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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

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Training Days Per Week

How many days per week should you train?

2, 3, 4, 5, 6, all of them?

Honestly it doesn’t really matter too much so long as your consistent.

You know there are people who hit the gym only twice a week and make more progress than those who frequent it 6 days and train twice per day.

It comes down to the premise of quality or quantity.

Technically you need both.

I know, it’s quite irritating.

The more quality you can put out the better progress you will make, that’s just how it goes, however no one starts off being able to do that, despite what fitness guy’s and influencers tell you.

Back in the day my philosophy for my own training was very much about all or nothing, luckily this didn’t extend to my clients and was purely pushed on myself.

Ironically many clients made great progress on 2-3 days of training per week.

Then there was me, slogging it away with multiple gym sessions, essentially every day and being honest there was very little to show for it.

When you keep digging in to your training tanks your body stops adapting and overcoming the stimulus, it merely learns to survive at any cost.

You will also find your body becomes more efficient.

Yep, it’s clever like that, so it ends up using less energy, especially when you place more demand on it.

Less resources become available for growth, progress and overall health and eventually the wheels fall of the wagon and you get hurt.

Then comes the mental anguish.

Along with the realisation that you’d become quite addicted to the gym, and despite all your ‘hard work’ you’ve very little to show for it.

I speak from experience on this one.

Even though personally I;ve always been lean and looked in shape (by the standards of an average person), I was causing a lot of internal damage and just not making the progress I felt I deserved or should have been.

Even knowing everything I knew, hubris got in the way.

Training should enhance our lives, not detract or dictate it.

If you find yourself binning off social events, or actually living because you MUST get to the gym less you miss your training then you’ve got a problem.

Seriously, it’s quite a big problem as well.

Addiction, regardless of the form is still addiction and at some point it goes pas the point of being helpful or even good for you and becomes toxic.

How does the old saying go – The poisons in the dose.

Or is it – The dose makes the poison.

Either way, I’m sure you get it.

I understand though, why you end up in this place.

We live in a very shallow and superficial world.

Both women & men are only as valuable as what they have to offer in regards to the majorities perception of them.

Better looking people get more opportunities in life, many may disagree, however it’s called the ‘Halo Affect’, a very real thing.

I spoke to a friend recently about this and they got rather put out by it and reacted emotionally as they don’t want people to think they only did well because of their looks, yet that is the exact reason they got offered as many opportunities as they did.

All of this brings us back to how many days we should train per week.

2 or 7, multiple times a day or just once.

My advice, 2-4 times per week is plenty for everyone.

These days I’d urge people to look at doing 2 gym sessions a week.

If you feel the need to doing something daily and move, that’s not a bad thing as you can pick something to practice, be that 20min of yoga, kettlebell work, bodyweight skill or something else entirely.

There are many many options available to us and in all honesty you can do which ever you enjoy the most.

Just beware the little gym monster of addiction.

It sits on your shoulder and tells you that you’ll never be good enough, lean enough, big enough, strong enough, or worthy.

When you start having these thoughts it’s time to step back from the gym and reduce training frequency before it gets worse.

Just something to remember.

Enjoy,
Ross

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Nom Nom Nom

Is there a food that you just can’t live without?
 
Many have at least one.
 
Some have a fridge full, that must be consumed under various circumstances or when certain conditions are met.
 
To some this may be called addiction, others it’s meal prep.
 
Depending on how you view things.
 
Consistency of the foods we eat isn’t actually that hard to achieve, if you think about it logically you’ll find people stick with select foods day in day out.
 
The difference is often the quality of food.
 
Taking this in to consideration you can swap one food habit with another, if only it was that easy.
 
Which realistically it is, however if you’re not willing to let go of a food or something that is perhaps not the most optimal choice for your health, you may want to question why.
 
Plenty of people understand what they should do.
 
Especially in regards to nutrition, yet they don’t.
 
Why?
 
Emotion, that is the reason, or at least what it boils down to in the end.
 
Becoming married to a certain food, or even stye of eating can be quite detrimental.
 
If you have the ability to have something just because you want it, and yet can as easily go without then I’d say you’ve found that place where you’ve got all your plates spinning well.
 
When someone says “I have to have….” alarm bells ring.
 
Less for medical reasons no one needs to have anything. Want to have, perhaps.
 
Self control, will power, what ever you call restraint, it’s being mindful and aware of what you’re doing, why you’re doing it and more importantly being okay with it.
 
By okay with it I mean this in regards to accepting any or all potential consequences that come with said choice.
 
It is common we will tend to leave ourselves ‘outs’.
 
Reasons for our choices that make us feel less bad about the choice we made food wise, yet if you end up feeling that way do you ever stop to ask why?
 
Hopefully you’ve noticed the common theme.
 
