Inspiration 24/06/11

Its been a while now since we last posted some inspirational videos for you so here are another 4 great videos with powerful messages to motivate you in you training. Enjoy.

The guys from EliteFTS prove the impossible.

 

Are you  just making excuses?

 

You are your maker. Go achieve.

 

Do you have passion in your eyes?

 

 Train Hard. Train Smart. Stay Strong.

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5 reasons for the success of my hypertrophy phase – by Ben Coker

Well the beloved bulking phase has passed for me and I am now 2 weeks into a mild trim. Looking back on the months since Christmas in which I put on 11kg, I reflected on the things that contributed to my success. My previous articles on the mistakes of bulking 1 and 2 went a long way in keeping me on the road to success but this article explains 5 more personal reasons.

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1) I set quantifiable, challenging but realistic goals.

For me I had two post-its on my wall; one saying 150kg for 10reps = 170kg and the other 114.3 kg / 18stone, both surrounded by inspiring quotes I hold close.

The first refers to benching 150kg for 10 reps which should equate to a 1rm of 170kg + by the end of my bulk. The second refers to the body wight I wanted to achieve by the end of my bulk.

These notes were glaring at me every time I sat in my room, there was no escape. I had held myself accountable. Looking back those notes where instrumental in me smashing both targets.

I feel that simply entering a bulk phase with the notion of ‘I want to be bigger and or stronger’ will undoubtedly lead to poor or sub optimal results. Have a fixed finish point and make it visible to you everyday as a reminder to yourself; are you doing everything you can to reach your best?

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2) I built my calories up slowly but ultimately if I wasn’t eating when I felt I shouldn’t have then I was stunting my growth.

A recent article about leaving something in the toolbox applies here. When starting a bulk dont go over crazy on the food. Trust me simply by giving your body as little as 500kcal extra a day from its maintenance or dieted levels it has been on between bulking phases is enough to make the body  put on muscle at impressive rates.

BUT here’s the twist. This rate of growth slows as you put on weight so you have to keep increasing your calories over the hypertrophy period to get that surplus of calories above your RMR!

And boy did they the calories have to go up!  Two thirds of the way through my bulk I plateaued. I wasn’t eating enough, but surely 6000kcal a day was enough?

‘Obviously not you idiot’ I told myself.

I went and revised my list on the mistakes of bulking and all boxes were checked barring the fact I wasn’t eating when I felt I shouldn’t!

So up went the calories to 7000kcal and even 8000kcal on some days. What happened? From being stuck at around 110-112kg bodyweight I flew up to 114kg then continue up until 116kg.

So build up those calories conservatively but keep building them up! Don’t fear fat gain as long as your building muscle as fast as humanly possible. There will be another time for you to ‘unveil’ your sculpture later…

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3) I walked everywhere

This one is so important especially when you get REAL heavy but also if you put on a decent level of mass in a relatively short period of time. Last weeks article also touched on it.

By walking everywhere everyday you body doesn’t notice the effects of the extra mass gradually being put on. You feel lighter on your feet, and your cardio-respiratory systems are much better adapt to cope with the larger mass.

Honesty call, I love being big but even to me an out of breath mass monster don’t look (or feel) too good! Everyone should be able to walk briskly for at least an hour whilst still holding a conversation. And I’m glad to say that despite impressive gains in muscle mass I don’t feel ‘burdened’ with the extra weight.

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4) Adapt to setbacks: I got outside the bodybuilding world and fell in love with a sled

At one point my knee was playing up a bit and so I sought different ways to hit my legs. Pulling a sled caused no pain in my knee and so there was the answer.

If I’m stuck with this I thought then I may as well load the thing up to the max and put a lot of work through my legs. 4 weeks of puke inducing sled training and my legs grew by an inch.

A slap in the face reminder that different is good sometimes, even for a bodybuilder. Any bodybuilder would settle for an inch on their legs but for me the benefits went further. Since quitting rugby some time ago I had not run for years. Despite my strength I was now slower and struggled to sprint under my new weight.

The sled training got me right back on track; my legs were not only bigger now but their power had also been increased. I was now functional again despite being kilos heavier and I loved it! I also enjoyed the sensation of high intensity cardio believe it or not. It made me feel healthier and that’s priceless when piling on size.

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5) Deadlift, Deadlift, Deadlift.

I have had issues with my low back for a while and have spent a long time rehabbing and tentatively dabbling in deadlifting again in the process of recovery. But by this bulk phase I was ready to hit them in ernest. I knew deadlifts were the missing link to gorilla muscle, and gorilla muscle was what I wanted.

