Monthly Archives: April 2016

My Way :)

Nutrition…

A topic that can do to communities what Monopoly can do to families.

The basic premise and theory is pretty simple when it comes to nutrition and how it should be for the average person, however this line gets blurred when people start looking in to multiple resources and find conflicting information.

Considering all the info we can get our hands on it’s easy to see why people get confused, therefor I shall be giving you how I do thing today. It’s not a perfect formula by any means, however it has had proven results over my career for the great majority of my clients.

Yep, majority, not all. Why not all? Because some people needed a differing approach, others simply needed to be more honest and stop sneaking in a bottle of wine per night… *Face Palm. This method is the quick and easy version that is never too far off the mark, I do get more technical over time and more precise (to the best of my ability) but this is a good starting point and often helps people get started and keeps it simple for them.

I will write below the resources where I got most of my numbers from smile emoticon, then you can take a look in to things yourselves .

What Ross Does: The Quick & Easy Version

Establishing Goal-based Daily Calories – Take Body Weight in LBS and multiply by the following: 11-13 = Weight Loss, 17-19 = Weight Gain. Not activity calculators are used yet, this will give a baseline idea of how the person will respond.

^^ Powerlifting – Bryan Mann & Dan Austin

Protein – 1g per lbs of bodyweight. A sensible place to start, this can be increased if people are cutting up to 2g per lb in some people.

^^ Examine.com 0.8-1.2g is referenced and they have studies linked. I’ve always used 1g for the simplicity of the maths as a base point, it can be tweaked if needed.

Fat – 35% of total daily calories. Typically 35% is good, however some people respond better to higher fat %, say 45% for example. You can play with this however I am not a fan of dropping this unless absolutely necessary, some will take it as low as 15% when cutting, but I’m not a fan of that personally.

^^ The USDA, ACSM, WHO seem to put their recommendations at 20-35% typically. Worth reading in to.

Carbohydrates – Remaining daily calories after protein/fat calories are subtracted from total. Often times this tends to workout at a ration of 1-1 Protein to Carbs (or not too far off that), not intentional, just a happy coincidence. Fibre is ideally around the 25-40g for most people I deal with, however aiming for 7-15% of your total carbs to be fibre will also be a good shout.

^^ I have done this for quite a while but I know that Eric Helms had a video on you tube some time back using the same formula. Here is is, he goes in to a lot of detail and has a series on this topic, some similarities in the methods I have above but he’s far smarter so listen to him smile emoticonhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GAvW6xBZjSk

As I’ve said above, it’s not perfect. There are various formulas that you can use that have activity multipliers and all other manor of intricate calculations. i use this because it’s easy to explain/understand and it’s never too far off the mark.

Personally I always advise and 80/20 approach to food, being eat 80% of your calories & macros from whole foods because this is better for health reasons, then the last 20% can be of your choosing.

Enjoy,

Ross

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Fatigue Fatigue Fatigue

When you’re training accordingly and pushing your limits as you should (working close to and eventually slightly over your maximal recoverable volume), fatigue amasses quickly if your volume/training goes unchecked or not tracked.

It’s true some people don’t track and simply go by feel but these are also the people who end up burning out and often times getting injured. On the other side of that scale there are people who go by feel and never train hard enough to create a significant enough metabolic disturbance to induce adaptation.

However, if you’ve trained hard enough in the past you will know that feeling when you’ve been making steady progress and all of a sudden ‘wham!’ you take a step backwards (this is you bodies way of telling you that you’ve reached or are dam close to your limit. For now). This is then the ideal time to deload the volume and intensity a touch to allow some of that much needed recovery.

There are several reasons for fatigue amassing as quickly as it does, volume is the main factor, however sleep, nutrition, training protocols and stress levels also play a part too. It’s worth noting that in terms of people who seem to keep going and break the rules, now they are either genetic freak beasts or on PEDS. You will also get the other extreme where some will train perhaps twice per week for 2 weeks and become incredibly fatigued because they are the unlucky ones who got the dregs of the gene-pool. Remember that for the rest of us mere mortals we often fall in the middle of the bell-curve and not each end of the extremes.

Now there are certain guidelines that people recommend to optimise recovery and manage fatigue, here is a brief list:

– 6-8 hours quality sleep (in bed and asleep by 10pm in a perfect world)
– Higher carbs, sometimes as high as 50% for some people.
– Multivitamin supplementation to help any deficiencies.
– Pre-workout meal 1-1 protein to carb ratio. Intra-workout 1-1or2 protein to carb ratio. Post-workout 1-3or4 protein to carb ratio.
– Meditation – 60 min each day (6x10min slots, 3×20 min etc). This will help manage the testosterone to cortisol ratio.
– Volume Management – 3 week accumulation of volume, 1 week deload.
– Lift variation cycling – the stress imposed fomr each lift individually.
– Load (intensity – potentiation/peaking) cycling – heavy, medium,light days.

