My training and thoughts including training videos and demonstrations.

Same Path Different View

As with most areas of my business life things tended to happen by accident.
The main example being back in the late eighties early nineties I trained a couple of girls for a show. Two turned into three – three turned into thirty – before I knew it I had a hundred clients on my books mostly woman.
I had no intention of working with women for figure shows, I just did as I had always done used my 35 plus years of experience and did the best job I could. Word of mouth is the key here and in many businesses.
Fast forward now to present day I work part time, some 50 to 60 hours less than I use to, I have earned early retirement.
I pick and choose very carefully who I help. Again my business although very small took a direction I never saw coming.
The clients I have, have been with me for years, some nearly 30 years and are part of my life, good friends.
One of my clients being an ex rugby player needed a new knee, so we did the rehab work. You can guess what’s coming.
Before I knew it I had worked with and brought back to full strength, three sets of knees -shoulder ops – wrist – and back operations.
Word of mouth again, plus experience and your on a winner in business. Experience is lacking a lot these days in trainers they just need to get there heads down and work with people. Rather than telling everyone how good they are on social media. They need clients to change -the rest will take care of itself.

Training

One of my clients needed to get a knee injury from a horrific accident on a trampoline – being a ski instructor hurting himself off skis did not sit well with him.
Anyway the knee and all surrounding tissue needed major work – two ops needed. But first we had to improve the leg after the first op before the second.
We did this in record time – huge improvement quickly – ready for the second op I knew we would improve even quicker after, why?
Well we had already been down that path, we knew exactly what to do at each and every turn and what to look for and -dare I say enjoy along the way.

Having competed for many years -quick math – 36 years!
Now I no longer compete I can honestly say I have felt lost. Think about this. My whole being – identity was built around getting people ready for the stage and competing myself. Looking at it now a very one dimensional way to live hence the lifestyle now, cannot complain though as all that has built what we have now and freedom.
So – yes lost and it took some adjusting.
Questions like – ok what now – what goal?
You may say to this – why not still compete. But I find my basic stubborn pride in myself puts a stop on that right away. Remember I competed 36 years, I reached my peak – my potential – held on to that for years then slowly declined. No matter who you are mother nature will eventually win. As a natural for life athlete you are only ever dealing with the cards she dealt you.

Full Circle

So with no competition to train for I started shooting myself off in a hundred different directions, trying to find that ‘thing’ that buzz you know.
I tried power-lifting -started to break me down. Dieting just for shoots – went to far – at my age looked wizened – I only know shredded. Olympic lifting – actually is good – felt young and fast – agile so that will stay.
So I was looking for that ‘thing’ feeling more lost. Then after much thought I started to look at this from another perspective.
Instead of feeling lost – I thought no I’m free, free of the constraints of competing. Free to do the training I want -when I like as much as I want.
Now when I did shows – it was so regimented it had to be. For instance I never did CV as I trained just for maximum muscle with minimum body-fat, so everything was geared to that one single goal.
Free now I started to think about how I trained before I started competing. I trained only for the love of it, even though I was really young health was first and foremost. I trained every day in one form or another, weights, running, free hand exercises, chest expander and many other forms of exercise.

Free

So I said to myself, right let’s take that same journey again and I did only now I have a more appreciative eye on it all now.
No longer do I feel lost but I have fallen in love again with the simplicity of it all just like I did before I read to much and made something simple over complicated.
I don’t give two hoots if my training fits into something – I just do.
I don’t care if my diet is not science based and proven – I just eat healthy and it’s as simple as that – I eat what I like when I like and as much as I like. Training and activity dictates food for me.
This is how I ate when I was a kid, I trained loads and ate loads of clean food – BOOM as if by magic I was agile – strong – could run miles and was in shape 24-7-365 instead of a few weeks a year. I talking not show shape now but ‘in shape’ as in strong lean agile -full of energy ‘life shape’.
I feel like that now – and grow – god I am shocked by my size increase – even with training every day – running and so forth. Its as if my body changed and grew as a result of training for enjoyment and not as a result of aiming for it. A side affect rather than the goal.
Here’s to being a kid again, with that wide eyed expectation of your training life ahead of you, before the science gets ya.
Just do – just enjoy – love life and the awesome body and agility you have.

