Stuff I’ve Been Thinking About

Deadlift

The Ultimate Toning Program:

Getting toned.  Everyone wants to do it.  Guys, gals, everyone, and, rightfully so.  Recently I was thinking about this and I think I came up with a simple solution to getting toned!  Not easy, but simple.  Since what people want is not actually more muscle tone by definition, it is clear that what they are actually looking for is a lean look and most often some more muscle to give them some shape to the leanness.  Tone it itself is more like residual muscle tension.  This is natural to a degree but to increase tone isn’t actually what people are looking for.  So, what’s the program?  Well first, figure out a sustainable way to eat, also known as diet.  This may take some experimentation.  My diet and your diet are not the same but for the most part; minimize flour, sugars and grains while focusing on meats, fish and veggies and fats.  Part two of the ultimate toning program is simple.  Do mostly compound multi-joint movements in the gym.  This means various forms of deadlifts, squats, lunges for the lower body and lifting various implements over your head, push ups, various rowing and pull up movements for the upper body.  Most of the time keep the reps in the single digits, this means a moderate amount of weight, and don’t train them to failure.  Train them to success.

Women and Training: 

At Ambition we talk a lot about women and training.  This is partly because more than 50% of our members are women and partly because of how training for women is portrayed in the main stream media.  On Sunday night I began watching the premier of “The 80’s: The Decade That Made Us” on the National Geographic Channel.  It was at this time I realized how far women’s training has actually come considering in 1980 it wasn’t even cool for women to be sweating.  I have a client who has talked about this with me a few times in the past.  She worked at a gym in the early 80’s and said that women only trained on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday where as men trained Monday, Wednesday, Friday.  Not only that, but the women wore heels as part of their work uniform!

At least in popularity it seems that men had something like a 20 year head start in some parts of the country with the growth of bodybuilding.  Although the industry is still growing and changing maybe we aren’t doing half bad at all as far as women’s training is going.  Sure we as coaches love to complain about frauds like Tracey Anderson and other celebrity magazines as the information they put out offers ridiculous ways to lengthen and tone their muscles, but we’ve sure come a long way from the early 80’s.  It certainly could be worse.

80's

What I’m Reading:

I am just finishing up “Practice Perfect: 42 Rules for Getting Better at Getting Better” and have started Bret Contreras and Kellie Davis’s new book “Strong Curves: A Woman’s Guide to Building a Better Butt and Body”.  I think they are both great coaches and so far I like what I see.  I’ve read such gems as “This program proves that the stronger you are, the curvier and more feminine your physique will become” and “For your purposes, you will prioritize strength.  The stronger you become, the greater your physique will look”.  Sounds good to me.

Recently I was reading an interview in Rolling Stone magazine with comedian Louis C.K.  He’s certainly popular right now and I think, down right hilarious.  Although his humor may not be for everyone as he touches on some uncomfortable topics and uses a fair amount of profanity, there is a reason he so successful.  The guy is a genius as far as I’m concerned.  This quote from the interview resonated with me, “I’m just studying it and figuring stuff out.  The only way to learn that stuff is by failing; all this is learned by having bad times.  You have to be willing to have a bad time.  People that need to feel like a star and like they’re succeeding every time will not ever get better.  But if you are willing to feel bad, do badly, have a stale, boring version of yourself out in front of everybody, you can find this stuff in the muck that’s very useful.”  I think this way of thinking can be applied to almost anything, not just comedy and reminded me immediately of the aforementioned book “Practice Perfect”.  In the last paragraph of the chapter entitled “Normalize Error” it says, “What you do in practice is practice succeeding.  But when practice is well designed, you can also use it to isolate failure.  This allows people to take calculated risks in order to improve at a particular skill.”  This is also genius and much what we like to teach at Ambition.  Better Everyday.

– Mike Baltren

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