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One Simple Habit To Guarantee Fitness Success

One Simple Habit To Guarantee Fitness Success

One Simple Habit To Guarantee Fitness Success
First, the sad truth: conventional ideas about so-called fitness motivation suck.

You can’t count on “wisdom” that belongs in fortune cookies. Nor can you count on hardass sayings that belong on t-shirts.

Neither will get your butt out of bed and into the gym at 6:00 AM on those cold winter mornings.

The truth is a much simpler and vastly more effective:
Set a training schedule and stick to it.

It’s the best way to lock in consistency with your diet in the training and make better progress. Which brings us to…..

The Day I Met Arnold Schwarzenegger

Well, almost. I didn’t actually meet Arnold Schwarzenegger.

There I was sitting in a cafe in Venice, California with my wife and a friend. And then… there was Arnold. In the flesh! I gasped, did some weird shaking thing with my hands, and lost my shit like a pre-teen girl at a Justin Bieber concert.

But it wasn’t just the fact that I saw Arnold. It’s what he was doing.

He was exercising. Riding a bike, actually. With a full boot on his leg.

Think about that for a second. Yes, it was Arnold Schwarzenegger, arguably the most influential figure in the history of fitness.

But he’s still a 70-year old man crushing exercise after an obvious injury or surgery. For all I know, he could have broken his foot delivering a face kick to the predator and saved us all from impending doom.

But that wasn’t it.

Two fellow trainers in town for the same event also saw Arnold the day before and day after. Guess what he was doing? Training at Gold’s gym.

Arnold had every excuse to not be motivated and skip training. His leg was jacked. He’s probably insanely busy. His joints likely ache and pain from decades of extreme training. But at the end of the day, these are all excuses.

And excuses are the result of relying on motivation; rather than habits, to drive action. All of which leads me to say…

Fuck motivation.

It’s only temporary. You don’t need it. You need habits. And one habit in particular: a regular workout schedule, like my client John.

John’s Story

John is 35 years old and single. John made a lot of money in his business and cashed out. He can do pretty much whatever he wants pretty much whenever he wants. All day, every day.

But John is 70 pounds overweight. He’s frustrated and overwhelmed by information overload and his inability to stay consistently motivated.

He’s sick of feeling embarrassed to take his shirt off on his boat (#firstworldproblems) and hates the way his clothes fit.

Still, when John is motivated to train he’s strong and focused…for about a month at a time. He loses weight, his clothes fit better, and he starts going on dates again.

Then, all hell breaks loose. He relies on motivation and starts training at consistent times. Soon, 3:00 pm becomes 4:00 pm. Then, it’s 4:30 pm..then he cancels.

His diet falls off and he’s back to crushing fast food because it’s convenient. The “lack of motivation” leads him astray to the vaunted negative feedback loop and he adds the same 5-10 pounds back time and time again.

Does John sound familiar?

Chances are, yeah. Either you or someone you know has the same struggle. Motivation crumbles and program hopping sets in. One Dorito leads to the whole bag. Soon, you’re ordering Dominos and falling into the same old trap of…

* frustration
* no results
* wasted cash on over-hyped up supplements, and “lose ten pounds by yesterday” schemes

The Real Answer

So what’s the solution? Sure, giving tough love and saying “suck it up, buttercup” sounds great in theory. But it doesn’t always work in practice. Most times it doesn’t.

So, what is the one thing that really helps people stick to their fitness routine, get stronger and look better naked?

Setting a rigid schedule and sticking to it. With consequences.

And no, I’m not talking about punishment burpees. I’m talking cold hard cash. Read on…

If you’re here, you’re probably in the minority of folks who enjoy exercise. But we both know it’s never enjoyable to do anything you don’t like, whether it’s suffering through another episode of Lost, working a job you hate or eating a bland diet of rubbery chicken and broccoli.

Instead of wondering….

“Will I be motivated to lift after a work and sitting in traffic?”
“Can I really stick to workouts before work?”
“Do I have enough time to exercise today?”

We need discipline to drive action, not motivation.

How To Make It Work

We need to set rigid guidelines to clarify action and purpose in today’s work. Currently, we all have too many choices throughout our day. As pointed out in the Paradox of Choice by Barry Schwartz, our plethora of options isn’t doing us any favors physically or psychologically.

“Autonomy and freedom of choice are critical to our wellbeing, and choice is critical to freedom and autonomy. Nonetheless, though modern Americans have more choice than any group of people ever has before, and thus, presumably, more freedom and autonomy, we don’t seem to be benefiting from it psychologically.”
— The Paradox of Choice, 2004

Basically, we have so many choices we have no idea what to do with ourselves. This leads us to piss our time away on social media and snapchatting “date night” instead of being present.

We focus on tasks that are neither associated with our goals or have any positive impact on our lives.

They’re just empty entertainment at the cost of your goals. With this in mind, I propose an idea have a directive to get you back on track to building your best body.

Plan exercise, so action is no longer a choice.

It’s not an option “when it’s convenient,” because that time will never come. There is no perfect time. It’s time to stop relying on emotion.

Do you want to know who relies on emotion? Dogs.

rockyAnd as much as I love dogs, their emotions dictate they’ll eventually shit on the floor. Or pee on your comforter.

Even the guy at the left.

Your ability to set a schedule and make decisions based on their benefit, rather than your raw emotion separates you as a human from an animal. It also separates who build the high-performance body they want from those who don’t.

The choice is yours. Are you ready to take the next step?

Then set a schedule and stick to it.

Back To John and Arnold

This is what John and I agreed to. No longer would “fun” plans or an unplanned moving knock him off his plan to workout. No, it wasn’t fun to get up at 5:30 AM and be to the gym by 7:00 AM when he could have slept in. But it didn’t matter. It got the job done.

Thinking back to Arnold, there’s no denying he’s blessed with incredible grit and genetics to be in great shape. But he has the determination to set habits and make training a priority in his day.

It’s not a choice. It’s a planned event in his day to improve his health so he can stay jacked enjoy life to the fullest.

There’s no need for motivation if you set habits and get it done.

There is no hoping for time to train if you make the time.

Schedule workouts like any other meeting or event. Organize your life and responsibilities around them.

True emergencies can prevent you from training. Such is life. But you can still make progress by using 1% of your day, a measly 15 minutes, to workout.

It’s okay to dial back your training or trim a workout to a fifteen-minute bodyweight circuit. But it’s not okay to completely stop training for weeks or months on end. When you remove choices, you’re only left with the option to take action and succeed.

My Challenge to You

Set a schedule for working out. I recommend getting up earlier and doing it before the inevitable “panic emails” or emergencies of the day occur. Pick when, where, and how you’re going to train.

Take out $150 in cash in $5 denominations. Grab two envelopes, one labeled “hits,” and the other labeled “misses.” Tell someone you need their help to keep you accountable this month.

Hits: Plan a night out 30 days from now or a purchase that costs $150. Start with all your money in the “hits” envelope.

Misses: Think of a cause or charity you hate. Politics seem to have everyone’s panties in a bunch, so pick a politician you despise.

What to do: Every time you miss a workout, take five bucks from your “hits” envelope and put it into your misses. At the end of the month, send your hard earned cash to your misses.

Why this Works: Loss aversion is the powerful tendency of people to avoid loss. It’s twice as powerful as acquiring gains.

What Will Happen?

If you step up to the plate and own it you’ll lose fat, build strength/ muscle, and achieve any other goal you set your sights on. Plus, you’ll “find” $150 to spend on something you enjoy. Score.

If you swing…and miss? That’s okay. We all fuck up, but you still need to put $5 into the “misses” envelope. Use screw-ups as a reason to get back on track. Pick yourself up and make the next best decision…or fund something you despise.

But if you stay in the dugout and skip workouts? You’ll stay the same…searching for the magic cure and fall into the same vicious cycle of yo-yo dieting and program hopping. Plus you’ll waste $150, which really sucks.

We all have choices. Be like Arnold. Stop treating exercise as an option;. Make it an event.

Your ability to set a schedule and limit decisions preserves your ability to make the right decisions for the goals you really want to achieve.

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Are you ready to step up to the plate?

Then all you need is an expert plan, the accountability to see it through, and the consistency to take action.

But will you?
Further, if you were going to take action…wouldn’t you have done it already? 

All great transformations take the right customized plan and hard work. But working with an expert coach accelerates your progress by giving you elite knowledge, motivation, and the accountability to build your best body.

Those are what’s missing, and I can supply them to help you build your best body. 

I’ve recently opened new spots in my elite online training program and want to personally invite you to join the elite and build your best body. Why me? While it’s “cool” and a stamp on my ego to tell you I’ve helped hundreds of people transform their lives, worked with everyone from busy men and women to elite athletes and published content read by millions on every website from CNN to T-Nation…

 

my real passion is helping busy people like John retake their bodies, build muscle, lost fat, and build a body that looks as well as it performs. 

If you have a spring-break to get ready for, a New Year’s resolution to crush once and for all, or just a strong desire to transform your body, retake your health, and optimize your life then I want to help you.

No one builds their best body alone. I know I haven’t. So let’s do this together. Believe in yourself, put your faith in me, and apply for the program. Spots are competitive, but if you’re a good fit for the program, we’ll get after it and transform your life.

You’ll transform your body.

You’ll get strong AF.

You’ll simplify your training and diet.

You’ll look better naked.

 Let’s do this together.

 

====> Apply Today ⇐===

 

 

The Power Primer: How an Embarrassing Story lead me to focus on Athleticism

hormones

( First, I have a story. Honestly,  it’s not a story I like to tell because it was embarrassing and a difficult time. Still, I’m sure you can relate.

At the end, I’ll tell you about my latest Workout, the Power Primer 2.0. The Power Primer is three full workout programs (36 weeks) of top-notch programming to help you build a body that performs like a top athlete…and looks good naked. But I’ll get to that later.  ) 

As a kid athleticism was never an issue.  I played a ton of sports, ran around the neighborhood making forts and playing pick-up games.

But, I was small and weak. Puny even. Especially compared to my classmates.

As a result, I was timed. I lacked confidence in how I looked, and how I performed playing sports.

This built up until at all once, it came to head.  It was high school gym class in late October. In Wisconsin, the frigid temperatures meant the ground was rock solid. Every time you hit the ground, it felt like falling on a pile of rocks.

We were playing flag Football…where the idea is to pull a flag rather than tackle each other into oblivion. Well, that’s the idea anyways.
Being a smaller, fast dude I was playing safety. My job was to run anyone down who might score.

The other team lined up and through the ball to Jason. Jason was the token overdeveloped, terminator of a dude that dominated every sport. He caught it and sprinted in my direction.
Soon, I was in the last place a puny unconfident dude wanted to be: between Jason and the end zone.

Jason had two options; race past me, or run through me.

Naturally, Jason decided I provided less resistance than a blade of grass. So he lowered his shoulder and sent my helpless corpse tumbling to the turf as he gliding to the end zone.

I looked up at the overcast sky. I heard the jeers. And then I lay there ,motionless for a moment.
Physically, I was a mess.

My wind was gone. I felt like I’d been punched in the gut.

