Author Archives: Luke

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3 Steps to Make Exercise Fun

Category : Uncategorized

Oh, the gym.

So many people dread the thought of stepping inside it.

They know if they want to lose weight or “get in shape” they need to suffer through some grueling workouts.

We have a real problem in our society today.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 70 percent of the population in the United States is overweight or obese.

Not surprisingly, we have a similar problem with how much we exercise.

According to a study conducted by Harris Interactive, two-thirds of Americans who make New Year’s Resolutions choose fitness-oriented goals (Harris Interactive, 2012).

Of those people, 73% quit prior to achieving their goal, citing it’s “too difficult to follow a diet or workout regimen,” “too hard to get back on track once they fall off” and “hard to find time.”

For so many, exercise is difficult to enjoy.

When many people think of exercise, they think it involves getting tired, sweaty and sore.

The thought of these three things can be scary.

So how do you make exercise fun and something you’ll do consistently?

1. Start small

Many people treat exercise as an “all-or-nothing” concept. Partially, it’s because people tend to set unrealistic expectations for themselves.

If people have 30 pounds of fat to lose, they think it needs to happen in the next month. If they don’t, rather than trying something different, they give up.

They’re either working out consistently four or five times per week or not at all.

When you begin a routine, start with something you know you can handle. Ask yourself if you can still do your current regimen one year from now. If you can’t, your plan isn’t sustainable and needs to be adjusted.

Begin by working out two times per week, not six.

2. Pick something you enjoy

If you dislike exercise, it’s probably because you associate it with something negative, like feeling sick to your stomach or sore from the workouts.

If that’s the case, don’t start by doing workouts that involve difficult things like running on the treadmill and doing burpees. If those things aren’t fun, don’t do them. I certainly don’t.

No matter how bad you want the outcome, you’re never going to achieve or sustain that outcome if you don’t enjoy the process.

If you don’t like the workouts you’re doing at the gym, you’re not going to want to do them long-term.

Instead, pick an activity you love.

If you hate running on the treadmill, don’t run on the treadmill. If you love riding your bike, do that instead. If you love team sports, start playing pick-up basketball or ultimate frisbee.

Find friends who want to do things with you and make it a social experience. Plus, you’ll have the added accountability.

I personally think everyone should participate in strength training because having a solid base of strength is important for everything you do in your life, including simple things like doing chores around your house.

But adherence is No. 1, and if you don’t love the thought of lifting weights, start by doing something simple like walking.

Walk around the block with a friend or while listening to your favorite podcast.

Just start somewhere. Then, once walking around the block doesn’t seem so overwhelming, walk around the block twice. Then, walk around the block three times.

The process and daily “grind” of working out should be something you enjoy. Only then will the outcome of losing fat or getting in shape happen. While there may be parts you don’t particularly love, you should be OK with most of it.

As a result of you focusing on the process day-in and day-out, you’ll achieve the outcome (looking and feeling better).

3. “Train” instead of “exercise”

When you think of training, you generally think of athletes going through a planned program to reach their long-term goal of making a certain team or reaching a certain level of athleticism.

When you think of exercising, you think of people doing various exercises to “get their heart rate up” and “get sweaty.”

Now, I don’t know about you, but training sounds a whole lot better.

Training is motivated by a “want,” while exercise is motivated by a “need.” If you think of exercise as an obligation, you’re not going to be able to sustain a routine.

When athletes train, they have a plan and focus on getting better over time.

So start small and build up your workout volume. Not only is gradually building up the amount of work you do in your workouts more sustainable from a lifestyle standpoint, but it’s also better to keep your body healthy and un-injured.

Have a plan, focus on setting personal records and keep a journal to track your progress.

If you’re doing a strength training program, start with something simple. Go to the gym two days per week and focus on just a couple of exercises.

You can start doing back squats, bench presses and deadlifts.

Start by doing three sets of five reps of each exercise two times per week. Begin with just the bar on the squats and bench press and a light weight on deadlifts. Then, the next time you’re in the gym, add five pounds to the bar. Repeat the process.

It’s easy and your body and mind will be able to gradually adjust to the program. You’re focusing on competing with yourself because you’re trying to beat what you did last time.

