Noooooooow, here’s a little story I got ta tell,
About Coach J, a guy I know so well,
It started way back in history,
He founded Anyman Fitness in 2013…
-The Beastie Boys (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:
Today, I have a simple tip to help speed up your fat loss; especially in the summertime:
Eat more watermelon!
Watermelon is not only delicious, sweet, filling, and low-calorie, it has one of the best nutritional profiles of any fruit.
Watermelon is chocked full of essential vitamins, including:
- Vitamin C (21% of the daily recommended amount per cup)
- Vitamin A (18%)
- Potassium (5%)
- Magnesium (4%)
- Vitamins B1, B5, and B6 (3%)
Watermelon is also high in carotenoids (antioxidants) like beta-carotene and lycopene.
Studies also suggest watermelon *may* help provide cancer protection, improve your heart health, decrease your inflammation, and has a load of other benefits as well.
It’s hydrating due to the high water content and contains a good amount of fiber as well, which is crucial to your digestive health.
It’s fair to say we’re on #teamwatermelon at the Helmes house, as you can see from the above picture.
Bonus points if you lightly salt the watermelon!
I prefer kosher salt myself, but table salt works, too.
The sweet, watery, and salty combination will have your tastebuds squealing with delight.
Dang… I’m hungry now… brb, slicing myself a chunk as we speak!
N.W.A. Training Tip Of The Week:
It’s important as you age to be mindful of your own limitations when it comes to strength training.
While you’re in your 20’s and 30’s, you may be able to get away with regular and constant heavy back squats and deadlifts. You may even be able to recover properly from them well into your 40’s.
But if you’re finding yourself beaten up, overly sore, and with back issues, there’s no reason to be frustrated or upset – it’s simply time to alter your training a bit.
I used to be firmly in camp “everyone must squat and deadlift, bro” – especially before I started coaching others. I (incorrectly) thought everyone who was avoiding traditional squats and deadlifts was simply being a wuss.
But as I started coaching others, and I started getting a few “gym miles” on my body, I started questioning my own approach.
My thought process had always been if I didn’t perform traditional back squats and/or deadlifts, I would be missing out on proper muscle development.
In reality, I was misguided – nothing could be further from the truth.
There are 3, main components to muscular growth:
1. Mechanical tension
In layman’s terms, this means “the force which is placed on the muscle”.
There are a few components to mechanical tension, namely load (weight on the bar), reps (repetitions you perform), and time under tension (how long your muscles are feeling the force being placed on them).
Pro Tip: If you wish to maximize mechanical tension, the mind-muscle connection is important. Be sure you show perfect form at all times and focus on intensely contracting the muscle you’re working each repetition.
2. Metabolic stress
This is commonly referred to as ‘The Pump’.
The Pump is a metabolite buildup in the body caused by training. It’s that “holy crap, my quads feel like they’re about to burst after those walking lunges” feeling.
Often times, you’ll need to train in the higher rep ranges (12+) to feel a proper pump and get the full muscle building stimulus metabolic stress provides.
3. Muscle damage
When you train hard and push yourself to failure, in reality, you’re breaking down your muscle fibers at the cellular level.
After you eat, hydrate, and rest, your muscle will repair itself and be momentarily stronger than it was before you trained.
This is commonly referred to as “progressive overload” – and it means you always need to push your body just slightly harder than you previously did if you wish it to adapt and grow.
This usually manifests itself in adding weight to each session, but it can take other forms as well (another set, a few more reps, shorter rest periods, etc).
Did you notice what’s missing from those 3 components to muscle growth?
Yep. Nowhere does it say “thou shalt perform barbell back squats and/or traditional deadlifts”.
Your muscles don’t know if you’ve squatted or deadlifted.
They only know if they’re been worked out in a fashion which provides the proper muscle building stimulus and maxes out the 3 components I mentioned above.
So, if you’re not going to be performing those 2 moves, what do I suggest?
Honestly, I suggest you pick your poison – there are loads of ways to work your legs and posterior chain that won’t leave your lower back prone to injury.
I haven’t performed a barbell back squat or a ‘from-the-floor’ deadlift in many years. Performing them was making me nervous I’d injure myself, and I was often excruciatingly sore from loading my spinal cord in that fashion.
For barbell back squat substitutions, I would suggest a mixture of the following:
- Goblet squats
- Sumo squats
- Leg presses, leg extensions, and/or leg curls
- Lunges (forward, backwards, curtsey, walking, etc)
- Step ups
- Split squats (regular or Bulgarian)
And for conventional or sumo deadlift substitutions, I would suggest a mixture of:
- Romanian Deadlifts
- Hip thrusts (bodyweight, dumbbell or barbell)
- Cable pull throughs
- Kettlebell (or dumbbell) swings
Never let someone else tell you you “have to” do any, single exercise.
Proper strength is a function of your overall lifestyle and choices – one, single movement won’t make or break you whatsoever.
If you’re finding traditional squats and deads to be cumbersome, difficult, or intimidating, mix it up with some different moves that hit the same muscle groups.
You’ll find your training sessions more enjoyable – and isn’t that kind of the point? 🙂
N.W.A. Attitude/Mindset Tip Of The Week:
A few weeks go, I went fishing with a close friend of mine.