My body ached and throbbed after getting tossed like a lifeless doll across the turf.

And that was just the start.

Mentally, I felt weak, pathetic, and insignificant.

I peeled my carcass off the grass, stumbled to a knee, and caught my breath.
As I stumbled to the sidelines, chin down and arm cradled at my side, the jeers and taunts grew louder.

I walked away from everyone: friends, teachers, and classmates.

I stood there, staring blankly into nowhere. I just wanted to be alone.

The skin on my cheeks tightened and my eyes got big. I held back tears of embarrassment. But my cheeks blushed, illustrating exactly how I felt inside.

Fuck it.  

Why was I even bothering with this stuff?

Then, I snapped out of it. Instead of moping around and feeling sorry for myself, I got pissed.

Pride, passion, perseverance.

I heard the voice of an old coach saying these words. Whenever a game got tough, that was his credo.

That did it. It was a turning point.  Why let some asshole like Jason ruin me?

From there on, I dedicated myself to training.

To getting bigger, stronger, and better. To forge a body and will harder than iron.

Fast forward eight years. Sixty pounds of muscle and a ton of enhanced confidence later, I was a coach.

Sixty pounds of muscle and a ton of enhanced confidence later, I was a coach.

Helping athletes and other dudes get strong, jacked, and athletic was my passion.

And then it happened.

I was at a seminar, working with other trainers and a handful of coaches on sprint technique.

Problem was, I hadn’t done much in the way of sprinting, jumping, or sports in a few years.

Competitive and intramurals sports were over.

Now, I relegated my fitness to lifting heavy shit and the bi-monthly sprint workout.

We all stood in a line, facing the instructor, and began a skipping drill.

I tried my best to mimic the drill he covered, but to no avail. I skipped awkwardly, like a teenager who had just finished his growth spurt. Bewildered by my lack of coordination, I lost focused and stumbled over my own feet.

What in the fuck was I doing?

Rather than the athleticism I’d had my whole life, I looked like a convulsing teenager who had just seen his first FULL BOOB.

The same crushing embarrassment took hold. My skin flushed. This time, I cracked a joke.

It was my new coping mechanism. But I wasn’t really fooling anyone, least of all myself.

Despite a fake smile and a few jokes, my gut wrenched. I stood there, embarrassed and dumbfounded.

Sure, I was strong, lean, and pretty built. But where had all l my athleticism gone?

Further, I asked what’s the point in all this heavy lifting, counting macros, and dedication if we ignore the basic idea of improving athleticism?

That’s the problem I’d set out to fix. First for myself, and then for hundreds of clients who wanted to be the total package: strong, lean, and athletic.
Today, more than ever, many of us are weak. Many kids drop out of sports by age 12.

Overprotective parents don’t help. Neither do sedentary desk jobs.

Neither do sedentary desk jobs.
And despite the increasing popularity of fitness, actual sports and athleticism are quickly going down the shitter.

 

The result?

A fair number of strong and lean bodies, but piss-poor athleticism and power.

To steal from Nate Green’s masterful rant titled “For the Guys who Don’t Workout.

“But you gotta understand the gym doesn’t define me. I am not my broad shoulders. I am not my six-pack. I am not my freakin’ biceps.”

Sure, your broad shoulders, six-pack, and biceps are great. But you deserve more. You deserve a capable body and the unconquerable will that comes with building athleticism and powerful performance.

And that means changing your training to incorporate values of athleticism, namely, explosive power.

After working with hundreds of clients, I’ve found that adding in explosive power to be the best method for getting what we all want: a strong, shredded, and athletic body.

That’s exactly what these five exercises deliver: a blend of strength, athleticism, and explosive power to unleash your inner athlete.

By adding these five movements alone into your training, you’ll be light years more athletic than the average meathead.

5 Power Primer Exercises to Build Athleticism

Jump Rope

Jump ropes aren’t a stupid tool you force-fed in Elementary school. They’re a badass old-school tool that boosts athleticism and shreds bodyfat.

Let’s dive into boosting athleticism first.

Jumping rope develops speed, agility, and coordination for sports. Sprinting is great too ( and I’ll cover it later), but for dudes who haven’t run around the block in five years, jumping into full-speed sprints is asking for injuries.

You wouldn’t jump into near-maximal lifting after a long layoff, would you?

Nah. You’re smarter than that.

The same philosophy applies to sprints. You must first condition your joints and ligaments, especially the Achilles tendon, for high-speed impact.

Even better, the jump rope is a one of the safest conditioning tools for two reasons:

First, jumping rope is a self-limiting exercise, meaning that when your form breaks down the exercise ends.

To be successful skippin’ the ole’ rope, you’re forced to stay in an aligned, joint stacked position, stabilizing your core under the load of movement.

bach performance jump rope, athleticism, power primer, the power primer
This teaches your core to hold position under movement while preventing the chances of overuse.

Second, jumping rope is low-impact despite a high number of foot strikes. This keeps the joint stress low and conditions the Achilles tendon for explosive movement. Achilles tendon injuries are alarmingly common in weekend warriors.

The jump rope provides one of the best prevention tools around. It is exceptionally effective both as a low impact athleticism and conditioning tool. For most, jumping rope two or three times per week for 10-15 minutes provides a huge boost.

Squat Jump

The squat jump is one of the best exercises to improve your power and get more athletic, especially if your gym doesn’t allow Olympic lifts. Squat jumps mimic the squat and a vertical jump, bridging the gap between jumping in sport and squatting in the gym.

In the short term, these explosive exercises improve your workouts by activating high-threshold motor units to fire and recruit more muscle during training. This means you’ll be able to lift more weight and stimulate more muscle growth and strength during workouts. 

 

In the long-term, you’ll recruit more muscle fibers with less effort.

This makes it easier to call all more muscle to action and smash heavy weights, thus helping you build a strong, lean, and explosive body.

How to do it: There are three phases: loading, exploding, and landing.

Loading: Set up with feet about shoulder-width apart in an athletic stance with arms up at chest height. The loading phase uses downward arm swing with flexing at the hips and knees to load your legs.

Exploding: Swing your arms up while extending your hips and knees, taking off on the balls of your feet. Extend the arms overhead and aim to extend the body with the ankle, knee, hip, trunk, shoulder, and ear all aligned.

Landing: Bend your knees into a squat position and absorb force evenly through the foot. Keep your chest and head up, looking straight ahead.

How many: Three sets of five reps with 60-90 seconds rest. Perform on a lower-body training day, before a squat or deadlift.

Hill Sprints

Sprinters have some of the world’s best bodies. And while correlation does not equal causation, sprinting is a basic skill in sports and gets you shredded.

So what’s the key?

Sprints create a physiological response like high-intensity weight lifting.
In sprinting, your glutes, hamstrings, quads, calves, and hips generate insane amounts of force while your spine stabilizes and transfers power.
This builds stronger legs and youthful athleticism while triggering a massive hormonal shift in your body.

 

Three hormones that help you look better naked are affected by sprints:

Testosterone – The major masculinizing hormone in your body. Greater testosterone levels improve your energy, improve sex drive (wee!), build stacks of lean mass, and cut body fat.

Growth Hormone (GH) – GH is released in response to large muscle contractions and is further stimulated by training without full recovery.

Triggered by metabolic stress, the stressful environment when you’re gasping for air and muscles are on fire, GH is referred to as the fountain of youth. GH slows the aging process, aid in fatty acid metabolism, and boost protein synthesis.

Improved Insulin Sensitivity – Huge muscular contractions stimulate improved insulin sensitivity, which improves markers of cardiovascular health, builds lean muscle, and carves body fat off your body.

Further, improved insulin sensitivity improves nutrient partitioning. That means your body improves at breaking down nutrients for energy and muscular recovery rather than fat storage.

What to Do: Hill or incline sprints are best as they reduce injury risk. The hill makes it mechanically impossible to over stride, decreasing the risk of the dreaded hamstring pull.

Further, running up a hill shrinks the distance your foot covers to the ground, decreasing joint stress.Sprint twice per week, as an individual workout or after a lift.
After a warm-up, sprint all out for eight – twelve rounds of sprints.

Here’s a sample six-week progression:

Weeks One and Two: Sprint 15 seconds, rest 45 seconds
Weeks Three and Four: Sprint 20 seconds, rest 40 seconds
Weeks Five and Six: Sprint 25 seconds, rest 35 seconds

High Pull

I love cleans, but for a lot of lifters, years of heavy loading and poor thoracic mobility make it impossible to catch the bar with the elbows up. Enter the high pull.

The high pull uses explosive hip extension, teaching the glutes, quads, and hamstrings to generate insane amounts of force while your core stabilizes your spine and elbows drive the bar up.

As a result, the high pull helps you develop explosive athletic power and builds a jacked and athletic body. After a few weeks of high pulls, you’ll notice thicker glutes and hamstrings to pair with thick traps and cables for forearms.

High pulls are great on both upper and lower body days. Since they’re explosive in nature, make high-pulls the first exercise you do in training to get more athletic with sets and reps like 3-4 sets of 3-6 reps.If you want to add a bit more size, add them after your main lift for 4-5 sets of 6-8 reps.

Clean Grip Reverse Lunge

Most lifters have tight hips, achy knees, a weak upper back, underactive abs and tons of asymmetries between their legs. If I told you I had an exercise that takes care of all these ailments and makes you more athletic and resistance to injury, you’d say I was full of shit, right?

Well, I’m not. The clean grip reverse lunge is that exercise.

Reverse-Lunge-Side

Stronger thoracic extensors: Are you hunched over your smartphone reading this?

Tsk, Tsk!

Bad posture is an epidemic and we’re all guilty. To improve posture and shoulder health we need to train the traps, serratus, levator scapulae, rhomboids, and lats to hold position and prevent you from flexing forward. Holding the bar in the clean grip does exactly that.

 

Less Knee Stress: Holding the barbell on the front of your body limits the weight you can use. That means less joint compression on the knee and spine.
Further, stepping backward keepings your shin vertical, limiting shear stress on the knee. By reducing shear and compressive stress, you’ll keep happier, healthier knees.

Better Abs: Holding the bar on the front of your body forces your entire core to engage, keeping your vertical so you don’t fold like an accordion.

Fix asymmetries: The clean grip reverse lunge requires dynamic stabilization and single leg strength. This works the major muscles in your leg and what’s termed the lateral subsystem, a group of neglected muscles (quadratus lumborum, adductors, and glutes) to stabilize each leg and generate strength.

Medicine Ball back Toss

The medicine ball back toss is one of the best exercises to get more athletic for two reasons:
1. You get to throw stuff.
After a long day, or just for the hell of it, it’s fun to throw heavy stuff around.
2. Explosive Hip Extension.
Explosive hip extension is the driving force behind taking off in a sprint, maximizing your clean, squat, or deadlift, and jumping. Adding a medicine ball is just another way to add explosiveness to the same movement pattern while having a bit more fun.

Instead of squats or deadlifts, add medicine ball back tosses in the beginning of your workout for 3-4 sets of 5-8 reps.

The Power Primer 2.0 is here!

