What To Do When You’re Done With Your Beginner Strength Training Program

Andy MorganTraining Principles20 Comments

Stress, Recovery and Work Capacity - Sink Analogy

If you have exhausted the gains from your beginner program and are looking for what to do to push your physique to the next level then this guest article by Greg Nuckols, one of the top drug-free powerlifters in the world, could be for you.

Friendly, smart, and humble we got along well when I first met him at a conference in May, and I became a fan of his blog, Strength and Science. When I asked him to write this I didn’t realise quite how special his gift of making difficult concepts appear simple was. It is our sincere hope that this article will help to teach you to be independent with your strength training programming for the intermediate phase.

Enter Greg Nuckols…

Read More

Andy MorganWhat To Do When You’re Done With Your Beginner Strength Training Program

How To Count Macros – A More Flexible Approach

Andy MorganDiet Fundamentals58 Comments

Rabbit CarrotYou have a pet rabbit. You have been feeding him 3 carrots a day but he has gotten so fat his stomach drags on the sidewalk. You are starting to worry about his health. What adjustment to his diet do you make to slim the fella down?  – Image: The Jester’s Corner

I liked maths at school – there was a single, neat answer with little room for interpretation, which meant I could ace tests with little effort compared to hacking through some Shakespeare and trying to sound intelligent by finding hidden meanings in a text I could barely understand.

It doesn’t give me any pleasure to tell you that calculations aren’t the key to solving the diet puzzle. Many people’s first encounter with this realisation is when the maths of their energy calculations doesn’t work out in reality, and they then start putting more emphasis on consistency, tracking and adjustments. This is good, because once we let go of the idea of perfection as a requirement for success, it’s less of a mental leap to accept that purposeful inaccuracies with counting our food can be fine also.

The purpose of this guide is to offer an easier and more sustainable method to counting your macros than entering every single food and drink you eat, every day, into a nutritional calculator. The trade-off to this is a little more thought up front. Essentially I’m going to explain here why your instinct to feed your rabbit just two carrots a day is correct, and how we can apply this principle to ourselves.

This is a long guide, not a quick blog post. It’s based on what I’ve learned guiding clients with this over the last several years. Here’s what we’ll cover:

  • How and Why To Be Consistently Inaccurate
  • Common Counting Mistakes
  • How To Make Your Own Counting Rules
  • Simplified Counting Rule Suggestions
  • ‘The 10% Rule’ – Accuracy Targets That Are Accurate Enough

Read More

Andy MorganHow To Count Macros – A More Flexible Approach

Coaching Lessons #4 – Tracking Trumps Calculations

Andy MorganCoaching Lessons25 Comments

Diet Tracking vs Calculations

Diet Tracking vs Calculations

If you are anything like me, after your initial calculations to get your calorie/macro requirements you ran a bit of math to try to predict rates of fat-loss rates and started getting a little excited.

Unfortunately the math doesn’t ever work out as neatly as planned, which can be disappointing, frustrating, and lead you to second guess yourself. If you’ve ever dieted then you know this. But as human nature is to seek neat answers to complex things we don’t want to hear it – the result is that calculations get prioritised, while proper tracking with relative adjustments is left largely ignored, people either start program hopping, quit, or go into an activity increase/ supplement buying spiral… yes I’ve been there too.

All too often if the right assessment framework used, then there would have been a lot of heartache avoided. In nearly all cases it’s just a small change that’s required to re-ignite progress.

Guiding on how and when to make changes isn’t simple (discussed at the end of the post) but I can illustrate concepts/principles by showing client examples to help you make your own decisions on when they may be appropriate.

In this quick post I’ll take you through my analysis and decision-making progress when client, Omar, had a concern about possible muscle-mass losses after making some calculations, and explain why I was confident we could make a downward adjustment to energy intake in order to keep progressing with his fat loss goal. This case-study illustrates the tracking > calculations concept brilliantly.

Read More

Andy MorganCoaching Lessons #4 – Tracking Trumps Calculations

‘The Big 3′ Routine – Revised

Andy MorganNews

how_to_deadlift_moreYes, the deadlift works the biceps.

The core of building a strong body is the Squat, Deadlift, Bench and their variants. Anyone that tells you otherwise is simply ill-informed. As a look at weight category competition powerlifters will show you, these three alone are enough to get you big, strong and ripped.

One of the most popular posts on the site, I’ve completely re-written it with clearer details on progression rules and examples, as well as a new FAQ.

Continue reading ->

Andy Morgan‘The Big 3′ Routine – Revised

RPT Revised

Andy MorganNews

Squats, Deadlifts, Bench press, Chins
Think you can’t get big with just these four? Tell that to Martin Berkhan.

