Category Archives: Nutrition & Health

Well Wouldn’t You Know…

Nutriton…

What people think it is:

– Strict 1000 Calorie Diets of Chicken, Broccoli and Rice everyday.
– Only Filled by ‘Good’ Foods….
– No Social Life. 

What it actually is:

– Specific to your individual goal (required Calories/Macros).
– Specific to your needs as an individual (As above).
– Filled with any food you choose*

*Unless you have a specific allergy or intolerance, then probably best avoid those. Remember, food being good or bad is subjective. Too much of anything can be bad just like too little of anything can also be bad.).

Why do body builders, athletes and alike eat super strict? (except for refeed days) Because it’s specific to their goal at that specific time, they don’t live like this.

If you don’t enjoy your nutrition and it hampers your life then chances are it’s not right for you.

Context is the key.

Ross

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What People Don’t Tell you…

If there is one universal truth that I’ve learnt over the years it’s the fact that Trainers/Coaches never tell you how hard things really are because they don’t want you to think their clients ever struggled to achieve their goals.

Let me tell you that all the photos you see of success have been achieved by one of two methods:

  • PhotoShop
  • Hard Work

Normally the latter is true for the average person, but this is something nobody wants to admit because it’s not the ‘quick fix’ or ‘magic pill’ they were after.

When you knuckle down and start putting in the graft of accumulating hours in the gym, eating more optimally (people are bashing ‘clean eating’ recently but it works and it is sustainable if you have common sense) and limit the amount of questionable nutrition choices in your life then you will achieve results, but it takes time.

There have been lots of movements pop up in the last year regarding new exercises methods and ways of eating, but they’re not really new… They’ve been around for decades they just didn’t have a fancy name like the do now.

Back to the point, sorry i want off slightly there.

If someone was to tell you that getting what you want was hard would you still ant it as much? Probably not is the answer for some, but the overall fact of that matter is that what ever you hear is normally a half truth and you can expect something different when you start down the same path as your idols.

Here is the truth in a few short words:

Success required hard work. More work than you’ve ever done so far, if you had worked harder you wouldn’t be where you are you would be further up the ladder, but even if you were there there’s plenty more hard work still to come to climb even higher. It’s a fact of life the more effort you put in the more you get out, there is no quick fix that will ever out last hard work and commitment.

Enjoy

Ross

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The Secret of Constant Progression: Part 3

Good Evening,

I have written about Volume & Intensity over my last two posts, today I will cover the last element of training that can be changed to increase the overall load lifted.

Time to tackle Density.

Now when talking about the density of a workout people would assume it’s how many sets/reps you do, while that’s not entirely wrong it’s short of the mark. Density in the realms of a workout is actually how much rest you have between sets, so doing 5×5 @ 70% and the set takes 50 seconds to complete with 60 seconds rest between sets (490 seconds to complete all sets.) is more dense than doing the same volume/intensity with 120 seconds rest between sets (730 seconds total).

When you make a workout more dense it allows you to lift more weight in a shorter period of time, thus leading to better progressive overload. It is better however to keep the intensity (% of 1RM) between 60-75%, any more and the rest will begin to escalate and the density will become compromised meaning you will need to increase the overall volume by other means.

Using the same example we have used over the last few days (see below) we know what the total volume load is, we know the average intensity is 70%, but we don’t know the density.

Current Squat 1RM = 143kg = 100% 1RM
100kg = 70%

Week 1 – 5×5 @ 100kg – 5×100 = 500 – 500×5 (240seconds rest + 250 seconds working set time) = 2500kg (Total Weight Volume) and 25reps Total Volume in 490 seconds.

*This remains the same for each workout.

How would we change the overall load though a density change? We bring down the rest.

Week 1 – 5×5 @ 100kg – 5×100 = 500 – 500×5 (180 seconds rest + 250 seconds working set time) = 2500kg (Total Weight Volume) and 25reps Total Volume in 430 seconds.

You have achieved more work in less time, this brings down the time you spend in the gym while still hitting the same amount of total volume.

What does this mean?

Well you can opt to do some extra assistance work if you so choose too, but the biggest take home is that you can achieve the same amount in less time which is something busy people will find very useful, all you need to do is start off with a standard rest period – 90 seconds for example – then start chipping away at it until you can no longer handle the load without more rest.

Now you know of 2 ways to increase the overall load lifted and the third helps you save time while keeping the total volume high.

Use these posts to help you progress.

Enjoy
Ross

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The Secret of Constant Progression: Part 2

I trust you have all read yesterdays post.

