Monthly Archives: October 2018

Gym Addicts

Hi, my name is Ross and I’m a gym addict.

You’d be forgiven in thinking that it’s not the worst thing to be enamoured with when compared to cocaine, heroin, alcohol and various other narcotics, yet it’s not great either.

How does the old saying go?

There’s no such thing as a healthy obsession.

This thought sprung to mind a being back on 3-4 days per week really does seem to yield my most optimal results, even though there is still a longing to get in and lift more.

I recently slipped back in to multiple gym sessions once again and found myself up a certain creek without a paddle very quickly.

Why?

Habit, one that isn’t as good as it’s meant to be.

Keeping the fact in mind that over they years the above (training 3-4 days per week tops) has often produced more, and often solidly consistent progress I still ended up doing more, just because.

Now I feel it is finally time to take a note and step away from the temptation to do more.

Time to let that obsession, that addiction go.

Yep, addiction, because that’s what it was, is.

I’ve never really written that down before… Huh, neat.

Perhaps you’re addicted as well, you just don’t know it yet.

Do you need to run a certain amount each day, even if you’ve lifted or you get jittery?

Can you stray away from your familiarity, your routine or must you follow it to the letter and when change comes around you smily add it to what you’re already doing and they promptly drop the new for the old?

Are you one to embrace the thought of what needs to be done or must you do things a certain way because if you don’t you get those strange symptoms synonymous with what we call withdrawal?

How I will miss those times where there’d be 2-3 sessions a day 6, or maybe even 7 days per week.

Yep, on occasion there was over 18 gym sessions per week.

That’s what a healthy obsession looks like…

Are you chained to routine & habit for no other reason than it just has to be that way, or are you someone who actually makes progress and does what needs to be done, rather than what you might be addicted to doing.

Give it some thought.

Enjoy,
Ross

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It’s not all about Aesthetics

Guess what.
 
Not everyone who trains does it because they want to be a bodybuilder.
 
Eek, gasp…. such heresy!
 
Honestly, it’s true.
 
If you talk to someone and mention that you train several times a week in the gym, you’ll find most will either silently judge you based on your appearance, and some will just come out and say something like “I thought you’d be bigger.” or similar.
 
We have become steeped in the bro-dogma.
 
Any man, woman or unicorn who goes to the gym must immediately want to be a bodybuilder because that’s just how it is, right?
 
Wrong.
 
Did you know that you can train without aiming for a purely aesthetic goal, you can seek a performance related one.
 
This to some people is unfathomable.
 
So much so that hardly anyone knows the term, concurrent training.
 
It is fair to say anyone who goes to the gym, that isn’t there because of medical recommendation and health related reasons, wants to look decent.
 
Life is largely about looks after all, like it or not we are simple creatures and beauty is a universal thing that improves your chances in life.
 
That being said, training for a defined purpose outside of a bodybuilding one can leave people seriously confused.
 
Let us take my background, it has always been surrounded around strength to weight ratio, this is because that kind of strength is damn useful in the ring.
 
Absolute strength is also pretty useful too, however there is a point where you are in fact strong enough, fit enough, you have done enough in the gym and now you need to transfer that to real life or sports.
 
Here are the minimum strength guidelines I personally adhere to at a minimum, incase you need an arbitrary target.
 
– Pull ups with 50% of BW as additional load
– TGU with 50% of BW (each arm)
– Press your own BW overhead
– Snatch your own BW
– Carry your own BW in a bear hug for 60seconds
– Bench Press 1.5xBW
– Clean & Jerk 1.5xBW
– Front Squat 2xBW
– Deadlift 2.5xBW
– Be able to sprint, jump, climb, crawl & move pain free
 
Nothing earth shattering, however for most of life outside of the gym this is enough strength to take you a very long way.
 
There are some other things such as doing a few consecutive Single Arm Press Ups, Pistols for good measure, and to be considered epically strong a single arm pull up (a long term goal of mine).
 
