Tag Archives: mind

7 Interesting Intervals.

Sadly we live in a world where the larger majority of people don’t wish to know ‘why’ something works, they just want something that works.

Now, what works will largely depend on these following factors:

– Training age
– Chronological age
– Health status
– Physical status
– Individual difference (genetics)

We can throw in a few more however those are some pretty notable ones people tend to miss along with this one:

– What is the desired outcome/goal

It’s fair to say not everyone wants to know how things work.

This is cool, however that means that said people should do as they’re told because if they don’t wish to know more than they don’t get to sit at the big table.

A fair compromise, wouldn’t you agree?

Well here are the intervals for you, no further detail, just protocols you can use, then reuse time and again.

1 – 30/30/30 –

Pick on lift and do 30 seconds on, 30 seconds off for 30 rounds.

2 – 12/8 x20min –

12 seconds all out sprint, 8 seconds recovery, repeat for 20min. Use a watt bike or erg for the ability to track power output (make sure it stays high/consistent).

3 – 30/60 x30min –

Pick one movement/activity and do 30seconds work, 60 seconds rest, repeat for 30min.

4 – 1/2/3/4/5 –

An accumulation of work. You start off doing an interval of 60 seconds, then rest 60 seconds. Next do 2min of work and rest the same 60 seconds, then 3min of work and so on, all the way up to 5min. Hill sprints are nice here.

5 – 20/20/20 –

Pick two opposing movements/activities.

Perform the first for 20 seconds, rest 20 to change moves, perform the second for 20 seconds, repeat for 10-30min.

This works well with classic lifting movements.

6 – 5/15 x10min –

5 seconds on, 15 seconds off for 10min, best served with power related movements, such as medicine ball slams, rope slams, etc.

7 – 5/2.30 x30min –

5 min on, two and a half off. A classic aerobic interval.

Try this with loaded carries of 30-50% body weight, by the end of 30min (4 rounds) you will know its benefit.

There could be many more options.

In truth the original title of this was 17 Interesting Intervals.

Why did I chop it down to 7?

Put simply it’s because simply copying protocols won’t get you anywhere because you will always lack that deeper understanding of why you are doing what you’re doing.

While I may know the reasons for the above, you still don’t and that won’t help you become better, either as a coach/trainer or a person who enjoys training.

My real advise is as follows:

Learn how to program based on correct work to rest ratios for performance.

This is instead of doing what every other jackass does just to make people tired.

If tired is how you want to feel then go run marathon, do 1000 burpees, or 20 3min rounds on the bags, you will feel nice and dead however you might not get any benefit from it.

Go away an learn about interval programming, what true HIIT actually is, for the love of all that is holy do better because you owe it to yourself.

Enjoy,
Ross

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Life is Chess, You are a pawn

“I do not wish for immortal glory. Nor to have my name etched in histories unbreakable stone. All that I seek is keep moving forwards, to become better. Not the best, just better because it’s all I can do in this life.”
 
In response – “So why don’t you then?”
 
How many times have you heard people talk a good game only to 180 on their own altruistic and nobel words.
 
It’s easy to talk the talk, yet actually putting one foot in front of the other, well that’s where shit gets hard.
 
So many are ‘could have beens’ in this life.
 
They waste their natural gifts because it’s easier to embrace the fantasy of ‘what if’ or ‘if only’ instead of embracing the bitter reality of ‘what is’.
 
A lot of people I know talk about what they want, some even go as far as getting it and then upon the realisation that it doesn’t solve all their problems they react in one of two ways.
 
– Stagnation
– Regression
 
Those who fall in to the comfort zone of the first try to live of their minor achievement for the rest of their days, and for a time it works yet eventually people get tired of listening to stories of their glory days because they’re so far in the past they’re not longer relevant.
 
The people who sink in to the sands of regression.
 
It is for those people I truly feel for.
 
Getting that which they sought the most, hoping it would fix everything only to find it didn’t and that intact the problem wasn’t something they could fix externally and that it was something deep inside all along.
 
Something that was broken, that needed to be accepted and perhaps even leg go of, alas it’s too late for that now.
 
