Because I love physical culture, and you do too, here is a gem that was written over a hundred years ago by one of the greatest strongmen that ever lived, Arthur Saxon. You will notice how some things come full circle, but every time they come around, hopefully we make them just a little better and don't take away from the original beauty.There are so many eye opening parts of this book that make you realize that what we think we are inventing today, was already introduced a long time ago. Some things have been lost, but thanks to those old time strength and mustache lovers these pages have been preserved for you to enjoy.
One last thing, Zach Even-Esh is having a sale on his Underground Strength Conference 2012
and it ENDS tonight at midnight. There are so many amazing things about this conference that will help your training AND your business skyrocket to the next level. Check out what some people are saying about it...
I’m so fired up this morning I can’t even describe it.
Been watching and downloading the USC until 2a.m.
This is by far the best product I’ve seen so far on the
facets of attitude, commitment, success, business AND life.
No, I’m not getting payed by Zach or anything.
This is just great stuff.
Funny thing – I’m not even in the
fitness industry. hahaha…
Brendan Gilliam kicked it so hard last
night for me I woke up at 6.30am and was ready to go.
Kicked in half of MURPH before my
morning coffee (25pullups, 150squats, 100pushups,
100KBswings, 25pullups), and I’m rokin.
Getting stuff done, moving negative stuff
out of the way, kicking it. Yeah!"
- Sven -Get the Underground Strength Conference 2012 HERE
Success Comes In MANY Forms & Has NO Boundaries
Lessons Learned From The First Ever
Underground Strength Conference
At the first ever Underground Strength
Conference I was struck by how different
the line up of Coaches were.
Every presenter was a certified
Underground Strength Coach except one.
One Coach was running his business primarily
from an 800 sq ft
warehouse along with some training off
site at the local park and inside
a car dealership. Yes, you read that correctly.... a car dealership.
He was cranking everything from boot camps,
to athlete strength & conditioning programs,
to youth athletes, to ex athletes and more.
This Coach maximized his tiny space and
leveraged every person and opportunity
that walked through his doors.
He even started his business the week after Thanksgiving when
every news channel was hyping the downfall of our economy
a few years ago.
The news channels were insisting that everyone lock themselves
in their houses and dare not spend anything
extra even as little as their favorite
cup of Starbuck's coffee.
He refused to listen to the news and the
naysayers, instead, he followed his gut instincts
and his mission that he believed in.
Another Coach, a former Navy SEAL and
his wife, had over 400 members in only 2 years.
5 months after the Underground Strength Conference and
now they have over 500 members.
Do you think you can learn from a Coach who is a former
Navy SEAL with a gym that has OVER 500 members??!!Underground Strength Conference 2012
How does he do this?
Find out inside The Underground Strength Conference!
I'll be back tomorrow with the rest of these
tips so stay tuned for Part II
Till then, get after it and do more for
the people you meet, dial in your mission
and get crystal clear at how you want your
training biz to operate. Underground Strength Conference 2012
One of the many things I learned at the Underground Strength Conference 2012
was learning how to live a more fulfilling life. After the main introduction to the weekend by Zach Even-Esh, Jason C Brown was invited on stage to present on his topic and discuss what happiness and success means to him, and how we can all benefit from his evolution as a trainer, successful business owner, family man and athlete. This are just a few quick observations form listening to him, and it is only about 1/10th of the entire weekend.
You will never have to work or be forced to do anything if you engage in activities that bring you pleasure regularly. Find time for play, and make your work playtime as well. Resistance to do your job will be eliminated and thus you will have less friction. Less friction means more momentum. More momentum is more productivity and success.
Having a purpose means you will always have a strong reason why you are doing something. Without that strong "WHY?" it will always be easy to put things aside and procrastinate doing what needs to be done. Purpose is the pathway to high performance. What drives your lifestyle? Dig deep inside yourself and discover what your driving force is, and let that be your guide. Difficult times won't be as hard to push through when your purpose is set in stone. Remember, it's not what you're selling, it's what you stand for.
What do you want to be good at? What are you doing to make yourself better?
How are you practicing living a more fulfilling life? Are you doing the same things that bring no results? Do you dread the boring mundane rituals of your life? Learn how to practice being more successful, stop rushing and quantifying everything, and find joy in practicing the things that you do everyday. Do you want to be more fit, do you practice training and eating well? You want to make more money, what are you practicing in those areas...
Many people focus only on the end result so much that they lose focus on the process and the experience that is going on in their lives. Don't get so caught up in looking so far down the path that you neglect the beauty that is right under your nose. Amazing things are happening everyday that transform your life and can propel you to greatness, but if you're too focused on only long term goals, you will miss great opportunities that can open your eyes up to amazing things.
