The gains monster is an attention-seeking child

The gains monster is everywhere, just waiting for you to slip-up. Make a mistake. Leave yourself vulnerable. And then, without warning, it’ll suck you dry of everything you’ve worked for.

Yesterday was absolutely manic from start to end.

Up at the crack of dawn, fighting with traffic to get to a four-hour training course. Dashing out ten minutes before the end to get a jump on traffic to race back home in time for another two hours of conference calls.

Breakfast was so-so, and only moderately nutritious.

Lunch was skipped in exchange for making it to my next meeting.

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Do you have a reference physique?

We all need something to motivate us. Push us to the next level. One way to do this is having a reference physique you aspire to. Who’s picture do you have pinned to your refrigerator?

Do you have a reference physique?

A photo or image of a body that encapsulates everything you admire and desire in a physique, but a physique that is also attainable for your height, build and genetics?

The latter is important, for no matter how much I love Arnold’s body, I don’t have his build or genetics. The bone structure, the deep insertion points and thick muscle bellies. I can literally never look like him.

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Why your goals are making you unhappy and how to change your approach

Setting goals is an important part of the planning process. However, I’ve learned that goals can be somewhat like a poisoned chalice; helpful and valuable at first, but also a source of angst and unhappiness.

Throughout my life, I’ve been an incredibly goal-oriented person and especially so in the gym. And without doubt, setting physique goals has been instrumental in my progress, dragging me forward when motivation inevitably wanes.

Over time, I’ve also learned to how to refine my goals by making them increasingly specific and aligning them to my core values.

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Writing is frequently the first casualty

It’s been more than six months since I last posted to the blog. In this piece, I account for my recent absence and talk through some of the reasons that writing is frequently the first casualty in the battle of my mind.

Over many years, I’ve bounced between writing as frequently as daily, sometimes fleshing out multiple blog posts in a marathon session, to dry spells lasting as long as six months.

And yet, I love writing. I really do.

There’s something incredibly rewarding in being able to capture your thoughts and feelings on paper in such a way that someone might even enjoy reading it.

More than just the words themselves, I enjoy the art of typography, finessing the style, layout and appearance of the printed word. Sure, the digital world has long removed the physical constraints of the printed page. And worse still, social media and email have sullied the written exchange, expecting the reader to look past the terrible grammar, poor spelling and erratic prose.

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So you want to get lean — Part 2

You’ve established your energy needs, adjusted for exercise, and calculated your macros. Time to get in the gym and hit the weights! But where do you start?

In part one of this topic, we covered the importance of energy balance, how to establish an energy deficit and calculate our macros to help guide our nutritional choices.

In this post, we’ll cover some of the exercise protocols you can use to increase fat loss, and walk through a sample program that draws on many of these techniques.

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So you want to get lean — Part 1

You’ve taken a long hard look in the mirror and decided enough is enough. You want the body of your dreams and it’s time to get lean. But where do you start?

If you’ve been following my recent posts, you’ll know that there are two fundamentals to getting lean.

  1. Establishing a negative energy balance
  2. Following a program of resistance training

First, without a negative energy balance, your body will not have to use stored energy to meet its daily energy demands. That’s why it’s critical that you understand your maintenance calories and establish an appropriate deficit.

Second, we’re not here to simply lose weight. If losing weight were the goal, we could sit in a room with minimal food and just wait it out. Trouble is, that approach would burn as much muscle as fat leaving you looking like a chewed-over bone. Our goal is stripping fat and preserving lean mass. Hence, we need a carefully crafted program of resistance training.

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Workout mistakes: Part 3 – You’re not eating to support your goals

In part 2 of this series, I covered the fundamentals of training and physique transformation to help get you focused on the things that matter most. In this post, we explore nutrition and eating to support your training goals.

Eating is an emotive subject, much abused in the industry with terms like “clean eating” and “eating healthily”. They make sense as abstract statements, but they do little to help you translate that into practical advice.

How has something so simple as eating to meet your needs become a veritable minefield and major cause of confusion for so many people?

Bombarded with vague, misleading and sometimes purposefully incorrect information, more and more people are struggling with diet and nutrition.

There always seems to be some new diet or eating protocol to follow, and even the common sense approaches have now been sufficiently debased so as to leave the most pragmatic among us confused.

Well I’m here to help, and with this post I plan to cover:

  • Energy balance
  • Understanding your maintenance calories
  • Food quality
  • The importance of consistency

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Restructure your thinking for success

Many aspects of our physique journey are hard. Long periods of hunger. Fluctuating scale weight. Clothes that no longer fit. Aches and pains. Let me show you how to think differently about these events and see progress and opportunity in everything.

But first, let’s clear something up. When you eat that cookie or skip that workout, you are making a conscious choice. Like it or not, in that moment, you value the gratification more than you value progress.

It doesn’t matter what it is. An evening with friends. That second glass of wine. For whatever reason you made a choice and your workout or diet didn’t win.

Yes, you can say it’s just one cookie or just one workout. But often, it’s not. One cookie often becomes two, or ten. One skipped workout creates a mental model that says it’s ok if you miss a session.

Now I’m not a food nazi, nor so boring or disciplined that I haven’t missed a workout or three. But when I am zoned-in on a goal, pretty much nothing derails me.

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Workout mistakes: Part 2 – You’re focused on the wrong things

In the first of this three part series, we talked in depth about the value of planning your workouts. In this post, I want to cover the fundamentals of training and physique transformation and help get you focused on the things that matter most.

For years I trained hard in the gym. Really hard. But the results just weren’t what I’d hoped for, especially considering the effort going in.

Over time, I came to realize that much of my time training was actually focused on the wrong things. Focusing on the minutiae and details, but not paying enough attention to the things that matter most.

Chances are, you are making many of the same mistakes. I see it all the time in the gyms I train in and in my conversations with people.

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Visualization: Unlock the power of your mind

Have you ever felt you were just going through the motions? Struggling to feel engaged with seemingly mundane aspects of your physique journey? Let me show you the purpose in what we do.

There’s a short story that goes around the corporate innovation and motivational circuits that I find truly inspiring. And told by the right person in the right setting, this story can transform your thinking, elevating your perspective from mundane to momentous.

Moreover, as a bodybuilder, I have found this tale to have deeper meaning in our efforts to transform our physique.

Let’s start with that story.

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