If you haven’t please do so, it will make this one much easier to understand.

It’s time to move on to the subject of Intensity and how tweaking it can have a profound effect on your results.

When I hear people often speak of intensity they refer to how hard they are pushing and how little rest they have, in other words how ‘intense’ their session is. However the true meaning intensity* is not simply just getting hot, sweaty and out of breath, no no no, it is actually the total % amount of your 1RM you have on the bar.

*Intensity is measured as a % of your maximum. This is a transferable principle. For example, Cardio Vascular training you would monitor the heart rate level in such an instance – an athletes MHR (Max Heart Rate) could be 200 – athlete trains at 160 BMP (Beat Per Minute) – this is 80% of MHR.

After all, how can you measure an incase in intensity session to session without knowing this?

Just going on how tired you feel is not a good indicator and it’s likely to see you injured.

Lets just clarify;

Intensity in weightlifting is the % amount of your 1RM you have on the bar.

Adjusting the intensity of your workouts is a great way to help induce progressive overload, all it requires is a nice simple liner periodisation program (Just like we did with the Volume example.), in doing so you will be able to increase the intensity of your workout week to week and incur more overload – Lifting more weight each session.

Here is a follow on from my example yesterday:

Current Squat 1RM = 143kg = 100% 1RM

Week 1 – 5×5 @ 100kg – 5×100 = 500 – 500×5 = 2500kg (Total Weight Volume) @ 70% of 1RM

*You’re working at an intensity of 70%. Lets see how we can keep the sets/reps (volume) the same at 25reps, but increase the intensity to improve the progressive overload stimulation.

Week 2 – 5×5 @ 107kg – 5×107 = 535 – 535×5 = 2675kg (Total Weight Volume) 25reps @ 75% intensity

As you will be able to see by looking at this example, the progressive overload is higher in the second week, but not by much.

Week 3 – 5×5 @ 114kg – 5×114 = 570 – 570×5 = 2850kg (Total Weight Volume) 25reps @ 80% intensity

*Week 4 Deload to 5×5 @ 60% – 5×85 = 430 – 430×5 = 2150kg (Total Weight Volume) 25 reps a reduction of 20% intensity – This allows your body to back off form he volume but maintain its neuromuscular connections and familiarity with the weight.

If we add the total amount of weight lifted together from changing the Volume & the total amount lifted from changing the Intensity we can see how much of a difference there is.

Tweaking Volume = 14,500kg lifted over 4 weeks (Including Deload)

Tweaking Intensity = 10,175kg lifted over 4 weeks (Including Deload)

That’s a difference of 4325kg between the two. Surely this means all you need to do is just cycle the volume and happy days right?

Not really.

Cycling the volume only, will get you so far because of the sheer amount of reps you will have to amass, in the end it will be too much to handle. But what about linking the two?

What is this madness of which I speak I hear you ask…

You could use the template from yesterday to set up your sets/reps and follow that for once cycle, then once it’s complete instead of start at 100kg (70%), start at 107kg (75%) and follow the same procedure. Remember you can also change the reps too, in the yesterdays post I only changed the total sets, so if you keep the sets the same but change the reps along with the intensity and you will see a complete difference in total load lifted:

Week 1 – 5×5 @ 100kg – 5×100 = 500 – 500×5 = 2500kg (Total Weight Volume) @ 70% of 1RM

Week 2 – 5×8 @ 100kg – 5×100 = 500 – 500×8 = 4000kg (Total Weight Volume) @ 70% of 1RM

^^ Total Load look familiar?

Use this advice to structure your workouts and you will have increased your overall load and further continued your progressive overload, this will lead to new strength & size gains.

*PROVIDED YOU EAT ENOUGH! Seriously, you need to be in an anabolic state to build muscle, that means being in a caloric surplus.

Now armed with these two crucial pieces of knowledge you should be set to take over the gym and become a colossus. But wait… I told you there were 3 elements you can change… Tomorrow we cover the forgotten aspect of adaptation;

Density.

Enjoy
Ross

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The Secret of Constant Progression: Part 1

When it comes to lifting weights well all want to have a steady progression, but many will stall and find their progress grinding to a halt without much warning.

Do you want to know how to avoid this?
Do you want the knowledge to build strength and muscle consistently?
Do you want to know what many trainers hesitate to tell?

Do you want to know the secret of constant progression?

I am going to write one short post per day about what elements of your training you can tweak that will allow you to continue to progress, they are not as complicated as you may think and on top of that there are only 3 KEY elements you need to be mindful off.

