Monthly Archives: July 2016

Coasting…

Morning Guys,

Are you coasting when you’re in the gym?

Do you pick up the same weights and do the same reps/sets as you’ve done for the last who knows how long?

Do you still do 2-3 gym classes back to back with minimal effort and reward yourself with some calorific sturdbucks drink afterwards because ‘you deserve it because you just did 2-3 classes back to back’?

If this sounds like you then it’s time for a healthy does of reality.

Coasting along in the gym is not healthy.Not just physically but also mentally too. You will get stuck in a rut and eventually end up going backwards because your body will have become so efficient at doing the same things you always do that your overall energy expenditure will drop but I’m positive that you won’t adjust your calories to accommodate for this, meaning inevitable muscle loss and fat gain.

Harsh but something that you can see in literally every commercial gym. Don’t be one of these people.

Going to the gym shouldn’t be an all out struggle each session, but you should have at least one hard and one medium session per week with a light session to allow recovery but still keep your body/mind in the right place. This doesn’t mean to say you use baby weights on the right session, it simply means adjusting the volume/intensity (I wrote about this a few days ago, check it out). Here is a nice little option for H-L-M days:

  • Medium – 8x3x80-85%
  • Light – 5x5x75-80%
  • Heavy – 6-10x2x85-90%

Easy to rotate this, all it takes is some planning. Simply sit down and establish what this correlates to for each of your workout days (Pull, Push, Legs for example) and you will have a training program that looks like this:

Days –

  1. Pull – Medium
  2. Push – Light
  3. Legs – Heavy
  4. Off
  5. Pull – Light
  6. Push – Heavy
  7. Legs – Medium
  8. Off
  9. Pull – Heavy
  10. Push – Medium
  11. Legs – Light
  12. Off – Then the cycle starts again.

This is a simple 3 days on 1 day off. You don’t have to follow that, you could do 3 workouts a week and that would give you a three week cycle instead of a two week one. You can arrange the days however bas too suit you – keep in mind that from various research that the optimal training frequency for each movement/muscle group is every 3-5days and the optimal amount of sets is 10-20 (tops) with an average load of 80%.

Take some time and look at what you’re currently doing in the gym and ask yourself these questions:

Does it challenge me?

Does it make me want more?

Does it scare me slightly?

If the answers are NO then you need to take a week off and get your head together, pick a solid goal, return with a plan and knuckle down. As the old saying goes:

“If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.”

Enjoy, Ross.

 

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Waving Volume

Morning Guys,
 
*Please not this is a strength bias post.
 
Do you wave your volume workout to workout?
 
Wave loading your training volume is nothing new, it has been around since before lifting became popular. Strongmen of old would have heavy, light and medium days to allow them to train all out then have some recovery while also making progress on their skill in lifting (that’s what the light/medium days are for).
 
Plenty of people have talked about this, however I am going to give you a simple way that you can apply it to your own workouts of either 3,4 or 5 days training per week.
 
The days I would suggest for training are as follows for 3,4 or 5 days:
 
3 Day – Monday, Wednesday, Friday
4 Day – Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday
5 Day – Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday
 
Here is how you cycle your volume:
 
Minimum weight on the bar is 80%, this is because you’re playing with the volume of your workout so you can always train heavy but not always hard as that’s what causes problems.
 
The last day of each week will be your all out day, so this might be 10×5 at 80%1RM. This is known as the Heavy/Hard Day because it has the most volume.
 
Next up is setting the Light Day, a suggestion would be to take off around 30-40% of your total volume from the Hard day, so in the example case that would be 5×5 at 80% giving you 30 reps instead of 50 at a 40% volume reduction.
 
Last is the Medium Day, this would be roughly 10-20% less than your Hard Day, if we went for a 20% volume reduction that would give you 40reps at 80%.
 
