Thoughts, Training

Training Focus: Conditioning and Cardio

I’ve always been a heavier guy, literally since forever. Chubby baby, chubby in elementary school, straight up fat in high school. Since then, I’ve become…less fat. And it was entirely due to paying attention to Conditioning and Cardio.

First of all, when I talk about Conditioning and Cardio, I am referring to different things. The official nomenclature might be different from my definitions, but as far as my understanding goes Cardio is general cardiovascular health and endurance pertaining to steady-state cardio exercises (running, elliptical, cycling, etc.) Conditioning, on the other hand, is a measure of endurance and recovery in reference to your specific sport, event, or discipline.

Cardio has always been key to my weight-loss success. This isn’t true for everyone, but my body responds quite well to jogging as a booster to my fat loss goals. And I have always used running as my go-to method for fat loss.

I hate running, which is why all my previous fat-loss has been temporary. As soon as i dropped 20-25 lbs, I no longer hated myself more than I hated running, and the motivation stopped. I had never heard of a training program in those days, and so I had no discipline to take up the slack when my motivation waned.

These days, I incorporate cardio as an accessory activity, aimed at promoting a slight addition to my calorie expenditure to help speed up some fat loss. My primary focus is now on conditioning.

In the case of the Linear Progression/ Giant Set method, conditioning is a key component of the training regimen. With set rest times between exercises, and super setting 3 exercises at a time, my conditioning is tested every training session, and has improved markedly since I began. The emphasis on set, and minimal, rest times, has done an enormous amount for my fat loss.

I also find, since conditioning is specific to events and disciplines, it feels much more dynamic and frankly, interesting and enjoyable, than steady state cardio exercise. I still finish every workout with 10 minutes of steady-state cardio (typically stationary bike or elliptical trainer) and try to go for a 5km run at least once a week.

I encourage you to try limiting your rest times to incorporate more conditioning work into your typical workouts, and to add cardio to your program. You will always be surprised by what your body can deliver once you push yourself out of your comfort zone.

That’s all for now, keep training hard!

Cheers,

The Bear

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Programming, Thoughts, Training

6 Week Program Wrap-Up & Looking Ahead

Way behind on posting! Sorry again, a thousand times.

Finished off my trial run of my 6-Week Program and I really enjoyed it! Anyone interested in trying it out, or looking for some help with programming or training feel free to contact me on FB or IG

The Program felt good, and I’m happy with the results. However, since my last post I’ve moved on to new things.

I’ve been running through Brian Alsruhes Linear Progression Program. It is a beautiful program, which challenges strength and conditioning. I have adopted his Giant Set principle into my primary training, and it has benefited me greatly.  The video is quite informative, and I encourage you to watch it.

My body weight spiked quite a bit when I came to Taiwan, rising up to 115kg, which is close to the heaviest I’ve ever been. That wasn’t doing anything for me. If you follow me on IG, you’ll know that I’m working on dieting down to the u90kg weight class for Strongman. I’ve come down from 115 kg to 100 kg, and I’m feeling fantastic.

Training is going well, and I am aiming to be at my target weight by November, when I plan on taking a Coaching Certification course offered by the best Strongman gym in Taiwan, Formosa Fitness.

Sorry for the long absence, hope this catches everyone up. I’ve got a lot coming up in the future, and I’m going to be more diligent with this blog.

That’s all for now, keep training hard!

Cheers,

The Bear

Programming, Thoughts, Training, Update

One Week To Go! / Looking Ahead

Well I have one week left to go in my 6 Week Program. I have been controlling my diet well and it has been going quite well! I’ll be posting my results next weekend, but I can say, looking at the numbers, that my lifts and rep ranges have gone steadily up across all my primary lifts.

This is hugely encouraging, as I’ve managed to shed about 15 lbs in the process. I’m very happy with how things have come together, and I’m excited about my future progress.

Looking ahead now, I’ve been happy with my progress, but I also feel like I went a little easy on myself. I know, deep down, that my body is capable of much more than I usually push it to achieve.

To that end, I’m going to be reprogramming next weekend. I am continuing a total-body program, aimed at increasing my general strength. I’ve been looking in to Linear Progression programs as explained by Brian Alsruhe. My brother has been using his program and really enjoys it, and I think that it will be what I’m looking for.

Here is the video, if you’re interested. He lays out the basics of the program, and how it benefits his training. It sounds a little daunting, but I’m looking forward to the challenge. I’ll put my program together this week, and let you know how it goes!

