Know your goal

Is your goal really your own?

A question more people should ask themselves.

How often have you heard of people achieving their goal only to be left feeling unsatisfied or unfulfilled?

You’d be surprised to find out that it’s actually quite common.

There are many people who undergo certain tasks to achieve what they think they want, when in reality they’re achieving what they’ve been told they want.

A very common state of affairs.

Have you ever honestly sat down and thought about why you’re doing what you’re doing?

I’d be surprised if you had, pleasantly surprised.

Knowing the underlying reasons is key to long term success and sustainability.

That said, it’s not something people give much thought to.

Might be worth considering before you set your next goal.

Enjoy,
Ross

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Generation Idiot

Keeping up with the Kardashians.

Proof that being an idiot can have you winning at life.

Morning All,

The rise of reality TV has been amazing to watch of the subsequent years, however it’s lead to the breeding of a generation of idiots.

Deluded idiots at that.

Some people will be offended by that truth, oh well, be offended it’s your right after all.

This mentality has bleed in to the fitness industry as well.

So much so that there are two clearly defined camps:

– Evidence based people
– Everyone else (anecdote, instafamous etc)

Well, that’s have the former would have you see it.

It’s easy to see how and why people are getting confused about what to do for optimal results.

For the average person they’ve complicated fitness & nutrition beyond belief.

The evidence based lot often end up getting people to delve in to science they’re not interested in and lambaste anyone who doesn’t follow their view.

Everyone else will simply share the latest fad craze and tell people what they want to hear, regardless of if it is going to be useful to them.

Is is any wonder people are frustrated these days.

Where should people start?
Who’s should they listen to?
What are they meant to believe?

Three questions that have so many answers you couldn’t ever hope to know them all.

That said, here are three simple considerations for you, it’s your choice if you want to delve in to these more or not.

– Start by looking for the leading authorities in the filed you want to delve in to – evidence & anecdotally based.

– Next find people who have consistently grown in the field, not just in success, in their own education and views. If they have changed over they years that’s a good thing because it means they are searching for the truth and best possible answers for people, hopefully.

– You can believe what you want, however always question it or at least look for views to oppose your own beliefs so you can gain the broader perspective, don’t become dogmatic.

*Bonus – Always look to learn & question why, please also remember that there are some great people out there who give away a lot of great info for free, there’s always two sides to a coin, just try not to be on the same as the Kardashians and their ilk.

Take the above and do one the following:

– Apply it to your life
– Ignore it and move on

If what I’ve said is something you consider absolute bollocks, great, you don’t need to heed my words, that’s your choice.

However perhaps it’s struck a cord of intrigue, if so you should look in to it.

The power of free will & choice, use it wisely.

Enjoy,
Ross

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Becoming a Bear

The Russian Bear!
 
A simple yet sinister protocol.
 
Doing it you will achieve the following:
 
– Strength
– Lean mass gain (nutrition provided)
– Mental fortitude
– Movement skill (good form providing)
– A lesson in humility
 
This was something I found many years ago while reading the book Power to the People – Pavel Tsatsouline.
 
His protocol recommendation is picking two lifts to focus on and doing 2 sets of 5 (*1x5x100%, 1x5x90%),5 days per week, the workouts take 25-35min tops.
 
*It is suggested that you start off at 80% of your 5RM and add weight in a linear fashion, there’s no sense in going too hard too soon. Build up over time.
 
It’s a strength focused work ethic.
 
I’ve run it several times over the years and do more than two moves, putting in squats, chins and so on. I found 5 lifts was about right for me when done 5 days per week.
 
Over that time I also found that aiming for 10 total working reps was good as well. This allowed for my bodies natural ebb & flow.
 
Some days would be 2×5 as above, others would be 3×3, some 4-3-2-1 or 5-3-2, it added some variety.
 
However all in the name of maintaining and/or increasing strength while I trained for other things (combative sports).
 
If your goal is pure strength, give that a go, however if you want or need to add some serious slabs of muscle and overall weight to your frame then the Russian Bear is for you.
 
Here’s how it works:
 
Pick two lifts – my recommendations are the Deadlift & Military Press.
 
Why?
 
They are both test of strength where you need to overcome the initial inertia to get the weight moving, not to mention you can pause each rep at the bottom of the lift for even more strength progress.
 
