Archive for January, 2012

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.

 

 

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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.