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‘Cuz the boys in the gym are always hard,
You come weak with your bench, and you’ll get crushed by the bar,
Knowing nothin’ in life, but determination and grit,
Don’t sweat me boy, ‘cuz you ain’t liftin’ sh*t.
– Eazy-E (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:
If you’re serious about your fitness, there are going to be times where you just need to “do you” with your meal planning.
A common objection I hear from clients is “my family doesn’t want to eat the healthy meals I prepare for them”.
This can be a tough situation.
I’ve been there many times before.
My wife and kids are both somewhat picky with what they eat.
I’m a guy who can eat meat and potatoes for every meal and be totally content with that.
Alas, occasionally the family doesn’t want to eat steak for the 5th night in a row… I’m not sure what the issue is… 😉
So, what do you do in that situation?
It’s pretty frustrating to want to eat a healthy, whole foods, home cooked meal, just to have your family whine because it’s not slathered in cheese and covered in ranch.
Should you beg them to eat the healthy food?
Skip the healthy food and make something your family will like?
Give up on your diet just because your family isn’t interested in your macro friendly meal?
Honestly, I suggest you do something different: I suggest you simply “do you”, make your meal for yourself, and make something else for your family.
Sure, it can be pretty annoying to have to make 2 meals, but in reality, what are your other options?
It’s some extra effort of course, but ultimately, you know you’ll need to make small sacrifices in order to get healthy.
This can be categorized as one of those ‘small sacrifices’.
It’s a minor thing.
But something that’s not doable?
Of course not.
You can take an extra 10-15 minutes and simply prepare 2 meals if you wish.
When I was deep in the process of losing 85+ pounds, I often made 3 meals, believe it or not.
My daughters were young (under 5), so they had a “kids’ diet” if you will.
And sometimes, my wife just wasn’t feeling the huge amounts of protein I was eating (she’s so silly lol).
My options were:
1. Beg them to eat my preferred food.
2. Forget my diet/game plan and eat the food my family wanted to eat.
3. Make 3 meals.
Only one of those options would work properly…
I had to just suck it up and make 3 different meals in order to get the results I was after.
I was a busy dude, too – I was teaching school full time, my wife was working 50+ hours per week, and I was starting to work on Anyman Fitness in its early days.
But it simply had to be done.
There was no other way.
If you’ve ever found yourself in this situation, it may be time to ‘suck it up’ a little bit.
It’s never totally smooth sailing to make a dramatic body transformation.
You’ll have to figure out a way to make things work for not only you, but the rest of the people you live with.
There’s no ‘rule’ that says “every person who sits down for dinner together must eat the exact same thing’.
Sometimes, you just need to be a bit selfish and take care of business, whether your family is on the same wavelength or not.
N.W.A. Training Tip Of The Week:
One of the most common goals for both men and women is to have muscular arms.
Everyone loves a solid set of biceps and triceps; solid, defined arms give off the impression that you’re strong and healthy.
I’d like to discuss a few facts and strategies you can use to build a set of guns you can be proud of.
The first thing to keep in mind is biceps and triceps are *small* muscle groups.
They don’t move a ton of weight.
With a deadlift, you may be deadlifting 300+ pounds.
With a squat, you may be squatting 200+ pounds.
However, with a bicep curl, odds are good you aren’t using very heavy weights.
In fact, I’ve been doing curls consistently for 7ish years by now, and I only use the 35 pound dumbbells.
The reason I tell you this is because bicep curls/tricep extensions aren’t a movement you can go up 5 pounds in every session.
Because of that, many people think they’re wasting their time.
It can take months, or sometimes years, just to put an extra 5-10 pounds on your curls.
That seems like a lot of work for very little payout!
I can understand why that might be frustrating and cause you to think it’s a waste of your time.
The 3 main components for muscle growth are:
1. Mechanical tension – keeping tension in the proper muscle throughout the entire range of motion (aka, the ‘mind-muscle connection”)
2. Metabolic stress – the repeated extension and contraction of the muscle, which creates a “pump-like” effect on the muscle
3. Muscular damage – doing “more” over time, which makes your muscles bigger (aka, ‘progressive overload’)
Progressive overload – #3 on the list – means to add weight, sets, or reps to as many sessions as you can.
But therein lies the issue… it’s virtually impossible to add weight, sets, or reps to every session when you’re curling or doing tricep extensions.
Those muscles are simply too small to make improvements each and every session.
Because of this, I suggest pouring all of your energy into the first 2 muscular growth components, as they’re easier to manage than straight progressive overload for a small muscle movement like curls and tricep extensions.
A few tips for you:
1. Perform each curl/tricep extension slowly.
Show perfect form. Use zero momentum and focus 100% of your attention on the bicep contraction/tricep contraction.
Squeeze HARD at the peak and really try to maximize your mind-muscle connection and use a proper, full range of motion.
2. Use the higher rep ranges – at least 12-15. This will allow you to get the proper training volume in to create a proper muscular response.
Sometimes the lower rep ranges work well, especially when you’re able to move substantial weight.
