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How to Fix Your Overhead Squat

The frustration must be absolutely maddening. I’m shocked you haven’t pulled your hair out or punched a hole in the wall yet.

I can’t think of a more humbling exercise than the overhead squat.

On the flip side, there are few exercises as impressive as a nice heavy overhead squat.

Continue reading “How to Fix Your Overhead Squat”

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The Fitness Bucket List: 16 Must-Reach Milestones for the Die Hard Gym Rat!

If you’re competitive and have spent a fair amount of time under the bar then you’ve probably made some notable accomplishments.  Maybe you’ve dropped a waist size, maybe you can finally do a chin-up, or maybe you’ve managed to get to the gym consistently for 3 months straight.

These are all things to be proud of and definitely deserve a pat on the back.  However, I want to take it one step further and look at some SERIOUS feats that only the truly committed could ever achieve. Lifetime accomplishments if you will.

This is for the die hard gym rat, the intermediate to advanced lifter, or someone that simply lives and breathes fitness.  This is for the top 10% that eat clean, train hard, and can bend a barbell just by looking at it!

Now, you’re certainly not going to win any powerlifting competitions or the Crossfit Games with any of these feats but you can certainly consider yourself an accomplished and fit individual. You’ll definitely be on another level compared to most of the people at your gym.

We are going to look at 4 major performance categories: barbell strength, bodyweight strength, conditioning, and body composition.

This is for that 10% that eat clean and can bend a barbell just by looking at it! Click To Tweet

Barbell Strength – Will measure how strong you are in some of the major barbell lifts in absolute terms and relative to your bodyweight.

Bodyweight strength – Also known as relative strength, will measure your strength in the major bodyweight exercises.

Conditioning – Will measure both your aerobic and anaerobic conditioning with various training modalities.

Body composition – Measured as body fat percentage. Looking good takes hard work and discipline too!

The objective is to reach all of these milestones before you retire your jersey and hang it in the rafters.  Ideally, you will have the ability to hit all of these benchmarks at any given time.  See how you size up.

Here are 16 fitness milestones for the die hard gym rat:

Barbell Milestones:

1. Bench press – 315lbs or 1.5x body weight for men/ 135lbs 0r body weight for women

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2. Back squat – 365lbs or 2x body weight for men/ 205lbs or 1.5x body weight for women

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3. Deadlift – 455lbs or 2.5x body weight for men/275lbs or 2x body weight for women

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gotta love that “deadlift face”

4. Overhead squat – 185lbs or body weight for men/120lbs or .75x body weight for women

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5. Clean – 275lbs or 1.5x body weight/ 165lbs or body weight for women

6. Standing Shoulder Press – 165lbs or .75-.8x body weight for men/85lbs or .65-.7x body weight for women

A 315lb bench press is probably the gold standard as far as bench press is concerned.   If you’re really scrawny (i.e. less than 180lbs) then 315 probably isn’t in the cards for you.  However, 1.5x bodyweight is fantastic nonetheless.  When it comes to the deadlift, once you cross over that 400lb mark that shit is just straight up heavy!  Kudos to you if you can pull 455.

The overhead squat will possibly pose the most problems for most if you have any shoulder mobility/stability issues whatsoever.  It’s arguably the least trained barbell exercise as well.  The clean is also a movement that takes some time to master making 275lbs quite an accomplishment.  Like the saying goes “If it was easy, we’d all be doing it and we’d all look great with our shirts off.”

If it was easy, we'd all be doing it and we'd all look great with our shirts off. Click To Tweet

Bodyweight Milestones:

7. Strict Pull-ups/Chin-ups – 15 for men/8 for women

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8. Push-ups – 50 unbroken for men/30 unbroken for women

9. Dips – 30 unbroken for men/20 unbroken for women

10.  Strict Handstand Pushups – 15 unbroken for men/8 unbroken for women

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11.  Muscle-ups – 5 unbroken for men/3 unbroken for women

Keeping a good balance of absolute and relative strength is the key to being functionally fit.  This is also one of the main objectives in the Pure Payne Method.  Fellas, I hope all those years under the bar didn’t make you too big and heavy cause it would have shown in this section.   This is also an area where the ladies may struggle more due to less strength and muscle mass in the upper body.  It’s not often you see a woman do dips or handstand pushups but when it happens it’s a work of art!  As for muscle ups, one could argue that getting a single muscle up is already enough to start poppin’ bottles! The good news is though, once you’ve got one under your belt, it’s far easier to start getting multiples.

Conditioning Milestones:

It’s time to dust off the lungs and get ready to breathe hard – REALLY HARD!  Despite not being a huge fan of long slow cardio, the distances tested in this section are long enough to test the appropriate energy systems but not so long that you’ll burn 20lbs of muscle trying to complete them. The aerobic system (primary system for activities lasting longer than 2 minutes) is usually trained at low intensity for the purpose of burning fat (although some muscle is burned too).  The anaerobic system (primary system for activities lasting less than 2 mins) is an often undertrained and underestimated one.

12. Run 1 mile – 7 minutes for men/8 minutes for women

13. Row 2000m – 7:20 for men/8:20 for women

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14. Burpees – 100 in 8 minutes for men and women

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15. 100 Meter Sprint – 13 seconds for men/14 seconds for women

The tests that stand out to me are the 2000m row which should not be underestimated as anyone who has ever done this test knows it’s a crippler!  As for burpees, we all know the story with those, you’re just going to have to dig deep into your mental recesses to get through that one. The 100m sprint should also be interesting.  If the last time you sprinted was at your high school track meet or 10th grade basketball tryouts then you might be in for a little treat when you try to turn on the afterburners.  Explosive power is often the most overlooked aspect of any fitness program.

Body Composition Milestone:

16. Body fat percentage – 12% or less for men/ 18% or less for women (can be measured with calipers, hydrostatic weighing, or DEXA scan as long as you use the same measure each time). This is the range where you’ll have some vascularity and you’re abs will show. This is also a range that isn’t too extreme and sustainable with a little bit of work.

Although I’ve never been an advocate of training purely for aesthetics, I would be naive to ignore the hard work and discipline it takes to achieve a lean physique.  For some of you, this might be the most challenging test because it will require you to change your eating habits beyond what you are comfortable with.

If you scored well in one category but poorly in another, don’t sweat it.  You’re probably guilty of training your strengths and avoiding your weaknesses like the plague.  Take it on the chin and use this as motivation to rethink your training and develop a more diverse approach to your workouts.

One last thing, check out this video of Rich Froning overhead squatting 255lbs for 15 reps! Unbelievable!

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97 Ways to Stop Being Average and Become an Alpha Dog!!

Are you an average Joe? Are you someone that just goes through the motions just to get shit over with? Do you think you have more to offer but don’t know how to get out of your funk? Not to worry, you’re not alone.  Only a very small percentage of people wake up in the morning excited to start their day.  It’s time to be one of those people.

You can break out of your shell and live life by your own means by changing your habits and the way you think.  It’s time for you to become a leader, someone who exudes confidence, someone who never gives up until they achieve success.  To quote Eric Thomas “it’s time to be allergic to average!”

Here are 97 ways to step your game up and become an alpha dog.

1. Pay your bills ON TIME and IN FULL – Life is way less stressful without debt.

2. Do something that scares you – Facing your fears builds character.

3. Stop hitting the snooze button – It screws up more than your sleep cycle.

4. Eat more vegetables – Even if they’re not organic it’s a step in the right direction.

5. Sweat – Do this regularly, it’s what your body was meant to do.

6. Cut back on sugarFresh fruit is cool but anything you can buy at 7/11 has gotta go.  Besides the taste, the stuff is basically poison.

7.  Stop buying stupid shit – “Too many people are buying things they can’t afford, with money that they don’t have… to impress people that they don’t like!” – Will Smith

8. Lift weights – Muscle breeds confidence.

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9.  Run uphill – Do you want to be strong and powerful or weak and slow?

10. Set goals – It’s OK to have ambition.

11. Set smaller goals – Small victories lead to HUGE victories.

12. Believe in yourself – Believing is seeing. You can only be successful once you allow yourself to be successful.

13.  Learn how to cook – It’s healthier, cheaper and the ladies will love you!

14. “Eat meat, veggies, nuts seeds, some fruit, little starch, no sugar” – Greg Glassman

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15. Be on time – Punctuality shows you’re organized and that you care.

16. Be the first one to arrive and the last one to leave – Dedication and hard work always beat natural talent in the long run.

17.  Don’t be a hater – Criticizing other people’s goals and achievements is a waste of energy and makes you look like a fool.

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18. Dress to impress – You can never look too good for the occasion. Look professional. Feel professional. Be professional.

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19. Study successful people – The easiest way to be successful is to model the habits and character traits of those more successful than you.

20. Read books – Not magazines or the newspaper. Books.

21.  Go to bed early – 10-11pm at the latest. You’ll feel better and be more productive.

22. Take naps – One of the best ways to maximize recovery and get more out of your day.

23.  Save money – You never know when that “rainy day” will come but when it does you better have an umbrella!

24.  Everything in moderation – Live life and have fun, just know your limits.

25. Learn an Olympic lift – A power clean at the very least. It will work wonders for your fitness.

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26. Sprint – Anyone can jog, sprinting takes real effort.

27. Keep a clean home – It’s true, cleanliness is next to godliness.

28. Don’t believe the hype – Take everything with a grain of salt. Mass media prides itself in telling you what you want to hear.

29. Challenge the status quo – “Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm” or going with the flow.

30. Uplift others – Make it your mission to better yourself as well as make others better and the world will be your oyster.

31.  Pursue your passion – Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.

32. Build a legacy – Do you want to be remembered for something? We all have talents worth sharing.

33. Learn how to communicate -Life is about building valuable relationships.

34. Be realistic not delusional – It’s OK to dream but don’t get your head stuck in the clouds.

35. Think outside the box – Traditional thinking is what keeps you stuck in your same old routine.

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36. Take responsibility for your current station in life – Take credit when credit is due but have the balls to take the blame when things don’t go your way.

37. Wake up early – No one ever got shit done waking up at 11am.

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38. Be competitive – Find something you care enough about that you want to fight for it.

39. Be a student of the game – The learning never stops. Become a master of your craft. Eat, sleep, and breathe what you do best.

40. Eliminate unnecessary stress – Separate yourself from negative people that will only bring you down.

41. Don’t let other people’s opinions influence you – People will always tell you can’t do something. Mostly because they’re too scared to try themselves or because they just don’t want to see you succeed.

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42. Squat regularly – There isn’t a sport or activity that squatting can’t help.

43. Deadlift regularly – Lifting heavy shit is gratifying.

44. Stay lean all year round – There is something to be said for having a six pack in the dead of winter.

45. Interval train – It hurts way more but it’s totally worth it.

46. Take supplements – Only if you’re not eating like shit then they might have some value.

47. Speak your mind – Get your point across and don’t always be so worried about offending people.

48. Stop and smell the roses – You can’t hustle 24/7.  Every now and then you have to stop and appreciate everything you have.

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49. Work for happiness not money – Money, benefits and “security” sometimes aren’t worth it if it’s sapping your energy and making you miserable.

50. Trying puts you ahead of 90% of people.

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51. Do shit that matters – You’re too busy playing video games, watching TV, or dickin’ around on social media. Find a way to improve your life and the life of someone else.

52. Be confident  – Know your strengths and know your weaknesses. Leverage your strengths and outsource your weaknesses.

53. Be humble – Be grateful for everything you achieve and never forget the struggle to get there.

54. Be content not complacent – Don’t be greedy but don’t be lazy either.

55.  Have an opinion – But don’t be opinionated.  There is more than one way to get shit done.

56. There is no off-season – The hustle is year round.  Training, nutrition, business, life. It’s a lifetime commitment.

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57. You can’t please everyone so don’t bother trying.

58. Take risks – They’re opportunities dressed up in disguise.

59. Get rid of useless junk – Declutter your mind and your surroundings.

60. Learn how to dance or play an instrument – Tap into your artistic side, the ladies also love this.

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61. Focus on what’s important – Start each day with your most productive tasks first.

62. Visualize – Every success starts with an idea.

63. Don’t gossip – “Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

64.  Don’t hold grudges – Living well is the best revenge.

65. Live within your means but slightly outside of your comfort zone – Be conservative with your spending but liberal with your ambitions.

66. Become an expert listener.

67. Don’t be too proud to get your hands dirty – Everyone’s got to start somewhere and for most of us that’s the bottom.

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68. Take action – Most people love talking about what they “hope” to achieve. It’s the few that actually do something that are remembered.

69.  Laugh – Man, I definitely love a good laugh.  It’s one of life’s greatest medicines.  Find the humor in things especially yourself.

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70. Have only one fear – The fear of being average.

71. Be loyal to your family and friends – Without them you have nothing.

72. Invest in yourself – You are your greatest asset, make it as valuable as possible.

73. Play a sport – Be athletic, build comradery, and learn how to trash talk!

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74. Walk the walk – Take your own advice, nobody likes a hypocrite.

75. Start a business – Even if it’s small and doesn’t make a lot of money it will empower you.

76. Reduce your dairy intake – Like an 80″ TV, it’s not a necessity.

77. Cut the grains – Unless you like feeling bloated all the time.

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79. Be in touch with pop culture – Don’t let it consume your life though.  Kim and Kanye’s life isn’t that amazing.

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80. Learn how to create value – Having the ability to solve people’s problems and improving their lives is the name of the game.

81. Travel – See the world and all it has to offer so you can realize how lucky you really are.

82. Stand up for what you believe in – Have principles and don’t be afraid to stick to them.  There’s already too many yes men in the world.

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83. Don’t discuss religion in public – Controversial.

84. Don’t discuss politics in public – Highly controversial.

85. Don’t discuss Crossfit in public – You’re better off discussing religion or politics…

86. Eat breakfast – Give yourself a fighting chance to have a productive day.

87. Listen to your body – Train hard when you feel good and take your foot off the gas when you’re feeling beat up. You can’t PR everyday.

88.  Eat less snacks – You’re not that hungry, you’re just bored.

89.  Find a good soft tissue specialist(s) – The fitter you get, the more important maintenance becomes. Even a Ferrari needs regular oil changes.

90. Work on your mobility – It’s not glamorous but it needs to be done if you want to train hard and pain free.

91. Try a Crossfit workout – Even if it’s only once, it’s something every fitness enthusiast should experience.

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92. Listen to old school hip hop – It’s just great, feel-good music.

93. Wear Air Jordan’s – They’re timeless and they’re comfy.

94. Never give up – Failure is almost inevitable but that’s what makes the journey so rewarding.

95. Don’t try to “keep up with the Joneses “ – Stay in your lane and run your own race.  Your achievements happen on your schedule not someone else’s.

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96. Read this blog regularly.

97.  Share this with your family and friends.

That’s my rant for today.  I hope these few tidbits help you rise up and get more out of life.

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27 of the Most Ridiculous Health and Fitness Myths Debunked..

Health and fitness is a booming industry and the demand to look, feel and perform better has never been higher.  With that, comes a lot of information and advice; some good, a lot bad, and some down right ridiculous.  This has made it next to impossible to decipher quality information from pure fallacies made up for the sake of telling people what they want to hear.

It’s no wonder so many people struggle with reaching their health and fitness goals; they’re too confused to make any progress! Drink 8 glasses of water per day.  Lift light weights to get ripped and toned.  Crunches are the best ab exercise to get a six pack. These are just a few of the most common myths looming in the fitness industry today.  It’s time for the hard truth and to put some of these myths to rest.  Here are some of the most common and RIDICULOUS  health and fitness myths debunked.

1. You can turn fat into muscle – Muscle and fat are two separate tissues that cannot be converted into one another. Both fat and muscle can be increased or decreased depending on diet and activity levels. Muscle is muscle and fat is fat.

2. Crunches are the best exercise to get a six pack – Getting a six pack is more a product of eating a clean diet and reducing body fat than any ab exercise you do in the gym.  If you want to see your abs, you need to get lean and that starts in the kitchen. Oh, and crunches are a shitty exercise by way.

3. Squats are bad for your knees – If this were true, I don’t think toilets would ever have been invented.  If squats were food, they’d be raw broccoli.  The truth is squats performed incorrectly are bad for your knees.  When done right, its hands down one of the best exercises in the gym.

4. Deadlifts are bad for your back – Another controversial exercise but again the danger lies in having shitty form. If deadlifts were food, they’d be spinach.  It doesn’t get any more functional than being able to pick an object up off the ground.  Another gem of an exercise once you get the right form.

5. Crossfit is dangerous – I love this one.  So is race car driving. So is NFL football. So is downhill skiing. People have suffered far more serious injuries from these activities but there never seems to be any controversy surrounding them.  Crossfit can be dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing and you don’t use appropriate progression but the same can be said for learning any athletic activity.  Not exercising for 10 years, eating and drinking excessively, and working a high stress job – THAT’S DANGEROUS!

6. High rep Olympic lifting is dangerous – This method of training is quite popular in the Crossfit community and has got the general public in a complete state of paranoia. Come on people, smoking is dangerous, drinking and driving is dangerous, high rep Olympic lifting is just hard.  Just because something is hard and requires some skill and athleticism doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be done.  ANY exercise performed for high reps and under a state of fatigue will increase the risk of injury. There is no evidence that high reps are doing the body any harm. In fact, one could argue that it’s having the opposite effect as evidenced by the everyday participation in Crossfit boxes across the globe.

7. You can’t get strong doing Crossfit – Crossfit sure does get a lot of press.  Contrary to popular belief, there is a great deal of strength training in Crossfit. All you have to do is look at the top performers and you’ll see some pretty impressive numbers.  500+ lb deadlifts, 400+ lb squats, and 300+ lb clean and jerks! Most people will train their whole lives and never hit those numbers.

8. You can’t put on muscle doing Crossfit – Last word on Crossfit I promise.  The ability to get big and strong doing Crossfit is definitely in the realm of possibility, it’s all in the programming.  There’s more to it than just endless burpees and kipping pullups. 9 times out of 10, you’re doing something with a barbell and that provides a lot of opportunity to get jacked!  Ironically, most guys that go to the gym are training to hopefully one day have the body of a Crossfitter.

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the real danger lies in standing on the sidelines

9. Lifting weights will make you bulky – If I had a nickel for every time I heard this one I’d already be retired.  The truth is ladies (yes ladies I’m talking to you) you don’t have enough NATURAL testosterone to build muscle mass the way men can.  In fact, lifting weights is the most effective way to  burn fat, increase bone density, and sculpt your body.  The body you want is just a few squats and deadlifts away.

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ladies, there’s no shame is moving some weight!

10. Use lighter weights for toning and getting ripped – Let’s put an end to this “toning” thing right now.  There is no such thing as toning.  You’re either building muscle or you’re not.  Your muscles already have tone, that’s what makes them muscles.  What you’re after is definition and that comes from reducing body fat.  As far as using light weight goes, this does not help you get ripped any faster.  Getting ripped is about getting lean and getting lean is all about what you do in the kitchen regardless of how heavy or light you lift at the gym. In fact, lifting heavy will help you to better preserve your muscle mass as you start to cut weight.

11.  Muscle weighs more than fat – What weighs more, a pound of concrete or a pound of feathers?  Don’t answer that.  Time for a little physics lesson.  Muscle does not actually weigh more than fat, muscle is more DENSE than fat.  Density is the weight of an object relative to its volume.  This means that a pound of muscle is smaller and takes up less space than a pound of fat.  This explains why a 200lb person with 10% body fat looks smaller than a 200lb person with 25% body fat.  Who says you never use physics in real life?

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muscle is more DENSE than fat!

12. Carbs are bad for you – Ridiculous. I’m not even sure when this phobia of carbs even began.  Your body’s main source of energy during intense exercise, GLYCOGEN, comes from carbohydrates.  What’s bad are shitty, processed carbs that provide no nutritional value.  Quality sources from fresh fruits and vegetables are optimal for health and nutritional balance.

13.  You can eat whatever you want as long as you workout – Sorry to break the news, but just because you workout doesn’t give you a free pass to eat whatever you want whenever you want.  In fact, exercise increases your appetite and if you’re making crappy food choices, you could end up putting on excess weight and body fat.  Eating sensibly will actually help you reach your goals faster with less effort in the gym.

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not exactly the ideal post workout meal

13.  Jogging is the best form of cardio – Jogging is certainly the most CONVENIENT form of cardio but hardly the most effective.  Now, it certainly beats sitting on the couch eating a bag of baked Lay’s (at least they’re baked right?) but it’s a far cry from the best form of cardio.  Long distance running can be quite catabolic (muscle wasting) reducing your ability to burn fat and increase the risk of chronic injuries.  Shorter and more intense forms of cardio such as interval training are more effective at increasing cardiovascular endurance, reducing body fat, and preserving lean muscle tissue.

14.  Stretch after you workout so you don’t get sore – There actually isn’t any scientific evidence that stretching reduces muscle soreness. Muscle soreness is actually a product of microtears in the muscle fibers as a result of the stress that was put on them.  Stretching can provide temporary relief of stiffness and increase blood flow but does not reduce the level of soreness experienced after a workout.

16.  Lifting weights makes you slower – If this were true, the strength and conditioning industry would cease to exist.  Name a professional athlete (a good one) that doesn’t do any strength training. You can’t because there aren’t any. Lifting weights is actually one of the most effective ways to improve speed due to increased force production from stronger muscles.  Carrying excess muscle mass can make you slower simply because you have more weight to carry around.  However, an effective strength training program can make you bigger, stronger, AND FASTER!

17. Yoga and Pilates make you strong – If we’re talking about spiritual or emotional strength then maybe, but if we’re talking about good ol’ fashioned strength that allows you to lift heavy shit then it’s a hell no!  Yoga and Pilates have many benefits but strength is not one of them.  Without sufficient overload (resistance on your muscles), it is next to impossible to build any sort of notable strength. Pump some iron if you want to get strong.

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nobody ever got strong from just doing the “downward dog”

18.  Low fat is better for you – Sometimes.  Low fat versions of foods can sometimes be higher in sugar which spikes your insulin levels and will cause you to store more fat.  Eating high quality fats like avocados and fish are better for regulating your blood sugar levels and keeping you lean.  Read food labels carefully and watch out for excess sugar.

19. Milk does a body good – No it doesn’t.  One of the biggest farces in the health industry today.  There is nothing in milk that is a necessity in the diet that can’t be found in other foods.  In fact, most people, with the exception of those from Eastern European descent, are somewhat lactose intolerant.  We are the only species that drinks milk beyond infancy so that should tell you how “vital” it is to our diet.

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20.  Eating late at night will make you fatter – What time of day you eat isn’t as important as the total amount of food you’ve eaten throughout the day.  If you have already met your daily caloric limit then eating late snacks will push you over the edge. The excess calories is what causes you to store fat not eating them late at night.

21. Longer, slower cardio burns more fat – This is only partially true.  When you work at low intensity, a larger percentage of the calories you burn come from fat.  For example, when you are sitting on the couch watching TV, you are burning almost 100% fat! We all know how effective that is don’t we?  Even though you burn a larger percentage of fat at low intensity, the OVERALL calories and fat burned is more at higher intensities.  For example, if you burn 500 calories going for a 45 minute jog and 75% of those calories came from fat, you burned 375 fat calories. However, if you burned 700 calories from 45 minutes of interval training, and 60% of those calories came from fat, you would have burned 420 fat calories. More calories and more fat can be burned at higher intensity and you can preserve more lean muscle tissue.

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hill sprints trump jogging any day of the week

22. Women need to do different exercises than men – If there’s one arena where men and women should be treated equally, it’s in the gym.  What’s good for the dudes is good for the gals.  The only difference between men and women when it comes to training is the adaptation to training. This is due mostly to differences in hormones and the distribution of muscle mass.  High quality exercises will serve both sexes equally well.

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what’s good for him is good for her

23.  Machines are safer than free weights – Universal exercise machines were created to make exercise more convenient not more effective.  They serve more as a marketing tool to attract naive customers to join their gyms.  In fact, if you don’t know what you’re doing, machines can be just as dangerous, if not more, than free weights.  Using improper form and/or too much weight can put you at risk for serious injury. Proper coaching and instruction is the key regardless of the equipment you’re using.

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you can never go wrong with some good ol’ iron

24. Drink 8 glasses of water a day – I’m not sure where this one came from but I do admire the intention to keep us all hydrated.  The truth is that everyone’s hydration needs are different depending on a variety of things including your food intake, activity level and muscle mass. A more active and muscular person will need to drink more water than a sedentary person who is half the size.  Also, the food you eat also contains water and that is never factored into your daily intake.  Using your thirst and the color of your urine are good measures of your hydration.  8 glasses may be a good starting point but it’s hardly an exact science.

25. Egg whites are healthier than egg yolks – Unless you are on a very restricted diet, there is more than one good reason to eat the yolk.  There are loads of vitamins and minerals found in the egg yolk including vitamins A, B12, and D as well as calcium and omega-3s.  The egg yolk provides far more nutritional value despite the extra calories (16 cals in egg white vs 71 cals in egg yolk).

26. If you aren’t sore, your workout wasn’t hard enough – Muscle soreness is definitely a sign that you stressed your muscles and they will need some time to recover but it doesn’t tell the whole story.  You can have a great workout and have little to no muscle soreness and that is completely acceptable.  Depending on how long you’ve been training, you may not experience as much soreness as a beginner.  Use progress as your measuring stick for the quality of your workouts.

27. Cleanses are great for weight loss – You know what’s great for weight loss? Eating less and exercising more.  You can lose a couple of pounds from a cleanse but that is usually water weight that is gained back once you start to eat regular food again.  The body is actually quite efficient at cleansing itself with the kidneys and other antibodies.  Eating nutrient dense foods, staying hydrated and limiting your intake of processed foods will be way more beneficial than any cabbage diet.

I hope this sets the record straight.  Your path to greatness should now be a little more clear.  Train hard and enjoy the ride!

What other issues do you struggle with when it comes to fitness? Drop a comment below!

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21 Warning Signs that Your Workout Routine ABSOLUTELY SUCKS!

The health and fitness industry generates over $75 billion annually worldwide.  That’s a lot of gym memberships.  What’s even more staggering is that approximately 67% of that revenue is wasted due to under utilization.  Basically, that means 2 out of every 3 people that have a gym membership don’t even use it.  That’s over 50 billion dollars flushed down the toilet!  Now, these stats are primarily a reflection of big box gyms that provide very little service or value and don’t include fitness studios, Crossfit gyms, and other strength and conditioning facilities.  Even when you add these training facilities to the equation though, you’re still looking at least $45 billion wasted on an annual basis!

These stats tell me 2 things:

1. There is an extremely high demand for services that will help people look, feel and perform better.

2.  There are very few people that ACTUALLY look, feel, and perform better.

For the 33% that actually show up, only a small percentage of them make any progress whatsoever.  The abundance of choice inside fitness facilities combined with a lack of knowledge by most gym goers is a perfect recipe for failure.  The key is to avoid the pitfalls that the majority of people make.  Some warning signs that your workout routine could be lackluster include:

1.  You do too much isolation work – Too many people spend way too much time working the smallest muscles in their body (i.e. biceps, triceps, calves)  only to achieve equally small results.  To get the best bang for your buck, don’t waste your time with isolation exercises that do very little for your overall strength and muscle building pursuits.  Use more compound movements like the squats, bench presses, and deadlifts to make real gains.

2. You do too much upper body work – You know what they say, “friends don’t let friends skip leg day.” It’s quite tragic that guys will neglect the largest muscles in their body and deprive themselves of optimal testosterone production.  Don’t be a pussy, train your legs to get big and strong everywhere else!

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3. You do too much long, slow cardio – If you’re still sitting on the elliptical or stationary bike for an hour trying to burn more fat then you got a long road ahead of you.  They key to fat burning is intensity and anabolic (muscle building) activity.  Long slow, cardio is both catabolic (muscle wasting) and time wasting.  Start lifting more weights and doing intervals to get more results in less time.

4. You jump from program to program – Consistency is one the keys to success in the gym.  If you are constantly jumping from one program to the next you’ll never get a chance to make any real progress.  Give yourself at least 6-8 weeks before switching your training split or exercises.

5. You don’t sweat – As silly as this sounds, there a lots of people who exercise (or do what they think is exercise) and never sweat.  If you’re not breaking a sweat, you’re not giving your body a reason to get better.

6. You still do crunches – Honestly.  If you want to build a strong core use plank variations, FULL situps, russian twists, hanging leg raises , ab wheel rollouts, or anything other than a futile little crunch.  If you want to see those beautiful abs, remember six packs are made in the kitchen not in the gym.

7. You don’t do burpees – You can hate them all you want but that doesn’t mean they aren’t one of the best bodyweight exercises you could ever do. Improve your conditioning, burn more fat and get more out of your workouts with the dreaded “B” word.

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8. You measure your fitness by how much you can bench – Don’t get me wrong, I love me some bench press but it’s hardly a measure of my overall fitness level.  A little less bench and a little more #2 and #3 and you’ll be onto something.

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9. You only do exercises you are good at – This compliments #8 as a lot of people will only do the exercises they enjoy or what they think matters.  This is a surefire way to develop muscular imbalances, chronic injuries, and an undesirable physique.  Try to train at least one weakness every time you’re in the gym. Something as simple as a 1 arm dumbell row to offset all that benching will go a long way.

10. You’ve been doing the same routine for ages – I mentioned that consistency is important to success but variety is equally important if you want to break through plateaus and continue to make gains.  If you’ve been doing the same exercises in the same order with the same weight for the same reps since Maury Povich was a hit show then it’s time to switch it up.  Without variety, your body has no reason to improve.

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11. You think you can out-exercise a bad diet – Just because you workout 2 hours a day, 5 days a week doesn’t mean you can eat pizza and drink pop on a regular basis without any consequence.  Consuming excess calories and empty calories will still cause you store fat no matter how much you exercise.  Stop fooling yourself and clean up your diet if you really want that beach body.

12. You’re not getting stronger – One of the marks of a good training program is strength.  If you are hitting the gym on a regular basis and seeing no improvement in your strength then something is missing in your program.  I’m not saying you should be setting PRs every week but there should be a slow and steady increase in most of the exercises you are doing. If you’re not getting stronger, you’re getting weaker and that’s a low down dirty shame.

13. You’re not getting leaner – If you’re goal is weight loss or to reduce body fat then you better be watching your diet, interval training, and lifting heavy.  0 for 3? Time to go back to the drawing board.

14. You don’t work on mobility – If you’ve been training for any length of time then you’ve probably had your fair share of little tweaks along the way and if you haven’t consider yourself lucky.  Taking the time to focus on mobility and soft tissue work (i.e foam rolling, lacrosse ball, massage, chiropractic, general stretching) can go a long way in the prevention of soft tissue injuries as well improve movement efficiency.

15. You train like a body builder but you look like a sumo wrestler – I still can’t believe how many people still train with body part splits even though they lack the genetics, discipline, and intensity to look like Arnold Schwarzenegger.  Full body workouts mixed with high intensity conditioning will get you to where you want to go a lot faster.

16. You think more exercise is better – Some people just don’t know when enough is enough.  Working out 3 hours a day isn’t necessarily better than 2 hours a day and 6 days a week isn’t necessarily better than 5.  More exercise means a greater rise in cortisol (the muscle wasting and fat storing hormone) which will only make you feel like crap and make you weaker in the long run. The body needs time to recover and rebuild and it can only do so when rest is in proportion to training volume and intensity.  Aim for more QUALITY workouts and less quantity.

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17. You think you can’t build muscle AND burn fat at the same time – You don’t have to go through the long, drawn out process of “bulking” and then “shredding” to get the body you want. With an effective training program, you can increase strength, muscle mass, and reduce body fat simultaneously.

18. You follow too many fad diets – Building a lean, athletic physique takes discipline, sacrifice, and time – more time than most people want to put in.  Looking for a quick fix by jumping on some celebrity diet may meet your short term needs but it won’t be the answer to long term, sustainable gains.  Like Jason Ferruggia says “the secret to being an overnight success is 10 years of hard work.”

19. You are overly concerned about supplements – The highest quality protein powder isn’t going to do jack for you if your training is all over the map.  Don’t worry about protein powder, BCAA’s, creatine, pre-workouts, or any other distractions on the market until you practice sound nutritional habits and consistent training.

20. You ALWAYS lift heavy – Now I know I’ve said that lifting heavy is vital to a good training program but if you’re always lifting at 90% or higher it’s gonna take a huge toll on your joints and nervous system.  Not even world class powerlifters and olympic weightlifters train heavy all year round and they’re the strongest lifters in the world so why should you?  Dial back your training loads and allow some time to recovery to make more long term gains.

21. You’re not using the Pure Payne Method – Yeah I said it. Now sign up for it, it’s FREE!

Take heed of these warning signs and adjust your training accordingly.  Don’t be another statistic, instead be one of the few that ACTUALLY looks, feels, and performs better.

What can you do right away to improve your training routine? Drop a comment below!

 

 

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DECK THE HALLS! – 9 Ways to Stay Fit During the Holidays…

It’s that time of year again! The holiday season is officially upon us – LET THE GLUTTONY BEGIN!  Chocolate, egg nog, cake, cookies, gravy, mashed potatoes, wine, beer, you name it – BRING. IT. ON.   Studies have shown that the average person gains 5-10lbs over the the Christmas holiday season.  This would be a pretty impressive stat if they were talking about muscle.  With busy schedules filled with corporate parties, and dinners with family and friends combined with little to no physical activity makes the body a prime fat storing facility.

The good news is the holidays don’t have to derail your training or destroy your physique.  With a few simple tips and a little bit of discipline you can avoid the holiday bulge and actually make some gains during this festive time.  What better gift could you give yourself than a stronger and leaner physique?? I can’t think of one.  Enough semantics, let’s get down to business and take this holiday season by storm. Here are 9 tips to stay fit during the holidays.

1. Keep working out – If you already go to the gym, now is definitely not the time to take a break and if you don’t there’s no better time to start. Maintaining a regular training regimen is key to keeping your metabolism revved up and maintaining that precious muscle tissue.  Programs like the Pure Payne Method can definitely help you stay on track.  Things can get hectic during the holidays but staying consistent with your training will save you a lot of headache come January.

2. Lift heavy – There’s no better way to build and preserve strength and muscle mass than to simply lift heavy shit.  Further, this will make you more efficient at burning fat and fending off all those empty holiday calories.  You can’t go wrong with the bench press, squat, and deadlift to keep your body in check.

3. Use intervals – Keep your training intensity high with intervals so you can burn more fat in less time.  This is a great way to train if pressed for time and want to get more bang for your buck.  EMOMS are an effective way to get full body workouts in 15 minutes or less!

4. Eat a healthy meal before you go out – One of the worst things you can do is show up to your company Christmas party absolutely starving.  You don’t want to be that guy with his head buried in his plate shoveling food in his face like it’s the Last Supper.  This will certainly guarantee that you will over indulge pushing you over your caloric limit.  Having a small, healthy meal before hitting the town will allow you to eat more sensibly when you arrive and curb any temptations.  Remember, failing to plan is planning to fail.

5. Don’t have seconds – If you’ve followed #4 then this will be less of a problem.  Food quality is important but is meaningless without proper food QUANTITY.  9 times out of 10 having a second helping is never in your best interest.  Avoid the food coma and have ONE well balanced serving of food. That’s all your body really needs anyway.

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Even at the Last Supper there was portion control

6. Replace starches with colorful vegetables – An easy way to increase the nutrient density of your meals is to replace your starchy carbs with more colorful veggies. For example, replace mashed potatoes and gravy with a garden salad with a vinaigrette dressing on the side or replace pasta with steamed broccoli and bell peppers.  More nutrients, less bloating. Everybody wins.

7. Mix alcohol with soda or water – If you’re gonna drink, which you probably will, then reduce the damage by mixing your drinks with soda or water. This reduces your sugar intake which reduces the consumption of empty calories and the severity of hangovers.  Having less drinks overall will probably help the cause too.

8. Have only one dessert – If there was ever a time to demonstrate some self control, it would be at the dessert table.  Pick your favorite one, have a small piece and step away from the table. FOREVER.  Like I mentioned in #7, sugar will sabotage all of your hard work and effort in the gym.

9. Stay hydrated – an easy way to curb your appetite and suppress cravings is to simply stay hydrated.  Staying hydrated will help you to snack less and regulate your blood sugar levels. Keep a water bottle with you and sip periodically throughout the day.

A little common sense, discipline, and moderation will get you through the holidays unscathed.  This year is your chance to be in the small percentage of people that actually get FITTER in the month of December.  Make every meal and workout count this month and you’ll be laughing in New Year.

What’s your biggest weakness when it comes to nutrition? Drop a comment below! Don’t forget to subscribe below to get The Pure Payne Method and other great articles FREE!