Archive for the ‘my ten fitness commandments’ Category

The sun is beginning to set on this series and it has been a lot of fun to write it out, however, I suppose even something that has the potential to change your training such as these concepts can be redundant after a while. As you can see these ideas are interwoven together and when applied will help you to continue to have success in your fitness over the long haul.

In fact these “commandments” are so powerful that if you neglect one it will leave you in regret over lost time and a possible injury. So be wise instead and apply them to your life and fitness as you train. You may find that you apply some of them easily and others need work. That is cool just keep working on it and learning how to apply these points to your life and you will be successful.


I was once an imbalanced person with these concepts and I always sought to overload my system and it worked for a while. However, I ended up inured and deconditioned as result. If you are like me, then today’s command is just for you. That is the GAS principle, which means General Adaptation syndrome; this law teaches us that success is not linear and that we need times of lower intensity work along without high intensity training.

What is low intensity?
I am can remember once speaking with a co-worker who was shamelessly on steroids. As we were talking he was saying how tired he was and how he didn’t feel as if he could train that day. My response was a simple and scientific fact that he should do a light day. I promise you that his head spun around as if he was in the Exorcist and he said sarcastically “A light day.” You see in his mind that meant something that it is not and he also had no idea about this GAS concept and how the body works when it comes to training. (By the way this fellow fancied himself a trainer.)

Our bodies and brain cannot tolerate high intensity all of the time without some kind of negative consequence and without continuing to make gains! As a result we need some lower intensity activities so that we don’t lose our fitness gains but not too much as to keep in this cycle of overuse.

Decrease volume:

If you are constantly hitting a movement or muscle with a lot of repetitions and various exercise or if you are doing a lot of volume with the same move, you will want to cut that in half for a bit. This is not hard to do, but you will have to turn off your brain from making you think that this approach will not help you! A simple example of this is, if you are doing 6 exercises per a movement pattern do 3 for a while and add in a bit of loading to those sets or any of the other approaches form my overload post. (Except volume)

Intensity:

This most of the time means the external load but it can also mean the difficulty of the exercise. So if you like me love to lift heavy lighten up the load and do pause reps or work exclusively on your technique and make it better.

Frequency:
For those that know me well, you know that I am not a big fan of my upper trap development and have been working on getting them bigger. I have also had great success with this endeavor through intelligent science based exercise selection and the use of high frequency training. In fact I hit my traps in some way or another every workout. So if you are a person that uses high frequency, cut back. For example if you squat three times a week, do it once or twice and let your body recover and help you make gains as you do!

Use the same but different approach:

This idea is pretty simple if you are tired in a pattern and are not getting results from it any more, switch to something that will help your overall goal but will be different enough. This is simple to do, if you love conventional Deadlifts- do sumo d.l. s for a while and get stronger in that and most likely your conventional numbers will improve as well. This can apply to any movement as well, just find different variations and do them intentionally. So in other words, this is specialized variety and not variety for the sake of itself.

It seems funny to me that fitness and getting results is not what must people think and practice. It seems that people err in one or two directions: either they do not work hard enough and never get results or they work too hard to often and also never get anywhere in the long run. This GAS principle must not be ignored, if you are overloading and seeking to move ahead. They are many different ways to apply this concept and you can be creative with it as you learn more about fitness and how you personally react to the training stimulus. Just make sure that you do apply it and keep getting results and combating injury by doing so!

While I was working my way through college, I took the easiest remedial and elective courses possible in order to make the whole thing a tad-bit easier. ( I was also working full time and working out as well.) I can remember one of the classes that I took was earth or physical science and fast forward over a decade and all that I can remember is basically two things from the class. The reason for that is this week’s training commandment, The Use and Disuse principle. You may be aware of this law in your own life as well and how if you don’t use something you lose it and if you do use it you most likely will learn more about it and get better at the same time. This is all based around the nuero-plasticity and the way that we learn as humans ( or an alien if you are Roger!) You see as we practice something our brain makes it more permanent by laying down synapses and making what we learned more natural for us. Now if we take off for extended time we begin to lose that neural pathway due to our brain seeing that we really don’t need the adaptation anymore; this happens a lot with language and math and so-on. Also I stated before in a former post on over-load, if we don’t challenge something we may also be in danger of losing the brain adaptation as well. So this law must be applied if we want to achieve high levels of fitness.

