Archives March 2020

Most Important Things to Focus on with Reduced Resistance

With home workout suggestions absolutely everywhere given the current unprecedented Covid-19 global lockdown, most of us who are lucky enough to still be training are doing so at a much reduced resistance level using dumbbells, resistance bands, kettlebells, if we are lucky enough to have them or indeed every day house hold items to provide some sort of resistance into our training routines.

With all of this change it can be easy to forget some of the key principles which are the difference between a good workout routine and a great one.

  1. Full Range of Motion of the working joints
  2. Maintain Form
  3. Time under Tension
  4. Activating the Correct Muscles for the Exercise
  5. Rest Time
  6. Exploring Variations of an exercise that work best for you

Important things to focus on

Be safe!

Agile Body Program

TheTruePaSull

Self-Isolation Accountability Planner

Staying accountable to the items that will drive you towards your goals is important at any time, but even more so now that we are entering a really strange period in modern existence. Planning and keeping yourself accountable to the plan helps to give a nice sense of satisfaction as you build up day to day towards your goal.

Below is a slightly modified template that I use for planning during a prep. Every day I hit my plan for the item, I mark the item green, everyday that I don’t I mark the item red, planned rest or non training days also go green. Looking back on a week worth of all greens is extremely satifisfiying and motivating for the week ahead. Nerdy but effective stuff.

  • Training – Home and Body weight workouts are the norm for a lot of people at the moment, one a day?
  • Cardio – Getting out for a run, cycle, or walk. Very important to keep your cardio up during this isolation period
  • Steps – Definitely more challenging to hit 10000 when working from home and isolating, a big challenge here but important to stay active.
  • Planned Meals – Plan you meals for the day and stay on track for them, isolation snacking definitely has it’s appeal. try to stay accountable.
  • Something New – Should have more time on our hands, try something new every day?
  • Add your own – Plan activities, new workouts, new hobbies, whatever you want… Plan and do.

Download links – 4 week Planner:

Accountability Planner Pic

Agile Body Program

TheTruePaSull

More than just a GYM

More than just a GYMThe gym can be a huge mental leveller for a wide range of stresses and worries. While home workouts can help to tide you over physically, they may or may not give the mental outlet which is often so much more beneficial. There may not be much we can do during the ‘social distancing’ phase when our gyms are closing but you must find replacement activities to help you to mentally switch off.

I am acutely aware that many of us use the gym as a type of therapy. You take yourself out of your own mind by lifting heavy weights which force you to focus on them alone. And about an hour later, everything feels a little bit better and easier to manage.

Please don’t make the mistake of thinking that the gym is unique in this. Everyone has a different thing; going to restaurants, going to the pub, hotels, booking mini breaks, visiting friends and family, watching sport on tv or attending, going to the cinema, going for walks, going shopping, the list goes on and on. Your family and friends may have a different outlet to you and it’s important to realise that everyone may respond to it  a little differently, remember to support each-other as much as possible and in whatever way possible over the next few days and weeks. None of us can do everything, but we can all do something.

Some things which may help:

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What’s More or Less Important for Fat Loss vs Muscle Gain?

Fat Loss vs Muscle GainWhat is more or less important for you depends on your own particular fitness level and goals but below are some general guiding principles in the context of Fat Loss vs Muscle Gain.

