A Message to My Clients (And All Who Workout)

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Dear Amazing Person,

You’re here or you’ve been here for a time. How’s it been so far? Think about it for a minute, and reflect on the journey that has lead you to this point, and what progress you have or have not had, thus far. Are you pleased with the progress, or find yourself disappointed? Maybe both?

Answer truthfully.

Based on your answer, write down what you have done good and what you can do better. It could be three things, or five. Write down some notes on what you have done, and what matters to you and where you want to go.

And, let’s stop for a minute. Let’s think about where you want to go. What is your plan? What is your purpose coming to the gym, being physically active, and the ultimate vision you see for yourself in your health, and where working out and training fits in. Basically, think about your why, and why you are doing this and going through this process.

If it’s just to have a good workout that makes you sweat then you are missing the BIGGER picture. Sure, a workout that makes you sweat a lot, and sore is a good feeling to have. You know what is also a good feeling? Sustained progress over time that leads to BIG changes.

In our microwave society, everything has a short-term mindset and attention span causing us to lose sight of the bigger picture of what our full potential may be. Your health is one of those “BIGGER PICTURE” things. Some would argue, maybe the most important. If we don’t have our health then what do we have? Problems. That is what we have. Chronic health impairments that plague our day-to-day lives.

Dramatic? Yes, to a degree, but can we really enjoy life and everything it brings if we are always tired, sick, and overweight? To a point, yes, but nowhere near to its fullest potential if we are healthy. Health brings clarity, energy, hunger, and passion that fills our life with great opportunity to enjoy what it can offer. When we neglect our health and become burdened with excess stress it makes it hard to accomplish. Thus, we must never neglect our bodies, and let it take a backseat because our lives are “busy.”

Everyone’s life is busy, and we all have problems. Using that as an excuse to not show up is, quite frankly, unacceptable. Improvements and the results you want, like weight and fat loss, muscle gain, increased functionality of your body, elevated vitality, etc., don’t come with excuses. They disappear when you use them. Thus, finding ways to PRIORITIZE your health, and develop disciplines and good habits that make health an integral part of your life and something you never forget is paramount.

It is an absolute necessity.

Next time you think about not going to the gym, or coming to a session, because work was hard, you feel tired, parts of your body are beat up, so what? Who cares? No one does besides you. That’s why you need to come anyway. If you went to the gym only when you felt good it wouldn’t be much, if at all. That is why you just have to show up. Show up because it’s a chance to improve you and your health.

The gym is one of the few places where it is encouraged to do better and become better openly. You do not have to hide it, and you should never forget that. The gym is your place to grow, and a tool to become a better you, and should not be thought of as just a place to “sweat” and “workout”. If that is your mentality you will get mediocre results. If you want extraordinary results, for you, elevate your mindset, and expand it by creating a vision for yourself and where you want to go. Going to the gym and working out is a core component of this physical fitness vision, but not a mutually exclusive activity. It serves the larger picture for you in this process.

Do you have to do cardio…do you have to lift weights…do you have to stretch? Yes. Yes, you do. If you want to have a strong body capable of all physical movements, with no, or little, impingement, impairment, or defect then the answer is “yes.” You have to do all those things, and more, in some way, and find what works for you and what gets you excited. This will make physical fitness at the forefront of your thoughts and not an afterthought.

Motivation certainly helps in this process, but is not a requirement, at all times.

What is THE requirement is a COMMITMENT to a better you and the process of betterment through fitness to improve physical health.

It is because it is more than physical. It is mental, and, even, spiritual. You should be able to test and connect with yourself, and discover new things about you that lead to a better you, during this ever adapting and evolving training process, no matter how small the improvements or progress that happens.

Next time you think about not showing up ask yourself how is that (not showing up) helping me?

Answer is it’s not. You cannot get better and move closer toward your goals if you do not show up, and put in the work. It is impossible. There is no magic pill, or formula, and never will be. Thus, might as well accept the process and the work you’ll have to do to achieve the greater vision you have for yourself. Remember, you cannot be disappointed in something that you did not work for.