Keep checking back for the wrap-up of my first 6 weeks, and train hard!

Feel free to message me any questions, or leave them in the comments below.

Cheers,

The Bear.

Programming, Training

Programming and Dieting

Since I’ve been too cheap to buy a bathroom scale, I finally found a place where I can get weighed. Apparently, the BMI is taken very seriously here, and many pharmacies offer general weight checkups. I went to check it out and got some surprising results:

  • Weight: 104.2 kg
  • Body Fat: 26.6%
  • Muscle: 31.1%
  • Body Age: 51 y/o
  • BMR: 2141 kcal
  • BMI: 31.3

This was a little disheartening. I had been eating cleaner and exercising harder since June, when I weighed in at 111.4 kg. So the loss was encouraging, but these measurements put me far above where I would like to be.

So I have resumed using My Fitness Pal to track my calories and Macros, and have been working through my new training program. It has been feeling really good, and I’m looking forward to next month’s weigh-in.

My next goal is to be under 215 lbs/ 97 kg and/or 18% body fat. So far I have been able to shed the weight while maintaining or improving my lifts throughout this training cycle. Hopefully I can continue this trend, and work on building up my base musculature while I continue to shed the excess fluff.

That’s all for now, wish me luck!

Cheers,

The Bear.

Programming, Update

Progress Update

Hello everyone, I’m now 2 weeks into my new Program and it’s going very well! I have also cleaned up my diet and started using My Fitness Pal again. I’m down from around 111 kg in June, to 104.2 kg now.

For added fun, I was able to get my body fat and other biometrics measured. Currently sitting at 104 kg/239 lbs and 26.6% body fat. Not the worst I’ve ever been, but still far off where I would like.

My next goal is to be under 220 lbs and 18% body fat. I’ll be posting updates as I work through the first six weeks, and hit milestones along the way. In the mean time, here’s a progress picture of my back, from May 2016 (right) to April 2017 (left).

Thoughts

Training Focus: Motivation and Discipline

For this entry, I have decided to focus on a key part of Training that I have personally struggled with for a long time: Motivation and Discipline. For the first three years of my weight-training life, I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. I slowly learned as I went, and began to research. Slowly, very slowly, I came to a better understanding of what Training looks like, and more importantly, just how long it takes. When my ‘beginner gainz’ stopped showing, and my progress slowed (no training program-doi!) I quickly got disheartened. My Motivation withered, and my training became even less focused, less intense, and I eventually gave up and would fall off the horse for weeks at a time.

This was because I relied entirely on my Motivation, my desire to see quick results, and my belief that I would see those results, if only I would just go in and kill it, today. Obviously, this is not sustainable in the long term.

Motivation and Discipline are the two key driving forces behind any training program. They answer the two most important questions:

  • What do you want?
  • How are you going to get there?

Of the two, Discipline is the more important. Even without a program or routine, a disciplined, regular gym user will still see improvement and development. However, without a goal, a broader vision, Motivation will erode over time, making discipline harder and harder to maintain. If you aren’t working towards a goal, then you are just working. That is the easiest way to start to fee stuck, frustrated, and disheartened.

Motivation is very important, especially since it usually precedes Discipline. If you are not a regular gym-goer, and even if you are, you know the moment when you wake up and say: “I’m going to the gym today!”

Usually, you’ll go, have a good workout, get sweaty, and spend the day eating right. Then, if you are like I was, you’ll hurt like hell the next day, decide to take a ‘rest day,’ and not go back for a week and a half. This is where Discipline becomes important. Motivation can get you started, can inspire you, but Discipline is what keeps you going, moving forward.

Discipline is harder to form. We have all heard the adage “you’ll get hooked, brah,” in regards to developing a gym or training routine. Sadly, going once a week and flinging weights about is not enough to ‘get hooked,’ or see any long-term progress. When your Motivation wears off, and you have no Discipline to fall back on, you will stop.

The best things you can do to help build Discipline are:

  1. Get a gym buddy – they well (hopefully) keep you accountable, and keep you coming back.
  2. Get on a training program – this will give structure to your workouts, and let you see progress over time.
  3. Alternatively, get a coach or trainer – they will fulfill both functions of keeping you accountable, as well as providing you with a structured program, and Motivation.

Motivation is important. It can get you up and moving when you really need to be. But without Discipline, Motivation isn’t enough. Motivation will get you started, Discipline will carry you through the follow-through; the long, hard process.