Asking why, being able to understand, learn and grow from each choice and layer you peel back in regards to delving in to your depths.
 
A little bit about how I eat.
 
I just eat based on what I feel I need, the mythical ‘listening to my body’ kind of thing.
 
There are no set times to eat.
 
No set meal frequency or specific meals/macros to be hit.
 
I’ve done my time playing with those factors to see what impact they had, which can be described as minimal.
 
Some days I will not eat until the evening, not because of some protocol telling me to, merely because life gets in the way and food waits until later.
 
No I didn’t get hangry because I’m not 6months old and still clasping my mothers tit for sustenance.
 
While food can indeed affect your mood, you have to understand that you will be aware of this impending shift and if you choose to be ‘hangry’ then it’s a choice you’ve made willingly.
 
Yep, that’s why people get pissy and then say “I haven’t eaten.” as if it exonerates them.
 
Umm, no, you know you’re hungry and you’re using that as your excuse to be a prize bell-end, congrats you’ve unlocked an achievement.
 
Now I’m sure some will be running to PubMed to find all the studies on low blood sugar, fluctuating concentration levels and a whole host of other information to justify them being a little bit of a dick when they get hungry.
 
Please feel free to do this, just understand it still doesn’t change the fact that if you know you’re hungry and choose to be a dick, you’re choosing to be a dick, end of.
 
You will often find the only people capable of such things are those privileged enough to do so.
 
People that don’t have a choice just get on with it.
 
How do your nutritional habits affect you?
 
Take some time to sit and reflect on this.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Living with your mistakes.

“The road is long & the life short.”
 
You may hear many people talk about how you learn from every mistake, and so on.
 
I can tell you from experience that you don’t.
 
That is certainly not the case here on this side of the screen your reading 😂
 
It’s like the grey matter between the ears recognises what has just transpired was a colossal mistake and vows never to make it again.
 
Then it immediately hits the ‘reset’ memory button.
 
Shortly followed by this thought:
 
‘That seems like a good idea, yet why do I have this strange forbidding feeling in my stomach…. Meh, it’s probably just something I ate.’
 
*Cue fool errand and obvious impending mistake.
 
There is a reason we make the same mistake repeatedly.
 
It’s because of familiarity.
 
Yep, being the clever species we are, and one that tends to like sequential things, symmetry and especially patterns (ones we recognise from past experience), we’re likely to make the same mistake countless times.
 
It’s easy to get drawn in by what we know, even subconsciously.
 
We see, feel, connect with something that seems like we already know and that’s all we need.
 
This happens throughout life.
 
As such fitness is no exception to this, just look at the diet industry, that monstrosity has been spamming out the same new fads for decades and people still get drawn in.
 
Here is the cycle:
 
Fad promise of glory > naive & desperate person > they go all in > results achieved > reversion to their old familiarities > sadness > fad promise of glory > repeat.
 
You think we’d learn, right?
 
So given that which we know, what are we to do?
 
The answer is less sexy than you might imagine.
 
Keep a diary.
 
Weren’t expecting that were you.
 
Writing things down is a great way of keeping track of not just things in fitness, nutrition, business and goals, it’s also quite handy for life.
 
Sitting down after an event and putting pen to paper, or fingers to keys in this day and age, captures your emotions and perception of the events in that moment.
 
This can be great for self reflection.
 
If you ever sit back and reread your old experiences or vagrant thoughts you’d be surprised what you can learn.
 
Try writing as little as 200-300 words a day.
 
You’ll be amazed how easy it is and how much you can learn from such a simple task.
 
Don’t get caught up on trying to write war and peace.
 
Just write, this is for you and you alone, it doesn’t need to make sense, it just need to be.
 
If you wish to share a page or two, start a blog.
 
You will be amazed how many people resonate with the feelings you have, positions you’re in and just how ‘not alone’ we really are.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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3 way to optimise your mobility without taking out extra time in your day.

Did you know it’s common for people to make excuses?
 
A common one is – “I just don’t have the time.”
 
I’m here to tell you that is not quite true.
 
In fact it’s down right wrong for most people.
 
There will of course be a few exceptions, just because there always has to be that unique snowflake.
 
Given how important mobility is, we should really be doing some form of it every day.
 
Now this isn’t yoga, or anything like that before some people freak.
 
You won’t lose gains improving your mobility.
 
Did you know mobility by definition is being able to retain torque through a full range of movement.
 
Essentially you are able to stay just the right amount of tense as you move, thus preventing any mishaps and also maximise potential progress.
 
It is far to say that ideally everyone should set aside 30min every day to do a mobility/flow routine.
 
Some will even make it a new goal or resolution.
 
Alas all the best intentions of this world often fall short in their performance.
 
To many they will say they don’t have 30min.
 
Oh they do, which we will learn how to get shortly.
 
