Monthly Archives: July 2018

You don’t get old, you merely level up

“Just because we’re getting older that doesn’t mean we have to get old.”
Morning All,
A fair quote is has to be said, especially when a lot of people will let their body decay as the decades pass because they feel that they’re past it and for some it’s their time to rest.
While a view that people are welcome to hold, is it the most useful one, that can be up to you to decide.
Typically as we age one or all of these things happen:
– We get immobile
– We get fat
– We get fragile
– We get ill
These are of course preventable (less for severe medical issue), so perhaps instead of letting our health and formative years slide away is it perhaps not a more logical vein of thought to try and maintain as much of our youth as possible via good nutrition choices, exercise and well, continuing to live.
It is not uncommon for people who are approaching the higher numbers to want nothing more than to sit because they’re tired, life hasn’t been easy for them.
While it is understandable, once you start down that path it’s a slippery one, strength begins to fade, energy levels drop through the floor and it starts to look a bit bleak.
So how can we retain some of our past glory?
1 – Solid Nutrition
2 – Strength Training
3 – Becoming a Mover
Here are some starting point for each.
1 – Eat a good amount of meat & veg, have sweet things every now and again, they should be novelty not necessity.
2 – Pick things up off the floor, put things over head, carry things for distance or time.
3 – Crawl, Walk, Run, Lay down and stand up, whatever you do move everyday.
Now there are more specifics to the above however you will find those out in time, for now look at each of the three and find out which you’re not putting enough focus on because it’s better to tackle them today than put them off until tomorrow.
Remember, just because you get older that doesn’t mean you have to get old.

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Not so Unique

“Everyone is different, what works for you might not work for me.”

I’m getting so sick of hearing that, honestly, it’s maddening because it is being used as an excuse for people to flounder about in regards to their training & nutrition.

While life is indeed not so black and white as we might like it, the large majority of things that work will work for the large majority of people, that’s fact and those who bring up the above sentence are among those who will potentially live a life forever being unfulfilled in regards to ‘becoming the best version of me’ as many chime, another piece of modern bullshit to protect peoples poor life choices and habits.

If you’re reading this and thinking to yourself that this seems to be the words of a tired and bitter trainer, you’d be right.

Once you’ve spent a great many years trying to help people and they still insist that they’re the unique exception you just don’t have time for it because like many before them they want to be given the right to fail and that it’s okay to do so. Which of course it is.

One reason people hit a goal and revert is simply because they lack the desire to be anything more than they are, not because they’re happy though, it’s because they are indifferent and that to people of my ilk is a meaningless place to be in.

I’m sure you’ve got that one friend or family member who always talks about moving forwards, then never does, they repeat the same drivel at every encounter, just take a second to think of that person, now take their attitude and imagine having to deal with that everyday because that is largely what the fitness industry has become.

You may be thinking that we need more empathy, and I’d agree, however there is another element needed, responsibility of the self. No one can do what you need to do for you except you, so why won’ you do it? What are you so afraid of?

It is the lack of taking charge that will have people fester in their current life situation because at least they know what to expect in terms of judgement from others and they can prepare themselves for it where as to move to a different place, perhaps a better place, the unknown is too much for them.

As someone who works with a lot of people there is one underlying curiosity that very few ever answer; admitting why they feel the way they do to help one understand them.

Without this key bit of information it’s like trying to put a jigsaw together with a blindfold on, not impossible just very difficult and time consuming.

What reasons keep you in the place you are, do you know them?

Take some time to think about this and write down your answer, you don’t need to share it with anyone because your problems are your own and no one will feel as you do about them, however one way or another to move forwards you’re going to have to face your demons surrounding fitness, lifestyle change and decide a plan of action. That plan of action might be the same as what other people have done in the past, if so just run with it, give it time to work before you start playing the ‘unique individual’ card.



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Time for Reflection

Creatures of habit, that’s what we are.
Morning All,
What routines/habits do you have that are no conducive to progress in your life?
I’m sure you have a few, as such it would be great if you could set aside some time today and write down your most common repeated happenings, then assess their usefulness.
Are they productive because if not you can probably get rid.
If you find you don’t want to let something go, ask yourself why, why you’re holding on to it and see what answers turn up.
An exercise in reflection because sometimes once we’ve hit a goal, the habits and behaviours we adopted for it are no longer viable for long term progress.
Give it some thought.

