Category Archives: Fitness, Nutrition & Health

Playing with Time

After writing a small piece on Gains Central the idea of ‘Timed Sets’ got touched on.
 
Given these are great little tools for giving people a variable shock and devotion from the norm they’re worth sharing here too.
 
As the name suggests you’re performing a set based on a length of time and not just a number of reps.
 
These are great for 3 reasons:
 
– Overload
– Mental Toughness
– Easy to Program
 
Here is an example of how you might utilise a timed set.
 
A1 – Squat x2min x4 sets
 
Pretty simple right?
 
Now you don’t need to have the time being a static thing, it can change set to set if required, this can allow for harder sets first or hard-easy sets.
 
A1 Squat –
Set 1 x120sec
Set 2 x90sec
Set 3 x60sec
Set 4 x30sec
 
Alternatively
 
A1 Squat –
Set 1 x30Sec
Set 2 x120sec
Set 3 x60sec
Set 4 x90sec
 
Honestly these are very enjoyable and also great for people who are short on time in their training because it will allow for accurate planning so that an effective session can be squeezed into very little spare time.
 
How long you decide to have the time of each set can be to your discretion, you might even choose to do 5min of non-stop squatting, tough yet 2 sets of that will be a good session for the day.
 
Here are two sessions I’ve personally alternated in the past when time has been tight, please be aware there was no specific warm up and I’d often use the first timed set as the warm up.
 
Session 1 – Kettlebells
A1 – Clean & Press x2min x3sets
B1 – Swings x5min x2sets
60 seconds rest
 
Session 2 –
A1 – Inverted Rows* x 2min x3sets
B1 – Squats** x5min x2set
60 seconds rest***
 
*Or renegade rows, or pull ups depending on gym kit
**Or kettlbell, barbell, sandbag, depending on gym kit
***Variable depending on what time I had, most session ended up being 20-25min only.
 
Very minimalistic, very effective.
 
If you’ve never tried timed sets before add them in as accessory work on smaller isolation lifts first because they catch a lot of people out because they’re easier on paper than they are in reality.
 
Enjoy,
Ross
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4 Basics Lessons to Build Your Fitness Business

A lot of hopeful people jump into the realm of fitness.
 
It seems easy because they themselves like fitness, they’re passionate, have a story to share of how they lost weight etc, and they really really want to help people.
 
Obviously for the sake of helping people, not to fulfil an emotional need or anything.
 
In the early days of being qualified many are fuelled by the promises of instant business from friends, family, colleagues and people that they happen to know.
 
I’m going to tell you that this is folly.
 
Those promises rarely become a reality and we are naive for believing they ever will because while people judge themselves based on their proposed intentions (even if never followed through on), we judge them used on their actions.
 
To most people it is enough for them to say they will do something and not do it, they still get the initial feeling of being good, helpful, needed/wanted/important, yet that’s as far as many go because they’ve gotten what they need at no actually cost to them.
 
So this being the case, why would they then pay?
 
🎓 Lesson 1 – Don’t rely on the good will of others because they will let you down.
 
When a new trainer/coach gets about 6months into their fitness business journey things start to change.
 
Suddenly they realise that people didn’t suddenly flock to them because they were nothing special, in fact they were just another trainer.
 
Yep, once qualified you’re nothing special, just one of many.
 
At this point the need for an individual identity starts to become apparent, some being to hammer their social media, sharing all sorts of motivational quotes, photos and videos of –
 
“This (insert target demographic) can🏋️‍♀️ 🏋️‍♀️ all you need is to believe”
 
It may spike some interest, however there is still very little of value for people because all that they do is copy what others are doing.
 
Now copying trends isn’t a bad thing, so long as it’s a successful one and you know WHY it works.
 
If you don’t know why then you won’t make it work.
 
You can go for all the fads and trends available to you, yet without a solid message or set of values backing what it is you’re saying there will be no call to action for people because it’s just not real.
 
🎓 Lesson 2 – Jumping on the bandwagon to try and become different/noticed doesn’t work, it makes you the same as everybody else doing it.
 
Finding a niche that you can call your own isn’t easy.
 
In fact it can take many years because a lot of people are still influenced by what they themselves find enticing, and while this isn’t a terrible thing it doesn’t mean that the potential clients available to them will react in the same way.
 
So many talk of being their best self, an individual, different.
 
You will find that many potential clients and those who have stagnated often talk of wanting those very things, a coach/trainer who is their best self, an individual who different and does things differently.
 
Alas, if you do things that are not familiar and truly different this weekend warrior of the majority will put in a subtle dig along the lines of
 
– “We usually do it this way.”
– “I like to do ti like this.”
– “My/Our old trainer used to do it this way.”
 