You do not have to be in a specific place to be successful. You can make due with wherever you are and make the best of your current situation. The grass is not always greener on the other side. Embrace the beauty of what you have and where you are, you could be sitting on a gem but don't see it because its stuck up your ass.
You must be willing to put in your time and devote your energy into becoming better than you are. There are no quick fixes, be patient and persistent with your purpose. Consistently drive forward with your passion and focus on your development, this will ensure long term growth and success.
Do you have a plan of where you want to be in a year?
Decide what it is you want, why you want it, and write down everything that needs to be done to make it happen. What do you want your legacy to be? What are you doing differently now that you weren't doing before? What's unique about your direction? What are you doing to change your life, or change other peoples lives for the better?
The world does not need another tutorial or exercise prescription, the secrets out (we have YouTube). We need more inspiration, motivation and direction. Most people know what to do, they just need the direction and motivation to get going.
Learn how to experience more pleasure, evolve for the better and enjoy life to the max. Embrace your unique abilities and discover your path. Don't resist growth or you will stress yourself out.
In one year, what will it take for you to be truly happy?
I am so excited right now. A few months ago I was asked to be a guest presenter at Zach Even-Esh's Underground Strength Conference 2012
. I went and I delivered! I presented right after The Ultimate Warrior! That's right, the WWE wrestling icon from the 80's! He rocked the house and I blew shit up! As did everyone else in attendance that weekend. We had Elliott Hulse, Jason C Brown, Smitty, Dax, Brenden, Quattro Deuce, Zach and so many more. Zach filmed the entire event and has it all ready to go, over 10 hours of mind blowing strength and business information. This is great for athletes, coaches and gym owners who want to take their business to the next level. Check out this information and let me know what you think. I swear, this was the best strength seminar/conference I have ever been to.
If you’ve ever needed a swift kick in the ass with a heavy dose of TRUTH, these Coaches bring it BIG time.
Everything from mindset, to training methods, to business & marketing strategies to overcoming obstacles is discussed in detail. The theme of this Underground Strength Conference was about bringing the TRUTH.
You’ve heard about me reiterating the importance of “Live The Code” and every Coach who stood before this sold out crowd did exactly that, delivering the ups and the downs, the good times and the bad, the strategies used to overcome adversity and grow a kick ass business along with plenty of laughs in between.
The information that was shared and taught during The First Ever Underground Strength Conference was intense
, pushing everyone who attended to a level they’ve never been inspired to go to before, now it’s YOUR turn.
It’s what my buddy and I always say to one another before we speak in front of a crowd because we pull NO punches when we present….. We tell it like it is, so we always say…..
I recently had the amazing opportunity to have conversations with 10 different strength coaches from all over the world. I recorded the conversations on Skype, and blended the first topic in to this first installment below. There will be two more installments with this particular group of coaches with two different topics. Stay tuned for that in the near future. I apologize for any technical difficulties with the video, some brief snippets are not perfect, but hang tight and it gets better. Post any questions or comments and let me know what you like, dislike, or possibly what topics or coaches you would like to hear from in the future. Hope you enjoy the video.
Before we start the video, here are some comment from the coaches that sparked the conversations in the first place.
What is the most important factor/quality when training for improved performance?
Relative Body Strength & Strong Skills in basic gymnastic drills and movements such as pull ups, rope climbs, muscle ups, cart wheels, round offs, tumbling, back extensions (back roll + handstand) and explosive jumping ability.
Overall work capacity - the ability to maintain high levels of strength, speed & explosive power
Mental Toughness - the ability to remain committed and focused when things are tough AND when the chips are down.....
Overall, a blend of athleticism means a balance of strength, explosive power, movement ability (gymnastics) and mental toughness. Zach Even-Esh - Underground Strength Coach
Underground Strength System Deluxe
Fundamentally, we must be able to breathe properly as a precursor for all movement. Unfortunately, immobility and poor posture, along with inefficient clavicular breathing, sets up the less than optimal scenario for stability through a desired movement pattern. If we can improve our posture, mobilize our hips and upper back, and re-establish deep-belly breathing - we will develop the foundation needed to create strength, power and optimal movement for any athlete.James Smith - Diesel Strength & ConditioningAccelerated Muscular Development
- The most important factor when training for improved performance is to select exercises and movements that train the athlete (person) slightly outside the range of motion required for their sport/activity. This will add a safety valve to their movement to protect them for injury when things go wrong.
- Another factor to keep in mind when training for improved performance is that technique level must remain high. Since you are training your nervous system for improved performance it does not make sense to pattern poor movement or bad technique.
