Tag Archives: Health

Periodising cardio.

Usually the average person will do this without any rhyme or reason, they just do it.

No consideration for heart rate targets or what they’re actually trying to achieve.

Keeping it simple you’ve got 3 main types of CV to program:

Steady State – Long Run
Interval – Planned Sprints
Fartlek – Mixture of sprinting, jogging, walking

Nothing spectacularly new, although you can also hit the old heart muscle by a combination method that is lifting related CV.

Think complexes with dumbbells, bars, bell, bags, etc.

One of the ideas behind the hybrid of weight/CV is to have a change in the muscle composition and gain more mitochondria as a result and this would happen in by playing with density, sustained effort/repeated muscular contractions with a suitable load to really create the desired oxygen debt.

All good for fat-loss too, provided you do some basic maths & tracking.

Any of these methods are great for establishing your heart rate targets:

Old Faithful: 220 – Age
Karvonen Formula: 206.9-(age *.67)-RHR * %Effort+RHR
MAF Method: 180 – Age
Any Online Calculator

Once you’ve gotten the numbers you can begin programming whichever out of the cardio above that suits you.

It is worth remembering that while you may enjoy the more higher intensity/impact, this may not quite be the most optimal if you also plan on achieving other goals such as strength, for example.

Many forget to account for the additional fatigue.

It’s why many can program in lower intensity work, or the Steady State side of things far more easily because they’re not that drawing on the nervous system and don’t always create too much fatigue, provided you’re monitoring your heart rate and don’t turn it into slugfest.

You see that is the common issue, people turn everything into a battle.

Keeping this in mind we can look at the programming using this classic principle: FITT

Frequency – 3 days per week
Intensity – 60% HRR
Time – 20min
Type – Steady State (varied: walk, bike, skip etc)

In the light of knowing about basic and time honoured linear periodisation, you may end up with something like this (for say health/fat loss goal that is).

Say we have someone who is very deconditioned –

Week 1 – x3p/w, 60%HRR, 20min
Week 2 – x3p/w, 60%HRR, 25min
Week 3 – x4p/w, 60%HRR, 22min
Week 4 – x4p/w, 60%HRR, 27min
Week 5 – x5p/w, 60%HRR, 24min
Week 6 – x5p/w, 60%HRR, 29min
Week 7 – x6p/w, 60%HRR, 26min
Week 8 – x6p/w, 60%HRR, 31min
Week 9 – x7p/w, 60%HRR, 28min
Week 10 – x7p/w, 60%HRR, 33min

At this point you may choose to tweak things in block2:

Week 1 – x3p/w, 62%HRR, 30min
Week 2 – x3p/w, 62%HRR, 30min
Week 3 – x4p/w, 64%HRR, 30min
Week 4 – x4p/w, 64%HRR, 30min
Week 5 – x5p/w, 66%HRR, 30min
Week 6 – x5p/w, 66%HRR, 30min
Week 7 – x6p/w, 68%HRR, 30min
Week 8 – x6p/w, 68%HRR, 30min
Week 9 – x7p/w, 70%HRR, 30min
Week 10 – x7p/w, 70%HRR, 30min

^ You can laso use other equations calculate how many potnteial calories you burn in each session, just take it with a pinch of salt, as they’re often a guide, not a gospel.

Chances are you can see the pattern here, after this block the intensity might perhaps stay at 70%, then you may look at increasing the time again, perhaps working towards 45min, 7xp/w with 70%HRR, at which point you may opt for starting to add in some more intense forms of CV.

That is provided the base level health & fitness/conditioning goals have been hit (drop in body fat, lowering of resting heart rate, etc).

Of course the cardio is only one element, you’d also do well to have people in making nutritional improvements in regards to the quality of their foods, a small caloric deficit (if they’re carrying too much excess body fat) and in addition to that overall behaviour/habit change.

The comes the age old question.

Do we do this before or after weights?

Personal preference is as follows:

After or at a completely different time.

In an ideal world where people actually stuck to their word and make the positive lifestyle improvements they speak of doing, they’d do this light CV in the AM upon waking.

Combining that with turning off all electronics at say 9pm, and getting to bed before 11pm, and then starting the day at say 5:30-6am for some quick and rewarding CV will not be too hard.

