I don’t know about you, but I find it tough to go balls out in every single workout. Some days it doesn’t matter what I do, everything just feels heavy and I feel gassed just lifting my gym bag out of the trunk of my car. I still try to give it the old college try but some days there’s just less gas in the tank for various reasons. Not enough sleep, sore from a previous workout or poor nutrition are just few things that leave me feeling weak and sluggish. Not to worry, just because you’re not feeling 100% doesn’t mean your workout has to be a complete write off. A few small adjustments can make the world of difference. Here are 5 ways that I’ve found help to not only salvage a mediocre workout but also make it worthwhile and productive.
1. Longer warm-ups – Sometimes the body can be like an old car when the engine just needs time to warm up before you pull out of the driveway. An extra 5-10mins of light cardio, stretching, and foam rolling can help to get the blood flowing and wake up that old nervous system. Getting a good sweat going will also loosen up the joints and mentally and physically prepare you for the work ahead.
2. Go lighter – Sounds simple enough but sometimes it’s hard to leave your ego at the door and just do what your body will allow on that given day. You can’t set PR’s every time you step into the gym – at least I can’t. That doesn’t mean that you still can’t have a productive workout. Taking your lifts down 5-10% can be just enough to allow you to get through a tough workout instead of quitting halfway and feeling like a complete waste of space.
3. Do more accessory work – When you’re energy is low, this is a perfect opportunity to work on the less glamorous things. Lunges, single leg deadlifts, dumbell rows, and pushups are examples of great exercises that attack your weaknesses but are far less demanding than the big lifts. This will give both your nervous system and muscular system a break and a chance to regenerate.
4. Focus on your strengths – This may sound like a slight contradiction to #3 but sometimes when you’re not feeling the greatest the best way to get your mojo going is to pick 2 or 3 of your favorite exercises and have at it! What better way to lift my mood and redeem my workout than by doing what I’m good at? Just because my energy is rock bottom doesn’t mean my self esteem has to be too!
5. Suck it up princess – If I only worked out when my body wasn’t sore and tired, I’d probably train once MAYBE twice per week. At some point, you have to accept that life will always be busy and you have to make health and fitness a priority. Greatness is never achieved without a certain degree of sacrifice and fortitude. The Pure Payne Methodis a free workout program but there is still one cost – EFFORT! At some point you have to ask yourself how bad do you want it and make a decision.
Next time your feeling 50/50 about training keep these few tips in mind and see how if you can get a better workout.
Do you have a hard time staying consistent with your workouts? What is your biggest obstacle? Drop a comment below!
Did you enjoy this article? Of course you did! Subscribe at the bottom of the page to get free updates!
It’s funny and somewhat ironic that the bench press is disputably the most popular barbell exercise in the world yet so few of us actually perform it correctly. I’ve been benching for almost 20 years and I’m still refining my technique. The good news is you can avoid the pitfalls that I and many others have fallen victim to with a few simple fixes. Here are 3 quick fixes that will help you to push more weight and reduce the risk of injury.
1. Keep your feet in line or slightly behind your knees – Believe it or not, the bench press is actually a full body exercise when performed correctly. By moving your feet back and pressing them into the floor you are creating leverage with your lower body. This provides stability allowing you to generate more force against the bar. If you’re shorter, you can put your feet on plates so you don’t over -arch your back. Your feet should NEVER move at any point while benching.
GOOD FOOT PLACEMENT
BAD FOOT PLACEMENT
2. Keep your shoulder blades pinched back throughout the entire movement – A great strength coach and “shoulder guru”, Eric Cressey always emphasizes protecting the shoulders during upper body lifts. By retracting or “squeezing” your shoulder blades together and keeping the back of your shoulders pressed against the bench, you are stabilizing your rotator cuff and preventing any unnecessary loading on the shoulder capsule. The key is to stay “pinched” from the bottom to the top of the movement to protect the shoulders.
BAD SHOULDER POSITION
GOOD SHOULDER POSITION
3. Keep your elbows in – A common mistake people make is they tend to press the bar with their elbows flaring out. This can be due to lack of tricep strength and can lead to excessive stress on the shoulders. By keeping the elbows in, you can better recruit your pecs and triceps making the movement more efficient and taking the stress off the shoulders. As well, if you have a hard time bringing the bar all the way down to your chest, keeping your elbows in will most likely reduce any shoulder impingement that is restricting you.