Once you pick your two lifts to focus on you do the following:
 
– 2×5: 1x5x100%, 1x5x90%
– As many set as possible of 5×80% of first set of 5.
– Aim to hit 15-25 total back off sets
– Rest 30-90 seconds per set
– Always have 1-2 reps in the tank, don;t go to absolute fail
– When form starts to go, stop
– Train 3x per week
 
The benefit of this style of protocol is in it’s massive amount of volume.
 
It seems easy on paper, don’t be fooled though.
 
Once you hit the top end back off sets (25), you could change the lifts or increase the weight – I recommend a deload or week off before starting it again though.
 
You might be tempted to do all 3 days per week using this protocol for both lifts, you can however it’s potentially not smart.
 
Here is my recommendation for it:
 
Day 1 – Deadlift 2×5 (PTTP style), Press 2×5+AMSAPx80%
 
Day 2 – Press 2×5 (PTTP style), DL 2×5+AMSAPx80%
 
Day 3 – Deadlift 2×5 (PTTP style), Press 2×5+AMSAPx80%
 
This will be more than enough for most people.
 
Should take between 45-90min to complete
 
Over time you can build up by adding weight and sticking with the above suggestion or start doing bear deadlifts 2xper week.
 
Day 1 – Deadlift 2×5+AMSAPx80%, Press 2×5+AMSAPx80%
 
Day 2 – Press 2×5 (PTTP style), DL 2×5 (PTTP style)
 
Day 3 – Deadlift 2×5+AMSAPx80%, Press 2×5+AMSAPx80%
 
Eventually working to all three days being volume ones.
 
^^ If you did that I’d be tempted to stick with the same loading, not gospel, just sensible. The first option is preferable as once you hit the max back off work you can increase the overall load.
 
Many will not like this due to it only having two lifts, adding in one extra accessory lift for some token reps isa acceptable, however it’s up to you.
 
Just something to consider.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Specialise much?

A short post on specialisation.
 
It’s all about picking something you want to focus on.
 
If you are looking at your gym lifts for example, here’d be some sensible guidelines for the average gym goer.
 
If lifting related:
 
– Pick 1-2 lifts to focus on
– Increase the frequency: 2-3+ times per week
– Use the appropriate loading/rep schemes for the goal
– Set other training at a maintenance level
– Watch out for interference from other exercises
– Set a clear goal
 
If body part or aesthetically related:
– Pick one lagging body part
– Increase the frequency: 2-3 times per week
– Use the appropriate loading/rep schemes for the goal
– Set other training at a maintenance level
– Watch out for interference from other exercises
– Set a clear goal
 
As you can see the guidelines are essentially the same because it’s just common sense.
 
One thing people do when they specialise is to pick multiple things at once, often those things interfere with each other and little to no overall progress is made.
 
Sadly you can’t excel at everything at the same time.
 
If you try to be good at everything you end up being average.
 
It’s not uncommon for people to want to increase strength & cardiovascular performance in tandem, now if correctly planned it’s possible, however most people get it very wrong.
 
Training for multiple goals that may have some conflicting factors – energy system usage, global fatigue etc, is an art and this process is called concurrent training.
 
We won’t be covering that today.
 
This is a large topic to cover, as such here are some good places to start:
 
 
 
 
So some thing to consider if you want to bring up something that’s lagging.
 
If you want to focus on making something better, limit what you want to focus on.
 
You won’t lose your other gains if you set other training at a decent maintenance level.
 
Enjoy,
Ross 

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Break your pattern

7 day weeks are overrated.
 
Especially for training.
 
Morning All,
 
When it comes to frequency of training we know that we should be hitting each muscle group or movement at least twice per week.
 
You can also look at this from the standpoint of hitting the muscle or movement every 3-5 days.
 
Most people do this by running on a 7day week, which is fair enough, most people have lives after all.
 
That said, there is a more interesting way.
 
Our body is a clever thing, it will begin to remember the pattern we adopt and as such we may unknowingly sabotage our progress.
 
Have you ever though about a rolling routine for your training?
 
Now if you have no training restrictions and can train on any day then a simple 4 day split of; Pull-Push-Legs-Rest-Repeat will work very well.
 
If you are constrained to the 7 day week fear not, you can still utilise a rolling training program while hitting the optimal frequency of every 3-5 days (2 exposures in a 7 day period), you just won’t train the same workout each time.
 
