Category Archives: Motivation

The Best Fitness Reads of the Week (4/9)

Enjoy this week’s list of the top fitness articles to help you get stronger, build more muscle, lose more fat and get into better shape.

If you enjoy this content, please be sure to join the community at the end of this post. By doing so, you’ll receive a free nutrition ebook to help you dial in your diet and get you making even better progress.

Now, onto the top reads of the week!

Top Articles of the Week

  1. 8 Takeaways From Complete Sports Conditioning via Eric C
  2. Beyond The Back Squat: 3 Squat Variations To Mix It Up via Meghan C
  3. Wedging Into The Bar For A Stronger Deadlift via Dean S
  4. How to Travel for Business or Vacation and Still Lose Fat via Bryan K
  5. To Lose Weight, All You Need Is Love via James F
  6. How to Perform the Bodysaw for Stronger Abs via Ryan W (me)
  7. 3 Fatal Flaws with MRV for Hypertrophy via Steve H
  8. Rear/Side Delt Training Tips for Hypertrophy via Dr. Mike I
  9. Exercises You Should Be Doing via Tony G
  10. Scapular Positioning During Press Exercises via Tony B

Lose Fat, Build Muscle and Make Better Progress

The Best Fitness Reads of the Week (4/2)

It’s that time again to bust out the week’s top fitness articles.

I’ve got a fantastic list for you so I hope you enjoy!

And, if you’d like to get this list in addition to other fitness content and workouts delivered straight to your inbox every week, go HERE.

Let’s get to it.

Articles by Me

The Most Effective Way to Lose Belly Fat (And Keep It Off)

Top Articles of the Week

  1. 5 Best Loading Schemes for Size and Strength via Christian T
  2. Foods More ‘Addictive’ Than Sugar via Dr. Specncer N
  3. An Advanced ‘Core’ Exercise for Better Posture and Strength via Ryan W
  4. Deadlift Technique Tutorial via Adam P
  5. Maybe Your Shoulder Hurts Because Your Technique Sucks via Tony G
  6. Chest Training Tips for Hypertrophy via Dr. Mike I
  7. Cryotherapy Doesn’t Work via Dean S
  8. Tip: The Key to Strong and Healthy Shoulders via Eric C
  9. Quick Squat Tips for Less Achy Knees via Ryan W
  10. Escaping the Pit: What To Do When You Become Stuck via Aadam A

Hey, before you go…

Be sure to grab your free nutrition ebook below. All you need to do is plug in your email and you’ll have your own shiny new copy of ’10 Commandments of Fat Loss’ delivered straight to your inbox.

Did I mention it’s 100% free?

See you in there 🙂

The Best Fitness Reads of the Week (3/26)

Another solid week in the books! I’ve got a great list of fitness articles for you to dig through 🙂

You can get these delivered straight to your inbox every Sunday by clicking HERE.

Enjoy!

Top Articles of the Week

  1. The Difference Between Training for Strength and Training for Hypertrophy via Joy V
  2. Your Weekend Splurges are Ruining Your Weight Loss Efforts via Dr. Spencer N
  3. Your Questions, My Answers: Rep Speed, Low VS High Reps, Clean Dieting via Charles S
  4. Should Your Client Be Deadlifting From the Floor?  via Dean S
  5. 5 Mistakes Women Make With Strength Training (And How to Correct Them) via Nia S
  6. Progress is Progress and Fat Loss is Not Linear via Stacey S
  7. The Abdominal Rollout: Common Mistakes and Progressions via Tony G
  8. Quick Tips for More Pressing Strength via Ryan W 
  9. What to Do When You Don’t Like Vegetables via Precision Nutrition
  10. Open Your Hips and Improve Mobility with This Simple Drill via Ryan W

Did you enjoy this week’s list?

Of course, you did 😉 Moving forward, though, it’d be really cool to have you in my email community to interact, ask questions, and get advice from me to help you reach your fitness goals.

Just plug your info in below and once you’re in, you’ll get my free nutrition guide, 10 Commandments of Fat Loss, to get you started.

See ya in there!

The Best Fitness Reads of the Week (3/19)

You’ve come to the right place if you want great fitness content from trusted names in the fitness industry.

Hope you enjoy this week’s list!

Articles by Me

Top Articles of the Week

  1. Exericses You Should Be Doing: HBT Front Squat March via Tony G
  2. Quad Training Tips for Hypertrophy via Mike I
  3. 3 Tips for a Stronger Sumo Deadlift via Ryan W (me!)
  4. Partial Range Reps: Not Always Cheating via Nick T
  5. Strength and Conditioning Stuff You Should Read via Eric C
  6. Tip: How to Activate Your Pecs for Better Gains via Christian T
  7. Fix Your Rowing Technique for Better Back Definition via Ryan W (me!)
  8. What the Diet Industry Doesn’t Want You to Know via Sivan F
  9. Should Women Fix their Flaws? via Nia S
  10. Addiction Transfer: Are You Swapping “unhealthy” behaviors for “healthy” alternatives? via Lisa L

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The Best Fitness Reads of the Week (3/5)

It’s Sunday which means it’s time for another brand-spanking new edition of the top fitness articles of the week.

