Have a Healthy and Stronger 2019

IMG_6958Christmas is getting so close and I plan to let my hair down, eat what I want and enjoy myself with family. I hope you will too.

I am also looking forward to January though, when it’ll be time to put focus back on health and fitness Fitstrong Brisbane.

On Monday 7th I’ll be kicking off our January Challenge with an emphasis on creating better nutritional habits and following a simple but effective training program.

Random workouts from Youtube or a magazine are fine if you just want to build up a sweat, but they rarely result in achieving goals. I can proudly say that we follow training plans all year round at FitStrong. These are laid out to address and prioritise specific goals and not just to get tired, sore and sweaty. I could poke you with a stick if that’s the goal!

Our systematic approach is applied to both in-person training at the gym and for online training members.

Okay, back to you now. Ask yourself.

  • Are you committed to improving your fitness and health in 2019?
  • Can you set aside 15, 30 to 45 minutes for yourself daily or 2 to 3 times a week?
  • Have you got a health or fitness goal?
  • Do you want the assistance of a very experienced coach?

If you can answer yes to these, please do consider joining us at FitStrong either as an online member or at our Albany Creek gym. Our training options can meet any budget from $1 a day to more higher ticket detailed packages.

Check out our Online Membership site below:

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If you are ready to take 2019 by the horns and get healthier and stronger, get in touch below and I’ll get back to you with start-up options that won’t break the bank!

How to Maintain Gains Over the Holidays

I’ve been talking a lot recently about the value of sticking to a plan both in terms of a timely routine and working with the big important albeit simple strength moves.

You know: 

  • Squat
  • Hip hinge
  • Push stuff
  • Pull stuff
  • Carry stuff
  • Brace your torso

This does get challenged especially at busy times of the year and not just at Christmas time. The overwhelming feeling of, “sure what’s the point if I can’t do a good 45 minutes in the gym” is all too common a thought and a downfall in maintaining the benefits of exercise. You don’t have to firing on all cylinders all year round and a reductionist style program maintained briefly can help the body rest, progress and give you some mental uplifting too.

I’ve already espoused the benefit of aiming for even a short 10 to 15 minute routine and this week I am doing it again.

Repetition is the mother of all learning.

This week I am supporting the use of three strength moves to practice, with some progressions built-in in case you want to play along and experiment with what a light, medium and harder 15 minute routine could look like… with just three movements.

This light, medium and hard approach is how we build our programs here. We rotate through these relative intensities to provide opportunities to focus on learning and practice, working a bit harder and then perhaps testing the body and progressing forward.

This week let’s look at the:

  1. Inverted Press (for the upper back and shoulders / arms)
  2. Squats (for the backside and thighs etc)
  3. Hip Hinging (for the backside, hamstrings etc)

Here’s the video

Screen Shot 2016-02-05 at 7.44.55 PM

 

Need to ask me something?

 

Disclaimer:

The recommendations and ideas on this post are not medical guidelines, but are intended for educational / interest purposes only. You must consult your doctor prior to starting a new exercise program, if you have any medical condition or injury that contraindicates physical activity.

 

Strong is ability

Strong isn’t a size, it’s ability. 

All too often you’ll hear rebuttals to strength training from prospective clients or other adult pops with quotes like, “I don’t want to get all muscly” or, “I’m not a strength athlete, I just want to be fitter”!

I love both of these reasonings for not making strength training part of ones life, not because I agree, quite the contrary; but because I love to explain the why. The ‘why’ we do need strength training in our lives.

Firstly, the whole growing big muscles by partaking in strength training twice or maybe three times a week  for the average adult just isn’t going to result in a Popeye type explosion of all over muscle growth.

Popeye1

Muscle growth occurs with repeated high stress training for multiple sets, repeating a strength exercise to the point of muscular fatigue or momentary failure.

Strength training practice requires the exposure of high tension to muscles with maximum control but not to momentary muscular failure. 

