Monthly Archives: February 2019

Do I offend you with my questions?

There are two kinds of people in this world now.
Those who are willing to hear the truth.
Those who only want to her what they want.
We are now steeped in times of ferocious cognitive bias.
If you want to help people, to share information and give them some insight based on your experience so that they can delve in to a topic so that their own conclusions can be reached, you’re now evil.
The levels of offence of butt hurt that engulfs is quite something to behold.
Personally I’ve always enjoyed the “Triple Filter” test of Socrates.
– Is it true?
– Is it good/kind?
– Is it useful?
I tend to approach a lot of things I hear with this.
The first is often answered like this “Umm, I don’t actually know 100%.”, this is more than enough to peak my interest and delve a little more.
It is worth noting there are very few infallible truths in this life, the best we can hope to settle for is 98% certainty.
Holding on to a healthy dose of skepticism will get you a ing way in life because of the passion to learn.
If you’re content with what you know then you’ll stop growing.
The second question comes down to the style of information it is, essentially is it trying to genuinely oppose an opinion/thought/fact in a respectful way or is it nothing more than fluffed up slander?
Any that fall in to the latter will get asked this –
“Why did you say it that way?”
If there is a personal or emotional bias in it then the information is tainted, while not entirely dismissed it’s worth keeping in mind there may be a potential agenda behind it.
You should be able to represent a point or counter view respectfully, without emotion.
Sadly pure logic and rational though is not common.
Lastly, will the information help challenge you to grow, that to me makes it useful on a personal level.
In a general sense it can be related to completing a task, solving a problem or generally being useful.
A few closing words.
If something provokes a reaction in you, the chances are its what you need to listen to and consider might be higher than you’d like.
Emotional reactions mean we are attached to something, so we need to ask ourselves why, to question our beliefs so that we can continue to grow, otherwise what’s the point in anything.

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Totally Addicted to Pain

You like feeling sore post training, don’t you.
Leaving the gym absolutely destroyed.
Hurting the same and even the next or next few days, that’s what it’s all about, right?
You’re addicted to pain is seems.
I was like you once.
While you can indeed live for this style of training it doesn’t do much.
Just because you’re sore that doesn’t mean you’ve made progress, it just means your sore.
If your level of discomfort/pain post external stressor/stimulus was the main factor in how many gains you made then everyone who had a major accident, such as –
Car crashes, falling down man holes, getting jumped and beaten to a pulp or tearing a muscle(s) falling down stairs.
Well they’d all be jacked by that logic.
Yea, sounds a little absurd, that’s because it is.
While this is indeed a logical fallacy, it helps people understand a simple point, you don’t need to kill yourself and if you’re seeking certain feelings from training then that says more about your psychology than anything else.
I can personally understand wanting to leave a session feeling accomplished.
In the past I was even caught in the trap of not being happy unless post training I felt demolished.
While it was good for the ego, it did little in the way of achieving progress.
It’s funny really.
I’ve had clients where we’ve reduced their training amount by as much as three quarters, they’ve ended up making more in the way of results in 3 months following this change than they did in their last 5 years of training the way they like.
The saddest part is that even though they could see and admitted they were getting the best results of their life for a long time, they didn’t like the training.
They wanted to do more because they felt they needed to.
Even in the face of strong evidence to that thought.
People are strange creatures.
We want to do what we want, even if it doesn’t get us to the goal or any progress what so ever, the cognitive dissonance is frightening.
Mellow as I have become over the years I still want to shake some people and tell them to stop being fools.
I of course put myself in this camp as well.
Let me as you this, why wouldn’t you want to change your training to get results?
In fact why wouldn’t you want to get results?
Are you one of the few who trains multiple times a day (or for 2 hours sessions of back to back classes) and gets no results?
If that is you then perhaps you need to reevaluate.
Then ask yourself this; What is training to me?
Now some will spend that long in the gym for deeper psychological reasons, this is worth discussion.
That being said, the aim of the game is to make progress because the body doesn’t really ever stay stagnant for too long.
You’re either making progress or regressing.
Maintaining balance is an illusion.
Often one championed by the mediocrity who achieve some basic results and are then ‘happy’ with where they are.
Those are the same people who end up putting on almost all of the weight they lost or regressing back to before they started training.
They repeat this cycle for many years.
All just to look, okay, average, mediocre.
I sincerely doubt anyone ever wakes up as a child and thinks –
“Oh boy, I hope when I grow up that I’m perfectly average.”
Would you do me a kindness?
Please leave what the gym means to you in the comments section, along with the last time you achieved any notable results.
Be honest.
I didn’t make any in the time period of 2010-2014, while I gained strength nothing else changed, wasted time that I will never get back.
These days I train in the gym as I did when I was in my competitive fields, for performance, to become a better human.
I don’t personally need the gym for respite or mental reprieve, for that I have places to go and write, people to share and have deep conversations with because I learn a long time ago that the gym can only change how I look, not how I feel about myself, not really.
Any mental fortitude from the gym is fleeting at best.
Don’t believe me, just speak to any physique competitor, most are chronically depressed because no matter how good we can make ourselves look on the outside that won’t change what, who we are on the inside.
In our heart we will always be the fat kid who was bullied at school and the only way to change that is not by working out, it’s by working in.
The gym is a tool, that all, a tool.
That’s me though, I know me, what I’m really interested in is getting to know more about you.
I look forwards to reading your comments below.