- Jon Haas - www.warriorfitness.org
Obvious - For me the first and foremost thing is safety. Safety is number one, and it doesn't take too many youtube clips to realise a lot of coaches don't agree with me on this one. The way I see it, what's the bloody point if a client can deadlift 200kgs today, but has a herniated disc 6 months from now because he wasn't taught properly. So what that translates into is focusing on basic body mechanics first. Teaching them how to move and actually use their body correctly. i.e. tight abs, sqeeze glutes, flat back, thorasitc spine extesion. This foundation is imperative
Non obvious (for some) - The most boring principle of any endeavour to improve; Patience! Yes some people that come into Outlaw Strength Gym are what you would call gifted athletes, and will progress rapidly. But the reality is, most are not gifted and need to learn patience if they are to succeed. Personally I fall into this "non-gifted" category, and have had to fight hard for anything I have. I know first hand about being patient and not quiting while striving towards my performance goals. John Wayne Legg - Strength Outlaw
- IMO increasing relative strength ( so many come in weak as fuck),
Mindset- making them believe in themselves when they don't, truly being there Coach all aspects
Prehab- Injury prevention. myself included never payed mind to this and you'll never reach your potential at all
- Lou Torres - triumph-strength-project.com
The most important factor to training for improved performance is setting the stage for the organism/athlete to succeed. If they're not mobile enough then they're going to be held back. If they're not strong enough, then they're going to be held back. If they're injured, they won't train optimally. If they don't understand what and why they're doing it, then they aren't going to train optimally. Obviously a lot of these things can be worked on as part of the process, but if there are glaring holes in the foundation then the entire plan will be hindered.
The next important factor, which somewhat aligns with the above point is to constantly be making weak points (which will vary widely depending on the specific athlete and the demands of their sport) into strong points while forging ahead with basic strength. In 95% of athletes, continuing to improve base strength will improve performance. To take them to the next level, both in strength and performance, will be "playing weak point leapfrog".Isaac Wilkins - Beyond the Barbell
The #1 thing a beginner or younger athlete needs to be able to do first and foremost, is learn to move, control, and be aware of what his/her body is doing at all times.
This is accomplished by performing movements and exercises such as animal walks, tumbling exercises (i.e. shoulder rolls, cartwheels, handstand holds, etc), and basic bodyweight exercises that should be performed exceptionally well.
Only after they are aware of how their body moves and are able to control those movements with some sort of strength and consistency, do we allow them to progress to loaded movements using kettlebells, dumbbells, and sandbags.
The last thing an athlete should touch is a barbell, and for the most part, by if they have been trained correctly, by the time they need to touch a barbell to produce results, they are already a pretty big badass. Just because an athlete is strong in the weight room, does not mean that they are good on the field or have any clue what their body is or needs to be doing at any time during their training or sport. This is why all of our athletes (from the college level down), begin by at least demonstrating their proficiency in animal walks, tumbling and bodyweight movements, before we allow them to train in a loaded state
We always include these movements in every warm-up no matter an athlete’s age, and believe that it is the quickest way to make any athlete better.
As an example, our warm-up this month includes bear crawls, crab walks, shoulder rolls, handstand holds, and cartwheels.David Claiborne - Genesis Strength & Conditioning
If I could build a Universal SWOLEdier, I'd start from the ground up. We apply force into the ground through our feet. So I'd make sure I had an athlete with as relatively strong of feet as any other part of the body. Barefoot training as much as possible. Big time!!! From there we'd focus on the powerhouse that allows you to apply maximal force and power output. Your hips and thighs! I don't want any athlete that resembles a lightbulb! All upper body and no lower body will score you a spot on the Jersey Shore, but it will GUARANTEE you will be on your ass too! Whether riding the pine or getting planted by someone who took the time to focus on deadlifts, squats, and plyometrics, if you don't have the size, strength, and power output that these exercises deliver, you're S.O.L.!!! Same thing applies to the upper body...Don't just focus on building size with bodybuilding. Work on max strength and increased power output in your core lifts as well. If you combine for size, strength, and speed in both the upper and lower body, we're getting somewhere!!! But you still need these last 3 items in order for you to learn how to REALLY donkey stomp your competition...one would be grip strength...yea, grip strength!
