Ladies & gentlemen in the time I last wrote, something has happened.

As I draw towards the halfway point of the year I feel somewhat dissatisfied with my training. As my knowledge base in fitness begins to grow my mass becomes miniscule in comparison to abilities I lack. Namely; flexibility, endurance, agility, speed, co-ordination and balance.
All are suffering as I begin to gain more and more muscle mass. So the question arises should I change?
Sarcomeric hypertrophy seems less and less appealing in the new shining reflection of strength and conditioning drills.
It has always been true that I have aligned myself with the idea of training with a codified mindset in order to resist the temptation of getting dragged into fitness fads or laziness.
However, I want my body to be able to work at it’s optimum for life, I want to jump as high as I can, run as fast as possible and for as long as possible. I want this body to rage against the inevitability of it finally aging.
To me at least, the greatest source of depression amongst human beings is that we don’t see the need to change the average. As long as the job we are in is ok and it pays what we need it to pay, we’re fine. Even if it drains the very life out of us. Forever slaves to the maxim “if it isn’t broke don’t fix it.” To me that is only true if you can’t make it better.
Why become imprisoned to the steady song of stagnation when you can create a concerto of majesty.
We have so many people telling us what we’re good at, and what we should stick to that at times it’s difficult to tell who’s life we are living.
For a long time being a solicitor seemed like the greatest thing in the world to me, until I studied it and realised it was horrifically boring and uncreative. Had I listened to my mother and her persuasion I would be trapped in that setting that I wasn’t born to be in.
Ladies and gentlemen, make no mistake about it, change will change your life. It can totally re-route the trajectory of your accomplishments and how you view yourself.
You see, I’m seeking to totally change my approach to training, not because I’m bored, not because I have tasted the sting of defeat, rather, I am changing it because I want to be better.
We’ve got no reason to simply lie around in our comfort zone. Being the king of a group of average people is to be the pauper of the greats, and I, kind reader, am far from a pauper.
Life is all about progression and we progress by creating change, becoming better and more efficient in the way that we live, and so it is the same with training.

Weight training helped me crawl into the gym and taught me how to stand, but I am reaching the stage where I long to run and eventually soar into the potential I posses, and this new strength and conditioning regime seems like the most likely way to do it.
I have even tussled with the idea of gymnastics and while the idea may seem some what feminine and offensive to a red blooded male, in terms of biomechanics it is an excellent sport to take part in.

In addition to benefits such as flexibility, co-ordination and agility.
While you may be falling out of you chair with laughter at the thought of me in those awful leotards, all must cogitate all avenues on their route to greatness.
He who limits himself to a single principle limits himself to all other forms of knowledge and thus imprisons his mind and soul.
I will start the new programme next week Monday taking basis from the text “Extreme Training” by Randy Couture. I shall keep you updated when I can until then I leave you with the following quote;

“You can not find peace by avoiding life” Virginia Woolf

I am often a bubbly beacon of positive energy and joy, who strongly believes that we have been given a power to mentally alter our reality on a very small scale. A perfect example of this is when time seems to speed up during enjoyable moments in our lives, whilst they slow down when we are bored or under stimulated.

