Potbelly fix and stronger deadlifts.

Many have a problem with their belly protruding (sticking out) even when in single digit bodyfat.
My gut would stick out and it bothered me to no end.
I did crunches, leglifts and planks and a lot of them,
thinking my abs were weak and that I needed to tighten them up.

Then a few years ago I came across articles by Vince Gironda.
He stated that exercises like sit-ups and crunching did more damage than good,
even causing belly protrusion.
I, having mostly done crunches and sit-up type exercises with little result found this intriguing.

Exercises such as tummy vacuuming and frog crunches (not really a crunch) were the stable of his abs workout and he had a fantastic set himself to show for it.
Researching the mechanics of the movements I discovered more and more reasons for potbelly syndrome.

Having strong visible abs has very little to do with it as the deep abdominals that keep the tummy tight. Your posture can affect protrusion as well.
Forward tilting hips, causing lordosis are the main culprit along with a relatively weak upper back that will cause your shoulders to slump forward and chest drop down, pushing your belly out.

This is a very common problem today since everyone is sitting all day hunched over a keyboard or phone. The already strong hip flexors become shorter and the thorax weakens from inactivity.

Simply adding these exercises to the warm up
should quickly produce result:
face pulls, wall slides, band pull apart, hip mobility and stretching the hip flexors.

I also recomend doing the two exercises I describe below.
In my case my belly got flatter in about two weeks.
I also improved drastically in my squats and deadlifts due to a more stable core.

Tummy vacuuming: It strengthens your deep abs all around your midsection. Creating god’s weightbelt.
This video should get everyones attention. youtube.com/watch?v=slhc_d9MLSg

Horse stance: This is a stable in almost every martial art.
Take a wide stance and do a half squat, toes forward, hold that position and draw your bellybutton down into the pelvis, at the same time draw your anus up into the pelvis.
Hold for as long as possible and do a a few sets through the day.

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Train for life

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What the hell should I eat.

When I started coaching my knowledge in nutritional matters was limited.
I wasn’t able to give my clients and athletes clear answers, nor any feedback on the new diets and the newest fads they asked me about.
My nutritional expertise could be summed up in one sentence.
“Eat big, get big, to get small eat less dummy”.

Being a bit obsessed with always having answers, I knew this was something that I had to change.
I read everything I could get my hands on about nutrition and Quickly I realized..

hundreds of experts saying hundreds of different things.

Paleo is the one and only diet.
Warrior diet is the best for getting lean muscle, hello it’s called “Warrior diet” it must work.
Lose weight with Atkins, slow carb, high protein, low fat, low carb and a myriad of other diets.
Still short of answers

None of the experts could agree on the ULTIMATE diet so I figured I’d do some experimenting.
It took me four years to figure out the best one for me.

They all worked, to some degree. Except Atkins, all it did was make my digestive system go on vacation, it was quite an unpleasant experience.

My resault is this.
We all have different metabolic needs,
and we have to experiment with our selves to dial in our diet.
It’s good to start out with some sort of template,
then add and take away until you are at your best.

My diet now would probably be considered paleo or close to it.
But I find that intermittent fasting like in the Warrior diet helps keep me lean and energized.
I feel strong and most of my PR’s are set on days when I’m fasting.

I found that a strict paleo diet, did not work for me
I got lean, had a lot of energy but my muscles felt deflated
and I was not adding muscle like I wanted.

Few tips.
I recommend more carbs postworkout, sweet potato, brown rice if you want to build muscle.
If you have been feeling sluggish try eliminating dairy from your diet, it worked for me.
The only preworkout supplement you should use is a cup of coffee.
Try a tablespoon of grass fed butter or coconut butter in your coffee for a supercharged preworkout drink.
Check out Bulletproof coffee. .http://www.bulletproofexec.com/

Let me simplify.
Drink at least a gallon of water a day.
Eat your veggies and a lot of them.
Eat grass fed, free range meat and wild caught fish.
Don’t be afraid of fat in your food.
Coffee, tea and coconut water are fine.
Processed food is a hell no.
And of course no soft drinks.

Try this for a week and see how much better you feel.

Train and eat for life

Reaching your rep goal and anytime strength.

A while back I wanted to increase my strict pull-up max rep to from 16 to 25,
but it felt like I was stuck no matter what I did.
So I decided to experiment over the summer with a technique called
“Grease The Groove” I read about it in Christopher Sommers book
“Building the gymnastic body”.

What you do is you execute one set of reps
you can do with perfect form and do this 3-5 times a day.
Let’s say you max out at 10 reps, then you’ll do 8-9 reps each time.

So up to 5 times a day I would pump
out 13-15 reps and because I was fresh each time it wasn’t a problem.

I did this for two weeks, rested from pull-ups for five days and went for my PR.
I was amazed by the results. With only a 2 week effort I improved by more than 50%.
And being the clever guy I pretend to be I decided to see if this method would bring the same gains to my push-ups, pistols and dips. All my PR’s shot up by 40-50%, and now I will go the round again using a weighted west.

If you are new to training you can use this on a longer
timescale, up to four weeks. If you are experienced
I would keep it two weeks max, just to avoid stress injuries.
Since you could be doing up to 600 pullups a week.