In a panic they try to regain what they now feel is lost and try to regress to their former self, yet all the end up doing is becoming a shadow of that and fall even deeper in to their own self cerated abyss and hell.
 
Life is always going to be about choice.
 
With choice comes a direction and all that we can hope is that it takes us forwards.
 
True enough some will take us sideways, yet even those are better than staying still, however none can lead us backwards because like the retro games of the past you can only move forwards and that which came before is now cut off forever.
 
Unlike a game though life has no reset button and you have to live with your decision, like it or not that’s how life goes.
 
How many times have you wanted to go back?
 
Once, twice, hundreds?
 
In any of these lamenting moments did you ever stop and ask yourself why you wanted to go back?
 
Was it because that pain and suffer was familiar and that you’d developed just enough coping mechanisms to allow survival or was it because of something else, cowardice & fear perhaps?
 
My dear people who read these ramblings, do you resonate with any of the above or is it just me in my madness who has felt this?
 
Either way take heed of my words, you can only move forwards and regardless of wether you do or you don’t everything else will because time waits for no one.
 
Remember this.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Fitness & the Mid-Life Crisis

Do you wonder what your ‘mid-life crisis’ is going to look like?

Could it end up being the classic mixture of getting tattoos, a entirely new wardrobe to regain lost rebellious youth and maybe a bike too.

I guess you could be one of those who leaves their partner, home and comfortable life for someone 10+ years younger and partying on school nights.

Working in fitness you’ll find you see this happen a lot.

People getting results and aesthetic change often being the catalyst.

While we say looks don’t matter they do, as does the attention that comes with them.

True enough some very unique people get a lot attention and yet they never seem to hold on to a persona or settle down.

The sad reason why is because such people are often seen as a fetish, you know something that you want to do behind closed doors yet wouldn’t want to be seen in the light of day with.

This doesn’t mean they’re a bad person or not worth anything else other than being a fetish, however that’s just how it goes.

Sadly I’ve seen it happen many many times over.

Same is true for those who once upon a time were the object of everyones desire & attention, able to pick and choose at will.

Yea that fades over time and they too are cast to the margin bin. From all perspectives it can be quite the knock to a persons confidence.

It won’t change anytime soon and as such the mid-life crisis will always be a thing.

They usually reignite some of the embers of attention that was once a roaring flame, and to some that’s enough, for now.

Of course this too will die out eventually.

Once that happens you’ll be left with a bike you never ride, tattoos that you don’t like and a head full of bad memories.

I’m sure you know someone who has had, or perhaps is going through this time in their life, maybe it all started when they began going to the gym.

Who knows, just some food for thought.

If you do happen across people in this situation try to understand it from their point of view and more importantly why they feel as they do.

Knowing how someone feels can be the biggest step in helping them, especially if you get it too.

Hopefully it will also help you avoid the same pitfall.

Enjoy,
Ross

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Peak, Cliff, Hesitate….

Sharing our experience, knowledge and understanding is all many of us can do to help others grow.

“I can tell you everything you NEED to know yet it won’t be what you WANT to know and because of this truth you’ll reject me.”

^^ I heard that recently, really made me think.

There are certain doors in our mind that will remain shut until the day we’re ready to open them, and to tell you the truth that day may never come.

In the sots you’ve perhaps read on here over the years you’ll find the topics vary somewhat however they are largely bis toward fitness/training.

Which makes sense as this is a fitness related page 😂

Everything that is shared has no ulterior motive.

It’s simply shared because it can be.

Some find things useful, others don’t, that’s life and in the end something that we will just have to accept because we’ve got no other choice.

Speaking of training, lately I’ve been doing a fair amount of higher rep work.

Things such as 10×20, or 20×10, 20 down to 1, 25×5 and other high volume madness.

Why?

Why not.

After spending a fair few years doing no more than 6 reps on big lifts (often no more than 3 in reality) I felt there was a need for change because my mental strength has wained somewhat.

Yep, I got lazy and was merely running through the motions.

In most session to be fair and I used a lot of different logical justifications for this when in reality I was just being lazy because I’d lost the oomph and joy for lifting I once had.

This happens to us all because after the peak there will always be a cliff.