Accept responsibility and your current circumstances and it will make a huge difference at moving forward and getting into better shape. You can get the health you want it will just take a dedicated and consistent work ethic, and some time. Coming to the gym is a healthy habit of the larger picture for achieving the level of shape and health you want. Consistently not showing up goes against this and you move further away from your ideal health for yourself.

Show up, get better, and use every little improvement as momentum to keep driving you forward. This, over time, will give you the results you’re looking for (or damn close to it).

Thanks for reading.

Best Regards,

Cody

 

(Photo Credit)

Thoughts on Gains: Vertical Dieting

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If you’re into lifting and don’t know who Stan Efferding is then shame on you!

(Click HERE to learn more about the White Rhino and visit his YouTube page HERE).

If you do then I’m sure you have heard him talk about his diet routine when he was competing in powerlifting and bodybuilding, especially when training with Flex Wheeler.

Listen to him enough, and you might hear him say something called “VERTICAL DIET.”

When I heard Stan say and describe this diet philosophy I got excited. The reason is  because that is exactly how I structure my own diet!

I was shocked, and excited to know that I follow the same diet philosophy as Stan. This made me say “I must be doing something right.”

Jokes aside, once Stan started to break down and share some thoughts on vertical dieting it all clicked for me. I realized that I was doing something that was maximizing the hard work I put in to the gym. This made me happy and excited to share the idea with everyone listening.

If you listen to the latest Juggernaut Training Systems (JTS) podcast with Stan (click HERE to watch on YouTube) he goes over this in more detail. He shares this was the diet he was on when he broke his records in powerlifting that helped him achieve a 2,303 total in his 40’s. Crazy.

Regardless, Stan is planning on releasing an eBook on vertical dieting in the future, but, in the meantime, I’ll break it down for you here in my own words, with my thoughts on the diet.

What is Vertical Dieting?

Vertical dieting is having a narrow selection of foods for carbs, fats, and protein that aim to maximize the nutrient density of what you are eating .

For instance, instead of having a wide spectrum of different foods on a daily and weekly basis, instead, you would have a small group of foods with a high nutrient density that constitute each macronutrient (protein, carbs, and fats).

For carbs, you may have rice, sweet potatoes, and oats. Protein, might be chicken, eggs, and steak. Fats might be avocado, coconut oil, and almonds. Throw in a select group of vegetables and fruits and you are set.

The purpose of a vertical diet is to BUILD EFFICIENCY.

Eating a narrow range of foods for each macronutrient allows this to happen because you train your body’s digestive system to be efficient at breaking down those foods, and getting the maximum nutrient absorption from it. This, in theory, causes less stress on your digestive system because it is not dealing with a diverse range of foods to digest, which may decrease the likelihood of inflammation in the gut.

This, over time, leads to less time the food is in your digestive system overall, which promotes greater meal frequency, less bloating in the gut, and enhances the chances you can use the actual nutrients from the foods you eat to their fullest potential when eaten.

Again, efficiency that leads to greater results from the nutrients consumed.

Concerns With Vertical Dieting

The largest concern with vertical dieting is whether or not you are getting the adequate micronutrients that your body needs, like vitamins and minerals.

Short answer is that you are.

This is my opinion, at least.

Vertical dieting may seem counter intuitive to one of the most popular notions in dieting — “eating a wide and diverse range of food to cover all the nutrients that your body needs” — but the vertical diet philosophy satisfies this. It’s because it is all about building efficiency at breaking down the foods you consume and the nutrients they hold. If you eat dense foods on this diet, which is recommended, then you should have no problem.

For example, if you pick carb sources that lack nutrient density, such as white bread and pasta, then you may have a problem with certain B-vitamins and fiber. However, if you pick brown rice, sweet potatoes, oats, and/or maybe quinoa as your primary sources of carbs then you are eating nutrient rich foods that provide you with plenty of micronutrients and fiber that your body demands. As a result, eating a select 2 or 3 dense sources of carbs, or any macronutrient, will give you a high return on your investment (ROI) for the food you eat.