I will start posting some odd workouts here when I can – as always thank you for reading my rambles. Ian

Legs and Learning

You are certainly never old enough –or know it all to learn. Even after all these years –I learn something or re-learn something that has been gathering dust in the back of my mind.
The points I am going to explain here are basic as hell –but non-the less soooo- valuable.
Recently –as many of you know that read the odd bits I put here and there –know that I have been doing a spot of powerlifting.
For me –great for strength –shit for building muscle—for me the reps are too low to elicit a response.
Some guys grow on lower reps I need a mix –with a slight lean towards high end.
Now –everything was going good, stronger –a little fuller –felt good then I did a body-fat test and measure up.
Jo is in prep for a show –so I went with it and did a test also.
OMG –no bodybuilder wants to see that the test showed the lowest lean mass I had ever had and my thighs were down some 2-inch off my normal/average off-season size.
This triggered a six-week –gain muscle back mission—which at the end of it I am pleased to say things are heading in the right direction.
I gained three and half pounds of lean tissue and lost a percent of body-fat, Jo did even better with her prep in motion.
So putting that aside –I have another measure up planned in another six weeks.
What did I do and what have I planned for the next six weeks?
Well …
I stopped lifting heavy –only doing low reps at the very end of many other sets of high reps.
Look –I’m old-ish ok and just plain old heavy kills me now –tried that, thinking it would keep my youthful fullness –nope end up like a skinned chicken.
I my constant search to hold onto –and gain mass back I am always trying to learn from and test what others have found helpful.
With that said I am a big fan of Doug Brignole , picked a huge amount of this guy-so look him up and buy his book.
One of the main things is his cable squat –again look this up –I have found it awesome for my legs doing high reps and working on keeping the tension all in the quads has been a game changer for me.
Has it worked –well half an inch so far in six weeks and a loss of fat on the quads also as the look leaner –so I am looking for an inch gain in 12 weeks and keep on improving till I have what I use to have-or close.

When performing these squats I had my feet around ten inches apart so the knee travels somewhat over or towards the toes. This got me thinking about how I use to squat when I was a kid versus my powerlifting squat I have done for the last 10-12 or so years.
My power squat is for the soul purpose to get below parallel with as much weight as you can and of course get back up.
I checked my stance with a tape–20 inch –for a short bloke like me that’s wide and nowhere near the same amount of quad stimulation –add that to low reps and –again ‘for me’ –not all trainers –skinny pins!!

I looked at old pics of the afore mentioned Doug squatting and noted a close stance –I dug out my old books and photos of ‘back I the day’ –noted also a –close stance.
Now –you will have to study –and experiment to find your stance.
I am 5 -3 and 10 inch for me is bang on, I can keep upright and tight and really work the quads.

I also noted that I use to wrap my knees –not in a powerlifting way but just on the knee –this was again reminded to me by pics of Doug.
Note here is –don’t just look at pics only for motivation –but study them and ask yourself –questions. If it seems viable to you –try it and if it fits your goal and needs add it into your own toolbox.
So my knee wrap is wrapped from mid shin –just to the very top smidge (tech term) of the knee and not above on the quad.
This I felt that I could protect my old knees and feel the muscle action on the entire quad, so much so that so that today in training I constantly –excitedly mentioned this.
The rage of movement was not compromised or held to stiff but just right.
This was a whole new level of squatting and muscle involment was just awesome –from something so simple.

So a few very basic –but very important points…
Higher reps —10 –to 15 or 20 –maybe good for you experiment and see what makes you grow.
If you are up in years try 30 -50 –and work down –this ensures fluid movement and no joint stress. Therefore allowing you to work the legs better as when you get up in the weight you are very very warm and glide like the old days.

Try your feet closer –but only if you can keep upright and not use the lower back –the movement must come from the legs. Jo said it right today when she said it was like leg pressing with your feet low on the board.

Try the knee wrap trick –I have used sleeves but found this far more isolated –for me.

Without further a-do –here is the session today

Calf Raise
30 -25- 20-15 -10 adding up
Leg Extensions 2 x 30 reps
Squats
20 -15-12-10-8-6-4 adding up
All done non-lock out and with only enough rest for Jo to do her set –so this was fast
Job done
So the morel is –look –read –study –experiment and never think you know it all –also what you know changes with age and ability.
Yours in health and strength Ian

Smash It

Smash It

Now –I don’t know about others –but I am one of those people that lose muscle at an alarming rate if I don’t ‘do what I should do’.
Let me explain.
I am more suited to endurance sports than bodybuilding –even now I could run for bloody miles and not have a problem. Bodybuilding –strength training has always been hard –isn’t it for everybody?
If I don’t push hard and level out that intensity –up there, eat right (enough) drink my water and be on my recover,
I loose muscle faster than a snowman in Florida. Not good, I know –but it’s the body-type I have and I have, I can proudly say done the best with what I have.

