Tag Archives: stress

Hello life stress, my old friend

On a scale of 1 to ‘for the love of all that is holy, not again’
How stressful is your life?
The other day a video found its way from my phone to the mythical place where dreams are born and also go to die; Instagram.
A classic satire piece about people who claim stress is the cause of al their problems.
Specifically stubborn fat, classically belly fat.
While this may indeed be true in some cases, plus there is some info worth delving in to regarding excessively elevated levels of cortisol, insulin resistance and a whole host of other things such as adrenal fatigue, that amount of excessive and sustained stress isn’t not that common.
Ah, I can hear it all ready – “Well you don’t know me, blah blah blah.”
Okay, I get it, you’re special and your life is far harder than everyone else’s. Now hush and go back to your doughnut.
We tend to take our bodies for granted you know.
Stress, while a tragic an horrible thing to be under, it’s not quite a simple as people think.
I’m sure you’ve heard the terms eustress & distress.
If you haven’t then this is a nice play to start and you can delve further from here:
Here is what they mean in short:
Eustress – positive stress
Distress – negative stress
When people come under fire from life they see it immediately as the negative form, which it might be however it might not, a topic for another day.
So you’re under a lot of stress, thus gaining fat is the result.
Because the stress is making you overeat, which it kinda is and at the same time you’re making the choice to over eat due to how it makes you feel (habit = trigger, response, reward etc).
To combat this you go to the gym and absolutely destroy yourself with all the HIIT (which isn’t really HIIT), multiple classes and 2+ hour sessions as the norm 11 days per week.
Yet you still continue to gain fat.
Stress clearly is the culprit, or is it?
Well yes and no, you see the truth is this; the picture is far bigger than you’re perhaps willing to see and stress is perhaps only one, or maybe three pieces out of a 100 piece puzzle.
Yet given how it’s easy to blame and vilify we will do that instead of seeking the root cause/other factors.
Fun fact; you need stress to survive 🤗
One of the main reasons we are where we are is because of our ability to adapt and overcome multiple stressors.
Pretty neat right?
Right, I’m rambling so I better get to the point.
Stop blaming everything on stress because it’s not the only factor.
Here is a simple 5 step guide to help you become better:
1 – Keep a diary that is 100% honest & true (food, feelings the lot)
2 – Take a good long look at the diary and see what is going on
3 – Find gaps in your life, such as poor sleep, poor food quality etc
4 – Address the gaps with actions, behaviour change and new habit formation (plus old habit degradation)
5 – Repeat steps 1-4 from this day onwards
Above all else you just be willing to help yourself.
Stress is a necessary part of life, you can’t get around that, however how you CHOOSE to deal with it makes all the difference.
React emotionally or respond intelligently, choose wisely.

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Reps for days

It isn’t uncommon for people to ask – “What sets/reps should I be doing?”

While perhaps not that exactly, it will be something along those lines, as such I’ve found that cycling them based on a classic Heavy-Light-Medium rotation applied to a Pull-Push-Legs split.

One element to remember is that Heavy doesn’t mean hard and light doesn’t mean easy, however that is a topic for another day, for now I will give you something you can apply immediately.

Rep/Set Schemes:

  • Heavy  – 5-3-2-5-3-2-5-3-2 (heavy yet not hard)
  • Light – 20-15-10-20-15-10 (light yet not easy)
  • Medium – 5-8×1 + 1×20 – ramp to heavy single for the day, then take 60-70% of that and do one set of 20 reps

Split Options: 4 day split examples

  • Pull-Push-Legs-Off-Repeat
  • Lower-Upper-Posterior-Off-Repeat
  • Strength-Conditioning-Mobility(restorative)-Off-Repeat

^^ 2-4 lifts per day is often sufficient, 1 main with the rep/set scheme, the rest can be 2-3×10-15 or 4×6, your choice.

If we take the PPL and apply the rep schemes over a small cycle.