Enjoy the list!

Articles By Me

Top Articles of the Week

  1. Body Type Revisited : A New Way To Think About The Endomorph, Ectomorph, And Mesomorph via Tom Venuto
  2. 13 Training Tips To Build A Bigger, Stronger Back  via Alex Mullan
  3. 3 Myths About Women and Lifting via Ryan W (me)
  4. You Don’t Need a Detox. But I Know Why You Want One, So Do This Instead via Amy Dix
  5. Fasted Cardio…An Undeserved Good Reputation via James Krieger
  6. Diet Breaks and More via Steve Hall with Mike Israetel
  7. Quick Hip Mobility Drill for Better Performance and Strength via Ryan W (me)
  8. Best Diet-Friendly Foods via Sivan Fagan
  9. 3 Tips for Better Pushups via Ryan W (me) 
  10. Tip: Master the Tuck Jump via Christian Thibaudeau
  11. Strength and Conditioning Stuff You Should Read via Eric Cressey
  12. Creatine Quickie via Jorden Pagel

Get Content Delivered Straight to Your Inbox

You can get the best articles delivered straight to your inbox every Sunday, plus get your hands on my nutrition ebook ’10 Commandments of Fat Loss’ when you join my exclusive community below.

The Best Fitness Reads of the Week (2/26)

Every Sunday, I’ll be sharing my picks of the top fitness reads from around the net.

They’ll be articles on fat loss, muscle building, strength gain, and overall fitness improvement. If you like this kind of thing, be sure to jump on my email newsletter at the end of this post because I send out useful fitness info and tips throughout the week.

And you’ll get a free nutrition guide when you join.

Anyway, enjoy the list!

Articles by Me

A Beginner’s Guide to Calorie Counting to Look Better Naked

Top Articles of the Week

  1. From Couch To Courageous: How I Learned How To Embrace Yes  via Jen C
  2. Let’s Be Honest – The Body You’re Going For, Doesn’t Exist via Lee B
  3. Advanced Plank Variation for Stronger Abs via Ryan W (me)
  4. The Pros and Cons of Online Training via Tony G
  5. 5 Biological Adaptations To Fat Loss You Need To Know via Steve H
  6. The Broccoli and Cookie Conundrum via Aadam A
  7. DB Complexes for Fat Loss and Definition via Ryan W (me)
  8. Stop Using Detoxes and Cleanses via Jordan S
  9. 9 Processed Foods You Should Be Eating via Mike S
  10. The Magic Happens Outside Your Comfort Zone via Ryan W (me)

Sunday Quick Tip

The scale can be one of the most dreaded aspects of fitness.

A *lot* of people are afraid to step on the scale. And that’s ok.

But what’s most important to remember is that the scale is just a tool to show whether your bodyweight is going up or down.

It does NOT define who you are. It doesn’t tell the whole story of your progress. It’s just a tool to track body weight over a period of time.

An online client recently sent me this text:

She’s feeling better but got discouraged simply because the scale number was up a bit.

You know what my response was to her?

“Screw the scale!” (slightly different language was used haha)

The bottom line is that the scale can be a useful tool, but you shouldn’t get upset if the number isn’t changing for a little bit, or it goes up slightly.

Remember that fitness is a journey and you’ve just got to keep on moving forward.

Keep doing your best and working as hard as you can.

Do NOT equate your self-worth or measure your fitness progress only by the number on the scale.

Keep on getting after it 🙂

Build Muscle, Lose Fat, Make Gains

The Truth About Cravings, Consistency, and Fat Loss

One of the biggest problems people face is a lack of consistency. It’s one thing to be consistent for a few days with eating right and getting to the gym.

But what happens when life gets busy, your routine gets thrown off, or you struggle to fight off food cravings?

Do you succumb to the temptations or do you navigate around them?

In today’s article, I’m going to talk about ways to help you beat the cravings, stay more consistent, and ultimately improve your results overall. 

Everything Starts With Your Mindset

Courtesy of pixabay.com

Courtesy of pixabay.com

To accomplish fat loss or anything in life really, you need to have your own purpose.

Your own ‘why’.

Why do you want to achieve XYZ? What will achieving this goal do for you personally and how will it make you feel?

These are all important questions to consider.

The reason being, if you don’t have a strong why‘ you’re likely going to fail.