This however, doesn’t mean that you will always do the same approach all of the time and expect to get results as well. But that is a post for another time as we go on in this series of my Ten Fitness Commandments. ( So stay tuned for that.) This doesn’t at all nullify any of the other fitness principles that have been stated as of yet in this series and in the other ones to come.

Rather, it should be integrated together along with the other ideas if you do, it is a recipe for success. So just because the concept is a law of disuse doesn’t mean that we don’t need a balanced approach to our fitness and some kind of periodization to get to our goals for the both the short and long-term. So remember if you don’t use it you lose it, so be smart and don’t stop training. Work to keep your adaptations and results as you seek to get better.

I am sad that this is the last post of this series and that this is the very last concept that is designed to help you with your program design and getting to your fitness goals. If you apply these ideas, you will experience much bigger and long-term gains in your fitness training. If you need further help with them, I offer an online coaching and program design service that will help you do just that guaranteed!

This final principle is very important to your specific goals and your success in achieving them. You will probably not get to exactly where you want to be, if you don’t train specifically for your goals when you are that point when you need to. This covers the type of training that you do, (energy systems and movements) at least in the long run. This doesn’t meant that G. P.P (General preparation training) doesn’t have a place in an overall goal. It just means that you just cannot stay there and get everything out of your training that you want from it!

That is what this idea is about, it goes along the line that; if you want to have a strong back squat, you must do that move. If you want to run faster or further, you must do that as well and so onThen you will also want to structure your strength training in way that will compliment that goal. For example there is a lot of evidence that shows that getting stronger and increasing ground reaction forces can increase your running speed and distance. So you could specifically lift with that goal in mind and then move on into your complimentary endurance work with weights. So you see we went from general to specific in terms of energy systems.

Another approach that I usually like to help improve athletes athleticism is the very specific approach of getting them better at the things that they don’t do so well. For example, if they are slower than they should be, we will work specific strength exercises that build force in the realm of speed. While using patterning drills and other tools such as parachutes and the like to make the person faster.

This approach can be harder to do in programming, it requires that one know research and training principles and it also takes a lot if thought to design a program as such. It will however, give you the most specific results possible form your training and get you the most results.

In light of that just about everything will get you some results, but if you are like me, you have a very specific set of goals and nothing else will cut it!

Assessment for specificity:

It seems like there has been a pull-up/chin-up craze at the gym that I train out of lately; as a result. I have been doing a lot of pull-up progression drills with my clients. But just before we begin to work on them and getting them better and stronger, I usually have my students try to do one first and find out where they get “stuck’ and then begin to incorporate specific drills to get to them this very reasonable drill! So know where to start in order to get better at any movement that fits your goals.

Reassessment:
After a sometime spent training you will then want to look at how much progress that you have made and if there is anything else that you will want to train to own the move that you desire to get to. You simply do that by doing the same assessment that you used to start the program in the first place. Whether it is a movement screen, your 40 time, vertical jump height and so-on!



Remembering this principle and applying it can be the difference between you having the fitness results that you want and get the return from your training that you desire. So know your goal and then plan it out, get plenty of rest and recovery. Overload your body and apply the GAS principle as you do, you will finally have success and spend less time frustrated with your fitness training! As I have been saying over the last few weeks, Thou shalt…….!

If you have been following this series, you know that I am shamelessly using my name as a tool for writing about fitness and how to get results. My last few posts have covered some principles if applied, can and will help you to be successful in your training. The last two weeks concepts are very closely related in fact in order for one to work the other must be true and so-on. The overcompensation principle is sort of the body’s adjustment to stress and this week’s principle is how last week’s thought works. (Click here to see it and the other preceding posts!)

