405 on the deadlift, 225 on the press,
When I was young and weak, man, I couldn’t picture this,
48 inch chest and a neck like king cobra,
That’s what you get when you hit the gym and you don’t stop, bruh.
– Biggie (probably)
Happy Friday, Coach J here from Anyman Fitness – and welcome to the latest edition of The N.W.A. Newsletter.
Each Friday’s N.W.A. Newsletter will have 3 parts:
- A Nutritional Tip to help make your diet healthier and easier to stick to.
- A Workout Tip to help make your training sessions more effective and fun.
- An Attitude/Mindset tip to help you strengthen your greatest asset – your mental toughness.
I will also give you my single favorite piece of social media content from AF over the past week and link to it on either Instagram or Twitter.
Without any further ado… let’s get started, shall we?
N.W.A. Nutrition Tip Of The Week:
Tracking your macronutrients might seem like an annoyance, but for me, it was the #1 thing that helped me finally get lean and stay lean.
When I was 30 years old, I weighed nearly 300 pounds.
I would sweat walking down the street in the winter.
I was grossly overweight.
But it wasn’t because I was “lazy” or I wasn’t trying – on the contrary.
I would often go through phases where I would eat healthier, do a bunch of cardio, and lose a fair amount of weight.
I would go from 290 to 250 or so, but then, I would get burnt out from all the cardio and from eating nothing but “healthy” meals, and all the weight would come back to me.
This happened because I didn’t actually have concrete targets to aim for.
I was just trying to eat “healthy” without any real gameplan.
My idea of “healthy” was salads, chicken breast, and itty bitty portions.
I would also eat a fair amount of processed foods like breakfast bars and yogurt, and I always fell for the marketing ploys on the boxes (Special K bars and “Light and Fit” yogurt were my favorites, because they seemed “healthy” from the packaging).
I was grossly misguided, but I didn’t know it yet.
It wasn’t until I had solid, concrete amounts to aim for for every meal that everything started to “click”.
There’s a heck of a lot of advantages to tracking your nutrition – awareness is always the first step in your nutrition journey.
Sadly, these days, many people want to avoid the hard work and think just eating “clean” will be enough.
For some, maybe that’s true, but I know it sure as heck wasn’t true for me.
With macronutrient tracking, everything changed.
It ensured I was eating enough protein.
It also ensured I was eating enough carbs and fats – many dieters go way too low on their carb or fat intake and that can make dieting unsustainable over the long term (it took me a long time to realize this is exactly what I was doing – eating way too little while dieting).
Perhaps the biggest thing it did was simple – when I hit my macros for the day, I was guaranteed to be losing fat.
That was super exciting for me.
It seemed like a “cheat code” – just hit these numbers, and you have guaranteed results.
For someone who struggled for 5+ years losing the weight, I was thrilled to learn this simple skill.
I tracked my nutrition diligently for about 4 years.
Then, I started taking the training wheels off, and by now, I don’t need to track anything anymore.
It’s important to remember this is the ultimate goal when you’re tracking your food.
You don’t track your food because you want to track your food forever.
You track your food because you want to be lean without tracking your food forever.
But the only way to get to the “good stuff” is to do the hard work.
That’s true in fitness, it’s true in life, and it’s definitely true with your nutrition.
N.W.A. Training Tip Of The Week:
As you get older, you’ll need to adapt your training program to help you deal with little dings, nicks, and injuries you’ve accumulated along the way.
While the barbell is often a great tool to learn the basics, over time, it can beat you up.
This is especially true with ‘from the floor’ deadlifts like traditional deads or sumo deads.
When I first started lifting seriously, I wanted to deadlift as heavy as I possibly could.
I did a linear progression for years and built my deadlift up to the 500 pound range.
I was certainly strong – the strongest I had ever been in my life.
But there was just one problem – after my deadlifting sessions, my back would often be tender, and it would leave me sore for days after my sessions.
I needed to find a way to deadlift responsibly, build posterior chain strength, and not be quite so sore.
Being so tall (6’8″) put a TON of torque on my lower back when I deadlifted from the floor.
