Archives for October 2014

CRAFTING THE WARRIOR PHYSIQUE: PART 1

Rain Ninja Assasin

The warrior build is a lean, defined, proportionate look packed with strength and versatility.

Bruce Lee, Rain (ninja assassin) and Brad Pitt’s Tyler Durden character from Fight Club all reflect the warrior build to some degree.

The simplest, most effective means of building this physique is through progressively getting stronger whilst remaining lean and trim.

For many, that means stripping of body fat whilst preserving/building lean muscle tissue, through the combination of diet and heavy, progressive strength training. (It doesn’t get any simpler than that fellas).

Focus on boosting your strength and power to weight ratio. Every single pound on your body should have a reason to be there.

Breaking down the warrior physique

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The Warrior physique is a lean, dense and proportionate build that prioritises strength and density over “puffy mass.” Every pound on your body has to earn its place, and pay rent in a manner of speaking.

The warrior build prioritises compact, solid, hard muscle, with incredible levels of leanness and definition.

The actual size of the muscles themselves may not be that impressive by bodybuilding standards, but they’ll be hard, cut and dense. The muscles will look like they’re literally carved from marble.

It’s the combination of a very low body fat and heavy strength training that produces this result.

An average amount of muscle mass, with exceptional definition brings about a much more impressive look, than a puffy, swollen, bloated looking physique.

Besides, training for dense muscle will have a lasting effect. Your muscle will look hard virtually all the time. Whereas, simply relying on higher rep, pump and fatigue training will only boost sarcoplasm (fluid) within the muscles, leading to a temporary swelling of the muscles.

This ultimately makes the muscles look bigger, but unfortunately it doesn’t last.

Anyway, moving on. Lets get to the meat and potatoes of this post.

The Essentials: The main movements of the “Warrior Routine”

  • Weighted Chin-ups/pull-ups
  • Weighted Dips
  • Barbell Curls
  • Incline Bench press
  • Overhead Press

These are the exercises that will make up the bread and butter of your routine. Give them your undivided attention.

Pour your sweat and guts into them and you’ll carve out an impressively lean, dense and proportionate physique.

Increasing strength on these exercises alone will carry over and yield incredible results in terms of helping build and maintain an impressive physique.

Note: If you already have reasonably large thighs, you can drop or reduce emphasis on moves like squats and deadlifts.

Additional exercises/ contributing lifts

These are movements that complement the main lifts. They round out the routine and help fully develop the physique.

Chest: Incline Dumbbell Press

Deltoids (Shoulders): Lateral Raises and Face Pulls or Bent Over Flyes.

Back: Bent Over Rows

Legs: Squats, Deadlifts and Standing Calf Raises

Biceps: Seated Incline Hammer curls

Abs: Hanging Leg Raises and Planks.

Workout Overview

The overall volume and frequency is low. You’ll perform three workouts a week, each comprised of no more than 5 exercises per session.

Your primary objective is to improve strength on the on the main movements, which incidentally happen to be the one’s with (RPT) next to them.

Why low volume?

As mentioned earlier, higher volume, pump style training is not conductive to long term strength and dense muscle gains. (It’s worth repeating).

Put it this way, if you perform extensive volume and exercises per workout, you’ll end up stalling your strength gains and even regress.

It’s pretty well established that to make continual progress in the muscle gains department you need to get stronger over time.

Doing too many exercises will sap your strength during training and subsequently you’ll find your energy, focus and ability to lift heavy will waiver with the latter exercises. (Also increasing the likelihood of sustaining an injury as fatigue takes it’s toll).

Well that’s enough chatter. I’ve kept you waiting long enough. So hear it is folks….

The Warrior Routine

Note: Perform 2 warm up sets on first exercise of each muscle group. On RPT sets rest 2-3 minutes between sets to allow for optimal strength gains.

Workout A : Chest / Triceps / Deltoids

 Incline Bench Press 3 x 5,8,10 (RPT)

Incline DB Press 2 x 6-8

Overhead Press 3 x 5,8,10 (RPT)

Lateral Raises 3 x 5-8

Dips 2 x 5-8

Notes on this workout: I like to emphasize heavy lateral raises. Most people perform them in the 8-12 rep range. I find that going slightly lower, working with 5/6 reps helps build density and caps the delts off nicely. Play around with it and see what works for you.

