"The simpler - the better". It is one of my mottos. The simpler - the more chances that you won't screw up in something. This principle has never failed me in whatever area of life, and especially in training and nutrition. Many people have that OCD thing. They are too obsessed with perfect amount of training intensity, frequency and volume, perfect exercise selection, perfect amount of calories, perfect macronutrients, perfect amount of sleep (of course, in perfect sleep waves) etc. Funny thing that there are no things in life that are perfect. You can be very close to perfect but never perfect. And that's the beauty of life. You will always have room for improvement. No matter how strong you are you will always have things to do to become stronger. No matter how good your Handstand, for example, or Planche you will always find little adjustments to make them better. You got the idea. But what about simplicity?
What's the Power of Simplicity?
What was all that perfection talk about? It was about people and their inability to see what matters and what not. I don't mean to shatter your tiny reality but on beginner and intermediate stages (where most of you are) you will gain strength even with not perfect program. You will build muscle even with not perfect exercise selection. You will lose fat even with not perfect diet. Be simpler. Concentrate on basics. What do you think will be more effective: if you get stronger just in Planche Push-Ups or if you will attempt to get stronger in Planche Push-Ups along with Bench Press, Weighted Dips, Regular Push-Ups, Dumbbell Flies and Incline Bench Press all at once to "hit your pecs from every angle"? Obviously, you'll have more chances for success if you concentrate on couple of things and get really good at them than if you pick a lot of things and be another mediocrity. People always ask me questions they really shouldn't be asking at their level. What is better squats or deadlifts? Can I gain muscle with calisthenics? What is better: 3 sets of 6 or 4 sets of 6? Will close-grip bench press build middle chest? Should I concentrate on my lower chest more? What is the best exercise for rear delts? I can go on and on. These are wrong questions. Concentrate on basics, get stronger and keep it simple. That's how you'll see results.
The same goes for diet. You can wake up at night to get your protein shake and don't skip any bird meal every 2-3 hours while keeping the most precise macronutrient ratio in the world. Or you can fuck that and use intermittent fasting, eat like a king couple of times per day, follow calories and macros roughly, get lean, be awesome and enjoy your life. And even with such simple diet approach like intermittent fasting people get too obsessed. When to do eating window? Should I do 4- or 8-hour eating window? Should I do complete fasting or I can eat in very small amounts? I can easily give 10 more stupid questions about intermittent fasting but I won't. Keep it simple. It was meant to make your diet easier not harder.
My point is that you don't need overly sophisticated training and diet plan to get results. You need just rough reasonable plan and burning desire to succeed. Of course, when you get to advanced levels you'll need complexity. But by that time you should already know what works for you and keep on doing it. And a special note on bodyweight exercise: don't confuse simplicity of program and ease of exercise. In calisthenics to get stronger you will need to progress to more complex exercises. For example, when you are able to perform free-standing handstand push-ups you can (and should) progress to 90 degree handstand push-ups. You got the idea. That is it. Thanks for reading and share with your brothers and sisters in strength. Feel free to comment and contact me if you need help.
I'm sick and tired of what I see. Take a look around. I don't know what situation is in your country/city but chances are that you see the same picture. I'll tell you what I see here in Ukraine. Almost everyone drinks alcohol in excessive amounts and daily. I won't be far from truth if I say that every 2 out of 3 people here are alcoholics. Almost everyone smokes cigarettes daily. Almost everyone smokes weed. Almost everyone drinks energy-drinks daily. And it's considered normal here. I see weak fat people everywhere. Everyone who tells you otherwise about this country is fucking hypocrite. But I wrote 'almost'. When people get reality check and realize that they are weak fat maggots they decide to start 'healthy' eating. They believe all the marketing hype, they don't eat after 6PM, they don't eat fried food, they don't eat fats or carbs etc, but at the same time they still drink alcohol, energy drinks, smoke and sleep for 3-4 hours per day because all their time is devoted to social networks surfing. Of course, this approach doesn't work and they decide to go to gym. Sales managers sell them gym memberships they don't really need. These people are full of motivation. They think that if they destroy themselves in the gym for 2-3 hours per day (which in reality is low-intensity machine shit and endless treadmill crap) they will get 'in shape' in several weeks. Of course they get another reality check. Most of them create excuses for themselves. They say: "I've tried it all. It doesn't work for me!" after couple of weeks. Smarter ones understand that they are wasting their time. They buy personal training services. The first right decision. But here comes another problem: not every personal trainer is good. Intelligent trainer that knows what he's doing, 'practices what he preaches', educates himself daily is one in a million. But that's not all. Even when these weak fat people get to such trainer chances are that they won't get results because of lack of discipline and laziness. They think if they got brilliant trainer results will follow by themselves. You need to put in HARD WORK if you want results! Seems like noone understands this nowadays. That is why I see women that are stronger than men. People that sell themselves for ultra-convenience they don't need. Ignorance, stupidity, immaturity and idleness. That is what I see.
