Tag Archives: life

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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Some simple tests to try

Movement.
 
It’s kind of really popular now.
 
Like really popular.
 
However before you can move on to all the fancy stuff, form a lifters perspective, can you do the basics?
 
Squat-Hinge-Push-Pull-Brace
 
Most think they can
 
The truth is many can’t
 
Here is a simple yet effective movement screen I use with clients to assess their ability and see what we need to work on.
 
My basic movement screen is as follows:
 
– Standing on 1 Leg (eyes open, then closed)
– Goblet Squat
– BW Hinge (double leg & single leg)
– Press Up
– Bat Wing
– Floor or Wall Angle
– Plank
 
What do the above actually assess or do?
 
Let’s take a look.
 
Standing on 1 Leg (eyes open, then closed): Aim for 30 seconds without any movement with your eyes closed.
 
Balance/proprioception/posture 
 
Goblet Squat: Aim for a full ROM with no upper thoracic collapse.
 
The ability to stay braced and maintain upper thoracic extension/stability while achieving a full flexion of the hip/knee, it also highlights ankle/foot stability/mobility issues (weigh shifting, heels lifting etc)
 
– BW Hinge ( start with double leg & then single leg): Aim for a full hip hinge while maintaining solid posture, no rounding or loss of balance.
 
Full hip hinge while maintaining core bracing, natural posture, proprioception and stability.
 
– Press Up: Aim for full press-up with no break in form (elbows tight to sides, bum pinched.
 
Bracing, posture, while moving through time and space in a pressing fashion, full ROM through elbow flexion and also control of upper back (scapula) retraction/activation.
 
– Bat Wing: Aim for full retraction of shoulder blades and upper back contraction – do this against a wall.
 
Upper back control, scapula retraction and full ROM, plus bracing and good posture throughout the movement.
 
– Floor or Wall Angle: Aim to get your arms fully extended overhead with no change in your posture (excessive back arching).
 
Upper thoracic ROM, shoulder ROM, stiffness in lats/lack of core bracing.
 
– Plank: Aim to hold a solid position from head to toe,no sagging.
 
Core Bracing and posture consistency.
 
The above tests are an overall assessment to see if the person doing them can control their body correctly and move through time & space without any issue.
 
A lot of people struggle with these basic movements and worst of all ignore them, opting to go for more advanced movements that they’re just not ready for.
 
Basically building on disfunction.
 
Think of it like building a house, you wouldn’t do it if the foundations were crap of the area was known for subsidence, that’s just a recipe for disaster.
 
Now from an enjoyment stand point the train that these styles of assessment will require the client to do can seem very boring and basic, especially when we live in a world that demands MORE MORE MORE.
 
A lot of people fall in to the trap of wanting the fancy fun things to do and while there is nothing wrong with this it can cause a lot of issues later down the line.
 
For example:
 
Plyometrics (jump training).
 
Is it fun?
 
Hell yes.
 
Is it safe?
 
Yes, IF you have correct movement patterns and the strength/stability to perform the movements correctly, if you can’t hen it will lead to injury, especially in the knee, trust me I’ve seen it.
 
Did you know according to the research done by Prof Yuri Verkhoshansky, to do basic low level jump training you should be able to squat your bodyweight for solid reps – that’s bodyweight on a bar by the way.
 
For Depth Jumps and other more advanced techniques the recommendations are up to 2xBW on the bar, not many can do that.
 
^^ You will find this info in the book Super Training & also The Science & Practice of Strength Training if memory serves me correctly.
 
Keeping this in mind.
 
How many people do you know who do training that is far lack of a better term, way beyond their pay grade, a fair few I’d imagine. 
 
I know a few and I have even done it myself in the past, injury was my reward because like all competitive people I did too much of what I wasn’t ready for.
 
Building a solid and wide foundation will allow you to hit a higher peak.
 
Yes it may be a tad dull at the start, it can also be hard to hear, however it’s sometimes necessary.
 
