I owe you an apology

I just wanted to say sorry, James.

When we talk of diet and exercise, we often joke about bulking and cutting and generally have a bit of a laugh. It’s what we do.

And yet, deep down, we know there’s a more serious part to the conversation; I mean, health matters.

But mostly, we just let of steam, using humor and hyperbole to lighten the conversation and color our daily discretions.

But the other day, I let you down. You. My son. Someone I love more than life itself.

After poking fun at each other as we often do, the conversation changed. You were being sincere about wanting to shed a few pounds, lose some weight, get fit. You started to describe some perfectly reasonable steps as to how you’d do it, and I shot them down.

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Before you hit “publish”, are you adding value?

Frankly, this post was tough to title. I toyed with a variety of options, but most just came off as condescending. I’m still not sure I like the title as written, but it’s at least one of the points I was trying to make.

The idea behind this post was to talk about what goes into writing useful and enjoyable content in the fitness, nutrition and bodybuilding space. Hence my struggle with the title. I could have titled it “A guide to writing content for the fitness industry”, or some such; but that’s where I draw a line, of sorts.

Tackling a post of this nature, you’d be forgiven for assuming I’m a successful personal trainer, fitness icon or otherwise accomplished writer. Fair, but wrong. It would also be reasonable for you to assume I perhaps have a science background, or qualifications in physiology, kinesiology and maybe nutrition. Again, no.

Well this dude better at least be jacked, right?

Alas, merely bumps in the right places, with a vein or two, and even some abs, when viewed under scientifically controlled lighting.

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What I learned in the last three months

It’s been 75 days since the last time I posted, and frankly, a lots happened.

If you’re a regular reader you’ll know that what I put up here is somewhat of a mixed bag; part journal, part training log and probably two-parts waffle … and no, not the good kind. Still, I’m not making you read, that’s on you.

So, given I could cover a lot here, we’ll keep it focused on training, diet and what I’ve learned in the last three months. And for those of you that want to bail early, here’s the summary:

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Cravings, failings and goals

Goals help you control your cravingsI got an email from a good friend over the weekend who is struggling with lack of progress, and in particular with food cravings. Moreover, the psychological impact of both stalling on progress and giving in to cravings is starting to take it’s toll on his well being.

Now, anyone that’s been around the iron long enough will know that cravings and disappointment with progress are commonplace and effect all of us from time to time.

What’s important is that we learn to embrace these things as part of the life-style and not “label” ourselves as weak or failures.

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My porridge is juuuust right.

arnold-schwarzeneggers-mammoth-chest-and-back-workout_graphics_arnold-series-3We’ve all done it; an extra set here, an extra set there, swapped out an exercise, or perhaps added a new one. Instinctive training, they call it, and some swear by it. Me? I am not so sure.

For almost a year now, I’ve been working with Adam Bornstein and following his training programs. Sure, we’d make a bunch of swaps for certain exercises, and he’d always encourage skipping anything that hurt etc. But that’s not what I am talking about.

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Another milestone in the rear view

VascularityWe reached a new milestone this morning, seeing 185lb on the morning scale for the first time! Sure, we need to see it more than once, but once is a great start.

For perspective, last November I was 169lb, and on January 1st, I was holding 175lb in the mornings. As it turns out, 175lbs was a HUGE sticking point for me. It took another two months to break that plateau and inch toward 180lb. I’m not sure what’s happened, but 185lb has come pretty quick by comparison… just a month since I was dunked at 180lb on March 25th. Gettin’ chubby.

With 185lbs in my grasp, I’ve been thinking about quantifying my goals. The numbers make it real, and kinda scary.

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Too long to Tweet

IMG_20150425_083821-COLLAGESometimes, I have a lot to say… other times, not so much. Of late, I’ve not had a lot good to say, so I’ve kept pretty quiet. Twitter is where I spend most of my time, and a closed Facebook group I am part of. You can also see crappy progress pics and photos of food up at Instagram.

So why let the blog slip?

I’ve pondered this long and hard and come to the conclusion that I need to lower the bar somewhat. Not necessarily in terms of quality, just in terms of airing thoughts and getting stuff down. I tend to set the bar too high for the blog, looking for ways to write an elaborate detailed and thematic post, and that can turn into a half day commitment… time I just don’t have (or want to dedicate) to blogging.

So my plan is try and post a few times a week, but to make those posts shorter and easy to digest. That way, I still get to write, you still get to read, and collectively, they still tell the story of me.

As I always point out, this blog is more of a journal than a resource, and thus usefulness and/or interest to the reader will vary dramatically. There’s too much information on health, fitness and bodybuilding out there, and if you do want REAL information, you’ll already be following the likes of Adam Bornstein and Bryan Krahn.

As always, if you have questions about what I am doing, my goals, plans etc., just ask – I’m always happy to share my experiences and what I have (or at least should have) learned.

Just about anything will work

just do workI’ve been working informally with a couple of people of late, helping them build a program to reach their training goals. And it’s been fun.

However, regardless of what route we take, the “split”, the programming, periodization, intensity, loading, volume etc., I always end-up distilling the advice down to the following. So much so, that it’s worth stating here:

At the end of the day, it’s good to remember that just about anything and everything can work in the gym. It’s largely about showing up, working hard, consistently, for months, and eating large amounts of good healthy food.

Sure, there’s a lot of detail I could have added. I could have talked about rest intervals, recovery patterns, dietary intake, macros, supplementation, sleep; the list is pretty much endless. But in the end, 90% of the progress you’ll make in the gym comes down to forming good habits, showing-up regularly and simply doing the work.

Training with Attitude

Jason StathamI assume you are going to the gym at some point this week, but are you going in with the right attitude? Are you going to just show-up or are you there to make shit happen?

Don’t be one of those muppets that breezes through a workout, surfing your Instagram and Facebook feeds between sets.

You’ve committed your time, and given yourself the chance to make real progress. Don’t waste the opportunity… seize it!

Crush your workout and leave the gym happy and satisfied.

If my words aren’t enough to fire you up, here’s what Jason Statham has to say about attitude:

“I’m a firm believer in attitude. Some people just don’t have that desire, and they need a good kick up the ass. Look, you’ve come to train… let’s fucking train! Your body is like a piece of dynamite. You can tap it with a pencil all day, but you’ll never make it explode. You hit it once with a hammer: Bang! Get serious. Do 40 hard minutes, not an hour and half of nonsense. It’s so much more rewarding.”

You are only going to get out of a workout what you are prepared to put in. Put it in. All of it.

Happy Monday!