On motivation and habit

So you’re looking for an easy way to be motivated to train 4-5 times a week for a lifetime?

You’re snorting BRO-implode and chalk-slapping your dog before every session to get “pumped up” already and noticed it’s getting harder and harder?

There’s a different way.

I read somewhere that mastering an exercise will take about 10000 hours of practice. Instead of frying your brain with whatever crack the companies are pushing these days, how about harnessing the power of something as simple as habit?

donkey-and-carrot

On average forming a habit took 66 days in a 2010 study, which means you just have to motivate yourself to get the ball rolling. Depending on what kind of goal you’re trying to accomplish, you’ll probably see results already within a week or two, something that’ll clearly help you to keep going.

Thinking about it, it seems hard to get used to warming up properly, doing mobility at night or going out for a morning walk 4 days a week. As soon as you get going though, you’ll see results within a couple of weeks. Depending on your personality and the habit you’re forming, you’ll stop thinking about it in as little as 18 days.

As for getting motivated to train, it’s overrated. You have to accept that you have days where you’re just going through the motions and days where you’re feeling stellar. The key is persistency and dedication over time.

Forming strong habits will help you get there eventually – it’s just a matter of making a decision and sticking to it.

Accept that there will be good and bad days and power through it. Motivation on a day-to-day basis is overrated. 🙂

Deload – necessity or waste of time?

For most people every now and then, life will throw a deload at them. Sick kids, hectic week at work, lots of homework or whatever. Sometimes there’s just enough time to train, and that’s just fine. More often than not, it’s a good thing in the big picture.

Some programs (5/3/1 and Juggernaught for example) has built-in deloads every three weeks. I’ve seen lots of people do great on that type of program, though they often complain that the deload week is just too much mentally. They feel like they waste their time and often end up compressing the deload weeks.

snork

A full week of deload every month is more than what I’d suggest, however the idea of planning your training around deloads is very sensible. It’s also pretty widely accepted that for consistent training, you’re gonna need to take the foot off the gas after three hard weeks of training (5/3/1, Smolov etc etc).

So there are basically two ways to do it. Deload when you’re feeling beat down and/or life throws something at you, or planned deloads.

Different horses for different courses and in the big picture, it doesn’t really matter how you do it. As long as you do it. More isn’t better.

Interview with a powerlifter – Sarah Lindasblabla part 1.

You probably have an opinion about her. You may even know her. This interview is about one of the most influential people in danish CF. But it’s also not about CF – it’s about powerlifting.

1. Even though most people know you as a Crossfitter and weightlifter, you’ve decided to step back on the platform as a powerlifter this fall. Why?

I like strength training and I’m the type of person who needs a goal in order to do it/learn it.

Raw powerlifting is most applicable to CrossFit and weightlifting, which is why I’m training for a raw powerlifting meet in the fall 2013.

I’m also very curious, so I’ll probably also try lifting with a lifting suit at some point.

I really can’t wait. Geared lifting is from my very limited experience something very different. I can also attest to Sarah being goal oriented, as I’ve followed her training closely over the past years.

2. What is you secret? How do you manage to keep getting better at so many different things?

First of all training with a coach is so much better. It pushes me much more.

Secondly, I train with great people – and I log my training in order always to measure success/progress and to push myself more.

Training is my free space where I do something just for me. I might not be the fastest – and I still cannot do muscle-ups, but I’m moving forward all the time and having fun meanwhile.

I try always to train with someone who’s better than me. In weightlifting, I train with coach Anders Bendix and with great lifters such as Karina Hauge, Simon Darville, Omed Alam and Tim Kring. The best settings for getting better. In CrossFit I train with lots of people who’s better than me (especially in gymnastics movements), stronger or faster.

… and in Powerlifting I just signed up at one of the best/maybe THE best powerlifting club in Denmark. I’m sure that they’ll teach me how to bench/squat/deadlift properly.

I’m not sure I’d say we (Sarah joined my club) is the best in Denmark, but there are some decent lifters. Hopefully Sarah will be a great asset for the club.

3. What is your biggest weakness as a powerlifter and what are you doing to address this?

Actually I don’t consider myself good at any of the 3 powerlifts. I’ve become decent at squatting by now (nothing crazy), but I’ve always struggled a lot with bench press and deadlift.

Right now I’m trying to focus on those 2 lifts, but without any real guidance, which is why I’ve joined a powerlifting club.

With Sarah’s work ethic, I’m sure she’ll be moving on nicely. I’ve already talked to her a bit over the past year about her deadlift, but training around stronger people regularly will be good for her no doubt. We’ll also hopefully get to train together some more. 🙂

4. You’re an extremely experienced and accomplished CFer and weightlifter. Can you use this as a powerlifter? Or do you get nervous thinking about being on the powerlifting platform again?

