Tag Archives: tracking

How many calories in a cinnamon latte?

Is tracking calories worth it?
A question many ask.
To be fair it’s such a minefield it is easily understandable why people suck at it.
From years in the trenches I can tell you that knowing all your numbers does have a place, however it’s not the be all end all, not really.
Keeping diaries is something I’m a fan of.
Not specifically for getting every calorie by the number, in fact it’s more for having people try to be more accountable.
It also allows me as a coach to see what is written down and then look at the person to see if things marry up.
If they don’t then we can sit down and have a chat about all the possibilities.
Long story short it is often that they are missing things out or just lying because they want to look like they’re being good and not let me down by admitting they are struggling or snacking.
Once we break this mental barrier they have real progress can be made.
You’d be surprised how many people are scared of letting others down, as such they will lie about who is really going on or ghost.
Some will say that they struggle with fitness and making change because they feel as if everyone is judging them, shaming them etc.
I have a notion for you to consider on this.
No one can make you feel ashamed of anything unless you yourself know what you’re doing is shameful.
That’s just how it works.
Take not shifting excess fat for example.
The common reason; the person is in a positive energy balance (or maintenance), fact.
Putting all the other reasons to one side, this is the crux of it all, once people admit this to themselves real progress can be made as to why this is the case.
Just because it’s the reason things are not moving that doesn’t mean it’s the why behind it all.
The why could be emotional, habitual or a whole host of other reasons, and once all the bullshit is stripped away we can start finding out and really making progress.
Opening up for many is hard though.
No one wants to feel vulnerable.
We need to address this before we can really move forwards, you owe it to yourself to be happy, really, you do.
As a coach I desire the best for people.
The problem is that people are idiots who get in their own way all the god damn time.
You can have all that you seek if you will get over your issues and just accept shit happens and we can’t dwell on it, not if we sant to make any meaningful growth in life.
So, is tracking calories worth it?
Yes and no, what is really worth your time and attention is achieving a state of self love, self appreciation and self acceptance, because once you’ve cracked those you’ll no longer have the same fears and be less apprehensive about being honest with people and more importantly yourself.
If you still currently lie to yourself about what you eat, do in training or general life then you’ve got more pressing matters than how many calories are in that cinnamon latte.
(It’s around 130, just incase you wanted to know.)

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Not your normal week

If you’re not bound by the standard working week, work in 5 day blocks.
Most people fit their training around their life, which is totally cool, however if you have the luxury or not being bound by such then you’d do well to follow this advice.
Or you can take the initiative and make this work :).
Working in 5 day blocks will increase your rate of progress.
Exponentially so.
Out of those 5 days you will want to train 3 of them.
You could go for a simple Pull-Push-Legs or a 2 body part per workout split, well you can do what you choose really.
When you train 3 out of 5 days it gives you the following:
– Increased frequency (hits each muscle every 3-5 days)
– Better recovery
– More variety
– Faster progression
– Improved adherence
Here is who it might look:
Day 1 – Pull Day
Day 2 – Push Day
Day 3 – Off
Day 4 – Legs Day
Day 5 – Off
Alternatively you might enjoy something along these lines:
Day 1 – Chest & Back
Day 2 – Legs
Day 3 – Off
Day 4 – Shoulders & Back (Deadlift on this day)
Day 5 – Off
There are a lot of variations and options.
To get the most out of these I would follow one of the following two loading parameters –
– Accumulation & Intensification
– Heavy (Intensity), Light (Recovery), Medium (Volume)
The former will work in the follow constituent:
20 days (4mini blocks) of Acc – 4x12x70%
20 days of Int – 4x6x80%
Acc – 5x10x72%
Int – 5x5x82%
Acc – 6x8x75%
Int – 6x4x85%
Acc – 8x6x77%
Int – 8x3x87%
Optional deload*
Acc – 2x12x70% – original weight
New block –
Acc – 4x12x72%
Int – 4x6x82%
And so on.
The other is similar yet different.
Heavy = 8×2
Light = 5×10
Medium = 6×4-6
You’d find the blocks may look like this:
D1 – H, D2 – L, D3 – Off, D4 – M, D5 – Off
D1 – L, D2 – M, D3 – Off, D4 – H, D5 – Off
D1 – M, D2 – H, D3 – Off, D4 – L, D5 – Off
Then you’re back to the start, so this is a 15day rotation.
The rep options can change depending on your goal, nothing is set in stone, just make sure you have a clear goal.
Again, just options for you if you’re lucky enough to not need to bow to the routine of the working week. .

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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.

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3 Tips to Improve Portion Control

Portion control, do you do it?

When we look at nutrition from a basic standpoint a lot of people simply eat too much and a major factor is not the food choice, oh no, it’s how much they eat at each sitting.

Here are 3 tips to help you improve your portion control:

1 – Buy Smaller Plates

In the modern world there seems to be the mindset of ‘bigger is better’ and while in some aspects this is good, when it comes to food on a plate it will do no favours for your waist line. Buying smaller plates will help you control how much you eat each meal.

2 – Hands On Measuring

This little gem is one of Precision Nutritions brain children, it allows each individual to create meals with specific portions based on their own hand size. Here is how it works:

*For each meal, ladies use one hand and men use two

– Protein = Hand or Fist
– Starchy Carbs = Clenched Fist
– Veg = Open Hand (Fingers and thumb together)
– Fats = Thumb Size

3 – Cook Only What You Need

Perhaps this sounds like common sense but you’d be surprised how many times we cook too much and then simply eat the extra to avoid wasting it, thus leading to excessive calories eaten and us feeling bloated and stuffed (we eat past the point of full/almost full). Try to get in to the habit of only cooking what you need, the old saying of “Eyes bigger than your belly.” comes to mind.

