Quick Tips for Progress: Listen Up
I’ve got a few quick tips for you this week on how to make more progress.
Making progress is a vague topic so let’s look at where we can make progress:
- Strength (physical and mental)
- Body Composition/Nutrition
- Personal Growth/Validation
Let me rant for a minute before I give you the Quick Tips for Progress.
The internet is a fantastic thing and possibly the worst thing that has ever been spawned on the Earth.
Before the internet people did things.
Now, they watch other people do things, a lot.
I always tell my son “live your life, don’t watch others do it online.”
You’ve got to actually do things to get better.
The internet negatively affects our strength and our ability to make progress as much as it increases our ability to make progress.
It does this through information overload, and you may not have the ability to disseminate the shit from the suck or the awesome.
The internet has unleashed a virtually unlimited supply of coaches and you can PAY them for programming.
Let me tell you, in all of the years I have been doing seminars and asking what people want from them, the overwhelming response I get from working coaches is how to program.
Sure, there are a lot of excellent online coaches, but in the totality of the internet, they are few and far between. I’d name a few, but don’t want to leave anyone out.
Rest assured, if you have a coach that is consistently producing excellent results and athletes you are probably in good hands.
Let me just say that when choosing a coach, look for one that has experience.
Don’t just choose one because they have a big deadlift or bench or abs.
That does not mean they know how to coach and write, adjust and tune a program.
Be sure your program is written for you and not the same template that everyone else is doing.
If you want to buy a program and follow it, don’t pay for coaching. Get an e-Book.
These alleged online coaches will limit your ability to make progress. Maybe you’ll get a little stronger or in a little better shape, but an experienced coach will give you better, more consistent results that are in-line with your goals.
They may also be Kafkaesque. They may be up to no good. I know of a few like this.
Listen Up, now that I have my rant out of the way, let’s look at Quick Tips for Progress
First up: Strength
This is simple.
- Find a program or a coach that is QUALIFIED to write your program and stick to it.
- Work hard at it.
- Don’t miss lifts.
- Don’t skip training sessions.
- Do your accessory work.
Don’t expect to go from a 225 squat to a 315 squat in a month, or 3, or 6.
- Progress takes time.
- It takes work.
- It takes consistency.
- It takes effort.
When you choose a program, pick one that agrees with you mentally.
For example, if you are an engineer or an accountant and you love data and numbers and percentages, maybe conjugate is not in your wheel house.
If you hate percentages and love variety, maybe conjugate is in your wheel house.
The point is, for a program to work, you have to believe it will work.
You also have to stick with it for a while.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that program “x” didn’t work for someone. Then you find out they did it for a month.
Of course it didn’t work you moron. You ran it for a month!
- It takes time.
- And work.
- And effort.
Give your program at least 6 months before jumping ship to a greener pasture.
Bottom line: to increase strength, work hard and consistent for at least 6 months on a solid program.
Conditioning is maybe the easiest thing to improve.
It doesn’t take an ounce of talent to be in shape.
To improve your conditioning, the same rules apply as to improve strength.
Be consistent and work hard.
Work smart too.
Choose a program that is symbiotic with your primary goals and training program.
A great example is a competitive powerlifter.
Your primary objective is your total.
Be sure that your conditioning program doesn’t detract from your primary objective.
Another great example is a hockey player.
They do not have a primary goal of a huge total so their strength program should reflect that.
Their conditioning program should also reflect their primary objective:
To be able to skate bawlz out blueline to blueline repeatedly while beating your opponent to the puck or taking it away from them and scoring a goal. Also, possibly beating the shit out of someone after skating blueline to blueline……
Bottom line: do the type of conditioning that will help you to reach your goal.
Did I say to have a goal?
You better figure that out before you choose a program…..
More Quick Tips for Progress:
Improving Body Composition/Nutrition
This may be the hardest thing for a lot of you because food and beer are so tasty.
Why can’t you get jacked from pizza and Guinness?
Anyway, improving body composition is not magic.
Let me break it down to you with this top secret bit of information:
To lose fat, you must burn more calories than you consume.
To gain muscle, you must eat more calories than you burn.
Simple as that.
Be sure and get in protein as your primary nutrient.
Ya’ can’t build muscle without it.
