Tag Archives: body
Have you ever really listened to your body? I mean really listened to it? Do you even know what it’s saying?
The skill of listening to your body is not an easy one to master, it takes time, effort and most of all patience to learn your own language. If you really listen you will know if you really do have that extra rep or if you need a de-load, perhaps it’s a case of some more sleep. Whichever it is, listening t your body will reveal all.
How can you learn what your body is really telling you? Unfortunately there is no easy answer, it simply takes time and practice. A great way would be to meditate, to become aware of all your thoughts and deal with them one at a time, then, once you have control over the mind, or at least acceptance of your thoughts you can start to listen to your body and how it feels.
The best way to start meditation is to find a place outside you can go alone and start to focus on your thoughts and absorbing everything around you and become aware. After you become aware you can start to hear what your body has to say, you might find out you’re not fatigued from too much training but rather not enough sleep because of a mineral deficiency. As crazy as that sounds it’s more true than many would ever want to believe.
Try this for me today. Take 5min and simply sit and try to see what your body is feeling, the little aches it has, the stiffness, the hunger for certain foods (not ego craving, actually craving). It will take time but once you start being able to listen to your body you will find you now just when to go all out and when to back off, thus finding yourself imbued with a new sense of self.
Walkouts, Partial Reps, Banded Moments, Movements with Chains, Lockout Reps, Board Pressing, the list of specialist exercises is numerous but do you really need them?
Building is the aim, but with all the set and rep ranges out there which one should you use?
There was the famous 6×6 & 8×8 that was used by Vince Gironda
Or the hugely successful 7-5-3 Wave Loading System found under the tutelage of Charles Poliquin
You even heard stories of how well people did on Dorian Yates’ ‘Blood & Guts One Set to Faliure’
Some even did phenomenally well on the very simple 4×8-12
But the truth is that all of the systems work, lets be honest and accept that if they didn’t work they wouldn’t be spoken about.
The hardest part isn’t finding a set/rep scheme that works, it’s finding one YOU can stick with for the long haul, in our society of quick fixes and instant gratification we want to add 30lbs of lean muscles, drop 50lbs of body fat and look akin to a Greek God all by last week.
Sadly life doesn’t work that way. If you want to build some decent lean muscle you will need to be prepared to put in the hard work, eat adequately and have everything pretty much on point. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a life but you must understand that the more effort you put in and the more sacrifice you’re willing to make the faster and less time you will need you will achieve your results (which could still be in the years in most cases).
Now the obvious points are out of the way it’s time to give you some options to help you on your way to a better you.
The rotation of set/rep schemes will be set using a 3 days on 1 day off rotation until you have done the particular set/rep scheme 4/5 times (this will last mean each set/rep system will last around 3 weeks or so) with a total of 4 different rep/set options to go though. The main exercises will stay the same for all 4 mini blocks, as for assistance work you can add in some DT (Density Training) that should take no more than 10min and the chosen assistance movements can change every 3/4 workouts if you feel the need, but remember a change is only needed if you have become stagnant on that particular exercise.
Parameters for the mains lifts:
First 5 Workouts (weeks 1-3):
Loading % of 1RM: 70%,75%,80%,60%
Tempo: 6-1-1-1 and 2-1-1-1 for the 20 rep set
Rest: 90 Seconds
Second 5 Workouts (weeks 4-6)
Loading % of 1RM: 75-80%
Rest: 30 Seconds
Third 5 Workouts (weeks 7-9)
Loading % of 1RM: 80-85%
Rest: 90-120 Seconds
Forth 5 Workouts (weeks 10-12)
Loading % of 1RM: 82,85,87,90,92%
Rest: 120 Seconds or as needed
The main lifts will be comprised of the following:
– Squat (Front or Back)
– Bench Press (Incline of Flat)
– Deadlift (Overhand only)
– Bent Over Row (Supinated Grip)
– Press (Military or Behind Neck)
– Pull Up (Weighted or Body Weight)
Now it’s time for the interesting part, the workouts themselves.
Based on 3 working days you will only be required to do 2 movements per workout, plus 1-2 assistance movements if you feel the need.
A1 – Squat
B1 – Pull Up
C1 – Dumbbell Curl (5-10min on timer, do as many reps as possible in the time limit)
A1 – Bench Press
B1 – Bent Over Row
C1 – Skull Crusher (5-10min on timer, do as many reps as possible in the time limit)
A1 – Deadlift
B1 – Press
C1 – Lateral Raise – Do one set of C1 followed by C2, minimal rest between transitions.
C2 – Face Pull or Reverse Fly (5-10min on timer, do as many reps as possible in the time limit)
Day 4: Off
The above is a very simple progression that will help you build some quality lean muscle tissue while keeping things fresh and interesting. as I mentioned above you can change your assistance exercises as you see fit but try to keep the main movements the same as this will help with the accumulation f overload stimulus.
