FREE Trail Online Membership

Yes Christmas has passed but I’m kicking off 2019 with happy thoughts of rainbows, unicorns and free trials of my online strength and fitness membership.

For 1 week only I’m sharing a FREE version of my Online Membership. I invite you to have a good look around, maybe try one of the 10 minute short workouts or check out the monthly programs, special programs, mobility drills and all the other stuff.

The full version actually has over 44 months worth of programming!!! Crazy hey? And for just $1 a day.

The free version has downloads disabled along with the 8 other teaching courses I’ve bundled to the full membership but this version still has heaps of info 😀

The free version will be available until next Wednesday, the 16th January.

If you’ve any suggestions or questions or if you’d like to jump onto the full version at any time, just get in touch.

Just click the pic to head over to the Membership Site

fitstrong membership subscription#3

 

Got any feedback, suggestions or ideas? Get in touch 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

20 Minute Freestyle Challenge

Hey ya’ll. photo-output

So, it’s a sunny Brisbane afternoon, the pool is glistening under a late spring sub-tropical sun and the glass of Johnnie Walker Swing scotch is tasting mighty tasty, but… I must interrupt my moment of bliss with a quick mention of the workout I like to throw out when I want to get stuff done in between actual planned days.

It’s a kind of snack between meals that serves as a great opportunity to practice whatever the heck I want to practice.

So here’s the game plan rules.

  1. Choose a light weight, an 18kg kettlebell in my case.
  2. Pick it up and keep ‘er lit for 20 minutes non-stop.

That’s it folks!

With no particular plan of attack or whiteboard emblazoned with exercises, just move non-stop for 20 minutes between each exercise, any exercises you know and want to work on.

The caveat; weight must not rest on the floor at any time.

I typically rotate between left and right arm and work through a list of:

  • Swings
  • Cleans
  • Snatches
  • Windmills
  • Turkish Get Up ‘downs’
  • Floor Presses
  • Presses
  • Push Presses
  • Jerks
  • The Bent Press
  • Rows
  • Bottom Up carries
  • Other Carries
  • Halo
  • Squats
  • Lunges
  • Single Leg Deadlift variations
  • Prying Goblet Squats

Darn, the list could go on.

This is just a workout but serves as a great opportunity to put in a practice session with a nice strength endurance outcome.

You could use a sandbag, a barbell, a medicine ball, bodyweight movements (which is actually the hardest option) and you can even use a concrete block or a sledge hammer too!

Have a go sometime you feel the urge to workout and let me know what you did.

8 Week Metabolic, Muscle & Strength Program

8 Week Metabolic, Muscle & Strength Spring Program

A Fusion of Kettlebells and Bodyweight Training

INTRO

The FitStrong Spring Program is a simple fusion of both strength focussed training and metabolic enhancing training using Kettlebells and bodyweight movements..

The three days that we will rotate between place demands on two different energy systems.

Day 1: One pure power and strength

Day 2: Endurance and muscle building.

Day 3: Vital ‘Other Stuff’

Now, you’re probably not going to turn into Arnie overnight or even after 8 weeks but creating the stimulation for maintaining muscle hypertrophy helps immensely in creating more favourable conditioning for increasing muscular metabolism and hopefully fat loss.

To simplify, one session you’ll lift heavy with lots of rest and the other session you’ll push a little longer and get a little out of breath.

At FitStrong we heavily promote moving better as well as developing our strengths. With this in mind, the program does include elements of mobility and bodyweight movements also.

4 x 10

This program is built with four (roughly) 10 minute sections, finishing with a 5 minute cool down (either static stretches or repeating some of the warm up mobility movements).

Why? Oftentimes I hear frustrations that, “I’ve not got time for a 30 to 45 minutes training session”.

This program is slightly unique in that you don’t have to complete each of the four sections and that if stuck for time, you build your daily routine to meet your time budget. Only got 10 minutes? I’d recommend just running through the warm up mobility routine. Yep, if stuck for time, guaranteed you’ll be slightly more stressed too. For that reason your body does not need more stress in the form of muscular stress. The body when under stress needs a reset. The warm up will offer just that.

Got 20 minutes? Do the warm up then any of the 10 minute blocks that you’d like to do. Keep it simple.

Of course, you might find that once you start, that you might find it easier to squeeze in one more 10 minute section…. go for it.

