Monthly Archives: January 2016

To Train Everyday or Not?

Training everyday has become more popular in recent times, especially since the release of Squat Everyday by Matt Perryman and the Bulgarian Method by Omar/Nucklos (two books worth reading if you already haven’t).
I have tried various incarnations of training on a daily basis, personally I found it was very good for strength however I only added a small amount of lean tissue due to the fact I wasn’t eating enough – simple.
Training daily is great for grooving movement patterns.
Depending on which way you look at this style of training you can use essentially what ever rep range you choose, provided you’re weekly volume is slowly increasing you will find progression at your door. Obviously you will need the obligatory reduction in volume at some point, however if you have tracked your numbers accordingly you will be able to establish how much of a reduction you need to help you feel recovered (say 10-25% for example).
This method of training is good and it has yielded some fantastic results for people ranging from noobs to elite athletes, the noobs by luck and the athletes by careful planning and diligence not to out train their maximal recoverable volume for too long.
You can try the Squat Everyday version on this style of training where you will squat first and then either push or pull second, with a rep scheme of Ramping to a daily mimimim (85% for 1 at least) then back off and use 85% of your weight lifted that day and do straight sets (3×5,8,’s etc) or perhaps a density set where you use said weight and do as many reps as possible in a given time limit – 10 min for example. After you’ve squatted you can then move on to your upper body work and do as you wish – say 5×5 for example, add in some accessional deadlifting and you’ve got most of the bases covered.
Another simple program I like that works well training daily blocks (say 12 on 2 off for example) though it can be done everyday fi you feel you can handle it, is done but the use two exercises only, these are the Deadlift/Overhead Press – AM & Bench/Bent Over Row – PM. Yep, no squats gasp emoticon… Though you can add those in if you wish. The reps are easy 5×5 (4 working warm ups to a 5RM at 80-85%) followed by 1×90% and 1×92% then drop the weight to 60% and aim for 20reps. Once you hit 20 reps add weight (5kg – upper body/10kg lower body to the 20rep and 2.5kg/5kg to the rest), it starts off quite easy but soon adds up.
If you make sure you’re tracking your numbers along with your calories you can certainly make some great progress. This style of training often requires a focused mind and someone who is prepared to grind out those tough days, foam roll daily and most importantly eat enough.
If you have the chance to train daily why not give it a go and see how you do. There are lots of benefits but as I have stressed above several times you must track everything otherwise you may have some problems. Put int he effort and it might surprise you how strong  and how much progress you get from this style of training.



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Total Volume, Do You Even Track It?

Yesterday was a much needed rest day, I have been enjoying the rotating days of 3 one 1 off with a simple Pull-Push-Legs methodology. The intensity has been cycling nicely and the gains are a plenty (so far).

When it comes to training blocks I find for me 3 week blocks work well, then I take the total volume down notch (back to the second weeks volume of the last block) and build it back and past its previous 3 weeks high (kinda a 2 steps forwards 1 step back deal). I also find that I can only last about 3 weeks using certain rep schemes before I get bored, therefore I have a nice little change up while still making sure of correct total volume needs.

If you’re not sure what I mean by changing reps but keeping volume the same here is a quick example:

A second week of lets say 3×5 @ 150kg (2250kg total volume) turns in to starting week of 5×3 @ 155kg (2325kg total volume).

Depending on how I feel I may stay at that weight and build the reps to 5’s or simply increase the weight micro cycle to micro cycle (that is weekly training, or as I do 3 day mini block training). My trusty training log helps me see what’s going on and make adjustments accordingly.

I know I say this a lot, however it’s important so I will keep saying it… WRITE EVERYTHING DOWN! The reps, sets, weight, speed on the bar, tempo, form, how you felt psychologically, EVERYTHING! In the long run you will thank me.

Here is what I did today:
Deadlift – 10x1x190kg – 60 Seconds rest + BO x80% (152kg) x13
Row Supinated – 5x5x90kg
Pull Up 4xFail – 12,8,8,8 (really struggling as should still not right in dead hang, aim is for 50 rep total in 4 sets)

What is the total volume for all of this you ask. Well it’s 9006kg, meaning my next session will need to exceed this in some way shape or form. I am able to establish total volume by the following equation:

Sets X Reps X Weight = Total Volume.

Provided you’re doing more than you did before you will make progress, simple. In my next session I will Increase the weight on the DL/Row (not by much 2.5kg) and aim for more pull ups to increase the total volume.

I would like you to ask yourself what you did today and how do you plan (and track) your total volume? Follow day how will you progress next time.

