Every time you get online there is a new article about the latest, greatest fat burning or muscle building tools. One week it’s bands, the next it’s dumbbells, the next it’s kettlebells. The sad truth is, they’re all wrong.
The best tool for body transformation is WILLPOWER.
Do I not use any of the aforementioned tools when I train my clients? Of course I do. When it comes to changing how you look the only universal tool is willpower. Barbells are a specific tool with some specific applications. Even movements like the squat have a specificity to them. Willpower is your only all-encompassing tool that you have. Willpower can keep you on your diet, it can push you for that extra rep, and it can make you turn off the boob tube at night and get some sleep.
So where do we get willpower? It’s something that comes from inside you and no amount of external motivation can change that. No amount of positive notes you write to yourself and no amount of cheering from your friends can change whether or not you are willing to make the necessary changes to reach your goals and maintain those results.
Changes don’t have to me huge either, they just need to be sustainable over the long term. This is why having a professional in your corner is so important. You need someone who is going to teach you proper exercise form as well as how to eat. Trainers or programs that don’t teach you anything don’t do you any good!
If you have questions about training or nutrition email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The competition is coming up fast and I’m excited to see how this short training cycle and the Jugg Method I used over the summer will bring up my total. I don’t have any plans right now as to what my openers or anything will be but all my lifts are definitely up. After the meet is over I might post up the training cycle I’m using to peak for the meet. At the last meet I lifted in the 220 weight class (weighed in at 215) but I’m going to try and get down to the 181 weight class. I’m setting at 198 as of this morning as I still have plenty of fat to lose. Here is how my training and diet are currently set up.
Monday- AM Cardio/Abs, PM Lift
Tuesday- PM Lift
Wednesday- AM Cardio/Abs, PM Recovery/Restoration
Thursday- PM Lift
Friday- AM Cardio/Abs, PM Lift
I’ll add more cardio I go. The Recovery/Restoration could be anything from sled dragging, body weight training, or just some more cardio and stretching. I’m training the hell out of my abs and lower back both around my cardio as well as during my training sessions since that’s a major weakness for me.
I’m using a Modified Warrior Diet along with some Creatine Monohydrate. I’ll only train in the mornings if I have to and if that does happen I’ll backload 99% of my carbs so that I don’t wreck my hormone levels during the day.
200 x 5
225 x 5
245 x 10, 10, 10
30# x 10
35# x 10, 10
75 x 10, 7
1 x 10
I freaking hate curls. On other news my grip was a bit of a limiting factor on the deads. By the last set I had to stop and reset my hands every couple reps because I could barely hold onto the bar.
I’m going to start trying to get more videos of my training to post up on here. I’m still working towards my random strength goals I had posted up but I’m going to have to rearrange them so that they coincide with current training program. The reason I started the Jugg Method was to have a bit more variety and structure to what I was doing. The goals I have posted up will all be accomplished this year, just not necessarily in that order.
I’ve backed off the training a bit this week. The gym opened last Wednesday so I’ve been spending a ton of time there hustling up clients. My schedule is kinda messed up but I’ll do what I have to do. As of right now I can not deadlift at the gym because there is no platform or bumper plates. I’m thinking I may have to reserve one night per week to lift at my usual gym where I can squat and deadlift in the same night then bench and do all my accessory work at the gym I work at.
The only organized training I’ve done so far this week is a little bench where I hit 185 for 3 sets of 2 and then some dips and chins. Yesterday morning I did a little squatting but I didn’t have a box so I just worked up to 275 for 2 and called it good. It wasn’t exactly heavy but I was training at 7 in the morning on an empty stomach so I didn’t feel real strong to begin with.
Paused Wide Grip Bench-
135 x 5
155 x 5
185 x 5, 5
135 x 8
185 x 8, 8, 8
155 x 8
Defranco Shoulder Tri-Set-
35# plate/25# dumbells x 10 reps per set x 2 rounds
Incline Dumbbell Press-
45 x 10, 10 (5 second negative each rep)
Saturday Strongman Training
150 x 1
170 x miss
100 x 100 ft
190 x 100 ft
240 x 15 ft
180 x 1
230 x 1, 1, 1
Called it a day after that. I wasn’t really planning on doing any overhead pressing since my bicep is a little jacked up still. I didn’t even get 170 off my chest. I was pretty happy with the farmers walks but my right shoulder is completely jacked up after the 240 attempt. I’m going to go ahead and take this next week completely off from anything upper body. I’ll drag the sled a little and possibly squat with safety squat bar or the cambered bar depending on how I feel but that’s it. It’s going to be a lot of foam rolling, epsom salt baths, and recovering like crazy to gear up for my next training cycle.