Ok Let’s Do This

Recently I had a period of dieting for a stage appearance, then dropped right into some power training. The lower reps after a period of dieting just did not stimulate tissue gains at all –in-fact I even lost some by keeping my weight down for an event. The lower reps built strength –and technique but had only minor affect on muscle fullness and size. This is for myself –I may add –but I have noted it with others. I do need some very intense quality reps for my body to ‘jump up’ in size and body composition. Knowing this –I should of not done what I did –well actually, looking at it now it was the best thing to do.
I had a measure up –arms –legs –chest and so forth and also did a body-fat test.
Jeezzzus –lost a shit load of muscle –legs especially –even though I could squat a good few pounds for a little old un.
So –after the shock and it being there in front of me in black and white –and staring back at me in the mirror.
I knew what I needed to do.
I needed to get some muscle back on this frame and I did what has worked so well in the past and at this point in writing here –I am significantly more muscular and leaner than I was 7 weeks ago.
I worked on a high intensity all body program.
A few years ago I wrote this in one of my books.

The best gains of my life came from training the whole body in one workout. So much so that most of the programs, say 90% I prescribe are for the whole body. Why? Well to my sense and logic I feel that you can get more workouts per week/month/year per body part and still only stress the system as much as doing a split routine would.
You therefore improve faster; I have seen it happen thousands of times. Other benefits include way more calories burned per workout – and more after as your metabolism is shot through the roof.
The body works as a unit and there is a lot of indirect effects when the body is worked with the basic prime movers, creating balance throughout the main muscle structures, and less chance of injury.
All body programs are old school but reaped gains for many years, they just got lost in the world of what’s cool at the moment. That is not to say that some split routines are not affective, as they do have their place, but for fast gains in muscle, or body fat loss, I turn to training the body as a whole.
Gains Of My Life
I have always been an advocate of the lower set end of training. Training harder not longer for clients and myself has worked wonders. I have trained clients and worked in the industry for many years. Not blowing my own horn here but has anyone stopped to think why I have had huge success with my clients? My clients took off from 2000 onwards to this point in time, and my girls and guys have won many shows, British and World titles. Could it be that from 2000 onwards I trained all my clients in all body fashion?
Very rare was the occasion that I split a routine and I would have my reasons.

The Program
Over the last six weeks we have followed this program
Leg Extensions
Leg Curls
Squats
Pull Over
Chins
Bench Press
Lat Raise
Curl
Push Down
Dip
Calf Raise

One set each to fail –reps between -8 and 12
If you get 12 the weight goes up the next session
If you cannot get 8 it’s to heavy so stick till 12 can be done
Use as many warm ups as needed
I found if I warmed up legs –after the leg part was done I only needed a quick tester on a few moves –by the time you are at Lat Raise –you are as warm as your ever going to get

This was done –Tuesday –Thursday –Saturday
Basic progression in reps and weight –intensity was high but mostly only to positive failure odd times a forced rep

In six weeks –I gained 3 pounds and lost body-fat
I will be testing and measuring in the next two weeks –I can visibly see a difference and feel much fuller –I will post those details

After six weeks –I felt that in order to keep the gains going –remember I am very advanced with 38 years of training under my gym belt. So in order to milk the gains I have dropped into a high intensity split for 6 weeks then recover for a week then repeat the whole process.
Here is the current program

Tuesday
Chest and Arms
Thursday
Legs
Saturday
Back and Shoulders

Here was yesterday’s leg session
Leg Extension
Combo with
Leg Press
Three rounds aiming for 12 reps
I used 60kg on Leg Ex for set one and reduced by a plate on each succeeding set to keep the reps up towards 12
Leg Press stayed at 5 plates a side –set one was hard –set three was f –ing hell

Leg Curls
2 sets 12 reps

Calve Raise 2 sets 12
Seated 1 set 20

Again very basic –add weight as reps are achieved
Work bloody hard and focus

Give the all body sessions a go – if you keep notes and make sure you give each set your all I think you will be surprised by the gains made
There are a couple of guys –friends I have known for years are wanting to come up and see me so I can put them through an all body session
See you in the New Year –be ready for PAIN ha-ha
Love to ya all Ian

Be Like Conan

I can feel the suns heat beating down, hitting my upper shoulders, back and skinhead.
I stand before a homemade sixty-pound barbell laid in the concrete yard at my feet.
It’s not much to look at but it’s ours. Vince and I, my best buddy, 13 and 14 years old, respectively.
Two paint tins filled with lead found at the beach, we scouted for lead weights on the beach, from fishing lines caught in the rocks. As the months went by we melted them down and rammed a small bar into each end. Painted and weighed; it weighted a fraction off sixty pounds, and we used it for just about every exercise we could come up with. Olympic it was not, but a barbell it was.
Stripped to the waist – my wrangler bell-bottoms jeans hanging off my skinny hips.
I took a deep breath and bent over and took a grip on the pitted rusty – but painted white bar – I measured my hands against the black electric tape and heaved the bar to my upper chest in one grunt and stood firm, all of five feet tall.
Vince had just done fifteen reps on the shoulder press and I was determined to beat it.
I locked in and pressed, as the reps notched up I could feel the blood rush to my shoulders, arms and upper back – the suns heat felt more intense now, and I visualised myself as Conan.
Plucked right out of the pages of my comic books – strewn at the other side of the yard. At ten reps I was starting to strain, eleven and I was shaking – twelve was a doubtful rep – I reset, looking at Vince as a slight smirk crossed his face.
I drove thirteen up held it like it was five hundred pounds and promptly fell backwards landing on my left arm.
I still have the scar today, but treasure the memories more.