What is written above is often one of the most forgotten parts of training. Some people will aimlessly lift and progress (they are doing this because of a combination of dumb luck and a desire to simply lift more than or do more reps than they did before, however this won’t last forever.). Unless you take the time to be meticulous you will struggle to get beyond a certain point, that’s a fact. If you don’t have the time or spare mental capacity to do this then i would highly recommend highrinmg a trainer/coach.

Now go and make some gains.



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Morning Guys,
I get asked about what workout people should be doing with what nutrition protocol. I feel that I repeat myself a lot because the advice/knowledge I share hasn’t really changed over the years and you will find most people sing from the same hymn sheet, albeit with a slightly different point of view. In the end the principles are the same.
The most honest thing I can say to everyone who takes the time to read my posts is this; no matter what you follow, you will only get results if you really put in the effort.
It is obviously true that if you follow advice that isn’t suited to your goal then you won’t achieve the results you want, however you will still achieve results if you work hard. Everything works but not everything is appropriate.
Okay, so do I have any advice for you today? Yes I do and it’s for a busy person who does;t have much time to train. However it is bias towards people who wish to increase strength, performance and lean muscle mass. If you take this and apply a correct nutrition protocol you will achieve either a strong muscular build or a lean athletic build. Please note you can also add in some CV work if that is important to you, I would just do it for 20min bursts in a Fartlek Style.
Do 3 week or 8 mini block (both sessions is 1 mini block) before moving on to the next rep range.
Here is the loading protocol:
– Work up to 8RM (or 5,3 RM) then do 1-2 more sets at this weight.
– Back off set aim to hit 20 rep – take 80-85% of your daily top set.
That’s it. You will do this for Squat, Bench, Deadlift and Overhead Press, you may add in some assistance movements (2 at most is always good).
So this is how it might look:
Day 1 –
A1 – Squat
B1 – Press
B2 – Pull Up
Day 2-
A1 – Deadlift
B1 – Bench Press
B2 – Row
Day 3 – CV – Optional for 3 on 1 off style, or rest and then repeat days 1/2 in a 2 on 1 off fashion.
Now for the nice simple nutrition:
Establishing Daily Calorie Needs.
Leaning out – Bodyweight in Lbs x 11-13
Bulking up – Bodyweight in lbs x 17-19
Establishing Macro Needs.
Set your protein at 1gram per 1pound of bodyweight for both – 4cals per gram.
Set your carbs at a 1/1 ration for leaning and a 3/1 for bulking – 4cals per gram.
Set your fat with the remaining calories once you take away the calories from protein/carbs added together from your daily total to leave you with your left over calories, divide that by nine for you grams of fat per day- 9cals per gram of fat.
Why do I keep things that simple?
I keep things simple because they work, if you hit all of your larger muscles heavy an hard you don’t need much more. Add in come CV for health and you’re away.
Now go, simplify and enjoy.

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Push Pull Balance?

Do you Pull as much as you Press?

When I ask that question I am not talking about weight but volume (total amount of weight lifted). Does your program have at least a minimum 1-1 ratio of push/pull or are you one of those people who do far too much pushing?
It’s quite easy to become unbalanced and bias towards pushing style exercises because they are easier to preform than their pulling counterparts. If you think about it doing a 100kg Bench Press for 5 is much easier to do than a 100kg Bent Over Row – with good form. It is because of this and the fact that mirror muscles take priority for most people.
Apart from the aesthetic benefits of having a balanced posterior chain you will also find yourself sustaining less injuries. For each compound pressing movements you do you should do a compound pulling movement, it’s pretty easy to understand, however I would also advice going one step further and having one compound and one isolation pulling movement for each pressing movement you have. Having the extra isolation posterior chain movement will help increase the overall volume on your back and give you plenty of benefit in the long run.
If you are unsure of what movements you have at your disposal then this short list will help you. Please note you will not find the deadlift on the list as you should be doing this as a given.
Compound Lifts:
Pull Ups (various grips, weighted or unweighted)
Snatch (power/muscle variations)
Clean (power/muscle variations)
Bent Over Row (various grips)
Single Arm Row
Pull Down
Inverted Row
Farmers Walk/Shrug
Isolation Lifts:
Reverse Flies (Cable, Dumbbell, TRX, all have variations)
Face Pulls
I-Y-L-W Pulls (Cable or Resistance Band)
Cuba Rotations
The above are simple examples of exercises, there are far more that you can find from doing some digging. A great book that has an amazing amount of exercise selection is called Keys to the Inner Universe by Bill Pearl, check it out.
If you record your training take some time to look back through your workout plans and see just how balanced you are in terms of volume. If it’s 1-1 then there isn’t going to be too much of an issue, if it’s less then you might want to add in some extra compound movements or perhaps an isolation movement or two.

