I weigh about 100kg. First thing in the morning after a week. I’m heavy. In running terms, I am too heavy to run. But I run. Why? I freakin love running. I love that I am running when I am not meant to.
I have both meniscus torn, so every physio and orthopod (except my awesome brother) says I can’t run. When I rock up to the start line of an ultra, almost everybody pushes to get in front of me so that I don’t hold them up. I don’t blame them either, I don’t look like a runner.
I don’t train like a runner at all… But I am. Last year I placed 3rd and 4th over consecutive weekends for 55km and 45km trail races.
People say I am an anomaly or a freak, but I’m not; I’m no different to anybody else. The difference for me is that I know how to run more efficiently. To get the most distance for the least effort. And I’d like to share them with you.
So here are my 5 tricks to getting a better performance in your next run.
Don’t cross the midline with your arms.
Your arms should be pointing more or less in the direction you want to go. If you’re finding yourself swinging your arms left and right but going nowhere, just change the angle of the swing to be more forward and back.
Don’t run like a duck
Stand up out of your desk and look at your feet. Having your toes pointing outward it a very stable position to stand; but it is extremely inefficient for running. I call it ducking, If you run like a duck, you’ll go as slow as a duck.
Running with your toes pointing out puts enormous strain on your hips, knees and ankles. Aim your toes where you want to go, and you’ll get there faster.
Don’t dump through your hips.
I see a lot of runners doing this. On landing, you’ll tend to dump your opposite hip toward the ground. If you take a look at the picture, you’ll see the transfer of power from the ground travels right up through my hip and out into nothing.
To now take the next step means I’ll have to use my hip muscles to stand up straight. Watching someone dumping from the front kind of reminds me of how a gecko walks.
Keep your hips square when you land and you’ll be able to run much faster.
Land with flat feet on hills.
Forefoot running is quite the trend, but nothing kills calves like running 8 or 9 k’s uphill on your toes. Land with a flat foot and a shorter stride; and you can use uphills as a way of resting your calves. I overtake most people on uphills now, where before I would need to massage my calves on the way up.
The magic cadence
For me, and a lot of my running friends, there is a magic cadence somewhere between 85 and 90 beats per minute that puts all of the above into place for you.
Here’s a YouTube clip of what I mean, all you have to do is make sure your right foot lands on every beat. Depending on your anatomy, it will be somewhere around the 90 BPM mark.
That’s it, 5 tricks to making sure your next run is faster.
After you’ve done these, you’ll probably be addicted to running like me, so I’d suggest these 4 add-ons to your arsenal of running:
First ultra I did crushed me, because I never trained on hills. I just ran distance. Now, I run hills at least once a week. And I’m not talking a little 300m hill in your flat run, I mean the whole run as uphill. It’s a great way to train yourself to flat foot land, but not dump in the hips.
Believe you are a good runner
The thing I love about ultra running is the diversity of athletes. Quite often, women will beat men; older runners will beat younger runners. Why? Because running starts with the belief that you are a good runner. All the great runners I know, first came to the decision that they were in fact, runners.
If you’ve ever been skiing, you’ll know that coming down a mountain slowly is tiring. “Controlling the fall” makes your run much faster, and not so tiring.
Running is the same, you either work hard on the way down the mountain, slamming your brakes on every step, or you ski down the hill by leaning forward and dropping your butt out the back.
Mastering downhill running is dynamite on long runs. If you can “ski” down the hill, you’ll be able to use downhills as a recovery; not work.
I’ve always found it perversely funny that cyclists will spend thousands of dollars to save a couple of grams here or there on their bike weight. But they stop for coffee and cake. Losing 5 or even 10 kilos makes a phenomenal difference with running.
Thanks for reading and as always, we love to hear from you, so please drop us a line in the comments below!
PS If you want more tips, tricks and fitness hacks, Click here to subscribe to our mailing list
Just thought I would let you know, I managed to enter the Ironman 2012 at Port Macquarie. The 1000 slots filled up in 32 minutes from the time it opened.
Now the real training starts.
IvanFor those who haven’t heard of one, an ironman is the pinnacle of human physical achievement, people train for thousands and thousands of hours to complete an ironman (3.5km swim, 180km bike ride, 42km run). Imagine running a Marathon after riding from the Sunshine Coast to the Gold Coast, which you do after swimming from Maroochydore to Mooloolaba!
