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My 2020 Bodybuilding Competition Prep Routine | Rob Lipsett

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As you may or may not know, I am preparing for my first Bodybuilding competition since 2016. We are exactly 90 days/3 months/12 weeks out and I’m very excited.

In this article I’ll be going through my plan on how I’m going to get shredded beyond reality.

Now, as a disclaimer, this is my plan; it’s suited to my personal preferences. But I’m sure you’ll find a lot of tips, gems and guidelines that will be very useful to your fat loss efforts. So let’s get into it.

For a little background, I’ve competed twice before in my life. The first time I competed, I didn’t even place. I wasn’t ready and I learned a lot from that.

Second time, I came first in my class and top 4 in the overall. So this time I’m super motivated and really looking forward to bringing my best physique to date.

So here’s an index of what we’re going to discuss:

 

  • DIET & NUTRITION

 

  • Calorie Deficit

  • Plateaus

  • Meal Frequency

  • Refeeds

  • Macros

 

  • TRAINING

 

  • My Split

  • Strength Loss on a Cut

  • Cardio

 

  • LIFESTYLE

 

  • Sleeping pattern

  • Stress Management

  • Drinking Alcohol and Going Out

  • Eating out

  • Environment

  • Routine

  • Tracking

  • Goal Setting

DIET & NUTRITION

This is probably the most important factor when it comes to fat loss efforts. Specifically..

The main thing when it comes to losing body fat.. is being in a CALORIE DEFICIT.

It’s literally all that matters.

You can go vegan, you can go Keto; you can go six meals a day; you can go IIFYM; you can go Intermittent Fasting;  you can go all of them at the same time! It doesn’t matter if you’re not in a caloric deficit.

All these ways I just mentioned are just fancy, different ways of achieving the same thing: getting a caloric deficit.

What is a Caloric Deficit?

Before we know how to get into a calorie deficit, we need to know what our maintenance calories are. This is the level of calories we need to consume to stay the same weight/fat loss levels. Everyone has a different maintenance as it depends on your current weight, height, activity level etc. 

My maintenance calories are around 2,900-3,000 calories. If I eat that per day, my physique will stay the same.

If you’re a pro athlete or construction worker who trains 5 times a week, you’ll have a higher maintenance than someone who sits on an office desk who trains 5 times per week.

Activity levels change so much person to person. So you need to figure out your own, individual maintenance levels. I’ve done tonnes of stuff on this. But quickly, if you go here you can figure it out easily and for free.

This will give you a pretty accurate estimate. But if you really wanna be 100%, trial and error is the best way – you can track your calories around this mark, and see whether your weight goes up or down. 

When you have your maintenance calories you can figure out how many calories you need to consume to be in a calorie deficit. 

But how much should the deficit be? What’s a good amount? 1,000? A bit too much. 200? Not enough, you’re gonna see very slow results.

I’d like to recommend -500 calories. So like I said, my maintenance levels are around 2,900-3,000, which means gonna start off at 2,400. Simple. 

Now. This is where things get a bit more advanced. So get ready.

During my cut, I’m gonna have a GREEN ZONE, an AMBER ZONE and the RED ZONE.

As you can see, the calorie consumption goes down each time.

In the Green Zone, my starting zone, 2,400 will be my calories. I am going to stick to these calories FOR AS LONG AS POSSIBLE, until I plateau or stop losing weight.

 

Plateaus

So this is important. People often change up their training or diet for no reason at all. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it

So if you’re losing weight, there’s no need to keep dropping your calories. Only do it when there is a sustained period (maybe consistently over a week, if you weigh yourself daily) where you do not lose weight. 

Now, when I do stop losing weight. I plateau. What’s the reason for this? 

Let’s say I’ve lost 10lbs. I am now ceasing to carry this extra weight during day-to-day activities. Imagine you were carrying a 10lbs dumbbell around with you all day, but now you’ve lost it.

You don’t have to carry it to work. You don’t have to carry it around the gym. You don’t have to carry every time you stand up, or sit down. So you’re gonna burn less calories because your body is gonna need less energy, because it doesn’t have to provide for that extra 10lbs.

So when we start to lose significant amounts of weight, our calorie requirements go down. On top of that, our body is saying ‘oh jesus christ, rob is starving himself, we need to preserve some energy’. This is an evolutionary trait we have developed to protect us from food droughts, so in prehistoric times we could avoid starvation, be less vulnerable to predators and survive. 

