Monthly Archives: March 2016

More Truth

Fad Diets.
Magic Pills.
Quick Fixes.
Do they work?
Well some of them actually do, but the results never last. It’s like drinking coffee to perk yourself up, the effect is often immediate and skyrockets but it only lasts so long and the crash is just as fast, as is the rebound back to the starting point.
The sad truth is that to achieve anything it will take time, effort and consistency, which, people do not like to put in.
Now it’s worth understanding that some fad diets and magic pills can actually give people the kick start they need to get not he right track, so taking that in to account they don have a place but the main thing to remember is that THEY’RE NOT SUSTAINABLE, and for lasting results sustainability is the key to it all.
When people ask – “What edit should I be on?” – or something of a similar ilk, the honest answer is the one that you can stay on indefinitely. This is why the rise of IIFYM & Flexible Dieting took off. There are a few reasons such as:
– They are based on your BMR/TDEE (basal metabolic rate & total daily energy expenditure).
– They break down the barriers and misconceptions of Good & Bad Foods and help people understand that there is not really good or bad, just too much.
– They also help you understand macronutrients and how to proportion yours appropriately for your goal.
– No food restriction (unless you have a specific intolerance).
– Freedom to hit Calories/Macros accordingly, with foods for health and also foods for indulgence.
Obviously some foods are better for health than others (more whole foods as opposed to processed ones), but that’s another topic all together.
The only downside to those is the fact act not everyone likes to be neurotic and track all their food, but all in all they are the way to go if you want lasting results and a ‘diet’ that you can stay on indefinitely.
The same is true for exercise programs. While you need to keep progressing to achieve results you also need to enjoy it, this will help ensure that you’re going to be consistent. A good example is CrossFfit, it creates a community in each individual Box that is part of something bigger and people always enjoy it, hence why it’s so popular. Provided you have decent coaches that understand programming and can teach correct form CrossFit is actually one of the best forms of training. Strongman is also great fun too.
What’s the point of this post?
To help you understand that there is no quick fix and you will need to put in thousands of hours of hard graft, however it doesn’t have to be super strict in terms of diet, you simple have to adhere to your daily calories and get your idea macro ration and when it comes to exercise you want something that will specifically be relevant for you goal but also FUN so that you want to do more of it.
Pretty simple really.

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To the Point

A short post for you lovely people today.

5 Reasons You’re not Losing Weight.

1 – You’re eating too much.
2 – You’re eating too much.
3 – You’re eating too much.
4 – You’re eating too much.
5 – You have a genuine medical reason and need to see a specialist.

You will notice points 1-4 share some things in common and point 5 is the exception.

We shall look at point 5 first.

Get bloods done. See a specialist and a get a proper diagnosis. If you really have a medial reason they will find it. If they find nothing then refer to points 1,2,3 or 4. (Y).

People will claim a slow metabolism, poor genetics, lack of time, not access to nutrient dense foods and so on. The truth is that most people who don’t lose weight (fat or otherwise) are eating more than their TDEE – total daily energy expenditure.

There is no magic pill or formula to weight loss, but there are ways to achieve it in an optimal way.

1 – Tracking your foods (optimal, but not necessary for all)
2 – Expending more energy on a daily basis
3 – Increasing lean muscle mass

You will notice there has bene nothing about eating less or restricting foods. You’d be better off increasing your activity and lean body mass (muscle) while keeping the foods the same, unless you’re diet is one filled with high amounts of processed food. While it is true you can still lose weight (hopefully fat) eating them, it’s a sure fire way to health problems, use some common sense with your food choices.

It’s all about making a lifestyle change, not a quick fix.

Look at your goal objectively and be honest with yourself. If you’re not achieving something there is often only one constant problem in all the things you try… you.

Time to take a step in the right direction and make a lifestyle change.

Bye Bye

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Answers of the Past

Morning Guys,

What was your favourite subject as School?

Mine was PE, but for the purpose of this post we shall imagine it was History. Not that I didn’t like History, I just found PE more fun.

If there was one thing I learnt from History lessons though it was that there have been literally hundreds of thousands of people that have either done what you’re attempting to do or failed at what you’re about to do in the exact same way you’re about to do it.

This humbling lesson seems to be ignored by a great many people who seem to think they will be the one to make the failed attempt a success through the exact same methods that didn’t work the first time around.

*Face Palm.

Don’t get me wrong. I am all for self realisation and learning things the hard way because that might be the way you need to learn said lesson, however, some common sense, logic and research in to the past will hep you avoid making the same mistakes/decisions of your forbearers.

Why is it a good idea to look to the past, apart from to see what didn’t work.

Have you figured it out yet?

You look to the past not only to see what failed, but what succeeded as well!

The chances are that if something has worked in the past and continued to do so multiple times over, again and again, then the probability of it still working now are quite high. Only a fool would not use such valuable information.

