5 Reps With... Dr. Johnathan Pritchett
Dr. Johnathan Pritchett is a professor at Trinity Theological Seminary and the driving force behind Theology Geek Fitness.
1. How did you get started with health and fitness?
I used to be a year round swimmer in my younger days, which kept me in pretty good shape.
After high school, I stayed fairly active in a band, and sporadically exercised.However, throughout my mid-to-late twenties, I began to gain weight after I got married and had kids.
Around 30, I hit the gym pretty hard and got into really good shape, but it didn’t last but a couple of years because I got busy with college, grad school, etc. When I went to work for Trinity, I became really overweight. I was sitting at a desk all day, reading, doing research, teaching courses, and eating poorly. I started having all kinds of medical problems after a few years, and much of it was tied to my weight gain.
In April of 2019, I committed to getting the weight off once and for all. I lost 75 lbs in six months to get it under control. That experience helped me develop better, more consistent habits with my nutrition and exercise routines.
2. What does your exercise routine look like? How has it changed over the years?
I try to rotate every four weeks. I’ll do a push-pull-legs split with some total body HIIT training in there one day a week. Then I will do five day splits taking one muscle group per workout.
Then I will do an upper-lower-push-pull-legs split. My routine either cycles like that or some variant of that, or do 12 straight weeks of one of those with different exercises every four weeks. I also make sure that whatever I do, I take a rest week every 12 weeks, keeping it active with light cardio.
It has changed over the years primarily through learning more about what I am doing when exercising and relating that knowledge to sustainable routines that match my current fitness needs and goals.
3. What is your favorite way to exercise outside of the gym?
Since the gyms closed due to the Covid-19 quarantine, I switched to using resistance bands and some other tools at my home. I now use the 41’ loop resistance bands with some grips, anchor, a bar, and a bench. I also use the mini bands, a power tower, a stability ball, a slam ball, the Inertia Wave, push-up bars, a peddle station, a weighted vest, some wrist/ankle weights, exercise dice, suspension trainer, Surge Performance’s Storm 60, Hydro Ball 25, the Hydro Ball 12, and soon I will be getting this thing called the Terra-Glide. I will occasionally get out those tube style resistance bands kit with the handles, ankle straps, and whatever (though I don’t use these kinds of bands often anymore).
I have been steadily collecting things I like to incorporate into my routines. I am not a minimalist by any means. Not necessarily a maximalist either. I prefer the term functionalist, because if it fills a gap and has a purpose, I will use it in my home gym. I don’t want to just keep adding stuff for the sake of it, but I do have my eyes on a plyo box to finish out my gear.
So I am a home gym guy now. But almost all the gear I use can be taken anywhere, so my routines and exercises don’t change from either in the home, outside, at a park, while traveling, or anywhere else. This helps with consistency. Since switching to these kinds of tools rather than traditional free weights and machines, I’ve not missed going to the gym or lifting traditional weights and using machines at all. I do use weight (the Surge stuff uses water, weighted vest and wrist/ankle weights, slam ball, etc.), but not traditional weights and machines. Don’t need them. Don’t miss them. Don’t want to spend a small fortune on them.
4. How do you incorporate healthy eating and exercise into your life?
I am fortunate enough to be an early riser, regardless of what time I go to bed. Though, I don’t like to stay up late if I don’t have to do so. So, I am up around five consistently every day. Most weeks I work out five days a week, and since I mostly do it at home, it isn’t much hassle to walk downstairs after I wake up, stretch, and start training. As far as nutrition plans, I stick to the same foods on most days, and usually will eat the same meals three to five times a week, except dinner. We eat most nights together as a family, but I typically know what is for dinner every night of the week since my wife makes a schedule of our dinner meals each week. This means I can strategically map out what I will eat to make sure whatever is for dinner fits into my overall nutrition plan.
To stay consistent throughout the work week, I do meal prep twice a week for work days, so it usually comes down to heating up my meals at work when it is time to eat. My wife is really good about cooking something different every night for dinner while trying to keep it mostly, but not always, healthy. That keeps me sane since, for most of my daily meals, I mainly consume eggs, oatmeal, protein shakes, chicken breast, fish, turkey meatballs, occasionally beef, rice, quinoa, broccoli, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, spinach, lettuce, repeat, repeat, repeat; all seasoned as many ways as possible to try to get some variety in that rather limited set of options. The good news is that when you prep the same foods and eat them every day, you save a ton of money of both groceries and not eating out.
5. What is your favorite exercise? Least favorite?
My favorite exercise is pull-ups. My least favorite exercise is pull-ups with my weighted vest and ankle weights on.