“Started from the bottom, now I’m here.
Started with just the bar, now my deadlift is gettin’ there.
Hittin’ 315 with no fear.
‘Bout to get to 405, those 4 plates are clangin’ here…”
– Drake (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:
Creatine is an amazing supplement – I’m a firm believer every human being on earth should be supplementing with it.
It’s cheap, tasteless, odorless, and effective.
It’s also the most studied supplement on the planet.
There’s no reason why you shouldn’t be taking 5 grams per day of creatine religiously.
There are some non-performance benefits of creatine, and the emerging research is promising.
Here is an article from Examine.com (the most trusted name in unbiased, scientific supplement research) discussing the benefits of creatine.
I’m intrigued by the brain function, sleep quality, and cognitive improvement benefits listed in the article.
But let’s be real – the reason *most* people take creatine is to improve performance in the gym, and to be stronger/have more muscle.
As such, it’s important to realize what creatine does, and more importantly, what it doesn’t do.
First, creatine is not a “steroid”.
This is a common misconception.
Creatine is a food byproduct. If you’re eating plenty of animal meat, red meat specifically, you may be already getting plenty of creatine into your system.
You do not need to “cycle” creatine. There are no adverse health effects from taking creatine daily (in fact, you SHOULD be taking it daily, with no breaks).
I have taken creatine religiously since 2015, and my blood work is flawless, if you’d like some anecdotal evidence.
But creatine in and of itself doesn’t cause muscle or strength gain.
What it does is help you eek out a few more reps that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to get if you weren’t taking creatine.
Creatine up-regulates adenosine triphosphate (ADP) at the cellular level.
ADP is a compound found in our bodies that helps us perform athletic endeavors (strength training specifically) at a high level.
When you have plenty of ADP in your system, you can perform better at high intensity training activities than you could without it.
Take a set of bench press, for example.
If you have plenty of creatine, and ADP (as a result) in your system, you might be able to get 12 reps at a certain weight, if you push as hard as you can.
Without the creatine, maybe you could have only gotten 9-10 reps.
Over time, these extra reps will allow you to make progress at a quicker rate.
If you are aiming for 12 reps, and each time you hit 12 reps, you move up 5 pounds, you will move up more quickly with creatine in your system.
And over time, that will allow more strength and muscle to be built.
But if you’re using creatine for more muscle, you must be showing sky-high intensity for it to work.
Remember, it helps you grind out a *few extra reps*, it doesn’t magically make you stronger (like an anabolic steroid would).
Just keep that in mind if you’re taking creatine and you’re not seeing the results you thought you would.
Ultimately, you will need to be giving it your all in order to fully enjoy the benefits creatine has to offer.
N.W.A. Training Tip Of The Week:
Recently, I’ve been experimenting with a new progression model in the gym, and I’ve been loving the results.
I got this idea from “Bow Tied Ox” on Twitter – he’s a good dude and a great follow.
Here’s a link to his account if you’d like to follow him and see his content on your timeline.
A “progression model” is a way in which you increase your weight over time when you’re on a training program.
The simplest progression models are “3 sets of 10-12 reps” or something similar.
Once you get 10-12 reps in all 3 sets of a given weight, you increase the weight next session.
Pretty easy stuff.
But there’s lots of different models you could choose.
You could say “3 sets with a total of 30 reps” and increase the weight once you get 30 reps across 3 sets.
This sort of a progression model works well if your first set you can get 12-13 reps, but you lose a bit of strength and stamina in sets 2 and 3.
Or you could say “once I can hit 20 reps, I’ll increase the weight”.
With this model, if you hit 20 reps in *any* set, you increase the weight next time, even if your 2nd, 3rd, 4th (or however many you’re doing) aren’t at 20 reps.
But the model I’m currently following works like this:
I aim for 6-10 reps in my first set.
This is my “strength” set of an exercise – the weights will be heavier on this set.
Once I’m able to get 6-10 reps in the first set, I increase the weight in that set only.
In my second set, I aim for 16-20 reps.
This is my “muscle building” set of an exercise – the weights will be lighter and I’ll “rep out” a bit more in this set.
Once I’m able to get 16-20 reps in the second set, I increase the weight in that set only.
You’ll notice with this progression model, the sets increase independent of each other.
Meaning, if I get my first set reps in the 6-10 rep range, I increase the weight in that set regardless of what I do in set 2.
And vice versa.
This can be a great way to train.
Some days you’re feeling stronger. And some days you have a bit more endurance.
But either way, you’re giving it your all in 2 sets per exercise, and then you’re moving on to the next exercise.