People get so excited that they get Ironman tattoos to commemorate their achievement.Well Ivan is going to be one of these people (not the tattoo though). Ivan will complete the Port Macquarie ironman and I have no doubt in my mind whatsoever. And you know why?
Well, I’ll tell you a little story.
Around 6 months ago, a very overweight man named Ivan walked into Stripfit, wanting to get results, a bit pensive about what it would take. Ivan had tried everything; crash diets, shakes, low carb, high protein, and while all of these had helped him drop some weight, they had failed to provide him with what he truly wanted – long term PERMANENT fat loss [sound familiar?]
Ivan also mentioned that he wanted to do an Ironman.
Now looking at Ivan (right), you would be forgiven for thinking to yourself “yeah right”. But at Stripfit, we have seen too many physical miracles
to be taken aback by such a seemingly audacious goal.
“Who are we to kill the dreams of others?” I ask myself on a daily basis. Our work at Stripfit only begins with fitness, what we love to sink our teeth into is uncovering the power within a person, the magnificence, the beauty. And this begins with a compelling goal, something Ivan
came with – prepackaged, ready to rock.
Ivan has been training with us every thursday night at 6.30pm with his equally inspiring son, Steven. Every week, without fail, they amaze and inspire us.
To date, the boys have lost 40kg each. And what is most interesting for you and impressive for us is that they have done it consistently. Every week, 1 or 2kg have come off on the scales. Not 10kg in one week, none the next; just a kilo or two per week. They haven’t tried to “break any records” as Ivan puts it, they have just changed their lifestyle and stayed consistent.
Sounds simple? It is… If you are Ivan. I mean the last 6 months have been a minefield of slobbery. We’ve had christmas, then the floods “we’re running out of food” [what a cool time for chip companies], then easter!
But even on these week, 1 or 2 kilos came off.
Ivan is not a show pony, and understands that there is no such thing as a “quick fix”. To get where you really want to go requires what we
call a “Mindset of Excellence”. Every day, in every way, living as though you were being followed by a camera crew, documenting your life for your great grandchildren to see and elarn from.
Ivan and Steven do this, and will continue to do this every day for the rest of their lives. It’s not a quick fix, it is a lifestyle, it is a life…
Character driven, not behaviour driven.
It’s people like Ivan who make me truly grateful for the job that I have. Within these walls, we experience inspiration in it’s rawest form. Every hour of every day powerful things happen in here.
Stay inspirational everybody!
I did a podcast on the Tradie Business Show and promised I'd send a workout program to the host for tradies. Julius and I decided we'd go one better and give a bit more.
This guide isn't just relevant to tradies, but to men in general. I'm sure you'll get some serious value from it.
Most other workers have non-physical jobs. They have to do things outside of work hours to increase their average daily energy needs, like running or walking the dog or some other form of aerobic, long, boring exercise. You get paid to move around all day. Therefore, you don’t need to do any ‘cardio’.
There is no point starting a workout or diet plan for a short term fix. Plan to create lifetime habits. There are 24 hours in a day. If you work for 8 and sleep for 8, that means you have 8 left. Fit some exercise in there and plan to do your exercise at the same time every day.
Most tradies I know like to get a jump on the day and start work early, so a workout after work, or after the kids go to bed (what my husband and I do) are viable options. I like to do it after the kids are asleep because they are then not a convenient distraction. It was weird to start, but now it’s a habit I feel compelled to do every night.
Don’t eat for hunger, eat for good health. We use an app called MyFitnessPal to track all the food we eat for the day. Better yet, we use it to plan our food for the next few days. It may sound weird if you’re a foodaholic, but we eat the exact same 4 meals every single day for about 4-8 weeks. Once the habit is built, it’s hard to break. A life spent chasing variety opens the door to gluttony. Pack your food into a 6-pack bag that you can buy online or from any supplement store.
Our food for the day is this:
Egg white pies
Pour a 500ml box of egg whites into a 12 hole muffin tray. Put a slice of tomato into each one, and as many herbs as you like. Bake for 24 minutes at the highest setting. I have 4, Julius has 8.
Large Aldi can of tuna in spring water, mixed with a large can of diced tomatoes (also from Aldi), cheap and organic
Julius eats this, I eat a banana.
Barramundi fillet fried in coconut oil (me: 200g, Julius 400g)
Asparagus fried in the same coconut oil until it is crispy (a bunch each)
200g(me) & 600g (Julius) of lean meat steamed/grilled with veggies or a salad
We eat dinner with the kids at 5 and then don’t eat anything, even after our workout.