Most lifters fall into the trap of endlessly pursuing one goal at the expense of all other training parameters.

That’s fine for elite athletes. But for the rest of us, we’re after the total package.

There’s no better tool to bridge the gap between the body you want and the athleticism you deserve than my latest program The Power Primer, 2.0.

I’ve created eight months worth of programming to get you Strong, Shredded, and Athletic. This isn’t a program for athletes.

It’s for those of us that refuse to accept pathetic athleticism a the cost of building your best-looking body.

It’s time to bridge the gap between athleticism and aesthetics.

It’s time to unleash the Power Primer and build your leanest, strongest, and most athletic body to date.

For less than you spend on protein powder each month, you’ll have all your workouts expertly planned, organized, and guided by a custom video guide from now until 2017.

Get the Power Primer Today

Athlete Strong in 12 Weeks, Power Primer


1. Gould D, Petlichkoff L. Participation motivation and attrition in young athletes. In: Smoll FL, Magill RA, Ash MJ, eds. Children in Sport. 3rd ed. Champaign IL: Human Kinetics; 1988:161-178.

Four Training Splits to Build an Athletic Body

The Power Primer

We’ve both been there: Every rep feels explosive as if you’ve unlocked another gear. You’re adding weight to the bar and getting stronger damn near every workout.

Basically, you feel like Superman. Your skin is tighter, your shirts fit better, and you hold your head high at the beach because frankly, you look fucking awesome. 

Then, as quickly as your gains started, the floor falls out from underneath you.

You’re lethargic in the gym, and exhausted most of the day. Your knees ache, shoulder cracks, and back is sore.

And your motivation? Non-existent. Even after taking enough pre-workout to fail a drug test you’re dragging. Each rep is a grind and the gym feels like a waste of time. 

Yep, You’ve hit the wall. 

When your training takes a sharp dive off the deep end and your progress stalls it’s time to change.

Not just your grip, your stance, or another micro progression. Nor a change from front squats to back squats.

No, I’m talking a monumental shift.

A new training split.

Yes, your long-term training principles should remain constant, but you need new methods.

As long as you’re adding weight to the bar, moving like an athlete, eating well, and sleeping enough then a new training split is what you need to build transform your body and get a strong, jacked, and athletic body.

The Power Primer, athletic body

That said, let’s review the best splits to help you build a stronger, shredded, and athletic body.  I’ll explain the good and the bad of each, giving you the knowledge to pick your next training split so you can build the lean, athletic look you’re after.

Either way, a new program is exciting—renewed motivation will have you attacking each workout and getting in the best shape of your life. 

P.S. Want to get strong, jacked, and athletic? I’ll show you how in our FREE course Seven Days to Superhuman. 

Click here to Join the FREE Course.

Upper Lower Training Split

Upper-lower training splits are an excellent training split to help you build strength and muscle with four workouts per week.

Pros: Upper-Lower training splits are a great progression from total body training and work well if you want to gain muscle and strength.

Upper-Lower splits allow greater training frequency for quicker learning and mastering your lifts while still lifting heavy to build strength. Together, this helps you get better at your big lifts, train with enough volume to build muscle, and lift heavy enough to get strong. 

Cons: Upper body workouts can take much longer than lower body workouts. Sure, this is great for your biceps, but if you crave consistency and have troubles working out when life get’s crazy, the inconsistency between workout times might drive you crazy.


Plus, if you’ve been following bodybuilding style body part splits (chest on Monday, back on Tuesday etc), then you might notice you’re not recovering as quickly. Of course, you can fix this by spending time with recovery methods like foam rolling, getting 7-8 hours per sleep, and when all else fails, eating more steak

Here’s a sample outline:

Monday: Upper Body (Push Strength Emphasis)

Tuesday: Lower Body (Squat Pattern Strength Emphasis)

Wednesday: Off/active recovery

Thursday: Upper Body (Pull Strength Emphasis)

Friday: Lower Body (Hinge pattern strength Focus)

Saturday/Sunday: Off

Total Body Training Split
When you train your upper and lower body in the same workout, you’re doing a total body workout. Another way to think of it is rather than training each muscle individually, you’re training your body as an integrated machine.

Pros: If you only have three days to workout per week or have issues skipping workouts, then look no further. Since you’re training your entire body you’ll minimize the fluff. There’s no need for 13 variations of lateral raises when your training pressing, pulling, squatting, lunging, and deadlifting movements multiple times per week.  

Since you’re training muscles as much as 2-3 times per week, you’ll trigger more frequent protein synthesis in your muscles being trained, potentially helping you build muscle faster.


And if you’re looking to drop a few pounds?


Total body workouts can cause a massive disruption to your body as it tries to catch up with multiple muscle groups working in a short period of time to help you lose fat.

Cons: One of the downsides of total body workouts is you may get bored, especially if you crave variety and the novelty of a well-timed biceps pump. Plus, if you’re looking to maximize muscular size, then the low volume of workouts will limit some of your gains. A key component of muscle growth is metabolic stress, so unless you add a high-rep finisher like biceps curls to failure, you won’t get as big as a house with total body training.

Moreover, stronger and more experienced lifters struggle recovering from three hard leg training workouts per week. You’ll need to vary how often you go heavy, possibly adopting an undulated periodization model.

Still, among all training splits total body workouts are your best bet if you tend to program hop, skip workouts, and get “too busy” to train….especially if you’re skipping leg day. 

Example:

Day One:

1.Power Clean 5×3

2.Bench Press 3×6

3.Lunge 3×8-12

4a.Farmer Walks 3×30 seconds

4b. Dips 3x 30 seconds timed set

Day Two:

1.Push Press 5×3

2.Deadlift 4×6

3.Chin Up 3×8-12

4a.Plank 3×30 seconds

4b. Biceps Curl 3x 30 seconds timed set

P.S. Want a FREE Six Week Strength Building Workout?

                           Download the Sheer Strength Workout Here

 

Push-Pull Training Split

If you’re like most people, you have a tendency to train what you see in the mirror while conveniently forgetting about the back side of your body.

Tsk. Tsk.

As much as we all like to push it like Salt-N-Pepa, building a strong, athletic, and shredded body requires more balance. 

Enter the push/pull training split, arguably the most balanced training split for total body strength, size, and athleticism.

On “pull” days, you’ll hammer the backside of your body, hitting muscles like your lats, traps, glutes, and hamstrings.


On push-days, you’ll hit the movements to train your chest, shoulders, triceps, quads, and abs.

You can work the entire front side of your body or the back side of your body all in one workout. Alternatively, you can break these days down further by breaking these workouts into upper body and lower body days each.

For example…

-Upper Body Push (chest, triceps, shoulders)
-Upper Body Pull (Lats, biceps, rear delts, traps)
-Lower Body Push (squats, leg extensions, lunges)
-Lower Body Pull (deadlifts, good mornings, hip thrusts)

Pros: Push-Pull routines are a great option for experienced lifters as they’re both efficient and flexible. You’ll be able to train with enough volume to trigger muscle growth without living in the gym. 

Cons: There are very few issues with these workouts. The biggest hiccup will come if you miss workouts and start skipping “pull” or “lower body” workouts. Push-pull workouts are okay, but not great for beginners in the gym.

Example:

Day One: Pull (legs/hamstrings, back, biceps, lower back)

Day Two: Push (chest, shoulders, triceps, legs/quads, abs)

Day Three: OFF

Day Four: Pull (legs/hamstrings, back, biceps, lower back)

Day Five: Push (chest, shoulders, triceps, legs/quads, abs)

Day Six: OFF

Day Seven: OFF

Intensive/Extensive Training Split

Giggity.

These are my favorite.

The intensive/extensive split bases training splits on the neural demands of a workout.

For example, a heavy/explosive day is often followed by a metabolic/higher volume bodybuilding style day.

This also corresponds with conditioning.

For example, a workout with squat jumps followed by heavy squats, and sprints workout is intensive, as it is very demanding on your nervous system and joints. If you pair too many neurally intensive workouts in a row, you’ll end up beat up, beaten down, and over training.

Hard pass, right?


Instead, it’s best to follow an intensive training split with an extensive workout. An example here would be doing an upper body workout focused on higher reps sets of 10-15 reps, shorter rest, and lighter weight. You lift as heavy, but you’ll  create tons of metabolic stress to build muscle, lose fat, and improve your endurance. 

Pros: Intensive/Extensive training splits are lifting strategy ideal for people looking to get stronger, more muscular, and more athletic at the same time.
If you want to train like an athlete, it’s easy to add high technical sprint work on the intensive days.
If you want to build muscle, you’ll train heavy enough to trigger increases in anabolic hormones and the tension needed to build muscle. Still, extensive days allow you to train light enough to get an incredible pump.

And for fat loss? 
They work here too. The variety of training stimulus isn’t too much to recover from, yet it’s enough to help you lose fat.

Cons: They’re difficult to program. If your primary goal is to look hot naked (hey, I can’t blame you), you’ll want to eliminate some of the intensive work and focus on some more higher rep work. If your goals are performance based, the opposite is true.
If you train too many factors too close together, you risk the chance of becoming the “jack of all trades and the master of none,” wallowing in mediocrity and not really getting good at any one thing.
Plus, intensive workouts are longer as you’ll need to pay more attention to your rest if you want to maximize performance.

Sample Workout

This is focused on keeping you athletic, but a bit more on body composition so you look hot.

Monday: Olympic lift+ compound push exercises, Heavy and explosive. Light conditioning.

Tuesday: Pull Emphasis, high rep (8-15+) and hypertrophy focused. Hard conditioning.

Wednesday: Off

Thursday: Olympic lift+ compound pull exercises. Heavy and explosive, light conditioning.

Friday: Pull Emphasis, high rep (8-15+) and hypertrophy focused.

Saturday/Sunday: Hard conditioning 1x, active recovery

 So, which workout is best for you?

Your training must be specific to your goal. 

If your goal is to look great naked above all else, then by all means trade in your power cleans for biceps curls. 

On the flip side, if you need to build muscle from head to toe and get stronger, don’t start your workouts by curling in the squat rack. 

How much time will you dedicate to training?

Regardless of how “busy” you are you still have 24 hours like the rest of us. I don’t say this to be a dick, but it’s true.
You have the time to prioritize training if you want your dream body. Regardless, weigh how committed you are and pick a training split you know you’ll do consistently.

How experienced are you in the gym?

For most guys, they’re best off crushing total body or upper lower training splits to get strong, explosive and athletic. Still, make sure you’re varying training as you gain strength and experience to prevent plateaus and minimize joint stress.

Do you focus on recovery…or only training?

The body is an integrated system. Rather than looking at recovery based on how your muscles feel you must take into account everyday stress, the nervous system, sleep quality, and nutrition.

For example, for a few years I crushed training in a high-end performance facility. That meant tons of sprints, jumps, throws, coffee, and explosive demonstrations. All these short, high-intensity bouts added up quickly as my energy fluctuated. I had to dial back heavy lifting, sprints, and jumps.
Now that I train fewer clients, write more, and demo less, I’m more recovered and can train harder more often.

Stress is systemic, everything counts and should be factored into your training.

