Quality Articles of the Week – 17th of March

4 weeks straight, and on St. Patrick’s Day as well!!!  I can’t believe that I can actually be on time with something.  Time management was always something that I have struggled with for a long time now,  and instead of planning, and doing a little bit, it became an overwhelming task.  We have found a new Website of the Week, as well as articles from across the spectrum of general fitness, strength training, movement and mental goodness, among others.  If you have seen an article that you believe should be in the weekly list, please send it through.

Website of the Week

I always feel better when I can share some of the wonderful local pages that are making a difference in the community that I live in.  This is one of them.  Believe me, when autumn and winter roll along, you will wish you got on Nikki’s website earlier….

Nikki Wagner Nutrition

General Fitness

Now I can hear people from miles away screaming “this is bullshit”, but the facts don’t lie.  Look at the physical inactivity statements for starters.  They tell the story of people who are not moving.  Moving is crucial for brain health, for mental health.

9 research findings that shows education needs sport

I don’t mind the content from Born Fitness.  It is always well researched, and well written.  So, if you are struggling to drop body fat, this could be of great assistance.

Want to burn more fat? Add this to your fat loss plan

First things first.  This does not apply to general population.  Unfortunately, you are not working hard enough.  Secondly, understand that doing nothing does NOT help you get better.  Thirdly, brilliant article..

Quit resting so hard and restore instead

Charlatan.  Scammer.  Liar.  Mentally challenged. And these are the nice things I have to say.  Do not get conned again.  Fool me once.  Shame on you.  Fool me twice.  Shame on me.

Belle Gibson makes new health claims

Movement Goodness

Foam rolling.  Called a gimmick by some, while others use them as light sabers.  To the rest of us, they perform a job, and we nearly always feel better after using one.  But, do you know if they are really effective?  Well the smart people decided to look at all the research and put their thoughts on paper.

The effects of self‐myofascial release using a foam roller or a massager on joint range of motion, muscle recovery, and performance: A systematic review

Pull ups.  One of the great tests of physical power, but what do you do when you have shitty shoulders?  Glad you asked.  Let Dan get you the right information.

How to modify pull ups for painful shoulders

Walking.  The cheapest exercise we can ever do.  You don’t need fancy shoes, or headphones, or Strava, or an elephant.  All you need to put one foot in front of each other.  But yet, it is one of the most underutilised exercise programs on the planet.  It must be because people expect more.

New study shows that more time walking means less time in hospital

Strength Training

Yes, I know.  Girls can’t squat.  Girls can’t do push ups.  Girls.  Girls.  Girls.  Read the article.  Realise how your words and squatting technique can be corrected by, GASP, by a girl….

Squat like a girl

I must say I do like the writing style of Alex.  It really gets the brain working.

Old Man Training – Part 1

Dan Pope and crew at Fitness Pain Free are smart.  And helpful.

How to modify deadlifts for Lower Back Pain

Diet and Nutrition

The protein supplementation market is huge, with figures around the $14B.  So what does it mean if you think protein powder is all the same, and you cough out big $$$ for a shitty product?  Well we now have a place to check their claims…

Top 10 Protein Supplements

I know.  Click bait title.  What are they selling.  There must be a catch.  But there isn’t.  It is just a well written piece on what you should be eating.

3 foods you must eat if you want 6 pack abs

Ah wellness.  The mention of that word has people’s heads falling off.  They think of detoxes.  They think of wellness shakes.  They think of removing toxins from their body by drinking lemon water. Understand that if anyone has the title “Life Coach” get a really good understanding of what their life is like first.

Wellness gurus part of the Australian Health Problem

Just eat your fucking vegetables.  No.  Don’t put them in a shake.  Don’t stir them in water.  Just eat them.  Chew them up nice and good.  They are really good for you, and if you say you don’t like vegetables, then I say you haven’t tried every single vegetable.

What to do when you don’t like vegetables

Mental Goodness

Routines.  We use them to drive to work.  We use them when shopping (if you don’t you should), and when use them at night-time.  But when it comes to exercise, health and diet, we just try any new, fan dangled way.  Put daily consumption of fat in your coffee?  Fuck Yeah.  Too busy to eat properly?  Get on the shitty shakes.  Put some routine into your day, and see how much better you will perform.

The power of routine

Seems like the article above and this one share a common message, albeit being much different.  Planning doesn’t have to be time-consuming.  Pick a date in the future, enlist the assistance of some experts, and work with them to build a plan.  Take into account that there will be bumps and stops on that path, but believe it in.  After all, it’s your path.  No one else’s.

Take the long look: How to plan (very) far ahead in order to reach your goals

Humanity

We hear it all the time “You look slimmer today?  Tell me your secret”, or the old “Hasn’t such and such got fat.  They must have some issues”.  This is a wonderful article..

3 Reasons Why You Should Never Comment On Someone’s Weight

To me, Todd Hargrove is always on the money.  Let him guide you through the maze of experts and gurus.  I do hope you can tell the difference after this.  If you can’t re-read again.