If you want to start biking, start by riding 0.5 miles twice the first week. Then, bump it up to 0.6 miles two times the following week. You’re focusing on beating your own records, but as a result, you’ll probably feel better about your overall progress.

Now that sounds a lot better than doing endless sets of burpees and hill sprints until you puke.

Reference:

Harris Interactive. “New Study Finds 73% Of People Who Set Fitness Goals As New Year’s Resolutions Give Them Up – Bodybuilding.com.”Bodybuilding.com. Bodybuilding.com, 28 Dec. 2012. Web. Fat Loss


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Complete Guide to Staying Lean While Eating Out

Category : Uncategorized

 

You’ve made it your mission to get leaner.

You fill your home with lots of vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, and all your junk food has found its way into the trash can.

You’re committed to eating healthy, but then disaster strikes – a friend or family member asks you out to dinner at a restaurant.

Crap! Well, there goes your diet, right? Wrong.

Believe it or not, you can actually get lean without needing to turn down invitations to eat out at restaurants.

And you can eat some quality and great tasting food while you’re there.

How is that possible? Read on for the step-by-step process to getting and staying lean while eating out at your favorite restaurants.

Read more HERE.


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5 Things to Know for Your First Show

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Have you ever thought about competing in a physique show, but the thought of dropping carbohydrates extremely low and doing cardio multiple times per day scares you to death?

Competing in a show can seem overwhelming, and you may have no idea what to expect. If you’ve ever considered it, I’m going to share five things I learned from training and competing in my first show that may help you get over the fears that are holding you back.

Read more HERE.


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5 Tips to Go from Average Joe to Swole (Plus Workout)

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You’re an average Joe or Jane.

You have no desire to ever train for a bodybuilding show or play sports at a highly competitive level.

You have lots of competing demands in your life such as work, family, and social obligations.

You’ve tried following the advice from all the popular health and fitness magazines, and nothing has worked for you.

In other words, you’re among the 99 percent of the population that just wants to lean up, build some muscle, and get stronger.

Now, designing a program for yourself is hard because much of the information you read targets high-level athletes and competitive bodybuilders who are the genetic freaks of the world.

Simply put, you need a different set of rules.

Here are the five laws of training all genetically average lifters must follow and a program that will benefit all beginner lifters.

Read more HERE.


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Synergizing Training and Nutritional Sciences for Maximal Muscle Growth

 

Why do some people possess the innate ability to pack on muscle and cut body fat on a whim, while others struggle their entire lives to create the body of their dreams? When it comes down to it, it’s all about nutrition and training.

We all know we must prioritize strength training, get our daily protein and even eat a few veggies from time to time.  However, what most people struggle with is the synergy between these two all-important variables.

Follow along as coach Luke Briggs literally walks you through the step by step process to customize your nutrition, improve your training, and coach you through some of the best muscle building exercises in the industry.

Read more HERE.


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Building Muscle: What Actually Matters

 

Type in “how to build muscle” on Google and you’ll get nearly five million results.

It’s no wonder skinny guys everywhere are so confused as to what actually matters for putting on size, and what doesn’t. You’ll read an article one day telling you to eat 300 grams of protein per day to add muscle mass. Then, you’ll see something the next day informing you to avoid taking in more than one gram of protein per pound of body weight.

One blogger tells you breakfast is the most important meal of the day. The next tells you intermittent fasting is the best way to go for gaining size. Who should you listen to? In the age of “information overload,” we’re bombarded constantly with bloggers, magazine writers, and YouTube personalities telling us what’s important for building muscle.

Everyone’s going to have different opinions, and many of them probably work. It’s just so hard to know what’s actually important and what’s not. Let’s take a look at four things skinny guys spend way too much time worrying about and what they should actually care about instead. Before I get blasted by readers, I don’t think some of these things aren’t important at all. They’re just not as important as you think. Focus on what matters, and watch your muscles grow.

Read more HERE.


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5 Muscle-Killing Mistakes that are Keeping You Scrawny

 

Are you struggling to pack on size?

Does it seem like you’ve tried everything, yet nothing you do seems to work?

If so, you’re not alone. Every day, millions of dudes across the world venture to the gym with the goal of getting huge, yet many fail.

