Getting back to regular lifting, without snapping yourself.
In light of our previous posts and the fact that gyms are looking to reopen, here’s a free block of training designed for reintroduction. It should also be very doable without too much time investment upfront, whilst gyms juggle maintaining cleanliness within the guidelines, and access may be reduced from pre-COVID times.
With that said, let’s cover some FAQs that might come up and some general guidelines for using it.
First up, training frequency changes. We see sessions per week go from x3/week to x4. That is intentional not only to allow for the decrease in session availability under new opening guidelines for gyms but also because if you’ve had significant time off from lifting weights your recovery may not be up to what it used to be.
Next, in all likelihood, YOU WILL FIND THESE SESSIONS VERY EASY! That is almost the entire point. After a reasonable amount of detraining has occurred jumping back in at anything close to what you were last doing is a recipe for negative outcomes. This is designed to get you back into the groove of lifting weights, going to a gym again, and the very low loading should give you plenty of time to work on your technique.
‘Can’t I just go back in and see where I’m at?’ You’re a grown-up, you can do whatever you want, however going back into the gym with little to minimum training through the lockdown and maxing out is a bad idea, here’s why:
‘Oh my god everything just feels so heavy.’ Yes, it will. You aren’t adapted to loads you were adapted to pre lockdown. I’ve run variants of this block with clients that have been training with us since we were allowed to coach folk outside, and we’re lucky enough to have the ability to get kit outside easily. So far the theme has followed a decently consistent trend where people will work to a weight in week 1, it’ll feel heavy but move fine. Week 2 they take that weight for their sets again, and it feels fine and moves great. Week 3 more of the same, and week 4 it’s pretty much back to feeling how that weight used to feel. This holds less true for people at a higher level of training/are stronger since they have a bigger hill to climb. However, after closer to 7-8 weeks, they are also starting to feel normal around those weights.
Lightning Round FAQs:
‘Can I swap X for Y?’ If it’s not the main lift, sure.
‘This is super easy, can I just go heavier?’ No, just do it as written, and enjoy the easy times after all the horrors of 2020.
‘X lift now hurts, or I can’t do X lift what can I do instead?’ If you have a regular substitute for one of the lifts for working around an injury or movement impairment then please sub them out.
‘I can’t get in the gym that many times a week due to availability’ In these times that’s totally understandable. Putting the main lift from 1 session into another is a reasonable workaround if your gym is turbo full.
‘I’ve never used RPE based ratings before, what do they mean?’ No worries, here’s a handy chart explaining what to aim for with each RPE. We also wrote another blog post on the subject here if you would like to learn even more on the subject.
‘I’m struggling to recover between session, what should I do?’ That’s okay, firstly space out the training more so you have two rest days between session. Then make sure you’re getting plenty of sleep and have a decent amount of protein in your diet.
I hope you found some use for this programme. If you enjoyed it the full reintroduction programme extends for another three months and includes an appropriate re-testing phase, once you’ve racked up some training again. If that’s something you’d be interested in, free of charge, please sign up to our newsletter. You can do that here.
If you have any questions about the programme or training in general, or just want to see pictures of my cute dog please feel free to reach out to me on social media or by phone on 07843024606.
With the end of gym lock down on the horizon, a lot of folks will be chomping at the bit to get back into and shift some tin. But some people won’t, to some it feels like the months of doing nothing, or little is such a big setback they’ll never get back on track. It’s very easy to slip into this mindset and lamenting over past things done, and goals now too lofty to achieve.
I’m going to attempt to fix that for you, with some practical tips, not only for fitness & health but any passion project or career you’re thinking about. They’ll start out a bit hand-wavy, but I’ll try to include some practical examples.
Just Show up.
I don’t believe in saving the best till last so if you only read the title and then this tip you have all you need. Just showing up, or just starting whatever it is you’re trying to achieve will get you so much further than you think. Doing even 1% is so much more significant than 0%.
If you find yourself thinking ‘Uggh, I’m still pretty sore from training yesterday, I’ll give today a miss and see how I feel tomorrow.’
Instead, try ‘Uggh, I’m still pretty sore from training yesterday, I’ll just go anyway and see how I feel once I’ve warmed up.’
Talk to anyone who’s trained for years, there will be uncountable amounts of times they’ve felt awful and wanted to skip a session or even a week. But they went anyway. Even showing up and going through the motions is better than not showing up at all.
Search for positives.
It’s incredibly easy to be negative, like falling out a boat and hitting the water easy. When it comes to achieving your goals, however, you must work to be unwaveringly positive. If you want a different framing on it, be aggressive. Constantly aim to take actions towards what you’re trying to achieve, rather than sitting being passive or inactive.
If you find yourself thinking ‘This is so difficult I don’t even know why I thought I could do this.’
Instead, try framing it like ‘I’m having a really hard time with this, maybe there’s something I’m missing? Or maybe I can find help or support from someone to get me through this sticking point.’
Struggling is 100% okay!
I’m leaving that as its own line for emphasis. It is okay to struggle with stuff or to find things challenging. The best way around that is to ask questions.
All journeys start with a single step and that’s as #inspo as this blog post is getting. I’ve mentioned it previously in other articles, but the momentum built from small successes cannot be overstated. I literally started this article the same way.
“Write the title, oh well that’s easy cause I think it’ll just be the most important tip, then just repeat it for emphasis. Okay, we got a title AND the first tip, let’s get tip two done.
For a fitness-based example if you’re ever thinking ‘I don’t have time to meal prep for the week, it just takes too long.’