What was the point of this post?

The answers to your questions today and even your questions in the future many, and will quite often be found by looking in to the past.


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Rule Breaker

Morning Guys,

Frequency is King for adding both Strength & Size.

There are a few people who can indeed bend or completely shatter this rule, they are as follows:

– PED users.
– Genetic Elite (however frequency gives them more oomph).
– The Strong.

Now when it comes to PED users they will have an increased rate of recovery, protein synthesis and generally be more anabolic. The same is true for the genetic elite, while they are natural, their body responds far better which means they can make great progress on minimal frequency.


Both PED users and the Genetic Elite do benefit from training at a higher frequency, you can look back at various training records across differing sports to confirm this, there are several references in the Science & Practice of Strength training and Super Training if you want a place to start.

So what about The Strong?

What is strong?

Is a 405lbs or 180kg squat strong? Yes, but it’s not earth shattering. You could still get a benefit out of squatting 2-3times per week with sub max loads based on those squatting numbers. However if you are squatting 700lbs or 317kg you might do well squatting once per week or maybe even less frequently because of the amount of neurological stress handling even sub max weight would induce.

Now strength is indeed relative, to a point. A 60kg lifter lifting 180kg may adhere to the rule of less frequency, they may not.

The bottom line is that being strong may require you to use a lower frequency, until that weight becomes light, then you increase frequency to once again progress until you start hitting ridiculous numbers, but once you start hitting those you can do pretty much what ever you like.

Unless you are one of these incredibly strong individuals erring on the side of more frequency of a lift (2-4 times per week on separate days or more with twice or triple day training if you have the luxury) will get you better results than hitting it just once.


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Movie Momentos

Morning Guys,
Movies, TV shows, Books and Fictional Characters can teach us a lot of valuable lessons that people miss.
Rocky taught us to keep working hard, to never give up on your dream and even if you lost you could still walk away with you head held high.
The Ghostbusters proved you can be smart and a total badass as well.
Luke Skywalker gave the lesson of hope and belief in others.
There are many a good lesson that can be learned, however one that sticks in my mind even today, years after first seeing the film because all you gotta do is look for the, bear necessities.
Yep. The lovable Baloo the Bear from the Jungle Book gave me one of the best epiphanies I will ever have.
The song talks about appreciating the simple things, forgetting the worry and stress of the world and learning to keep your wits about you once you have been pricked so that you don’t make the same mistake twice.
The biggest thing I took from this came from the following line:
“And don’t spend your time lookin’ around
For something you want that can’t be found
When you find out you can live without it
And go along not thinkin’ about it
I’ll tell you something true”
This hit home hard. People spend their lives looking for something they THINK they want, thus wasting precious time.
Listen for yourself and perhaps you may get your own unique lesson from this Disney Classic.

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The Wisdom of Yoda

What can you learn from Master Yoda that can help you make progress in the gym?

He was arguably one of the most powerful Jedi and Force users, yet he was never tempted by the dark side and I know why.

What are some of the temptations of the Dark Side?


There are lots, however they all stem from one commonality, the want/desire to become stronger in a short period of time. There are many a fallen Jedi and Sith who wanted as much power as possible, but they don’t want to wait to achieve it. Impatience is the main trait that sends many down this dark path.

This is common among people going to the gym too.

So why did I mention Master Yoda? Because he had something that many others didn’t, Time. Yoda had lots of time. When we first met him he was already well over 900 years old and by that logic he was in no rush to achieve power because he knew he had lots of time to do it. This philosophy is one that has a lot of applications to many aspect of life, typically the reason things go wrong is because we want too much too soon.

You will do well to take the same approach when training in the gym or making nutritional changes.

Have you ever been injured because of wanting to hit a heavy squat or bench when you weren’t really ready for it yet? I’m sure the answer is yes.

If you take your time and realise that while you do need to put in lots of effort and hard work you don’t need to feel pressured to achieve everything in record time. Yoda didn’t and he ended up becoming the envy of many a person. Remember that the people you look up to are where they are now because of years of hard work, not weeks or months, YEARS.

Progress takes time and you have all the time you need, take each day as a single step and always move forwards. So long as you’ve moving forwards you’re going in the right direction.



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A Common Fear

Do you know the is one thing almost everyone has in common?


