Why are YOU here? – by Jamie Bolton

Why are you here? Why are you training?

Do you want to even be?
 
These are basic, but serious questions that everyone should ask themselves when training. Basic, but very revealing.

If it’s because you WANT to be better. Because you WANT to progress. Welcome. You realise that you are in this for the long run. You realise that this isn’t some short term thing. This is a lifestyle for you. You’re not just doing this because you feel you ‘have to’. You’re doing this because you want to. When the going gets tough, you’ll still be there. And that’s exactly why this kind of person gets the results that everyone else is envious of.

If its because you feel you ‘ought’ to be here you may want to think again about what you are really achieving. Is this a chore for you? Are you just ‘going through the motions’? Is this just something you begrudgingly force yourself to do? If it is, let me ask you this. When was the last time you saw results? I thought so.

If you are only in this for the short run, don’t be surprised by a lack of progress.
 
Your viewpoint will massively affect your results in this game.

When you see it as a lifestyle, it’s suddenly not hard to find time to train. It’s not hard to make the right food choices. Why? Because it’s who you are. You’re in it for the long haul. Progress occurs as an accumulation of your consistent actions.

If it’s some ‘chore’ that has to be done, then what do you think will happen? Well, eventually it ends up like all chores. Like the dishes. Like the washing. It gets put off with excuses until the point where you realise you haven’t trained this week. Or even this month. You’re no longer progressing. At best you’re fighting to stand still. In reality, you’re regressing. The analogy only runs so far. It’s not like the dishes where you can put it off, then wash and rinse and you’re back on top.  It’s more like building a straw house, then halfway through stopping and letting it blow away. Each time you’re starting from scratch!

Don't take this approach to training, you don't get anywhere fast

What I’m getting at here is that your viewpoint on this is going to affect your end results. If this is some chore for you, then don’t be surprised when you seem to be endlessly spinning your wheels and making limited, if any, progress.

If this is your lifestyle, then welcome. Progress will come to you. At times it may be fast. At times it may be slow. But your on the right track. And you’ll get there in the end. As long as you stick to it.
 
Now, if it is a chore for you, then you really need to look ask why.

Are you going through the motions? Is it just boring? If it is, it may be time to take a long hard look at your program. When was the last time you changed things? Or how about following a pre-designed training program? Or hired someone to write one for you? Following a proper program will not only provide better prospects of results, but likely will result in increased enthusiasm. It also forces you to challenge yourself.

What about your training environment? Does your gym just plain suck? Then switch facilities. Heck, buy yourself a TRX and get outside now and again! Do you do better when training with a partner? Then find one. Or do you need to be shown ‘the ropes’ and guided through the basics in form to really ‘get it’? Then find a generous, experienced lifter and ask for help. You might be surprised at the response. Or, find a reputable trainer and pay him/her for a session or three.

How about the food side of things? Think that ‘healthy’ food is boring? It might be time to crack out a recipe book. You don’t have to just eat plain chicken breasts and broccoli. There are a tonne of different spice options, which are all natural and healthy. And there is more to meat than just plain chicken. Use your imagination. Good food doesn’t have to be unhealthy and ‘boring’.

Good food doesn't need to be boring

So, why are you here? Training doesn’t have to be a chore. Eating ‘right’ doesn’t have to be boring. It’s what you make of it. It’s always what you make of it. Embrace it as a lifestyle and watch the results flow in. Your body wants you to. It’s just the bit in your head you need to deal with.

“The good Lord gave you a body that can stand most anything. It’s your mind you have to convince.” – Vince Lombardi.

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 www.atlasstones.co.uk . 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!

Strong Flexible Hamstrings: An Athlete’s Best Friend – by Ben Coker

The hamstring group is comprised of 3 large powerful muscles that span the back of the upper leg; the biceps femoris, semimembranosus, semitendinosus. It is a bi-articulate muscle whereby it spans two joints, the hip and the knee. Resultantly the Hamstring acts as an agonist for knee flexion and hip extension and is a key force provider to a whole spectrum of athletic performances!

