Home Posts tagged "Goal Setting"

Talking Shop: Nick Grantham

What are ten things our readers can do RIGHT NOW to become leaner, stronger, faster, and more muscular? 1. Set goals – SMART goals so that you know where the journey is going to take you and how you are going to get to your destination. 2. Keep a training diary – You need to track your progress. 3. Train consistently – Set a plan and stick to it. It’s all too easy to say, “Hey, I’ll train today.” If you don’t schedule a time to train, chances are you will get to the end of the day and you will have missed your session. 4. Recover well – You’ll understand why when you read the rest of the interview! 5. Concentrate on the 98% - I’ll explain this one later on. 6. Include conditioning work (prehab/remedial/injury prevention….call it what you like….my choice is conditioning) in your training session. Superset between the main lifts – that way the work gets done and you will be on the way to becoming “bulletproof.” 7. Replace steady-state running with high intensity intervals – Come on, do I really need to explain this one? Intervals will give you more bang for your buck than slow steady-state running. 8. Don’t get hung up on TVA recruitment – Isolating a muscle will not necessarily transfer to improved core strength during athletic movements. Train how you are going to perform; make sure you hit all of the major muscle groups (rectus abdominus, obliques, erector spinae, etc.). 9. Learn to handle your bodyweight – I’ve worked with elite gymnasts – these guys are super strong. I don’t really care what your bench is if you can’t even handle your own bodyweight with good form. Don’t neglect the basics. 10. Whole body hypertrophy programmes – I’m with Alwyn Cosgrove on this one. Why go for split routines when you can get a greater training effect from a whole body hypertrophy routine? Nick Grantham
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The 315 Deadlift Fiasco

I see that my latest T-Nation article has caused quite a stir on the forums. Specifically, these two paragraphs got people all flustered: "Sorry, folks, but I'm here to burst your bubble. A 315 deadlift is not inspirational ? at least not unless you're a 110-pound female. 315 is speed weight ? or something you do for 87 reps on a whim after a dare (not that I'd know anything about stupid challenges like that). I've said it before and I'll say it again: any healthy male under the age of 50 can deadlift 400 within two years of proper training ? and most can do it even faster than that." I thought I'd put this out there to - at the very least - put things in perspective. You guys need to remember that sometimes, to make a point, you use a hyperbole. Why do marketers hire professional athletes to promote products to kids who will likely never become professional athletes? Why do cosmetics companies hire drop-dead gorgeous models to sell mascara to women who have been beaten with the ugly stick? I have new clients who haven't pulled 315 yet - and I might never even want to take them that far. Some don't even deadlift. The deadlift is just a reference point for people to realize that they can do pretty amazing things if they stop selling themselves short. Consider these factors... 1. I haven't missed a planned exercise session in seven years in spite of the fact that I've injuries here and there along the way. Consistency is the single-most important element of success in terms of strength gains. If you have competing demands (sports practices, endurance training, etc.), you need to be consistent with those as well in order to make progress - and they might interfere with you getting a big deadlift (again, not the point of the article). 2. To that end, give this article a read: 28 Syngergistic Factors for Success Right now, you might only be covering a few of the 28 factors - and therefore have a tremendous window of adaptation. 3. In the 148-pound weight and 70-74 age class, the world record deadlift (WPC) is 440 pounds. My point is that if you live your life thinking about limits, you're condemned to find them prematurely. This world record holder probably trained a lot harder and more frequently than you and with better nutrition and recovery protocols in place; he wasn't just a weekend warrior on an internet forum. So, in consideration of that, if you're putting in, say, 25% of the effort they're putting in, why should you EVER reach a limit? The main problem I see with the overwhelming majority of people who get their information from the internet is that they're convinced that they are in some way completely unique and immune to the laws of physiology because they have the curse of knowledge. It's either because they played high school football 30 years ago, they've had four knee surgeries, they're too old, or a host of other issues. When it really comes down to it, it's a self-fulfilling prophecy of mediocrity that can only be remedied by getting out there, working hard and smart, being consistent and open-minded, and discovering that the sky really is the limit - especially when you get around people who can outperform you. As a kid, Pete Sampras used to lose matches in the 18-and-under division when he could have been winning tournaments in the U-12 ranks. A 315 deadlift is a solid mental image that fits into everyone's existing schemas, so it's an easy frame of reference from which to elicit an emotional response. If I had said that everyone needed to deadlift 1.57x body weight and incorporated a multiplying factor for age, gender, limb length, amount of endurance activity per week, etc. - people would have missed the point. My challenge to you is to see the benefit of an entire article rather than focusing on one sentence that was merely an example. And, once you've realized that benefit, act on it - regardless of your chosen endeavor. Have a great weekend, EC Technorati Tags: , , , ,
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Youth Depression and Anxiety

