Estimated reading time: 3 minutes
For our last blog post of the beginner season, we will discuss some tips and tricks on keeping your exercise habit trucking. How do you keep things going once you’re over that initial couple of weeks, even a month of consistency, and the reality is setting in that this is a (hopefully) lifelong process that you’re committing to?
Firstly, start small! Don’t try and do too much too soon. You see this play out on your social media every year. Folk try to kick off about 3 different new year’s resolutions at once, they want to exercise, lose weight, read three books a week, and do Duolingo every day. It never works out, best case scenario they might stick to one of those, but more likely than not it’ll all come crashing down after a few weeks. It’s just too big a change all at once. Aim lower, start with amounts of almost trivial change, and build up from there.
Schedule your exercise. Pretend it’s just like any other appointment, even if you don’t work with a PT or coach, pretend it’s a work meeting. Try to make time for it at a place in your day where you never have any other conflicting activities if possible, and no, Netflix doesn’t count. We recently sent out a goal hierarchy worksheet to our newsletter subscribers that helps you do this exact bit of admin, so if you’re interested in that please sign up below.
Find an activity you enjoy. Exercise really doesn’t have to be boring or tedious. There are thousands of ways to exercise and finding one that jives with you might take a bunch of experimentation, but it’s worth it in the long run. There’s everything from hot yoga, dance classes and swimming, powerlifting, CrossFit, kayaking and everything in between. Think about things you enjoy and try to look for exercise classes or structures that are based on or include that thing.
Mix it up. One thing that can really tank motivation after the initial surge is the tedium of the routine. This is why I advise mixing up your workouts or activities. Even better, is to save the variety one for when things are really starting to get boring, and then sprinkle them in. Like having a break glass in case of low motivation button, keep them for emergencies only, and that way they keep their restorative powers.
Create accountability. This isn’t just limited to exercise, but a super easy way to hold yourself accountable to stuff is just to tell people that you're doing it, then they’ll typically ask about it most times that they see you, and that small inkling of pressure can help spur you on. Some people find having a PT or a gym buddy a great help for this reason. You build a routine together, and there’s an expectation that you’ll be turning up, which can really help you get in gear and get to those sessions you really don’t want to go to.
Reward yourself. Celebrate your exercise-related accomplishments. A small caveat, probably don’t celebrate with a calorie-dense meal out, as that will likely pull against your overall aims with exercise, however, some self-care activities such as a spa treatment, or buying new workout clothes are excellent rewards for exercise accomplishments! You want to try and think of things that will compound your motivation and desire to exercise, not subtract from it.
Track your progress. Somewhere in the back of a cupboard I still have the first workout my friend in school wrote for us both to do back in 2006/7. It can be incredibly rewarding to see how far you’ve come in your exercise journey, especially at times when you feel like you aren’t getting anywhere. Plateaus do happen, and we’ll be covering what to do about that in our next month of content, aimed at people already well on their way with exercise.
Please also remember that building a habit takes time and effort, you have to put both the time and the work in. It won't be a straight upward road. But eventually, it will just become part of your routine and personality as a whole.
Hopefully, you found some of these tips helpful, and if you have any comments on them, or want to let us know any tips you use to stay on track, please let us know in the comments below. @atsapproved on all social media.
Estimated reading time: 2 minutes.
In our previous articles, we’ve often mentioned that a key part of getting an exercise habit to stick to is finding some form of exercise that you enjoy. So, this week’s article is going to be a list of some of the more niche sports clubs across Scotland and hopefully, some of them may pique your interest.
First up is Orienteering. If you enjoy the outdoors this one is almost certainly for you. You navigate and plan a route through the wilderness using a map and compass, on routes with a variety of difficulties, and aim to complete your chosen route as fast as you can.
Photo credit: Scottish orienteering
A more in-depth beginner’s guide by Scottish Orienteering is listed here.
Scottish Orienteering has a bunch of clubs all over the country which you can find here.
With summer still to come this year, it could be a fantastic new way to experience the outdoors, meet some new folks, and get your exercise in all in one!
Next up is Ultimate Frisbee
Though now it’s apparently known as just ‘Ultimate’, *due to copyright issues around the word Frisbee apparently*
Is a non-contact team sport played with, you guessed it, a frisbee/plastic disc. Two teams of 7 players are aiming to score points by having one of their team receive the frisbee in the end zone. The rub being that while in possession of the frisbee, a player may not move.
The Scottish scene seems active and has several teams across the nation. They can be found here.
Photo credit: https://losquijotes.es/
Thirdly, we have roller derby.
Roller derby is a roller skating contact sport played on an oval track by two teams of five skaters. Teams of fifteen players field up to five members for two-minute periods of play. Where one designated player on each team is attempting to score points by lapping the non-scoring players of the other team. Each team’s non-scoring players are attempting to stop that happening through physically blocking/contacting the scoring player to prevent being lapped.
The Scottish League(s) have a website as well as plenty of social media to get in touch with!
Photo credit: Team Scotland Roller Derby
Lastly, and probably the most niche. Camogie.