Your Training Split to Build an Athletic Body

If your current training isn’t helping your build an athletic body, then you need to make a change. 

Don’t fall into the trap of endlessly pursuing one goal at the expense of all others

That’s fine for elite athletes.

But for the rest of us, we’re after the total package.

You probably want to be…

Strong in the gym, yet athletic enough to kick ass on the weekends.

 Strong, lean, and athletic. 

Happy and confident with your shirt off. 

There’s no better tool to bridge the gap between the body you want and the athleticism you deserve than my latest program The Power Primer, 2.0.

 I’ve created a Full Eight Months worth of programming to get you Strong, Shredded, and Athletic.

This isn’t a program for athletes.

It’s for those of us that refuse to accept pathetic athleticism a the cost of building your best-looking body.

It’s time to bridge the gap between looking your best and performing like an athlete. 

It’s time for the Power Primer. And it can be yours for less than $.17 (yes, 17 cents) per workout. 

 

thePowerprimer athlete strong

>> Get The Power Primer here <<

For less than you spend on protein powder each month, you’ll have all your workouts expertly planned, organized, and guided by a custom video guide from now until the Spring of 2018. 

 

1. Gould D, Petlichkoff L. Participation motivation and attrition in young athletes. In: Smoll FL, Magill RA, Ash MJ, eds. Children in Sport. 3rd ed. Champaign IL: Human Kinetics; 1988:161-178.

Fitness Guide to Parkinson’s Law: How to Lose Fat Faster

Flashback to 2014.

My days all started the same: Up at 4:00 a.m., a cup of black coffee, and heading to the gym.

Then, in a caffeine infused blitzkrieg, the day was on. Clients from 5 am to 6 or 7 pm, with a few one-hour breaks.

These one-hour breaks were a godsend. Besides getting off my feet, they were long enough to do meaningful work but short enough to create a sense of urgency.

Bach Performance was a baby at the time, a spot for me to explore my brain and write about fitness to help my clients, friends, and family. But, despite a lack of time, I made big moves.

Fast forward to today: Bach Performance is my full-time job. Rather than five or six days and 50 clients, I hold a limited clientele with three to four days and 25-30 sessions per week.

My schedule is self-determined, and more or less, I do what I want every day.

But that also leaves me more time than I’m used too. There are no extraneous demands on my time, so common sense would say I would get exponentially more work done, right?

Nope.

coffee

Logically that makes sense, but we live in an illogical world.

If everything worked as it seemed, we’d lose stubborn belly fat on the Twinkie diet….as long as calories were in check. By following progressive overload and adding 5 lbs on the bench press, we’d go from a Zero pound bench to 520 lb bench in two years.

That isn’t always the case.

Until six months ago, I had all the time in the world. I didn’t have as many client deadlines and let time slip through my fingers.

Instead of spending my time writing programs, I was geeking out to BroScience videos.

Or reading every Packers’ article on Bleacher report.

Or, #ing my face off on Instagram.

Then, the question hit me like a cold slap in the face: Why wasn’t I hitting my goals?

It wasn’t having too much time, it was a lack of urgency with the limited time I did have.

I’d fallen prey to Parkinsons Law. Coined by famous Brit Cyril Northcote Parkinson, Parkinson’s Law sits at the forefront of productivity hacking and is the focus on Parkinson’s book, Parkinsons Law: The Pursuit of Progress(1).

P.S. Get your free eBook 25 Expert Tips to Master Muscle Growth here. Offer expires 10/31/16.

Parkinson’s Law: ‘Work expands to fill the time available for its completion.”

Parkinson’s law means that if you give yourself six weeks to tackle a project that you can handle in one week, procrastination seeps in, the task get’s complex, and you’ll freak out until it’s done.

The same meaningless, productivity-zapping stress happens with fitness.

In particular, fat loss around the New Year.

Tell me if these proclamations sound familiar:

This year, I’m going to lose 20 pounds and look awesome in my swimsuit.

Reality: You can do this in two or three months.

This year, I’m going to workout consistently.

Reality: This year is a long time. Focus on working out consistently this week, then each of the following.

By assigning the right amount of time and focus to a goal, you’ll decrease stress and the complexity of said goal, increasing your chance of success.

I’ve seen Parkinson’s law crush the fitness goals of hundreds of people, all under the pretense that there’s always tomorrow.

There’s not. We’re guaranteed nothing and time in a finite resource.

It’s time to have a sense of urgency, working smarter and faster, rather than longer and harder. Here are the action steps you need to accomplish your fitness goals in less time.

P.S. Get your free eBook 25 Expert Tips to Master Muscle Growth here. Offer expires 10/31/16.

Set Tight Deadlines

Deadline set by teachers, clients, or bosses have an immediate sense of urgency. Still, it’s a new ballgame when deadlines are self-imposed. We struggle to attach the same focus and intensity on self-imposed deadlines.

This is what cripples most people from the start—they aren’t aggressive enough on their gameplan.

Try This: Designate time to your goal:

Three months to lose 10 lbs. of body fat.

Then cut it in half.

Six weeks to lose 10 lbs. of body fat.

“Goals are often something to aim for, rather than always achieve.” Bruce Lee

An aggressive deadline forces aggressive action, which this is precisely what you need. Channel your competitive streak and apply it to fitness.

believe, lose Fat Faster

If you’re a gamer, pretend you’re on a time sensitive mission.

If you’re an athlete, pretend it’s six weeks until the season starts, and your roster spot and workout bonus (there’s a reason for these) depend on it.

By attaching a sense of urgency and competition to your goal you’re setting the table for high-quality action and rapid progress.

Define your M.I.T.’s for the Following Day:

Pick the 1-3 Most important tasks (M.I.T.’s) you will complete towards your goal.

You have six weeks to lose 10 lbs, so we’ll start there.

Number One: Track your food and hit your macros (Mike Vacanti has an epic post here). Diet is king for fat loss, after all.

Number Two: Perform your Fat Loss workout, such as Blended Training for Fat Loss.

Number Three: Walk 10,000 steps.

Of these three steps, hitting your diet is the most important task for losing ten pounds, followed by your workout and extra activity.

Base hits lead to runs the same as homers do, and over time, many more runs. Focus on consistent wins on MIT’s and you’ll achieve your longer-term fat loss goals.

Own the A.M.: Be proactive, not REACTIVE.

Willpower is highest in the morning and the best time to take care of your M.I.T.’s.

This is the time to be proactive and take massive action towards your goals, rather than react to the demands of others.

Personally, my writing is 200% better at 5:00 A.M. than 5:00 P.M., when I’ve answered emails and had meetings. Later in the day, I’m much more concerned with what I’m going to eat for dinner and Snapping pictures of Rocky on SnapChat (bachreric, btw ;).

Yes. This is a real unicorn mask.
Yes. This is a real unicorn mask.

If I don’t own the morning, my days aren’t productive.

In Fitness, the same principles apply. My 5:00-8:00 am clients have historically been my most consistent clients by a mile, and it’s due to more than caffeine.

They’re proactively working out before the chaos of the day gives them a reason to skip.

The same applies to your diet.

If you wait until the end of the day to track your macros, you’ll skip it or way overshoot your numbers.

I can’t stress this enough, but for 90% of people getting up and nailing your workout early is a game changer.

There’s a reason Mike Vacanti trains Gary Vaynerchuck at 6:00 A.M., or that Phil Knight crushes his workouts at 5:00 A.M., and Richard Branson all workout early in the day (3).

As the day goes on more important work crisis come up and give you an easy (albeit lame) excuse to skip your training.

Eliminate the issue and start training early in the morning. These tips here will help.

Eliminate Distractions

“It’s hip to focus on getting things done, but this can only happen when we remove static and distraction. “ – Tim Ferriss

In today’s fast-paced world, having internal focus is a rarity.

It’s sad, but true.

Rather than falling prey to internal A.D.D., take action and eliminate the noise.

To get anything meaningful accomplished discipline alone won’t cut it. Instead, take action to end distractions. To get work done, use websites like Self-Control and throw your phone in another room.

When you’re working out, leave your iPhone in your bag pick up a don’t skip more than two songs and leave your phone in your gym bag.

For fitness information, pick out two websites and eliminate the rest. Program hopping and yo-yo dieting are huge reason people never see results. Don’t even risk falling in love with the next big fad diet.

Most programs from good coaches work well, follow them to their completion and eliminate distractions.

We’re an ADD-ridden bunch and we’ll get lost for hours on LOLCatz if allowed. Eliminate distractions and focus on the essential.

P.S. Get your free eBook 25 Expert Tips to Master Muscle Growth here. Offer expires 10/31/16.

Attach a Reward

All goals are reward driven.

There’s an emotional key behind every goal whether it’s more confidence, better health, finding love or being more attractive.

There are also external rewards. As psychologist B.F. Skinner puts it, positive reinforcement strengths a behavior by providing a reward for completing a task.

In school, this could have been a pizza party for turning all your homework in on time.

SCORE.

pizza, lose Fat Faster, Parkinsons law

Or, getting A and a star sticker on each assignment.

“The way positive reinforcement is carried out is more important than the amount.“ BF Skinner

As external rewards apply to fitness, I won’t advocate pizza for reach workout, but you can attach external rewards.

Small rewards like a compliment from a coworker or social reinforcement on Facebook are important.

Bigger rewards, like winning cash in a transformation content, buying new clothes at the end of a diet, or going to the beach for a long weekend and kickin’ back a few cocktails in your new bikini, are also important.

Whatever your goal, understand what emotionally drives your decision. Then, apply extrinsic rewards that reinforce and motivate you to take massive action. With an aggressive timeline, social support and rewards push you to achieve more in less time.

Take Action and Lose Fat Faster

Parkinson’s law is more than a productivity theory for entrepreneurs, it’s a thought process that forces you to take positive action in all areas of life.

Set a tight deadline, focus on the essential, take action, and set-up rewards to make it happen.

P.S.

Are you struggling to set lose fat and build your best body?

Sick of spinning your wheel and not seeing results despite your hard work?

Join Bach Performance Elite Online Training for the expert coaching, accountability, and motivation to build your best body. Only two spots left this month, apply here: Elite Online Coaching 

 

 

Links and Helpful Resources:

  1. Parkinsons Law: Read the Full book here.
  1. Bruce Lee: My daily reading is Striking Thoughts. Be like water my friends.
  2. Seriously, check out this list of Successful people who workout early.
  3. Tim Ferriss: Four Hour WorkWeek
  1. We all need a basic understanding of Human Psychology. This article and this book are good places to start

 

The Fitness Myth That Kills Progress

There is a fitness perpetuated by the fitness industry.

No one is innocent.

Not me, you, expert coaches, powerlifters, athletes, CrossFitters, or the swole bro’s at your gym.

It leads to information overload and the frustration of pulling your hair out and worrying that you’re doing it all wrong. It leads you to ditch your diet for the next cure-all diet plan, the next perfect workout, and another 6-week empty promise.

You’re constantly bombarded with information, leading to yo-yo diets, overuse injuries, and ineffective training.
You know the feeling. When you’re sitting with your coffee, digging into your reading list.

