a better life, adaptation, awareness, balance, basics of training, beauty, Body shape, Energy, Fitness, fundamentals, habit, habits, injury, long-term perspective, muscle building, safe training, strengths, symmetry, training, workout, you

My Top 5.5 Tips to avoiding injury.

Education through a perception of the truth. Increasing your awareness, taking sufficient and appropriate actions and adapting accordingly is key towards self-improvement. Vv

Education through a perception of the truth.
Increasing your awareness, taking sufficient and appropriate actions and adapting accordingly is key towards self-improvement. All done in my programs.
Vv

I have been very fortunate that in over twenty three years of training in the gym I have not been seriously hurt in any way. I am very proud to say that in that time I have not seen a physiotherapist or chiropractor for any training-related injury.

I have always been a stickler for form and ideal exercise execution. Always. Accelerated increased awareness from the guidance from some of the best coaches in various fields such as martial arts, power-lifting, boxing, athletics, squash, soccer, hockey, rugby and resistance-training has also contributed heavily to me staying injury-free.

Mastering the basics in any physical endeavour is paramount to you excelling in and enjoying the experience while doing it. Everyone that I have ever helped over the years get educated in applying the basics of training all the time – not some of the time! This loosely applies to most worthwhile goals in life.

Getting injured is a pain. Apart from the physical pain, one has to endure days, weeks or even months of re-habilitation. It can drain one of mental and emotional energy too and be quite costly if the injury is very serious.

Over the years, I have adopted certain routines with deliberate practise (habits) that I believe decreases my chances of getting injured while training in the gym.

Below are 5.5 key tips to help you lower your risk of injury:

Tip # 1: Aim for balance & symmetry.

My whole goal from the very first time I lifted weights was to build a more balanced and symmetrical physique. I believe this is one of the main key factors in me staying injury-free all these years. This is despite me lifting relatively heavy weights for most of this time (especially the two years when I trained for the World Championships in New York).

For example, a lot of people train the ‘mirror muscles’ more than they do the muscle in their posterior chain (muscles you don’t see in the mirror). This leads to asymmetry and muscle group imbalances.

Not a wise thing to do.

Focusing say, on your chest and shoulders and biceps (the ‘show-me-your muscles muscles) and neglecting your upper back muscles like the traps and rear delts and middle back can spell disaster. The most common gym-related injury for young men world-wide are shoulder injuries primarily because of this.

Muscle imbalances lead to increased risk of injury in the respective joints and muscles.

Besides, why do you want to be the strongest or biggest guy when you can build the most balanced and symmetrical physique for your frame. This is more aesthetic and more pleasing to the eye.

So, leave your ego at the door and work towards a better shape – a more balanced and symmetrical physique. If you don’t, you may regret it later.

Results with care. Here, Brad is 'feeling the essence' of the exercise and inching closer to his best self. He is in total control and 'feels' the muscle being worked. Vv

Results with care.
Here, Brad is ‘feeling the essence’ of the exercise and inching closer to his best self.
He is in total control and ‘feels’ the muscle being worked.
Vv

Tip #2: Be aware of your breathing technique.

I believe incorrect breathing technique is one of the main contributors to getting injured when training in the gym. Keep this in mind – for:

Pushing motions (bench press; shoulder press) – exhale at the point of contraction (when your arms are furthest away from you)

Pulling motions (lat pulldowns; biceps curls) – inhale when your arms are furthest from your torso.

Breathing also helps you with the next tip.

Ex-Australian Wallaby Captain - Phil Waugh performing a set of squats. Using good exercise technique(which includes proper breathing) is paramount to success.

Ex-Australian Wallaby Captain – Phil Waugh performing a set of squats.
Using good exercise technique(which includes proper breathing) is paramount to success.

Tip # 3: Focus!

Concentrating on your breathing and what you are going to do with the weight for those 15 to 45 seconds (a set) is critical to lowering your risk of injury.

Every fibre and cell in your body needs to 100% fully-focused! Don’t get side-tracked by other conversations and mentally block out all distractions. Focusing certainly aids you putting on good lean muscle. Period!

A slight loss of concentration could lead to less than ideal execution of exercise leading to increased levels of risk of injury.

I have developed quite a few formulas relating to peak performance over the years and one of the most important ones is:

“Focus = Results” (a shortened version of my formula).

Tip # 4: Always assess exercise execution with ‘risk:benefit’ ratio mind-set.

