Chris Carra

Built Like a Badass?! (How I Train in 2022)

You probably don’t need me to tell you that I am not a bodybuilder, physique model or professional athlete (I enjoy red wine too much for all that!).

However, I do like to keep strong, lean and functional, while testing my mental strength with tough workouts and heavy lifting.

I like to think of myself as a bit of a hybrid – I can deadlift 200kg, then run 5km in around 20 minutes. I look pretty good, have some biceps to flex, and feel healthy and confident. And can get away with a few glasses of Sangiovese each week.

But how do I train? What does my weekly training schedule look like? Do I spend every hour of free time in the gym?

Far from it.

First, let’s look at what I had been doing until recently…

My 200kg deadlift in March 2022

In 2021, spanning into the early part of this year, my training focus was almost exclusively on deadlifting the aforementioned 200kg. I had set this goal almost a year prior and slowly built the strength required to achieve it.

In the final few weeks, it had become a mental battle. I failed the lift once, so went away and worked on some accessory movements, before coming back and nailing it. Up came 200kg at 82kg bodyweight and I was incredibly proud of myself.

(You can check out the video of the deadlift below).

After this, I decided to stop deadlifting for a while. In February, I was feeling out of shape. Even though I was still actually in pretty good shape, I was carrying more podge than I usually like. So, I made it my goal to become more athletic towards the summer.

Cheesy Name, Hard Work

I am currently following a new program, recommended to me by somebody in the gym. He told me, “It sounds a bit naff, but it’s called ‘Built Like a Badass!'”.

It did indeed sound a bit naff.

Despite the cheesy name, I was intrigued. I read up on it and decided that it sounded like the ideal program for me.

You can Google the program yourself – it’s from a guy called Joe DeFranco (he certainly looks like a badass!).

In short, it consists of a three-day split: upper/lower/upper. The workouts tend to be pretty short, which is a big plus for me! They combine elements of strength training, hypertrophy work (muscle building), and cardio/conditioning.

I believe the overall goal of the program is athleticism. It’s probably not the program for you if you want to become massive, or hit your biggest PB, or get ripped. But if you want to look and feel strong, fit and functional, then it may be worth checking out.

I am only a few weeks into the program, but I am enjoying it so far. The workouts are tough, but the variety is welcome. My previous workouts were becoming a little stale, and this new program keeps me guessing.

Lifting a 50kg ball in a conditioning class

…and the rest

Aside from lifting in the gym, I also do some extra cardio – half to keep myself lean, half for the mental health benefits (i.e. stress relief!). I also find cardio is a great way to socialize, and I have made some great friends through different classes.

My cardio schedule looks like this (usually no more than 2-3 of these sessions per week):

  • Conditioning classes (often Titan Conditioning at Swansea Uni, although sometimes I choose others)
  • Running (usually less than 6km)
  • Football (an unstructured kickaround with mates – nothing too fancy)

I have also been trying some local yoga classes, which has been a good way to increase my flexibility and meet new people. 🧘‍♂️ It’s tougher than it seems, and I am not as flexible as I first thought, but I am enjoying the process!

So, a typical week of training for me may look like:

  • Monday – Weightlifting (Upper)
  • Tuesday – Weightlifting (Lower)
  • Wednesday – Conditioning Class
  • Thursday REST
  • Friday – Weightlifting (Upper)
  • Saturday – 5km Run
  • SundayREST

I also do my best to get some steps in each day. I’d be lying if I said I achieved 10,000 every day. It’s probably closer to 6,000! 😬

As for my diet, I am just sensible. I prioritize protein (for me, this is often tofu, tempeh, alternative meats, and plant-based protein powder), eat plenty of vegetables and fruit, and don’t go crazy with alcohol or fast food. Although I do like pizza, beer, and chocolate!

If you want any advice on eating well or moving more, I am more than happy to help! Just get in touch. Otherwise, catch you next time!


EDIT: Since originally writing this article, I went on to compete in Turf Games London 2022.

Here’s the video:

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