Monthly Archives: March 2019
Is there a food that you just can’t live without?
Many have at least one.
Some have a fridge full, that must be consumed under various circumstances or when certain conditions are met.
To some this may be called addiction, others it’s meal prep.
Depending on how you view things.
Consistency of the foods we eat isn’t actually that hard to achieve, if you think about it logically you’ll find people stick with select foods day in day out.
The difference is often the quality of food.
Taking this in to consideration you can swap one food habit with another, if only it was that easy.
Which realistically it is, however if you’re not willing to let go of a food or something that is perhaps not the most optimal choice for your health, you may want to question why.
Plenty of people understand what they should do.
Especially in regards to nutrition, yet they don’t.
Emotion, that is the reason, or at least what it boils down to in the end.
Becoming married to a certain food, or even stye of eating can be quite detrimental.
If you have the ability to have something just because you want it, and yet can as easily go without then I’d say you’ve found that place where you’ve got all your plates spinning well.
When someone says “I have to have….” alarm bells ring.
Less for medical reasons no one needs to have anything. Want to have, perhaps.
Self control, will power, what ever you call restraint, it’s being mindful and aware of what you’re doing, why you’re doing it and more importantly being okay with it.
By okay with it I mean this in regards to accepting any or all potential consequences that come with said choice.
It is common we will tend to leave ourselves ‘outs’.
Reasons for our choices that make us feel less bad about the choice we made food wise, yet if you end up feeling that way do you ever stop to ask why?
Hopefully you’ve noticed the common theme.
Asking why, being able to understand, learn and grow from each choice and layer you peel back in regards to delving in to your depths.
A little bit about how I eat.
I just eat based on what I feel I need, the mythical ‘listening to my body’ kind of thing.
There are no set times to eat.
No set meal frequency or specific meals/macros to be hit.
I’ve done my time playing with those factors to see what impact they had, which can be described as minimal.
Some days I will not eat until the evening, not because of some protocol telling me to, merely because life gets in the way and food waits until later.
No I didn’t get hangry because I’m not 6months old and still clasping my mothers tit for sustenance.
While food can indeed affect your mood, you have to understand that you will be aware of this impending shift and if you choose to be ‘hangry’ then it’s a choice you’ve made willingly.
Yep, that’s why people get pissy and then say “I haven’t eaten.” as if it exonerates them.
Umm, no, you know you’re hungry and you’re using that as your excuse to be a prize bell-end, congrats you’ve unlocked an achievement.
Now I’m sure some will be running to PubMed to find all the studies on low blood sugar, fluctuating concentration levels and a whole host of other information to justify them being a little bit of a dick when they get hungry.
Please feel free to do this, just understand it still doesn’t change the fact that if you know you’re hungry and choose to be a dick, you’re choosing to be a dick, end of.
You will often find the only people capable of such things are those privileged enough to do so.
People that don’t have a choice just get on with it.
How do your nutritional habits affect you?
Take some time to sit and reflect on this.
*You’d do well to use a bell at least one size lighter than normal for your strict press (ideally 12-16kg for all, if this is too heavy for you then avoid BU work for the time being and just get stronger)
1 – It teaches you tension throughout your entire body.
2 – You need to mater the weight, the balance, the feel and connecting your body as a unit before you can even move a single step or attempt a press.
3 – The positive crossover to your pressing form is well worth the ego check.
4 – Hitting some solid reps in either the clean, press, rack walk (BU) waiters walk, windmill, TGU etc, all look pretty cool.
5 – Strengthens grip-glutes-core better than most other movements.
6 – Perfect for GTG and deload work.
7 – You will learn which arm is your weaker one, as such you lift with that one first and then match the reps you achieve with the strong arm.
8 – It allows you to get in a good session even if you’ve got limited weights (KB’s).
9 – Apart from all the strength, stability and coordination gains you’ll get, this way of lifting is good fun.
Here is are a few little complexes to try 2-3 times per week.
Complex 1 – Ladder set 1,2,3,4,5 – repeat 3-5 times each arm
A1 – BU Clean
A2 – BU Press
A3 – BU Squat
A4 – BU Rack Walk
^^ You can progress this one to using two bells.