Say you have only 4 days a week to train:
 
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday & Saturday
 
If you use the split above it might look like this:
 
Pull, Push, Legs, Pull – Week 1
Push, Legs, Pull, Push – Week 2
Legs, Pull, Push, Legs – Week 3
 
You can see it’s a three week rotation and you’re hitting each muscle every 3-5days while also not doing them on the same day of the week, meaning some extra mental stimulation as well.
 
You also have to factor in exercise crossover.
 
^^ Deadlift & squat for example, both hit the legs and posterior chain. Perhaps you have get ups as a warm up & prowler on Leg day as a finisher, these also hit the upper body isometrically, make sense?
 
As you can see there is no lack of logical structure here.
 
Something what would be very useful is perhaps having 3 distinct workout options (think same but different), so that each 3 day block of training hits the same muscle/movement actions just with different variations of the same exercises.
 
Then you’d set yourself the task of doing each 3 day mini cycle 6-8 times, progressing by a doing weight, sets or reps as needed.
 
That would mean you have a solid program that will last anywhere from 18-24 weeks.
 
Talk about forward planing for long term gains.
 
Here is an example of different movements you may use (I will give you 3 main lifts & variations per day) –
 
Pull –
Deadlift
Deficit Snatch Grip Deadlift
Block Pull
 
Push –
Standard Grip Bench Press
Close Grip Bench Press
Incline Press
 
Legs –
Squat
Front Squat
Hack Squat
 
This is with the main lift, I’d then advise perhaps 2-3 accessory lifts, erring on the side of 2 as over the years I’ve found less is more.
 
Guess what, you can also have different options for each of the accessory movements as well, talk about variety planned in to a specific goal.
 
Now this might seem like a lot of effort, however it works, it works well to be honest, it works best when combined with optimal nutrition (calories set accordingly of your goal).
 
Give it some thought, if you can’t cray it yourself feel free to ask for some help on here.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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A question for you

Have you made progress?
 
Honestly?
 
Like any at all?
 
Have you
 
– Gotten stronger
– Improved VO2 Max
– Gotten leaner
– Added LBM
– Ranked higher in your sport
 
I would trust that you have rather than simply spinning your wheels.
 
What was it Warren Buffett said –
 
“It’s nice having a lot $$$ but don’t keep it around forever. Otherwise it’s like saving sex for old age.
 
I feel a lot of people do this in their lives.
 
They aim to accumulate points over time and then expect something marvellous to happen.
 
Many put off the gym and pledge to do more later on, it never happens. They never make the change they need.
 
They remain the same.
 
Are you one of these people?
 
Give it some thought.
 
If you haven’t made progress in a while it might be time to make a change.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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The real reason you should write your goals down.

Most people know they should be writing down their goals.
 
Typically because of the following reasons:
 
– Accountability
– It’s a useful reminder
– This helps formulate an action plan
– The process allows for the overarching goal to be separated in to smaller more manageable chunks
 
What most people don’t know is the real reason it works os well.
 
If we write our goals down and achieve them, be that the main goal or the mini goals we set, each time we tick something off as achieved Dopamine is released.
 
What is it?
 
Dopamine is one of the neurotransmitters in your brain that affects your emotions, movements and your sensations of pleasure and pain.
 
This is often why people get addicted to things, it’s the dopamine release they experience, it keeps them coming back.
 
There you have it.
 
That’s the real reason you should write your goals down.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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5 exercises you’re not doing that will change your life.

 
In the modern age the mentality of training is heavily influenced by body building.
 
Now don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing bad about this, however not everyone wants to be one, some want strength, others want performance and a few just want to move better and enjoy life.
 
Give the influence of BB’ing most peoples training is constructed around open chain isolation exercises.
 
Again, nothing wrong with this, however there’s so much you than you know.
 
The 5 movements below will literally change your life in the following ways:
 
– Add slabs of lean muscle
– Build strength
– Increase mental fortitude
– Strip fat
– Improve movement patters (mobility, flexibility etc)
 
Be prepared, chances are you don’t do these at all.
 
1 – Clean & Press
 
2 – Turkish Get up
 
3 – Loaded carry (farmer walk, bear hug, overhead hold, sled drag, prowler push)
 
4 – Rope climbing (or climbing in general)
 
5 – Front Squats
 
Why these 5?
 
Apart from he fact people don’t really do them I will list some benefits in correlation with their number:
 
1 – Explosive power & strength
2 – Full body coordination, improved ROM, stability, strength
3 – Conditioning (strip fat), strength, stability, mental toughness, power
4 – Helps you climb trees to get down your kite
5 – Strength, stability, ROM, posture
 
Now there is one movement that you may feel also needs to be in there and I’d agree, the deadlift should be in there as well.
 