IN SHAPE
I have never been what you would call your typical bodybuilder, even after all the years of competing.
The only time I have, could we say strictly “bodybuilded” has been a few weeks prior to a show or appearance.
The rest of my training life has covered many other aspects of training.
For instance – running, hill running, boot camp training, climbing, biking, boxing, powerlifting, bodyweight training, strongman training, Olympic lifting, sandbags, kettlebells, grip work, stone lifting, and many more aspects of physical fitness.
After many years I started to cut down on many aspects of my training and just focus on a couple, namely bodybuilding and powerlifting. This as I see it now was a mistake and you may beg to differ, and that’s fine. But for me it was a mistake, as all the years I racked up just doing only heavy basic power work and normal bodybuilding caused tightness and injury. It was not until I thought long and hard about ‘my’ training and how it affects me and no-one else, that I realised, I had to do as I have always done and combine everything.
This made me strong, supple, agile, and fit from every conceivable angle, and the overuse of just one or two things wasn’t a problem anymore, I found small doses of everything made me better at the ‘thing’ I wanted to achieve. Basically just being in shape physically allowed me to be able to turn my hand to anything.
For all intents and purposes, I feel like I did as kid again, each day an adventure and each day of physical exercise for the love of it and the feelings of inner and outer strength.
As a kid I realised I needed to be good all round. Now don’t laugh but my basic premise for this came from the comic character Conan.
Conan was an early influence that shaped my life and here’s why.
Conan as I saw him, was strong, fit and agile, and had muscles – drawn by my favourite comic book artist, John Buscema. John Buscema depicted Conan with a physique that was not just for show-but for strength, action, and survival.
I knew then in my own mind that muscle for the sake of muscle – without being able to run, climb, or do anything else with it, for that matter was a waste. So my early training covered all bases and I did something every day.
Vince and I would routinely test our strength – not only with weights but odd objects. We would also test our endurance and fitness, running miles or walking for hours on end, camping then hiking our way home again.
Even today I joke – about being Conan – or Conan like – surely I am not but I love the simplicity of being a man’s man and being a good all-rounder. Those feelings I had when I was a lad have never left me. Think about this for a moment, this is your own journey-your motivation – “your thing”. I have opened mine out to you, this has been my motivation and journey through my training and life; to be strong, fit and agile, and enjoy many aspects of physicality. Find yours whatever it may be or how daft it may sound to others –as long as you are happy –and not harming others –who cares?

FULL CIRCLE
Today – I train how and when I want with the same wide-eyed expectation of the future just as I did as a kid.
So in effect I seem to have come full circle. Taken away now is the dogma of following a training system – or pigeon holing myself into HIT – volume – powerlifting or any other system out there.
I now make my own system, and do as I feel my body needs.
This can be high reps – low reps – heavy light many sets or as low as one intensity set. You name it and many you cannot name. I just do!
This is very similar to my start in this sport. I would train every day. Sometimes twice a day and do whatever I felt like doing. I put on forty pounds and gained all my initial size training on this “non-routine”.

I have met some awesome bodybuilders in my time, the more I was aware of this instinct way of training the more it was proved to me. Time and time again I noted that there are some awesome physiques that seem to work and be built in chaos.
So with this in mind, just as I did as a kid I started to train by instinct. Those initial feelings and intuition direct you more in the right direction than wrong.
Granted as a kid you are not advanced enough to over train and if anything you may work at the top end of your capabilities simply because you know no other way but to train and enjoy what you do.

LUCKY
I was lucky in a way that I was training in the era before the net. The only information for training was gathered from buddies at the gym – magazines and books, why would I say that was lucky? Well I look at it this way, because I was not bombarded by science and every routine and diet under the sun I focused on just training, doing the exercises, I felt were the best for my bodybuilding and fitness goals.
I picked things up by doing them rather than reading about them.
I trained when I wanted and did want I felt would be the best for me that day, whether that be a run, weights, chest expander work or bodyweight exercises. I just did it till I felt enough was enough.
Do you know what; I gained incredibly, for a number of reasons.