I had the most fun, I’ve ever had at any competition at my first powerlifting meet 2 years ago. I like that fact that I know what I’m training for (compared to CrossFit), and in my world less can go wrong in powerlifting (compared to CrossFit and weightlifting).

I’m in the process of setting goals for my next powerlifting meet and I hope I’ll have just as much fun as last time – and hopefully break a record or two

My best lifts at the moment are:

Squat: 120 kg.

Deadlift: 130 kg.

Bench press: 80 kg (2 reps)

… not on the same day though…

Raw powerlifting in particular is alot simpler than CF. You know pretty much everything will be the same from meet to meet.This allows you to visualize and focus mentally before a meet.

Seeing Sarah on the platform again is gonna be great, I can’t wait.

You can follow Sarah’s training here.

On being a true alpha

If you watch any of the ridiculous reality TV-shows, you’ll see tons and tons of insecure guys claiming to be alpha and using it as an excuse to be assholes.

That’s not what being alpha is about. Being alpha is not about being a bully and it sure isn’t about acting like a clown on national television. Thinking about it, that’s about as far from alpha as you could possibly get.

In the animal kingdom where the term comes from, there is only one alpha. One. Not you and your buddy. One. Only exception to this is the alpha pair consisting of a male and a female. Alphas usually attain their status by fighting. Thing is, we’re not animals.

allpha

In our world, an alpha is a natural leader – the kind of person you want to go to war with. Not the one beating you into place.

So what’s a natural leader like, and how can I bring out the leader in me?

It all starts with why. You gotta figured out what your purpose is, what your values are and who you want to be. Having a purpose, a mission will make you act with drive. Determination and direction are qualities people can relate to. If you make it absolutely clear to people what kind of person you are and what you stand for, it’ll make it easier for them to relate to you. Authenticity is the most important trait of a leader.

Nobody wants to follow somebody who doesn’t know where they’re going.

  • Identify your own core values and live by them.
  • Have a goal and work your ass off to get there.
  • Help other people reach their goals and avoid the company of people trying to pull you down.

More is better right?

Just a few days ago, somebody came to me with a question.

See she’s been working hard on getting her strength up and recently hit a 110kg double in the back squat. That’s a decent level.

She’s also been doing hill sprints once a week. She’s winning at training.

the_end

So what was the question? “I keep increasing the weights I lift, should I also increase the amount of hills I run?”.

Good question.

Answer is: it depends.

While you obviously have to increase the stress on the body to force adaptation, you also get to a point where you’re putting an unnecessary amount of stress on your body and not really getting closer to your goals.

For most people, working up to 15-20 short sprints (30-50m) once a week will be a sweet spot. There’s still plenty of days left to train your legs and to rest your legs.

There are obviously other ways to force adaptation than just doing more work – you can increase intensity (ie run faster), density (shorter rests) or volume (longer sprints, more sprints). But it all boils down to one thing – what are you trying to accomplish? How much stress are you willing to put your body under for cardiovascular purposes? Keep in mind that the more you stress yourself doing cardio, the less stress you can tolerate in the weight room.

Identify the goal and draw up a plan. More isn’t always better.

When the zombies come…

Glenn Pendlay likes to think about zombies too.
Going by the assumption that the .22 has enough stopping power, I’d probably go with a Heckler&Koch submachinegun (MP5/MP7/UMP) since it’s so easy to carry around and operate, but that’s just nitpicking.
Read this great post, so you wont end up with the wring weapon when they come!
<3

Strength training essentials #2

In part 1, I covered footwear.

This installment is all about the belts. See belts will not make your abs weaker, support your back or tighten your waist. Using a belt is a good thing and once you’ve attained a decent level of strength, I’d suggest you get one. Personally I use an extremely well.made belt from the swedish leatherworker Yngve Wahlander – it has a lifetime warranty which is usually a good way to spot a quality product.

I recommend getting one with a lever as it’s so easy and fast to put on/take off. As it’s your own belt, you only need one (or possibly two) settings – and the lever belt gives you just that, two different settings.

balte-usa

Titan and Strengthshop do their own belts as well, and they’re a tad cheaper. Things to look for in a belt:

  • No logo or embroidery if you ever plan on competing
  • 10-13mm thickness, 10cm wide, no taper.
  • Lever belt is easier to use.
  • Buy nice, don’t buy twice – a good belt will last (literally in the case of Wahlander) you a lifetime.