Complex 2 – 2-3 reps per arm – 20-40min total
A1 – BU Clean
A2 – BU Press
A3 – BU Windmill
A4 – BU Waiter Walk
Complex 3 – 1 rep per arm – static hold each position for 10 seconds tops – 20-30min total
A1 – BU Clean to Rack Hold
A2 – BU 1/4 Press Position
A3 – BU 1/2 Press Position
A4 – BU 3/4 Press Position
A5 – BU Press Lock Out Hold
A6 – BU 3/4 Press Position
A7 – BU 1/2 Press Position
A8 – BU 1/4 Press Position
A9 – BU Rack Hold
*Finish with some swings or snatches each session 100-200 reps.
**You’d also do well to think about ‘pulling’ the weight down in the lowering element of the press, squats and windmills.
Putting it all together.
In parts 1 we looked loosely at how they days panned out.
Then through part 2 how you rotate the focus (daily or in a block of 3).
Below will be a brief example protocol you could potentially follow, however the main concept of this is to take away the idea of training different elements on different days.
The cycling or the movements and general focus of the training.
Finally it’s learning that just because you go to a gym or train that doesn’t mean you need to do body building style movements only.
^^ A trap many fall in to.
Okay, here we go.
– 3 on 1 off rotation
– Loading = go by feel or RM (rep max)
– Always leave 1-2 reps or something in the tank
– 2 lifts per session
– 20-45min per session (vary this each day)
– Rest as needed
Day 1: Kettlebell – Fast
Day 2: Grappling – Slow
Day 3: Bodyweight – Flow
Day 1: Kettlebell – Slow
Day 2: Grappling – Flow
Day 3: Bodyweight – Fast
Day 1: Kettlebell – Flow
Day 2: Grappling – Fast
Day 3: Bodyweight – Slow
Micro 1: 20-40min Sessions
Day 1: Kettlebell – Fast
A1 – Kettlebell Swing x 5-35 reps per set (p/s)
A2 – Kettlebell Shot-put x1-3 per arm (p/a)
Day 2: Grappling – Slow
A1 – Barbell Farmers Walk x20m, one bar each hand
A2 – Rope Climb* x1
*If no rope climb possible find something to climb 😂
Day 3: Bodyweight – Flow
A1 – Spiderman Crawl x20m
A2 – Inchworm/Down Dog x20m
Note down all the sets/reps you achieve, along with the loads used, remember though, you don’t need to keep the load the same each set, just saying.
Micro 2: 20-40min Sessions
Day 1: Kettlebell – Slow
A1 – TGU x1 (p/a)
A2 – Renegade Row x 3-5 (p/a)
Day 2: Grappling – Flow
A1 – Sand Bag Lunge Shoulder Carry x 100m (p/a)
Day 3: Bodyweight – Fast
A1 – Plyo Push Up x3-5
A2 – CMJ x2 + Bound Jump x3
Micro 3: 20-40min Sessions
Day 1: Kettlebell – Flow
A1 – Long Cycle x3min blocks
Day 2: Grappling – Fast
A1 – Sled Push x20m
A2 – Arm Over Arm Pull x20m
^^ Push the sled out 20m, walk back, sit down pull it back to you.
Day 3: Bodyweight – Slow
A1 – Single Arm Push Up x3-5
A2 – Pistol Squat x3-5
^^ Pause at the bottom of each rep
Repeat the above for one or two more rotations before changing exercises/movements
The above lasts for a total of 12 days, giving you 36 days for a full 3x repeat of it, of 24 if you do it twice, the aim would be to do a little more than you did the previous time.
That plays on the principle of Density (work done per unit of time), I’ve written about those before, just do a search on here via the tab and you’ll find more detail on it.
As you can see the concept is simple, the training varied and you can be assured that the results will be plentiful.
Now you have the basic skeleton you can take it away with you and start to apply it.
“The road is long & the life short.”
You may hear many people talk about how you learn from every mistake, and so on.
I can tell you from experience that you don’t.
That is certainly not the case here on this side of the screen your reading 😂
It’s like the grey matter between the ears recognises what has just transpired was a colossal mistake and vows never to make it again.
Then it immediately hits the ‘reset’ memory button.
Shortly followed by this thought:
‘That seems like a good idea, yet why do I have this strange forbidding feeling in my stomach…. Meh, it’s probably just something I ate.’
*Cue fool errand and obvious impending mistake.
There is a reason we make the same mistake repeatedly.