This aids in the recovery process after hard workouts, so your muscles and surrounding tissues get the nutrients they need to repair and grow back stronger, faster, resulting in muscle hypertrophy and strength gains.

Another concern with vertical dieting is that it gets boring, and thus, not sustainable long-term.

This may be true to an extent, but if your goal is truly to maximize your muscle and strength gains then it is something that you will just have to get over.

Also, you can mix and match your food, add spices, and cook your food in different ways that make it more appetizing.

Finally, I believe the 80/20 rule applies to the vertical diet, like many other diets. For example, if 80% of the foods you eat are the foods within your vertical diet, then you can leave the last 20% to eat different types of food. This does not mean you binge on McDonald’s and Krispy Kreme over the weekend, but it means you might have something different than what’s on the menu most days.

This way you are still getting much of the benefits of vertical dieting, yet adding some flavor to your diet and breaking up some of the monotony.

Conclusion

Like with any diet, vertical dieting aims at giving you results. For this diet, in particular, it will help you have less decision fatigue of foods to eat. This makes preparing your food easier, which lessens the probability of eating out or choosing poor quality foods.

The vertical diet will also allow you to improve your digestive system’s efficiency at breaking down food, making it easier, over time, to absorb the nutrients found in the foods that you are eating in this diet philosophy. This will aid you in your recovery efforts after hard workouts by having greater ability to assimilate the nutrients found in the foods that you are eating. Thus, improving the likelihood for more gains.

Through this and improvements in increasing your ability to meat your meal frequency goals, along with decreasing your chances for bloating and inflammation in the gut, makes it worth trying.

If you doubt this philosophy I encourage you to give it a try because it easily fits any style of diet, such as paleo, keto, slow-carb, vegan, 33/33/33, etc. It is because the vertical diet allows you to pick and choose the best foods for you in each diet type giving you the ability to satisfy those requirements. This makes it sustainable for you while receiving the benefits of a vertical diet, as opposed to a horizontal one that allows you to eat anything in sight.

Leave me a comment down below and tell me what you think about this, and what it means for your diet.

As always, thanks for stopping by and reading.

Until next time, be strong and be you.

(Photo Credit)

Deadlift Session: Heavy Paused Singles

 

 

 

 

 

Deadlift day is one of my favorites, but also one of my most nervous days because I know it is going to be hard. I’m going to give you my most recent deadlift workout, and what a typical session looks like for me.

Without further or do, here we go.

Deadlift Session

(sets x reps x weight)

Warm-up Circuit:

  • Stairs: 10 total times (~16 total steps)
    • First 5 ran every step
    • Second 5 ran every other step
  • Kettlebell swings
    • 3 x 12 x 52.9lbs
  • Lunges
    • 3 x 10/10 x BW
  • Back extensions
    • 3 x 15/12/10 x BW
  • Barbell Row
    • 2 x 10 x 135
  • Stretch
    • Cat/camel, and stretched primarily back, legs, and hips

Deadlift Workout (conventional with no belt and no straps)

  • Warm-up sets
    • 2 x 3/1 x 135
    • 2 x 3/1 x 225
    • 2 x 3/1 x 315
  • Working Sets
    • 3 x 1 x 365 (paused)
    • 3 x 1 x 385 (paused)
    • 3 x 1 x 405 (paused)
      • 3 x 3 x 405 (last set ~20 second hold after last rep)

Deadlift Variation

  • 5 x 3 to 5 x 315 (RDLs)
  • 5 x 5 x 225 (snatch grip RDLs)

Power Clean to Front Squats:

  • 5 x 1 or 10 x 135 (tempo to paused reps, to normal reps)

Lat Pull-down:

  • 2 x 8 x 120 and 2 x 8 x 160

Core Circuit (3 rounds, 90 second rest b/w rounds)

  • Wind Shield wipers (on ground and hands on side)
    • x 10
  • V-up (with knees bent)
    • x 10
  • Flutter kicks
    • x 10 (counted one, two, three, 1, one, two, three, 2…)

Stretching

  • Full body with emphasis on hips, back, legs, and shoulder complex

That’s it!