You can delve into the literature, however this sets people up for the day with various cognitive benefits, more perceived energy and also leads to potentially beneficial habit changes in their attitude/personality (more confident, etc).

Another personal preference is to not eat post CV, just because it’s rarely needed and many will overdo their calorie consumption, so waiting for an hour or two post gentle CV as descried above would be ideal.

Before you panic and think you’ll lose all your gains.

Chances are you won’t, in all fairness you’ll probably gain far more benefits to your current progress due to increase conditioning, better & faster recovery due to improved circulation and a whole host of other benefits too.

So dear people, how much thought do you give to your cardio programming?

I know some of you are keen endurance practitioners & athletes, so sharing your knowledge would make for great reading for everyone.

Please do leave your musings below.

Enjoy, Ross

Leave a comment

Filed under Fitness, Nutrition & Health

Posterior Power Up

Fancy a 30day challenge for your posterior chain?

Even if you don’t you’ll find one below anyway.

You’ll be doing 300 reps per day of the following:

Fast – Swings (variations), Snatches, Cleans (kettlebell)
Slow – Pull Ups, Rows, Curls – any variation of all of these
Flow – Reverse Flies, Face Pulls, Tricep Work (variations)

This means 100 total reps in each section.

One reason for the offering of different movement options is so that you can avoid overworking one specific thing.

The idea is to accumulate a lot of work for that lagging rear aspect of your body, which sadly is the case for a lot of people.

Here is a three day example:

Day 1 – Single Arm Swings, Pull Ups, Face Pulls
Day 2 – Snatches, Rows, Reverse Flies
Day 3 – Swings, Curls, Tricep Banded Pulldown

You may then choose to repeat these three 9 more times, or continue to vary things up.

Personally the option would be to stick with the above and try to improve on each session when it comes back around as this will have a higher chance of progression than constantly varying things up.

You’ll find the above can be done in less than 30min.

Thus making it suitable for many who have other training they wish to do (all be it at a recused volume).

Enjoy,
Ross

Leave a comment

Filed under Fitness, Nutrition & Health

A little bit of reality for y’all that the ‘health’ gurus won’t tell you

Health is only valued once it’s lost.

Chances are you’ve heard of that old cliche, and yet it’s very true.

Experience has shown that there are certain elements to our heath that we can control (most of the time) and they are as follows:

– What we put in our bodies
– How stress is dealt with
– Sleep
– Physical activity

You may find a few more here and there, yet these cause the biggest impact.

In regards to what goes into your body, this comes in the form of your nutrition, substances and all things of that nature.

Look at it this way, people choose to eat terribly, smoke and drink excessive amounts, then complain when their health is in the toilet.

Um, no, you don’t get to complain for something you willing did to yourself, it’s your fault and anyone who tells you differently isn’t helming you, they’re merely having you shift accountability and this can leads to dependence, or various logical excuses as to why you struggle.

This leads into the second point, how you deal with stress.

We can all agree life is mostly suffering and shit, yet how you choose to deal with that, be it an emotional reaction that sends you towards drugs & drink or a rational decision to perhaps take up yoga/meditation.

Stress is inevitable, however how YOU choose to react/respond to it isn’t.

Put simply, make better choices.

Of course consider your emotional needs, and everything else that needs to be considered, just don’t react instantaneously because this is one of the quickest ways to form poor coping mechanisms and terrible lifestyle habits.

The more time you give in to you animalistic, primal and childish urges the more this will have knock on effects throughout your life.

One main area this can effect is sleep.

(You can improve sleep by limiting technology before bed, black out blinds, a comfortable room temp, etc – seriously google it, there is a load of into on how to improve sleep)

You end up with a broken circadian rhythm, poor habits where you get up in the night to go and eat to emotional comfort yourself, or have a drink or a smoke or who know what else.

This all leads to excessive cortisol, basically you’re a frightened animal that is always not he run with no respite.

While the first two can take a few years to reveal their damage, poor sleep shows you its ugly side within a few days.

This in turn leads to more stress, then that goes back up the change to making more poor decisions as to what goes into your body, a truly vicious cycle.

^ Yes I literally repeated the same thing in different wording and do you know why, because it’s IMPORTANT and you need to realise it sooner rather than later.

