Category Archives: Fitness, Nutrition & Health

“I already knew that.”

Morning All,

It amazes me how much people already knew.

Many will come up asking for some friendly advice on perhaps nutrition, training or maybe sorting an injury and improving mobility and always give the answer of –

“Oh yea, I know that”

Often followed by –

“But what else can I do?” or “But what about XYZ”

I’m often left stood there like ‘Well, fuck me. They know as much if not more than I do, perhaps I should be hiring them’.

Yet even though people always seem, and claim they already know what to do, their overall aesthetic, performance and visual evidence often lead one to an opposing thought process.

Almost as if they don’t know…

*How suspicious.

I have a question I often come back with.

– If you know what to do, why are you not doing it?

Usually there is a plethora of excuses as to why they’re not doing what they need to be doing, yet they obviously could, if they really wanted to.

Do you know what you should be doing?

If so, why don’t you do it?

Do you really know what to do or is that perhaps a little porky pie?

I suppose that is a little unfair of me to say because it might try well be the case that people do in fact know what to do and have some crippling self esteem issues that sep them from executing the lifestyle changes they need, my apologies for being so brash.

Here is something to try.

Write down 3 things you know that you should be doing that would improve your quality of life (and fitness results too).

Now for the magic element.

Step 1: Re-read the three things you know you should be doing.

Step 2: Do them.

Step 3: Repeat steps 1 & 2 for continued results.

Give it some thought.

Enjoy,
Ross

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Is it really your body you should hate?

Do you hate your body?

You shouldn’t, it does a lot for you.

A lot of people certainly do, yet there is something that many forget when they are steeped in their loathing.

It’s not your bodies fault it is the way it is.

Honestly, for the most part it does it’s best to keep going for you, despite the excessive amount of calories you force in to it via sub optimal food choices, calorically dense beverages, or even the sleep depriving activities you subject it too.

Regardless of what you do to it, it does it’s best.

So, let us say you have a few extra lbs, who’s to blame?

Is it your body because it’s out to get you and store as much excess body fat as possible so that you have a lower value in the overall dominance hierarchy, or is it because of ‘you’?

*’you’ being mental attitude, bad habits, lifestyle choices, essentially your consciousness, you mind as it were.

Our bodies are vessels, nothing more.

We are in control of them because nothing happens without some form of thought process first (for the most part, medical exceptions that affect mental/hormonal health/perceptions of reality or control excluded).

A lot of people find it easier to blame poor genetics, a bad hand that life dealt them, basically anything else other than themselves.

You’d be surprised how many people keep their ‘genetics’ int he fridge or wine rack.

It is in everyone to take control, all you need it to look inward and honestly think for yourself for a change.

“I think, therefore I am.”

Wow, this is getting quite deep 🤔

Don’t hate your body, appreciate it because what you see aesthetically is not a reflection of a ‘naughty/bad body’ it’s a reflection of YOUR mental state, of your mind, a reflection of what we might call ‘you’.

Your body is not to blame, you are, remember that, accept it and change it.

Change your attitude and you will change your life.

Give it some thought.
Ross

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Guess who’s fault it is….

Morning All,
 
There is always a decent amount of talk on here about training, occasionally there is even nutritional information.
 
All of it is based on what a great many people have done in the past and succeeded with.
 
Now before you start screaming at the screen “Everyone is different, we need to find what works for each individual”, you’d do well to keep this thought in mind.
 
– There is a high probability that you’re not special, or as unique as you think.
 
It might seem like a horrible thing for some to hear, however it is quite true.
 
For example, I have yet to see someone who doesn’t make progress on a solid 6-12months of 5×5 when programmed correctly. Or a person to not make positive body composition changes by improving food quality and keeping a food diary.
 
Yep, we all fall in to this part of the bellcurve.
 
Of course there are some people that are on the fringe and known as hyper-responders & non-responders, however for the most part I’m willing to be that’s not you.
 
Why would I make such an assumption?
 
Experience, a lot of experience.
 
If you were truly one of those you’d be easy to spot. You know the types, those who can’t lose fat regardless of what they do, or those who can’t build muscle, the ultra rare ones.
 
That’s not you, as such here are your answers if you think those are you:
 
Weight/Fat Loss not happening = you’re consuming too many calories & under stimulate your body in training, fact.
 
Weight/muscle gain not happening = you’re not consuming enough calories & under stimulate your body in training, fact.
 
Two very hard pills to swallow, even if they’re sugar coated too.
 
