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40+ Lifting

The ravages of time effect us all, it’s something none of us can deny.

Eventually the days of working all the hours under the sun followed by a hard night of partying and then getting up at the crack of dawn and crushing a workout can only last so long.

In the end the body says “Nope, just no.”

So why does this happen?

Let’s look at what we know:

– Hormonal profiles are less optimal
– Your ability to recover declines as you age
– Sleep becomes paramount
– Tolerance to alcohol, highly processed foods declines
– You can actually train harder as you age due to better and more mature/developed neurological connections that create more in-road each session (plus you might have made strength gains from your early days, hopefully)
– Basically you’re no spring chicken anymore

Some people think raging is a bad thing, it’s not, it’s simply a process of life however if you plan your training correctly you can make plenty of progress in your later years, and for some people even make the best progress they’ve ever made.

Personally I’ve had clients who go on to outdo themselves ten-fold from their youth because as an adult they possess the following quality that only come with time:

– Wisdom
– Patience
– Accountability
– Common sense

A typical younger version of yourself might train 5-6 days per week and hit a combination of weights/cardio, not a bad thing, however from experience the attitude of most is that of this “I’m maintaining what I’ve got.” whereas as you age the attitude becomes “I’m looking to become stronger and improve what I have to prevent further decline.” – obviously note true for everyone, just most people.

As youths we truly are ignorant and take what we have for granted. If we had known that the foundations we lay in the early years will serve use to help keep our youth for longer more people would put in a conscious effort to train for strength/progress rather than just aesthetics and maintaining what we have.

^^ Always train for strength, performance and progress, that’s the bottom line. If you do aesthetics will come regardless of age.

Below is a winning formula I have used for people over the age of 40 who have become more invested mentally in their training.

– Train 2-4 times per week (more isn’t necessary)
– Focus on strengthening your posterior chain
– Focus on stretching your anterior chain
– 2-6 movements per session is great
– Conditioning is important (use 1 session to hit CV 80%+ HRR)
– Lower reps with more sets trumps all
– Average intensity will be around 80% 1RM
– 2-3 weeks of hard training followed by 1 week easy is king
– Take 4 total rest weeks of a year (12 week mesocycles)
– Food is fuel, eat mostly whole foods
– Enjoy life, if you want to eat loose do it, just don’t go nuts to often

If you’re new to lifting I advise you hire a coach to help you with the below. Kettlebells are a great tool, however they require practice so leave your ego at the door, focus on longevity.

 

You’ll improve strength/conditioning/mobility/flexibility with kettlebells, they’re the perfect tool as we find ourselves hitting the later years. If you have never used them I suggest hiring a coach to help teach you their ways.

Enjoy,
Ross

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The fast metabolism fiasco

“It’s okay for them, they can eat what they want, they have a fast metabolism.”
 
^^ I hear this a lot.
 
Is this something you’ve said in the past, along with the classic – “I’ve got a slow metabolism, I gain weight instantly if I eat.”
 
Do you know how these people with this seemingly godlike metabolism do it?
 
Do you want to know?
 
I will tell you.
 
Their metabolism is not that far off from yours, the only difference is how they live their lives, which usually look like this:
 
– They eat at or just below their required maintenance calories (you don’t)
 
– They move more and thus have a higher energy expenditure, typically from CV training and/or weightlifting which helps create EPOC/In road, (you don’t)
 
– They have more lean muscle mass (you don’t)
 
Can you see a pattern forming here?
 
The whole fast/slow metabolism excuse is utter nonsense for most average people. It’s usually a simple case that their energy expenditure is lower than their energy intake.
 
Wait, what’s that I hear?
 
You have thyroid problems?
 
So do a lot of other people and guess what, if it is managed by the doctor then you don’t have a thyroid problem, you have an eating problem as in you eat too much.
 
Now is it true there will always be some people who are the exceptions and because of this the world and it’s dog jump on that and claim to be the exception, I can safely say from experience this is not the case, trust me on that.
 
