Tag Archives: knowledge

Know your goal

Is your goal really your own?

A question more people should ask themselves.

How often have you heard of people achieving their goal only to be left feeling unsatisfied or unfulfilled?

You’d be surprised to find out that it’s actually quite common.

There are many people who undergo certain tasks to achieve what they think they want, when in reality they’re achieving what they’ve been told they want.

A very common state of affairs.

Have you ever honestly sat down and thought about why you’re doing what you’re doing?

I’d be surprised if you had, pleasantly surprised.

Knowing the underlying reasons is key to long term success and sustainability.

That said, it’s not something people give much thought to.

Might be worth considering before you set your next goal.

Enjoy,
Ross

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Generation Idiot

Keeping up with the Kardashians.

Proof that being an idiot can have you winning at life.

Morning All,

The rise of reality TV has been amazing to watch of the subsequent years, however it’s lead to the breeding of a generation of idiots.

Deluded idiots at that.

Some people will be offended by that truth, oh well, be offended it’s your right after all.

This mentality has bleed in to the fitness industry as well.

So much so that there are two clearly defined camps:

– Evidence based people
– Everyone else (anecdote, instafamous etc)

Well, that’s have the former would have you see it.

It’s easy to see how and why people are getting confused about what to do for optimal results.

For the average person they’ve complicated fitness & nutrition beyond belief.

The evidence based lot often end up getting people to delve in to science they’re not interested in and lambaste anyone who doesn’t follow their view.

Everyone else will simply share the latest fad craze and tell people what they want to hear, regardless of if it is going to be useful to them.

Is is any wonder people are frustrated these days.

Where should people start?
Who’s should they listen to?
What are they meant to believe?

Three questions that have so many answers you couldn’t ever hope to know them all.

That said, here are three simple considerations for you, it’s your choice if you want to delve in to these more or not.

– Start by looking for the leading authorities in the filed you want to delve in to – evidence & anecdotally based.

– Next find people who have consistently grown in the field, not just in success, in their own education and views. If they have changed over they years that’s a good thing because it means they are searching for the truth and best possible answers for people, hopefully.

– You can believe what you want, however always question it or at least look for views to oppose your own beliefs so you can gain the broader perspective, don’t become dogmatic.

*Bonus – Always look to learn & question why, please also remember that there are some great people out there who give away a lot of great info for free, there’s always two sides to a coin, just try not to be on the same as the Kardashians and their ilk.

Take the above and do one the following:

– Apply it to your life
– Ignore it and move on

If what I’ve said is something you consider absolute bollocks, great, you don’t need to heed my words, that’s your choice.

However perhaps it’s struck a cord of intrigue, if so you should look in to it.

The power of free will & choice, use it wisely.

Enjoy,
Ross

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Becoming a Bear

The Russian Bear!
 
A simple yet sinister protocol.
 
Doing it you will achieve the following:
 
– Strength
– Lean mass gain (nutrition provided)
– Mental fortitude
– Movement skill (good form providing)
– A lesson in humility
 
This was something I found many years ago while reading the book Power to the People – Pavel Tsatsouline.
 
His protocol recommendation is picking two lifts to focus on and doing 2 sets of 5 (*1x5x100%, 1x5x90%),5 days per week, the workouts take 25-35min tops.
 
*It is suggested that you start off at 80% of your 5RM and add weight in a linear fashion, there’s no sense in going too hard too soon. Build up over time.
 
It’s a strength focused work ethic.
 
I’ve run it several times over the years and do more than two moves, putting in squats, chins and so on. I found 5 lifts was about right for me when done 5 days per week.
 
Over that time I also found that aiming for 10 total working reps was good as well. This allowed for my bodies natural ebb & flow.
 
Some days would be 2×5 as above, others would be 3×3, some 4-3-2-1 or 5-3-2, it added some variety.
 
However all in the name of maintaining and/or increasing strength while I trained for other things (combative sports).
 
If your goal is pure strength, give that a go, however if you want or need to add some serious slabs of muscle and overall weight to your frame then the Russian Bear is for you.
 
Here’s how it works:
 
Pick two lifts – my recommendations are the Deadlift & Military Press.
 
Why?
 
They are both test of strength where you need to overcome the initial inertia to get the weight moving, not to mention you can pause each rep at the bottom of the lift for even more strength progress.
 
Once you pick your two lifts to focus on you do the following:
 
– 2×5: 1x5x100%, 1x5x90%
– As many set as possible of 5×80% of first set of 5.
– Aim to hit 15-25 total back off sets
– Rest 30-90 seconds per set
– Always have 1-2 reps in the tank, don;t go to absolute fail
– When form starts to go, stop
– Train 3x per week
 
The benefit of this style of protocol is in it’s massive amount of volume.
 