Get a Warrior Attitude
What I mean by warrior attitude? I mean not being a weak fat pussy. Take charge of your life. Remember, you (and only you, not anyone else) are the one who is responsible for your current strength, look and life. You probably don't posess the worst genetics in the world and you are not doomed to be fat and weak. Get a warrior attitude to life, training and nutrition! Don't like your job? Quit. Find something you like to do. Don't like your relationship? Make it better. Can't? Don't waste another person's life. Want to look awesome? Get to the gym. Don't have time or money for the gym? Fuck that, get your own! Buy a pair of kettlebells. Pricy? Make a sandbag. I've got my recent sandbag for under $5. Don't have sand? Fill it with something else. Fill it with rice, peas whatever. Don't have time to make it. Train with your bodyweight. Don't know how? Get help from an expert. Don't have money? Read RoughStrength.com, educate yourself, read books. But will I get results just from training? Yes. Want more? Get a diet. You can get pretty cheap decent diet with some planning and calculating. But I can't sleep 8+ hours a day? Make time. Still don't have? Fuck it. Go with it. I've seen people get results on 5 hours of sleep per day. And I mean results in strength, muscle and fat loss. Of course, results will come at much slower pace but if you make everything right you'll get them. This is what matters. Be a man. Don't be afraid to make decisions and go against the grain.
Why I Like Calisthenics?
Because they cultivate this warrior attitude in you unintentionally. I'll describe to you what I mean. When I train my bodyweight exercises mastery it's like battle with myself. Everything around doesn't matter anymore. Everything that matters at this time is my mind, my body and resistance. The place where I train becomes my sacred cave. The place where I get stronger. And the beauty of bodyweight strength training is in fact that this place can be anywhere. Every time I get one more rep or one more set is a victory. Every time I don't get stronger just makes me hungrier to obtain this strength. And with every little victory I get more mental strength and stability, more understanding of my body, more control on life. You get the idea. Calisthenics are actually a little bit harder at visualisation of resistance. With weights everything is simple. Here's 180 kg. You need to pick it up from the floor. With bodyweight everything is a little trickier. But once you get understanding of how your body moves through space you get something more than just ability to lift heavy weights. Calisthenics give you freedom in training and movement. But don't be afraid to mix them with weights.
Why I Like Intermittent Fasting?
Again because of warrior attitude cultivation. You need warrior discipline to go without eating. You need warrior discipline to deal with hunger. You need warrior discipline to say no to everyone who tries to break your fast without your desire. Intermittent fasting gives you freedom from constant worrying about food and meals. Yes, you'll still need to make your diet work but with intermittent fasting it will be a lot easier. You can eat like a king even on calorie restricted diet. Intermittent fasting gives you mental strength to move through obstacles.
We live in tough times. We can have all the information we want through the internet but we are too lazy to read, we can fly to another continent in less than 24 hours but we are too lazy to take stairs instead of elevator, we can get strength and body we want but we are too lazy to start. Don't be one of such pity majority. Be a warrior, take from life what you deserve and nothing less. Thanks for reading. Subscribe, like, share and enjoy!
If you're hard training athlete or just an ordinary fitness enthusiast that is trying to gain strength, build muscle and lose fat high-protein diet would probably be the best option for you (of course if you have no kidney diseases). But have you ever wondered how the hell you are supposed to follow high-protein diet and don't spend all your income on it? How to make it happen? I'll try to answer these questions in the post and show you on my own example how I made high-protein diet more affordable for me here in Ukraine.