Bi-articulate muscles are more predisposed to strain due to the large forces due to contraction origination from both ends. Often the injury comes when the muscle is subject to high forces at the end range of motion (ROM). Sports that commonly cause hamstring injuries are sprinting sports that involve sudden accelerations, indeed 91% of hamstring injuries are incited through non contact mechanism and 57% occur when running. In soccer it is the most common injury, accounting for about 12% of all injuries. This is not surprising as in sprinting the hamstrings act at the hip to promote anatomical movement from flexion to extension whilst at the knee, extension to flexion. Sprinting involves acceleration and high force generation and as indicated above is done so when the hamstring is often near or at its end range of motion.

Witrouw et al (2003) (1) concluded from a study on 146 professional male soccer players that poor flexibility led to an increase hamstring strain rate. This make sense if we imagine the hamstrings as elastic bands. An old dry elastic band that has lost its stretch will often snap after a lesser force is applied to it in a stretched position. A new very stretchy elastic band can absorb more force or load through it before it reaches its yield point and snaps. Therefore, as in sprinting our hamstrings are often in positions at their end ROM, we want them to be able to tolerate more load (from sprinting) in those stretched positions. Therefore it is essential to regularly stretch your hamstrings to maintain and improve their suppleness and toleration of higher forces at their end ROM.

This leads on to my second point. For many athletes leg training is dominated by quadriceps focus often leading to an imbalance in their quadriceps:hamstring ratio. Crossier et al (2008) (2) found that 47% of 462 professional soccer players they analysed were imbalanced! This is a very important point as such imbalances drastically increase the chances of an athlete suffering from a hamstring tear.

The quadriceps and hamstrings work as an antagonistic pair and cutting to the point in sprinting when the quadriceps contract to extend the knee ready for another ground strike, the hamstring group has to act eccentrically to act as a brake to the force applied by the quadriceps. If this did not happen the large powerful quads would extend the knee so hard that it would hyper-extend at extreme forces…I think you get the picture.

If your hamstrings are not eccentrically strong enough to act as a sufficient brake to the quadriceps then they will simply be stretched too far as the knee hyper-extends and will tear. It is therefore crucial to emphasis eccentric overload of your hamstring in your leg training! Exercises such as negative focused Nordic raises, stiff legged deadlifts and ‘2 leg up 1 leg down’ hamstring curls are example resistance training remedies.

The generation of force at the end ROM comes not only from the eccentric braking of the hamstrings in response to the quadriceps force but also from the following hamstring rate of force development (RFD) or power in the concentric phase. Once the knee is fully extended out in front of the body and ground contact is made the hamstrings (along with the glutes) act to promote hip extension and knee flexion – driving the body forward. In sprinting this must happen very quickly and the quicker the contraction the more force there is involved. If the hamstrings are not adequately trained to contract both concentrically and extremely quickly immediately following eccentric contraction then they are susceptible to tear! Therefore leg training for athletes must include hamstring work about the hip and knee that involves developing RFD following an eccentric contraction. Controlled Romanian and stiff legged deadlifts (focusing on the quick transition from eccentric to concentric), Nordic raises (if your strong enough), sled-pull throughs and explosive leg curls are examples of resistance training remedies.

It is important to add that strength endurance training of the hamstrings should also be implemented. Why? Well if the hamstrings fatigue quickly then their eccentric braking action and RFD will decrease quickly and the chances of a hamstring tear increase! Thus improving hamstring muscular endurance as well as hamstring strength will decrease the susceptibility of hamstring tears.

A final factor in giving you some knowledge in how to prevent hamstring strain comes from a quote that I took a few years back from Eric Cressey’s and Mike Robertson’s DVD series ‘Building the Efficient Athlete’. They say that structure dictates function and function dictates dysfunction. ‘What the hell?’ you’re thinking. I’ll explain.