It seems easy on paper, don’t be fooled though.
 
Once you hit the top end back off sets (25), you could change the lifts or increase the weight – I recommend a deload or week off before starting it again though.
 
You might be tempted to do all 3 days per week using this protocol for both lifts, you can however it’s potentially not smart.
 
Here is my recommendation for it:
 
Day 1 – Deadlift 2×5 (PTTP style), Press 2×5+AMSAPx80%
 
Day 2 – Press 2×5 (PTTP style), DL 2×5+AMSAPx80%
 
Day 3 – Deadlift 2×5 (PTTP style), Press 2×5+AMSAPx80%
 
This will be more than enough for most people.
 
Should take between 45-90min to complete
 
Over time you can build up by adding weight and sticking with the above suggestion or start doing bear deadlifts 2xper week.
 
Day 1 – Deadlift 2×5+AMSAPx80%, Press 2×5+AMSAPx80%
 
Day 2 – Press 2×5 (PTTP style), DL 2×5 (PTTP style)
 
Day 3 – Deadlift 2×5+AMSAPx80%, Press 2×5+AMSAPx80%
 
Eventually working to all three days being volume ones.
 
^^ If you did that I’d be tempted to stick with the same loading, not gospel, just sensible. The first option is preferable as once you hit the max back off work you can increase the overall load.
 
Many will not like this due to it only having two lifts, adding in one extra accessory lift for some token reps isa acceptable, however it’s up to you.
 
Just something to consider.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Specialise much?

A short post on specialisation.
 
It’s all about picking something you want to focus on.
 
If you are looking at your gym lifts for example, here’d be some sensible guidelines for the average gym goer.
 
If lifting related:
 
– Pick 1-2 lifts to focus on
– Increase the frequency: 2-3+ times per week
– Use the appropriate loading/rep schemes for the goal
– Set other training at a maintenance level
– Watch out for interference from other exercises
– Set a clear goal
 
If body part or aesthetically related:
– Pick one lagging body part
– Increase the frequency: 2-3 times per week
– Use the appropriate loading/rep schemes for the goal
– Set other training at a maintenance level
– Watch out for interference from other exercises
– Set a clear goal
 
As you can see the guidelines are essentially the same because it’s just common sense.
 
One thing people do when they specialise is to pick multiple things at once, often those things interfere with each other and little to no overall progress is made.
 
Sadly you can’t excel at everything at the same time.
 
If you try to be good at everything you end up being average.
 
It’s not uncommon for people to want to increase strength & cardiovascular performance in tandem, now if correctly planned it’s possible, however most people get it very wrong.
 
Training for multiple goals that may have some conflicting factors – energy system usage, global fatigue etc, is an art and this process is called concurrent training.
 
We won’t be covering that today.
 
This is a large topic to cover, as such here are some good places to start:
 
 
 
 
So some thing to consider if you want to bring up something that’s lagging.
 
If you want to focus on making something better, limit what you want to focus on.
 
You won’t lose your other gains if you set other training at a decent maintenance level.
 
Enjoy,
Ross 

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A question for you

Have you made progress?
 
Honestly?
 
Like any at all?
 
Have you
 
– Gotten stronger
– Improved VO2 Max
– Gotten leaner
– Added LBM
– Ranked higher in your sport
 
I would trust that you have rather than simply spinning your wheels.
 
What was it Warren Buffett said –
 
“It’s nice having a lot $$$ but don’t keep it around forever. Otherwise it’s like saving sex for old age.
 
I feel a lot of people do this in their lives.
 
They aim to accumulate points over time and then expect something marvellous to happen.
 
Many put off the gym and pledge to do more later on, it never happens. They never make the change they need.
 
They remain the same.
 
Are you one of these people?
 
Give it some thought.
 
If you haven’t made progress in a while it might be time to make a change.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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The real reason you should write your goals down.

Most people know they should be writing down their goals.
 
Typically because of the following reasons:
 
– Accountability
– It’s a useful reminder
– This helps formulate an action plan
– The process allows for the overarching goal to be separated in to smaller more manageable chunks
 
What most people don’t know is the real reason it works os well.
 
If we write our goals down and achieve them, be that the main goal or the mini goals we set, each time we tick something off as achieved Dopamine is released.
 
What is it?
 
Dopamine is one of the neurotransmitters in your brain that affects your emotions, movements and your sensations of pleasure and pain.
 
This is often why people get addicted to things, it’s the dopamine release they experience, it keeps them coming back.
 
There you have it.
 
That’s the real reason you should write your goals down.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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5 exercises you’re not doing that will change your life.

