3 Program Tweaks for 2020

What you will find below may frighten many of you.

The simple tweaks for programming are based around doing more with less and getting the most out of your training.

Be warned though, for this to work you will have to give yourself to the process fully.

You ready?

1 – Train Monday – Friday – Wednesday.

^^ You read that right, Monday/Friday one week and then Wednesday the next.

2 – Utilise RM Goals

For the above I would suggest the following:

> Ramp Warm Up (main lift/s) 6-10×1 – add load each set to a head daily single
> Pick 2 Main Lifts for a *36 total rep goal
> Secondary/Accessory lifts **50 total rep goal

*6x6RM working sets, yep, that means you use your 6RM for 6 sets. You won’t hit this first time around, you might get 6-5-5-3-3-2, then the next session you use that same weight which might be 6-6-5-4-3-3, keep going until you hit 6×6, then change the movement variation

**You have 2-4 sets to hit your 50 rep target depending on your preference.

3 – Roll a Pair of Dice Daily

This is for a little bit of fun, you roll a pair of dice and get either 2 or 12, this is the minutes you’d be working for. You could skip, hit a bar, perform loaded carries, swings, shuttle runs, bear crawls, movement or whatever, however this is optional.

Try to make 2020 a year where you don’t live in the gym, however when you are in there you put your effort in.

Here is an example protocol to get you started in January:

W/U – Ramp 6×1: Press
A1 – Press 6x6RM Target
Re-Ramp 3-6×1: DL
B1 – DL 6x6RM Target
C1 – Dips x50 rep target
C2 – Chin Up x50 rep target
C/D – Stretching for problem areas

Daily Dice Roll – Rotate these three movements – Sprints, Pistol Squats, Loaded Carry (any awkward heavy object).

Why not make 2020 the year of being different, you never know, doing less you might just gain more than you ever have before.


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2020 vs 2019

You suffer because you make bad choices.
Typically when shit hits the fan we can trace things back to that exact moment it all began, which is usually of our own doing.
As Christmas day approaches many are gearing up for a feast.
Gluttony will rule the day.
Don’t get me wrong, eat, drink, be merry, just be mindful as well.
It’s not uncommon that over the month of December 2019 to perhaps even mid Jan 2020 (when most people go back to work) the ‘rules’ go out of the window.
This can lead to people gaining up to 2 stone in weight, most of which is usually fat, not good.
It’s oaky though because in the new year they will become later focused and mike next year their bitch.
Um, yea, no, no you won’t because you said that about 2019 and found every excuse imaginable to maintain the string of successive failures that have been accumulated over the last decade or more.
I guess at least in that way people are consistent.
It’s why new years resolutions are bullshit for the most part.
If someone truly wanted changed they’d already be well anther way to making it happen, as opposed to talking about it, making all the grandiose plans and then royally ballsing it ups within the first three weeks of the new year.
People just don’t want change, and that’s okay.
What gets me is who everyone talks about it, pats each other on the back and indulges one another bullshit.
Just stop it.
You know as well as I do that you’ll do nothing, simply because you don’t really want to and with the modern narrative of body positivity, accepting every flaw in a person (so long as it fits the social, economical, political narratives of the day) and generally pretending everything is great we are encouraged to do so.
True you don’t need to change, yet you should want to.
What is the sense in remaining as we are when there is so much to gain in experience, enjoyment and a sense of purpose/achievement from making the conscious choice to become more than what we are?
I don’t know, maybe it’s just me.
After stagnating for so long, making all the excuses and avoiding the future I’ve finally become too tired to entertain my own bullshit anymore, much less anyone else’s.
Take a look back at all the NYR that you’ve not hit.
Now ask yourself why you didn’t achieve them.
Finally make a choice, you want to change or you don’t.
Simple really.
Don’t get suckered in by enjoying failure and what is brings (sympathy, people being nice, an excuse to be weak), choose change, choose to struggle to succeed and embrace all the negative shit that comes with it.
In the end it will be worth far more to you than you realise.

