Wednesday, 31 August 2011

The Power of a Positive Mindset

I've made some massive progression in the gym quite recently. I had been stuck in a bit of a rut and had not made many improvements. Now all of a sudden I am a lot stronger and my physique is getting better by the week. It's not that I have found some magic supplement or program. In fact, my training is very similar to how it always has been. But there is one thing that has changed. My mindset.

As a personal trainer, I have the flexibility to be able to train a lot. My clients' needs and wishes leave me to train when the rest of the world are busy working. The good thing with this is that I have the gym to myself. I don't have to fight for any equipment like during the peak times. The downside to my workout times is that I train alone. I don't have a training partner or someone to spot me for my heavy lifts. I don't have that security and encouragement that comes with a training partner.

This has always restricted me. I will load up a bar with a heavy weight and then psych myself out. My mind starts playing games and I imagine failing with the lift and looking like a fool, or worse injuring myself. I either give up on attempting the lift or I will do exactly as I imagine and fail with my attempt. So week after week I will be stuck with the same weight/reps and I will make no progression.

About 2 months ago I was doing a shoulder workout in a progressive super-set format. It was one giant set of 9 super-sets and the final part of the equation was 21 reps of a Standing Military Press. I had been pressing the same weight of 45kg for the past month and I was struggling to make the 21 reps. On this morning, I was feeling good and I thought I would jack the weight up to 50kg. I thought: what's the worse that can happen? I might fail at 15 reps, but it's no big deal. Then something hit me. I told myself I CAN do this and I imagined myself finishing every rep. In my mind it felt good. It felt awesome! I picked up the bar and 21 reps later and I had succeeded. I smashed it and hit a personal best of 5kg. It was that simple. I just told myself that I could do it, and it happened!

Ever since that day I have continued to break barriers and plateaus that have been nagging me for months. Once I changed my mindset I believed in myself. I have been able to achieve things in the gym that I only ever dreamed of! This new mindset is starting to influence other parts of my life too!

Next time you are doubting yourself... STOP! Take a deep breath, tell yourself that you can do it and DO IT!

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

3 Exercises You Must Do

I find it quite funny how many guys I see training their mirror muscles in the gym EVERY day. Chest, arms and abdominals. Don't get me wrong. I do train my chest, arms and abs... but not every day! It has been a common trend at all the gyms that I have either worked at or trained in. Most of the population are not educated enough and they come in to the gym 3, 4 or even 7 days a week and complete the same routine.

About a week ago I was training a client at 5pm on a Friday afternoon. I remember looking up at one stage and there were 11 guys training. 4 were doing a chest exercise, 6 were doing bicep curls of some form and 1 was doing countless sit-ups on the decline bench. The funny thing is, this is common every day at my gym! Then they wonder why they can't put on muscle or lose that layer of fat.

The simple fact is: These exercises are relatively easy. To gain muscle or burn fat you need to work hard... and eat well! If I was limited to doing just 3 exercises each time I came to the gym, I would use the 3 big lifts. My recipe for building muscle and burning fat is:

1 Barbell
1 Bench
1 Power/Cage Rack
Weight Plates
1 Strong Attitude

Complete a structured amount of sets and reps of:
Squats (ass to the floor)
Bench Press

The Squat, Dead-lift and Bench Press are 3 exercises that will seperate the men from the boys and the women who succeed and the women who don't succeed. These 3 exercises combined together will train every muscle group in your body. We have a leg exercise, a pulling exercise and a pushing exercise. It really is that simple!

Today my workout was:
10 x 10 Squats (80kg)
10 x 10 Dead-lifts (90kg)
10 x 10 Bench Press (80kg)

I completed 1 set of 10 for each exercise as a continuous super-set and then rested for 90 seconds before starting again. I was in and out of the gym in 40 minutes. It was a tough 40 minutes and I stumbled out of the gym with nothing left in me! Next week I will try the same format again and add a few kilos to each exercises. That's called progression!

No matter what your goals are, I highly suggest that you start to incorporate these 3 exercises in to your routine. If you want to build muscle, get stronger or burn some fat then use these 3 exercises! I have to admit that these exercises are demanding and do require proper technique to avoid injury. If you haven't mastered your form just yet, then get some advice from a trainer and start with a very light weight.

Yours in good health!
Mike Weggelaar

Monday, 29 August 2011

Mike's 600 Mayhem Challenge

So I was bored one day and thought I would try something new in the gym. Although I am no bodybuilder, I usually follow a bodybuilding style split program. I train each muscle group intensely once per week, which allows enough time for the muscles to recover. Today I was due for a Shoulder workout, but I am having a few niggles in my right shoulder so I thought I would try something different and do a full body conditioning workout.

Over the last few months I have been doing the Spartan 300 workout. I have got my time down quite low now and I find that the workout isn't quite long enough. Rather than doing the same routine twice I thought I'd come up with 12 exercises for 50 reps each. A total of 600 reps that work my legs, chest, back, shoulders, core, arms.... and every other body part imaginable. Here it is:

Mike's 600 Mayhem:
25 Burpees
50 Dead-lifts (60kg)
50 Bench Press (60kg)
50 Deep Squats (60kg)
50 Bent Over Rows (60kg)
50 Box Jumps (2 feet)
50 Military Press (40kg)
50 Kettlebell Swings (24kg)
50 Lateral Bench Jumps
50 Inverted Rows
50 Push Ups
50 Floor Wipers
25 Burpees

The 600 reps took me 32:57 to complete. I pushed it fairly hard, but I am confident that I could crack the 30 minute barrier next time through. The last 25 burpees absolutely finished me! I was standing in front of a mirror and I could see how much pain I was in!

I challenge you all to give it a shot and see what time you can get. If you need to adjust the weights to suit you, then please do. Make sure they are challenging enough though!

Yours in good health!
Mike Weggelaar