My emphasis on this day was variation, and I took it as heavy as I could within the limits of my programming.

(Click HERE to learn more about my current programming).

I focused on the conventional deadlift today as opposed to the sumo, which is my dominant style. Adding the paused variation was a good challenge, but it felt really good. My primary goal in lifting is to become as proficient as possible in the lift, and that is why I was doing heavy paused singles. This way I can ensure the best technique possible minimizing breakdown and injury, while building the strength effect I am aiming for to get closer to my goal of deadlifting 500 raw.

In case you are wondering, I like to do some sort of circuit to warm-up my body, regardless of what lift I’m doing for the day. This way I get my body temperature up and blood flowing fast, and I think it primes my body better to lift, in addition at being more efficient with my time. I’ve been doing this for the past couple months, and it really has helped jump-start my workouts and get me ready like I need to be.

This made the workout feel great, and then after I added variation to my working deadlift sets to mix things up, and train certain muscles and parts of the deadlift further (i.e. the hamstrings and glutes to better lock out at the top — a sticking point in the lift).

Following this, I did some minor accessory movements as the end, with a core circuit to finish things off good.

I tried not to push it too hard, since I tweaked my right shoulder earlier in the week after benching. It has been giving me some trouble since Tuesday, but that said, it felt pretty good during this session last Thursday. All-in-all good progress and I felt strong, especially since my sleeping schedule was thrown off earlier in the week.

That said, let me know what you think about my training, and what you are focusing on with your lifting and what programming you are doing.

As always, thanks for stopping by, and if not a subscriber please subscribe.

Until next time, be strong and be you!

Re-thinking the “No Pain, No Gain” Notion for Strength: A Case for Sub-maximal Training

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NO PAIN, NO GAIN.

An expression that perpetuates the fitness industry, and the attitudes and philosophy of many gym-goers, and even professionals.

Believe it or not, one of our founding fathers, Benjamin Franklin, coined this terms by stating “There are no gains without pains” (source). More recently, Jane Fonda made the “No pain, no gain” attitude popular in the 1980’s, thanks to her workout videos stating “Feel the burn” (source).

Regardless of the source’s origin, this “no pain, no gain” doctrine is no more prevalent than in the lifting community and those hoping to get “BIG” and “STRONG.”

Under this attitude of training, exercises are often taken to failure, pushing beyond the pain response of muscle and the body, in order to make “GAINS.” Whether it is trying to do as many reps as possible (AMRAP) to failure, or trying to break a PR every-time someone hits the gym, this “no pain, no gain” attitude perpetuates lifting.

Nowadays, this philosophy continues on through the likes of popular fitness voices, such as CT Fletcher, and his no excuses and tough-nosed training philosophy.

Watch his “I Command You to Grow” videos, and you will see the intensity of his training, and where “no pain, no gain” fits in.

I love his intensity and my stance is not to discredit CT Fletcher, or others, and their hard work, and everything they have gone through and what they necessarily preach. I think CT Fletcher is great, but let’s be honest…there is only one CT Fletcher. If you watched his documentary on Netflix, entitled My Magnificent Obsession, you’ll understand and probably feel inspired and motivated to kick some ass in the gym and throw away any excuses, including any pain.

That said, to believe the “no pain, no gain” philosophy is the ONLY way to build muscle, increase strength, and improve performance is a fallacy.

If you want to break your body then this is a good philosophy to have.

However, if you want to be efficient with your gains, and minimize injuries, participating in the sub-maximal training philosophy is a great training method solution.

This is why I’d like you to have an open mind and reconsider the notion of the “NO PAIN, NO GAIN” attitude of training to failure and having to “HURT” yourself to build strength and add lean muscle mass to your frame.

This is not the case. That is why I am going to advocate the idea of SUB-MAXIMAL TRAINING to increase strength and add muscle, as superior to brute force ALONE.