If I was to even ask for 5min a day people’s moan that’s too much of a time constraint.
 
🤦‍♀️
 
It’s truly a shame people will not even try to find time for something that can literally ensure they are mostly pain free as they go through life.
 
Never mind eh.
 
Okay, so here are the three ways you can find time for mobility.
 
1 – Utilisation of rest periods in regular training.
 
This is my first port of call for most people.
 
Instead of sitting on Facebook, taking selfies for the Gram or playing Angry Birds, Candy Crush or whatever mobile app game is all the rage these days, you do correctives & mobility.
 
Boom, time you can dedicate to a good cause.
 
2 – Drills & Skills while you watch TV.
 
To be fair this can be done in-betwwen various tasks you do at home, I will do some drills/movements while I’m cooking or waiting for something to be flipping or stirring.
 
As for TV time, instead of sitting on your arse you can pick a pose or a movement and do some reps.
 
Yet another place you have time.
 
3 – Before you go to bed.
 
Let’s be honest, most people go to bed way too late, then sit on their phone checking things before trying to get to sleep.
 
I say try because many get in to bed and proceed to stare at the ceiling while staving off crippling despair.
 
That’s a topic for another day though.
 
Going to bend 5min earlier or shutting down your electronic kit 15min sooner than normal can open up a nice window of time you can use for some restorative work.
 
Bonus affect = this style of movement (restorative, gentle mobility) has a positive effect on your para-sympathetic nervous system, provided you practice diaphragmatic breathing.
 
Stimulating this side of the CNS will help you drift off in to a nice peaceful sleep.
 
Seriously, it works.
 
So there you have it 3 ways you can find time.
 
Oh and if you’re going to make an excuse as to why these options above just won’t work for you, fair enough, just don’t grumble when things start going south in regards to your health.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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You’re not going to like this…

We do like to complicate things, don’t we.
 
Then we often proceed to ask for specific advice.
 
Which of course is immediately ignored if it doesn’t fit our bias or what we want/expect to hear.
 
Take this classic –
 
Person A – “I want to lose weight, I just don’t know what to eat.”
 
Person B – “Good old whole foods is often a good approach, along with keeping portions in check and being mindful of how much you’re eating overall.”
 
Person A – “Yea I know that, but what do I eat?”
 
Person B – *Gives examples and options.
 
Person A – “I don’t like any of that. Ugh, this is so hard and restrictive”
 
It is at this point if someone is talking to me that I will face palm and give up all hope with them.
 
These people are not asking for an answer, at least not an objective one anyway.
 
Many merely want agreement with that which they already believe or want to think.
 
Can you lose weight while eating junk food?
 
Yes, 100%, however you won’t be abel to consume that much and your health may suffer greatly.
 
If you’re an adult and you can’t get yourself in check with eating habits and food choices then you’ve got deeper emotional matters to worry about.
 
The amount of people who’ve asked for help and ignored the that which is given is truly impressive.
 
Frustrating as well.
 
So many want to know what they can get away with, or how they can sneak in snacks, or if they deserve a treat and other such bollocks.
 
I will be frank, if you want to carry large amounts of body fat then more power to you, crack on.
 
Do i personally agree with people being overweight, no, no I don’t, the reason why is simple; being overweight for most people is 100% their choice.
 
Yep, I said it, their choice.
 
I’m sure some people are seething at that comment.
 
At this stage in my life I just don’t care anymore.
 
The world and its dog will come up with any and every excuse, medical condition or extenuating circumstance as to why they are overweight (or obese).
*Pleas note, there are indeed some rare conditions that royally screw people over, however in my life I have only met 1 such person, everyone else had their life in the palm of their hands. Call me a cynic, however I doubt very much you’re the same as that 1 person.
 
Truth is in most places it’s because they eat too much.
 
Thyroid condition or no thyroid condition, you don’t see TV adverts with overweight starving people in 3rd world countries.
 
Why?
 
Lack of food, which is indeed a terrible turn of events and rather unfortunate for them, yet if those who call on ‘medical aliments) found these poor unfortunate souls a thyroid condition and weren’t over weight it’d be ignored or something else would be spun on it.
 
In short calories and total food amount consumed matters.
 
Hmm, bit of an odd rant there, however you get the point.
 
People will cherry pick all the time.
 
Sorry to say no amount of cherry picking will change what is.
 
It might make you feel better or appease your cognitive dissonance, however it won’t change a thin, only you can do that.
 
So good people of the internet, do you agree or not?
 
Leave your thoughts and feelings below.
 
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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***6 Steps to Solid Sessions***

No long monologue today.
 
Time to get straight in to the good stuff, easy to follow steps to create training worthy of the gods.
 
Well, maybe not the gods, at least legendary hero though.
 
