Friday, 24 June 2011

The mask of fitness

Hello all,

When i arrived in the Middle East (Dubai) in Feb 2007, i went for a stroll which took me literally into the middle of the desert. There i came across a mosque during, at that exact time, prayer time. The prayer noise was amazing, it was so foreign, it made me feel like i was a million miles away from home - i loved it.

My first visit to the Middle East, Dubai.

Last week, i was walking home (in Singapore's red light district) and heard beautiful music coming from a buddhist street temple, the monks were chanting and playing music. Again, it made me realise that im a stranger here in Asia, but the moment was, without sounding cheesy... 'magical'. This moment was somewhat spoiled a minute later when i was propositioned by a lady of the night who was 'working' that street. I regretfully declined (.. i had an early session the next morning!) and made my way home. You gotta love Geylang - so diverse!

But i digress...

If your in or around the fitness industry enough, you may have heard the following saying:

"Fatigue masks Fitness"

Well, just for this blog i'm going to introduce my own spin on this quote that seems to be relevant in my life right now and today's fitness industry:

"Fatigue masks Creativity"

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy

In my opinion, in any walk of life, too much of anything can be a bad thing. take PT for example, I have started to do 8 or more sessions a day over a 6 day week, which is great financially - but i often feel 'beaten up' mentally and physically at the end of the day... to the point where other areas of my life will suffer or become non-existent.

What's the answer? Is there a 'sweet spot' for productivity and balance?

A 5 day week is probably the right balance in most jobs. 1 day off to do some errands/house work and the other day to relax and get some recovery for the week ahead.

In terms of PT, i think that the 'sweet spot' of daily sessions is 5 hours... 6 at the most. After 6 i really feel that a PT becomes a fitness moron with a clipboard. Enthusiam wanes a little and the mind starts to wander.

Think about this... If you do 8+ sessions in one day, one or more of the following things will definately happen:

- You will not eat correctly
- You will not train correctly
- You will become mentally tired
- You will not have time/energy to read or learn new things

In my opinion, all the above points are essential traits that a 'good' PT should have. Eating well, training well, being focused and continually learning to better serve your clients.

I cant really comment about standard 'desk' jobs but im guessing that out of 8-9 hours in a typical working day, there is about 60-90 minutes of high quality focus and effectiveness! which begs the question...

What hell do people do during a 9-5pm shift?

"I'll be home late tonight honey, Im so busy at work"

Not sure where im going with this one so thats the end. Id love to hear some comments from people with all sorts of jobs.

Do you feel you could do your job in less time? Does over-working effect the way in which you approach your job? How do you feel on Monday mornings compared to Friday afternoons?

The fact that you are reading my blog means that you have time to do things, hopefully this is part of your day that you use for 'continued education'. But i doubt it!

To all the people who read my blog, please leave a comment either here or on Facebook link, start a debate :)

Thursday, 16 June 2011

The 'Charisma Man' Workout

Just a little bit of fun for todays blog...

Have you ever encountered "Charisma Man"?

Charisma Man is massive in Japan

If you have lived and worked in Asia, chances are you have seen numerous 'gentlemen le charisma magnifique' in all workplaces, nightclubs, etc.

Basically, Charisma Man is a normal, weedy, nerd-like character back home who gets no attention from girls. He struggles with all social situations. Yet when he steps off the plane in Asia, he turns into a muscular, handsome social magnet - attracting the attention of every asian girl around him!

Charisma Man lands in Japan!

But life is not so straight forward for CM. Every now and then he bumps into arch-enemy "Evil Western Woman" who exposes him for the skinny geek he really is!

In the new gym where i work "Pure fitness Singapore" there is an ever-growing appreciation society for CM and recently i noticed that some of the guys were training specifically to achieve that 'charisma man look' for evenings out. Back home i think we use to call it 'saturday sets' or 'disco training'. Here we now call it the Charisma man workout.

The goal

Simples... Pump as much blood into the 'T shirt muscles' to create the illusion that you are actually that muscular all through the day. Here, we are calling it the 'Charisma effect' which is useful in any night spots/social gathering.

The charisma principles

1. No leg training! are you insane? Leg training is for athletes! Nobody asks to see your lower body development on the dance-floor, All upper, all anterior!

2. No sleeves! A Vest MUST be worn when completing the Charisma man workout. Tank tops are ok - but vest preferable.

3. Forced reps on every set... get the full charisma pump!

4. You can never perform enough chest exercises in one session.

"i have definitely felt the charisma man effect after this workout! Usually i would attract 3-5 different females on any given night in Singapore, now its easily in the double figures. I always use the charisma principles in the gym before hitting the town... why wouldn't you?"

Ben Salter, Pure Fitness Manager and Singapore charisma man

Are you ready to multiply your charisma by 300% in one session? lets begin...

A1. Bench press 4 x 10

Great start to getting a big charismatic chest pump, slam on the weights - forget about form and depth! stroke your ego and throw as much weight on the bar as you think would impress the other guys watching you smash through these sets! Rest for 2 minutes between sets by texting friends and potential lady targets of your possible locations that evening.

B1. Incline DB press (supersetted with DB flye) 3 x 12/12

Had enough chest? See principle 4 above. Sculpt your pecs with this great combo, ease down on the weight and squeeze hard on each rep for a full charisma pump.

C1. Seated shoulder press 2 sets x max

Want 2 cannonballs filling your XS shirt this weekend? perform 2 sets of this shoulder exercise to maxm the ladies will appreciate it in a few hours time.

