Tag Archives: planning
Over the years Ive tried to share lot’s of info that covers various different aspects ranging from nutrition, lifting, health, mindset and more.
Some of the most important lessons I’ve learnt and tried to share sadly get missed among all the other content, for a spiel reason too.
The stuff that works isn’t sexy.
There are no flashy titles, not catchy phrases or set/rep schemes, no fancy exercises or hybrid movements to showoff and for that reason people might take a quick glance but will largely ignore the lessons and messages in the words.
In all the time I’ve spent in the world of fitness so far there are three truths that always come back around, no matter ho hard people try to ignore them.
- Work hard for results
- Consistency is king
- You’re the problem
Now many might not agree with the last one, but it’s true. We are quick to blame any and everything else and while we can seek help from external sources such as trainers, coaches and alike, it’s down to us to do what needs to be done because put simply, no one els tis going to do it for you.
A lot of people get caught up in the minutia.
- How many exact sets/reps should I do
- What precise loads must be used
- If eating this carb should I time it with this protein and consume it 53.5 minutes after a workout for optimal gains
Blah blah blah blah blah
The list goes on.
I can understand why people want short cuts, we all do, but sometimes there just aren’t any or at least none that will provide a lasting result and that seems to be the hardest part for people to accept.
The little things, while important later down the line tend to serve no real purpose in the initial stages of people journeys in the word of fitness for one simple reason, they’re not ready of them yet. They’re not strong in the basic human movement patterns/exercises, nor are they making optimal choices in their nutrition (eating whole foods etc), they are so fixated on the specifics that they miss the big picture and spend large chunks of time faffing about not achieving much. We’re all guilty of it, myself especially.
In our modern world we are in a rush to make things as complicated as possible because complicated is perceived as better, this is usually not the case.
Ask yourself, have you made things (lifting/nutrition) overly complicated?
Next, take a look at what you’re doing and see if it is necessary or not, if it’s not then remove it.
Here is a place to start if you need some guidelines for your workouts:
- Keep a training dairy to track progress
- Train 2-4 times per week covering the whole body in that time
- Pick 3 exercises per session (compound lifts are top trumps)
- Perform 25-50 reps per exercise
- Focus on adding weight when you hit the top end of the reps
- Rest as much as needed but as little as possible
- Keep sessions to 45-60min
Some tips for nutrition:
- Keep a diary
- Eat according to the goal you have (fat loss or muscle gain)
- The majority of what you eat should be whole foods
- Drink plenty of water
- Be consistent
That’s pretty much it, you could stick with these basics for a very long time and make great progress.
Try not to worry about the finer details, not yet anyway.
Do you like to read?
I’m sure you like to read because reading helps us grow as people and is one of the greatest ways of gathering years of accumulated knowledge in a very short space of time, pretty amazing, right.
Here are three books that will help you improve not only your training but also your mindset as well.
1 – Eat That Frog – Brian Tracey
2 – Dinosaur Strength Training – Brooks Kubik
3 – The Renaissance Diet – Renaissance Periodisation
These three books will help you in the following ways:
1 – Doing what you NEED to do and understanding what it is.
2 – Simplifying your training for maximal benefit.
3 – Understanding how nutrition actually works.
Aim to read a chapter of each book per day and you will find you start to make sense of a lot of things in the world.
*Bonus Book – The Art of Thinking Clearly – Rolf Donelli – Break free of YOUR logical fallacy.
*Bonus Book 2 – The Art of War – Sun Tzu – It’s just an epic read, plus it’s useful if you’re planning world domination too.
It’s been said that the truly successful people out there have the perfect balance of science and anecdote. I have to say I’m inclined to agree.
In this group we all enjoy a good debate and discussion about training, nutrition, mindset and ‘supplements’ however I feel there are lots of things we don’t cover as well, such as the length of time required for progress, how to accurately create a training plan based on DUP, Block Periods and so on.
It would be great to have people put up suggestions regarding various topics and also the backing (both scientific/anecdotal) for their claims. This is so that knowledge can be shared and lessons can be learnt.
I will start with a brief snippet on the different ways to build muscle/strength and where I got the info from.
You can stimulate growth one of three ways:
1 – Heavy Lifting
2 – Constant Tension
3 – Volume/Cumulative Fatigue
How do they work?
1 – Heavy Lifting (as it sounds, Franco’s fav):
– Micro-trauma, a high force output leads to a high rate of protein degradation, meaning increased protein synthesis post training.
– Neural factors, you can recruit more muscle fibres/motor units more efficiently, meaning you can lift more weight progressively over time.