Try prep one meal ahead of time, hell if you have the stove on, might as well cook enough for two meals? That’s still two whole meals you don’t have to scrounge up at the time. Two positive steps to improving your health, and achieving your fitness goals. AND you now have some free time where you’d normally be cooking those meals, what could you fill it with?
A good plan now.
A good plan now is better than a perfect plan later. Translated as don’t pretend procrastination is planning. You will need to adapt your plans as you go, that’s a guarantee.
Do you need the most dialed in and properly phasic training plan if all you want to do is get a bit stronger, or shift some timber, drop a dress size? No. Training is like medicine, if you need the advanced stuff, things aren’t looking so good. Don’t sit inactive with analysis paralysis, pick something, see it through, reassess and go from there.
Deconstruct your goal.
This one goes hand in hand with the idea of the small steps. If you sit down and break your likely large goal into smaller chunks, which can then be broken down even further you give yourself a much greater chance of success, and far less chance of being overwhelmed.
If you’ve ever broken a set of high reps into multiple counts of three, or five, congratulations, you’ve already done this before. Taking something daunting like a set of twenty rep squats, and turning it into five reps, four times, makes it seem way easier. I can do five reps, I do that all the time, and with way more weight.
A personal example, my tax return. If we ever get audited those poor inspectors are going to have to wade through file folders calling their organisation every curse word under the sun. For those who haven’t had to fill one out this video will sum it up.
My breakdown for doing them is to only do one page a day. The return is eight pages long, eight pages of the most obstreperous and vague questions you’ll ever read, but still. One page a day, I can smash them out in eight days! That’s way easier to deal with.
If this all sounds like mental gymnastics then you’re paying attention. How you frame things and your own mental attitude towards things is a really big factor in how well you do at achieving them.
To round things up, the overall theme of these tips really just merge actions, with policing your own mental framing of things. The biggest thing in the way of the goals that you want to achieve is always yourself. There might be other things that act as speed bumps, but the only thing that can truly stonewall and put a hard stop on your achievements is you. Remember, just show up.
I hope you found some of these tips helpful. If you did please let us know, or if you’d like to ask me any questions hit me up on social media, email, or phone.
Serial Snacking, Steamed Veg, and Shut up Karen, no one cares about your sourdough starter.
One of the common themes we’ve seen or experienced in this dystopian nightmare we’re currently living in is people’s relationship with food. Whether it was early panic buying the shops dry, getting cheffy in the kitchen with all their time indoors, or simply posting about their weight gain/loss throughout lockdown.
The common theme through all of these is emotive. People find safety, comfort, reassurance in food. Whether it’s comfort eating, or knowing you have plenty of food for if everything went Pete Tong and you had to live like one of those Cold War preppers.
This isn’t a diagnosis, I just find it interesting. So, I’m going to list out some tips that can hopefully help you work towards whatever nutrition based goals you have, or would like to get back to working towards.This isn’t a diagnosis, I just find it interesting. So, I’m going to list out some tips that can hopefully help you work towards whatever nutrition based goals you have, or would like to get back to working towards.
Start small. The momentum generating effect of small concurrent successes can never be overstated. Rather than worry about meal prepping a week’s worth of food, or planning out a 12-week diet plan, just make your lunch for tomorrow. If you have enough ingredients handy, maybe even prep the next day. Then build on this first positive step, you’ve just freed up time you’d normally be making lunch tomorrow, maybe swing by the shops and grab some more stuff to prep more lunches?
Split your proteins. Proteins, especially meats, are usually the most costly part of people’s week to week food expense unless you have a serious taleggio addiction… they are also often the hardest part of the days’ meals to eat. As most people have found out in lockdown there’s only so much chicken you can choke. So, try and mix your proteins together, add some plant-based proteins like chickpeas or lentils. It’ll make your meat sources last longer, and bulks out your meals, as well as upping your fiber intake.
Use your time in lockdown to try new recipes. Honestly, I feel like the thing no one tells you about being an adult is how often ‘what should have for dinner?’ is asked. I encourage you to push the boat out and try something you’ve never made before. You may find an ingredient combo or sauce recipe that adds a new level to meal prep potential, as well as being something you can make for the people close to you.
We sometimes turn to ya boy Gordon Ramsay for some great food inspo and well explained tutorials.
Find your biggest calorie sink. Much like a large, overlooked expense finding which meal in the day is the biggest chunk of your calories is critical information. If 60% of your current calories come from your evening meal that’s the best place to start your rework. It will also likely be enough of a deficit to rework that one meal to get your numbers going in the direction you want. If you’re a serial snacker aim to consolidate that habit into 3-4 more complete meals through the day.
Try to find some introspection. They say know your enemy, well with regards to eating habits the enemy is you. As I mentioned earlier people seek a variety of emotions and feelings in food-related pastimes, and one of the biggest things you can do is to understand what drives your choices for your unhealthier eating habits. If you find that you typically comfort eat if you’re sad, or maybe you snack relentlessly when the work stress piles up. If you identify where these things typically happen you can help future you out a tonne. Don’t leave high-calorie snacks around where you work, if you’re feeling sad or low, try reaching out to friends to talk about it, or do an activity you enjoy and find relaxing, rather than food.
The current year has been an odd one, and I imagine it’s been a wake-up call for some people with regards to their health. As an asthmatic who skimps on the cardio in favor of being a meathead, I certainly have. I hope you’ve found something useful in these tips, and remember don’t be disheartened if you’ve let things slip and it all seems like a lot to start all over again. It’s worth it. Start small, build momentum. Feel free to ask anything in the comments, or hit me up on social media!
If you would like to learn more about setting up a structured diet plan, we have an article series on exactly that, just click here.