I’m working through to update and improve all the training guides on the site to bring them up to date with my current thinking, as they were originally written three years ago. First to receive a full rewrite is Reverse Pyramid Training, the time-efficient training style made popular by Martin.

Who is it for? | When can it be used? | What are the pros and cons?

I’ve made it more of a ‘how-to’ guide, included workout and progression examples, along with a detailed FAQ. I hope you find it useful.

Continue Reading ->

Andy MorganRPT Revised

The Principle Of Progressive Overload

Andy MorganTraining, Training Principles42 Comments

The Principle of Progressive Overload

The Principle of Progressive Overload

What would you say is the number one thing that holds people back with their training?

I’d argue that it’s program hopping. We all know someone that does it – they start a new training routine with bounding enthusiasm, give it 2-3 weeks, then read some conflicting information elsewhere and decide that they need to switch things up. This programming ADHD – the search for the perfect training program - is the cause of the phenomenon of the perpetual beginner.

In the short-term the difference between an effective and ineffective exercise program is simply whether it was followed long enough for it to produce a noticeable training effect -which nearly anything will for a beginner. This will last around 4-6 weeks.

For a program to be effective past this phase however it needs to follow the Principle Of Progressive Overload’. If you feel you’ve been spinning your wheels down the gym lately, or want to check that your routine is capable of giving you the results that your efforts deserve, this may be the article that you need.

Read More

Andy MorganThe Principle Of Progressive Overload

3rd Podcast Interview – Part 1

Andy MorganPodcasts7 Comments

Podcast Interviews

I was interviewed again for Chase and Jon’s “The Jack-n-Out Connection” fitness podcast a couple of weeks ago.

This first part is mainly about the importance of tracking your progress – we discuss what people commonly do wrong, and we get into some mock client consulting scenarios. This is considerably more organised, clear and practically useful than the second podcast, though we do start off with the usual banter.

Also available on iTunesStitcher Radio, and Direct Download.

Questions welcomed in the comments.

Andy Morgan3rd Podcast Interview – Part 1

Coaching Lessons #3 – One bite at a time…

Andy MorganClient Stories & Results, Coaching Lessons32 Comments

John S. - RippedBody.jp Results

John S. - RippedBody.jp Results

Updated Mar 10th: Scale weight trend data added.

For the Japanese, new year is like Christmas – people gather with family and, of course, there are special foods eaten. Those green things in the image below are mochi, soft, gooey rice sweets, about the size of a large soup spoon, and every year a handful of people choke to death in front of their families after a failed attempt to swallow the whole thing.

New Year Mochi

In the same way that these poor souls literally bite off more than they can chew, so do many people with their approach to dieting each new year. Ramping up activity to a vast degree and cutting calories to a heavy level is a terrible way to go about sustainable weight loss, but mainstream media have people convinced that you have to suffer to lose weight. And even though our logical minds understand that slow and sustainable is probably best way to go about making permanent changes, the heart often tells us that faster is better – and there’s always an event that you need to look good for, that can be used as an excuse to rush, right?

Here’s an interview with a man that’s tried it all, my longest running client, John. His words and results are testament to the fact that while ‘consistency’, ‘moderation’ and ‘modest deficits’ may have an unsexy ring to them, the results aren’t.

Read More

Andy MorganCoaching Lessons #3 – One bite at a time…

The Nutritional Hierarchy of Importance – #5 Supplements

Andy MorganDiet & Nutrition, Diet Fundamentals43 Comments

Nutritional Hierarchy of Importance - #5 Supplements

Nutritional Hierarchy of Importance - #5 Supplements

Cross your eyes, and imagine the pyramid above is one huge, layer cake and the little red blur at the top is a cherry.

Now, if the first four layers are made of mud, shit, snot and sawdust respectively, is that cherry going to make a difference to the taste? – Clearly not, yet this is how the supplement industry wants you to think about your nutrition.

Supplements can be broadly categorised by their physique, performance, or health benefits. How important they are depends on context, but in general, not very.

  1. Supplements can benefit a good nutrition plan, but they cannot make up for a poor one.
  2. Supplements are not needed to transform your physique and in many cases constitute an unnecessary expense.

Any article or advertisement that you come across which contradicts the above is likely aimed at your wallet. So, if you haven’t got the first four parts of the nutrition pyramid in place, please do so before reading any further, because no single supplement is going to have more impact on your diet than getting your diet right in the first place.

Read More

Andy MorganThe Nutritional Hierarchy of Importance – #5 Supplements