Ironically the exceptions never use being the exception as an excuse, they just find a way to make things work and achieve their goals. It’s only the average who use the exception excuse.
 
So to summarise…
 
They don’t have a fast metabolism.
 
You don’t have a slow metabolism.
 
They eat less, move more and have higher amount of lean mass than you, it’s that simple.
 
Stop making excuses and start looking for ways in which YOU can make the changes you need, if you need help please ask and you will get it.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Train to gain

It seems that hitting momentary mechanical failure is equally if not more important tan the load you lift.
 
 
^^ A good study looking at 3x Fail x30% VS 3x Fail x80%.
 
In short, the act of hitting failure provide adequate stimulus to trigger muscle growth.
 
The growth was essentially the same in both groups, however the group that used a heavier weight got stronger as well (pretty logical).
 
So what does this mean for your training?
 
You can look at it one of two ways:
 
1 – Cycle your loads between 30-80% 1RM and perform 3 sets per muscle group to muscle failure each set (after a couple of warm up sets, obviously).
 
2 – You can take this data and combine to s strength program to add some extra oomph, so perhaps performing working sets at a standard weight, say 5x5x80% (leaving reps in the take and focusing on strength), followed by a back off set of the same weight or between the 30-80% mark for AMRAP to hit failure, triggering more growth stimulus.
 
Both options are viable, both will improve strength and size.
 
Another nice option is this:
 
W/U – 10-15 reps
Set 1 – 10 reps – tough
Set 2 – 8 reps – tougher
Set 3 – 6-8 reps – hardest set
Set 4 – reps to failure with previous load or reduce load by 20%
 
If you ever see someone who has any decent amount of size you’ll notice they’ve often blended training to failure with stopping just short, try it yourself and see how you do.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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How trying to do it all kept me small.

There is a reason they say that that less is more.

It might seem counterintuitive in the fitness industry, especially given that to make progress you need to provide your body with a stimulus that forces adaptation and then to keep progressing the stimuli needs to continue too increase.

So that law in itself means you must always do more, right?

From a basic standpoint, yes, but from a longevity and realistic progression one, no.

Have you heard of MED – minimum effective dose – it means doing the least amount you need to ensure progression.

A lot of people tend to opt for the other option known as MRV – maximal recoverable volume – both are similar, yet hammering yourself with the most you can recover from and doing what you need to do to trigger growth/adaptation don’t always go hand in hand, even though they should.

This is because of what we end up doing, which is usually too much because we come from a world where more is considered better, when it’s usually just more.

The fact is is a great many people did what they should and in fact needed to be doing they’d progress faster and have better results, that’s a fact.

Over the years I personally have tried to do too much and as a result spent a long time not really progressing the way I’d hoped. A lack of sufficient recovery lead to sessions being less intense than they should have been, I’m sure you’re guilty of this as well.

Take for example a set of 5, you should be using around 80% of your 1RM for this, I bet you don’t because 80% is a hefty lump and it’s hard, you don’t like working hard, do you….

If you ever look at a typical gym bro (natural or not), they grow, not because they have a special gym routine but because they train as hard as they should each session and force the body to adapt. Well, at least their upper body anyway, legs tend to be forgotten.

Most will train as follows:

– Chest
– Back
– Legs (skipped)
– Shoulders
– Arms/abs
– Off
– Off

So 4x upper body session per week, these end up as a pushing/pulling format as triceps usually get hit with chest/shoulders and biceps are done on back day and then again on arm day.

Each session will they will give it their all. I can vouch for this 100% because I’ve seen it in person and for all their faults of skipping legs and big compound lifts that are hard and make them look weak because they don’t train them (ego is a fragile thing), what they do train, they train with intensity and a sense of purpose so fierce it’s frightening.

A limiting factor for many is time, so the time they have they use well, going to the point that many won’t, thats the secret to their success.

The better ones usually have good form as well.

The successful ones do what they need to do, not more. It’s the ones who try to do too much that don’t progress because they think more is better and it’s not, it’s just more.