This week’s commandment is how the action happens over time and is one of the most important parts of getting results: Progressive overload! You see just doing the same old same old thing will not lead to results. This is why most people never get much from their fitness training. Instead of stressing their body in their training, they seek comfort and ease and as a result their body sees it as rest. Then because there is no reason to adapt, it won’t; even sadder is the fact that sometimes the type of people even lose the results that they achieved before as a result of the lack of  progressive and intelligent difficulty in their workouts.

That is why you need a goal, then you need a plan. Because if you do, you will have a built-in progression, know when to back off(more on that later.) and so-on. As you have a goal you will have the determination to overload and the great news is that research shows us that if we have a focal point we perceive exercise to be less difficult! This can help you once  again with your need for progressive overload and corresponding results.

How does progressive overload work?

It is pretty simple but first allows me to tell a story to better help you understand it:

There is a story of a man named Milo and his bull. Milo decided that he would carry around his bull in order to get stronger. AS he did this act every day the bull grew as a result, he got progressively stronger.

That is a simple description of how it works, however, you have to be aware that we cannot always overload with external loading; otherwise every weight lifter would be able to lift millions of pounds. Which common sense would dictate that our connective tissue and skeletons would get destroyed by such loading.

So how then do we continue to get results?
Thankfully there is a bunch of ways to overload our body and get results;

  1. Shorten your rest and recovery period by 10 to 20 seconds.
    This will increase your eu-stress during the set due to not being fully recovered.
  2. Change the exercise to single arm or leg.
    This is pretty self-explanatory.
  3. Be more explosive on your movement.

Instead of doing the same old two or three seconds up and done with slow and controlled movements; go slow on the negative (eccentric) and up quick on the concentric. (exertion) Just please make sure that you have control as you do.

4. Make the range of motion deeper.
If this is possible and if you have the requisite mobility and stability to do so; good example of this is to do a deficit deadlift instead of from the floor.

  1. Use the same but different principle.

This is not variety for the sake of variety, but a calculated and goal driven approach to keep you moving towards your goals. A good example of this is using the kettlebell swing to help improve your deadlift or a sand bag front squat to improve your barbell squat and so-on.

This list is not exhaustive on how to continue to get results, however, if you used only these few principles you will get constant results form your training and help fight boredom a bit as well. Remember ” thou shalt overload!”

 
Stay tuned to this blog for more rants on these points and check out the previous posts as well!

I hope that you have been enjoying this series and that you have been learning how these principles will help your training. Lastly, I hope that you figured out how to apply them to your own fitness and have gotten better as a result. As this series continues strive to add them all into your training, because as you so you will see that they are all part of the tapestry and when they are woven together in your fitness, you will get a tapestry of amazing results! (Click here if you need to read the last few posts in this series)

In light of that, this week’s point is a very important one and is often not applied well or it is taken too far. That principle is the overcompensationprinciple. This concept is absolutely essential if you want to get any results from your fitness. So ignore it at your own frustration and lack of results.

Before we begin to apply this principle to our training we need to understand how the body works. It is a basic exercise principle that our body has two phases when it comes to exercise, it is either at rest or being challenged by something that taxes it as we exercise. Then the body’s response to the eu-stress, it will then adapt and adjust to the stress. The result is more conditioning and strength and a leaner and better physique as well.

Now a failure to do so will lead to a lack of results and not breaking out of the rest zone as you train. That is why it is easy to get results when someone goes from the couch to doing anything, due to your threshold being so low. However as you go along, you will need to continually overload or use the progressive overload principle to continue to change and get to your goals.

So the choice is yours, you can either overload and get results and continue to do so in conjunction with the other principles that I have given and will in the next few posts. (If you don’t want to miss out on the fun subscribe.)  Or you can try to seek ease and comfort and end up not getting results. Then you can play the blame game by blaming others and your genetics. I hope that you choose to overload progressively friends!

Stay tuned to this blog and subscribe if you haven’t yet, because next week we will apply this principle with the overload concept. You will not want to miss out on it!