Whether you're latching down on an opponent or shaking someones hand, make sure you make them remember who you are by doing a lot of grip work. Two would be just to increase your stamina...It's not enough to be strong and explosive in the first half of your competition. You have to be just as fresh at the end as you were in the beginning! You gotta be a finisher!!! Lastly, you gotta make sure you are mentally tough. I'd rather have a 7 that gives me his all than a 10 that half asses and quits when things get tough...Put all of these variables together and you have yourself a merchant of death!!! Someone that will beat the competition into submission then steal his girlfriend!!! A WINNER!!!Chandler Marchman - Swole Patrol
Mental toughness Is an important factor and quality with performance training. There's gonna be time you want to quit and days you don't want to do it. But if you are mental tough and have the intestinal fortitude you show up and ght it done every damn day.Jeremy Werner - Fit Body Bootcamp
Train Optimally Not Maximally- ( You need to put in the work, but many advanced athletes run themselves into the ground. They either do too much too soon, workout too frequently, have too much volume or they train so intense that form goes to shit. Use just as much intensity that is need to achieve the desired training result in order to maximize recovery. Always quality over quantity. Work hard and smart to get the best results)
If you run with the lame you will develop a limp- (Quote from Louie Simmons. You need to surround yourself with people who are bigger, stronger and smarter than you.
Your crew will elevated you to a whole new level. They will call you out when you aren't working hard enough, tell you if you are using shit form, and keep you on track. On the flip side if you are the strongest and smartest in the group you won't be pushed to the next level.Another similar quote I heard which is more applicable to business is if you are the smartest person in the room you are in the wrong room.) John Gaglione - Gaglione Strength
Most important factor in improving performance? A willingness to suffer. Some may confuse this quality with mindset but I believe that to those of us engaged in combative or contact sport would go one step further and, on perhaps a more maniacal level, actually say that a purposefully measured amount of suffering becomes a requisite to a GREAT workout.
Now, don't mistake SUFFERING for PAIN - there is a difference
. The difference, in my opinion, is in the intelligence of programming. Pain is the body's way of warning of the possibility of impending injury and is a warning to be heeded.
Sufferable workouts are the kind of workouts that challenge you to become better in mind, body and spirit once you emerge out the other side.Chris Reed - Empire Fitness
1 - Concentrating too much on making the exercises too "fancy" or too "functional" and forgetting about the performance impact of basic core movements.
2 - Knowing the definition of YOUR (or your client's) performance, and programming accordingly. Programming for a swimmer is different than performance for a powerlifter.
3 - (depending on sport) Including some sort of hypertrophy training
. Coaches tend to get so wrapped up in strength by itself, that they forget about training for mass, which in most cases CAN increase strength/performance as well.Chris Lopez - Jersey Strength Pit
This is a guest post from Joe Meglio
, the Jersey Bandit, The Beast Coast Breaststroker, The Not So New Kid On The Block, the Bieber Fever Believer, The Deadlift Denominator, The Slayer Player, The Zach Even-Esh Liquefier, The Mid-Atlantic Fiber Frosted Fruitcake Flinging Flabergaster, The Bitchin Banana Hammock Hootenanny Host, the dude who has a bigger pull than you! When someone with ten badass nicknames talks, you listen. You're on, Joe...
One of the biggest problems I see in high school and college athletes is their off season training program. Too often I see high-level athletes performing the WRONG exercises. Instead of focusing on the basic exercises that have been proven to work, they focus on these gimmicky exercises that don’t improve athletic performance.
Simply put, you don’t have time to waste in the gym doing exercises that might work. Focus on the basics, as they are proven to deliver the best results. If I ask you why you are doing a specific exercise and you don’t have a legitimate answer, then scrap it.
When it comes to choosing the best strength exercises, you need to consider training economy, getting the most bang for your buck. As an athlete you need to spend time and energy developing your positional skills.
In this post I will focus on the ‘Top 5 Lower Body Strength Exercises’ for athletes. While jumps, medicine ball throws and sprints are critical to developing rate of force development and explosiveness, it is really useless unless you have a solid foundation of strength.
Here are the Top 5 Lower Body Exercises For Athletes:
Trap bar deadlifts are an awesome exercise for you to strengthen your entire posterior chain. While conventional or sumo style deadlifts are great, trap bar deadlifts are easier to learn and very effective when done properly. Trap bar deadlifts are also less taxing on the body than traditional deadlifts.
When you do trap bar deadlifts, make sure you are sitting back and are keeping the tension on your hamstrings. Do not turn it into a squat.
I am sure you have heard 1,000 times that squats are the king of all lower body exercises and should be a staple in your training program. There is no denying that but a better question is what type of squats should you do? While some coaches prefer back squats, I find front squats to be superior for a few reasons
. Front squats are much easier on the lower back because there are less compressive forces on the spine when compared the back squat. In addition to this the trunk is engaged much more in front squats compared to back squats.
Not to mention, you will have easier time learning front squats compared to back squats because it is much easier to maintain a neutral spine and upright torso in the front squat. Front squats can be done with kettlebells, sandbags or a barbell.
