Tag Archives: lifting
The Purposeful Primitive:
From Fat and Flaccid to Lean and Powerful:
Using Primordial Laws of Fitness to Trigger Inevitable, Lasting and Dramatic Physical Change
by Marty Gallagher
Have you ever read it?
You should, it’s a very good book with a wealth of experience in it and one simple take home message.
Success requires heart.
If you take the time to look there is a plethora of good books surrounding the realm of fitness.
Some are filled with numbers, plug & play programs, explanations of the basics and of course the principles/foundations of lifting, yet it’s the ones that are written in a story telling manor that hold the most secrets.
Ironically these are the books people will skip over because they want the quick answer.
This is understandable, however not too wise.
We can all read and gain a basic grasp of the numbers.
I’ve been such a person and has read hundreds of books of the years, admittedly skim reading the story-esc ones, due to my of foolishness at the time.
As I’ve gone back and reread these story books of lifting, Ive found new appreciation for them.
They hold not only training principles and methodologies.
Oh no, they hold something much more valuable as well.
They hold heart, or what some might call indomitable spirit, perhaps even attitude, regardless of the semantics, the message is clear.
Those lifting legends thought differently, they had that extra gear as it were. That defined focus that many of us lack, hence why we only really make mediocre progress – yes, mediocre.
Even those who we think are training hard are lacking.
In the book mentioned above there are many excerpts that speak of people lifting only twice per week and hitting world record numbers (if you check the records you’ll find it all true).
Could you make such progress on two sessions a week?
I highly doubt it. I couldn’t, not with my current attitude in training.
This goes to show just how things have changed, and by things I mean people, or at least our resolve and work ethic.
We’ve grown lazy, so very lazy.
If you’ve just sat and thought “What… screw you, I’m not lazy” or something similar, that’s your ego talking and unless you’re at the peak of your own personal pyramid and chosen endeavour you’re not working hard enough, or rather, working hard enough in the smartest way possible.
Here is an example of just how an attitude was back in the day –
Bill Pearl, he used to train at 4am.
Yep, 4am, before the world got p he’d already be grinning away to forge his body in a fire of iron, sweat and many repetitions.
He had a normal job too, plus lived a fairly busy life, so before you bring up your excuses understand this person had them as well, he simply didn’t let them stop him becoming a legend of lifting.
From reading in to the lives of people form yesterday I fear we’ve grown soft, reliant on our comfortable lifestyles. We’ve lost our edge.
The attitude now is one of ‘I will do more but with less intensity’ – for most people anyway, I’m sure you will explain how you’re the exception, that being the case I wish I was you.
In the book you also get the sense that theme & women of yesteryear trained to break boundaries and hammer their of limitations, I’m not saying some don’t do this now, they just lack the conviction of old.
The modern world has beaten people down with how we ‘should’ look, behave, think, feel and ugh more. It’s no wonder people have so many mental health issues these days.
If you want to expand your thought and learn what it is to I speak of in this post, I suggest reading these three books:
The Purposeful Primitive – Marty Gallagher
Super Strength – Alan Calvert
Secrets of My Strength – Paul Anderson
There are many more great books of old, you can find them here:
What’s old is new again.
The ravages of time effect us all, it’s something none of us can deny.
Eventually the days of working all the hours under the sun followed by a hard night of partying and then getting up at the crack of dawn and crushing a workout can only last so long.
In the end the body says “Nope, just no.”
So why does this happen?
Let’s look at what we know:
– Hormonal profiles are less optimal
– Your ability to recover declines as you age
– Sleep becomes paramount
– Tolerance to alcohol, highly processed foods declines
– You can actually train harder as you age due to better and more mature/developed neurological connections that create more in-road each session (plus you might have made strength gains from your early days, hopefully)
– Basically you’re no spring chicken anymore
Some people think raging is a bad thing, it’s not, it’s simply a process of life however if you plan your training correctly you can make plenty of progress in your later years, and for some people even make the best progress they’ve ever made.
Personally I’ve had clients who go on to outdo themselves ten-fold from their youth because as an adult they possess the following quality that only come with time:
– Common sense
A typical younger version of yourself might train 5-6 days per week and hit a combination of weights/cardio, not a bad thing, however from experience the attitude of most is that of this “I’m maintaining what I’ve got.” whereas as you age the attitude becomes “I’m looking to become stronger and improve what I have to prevent further decline.” – obviously note true for everyone, just most people.
As youths we truly are ignorant and take what we have for granted. If we had known that the foundations we lay in the early years will serve use to help keep our youth for longer more people would put in a conscious effort to train for strength/progress rather than just aesthetics and maintaining what we have.
^^ Always train for strength, performance and progress, that’s the bottom line. If you do aesthetics will come regardless of age.
Below is a winning formula I have used for people over the age of 40 who have become more invested mentally in their training.
– Train 2-4 times per week (more isn’t necessary)
– Focus on strengthening your posterior chain
– Focus on stretching your anterior chain
– 2-6 movements per session is great
– Conditioning is important (use 1 session to hit CV 80%+ HRR)
– Lower reps with more sets trumps all
– Average intensity will be around 80% 1RM
– 2-3 weeks of hard training followed by 1 week easy is king
– Take 4 total rest weeks of a year (12 week mesocycles)
– Food is fuel, eat mostly whole foods
– Enjoy life, if you want to eat loose do it, just don’t go nuts to often
If you’re new to lifting I advise you hire a coach to help you with the below. Kettlebells are a great tool, however they require practice so leave your ego at the door, focus on longevity.
You’ll improve strength/conditioning/mobility/flexibility with kettlebells, they’re the perfect tool as we find ourselves hitting the later years. If you have never used them I suggest hiring a coach to help teach you their ways.
You might think that for people who work and write about fitness, training, lifestyle change or anything of a similar ilk that they’ve got it all sorted, they never fall to the traps of ego or pride and everything is as it should be.
I’m here today to tell you that if you assume that, you’ll most certainly make an ass out of you and me.
This morning I personally fell to my own hubris.
There was a lift I assumed would be hit and there would be no issues, it can safely be said that that was the mother of all mistakes because the lift was missed three times do to poor tricep strength in the lock out portion of the lift.
Anger ensued, disappointment was rife, clarity was gained, a lesson was learned.
Don’t assume anything until it has been done.
The next time you find yourself struggling and look to others and start thinking “They’ve got it so easy.” or anything similar, remember that chances are they have failed int he same way you have, they’ve learnt lessons you have yet to know even exist and made progress, it just took time.