Negotiate Your Routine

 

The Deal is won in the detail. You must negotiate your routine.

The flexibility comes in the detail of what you do and there ARE non-negotiable items which you simply must do.

Negotiate your routine

  • Resistance Training – Don’t try to argue it, trust me it’s non-negotiable. If you’re not lifting weights or training against resistance you really should be.
    • Type of Training – So many to choose from. You can definitely find something you like. Personal training may not be for you but join a class, do cross fit, Olympic lifts, machine weights, kettle bells etc. the list is endless. Try until you find one you like.
    • Frequency of Training – From training once a week to every day, it really is up to you. Be realistic about what you can stick to as aiming for more sessions and not getting to them can be a huge demotivating factor – build it up slowly.
    • Time of Training – Night owl or early bird, lunch time or right after work. Find a time that fits with your lifestyle. Morning training is great but can be difficult to make it work. You need to negotiate a time that works and will work for you at least 80% of the time.
    • Duration of Training – Quick 20 mins or long 90 mins. No right or wrong answer.
    • Cost of Training – – Cost’s much less than most things. But please spend your money in line with your commitment level. Personal Trainers can be expensive so look at what you are trying to achieve, if you’re starting out completely new you may get as much benefit by going to the gym with some friends and when you decide you like it then take the next step. Plenty of free tutorials and work out generators online also if you need inspiration. Once your hooked you can start to add in more items: workout clothes, supplements, PT’s, Group Classes, Home workout equipment, wrist wraps, knee wraps, back belt, giant water bottle, Fitness wearable’s, styling headphones, yoga mats, foam roller, ab wheel, the list goes on and on. Beside listing some of the things around me in my room, the point here is to keep your cost of training as low as possible. There is no point going out buying all additional equipment upfront. You really need very little to start…</
  • Cardiovascular Training – Non-negotiable. You have to keep your heart active and healthy and to do so you need to get that heart rate up. Walks are great to hit your step count and activity level but also ensure that you are raising your heart rate on a regular basis every week.
    • Type of Training – Some people love cardio, some people (like me) hate it. However you definitely dislike some more than others, if you’re like me the trick is to find the one you dislike least. For me that happens to be the cross trainer. Brisk walking, jogging, running, cycling, cross training, skipping, stairs stepper. You don’t have to do all of them, but you have to do one of them.
    • Frequency of Training – 2-3 times a week minimum, please! but you can go even more if you like
    • Time of Training – Despite what some trainers may tell you, for the majority of goals there is absolutely no advantage to early morning fasted cardio. Unless your in an extreme cut, don’t go crazy here. Pick a time that suits your schedule.
    • Duration of Training – Keep your cardio at a minimum to 20 mins per session but after that go as long as you feel
    • Cost of Training – If your road running, make sure that you have a decent pair of trainers, other than that similar to resistance training try to keep your costs low initially and buy the add ons as you go.

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Reset. Go Again.

Another 3 weeks of lockdown in Ireland. The Easter weekend was tough, the May weekend will be equally though and the time in between…well that’s going to be just great. Whatever you’ve done over the weekend or in the lockdown so far, its time to reset and go again.

Maybe you have already started on all of those initial lock down plans. Maybe you started and stopped. Maybe you had best intensions but never got there. It doesn’t matter, you’ve got another 3 weeks (at least), to kick on.

Success on your fitness journey is a result of making the small efforts count, consistently over and over again. You can’t get to where you want to on a lockdown day, but you can take a step in the right direction. Take more steps in the right direction than the wrong direction and you start moving closer and closer to that goal.

Eat less, move more, train hard and sleep well consistently and after a couple of weeks you won’t know yourself. However what ever the lockdown has been so far:

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Hungry or Bored?

It’s quarantine time! or is it SNACK time!

We’re in for some boring days during this lockdown, and a fun thing to figure out is whether you’re hungry or bored… Snacking because of boredom is extremely common with all of us and with being in a lockdown this is certain to become more challenging. It’s important to remember to eat when you’re hungry and not because the nothing more exciting going on. Many of us will also have switched to working from home where the cupboards are full with the goods and with no colleagues to judge you, you could easily and happily snack away all day. Fun for a day or two but snacking coupled with an overall reduction in energy expenditure could play havoc with any fitness goals that you’ve set previously.

Some things which help:

  • Plan (and make) your meals for the day in advance
  • Plan your meal times for the day
  • Drink more water
  • Keep snacks out of sight during the day
  • Keep your mind active
  • Don’t be too harsh on yourself when you go off plan, this is a mad time!