  • Consistency – regardless of your fitness goal, consistency is key, however you can be flexible in different areas depending on your goal
    • Fat Loss – Calories are non negotiable and you must ensure you are in a deficit regardless of how you get to that deficit. However you can (although you shouldn’t) be a little more flexible in your training…
    • Muscle Gain – Training is non negotiable and you must ensure you train hard and consistently to gain muscle. However you can (although you shouldn’t) be a little more flexible in your nutrition…
  • Progressive Overload 
    • Fat Loss – Less important for fat loss directly, but if you are lifting weights you should maintain a progressive overload. Otherwise you are just going through the motions and not getting the optimal value out of each session.
    • Muscle Gain – Absolutely key to gaining muscle, you must continue to consistently overload your muscle. If a weights session feels easy you are doing it wrong.
  • Compound Exercises
    • Fat Loss – Less important for fat loss directly, but if you are lifting weights as part of your fat loss regime (and you should) then you should focus on bigger compound exercises to get the greatest bang for your buck.
    • Muscle Gain – Lots of people when entering a bulk phase forget a little about the compound exercises and focus on a lot of machine or isolation. Heavy lifts using multiple muscle groups must continue to form the backbone of your muscle gaining plan. Squats, Deadlifts and Bench press are always cool.
  • Isolation Exercises
    • Fat Loss – Forget about them for fat loss. If you really want to then you can but your time in the gym for fat loss would be better spend on improving your compound lifts and cardiovascular levels.
    • Muscle Gain – Less important than your compound lifts but still pretty important to isolate target muscle groups for a true gaining phase. The key thing is that you plan your isolations in line with the weak points of your physique.
  • Cardio
    • Fat Loss – Important to increase your daily energy output and while not strictly needed for fat loss it is important to have a good cardio routine from an overall health perspective. Appearing below Compound exercises may be surprising to some, and with neither strictly needed if you are in a calorie deficit I more put more emphasis on the compound exercises that can radically improve your overall shape as you lose fat.
    • Muscle Gain – Less important in a gaining phase but should still form part of your overall routine. Normally a shift from high intensity cardio of a cutting phase to a lower intensity cardio of a gaining phase. Walking is usually perfect, and keeping a relatively active step count is the most important when not doing hard cardio during a muscle gain phase.
  • Protein Intake
    • Fat Loss – Very important to keep your protein intake high using whole protein sources. Key for health and muscle maintenance during a calorie deficit and also helps to make you feel more full after eating.
    • Muscle Gain – Protein, Protein, Protein! Obviously very very important for gaining muscle but be careful there is a maximum effective level of protein intake which you should adhere to. More Protein does not equal more gains after you reach your target protein intake and those calories are better spent elsewhere.
  • Carb Intake
    • Fat Loss – Please don’t cut out carbs for fat loss. While less important than Protein or Fats, they are still extremely important. Less important does not mean less carbs, it just means that you calculate your protein and fats caloric targets first and what is remaining goes towards carbohydrates.
    • Muscle Gain – Carbs are so important to gain muscle. You simply can not train hard without appropriate fuel, and if you can not train hard you will not gain muscle. The difference in energy levels that you can bring to a work out when you have carb’d up vs when you haven’t is incredible. To gain muscle, you need to be on it every single time you get into the gym. Carbs are your fuel.
  • Fats Intake
    • Fat Loss – Good healthy fats are so important when attempting to lose fat in a healthy way, particularly over a sustained period of time. Fats intake does not equal fat storage in your body! Over a sustained period of time under eating Fats will lead to issues for your body which needs them for regular functions. This is particularly important in a fat loss phase are you are already eating to a calorie deficit.
    • Muscle Gain – Less important purely because with the additional calories that one needs to gain muscle, Fats are usually inherent in the planning. Eggs, Avocado, Peanut butter etc. NOM! Most people eat enough fats in  a gaining phase without too many issues but if your plan only includes carbs and protein then you should definitely review and ensure you are getting enough fats. It can be an issue for some who when attempting to do a lean gain focus too much on lean meats and chicken + veg, without too much variety which can cause problems.
  • Meal Frequency
    • Fat Loss – Personal preference. Like breakfast, eat breakfast. Like 3 big meals, eat 3 big meals. Like fasting, fast. Like little and often, eat little and often. Just whatever you do make sure that you stay in a calorie deficit.
    • Muscle Gain – Meal frequency becomes much more important than for fat loss. 6-8 meals per day is standard for two main reasons. Firstly you will be eating a lot of food and it can be hard to get all of that in without spreading across a lot of meals. Secondly you want to make sure that you body stays topped up with what it needs to gain muscle when your body needs it. If the body is looking for protein to repair and grow a muscle you want to have it available for optimal growth, if its been a long period since you last ate your body may not have what it needs to grow and the opportunity is lost.

Agile Body Program

TheTruePaSull

Are You Ready to be Coached?

  • Ready to be coached
  • If you DO exactly what your coach says but are not achieving the agreed results, Your Coach Is At Fault.
  • If you DO NOT do exactly what your coach says and are not achieving the agreed results, You Are At Fault.

Coaching is hard. Despite the amount of coaches in the market today, coaching in any industry is hard. However being coached is also extremely hard. It involves respect and also a high level of trust to allow yourself to be coached. Most of us are not ready for it.

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Fat vs Weight

Believe it or not, fat loss is largely linear. If you maintain a caloric deficit you will lose fat, the rate of which is pretty constant when you are consistent with your diet. The complete mind f**k for all of us is that weight loss is far from linear. Day to day, week to week it has it’s ups and downs in a short term period. You hear so many give the advice to not rely on the scales, but in absence of other measures it can be hard to not step on and check. Resist the urge unless it’s part of your planned check in as frequent acute differences can take you from feeling great about a weeks hard effort, to feeling like you want to pack it all in.

Know that once you have hit your plan, that you are going in the right direction regardless of short term weight fluctuations!

Fat vs WeightAffects Fat (Long Term)

      • Calories – Plain and simple, it’s calories in vs expenditure (calories out) that will make the difference in the long term.

Affects Weight (Short Term)

Note: Chronic (long term) difficulties with some of the below items can mean that your body responds differently to standard calorie deficit for your weight however the above Calorie principle still holds true, it just may be more difficult for you to find a consistent calorie number. In addition, many of the below are also triggers which can easily cause us to over consume and enter into a Calorie Surplus.

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