You’ve also got a need to have a strong heart.
 
Let’s be honest, if you get winded running for a bus or up a flight of stairs then you’ve got problems.
 
These days we are getting weaker and weaker.
 
Our sedentary lives have seen to that, while aesthetics are a worth endeavour to hit in the gym, they don’t serve much purpose apart from attracting a higher quality mate, strength however, that shits useful until the day you die.
 
Therefore you’d do well to remember this.
 
It’s okay not to want to be a bodybuilder, you can go to the gym and train for something other than what the majority think you should train for.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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He knew his stuff, that he did.

If you are not bound by the working week, or you’re just someone who is rather focused then this training split will be very lucrative for you.

Day 1 – Push/Pull
Day 2 – Legs
Day 3 – Off, active recovery
Day 4 – Push/Pull
Day 5 – Off, active recovery

This is a classic by the late & great Charles Poliquin.

His exact was as follows:

Day 1 – Chest/Back
Day 2 – Legs
Day 3 – Off
Day 4 – Shoulders/Back/Arms
Day 5 – Off

The 5 day cycle then repeats and provided you follow some solid progression patterns you make decent gains.

I quite like this split for the following reasons:

– Hits optimal lifting frequency of every 3-5 days
– Easy to progress/track
– Looks nice on paper 😂

While this is a bodybuilding, or power building bias split, you can use it for many other endeavours, you’d simple change the nuance.

Example:

Day 1 – Upper Body Power
Day 2 – Lower Body Power
Day 3 – Off
Day 4 – Full Body Power
Day 5 – Off

Get the idea?

A lot of people will claim o be gained to a working week and not have enough to to do something like this that doesn’t have set days.

While perhaps true, there can always be time made.

Especially if you goal is important to you.

Training 3 days out of every 5 is a solid premise to work by, over the years it has been one of my most successful that has been followed because of the right amount of grind/recovery.

Give it some thought.

Also, if you haven’t read any of Charles writings you really should, I highly recommend ‘The Poliquin Principles’ – or any of his books for that matter because while some may have not liked him personally, his knowledge was immense and results proved countless times.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Poliquin-Principles-G…/…/B01ELOJ2IQ

Enjoy,
Ross

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A little random post for a Sunday

Slow progress is always better than no progress.

Wouldn’t you agree?

I stumbled across my fractional plates this morning, 8×0.25kg.

These little beauties have been able to provide quite the decent overload over the years I’ve had them, even though there feels like little to no difference at the time, in the end it all adds up.

It also allows a longer loading phase, unlike the classic 3-1.

You’ve got various options for adding precious lbs to the bar, yet going up in fractional amounts is one of the best.

It is true that these days as I’ve gone back to chucking more kettlebells roundly weight jumps are between 4-8kg and the load has to be earned before even a couple of reps can be achieved on the larger bell.

A novel way of progressing as it plays on a direct increase in the volume of reps achieved, as opposed the the fractional way where the reps can be static as the load slowly creeps up.

Over they years we will end up falling back to the age old ‘two steps forwards, one step back’ once we stall, in technical terms this is called a delaod period.

There are many options for this, the one that has proven the test of time is the three week wave, then having either week 4 being the start of a new wave at a reduced load/volume or a straight deload of minimal work before starting the second wave.

It will come down to various factors which will work best.

Goal, training age, strength levels, life stressors, etc.

Since working with various people over the years it is apparent that not many give much thought to periodisation, even at a basic level and this is a great shame because it’s something that genuinely works.

Here is a numerical example of the above and the difference between them:

Classic (one of my old ones, 2 sessions per week per lift):

Week 1 – 6×6
Week 2 – 6×5
Week 3 – 6×4
Mini deload 2-3×6 old load of 6×6
Week 1 – 6×6 +2.5-5kg from previous start
Week 2 – 6×5 +2.5-5kg
Week 3 – 6×4 +2.5-5kg

This happens for three micro blocks typically before the classic deload comes around.