No change in lifts, only reps.

Day 1 – Pull – Heavy
Day 2 – Push – Light
Day 3 – Legs – Medium
Day 4 – Off
Day 5 – Pull – Light
Day 6 – Push – Medium
Day 7 – Legs – Heavy
Day 8 – Off
Day 9 – Pull – Medium
Day 10 – Push – Heavy
Day 11 – Legs – Light
Day 12 – Off

Many will then say – “What now?”

Once you’ve gone through this you’ll find you’re back at the heavy day being for pull, you can choose to keep the lifts the same and try to hit a higher load or you can perhaps change the lifts, pick your poison.

This allows for a constant rotation of days and keeps things interesting, if you are constrained be the working week and days you can train then you may need something a little different, in which case all you need do it ask for the answer.


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The Scouser’s had it right.

To hit a big lift you’ve got to get fired up and get angry, right?

Well not necessarily.

Did you know that this excess excitation will actually cause a great detriment to your sympathetic nervous system over a long period of time.

There are a lot of people who hit the gym and do so with their aggression levels set at full, and while this may seem like a good way to destress it actually have the opposite affect due to a spike in adrenaline levels and can in fact leave you more fatigued in the long run.

Given we live in a world that is bombarded with stress almost 24/7 in some areas, the use of ammonia for a deaf lit that is less than 700lbs minimum is probably a bit of a waste in all honestly.

Have you ever heard the term ‘Lift with a calm heart’.

*You’d also do well to dig in to heart rate variability and heart rate recovery for performance/health reasons as well, just for extra learning 🤗

If not it is one you should highly consider taking a note of because the more you try and rag your body with high octane efforts of aggression, the faster your body will decline and you’ll soon be a smouldering pile of mulch.

Of course you don’t need to listen to me, however for your own health, wellbeing and longevity I’d suggest looking in to this subject.

In fact here is a great place to start –


All of his books and also the ones he has co-authored with people such as Pavel Tsatsouline are worth their weight in gold for performance.

Don’t be angry in the gym, be calm, be focused, be successful in your lifts and above all else be happy you’ve got the chance to lift, learn & live as you do.


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Little Miss & Mr Stress

How stressed are you on a scale of 1-a large glass of wine please, and leave the bottle.
Morning All,
When it comes to stress it’s easy to get caught up in it, to find ourselves dragged out to sea by the tide of our own drama.
While stress will inevitably be there, how we react and deal with that stress is down to us, really, it is.
Take this for example.
You receive bad news, as such you can,
A – get angry and put your fist through a door, thus making yourself more stressed.
B – take a deep breath, walk away form it and come back to deal with it when you’ve calmed down.
In both instances the stressor hasn’t disappeared, it hasn’t changed, however what has changed is how YOU decided to react to it.
One piles more stress on top and doesn’t get you anywhere, the other gives you time to think and perhaps the thought capacity to find a solution and realise it’s not as bad as you initially thought.
The above (point A) is a real life example of an old client who had been training consistently and not made any progress on the scales, that was down t their poor eating habits by the way.
Their reaction did them no favours apart from stressing them out further, it took quite a while before they eventually calmed down enough (several days later) to have a logical conversation and start to address some lifestyle habits that were perhaps not the most conducive to success.
We did have to overcome the denial, and blatant diversion of responsibility first before they accepted their own fault in the lack of progress, however we got there in the end.
It is human nature to quickly justify their poor choices, habits or reactions, we all go through it at times and what separates those who move on from those who don’t is their ability to acknowledge a stressor for what it is and take control of it, instead of letting it take control of them.
Give the above some thought, perhaps even write down some times you’ve overreacted, knowledge your fault in it all, then let it go, move on and continue with your life.

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Stress, it’s quite addictive

Morning All,

Are you addicted to stress?

As strange as that sounds you’d be surprised how common it actually is because a lot of people thrive off of it.

