When it comes to maximizing core training there needs to be a shift in both application and terminology. Instead of opting for a strong core, your focus should be on developing a stable core. Differentiating the two could be the difference between longevity and encountering a serious injury.
STRENGTH VS STABILITY
To fully understand this new application the differences between strength and stability need to be clear.
Strength: the ability to produce force
Stability: the ability to resist force
The average person’s core program consists of movements like crunches, side bends and medicine ball twists. All of these movements are force producing movements and although they may increase the strength of certain core muscles, they don’t allow the core to do what it’s actually designed to do as a whole: resist force.
The primary job of the core is to stabilize the entire spinal column along with the rib-cage and pelvis. It does this by resisting any external forces placed on the body. In order to increase our core’s capacity to resist force and prevent injury we must train using force resisting movements.
FORCE RESISTING MOVEMENTS
Knee & Leg Raise Variations
During these movements the spine is held in a braced, neutral position while the core muscles are contracted isometrically. This is the safest and most effective method for developing a stable core.
Training your core with force resistingmovements will allow you to build the capacity to stay injury free – whether that’s in the gym or while encountering day to day wear and tear.
Always remember, a stable core is a strong core.
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How many times have you set the exact same New Years Resolution to get stronger, lose fat or be healthy? Why is it that year after year you find yourself in the exact same position? Are you not working hard enough? Are you not remaining consistent? Chances are your efforts are more than enough and you’re simply just spinning your wheels with a blindfold on.
OUTCOME-BASED GOALS VS BEHAVIOR-BASED GOALS
Setting a massive outcome-based goal is a great way to motivate yourself and kick-start action. However, the steps that are required to get there are much more important. At some point, motivation will come to a halt and you’ll be left to operate solely on discipline. Setting consistent behavior-based goals along the way will ensure you stay on track with your vision and help build discipline. Here are some examples of outcome-based goals vs behavior-based goals.
Lose 50lbs of fat
Gain 10lbs of muscle
Squat my body-weight
Eliminate my back pain
Run a 5k
Maintain a caloric deficit/surplus each day (goal depending)
Consume adequate protein, fiber and water each day
Get a minimum of 8 hours of sleep each night
Strength train 3-4 times per week
Stretch for 20 minutes each day
Commit to working with a personal trainer for 12 months
The most successful individuals operate on this level. They take a MASSIVE outcome-based goal and carefully dissect it into monthly, weekly, daily and even hourly behavior-based goals. Adopting this mind-set is absolutely CRUCIAL to achieving your success in the most efficient way possible. Perfect your habits on a micro level, be patient and you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish.
Let’s win 2018 one day at a time.
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There’s no magic recipe for success. We all know that. Why is it then, that most people tend to deviate from what actually works? Attempting to reinvent the wheel can be extremely counterproductive and only lead you down a path of disappointment. Instead of trying to find new, easier ways to achieve your goals, try sticking to proven methods. It comes down to the 3 Pillars of Success.
THE 3 PILLARS OF SUCCESS
It takes massive amounts of EFFORT produced on a CONSISTENT basis while being held ruthlessly ACCOUNTABLE to effectively conquer your goals. Here’s the breakdown of each pillar with clear examples.
Imagine trying to ride a bicycle without peddling. That would be physically impossible. In order to propel the bicycle forward, you must produce force against the pedals. This is exactly how EFFORT works in relation to success – if you don’t produce enough effort, you’ll remain in the exact same place you started.
This comes in many different forms. Maybe this means committing yourself to making 10 extra sales calls each day. Maybe it’s sticking to your meal plan on weekends and holidays. Or, maybe it’s pushing out those last few reps at the gym.
EFFORT serves as the foundation of the 3 pillars of success.
You’ve managed to pedal your bicycle for a while and everything seems to be going great. Your next challenge: the hill. What would happen if you suddenly stopped pedaling only part way up the hill? You would come to a stop and consequently roll back down to the bottom. This is CONSISTENCY – if you don’t remain consistent with your efforts, the progress you’ve made will stop and eventually begin to regress.
This is taking your efforts and reproducing them day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year, for many years, until you eventually become unstoppable.
