Category Archives: Fitness, Nutrition & Health

What needs to be done

Goals are interesting things.

Often they are arbitrary in their nature, just a means to an end, or rather a distraction.

Just things to keep one busy.

It is not uncommon for people to play a finite game and set goals that take them sideways in life, rather than forwards.

Perhaps because what they are aiming for is not of their own volition.

Instead of goals, wouldn’t it be novel if people did things based on their passion, desire or as some call it, the infinite game.

Those who tend to do this are the ones who just do what needs to be done.

You’ll find there is no distraction, just action.

A great many these ways will find things to stop them having to face real life as it were.

This happens year to year until eventually father time has almost run out and then they say things such as “I would have achieved this if is wasn’t for that.” or “If I had X, I would have gotten Y.” and maybe even “If I knew then what I knew now.” or other classics to justify their mundane life.

Not that this is necessarily a bad way to live, after all not everyone can see their own limitations and either do what needs to be done to keep moving forwards or admit that perhaps a different course of action is better.

If you look at the people who we can call successful you will see that they are not always what you expect.

They didn’t always have the best start, all the resources they needed, any of the desired opportunities and much more, however they are often the ones who stuck it out for the long haul and after years of paying their dues were finally rewarded.

Look at people in education.

They go to school, college, uni, then go on to doing further degrees, masters, PHD’s or similar, then end up not getting the position they want for a lack of experience, usually because they chose to stay distracted from the real world and accepting that to finish with not only all the bells & whistles, also experience they’d have to struggle, and I mean really struggle by working for a pittance in the field they want toe excel in so that when they came out the other end of the grinder they’d hit the ground running.

You’d be surprised how many will always have reasons as to why they didn’t achieve, yet very few ever look at what needs to be done, perhaps because their goals are arbitrary distractions, or worse, not even their own.

To find your own drive, your own passion.

That is the infinite game.

The one that will have you moving forwards, not sideways or in a circle on the spot.

It’s never easy to accept that things are often harder before they are better, especially when ‘harder’ isn;t a short term thing, it’s something that often lasts decades and even lifetimes.

Which will you be?

Will you create distractions to keep you busy or will you face the real challenge?

Just some food for thought.

Enjoy,

Ross

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The 3 Plate Sandwich

Do you ever do plate sandwich walks?
 
If not you should, they’re great for strengthening your upper body.
 
Morning all,
 
I also call these ‘plate compression walks’ however the one above sounds more fun.
 
They’re quite simple, yet very effective.
 
Take three plates, say 2x10kg & 1x5kg.
 
The 10’s are on the outside and the 5 is in the middle.
 
Keeping your hands flat (think palm pressure🙏), press the plates together hard, if you see your elbows slightly tucked you will feel this a lot in your pecs/lats.
 
From here go for a walk and only stop when you can’t hold the isometric contraction and longer.
 
Repeat for 10min, or longer if you choose.
 
You can of course to this with only 1 or 2 plates, I’ve just found three makes like rather interesting.
 
This also works great with kettlebells 🤗
 
Add this to your workouts and you’ll find upper body strength & progress you didn’t know you had in you.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Three important lessons you can learn from athletes & apply them to your life.

Morning all,
 
It’s fair to say we admire athletes.
 
Not simply for the way they can bring people together with their astonishing achievements or world record breaking efforts, it’s also because they’re humans, just like us.
 
They might be faster, stronger, more dedicated and generally better in every aspect, however they’re still human 😂
 
As such here are three things you can take away from them and apply to your life for the better.
 
1 – They do what they need to do regardless of how they feel.
 
Athletes don’t make excuses, not really, they just get on with the task as hand, unlike you.
 
Nothing stands in their way of achieving their goal, now before you start saying “I have a job, house etc etc”, did you know that until they make it BIG, so do they.
 
The difference is that they kept moving forwards, even when life problems cropped up, they still struggled on.
 
This is a lesson you’d do well to listen to and apply.
 