I get it you know. Why you want to be that exception to the rule. To be the one that truly has the world & it’s dog stacked against you, it’s easier to have that as an excuse than to accept the horrid truth; it’s your fault because you’re not doing what you’re supposed to be doing.
 
How do I know this?
 
I’ve been that person.
 
In my early teens I was that guy, the one who said “I can’t gain muscle because of my crappy ectomorphic genetics.” this, was rubbish, the truth was I simply wasn’t doing want I needed to be doing, that is also your truth.
 
Harsh, incredibly, however the sooner you accept it the sooner you’ll start making results, or you can’t continue lying to yourself, at this stage in my career of helping people I don’t care, it’s not my job to wipe your ass and pander to you.
 
After the above abuse, will yo do something? Not for me, for you.
 
Write down answer to these three questions, BE HONEST.
 
1 – What is your goal & is it truly important to you?
 
2 – Do you know the behaviours necessary to achieve what is important to you?
 
3 – Are you doing the above, if not, why not?
 
It’s time to be honest with yourself.
 
You should look in to this thoroughly.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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4 Little lung busters that also get you strong.

Morining All,
 
Given the nice weather it’s understandable that people want to shift unwanted fat.
 
Many also want some decent levels of muscle too.
 
Here are some suggestions from me to help you with both, be warned however, they are not as easy as you’d think.
 
They play in to the anaerobic nature of training, this will help by creating a large oxygen debt and have a positive effect on not only your VO2 Max, Strength, Calorie Expenditure but also some small increase in EOPC as well.
 
If you want to dig in to this here is a place to start:
 
 
Now it’s time for the suggested sessions 🙂
 
1 – Litvinov’
 
A1 – Front Squat x4-8
A2 – 400-800m sprint
Rest 1-5min, repeat 3 times.
 
I find higher rep front squats are great with double kettlebells, while with a barbell you’re better of sticking to 5 and under.
 
Sprint as in run, however if you have not running track feel free to sub this for rowing, watt bike etc.
 
2 – Flaming Death
 
(No idea where that name came from)
 
A1 – Sand Bag Shoulder Carry (sprint if you can) 30-50m
Drop, swap sides, run rack.
Rest 2min, repeat 5 times.
 
If you don’t have a sandbag that’s cool, just find something awkward to pick up an drop on your shoulder.
 
3 – Tabata Fun
 
A1 – Thrusters: 20seconds on, 10seconds off, 8 times
Rest 2-4min, repeat twice more if your form hold up
 
Double kettlebells work a treat for this, dumbbells are okay, bar is good, awkward objects are awesome, just watch your form. Aim for 4-8 reps per round (20 seconds).
 
4 – Homemade Highland Games
 
A1 – Single Arm Kettlebell Clean & Shoulder Throw x100m (alternating sides)
Rest 2min, repeat 3-5times
 
The single arm clean is easy, it’s the catch that tricks people, here is a nice little video from the Kettlebell Kings explaining how:
 
 
^^ Once you catch the bell here, launch it as far forwards as you can, like a shot-putter would. Repeat alternating arms, start on your weaker side.
 
These can be used as finishers or even stand alone sessions if you really wanted to give them some oomph.
 
All are easy on paper, however in practice you will find this not the case.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Loop Loop Loop

Funny how almost everyone gets stuck in a loop.
 
It’s rather common in the realm of fitness.
 
We go in, do the same movements, with the same loads, the same rest periods, the same tempos, day in, day out, it’s all pretty much the same.
 
Personally I’m quite the fan of sticking with a handful of movements for an extended period of time, however there needs to be some variety in the intensity, sets, reps, cadence, rest and even the execution of the reps.
 
Let’s take 10×10 for example as your rep scheme.
 
There are a few ways you can tweak it, via reps/sets
 
– 5x 2-3-5-10
– 5x 5-10-5
– 10x 5-3-2
– 4 x25
– 10x 3-7
 
Honestly there are a lot of things you can do with sets and reps before we even delve in to rest, tempo and pause reps.
 
Say you have 6 movements that you do regularly, great, you’ll be able to make some progress on these if you apply the ‘same yet different’ philosophy to the aforementioned.
 
I’d suggest changing one of the above every 2-6 weeks in a logical/progressive manor, here is an example with reps/loading.
 
Starting/overall load increases each week
 
Week 1/2: 5x 7-5-3
Week 3/4: 5x 6-4-2
Week 5/6 5×5-3-1
Week 7/8 – back to 7-5-3 with a higher starting load
 
Or if rest is what you fancy playing with.
 