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Popularized by Bret Contreras, hip thrusts are the best way to train the glutes. Simply put, if you want to run faster, jump higher or do any explosive athletic movement, you need to have strong glutes.
Check out the video of Bret Contreras breaking down proper technique on the hip thrust. Also check out his report on Dispelling the Glute Myth.
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Hooray for the Glute Guy, Bret Contraras!!!
Unilateral leg training is critical to your performance because all athletic movements require you to produce force off of one leg. Think about anytime you go to make a cut on the football field, go up for a layup or dunk on the basketball court, or range to your right to field a ground ball on the baseball diamond.
Front loaded reverse lunges place a greater emphasis on the core compared to other unilateral leg exercises where you are holding the weigh at your side or on your back. Another major benefit of this exercise is it will improve your hip stability and help you overcome muscular imbalances caused from your sport.
Matty couldn't let everyone else have all the fun, he had to throw in at least one video of himself. Here is one of his very first videos, doing some front loaded unilateral work (pistols), along with some super sweet kipping pullups. For the record, I, Joe Meglio, think Matty is the dopest fucker out there, yo! (ok ok, Matt wrote this, I'm sure you're fooled)
The prowler and sled are awesome tools because of their effectiveness and their versatility. They can be used for many different goals and can be good for beginner athletes all the way to the professional rank.
The prowler is a great way to improve work capacity and general physical preparation. You can also load the prowler up with super heavy weight and push it for shorter distances to improve lower body strength with minimal stress on your joints. And finally, the sled and prowler can also be used as a rehabilitation tool when you are recovering from an injury and you need to do low impact exercises.
While there are a ton of other great lower body exercises, these are my go to ones because they work! In the next part of this installment I will share my top 5 upper body exercises for athletes.
If you want a program specifically designed to increase your athleticism and transform you into a freak athlete, check out my Lift Like A Man Training Course
This is the exact system I use to get my athletes bigger, faster and stronger.
I snagged a snippet of Robb Wolf and Greg Everett discussing Carb Back-Loading on the Paleo Solution Podcast. He is much smarter than I in many areas, especially nutrition, endocrinology, and geometrical algorithms. So, when I have nutrition issues and seek advice, he is one of the guys I go to. Listen to the entire podcast here
, or click the video below for this particular segment on CBL.
If you want to make a change, click the link to check out CBL
and when you decide to get it, you will get my Athletic Domination Program
for FREE to ensure you get the best possible results you are looking for. All you have to do is follow the 3 steps provided. By clicking the link, you will be directed to a page that explains what CBL is, and how it can benefit you. That's the nutrition plan, I have the training program for you to follow along.
1. Use the link provided
, and send your receipt for CBL to my email - email@example.com with the subject line CBL, say hello
2. comment on the blog
3. share the blog post on Facebook
and I will give you my Athletic Domination Program for FREE!
It's that easy, enjoy your new training program, strength & athleticism and ripped body!
It's the conundrum that every athlete battles and wants to overcome: how to get leaner, stronger, faster, increase work capacity and look like Hercules. There's a million different systems out there, but actions speak louder than words. Many people have empty promises, hide behind keyboards and textbooks, and have little or nothing to prove their results. If you follow me at all, you already know what I do, now you can discover better HOW I do it. All the secrets are out there, kids, I am not pretending to be the inventor of any super secret Russian Spetznaz training system, I simply stick to tried and true basic guidelines that have worked for countless athletes and relay the information to you in a simple and easy to follow program. The only thing left is for you to decide that you want to achieve greatness and follow the plan with consistency and dedication. If you can follow directions and put in the effort, you can and WILL be successful and reach your full potential. It's not about trying to out-do anyone else, it's about being the very best you can be. We all have our limits. Are you reaching yours? Ask yourself if you are ready to simplify your process and accelerate your progress. If you're sick of all the bullshit that brings little or no results, kick your training and lifestyle in to high gear, get motivated and pursue greatness like you haven't experienced before. I tell you no lies, if you are not 100% happy with where you are, then make a decision to change for the better. Check out the video and see our special offer below.