2 – They always have a plan.
 
Now this plan might not be of their of imagination, it might be something of a coaches/mentors design.
 
The point is this, the have one and as such also have answers for when the plan starts to fall apart or needs adapting.
 
Average people don’t have a plan, they try and wing it, unsuccessfully I might add.
 
If you can’t create a plan yourself, don’t stress, ask someone for help, get yourself a mentor/coach, in the long run it will be worth it, trust me.
 
If you want people to put their faith in you, you must also eb willing to put your faith in others.
 
3 – There is only the next mission.
 
Now I could have used the word goal, however goal is meek because everyone has a goal, several in fact, of which many go unachieved.
 
Athletes have a mission, one that is fuelled by a passion and drive that is above and beyond what many can comprehend.
 
They just do things because it’s just what they do.
 
It’s all they know.
 
Taking a page out of this book and developing your own indomitable spirit is something that would benefit you in a multitude of ways ranging from more conviction in your decisions to an unwavering resolve to stick with something, for better or worse.
 
If you take these simple lessons and apply even on to your life, you’ll be several steps ahead of a great many people, just have some faith in yourself and do it.
 
Bonus lesson – They know when enough is enough.
 
Now it would be great to think that we can overcome any limitation, any barrier, break any & all plateaus, however that is just not true, it’s a fools dream.
 
This also relates to being at the top too.
 
Even the worlds best athletes know they have limits that they will not exceed, this is where they have a large support network of coaches, mentors, friends and close family to help them see the perspectives that they might be blind to themselves.
 
Sometimes a dream might just not be in your grasp, however that doesn’t mean you give up entirely, you just accept that enough is enough and rather than giving up, you refocus and look towards the next mission.
 
You might be the one to do it all and change the world, even with such an achievement there will be a limit to how long you can stay their, int he end you will need to accept enough is enough and step down.
 
Just like a world champion that retires so the new blood can come through, they don’t disappear, they just change their place in the play and become the mentor/coach.
 
Giving up never did anyone any good, however neither did trying to achieve something that was never in their reach to begin with or holding on to a glory longer than they should.
 
Learn to accept what is, what isn’t and what will never be.
 
Smile at these things, embrace or let them go.
 
All glories must fade, enjoy them while you can and let go when you must.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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8 Tips to help improve your deadlift.

Some call this the King of lifts.
 
Whether you think this deserves that title of perhaps the Snatch, Clean & Jerk or Squat are better suited to it, we can all agree that there is nothing most satisfying that hoisting a hefty weight off the floor to a solid lock out.
 
It’s a truly great feeling.
 
If you’ve hit a bit of a plateau with yours, here are some tips to help you hit some new numbers 🙂
 
1 – Film yourself
 
Ideally you want to get all of your lifts on camera, that way you can make sure your form is on point.
 
2 – Get a stronger grip
 
People will complain that their grip give out, this is cool and means that they can work on it.
 
Adding in Farmers Walks with your bodyweight (50% each hand) for 10 sets of 15-30 seconds (rest double the time you did) 2-3 times per week will fortify this fingers of yours.
 
3 – Reset every rep
 
No bouncing of any deadlift.
 
Ideally place the bar down, step away, step back in, set up again and lift, repeat for your desired amount of reps.
 
This is a great way to groove your set up form and makes for some interesting sets of 5.
 
4 – Add front squats/pause FS to your training
 
These have a nice carry over effect to deadlifts because you have to stay tight and hold posture to make the lift, especially the pause variations.
 
Aim for 15-25 reps in a session, capping the reps per set limit at 3, so that might be 8×3, 12×2, 5×3, 15×1, and so on.
 
5 – Super slow eccentrics
 
You deadlift as normal, while fusing on keeping your form a solid and tight as possible.
 
Next hold the bar at the top for 5 seconds, then proceed to lower over the next 10 seconds, do singles only for this and use anywhere from 50-70% of your max weight you can hit with solid form.
 