What can you learn from the basic gym bro?

– Lift to the point just short of failure (keeping a couple of reps in the bag before form goes)
– Lift as heavy as weight as your body will allow with good form
– Intensity, Intensity, Intensity
– Rest is important
– Be willing to go in to places mentally that others won’t, you’ll need strength when things get tough

When it comes to my personal results, the best ones came after injury (major knee damage), training wen’t down to 2xpw at the start, then up to three days and I had no choice but to make each one count.

The added rest allowed me to push hard in each session, something I’d not been able to do previously when training more because I was simply faffing about for lack of a better term.

How can you apply this to your training?

– Limit training days 3xper week for example
– Limit training session light 45-115min
– Limit exercises to 3-5 movements
– Limit sets to 3-6
– Set rep goals (25, 50, 100 etc)
– Push sets to the limit

Remember you can do it all, train like you only have some much time and you’ll find you work harder and progress faster because you’re doing what you need to be doing to maximise your session.

Just because it’s less, don’t think it’s easier.

Enjoy,
Ross

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The best workout you’ll never do

Morning All,

There are endless workout options on the interwebs, this one is just one of many however it will give you a nice balance between lifting heavy, getting in your volume and easy planning.

Ideally you will work it as a 3 on 1 off rotation, this is because it makes it easier to track.

You will be using the Heavy-Light-Medium System which gives you a max effort day, a high volume day for pump/restoration and then a moderate volume day with a decent weight.

Here are the rep ranges you’ll be hitting per workout:

  • Heavy – 25 reps at 85%+ of 1RM
  • Light – 100 reps at 60% of 1RM
  • Medium – 50 reps at 70-80% of 1RM

Those are the rep goals you will go for on your main/accessory lifts, you can hit them with what ever rep/set parameters you choose (more on this later) – deadlift is a bit different due to it’s taxing nature at the suggested loads above, the guide is as follows:

  • Heavy DL – 6 reps
  • Light DL – 24 reps
  • Medium DL – 12 reps

You will break the workouts in to  A Pull-Push-Legs Split and hit 3 movements per workout, you’ll see why only three shortly.

The rotation of the 3-1 is where you change the rep scheme for the day, here is how it looks based on days:

  1. Deadlift – Heavy
  2. Press – Light
  3. Squat – Medium
  4. Off
  5. Deadlift – Light
  6. Press – Medium
  7. Squat – Heavy
  8. Off
  9. Deadlift – Medium
  10. Press – Heavy
  11. Squat – Light
  12. Off
  13. Cycle repeats at least once more before potentially changing exercises

As shown this is a 12 day cycle, so you will go through all the rep ranges for each lift within two weeks. If we take DL as the example, the first heavy day might be 200x6x1 and then 12 days later you would add some weight (any amount is good, from a fractional plate to a pair of 2.5kgs, just add some weight) it would be 205x6x1 and so on. The aim is to add a little bit of weight where ever you can.

If we look at the rep goals it begs the question, is that for one lift or all of them?

The answer is all of them for that day. So if you’ve got a 100 rep target that’s what you do on each lift, same goes for 25 and 50 reps – with the deadlift itself being less while it’s accessory movements follow the prescribed rep goal.

Here is how the workouts might look as an example based on the first three days listed above (keep the same movements for at least 2 cycles – 4 weeks – then you can change if you feel the need):

Pull Day: Heavy 25rep goal (6 on DL)

  • Deadlift: 6x1x95%
  • Bent Over Row: 5x5x85%
  • Supinated Chin: 8x3x90%

Push Day: Light 100rep goal

  • Close Grip Bench: 10x10x60%
  • Overhead DB Press: 10x10x60%
  • Dips: 5x20x60%

Leg Day: Medium 50rep goal

  • Squat: 10x5x80%
  • RDL: 10x5x75%
  • Hamstring Curl: 5x10x70%

Get the idea?

All you need do is change the rep goal of the day and hey-presto, you have something easy to follow. Obviously you don’t need to use the example exercises or rep/set schemes above they’re just examples.