Bonus – Chew Your Food

This might sound like common sense but there are plenty of occasions where people don’t chew their food properly and simply sling it down their gullet. Making sure you chew your food for say 15+ times each mouthful will help you slow down your eating pace and help you listen to your body, thus knowing when you’re coming up to being almost full to full.

There you have it. Three simple tips to help you control your portion sizes and a bonus one to improve your mental connection with your individual Biofeedback.

Enjoy, Ross

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Total Volume, Do You Even Track It?

Yesterday was a much needed rest day, I have been enjoying the rotating days of 3 one 1 off with a simple Pull-Push-Legs methodology. The intensity has been cycling nicely and the gains are a plenty (so far).

When it comes to training blocks I find for me 3 week blocks work well, then I take the total volume down notch (back to the second weeks volume of the last block) and build it back and past its previous 3 weeks high (kinda a 2 steps forwards 1 step back deal). I also find that I can only last about 3 weeks using certain rep schemes before I get bored, therefore I have a nice little change up while still making sure of correct total volume needs.

If you’re not sure what I mean by changing reps but keeping volume the same here is a quick example:

A second week of lets say 3×5 @ 150kg (2250kg total volume) turns in to starting week of 5×3 @ 155kg (2325kg total volume).

Depending on how I feel I may stay at that weight and build the reps to 5’s or simply increase the weight micro cycle to micro cycle (that is weekly training, or as I do 3 day mini block training). My trusty training log helps me see what’s going on and make adjustments accordingly.

I know I say this a lot, however it’s important so I will keep saying it… WRITE EVERYTHING DOWN! The reps, sets, weight, speed on the bar, tempo, form, how you felt psychologically, EVERYTHING! In the long run you will thank me.

Here is what I did today:
Deadlift – 10x1x190kg – 60 Seconds rest + BO x80% (152kg) x13
Row Supinated – 5x5x90kg
Pull Up 4xFail – 12,8,8,8 (really struggling as should still not right in dead hang, aim is for 50 rep total in 4 sets)

What is the total volume for all of this you ask. Well it’s 9006kg, meaning my next session will need to exceed this in some way shape or form. I am able to establish total volume by the following equation:

Sets X Reps X Weight = Total Volume.

Provided you’re doing more than you did before you will make progress, simple. In my next session I will Increase the weight on the DL/Row (not by much 2.5kg) and aim for more pull ups to increase the total volume.

I would like you to ask yourself what you did today and how do you plan (and track) your total volume? Follow day how will you progress next time.

What is written above is often one of the most forgotten parts of training. Some people will aimlessly lift and progress (they are doing this because of a combination of dumb luck and a desire to simply lift more than or do more reps than they did before, however this won’t last forever.). Unless you take the time to be meticulous you will struggle to get beyond a certain point, that’s a fact. If you don’t have the time or spare mental capacity to do this then i would highly recommend highrinmg a trainer/coach.

Now go and make some gains.



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The Pen Is Mightier Than The Bar

Morning Guys,

If at first you don’t succeed, look back through your training/nutrition diary and find out why.

Tracking your progress, be it for nutrition or training is a laborious task.

Seriously… It’s a proper pain in the face but a necessary one if you want to succeed.

It’s true there will be some people who don’t track a single thing and go mostly on feel and intuition, but you’re not ‘some people’ you’re you and if you’re reading my humble posts than you need to be tracking what you’re doing.

The key to progression is more often than not hidden in the numbers. Lets take strength training as the example, your number are going up and then they stall but because you’ve been tracking them you know your overall volume and total loading you’ve achieved so far (this allows you to plan a de-load and then start building up again to get past this current total load).

Okay, you might not be able to add more weight, or even more sets/reps for the moment but you could always increase your TUT (time under tension) provided you tracked your tempo (4-0-1-0 for example) you will be able to workout how much overall TUT you achieve each workout, thus allowing you the ability to increase it, meaning your overall volume is increased too.

Simple right?

Without all of your diligent tracking you will not know where you can improve your workouts, or what possible strategies you could use, but it it’s written down in front of you it means you can manipulate it to keep progressing.

Remember, progress isn’t only measured in one way.

The moral of this post is to try and help you form a good habit and start tracking what you’re doing. If you ran a business you wouldn’t guess what you were earning each year would you? No, I didn’t think so.

A Pen and Paper will be two of the most valuable tools in your journey, go out and buy them NOW!.


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The Busy Persons Guide to Fitness: But First, Let Me Take a Selfie.

Over the past few days I have given all of you busy busy people out there the means to carve a body worth of a place on Mount Olympus, provided you are willing to put in the effort.

Today I will explain how you can track your progress and stay motivated in 6 easy steps:

1 – Buy a Training Diary to Track Strength. You will record your workouts, weights lifted and reps.
2 – Buy a Nutrition Diary or My Fitness Pal. You can track your macros/caloric needs each day.
3 – Take a Before Picture. This will help you see where you started.
4 – Take a Weekly Progress Picture. This will make for a nice montage when the time is right.
5 – Take an After Picture. This would be your last photo after a 6,8 or 12 week training phase.
6 – Compare Week 1 & Your Last Week. Enjoy your results and notice how much YOU have achieved.

Thats it. Tracking your progress is very simple. Just keep a diary or two and you will be able to see your numbers steadily climb in the weights you’re lifting, while you will watch your fat melt away.


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