Tag Archives: progress

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 30 set workout structure.

An easy to follow method for those who don’t have time to workout out the exact weights they need for every set.
 
This is based on using auto-regulation and going by feel, it’s also a great way to progress provided you have a training diary and track what you’re doing.
 
Here is what you do:
 
– Train 2-3 times per week
– Pick 3 exercises per workout (10 sets per exercise)
– Stay in the 5-10 rep range
– Use which ever training split you feel is most appropriate*
– Warm ups are included in your sets
– You may use Straight Sets (A1, B1, C1), Superset (A1/A2) or Tri-Set (A1/A2/A3) movements if you choose
– Rest as needed
– Track weights/reps achieved
– Aim to keep sessions between 45-60min
– Repeat for 3-6months and make all the progress
 
*Upper/Lower, Push/Pull, Pull-Push-Legs, Full Body
 
This is what one exercises might look like on paper:
 
Deadlift:
 
Set 1 5x bar 20kg
Set 2 5x 60kg
Set 3 5x 80kg
Set 4 5x 100kg
Set 5 5x 120kg
Set 6 5x 140kg
Set 7 5x 140kg
Set 8 5x 140kg
Set 9 5x 140kg
Set 10 5x 130kg
 
^^ Calculate total volume – Sets X Reps X Weight
 
10x5x1070 = 53,500kg total volume lifted in the session.
 
You’d make a note and aim to lift more total volume next week.
 
The stronger you get you’ll find you may nee dress warm up sets or that they stay the same and you can lift more in your later sets to increase your volume. 
Make sure you’re eating correct for your goal, if you need to establish your calories then check out this page for those answers:
 
There is no right or wrong as to how many warm ups you need, just do what you feel is adequate so that your form feels grooved and the speed on the bar is moving nice and fast.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Can’t add any more weight?

Three ways to progress without adding weight to the bar –
 
1: Add Reps
2: Add Sets
3: Reduce Rest
 
We all love lifting more weight, it’s very rewarding, however it’s not always possible and because of that reason we need other ways in which we can keep progressing.
 
Above are three simple adaptations that we will cover.
 
1 – Adding Reps
 
Say you’re doing 5×5 at 60kg, yet you can’t hit the same 5×5 at 62.5kg.
 
Now you can add in fractional plates to your training that weight as little as 0.25kg however if you don’t have those then adding reps will be your best bet.
 
Perhaps you set out to add a rep each session until you are doing 5×7, or perhaps 5×10, the choice is yours, however what you will find is that by adding reps and setting a rep goal you’ll be able to add weight easily once you hit the added reps with ease.
 
2 – Adding Sets
 
Similar to above except the reps stay the same, so 5×5 might end up being 10×5 and so on.
 
You could even choose to combine the two and start off at 5×5, work to 5×7 then add a set and go back to 6×5, build that to 6×7, then on to 7×5 building to 7×7 all the way until you hit 10×7, you get the idea.
 
3 – Reducing Rest
 
This falls in to the category of Density Training with increases Oxygen debt and EPOC, getting the same amount of work done in less time is a great way to not only make progress in terms of strength and lean muscle mass but also stripping fat off.
 
If you’re doing the standard 5×5, the rest might be say 5min, you can easily make a dent by taking it down by 15-30 seconds each session until you’re at just 1min rest between each set. From here you’ve got the choice of adding weight or perhaps even utilising one or both of the methods from above if you’re still finding adding weight a tall order.
 
The three options above are simple and very easy to apply, however it will retire you to stay on the same workout protocol for a while, at least on your main lifts and this can be an arduous task for some people, you’ve been warned.
 
If in the event that you can’t add any more weight, you’ve hit your limit for that move, you can change the exercise to a different variation, so perhaps overhead press turns in to incline press, or incline press in to close grip bench press and so on.
When you stall on a weight drop it by say 5-10% and then utilise the methods above, you won’t regret it.
 
The secret to progress is progress, achieve it in any way you can.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Some variety is good, too much isn’t.

I’m sure you’ve all heard the classic line of “You need to change up your training to keep the body guessing” or something along those lines.

While having some changes in your training program is good for novelty and staving off the boredom, too much change too often will leave you without any real progress due to a lack of suitable adaptation.

Look at is this way; if you want to get better at a certain skill you practice that skill over and over and over again, the same is true fro lifting weights/training, you need repeated and sustained efforts to adapt and progress, chopping and changing every session won’t provide too much in the way of progress.

While you might not like that fact is it very much the case.

Take a look at people who do an ever changing amount of classes, they shift their excess fat and build some small amount of muscle (this is great btw), however past that point they end up looking no better because they don’t want to buckle down and stay with a training program for longer than a couple of weeks.

It’s a common issue that everyone falls victim to.

Now it is worth noting that some people do indeed need change every 2 weeks in there training, however those people are usually genetically gifted and 9/10 times you’re not that person, you’re the one who needs to stay consistent to a program for at least 12-16 weeks, sorry, that’s how it is.