Many people are overweight because they lack discipline. Therefore, weight loss is not something I choose to specialize in. I have no desire to work directly with people who do not enjoy or want to work hard. I keep things simple and live with passion. I like training for strength, usefulness and improved ability. If that sounds like you, I want you to check this out. When training to increase athletic ability and get jacked, you need a solid training program nutritional guidelines that support your goals. I have the perfect solution for you!Carb Back Loading (CBL)
is the nutrition plan I have been following with my training program and it has been working like gangbusters. I'm not trying to sell you on a bunch of bullshit, my integrity is in tact. I am only trying to share with you what I feel is the best nutrition and training plan available, I believe in it, and I stand by it. I have trained with and learned from some of the best coaches in the industry. Powerlifting from Dave Tate, gymnastics from Coach Sommers, strength, muscle building and athleticism from Smitty Diesel and Zach Even-Esh, and I want to share this information with you. Big weights and progressive body weight training in conjunction with appropriate conditioning is they key to physical success.
If you want to make a change, click the link to check out CBL
and when you decide to get it, you will get my Athletic Domination Program
for FREE to ensure you get the best possible results you are looking for. All you have to do is follow the 3 steps provided. By clicking the link, you will be directed to a page that explains what CBL is, and how it can benefit you. That's the nutrition plan, I have the training program for you to follow along.
As always, any questions you may have, post up and I will help you out.
We hear the same bullshit all the time.
Whats the best set and rep range to develop...
I don't have...
How can I do...
I'm so busy, I don't have time to...
We are master's of making excuses, over thinking, and under doing.
Shut up! Stop making excuses and start getting more done, eliminate the high skill stuff when you start to get paralyzed by over thinking things, stop trying to be perfect, criticizing other people and over analyzing every last detail and put more effort into just getting shit done. You'll have more fun and you'll see better results. I'm not saying that proper programming isn't important, because it is very important. But, if you do nothing because you don't have the perfect plan, the best equipment, or have enough time to get to the gym, you'll achieve nothing. There is always five minutes for you to so SOMETHING to make yourself better. Keep it simple, don't think, just do...
On another note... we are running a special on my new favorite nutrition resource, Carb Back-Loading
. Many people have been asking me about diet, nutrition, best time of day for this and that. Well, here is a great book written with the strength athlete in mind. Getting stronger, building muscle and burning fat simultaneously has never been so accessible and easy to understand. Clicking the link to check out Kiefer's CBL
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and I will forward you my Training for Athletic Domination Program. Its a 16 week progressive strength and athleticism program designed to get the average guy strong, fast and explosive and
- like and share the link on Facebook
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Get CBL now, send me the receipt to the address below, and I will forward you Athletic Domination FREE! It's that easy!
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It's a question I hear often. "What is the best training program?" While there are many good programs/philosophies, there are certainly many terrible ones as well. There is no single "best" program for everyone, but here are 10 key questions/principles to consider when trying to discover what may be the best plan for YOU. Everybody will have different things that they should focus on more than others, so you can't say precisely which principles are most important because that depends on the individual, but a great program will take most or all of the following into consideration.
It is imperative to have a personal philosophy that represents you and your training style. Your philosophy will define what, why and how you train. You should always be able to answer the question "Why?" when you're training. "Why am I doing this?" That goes for any specific exercise as well as the entire program in general. Without a strong "why", the likelihood of you maintaining any training program beyond a few weeks is minimal. Anyone can start something, but the big results come from the long term follow through. Some people want to lose a few pounds, some want to be able to play with their kids more often, while others want to be the most dominant athlete on the field. It doesn't matter what your "why" is, but it better be damn important to you if you decide to commit to a plan, or you will never reach your potential.
Many people give themselves deadlines, or enter short term challenges. You see it all the time in magazines, 12 week fat loss challenges, 6 week boot camps, last minute weight loss before a wedding, etc. Thats fine to get people started or quick motivation, but too often people see the end of that short term challenge as the end of their training, only to revert to a sedentary lifestyle, turn into a post marital blimp, or end up worse off then when they started. Consider this, your girlfriend is hot and trains her butt off for your upcoming wedding where she stuns the crowd with 119 lbs of hotness, 6 months later she's really comfortable and blows up to 199 lbs of donut licking couch space and is on track to crack 300 by next Christmas. Her "why" was a good wedding album. From here on out you're stuck digging a tunnel from your basement to escape this marriage like Andy Dufresne escaping Shawshank State Prison. I wouldn't say it is about the finish, because hopefully there is no finish. If you have a strong philosophy, then your program is something that you adopt as a lifestyle. Your short term goals will constantly change, but the major goal usually remains the same: become a stronger, healthier, better version of you. How you achieve that is the fun part that requires some thinking, planning and effort. The 10 following principles should help guide your path, discover what is important to you, and help you find the best program for your current goal, which you should already have or define very soon.
Is what you're doing necessary?
