Tag Archives: training

Old & Effective

We humans do like to overcomplicate things.

In my experience it’s because of these reasons:

– Complexity carries the idea of it being ‘better’
– It provides the perfect excuse to fail

Sometimes stripping things back to a simple form can yield far more results than people would like.

Yes, getting better results in whatever goal isn’t what everyone wants.

Many like pretending, playing at training all so that they can gain some desired attention and also any pandering they need.

If this is you, fair enough.

However if you’re someone who wants to move forwards physically, mentally and in life then wha tis written below will take away the stress of deciding upon a training protocol.

This works for the larger majority of people.

While it’s not perfect, because nothing ever is, the key point is this – it works provided you do.

The Protocol – Heavy Set & Back Off

Work to a heavy set of the following:

Weeks 1-3: 10 reps
Weeks 4-6: 8 reps
Weeks 7-9: 6 reps

Take 80% of the top weight for the day, hit these back-off rep numbers in as few sets as possible:

Weeks 1-3: 50 reps
Weeks 4-6: 40 reps
Weeks 7-9: 30 reps

Perform this on one or two main lifts for the day.

For accessory work your aim for all weeks is as follows:

– 50 reps total in 3 sets or less.

Here is an example day:

A1 – RDL x10 > Back Off – 80% x50 total reps
B1 – Bent Over Row x50 reps
C1 – Curl x50 reps

The goal for each week of the three week wave is to either repeat the same numbers with top set being easier and the back ff reps taking less sets (or less rest, etc).

Over time you may choose to change the top set rep choice and the amount of back off reps, that’s cool because the overall ethos of the protocol is this –

Work to a heavy set, then take weight of and do reps.

Simple, effective, brilliant.


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Problems & Solutions

The solution can often be found in the problem.

Odd as that might sound it’s actually very accurate.

Here is an example:

“I really struggle to lose weight because I eat too much.”

So the solution is the problem, address the reason(s) behind the behaviours/emotions that lead said persons to eating too much.

It’s honesty not rocket science.

A lot of people already know their problem, intrinsically so.

Use this information, this experience of theirs and you’ll be able to breakdown the underlying reasons why it happens and the steps/actions needed to create the solution will present themselves.

Another example:

“I can’t gain muscle, no matter how hard I train or how much I eat.”

Solution = address training and caloric intake.

Once you sit down with people and truly breakdown what is going on and show them, in simply easy to understand terms that are on their level of understanding (no technobabble), they suddenly ‘get it’.

Understand they’re frustrated.

In their minds they’re doing everything right, yet it’s still not working.

As a trainer/coach you immediately know they’re not doing everything right, however you don’t tell them this directly unless they’re the kind of person that can take it, and those are very very rare, even those that say they want it straight don’t really mean that.

No one likes being told they’ve been doing it wrong.

Many end up thinking – “F**K it, I’ve been wasting my time, I might as well go eat 9 pints of Ben & Jerry’s.”

We wish to avoid this.

To do so you take the solution from their problem and then break it down into easy to understand parts for them.

Maybe a three stage approach like this:

Act 1 – Acknowledge problem & solution in the problem
Act 2 – Offer strategies to achieve solution & apply them*
Act 3 – Explain their Pay Off for all their work (emotionally)

*Make them aware this part takes a long time.

Take some time to look at the way people talk.

You’ll soon see all of their problems contain their solution.


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Arbitrary Life Lessons

Everyone wants to succeed at something.
We all know it doesn’t come easy.
Whatever ‘it’ is.
The problem is all the bullshit spouted from influencers, or people that are great at fooling the stupid, of which were are many.
This being said, a lot of people want to be fooled.
Anyway, time for some wisdom.
Below you’ll find 8 lessons you can apply immediately to better your life and start taking you forwards in life.
If there are any questions please leave them down below.
In no particular order:
1 – When you wake up in the morning, get up immediately
2 – 10-20min of movement upon waking changes the day
3 – Before bed write down what you’ll achieve tomorrow
4 – Write down your excuses instead of saying them
5 – Reflect on you written excuses, are they valid or not
6 – When offered an easy road or hard one, choose hard
7 – Success isn’t mandatory, then again, neither is failure
8 – You don’t need to do any of the above, however you can
Take a moment to give an honest look at the view you’ve got, and ask yourself this question:
Is it enough?
Answering yes, is great. This means you can step off the path and stand to the side to let those who wish for a view from a high point on the mountain keep going.
After all, enough is enough.
That being said, you can always take a few more steps to see what the view might be like from slightly further up too.
Bonus – Write things down daily & always carry a small note pad/pen because you never know when that one idea that will change your life will hit you,and no, you won’t remember it, so WRITE IT DOWN.