Twice a week, we carb re-feed which we call a ‘metabolism accelerator’. Foods we carb re-feed on:
Sometimes re-feed turns into an all in madhouse feast. If this happens, just make sure you only eat carbs – don’t add fats into a cheat meal. Also, make sure the madness doesn’t extend for longer than 2 hours. To this end, we start carb load at 3pm, finish at 5 and make sure that we do our biggest workout after the kids are asleep – that way the carbs go to the right place – muscle, instead of fat.
You know that feeling when you run up a flight of stairs as fast as you can? Keep pushing for another flight and you get to a place we like to call “outside the comfort zone”. It’s when you feel like you have to lay down on your back to avoid dying. Every time you get outside your comfort zone, your body reacts by making your heart and lungs stronger. Get outside the comfort zone as many times as you can in about 15 minutes, and do it at least twice a week to turn your body into a fat burning furnace. Seriously, that’s all you actually need.
Some of our favourite metabolic sessions are:
Running light posts
Sprint from one light post to another, then jog the next. Repeat for about 10-20 minutes. When you start out, you may need to walk instead of jog. As you get fitter, you can sprint two light posts, and jog one.
Our street is about 100m long. Starting at one end, we run as fast as we can to the other end. Julius gives me a head start and then tries to catch me. If he catches me, he gets to slap me on the butt as he overtakes. Its like a romantic date…. hahahaha!
Do 50 burpees as fast as you can. It takes anywhere between 2 minutes and 8 minutes. Either way, it’s a very quick way to get outside of your comfort zone. We do ours in the lounge or in the back yard with the kids playing around us.
Full body explosive movements
Any combination of full body movements will push you outside your comfort zone. Think things like squats, push ups, pull ups, jumps, skipping, running, swimming. If you’re struggling for ideas, we’ve got a program called 8-week athlete that has 1 or 2 of these type of exercises per day for people who have little to no equipment.
Julius working out in the garage late at night.
So I can perve on you when I run past your job site. But more importantly, bigger muscles require more fuel on a day to day basis. If you increase your muscle mass, you will be able to eat more without gaining weight. My husband (Julius) can eat 5,000 calories and still lose weight because he has built a lot of muscle, and because he gets outside the comfort zone twice a week.
Julius’ current workout program:
Sunday (also carb day)
Lunge around the block (about 900 lunges with our block)
If you are still standing (which will happen after about 3 weeks of trying), do the following:
Squats – 3x8 wide legs
Squats – 3x8 close legs
Leg press – 3x12 wide legs
Leg press – 3x12 close legs
Leg extensions – 150 (break it up however you want)
Leg curls – 100 (break it up however you want)
Chest Width & calves
Bench Press: 5 sets of 12 (pyramid up)
Incline bench: 3 sets of 12
Dips: 3 sets to failure
Calf raises 5x15 straight leg
Calf raises 5x15 bent leg
Abs and Back
5 sets of crunches with a plate behind your head to failure
(Do not lift up into a sit up or it becomes a hip flexor exercise.)
3 sets side crunches each side
Deadlift: 4 sets: 10,6,4,2 reps (pyramid up in weight)
Chin ups: 50 reps (break it up as much as you want)
Bent over dumbbell row: 3 sets fail on each side (around 8-12 reps)
Shoulders & arms
Clean and press: 5x12 sets (use traps, not legs to lift)
Front delt raises: 4x12
Side delt raises: 4x12
Rear delt raises (very light): 3x8
Superset close push ups (make a diamond on the floor with your hands) with barbell bicep curls (against a wall): 5 sets of 8-12
Superset tricep rope extensions and dumbbell bicep curls: 5x12
Chest thickness and back thickness
One giant superset that goes like this:
Incline dumbbell press: 40 reps (10kg)
Bent right over row: 40 reps (10kg)
Incline dumbbell press: 30 reps (15kg)
Bent right over row: 30 reps (15kg)
20 reps (25kg), 10 reps (35kg), 5 reps (40kg), 5 reps (40kg).
Have a bit of a break and then reverse the pyramid with flat dumbbell press and bent over rows (on the bench). Challenge is to use the same weights on the way down.
Friday: Comfort zone training in the morning (no weights)
Saturday: Complete rest
Take regular photos - you'll get to a point where you have achieved, then look at a photo and see how much further you can go.