But this isn’t that scenario; we won’t be moving a ton of weight here.
Instead of worrying about putting pounds on the bar, focus on increasing your reps, keeping tension as high as possible, and getting a killer pump.
3. Use ‘tricks’ like drop sets, rest-pause sets, or extended sets.
A ‘dropset’ is when you perform a set of curls to failure, and then you drop the weight 10-20 pounds, and you do another set to failure.
A ‘rest-pause set’ is when you do 8-10 reps to absolute failure, then you wait a strict 10 seconds, and then you perform another set at the same weight to absolute failure.
An ‘extended set’ is when you try to make one set last as long as humanly possible. A possible extended set would be to try to make one set of curls last 45-60 seconds.
You can do this by drastically slowing down your tempo, or even using partial reps once you can’t complete the full rep – just be sure you keep constant tension in your muscle the entire time.
If you’ve been struggling to grow your arms, take the above tips to heart.
And keep in mind it takes a LONG time to grow arm muscle.
A VERY long time…
When I started getting serious about building up my arms, they were 14″ in circumference.
Now, nearly 7 years later, they’re *almost* 17″ in circumference.
That may seem like a big difference, and I’m proud of the progress I’ve made, but let’s be real…
My arms grew 3 inches… in 7 YEARS’ TIME!
Holy smokes, that’s a slow rate of growth!
As with anything fitness related, the people who will accomplish their goal of getting muscular arms will be the ones who take things day by day, have patience, keep the course, and simply keep plugging away.
If you want jacked arms, get out there and make it happen.
Ain’t nothin’ to it but ta do it, as Ronnie Coleman famously said.
N.W.A. Attitude/Mindset Tip Of The Week:
“Just wait until you have kids!”
Have you ever said this to someone else, in regards to your (or their) health?
This is one of the most common copes in fitness.
It’s an easy out, if you will.
Sure, it’s more difficult to get in shape when you have kids.
You’re no longer just living life for yourself.
There’s other, living, breathing humans who are relying on you to take care of everything in their lives.
And it’s just you and your spouse (hopefully) that have to take care of business.
And it never stops… those little stinkers will be around for the next 2 decades or longer!
But although “just wait until you have kids” is a common trope, there’s no rule that says it must be your reality.
I will admit my first year as a father had me just trying to survive.
As any new parent can tell you, the first year with your first newborn can be daunting.
Those little bundles of poop don’t come with instruction manuals.
Isn’t that weird?
I remember about to leave the hospital with Brooklyn, thinking, “I can’t believe they’re gonna let us take a kid home, we have NO CLUE what we’re doing”.
And I’ll never forget the first night, when we put Brooklyn down at 7:30 to sleep, and she promptly woke up at 9… and then again at 11:30… and then again at 2… and then…
It’s the toughest part of anyone’s life, hands down.
Your life is a blur of feedings, diaper changings, and just trying to make it through the day.
By the time Brooklyn was 1 year old, my wife was pregnant with child #2.
And I was starting to realize this was just going to be “life” for awhile.
We had zero social life.
We rarely went out, and when we did go out, we were always home by 8 pm.
We ate almost all of our meals at home because we didn’t want to deal with hauling a baby (or 2) to a restaurant.
It was right about that time in 2012 where I got really serious with my fitness.
Right in the middle of all that ‘new parent’ stuff.
It was tough, sure, but whenever I wanted to skip my workout and grab a pizza from Pizza Hut, I would easily snap myself back to reality.
I would remind myself of my “Why” – the 2, beautiful girls who were now counting on me to protect them, to guide them, and to teach them how a man should act and behave.
I needed to be “better”.
I didn’t want to be the 300+ pound guy with diabetes at my daughters’ weddings.
Instead, I wanted to be the in-shape, healthy, fit guy who everyone else wanted to be.
That may sound selfish, but sometimes, if you want to get everything you can out of life, being selfish is the right call.
If you’ve ever used your parenthood as an excuse to be out of shape, it’s time to knock it off.
There’s only one person who determines your health, and that’s you.
If you need some proof, below, you’ll see a picture of me back in 2011, and a picture of me from last week.
It’s worth noting in the picture on the left, I wasn’t a “fitness coach”.
Anyman Fitness wasn’t even founded until 2013.
I was a middle school teacher at the time.
With 2, young kids, and a wife that had a career as an engineer.
I was a totally ‘normal dude’.
I was simply determined to get into proper shape, come hell or high water.
If a normal dude like me can do it (an “anyman”, if you will…), then so can you…
One Favorite Social Media Post Of The Week:
Every diet that’s ever worked in the history of mankind follows 3, simple rules:
1. Eat real food (not processed/in a box/take out)
2. No snacking (structured snacking only/no ‘grazing’)
3. No liquid calories (protein shakes are an exception)
Start here first, always.
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.
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The track that lit the East-Coast West-Coast feud is the hardest diss track of all time. A big part of me wishes this song had never been written, though. Maybe we’d still have Pac and Biggie around to this day. (NSFW – VERY explicit lyrics)