Tag Archives: smart

Train to gain

It seems that hitting momentary mechanical failure is equally if not more important tan the load you lift.
 
 
^^ A good study looking at 3x Fail x30% VS 3x Fail x80%.
 
In short, the act of hitting failure provide adequate stimulus to trigger muscle growth.
 
The growth was essentially the same in both groups, however the group that used a heavier weight got stronger as well (pretty logical).
 
So what does this mean for your training?
 
You can look at it one of two ways:
 
1 – Cycle your loads between 30-80% 1RM and perform 3 sets per muscle group to muscle failure each set (after a couple of warm up sets, obviously).
 
2 – You can take this data and combine to s strength program to add some extra oomph, so perhaps performing working sets at a standard weight, say 5x5x80% (leaving reps in the take and focusing on strength), followed by a back off set of the same weight or between the 30-80% mark for AMRAP to hit failure, triggering more growth stimulus.
 
Both options are viable, both will improve strength and size.
 
Another nice option is this:
 
W/U – 10-15 reps
Set 1 – 10 reps – tough
Set 2 – 8 reps – tougher
Set 3 – 6-8 reps – hardest set
Set 4 – reps to failure with previous load or reduce load by 20%
 
If you ever see someone who has any decent amount of size you’ll notice they’ve often blended training to failure with stopping just short, try it yourself and see how you do.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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How doing less helped me progress.

Yesterday we touched on who doing too much can hold people back, today we shall look at how the opposite can help you being to once again make headway.
 
MED, remember that?
 
Minimum effective dose.
 
Find what the bare minimum you can do and make progress form and do that until you no longer make progress, then perhaps add the next smallest amount and progress once again.
 
A simple thought that still adheres to the GAS/SAID principle.
 
It will allow you more time to recover, spend time doing other things you enjoy and for the average person, give you results while also having a life.
 
Sounds perfect, right?
 
That being the case, why don’t people do it?
 
Because as we discussed yesterday, too many think more is better and even more than that must mean even better still, not always true, sadly.
 
You will also find that when you take down how much you’ve been doing, you recover and allow the super-compensation element of GAS to happen, meaning gains.
 
Keeping in mind MED, how many times per week do you need to train to make progress?
 
Twice, that’s a great start.
 
Both sessions would follow a full body approach with limited moves that will give you the best bang for your buck.
 
Day 1 – Monday
 
A1 – Front Squat or Squat 10×5
A2 – DB Row 10×6
B1 – Press 8×6
B2 – Chin 8×6
C1 – Dip 50 reps in as few sets as possible
D1 – Loaded Carry 10min x Total Distance (famers walk, etc)
 
Day 2 – Thursday
 
A1 – Deficit Deadlift (any grip) 10×5
A2 – DB Press 10×6-8
B1 – Bench Press or Incline 6×6-8
B2 – BB Row 6×6-8
C1 – Curl 50 rep goal in as few sets as possible
D1 – Prowler or Sprints 10min x total Distance
 
Combine this with solid nutrition (plenty of whole foods and a calorie deficit or surplus depending on your goal) and three simple factors to progress and you’ll be laughing at the gains you make.
 
How to progress:
 
– Add weight where possible (fractional plates are good)
– If you can’t add weight, reduce rest
– Rest at it’s lowest, increase TUT (time under tension) with a slower negative portion of the lift
 
In each session aim to keep a good pace and finish within 45-75min, you’ll find the less you faff the better the workout you get.
 
Obviously over time you will potentially need to add more frequency taking training to 3 days per week, but the longer you can progress on 2 the better.
 
Funnily enough you will find that most elite lifters seem to find 4xP/W is their optimal limit because in each session they train HARD and create a deep ‘in road’ meaning they’ve stimulated growth, you need to do this too.
 
Remember, doing less can help your progress.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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How to overcome a barrier in 3 easy steps.

Morning All,
 
You’ll find that there is always something that gets in the way or progress, it’s just an inevitable part of life.
 
How you deal with the obstacles in your way will largely depend on the approach you take. If it’s one of panic and ‘Woe is me, all is for naught’ then you might struggle, however if you follow these simple steps you’ll find what is in your way is dealt with swiftly and easily.
 
You’ll need a pen and paper.
 
1 – Write down the barrier
 
2 – Write down what behaviours you need to rectify this situation
 
3 – Apply the behaviours
 
You will often find plenty of people know what to do, but very few do what they know. The secret is in the last part, applying the correct behaviours.
 
Let’s look at a quick example, we’ll use working out in the gym and restricted time:
 
1 – Work needs to work until 8pm in stead of finishing at 5pm from now on. Thus disrupting your 5.30pm daily workout
 
2 – Get to the gym in the Am. Go at 8.30pm. Buy some Equipment for home. There might be other behaviours you can apply, use your brilliant mind to think of them.
 
3 – Pick one of the above.
 
Simple, right?
 
Often times you’ll find you have the answers you seek, if you don’t then ask for someones help.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Can you answer this simple question honestly?