However last week I saw a young boy sit in front of a camera screen and scream his head off  for 5 minutes trying to transform into a super Saiyen. For those who are unfamiliar with the Dragon Ball Z franchise, a super Saiyen is an advanced transformation assumed by extraordinarily powerful members of the Saiyen race.  For those who haven’t seen the video yet here is the link  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wGj255bDyQQ
It was somewhat comical, in the sense that any rational person understands that the programme is a fictitious one, and that application of the super saiyen thesis in regards to human beings in this universe is borderline insane (that‘s me putting it lightly).
In saying that it did pose the question, how many of us are creating a character falsehood? How many of us think we are what we are actually not?
In the beautiful utopia that is the constructs of our mind, we are the greatest fighters on the planet, until we get stroll into a kickboxing class and get gorilla punched by a 17 year old. We are the strongest until you train with someone who throws 150kg on a bar and bellows 12 reps, we are the suave Casanova until a pretty girl tells us to go away and fix up our busted Harry Hill swag.
It’s really easy to say you’re Bruce Lee from your bedroom, but in the real world which is where we live unfortunately, it is important that our minds are realistically assessing what is going on in the now.
You have to say as a beginner, my jab sucks, in order to work on it and make it better. If you don’t, and you believe that because you’ve been watching and studying Fight Night games, you have a killer jab, then you’re always going to be that person getting punked because you have a lazy undeveloped, computer game jab.
What I’m saying is, as much as the mind can make us do incredible things that we thought we could never do, if we feed it with arrogance once we reach a certain stage, it can impede our growth in detrimental way.
It’s great to have confidence and self belief in yourself, but it’s important that it doesn’t give you a cloudy picture of what and who you are.
It’s often very easy to tell people who are new to the gym, they often underestimate how much a weight is, and they overestimate their overall strength. The result is 2-3 reps done in excruciatingly abysmal form. This is am attitude that is apparent outside the gym as it is inside. A lot of us, especially males, think we are stronger, faster, and more good looking that the people standing next to us.  (Only I know this to be a fact)!
I’ve found that the best way to do anything is to do it modestly. The best leaders are those who remember what it was like to be at the ground level. Those that keep a modest temperament and request that you help them do a specific task, rather than being a cock sure villainous king pin who barks orders from on high to what they consider to be worthless peasants and slaves.
In the minds of every person should be a perfect version of themselves, but this should only serve as a driving force towards getting better. It is important not to fall in love with an image that you are months or even years away from attaining.
I find that people in that transitional period towards gaining high positions often believe that have reached their 720 HD setting, and that they are completed. When really they are at the beginning. Once you have got to that stage where you earn more money than most, where you’re actually turning down pretty women, and have the things that elude most people, you don’t just sit back cross you arms and laugh at those on the way up.
This will be the time that you really begin to carve out your greatness. That’s the moment where you want to stand amongst giants and look the biggest. Nobody ever remembers the number one contender once he’s lost, only champions are recorded.
Truth be told I don’t think you ever stop improving, I think that those who live in their little bubbles with the mindset that they are untouchable are those most likely to be roughed up by the competition.
See being a champion doesn’t mean you’re the best, it just means you are ready to take on the best and win.
Are you ready to do that? Not in your mind; as the incredible basketball player, musician, model, gymnast and Muay Thai expert, but as you, the unashamed you?
Don’t allow your wrongful will keep you from a bright and beautiful existence. If you are indeed the king or queen of your profession, then do more. Bath in the wealth of knowledge that your associates and those who know and care for you bring. It’s true we are born alone and we die alone, but a life enriched by our deeds and our connections with others is what makes the fact that we live once all the more glorious. To quote Brad Pitt when he played Achilles “everything is more beautiful because we are doomed, you will never be lovelier than your are now.” So keep a clear head, know where you are, and just get better.