Unfortunately, that’s the truth of it.

Your ‘why’ should be something you want so bad that it drives you every single day until you accomplish it.

Find your ‘why’ by asking yourself the questions above. It all starts there.

Consistency≠Perfection

Courtesy of pixabay.com

Courtesy of pixabay.com

A lot of people believe diet perfection is required for fat loss. Luckily for us, it’s not. If it was we’d all be screwed.

Consistency is more about doing enough of the ‘right’ things over a long period of time. The right things being hitting your calorie and protein targets time and time again. The right things don’t necessarily mean eating clean or avoiding certain foods.

It’s about playing the long game and nailing the foundational aspects over time.

So the next time you think you’ve cheated on your diet by having a cookie, don’t stress out. You’ll probably be fine once you learn to have a system in place.

Which leads me to…

Having a System

fat loss pyramid

You can remove most of the diet stress and problems with consistency by having a nutritional system in place. What this means first and foremost is that you understand the basics of nutrition and how each component plays a role in your fat loss success.

You need to know how calories affect your weight, and that to lose weight and body fat you have to eat less than you burn. Whenever I begin with a new online coaching client, I always stress the importance of getting the right amount of calories for their goal.

One of the things we talk about is the aspect of being flexible. Having some flexibility of your diet is a good thing, and will likely help you stay more consistent for longer periods of time.

This means you don’t have to panic if you are going out to dinner.

You don’t have to worry that your diet is ruined because you had a few scoops of ice cream.

And you certainly aren’t doomed if you get tempted easily and have a food you think might be ‘bad’ or off limits.

If you understand the role of calories and how they affect your success, then you’ll take away a lot of the stress associated with diet temptations and the feeling of not being consistent.

Your system is your base or foundation to work from. If you have a solid understanding of the foundation, then you can regulate and adjust for different scenarios.

Food Temptations and Fat Loss

Courtesy of pixabay.com

Courtesy of pixabay.com

I think we all get tempted to eat something from time to time that we may see as fattening, unhealthy or not part of our diet. This is where having your system in place comes in handy because that food you would normally say is off limits might be able to work its way into your diet.

Now, we still have to keep our total calories in mind, but if you’re armed with the knowledge of how many calories you need then you might be able to enjoy some treats every now and then without damaging your progress.

Want to have that cookie later on? Ok, no problem. Make sure you hit your protein total for the day and simply save yourself 300-400 calories to work that into your diet.

Food temptations are ok. It means you’re human. Try to think of your diet as a scale. On one side you have all the foods you think are good, and on the other, you have the ‘bad, unhealthy, tempting delicious treats’. If you simply fill most of your diet with the stuff you think is good while saving a little bit of room for the tasty stuff some of the time, you’ll remove the guilt associated with enjoying those foods.

3 Tips for Better Nutrition Consistency

Whether you struggle daily or weekly to eat consistently for your goals, give these 3 tips below a try to help you improve your diet and make things much simpler.

#1 Always have food prepped

This one is huge. Even if you aren’t a world-class chef, there’s no reason not to have some good food options in your fridge and pantry at all times. This is one of the best tips I can give you especially if you’re someone that struggles a lot with sticking to your diet. Winging things on the go is all well and good, but I’d leave that to people who have experience dieting and such. I don’t think it’s the best option if you’re new to dieting, or if you struggle to be consistent. Having some of your favorite proteins, veggies, and carbs cooked and on hand can make things a lot easier.

#2 Understand Nutrition Labels and Macros

If you understand the basic gist of macronutrients and how to read nutrition labels, you’ll be just fine. Rather than looking at foods as good vs. bad, look at them as numbers. Food A contains 500 calories per serving while food B contains 150 calories per serving. You must be able to decide which food will get you closer to your goal. I wrote a post on macros HERE, so be sure to check that out.

#3 Make sure your goal is really important to you

This one is huge and probably the most important.

Don’t just pick a goal because other people tell you to. Go for your goal because it’s important to you. The crazier (in a good way) you are about achieving your goal, the more likelihood of success you’ll have. Sure they’ll be ups and downs, but I guarantee you’ll have better success going for something you truly want instead of picking a goal that you’re kinda wishy-washy about.

Putting This Into Action

Remember, diet consistency is something we all struggle with. Even us fit pros. If you establish good habits and understand the system, you’ll have much more freedom with your diet.

So before you call it quits because you think you deviated from your meal plan, keep in mind that nutrition works as a whole and a single meal or food won’t sabotage your progress.

Before I go I’d like to give you an action tip. For the next week, yes, all 7 days, I want you to keep a written food log of everything you eat and drink. Use an app like My Fitness Pal to track your intake and at the end of the week, figure out how close you are to your calorie goals.

