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The Simple Way to Achieve Your Fitness Goals

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If all workouts went as planned, supplements were a magical cure-all, and the perfect diet really existed, most guys would be swinging a hammer like Thor and picking up Natalie Portman.

Instead, we bite off more than we can chew.

We throw the the old workout program in the trash, and latch onto the next big thing. 

We change our entire dietary strategy. We load up with tupperware containers. Or we starve ourselves for half the day until our magical “feasting” window arrives.

But there’s really no single perfect answer. One size never fits all. 

My approach is to focus on small steps that create big, life-changing improvements quickly. My clients get bigger, stronger, leaner, and more athletic.

The article explains explains how. 

First, Picture This

It’s 4:45 pm, Monday afternoon. Work is over. And you’ve traded in your button down for your slick new bro-tank.

 International bench press day has arrived. And your pump is going to be epic.

Dudes old and young flock to the center of the gym to take control of the bench press.

You’re no different. Warm-up and activation done, it’s time to get to work.

Reps one, two, and three pop up easily, four starts to grind, and rep number five is firmly planted on your chest.

“WTF?”

This is the same weight you started your work sets at last week…and the week before. You’re five weeks into your new program, the article said you would be hitting new PR’s by now.

Plus, you added two sets of 12 inverted rows before your bench.

Last week, you read a great article that advised plyometric push ups before you bench because it “instantly improves your strength and supercharge your nervous system.”

It seems, you’re doing all the right things.

In the last four weeks the changes you made should make your strength skyrocket, muscles grow in heaping slabs, and fat to slide off your chiseled new physique.

Problem is, you’re completely and utterly overwhelmed. Despite your efforts, strength and muscle are falling off…not piling on.

 

Here’s the hard truth: You bit off more than you can chew.

You have set goals, have huge ambitions, and a have the work ethic to match. These are all necessary tools to get a bigger, stronger, more athletic body. But, you changed too much, too soon.

I’ve learned huge lessons helping hundreds of clients transform their lives

Big problems are rarely solved with commensurately big solutions. Rather, they are often solved by a sequence of small solutions and small victories.

Rather than picking and changing as many things as possible immediately, pick just one.

One. Uno. Einer. Un. 

 JUST change one behavior at a time, and implement it flawlessly.

Let’s put this strategy into play. Let’s day a 31 year old man wants to gain ten pounds of muscle, and drop his body fat from 20% to 15% — a common and achievable goal.

To hit goals, break them into two categories:

  • Outcome Goals: drop body fat from 20% to 15% and gain 10 pounds of muscle
  • Behavioural Goals:  lift four times and week and bit macronutrient goals 80% of the time. Behavioral goals pave the path to the outcome goal.

 Each behavioral goal must be mastered over a period of two weeks. Once you have performed the goal 14ish times,  it will be ingrained as a behaviour.   After two solid weeks, we’ll take another baby step that brings you closer to your goals.

Here are some examples.

Weeks 1-2 ==> Perform four muscle-building workouts per week, all under 1 hour in length.

*Note: Because this is only four days per week it works as a great introduction to the method without overloading your motivation.

Why: Resistance training 4x/week in one my specialized programs provides the necessary hormonal influx, metabolic stress, and muscular tension to build muscle.

Weeks 3-4 ==> Drink two customized workout shakes each day.

Why: I hook my clients up with customized nutrition plans to fit their goals. In this case, it’s an influx of high quality nutrients  through real food and calories to support lean muscle growth and overall health.

Weeks 5-6 ==> Begin a Carb Cycling Routine.

Why: Carb cycling, the fluctuation of carbohydrate intake based upon the day, will keep fat loss at a minimum while providing fuel for high quality workouts.

Weeks 7-8 ==>  Spend 3 minutes foam rolling and stretching each day.

Why: Active recovery methods, such as foam rolling and stretching will boost recovery, keeping you healthy and consistent in the gym.

Follow this program and  you’ll be much closer to unleashing your inner athlete. And remember, it’s just one example of the customized approach I provide.

One goal, two weeks. Simple, right?

Build up over time, simple works. That’s how I help my clients get awesome results. May I help you? Click below to find out more and get a 20% discount.