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Focus on the 20% to achieve 80%

When you’re options are limited, you’ll soon realise what’s worth the effort.
In a training sense that is.
These days the gym has become the place where we will artificially get some external stress to help us adapt to become stronger, more resilient and generally better at being human.
As a species we need a few things from a physical aspect.
– Movement Capability
– Lifting Strength
– Cardiovascular Ability
We could argue for more, however those are some staples.
Movement capability simply means being able to crawl, climb, walk, run, jump, and essentially retain that which we gained as a child as we learned to move.
Lifting wise we need to pick thing up, carry them for distance and perhaps press them overhead.
Cardiovascular ability essentially equates to being abel to walks for hours on end, run when needed without getting winded and occasionally sprint after or away form something.
You can easily achieve all of the above in your training.
Day 1 – Movements – Crawling/Climbing (25-45min)
Day 2 – Strength – Hinge/Press/Carry (3-5×3-5)
Day 3 – Conditioning – Fartlek (25-45min)
Day 4 – Off
So damn simple.
You’d do well not to try and combine the methods though, while you can it will yield sub maximal results in all, whereas when you focus on just one trend each day you will achieve the sufficient amount of overload (hopefully) to adhere to GAS.
Take a look at your training, how much is fluff?
I’m betting at least 80%.
Cute the fluff, focus and doing less better and achieve the progress you deserve.

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The Potentials Reel

With 2020 fast approaching it makes you wonder how many people won’t achieve their goals.
While this may sound mean in our modern world of ‘everything is awesome’ it’s true.
A lot of people have began chatting about how next year will be their year.
How they will smash it, take no prisoners, become better.
Yea, all bullshit.
It sounds good on social media and allows them enough engagement to get the feel good hits of dopamine etc they want/need, all while also knowing they won’t need to follow through on it because no one really cares enough to push/challenge them on what they will say.
Why waste your time talking a great game if you won’t follow it through?
Is your life that unimportant to you?
Has your illusion become worth more than your reality?
It is a truly frustrating time to be alive because there is so much wasted potential it hurts.
To see people with such an amazing amount of opportunity fall short each and overtime because they, for lack of better terminology, are insecure wannabes.
Yep, so many are scared of success because of how insecure they have become.
The second someone challenges them in any way they fall to pieces and flood their social media feed with passive aggressive nonsense, or they run and hide while making all the excuses that while hard to refute for various reasons (usually emotional ones) are still nothing more than excuses.
We’ve all done it though, I know I have many times over.
Now there is not much time left I personally don’t see the point in not pursuing what you seek as improvement and being honest about it if you fail.
If you don’t want to do something, great, don’t do it.
Avoid being a person who promises the world and delivers sweet fuck all, no one likes a flake.
Ah, the term ‘flake’.
An apt description for the majority of people these days, people that have such potential yet want nothing more than to sound the part, to talk a good game and have people think they’re gods among men, instead of mere shadows.
I don’t know, maybe this is just my own bitterness creeping out.
Nah, it almost 100% is that.
You see we grow so tired of watching the same patterns.
Seeing a story repeated again and again and again.
Change the reel, you might just find a better story.
Anyway, I’ve brought down the mood enough, do with the above what you will, however whatever it is be sure it’s something worthy of your potential.
Better to look back at your life and smile with the aura and satisfaction of you did all you could than to wonder, what if?

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The Nose Knows

Heart rate monitors and tracking things to the finest detail are not for everyone.

There is another way you can regulate your efforts in training, you will actually learn to listen to your body and know just how fatigued you really are.

3 Stage Breathing

  • Nasal (breathing in and out only through the nose)
  • Nasal/Mouth (in through the nose, out through the mouth
  • Mouth (breathing in and out through the mouth)

The first stage can be considered pace breathing, the second is utilised for more vigour activity and the last many deem to be panic breathing, or in a fitness sense a max effort.

When training you can regulate your sets based on how you breath.

You’ll find that Nasal only will keep your efforts in a very manageable realm, it may even feel like you’ve not done too much and you’d leave feeling energised and strong. Once you start to lose the rhythm you’d rest, the begin once again when you feel your heart calm.

Next up would be training to the point where you can continue to breath in deeply through your nose and are forced to exhale via your mouth do to an increased effort, think sub-max, as this is sustainable and will be easy to recover from, meaning once you feel your heart calm you get back to it.

