The best sessions

This post is probably gonna resonate with the parents, the self-employed or the otherwise extremely busy people outthere.

Recently I’ve been seeing some great progress on m squats in particular. I’m getting huge rep-PRs and am getting close to being at my all time strongest, though I’m 10 kg lighter now. That means I feel pretty good about my squat workouts and that I really look forward to them. Obviously.

This sort of explains why many people end up being somewhat specialized, as it’s very common to be more enthusiastic about the things you’re good at. Enthusiasm=dedication=progress. But that’s a topic for another day. 🙂

See just this past week I had one of the most important workouts in this cycle. So what did I do? I came one rep short of a rep record in the press (3@85kg) and did 6 sets of 5@~70% of squats and Pendlay rows. Then I went home. In and out in 45 minutes.

Right now you’re probably asking yourself “what’s so important about that?”. In isolation? Nothing.

Real-Life-Logo

BUT. And this is a big but! The important part about this workout was, that I wasn’t supposed to get it in. Real Life(tm) happened and my daughter was sick as a dog for about a week. Coupled with a busy week at work for the wife and a busy schedule for me as well, it looked like I wasn’t gonna train this week. But I did.

The vast majority of your training should consist of punching the clock-type of workouts. That’s how you get old in the weight room. If you can manage to stay consistent when Real Life(tm) happens as well, you’re gonna achieve great things over time.

You don’t always have to perform at maximal levels to get results. For most people, just getting in there on a regular basis will over time amount to great things.

If you’re in a hurry, this works very well: do five sets of five reps at 70 % in the squat, the benchpress/press and a rowing movement. Keep all pauses to 60s. That’s a great sensible workout, where you can really focus on owning the weights and moving them confidently.

I hate to admit this

This is really embarrassing for me, but I gotta put it out there.

It’s no secret that I’m big on simple, old school strength training. That just makes it even more odd that I’m only just finishing up Starting Strength: Basic Barbell Training. Many years ago I wanted to get it, but got Practical Programming instead. Now I know that’s the wrong way to do it.

Starting Strength is really one of the first books you should read on strength training. But for some reason it’s a bit like the Bible – nobody has read it, yet everybody has an opinion on Rip’s teachings. Especially the “hip drive” part.

Rip puts it very clearly in the book though: the hip drive does NOT mean you change your back angle.

Instead of cueing “chest up” or something similar, Rip uses the hip drive. Why? Because an exaggerated chest up-position kills the power from the posterior chain. That simple.
You may not agree with the style Rip teaches the squat, and you may want to squat with a different (higher) bar position. That’s fine. I still believe you should read this book (multiple times) as it does a great job of explaining in detail the physics of lifting.

Something as simple as explaining WHY it’s safe to squat deep. Most people who train seriously know it, but if somebody you coach ask you why – you better have a better answer than “because I say so” or your coaching career is gonna be real short.

Rip has a reputation for saying “YNDTP” (You’re not doing the program) and being very set in his ways. I guess it’s got a lot to do with the retardedness of people on the internet. If one guy asks you if he can “run a little on the side” and you say “sure, you can run 2-4k on saturday at an easy pace” before you can drink a gallon of milk, he’s out there running 10k 4 days a week. Afterall, the basic program outlined in the book is not a “for life” kind of program. It’s an all-or-nothing assault on weakness and lack of bodyweight. Oh and Rip actually recommends that people with 20-25% BF control their carbs and eat a paleo-type diet WITHOUT the gallon of milk. The milk part is only for the skinny folks.

And you know what? It’s pretty good advice. If you can stay on a linear progression for just twelve weeks you’re gonna add 90 kg to your squat. You NEED tons and tons of calories to make that possible.

Starting Strength is not just a great book. It’s a great philosophy on how to approach strength training. Start off by going all-in on building a foundation. Disregard your abs – they’re easy to dig out again later. Keep adding weight and pushing your bodyweight up until you’re at ~20% bodyfat.

Stick to the linear progression as long as you can. Then dig deeper, eat more and stick to it a couple of weeks more. COMPLETELY exhaust the linear progression. Then reset and go at it again. Six months of basic barbell training is the best gift any training can give themselves when they’re starting out.

Everything is easier when you’re strong(er) and big(ger). Getting lean is easier, playing sports is easier, conditioning is easier and getting laid is easier.

What’re you waiting for?

Get the book here: Starting Strength: Basic Barbell Training and get started. It’s NEVER to late to start over.

Are you testing or training?

One of the problems with young guys and the inexperienced trainee in general, is that they all too often test their strength instead of train it.

When you’re a novice lifter, nothing is easier than getting stronger, and nothing is harder than getting stronger. Enthusiasm and the wrong focus often gets in the way of things.

CF wods or “metcon finishers” or whatever it’s called these days often end up being a test. Testing is fine and great – it’s hard to measure progress unless you’re testing, but don’t turn your training into a test.

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Most of your training should be made up of cruising periods, where intensity sits nicely between 70-85% give or take. This goes for lifting as well as conditioning. Life and training maybe remembered as great moments, but you gotta live for the grind.

There’s simply no need to test yourself at 95% on a regular basis. Peaking strength a couple of times a year and going all out is a great way to cultivate a sense of urgency in training, but you could just as well live an entire life in the 3-8 rep range and get freakishly strong.

Make sure you’re not doing something for nothing, if you’re testing – do so for a reason, and make sure it’s a conscious decision to test something.

Dear Brother

I write you this letter because I’ve missed you. It’s been way too long. Way too long.