On Sunday night, I made an impromptu trip to Wal-Mart to pick up an umbrella for the rainy Marathon. As I was standing in line, a woman a few people ahead of me dropped something as she was loading her items onto the checkout conveyor belt. She was taking care of a small child, and didn’t reach down to pick it up right away. Just a second or two later, a rather overweight kid from a few feet away started walking toward her; my first assumption was that he was going to help her out and pick it up. Instead, he walked right past the item on the floor, actually bumped her aside a bit, grabbed a bottle of Sunkist® from a cooler next to her, and then walked off. After throwing a “what the heck?” look at the kid for a split-second, I walked the ten-feet or so over to the women and picked her item up, set it on the conveyor belt, and smiled. She said thank you, and that was that. The bad news is that kids are getting fatter and fatter, people. The good news is that many of them are so rude that pretty soon, we’ll be more occupied with their crap behavior to be concerned with their “husky” profiles. Not surprisingly, the two are pretty closely related: “Regardless of race or sex, increasing weight is associated with emotional and weight-related distress in children.” Young-Hyman D. et al. Psychological status and weight-related distress in overweight or at-risk-for-overweight children. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2006 Dec;14(12):2249-58. I’m going to go out on a limb and infer from the research and my anecdotal Wal-Mart observation that if a kid is overweight, leading to depression and distress, chances are that he’s going to be more likely to treat people like dirt. I was more sarcastic when I was an overweight kid, and as I’ve gotten older and into better shape, I’ve developed a sense of humor – not more bitter sarcasm. To that end, anecdotally, I’ve seen athletes who have lost considerable amounts of body fat and change their demeanors in a matter of months. The more self-confidence one has, the less likely he or she is to point out the shortcomings of others. The stronger and leaner one becomes, the more likely he or she is to help out an up-and-coming athlete. Physical health and appearance can literally transform one’s personality. About three weeks ago, I got a thank you email out of the blue from the father of one of my athletes. This past summer, right as I began working with him, his son (a senior) verbally committed to a solid Division 1 program to play baseball. Since August, this athlete has trained with me 3-4 times a week and given tremendous effort day-in and day-out. He’s leaned out, packed on some muscle mass, gotten a ton stronger, and actually looks like an athlete now. Now, when we lift, it’s like he’s another coach in the room, helping the newer guys out – just like a team captain should. He’s brought in teammates to experience the same great results that he did because he knows that it feeds right back into his own success. Perhaps most impressively, though, is the fact that his father contacted me to let me know just how much of a difference it has made in the way he carries himself. He dresses differently (for the better), walks with his head and chest up, and flat-out treats people better. I think that the take-home message in all of this is that if we’re looking to improve the attitudes of “Generation Y” – athlete or not – we need to make exercise and nutrition integral parts of that battle. Eric Cressey, MA, CSCS, is a strength and conditioning specialist at Excel Sport and Fitness Training (www.ExcelStrength.com) in Waltham, MA. Excel’s experienced staff specializes in working with athletes of all ages and ability levels in a fun and motivating environment. The author of The Ultimate Off-Season Training Manual, Eric has worked with athletes of all levels, from youth sports to the professional and Olympic levels. You can find out more about Eric and sign up for his free newsletter at www.EricCressey.com. ec@ericcressey.com Eric Cressey Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , ,
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Required Reading for Parents of Young Athletes

Thought you all might be interested in a local publication I just had:

Have a great weekend,


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Ten Weeks to Summer: What’s your plan?