What is SUB-MAXIMAL training?

In short, sub-maximal training is working in a moderate, or medium, percentage of your one-rep max (1RM) in an exercise, most often the squat, deadlift, bench press, or overhead press, to add strength and muscle by focusing on technique, while minimizing injury.

Simple as that.

What are the parameters?

  • The intensity, or WEIGHT, is typically within the neighborhood of 60% to 85% of your 1RM in a lift.
  • Reps are between 1 to 5, or even up to 6 or 8, depending on the percentage and focus (i.e. strength, power, hypertrophy, etc.).
  • Sets are usually between 5 to 10 working sets; meaning: the sets that matter and really count lie within the range you are working at (60% to 85%). These are your “working sets”. 
  • Each rep of every set should be done with the best technique and form you can possibly use to build efficiency.
    • THINK: “PERFECT REPS”.
  • Your working sets should not be “GRINDERS.”
    • This means that the successful completion of a repetition in a lift should not be so exhaustive to the point where you might fail, like any wobbling, shaking, instability, etc., that causes excessive breakdown in your technique.
    • If this is the case, you need to modify the intensity (weight), reps, or sets to avoid grinders.

      This thought — not having excessive grinders — is extremely important because one of the biggest tenets of sub-maximal training is injury prevention, and “grinders” do not fit this training style.

Again, the GOAL of sub-maximal training is to get a desired strength and muscle building effect without breaking your body for more than what is required by using an effective dosage weight (60% to 85% of 1RM).

For example, let’s say you can bench press 225 pounds for your 1RM. Based on this number, you would work in the neighborhood of 135 pounds and 185 pounds (~60-85%). Based on this example, your working sets might consist of doing 5 sets of 5 at 155 pounds. Your goal here, and every-time, is to do PERFECT REPS by focusing on technique and using as much muscle that should be involved. This includes any variation you might do, like a paused bench press.

This allows a stimulus to build strength and improve performance while minimizing the chance for injury, like those “grinders”.

Is Sub-maximal training too easy?

No.

Sub-maximal training is not easier.

In fact, it is probably harder than going in the gym and trying to break your 1RM every-time.

Why?

Because thought is given on technique first, which requires great concentration and the development of proper movement patterns to do so. This helps you think about using all the muscles that you should be using, and if not, you are actively working on it by training at a moderate load to improve and overcome any deficiencies. Eventually, you progress and go up from there.

During this process, you will improve your neuromuscular control (how well you are able to move in an exercise, or movement) which helps increase strength. This is because the better your central nervous system (CNS) can work, in theory, the more potential you have at using, and working on, as much muscle as available. This leads to strength and hypertrophy gains, aiding in the pursuit of adding lean muscle mass to your frame.

In addition, sub-maximal training is essentially the meat and potatoes of your training. It will be the bulk of your training that is going give you the most of your desired results: building strength, muscle, athleticism, aesthetics, etc. If you are consistently going in the gym to break a PR, I can guarantee you that you will break first. No question.

I hate saying absolutes, but if you want to fight the weight every-time you workout and break a PR, you will lose…EVERY-TIME.

Where you win is being smart and that is why sub-maximal training is so beneficial to building strength and muscle because you avoid unnecessary damage to your body. This increases the longevity of your lifting career because it makes it more sustainable long-term. This will aid your pursuit of trying to get as strong as possible because a more healthy body can lift more weight.

Period.

Is There Value to No Pain, No Gain?

Short answer, yes.

Butttt…there’s a limit.

The issue is that many take it to far and push and push and push, leading to a breaking point — literally.

At the end of the day, progress is what matters, especially if you plan on increasing your strength, and overall fitness. Trying to have the best workout ever or beat your previous 1RM every-time you go in the gym does not lead to good and efficient progress, especially in the long-term. This is where sub-maximal training comes into the picture, and the “no pain, no gain” dogma stops.

Sub-maximal training gives you efficient progress by building your body up with control and not chaos. The notion of having to “feel” sore the next day is the absolute worst measurement of progress and if you are getting stronger.