Think about a uni student who has a paper to put in, do they do in little by little over their 2 month deadline or do they let the submission date creep closer and closer until finally they rush around like a headless chicken to get it done.

In this beautifully modern world of ours we have been somewhat conditioned to believe that being busy is good, that to run yourself ragged or even spin your wheels is better than doing nothing.

This sounds a tad silly to me.

I’m sure you have had a manager who wants everyone to look busy, to be doing something, even if there is nothing productive to be done they will say – “I will find you something to do.”.

Yea, no thanks.

If what you are doing isn’t productive, will lead to future productive or positive/necessary outcomes then that energy can be best placed elsewhere and focused on things that are actually important to you.

While I can understand the panic that comes over people when they have nothing to do, it’s a poor mindset to have.

Here is how I look at things through a filter of three questions.

1 – Is it important?

2 – Will it become important or lead to something important?

3 – If not important, is it something I want or need to do?

Quite simple really.

There are plenty of people in this world to stress over the minutia, the question is this; do you really want to be one of them?

Give it some thought.


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A post for people who need a way to focus their time in training

Do you faff about in the gym?
Morning All,
While some don’t, the alarming majority do.
Not to mention in their faffing they simply cause feeling tired, rather than any form of meaningful progress or quality work.
Now while total volume (overload) is the main driver of most things progress related, there has to be some attention given to quality as well.
Keeping in mind that we want to get the most out of every gym session, there are many ways to do it, we shall look at two that have you working against the clock.
1 – Time Block & Rep goals
2 – EMOM (every minute on the minute)
Both have their uses to send a jolt of new life in to stagnant training.
Each also works on the principle of manipulating the Density/Work Capacity in your training (doing more quality work in the same time limit or getting the same amount done in far less time).
Time Blocks & Rep Goals (TB-RG)
Easy to create and even easier to apply.
Simply take a total number of reps you wish to achieve with a specific weight, then set a time limit in which to achieve those reps.
If you hit the reps in the time it may be prudent to increase your load on the exercise, yet say the reps were not hit in the time then this simply means you stay at that weight until you hit them.
Example: Squat x50 reps x140kg in 15min
One way in which I have found this to work very well is with one exercise and a rep range to work in, that way you have a goal and definitive way to show when it’s time to progress the weight.
Example: Press x3-5 reps x50kg EMOM x15min
If the first time you do this you hit solid 3’s for all 15min, great, stay at that weight and aim for a mixture of 3 & 4’s, eventually you will hope to he hitting 5’s each min for the entire time. Once this happens increase the weight and start the process again.
This style of training can also be very beneficial for those short on time that need focus.
You may find you can pair tow exercises in an A1/A2 fashion quite easily in the TB-RG, and while it’s not impossible to do in the EMOM it’s not the most optimal.
Here is an example of some 30min sessions (main work set, you’d have a warm up/warm down either side and perhaps some remedial work of say 2-3×15-25 reps for weak areas of postural work which may give you a total 45-60min session).
TB-RG: 30min (using agonist pairings for extra nastiness)
Pull Day –
A1 – Trap Bar Deadlift 50reps
A2 – Chin Up 50reps
Push Day –
A1 – Overhead Press 50reps
A2 – Dips 50reps
Leg Day –
A1 – Squat 50reps
A2 – Hamstring Curls 50reps
EMOM 2x15mins
Pull Day –
A1 – Deficit Deadlift 3-5reps
B1 – Pull Up 6-8reps
Push Day –
A1 – Push Press 3-5reps
B1 – Incline Press 4-6reps
Leg Day –
A1 – Squat 3-5reps
B1 – RDL 4-6reps
There are almost limitless exercises and variations you can do, just make sure you cover the full complement of human movement: Push-Pull-Hinge-Squat-Loaded Carry