All you have to do is go to your local supermarket and you quickly realise that we, especially in the westernised world, have a bountiful amount of choice.
We can choose to bargain hunt for single sheet toilet paper, or we can treat our rumps to a double quilted sheet of t-roll instead.
It is no surprise then, that we often posses many different options in terms of the decisions we make in pursuance of an idea. People constantly cheat themselves out of the last 2 reps, because they feel like they’ve done enough. Men and women abandon good relationships because they just decide that they want something new.
We my friends have too many options! I have decided that by the end of the year I will weigh 14 stone and that is that! I have made a few other commitments also but there is no need to bore you with those.
I heard Will Smith say that he doesn’t have “a plan b, because it distracts from plan a.” Whether he is the original source of the quote I don’t know, but there was something about this quote that sat nicely with me.
Of course it is dangerous to look at everything you do with such narrowness, but in the pursuit of your idea I think it is much needed. We are too distracted by our options.
We do not live in a society where we can be killed or jailed for not eating brown rice even though it’s got a higher energy and lower fat intake than white rice.
Similarly we are not punished for smoking and cremating our internal organs, we have choice. Even if it is a little morsel of choice, we have it.
The problem comes when he have to many choices, I’ve known people who were talented rappers, basketball players, writers, comics, actors and football players and in the end they did nothing.
Their ability to do everything so easily meant they were enticed by the idea of doing or learning something else which in turn meant they achieved a bunch of half completed skill sets.
You don’t go to the gym because you tell your self that you have a choice. I tell myself I must go because similarly I don’t have a choice. Have you ever made a vow to do something and even though it seemed like everything went wrong on that day you still managed to do it?
It’s because you didn’t give yourself the option of saying no.
There are those students who realise that they do not have the option of not handing in their work, so at 5am while everyone is asleep they are assiduously referencing and completing their work , no matter how tedious or boring it is, because they don’t have any options.
So to me, the relentless perusing of an idea is executed by the narrow mind set that you can not fail, even if you lose. A man doesn’t lose a boxing fight or an MMA bout because he is knocked down. He loses because he either doesn’t get up in time, he doesn’t get up at all, or he submits to the pressure he is being place under.
Someone who deeply believes that they have no options but to win, finds a way to get up! They find a way to deal with the pressure being put on them and wait for the opening to strike and make their stamp.
Think Ali when he did the rope a dope against Foreman, think about Carlos Condit’s amazing comeback against Dan Hathaway, think back to Beckham’s last minute free kick against Greece!
These are people who truly believed that they had no option but to win. All that matters is the stubborn belief that you are the better than your opponent or situation.
Think about something you want to do or that you are doing now and cut off all of your excuses. All of your options of failure. Emblazon the idea in your head and know that you can’t fail.
Success is not this ethereal unattainable situation that only the elite have, but it is something that makes people elite. I dare you to look at people who are extremely successful, successful not famous, and you’ll begin to see how almost obsessive they were or are in the pursuance of their idea.
Those people are not special or that much different from you. They just have less options.

Technique is defined as “the procedure or skill required to complete a task, treatment of the basics or a skill possessed. ”

It is my belief that in the pursuance of perfection, everything you do should be done to the best of your ability.

Often we try to do so much that the technique we use to complete all  of our 99 tasks means we are doing 90 of them poorly.
I remember my brother making the joke that men don’t multi task because we know that it means we will be doing at least one thing badly. (Its one of those jokes you had to be there for).
I think that one of the best things about the place I 1st started training was the ethos that technique was paramount!
The best way to progress is to leave your ego at home. No one wants to suffer that humiliating moment where they are being choked unconscious by a barbell.  All because they single handedly packed the plates to the maximum trying to impress the big guys who have been training for years.
Under my current regime I usually do one set of 10 and one of 6 both of which are a moderate weight that can just about be completed. I then do reps of 4 progressing from the weights used in the previous sets until I hit my maximal weight. trying to better that weight the next time I train. The low sets mean I can focus on my technique even though the weights are heavier. I will never pick up a weight which means I will sacrifice my technique.
Bad technique is the biggest cause of injury in the gym, and it’s important that those who are starting make it their duty to practise safe lifting, even if it means hiring a personal trainer for the 1st few months just to get the basics down. Even world class athletes and weightlifters invest in personal trainers because they realise the advantages that they can bring.
It is of equal importance to use the tools that people have invented to make sure that you have good form.
For example weight belts, knee supporters, elbow supporters and even weight gloves and hand wraps, there is a reason that people who are at the top of their lifting game invest in these utensils. So let’s wrap up and practice safe sets.
As always you’ll find that as you strive to perfect your technique inside the gym, you’ll begin wanting to do things properly outside the gym as well.
Well at least that’s what I’m slowly finding as I spend my days critiquing my form and the way I execute lifts.
Did I go low enough on that squat, were my elbows 90 degrees when I was lowering the barbell on that chest press all turn into, did I finish that section I was revising on skeletal planes, were my notes adequate enough.
Which then manifest into what have I done for my little brother lately? What can I do to help bring out the best in the people closest to me.
Self critique is necessary for exploring growth in our person. There’s nothing more incredible than realising that you are better than you was a month ago, and then realising you’re not even at your best yet!
These things don’t just happen by magic though. They come as the result of the perfection of the basics. When someone is skilled it just means that they can do the basics really well.