This last weekend I competed in my first powerlifting competition. I didn’t lift as well as I would have liked but I at least got 1 good lift on each event to get a total.
I was ridiculously nervous for my first attempt and just didn’t get set up right which is why I missed depth. After that first lift though I got back into the groove a bit and hit my next attempt. My third attempt I had Scott wrap my knees and it was my best lift of the three. I’m pretty sure I had another 15-20 pounds in me.
Smoked my first attempt and then just made to big of a jump and got pinned on the next two attempts.
This was the one lift that I thought I was going to perform well in but it turned out not be to so. I pulled my opener fairly easy, then pulled my second but got called for hitching. Since my first two events hadn’t gone that great I wanted to get a good lift at 450 since it was something I knew I could pull but I was just worn out and it didn’t happen.
The meet only had about 30 lifters so it went faster then I had anticipated and I didn’t really eat anything once the meet started. I also spent at lot of time walking around between attempts and events which probably wasn’t smart. Whatever the reasons, I didn’t lift as well as I had liked but it was a good first meet. There is another meet in July that I think I’m going to do and I’m looking forward to competing again!
If you have a little time for some knowledge bombs to be dropped your way these articles are worth reading. You need to read these in order for them to make sense. They’re a little long but well worth the read.
#1- Just Say NO!– Life in Synergy
#2- Here We Go Again– Tony Gentilcore
#3- You Just Got Served– Brett Contreras
#4- Woe Be Unto Ye Who Contradicts the Glute Master!– Tony Gentilcore
You obviously have links to Tony’s blog so if you want to read more of Brett’s ramblings check out http://bretcontreras.com.
Click the picture for a full picture tour of Al’s facility.
My numbers are all screwed up because all the plates at the gym we were at are in kilo’s instead of pounds.
330 x 1
340 x 1 (cut it high though)
315 x 1
450 x 1
The plan was to head out to Al’s and just hit a couple decent singles and figure out my opener for the meet. I actually ended up deadlifting too so that I can hit some assistance work at home over the next few days and rest a bit. I did more sets then what I have listed but my weights were all messed up because of the kilo’s instead of pounds. For instance my first set of squats I thought I had 315 and it was actually 330. On deads I thought I went 315, 365, and then was going to jump to 405. It actually my first set was 350 and my second was 400. Since 400 moved pretty quick I went up to about 420 and then finished up with a 450 pull.
Once everything here gets dried out I’m going to break out the sled and drag it. I’m also going to do some heavy(ish) swings and some single limb assistance training over the next couple of days.
We usually talk about things like squats, deadlifts, dips, pullups, sleds and the prowler when it comes to training economy but what gets left out is the warm up. The warm up must be as efficient and well planned as your training session or you are going to lose valuable time and energy.
Most of the “warm ups” you see in the gym involve some sort of cardio machine, some light machine exercises, walking, and swinging of an appendage across their body. Even worse are the ones that jump straight onto the bench or squat rack and just start throwing weight on the bar and lifting. This doesn’t prepare your body for anything other than sitting back down on the couch to play your X-box some more. A quality warm up is essential for a couple different reasons.
1. CNS Activation
2. Muscle Group/Muscle Fiber Recruitment
3. Joint Mobility
4. Elevated Blood Flow
5. Mentally Prepare for Lifting
6. Movement Mastery
All those add up in to the biggest reason of all, INJURY PREVENTION! If you are getting injured every other time you walk into the gym then you aren’t going to to make any type of gains whatsoever.
Depending on the person, warm ups can move you a long way towards your goals. For instance, I’ve been working with a personal training client who’s primary goal was fat loss. At the time we started she had been working a very sedentary job for several years (lots and lots of sitting) and had a kid just about a year prior to starting with me. While she had lost the weight she gained from her pregnancy on her own she still had a long way to go to get back to where she was in her cheerleading days. As a result of the weight gain over the past 4 years, the complete lack of exercise, and the sitting all day at her job, there were some major strength and movement deficiencies. She wanted to lose weight, get stronger, and be able to MOVE when this was all over. The immediate problems we had to address were the lack of mobility and work capacity which we integrated into her workout. Here is what a typical workout looked like for her the first couple of weeks.