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The Ongoing Struggle.

Are you struggling to progress?

Chances are your reason (problem) falls in in to one of the following 4 categories:
1 – You’re not eat appropriately.
2 – Your training lacks intensity.
3 – You only train the way you like, not the way you need.
4 – You don’t give it enough time to work.
I will go in to some detail on each of the above, if any sound familiar then you will find the simply yet realistic advice in this post useful.
1 – You’re Not Eating Appropriately.
As crazy as this sounds I am willing to bet that you’re thinking that this doesn’t apply to you and if you’re tracking your calories correctly and are in either a surplus/deficit (depending on your goal) then chances are this does apply to you.
If we take out the training aspect on the proviso that you’re training correctly for your desired goal then all that is left is to establish how many calories you need to achieve your goal.
Gaining – Body Weight in Lbs x 17-19
Losing – Body Weight in Lbs x 11-13
Protein is at 1-2g per 1lbs of bodyweight for both – remember that 1g of protein is 4cals so you will need to work out how many calories that is in total and subtract it from your daily total. For carbs (4cals per 1gram) and fat 9(cals per 1 gram) you can work that out by filling the rest of your remaining calories with them.
Typically people who think they’re eating correctly but when you start to put numbers to paper it becomes obvious that there is  problem. You’re either eating too much or not enough.
2 – Your Training Lacks Intensity.
The hint is in the title with this one. A distinct lack of intensity will derail any chance you have of getting the results you desire. I can’t tell you how you should be training, after all for each person who reads this they will have a marginally different goal, therefore I shall give you the most sensible/logical advice possible.
Are you ready for it?
Make sure you’re progressing. This is either in the form of adding weight to the bar, extra reps, sets, running a further distance in the same or a short time period and so on. If you follow these simple words and write down everything you’re doing (tracking) then you will be able to see if you’re achieving progress (overload & adequate stimulation to force adaptation) or not.
If you don’t have a training diary then I suggest you get one and start making notes as you will fins this is one of the most valuable tools you will ever own.
3 – You Only Train What You Like, Not What You Need.
Does either of these situations sound familiar:
Situation One – Drive to the gym, warm up on the cross trainer for 20min, then 20min on the treadmill or possibly the rower (perhaps both if you’re feeling frivolous) then  some abs and light dumbbells for 15min and finally 5min on the bike and a quick stretch before going home.
Situation Two – Drive to the gym, maybe a 5 min warm up of some description followed by bench press, incline bench press, cable flies, dumbbell flies, tricep pull downs, skull crushers and finally some lat pull down and bicep curls for some aesthetic balance…. As for the other body parts they will fall by the wayside because of time and well, who needs legs right?
Both of the above are classic training programs performed by those who lack determination and only want to do what they like. Each proponent could do with hiring a trainer and having a dedicated program written for them that will cater to their goals.
When training you want to ensure that you hit full body (legs are a part of your body after all). A nice simple structure that will work well for anyone and be adaptable for almost all goals is as follows:
Day 1 – Pulling Movements + CV
Day 2 – Pushing Movements + CV
Day 3 – Legs + CV
You will vary the amount of resistance training and CV depending on your overall goal. The take home message is to do things that you need, not only things you like,
4 – You Don’t Give It Enough Time To Work.
Impatience is the death of many a goal. Nothing happens overnight, the sooner this is accepted as fact rather than opinion the sooner goals will start being achieved. On average you will be required to run a program for 6 weeks minimum before you notice some positive results, however… the 6 weeks is part of a longer endeavor/program that can last up to a year (4 in the case of the Olympics). Training it isn’t just for a special occasion, it’s for life.
Take the simple musings above and have a good long look at your current training/progress, if none of these apply to you then you have discovered Nirvana and will be forever blessed with results, if not then it’s time to start taking some accountability and making a change.

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The Magic 5

Some say number are the secret to unlocking the universe, if this is indeed the case then I believe the secret for a great many things can be found stowed away in the number 5.

Let me explain why.

When I look back at many of the great lifters of yesteryear such as Reg Park, Steve Stanko, Dough Hepburn, Steve Reeves, Arthur Saxon and many others of that time period they had a common theme in their training.

What was the common theme?

In their early days they all believed in the power of building their strength in the 5RM range (they did use 10-20 for legs on some occasions, but 5 was a staple too). If you are to build your strength and increase your 5RM then all of your other maxes go up as well. This number seems to hold the mythical middle ground that allows for good progression in both strength and hypertrophy because of the amount of weight you can lift along with the ability to add sets easily.