Gorilla muscle: built by deadlifts.

So I deadlifted and deadlifted a lot. Not always super heavy but I made a point to work hard on form and intensity. Some days I did heavy singles, some days sets of 5 and some days I even did super volume on them like 10×10 or sets of 30reps at 1.5 x bodyweight.

The results of fanatical deadlifting?. My low back and core is now a whole lot stronger and my discs far more protected. A movement that had crippled me even to think of, I now loved. My legs ballooned. My back got super thick. Oh and finally all my other lifts sored up and as a result all their relevant muscle groups grew in a crazy fashion.

The deadlift is the king at building the whole body as the whole body is used. This hypertrophy phases owes a lot of its success to the fact that in it I could for the first time deadlift pain free.  I took full advantage and the scales and measurements went through the roof as a result.

Fortress You – by Ben Coker

‘I bargained with life for a penny,

And life would pay no more…

Only to learn, dismayed,

That any wage I had asked of Life,

Life would have willingly paid.’

-Jessie B. Rittenhouse


We all would like to have things in life that we don’t currently have but what is it that enables some of us to achieve those things and others not to? The poem extract says it all, those that fail bargain for a penny with life.

Life will reward you with anything you want as long as you’re willing to give no less than everything you have in order to get it. This all stems from desire and having a clear vision of what you want.

A lot of quotes and speeches speak about having dreams and pursuing them, and though the intention behind such uses of the word dream are correct, I personally don’t like the word ‘dream’. To me, it’s too soft – a whim. To me it represents someone half heartedly hoping to just have something and resultantly they will never have it.They aren’t fully prepared to sacrifice everything they have within themselves in order to achieve their ‘dream’.

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I prefer the word ‘desire’. Desire is not a dream, it is definite. Desire is an all encompassing obsession to  achieve a goal or vision you have. You will give everything you have within your ability to the life you pursue and in return, life will reward you accordingly.

How many of you are struggling to improve in performance or physique goals?  The problem may lie with the answer to this question,‘What is your vision statement?’ If you cannot answer this definitively then how do you expect to improve.

You need a definite vision statement to set the course of your progression. My bodybuilding vision statement is “I will weigh 20 stone, have 20 inch arms and 30 inch legs within a year and a half”.

How many of you out there have a clear vision of what it is you are going to do or how you are going to look? Notice my choice of words here. Merely saying ‘I want to be bigger’ or ‘I want be stronger’ won’t cut it.

Never use the word ‘want’ or ‘wish’. They are synonymous with ‘dreaming’ and in my eyes failing. Get definitive, be bold, and write out a clear vision statement with the words ‘I will’ and put this within a specific time frame (micro and or macro).
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Success is all about faith. Faith in yourself. I Know I will achieve my statements because I 100% believe I will and can achieve them and that I will never quit along the journey. It’s that simple.
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If you don’t truly believe then your vision statement is just a dream, something you are wishing for. Don’t dream. Kindle a fire within you. Look yourself in the mirror everyday and tell yourself that you are going to do whatever it takes to achieve your vision and that you will get there. You must adopt the notion that the only thing truly holding you back is yourself. If you want more than a penny from life, don’t make the deal with life for that penny. Demand a better deal and life will pay.
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For some this is a hard concept to completely engross themselves with, they simply can’t make themselves believe. Unfortunately this belief is without a doubt the key to success. Enter the practice of auto-suggestion.

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This is daily spoken mantra that is charged with emotion. Make a point to say a short statement aloud to yourself using the words ‘I will’. When times are tough and you feel you can’t go on or you get set backs you need to be continuously saying and thinking ‘I will…

‘I will deadlift 300kg’, ‘I will reach 4% body fat’, ‘I will throw 60m’, ‘I will recover from injury and be better than I was’ etc.

‘You are what you think about all day long’ – Dr. Robert Schuller.

Performed often enough the brain ‘becomes magnetized with the dominating thoughts which we hold in our minds, and…these “magnets” attract to us the forces, the people, the circumstances of life which harmonise with the nature of our dominating thoughts’ – Napoleon Hill. The result is that with time and dues we achieve our vision.

It is essential to understand that you must be willing to give everything you have to a vision statement in order to achieve it. It is no use saying ‘I will do x’ if you are not giving everything you have to get x.

You must commit all your energy, all your will power and all your effort to achieve your vision statement. Life is full of little tests and you only get one shot at them. Every rep, every set, every lap, every meal. They are all tests and if you only settle for your best at each test, you will amaze yourself with the results.
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Give it everything...