When all that is said and done these words are only simple bits of advice, you can do what ever the hell you want, in the end it makes no different to me personally. If you’re happy with your training and your results then fill your boots, however if you’re not then you’d do well to take this on board.

You will often find the most successful training programs are often the most boring.

Enjoy,
Ross

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Me, Myself & I – Ego Tripping 101

Morning All,
 
I hope you’re all well.
 
So, what to write about today, that isn’t recycled information with a slightly different wording or spin on it…..
 
As you may have guessed that is essentially what writing/social media videos etc is actually about in the world of fitness.
 
There is little that we don’t currently know that doesn’t involve the very complex biochemical reactions/mechanisms of the body that is. As for training and nutrition, it’s almost all been said before, so keeping this in mind I feel some reflection would be good.
 
As yourselves the following and answer them honestly:
 
– Where did you start?
– Where are you now?
– How has your ego held you back?
 
That last one will sting for some of you, but hey ho, ego is a fragile thing that leads us to do stupid things on a regular and repeated basis.
 
When it comes to the ego, it can govern us in secret and we never know. It is so sensitive that it feel threatened by almost everything that opposes it and the main fear it has is that of dying (metaphorically).
 
No one likes to admit they might be wrong, or to change a belief or value, even if it is a destructive one that holds them back, I can attest to this as mine has stopped me doing a great many things and because of this I’ve been able to learn what it feels like when mine starts acting up, which I will share with you in the hope you might be able to learn how to silence yours and avoid making the mistakes I have.
 
1. YOU HAVE BECOME VERY SELF-DESTRUCTIVE.
 
Essentially you know something doesn’t feel right yet you do it anyway.
 
2. YOU FEEL OVERLY SELF-CONSCIOUS AROUND OTHERS.
 
You seem there is alway an argument, judgement or someone to oppose your views coming.
 
3. YOU FIND YOURSELF COMPLAINING OFTEN.
 
Not getting your own way or people not fitting your bias will leave your ego screaming because it feels it’s in danger. You will actively seek out info you agree with, even if it’s wrong.
 
4. FIGHTS AND ARGUMENTS HAPPEN FREQUENTLY BETWEEN YOURSELF AND OTHERS.
 
As you can guess, you defend everything you say without questioning if it’s wrong, which it might intact be.
 
 
5. YOU JUDGE OTHERS HARSHLY.
 
Also known as projection, you place everything you don’t like about yourself subconsciously on others so that you don’t feel sacred around them.
 
6. YOU FIND IT HARD TO LISTEN TO OTHERS WITHOUT WANTING TO INTERRUPT.
 
“I know, but…” – this is the line that shows your ego is feeling threatened, if you go to say it stop yourself and listen first.
 
7. YOU SEEK REVENGE WHEN OTHERS HURT YOU.
 
Children and the immature seek revenge, the mature and the wise seek understanding and to learn from their experience. if you find yourself point scoring all the time it’s a sign ego is controlling you.
 
Take these simple insights as see which ones apply to you and for the love of all that is holy, think before you speak, trust me, it causes more problems than it’s worth when you engage your mouth before your brain.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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How to make progress: Part 7 – Individual Difference.

 
The final part, the one many have been waiting for, time to hail the snowflake and make things ultra specific to each person.
 
Well… Not quite.
 
Individual difference doesn’t quite mean super specific exercises for all, although some changes will need to be made if there is past injury etc. What is means is the way people may set up to an exercise due to lever length, bio-mechanics and so on.
 
This is where hiring a good coach comes in to play because they will help you find the correct form for YOU, they can also help add in some extra alternatives and maybe even a little spice to keep your workouts interesting (with the base exercises as staples that is).
 
The reason this is the last thing int he progression ladder is simple, most people don’t need massive amounts of variation because they’re not ready for it yet, they need consistency, hard graft and time under the bar, the fancy stuff is reserved for people who are close to or at their natural genetic limit – often someone who’s trained for 10+ years and mastered the basics, if this ins’t you, stick to the simple stuff for now.
 
Work hard, pay your dues, stay consistent and results will be yours.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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How to make progress: Part 6 – Phase Potentiation

Sounds technical, so what is it?
 
Put simply it’s the realisation of all the hard work you’ve put in leading up to a comp or end game goal. Some also call it ‘peaking’.
 
As you look back at your specific goal you can see what you need to specifically focus from month to month to create the optimal sequence to gain maximum results.
 
For example, say your goal is to lift a heavier 1RM.
 
You start off with perhaps base skill work (if needed), you then move on to hypertrophy and hypertrophy only, this will help you build the bigger muscles that can potentially produce more force. That’s phase one.
 
After this you will look to strength training, now you will start to teach those muscles to generate that extra potential force, this is phase two.
 
Next on the list might be specific strength training (peaking), now you’re purely focusing on the lift and perhaps little else so you can work towards that goal of lifting more. You’ll again be hoping the new muscle learn to generate maximal force, that’s phase three.
 