Apply Now for 20% Off Select Packages

Wrap Up: How to Win Every Day

Winning your goal daily builds successful behaviors that bring you closer to the stronger, leaner, and more athletic body you’ve been working for. Getting better every day, even if it’s one small step keeps the seemingly impossible within reach.

If you’re struggling to get bigger, stronger, and leaner, then I’d like to help you.

By effectively helping you “chunk” your goals into small, easily attainable parts, I’ll speed up your progress in the gym.

The Best part?

I’ll personally guide you and carve the path to your goals, eliminating the confusion and winning every day.

Take charge and build your way to a stronger, leaner, and more athletic body today.

Head over to Bach Performance Coaching until September 21st for a 20% discount on all six-month training programs. That means we’ll get you bigger for Christmas, then leaner for Spring Break. 

The Rise of knowledge and downfall of fads: The Ultimate Beginners Guide for Weightlifting

The gym is the one place people worry about what others think, except for the middle-school lunchroom. No one wants to look like a weight-training beginner—even beginners. Having spent much time in the gym the sad truth is most people have no idea what they’re doing—even if they’ve been lifting for years.

The Ultimate Beginners Guide for Weightlifting
Photo credit: http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Lifeandhealth/Pix/pictures/2008/01/04/gym1.jpg

Learning proper technique and maximizing your efficiency in the gym is tough these days. Inconsistent, contradictory information from all sources of media has created an environment ripe with confusion. No wonder so many people struggle to build a strong, shredded and athletic body.

As a Beginner I was there too.

I struggled in the gym and became overwhelmed by empty promises of results from supplements, workout programs, and ludicrous articles with one-size fits all approaches.

Luckily, I learned from and work with some of the world’s best coaches. I have great network of brilliant professionals and work with athletes of all ages and ability levels.

In The Ultimate Beginners Guide for Weightlifting you’ll find out what works in the gym and be outfitted with the training knowledge to get results most people can only dream of.

What Beginners Say (And Do)

We’ve all seen it. The group of dudes in cut-off t-shirts with bright red pre-workout drinks bench pressing and blasting biceps curls three days per week, yet with no discernible improvements.

Or the young athlete wavering under a 45 bar with a bewildered expression.

Or the residential cardio queen who refuses to do anything besides cardio and endless sets triceps kickbacks to “tone” the muscles.

Despite potentially large efforts and time commitments these are still beginners. This isn’t a result of poor efforts; rather, misinformation and a lack of guidance. Rather than  saying“ I told you so” I’ll share the  principles, knowledge, and facts to make sure you’re prioritizing correctly in the gym.

1.You’ve never touched a weight. In fact, “what the hell is a dumbbell?”

2.”Bro, I don’t need bigger legs. Plus, I’m running a 5k in two weeks, I don’t need to lift my legs”

3.You believe weight training will make you “too big or bulky.”

4.You can’t perform simple bodyweight movements such as push-ups.

5.You train to get as sore as possible.

6.You train solely by body parts, rather than movements.

7.You perform the same monotonous, ineffective program day-in day-out.

8.Your program isn’t based around full-body movements like: squats, deadlifts, presses, rows, lunges, and cleans

9.”Chase the pump baby, nothing under eight reps!”– because you only want to build muscle.

10.You change exercises every workout because “muscle confusion is the way to go.”

11.You have spent years in the weight room, yet you have little strength or physique improvements to show for it.

12.You devote two days to building up your arms, yet can’t perform 6 solid pull-ups.

13. You don’t even have a program.

Enough beating the dead horse, you get my point– You need Principles. Principles are simple–they provide the foundation and groundwork for success no matter the circumstances.

Principles for the Ultimate Beginners Guide for Weightlifting

1.Train Movements, Not Muscles

The most crippling problem for beginners is isolating each muscle group rather than training compound, multi-joint movements. This is majoring in the minors and a sure-fire way to be small, weak, and injury prone.