CONSISTENCY serves as the working body of the 3 pillars of success.
Let’s take a moment to reflect on the first two examples. First, you had to learn how to move the bicycle by pedaling. Then, you made some common mistakes, reassessed, and slowly made your way to the top of the hill. All of these things could have been avoided if another, more experienced cyclist had been there with you, guiding you along the way, providing feedback, encouragement and preventing you from making the same mistakes they had already made. This is ACCOUNTABILITY – if your game plan lacks accountability, how can you expect to conquer your goals in the most efficient, safe and timely manner possible?
This is investing in a strategic business coach, a personal trainer, a cooking instructor. These experts have traveled the path you’re on many times. They can provide you with feedback, encouragement, and most importantly, set goals and deadlines to hold you accountable. Thus, providing you the tools and the support to achieve massive levels of success.
ACCOUNTABILITY serves as the peak of the 3 pillars of success and as a result, holds everything together.
It doesn’t matter what type of goal you’re setting. Just make sure that you set yourself up for success while on your journey.
Many foods have been demonized and deemed “unhealthy” within the past decade. Gluten, dairy, red meat – you name it – have all been under fire for one reason or another, most of which are inaccurate. More recently, however, we seem to be facing some dogmatic thinking in regards to macronutrient intake (protein, carbohydrates and dietary fat).
On one side of the spectrum there’s anti-fat advocates, who claim that consuming dietary fat will cause fat gain. On the other side of the spectrum there are anti-carb advocates, who claim that consuming carbohydrates will cause fat gain. Scientific literature does not support these claims and the reality is this: no macronutrient has the capability to make anyone fat. Period.
When it comes to fat loss, the most important factor is energy balance. In very simple terms, we must consume fewer calories than we expend. There are some basic guidelines to adhere to when aiming to lose body-fat in order to maximize your results.
BASIC FAT-LOSS GUIDELINES
Maintain a caloric deficit
Consume adequate protein
Consume adequate fiber
Adjust carbohydrates based on performance needs
Fill the remaining available calories with dietary fat
It’s very simple, there’s no need to complicate things. Now, this doesn’t mean that it’s going to be easy. You need to adhere to your fat-loss protocol over a consistent period of time in order to yield your desired results, and that takes hard work and dedication.
At the end of the day, as long as you follow these guidelines, it doesn’t matter whether you choose low fat/high carb, low carb/high fat, or moderate carb/fat. Make that decisions based on your own training and performance needs and always remember, P.A.C. – which method do you PREFER, which method will you ADHERE to and which method will allow you to remain CONSISTENT.
This approach will allow for some flexibility. You’ll be able to enjoy the delicious foods you love, as long as you stay within your daily calorie budget. Of course, we want to fill our calories with the most nutrient dense foods possible first and foremost, however, we can set aside some calories for that slice of birthday cake and not have to worry about falling off track or feeling guilty.
Many people love the idea of working with an in-home trainer. Turns out that’s probably not the most effective way to reach your goals. Here’s why.
That old universal cable machine and pair of dumbbells collecting dust in your basement just aren’t going to cut it. Working with a trainer who has access to a commercial grade facility is going to provide appropriate exercise selection. This is important as each exercise will be put in place in relation to your goals. This is the principle of specificity, which means you must train with methods specific to your goals and your goals only. Working with limited resources is going to give you limited results.
Just because you’re sweating and gasping for air doesn’t mean that your workout was effective. Anyone can throw together a circuit with some squats, burpees, and jumping jacks, but that isn’t training – that’s just exercise. While working with a trainer in a fully equipped facility, you’ll be provided effective exercises that are put in place specifically for you – not just thrown together haphazardly to make you break a sweat.
Most often, the things we truly desire in life require hard work to achieve. Just because something is convenient doesn’t always mean it’s going to be the best choice for us. Having your sessions booked away from home will provide you with some additional accountability and build the discipline required to achieve and sustain your fitness goals.
Are you just lifting, or are you treating movement as a skill?