Obviously it is not to say ht the other rep ranges aren’t without their merits, however pushing out solid 5’s seems to be where the most progress is often found for the majority of people. 5 is a good building number, for weight on the bar and volume (sets).

How can you apply this to your training? Easily it the answer. Here is an example:

*All % are based off of 1RM. All working sets are done after warm ups. AMRAP = as many reps as possible.

Week 1 – 1x5x80%, 1x5x77%, 1x5x75%, 1x5x72%, 1x5x70%+ Back Off Set AMRAP x60%

Week 2 – 1x5x80%, 1x5x80%, 1x5x77%, 1x5x75%, 1x5x72%+ Back Off Set AMRAP x60%

Week 3 – 1x5x80%, 1x5x80%, 1x5x80%, 1x5x77%, 1x5x75%+ Back Off Set AMRAP x60%

Week 4 – 1x5x80%, 1x5x80%, 1x5x80%, 1x5x80%, 1x5x77%+ Back Off Set AMRAP x60%

Week 5 – 1x5x80%, 1x5x80%, 1x5x80%, 1x5x80%, 1x5x80%+ Back Off Set AMRAP x60%

After this 5 weeks you would then incase the weight on your 5RM by either 2.5/5kg, perhaps 10kg if you’re some kind of super human and then workout your subsequent % for the other sets accordingly and start the process above again.

If we said in week one your 1RM was 100kg that would make the first 1×5 80kg and your last 1×5 70kg. After hitting 5x5x80kg you may increase the weight by 5kg and have the first set being 1x5x85kg and the next sets decreasing in weight (82.5,80,77.5) until the last 1×5 is at 75kg. Make sense?

The general idea is to build your strength, sets and overall volume on your 5’s and in doing so you will notice that everything else gets stronger. The AMRAP set is simply to further stimulate hypertrophy and you will be looking at hitting 15-20 reps unbroken not his set with your prescribed weight.

You could do this on a one body part per day routine, or a simple upper lower split, perhaps a pull-push-legs. It’s entirely up to you and what you can fit in your training schedule. I would personally advice doing the following:

Day 1 – Squat, Press, Pull Up, Ab Roll Out – 3x fail

Day 2 – Deadlift, Bench, Bent Over Row, Hanging Leg Raise – 3xfail

Day 3 – Light Cardio or Off

Day 4/5 repeat days 1/2

Day 6/7 – Light Cardio or Off.

Keep the Week 1 Guideline for both sessions, it will help as a double progression method, meaning you will have confidently hit your desired weights/targets twice before adding that next set of 5 at 80%.

Now go, lift, progress and get the results you deserve.