By all accounts, Camogie is essentially ladies-only Hurling.
While there seems to just be the one Scottish club based in Glasgow. Camogie also likely falls under the Gaelic Athletics Association.
I advise having a gander at the variety of Gaelic sports listed there and seeing if anything takes your fancy!
Photo credit: Wikipedia
Hopefully, something on this list spurred some interest, if you have your own recommendation for a niche sport in Scotland drop it in the comments!
As always hit us up @atsapproved on all socials.
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
After a 6-year competition layoff, and having now stepped down from running Scottish Powerlifting competitions I decided to get back into competing as a focus for my training again. However, this hinged on how this competition went in terms of if the competition day experience was enjoyable, and if the juice would be worth the squeeze.
I don’t find powerlifting-specific training particularly enjoyable without the target of competition, and if left to my own devices, I will do a lot more varied training menu.
Prep for the comp went fine, I was trialling an extremely low volume, like minimum effective dose low, training strategy to potentially use with some clients. Block length was meant to be in line with my time to peak, which is 9 weeks, though due to poor planning, I actually ended up running over and doing 10 weeks. No big deal though, I knew I wouldn’t be destroying any PBs on 9 weeks of prep time.
My microcycle for the block was as follows:
Comp Squat- Work up to 3x3@ 7-8 RPE, stop early if overcooked.
Comp Bench- Work up to 3x3@ 8-9 RPE, stop early if overcooked.
Comp Deadlift - Work up to 3x3@ 7-8 RPE, stop early if overcooked.
1ct Pause Close Grip Bench - Work up to 3x3@ 8-9 RPE, stop early if overcooked.
Comp Squat- Work up to 3x4@ 7-8 RPE, stop early if overcooked.
Reverse Grip Bench- Work up to 3x3@ 8-9 RPE, stop early if overcooked.
That’s it. Pretty minimal. High intensities on bench moves, since lifting for 50% of my life this year, have still yet to manage to hurt my upper body in any way, I don’t mind going harder on bench. I have had a bunch of low-medium-grade injuries in the past around squats and deadlifts, so I take those more cautiously.
E1RM total at the start of the block 520kgs [175/135/210]
Peak E1RM total during the block 557.5kgs [185/140/237.5]
Total change: 37.5kgs.
A pretty good block considering the minimalistic approach.
At the competition itself, I put together a 525kg total [175/130/220]
Whilst a lot lower than my peak E1RMs I didn’t really go with the aim of trying to really ring out every kilo, it was mostly just to get back into the swing of things as a competitor, and to see if it was still enjoyable. Also, the lifts on the day were all fairly low RPE, I’m very much out of practice with loading myself and being able to gauge performance difficulty.
Obviously very easy. Had concerns about the rushing technique when back on the platform, but this went fine. Depth is obviously tryhard.
Almost easier than the first one. Rushed setup a little bit, and didn’t fully set both my feet how I like.
Actually starting to slow down a bit. Setup was better, the descent was good, just actually had to push a bit. E1RM had 185 for squat, based on the video i think that would have been there on the day.
Very comfortable. I tripled this with a few in the tank on one of my last sessions. Benching with commands was fine, I don't typically touch and go bench often in training.
Felt fine on the descent, flared too early and threw it at my hips like a moron.
Skipped 3rd bench as in the past I’ve had grindy 3rds that cramp my back up and make deadlifts miserable. Realistically I should’ve assessed that it was a technical issue, taken a smaller third jump, and built the total.
Very easy. I had concerns that due to my pre-comp block being very low volume, I’d struggle to go the distance without flagging. On the day everything felt fine.
Obviously, a bigger jump than most might take. I’m very much a proponent of taking bigger jumps and trying to be as efficient as possible to get to the correct third attempt on the day
Small loss of tension from rushing the setup.
Good finisher, actually revved the engine a bit with hype and hit the salts. Much better with position and tension, forgot to go around and thank the refs and spotter though. Shitebag.
A great competition overall, was really fun to get back into lifting. Looking forward to potential end of year competitions for another this year.
Following this comp, I’m heading into a 3-week pivot/washout block of training.
Microcycle for that looks like this:
Sumo Deadlift x10@ 5 x10@6 x10@7
Bent Over Row x10@ 5 x10@6 x10@7
Dumbbell Loaded Lateral Lunges x16@ 5 x16@ 6 x16@ 7.
Belt Squat 3 sets of 100kg, set 1@6 set 2@7 set 3@8 (Our non-fancy belt squat can only fit so much weight on it.)
Dips +5kgs Reps until 6/7/8 RPE
Pullups 3 sets of bodyweight reps till RPE 8
Assisted Nordic Hamstring Curls BW reps until 7/8/9 RPE
RFE Split Squats BW reps until 6/7/8 RPE
Dumbbell Incline Bench x12@ 6 x12@7 x12@8
Rest times for all sessions to be kept as low as possible to work on some cardio.
Will also be doing some aerobic intervals on off days for this as well.
Hope you found something there helpful. If you have any questions feel free to reach out @atsapproved on all socials!