Why do you do what you do?

Can you answer that very simple question with honesty and an answer(s) that you, yourself believe to be true, or will you answer it based on what you have been told to think by others. Just take a minute and think about it.

It is not uncommon for people to sit glazed over when that is asked of them. After all, how often do you get people questioning why you do things, or more importantly asking you to ask yourself why you do things. We think we know, we think they are our own choices, yet when we really sit and think, it becomes apparent that for most people that is not the case.

Often times we simply do the things we do because somewhere along the line we were told that’s how it had to be, how we had to be, how it all ‘should’ be.

Most of you will live other peoples dreams and spend your life wondering why you never feel fulfilled.

If we take the example of losing weight, a term that is not right for a lot of people, the correct term is FAT LOSS. You can cut of an arm and lose weight, you might not be happy that you;ve lost and arm but you’ve lost weight so you can’t complain, right?

Apologies, back to the point.

People look to lose fat because they think they should based on what they have been told by others, read that is written by others, seen in others and consider is the only acceptable course of action by others.

Can you see the problem.

A person will start out on a journey of self improvement based on the opinions, beliefs and values of someone else, they are doing it for someone else, not themselves. Is it any wonder people fail at so many things that they never really wanted. No, it isn’t.

When it comes to achieving a goal, you need three things:

– Commitment
– Consistency
– Hard Work (or work ethic)

Although those three things are important, if the goal of desire is not of your own choosing in the first place you will find more reasons/excuses to give up because you don’t really want it.

Your goals must mean something to you, they must be yours and yours alone. Do it for you, know why you’re doing it and tin doing this you will finally get that fulfilment you’ve been searching for.

Ask yourself again, why do you do what you do?

Enjoy,
Ross

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Three simple things for a better body

There are a multitude of exercises you can do to build the best body you possibly can and this can become very confusing for a lot of people. It can even end up discouraging them from working out because there is too much choice.
 
Todays post is to give you some classic exercises and options on using them that you don’t often see done all too often in commercial gyms.
 
You will also find a workout structure down below as well.
 
1 – Double Dumbbell Clean & Press
 
Aim for 50 total reps, 5 sets of 10 is with <60 seconds rest a killer, or perhaps 100 reps, so 10×10 if you’re really sadistic but this is not advised.
 
Alternatively you can just try and hammer out as many sets of 10 as you can with solid form in a 45min time period, if you hit 100 reps you will probably want to add weight.
 
2 – High Rep Back Squat
 
Add this in to your workout a minimum of twice per week, stating at a target of 50 reps, do as many reps as you can each set and as many sets as needed to hit 50 reps total. Then add a rep each workout until you hit 2x25reps, then add weight and start again.
 
As above you could simply take the option of doing multiple sets of 10 until you reach a certain goal number in 45min, 100 is a good target, then add weight.
 
3 – Loaded Carry
 
Pick up something awkward to hold on to that matches your bodyweight, such as a sand bag (ideally), you might set out a 10m track for example and count the number of times you successfully complete it without dropping the bag or heavy awkward object you’re carrying in a certain time limit.
 
This is the hardest of the three options, it would be a good idea to have at least 2 awkward objects to carry, ideally three, that way you can have 3x15min time periods to carry those objects as far as possible.
 
– Bear Hug Carry
– Farmers Walk
– Overhead Hold Walk
 
^^ Those three work well together.
 
If you were to use those three exercises and do one per work you’d find you probably get more results than the endless crowds doing 9 different types of isolation exercises for the arms/abs/chest etc.
 
You might have a 3 on 1 off rotation that looks like this:
 
Day 1 – High Rep Back Squats
Day 2 – Double Dumbbell Clean & Press
Day 3 – Loaded Carries
Day 4 – Off
Day 5 – Repeat
This will make you strong, lean and incredibly fit if you keep the rest periods to a minimum, just keep a keen awareness of strict form.
 
Boring and repetitive but extremely effective.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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I Got Skills, Have You?

Skills Skills Skills, Do you have them?
 
Keeping with the theme of the new year lead up and all of the resolutions that will be set it’s time to look at an often forgotten aspect of goal setting; Skill Requirement.
 
It might sound strange yet the ability to achieve a goal isn’t just down to sheer force of will and heart, although having only those two will get you a very long way. Something else you need will be a specific set of skills, let me give you an example.
 
Goal – Become a Rock Superstar.
 
Current Situation – Self Employed with no singing ability or musical talent.
 
Skills Required – Musical tone, lyrical genius, the ability to play one or multiple instruments.
 
Required Skills Currently Possessed – None, not a single one :(.
 
Required Action to Achieve Goal – Give up all work and invest time/money to learn all required skills to achieve the dream.
 
Overall Outcome – Loss of current earnings, potential homelessness, existential dread.
 
Decision – Goal unachievable.
 