Often times we see many people in the gym doing silly or ineffective exercises for several reasons. Maybe they saw it on YouTube and thought it was cool. Maybe it's ignorance, as if thinking that triceps kickbacks are the best way to stamp a horseshoe on your upper arm. Maybe their trainer wrote the WOD on the board so they follow along like a good sheep should. Even though it may potentially be injurious, or have nothing to do with their personal goals, some people unnecessarily perform exercises that either waste their time, don't benefit them, or hurt them. An example would be testing a baseball pitcher's 5000 meter row time. While some workouts or exercises may be hard, some are a waste of time, not beneficial and unnecessary for this particular athletes needs. Make sure that what you are doing is helping you get better and getting you closer to your goals. If it's not, dump it.
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Is what you're doing sufficient?
Evaluate if what you're doing is enough to help you be successful. For years many programs have promised huge results in 20 minutes, 6 minute 6 packs, or 7 second fixes. It's usually bullshit. Now don't get me wrong, I don't think you have to spend hours in the gym daily to get good results. I am actually fond of the minimum effective dose rationale, which means don't do any more than necessary to get a desired response. However, often times these quick fixes and instant promises give people an easy out to not work hard enough to achieve success. They think it is OK to be a pussy, or if they train for longer than 45 minutes their testosterone levels diminish to the point of developing raisin nuts. They basically find any excuse to be soft. Neither Michael Jordan, nor Kobe Bryant dribbled a basketball for 20 minutes 3 days a week to achieve greatness. They were consumed with their goal, and they made it their life. You can change those names to Rockefeller, Will Smith or any other successful person, but you get the point. If what you're doing isn't sufficient to get you moving closer to your goal, maybe you need to change directions or work a little harder.
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Is what you're doing safe?
There's way too many "FAIL" videos on YouTube
to have to explain this one. I love to see people working hard, but if what you're doing is beyond your ability or capacity, the reward is not worth the risk. Let's say you're not particularly skilled at the barbell snatch, it's probably not safe to try and bang out 75 reps as fast as possible in the name of fitness, otherwise be deemed a pussy for eternity. A good coach or program will allow a logical substitute that challenges your current ability and optimizes results while minimizing any unnecessary risk of injury. Not every workout should be the hardest session of your life. Practice more often, test when you're ready to perform safely.
Is your program progressive?
Everyone should start a program with relatively basic and simple movement patterns. It's obvious that we should progress from light to heavier weights over time, but it seems less obvious to some people to master simple movements before training more complex movements. This is usually pigheadedness or ignorance. Some people think they are ready for kipping muscle ups before they can do pullups or dips. Or they try olympic lifting but can't front squat with their elbows up, deadlift with a flat back, or lift their arms straight up over their heads without their spines looking like a banana. A good program utilizes progression with weights, as well as movements. Simply making people use rubber bands for assistance or lifting with only a pvc pipe is often a bad idea. Use exercises that challenge you while allowing you to be successful and help you reach your goals, know your regressions and progressions, and you will advance faster with less pain and minimal stagnation of progress.
Does your program, system or gym hold you accountable for your actions?
Many people get a new workout routine from a book or magazine. Thats cool, but the book does not coach you, correct your form, or call you out when you're late or don't show up. If you're lucky enough to train with a group of like minded people, who have a great attitude and bring positivity to the gym daily, your experience will be better, and you won't want to let anyone down. I don't think anything beats training in a gym with a great, high-energy atmosphere. If there isn't a decent gym near you to train with great people, there are plenty of on-line resources that are great options as well. Tracking your progress in a training journal is huge, whether it be on-line or on paper. Accountability is the absolute best thing about CrossFit and similar style private gyms, everybody there wants to see you and see you succeed. Without a good crew at your gym to keep you accountable, an on-line community, like The Consummate Athlete,
is the next best thing. This type of resource allows you to ask questions about your training and get feedback from people that know what you're trying to do, track your progress, and get better results because you're not going it alone, you have people in your corner rooting for your success.
Is what you're doing sustainable?
You may have the best workout program in the world, hell, it's exactly what Mr Universe did to win his 3rd straight title. You train hard, but the weight or volume is too much for your current ability, or the exercises aren't possible with your poor mobility, or you don't have the right equipment, or not enough time, etc. These types of hurdles will derail your training. Even if it is deemed the perfect plan, if you can not maintain consistency and regularity with your training, you'll go nowhere. What's perfect for one may be junk for another. One of the most important factors in any program is sustainability, you must be consistent with your training if you want to see progress. Find something that works for you and work hard to get better. Don't give up when things get tough, make adjustments and keep moving forward. The best program in the world is the one that motivates you to constantly be better than you were yesterday. A perfect plan on paper means nothing if you aren't putting in the sweat. Find the plan that allows you to train regularly, regardless of your goals or situation, and you will be successful.