If you’re looking for a bit of a shake up in your training programs, or you’re stuck with the same old “3 sets of 6-8 reps” type formats, give this new progression model a try.
I personally love it, and it’s giving me great results.
Big ups to Bow Tied Ox for turning me on to this new style of training.
Appreciate you, bro!
N.W.A. Attitude/Mindset Tip Of The Week:
Last week, I told you about my issues I was having with THC addiction.
After being transparent on Twitter and social media about my struggles, 99% of people were supportive and appreciative.
I got dozens of replies in my inbox about people who were struggling with similar issues.
It feels great to help other people though the same sort of a thing – it’s therapeutic for me.
Sadly, not everyone shared that opinion.
I was attacked (bullied, more like it) by someone online shortly after I admitted I had had a problem and was working on fixing it.
I’m not going to link to the person who lashed out – that’s not my style.
Plus, I don’t want to give an online bully more exposure for doing something so vile.
The person called me a “ho”, and said I was “weak”, a “bitch”, and then mocked me and said to “go vape”.
Truth be told, I was shocked.
I didn’t know this person and I had never spoken to him online.
And he was a fellow fitness coach!
He offers coaching and fitness programs to other people.
Now, I’m not trying to get sympathy or anything – I’m good.
I’m secure with myself.
I’ve always been 100% transparent online. This has been both a good thing and a bad thing, honestly.
It’s been good because I get tons of messages from people saying thank you for “keeping it real”.
We ALL have our struggles, no matter who you are.
Mental health doesn’t discriminate – it doesn’t care how much money you make, what your job is, or the color of your skin.
But I’ve always tried to be myself, and not be fake online.
The internet has enough fake “gurus” out there and it doesn’t need any more, that’s for sure…
I’ve always tried to the exact opposite.
I don’t lie.
I don’t make up shit.
I don’t fake before and after pictures.
In fact, I do the exact opposite – I write and talk about the issues of the industry, and my own personal issues, with candor and honesty.
I’ve written about my own issues with body dysmorphia here.
I’ve talked about how dangerous it is to call yourself “fat” here.
I’ve talked about a friend and fellow gym bro who committed suicide here.
I’ve talked about how you should be kind to “New Year’s Resolutioners” and gym noobs here.
I’ve talked about my own insecurities and not feeling adequate here.
I’ve talked about unsupportive men and how to properly help your wife/spouse with their fitness goals here.
I’ve talked about how difficult it was to run a business while teaching and how I was failing as a father and husband here.
I’ve even talked about when my wife developed HELLP Syndrome while pregnant, and we almost lost her and the baby here (easily the toughest article I’ve ever written).
So, when someone talks shit about me, I ignore it.
I use the block button liberally online.
You kinda have to when you develop a decent sized following.
Ain’t nobody got time for that!
Especially not me…
I want to be fully transparent with you here as well.
When I was trying to get off THC, I ended up being in a mental hospital for a week.
Essentially, the THC withdrawl combined with high nicotine consumption caused a bipolar/manic episode.
After the episode had passed, and my head was clear, I realized what had happened, and promptly had a 2-day panic attack.
It was really bad – one of the scariest moments of my life.
Only my close friends, family, and clients know this, and now you do as well.
As I said previously, I have nothing to hide.
I’m fully open and honest with everyone, and that includes you.
That’s just the way I operate.
I don’t try to be anyone I’m not – I focus all of my attention and energy on just being me.
And if that ain’t good enough for you, no worries.
There’s an unsubscribe button at the bottom of this email – feel free to tap it.
I’m in the middle of writing a big (and I mean BIG) article on my experience in Havenwyck Mental Hospital, and it will come out in a few weeks’ time.
I’m about halfway through it, and it’s already at 9,500 words.
It will be more like a memoir than an article – a short story, if you will.
Mental health issues are really common online.
It’s just that most people aren’t willing to discuss and talk about them…
I hope you stick around to read the article.
I will send it out on a Friday, just like I normally do.
And rest assured, if you’re struggling with something, feel free to hit reply and let me know.
I’m a real life human being – and the human experience is something we all have in common.
Whether you’re willing to admit that or not. 🙂
One Favorite Social Media Post Of The Week:
Don’t try to “lose weight”, instead, try to abstain from snacking.
Try to make healthy choices.
Try to move more each day.
Try to sleep 7-8 hours/night, minimum.
Focus on your daily habits, and the weight will come off anyways.
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.
STILL a banger, 11 years later. (NSFW – lyrics)