As I returned to training from a long absence (and hope to compete in strongman and powerlifting at 40+ years of age) I've been lucky enough to meet some really smart people along the way – many of whom have encouraged or helped me in some way.
Perhaps the smartest – and most freely giving of his own knowledge, and even time – is Dan Reis, owner of DNA Fitness Online.
Dan is extremely well respected, both locally and in some pretty far-flung locations, for his coaching approach.
Whilst I'd initially gotten to know Dan as a guy from the gym who seemed to be making astonishing leaps in the three big lifts (Squat, Bench, Deadlift), it didn't take long for me to realise that none of it was an accident... his clients were all doing the same, regardless of discipline or sport.
When Dan offered me his help in designing a training block to help me with my goals a few months ago, I never expected much more than a few suggestions.
What I actually got was weighed, measured, mobility assessed (and helped with many aspects that have become a real challenge in recent years) and given a comprehensive routine with its own Google Sheet that I can use to update my progress after each set of any given exercise (I'm probably not the best at doing this in practice, I have to admit).
We'll add an example of spreadsheets with calories, macros, weights, rep ranges and volume to the blog very soon!
(Before and after Dan's mobility drills for lats/pecs/shoulders)
Dan's prescribed routine for me is VERY different than any split or protocol I've ever done before, but when we started he'd already explained that he was aiming to 'open up' my training, add a bit of frequency so that I'm not as stiff and sore for most of the week as I have been getting.
It's early to say what it's been doing for me – but watch this space.
Anyway, that's an introduction to Dan out of the way (please do swing by his site, Facebook or Insta, and have a look for yourself).
Just the other day, Dan sent me a Facebook message saying:
And I believe it proves a point! Dan's accompanying post reads:
Early this year I made a post about my views regarding training solely for aesthetics vs training for performance (in my case powerlifting) and having aesthetics improving as a by product of your training.
I believe it to be a healthier approach to consistent and long lasting training/lifestyle.
Over the past 14 months my training has been periodised to achieve optimal performance, going from high to low periods of volume and intensity, a steady calorie surplus (bulking/MASS phase) for the best part of 12 months.
I have just finished an 8 week "mini cut" as I didn't want to get heavier for the health aspect of things (and clothes didn't fit me..) and I was interested to see how much my "set point" had changed.
So far since last year I gained ~40kg to my total even after being injured for 5 months with a hip and knee problem. I'm not a bodybuilder and I'm not really interested in being "shredded".
To me, this is lean enough. I can't stress enough the importance of periodising your own training, understanding and trusting each stage of the process, but most of all keep a balance!
It seems I've managed to gain ~3kg of lean body mass which I'm really happy with! *SPONSORED BY BANANA BREAD"
And there we have it. I firmly believe that there's too much emphasis on the micro-aspects of training, when it comes to building a truly aesthetic physique... you're better off looking like you can perform – as a result of being able to perform.
Just like Dan. Watch out for him in powerlifting during 2017 – I have a feeling you may see more and more of his name!
Yours in Sport,