Fractional (one I did for press, 2-3 sessions per week):

Week 1 – 8x2x60kg
Week 2 – 8×2 +0.5kg
Week 3 +1kg
Week 4 +1.5kg
Week 5 +2kg

Many weeks later….

Week 21 +10kg (often a rather large and effortless PB)

Two very different approaches, I have to admit the classic ‘build for three, take it down, build for three more, take it down, repeat” can get you to a peak slightly quicker, however it’s harder to sustain and will need a good amount of intensity regulation.

The second is more along the lines of strength skill, and while it may seem boring, you actually find you keep a lot more from it, or at least that is what I’ve found.

Nothing magical happens, it’s just a case that you get more lifting practice in which is more optimal for rate code firing and other such neurological things.

How do you plan your progress?

Is it sticking with one weight and earning the right to add more, perhaps the classic 3-1 load/un-load or maybe you too have been using fractional plates.

Share your pearls of wisdom below.

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When you fail, THEY remember.

Regardless of what you do that is good, well executed or just plain awesome, you’ll probably be remembered for your faults, failures and inherent flaws.
 
Good old human nature.
 
While we enjoy sharing in peoples success, sometimes.
 
It is in watching people fail, stumble or fall that really grabs our interest.
 
We know this, painfully so.
 
This is often one reason that people won’t ever really go for the things they desire because if it all goes wrong people won’t be so quick to forget.
 
Knowing what we know, how do we best approach it?
 
Is it in the subtle art of not giving a F**K?
They attitude of ‘this person can’?
Could it be just doing things because we want to?
 
It might be just accepting the fact that people will think, say and act how they want and there is little we will ever be able to do to change that.
 
There are many answers, each of them correct.
 
We are often told not to care what others think, however from my experience this is not useful because we do care.
 
In our lives there will always be people we want to impress, gain respect from or just get a nod of approval.
 
To deny this is foolish.
 
If you truly didn’t what others thought there would be little to no motivation to do anything, well, for many people anyway.
 
It takes a rare individual to be able to consciously achieve anything under the guise of pure self-actualisation.
 
These people of course do exist, yet they are the exception to the rule, people like you & I though we are not the exceptions, we are the ones who the rule applies to whether we like it or not.
 
Guess what…
 
This is okay, being the one the rule applies to.
 
It give your meaning, purpose and focus if you accept what is. People will remember all the bad shit, because that’s just what we are like, it helps us bring people down to the level we think we are on and protects us from feeling like failures ourselves.
 
Knowing this, accepting it, that is what helps you let go of such things and how much they matter. Even if you won’t admit it.
 
You do care what people think, I know you do so there is no sense in lying about it.
 
It’s okay to care.
 
In actual fact, it makes things more worth while, try not to forget that.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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How hard do you train?

You don’t train as hard as you claim you do.
 
Guess what, that’s cool.
 
Most people train because it is something to do, or it helps them feel better, and maybe just so they can get out of the house and make friends.
 
We’ve been lead in to the thought that we must destroy ourselves in the gym, otherwise it’s wasted time.
 
This isn’t true.
 
Not to mention people don’t have the level of conditioning, strength or mental toughness to even hit those levels, they just claims o train that way because it sounds right to their peers.
 
What gives me the right to say this?
 
I’ve seen it time & again, people need to wake up an due more honest with themselves.
 
Take HIIT for example, many claim to ‘do HIIT sessions’ I can tell you this is grossly exaggerated because it they did train the way they say their body composition, fitness and overall physicality would be far higher up the ranking scale than it is.
 
Honestly, you’re probably not doing HIIT, more just moderate intensity inverted training at best.
 
When it comes to training there are several pain barriers, some stop at the first, a few the second and some the third which to them is the ‘high intensity’ barrier.
 