You can’t build one house and retire, believing you’re a builder. You have to keep building houses every single week for the rest of your life. Fitness is the same. You have to keep doing fitness things every single week for the rest of your life to be fit. Not just a 12 week challenge or a 2 week diet. If you are doing those, make them part of your long-term plan – please think about what you are going to do next.
If you have kids, remember that they learn their habits from you. If you’re smashing pies and drinking a six pack every night, they will do the same when they grow up. Except that they will do it with pride because they are “being like dad was.”
If you take control of your health and fitness, they will try to be like you when they’re older. Once again they will do it with a sense of pride, because they will do it with the memory of you firmly in their minds.
Sharny Kieser along with husband Julius have authored 13 books on fitness including the worldwide bestsellers FITlosophy 1&2, Healthy Junk, Fit, Healthy, Happy Kids and Fit, Healthy, Happy Mum.
The couple have 6 children that they travel the world with, full time as nomads. They want to teach their children that a life of memories and experiences is more important than possessions. Also, that there is incredible and kind people all over the world. Sharny is the high energy super mum personality in the couple. Julius’ often deep, philosophical nature is contrasted by his wicked sense of humour.
YOU might rethink that chocolate bar or can of softdrink if a new push to display the amount of exercise needed to work off food and drink on labels is successful.
Cancer Council Queensland have voiced their support for the idea which was first suggested in the British Medical Journal and so has fitness experts Sharny and Julius Kieser.
"I like the idea," Julius said.
"It's similar to cigarette packets showing the damage of smoking.
"People often don't realise how much effort it is to burn something off."
Julius said the labels could be particularly helpful in shining a light on foods that are labelled as healthy but aren't really.
"I think it should be on everything because some healthy foods are actually pretend healthy or healthy junk.
"It'd be a good basis for comparison on foods."
Julius was sceptical though on whether it would actually result in people making healthy choices.
"I think people who see that the chocolate bar they want will take 5km they might choose something else but it'd be if they were going to have a Boost Bar that took 5km they might instead choose a Kit Kat that takes 3km. I don't think they'll say I'll go get a cabbage. That'd be ideal but I don't think that'll happen."
WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THIS IDEA TO DISPLAY THE AMOUNT OF EXERCISE NEEDED TO WORK OFF FOOD AND DRINK ON LABELS?
JOIN OUR DAILY WATERCOOLER BY LEAVING A COMMENT BELOW.
What you're saying on Facebook:
Ash Man Nuske: "In the end, our bodies use a lot of calories merely to function just at rest. This paints the picture that you will need to do this amount of exercise to not get fat if you eat the product. It doesn't take into account the daily intake just to function at rest. It will only breed obsession and an unhealthy relationship with food."
Laura-Lee Stutt:" This made me chuckle. No more pizza for me, 27 burpees kill me
Eleah Jude Cregan: "I don't know.... But that Mc Donald's I had today was totally worth it."
Dan Sullivan: "People who have never done a burpee will not equate the effort of a burpee to calories."
Karen Campbell: "Awesome idea!"
Hsat Ttocallev: "Hell yes. Would make me think twice."
They're commonly used to bake biscuits, but the humble baking tray can actually help you lose weight.
Personal trainers and husband and wife duo Sharny and Julius Kieser have shared a video of a six-minute full-body workout - using two baking trays in place of gym equipment.
Mrs Kieser told Daily Mail Australia if the workout was done everyday it would only a few weeks to start seeing results.
Ab slider: Persona trainers Sharny and Julius Kieser have released a video that shows you how to do a full-body workout using two baking trays
Mountain climbers: The trays are placed under the hands or feet allowing you to slide across the carpet
Lateral slider: The workout shows a series of six exercises, including hamstring sliders, that are performed for one minute each
'You would start seeing results in a few weeks in terms of fitness,' she said.
'By eight weeks time you would have a major difference in body tone.'
And when it comes to working out at home, baking trays are just the beginning.
Hamstring slider: Mrs Kieser said anyone who did the workout everyday would notice a change in their fitness levels after two weeks
Working up a sweat: After eight weeks of doing the workout daily you would see a change in your body tone
Muscle mass: But Sharny says that when working out at home, baking trays are just the beginning
Bath towels, pillows, tins of spaghetti and drink bottles can all be used as workout equipment, saving you time and money on expensive gym memberships or weights.
The baking tray video showed Mr Kieser perform ab sliders, lateral sliders, knee tucks, mountain climbers, hamstring sliders and sliding lunges by placing his hands and feet in the trays and sliding across the carpet.
Each exercise is performed for one minute each.