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We’re not Obsessed, just dedicated…

Obsession, quite an interesting thing really.
It is very easy to get caught up in something, then before we know it what was once a chore is now a habit and after that it becomes a welcome part of life, or perhaps an obsession.
What is the difference between the two?
Not much truth be told.
One allows you the freedom and mental acceptance that sometimes you just need to forgo that part of the daily routine, the other eats away at you causing an almost insufferable pain and angst.
The latter is something many fall victim to in the realms of fitness.
Have you ever been obsessed with something?
Perhaps you start running to lose weight as many others do, and like those many you succeeded, then once you felt comfortable you started going to the gym while also still running your 10,20 or 30k per week.
You started to get more results, better results as you started improving your training and eating more optimally.
The slope is getting slippery.
Ecstatically you start looking for more to do because you’re proud of what you’ve achieved so far and because you’re a beginner things only keep getting better, for now.
6 months down the road and you’ve begun to change, not drastically, just minor things. Calories are hopping out on every packaged product, an inquisitive perhaps neurotic tendency to only let certain foods pass your lips has taken route in your weekly life, not the weekend yet though, just the week.
6 more months go by, not a day passes where you don’t do some kind of training which at this point is a culmination of everything you’ve been doing and more because you don’t want to not do what you did, otherwise you’ll lose the results you’ve got, right?
More and more and more and more, that’s what keeps happening, more.
Food has now become fuel and only confused when absolutely necessary. No more trips out, no random excursions, nothing.
Life is focused around fitness, fitness is now life.
Obsession has taken hold, yet you’re not obsessed, that’s the sort of thing that happens to everyone else, not you though, you’re dedicated, not obsessed. No, you can’t be obsessed, not you.
Suddenly the results that had once been something to be admired and proud of are slowly disappearing, it’s as if steps backwards are being taken, the answer to this issue?
More control over nutrition, more training, more intensity, more more more.
This pattern continues until eventually that body which has done all it can to keep up your obsession can do no more and it finally breaks.
Leaving you frustrated, upset, wondering what went wrong.
Mentally not being able to do everything you’d done gets to you and little by little the obsession turns to madness, then rebellion as you finally accept you were just a tiny bit obsessed and finally you end up back where you started, right tat the beginning again, this time ready to do it all again.
This time you won’t get obsessed though. his time it’ll be different, right?
Fitness is addictive, it’s easy to lose sight of any and everything else when you’re bitten by the bug.
The above is a cautionary tail that befalls more people than you’d think.
By all means train hard and push for your goals, just beware the demon that lurks before the pot of gold, otherwise it could cost you everything.

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Two Tips for Timed Training

Do you linger in the gym longer than you perhaps should?

How much time do you waste faffing about in the gym?

What ever the answers here are two little gems to help you focus, improve your productivity and perhaps start making progress once again.

1 – Set up a timer for 20-45min, start it the second you step foot in the gym and you will leave once it hits zero.

2 – Pick one or two lifts, sets/reps/load are at your discretion.

Try these pairs:

– Hinge/Push
– Squat/Pull
– Carry/CV
– Crawling/Climbing
– Not 100% set in stone, manipulate the pairs with each other as you see fit.

That’s it.

Working to a time limit in a super set fashion will keep you from dillydallying and might even shift your gears enough to get you closer to your goals.

This is highly focused on the principle of escalating density in your training so get in, get focused and get results.



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Two Lifts for Longevity.

You’ll find these in Enter the Kettlebell & Simple and Sinister.
– Swings
– Get ups
You can do these on a daily basis, all you’d need to is vary the reps, sets and loading.
All you need is one kettlebell, or a few if you’re like me.
My recommendations are as follows for the average person.
– 25-250 Swings
– 1-15 Get Ups (each arm)
Yep, that’s it.
These two movements will cover the entire posterior and genetic chain, build strength, stability, coordination, power and improve the health of many.
If combined with sensible nutrition (or a calorie deficit) you will find some rather desirable results.
Aim to them every day following the rep guides above.

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Odd training for oddly good results.

I love the gym.
The barbells, the dumbbells, the kettlebells, the plates, the pull up bars, everything in there, well, maybe not the treadmill although it does have its uses I suppose.
All that being said, this is not the only way to create the look you desire, there are plenty of other methods, some of which you may find a tad strange, however their effectiveness you’ll appreciate.
Here are some movements for you.
To build quality quads find a flight of steps and have a heavy awkward object. Pick up said object from the floor and proceed to carry it up and down the stairs.
For a brilliant back you’d do well to climb things, trees, frames or my favourite, ropes. Just like back in school, once you can climb a rope without the use of your legs you’ll have a back worthy of admiration.
Super shoulders are a mere handstand away. Learning to hand balance, walk on your hands and even build towards freestanding Headstand and then handstand push ups will really take you to the next level of wide shoulders.
Perfect pecs through another old school classic, the ring dip. If you don’t have rings then you will find the equally classic press up is also a good alternative, especially when done explosively.
Heroic hamstrings & glorious glutes can be attainted through sprint training, seriously, look at sprinters and you’ll see they’ve got a rather admirable posterior chain.
Lastly is longevity, this means moving daily, crawling on all fours, complexes of inversions, jumps, flips and more. It means doing what many children do without a second thought, this is the one thing that will change many peoples lives and keep them strong enough to stay out of the retirement homes chair.
All of the above, while different from normal will hit all the muscles in your body and give you a lot of real world strength that can be used for everyday life.
Of course there are many many more thing you can do, these are just a few examples to get you thinking outside the box.