Week 1/2: 3x 7-5-3 – 3min rest between sets
Week 3/4: 3x 7-5-3 – 2min rest
Week 5/6 3x 7-5-3 – 1min rest
Week 7/8 – back to 7-5-3 higher starting load & 3min rest
 
Get the idea?
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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60 second read

Front squats are great.

One issue may have is getting it in to the rack position, some can overcome this, great, however a few just never get that chance due to injury.

What are we to do?

The answer; same yet different – kettlebell squat (which is often a front squat).

I’ve found people who can’t utilise a barbell can often use a kettlebell in the rack position, then once they progress they can use two bells.

Seems easy, however if you get strong and work up to a pair of 48kg bells I can tell you that makes from one difficult front squat. Perhaps one day even a pistol might be the long term goal.

Here is a video example (pus there are some other great movement other as well) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZQEFc6rSKvA

You can program in the same way you would for barbell work.

All done.

Ross

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The best, or worst 4min of your life.

Depending on your point of view 🤗
 
Morning All,
 
Given how the sun is being dispensed in sparse amounts it will be wise to keep your training sessions as concise and effect as possible.
 
In doing so it will give you more potential time to spend outside.
 
So what is this 4min then?
 
Well those of you who are well versed in training will probably have already guess it is a Tabata.
 
20 seconds of work, 10 seconds of rest, repeated 8 times.
 
A true thing of beauty.
 
You will find that plenty of people claim to do these on a regular basis, some even attend Tabata classes where they do up to 10 of them.
 
While they may indeed speak the truth, their intensity will be a tad compromised, how do we know this?
 
Body composition.
 
As a general guideline, if you are performing/training as hard as you claim you’re body composition will be rather good, if it isn’t then you’re either the one true exception to the rule, or you just don’t work as hard as you think.
 
You can mull over that one yourself.
 
Okay, so the aforementioned, what is it performed on?
 
Pick one of these three movements
 
– Thruster (double kettlebell is good)
– Double Kettlebell Snatch
– Loaded Carry (any variation)
 
Once you choose you’d do just one Tabata because if you truly go all out it will leave you pretty toasted, if you can do more than one then you may have sandbagged some of your effort.
 
The above is of course great for conditioning and fat loss, however doing it alone may seem a tad pointless to some, as such here is are 3 example training sessions for 30min each (including WU/CD).
 
W/U – Mobility/Patterns/Complexes – 5min
A1 – Deadlift: 1,2,3,4,5,4,3,2,1
A2 – Pull Up: 5,3,2,5,3,2,5,3,2 (set a 15min time limit)
B1 – Tabata: Thruster – 4min
C/D – Full Body Stretch/Release Work – 5min
 
W/U – Mobility/Patterns/Complexes – 5min
A1 – FS: 2,3,5,2,3,5,2,3,5
A2 – Press: 5,3,2,5,3,2,5,3,2 (set a 15min time limit)
B1 – Tabata: Double KB Snatch – 4min
C/D – Full Body Stretch/Release Work – 5min
 
W/U – Mobility/Patterns/Complexes – 5min
A1 – Power Clean: 1,2,3,1,2,3,1,2,3
A2 – Bench Press: 2,3,5,3,2,3,5,3,2 (set a 15min time limit)
B1 – Tabata: Loaded Carry – 4min
C/D – Full Body Stretch/Release Work – 5min
 
As with most things shared here, this is not gospel, it’s an option. You could run this for 3-6 months and make progress if you really pulled your finger out of your ass and utilised the ‘same but different’ philosophy and actually tried to progress.
 
Give it some thought.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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One arm, one barbell, one tough session

Unilateral barbell work.
 
A cracking way to progress that is very under-utilised.
 
If you were to add these movements to your training twice per week you’d see some rather impressive results.
 
All are done with a standard 20kg Barbell, you can load them if your wish, however you’ll do well to start lighter than you think. No, really.
 
– TGU (turkish get up)
– Overhead Press
– Bent Over Row
– Suitcase Deadlift
– Farmers Walk
 
By adding these you’ll achieve the following:
 
Postural balance, coordination, improved total body tension, stronger stabilisers, body awareness and strength.
 