Firstly ‘structure dictates function’: If we know the structure of the limbs and the muscles then we can figure out there function. In the hamstring example we know that the hamstring muscle spans the back of the leg crossing the hip joint and knee joint, inserting on the pelvic girdle and the lower leg. Therefore we can now ascertain that the hamstrings must act to cause flexion at the knee and extension of the hip.

Secondly ‘function dictates dysfunction’: If we now know the function of the hamstring is to flex the knee and extend the hip then we can look at co-agonists and antagonistic pairs of those anatomical functions to find dysfunction in a movement pattern. For example, the glutes are the main hip extensors and so if they are weak we can get a dysfunction in hip extension and thus in the hamstrings i.e. the lack of force produced by the glutes cause hip extension force to be compensated for by extra hamstring exertion leading to possible hamstring tear! The solution may lie in strengthening the glutes and not strengthening the hamstrings as this could compound the scenario!

Wrap Up

The take home messages I would give is this, try to think about your training and performance in terms of structure and function. This can lead you to identify problem areas, prevent injury and also allow you to better train your muscles! Secondly your susceptibility to hamstring injury can be greatly reduced by;

  1. Eccentrically overloading your hamstrings in training
  2. Developing hamstring RFD
  3. Developing hamstring strength-endurance
  4. Stretching your hamstrings to make them better able to tolerate force at the end of ROM.

Remember, prevention is always better than cure, not least if it improves performance too.

References

(1) Witrouw et al (2003) Am J Sports Medicine 31: 41-46

(2) Crossier et al (2008) Am J Sports Medicine 36: 1469-79

Deloading 101 – by Jamie Bolton

The deload. The lazy-man’s excuse to not work hard. The hard grafters way to grow. It’s a delicate balance, but one too often abused in favour of the first option, if it’s used at all. 

I can imagine some of you sitting there thinking, what the **** is he on about and what the hell is a deload?

A deload or back-off week is a planned reduction in training volume and/or intensity. This can be from a few days up to a full week.

Why? Well, let me ask you how much muscle is built whilst training? None. Muscle is built when you recover from training. The longer and harder you push it in the gym without, the more fatigue, aches and pains you start to accumulate. In other words, you under-recover. A deload allows the body to super-compensate and allow you to hit the gym with renewed vigour and new-found strength.

Now before you all start taking it easy in the gym in the name of deloading, there’s one crucial point to remember here. Only deload when you need to

As a rule of thumb, the need and regularity of deloads will increase with training experience and age. The advanced trainee can’t push as hard for as long as the beginner. Nor can the old timer when compared to a young whipper-snapper. The more developed you are, the heavier you’re training loads are (or should be at least), and the greater the toll your training is taking on the body, so the need for recovery is greater.

At this point some coaches will give out prescriptions for deloads. One week in every four is a very common and popular one. For the developed lifter there is some merit to it for sure. For the beginner, this is far too frequent. My biggest argument with this kind of recommendation is that it’s far too standardised to be optimal for every lifter. My training isn’t your training. I might need a deload every four weeks, but your training might warrant a mini-deload every three weeks, or you might be fine with one in every eight!

You want to push every training cycle for as much as its worth. Deloading for the sake of deloading won’t get you anywhere fast.

So how can we tell when to deload? Well, the human body gives us plenty of simple cues, we just have to be clever enough to listen to them.