A lot of people fear change.
We find something that works, that feels good and gets us to new heights, then only to become scared about losing the progress we have made by adapting our routine and changing. This is where a lot of people fall down, MYSELF included.
I can draw on personal and professional experience and quite easily say that making changes is good, so long as they are the right changes.
How do you know what the right changes are though?
There are two answers to that question:
1 – You don’t.
2 – You do.
I know that is a contradiction but it is very true and I will explain why.
At the start of your training or even life journey you have no knowledge and try lots of things until you find the one that works, once you do you stick with it until it stops working and sadly stay there wasting time because you’re scared to change. After a while of being stagnant you take the plunge and try something new, then, low and behold you get new results and once again start to make progress. You then repeat this until you hit the same problem as before and repeat this process for several years.
After around 3-5 years some people finally have the realisation that they need to change their training and train hard until they stop getting results that way,THEN they change again and repeat, thus successfully making progress, all be it very small and slow, but that is better than no progress at all. If you need an example think of it this way; you were doing a full body 5×5 3 days per week for 12 months, then swapped to a body part split of 4 days per week (2 upper, 2 lower), the split lower the overall frequency of how much you’re training each muscle group (3xPW to 2xPW) but it will allow you to work harder and increase the overall session by session volume, this means more progress. You have made a change that while on paper looks like you’re doing less it allows you to do more.
Make sense?
Once you adapt to that volume you can increase the frequency again to once again elicit a positive adaptive response.
As with knowing and not knowing there are two ways you can establish your progression patterns:
1 – Intuition, trial & error.
2 – Tracking and Optimal Programming
I will always push people towards option 2 because there is not one person I know who hasn’t at some stage in their training had a program or structured plan to follow. EVERYONE started off following a plan, be that training or nutrition. While it is true that as they progress they will need this less and less as they know their own body, the best of the best still keep notes, this is why they are at the top.
Take a look at your training and see how your progress has gone, unless you’ve not recorded any of your training, in that case just keep guessing and it will work in the end.

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The Same Old Question

I was asked a very loaded question this morning.

“What is the best rep range for (Insert exercise)”
Now the most common answer will always be ‘it depends based on your goals’. This is pretty much true for most questions, however there are plenty of options you can use to help guide you.
When it comes to training any of the big lifts – Squat, Bench, Deadlift, Press you will find these rep ranges work well for them for your Work, Speed and Back Off Sets (could also be called building sets).
Deadlift – Reps
Working – 1-3reps – max 6-10 heavy working reps*
Speed – 1rep – max 15 reps
Back Off – 3-5reps
Squat – Reps
Working – 1-5reps – max 15-25 heavy working reps
Speed – 2reps – max 24 reps
Back Off – 4-7reps
Bench/Press – Reps
Working – 2-3reps – max 15-25 heavy working reps
Speed – 3reps – max 30 reps
Back Off – 4-7 reps
Assistance work would fall in tot he 10-12 rep range for most exercises that are not major compound lifts.These are only simple guidelines for strength and hypertrophy and can be adapted toy our own specific goals. Your assistance lifts are likely to be movements such as Lunges, Good Mornings, Flies, Rows etc, these will work well in super sets, tri-sets and other such tiem saving methods. I would suggest tracking your progress and seeing what yields the most progress as there will be some degree of individual difference.
*I have given a suggested max rep total for heavy working sets because you will only want to focus on getting out crisp form. You will also find that grinding out heavy reps is very taxing both physically and mentally. The same goes for the speed reps/set Use the back off sets to get/increase your desired volume, not the working or speed sets.
Your daily workout might be planned like this:
Main Lift – Working
Main Lift – Speed
Main Lift – Back Off
Assistance Lift 3-5×10-12
Assistance Lift 3-5×10-12
Assistance Lift 3-5×10-12 – optional
A deaddlift day might look like this:
A1 – DL – 2RM – 3×2 – Rest as needed
B1 – DL – 60-70% of top weight 10×1 speed reps – 15 seconds rest between reps.
C1 – DL – 80% of top weight 3×3-5 – 3min rest
D1 – Bent Over Row 3×10-12
D2 – Reverse Fly 3×10-12
E1 – Bicep Curl 4×10-12
The options are plenty, just take sometime to think about your goal and plan accordingly.

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Ladies Who Lift.

Ladies what lift, this post is for you.

How many of you have heard of the Female Athlete Triad?

Despite it’s name it has nothing to do with any criminal organisations, well, not to my knowledge anyway, but I might be wrong.

What is is specifically?

The Female Athlete Triad is a syndrome of three interrelated conditions, the severity can vary depending on the level of said female athlete.

What does the Triad consist of exactly?

  • Energy Deficiency with or without Disordered Eating
  • Menstrual Disturbances/Amenorrhea
  • Bone Loss/Osteoporosis

Now this is normally more common in ladies who compete at a higher level, however, with the sudden popularity of ladies who want to compete in physique shows etc I have been seeing signs of this more and more. Keep in mind that I am not discouraging anyone from competing, I think it’s great that people have goals and aspirations however I have seen some people go to extremes and end up in a spot of bother. This post is purely to keep you informed.

You are free to choose what you do, just stay safe.

