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What is a Taper?

By | Strength Training | No Comments

And when do you need to put one into your training?

If you’ve been training consistently for a few weeks, you may have come across a point in time where your body feels a little beat up. Your sleep is unchanged, nutrition unchanged but yet feels like you’ve just been through a workout from hell. Have you ever experienced any of the following:

  • Feeling tired even when you’ve had 7-8 hours sleep
  • Taking a little longer to recover from work outs
  • Failing to hit old personal bests

It might be your body telling you to take a break.

But when I say break, I’m not giving you permission to drop everything and watch YouTube video’s all day (unless they’re from my channel! Subscribe HERE). A taper/deload doesn’t mean a complete break from training.

A taper or deload is simply a period in your training where we reduce our training to allow the body to rest.

Tapers and deloads are utilised in athletic performance all the time. A 100m sprinter will often have very hard training sessions, then one week out from competition their coaches will drop their sessions in various ways. Maybe a reduction in number of practice sprints, number of gym sessions, or maybe the intensity of the overall session. There is a method to this and it has to do with periodization and adaptation to training.

During the weeks leading to the race, the sprinter would be undergoing a heavy and intense training program. His/her body is being pushed to the absolute limit in order to get stronger and more explosive. But we don’t get stronger in the gym or on the track, we get stronger during our rest period. During our rest the body is going through a process of growth and repair, but also adaptation. By the next session it’s hoped that the sprinter has adapted and become accustomed to the intensity of previous sessions and can now work at an even higher intensity – to continue growth.

A deload would be required when training volume (the total amount of workouts as well as the intensity) has increased so high that the athlete is starting to break down or plateau with improvement. A deload can vary in duration but traditionally it lasts for about a week. This will give our sprinter enough time to recharge the batteries, give the nervous system a bit of a break, focus on recovery – all of which will help with adaptation and improvement in the future.

During the deloads for my clients, we simply reduce the sets or reps for their workouts in that week. So if they were doing 4 sets of 8 reps for bench press, we’d deload to 2 sets of 8 reps. Same weight, just a reduction in sets. This allows them to still lift ‘heavy’ but the decreased volume will allow the body to not take too much fatigue from that week and can focus on recovery. During this week we also spend lots of time on foam rolling and relaxation techniques.

So to wrap it all up, a taper/deload is a period of time (about a week) where we reduce the volume and/or intensity of our training to allow our body to recover fully and in turn – adapt and grow. Try adding one in every 4-6 weeks, focus on your nutrition and recovery methods during this period and see the results!

Also guys I just wanted to quickly tell you that registration for my next 16 week Challenge opens soon! If you’re looking to not only get stronger and leaner but also smarter along the way visit the Coaching Page and fill out an expression of interest form.

Reality is that I don’t take on everyone – this is because coaching is a relationship and we need to gel well. So successful applicants will be contacted. To stay in contact and ask me any questions why don’t you join my VIP Facebook Group? I guarantee you’ll learn something new in 6.71284 seconds upon entry. Request access HERE

STOP EXERCISING, START TRAINING

By | Strength Training | No Comments

STOP EXERCISING, START TRAINING.

Someone’s just given me the ‘what the?’ look.

What’s the difference? Let’s paint a picture:

You, or someone you know has been exercising for as long as you could remember. You go to regular boot camps at your local park, attend spin classes and take your dog for a run along the bay. You do 25-30 minutes of weights training twice a week at your body pump class.

But she doesn’t look very different. Has dropped little body weight, and still complains about pain in her right knee – see’s a physio once a week to try and fix it.

Does this sound familiar to you? or do you know someone who could fit this mold?

Basically what we have here is a classic example of an exerciser. An exerciser is rather motivated, enjoys a sweat and loves to move. An exerciser doesn’t believe he/she has had a great workout unless they are either about to die immediately post workout or the next day wake up with sore legs that are so weak he/she resembles a new born calf.

Now, exercising is still better than doing shit all and sitting on a couch. Exercise is acceptable for beginners but when we start to get towards the 6-8 week period a few things occur. Suddenly the body doesn’t respond as well to sporadic intensities or varying duration of exercise.

Instead, she needs to train:

Structured physical activity designed to reach a long term goal.