 
In the modern age the mentality of training is heavily influenced by body building.
 
Now don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing bad about this, however not everyone wants to be one, some want strength, others want performance and a few just want to move better and enjoy life.
 
Give the influence of BB’ing most peoples training is constructed around open chain isolation exercises.
 
Again, nothing wrong with this, however there’s so much you than you know.
 
The 5 movements below will literally change your life in the following ways:
 
– Add slabs of lean muscle
– Build strength
– Increase mental fortitude
– Strip fat
– Improve movement patters (mobility, flexibility etc)
 
Be prepared, chances are you don’t do these at all.
 
1 – Clean & Press
 
2 – Turkish Get up
 
3 – Loaded carry (farmer walk, bear hug, overhead hold, sled drag, prowler push)
 
4 – Rope climbing (or climbing in general)
 
5 – Front Squats
 
Why these 5?
 
Apart from he fact people don’t really do them I will list some benefits in correlation with their number:
 
1 – Explosive power & strength
2 – Full body coordination, improved ROM, stability, strength
3 – Conditioning (strip fat), strength, stability, mental toughness, power
4 – Helps you climb trees to get down your kite
5 – Strength, stability, ROM, posture
 
Now there is one movement that you may feel also needs to be in there and I’d agree, the deadlift should be in there as well.
 
6 – Deadlift – snatch grip variation especially :3
 
You’d be surprised the body you could build doing those exercises, however many of you won’t because they don’t fall in to the norm and fit the status quo, shame.
 
If you’re one of those who has the courage to brea away from the norm here’s a protocol you can use to make that change you’ve been looking for –
 
*Number to correlate*
 
– 5-25 total reps per movement (1,2,5,6)
– 80% + 1RM loading
– 10-20min total distance covered (3/4)
– Train 2-5 times per week
– Session length 45min tops
– Track everything and aim to progress where you can
 
Seems simple, however you have your movements, you can choose to do them with dumbbells, barbells, kettlebells, odd objects and much more.
 
Just aim to break the norm if you really want to get some results.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Do you want change or simply like the idea of it?

Three things that stop you making a change for the better.
 
– Ego
– Bias
– Excuses
 
Now these may seem obvious, however people let their get in the way far too often.
 
The ego fears dying.
 
The bias fears being proved wrong.
 
The excuses fears their invalidity.
 
Now take a second and see these simple musings this way…
 
You fear change because it means an old part of you dies, even if this part of you was self-destructive and of no benefit to your life.
 
You fear change because it means what you felt was right was only right because you looked for things to make it so, you sought out bias answers that you wanted to hear, rather than what you actually needed to hear.
 
You fear change because once you start making it you have two accept that your excuses were just that, excuses.
 
Do people want to hear this?
 
No.
 
Do they need to hear this?
 
Yes.
 
In the end we hold the cards in our own hand, we have the ultimate final say.
 
Context will play a part in our choices, however they are still our choices and as such we don’t have to make them if we don’t want to, not really.
 
As a fellow human I want people to be happy.
 
To make the changes that will make them smile and live a good life.
 
That said, I can’t make a choice or a change for you, that’s up to you.
 
Reflect on your life, give it some thought and once you have ask yourself this –
 
Do I want change or do I just like the idea of change?
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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4 techniques to getting stronger.

Let’s be honest, who doesn’t want to be considered strong.
 
Being strong is awesome.
 
It makes you more robust, improves your health*, changes your quality of life and above all else it looks pretty bad ass.
*Provided your nutrition and overall lifestyle isn’t self destructive.
 
Strength is a funny thing.
 
You’re either strong or you’re not and to what degree of strength you have simply boils down to wha you need it for, after all, strength is simply the ability to perform a given task much like fitness.
 
So how strong s hold you be?
 
As strong as YOU need is the answer.
 
Okay, enough philosophical thoughts.
 
Time for some techniques.
 
1 – Paused Reps
 
A classic that is still relevant to this day.
 
It’s great for helping you generate and more importantly hold tension in a lift, plus it will get you over sticking points.
 
You simply pause your rep in one or more locations throughout the lifts ROM, it’s that easy.
 
Most will pause at the hardest part of the ROM, in a squat this would be at the bottom as coming out of the hole is hardest for most people.
 
For a deadlift you may choose to pause mid shin, then continue the lift.
 
My recommendation is to do anywhere up to 25-30 total reps for this style of training, that could mean 5×5 or 12×2, perhaps only 3×3 or 4×4, you pick your poison.
 
2 – Singles
 
Another classic, however there’s a slight twist.
 