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It’s oaky to want to be better than average

There are two kinds of men in this world.

Those with discipline
Those with a dad-bod

(being a parent isn’t a necessity for possessing a dad-bod)

Well, there are more types however for today’s purpose we only need the two above as in how they relate to fitness.

The former will keep heathy amount of self-drive throughout their life, always keen a keen eye on their health, performance and finally aesthetic.

The latter still trains yet will find any/all excuses as to why they’re not focusing on their health, performance and aesthetic. You may also find them sharing stories of the golden days all to often as well.

When looking at and comparing the two directly it is now common for the modern world to shame the one with discipline for being ‘too much’, while championing the second as they’re more ‘real’.

Umm no.

There is no shame in men wanting to retain a level of good health, optimal strength and a desirable aesthetic (age appropriate of course).

It simply shows they have a priority and care for looking after themselves, and you’ll find that nay shaming usually comes from jealousy as there is a dee understanding from the people throwing out the shade that they lack the necessary mental fortitude to be on the same part of the mountain sharing the view.

(Same goes for ladies too, we will cover the another day)

Just because a gentlemen grows older, that doesn’t mean things need to fall apart.

It’s not uncommon for chaps in their 40’s, 50’s or eve 60’s to be in better physical shape than they were in their 20/30’s because at those younger ages a lot was taken for granted.

Many also find that having more discipline allows them to enjoy life more as any decadent foods or beverages they consume on the odd occasion do little damage to the fine temple they’ve built, where as their counter-parts are stockpiling on the impending illnesses waiting to happen.

One thing that often makes me chuckle is that these days we’re told to accept all bodies as beautiful/good, etc and give praise, that is unless if the one you possess makes other feel bad because you’re physically superior in multiple ways.

Yes, that is the most accurate way to say it and not untrue.

May it hurt people feelings?

Yep, however that’s not the fault of the person who hold that well kept body, it’s not for them to feel guilt that others feel bad/jealous that they don’t have the same level of health/performance/aesthetic success because they chose to live a different life.

This is where the chaps with we dad-bods need to take stock.

Since many still train, you’ll find they also come fully prepared with endless excuses for only training chest and arms – bad knees, bad back, too tired for legs, etc.

In reality it’s because chest and arms are easy to train and your an still look passable in clothing with a chest/arms, even if you carry a lot of body fat.

Clothing hides a multitude of sins after all.

Guys, ask yourself this question –

What would you rather be seen as in your OWN eyes?

Some disciplined, healthy, strong and can still walk around beach confidently in buddy smugglers, or one of those you see with board shorts, a beer in hand with a belly that hangs over so far you’ve not seen your dick since your 20’s without some incredible feats of angular posing.

Discipline or Dad-bod, you decide.


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How to be Brilliant as a PT.