Apart from this important factor that differentiates muscle growth training to muscle strength training; youth, great nutrition, great sleep, minimum stress, natural hormones in abundance are all required to accompany the high stress training protocols. For most of us, we’re not going to train moderately and burst into a behemoth overnight, or even after a years solid training. In reality to boot, even if you were to gain 10kg of muscle, you wouldn’t really notice it in the mirror as huge growth. You’d see a bit of muscle shape and improved posture in most cases.

In any case, don’t worry about strength training adding vast lumps of meat to your frame, it just isn’t that easy. Even for the average dedicated gym bro, adding muscle following the precise muscle gain protocols is a very challenging job.

Now then, as for the other perception that strength is for athletes, well it just isn’t. I wish I could just leave this as it is but my point warrants further explanation.

Let’s start by looking at those who believe that practicing some form of strength training is not for them or wasn’t for them; let’s look at the elderly. Frail, weak, dependant on a stick, a frame, other people or aids to carry out the most basic of fundamental human tasks, it should be obvious that people in this boat could have benefitted greatly from even the simplest weekly strength training practice.

Many hospital ‘incarcerations’ for the elderly patient occur as an outcome of a fall, when weak and brittle bones succumbed to the impact or dislocations or muscle tears resulted. We all run the risk of tripping and falling in life but having the resilience to cope is part choice and part luck.

The choice component comes from choosing to be proactive throughout our lives in regards to staying active, mobile and strong. Isn’t this a definition of ‘fitness’, being fit for our lives and all that it throws our way?

Being stronger not only safe-guards us and makes us more resilient, it makes us more able and capable.

Ask yourself this question:

On your death bed in many, many years, would you regret being strong and able or would you regret being weak and prone to pain and injury? 

Heading into the new year soon, maybe you’re thinking of taking up ‘getting strong and more mobile’. To draw this post to an end, I’d like to offer you a FREE 5 day course for home use, which will take you through some key movements to start first off addressing moving better.

click here

Check it out and if you’ve any further questions or you’re ready to start getting stronger, get in touch.

Keen to learn more about training with me online?

Check out our Online Membership below.

fitstrong membership subscription#7

Nothing Wrong With Taking It Easy!

We get bombarded with messages from commercial fitness that we need to hit the gym and hit if hard or, like, what’s the point?

Now, before you start to think I’m wimping out in my old-age, I’m not saying to take every exercise session as a doddle in the park. Yes, sometimes you have to get a little bit uncomfortable, but not every time you exercise.

Today I’ll share a routine where I start with our simple daily mobility movements and then move onto just a little bit of waking up for the big body parts. As I explain, I could move onto more strength focussed moves afterwards, or I could just get on with my day. Stick to your plan. Oh, you do have a plan don’t you? If not, see me after class!

Follow along with the video to get your day off to a good start.

 


 

IN OTHER NEWS

I am looking for people who want to avoid the gym and exercise from the comfort and convenience of your own home.

Save your precious time, listen to music you want to listen to and follow specialised programs for busy people. Members of FitStrong Online follow what they can when they can. From as little as 10 mins to as much as 4 blocks of 10 mins. It’s your choice… and it’s just $1 a day!
FitStrong Online Membership offers: 

👉🏻Ongoing training programs
👉🏻Bodyweight and Kettlebell focus
👉🏻Teaching videos for all the major exercises
👉🏻Live training sessions 😀
👉🏻Efficient 10 minute workouts
👉🏻Currently 28 different programs – potentially 42 months worth!!!!
👉🏻6 – 12 Week Challenges
👉🏻NO CONTRACTS. Try a month and cancel if it’s not for you
👉🏻Mobility tips to get less stiff and achy
👉🏻Access to the most successful special programs we’ve delivered
👉🏻Q&A opportunities at the tap of a button
👉🏻Nutrition and Lifestyle guidance
👉🏻Accountability Calls

Interested? 