Cues for Deloading:
1. You’ve stopped progressing (and calorific intake is high). The point in brackets is crucial, you must be in a calorie surplus for this cue to be true.
2. Weights that you were dominating are starting to feel heavier.
3. Decreased motivation to train. And I’m not talking about the, ‘I went out last night’ type of not wanting to train (but this won’t be helping you anyway), but when you are getting to the point of almost fearing training.
4. Need for sleep increases. For this cue, it must be a given that all else is equal, i.e. you are getting as much sleep as you usually do, other general stresses are the same etc.
5. Explosiveness decreases. For me, in particular on lower body days, I tend to throw in a lot of jumps between main sets. When I start to notice a sustained decrease in vertical height over a few sessions, it’s time to back off.
6. Chronic ‘Achyness’. Not just the regular DOMS, but when you start to really ache, even days after a session and usually you would be recovered.
7. Inability to get ‘in the zone’. You do your regular activation movements, even some extra, but you seem to be struggling to get that fire going at the moment.

There are probably a few more of these the veterans among you have noticed over the years but you get the picture. Listen to those nagging cues, whatever they may be, and thank me later.

If you have to ask yourself if any of the above apply, you don’t need to deload. If you need a deload, you should have been reading the above whilst nodding your head, heck chances are you’ve been noticing these things for a while. Any one of the above may occur from time to time; deloading is only required when a few of the above are persistent cues from the body for a good week or so.

Deloaded Training

Deload training doesn’t really need to be a whole heap different to regular training. The ‘keep it simple’ approach is to just decrease intensity (read: weight lifted) by 40% and follow the program otherwise unchanged. If you’re a beginner, then you can get away with decreasing volume by 40% (read: same weight, less sets and reps).

But we can take a different approach also. I like to sometimes use deload periods to try out new exercises, or plain just ‘wing it’ in the gym. The key is to make sure the training is non-fatiguing and sub-maximal. Heck even consider taking a week out of the gym and hit up the park with just bodyweight movements. I’ll often try to ‘plan’ the need for a deload before a holiday, when I’m not sure what the training facilities will be like so I can do one of the above! The key is to keep it a bit easier and recover, you won’t get weaker by taking a week off when you really need it.

How long to deload? It depends, it might be four or five days, it might be a full week or even slightly more; again, listen to the body. When you’re starting to feel somewhat sadistic and crave a heavy squat session again, you’re ready.

Wrap up

We progress by challenging ourselves in our training, but unfortunately we are only human (well most of us are!). We don’t grow when training, we grow when recovering from training. Over time we accumulate more fatigue than can be recovered from between workouts and gradually the body tells us to back-off, but we must listen to it. After a period of reduced intensity/volume, we come back stronger, bigger and more eager to hammer away at our training again. One small step backwards for a many further steps forward.

And that’s it. Deload to recover and start progressing again. But only if your body needs it.

Myelin: Optimising Neural Pathways – by Jamie Bolton

I recently finished reading ‘The Talent Code’ by Daniel Coyle. The book focuses on the substance ‘myelin’ which in short is responsible for optimising neural pathways, making both thought and motor patterns more efficient in the process.

To explain better I’ll use the authors analogy. Essentially, at first when attempting to perform an untrained action, as the nervous system ‘fires’, the process is constrained by our neural circuitry, its akin to trying to drive fast down an alleyway, it just doesn’t work very well. As we practice and repeat, the body reacts by ‘wrapping’ nerve fibres in this substance myelin, in the process transforming neural pathways from narrow alleyways into superhighways allowing rapid impulse transfer. What does this mean? Well in essence, what was hard becomes easier.

Neural Impulses everywhere

Think back to your first bench press, I bet the bar wobbled all over the place, but now it follows a nice smooth path (or at least it should!), that’s myelin at work. Or perhaps a better example everyone can relate to, how about babies trying to walk? They try and try, but don’t quite manage it, but then just like that it clicks – they’ve accumulated enough myelin to do the task efficiently.

I won’t go explaining the book any further; if you’re interested in the subject though I’d highly recommend picking the book up, its a great read. What I will do now though is show how this can be useful for us strength athletes.