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Strong side, weak side

Unilateral work.
A sure fire way to have your body even up any potential imbalances.
How much do you do?
Morning All,
Working one side of your body at a time is a worthy investment of your time.
That said, there is a reason many shy away from doing it.
Their ego.
Doing this style of lifting will naturally reduce the weights that you’re going to be able to lift.
It might also take a little longer to complete all your sets/reps too as you have to do both sides equally.
Regardless of those two considerations, doing this is still something you’d benefit from having in your training regime and perhaps even focusing on for a few months.
Unilateral training will also help keep you honest as well.
If you aim to lift with solid from and not allow your body to shift in to places to allow for a more beneficial leverage that is.
Apart from getting strong and balanced, you will also forge a rock solid core and excellent ability to create total body tension from all the extra stability that is required.
Here are some movements for your consideration that will give you the most bang for your buck.
– Barbell Pressing (single arm)
– Lunges & Pistol Squats
– Deadlift (single leg or suitcase)
– Waiter walk or farmers walk (single arm)
– Rows (single arm body weight, dumbbell, etc)
There are lots more options, however even doing a simple routine of single arm press ups & pistol squats (ala Pavel’s Naked Warrior – get this book) is tough when done correctly.
Then imagine working towards a OAPU (one arm pull up), now that is a feat of strength indeed.
If you find your training has taken a stale turn, add in some of the above.
Here is a suggestion:
*Always start on your weaker side first, match the amount of good reps you get on this side with your stronger side, DO NOT do it the other way around.
Pull day –
A1 – Deadlift variation (bilateral)
B1 – Unilateral pulling movement
C1 – Unilateral pulling movement
Push day –
A1 – Press variation (bilateral)
B1 – Unilateral pushing movement
C1 – Unilateral pushing movement
Leg day –
A1 – Squat variation (bilateral)
B1 – Unilateral squat/hinge movement
C1 – Unilateral squat/hinge movement
Sets/reps & load are up to you, I’d suggest this:
A1 – 80%+, <25 total reps (8×3, 12×2, 5×5, 6×4, 4×6, etc)
B1 – Ladder sets of either 1-10, 1-7, 1-5 – 50-100 reps total
C1 – Ladder sets of either 1-10, 1-7, 1-5 – 50-100 reps total
The ladder set would mean you do one rep one side, then one rep the other, then two on the first side, two on the second and so on until you hit your target.
Aim to complete a full 1-10 ladder without breaking any of the sets, if you do, match the second side to the failed amount of reps on the first, then you start again at 1 rep both sides and start climbing again.
Ladders also work well if a time limit is set, something like 10-20min etc.

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Morning Meditation & Introspection

Introspection is a great thing.
It can help uncover a multitude of things that can help us let go of that which weighs us down and move forwards.
Is it something you practice?
Morning All,
Taking the time to examine ones self is a worthy practice.
You’ll start to see past a lot of your own bullshit and just knowing that is in of itself something that will make you smile.
To be honest and call out your own rubbish is a sure fire way to remove your current barriers and start to plan a progressive path forwards.
This can be done in relation to fitness, nutrition, general life and much more.
A great way to start this off is by spending 5min in silence with nothing but your own reflective thoughts based on this question:
Why do I tell myself & others (insert your own plight).
Once you’ve given that some thought, write down your conclusions as to what good that thought is doing you and why you would want to allow yourself to house that thought and verbally repeat it to people as an excuse for what ever reason you do.
Do this just once per day, then move on and continue with what ever else you have to do.
You might find out some rather interesting things about yourself.
Then, when you are ready –
Acknowledge, accept & let it go.

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What’s old is new again

The Purposeful Primitive:

From Fat and Flaccid to Lean and Powerful:

Using Primordial Laws of Fitness to Trigger Inevitable, Lasting and Dramatic Physical Change

by Marty Gallagher

Have you ever read it?

You should, it’s a very good book with a wealth of experience in it and one simple take home message.

Success requires heart.

Morning All,

If you take the time to look there is a plethora of good books surrounding the realm of fitness.