To check out the membership site, click below.

click here

 

The ‘Priority’ Kettlebell Complex

Did you know it’s totally ok to have only a short amount of time to train and to have training priorities and to expect results?

Usually time constraints mean you have to sacrifice moving forward towards gaining results in strength and fitness and have to instead make do with maintaining, or practicing. These latter two are of course vital aspects of continuing training but it’s commonly accepted that moving forward is only possible with detailed and lengthy training sessions. While this is true for big goals, you can still up your press, squat, cleans and swing strength with this simple Priority Stacked Complex.

A complex if unfamiliar, is a set of more than 2 exercises carried out back to back without resting the weight on the floor. An example would be performing cleans, moving straight to push presses and moving straight onto to performing front squats.

You can of course organise the sequence of the individual exercises to prioritise one exercise over the others. An example here would be performing more of the push press whilst carrying out fewer of the other movements.

A stacked complex is what I call a complex that grows per set by adding on a new additional exercise. I stack on a new exercise to practice after the first and prioritised exercise. In essence, the first exercise performed is the priority, the second is second priority and the final is least. All based on the total volume you’ll amount over the rounds.

The below routine demonstrates this idea.

The Priority Stacked Complex

Note: the 3 sets = 1 round.

Day 1.

  • Swing,
  • Swing, clean and press
  • Swing, clean and press, squat
  • Rest as needed before repeating

Day 2.

  • Clean and press
  • Clean and press, swing
  • Clean and press, swing, squat
  • Rest as needed before repeating

Day 3.

  • Squat
  • Squat, clean and press
  • Squat, clean and press, swing
  • Rest as needed before repeating

You can see how over the three sets you will perform the same movements but per day you prioritise either the Swing, Clean and Press or Squat.

In a program you could repeat the above round of the stacked complex for a total of 2 to 4 rounds, depending on repetitions. You could decide on working with a single arm / 1 kettlebell or double / 2 kettlebells, dependant on your ability and skill level.

So, let’s look at the repetitions with consideration to goals.

General Work Capacity:

6 to 8 reps of each movement.

This would amount quite a number of total reps on the final set of each round, 24 to 32 repetitions in fact. You would choose a weight that’s not close to your top strength 3 to 5 rep weight – maybe a kettlebell you could perform the weakest exercise of the complex for 10 reps.

General Strength:

5 repetitions of each movement. A conservative number for general strength development. Use a kettlebell you can perform the weakest movement in the complex for 7 reps.

Focussed Strength:

3 to 5 reps for the first / prioritised movement then just 1 for the following. You get to focus on that prioritised lift whilst performing simple practice of the others. Some may say to not bother with the following exercises and instead just perform the focussed exercise. But look, if you are stuck for time, getting any practice of the other moves is time well spent. Specialised programs are fine for a small percentage of the annual schedule and if this isn’t one of those times, keep up whatever practice you can, whenever you can. Use a weight that is 5 to 6 rep max (technical max).

There are lots of ways to build the numbers. I’m not writing this to argue a point but simply to demonstrate one solution. You could even just do singles for each movement in the complex to form a chain of heavy lifts.

Over a 4 week cycle, you could start with general work capacity, then move to general strength, to focussed strength before finishing the cycle with just heavy singles. Just an idea.

The Video below simply demonstrates the sequences listed for Day 1 with 5 reps per movement.

Got any feedback, questions or suggestions? Pop them on the contact form below.

Online Membership is Open

💣3… 2… 1… 💥

… “And the FitStrong Online Membership is Here” 🎉😍

Yep, there’s been heaps of chitter-chatter from yours truly recently about the start of our New Online Membership – the place where all of our training programs will be hosted. Whether you want to move better to get less stiff and achy or you want a pure kettlebell program or maybe you’ve got no equipment and prefer quick bodyweight only workouts – they are all inside awaiting some attention.