Let’s continue with that bench press example. That same first time, how much weight did you lift? How about the next time you bench pressed? And the time after that? I’d hazard a guess and say you saw pretty rapid progress in weight for a good month or two, and then the rate of progress suddenly dropped right down. What happened? Well we know myelin has been acting to optimise our neural circuitry, and actually that this happens fairly quickly, allowing these ‘rapid’ gains in strength. But what then? Why do our gains slow? Well, ‘gains’ from myelin have been exhausted for now, and the body is being forced to build bigger motor units (read: muscle) to do the job, which is a slower process. But this is where the good stuff starts happening – now we are growing muscle.

Myelin facilitates neural improvements. When we exhaust these temporarily, the body is forced to make structural, i.e. muscular and skeletal improvements. In turn, more myelin can then be used to make these new structures fire optimally and so on.

What underlies all this though is the need to challenge the body, we need to force adaptations. The body doesn’t want to change, and unfortunately for us always looks for the least ‘cost’ option to it. As a beginner, strength gains are rapid, why? It is relatively ‘cheap’ for the body to improve, all it needs to do is improve its neural pathways through myelin. As these are gains are exhausted, to improve, the body will have to build bigger muscle fibres. This is far more costly for the body. It doesn’t want to have to do this. Therefore, the challenge being placed on the body when training must be great enough to demand it.

If your ‘training’ is too easy, if you get up after that ‘heaviest’ set of deadlifts and you don’t even need to catch your breath, then don’t be surprised when you don’t improve. You aren’t asking enough of your body to make it want to.

Stop changing exercises.

This leads nicely on to my next point. Now, I’m all for variety in training, it’s the spice of life after all. But stop changing exercises for the sake of changing exercises. Lets use our little friend myelin to explain why.

You’ve suddenly hit a ‘wall’ with your strength gains on the bench press, its only going up 2.5kg a week! The horror. For a start, many advanced lifters would give their right arm for gains like that still (though they wouldn’t be much good at bench pressing anymore!) but I digress. So you switch to dumbells, and man, these are tough, you’re weak as anything with them. But next week, wow you’ve jumped, and the week after. For about a month, and then suddenly the gains aren’t forthcoming anymore. Time to ‘switch it up again’ right? Wrong.

Lets look deeper at what’s going on here. On the bench press, we’ve ‘myelineated’ our neural pathways, so our progress slowed down as the body actually was being forced to grow some muscle. We switch to dumbbells, these are new for us. Guess what, back to our first analogy and we’re down a neural alleyway again. But next week its suddenly a paved road, the week after an A-road, and so on, hence the ‘gains’ come quick again, until these pathways are ‘myelineated’ and again the body was being challenged that it might have begun to build some muscle. But you want to switch (rolls eyes).

Wrap up

The human body is a highly complex machine. It will always attempt to do things in the most efficient way possible (read: metabolically cheap).

You need to stick with exercises long enough to push past the neural gains and start seeing muscular gains. Know the phrase ‘jack of all trades, master of none’? That applies perfectly here. To progress you need to constantly challenge the body and not give it an ‘easy’ route out.

But don’t just think that once we’re beyond those initial big neural gains we only make muscular gains. Your neural circuitry is constantly being optimised by myelin. And that’s the brilliant thing, you are constantly being made a more efficient athlete, as well as a more muscular one, as long as you challenge the body. With this in mind, lets make sure we give ourselves the building blocks. Now for once I’m not talking protein (though that is crucial for muscle growth), I’m talking healthy fats for myelin development. In particular in this case, omega 3 fatty acids are crucial, so make sure to consume plenty of omega 3 rich food like salmon, or supplement instead.

Using an array of different exercises is great, but use them for the right reasons. Don’t just switch from bench presses to dumbbell presses because progress has slowed a little. Persevere. Now if your triceps strength, or lack of, is hammering you, then sure, maybe add in some board or floor presses to overload them more. But don’t switch just because you haven’t woken up looking like Ronnie Coleman all of a sudden. Muscle growth takes time.

Push hard and make that body adapt. Give it reason to grow.