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You get what you train for

“I’m not saying people are idiots, Let’s face it though, we all know at least one.”

^^ Made me chuckle this morning.

For all the best intentions in the world some are just beyond help, or at least not ready for it.

I had a discussion about strength over the weekend.

One of my favourite kinds of discussion.

We touched on many things, most importantly the ‘use it or lose it principle’.

This relates quite nicely to the way people train and what it can potentially end up costing them in the long run.

There are various types of strength, here is a nice easy way to remember some of the key ones.

– Slow Strength (grinding, integrity under load)
– Fast Strength (acceleration, jumping, throwing)
– Mobile Strength (athleticism, movement)

You will find there may be a bias in regards to they dominant type of strength you need if you play a sport, compete in something or have an ultra specific goal.

If however you’re just someone what wants to train then you’d do well to cover all the bases.

We often get very tied to a couple of specific ideas, or ways of training.

While not a terrible thing it can limit our overall progress and abilities.

I’d like you to consider the above in your training.

Can you think of a way to get all three in?

They don’t have to be in any specific order, you can go with the above, reverse it, mix and match doing 2/3 each session, or even just pick one element to focus on for an entire session.

Select a movement(s) forces and away you go.

For example:

Mobile Strength (warm up) – Loaded Carries & Crawling
Fast Strength (main lift) – Power Clean & Push Jerk
Slow Strength (accessory lifts) – Press, DL, Row, Chin

Training isn’t set in stone, it’s alright if you train something other than classic body building.

If you can crawl along the floor, climb things without support, pick up heavy -ish loads and potentially carry or press them overhead them if needed, and most importantly move without any pain, you’re on to a winner.

Remember, we’re not meant to be good at just one thing.

We have the ability to be good at many things, so why waste that opportunity.

Take a look at your current training and see what you’re missing, then perhaps consider adding it in.


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3 way to optimise your mobility without taking out extra time in your day.

Did you know it’s common for people to make excuses?
A common one is – “I just don’t have the time.”
I’m here to tell you that is not quite true.
In fact it’s down right wrong for most people.
There will of course be a few exceptions, just because there always has to be that unique snowflake.
Given how important mobility is, we should really be doing some form of it every day.
Now this isn’t yoga, or anything like that before some people freak.
You won’t lose gains improving your mobility.
Did you know mobility by definition is being able to retain torque through a full range of movement.
Essentially you are able to stay just the right amount of tense as you move, thus preventing any mishaps and also maximise potential progress.
It is far to say that ideally everyone should set aside 30min every day to do a mobility/flow routine.
Some will even make it a new goal or resolution.
Alas all the best intentions of this world often fall short in their performance.
To many they will say they don’t have 30min.
Oh they do, which we will learn how to get shortly.
If I was to even ask for 5min a day people’s moan that’s too much of a time constraint.
It’s truly a shame people will not even try to find time for something that can literally ensure they are mostly pain free as they go through life.
Never mind eh.
Okay, so here are the three ways you can find time for mobility.
1 – Utilisation of rest periods in regular training.
This is my first port of call for most people.
Instead of sitting on Facebook, taking selfies for the Gram or playing Angry Birds, Candy Crush or whatever mobile app game is all the rage these days, you do correctives & mobility.
Boom, time you can dedicate to a good cause.
2 – Drills & Skills while you watch TV.
To be fair this can be done in-betwwen various tasks you do at home, I will do some drills/movements while I’m cooking or waiting for something to be flipping or stirring.
As for TV time, instead of sitting on your arse you can pick a pose or a movement and do some reps.
Yet another place you have time.
3 – Before you go to bed.
Let’s be honest, most people go to bed way too late, then sit on their phone checking things before trying to get to sleep.
I say try because many get in to bed and proceed to stare at the ceiling while staving off crippling despair.
That’s a topic for another day though.
Going to bend 5min earlier or shutting down your electronic kit 15min sooner than normal can open up a nice window of time you can use for some restorative work.
Bonus affect = this style of movement (restorative, gentle mobility) has a positive effect on your para-sympathetic nervous system, provided you practice diaphragmatic breathing.
Stimulating this side of the CNS will help you drift off in to a nice peaceful sleep.
Seriously, it works.
So there you have it 3 ways you can find time.
Oh and if you’re going to make an excuse as to why these options above just won’t work for you, fair enough, just don’t grumble when things start going south in regards to your health.

