What are my best numbers?  When do I change it up?  What can’t I eat?

What are my best numbers? 

 Your best numbers are reflected in the daily tallies of your workout log, and accented by comparing

 -% of 1RM increases in strength

-pounds-per-minute lifted

 -total pounds lifted

 -quality of movement progressions

 These numbers contain your ‘better by’ numbers (also known as the relative % of strength increase).

 The numerical totals or averages which you consider your best numbers is entirely up to you.  If you value a 12% increase in 1 rep-max  greater than a 2,000lb. increase in total pounds lifted, that’s OK!  All gains may be good, beneficial gains, and all measurements of strength may be related to one another, yet the answer to your question “what is my best strength number?” is simply the number which signifies the fastest, largest gain.

 Example: If I started squatting one  month ago, and the number I could squat for 1-rep without effort was 100lbs., I had a 100lb. 1 rep max.  If, in one month, I could perform the same movement with 130lbs., well  then i increased my 1 rep max by 30% in one month.  How that number stacks up against other gains is what will/will not highlight it as the best number.

 And any trainer worth their salt will tell you that all gains are good gains.  Unless competing in a strength or physique discipline, do not get hung up on how much better one number is than another.  That, is for the trainer to work on.


 When do I change it up?

 (Picture this)

 We are in the car, driving toward progressive overload: it is our paramount destination.

 -Multiple roads in?  Yes.

 -Are some paths quicker for myself or others?  Well, we create the resistance along the path by choosing the path, so in moving towards a goal, frequent quality assessments might behoove you.

 When exercise progressively overloads your body and creates adaptation to a stressor, the  numbers which provide proof of progress are rich with indicators of just how much stronger you became.  A 5lb increase may be as much as a 33% intensity gain for someone who progressed from a 15lb weight to a 20lb weight.  Monitoring the degree of change provides a timeline for the fluctuations in ALL MANNER OF STREGNTH QUANTITIES.  A strength quantity is exemplified by speed, distance, 1 repetition maximum lifts, vertical jumping, etc.  These are measurements chronicling the act of moving against resistance, which is how I define ‘strength’.

 For the trainee who is stuck somewhere; did you chronicle yourself into a grinding halt or did you train yourself into a pit without noting any of the things you did, any of which could have been a factor in your relegation to the mullet bin?

 If you have not written down your workouts, or even recorded your physical composition before you began on the hard road to wellness, you are in the best place possible to walk away from everything you ‘know’ of exercise and learn how to train yourself.

 I train by teaching, I teach by presenting, I produce physical change by patterning, and the trainee patterns themselves further, through enthusiastic administration of exercise and recovery protocol.  As much of the growth is charted, as is possible.  Not every single meal or run can be 100% accurate on 100% of reports, but actions toward accountability surely set the user up for future bombast.

 Changing it up may constitute a single variations on a single factor on a single day of training.  Look at one factor: Load, Tempo, Tool and make a single change.  That qualifies as ‘changing it up’.  Switch the weight (load), switch the tempo (turn a kettlebell push press into a press), or the tool (use a pair of DBs in place of a bar), and you have successfully created a slight alteration that may help your body adapt to the stressors of physique and performance enhancing exercise.

 Before anyone training themselves begins to ‘switch up’ a ‘routine’, they should write down their lifts at a bare, skeletal minimum.  If you know someone like this, call


 to help them log their lifts.  Together, we can triumph over apathy and promote accountability.

What can’t I eat?

 Allow me this: I would prefer to look at a situation in need of resolve with a more optimistic eye.  By that, i mean, I would phrase the question: “How do these foods affect me?”.  If you even think for a moment that a selection of food is not going to ease the course toward your better body, your better performance/sleep/sex/resolve, you may have already answered the question.  Rather than “what can you NOT eat?”, ask yourself if the psychological and anatomical price you may have to pay after celebrating with low quality food is worth it.

photo-3Thanks again for joining me.  When you have read the previous two posts, you may be up to speed on what i’m going to detail for you here.

The numerical totals and averages from your workouts only bear meaning in a comparitive sense, that is to say, only the other numbers in your workout record can give them meaning.  A day of squatting 150lbs. for 20 total reps can be better, or worse, than any given workout prior to it.  The simple tallies you make when finished training a movement serve as the litmus test for your training.  Do your workouts indicate progress?  What an excellent question to ask with each logged session.

Questioning the methods and results you have selected can serve to both help and hinder execution of quality movements.  When a problem arises, I know I can wait until Dr. Mike Nelson or Frankie Faires are on the phone.  Yet, certain queries I present to myself, and at times finding an answer to resolve the situation quickly.  Other times, it will take me years to find an answer or a means of resolution to a problem.  Either way, I am better for it.

In your case, reader, there are questions you may ask yourself, and questions you may reserve for your coach.  Nothing precludes you from asking your coach, or your host, any and all manner of questions regarding physical transformation.  However, some questions may cause you to lose training time while waiting for an answer, and some you can hammer out on your own.

These are questions I encourage my clients to present themsleves with periodically:

Am I doing enough?  When will I start losing weight?  What should I eat?

And these problems I ask them to allow me to solve:

What are my best numbers?  When do I change it up?  What can’t I eat?

Here are reasons why I belive the user can answer the first three questions themselves:

Am I doing enough?

Inidcators of ‘doing enough’ are actually no indicators at all.  No news is good news, with regard to resistance training adaptation.  By that I mean: being sore or feeling like you ‘took it to the limit’ are not inidcators of progress or proper training.  Please do not think that leaving yourself debilitated by high output training sessions will enable a real transformation you can sustain.

When will I start losing weight?

I can only answer this question by asking you to ask yourself the questions any coach would ask.

“Did you follow the plan we drew up?”

When asked of onesself, could sound like this, “Was my food journal accurate?”

A longer list may look like this: Am I drinking too many calories?  Did I measure portions?  Did I skip a meal and go crazy later in the evening? Please know that I am not discussing tactics of fat reduction here, simply addressing the need of a user to be thorough and question themselves, their coaches, and their orientation.  To access a satisfactory outcome, you benefit from knowing where you start.

What should I eat?

If you have to think twice about selecting a place to eat/shop, or a type of food to order/buy, you may already have answered the question.  You really do have the sense to sniff out the best stuff, yet small factors may play big enough roles to turn you away from staying a positive course.  For example: Sweet potatoes and asparagus with grilled chicken breast.  Holy shirts and pants, that sounds like a great meal.  And there are folks who do not purchase said items because there is prepatory work and attention to tbe paid to the process of cooking.  What you should eat are items that you handle yourself and require as few ingredients/componenets as is necessary to make you enjoy cooking it and love how it tastes.  Also: if you keep a proper food journal you will know what foods make you feel good, and which leave you regretful.

Next installment: I address the coach’s responsibility to answering pertinent questions which follow good record keeping of training and nutrition.

What are my best numbers?  When do I change it up?  What can’t I eat?

In between now and then, find a new sport or vegetable and embrace it.

“Hi-Def English Premier Leauge football & asparagus/eggwhite omlette, please”