Let me explain one vs the other. That person who aimlessly pumps out reps with no control or intent – they’re just lifting. That person who’s set looks like a work of art, each rep executed with perfection, control and intent – they’re treating movement as a skill. They understand that each rep must be performed in such a way that maximizes the desired stimulus to the greatest degree.
It begins with the perfect set up. If your body is not in the most mechanically stable position to perform the movement you’ll be leaking force all over the place and missing out on serious gains over the long term. Set yourself up before each set in such a way that’s going to provide the most stability and effectively bias the muscle group(s) or movement you’re aiming to target. From there, each rep is then executed with control and intent, which brings us to the next point.
You must move with intent. Are you trying to target a specific muscle group or are you trying to become more efficient (stronger) at a particular movement? Your sets need to be mindful. You must be engaged both physically and mentally. Contract forcefully during the concentric portion of the movement and control the load during the eccentric portion until you reach end range. Focus on maintaining a consistent tempo throughout the entire set while actively preserving your stable set up position.
Frequently revisit the basics and hone your skills on key movements before challenging yourself further. This will ensure quality stimulus and longevity over the course of your entire lifting career.
Always ask yourself this question – “How can I maximize the effectiveness of this movement?”
If your training sessions are lacking progress and you find yourself feeling lethargic, sore and tired for days after, you may be making some crucial adaptation errors. Today, we’ll look at what recovery really means and whether or not you are executing the proper protocols.To some, recovery is a nebulas term that’s thrown around with no specific explanation. When it comes down to it, recovery is a complex – yet simple – series of protocols. However, don’t be fooled as it entails much more than just drinking your protein shake…
Pre workout nutrition is a crucial piece of the puzzle. Although most think recovery is what happens after training, ensuring proper fueling prior to exercise will enable you to maximize your training as well as prime the recovery process before you even begin your workout. My recommendation is to consume a meal or shake that contains all three of the macronutrients; protein, carbohydrates and fat.
During intense exercise, our bodies undergo a series of processes that break down muscle tissue and deplete a large array of important nutrients. Replenishing the body post workout is very important if you wish to optimize this early stage of the recovery process. Protein is needed to begin the repair process of broken down muscle tissue. Carbohydrates are needed to replenish glycogen lost during training and also aid in shuttling nutrients into cells. Fat is also important post workout as during extended efforts – more so with endurance athletes – our bodies depend on intramuscular triglycerides (also known as fat) to be oxidized and used a fuel. Electrolytes need to be replenished to maintain optimal fluid balance as well as optimal cell function. Last but not least, we must also re-hydrate ourselves with plenty of water.
Ensuring proper fueling and replenishment surrounding your training is important, but what most of us are forgetting is the maintenance of our damaged, stiff and tight tissues that derive from our training. I am referring to self-soft tissue work and joint mobility. Let’s call this protocol anti-stiffness training. Implementing anti-stiffness training post exercise will drastically increase the quality of your damaged tissues, speed recovery and optimize function of these tissues. Some important tools to have for your anti-stiffness training include one or more lacrosse balls, foam roller and one or more stretch bands at varying gauges. If you’re roughing it at the gym and do not have access to these tools, using a barbell, kettlebell or dumbbell can also work. Be creative. The goal is to spend a minimum of 2-5 minutes per muscle group trained using these tools to perform self-soft tissue work and joint mobilization. This will enable us to remove any adhesions within the tissue, restore proper joint mechanics and lastly, aid in the removal of waste and promote nutrient rich blood flow to the area.
In order to maximize recovery, we must ensure that we are maintaining a minimum of 7-8 hours of sleep per night. Our bodies recover the most during this maximal state of rest. Tissue repair, hormone production, CNS (central nervous system) recovery and more all take place during these crucial 7-8 hours. Make sure your bedroom is completely blacked out. Exposure to light can halt the production of sleep aiding hormones such as melatonin. Turn off computers and cell phones as wifi and electronic devices nearby can also disrupt sleep. 7-8 hours minimum? Any less than 6 hours per night has been shown to compromise immune function by up to 30%, decrease testosterone production by up to 30% as well as increase fasting blood glucose levels and put us into a pre-diabetic state for up to 48 hours.