Volume

Intensity

Density

That makes 3 content filled posts for you to increase your knowledge and understanding of lifting weights, progression and progressive overload.

If you hied my advice you will find steady progression for many weeks, months and even years to come, so now we have all of the standard chatter of you the way;

Lets get started.

The route to progression is classed as continued progressive overload*, otherwise known as TOTAL VOLUME. This is the amount of weight you lift in one session, the get stronger or build more muscle you must lift more than you did before; simple right?

*Progressive overload by definition is that in order to adapt/grow we require a gradual increase in volume, intensity, density (frequency/time) in order to achieve the targeted goal of the user. In this context, volume, intensity and density are defined as follows: Volume is the total number of repetitions multiplied by the resistance used as performed in specific periods of time.

Not quite. Trying to constantly lift more weight each week will have you hitting a brick wall much sooner than you might realise, your body needs time to adapt, your ligaments and tendons need time to grow stronger as do your muscles. This is where the concept of volume can become skewed, lifting more weight to achieve more volume does not happen quiet the way you would think.

What is VOLUME?

Volume put simply is the cumulative amount of Sets & Reps you ave performed in that one session (Don’t get confused with Total Volume of Weight Lifted.*), the weight you’re using is known as the INTENSITY, but that’s something to talk about on another day, but as you will learn all 3 elements are intrinsically linked.

*The sum total volume of your weight lifted is what you will calculate at the end of your workout to see how much weight you lifted throughout the entire session and over a prolonged period of time throughout your different training phases, this will become important for establishing your ‘Power Index’, but more on that another day.

Example:

Week 1 – 5×5 @ 100kg – 5×100 = 500 – 500×5 = 2500kg lifted (Total Weight Volume) and 25reps Total Volume

So theoretically then this would be the next logical step:

Week 2 – 5×5 @ 105kg – 5×105 = 525 – 525×5 = 2625kg lifted (Total Weight Volume) and 25reps Total Volume

This progressive volume thing is easy according to this, the gains will be constant and strong… Or so we would like to believe. You have not changed the volume, you have changed the intensity, yes that has lead to more total volume, but not quiet in the way we are trying to achieve today.

Your body would only progress in this way for a certain period of time before it simply couldn’t handle any more weight for 5 sets of 5 reps, this is when you will need to change the volume load, I.E the amount of set’s and reps you’re doing.

You see, you can can increase your volume from a workout without having to increase the weight, take a look at this example:

Week 1 – 5×5 @ 100kg – 5×100 = 500 – 500×5 = 2500kg (Total Weight Volume) and 25reps Total Volume

Week 2 – 8×5 @ 100kg – 5×100 = 500 – 500×8 = 4000kg (Total Weight Volume) and 40reps Total Volume

Are you starting to get the picture now?

Week 3 – 10×5 @ 100kg – 5×100 = 500 – 500×10 = 5000kg (Total Weight Volume) and 50reps Total Volume

*Week 4 Deload to 6×5 @ 100kg – 5×100 = 500 – 500×6 = 3000kg (Total Weight Volume) and 30reps Total Volume a reduction of 40% Volume, you can have multiple variations of this, but you will learn that over the next few days – This allows your body to back off form he volume but maintain its neuromuscular connections and familiarity with the weight.

As you can see for my rather basic examples above you can increase the VOLUME of your workout by changing the numbers of sets you perform, you can also change the reps but of the purpose of this example I decided to change the sets as it’s easier to see the progression.

That said, if you did want to keep the sets the same but change the reps you might do the following:

Week 1 – 5×5 @ 100kg – 5×100 = 500 – 500×5 = 2500kg (Total Weight Volume) and 25reps Total Volume

Week 2 – 5×8 @ 100kg – 8×100 = 800 – 800×5 = 4000kg (Total Weight Volume) and 40reps Total Volume

Are you starting to get the picture now?

Week 3 – 5×10 @ 100kg – 10×100 = 1000 – 1000×5 = 5000kg (Total Weight Volume) and 50reps Total Volume

*Week 4 Deload to 3×10 @ 100kg – 10×1000 = 1000 – 1000×3 = 3000kg (Total Weight Volume) and 30reps Total Volume a reduction of 40% Volume

AS you can see now from the second example the sets can remain the same and the reps can change, provided your Total Weight Volume is increased you will be progressively overloading, thus getting bigger and stronger.

*PROVIDED YOU’RE EATING ENOUGH!