Easy on paper, ridiculously hard in practice.
 
6 – Remember the deadlift is a hinge
 
If you watch good pullers they have the following in common:
 
– Almost vertical shin at set up and second part of the pull
– Hips just higher than knees, shoulders just higher than hips
– They push the floor away
– They push their hips forwards
– They keep the bar close
– Tension is not lost at any point in the set up or the lift
 
A lot of people try to squat a deadlift, as such the squat it off the floor (badly), then continue to back extend the weight he rest of the way up and wonder why they hurt themselves.
 
Here is a great little resource explaining this (it’s easier to watch than read):
 
 
Your DL might take a hit in terms of numbers lifted while you re-pattern, however it will be worth it in the end.
 
7 – Strengthen your back
 
This might seem obvious however you’d be surprised how many people put most of their training focus in to pressing and wonder why they have a crap pull.
 
Bent over rows, pull ups, pull downs (various grips), single arm rows, bear hug carries, face pulls, reverse flies are only a few examples of back exercises, make sure you get in some solid volume for your back and make it grow.
 
You’ll also find the bigger your back is the better at pressing you become as your back is responsible for stabilising you and the stronger it is, the stronger human being you will be.
 
8 – Stop chasing weight
 
Kind of a contradiction to this entire post, yet a very relevant one.
 
Time in the gym is meant for BUILDING STRENGTH, not testing it.
 
Many are guilty of testing too often in the gym and wonder why they never make progress.
 
Ego must be left at the door. If you can pull 5 plates, that’s great just don’t think you have to pull 5 plates every time you’re in the gym otherwise people will think you’re weak, they won’t, they don’t care about what you lift, trust me.
 
In the gym sticking between 70-85% of your max is more than enough to help you build some impressive strength and avoid snapping yourself up.
 
If you need to lift some big weights for instagram do what most of those who are famous on it do and buy some fake weights for your videos, simple 😂
 
There you have it, 8 tips to help you improve your deadlift.
 
Obviously don’t try to do them all at once.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Thoughtless Thoughts

There is always a lot of conflicting information in the world.

Be that from points of view based on experience, or substantial evidence that goes against a persons long held beliefs.

Now there isn’t much I can teach people about mindset, not really.

Most know as much as they will ever need to know.

It doesn’t matter if they are correct in their assumption or not, as far as they care, they know enough and that’s cool.

We are not really hear to tell people what should or shouldn’t be done, if we did it takes away their responsibility or at least their need to claim responsibility for their own choice.

It’s easy to say “I did X because Y told me to.”.

This is something we do from a young age because we are conditioned to follow orders, yet ironically not he other side of the coin we are told to think, act, feel and do four ourselves, so long as it fits in with everyone else’s & the larger agenda.

Much conundrum there is.

Be kind, but not too kind you become a door mat.
Be strong, but not too strong you become cold.
Be confident, but not too confident.

The list goes on.

I’d like you to sit and just think about yourself for a second.

What do you want?

Honestly, just you, clear your mind of all the initial thoughts because the chances they are not your thoughts is very high, they are conditioned ideas & responses, they’re not your responses.

Freedom of thought, such a scary thing when you’re used to being told how to think for so long.

So I will ask again, what do YOU want?

I don’t just mean fitness related by the way.

Take some time out, away from the world and all it’s technology and just sit quietly, don’t dwell on thoughts that come in, let them come and go, eventually you will start to hear your own thoughts and not everyone else’s.

Enjoy,
Ross

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1/2 a kilo per session = long term progression

Half a kilo each session.
 
That’s all you need to add to the main lifts.
 
Devilishly simple, some may even say dull, yet super effective.
 
It give your body plenty of time to master the weight.
 
You will not miss any reps (well, you shouldn’t if you start at the correct load).
 