Experts and Gurus: What’s the difference?

Coaching

In a world where people are selling everything to everybody, your profession should stand you above most things.  Like Travis, I have huge issues with those that are using their identity to “sell” products, and not just any products, those that are known not to do anything, apart from take money off you, most times in very large amounts.  Very well written article Travis.

4 things it’s not okay to do as a Fitness Professional

This article came through other means, and it’s a great one!!  If you follow certain people on social media, at the bare minimum understand if they are credible, and have a background (notice I said background, not backside) in what they are talking about.

Fitness trainers, Instagram community and other “wellness” people, we need to talk.

 

Started Reading

This is such a great book, and one that every coach worth their salt should have read, and have on their shelf.

Periodization Training for Sports

Hiccups – Do you get them, and how do you get rid of them?

Now that I have set the hook, I will tell you what I am on about.  No, it has nothing to do with training your dragons  Well I don’t think it does.  As a matter of fact, no it doesn’t but just in case someone doesn’t get the reference, here is Hiccup.hiccup_and_toothless_by_grzeboable-d7qcq0q

Now, to get back to the subject, I am referring to exercise hiccups.  Habit hiccups.  Goal hiccups.

hiccupI was introduced to hiccups by one of my students during her weekly sessions, and to me, it’s probably the best description I have heard.  It is only a small thing, but it can turn into such a larger issue, especially if it is not addressed.  Same goes for these ones.  You can’t just ride them out, they must be addressed.

How do you address them?  Well, to me, it’s exactly the same way we deal with them in real life.  You move through them, and with them.

For exercise hiccups, find an exercise you really love, like I love my mum.  Yup.  I am a mummy’s boy.  It’s the bonus prize for being first born.  And it’s okay if you love bacon too….mum

For me, that exercise would be squats.  As soon I get put that bar on the rack, I know that whatever worries I have will soon be washed away by the endorphins of movement.

20131217_140328You just need to pick something you love.  The trick is don’t go too hard.  People indicate that 1 minute a day of movement is not enough to form a habit, however, if that person isn’t doing anything, then that 7 minutes per week of exercise will be better than none.  And honestly, can anyone remember when they just exercises for a minute?  That’s right.

The next hiccup is habit.  We know that humans are creatures of habit.  As soon as Noah allowed people to sit down on the cruise, and served those paleo chips and cookies, the world was a worse place.  Now, before you get all excited that I am saying that sitting and chips and cookies are bad, that is not what I am getting at.  I am getting at the fact that, from the dawn of time, we have relaxed.  Relaxation is good.  It relieves stress.  Allows us to recover and to refocus our energies. But, like everything, too much of a good thing, is well, not good.  So what do we do about it?  Same thing as the exercise hiccup, but with the focus on a habit you like.  It could be eating kale (I don’t know why, but hey, if that’s your thing, then get into it).  It could be making a huge batch of fresh blueberry pancakes, or making up a batch of your favourite stir fried vegetables.  You could even throw a shrimp on the barbie….

shrimpOr if you like ribs…..flintstones_ribs

We could also focus on the habit of sleep, and allow ourselves to get to sleep earlier by turning off the electronic devices.  There are many ways that we drop off our habits and hiccup, but it doesn’t mean we have to stay there, continually hiccupping until we have lost all understanding of movement, exercise and food choices.

Goal hiccups are the ones that tend to get people the most riled.  They set goals at the start of the year, and work towards them.  It could be fat loss, or a performance goal.  Week after week, measurements are taken, lifts and times taken, until all of a sudden, we seem to be going backwards.  We are not making our targets, and instead of backing off and listening to our body, we push on, doing even more damage to our bodies, and more importantly our minds.

Even if you take one minute out of every day to get the brain and the body working as one, you will slowly remove the effects of the hiccup.  All it takes is one minute.

Have you really sat down and wrote down what makes you happy?  What does your happiness look like?  Next blog post will be all about happiness, and how we can get happier.

Until then, remember strength is the secret sauce.  Make sure you take your dose daily.

Fading away

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“My god!!!  What have you done?  Are you not well?  If you keep going, you will end up in the hospital!!” “Don’t you think you are taking this exercise thing a little too far?  Look at you, you are fading away?”.

Why do people use the phrase “fading away” to friends and family who have lost a significant amount of weight, or have made some serious changes to their lifestyle?  After all, isn’t being healthy, the main aspect of life.  Do you think YOU have the right to make that call.  If you were so seriously worried, wouldn’t you talk to their trainer and ask for their knowledgeable thoughts.  Better still, seek some expert advice from a doctor (No Dr Oz does not count as advice!!!!), or an another health professional, explaining to them the situation.  They may want to reach out to their fitness professional, or even want to see the individual.  But don’t be too judgemental when they take a look at you sitting their in front of them, and question you about YOUR health aspects.  Maybe, just maybe, you are a little jealous of their success and want to bring them down a peg or two?

