So you've been training for a decent time. You've made some gains. In strength, in muscle, in fat loss. But after a few weeks you stopped progressing. No amount of bench pressing, curls and crunches can make you progress again. You blame everyone for your fail. Bad genetics, crappy gym environment, wrong lunar phase, politics etc. But reality is quite opposite. You just suck. And suck hard. And your program sucks. And, of course, your diet sucks too. As well as your overall approach to everything in life.
Guess Who Is Your Worst Enemy?
You and only you. Never blame anyone except yourself for your fails. You are the the only one person who can take action over your life (or take no action at all) and that's the person you should blame. There's a good proverb: "If you want to change something start with yourself". So start. You can use help if you need. That's nothing wrong with it. But there's no such personal trainer that will do everything for you. I'm big believer in hard work. If you want to get something valuable out of any endeavor then you should put some serious work into it. As my experience shows this rule can be applied to any situation in life. If you can get something without any effort then you won't understand its value. There are tons of people with better than average genetics but they don't appreciate what they have because they don't pay the price of hard work. Ask any successful businessman about hard work and he will tell you what hard work is.
And if you think that you don't need to put in hard work to get results think again. I had a conversation recently about diet. After my tips on the right diet approach the person who I was consulting said to me: "You know, holidays are coming and I won't be doing all the stuff you told me". So I replied: "No big deal. You'll just remain fat and ugly". I don't care whether it's holidays or not. Holidays are 2-3 days out of the month. You have at least 26 days to eat right so don't fool yourself or anybody else. You are fat because of you. You are weak because of you. You have no muscle also because of you.
The Importance of Understanding...
...that processes in your body don't get any better with time and never will. Your metabolism gets worse and worse with every day. You'll get fatter and fatter with age (if you're not lucky ripped bastard). You need to understand that if you're not happy with your health/strength/look then you're doing something wrong. You need to cultivate the habit of exercising and eating right in you. And yes, you'll need to exercise and eat healthy till your death. There's no way around this. If you think that you'll just exercise and eat right for 3 months or so and then get back to your old sitting-and-eat-all-the-cakes routine then you are totally wrong. It's not a quick fix. Bring back the bad habit and you'll get back to where you started in no time. It may sound pretty rough but the truth is what important. I guess it's time to wrap up. I think, you got my point. Thanks for reading. Share and comment.
As you all can read I decided to devote today's post to excuses. It's like a plague. Like a disease. It seems like more and more people today get infected. You can see and hear it everywhere. "I'm too old", "I'm too tall", "I'm too skinny", "I'm too fat", "I have wide bones", "I have long limbs", "I have bad genetics", "It's wrong lunar phase", "I don't have time for training", "I can't afford good diet", "I can't sleep 8 hours per day", well, enough. You got my point. Sometimes it seems that people spend more time on creating excuses than on actually doing something. I'd like to repeat myself one more time.
Stop Making Excuses
Again, stop making excuses once and for all. If you want your life to change then do something, give it pretty good reason to change. If you are tired of being weak skinny fat maggot then change it. Your situation won't change by itself. Life doesn't work that way. You need to demand things from life. In other case you risk to wait for things to change forever. Just imagine, you're going to die in couple of days and you've just understood that all your life was just a wait for nothing. Pretty dark picture, right? How to avoid this situation? Do something, right now.
So Are You Too Old for Strength Training?
No. Period. Dave Draper (pictured above) doesn't care about his age. He trains and looks awesome as well as performs. And so should you. It's never too late to exercise, as well as it's never too late to change your life. Start training. You need not much except the strong burning desire. Thanks to Rough Strength you have all the "keys", all the information you'll ever need on how to train and eat. You can train strength just with your bodyweight. No gym memberships, almost no equipment (except some floor space, wall and sturdy tree branch or overhead pipe), just your body. Do some push-ups right now. Of course, you won't break world records, but you'll be able to gain decent amount of strength (remember John Grimek?), build some muscle, lose fat, stay healthy, live longer and be awesome. It's definitely better than what you are now. Just watch the video of this guy:
I think, muscle-ups in his age are nothing but awesome.
Fuck excuses! Make things happen. Start right now. How much time do you have? The answer is much less than you expect. Don't waste your most precious resource. Go reach your dreams. Thanks for reading. If you're awesome then like and share. Spread the knowledge.
Here's a guest post on training mechanics from Logan Christopher. You probably should know him for his feats of strength. If not then you should take a closer look at this guy. He knows what he's talking about. - AZ
Many people have trouble figuring out how to integrate different tools into their workouts. I do not, and by the end of this article you shouldn’t either. Or they go a long ways with neglecting a major movement group in the human body.
As an example in the workout I just finished up today I worked on heavy deadlifts in a full range of motion and partials, frog stand presses up into a handstand, a progression towards the one arm chin, and finished with L-sits.