 

Each training session emphasises pressing and rowing to develop the shoulders and arms in general. We play with various leg movements and both days use the kettlebell swing to enhance power and fat utilisation using tried and tested StrongFirst ‘Strong Endurance’ protocols.

But here’s the caveat – I’m not a believer that exercise is a good tool for body fat loss. Yes, strength exercise helps to boost the metabolic rate but pales in comparison to dialling in our nutrition habits.

So, I will be providing just ONE Nutrition Challenge to accompany the exercise component. We’ll get to that soon.

I do have an online version of this to be released on my Teachable platform, but if you prefer a slightly more low-tech access to the program, for $20 you can have the PDF version with workable links to video demonstrations. Yep, if you print the PDF the links don’t work!

At the checkout, once you completed the purchase the receipt page will include the link to the download. But, if you don’t want to go through that, once you’ve paid and I receive confirmation from paypal, I can email you the PDF too. Your choice.

Want to keep busy, fit and strong up to Christmas?

Just A$20  Payment Link (redirects to PayPal) 

Any questions or do you want access to the high-tech online version? Just shoot me a message below.

 

Pre Christmas Strength and Fitness Program

We don’t offer cheap Personal Training (but keep reading haha) but we do offer Great Personal Training in shared sessions. Yep, you get all the personal attention you need just sharing the training session with 1 or 2 other people AND at a reduced cost.

We currently have openings in morning sessions on:

  • Tuesday @ 5:30am
  • Thursday @ 5:30am
  • Saturday @ 7:45am

(Other mornings are available too for new groups)

If you want to get all strong and fit for Summer, get in touch in time for our morning Spring Program kicking off Saturday 13th October 7:45am. (There will be an-board session in the week leading up to the Saturday)

Want More Info – get in touch below

 

The Program is set up as a starter program for 8 weeks, after which you can opt to stay on for the summer program.

So, what is the program?

At FitStrong we build our programs around helping people to move better and build real world, practical strength. This Spring program has an emphasis on:

  • Upper Body Pushing strength (who doesn’t want strong arms and shoulders this coming Summer?)
  • Squat movement variations to keep our knees and hips healthy and strong
  • A focus on explosive strength with kettlebell swings. Cant Swing? Well, I’ll teach you how to swing with a simple 4 step process. Don’t want to swing? Well, that’s fine too. There are options for other activities. This is still personal training but in a small group setting.
  • Abs – got to keep those abs strong!
  • In addition, we’ll take a look at nutrition with a simple challenge.

I can’t give too much away as programs hold $$$ value and releasing full details to the world would be fool-hardy.

How often must I train per week?

Great question. I’d love it if everyone could come along at least twice a week but I totally understand if this isn’t an option for you. If once a week is all you can commit to I can offer some homework to squeeze in at home. This can be customised for blocks of 10 minute sections.

As a bonus incentive and reward for reading this far (well done) I’ll gift you a great ebook all about getting you abs into kickass shape  – in fact, here it is.

The Top 3 Abdominal Exercises You_re Not Doing! (1)

FINAL NOTE:

If coming to our gym doesn’t work for you, this same program will be released as an online program that you can follow along to at home, in you own time. This of course will be a fraction of the cost of face-to-face training.

If you’d like to be put on the application list for this 8 week program, reply below.

 

 

Are you Garry Strong?

G’day. It’s a public holiday today in Queensland. The Queens birthday as it happens. But, the gym still goes on (health and strength don’t get holidays hehe)

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Anyhoo, as you’ll probably know by now, we work on moving better (especially for everyone who finds themselves stuck behind a desk or sitting most of the day) AND getting stronger for whatever our lives need.

Simple. Programs can be written to deliver great results for these two areas.

But, one strength that a lot of people do not possess is this…

… watch.

Making progress can happen with the simple act of turning up. Yep, even if you put in a mediocre effort, it’s still better than no effort and sitting around feeling grouchy. I can pretty much guarantee that working through a mobility warm up and then just ticking boxes for the minimum essential dose of the ‘other stuff’ will make you feel better – providing you’re not coming down with something of course.

Adding to your health credits in gradual small steps will make bigger interests than over enthusiastic and inconsistent efforts.

Got any thoughts? Message below.

Special Message

I’ve had a great week so far and it’s only Thursday!