Fitness duo: Mr and Mrs Kieser share workout videos and fitness tips online and have a number of books
Home workout: Use pillows or towels for an uneven squat (left), or a mop bucket for a bicep curl (right)
The video of the simple workout has since gone viral, with more than 46,000 views since it was uploaded on Monday.
'We have to try these when we are to broke to afford gym membership,' one person wrote.
Others voiced their concerns that a baking tray would scratch their tiles or wooden floors - but Mrs Kieser had a solution.
'People who don’t have carpet, who have wooden floors and tiles, you can use socks on your hands and feet to do the same sort of movements,' she said.
'You could even use hand mops and clean the floor at the same time.'
A common exercise performed at the gym is tossing a medicine ball from side to side.
Mrs Kieser said you could perform this exercise at home using a pillow.
'It's not about the weight ... but about the way you do the movement,' she said.
Body weight training: You can perform a pull up by hanging underneath the table
Training together: 'You don't need expensive gym equipment, you don't need a gym,' Mrs Kieser said
Towels or pillows piled on the floor can be used to perform an uneven squat that allows you to activate your core and leg muscles.
Another trick is to use tins of spaghetti or bottles of water as hand weights or to lay under the table and perform pull up.
'You don't need expensive gym equipment, you don't need a gym,' Mrs Kieser said.
Multi-tasking: Mrs Kieser is known for her fit approach to pregnancy and was pictured exercising while breastfeeding her two-week-old son
Transformation: The Queensland resident is a mother-of-six who previously gained 30 kilograms during pregnancy (left) before taking a fit approach to pregnancy (right)
Mrs Kieser, who is a 35-year-old mother-of-six, is known for her fit approach to pregnancy.
The Queensland resident has previously gained 30 kilograms during pregnancy, and plagued with severe morning sickness and post natal depression, vowed to make a change.
Through what she calls a 'fit pregnancy' - exercising regulalrly and eating well - Mrs Kieser said she had no morning sickness or post natal depression.
I'm in a men's magazine! Check it out:
I shaved my head and grew a beard. I wore black T-shirts and bigger hoodies. Then I took my first progress photo (I didn't want to). I looked at it for ages, all the while battling with the excuses and denial running through my head. "I'm busy with work" "I'll start next week," "nobody really notices," "it's not THAT bad..."
But it was bad, I was taking your run-of-the-mill, everyday dad issues and eating them. Along with a lot of other calories. I'd eat until I was sufficiently stretched to be satisfied, then be too tired (and full) to exercise. So I'd eat some more. Then I'd decide that I would start tomorrow.
In order to start tomorrow I would have to eat everything that I would miss, just in case I would "feel like it" tomorrow. “Get it out of the system" I'd tell myself. But I couldn't. Because the system is always hungry. Always telling me "one more, and you'll quit junk forever."
One day I put the kids in the car and they screamed the whole way home for an icecream. Or pizza, or bikkies. Because I didn't spend as much time with them as mum did, I had been buying them off with food. Then using them as the excuse for me to eat the pizza, the bikkies or the icecream.
They had become like me. Eating to satisfy an emotional need. I wasn't depressed; just stressed. No time, no energy. Always angry. Always on edge. Food took the edge off… But only temporarily.
Then I took the photo. Looking at it, I realised that I needed to be a better father. I was acting and dressing tough to cover my insecurities. Me, the big patriarch was at the complete mercy of food. I would take a bullet for any of my kids, no question. But I couldn’t put down a chocolate bar for them.
I had become food's bitch. But I denied it vehemently. "I am a man,” I’d argue with myself. “I can't be an emotional eater! Men don't do that! If anything I eat more junk when I'm happy."
But happy is an emotion too. I was stressed, but like every guy, I gloss it with a sheen of playfulness. And my 'fun' side was to eat. A LOT!
Then I said to myself, "It's just not fair to burden my children with my food issues. I created mine through laziness. I can't create theirs through MY laziness. At least give them a chance..."
So I started fresh. I did things differently. I prepared meals. I ate proactively, not reactively. I ate simple food with my kids and spoke about what good it does. I cut down on the bullshit and "flavour," I found simple was easy and easy food beats complex food and variety every time.
I cut out all my "trigger food" and learned everything I could about the mathematics and science of fat loss. I didn't trust 'concepts' or fads. Paleo, vegan, juicing were all concepts I’d tried and failed at. The concepts were too broad; they didn’t account for my appetite.