– Hormonal response is typically an increase of free Testosterone.
*Christian Thibaudeau speaks of this in detail in the book ‘Black Book of Strength Training Secrets’ well yea actually speaks about this in all his books to be fair.
2 – Constant Tension (pump training, Arnold’s fav):
– When you perform a strength/hypertrophy training exercise while starving the target muscle of oxygen through constant tension, several things happen: lactate production increases, hGH and IGF-1 levels (very anabolic hormones).
– Muscle is being stimulated finds itself in a hypoxic state (oxygen deprived), fast-twitch fiber activation is increased as a result, it has been said this is due to the type 1 fibres lack of activation because of the shortage of available oxygen to said target muscle.
– Sets lasting at least 30 seconds, preferably 40-70 seconds of time under maximal tension (to maximize lactate production).
*Check out Dr Squat (Dr Fred Hatfield) and his book ‘A Scientific Approach to Bodybuilding or any of his other books.
3 – Volume/Cumulative Fatigue (reps for days, Serge Nubrej’s fav):
– Volume work with short rest periods (90 seconds tops – this also helps increase IGF1 & HGH) typically will increase the number of muscle fibers being stimulated via the cumulative fatigue effect.
– Due to the moderate weights used they type 1 fibres become fatigued meaning more type 2 recruitment will occur to keep you pumping out the reps.
– The more total volume the more adaptation is required, meaning more muscle growth to keep up with the volume demands. Think of rowers and other athletes that have high volume outputs and their overall muscular size.
*This is mentioned in several of the books written/co-authored by Zatsiorsky, check out ‘Super Training’.
Usually you will end up combining al three of these method in some way shape or form over the years, but for those who didn’t know this is how muscle/strength typically is built. I’ve always used the Heavy Lifting Method,, however I got he best results when I had a high degree of TUT (constant tension) as well but like a true idiot I stopped with the maximal tension because it was hard going….
More fool me.
What knowledge are you going to share?
Do you know the is one thing almost everyone has in common?
If you lift weights or even just train in general, progression is the name of the game but with all the options available, what is the best way to progress?
There is a key element to training that is often forgotten.
Do you know what it is or have you also forgotten about it?
Any Ideas yet?
Recovery…It’s recovery that is often forgotten about.
The definition of recovery is the return to a normal state of health, mind, or strength. When this relates to training that means that you are able to lift the same weight you did previously with the same efficiency, however if you have recovered adequately from the stimulus that you subjected the body to previously you will experience an adaptation/super compensation where you now are stronger than before, meaning you can handle more weight, more reps, more sets, less rest time or a combination of them. If you can’t then it’s arguable that you haven’t recovered.
There are some elements that will help improve your recovery:
– Sleep – You will be ideally getting 6-8 hours of sleep per night.
– Nutrition – Hit at minimum your basal caloric requirement but ideally a surplus of 300-500 calories.
– External Stress – Life… Just life. Work, Money, Relationships, all of these can affect your recovery if they cause your stress levels to be elevated on a constant basis.
In an ideal world these would be managed, it’s worth remembering that out of the three sleep is by far the most important. Stress isn’t far behind as it can affect your sleep, so you could say they are on par, ish.
Why is sleep top trumps in my book?
If sleep is disturbed you will find that homeostasis will be thrown out and your body will rapidly start to decline, even if your nutrition is on point and stress is well managed you will find that a lack of sleep will still take its toll.
Second on the list of importance would be stress. If you’re overly stressed you will find that can not only affect your ability to recover but it can also affect your sleep and your nutritional choices too (you will go looking for sugary foods to increase serotonin levels and lower cortisol).
If your nutrition is a bit lacking it’s not the end of the world, after all, nutrition is easy to sort with some simple tweaks and tracking. Obviously the quality of your food will also have an impact on your recovery, optimally eating the majority of our calories from single ingredient whole foods will yield the best macro/micronutrient profile, if you’re a fan of simple sugars then post workout would be the most optimal time to have these. Try to avoid foods that cause you gut irritation or gastric distress (this will vary from person to person, tracking what you eat and how you feel will help you find out what agrees and what doesn’t).
All in all it’s the management of your sleep and your stress levels that will have the biggest impact on you ability to recover.
To review the points above:
– Sleep – 6-8hour per night
– Stress – 10min daily meditation & 30min walks help lower cortisol.
– Nutrition – Eat mostly single ingredient whole foods at 3-500cal surplus.
Get these right and you will find your recovery is second to none.