Getting Over A Fitness Plateau

1.  Exercise Less or More

When it comes fitness progression is key.  Many times exercising less can be the answer because intensity can be increased and recovery can be improved.  On the other hand, an increase in volume can help improve as well.  If you have been training for a long time without a week or two off take a break.  If you have been working out two times a week up it to three.  It really depends on the person and a qualified professional can help you improve on this.

2.  Train for a goal  

I am not sure if I have ever trained for a weight goal.  Instead I have trained for a specific strength, power, or speed goal.  I have also trained to be able to advance in specific body weight exercises.  The point here is focus your energy on getting to a specific result.  A word of caution here.  I do believe that goals can be conflicting.  For example, becoming really strong and becoming better at marathons are opposed.  That is not to say that a runner should not get stronger but the programming should be inline with the specific goal.

3.  Manage Stress and Sleep More

Our bodies need sleep and many times.  Most people say we need 7-9 hours of sleep.  When it comes to stress we all have it.  It is not the stress but rather the reaction to the stressful situation.  Things like prayer, meditation, focused relaxation, quite time, and much more can help break that plateau.

4.  Change nutrition

The obvious things are reducing bad carbs, sugar, alcohol, trans fat, and so on.  On the other hand, little things like maybe eating more or less could help depending on the person.  Eating more good fats or other nutrition tweaks may just improve performance.

5.  Get some support

This can come in so many forms from professional support to the support of a friend.  It could mean a training partner or a small group personal training class.

6.  Get some recovery

Massage, foam rolling, chiropractic care, band stretching, walking, yoga, vacation, hot cold showers, and many more are all examples of ways to recover.  Remember results happen after the workout.  Working hard is important but so is working smart and consistent.  Recovery techniques are crucial and might be what you need to bust through a plateau.

7.  Supplementation 

Finding supplementation for your goals is important.  It is not the first thing to look at however I believe it is the easiest way to see some results.  Try some supplements for performance and use those.  Figure out what you like and what your goals are then you can add those into your overall plan.  However some people focus on supplementation but do not look at nutrition or any other factors.

What have you done to break a plateau?  Comment below!

American Ninja Warrior Training

I am training for American Ninja Warrior.

Here are some things that I believe need to be a focus when training for this type of competition.

1.  Really focusing on grip strength.

Many of the successful warriors have great grip strength especially per pound of body weight.  I was really impressed with the football player who made it through because his weight was much greater than the other competitors (I digress).  The truth is that grip strength has to be incredible to do well in this competition.

Here are some examples of exercises I am using.

– Two finger pullups

– Two finger KB carries

– Weighted pull ups

2.  Must be explosive in the lower body.

The reasoning is because of the jumps that are needed throughout the competition.  Fortunately my many years of training for lower body jump height has potentially prepared me for this.  My main goal is to maintain strength and explosiveness in the lower body.

Here are some examples

– Single leg squats

– Deadlifts

– Different jump and sled work

 

3.  Advanced body weight training

In the past I wrote about different exercises for body weight.  I feel that strength per pound of body weight also known as relative strength is key.  None of the warriors have a high percentage of body fat and many do freestyle tricking or are rock climbers.  Without doing these specific things I will need to focus on other ways to be strong.

Here are some examples

– L-sit

– Planche

– Explosive dips

Here is some of the training I have done in the past

 

Comment What You Think… Is anything missing?

5 Advanced Bodyweight Movements

Below are five advanced bodyweight movements that can be used for better fitness and or athleticism.

These should be done in a progressive manner and should not be practiced if someone is not ready for them.

For example if a person is unable to do a full body squat with both legs the progression is obviously NOT a single leg squat.

1.  Single leg squat from the ground up

2.  Crow Stand holds with vest

3.  Two finger pull ups

4.  L sit variations

5.  Any explosive power movement such as tuck jumps, plyo push ups, broad jumps, and so on.

What is your favorite body weight exercise?

Comment below!

Subtle Yet Crucial Performance and Fat Loss Concepts

When it comes to performance and weight loss the focus is usually on quick but temporary changes.
Below are five subtle yet crucial performance and long term fat loss techniques.

1.  Monitor workout recovery and intensity

This is so important for long term performance and fat loss.  I am constantly asked “What should I do on my off days?” or “What workouts can I do on my own?”  Many times people will look at me bewillered when I say nothing or I tell them to do some walking.

You see our bodies need recovery and rest to perform optimally.  Now I am not suggesting that every day should be a rest day or that you should not get after it, but rather pay attention to your performance and how you are feeling.   I would much rather increase intensity over a long period time versus exercise often at the same or lower intensities.  Less can be more if done with appropriate training!

2.  Eat to perform well with no more dieting

Today we are looking at thousands of different diets including all sort of crazy fad diets.  Some are crazy, stupid, and others are just downright lethal.  If you do not believe me read these http://www.everydayhealth.com/diet-and-nutrition-pictures/crazy-diet-fads.aspx#/slide-13  Cigarette Diet, Baby Food Diet, HCG, and the Twinkie Diet just to name a few.  A wise man once told me “show me someone who is dieting and I will show you someone that struggles with weight.”

3.  Manage Stress and Sleep

This one goes along with number one but it deserves a spot of its own.  When a person lacks sleep and is unable to deal with stress hormones become out of whack.  When hormones become out of whack weight loss becomes more challenging or even impossible.   This article explains it very well http://www.theiflife.com/fat-loss-101-master-the-basics/.  People always tell me their hormones are out of whack because of age.  I think instead that hormones become out of whack largely because of  lifestyle.

4.  Foam roll and band stretching

At this point you might think I am  stretching it a little bit.  Well the truth is when someone is consistent with these two things recovery speeds up, performance goes up, and risk of injury goes down.  These are all things that are needed for long term performance and fat loss.  http://www.3fatchicks.com/the-benefits-of-a-myofascial-release-massage/ talks more about the benefits of myofascial release.

5.  Focus on strength per pound of body weight

I have never seen someone who is overweight that can do amazing body weight feats of strength.  I am also not saying that a person should not focus on absolute strength because they should.  I am saying over a period of time a person should get stronger in bodyweight movements and keep advancing in these.  If I go from zero pull ups or assisted pull ups to being able to do five trust me when I tell you your body will look different.  The benefits of bodyweight training are many and not the purpose of this blog post but again a person should be getting stronger per lb of bodyweight to see long term fat loss results!

Please share your thoughts below do you agree, disagree, or have any ideas of your own!