Inspiration 23/2/11

This wednesday we thought we’d spread our message through showing you some videos to fire you up. If these feats of strength and power don’t fire you up, we’re honestly not sure what will!

First up we’ve got a guy from pacificstrong.ru who squat presses – people.

 

Following on, how about a 275kg RAW squat, hands-free? Serious core-strength going on here.

 

American 19 year old, Pat Mendes, here snatches 182.5kg like its nothing, being the first USA junior to ever do so.

 

Benedikt Magnusson shows us the definition of being ‘in the zone’.

 

Olympic lifter Pyrros Dimas demonstrates a crazy power:weight ratio

 

You think you’ve got a good vertical jump? Stefan Holm says otherwise

 

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

Have you found any inspirational videos?  Feel free to share them in the comments any of the comment boxes.

Attitude – by Jamie Bolton

I’m going to cut straight to the chase and reveal the fitness industry’s biggest secret. Are you ready? But shushhhhh, don’t tell anyone. There isn’t one. What? Yeah there is no secret.

Wait what?

Look, what separates the weak from the strong isn’t some secret training program, it isn’t some revolutionary diet, it is ATTITUDE.

“Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.” Winston Churchill

Notice that guy in the gym going hell for leather? Headphones in, sweat dripping off him? Yeah he’s probably lifting more weight than you are too. He might be mid-set squatting, looks like he’s beat, but he still drops down and gets that one more rep. Sod it, he went and got two more.

It might be that woman at work who meticulously follows her diet. She’s dropped more lbs in the past month than you have in the last year. Your buddy comes round and offers round some cake. You accept, heck it won’t hurt your fat loss efforts will it? She declines.

Or it might be a pal that gets up at the break of dawn to work out, since he’s got a job and family to support. He’s out in his garage at 5am, working to build a better him. How about you? Tucked up in bed, 5am’s far too early to work out after all? He’s breaking out PR’s before you’ve even opened an eyelid.

I’ll even go a step further with these stories. You analyze, as you do. The hardcore guy in the gym, he seems to be breaking the ‘rules’, he does far more sets than that muscle and fitness magazine said to. The woman at work eats too many carbs, sure they’re in the form of fruits, but that low-carb nutrition guru said that was bad. Our early-starter pal, he hasn’t got all the fancy equipment that our gym has, heck he’s just got a barbell, some plates and a rack, that can’t be good.

It’s funny, as despite this, I bet all of these people are making more progress than YOU.

But wait, you’ve got that super-duper, lean-muscle-freak-enhanced new program. Your diet, well that’s from the leading nutrition guru’s. Equipment? State of the art gym I bet. What’s going wrong?

Whilst these other people have ‘inferior’ set ups, they have the one thing that trumps everything else – attitude. They want it. They crave it. And you know what, they’re getting it – progress.

I wonder, and indeed worry, about the amount of people out there who focus on the minutiae in what they do. “Should I do 4×8 or 3×10?” or “Whats better – chicken or turkey?”, or in fact, more commonly something like “Should I take creatine?”, believing this will make all the difference. This is whats known as ‘paralysis by analysis’, or not being able to see the woods for the trees. People zone in on excess detail, losing the ability to make effective decisions, and worst of all, it’s on such marginal issues that it doesn’t make a blind bit of difference.

The best program in the world followed half-heartedly won’t work all that well, if at all, period. A program with just an inkling ‘rightness’, but followed with unswerving passion and all-consuming desire to succeed trumps it every time.

Imagine what you get if you put it together. You educate yourself and follow a solid, proven training and nutritional program. And you follow it with such a zeal and dedication that suddenly you are that person I described above. You show an infectious intensity in the gym. You eat like your life depends on it.

Stop worrying about the fine-print of what you do and just do it. Believe in your actions. Drive to constantly be better. Be better.

The man who thinks he can and the man who thinks he can’t are both right.” Henry Ford

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