A much better way to measure strength is how your body feels week-to-week and comparing numbers from one training cycle to the next.

This, however, does not excuse you from working hard and lifting with intensity when you workout. This is a must, and a given. Let’s not confuse that thought. What is important, however, is that you balance and temper your intensity and not let it consume you to the  point of breaking — what no pain, no gain is about.

Will you never feel pain when you lift?

Of course, not. Let’s not be naive.

You’re going to bang your body up no matter what…shit just happens.

However, working beyond minor aches and pains is one thing, but working through excessive pain where you feel it during your workout even though you have adrenaline and other fight or flight hormones running through your body is another thing. If that is the case stop or you will cause more damage to whatever is hurting, and further break your body.

The point is to not have serious injury and that is where no pain, no gain fails.

Conclusion

There is a time to be aggressive and fired-up and lift the bar and weight with no holds bar. That is one thing I like about “no pain, no gain” because it teaches you not to be a “pussy.” You need that because you are not in the gym to feel pampered and comforted. The gym is not a spa. The gym is a place to abuse your body in a controlled fashion that makes you stronger than when you came in.

But, let’s be smart about it and not take it to extremes.

That is why sub-maximal training is so effective in leading to strength and muscle gains, and improving your overall fitness during the process because it is a measured approach fueled with intensity to lift your best.

It is really that simple.

It provides balance in your training leading to tremendous results.

Even the boys from Westside Barbell understood the need for a balanced approach by incorporating measured resting periods of de-load for the body to recover throughout their training cycles.

Point is to be balanced.

Remember, those times that call for the type of aggression of “no pain, no gain” come up only once in awhile. For example, a powerlifting meet, or some sort of competition, or just to find out where you stand for your general strength training. What is important, is that most of the time, let’s say 80 to 90% of the time, you are going to be working in sub-maximal ranges to build your base strength, and put on lean muscle mass.

If you do not believe me just look at bodybuilders. They are jacked and they really do not lift heavy often. They focus on the contraction of the muscles in lighter loads to get a hypertrophic effect at building muscle using the mind-muscle connection. Why would that be different when building strength?

It is not too far off, and you only need to change certain parameters and exercises to focus on to do so.

Control your aggression for no pain, no gain in the sub-maximal philosophy and it will take you far.

Let me know what you think.

As always, thanks for stopping by and reading. If not a subscriber subscribe.

Until next time, be strong and be you!

Extra

For more resources on sub-maximal training click the links below:

Submaximal loads for Maximal Results

Juggernaut Training Systems

Submaximal training experimented on collegiate football players

(Photo Credit)

Success Factors for Fitness and Health: Free Download

Hey everyone!!

I’m excited to announce that I’m offering my health guide, Success Factors of Health, as FREE to DOWNLOAD for anyone looking to improve their health and performance, both inside and out of the gym.

In the guide, you will find the four success factors you need to optimize daily to better achieve the health and fitness you are looking to reach.

They are simple, yet difficult in practice to accomplish, so I’ll go in detail through each one and present facts about each factor, and methods to better achieve reaching each one adequately.

To download my SUCCESS FACTORS of HEALTH guide, click HERE.

As always, thank you for stopping by, and if not a subscriber please subscribe.

Until next time be strong and be you!

Best,

Cody

Stop Making EXCUSES! JUST SHOW UP! (RANT)

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“EXCUSES EQUALS NON-PERFORMANCE.”

That is what my Mom told me when I was a kid when I didn’t do my homework.

That same principle applies to working out and eating right to be in the shape you want.

EXCUSES = NON-PERFORMANCE

Simple.

Excuses kill your progress and they will only stop your fitness goals from happening: losing weight, gaining muscle, building endurance, improving aesthetics, increasing body mobility and functionality, etc.

This is why you have to be real with yourself about things by setting clear priorities, being self-disciplined, and honest with yourself and the effort that you are putting in.

I’m not here to be Tony Robins and give you the motivational “pep talk” to get you off your ass and in the gym.

