Archives for June 2014

BURST THE LIMIT- TRAIN LIKE AN ELITE

Bring the fire and intensity to your training.

Bring the fire. Add intensity to your training.

What separates the winners from the losers?

The champions from the average.

One word.

Intensity!!!

People like to complain.

“This dude is stronger than me. They’re faster and bigger.”

“That guys on drugs.”

“That guy has great genetics.”

Rather than fuss about something that is out of your hands, focus on yourself and what you can do to improve.

How far can I push?

How far can I go?

What can I do to improve myself?

 What can I do to reach my absolute limit? 

These are the real questions you should concern yourself with.

If you want to take your training to the next level you’ve got to train with intensity. There’s no denying it or hiding from that fact.

How do you train with intensity and reach a level many dream of and even fewer achieve?

Understand the principle of training to the limit.

You’ve got to get out of your comfort zone and find comfort in the uncomfortable. When you’re at the point where you muscles are on fire, you feel like you could give out and any second, that’s intensity.

Put it this way, if you’re not in any discomfort then you aren’t working hard enough.

If you leave the gym or wherever you happen to train feeling like you could train some more, you haven’t been working maximally.

Intensity is not something that can be bought and can’t be taught. It has to be acquired through experience.

I train way harder and intense now than I’ve ever done before and every training session whoops my butt.

When I first started training I didn’t understand intensity or know what it felt like to really tax your body and taking your muscles to real “failure.” (I don’t like the word failure because of the negative stigma and connotation associated).

Let me give you a scenario:

My last chest and arms session

I did 6 total sets for chest and 3 for bi’s and tri’s. (Not including 1-2 warm up sets). The session was short and sweet and looks simple on paper, but man was it another thing in practice. The whole ordeal was over in about 40mins.

The way I executed those exercises was intense enough that I felt a little sick, shaking and had to sit down for 10 minutes after training.

Here’s the full break down

(Rest periods between sets were no longer than 30 secs or about 10 deep breathes). As soon as I was done with an exercise, I moved straight to the next one with no rest.

Chest

Bench press- 3 sets starting with 5, 8 and on the last set complete failure. Grinding out reps until I could not lift the weight and the muscles would not contract anymore.

Note: I used a leverage machine so there was no danger of a loaded bar falling on my chest when taking the set to failure.

If you’re thinking of attempting this on a regular bench, be smart and have someone there to spot you incase the bar comes down and you’re not able to lift it back up.

Weighted Dips- 3 sets of 5,8, then complete failure. (I removed the weight and did bodyweight dips to failure).

Moving onto arms I did a superset of barbell curls and rope pushdowns 3 sets for each. Keeping the reps at 8 on the first two sets and to failure on the last sets.

Note: I didn’t fixate on reps when taking the final set to complete positive failure. My only concern was taking the muscles to their absolute limit and exhausting them.

I started out with my heaviest sets first using RPT (reverse pyramid) fashion. The heavy sets get the central nervous system fired up and primed.

That session was 12 sets total and at the end of it I was fried.

My definition of intensity is: The greatest amount of effort/force an individual is able to generate toward a targeted goal or objective.

To train to your limit and experience results unlike any other you must:

Work through pain – There’s a pain threshold that people often confuse with muscle failure. A lot of people train up to the point at which they feel pain, aching and lactic acid build up and then stop.

Training to failure is going beyond that, it’s pushing to the point where the muscles are no longer or barely moving.

This is the fundamental principle. Everything else is useless unless you understand and apply this concept to your training.

Limit your rest periods – If you’re doing heavy sets you’ll need longer rest periods to recover your central nervous system enough to be able to complete the next set. (3-5 mins is average).

That’s great for powerlifting and building strength and that’s the way I train when training solely to improve strength. However, you don’t need to be doing that with every damn exercise in your routine unless you are a power lifter or just trying to improve strength.

If you want to tax your muscles and give them a reason to grow you have to overload them, not just with weight but tension as well.

Muscles grow and adapt to the stresses placed on them. Therefore you have to stimulate them with new stresses. By limiting the rest periods and getting back to work faster, you’re challenging your body to work harder under less than ideal circumstances (for the body).

This’ll encourage new growth and development while also having the side benefit of toughening your will and resolve.

Remember, Intensity is subjective. It’s relative. Your level of intensity will not be the same as mine. We’re individuals and are at different stages.

I don’t expect a beginner to be able to train like this and understand intensity. It is only learned and acquired through experience.