As you’ll see this one workout hit the major muscles and movements of the body. So let’s break it down.
To put it simply this is your arms moving out from your body. Here are a few examples:
- Military Press
- Side Press
- Bench Press
- Sandbag Push Press
- Cable Press Out
- Kettlebell Bottoms Up Press
When you do any sort of press you tend to be working the triceps, the shoulders and often the chest. Different variations work different parts more or less. For example the bottoms up kettlebell press adds a grip component to everything else. The cable press out isolates the triceps in a plane that isn’t generally trained. The push press regardless of object used adds in the legs, but then generally heavier weights can be used. (The jerk could be included here but relies heavily on the legs.)
You can also look at the different planes of movement. Handstand pushups and military presses work the vertical plane. Pushups and bench presses work the horizontal plane. You can go between these as well, like an incline bent, and outside too. The side press is both vertical pressing and out to the side.
Depending on your goals you may use different tools and different exercises. But no matter what you’re doing you absolutely should include some form of press in your training.
This is when your arms move into your body and is done with bent arms at some point in the movement. Here are a few examples:
- Barbell Row
- One Arm Dumbbell Row
- Upright Row
- Inverted Rows
- Lat Pulldown
- Barbell Snatch
Pulls tend to work the biceps, the lats and the traps. As before other muscles can be involved. The clean and snatch heavily use the legs. The upright row uses the shoulders too.
Again we can look at the planes of movement. More rows are done in a horizontal plane like two arm or one arm rows. Chinnups works the overhead vertical plane, while cleans and snatches work the same plane from the other direction.
Once again, you have many choices but you would be wise to include at least one major pulling movement in your training.
Along with traditional squats I would add in this category deadlifting, jumping and running. All these work the legs in a major way. (Sure some deadlifts minimize the use of the legs but I’m trying to keep it simple. Some people like to break it down into straight arms pulls like deadlifts and swings, but I find three groups works fine.)
- Back Squats
- Front Squats
- Hindu Squats
- Sumo Deadlift
- Conventional Deadlift
- Kettlebell Goblet Squat
- Kettlebell Swings
- Kettlebell Snatches
The legs involve a large portion of the mass in the body. They need to be worked and often its good to hit them in two or more ways. Make sure both the hamstrings and the quads are getting a good amount of work, not to mention the calves.
Because bodyweight exercises tend to become easy after a period of training (even with one legged squats) to continue to improve you’ll either need to move to weights or continue by adding intensity with speed and explosiveness.
The Smaller Three
Its hard to call these lesser then the others but they do tend to be smaller.
Once you have the big three covered I would add these in. Many people do ab work, few people do grip work, and almost no one does direct neck work, which is a shame.
My favorites for these are various types of leg raises, all kinds of grip tools, and then bridging for the neck. But those are big subjects in and of themselves, which will have to be covered elsewhere.
Remember that this is simplified to help you out. Don’t freak out when you can’t easily place a clubbell swing in the groups or don’t know where a burpee goes. Just use this as a tool when it serves your purposes and forget about it went its not.
Also this just covers the strength base, but if you want to be even more well rounded you’ll need to add in endurance training, and possibly some speed, flexibility and mobility work depending on where you‘re at.
But if you understand the basic movement breakdown of the human body you can easily tell if a workout program is complete or not. You’ll notice the majority of the great ones out there do include all these groups. Also you can put together your own workouts easily. And you can seamlessly integrate different tools together.
Logan Christopher runs Legendary Strength where you can get the Peak Performance Trinity by signing up for free which includes tips on physical training, health & nutrition and mental training. He specializes in bodyweight and kettlebell training but includes barbells and a wide variety of feats of strengths.
Well, here you go. This is simple and basic. Everyone who is involved in strength training should understand these simple principles. Everything is ok but I should add here one more plane. It's Straight Arm Scapular Strength. It's the concept I was introduced to by Ido Portal. It derives from gymnastics. And for overall strength development you need to add it to your program. Thanks for reading.
Happy New Year everybody! 2011 is over. 2012 is here. Now is the best time to review and summarize everything that happened to me regarding training, nutrition and other stuff in 2011. And happened a lot. 2011 year was full of experiments and learning. It had it's own highs and lows. And that's great in my opinion. I found out so much new stuff. Something worked, something not. I started Rough Strength blog with intention to share the knowledge of what is real training about. I can't stand bullshit and shameless marketing and will always expose it anytime I can. Also I had several publications.
I've met different people, made new friends and connections, moved to another city etc. Anyway, it was year full of experience. So here we go.
Intermittent Fasting is the single best thing you can do with your diet
I'm not talking about nutrition much. Well, I've been collecting information and experience. And now I can share some thoughts with you.