Workout B : Back / Biceps / Rear Deltoids

Weighted Chins/Pull-ups 3 x 5,8,10 (RPT)

Barbell Rows 3 x 5-8

Barbell Curls 3 x 5,8,10 (RPT)

Face Pulls w/rope attachment or Bent Over Flyes 3 x 8-12

Seated Incline Hammer Curls 3 x 8-12

Workout C: Legs / Abs (Optional)

Squats 3 x 5

Sumo Deadlifts 3 x 5

Standing Calf raises 3 x 4,6,12 (RPT)

Hanging leg raises 4 x 8-12

Plank hold 3 x 90 secs

Notes on this workout: You’ll notice I use RPT on calf raises. I’ve found that getting stronger in the 4-6 rep range with calves tends to yield better overall development. Calves are one of those areas that are stubborn as hell when it comes to growing. Be prepared to work them hard.

Means of progression

The aim of the game is to make some form of progress from workout to workout. Each training session you should be lifting heavier weight on the main lifts than your previous session.

 I always aim to add anywhere from 2.5 – 5lbs to the bar each session. Constant progress, no matter how small is still progress and it adds up in the long run.

At the end of a 4-week period you could add 15- 20lbs to your lifts. (Damn fine progress). If you track your poundage, you’ll be able to see the progress you’re making and that’ll only help keep you motivated. (It’s a thing of Beauty).

What and why RPT?

If you’ve been lifting for a while, you probably have already come across RPT. This style of training has been increasing in popularity. Especially in strength circles.

RPT stands for Reverse Pyramid Training. It’s simply a way of training that involves beginning your session with your heaviest set first, while you’re fresh and full of energy.

Regular pyramid training involves building up to and ending with your heaviest set. With RPT you reverse the order.

The biggest benefit of training in this way is, that by starting with your heaviest set first (minus 1-2 warm up sets), you’ll find you’re stronger and lifting heavy won’t be as much of a struggle as it would if you were to lift heavy later on, as you become fatigued.

How long should I stick to this routine?

Thought you’d never ask.

I usually find it best to stick with a program for at least 8-12 weeks. Forget all that “muscle confusion” bullshit. Your body needs a chance to actually get used to the movements and improve at them before you switch up and do something else.

If you constantly program hop in search of “the next best thing”, you’ll never get the full benefits from the routine.

My thinking when it comes to training is to “milk” all the benefits and results that a program has to offer me. When progress comes to a halt, I’ll switch things up.

The problem is people change programs and exercises way too soon.

What about Cardio?

As leanness is a prerequisite for the warrior physique, most people will find they need cardio to help them reach and maintain a low body fat percentage. For cardio I usually go for walks with my dog on a daily basis, which covers low intensity cardio

On rest days or days when I’m not hitting the iron I’ll hit some sprints for a little high intensity cardio and to keep my anaerobic system in good condition. (Never know when you’ll have to out run an army of zombies).

You can play sports, hike, swim etc. Do whatever the hell you like, as long as it’s something you enjoy and doesn’t interfere with your strength training.

You don’t need to go cardio crazy. Just 15-20 mins of high intensity work 1-2 times a week on rest days will suffice. For low intensity cardio 30-45mins is fine.

To sum up:

  • Hit the iron 3 days a week
  • Focus on progressive overload on main moves
  • Do some cardio and abs on rest days
  • Be patient and enjoy the process.

In part two we’ll delve into eating for the warrior physique. Don’t miss out. Subscribe now.

If you liked the article and found it informative and want a fully structured program and nutrition guide that breaks everything down and goes into more detail when it comes to building the warrior physique, head over and grab a copy of WARRIOR 101.

THE ART OF BEING PRESENT

Embrace the beauty of the moment.

Embrace the beauty of the moment.

Being present, in the now, in a state of bliss, or whatever you want to call it.

When you can immerse yourself fully in the moment/situation you are currently experiencing, without letting your mind wander and take you away from what is happening in the here and now.

Congratulations. You’ve reached a state that few will ever fathom, and even fewer will attain.

See, most people are either stuck in the past or existing solely for the future. Seldom will you come across an individual who is content with the present.

That said, there are many ways to skin a cat. What you’ll find below is some simple steps and ways I have found to be the most effective in my quest to make peace with the now.

Bear in mind, quieting the overactive mind is one of the most challenging things you can do. If you can do this, even for brief periods of time, most obstacles in life will seem like a breeze.