It’s because of familiarity.
Yep, being the clever species we are, and one that tends to like sequential things, symmetry and especially patterns (ones we recognise from past experience), we’re likely to make the same mistake countless times.
It’s easy to get drawn in by what we know, even subconsciously.
We see, feel, connect with something that seems like we already know and that’s all we need.
This happens throughout life.
As such fitness is no exception to this, just look at the diet industry, that monstrosity has been spamming out the same new fads for decades and people still get drawn in.
Here is the cycle:
Fad promise of glory > naive & desperate person > they go all in > results achieved > reversion to their old familiarities > sadness > fad promise of glory > repeat.
You think we’d learn, right?
So given that which we know, what are we to do?
The answer is less sexy than you might imagine.
Keep a diary.
Weren’t expecting that were you.
Writing things down is a great way of keeping track of not just things in fitness, nutrition, business and goals, it’s also quite handy for life.
Sitting down after an event and putting pen to paper, or fingers to keys in this day and age, captures your emotions and perception of the events in that moment.
This can be great for self reflection.
If you ever sit back and reread your old experiences or vagrant thoughts you’d be surprised what you can learn.
Try writing as little as 200-300 words a day.
You’ll be amazed how easy it is and how much you can learn from such a simple task.
Don’t get caught up on trying to write war and peace.
Just write, this is for you and you alone, it doesn’t need to make sense, it just need to be.
If you wish to share a page or two, start a blog.
You will be amazed how many people resonate with the feelings you have, positions you’re in and just how ‘not alone’ we really are.
***The how, what & why***
Before you think it, this isn’t related to the Komitet Gosudarstvennoy Bezopasnosti.
In this particular incarnation of those letters they mean the following:
Three different days.
Three different focuses.
Three different outcomes.
You might just find this the refreshing change up in your truing that you need.
*3on-1off or 2on-1off-1on-1off works the best I’ve found, however you can work this in to however many training days you have per week.
Kettlebell Day –
3 bells are chosen (4kg difference each bell, ideally 8kg) a light-medium-heavy set as it were.
You might choose 24kg, 32kg & 40kg, you will alternate between those based on feel, once you choose your bells you’re stuck with them for the session or until you’ve mastered the heaviest one, at which point you go up a bell size, using the above 32,40,48kg would be the new set.
The aim of the day is to build strength, power, endurance and general fortitude (LBM).
You’ll find your grip, glutes & core gain quite the benefit from this style of work.
Grappling Day –
Don’t worry if you don’t grapple, it’s the principle that matters and it is this:
– Pick things up with your hands, carry, load, throw, push or drag them.
This is a day for things such as sandbag carries, follow day cleaning the weight on to a block.
Ideally you’ll be working with bodyweight as a baseline, then you can have a heavier/lighter option in the form of more bags of different/awkward objects.
Clubbells, Indian Clubs, Maces, Hammers, Bars and all the other good stuff like these fall in to this day.
This day serves as a dual purpose strength & conditioning tool, plus it will have a great crossover to daily life and making you anti-fragile.
Plus if you grapple it will also help that as well.
You’ll build a solid set of mittens, glorious glutes & mighty abs.
Bodyweight Day –
Learning how to get the most out of the least is truly a skill the frugal possess.
A skill we should look to bring to our training as well.
Mastering basic skills such as running, jumping, crawling, claiming, bridges, planks, hanging around and how to move well is something EVERYONE can benefit from, literally.
The purpose of this day is to help you develop at the very minimum the infant form of gymnastic abilities.
Once you master ‘feeling’ your body and working with it instead of against it you’ll find your overall awareness goes through the roof, not to mention improvements in posture, grip, glutes and core.
There we have it, the first part of this simple yet surprisingly effective method.
Now you know how the days are set, and what to expect (well, a taste of it), you must understand why.
Knowing the why is the most important part.
If my why, the why of this little system fits your why then you’ll achieve great things from it.
Say they don’t match, that’s cool because you have plenty of other options out here.
On this occasion at this time we just don’t see eye to eye this time around, perhaps in another life 💪💪
Okay, the reason why this got put together was simple.
It’s about improving quality of life for the long term.
Helping you become strong, move well and able to face almost every daily task without a second thought.
You’ll also find this is great as you can do it anywhere, you don’t need a gym, you can have all the kit on your own or amongst a group of friends.