Type “how to build muscle” into a Google search, and you’ll get more than 4 million results!

With so much information out there, it’s no wonder you’re confused.

You can build muscle a number of different ways, but there are certainly plenty of things you can do to completely kill your gains.

What are they?

Check out these five muscle-killing mistakes you may be making.

Read more HERE.


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7 Action Steps to Start Building Muscle Now

 

Does this sound familiar?

You’ve been trying to pack on size for quite a while now, but nothing seems to work.

You’ve tried bodybuilding splits, whole-body splits, supersets, drop sets and everything in between. Despite your best efforts, you still can’t put on a lick of muscle.

Why doesn’t anything work?

Read more HERE.


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Why I’m Training for a Physique Show

 

After spending years focusing on adding size and even dabbling in powerlifting for a while, I’ve decided to do something I never imagined I would ever do.

Later this year, I’m going to compete in my first physique show.

A couple of years ago, I wrote off the idea of ever training for a bodybuilding contest because I thought it was too hard and I would be uncomfortable posing in front of a large group of people.

Now, I’ve decided to tackle that challenge head on.

So what changed my mind?

Growing up, I was never very confident in myself, and I would never get out of my comfort zone because I was too afraid.

I was able to finally gain some confidence once I started building muscle. Since high school, I’ve put on 40 pounds of muscle, gotten my dream job as a personal trainer at a great facility, bought a house at just 25 years old and gotten married to the girl of my dreams.

If you had told me when I was in college I would have done any of these things by the age of 27, I would have told you that you were crazy.

If you had told me I was training for a physique competition, I would have probably laughed in your face.

Now, I’m challenging myself to do something I never thought I could do.

Sure, I will face many challenges along the way.

It’s going to be tough because I need to make sure I’m eating the right foods in the right amounts every single day. I also need to make sure I’m getting enough sleep and recovering from my workouts. As the competition gets closer, my diet and training are going to be even more strict than they are now. That means I’m going to have to make some social sacrifices as well.

I know it’s going to be tough, but it’s going to be well worth it because I’m going to have a physique I’ve always wanted and one that not too many other people are willing to put in the effort to have.

My progress in May 2016

My progress in May 2016

To help me, I hired a contest prep coach. It’s made everything a whole lot easier. Even though I’m a coach, I still need accountability and guidance. I think we all do.

(If you’re looking for guidance on your training, check out my coaching page)

What’s one thing right now you wish you could do but have never built up the confidence to try?

It certainly doesn’t have to be training for a bodybuilding show. It can be something like going for a job you never thought you could have.

Whatever it is, figure out what’s holding you back from achieving that goal. Are you scared to fail? Does starting it seem too daunting of a task?

Right now, I want you to write down one actionable thing you can do right now to move closer to that goal.

Using the job example from above, maybe that entails doing some research on what type of skills/credentials someone in the position you want needs. You could also reach out to someone in that position and ask him or her what he or she did to land that job.

Whatever you choose to do, make it really easy. You’re more likely to follow through if you give yourself lots of small, simple tasks rather than one large one.

As always, if you have any questions or comments about this post, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. My e-mail is luke@lukebriggsfitness.com.


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Can You Guarantee More Muscle and Strength?

 

If you can never seem to get anywhere with your training, don’t worry.

I’m about to reveal to you the most effective methods to see progress. We’re talking about bigger gains in both muscle and strength!

And you know what’s funny – these keys have absolutely nothing to do with training or nutrition!

I love reading self-improvement books because I’m always trying to make myself better.

Recently, I read Essentialism, by Greg McKeown. In a nutshell, the book discusses the advantage of being an “essentialist” – someone who chooses to focus only on things that are absolutely necessary to reaching major goals.

While the entire book is pure gold, in my opinion, one chapter in particular stood out to me.

In a chapter titled “Progress,” McKeown discusses a study that reveals the two main internal motivators for people:

  1. Achievement
  2. Recognition for achievement

McKeown elaborates that the “essentialist” always starts small and gets big results and also celebrates small acts of progress.

The “nonessentialist” begins with a big goal and gets small results while also going for the flashiest wins.

The concept makes complete sense. If you want to succeed, you’ve got to have lots of small wins along the way.