What this does is it trains your neuromuscular pathways, i.e.
Muscle memory. Essentially it’s “Perfect Practice”.
So it could be applied to deadlifts, squats and Olympic
lifts as long as you use light loads, 30-40% of your max.

To me this is the essence of “get up and go” fitness,
being able to perform anytime.
Not only after a thorough warmup and grind on a lacrosse ball.

In line with this technique I have started to add heavy compound
exersices or a heavy dumbbell circuit after my strength routine.
For example after a full upper, lower or full body workout I would squat, deadlift or
C&J for 10-15 reps with 75-85% of my max.

Pushing through a heavy set like this when you are already fatigued
not only trains the body but gets you mentally tough.

Give this a try and build up some “anytime strength”.

Train for life

Dealing with a bad day

We all have a bad workout day.
A day were the bar just seems heavier then usual.
Most drudge through the haphazard workout and plan on making
up for it on the next one.

Next time it happens, try this.
Pick two large movements.
For example: Kettlebell or dumbbell swings
and some kind of deadlift variations.
Do a circuit and make short max (10 min) and intense.
You are more likely to crush the workout,
and you can be guilt free. Not that you should feel any.

Another thing I do is I note down my mood,
nutrition and sleep even weather.
And soon I can see why I am not up to the workout.
Now I can make conscious effort to avoid things that mess me up.

If you are having “bad workouts” frequently I suggest you do this.

Lack of sleep, being sick or injures are usually things out of our control.
You just have to roll with it.
BUT
Staying up late to watch TV, eating crappy food, having a few drinks
or being stressed are all things you can actively avoid.

Now for the difficult part.

Ask your self.
Am I making up excuses and putting up mental barricades.

Oh it’s so gray outside and raining of course I’m tired.
It’s been a long day, it’s ok to take it easy.
It’s going to be a long day, I need to take it easy.

IT’S ALL TOTAL BULLSHIT!

If you need a restday take one, that’s fine but ALWAYS crush the workout.

Train for life

Choosing a trainer.

When choosing a trainer the inclination is,
“he’s ripped and fit he must be good”
He did it, he can teach me to do it, right.

Well the thing is that he could have great genetics.
Be naturally athletic and coordinated, meaning he learned
The movements fast and easy. And builds muscle easily.

And the truth is many personal trainers have no hands on experience
Training when they start, they pass a test and think now I have learned
All I need to learn.

I was one of them.

When people are natural at something they don’t go through
A learning phase, they acquire skill to easily.
and therefore have a hard time teaching the movements to “regular” people.
They never learned any teaching cues.

Make sure your trainer is someone who has worked
on his or her skill, that way he is better suited to teach it to others.
I found this out the hard way.

For me it was frustrating when I was trying to teach movements
In boxing and lifting.
I had learned by watching and doing.
Why can’t you. Arghhh!!!

The fix.

I finally realized this when coach deconstructed my movements,
he said “you learned to squat on your own didn’t you.
You do it well but it so instinctual that you can’t break it up into it’s basics”.

That’s it I thought, I learned a movement so easily that I
Expected everyone else to get it easily too.
That’s why I dove into Olympic lifts and kettle bell movements with different coaches.
Threw away my ego and started my schooling all over again.

Starting from scratch I learned all my lifts again taking in all the
teaching cues and developing my own on the way.
By now I had been training others for four years.

I now go on a regular basis to different coaches and start again.
With all my movements in both lifting and boxing.
I always take something new away from it
and it makes me a better coach.

If I get too comfortable with something I drop it for a while.
Then going to a coach and get him to teach it to me as if I was a novice.
It’s humbling and hard on the ego and necessary for everyone.

Stay away from “I know it all” people and certainly don’t become one.

Train for life

When in doubt, run.

People tend to over think what workout paradigm is the best for them and their goals.
What should I do to burn fat, build muscle, get lean, get fit etc
Unsurprisingly the search for the right way leaves them frustrated and no steps are taken as a result and excuses pile up.
Getting fit, strong and healthy is not complicated. Here is a start point.
RUN
Running something everyone should do. I am not talking marathon here. Start with a mile for time then try to beat that time, then add 20 pushups and 20 squats and beat the time again, then add a 5-10lb rucksack.
This increases work capacity and athleticism and I find that it strengthens mentality when you are fighting that voice in your head that is telling you to quit and go home.
Run for 5 min or go for a set distance and do a set of bodyweight squats, lunges, jumps, push and pullups or whatever you can think of, do this for 30 min or 2 miles, keep it short, intense and don’t over think just work your butt of and this will get you crazy results in a short time.
As a bonus you can do an awesome workout in 20-30 min and short intense sets have been shown to increase lean muscle and burn fat fast.
If running a mile is too much then do a 1min jog-1min walk for a set time or distance until you can jog a mile.
On my rest days I usually go for a 2-5mile run and do a bunch of bodyweight exercises enroute. If I find stones or logs I lift them, do pullups in monkey bars and swings, few sprints here and there depending how I feel.
Stick to the basics and work hard.

Train for life