What I mean by this is that you need to increase your awareness of the exercises and work on improving your risk assessment of the exercise relating to:

  • Exercise choice and safety – a particular exercise that may be safe for someone may not be for another.
  • High-risk lifting – improper execution of certain exercises can increase levels of risk for very small increments in benefit. The range of motion of exercises need to be tied in to the ‘risk:benefit” ratio of the exercise and the trainee’s goals

Always avoid “high-risk’ lifting. This relates to variables such as excessive weights; excessive number of repetitions; excessive range-of-motion and so forth.

Tip # 5.5: Apply correct training principles.

I’ve always believed that building muscle is like LIFE. It relies on two principles:

  1. Simplicity
  2. Continuity

There are many principles to building and keeping muscle and after 23 plus years in the gym I have concluded that the two above and this next two principles – 3) control and 4) feel are key towards lowering your risk of injury.

All beginners and intermediate trainees or less experienced gym enthusiasts should master these before ‘going heavy’.

When you keep it simple and focus on the full range of motion of the exercise with continuous tension, you increase your ability to build good, quality muscle.

Because you are 100% focused and are using the right weight for you to correctly execute the exercise, you have better control and feel. This allows you to ‘work the muscle, not the joint’.

If you can’t control and feel the muscle being worked, you’re not building muscle, only ego.

A lot of people still aspire to the ‘No pain, no gain’ maxim but I think you should not follow this. Listen to your body: never do anything that hurts and don’t train if you hurt yourself or suffer from an existing injury.

Chris enjoying a well-deserved rest between sets. A 'set' as I define it is: a continuous progression of 15 to 45 sec 'focused moments'. Focus + heart + visualization ===> results. Vv.

Chris enjoying a well-deserved rest between sets.
A ‘set’ as I define it is: a continuous progression of 15 to 45 sec ‘focused moments’.
Focus + heart + visualization ===> results.
Vv.

Most injuries happen over time, through cumulative effect of muscular discomfort and micro-scopic tares and inflammation of tendons and ligaments around the joints. Most injuries are the result of an imposed force exceeding the structural strength of the involved body-part.

Don’t copy the super-stars and genetic elite who look and train the way they train because most of the time you don’t know their full story and so this may give you a false sense of direction and could lead to injuries.

Those who don’t do away with the maxim ‘no pain, no gain’ and try to train like the super-stars usually regret it, sooner or later. A better maxim to adopt is ‘No brain, no gain”.

Strive to Train SMART. What I mean by this is that I have always promoted a more conservative approach to training. My own experience and what I have learned from observing countless other trainees – has taught me that a more conservative way to training is not only the most effective but also the safest way to train not only in the short-term but more importantly for your long-term health.

Strive to stay injury-free. You’re in the gym to work on making that person you see in the mirror (you!) – better. Not for ego.

You want to still be doing this activity and off-setting the on-set of ageing (by building muscle) well in to your 80s and 90s if you live that long. It will certainly add quality to your life. Like I have said before, Muscle is the potion of youth!

All the best in your training this year.

Embrace my Triple A to self-improvement: be more aware; take appropriate actions and adapt accordingly to reach your goals in life.

Cheers and Happy January to you!

 

Until next time,

Just like friendship, genuine muscle requires a lot of time and hard work to be built and sustained. You do this by adopting an 'adaptive strategy' of self-tuning. Vv.

Just like friendship, genuine muscle requires a lot of time and hard work to be built and sustained.
You do this by adopting an ‘adaptive strategy’ of self-tuning.
Vv.

Standard
adaptation, basics of training, change, fundamentals, muscles, Strength training

3 important fundamentals to consider when you lift weights.

A good teacher is hard to find but finding a good student is even harder. Plan the work - to work the plan. Photo: discussing fine points of one of my programs with retired legend of rugby - Phil Waugh.

A good teacher is hard to find but finding a good student is even harder.
Plan the work – to work the plan.
Photo: discussing fine points of one of my programs with retired legend of rugby – Phil Waugh.

The Rugby World Cup is kicking off in a few days-time with the hosts (England) going up against Pacific Island Rugby Powerhouse Nation, Fiji in the opening match. Wow, what a game that will be. I’m looking forward to watching it.

The Australian Wallabies are hoping they can repeat history and win the title for the third time but they also have to contend with the other countries’ title aspirations too.

One thing is certain, all the coaches of these national rugby teams have tried their very best to simulate the conditions of the games in the World Cup in their training methods. Some coaches and players have been lucky enough to be a part of previous World Cups and some very lucky ones have also experienced what it is like to win.

However, no preparation can prepare you fully for the real thing. The pressure can be quite overwhelming for everyone involved. Some people excel and some crumble (I witnessed this in the two World Natural Bodybuilding Championships I took part in). I’m sure every rugby player clearly understands his responsibilities to himself and then to his team. But knowing your goals is one thing, understanding the terrain and types of conditions you have to go through (and still perform as you planned) is another.