This will help you see how many calories you’re actually consuming and then from there, you can decide if you need to cut back a little, adjust food sources, or simply be more mindful of your intake.

Do it. It’ll help.

Grab Your Free Guide to Fat Loss Basics

tenc2_copy (2)

4 Strategies To Avoid Unwanted Weight Gain over the Holidays

 To celebrate the rapidly approaching holidays and the launch of my brand new course, 30 Days of Fat Loss: A Pre-Holiday Fat Burning Challenge, I’m excited to share this article with you in which I reveal 4 strategies to prevent weight gain during the holidays.

Enjoy and, if you want to apply to join the 30 Days of Fat Loss Challenge email me at ryanwoodtraining@gmail.com.

                                                                                                                                                                                     

I absolutely love the holidays. It’s a time to get together with family and enjoy the holiday spirit. It’s also a season known for food.

Lots and lots of food.

Admittedly, one of the reasons I love Thanksgiving and Christmas so much, aside from quality time spent with my family, are all of the delicious and yummy treats floating around non stop.

For many  people, the holidays can be tough if weight gain isn’t your goal. And for most people, gaining weight is not the goal.

With a surplus of calorie dense foods everywhere you turn, the holidays tend to set a lot of people back in terms of excessive weight gain and increases in body fat.

There is a way around this however.

I used to be just like you every time the holidays came around. Rather than fully enjoying my time at home visiting with friends and family, I constantly worried about getting “fat” over the holidays. But, over time I’ve come to realize that it is possible to have the best of both worlds.

You can still enjoy your favorite foods without worrying.

Just because it’s the holiday season doesn’t automatically mean you’ll gain loads of weight.

You should aim to head into the holidays already confident and in good shape, so that you don’t have to constantly stress out about family dinners and large meals.

With a couple months left before the holiday season begins, I wanted to give you some tips to make the holidays the joyous time that they are. There’s no need to be a stressed out mess and worry incessantly about every single thing you eat.

I want you to be able to enjoy holiday dinners with your family.

And I certainly don’t want you feeling guilty if you have a piece of pie, or an extra helping of creamy mashed potatoes with gravy.

Bottom line: I want you to enjoy the holidays as much as I do.

As long as you put in the work ahead of time, you’ll set yourself up for a very enjoyable holiday season free of worrying, setbacks, or weight gain.

Below are 4 strategies to help you avoid gaining weight over the holidays.

1) Diet before the Holidays

You want to enjoy the holidays right?

I know I sure do.

If you’re anything like me, you want to look good and eat your cake too.

Instead of dieting during the holidays, get it over with before the get together’s and family meals begin.

Set aside 4 weeks to drop body fat, gain strength, and feel more confident going into this holiday season.

To get you started, be sure to read my free fat loss manual, which you can get here. This guide will give you everything you need to know about dropping body fat, including how to set up your diet and how to train most effectively to blast fat.

There are several reasons why it’s best to attack fat loss prior to the holidays.

First, there’s less temptation because you won’t be going to nearly as many get togethers in October as you probably will around Thanksgiving and Christmas.

This will help you stick to your plan with better consistency when you have less distractions that could potentially get in your way.

Second, by dropping body fat before the holidays, you will feel a sense of new confidence in your body. You’ll be much less likely to binge at those holiday parties because you won’t feel the need to.

You will still be able to enjoy your favorite foods and treats because you laid the ground work in the previous months.

Being able to enjoy yourself with family and friends will be very mentally refreshing and a nice reward for putting in the hard work leading up to then.

2) Prioritize resistance training

In order to lose body fat and reveal muscle you need to be lifting weights. Too many people neglect the importance of weight training when trying to lose weight.

Instead, they severely cut their calories and do lots of cardio. What happens is they end up dropping weight but a good part of it comes from muscle.

Then you end up with “skinny fat.” Ain’t nobody got time for that. We want lean and strong.

During a fat loss phase, the goal is not only to lose body fat but also to preserve lean mass, aka muscle.

Muscle is what gives the body it’s contour. Whether you prefer the terms “toned”, “ripped”, “lean”, or “defined”, they all mean pretty much the same thing.

The way to get this look is through sound nutrition and resistance training.

Training for hypertrophy is your best bet during a fat loss phase. This style of training is higher volume than general strength training, and is mostly performed in the 8-12 rep range.

High volume resistance training will provide the body with enough stimulus to preserve muscle while in a caloric deficit.

This is a good thing. A very good thing.

Why anyone would want to lose muscle is beyond me. So make sure that you’re lifting weights to spare as much muscle as possible during a fat loss phase.

A lot of people think they need fancy exercises to lose body fat. They think they need to “confuse” the body to keep it guessing in order to make progress.

Well, that’s not the case at all.

All you need is hard work, consistency, good nutrition, and  some basic exercises that have worked for many years.