It’s not.
 
There’s several more on top of this.
 
Dig up some videos of people such as Chris Hoy, Jessica Ennis-Hill or any other person we aspire to and you’ll see what real HIIT or rather real hard training is.
 
You’ll also find they only do this for short periods of time because to sustain it for repeated bouts and in a succession of multiple days is just not going to happen.
 
A high level trainee might have one, perhaps two ‘hard’ session a week, and then you have Joe Average who claims to have 5,6 or 7 sessions like this a week?
 
Yea, I don’t think so, their body composition and conditioning tell me that is false.
 
This is a good thing though, realising you don’t need to go balls to the wall to make a good amount of progress should actually be something you want to hear.
 
If you had to break training down over 6 months it may look like this:
 
72 sessions total (3x per week)
 
Hard sessions 12 = Nut busters, you leave it all out there.
 
Medium sessions 48 = The bread and butter, just hard enough.
 
Easy sessions 12 = Active recovery.
 
This may not fit your bias, however I can tell you it’s a darn sigh amore effective than what you may currently be doing.
 
Give it some thought.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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How to trust on the internet.

Who can you trust?
 
Given all the free info at our fingertips these days it can be difficult to know what’s good, what’s not so good and what is just plain weird.
 
Morning All,
 
It is not uncommon to feel lost in the sea of information.
 
Training wise everyone is looking for that ‘perfect’ program, the one that works so well you won’t ever need anything else.
 
I have a secret for you.
 
They all work. Even the ‘bad’ ones.
 
Realistically the only reason a training protocol wouldn’t work, or yield what it is designed to is because of the following factors:
 
– You
– You
– You, again
 
Does this mean that there are no training protocols that might be a tad ambitious or contradictory in their nature, of course not.
 
Some training looks good on paper and epically fails in application, I have written many that fell to this minor detail, however there have been some who used them and made progress, much to my own amazement.
 
Most programs, training protocols or however you call them actually work.
 
Something else to consider is that they are also an ongoing process of learning and development, they grow as we do.
 
What used to work won’t work forever.
 
Things need to change, they need to adapt, challenge, overcome and ensure enough positive (and sustainable) stress to elicit taking us int he direction we desire.
 
So given the large amount of internet peeps who claim theirs are the best, who can you trust?
 
From experience these are some good places to start:
 
– StrongFirst
– Thib Army
– Renaissance Periodisation
– Barbell Medicine
 
These are all you classic style of programming for what most people feel the gym is about; bodybuilding, strength training and generally looking goof naked.
 
If you have a more specific goal then you will need to do some digging of your own, then reach out and ask questions to see who has used the product you might be interested in. The place you’re looking that have proven results and nothing to hide will be rather forthcoming with any info you ask for, even examples of their product, this shows a solid product because they trust it implicitly, it’s the ones that hold back info and make you pay for every single bit, you should wish to avoid like the plague.

You’d be surprised how many would give you programs for free because they know full well without them you won’t be able to apply it was necessary and that is the key element you must remember, you’re not paying for the arbitrary sets/reps/loads, you’re paying for the experience of the coach.

 
Can you know 100% that something will be worth your investment?
 
No.
 
Sometimes though you’ve just got to roll the dice.
 
Remember you can also feel free to ask here if you’re not sure on something, you’ll get an honest answer because I’ve got nothing to sell anyone.
 
Give it some thought.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Disappointment & it’s okay…

Disappointment.
 
That is what we will look at today.
 
I want you to know it’s okay to feel disappointed.
 
Shit happens, that’s just life.
 
We are taught that this is something we should brush off, put aside and forget because it’s painful.
 
The thing is though that were will be many disappointments in life, and even more in training.
 
While getting stuck in a self loathing state and wallowing in the above is not healthy, taking some time to accept it, grief and finally learn from it is essential to growth.
 
You don’t need to be made of stone.
 