Some are filled with numbers, plug & play programs, explanations of the basics and of course the principles/foundations of lifting, yet it’s the ones that are written in a story telling manor that hold the most secrets.

Ironically these are the books people will skip over because they want the quick answer.

This is understandable, however not too wise.

We can all read and gain a basic grasp of the numbers.

I’ve been such a person and has read hundreds of books of the years, admittedly skim reading the story-esc ones, due to my of foolishness at the time.

As I’ve gone back and reread these story books of lifting, Ive found new appreciation for them.

They hold not only training principles and methodologies.

Oh no, they hold something much more valuable as well.


They hold heart, or what some might call indomitable spirit, perhaps even attitude, regardless of the semantics, the message is clear.

Those lifting legends thought differently, they had that extra gear as it were. That defined focus that many of us lack, hence why we only really make mediocre progress – yes, mediocre.

Even those who we think are training hard are lacking.

In the book mentioned above there are many excerpts that speak of people lifting only twice per week and hitting world record numbers (if you check the records you’ll find it all true).

Could you make such progress on two sessions a week?

I highly doubt it. I couldn’t, not with my current attitude in training.

This goes to show just how things have changed, and by things I mean people, or at least our resolve and work ethic.

We’ve grown lazy, so very lazy.

If you’ve just sat and thought “What… screw you, I’m not lazy” or something similar, that’s your ego talking and unless you’re at the peak of your own personal pyramid and chosen endeavour you’re not working hard enough, or rather, working hard enough in the smartest way possible.

Here is an example of just how an attitude was back in the day –

Bill Pearl, he used to train at 4am.

Yep, 4am, before the world got p he’d already be grinning away to forge his body in a fire of iron, sweat and many repetitions.

He had a normal job too, plus lived a fairly busy life, so before you bring up your excuses understand this person had them as well, he simply didn’t let them stop him becoming a legend of lifting.

From reading in to the lives of people form yesterday I fear we’ve grown soft, reliant on our comfortable lifestyles. We’ve lost our edge.

The attitude now is one of ‘I will do more but with less intensity’ – for most people anyway, I’m sure you will explain how you’re the exception, that being the case I wish I was you.

In the book you also get the sense that theme & women of yesteryear trained to break boundaries and hammer their of limitations, I’m not saying some don’t do this now, they just lack the conviction of old.

The modern world has beaten people down with how we ‘should’ look, behave, think, feel and ugh more. It’s no wonder people have so many mental health issues these days.

If you want to expand your thought and learn what it is to I speak of in this post, I suggest reading these three books:

The Purposeful Primitive – Marty Gallagher

Super Strength – Alan Calvert

Secrets of My Strength – Paul Anderson

There are many more great books of old, you can find them here:


What’s old is new again.


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7 NEW revolutionary lessons to a stress free life…… Just kidding, you can find this shit anywhere online these days :)

Morning all,
There are hundreds of posts like this out there.
You may recognise some of what you are about to read.
All of them however are based on my own personal experience, they might help you, I hope they do.
They might not and that’s okay too.
1 – Stop trying to control everything.
2 – Things get done when they get done, if you’re being pressured for something you can ignore that pressure and just go at your own pace, lest you buckle to it and end up procrastinating with endless excuses.
3 – Don’t worry about offending people, after all, you can literally offered someone by holding a door open for them these days. Let them be offended.
4 – You don’t have to carry other peoples stress, worry and bad emotion. By all means empathise, understand and listen, then leave it at that, their problems are exactly that – theirs.
5 – Smile more, you look miserable.
6 – Write more, even if no one reads it, you’l find it puts life in to perspective for you, especially when you realise your problems are not that big a deal in the grand scheme of things.
7 – The classic; let go of bad experiences, feelings, people and so on.
If you hold on to things such as anger, resentment, bitterness and other such things it’s like drinking poison and waiting for the person you dislike to die.
Give it some thought.

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