High Intensity Training ‘without’ the Pain!?

Pain and discomfort, throwing up after exercise and sore muscles the day or days after is not an indicator of progress… believe it or not!

Working overly hard is hardly working compared to working strategically hard… and that’s what I’m about to get into here.

My last blog post discussed High Intensity Interval Training and it’s many demons for both trainees and even the gyms who don’t overly sell this over-marketed form of exercise.

Today I’m introducing to you the findings of some exciting research that demonstrates receptively how a simpler form of training hard (yes, I’m saying you can still work hard) elicits better and safer results.

This updated method of performing high intensity training for strength and power comes from the latest evidence based practice (and much research) from StrongFirsts Pavel Tsatsouline and plenty of credit goes too to Dr Craig Marker who shares his research with the wider StrongFirst community of instructors.

So boys and girls, let me introduce you to Anti-glycolytic training (AGT)

First off, let’s check off a few truisms.

  1. Some exercisers like to feel pain when exercising hard.
  2. Most exercisers don’t like pain the day after training.
  3. Working hard feels great to some people in the gym.
  4. Most people are exercising in part to burn fat / lean out.
  5. Most exercisers just follow the herd.
  6. Most gyms and trainers do not care about health first (just count all the gym chains that focus and market HIT!)
  7. 80%+ of training benefits are gained through accumulation of and adapting to moderate volume and intensity throughout the year.
  8. For a day or two after an HIIT session, quality of life is compromised and gym time is cut or affected (stiffness, pain, low motivation).
  9. HIIT does have its place – in a peaking phase of training once or twice a year for a few weeks only.
  10. Mmmmm, #10 – Training hard but NOT to the ‘burn’ can help promote more favourable circumstances to oxidise fat over glycogen (blood sugars) as the main fuel during exercise.

Listing 10 is a total accident there in case you’re thinking I worked hard to come up with 10 key facts.

By definition, anti-glycolytic training refers to not using the glycolytic energy system during high effort training.

Digging a wee bit into exercise science for you, here’s the normal sequence of fuel sources the body uses once high effort exercise commences and continues.

Instant Energy: ATP/CP

Stored in our muscles and liver, adenosine triphosphate and creatine phosphate is a powerful, clean fuel that gives us the quick bursts of energy we need for a quick dash up the stairs, vigorously scrubbing the bath or a quick sprint. A set of 5-7 swings or a heavy press fits in this energy category.

Downside – it drains out very quickly requiring us to rest to replenish the ATP or, to start utilising the next energy source.

Fuel Booster Energy: Glycolysis

Glycolysis is a slightly less powerful source of fuel than ATP/CP itself but it will last up to 2 minutes further but, it’s a dirty fuel. The metabolic waste bi-product of using this fuel source is probably something you’ve experienced in the past in the lovely sensation of burning pain in your side. This is the feeling of a build up of hydrogen ions that the body is desperately trying to buffer out of the body – it’s removal as a waste product takes priority over any further energetic efforts. So, you’ve got to rest up to let the body do what it does – repair itself!

These highly acidic waste products cause a few issues that in the long term, we want to limit and prevent.

Issues of concern include:

  • Inhibits the creation of more ATP.
  • Causes damage to cells.
  • Extends the recovery times between training sessions.
  • ‘Muscling’ through further repeated efforts carries increased risk of muscle strain, poor form and breathing patterns will take a hit – doesn’t sound too healthy actually!

Oxygen

For efforts to continue longer than two or three minutes, we cannot depend on the ATP/CP system or glycolysis and must instead rely on the use of oxygen. This incredibly efficient energy system utilises the oxidation of fat to produce energy the ins and outs of which go far beyond the scope of this post. This is where you get your energy for basic functions, long walks, jogs, bike rides and in the sporting realms, ultra marathons and such.

No supplements are needed to optimise this fuel source, just a lowering of the average overall intensity and breathing in lovely oxygen.

For the most part, we want to spend time using the latter and avoiding the nasty bi-product producing glycolytic system whilst still training to get stronger.

“How’s that gona work”? You ask.

Knowing that the ATP/CP system lasts 10 – 15 seconds or so and that we want to prevent going into the glycolytic system of producing energy we now have a window in which to work. Work in this case means hard work, explosive and pushing the comfort zone to the upper limits.

Yeah, this sounds like any other HIIT session doesn’t it.

So let’s define HIIT in its standard form.

HIIT = maximum effort intensity for a predetermined time followed by minimum time to recover and repeat.