 

 

Strength training with basic movement patterns is the best way to develop a strong strength base. As such you have limited time and energy to dedicate to training and picking the right exercises is key to getting results in the gym. Biceps curls, lateral shoulder raises, and hamstring curls aren’t bad, but they shouldn’t make up the majority of your program. Isolation exercises only focus on a small part of the body and won’t provide the necessary stimulus to transform your body. Even bodybuilders, known for their insane isolation exercises and high volume, place focus on big movements like squats as the backbone of their programs.

The Ultimate Beginners Guide for Weightlifting
Photo Credit http://undergroundstrengthmanual.com/images/arnold-squats.jpg

There are seven human movements patterns, but for the scope of this article I will cover five: Squat, hinge, lunge, push, and pull. The list below has each movement pattern and corresponding exercises to form the base for good programming.

Hinge: deadlift (all variations), good morning, kettlebell swings

Lunge: lunge, split squat, step back lunge, bulgarian split squat

Push: bench press, push-up, overhead press, jerk, one arm presses

Pull:pull-up, bent-over row, seated row, one arm row

Squat: Front squat, goblet squat, zercher squat, back squat

These exercises require major muscles working at multiple joints to perform movement, just like most movements in sport and life. These major movements must be emphasized early in a training career to build impressive results.

Eric’s Recommendation:  Focus on three movement patterns per workout, aiming to add weight to the bar during each workout. Plan all movements patterns equally for balanced training.

2.    Stick to the basics

You know those dudes standing in the corner of the gym doing curls on that half-ball bosu thing? Don’t do that. When it comes down to it the basics have withstood the test of time and should make up the majority of training. Prevalent in the fitness industry is the idea that complicated means effective. Non-sense. Programs consisting of 43 different exercises, pain-inducing timed sets, complex training, chains, and bands are not necessary for beginners. All of those are advanced methods and must be carefully programmed. There is a reason barbell and dumbbell exercises have been around for 100+ years—they work. Squats, deadlifts, cleans, push ups, and lunges etc. should be the primary exercises used in your programs. You’re not a special butterfly, the same exercises that worked 100 years ago will provide the best results today.

Basics are best for weight training beginners, How the best bodies are Built: The Rise of knowledge and downfall of fads"
Photo credit: http://www.rosstraining.com/images/gorner2.jpg

Eric’s Recommendation: Don’t follow fad programs or look for the latest exercise trend in the fitness industry. Instead, seek out tenured coaches that preach the basic tenants of training. I recommend Jason Ferruggia and Jim Wendler.

3.    Quality over Quantity

It’s important track weights, beat personal records, and add weight to the bar, but it’s more important to improve the quality of each rep. Focus on perfecting technique and mastering mechanics of the major movements.  This means achieving depth on your squat, staying tight on your deadlift, and performing full chin-ups when you hit the gym. Proper technique on exercises will yield better gains, fewer injuries, and a longer training career—That’s more important than beating your buddy in a bench-off.

Eric’s Recommendation: Take videos of your training. Is your technique up-to-par? Consider hiring a coach to ensure proper technique and optimal quality.

4.    Exercise Order

Proper exercise order is vital for exercise performance and safety. Due to requirements of the nervous system and muscles it’s important to program certain exercises before others. Contrary to many workouts of the day (WOD’s) it’s stupid and dangerous to run 400 meter sprints followed by 15 power cleans and 50 box jumps. That’s recipe for overtraining and injury, not high performance gains. According to the NSCA Essentials of Strength and Conditioning “Compound power and core exercises require the highest level of skill and concentration of all exercises and are most affected by fatigue. Athletes who become fatigued are prone to using poor technique and consequently are at a higher risk of injury. “(Baechle and Earle 390-391) Sounds pretty damn important to me.

Eric’s Recommendation: I recommend the following order for exercises: 1. Dynamic movements: Jumps, sprints, throws 2.Explosive/Power: Power cleans, snatches 3.Compound Strength: Squats, deadlifts, presses, pulls 4.Compound/higher rep/hypertrophy: Squats, deadlifts, presses, pulls 5. Isolation work: Curls, calf raises, leg extensions 6. Conditioning  

5. Free Weights Over Machines

Beginners head straight for machines when they enter the gym. It’s completely understandable. Easy to use instructions, change weight with a small pin, and a place to rest in between sets (I hope not). Despite their convenience most machines are pieces of crap. Why? Machines lock the body into place during movement patterns, which removes real-world carry over.  Although you can use more resistance on machines the arms and legs are writing checks the body can’t cash. Your body doesn’t know how to use the strength or muscles in movement because the supporting parts of the body aren’t fit to handle the load. Essentially, you’re placing a jet engine in a go-cart with no steering wheel. At some point the body has to give.