My wife has a saying that she uses as a standard reply when people try to take away her individually and place her in some kind of box. She will say a simple phrase that is loaded with power and creates a boundary when she says it, I am my own person! This statement is powerful in its simplicity and use. In our training we have to understand that we are all also our own people and the way that we respond to the training stimulus and our technique will vary as well as a few other factors. This post will attempt to delve into this principle and break it down so it will both encourage and help you as you train for results.

If you are a fitness coach and have been working with people for any period of time, you probably have found that if you are a dogmatic programmer that your success will be very limited with your clients. People are individuals and even though there are principles that we should apply to our programming, we also need to observe what creates the best changes to the person’s fitness qualities. Such as: better movement, strength gains, conditioning, getting leaner and so-on.

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Of course there is also a need to find out what may cause pain to the person. In fact recently, I found that symmetrical squatting caused a client of mine pain. I sent her out for medical help and she felt better. We also did the usual correctives fixed any Valgus collapse and tried squatting again and she had pain after 8 reps. So I began to use the rear foot elevated squat and she had no-pain. For some reason her anthropometry caused her to have pain in high rep squatting so we made the adjustment and she is happy and making fitness gains as a result while staying pain-free and not create dysfunction.

However, she still should do some form of squatting; because within that pattern there is a lot of benefits for strength, caloric expenditure and so-on. Which brings me to my next point, just because some on is an individual doesn’t meant that they shouldn’t do the things that we know are good. For example, everyone should do some form of strength or resistance work, for the very reason that we know it has so many benefits to it.

Now the approach that one takes to get their resistance work in may be different. Some may love body-weight training and use that for a primary means of strength work. Others may love kettlebells, weightlifting, Olympic lifting and so-on. I think the key here is to find by experimentation what you like the most in order to stick to it and what gets you the most bang for your buck as far as results go.

You will also want to calculate in the time you have available to train, what you have an opportunity to use as far as equipment goes and so-on.

So from reading this post I hope that you realize that following a program by some guru from a book may not be the best way to get results and possibly could end up hurting you or leaving disillusioned by this whole fitness thing. So don’t be afraid to make mistakes and learn from them. Also learn every opportunity that you can follow this blog read books by experts and if you are a trainer, read research and objectively learn. Also don’t be afraid to adjust your program according to the needs and goals of your clients. Remember everyone is their own person and should be treated as such.

If you missed any of these posts click here to read them!

If you have been following this blog for the last 8 weeks, (Click here to see them  if you haven’t after you stop feeling ashamed!) you know that I have spending time on ideas that are of vital importance in an effective fitness training program. As I have been been writing for the last almost three years now that, training for extreme fitness results requires thought and strategy. Simply going through the motions, jumping programs or being random will only get you so far. As a result I am writing this series to help others finally achieve almost super human results from their fitness if desired.

This week’s post and 8th installment is about a principle that I have written on in the past and should be almost common sense in this health and fitness field ; that is the S.A.I.D. principle. When this acronym is broken down it is: Specific Adaptation (to) Imposed Demand. (Click here to see the last post that I wrote on the subject)

This principle is simple and makes our fitness training direct by guiding us how to train for our individual goals. This concept is like a recipe that requires us to put in the proper ingredients and then come out with our desired out come in time. That doesn’t meant that everything will work for everyone in the same way and that there is no need for trial and error in out training, it simply means that if you want to be a power-lifter, you will need to power-lift with the core lifts as a focus. (squat, bench and deadlift.) However, the law or command (te-he) of  individual differences will dictate how you make the most progress as you do that. As well what accessory exercises that you will need to do to ensure your own success as you train. One more thing, may I say that your accessory work should continue to change as you develop, but that is a post for another time!

You will want to think of your training as a recipe. That does not meant that at times you will not have to have back off days,weeks and even a calculated change throughout your cycles. It does however, mean that if your training is random, you are not in control of the outcome as much as if you “stuck to the plan!”

Remember that you need to be balanced in your training and endeavor to apply all of these “commandments” to your training. That means that a bit of thought and planning needs to go into what you are doing. Even if it is just a corrective phase of your training or if you are building power of muscle. Don’t just show up to the gym and expect long term results in your fitness!