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.

Read more

Workout: Full body, three day split

This week, I’ve been testing a new, full-body program; a simple affair run three days a week. And it tested pretty well.

Of course, it’ll be weeks or months before I can tell what it does, and there’s the real possibility I’ll still make a few small changes. But overall, it’s solid.

Both full body and three day splits are staples of workout programming, with just about every trainer and trainee having built and followed a similar program.

So why full body, and why the simple split?

Read more

Journal: Day 2 of my full body split

Today’s post is short and sweet, following on from my last post covering day one of my new, low volume, high frequency split.

I’ll cover the programming for the workout as a whole in a final post at the weekend. For now, I’ll just detail the workout I followed last night.

Overall, it was a pretty solid session, especially for a first run through. Balance seemed about right, although I found the single leg box steps left me feeling like more was needed for the legs, but I was also nowhere near my capacity there, so I’ll reserve judgment on that one until we’re working harder.

Read more

Last of the cutting workouts tested

IMG_20150122_172105Ran through the last of the new cutting routines last night, a row oriented back, traps and biceps session.

I didn’t have time for a full run-through, partly due to a time crunch, and partly because my gym partner wants to move the chest session to Monday.

My solution was to run through the back routine last night and test the programming, with the view to repeating it again on Wednesday for real.

The routine as written breaks-down like this:

Read more

Chest, shoulders and tris, oh my

arnold-schwarzenegger-square-pecsContinuing on from yesterday’s post about my new cutting program, I ran through the first of the two chest, shoulder and triceps routines last night.

As with each of the other splits, this routine has a different emphasis and focuses largely on pushing, with a little ancillary shoulder work.

All in all, the programming was pretty close, needing just a few tweaks and a little improvisation to feel right.

Here’s the breakdown:

Read more

First leg workout was spot on

kettlebells-with-towel-on-gym-floorI’ve been working on my cutting plan for the last week or so and eventually settled on a three day split, run six on, one off. Aggressive, yes, but as my good friend and top-drawer bro Bryan Krahn pointed out, it will work!

My first cut of the programming had me working the same split twice in the week, but after chatting it through with Bryan, I settled on two separate workouts for the splits, each with different characteristics.

This week, I am running through the programming to test the setup, intensity and timings, and last night was the first of the two leg workouts.

Read more

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.

Are you balancing your fitness books?

Broken piggy bankI was inspired recently having read a great article by Bryan Krahn on having to earn the right to moderation. Gritty and well written, the article asserts that before you back-off on your next visit to the gym and simply go through the motions, be sure that you’ve earned the right to moderate your efforts.

Most interestingly, to help actualize the concept, Bryan uses the analogy of a bank account, with deposits and withdrawals. This mental model is useful, because it helps people understand the notion that just as with money, your fitness books need careful balancing. In his specific example, moderation–a withdrawal–can only be made if you have the funds in your fitness account. That is, you’ve been making regular deposits–hard workouts–to build a surplus.

Read more

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!

How to approach a heavy bag workout

Female boxerI often Tweet about my heavy bag workouts, but I thought it would be worth clarifying exactly what I do out there. Why? Because my heavy bag workouts are often my one of my hardest and most grueling workouts of the week. But they haven’t always been, and it took time, practice and lots of experimentation to turn these workouts into 45 minutes of core-crunching, fat-burning wonderment.

Early workouts were basic. Hit the bag hard. A lot. For a long time. All that got me was bruised and bloodied knuckles, deep cramping in my hands, and soreness in my joints, especially the wrists, elbows and shoulders. Frankly, when I look back now, it’s a miracle I haven’t broken a hand or something — it’s certainly easier than you think!

Later, once I realized that simply pounding the bag was not the path, I switched to a sparring style workout with snappier punches and a lot more movement. And it was better, much better; but still a long way short of a grueling workout.

Read more