Most of the time, this person has finally said “enough is enough”, and got a small hold on their life.  They no longer see food as something they shouldn’t eat, or want to waste a day or a weekend recovering from another alcohol and food coma.  They may have had enough of the late nights, lack of energy or had a health scare.  Whatever their reason, we should be embracing it, Embracing their new-found look on life, on health, and on their “why”.

To me, this not only makes the individual feel ashamed, but also may have a longer lasting effect on their goals. To me fading away indicated an illness, a sickness, where anorexia nervosa springs to mind, and should not be aligned to someone gaining muscle and losing body fat. A person who is fading away, most will try to hide their illness.  Baggy clothing.  Heading to the toilet straight after dinner.  They may not be outgoing.  They may not want to talk about what is happening. Take a close look next time you want to tell someone they are fading away.  What can you see?  Can you see dark, sunken eyes.  Can you see clothes not fitting properly, and falling off their body?  Or can you see muscle definition, a change in their food choices and words.  Someone who has lost a great deal of weight, and replaced it with muscle, will be full of vitality, and want to tell people what they are doing, and how they are doing it.

Please keep this in mind next time you want to tell someone they are fading away.  Maybe, it is the mirror you need to look into, and think about what YOU need to change.

Next post will on happiness, and what it is that makes you happy.

Until then, remember, strength is the secret sauce.

Strength. What is it? How do you get it?

The Oxford dictionary defines strength as a mixture of being physically strong, being able to handle great force or pressure, as a potent mixture, a good and beneficial quality and the number of people comprising a group.

However, as we know it is something that is not easily attainable, and there are times where our strength dips, and explodes above and beyond what we are capable of. Anyone ever moved a car when someone you loved was in danger of being hurt? No? Me neither and I hope I never need to.

What we need to do is understand how we get it, as it’s one of the best motivators (and demotivators) known in the fitness world. If you have ever been completing an exercise training program, and all of a sudden your max drops, and your numbers seem to be going backward. Then all of a sudden after a week or two, they are back up, better than they were, then you know exactly what I am talking about.

Everybody has a degree of strength attributed to their being. Whether you run, lift, ride a bike, wrestle cows, or sit behind a keyboard, you have a strength that is associated to you. It’s not associated to your training buddy, to your bike, to the bull with the long horns, or that server that is sitting unbalanced on a chair in a server room, it’s asociated with you. You have the ability to make yourself stronger. Not only in the mind, but in body and spirit.School tools

Hopefully, if you are like me and students of the School of Strength, you will use everything and anything that is in front of you to get stronger. Slosh balls (or commonly referred to as the “Red Ball of Death”), ropes, drums, tyres, as well as the conventional means will get you strong. When you get strong, all your other pieces of the puzzle will fall into place. Want to lose weight? Get strong. Want to pack on muscle? Get strong.

 

The million dollar question is how do we get strength, and therefore stronger? The only answer to this question is do what you love. If you love riding your bike, but hate lifting weights, then ride the bike!!! Instead of spinning the cogs going up a hill, flick it to the highest gear, get out of the seat, and climb. If you love lifting weights, and hate the idea of running, then load the bar up, and LIFT!!! If you love running…well you get the picture. Instead of just running with one foot in front of another, try sprinting, or even running backwards on an oval. Don’t do something that you hate, just because someone said it’s the best way. Your trainer and coach should tailor your sessions around what you love doing, what needs to be done from an exercise standpoint, and what is essential to meet your goals.

Where it gets confusing for the general public is sets, reps, rest periods, and weights used, and here is a little tip. Just do a little bit extra. If for example, you deadlifted 80kgs for 3 sets of 6 reps, and next time deadlifts came around, you did 80kg for 3 sets of 8 reps, well guess what? You just got stronger!!! If you held a sprint going up a hill for 10 seconds before reverting back into the saddle for a breather. Next time on the same hill in the same gear, you held that sprint for 15 seconds, you did it again. You got stronger.

School rackHere is my little final tip, and for some people this will be the “AHA” moment. Let’s say your goal for this year is to hit 100kgs on a squat. Load that bar up with 100kgs, and take a photo. Get it in your mind what that weight will look like. As you get stronger, and get closer to your goal, you may even get under the bar, and unrack it, just to feel what the weight feels like. Same goes if you are struggling to get stronger on the bike. Take your camera, or your phone, and take a couple of photos of the hill that wrecks you, and study it. Understand at which point in the climb you find it hard, and then look for like areas that you can train on. You will find sooner, rather than later, that weight and that hill will become your friend, and then bigger and better things will await you.

We have all wanted to give up, because it was too hard, or progress was slow. But what makes us not quit, and come back for more? How do we harness those thoughts of success, and then control it to improve our strength?

I’ll discuss motivation in-depth in my next blog

“You want to be strong? Then you must learn to deal with your mind. The body will follow where the mind leads.”

School of Strength motto