Your hands jitter, your mind races like a meth-laden hamster stuck on his wheel. More often than not, you’re …do I have it all wrong? 

Am I not doing enough?

I read squats are good, let’s do 10×10 instead of 3×8.

Sprints too, how about hill sprints after squats? We fall into a trap that if “some” workout is good, then doubling its intensity or volume is even better.

Which all leads me to the title of this post: The Biggest Fitness Myth Killing your progress.

If a little is good, then more is better.

Applied outside of fitness justifying the “for more is better” idea seems ludicrous, but logic is perpetually ignored when it comes to training.

If two beers gives you a buzz then let’s drink six and a do Power Hour!

If you need you need to get from home to work and back, a Honda will do, but why not a Porsche? Who cares if the lease is as more than your rent #yolo.

Neither of these (well, maybe beer) sounds like a good idea.

So why do we ignore common sense when it comes to training?

Now, we have power clean timed trials and box jump competitions and ultra-complex hybrid programs like Carb-cycling complex training cross-pollinated with German volume training.

Yep, it’s really shitty.

Quality has gone out the window, overtaken by the endless chase for excess under the false premise that more is better.

Quality Over Quantity: The Key to Crushing the Biggest Fitness Myth

Training is a double-edged sword. One part is stress to produce a training stimulus, while the other half is recovery. But hard training rarely, if ever is the missing component. Quality training and recovery are.

The harder you train, the more you must recover. Conversely, when you train hard without an adequate focus on recovery, you’re taking one step forward and two steps back.

Obviously, you want to make gains as fast as possible. That’s why I’m going to cover the sexy process of training and adaptation, giving you the strategies to keep your training fun, effective, and maximize your time in the gym.

P.S. Are you looking to simplify fitness and lose fat faster? I’ve put together a FREE course to help you lose fat and look better naked.  just click here. 

How to Make Progress in the Gym

Making progress requires the stimulus from training and adequate recovery to make you stronger, leaner, and hotter.

Side note: How fucking awesome is this picture?

gains2

Without recovery, there won’t be progress!

GAS: General Adaptation Syndrome

Back in the day, a smart dude named Hans Selye described whats known as the General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS). The body responds to a state of responses, such as workout. It also responds to adaptations, a collection of focused workouts. All this happens after exposure to a stressor, the training itself.

This is where it gets real. Your body goes through three stages from training and recovery:
* There isn’t enough stress to stimulate change (under training)
* The perfect amount of stress and recovery, contributing to the holy unveiling of gains (perfect)
* and the last one, too much stress with insufficient recovery. This leads to…death, (overtraining.)

Per the examples above, it’s best to shoot for the middle– optimal training and recovery. So the real secret is training and recovering enough to stimulate, but not annihilate your body.

The keys? Consistency and micro-progressions.

Consistency Over Time Gets you Massive Gains

Saying consistency is key is not as sexy as saying: “100x sit-ups/day gives you those sexy v-lines on your tummy that look really good on spring break, ” but ask yourself:

What are your goals?

What are your actions, or what are you currently doing to make big things happen?

Now, do your actions match your goals?

Match your actions to your goals.

Now, keep doing them for weeks, months, and years. Applied to your training, these simple tips will these simple tips will get you leaner, stronger, more muscular, or more athletic. Whatever your goal is, crush it consistently.

Stick with a Body Composition Goal for at Least Twelve Weeks

One of the questions I ask my coaching applicants is, “If we were to meet in twelve weeks, how would you want your body to change? ”

Ask yourself the same question right now, and write it down.

This creates the picture of where you want to go and pushes you to focus on one clear goal: losing fat, building muscle, building strength, or improving athleticism. Now, that doesn’t mean they can’t make progress in all these areas. But having a singular focus sets you up for success.

Even more, all goals take time to see what works. Your diet needs 1-2 weeks and training 3-4 week before you can really see how your body is starting to change.

Making changes before that is a mistake. Once you’ve given your body time, then make small changes to push results.

P.S. Are you looking to simplify fitness and lose fat faster? I’ve put together a FREE course to help you lose fat and look better naked.  just click here. 

For fat loss, this could be finding the right caloric deficit to trigger fat loss and get the scale moving.

For building muscle, it could be finding you need 500 more calories, not 200 more calories to make the scale budge and actually pack some meat onto those toothpicks hanging from your shoulders.

Without a singular focus, it’s impossible to make serious progress in any direction. In essence, you go one mile wide, and one inch deep.

Spend time to find what’s working, then go all out for twelve weeks in one direction.

Stick With a Program for 4-6 Weeks, Minimum

Per my last point, keep a body composition goal like losing body fat or building muscle for at least twelve weeks before switching gears. Within that time frame you have options and can change programs, but keep each for 4-6 weeks as long as they’re still focused on the primary body composition goal.

To quote Dan John, “Everything works for six weeks.”

31852344_m

Four to six weeks gives you the stimulus you need to train and adapt, yet a view of the end to keep you motivated and entertained with your programming.

Further, the effectiveness of many programs takes one or two weeks after its completion to become apparent. Without completing a program, you never give your body a chance to super-compensate and make progress.

On a side note, everything I mentioned here applies to a diet, whether it’s IIFYM, intermittent fasting, or six meals per day. You must give your body time to adapt and results to take hold.

Micro-Progressions

It’s best to stay consistent with your lifts and rep schemes for the duration of a program. Program hopping has kept tens of millions of people smaller, weaker, and fatter. Conversely, a few basic programs have made millions stronger, leaner, and bigger by doing less, but better.

Within a program, keep the changes small. The right amount of change prevents boredom to keep you motivated while too much blurs your goal and prevents adaptation. Here are the best micro-progressions.

Change Stance or Grip Every Few Weeks

The more advanced the lifter, the more variation they can handle and in some cases, need. But I’m not referring to completely changing exercises and technique like moving from a back squat to front squat.

Instead, make small changes with an exercise.

Move from your bench press grip in two inches.

Narrow up your squat stance.

Externally rotate your toes slightly on a conventional deadlift.

A slight change is enough to change muscle recruitment patterns to break a plateau without completely changing your program.

P.S. Are you looking to simplify fitness and lose fat faster? I’ve put together a FREE course to help you lose fat and look better naked.  just click here. 

Cover Diet Basics First

Eat one “fist” size servings vegetables with every meal.

Drink half your body weight in oz of water.

Eat 1 g of protein, or 1 “fist” size serving with every meal.

Until you’re doing those three things, you don’t need supplements. On the note of supplements…

Add One New Supplement at a Time

Most of my fellow trainers will nod their heads in agreement when I say: we get more questions on supplements than all other fitness related topics combined.

Like making changes in training or a diet, the best way to tell if something is working is only change one factor at a time.

Say you read an article recommending you take Athletic Greens, Creatine, Whey protein, and fish oil as supplements to improve performance and health.

brotein

Rather than taking them all right away, do it this way:

Day 1-7: Start with a Greens Supplement

Note any changes: More energy, clearer skin, better digestion?

Day 8-14: Add in Whey Protein

Note any changes: Less muscle soreness, improved performance?

Day 15-30: Add Creatine

Note any changes: Improved strength and power, Increased bodyweight, Improved cognitive function?

Day 30-40: Add Fish Oil

Note any changes: Less joint pain, better cognitive function?

Even seven days isn’t a long time to adjust to a new supplement, especially with supplements predicated on health like Greens or Fish oil. But, If you don’t test each product individually you’ll never know how you react.

If you don’t know how you react, then you’re throwing money away, or attributing success to something that just doesn’t work for you.

Pick “One” Free Training Day Every Two Weeks

Once every two weeks on a Saturday, train completely free from your program.

This isn’t the time to go find a 1-rep max; rather, time to play around with a new technique, 6 bicep curl variations you’ve been craving or work on exercises that are “fun.” Rake an hour and do curls, lateral raises, and calf raises if it makes you happy.

Hell, go spar and join a fight club, just enjoy yourself.

nutrition myth

The best bodies are built by those who work in the direction of their goals. And at the same time, find joy in working towards achieving your six-pack, new deadlift P.R., or adding ten pounds of sweet, sweet gains.

It’s rare to find someone consistently doing things they hate, so give yourself a break and have fun training. You’ll build a wave of momentum that keeps you working hard and consistent.

Overcoming the Biggest Fitness Myth

If a little is good, then more must be better.

Bullshit.

Higher quality work and intelligent training and nutrition to support your goals is better.

Consistently crushing workouts that support your goals is better. Then, make micro-progressions to stay motivated, keep training fun, and build a bad-ass body.

A final note. I have a gift for you, our FREE physique hacking Cheat Sheet. 

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Four Tips to Build an Athletic Body

[A variation of this article was published as a guest post on NickTumminello.com]

Building an athletic body isn’t just for competitive athletes. It’s for everyone. Or it should be.

Why not be able to  run, throw, jump, cut, and play a recreational sport at the drop of a hat? Unfortunately, this isn’t as common as it should be.

Much more common is this:
*  29-year-old Bryce pops his hamstring playing beer-league softball.
* Or 31 year-old Laurie sprains an ankle chasing her daughter.

Let’s soar up to 30,000 feet for a moment to consider the big issue:

If your training isn’t improving your quality of life, or improving your ability to play a sport you enjoy, what exactly are you accomplishing?

This article explains how to apply principles I’ve learned working with both athletes and general population clients. I’ll explain how tweaking your training can power up your performance —  and minimize your chance of injury.

We can all use a performance upgrade, whether it’s a competitive playing field, or kickin’ it with your buddies every Thursday night with beer league softball.These principles, when applied as directed, will help you build an athletic body.

Maximum Strength with the Big Three is Overrated:

What’s the top tip most coaches preach as it pertains to building an athletic body?

If you said getting stronger, you’re correct.

training to failure, athletic body

While strength is important to build a foundation for the development of speed and power, it’s overvalued if you endlessly chase strength PR’s to the determinant of improving your ability to use it, relative strength, and movement.

Before you punch your computer screen and call me an idiot, hear me out. I’m not saying Maximum Strength isn’t important to build an athletic body.

It is.

It’s vital.

But, there are more ways to build strength than the powerlifting movements. There’s no magical touch associated with a heavy loaded barbell.

Your body understands stress, and that it needs to generate force and recruit motor units to overcome an external stressor, not that there’s a loaded barbell.

What’s more important is the muscles recruited, amount of force needed to overcome the resistance, and integrating movement that matches the demands of sport. This can be through a unilateral exercise, a barbell, kettlebell, weighted sled, or your own bodyweight.

It’s not the tool that’s important. It’s that your body is working in a specific movement pattern, recruiting the correct muscles, and generating force when you need it. 

Furthermore, for non-competitive lifters, there are diminishing returns with endlessly chasing strength PR’s as it pertains to becoming more athletic.

Athletic Body, bach performance jump rope, Build an Athletic Body, eric bach jump rope, athletic body,

Example: a 200-pound man has the goal of running faster and jumping higher. Currently, he’s well trained and has a back squat max 375 lbs.

Would he be better off using a specialized program to get your squat to 405, or adding lighter, more explosive exercises to maximize his ability to rapidly generate already-present strength?

