Back To Basics, 3 Reasons you’re not going anywhere

Back To Basics, 3 Reasons you’re not going anywhere

So you’re new in the gym and not progressing, what have you been doing wrong? You have lots of fancy cable exercises, supersets and weird single leg movements that you can’t seem to get the hang of? What is missing?

Looking around at the people in gyms I am now convinced people are making up their own exercises or at least copying someone else who made up their own exercise. It seems to be the blind leading the blind, Chinese whispers in effect regarding exercise selection and execution in gyms everywhere. People need to realise a few things, one being that what someone does now in regards to training is not what they have always done or was it probably the most optimal way to achieve what they wanted.

“Time and time again in  gyms I see people wasting their time, trying to build “upper pecs” & “leg sweeps”. It hard to build those things when you have no chest or legs to begin with. At the other end of the scale we have people who are afraid of basic exercises due to unrealistic fears of injury.”

There are a few movements that almost any able bodied person should be able to implement into their training protocols,  however some trainers seem to be moving away from the most basic of training that should be the core basics of every program. Be it bikini, powerlifitng, general strength/fitness or even bodybuilding, these are the basic barbell powerlifts.

If you are physically able and your training program does not include some form of proper barbell training you need to be asking the question why? Bullshit baffles brains, however it does not give the best results, some trainers choose to constantly change exercises around and add fancy obscure movements in an attempt to keep clients from feeling like they can do it alone, however that is not optimal for client progression.





These are the most basic movements and should be taught to every beginner looking to set foot into a gym and better themselves. Granted there are extremes in the population that may limit these exercises from being incorporated however that is not the context here.


Whether you train with with dumbells, kettle bells or a shake weight at some stage even the most novice of gym members will probably be required to bend down and pick something up of the floor. Picking something up off the ground is one of the most basic movements you can do, so you best learn how to do it right without injury! If you are not deadlifting in the gym then there is a problem and you are being done a disservice. Even starting with the bar or a light kettle bell and gradually increasing weight is a start. Picking something up. What could be more functional then that?

Deadlifts are a basic compound exercise that work the hips,legs, back and core as well as a bunch of stabilising muscles.

“Picking something up off the ground, it’s one of the most basic movements you can do.”

285kg Deadlift GPC NSW State Titles 2013



Granted once again you are able bodied as well as picking things up off the ground you should also be practising squatting. Squatting is basically the magical exercise of standing up and down, sometimes with weight.

We sit and stand multiple times every day we might as well learn how to do it efficiently. Squats are another compound exercise that like deadlifts almost do everything. Hips, legs and core all cop a beating from a proper squat workout.

Barbell squatting holds many benefits over cable exercises and smith machine pseudo-squats. The ability to stabilise your hips and core during a dynamic movement translates to a lot of functional activities. As we age, the ability to properly stand up and down also becomes extremely important to help prevent injuries and falls. Squatting properly and safely can effectively be done by all gym goers granted they are shown and taught proper lifting technique.

“Squatting is basically the magical exercise of standing up and down, sometimes with weight..”


275kg Squat GPC NSW States 2013




If you are chasing upper body strength and have been avoiding dumbells and barbells for cable and plate loaded machines then you have once again been missing out.

Overhead pressing such as a military press or bench press as pictured below are the pressing compound lifts of the upper body. They work multiple muscle groups and have the ability to build great upper body strength. Some alternates and proper technique may be required for people who are prone to shoulder injuries due to individual shoulder morphology  however pressing should be worked into every upper body routine.


170kg Bench Press GPA Worlds Sydney, Australia 2014



Incorporating the powerlifts into a properly designed training program has a multitude of benefits from increased power output for sport performance to greater muscular hypertrophy when looking to change your physique. Make no mistake these exercises although form a sport are not exclusive to powerlifitng itself.

Avoiding the powerlifts in the gym is rookie mistake number 1 and quite possibly going to result in suboptimal progression through your training cycle, especially when inadequate replacement exercises have been selected in their place for the search of ‘functional strength’. Nothing is more functional then being strong every where. Get back to the bar and improve your training for the new year.


Consistency, Compliance and self Accountability.

Consistency, Compliance and self Accountability.

We spend a lot of time looking for optimal ways to achieve results. Training principles, macronutrient breakdown of diets, dietary supplementation. 

However we often forget the most important aspect in regards to results. 

Consistency, Compliance and self Accountability.

The most well thought out plan of attack if not adhered to will not yield results results. 

The number 1 reason for failure of dietary intervention is lack of compliance. Anything you can do to help compliance will result in a better outcome for yourself.