I needed to know that what I was doing would produce an exact result. I learned to calculate my fat loss in advance so that I would not be living in hope, I'd be living practically, mathematically and logically. I calculated calories and macros and ate the same food every day. I didn’t trust waiting for another Monday. If I messed up, I was back on the wagon the very next day.
I then set about repairing my relationship with my kids. The only times they had seen me happy was when I was in a food coma. I had selfishly linked joy to food for them. I had to show them another way. All children learn more from what their father does than what he says. So I began doing things that made me happy.
It started off simple. Taking them for walks and teaching them things. Growing up, I used to love teaching younger kids. I would spend hours teaching my cousins to tie their laces or to throw a ball. I started doing this with my kids and they flourished. Most dads do this. I knew to do this and I wanted to do this, but in the pursuit of financial security I had forgotten about it.
Not any more.
I started working out in front of my kids. Simple things, like pushups, burpees, squats, sit-ups and lunges. Anything that gave me the endorphin rush. I didn’t have much time, so I just went as fast as I could. I was unfit and fat, so most days I’d only work out for 2-10 minutes before I was on the floor, completely exhausted with a smile from ear to ear as my kids giggled and jumped all over me.
Pretty soon, they wanted to join in, so I started throwing them in the air and swinging them. They climbed on my back while I did pushups and I carried them while I did lunges. I got stronger. I got fitter. And with my pre calculated nutrition, my body changed fast.
It didn’t stop there.
What I thought would take years to repair had only taken a few weeks. I hadn’t heard the kids scream or cry for junk food since I started exercising with them. They did, however begin screaming and crying if I stopped exercising before they were finished having their fun. I didn’t mind. Through their persistence, they pushed me further physically than I had ever done myself. I only stopped working out when I was completely, absolutely exhausted.
Kids are the most amazing personal trainers. They refuse to believe your excuses, they throw tantrums and even try to lift you off the ground by your hair if they think you’re not done.
My kids have saved my life, they’ve showed me what’s important and it is my hope that every dad gets to link joy with exercise for their kids. Be that for their kids. So one day, they grow up and credit you as the reason they find it so easy to be healthy in this messed up world of greed and gluttony.
Since transforming his own life, Julius has launched a global program for dads who want to get fit too. For more information, visit fitdad.club
The difference between the photos above are 6 months and 16kg. It doesn't look like much in a photo, but I can tell you that for the first time in my life, people have asked me if I am on steroids, because I've gained so much muscle so fast.
This is going to be a long blog post - remember that I'm an author, so writing a short blog post is difficult for me! But I guarantee you will get something out of it. This is not one of those "I've never missed a day of gym for 10 years" bullshit stories that make you feel like you just don't work hard enough.
Nope, you probably do. You probably spend more time in the gym than I do. You probably go more often than I do.
Here's the first big clue, and it's about my sex life.
Most people, when they hear that Sharny (my wife) is pregnant with our 6th baby, say to us "geez, you must have a lot of sex!"
Well, the truth is, you don't need to have sex often at all to get 6 kids. You just have to do it 6 times. Ever. But each of those times has to be effective.
You can spend 3 hours a day, doing thousands of reps, lifting tons of weight and not gain muscle fast.
I'm convinced that I put on weight easily because I'm always getting beginner gains.
I'm fickle when it comes to fitness. I immerse myself into one type, like lifting weights, then when I've conquered it, I drop it completely. Gaining muscle is like that for me. My entire adult life, I've been around weights. But I just don't get the motivation to do it day in and day out for longer than about 8 weeks or so.
Partly because I get too big, and partly because I just get bored. So I move onto something else, like running.
But the fact is, the gains I get are always like beginner gains. Good quality, fast muscle growth.
So my first tip, if you're struggling to gain size, is to just stop going to the gym for a while. Do something else. Stay away long enough that when you get back you feel like a beginner again.
The photo on the left was taken at the end of the Fitdad program. I loved every single moment of that program, because it was the first time in my life that I had incorporated my two greatest loves - fitness and family. I lost a whole bunch of weight and ended up in a photo shoot (left).
FitDad is incredible, I've been blessed and lucky to be the person held responsible for so many dads reconnecting with their kids through fitness. If you're a fat dad with no time, I urge you to check it out. I guarantee you'll love it.
Until Fitdad, one of the things I loved to do was to help young guys to get bigger.
Wherever I’ve been in the world, it has always been around rugby. Every rugby player wants to get bigger. I have in my time helped a whole bunch of young guys pack on weight so they could play up a grade, or get picked up by a professional team.