This is where experience counts.

Body-building is no different with the approach (no matter what level you’re at): before you can begin a journey of any kind, it is critical that you understand the terrain. This journey can be likened to one of self-discovery, of increased awareness.

In the journey, you will learn the limitations of your own body (no matter what level you are at in your health and fitness). The players in the World Cup will also learn of their limitations and capabilities in the games they face.

In my experience in helping people over the last two decades, no two people are exactly the same. Believe me when I say that no two bodies are exactly the same.

No two.

With this said, let me highlight 3 of the fundamentals of training you should consider:

Helping Chris close the gap between how he imagines himself to be and what he sees in the mirror. Or in other words: Manifesting the 'unfolding universe' of his 'enfolded' invisible universe (what he imagines/dreams) Vv

Helping Chris close the gap between how he imagines himself to be and what he sees in the mirror.
Or in other words: Manifesting the ‘unfolding universe’ of his ‘enfolded’ invisible universe (what he imagines/dreams)
Vv

To breathe and to breathe properly.

We need oxygen to stay alive. We are all acutely aware of this.

However, how many of us pay close attention to how well we breathe? I have found over the years that many people know a little bit of something but most people don’t do it well. I always tell my students to ask themselves the question: How well am I doing this?

This could apply to everything in life. For example, most people who go to the gym have some idea of how to do a bicep curl with dumbells. Most of these same people don’t ask themselves how well are they doing the exercise. So, a lot of people can be doing it a certain way for years and doing it wrong for all that time.

It’s the same for something as simple as breathing – are you breathing well? Ask yourself the question – “how well am I breathing?” Deep breathing should be part of every person’s daily life from the moment you wake up in the morning. We need to try and flush our lungs with as much oxygen as we can when we are not exercising too.

Understanding how to breathe properly while executing weight-bearing exercises is very important. You put yourself at high risk of injury if you breathe incorrectly. Few people take the time to breathe deeply during the course of the day. The importance of this practise to the quality of your life over time should not be underestimated.

You need to ‘know’ your breathing and understand how to control it – to control its rhythms.

We all know that oxygen is vital to life, it powers your engine room – your metabolism throughout the day. It is pumped via blood to the trillions of cells throughout the human body, taking with it nutrients and the essence of life.

Breathing, proper breathing, breathes more life, more energy in to yourself – your being and is critical to the creation of new muscle.

The philosophy you follow heavily influences whether you achieve your goals in life or not.

The philosophy you follow heavily influences whether you achieve your goals in life or not.

Frequency of training

A critical question before setting out on a journey is knowing clearly what it is that you would like to achieve, similar to what results would you like to achieve in the gym? Another question most aspiring body-builders ask themselves is the age-old question of how much should you train to get the result you’re looking for?

I was asked this question by a student of mine recently and I told him that three days a week is sufficient. Does that surprise you? Well, it shouldn’t if you know what you’re doing and you train with efficiency and effectiveness in mind within a plausible, well-tested philosophy.

I’ve seen it many times before over the last two decades in the gym where men (and women) believe that they need to train five or six days per week to get stronger or increase size. Well, I have one thing to say about that – you don’t need to!

Training six or seven days a week will not triple your strength or double your size. You’ve got to understand another critical thing – muscle grows and your body recovers and repairs itself when you rest. Weight training more than three times a week is simply over-training depending on your experience and age.

Your body and in particular, your muscle tissue is broken down when you train and rebuilds itself when you are at rest. The body is forced to adapt to the stimulus you provide through training and it is in the process of adaptation that the muscle grows. Not before.

Instead of building lean muscle mass and moving towards their desired physical look, most people lifting weights (body-builders) are usually over-trained and even people who have been doing it for a long time are unaware that they are actually losing hard-earned muscle.

Knowing and scheduling in rest days in-between your training days is a key fundamental principle to consider and apply appropriately.

Practise does not make perfect - perfect practise makes perfect. Vv

Practise does not make perfect – perfect practise makes perfect.
Vv

Training ‘split’ or weekly training routine

The ideal ‘split’ for people is a Monday, Wednesday and Friday sessions and from experience, the majority of people like this split. The other good alternative is Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday schedule.

Find one that works for you and stick to it. Having enough sense to stick with something, anything – a chore, a task or a workout training routine – until its completed, pays off.

Remember ‘stickability’ is 95 percent of ability.

Keep these fundamentals in mind if and when you decide to make the journey of self-discovery with weight-training.

All the best.