Lastly this leads to your physical activity.

Ofter it goes on of two ways:

1 – You embrace sloth, grow fat and destroy your health
2 – You become addicted to training & destroy your health

The reason for number two not being all fluffy and worm is this – people try to use exercise (especially excessive exercise) to compensate for all of the above being shit.

I’ve seen it time and again for almost 20 years.

As much as I personally love fitness, there is a reason it’s last on this list, and that is because out of the 4 above it’s the last important.

Without optimal consumption and ingestion of items into your body you can’t perform.

Without a method of dealing with stress appropriately then adding extra stress from training will end up being more distress as opposed to the eustress that it’s meant to be.

Without adequate sleep you won’t recovery and probably end up injured, frustrated and emotionally comforting yourself through your poor choices/habits.

You see even when all of the above is shit you can still gain refuge from training and perhaps even make some progress use to the positive effect it can have in helping you adjust your habits.

Yet as mentioned above this is where things go wrong because you try and ‘out train’ your problems/shortcomings.

It’s essentially like trying to swim through wet sand.

Take a look at the big picture for a second.

See where you’re falling short and address it honestly, don’t hold anything back or better yet get someone who won’t mind hurting your feelings to give you the talk you need.

Yes it will suck, it will hurt, yet for hourlong term health it is exactly what you need.

Go back and re-read the above.

Make notes about yourself and any thoughts that spring to mind.

One sure fire way to know if something directly applies to you is this – you get pissy, offended, the hump, or whatever you want to call it.

When you have an immediate emotional reaction and you stop yourself blurting something out that often means a nerve has been hit and it has direct relevance to you and your internal (possibly external too) growth.

If you have any questions feel free to ping a comment down below of fire of a message.

Enjoy,
Ross

Leave a comment

Filed under Fitness, Nutrition & Health

Nutritional Nightmare

“What sort of things should I be eating?” 
 
This has to be one of the most commonly asked nutrition questions.
 
Provided you’re over the age of 12 there is a high probability you understand that eating more natural foods, or what many call whole foods is the way to go.
 
What he question above is really asking is this:
 
“What can I do to still eat the way I currently do and make the progress/recomposition I require?”
 
Sadly in my old grumpiness I tend to have a blank expression on my face when this is asked.
 
Often followed by myself asking the persons if they ant the truth or what they want to hear.
 
Many get offended, as you can imagine.
 
There are literally hundreds of thousands of books on how you can make thousands of meals with minimal ingredients that you could literally grow/raise at home.
 
Our issue is that as a people we’ve gotten lazy and too used to convenience, which is also why many are now obese.
 
^ You waist wants to be ideally no bigger than half your height in inches as an absolute max, ideally it’s not near that.
 
So if you’re 70″ tall, then a 35″ waist is the largest yours would ver want to be, and ideally it could do with being a couple of inches shy of that.
 
Excess visceral fat is the worst kind for peoples health.
 
If you’ve got enough belly for multiple people then instead of asking what you should eat, you’d do well to ask yourself this – what do I currently eat?
 
^^ Make a list of all the things you consume, don’t lie to yourself either about it.
 
Once you’ve got the list, seek out any comfort/convenience foods and aim for their opposites.
 
Oh, this doesn’t mean making brownies at home, while that is a nice thing to do occasionally it’ll do little to save you from what was chasing those people in the old Nike adverts.
 
While I understand it’s tough for some.
 
The change won’t happen from being told what to eat, it has to come from within you because unless you really want to change or improve you life, well, you won’t.
 
A harsh truth people don’t want to hear, however that is my answer to the very first question.
 
You should investigate this thoroughly.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

Leave a comment

Filed under Fitness, Nutrition & Health

If you struggle with snacking, read this.

A note on nutrition.
 
Chances are that like many you’re indoors and constantly finding yourself hungry or snacking.
 
There are two main reasons for this:
 
1 – You’re bored
2 – You’re not eating enough NUTRIENT dense foods
 
Both are common, however it’s the second we shall look at.
 
When you eat energy dense foods, think processed foods as opposed to whole ones, your body will not be satiated and keep sending you to the fridge or cupboards.
 