How to be Brilliant as a PT.
Levels of service are common place in the fitness industry.
Essentially thermos people pay the better the service they will be privy to.
While this is not a bad option, simply as it allows you to offer multiple packages that are then affordable to people from all walks of life, there is a problem.
Think of it this way for a second.
🧠 – you personally go to hire someone, you see you can’t afford their top their price, then see they have cheaper options that miss stuff out, how owed that make you feel?
Now most people will not necessarily care about all the bells & whistles, so the cheaper options are cool.
Yet as someone who is running a business this is a slippery road to go down.
The reason being that you’ll become comfortable offering the lower tier options that require you to put in less overall effort, hold a lower overall standard and eventually the lower standard will become your ONLY standard.
As mentioned above, there is nothing wrong with offering lower payment options, however, offering multiple payments options for only ONE level of service will take your business and abilities to the next level.
What do I mean by this?
Here is an example:
Offering – 4 sessions p/w (3 training, 1 lifestyle coaching)
– Level of Service = Brilliant (all the bells & whistles)
– Fee charged = £1000 per month
– 3 payment options
Payment Option 1 – Individual Training
Payment Option 2 – Semi-Private Training 2-4 people
Payment Option 3 – Group Training 10-20 people
You can do all of these on a rolling month to month contract or have a minimum sign up time of 6 months, for individuals they can pay monthly or all at once if they have the funds, groups/semi-private all pay upfront – this is non-negotiable.
With the above you don’t compromise your level of service.
Everyone gets the best you have to offer because you want to give them an unforgettable experience.
Providing and unforgettable experience will have them spread the good word (referrals), and have them come back too.
The above of £1000 per month may see high, yet the group option of 10 people means only £100 each for a total of 16 sessions, that’s £6.25 a session, if someone claims to not be able to afford that (£25 a week) then they have deeper problems in their life that need addressing first.
Get a group of £20 people (perhaps a corporate client or small workplace/office) and that is less than £3.50 per session.
You can see the appeal of planing smart 🤓
As such to go beyond in your level of service is not an option, it’s a necessity.
Now you may wish to urge people to go for the semi-private/group, yet don’t compromise your level of service, agains o repeat the above, you want to give them an unforgettable experience.
🥇 – How to be brilliant in your service –
Now this is the crucial part, how do you actually make what you offer brilliant?
A few, yet not all of the things you’ll need:
– Regular contact with clients
– Content creation
– Q/A sessions (perhaps a podcast)
– Specific videos/articles for specific people by name
– Creating a community/tribe (read Seth Godin – Tribes)
– Knowing each client as an individual
– Open & honest communication
– Planned training sessions
– A network of other professional services to offer/help clients (you flip the first session cost for your client)
In essence you’re going to need to put in a lot of graft.
In fitness you will rarely get satisfaction from a large quantity of low quality work.
It’s all about giving people a super high quality, even if the quantity is low in the beginning. Soon people will see your worth, as opposed to you trying to beg/convince them.
Brilliance shines brightly because of what is does.
Bullshit just makes a lot of noise to get noticed.
After all, you can’t stand out by offering the same mediocre level of service that every other PT does, so don’t even bother, be better & go beyond 💪

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Pearls from Pondering

Given our shared love for training & learning.

I’m curious to know how you’ve taken the advise/wisdom of the older iron athletes (or anyone) from even as early back as say Eugene Sandow.

What you may say have been your top 3-5 pearls of wisdom that shaped your current training.

Here are the 5 that came to my mind as I wrote this.

1 – Strength Standards, McRoberts 300/400/500

Stumbled across that after I’d already had my own standards of wanting to hit 2xbw bench and 3xBW squat/DL.

Luckily the numbers weren’t that far off what he suggested (hit the all BW multipliers weighting 70kg, all in the same meet, it killed me).

In addition to the 300/400/500 I personally added these in too: 100/200 – 100lbs on a pull up, 200lbs press, for no other reason that it made the numbers look nice to my brain 😂

2 – Two Movement Training, Kono

This came from reading and listening to bits from Tommy Kono about how he trained while insisted in the service.

He often did two movements per session, perhaps a clean to front squats and the presses behind the neck one session, a snatch variation and some form of other pull in the next.

Rep/set wise I want to say it was something along the lines of 8×2-3 with perhaps also 2-4 sets of 8-10, however my mind has gone a tad blank on that so I’ll have to check.

Even in doing limited work so he still managed to claim multiple WL titles, this left a truly deep impression on my young mind at the time, because all I’d known before was to ’embrace the suck’ and just outwork everyone else.

Barry Ross also took a similar approach with is sprinters.

3 – Train on a Calm Heart, Coan

Arguably the histories most decorated power lifter, Ed Coan, said he’d often train while sign quite calm and simply go in and hit is numbers that he’d reversed engineered from he day he wished to peak on.

This way on meet day when he did get amped up the extra psych would mean the lift was hit easily or more was in the tank.

Rickson Gracie also had a similar view on keeping a calm heart for more optimal performance.

Personally I found once really adopting this in my early 20’s it yielded massive improvements in recoverability and a good kick to the ego getting it in check.

4 – Training is for Building Strength, Various

Many a strong lifter will speak of the truism that the gym is meant for building strength instead of testing it.

I couldn’t say if this was Andy Bolton, Dave Tate, Louis Simmons, Mike Boyle or someone else that I first heard this from, all I know is it struck a cord.

At the time the aim was to ‘win’ the training session.

This was foolish and lead nowhere good, and a lot try to do the same because they want to be that big fish in a small pond, yet no one really cares what is lifted in the gym, it’s what you do in comp (whichever endeavour you compete in) that really leaves an impression.

True enough a session requires a solid effort.

Yet constantly trying to beat everyone else in training just leads to stagnation in my experience.

5 – No Story is not Worth Hearing, Hewley

This wasn’t from a lifter, it was from a PSP game called Crisis Core, yet it really hit home.

We can be quick to dismiss people and what they may have to say when our views don’t align or our ego gets flared up.