By creating small wins for yourself every day, you’re going to be happier and more productive.

A prime example of a way in which I took a “nonessentialist” approach was with my bench press. Back in college, I would try for a one-rep max all the time.

Instead of building up the weight each week, I would just randomly decide that day I was going to go for it all. More often than not, I would miss the attempt and feel terrible about myself the rest of the workout because I couldn’t improve.

Had I simply started at a lower weight and added five pounds to the bar every week, I would have had a much better chance of reaching my goal weight because I would have been working on improving my technique.

This is one of the reasons a 5×5 program works so well for beginners or for those who have reached a plateau in their training.

Pick a few compound exercises like the back squat, bench press, deadlift and military press. Then, start at a light weight you know you can easily do. Leave your ego at the door.

Let’s say you have alternate between an “A” and a “B” program and train three days per week. Your program would probably look something like this:

“A”

Back Squat, 5 sets of 5 reps

Bench Press, 5 sets of 5 reps

Deadlift, 5 sets of 5 reps

“B”

Back Squat, 5 sets of 5 reps

Military Press, 5 sets of 5 reps

Bent-Over Row, 5 sets of 5 reps

You’ll have two warm-up sets and three working sets for each exercise. Your “working” sets will all be at the same weight. A sample back squat workout may look like this:

Set 1: 95 pounds

Set 2: 125 pounds

Set 3: 145 pounds

Set 4: 145 pounds

Set 5: 145 pounds

Pretty simple, right?

Then, your next workout would look something like this:

Set 1: 95 pounds

Set 2: 130 pounds

Set 3: 150 pounds

Set 4: 150 pounds

Set 5: 150 pounds

You just lifted 15 pounds more than you did your last workout during your “working sets.” That’s huge progress. If you continue adding five pounds to your squat workouts the next 10 times, your workout would look something like this:

Set 1: 115 pounds

Set 2: 165 pounds

Set 3: 200 pounds

Set 4: 200 pounds

Set 5: 200 pounds

If you’re following the 5×5 template above training three days per week, not only did you increase the weight on your working sets by 50 pounds, but you also increased the total weight lifted on your working sets by 150 pounds.

And all that happened in less than four weeks!

It’s amazing what can happen over a long period of time when you focus on small wins every day.

Now, obviously, you won’t be able to add weight forever, but you can still practice progressive overload.

Sometimes, your sets will look like this:

Set 1: 115 pounds

Set 2: 165 pounds

Set 3: 200 pounds (5 reps)

Set 4: 200 pounds (4 reps)

Set 5: 200 pounds (2 reps)

In this case, you got 11 of the 15 reps for which you were aiming on your three working sets. So next time, shoot for at least 12 of the 15 reps. Keep using this method until you complete all 15 reps. Then, add weight.

Once you’ve reached your goals, give yourself a “mini-reward.” Obviously, you can always have ice cream and pizza or something like that, but you can also buy yourself a new book you’ve been wanting to read or get a new lifting shirt.

The possibilities are endless!

These rules apply also to adjusting your nutrition.

Instead of completely overhauling your diet, add one habit at a time. If you set up an elaborate 4,000-calorie diet for yourself to put on size, you’re only setting yourself up for failure.

You’re going to follow it for maybe a few days and then fall off because it’s really hard to make that many changes at once. Instead, focus on adjusting one thing at a time.

First, focus on eating a solid breakfast every day. Once you’re able to eat a compliant breakfast at least 90 percent of the time over a long period of time, add another habit.

By making changes that are so easy you can’t fail, you’ll be much happier and see greater gains. If you try to do too much too soon, you’ll feel like a failure and end up right back where you started.

TAKEAWAYS

1. Focus on progressive overload. Pick lots of compound barbell exercises like squats, overhead presses and deadlifts, and add weight incrementally. You’ll be constantly succeeding.

2. Keep a training journal. You’ll be able to visibly see your small successes on a day-to-day basis. Also, you’ll know exactly what to lift each time and eliminate any guessing.

3. Instead of creating an elaborate nutrition program for yourself, add one habit at a time and don’t change anything else until you stick with that first habit for at least a couple of weeks.

4. Reward yourself for accomplishing your goals.


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