My answer to anything similar to the above is as follows:
 
“I thought you said that you wanted something different?”
 
Or
 
“That’s cool, they sound like a great coach, so why did you leave them?”
 
Yep I will put people on the spot and call out hypocrisy and bullshit because I’m just too tired to be tactful these days.
 
You see as much as people say they want something different what they actually mean is something different yet familiar and basically the same as what they’re doing, but still different though.
 
It’s fucking maddening.
 
This is where taking the jump and creating a true niche that is different takes courage because the world and it’s dog will tell you have the things they’ve already done are great and that you’d do well to adopt some of those ideas.
 
Which is the height of disrespect in my eyes.
 
If you truly want to be different be prepared for criticism.
 
🎓 Lesson 3 – People will tell you how they want you to run your business, by all means listen and be thankful for any advice/feedback, just remember you don’t need to bend yourself out of shape to help other people fit in. If they don’t fit, that;s okay, they can go somewhere else.
 
Th hardest part about running any business is understanding that you’re in actual fact running a business.
 
As such you can’t afford to piss about.
 
Too many in fitness don’t understand this and try to make it a hobby that pays them, and one that pays them well, this is a mistake.
 
The only people who can get away with running a fitness business like this are of the following:
 
– People who are retired and don’t need to work
– People who have a job they can step back into at will
– People who come from money
– People who have a partner who supports all other finance
 
^^ Many don’t like this, yet it’s very much the truth.
 
Running a business isn’t easy, and yet in fitness so many think that once they become qualified people will just rock up and throw money at them, that they ill be abel to do 3-4 clients a day only, train whenever they like and live ‘the good life’.
 
This is a dangerous attitude to have.
 
The average fitness professional will work a 12+ hour day in most cases, and that isn’t taking in to account all the behind the scenes things such as admin, tracking, program writing and the logistical part of running a business.
 
If you think it will be easy you’re in for a shock.
 
🎓 Lesson 4 – Remember you’re running a business, not a charity or a hobby that pays well, a business.
 
If you are someone new to the industry you’d do well to hire a mentor.
 
Now many will say they can’t afford this investment and to that I have this reply for their consideration:
 
Can you afford not to be successful then?
 
There are many ways to find the cash to invest in your business, and having someone in your corner to help you avoid making silly mistakes, while perhaps costly in the early days will save you literally thousands moving forwards.
 
You may choose to consider or ignore the above.
 
Either way I hope you do well and don’t end up as fitness fodder.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Desire, Inclusivity & More

One thing that people universally desire from any for of exercise is a result.
 
Now what this result is can differ, however there is still one that is sought after.
 
Believe it or not this is why people actually start training.
 
What keeps people training is them actually achieving the result, not just enjoying the training.
 
In my experience people always seems o enjoy their training more when they feel it’s working, doubly so when it actually works, funny that.
 
If you are honest with yourself how much would you really enjoy something that isn’t giving you any real benefit or providing you a satisfactory feeling/result?
 
Not long I’m willing to bet.
 
I don’t say this on a whim either.
 
I say it because it’s true and working with hundreds of people of the years has only proven this, despite what conventional wisdom and popular opinion may say.
 
When you’re getting nothing from something you won’t do it for long, and even if you enjoyed it at the start that won’t last.
 
One of the biggest reasons we do anything is because we want something.
 
The modern attitude will say this is selfish and should be shamed, yet is there really anything so wrong with wanting more or the best for yourself?
 
No, there isn’t.
 
(so long as you’re not hurting other people to achieve it)
 
These days we allow people to fail.
 
In fact we almost encourage it by saying things such as:
 
“You’re fine just as you are.”
“If you enjoy doing it then keep doing it.”
“Do what makes you happy.”
 
While on the outside they all seem like the right and good things to say, this isn’t always the case.
 
There are many situations where when people do what makes them happy the consequences are disastrous, same goes for not pushing people out of the comfort zone to grow and shed their shell so that they can gain a new one.
 
Personally I hold inclusivity in contempt for this.
 
You see in trying to include everyone there were two paths to take to achieve this.
 
1 – Bring them up to higher levels
2 – Lower the current levels to make it easier
 
Our modern world went for the latter and as a result it’s made a lot of people weak, both physically and mentally.
 
This isn’t good.
 
Why would you not want to bring people up?
 
Now there will be plenty of people who say this isn’t fair, it makes people feel bad and so on, which may indeed be the case, however life isn’t fair. Life has never been nor will ever be fair.
 
The easy and fair life is a pipe dream.
 