Much like all the people that will scoff at abbreviated training, they might be missing out on a little gem of information that could change their life.

Same goes for those who live and breath the minimalistic approach, they’re quick to discount those who follow high volume or a different tome, this is again naive because how can we really make a decent decision/judgement on something if we’re not willing to listen and out our ego to one side.

Anyway, I’ve rambled.

What pearls of wisdom have shaped your lifting & perhaps even life philosophies?

It’d be great to hear them.


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Posterior Power Up

Fancy a 30day challenge for your posterior chain?

Even if you don’t you’ll find one below anyway.

You’ll be doing 300 reps per day of the following:

Fast – Swings (variations), Snatches, Cleans (kettlebell)
Slow – Pull Ups, Rows, Curls – any variation of all of these
Flow – Reverse Flies, Face Pulls, Tricep Work (variations)

This means 100 total reps in each section.

One reason for the offering of different movement options is so that you can avoid overworking one specific thing.

The idea is to accumulate a lot of work for that lagging rear aspect of your body, which sadly is the case for a lot of people.

Here is a three day example:

Day 1 – Single Arm Swings, Pull Ups, Face Pulls
Day 2 – Snatches, Rows, Reverse Flies
Day 3 – Swings, Curls, Tricep Banded Pulldown

You may then choose to repeat these three 9 more times, or continue to vary things up.

Personally the option would be to stick with the above and try to improve on each session when it comes back around as this will have a higher chance of progression than constantly varying things up.

You’ll find the above can be done in less than 30min.

Thus making it suitable for many who have other training they wish to do (all be it at a recused volume).


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Taking your foot off the GAS is a part of the program

Do you even Deload?

The accumulation of volume and/or intensity over a period of time is crucial for achieving progression.

Progressive overload demands it.

Building up an inroad, fatigue and overall stimulus that will lead to adaptation and super-compensation is something many strive for.

This is only one side of the coin though.

You see the human organism, while it’s good at handling stress, eventually it will go from being able to use that accumulated stress in a positive fashion to adapt.

Instead it kicks into merely surviving.

Many will find this comes in the form of stagnation or a plateau, now there are two choices from here (ideally you’d take the right one before this happens though).

The first that many take is to add more stress.

More volume, more intensity, more training, just more.

This leads to what is called ‘natures deload’, injury.

Now you’re forced to rest and recover, to which there may be a super-compensation, although it’s potentially unlikely due to the length of time you may need to take away from training due to the injury.

Essentially rendering everything you did was a waste of time.

The second option is to simply plan in deload periods.

Typically this is how they work:

The first action is that after every 4th, 6th, 7th week of training (or when your tolerance is reached), you will lower the total volume.

Taking it down by 40-60% is ideal, erring towards the higher side of reduction is sensible, intensity can be sustained in the form of loading, yet may just do a single top working set, or something heavy-ish that feels too easy.

^ Not getting drawn into a tough session.

You will repeat this periodically throughout a training cycle.

Once you’ve hit your pea of desired goal, you then deload the intensity & volume at the same time.

This is often best done in a week off, followed by a small feeder week with low volume and base level intensity to allow your body to get back into the rhythm before you next training cycle.

All of the above is based off of the GAS model by Selye, because it works.

Personally I enjoy a three week wave of training for people.

Week 1 – Novel Stimulus & Reduction in Previous Volume
Week 2 – Accumulation/Stabilisation
Week 3 – Small Volume or Intensity PB
Week 1 – Repeats in Volume Reduction & Intensity Increase

These would be organise in several blocks to create a larger block of training.

This is because the venous system tends to take 2-3 weeks to ramp up and after that you will need to take your foot off the gas pedal a tad.

Go digging through various high level peoples training and scientific books on it, you’ll find the above in them.

Be sure to get comfortable taking things down a notch to allow yourself to move forwards and not burn yourself out.


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Arm Pumping Protocols

Arm training, everyone loves it.
A good strong arm pump that leaves you almost unable to lift your keys to the lock in your door is a most welcome thing by many.
Sadly it’s something I rarely do, hence why I admittedly have pitiful arms, oh well, life goes on.
That being said, from working with plenty of people who do value arm training, here are two protocols that you’ll find rather useful.
Protocol 1 – 150 rep drop.
Choose a load that is manageable, or grab a resistance band as you can literally adjust in a second if you’ve gone a tad too hard.
Perform 50 reps, rest 15 seconds
Perforce 40 reps, rest 15 seconds
Perform 30 reps, rest 15 seconds
Perform 20 reps, rest 15 seconds
Perform 10 reps, enjoy the pump, rest 2min and then repeat for the antagonist you didn’t do.
^^ This also works well on postural muscles, things such as revise flies, back extensions, calf raises, lateral raises, to be fair it works on quite a lot either as a finisher or a warm up.
Protocol 2 – 15-5 repeats
Do a set of 15 reps, rest 15 seconds
Do a set of 5 reps, rest 5 seconds
Keep repeating until you can no longer perform reps with good form or lose the MMC (mind muscle connection)
Choosing perhaps 1-2 movements per muscle groups ill be sufficient for the above.