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Plan your sessions, your meals, your recovery and your kit in advance. Eat what you know you should eat. Do what you know you need to do. Don’t get lazy and cut corners or as I like to put it ‘don’t skip rear delts’!

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People are often afraid to commit everything they have into something but this is essential. They get told its crazy and ‘all your eggs in one basket isn’t good’. To hell with them. Everyone who has achieved greatness and fulfilled their vision statement for life has whole heartedly pursued it and never lost faith in themselves despite adversity.

If set backs come confront them with ‘I will’. Setbacks are part of life and those that achieve learn to view them in positive ways.

For me spinal surgery wasn’t defeat. It didn’t equate to me giving up bodybuilding and lifting heavy stuff, though many thought it should have. Instead it lead to extra focus on my lumbar musculature, my core strength and balance of my total musculature. The results: bigger weights lifted with correct form, bigger mass and a more balanced physique and no more back pain.

If I had listened to the surgeons consultant at the time and believed him when he implied that I should lay off the weights then I would have accepted defeat as a reality. I didn’t. Reality for me was what I knew I wanted and what I knew I was prepared to give in order to get there.

Fortress You will never be defeated until it accepts defeat as reality.

Overkill – by Jamie Bolton

Overkill. Sometimes its necessary.
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Where are you at right now? Are you moving toward your goals?
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If you’re not, it might be time to bring out the ‘big guns’. When standard prescriptions fail to work, sometimes you have to look beyond what is ‘normal’ (whatever that is), in order to get results.
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Struggling to gain weight? Add a gallon of whole milk a day.

Can’t lose fat? Cut out all carbs except fruit and veggies.
Lats lagging? Throw in submaximal sets of chins throughout the day.

Most people will turn around and say that the above examples are ‘overkill’. That you will ‘overtrain’. That you won’t recover. That’s fine, let ‘most people’ think like that.

We aren’t most people.

The reality of it, is that most people don’t want such methods to work. It’s too hard for them. So they label it as over training or overkill. The reality is that it really isn’t overkill. It only appears that to the outsider who hasn’t got dedication. To the guy that’s progressing, it’s called getting results.

‘Obsessed, a word used by the lazy to describe the dedicated’

By being on this site alone, it shows you have gone to the effort of pursuing knowledge beyond that that the mass media throw at people. It shows you care about your goals. It shows you are willing to battle toward them in the most intelligent ways possible. People that get results do what works, and they do it consistently. That’s it. End of.

Cut out all carbs except fruit and veggies to lose fat? Yeah but what about my cereal at breakfast and sandwich at lunch? What will I eat? That can’t work.”

Veggies - eat them and thank us later

What will you eat? Fruit and veggies I’d imagine. It does work.

A gallon of whole milk a day? That’s a whole lot of milk! I’m not sure I could drink all that.”

Milk - a best friend if struggling to gain weight

Then you don’t want to see results that much my friend.
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“Submaximal sets of chins throughout the day? But like, I’ll never recover. And how will I find the time?”
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You will recover. If you want it –  make the time.
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I’ve had too many people quip back these sorts of responses when you give advice. You give them the recipe. They’re just not prepared to follow it.
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When people ask for advice, they are implicitly implying that they respect your opinions. But why is it that instantly most people look for the easy route out. The denials. The reasons not to.
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If someone draws you the road map to success that has already gone the route, maybe you should listen. Chances are they might, just might know something about how to get there. Instead of “That sounds like a lot of work”, why not try “Sure I’ll give that a go”?
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And before you go and start program hopping to try everything. How about following one approach and giving it a decent period to evaluate results? Add a gallon of milk a day and follow it for 2 months, not 2 days. Switching things too often is an example of detrimental overkill. You’re running to stand still!

If new research and the like suddenly said eating a kilo of broccoli a day would help me gain 10lbs of muscle in a month (it doesn’t), do you know what I would do? I would eat a kilo of broccoli a day for a month. And if it were true, I would get results. And all the while I’d have others barking at me that it’s overkill. Well it clearly isn’t. It works.

That example sounds ridiculous doesn’t it? Yet nearly every recommendation worth its salt comes with that kind of backing. Proven results. Yet people still discount it as if it were lies. The only lying going on is by people to themselves. What works, works. Period.

Stop listening to the naysayers. If you are striving to make positive improvements to yourself, expect criticism. As long as what you doing is intelligent and proven, expect people with lesser results to tell you what you’re doing is ‘overkill’. To them it is. That’s why they stay the same. It’s why you progress.

The road to success is actually very simple. It’s just not very easy.