So now you’re in a fat loss plateau. Therefore, you need to increase the calorie deficit. For me, this will be down to 2,200 (AMBER ZONE).

In the past I’ve gotten very lean when I’ve gone down to 2,200. I’m not sure if I’ll even have to go lower than that, but we’ll just have to see how things go (if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it).

Going back to my previous competition prep, I got super lean. I remember having to go all the way down to 2,000 calories (poverty calories as some people like to call it). I was on this for about 2-3 weeks, it was very difficult. For a lot of people in the bodybuilding community it’s called the ‘digging phase’. It’s not sustainable, and I wouldn’t recommend it unless you’re prepping for a competition like me. If you’re just doing a normal cut, there’s really no need to go down this far. 

So yeah, these are my planned calories for this prep:

2,400 – first phase. 4-6 weeks.

2,200 – second phase, when I plateau 5-9/10 weeks.

2,000 – digging phase, last couple weeks before competition, depending on state.

Meal Frequency

How many times will I eat throughout the day? Am I gonna do intermittent fasting? Am I gonna do 6 meals per day? Does it even matter

The answer is NO, it actually doesn’t fucking matter at all. Meal frequency is one of the most overhyped things that I’ve seen in the fitness industry. People who work full-time jobs are there packing 6 tupperware boxes, going to work. You don’t have to do it. You don’t go catabolic after 3 hours, it’s complete bullshit.

Your meal frequency should be tapered toward your preferences.

So whatever you wanna do, whether it be 6 meals or 3 big meals: do whatever is gonna help you sustain your calorie deficit. Personally, I’m gonna go for 3 big meals a day and 2 snacks.

One thing to consider, however, is to make sure you keep your muscle protein synthesis elevated. For bodybuilding and stimulation maximal amounts of muscle building, you do wanna space your protein feedings out throughout the day, to at least 3-4 times.  

There’s a study on why this is important here.‘Leucine [type of protein] rich meals should be consumed multiple times per day.. with essential amino acids ingested between whole protein meals may further optimise Muscle Protein Synthesis’

Norton & Wilson, 2009

So by having 3 big meals a day and a protein shake and a protein bar on either side, that is gonna keep my protein synthesis elevated throughout the day. 

Refeeds

Refeeds are basically when you decrease your protein intake a little bit, keep fat as low as possible and then double your carbs intake. This is to replenish lost glycogen that often occurs when cutting.

These aren’t actually necessary, but some people do like to include them and see good results from them. When done properly, they can be quite beneficial, and I will be incorporating them 

How often should you incorporate refeeds?

When you’re first starting off a cut, general guidelines are about once per month. And then when you’re further into a cut, maybe twice per month. In the final stages, when you’re really lean and have sub-10% body fat, you can do them even more regularly.

My rule of thumb is just to do them when you feel really really depleted. It’s important not to look at them as a cheat day, as you still have to control your calories. Just double your carbs intake.

Macros 

Here are the macro-nutrients that I’ll be following:

Protein: 200g

Fats: 60g

Carbs: 265g, 215g, 165g

Macronutrients are the Protein, Carbs and Fats that make up your calories. 

1g Protein = 4 cals, 1g Carbs = 4 cals, 1g of Fat = 9 cals

With Protein intake, I like to set that at around 1g per 1lbs of weight. A lot of people say you need less, but I think this is just a good general recommendation.

I’ve actually set it at about 30g more than it needs to be (I weigh around 170lbs). 

Why have I done that?

Because I love protein. It makes my diet a lot more satisfying. It’s satiating. It stops me from getting hungry. It makes me feel good. I just love protein, who the hell doesn’t love chicken breast, beef and steak? (Vegans are backing out of this right now).

Beans, tofu, nuts.. I love protein!

So, I’ve set my fat at 60g. We all need fat in our diet for general health and bodily functions. Fat is an essential part of our diet. They support cell growth, help protect your organs and help your body absorb some nutrients and produce important hormones.

General fat intake recommendations: an intake of 20-40% of total calories.

Some people like to go high fat (Keto), but ultimately it doesn’t matter.

The main thing is Protein and Total Calories. Your Macros are not actually that important, and you can play around with them a little bit. But me, personally I like to set my Protein and Fat intake, and keep them consistent.