It’s also harder for your body to convert protein into body fat than any other nutrient.
This is not a license to overeat protein, just a tip.
How many times should you eat daily?
Hell if I know.
My best advice is to find a feeding schedule that allow you to get the correct amount of calories and macros that you can consistently follow.
Noticing a trend here with consistency?
How many calories should you eat?
Hell if I know.
I’ve never met you.
Here is a simple guideline:
- Fat loss: 8-12 calories per pound
- If you are a fat bastard, start at the bottom.
- If you are only a little fat, closer to the high number.
- If the fat loss isn’t coming, cut calories. Or increase activity.
- Gain Mass: 13-16 calories per pound
- Start at the low end for a few weeks. If you are hungry and not gaining, go up a little.
- If you start getting fat, cut a little.
It’s not rocket surgery.
Bottom line: Choose a feeding schedule that suits your lifestyle, get plenty of protein, get your calories from real food, be consistent and don’t overeat.
Often overlooked but should not be.
Improper recovery will rob you of gains.
Recovery can be improved drastically in two ways:
Proper caloric intake
Go the eff to bed and turn off your phone. (See next tip……)
I covered eating, let’s talk about getting to bed.
Your body goes through two big Growth Hormone release points daily.
One is post strength training. You have that covered.
The other, not so much.
You release GH during REM sleep waves. If you don’t get enough REM sleep, you don’t recover.
Get at least 7 hours of sleep. It’s not enough but it is better than 6.
8 or 9 is ideal but ain’t nobody got time for that.
Seriously though, try to get 8 hours of sleep.
And turn your damn electronic devices off at least 2 hours before bed.
There is a ton of info out there on how this affects your ability to sleep.
Your devices emit Blue Light. There is research that shows this is bad for your eyes and your brain.
Exposure to Blue Light decreases your melatonin production.
Why take extra melatonin when you can just get off Facebook?
There are many more ways to increase recovery such as:
- Soft tissue work
- Sled Dragging
Bottom line: eat enough food and go to bed
This is not physical strength but it can be tied into it.
Dave says lessons learned under the bar transfer to life and I agree.
Cram yourself under a 700-pound squat bar and take it for a ride.
If you can handle that without mentally cracking, you’ll be ok at your staff meeting.
In today’s society, we see a class of people that seem to need validation from others much more than before.
It is usually the under 30 crowd, but there are plenty of older people too.
Let me tell you, if you need personal validation from how many “likes” or comments you get on your social media post you are a prime candidate to get off social media.
Be a person and interact with a close circle of friends. Forge relationships in actual real life with people near you physically. This is much different that your internet “friends”.
Trust few. Respect those who earned it.
Read. An actual book, not a screen.
When you NEED validation from social media, there is something lacking in your life or your psyche.
There are studies now showing how social media and interaction on it is harmful to a lot of us.
Kids especially, stress over who sees their posts, how many likes they get and so forth. This is unneeded stress from something useless.
- Stress releases cortisol.
- Cortisol can rob gains.
- Why add stress to your life for something so stupid?
- Grow personally and spiritually.
- Read. Books. Never stop learning.
- Cultivate a circle of people that are positive.
- They say you become who you associate with. They are right.
- If you surround yourself with losers or people who constantly shit on and berate others, you become a loser too.
- If you surround yourself with positive people who build people up, you can also become that.
- Don’t seek personal validation from social media.
When I was growing up we were taught to mind your business and keep your business to yourself.
Words of wisdom.
On a personal note, you all know it was St. Paddy’s day last week and you may or may not know that I have traditions with my son.
We go to the Bruins game every year around St. Pat’s and we also go and see the Dropkick Murphys.
This year, we started a new tradition that I hope will last.
We took my friend of more years than I can count to the Dropkicks with us.
Fitzy is fighting cancer and is not a quitter.
Fitzy had a great time and so did we.
Fitzy is a fucking winner.
You are who you surround yourself with.
I love you buddy.
Surround yourself with winners.
Pay no attention to the losers and haters.
Find me on Google-search for Total Performance Sports Malden, Mass. The Best Gym in Boston, Facebook too.
Oh, yeah, follow us on Instagram too. TPSMalden
Vincere vel mori