If you picked more explosive exercises, good for you!

Your body specifically adapts to the imposed demands.

Maximizing the carryover to your sport requires you train movements and patterns that are specific to the demands of your sport, such as explosive jumping and sprinting.

Instead of just lifting heavy, focus on maintaining your strength base. Improve your relative strength and power in the movements you need for performance.

Power —  the ability to generate strength rapidly —  is vector specific. Huh? That means to optimally develop power for a given activity, you must train it in the direction, with joint angles, and recruitment patterns most similar to your activity.

At the end of the day, strength is vital. Tere’s no denying that. But it’s time to move past the “ bro,  just get really strong” argument. You need to move and generate power in the directions you need. Otherwise, you’ll limit your performance.

Jump and Throw

Building an athletic body requires your muscles to work  together. That means increasing the ability of your body (muscles, joints, ligaments, and nervous system) to function as a complete unit.

Jumps and throws take major movement patterns, such as the squat or press, and change the typical demands from a pure-strength exercise to an explosive speed or speed-strength exercise.

Working with lighter loads and focusing on explosive movement more directly correlates to the demands of most sports. You’ll  improve your ability to move and generate force in the movement patterns needed for performance.

Adding jumps or throws to your training can increase neuromuscular capabilities. You’ll transfer your strength into usable athleticism and power. The result? Better performance.

Throws, Jumps, and Upper Body Plyometrics:

To maximize carryover from training to your activity of choice, include jumps and throws that most similarly match the demands of your sport or workout. These exercises are best performed after a dynamic warm-up and before lifting.

Try 3-4 sets of 3-6 reps with 90-120 seconds of rest between sets. Below, I’ve listed my top three favorite variations, with a few other suggestions listed underneath.

Overhead slam: Explosive shoulder extension while preventing spinal flexion.

Sports Action: Think volleyball spike, a swimming stroke, or swinging an ax for the lumbar jacks in the audience.

This works the explosive shoulder extension, forcing the lats, triceps, posterior delts, and pecs to rapidly generate force. It also forces your core to work double time, transferring force from overhead towards the ground while preventing your spine from flexing forward.

How to do it: Use a non-bouncy medicine ball (8-12 lbs.) and hold it overhead.

Brace the abs like you would before someone pokes you in the stomach. Now, with the weight overhead and abs braced, throw the ball to the ground while keeping eyes straightforward and minimal trunk flexion.

Your goal is to throw as hard as possible without bending through the waist or rounding in your shoulders.

Inline Plyo-Push-Up:  Emphasize horizontal pressing power

Sports Action: Pushing an opponent away from you.

Compared to a clap push-up, elevating the hands on a bench allows larger individuals to generate maximum force with less compressive stress on the joints while maintaining a neutral spine position (non-saggy push-up position).

How to do it: On a bench, assume a push-up position with the hands aligned with the shoulders, legs fully extended, abs braced, and back straight. Don’t allow the hips to dip.

Lower yourself rapidly to the bench and then explosively push your body away. The energy should make you rock back to mid-foot or heel if your relative strength is high.

As gravity carries you back to the starting position, slightly bend the elbows at impact to reduce stress and “stick” the landing with minimal movement through your torso. Re-set and repeat.

Dumbbell Squat jump: Explosive triple extension, a speed-strength variation of a vertical jump.

Sport action: Explosive triple extension, jumping in basketball, vertical propulsion.

Squat jumps mimic the squat and a vertical jump, bridging the gap between jumping in sport and squatting in the gym.

How to do it: There are three phases: loading, exploding, and landing.

Loading: Set up with feet about shoulder-width apart in an athletic stance with arms up at chest height. The loading phase utilizes a simultaneous downward arm swing with flexing at the hips and knees, thus loading up the legs.

Exploding: Rapidly swing the arms up while driving your feet into the ground and extending the hips and knees, and then taking off on the balls of the feet. Fully extend the arms overhead and aim to fully extend the body with the ankle, knee, hip, trunk, shoulder, and ear all being aligned.

Landing: Bend your knees and drop the hips into a squat position, absorbing force evenly though the foot. Keep your chest and head up, looking straight ahead. Hold a vertical shin position to minimize excessive shear stress and valgus/varus positions of the knee.

Analyze: What’s the Risk/Reward Trade-Off?

Everyone come from various backgrounds that create bias towards different training disciplines. It could be powerlifting, strongman, bodybuilding, Olympic lifting (my bias), or something else.

With so many different opinions and experts on training, how can you select the exercises that are best for you?

Instead of thinking of any exercise as the next best thing, step back and consider each exercise a tool to get the job done.

The tool that is best both matches the movement patterns needed for your sport, and minimizes the risk of injury.

For example, we can all agree that the squat is a phenomenal exercise for developing strength and power.

But how important is sub-parallel squat depth?

In the case of a competitive weight lifting, going to extreme depths, even with butt wink and (loss of lumber stability) is a demand of the sport. In this case, an ass to grass squatting is warranted, as it’s directly required in competition.

But, what about Bryce, who popped his hamstring playing softball? He’s an average dude at the gym, just wanting to look better for summer and crush a few homers.

In this case, Bryce loses lumbar stability below parallel in his squat. The risk of low-back injury (either acute or chronic) with an ass-to-grass squat outweighs the potential benefits of building athletic muscle.

This isn’t to say that squats are a bad exercise for him, but in the context of depth, he’s better off working within a stable range of motion.

Each exercise is a tool, rather than an end-all be all to performance. Pick the tools and techniques with that complete the job while minimizing risk, and maximizing rewards. 

Exercise Order Based on Neural Demands

When it comes to performance, the nervous system is the Captain.

To maximize performance and reduce injury risk, the most neurologically demanding exercises must be performed early in the workout, when the body is fresh. 

Most sports require explosive sprints, jumps, cuts, swings and throws to drive performance. If you’re performing exercises to improve, like cleans for a vertical jump, yet already ran 3×400 meter sprints and did heavy squats, your nervous system is probably too torched for super high power outputs, meaning the nervous system won’t send signals fast enough to allow sound technique and performance.

As a result, you’re setting yourself up for sub-par training and performance at best, and injury at worst.

If your exercise selection doesn’t jive with your goals and allow you to generate force, while also increasing injury risk, then you have a big problem.

Keep intense movements like sprints, jumps, and heavy lifts early in your workout. Then move onto higher rep, less neurally demanding exercises later on.

Four Ways to Build an Athletic Body

  • Put the most explosive exercises first in your training
  • Stop obsessing over max weight
  • Jump, throw, push, and run
  • Look at your training from a risk/reward perspective

Once you have a foundation of strength and basic movement, it’s time to focus specifically on your goals.

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Six ways to Make Exercises Harder

Minimalist Training

[This article was Originally Published here on AskMen.com]

Is your current workout not cutting it? I hear you.

Maybe you’re stuck in a busted hotel with a few janky dumbbells and a treadmill.

Or, you’re just a glutton for self-punishment and want to have an intense workout. 

But most likely, you’re training has plateaued and you need a kick in the ass to build more lean mass.

Whether you’re traveling and stuck in a poorly equipped gym, or just need to supercharge your training to build more lean muscle there are small tweaks that can make a world of difference in your training.

Whatever the reason, one of these six methods will work for you.  No, I’m not talking about completely changing your program; rather, making subtle changes to how you’re performing exercises to get you stronger, leaner, and build some new muscle.

1. Timed Sets

Instead of counting reps, set a timer and work against the clock. This might sound strange, but there’s a powerful benefit. When you’re fatigued you’ll need to maintain a focus on the quality of each rep rather than aiming to finish the set in a certain number of reps.

Isolation Lifts, make exercises harder

Even better, timed sets focus on two underrated factors for muscle growth: tension and metabolic stress.

By keeping your muscles under constant tension and stress, you stimulate more muscle damage while building up by-products of muscle contractions (metabolic stress).

Focus on longer duration sets between 30-75 seconds to increase metabolic stress. This allows you to use less weight but keep better focus on each muscular contraction to build more lean muscle.

Try This: Stuck with only a dumbbell for squats? Hold a dumbbell in the goblet position and perform reps for four sets of 40 seconds, staying just shy of locking out at the top of the movement.

 

2. Increase the Range of Motion

Increasing the range of motion requires muscles and joints to contract and stabilize through a greater range of motion. A greater range of motion requires greater muscle activation to overcome the resistance while also requiring more stability to build an injury resistant body.

Increasing the range of motion makes exercises harder and very effective for building muscle,  but your technique must be perfect to reduce injury risk.

Try This: If you’re only using barbells in your training then start using dumbbell movements like a dumbbell bench press. This allows a greater range of motion for each arm while increasing stability demands.

For the lower body, try reverse lunges from a small step or elevating your front foot on a Bulgarian split squat. These methods can breed extreme soreness– proceed with 2-3 sets of 8-12 reps and plan on spending extra time on exercise recovery.

3. Lift Explosively

If you’ve been counting tempo and using slow lifting speeds, then lifting weights explosively can help you build new muscle and athleticism.

No, you won’t feel a crazy burn or pump from these methods, but that doesn’t mean they’re not effective.

Why do they work?

You’ll improve nervous system efficiency and stimulate greater muscular recruitment.

By lifting lighter weights faster or heavy weights with the intent of being explosive you can activate a greater number of muscle fibers during exercise.

In the short term, explosive exercises activate high-threshold motor units (HTMU’s) to recruit more muscle during training. More recruitment means lifting more weight and building more muscle.

Before your next lower body try 3×5 Jump Squats with 60 seconds rest:

 

Lifting Upper Body? No sweat, give this push-up variation a try for 3×5 with 60 seconds rest.

In the long-term, explosive exercises allow you to recruit more muscle fibers with less effort. This makes it easier to smash heavy weights.

You can maximize this muscular recruitment by lifting heavy, or by lifting, jumping, or throwing lighter stuff faster.

4. Pause at your Weak points

Think back to the last time you saw someone squatting or benching at the gym.

Chances are, they started lowering the weight slowly then “bounced” through their transition, right?

Adding a pause makes exercises harder, especially if you pause at your weak point. Common examples here are the bottom of a squat or near your chest on a bench press, you’re first forced to stabilize your body through its weakest point. This can improve joint stability and strength through the toughest part of lifts to prevent injury.

Further, the pause eliminates one huge factor—elastic energy stored in your ligaments. To overcome the pause, you must generate pure dead-stop strength.

This method requires you to decrease the weight you’re using, but will build tons of pure strength. Once you return back to your usual training, you’ll feel strong, stable, and powerful.

5. Decrease your base of Support:

A narrow base of support requires greater balance and control for a wide range of exercises.

Unilateral exercises like lunges are the first that come to mind, but even modifying typical bilateral exercises like narrowing your stance on squats presents a new muscle recruitment pattern and different muscular activation. That means a slightly different training stimulus to get you out of your rut.

Instead of keeping your feet apart during push-ups and planks bring your feet closer until they’re touching. This decreased base of support creates an extra challenge to stabilize your trunk and hold body position.