What I am saying is that EXCUSES KILL the shape and level of health you want to be in.

Period.

Saying things like…

  • I’m too tried
  • I had to work late
  • I had to do this thing for my friend
  • I’m too sore
  • I had to run errands
  • I haven’t ate today

…are all excuses that lead to no progress and no results.

And, look. I get it. Sometimes things do come up that take precedent over working out or training, and you can’t go to the gym and get your work in. I’m not talking about those things because most of those things that do take precedent, like a family emergency, a car breaking down, an injury, the storm of the century, etc., rarely come up.

What I am talking about are your EVERYDAY EXCUSES that you tell yourself to make you believe that it is “OKAY” not to go to the gym or just be physically active.

THIS IS THE PROBLEM.

This “PUTTING THINGS OFF” because of A, B, or C only leads to more and more of not doing instead of doing.

THIS LEADS TO POOR HABITS AND DISCIPLINE THAT MAKE CONSISTENCY – THE NUMBER 1 INGREDIENT FOR HEALTH AND FITNESS – ELUSIVE.

This results in no positive change and progress to achieve the health and fitness you want.

IF YOU DO NOT HAVE TIME MAKE TIME.

Cut the goofing off, looking at social media, watching TV, or whatever else you do that makes you procrastinate, and not workout and get the work that you need to get in done.

Structure your day better by organizing and prioritizing what matters and what doesn’t. Block out a specific time that you need to work out. If you’re really busy change your workout routine to circuits to be more efficient with your time instead of having 3 hour long workouts. Begin prepping your meals for the day, or week, to stop you from eating-out several times a week to avoid poor decisions and decision fatigue.

You have got to PRIORITIZE things in your life that lead to GOOD LIFESTYLE HABITS that make decisions like working out or eating healthy a “NO-BRAINER” decision because it’s built into your everyday lifestyle.

Ultimately, if our bodies do not function like they should everything in our life starts to break down. If you have a job that makes you work 12 hour days and exhausts you maybe that is not for you. Or, maybe you need to be more disciplined with your time and cut out the nonsense so you have time to workout and eat healthy. Again, prioritizing and organizing is what matters, and it starts by cutting out the excuses.

We only have one body, so why not optimize our body to the best of our abilities to be in good health and shape that we want? There is no reason not to, so you have got to MAKE HEALTH A PRIORITY.

This will help our day-to-day energy levels, maintaining a healthy weight and metabolism, and decrease our risk of developing chronic diseases when we make OUR HEALTH a priority instead of an afterthought.

Do what you need to do, and get it done.

You can make all the excuses in the world, but, at the end of the day, if you do not put in the work that you need to do no results and progress will come.

  • The weight you want to lose will not happen.
  • The muscle you want to put on will not be there.
  • The level of shape and health that you are seeking will not be there.

To perform at our best our body demands good physical health. Pulling all-nighters and sacrificing sleep does not equal optimal performance. Neither does choosing fast-food because it is convenient.

And, listen…

I’m not saying you cannot get the work that you need to get in when you are tired or if you’re surviving on a Ramen noodle diet. Based on the society we live in and lifestyles most of us have — fast-paced with a short attention span causing poor sleep, high stress, and unhealthy food — things like that become “normal”. What I am saying, however, is that being consistently tired, not eating right and not being physically active is going to catch up to you eventually, and your body will suffer for it (me included).

For example, you may notice when your health starts to break-down you begin to experience abnormal things, such as brain fog, digestive issues, poor complexion, frequent colds/runny nose, weight-gain, muscle atrophy, and a host of other minor ailments. If not addressed and action taken to resolve or mitigate these issues, it will likely lead to significant chronic diseases, such as Type II diabetes, heart disease, digestive disorders, hypothyroidism, chronic fatigue, etc., quicker.

HOW DO WE STOP THAT?

We stop these things from happening by doing our best to minimize things that take away from our health as much as possible, and do things that build us up as much as possible.

It all begins by leaving the excuses behind.