Pick two exercises. Yes, only 2. They will be your focus. Two large compound lifts will be the best option, A deadlift and press are excellent for most as is the squat and chin up
 
Arrange them in a super set like this:
 
A1 – x5 – Rest 60 Seconds
A2 – x5 – Rest 60 Seconds
Repeat until all sets done or speed/form is noticeably lost on the lifts.
 
Get the idea?
 
Here is how a 5 day week might look:
 
Saturday – Hard Day
Monday – Light Day
Tuesday – Medium Day
Wednesday – Medium Day
Friday – Light Day
 
You would still be lifting a weight over 80% of max for your chosen lifts but the cycling of volume will allow for optimal recovery and adaptation so you can add a little more weight on your hard day or push that day towards a slightly higher volume target before increase the weight. For example you may have the end target of 10×5 at 80% 1RM on Squats and OHP and only get 5×5 on your first hard day, this means you simply try and add a set of 5 each Saturday until you hit your volume target before increase the load or changing the exercise. I will leave the targets up to you.
 
I know I’ve suggested two moves only but on your light days you may add in some accessory work so long as it doesn’t change the workout in to a hard session as that defeats the object of this style of workout. So if you pick the DL/P as your main lifts you can put in some accessory leg work in the form of squats, lunges, chin ups and curls for example.
If you only have three days you have a Hard, Light and Medium Day. If 4 is what you can offer add in either a Light or Medium day.
 
People are in too much of a rush to make progress. Take your time with it. Progress in small manageable steps, cycle your volume loads each training session (not the weight, just the volume) and focus on crisp clean form.
 
Wave your volume and watch your progress increase.
 
Enjoy
Ross

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Progressing Much?

When you plan your workouts do you think about how you’re going to have them progress or do you go in blind?
 
A few days back we spoke about what we all do, who follows a plan and who doesn’t. What I want to know to day is how you actually progress.
 
Do you progress the Volume, Intensity or Density of your workout?
 
– Volume = How many reps/sets
– Intensity = % of 1RM used
– Density = How much done in specific time (work capacity)
 
Which of the below applies to you?
 
Simple single progression – 3×8, once reps hit add weight. This is typically an intensity increase as the reps stay the same (linear progression, usually a beginner).
 
Double progression – 3×8-12, once 3×8 hit, add a rep(s) & work towards 1×10,2×8 and so on until you hit 3×12 and then add weight. You’re now progressing volume long before intensity, good for intermediate lifters.
 
Triple progression – 3-5x8x12, hit all minimum reps on 3 sets then add reps and hit all higher reps on 3 sets before adding a set and starting back again so you’re not doing 4×8-12 before hitting that target and moving on to 5×12 before adding any weight. This is the same as above but usually used by advanced lifters.
 
Increasing Volume or Intensity is easy and because of that people often forget about increasing their Density of each workout. The best way to do this is by using one of two methods:
 
1 – Reps/Sets/Weight stay the same but your rest periods decrease
 
2 – Weight/Rest Stays the same but your sets drop and your reps increase but the volume stays the same (so 5x3x100kg progresses to 3x5x100kg, the volume is the same but you’re now doing the same amount of work in less sets, thus an increase in work capacity).
Take some time and look at your program. how is it progressing? Or more importantly, is it even progressing at all…
Enjoy,
Ross

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Well Wouldn’t You Know…

Nutriton…

What people think it is:

– Strict 1000 Calorie Diets of Chicken, Broccoli and Rice everyday.
– Only Filled by ‘Good’ Foods….
– No Social Life. 

What it actually is:

– Specific to your individual goal (required Calories/Macros).
– Specific to your needs as an individual (As above).
– Filled with any food you choose*

*Unless you have a specific allergy or intolerance, then probably best avoid those. Remember, food being good or bad is subjective. Too much of anything can be bad just like too little of anything can also be bad.).

Why do body builders, athletes and alike eat super strict? (except for refeed days) Because it’s specific to their goal at that specific time, they don’t live like this.

If you don’t enjoy your nutrition and it hampers your life then chances are it’s not right for you.

