The Only Thing To Be Successful In the Long Term

 long term success

I read a Nerd Fitness article  and I learned good stuff.

Sir Winston Churchill said : « Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm ».

I’m sure you’ve heard this quote . But there’s something that nobody told you about that quote. This thing is the « GRIT ».

What’s this

definition

The meaning of the word « grit » is : « passion and perseverance for a long-term goal ».

We discovered after several years of case studies that intelligence wasn’t the most important element to have success in school, at work and in life.

The most important element to be successful is grit and personality. It’s essential to have the courage to go through all the challenges and failures to find a new solution to achieve the goal.

Psychology Professor at University Of Pennsylvania, Angela Duckworth shows in her studies that   :

« Smarter students actually had less grip that their peers who scored lower on an intelligence test. This finding suggests that, among the study participants – all students at an Ivy League School – people who are not as bring as their peers compensate by working harder and with more determination. And their effort pays off : The grittiest students – not the smartest ones – had the highest GPAs ».

And  :

« At the elite United States Military Academy, West Point, a cadet’s grit score was the best predictor of success in the rigorous summer training program known as « Beast Barracks ». Grit matter more than intelligence, leadership ability or physical fitness.

At the Scripps National Spelling Bee, the grittiest contestants were the most likely to advance to the finals – at least in part because they studied longer, not because they were smarter or were better spellers ».

These findings suggest that the achievement of difficult goals entails not only talent but also the sustained and focused application of talent over time.

There is also this article by Thomas Friedman in New York Times: Need a job ? Invent one .

In this article, there is a quote from Tony Wagner, Harvard Education Specialist : « Today, because knowledge is available on every Internet-connected device, what you know matters far less than what you can do with what you know ».

As you can see, it’s not the amount of information that is important to be successful but what you do with this information. It’s the same principle to have a healthy body. I know people who know a tremendous amount of information about how to lose weight and how to build muscle. But there is a problem, they’re all overweight and from year to year, they take on more weight and they need to take more medicines.

What is necessary is to use the information that you have every day. It’s useless to know all the answers and look for the perfect workout. Start with what you have now and day after day, you’ll improve your knowledge on the field.

How do I do

how much

Here is my case. As you already know, I plan my workout program throughout the year to gradually increase the difficulty (periodization). I have failures (very often) and I adjust. Every week I search for small changes and tactics.

Tracking my workout helps me tremendously to adjust the difficulty without creating any injury. I use an application on my smartphone to track my workout, it’s Jefit.

I know that all my life is going to be like that. Learn more, have more failures and find new tactics to progress.

It’s true that says it like that, you think it’s boring but it’s very motivating to see progress made week after week. Small details are important to your body. Often the people around you don’t see you making progress. They don’t see that your body is changing but you know you have more strength and better health.

What looked annoying is actually motivating. I like to see small changes on my body because I know that the accumulation of small changes make a great transformation. It’s the same principle as a video game, the main character is gradually becoming stronger and stronger.

When I look my workout’s tracking over several months or several years, I see that I have done great transformation. The amount of weight lifted has increased and my endurance has increased.

When I check my workout’program of the day, I stop to day to myself : « It’s going to be painful today, oh no ! » but « Mmmh, it’s going to have a little new record today ! ».

That is why I began to « document » the evolution of my body. If you watch my videos every day, you’ll not see any difference but when you watch the videos I made 6 months or 1 year ago, you see that the differences are really visible. And it’s the same for you.

Build the grit

grit

For several years I had several (one ton) failures and I searched to find small changes and new tactics to change my body little by little, week after week. I did all that to create « my new standard » and « my new identity » to have the best possible future in my life. All these small improvements on my body have developing more grit and perseverance.

Here is how to build your grit yourself :

  1. Determine your new « identity ».

    The more specific your new identity, the easier it will be to prove it to yourself. For example : « I’m the type of person who never miss a workout » and « I’m the type of person who always eats a healthy meal at lunch » and/or « I’m the type of person who works on his own business as soon as I have free time ».

    To always have these identities in mind put post-it in several places in your house like on the calendar, the phone and the mirror of your bathroom. You can also have it in the wallpaper (lock screen) on your smartphone.

  2. Have small victories every day to prove it to yourself and motivate you to do that

    Follow your evolution and highlight your small victories to see that you are in the right direction. Make a daily challenge that takes you between 5 and 15 minutes. Once this challenge is successful, it’s a small victory in addition.

  3. Increases the difficulty of your challenges every 30 days

    For a month, for 30 days, you’ll have small victories. Once you have 30 small victories, make a party to celebrate these victories and increase the difficulty of your challenges for the next 30 days.

    Attention, our will’s strength is limited so use all this will to build this new healthy habit.

