Inspiration 10/04/11

It’s Sunday again, so it’s time for your weekly dose of inspiration. Enjoy.
How does Kai Greene keep pushing himself? Where does his energy come from? The answer lies in the power of rage
George St. Pierre gives us another insight: the Battle of Champions
Lance Armstrong shows us what it really means to be ‘Driven’.
And finally – The moment you’ve been waiting for
 Train Hard. Train Smart. Stay Strong.

Make the Most of It – by Jamie Bolton

Make the most of those days when the world is your oyster. Push them for all their worth.
The days when you walk into the gym and that 100kg press from last week feels that extra bit light. Milk it. Milk it for all its worth. Hammer yourself. Do more work

I’m a big believer in auto-regulatory styled training. Sure, have a structure. I think walking into the gym blind with no plan, is one of the biggest mistakes trainees make. But keep it loose and don’t take it as a hard and fast ‘rule’ of what you must and must only do.

If you walk in and had planned to work up to a top set in the squat of say 160kg for 3, but you get there and it feels light. Then go to town. Chances are you knew halfway on your ramp up to it that it may feel that way today. So adjust. Rep it out. Or add extra sets. Or keep ramping up to a new top set for 3. That’s how you smash PBs. That’s how you progress.


Make the most of the days when the world is your oyster


Your body is in a constant state of flux. It never stays the same. Nor is it predictable how it will really be ready to perform. Sure, you can periodise and plan all you like, but if you walked in and planned a lower volume day but you feel like you can dominate the world, then do you really think it’ll be optimal to stop short? Maximise the training effect that your body is willing to allow you to put it through. Take what your body gives you.

The reverse also applies. Some days you walk in, having planned a heavy session. Then you walk in, and the warm up sets feel a bit off and heavier than they should. Your grip feels a bit off. Your form is a little awkward. Then it might be wise to reconsider your goals for the day and adjust the volume downwards. What might be enough one day might be too much another. There’s no point in sacrificing form just to try and push a weight that’s just too much today. If its not there, it’s not there. Save the battle for another day.

Don’t take that as an excuse to take an easy ride. The point here is to look for physical cues not mental ones. Weights feeling lighter/heavier. Weights flying up faster/slower. Grip or form tighter or a bit off today. Not “I can’t really be bothered today” – that’s just weak and a sure fire way to make no progress.

I’ll quote Christian Thibaudeau of T-nation, as its one that bears repeating:

“The more you can train without compromising your ability to recover, the more you’ll progress”.

Take what your body gives you each day. If its there to be pushed a bit harder, do it. If its not – don’t. Simple.

Inspiration 20/03/11

As it’s sunday, we’ve got your weekly dose of inspirational videos to get you fired up for the training week ahead! Enjoy.

First up, we’ve got footage from the rugby six nations – Invictus


Next – the beauty of bodybuilding


And finally, a VERY inspirational piece from Kai Greene – ‘Champion of Mind’


 Until next week. Train Hard. Train Smart. Stay Strong.

Inspiration 13/03/11

To get your fired up for the week of training ahead, today we’ve got 3 more inspirational videos:

 Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard. Hands down, every time. If you want it enough, you’ll get there.


Next up is an awesome motivational remix from NFL coaches.


Finally, a reminder – be first. No-one remembers second place!


Until next time. Train hard. Train smart. Stay strong.

Inspiration 10/03/11

Today we’ve got another selection of videos from the web to get your fired up about your training and sport.

This clip I feel encapsulates what it takes to be the best; the power of inner belief, going hard everyday, staying on your grind, rising to and overcoming the challenges.


For all you bodybuilders out there i don’t need to explain why this clip is immense!


Don’t dream, don’t you dare dream. That won’t get you anywhere!


Its you versus 2nd place pal…let’s see what you’ve got!


Until next time. Train hard. Train smart. Stay strong.

Interview with Adam Bishop – Midland’s Strongest Man 2010

Adam Bishop is an up and coming strongman and powerlifter. Amongst a strong and accomplished sporting history he recently obtained the title of MIDLANDS STRONGEST MAN U105 2010 and came in 5TH in the UK’S STRONGEST MAN U105 2010.

EK: Thanks for joining us today Adam. Can you give our readers a little background on yourself?
Adam: I’m a former professional rugby player (winger), and have been lifting weights for six years. I entered my first Open Strongman Competition in 2010 and came 10th out of 20 despite being the lightest.

EK: That’s pretty impressive. What made you want to get into Strongman?
Adam: I always watched Worlds Strongest Man (WSM) and other strongman competitions on the tv ever since I was young and wanted to have a go at it one day. I started posting on a strongman/powerlifting website called Sugden Barbell and ended up going over to a facility called the Container near Melton Mowbray. I found I was pretty good at a few events and it kinda snowballed from there to be honest.

EK: How do you get access to the specific training implements you need to train for strongman?
Adam: The facility at Melton Mowbray has equipment specially made for me and the guys I train with by Jason Talbot, owner of . He can make any weird implement we need to lift with.  I also personally own a small collection of implements which I train with.

EK: What kind of training split do you use when preparing for strongman events?
Adam: I train 4 times a week in the gym following Westside Barbell principles at the moment, which looks like this:
Monday – Max effort upperbody (log, axle, circus DB etc)
Tuesday – Max effort Lower body (Including Deadlift and squats)
Wednesday – AM Repetition upperbody PM Atlas stone lifting
Thursday – Dynamic effort Lowerbody (including speed squats and speed pulls)
Friday – REST
Saturday – Events training
Sunday – REST
It’s a pretty heavy schedule and I wouldn’t recommend it to others but my body seems to recover well so it works!