So, here’s a run-down for ya’ll:

👉🏻 Monthly training programs
👉🏻 Bodyweight and Kettlebell focus
👉🏻 Efficient 10 minute workouts
👉🏻 6 – 12 Week Challenges
👉🏻 Mobility tips to get less stiff and achy
👉🏻 Teaching videos for all the major exercises
👉🏻 Access to all the big successful programs we’ve delivered over the years and my 22 years experience!!
👉🏻 Q&A opportunities at the tap of a button
👉🏻 Live training sessions 😀
👉🏻 Nutrition and Lifestyle guidance
👉🏻 Accountability Calls

What else can you get for $1 a day?

fitstrong membership subscription

Click above to go directly to the New Online Membership Site

Kettlebell 10 Min Plan

I’ve been talking a lot recently about solutions for anyone who’s stuck for time to exercise. We all get those times of the year when our days get eaten up with life ‘stuff’. Oftentimes if we haven’t got 45 to 60 minutes we think there’s no point in trying to do a training session… after all, ‘what can you possibly do in 10 to 15 minutes’?

If you’re a kettlebell fan, there are certainly lots of options. I will be going into much more detail on our new Online Membership that goes on release tomorrow but for today, you’ll find a simple 10 minute routine below… it’s in real time so you can follow along if you like.

The PLAN

  • 1 or 2 kettlebells
  • Start each set Every Minute On the Minute (EMOM)
  • Rotate between the Clean and Press, the Front Squat and the 1 Arm Row

So in brief, each minute you start a set and rotate each exercise. It’s a circuit of minimalism. Now, there is roughly 30-40 secs rest between each exercise set but keep in mind that there are minutes between each specific exercise (from squat set to squat set etc).

Today I was working on a medium effort day, so I worked with kettlebells that felt 70% to me for 4 reps. A hard day may be more like 6-8 reps each and an easy day would be something like just 2 of each.

That is exactly how we schedule sessions. An Easier day, a Harder day and a Medium day.

Anyhoo, here’s the action oh, and sorry about absence of sound during a particular section. Youtube doesn’t like background music which I forgot to turn off – “oops”!

 

Would you interested in joining our membership online?

Just $1 a day for:


👉🏻 day by day training programs
👉🏻 short 10 minute workouts
👉🏻 mobility tips to get less stiff and achy
👉🏻 teaching videos for all the major movements we use and need
👉🏻 access to all the big successful programs we’ve delivered over recent years
👉🏻 Q&A opportunities at the tap of a button
👉🏻 live training sessions 😀

What can you get for $1 a day?

 

➡️ Here’s the membership site link ⬅️

FREE Week of Training

To promote, celebrate and demonstrate a little bit of the new FitStrong Online Membership programming concept, I’ve got a FREE week of training up for grabs.

The main goal of the membership is to offer a solution to people who are stuck for time and need something to follow to stay on top of their health and fitness.

While 10, 20 or 30 minutes of exercise isn’t going to set you up to break any world records, it is going to give you something structured to follow. Compare that with doing nothing and feeling crappy, stiff and weak!

The FREE week of training focuses on 3 essential movements that cover a lot of ground.

Check it out below.

Just click the link ===> Free Weeks Training #thrivein10

The video above talks you through the program and demonstrates the key moves. 

 

If you’re keen to learn more about the membership, please follow this link => FitStrong Online Membership

The FitStrong Online Membership is HERE!

fitstrong membership subscriptionAnd it’s finally here.

The FitStrong Online Membership is just about ready to launch into the world.

But, what is it all about?

The membership is for anyone who:

  • Wants to get less stiff and achy
  • Wants to get stronger for life
  • Is stuck for time
  • Cant always get to a gym
  • Likes to exercise at home
  • Wants to be told what to do, when to do it and how hard
  • Enjoys bodyweight and Kettlebell training

Do you want a simple way to get some ‘you-time’, to get taught how to exercise, with programs you can do anywhere from as little as 10 minutes a day with maybe a couple of kettlebells and a bit of space to move around.