I started experimenting with intermittent fasting (IF) a year ago. At first I was a bit scared. Not eating every 2-3 hours? Not eating breakfast? Late night eating? Well, mister, it's just too good to be truth. But all in all, trying IF was the single best thing I've done to my diet. The benefits are tremendous:
- No worries about food
- No bitching about skipped meals
- Elevated energy levels during fasting (I'm not kidding)
- Much less cravings
- No guilt for overeating
- Improved health
- Improved strength
- Improved fat loss and much more
Well, if I need to describe IF in one word then I'd say "freedom". It's real dieting freedom. You're dieting without noticing it. I never liked eating breakfast. It was always the hardest meal of the day for me. Why I ate it? Because current nutritional dogma states that you NEED to eat breakfast because otherwise your muscle will shrink away, and because those who don't eat breakfast will never gain muscle and burn fat. And you know what? I dropped eating breakfast and nothing bad happened. Even contrary, I feel better than ever and perform better than ever. Don't be afraid to question current dogmas. Don't like eating 6-8 bird meals a day? Try IF and eat like a king. Meal frequency doesn't speed up your metabolism. Don't be fooled. Well, everything is up to you. It's always YOUR choice whether or not blindly follow something that has no scientific or at least empirical proof.
Of course, you shouldn't be a fool and assume that IF will make you ripped by itself. Calories are still matter, as well as macroratios. But dieting has never been this easy.
Low-Carb diets are NOT a "Magic Pill"
It's an old one. Yeah-yeah, everybody should know this. But there's so many people who get caught on the hook of this low-carb thing. I was one of them. And I can say from my own experience. You CAN get fat on low-carb diet. Everyone who tells you otherwise is a stupid moron and you can punch him in his face. If you think that low-carb is an answer and you won't need to estimate your calories anymore then you're dead wrong, my friend. Calorie surplus = calorie surplus. Too much is too much, and it doesn't matter whether it's meat or candies.
As for fat loss, yeah, it's not bad IF you eat sufficient amounts of calories. The next one is about calories.
The importance of control
If you want something to work then you need to control as much as possible. Why am I stressing on this? There are people who say: "Calorie counting is stupid and lame!" Well, that's not right. Actually, not knowing what you're doing is stupid and lame. There are guys with superior genetics who can eat lots of crap and train like retarded and look awesome. But they are happy minority. The majority will end up looking like crap when using such setup. Having training journal is awesome. Having food journal is "awesome" squared. Don't get too fancy. I don't mean writing down everything too precisely. Find some system that you feel comfortable with. For example, don't weigh every egg that you eat. Find an average weight and multiply it by the quantity. That's easier and more sustainable.
Bodyweight Strength Training
I discovered it in 2010. But only last year I took it seriously. And it became my biggest passion. I still love kettlebells and sandbags. But no weight training can satisfy me more than old school calisthenics.
A lot of guys think the same way (especially those who are involved in weight training): Bodyweight training? Pull-Ups and Dips? Sit-Up? Seriously? No weights? They think that it's impossible to build decent physique with calisthenics. Well, I'm sorry to shatter the tiny little dream you live in but you CAN build awesome physique with your bodyweight only. And you will master your bodyweight in the process. Also you can perform it almost anywhere. The thing is that you can add infinite amount of intensity to the upper body bodyweight exercises. As for legs, add volume, plyometrics or add some weight. I highly encourage you to try this type of training. It's simply awesome.
Low-Volume Training works.
I had success with this training protocol last year. It worked every time I used it. The reason why it works is, I guess, in adaptation of CNS to certain movement pattern. No kidding, I was able to add 1 rep a day steadily until I hit the plateau. HFT is a powerful tool in your arsenal. Use it wisely. Concentrate on less things at once and get results.
Read. It's one of the best things you can do to get smarter. Absorb as much information as you can. Then analyze it and make your own conclusions. Try new approaches, be open-minded. And, while trying, compare it to something that worked for you. If it works better then stick with it, if not then it's probably not for you or it's not the right time.
Well, this is just a part of things that happened in 2011. It's always good to see that you found out something new. I wish you to find out lots of useful stuff in 2012. I have a feeling that it would be a great year. As always, thanks for reading. Subscribe, comment, add, discuss etc.
How often does this story happens? You decide to go to the gym (or fitness club, if you prefer such gay name for the gym). You start going there for the sake of just doing something (or, if you're lucky, because there are lots of sexy chicks :)). You lift weights and work with machines. You workout for 2 hours 5 days a week. You're doing bench, incline, decline, dumbbell flies, dips. Then barbell curls, dumbbell curls, hammers, preacher curls. Then you work your lower abs, upper abs, obliques, sit-ups, crunches, leg raises. Then one day you take a picture of yourself and get a reality check. You're not ripped and muscular. You're not jacked. You're skinny-fat dude and nobody can say that you lift weights. Why is that happened? Because you're doing all wrong.