6. Metabolic circuits

If you’re stuck in a lousy hotel gym chances are there isn’t equipment besides a few janky dumbbells, a couple machines, and cardio equipment.

In this case, you’ll need to do more with less and focus on training density.

Training density, doing more work in less time, is an ultra-efficient fat loss training method that requires you to pair multiple exercises together with minimal rest between them.

This increases metabolic stress, helping you burn more calories and increasing metabolic stress in your muscles. According to this study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Metabolic stress is one of the primary mechanisms of hypertrophy.

When you’re short on time or equipment, create total-body metabolic circuits to make your training more difficult.

Try This: Pick a push, pull, lower body exercise, and core exercise. Let’s say push-up, pull-up, goblet squat, and plank. Perform 4 sets of 10 for each exercise and 30-60 seconds for your plank. Keep rest minimal between exercises.

Six ways to Make Exercises Harder

There is a caveat with making exercises harder– you must nail your technique at all times. After all, just because something is hard, doesn’t mean it’s effective. Luckily, these methods have withstood the test of time —giving you a new training stimulus to force new muscle growth.

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Copyright: bialasiewicz / 123RF Stock Photo

Lifting Rep Range Rules for Building Muscle

If you struggle with building muscle and strength, this post is for you.

Let me tell you about a recent conversation between my buddy, Alex and I, after his workout.

We met for coffee when Alex walked in and said, “Man, this pump is insane. I think my muscles are already growing from that last set.”

Once a bro, always a bro.

As a backstory, Alex was new (again) to the gym.

He played sports in high school and lifted with his football team, but that’s about it. In college, he’d start training, mix in some yoga or a group exercise class, then stop.

He’d see progress, then get more interested in beer and chasing tail. Fair enough.

These days, Alex is 27, a few years into his career, and still primarily interested in beer and chasing tail. Again, I can’t blame the guy.

But now, he’s developed a bit of a gut. Long days at work and short nights have taken their toll and it’s starting to show. Alex has been lifting consistently now for six months, has lost a little fat and built muscle, but has since hit a plateau.

He’s losing motivation because he’s not seeing results and doesn’t know where to go for a new workout. So, he asked for a few pointers and knew how to get my help: by offering copious amounts of caffeine.

Alex’s workout (printed on the internet read)…
1. Barbell Bench Press 4×10 

2. Dumbbell Incline Bench Press 4×12

3. Dumbbell Decline Bench Press 3×12
4. Cable Chest Flyes 3×15
5a. Triceps Push-down 3×10
5b. Assisted Dips 3×10

I took a drink of my coffee and dove in. 
Most muscle building advice for the average guy is flat out wrong. This was okay…but it could be much better.

Since Alex told me he wanted to be lean, but more muscular, kind of like an NFL linebacker I knew the look he was going for. 

I asked Alex, “is this what you’ve been doing for the last few months?”

Yes.

“Have you been able to get stronger on your bench press, or are your numbers staying the same?”

I made progress in the beginning, but not for a while.I haven’t been tracking them.

Alex was making two of the biggest problems in the book.

First, he wasn’t tracking his lifts. You must track your progress to lift heavier weights for more reps over time. Without pushing your body past what it’s currently able to do how can it grow bigger and stronger?

It can’t.

Second, Alex was only lifting in one rep range, the hypertrophy rep range. Now, it’s true the “best” rep range to build muscle is lifting moderately heavy weights for multiple sets of 8-12 reps. Still, this isn’t the whole picture. You need a variety of rep ranges to maximize lean muscular gains.

Save for advanced lifters who’ve been training consistently for years, building muscle a byproduct of getting stronger. This means you need to get stronger first and lift a bit heavier to maximize your progress.

The reason you’re not building size and strength isn’t due to a lack of effort. The reason is a lack of strength, not tracking workouts, and too little variety in rep ranges. Here’s what to do to fix it and get back to growing.


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How To Train For Maximum Muscle Growth

 

Strength First:
Mechanical tension, lifting a heavy load with a full range of motion, is a key component to muscle growth. In the example above, Alex wasn’t creating enough tension. If Alex were to add 50 pounds to his bench press, don’t you think he would be a stronger with more muscle? Of course. Strength and size are correlated.

If you’re like Alex, here’s how you fix it: Train heavier with low reps as the first exercise in your training. You don’t need to stomp around like a powerlifter; rather, pick one exercise each day and lift increasingly heavier weights for 3-8 reps.
Track your workouts in a notebook and add weight from week to week.

workout, muscle building rep range

Monday: Upper Body
Bench Press 5×5, rest 90 seconds

Increase the weight on each set. Aim to add 5 pounds to sets next week. 

Tuesday: Lower Body
Squat 5×5, rest 90 seconds
Increase the weight on each set. Aim to add 5 pounds to sets next week. 

Lifting heavy will help you recruit more muscle fibers, meaning you can fatigue them later on to grow. Equally as important, getting stronger allows you to lift heavier weights in the exercises coming up next. 

I can’t make it more clear: For most guys, the fastest way to get bigger is to get stronger. It’s as simple as picking a major movement like those listed above and getting stronger from week to week and month to month. 

 

Use The Bodybuilding Rep Range

The bodybuilding rep range, 8-15 reps with a moderate weight, is still an essential component of training to build muscle and should make up at least 50% of your training. These reps should be heavy, with 1-2 reps of failure, but not grinding reps.

This creates mechanical tension as well as keeps your muscles contracting for a longer time. This leads to another important muscle building component, metabolic stress.

Metabolic stress, also known as the “pump” occurs when muscles contract, yet blood can’t escape. This stressful environment triggers a number of muscle building factors. 

Here’s what you need to do you should do. Pick two or three compound exercises training your target muscles and lift 3-4 sets of 8-15 reps. 

Monday: Upper Body
1.Bench Press 5×5, rest 90 seconds                                                                                                                                                           
Increase the weight on each set. Aim to add 5 pounds to sets next week.                                                                                   2a.Dumbbell Incline Bench Press 4×8, rest 60 seconds                                                                                                                    2b.Dumbbell One Arm Row 4×8, rest 60 seconds                                                                                                                                                3. Dip 3×10-12, rest 60 seconds

Tuesday: Lower Body
1.Squat 5×5, rest 90 seconds
Increase the weight on each set. Aim to add 5 pounds to sets next week.                                                                                                       2. Dumbbell Romanian Deadlift 4×10, rest 60 seconds                                                                                                                        3.Dumbbell Step Back Lunge 3×8/leg, rest 45 b/t legs                                                                                                                          4.Machine Leg Press 3×15, rest 60 seconds       

 

Mix In Higher Rep Training

To cap off your training, sprinkle in higher rep training. Do one exercise with 2-3 sets of 10-15 reps with short rest periods to maximize metabolic stress.

Additionally, you can use one exercise to failure. This exercise must be an isolation exercise, like a biceps curl or leg extension instead of a squat.  A recent study found when it comes to muscle growth, the same growth came from using 3 sets to failure with 30% max as 3 sets of 80%.

This means regardless of how heavy the weight is, training to failure maximizes muscle fiber recruitment and stimulates growth, even with lighter weight. This both saves your joints and preserves your nervous system while maximizing gains.

Applied to your training, you can train to failure but use isolation exercises. Keep the weight light and focus on technique. When your technique breaks down you’ve reached failure. Rest and repeat for 2-3 sets and call it a day.

 

Monday: Upper Body
1.Bench Press 5×5, rest 90 seconds                                                                                                                                                            Increase the weight on each set. Aim to add 5 pounds to sets next week.                                                                                  
2a.Dumbbell Incline Bench Press 4×8, rest 60 seconds                                                                                                                     2b.Dumbbell One Arm Row 4×8, rest 60 seconds                                                                                                                                               3. Dip 3×10-12, rest 60 seconds                                                                                                                                                                 4.Triceps Pushdown 3×15, rest 30 seconds                                                                                                                                                         5. Cable Biceps Curl, 3xfailure, rest 30-60 seconds       

Tuesday: Lower Body
1.Squat 5×5, rest 90 seconds
Increase the weight on each set. Aim to add 5 pounds to sets next week.   
2. Dumbbell Romanian Deadlift 4×10, rest 60 seconds
3.Dumbbell Step Back Lunge 3×8/leg, rest 45 b/t legs
4.Machine Leg Press 3×15, rest 60 seconds
5. Leg Extension 2xfailure, rest 30-60
 seconds

 
Keep in mind, this works best only once you’ve gotten strong. Make strength your focus first. Spend the middle of your workout with moderate weight and reps. Then,  sprinkle in the high rep stuff at the end as the icing on the cake.
 

Wrap Up
If you’re like Alex and want to build a strong, muscular, and powerful body, you need to focus on a few keys to your training.

1. Build strength. Strength means tension, and greater tension in your muscles forces them to grow.  

2.Incorporate moderate rep, moderate load training as the “meat” of your workouts. This creates both tension and metabolic stress (the pump) to accelerate your gains.

3. Sprinkle in high-rep sets and failure work. This is the icing on the cake and can help you cap off your physique. 

4. Write down your workouts. It takes months to build muscle, not weeks with an occasional ” I’m taking time off” sprinkled in every month. Keep pushing to make consistent gains, track your workouts, and add weight to the bar. Do this and you’ll force your stubborn body to grown.

5. Having a plan expertly designed for you is one piece of the puzzle. Having simple, easy to make meals and the help of a coach is the other half of the puzzle. The Bach Performance BOSS Group Coaching Program is the perfect place for you to add lean muscle, lose fat, and build your best body without living in the gym. By following the simple steps of the specialized programs, you’ll transform your body without fitness running your life. 

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Part 3 Training Essentialism: Eliminate Useless Exercises

In today’s post we”ll work together to Eliminate Useless Exercises to optimize your training. Before we dive into that lets rehash what we covered in the past two posts.

First, we covered the essential pieces what every workout needs. The 80/20 if you will, that give you the most bang for your buck. Training for one goal while ensuring progressive overload in the major movements is key to long-term results. If you haven’t read part one What Every Workout Needs please do so now.

In part two we addressed the biggest issue of all: training consistency. A plan is only as good as it’s execution. To set yourself up for success you must understand your limits and create a plan that accounts for your goals and busy lifestyle. Your training isn’t 100% perfect for your goal, but a program performed with focus and intensity consistently will beat the perfect program performed sporadically every time.

Moving on my friends. It’s time to delve into the truth about elimination. I don’t mean throwing away all your clothes, getting rid of your possessions, and moving to a shack in Guam, but eliminating unnecessary barriers in training. The biggest problem most guys have is focusing on too many damn goals at once. You have a limited attention. Remember this: You can do anything, but not everything.

Limited Attention:

Throughout the day you have a limited attention. Despite all the advances in technology that make information easily attainable it’s only possible to absorb so much. As an example, Tim Ferris breaks it down into attention units.

The choice-minimal lifestyle becomes an attractive tool when we consider two truths:

1) Considering options costs attention that then can’t be spent on action or present-state awareness.

2) Attention is necessary for not only productivity but appreciation.

Therefore:

Too many choices = less or no productivity

Too many choices = less or no appreciation

Too many choices = sense of overwhelm

Tim Ferriss breaks attention down to “Attention units.”