6 – Deadlift – snatch grip variation especially :3
 
You’d be surprised the body you could build doing those exercises, however many of you won’t because they don’t fall in to the norm and fit the status quo, shame.
 
If you’re one of those who has the courage to brea away from the norm here’s a protocol you can use to make that change you’ve been looking for –
 
*Number to correlate*
 
– 5-25 total reps per movement (1,2,5,6)
– 80% + 1RM loading
– 10-20min total distance covered (3/4)
– Train 2-5 times per week
– Session length 45min tops
– Track everything and aim to progress where you can
 
Seems simple, however you have your movements, you can choose to do them with dumbbells, barbells, kettlebells, odd objects and much more.
 
Just aim to break the norm if you really want to get some results.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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A little known fact about Kettlebells

I’m sure you’ve heard of kettlebells.

They’re great, Tony would approve, especially after earning your stripes to increase the Pood you use.

Pood = measure of kettlebell weight.

There are only half pood jumps, which is 8kg, meaning as you may have guessed 1 pood is a whole 16kg.

Did you know in Russia you use standard bells:

1 pood = 16kg – The Rabbit

1.5 pood= 24kg – The Fox

2 pood = 32kg – The Badger

2.5 pood=40kg – The Bulldog

3 pood=48kg – The Beast*

*The beast & bulldog are known names, some kettlebell practitioners came up with the other three which seemed to stick in the community. Plus they sound cool.

There is no 4kg, 8kg, 12kg, 20kg, 28kg, 36kg or 44kg kettlebell in the mood system of measuring. Obviously you can buy these weights as they are sold by plenty of manufactures, however do you know WHY the poods are set the way they are?

Have a think.

It’s because you have to earn your stripes by increasing the volume with the lower weights before taking the leap of faith and that massive 8kg jump to the next one.

Now I know what you might be thinking.

8kg is a massive jump, and you’re right, it is, however it means that you have to spend a decent amount of time building your strength through various kettlebell movements, not to mention exercise options to help your body bridge the gap from one bell to the the next.

If we take the strict press as the example.

You might easily be able to press 24kg with ease, perhaps for 5 solid reps, however you won’t get near the 32kg for one, or so you think.

Enter training techniques to close the gap.

  • Upping volume – turning 5 reps in to 10
  • Utilising eccentric overload – push press the 32kg and work the negative portion of the rep with pauses at certain stages of the lift for 3-5 reps
  • Implying yielding & overcoming presses with the 32kg

There are a lot of options, that’s only three potential ones without even looking at static holds overhead,  floor presses, windmills, get ups and other such movements.

Thankfully we live in a world where there are 4kg and sometimes 2kg jumps between each kettlebell.

Feel free to progress through them however you choose, however it you want to do it the Russian way, acquire the 5 bells above and be prepared for one hell of a journey to the most impressive 48kg press.

Enjoy,

Ross

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Ah, Classic.

Two classic lines said by many –

“I can’t put on weight, and I eat loads.”

“I can’t lose weight, and I don’t eat much.”

If the above were true weight would either go up or down, if that isn’t the case then that means only one thing.

You’re not doing what you think you’re doing.

A strong mindset and accountability are interesting things.

Not everyone wants them.

Instead they a quick fix or diet pill to solve all their problems.

If it came to their work  and the staff they manage or their business they’d rain down fiery hell on their staff for not doing what they’re meant to be doing or  making poor excuses, however when it comes to themselves and making a change, well they’re different and need special attention.

Bollocks.

What we all need is to accept that the only way to change is to accept that we are the result of our own choices, for the most part*.

*Less for legitimate medical exceptions in which case see a specialist.

Actually, touching on the medical excuse above, many will claim to have an issue, self diagnosed of course and it stops them achieving a result.

Again, bollocks.

Go see a specialist, if something is wrong it will be shown, then you can start working to sort it.

Anyway, back to the point.

As a modern culture we have an untold amount of excuses ready and waiting for our own poor behaviours/attitudes, yet we wouldn’t accept them from out staff or people we’re responsible for.

We’d tell them how it was and that they need to sort it out.

Yet when it comes to people accepting they’re the problem, the blinkers come down and the ‘poor me’ attitude follows.

Ask yourself, do I want change or not?

Give it some thought.

Enjoy,
Ross

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