D1. DB front raise (supersetted with Cable side raise) 3 x 10/10

Its all about the pump! slow and controlled until you can see veins coming through your skin... dont stop the set until someone in the gym shouts:

"Oh my god, that guys' shoulders are ridiculous!"

Time to bring out the big guns.....!

"When i first arrived in Singapore i had no charisma, i was down on my luck and needed a change. Some of the guys taught me the charisma principles and girls started to talk to me. I also use the workout on mondays to top-up from the weekend, just in case"

"Big" Ron Hannerfield, Pure fitness sales manager

E1. Cable tricep extension (supersetted with Standing DB bicep curls)

Fill your sleeves with this arm combo! use a weight that you can swing up... forget technique, you are charisma man and your in the 'gun-show' so start shooting!

F1. EZ reverse curls into EZ curls (20 reps each)

More guns? why not! slam this combo and turn your slow-worms into pythons... "train for the vein!"

Thats it, fellow Charisma men, go forth and attract more women. They deserve you!

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Did Arnold really f*ck things up?

Hey all,

As you know im starting to write shorter, concise (or if you went to University and walk around with a dash more self-importance than most folk - succinct) blogs which means i can communicate smaller messages, more frequently.

Recently, i started re-listening to my seminar list while on the way to work. Which now allows me to learn for about an hour a day - every day! Although this is not part of the todays message - you may want to purchase an audio book on health, nutrition, life coaching, time management, finances or anything that will make your life a little better. Every minute you spend commuting can now be turned into 'learning time'. How do you think i get such awesome ideas for blogs?

Apart from me actually being awesome.

"I dont know how to put this but... im kind of a big deal"

Did arnold really f*ck things up?

Arnold Schwarzenneger is one of my hero's. Fact.

Early Arnold

Just watch the documentary "Pumping Iron", if that doesn't make you want to wear a dodgy low-cut vest, get in the gym and start throwing out some extra heavy/possibly bad-form shoulder raises while screaming "i love the pump" then we cant be friends. Its brilliant. Its hard not to see why the guy did so well in his life/career. The confidence, charm and humour... anyway im here to ask a different question.

150 years ago, we trained like warriors - 'functional' training was simply training. There were no rubber bands, bosu balls, cable machines, etc. All they had was heavy bags, kettlebells, the human body and other assorted heavy shit to pick up and use. Life was good, hard but good.

Then came the 70's, Arnold, Ridiculous vests/hotpants combo's and the aerobic era. Training got diluted to 'working out' and we all became a little weaker. People started inventing new ways to get fit... 

So much wrong with this training scene to comment

There is too much crazy Bshit to mention, the latest one i laughed at was the 'Shaking Dumbell', i dont care what it does, its sounds like a gimmick and you would look like a twat using it.

Maybe it wasn't all bad?

It seems now the fitness industry is returning to more primitive forms of training. We have had enough of the chrome and spandex... its time to get down and dirty again. I personally get excited when i see a gym that looks more a like a dungeon than hairdresser's salon. 

Modern day gym

So my questions are...

Did Arnold really f*ck things up?

Did his era create a style of training that was more SHOW than GO?

Or is he (arnold) the reason we are all interested in health and a better body image?

Answers on a postcard please

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Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Currently the biggest mistake in the gym...

Hi all,

From now on the length of my blogs will probably be reduced.

Ok, ok... its not that bad

Partly because:

- Im really busy again with PT sessions
- Im really starting to get back into my own education again (podcasts, books, new training styles im looking at)
- Finally, I have agreed to write 2 series of articles for and Fitnorama E-mag

You will definately be hearing more on them from me and i will direct you to the artciles when they are live.

Series 1 is called 'Personal Trainer' and will run until they tell me to stop. Its going to be a look at all aspects of the job from all different sides.

Series 2 is called "what i learned from the Pros" and this will be the highlights of learning from all the fitness professionals that have influenced my training career so far. The first article is on Eric Cressey and mostly looks at strength training - check it out when it goes live and you will instantly learn a ton of new (and possibly old) stuff to include in your training or programming.

Strength expert Eric Cressey

Ok, onto todays 'quicker' topic...

The current worst habit im seeing in my gym is weight selection. I have been amazed by the complete lack of technique on most people in my new gym and the problem seems to be EGO-related.

I stood next to a gym member last week, performing the same exercise  (Dumbbell side raises... Hey give me a break! im just finishing up a bodybuilding phase!) only he was far weaker and lifting 3 Dumbbells heavier than me... trust me when i say this. I make sure i have good form in everything, i dont compromise on technique and dont mind admitting if i haven't got a weight. Fact.

The gym member in question was doing what i would called 'partial reps' at best. It looked truly awful. Even worse was the idiotic cheering of his mate claiming "all yours brother" or "thats massive mate"...


Forced reps not only look terrible, they dont give any indication of strength gain and if over-subscribed can lead to quicker injuries and burn-out for the inexperienced lifters. I now conciously move a step away from my clients when they are lifting:

A - Because i do actually want it to be 'all them'
B - I normally know (through sensible progressions/programming) what they will be able to do... i rarely go into a set not-knowing if i 'have it' for myself or my clients. Some may call that holding off, i call it sensible PTing. The last time i checked i have no clients who make a living on the number of kgs on any given lifts.

How much can you bench?

Before answering that... ask yourself who really gives a f*ck? If you are an average gym members with goals to 'look good naked' it shouldn't be an important factor.


Be sensible, check in a mirror and be honest with (technique) failure. Log it down, recover well (eating/nutrition/lifestyle) until you hit the same movement again and try to do more. Simples.

Thats the most fundamental aspect of strength training.... progressive overload. If your lifting the same Dumbbells as you were 2 years ago, you're doing something wrong.

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