Over the past days I’ve been sharing my thoughts with quick video log (Vlogs) about what I do here at FitStrong PT.

Why? Because I want to clear up my message about who I want to help and how I want to help them before launching a new side of the business.

I started the week by identifying my passions and talents. The cross-over between each of these is where I want to focus going forward to help and work with more people.

In brief this cross-over of passion and talent is:

  • Sharing the methods I know to work to help people move better and to get away from day-to-day aches and pains.
  • Teaching people the techniques to getting stronger and fitter safely.
  • Writing programs to allow people to train at home or their space to exercise.
  • Building an online product that will help me share with a larger audience than my gym can provide.

 

I would love to hear from you if you are someone who would be interested in joining me online.

Step Up…You’re Not a Kangaroo!

The 2010s and onwards will probably go down in history as the period in human development that was enslaved by social media. If in 2018 you are not found on social media and not just google, well then my friend, you just don’t exist!

The almighty interwebs will guide us too when faced with all the modern day quandaries, some helpful and some not so helpful.

  • How do you gut a fish? Let Youtube guide you. It’s how I learned actually.
  • How do you market your online PT business? Let’s some random 24 year old personal trainer help you in return for $12k (sadly true, this one!)
  • What’s the best leg strength exercises? Numerous websites will espouse the value of maintaining a diet of squats, deadlifts and olympic lifting exercises.

While this last recommendation is actually not bad it’s possibly not the best choice for most of us wanting and needing leg strength exercises that add to our health and wellbeing account. Yes, squats and deadlifts are valuable. We spend probably 60% of our training programs employing these two but, we also spend time on single leg strength exercises.

There are no real problems with squats and deadlifts for some of the time but it can be common for an individual to have little imbalances in their hips, ankles, particular muscles which will be unknown to the exerciser until something hurts.

Hurting sucks and yes, if you’ve tried some one leg strength exercises, they suck too.

Often times the more something sucks in the gym, the more benefits it holds and we should practice the sucky stuff until it’s not so sucky anymore. 

Balance or lack of is probably why single leg work sucks. The balance issue is most commonly due to the smaller synergistic muscles, the joint stabilisers, not knowing quite what to do when called upon. As great as squats and deadlifts are, they can become quite efficient quite quickly and some imbalances can arise.

We are bipedals designed with the intent to walk, run, climb and lots of other stuff unilaterally – one leg in front of the other. Our bodies are meant to utilise the muscles that control hip, knee and ankle posture and position as well as the muscles that actuate movement.  We are not Kangaroos!

By taking a little bit of time to work on the single leg exercises we can prevent a lot of pain if we were only to train bilateral movements like squats, deadlift, leg presses, kettlebell swings and such.

To compliment our bilateral movements, what unilateral / one legged exercises can we include?

  • Lunges
  • Single leg deadlifts
  • Various staggered stance squats and dedlifts
  • Step ups

Today, I’m going to run through step ups. Now, you might think there’s not too much to consider with technique. You might take steps at home, work and in the shopping centre, but to get the most out of your time doing step ups, there are a few considerations – so hear me out.

  • Start with a small step and progress to a larger step as you need to
  • Ensure the complete foot is on the step
  • Brace your midsection throughout the repetition
  • Drive pressure through your heal as you start the step up
  • Grip the step with your toes
  • Push the step down with your foot and hip
  • How far forward your knee travels is a personal comfort thing, but to start with, try to keep the knee no more than over the toes
  • At the top when upright – squeeze your ‘butt’
  • Try to control your descent – don’t just drop back down
  • You can repeat the same leg for a set before changing legs or you can alternate legs per repetition.
  • Add weight is needed – if your balance is good

Let’s look at the step up in action…

There are a few variations, but this is the main version we use at the gym.

How to program? 

This is totally dependant on the individual and goal, but for general strength, 3 to 5 sets of 5 reps prove enough. You could use these on a weekly basis to include after squats etc or you could work them harder, with more focus for a few weeks every 2 to 3 months while just maintaining a simple squat etc routine.

Next week I’ll look at another single leg delight.

Want to tell me how much you hate step ups? Please get in touch below.

Short on Gym Time?

We all get those times when we had planned to train but life just got in the way… hey it happens. No drama.

Most of us know how to carry out most of the popular exercises without too much technical jargon or direction but, the ‘no time’ excuse will always raise its ugly head.