DID NOT KNOW
I didn’t know I was not supposed to gain muscle doing these programs I knew nothing of drugs and was very naïve.
I went to bed every night expecting to change. Yes expecting to change, not hoping, expecting, and I did.

VARITY
There was an incredible amount of variety in my program as there is now present day. Like I said I have never been your typical bodybuilder or powerlifter. I could never see the point of being huge and not being able to run up a flight of stairs, or be able to bench 350 pounds but not be able to do chins, skip, box or move athletically.
With the variety my body became strong and agile from every conceivable angle. When I ever focused on only one or two things I had problems in recovery – tightness and overuse issues. Go figure.
Seems the more I do-the better I am at the things I want to excel at when I don’t focus just on that but everything around it. Basically put – when I’m in shape, I’m in shape for anything.

KID
So now years later I’m like a kid again, full of excitement and expectation, free of the constraints of a “program”.
Training is just training, doing what I feel like doing when I feel like doing it.
Pure instinct and love for training hard and feeling good for life, just like when I was a young-un.
Today it’s even better than being a kid because I am even more in tune with myself and know myself my training and nutrition inside out.
So with this ramble coming to an end–the point is.
Think for yourself- feel the motivation within you and listen to it. Enjoy your journey whatever it maybe. We are not here long enough to not enjoy what we do, so live it and love it.
I still love my journey as much today as I did as a kid-I still feel like a kid.
At fifty-two years old I feel awesome – I wonder what Conan looked and felt like at fifty two.
Love to ya all Ian

Older But Stronger

Older But Stronger One Goal Ends Another Begins Last October I had one of those nights devoid of even a few minutes sleep. A very productive night I may add whereupon I planned out a goal of stepping on stage once again. At first – the goal was to do the ProAm the following year, […]

Three Show Prep Program

After the huge success of the natural progression program that is for sale on this site I thought I would give those interested a look at the follow on to that program as I am nearing my shows this year.

The natural progression program really brought my mind and body back to something like the old days and as that program finished I morphed into the program outlined here for you.

This program looks so simple but it has taken a hell of a lot of planning and thinking about.

 

 

I studied my body for recovery – and stimulation of muscle groups and how and why they looked best in fullness and condition. This had to be a right balance of training recovery and days between body parts. The program here falls just right for me at this point in my training life for this goal, the goal being stepping on stage with as much muscle and condition my body can hold at 52.

You need to maybe adjust the program to YOU as you work through it for a few weeks. Make detailed notes and become an expert in knowing your body inside out.

Although this program is aimed towards the stage I understand that is not most peoples goal especially at the advanced age of the majority of readers of this site.

I am already planning my training for after the shows whereupon I will be returning to Strength -Fitness and Agility training.

At present I am working on a program that will cover -the non body builder advancing in age that will be the dogs bollocks as far as programs and eating plans go if I say so myself.

Very much an extension of old but strong, based on how much I’m learning about myself and clients. This has been in my head for the past year and will be available just prior to my shows – it has to be because I will be doing the said program from the Monday after being on stage.

Anyway – exciting times ahead for us all, years of enjoyment in training and goals.

 

Here is my new program, I will list it here and wrap up with some notes.

THREE SHOW PREP PROGRAM 

 

TWO DAYS ON ONE OFF

Day One 

Chest Shoulders Triceps

Day Two 

Back Biceps Forearms 

Day Three 

Thighs Hamstrings Dead Lifts 

 

Each session will get three to four days between sessions

The days just rotate as so

Monday Day One

Tuesday Day Two

Wednesday Off

Thursday Day Three

Friday Day One (again)

Saturday Off

Sunday Day Two

Monday Day Three

Tuesday Off

Wednesday Day One

Thursday Day Two

Friday Off

Saturday Day Three

Sunday Day One

And so on

 

 

Day One 

Chest Shoulders Triceps 

Chest Press Machine 3 x 12

Bench Press 3 x 3

Fly 3 x 15

Lat Raise 3 x15

Front Press 3 x 3

Rear Machine (nautilus or cable) 3 x 15

Push Downs 3 x 12

Extensions 3 x 15

Abs – Calf’s – Neck – one move each three rounds as in a tri set 15 reps each

 

Day Two 

Back And Biceps 

Chins 3 x 12

Low Pulley Rows 3 x 9 – 12

Bench Rows (a bent over row laid face down on a high bench) 3 x 12

Curls 3 x 6 -9

Dumbbell Curls 3 x 12 seated

Wrist Curls 3 x 15

Abs – Calf’s – Neck 3 different moves 3 rounds

 

Day Three 

Thighs Hamstrings – Dead Lifts 

Leg Extensions 3 x 15

Leg Press Or Hacks 3 x 15

Squats 3 x 3

Leg Curl 3 x 15

Single Leg Curl 3 x 15

Dead Lift 3 x 3

Abs Calf And Neck – again three new moves three rounds

 

Notes 

 

The base of this program is revolved around my old THREE PROGRAM

For those that don’t have that book email me ian@oldbutstrong.co.uk

In a nutshell everything has the number three -throughout the whole program this allows me to focus on the path through it – a base to work from.