Your progress is on your hands.
Part 2 to follow.
Do you love volume?
Smashing yourself in to a sweaty heap of mulch?
I do, truly I do.
My body however, well it no longer tolerates what it once did.
These days I could tell you exactly what will happen if I ramp up the amount I’m doing.
Week 1 – Feels good
Week 2 – Feels better
Week 3 – Death Reheated
The drop off rate is alarming, and that isn’t at a high intensity either.
Ironically if I was to play with loads at 80%+ with 5-25reps daily I can sustain that for months and make progress.
GTG style also works very well.
^^ This would be on one or two movements per day.
A session may look like this:
A1 – Press x6x2-4
A2 – Carry x60 seconds
A3 – Pull x6x2-4
^^ 1-2min rest between each movement
Creep that up by a standard volume increase, say
Week 1 6×2-4
Week 2 7×2-4
Week 3 8×2-4
Then these days bad things would happen.
Funny how sometimes that which we truly enjoy doing just isn’t good for us.
That being said I’f I was to have a high volume session I’d have to look at training every 3-5days.
By high volume I mean like I used to train only a mere 5-6 years ago.
Trade offs, trade offs, trade offs.
It is a struggle to let go of something you became so accustomed to.
I’d be that guy who was a true work horse.
If something wasn’t progressing then I’d simply do more work, there was endless energy and nothing slowed me down.
*Life looks over – “Aha, do I have a surprise for you.”
We only have so much that we can give.
So why is it why always try and give more than that which we have?
We could be here all day discussing that.
Our attitude of – “I just need to do a little more’
It’s a foolish one, seriously, the only person ho cares how hard you work in the gym is you, all the people looking on in awe will forget you the second someone else catches their eye doing more than you.
If you view of yourself is similar to mine form thee days of old, please heed my words.
Don’t break yourself.
It’s just not worth it in the long run.
Unless you are a paid athlete, like a legitimate one, not an Instagram one, they don’t count.
Working yourself in to the ground isn’t worth it.
For us average folk we can make leaps and bounds training every 3-5 days with higher volume/intensity styles of training.
Now there are many ways to train, I’ve shared plenty.
Some of which I’ms are you’ve seen and thought – I like that, I will try it, for 3 weeks, then got bored as results didn’t come as fast as you felt you deserved and thus you reverted back to your comfort zone of what you always did.
“Foolishness Dante, foolishness.”
In fact I’m going to extend a withered hand.
All you need do is ask and I’d happily write you something to do of the next 6months for free.
It would be something you’d question because it’d be very different from what you’re doing (I’m willing to bet).
The question is this though, would you be willing to give it an honest go for 6 months or would your addiction to more get the better of you?
I guess we’ll see.
A friend of mine brought up a great point yesterday in a conversation.
‘If people know what they need to do to lose fat or achieve a gym based goal, and essentially how easy it is why is it they struggle? I feel it’s more the mental side of things that need addressing than the fact of calories in/calories out.’
^^ I’m paraphrasing, however that is the overall gist.
Solid point, right?
When it comes to the mental state of the masses I have one thing to say on the topic.
You, me and everyone else are broken.
Yep, many come from similar backgrounds of dysfunctional families, emotional traumas, social compromises and much more.
Those few that have their shit together are rare.
Essentially they’re the unicorns of the world, much like kids who grow up with both parents happily married, a loving pair of siblings and they house with a white picket fence.
Mental health has been given far more of the spotlight over these last few years, for good reason too.
It can play a large role in how a person progresses through life, yet many will not ever want to delve in to their own psyche, at least not until they’re ready, which might be never.
You’d be amazed how many would rather live shrouded by indifference than step out in to clarity.
Then we have people that will fall back on their mental health issues to keep themselves protected and firmly routed in the place they currently reside.
Stack all of this up and then try to throw in a body composition related goal such as fat loss or LBM gain and you’ve got quite the recipe for struggle.
While achieving goals is often simple, it’s rarely easy.
Take for example someone who gets dumped due to putting on a hefty amount of comfort weight in a relationship.
Once it happens the person decides to make a change, and often succeed.
The find a new partner, a better one, kinda.
Once again they begin putting their lost comfort weight back on and the cycle repeats, perhaps for their entire life and many won’t ever stop to ask why.
