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Ten ways to improve your training part I

A couple of weeks ago Practicalpaleothic.com brought an article concerning ten ways to improve your training. The article is adressed to crossfitters but some/a lot of the advice applies to all training individuals.

Even though I’m not an athlete or someone special I’ve still learned a lot the last couple of years; especially after joining Performance Gym Aarhus and competing in the 2012 DBFF Newcomers Cup. When it comes to lifting weights many of the points in the article are valuable lessons to be learned that took me years to discover. Let’s go through the ten advice.

Set goals

This may be obvious to everyone but I still see a lot of people who just work out with no specific goal(s). “Fail to plan – plan to fail”. Setting goals will help you keep the eyes on the prize and give you direction. It will also help keep you motivated over time. It can be body composition, a specific weight on the scale or just becoming strong as f**k. Just be realistic both short and long term.

Add some active recovery training

I’m split into two on this one. While I think it is a good idea to use a foam roller, walk walks or do some GPP (maybe even some interval training – just don’t go all out) I’m not sure I would recommend this to do average trainee who only visits the gym a couple of times a week. I’m aware the article is adressed to athletes and people who work out more than the average trainee though. That being said: If you go all out in your workouts some recovery work would be very beneficial.

Learn and refine a sport

I wouldn’t know since I chose lifting weights over soccer a couple of years ago (before that I played soccer for 17 years) but the author of the article has a valid point: When you focus on a sport your training becomes more specific/oriented towards that sport which usually brings a lot of positive side effects because of the need of constant improvement or the competitive aspect (which there is very little of in bodybuilding – unless you compete). So if you’re not competing in anything taking up a new sport can help you focus your training which is always a good thing. It also relates to the tip about setting a goal.

Periodize your training

This is someone we could all learn from the pro’s; they don’t just work out – they plan their workouts over time (periodizing). You can’t go all out seven times a week, 52 weeks a year. That’s downright impossible. So by periodizing your training you can gain strength and size over time without burning out. Protocols like Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1, Stronglifts 5×5 or Sheiko’s programmes are all prime examples of how to periodize your training. Start know.

Clean up your diet

When I first started learning about nutrition in relation to body composition, strength and bodybuilding I was surprised. Surprised to learn that without proper nutrition you can litterally kill yourself in the gym using the best protocols or programmes and have little or nothing to show for it. What a letdown. But think about: If you workout 5-6 times a week for an hour and you sleep for eight hours you have 15 hours where you don’t focus on your body. That roughly translates to 60-65% of your entire day where you’re not working out or resting. And in this period you eat. So if you’re for over half the day maybe you should think about what you eat. Okay, bad explanation. In short if you eat like crap or eat too little/too much your results will reflect this. Cleaning up your diet doesn’t mean to eat strictly paleo, God forbid. In my world it’s about eating either a caloric deficit or surplus (to lose or gain weight) and choose healthy foods the majority of the time.

That’s the end of part I. Part II will be up in a couple of days.

Find the original article right here: http://bit.ly/improveyourtraining

Ohh, and feel free to like my Facebook-page.

Back to basics

Some time ago Chase Karnes of Elite FTS posted an article about gettng back to the basics.

While I really enjoyed reading the article I also felt like he didn’t acknowledge a lot of very sound training advice like tempo manipulation, drop-sets and so on. Because of that I have decided to decipher his article and give my on view on some of his points.

They [the lifters of the 70’s, red.] didn’t give a shit about a 3/2/3 tempo or any of that bullshit. Trust me—if you’re able to count any tempo on a lift, you aren’t using enough weight and you aren’t strong.

I beg to differ. One of my friends is front squatting +140 kilos in a 4010 tempo which is – by my standards – pretty strong. I’m not saying that you should focus solely on lifting tempo but ruling it out – especially if you’re training to get bigger – would be a mistake as it has it right in a hypertrophy oriented program.

Take away: Don’t focus entirely on lifting tempo but use it wisely.

At the end of the day, all that matters is that you’re moving more weight than you were last week, last month, or last year. That’s how you get bigger and stronger—doing more weight for the same amount of reps or more reps with the same amount of weight. I think some newer lifters think that basic progressive overload is too simple and won’t work for them. Bullshit.

Agreed. Progressive overloading applies to everyone.

Accessory work is important, but it isn’t nearly as important as deadlifting, squatting, overhead pressing, and benching. Too many guys get bent out of shape over their accessory work. That’s majoring in the minors, so to speak. Everyone wants to know the best accessory movement for this or that. The best one is the one that you do after you’ve worked hard on your main lifts and focused on getting stronger.[…] Put your focus there and keep it there.

Good advice.

People need to stop trying to trick themselves into thinking that they just may be getting bigger or stronger with all these fancy training protocols—tri-sets, drop-sets, muscle confusion, tempo training, short rest periods.

While this is true I still believe that some of these ‘fancy’ protocols can be used with good results. Again: Don’t put all your eggs in the same basket = use them wisely.

Stop rotating your movements so damn often. You need to learn how to squat with the barbell on your back first. You need to do this for weeks on end before you think about rotating bars or, even worse, switching to the fucking leg press to keep your body guessing. Give me a damn break. If you do the leg press over squats, you’re probably weak and will never be strong.