I fell off that cliff and while now at a higher low point the the previous one I was in (strength/ability wise etc), it was still a drop off from what was.

I didn’t want to accept the fact I now had another mountain to climb ahead of me.

Thus I warped reality to suit what I wanted to believe.

^^ Sounds familiar to you?

Anyway, back to the point.

We try to stay on the peak and begin to lift the same weights, perform the same movements, attempt to train at the same level of intensity all to remain on our self appointed pedestal.

Our ego won’t allow us to gracefully step down.

As such reality comes along and gives us a rather vicious push.

I get it you know.

It’s hard to accept that many things in life come in the form of peaks and valleys.

This is why these days I quite like this question:

‘Are you progressing?’

^^ or moving forwards, or learning, or adapting or whatever you wish to call it.

I also like to ask it 5 times because the first 2-4 are often hyperbole and the last one can yield the true/real answer.

Combine this with also asking ‘why?’ and you’ve got a potent mix for some internal growth and learning.

Be warned though because it’s not comfortable.

To truly accept all that you are and become who you want to be you must first accept all the things you are not and that you pretend to be all to keep up appearances.

^^ That shit is hard.

So my dear readers, if you’ve made it this far I applaud you.

It’s fair to say I ramble on a fair bit.

Now that you are here though ask yourself the following three questions:

– Am I really progressing?
– What do I not address (in life, training etc) and why?
– Is this really me or just what I think I should be?

If you’re up for it leave your answers in the comments section below with they all important ‘why’.

Enjoy,
Ross

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Beware the Company You Keep

Nutrition is a struggle for a lot of people.
 
The connection many have to their foods is strong.
 
Considering most people have a food for every situation, mood or desired feeling they’re after its easy to understand.
 
Try to make some adjustments, even those that will result in long term benefit and people just can’t handle it.
 
Like a child they pine over their treats and get pissy.
 
Of course you can eat, drink and otherwise consume whatever you choose if you’re an adult yet you’d do well not to expect sympathy or leeway when you start complaining about being overweight.
 
That my friends is the result of your choice, own it.
 
Now you’ll find many start to say that it’s easier for some, they don’t have that sweet tooth or what ever other bollocks will be cultivated to justify their behaviour.
 
True enough there can be some deep psychological reasons for addiction to foods, yet given the level of intelligence and information in our world now people know this already.
 
Thus is comes down to their own choice.
 
So you might be wandering what makes people decide to go for a different choice, the answer is simple yet not very nice.
 
They’ve finally reached the point where they feel bad enough about themselves to do something.
 
The discomfort now outweighs the small pleasurable hit they get from food.
 
In my experience people are more likely to move away from pain than towards pleasure.
 
Yet this can be hard when you’ve got an addiction.
 
Oh yes, many people are heavily addicted to food, or rather the feeling that food gives them.
 
Being the emotional creatures we are we get addicted to the feeling that we get from ‘the thing’ as opposed to getting addicted to the actual thing itself, for the most part.
 
If you’re genuinely not sure why you can’t make an adjustment to your nutrition then apply the following steps.
 
1 – Eat as normal
2 – Write down each feeling/emotion said food provides
3 – Reflect on this and make a choice
 
I know people will start to bitch piss and moan about life being for enjoyment blah blah blah.
 
Okay we get it, people like foods such as ice cream.
 
News flash, this is pretty much true across the board.
 
Decedent foods will always be sought after because that’s how we evolved, to seek out those foods that light up our senses and make us feel good, yet in our world of overly abundant amounts of them this just leads to one unfortunate outcome….
 
You get fat.
 
There I said it.
 
Making poor food choices multiple times over and in large quantities will lead you down he path of getting fat.
 
Of course how large you become will be determined by your social circle and what they consider to be acceptable.
 
You see peer pressure is just as prevalent amongst obese people as they say it is amongst the slim.
 
If you’re surrounded by the large and you’re not large then in time you will join them. They will make subtle remarks over time about you not eating enough, being small and so on.
 
Eventually their peer pressure leads you to obesity and poor health.
 
If you delve in to the social circles/backgrounds of people you’ll find the reasons for why they are the way they are.
 