 

You may note that my heavy basic move is for 3 sets of 3 on each of the days and is also set after another movement. This is done for the reason of again age, I find my lifting in the main move is so much better if the muscle is part worked and pumped. The basic lift then does not grind me or take 20 minutes to warm up – it flows much smoother and oddly I’m stronger.

The squats for instance at the mid-point in Day Three – I can go 1 plate – 2 plate – 3 plate a side and then start my main sets with just over 3 plates – going very deep and smooth.

 

All sets here are not taken to fail but just off – maybe leaving 1 or 2 in the bank. This is more than enough for me to gain without dipping into too much reserve; this would kill recovery and gains.

My aim is to steadily increase strength on the basic moves and fatigue the muscle on all other moves.

 

My reps are very – very strict and very slow on all moves apart from squat bench and dead lift – these are lifted strict but with a normal speed. The reps on the other exercise are done to feel the muscle as much as possible and I squeeze the crap out of every rep and concentrate so hard half the time my eyes are shut.

This is training – and not just hard labor.

 

Rest days include at least a two-hour walk.

 

Posing practice and a perfect diet for me aids recovery and gains in condition and fullness.

 

I will put up my eating plan next week.

 

Take care – love to ya all Ian

Outside In x

Being a little long in the tooth these days I find myself fighting for want of a better word with bodybuilding.

Look – truth be known I’m an old fart that misses the simplicity of it all. I’m all for advancement of the world but for me – for me personally I don’t care for the way this sport has gone and is rapidly heading to another stratosphere.

There is so much information bombarded at you by gurus – insta stars -prep coaches not to mention, a hell of a lot of butts out there now its hard for a new fledgling trainer to find the right information and actually stay on the ‘natural’ true path.

 

I was always in old shirts x Time to dig them out again x

 

Here I go.

I remember back in the day, that old line. When you trained for a show, nobody even saw you till you stood on stage. You then got your photos back from the official photographer. Close friends and family saw them – you scrutinised them in order to set a new goal, improvements to be made. If you were lucky your picture may have got in a magazine a few months down the line. Already you were wrapped up in heavy sweats – head down and doing the job needed in the gym. Nobody would see you again till show day and the grapevine of who was competing was nothing but conversations face to face at the gym counter after a grueling session and a blended pro drink in hand, made with milk and fruit I may add.

You would prep for a show on real food – with real carbs – and JUST TRAIN – your ‘pre workout’ was a black coffee and a chat with your training partners about goals and strength. First and foremost you aimed for strength on the basic exercises and intense isolation moves were there to add quality for the stage and not to replace the BASICS.

I’m trying – I’m so trying to get with the times. I have been guilty myself of body-part pics thinking this is how I join in here.

But then there’s a bigger part of me that wants to run off into the middle of nowhere and train on my own in a field with no Wi-Fi in site.

I’m talking here just the bodybuilding side of things, and my own mind with it, an old guy running out the tail end of a sport that has been my life. I thank god I was in the sport in those early years.

My son – loves the way things are now, and I’m really very proud of him and do not voice my opinion to him.

A good friend of mine said it well when we discussed this the other day. He said, “the youth of today know of no other way than this, we have had our time and we should step away and let them have theirs”.

 

This ramble is for the old fudders like me, that are for want of a better word lost in cyber world.

I know I am.

And then I thought I will bubble myself away and just look after those of like mind.

I wrote myself a little note in my journal- a mission statement if you will.

It goes something like this.

 

Pen to paper -instills a mind set x

 

Train old school -be strong -intense and smart  

Eat clean and real food 

Keep wrapped up till show day 

Do the work -and then turn up to the show improved 

Run – lunge -run hills -walk a tone 

Spend as much time as you can with those close – real time 

Spend as much time as you can in nature 

Help others stay the path –only those that want to mind you

Shut your mouth and let the young ones enjoy their time 

 

Thank you for reading my ramble, for the old hard-core guys out there I will post up some old school programs as soon as I can.

Love to ya all Ian x

 

 

 

 

 

Strength Is Key

I have not done much writing of late as I/we have been working towards an even more basic future that I will soon write about in the Life Balance section on this site for those interested. Those that are close know of my basic philosiphies of life and balance of ‘doing and not having’. I long for the simple life and the enjoyment of not a jot of stress.

My story may help others to see the wood for the trees and realise there is more to life than work and nice cars, there is a completly different lifestyle that can be had, its not for everyone but it may make you think and make changes if it fits your mindset. For more on life balance look to that section and look for a new article soon.