The follow 6 points are key:
 
1 – Keep tension
2 – Control the movement
3 – Don’t twist excessively on any of the movements
4 – Start on your weak side, match those reps with the strong side
5 – ‘Pull’ yourself back to the starting position in the negative portion of the lifts*
6 – 3-5 reps seems to be the sweet spot (do as many sets as possible with good form, vary the total amount of work from session to session. Some days can be hard, others easy, a few in the middle of that)
 
*For example, in the overhead press, once it’s overhead, grip the bar even tighter and pull it down with your lat.
 
The length of the barbell will mean that you have to ensure that everything is in correct alignment, otherwise the lift will be very difficult if not unable to perform.
 
You will notice immediately if you’re not doing the movement right, the bar will tell you.
 
Add this in to your training and watch your strength, balance and body awareness improve.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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6 movements, 6 varied rep schemes, 6 months of training.

Behold, the 6-6-6 you’ve been waiting for.
 
Well, I have no idea if you were waiting to be fair, there was just a passing thought that is sounded cool, however now after reading it that might not be the case.
 
Never mind, we must press on.
 
Morning All,
 
This came to mind in the early afternoon yesterday while in the midst of loaded carries.
 
The overall aim of the above is to give people the following:
 
– 6 months of training to follow
– A test in mental toughness and consistency
– Results because the first lot of lifts are done by few
 
You will also find it’s quite fun as well.
 
First up, the movements.
 
Push – Incline Press
Pull – Pull Up (weighted or unweighted, grip may vary)
Squat – Uhh, well, yea… Squats 🙂 (high bar)
Hinge – Deficit Deadlift (1-3inch block or whats available)
Loaded Carry – Farmers Walk*
Full Body Lift – Clean & Jerk
 
Now the rep schemes.
 
These will be progressed in a simple linear fashion (added weight where you can) once you are hitting each set comfortably.
 
Medium – 1,2,3,4,5,4,3,2,1
Medium – 2,3,5,2,3,5,2,3,5
Heavy – 1,2,3,1,2,3,1,2,3
Light – 3,5,7,3,5,7,3,5,7
Light – 2,4,6,2,4,6,2,4,6
Heavy – 1,1,1,1,1,1
 
^^^ with all you will rest as needed.
 
*Loaded carry schemes
 
– 30second on, 30second off = one round, 10-30 rounds
– 10min time limit to cover as much distance as possible
– 3min on, 1min off, 3min on
– Tabata x1-3 (20 on, 10 off x8rounds)
– 20m carry EMOM (ever min on the min)
– +10m EMOM, so 1st min = 10m, 2nd = 20m, 3rd = 30m until you can’t keep up the pace/distance
 
 
The above will work on a H-L-M rotation, essentially you have the ability to let the weight dictated the reps, however once you pick a rep scheme from the day you stick with it.
 
Time to put these together in a logical training schedule, I will give you several options, pick the one that best suits your training availability.
 
Option 1 –
 
Day 1 – Squat, Pull
Day 2 – Hinge, Push
Day 3 – Full Body Lift, Loaded Carry
Day 4 – Rest
Day 5 – Repeat
 
Option 2 –
 
Day 1 – Squat, Pull
Day 2 – Hinge, Push
Day 3 – Off
Day 4 – Hinge, Push, Loaded Carry
Day 5 – Off
Day 6 – Repeat
 
Option 3 –
 
Day 1 – Squat
Day 2 – Push
Day 3 – Hinge
Day 4 – Pull
Day 5 – Full Body Lift
Day 6 – Loaded Carry
Day 7 – Off
Day 8 – Repeat
 
Option 4 –
 
Day 1 – Squat, Pull, Loaded Carry
Day 2 – Off
Day 3 – Off
Day 4 – Hinge, Press, Loaded Carry
Day 5 – Off
Day 6 – Off
Day 7 – Full Body Lift, Loaded Carry
Day 8 – Off
Day 9 – Off
Day 10 – Repeat
 
Option 5 –
 
Day 1 – Squat, Push, Loaded Carry
Day 2 – Off
Day 3 – Off
Day 4 – Off
Day 5 – Full Body Lift, Hinge, Pull
Day 6 – Off
Day 7 – Off
Day 8 – Repeat
 
Option 6 –
 
Day 1 – Squat, Pull, Loaded Carry
Day 2 – Hinge, Push, Loaded Carry
Day 3 – Off
Day 4 – Hinge, Push, Loaded Carry
Day 5 – Off
Day 6 – Repeat
 
You have a lot of choice, optimally you want to train each movement every 3-5days.
 
This overall protocol gives you some autonomy to pick and choose your training for the day to either be heavy, light or medium, the main aim is that after sticking with the same movements for the entire 6months you will have added some decent weight to each lift.
 