Think of it like an equation, in a sense your body is currently the sum of all of your lifestyle and dietary choices combines, what you do day to day everyday has taken you to this point now. If you want it to change then you will need to change what goes into the equation and that starts with the little things.

At the core of it, If you are overweight day to day then you eat too many calories and would generally do too little exercise by default. Now the reasons for this are many however at the root of the problem is this energy equation. For one reason or another your default pattern if left unchecked is to consume more calories then needed. If you want to change from this then you need to make conscious effort to dictate what you consume and how much work you do.

If you are underweight and struggle to gain then you simple take in too little calories, your default is to under eat or do too much.

You can not overeat and not gain weight it defies physics, you are not the exception to the rule.

There are optimal methods of diet and training however if you don’t make them part of your lifestyle then the equation that is you will not change. A plan is just a piece of paper until you put it into action.

Be consistent, keep accountable and keep working…

Correlation, Causation and Context in the Health Industry

Correlation, Causation and Context in the Health Industry

Many people confuse correlation (things happening together or in sequence) for causation (that one thing actually causes the other to happen). Sometimes correlation is coincidental, or it may be attributable to a common cause.

Recently on facebook I shared a link to a website that has been making the rounds lately on social media.  The website, pokes fun at the idea of people using Correlation in an attempt to prove a direct causative factor in events. As you can see from the website statistically the age of miss america correlates with murders by steam, gas vapours and hot objects. Most readers are likely to see that correlation has nothing to do with a causative factors in this instance, however what if the reader has little to no background understanding of a topic and both statistics are related? 8A-2013-09-16-NinaDavuluri-MissAmerica2014


Spurious correlations are all to popular among the health & fitness industry. They are often pushed forward to the general population in an attempt for someone to give credit or relevance to either an idea or to push an existing agenda. This is popular in all fields of the industry and is not simply limited to fringe groups.

Would anyone consider the following based simply on correlation?

1WZ6h Accepting a correlation as a direct causative factor can have devastating consequences. Lets look into the above example of causative factors of autism, one of the more recent and controversial that everyone should be aware of Is autism and vaccinations in children. For years people have concluded and protested based on a debunked and flawed study (that has since been retracted due falsified data) that the correlation of vaccination with the MMR vaccine in children equals a direct causative factor in the development of Autism spectrum disorders.


mmr The truth is proponents of the Anti vaccine campaign made the illogical assumption that if two things are occurring they must be related or one is causing the other to happen. By now you should be informed enough to know that this is not the case and not how you prove causation. If not continue reading, a 2014 Metanalysis concluded the following.

“Findings of this meta-analysis suggest that vaccinations are not associated with the development of autism or autism spectrum disorder. Furthermore, the components of the vaccines (thimerosal or mercury) or multiple vaccines (MMR) are not associated with the development of autism or autism spectrum disorder.”

And If that wasn’t the final nail in the coffin for anti-vacc proponents, Researchers at the University of California  have opened the doors with clear and direct evidence that  Autism begins during pregnancy before vaccinations are ever even able to be given to children.


How often do you hear of programs be it nutritional or exercise based being the sole cause of results for individuals? While it can be easy for some of us to see through promises and claims not everyone has the ability to apply critical thinking (aka bullshit detection). Fueling this is a new wave of pseudoscience that has swept the industry adding even more confusion. You see it daily on social media; new pills, exercise programs, clean eating, paleo, fruitloopatarians and other fad diets all making claims that XYZ is the cause of all problems and needs to be avoided because X correlated with Y. The problem with pseudoscience is that it walks like science, sounds like science but it aint science. Sadly people like to be sold promises and they relish in the idea of complex physiological processes being simple as either black or white, everyone wants the smoking gun! It simply doesn’t exist.

References & Resources;

Aldrich, J (1995) Correlations Genuine and Spurious in Pearson and Yule; Statistical Science  <> BMJ 2011; 342 doi: (Published 6 January 2011)

Rich Stoner, Maggie L. Chow, Maureen P. Boyle, Susan M. Sunkin, Peter R. Mouton, Subhojit Roy, Anthony Wynshaw-Boris, Sophia A. Colamarino, Ed S. Lein, Eric Courchesne. Patches of Disorganization in the Neocortex of Children with Autism. New England Journal of Medicine, 2014; 370 (13): 1209 DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1307491

University of California, San Diego Health Sciences. “Autism begins in pregnancy, according to study: Cortical layers disrupted during brain development in autism.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 March 2014. <>

Context, get some!

Context, If there is one word that should be thrown around more often in the fitness industry its this one. Whenever a general conversation regarding health, fitness or exercise comes about between people they usually involve singular concepts or ideas, suggestions.