Hopefully now you have a solid understanding of what Volume is and what it actually means.

Tomorrow I shall be covering Intensity.

If you have any questions please leave a comment below.

Enjoy
Ross

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The Price of Success

We all want something,

Money
Power
Stature
Gains

and much much more.

There is always a price to you will have to pay to achieve success, it might be your free time, possibly your spare cash, maybe your childhood, but no matter the cost it’s still success and you then become the person that people want to be. You become the person who has done what everyone else thought impossible, you have broken a belief that stood in the way and changed the impossible to improbable then the improbable to probable and finally possible.

The difference between those who achieve their goals largely comes down to one thing – Action.

I bet you thought I was going to say, determination or a ‘do or die’ attitude, but no, the real difference between a person who is successful and one who isn’t is simply one took action, one did nothing.

Many dreams will fail not for a lack of passion, determination or any of their kin, it will be down to taking action. Two people might start out with the same goal, face the same problem and even have the same opportunities, but I will be willing to bet my money one the one who takes the most action to be the one to achieve their desired goal.

Action isn’t just taken once. It need to be taken for every step, otherwise you will find only you never finish what you start, IF you even start that is.

I need your help now.

I want to you write down your goal in the comments below in 3-5 words and then on a separate sentence what action you will carry out to get started. Once you have written both of those down I challenge you to action them and achieve your goal.

Let me know when you make it.

Enjoy
Ross

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Got 90 Days?

How long should you try something before you change it?

Personally I would say 90 days.

This length of time will allow you to see a positive adaptation to what ever minor or major changes you have implemented. It is also useful because 4 blocks of 90 days is a great way of breaking down a whole year, this will allow you to progress steadily and safely.

There is no need to rush for results.

Here are 4 different 90 day challenges that you can try:

1 – Tracking your calories & required macro nutrients – This will help you understand what YOU need to lose fat or gain muscle.

2 – A new workout plan – A 12 week plan (4 days per week) will prove useful and yield many results.

3 – Starting a sport or martial art – You will find you enthusiasm for exercise increases.

4 – Writing – Write down how you will achieve your goal everyday. Keeping it fresh in your mind will help you achieve it and feel more motivated.

Pick one and stick with it. Build some mental toughness and achieve!

Enjoy
Ross

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Stalled?

Have your results stalled?

If the answer is no then high 5! Keep doing what you’re doing for the time being, but if your answer is yes then I invite you to read on.

We shall start with fat loss:

A stall in your fat loss results is often down to your metabolism catching up with your calories.
What do I mean by that?

When you create a caloric deficit you will begin to lose weight, be that of water, fat or a combination of both. You achieve a deficit by establishing what your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) is at your current weight and then taking down your calories by 500-800 respectively, this is done by tweaking your macro nutrients (Protein, Fat, Carbohydrates) accordingly, often you will be lowering carbohydrates and fats while maintaining a minimum protein level of 0.8g per lb of bodyweight or up to 1.2g per lb of bodyweight. This strategy will achieve a results that lasts for a certain period of time before it becomes ineffective, but the obvious answer would be to just drop your calories even further right?

Not necessarily.

Dropping your calories further could indeed help you continue to progress, but it could also have a detrimental effect on your metabolism (Your metabolism is based from your old BMR), in essence brining it down to a lower level to match that of your current calories, but don’t worry, you can do one of two things to help kick start your fat loss once again.

1 – Increase the INTENSITY of your current training routine. Adding in some sprints and extra compound lifts is a good idea.

Or my preferred method –

2 – Having a carb refeed.

^^ What is this?

A carb refeed is where you will eat respectively the same amount of carbs that was worked out on your original BRM (For example: Original carbs to maintain original weight at 300g, deficit carbs at 150g. There is not need to refeed on fat, that can stay reduced.) doing this will help boost your metabolism back to its higher level and then you can get back to burning more fat.

Depending on your overall body fat % and fat weight your refeeds will be timed differently, but as a rough guide I would advise the following:

– 3+ Stone of BF – Refeed every 12-14days
– 1.5-3 Stone of BF – Refeed every 7-10 days
– Under 1.5stone of BF – Refeed every 3-5 days

Doing this will help keep your metabolism stoked and burning fat when it needs to.

Now on to Muscle gaining that has stalled:

You’re not eating enough.

I will repeat that…

YOU’RE NOT EATING ENOUGH.

Or more specifically, you’re not eating enough protein.