Walk Squats x 60 ft (step, squat, repeat)
Elevated Push Up x 10
Lunges x 60 ft
Elevated Push Up x 10
15# KB Row/BW Box Squat/Band Chest Press x 10 reps x 3 rounds
15# KB Swing/OH 10# KB Press/Band Row x 10 reps x 3 rounds
That’s it. Even the most basic bodyweight movement was a challenge. As we weeks progressed we slowly added some volume to the warm up and overall workout as well as weight to the KB lifts. About 3 weeks in she was deadlifting the 30# KB for 5-10 reps. Now, about 10 weeks later, here is what her workouts look like.
Walk Squats x 80 ft
TRX Push Up x 10
TRX Inverted Row x 10
Jumping Jacks x 20
Jump Rope x 25
Walking Lunge x 80 ft
TRX Push Up x 10
TRX Inverted Row x 10
Seal Jacks x 20
Jump Rope x 25
15# KB Pressing Ladder- 2,3,4,5,6 super set with 30# KB Swing- 10, 10, 10, 10, 10
30# KB Swing Walks- 20 ft super set with TRX Inverted Rows- 6 (4 rounds)
Leg Matrix (Squat x 20 sec, Squat Hold x 20 sec, Squat Jump x 20 sec, repeat. Total 2 minutes) x 1
By adding some specific movements to her warm up (as she was ready for them) we take care of all the different categories I listed above and leave the workout specifically for strength training and a little metabolic conditioning. That workout took about 45 minutes and it would have been less then that except for some questions I answered in the middle of the session. Now, her push ups and rows in the inverted rows aren’t with her body parallel to the floor, but each session she works down a little farther. When I drop the reps down low like we did for that second circuit, she walks her feet down even further. It’s all about progression!
Here are some other great modalities and ideas to include in your warm up.
I’ve worked with 3 different construction crews through my high school and college career. While there were many differences in how the crews were ran and the styles of buildings we built, every single one of them had one thing in common. A well stocked tool box.
We had tools to do any type of job we could get hired for. If we didn’t have the necessary tool, we got it because that’s what it took to get the job done.
When it comes to training and nutrition we all had different tool boxes. Some peoples tool boxes are nearly empty, believing that their way of doing things is the only correct way, while others have such a variety of tools that it’s hard to keep track of them all.
When aerobics were first introduced to the world it was hailed as the end all-be all to fat loss. It would supposedly save your joints and turn your body into a fat burning FURNACE! They were widely popular because not only could nearly anyone do them, it was easier and far less intimidating then lifting weights. However, in typical human fashion we were far to quick to pounce it as a miracle exercise prescription instead of treating it as the the tool that it is.
The problem with this style of approach is that while the tool you are using may be appropriate for some portion of the job you are doing, it won’t be appropriate for the entire project. Hammers can’t cut boards or drill holes while saws can’t drive nails or finish concrete. I’m a huge fan of heavy lifting and high intensity interval style conditioning but it’s not appropriate for everyone.
When attempting to lose weight or gain muscle the first thing that should be taken into consideration is your diet. You absolutely can’t out train a poor diet in the long term. Sure a beginner may add muscle or lose weight when they first start but the body will quickly adapt to the new conditions and progress will stagnate.
With a new diet fad popping up every single week it’s hard to know what the hell to believe anymore. If you truly want to get the body you’re dreaming of then you need to eat like the men and women who diet like their lives depend on it and get on stage.
Do you have to count every single calorie you take in? Nope
Do you need to track the amounts of all the protein/carbs/fats you take in? Nope
Do you have to pay attention and make better food choices? YES!!!
I’m not going to lay out a specific diet plan for you to follow because it’s not necessary until you get your body fat down into the mid to low teens. What I am going to give you is 1 simple guideline to follow.
IF YOU CAN’T PICK IT, GROW IT, OR KILL IT, THEN DON’T EAT IT!!!
That’s it. 99% of your diet should consist of fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, healthy oils, fresh meats, and fish. No breads, no pasta. Nothing healthy comes out of a wrapper. Period.
There are as many options (good and bad) for weight training and cardio as their are for your diet.
That’s just a short list off the top of my head and for every implement on that list there are countless different protocols for using them. While I do prefer to use a variety of different implements in your training, you have to have some consistency as well. According to the Pareto Principle, 80% of your results come from 20% of what you do. That 20% isn’t going to be something that changes a whole lot. This is going to be your big strength movements like squats, deadlifts, swings, and presses. The other 80% that is always changing will be things like your programming, sets, reps, rest periods, and assistance exercises (which should change according to what your weaknesses are at the period of time). A well stocked tool box is crucial to not only making progress but keeping your training fun as well.