Context is the key.

Ross

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Training?

Morning All,

What does training mean to you?

Is it a means to an end? 
A chore that has to be done so you can preserve some small self love?
Perhaps it’s a routine that you couldn’t be without?

Regardless of what it is to you there are three things that it must also be, kind of like sub categories.

1 – Effective (achieving required stimulus for progression).

Training should’t just be exercise to get hot and sweaty, you can lay in the sun and do that but it doesn’t mean you’re going to get a result does it. Unless your goal is a cracking tan (Y). Many people simply go through the motions and that is why they never look any better than they currently do.

Remember; Chase Performance, Not Fatigue.

2 – Specific (keep the goal the goal).

Your training should reflect your goal. If you want to build muscle and run 10k every day then you will only find frustration and lose motivation.

3 – Enjoyable (have fun).

Enjoyable does not mean easy or only doing what you want to do, it means you enjoy your training because typically it is getting results. Be sure to have a program that fits this.

If your training does not have these three subcategories then I suggest you get yourself a coach who understands your needs and puts together one that does.

Enjoy,
Ross

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Start Behaving

Morning All, 
 
If you want to make a change then the first thing you need to do is look at what behaviour caused to to be in your current situation and sort that first.
 
Behaviour is a key component of change, in fact having the right behaviour will make all the difference because without it you’re essentially wasting your time.
 
If we were to say that your goal is to become accomplished in bouldering, how would you do it? It’s pretty obvious, you would start learning the skills required and begin practicing several times per week perhaps building up to even a daily basis. Why would you do this? That’s easy, without practice you wouldn’t get any better.
 
The same it true for building towards a promotion at work, you will do more of what you need to do so that you can succeed. Given that simple logic, why isn’t fitness/heath seen the same way?
 
Baffling, ins’t it.
 
The secret to achieving anything isn’t really a secret, it’s common sense. Change the way you behave and you will change the results you get. Simple.
 
Now you know what to do, grab a piece of paper and write in 250 words or less what behaviour you NEED to help you achieve your goal and how you will make the necessary changes required.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Be Liked.

Morning All,

I have some advice for the other coaches/trainers who are kind enough to read my humble musings form time to time. It’s something I’ve learnt and while it should be common sense it really isn’t.

What is it you ask… It’s pretty much the most important step in getting people to change their minds. You ready for it?

People must LIKE you.

Yep. It’s that simple, however a lot of coaches/trainers don’t do it and because of this they end up locked in ego battles with people and as a result lose business and also respect. I have fallen victim to this on several occasions and can tell you it only causes problems int he long run.

How can you get around this? All you have to do is take a step back when you’re in a conversation and ask yourself what you would require for your opinions to change. The first part is often to be listed too and not spoken over, basically given some respect.

If you focus on getting people to like and respect your first and foremost your will be in the best position to influence and help them. There is no prize for being the bigger ass hole, if there was I’d have several by now.

Enjoy,
Ross

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Setting Up to Fail

“Is getting results really as hard as you’re making out or are you just setting up your excuses for failure because you don’t want to do what needs to be done and make a lifestyle change?”

A good quote. Sadly it is very true and a lot of people will make their excuses before any real effort has been put in so that when they fail they have valid reasons as to why it wasn’t their fault. Now don’t get me wrong, there are times where people do find themselves pushing a boulder up hill, here are a few:

  • Genuine Medical/Genetic/Debilitating conditions
  • Severe injury from an accident or illness
  • Life falls apart because your significant other runs off with their receptionist while simultaneously clearing out your bank accounts, while you also become jobless, homeless and living with hyenas

Apart form those reasons the reason typically is people don’t want to make the changes they need to make, along with having the wrong attitude. Harsh but true.

If you want results that will last follow these simple tips:

  • Change your mindset
  • Accept life will change (for the better)
  • Be consistent

Change is never easy but you’ll often find it’s necessary.

Enjoy, Ross.

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