That is the basic one line definition of training.

SO LETS LOOK A LITTLE MORE INTO WHAT IS TRAINING.

Generally if someone is training they’ll possess the following:

A plan, a training program, a schedule – call it what you like, the trainer is organised with their exercise. They know what they need to do, why they’re doing it and what the goal is with the program.

Patience – they understand that their goal won’t come overnight, and that achieving a goal in health or fitness is a result of controlled motivation and discipline.

Knowledge – this all wouldn’t be possible if they weren’t educated or informed on what to do. They’ve either done the time to read and educate themselves or they’ve sought out the help of a professional. A coach to help them with the design of a program and the understanding on how it works.
Running.

Think about an athlete, to get better at their sport they need to train in a way that is geared towards improved performance – this may be increased strength, decreased body fat or increased aerobic endurance, all of which are similar goals to most of the general public. You’ll find that training in a structured, patient manner will eventually lead to body composition changes.

So from here, the trainer is now more efficient with their time. They enter the gym or training field, they know what they need to do. They do what is needed that workout, then they are done. And they know that they are slightly closer to achieving their goals. The trainer is done with his/her workout all the while the exerciser is still figuring out “Should I train chest today or legs”

Take home points

Have a plan or a schedule that is geared towards achieving your goals.
Seek out a professional if you aren’t able to create one yourself.
Short term investment (in a coach) will pay off in the long-term when you realise how much time you saved not just ‘exercising’.

P.S Have you joined Getting Stronger, Getting Smarter? It’s a growing online community of people who want to get stronger but also want to improve their knowledge too. No bullshit. No Herbalife. Just like minded guys and girls who want to improve. 

Click HERE

What’s the best Cardio for Fat Loss?

By | Nutrition, Strength Training | No Comments

In this video I give my two cents on this frequently asked question regarding cardio and fat loss.

If you haven’t yet – be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel. I record things and like to educate with fancy stuff here and there.
Click here -> http://bit.ly/2cbCePV

Weightlifting Belts: Do you need them? When and how do you use them?

By | Strength Training | No Comments

 

Nice Belt Bro,

Weightlifting belts are a popular training aid for many gym goers. But too often people misuse them in their training.

There is a common belief that using a belt whilst lifting heavy will protect your spine. This is part true.

Belts are used to give you something to push against, to help with bracing of your core muscles. When you brace your abdominal muscles (imagine preparing to get punched in the stomach) you’ll start to use your deeper muscles that you can’t see in a mirror. Mainly the transverse abdominis.

This particular muscle when contracted helps stabilise the spine – mainly around your lower back.

Keeping a neutral (natural arch) lower back when performing movements like squats, deadlifts or standing shoulder presses is important for safety. Also for transfer of force from the lower body to the upper body (help you pick up things).

BELTS WILL NOT HELP IF YOU HAVE SHIT FORM

If your technique during a movement is poor, a belt will not help you.

Belts should also be delayed and used when performing heavy exercises for sets of 1-4 reps. There is no logical reason that a belt should be used from the minute you walk into the gym. Granted you are using an appropriate weight for the exercise, your bodies in built ‘belt’ is more than enough to handle.

Relying too much on a belt can develop a crutch mentality; where you begin to feel like you cannot exercise or train with a moderate intensity without a belt.

So,

Hopefully we can begin moving away from wearing a belt for the entire workout or wearing a belt just to bicep curl.

Peace.


TAKE AWAY POINTS

– shit form will not protect your back
– belts are used to push against as a way of bracing your core muscles (deep abdominals)
– use belts for heavy compound strength exercises between 1-4 repetitions (no bicep curls)

References

Bauer, J.A., Fry, A., and Carter, C. The use of Lumbar-Supporting Weight Belts While Performing Squats: Erector Spinae Electromyographic Activity.Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 1999;13: 384-388.

Miyamoto K1, Iinuma N, Maeda M, Wada E, Shimizu K.Effects of abdominal belts on intra-abdominal pressure, intra-muscular pressure in the erector spinae muscles and myoelectrical activities of trunk muscles. Clin Biomech (Bristol, Avon). 1999 Feb;14(2):79-87
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10619094