So, if protein and fat are set, how am I gonna reduce my calories when I need to?

We got carbs to play around with.

265g, 215g, 165g. Everytime 50g comes out, this takes away 200 calories (because each 1g of Carbs is 4 cals, and 50×4=200).

I’m starting off at 265g and when fat loss stalls, I’ll drop it down to 215g (2,200 cals) and if it stalls again, I’ll drop it down to 165g (2,000).

165g will absolutely suck, but it’s gotta be done for the shreds.. For the Glory.. For the LF Army.

Before we move onto Training, here’s a summary of diet:

TOTAL CALORIES are so much more important than MACROS

The main thing in your diet for body composition is total protein intake and total calorie intake. So if one day you’ve fucked it on fats, you can just go lower in carbs on that day or vice versa.

As long as your protein is consistent and you hit your calorie goal, that’s the main thing. Calorie goal is even more important than protein.

You’ve probably heard it before.. CALORIES IN VS CALORIES OUT, that’s the “secret” to fat loss! That’s the secret to weight loss and weight gain.. So crazy right? Who woulda thought it would be that simple? Ma

So that’s.. done. Diet is done.

Let’s move on..  ‘cause I know you don’t got all day. 

TRAINING

This is my favourite split: Legs, Push, Pull. 

Day 1: Legs

Day 2: Push

Day 3: Pull

Day 4: Rest

Day 5: Legs

Day 6: Push

Day 7: Pull

If you want a more detailed LPP, you can get one in eBook form here

But I’m not biased, I don’t think this is the best split. The best split is the one you will enjoy the most; the one you’ll actually follow, sustain and adhere to.

I’m NOT saying everyone has to go to the gym 6 days per week. Hardly anyone needs to do that. You can see amazing results lifting weight 3-4 times per week, and if that is the case, I recommend people going 3 times per week to do a full-body programme.

And if you’re going 4 days per week, I’d recommend an Upper-Lower-Upper-Lower split. And 5 per week, which I’m sure will be the case for me some weeks, I’ll actually do Legs-Push-Pull-Upper-Lower.

So, again, this LLP split is just the one I’m gonna set for myself , but who knows it may change a little bit. But either way, I’m gonna be hitting every body part twice per week to get in enough frequency and volume.

Now let’s get into the most common question I get, which is about..

Strength Loss on a Cut

Now, I’m about to go into a rant here..

People have this mindset that, ‘oh, i’m cutting and i’m going to lose loads of strength!’.

This is a BULLSHIT, QUITTERS MINDSET. This is weak.

If you’ve got everything else we’ve discussed on point, you can not only maintain  your strength, some people (especially beginners and intermediates) can actually increase their strength.

There’s so many other factors that come into play, and if you nail everything – your nutrition, your training, your protein intake – then there’s no reason you shouldn’t be able to maintain your strength!

Now, perhaps in the latter stages (the red zone), am I going to increase strength? Most likely not, no. But in the first two stages I’ll definitely be looking to maintain strength. I’m really motivated with my training right now, and it’s going amazing. 

So don’t expect strength loss. That’s a terrible way to go into your training. You should be focusing on maintaining your strength at the very least.

If you start off benching 100kg at the start of your cut, and you lose a tonne of fat, and at the end of it you’re still benching 100kg, that’s a SUCCESSFUL cut

So your main focus on a fat loss diet is MAINTAINING STRENGTH. Mark down your lifts at the beginning of the cut, and say ‘I will do my very best to not go lower than this level of strength’.

That’s the take away point for training. Maintaining your strength during a cut is how you get that full look of having muscle and a low body fat percentage.

The physiques you see on social media and in movies were made from resistance training, not 80s aerobics classes marketed to ‘Get a beach body’ or ‘Get a booty’. You need good old classic weight training that’s been proven and around for years. Hit the gym, keep lifting weights. Maintain your strength.

Cardio

Right, so let’s HIIT vs LIIT (High intensity interval training vs low intensity interval training). There’s pros and cons to both of them. But which one should you do?

Do whichever one you’re going to sustain and stick to and enjoy the most

Are you seeing the pattern here? Your plan needs to be personalised: there’s no one-size-fits-all. This is why I also do personalised coaching, so people have a plan that is tailor-made for them and their preferences.