This is where knowing a little about your own mental pitfalls can be rather advantageous.
In regards to the example above, food is often linked to our emotions or rather a missed emotional need that isn’t being met, as such we get that need which our partner/significant other isn’t attending to filled by food.
One thing to remember is that when something is missing from our lives we will often find ways to plug that hole.
It can be in the form of food, fornication with people other than our other half, drugs or something else entirely.
Emotional leakage you might call it.
Then what we use to plug that hole is nothing more than a low quality band aid, which will of course come off and need replacing, I guess it’s back to the fridge then.
Being completely at peace with who you are is rare.
In fact some people never achieve it.
This can cause many to think there is something wrong with them, when that could’t be further from the truth because the majority of everyone else is int he exact same place.
Of course it doesn’t help that people life their ‘fantasy’ life on social media which gives off the image they’ve got all their shit together, which they haven’t.
If they had they wouldn’t be needed to share it every 5minutes via their mobile apps.
So, in regards to what my friend said, mental health is a massive factor because unless you’ve got the courage to step in to the unknown part of your own self, then even something as simple as losing some excess body fat can become an insurmountable task.
How well do you know yourself?
Ask yourself the questions that you haven’t yet dared to, it might just be the first step you need.
People are fascinating, especially the ones who say one thing and act in an entirely different way.
Fitness is rife with hypocrisy.
Body positive champions who wouldn’t dare post an unfiltered photo.
Warriors for the good of our planet that drive 2.5 litre engine cars and live a life with a carbon footprint that bog foot would be proud of.
These things are truly interesting to observe.
It truly is the tome of “Do as I say not as I do.”.
Plenty of bosses and very few leaders.
The attention of the masses is something most fit-pro’s are vying for.
Sad part is that they’re doing it in the same way a child would, by making noise and trying to shout the loudest.
Many would rather be noticed for what they do, as opposed to what they can do for you.
I know plenty who know their stuff, yet struggle to succeed.
When you look at the people who’ve risen to the top there is one thing they all have in common.
Do you know what it is?
None of what they do is about themselves, it’s about everyone else, it’s about you, essentially.
They share any & everything that may help someone.
Not for recognition though, just because it’s the right thing to do.
Before everyone was given the opportunity to gain their 15min of fame via the modern internet we know, people would share information, content, experience and anything of use of blogs, forums and some rather old things that predate the internet called books.
It’s those people that are now respected names.
Well, respected by the people who can see the difference between wise words and waffle.
Just because someone has the best looking videos, the flashiest graphics and endless selfies, it doesn’t mean they care about you or helping, despite what they may claim.
Inspiration or desperation.
How can you tell them apart?
It’s the eyes.
Learn to look behind them, to peer in to someones soul, as it were.
What resides there?
You’ll know the difference between the two when you see it, however once you do you can’t take it back and your view of things will be changed.
That got deep.
Anyway, just a heads up for people looking to make a name for themselves, that’s the wrong path to go down.
Perhaps not financially, just mentally.
Give it some thought.
Strength Training for Ladies:
Lift the heavy thing + solid nutrition = all the gains.
That’s essentially it.
I suppose we could look at some details as well.
You know what, to me the fact that more women are lifting is a very good thing because of all the benefits it offers, however we need to look at a few things to maximise what can be gained.
In the beginning days you’ll find these two main differences between the sexes when it comes to training due to genetics.
*If you’ve found different please do share your experience.
Ladies tend to do better with a higher volume of total work and their RM loads are not that far apart.
Men on the other hand don’t handle quite as high a volume and their RM loads can be dramatically different.
We shall tackle the volume in a second, first the loads.
Lady – 5RM = 100kg, 1RM = 107kg
Gent – 5RM = 100kg, 1RM = 120kg
This has bene linked in with overall levels of neurological strength and MU firing rates, plus the initial difference in LBM when looking at beginners on both sides of the fence.
Of course as training starts to progress this gap lessens, however one thing that does seem consistent is that ladies handle more total volume far better than the gents do (faster recovery etc).
Strength itself is a skill.
You have to learn to express your strength, regardless of how much base strength you have, if someone knows how to get everything ‘just right’ they will surprise you with just how much iron they can shift.
The most optimal rep range for this is 1-5 reps.