Agile Body Program

TheTruePaSull

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

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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Remember Your Why

I first produced these graphics for a presentation at  https://www.techconnect-live.com/ back in 2016. That day I was presenting on ‘Customer Experience’ and how you can easily lose sight of your goal as you try to run a project through to completion. External opinions and a mountain of different information designed to drive you towards your goal can also distract you from achieving it. You have to Remember your Why at times when other distractions set in. It was as relevant then when we were trying to design a superior banking experience as it is today in any goal that you want to achieve yourself, especially in personal fitness.

Remember Your Why - Lose WeightYour Why could be anything, Losing Weight is common is most peoples fitness journey and at the very start of the process you are nothing but excited about getting started. You have only one clear focus, Losing Weight.

Remember Your Why - The Rest

Carbs, Weight Training, Rest days, Check In’s, Cardio, Supplements, Cheat Meals, Meal Prep, Steps, Training Split, Protein to name but a few. Very quickly you can become distracted by the very items which

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Protect The Deficit

Protect The DeficitYou have a number, I have a number, We all have a number. A caloric maintenance number where by if you eat exactly that number of calories you will neither lose or gain weight (Leaving aside acute factors such as the make up of your diet which can effect water retention etc. in the short term).

Almost all nutrition plans you receive will have a daily calorie target. Rather than focusing on the amount of calories you eat in a day,  you should start to focus on the calories that you have accumulated towards your deficit.

For fat loss clients, your target daily calories have been issued by your coach to create a sustainable calorie deficit  in line with your goals and this is really worked out on a weekly basis and divided evenly across the week. So while you have a daily calorie target which is always visible and known on the plan, you also have a daily calorie deficit target.

Every day you are accumulating a deficit which is key to remember because maintaining this deficit is what will ultimately determine your success in achieving your fat loss goal. You must protect the deficit.

Eating all of your meals on plan is brilliant and you should be happy with yourself when you do, but you should also be happy that you have banked calories towards your deficit. Focusing on your deficit and what you’ve accumulated throughout the week works well because when you get to Friday or Saturday it can be quite easy to eat a little extra or add in some snacks which not only remove the deficit from that days eating but can also undo the deficit that you’ve been working hard to achieve all week.

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How You Lift – Progressive Overload

How You Lift

There are numerous ways to create a progressive overload; add weight, add reps, add sets, reduce rest time, etc. but to ensure that you are testing yourself in every single set the above easy formula should be used when it comes to weights training. If you want to make the best possible progress in the shortest possible space of time you have to challenge yourself on every single set and to do that you have to find your level.

Form:

Form is key. Its the start point of your training and the item that you must learn to master on every single exercise. If you are lucky enough to have a coach or a personal trainer then they will help you here. The best coaches are obsessed with form and you should be too. Even if you do not have a coach or PT you should be familiar with the various phases of an exercise, start position, end position and transition phase. The desired range of motion between start and end position is also key to know.  Use the mirrors, use the diagrams present on all gym machines, use Google,  use whatever you can. At an absolute minimum you should know where you should be feeling the exercise, the machine diagrams will usually highlight these but for free weights you should become familiar with what body part is being primarily targeted during an exercise and what body parts are being targeted on a secondary basis. If you are feeling the exercise anywhere else or indeed not feeling it at all in the primary target area then it’s usually a good indication that your form may be off. This is something that I constantly ask my clients during a PT session to ensure the correct muscles are being worked.

Performing exercises without proper form and/or without full range of motion is your biggest blocker to success. You must get these right before even thinking about increasing the weight you are lifting.

Reps:

When your Form is perfect (or near perfect) and you can perform the exercise for its full range of motion, you next need to look at your reps. For simplicity lets imagine you are doing 10 reps at the same weight for a set. You must pay attention to your form and rep range for ALL 10 reps. It usually happens something like this:

  • Reps 1-5: Form Good & Range of Motion Good
  • Reps 6-8: Form Ok & Range of Motion slightly less then full
  • Reps 9-10: Form lost & Range of Motion halved

If the above is the case, you need to look at lowering the weight you are training with to ensure that you have correct form and range of motion for the entire set.

However, if you make if from 1-10 perfectly then you must immediately review the weight you are lifting!

Weight:

If your Form is correct and you maintain that Form for the desired Rep range

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