While I was doing this, I helped older, skinny guys to just put on some decent size. Just so they could fill out their T-shirt or impress their more masculine physique onto their wives.
Check out this video from way back in 2010... Yes, our PT studio was called Stripfit.
The problem for me though, was that by the time I had helped each of the guys for the day, I was just plain burnt out, and wanted to play with my kids. I avoided the gym outside of work. Every now and then, I’d slip under the bench press between clients, or do some pull-ups, but mostly I just did nothing.
Then came FitDad, and I basically cut most of the fat off me, and exposed what was underneath.
For someone in the fitness industry, it’s like taking off your clothes and looking at what you really look like. You see, for male “athletes” muscle size determines your shape, once all the fat has come off.
While I didn’t have tiny muscles, I could certainly pick some areas that I wanted to improve on. (notice in the above photos how I never showed my legs?)
This, combined with a whole bunch of once-fat-now-skinny FitDads who had reached the end of the FitDad fairytale, prompted me to document what I’d learnt over the past 20 years of helping men get bigger.
Initially I was just going to “tell” the skinny dads what to do, I worked so hard to get lighter, and enjoyed running at such a light weight. I loved chasing my kids around all day, and I just didn’t think I had the capacity to put the time into physically fatiguing my body every night.
4 of my 5 kids are too young for school and don’t go to daycare.
To get bigger, you have to train to complete exhaustion and rest/recovery is essential.
It’s said you’re meant to sleep for 9 hours a day to get the right conditions for size gains. I sleep a maximum of 6. I’d love more, but I have to get work done while the kids sleep, so I get up at 2AM to work.
Getting fit GIVES you energy. You can survive on less sleep, the endorphins turn you into a cocaine fairy. Always high, always ready for a challenge.
Getting big, on the other hand, requires full concentration and full use of your energy. It burns you out.
I train in the gym at night after the kids go to sleep. I tried to train in the morning, but I’d be asleep on the couch by 9am.
So I’d get the kids to bed at 6PM, lie there with them for half an hour to make sure they actually were asleep. Most of the time I’d fall asleep, remember that this all happened in winter.
That delicious end of day exhausted sleep? I had to wake myself out of it every single night. While it was hard to get up, it worked out to be the best pre workout. By the time I had stumbled to the kitchen, I was ready to hit the iron.
You can get big and fat quite easily, but if you want to maintain some sort of definition, whilst gaining solid muscle, you have to split your day into two phases. The diet phase and the growth phase.
For me, the diet phase starts when I wake up, until around 2PM. I find I can stay pretty lean on food for the first 12 hours of the day. But by 2PM, I’m not only hungry, but I’m actually pretty sore. The DOMS is already there.
Back to the eating...
Until 2 O’clock, all that matters is that I have antioxidants (veggies), water and a steady stream of amino acids (protein). The protein came from eggs, left over chicken breast or BCAA, and sometimes a protein shake.
I am also very partial to Sharny's banana bread recipe, made with Banana flour (a really healthy resistant starch).
Calories are kept quite low. I wanted all the calories I ate to be put toward muscle growth.
After 2, it was time to eat for the nights workout.
I think of everything analytically. It’s how I’m wired. Here's something I think about all the time:
If you are doing a body part once a week, then that means you have only 4 opportunities to change that body part each month.
I really, really hated to waste any of those opportunities (still do). I know all too well that one of the biggest killers of a good workout is not having enough fuel.
So I ate a good, solid meal at 2PM, with lots of sweet potato, but no sugars, starchy carbs or fat. I would definitely include a lean protein source, for example chicken breast, tuna, beef round, barramundi.
By the time I worked out at 6pm, the meal would all be in my system, ready to be used.
If I was still hungry at around 4PM, I'd smash some oats or some more sweet potato.
With each of these meals, I’d have as little fat as possible, only what was in my meat and I cooked with coconut oil if I had to. Coconut oil is dynamite for fat loss.
Immediately after my workout, I'd have my post workout cocktail, then a massive feast of carbs and protein. Basically I'd aim to eat at least half my day's calories after my workout, and then go straight to bed (around 8).
At 2AM, I'd wake up, take a big ol' shit, measure myself (weight, gut circumference, skin folds and body fat), then go for a 30 minute walk or do some intervals to wake me up so I could work.