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A Words Worth

We do love a fancy word or two in fitness, don’t we.
Metabolic Conditioning, sexy.
Anaerobic Lactate Intervals, nice.
Max effort ramping to ratchet loading, tasty.
Super-mega-ultra-saiyan-sets, sign me up!
It seems the more frivolous the word of title, the more people are drawn to it.
Such simple creatures we are.
I get it you know, like the humble magpie we like shiny things that catch our eye and for all intents and purposes there is very little wrong with being dawn in by fads.
Well, apart from the potential impact on your wallet.
Looking for the next best thing, the next suck fix and miracle that will solve all your problems (for about 6 weeks) is just how it goes.
Promise someone the world in 12 weeks or less and you’ll have them hooked.
Try to compel them to accept responsibility for a lifestyle change that will have them retaining the results they achieve for more than 2 weeks and you’ll see them scarper faster than Scooby & Shaggy when they found a monster.
Perform kettlebell swings for 30 seconds on, 30 seconds off, 10min total.
^^ Pretty effective, in the rest do some active recovery in the form of a mobility movement.
Here is how it can be named.
Option 1 – 30/30 kettebell swing intervals for improving body composition
Option 2 – Kettlebell Metabolic Accelerator for Fat-Loss
If I was to post an add with a video which title would grab people attention.
Yep, it’s obvious, essentially they both say the same thing, just in different ways.
Alphabet gymnastics truly are the mark of a good salesman.
Give some thought to the above.
If you’re in the fitness industry and struggle to attract people it could be because you’re boring in their eyes.
Or at least not speaking the language that resonates with your potential clients in the demographic you have.
If you’re not sure what words they want to hear, go ask them.
Have some conversations and listen to what people are saying, instead of trying to tell them what you want them to hear int hew you want to say it.
You’d be surprised how often if you ask people what they want they will tell you.
Well, in so many words you might say.

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8 Reasons CrossFit is actually alright.

*Please note, even though I personally quite enjoy CF and have a respect for it, this will not stop me from roasting zealots to a crisp.
Don’t ask why I’ve picked 8 reasons, it was the first humber to pop in to my head.
I’m sure I can find 8 good things about it… 😬
Okay, here we go.
1 – Community
You’ll always be welcome in most boxes, not to mention that in the WOD’s or general training sessions you’ll have bunch of people cheering you on.
This is great for helping people overcome those perceived social hurdles and misconceptions of the gym being all about ‘Bro, it was all you.’.
The social events are pretty epic too.
2 – Variety
While this one kind of goes against a couple of fundamental training principles it keeps people interested.
This can help by teaching people that there is more to the gym than squat, bench deadlift.
Not to mention these days many have an attention span akin to that of ,SQUIRREL!
3 – Multifaceted Training
The original CF was based off of concurrent athletic training and aimed at making people fill out as many of their fitness stats as possible.
Essentially they wanted the all round athlete.
*Strength, power, mobility, flexibility, everything.
A great notion, and one that is achievable to a moderate level, however to really excel overall isn’t feasible for many because certain elements of fitness contradict one another, just worth remembering.
That being said, CF in my opinion gives most people the highest level of GPP of any training philosophy.
4 – Ladies what Lift
It’s more than fair to say that CF has single handedly changed the way ladies look at going to the gym.
Before it came along many were still stuck in the realms of endless cardio and scared of lifting anything heavier than 3lbs, less the turn in to Arnold instantly.
That’s to it’s intervention more ladies are lifting than ever before and getting much sought after results.
5 – Scaling
Simple as this concept is, it’s one many people would never apply on their own.
In a WOD or training session there will be a plethora of progressions, regressions and options so that everyone can get involved to some degree.
Talk about inclusion 💪🤗
6 – Friendly Competition
In every box you’ll have a healthy dose of ego to help push you along and give you new heights to aspire to.
You’d also be quite moved by some of the stories the members have and how in some cases CF literally save their lives.
7 – Multiple Coaches
In all good boxes you have a specialist in each area.
Weightlifting, gymnastics, PL, Rehab, etc.
The days of single coaches running everything are certainly numbered because no one coach can do it all and if there is one who claims to then you know to run immediately.
8 – It’s Always Improving
Regardless of all the stick we give CF it can’t denied that it is an ever evolving entity and is not set in stone.
While it is true that in some instances it did get a little bogged down (remember the endless met-con craze it had for a while, ugh, madness and all the injuries), it learns from its mistakes and always aims to improve on what it does.
It is by no means a fully realised system or philosophy, not yet.
However it’s far closer than some other training endeavours.
All in all joining a box is well worth your investment because of this little gem:
Bonus reason CF is actually aright –
Good boxes have coaches that care and program well.
Not the cookie cutter crap that went around for a few years, they have legitimate coaches that understanding periodisation, overload and all the other good progression elements.
These are the boxes that have those rare people who can program for an individual amongst the group.
That doesn’t mean a regression or scaling, it means they program for the person and that to me is the sign of something that is truly worthy of praise.
A program should ideally be made to fit the individual.
The individual shouldn’t be made to fit the program.
^^ That is the main thing to look for when choosing a box to join.
I’d say it’s time for you to now go along and see what 1-2 week free trials your local boxes offer.
I reckon you’ll enjoy it, even if you don’t want to admit it.

