Workouts & Exercises

Beyond Brawn Bites: Part 1

Just needed a pic for the top, cause all text and no pics makes people sad.

In these couple blog posts coming up, I would like to share quotes from different reading material I have been working my way through, that resonated with me personally in my learning process. Everybody “clicks” with different things at different times and as one of my friends pointed out “often how something affects you is a matter of when you are ready to hear it”. I have book list I am working my way down through related to my field, and boy is it LONG! Haha. I am resisting the urge to do what I like to do and read bits here and there of everything, but not really sitting down and absorbing one thing at a time properly. Not the best way to go about it, so discipline it is.

Maybe something will stand out to you as well, either way I encourage you to take charge of your own education from reliable sources whether you are looking to be a trainer or just better your own body or performance. Some of its purely motivational ( I am a sucker for that stuff), but mostly its quotes relating the basics, of which we all need a grasp of. Right now, I just


Starting Strength

Beyond Brawn


Practical Programming

End of Overeating


Never Let Go

Lyle McDonalds Diet Series

Olympic Weighlifting: A Complete Guide for Coaches and Athletes

Overcoming Gravity: A Systematic Approach to Gymnastics and Bodyweight Strength

Eat Stop Eat

Advanced Nutrition and Human Metabolism (text book, gonna take awhile)

NSCA Strength and Conditioning Textbook

Poliquin Principles

From Beyond Brawn, by Stuart McRobert

I knew so much about that which I didn’t need, but I knew so little about that which I needed. Therein lies the plight of most bodybuilding junkies.”

– Take the time to educate yourself on what matters to you and what you need to know. This doesn’t mean you have to be an expert in the area, obviously if you are just a regular person looking to get fit, or pack on muscle or lose weight, you don’t want or need to be an expert. BUT you need to do what will get you results and, so invest in finding good information. Which will mean a bit of trial and error, but one thing is certain. The same “right” information will keep popping up and the best trainers and fitness writers might differ by method but agree on principle.

About two-thirds of your body’s total muscle mass is in your thighs, buttocks and back. Your shoulders, chest, abdominals, arms adn forearms make up only about a third of your muscle mass, so don’t five those areas in total any more than one third of your total weight-training attention.”

– Focus on getting stronger on your big lifts or exercises that work the body as  a whole (if you don’t go to the gym) and the details will take care of themselves OR you can nitpick after. Don’t start small to get big. This is the primary reason that bodybuilding splits don’t work for long for the genetically average.

“As boring, unexciting and mundane as rest and sleep are, they should be right at the top of your priorities if you’re to progress as quickly as possible. Everybody knows that sleep and rest are important, but almost everyone shortchanges themselves in this department.”

– You can say this is important, but people STILL won’t take it seriously. Sleep saves you time! A good nights sleep means you can go full bore all day AND train, AND work, AND pay attention to your kids, AND stave off stress, AND look good.

Have courage to acknowledge the errors of the past, and have the fortitude to start anew. What you want most is personal progress. Clean the slate, and don’t harp on about mistakes made in the past.”

– Phew, I know this one personally very well, and as you learn, the more you have to let go of what doesnt work, what is proven wrong, or what is not important. BIG post about this sometime.

“A single program, even if it works well for some people, won’t work well for everyone; and some heavily hyped programs are dangerous for all but a very small minority of trainees, and thus should never be promoted for mass use.”

– Changing your body is a personal journey. So is athletic performance. This is a basic foundation of good coaching. A trainer or coach needs to work with YOU. You need to work with YOU. Not what works for someone else.

“Anything that sounds too good to be true; usually is that.”

– No magic pills please.

“Urging realistic expectations does not mean accepting mediocrity. Expect little from your body and that’s what it will deliver. Expect a lot from it and that’s what it will deliver.”

– There is a big difference between blind enthusiasm and overachievement (especially if it involves heavy weights or new moves) and pushing yourself to learn something new, go heavier, and increase your capacity. Be smart, but be brave. You have to step outside your boundaries and push yourself, or progress will stall.

“You can’t make sudden huge jumps in achievement. Achievement comes in smalls steps but LOTS of them. Strive to get to each rep right, each set right, each workout right , each day’s nutrition right, each night’s sleep, and then keep doing that, again and again and again. Then you’ll get somewhere.”

– Patience is a virtue. Practice makes perfect. Etc etc. Consistency is a lesson HARD learned, but the one that most people need to learn BEFORE ANYTHING ELSE.

“NEVER bemoan the discipline that must accompany serious training. Never bemoan the discipline that must be applied to your nutrition and other components of recovery. To have the opportunity to apply all this discipline is a blessing. Appreciate it, and savor every moment of implementing that discipline.”

– Appreciate what you can do, exploit your strengths, and improve your weaknesses. Always.

“While you should push yourself to the limit for most of your workouts, “most” doesn’t mean “all”. Learn not to push yourself to the limit during some periods. This is difficult to do if you’ve been locked into the “hard all the time” philosophy.

– More is not better. Hard doesn’t mean smart. Train smarter not harder. Smarter MAY mean harder, but you need to know when you can take more, do more and when you need to walk out. Feeling exhausted or beat up constantly from working out, doesn’t mean you are making progress or even doing your body much good! Exercise is STRESS. It can be good stress, but it can also be bad stress if you overtrain, injure or accumulate aches and pains.

Correct exercise form is critically important no matter what training intensity you use. But the harder you train, the greater the importance. But the harder you train, the greater the importance. Whenever you take intensity to the extreme, you increase the chance of injury because your body is working at its limit.”

– If you lift, you WILL NOT get up to really impressive weight without good form. Or if you do, you will then pay for it with injury. The same with exercises that are more difficult. Box Jumps, Muscleups, Handstandpushups etc. Get strong first, and take it slow.

Just because an exercise doesn’t hurt you today, next week, or next month doesn’t mean that it won’t hurt you later on. Some weight-training exercises don’t produce acute injury, but an ACCUMULATION of damage which, over time, will cause serious injury.”

– I try to drive this concept into my young athletes, precisely BECAUSE they are young and can take a pounding and recover fairly well. But it adds up! You want to have a  LONG training career, as a person or an athlete. And when you are old, you want to be injury free for as long as possible. So many older adults at my gym have the mantra “Ohhhhh by back/legs/knees/shoulders can’t take that anymore” and they are in their 40/50′s, sitting on machines doing “gentle” strengthening. You CAN be strong and mobile for a lot longer if you take care of the basics.

Never take liberties with exercise form, no matter what training intensity you use. But the greater the intensity, the even greater importance of using correct technique.”

Use mental imagery to help you train hard. Don’t merely deadlift, but pull a vehicle off a trapped person. Don’t merely bench press, but free yourself from being crushed by a hufe boulder. Don’t merely chin, but pull yourself up to save your life after fangling from a high precipice.”

– Do what works to make training fun, enjoyable, challenging, and helps you push correctly. This is important especially if you have to train on your own.

Forget about what others can gain on. What matters most to YOU and YOUR training is what YOU can gain on.”

“It’s practical application that determines whether or not a certain training modality works for the individual concerned. No matter how good something may be in theory, or in practice for SOME people, if YOU can’t put it into practice for long enough to see resulst, it’s not productive for you (or your clients). You must find an approach that you enjoy, that you can do consistently and that delivers results for you.”


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