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2095254615000678

^^ This will make an interesting read for those who want to know more behind it all (I just hopped on google and found somthing that basically backed up my points, as everyone does, lol).

In short you will want to keep your calories at maintenance or in a surplus ideally (if you’re on a cut then you need to be even more mindful of total volume, intensity, T-C ratio etc), while monitoring the progressively increasing volume/intensity, exercise choice and planning in ‘light’ days and full deloads.

Are you keeping an eye on what you’re doing?

If you are and you’re still fatigued what part of that small list above is missing, or perhaps it’s something else…

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WARNING. Honest Post.

The devil truly is in the details, or in the case of fitness it’s in the consistency.

People seem to think they can do 4-6weeks in the gym, lose their excess weight (some can) and then that’s it, they never have to do it again….

*Frustrated Sighs of Disbelief.

Life doesn’t work like this. It’s never worked like this and it never will.

Have you ever heard the saying “If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always got.” because in the case of fitness/health it’s very very true. People spend a lifetime making poor choices and then expect to miraculously remedy their alignments in 4-6weeks so that they can then spend another 10 years eating too much and making more poor choices.

No, just no.

Another common problem people exhibit is that they live in the past. How many times have you heard someone say, or you yourself even said “When I was XYZ age – usually 16-21- I looked like this. I just want to get back to that and I’ll b e happy.” Well guess what buttercups, it’s not going to happen because you’re not longer 16, 21 or even 30 in some cases. You’re older, your body has changed and theres nothing you can do about it, well, actually you could go to the gym, train hard, make sensible food choices, eat according for your goals and make a lifestyle change so that you can be the best your body will allow at your current age but that’s probably too much effort.

A harsh truth? Yes, but a necessary one. Life moves on, all glories must fade and YOU must understand that as you age things change, there for so does your training. If you’ve always trained hard, eating accordingly then you will almost always have a decent mental and physical health, if you haven’t then there’s no sense in crying over spilt milk, you probably didn’t need those calories anyway.

Our intention is not to be mean or put people down. However it’s time that people stop pussyfooting around and start being honest with themselves, after all, the only person who can make a real change in your life is YOU.

 

Enjoy, Ross

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You’re Not a Dog

Morning All,

There are a lot of free gym classes, exercise groups and even personal training services available in the world today, yet despite this there is still an alarmingly large amount of people who are tipping the scale towards the side of obesity. Why do you think this is?

Obviously there are multiple reasons, however the common on is that of people feeling they deserve a treat after working out. You know, much like a dog that performs a trick and expects a Scooby snack for such good behaviour. This is sadly one of the issues that keep people from achieving their goal. 

Where is my proof? Attend a fitness class and see what happens when people finish. Observe how many head towards the canteen or nearest coffee shop for a large triple caramel macchiato and slice of cake as a treat for all their hard work, because, int here own words… “I’ve worked hard, this has already been burnt off.”.

…… *Face Palm.

Burning calories in the gym is a given, however the amount that people burn is not quite so easily established. There is not only human error but also technical and physiological (differing BRM’s etc) and as a result someone may think they’ve burned off 450 calories in an hour and then decide to have a 350 calorie snack as a treat because they’re still one up, this is where they get it wrong. The chances are that the 450 calories they thought they’ve burnt is actually closer to 300 because of all the factors listed above. They pretty much wipe out their ‘deficit’ in one reward meal.

People need to stop seeing food as a reward and start seeing it for what it really is, sustenance (building blocks, energy and something to help keep you balanced).

The old quote ‘You can’t out-train a bad diet’ is actually not that far from he truth because people underestimate how many calories they’re eating and overestimate how many they’re burning, thus never being able to out-train their caloric surplus heavy diet, be it ‘good’ or ‘bad’.

Keep this in mind when you’re next justifying your treat, night out or binge eating because chances are you don’t ‘deserve’ it because you’re not in the caloric deficit you think you are. In the end it all comes down to setting calories accordingly, partitioning macro-nutrients specific to your goals, honesty and above all else consistency to the cause.

 

Enjoy, Ross

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Do You Even De-Load?

Afternoon Guys,

Volume…

You need to increase it to keep progressing, but too much and you will find yourself in a world of trouble because your body can only recover from so much before you need to take your foot off the fas pedal. This is what;s known as a planned de-load, these usually work well at the end of a training block (4-12 weeks), or even after every 3 weeks of ‘hard’ training and will allow you to take some stress off the nervous system and reduce your overall else of fatigue. 

The 3 week increasing intensity followed by the 1 week de-load is quite popular in many programs written by some top strength coaches/athletes, the likes of which include Charles Poliquin, Jim Wendler, Christian Thibaudeau, Louis Simmons (well, he is more along the lines of not training the same movement at 90% intensity for more than 3 week), the list could go on but these are only a couple of examples.