Not everyone who wants to make exercise a frequent part of their life gets the option to visit a personal trainer, or exercise classes at their local gym.

Time restrictions, not knowing what to do in the gym, financial budget and wanting to spend time with family before and after work all make up some of the reasons why going to a gym is not practical for a lot of people. If you do get to the gym though, perhaps deciding what to do is also a drain – one more thing to add to the to-do list!

I’ve been a personal trainer since 1997 and what I’ve experienced as any trainer would tell you, is that session cancellations are all too frequent. Why? Life happens and the client can’t make the appointment or the class.

I love and thrive working face-to-face with people but I also totally respect and understand that life does happen. Kids do get sick, we often have to hang around waiting for the plumber to come fix the drain or the mobile mechanic to come fix the car or you get stuck at work…

So, let’s do away with appointments or having to figure out what to do at the gym if you make it there. Let’s keep your personal trainer and exercise program in your pocket on your smart phone, your computer or even on your smart TV!

The FitStrong Online Membership could be a powerful asset in your life.

The video below shows a virtual tour of the site right now. There are a few finishing touches to make, but for all intent and purposes, it’s ready to rock ‘n roll.

No sales pitch, just a tour.

 

Got any thoughts or questions? Interested to invest just $1 a day on your health, strength and fitness?? Get me below.

How to Incorporate High Intensity Training into Your Week

In part 1 last week [LINK] I talked about how research is finding the commonly used HIIT model of training is resulting in more negative results on our health. Burn out, injuries, overtraining and poor adherence make it unsustainable.

I introduced a new approach labelled High Intensity Repeat Training.

Let’s jump into Part 2.

Here’s a little fitness map I’ve made that illustrates all the ‘stuff’ we should include regularly.

Screen Shot 2018-09-20 at 1.04.21 pm

The main categories include:

  • strength training
  • movement practice
  • cardio.
  • nutrition
  • recovery

There is no one item more important than the other, although I am starting to believe that sleep quality and health overrides everything else.

Of this list, the vast bulk of training is the foundation, the aerobic, easy to moderate stuff. Walking, gentle cycling, housework and gardening. The aerobic cardiovascular development is based on having individuals work within their aerobic threshold as apposed to bouncing off their anaerobic zone during HIIT. Aerobic threshold is defined as the intensity just before the beginning of the accumulation of hydrogen in the body, at an intensity where our body can handle the stress put upon it and use oxygen to create more energy and clear away bi-products of the effort.

Can you recall working out so hard you got a ‘stitch’ pain in your side? That’s the build up hydrogen ions from such high effort that the body can’t clear it quick enough. It’s not sustainable.

An ideal aerobic zone is described by Dr Maffetone as 180 – your age. This is otherwise known as the maximum aerobic function heart rate (MAF HR).

Note: You can go to Maffetone’s website for a more detailed way to determine your MAF HR based on your age, health, and activity level.

Now, let’s get to weekly ideals

Health experts recommend 30 minutes of aerobic activity daily or 3 ½ accumulation per week. This is where you should spend the bulk of your exercise effort. This daily 30 minutes can be seen repeated by health bodies around the world. It’s not the maximum, it’s optimal.

Strength is an important function of being an able bodied human, autonomous throughout life to undertake physical tasks and challenges. Who wants to live frail and weak?

When we strength train, our bodies recover and adapt (keeping a long story short) but recover too long and we regress. We failed to adapt. With recovery rates and regressions in mind, an average adult should aim to strength train twice to three times over a week. Think Monday and Thursday or Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. And yes, you can strength train and perform aerobic activities in one day. You’ll not day. You might get a little tired, but your body will thrive with recovery.