Below is an example of a 4 day hypertrophy program designed for fat loss.

There’s no magical exercises. No gimmicks or fads. Just the basics because they have been proven time and time again to work remarkably well for fat loss.

   Day 1/Monday/Legs

  1. Squat                                   
  2. Leg press                           
  3. Stiff leg Deadlift               
  4. Calf Raise                           

Day 2/Tuesday/Push

  1. Barbell Bench Press       
  2. Barbell Overhead Press 
  3. Dips                                        
  4. Skullcrushers                    

 Day 3/Thursday/Legs

  1. Deadlift                                  
  2. Glute Bridge                         
  3. Barbell Lunge                    
  4. Calf Raise                        

Day 4/Friday or Saturday/Pull

  1. Overhand Pullup                
  2. Barbell Bent Over Row    
  3. Lat Pulldown                     
  4. Barbell Curl                        

Start out with 3 sets of 8-12 reps on each exercise. Then, the following week you can add a set, add weight, or add some weight and an extra set. This way you are increasing your volume from week to week, and making progress.

3) Adopt a Flexible Nutritional Approach

For many, following a rigid diet plan doesn’t work. Whether it’s too complicated or just too difficult to follow, some people prefer to utilize a more flexible approach.

I use both approaches with my clients with great success.

Here is one of my female clients who has done well following a more structured plan:

Oct 2014 121 July 2015 125

 Oct 2014 121       July 2015 125

The most interesting thing here is that she actually gained weight, but got noticeably leaner. While some people aim to drop the number on the scale, I think if you lose body fat and improve overall composition then the scale number doesn’t really matter so much.

Now, here’s a male client who keeps an insane work schedule. Because of this, we choose to utilize a more flexible approach with his nutrition.Shanti progress pictures

We make sure his total caloric intake is in check, and that he’s eating enough protein.

Now, when the holidays roll around, you may prefer a more flexible approach to your nutrition.

You’ve made great progress and you don’t want to throw it all away, right?

Don’t worry.

We all will have parties, family gatherings, and big holiday dinnners to go to.

Instead of just gorging non-stop for several months, try to think a little more strategically about your nutrition.

Understand your caloric needs, and your required protein amounts. Plan ahead just a little bit if you know you will be attending a big dinner or feasting with the in laws.

Because the holidays are usually packed with ridiculous amounts of delicious foods, your goal should be to maintain as close to your starting bodyweight as possible. You’ve just dropped body fat leading up to the holiday season, and you’ve got a new bodyweight you feel great about.

Aim to stay within a couple pounds of that bodyweight throughout the holidays.

The way to do this is to be flexible and smart with your nutrition.

Maybe you eat a bit less on a day where you know you will be feasting at night. Stick to lean proteins and veggies during the day, and be sure to get your resistance training sessions in.

On special dinner days with family, make sure you resistance train that day so that the extra calories you consume will be put to good use, and help to keep you from going too far over your maintenance requirements.

My ebook that I mentioned above goes into how to figure out calorie needs, as well as protein, carb, and fat amounts.

Knowing that the holidays are filled with sweets and baked goods, you can assume that you will have no trouble hitting your carb and fat amounts.

If you can prioritize protein you will be one step closer to preventing unwanted holiday weight gain.

Be flexible with your nutrition over the holidays. This is a time when it’s especially important for families to be together.

And again, aim to maintain your bodyweight during this time. Once the holiday season is over, you can then decide if you’d like to begin another fat loss phase.

4) Consistency Is King

I’ve talked already about enjoying your holiday time.

Nobody wants to suffer through family dinners, or feel guilty about what they’re eating when spending family time together should be most important.

While it is very important not to stress too much about the holiday food situation, I know you will probably have control over most of your meals.

This means you can still stay on track during those meals. Don’t use the holiday’s as an excuse to flat out binge for two months. Be consistent over the holiday season by placing an emphasis on protein, and keeping an eye on total calories.

If you know you get roughly 2,000 calories, maybe you want to save yourself 1,500 of those calories for your family dinner.

As long as you stay relatively close to your calorie goal, your bodyweight will remain fairly consistent.

Just because it’s the holidays doesn’t automatically mean you have to gain 20 pounds. You can enjoy all of your favorite foods and still stay on track. The key is not over indulging. Just because there’s unlimited amounts of food and dessert at your fingertips doesn’t mean you have to eat until you’re sick.

Make sure you stay consistent with your training, keep your calories in check, and enjoy time spent with family.

That’s what the holidays are for. Not to be stressed out about what you’re eating.

I know it can be difficult to get going, though, which is exactly why I’ve created 30 Days of Fat Loss: A Pre-Holiday Fat Burning Challenge. To help you get a jump start with your fat loss goals so that you can utilize the tips in this article to prevent unwanted weight gain.

