The classic gym question: should I do 25-35 reps each set or 8-12 reps, should be answered by common sense, but it always comes around when trainees are stuck between wanting rippling muscles and wanting to be strong.
I now publish regular breathing drills and give the occassional zoom seminar . However, breathing has been one of those ongoing issues where people have been able to misrepresent, twist and ignore the science.
This goes for exercise professionals, miracle healers and straight up loonies.
The meal I’ll analyse today is my lovely Kate’s favourite meat which is roast lamb.
4 blocks of lamb, or 112g ( that’s the protein) , 3 blocks of potato (150g) and my hope that the odd bit of fat that I rubbed over the meat before roasting was about 4 x 1.5g . The zone diet assumes that all meat has some fat in it.
You’ll notice I’ve slung peas and green beans on my plate, but without really measuring them. I think “pile on the ( non starchy) veg”, but don’t let this take you away from measuring the more carb dense food!
POINTS TO NOTE: when you start to properly manage your weight 1) don’t hunt out weird exotic meals to make. Try and stick with stuff you know and can cook. 2) learn to portion control the important stuff. Dont obsess if you had too much spinach or 3 more fork fulls of cabbage! Learn to recognise the high calorie food. still include it! But manage it.
Todays car park workout was an ‘up down ladder”
Mark out a 10m shuttle run, get a suitably nice, or nasty dumbbell to snatch
On the way up dumbbell snatches 2-20 (2, 4, 6) , on the way down shuttle runs 10-1(10, 9, 8)
Here we have 112g of roast chicken, (4 blocks) 150g of boiled potato (3 blocks) . I rubbed 2 blocks of butter onto the chicken ( kate loves her crispy skin) and put about 2 blocks of butter onto the vegetables. I boiled up a “mess” of courgettes, broccoli and cabbage, served with an ” as much as you can eat” mentality. Any diet that restricts non starchy carb should be avoided. As many veggies as you can get down I say!!
Use the veggie stock to make gravy (with the juice from the chicken)
The sneaky “bad” things I did were: 1) slung a glass of wine into the baking pan, to support the juice from the chicken and the trivet ( thats the bed of onion, celery and carrot) hoping that most of the alcohol had boiled away ( check if I”m delusional, by following this thread) and 2) stirred in 2 tea spoons of gravy powder which had a bit of carb in. I’ve ignored that as it minor and life is too short.
Delicious and filling!
Straight after diner, when the chicken is cold, rip it off the bone, with your hands. Put the trivet and the bones and any remainder gravy/juice into a pot to make a stock ( you’ll need this for tomorrows curry)
Today, kate and I are off to the gym ( at the amazing Crossfit London) to do a strength workout 3 sets of 5’s of deadlift, squat and press.
If you are stuck at home can I suggest 3 sets of 10 kettlebell deadlift (holding whatever weight kettlebell you have), 3 sets of 10 goblet squats, ( with a weight you can cope with) and 3 sets of 10 dumbbell press. Do these with rest periods as a strength session, not a mad workout!
Not every workout should be a near death intense workout, you need to sprinkle in strength ( and you’ll see the odd run now and then)
If you want more hints and tips do join the mailing list. Ill be launching a free Zone course and I’ll email when it’s ready.
To see if I have time to help you personally in an around the city and the East End of london, do drop me an email Andrew@andrewstemler.com
Most days I’ll post a workout you can do with minimal equipment and no gym access. It be will be on a 3 day on, 1 days off rota
The “gym-less” workouts only assume you has access to 1) some dumbbells 2) a kettlebell 3) a skipping rope 4) a car park and some benches.
Obviously a full Crossfit or exercise regime requires more stuff and more variation, and ill encourage you to practice and train in weightlifting and gymnastics and other forms of cardio, but doing these workouts as bits of intensity (hard and fast) should help most people
So todays workout is
With a running clock set for 15 minutes as many rounds as possible of
20 lunges, 20 double under’s, 100m run.
Feel free to tweak everything: 10 lunges, 10 single skips, walk 50m for 7 minutes 10, or 12 minutes. If there is an exercise you cannot do or tweak, feel free to switch it with one you can do, or just leave it out and practice it later if you can.
If you are in chronic pain take it easy, feel free to limit the range of motion, feel free to rest if you must, but it’s simply about pushing you on a bit or a lot, depending on where you are
For food, ill be recommending the Zone diet . For now this is a TWO BLOCK snack, or “brunch” if you prefer.
