5 Reasons people need a framework to succeed –

1 – Most don’t know what they need to do and as such need it clearly signposted

2 – It helps people feel less pressure, basically they can blame the structure for failure rather than themselves

3 – Things such as accountability and more responsibility become easier to administer

4 – Recorded data makes for a great confidence booster to show them how far they’ve come

5 – It teaches them how to achieve success on their own

Now there are those rare people who don’t need a framework to make their own success, if you’re one of them then we’ll see each other at the top. If that’s not you it’s not a problem, just ask for help and it will be yours.

Short & simple today.

Enjoy,
Ross

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What’s harder?

What’s harder, training or nutrition?
 
Now this is a common question and the answer for most is almost always the nutrition.
 
The funny thing is nutrition isn’t really that hard, you either need to be in a calorie surplus or deficit (depending on your goal), from there you will do well to keep a nutrition diary and record your foods, calories/macros too if you’re that focused.
 
Next you will do well to opt to eat mostly whole foods, however this is not a necessity although it is preferable for health and performance purposes.
 
This again isn’t hard, yet people will makes excuses, piss wings and moan that is it because of the following REAL reason; they don’t want to have to change bad habits.
 
Might sound harsh, however that doesn’t stop it being true.
 
Now as written above, you don’t HAVE to change the foods you eat, provided your calories/macros are set correctly and you hit them you can choose the foods sources, so the excuse of “Good nutrition is too restrictive and hard to stick to” gets thrown out of the window, now it’s just a case of you hitting the number you need to.
 
This is where tracking your calories etc becomes important, again though, you don’t have to, just don’t expect much in the way of progress if yo don’t know what you’re eating calorie wise.
 
Some will chuck in the barrier or “Well I don’t know who to work this out” which again is a redundant excuse considering all the calculators that are available to people, not to mention you can also speak to a respected of successful trainer/coach and have them do it for you.
 
My suggestion would be Eric Helms and his work, or look up the Harris-Benedict calorie calculation formula, boom no more barriers or confusion.
 
Everyone, I don’t mean to sound cynical or jaded, yet I am, this is because over the years I have developed less and less patience for people poor excuses and lack of drive to achieve a result.
 
You have two options really, you either want to make a change, in which case myself and many other people in this industry will bend over backwards to help you. OR, you don’t really want to change in which case we wish you all the best and we can end our conversations promptly.
 
Now as people who want to help we can give you all the tools, help you stay accountable, speak to you daily to make sure you have all the support you need, however if you don’t want to change no amount of help from us or anyone else will make you want to change, that decision has to come from you, from your heart.
 
The knowledge of knowing what will help you in getting results isn’t hard, it’s not the training or the nutrition that is hard, it’s making the conscious choice to change.
 
We, I want to help you, however the real question is do you want to help yourself?
 
Give it some thought.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Pushing your sets all the way

Working out is easy, it’s training that’s hard.
 
When it comes to the mental aspect of lifting weights we’d all like to think that we’re putting in the effort we require and while some certainly do, most don’t.
 
You can tell by the results people achieve.
 
Let’s take for example the classic 5×5, if you look back at its inception the idea was to either do 3-4 warm up sets where you start working towards a top set for the day, some would even do 2 top sets after 3 progressively heavier warm ups, this would actually be quite hard.
 
To push a set of say 5 for everything you had, with good form of course, is quite draining and very few people will ever really do it. Most will lift a weight for 5 that they could have really don for 7, maybe 8 if they’re honest.
 
This is one reason a lot of us don’t get the progress we really want.
 
I’m guilty of this that’s for sure.
 
Now this isn’t to say that people don’t ‘work hard’, rather it’s just pointing out that many haven’t quite grasped the concept of really pushing a set to it’s limit. if they did they’d find training say 3 days per week is more than enough to make progress, rather than their standard 6 with back to back classes and AM/PM runs.
 
Good old fashioned honest hard graft isn’t pleasant, it’s tough, however it’s what produces results, especially when combined with solid nutrition and plenty of recovery.
 
Try doing 5×5 and having 3-4 of those sets being warm ups, then really go all out on the last set, you should feel sufficiently worked, you may have one more set of 5 at that weight, if you do then go for it, however if you get it right that one hard set of 5 will be enough.
 