Does your program have flexibility?
If your program calls for a particular exercise, but you lack the necessary equipment, knowledge or mobility to perform it correctly, are there appropriate substitutions that would help achieve the desired response? Knowing the proper regressions and progressions are helpful, but, knowing how the body works is most beneficial. Some programs, exercises or gyms are based on specific equipment, like Curves - they do a circuit of machine based exercises- so if you're in a new place and don't have a particular machine, you can't do that exercise. But if you train a movement, you'll always have a logical substitution. It's not about the equipment, it's about YOU! Your body can adapt to anything, but the exercise machine can only do one thing. Adopt a training philosophy that focuses on quality body movement that can be adjusted and adapt to different environments. There may be a place for expensive machines for some people at certain times, but never make any machine the focus of a program or session. If the focus is your body and the movement, you will always have options and flexibility in your program.
Is your training fun?
Unless you train simply for general fitness, I'm not a huge fan of training for entertainment. That's what books, sex, and those little motorized horses outside Wal-Mart are for. Sometimes we see people do things out of boredom, like squat on BoSu balls, slackline snatching, or foolishly chug beers while lifting to get a few cheap YouTube fans
. You should switch things up occasionally to avoid boredom, keep yourself motivated, and most importantly, to stay interested and consistent with your training. But, refrain from silliness that doesn't help you achieve your goals, might get you hurt, or could cause you to be the butt of jokes on the Drywall page
. Remember your "Why?" Trust you me, we will all laugh and make fun of your dumbassedness, and share your idiocy all over the book of faces, guaranteeing that your mother will ignore you at Thanksgiving. If you're an athlete, it's not about entertainment, it's about getting better and staying healthy and on the field to contribute to your cause. Being injured helps noone. Keep the goal the goal and you'll have more fun than everyone else when you win the championship. Train safe, stay focused, make personal records, win every fuckin thing. That's fun.
Does your training have variety?
Some have said that 80% of the benefit comes from 20% of your efforts. Only a few exercises will bring the biggest bang for your buck, but, if you are repeatedly performing the same exercises, with the same weight, in the same set and rep ranges, with the same rest periods, always doing the same thing, you will likely develop some imbalances, weaknesses, and prematurely stagnate your progress. If you are a professional pitcher getting paid millions of dollars to throw a curveball, you can expect some imbalances due to the specific nature of your training and lifestyle. Don't worry, you can afford whatever tool or surgery you'll need to fix yourself later. Make dat money, dawg. For the rest of us athletes, we want to be happy, healthy and horny. A busted shoulder and elbow from overtraining the same things will severely cut in to your morning masturbation sessions. Keep yourself healthy, train with enough variety to eliminate imbalances, keep things interesting, and allow you to make a few extra PR's once in a while. Variety in training is paramount to improve athleticism and maintain balance.
Is your training program focused?
They say variety is the spice of life, but too much spice only leaves you with a burnin butthole. Keep things simple, focus on the meat and potatoes, and add just enough spice to keep things balanced, fun, and motivating. I never heard of a delicious Pumpkin-apple-lemon meringue-key lime- cherry- mince meat- pecan- chocolate mousse- peach cobbler- sweet potato pie. Excessive variety ensures that you won't get enough practice on the few things that bring the most benefit to your training. It's like stepping over a dollar to pick up a dime. Focus on improving only about 3 or 4 things in your training at a time, and try to keep the other attributes from falling too far behind. Only beginners improve everything simultaneously. The better you get, the slower your progress comes and the more focus you need in your training. Train in a way that improves your current abilities and helps you reach your goals, and eliminate the bull shit that has no place in your current system or philosophy.
A lot of these principles may seem redundant, while others seem to contradict each other. The point is to push optimally in one direction without sacrificing too much ground in another. You can't have everything all the time, but you can prioritize what is most important to you right now and you'll achieve great things.Join The Consummate Athlete
today and discover what your current training may be missing get the answers to the problems that are holding you back.
is one of those girls that "gets it". She doesn't focus on the things that aren't important, she puts her energy and training into increased performance, and therefore, she looks amazing and is strong as hell. She is one of the few that I would like to train with, would trust to train me, and would even let her coach my unborn children. That might even be a challenge to see how much she could get a fetus to squat, but we will save that for another time. I have been intrigued by her training and philosophy for a long time, mostly because I see a lot of similarities in her and myself. I was really excited about this opportunity to speak with her for a few reasons: 1. she's awesome, and B. more and more women have been asking me about this strength & health shit, so I figured I would get some info straight from the horses mouth, even if Nia seems to be much more like a majestic Unicorn. No more nonsense from me, listen up...