When I started training I couldn’t train like this. I had no concept of intensity and this level of training and the amount of effort it required.

This is something that you learn as you go.

Another thing I need to stress about intensity, which I think is often mistaken, is this:

A lot of intensity wannabes will make statements like, “You have to be prepared to train to the point of passing out or losing your lunch.”

That’s absurd.

How on earth is that going to be beneficial?

It’s not.

If you’re passed out on that bench or hurling your lunch all over the floor how is that helping your training?

I never train with that intention. In my opinion it’s stupid. If I’m losing my lunch, I’m losing nutrients that could be used for repairing the body.

If I’m constantly passing out during training I won’t be able to finish training.

It’s not practical, nor is it a consideration or focus for me when training.

Just because you’re not passing out or hurling food doesn’t mean you can’t train intensely.

Now, when some people do train intensely that is a response they get. It can and does happen. I’m not denying that. But trying to chase that feeling and illicit that response in my opinion defies logic.

When you break it down, to train intensely you need to fatigue your muscles, make them burn, pump, ache and ultimately reach the point where they are no longer able to fully contract. (Believe me it’s definitely becomes more of a mental than physical game).

I don’t always train with this level of intensity and this is another point I want to bring up.

If you train like this, you have to be aware of the potential and likelihood of you getting injured is definitely very high. More so than if you train like the average gym rat does.

You need to give yourself breaks to allow your body to repair and heal adequately.

This type of training is hard and causes a great deal of pain. HELL IT’S DARN TORTUROUS.

YOU WILL BE UNCOMFORTABLE.  

That’s why most people don’t do it. You will however, see more results than all the others at your gym that don’t train with intensity.

However, just like you can have too much of a good thing, if you train like this constantly you will probably get hurt at some point.

Therefore, it’s important if not vital that you take periodic breaks and lower the intensity.

Instead of constantly blasting your body, add some light training days in and increase the rest periods.

Play around with your training. Be smart and listen to your body. If you don’t feel like going heavy on a certain day don’t go heavy. ALWAYS LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. That’s the key.

In the end it all comes down to this.

Crank up the heat, bring the drive, dedication and conviction and you’ll get your worth!!

INTENSITY AND IMPROVEMENT

THE KEYS TO BUILDING REAL CONFIDENCE

Be unmovable like a mountain

Be unmovable like a mountain

There are tons of articles plastered all over the web that address the issue of building confidence. I know this is a big problem for many people and something they really struggle with.

While there are definitely some good articles out there, I haven’t seen a great deal that come at it from the angle I’m about to.

Many of the articles I’ve read primarily focus on external, physical factors. You know, things like:

  • Dress better
  • Stand up straight
  • Walk tall
  • Groom well

While that definitely does have an impact and will help boost your confidence and feeling of self worth, it’s merely scratching the surface.

It’s treating the symptoms but not getting at the actual problem.

You could take a bum of the street, dress him up in fancy clothes, tell him to walk straighter with his chest out and shoulders back, give him a haircut and groom him up.

But at the end of the day he’d still be a bum.

You can’t change a person from the outside without a significant internal transformation taking place.

What you have to understand and grasp is this.

The root/source of all confidence stems from the ability to do something and do it really damn well.

If you’re excellent at what you do, you have the drive for it and love it to death, you’ll find your confidence levels will sky rocket.

That brings us to the first and probably most critical step in building real, long lasting confidence.

1) Identify and have a purpose in life

YOU MUST HAVE YOUR PURPOSE IN LIFE NAILED DOWN AND CRYSTAL CLEAR!!

I cannot stress the importance of this enough. If you don’t dial this in or put enough effort and energy into this, nothing else will work.

IT’S DAMN VITAL YOU DO THIS.

Not just for your confidence levels, but life in general. This will affect your levels of satisfaction and happiness big time.

I’m not going to get into the nitty gritty of how to go about discovering your purpose in this article. I’ve covered it before and it’s something I build upon in my upcoming book.

I will say this though. If you’re motivated by what you do and it really fires you up, drives you and you’re good at it and can see yourself doing it long-term, you’ve likely realised your purpose.

If you make purpose your primary focus in life you’ll become centred as an individual, which’ll lead to a massive confidence and self esteem boost, all without the need to concentrate on “tactics” to build confidence. 

On the other hand, if you have no direction in life, you’re a drifter. Neither here nor there, wandering aimlessly like a lost sheep.

You can employ all the confidence boosting tactics you want, but if you don’t fully believe in yourself and are not engaging in something you’re good at and gives your life meaning, you won’t build real, lasting confidence.