Lastly this is where you’d be pushing a max effort, you’d stop once you’d no longer be able to continue with the same level of intensity, your recovery comes in the form of being able to breath nasally again, that means you’re read to go again.

Basing your rest periods on how you breathe will be very eye opening for you.

Not only will you be able to gain more control of your HR, it will also show if you’re recovered or are perhaps suffering some lingering fatigue, this is because it will take you longer to calm your heart if your in a state closer to constant sympathetic dominance and in a touch of deep in-road.

While it will take time to get used to, this is a wonderfully personal way of training based on your own individual level of fatigue.

Give it a go the next time you train.

Split the types of breathing in to Hard-Medium-Easy days.

  • Easy day = Nasal Only (in/out)
  • Medium day = Nasal (in) & Mouth (out) > once back to nasal only = recovered for next effort
  • Hard day = Mouth (in/out) > once back to nasal only = recovered for next effort


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Not just for legs

The other day a little kettlebell hypertrophy/strength based protocol came to mind for the festive season.

It’s very much a bit of a quick peak kind of protocol.

Based on the classic M-L-H set up.

Main Movement – Double Kettlebell Front Squat.

Rep Goal – 100

This is where the magic can happen because we can play with either keeping the overall load within the 70-80% of RM range, or we can play with the loads while keeping reps consistent.

Option 1 – Static Load 40kg (heaviest bells at home)

H/Day – 10 Sets – aim form 10 reps per set – 2-4min rest

L/Day – 10 Sets – 40% of total reps from H/day – so if 50 reps achieved then 20 reps is the total (10×2, or 1-2-3-1-2-3-1-2-3-2, broken down as you see fit)

M/Day – 10 Sets – 70% of total reps from H/day – rep breakdown can be as you see fit, however you don’t ideal want to miss or grind any (same goes for L/day).

^^ To make the L/M days more interesting if they feel easy, pauses in the hole can be added, rest can be reduced (to increase density/work capacity) and a focus on the RFD (rate of force development) can be thought of ala Dr Squat’s CAT (compensatory acceleration training).

H-L-M-L-M-L-H-L-M-L-M-L-H = roughly 4 weeks

^^ Based on 3 sessions per week.

Option 2 – 3 different loads

The rep goal is 100 each session.

H/Day – 40kgs
L/Day – 24kgs
M/Day – 32kgs

Set/Rep wise you may choose to do 10×10 (aiming for 10 res each set, however no grinding, this means you may not get all 10×10, so you build to this) for the heavy day, and sets of 10 for the light/medium days.

The can be up to you how you hit them, its simply about getting good quality reps in.

This came from the notion of doing more with less.

Limiting what we have on offer so we become creative.

I did this in the summer with my sandbags and found it way harder than I thought I would which gave me a rather nifty lesson.

^^ The strength I had was only useful in the gym (in specific movements), while not a terrible thing it was nice an humbling.

If we can’t transfer what we gain from the gym to real life, why did we invest so much time into it?

My current ponder ^^.

While this was floating around the old noggin it became apparent that the overall idea of having nice rep target and then improving the quality of the reps was very appealing.

You may be able to hit all the reps from day one, however our ever obsessive chasing of progression in the form of volume/intensity isn’t the only way we can progress.

We’ve also got density/work capacity (less rest/better efforts/form), technique improvements, more time under load/tension (adding in pauses or slowing down the tempo), the options are endless.

The above might not be relevant to you, however it was worth sharing.

What little ideas have you had float through your head that you applied in your training this year, and what was their result?

Incase you’re wandering the DKB-FS is surprisingly hard due to how it teaches you to stay tense and breath deeply.

While 80kg is way off my own personal BB-FS max (about 50%) there is the understanding it’s an entirely different animal that requires respect.

If you ever get the chance, give them a go.

^^ You can also apply this to various other lifts too.


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5 things you can do daily to improve your body.