See I let myself get carried away, and I built up a wall between us. A wall that I’m gonna tear down starting today. I, like most of the world, have spent way too much time figuring out how we’re different and what separates us.

separation2

We’re really not that different. We may have followed different paths in life, but honestly – we grew up in the same place. We have the same DNA.

Whether you’re into gymnastics, volume, intensity, hypertrophy, strength, MMA, powerlifting, speed, weightlifting or heck – even Crossfit… We’re brothers and I respect your decisions. I may not agree with you or your decisions, but like me, you’ve decided to better yourself day by day. You’ve decided to set aside momentary discomfort for better health, and a longer life. You’ve decided to be more.

For that, I respect you.

I’m sick and tired of seeing “x is better than y” or something similar and the internet is overflowing with it these days. My stance on the best form of exercise?

Even the best training regime in the world only works if you actually do it!

On my blog I generally advocate heavy strength training combined with some high intensity conditioning, however – with the current state of the world, you gotta be enthusiastic whenever somebody decides to simply pick their ass up off the couch and get something done. Even if it’s just going for a walk.

For some reason people who train in general have a tendency to be exclusive and to put others down. I’ll do my very best to end that.

I challenge you to support this noble cause – get excited for a friend hitting a new PR on a 5k run even if you’re a swimmer. Give a high-five to a stranger who just hit 15-inch arms, even if you’re into golf.

Stop putting each other down – support others and their decisions.

And don’t forget the love. <3

You’re amazing!

Seriously you are! You are fucking amazing.

 

Let that sink for a while.

 

You’re amazing and you should be proud of what you’ve accomplished at the gym. Every drop of sweat, every gram of muscle mass and every single kilo on your squat – you worked hard for it, so be proud of it.

This is a really big issue for me personally, but I also see a lot of people who are guilty of not being proud of themselves. Personally, I’ve pretty much always trained with people who were better than myself, and I’ve always downplayed what I accomplished. At best, I view my own results as average, because I know I could get pretty much anyone to my level within 3-5 years easily. Everybody can do it….. But they haven’t!

Luckily, I have my own little motivational coach at home, and just a few months ago as I wasn’t really doing as well as I wanted to, she looked at me like this and said “you’re awesome!!!”:

awesome

I AM!

 

And you are!

And that makes you special. That makes you stand out like a fucking beacon in these dark times of obesity and poor health. You battled through injuries. You got up a 5 am when times were busy and you pushed through when others stopped. You trained like your life depended on it, because you know it does.

You’re AMAZING.

You might not be a world record holder. You might not even have one single silly stupid medal. Who cares?

You got out there and you accomplished something that most people only dream of. They’ll put you down, they’ll call you a fanatic and they’ll point their fingers.

They don’t have what you got.

They’re jealous.

Take five minutes today and think about how far you’ve come over the past years. Think about what you’ve accomplished in your daily life and your training life. Write those things down. Wear them like a fucking crown and scream it to the world. Just because somebody out there is stronger or leaner or whatever you shouldn’t be embarrassed.

You already put in the work, now OWN the results.

And if you did something wrong along the way, or have something you still haven’t accomplished, sit down for another five minutes and write a short list of 2-3 things you want to accomplish. Make them specific, set a deadline and carry the note with you at all times.

Just to make this post even more cliché, here’s a great picture for you.

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I think you’re amazing! Keep fighting the good fight, keep the resistance going!

How to spot a fraud

Over the last decade fitness has become a huge industry. Actually, it probably started earlier than that, but the last decade has been particularly bad.

The PT-business is booming at an insane level and the amount of incompetent trainers is just impressive. So in this post I give you four quick ways to avoid the frauds.

1. Use your eyes!

Use your eyes – it’s that simple. If your trainer doesn’t look like he/she trains – they probably don’t. If they don’t train, they don’t believe in the goods they’re selling you. That’s like a gourmet chef eating at a McDonald’s. Now I’m not saying the bigger the better or anything like that, but personally I wouldn’t use an accountant who was bankrupt. Would you?

Same goes for his/her eating – if they eat shit all the time – how are they gonna motivate you to clean up your eating?

fatpt

2. Resume:

What have they accomplished themselves? Have they actually reached a high level of fitness themselves? Or trained others to a high level of fitness? Look for hard numbers, not just the standard clichéd promises.

While you don’t need to be a legit 600-lbs squatter to teach people how to squat, I’d be very sceptical if your PT doesn’t squat at least 300+ lbs (unless he’s 60 years old or a woman).

The time dedicated spent under the bar will teach a PT valuable lessons, that you can’t learn from a book.

Along the same line – if you’re looking for someone to help you lose weight – look for someone who’s got some REAL experience in the field.

3. Social media

If a given trainer posts tons of pictures and videos of the people he trains on the social medias – he’s NOT TRAINING THEM!!! He’s a photographer busy building his brand when he’s with clients. A good personal trainer may post a picture here or there, but 99% of the time – when he’s training people all of his attention goes to that. That means no texting, no talking to buddies at the gym, no nothing. 100% complete focus on YOU! If that’s not the case – he’s a fraud!

4. Cookie cutter templates

If your trainer uses the same program on all his clients – it’s not because it’s the best program in the world. It’s because he’s LAZY. While we’re not completely different, training should always be aimed at the individual needs of the trainee. I know this one’s gonna ruffle some feather, but I don’t think everyone needs to squat for example.

A personal trainer should PERSONALIZE the training. That’s what you’re paying for!

Conclusion:

If you’re a PT and you’ve got a bad taste in your mouth right now – get to work. Live what you preach. Focus on the people who pay you.

If you’re shopping for a PT – be critical. A lot of PTs are experts at throwing out claims and promises left and right – look below the surface.

Have a great day! <3