Until next time,

Abdominals/Thighs Pose at the 2007 World Natural Bodybuilding Championships held in NY, USA. Ranked: 4th Best Natural Bodybuilder in the World.

Abdominals/Thighs Pose at the 2007 World Natural Bodybuilding Championships held in NY, USA.
Ranked: 4th Best Natural Bodybuilder in the World.

I like this hat.

I like this hat.

Standard
adaptation, awareness, body, Body shape, body weight

Bulking up vs building up.

Using my framework to help individuals of all ages, shapes and sizes to help themselves become THE BEST they IMAGINE THEMSELVES TO BE. Photo: an A+ pupil Phil Waugh - retired Legend of Rugby, Ex-Australian Wallaby & Waratah Captain. Knowing is potential power. Doing is Real Power. Knowing the right time to apply both is essential to goal achievement.

Using my framework to help individuals of all ages, shapes and sizes to help themselves become THE BEST they IMAGINE THEMSELVES TO BE.
Photo: an A+ pupil Phil Waugh – retired Legend of Rugby, Ex-Australian Wallaby & Waratah Captain.
Knowing is potential power. Doing is Real Power. Knowing the right time to apply both is essential to goal achievement.

I have heard many, many reasons of wanting to lift weights from people in the gym over the last 23 years. Many myths are still being propagated too.

There is one such myth that still exists regarding the approach to take to building muscle and that is – “bulking up”.

A lot of men think that “bulking up’ equates to putting on muscle. They think it is the best or only way of building up their muscles. They think that just because they have put on 5kg in a month means that they have built 5kg of muscles.

I have news for you: It does not work that way!

I see it all the time, young men (and dare I say women, too) believing the myth that if they go through a ‘bulking up’ phase, they would see extra muscles when they trimmed down.

In my 23 years of weight training I have put on close to 15kg of lean body mass – not weight, muscle! That’s just over half kilo of lean muscle per year. Not much when you view it this way aye?

Yeah, but taking the ‘tortoise approach’ to building muscle is not the key message. Building up is important, yes, holding on to the hard-earned muscle is more important. Remember this: build it up, then do everything in your power to hang on to those precious muscles.

You see, in all these years, I have not gone out and purposely aimed to ‘bulk up’. I have always seen myself as a work-in-progress and have always been (and still am) in the ‘building up’ stage even after all these years. There are just different phases of ‘building up’.

Muscle does not convert in to fat and fat does not convert in to muscle. Period!

You should not try to gain weight just for the sake of it in an effort to look bigger or ‘bulk up’. Building quality lean body mass (muscle) takes time and patience and relies heavily on genetic pre-dispositions.

With the goal of bulking up, it would highly likely be that a high percentage of your bulk weight would come from unwanted fat. Yes, you will put on bulk and weight but you will look ‘smooth’ and fat deposits will settle on areas of your body that you may not be happy about.

When you have a mind-set of ‘building up’ your muscle density, you encourage your body to become more metabolically efficient because every hard-earned muscle ounce you build becomes a ‘fat-burning dynamo’! Your engine room or metabolism (the rate at which your body burns energy) gets bigger and bigger. I could liken it to a small car engine (say a 1.8L) compared to an 8.0L or a V8.

Fully focused! A true warrior &  champion.  Focusing on making every repetition of every set of every exercise as ideal as possible.  Practise does not make perfect - Perfect practise makes perfect! Photo: Retired Champion Ex-Australian Wallaby & Waratahs Captain and player in action under my watchful eyes.

Fully focused!
A true warrior & champion.
Focusing on making every repetition of every set of every exercise as ideal as possible.
Practise does not make perfect – Perfect practise makes perfect!
Photo: Retired Champion Ex-Australian Wallaby & Waratahs Captain and player in action under my watchful eyes.

More muscle equals more engine power (even at rest)!

Huge difference in energy consumption and power output. Huge difference in body composition and ultimately body shape. The mirror would reflect this.

You feel better, you look better and you wear your clothes better. You make the clothes ‘look good’!

Working out with the goal of building up a physique is far safer and a smarter way to go about your weight training than simply aiming to bulk up just to trim down later. You don’t have to work hard to lose what you put on in the first place.

So, focus on building up rather than bulking up.

Keep your training continuous and simple. Aim to put on good, quality, lean body mass (muscle). It might take longer but it is better. So what does it take? It takes vision (of a better you), a workable plan and the work ethic (discipline, consistency and persistence) to execute, with patience.

We all know that life is not a dress-rehearsal. Do you live every day like it was your last? Ask yourself: Have you got what it takes?