Tabatta for example is 7 – 8 rounds of 20 seconds max effort and 10 seconds recovery. It was designed to be carried out on an indoor cycle and not the terrible forms you can see being performed in some gyms and programs.

While not all intervals are in the form of the now famous Tabatta, they all follow the same principle of max effort, short rest, repeat and pass out on the floor. Yay – way to go.

What is observed in E.V.E.R.Y workout is that form and technique and power output diminishes per round. The final set does resemble the first set in the slightest.

Is this good training practice?

Will this really develop good movement practice?

Will this create a good stimulus for strength and power improvements?

No

This has been observed for quite some time but was accepted in the name of forcing the body to accept the new level of pain and perhaps an increase in V02 max. To be honest, while conducting such training on an ergometer, running, rowing and such, there is only so much scope for a degradation in form compared with the likes of kettlebell swings, snatches, barbell moves and other loaded tools.

So, getting back to AGT, the findings in the labs have been quite the game changer and not what you’d expect.

What has been seen is that by stretching out the recovery time between high efforts of 10 -15 seconds, the body started to adapt to demands for ATP/CP through the oxidative system.

Essentially, if you stop asking the body for fuel sourced by the glycolytic system it is more than happy not to go there. Why would it – it’s damaging. Not what the body does best.

We know that strength is a skill and we talk of practicing the skill of strength to, well, get stronger. It works, it makes sense. It therefore goes without saying that being able to repeat those high effort bouts is a sane approach to high effort training.

It is now about High Intensity ‘Repeat’ Training.

Kind of ironic how the label given to High Intensity Repeat Training has the acronym of HIRT! You’ll possibly never feel the kind of pains and hurt from this method compared to HIIT.

Having these numbers gives us a massive boost in programming some high effort training to keep everyone happy, to increase our fat adaption during exercise and avoiding burnout, injury and all those aches and pains for the days following the training session.

IMG_7833

How the Program looks

Amazingly simple looking, the program goes like this:

  • 10 seconds flat out with powerful, crisp and strong form
  • 50 to 90 seconds rest
  • Repeat for up to 10 rounds.

Done!

The rest period will depend on the individuals recovery rate.

An easy method we use is the talk test. Once the exerciser can speak a sentence without gulping for air, they are ready to go.

With time and as the session seems to feel easier, and more manageable, the 10 seconds of high effort can be stretched to 12, 15 seconds.

For simplicity in the gym, we’ve found that 10 secs ON and 50 secs OFF works just fine.

What exercises?

The movements that the exerciser can carry out well and safely at high efforts are the obvious choice.

Consider:

  1. Kettlebell Swing
  2. Medicine Ball Slam
  3. Sprinting on the spot!
  4. Clean and Push Press
  5. Cycle sprints.
  6. Kettlebell Snatch.

This list is no particular order but I do prefer the kettlebell swing as a stronger swing equates to a stronger clean, press, squat potentially and a bigger deadlift as well as all-round feel good factors. Who wouldn’t mind swinging the heaviest kettlebell they can get their hands on.

Actually, on that note, when we last ran this program last year, one lady started swinging the 12kg and finished 8 weeks later swinging the 32kg! A gent also started on the 20kg and finished on the 48kg!

Impressive you’ll agree.

So that is the first component of this next program.

Are you game??

Jamie

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 Maintain Gains Over the Holidays – Pt.2

In part 1 we looked at just 3 moves to keep us ticking over during the busy festive period.

Today, in part 2 I’ll show you a simple progression or variation of the Press, Squat and Hip Hinge.

  1. The A-frame press version of an inverted press is a great progression to the kneeling inverted press. Somewhat harder, but as you’ll see in the video, your ability will dictate the range of movement. Your legs can be bent or straighter, and you can just bend at the elbow if your strength requires it. With practice you would be able to progress the elbow bend to the point where you can reach the floor with the top of your head. Practice makes progress.
  2. The kickstand squat is almost a 1 leg squat but not quite. It doesn’t require too much balance (compared to a true 1 leg squat) but allows you to focus on the strength and mobility of one leg at a time. Weights are optional.
  3. The Single Leg Deadlift is also a great option to strengthen 1 leg at a time, but more the posterior of the lower body. Balance is required but pay attention to the variations spoken about in the video. To develop better balance we first need to explore losing it, albeit carefully!

Over a 10 minute period rotate through these 3 moves for roughly 5 repetitions each. Do be sure to warm up first off of course.

Here’s the video 

 

Got any thoughts or questions? Get in touch.

 

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.

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

 

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.