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Always an alternative

Sadly squats were not on the cards today.
Well, at least not with a bar.
The adaptation was simple, yet sinister.
100 total reps of Pistols.
This was 50 per leg with half being working sets of 32kg (5×5) and recovery sets at 50% of that (5x5x16kg).
In-between each set of pistols was a set of swings with 32kg hitting 15-35 reps per set.
Seems easy on paper, in reality not so much.
You are never short of the ability to train if you’re honest with yourself.
Of course if you feel like a rest day or are jammed working/traveling, cool to skip a day, however just skipping the gym because of being lazy isn’t a good path to go down.
One way to get around the dogmatic view of –
“I can’t get to the gym to do XYZ exercise.”
Think about movement patterns: Push, Pull, Squat, Hinge, Locomotion (loaded carry) or Movement (crawling, climbing etc) at the simple level, hitting one or tow of those daily will be life changing for most people.
We have gotten stuck in the gym mindset.
Meaning we can only get the results we want when we go to the gym, this isn’t true.
Now if you are to say that one can only get specific results desired from training in a gym (or with specialist kit) then that is a different topic with a valid point and requires more discussion.
If the goal is simply to feel better, move better, look better and stave off the cold hand of the reaper a little longer, then there is no inherent need for a gym or specialist kit, not really.
Don’t get me wrong, specialist kit is great and makes training good fun and easier to adhere to.
Not to mention of the tools are there then they should be utilised because that is what tools are for.
What do you do when your normal routine is compromised?
I look forwards to reading your answers below.

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Reps for days

It isn’t uncommon for people to ask – “What sets/reps should I be doing?”

While perhaps not that exactly, it will be something along those lines, as such I’ve found that cycling them based on a classic Heavy-Light-Medium rotation applied to a Pull-Push-Legs split.

One element to remember is that Heavy doesn’t mean hard and light doesn’t mean easy, however that is a topic for another day, for now I will give you something you can apply immediately.

Rep/Set Schemes:

  • Heavy  – 5-3-2-5-3-2-5-3-2 (heavy yet not hard)
  • Light – 20-15-10-20-15-10 (light yet not easy)
  • Medium – 5-8×1 + 1×20 – ramp to heavy single for the day, then take 60-70% of that and do one set of 20 reps

Split Options: 4 day split examples

  • Pull-Push-Legs-Off-Repeat
  • Lower-Upper-Posterior-Off-Repeat
  • Strength-Conditioning-Mobility(restorative)-Off-Repeat

^^ 2-4 lifts per day is often sufficient, 1 main with the rep/set scheme, the rest can be 2-3×10-15 or 4×6, your choice.

If we take the PPL and apply the rep schemes over a small cycle.

No change in lifts, only reps.

Day 1 – Pull – Heavy
Day 2 – Push – Light
Day 3 – Legs – Medium
Day 4 – Off
Day 5 – Pull – Light
Day 6 – Push – Medium
Day 7 – Legs – Heavy
Day 8 – Off
Day 9 – Pull – Medium
Day 10 – Push – Heavy
Day 11 – Legs – Light
Day 12 – Off

Many will then say – “What now?”

Once you’ve gone through this you’ll find you’re back at the heavy day being for pull, you can choose to keep the lifts the same and try to hit a higher load or you can perhaps change the lifts, pick your poison.

This allows for a constant rotation of days and keeps things interesting, if you are constrained be the working week and days you can train then you may need something a little different, in which case all you need do it ask for the answer.