But for now let us look at the basics of this sport/art life we love and how to stay strong.    

The key to keeping muscle on your frame as we age is a simple process of staying strong as you can.

Here’s another simple but to the point quote that connects perfectly with the above statement.
Use it or loose it.
This simply means if you are not constantly pushing your boundaries or at least keeping your strength stable – you will loose that tissue. If its not needed it will not stay.

So with that being said as you age and old dings and dents prevent the use of heavy weights in the movements we have done for years, you must find a way to progress in that said move to stay strong on the basics. Otherwise you will loose size off that major area, that’s nature.
I have seen this happen over the years with many ageing body builders and that’s fine if you want to reduce and trim down. But if you want to still keep that youthful size and roundness to the old bod you have to find a way to stay strong.
Now I cover these basics exercises and their variations in great detail in my book Old But Strong.
But let’s here cover a few points.

Make use of the rack – heavy short range pain free moves – coupled with full range med heavy work.

Negatives in an odd way offer less pain and have huge strength payback.

Thick bars -also allow heavy basic moves with less strain on the joints, oddly you can lift smoother with more strength and less clunking and grinding.

Use bands and chains to overload the strongest points of the movements, again less strain in the vunerable points of the movement.

For those still young and prepping for shows here is a valuable point.

You must stay strong, you must do so as in order not to loose tissue.
More tissue – faster metabolism more fat loss – more ripped and fuller.
I picked this tip up from Mike O’Hearn.

As he is coming down in weight to be ripped for a guest pose. He keeps his size by using the same heavy weights for lower reps and does more sets with that weight.
So let’s look at this, first as many do this normally.

Say your squatting 3 plates aside for 3 sets of 6 -8 reps – and as you get closer to the show you start to feel lean and 6 -8 reps seems to be crushing you and the style seems to break down from session to session.
As the weeks progress you reduce the weights until eventually your doing just over 2 plates a side for the same 6-8 reps.
Obviously the body is going to reduce that tissue somewhat.

Here is another idea.
Stay with the 3 plates or even add up a little and do sets of 2 reps for maybe 6-7 sets, therefore keeping the body accustomed to the heavy work.
I had another take on this whereupon I would do 2 reps rest pause for 15 (with the bar on the saddles but still on my back) seconds the do another rep or two, rest pause again do another 1 or 2 till my 6 is achieved. I would do 3 sets of this rest pause work.

This can work for all the big basic muscle building and keeping moves. All your add on exercise can be worked in normal rep ranges – you will find that if you keep your base strength up the other moves will not loose a dot.

No matter what many so called experts say. You must get stronger in the basics to be bigger.
If you don’t believe this I will ask you this.
“In order to get bigger, what must you do get weaker?”
Love to ya all Ian

Visualise To Achieve

Until your mind can conceive it the body cannot achieve it.

A bold statement but in my experience a very true one.

Think for a minute – so many things are visual.

How many times have you seen a movie and -cried or jumped out of your skin or felt every emotion under the sun while riveted to the movie.

Think of reading a book -don’t you conjure up visions of what you are reading in your mind?

Dreams of falling, tripping or something upsetting, your mind perceives it as real. You either wake up with a jump or upset.

 

I could go on but I’m sure your mind is now aware that there is something in this.

Now let’s look at how the mind works for us achieving goals, also let’s just stay with body-building here.

dscn0191

To attain it you have to think it 

 

Over the years of working with clients I was so aware of the positive affects of mindset and visualisation that I spent time setting the clients mind to this.

I would help the client build a picture in their mind of how they would look on stage.

Until that client can build this vision or somewhere near, their efforts will not be nowhere near as rewarding.

Gains will be limited and fat loss slow.

But when that client has a vision to aim towards -in mind- a target, the results are ten fold.

I have seen this time and time again.

The girl or guy needs to be able to see the end result, the end point of the journey-that vision of them in awesome shape.

As they get closer to the end point they can refine that vision even more, this is when it becomes exciting and dream like, confidence rockets and new levels are reached.

I have said this many times to people after they have done their first show.

“Now you know what you can be, you have seen how a vision became real, now build on that vision”.

They will always make a huge jump forward in the next show because they now have a point of reference to beat.

They have seen how they looked and seen how that picture in their mind became real –so it’s easy to now add to that picture.

It all starts with – “I want to look like that”.

So build it in the mind first and do what you have to do.

There is always a path to take – if you want take it – do so and stay on it till the end.

 

Techniques

Here are some visualisation techniques I have used and still use.

 

Guiding Light

Whenever I have competed I set in my mind my goal.

Let’s say it’s to be shredded.