To build muscle, remember to leave your ego at the door of the gym and remind yourself that it is body-shape, not body-weight that matters.

Compare, say, a 75kg person with 15% body-fat than a 75kg person with 35% body-fat. They both weigh the same, but they will have totally different body-shapes and the latter person would more than likely have higher health risks.

This is why only focusing on your body-weight and not your body-shape (body composition) does not give you the full picture. Always aim to increase your muscle : fat ratio.

So, aim for building up rather than bulking up and help yourself manage one of your physical health and life risks.

Build up that engine room. Build up that ‘revving power’!

Then ….

Drive safely through the roads you decide to take as you journey through your life.

All the best!

Until next time,

Side triceps pose. Contest: Australian Natural Bodybuilding Titles. Placing: 2nd.

Side triceps pose.
Contest: Australian Natural Bodybuilding Titles.
Placing: 2nd.

Life COACH. Valentine Vitality Coaching Services.

Life COACH.
Valentine Vitality Coaching Services.

All B&W photos by: Robert Walsh of Robert Walsh Photography. Visit: “www.robertwalsh.com.au” and see how this great artist may be able to help you. Vv.

Standard
adaptation, awareness, belief systems, body, choices, Energy, Goals, long-term strategy, mind, muscles, perspective, planning, truths, workout

Top 3 Keys to what I think a successful workout is. Key #1: SIMPLICITY.

_MG_9866-1

What my definition of a successful workout is would most likely be very different to yours or anyone else’s. It means a different thing to different people – number of sets done; how much weight you have lifted; how quick you have performed the workout etc.

It’s a personal thing.

To me, a successful workout is when my mind, body, heart and soul becomes ONE. It is when I become one with the weight I am lifting, when the machine or free weight becomes an natural extension of me. It is when I am at one of my most vulnerable points: when I feel I am strongest and yet so weak.

A successful workout to me is a stepping stone to a vision of how you imagine yourself to be. It is a building block you have placed on the bridge that takes you from where you currently are to where you would like to be. Like a chameleon, a successful workout teaches you more about yourself along the road of re-engineering a better you – through constant adaptation.

It is through adaptation that one generates muscle – good, quality, clean muscle. Individual muscle groups that ‘flow’ together like a champion team where no player is bigger than the team. It is about the fusion of art and science; of chaos and order; of a constant cycle of destruction, repair and love.

Many things go in to a workout but if I had to sum it up with my Top Key Variables, after 23 years of slugging it in the gym, my perception of what a perfect workout are:

  • Simplicity (basic)
  • Efficiency and effectiveness ( I call this ‘elegance’)
  • Orderly (chaotic but purposeful – and slightly sophisticated)

I would like to elaborate on one of these key factors in this blog today: SIMPLICITY.

Don’t copy-cat other peoples’ workouts you may glean over from the internet. This limits your capacity to truly be YOU. Developing a strong sense of whom and what you are about nearly always contributes toward making the right choices with exercises in your workouts. Keep it simple as I believe this ensures success, not only in the area of body re-engineering but also in other areas of life.

Simplicity is simply ‘pure and uncomplicated’. It is being authentic to yourself.

It is freedom from distractions and ‘fluff’. This includes not getting caught up on how ‘fancy’ the gym you’re training at is; not being so in awe on the types of equipment your gym has or the exciting new lighting colours; not focusing on how much weight you lifted or how many repetitions you performed.

No, this is not simplicity – this is more clutter! Unnecessary clutter, which you don’t need more of in your life. You need to always remind yourself to make the complex –simple.

Simplicity is when a workout has a basic design – it has ‘old school’ basics perfectly blended together with a modern-twist and exercises that assist with daily life, with safety in mind. It is a perfect fit, like the way a perfect glove fits your hand. Every exercise is chosen and executed with an alignment with your ultimate physical goals – of where you desire to be.

Simplicity is working out with a clarity of purpose and with the best choices of exercise that reinforces that clarity and cutting out all the “Bull@hit”!

So, I strive to achieve a “successful” workout each and every time I enter the gym, being fully aware of the energy levels at any point in time. Simplicity and the other two key elements are in my mind before, during and post work-out. It is this combination which is a perfect blend of orderliness and chaos that brings me closer to a perfect workout.

And it will do the same for you, if you try. Try again if you fail the first time. It might take a little getting used to, but you will get there. Never, ever give up (something I remind my children when they are facing a challenge and want to throw in the towel).

The key thing is to keep things simple. Any fool can get complicated; it takes a genius to be simple – uncluttered. Find that genius in you, if you haven’t already.