This snack had 2 blocks of carb in the form of a slice of bread, 2 blocks of avocado (In the form of 2 (overly generous) teaspoons ) 42g of ham (as one block of protein) and 28g of cheese (as another block of protein).
I sneaked in a tea spoonful of chia seeds for extra fibre and a mini scrap of butter as an old habit
and ended up on toast like this
I’ll be explaining in great details how the zone block system works, but its intention is to ensure that each meal or snack has a balance of the main 3 macro nutrients: carbs protein and fat.
Ill be a launching a free ” how to zone course” some time in the next few months so do join my mailing list and ill tell you when you can get it
In the time before the lockdown, I used to coach Olympic weightlifting at Crossfit London on a Saturday morning.
I mean, I was in the same room, at the same time as other people
Seems weird now.
Now that everyone has moved online, it’s easy to forget that that building explosiveness into fitness regimes, without weights can be tricky. The Olympic lifting drills are especially difficult to think up as , ideally, you want to the end up in a squat.
Like many fitness fades, the interest faded from main stream use, due in part to silly claims. A regime that promises to get you fit and trim in 90 seconds a day is bound to sell you the book or course, but fail to deliver much , if any, fitness.
This is a shame, as given the right objectives, the static hold has a really useful role to play. According to James Hewitt who wrote Isometrics for you: Get fit and trim in 90 seconds a day in 1966 “without special apparatus and without moving a muscle you can grow stronger and build, or reshape your body to nearer your hearts’ desire. The static contraction has been part of physical culture systems for a very long time. Hatha yoga contains postures held without movement”.
Put simply, isometrics are a system of physical exercises in which muscles are caused to act against each other or against a fixed object. It’s a form of exercise involving the static contraction of a muscle without any visible movement in the angle of the joint.
The popular regimes focused on basic body building type exercises and suggested a 6 second static contraction with a maximum, or comfortable maximum contraction. This bicep curl picture gives you a good idea.
Whilst this had some value, the use of the extended static hold in functional fitness is probably in developing the capacity to simply hold postures which contribute to actual exercises. The reality is that if you want to kick up to a rock solid free standing handstand, or do 20 plus pull ups, you better be able to hold a static ( albeit “leaning” ) handstand against the wall, and hang for 60, 90, 120, 180 seconds. Extra grip strength is always useful!
Btw you could find yourself struggling at 10 seconds when you start. Just do what you can and build up
So think about your regime and hunt out obvious postures to practice: the side planks, lunging pushes against a wall and deadlift holds spring to mind. Adding the L sit, a horse stance ( the old martial arts favourite) and a “hip up” hold can , when combined, make a really useful home exercise regime.
Successful Strength training like marriage is measured in years not weeks or months
Pay attention to the basics . Lift often, lift heavy (5 plus, but vary from 5 to 1) be happy with small increases. Every relationship or “thing” in your life requires consistency
Don’t panic if you plateau.
In what other part of (real) human existence do we expect to have increases all the time . We can tamper with economics and pretend we have yearly growth: some NHS workers ( apparently ) get a grade increase each year , but that always. always unravels. “Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow…….’
The hall marks of successful strength training (marriage) is patience and maturity: watch for the opportunity to improve but don’t obsess, be happy with consolidation, treasure consistency and above all, be confident enough to rest and take it easy.
Eat well and sleep well
Bear in mind that all advanced programming is dedicated to one phenomenon, failure. Many marriages fail because one partner isn’t happy with the perfection they have, and instead indulges in fantasy . Don’t let the strength porn of a few gifted ( psychotic) individuals deprave and corrupt your normal image of how things are.
Failure is rushing at fantasy target too hard and fast.
Having preached consistency, it’s equally essential to mix it up and be creative. Add some strongman training, add and vary assistance exercises.
Variety has always been the spice of life But variety is still just a spice. It makes the fundamentals seem a bit different that’s all. It still needs the fundamentals/
In short, don’t see strength as something geeky or the preserve of experts. See it as the perfect romance or marriage, demanding consistent loyalty commitment and work , along with romance and variation.
So to be successful, research how to be romantic and simply build it into your strength regime
You can analyse and use the olympics lifts in many many ways. One is to view the full skill is a pressure test for your front and overhead squat. The pure ” beautiful” form of the lifts are seen as the squat clean and squat snatch.
Put in other words, it tests if you own a superb front and back squat to the extend that you can jump into it with a great big weight. Any squat wobble or misunderstanding of your squat form means that, under pressure, you won’t be get under the bar.
Take home message: don’t skimp on your front squat and overhead squat practice!