Only 3 (ish) weeks till the end of the decade! For some reason that didn’t really strike me till yesterday. It’s not just a new year thats around the corner, it’s a new freaking decade! When I think back to where I was 10 years ago, it amazes me how much I’ve changed and accomplished.
It reminds me of the quote by Bill Gates, “Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years.”
Given time, we can do amazing things. So set your goals, adjust your habits, and be patient, you’ll get there.
3 training thoughts
One of the questions I got asked by a client this week was about whether strength training improves your fitness without doing cardio. And it’s a great question. I mean you know how hard your heart gets going when you’re lifting heavy things and putting them back down, but how much benefit does it do for your heart strength and cardiovascular fitness?
The answer is a little surprising.
Since resistance training is predominantly anaerobic in nature, ie it’s short bursts of higher intensity, it will improve your anaerobic fitness. And if you are new to training and relatively unfit, this can improve your CV fitness to a degree. But aerobically your benefits are pretty much zero. So you’ll still get a little out of breath climbing stairs or going for a long walk, because anaerobic training doesn’t stimulate the production of more mitochondria in the cells, in fact, it may decrease their efficiency. The only way to improve aerobic fitness is to include some kind of aerobic training in your fitness approach. 10-30 minutes of lower intensity work 2-3 times a week should be plenty to see an improvement in your aerobic fitness. The other benefits include improved fat loss and improved recovery between sets and sessions when you are lifting heavy things.
So get walking!
I rarely back squat any more. After messing up my QL a few years ago, the only thing that seems to trigger my low back issues any more is a heavy back squat. I can deadlift all day, front squats are grand and recently I’ve been using more single leg variations in my training. Now, of course, I could spend a chunk of time working on my back squat technique, rebuilding the movement to allow me to go heavy with those again, but since I have no desire to compete in a powerlifting comp and therefore have no need to do so, why would I?
Don’t get stuck in the idea that you need to do a particular lift, or do it in a particular way. I only have 3 clients that back squat. I also have just a handful of clients that deadlift from the floor with a straight bar. Adjust your training methods to your ability and goals.
And on the topic, here’s an interesting article on RFESS vs back squats
It’s common to get in your own head when training starts to get heavy. Either you talk yourself out of a lift you should be able to do, or you resist putting the weights up on any given exercise because of the fear you’ll fail. Here is a great article on dealing with that.
2 nutrition bites
Your goal for the rest of this year (decade!) is not to lose weight.
I’m serious, it’s not a great time to be focussing on losing weight. Your goal instead should be to not gain weight.
Maintenance over progress.
There are times of the year when you know life is going to challenge your goal of fat loss and this is most definitely one of them. Social events left, right and centre. All that great food to try, and stress levels through the roof! So instead of adding the stress of trying to maintain a calorie deficit over the next 3 weeks, how about you focus on maintaining your normal eating patterns about 80% of the time, building meals around protein and veggies, and stopping eating when you are satisfied instead of stuffed? And then use the rest of your meals to enjoy the festive period without stressing about what you’re eating.
Then In January, you’ll be ready to attack those 2020 goals and you’ll be ahead of where you might have been if you had tried to be too rigid and eventually snapped and found yourself packing away all the food you tried to deny yourself.
Here is a great article on how to plan and prep your meals, covering everything you need to know to make the process easier. It’ll help with the point above, and give you some great tips for going into the new year.
1 exercise demo
The dumbbell row is a staple of many programs, but it’s often done poorly, with common errors including too vertical a pull, a hunched back position or trying to lock down the shoulder blade.
This last one is where I want to focus on today.
The shoulder blade is supposed to move! Think of it reflecting what the hand is doing, if the hand moves forward, so does the shoulder blade, rotating slightly and moving up and around the rib cage. So with a row, as your hand moves towards the floor, your shoulder blade should rotate and slide around the rib cage. This will help the head of the upper arm remain more or less centred in the shoulder socket and allow the rotator cuff muscles to do their job more effectively.
The other benefit of allowing this forward movement of the shoulder is that the muscles between the shoulder blades that help with posture will be recruited more to bring the shoulder blade back into position as you row the weight up and back towards your hip. Don’t be afraid of a little.
Have an awesome day!
p.s. If you enjoy this post and the info I put out, I’d really appreciate a share on social media or maybe send it to a friend who may be interested!