Again you’d do well to limit the total reps to around 25-30, however here is how you might set it out:
 
– 1 lift per workout for this protocol
– 80-90% 1RM load on the bar
– Perform 1 rep on the minute every minute (EMOM)
– Stick with a load % until you can hit all 30 reps, then incase load of change the lift variation
 
The idea of this is to build volume at a decent intensity level, having to start each rep will help you groove the form and the skill of the lift.
 
My favourites for this are the Deadlift and Presses.
 
3 – Speed Work
 
Increasing your rate of force development (RFD) will help you get stronger as you’ll find you may already have the base strength needed to make a lift, however you’re just too slow.
 
Dave Tate speaks about this at length at Elite FTS, check out his work, it’s mind-blowing stuff as he is crazy smart.
 
Back on topic, speed work.
 
You take 50-65% of your max and perform sets of reps as explosively as possible (ensure good form).
 
You’ll find the 25-30 rep total is again a good bench mark to go for.
 
Concentrate on making each rep as crisp and fast as possible, you will also be limiting your rest, top end being 60 seconds, no more.
 
This method is great for not only boosting RFD but also getting in a good amount of volume in a short space of time.
 
You may think that this won’t help you get strong, it will, trust me. Most strong people are actually pretty fast, just watch any world record lifts and you’ll find the majority look effortlessly fast for the most part.
 
4 – Eccentrics
 
Yet again another tried and tested method.
 
Loading up an exercises will over your max with 110-130% of 1RM and lowering it as slowly as possible is great for helping you break through plateaus.
 
Due to the highly demanding nature of these lifts I’d advise most people to make sure they have spotters and aim for 3-5 sets of 1-3 reps, limiting this rep total to 15 as it can be quite taxing.
 
You will also do well to use this method for 2-3 weeks tops.
 
Doing them it never seems like much, however if you’re using 130% of your max I can tell you it is soul destroying, don’t fall victim to your ego on this, especially with compound lifts.
 
This is great for Chins, Dips, Curls and other such exercises, I’d be a tad weary of doing it with squats and DL unless you’re a very accomplished lifter.
 
There you have it.
 
4 simple techniques that have all been proven to work.
 
Use one method at a time, don’t be a hero and try to do more than one or combine them because you will snap your self up.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Make progress with one set!

Something you may have heard or read in the past.
 
Is it true?
 
Yes, however you’ll need to know exactly what is meant by ‘one set’.
 
When people write or speak about making progress with the above, they don’t mean you literally only do one set.
 
What they mean is that you’re going to do one ‘working set’, you don’t include your warm ups in the mix, which could be was little as two sets or as many as 10 depending on how strong you are.
 
A working set is classes as an amount of reps performed at the target weight.
 
You also have the classic 3×10 by Delorme/Watkins which was as follows:
 
– 1x10x50% 10RM (warm up)
– 1x10x75% 10RM (warm up)
and finally…
1x10x100% 10RM (working set)
 
Going you one working set.
 
If we took the classic 3×8, this means 3 working sets, not including warm ups.
 
If you ever read Brawn, you’d find that lots of the programs had things like this written:
 
Squat 1×20
Press 2×5
Chin 1×6-8
etc
 
All of these are the working sets, as you cans occasionally they had 2 working sets.
 
The idea of this set is to much you to your limits and perhaps add some small amount of weight to be bar, improve the form, do it while having less rest and so on.
 
You could manipulate any variable to get progress so long as you made progress.
 
– Volume – perhaps got an extra rep at or 2 the same weight
– Intensity – lifted more total weight on the bar
– Density – had less rest than previously
– Frequency – performed this feat twice in a week instead of once
 
When you take a look at the principles behind this long spoken method of training it’s fair to say they’re pretty solid because they leave you nowhere to hide.
 
If you limit yourself to only one hard set, you’re more likely to give it your all and try to better that set in any which way you can.
 
The more modern approach of “Do all the sets & all the reps!” isn’t bad by any means, however it does often leave people working sub-optimally which is why some struggle to make any form of progress.
 
The repeated bout effect or repetition method is a solid one, that’s not being disputed, however those who get the most out of this are the ones who’ve spent a decent chunk of time hitting one hard ‘working set’ in the past.
 
You may also find working sets are called ‘top sets’ which can be found in those who follow a daily lifting routine – ala Bulgarian style training and daily maxing.
 
So, should you try this style of training protocol?
 
Yes, no, maybe, I really don’t know.
 
It certainly works, however if you’re making progress with what you’re doing then there’s no sense in changing, if not though, perhaps you might find this useful.
 
If you decide to work for top sets here are some pointers of where to start:
 
Top set recommendations:
Squat: 5-10
Presses: 5
Pulls: 6-8
DL: 3-5
Accessory lifts: 8-12
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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