  4. When you have created you « new standard », it’s time to improve it.

    Improve your « new standard » by making small adjustments. Make slow and steady progress to win. If you make drastic adjustments, you will have more failures than small victories and this will make you want to give up.

  5. When you fail in something , be sure to fail differently next time

    Failure doesn’t mean that you have a bad or a weak personality. It’s just mean that you didn’t have all the knowledge and experience to succeed. Learn and practice more on the field to continue towards the best.

It’s not important where you’re from, where you’re going that’s important.

I warn you already that this a path with more that 1 billion challenges but it’s the price to pay for a better lifestyle. To achieve the lifestyle of your dreams , you will create 1 billion versions of yourself, all better than the previous ones (it’s like an update).

The most important thing is that you shouldn’t let anyone tell you that you can’t accomplish anything in you life (this also includes you parents).

If you know you can do it, do it !

What is the little victory you have recently made, and what the next ?

Share this article if you think it can help someone you know. Thank you.

-Steph

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Body Under Construction 2017 12 01

body evolution transformation

Each month I do my body check to track my body’s evolution with photo, measurements and body fat(%) to reach my Golden Ratio.

I take my results in the morning with my stomach empty or just a glass of water.

I calculate my body fat ( %) with the 1 site skin fold (fat caliper) and I use the caliper’s chart.

Current

  • Height : 175 cm (5 ft 8.8 in)

  • Weight : 82.1 kg (180.77 lbs)

  • body fat(%) : 10.5 %

  • Waist : 90 cm (35.43 in)

  • Chest : 99.5 cm (38.97 in)

  • Arms : 34.2 cm (13.38 in)

  • Forearms : 29 cm (11.41 in)

  • Shoulders : 119 cm (46.85 in)

  • Hips : 95.5 cm (37.40 in)

  • Thighs : 60.5 cm (23.62 in)

  • Calves : 40.5 cm (15.74 in)

  • Neck :40 cm (15.74 in)

Goals (Golden Ratio)

  • Height : 175 cm (5 ft 8.8 in)

  • Weight : 80 kg (176.37)

  • body fat(%) : 8 %

  • Waist : 75.07 cm (29.55 in)

  • Chest : 107.25 cm (42.22 in)

  • Arms : 39.93 cm (15.72 in)

  • Forearms : 31.63 cm (12.45 in)

  • Shoulders : 121.47 cm (47.82 in)

  • Hips : 91.16 cm (35.88 in)

  • Thighs : 61 cm (24.01 in)

  • Calves : 39.61 cm (15.59 in)

  • Neck : 39.68 cm (15.62 in)

Websites where I found my Golden Ratio. Here and there .

Websites where I calculate my body fat(%), here  and there .

And you ? Have you set your goals ?

Share this article if you think it can help someone you know. Thank you.

-Steph

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Adapt Your Training To Your Morphology (Part 1)

morphology

I read a Frederic Delavier’s book « Strength Training Anatomy » and I learned good stuff.

In bodybuilding, it’s really important to take into account individual morphological differences. Especially for squat and deadlift.

Squat and deadlift have a different muscular work for a brevilineal person and a rangy person

A brevilineal person has a proportionally long torso and short limbs. An rangy person has a proportionally short torso and long limbs. This has nothing to do with height, muscle development or adiposity. Which means that a person can be a small fat rangy or a tall skinny brevilineal.

A brevilineal person have facility for squat because their short femurs makes that the torso is little inclined. This limits lower back and hamstring tension. As a result, the movement can be done in relative safety and the brevilineal person can almost exclusively focus on quadriceps work. It’s for this reason that almost all squat champions are brevilineal. An impressive example is that usually dwarves monopolize podiums of small categories in powerlifting.

Rangy people have more difficulty to do squat because their long femurs makes that the torso is very inclined forward. This puts hamstrings, adductors and gracilis in a dangerous position. Rangy people must fight constantly to not be out of balance forward.

It’s also important to pay attention to the back’s position to avoid rounding the back. Having the round back causes serious spinal injuries like the famous herniated disc.

Rangy people doing this type of squat leaning forward works much muscles of gluteus maximus which have the function of straightening the pelvis, torso and all erectors spinae muscles that try their best to avoid the rounding of the back.

As a result, the squat for long limbs is excellent for developing powerful glutes and lumbar spine. On the other hand it requires a lot of concentration for the positioning of the body during the movement. It should be noted that more weights are heavy, the more dangerous the movement’s execution.

For rangy people who really want to work quadriceps, it’s advisable to use incline machine like « hack squat ».

Difficulties change side

change side

For brevilineal people who are the kings of squat, there is a reverse medal. They have a lot of trouble to do deadlift.