What Is High-Protein Diet?
I don't use macro-nutrient ratios in my diet (I mean accurate percentages). Dieting is no fun (well, at least for me (maybe just a little)) and percentages make it even less fun. So I'm using bodyweight ratios. I count only calories and protein. Calories were determined in experimental way. As for protein, any diet that consist at least 1 g of it per 1 lb of bodyweight (of course, if you're not obese) is considered by me as high in protein.
Ok, here's my numbers for those who is interested:
Height: 180 cm (5'11'')
Weight: 82.5 kg (181.5 lbs)
Maintenance: ~2500 kcal per day
How to Create Your Own High-Protein Diet?
As you can see my bare minimum of protein per day is approximately 180 grams. If I want to gain muscle I'll need to increase it to approximately 270 grams (maybe even more). Why so much protein? You can read here. Well, you may need less in several occasions. But I'll discuss this later. Remember, all this is just an advice. If I want to lose some fat I'll be ok with 180 grams.
So the next step would be to create a menu that will satisfy our protein requirements. You can pick from several protein sources. They could be animal or plant. In my experience animal protein products ar far superior to plants. I don't know whether it's because of incompleteness of plant protein sources or any other reason but I see less results in muscle building and fat burning when eating plants compared to tasty dead animals and their products. Of course, vegetarian and vegan diets would be cheaper here in Ukraine but, man, I hate those beans and lentils. I gave them a try. I wasted my time.
So I pick from animal protein sources. My top picks would be:
- Cottage cheese
I like to keep it simple and don't add any fancy stuff. If you have an OCD you can go ahead and calculate the price of 1 g of protein in each of these sources. But this isn't needed. Just compare prices and concentrations of protein in all these sources.
My top picks again would be: chicken breast, 0% cottage cheese (it tastes like shit (I'm not saying that I've tasted shit but I guess that it may taste even better than this devil's trick)), 9.5% cottage cheese, 17% cottage cheese (it tastes awesome) and eggs. Also I can eat occasional lean beef, lean pork or fish.
These are the cheapest high-protein sources available here in Ukraine. I wouldn't eat canned food. And we don't have organic craze here. So I don't really know whether my food organic or not. As the proverb says: "The less you know - the better you sleep".
Then create menus for your workout and non-workout days according to your calories and protein needs. I like to add some carbs on workout days and to go low-carb on non-workout days. And workout days should have generally more calories and non-workout - less.
For example, here's two menus for fat loss for me or someone with my stats:
1) WO Day
250 g fried chicken breast
230 g 9.5% cottage cheese
6 fried eggs
250 g 17% cottage cheese with dry fruits
130 g rice (I measure it dry before boiling; it's half a cup)
+ any amount of veggies
Total: 2549 kcal
Protein: 187 g
Cost: 40 UAH ($5) per day
2) Non-WO Day
10 hard-boiled eggs (you may think "holy shit!" but I just love eggs and their price)
460 g 0% cottage cheese
250 g 17% cottage cheese with dry fruits
+ any amount of veggies
Total: 2013 kcal
Protein: 186 g
Cost: 40 UAH ($5) per day
As you can see such diet will cost me $150 per month. And there's no supplements included (when we're talking about diet on a budget food should be your number one priority). Of course, you should remember about variety and once you hit plateau you'll need to create new menus.
Intermittent Fasting And High-Protein Diet
As you could already notice I'm a big proponent of intermittent fasting. It keeps you energized, it promotes fat loss, it trains your mind and your body, it gives you freedom, it keeps you full and satisfied and it regulates your hormones to name few advantages. Another great thing about it that while you're fasting and not eating protein your sensitivity to it increases. According to Ori Hofmekler, author of the Warrior Diet, protein absorption during periods of overfeeding preceeded by underfeeding periods increases up to 160%. That's quite big advantage for me. But as everything in life intermittent fasting is not for everyone.
So now you have all the keys to create your own high-protein diet and have no excuses to fail. High-protein diet shouldn't be expensive as many may think. Make smart food choices and spend all the rest money on strippers and booze (: As always, thanks for reading. Comment, ask, like, share.
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.