Tag Archives: habit

Traning vs Testing

Are you training or testing when you’re in the gym?
 
Hitting the gym is a ‘healthy’ habit of many these days.
 
While shifting some iron is all good, as is spamming out a 10k, consistently trying to one-up them can soon become problematic.
 
A common training trap to fall in to is the one of constantly testing your limits rather than building/increasing them.
 
This happens in part due to the ego we all have.
 
After all, once you start getting a name for yourself it becomes easy to link your very soul to that thing you do and to drop off some time on a 10k to allow recovery or perhaps run less total distance freaks people out.
 
Same goes for lifters, they end up using the same weights as they don’t want people looking down on them.
 
Insecurity really does become exacerbated in the gym.
 
Taking the time to step back and allow yourself to actually progress can be the hardest lesson to learn.
 
Cycling training loads, playing with total volume, deliberately programming to allow progress can be the hardest lesson for many to learn.
 
I’ve spent years trying to reach people in the right way for them.
 
Some have a lightbulb moment, others dig their heels in.
 
Most have the attitude of – ‘well a little more won’t hurt’.
 
Dear friends, when was the last time you made decent progress?
 
Answer this to yourself honestly.
 
Cut all the bullshit and excuses that you may dream up and really assess the place you’re in and compare it to say 5 years ago, have you really progressed or not?
 
If the latter is the answer then that may come from the fact you’ve been testing yourself too much, instead of building.
 
I speak from experience on this one.
 
Don’t waste years of your life going nowhere.
 
You’re not that important, no one cares if you go in and run 5k instead of 10, or press the 30kg dumbbells for sets of 12 instead of the 40’s.
 
Only your ego cares about such trivial things.
 
Don’t become a slave to it. Don’t succumb to the allure of constantly testing your body, train it to be better, train it to progress.
 
By all means plan in a test perhaps once or twice per year, just don’t do it every session.
 
Any questions please leave them below.
 
Enjoy,
Ross
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Calories & Your Mind

A friend of mine brought up a great point yesterday in a conversation.
 
‘If people know what they need to do to lose fat or achieve a gym based goal, and essentially how easy it is why is it they struggle? I feel it’s more the mental side of things that need addressing than the fact of calories in/calories out.’
 
^^ I’m paraphrasing, however that is the overall gist.
 
Solid point, right?
 
When it comes to the mental state of the masses I have one thing to say on the topic.
 
You, me and everyone else are broken.
 
Yep, many come from similar backgrounds of dysfunctional families, emotional traumas, social compromises and much more.
 
Those few that have their shit together are rare.
 
Essentially they’re the unicorns of the world, much like kids who grow up with both parents happily married, a loving pair of siblings and they house with a white picket fence.
 
Mental health has been given far more of the spotlight over these last few years, for good reason too.
 
It can play a large role in how a person progresses through life, yet many will not ever want to delve in to their own psyche, at least not until they’re ready, which might be never.
 
You’d be amazed how many would rather live shrouded by indifference than step out in to clarity.
 
Then we have people that will fall back on their mental health issues to keep themselves protected and firmly routed in the place they currently reside.
 
Stack all of this up and then try to throw in a body composition related goal such as fat loss or LBM gain and you’ve got quite the recipe for struggle.
 
While achieving goals is often simple, it’s rarely easy.
 
Take for example someone who gets dumped due to putting on a hefty amount of comfort weight in a relationship.
 
Once it happens the person decides to make a change, and often succeed.
 
The find a new partner, a better one, kinda.
 
Once again they begin putting their lost comfort weight back on and the cycle repeats, perhaps for their entire life and many won’t ever stop to ask why.
 
This is where knowing a little about your own mental pitfalls can be rather advantageous.
 
In regards to the example above, food is often linked to our emotions or rather a missed emotional need that isn’t being met, as such we get that need which our partner/significant other isn’t attending to filled by food.
 
One thing to remember is that when something is missing from our lives we will often find ways to plug that hole.
 
It can be in the form of food, fornication with people other than our other half, drugs or something else entirely.
 
Emotional leakage you might call it.
 
Then what we use to plug that hole is nothing more than a low quality band aid, which will of course come off and need replacing, I guess it’s back to the fridge then.
 
Being completely at peace with who you are is rare.
 
In fact some people never achieve it.
 
This can cause many to think there is something wrong with them, when that could’t be further from the truth because the majority of everyone else is int he exact same place.
 
Of course it doesn’t help that people life their ‘fantasy’ life on social media which gives off the image they’ve got all their shit together, which they haven’t.
 
If they had they wouldn’t be needed to share it every 5minutes via their mobile apps.
 