I had one of those days today. Sinus headache all morning on top of two online lectures to study left me with 20 minutes roughy to do something before heading off to get my daughter from school.

Once you cut away the fluff that can bulk up a training session you get left with what’s important to get done.

For me today that was some single leg practice and some rows to balance off my main program on the other days.

 I just rotated through step ups, single leg deadlifts and rows.

 Simple. Check it out.

 

 

If you happen to know that you know you should train often but don’t and you know some exercise technique basics too, maybe you know you need some guidance!!! Ye know?!

Maybe consider signing up for early registration for my new online membership program.

  • Weekly programs and workouts with kettlebells and bodyweight exercises
  • Monthly technique tune ups
  • Mobility / flexibility routines (you want to move better too don’t you?!)
  • Occasional challenges
  • Ongoing online support
  • Just $1 a day!!!!

More information will be released early September 2018, but if interested to learn more, just fill out the basics below 👇🏻

Simplest hack to boost your gym results

What’s the best hack to getting results Jamie?

I get frequent and some very awesome questions from both in-person personal training and online clients. One common query surrounds hacks. A shortcut to good ol fashioned time, patience oh, and putting in the hard yards.

I get asked about oils, shakes, best carbs, food timing, supplements, exercise routines, recovery methods for enhanced performance and recovery … all except one extraordinarily simple thing we do every day. This one thing for the most part, we don’t do very well but once improved, really can be a powerful performance enhancer in all aspects of our life.

Drum Roll… Sleep more.

We’ve all experienced those foggy days after waking up prematurely perhaps, or maybe after a late night or an interrupted nights slumber owing to a feisty family of possums who have been practicing their Irish dancing on your roof! This latter fits the description of my last 4 nights … sigh, yawn!

We all know we probably should sleep more, shooting for those recommended 7 to 8 hours a night. Yeah, I know, you’ve probably claimed at some time to do just fine on 5 hours a night like Elon Musk or Donald Trump who claims to sleep 4-5 hours a night and maybe you are one of those rare individuals who claim the same. However, the vast majority of people need 7 to 8 hours of clean sleep per night to recover and rejuvenate.

Contrary to what some say about getting used to reduced sleep periods, the body still needs the 7 to 8 hours+ to sequence a series of bodily processes to recover from the previous day and especially if you exercise frequently and expect to see results.

Board-certified sleep medicine doctor and neurologist W. Christopher Winter, M.D., of Charlottesville Neurology and Sleep Medicine, and author of the upcoming book, The Sleep Solution, says if it takes you about 10 to 15 minutes to conk out, you only get up once or twice at night, and you wake up before your alarm, you’re sleeping at the right level of efficiency – especially if you feel well-rested throughout the day. “You’re really looking for that happy medium.”

As for conditioning yourself to reduced sleep, If you’re falling asleep as soon as your head hits the pillow or while relaxing in front of the TV in the evening, chances are you’re not getting enough sleep though. It is a fine balance.

So, yes, getting those 7 to 8 hours is a balance you get to experiment with but happens during sleep that’s so important for all you exercisers?

stages of sleep

A brief look at the stages of sleep

1.

  • Between being awake and falling asleep
  • Light sleep

2.

  • Onset of sleep
  • Becoming disengaged from surroundings
  • Breathing and heart rate are regular
  • Body temperature drops (so sleeping in a cool room is helpful)

3.

  • Deepest and most restorative sleep
  • Blood pressure drops
  • Breathing becomes slower
  • Muscles are relaxed
  • Blood supply to muscles increases
  • Tissue growth and repair occurs
  • Energy is restored
  • Hormones are released, such as: Growth hormone, essential for growth and development, including muscle development
  • Provides energy to brain and body
  • Supports daytime performance

You can see the list of benefits of stage 3 and do you think we’re helping ourselves by missing out on these? Can we really recover from our training and work if we’re missing out on essential snooze time?

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Maybe keep track of your sleep over the next few nights, note what time you go to bed at assuming you’re not drifting off on the sofa and of course note what time you wake at. If you’re feeling under par during the and getting less than 7 hours sleep, perhaps it’s time to address what time you go to bed at.

On that note, I’ll stop here so you can plan your bed time – oh, and maybe investigate turning off blue light devices and changing your smart devices night mode to the orange back light.

 

Night night

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Good any thoughts? Drop me a note if you’d like.