The main take away is the concept. Give it a go for 3 months and watch the progress happen.

Enjoy,

Ross

 

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5 Steps to Uncomplicated Training

Nothing fancy today, just really simple advice to boost your performance and make training fun again.

Here we go:

1 – Select 3 lifts per workout, ideally all free weight movements with at last 2 being compound. Spend less time of faff.

2 – Set a rep goal of 25-50 reps per movement.

  • If you want more muscle use higher reps and less sets – 4-6 on main lift, 6-8 on the second and 8-12 on the third.
  • If you want more strength use less reps and more sets – 1-3 on main lift, 4-6 on second and 6-8 on the third.

3 – Train 3 days per week using a full body training method, unless you can afford the luxury of more, in which cause you a 3 on 1 off rotation in which cause use Pull-Push-Legs – you could do PPL if you wanted to do 3x per week but you’d have to program correctly for maximum effect.

If you can only train 3 days per week and want to use Pull=Push-LegsL

  • Pull + Light Pressing lift in-between each set
  • Push + Light Pulling lift in-between each set
  • Legs + A full body lift such a clean/press, loaded carry etc.

4 –  Walk, Jog or Run? None of them, SPRINT!

Aim for 5-10 30-60 second rounds of all out sprinting at the end of a session for maximal VO2 Max benefit, you can also swap this for battle rope work, Strongman style loaded carries, medleys etc, jus make sure it’s an all out effort every round.

5 – Keep workouts between 45-60min. You can workout hard or work long, not both, you may as well go in, work hard and get out, this will give you more time to spend doing other things you enjoy or extra time with your family.

Simple but far from easy. Work hard and you’ll get results.

Enjoy,

Ross

 

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Basic Mastery, Baby Steps.

“Progress is steeped in a mastery of the basics.”

Let’s face it, it’s true not matter which way you cut it.

Here, an example for you:

When you were born did you have the ability to walk straight away?

No, no you didn’t. You first had to master gaining conscious control and awareness of your limbs instead of look at your foot and thinking “What is this, can I eat it?” before sticking it in your mouth as babies do.

Next up was perhaps rolling over and pushing yourself off the floor, swiftly followed by flailing all your limbs around like a fish stranded on dry land, then on to sitting up by yourself along with other various nuances. Eventually that combination gave you the skill required to crawl.

After getting used to crawling around you start to grab on to anything to lift yourself up and stand, not long after this with some unsteady first steps where you fall down, then you get back up and try again, you keep trying, never giving up – funny how the only thing you lose as you age is the desire not to give up, ironic really, what helps you survive as a child is the very thing you hide from as an adult; effort and preserving at a given task until you succeed.

Could you imagine if babies had the attitude of most adults? They would never walk, ever.

Eventually, after many a failed attempt, SUCCESS!

You can now walk and from that day you were unstoppable, except for doors and other such baby restricting implements.

The point is this, without mastering the basics as a child you’d not be walking now, the same goes for achieving results in the way of fitness, health and aesthetics. You must first master the basics of nutrition and weight lifting form, you must also have the enthusiasm and determination of a child striving to walk. If you have those 4 elements then you’ll find you leave plenty of people in the dust with the outstanding results you achieve.

Just remember, once upon a time you didn’t give up, you didn’t let yourself get defeated or fall victim to the thought of “I can’t do it” you simply mastered the basics and kept going, if you approach you life with this attitude you will find it’s a far more successful one and by logic a happier one too.

Enjoy,

Ross

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A no fuss, 3 exercise workout to produce results in 150 reps or less.

This program structure is ideal for gaining strength, lean muscle and losing fat.
Hopefully you will have the option of training a minimum or 3 times per week. In an ideal world you would be able to train 3 days on, 1 day off, however, regardless of what options you have, say only two days per week, this training method can still work very well for you.
 
Here are the basic guidelines to follow.
 