Brevilineal people with short legs should bend their legs to take the barbell. Sometimes their femurs are almost horizontal and this position requires a lot of energy to start the movement.

On the other hand, rangy people can take the barbell with their legs half bent. With this position, quadriceps can us the maximum energy to start the movement. The morphology of the rangy people allows them to lift heavier weights than brevilineal people despite a tilt of the gluteus and erectors spinae muscles

It’s for this reason that almost all of the deadlift champions are rangy people.

morphology brevilineal rangy

morphology deadlift

Ankles flexibility

ankle morphology

The ankles flexibility has a great influence on the squat’s execution.

Ankles flexibility may be influenced by musculotendinous limitation (such as significant calves retractions) or bone limitation. For example, if the dorsal flexion (the fact of raising forefoot) is limited, the squat technique is completely modified.

The lack of ankles flexibility limits the shifting of the shins forward and the advanced knees. This makes it necessary to squat with the buttocks very back and the back leaning forward, which has the effect of working intensely the gluteus maximus and the spine erectors muscles.

Squat with an excessive inclinaison of the torso put dangerously tension on the back muscles of the thighs, adductors magnus, gracilis and increase the risk of muscle tearing.

It should be added that the positioning of the femurs below the horizontal has the effect of rounding the back, which increases the risk of vertebral damage. This squat requires a lot of concentration for the positioning of the body during the movement because the more the weigh is heavy and more the movement’s execution is dangerous.

Be careful, whether for the squat or the deadlift, having stiff ankles make it difficult to flex our legs even if the femurs are horizontal.

morphology deadlift

Finally, the cantilevered that is more important for deadlift than squat, this is requires quadriceps to provide more strength to extend thighs on the legs.

To read Part 2, click here.

Share this article if you think it can help someone you know. Thank you

-Steph

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Power Squat

power squat

I read a Frederic Delavier’s book « Strength Training Anatomy » and I learned good stuff.

This movement is the same as the classic squat but the difference is that legs are really wider and the feet are outwards. This position allows to work the inner thighs more intensely.

This exercise works quadriceps, adductors (adductor magnus, adductor longus, adductor brevis, adductor minimus, pectineus and gracilis), glutes, hamstrings, abs and iliocostalis.

Note

With power squat, the torso is less inclined that the classic squat. Some powerlifters like this technique to limit the work of the back. And other powerlifters prefer the classic squat to limit the work of the back by pressing their belly on their thighs.

squat foot stance position

Share this article if you think it can help someone you know. Thank you.

-Steph

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The Importance Of Counting Calories

count calories

I watched a Jamcore DZ’s video and I learned good stuff.

As you already know, food is our energy. The energy from food, we call it calorie. Calories composed of macronutriments : carbohydrates, proteins and lipids.

Count the number of calories

count calories

With carbohydrates, proteins and lipids, we can know the minimum number of calories we need to consume, it’s the Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) is the number of calories your body needs to function without doing any physical activity. That’s the number of calories you burn while you stay in bed all day.

With your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR), you can find your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE) . Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE) is the number of calories your body needs in a day when you train.

Total Daily Energy Expediture (TDEE) varies according to your level of activity during the day (the intensity of the tasks you have to do during the day and the intensity of your training).

Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE) is always dynamic because it’s influenced by the Not Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT). Not Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT) is the number of calories you burn in a day when you have no workout. But attention, it doesn’t count the calories you burn when you sleep and eat. It only counts the calories you burn when you walk, read, write, work, study, etc.

As the intensity’s level of your tasks that aren’t a sport activity changes all the time, it changes your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE) all the time. Here are 2 scientific studies to better understand the Not Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT), here and there .

Now that you’ve seen your Total Daily Energy Expenditure changes all the time, you need to know that it changes your caloric deficit when you want to lose weight (be shredded) and your caloric surplus when you want to gain muscle.

Lose weight or gain muscle

weight lose muscle gain

The phase for losing weight (be shredded) and gaining muscle influenced by 2 things : morphology (endomorph, ectomorph and mesomorph) and genetics.

Take the example of an endomorph person. An endomorph person is a person who can easily store fat because, it’s a person who has greater resistance to leptin. Leptin is a hormone that manages your metabolism and your appetitie (leptin controls your feeling of satiety). An endomorph person who has this type of information has good tools to know how to manage his/her Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE).

For my case, I’m a mesomorph person. Which means that I’m a person who is losing weight fast and gaining muscle fast. At first, I didn’t count my calories because it easy for me to maintain a good physique. But since I’ve been studying my body to find out how it works, my results are really better for the long term.

That’s why no matter what your body type, I advise you to take the time to count your calories to have the best body possible in the long term.