Take a look at your own movements and patterns, are they solid or could they do with some improvement?
 
Truing hard and stay safe
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Three things you need to stop immediately.

If you do I can guarantee you will feel much better.
 
1 – Worrying about he number on the scales.
 
In fact throw them out, literally. They serve no purpose other than to keep you in a narrow mindset and hold you back, remember a low umber on the scale doesn’t mean happens or health (physically, mentally & emotionally) it can often mean the opposite, sadly.
 
2 – Stressing over what you think other people are thinking.
 
I have some news for you, you don’t know what is going through other peoples heads, no, really, you don’t, so stop stressing yourself out about it.
 
Chances are they’re not looking at you, it’s just something you’ve conditioned yourself in to thinking.
 
How do I know this? Talk about irony.
 
I used to do it and in fact I still do it from time to time, trust me, people are rarely thinking about what you think they’re thinking about.
 
3 – Changing for everyone else.
 
It’s human nature to want to please others, however it’s not something that should cause you internal strife.
 
A lot of people want to change, which is not necessarily a bad thing, however it’s the reasons they want to change that could be very questionable.
 
Changing for reasons other than your own is a sure way to failure because the changes may not be something you want.
 
Take for example fat loss. Good for health, potentially yes, good to do so that others accept you or you attract that certain special someone, no, 100% a terrible idea.
 
Social pressure is a massive influence on people these days and the more you try to fit in with the crowds externally, the worse you end up feeling internally, then you look back when you’re a little wiser and realise it wasn’t worth it.
 
Make changes for your own personal reasons and you’ll be far happier for it.
 
There you have it.
 
Three things to stop doing.
 
Will this happen immediately?
 
No, probably not, however the first step in changing a behaviour (if it’s what you want to do), it acknowledging it, then accepting it, once they are achieved you can start towards the pace you want to be in, physically, mentally and emotionally.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Do what it is you do

Morning All,
 
Over the years I’ve spoken about rep goals, loading options, progression methods and much more.
 
The chances are that together we have gone through all the major points, you will also find that this simple page is one of a great many places where you can find information, it’s nothing special.
 
Keeping all of this in mind it’s time to take a look at something a great many people skirt around, stagnation.
 
In the beginning everyone gets results, then they slow down, shortly after this nothing seems to happen and it is at this point that people will slowly start to slip back in to old habits instead of potentially making the choice to have that little bit more focus.
 
Now, if you’ve reached a point you’re happy with then you really have no need to progress any further, honestly.
 
Once you go past the stage of beginner and end up in the realms of intermediate it’s not hard to maintain the place you’re in, however moving forwards might be, just remember that you’re under no obligation to do keep moving forwards.
 
Ask yourself this question:
 
What’s most important to me right now?
 
Be honest in your answer, you won’t be judged if it’s not fitness or aesthetically related, if anything I’d give you props because you’re making your own choice, rather than following the crowd of doing what you think others want you to do.
 
All in all you want to find what makes you happy, then continue to do what ever it is you’re doing that gives you that feeling, simple.
 
In a world where everyone, or at least most people are going to judged you regardless of what it is you do and give you THEIR opinion on how you should live your life, it’s important that you do what’s best for you.
 
As I’ve grown older it has become very apparent that being mentally stable and covent is what really matters because once you achieve that everything else falls in to place.
 
However that’s my opinion, it’s not fact, you can make up your own mind as to what’s important to you, it’s not my place of my interest to tell you what will make you happy.
 
So, ask yourself, what is most important to me right now?
 
Once you have the answer, focus on it.
 
Enjoy life while it’s here, you only get one after all.
 