Now, I hope you understand a little bit more about what I consider an ideal and ‘successful workout’. It is partly this focus that helps me and further increases awareness in and educate all my current and past pupils. With my unique framework, I am very grateful to be in a position to help people help themselves find their best selves.

Become aware. Apply sufficient and appropriate action. Adapt accordingly.

Train SMART!

Until next time,

VVc_logo_cropped

Standard
action, awareness, body, Body shape, Energy, Goals, habits, long-term strategy, mind, muscles, planning, respect, risk, workout

Take care of your “set of wheels”.

2007 World Natural Bodybuilding Championships staged in NY, USA. Represented: Australia. Placing: 4th. Repeated this in 2008.

2007 World Natural Bodybuilding Championships staged in NY, USA.
Represented: Australia.
Placing: 4th.
Repeated this in 2008.

Now, I know some of you may love your cars and affectionately refer to them in many ways, including a ‘set of wheels’, and I am sure many of you take good care of your set of wheels. Let me tell you a story about the first time I heard that phrase.

One day, early on in my body-building years, during a break from my ‘set’, I gazed out the window and down at the cars parked on the road (the gym was on the 1st floor), when the owner, came up to me and said –

“Son, you’ve got a good set of wheels there.”

I said “umm, no none of those cars there are mine. I jogged to the gym”.

He laughed and said that he wasn’t referring to the cars as he looked down at my legs. He pointed to my legs and said –

“those wheels – you’ve got a good set of wheels!”

I was a little embarrassed about the mis-understanding but I thanked him for the compliment.

Over the last 23 years of training with weights in the gym, I have managed to invest more time in those wheels he was referring to and the other body parts, with the goals of – balance and symmetry in mind. Sculpturing the most proportional physique that my genetic potential would allow. This harmony of the ‘flow-of-muscle’ has helped me represent Australia twice at the World Natural Body-building Championships and placed in the top 4 in consecutive years.

In all this time, I can proudly say that I have managed to stay relatively injury-free and have not seen a physio or chiro in that time for any serious injury. One of the contributing reasons is that how much weight I lift has been close to irrelevant to building my muscles and being considered one of the best natural body-builders in the world. What matters is QUALITY not QUANTITY. I have a ‘safety-first’ approach to training that does not hinder me or my client’s achieving the goals they desire.

I have never allowed the amount of weight I lift to be a critical factor of my progress. What mattered to be me has always been two things:

  1. Control
  2. Feel

If I am not feeling the muscle and am not in control of the weight I am lifting then I am not building muscles in the most effective way. I am not maximizing my muscle growth potential. I always believed that to build good, quality muscle, one has to ‘leave ones’ ego at the door of the gym’.

I have seen it since I started lifting weights all those years ago and I still see it today, sadly, in increasing numbers amongst youth today – people using too much weight.

Aiming to build better wheels by using too much weight for movements like squats is like trying to bench too much, bouncing the bar off your chest and generally with very poor form. Not good at all. Flat Bench pressing with too much weight has been the primary reason that shoulder injuries is the most common injury sustained by men world over.

Not worth it, not good.

Why would you want to do that – overestimate how much weight you can lift or perform countless repetitions of a particular exercise with very bad form and for no particular purpose? Most people unfortunately use a scatter-gun approach to training and hope that what they are doing will get them to their goals.

So, back to my set of wheels analogy story, unless you just happen to have very strong legs and can train with huge poundages easily and copy the mass monsters you see on you-tube, there is just no need to try to squat 600 to 800 pounds.

As with any other body-part, use the appropriate amount of weight for the set/rep scheme you’re using, no more and no less. You need to remind yourself that you’re in the gym to train the muscle, not to impress the people around you with how much weight you can lift.

I have always said you should aim to “work the muscle, not the joint”.

So, it follows that if you’re aiming to build muscle and a more aesthetic, pleasing physique, remember that the actual amount of weight you use is irrelevant. You’re body-building, not power-lifting or weight-lifting or any other modern-day activities that are “off-shoots” of body-building, where measurements and numbers play a pivotal role. Knowing how much weight you can press or how many repetitions you can perform is how millions of weight-training enthusiasts all over the world, injure themselves.

Work on your set of wheels and build them with control and feel, with continuous tension and simplicity. Maximize muscle and minimise risks to knee joints.

Take care of your set of wheels, don’t damage them beyond repair. You don’t want to have to replace your knees and hips too early in your life.

Build your brawn with brain. Remember: You’re in the gym to help yourself, not hurt yourself.

Train hard. Train SMART.

 

Until next time,

Back lats spread a few weeks prior to the Australian Natural Bodybuilding Titles. Placing: 2nd in Australia.