BAD ELBOW POSITION
GOOD ELBOW POSITION
There you have it, 3 quick and simple fixes for more strength and less pain. Check out the video below from the strength gurus at Westside Barbell. These guys know their stuff!
Did you enjoy this article? If so, share it with your friends and if you want to get more free tips about benching and other exercises please drop a comment below and subscribe at the bottom to get free updates!
To reach your full potential with an effective exercise program, your nutritional intake must become an integral part of the whole process. The types of foods you eat as well as when you eat them are key to recovery and regeneration after exercise, providing energy throughout the day , as well as overall health and vitality. Developing good nutritional habits doesn’t have to be difficult if you start by following a few simple guidelines. Follow these Nutritional Commandments and you will be well on your way to gaining lean muscle and dropping excess bodyfat.
1. Eat a balanced diet – I know it sounds so simple but how many of us actually do this? Aim to consume an ideal proportion of carbohydrates (40%), proteins (30%), and fats (30% primarily from good unsaturated sources) on a daily basis. Try to eat each meal in these proportions to regulate blood sugar levels and properly fuel the body prior to and after exercise. Aim to consume carbohydrates from unrefined sources such as fresh fruits and vegetables, and organic whole grains. Choose high quality proteins such seafood, chicken, beans and lean cuts of red meat. Fats should be consumed from primarily unsaturated sources such as nuts, olive oil, as well as fish and seafood.
2. Jumpstart your day with a good breakfast – It’s true what they say… Breakfast is the most important meal of the day! Always try to get the day started off right with a nutritious and balanced meal, as this will provide your mind and body with the energy it needs. Skipping breakfast can cause the body to go into a state of starvation that slows the metabolism making it more difficult to burn fat. Never deprive your body of nutrients when it needs them. Organic oatmeal with fresh berries or a protein smoothie is a great way to start your day.
3. Water, Water, Water – The fact that water makes up over 80% of your total body composition, makes it the most important nutrient you can consume. Proper metabolic function and regulation of appetite and body temperature are a few of the main purposes this fluid serves. Drinking plenty of water is one of the simplest ways to detoxify the body allowing one to burn fat more efficiently. Aim to drink at least 8 tall glasses a day and even more on days when you are exercising. DON’T DRINK YOUR CALORIES – especially if you are trying to get leaner. As opposed to coffee, soda, and fruit juices, let water be your main beverage of choice on a daily basis. Try to carry a water bottle with you so you can sip periodically throughout the day.
4. Consume protein with every meal – This not only helps to keep the diet balanced, but also helps to maintain strong bones and joints, enhance recovery after exercise, and helps to regulate hunger and blood sugar levels throughout the day. Nuts, lean meats, seafood, and protein supplements are great choices.
5. Eat raw, whole foods whenever possible – To increase shelf life and production volume, numerous types of foods are processed or refined. This reduces the nutritional value of the food and can be quite toxic to the body. When making food choices, think of the way life used to be 100 years ago and consume raw, whole, and natural sources. Fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, lean meats, beans and lentils should serve as the foundation of your food choices. Avoid foods that come in a box or can as they usually contain large amounts of preservatives, additives, and artificial flavoring. If it’s man-made, forget about it!
Those are just a few tips to get you started, in part 2 we’ll take a look at some more guidelines that will help you look and feel awesome.
What does your daily nutrition look like? What do you struggle with the most? Drop a comment below!
I thought this would be a great time to express my thoughts and feelings about an underground phenomenon (well it’s actually pretty mainstream now) that is taking the fitness industry by storm. I’m talking about the “C” word. Ok, I’ll just say it – CROSSFIT. Nowadays, it seems there are 3 things that you don’t openly discuss: Religion, Politics, and CROSSFIT. There are a lot of critics out there who have their reservations for various reasons (some warranted, some not), however, speaking as someone who is not a certified Crossfit coach, does not workout at a Crossfit gym, does not own or operate a Crossfit affiliate but has competed at a relatively high level in Crossfit (17th in Canada West Regionals in 2011), I think the training system has some merit. I would like to be one of the few (maybe even the first??) people who have no vested interest in Crossfit to speak out about the positive side. Here are 4 reasons why I think Crossfit is a good thing:
1. For the first time fitness can be defined and measured – I’ve spent most of my adult life in the gym and managed to stay in pretty good shape for most of those years. The problem was, prior to Crossfit, I never really knew how fit I was. I could use different measures like body composition and various strength tests to get a rough idea but even then I would only be testing things that I was good at so it still seemed a little biased.