Ross

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5 Reasons people need a framework to succeed –

1 – Most don’t know what they need to do and as such need it clearly signposted

2 – It helps people feel less pressure, basically they can blame the structure for failure rather than themselves

3 – Things such as accountability and more responsibility become easier to administer

4 – Recorded data makes for a great confidence booster to show them how far they’ve come

5 – It teaches them how to achieve success on their own

Now there are those rare people who don’t need a framework to make their own success, if you’re one of them then we’ll see each other at the top. If that’s not you it’s not a problem, just ask for help and it will be yours.

Short & simple today.

Enjoy,
Ross

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What’s harder?

What’s harder, training or nutrition?
 
Now this is a common question and the answer for most is almost always the nutrition.
 
The funny thing is nutrition isn’t really that hard, you either need to be in a calorie surplus or deficit (depending on your goal), from there you will do well to keep a nutrition diary and record your foods, calories/macros too if you’re that focused.
 
Next you will do well to opt to eat mostly whole foods, however this is not a necessity although it is preferable for health and performance purposes.
 
This again isn’t hard, yet people will makes excuses, piss wings and moan that is it because of the following REAL reason; they don’t want to have to change bad habits.
 
Might sound harsh, however that doesn’t stop it being true.
 
Now as written above, you don’t HAVE to change the foods you eat, provided your calories/macros are set correctly and you hit them you can choose the foods sources, so the excuse of “Good nutrition is too restrictive and hard to stick to” gets thrown out of the window, now it’s just a case of you hitting the number you need to.
 
This is where tracking your calories etc becomes important, again though, you don’t have to, just don’t expect much in the way of progress if yo don’t know what you’re eating calorie wise.
 
Some will chuck in the barrier or “Well I don’t know who to work this out” which again is a redundant excuse considering all the calculators that are available to people, not to mention you can also speak to a respected of successful trainer/coach and have them do it for you.
 
My suggestion would be Eric Helms and his work, or look up the Harris-Benedict calorie calculation formula, boom no more barriers or confusion.
 
Everyone, I don’t mean to sound cynical or jaded, yet I am, this is because over the years I have developed less and less patience for people poor excuses and lack of drive to achieve a result.
 
You have two options really, you either want to make a change, in which case myself and many other people in this industry will bend over backwards to help you. OR, you don’t really want to change in which case we wish you all the best and we can end our conversations promptly.
 
Now as people who want to help we can give you all the tools, help you stay accountable, speak to you daily to make sure you have all the support you need, however if you don’t want to change no amount of help from us or anyone else will make you want to change, that decision has to come from you, from your heart.
 
The knowledge of knowing what will help you in getting results isn’t hard, it’s not the training or the nutrition that is hard, it’s making the conscious choice to change.
 
We, I want to help you, however the real question is do you want to help yourself?
 
Give it some thought.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Memories

Having measurable data is a great way to assess your progress, so why don’t you have any?
 
Fitness testing, body measurements, lifting records are all great ways to see how you are improving and also what you may need to be doing in order to continue to make headway if it is starting to slow down.
 
There are a lot of people who claim they never need to record things, they just remember it all and while they may indeed remember the highlights it’s very hard to keep everything in your head.
 
Typically once we get past a certain point we might as well be exposed to white noise.
 
According to a lot of research in to the field of memory, the average person can retain 7 pieces, plus or minus 2, given you a top limit of 9 and a lower one of 5; obviously there will be exceptions that can remember more just as there will be people who remember far less, it’s just a part of being on the bellcurve.
 
Writing things down and recording the specifics will take the pressure ands stress away from you having to remember each detail. Don’t get me wrong, having good ball park memory is great, however that won’t help you highlight weak areas that need work, specifically.
 
Personally I’m a big fan of making notes and writing things down, not matter who big or small it is, there’s a record. This little habit has saved many a hassle when it comes to wiring future goals for myself or clients, not to mention it give an honest overview of how everything has proceeded, no hiding behind white lies to protect the ego.
 
This is nothing more than simper advice for you, there’s no need for you to take it, honestly, there isn’t.
 