The 30 Day Fat Loss Challenge is specifically designed for men and women who are seeking rapid fat loss, strength gain, and improved confidence. This challenge will be tough, no doubt about it. Only those people who are serious about losing body fat should apply. 

If you work hard , follow the nutritional guidelines, and put in consistent effort you will rapidly lose body fat.

This challenge is not made for athletes, strength sport folks, or those who are already at a very low body fat percentage.

Here’s what you get when you join the challenge:

  • 4 weeks of individualized fat loss training
  • Your own customized nutrition guidelines for rapid and maintainable fat loss
  • Strategies to stay consistent and motivated
  • Ongoing support to ensure you lose fat fast

Follow the course to a T and you will:

  • lose fat fast
  • gain strength
  • lose inches around your waist
  • improve your self confidence
  • feel remarkable and worry free going into the holidays

If you want to get in on the 30 Days of Fat Loss: A Pre-Holiday Fat Burning Challenge shoot me an email at ryanwoodtraining@gmail.com. Be sure to put “FAT LOSS CHALLENGE” in the subject line.

I’m offering this at a heavily discounted rate, but am limiting spots to only 20 applicants. If you’re serious about committing to 30 days of rapid fat loss send me an email to let me know you want in.

 

 

 

The Top 8 Obstacles Preventing You From Burning Fat and Building Muscle

Everyday, millions of people decide they want to get in better shape.

Some want to lose fat.

Some want to build muscle.

Some want to get as strong as humanly possible.

And then there are people who just want to be able to play with their kids, and improve their qualities of life by improving their fitness levels.

In this article, I’m going to discuss the most common problems I see people making in pursuit of their fitness goals. In no particular order here they are:

1)  Lack of Consistency

Being consistent is often the key to succeeding with a particular task. 

Think back to high school or college for a moment. Remember when your teacher or professor would announce a test to the class, usually at least a week or so in advance?

This would give you enough time to prepare and go over the material you needed to know in order to ace the test.

But what did I do too many times?

I waited until the last minute to start preparing.

Instead of being consistent with my study habits leading up to the test, I often waited until the day before to cram all that information into my head.

Can you guess what happened when I practiced better study habits and became more consistent?

My test grades improved remarkably. And my mom wasn’t mad at me anymore for waiting until the last minute to study.

This nostalgic analogy is very similar to achieving your fitness goals.

Just about everyone is gung-ho when starting a new exercise routine or diet plan.

And that’s great!

But….

Many people quickly fall off because they lack consistency. They start out full steam ahead but do not fully realize the efforts needed to achieve their goals.

It’s super duper important to understand that consistency is really what separates decent results from phenomenal results.

Day after day for months and months, the overall consistency has to be there. This doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy life and have a meal out, attend social gatherings, or heck, even skip a workout.

Consistency over months and months is what is going to give you the best results no matter what your goals are.

Take my awesome online coaching client, Shanti for example. He lost 10 lbs over the course of several months to improve his body composition and make him a leaner and stronger version of himself. He was consistent in the long run and it definitely shows!

Shanti progress pictures

The fact is, you’ve got to put in enough consistent effort over time in order to see the best results.

And that’s what I hope you are striving for.

Why wouldn’t you want to get the best results you possibly could?

I sure as heck don’t want average results. I wouldn’t expect you to want that either.

Keep the principle of consistency in your vision as you move closer and closer towards your goals.

2) Not Having a Plan

If you want to make the most progress you possibly can, having a guideline, or a plan of action can help keep you on the right path.

For example, if you say you want to lose weight but don’t really change any of your current dietary or lifestyle habits, chances are you won’t see much in return.

It’s a good idea to map out a plan of action that will help you get to your goals.plan

If you need some direction and help with planning your workout routine, head over to my online coaching page.

This “map” should include all components that will affect your progress in one way or another. This includes training, nutrition, recovery, stress, schedule, social life and work as well.

All of these various factors are important because they all contribute to the common goal, whether it’s fat loss, muscle gain, or improved performance.

Make sure you’ve got your map before you begin your journey.

3)  Over Commitment

This is a huge mistake I see many eager beavers make.

A person is so intent on making a change that they over commit to what they time for.

Now don’t get me wrong. I LOVE when a prospective client is pumped up about starting their training and diet plan.

But please be realistic with yourself and commit to what you know you know you can commit to.

If your schedule is crazy busy, and you know for a fact you would not be able to get in 4-5 days of training in a week, don’t commit to that.

Instead, be honest with yourself knowing that you can realistically only get to the gym 2-3 times a week to do your weight training.

You will see much better progress being consistent (there’s that word again) training 2-3 days per week rather than committing to 4-5 days per week but missing half of those sessions every week.