So, in regards to what my friend said, mental health is a massive factor because unless you’ve got the courage to step in to the unknown part of your own self, then even something as simple as losing some excess body fat can become an insurmountable task.
 
How well do you know yourself?
 
Ask yourself the questions that you haven’t yet dared to, it might just be the first step you need.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Calories & creatures of habit.

Are you obsessed with the first while also being caught in the vicious cycle of the second?
 
Many are because loosening the reigns it too scary.
 
Did you know that on average people eat between only 15-20 different foods per week.
 
It’s not a great amount of variety, yet I know why many do it.
 
Safety, familiarity and all that other good stuff synonymous with the comfort zone.
 
From a calorie tracking perspective this makes things easy, yet it also means there might not be much change physically.
 
When you eat the same foods again and again the body will become better accustomed to processing them, in another word more efficient.
 
This will potentially lower the TEF a tad.
 
You’d also be surprised as o how devoid of certain nutrients you may actually be, a common consequence of lacking variety of foods.
 
Now many might say it’s because they don’t like certain foods, which might be true, however more often than not they’re just being fussy because their parents allowed them to be that way in their youth.
 
There is also the potential case that they’re being lazy.
 
We are not talking about preparing 5 star gourmet every day, however a little change will do you the world of good.
 
Sticking with the same foods all the time,while not only dull, will also lead to anxiety when you can’t get your fix because you feel your control slipping away from you.
 
I’ve seen it happen time and again.
 
Being the intelligent individuals you are, I’m sure you can understand that without change there will often be no change.
 
This applies to your nutrition as well.
 
Opting for more variety in what you eat can help you start to make that much sought after progress you desire, honestly.
 
You can keep the calories at whatever level they need to be for your desired goal while changing the food choices.
 
^^ On a calorie laden note, you can have higher days and lower days so long as the total amount of calories across the longer term tracking (say 1 year) is in sync with your goal – surplus for gain, deficit for loss.
 
^^ You don’t need to eat the same calories day in day you, you wouldn’t do it for training volume/intensity so remember you don’t have to do it for food either.
 
Do me a favour, keep a food diary for 2 weeks.
 
Sit down and take a look at those two weeks and see how many foods you eat on average, I’m willing to bet it falls in to the above (15-20).
 
*Of course i am bias towards a more whole foods approach to nutrition from a health stand point, however if on any given day you want cake then have the damn cake, enjoy it, don’t lament it, then adjust your foods the next day and carry on with life.
 
Once you’ve done this take a look at all the other foods you can add in, swap/substitute and enjoy.
 
Most ironic of all is all the people that call themselves ‘foodies’ are of the aforementioned ilk.
 
Give the above some thought.
 
Loosen the reigns and break the cycle of being the same.
 
Enjoy
Ross

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Not just a word for uptight SJW’s

Triggers, what are yours?

I’m not talking about political agenda or anything morally ambiguous by the way, I’m referring to habits.

This is about those sneaky little things that take over our life and cause us to do things that are perhaps not conducive to progression in the end.

Upon browsing the plethora of solid questions you all ask I’ve noticed a pattern in regards to coming up against that barrier we all have.

Long standing habits.

Most of you fall victim to your habits and thus throw out every excuses under the sun, which is of course your right to do, however that type of behaviour won’t necessarily get you what you want in the end.

In the answers to your questions that other members and myself post it is mentioned that you need to seek out what they (your habits) are and more importantly what causes them (your triggers), yet sometimes this key piece of information if missed as there is no direct answer how to do this, apart from data collection.

I get it you know, when we ask a question we want an answer, preferably one that fits in to our bias/paradigm however this is sadly not how it works.

Establishing our habits, routines and their triggers that send us to the cookie jar takes time.

A lot of time in some cases.

Many of us are firmly routed in our current habit loops.

The good thing though is that they can be changed, the downside is that it will take time and conscience effort and that my friends is where many struggle because they don’t find the pain of change too comfortable.

Not to mention having to think about doing something is quite draining for some which can itself lead to an already linked habit, such as reaching for sweet treats because of the mental overload.

This happens in 4 stags for the most past.

1 – Cue (emotional, physical, environmental trigger)

2 – Craving (food, cigarette, etc)

3 – Response (habit activation/execution, emotional response)

4 – Reward (food, etc to give required neurotransmitter hit)

To find out what they potentially are you’d need to have a detailed diary of the following:

– Day to day routine breakdown
– How the client feels at each stage of the day
– Eating times/routine that leads them to this
– Common stress responses if their routine is broken
– Tasks and how stressful they find them
– Tasks they avoid
– Comfort zones/uncomfortable zones

The list can invariably go on, however seeking out the above can help you start to make great progress because most of our habits/responses are automatic because we have done them for so long they not happen without thought.