For awhile, I used some plates to bring the barbell upwards a little bit for me.
This was a solid strategy for awhile, but I kept feeling like I was missing out on the total benefit of the deadlift.
Eventually, I found a deadlifting substitute that worked GREAT for me – the Romanian Deadlift.
For the last few years, that’s all I’ve used to deadlift – RDL’s – and it’s been one of the best training alterations I’ve made.
With a traditional deadlift, you start with the bar on the floor, and you use your hips and glutes to drive the bar upwards, ending with a lockout and holding the bar at your waist (approximately).
The Romanian Deadlift is the opposite of that.
You start the RDL standing up with the bar at your waist, and you lower it down your quads, just past your knees, and then you use your glutes and hips to thrust the weight back up to the starting point.
Here is where you start your Romanian Deadlift (apologies for the weird face lol, it’s a screenshot from a form video):
And here is the bottom of the Romanian Deadlift (maybe go a *little bit* lower, but once your hips are back as far as they can go, that’s the bottom of the lift):
In my opinion RDL’s are far superior than from the floor deadlifts for muscle growth, for a few reasons.
First, they’re much easier on your back, which allows for more training volume (a huge factor of muscle growth).
Second, there is constant tension on your body (your glutes and hips specifically).
Since you don’t set the bar down, you’re always providing your body with a growth stimulus, and that can be helpful for long term results.
If you’d like to get a tutorial on how to properly perform an RDL, you can check out this link here.
We include the RDL in most of our training programs, and it’s an excellent exercise you should be doing regularly in the gym.
N.W.A. Attitude/Mindset Tip Of The Week:
Everyone starts with the bar.
Please read that again – EVERYONE starts with the bar.
I started with the bar.
I remember feeling pretty silly doing back squats with no weights on the bar.
Especially when there was a dude squatting 315 pounds right next to me.
But guess what?
That guy who was squatting 315 pounds right next to me – guess what he started with?
The only way you can stop being a “beginner” is by getting experience at something.
And when you begin, you’re going to look stupid.
I don’t care what you’re doing.
Learning to ride a bike.
Learning to play the piano.
Learning a new language.
Learning to crochet.
At the start, you suck.
But you keep at it, and you slowly get better over time.
That’s kind of how learning a new skill works…
The next time you feel intimidated because there are lots of strong people in the weight section, remind yourself of that.
Those big, strong people were once in your shoes.
Everyone has a “first day”.
And the only way you can have a “500th day” is to have a “first day”… and then a “second day”… and then a “third day”, and so on and so forth.
But you won’t get to that 500th day by sitting on your arse.
You have to get out there and make it happen.
The first time you rode a bike, you were wobbly, you fell over, and you probably skinned your knee.
But did you start crying, run inside and say, “I’M NEVER RIDING THIS BIKE EVER AGAIN!”
No, of course not – you wanted to learn how to ride a bike so you could keep up with your friends.
So, you brushed yourself off, got back on the bike, and tried again.
And weightlifting is the exact same thing.
Nobody starts riding a bike and is instantly a pro BMX rider.
Nobody starts playing the piano and writes a masterpiece after a week of practice.
And nobody goes into the weight room and deadlifts 400 pounds on Day 1.
Everyone starts with the bar.
Don’t you ever forget it.
One Favorite Social Media Post Of The Week:
Check out this incredible Hero’s Journey posted on Twitter from AF 1:1 Specialist, Patrick O’Connor.
I recently asked him to get more active on the bird app, and my guy came out with the FIRE!
It’s a captivating tale of redemption – he went from being overweight after a crushing divorce, to getting into elite shape, to working for AF, to quitting his 9-5 to be self employed.
Read how he did it, and shoot him a follow here:
I hope you enjoyed this edition of the Anyman Fitness N.W.A. Newsletter.
I’ll be back next week.
Hope you have a wonderful weekend.
One of the biggest shames of Biggie being murdered is we never got to see a collaboration with Biggie, Jay-Z, and Kanye West. Can you imagine? Watch The Throne could have been a 3 rapper collab… imagine Biggie laying a verse to this track… (NSFW – lyrics)