– 3 Lifts per workout only (ideal all compound lifts)
– 25-50 reps per lift
– 3-10RM loads (this will allow for some variety)
– Perform as many sets of reps as needed with your chosen RM load until you hit your target reps for the day
– Rest as needed but try to keep it to a minimum
– Pull Workout, Push Workout, Leg Workout
 
Here is an example of how the three days in your first micro-cycle (three day period) might look:
 
Day 1 – Legs – 50 Rep Target – 6RM Loading
A1 – Squat
B1 – RDL
C1 – Weighted Barbell Front Rack Lunge
 
^ You might end up doing 8×6 on each with some extra reps as the start because you feel strong, for example.
 
Day 2 – Push – 50 Rep Target – 7RM Loading
A1 – Overhead Press
B1 – 30 Degree Incline Press
C1 – Weighted Dip
 
^ Perhaps 6×7 and one odd set of 8 because you felt strong, or 4×7 and then odd reps until you hit your target, either way just make sure you hit 50 reps per lift.
 
Day 3 – Pull Day – 50 Rep Target – 10RM Loading
A1 – Deadlift
B1 – Barbell Row
C1 – Weighted Chin Up
 
^ Maybe 5×10 on all?
 
Day 4 – Rest
 
As you can see the main aim is to get in the volume of 50 reps, it doesn’t matter really how many set you do or even if you hit say 6 reps each set so long as you get all the reps in. You will notice the 50 rep volume is on 6-10RM loads, if you want some heavier days you can use the 25 rep target and the 3-5 RM loads, you’d probably end up doing say 8×3, 6×4 or 5×5 etc. .
 
The simple focus on compound lifts and basic volume will help you get stronger and build more lean muscle. It’s worth tracking all of your lifting so that you can see what RM loads you’ve used and which ones you haven’t. It’s good to do 2-3 mini cycles (3 day blocks) on the same RM loads then change it up.
 
It was mentioned above that you can do this if you only have three days per week free, which it is. You will do well do do 2-3 weeks on each RM load.
 
If you have only two days you would simply run through the Legs-Push-Pull order in sequence, meaning your weeks might look like this:
 
Week 1 – Legs/Push
Week 2 – Pull/Legs
Week 3 – Push/Pull
Then the cycle repeats back to Legs/Push, which could be a good time for a new RM load to be used.
 
It’s simple, effective and results producing.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Fractional Plates = Fractional Progress = Long Term Gains.

It’s not the fastest thing in the world but by god it’s effective.
 
Morning All,
 
This is a slow grind, it takes around 7 weeks to add 10kg to the lift, training said lift 3xpw.
 
After the 7weeks you have the choice to keep adding weight and take off a rep or drop the weight back and add reps.
 
As an example…
 
SQ 8×3 = 120 to 130
SQ 8×2 = 130 to 140
SQ 8×1 = 140 to 150
 
*You can use other rep progressions if you choose – 8,7,6 for example. It doesn’t have to be 8 sets either is can be more or less.
 
The fractional plates you will need are 0.25kg in weight, giving you a 0.5kg increase each session.
 
Your accessory work can be of your choice for 25-50 reps, stick with the movement for two weeks minimum (ideally all 7 is good), you can then choose to pick a different variation if needed. 1-4 accessory lifts are sufficient.
 
Using a workout A/B schedule in an alternative fashion works best, this can be done Monday-Wedneady-Friday or Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday
 
A typical full body workout might look like this:
 
Workout A:
 
A1 – Press – reps as above depending on which block you’re in.
A2 – Chin up x6-8
B1 – Squat 5×5-10
B2 – Leg Curl x10
C1 – DB press 5×5 or 5×10
C2 – Chin up x6-8
 
Workout B:
 
A1 – Press – reps as above depending on which block you’re in.
A2 – Dumbbell or Barbell Row x6-8
B1 – DL 5×5 – Working to a top set of 5 for the day
B2 – Lunge x6 per leg
C1 – DB press 5×5 or 5×10
C2 – Dumbbell or Barbell Row x6-8
 
Aim to be in and out f the gym in 45-60min, you can feel free to chuck in some planks and smaller accessory work if you have time, do 3×8-12 for these movements.
 