Before we finish I just want to ask you two questions;
 
1 – What sets and reps were you hitting on this day 3 years ago and how do they compete to now?
 
2 – What was your VO2 Max on the date of 22-6-13 and how has it improved?
 
I’m sure you can answer those from memory 🙂 for me.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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The Healthy Skeptic

Did you know that just because you found evidence that agrees with your opinion, it doesn’t mean it’s right.
 
^^ A hard pill to swallow, however one we all need form time to time.
 
In our world of instant answers and global communication it’s not hard to find something that confirms what we believe and that’s quite a dangerous thing.
 
While it is true you can find studies, anecdote and much more to prove your point it doesn’t then mean you should discount other information.
 
Grasping the entire picture is crucial in making objective decisions and a logical conclusion, otherwise you’re just feeding your ego.
 
I’ve been guilty of this and as such I have three short pieces of advice to help you.
 
1 – Always question your own beliefs
2 – Look for information from every conceivable angle
3 – Try to prove yourself wrong
 
Following these will allow you a broader perspective on a great many things, fitness related and across the entire spectrum of life too. If what you feel is true is true then gathering all the info on all the angles, opposing views and challenging opinions will still lead to the same answer, however you must be willing to entertain the possibility that you’re wrong before you can ever hope to prove that you’re not. 
 
Healthy skepticism, it’s the way forwards.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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6 short lessons of success.

 
Everyone want’s to succeed, yet not everyone will… Unless you take heed of these sage words.
 
1 – It doesn’t happen overnight, there’s always a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes.
 
2 – If you’re not upsetting people you’re not pushing the boundaries you need to.
 
3 – Success doesn’t care if you’ve had a bad day, feel ill or made a mistake, regardless of circumstance success will still demand sacrifice for it’s fruits.
 
4 – Hitting the pinnacle is a privilege, not a right.
 
5 – If not you, it will be someone else.
 
6 – You’ll have to keep doing more and more and more to boost your skill because no one starts out good at anything and if they do they never amount to anything because they take that gift fro granted.
 
Chances are you ready know the above, most people do yet they still feel they’re entitled to some sort of success when this is not the case, nor has it ever been. If you want something you’d better be prepared to work your ass off for it.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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2 Reasons the average gym goer doesn’t need to isolate the front deltoid

It’s common place to see people doing front raises in the gym, even though for them it’s essentially a pointless exercise.

I’m not saying it’s a bad exercise, far from it, some top lifters need it as an assistance movement for what ever specific reason, however the average gym goer who has a program heavily biased towards pressing and anterior chain movements DOES NOT need to be doing front raises.

Before we go on let us have a look at some of the exercises that recruit the front deltoid.

  • Presses (pretty much all of them)
  • Bear crawls
  • Planks
  • Sled pushing

The main function of the anterior deltoid is shoulder flexion — lifting your arm up and to the front of your body. So any movement that involves this hits it, make a note.

That’s the first reason you don’t need to isolate this muscle.

The second is because daily life is heavily anterior chain dominant, here is a short list of daily living movements that cause a short/tight/over worked front delt and also high pecs too.

  • Sitting at a desk
  • Eating
  • Driving
  • Playing computer games
  • Putting things on shelves

You get the idea. Life is heavily biased towards overworking what are known as ‘tonic muscles’ of the body and rarely have you stimulating the phasic ones (posterior chain).

For the average person Id recommend having some form of reverse fly in every session and perhaps a lateral raise movement in each pressing session, I can’t remember the exact studies, I apologise, however on average the lateral delt has 2/3 the development of the front and the rear was barely scraping 1/3 of the front delts growth.

You’d also do well to chuck in face pulls, bat wings (isometric holds) and resistance band pull apart drills in your daily life (say 50 pull-aparts per hour and 60 seconds bat wing).

This simple information will help you balance the entire shoulder, it will also help improve your posture and look 100% better, no one likes a round shouldered look, its weak and prone to injury.

Enjoy,

Ross

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