You will have some deloads/voume reductions etc to help combat fatigue and aid progress, however will all the foundational work you’ve now laid you can get ready to test your new max.
 
That is how phase potentiation works.
 
You go from a starting point and follow a logical order in your mesocycles to allow you to hit your goal in the most effective way, simple.
 
Think of it like building a pyramid, the bigger/broader the foundation, the more layers there will be and the higher the peak can potentially be.
 
Apply the to your training and watch your results soar.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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How to make progress: Part 4 – SRA (stimulus-recovery-adaptation)

Morning all,
 
We’re covered the first there parts – Specificity, Overload & Fatigue Management, it’s now time to look at who training sessions would ebb and flow to cause the necessary metabolic/hormonal disruption needed to elicit a response.
 
This will be linked to both the SAID & GAS models.
 
More on those here if you haven’t heard of them before –
 
 
 
So what does this mean?
 
It’s the training process.
 
You stress the body in your session via overload and correct intensity parameters so that you can train as hard as possible in as many sessions as possible, meaning you’re going to be towards the top end of your maximum recoverable volume.
 
If you’re pushing the envelope correctly, you will eventually need to deload the intensity/volume for perhaps a session or multiple sessions, this lower period of intensity will allow you to recover and achieve a small adaptation that adds to the overall progression you’re aiming for.
 
Now depending on your goal, how strong you are and the lifts you’re doing, each different lift or session will create more or less fatigue/stress, meaning a specific lift may need more time to recover than others which will effect overall frequency, heres an example:
 
– Heavy deadlifts 8×3 trained every 10 days
– Heavy squats 8×3 trained every 7 days
– Heavy presses 8×3 trained every 5 days
 
This would mean that the sessions in-between these ones might look like this:
 
– Medium deadlift accessory lifts 5×5 trained every 7 days
– Medium squats 5×5 trained every 5 days
– Medium presses 5×5 trained every 3 days
 
You can also then look at light sessions:
 
– Light deadlift accessory lifts 5×5 trained every 5 days
– Light squats 5×5 trained every 3 days
– Light presses 5×5 trained every other day
 
^^ These are only examples, but you get the idea.
 
What is happening is the cycling of loading parameters to allow for the highest amount of volume/intensity and frequency possible to keep your lifts progressing. As mentioned, this will differ depending on the lift, strength of the lifter, how many days they can train etc.
 
I can’t tell you what frequency you need, I can only give you this information so that you can apply it to your own training and see what best suits you and your goal.
 
This principle is something I’ve written about before, you might also have seen it written as Heavy-Light-Medium training.
 
Heavy = training on the nerve
Medium = the majority of your training
Light = helps accumulated fatigue dissipate to allow training/progress to continue
 
If you train three days per week you might hit full body each session and follow H-L-M to and find that is the best balance for you. That said, you might also find that instead of there being a weekly L session you might only need one or two of those every three weeks, meaning your days might look like this: H-M-M-L-H-L-M-M-M and so on.
 
If you need a technical term of where this falls in it would be the meso/microcycles of your training program.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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How to make progress: Part 2 – Overload

After the last post you know the importance of having a goal and numbers to go with said goal, next up is something a great many don’t achieve in their training.
 
In each session, or at the very minimum over time, you need to lift more than you did perviously so that you force the muscles to adapt, pretty simple.
 
The overload aspect of training is something that can easily be planned out and can happen in a great many ways, however regardless of which way you decide to achieve this you’ll find in the end these two factors will have increased:
 
– Total volume
– Intensity
 
It’s not uncommon to see people lifting the same weights for the same reps day in, day out and wonder why they don’t make any progress (it’s because they’re not stimulating the muscles and achieving overload).
 
With all the options, which is best?
The silent answer is this; the one that you can keep doing because it doesn’t bore you.
 
Perhaps a cop out answer however it’s a relevant one because with adherence and consistency nothing will work and you need to achieve progressive overload over a period of time to keep progressing, here are some examples:
 
– Linear progression with fractions plates: add 0.5kg each session, keep reps/set the same.
 
– Weekly undulating periodisation: (example weights) week1 5x5x100kg, week2 6x4x105kg, week3 8x3x110kg, use a heavier weight each week, then after 3 weeks go back to 5×5 and use a heavier weight than before.
 
– Rep/set progression: 3-5×6-12, start at 3×6, add a rep each session until you hit 3×12, then add a set and repeat until 4×12 is hit, then do it again until 5×12 is hit, then add weight and start it all over again.
 
As you can see, three simple yet very effective methods of achieving overload and while boring they work.
 
The biggest issue we face is that people want constant novelty in their training and while there is nothing inherently wrong with this, it can make overload hard to achieve if you don’t know what you’re doing.
 
Truth be told, you’ll find the most effective programs are usually the most boring.
 
Take a look at your training, do you achieve overload?
 
If you’re making progress then the answer is yes, if it’s no the you’re not, it’s that simple.
 
The key to progression is progression, find anyway to do more than you did.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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