The structure of session I will use as an example in each is as follows:
 
W/U – warm up, potentiation biased
Skill – learning something new, refining technique etc
Main – building strength and lean mass (muscular bits)
Accessory – often within main element (weak points)
Conditioning – can be for CV or addition to main/acc
C/D – cool down, CNS optimisation bias
 
Let’s go.
 
Step 1 – Movement first.
 
Simple as it sounds many lack any large amount of movement based exercises in their training, as such you are going to want to make sure you get this down first.
 
You will have something movement related in every session, it can be for warm up/cool down, skill acquisition, main exercises, conditioning or accessory (weak point) purposes, however it will be there every session.
 
Example:
 
W/U – Leopard Crawl 100m – 5min
Skill – Loaded carry medley – atlas stones – 15min
Main (strength) – Sandbag clean, carry and load -20min
Accessory (postural) – SA Waiters walk – 10min
Conditioning – Farmers Walk & Suicides – 5min
C/D – Yoga Flow – 5min*
 
*If you’ve trained in the PM a Yoga flow surrounding internal torque will trigger the para-sympathetic nervous system, if you hit the gym int he AM then you’ll need one focused on external torque.
 
You get the idea, yo’d have one movement related element in each session, you can of course have a full session of movement like the above as well.
 
That’s the first step done covered.
 
Movement is life, quite literally in most cases.
 
Giving it the attention it deserves in your training will yield results beyond what you ever expected, trust me, it’s totally worth it.
 
Until next time.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Reflective Thought

If there is one thing I’ve learned over the years so far it is this; we are all scared of feeling inadequate.

Now this can be socially, physically, intellectually, emotionally, in fact in anything, as such we will make excuses, we cling to our familiarities and resist change with everything we have. 

Most won’t admit it. 

I’m not above this, I too have had those things I’ve held on to for too long, yet being aware of thee things does make you see your own flaws and folly in trying to freeze time. 

Given this is a fitness based group and fitness is very much all I’ve ever done it is easy to see those who the lie to themselves again and again and again to protect themselves.

Those who chase size felt powerless at some point.

Those who carve an aesthetic akin to a greek statue was once not desirable, inadequate you might say. 

Those who were morbidly obese and shamed for it vowed never to be there again. 

Of course not true in all situations, however you’d be surprised how often this is the case, whether people admit it or not. 

One thing to listen for is the emotive words people throw at you when sending a rebuke your way because it is commonly how they see things, and what they attribute to themselves. 

You may disagree, however experience tells me differently on this one.  

This was prompted by something someone said to me recently, the way it was worded got he cogs turning and this was the result, now given how I know them there is a hint of hypocrisy in their view and words, yet they push the past away because of being weak and powerless before, where as I hold on to things, despite saying otherwise. 

We are betrayed by our actions, the reveal more than we want them to, yet they also show us what we need to do if we wish to stay as we are or ascend to something different.

I won’t say it will be better because that might not be true, however it will be different and in that change there is the chance to learn what we need to achieve better, or what we deem to be better. 

Even then, we may spend years chasing something we think we want and like a dog chasing a car, once we get it we have no clue what to do with it. In this it is more the thought of the goal that actually excites people, more so than the actual goal itself or even achieving it. 

Change, or don’t, grow or freeze time, regardless of which, just be content with the choice and also accept you will be judged for it because that is just what we do.

We judge people, however we only tend to judge those we either deem beneath us or so far above us it helps make them more human, it’s rare we judge our own ilk because they are familiar, like refections on a still point, we don’t fear or revile what we recognise, it’s only that which is different we dislike. 

No need for comments or anything of that nature, this was just something floating around in my mind that I felt I’d share. 

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Do squats hurt your back too?

“Squats hurt my back.”

Incorrect, what you are doing is hurting your back.

Yep, more often than not, less for previous traumatic injury that has dramatically changed your bodies morphology, it’s your form.

Over the years I have spent many a day tweaking peoples form.

Striving to have them understand the correct movement patterns, what muscles are meant to be doing what and generally simian to avoid them snapping themselves up.

A few learned, many didn’t.

Being humans we have this tiny little thing called bias, which usually marries up with cognitive dissonance quite happily and as such people think they know best and only seek the answers they want.

Morons the lot of them.

98% of the time if something hurts during an exercise/movement it is because our form isn’t right.

As much as we’d like some unexplainable cause to protect our ego it’s just the case that our movement patterns are poor.

How can you overcome this?

Simple.

Hire a coach to learn from, alternatively record all of your lifts and give them some honest critique because the chances are you know when your own form looks poor.

There you have it, the next time you feel a movement is causing you issue take a step back and look at how you’re performing it because the chances are it’s not the exercises that is hurting you, it’s what you’re doing that’s hurting you.

Enjoy,
Ross

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