So yeah, just go with whichever form of cardio you enjoy the most. I know some people that love HIIT and they like just getting their cardio sessions over and done with. 

But me personally, I prefer LIIT because you can put on a podcast, watch a video, get some emails done and even do a Skype call. I can do all this whilst knocking out 40 mins on a stairmaster, or going for a big, long walk. 

I’m gonna start off with 3 cardio sessions per week, then up to 4 in the Amber Zone, and 5 in the ‘digging phase’.

You should also consider NEAT (Non-Exercise-Activity-Thermogenesis). This is a really good fat loss ‘hack’. 

So basically, NEAT is the calories you burn when not exercising and working out. And the reason why this is so good, is because you’re burning calories without even realising it. It’s not formal exercise.

It includes things like going for a walk, taking the stairs: just moving in general. Being conscious of NEAT is a really good way to get your Total Daily Energy Expenditure up without even putting in much more effort.

Recently I moved to London and I am literally walking everywhere (within reason). The city is amazing. I can walk to like Buckingham Palace, around Hyde Park: it’s all great for NEAT. And I’ll be making a conscious effort to get my NEAT high.

It’s also very relaxing to go for walks, and that actually perfectly brings us into…

LIFESTYLE

Sleeping Pattern

It’s only in the last year that I’ve realised how important sleep actually is. My mind was absolutely blown by a Joe Rogan podcast with Matthew Walker.

Sleep is huge. It literally impacts our performance in the gym so much. It also had a huge impact on our diet – when we’re sleep deprived were more likely to cheat on a diet, eat highly palatable foods like pizza and donuts and all that delicious shit. This is because when we’re tired, our inhibitions are lower

It also had an impact on your hormones, your stress. You’re more irritable and snappy when sleep-deprived. And you’re gonna be irritable anyway when you’re in a calorie deficit. So the last thing you need is to be more aggro and more annoyed. 

Stress Management

You’re gonna be putting your body under a lot of stress, so you need to be conscious of that and set aside time to do things that relaxes you. 

One thing I’m trying to do, something I’m so bad at, is meditation. Or even just some mindful thinking can help a lot. Just go for a walk, watch a movie, read a book. Have sex. Seriously, it’s a very important function that helps alleviate stress.

‘Sex is a great way to relieve stress. The benefits include release of endorphins and other hormones that elevate mood. It’s also a great exercise, which itself is an effective stress reliever’. 

Psychology Today

Drinking Alcohol and Going Out

In general fat loss diets where you’re looking to get a six-pack or whatever,I recommend keeping your social life as active as possible. You need to adopt a lifestyle that you can sustain. Just because you’re cutting that doesn’t mean you can never eat out or go for a beer with friends. It’s not true. 

There’s actually a full chapter in my book on incorporating alcohol into your plan. Name another fitness YouTuber who does that! This is the fun fitness channel. It’s where the party’s at.

But for me, I’m putting 100% into this competition prep over the next 90 days. So I won’t be drinking a drop. This is not meant to be a sustainable diet for me, it’s an extreme cut for a Bodybuilding competition. Therefore, I will not be drinking any alcohol over the next 90 days

Going out also affects sleep. If I were to go out on a saturday my sleep pattern will get thrown off. Alcohol is very high in calories, and often creates inhibitions that mean you could end up eating a pizza that you don’t even remember. There’s really no room for that in competition prep.

If you’re cutting normally, I think you can have the odd drink here and there, but going out every weekend and getting wasted screws up a lot of people’s results. 

So no more whiskey sours until the 17th of May, but as soon as competitions are over, I will see you ALL for a whiskey sour. And we will toast. And it’s gonna be a great time. But until then, no alcohol and very minimal going out. It will be just going out and meeting friends for a coffee or whatever.

Eating Out

This is kind of like what I said while drinking alcohol. If you’re just doing a normal cut, eating out is fine as long as you find a way to track it. That is no problem.

On competition prep, it’s more extreme and I’m gonna really have to know exactly what I’m eating. And I’ll probably have to go to a place that is more a fitness orientated place. Some places will have the calories on the menu, but realistically they’re not accurate – they’re just there for show. 

So you really gotta make sure that what you’re getting is what you’re ACTUALLY getting. Because I’m on prep, I will be doing very very little eating out. Instead I’ll be preparing at least 90% of my meals at home, or getting meal prep.