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6 Tiny Tweaks for Colossal Change

1 – Keep a food diary (write down everything that passes your lips, EVERYTHING).

This will give you some perspective and control over your self, if you’re willing to accept responsibility.

2 – Walk 30 minutes every day

Its good for the mind and the soul.

3 – Read more real books, you know of the paper variety

Spending less time in front of a screen has been said to help reduce stress, anxiety and other such modern day issues.

Ironic you jus tread that one via an online blog.

4 – Buy a Kettlebell(s)

Some people don’t like the gym, this little piece of kit is known for being a ‘gym in the palm of your hand’. Doing 20-45min a day of things such as Swings, Get Ups, Snatches, Presses, Carries, Loaded Stretches, Mobility or movement patterns. These will not only help change your body, it will help your mind as well.

5 – Ensure most, if not all of your meals are meat & veg

You’d be surprised what eating ‘whole foods’ will do for your health and your waistline.

6 – Each year aim to learn a new skill, or invest a good chunk of time in to mastering one

Perhaps you always wanted to learn a language, or how to paint, maybe it was knitting related, whatever it was set aside perhaps one or two hours or so a week to learning and acquiring this.

It’s not selfish to want time for yourself.

In the long run you’ll lead a much fuller life if you devote some time to adding strings to your body, not to mention it can are a great way to relieve stress.


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Progression Tips for Beginners

Do you have any idea how to progress your training across the variables?

– Volume
– Intensity
– Density
– Frequency

It’s quite easy really, as such here is an example for each that can be used for several weeks or months if you have the courage to stay the course.

Volume –

Ladders, one of my favourites.

1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10 or 2,3,5,10, or 1,2,3,4,5

There are a lot of choices, for adding extra volume in the form of reps, the most effective being 1-10, and you will only add weight once you can go 1-10 unbroken.

Example (works best as a super set):

A1 – Pull Up
A2 – Close Grip Bench Press

Intensity –

Let us say that you’re a creature of habit who likes doing the same sets and reps, this is cool however progressing can be a tad tricky, therefor this is the solution:

Fractional Plates.

Small 0.25kg (or lighter) plates, all you need do is hit your desired reps then add another 0.25kg and aim to do the same next time.

Personally I’ve found that doing 3-5×3-5 works well as it gives you some room to adapt to the gradual increases. Once you hit 5×5 with good form, adding another fraction plate is easy, it might may you only be able to do 3×3, that’s okay keep grinding until it’s 5×5 and progress from there.

Density –

Perhaps you’re already one strong hombre and adding weight or reps is becoming tricky, fear not, you have two options to progress.

1 – Set a time limit to hit your rep goal.

Example; 50 reps in 15min with 140kg in the squat.

Once you hit it you add weight.

2 – Reduce your rest periods.

Say you’ve started with 5min rest, knock off 15 seconds at the next session, if you hit all your reps then knock off another 15 next time, repeat this until you are perhaps at 3min rest, or lower, that is up to you.

Once you hit your desired point of ‘low rest’ add weight and take the rest back up to 5min per set and so on.

Frequency –

The easiest to manipulate, al you do is add an extra bout of reps or an extra session.

Say you train your squat once per week, bump it up to twice, if you already do two squat sessions do three, you can spread the reps out and build them up from there, example:

1 squat session a week = 5×10
2 squat session = 3×10 per session (10 more total reps)

Make sense?

Adding weight or reps can be applied from the other example above.

The little tips of today are very basic, there is a lot more that can go in to this, however these will be enough to tweak your current training and perhaps get you over the plateau.


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Much of a Muchness Really

Personal Trainers, Strength Coaches, Fit Pros, Instagram Fitness Personalities.

All seem invincible, yet many are just like everyone else.

Each has their own insecurities, their own body confidence issues, their own unrealistic expectations of what they should achieve.

Essentially they are human to.

It’s easy to get caught in the hype and admiration of these people, yet just like many ‘average people’ they use filters, good lighting, posing, photo shop and any other tools at their disposal to keep up appearances.

In a world where we all claim to be a non-judgemental bunch, we’re very quick to hate, bring people down at the slightest slip and pounce instantly our peers don’t keep up appearances.

All of this serves as quite the lesson, well two in fact.

1 – Professionals are people too.

2- Because they are people it means that what they have achieved is also potentially achievable to you as well.

Just because someone is currently at the peak of the mountain while you look up it doesn’t mean you can’t get there as well, remember that.

The next time you see someone with a body you lust for, take a look at the life they lead, can you do similar?

If you can then those people you see as untouchable, with unattainable look suddenly doesn’t seem to far from he realms of reality.


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