Crossfit is constantly varied functional movement performed at high intensity and defines fitness as work capacity across broad time and modal domains. I think most knowledgeable and experienced fitness professionals would agree that functional movement and intensity are two key ingredients to getting results regardless of the clientele you are working with.
As far as work capacity goes, this is simply a measure of power (force x distance/time), which is a basic scientific formula. Essentially, do more work in less time. So for all the pundits who say that Crossfit has no scientific foundation, I strongly beg to differ. There are some who may disagree with this definition of fitness but I’ve yet to see or hear of anyone coming up with anything more accurate or effective. Don’t get me wrong, I still believe there are many ways to get in great shape without doing Crossfit but if you want a “TRUE TEST OF FITNESS” Crossfit seems to be the only objective measure.
2. The unique and effective blend of training modalities – If you want to get scientific, all the research says that high intensity strength training performed in a circuit fashion (i.e. “fight gone bad” – 3 rounds of push presses, box jumps, sumo high pulls, wall balls, and rowing performed for 1 min each) or high intensity strength training and plyometrics mixed with short bursts of high intensity cardio (i.e. “Kelly” 5 rounds of 400m run, 30 box jumps, 30 wall balls) are the most effective methods for building muscle and burning fat simultaneously. Sounds a hell of a lot like Crossfit to me. So what’s the problem? Exercise selection? Progression? These are all things to take into account whether you are a Crossfit coach or a trainer at Gold’s Gym. Crossfit is hard, there’s no disputing that but that doesn’t mean that you can’t benefit from it under the right programming. If anything, Crossfit has taken the most effective and challenging movements and allowed the general public to reap the benefits.
3. The Paleo Diet – There always has and always will be debates over the most effective training methods and nutrition is no different. Crossfit is the first strength and conditioning program that has taken a strong stance on the importance of sound nutrition to maximize the results of their training system. The Paleo diet, which some may find quite strict and difficult to sustain, points us in the right direction of what our everyday eating habits should be. To quote the infamous Crossfit Founder, Greg Glassman “Meat, vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch, NO SUGAR.” Now is this diet ideal for everybody? Absolutely not. Is it a huge step in the right direction? ABSOLUTELY!
Remember, Greg Glassman is known for INVENTING Crossfit, not doing it!
4. The Crossfit Journal – The internet can be an overwhelming resource for information. The Crossfit Journal has proven to be a phenomenal one-stop resource for strength and conditioning. Want to learn proper technique for a power clean? Want to learn progressions for handstand pushups? Want to become a better runner? Want to build a kick ass home gym? The Crossfit Journal has it all and more! You can always expect the best as “specialists” from various fields including Olympic weightlifting, powerlifting, and gymnastics deliver the most up to date information. With articles, videos, and podcasts on wide range of topics, there’s always something to look forward to. For $25/year, the Crossfit Journal definitely gets an A+.
5. Crossfit Kids – We all know the youth of today are lazier and fatter than they’ve ever been. Teaching kids the benefits of regular functional exercise and good nutrition will help to build a foundation of good lifestyle habits that carry on well into adulthood. Not to mention, the potential for developing some fierce athletes. Kudos Crossfit for keeping our future healthy and fit.
6. The Crossfit Games – Not power lifting, not bodybuilding, not strongman, not triathlon, but the sport of fitness. I’m not taking anything away from the previously mentioned sports but the Crossfit Games is something to marvel. I’ve had the opportunity to watch the Crossfit games live on more than one occasion and it is one of the best sporting events I’ve ever been to. The atmosphere and energy are unmatched in any other sport. It’s the first time I’ve watched a sport where everybody was cheering for everybody! No booing, no trash talking, everyone wanted everyone to do well.
if you’ve never attended the Crossfit Games add it to your bucket list
Crossfit has filled a void in the sports market by creating an entirely new breed of athlete. It is a tremendous feat to be able to run a sub 6min mile, deadlift 500+ lbs, and pump out 50+ unbroken pullups. With Reebok as the official sponsor, credibility and sustainability are becoming less of an issue. Through this, Crossfit has given me the opportunity to compete with some of the best athletes in Canada (even the world for that matter). At the age of 35, that level of competition is far and few between. Knowing that this level of competition is still within reach for me makes training that much more fulfilling.