But yeah, on a normal fat loss phase, you can eat out for sure. Just remember to track it and add it to your Total Calorie Count for the day.

Environment

Your environment dictates performance, whether it’s your home, your friends or your city. If you’ve seen my apartment tours or kitchen tours, you’ll understand why a lot of people are like, ‘Is he a serial killer? Is he Patrick Bateman?

I’m very neat and very clean. And this helps a lot when you’re dieting. If you go into your kitchen and there’s pots and pans everywhere, and it’s a complete mess, you’re not gonna wanna cook a meal.

So keep your environment clean. Keep it organised. Being neat and organised will also help every other aspect of your life. A wise man once said, “Clean your room”.

Time Management

This is very important, especially if you work a strenuous job. If you are working a job like this, I recommend placing your training sessions either first thing in the morning, get it over and done with, or at lunch time.

If you leave it later in the day, there’s just so much stuff that can go wrong that could make you go, ‘ah screw it, I’ll skip the gym today’. Prepare and use common sense. Tailor your training around when you perform best.

Routine

Getting into a consistent routine is  so important. If you’ve read the book, ‘The Power of Habit’ (or seen my article), you’ll know that once you’ve built up habits, it makes things that once seemed difficult, effortless.

Habit is so powerful that, even when I’m deep into my cut and my calorie deficit gets to the Red Zone, by this time I’ve solidified my habits so much that I actually find it easier than at the start. Even though I’m low on calories and my training is more intense, things are easier because of the habits and momentum I’ve built. 

This tends to happen to me every time I do a competition prep or serious fat loss diet, like for a magazine cover. After a while, once you build up these habits and you get into a routine, things will just start to flow. Routines form habits, and habits are your friend

Tracking

This obviously relates to diet, but is something that has to be ingrained into your day-to-day lifestyle. However, for most people I wouldn’t actually recommend tracking extremely rigidly.

For most of my clients what I recommend is to track really rigidly for about a week, maybe 2 weeks. And then once you kinda get a feel for what certain foods look like, for example, a fist-size of chicken breast is about 30g of protein. Once you get the hang of it, you don’t need to track so rigidly: you don’t need to weigh out absolutely everything.

But again, what I’m doing is competition prep. I’m trying to get shredded beyond reality. So I’m gonna be tracking EVERYTHING for the next 90 days. It’s gonna be very difficult, but once I get into the habit, it gets easier and easier

And it’s kinda enjoyable. Like,  if people are scrolling through Instagram, scrolling through Facebook. Why can’t you have a little scroll through Myfitnesspal? I kinda look at tracking as a fun little game on my app. A game that gets your shredded.

(The way I track my food is through an app called Myfitnesspal and I use a digital food scale to weigh everything I eat). 

 

Goal Setting

The whole competition prep is like one big goal that I’ve set, but in general on a fat loss diet, goal setting is gonna help you a lot. Little goals like, ‘I aim to lose 2lbs per week’, are very helpful.

Set short-term goals, and the medium-term goals that contribute to your long term goals. They’re gonna keep you motivated and they’re gonna help a lot with your routine and your consistency.

Conclusion

I cannot wait to absolutely kill this prep and take you guys along with me. Make sure you check out my frequent YouTube series where you guys can follow along this prep with me.

If anyone’s looking for online coaching to give some accountability, or even an ebook to tell you exactly how to create your own plan, I’ve made this available for you.

If you purchase the eBook and read the whole thing through and through, and you still can’t put together your own plan, I will personally refund you. It’s fool-proof. 

Get Personalised Online Coaching

Create your own plan

Let’s get shredded. 

 

References

Garnett, L. (2014). Is Your Environment Hurting Your Chances for Success?. [online] Inc.com. Available at: https://www.inc.com/laura-garnett/is-your-environment-hurting-your-chances-at-success.html [Accessed 23 Feb. 2020].

Levine, J. (2002). Non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT). Best Practice & Research Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, [online] 16(4), pp.679-702. Available at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1521690X02902277 [Accessed 23 Feb. 2020].

