Tag Archives: logic

How to make progress, part 1: Specificity

It might seem obvious that needing a goal is key for making progress, however there are a lot of people who fail to set one, especially a specific one with trackable numbers.
 
You might there of people saying things like:
 
“I want to get bigger.”
 
“I want to lose weight.”
 
And so on.
 
While those are goals they’re not specific ones, and you’ll no doubt hear of people who never set specific goals because they don’t need to, however you’re not one of those people (the genetically gifted or PED users), you need specifics to make progress.
 
Having a designated goal based on a number will allow you the opportunity to reverse engineer your path to it and help you set weekly targets and the necessary steps to success.
 
Take this example:
 
Goal – Bench Press 140kg
Current standard – 120kg bench press
Required progress – 20kg increase in strength
Time frame – 12 months 1-1-17:1-1-18
 
Looking at this you’d be able to see that you will need to add around 1.6kg per month to your bench each month.
 
You will also then be abel to establish the correct training periods necessary to achieve this goal (Hypertrophy, Strength, Peaking etc). Wether this is hitting absolute weight increase on the bar, rep increases such as taking your current 3RM and making it your new 6RM, total increased volume and so on, you can plan out clear route for progress.
 
Now I don’t care who claims they don’t need to do this because almost every successful athlete in the world of strength sports trains this way and the reason for it is simple; it works.
 
In short, having a specific goal will help you actually achieve something, without one you might progress, you might not. The overbearing amount of people int he gym who don’t change their body composition, incase strength or achieve anything is proof enough, it’s up to you to decide if you want to be one of them or one of the successful ones.
 
Part two will be overload.
 
Until then, write down your goals, be specific and make a plan.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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The top 5 reasons you struggle with nutrition.

You ready?

These may surprise and offend you.

1 – You want a specific answer to a general question and refuse to learn of yourself.
2 – You aren’t honest with yourself about how much you eat.
3 – You don’t track your calories.
4 – You reject the notions of common nutritional sense for more favourable fad diets that tell you what you want to hear.
5 – You expect to see results in a few days or a week.

Bonus – You consume more total calories than you expend each day.

Harsh but true.

Here are 5 ways to combat the above issues:

1 – Take the time to learn what nutrition is and isn’t.
2 – Be honest with yourself.
3 – Buy a diary or download and app and track everything (food, drinks etc).
4 – Just because what you’re told isn’t what you want to hear doesn’t mean it’s wrong. Don’t fall victim to fad diets and good marketing.
5 – Eat less, move more and remember that progress takes months or even years to really see, not days.

Bonus – Hire a coach to help you.

Applied the above and you’ll be far better off for it.

Enjoy,

Ross

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Can you train everyday?

The short answer to the question of training everyday is, yes.

You can train everyday so long as it adheres to the following:

  • Daily lifting corresponds with your long/short term goals
  • Training is programmed correctly (intensity, total volume, workout density)
  • It doesn’t exceed your MRV – Maximum Recoverable Volume
  • Deloads/Easy days are planned in
  • There is logical progression
  • Session do not exceed 1 hour
  • You enjoy it – Arguably the most important

There is a good book covering the the recently popular ‘Squat Everyday’ that was based on the Bulgarian Style of training, however it is wroth noting that these and typically other athletes who train daily are weightlifters. This is because weightlifting requires a high degree of skill and while the sets will be high the reps will fall in the range of 1-3 for main lifts and 4-7 for accessory lifts.

When it comes to training daily you need to vary the loading parameters, this can be done from working off a daily  1 rep max then performing back a off set(s) for your volume needs – for example, going to a heavy single then taking 60-70% of that number and doing 1 back off set of 20 reps. You could simply work up to a daily Rep Max say 5,3,2 and cycling these for each lift so some days you have a 5rm squat, 3rm bench and 2rm DL, then the next time it would  be a 3rm squat and so on.

