It's a good Tuesday everyone! Thanks for stopping back in to check out part II, otherwise known as deux to some, of my How to Get Started series.
Part II: Food and Eating
Weâve got our workout routine nailed down, and even if itâs not 100% down, weâll get there. Now, if you only did weight training and light cardio, ignored what goes on to your plate (literally...wait no...yup, literally), you would absolutely see results, but they would hit a big ole brick wall in the not too distant future. Depending on what youâre currently eating, would determine if that wall the wall arrives sooner or later, but youâre still going to arrive at it. That means that we canât just ignore this elephant, as it were. Fair warning, this is probably the thing that most people find to be the toughest when it comes to fitness (*raises hand*), so you are not the only one, I promise. There are others going through it too and we all understand, but letâs try to set some basics so you donât lose that mind of yours and can keep this journey sustainable.
Letâs start with the simple thing, eat food, yeah actual food, it sounds silly, but seriously real food. Supplements take a back seat to eating actual food. The less processed a food is, the better itâs going to be. Think of where you usually find the good stuff for food, on the outside edges of the grocery store.
I want you all to keep this in mind, because people often get confused because of things like this. Whatever diet (keto, vegan, paleo, atkins) your neighbor is doing or your friends brotherâs boyfriend is doing, if itâs working for them, awesome, itâs working FOR THEM. It may not work for you, and thatâs ok, donât get intimidated if they get preachy and borderline psycho they get about their diet. It is not the only way to lose body fat.
âTake a look at the graphic posted recently by the amazing people at Precision Nutrition and you'll notice there's a few ways that people find success, so which is the best way comes down to the person.
The basics of most of the diets out there are; lean protein, a colorful array of vegetables, minimal added sugars, lower calorie sauces & dressings and 0 calorie beverages. Letâs be real we are chronically dehydrated as a society so stick to water. Also, remember that fat is not a bad thing necessarily, it just depends on which type.
I want you to keep in mind, you are in this for the long game, as in, for life! So in order to sustain it, you need to keep your brain from going haywire. Start with finding good foods that you like, at least. If you can't find some fruits, veggies and protein dishes that you really enjoy, to make a crux of your new eating habits, then it won't last. That also means, in the event that you have this issue, time to branch out and try different things. You might be surprised by what new things you like.
Here's another part of making this thing sustainable, you are going to go off track, but it will not be the end of your universe or your journey. If you have a day where you donât eat the good stuff, itâs ok, don't just throw your hands up in the air and say screw it Iâm going to smash a carton of ice cream to my face for the next 2 weeks (though weâd all like to do that some days). Itâs going to be OK, just keep plugging away. The only way you lose is if you give in and you give up completely. As long as you donât quit, good things will happen. Super restrictive diets have been shown to lead to binge eating, so instead, just give yourself some slack. Unless you want to be a dungeon troll and not to be social with friends & family, you'll need some wiggle room. Just be mindful of it and then get yourself back on track the next day.
Finally, donât be beholden to the number on the scale, on the tape measure or what the tags on your clothes say. Thatâs just all information, but it doesnât make you any less or more successful, focus on how you are feeling. Come back tomorrow for part III, something less talked about in this healthy living journey, rest and sleep. Until next time Team First XV, go out there and get after it.
Happy Monday to you all. Hopefully some of you got some sleep and didn't stay up too late watching some silly game...oh wait I do that too, just not that particular one. In any case, I've got a little series of posts I'm putting together seeing as around this time of year tends to be a time that people get inspired to be healthy.
OK, you’ve finally said enough is enough, you’re going to get (back) into fitness…what now? There’s a load of ways to attack this and really there’s no one way to go after it, but if you’re constantly being bombarded by 1000 opinions and so on, you can feel extremely overwhelmed and paralyzed. Well, here’s one more opinion, I promise I will try not to overwhelm you. I actually want to break this down into a few segments, so let’s start with the easy stuff and work our way to the more complicated and fine tuned items.
Part 1: Workout routine
Once again, this is an area that can feel really overwhelming. So many different things you can do, so much (confusing) information out there and you don’t know who’s right, who’s wrong and what’s right for you. The last part I just mentioned is the most important, what is right for you?
Carve out 45 minutes or so for your workout 3 days a week. Yes, I know you’re busy, so are people like Gary Vaynerchuk, yet they still manage to get it done. Find gaps in your schedule that you can squeeze something in. An apartment gym will certainly be fine, but if yours is really THAT bad, you don’t need to spend a wild amount of money on a gym membership. It’s amazing that some people equate the price of a gym membership to have healthy they’ll be or how fast they’ll get fit.
Now, what do you do when you get to the gym? There are some really good, free programs that exist out there, but in case you’re not prepared to do that leg work let’s start from scratch. Most trainers and coaches would give you some really complicated warm-up and that’s not wrong, to a point, but let’s not spend your valuable time doing exercises you have no idea why you’re doing them.
Glute Bridge x10
Bird Dogs x10/side
Scap Floor Slides x10
Split Squat x5/side
Repeat a 2nd time through and bang, you’re ready to rule the world.
Well damn now the fun stuff, what’s your workout look like?
If you’ve been following me for longer than a 5 minutes, you likely know my general rule is to do 5 major movement patterns;
Squat/Lunge (getting down and getting back up)
Hinge (bending over to pick stuff up)
Push (name a day you went through without having to push something)
Pull (see above)
Carry (groceries anybody?)