I have known people to try and train at their top end intensity for extended periods of time and end up digging a hole that they struggle to recover from. Thus stalling their potential progress and in some cases regressing it.

DON’T BE ONE OF THEM!

If you have been tracking your total volume a de-load is a simple case of knocking you last total load down by a percentage that allows you still stay neurologically ready but reduces the fatigue. For example; you could reduce the total volume by up to 50%, meaning if your average amount of sets per movement was 20 per week you might only do 10 with a varying intensity (say working up to a double at 90% for example, you’d still keep the feeling of lifting the heavy weight but you’d greatly reduce the overall stress and aid recovery/adaptation).

It is true that some people can handle lighter de-loads than others, and place them farther apart because they have a higher MRV (maximum recoverable volume), but you’re not ‘some people’ you will need to take a specific approach and establish your INDIVIDUAL needs to the number, no guess work. If you can handle more volume and only need a reduction every 8 weeks then great, go for it, just be sure that’s the case. Don’t dig a hole in you can’t get out of without a complete rest week.

Now go and sit down with a pen/paper and work out what YOU need to do.

Enjoy,
Ross

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Looking Objectively.

I had someone ask me about a couple of studies that lean towards high frequency being the key to ascension, now while there is a very strong correlation with how much you can train/recover from and the gains you will make I feel there are some key points people need to be aware of with the majority (not all) of the studies on high frequency training, well, most training actually.

If you think about the bulk of studies from the past and indeed more recent times they are based on Weightlifters many will forget what a weightlifter actually is. These people often practice two move for their sport – Clean & Jerk, Snatch – because those are the two lifts performed in the Olympics and as you can guess, these types of athletes train multiple times per day consecutive days per week, but do you know why?

…..

They train that much because they’re practicing a SKILL. Yep, weightlifting is a skill, where as weight lifting (synonymous with body building) is less about skill and more about stimulation of a specific muscle. There is a very big difference between practicing a skill every day and trying to build muscle. One needs constant work because a movement pattern must become as efficient, effective and energy conserving as possible, the other is about giving it all you’ve got, essentially.

When practicing weightlifting the loads they use may indeed be written as 85%+ however for a 75kg lifter might only be 85kg for example and the total taxation on the body with that amount of weight won’t be as great as someone doing front squats with 120kg because the load is heavier and requires more effort to shift. This is why some people who try a high frequency training program for a body building purpose don’t always get the results they expect, the weights they need to lift just take too much out of them. However this sort of approach is useful for strongmen, power lifters, girevoy sport competitors (kettle bell sport) and anyone involved in strength sport because they need to groove their movements.

Does that makes sense?

I’m not saying high frequency isn’t good because I am a fan of it. What I’m saying is that before you go charging in head first after reading the latest study or article you need to understand the finer nuances of first. Especially when it comes to the sample group used. If they are lifters of 10 years experience what applies to them almost always won’t apply to someone who have been lifting for 6 months.

Remember, objectivity, not subjectivity.

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Form From From!

Correct technique is something you should always aim to achieve because if you don’t you simply increase the risk of injury.

It’s not fun getting injured, even if it’s only a minor tweak, it’s still not fun because it stops you doing a wide variety of things. Therefore you should always aim to perform each rep with full control.

Avoid these following commonalities until you have mastered the correct movement pattern for you body.

– Bouncing any reps (Deadlift etc)
– Using momentum to complete reps (rows, bicep curls)
– Partial reps (Bench, or pressing)
– Anything ballistic or plyo based (jumping or explosive work)

This might seem obvious but a great many people forget these simple things and as a result end up injured or worse.

Don’t me ruled by you ego, leave it outside the gym and focus on crisp solid form. Not only will you stay injury free, you will also become a lot stronger and make far more progress. A great way to immediately improve your form is to increase the amount of time it takes to do a rep (TUT*). Lower the weight for 3-6 seconds, pause at the bottom of the rep for 1 second, take 1-2 to lift it and then repeat until all reps are done.

*Deadlift is a tad different, don’t use overly long eccentrics (the lowering part) on these, instead make sure each rep is performed from a dead stop. No bouncing.

Now go, practice good form and stay injury free.