In regards to optimal sets, that’s where things get interesting as in an ideal world it will be answered as such – how many you can handle with good form.
That might be 5 sets, it might be 50.
Many who follow the tome of hypertrophy will start to bang out statistics and ‘evidence’ or ‘studies’, which is all well and good, however strength is a different animal.
You want to lift a heavy load, as often as possible, while staying as fresh as you can.
When I’ve trained ladies in the past who wanted to get strong this seemed to work very well for beginners put o the intermediate level (as a general starting point).
2-4 reps x 10-30 sets x 3-10RM
The weight east set would change in some rather sharp and random ways.
Not what people expect, here is what is may have looked like if the reps were static (for simplicity).
2 x 7RM, 3RM, 5RM, 10RM, 3RM, 3RM, 9RM, 7RM, 5RM, 4RM, etc
^^ One or two movements (compound focus)
Throw in some conditioning work in the form of sprints, kettlebell snatches, complexes, PHA bits and pieces and you’ll soon find yourself or your female clients getting the results they’ve always wanted.
*I found many ladies enjoyed full body work and responded best to it for when they were after an overall aesthetic look and strength.
Here is an example session:
W/U – Mobility Flow (or KB complex flow)
Skill – 15sets of Bent Press practice 1-3 reps
Strength – 10-30 sets S/S Clean & Press + Chin 2-4 reps
Conditioning – L/C, Rope Climb Hold, Swings – 10Min
C/D – Mobility or Yoga Flow
A lot of volume, a lot of practice and varied loads each and every set.
Easy on paper, in practice no so much.
The aim of getting stronger is the goal of many.
One little gem of information for achieving it though is this; you leave a session feeling stronger than you did when you entered, like you could do more however you don’t.
Leaving something in the tank and feeling strong is key.
Doing the will allow you a higher frequency of training and that will yield results far faster then you could imagine, if you’re willing to leave a little in the tank every session.
Obviously there will be some days you push a little harder than others, however this shouldn’t be the status quo, despite what fitness rags tell you.
Apply the philosophy of ‘same yet different’ as well and you’ve got a very potent mix for progress.
*S-Y-D = Zercher Squat, Front Squat, Back Squat -they are all squats and while the same they’re still different.
Now go, become strong.
Do you find it easy to blame your genetics for any problem that arises?
Many do, trying to refute such a claim is not easy.
That said, it seems the world and it’s dog all have terrible genetics from what our ever connected state of affairs tells us.
I’m willing to call bullshit on it.
Take this classic:
“I have a thyroid condition.”
^^ Often self diagnosed and if it is legitimate then you will do well to look at their lifestyle habits.
While having a bum thyroid or similar issue does make something like fat loss harder, it’s not something that means you can’t make progress, you just need to be more diligent.
Would you like to know a secret?
I persoanlly have an under-active thyroid myself.
Yep, a legitimate one as well, the funny part, apparently I’ve had it for years and the Dr’s just didn’t see the need to inform me because my weight/BMI etc was always in the normal ranges.
Obviously anyone else with the same condition who is overweigh clearly has it worse than me….
It’s in no way the fact our lifestyles, activity levels, eating habits and general thought processes are different.
Nope, they’ve just got it worse and that is why they’re overweight.
Before you get offended, look, I get it, life can be hard.
We comfort eat, make poor choices and a whole host of other mistakes along the way.
In the end though most of our issues can be dealt with if we decide to make the necessary lifestyle changes.
This isn’t easy, it’s just a choice you make.
People talk about genetics and how they’ve made them a certain way and while they may indeed play a part, most of how you are comes down to your choices and lifestyle.
That’s just how it works.
If we take weight as an example, because everyone has a weight issue these days.
You don’t see any obese starving people, even if their genetics predispose them to being 400lbs, if they are starting and don’t have access to the calories needed they won’t ever be 400lbs, regardless if they have the genetic potential to be.
^^ Read that again and think about all the times you blame genetics, then look your lifestyle choices and take the time to have some honest reflection.
Now there will be some instances you have no control over, that’s just an unfortunate part of life, however for the most part it’s all in your hands.
While it is easy to blame say genetics, other people and the general state of the world, that doesn’t make it the best thing to do.
You’ve done it too often, I’ve done it too often, most people will continue to do it too often.
Time to take a step back, see the big picture and take charge.