Norton, L. and Wilson, G. (2009). Optimal protein intake to maximize muscle protein synthesis Examinations of optimal meal protein intake and frequency for athletes. [online] https://www.researchgate.net. Available at: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/288150322_Optimal_protein_intake_to_maximize_muscle_protein_synthesis_Examinations_of_optimal_meal_protein_intake_and_frequency_for_athletes [Accessed 23 Feb. 2020].

Rogan, J. and Walker, M. (2018). Joe Rogan Experience #1109 – Matthew Walker.

Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pwaWilO_Pig [Accessed 23 Feb. 2020].

Tdeecalculator.net. (2020). TDEE Calculator: Learn Your Total Daily Energy Expenditure. [online] Available at: https://tdeecalculator.net [Accessed 23 Feb. 2020].

The Conversation. (2016). Stored fat is a feat of evolution – and your body will fight to keep it. [online] Available at: https://theconversation.com/stored-fat-is-a-feat-of-evolution-and-your-body-will-fight-to-keep-it-52468 [Accessed 23 Feb. 2020].

www.heart.org. (2014). Dietary Fats. [online] Available at: https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/fats/dietary-fats [Accessed 23 Feb. 2020].

How to Get Abs & What Body Fat % You Need

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There is not a ‘set number’ for the body fat percentage you need to get abs. Everyone is different, so the percentage for you to start showing abs will depend on a number of different factors.

1. The Individual’s Genetics

 

 

We are all different. We are all predisposed to hold body fat in different places. I tend to hold body fat around my chest, especially the lower chest. 

I notice when I get really lean that my chest gets a lot bigger because it pops out and it gets more definition. 

The lower back is also somewhere I hold body fat. I actually don’t hold body fat much on my abs, whereas the next person might be the complete opposite.. they might hold it all on their stomach, and have no fat on their chest and shoulders.

So everyone is very different, and I’d say genetics is the biggest factor in determining what % body fat you will start to show abs.

“You may have noticed at the gym or at the beach that people who are overweight don’t all look the same, nor do they all carry excess fat in the same places. Just as there are different body types, there are also different ways in which humans store fat.”

‘Why People Store Fat in Different Parts of Their Body’, 2013

2. Muscle and Size

 

 

Muscle and size will play a big part too.

If you’ve got a lot of muscle mass – whether it’s around the shoulder, chest or abs, or wherever – it’s gonna be pushing against your skin, so you’re gonna look a lot leaner.

Essentially, if your abdominal muscles are bigger, they will start to show at higher body fat percentages

There’s plenty of guides on how to build your abs, but here’s a short extract from a study which really goes into the minute detail of abdominal hypertrophy.

“Strive for quality of movement with each contraction. Also, visualize your abdominal muscles contracting tighter with each exercise, stressing the importance of the contraction. Although it’s great to do these exercises with accompanying music, try not to let the music dictate the tempo of the exercise. Slow and controlled movement is always best.”

Len Kravitz, Ph.D

 

3. An Estimate Percentage: 10-15% 

 

As already established, everyone is different. But if I was going to give a range, I’d say you’re gonna start seeing some abs at around 10-15% body fat.

At around 10% you should have a good six pack, and below 10% you’re starting to get shredded. The photo below will give you a rough idea of where you’re at in terms of body fat percentage.

A common misconception is that you can target certain areas to burn fat. But this is false, you cannot control where you lose fat. Therefore, in order to make sure you get abs, your overall body fat percentage needs to decrease. 

Exercises performed around a certain area does not mean fat in that area will be targeted. For example, doing crunches or sit-ups does not burn fat around the stomach. This was proved in a study by Vispute et al, which concluded abdominal exercise training was effective to increase abdominal strength but was not effective to decrease various measures of abdominal fat”.

 

References

Kravitz, Ph.D., L. (1998). Abdominal Training. [online] Unm.edu. Available at: https://www.unm.edu/~lkravitz/Article%20folder/abdominal.html [Accessed 23 Jan. 2020].

Richardson, K. (2013). Why People Store Fat In Different Parts Of The Body. [online] Naturally Intense Diet & Fitness Blog. Available at: https://naturallyintense.net/blog/weight-loss/why-people-store-fat-in-different-parts-of-the-body/ [Accessed 23 Jan. 2020].

Vispute SS, e. (2011). The effect of abdominal exercise on abdominal fat. – PubMed – NCBI. [online] Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21804427 [Accessed 25 Jan. 2020].