If you start the day with 10 attention units, have a complicated workout with percentages, a choice of six squat variations, fluctuating volume, and advanced methods it might demand 3/10 daily units calculate and complete. If work, family obligations, and a big side project take up 9 attention units before you get to your workout we have a problem— attention debt. Focus diminishes, effort dwindles, and your workout sucks.

It’s safe to say, after a grueling day even a Tracy Anderson workout is a strain for your mental capacity.

Side note: What in the actual hell is this exercise?

http://fourhourworkweek.com/2008/02/06/the-choice-minimal-lifestyle-6-formulas-for-more-output-and-less-overwhelm/
Photocredit: www.lookgreatnaked.com/blog/stay-away-from-the-pink-dumbbells/

Don’t Strive For Exercise Variety

Don’t strive for variation—and thus increase option consideration—when it’s not needed. Too many choices zaps your focus and negate your ability to put into energy into what matters most like building strength in major, multi-joint lifts. You should enjoy exercise, but remember exercise is a results-driven with task, not solely enjoyment driven. Your goal is to create a physiological response in the body to build muscle, shred fat, and improve athleticism. Stick with the major movement patterns, get stronger, and get a routine that works around your limited time.

Define, identify, and eliminate

Instead of giving up altogether you must first define what is essential to your goal. The next step is ruthlessly hacking away at the unessential. A plan is only as good as its execution—this is the way to set yourself up for success.

In this post I’m going to provide you with the path to stick to your goal, hack away at the unessential, and optimize your workout plans for optimal effort and consistency. I’ll use real-world examples from my clients to give you a template to hack away your workout and focus on the important parts. As a result, you’ll have a clear vision of the goal and the brainpower to do it.

Remove the Unessential:

Before hacking away chunks of your workout you must first define what is essential. These steps help you define what’s essential to your goal, and what must be eliminated.

1.) Define Your Goal and Stick to It

If you don’t know what you’re trying to achieve how will you possibly make the changes to make it happen?

It won’t happen. Define your goal, and as Dan John says “ The goal is to keep the goal, the goal.” If you constantly change workout goals and never see them through you’ll never have success. Rep schemes, exercises, and programs shouldn’t always change—the body needs to strain and adapt to stress to grow. Patience, dedication, and time are required. It’s painfully difficult in today’s “everything right now” world, but all true accomplishments take time. Define your goal and stick to it until it’s complete.

Example Goals:

“ I want to look awesome naked by losing fat and gaining muscle. I want to look better than guys 20 years younger than me and be able to play sports with my kids.”

“ I want to be strong. I don’t care what else. I want to be able to lift a fricken’ house.”

“I want to gain muscle so I (begrudgingly) fill out my schmedium t-shirt and have to buy a large. This will be 2-3 inches on my chest and – or so.”  

2.) Identify Your Obstacles To Reaching The Goal

Here’s the fun part: Take an introspective look at your training and lifestyle to see what factors hinder you from reaching your goal.

Take these examples from my clients:

“I work 60 hours per week and start missing gym sessions after I start training 5 days per week.”

“ I can’t eat enough calories following an intermittent fasting diet to support training and muscle growth.”

“ My kids are in hockey season, I run my own business, and I need for time for my family. I’ll train 30 minutes 4-5 days per week, but can’t do longer workouts. The sacrifice isn’t worth neglecting my family.”

Identify in order to eliminate. Look at the big picture and your whole lifestyle.What obstacles are the biggest roadblock to my success?

Are they removable?

Do they fix more than one problem?

If the answer is “yes” to any or all of these problems then take the next step to elimination.

3.) Remove the Obstacles

Identifying and being aware of what’s holding you back is great, but you need to take action on and remove your obstacles. As the father of the light-bulb (and maybe light sabers?) Thomas Edison said, ” Knowledge without action is meaningless.”

No-one will do this step for you—it takes real willpower to remove obstacles. That’s why building an awesome body is more than physical—it’s mental growth, sacrifice, and determination.

Obstacles you remove/ changes you could make to fit the goals above could be:

– One less training day per week

– Take out isolation work

– Reduced rest periods

– Shorten up your fasting window to get more calories

– Decrease training volume during workouts to allow a greater training frequency

Changes highly dependent on you and your goals. Using an example below I illustrate the entire process of hacking away the unessential with one of my online training clients:

Tom: Hey Eric, I need to reduce my training and switch to mornings. Tom JR. has hockey every night during the week, work is insane, and I need to spend my nights with my wife instead of the gym.

I still want to be a shredded Beast (*goal*), but I need more time for my family. (*Obstacle*)

Here’s how we *Removed the Obstacles*:

We shortened all Tom’s workouts and took out anything that appeared redundant. Tom still wanted to workout for 30 minutes each morning in his basement and only wanted the essentials. Each week we made sure Tom had the following movements:

– Weighted Carries

– Upper Body Pull

– Upper Body Push

– Lower Body Squat pattern

– Lower Body Hinge pattern

– Single Leg movement

– High-Intensity Intervals,Versa Climber

So a sample workout could be:

Dynamic Warm Up (Top-secret recipe)

1a. Weighted Chin Up 5×8

1b. One Arm Push-Up 5×8

2. 5x 30 sec (30 sec rest) Versa Climber SprintO

Or

Dynamic Warm-Up

1a. Kettlebell Floor Press 4×12

1b. Goblet Squat 4×12

2a. Kettlebell Swing 3×20

2b. Farmers walk 3×50 steps

Spread out over the course of 5 days Tom gets in five efficient, challenging workouts without missing any major movements. Plus, he’s able to see his son play hockey, spend time with his wife, and relax. In the end training is about more than building an awesome body, it’s about building an awesome body and hitting your goals on your terms. Training should improve your life, rather than consume it.

Now it’s Your Turn:

Embrace essentialism into your workouts and eliminate all that is unnecessary. It’s a subtle way to produce dramatic results in the gym with less overwhelm.

-Focus on the big movements

-Ensure progressive overload

-Schedule your training when it fits your life. Make it a priority, but don’t sacrifice everything else for your gains.

-Remove unnecessary exercises

Define your goal, identify the obstacles, and ruthlessly remove them.

The biggest mistake most guys make is focusing on every finite details of their program. Keep your eye on the prize, remove anything that isn’t essential, and see the best gains of your life.

“Essentialism is not about how to get more things done; it’s about how to get the right things done. It doesn’t mean just doing less for the sake of less either. It is about making the wisest possible investment of your time and energy in order to operate at our highest point of contribution by doing only what is essential.”-Greg McKeown, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

Resources

McKeown, Greg. “Subtract.” Essentialism. New York: Crown Business, 2014. 190-191. Print.

Ferriss, Tim. “The Choice-Minimal Lifestyle: 6 Formulas for More Output and Less Overwhelm.” Fourhourworkweek.com. 6 Feb. 2008. Web. 17 Oct. 2014.

Recommended Reading:

The Power of Less by Leo Babauta

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

80/20 Pareto’s Principle

Part 2 Training Essentialism: 4 Tips to Improve Workout Consistency

In our last post we covered a few things. First, we covered the most important parts of your workout, the 80/20 if you will, that give you the most bang for your buck. Training for one goal while ensuring progressive overload in the major movements is key to long-term results. If you haven’t read part one What Every Workout Needs please do so now. 

Moving on– here’s how to workout consistency. Knowing what to do is great, but a plan is 100% useless unless you take actionable steps to get’er done.

The biggest problem affecting your training isn’t exercise selection, sets, reps, weights, or even your motivation. Those are all important, but the problem is more simple than that.

What do you think it is?

….

…..

……

Workout consistency. I don’t mean consistency in the sense that you’re unwilling to put in the time; rather, you gnaw off a bigger chunk than you can chew. Your determination exceeds what your capable of each day. You have a job, school, family obligations,  a million projects and people vying for you attention and time. If it were possible, you’d run on 28-hour days to fit everything in.

Sound familiar?

Training four or five times per week with strength work, mobility, and conditioning is great, but sometimes it’s impossible to do everything. Instead of the perfect plan you need a plan that’s focused on your goal while accounting for the constraints of your life. Small wins accumulate big over time. That’s why the best coaches start grand goals on a small scale–the best path is taking small, progressive victories to get big results.

It’s like a drive in Football, unless you’re the Raiders: Four yards, two yards, five yards, first down. Another first down and then it hits—big play touchdown! Progress is the most effective form of human motivation—to get success need to set yourself up for success with the right play calls.

how to improve workout consistency

Improving Workout Consistency

With the following tips you’ll have everything you need to focus on your goals plus the motivation and attention to reach them. Information is only as good as how you use it. Grab a pen, piece of paper, and customize your goals to the following tips. You’ll set yourself up for huge gains in the gym and eliminate the guilt of missing workouts.

1. Know what you’re capable of Doing Consistently 

If you have kids at home, a job that requires 60 hours per-week, and long work trips planned then a five-day per week body-part split over the next two months isn’t practical. Instead, budget the time that you’ll be able to get to the gym under any circumstance. Move to a total body routine and hit the major muscles in each workout for 2-3 workouts per week. Add in 20 minutes of sprints one day and a walk a few more places. The program isn’t 100% perfect for your goal, but a program performed with focus and intensity consistently will beat the perfect program performed sporadically every time.

Know what you’re cable of doing and execute.

2. Forget about Tomorrow

Being overwhelmed with responsibilities make it difficult to get your training in. Today’s workout becomes, “I’ll do it tomorrow.” There’s always tomorrow and another day. Problem is, the “tomorrow” mindset becomes next week, and suddenly, you haven’t hit the gym in six days. Focus on the now and win the day.

3. Schedule Training like an Appointment

Treat exercise like an obligation as you would a meeting at work and stick to it. The biggest, baddest dudes in your gym make exercise a priority no-matter what. Once you add workouts to your calendar and block time off they become part of your routine. When others come up look at your schedule—are the mandatory?
If not, turn it down or move it to another time.

Your workout is time for you. Sprint, lift heavy steel, throw different implements, and have fun. Building your body is much more powerful than your one-rep max, it’s about the focus, workout consistency, and effort you put forward towards the big picture.

4. Focus During Your Workout

The less frequent your training sessions the more important intensity becomes.
Drink extra coffee.
Boost up your pre-workout.
Blast some Lil Jon and get out of your mind.

I don’t care, do whatever it takes to go balls to the wall when you hit the gym. Going through the motions is for losers—get in and get after it.

 

Wrap Up

You’re busy and determined—that’s a good thing. Don’t let training fall by the wayside; rather, optimize your training with what you’re capable and willing to do.

Know what you’re cable of Doing Consistently.

Stop putting it Off Until Tomorrow.

Schedule it like an Appointment.

Get in and get after it.

With this information you have everything you need to build a leaner, stronger, and more athletic body. Quit majoring in the minors, it’s time to get to maximize your training on your terms.

Recommended Reading:

Training Essentialism: What Every Workout Needs 

 

 

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photo credit: Runar Eilertsen via photopin cc

photo credit: linda sellers via photopin cc

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