EK: That’s definitely intense, you must be having to get in some serious food to fuel all of that? How do you tailor it in the run up to an event?
Adam: Off season its calories calories calories for me as I find it very hard to put on weight otherwise. Obviously as I compete in the u105kg category I need to diet back down to around that weight. In the run up to a competition I’ll keep an eye on what I eat and just pretty much clean up my diet. I’m pretty simple when it comes to food.

EK: It’s nice to see someone who isn’t afraid to eat big! Do you put this together yourself or do you turn to a nutritionist?
Adam: I’m on my own with this really. I mean I have a relatively good understanding of nutrition from my rugby days so don’t seek any help from nutritionists.

EK: That’s good to hear. Moving on to competition day, how do you approach it?
Adam: It depends on the event really. Some events require relative calmness and concentration such as keg throwing or most overhead pressing where a lot of skill and technique is required. In other events, such as deadlifts, stone lifting and car flipping I tend to go a bit ape-sh** and get really worked up about the lift, I mean no sane human being would do that stuff would they!?

EK :  What do you do when something doesn’t quite run to plan?
Adam: I just try and stay calm. In one competition I dropped a railway sleeper on my head. Hardly ideal but you gotta just keep going in order to win.

EK: Ouch that’s got to hurt! What’s your favourite event?
Adam: Probably the Atlas stones with the Deadlift a close 2nd. I think atlas stones are the defining event in strongman, it’s always usually the last and most exciting.

EK: We’re sure everybody wants to know what they are, so could you rattle off your most impressive PBs for us
Adam: On the powerlifting movements I’ve deadlifted 320kg from the floor on a normal bar and pulled 360kg on the silver dollar Deadlift. Squatted 270kg in a belt and knee wraps. On strongman, I’ve pressed a 140kg axle overhead and lifted a 175kg atlas stone onto a platform.

EK: Impressive. What does the future hold for you?
Adam: The short term goal is to defend my Midlands Strongest Man u105 title this year and gain qualification for the UK’s Strongest Man where to be honest, I want to win. I came 5th last year in my first year in the sport, so now I want to take the title and go to the World’s! After achieving this I think I’ll try and gain some weight and look to compete more in the open weight category.

EK: Fantastic stuff. Thanks again for joining us and all the best for the upcoming contests!

Make Time – by Jamie Bolton

Time. We all claim to wish we had more of it. There’s supposedly so much more we could do if only we did. 

“I could be as strong as him, but I don’t have time to train 3 hours a day”.
“Sure my diet could be tidied up, but I don’t have time to cook all that healthy food.”
“My mobility sucks but I don’t have the time to stretch and stuff.”

Some of this is misinformation. The rest is just weak excuse making at best, and plain old laziness at its worst. Yet I dread to think what a tally might come to if I kept a note of these instances over the average week.

I’ll start with the misinformation. Anyone who believes those getting results must be putting in 2-3 hour sessions daily is wrong. And heck, unless you’re a professional athlete, there is no need to do so. Most trainees that are out there looking and performing good are investing on average an hour or so a day, four to five times a week. That’s a total of about 5 hours a week. Now before you start up and moan, ‘but I can’t find 5 hours a week’, I’m going to call bulls***. How many hours a week do you spend watching TV? Thought so.

Healthy cooking? This one really winds me up. It’s not hard to eat well. Almost every piece of fruit requires no preparation beyond a bit of peeling at most. Its not very hard to steam some veggies either. And how hard is it to cover a few chicken breasts in some olive oil, salt and pepper and stick them in the oven for 20mins? Heck do it en masse, stick them in tupperware containers and you’ve got meals for the next few days pre-prepared. I always cook chicken and brown rice in bulk to get me through for a few days. It doesn’t even have to be as hard as this, the real easy option is to consume more through shakes, of the like that Ben described in his article here. There are an unbelievable amount of easy-to-cook wholesome, healthy recipes that take less than 30 minutes to do if you care to have a look.

When anyone claims they “don’t have the time”, what they are really saying is “I don’t want to find the time”. Now, that’s absolutely fine. But realise that results don’t just happen. They are worked for. If you are going to take that attitude, don’t be surprised when you’re as weak as you were a year ago, or look the same, and so on.

Life is about choices. Sure, you have a finite amount of time. But how much of it is wasted on pointless procrastination? Seriously, as a simple exercise, ban yourself from TV and general-internet browsing (with the exception of !) for a day, and suddenly you’ll realise how much time you really have. Now tell me you don’t have the time to get in that mobility work, or make healthy meals etc. And when it really boils down to it, missing a few hours of TV or internet or whatever a week isn’t a big deal. But looking and performing great? It’s absolutely priceless.

There is nothing fantastic or spectacular that those who are getting results are doing that you cannot. They simply make it a habit to do so; they consistently do it. They make the time. Stop making excuses for yourself. If you really, truly want to be better. Then just start being better. Do it from today.

I realise this could mean wholesale changes for some of you. So take baby steps. Drink too much coca-cola? Switch to diet coke. Then cut down on how many you have. Then cut it out completely. Not doing any mobility work? Then work in 5-minutes a day once you get up. Then make it 10 minutes. And so on. 

Its amazing what you can accomplish if you take it step-by-step. You have the time. Its always a choice with what you do with it. You want to be better? Be better.

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit” Aristotle.

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