Low Hanging Fruit Article
So, coaching out of a gym and even online, I get talking with a lot of people. Often when I speak with others, both guys and girls, we get onto the topic of what they’re trying to achieve and discuss what they’re doing to get there.
They want to be bigger, fitter and stronger
They want their ass to look like (insert instagram fitspo’s) ass
They’re prepping for a comp, event or holiday
Or they want to progress themselves because they loving pushing themselves, gain fulfilment through the health and fitness life-style and it makes them a better person.
These are all awesome, achievable and common goals that I’m sure you reading this can relate somewhat to.
We want our goals badly, often those I speak to vouch that they’re doing “everything they can to get results”. They’re training incredibly “hard” 6-7 days per week, getting their cardio in, eating all the “right” foods, eating 1 “cheat meal” per week. But the results are not coming quite as quickly as they’d like.
Dig a little bit deeper, in only a couple of questions, and it turns out they’re really missing a lot of the very low hanging fruit that pay off massively when tracked, monitored and then progressed!
Training Sessions & Log Booking:
Are you progressing week to week across your lifts, adding load, gaining reps. If yes, keep going, if not why? Something isn’t working, so it may be time to rotate an exercise out, drop or increase volume, change your weekly set-up, look at your exercise execution, push bodyweight up, if dieting introduce a refeed and the list goes on.
If we are not measuring this, via a logbook, each session you train you don’t really know if you are progressing from the session prior.
You’ll be standing at the rack thinking, “oh I hit the 30’s last week, or was it the 32’s. Not sure but my warm-ups felt hard, I’ll go with the 30’s”.
We want to eliminate that doubt and go in with a plan of attack to push forwards from the last time, as the body needs that stimulus to grow.
Yes, you’ll look at your book and think “fuck last week was hard, how am I meant to beat that” but you can. You push and you challenge your body to respond!
Many either do one of two things, they go in and go by “feel” or they run the same session they’ve always done that they learnt from a magazine, an intro session from a gym attendant or what they did at football training.
Think of this; they don’t build Lamborghini’s by just throwing the pieces together, they have a plan and execute upon that. So how can we expect the build our greatest body without a direction to go.
This is where programming comes in. This is our blueprint to ensure you progress, we start where you are now and progress over time to where you want/need to be, it takes us from A to B then right through to Z and then onwards to every other potential.
Following a plan and progressing it will also show us how you’re responding and then adjustments can be made accordingly so you continue to progress.
Exercise Execution & Technique:
If we’re not performing a movement pattern properly, we’re not going to reap the benefits the exercise is meant to give. If some reps we sling the weight up, others we control and some we just go through the motions, how can we be for certain, that we are progress? We can’t, plain and simple.
We want and need precision in every single set and with every single rep so we know, with 100% conviction that we’re gaining what we’re after from a given movement.
It then becomes a simple matter of gradually adding weight to the bar over time.
The aforementioned Programming and Exercise Execution are absolutely nothing, without intensity. If you want really, really good results, and I’ll assume you do because you’re here, we need to really get after it within our sessions. It’s all well and good to check “train” off the to do list but to progress yourself forwards and get to where you want to be you must apply yourself.
Imagine you were only able to do one rep for a movement and then weren’t allowed to do anything else until the next session, one single rep…
How much effort would you put into that?
You would contract as hard as you can, squeeze it senseless and lower, resisting against it with all your might to make sure you made it count.
Now do that.
Do that for every single rep of every set, for every movement, for every training session. That is how you get stronger and that is how you get results. Don’t come in and half ass your sets and then put your hand out and complain.
Whether you’re working to gain muscle, lose fat or improve performance, going by feel and eating intuitively doesn’t really cut it if you’re looking to really improve. Start by logging everything you eat in a food tracker app over the next 7 days. Now we have a baseline and from this point we can make adjustments up or down, backwards or forwards based upon what you really need, if you’re at your perceived maintenance. It’s quite a simple formula to work this out based on you Bodyweight (BW):
BW x 30 to 35 – This is your total calories
BW x 1.8g to 2.5g – This is your protein intake, multiply by 4 for calories
BW x 0.5g to 1g – This is your fat intake, multiply by 9 for calories
Take your total calories minus protein calories minus fat calories and divide that number by 4 and you have your carbohydrate intake
e.g – 100kg Male
100kg x 32 – 3,200 calories
100kg x 2.2 – 220g protein, 880 calories
100kg x 1 – 100g fat, 900 calories
3,200 – 880 – 900 = 1,420 calories divide by 4, 355g carbohydrate
There is your intake sorted so we have targets to hit. From here we want to get protein in from a variety of sources, same thing with fats and the same with carbohydrates. Avoid things that upset your digestion or do not sit with you, eat whole foods, eat your fruits and vegetables and drink your water.
That’s quite a simple breakdown, but using that information you can get yourself quite far, especially now that we have some numbers to work from.
Sleep, Recovery & Stress Management:
Now this one is a massive one, many monitor their training and nutrition but falter here. This is where we grow, get lean and restore our body to attack the sessions, along with our daily life ahead.
If your sleep and recovery isn’t at the forefront of your mind and being pushed to progress, just as hard as you push in the gym, you’ll find yourself spinning your wheels.
Sleep – With your sleep we want to aim for an average of 8 hours per night high quality sleep and there are a few things we can do to ensure we’re getting that.
Get your bedroom to a cool temperature 16º C or below and get it as dark in there as possible.
Turn your Wi-Fi off and mobile phone to flight mode so we’re not exposing ourselves to the Electro-Magnetic Fields (EMF) that they emit, which have adverse effects on our health.
Finally, the hour before you go to bed, spend time winding down in low light, reading, meditating, playing with your dog or watching a TV show.
Whatever it is you do, do so in a way that soothes your whole body and is preparing it for a restful sleep
Recovery – This is a broad brush that’s going to cover several things, but we want to think of stress management as our main factor here. We have so many stressors already going on in our life, then we add training on top of that, we must balance that out.
Going for walks with your dog, spending time with loved ones, favourite TV shows or comics, meditating, massage, float tanks and the rest, all these things benefit our recovery.
You don’t miss your gym sessions and you put effort into those, so do the same with the things that are going to improve your life and recovery!
These are all things that are very do-able and really make a world of difference. Put a bit more effort into tracking, progressing/regressing training, ensuring your sleep and recovery and you’ll start to notice incredible improvements, not just in your training pursuits but wholly your life experience.
I can’t wait to see your improvements!