*This concept also applies to life outside the gym as well. Your friends and family will definitely appreciate when you have to say no to something rather than saying yes and then not following through.

So, be honest with yourself and commit to what you can. Then put in 100% effort along the way.

4) Focusing on Too Many Goals at Once

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A hugeeeee mistake that can actually prevent you from making progress is picking too many goals to accomplish at once.

Instead of trying to lose serious body fat, build maximum muscle and learn how to juggle all at once, try picking the one that is most important to you and dedicate a certain period of time to that one area.

If you pick too many aspects to work on what you end up getting is sub-par results.

This won’t really allow you to maximize progress in one specific aspect of fitness.

If you’ve got extra body fat you’d like to lose, start with a fat loss phase. Check out these tips to help you lose body fat.

Conversely, if your goal is to gain mass and put on some serious muscle, you’re better served eating more calories while trying to do so than restricting your calories because you don’t want to gain any fat.

Once you know your primary goal, put all of your efforts into maximizing progress in that one area. Then once you have reached the desired level for that area, then you can decide to focus on another goal.

5) Following Fad Diets

Gluten free. Fat free. Paleo. Mediterranean. Low fat. Low carb. Atkins.

There’s a million and one “diets” out there.

Some have aspects that are good. Some have things that make me question life LOL.

For example, focusing on whole food sources for the majority of your intake is probably a good idea. Avoiding carbs at nighttime, not eating gluten, and only eating exactly what our paleolithic cavemen ancestors ate is probably not the best route to success.

Try to avoid the trap that is fad dieting by learning more about a particular diet before jumping right in.

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Just because so and so celebrity follows a certain “diet” doesn’t mean it’s necessarily good or will help you to reach your goals.

A particular diet should be something that you can follow regardless of how busy your life gets.

Yes, if you are cutting, the diet will more than likely get harder the leaner you get because you will have to eat less calories to get even leaner than you currently are.

You should be able to rotate cutting, massing, and maintenance phases throughout the year to fully maximize body composition changes.

You most certainly want a nutrition plan that fits your goals and your lifestyle. If you want to maximize your progress, be sure to check out my nutrition coaching program.

6) Your Training Style Doesn’t Match Your Goals

I’ve certainly fallen victim to this before.

I thought, man, if I just get a lot stronger I will surely be way more muscular. Right?

Well, not necessarily.

It wasn’t until I dedicated several months to hypertrophy training that my physique really started to improve.

The point is, the type of training you are doing should be getting you closer to your goals, not further away.

If you want to lose body fat, your training should be geared towards doing so. Same goes for building muscle. Both of these are best served utilizing hypertrophy phases, which are blocks of training that are higher volume in nature.

If your goal is to get as strong as possible, then you might want to follow a hypertrophy, strength, and peaking progression to fully display your strength.

You want to squat a ton of weight and get strong? This isn’t what you should be doing:ball-squat

For fat loss, muscle gain, and strength, a steady dose of barbell and dumbbell lifts would be a great place to start.

If you’re playing around on wobbly boards and slinging the cable machine handles in every direction thinking you’re gaining strength, then you won’t be making the most out of your gym time.

Maybe your goal is to complete a 5k. Your training for that race had better include lots of running, unless you’re walking it of course.

Make sure that the way you’re training is getting you one step closer to achieving your goals.

7) Not Training Hard Enough

This one kind of irks me, I’m not going to lie.

It seems like I hear all the time about people wanting to get into great shape or accomplish this or that.

And then I see them training. And they aren’t really doing anything much at all.

I’m not saying you have to be a super hardcore pumped up gym goer, but you definitely do have to put in some serious work.

If you want massive legs, you’re going to have to squat a lot.

Want a bigger and stronger chest? Lots of benching will be on the menu.

If your workout doesn’t really feel very challenging, then you probably aren’t training hard enough to have a positive affect on your physique.

Don’t mistake this as me saying you should be sprinting around from one exercise to the next with no rest in between sets.

What I mean to say is simply this:

Work hard, put in the effort to the best of your ability, and be willing to feel a little discomfort in order to achieve the greater good.

8) Failing to Get Started

How will you ever make progress if you never start in the first place?

While I mentioned the possibility of over committing to a new fitness routine earlier, I want to make sure that you do get started.

Don’t wait for the right time.

Don’t wait until the summer. Or the winter. Or after the holidays.

Because you know what?

These happen every year and you’ll just end up putting off until a later date, which means that you’ll never actually do it.

Get started right now and adjust along the way. The hardest part of any new situation is getting going. Start now and you’ll be glad you did!

If you can hurdle these obstacles you will be well on your way to great progress!