7. High Rep Olympic Weightlifting – That’s right, I said it. High rep Olympic weightlifting can be extremely beneficial once a certain level of proficiency has been developed. This is probably one of the most controversial aspects of Crossfit. Crossfit has done a great job of giving Olympic weightlifting more mainstream appeal. The strength, power and athleticism required to perform these lifts is what makes them so beneficial. No one can deny that taking a weight from the ground to overhead is a highly functional movement. However, performing a clean and jerk for a one-rep max is a completely different story than doing 30 reps for time at a sub maximal weight (i.e. “Grace”). The power output and metabolic conditioning this provides far exceeds any other compound movement. With proper progression, the Olympic lifts performed at high intensity can be your best bang for your buck!
Here’s a video of me doing some “high reps” and getting a killer workout!
8. Crossfitters work out with their shirts off BECAUSE THEY CAN! – Let’s face it, aside from leading a healthy lifestyle most people work out because they want to look better. Most guys want that lean and chiseled physique that carries just the right amount of muscle but not too much. Most women want just the right amount of curves and muscle tone without looking masculine. I think Crossfit pretty much hit the nail on the head with this one. Even though the focus was never on aesthetics, Crossfit has helped produce some of the greatest physiques in fitness. High intensity exercise coupled with good nutrition? Novel concept.
Arguably, some of the most impressive physiques in all of fitness are a product of Crossfit
9. The community – Everyone wants to feel like they are a part of something, a sense of belonging if you will. Crossfit has done a great job of creating a community that is both encouraging and supportive. A Crossfit box is a lot like Cheers, “it’s where everybody knows your name.” This definitely makes working out more fun and sustainable.
minus the beer and excessive loafing, Crossfit is a lot like Cheers!
10. There’s a lot of barbell training – If most of your time in the gym is spent working with a barbell, you have no choice but to get big and strong! Deadlifts, squats, shoulder presses, cleans, you name it and you’ll find it with Crossfit. Don’t let the myths fool you, there’s a lot of strength and muscle to be gained.
there’s no shortage of iron in Crossfit
11. There’s a lot of bodyweight training – The next best thing to pumping iron is effective bodyweight training. With exercises like dips, pullups, handstand pushups, and muscle ups you are going to get more than your fill of great bodyweight exercises.
the muscle up is a signature bodyweight exercise in Crossfit
12. There’s a lot of conditioning – There’s no shortage of heavy breathing and lactic acid with Crossfit. The intensity of Crossfit is undisputed but with that comes elite conditioning and the ability to literally melt fat off your body. The interval training and intense “metcons” make this an ideal choice for anyone trying to lean out.
conditioning is inevitable with Crossfit
13. It’s easier on the body – If you’ve been training for a number of years then you know what it’s like to suffer from the aches and pains of repetitive stress. Crossfit can take a toll on the body if you are competing at a high level but for the average meathead who benches3 time a week the variety Crossfit provides will work wonders for your soft tissue health. Rotating from heavy to light loading and from longer to shorter workouts keeps the body guessing and prevents the onset of chronic pain.
14. Competition brings the best out of everybody – If you’ve ever been an athlete at any point in your life then I don’t have to explain to you the feeling that comes from going head to head with your peers. A surefire way to get one more rep is when egos and bragging rights are on the line. Even if you’re feeling tired that day, a little competition may be all you need to redeem your workout.
competition is the cornerstone of human performance
15. You stay in shape all year long – No more “cutting” and “bulking.” The well-rounded approach to the Crossfit methodology allows you to stay lean and strong year round. No more restrictive dieting and arduous “cardio” sessions.
not a bad physique to have 12 months out of the year!
These are just a few reasons why I think there are some serious gains to be made with Crossfit. It’s certainly not perfect but what training program is? Be open-minded and try new things, you might be pleasantly surprised.
Have you ever done a Crossfit workout? If so, what was your experience like? Drop a comment below!
Don’t forget to subscribe below for to receive my FREE e-book and get regular updates delivered right to you!
I’m a true believer that doing the little things extremely well over and over again is what leads to huge success. A great quote by Jacob Riis sums up what it takes to be successful “Look at a stone cutter hammering away at his rock, perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred and first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not the last blow that did it, but all that had gone before.” Never underestimate the power of consistent, intentional effort.