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You aim too low

How is your training going?
I bet your answer is ‘F**king epic!’.
Well, at least I hope it is.
This pursuit of a better version of oneself is something that captivates many.
One things I’ve noticed over the years though is the level of denial many will have about what it is they want to achieve.
What do I mean by this?
Simply that people will put limits on telling people what they want to achieve, and perhaps even go so far as to tell themselves the same things.
I’ms sure you’ve heard people or perhaps you yourself have said things like this:
“I don’t want to get too big, it’s not a good look for me.”
“I’m not interested in being ripped, I just want to lose some weight.”
“Losing weight doesn’t bother me, I’m doing if for health.”
While the above may be true, I’ve often found when talking to people that not to be the case and these self limiting views come from a couple of main places.
1 – Not wanting to se the bar high and fail to reach it
2 – They don’t want to be viewed as vain or narcissistic.
Both of the above as you can see are based on worrying about what everyone else will think.
A vicious cycle many fall in to.
We put a lot of stock in the opinions of other people, even if we claim we don’t.
Many need to approval of the group.
This isn’t a bad thing you know, it’s human nature.
The only problem with it these days is that the group is no longer a small one, it’s potentially in the thousands.
Just look at Instagram models, they need to keep their audience happy otherwise, poof, gone and forgotten.
In our earliest days our groups would be small, simply because of the way we lived. The tribe was much smaller, as such the opinions we needed for validation was only a select few in number.
Not now though.
Now we need to appease the mob,sad times.
Talking about goals and appeasing the mob, what are yours?
What physical prowess do you wish to achieve?
As a youngster, like many I wanted to become a fighter, to have that look, that athletic ability, essentially the classic martial arts physique.
Luckily my inner circle has always been just one person in size, I guess there is benefit to being an outcast.
How big is yours?
Knowing this will lead you to understand just how much approval you need in regards to your goals.
Also give some though to your goals.
Are they set at a low level so that you have an acceptable margin for failure or have you decided to aim high because bollocks to what everyone else thinks?
Food for thought.

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You’re not going to like this…

We do like to complicate things, don’t we.
Then we often proceed to ask for specific advice.
Which of course is immediately ignored if it doesn’t fit our bias or what we want/expect to hear.
Take this classic –
Person A – “I want to lose weight, I just don’t know what to eat.”
Person B – “Good old whole foods is often a good approach, along with keeping portions in check and being mindful of how much you’re eating overall.”
Person A – “Yea I know that, but what do I eat?”
Person B – *Gives examples and options.
Person A – “I don’t like any of that. Ugh, this is so hard and restrictive”
It is at this point if someone is talking to me that I will face palm and give up all hope with them.
These people are not asking for an answer, at least not an objective one anyway.
Many merely want agreement with that which they already believe or want to think.
Can you lose weight while eating junk food?
Yes, 100%, however you won’t be abel to consume that much and your health may suffer greatly.
If you’re an adult and you can’t get yourself in check with eating habits and food choices then you’ve got deeper emotional matters to worry about.
The amount of people who’ve asked for help and ignored the that which is given is truly impressive.
Frustrating as well.
So many want to know what they can get away with, or how they can sneak in snacks, or if they deserve a treat and other such bollocks.
I will be frank, if you want to carry large amounts of body fat then more power to you, crack on.
Do i personally agree with people being overweight, no, no I don’t, the reason why is simple; being overweight for most people is 100% their choice.
Yep, I said it, their choice.
I’m sure some people are seething at that comment.
At this stage in my life I just don’t care anymore.
The world and its dog will come up with any and every excuse, medical condition or extenuating circumstance as to why they are overweight (or obese).
*Pleas note, there are indeed some rare conditions that royally screw people over, however in my life I have only met 1 such person, everyone else had their life in the palm of their hands. Call me a cynic, however I doubt very much you’re the same as that 1 person.
Truth is in most places it’s because they eat too much.
Thyroid condition or no thyroid condition, you don’t see TV adverts with overweight starving people in 3rd world countries.
Lack of food, which is indeed a terrible turn of events and rather unfortunate for them, yet if those who call on ‘medical aliments) found these poor unfortunate souls a thyroid condition and weren’t over weight it’d be ignored or something else would be spun on it.
In short calories and total food amount consumed matters.
Hmm, bit of an odd rant there, however you get the point.
People will cherry pick all the time.
Sorry to say no amount of cherry picking will change what is.
It might make you feel better or appease your cognitive dissonance, however it won’t change a thin, only you can do that.
So good people of the internet, do you agree or not?
Leave your thoughts and feelings below.

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