Provided the right circumstances (triggers) are met the habit activates and does its thing, and will continue to do so until it’s addressed.

This is not to say all habits are bad, however some are less favourable than others.

In taking the above in to consideration it becomes much easier to understand why we do what we do.

As I’ve mentioned to people many times of the the years –

“Nothing changes if nothing changes.”

While not the answer many want, it’s often the one they need to accept, this way we can move forwards in our understanding and help in the most effective ways possible.

In knowing they ‘why’ you can almost always find the ‘how’.

What current coaching tools to do you have in place to collect the required information from your routine behaviours so that you can find the triggers to the habits?

Share your thoughts, feelings and questions below.

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6 Tiny Tweaks for Colossal Change

1 – Keep a food diary (write down everything that passes your lips, EVERYTHING).

This will give you some perspective and control over your self, if you’re willing to accept responsibility.

2 – Walk 30 minutes every day

Its good for the mind and the soul.

3 – Read more real books, you know of the paper variety

Spending less time in front of a screen has been said to help reduce stress, anxiety and other such modern day issues.

Ironic you jus tread that one via an online blog.

4 – Buy a Kettlebell(s)

Some people don’t like the gym, this little piece of kit is known for being a ‘gym in the palm of your hand’. Doing 20-45min a day of things such as Swings, Get Ups, Snatches, Presses, Carries, Loaded Stretches, Mobility or movement patterns. These will not only help change your body, it will help your mind as well.

5 – Ensure most, if not all of your meals are meat & veg

You’d be surprised what eating ‘whole foods’ will do for your health and your waistline.

6 – Each year aim to learn a new skill, or invest a good chunk of time in to mastering one

Perhaps you always wanted to learn a language, or how to paint, maybe it was knitting related, whatever it was set aside perhaps one or two hours or so a week to learning and acquiring this.

It’s not selfish to want time for yourself.

In the long run you’ll lead a much fuller life if you devote some time to adding strings to your body, not to mention it can are a great way to relieve stress.

Enjoy,
Ross

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Why lie to yourself?

In our modern world there is an unimaginable amount of bullshit around, with the worst part being that it’s getting to the point where a lot of people are believing their own.
 
It’s quite worrying.
 
Here are three easy steps to recognising your own when it comes to fitness.
 
This will help you let go of foolish notions and progress towards the results you deserve
 
1 – You start every conversation with an excuse that people can’t argue with, such as “I have a genetic disorder” or “My goldfish died last week”.
 
2 – Telling yourself it’s not your fault when it usually is.
 
Of course not everything in life is of our own stupid choices, sometimes life just isn’t fair, however that is just life I’m afraid and you’re going to have suck it up and crack on, why?
 
Because you have to, that’s why.
 
3 – Bullshit, that thought you just had, bullshit.
 
How do I know?
 
Because it was one that you’ve rehearsed mentally time and again in an attempt to convince yourself that you’re a hopeless and lost cause so that when you fail you feel justified in it.
 
Stop holding yourself back, or if you are going to do it then do it in silence as no one wants to hear your bullshit.
Just incase you think I don’t get it, I will repeat myself.
While there are people in the world who have genuinely terrible problems that are not their fault, you’ll find they just crack on with life and do what they need to because the only other choice leads down the true of self pity, no one wants that.
 
It’s not you genetics, your lack of time, your old injures, bullshit, that’s all bullshit that you’re letting yourself believe, why?
Perhaps because it’s easier than the alternative, effort.
 
Act for today, for yourself, commit to making a change, go cold turkey, no excuses, just do it.
 
Whether you believe you can or you can’t, you’re right.
 
As Apollo Creed said to Rocky – “There is no tomorrow!”
 
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Fads, Excuses & Bullshit

What happened to ‘Squat Everyday’?
 
It seems another trend has died a death.
 
The life of a trend is as follows:
 
– Is it new & exciting?
 
No = it dies.
 
Yes
 
– Is it easy to understand?
 
No = it dies.
 
Yes
 
– Does it require hard work to get results?
 
No = success that will stick around because people want the easy option.
 
Yes – it dies.
 
Fads only last if they are easy and require very little effort to apply, regardless of if results are a part of the mix, it’s quite sad really.
 
The ability to tough things out has fallen dramatically over the years.
 
If it’s not easy then it can make it’s way to the pile with all the other things people don’t have time for now because all that a great many want is the next new & exciting thing.
 