Back lats spread a few weeks prior to the Australian Natural Bodybuilding Titles.
Placing: 2nd in Australia.

A slight variation on the compulsory "Front Double Biceps' bodybuilding pose. With this one ... I'd say you reach for the stars. Contest: 2007 World Natural Bodybuilding Championships held in NY, USA. Ranked: 4th Best Natural Bodybuilder in the World.

A slight variation on the compulsory “Front Double Biceps’ – a signature pose of mine.
Contest: 2007 World Natural Bodybuilding Championships held in NY, USA.
Ranked: 4th Best Natural Bodybuilder in the World.

Standard
action, adaptation, awareness, body, diet, eating, Energy, Goals, habits, muscles

Eating right actually takes less time than you think. Tip # 8: Limit and substitute your cups of coffee.

Paul V2 (1)

Not too long ago I was guilty of having one-too-many with this one.

It can be addictive.

I admit I drank anywhere between 3 and 5 cups of black coffee per day. I have worked my way down to a maximum of 3 a day, taken at the right time. But I have implemented an important change and it is my primary suggestion in this blog.

What about you? Do you have coffee? How much do you have per day?

When used sensibly, caffeine-rich beverages can be a smart ‘pick-me-up’ drink to boost your alertness and satisfy your caffeine ‘hit’ during your work day. It fires your adrenaline which in turn helps mobilize fat cells and taps in to stores of glycogen (stored carbohydrates) for energy.

Here’s my suggestion or tip (Tip # 8): Try to limit your succeeding cups of coffees by switching one or two cups of coffee with decaffeinated tea.

I must admit I have learned this one off my wife who is quite diligent in substituting caffeinated-free tea for cups of coffee. I learned that it can surely trick your body in to thinking its getting what its used to, without adding extra calories (depending on how you take it) to your daily total.

Even if you drink your coffee like I do (straight black), I have also learned that too much of it can still be one of the reasons your progress in body re-engineering is stalling. You see, excess caffeine triggers more of the release of the stress-hormone “cortisol”. Why is this not ideal? Well, the cortisol regulates many biological functions – from blood pressure to efficiently using the proteins, fats and carbohydrates that you consume.

Sound good? Yes it might sound good but having too much cortisol in your system can be detrimental to your brain, leak calcium from your bones and may lower your immune system.

Not good.

Coffee (black coffee) can certainly assist you in losing fat but only when used at the right time. When should you use it to maximize fat loss? I try and take it 20 to 30 minutes prior to my cardio session or workout as this is shown to assist in the mobilization of more fat cells and use.

However, like I mentioned earlier, excess caffeine taken at the wrong time, can have a negative impact on your weight loss too. Excess cortisol raises insulin levels as your sugar levels rise. This encourages the body to store the excess calories as fat.

Again, not good.

Also, coffee acts as a diuretic and so forces water out of your body via increased toilet visits. In fact for every cup of coffee you drink, you may likely need to drink two cups of water to replace the amount of liquid the coffee drink forces you to urinate out.

Not good again.

This is not good but compounds this effect is that people replace this first cup of coffee with another cup and so become even more water de-hydrated. This is not ideal also in your quest for building and keeping good lean muscle mass.

If you find yourself in this situation do yourself a favour and stop this cycle now by substituting that second cup of coffee with a de-caffeinated cup of tea.

I thank my beautiful and loving wife, Cathy for this one.

It should only take you a minute of your time.

Total estimated time for previous 7 tips (b/f) = 20 minutes

Add time for this tip (Tip #8) = 1 minute

Total estimate time to apply All Tips (8) = 21 minutes.

My top 8 practical Tips to a better, healthier you takes only an estimated 21 minutes out of your day. Safely, supporting my original goal of proving to you that my top 10 tips to eating healthy takes less time than you think – in this instance it should take you a grand total of 21 minutes to eat healthy in your day.

Don’t tell yourself that you don’t have the time to do this. Instead ask yourself  can you afford not to do it.

Apply Action.

Adapt.

Try it. Feel better!

 

Until next time,

_MG_9765

Standard
action, awareness, Body shape, dreams, Energy, game of life, Goals, Imagination, muscles, risk, workout, you

The BEST workouts – the fusion of chaos and structure.

Relaxed with dumbells.

Relaxed with dumbells.

After 23 years of gym training, I would define my best workouts as what the subject heading states.

The best workouts are the ones that ‘flow’. It is the fusion or culmination of chaos and structure.

You want your workouts to be a continuous progression of 15 to 60 second ‘focused moments’ within a rough plan. Chaos and structure fused together. You want a workout to hang together like a champion team with many muscle parts moving along cohesively as ‘one’ with one objective.