You are the way you are because of the choices your group allows you to make because it fits in with their values, beliefs and biases.
 
The mythic state of being an individual is not really what people think it is.
 
A tough truth to hear.
 
Take some time to mull over this.
 
Look at the people around you, closest to you and see just how they’ve influenced you.
 
Then make a choice, stay in the place you’re in or make a change.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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A Habit for Every Mood

Habits are funny things.
 
Much like anything we have one for every mood or situation.
 
Some make us feel good, others motivate us and a few do nothing better than punish and stall of progress.
 
Over they years I’ve become more adept at finding out a persons reason why they have these little patterns.
 
Personally knowing has always been a priority.
 
It’s just my inherent personality trait, some call it being nosey and others say far worse, yet knowing has always been that insatiable lust of mine.
 
To not have considered every option, sacrilege.
 
It probably came form being an only child and spending countless hours alone quietly playing with the same few toys and each time comping up with a new story.
 
Of course without knowing more there was only so many situations I could pull from thin air because truly original ideas are few and far between.
 
Habits, much like knowledge, don’t just come thin air for the most part. You’ll find we either pick them up from watching others or then being suggested to us.
 
After all a habit was once a choice you consciously made.
 
Might not be what people want to hear however it’s the truth in the largest majority of situations.
 
In regards to your habits do you know which ones you have for which mood?
 
Take 5min to make a list.
 
What is your immediate reaction in the following:
 
– Happy
– Sad
– Angry
– Confused
– Tired
– Focused
 
The list can be longer and for any mood/emotion you can think of and I bet you will have a habit for each, be that to get you in to or out of the desired emotional state.
 
Once you know what habits are anchored to what emotions you can begin to understand why this is and start that lengthy and often painful process of letting go the ones which are detrimental and creating new more productive ones.
 
While this is simple it won’t be easy.
 
Growth never is though.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Making the Jump

Results are easy and almost always guaranteed when your’e working with beginners.
 
Literally everything works due to their level of noobness.
 
As a PT/Coach if you don’t get a beginner to a goal then you might need to reevaluate your career choice.
 
The struggle comes from those who’ve perhaps been in the gym for a while and have achieved results once or perhaps a few times before they take up your services.
 
These are the one that need you to delve in to the realms of fitness far deeper.
 
Personally I split it in to 4 pieces.
 
1 – Their Why
2 – End Goal
3 – The Emotional Need
4 – Willingness to Sacrifice
 
Let us break them down.
 
1 – Their Why
 
Helping someone is easy, however helping someone reveal or understand why they want to do X,Y or Z is an entirely different matter.
 
Having a cast iron ‘why’ will keep people moving forwards because each time something crops up you can ask them if they remember why they’re doing what they’re doing (as in why they’re working towards the goal).
 
2 – End Goal
 
You’d do well to look at this in a big picture sense.
 
We might even say it’s the perfect outcome they they desire that links unquestionably with their why.
 
Once you know the big picture you can start to pick out the smaller pieces of it to help set the small milestones as this will allow those quick wins and little hits of emotional sustenance and validation that is sought.
 
A goal is more or a leaking tap dripping single water droplets every hour to fill a bath tub than it is using a hoe to fill a paddling pool.
 
3 – The Emotional Need
 
We do what we do because we want to feel a certain way.
 
Emotion drives many people, it is linked with their reason why they do what they do. The need is to fill a hole that they consider almost as important as air to breathe.
 
If the need isn’t being met then other methods will be sought to fill this void like emotional eating or some other such debauchery.
 
Knowing what/how/why people currently feel and more importantly why they want that to change and what it will mean to them is the key element many miss.
 
4 – Willingness to Sacrifice
 
There can be no change without change, and their can be no real change without sacrifice.
 
Such might be going out 2 nights a week on the lash instead of 5, or forgoing the tub of ice cream each night before bed and so on.
 
The only problem is that people get very emotionally attached to their habits and to sacrifice them causes quite a nasty feeling (usually loss).
 
When working with beginners they’re ready to give things up because they see it as only short term, then they revert back to their old ways and expect the results to stay; this is not how change works.
 
