Did you break your metabolism?

While you can’t “break” your metabolism, excessive and repetitive periods in a prolonged hypocaloric state can leave your metabolism “depressed”. If you’ve eaten or exercised yourself into a corner, read on.

Our bodies are constantly striving to maintain equilibrium, and our metabolism quickly adjusts to balance (counter, resist) changes in energy intake or expenditure. This is why the common advice of EAT LESS MOVE MORE runs out of steam pretty quickly. Especially for those that have already been taking that approach for a while, or has already seen significant body re-composition.

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Consistency. What they are doing that you are not.

I get it. When you see that guy or gal in the gym with the physique you want, it’s natural to think “what are they doing that I am not?”. Unfortunately, most of the time that thought starts and ends with either the exercises they are performing or the neon-pink concoction they are slurping between sets.

But rest assured, if said individual has a great physique, there’s almost certainly nothing magical about their program or peri-workout nutrition!

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Abs. The holy grail of physique transformation?

Abs. Nearly everyone chasing physique transformation wants that coveted six-pack. A slick slab of undulating goodness that speaks to all that hard work. But sadly, many never achieve their dream, despite making good progress with fat-loss. But why? What is it that makes seeing abs such an elusive goal?

First, let’s be clear, a six pack isn’t for everyone. It’s not necessary, serves no practical purpose and is seen by many as an expression of extreme vanity. And if you’re reading this with a skeptical frown, thinking what the fuck is the obsession with abs in this industry, I totally understand.

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Don’t make these simple mistakes!

When it comes to diet and exercise, basic mistakes are often attributable to someone’s lack of progress. So if you’re stuck in a rut or not enjoying the progress you once did, chances are you are failing to follow one or more of these important principles.

Tell someone you want to lose weight and the first thing you’ll likely hear out of their mouth is “cut out carbs”. Other’s will tell you to reduce fats, eliminate bread, increase vegetable intake. And they are all right; and they are all wrong.

The trouble is, the average person changes a lot things on their journey to finding what works, and the reality is that they seldom know what led them to success. Worse still, they’ll make assumptions about what worked and then doggedly double-down on that approach out of fear of stalling. And that, sadly, is often the start of a nose-dive into something that is neither sustainable, nor good for your mental and physical health.

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I want you

I’ve not posted here again for a while, but I’ve not been idle. Workouts are good, nutrition is on point, and I continue to make progress. I’ve been writing too, but mostly for my new Facebook group: Uncommon Sense Physique.

With this post, for your reading pleasure, I am re-posting the Facebook note that started that venture.

Verbatim, from the inaugural Facebook post:

Many of you know me as that guy into fitness (actually, I’m not “fit”, but we’ll get to that), and you often see me posting things here on Facebook, as well as Instagram and Twitter. I even have blog (doesn’t everyone?) that has some interesting and relevant content at times. You’ll also probably know that just like the rest of you, I still have a full-time job, and that means everything health and fitness related for me is a combination of life-style and hobby.

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Weak-point training and how not to waste your time

Let’s face it, in terms of our physique, we’ve all got weak points. That one (haha!) lagging muscle group that just doesn’t seem to respond as well as the others. But before you jump on the specialization train, let’s make sure you earned that ticket.

First-up, weak point training — do you need it?

The [harsh] reality is that unless you’re at or approaching your genetic limit in terms of overall physical development, you really don’t need a specialization protocol. Or, said differently, any time spent working to improve a single body part is probably better spent focused on your big rocks, and improving your overall physique development.

So let’s say objectively, we often don’t need specialization. What about emotionally? What if you just can’t get past the fact your arms are too small? (Because they are, you know)

Here’s what you need to understand:

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Fundamentals: Focus on your big rocks

If your goal is hypertrophy, there are many variables to consider. And on some level, they all matter. But all too often people focus on the details when their attention should in fact be focused on the Big Rocks of training.

Consider the Muscle and Strength Training Pyramid below. Putting aside nutrition–which has its own pyramid–this pyramid covers six (well, eight) variables that all affect our training.

And while the topics of sets, reps and how many days a week to train do get a lot of air time, many of you are still spending too much time worrying about the stuff at the top of the pyramid.

Stuff that frankly, unless you have your fundamentals in order, just don’t matter.

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Snacking is wrecking your progress

Are you a habitual snacker? Do you spend more time justifying your indulgences than considering how to better manage your treats? Well we’ve been talking about this over in my Facebook group, Uncommon Sense Physique. Here’s what I had to say on the topic.

When you pop that snack in your mouth, in almost all such situations, there is one simple reality.

That the individual–in this case my beautiful wife–wants/seeks the joy of eating the [insert favorite snack food] more than they want [insert desired outcome here].

Worse still, we’ve also found all sorts of ways to make this okay – to rationalize our decision.

  • “It’s just one chocolate.”
  • “Life’s too short to not have a treat.”
  • “It’s been a long day and I just don’t want to think about it.”
  • “I had a salad for lunch.”
  • “I worked out today, I can afford this.”
  • “I’ll work this off at the gym tomorrow.”

This is but a partial list, a list we could probably expand indefinitely. But you get the idea. Can you spot the theme?

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Lessons learned from a year of bulking

In 46 weeks, I managed to add 39 lbs of body weight, with over 21 lbs of that coming as muscle. And topping the scale at 209 lbs was a huge achievement for me. But what did I learn from almost a year of bulking?

First, a little context.

There’s nothing exceptional about my genetics. I’m an average 5’9” and my natural set-point is a soft welterweight. I’ve played sports casually over the years and spent my entire working-life sitting behind a desk. But I’m certainly no bodybuilding noob, and I definitely know my way around the gym with many years of training under my belt. I’m also in pretty good shape considering my forty-six years. In the realm of physique transformation, I’ve been as low as 148 lbs and single digit body fat, and previously topped the scale at 187 lbs.

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Progress on my cut: Master of straight lines?

Just a progress update and some observations as I push deeper into this cut. Between my hamstrings and body weight charting, I am proving to be the master of straight lines.

As progress on this cut continues, I hit a new low weigh-in this morning of 188.5 lbs.

At the the start of this cut, I was torn. Do I simply drop the chub or look to push deeper into lean this time around? However, I ended-up deferring that decision, opting instead to change the nature of the game and see how far I could get without any kind of food tracking or unnecessary restriction.

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