How many times have you given up and blamed it on the program, the nutrition protocol or some other factor that wasn’t yourself?
 
Many is the answer I’m guessing.
 
In a world of ever changing potential inconsistencies we are the only thing that is in every equation, as such shouldn’t there be a tad more attention and accountability put on ourselves, rather than just shifting the blame to anything or everything else?
 
Do this for yourself, it may highlight some interesting things for you.
 
1 – Write down your most common excuses or reasons for failure.
 
2 – Write down why they happen and then how you can overcome them.
 
3 – Look at what you’ve written and see your problems for what they are, excuses on paper that you already have in your head as to why you can’t succeed and not actual problems.
 
It is common for us to create issues and barriers that stand in our way, so much so that by doing the above you will see how many you already have that aren’t even in the way yet.
 
These excuses make it easier for people to believe that more often than not they are not the problem.
 
Of course somethings can’t be helped, however for the majority we just use them as a convenient reason not to do what we need to be doing, that’s a fact.
 
Learn to overcome your own bullshit and watch your life change for the better.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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The problem with simple advice is the fact that it works.

Don’t you find it interesting that people are quick to discount simple advice because it sounds to easy. They’d much rather something with super complicated, typically because when something is complicated there can be a ‘logical’ reason for them failing: such as “It was too complex.”.
 
When you get a few wise words it seems too good to be true.
 
The problem can be found in the fact that short and simple advice is seen as too easy, however when applied it soon becomes clear that simple and easy are not two things that correlate very often.
 
Just because something is simple doesn’t mean it is easy.
 
Take this for example:
 
“To build muscle and get stronger you need to lift weights, pick 5-8 exercises to cover the whole body and add sets or reps where you can and when you’re doing multiple sets/reps with ease you add weight and repeat the process.”
 
^^ Nothing fancy, but very hard and people will give up.
 
A lot of people find a degree of embarrassment when they fail, especially when the advice given wasn’t super complex. It’s common for a bystander to say something like “Is that all you had to do?” which essentially means – how on earth did you fail at doing that…
 
Failing hurts the ego, especially when something isn’t hard on paper.
 
Nutrition is another prime example.
 
“To lose fat you’ll be looking for a calorie deficit (eating less than you’re burning), doing some weightlifting and sprint work will also help. Try to eat mostly whole foods and how a little of what you like now and again to keep you sane.”
 
Such wisdom will be kicked to the curb because it’s not a mind-boggling batch of numbers and percentages.
 
Give someone the above and they think you’re taking the piss.
 
Give them ‘Eat 1g or preteen per lean Lbs of body weight, 2g of carbs per lean lbs and 0.5g of fat per lean lbs’ and their eyes light up because it sounds technical, therefore it must be right when in all honesty it is not the sort of thing a beginner needs to focus on.
 
People starting out should be aware that the simple stuff is around for a reason, it works.
 
A lot of experienced people tell you simple things because they have found through trial and error that success requires very little deviation.
 
If you are a beginner keeping things as basic as possible will achieve a few things:
 
– Consistency
– Good habits
– Behaviour change
 
All three are needed for long term progress.
 
Once you get 3-5 years of training down the line you can start looking in to the more complex things, before that you’d do well to remember the good old rule of KISS.
 
Keep
It
Simple
Savvy?
 
Bit of a change to what you might expect the last S to stand for, but it think it sounds nicer because people aren’t necessarily stupid, just misguided and lead astray by too much bad information.
 
Go to a place filled with people who have succeeded in what you’re looking to do and ask 10 of them for some advice, ask them to give it to you in the simplest way possible and you’ll find there is very little difference in what they might say. A common theme will become apparent, trust me.
 
Now go, seek a simple start and then expand from there.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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6.30am, why it’s the perfect time to train for average people.

Morning All,
 
If you say to some people that you’re planning on training at 6.30am they will call you mad, others will call you a champion.
 
Training early in the morning is better from a hormonal stand point and also in regards to your circadian rhythm – bead at 10pm up at 6am, however that is not the biggest reason it is the best time to train (unless you start work at that time, that is).
 
The reason 6.30am is the best training time is simple; it requires a commitment and a lifestyle change. Those willing to get up early and train if they don’t have to are the ones whoa re more likely to stick to a good nutrition protocol and actually achieve results.
 
You might say you’re too tired, don’t have the energy in the AM or any other such excuse, that will change the more you get in to the early morning training, at which point your excuses will be nothing more than distant memories.
 
You’ll often find the people that achieve the best results are the ones who train at this time in the morning.
 
Time to make a change, get up and train at 6.30am.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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