The loading might look like this:
 
5x60kg
5x100kg
5x140kg
5x180kg
5x200kg
 
Done, move on to the next exercise and repeat the same process.
 
Just something to think about.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Memories

Having measurable data is a great way to assess your progress, so why don’t you have any?
 
Fitness testing, body measurements, lifting records are all great ways to see how you are improving and also what you may need to be doing in order to continue to make headway if it is starting to slow down.
 
There are a lot of people who claim they never need to record things, they just remember it all and while they may indeed remember the highlights it’s very hard to keep everything in your head.
 
Typically once we get past a certain point we might as well be exposed to white noise.
 
According to a lot of research in to the field of memory, the average person can retain 7 pieces, plus or minus 2, given you a top limit of 9 and a lower one of 5; obviously there will be exceptions that can remember more just as there will be people who remember far less, it’s just a part of being on the bellcurve.
 
Writing things down and recording the specifics will take the pressure ands stress away from you having to remember each detail. Don’t get me wrong, having good ball park memory is great, however that won’t help you highlight weak areas that need work, specifically.
 
Personally I’m a big fan of making notes and writing things down, not matter who big or small it is, there’s a record. This little habit has saved many a hassle when it comes to wiring future goals for myself or clients, not to mention it give an honest overview of how everything has proceeded, no hiding behind white lies to protect the ego.
 
This is nothing more than simper advice for you, there’s no need for you to take it, honestly, there isn’t.
 
Before we finish I just want to ask you two questions;
 
1 – What sets and reps were you hitting on this day 3 years ago and how do they compete to now?
 
2 – What was your VO2 Max on the date of 22-6-13 and how has it improved?
 
I’m sure you can answer those from memory 🙂 for me.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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The 30 set workout structure.

An easy to follow method for those who don’t have time to workout out the exact weights they need for every set.
 
This is based on using auto-regulation and going by feel, it’s also a great way to progress provided you have a training diary and track what you’re doing.
 
Here is what you do:
 
– Train 2-3 times per week
– Pick 3 exercises per workout (10 sets per exercise)
– Stay in the 5-10 rep range
– Use which ever training split you feel is most appropriate*
– Warm ups are included in your sets
– You may use Straight Sets (A1, B1, C1), Superset (A1/A2) or Tri-Set (A1/A2/A3) movements if you choose
– Rest as needed
– Track weights/reps achieved
– Aim to keep sessions between 45-60min
– Repeat for 3-6months and make all the progress
 
*Upper/Lower, Push/Pull, Pull-Push-Legs, Full Body
 
This is what one exercises might look like on paper:
 
Deadlift:
 
Set 1 5x bar 20kg
Set 2 5x 60kg
Set 3 5x 80kg
Set 4 5x 100kg
Set 5 5x 120kg
Set 6 5x 140kg
Set 7 5x 140kg
Set 8 5x 140kg
Set 9 5x 140kg
Set 10 5x 130kg
 
^^ Calculate total volume – Sets X Reps X Weight
 
10x5x1070 = 53,500kg total volume lifted in the session.
 
You’d make a note and aim to lift more total volume next week.
 
The stronger you get you’ll find you may nee dress warm up sets or that they stay the same and you can lift more in your later sets to increase your volume. 
Make sure you’re eating correct for your goal, if you need to establish your calories then check out this page for those answers:
 
There is no right or wrong as to how many warm ups you need, just do what you feel is adequate so that your form feels grooved and the speed on the bar is moving nice and fast.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Ego ego ego

Is your Ego getting in the way of your progress?
 
Ego is an interesting thing.
 
It stops you listening to those who know better and it really hates change.
 
We’ve all had those times where it has stopped us getting to the next level, be that in work, fitness or any other endeavour, it really is something that we can do without.
 
Our own ego is incredibly fragile, you can always tell when a persons feels threatened because they will act out in defence, even if the are not a part of the conversation or it wasn’t aimed at them.
 
After playing devils advocate for enough years I’ve been able to see this happen several times without fail, it’s quite funny to sit back and watch.
 
You can overcome this evolutionary flaw by doing the following:
 
– Embrace the fact that it’s your ego thinking, not you.
 
– Understanding what is going on with your ego (it’s scared of dying).
 
– Letting go.
 