I use an app on my smartphone to count my calories (you can scan barcodes). It’s My Fitness Pal. Try it, it’s really helpful.

If you intentionally don’t take care of your health, accidentally, you will have an illness.

Share this article if you think it can help someone you know. Thank you.

-Steph

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Stretching For Squat

stretching squat

I read a Frederic Delavier’s book « Strength Training Anatomy » and I learned good stuff.

Here is a stretching exercice often done by the powerlifters to avoid having muscle tears during the squat. It’s a stretching exercise to do during the warm-up session and between the first sets.

This stretching exercise involves crouching slowly while hanging on a stable support such as a pole or the frame of a machine to flex your thighs.

This movement corresponds to squat flexion and this allows you to stretch adductors, mainly adductor magnus. The adductors magnus is the muscle the most frequently injured due to the excessive tilt of the torso with heavy weight.

This exercice stretches quadriceps (except rectus femoris), gluteus maximus and the set of small, deep, external rotator muscles of the hip that stabilize and slow down the anterior tilt of the pelvis during crouching.

Note

To better feel the stretch of the leg you can move the weight of your body on the right leg and then on the left leg.

Share this article if you think it can help someone you know. Thank you.

-Steph

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Deadlift Correctly (Part 3)

deadlift

If you didn’t read the first parts, click Part 1 and Part 2 

I read a Nerd Fitness article and I learned good stuff.

Grip the barbell

deadlift grip

The strength of the grip is an important part of the deadlift. There are 2 types of grip:

  • Overhand grip => The palms of your hands are towards your body (pronated grip).

  • Over-under ou mixed grip => One palm of your hand is toward your body and the other towards the outside (one hand with a pronated grip and the other with a supinated grip).

  • Hook grip => Your thumb is under your fingers

For beginners, the double overhand grip is the best to have a safe grip.

Use the mixed grip when you have more experience and you lift heavy because there are disadvantages. Stress on the shoulders is uneven and can create problems or injuries in the biceps whose palm is outside. As the stress on the shoulders is uneven, it’s easier to lift heavy weights.

When you begin deadlift, your grip’s strength is powerful enough to lift the barbell because your back’s strength is correct. The day of your back’s strength is more powerful than your grip’s strength (your hands slips slowly), that’s when you need to think about improving your grip.

If you don’t like the mixed grip, you can use the hook grip.

Wrist straps

Straps can help you lift heavier because your grip is assisted by a strap that is wrapped to the barbell and is hooked to your wrist.

I advise you to use wrist straps only when you lift very very heavy. This is not a thing to use all the time otherwise you’ll lose the natural strength of your grip.

Gloves

The truth is that the gloves don’t improve the grip. Gloves create a space between your hands and the barbell, this increases the diameter of the barbell and make the barbell harder to hold. Gloves prevent you from having a secure grip, I advise you to use them only if you have ripped callus to your hands.

With this video , you’ll learn to take care of your hands to avoid having this type of injury.

Belt

Many people in gyms use the belt in the wrong way, but you’re a smart one. The belt is useful only when you’re lifting very heavy weights and it’s not only for your lumbar. With this article , you’ll learn how to use the belt in an effective way.

Note

Use a mixed grip and a belt isn’t necessary to lift very heavy. Watch this video of Anthony Mychan  who do a deadlift at 249.47kg (550lbs) at a Nerd Fitness Camp with a double overhand with no belt.

Common mistakes

common mistakes

Rounded back

Having the back rounded throughout the movement may cause injuries. It’s necessary to have your spine in a neutral position.

Note => there are some powerlifters that purposefully round theirs upper back to decrease the range of motion, but this is a sport specific move, still a fault, and something you should not consider as a beginner.

Head raised and look up

To have a raised head create a hyperextension to your neck. This can cause injuries. Keep your head in a neutral position like your spine.

Hyperextending at the top

In fitness competitions, exaggerate the top of the deadlift has become popular for quickly show the judges that hip and knees locking is done.

Use the squat position

Deadlift is not squat. Deadlift doesn’t have the same start and end position as the squat. Deadlift is a different movement than squat.

Barbell makes a forward movement

It’s necessary that the barbell stays above your shoe’s laces and the barbell needs to be lifted vertically all along your body.

Barbell’s movements towards the front are to be avoided.

Your torso rises after your butt

We call it the « stripper deadlift ».

It’s important that your torso guides the movement and that your body moves in the same rhythm upwards.

Bend your arms

Often people bend their arms to lift the barbell more quickly. Unfortunately, this is a bad tactic because this can tear biceps muscle. Keep your arms straight during the movement.

Share this article if you think it can help someone you know. Thank you.

-Steph

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