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Mostly Misconception

Time for the last 9 tips covering Training, Nutrition and Mindset and these will be revolving around some of the most common misconceptions I’ve been witness to over the years.
Training first.
1 – Lifting weights makes you bulky.
This one is more common amongst the ladies in the gym. They find themselves scared of venturing in to the free weights area because as we all know you lift weights once and immediately become Arnold Schwarzenegger… If only it was that easy.
It is true that lifting weights will help you build some lean muscle, however what is not true is that you will pile on slabs of it in a short period of time. Building muscle takes time.
The benefits for lifting weights far outweigh the reasons against. They will not only help improve your overall lean muscle mass and body composition but also increase your basal metabolic rate meaning you burn more calories at least (meaning you can eat more food), sounds like a winner to me.
2 – You MUST do XYZ for specific results.
There is nothing and no rules that are set in stone when it comes to lifting weights they’re more like guidelines. Depending on your overall goal you can get there via several different pathways, there will just be common themes of success that work for the majority of people.
For example:
Strength: 5-15 sets of 1-6 reps per exercise.
Hypertrophy: 3-12 sets of 7-12 reps per exercise.
Hypertrophy/Endurance: 1-9 sets of 13-20 reps per exercise.
These can translate in to some common programs:
Strength: 5×5 (any variation)
Hypertrophy: 3×10 – Delorme & Watkins
Hypertrophy/Endurance: PHA Training
Now those are not gospel, they are just examples that work, you will need to look in the what you want to achieve specifically first before you can really start deciding sets/reps. There are many ways tot he top of the mountain but the view is always the same.
3 – You should feel destroyed after every session.
A very common thought that was birthed by the theory of “Some is good, that means more is better and even more must be even better still!” this is not true, there is such a thing as doing too much and it will send you backwards.
When you have a session in the gym you can leave feeling suitably worked but still in once piece, just because you’re stupidly sore and broken doesn’t mean you’re working out properly. You can be very sore after a car crash but it’s not any good for you.
Chase performance not fatigue.
Now on to the minefield that is Nutrition.
1 – You can’t eat XYZ.
If we are completely honest there is not food you can’t eat, however you want to ask yourself is it the most sensible or optimal food choice for your given goal.
Lets say your goal is to add 12lbs of fat. I would say that a tub of ice cream a day plus 6 cakes and at least 3 packets of biscuits would then indeed be a good choice for you. However… if your goal is to look good naked then perhaps you might want to rethink your tactics.
The main thing to remember is to hit your desired/required calories & macros for the day, if you do this then you should “in theory” still achieve your goal. I say in theory because I personally have never seen anyone do this without having most of their nutritional intake from whole foods (meat veg, rice, etc) and only having the occasional indulgence.
If you feel that you can achieve the body of a physique athlete by eating literally anything that isn’t usually eaten by people who achieve that kind of result then I say good luck to you, I certainly know I couldn’t do it.
Remember, just because you can it doesn’t mean you should.
2 – XYZ is bad for you.
Fat is BAD for you.
Carbs are BAD for you.
Protein is BAD for you.
Apparently everything is bad for you, unless you’re particularly high and mighty, thus meaning you’re exempt from this rule.
Protein, Fat and Carbs are not bad for you. Guess why… Your body needs them to balance hormonally, build new cells/tissues and generally move about and survive. You will find just as many studies proving that read meat will kills you as you will that carbs are the path to an early grave. The key concept to remember is that everything is bad for you if you have too much of it, however if you hit your required calories/macros then chances are you won’t drop down dead from eating any one of these three substances.
Context is everything.
3 – Nutrition is the hard part.
Actually nutrition is pretty easy, what is hard however is the adherence and lifestyle change. People want to make excuses and do what they want. While everyone has the right to do as they please they need to remember that everything we do has a price. If you spend your life eating highly refined foods then the probability of you having some form of dietary related illness increases, simple really.
Never deny yourself anything, just don’t go overboard on it either.
Finally we have arrived at the last and most important misconceptions that need clearing up, Mindset.
1 – You can’t do it.
This is rubbish… Complete and utter twaddle speak says I.
This is merely a mindset that you have made to help protect your ego when you don’t quite get what you want first time around. Over the years there are very few things I have seen that people can’t achieve if they really put their mind to it.
Have faith in yourself, I know you can do it, all you need it to believe that yourself and you will already be half way there.
2 – I have poor genetics.
While genetics do play a part in how far you can ultimately go, there are plenty of people in the world who have achieved some amazing things despite their limitations.
Your genetics don’t hold you back, your mind does. Stop making excuses and start making an effort and you’ll see that your genetics aren’t that bad after all.
3 – F.E.A.R
False, Evidence, Appearing, Real.
We are all scared of failing and cocking things up, but guess what… It happens. The more you hold yourself back the more opportunities will pass you by and then you’ll look back on your life and think “If only I had…” life is filled with ‘what if’s’ and ‘if only’ but that is not because of any Devine lan or intervention, it’s because you didn’t want to step out of your comfort zone.
You can either life or you can exist, the choice is yours so choose wisely.
That brings us to the end of this little series, I hope you have learned some simple perspectives and knowledge you can use in a practical way. Now go out and give it all you’ve got, after all, we’re only here once so we might as well give it our all.

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Predictable Problems

Yesterday I covered some of the common faults I see on a regular basis across training, nutrition and mindset. Today it’s time to cover some problems that arise fairly often.