Look at it through this comparative lens:
 
300 calories of processed food = energy, minimal nutrients
300 calories of meat & veg = energy, maximal nutrients
 
The calories are theoretically the same yet the second meal will keep you satiated, the first will have you heading back for more within as little as 30min or perhaps less.
 
Now this isn’t rocket science, it’s common sense.
 
Of course people will get a bit butt hurt because they want their sweets and treats, and those people can have them and the excess body fat that is also likely to follow.
 
The next time you’re thinking of digging into the larder, stop and think, are you bored or is your body telling you that you need more nutrients?
 
Enjoy,
Ross

Leave a comment

Filed under Fitness, Nutrition & Health

BULLSHIT!

Have you ever said you don’t have the spare cash to invest in your health?
I’m calling bullshit.
Yep, bull shit.
What you might mean to say is that it’s not really a worthy investment or a priority for you.
Guess what, that’s cool you know, you don’t need to put aside money each month for a membership to a fitness establishment, training, or a sports club.
Honesty that’s entirely your choice not to care.
Just don’t give me some rubbish about not having the money to afford it because after spending any years working in the industry and sitting down with people to see where their money is being spent, they’ve always got the fund.
Money is rarely the issue, it’s priority.
Don’t believe me?
Be sure you’re sitting down for this.
Option 1 –
Buy 3 kettlebells* >Average cost £100-200, on off payment
With these three bells you can change your life, become fitter, stronger, healthier and happier, even if it takes 6 months of saving £5 here and there.
*Or a barbell set with up to 150kg of load.
Option 2 –
Don’t buy anything from convenience stores (lunch, snacks, etc).
You’ll easily find up to £30 a month by managing your sending habits/compulsions, more than enough for a gym membership.
Option 3 –
Go cold turkey on smoking, drinking, needless clothes shopping, or whatever your chosen poison is.
^ This can literally save people hundreds per month and thousands a year.
Try to be honest with yourself.
Unless you’re in a truly dire situation financially (barely paying the mortgage/rent/bills/food) you’ve got disposable income, you simply choose to waste it on crap you don’t need you merely want to satisfy a whim.
Of course this is your choice entirely, just be aware that pretty much everyone knows the excuse of “I can’t afford it.” is usually bollocks, they’re just too polite to say anything, or they don’t care enough to.
So my dear reader, will you continue to make that excuse?
Or will you choose a better path?
You should investigate this thoroughly.
Enjoy,
Ross

Leave a comment

Filed under Fitness, Nutrition & Health

Pet Health VS Your Health

You’d spend thousands on your pets to ensure they have the best health, quality of food and quality of life.

Why on earth won’t you invest that same amount on yourself?

People are truly weird in that regard.

Now I can understand that for some their pets are like their children, or as many say “They’re my babies.”.

Our human need for unconditional love and something to depend on/need us to provide a sense of purpose is quite the interesting trait.

You’ll easily find people who willingly and without hesitation spend more money on they pets than themselves.

While we can of course invest our hard earned cash however we choose why not invest it in our own longevity?

Being brutally honest, pets will die long before you do.

Well, unless you have a turtle or a parrot, they seem to live forever.

Knowing this you’d do well to put at least a matched effort in to your own wellbeing as you would theirs.

Take this for example –

Your pet gets fat, what do you do?

Go to the vet and have them advise you to feed the animal less, exercise it more and get it’s health markers back to normal.

You do this with unquestioning resolve.

Have a human Dr say the same to you and you get butt hurt because they fat shamed you and just because your BMI is over where it should be that doesn’t mean you’re not healthy.

*Face palm.

While that is potentially true, elevated BMI’s are still a warning, regardless is yours is due to excessive body fat or muscle.

You see in regards to your build you can only support so much weight on your frame before it becomes an issue, regardless.

Back to the point, put in as much effort to keeping yourself in tip top shape as you would your beloved pets.

Or don’t because at this stage in my life I’ve honestly had enough of the general idiocy of the world and feel that if people wish to lead a life that shortens their time here then they can fill their boots.

Enjoy,
Ross

Leave a comment

Filed under Fitness, Nutrition & Health

9 Magical Methods to Physical Progress in 2020

Only kidding, these aren’t magical.
 
