Rise Above #2.5

Another week has passed. The stag-do happened, so did 14 hours of driving, 2 nights of drinking, ¾ a bottle of Mount Gay Rum and ‘lads’ nutrition. Please consult Google for this. If this comes up with dodgy stuff then that will serve me right for not checking before hand…

So overall, not the healthiest of weekends – but completely worth it. What’s the point if you can’t let your hair down once in a while? You only live once.

However today  there is a new marker in the ground. This one has been drilled down into the earth. Down into Mordor.

The rest of 2017 is now focused around the lean bulk. Getting nutrition on point, training right and specifically for me. No ‘bro lifts’, no excuses. I set out at the start of this blog to make my 30th year different, a documented journey – my evolution.

I make no qualms in how cheesy, cliché or run of the mill this may sound. This is what I am doing.

This morning, I hit a new routine. Maybe a bizarre one, but one that I know my body will respond to and one that will get me through the work.

Legs mixed on with a small about of chest at the end – it is International Chest Day, after all.

• Squats – essential. Not uber heavy, but a good weight were I can focus on volume and form. For all the curious cats, that’s 100kg for me. I aimed for a minimum of 6 sets and 5 reps. This was done.

• Leg Press – same as above. Weight – 200kg.

• Leg extensions – 2 sets at 60kg – 20 reps. 2 sets at 40kg, with a 2 second pause at the top – 10 reps each.

• Calfs raises. 70kg. 4 sets to fail.

• Bench press – 4 sets at 65kg – 5 reps.

• Incline press. 4 sets at 50kg – to fail.

This session is by no means meant to set the world alight but starts me off on solid foundations, at this point there not near my PBs but that isn’t the focus. My focus is 2 leg sessions a week, 1 back session, 1 shoulder session and then one session focused around weak point training.

The aim is a pure lean bulk, that maintains my mobility and functional fitness. Of course the numbers will go up (we pray to the Iron Paradise Gods) and the sessions will evolve.

I’m going to be upgrading the media aspect of the blog and will mostly likely build the page to convert into a webpage rather then a pure blog. New camera is a pending order on Amazon – so better pics and content. Obviously the camera wont be able to build on my already superior looks…

There will also be cameo’s from my other half, possibly her dog and my training partner – the notoriously Scottish, Shaun Mac.

Peace and happy International Chest Day

Ps. The Crohns coped admirably with the onslaught of alcohol this weekend. Huzzah!

Rise Above #2

It’s funny the change that you can have in less then 1 week. When the body gets overwhelmed and needs a rest, you sit back (sometimes forced to sit back) and realise that a ‘normal day’ is a luxury. I’m right at the end of one of these blips and thankfully there is light at the end of the tunnel. 5 days off from training have been needed but also have aggravated me no end.
I feel that upon my return to the Iron Paradise I should have a huge drumroll and such fanfare to celebrate.
Learning to listen to the body is more powerful then any supplement or drug you’ll ever put into your body. That’s a big statement; I’ve also been dosed on copious amounts of morphine in the past so can attest to this… but it holds a lot of truth.

Breaks are essential, no matter how good/bad your health is or if you feel you need one or not. How often do you guys take? 2 days, a week or 2 weeks out to let your body and mind recover from the stress we throw at it?

I’ve been hit by a triple threat over the last two weeks: Stress at work, mini Crohns spike & a sick girl friend and puppy; okay that’s four things. All in all a not too happy Jamie.

But what does this actually mean? How do you whip yourself around? For me – it means SLEEP & NUTRITION. There would be a third natural remedy in this; SUN, but I live in the UK so the closest I get to that is sitting under a highly powerful lightbulb in the hallway. For anyone with Crohns, sitting in the sun and relaxing is genuinely epic to help you recover.

4 days of napping and sleeping like I was well into my 80’s, filling up with veggies and also junk food (yes, I was actually told by a handful of doctors after my big operation that junk food, at times is my friend), (ps. KFC has been a godsend the last few days) have started to whip me back into what can be resembled as my normal self.

Normally and historically in these instances, I start to develop a complex about how much mass I’ll have lost. I think my record still stands at 10kg in 3.5 weeks… God Bless Crohns and its dieting prowess. However to much joy this time round I’ve only seen a drop of circa 2.5kg. It’s not much and a lot at the same time.