The sooner people realise that the better, and the more willing they are to accept that it’s okay to want to improve on what they have and strive for more the faster they’ll progress.
 
While it may be considered selfish to want more, that doesn’t mean it’s not a worthwhile thing to chase.
 
Thinking back to your own training over the years, what did you enjoy the most?
 
Now think about when you got the best results (or achieve a goal you really wanted), did you enjoy the training/process purely because of the training/process or was it worth it because of the reward at the end?
 
Share your thoughts below.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Are you brave enough to try this?

Once again we will be calling upon our friend the dice.
 
Instead of training 2-3 days per week though you’ll be training everyday, or if you want to also leave that to fate you can flip a coin to see if you’re training, then go to the dice to find out what you’re doing.
 
Here is how your training would work.
 
You’ll be doing one these movement parings:
 
– Push & Hinge
– Squat & Pull
– Loaded Carry & Sprinting
 
^^ You can do them in this sequence, meaning they repeat every 4th day, or you can choose to do only one pairing, it’s entirely up to you.
 
The exercise choice is up to you.
 
Next you will roll the pair of die, the number you see is the reps you’re doing, so 2-12 and in the case of the carry/sprint it means 20-120m.
 
Next up you will roll the pair three times, this will give you the time limit you’re training for, so 6-36min (this includes your warm up because you’ll be ramping/waving the loads/effort each set).
 
Once you’ve gotten your reps and your time limit you train.
 
The aim of this is to improve density/work capacity.
 
Give me a second I will roll the dice and see what I get for three days of training, I will pick movements too.
 
Day 1 – Deadlift & Floor Press: 4reps, 27min
Day 2 – (clean) Front Squat & Bent Over Row: 7reps, 13min
Day 3 – Bear Hug Carry & Sprint: 80m, 24min
 
Not a bad little rep/time count.
 
Th difficult thing with the above would be for the times you get a session lasting 10min or under, it would get it to the heads of most people as they’d feel their training wasn’t one enough.
 
Now this might be true, however it would give you focus in the time you had.
 
Too many people mess about and waste time and this eliminates this issue entirely, the only hard part will be picking the movements you wish to work on.
 
“It is vain to do more with what can be done with less.”
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Controversial…

Three things in business you need as a PT/Coach that are undervalued and overlooked way too much.

1️⃣ – An application form to train with you.

^^ This helps with information gathering and will also allow you to know if people are willing to put in the effort for you to work with them.

Think of it this way, if they can’t get past filling in the form then they’re not ready for you yet.

2️⃣ – Minimum commitment agreement.

^^ Further refining the type of client you work with can have you find the people that are truly ready to change.

Example: 6months, 3 sessions per week, only 10 client spaces, etc

As nice as it will be to train once a week for a month and have all their problems solved that’s not how good coaching works.

Setting up minimum’s is very useful, in the example about having 3 sessions per week would also be a good place to start, that way if someone says “Can I do just one per week” you can honestly say “I’m afraid the minimum is 3 per week as this provides more favourable results.”.

It’s a test of commitment and dedication to the cause.

3️⃣ – No free trials.

^^ Controversial, however it will serve to further your business.

This doesn’t mean you can’t offer a discounted first session because this still gets people into the frame of mind that if they want your time/expertise they need to be ready to invest.

Free stuff is nice, however too much of it can, in regards to trial sessions etc, can devalue how people see your services.

🤔🤔🤔

Food for thought.

Enjoy,
Ross

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Do we even need to train?

We get told there are things we have to do in regards to training, and in regards to specific goals it’s 100% accurate, however for general life it’s more like set of guidelines.
 
The goal of all life is death.
 
Well, avoiding it for as long as possible is what most desire.
 
To achieve this you need optimal health.
 
Does this necessarily mean you’ll be able to run a marathon, deadlift 3xBW or do 10 rounds in the ring with Tyson, no it probably doesn’t.
 
When it comes to your training do you ever ask yourself what is it you actually need to life a full and fruitful life?
 
Then I suppose that begs the question of if you want a long life (quantity) or a life filled with adventure, memories and learning (quality).
 
🤔🤔🤔
 
Once you know what it is that you desire, your training can reflect that.
 
In general life we can say that realistically we may need three type of strength – lifting, carrying, getting up.
 
As for CV, well the need is to be able to walk for extended periods of time, at potential pace without getting winded.
 
Pretty simple really.
 
You can achieve this many ways.
 
That being said, one of your life goals might be to have an epic physique, godly strength, skills galore or generally be an all round badass, if so then you’ll need to dial in some specifics.
 
There isn’t much we need to do in this life, especially fitness/training related.
 