-R

Sign Up Below and You’ll Receive a Free Copy of my New Ebook 10 Commandments of Fat Loss

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Lessons Learned Preparing for First Powerlifting Meet: Part 2

Back on October 11th, I competed in my first ever power lifting meet. I previously wrote an article describing some lessons I learned while preparing for my first meet, HERE.  The meet was held in Everett, Massachusetts, right around the corner from Total Performance Sports.

On meet day, I arrived to the rec center around noon to listen to the rules because getting called on squat depth or jumping a bench command was the last thing I wanted to do in my first meet. I was pretty nervous when I got there, and even more so as the actual meet time approached. The morning session was set to finish a little bit early, so I slowly began preparing and lightly warming up for the 2:30 start time.

Luckily my good friend and competitive power lifter himself, Adam Pine, was there to coach me throughout the day. I really can’t thank him enough as I would have been lost on what to do aside from actually lifting. There’s a lot that goes into having a successful meet, and having someone there to guide you through sure took a lot of pressure off me. Keeping this in mind, here are some key lessons I learned from my first meet.

1) Have a handler

Basically a handler is someone who guides you during meet day. They help with the logistics of the meet and also provide bench press hand-offs.  Adam took care of getting my squat rack height set properly, sending in my attempts, telling me when to warm up and giving me cues to focus on. I was very fortunate to have his guidance because without him I would have been a nervous wreck. Instead, he took care of the details which allowed me to focus on lifting and enjoying my first meet.

2) Bring plenty of food/water/gatorade

This one is pretty self explanatory however it’s very important. Power lifting meets are very long and tiring. I showed up for rules at noon and didn’t leave the rec center until 9pm. 9 hours is a long time, but picking foods you know settle well in your stomach is key. It’s not a good idea to crush some random exotic food if you don’t usually tolerate itwell. Things like trail mix, beef jerky, protein bars and shakes, peanut butter sandwiches, water and gatorade are some good examples to keep you fueled and ready to lift. The worst thing is to be starving while you’re trying to get amped up for a pr deadlift attempt.

3) Know the layout of the meet and the flights you are in

Flights are basically what order you are lifting in. The meet is organized based on weight lifted so  someone with a bigger squat than me goes after me and possibly in a different flight. Check the order as soon as its posted so you can begin to plan when to warm up so that you don’t finish warming up 30 minutes before your first attempt. Again, I had Adam there to help me time my warmups so I was ready when my name was called. Once I was finished benching, I still had about 2 hours until deadlifts even started. Since I was in the 2nd flight for deadlifts, I knew I could add another 15-20 minutes to the start time. Adam recommended that I just relax and get a little food in me as I had plenty of time to warmup once the first flight of deadlifts began. Along the same lines as knowing the layout, it’s also important not to go nuts in warmups. Adam suggested I take jumps like I normally would in training when working up closer to my attempts. Try to do your last warmup about 4-5 minutes before you set to lift on the platform.

4) Take PR attempts even if they are small PR’s

I opened my first meet with a 315 squat. This was easy, as it should have been. Because it was my first meet, it was recommended to me to open light and show the judges that I could handle the weight. My next attempt was 350 which also felt really great. My best squat coming into the meet was 365. During my training as the meet approached, I wanted to hit a 385 squat. But things change a little on meet day, and while the 350 felt light, I jumped too much and ended up missing 385 in the hole. Adam suggested I go 375, which would have been a 10lb pr. I decided I wanted to go for 385 but it didn’t pay off. The lesson I learned from failing on my 3rd squat attempt is this. Take a PR when you have the chance. For my first meet, I should have listened to Adam. It really didn’t matter whether I squatted 375 or 385 because either weight was a PR since it was my first meet. Instead of listening to his advice, I told him 385 and ended up being frustrated after missing it. The point is to take a PR even if it’ s a small PR. Honestly 370 probably would have been more realistic but I got greedy and paid the price.

5) Build weaknesses

The only lift I failed on was my 385lb 3rd attempt on squats. As you’ll see in the video, I didn’t stay controlled enough on the descent, which caused me to lose tightness in the hole. Once I started up out of the hole, I leaned forward just slightly and was out of position to stand up with the weight. I will specifically need to work on building quad, erector and upper back strength to help me stay more upright during the squat. Here is the video of 385:

I will continue to work on taking it down with more confidence, and staying tighter throughout the entire lift.

At the end of the day I ended up going 8/9, posting a 1020 total with a 350 squat, 210 bench, and 460 deadlift. I tested my strengths and was able to see my weaknesses as well. I want to thank everyone that helped me along the way as well as my buddies who were there on meet day to cheer me on! Big thanks to Adam Pine for helping me have a successful first meet!

Here are videos of my successful lifts:

350 Squat

210 Bench-apologies for the grainy video

460 Deadlift-5lb PR