This is where working with those who’ve repeated this cycle become difficult as they’ve gotten trapped in no longer wanting to sacrifice anything while still desiring change.
 
We can relate this back to why they want said change, and if it is more or less important to their habit/thing that needs to be sacrificed.
 
You’ll often find there is an emotional attachment/need to the sacrifice in question which then leads us to asking which is more important, the thing or the end goal.
 
Some will say “Why can’t they have both?” and put simply it is because they just can’t due to conflict.
 
As the old saying goes, you can’t make an omelet with out breaking any eggs.
 
Same goes for achieving a goal, somethings got to give.
 
This is how you can start to take those troubled clients forwards.
 
Understand it’s less about the training at this stage (although that is of course important) and more about the mindset required.
 
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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Raising Standards

How often do you reflect on what you’ve achieved?

Chances are you’ve hit some pretty big goals over the years, and do you know what, you should be proud of yourself for doing so.

However….

With self praise and achieving a goal come a hire base line standard to maintain because that is how you move forwards, by brining or creating a wider base for your pyramid (or whatever shape you choose to use in a metaphorical sense), after all, the wider the base the higher the peak.

This is one thing I’ve seen time and again, people succeed, celebrate (rightly so), then they expect the same adulation moving forwards with no more effort or consideration that what they now have is considered the norm, or at least they’ve made the standard for themselves higher.

I’m sure you’ve raised your own standards over the years through success, and some have perhaps even kept themselves accountable for maintaining this, yet sadly a lot don’t and expect to revert to old habits, life choices or ways and still stay in the same place.

Life doesn’t work like that, sorry.

Be a little tougher on yourself, it won’t kill you, in fact it may just help you continue to move forwards and accept you’ve set the bar quite high now.

Always aim to move forwards, what ever that is to you, just keep moving.

Onwards and upwards, as they say.

Enjoy,
Ross

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Progression Tips for Beginners

Do you have any idea how to progress your training across the variables?

– Volume
– Intensity
– Density
– Frequency

It’s quite easy really, as such here is an example for each that can be used for several weeks or months if you have the courage to stay the course.

Volume –

Ladders, one of my favourites.

1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10 or 2,3,5,10, or 1,2,3,4,5

There are a lot of choices, for adding extra volume in the form of reps, the most effective being 1-10, and you will only add weight once you can go 1-10 unbroken.

Example (works best as a super set):

A1 – Pull Up
A2 – Close Grip Bench Press

Intensity –

Let us say that you’re a creature of habit who likes doing the same sets and reps, this is cool however progressing can be a tad tricky, therefor this is the solution:

Fractional Plates.

Small 0.25kg (or lighter) plates, all you need do is hit your desired reps then add another 0.25kg and aim to do the same next time.

Personally I’ve found that doing 3-5×3-5 works well as it gives you some room to adapt to the gradual increases. Once you hit 5×5 with good form, adding another fraction plate is easy, it might may you only be able to do 3×3, that’s okay keep grinding until it’s 5×5 and progress from there.

Density –

Perhaps you’re already one strong hombre and adding weight or reps is becoming tricky, fear not, you have two options to progress.

1 – Set a time limit to hit your rep goal.

Example; 50 reps in 15min with 140kg in the squat.

Once you hit it you add weight.

2 – Reduce your rest periods.

Say you’ve started with 5min rest, knock off 15 seconds at the next session, if you hit all your reps then knock off another 15 next time, repeat this until you are perhaps at 3min rest, or lower, that is up to you.

Once you hit your desired point of ‘low rest’ add weight and take the rest back up to 5min per set and so on.

Frequency –

The easiest to manipulate, al you do is add an extra bout of reps or an extra session.

Say you train your squat once per week, bump it up to twice, if you already do two squat sessions do three, you can spread the reps out and build them up from there, example:

1 squat session a week = 5×10
2 squat session = 3×10 per session (10 more total reps)

Make sense?

Adding weight or reps can be applied from the other example above.

The little tips of today are very basic, there is a lot more that can go in to this, however these will be enough to tweak your current training and perhaps get you over the plateau.

Enjoy,
Ross

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