Here is how it’s laid out:
 
Main lift:
 
– Working set/rep options 2×5, 3×3, 5×2
– Warm up sets are as needed
– Pick a large compound movement e.g: Squat, Press, Deadlift, Chin etc
– Rest 3-5min
 
Loading & Progression:
 
– 2x5x70%, 3x3x75%, 5x2x80%
– Add half a kilo to the main lift each session without fail, hence the low starting weights.
 
Accessory work:
 
– 1-3 lifts depending on your time available
– 2-3 sets
– 6-25 reps
– Loading will be dictated but the reps chosen
– Rest 1-2min
 
Split:
 
– Legs/Push/Pull
– Hit each every 3-5 days ideally
 
This can last for months and months and months, I’d change up the accessory lifts every 2-3 weeks to keep things interesting, however the main lifts can be milked for all they are worth as it will take 20sessions to add 10kg to the weight you’re starting at.
 
Avoid the temptation to rush.
 
That’s it.
 
Nothing fancy, however it works very well for developing strength skill, your accessory work will give you either a bolster on strength, hypertrophy, fat loss etc depending on how you plan those.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Morning Meditation & Introspection

Introspection is a great thing.
 
It can help uncover a multitude of things that can help us let go of that which weighs us down and move forwards.
 
Is it something you practice?
 
Morning All,
 
Taking the time to examine ones self is a worthy practice.
 
You’ll start to see past a lot of your own bullshit and just knowing that is in of itself something that will make you smile.
 
To be honest and call out your own rubbish is a sure fire way to remove your current barriers and start to plan a progressive path forwards.
 
This can be done in relation to fitness, nutrition, general life and much more.
 
A great way to start this off is by spending 5min in silence with nothing but your own reflective thoughts based on this question:
 
Why do I tell myself & others (insert your own plight).
 
Once you’ve given that some thought, write down your conclusions as to what good that thought is doing you and why you would want to allow yourself to house that thought and verbally repeat it to people as an excuse for what ever reason you do.
 
Do this just once per day, then move on and continue with what ever else you have to do.
 
You might find out some rather interesting things about yourself.
 
Then, when you are ready –
 
Acknowledge, accept & let it go.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Why choose health when you can choose sickness instead?

If 2017 didn’t go the way you’d hoped, don’t worry, 2018 won’t be that different.

We are creatures of habit, unfortunately.

Some may even call us lazy.

Think about it for a second, there are plenty of less than optimal things people willingly choose to continue doing each day (for what ever reason), things such as smoking, drinking, drugs, binge eating, crossing the road without looking, telling their significant other they’re wrong, the list of things people do that are hazardous to their heath just goes on and on, yet the repeat their patters everyday.

Do you repeat yours?

If you do, this shouldn’t be a cause for concern, is should just be acceptance that you have a choice to make and you’re making it.

Now except for truly extenuating circumstances, most of the things that happen to us are of consequence related to our choices, be those immediate or delayed.

Take eating terribly for example.

This is something people do willingly because the risk-reward is worthy it currently. Give it perhaps 10 years and they may find they’ve pilled on 5+ stone, this might be enough for some to decide that they’ve not made the best choices in life and start to implement small yet sustainable habit/lifestyle changes to lead a more fulfilling life.

On the other hand some will go the other way and fall in to the group that say “Sod it, no point in changing now.’. This may eventually result in a medical issue – heart problem, diabetes etc – however it’s something they’re willing to have happen and thankfully because of the great advancements in medical care it can be managed and their poor quality of life sustained.

Could you imagine if medical help was only give to those who lead a mostly optimal life in terms of their lifestyle habits?

What a change that would be.

Sweet treats would be just that, treats had on rare occasions, not a staple ‘food’ of daily life. Then there would  be the amount people smoke, geez that could even be a relic of a forgotten past.

Sadly though this will  never happen and as such is moot point at best.

That said, I want you to give it some thought. Think about what you’re doing to yourself, supposing that you were not born with or unfortunately become afflicted by a serious medical condition and had the ability to leads a healthy, active life and just thought you’d rather slop around, get fat, become increasingly more unhealthy and slowly destroy yourself one day at a time.