This isn’t gospel, it’s just a suggestion. You’ve also got the 5-4-3-2-1 countdown for each lift, this will then allow a strength circuit to be performed, it might look like this:

  • A1 – Squat
  • Rest 1-2min
  • A2 – Press
  • Rest 1-2min
  • A3 – Power Clean
  • Rest 1-2min
  • Back to A1 and repeat until 5-4-3-2-1 reps done

You can find another great example of how to program daily training by reading Easy Strength by Dan John & Pavel – here is link to some chapter notes from it: http://danjohn.net/2011/06/even-easier-strength-perform-better-notes/

In short, training daily is perfectly doable, however it lends itself better to strength/skill based training. Fatness & Hypertrophy will be achieved, however it would require programming to be spot on to avoid pushing the envelope too hard. You will often leave the gym feeling worked but strong, almost like you could do more, however you must resist the temptation to do more as the volume over the week is cumulative and takes a toll.

Enjoy,
Ross

Here are some good links to resources on this subject:

http://www.salisbury.edu/sportsperformance/Articles/INTENSITY%20OF%20STRENGTH%20TRAINING%20FACTS%20AND%20FALLACIES%20-%20ZATZIORSKY.pdf

https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Michael_Zourdos/publications

https://www.myosynthesis.com/squat-every-day

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Leverage, Genetics & You.

Did you know that your inherent build can play a large role in how you lift a weight, not to mention the muscles that will take most of the load. 

Let’s take the deadlift for example.

A person with short femurs will find they have excessive loading in their quads, whereas a person with longer femurs will find the hamstrings and glutes take more of a hammering.

Therefore because oft different builds and the inherent differences that will occur in set up etc, you’d be right in thinking that while a vernal set up will be followed everyone will look slightly different.

The logic is simple, but you’d be surprised how any people ignore this.

If you look at those who might be shorter and smaller than yourself but weight more this can be down to their genetic makeup that has an effect on bone density, torso length, muscle belly shape, tendon length and more. Meaning that while we are all the same physiologically; more or less. There will always be differences and you shouldn’t compare yourself to anyone else, just you.

Learning to understand your body is something that take a long time, however that does not mean you then blame poor genetics for your lack of progress or excessive body fat gain. Your body doesn’t control you (your conciseness/brain), you do. You make the choices, the responsibility is with you.

This brings us to another crucial and noteworthy point.

If you are a person of 5ft with narrow shoulders, wide hips and short legs, you need to accept that you won’t look like someone who is 5ft with narrow shoulders, narrow hips and long legs, stop trying to achieve a goal that is physically unachievable. Make the best of what you have and train/eat accordingly.

It is not uncommon to find that people idolise those that they will never look like, because we all want what we can’t have.

Take a look at your proportions and honestly assess what is and isn’t possible to achieve. Then find different people of a similar build who have achieved a goal along the same line as yours, learn from them, try things out for at least 6 months, constantly learn, adapt and achieve.

Enjoy,
Ross

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Stop, Think, Question

Why am I doing this?
 
^^
 
A question you should ask yourself at least once per day.
 
Morning Guys,
 
The topic of mindfulness or being more aware is one that has become more popular over the years and with good reason. In the end you have to be the one to make the final decision, it all fall on you.
 
There are a lot of people, myself included, that have used various excuses for making what can be considered ‘poor choices’ because of external influence. Now while you might think that it was the external influence that had the final day it wasn’t, it was the person who made the choice. After all, unless someone literally has a gun to your head there is no way they can make you chose something, you have to make the choice.
 
Okay, let’s take a step back, the above statement is extreme but you get the point it makes. We have the faint say and while factors may influence us, we still have the last thought on it before we sign on the dotted line and make deal with the devil.
 
If you’re not sure what some of the factors that how sway over influence and persuasion, here are some of the key ones:
 
– Social Proof/Consensus (herd mentality)
– Credibility/Authority (Professional influence)
– Reciprocity (giving you something for something in return)
– Scarcity (limited availability, think concords last days)
– Fear/Shame (being different or outcast)
 
These are some of the ways people end up making a decision that is not always optimal or in their best interests.
 
If you want some more info on the deeper aspects of this topic I suggest reading the following books:
 
– Influence by Dr R Caldini
– The Art of Clear Thinking by Rolf Dobelli
 
Those books will give you a great understanding of not only psychology but also logical fallacy.
 
Back to the topic at hand.
 
Before you make a decision, ask yourself “Why am I doing this” and take a step back to think about the reasons why. Is it in your best interest, will it benefit all parties involved, is it something you want, will this make you a better person or help you grow, and so on.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Question Time

Morning Guys,
 
Before you write yourself anew program I want you to ask yourself these questions first:
 
– How/Why will said program work?
– What training variables does it manipulate?
– What is the planned progression scheme?
– How are you tracking the program/progress?
 