Hydration and food will be my friends over the next week and am sure that will be restored – i’ll keep you posted on that side of things.

Rather then go full macho and strut into the gym this evening and smash out a heavy compound session, I decided to go mid range and focus on some weak point training. TRAPS & TRI’S is what the doctor ordered!!! (He didn’t) These are areas I love to train but just aren’t where they need to be, but that will change. You can’t beat a good shrug to rise above and out of a spell of illness. It makes sense not to hammer the immune system too much on the first session back.

The next two weeks will be a big focus on compound training, with weak days mixed in – very much in the style of #Steve Cook. All this with a stag-do thrown in for fun in a few days.

Hope all is well with any readers and training is equally well! If anyone has these moments with Crohns and training then drop me a line – lets chat!

State of Mind 

This post occurred to me last week – and it’s something I should have talk about sooner with all of you. 
Leg Sessions – notorious with some lifters for being a dreaded day of the week – for others one of the highlights. I had one of these booked in for last Sunday and for the most part I normally look forward to them.

Last week, however was a BIG NO. On reflection, I was under-fuelled, low on Carbohydrates, probably a bit dehydrated and absolutely shattered. This session could have easily been done by just ‘going through the motions’ and for the first few warm up sets on the 45 Degree Press it was exactly that.

Move into the working sets and my state of mind altered a bit… this could be down to the blare of Rock and Metal music flooding out of my earphones (can’t manage on my own without this!) but also there is an old memory that lurks slightly deeper in my mind; It’s not one that particularly nice, but it is quite poignant and trust me when I say – it can turn someone who’s feeling quite weak into a machine.

The memory? About 18 months ago I was recovering from major surgery – having 4ft of bowel removed and a temporary stoma bag bolted on to my gut. This wasn’t even the bad part of the memory – the bit that flicks me up 3 or 4 gears is remembering the feeling of exhaustion when trying to walk 10 meters down the ward, or even stand up.

Cue a cacophony of music and two sets further down the line, I hit a personal best on my leg press. 290kg (good form too) for 3 reps. Ten minutes previous, I’d been close to committing a cardinal sin and walking right out of the coded doors in the gym. Fine, it’s not the heaviest you can do on a mechanical press – but who really cares? Numbers are important but I’d happily forego 70kg for good form on a movement rather then looking like a idiot and completing 30% of the movement.

My point in this? Remembering why you started a process is a hugely powerful factor in overcoming any barrier – in any walk of life. For me – the above is one of them – sometimes a certain song will kick me into a similar mindset too.

The ramblings that I’ve put up so far have really lacked what people in the industry would dub a ‘call to action’ but in this case I’d love to hear of others that encounter this issue and how you get around it, or not!

I’m not an expert in Psychology, hell, I’m not even close to being a beginner – but when it comes to the grind of training, even on the diet side it’s good to exchange experiences on how we all beat that little voice in the head or how the body is feeling.

For those that like a good leg day – my session went on to contain…

• 45 Degree Leg Press – 5×5

• Deadlifts – 5×5

• Leg Extensions – 4×8

• Hamstring Curls – 4×8

• Body weight squats – to fail

• Calf raises – 3×12

Thanks for reading!

PS It’s leg day again tomorrow…

Steak!! We meat again #1

Energy levels; intrinsically linked to your diet – both will always have an impact on how you functional & ultimately, perform in your chosen sport. For me that’s the gym or howling at football on the TV like my girlfriends 9 week old puppy…I wont be alone in this – and tell me if I’m wrong. Some days I’ve got enough energy to tackle a Bison, other days a gust of wind would send me half way across the English Channel.

The last 2 weeks I have hit the above perfectly and it got me thinking hard as to why at times I had to hire a forklift truck to drag my ass out of bed. Simple answer: D I E T. In a style not too dissimilar to Claudio Ranieri, I became the Tinker Man. Two impact subs right back into my diet to try and help transform my overall being and ability to train in the way I need to deliver growth.

They were and still are:

#1 Grenade Ration Pack – full spectrum Multi-vitamin / Essential Fats / Digestive Enzymes – after a week I can feel that my micronutrient levels have been positively impacted and I feel better. Seriously, recommend Grenade products!