Push hard when you feel strong and back off when you don’t.
 
My advise would be as follows: in every 6 workouts 1 is heavy, 1 is light and 4 are medium.
 
The above plays in to the realms of ‘inch wide, mile deep’ & ‘Easy Strength’. While you may leave sessions feeling strong and that you could do more you’d be wise not to be tempted too.
 
That being said, if you wish to add in one ‘pet lift’ such as bicep curls, tricep extensions, calve raises, reverse flies etc for either aesthetics or postural reasons then feel free, the volume can be up to you, I’d recommend 50-100 total reps with the isolation lift IF you choose to put one in at the end of a session.
 
The same goes for core work, some added planks are welcome, as are 1-2 solid sets of 5 in the Ab Roll Out. You may also add some movements such as the windmill, TGU etc in your warm up too.
 
A session itself may look like this all in all:
 
W/U:
– TGU to Windmill: 3-5x-3-5 (each arm)
– 2×3-5 on the lift you’re about to do x 50% & 75% work load
 
Main:
A1 – Deficit DL 1-2-3-4-5 (all at 160kg) -4-3-2-1+5kg per set.
A2 – Incline Press 2-3-5-2-3-5-2-3-5 all at 80kg
 
Conditioner/ *Optional Isolation:
B1 – Farmers Walk Tabata x3 @ 50%BW in each hand
*C1 – Curls 5×10
*C2 – Ab Roll Out 2×5, 2x Side Planks, 1x L-Sit
 
W/D:
– Foam Rolling/Static Stretching: Full Body
 
One thing to remember is that the above is just a lifting philosophy, or at best a set of guidelines, it’s not set in stone. You may also find adding in 1-2 session a week of gentle CV work to your liking, however you need to remember that more isn’t always better and that you can only progress as much as you can recover.
Be sure to eat a large amount of nutritious foods, set you calories acceding to your desired goal (maintenance, deficit, surplus etc), drink enough water and get at least 6 hour son quality sleep a night.
 
Chase performance, not fatigue, always.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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The sun is shining & the cardio is in full swing.

Giving the good turn in the weather many will take to the streets to run, this is cool however not everyone runs well and when done repeatedly it can lead to injuries.
 
If you want to dig in to that more you’ll need to look up the biomechanics of running, perhaps starting here.
 
 
To help you avoid injury here are some other alternatives to running the toys can do to help shift some summer lbs.
 
Here are some of my personal favourites.
 
– Kettlebell Swings
– Skipping
– Loaded Carries
– Complexes (any piece of kit)
 
Now some examples of what you can do with the above.
 
– 10,000 Kettlebell Swings (ala Dan John).
 
500 swings a day, either on their own or with a big lift (presses or chins on alternating days for 3-5 reps in-between sets of swings.)
 
– Intervals on the rope.
 
30/30 is a great little protocol, again ala Dan John (kinda have a bit of a crush on that man).
 
Do 30 seconds of a sprint, 30 seconds skipping slower for recovery, repeat for up to 30 rounds. This is also a cracking protocol for hill sprints or sprints.
 
You’ve also got the option of simply doing a long skip of 30-45min while listening to a PodCast or AudioBook.
 
– Pick up awkward objects and carry them.
 
This is the most primal fat loss option. You can either lift rocks, sand bags, dumbbells or anything you can get your hands on and then walk with if for say 20m, put it down, then walk it back to the start. Do this for 20,30 or perhaps 45min.
 
While it may seem easy on paper it can guarantee you that it will strip fat because it’s not the sort of thing you body easily adapts to.
 
That’s the secret after all, to lose fat effectively you want to pick movements that are inefficient (hard to do and highly calorically demanding), this does’t mean unsafe just to be clear, just not easy.
 
– 4-6 lifts, 4-8reps per lift one after the other, without rest 🤗
 
You can do these with varied bits of kit, you just have to plan the movements logically and pick a weight that is challenging yet not impossible to use.
 
Example: Dumbbell Complex 4-8 reps per movement
 
Burpee (holding DB’s), Swings, Clean, Press, Squat, Renegade Row
 
Example: Barbell
 
Deadlift, Clean, Front Squat, Push Press, Back Squat, Good Morning, Behind Neck Push Press, Bent Over Row
 
Endless options.
 
All of the above are effective for fat loss, you also have many more choices available to you when it comes to hitting some cardio based training, it doesn’t just need to be running.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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