Tag Archives: understanding

Up & Down

Peaks & Valleys.
 
Let’s talk.
 
Chances are you’ve heard the term above, it’s fairly common in the fitness realm and often used to describe those times where you will be sitting atop a throne marvelled by many, and other times where you’re feeling like nothing more than a lowly peasant.
 
While hitting a peak is a glorious thing, it can actually be dangerous to your mental state.
 
You can see those who want to hold on to a long faded glory on social media, their photos are taken in bulk and then dispensed over several months and even years, all because they can’t face their valley.
 
There are some people who aren’t happy unless they’re at the top, however we can’t stay at the top forever and the longer we do hold on to the handle that keeps us there the greater the cost will be in the end.
 
Over the years I’ve known many people who have never been happier than when they were at their leanest and looked shredded to the bone.
 
While their triumph was outstanding and to be admired, like all things of that nature it couldn’t last, it wasn’t meant to.
 
After a peak there is always a valley, if there wasn’t then the land would be flat.
 
They, like many, came down to earth with a heavy bump, so much so that it completely derailed some and sent others in the complete opposite direction never to return to the land of fitness.
 
Gaining perspective of what is sustainable can be difficult.
 
To stay in a certain place will require certain immediate sacrifices and costs to your life, this is without even going in to the longer term debt that you’ll need to pay back one day, this is something to keep in mind.
 
Valleys can be tough.
 
You don’t look as good as you did.
You are weaker than you were.
You struggle with keeping your nutrition in check.
You feel that everything is much harder than before.
 
The list can go on, however it’s not worth dwelling on.
 
To be able to accept that when you’re in one of these places is inevitable is something that will help you climb out of such a place, however there will be a price to pay, as always.
 
One can keep riding the rollercoaster of physical fitness or you can simply aim to achieve something that is sustainable.
 
What that exactly is can be up of debate, especially when to most it’s subjective, very very subjective.
 
Here is an example from some of my male acquaintances:
 
To be lean all the time = you won’t be very big
 
To be big all the time = you won’t be at all lean
 
There may be some exceptions, these unique individuals may be genetically gifted beyond belief, the hardest working decibels you’ll ever know or having a bit of help, if you catch my drift, however what ever the reason it doesn’t matter because you’re not them and what they have probably isn’t sustainable for you, otherwise you’d be one of them.
 
Just how it is I’m afraid.
 
Don’t fear the valleys, don’t revel to long at the peaks, let them come and go and aim ti enjoy each for what is has to offer you, experience.
 
Enjoy,
Ross
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Know your goal

Is your goal really your own?

A question more people should ask themselves.

How often have you heard of people achieving their goal only to be left feeling unsatisfied or unfulfilled?

You’d be surprised to find out that it’s actually quite common.

There are many people who undergo certain tasks to achieve what they think they want, when in reality they’re achieving what they’ve been told they want.

A very common state of affairs.

Have you ever honestly sat down and thought about why you’re doing what you’re doing?

I’d be surprised if you had, pleasantly surprised.

Knowing the underlying reasons is key to long term success and sustainability.

That said, it’s not something people give much thought to.

Might be worth considering before you set your next goal.

Enjoy,
Ross

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The Wisdom of Yoda

What can you learn from Master Yoda that can help you make progress in the gym?

He was arguably one of the most powerful Jedi and Force users, yet he was never tempted by the dark side and I know why.

What are some of the temptations of the Dark Side?

Fear
Greed
Anger
Hate
Power

There are lots, however they all stem from one commonality, the want/desire to become stronger in a short period of time. There are many a fallen Jedi and Sith who wanted as much power as possible, but they don’t want to wait to achieve it. Impatience is the main trait that sends many down this dark path.

This is common among people going to the gym too.

So why did I mention Master Yoda? Because he had something that many others didn’t, Time. Yoda had lots of time. When we first met him he was already well over 900 years old and by that logic he was in no rush to achieve power because he knew he had lots of time to do it. This philosophy is one that has a lot of applications to many aspect of life, typically the reason things go wrong is because we want too much too soon.

You will do well to take the same approach when training in the gym or making nutritional changes.

Have you ever been injured because of wanting to hit a heavy squat or bench when you weren’t really ready for it yet? I’m sure the answer is yes.

If you take your time and realise that while you do need to put in lots of effort and hard work you don’t need to feel pressured to achieve everything in record time. Yoda didn’t and he ended up becoming the envy of many a person. Remember that the people you look up to are where they are now because of years of hard work, not weeks or months, YEARS.

Progress takes time and you have all the time you need, take each day as a single step and always move forwards. So long as you’ve moving forwards you’re going in the right direction.