There will be 3 points for each category as before.
1 –  Unbalanced Training.
What I do not mean is to train while stood on Bosu balls or doing single leg squats on kettlebells, I mean doing more Pressing than Pulling, this is a common fault among many lifters because it’s easier to train the mirror muscles and the ones you can see.
To remedy this all you really have to keep in mind is that ideally your program will have a 1-1 ration of pushing/pulling, ideally you would have 2 pulling movements for every one press as this will promote better posture and keep your upper body free from imbalance. You can never do too many pulling movements but you can do too many pressing ones.
2 – You Skip Leg Day.
This is more common among men because who needs legs right…
Training your legs is an essential part of training, not only because of the increase in anabolic hormones, strength, fitness and overall badassery but because your legs are quite literally half of your body. Skipping legs day will leave you weak and looking weird. I’m sure for some the Johnny Bravo is what they want, however it’s not optimal.
In an ideal world squatting 3 days per week is what everyone wants to aim for. The old school programs used by the greats such as Steve Reeves, Reg Park, Steve Stanko and many others of that era used to squat multiple times per week. You should as well.
3 – Lacking Mobility & Poor Posture.
Poor mobility is the product of modern day living. We spend hours upon hours sat at a desk, as the day wears on we slouch, our hear pokes forwards (like a turtle) and it’s causing us to get injured and stop our progression. I am willing to be that at least 90% of you who are reading this need some form of mobility work (myself included).
There are lots of different mobility exercises you can do, for the shoulders you have the I-Y-T-W-L complex that can be done with dumbbells or resistance bands, for the legs you have the goblet squats, there are loads of great exercises you could do depending on what you need, those two are the most common that people require from my experience, if you want to learn more I suggest buying the book ‘Becoming a Supple Leopard’ by Kelly Starrett because it’s filled with knowledge that you need to know.
1 – Listening to Everyone.
How many ‘diets’ have you tried? 3,4 perhaps more? Either way it means that they all failed for one reason or another and chances are you stumbled across said diet because you were told about it by perhaps a friend or some random person. Just because someone says something is the best thing since sliced bread it doesn’t mean you need to listen and take their words as gospel.
The world of nutrition can be very confusing. I still get confused from time to time so it’s nothing to be ashamed of. What you want to focus on is learning the facts (energy balance-calories in/calories out), what macro nutrients are and what the body does with them and so on. Nutrition is as complicated as you make it, you will find that the human body hasn’t changed that much in the last few hundred years, try looking in to some older books, studies and papers to see the common themes/facts and untangle yourself from this web of misinformation.
2 – Binge Eating.
Okay, this might seem obvious but more people do it than they realise. Some people will follow a ‘strict’ diet where they restrict foods and as a result over the weekend feel they deserve a break and a treat, this is where the problems begin. People who end up in this situation are always living in extremes, be that deficit or surplus.
To overcome this problem you will be best off tracking your calories with either an app or a food diary so that you can make sure you’re hitting your ideal caloric/macro-nutrient needs, this way if you’re eating too much or not enough or even binge eating you will know. Simple.
3 – Not Enough Quality Foods.
Some will disagree with this, however I challenge you to hit your caloric/macro needs without eating any ‘whole foods’ (meat, veg etc) and see how you feel because the chances are you’ll feel like crap. Eating the majority of your calories/macros from whole foods will help you feel better along with your overall health. It’s just common sense really.
Last up is Mindset.
1 – No Will Power (no time to reset).
As with everything there is a limit to how much mental strength you have, if you’ve had a long day filled with stress then your mental strength will have taken a hit and there isn’t much you can do about that, or is there?
A great way to help combat daily stress and mental drain is to take some time out to yourself to have a mini rest. This can be in the form of a 30min walk in a secluded area or even 10min of meditation, personally I would say to have a 10 min meditation session at the start of the day in your first break, then a 20min walk at lunch time and then a final 10min meditation session towards the end of the working day on your last break, that way you will be ready to hit the gym feeling both physically and mentally strong.
Taking time for yourself is a necessity, you may feel like you don’t have the time but you do, after all, tomorrows problems can be dealt with by tomorrow you.
2 – Knowing Everything.
The modern world is one where any information we want is at our finger tips, google can be blamed for this. While the internet serves as a great way to improve you understanding of things it can also confuse the ever-loving life out of you, as with anything too much of a good thing can be bad. When it comes to program knowledge for example you may think you plateaued because the program has stopped working and therefore you need to change it up to a super-iso-mega-lateral-plyometric-drop set style of training when in reality you just need to DIG DEEP and word harder.
3 – Your Mind Is Not Your Own.
What do I mean by this?
We like to listen to our friends, peers and heroes but in doing this we can end up becoming carbon copies of them and trying to do what works for them – physically, nutritionally and mentally. Just because something works for one does not mean it will work for another.
Learning to be honest with yourself and obtaining a deepened sense of self isn’t the easiest thing in the world, however it is one of the most essential to happiness and mental longevity.
Look up to your heroes, take on board the critique from your peers and listen to your friends while still being you. Absorb what is useful and let go what isn’t, this will help you become the best version of yourself and that’s what it’s all about.
Tomorrow will be the last 9 points covering common misconceptions I see in each of the categories above.
Until then, Enjoy.

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Faults & Fixes

If there is one thing the industry of fitness is rife with it’s faults, problems and misconceptions, together we will be covering 3 of the most common of each three in the areas of Training, Nutrition and Mindset.
Today I will be going over some of the most Frequent Faults I see in each of these areas. The ones I will cover are by no means all of the faults I have seen, they are however the most common.