Eric’s Recommendation: Machines won’t kill you, but they will not yield optimal results. There’s nothing that can be accomplished on a machine that can’t be trained more thoroughly with bodyweight, dumbbells, and barbells. Avoid them. 

6.    Feel Versus Real

I stole borrowed this term from Loren Landow. If you don’t feel an exercise it doesn’t mean nothing is happening. Conversely, because an exercise is extremely difficult it doesn’t mean it’s creating any actual change. Pick your battles and train for performance. Pain and soreness may result from a tough workout, but they should not be your primary focus in training.

7.    Loading, Reps, Sets, and Volume

Regardless of your goal training for strength and performance yields the best results. Especially with weight training beginners it’s imperative to build a big strength base for better development of all other physical qualities. This is the typical order I use with my clients. 

1.   Dynamic movements: Jumps, sprints, throws

Proper dynamic warm up, three to five sets of three to five reps for activation. More specifics are needed for sports performance, but that’s beyond the scope of this article.

2.     Explosive/Power: Power cleans, snatches, jumps

 Two warm up sets followed by three to five sets of three to five reps. Keep load moderately heavy, but never to failure.  

3.    Compound Strength: Squats, deadlifts, presses, pulls

Pick a couple major movements and perform three to six sets of one to six reps. These should be heavy and difficult, but not past failure. If you can’t perform with good form it’s too heavy.

4.    Compound/higher rep/hypertrophy

 Pick one or two movements and perform two to four sets of eight to fifteen reps. These should be moderately difficult but not failure.

5.    Isolation work

 Pick one or two movements and perform twelve to twenty reps for two or three sets. Incomplete recovery can be used and near-failure is fine. Don’t go overboard, this is icing on the cake.

Eric’s Recommendation: Per the explanation above there is some variability in exercise selection and loading. Place your focus on the explosive and compound strength exercises, they are responsible for at least 80% of your results. Program hypertrophy and isolation work sparingly to bring up weak points.

8.    Warm-Up

Jumping right into a workout without a thorough warm-up is recipe for injury. Take 10 minutes and get it done, no excuses! Warm-ups should incorporates active stretching techniques, sport-specific movements, and neural activation exercises. These modalities are performed to mimic the movement-specific demands of the activity, address movement deficiencies, increase core and ligament temperature, stimulate the nervous system, increase stability, and activate proprioceptors (Yauss and Rotchstein, 2011). In other words, the warm-up should mimic target key movement patterns and muscles that will be trained during your upcoming session.

Eric’s recommendation: watch this=>  Agile 8 by Joe DeFranco. Or try this: Here’s a sample lower body day: 1×10/each

  • Walking knee hug
  • Cradle walk
  • Forward lunge
  • Reverse lunge w/reach
  • Spiderman’s
  •  Sub-Scap Push-Ups
  • Body Weight Squats

 Your warm-up doesn’t need to be complicated, but it can’t be neglected.

It’s a Wrap

There is a ton of information out there for beginning weightlifters; unfortunately, that’s part of the problem. By giving you the knowledge and principles on how the best bodies are built you’re now armed with the tools to maximize your time in the gym. The basics are best whether you’re a 55 year old female hittin’ the gym for the first time or a high school athlete trying to get bigger, faster, and stronger.  

Join the Discussion on Facebook:

 

Down with fads,  it’s time to base training around time-tried principles and knowledge for the best results.

 

Citations:

Baechle, Thomas, and Roger Earle. Essentials of Strength and Conditioning. 3rd. Champaign, Il: Human Kinetics , 2008. 390-391. Print.

Yauss, B. and Rotchstein, A. (2011). The acute and chronic benefits of movement prep for the soccer athlete. NSCA’s Performance Training Journal, 10, 3, 1116.

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