1) Visit a local park/ be in nature  

I always find it help to pay a visit to my local park and be in nature. (Having a dog to walk helps in this regard). Every day I rise at 6am and take my dog for his daily walk, bright and early.

Of course, I also use this as means to perform a little “active meditation.”

I like going into the park, with no one around except my dog and the birds chirping.

Just being in nature, appreciating the stillness of the moment and taking in the views has a certain divine feel to it.

I find when I’m in nature time sort of slows down and it’s very therapeutic. It’s easier to just embrace the peacefulness and tranquility of nature, making it easier to just be in tune with the moment. (If you typically spend any time in nature, you’ll know what I’m taking about).

If you have a local park/ nature resort near to you, visit it and enjoy the beauty of nature. Few things in life can compare with the simplicity and serenity of it. (Ideally you want to go at a time that’s least busy).

2) Look and Listen

This is perhaps the simplest, yet most damn difficult thing to do. (It’s ironic how simplicity is the greatest form of complexity).

It requires channeling all your attention to the moment at hand and really connecting with the here and now.

Getting away from all the nonessential cluster of thoughts overloading your mind, distracting and taking you away from the moment.

You’ve probably heard some form of this phrase before.

“You’re here, but you’re not really here.”

But have you ever taken the time to understand and consider what this statement is really screaming out.

To truly maximise the quality of the time you spend in any situation, you must be fully aware of what is going on in the moment.

This is unfortunately something people rarely do. Usually we’re trying to escape from our current situation in the hopes of “finding” happiness in another time, namely the future.

The truth is, if you can’t be happy and accept things as they are now you won’t be happy in the future.

The art of looking and listening forces you to become present and aware of your current environment. (It really is an art).

You can really apply this anywhere and to any situation. In fact try it right now.

I use this all the time, and it really works synergistically with the first point (being in nature).

Listen to the world around you. Focus on the sounds. Look at the environment and really create a clear image of what is really around you.

For this to work effectively, it’s really important not to let your mind get the better of you.

Don’t question the moment and don’t try to conceptualise, label or define your surroundings.

This is a great exercise for calming the overactive imagination.

If you do this properly you’ll be more aware of your surroundings, kind of like having a heightened sense.

Sure beats being another drone, moving through time and space, with no real satisfaction and missing the beauty of the present moment and life itself.

You’ll also find it easier to simply accept the current moment, without stress and fretting.

In short, mastering the mind = true happiness

Life can be overbearing and beat you down sometimes. But when you can just accept it as is, with the knowledge that you can keep improving. All of sudden life just doesn’t seem quite so daunting.

Important considerations

It’s important to note that you’ll most likely not be able to completely clear your mind on your first few attempts.

Heck, even after a lot of practice it’ll still be challenging and you probably won’t be able to completely drown out all thoughts.

That’s absolutely fine. Thinking is a natural process and is an important asset. (I still think, and I’m not about to completely stop doing it anytime soon).

However, over thinking and managing the overactive mind should be the primary concern. I only concern myself with eliminating the over thinking aspect of my mind.

I know it’s foolish and completely illogical to try and eliminate all thoughts.

How do you know if you’re over thinking?

Good question.

I can tell I’m over thinking when I’m constantly thinking about something and getting stressed out over it, and letting it consume a lot of my time, effort and energy.

Practical Example:

In relation to fitness when I was fixated on hitting a personal best on the bench press. I over thought the whole thing. I thought about the goal all day and during my training session. It was no surprise that I ended up screwing it up and not getting the weight, because I was releasing all this negative mental energy and sabotaging my own effort to lift the weight.

Sometimes you just need to hang back and let your body just do it’s thing. (I know it’s damn hard to do).

I’ve actually recently had one of the best workouts ever, and I attribute a large part of this to just being present at the gym.

Not caring about anything going on around me or thinking about something other than the task at hand. All I focused on was the movement and the weight I was lifting. It actually was an enjoyable session.

What you have to grasp and appreciate is the fact that all we have is the present. Tomorrow isn’t promised to us.

Nobody knows what can happen. Learn to find the value in the current moment. True happiness comes from being content now. Not waiting for next week or the next 5 years.

Focus on making yourself happy in the now. If you hold it of till the future it, it likely won’t happen.

Live for the moment.

When you strip out all the unnecessary mental noise and take everything back to the simplicity of the moment, you’ll look at life in a whole new light.