The last one is the hardest, if you are asked or told to let go of something have you ever realised or thought “I just can’t do that.” and yet not known why you can’t let go, it’s because of our friend Ego, it wants to hold on to things that is really doesn’t need to.
 
The next time you struggle to let go or move on, ask yourself this – why is this so important to me?
 
Chances are the attachment doesn’t really have any base, it just is.
 
We’ve all been blocked by this little friend of ours, embrace-understand-let go.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Can’t add any more weight?

Three ways to progress without adding weight to the bar –
 
1: Add Reps
2: Add Sets
3: Reduce Rest
 
We all love lifting more weight, it’s very rewarding, however it’s not always possible and because of that reason we need other ways in which we can keep progressing.
 
Above are three simple adaptations that we will cover.
 
1 – Adding Reps
 
Say you’re doing 5×5 at 60kg, yet you can’t hit the same 5×5 at 62.5kg.
 
Now you can add in fractional plates to your training that weight as little as 0.25kg however if you don’t have those then adding reps will be your best bet.
 
Perhaps you set out to add a rep each session until you are doing 5×7, or perhaps 5×10, the choice is yours, however what you will find is that by adding reps and setting a rep goal you’ll be able to add weight easily once you hit the added reps with ease.
 
2 – Adding Sets
 
Similar to above except the reps stay the same, so 5×5 might end up being 10×5 and so on.
 
You could even choose to combine the two and start off at 5×5, work to 5×7 then add a set and go back to 6×5, build that to 6×7, then on to 7×5 building to 7×7 all the way until you hit 10×7, you get the idea.
 
3 – Reducing Rest
 
This falls in to the category of Density Training with increases Oxygen debt and EPOC, getting the same amount of work done in less time is a great way to not only make progress in terms of strength and lean muscle mass but also stripping fat off.
 
If you’re doing the standard 5×5, the rest might be say 5min, you can easily make a dent by taking it down by 15-30 seconds each session until you’re at just 1min rest between each set. From here you’ve got the choice of adding weight or perhaps even utilising one or both of the methods from above if you’re still finding adding weight a tall order.
 
The three options above are simple and very easy to apply, however it will retire you to stay on the same workout protocol for a while, at least on your main lifts and this can be an arduous task for some people, you’ve been warned.
 
If in the event that you can’t add any more weight, you’ve hit your limit for that move, you can change the exercise to a different variation, so perhaps overhead press turns in to incline press, or incline press in to close grip bench press and so on.
When you stall on a weight drop it by say 5-10% and then utilise the methods above, you won’t regret it.
 
The secret to progress is progress, achieve it in any way you can.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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4 Movements you should be able to do.

Well you don’t have to be able to do these, however life will be much easier if you can.
 
1 – A full ROM overhead squat
2 – A full hinge
3 – A get up without the use of your hands
4 – A full ROM pull up
5 – A handstand – advanced
 
Why those 4?
 
In terms of general health you’ll find it’s these qualities people lose over time and as such their quality of life depreciates, however if you keep a good amount of strength in these movements you’ll find you age proof yourself throughout the years.
 
Let’s look at them all individually.
 
1 – A full ROM overhead squat.
 
Now this doesn’t have to be with maximal loads, it’s just a movement that will show your bodies potential limitations in ankles, hips & shoulders which are common because of daily life.
 
This skill can be linked to getting out of a chair or up from sitting on the floor. 
If you’re really strong you can do this on one leg too.
 
2 – A full hip hinge
 
This is in reference to a full hip flexion with minimal knee bend while not losing upper thoracic position, it will basically allow you to lift things correctly and minimise injury while firing up your hamstrings, glutes, erectors and musculature of the posterior chain.
 
It will also cross over in to picking something up and carrying it for a distance or time, a skill we NEED in everyday life.
 
3 – A get up without the use of your hands
 
If you’ve ever watched the difference between a elderly persona and a youth when it comes to getting up you will see the difference, however keeping the ability to get up without the use of your hands shows total body connection and strength which if kept in to old age can help keep you out of a retirement home.
 
The above being said, having the ability to perform a Turkish Get Up is also a great skill to have at any age.
 
4 – A full ROM pull up
 
Climbing is something we are meant to do. The ability to pull up your own body weight is an essential skill because it shows health & strength, plus if you’ve gotten in to your golden years and have slipped over and perhaps twisted your ankle the ability to grab something and lift yourself up will be most welcome.
 
