say, 'Hey, what do you feel like doing? What looks fun?' I think is a really great way to actually look at, your next program as well. So for example, even though we mentioned, 'I want to improve my flexibility.'
Well, okay. Another option might be actually that along with having fun could be Mobius. And Mobius has got lot of fun moves and stuff in there. You're going to be improving your flexibility as you do it, which is a fun thing.
Andy: [00:22:32] And Mobius is structured the most like Elements in terms of the way exactly it's built. So it will be very familiar, but with a whole different set of challenges in terms of movement.
Ryan: [00:22:45] Right. And so you're, as, you mentioned already kind of familiar with it. And so you still have that structure of following that particular program in that way versus Vitamin, which would be just a lot of fun because it's so different than Vitamin or pardon me, than Mobius and Elements in that every day you're doing a different movement and you really don't know what's going to be coming, which to me, I think is very exciting and fun. Some people might freak out in the very beginning and not have that structure.
Doesn't mean that it's not a structured program in the sense that we don't have a laid out for you. It's just that again, every day you're going to be doing a new movement. So that's one example of where it just might be a matter of, 'You know what, that looks like a lot of fun. I think I want to do that.'
Great. Then I suggest doing it. And, don't think that you need to be hitting your strength or hitting your flexibility or control. And the reason why is because obviously if you're going to be working through movements and doing new things, you will see improvement in all three of those areas to some degree.
Andy: [00:23:50] You don't necessarily have to emphasize one over all of the others, unless you have a clear deficit that is holding you back. If you just want to, get better, just say a lot of people. "What's my goal? I just want to get better." Okay. Cool. So that means you're not feeling anything you need to overcome and you just want to make sustainable well-rounded improvements.
Well, then you don't really have to worry too much about it. You're just picking what looks like the most fun is probably a good approach. I think Mobius, for people that have had any kind of training background before Mobius will feel like a really fun challenge after Elements. For some people that are starting as beginners, Mobius might be too challenging to go into after your first Elements cycle.
So that's, something where if you're unsure, we always encourage people to email us and ask, and we can help you find out the right thing. But the point is, that Elements is a very flexible thing. And, everyone's going to have different experience with it, but most people that we hear from who do Elements enjoy it, get way more out of it than they expected, and quite many of them choose to repeat it, which is great because we really think that's one of the reasons that we make it this way so that it becomes a valuable thing. We put a lot into these things and we have to sell them for a certain price so that we can afford to pay our staff and give people good service but also knowing that you're able to use the program indefinitely, I think makes it much more valuable. This isn't like a six week thing where it only works for this certain period of time, and then you can't ever benefit from it again, that's not what this is about. Definitely repeating Elements, but also being able to use it in more flexible ways.
So I hope that if anyone is doing Elements or has considered it, but not been really sure if it would fit or what happened after that, this clears things up. As to , if this is the intro, what happens after the intro? Well, as always, it depends. Yeah, but your options are not very limited here at all.
Ryan: [00:26:20] Absolutely. Absolutely.
Andy: [00:26:24] All right. Well, that's about it.
Ryan: [00:26:27] Thanks for listening. And like Andy said, if you do have any other questions about where you should go from here, just always feel free to reach out because we're here to help.
Andy: [00:26:37] We're here for you. Cheers.
Ryan: [00:26:41] All right, bye bye.