Agreed to some degree. Don’t change your exercises repeatedly but rotating your movements wisely when hitting a plateau or as a way to hit target muscles differently is a good way to go about it. Even then you should still focus on the big lifts. They should always be a part of your program.

Not everyone has what it takes to get big and strong. It’s just the reality of it. This shit requires hard work, dedication, discipline, and time. There isn’t any magic pill or supplement that will allow you to bypass all the hard work. If it was easy, we’d all be walking around jacked and strong. The ones who don’t have what it takes are the ones who will always be hopping around from program to program, always looking for the next new secret supplement, magic program, or top-secret exercise.

Amen.

Stop jumping on every new nutrition trend. I just want to slam my head into a wall when someone is trying to put on maximum size and strength yet talks about using intermittent fasting or ketogenic diets. Those diets aren’t designed to make you big and strong.

Again great advice even though I’ve seen people get big and strong eating paleo or intermittent fasting. Don’t jump on every trend but choose good foods and keep alcohol and sugar to a minimum – that’s the short version.

Stop worrying about your precious abs. If you lose them for a little bit, that’s fine. Eating to keep abs and wanting to be jacked and strong are two conflicting goals. I’m not saying that you should get fat or lose all regard for your physique in this process, but if your abs fade, so be it. If you’re worried that hot chicks won’t want to date you because you’ve lost your abs, two things—you’re wrong and if a girl only wants to date you because you have abs, she’s pretty shallow and not worth dating to begin with.

Even though I’m not happy to admit it he’s right: It is almost impossible to keep your abs and getting big as f***. If you want to look huge next summer, eat like it and then go on a diet to shed the excess fat. It is hard work but it is the truth. And regarding females he’s also right. Although they dig abs (and they do) they will also dig you without them.

With that out in the open I still wouldn’t recommend you to get fat. Lean bulking may be too difficult but there is no reason for you to become a fat f***. Keep that in mind.

Stop eating like a bodybuilder who’s four weeks out from his next contest or, better yet, eating strict Paleo. There isn’t anything wrong with either of those things in general, but they don’t match your goals. As Dan John says, “Look at your behaviors. Look at your goals. Do your behaviors match your goals?” You’re going to have to eat a lot of food to get big and strong. I’m not saying that your health isn’t important because it is, but there will be a time when you have to eat food that maybe isn’t considered healthy to help get in some calories. It’s the reality of it. It isn’t like you’ll be eating like this for the rest of your life.

Pretty much the same as the paragraph before this one.

  • Main movements—squat, deadlift, overhead press, bench press

  • Accessory movements—chin-ups, pull-ups, dips, front squats, lunges, incline bench, close grip bench, triceps extensions, curls, sit-ups, rollouts, hanging leg raises, planks

  • Reps—3–10 on most main movements, 10–20 reps on squats after working up to a heavy set, 8–15 reps on accessory movements

Good advice and I agree on almost everything. The set-rep range can and must be changed every now and then but all in all good advice.

Original article: http://bit.ly/kentuckystrong

Who am I?

Billede

This is not a post about me. I’m boring.

No, this is a post about a presumably pro bodybuilder who has chosen to answer every question the users of a certain board may have. And he means every question.

The users asks him about dosage (PED’s), about other competitors and life as a bodybuilder on and off stage. It’s pretty interesting to read.

It may or may not be true but personally I believe he’s telling the truth. Especially when asked what is most important (diet, training, genetics, drugs etc.). His answers was:

  1. Drugs
  2. Genetics
  3. Diet
  4. Training

Mind. Blown. Even with shitty training many pro bodybuilders are still able to be mass monsters on stage looking shredded as f*ark. Never underestimate the power of PED’s.

You’ll find the thread right here. It’s grown incredibly fast since its beginning but if you have time to sit down and savour it all you should.

Have a good one.

Guidelines to an easier diet

For most people diet is a returning necessity – and an annoying one. Whether you’re just trying to lose a few pounds because of over-indulgence over time or if you’re trying to shed some fat like the pros before beach season begins diet is a pain in the a** for the majority of people.

But diet doesn’t have to be all “chicken and broccoli” or endless walks on the threadmill (I won’t go into details regarding cardio on diet. For more on that subject check out my blog post “Sprint – and lose fat”).

The key to a succesful diet is to eat fewer calories than you burn and to hit your macros. Even though you shouldn’t base your diet on chocolate and gummi bears you don’t have to abandon all the foods you love.

If you make sure that you get lots of protein from good sources like meat, dairy, perhaps whey and you get some good fat from avocadoes, nuts, oils and fish and at the same time eat a lot of vegetables it is okay to have a piece of chocolate. Maybe you want to eat a piece of cake at work. Then do it. Just be aware that sweets and the like are very high in calories and that you have to burn more calories then you eat if you want to lose weight.

A salad and some chicken can be boring. But try using ingredients like avocado, melons and seeds/nuts to spice up your salad. Or  wrap your chicken in some turkey bacon or ham of some sort. The key is to avoid eating the same over and over again but keeping a caloric deficit through out the day.

Takeaways

  • Don’t overdo your diet. If you hit your macros and eat healthy most of the time, surely there is a place and time for some “unhealthy” foods.
  • Try to avoid eating the same over and over again. Mix up your meals.

Inspiration

Because I’m Danish here are some inspirational sites for the danes (sorry):

Fitnessopskrifter.dk

Proteinopskrifter.dk