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21804427

 

6 Tips: How to Break a Plateau in Bodybuilding

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Hitting a bodybuilding or weight loss plateau is something all regular lifters go through, so don’t worry! You’ll soon be out of it and back to smashing PRs and making gains again. 

Here’s some tips that will help you get back on your way to smashing your goals.

1. Eat more 

 

 

First thing I’m gonna say is eat more.. and make sure you’re tracking your calories accurately. 

So many people, especially hard-gainers, claim they’re eating enough, but in reality they’re not tracking them properly. The same goes for people trying to lose weight – so often the reason they aren’t progressing is because they track their calories wrong.

We as humans are actually terrible at monitoring our food intake. At the end of the day, if you’re not getting the results you want, you need to be real with yourself, and ask yourself truthfully whether you’re being diligent enough.

2. Sleep more

 

 

Sleep is something you can also track as well if you really want to maximise progress and get out of a plateau.

I’ve started watching some Matthew Walker recently and have started to really see the importance of sleep. He says that “sleep is the neglected stepsister in the health conversation today”.

It’s just soooo huge when it comes to performance in sport and in the gym. Having adequate sleep will also help you be more diligent with your diet. When we’re deprived of sleep and tired, our cravings go up. We’re looking for energy and we tend to make worse food choices.

“If there is one piece of advice I would give everyone, it is regularity. If it is the weekend or a weekday, even if you’ve had a bad night of sleep, wake up at the same time.”

Matthew Walker, sleep expert

3. Try a new programme

 

 

If you’re bored of your workouts.. get on a new programme. 

But be careful not to just ‘programme hop’ to a different one every week. You need to give them a fair amount of time. So be patient.

If you constantly keep changing programmes, how do you know if you’re progressing? You gotta have some consistency, especially with your compound movements. So try your best to give programme time.. BUT if you really feel you need to change it up, go for it.

 

4. Do a Deload Week

 

You could be facing a bit of a burnout. The solution for this is to give your CNN (central nervous system) a bit of a break, and get some recovery time. 

Take a deload – which is where you can cut your training volume in half or just take a week off altogether

But remember a deload is not simply just a week off with zero training.

A study by the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research showed that “Strength recovery was better after either light exercise or immobilization when compared with just rest.” 

There’s also something I like to call a ‘Life Deload’. This is when you’ve got a holiday coming up, and you know you’re not gunna be training hardcore / got no access to a proper gym. You can taper your intensity up to your vacation week, and whilst away have a natural, ‘life-deload’.

This is something I do when I’m travelling- and then when I come home, I ramp my volume and intensity back up again.

5. Try something new

 

 

There’s so many different types of training and workout nowadays, so don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone and try something new.

If you’re always doing LISS (Low-Intensity-Steady-State) cardio, 45 mins on the treadmill, maybe try a HIIT (High-Intensity-Interval-Training) class – or maybe even some God-forbid Crossfit! Just anything to break it up a little bit

6. Do some Priority training

 

 

If you wanna get out of your plateau, it’s a good idea to prioritise the lifts or exercises that you wanna get really good at. Take the example of squats.

If you want to get better at squats you’re gonna have to prioritise them. So do them first, really focus on them and make them a priority. You can’t concentrate on making massive strength gains on every single exercise in the same period.

When you walk into the gym, or when you make your weekly plan think:  ‘I wanna increase my squats for this week’. You could even start a programme which centers around improving that certain movement.

References

CONNOLLY, D., SAYERS, S. and McHUGH, M. (2003). Treatment and Prevention of Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness. The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 17(1), p.197.

Jahen, G. (2019). Sleep expert Matthew Walker on the secret to a good night’s rest | Financial Times. [online] Ft.com. Available at: https://www.ft.com/content/e6ccdcac-133d-11e9-a581-4ff78404524e [Accessed 16 Jan. 2020].

 

7 Tips: How to Get Back on Track in 2020

By | Tips | No Comments

It’s time to establish a routine, hit some big sessions and get down to business in 2020! Here are 7 tips to get you kick started in the new decade. Now’s your time to get positive and start smashing them goals, whether it be fitness or business.

1)  Start Slow

When you’ve had a few weeks off, sometimes the hardest thing is that first workout back. But if you start slow – even if it’s just going for a walk, a quick 30 min pump in the gym, or whatever. Just ease into it. 