Enjoy,
Ross

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Hybrid

Morning Guys,

When you’re in the gym are you training muscles of practicing movements?
You may or may not be aware that there is a difference between the two. One style is used by body builders of people looking to improve their aesthetic physique, the other is centered around improving sporting performance and becoming as strong/efficient as possible.
I believe it was Ernie Frantz who once said you can have Raw Power or Beautiful Muscles but not both. From a certain point of view this is indeed correct, however there is a way you can have the best compromise and not only look good but also be strong, you might just need to accept that you won’t look as good or be as strong as you possibly could if you specialsed in just one thing because of that basic law of specificity.
You also have the crowds of people who not only want to look good, have unearthly strength but also fitness of an elite athlete and perhaps the technical skills of a professional in various sports. It’s a lot to ask for, especially when there is only so much time in the day and so many days in the week.
There are lots of ‘hybrid’ training program available these days that promise you the physique of a Greek statue while being as strong as a warrior, however what often happens is a mix mash of training principles that leave you fatigued and no closer to either because they try to get everything done in one session and sadly when it comes to a hybrid style of training that’s not the best way to train.
You will find either dedicated days to one or the other work well, as does training with 2 sessions per day or even a rotation 2-1/3-1/4-1 schedule training various elements. .
For example you might do the following training splits.
Dedicated Days:
Monday – Strength – Full Body – PL’er style
Tuesday – Accessory Work – Full Body – BB’er style
Wednesday – Off
Thursday – Strength – Full Body – PL’er style
Friday – Accessory Work – Fully Body – BB’er – style
Saturday – Off
Sunday – Off
Training in this manor will actually help improve the blood flow tot the muscles worked the previous day in help with recovery/growth.
Strength = Sub max weights, moderate/high sets, low reps
Accessory = Moderate/low weight, low/moderate sets, high reps
Rotation Schedule:
Day 1 – Strength – Full Body – PL’er style
Day 2 –  Accessory Work – Full Body – BB’er style
Day 3 – CV Training (sprint or LSD)
Day 4 – Skill Day (Weightlifting, Gymnastics, Martial Arts etc)
Day 5 – Off
Repeat.
You will be training each aspect on different days, you will do well to rotate the Heavy, Medium, Light intensities for the Str, Acc & CV training. Skill work is slightly different because you want to get better at the skill/movement, however I would personally have set the skill day directly opposing the strength one. So if strength was H the skill would be L and vice-versa.
Twice Per Day:
Dedicated Days:
Monday – Strength – Full Body – PL’er style -AM. Accessory Work – Full Body – BB’er style -PM
Tuesday – CV – Sprint Work
Wednesday – Off
Thursday – Strength – Full Body – PL’er style -AM. Accessory Work – Full Body – BB’er style -PM
Friday – CV – Sprint Work
Saturday – Off
Sunday – Off
There is no real right or wrong when it comes to hybrid style training, you just need to make sure you track your volume and make sure you’re eating enough and recovering adequately.
Enjoy,
Ross

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Results

“Your results start where your comfort zone ends.”

A very true quote yet sadly it’s one that a lot of people will struggle to accept.

Hard work, perseverance and determination are what is needed to get results, this much is a given. It is the simple act of the ‘doing’ that most struggle with because it’s hard.

You will agree that the majority of people are quite happy to stay in there comfort zone and plod along, not really achieving anything past what they already have. Some people are okay with minimal change and there’s nothing wrong with that, however it is when you hear people complaining that they don’t have time, poor genetics, are too tired and a whole host of other excuses as to why they can’t achieve what they want that, it’s frustrating to witness.

What you can do right now it grab a pen (or open a note on your phone or computer) and write down in 300 words or less, every reason WHY you can’t achieve your goal. Once you’ve done that, reread it and flip the terminology and now write down HOW you can achieve your desired goals.

For example:

The reason WHY I can’t go to the gym is because I don’t have the time because by the time I would get home my children would be asleep.

Flip It:

I am going to buy some kettlebells to use at home, this is HOW I can overcome my lack of available time and see my children, then do a 30-40min workout once they have gone to bed.

The next time you start thinking WHY you can’t do something, try and think about HOW you can instead.

Enjoy,
Ross

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Posture

Morning Guys,

How are you reading this?

Are you sat or stood up straight?

Probably not I’m sad to say.

Take a look in your immediate environment and you will see everyone has pretty poor posture, for the most part that is.

It seems good posture has become something of a rarity these days, but did you know that bad posture doesn’t only cause bad backs, it also makes your head feel a lot heavier that it actually is.

The most common postural problem these days in Forwards Head Posture or Turtle Neck. You’ve seen it, you may even have it yourself. It’s pretty common because of desk jobs, texting and general laziness.

Did you know that for every inch forwards your head strays away from your bodies central line (neutral posture) you heads weight increases by 10-11lbs.

How can you fix this?

1 – More upper back work.
2 – Sleep with one or no pillows (lead flat).
3 – Tucking your chin and pulling your head back.
4 – Stretching your chest, front deltoids and lats.
5 – Practice good posture daily.

Poor posture is so common it has become accepted as normal.

Practice standing straight by lignin your spine up against the edge of a door while keeping your posture in a neutral position (You can google this to see a picture of it, there are literally hundreds of papers and books on this subject).

As my grandmother used to say “Sit up straight and don’t slouch.”.

Enjoy,
Ross

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