When you’re planning a program you need to look at it with some logic and objectivity. A lot of people end up writing programs for themselves that are exactly the same (within reason) as what they’ve done before and wonder why they never really get anywhere. Ideally I would suggest you have someone else program your workouts for you.
 
Answer all those questions, if you can’t answer one then you need to sit and have a good think before starting your self written program.
 
Just something to think about.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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The One Thing You’re Not Doing.

Morning Guys,
 
A short post toady with some logical advise that many people will fail to adhere to.
 
You ready?
 
“If a muscle isn’t growing you’re either at your genetic limit or more likely not hitting the required overload/intensity.”
 
What does this mean? Simply that you need to train all of your muscles with the correct stimulus and intensity to create the required metallic disturbance for them to adapt and grow bigger/stronger. If you’re not doing that you won’t grow, it’s that simple. A caloric surplus of 350-500cals per day over your TDEE will help as well, but the most important part is the stimulus.
 
Overload is king.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Sunken Cost

Morning Guys,
 
    Do you fall victim to the time you’ve invested in something? You know, like a personal project, business acquisition, unprogressive exercise program or expensive fad diet?
 
    I have, as have many others like me and it took a while to admit it but once that step was taken there was nowhere left to hide and accepting the mistake of investing too much time in something that is going nowhere.
 
    It’s common place to see people cling on to things they’ve invested time, effort, money and emotion in because to let such a thing go would cause the ego to receive a fairly hefty blow, but sometimes you need to let go of things that are doomed. After all, how many times have you, yourself, invested in something that has failed dramatically and refused to let it go? More than once I am willing to bet.
 
    The technical term for this is ‘Sunken Cost Fallacy’ and if you look around you will see it claims many a victim because of ego & pride. I am not saying you shouldn’t give new ventures, workouts or nutrition protocols a chance, far from it. I am saying you will simply need to be ready and willing to let one of them go if they are yielding demonising returns, which you should be able to see by the tracking systems you have in places to monitor your progression, obviously.
 
    Take a look at your current lifestyle and see if you can spot any particular endeavours that need to be removed from the fray and get rid of them for something more lucrative. I promise you will become more productive and far less stressed if you do.
 
Enjoy, Ross

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Do You Even De-Load?

Afternoon Guys,

Volume…

You need to increase it to keep progressing, but too much and you will find yourself in a world of trouble because your body can only recover from so much before you need to take your foot off the fas pedal. This is what;s known as a planned de-load, these usually work well at the end of a training block (4-12 weeks), or even after every 3 weeks of ‘hard’ training and will allow you to take some stress off the nervous system and reduce your overall else of fatigue. 

The 3 week increasing intensity followed by the 1 week de-load is quite popular in many programs written by some top strength coaches/athletes, the likes of which include Charles Poliquin, Jim Wendler, Christian Thibaudeau, Louis Simmons (well, he is more along the lines of not training the same movement at 90% intensity for more than 3 week), the list could go on but these are only a couple of examples.

I have known people to try and train at their top end intensity for extended periods of time and end up digging a hole that they struggle to recover from. Thus stalling their potential progress and in some cases regressing it.

DON’T BE ONE OF THEM!

If you have been tracking your total volume a de-load is a simple case of knocking you last total load down by a percentage that allows you still stay neurologically ready but reduces the fatigue. For example; you could reduce the total volume by up to 50%, meaning if your average amount of sets per movement was 20 per week you might only do 10 with a varying intensity (say working up to a double at 90% for example, you’d still keep the feeling of lifting the heavy weight but you’d greatly reduce the overall stress and aid recovery/adaptation).

It is true that some people can handle lighter de-loads than others, and place them farther apart because they have a higher MRV (maximum recoverable volume), but you’re not ‘some people’ you will need to take a specific approach and establish your INDIVIDUAL needs to the number, no guess work. If you can handle more volume and only need a reduction every 8 weeks then great, go for it, just be sure that’s the case. Don’t dig a hole in you can’t get out of without a complete rest week.

Now go and sit down with a pen/paper and work out what YOU need to do.

Enjoy,
Ross

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