If you are someone who is pressed for time in the gym then this abbreviated full body workout will be right up your street.
 
Workout A:
 
A1 – Press – reps as above depending on which block you’re in.
B1 – Squat 5×5-10
C1 – Pressing Movement (Dip, Incline etc) 5×5 or 5×10
 
 
Workout B:
 
A1 – Press – reps as above depending on which block you’re in.
B1 – DL 5×5 – Working to a top set of 5 for the day
C1 – Pressing Movement 5×5 or 5×10
 
*Have a pulling movement in between each pressing movement, chin/pull ups are good, as are face pulls and rows. This wants to have a focus on getting in some good volume so use 6-12 reps.
 
What is written above is simple and effective, you can be in and out of the gym in 45-60min in the first option and 30-45in the second (perhaps less if you keep your rest to only what you need). If fat loss is your goal then make sure you have correct calories and do plenty of walking wherever possible.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Advice so simple you won’t think it will work.

Happy New Year Everyone.
 
It’s the dawn of 2017 and as you are well aware that mean a lot of new people flooding to the gyms in an effort to make a change.
 
Before we go on I have some quick advice about the newbies:
 
– If you don’t like them that’s okay, however probably best you go in at a non-peak time.
 
– If you have no problem with newbies please make sure to give them a helping hand, we were all their once.
 
– Treat newbies how you wanted to be treated.
 
Okay, now those little bits are out of the way we shall go in to some simple yet effective advice for the ‘New Year New Me’ crowd.
 
There are endless things that can be advised but these 5 tips will help you build a solid foundation, don’t ignore them because I did and it heavily stalled my progress.
 
1 – Buy a diary for Training & Nutrition. Tracking is an important habit you NEED to succeed.
 
2 – Eat 3-5 meals per day consisting of whole foods, meat, veg, you know what you should be aiming for. Think 80/20, whole foods/indulgence, that way you will get all your needed nutrients and have some wiggle room for the things you like.
 
3 – Train 2-3 times per week (yep, some people can start off with 2xpw and make great progress, don’t be in a rush to do too much too soon.
 
4 – LIFT WEIGHTS! Guys, I know you will do this. Ladies… Don’t be scared of the weights, they will help you strip fat and get that firm body you had from your youth once again. Aim for a nice simple 5×5 program – Here is a link to a great app: https://stronglifts.com/5×5/
 
New tip is for both Guys & Girls It’s a simple program that focuses on Compound (big lifts) movements which target multiple muscle groups that give you the most bang for your buck, don’t waste time doing lots of isolation work unless you’ve been training 2 years minimum you will find you make plenty of progress without too much faff.
 
You may also find the Dinosaur Strength Training Series of books a great read, you can get them on kindle. Aim for 45-60min lifting 2-3xPW.
 
5 -DO SOME CARDIO! Girls you will be fine with this but don’t do too much, it won’t get you the look you want. Guys, you need to do some because you won’t. Aim to get in 2x30min of good hard CV, no dawdling, work hard (perhaps at the end of your weight session).
 
When it comes to getting started in the gym there will be endless amounts of advice, tonnes of ’12 week transformation’ program and much more to draw you in and drain your money.
 
If you want solid, sustainable results hire a trainer/coach, but ask to see their portfolio of evidence (past client success) or ask to speak to current clients.
 
We all started somewhere and we all made the same mistakes so while you might think “Well I will do it his way for now and see how I go.” Don’t, just don’t…. You are not special, you are like the rest of us, we said the same and held back out progress or didn’t get the most we could in those early stages. Don’t let your ego get in the way, please ask for help from someone who knows what they’re doing because these people really want to help you, honestly.
 
Tomorrow I will post up a nice simple program for the new year. It’s nothing earth shattering, it will be simple but very effective, so much so that you will think it won’t work but you’d be wrong.
 
Now go and get yourself two diaries and start your fitness journey the right way.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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