I’m always looking for ways to do things better inside and outside of the gym. Studying the habits and personality traits of highly successful people is one of my favorite hobbies. I’ve learned a lot about what makes successful people tick and there is always one trait that continues to stand out in my mind – waking up early and starting your day with productive tasks. That means, getting up and focusing on tasks that will improve your life and move you closer towards your goals. I’m talking about things as simple as getting up early enough so you have enough time to make a healthy breakfast or get in a quick workout. This can be challenging for a lot of people since we have so many distractions in our lives like social media, television, and just day to day chores that tire us out. However, I’m a firm believer that there are two paths in life – one that is filled with excuses and one that paves the way to results and kicking ass in life! I, for one, am all about results and getting shit done so I’m game for anything that points me in that direction.
If you want to increase your productivity and take control of your life there are many things you can do but if you want to get the ball rolling you can start by dropping this one bad habit:
STOP HITTING THE SNOOZE BUTTON!!
If you thought you were doing yourself a favor by trying to catch a few extra z’s, you’re dead wrong. Literally, it’s time to wake up and smell the coffee!
There are 2 key reasons why the snooze button is killing your mojo and zest to get shit done. The first reason is physiological and the second is psychological. Let’s take a look at the physiological first.
Physiologial reasons not to hit the snooze button: When you’re sleeping, your body alternates between light sleep and deep (REM) sleep during the sleep cycle. As your body is preparing to wake up it enters a light cycle which is usually interrupted by your alarm clock. It’s this interruption that can lead to grogginess, grumpiness, or a completely bitchy attitude that some of you wake up with. Hitting snooze to get a few more minutes sleep won’t actually help you feel better because the extra sleep is taking place during your light sleep cycle which is less restful than REM sleep. In a nutshell, you will feel equally if not more tired if you hit snooze due to the low quality sleep that occurs during that time.
Psychological reason why we hit the snooze button: Now I’m going to be speaking from personal experiences and observations I’ve made over the years that explain why people are so quick to snooze.
Procrastination– many of us live lives that are unhappy and unfulfilling for various reasons. Maybe you hate your job, you never get to see your family, or you simply never get a chance to go out and have any fun. Whatever the case may be, you hit snooze to delay starting your dreaded day ahead.
If you find yourself procrastinating you need to start asking yourself some hard questions and find out what YOU can do to make your life better. That’s right, it’s up to you get in the driver’s seat and go where you want.
Do I like my career?
Where do I see myself in 5 years? 10 years?
I am happy with my state of health/fitness?
20 years from now when I look back at my life, will I be satisfied with everything I achieved or will I have regrets?
These are just a few questions you should ask yourself and BE HONEST! You’re not doing anyone any favors by lying to yourself. Once you’ve answered these questions, you need to set some goals and make an action plan to start taking steps toward living the life that you want.
After you’ve set your goals and made your action plan you need to make sure you get a good night’s sleep. You can either go to bed a little earlier or set your alarm to go off a little later so you can increase the quantity and QUALITY of your sleep. Either way, no more snoozing. Consider this the first strike against the stone. Every successful day that follows will eventually lead to splitting that stone in half. Remember, you’re in the driver’s seat, it’s up to you where you want to go.
Do you hit the snooze button and if so, what do you think is the source of your procrastination? Drop a comment below!
I don’t know about you, but when I train, I train with a purpose. I’m always looking for new ways to challenge myself and step outside of my comfort zone. I’m never satisfied and maybe that’s what drives me to be better each and every day I walk into the gym.
Do you go to the gym or at least think about going to the gym? Maybe you’ve been going for years only to find yourself in the exact same place you started – NOWHERE!
With all the different fitness programs out there like bootcamps, yoga, and 6 minute abs, it can be overwhelming to find an fitness program that you can stick to and more importantly one that works.
The truth is, getting in shape is actually quite simple. However, simple doesn’t imply easy. The formula is simple as there are only a few key ingredients that are necessary for an effective workout. The “not so easy” part, however, lies in your ability to make a decision to get in shape and not let ANYTHING stand in your way until you’ve achieved your goal.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s going to take some hard work and commitment but it will pay off in huge dividends! And really, if it was easy we’d all have our turn on the cover of Men’s Health.
It’s funny, people ask me all the time what I do to build my muscle and fitness and when I tell them they realize that they’ve been missing the boat the whole time with their training.
The Pure Payne Method can help you get on the right track with SIMPLE and EFFECTIVE training methods that deliver huge results!
4 main exercises that build muscle and undeniable strength
short and intense conditioning workouts that will melt the fat off and preserve that hard earned muscle
the most effective core exercises that will bulletproof your midsection
variety and intensity to keep your body in a state of shock
make gains in 6 weeks that you could never achieve on your own!
This system has helped me and hundreds of my clients improve ALL apsects of their fitness including: