TSC or Bust

TSC or Bust

I was surprised with my results to say the least, and I think a few others were with theirs as well. After all, my last week of training(and a few before that) had not been very “productive” ones, and I’ve missed more than a few sessions, and I’m not alone.

Many of my students could say the same, we had injuries, sickness, and other business/family matters that kept us out of the gym and “off our game” so to speak. But when April 8th rolled around, the adrenaline started pumping and the weights got loaded on the bars, none of that seemed to matter.

It’s hard to put faith in a process for most human beings, because the longview is hard to maintain. We go for the “quick fix” over anything else, and try to “hack” our way to results.

The truth is, the reason we all did so well is the work we’ve put in, not just in the last 9 weeks, but over a lifetime of training. For some it hasn’t been that long at all, others have been here for a while. But regardless of all that, it’s the quality of the time and work we’ve put in that makes the biggest difference.

After all, excuses(or reasons) are easy to come by. Even as I write this I’m getting shooting pain through my knee from the arthritis I was supposed to have had surgery for before I turned 30(I’m 32 now) but it will probably go away by the end of the week. I was sick last week and my cardio took a huge hit, probably making my form sloppy and limiting me to, oh yeah, a PR or 116 snatches. It wasn’t the best there, but it’s 16 more than 6 months ago, and I can’t lose sight of that.

Paul, Brian, Melony, Steve, and Adrienne also had setbacks. Carpel tunnel surgeries that took longer than expected to heal(too many 5 page reports), injuries (some that happened outside the gym, some from pushing too hard in training), and finding our limits to early on were just a few of the physical aspects that plagued “the training” over the past 2(ish) months, yet somehow new personal bests were attained. Obviously, none of these injuries were serious, some strained muscles here and there(well, only 2 of us, myself included) and a falling incident outside of the gym put a few of us “off” for a bit, but didn’t knock us out of the game.

Travels for business and pleasure were timed almost perfectly in the middle of training, not leaving a whole lot of time to “catch up” at the end, but somehow this didn’t really matter when it came down to it.

There were only a few of us that made it all the way through the training process without missing even a day of training. This doesn’t make them better or worse than anyone else as that has it’s own struggles(being sore while training and finding time are the most frequent yet least of these, not to mention keeping yourself fueled)

I can gladly say everyone exceeded their expectations in spite of the “setbacks” that happened over the last few weeks. If there’s one thing that shined though all of this, it’s the “slow and steady over the long haul” training mentality that is not very common in most gyms. Especially competitive gyms it seems have this idea that every session needs to be a PR session and that if it doesn’t make you throw up, pass out, or puke you’re not working hard enough. That’s fine if you’re 22 and don’t mind not being able to move at 50, but for the rest of us, it’s simply not an option.

We have jobs, kids, grandkids(eventually for some of us) and lives we have to live outside a few hours out of the week where we congregate in our quaint little old post office we call our gym.

To paraphrase Pavel, your training shouldn’t take more out of you than you get from it. That means being able to go and play after you work, being able to tie your own shoes and use the toilet unassisted at 90, and (accidents and illnesses notwithstanding) live to 100, well, that’s my plan at least!

Until Next Time,

Stay Strong My Friends!

~Justin

How To Survive The Holidays(Without Gaining 1,000 Pounds)

How To Survive The Holidays(Without Gaining 1,000 Pounds)

In-laws and crazy family members aside, the next worst thing for you this holiday season has to be the amount of food that we end up consuming as a result of “emotional eating”.

Some of us have it better than others, while in a lot of cases(at least from what I hear) some people’s families actually drive them to drink copious amounts of “adult beverages”. I’m talking the amount normally reserved for college students on spring break…

Apart from the obvious advice of not bringing as much of the substances in question along to aid in the ritualistic overconsumption we call holidays, I have a really simple piece of advice you can use for these and other such occasions, to alleviate some of the guilt and stress associated with the consumption meant to, ironically, cope with stress…

Go To The Gym and Work A Little Harder The Next Day.

I’m not talking about the treadmill here… those extra 500 steps on your FitBit aren’t going to cut it…

You have to really work hard.

Here’s some of my prescribed “routines” to burn a few of those extra holiday calories your family helped you jam down your throat so you could avoid saying what you really wanted to in reaction to their inappropriate comments:

Metabolic Training: This is a bit harder to describe, but for simplicity, Kettlebell complexes seem to work amazing for this. One of my favorite(and I’m sure is your’s too) is Armor Building (2 double cleans, 1 double press, 3 double front squats) plus 300 swings. Just this little guy will burn upwards of 1,000 calories, if you pick the right weight that is…(don’t go light!)

Heavy A$$ Lifts: Back Squats, Deadlifts, Bench Press, Overhead Press, anything that requires every single fiber in your being to move the weight would be appropriate for this one.

Olympic Lifts (barbell): Not an area of my “expertise” but I’m told this is a very good way to work up a sweat. Do some On The Minute training or a complex (similar to a kettlebell complex). Push yourself a little harder than normal.

Sprinting: Sprints are a great “no equipment required” workout, pick a distance that will take you about 20 or so seconds to run, or grab a timer and sprint for 20 seconds. Sprint 5-7 times resting only 10 seconds between sprints then rest a few minutes(at least 3…) between series. I’d recommend only doing this about 3 times. Want a challenge? Take the sprints “vertical” and go up a hill with them. Need more you say? Add a set of 8 kettlebell or barbell front squats beforehand, rest about 3-5 minutes between sprints, repeat 3 times. (don’t forget the rest…) Kettlebell swings and a hill work well too I’ve been told(about 30-50 swings before you sprint)

I could go on, but my girlfriend might get mad at me for working too much on a Sunday morning when I’m supposed to be drinking coffee and playing this new game I’ve introduced her to called “grab ass”, apparently she likes it, and I’m a fan myself.

So to sum it up, take the moral highroad and don’t eat the junk(especially the booze, sorry). When that’s too much mental and emotional stress, don’t stress, work a little harder tomorrow. Probably not the best nutritional advice in the world, but I’m told it works wonders for you soul.

Have a great holiday season, and Stay Strong My friends.

~Justin

 

Your Fitness Tracker’s Dirty Little Secret.

Your Fitness Tracker’s Dirty Little Secret.

In the last few years these fitness trackers have been all the rage.

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They’re popping up just about everywhere, from your local friendly Walmart & Walgreens to Amazon and everywhere in between, and are made by everyone from Apple(a computer company…) to the big names like FitBit & Jawbone and all the little cheapy guys trying to imitate their big brothers in the industry.

But why then, with so many people owning these little gadgets, are there still so many people not achieving their fitness goals?

Let’s start with a fun story…

A client of mine was telling me last year or so she had a friend in California who owned a FitBit and was obsessed with getting her step goal for the day… even if she cheated.

What her friend did was quite ingenious, while stuck in the godawful traffic I’m told plagues Cali, she would shake her hand back and forth to get her step count for the day!

Genius, right?

Well, no.

Here’s the dirty little secret about that ol fancy piece of jewelry around your wrist.

We, as human beings, LOVE to feel like we’ve accomplished something. Even silly little things that, in the grand scheme of things don’t make a significant impact on the end result. Honestly, who brags about getting their step count in for the day…

We like this so much in fact, we’d be willing to cheat ourselves out of results to get the perceived amount of “activity” for the day.

This can breed some bad habits.cigarettes-723126

For example – If you’re cheating on your steps, you’re probably going to be less likely to track those couple handfuls of candy you had at the office today, after all, there was only 14 pieces (each time), so they don’t really count, right?

Or maybe…

You actually did your steps for the day, so you decide to skip the gym and go out to celebrate with a healthy(ish) dinner and an adult beverage…(okay, maybe 2 or 3, it’s been a hard week at work… so far – wooo! made it to Wednesday!!)

You can see how this spirals out of control.dizzy-148161

I’m not saying to throw out your fitness tracker. What I’m warning against is the inappropriate use of a tool that can help you get better results, but can also destroy them just as easily.

In fact, most fitness trackers will say you’re average  strength training routine only burns about 100 cal or so, I don’t think that’s totally accurate, especially if you’ve been to one of my classes…(I can assure you, you burn much more than that)

Take the info with a grain of salt.

The information is only as good as what you use it for, and sifting through and finding the right data is key.

I could honestly go on for quite a while on the do’s and don’t(s) of what info you should look for, but where’s the fun in that, this would easily turn into a 4,000 word post, and it still wouldn’t help you get the best results. Remember, everyone is unique, so it’s impossible to discuss every variable…

Here’s what I’ll give you(to wet your appetite)

Start with what you want to achieve.

Determine what “data” will best help you get to that goal – and throw out the rest.

journal-1577764Be ReligiousTrack everything consistently and monitor the changes(results) you see on a somewhat regular basis. I’d say no more than once a week, and even that is pushing it…(scale weight one week, measurements the next, body fat % the following week, you know, that ol chestnut)

Pick 3-5 “variables” to track(the input) more than that is too much and will cause more harm than it will help. **HINT: Food Journaling is THE THING that will help most out of anything(Nutrition is King), after that would be sleep(shoot for 8 hours a day), then workouts, then daily habits(what you do at work and whatnot)

I’m sure I can think of more things to track, but honestly even the last one is kind of pushing what you really NEED to have, but hey, do what works for you. Just keep in mind, the more focused your efforts on the things that will make the biggest change the results will come faster, and stay longer.

As far as tracking output, like I said above, don’t jump on the scale every day, or even 2 or 3 times a week. The best thing you can do, honestly, is notice how you’re clothes fit compared to how they used to. And a $1 tailor’s tape measure is going to be your absolute best bet for tracking what’s actually going on(I don’t know the name exactly, it’s one of those flexible cloth-like things they use for measuring tuxes and such, you know the one)

If you’re stuck and don’t know what to do, feel free to drop me a line (justin @ post35.net) and I’ll be happy to help you out as I do have some experience with these things.

Stay Strong My Friends

~Justin