Here’s the latest edition of my regular series of Quick and Easy Health, Physique Transformation and Sports Conditioning tips.
You can put these into action right now to Look, Feel, Move and Perform better.
These tips are organised into 3 different categories:
- General Health & Motivation
- Training (Fat Loss, Muscle Gain, Athleticism & Strength)
General Health & Motivation
‘Improve your sitting posture with one easy step’
Often when I talk to clients here at RHP (or anyone for that matter) about posture, they do two things:
- Explain that they want to improve their posture, but don’t know how to.
- Immediately demonstrate their default ‘bad’ sitting posture (head forward, shoulders slumped, lower back bent, etc etc).
Now, the topic of how to improve one’s posture is reeeeaaaaalllly broad, and merits a full article in itself.
To highlight just a few elements, we’re looking at everything from breathing patterns, daily movement (or lack of) and sleeping habits, proper use of corrective exercises (focusing on muscle activation and flexibility, joint stability and mobility in the right places), and generally being more bad-ass in the gym by pushing/pulling/lifting/carrying/throwing/dominating heavy stuff with ninja form and technique.
Sounds complex right? All this is also very specific to each individual’s needs, so I won’t attempt to provide a ‘one-size-fits-all’ outline of what you need to focus on.
However, something that EV-ER-Y-ONE can address, is one thing we all do (far too much of).
Without getting into all the detailed elements I touched on above, I want to share one simple, easy thing you can do when sitting (especially at a desk) to improve your posture – a great tip I recently picked from the Postural Restoration Institute.
Quite simply, sit on the edge of your seat!
This is a concept referred to as ‘functional sitting’ (which sounds like one of those nonsensical fad expressions that are all too prevalent in fitness today, but I’ll roll with it for the benefits it can bring…).
By doing this, you put yourself in a more ‘active’ position where the body has to stabilise itself more. I’ve spent the last few days putting it to the test and I think it’s a great piece of advice. Give it a try!
Training (Fat Loss, Muscle Gain, Athleticism & Strength)
‘Consider this concept to make designing your own training program easy’
I often get asked for tips on how someone can go about writing their own general physique, fitness or strength and conditioning programs.
There are many great posts and articles covering this topic out there, some of which are undoubtedly featured in my regular Top Recent Fitness Articles You Should Read series.
I like to show people a very simple concept based on ‘progression’. In order to make progress, you need to consistently increase the demands you ask your body to adapt to in your training. Don’t confuse this with constantly changing exercises to ‘keep your body guessing’ – more on that another time.
Seek to progressively improve in three different variables: intensity, volume, and density. Simply put:
- Intensity is the % of your maximum effort you are working at.
- Volume is the total amount of work you do.
- Density is the amount of work you do in a set period of time.
Consider setting up a training session like this:
- Choose one exercise to focus on improving the actual amount of weight you can put on the bar for one set. For example, try to move more weight on the Squat for one set of 3–5 reps. All that matters here is your ‘top’ set, so you can take as few or as many sets as you want to reach that set (don’t just whack your 3 rep-max on without warming up to it and expect not to get stapled to the floor).
- Next, choose 2-4 exercises to improve how much total weight you can move over all the sets for each given movement. For example, let’s say you choose DB Bench Press for 4×8, and DB Reverse Lunge for 4×8/side. For ease of calculations, assume you used 10kg dumbbells for each exercise; you would have moved 640kg total for each exercise in that training session (per leg on the lunges). Next week the idea would be to move more than 640kg total. This can be done by adding sets, reps, or increasing the weight.
- Lastly, choose 4-6 exercises and designate a rep number and weight for each movement. After that, choose an amount of time (let’s say 10 mins). Focus your efforts on doing more work in that time frame from one training session to another. For example:
A1. KB Swing x 10
A2. TRX Push Up x 10
A3. KB Goblet Squat x 10
A4. TRX Row x 10
Week 1: You complete three rounds in 10 mins.
Week 2: Anything over three sets of each exercise in 10 mins is an improvement.
For those of you stuck in a rut with your programming this should provide a simple and easy way to set up a training session that focuses on improving strength, muscle quality and dropping body fat. Enjoy!
‘Make water less boring’
I strive to drink a minimum of 2 litres of water every day. I reckon 90% of the time, I accomplish that objective just fine, so I’m not too fussed when I don’t.
I love water.
Water speeds up your metabolism, enhances the chemical reactions in your body and helps your mental clarity. I certainly don’t dislike the taste because, well, it doesn’t taste like anything!
However, I suppose the lack of taste is why people sometimes find themselves falling off the wagon. This really hit home in a conversation I had with a client a little while back.
Bear in mind, we’ve got her resistance training and conditioning work pretty dialed-in, and she has built up good nutritional knowledge over time – this is a healthy lady.
So, taking the above into account, after she’d finished crushing her final circuit of Sledgehammer Swings, Tyre Flips, Battling Ropes, Farmer’s Walks and Prowler Sled Sprints, you can imagine my reaction was something like so when she casually dropped “I’ll just take a sip of my squash then Rich before we hit the flexibility work” into the conversation…
Turns out she HATED water!
So we’ve made it less boring for her, in a healthy way.
When you can’t stand the thought of drinking another sip of water, simply spice it up. For many of you, doing so may be just what you need to start making hydration more enjoyable. It seems like a ridiculously obvious suggestion, but I guarantee that half of the people who read this don’t drink enough water. I also guarantee they would if it tasted nice.
We all know the benefits of cooking ahead of time. If you are struggling to drink enough water, then prepare a few litres of flavoured water ahead of time, too.
Squeeze in lemons, limes, grapefruit, oranges etc. Spread throughout the entire drink. The juice of half of a lemon is going to add a trivial amount of calories to your intake; don’t get worked up about it.
Interestingly, among other benefits, real lemon juice, specifically the phytochemical d-limonene, acts as a liver tonic and assists in digestion by clearing the detoxification pathways and helping the liver produce more bile. Limonene also promotes the health of the liver and small intestine by decreasing the negative effects of carcinogens. In fact, consuming anything sour makes the liver and gallbladder get rid of toxins, so other real juices like the ones mentioned above can work too.
Good to know if you’ve hit the booze too hard recently…
I hope you’ve enjoyed the latest edition of my regular series and found it useful.
Thanks for reading and please do share with anyone else you know will benefit!
P.S. – to access every installment of my regular ‘Quick and Easy Ways to Look, Feel & Perform Better’ series, click here.
*is it just me or how weird does that word look all by itself?