Okay, that is quite harsh, however it’s true for many people.

Over the years I’ve been lucky enough to work with people who through no choice of their own have had a very hard life, rife will illness, poor health and much more, yet they make the best choices they can to get the best out of their life and optimise what little healthy they have. Then there’s you, smashing 2 bottles of cola a day while finishing of a pac of 20 super-kings over a nice Dominos.

Remember you don’t have to change your life, you don’t have to value your health, you don’t even have to care what others think about you and how you live your life, what I would urge though is to think about those who didn’t get the healthy start you did and the fact that you’re choosing sickness over wellness.

Go on, think about it long and hard.

Many don’t value their heath until it’s gone, please don’t be one of them.

Ross

 

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Words of Old

“If you can’t work hard enough in 2 sessions, why do you feel you can do better with 6?”

^^ That made me think.

In a world where more is seen as better, and in certain circumstances it is 100% true, however that might not be the case for your training in the gym.

Recently the writings of one Marty Gallagher have found their way in to my library once again.

He speaks a very similar message to that of Brooks Kubik, Kirk Karwoski, Ed Coan and many other strong individuals who each champion not only focus, tracking your numbers to ensure increasing volume, but also putting in a solid effort in your main training sessions, then taking your foot of the gas when you have deload weeks.

It’s easy to get caught running through the motions when it comes to lifting weights.

This is in fact very easy, so much so that many of us may have even been in this place for years unknowingly.

A scary thought.

One good way to know if you’re there is to ask yourself this simple question – When was the last time you made progress?

That progress could be in the form of better form, more weight on the bar, an aesthetic goal, it doesn’t matter, what is important is when did you last make progress, real progress.

As fitness enthusiasts we often get caught between the proverbial rock and hard place, unable to escape it, often for fear of losing what we have, if we’re not doing what we’re doing.

Surely you could get better results only doing 2-3 sessions per week, you’d be silly to keep doing 6+, right?

Right.

However many will not change their ways, they can’t, it’s too hard and the fear of loss kicks in. I’ve been there, it’s a terrible pace to be.

If we are to look back at some of the strongest people over they years they seemed to train at most, 4 days per week.

In this time they hit each muscle group twice (due to exercise cross over).

Now as mentioned above and in the writings of old, 2-3 sessions per week was more than enough to make solid progress on, especially at the level most of us are at (not world champion lifters).

So why do more for the sake of it?

Ask yourself these questions:

– Am I making progress?
– When was my last PB?
– Do I need to do more, really?
– Is my recovery 100%?
– Are each of my sessions focused?
– Could I be doing too much?

Just some food for thought.

If you fancy a good read give the Purposeful Primitive some of your time, you won’t regret it.

Enjoy,
Ross

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Did you achieve your goal this year?

New Years Eve…

Time to wave goodbye to 2017 in style.

Well, more like a blurry mess of alcohol fuelled rage.

Then it’s 2018 and all those goals that didn’t get achieved can be forgotten and new ones can be written down.

A little tip for your resolutions –

Write them out by hand in 300 words or less.

This will take less than 5minutes to do and hopefully give you some accountability.

In this 300 words you want the following:

– What the goal is
– Why you want to achieve it (feeling/emotion)
– The good behaviour you need to achieve the goal
– How you will make lifestyle changes to achieve the goal
– Which methods you will use to track your progress
– Time targets

Once you’ve done this print 3 copies.

One to be placed somewhere at home you will see it everyday.

One to be given to someone your trust to help you stay accountable.

One to be kept on your person at all times so you can give yourself a reminder of why you’re making a change.

By doing this little task you will give yourself some more accountability.

The funny thing about goals that people never tell you is that for them to actually stick, they have to give you an insurmountable amount of pleasure that can’t be drowned out by the pain of change.

Yep, people fear change because it’s painful.

All that aside, it’s in your hands now, it’s your play, try not to make it a tragedy.

Happy New Year 🙂

Ross

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