I made the following pics for you to save to your phone. It's my way of saving cash on some pretty heavy expenses. You can get pre made stuff, which is fine, but just look at the ingredients list to see if it has the right amount of each key ingredient. If not, you may need to buy a filler bottle of the missing ingredient.
This is a great way to get your pre workout to taste good, but still be effective.
I buy all of my supplements from the guys at Nutrition Warehouse. Their house brand is called Genetix Nutrition, and it's cheap. If you email me, I'll give you a code that will give you a 25% discount on any genetix nutrition product, plus a free shaker bottle.
save these photos and post them to instagram/facebook so you have them handy.
The pictures are quite self explanatory, but in case, LMM means Lean Muscle Mass. Dextrose is just brewing sugar that you can buy from the supermarket for about $3 per kilo.
So I decided I'd have a damn go at it, I'm going to see where I can get with what I know.
So I did. I decided I'd do EVERYTHING that I expected the IronDads to do.
At first, it sucked. I wanted to quit. I did quit. On the basic lifts, by focussing on proper form, I could barely lift a child’s weight. On the bench press, I shook like a leaf on 40kg at around 6 reps. (The tempo I find best is a 3010 or 4010.)
But worst of all was that I just literally couldn’t get my arms to let my chest do any work. I was so pissed off. I would burn out in my triceps, and my chest was still flat and cold. Like it wasn’t even being used. Because it wasn’t.
Still now, 6 months on, I have to concentrate really, really hard to get my chest to do any work. I’m getting better at it, sure, but it takes SO MUCH concentration.
Another thing that I sucked at was squats. I could do body weight squats or burpees at speed infinitum, but put a weight on my shoulders and I’d buckle in the knees like a baby giraffe.
In the past 6 months though, legs have become my favourite workout. It’s still not easy, I have to hang off the chinup bar after every single set and cannot do more than about 20 squats total before my lower back flares up too much. But I can report that last week I did a 180kg squat with good clean form, and then tried a 200kg squat.
If you look at the photos, you can see the difference that working legs has made. My quads are not good yet, but they’re better. I’ve purposefully trained them every 3rd day to complete failure and beyond for the entire 6 months. My calves are actually my favourite muscle to train - I do them every second night (alternating with abs).
I still hate doing abs. I don’t like the burn, but they feel harder, so that’s something. I know my abs have something to do with my back problems, so I’ve been working them quite hard.
This is how I do abs:
and this, when the kids are asleep:
While my body fat percentage has stayed about the same, it's a percentage. This means that I have put on fat. The illusion of being ripped is actually because my abs are just bigger, so poke through the fat better.
I'm hoping that by the end of my cut, I'll still have the bigger abs, but less fat - so they may some day look good. Hopefully!
I’m very fortunate that I didn’t get injured, but I know from years of training footy players that ego causes injury, so lucky for me in my home gym, I have nobody to impress. I also know that one of the limiters to size is the tightness of the sheath around the muscle, called the fascia.
Rolling out the muscles really, really slowly on a foam roller has helped me to reduce the risk of injury, as well as stretching the fascia. Try it yourself. Lay one of your quads on the roller with your full weight like the photo above. Then try to relax the muscle. Keep relaxing until you feel the quads separate.
It's a weird 'slipping' feeling inside the muscle, and when you're done you’ll feel like you’re resting directly on the bone. Now inch ever so slowly up (or down) while trying to keep your muscle as relaxed as possible. The pain is intense, but it radiates away and you’ll feel a million dollars when you stand up.
I really, really enjoyed the following:
I didn't enjoy this:
Well, it's summer here now, so it's back to FitDad workouts with the kids. I will do weights at night still until I get bored, and for now I'm not giving up on my supplement addiction!
FitDad is awesome, absolutely awesome. I really think though, that IronDad is my best work yet. There are subtle nuances to the program that literally turn it into a masterclass on fat free muscle gain.
FitDad is all about exercising with your kids, and being a better dad. But with IronDad, I had a clean slate to create the perfect program, using everything I had learnt over nearly 2 decades. I literally picked the best parts of the best programs I had created or used in the past.
If this is something you might be interested in, then go here... everyone who signs up gets lifetime access (for less than you would pay a personal trainer), as well as that massive NW discount.
PS it's not just for dads. While filming it and programming it, I thought about all the young guys that have asked me for help. IronDad is for anyone wanting to learn how to gain muscle, without getting fat or taking steroids.
If you see me out on the Sunshine Coast, Australia, I'll be at one of the playgrounds, or at Point Cartwright with my kids... I don't have a pram.