They will work though provided you put in the effort and stop making excuses like you have every year since you found out that excuses kept you safe.
 
Harsh as it sounds people fail all the time.
 
Mostly due to their own ineptitude and lack of willing.
 
You see if you need a reason to do something you’ll find it, regardless of how monumental the task you will find the exact means you need to justify the end.
 
Keeping this in mind here are your 9 Magical Methods 💪
 
1 – Public Shame
 
Make your intentions loud & clear for all to hear.
 
You’d also find that a very public penalty or forfeit may keep your head in the game, something like you will buy all your best friends clothing for an entire year.
 
^ Have this written up in a contract that is legally binding, honestly don’t fuck about, actually have a price to pay if you fail because talk of punishment is cheap, make it a real possibility.
 
2 – Hire a Professional
 
Pay someone to get you to your goal, and pay someone that is expensive, literally at the top end of the price scale.
 
So much so that it requires you to sacrifice various creature comforts and habits to pay for their services, make your sacrifice mean something so that if you fail you’ll know you’ve let yourself down.
 
3 – Ask children for their opinions
 
Yep, kids are the best critics because they tell the truth.
 
If you’re fat a child will tell you, same goes for being ugly, having bad hygiene or sucking at sport.
 
These unforgiving little buggers are the ones you want to listen to, not people your own age because chances they’re also in a sad state as well and will tell you what you want to hear, not what you need to hear.
 
4 – Get Upset/Offended
 
Yep, listen to all the things that evoke strong emotions and make you feel uncomfortable because you will always move away from pain.
 
Being fitness related of course, if people are talking lumps out of your character for no reason then high 5 them with a metal chair.
 
5 – Stop acting like a child
 
This means preparing meals from scratch, taking responsibility for yourself and admitting that it’s no one else fault except your own.
 
You’re not in control of everything in your life, yet one aspect you can take charge in is your physical state, so do it.
 
6 – Get new friends
 
Your old fiends are holding you back because you’re ‘one of them’.
 
Look at the 5 people closest to you, if they’re all carrying execs body fat, unhealthy, excuse making machine then chances are you will be as well.
 
Find people that make you better not hold you back.
 
7 – Remove all food temptations from your home
 
Secret eating is common.
 
I knew a chap who would always talk about how clean he was eating yet still held quite the impressive amount of belly fat.
 
Despite his bluster his partner found all his empty chocolate bar wrappers kidding down the side of the bed and made everyone aware in a hilarious social media shaming.
 
Don’t be the person that lies because you only hurt yourself in the long run by doing so.
 
If you genuinely struggle and need help them please ask for it.
 
8 – Find people to help
 
As mentioned above, asking for help is crucial in success.
 
It’s not weak, it’s not bad, it’s a bloody good idea.
 
Finding a group of people that will help pull you up to higher standards is the way forwards, it will be tough, you’ll mentally feel like the worst person in the room because you probably are.
 
Even if faced with this fact don’t crump like a wet richmond biscuit in tetley tea, you’re worth so much more than that.
 
Have the same level of faith in yourself that some of us have in you and take the leap, don’t wait and think, just take it.
 
9 – Listen to people that have been where you are
 
You’re not along you know.
 
A lot of people struggle mentally because of their physical state.
 
It is very much my belief that we live in a superficial world, and deep down I feel you know this too.
 
As such people need to find a place they’re physically happy before they can make any real progress mentally, this is also confirmed by the science too, physically healthier people suffer less mental strife (better balance hormones, neurotransmitters, etc).
 
Find people to talk to that have made the journey already.
 
Listen to their story, hear their struggle, how they got through it and what it meant to them in the end.
 
You see it’s not being a physical specimen that we truly desire, it’s what comes after that, this is the real goal.
 
Self confidence & knowing we’re okay.
 
^ That’s what people want.
 
None of the above is magical, it is however all relevant.
 
You should investigate this thoroughly.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

2 Comments

Filed under Fitness, Nutrition & Health

5 things you can do daily to improve your body.

This will not be a sexy as a met-con or some ghastly conditioning circuit, however it will yield far more benefits.
 
You see the older you get the more you’ll appreciate this.
 