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A little bit of reality for y’all that the ‘health’ gurus won’t tell you

Health is only valued once it’s lost.

Chances are you’ve heard of that old cliche, and yet it’s very true.

Experience has shown that there are certain elements to our heath that we can control (most of the time) and they are as follows:

– What we put in our bodies
– How stress is dealt with
– Sleep
– Physical activity

You may find a few more here and there, yet these cause the biggest impact.

In regards to what goes into your body, this comes in the form of your nutrition, substances and all things of that nature.

Look at it this way, people choose to eat terribly, smoke and drink excessive amounts, then complain when their health is in the toilet.

Um, no, you don’t get to complain for something you willing did to yourself, it’s your fault and anyone who tells you differently isn’t helming you, they’re merely having you shift accountability and this can leads to dependence, or various logical excuses as to why you struggle.

This leads into the second point, how you deal with stress.

We can all agree life is mostly suffering and shit, yet how you choose to deal with that, be it an emotional reaction that sends you towards drugs & drink or a rational decision to perhaps take up yoga/meditation.

Stress is inevitable, however how YOU choose to react/respond to it isn’t.

Put simply, make better choices.

Of course consider your emotional needs, and everything else that needs to be considered, just don’t react instantaneously because this is one of the quickest ways to form poor coping mechanisms and terrible lifestyle habits.

The more time you give in to you animalistic, primal and childish urges the more this will have knock on effects throughout your life.

One main area this can effect is sleep.

(You can improve sleep by limiting technology before bed, black out blinds, a comfortable room temp, etc – seriously google it, there is a load of into on how to improve sleep)

You end up with a broken circadian rhythm, poor habits where you get up in the night to go and eat to emotional comfort yourself, or have a drink or a smoke or who know what else.

This all leads to excessive cortisol, basically you’re a frightened animal that is always not he run with no respite.

While the first two can take a few years to reveal their damage, poor sleep shows you its ugly side within a few days.

This in turn leads to more stress, then that goes back up the change to making more poor decisions as to what goes into your body, a truly vicious cycle.

^ Yes I literally repeated the same thing in different wording and do you know why, because it’s IMPORTANT and you need to realise it sooner rather than later.

Lastly this leads to your physical activity.

Ofter it goes on of two ways:

1 – You embrace sloth, grow fat and destroy your health
2 – You become addicted to training & destroy your health

The reason for number two not being all fluffy and worm is this – people try to use exercise (especially excessive exercise) to compensate for all of the above being shit.

I’ve seen it time and again for almost 20 years.

As much as I personally love fitness, there is a reason it’s last on this list, and that is because out of the 4 above it’s the last important.

Without optimal consumption and ingestion of items into your body you can’t perform.

Without a method of dealing with stress appropriately then adding extra stress from training will end up being more distress as opposed to the eustress that it’s meant to be.

Without adequate sleep you won’t recovery and probably end up injured, frustrated and emotionally comforting yourself through your poor choices/habits.

You see even when all of the above is shit you can still gain refuge from training and perhaps even make some progress use to the positive effect it can have in helping you adjust your habits.

Yet as mentioned above this is where things go wrong because you try and ‘out train’ your problems/shortcomings.

It’s essentially like trying to swim through wet sand.

Take a look at the big picture for a second.

See where you’re falling short and address it honestly, don’t hold anything back or better yet get someone who won’t mind hurting your feelings to give you the talk you need.

Yes it will suck, it will hurt, yet for hourlong term health it is exactly what you need.

Go back and re-read the above.

Make notes about yourself and any thoughts that spring to mind.

One sure fire way to know if something directly applies to you is this – you get pissy, offended, the hump, or whatever you want to call it.

When you have an immediate emotional reaction and you stop yourself blurting something out that often means a nerve has been hit and it has direct relevance to you and your internal (possibly external too) growth.

If you have any questions feel free to ping a comment down below of fire of a message.


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