Do you seriously think you’re going to boost your confidence simply by dressing fancier and kidding yourself, by horsing around trying to copy and act like someone who is confident?

It might work for a little while, but it won’t last long-term and do you want to know why?

Because it’s fake. It’s not really coming from you.

Like it or not, there’ll come a point when you’re going to have to drop the act and take of those fancy clothes and if you haven’t developed real confidence for yourself, everything else is just a waste.

I can understand why people think like that, after all the vast majority of “experts” will tell you to:

“Fake it till you make it.”

What a load of hogwash. How long are you going to keep pretending?

I guarantee you it won’t last, because it’s not you.

It’s not who you are and it’s not something you’ll ever be.

Can you fake being successful?

Can you fake being rich?

Can you fake enjoying life?

Can you fake true friendship?

Can you fake trust and respect?

Your answer should be a definite NO. (If it isn’t you’ve got a lot of straightening out to do in your life).

See, there aren’t a lot of things you can actually fake in life. Sure you can lie, cheat and steal, but you can’t lie to yourself at the end of the day.

The bottom line is, confidence, self-worth and self-respect can’t be faked.

True confidence comes from high self worth and high self worth comes from having a purpose. (Something you love and do incredibly well).

No matter what you think or how much people tell you to fake it till you make it, you just can’t fake real confidence. So get that idea out of your head.

2) Be self-reliant

Real confidence also comes from self-reliance. You should only ever depend on yourself to get what you want in life.

If you constantly rely on others, you will never develop the confidence that comes from being able to stand up for yourself.

You need to stand up on your own two feet and grab the bull (life) by the horns.

There’s a great feeling of confidence, power and self-worth that comes from being self-reliant.

When you’re comfortable living alone without the aid of others, knowing full well you can survive without anyone, you know you can handle anything.

Note: I’m not advocating living alone, but prepare yourself in a way that allows you to function without others.

So if a scenario were to ever arise, where someone said to you:

“You can’t live without me. You need me.”

You can just laugh and walk away, carefree and confident in your ability to live for yourself and on your own terms.

How can you develop that?

Great question. (No, really it is).

Probably the key thing and basis of self-reliance in this day and age, is the ability to be financially stable.

If you don’t have any money you should be doing something to make it. Whether that involves starting your own business or going out to work.

When you have your own money and aren’t dependent on the charity of others, you’re already taking a major step to being self-reliant.

3) Don’t dwell on your shortcomings

If you suffer from low self esteem and self confidence, working on the two things I mentioned above will set you straight and take your mind off any self doubt and feelings of negativity.

However, some people don’t have the guts to make a start in the first place, due to their own pessimism and lack of faith holding them back.

Listen, whether you’re tall, short, have green blood or come from mars, there’s no reason you can’t achieve success.

Instead of spending your time worrying about all the things that are wrong with you, focus that frustration and channel it in a creative way that will help you move towards your goals.

Use it as a motivation. Whatever you do, just don’t wallow in self pity. Nothing good was ever accomplished from that. Tell yourself that you’re going to become the best version of your self possible and stand by it.

When you do that, your behaviour and attitude will change. People around you will take notice and treat you with respect as your own self respect grows, and hey presto, before you know it your INFERIORITY COMPLEX WILL VANISH.

In fact your shortcomings, though they may seem like weaknesses now, can give you an advantage over those who seemingly have everything perfect.

Why? You may ask.

Well, those individuals typically tend to have strong egos and some of them feel they’ve already accomplished everything they wanted to in life, and don’t feel the need to improve or make any changes. That’s a big mistake. You should always be striving for improvement.

In summary, to build real confidence you need to focus on three key things.

1)   Discovering your purpose

2)   Becoming self-reliant

3)   Not being ruled by your shortfalls  

These three fundamental things combined with dressing sharper and walking tall etc will improve your confidence.

Funnily enough, if you focus on these three things you’ll automatically start walking tall, with your chest out and shoulders back, all without giving it much thought.

You’ll hold better conversations with people because you’ll actually have something you’re passionate about and can talk about really well.

When you break it down confidence really comes from within. It’s an expression of you. You can’t just fake it. You’ve either got it, are in the process of getting it, or haven’t got it.

“If you want to live a worthwhile life, make your life worth living.”

If you enjoyed this article and want more info, I cover this subject and more in my upcoming book. In it you’ll learn how happiness, confidence and purpose share a link and the way to go about maximising them.

CHARISMA AND CONFIDENCE