#2 Red Meat. There is so much debate around red meat – sure it doesn’t digest as rapidly and it probably does linger within the digestive system longer then white meats. But hell – the impact of Iron, natural creatine, Protein and just tasting damnnn good can’t be overlooked.

People who suffer with crohns will know that some foods that effect you wont effect me & vice-versa. Having read many post on forums, I can see that for some, it’s a BIG no! Me – red meat is my friend, my confidant and something that is now going to deliver about 50% of my weekly protein intake. I have absolutely no shame in this what-so-ever. It sorts my iron levels out, insuring I don’t have what can only be describe as crack addict look-a-like eyes and the creatine is a natural blessing for training.

This is by no means an epiphany for all and that you should drop what you’re doing now and raid Sainsbury’s meat isle- its trial and error, as with anything.

Check out Bobbymaximus on Instagram – he’s a machine, really inspiring in the fitness industry but moreover, also someone appreciates a good side of cow.

I’ll bask in the glory of my recent Musclefood order to back this up. All red meat, one of those pieces a 907g, 32oz T-Bone Steak – I’ll sign autographs later…

As O2 would maybe say, Be More Cow.

The Infinite Lean Bulk

It’s gross – genetics has been rude and set me apart from all others that train. I have the distinct ability to eat like a barbarian horde, do my compound lifts and do minimal cardio and still struggle to put on any real lean mass.Legs – twice a week, split on quads and hammy’s. HIGH volume focus on shoulders and heavy on back. Chest, sure I’ll train it but as long as it looks balanced I’m not going to be that guy who gives two shits about his 1RM on a bench press or how much of a pump he’s got in a vest that is best suited to Rab C Nesbitt.

So I’ve done the above – I’m hitting my macros of around 380c 170p and 80f and getting in a few solid rest days too. This might appear high to some for a ‘lean bulk’ but mixing that into a fractious equation with my Crohn’s, I need the Carbs and Fats higher than most – half of my bowels are probably forming part of North England’s doner kebab quota.

Anyone who trains and has crohns knows that some days its just impossible to move and that any form of training can be like walking up Mount Everest with a car strapped to your back; to those that manage it and enjoy it – hell, I salute you.

As it stands, I’m about 3 weeks into a new plan for my ‘lean bulk’… I’m sitting in at an earth shattering 74kgs or 11.653 stone to be precise. For me that’s a reasonable fighting weight but the goal is 80kg. My magic number. My literal Everest.

Surely I’m not in this boat on my own? Even people who have fully functioning digestive systems must feel this pain.

I’ve already got 80% of my days macro’s under my belt (literally and metaphorically) – my shoulders are in line to be at the front of the wave of carbs flowing though my veins. And then in the true spirt of a Bank Holiday weekend, I’ll shovel my Grenade Lean Machine down my throat and await the delights of a Chinese takeaway …

I’ll no doubt take a Vogue-esque picture in the gym tonight and one that probably shows no definition of my shoulders and still makes me out to look like I’ve failed at an audition for an Oxfam advert.

Happy hunting to all those training over the Bank holiday weekend and the rest of the year. Remember – trust the process…

Welcome…

So I’ve made a separate Instagram account, I’m sure I’ve got a few Gymshark T-Shirts. So by modern definition, I’m probably a one stop shop for gym knowledge, grunting and just being an all round lad.

I should probably quit my day job as a Financial Recruiter and just bask in the glory of being a gym bro…. the thought has crossed my mind.

In all seriousness, it’s about time I did a little bit more around fitness, training and life style – it’s a huge part of my life and something that I’m hugely grateful for. I turn 30 inside the next fortnight and maybe that’s one of the catalysts of me doing this. I’ve got a few other compelling reasons to refocus – my bodies flirtatious relationship with Crohn’s disease among them. BUT more importantly I just enjoy the gym, it’s benefits and the huge satisfaction it can deliver.

So this blog is me getting more into the world I love (and at times hate). I can’t guarantee anyone who reads this that I’ll always be sensible (what’s the point?) nor can I guarantee anyone will actually read this at all!

So, over the next few days I’ll add some ramblings to this – Russian Roulette on if you’ll enjoy it.

For now – I’m going to look at Gymshark T-Shirts; they’re actually awesome!

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