One benefit of these workouts is that they won’t take long to complete, perhaps 40min tops meaning that you will have lots more free time to spend with friends and family, eat lots of good foods and because the workouts are so short you will look forward to your next one, unlike some other extreme training programs that kill your motivation to train.
You will also need to make sure you’re eating enough, if you want my opinion on how to make a educated guess then do the following:
LBM (Lean Body Mass) x 17-19 = Daily Calories
LBM x 1-1.2 = Protein in Grams for the day x4 = calories from protein.
Protein x 1.5-3 = Carbs for the day (1 if you’re a desk jockey. Use 2 if you’re somewhat active at work and 3 if you’re job is very physical) x4 = Calories from carbohydrates.
Daily Calories – (Protein Calories + Carb Calories) = Calories of Fat per day, divide this number by 9 to get your daily grams of fat.
Now go and make some progress.
The hardest part about any ‘diet’ is the psychological aspect.
There is a key element to training that is often forgotten.
Do you know what it is or have you also forgotten about it?
Any Ideas yet?
Recovery…It’s recovery that is often forgotten about.
The definition of recovery is the return to a normal state of health, mind, or strength. When this relates to training that means that you are able to lift the same weight you did previously with the same efficiency, however if you have recovered adequately from the stimulus that you subjected the body to previously you will experience an adaptation/super compensation where you now are stronger than before, meaning you can handle more weight, more reps, more sets, less rest time or a combination of them. If you can’t then it’s arguable that you haven’t recovered.
There are some elements that will help improve your recovery:
– Sleep – You will be ideally getting 6-8 hours of sleep per night.
– Nutrition – Hit at minimum your basal caloric requirement but ideally a surplus of 300-500 calories.
– External Stress – Life… Just life. Work, Money, Relationships, all of these can affect your recovery if they cause your stress levels to be elevated on a constant basis.
In an ideal world these would be managed, it’s worth remembering that out of the three sleep is by far the most important. Stress isn’t far behind as it can affect your sleep, so you could say they are on par, ish.
Why is sleep top trumps in my book?
If sleep is disturbed you will find that homeostasis will be thrown out and your body will rapidly start to decline, even if your nutrition is on point and stress is well managed you will find that a lack of sleep will still take its toll.
Second on the list of importance would be stress. If you’re overly stressed you will find that can not only affect your ability to recover but it can also affect your sleep and your nutritional choices too (you will go looking for sugary foods to increase serotonin levels and lower cortisol).
If your nutrition is a bit lacking it’s not the end of the world, after all, nutrition is easy to sort with some simple tweaks and tracking. Obviously the quality of your food will also have an impact on your recovery, optimally eating the majority of our calories from single ingredient whole foods will yield the best macro/micronutrient profile, if you’re a fan of simple sugars then post workout would be the most optimal time to have these. Try to avoid foods that cause you gut irritation or gastric distress (this will vary from person to person, tracking what you eat and how you feel will help you find out what agrees and what doesn’t).
All in all it’s the management of your sleep and your stress levels that will have the biggest impact on you ability to recover.
To review the points above:
– Sleep – 6-8hour per night
– Stress – 10min daily meditation & 30min walks help lower cortisol.
– Nutrition – Eat mostly single ingredient whole foods at 3-500cal surplus.
Get these right and you will find your recovery is second to none.
You’re not training hard enough.
No, you’re not.
If you were then you wouldn’t be looking of rate next best program, you would be slowly and steadily making progress.
I have noticed that lots of people seem to be training much LONGER but not HARDER.
While this is only my opinion and lots will disagree, if you spend more than 45-75min in the gym then you’re not working hard enough, period.
In my opinion if you can train ‘hard’ for longer than that then you’re not training hard enough or you’re on some form of PED (steroid) because there are very few exceptions to this rule.
Why between those times?
Depending on the length or warm up you need (some people need up to 30min with all their pre mobility etc), once you’re body feels ready you start lifting and pushing yourself.
What does hard work feel like?
How should your reps feel?
How should your breathing be when running (cardio training)?
Lets say you’re doing 6 sets of 6 reps, the first 2 sets of 6 should feel easy ish, the next two you will want to be struggling to get 6 and the last two you should only get 4, perhaps 5 reps out and those should be a struggle. This is coming close to hard work.
Alternatively you could go in with the ind set that even on your first set the 6th rep should be a fighting struggle to achieve (I like this mind set).
You shouldn’t be able to hold a conversation. Simple.
Too much chatter when CV training means you;re not working at the correct intensity, you should be abel to get out maybe 3-5 words or single sentences, but if you can talk almost normally then you need to be working harder.
This all sounds quite logical doesn’t it?
You’d be surprised at the amount of people who have ‘pseudo intensity’. What is it?
Pseudo Intensity is when people are working hard ish, but they often hold a lot back, this is why allows them to stay in the gym for upwards of 90min and sometimes even 3 hours.
There is a simple equation I like to remember, it goes like this:
Hard Work + Consistency = Results
Okay, there are some nuances to that but the general ethos is solid.
Now stop faffing about and go do some proper training!