Don’t get me wrong. I have been there myself, and like everyone, struggle with issues that claw away at my health everyday. At one time, being severely overweight, I know it even more. I made all the excuses, and avoided anything fitness or diet related for the longest time. Mostly, because I was intimidated by the process of change, causing great resistance. But, once I started to be honest with myself and take small steps forward and accept the situation I was in things began to get better.

It did not happen overnight, but the more and more I showed up and cut the excuses the more successful I became at losing weight, gaining muscle, and improving my overall physical health.

It’s cliché, but half the battle is showing up.

You have JUST got to show-up and good things will happen. If you know you need to go to the gym and do not feel like it do it anyway. Once you get your body warmed-up and going you will start to feel good.

I can say confidently that the best workouts I have had have been times where I did not feel like working out. What I did do is show up, and once I got started I hit my flow and crushed what I needed to do. That is why you need to stop making excuses.

In my opinion, you do not need motivation, especially to get started.

What you need is ACTION and the motivation will come after, and carry you far forward thereafter, breeding motivation to go harder and do better.

JUST SHOW UP and STOP THE EXCUSES.

Done.

(Photo Credit)

Strength Programming Update: 2017 Quarter 1

Hey guys!

I’ve completed my first programming cycle of the year and it feels great!

I hit new PRs for every lift, and the best part is that my body is healthy and not too beat up. I’ve put in a lot of work inside and outside of the gym for that to happen and it’s paying dividends.

To recap, below is a table chart of where I started 2017 and where I stand right now after my first training cycle of 2017.

First Quarter Programming Recap (Jan-Feb 2017)
Lift Starting Max (lbs.) Ending Max (lbs.) Total Increase (lbs.)
1.      Squat 355 385 30
2.      Bench Press 275 295 20
3.      Deadlift 445 465 20
4.      Overhead Press 185 195 10
Totals 1260 1340 100
BODY WEIGHT 187 188 ~1-1.5

To illustrate this training cycle I’m in right now reference the table below.Now, that I have my first quarter out of the way (yes, I know I ended my first training cycle early – 8 weeks instead of 12), but I’m already in the next cycle, and so far it is a grind, but going good.

Mar – May 2017 Training Cycle (total weeks: 12)
Week Focus
Weeks 1-2 – March Hypertrophy
Weeks 3-4 – March Traditional 5×5, Variation
Weeks 5-6 – April Triples, Variation
Weeks 7-8 – April Mix
Weeks 9-10 – May Doubles, Variation
Weeks 11-12 – May Peak
 

As you can see from the table above, this training cycle will be 12 weeks, or 3 months, instead of 8 weeks (or 2 months). I’ve broken the cycle into segments each having its own focus. That said, like with anything, I will modify it on an as-need basis if anything comes up or I think it is better to change things up (i.e. getting sick, switching focus for a particular time period, etc.).

It will be interesting to see how this training cycle goes as opposed to the first one of the year, since this cycle will be 12 weeks instead of 8.

Also, this training cycle I will try a better job at tightening my focus for each particular week making things a bit more consistent. This week I am doing the traditional 5×5 style and next week I will focus on variation of the 5×5 model. For example, in the squat I may choose a front squat or pause squat as variation instead of trying to go heavier in the normal 5×5 style in each lift. This way I feel I can keep things consistent, and do a better job at challenging my body and progressing more and more each week (even if it is just a baby step forward).

At the end of the day, progress is all that matters to me, so as long as I am moving forward and getting stronger in some way that is all I care about.

I believe progression is number 1, no matter what the goal, so I encourage you to do the same and keep getting stronger.

As always, thanks for stopping by and reading, and if not a subscriber please subscribe.

If you are interested in learning more about my training style, have a question, or interested in working with me please comment below or email me at builtfromstrength@gmail.com, and I will get back to you right away.

If you have not already, click HERE to download my LEAN MUSCLE BUILDING program free. This is the base program I’m using right now for my training cycles, and if you are knew to lifting and getting stronger, it is a great place to start.

Until next time, be strong and be you!