Here are 9 Frequent Faults and HOW to Fix Them.

The first three fall in to the category of Training.
1 – No Plan.
There are lots of people who go in to the gym without even as much as a basic a generic program and plan to achieve their goal – depending on what it might be. The idea behind having something structured and tangible to follow is not a new groundbreaking discovery, however it is something that is constantly missed by many.
What program should you start with? I don’t know is the honest answer. If your goal is strength then 5×5, Starting Strength or The Juggernaut Method will work well. If your goal is fat loss then a modified version of one of those programs that has some more conditioning based work in there would be the way to go, however if your aim is to build muscle then a very classic and simple 3×10 could be best for you.
Which ever program you choose to start with will work so long as you put in the effort. Whether the program you pick will get you the results you want is another matter entirely. The best advice I can give you is to hire a decent coach/trainer and get them to write you one that is specifically tailored to your needs.
2 – Poor From.
When it comes to form you wont be expected to have absolutely every move mastered after your first session, you will however want to practice and repeat exercises to the point of which you can’t get them wrong. In the beginning when you lift weights it’s not about how much you lift but how well you lift it. Leave your ego at the door and focus on form, remember that practice make permanent so practice everything with good form.
You can learn form, techniques and various other things from books, YouTube and watching other people, but the best way to learn correct lifting technique would  be to hire a trainer/coach to make sure you can’t get it wrong.
3 – Ego.
Ego can mean a great many things in the gym, for men it relates to lifting more weight no matter the cost because the ego must be appeased, as a result they end up injured and without any gains. For woman the ego takes hold in a different way and sends them on to the treadmill or cross trainer for hours at a time and as a result they avoid lifting weights for fear of a common misconception (they will get bulky – we will cover this another day).
This fault is easily fixed for men, all they need to do is address points 1 & 2 and 3 takes care of itself. As for the ladies this will need some more time, effort and understanding to conquer as it is linked in with the self image and sense of being feminine, this will be covered in the misconception section later.
The next three on the list are centered around the minefield that is known as Nutrition.
1 – Eating Too Much, or Not Enough.
It is a well known fact that people often over/underestimate their caloric intake. Men looking to ‘bulk up’ think they are eating loads when in fact they’re hardly hitting 2500cals a day and woman want to ‘lose weight’ and end up restricting calories during the day and hardly eating anything, only to get home and binge eat or binge drink on a weekend because they feel they have been good and deserve a treat.
To ensure success you will need to workout your daily caloric needs, it’s that simple. You can scroll through endless pages on the internet on how to workout these numbers, I have written several posts about this previously, therefore I won’t go over it again, follow this link to learn more.

– Insert Link

2 – Fad Diets.
There is something that fad diets have in common and that is that they rarely work in the long run. If you are looking for a quick fix to use then you may indeed get fast results but you will also have a fast rebound back to square one too. If you want a life long change in the way you look then you will need to make a life style change, it’s that simple.
The simple true is that calories are King and macro-nutrients are the Queen. The rest is not as important as you might think for average people. If you eat a large majority of your calories in the form of whole foods (for health purposes) then the additional cake will not make much difference every once in a while.
3 – Relying on Supplements.
This happens to both men and woman. They hear of a wonder pill or magic shake that will give them everything they desire with little to no effort and foolishly go out and spend their hard earned cash on useless products essentially. There are places and times for  supplementation, however if you’re getting adequate calories from whole foods and some indulgence then the chances are you won’t need any extra supplement.
If you focus on hitting your calories and macros first then you can sue supplements to fill in any gaps if absolutely necessary. They are good in a pinch but they are not a replacement for for good old fashion food. After all, what sounds better to you; steak and eggs with veg or a strawberry protein shake, obvious answer really.
The last section of frequent faults that I will cover today is situated around a Mindset.
1 – No Patience.
Progress takes times (after you’ve gotten your beginner gains that is). Adding lean muscle tissue, weight to the bar or extra reps doesn’t simply take a few weeks, it can take months or even years in some cases. When it comes to training the secret to progression is progression, yea, you read that correctly.
When you start a new job you don’t expect to be promoted to manager within the first couple of weeks, why should progress in the gym be any different?
Using the job example lets look at a logical progression in the work place, lets say your goal is to become a manager one day.
You start as an intern, you’re there for maybe 6 months, then you’re put on a probation contract which could last up to a year as there is various bits of training involved but that doesn’t matter because after 18 months you are now a full employee and can start working your way up the corporate ladder. Fast forwards another year and a half and you might be at a supervisor, you might stay in this role for another 2-3 years before you become a team leader, followed by 2-3 more years there before you might become deputy/assistant manager and that might hen last for 3-5 years before you become the manager in charge of your own teams. All in all this has been anywhere from 9-14 years of your life to progress to that point but you wouldn’t think twice about it because int he end you achieved your goal.
Over the years you acquire various skills and abilities which allow you to perform the job of a manager, you wouldn’t expect to be at that level within 6 months so why think that the gym is any different? I will tell you why, it’s because you’ve been spoon fed logical fallacy by companies and celebrities that want to sell you something. It may sound harsh but you need to accept that if you want progress you need to be in it for the long haul. Simple.
2 – Idolisng People.
Looking up to someone is great for motivational purposes, but remember that what you see isn’t real life, it’s only a highlight reel. Try to take what you see and what you hear with a pinch of salt, if someone says “Oh, I did XYZ and got these results.” simply acknowledge them and go about your own journey because no matter who you look up to you’re not them, you’re you and you should be proud of that, especially when you achieve something.
Idolise but don’t compare.
3 – Seeing Failure as Bad.
It might not be today, or even tomorrow but one day you will want to do something and you will fail and I want you to know that that’s not a bad thing. I recently read an acronym for the word fail,it read as follows:
I found this very apt and a great way to look at failure. You should see it as a chance to learn and get some feedback from your experience, failure isn’t a negative thing, it’s a positive. We only feel bad because we see it through our ego. Take small steps and remember that if at first you don’t succeed then you simply need to squat more.
The 9 points above are some of the most frequent faults I see, take in the words above and try to see things from a different perspective. There will by 2 more posts each containing 9 more points covering common problems and misconceptions, but until then, go and work hard.