NUTRIENTS, TIMING & HYDRATION
The typical 8 meals per day, 2-3 hours apart has become outdated. We now know that we can improve protein synthesis by consuming larger meals over 4-5 hours, leaving us with 4-5 meals per day, tops. That being said, I highly recommend you experiment with your body to see what works best for you. Drinking water throughout the day can aid in digestion, maintain a healthy metabolism, keep our tissues functioning properly and lubricate our joints. The standard guideline is to consume ½ of your body-weight in fluid ounces of water daily.
Follow these 5 basic principles and you’ll find yourself on the road to optimal recovery.
What are you doing to maximize your running potential this season? We now know that simply adding more and more mileage to your training just won’t cut it. It’s old school, ineffective and sets you up for chronic injury.
We must be very methodical with our programming. Rest and recovery must remain a priority at all times while strategically planning the correct duration, intensity and frequency of our runs.
However, the number one overlooked component in almost every runner’s program is strength training. Increasing strength and building moderate amounts of muscle will yield great results for any runner. This means more speed, improved v02 max, improved use of fuel and oxygen, and the list continues.
True Strength Personal Training has teamed up with Marathoner and Ultra-Marathoner Mike MacInnes. Mike is an incredibly skilled and passionate runner and is currently enrolled to become a Certified Running Coach and Personal Trainer. He has accomplished amazing feats such as running the Grand Canyon and is currently gearing up for the 2017 Boston Marathon.
When you pair Mike’s knowledge and experience in running with Robert’s extensive focus on strength and human movement, you receive the most inclusive and superior programming in all of Barrie, Ontario.
Whether you’re looking to complete your first 5k or training for your next marathon, True Strength guarantees your best performance on race day.
A personal trainer is there for you 100% of the time. They are there for those late night text messages. They are there to lift you up when you’re feeling unmotivated. They are there to congratulate you when you’re feeling proud. A personal trainer is invested in your well being and will do everything in their power to help you in all areas of your life.
A personal trainer will help you become physically stronger and more capable of performing daily activities. You’ll look, feel and perform better than ever and it will empower you beyond belief.
A personal trainer will help you improve your self esteem. You’ll become mentally stronger and more resilient as you learn to push yourself in the gym. You’ll learn how to cross that barrier of being comfortable that separates the mediocre from the great. This drive and intensity will carry over to every day events, allowing you to stay focused and confident during times of struggle.
Imagine being strong, both physically and mentally. Imagine having great levels of confidence and self esteem. Imagine living without those aches and pains in your back and getting a restful night’s sleep.
This is what it’s like working with a personal trainer. We’re here to help you become the strongest version of yourself, inside and out.
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When it comes to strength training, the K.I.S.S. principle has never been more appropriate. The entire premise behind strength training is to improve authentic, human movement patterns. How exactly do we do this? We do this by prioritizing movement quality as well as holding performance related standards. This is all applied, however, after we address any major movement restrictions and/or imbalances.
Once the trainee can express sufficient, pain free range of motion, we can then begin to implement compound, multi-joint movements such as squats, deadlifts, push ups, chin ups etc. These are the biggest “bang for your buck” exercises when it comes to strength, athleticism, health and wellness. We must embrace this concept of simplicity and understand that just because these movements are classified as simple or basic, that does NOT mean they are easy or ineffective.
Too many trainers and coaches have shied away from this concept and want to reinvent the wheel with tacky, ineffective exercises that look more like a circus act than a workout. Balancing on a stability ball while pressing dumbbells isn’t going to get you anywhere, and let’s be honest here, doing BOSU Ball crunches and bicep curls on the TRX isn’t going to do jack sh*t for the novice strength trainee.
Below you will find a list of highly effective movements that novice strength trainees should be implementing in their program.
Standing Overhead Press
Kettle Bell Swing
Ab Wheel Roll Out
Hanging Knee/Leg Raise
Anti-Rotation Cable Press
Please keep in mind that the trainee must first qualify before performing these exercises. They must be able to demonstrate safe and effective mechanics while performing each movement.
With this as your new strength training arsenal, you’ll be sure to get bigger, stronger and healthier in the safest and most effective manner.
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