I will find a picture of a body-builder that has the extreme look I want.

This picture – my guiding light, I will stick to the front of my journal so I see it all the time, to trigger a mind response.

I will also put that picture on my computer screen – iPod and so forth.

I will constantly see what I need to be.

This has worked 100% of the time.

I may-not look like that picture size wise – but I will be just as shredded come show time.

 

Posing

I always run my posing routines in my minds eye constantly.

I see myself on stage – looking the way I want to. I can feel the heat of the lights – I can hear my music and feel my body tense and flow.

This takes time to build but as the years go by its invaluable to your performance.

 

Pre Training

Have a bit of quite time before training.

Visualise the session, see the weights the intensity, rep for rep set for set.

I do this just before setting off the gym and on the way there.

Jo – generally asks, “you ok” because I go quite, “just thinking about training” I say.

This always needs to be done.

You need to switch from everyday life to the job at hand, the goal.

You need to think about how this workout is a stepping-stone to that vision. It’s not just a workout, it’s a step forward – a string of these will only get you to your goal -they cannot be wasted.

 

Morning-Night

Visualise your goal before sleep and upon awakening. This is when the mind is more absorbent to positive thoughts.

As you nod off – think I will be better tomorrow than today. Be proud of your day of work towards your goal – but also reset the vision and vow to be even better.

When you wake – remind yourself of the path you are on – why you’re on it and the life you have chosen, then get up and do what you NEED to do. I say need as in the sense of doing the work but also – that burning need that vision within you that needs to be fed.

Love to ya all Ian

 

 

Burning Desire

I have been a bit quite of late, mainly because life has been a little busy.

In a good way I might add, November and December being particularly cluttered with both kids birthdays and Christmas.

Having got through those months we have hit the road running in this New Year. We have so many plans and goals that just need some foundation under them as a family, main holidays need to be set and saved towards.

The kids are just awesome – seeing life opening up in front of them is like living again. Exciting times ahead for them and I could not be any more proud then now.

 

fullsizerender

Training

After years of treading water so to speak with my training, I never stopped and still trained hard, but at a much lower level of focus. I had far more pressing issues in life to attend to.

Life now is a little more balanced, not the same as the past- but better than the last few years.

With this has come a renewed passion for training again.

I feel excited and very positive regarding gains -expecting changes weekly.

I feel like a kid again – the energy, focus and intensity are as good as ever.

I am sometimes lost in my own little world, lost in the feeling and visualisation of the old days. My mind flashes to past workouts and shows, even old training quarters–old cellar walls covered in tatty ripped out pages from muscle builder magazine. Robby – Zane – Coe – Padilla and Arnold watch my every move as I absorb inspiration from their incredible physiques.

 

Training with my eyes closed I am transported back and my body knows no difference. Lost in the set of dumbbell bench press—rep after rep –the body is alive and feeling ever inch –burning –pumping –contracting.

I finish the set and sit up placing the dumbbells to the floor, I catch my eyes in the mirror; I see an older self-looking back. I grow 15 seconds older – grab the dumbbells lay back and I’m instantly transported back in time again.

I’m home again – back after years of wandering – always a body-builder.

 

Nutrition

As always my nutrition is basic -but also instinctive. What I mean by this is after all these years I can read the signs my body gives me. I have eaten clean for so long and so healthy that given my activity and hard training my body tells me its needs. Along with this ‘tuning’ in to my bodies needs – I have also the knowledge to ‘add to’ this with the supplements that will give maximum benefit from my food and training.

At the present my diet consists of hardly any meat. Chicken is maybe eaten at 1 or 2 meals per week.

My main protein source is eggs– fish is also eaten 4 to 5 times a week for 1 meal of the day, this is just me – I am following my instincts with awesome results.

My system at this point now is repelling those normal ‘bodybuilder’ foods, you know, chicken –beef and so on.

Eating as I am at present I feel incredible, and my energy and performance in the weight room is, as I said as good as the old days.

I have also been using amino acids with awesome results.

I mentioned these in a nutrition article recently and I have moved into further use.

I take a full spectrum amino complex in capsule form, 5 to be exact, 15 -20 minutes before each meal. I also take BCAA before training, after and at bedtime.

Along with my clean diet – positive mindset -focused training -these have increased muscle mass at a very lean off/on season.

The ones I use are from Allsports of Doncaster – I’m not sponsored or anything like that – but I’m telling you after all my years of research they are some of the best I have ever used. Plus I can get them all the time, as they are local.

Trust me — research amino’s — they have for me done everything they say on the tin.

 

That’s all for my ramble today folks -I will pop up some of the workouts I have doing up, you may like to give them a try. They are like old school back to the future sessions.

I am sure you will enjoy the hard work. Love to ya all Ian x