Before you go down a rabbit hole be sure to ask yourself why you’d choose to go down it and what it will do for you in the long run that when you look back you can say without hesitation – “Totally worth it.”
 
Choose your path for you, otherwise you’ll end up going down someone else’s.
 
You should investigate this thoroughly.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Tackling walls head first

The longer you spend in fitness the more it seems as if you’re banging your head against a brick wall.

Some will listen, some won’t and when some do they end up tweaking and changing things to fit wha they want to be, rather than how it ought to be.

Given the almost endless amount of information we have access to, finding patters of what work is easy.

The hard part is having people stick to them.

You see most things will work provided you give them a fair crack at the whip.

Does it mean it’s the ‘perfect’ method for you?

Absolutely not, you might be better off doing something else, however unless you give a good amount of time to anything then nothing will ever work.

How long do we need to stay with something?

That’s the million dollar question and I don’t have a good answer for it.

6 weeks?
12 weeks?
26 weeks?

As with a lot of things it will come down to the ever classic fallback of – it depends.

One thing may work for you for 3 weeks only, something else might work for 3 years, it’s truly a pain in the ass to know, however you simply need to take that chance and give something a go.

If you find it isn’t doing anything, then go back to what you were doing.

The tricky part is actually having the courage to try something new and the faith to stick at it for a while.

You’ve probably heard of the old sayings surrounding change taking time, that results (whatever they are to you) will be less a straight line and more like and spirograph.

I truly wish I could tell you exactly what YOU needed to hear.

I can’t and anyone who claims to is either a tad naive or is trying to sell you something.

Giving general advice however, well, stick with something for at least 6months, if nothing happened then chances are it’s not the right thing for you to be doing.

Say you are getting results and they seem consistent, great, keep going.

Simple really.

Enjoy,
Ross

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That is why you failed.

One of the main reasons for failure in regards to a training sense is not sticking to the program. 

Here is my view these days:

The cause of a persons deviation can vary, however many will say that training a certain way didn’t work for them and yet they didn’t stick to what was written for them. 

In the modern world where everything needs to be constantly tweaked because of the CF influence it’s not wonder people stall out. 

You’d be amazed just how far you can get doing a very simple protocol, there is little need for all the fancy fluff other than to appease peoples need to be entertained.

This is why not everyone enjoys my own coaching style. 

You get what you need, not what you want. 

Take these movements for example, they provide much for people and you’d not need any more for quite some time. 

  • Front Squat
  • Press
  • Pull Up

Or just do this: 

  • Loaded Carries & Loading Medleys  

Super simple, super effect, super non-sexy and dull which is why it’ll never sell. 

A minimalistic approach has many benefits, the main issue that I can happily admit is that it’s very dull for most people. 

This actually can be quite telling of what it is they’re after though in the grand scheme of things. 

While many claim it’s results, that is only true to a point, and this must come from doing things they enjoy of find that hold their attention.

There’s only so many ways we can talk about the above, you know, movement patterns and following the basic ones. 

This is where you’ll find the dice or coin protocols mentioned in the past are fun for people, yet even with the you’ll soon find the bias of the person comes out with what they want to be doing, and if questioned as to why it will come down to they’d either see someone do it online or it’s because they feel they need to. 

Frustration.

Dear readers, what you do want in your training and why?

Please do leave your thoughts below. 

Kind Regards 

Ross

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Rest is best

What is the shortest amount of rest you can take while still being able to maintain high effort outputs?

Knowing this will allow you to perform HIIT. 

It will also allow you to build up an acceptable level of metabolic fatigue for some added benefits to power endurance, however be aware that this won’t necessarily take your ability to produce power up, to do that you need to be fully revered and some. 

Having so many training options is both a blessing and a cruse. 

Due to the popular majority being focused around ‘feeling worked out’ or ‘tired’ it leaves too many people lacking any form of meaningful progress once they get past the point of beginner. 

Training is meant to make you stronger, not leave you smaller and more frail each time you push your limits, which is what happens to a lot of people.

There is one easy way around a session that tips you over the point of good stress (eustress) and into the realms of bad stress (distress).

Timing your rest periods. 

I know, something so simple it’s as if experts in the field of progress/performance have written about them for years. Oh, wait…

As a general rule these are what typical adaptation common rest periods are linked to:

<60 seconds = aerobic & muscular endurance 

120-180 seconds = anaerobic endurance/tolerance & muscular hypertrophy/strength 

180 seconds > = ATP-PC power/performance & muscular strength (absolute)

Now this is a very brief and wanting guide, to truly appreciate rest periods you’ll want to put income effort and start your reading journey with the glorious book: SuperTraining. 