Mobility is the fountain of youth in terms of maintaining healthy movement (yup, even including healthy bowel movements too). We sit, we lie down and we naturally stiffen up a little. To stay on top of mobility, daily practice is prescribed by the worlds leading experts in movement skills. This might mean just 5 to 10 minutes daily of practicing some mobility moves or appropriate stretches.

Sleep. Despite the claims of some people, a body does need 7 to 8 hours sleep at night to promote hormone function for recovery, rejuvenation, organ and muscle recovery and function and brain health.

Nutrition is made out to be confusing. At its simplest, we as humans need daily protein, vegetables, natural sources of carbohydrate, natural fats and water. The exact amounts I’ll not get into here. Where it gets confusing is when people try to fast track their goals, seek out miracle drinks, potions or start to follow extreme guidelines including the removal of complete food groups. If we follow a mostly balanced diet of mostly the ‘stuff’ I mentioned above, most of the time; we’ll be okay.

HIIT. Ah finally. How much is needed if any? Some might not like the following guideline so if I hurt your feelings, suck it up, embrace a fresh outlook and try it to see what happens.

If, and only if, you are able to:

  1. accumulate 3 ½ hours of aerobic activity in the MAF HR (180-age)
  2. sleep every day for 7 to 8 hours
  3. eat a mostly balanced diet
  4. strength train twice a week
  5. practice daily mobility / flexibility …

… then and only then can your body be subjected to the stresses of HIIT training that should take no longer than 5 to 10 minutes.

And here’s a serving suggestions for just that.

Option 1: 30 secs of high effort followed by 30 secs rest x 5

Option 2: 10 secs of high effort followed by 50 secs rest x 10

Option 3: 20 secs of high effort followed by 40 secs of rest x 5-10

You’ll notice option 2 has plenty of rest. This protocol is the hidden gem (well, not any more as i’ve just shared it… oops)

Performing at high effort, your goal is to sustain high quality efforts. Answer me this. If you are performing a high effort followed by short rest, how well will you perform the following high efforts? Will there be a drop in forms, in effort? Is that the goal? Is the goal to repeat high effort or just to repeat feeling terrible?

High Intensity REPEAT Training

Now it’s going to get juicy as I take you into the new world of HIRT.

The best athletes do not do HIIT as you see in gyms and bootcamps. Yes, they do perform high effort training, but if you observe their recovery, it is programmed to allow the athlete to perform repetitively, with the goal of finding the sweetest spot of high performance. Injury rate is reduced too with the sustainable high efforts paired with generous rests.

This is nothing new and was in fact around in the 90s but fell out of vogue due to the perceived sexiness of crushing oneself in front of others for the glory, pride and overcoming feeling terrible.

Look, I’ve been on both sides of this paradigm. The first time I certified with StrongFirst (RKC) I was killing myself with kettlebell swings in the older HIIT style. Yes I did get fitter but also tweaked muscles frequently. As I prepare once again for recertification I’ll be following the HIRT style of training that in fact clients followed last January (2018). It was common to see ladies improve their swing from 12 to 20kg to 24 to 32kg in just an 8 week program.

This too was following just 10 minutes a week.

As a guideline, what we followed was this:

  • 7 swings with a heavy weight followed by at least 50 secs recovery.
  • Pulse levels would increase to approx. 180 – age by the end of each swing set.
  • Recovery was based on allowing the pulse to return to 180 – age – 20
  • As pulse failed to hit 180 – age, if it wasn’t due to fatigue, the weight was increased.

You could try this with any exercise you are competent in. You must not fear the weight or the tool. Just commit, rest, repeat for 5 to 10 minutes and leave it for another 5 to 7 days.

The conclusion

I don’t know truely know when and where the idea started that we must suffer to develop healthy fitness. Science tells us it’s not a valid method to improve healthy fitness. The media sensationalise high effort and reward.

I personally embrace new findings and new or improved ways to optimise my fitness and strength performance and I’ll gladly say goodbye to crushing myself and risking injury if I really don’t need to.

What do you think?

What’s your action point now?

Jamie