He’s struggled with his weight for years and considering my career, the topic of health and fitness came up.
I never bring the topic up amongst my friends, but naturally it tends to come up in conversation.
As we were chatting about his struggles, he made a comment that stuck with me:
“In January, my goal was to be down 50 pounds by the Fall.
Well, Fall is almost here, and here I am, fatter than ever.”
I could really sense the pain and frustration in his voice as he made that comment.
I knew exactly how he felt. He was feeling one of the worst feelings known to man:
The feeling of regret.
I know the feeling of regret well.
It’s been a major driving force behind not only my own fitness transformation, but in the growth of Anyman Fitness as well.
I regret a few things in my life, but perhaps my biggest regret is not taking baseball seriously in college after I had received a Division 1 scholarship.
As a senior in high school, I was 6’8″, 215 pounds, and a pitcher who could throw a fastball 85+ miles per hour.
Scouts were buzzing about how a few years of proper strength training and coaching could add 8-10 mph onto my fastball. I had high hopes I would be drafted one day and play professionally.
But instead of getting to college and spending my time working on my craft, I was way too concerned with the social scene around me. Instead of going to sleep early, waking up early, and focusing on proper nutrition and conditioning, I spent my time chasing girls, drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes, and staying up way too late for proper recovery.
My ‘glorious’ college baseball career lasted 2 years – I redshirted my freshman year and played in 4 games my sophomore year.
Upon conclusion of my sophomore year, I was told my playing time would be even less the following year, as they had recruited better players to take my role.
After hearing that, I quit the team and began my next phase of life.
I pretended like it didn’t bother me at the time, but the truth is, it was a horrifyingly embarrassing experience. I was the only kid from my high school to receive a full Division 1 scholarship, and everyone’s hopes were high.
I felt like I had let them down, my family down, and most importantly myself down.
And if I’m being real, I still do feel that way.
Even now, 21 years later, I try not to think about my disappointing baseball career.
It’s too painful.
Regret is funny like that.
Once you feel it, it’s nearly impossible to turn the negative feelings off.
Circling back to my friend… he was certainly feeling regret about his situation.
The good news is for him (and for you as well) is there’s a really simple way to make sure you never regret anything ever again:
Work as hard as you can each day.
That’s it and that’s all.
All you can do is the best you can do – and as long as you’re doing the best you can, you’ll never regret a thing.
That may sound overly simplistic to you, and perhaps it is, but I use this simple heuristic often to help mold my choices.
If I ever have a choice of 2 paths, and one path is substantially more work, I’ve been able to train my mind to recognize this, and purposefully hit the hard work head on.
A clear example of this method:
Earlier this year, I had a consultation with an app-development team to possibly create an app for my clients.
Upon talking with them, I sat down and realized this was going to be a massive reinvestment of capital, and if I said yes, 2021 wasn’t going to be a lucrative year for AF.
I also realized this was going to take a long time: 9-12 months in order to do it the right way.
And I was scared.
I wanted to say no.
It felt like a massive mountain to climb, and after all, I was doing “good enough”, so to speak, so did I really need it?
Even my wife said to me, “Honey, you’re doing great and you have lots of clients; do you really need the added stress?”
She honestly had a point…
But it was at that exact moment my brain realized “dude, you have to say yes or you’ll regret it”.
It was clear as day.
If I said no to all the hard work and the big reinvestment in myself, I would always wonder “what if”.
Every day of my life, I’ve had to wonder “what if” I had taken baseball seriously and tried as hard as I could at the sport?
What would have happened? Would I have been drafted? Or in the majors? Or a perennial MLB All-Star?
I certainly don’t.
And that’s the part that haunts my dreams to this day… I will never realize the potential inside of me for the game of baseball.
That time of my life has passed, and it’s not coming back.
So, regarding the app, I did exactly what needed to be done:
I took a deep breath, said “yes, sign me up”, submitted my first payment to the team, and we got to work.
(Full Access: Anyman Fitness – The App will be launching in the Fall; I can’t wait for you to get it into your hands.)
Time waits for no man.
If it’s going to take you 2 years to get healthy, or 3 years, or 10 years…. who cares?
The time is going to pass no matter what you do.
Even though 2 years seems like a long time, guess what?
2 years from now, if you’re the same as you are right now (or worse), guess what you’ll feel?
That’s right – there it is again:
You’ll feel nothing but regret.
And around and around in circles we go…
Stop living a life of regret.
Start living your life to its fullest.
It’s as simple (and as difficult) as trying as hard as you can each day.
The best time to plant a tree was 10 years ago.
The next best time is Right. Fucking. Now.
One Favorite Social Media Post Of The Week:
“The reason you don’t exercise is you see it as a chore instead of as a privilege.”
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.
Never underestimate the power of a good mentor.
Dr. Dre is commonly seen as the best music producer in hip hop history. When Dr. Dre is on the mixing board, nearly every song ends up being a banger.
Nowhere was this more evident in than seeing Eazy-E and Snoop Dogg go off to do their own albums under their own production companies without the help of Dre.
It makes business sense to produce your own albums (you’ll make more money), but the classics like Eazy-Duz-It and Doggystyle (both produced like Dre) were far superior to later albums from Eazy and Snoop.
When you have a winning formula, and an awesome mentor – they’re both worth their weight in gold.