Okay, that might be a tad extreme, I’m sure the outcomes wouldn’t be that terrible but you get the idea that the goal I wanted reared a certain set of skills that I didn’t possess and to acquire those skills I would bee to invest time and resources. This is something a great many forget to take in to account.
 
Everyone wants to achieve their goals and you might be surprised to learn that there are plenty of people that will help you along the way but before you can find them you need to honestly assess your current skills and which ones you will need to achieve your goal.
 
Here are five steps to help you:
 
1 – Write down your goal.
2 – Write down what skills you need to archive your goal.
3 – Write down what skills you HAVE and which ones you NEED.
4 – Write down a list of actions to acquire said skills.
5 – Apply the tips above.
 
Everyone starts somewhere, if you need help be sure to ask for it. Don’t let your goal slip through your fingers, achieve it and be proud!
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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MRV vs MED

I was doing some digging in to two training concepts that are literally at different ends of the spectrum but the both still lead to the same reward. Either can be applied to your own training, which will depend on you as a person and your individual preferences.
 
The concepts in question are:
 
– Maximum Recoverable Volume (MRV) – Think Dr Mike Israetel
– Minimum Effective Dose (MED) – Think Brooks Kubik
 
MRV is essentially training as hard as you possibly can (a boat load of growth stimulating effort, hopefully) while still recovering to force a faster adaptation, meaning quick progress followed by a quick plateau, however it also means you stay ‘at the top of your game’ for lack of a better description, for longer.
 
MED is the exact opposite, based on GAS – general adaptation syndrome, you want to expose your body to the minimum amount required for you to progress. You will take longer to reach your peak and plateau but you’ll get there in the end.
 
Now out of the two I’m sure most people will look at MRV and think “That’s the one for me, I want my gains NOW!” and if you are a competitive athlete I would be inclined to agree, however when you flirt with MRV you will find it’s easy to overreach and for progress to come less optimal, some people see this as they need more volume which makes them now on the edge over overtraining and injury. Suddenly they snap themselves up and it’s Game Over for a while, but that’s the risk you run for the reward you seek.
 
If you decide to follow the path of MED you’ll find that what progress might be slower you actually feel better (less beat up all the time), have more potential time to do other things (more on this shortly) and you remain essentially risk free, unless you’re doing some strange exercise that involves single leg overhead squats on a kettlebell handle. The only issue is that results can end up taking a rather lengthy amount of time.
 
Remember that just because you can do more doesn’t mean you should.
 
Here is a quick example of MRV/MED in terms of numbers/application.
 
Let’s say we have a person who’s MED is as follows:
Squat 2xP/W
 
They are progressing quite nicely on this. Lean body mass is going up, as is strength, however…. Their MRV might be this:
 
Squat 4xP/W –
 
This would mean faster progress due to more overall volume but also lead to a faster plateau and potentially incased risk of injury.
 
Which should they do?
 
The answer is either, depending on their goal.
 
Yep. It doesn’t matter which they do because it’s their choice at the end of the day. They would simply have to compare the pros/cons and make an informed decision.
 
Both methods are great and they both get you to the same place in the end.
 
Over they years I have actually done both of these, not intentionally, more intuitively (then lots of writing on the topics came out). These days I would much rather do just enough to make progress and spend more time following other endeavours, it’s just more logical in the end and provides better longevity.
 
Enjoy,
Ross

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Failure Mindset

Morning Guys,
 
Do you live with the failure mindset?
 
Plenty of people live with the attitude of:
 
“That person is … Bigger, Stronger, Leaner, Fitter etc… than me because of … Genetics, Money/Born with a Silver Spoon, Steroids and so on…. I will never be like that.”
 
This is the failure mindset and all it serves to do is hold you back because you’re expecting to fail. I’ve said it plenty of times before, too many people make their excuses as to why they won’t achieve XYZ and as a result never achieve anything.
 
Sadly I feel the failure mindset is actually something that our culture is feeding these days, what with all the ‘safe spaces’ the ‘words hurt’ and ‘You all deserve nice things’ campaigns people are becoming mentally weaker by the day. Don’t get me wrong, some things people say really do hurt and there is no need for them but most of the time people need to simply grow a thicker skin and crack on with life.
 
If you’re wondering what’s prompted this post today, the answer is simple. I’ve been in the failure mindset for a while, mainly due to not feeling that I was reaping the rewards for the effort I was putting in, when in reality I was missing certain elements that would allow success. The fault was mine because of my mindset, I stopped training as hard as I should have, I wasn’t eating enough and as a result make slow and lack lustre progress. It sucks but we reap what we sow so it’s time to kick myself up the ass and get back to the righteous path of the iron.
 
I have made plenty of mistakes, this mindset being one of them. It’s time to learn from that mistake and do what needs to be done.
 
Do you live in the failure mindset?
 
Sit down and write a list of all the things you are meant to be doing to achieve your goal, then write down every excuse you use to avoid doing what needs to be done. Once you’ve done this take a moment to change those excuses in to behaviours that will allow you to succeed and break free of the failure mindset.
 
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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