Example Day (perform matching letters in alternating fashion with at least 60 seconds rest between):
A1- Goblet Squat 3x8 (Squat/Lunge)
A2- Standing 1- Arm Cable Row 3x10/ (Pull)
B1- Dumbbell or Kettlebell RDL 3x10 (Hinge)
B2- [Elevated] Push-Up 3x8 (Push)
C1- Farmer’s Carry 3x15 yards (Carry)
C2- Front Plank 3x15 seconds
Now obviously you want to do these exercises with good, so you don't get hurt and you likely don't want to do the same exact ones every single day for months on end, if not for anything else other than you’ll get bored. There’s tons of amazing coaches putting good content out there about exercises like these, all else fails, ask someone else that might be in the know. To solve that other issue, here’s a few variations that are easy to do for each movement pattern, that you can interchange with the ones above;
Squat/Lunge- Reverse lunge, step ups, split squats, bulgarian split squats
Hinge- Pullthroughs, 1-leg bridge, hip thrusts
Push- DB Bench press, db floor press, landmine press
Pull- inverted rows, chest supported rows, face pulls
Carry- suitcase carry, goblet carry, rack carry
The weights on these are up to you, start conservative and work your way up as you see fit. If something feels like it’s way too difficult, don’t be a hero, lower the weight until you get the hang of it.
Now, if you mix this with a good walk or maybe a group exercise class with a friend, you’re off to a hell of a start.
Finally, if you feel pain, not discomfort, not an owie, not a hit to your ego, pain. DON’T FIGHT THROUGH IT. It is 100% not worth it. Stop the exercise, pick another one or, if it’s bad enough, get it checked out. Don’t worry, the weights will be right where you left them.
Hopefully this was a helpful start to figuring out how the hell to kick start this thing. Ask questions always, whether it’s me, or a coach/trainer you trust, ask them. Tune in Tomorrow for everyone’s favorite part (ok maybe not) FOOD! Until next time Team First XV, go out there and get after it!
How goes it for everyone today? Whether you are currently traveling to your end of summer vacation, sitting at your desk and waiting for it to get here or just trying to kill time until you need actually be productive, I've got something to help with that. Hopefully you find it useful and perhaps gets the gears turning upstairs.
It’s likely that you’ve noticed with my training, I like to have people pick up heavy objects. Whether that’s your cup of tea or not there’s one thing that can help with that (and many other things), grip strength. Even if you loathe the idea of picking up something heavier than the small dog you keep in your bag, it’s still a good idea to get some of this in. This isn’t just for those people that could probably use a firmer handshake either, though there’s a few out there. Really it comes down to do you want to keep the health of your joints in your arm, wrist and all the way on up, in tact? Do you like the joints in your arm not hurting? Then you probably need to at least maintain, if not increase your grip strength.
Some of you that have been following me may have noticed I've had my battles with my grip strength in recent times. When you have a problem like this, you either learn a bit about it or nothing ever changes, so of course I've taken notes on ways to attack this. Also, yes please have your laugh now and then we can move on….you know what I’m talking about.
When you force yourself, or are forced to, squeeze something really hard, you’ll be really shocked at what other muscles will light up in your arm, not including the ones having to do with your hands, can anyone say rotator cuff?
Here are 6 exercises or variations that will help you with your grip strength;
Fat Bar Bent Over Rows- Fat bars and fat grips really force those pincer muscles to work hard, they'll make a pretty moderate weight (RPE=5/6) feel like a working weight (RPE=7/8) in a hurry. Here I've gone with a bent over row, of course you can use this for any movement that requires you to grab a bar.
KB Bottoms Up Bench Press- Bottoms up technique will make that forearm and all the way up work real hard just to maintain the position at a stand still, let alone through a movement. I went with a bench press, but you could also do this with an over head press, floor press or single arm variations of these. Important to remember if it feels like the bell is going to constantly flop over out of position (and potentially on your skull) don't be a hero, go down to a weight you can maintain the bell in that bottoms up position.
KB Farmer's Carry- If you've been following me for longer than 5 seconds, it's no secret that I love me some carries. Lot's of upside here, a bit of axial loading, a good metabolic effects (fancy way of saying it's a lot of work) and....wait what was the other thing? Oh right, works that grip pretty good too. Kettlebells are one of several implements you can use, dumbbells, farmer's handles, plates. You can also go one armed and do a suitcase carry. Give the weight a death grip and control it, don't let it control you or you're looking at bad news.
KB Bottoms Up Carry- Let's combine the previous two movements into one, with a bottoms up carry. Same rules with the bottoms up presses, if you can't keep the bells in position and from potentially smashing something important on you, dial it down. Try to keep your elbows up and in front, don't let the ribs flare out and take your time. Watch that arm and shoulder light up like the 4th of July.
Towel Grip Bench Row- Towel grip work is certainly not a new technique to the S&C universe. Pretty basic concept here, you have to grip things just a little extra harder because towels tend to fit int your hand a little more awkwardly than a bar. I've gone with a simple row here, but of course you can do things like chin-ups & pull-ups, inverted rows and the list goes on.
Heavy Deadlifts and RDLs- I mean what's one thing that's going to help you hold on to heavy weight? Picking up heavy weight. I've gone with RDLs here because you need to hold the weight throughout the entirety of the set without any pause or break, no matter how brief, but that's not to say a deadlift off the floor won't help.
Some may wonder, what type of volume should you be looking at with these? Like any type of training, using varying volumes provides different benefits, so I wouldn’t get locked into a particular rep range, use them all.
A few of these techniques are also a good way to take the load down with a lift, but keep the it challenging. If you're constantly going hard and starting to wear out, consider getting acquainted with one of these techniques.
Of course, this not a comprehensive list of exercises and techniques that can help with your grip strength, and training in general, but just wanted to give a few examples. Hopefully this has helped you spark a new idea for your training and that's all I can ask for. Until next time everyone, go out there, pick up something heavy and get after it!
Jarrod Dyke, CSCS