This will not be a sexy as a met-con or some ghastly conditioning circuit, however it will yield far more benefits.
You see the older you get the more you’ll appreciate this.
We shall keep the timings nice and short so that if you choose to do all 5 in a row you’ll only need 10-15min tops.
Of course you can do any of these for longer, yet we’re all busy people so 10-15min is far more reasonable.
1 – Sitting in a squat for 2-3min.
Drop in to a squat, hold it, feel your body relax in to the position and breathe deeply into your diaphragm.
2 – Hang for 2-3min.
Grab a bar and hang in any way shape or form (asking the cat makes for a lovely hang).
3 – Loosen your Upper Thoracic for 2-3min.
Use a foam roller, trigger point peanut or something similar and place it in each of these places (lower/mid/upper thoracic) and let your arms hang overhead.
4 – Move for 2-3min.
Squat down, lift your arms overhead, stand up, hinge down to touch the floor, inchworm out as far as you can without letting you hips sag, inchworm back in and repeat for improved movement.
5 – Move again for another 2-3min.
A down dog to an up dog to the worlds greatest stretch (yep, that’s it’s name) will leave you feeling revitalised and far more mobile than before.
All of this is pretty simple.
It’s also highly effective and I can almost guarantee that 98% of people will be too lazy to do any of it, shame.
Try the above, then perhaps add in your own little bits.
Rolling around on the floor is also a great addition when you’re build some future movement capabilities.

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Evolution of Mind

Another day another opportunity to move.
The longer I spend in the realm of training and all things fitness related the more enjoyment is taken from smily moving.
While lifting is still a love, it’s not the dictator it once was.
Being able to have some fun and play is great.
Movement skill is something we all lose eventually, well, that is unless we are truly diligent and stay moving for as long as we can.
Across the experience gained there are somer interesting types of strength that can be gained form utilising only what your mother gave you (you).
– Quadrupedal
– Contralateral
– Unilateral
Single arm push ups from all angles.
Pistols that transition into fully supporting your bodyweight as you move.
The ability to hold you weight in a dead hang from one arm, and perhaps even begin to pull yourself up eventually.
All offer real world transfer/benefits.
Now this doesn’t mean you give up lifting because as great as moving and playing with a plethora of positions is, there’s no substitute for building impressive and raw absolute strength, that has plenty of real world applications too.
Pressing your own bodyweight or more overhead (or carry them for distance) and deadlifting 2-3xbw has plenty of positive benefits to life.
Now the truth is we can’t do it all, however we can do a lot.
– You can move daily and practice various skills.
– You can lift every 3-5 days and really put in an effort.
Think of it this way, crawling, climbing and practicing transitional work can be fun and great for basic strength & conditioning.
Then every 3rd or 5th day you go to the gym to Press & Hinge some hefty loads and build volume (you can also do carries here or do those as daily strength practice).
I can already here people panicking about the lack of balance.
You can alternate squatting and hinging patterns, you will still build some strong legs, swapping those every 3 days works nicely.
Press each time you train (vary the variation), as for puling you can do that daily in the form climbing, or just put in some heavy rows, cleans, weighted things etc.
Honestly unless you’re an athlete or training for a specific goal you can do what you like.
In fact these options make a great session rota:
Option 1:
– Snatches (any kit/variation)
– Deadlift (any kit/variation)
– Pull Ups (any kit/variations)
Option 2:
– Power Clean (any kit)
– Front Squat (any kit/variation)
– Press (any kit/variation)
Option 3:
– Press (any kit/variation)
– Deadlift (any kit/variation)
– Loaded Carry (any kit/variation)
Option 4:
– Zercher Squats ((any kit/variation)
– Loaded Carry (any kit/variation)
– Clean & Press (any kit/variation)
You’ll get a lot out of those, plus one combined with daily movement/play/practice there will be plenty other benefits as well (physique, strength, conditioning, mobility, life).
Funny how we change as we get a little older.
Something that has found it’s way into my thoughts is this:
“I’d like to become like Bamboo, strong yet able to flex, bend & flow with the wind.”
Not what I’d expect if you’d asked me 5 years ago what my thoughts would be.
Back then it was – “To become Flexible Steel.”
Which in essence is similar, yet not quite as free as Bamboo.
I guess looking at them together they’re almost one and the same, huh, funny.
How often do you make time to simply play and have fun?
Give it some thought.