So, how do you make your workouts more orderly and have structure? How do you go from the myriad of workout possibilities and the chaos of research and conception to the necessary order of the actual workout? How do you choose between low reps or high reps? Which is better? Should you use heavy weights or moderate weights or feather weights? How long should you rest between sets? So many questions, so many answers.

Its neither in the questions nor the answers. Its in the intention. Your intention.

It can all get quite confusing and overwhelming, so much so that it would stop well-intentioned beginners in their tracks enough to quit even before they get started. Very sad indeed. They have so much information, most of which contradicts one another and so it leaves them with a feeling of not knowing where to start.

What I have always tried to do in almost all areas of my life is to manage my funnels better, to keep things simple. This includes my approach to my gym training. Keep this in mind.

When it comes to muscle, building quality muscle it is very similar to life itself. It builds on two principles:

1. Simplicity
2. Continuity

Here’s what I find helps:

1.Visualize and simulate.

In other words I try to arrive at my completed workout (in my mind) before I begin it.

I always have a ‘rough plan’ in mind. Here, a rough plan is like the scaffolding of a non-existing building, its there and provides structure and a bit of security but I don’t usually stick to it like glue. Nope, most of the time I do something completely different.

So, I have a rough plan – but I don’t stick to it!

“Why have a plan?” you may be thinking.

Well, I have found over the years that a rough plan will serve you better than an elaborate one or none at all when it comes to getting the best experience and results from workouts. You see, workouts generally have a way of making itself up as you go along due to the many variables you are faced with when you are in the gym within a rough plan.

Some variables you may likely experience is fluctuating energy levels, unavailability of machines, lack of focus, lack of sleep, rude patrons and so on.

2. Know what your goals are: be specific and then stick to it!

Whilst a rough plan is ideal, knowing what your specific training goals are is critical and will serve you much better than a general, loose one. You need to know what it is you’re trying to achieve before you go lift any kind of weights. What are you striving for – strength, power, endurance, better shapely physique? For example, if you want to train for strength then training like a marathon runner in the gym will highly likely end in disappointment.

Know where you stand and where you mean to go and be very clear about it. A workout is also not meant to be a walk in the park or sleep walk!

3. Dream it before you lift it.

Workouts are usually more enjoyable and shorter when its been thought through first. That is what I have concluded in my over two decades of deliberate practice of contracting and extending skeletal muscles in my entire body.

I ask myself questions – what am I trying to do here with this set of this particular exercise? What am I trying to achieve? How well am I doing each rep of each set of each exercise? What am I trying to feel after doing it? What am I looking for? Unless you’ve got answers to those questions, you’d better keep your hands away from those weights or don’t rush in to it or you may increase your risk of injuries. Better still, seek help from a suitably experienced professional.

Whilst training goals and a rough plan gives you structure and order the danger is that you can spend all your time planning and doing nothing. The truth is we discover weight training through training. Its that simple. You do your hardest training doing the training, the actual physical lifting – not in your mind.

A workout process gives you that sense of achievement at its completion among other things. Out of the process of its own unraveling. Out of the process itself chaotic – the thinking of the sets of the exercises and the order of the exercises that make up each workout and then the execution of the actual physical workout.

.. the road ahead .. 

It is through trial and error and deliberate practice over time that a genuine gym enthusiast discovers what it is he or she is really trying to achieve and how he or she needs to bind it together in some order – some framework. He finds his or her muscle success formula.

You may find you asking yourself how each set you doing of a particular exercise contributes to your physical goal. I know I have always done so and still do.

If you’re diligent enough you may find yourself getting to the end of each set doing it rhythmically, economically and competently and moving progressively towards your specific goals. This is ideal.

You may find yourself feeling one of the best feelings you could feel in your lifetime, a feeling that only a few gym enthusiasts feel. I have trained people that have trained for over 30 years and have not felt this feeling.

This is a feeling that is as elusive as the Tasmanian tiger. You see anyone can lift weights but not many people get to learn to lift weights the right way and really ‘feel’ what you’re meant to feel in the worked muscle and your whole body. All my clients past and present feel it in their workouts. Its a gift from me to them.

A feeling that all bodybuilders refer to as the ‘pump’.

A feeling that I call the ‘essence’. A feeling that is climaxed through the ideal reps of the ideal set which makes for the best workout – the fusion of chaos and structure in and out of the gym. Its almost like daily living in some ways.

… but that essence ain’t vanilla essence!

You friend in muscle and body transformation success,

 

Until next time,

Paul V2 (1)

Standard