We shall keep the timings nice and short so that if you choose to do all 5 in a row you’ll only need 10-15min tops.
 
Of course you can do any of these for longer, yet we’re all busy people so 10-15min is far more reasonable.
 
1 – Sitting in a squat for 2-3min.
 
Drop in to a squat, hold it, feel your body relax in to the position and breathe deeply into your diaphragm.
 
2 – Hang for 2-3min.
 
Grab a bar and hang in any way shape or form (asking the cat makes for a lovely hang).
 
3 – Loosen your Upper Thoracic for 2-3min.
 
Use a foam roller, trigger point peanut or something similar and place it in each of these places (lower/mid/upper thoracic) and let your arms hang overhead.
 
4 – Move for 2-3min.
 
Squat down, lift your arms overhead, stand up, hinge down to touch the floor, inchworm out as far as you can without letting you hips sag, inchworm back in and repeat for improved movement.
 
5 – Move again for another 2-3min.
 
A down dog to an up dog to the worlds greatest stretch (yep, that’s it’s name) will leave you feeling revitalised and far more mobile than before.
 
All of this is pretty simple.
 
It’s also highly effective and I can almost guarantee that 98% of people will be too lazy to do any of it, shame.
 
Try the above, then perhaps add in your own little bits.
 
Rolling around on the floor is also a great addition when you’re build some future movement capabilities.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

Leave a comment

Filed under Fitness, Nutrition & Health

Training Diaries 101

A new day has broken through the starlit canvass of night, and I think it’s going to be a good one.

Morning All,

Over the weekend a companion that has been with me for through thick and thin in the gym for the last 3 years has finally retired.

Training diary 13, it’s been a blast, now you can rest and thank you for all the wisdom you’ve shared with me.

A concise record of your gym antics is an essential tool.

Keeping track of the lads lifted, volume totalled, lifts made and missed, can give you vital information in regards to what worked, for how long, what you didn’t focus on enough and the things you need to be doing to progress.

While not everyone keeps a diary, most people these days do track what they’re doing.

Be this in the form of videos, photos, YouTube training complications or IG live, some tracking goes on.

It seems to be fashionable or heroic to say – “I don’t track, I remember it all.”.

Maybe they do, maybe they don’t, however it just sounds like ego to me.

Why think you’ve remember it correctly when you can KNOW you’ve remember it correctly because it’s immortalised in some form of tracking, like that in a training diary.

Many would rather talk a good game than record what actually goes on and have it written in stone.

Then again, stones too, can lie.

So today was a new training protocol.

I’ve opted for a 6 week modified Delorme protocol.

The Classic Delorme: 3x10x50-75-100% 10RM

^ A solid endeavour that really works if you give it a true effort, many will feel it’s not enough work however to me that means they’re not quite putting in a good effort.

^^ If you’d like to do the above yet feel it’s just not enough then still use the loading perimeters (50-75-100% 10RM) and use this rep protocol: 20-15-10.

So how does the version I am dong differ from the above?

Let’s take a look.

The Modified Delorme: 5×5-5-5 (50-75-100% 10RM)

Day 1: 5×5-5-5 (50-75-100% 10RM) – max series (up to 5)

Day 2: Match total successful series on D1 @5×50% 10RM

Day 3: Match Series on D1 @5-5×50-75% 10RM

– Two lift focus – Bench Press & Deadlift
– Up to 1min rest between 5’s, then 3min rest between series
– When 5 series completed with good form on Monday add load

You might be wondering where my other movements are.

Fear not, the Pulling, Squatting & Carries will be in at the end of the session as accessory work following a rep protocol that takes my fancy on the day.

This will keep total time training to a minimum.

Why?

Because for my own personal goals I need to break the old mindset of ‘train more’ that is creeping back in, my last training diary highlighted this was beginning to find its way back into my life again.

The above is only 6 weeks.

If I personally can’t stuck to that then what good am I to the world?

Sometimes we need to stay on a path and see the journey through to the end.

Too much hopping about has been apparent in my training.

Time to stop that.

So dear readers, do you have a training diary?

If yes, what has it taught you and if no, why do you feel you don’t need one?

Do share your thoughts below.

Enjoy,
Ross

Leave a comment

Filed under Fitness, Nutrition & Health