You don’t have to go right back to when your training was at its peak. Be patient. Realise that even if it’s not your best sessions, it’s infinitely better than NOT starting.

 

2)  Schedule your workouts 

Schedule your workouts ahead of time. If you plan out your week in advance, it’s much more likely to happen. That goes for everything – not just workouts in the gym. 

Journaling has been, without a doubt, one of the most beneficial habits I have developed into my routine. I’ve been journaling nearly every single day and writing out my week for over 3 years’. 

Physically writing stuff down has some incredible benefits..

 

 “Do you ever seem all jumbled up inside, unsure of what you want or feel? Taking a few minutes to jot down your thoughts and emotions (no editing!) will quickly get you in touch with your internal world.”

 

PyschCentral, Maud Purcell, LCSW, CEAP (2018)

 

But the simple action of planning and scheduling can make a huge difference to your productivity and results.

3) Have some perspective 

This is a mental cue I use a lot because I know it hits me hard..

I think about how lucky and fortunate I am to be able to workout and exercise in the first place. 

There are so many people with disabilities, injuries and illnesses who would give anything to be able to go to the gym or run around. So that’s something I often remind myself of when I don’t feel like training. It provides me with a lot of perspective, and makes me appreciate and feel grateful that I have the freedom to move and exercise.

4) Stop waiting until Monday

When the calendar turns a certain day or a certain number, nothing’s gonna change. Stop waiting for Monday. Stop waiting for the 1st of the month. 

 

My advice is to just get started now. Get started today. Give yourself a head-start over your alternate self who would have waited that extra couple of days. Why not?

 

5) Don’t Over-Restrict Yourself

A lot of people after some time off (like over Christmas or a long holiday) restrict themselves too much. 

 

If you’re not careful, this could create a ‘restrict and binge’ cycle, whereby you restrict yourself too much at the beginning, then binge (maybe on the weekend). After the binge, you may feel have to overly restrict yourself again during the week. 

 

This is an awful cycle to be in, and one you should be careful to avoid; especially after some time off. 

 

When ‘getting back on the horse’, just go back to your normal eating patterns and gradually start to re-build habits that will be beneficial for you in the long-term.

 

6) Put Yourself in the Right Environment

If there’s a tonne of crap food in my house, I’m gonna eat it.

 

Feel your cupboard and fridge with healthy snacks and healthy meals – it will mean you won’t have to battle against your willpower to refrain from eating shit. Essentially, creating the right environment for yourself makes self-discipline a lot easier.

 

You won’t have to waste motivation on NOT eating a chocolate bar, instead you can save that willpower to doing something productive.

 

Having great tasting, protein-filled snacks about the house always helps. If you need to restock on protein, it’s worth having a look at the unreal flavours Ghost has. You can get 20% off if you use ‘LIPSETT’ on check-out. 

 

This  same idea applies to the people you surround yourself with too. People are part of your environment.

 

It’s incredible how much our friends (or anyone who is in our environment, regardless of whether we like them) can influence us. Be aware of it.

 

“The leading cause of death is preventable health behaviours like smoking and obesity, and we have access to a vast amount of information online but we still smoke and we still don’t exercise. Anything our friends do influences us in ways that we are conscious of or not. Their presence can decide whether we act on that health information or ignore it.”

Christin Scholz of the University of Amsterdam. 

 

But the same way negative behaviour can spread through a network of people, a positive one can spread just as easily. So if you surround yourself with positive, like-minded people, you’ll be influenced by that too.

 

7) Remind yourself why you started

Be it anything in life: fitness, diet, just remind yourself why you started to do it in the first place.

 

Whether it’s to improve your happiness, improve your financial game, or just to look decent topless in Ibiza.. remind yourself of the reason why   you’re doing what you’re doing. 

 

Doing this will help you maintain your discipline and stick to your goals, even when you may not feel like doing the work required to get there.

 

References

Park, W. (2019). How your friends change your habits – for better and worse. [online] BBC.com. Available at: https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20190520-how-your-friends-change-your-habits—for-better-and-worse [Accessed 10 Jan. 2020].

Purcell, M. (2018). The Health Benefits of Journaling. [online] https://psychcentral.com/. Available at: https://psychcentral.com/lib/the-health-benefits-of-journaling/721/ [Accessed 10 Jan. 2020].

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