When you start prepping for a show it’s common to be in an energy/caloric deficit to shift some unwanted body fat. This is normal so long as you keep an eye on what you’re doing and don’t fall victim to the mental illness that can come with it. Often, this can involve a conscious restriction of food intake, problems with body image and a high drive for thinness.  Sometimes, these conditions can lead to sever disordered eating such as eating anorexia or bulimia.

This is the usually the first problem/first apr of the problem. What some people forget is that being in a deficit for a long period of time and not monitoring your nutrient partitioning correctly can lead to Menstrual Disturbances/Amenorrhea. This is the most serious menstrual problem associated with the Triad, it is defined as no menstrual period for 3 months or more, typically as a result of excessively low fats, too much volume and lack of recovery. This can be very hard to come back from if it get’s too severe.

The last part of the Triad is linked with a higher risk for low bone mass leading to weakened bones, basically osteoporosis in its severe form.  This type of bone loss can cause an increased risk of fractures, including stress fractures and ones created by the very sport they love.

It has to be said that this isn’t a new thing and I am sure lots of people are aware of it. Just make sure you’re clued up before you pic a show or sport and start going all out for it.

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Protein Synthesis, Simple Explanation

Morning Guys,
I’ve mentioned Protein Synthesis a couple of times recently, therefore I feel today is as good a day as any to explain a little bit more about what it is and how to increase it’s potency.
Muscles grow through protein synthesis, that’s the short answer. Despite what supplement companies, internet gurus and people who are trying to sell you something will tell you, there is no magic formula that will supersede the basic science of protein synthesis, it takes time, effort and understanding, just as with everything in fitness. Once you understand how protein synthesis creates muscle growth, you can achieve your goals, whether they are bodybuilding, strength, performance or just general fitness based.
As many of you are aware, muscles grow by repairing small micro-tears that occur on a cellular level during exercise as a result of the stimulus (overload) you give them, thus exercise a key component of muscle growth and without it your body wouldn’t have any cause for adaptation. Weight training is generally considered the best type of exercise to promote muscle growth, however high power anaerobic CV work can also have some muscle building affects as well. When the muscle experiences adequate stimulus/overload, blood flow to the area increases which allows for more nutrients to be delivered to the working areas, among the nutrients the necessary components for repair/growth/adaptation through the process known as protein synthesis.
For protein synthesis and muscle growth to occur, a number of components must be present. First, the muscle must have exercise-induced micro-injury. Second, naturally occurring hormones, including testosterone and growth hormones produced by the pituitary, must be present. Finally, you must have a diet containing sufficient protein. Protein is the basic building block of all of the body’s tissues, especially muscle. Proteins are made from amino acids, some of which the body can synthesise and some of which must be consumed in the diet.
You can increase your bodies ability/potency for protein synthesis by hitting as many Motor Units/Deep Muscle Fibres as possible. This is because you will for the body in to places it hasn’t been before, meaning that when it starts the adaptive process it will super compensate so that it can handle that amount of load the next time it comes around.
Protein synthesis is higher after you have exposed said muscles to the necessary overload and lasts anywhere from 24-48 hours after the workout, however there are various high level coaches and athletes that will recommend a higher frequency of training (daily or twice daily for example) to help keep the body in a more anabolic state. This is why you will find top level lifters train more than once per day, but you must also remember that they have the most optimal nutrition for them, not to mention their training is tailored perfectly to them as well.
When you take this concept int o account you will realise it’s not about smashing out 40sets in one workout for legs and waiting a week before training them again, it’s far more beneficial to train legs 4 times per week and do 10 sets per workout to increase the rate of protein synthesis and potential muscle growth.
If you can train a muscle every 2-3days you will find the optimal place for achieving your goal. Below is an example of how to get more frequency on your lifts using an upper/lower split based on those lucky enough to train twice per day (if you can train twice per day you can combine the workouts, you’ll just need to regulate the volume accordingly).
Day 1 – Lower AM – Quads, PM – Hamstring
Day 2 – Upper AM – Shoulders/Back, PM – Chest/Back
Day 3 – Off
Day 4 – Lower AM – Quads, PM – Hamstring
Day 5 – Upper AM – Shoulders/Back, PM – Chest/Back
Day 6 – Off
Day 7 – Repeat 2 on 1 off (Y).
Need a set and rep range?
7×5 on Compound Lifts – 1 lift per workout
4×12 on Accessory Lifts – 2 lifts per workout
What exercises could you use?
Quads – Squat, Lunge, Leg Extension.
Hamstring – Deadlift, Good Morning, Hamstring Curl.
Shoulders/Back – Press BB, Press DB, Lateral Raise – Super Set pressing with Pull Ups and Lateral Raise with Reverse Fly.
Chest/Back – Bench BB, Incline Flies or Press DB, Dips – Super Set bench/incline work with a rowing movement and dips with chins.
Frequency of training is key to increased protein synthesis however you must ensure you don’t do too much and exceed your ability to recover. You an achieve this by tracking all of your volume. 

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