It is an essential basic that a football player can dribble a football, that they can pass and that the players can work as a team.
However there are footballers like Messi & Ronaldo who dribble at a much more proficient level than other top level footballers.
There are players like Xavi and Iniesta who pass at a much higher level than some of their counterparts, and of course there are teams like Real Madrid & Barcelona who play with a cohesion that separates them from many of their rivals.
We are dazzled by the complexities, the trickery and the flare that great athletes are able to exhibit when on the grand stage, but it’s all possible because of their mastery of the basics.
When your unrelenting practise means that your footwork is almost innate you can focus on mixing up or creating your own style, you can show of your skills because your basics are solid.
You say you want that killer, head turning body, but are you ready to perfect the basics and not just for 12 weeks, can you sort out your dieting for 12 months? Can you stop smoking for 12 months, and then eventually forever,  Can you even show up to train when you don’t feel like it?
I’m only 23 but I’ve learnt that no quick fix, fixes things quickly. Lots of people want to lose weight and get killer abs in 90 seconds and as promising as that sounds it’s just fiction. Results never come like that. If I were to cheat in an exam how could I do my job properly? That’s how I believe we should view training technique. I leave you with this. Don’t start by thinking I’m going to build the biggest and best wall known to man, instead think I’m going to lay each brick as perfectly as it can possibly be laid, and pretty soon you’ll be staring at the best wall known to man.

Leg Day

Warm up 10 minutes treadmill

CV phase: 15 minutes Cross Trainer.

Thigh:

Squat:  Reps: 10,6,4   Min 40kg – Max 80kg

Dumbbell Lunges: Reps 10,6,4  Min 12kg – Max 30kg

Leg Curl 10,6,4  Min: 39kg  – Max 79kg

 

Calves:

Standing Calve Raises: 15,15,15,15,15 Min 16kg- Max30kg

Power:

Straight Legged Deadlift: 10,6,4 Min 40kg- Max 110kg

Good Mornings: 10,6,4 Min: 20kg – Max 45kg

Abs:

Crunches: 25,25,25,25,25

Warm Down Bicycle

Post Stretches.

 

 

Pain is described an unpleasant physical sensation, or a feeling of physical discomfort. Which sounds absolutely awful doesn’t it, but is it though?
One of my favourite sayings is “pain is weakness leaving the body.” It appeals to me simply because I hold this to be true,
Slowly I’ve noticed that pain is something that happens to everyone, it‘s not just confined to one or two people, though it often seems that way.
More importantly I’ve noticed that those who are able deal with physical pain are much better at dealing with other forms of pain.
It is my true belief that in order to get something worthwhile out of what you doing, there must be a period of pain. A season in which you work harder than most people, a season in which you work harder than you are used to working.
This is the stage where most people disintegrate into the “I’ll do it tomorrow phase” until the idea becomes lost in the eternal abyss that is tomorrow.
It’s usually a 6 month period with gym goers, it’s usually because this is the month that the manifestation of your body structure becomes most evident. The stage in which people are most confident with the progress that they have made due to uniformed training. It’s easy to bulk but it’s harder to maintain. It’s easy to lose a few pounds but it’s harder to keep it off.
We so rarely embrace positive pain. We usually move through life trying to avoid pain at every turn, until it hits us, and we are dumbfounded by it’s effect. Pain is that inevitable phantom separating those who want it and those who just kind of want it.
Do you think that staying up late to finish proof reading an assignment knowing that you’ll have four hours sleep before your next lecture is not pain? Do you think that using that last £50 to surprise your girlfriend or wife instead of spending it on yourself is not painful?
Of course it is! The last one can be as painful as doing that last squat when your legs are like jelly and it feels like acid is seeping into your muscle tissue.
These are all necessary sacrifices needed in order to achieve success in those given fields.
I do not fear pain, in saying this it doesn’t mean I go looking for unnecessary pain.
Rather I have realised that pain like happiness is just a moment, and in that moment you are taught about yourself. Either that you are stronger than you think, or that you are not as strong as you think.
Not being stronger than you think you are is not always a bad thing, and many people’s fear of pain compels them to stay safe and pain free. Not knowing, that you’re not good enough, means you can carry on being mediocre, but friend your story deserves much more than that.
Being shown your weakness ONLY ever shows you what you need to work on and where you need to grow. It’s our own brains that make it seem like something sordid and embarrassing.
Try seeing your tie to your idea as marriage, and your marriage or relationships as a tie to an idea. It is essential that you go through pain in both avenues. I have made a pledge to both my gym training and my relationship. The pledge sounds simple, but as always the simple things become harder to do over time. My pledge is this. There is NO plan B.
I will fight through the pain of arguments and reps, self doubt and laziness and complacency as well as conforming to the routine.
Remember what I said in the last blog about loving what you do? Here it is ESSENTIAL!
There is no way you can go through regular instances of pain in the pursuit of something you only half want.
Do you want a great body because it means something to you? Is it because you want to carve out a tale of what you’ve managed to achieve, or is it because your friends are going? Is it because that person with the insanely hot body goes every Friday, Monday and Wednesday and you’re just scoping, waiting for some eye candy, or are you proving to yourself that you can hit goals that you make for yourself?
Pain will separate those students who came to get drunk, and those who came to get a career. So please don’t think that what I’m saying is confined to the four walls of the gym. It’s something that is transferable in everything you do. Once you realise that pain isn’t always bad you won’t be as reluctant towards taking up new challenges. You won’t mind pushing yourself in order to become the best you can be.
I remember reading on a poster once that “a black belt is just a white belt who never gave up.” It’s a great quote that applies. You have the ability to do whatever you want to do. The question is do you want to go through the pain it takes to get to the very top?