This is a common problem for those looking to add muscle, simply because they are scared of adding a little fat, but one thing that needs to be remember is that when you’re looking to add weight you NEED as surplus of calories on top of your BMR (500-800 extra ideally).

Hitting your required surplus it is essential for adding lean muscle, but more importantly to avoid potential atrophy getting your protein requirements of 0.8-1.2g per lb of bodyweight is a must! Anything under 0.8g per lb will leave you facing an up hill struggle to maintain the muscle you have. Remember your body is clever, if you’re not eating to increase or at least sustain what you have, it will begin to remove what it sees as unneeded muscle tissue, this is because muscle burns calories, precious calories that the body needs for various other biochemical tasks.

In short, to continue to lose fat you must eat and to continue to gain muscle you must also eat. It’s just a matter of how that is the key difference.

Hopefully this post will help you preserve your results and give you some focus and perspective to achieve more.

Enjoy
Ross

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Wait For It…

Q – Why does nothing I try when wanting to lose weight ever work?

*After a couple of exchanged Facebook messages it became apparent that unfortunately this young lady never stuck to anything for more than 2 weeks.

A – Try writing down what you’re doing and tracking it for at least 60-90 days.

We understand that it can be frustrating that some people seem to lose weight effortlessly while others struggle to shift even 1lb, but what is the real reason for such dramatic differences?

Genetics?
Personal Circumstances?
Environment?
Working Too Many Hours?

In truth there are varying reasons why some people will achieve results faster than others, but it doesn’t really matter because more often than not, those who don’t succeed seem to lack the will power to allow their bodies time to react to what they’re doing and let the results build over time.

No one wants to take years to lose a couple of stone, but lets look at the common dominator – it took years to put on, why would losing it be any different?

True you can lose a couple of stone easily in a year, but it will still take time for your body to adapt to being at that weight. Just because we want results fast doesn’t mean we will get them (Without drastic measures anyway.).

Our advise to you would be to be patient and keep a log of all of your small weight loss achievements, take progress photos and more importantly, relax. Getting stressed will only serve to hinder your results and drain your resolve.

Results take time and time is the only thing everyone has, regardless of Genetics, Personal Circumstances, Environment and any other excuse your can think of. Take each day one step at a time, in the end you will look back and see how much you’ve achieved.

Enjoy
Ross

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Got 40 Days?

I was reading through some of my older strength and conditioning books over the weekend and found some interesting articles, in particular the ’40 Day Strength Program’ that was talked about by Dan John & Pavel Tsatsouline.

The program is based around high frequency strength training and ‘Greasing the Groove’ of your movements, essentially practicing your strength skill.

What is the goal of this program? You are aiming to improve a PB on either a specific lift or a version of that lift.

It’s simple, effective and progressive.

To learn this miracle routine for breaking some plateaus read on.

The routine might be called the ’40 Day Strength Program’ but if you hit your goals before that 40day mark then you don’t have to continue, thus opting for a new program.

How do you do this program?

Follow this check list before you get started:

The Exercises –
• A large posterior chain movement (the deadlift is the right answer)
• Upper body push (bench press, incline bench press, military press)
• Upper body pull (pull-ups, rows, single arm rows)
• A simple full-body explosive move (kettle bell swings, snatches, or an olympic lift variation)
• An “anterior chain” move (an abdominal exercise). Ab wheel rollouts are the best choice for most people.

The Reps –
• Only do 10 reps per workout for the posterior chain and push/pull exercises (I would advise one warm up set of 5 first), you can use which ever rep scheme you like to hit the 10 rep target – 2×5, 5×2, 5-3-2, 3-2-1-2-3 or even 10×1 the choice is yours.
• One set of 20 to 50reps for the explosive move.
• Do a solid single set of five reps for the abs (If you opt fro the ab roller then has a 2-5second pause at the peak contraction of the movement).

The Weight –
• Never plan or worry about the weight or the load. Always stay within yourself and go heavy “naturally.” – Pavel.

*You are trying to hit a PB effortlessly and progressively over time, there is no need to scream the gym down to get people attention. Focus on your lift and executing it with perfect technique.

The Days –
You will do this workout everyday, potentially for 40day straight, remember that you;re not trying to kill yourself in the gym, you’re trying to hit an effortless PB and improve your movement patterns.
The Result –

PB’S!

I have always been a fan of trying to hit a rep based PB (3’s or 5’s etc) they are often safer, promote better form and they leave your ego and potential for injury at the door.

If you’re looking for a nice simple change then this workout is for you.

Enjoy
Ross

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