Feeling is a part of what makes us who we are, learn to accept it for what it is; something you can’t change and then focus on the things you can change, that is how we move on.
 
Just because you don’t hit a goal the first time around that doesn’t mean you won’t hit it the second.
 
Accept feeling disappointed, heck, even be pissed off about it and them come back with more fight than before and soon enough, you’ll of forgotten all about it and be well on your way to achieving that which you desire.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Gym-less Results

My friends, did you know?
 
I did, as I’m sure you did too, however many don’t.
 
Shall we tell them?
 
Everyone, you don’t have to go to the gym to achieve health/fitness/aesthetically related results.
 
😮😮😮😮😮
 
A shocking revelation.
 
Let us look at some alternatives to making the perhaps repetitive and dull decision to train a little more interesting.
 
You will find that all of these activities have the body working as it is meant to; a collective unit.
 
That body of yours is meant to work in synergy, not isolation with I am aware goes against the classic body building notion of the 70’s which has stuck, however it is true.
 
Given this little nugget of information, here are some things you may enjoy that will get you results that are far better than you’ve currently achieved trying to follow the classic way or Arnold.
 
– Martial Arts (Judo, JiuJitsu, Boxing, Capoeira, etc)
– Climbing
– Calisthenics
– Parkour
– Swimming
– OCR activities
– Kettlebells 😂, could’t resist
 
Finally there is one thing that has proven itself over the millennia to forge a body of solid granite and here is the best bit; you get PAID to do it.
 
Seriously, how epic is that.
 
You ready for it?
 
Getting a job in Manual Labour, or a Physical Job.
 
*If you don’t fancy a job in this you can mimic it by having various odd objects in your garden to lift, carry, put over your head, etc. That will be similarly as effective.
 
Seriously, that is not a joke.
 
If you take a second to think logically you’ll find we are far weaker than our ancestors because of the rather luxurious lifestyle we can now lead.
 
Many moons ago you’d find people would spend all day lifting variable loads from point A to point B to accomplish a task, they got fairly muscular and strong from it too, and there was also a hefty amount of conditioning that found it’s way in to this work as well.
 
Being able to shift several tonnes of shingle in less than a few hours is one heck of endurance feat if you have no slow down in pace.
 
Keeping all of this in mind it can hep you understand what role the gym really plays for people in various walks of life.
 
For people who work in the manual field it’s for extra aesthetics, if they feel inclined.
 
To office workers it’s for their health and looks.
 
In regards to athletes it is a necessary evil for this job to improve their performance.
 
Just worth remembering.
 
Back to my original point, you don’t NEED to hit the gym to get the results you desire, there are far more ways to do it and a lot of them are more social and fun because you learn a lot along the way.
 
Just because the majority is doing something, it doesn’t mean you have to follow the crowd.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Raising Standards

How often do you reflect on what you’ve achieved?

Chances are you’ve hit some pretty big goals over the years, and do you know what, you should be proud of yourself for doing so.

However….

With self praise and achieving a goal come a hire base line standard to maintain because that is how you move forwards, by brining or creating a wider base for your pyramid (or whatever shape you choose to use in a metaphorical sense), after all, the wider the base the higher the peak.

This is one thing I’ve seen time and again, people succeed, celebrate (rightly so), then they expect the same adulation moving forwards with no more effort or consideration that what they now have is considered the norm, or at least they’ve made the standard for themselves higher.

I’m sure you’ve raised your own standards over the years through success, and some have perhaps even kept themselves accountable for maintaining this, yet sadly a lot don’t and expect to revert to old habits, life choices or ways and still stay in the same place.

Life doesn’t work like that, sorry.

Be a little tougher on yourself, it won’t kill you, in fact it may just help you continue to move forwards and accept you’ve set the bar quite high now.

Always aim to move forwards, what ever that is to you, just keep moving.

Onwards and upwards, as they say.

Enjoy,
Ross

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