Enjoy

Ross1914557_10208191567324792_3669502727010305341_n

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Don’t Think, FEEL.

Morning Guys,

In the world of fitness you will hear some of the more experienced lifters talk a lot about lifting according to how they feel.

It seems that now lots of people are using that word, but it does not mean what you think it means…

When you gain enough experience to base your lifts off how you feel it does not mean any of the following:

– Going too light too often.
– Stopping short because you don’t ‘feel’ it.
– Staying in your comfort zones.

The three points above are very common and people use feel as an excuse not to work harder, where as the experienced lifters use feel to test their limits and perhaps work up to a new 8,5 or 3RM for the day and maybe even add a little more weight to their assistance/back off sets.

It is true that if they really don’t feel strong enough to push a new RM they won’t but they will still hit their minimum lifting numbers according to their program.

Experienced lifters do work off of feel but they also follow a a progressive and periodised program as well. For these people ‘feel’ means a new RM/PB not “I’m going to take it easy because I’m a tad sore” which is what it means to many.

Some call this Auto-Regulation. This is linked in with utilising the RPE (Rate of perceived exertion) scale to gauge your lifts. You might record a deadlift that feels like an 8RPE to you but when you watch it back it looks like a 7, meaning you will help understand what each RPE point means to you and how/when to push harder or hold back.

Any good program will be progressive and have scheduled de-loads and a logical structure one the Macro/Meso & Micro-cycles, however until you are at a Training Age* that allows you to understand what ‘feel’ actually is you’d be better off following a strict structured program and striving for constant progression.

*Training Age si the amount of years you’ve been lifting. As an example you can have an 18year old Olympic Lifter who has been lifting for 14years easily out-lift a 30Year old man who has been lifting 6month.

If you have been lifting for a considerable amount of time then you will already know what feel really is, if you;re still new to lifting I would advise you write everything down when you train. I literally mean everything… How the reps felt, how they looked on camera, how their speed was, who your form was, EVERYTHING. Doing this will help you grasp the concept of what feel actually is very quickly.

In the words of a wise man:

“Don’t think, feel.” – Bruce Lee

Enjoy,
Ross

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Delicious Calories

If a calorie is just a calorie…

Then all calories calories are calories and the body uses them the same way right?

Yes and No…

True calories are just calories and the body processes them so that they all eventually meet the same fate, but there is, in my opinion, a big difference between energy dense and nutrient dense foods.

Some will disagree, but I’ve never seen anyone gain excessive amounts of weight by eating most of their calories from whole food sources.

That’s not saying it’s not possible to gain an excessive amount of weight that way, it’s just much harder because of the sheer volume of food you would have to eat to create a surplus isn’t easy.

Okay, perhaps scoffing down 7 bags of nuts & dried fruit will provide enough calories to do that but who eats nuts that excessively? Even so, you would get to the point of feeling sick because you simply couldn’t eat anymore. It’s also worth remembering that when people who eat ‘clean’ do tend to gain fat for some ‘mysterious’ reason it’s because they are doing one of two things:

1 – The are secret eaters and binge on energy dense highly processed foods when no one is looking.

2 – Their ‘healthy’ snacks consist of dried fruits, mixed/coated nuts, and smoothies (While not terrible in terms of their quality they are the rare whole food exceptions that allow you to eat excessive amounts).

This then leads to the debate of energy balance.

In short, if your calories in match your calories out then you will be in ‘balance’ and thus stay the same weight, where as being in a positive will lead to weight gain or a negative for weight loss.

Simple right?

Again yes & no…

In real world terms you can technically eat what you want to some degree and either lose fat or maintain your weight, but it will come at a cost… You are more likely to have a negative impact on your health from poor food choices, regardless of being in energy balance or not, this is fact.

Not convinced?

Look at the history books and you will see the correlation between the availability of more ‘convenient’ foods and an increase in illness/health degradation.

This is where taking a realist approach of 80/20 (mostly whole nutritious foods with a little of what you fancy) will help you maintain not only energy balance, but more importantly PSYCHOLOGICAL balance.

Psychological balance is the hard part, this is why people struggle, but that’s a post for another day.

What are your daily calories or TDEE?

We can’t tell you, hell, we can only really give you equations that will estimate where you are. Therefore we advice you speak specifically to a nutritional coach and have them help you work out what you need.

If you can’t afford a coach then our suggestion would be to use the Modified Harris-Benedict Basal Metabolic Rate Equation, you can use this link below to help you:

http://www-users.med.cornell.edu/~spon/picu/calc/beecalc.htm

Enjoy,

Ross

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