5 – A handstand
 
Balancing on your hands was an old favourite in the days past and showed not only strength and total body connection along with wrist, elbow and shoulder health.
 
Inversion is a great skill as it requires concentration, bracing, controlled breathing and calm.
 
Now these movements are very useful for overall health and longevity, if you wish to specialise in a sport then you will have different needs which may go against the best interests of your health/longevity, this is the sacrifice you make.
Being able to move is also great for your mental health too.
 
If you want to work on these then you can either take up a movement class or perhaps some form of advanced yoga.
 
Being able to move is important, don’t lose it, the difference between a young body an old one is the ability to move.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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How Odd.

Have you ever heard of the Odd Lifts?

You know, ones such as the Bent Press, the Jefferson DL or perhaps the One Arm Snatch?

if not here are some links to get you started:

http://www.oddlifts.com

https://www.onnit.com/…/how-to-become-a-strongman-the-5-b-…/

Okay, now it’s time to get to the point of the post.

– Three odd lifts you don’t often do that will change your body for the better.

1 – The bottom up kettlebell press

This can be done standing, seated, kneeing, sat of the floor or perhaps even in a floor press/bench press/incline press manor, which ever way you choose it will achieve the following:

– Stronger press/grip
– Muscle irradiation (more muscle recruitment)
– Take out your ego

https://breakingmuscle.com/…/bottoms-up-kettlebell-presses-…

2 – There Renegade Row

Use kettlebells or dumbbells for this. The alternating row style of this lift will help you by:

– Strengthening your ability to brace (core stabilisation)
– Work the entire upper body
– Improve balance

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YHN0SGa-68Q

3 – Zecher Lifts

What is more real world than having to pick something off the floor and hold it in an awkward position? Not much, however is this is not to your liking you can swap it out for a bear hug style carry of a sand bag or something equally heavy and awkward.

You can pick the zecher lis you prefer out of the options in the link

The benefits:

– Overall Strength
– Fortified lower back
– A high crossover to daily living

https://www.t-nation.com/training/complete-guide-to-zerchers

Adding in this lifts or even doing a program of only these 3 will make some great changes to your overall body composition.

If you plan on doing the latter option here is a suggestion:

– 3 days per week or train every other day
– Heavy/Light/Medium loading protocol*
– Rest 1-5min between sets
– Eat according to your goal (gain mass or lose fat etc)

*Heavy = <25 total reps at 85% 1RM +
*Light = 75 total reps at 50-65% 1RM
*Medium = 50 total reps at 70-80% 1RM

For example:

Day 1:
Heavy – Zecher Lift
Light – Renegade Row
Medium – Bottom Up Press

Day 2:
Heavy – Bottom Up Press
Light – Zecher Lift
Medium – Renegade Row

Day 3:
Heavy – Renegade Row
Light – Bottom Up Press
Medium – Zecher Lift

How you add these lifts in or plan them is up to you as there are a lot of different odd lifts to choose from, just remember to add weight where you can and that consistency and progression is the key to success.

Enjoy,
Ross

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Back to the basics for us all.

What is there to write about training anymore?
 
The internet is filled with so much content, it’s almost impossible to read it all.
 
Keeping this in mind it’s probably best to keep things simple and hopefully point you in the right direction and to do that we need to circle back around to the basics and the simple sciences of training.
 
What should you look to circle back to first?
 
– Energy Systems
 
Why?
 
These are essential for understanding how the body works and what fuel is used for what training styles (aerobic – fat, anaerobic – glucose etc), here is a nice resource for that:
 
 
Next it has to be muscle anatomy.
 
– Muscle Structure
 
Once you know how they work you can conclude what style of training is best for your goal. Here are a couple of links:
 
 
 
One last topic that is crucial to have a basic underrating of in training is hormones.
 
– Testosterone, Cortisol and everything in-between.
 
This is a massive topic yet it’s one people ignore all the time and it really shouldn’t be. Your hormones are influenced not only by training but also your nutrition, sleep, life style and mach more, thus it is worth knowing how they work and what they do.
 
 
Above are some starting links to help you on your way, however it’s worth remembering that the body is a complex organism and if you don’t want to do the digging yourself then you’ll do well to hire a coach/trainer who can do it all for you.
 
Remember the basics, without those nothing else can be understood.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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