Attitude Adjustment

As I prepare for my journey to weigh 201lb (14 stone) of lean muscle, as well as reducing my body fat levels to 10-7% in a year, I wonder what has changed between the 16 year old that 1st strolled into the Power FX gym in Croydon with no expectations or goals, and the eagerly ambitious 23 year old now deciding to devote his time and effort into drastically changing his physique.
Well, apart from the glaring knowledge base gathered through both trial and error, and through studying to become a personal trainer, I’m inclined to believe the most significant change has come from my attitude adjustment.
As I have become increasingly drawn to the gym world, I have been enticed by the all encompassing view point that you can change any negative into a positive, based on your sheer willingness to battle through pain. Truly any man or woman can enjoy the sweet nectar of success, but what’s so great about that? That’s something anyone can do. No one really cares about the story of a boy born rich, that stays rich and dies rich. Our movies and books, even the stories of our celebs are of men and women who have had nothing but insisted on pushing past barriers to become great at their craft.
It is in the heart of everyone, that urge to peruse something they love, and that’s why there are millions of people starting new things that could potentially change their lives.
However when the idea conflicts with time, sleep, food and even sex, sadly the idea evaporates into the realms of what could have been.
Anyone who knows me will know I HATE eggs with an unrelenting passion, but I am eating eggs often because I know they are essential to my progress. When I have things to do in the evening I wake up at 5am to get to the gym, when I have things to do in the morning I train in the evening. I have bought books instead of trainers, protein shakes and creatine instead X-box games and nights out with work colleagues.
Quite simply I have embraced the idea of sacrificial living habits. I am hungry for progress in the application of my craft.
Why should people care about what you do when you do just the minimum? When you do just enough to get by.
When I was in the pursuit of being a rapper I was so mad at the industry for not embracing me.
This was until I looked at it properly. How many shows did I do? How far did I travel to get even 5 minutes on stage, how many people did I explicitly let know that my life was music through the manifestation of my deeds?
When I looked at this I realised I didn’t deserve anything! The few people that listened to my music was nothing short of a blessing.
My attitude is to love what you do, because if you don’t love it you can’t fight for it. How do you dig deep and pull out a victory when you don’t care about the outcome?
There is a huge difference between the man who fights for a trophy and the man who fights for his life. Therefore those of you who are looking to do something new this year make sure its something that you love and then aim to be the greatest at it. Its YOUR idea why would you want it to be anything less than great?
Greatness is in everyone but it has to be moulded! Success is not a miracle it’s habitual.