“Successful men are influenced by the desire for pleasing results. Failures are influenced by the desire for pleasing methods and are inclined to be satisfied with such results as can be obtained by doing things they like to do. The common denominator of success – the secret of every man who has ever been successful – lies in the fact that he formed the habit of doing things that failures don’t like to do.” Albert Gray

Which will it be? You choose.

What It Takes to be Number One – Vince Lombardi

Sometimes we just cannot say it better ourselves. Today, we have some truly inspiring words from the great Vince Lombardi.
 

“Winning is not a sometime thing; it’s an all the time thing. You don’t win once in a while; you don’t do things right once in a while; you do them right all of the time. Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.

There is no room for second place. There is only one place in my game, and that’s first place. I have finished second twice in my time at Green Bay, and I don’t ever want to finish second again. There is a second place bowl game, but it is a game for losers played by losers. It is and always has been an American zeal to be first in anything we do, and to win, and to win, and to win.

Every time a football player goes to ply his trade he’s got to play from the ground up – from the soles of his feet right up to his head. Every inch of him has to play. Some guys play with their heads. That’s O.K. You’ve got to be smart to be number one in any business. But more importantly, you’ve got to play with your heart, with every fiber of your body. If you’re lucky enough to find a guy with a lot of head and a lot of heart, he’s never going to come off the field second.

Running a football team is no different than running any other kind of organization – an army, a political party or a business. The principles are the same. The object is to win – to beat the other guy. Maybe that sounds hard or cruel. I don’t think it is.

It is a reality of life that men are competitive and the most competitive games draw the most competitive men. That’s why they are there – to compete. The object is to win fairly, squarely, by the rules – but to win.

And in truth, I’ve never known a man worth his salt who in the long run, deep down in his heart, didn’t appreciate the grind, the discipline. There is something in good men that really yearns for discipline and the harsh reality of head to head combat.

I don’t say these things because I believe in the ‘brute’ nature of men or that men must be brutalized to be combative. I believe in God, and I believe in human decency. But I firmly believe that any man’s finest hour — his greatest fulfillment to all he holds dear — is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle – victorious.”

– Coach Vincent T. Lombardi

Stop Looking for the Secret Formula – by Jamie Bolton

Stop looking for the ‘secret formula’, there isn’t one. 

Now I hate to break it to you, but the truth of the matter is this – you probably already know everything you need to know in order to succeed. However, the problem is, you just don’t want to do it.

“Ya i know squats are a great exercise but they’re kinda hard” or
“I know veggies are great for you but its boring to eat them”

These are such retarded statements when you think about it, yet we hear it all the time. People are afraid of doing the very things that they know can produce results.
Why? Because its hard and there must be some easier way.

You probably know everything you need to get there, just do it!

If you log onto any strength training forum and you will see endless threads with people asking for critique on the minutiae in their program, diets and more typically most of the time – supplements.

“Like theres this super-duper creatine made in Russia lined with pixey dust, but is it better than this one which is cross-filtrated decarboned fossilated creatine which my mate said will get you hyuuuge” (yes both are made up before you go looking for them)

Dude for f**ks sake its creatine, it may well help but please just go and buy some standard creatine monohydrate and get over it. Heck go buy a gallon of milk a day instead, you’re probably not eating enough anyway.

Results are a function of two things – hard work and consistency. Nothing more, nothing less.

People want things that give them instant gratification….eat a donut now and yummm yeah, it tastes good, but is it really getting you closer to your goals? Replacing junk food with real food might not be instantly gratifying, but you’ll be thankful in a few months time when you look, feel and perform better.

That’s kind of the problem these days with society. Everyone wants instant rewards. No in fact, they expect instant results. Sure you’ve eaten like crap for the past 25years but somehow you expect to look like a mens health cover model in a month? Give me a break. Apply some logic here, if it took you years to get that way, you really think you can reverse it overnight?

If you want it, and I mean really want it, then you need to be prepared to make permanent lifestyle changes and stop looking for short cuts, because they’re aren’t any. There is no program that allows you to sit on your arse all day, eat crap and yet look & perform great, no matter how hard to you look for it or attempt to believe it exists. I know the magazines and media say it does, but guess what – they are putting out ‘lies’ in order to make you buy the damn thing because they know it appeals to the instant gratification people want to be true. It’s called marketing.

Anything is possible when it comes the realm of strength training, but it always boils down to one thing – desire. Those who want it enough are walking the walk, doing day in, day out what everyone knows produces results. They’re not hung up on looking for the ‘magic’ formula. They train like monsters, eat like beasts and sleep like babies. They don’t spend more time looking for a program or a diet than actually following it. They already know the real key to success – hard work & consistency.

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