Under recovering with short rest periods because you want to feel tired will indeed yield that result, however that’s all you’ll get from it because you’ll be unable to repeat productive efforts in your sets. 

While aiming to create ‘in-road’ and elicit and oxygen debt is indeed something viable, you must first understand the necessity for rest first and how manipulating rest periods works. 

Say you wanted to perform an anaerobic bias training set, what some call ‘metabolic training’, here is what it may look like on paper:

A1 – T-Sprint x 30-50m

A2 – Clean x4

A3 – Push Press x4

A4 – Sled Sprint x20m

A5 – Weighted Pull Up x4

There will be a 15-20 second average transition time between movements

Total rest between series is 4-7min 

2-3 total series

Most people will think they can use less rest because they’re special or unique, they are wrong. 

In the above example you’d want to rest the length of time that allows you to repeat a series with the same level of effort/output/performance, meaning the first rest might indeed be 4min, the second rest block might be 7min though.

The majority of people need more rest, not less.

Well, if they want to actually make decent progress anyway. 

The next time you train take a stop watch with you and stick with your rest periods that your coach (or whomever) has suggested. 

If it says 90seconds, that’s what you rest, so you start you next set bang on the 90 second mark, if you feel yourself slowing or in fact lose a rep on a set you’re done, unless otherwise advised by your coach to say drop 10% load of however they’ve set up your program.

Rest as little and as long as you need.

Enjoy,

Ross  

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We’ll let fate decide

Harvey Dent, he was on to something. 

You thought we could be decent men, in an indecent time! But you were wrong. The world is cruel, and the only morality in a cruel world is chance. Unbiased, unprejudiced… fair. His son’s got the same chance she had. Fifty-fifty.” *Holding two-headed coin*

In the past you’ve probably seen a post of five about how to use a dice to decide your training.

Today we’re going to go even further down the rabbit hole of randomness and find out the secrets of the humble coin. 

Admittedly you will end up with some very minimalistic training, however it will take any excess thought away from you.

This is ideal for those who claim to get lost with training or are unsure of what to do.

One simply has to have faith in the coin and follow the pattern it leaves. 

Here is how you can apply it to your training, be warned though, this is also an exercise in faith, do you have the courage to do what they coin dictates or not?

Okay, to decide if you are training today or not grab a coin and flip it. 

Heads = Training Today 

Tails = No Training Today 

Now for the interesting part, if you’re training today it’s time to find out how.

Heads = Strength 

Tails = Conditioning 

This is where you can play with all the nuance.

Say you got strength, here are some options once you flip the coin again:

Heads = Push, Hinge, Loaded Carry 

Tails = Pull, Squat, Loaded Carry 

Now for some reps/sets:

Heads = 5-3-2-5-3-2-5-3-2

Tails = 6-1-1–1-1-20

There you go, training for the day. 

If you got tails for conditioning this might be your menu.

Heads = Fartlek at 70%> MHR 

Tails = Steady State at <70% MHR

^^ You choose whichever modality you feel like. 

One thing you’ll find with the above is that the less chose the better, however there is another reason for it. 

You will suddenly find out that you know exactly what you want to be doing, you were just being a bit lazy in making a choice because if you really want a strength day and end up with a conditioning one it soon makes you realise your goals. 

Same is true for a day you want to train and end up having the coin tell you not to.

Flip 1 –

Heads = Training Today 

Tails = No Training Today 

Flip 2 – 

Heads = Strength = 10x TGU (5 per arm) 

Tails = Conditioning = 100 Single Arm Swings (50 each arm) 

Super simple, super effective. 

This concept isn’t new, however the unpredictability just makes for some interesting times. 

How would you progress?

Who knows, perhaps if you use the TGU above you could keep doing that until you hit a half-bodyweight get up for all the reps with ease, the options are many, power if you only train for fun like you claim then just pick a random target and see what happens.

Personally I prefer the dice, yet can apply the train/don’t train to the dice by say 1-3 = train and 4-5 = don’t train, then go from there. 

In a world where there is so much confusion, stress and uncertainty leaving your training in the hands of fate can make for quite the change. 

I’ve found that things like the coin/dice and total randomness of training days makes you appreciate the days you do train and you also put in more effort because from experience those who train with intent & heart, even if infrequently, tend to get more progress than some of the workout-warriors who do 2-3 hours in the gym each day. 

^^ When applied to the gen-pop.

All in all it’s just bit of fun, which is what you said you wanted, right?

Or perhaps now seeing this you know it’s not fun you want, it’s emoting else entirely.

Give it some thought. 

Enjoy, 

Ross 

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