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3 Reasons most PT’s suck at programming

As harsh as this is you’ll find it’s more true than it should be.
💪 – They make everyone program about body budding
👩‍🏫 – A lack in the understanding of data tracking/trends
🥰 – Programming what they like to program
^^ Look at any training program an you’ll find it’s not too dissimilar from what they give everyone else.
Now if all of their clients are after a goal that is in the same real, say aesthetics, then the programming will indeed be very similar.
It’s quite ironic as many of them champion the whole ‘You need to find what works for you’ and then proceed to program essentially the same thing for everyone.
As mentioned before it’s less about finding what works for you and simply finding what works.
Yes there will be differences in volume tolerances and some of the subtle nuance of builds etc, yet in the end it’s all much of a muchness.
For example,
Want to be a sprinter? Train like sprinters train.
Want to be a body builder? Train like BB’ers train.
Want to be a thrower? Ye, you’ve guessed it, train like throwers train.
The fitness industry, or rather the qualifications in it are largely based off of the influence that Arnold had in the 70’s.
Just take a look at any level 2 or level 3 course and it’s basically all body building biased, and while there is nothing wrong with this method/philosophy of training it’s not the only tool.
The longer you spend in the industry the more you’ll see past all the smoke and mirrors, the biggest one being this:
🗣People will say what sounds right because they want your approval.🗣
I have discussions about the above all the time with people who while good at putting together basic programs for beginners and novices, they come unstuck when faced with someone who is actually at or above the level of intermediate.
^^ How do we judge levels?
Sports = numbers and performance trends, are they improving because if so then what you’re doing is working.
Aesthetic sports = does the person win/place, if so then it’s working.
Health = are the objective health markers improving and is the person actually improving in regards to quality of life, if they are then congratulations because it’s working.
It’s all pretty simple really, and as such these two questions will change your life (both for PT’s and average people).
1 – Is it working?
A = Yes > Continue as you are and track/make notes.
A= No, proceed to question two:
2 – Why is it not working (be honest)?
A = All progress made from current program = change it
A = You’re not doing something you’re meant to be doing = address you behavioural issues before changing the program.
Your coach/trainer should be in contact with you on a regular basis, adjusting your program to your needs as they change.
Your program should reflect your goal, not the training of the trainer, remember this.

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The Flaw Behind an Old Saying

Chances are you’ve heard this before:
“If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always got.”
This isn’t actually true, well, not in regards to fitness.
In that realm if you do what you’ve always done you’ll get less each time you do it.
This is due to the law of accommodation.
Your body will get better at doing its specified task, using less energy over time as it becomes more efficient, then less muscle will be needed and eventually that will atrophy. Once that happens TDEE goes down, if there is then no adjustment in calories you’ll be in a surplus and that will eventually lead to fat gain.
The most difficult part is that people don’t want to give away what they are currently doing.
They have an emotional attachment to it you see.
Even if it serves no purpose anymore, they cling to it needlessly, even at the cost of progress.
Chances are you’re aware that the body needs to be constantly put under enough of a stimulus to warrant adaptation.
This is where you need to apply the ‘same yet different principle in to your training via volume, intensity, density (work capacity) or novelty.
The stimulus in question though needs to be large enough to actually warrant change otherwise you will fall prey to what is known as ‘transient accumulation process’ – this basically means that changes too small, too frequent or too random don’t allow the body enough time to catch on and adapt to, so it doesn’t.
Many fall into this trap, you can tell by looking at them and their overall level of muscularity, strength, conditioning and performance.
Harsh yet true for a large amount of the population, sadly.
– Beginners need change the least, every 12 weeks works well
– Intermediates around every 6-8 weeks will do
– Advanced it’s between 3-6 weeks
– Elite, well they do what ever they choose to do because they’re Elite
When was the last time you changed up your training enough to allow a positive yet empt stimulus that caused you to progress?
In fact when was the last time you made any progress at all?
Give the above some thought and if you’ve not really made any real, honest and tangible progress then leave a comment below and we shall see what tweaks/suggestions we can come up with to help you overcome that road block.

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