I’m not sure if you all are aware of it, but it’s just under ten weeks until Memorial Day – the unofficial start to summer and the time at which everyone starts panicking about how they’ll look at the beach. With that in mind, I was brainstorming the other day about what motivates people to get things done (in this case, get lean).

In the weight-training world, I’ve always been motivated the most by competition and quantifiable goals. This is one reason why I’ve done so much better from a physique standpoint as a powerlifter than I ever did as someone who “worked out.” Let’s face it: there is a huge difference between training and working out.

And, if there is one thing that is the closest thing to a universal motivator, it’s money. People do stupid human tricks, enter reality TV shows, and spend hundreds of dollars each year on lottery tickets in hopes of padding their wallets. Likewise, lots of people will go to great lengths to avoid being separated from their money, even (sometimes) in the case of worthwhile investments.

To that end, an “ideal” fat loss motivator (in my mind) would integrate these three factors: competition (with oneself or another), quantifiable goals, and money…so here’s what came to mind.

Find a friend, and have him/her take your 7-site skinfold readings: pectoral, abdominal, thigh, triceps, subscapular, suprailiac, and axilla. Add these seven readings up and write the number down (I don’t really care what your body fat percentage is).

Next, make out a check for $500 (or any amount) and put it “aside” (whether that’s in a glass jar on your counter, or even with a deposit to an interest-accumulating account) for the duration of your fat loss phase. That money could potentially go anywhere: your friend, a charity, you name it. The point is that it’s no longer yours; you have to work to earn it back.

Set a fat loss goal in millimeters you’re going to lose off your 7-site skinfold total. If you hit it, the money is yours once again. If not, it goes to your buddy or, better yet, charity. In the latter case, you’ll help out a good cause and get a tax write-off – even if you are still a tubby failure!

The next step would be taking steps to ensure success – namely, forming a plan. For the dietary component, you can’t beat Precision Nutrition from Dr. John Berardi. For training options, I have been very impressed with Afterburn from Alwyn Cosgrove and Turbulence Training from Craig Ballantyne.

So what are you waiting for? Shouldn’t you be writing a check that your butt CAN cash?

Eric Cressey

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The First Time in Five Years

It's one thing to make a resolution, it's another thing to adopt a lifestyle. At over 900 lbs. Manuel Uribe left the house for the first time in five years after dropping 256 lbs, from his peak of 1,235 lbs. When given the option, Manuel Uribe made a choice to adopt the Zone diet over gastric bypass surgery, back in 2006; this decision has made the difference. Having adopted a manageable program, Manuel has set the bar at 250 lbs within four years. Ask yourself: Are you on a plan that you can tolerate for the next four years? If not: What are you expecting to happen? Beginner exercisers are not the only ones who fall into the mismanaged training program, athletes do it to. The first step in any successful training program is adherence, if you cannot stick to your plan, it's worthless. If you are forcing yourself through your routines and through your training, you're not proving anything; you're delaying the inevitable. What can we learn from Manuel? It's great to set goals that test your limits, as long as you have the self-efficacy to get there. The first step, is accomplishing enough to have that self-efficacy. Lofty goals and "hardcore" programs do not create self-efficacy, they slowly diminish it. The number one determining influence of positive behavioral change is past performance. The clincher: was it positive or negative. Your coach, your training, and your habits should envelop your goal. I have no doubt that in four years Manuel will walk away from his bed at 250 lbs. Where will you be? Jon Boyle jb@ericcressey.com
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