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Warm Up?

Morning Guys,
Do you warm up properly?
Yes, No, Maybe… You don’t know?
Depending on the exercise you pick and your training goal a warm up can last anywhere from 10min to perhaps half an hour. Yep, 30min of warming up is not uncommon among stronger lifters for movements such as the squat, however typically 10-15 min is usually enough to get to where yourself ready.
When it comes to lifting weights the most optimal way to warm up if with some gentle soft tissue release, appropriate mobility and then moving on to the exercise itself where you will perform multiple sets of moderate to low reps while steadily increasing the weight to facilitate muscular activation.
A squat warm up might look like this:
(All % are based off of 1RM)
1 – Standard Warm Up to Working Weight.
BW x 12-15 – potentially 10 standard and 3-5 light jumping squats for more activation.
40% x 8 – Be sure to keep the same tempo through every warm up set.
60% x6
70% x4
75% x2
77.5% x1
Working sets are 5×5 s at 80%
This could be a standard warm up for most people, for more experienced athletes more sets may be needed that could potentially go over their working weight for the day to facilitate more muscle fiber recruitment.
2 – Potentiation Warm Up
BW x 12-15 – potentially 10 standard and 3-5 light jumping squats for more activation.
40% x 5 – Be sure to keep the same tempo through every warm up set.
60% x5
70% x3
80% x2x2
85% x2x2
90% x1
Then on to working sets of 5×5 at 80% 1RM. By warming up to a weight over the desired working weight you will not only physically feel better as you’ve made your body recruit more fibers, you will also feel stronger psychologically as the 80% will no feel respectively light.
3 – Ramping
One of my personal favorites for a warm up is a a simple and steady Ramp to a top set which is follower by 2-5 further working sets at that weight (you can do more if you choose). The premise of a Ramping set is to change the angle to a mechanically stronger position when you hit failure, however as mentioned above you can stay with the weight you stuck on for X-reps and just do some straight sets until you start losing form, speed or reps.
BW x 5 – What ever rep number you’re going for you keep those reps the same in every set.
40% x5
50% x5
60% x5
80% x5x3-5 sets
*You could go up in 5% jumps, the choice is yours.
4 – Activation Warm Up
Another great way of warming up is to combine one of those methods with some simple plyo or stability movements when warming up, either before or after the main movement. E.G Squats+Jump Squat, Bench Press + Clap Push Up, Shoulder Press + Overhead Med Ball Throw, you get the idea.
Squat 40%x5 + 3 Squat Jumps – BW
Or you can do it he other way around –
3 Squat Jumps – BW + squat 40% x5
The options are varied and each has their own merits. Personally I would recommend Starting off with a Ramping style warm up as it will leave very little room for error, a 5-10% increase is usually sufficient each set until you hit your working weights. A quick 5min foam rolling and mobility before hand plus 10min of this and you’ll be feeling great with confidence to smash some Rep PB’s.

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