IT’S ALL A GAME…

The horrible truth is that all of this fitness business really starts with a promise.

A promise to expect more from yourself than you currently do.

To hold yourself to a higher standard than you currently do.

To unapologetically and without a shred of compromise live the rest of your life as the strongest version of yourself.

I say this is a horrible truth because promises are scary. That’s why we have such a hard time keeping them with other people, but more importantly with ourselves.

This seemly gargantuan promise of committing to a better life isn’t actually one promise but a series of promises that you hold yourself accountable to each and every day.

And with that in mind, lets take a look at what I have come to refer to as the ‘Game of Promises’.

So, yes. It is a massive Game of Thrones rip off… but hey – I said I was passionate, not inventive.

And at the risk of belabouring the point, the ‘Game of Promises’ is also played for keeps.

Promises, if nothing else, are simply an oath of accountability. I have mentioned time and time again, accountability is the foundation of compliance. And compliance is the foundation of success.

No one ever got the body they wanted by accident.

But no one ever got the life they wanted by accident either.

In older and some might say wiser times, an oath meant everything. To break an oath to ones brothers, family, kinsman, or lord, would result in shame, banishment, and sometimes even death.

But the presence of a life built around oaths created an opportunity for amazing feats of strength and loyalty.

In Japan there is a story of forty seven samurai who upon the murder of their master, took ritual vengeance in his name, declared themselves to be Ronin (masterless samurai) and took their own lives in Seppuku. Rather than be dishonoured, and forced to serve another masters.

“The story tells of a group of samurai who were left leaderless (becoming rōnin) after their daimyō (feudal lord) Asano Naganori was compelled to perform seppuku (ritual suicide) for assaulting a court official named Kira Yoshinaka, whose title was Kōzuke no suke. After waiting and planning for a year, the rōnin avenged their master’s honor by killing Kira. In turn, they were themselves obliged to commit seppuku for committing the crime of murder. This true story was popularized in Japanese culture as emblematic of the loyalty, sacrifice, persistence, and honor that people should preserve in their daily lives. The popularity of the tale grew during the Meiji era, in which Japan underwent rapid modernization, and the legend became entrenched within discourses of national heritage and identity.”Kanadehon, Columbia University

Now, while I am not expecting you to have a death and dishonour moment each time you reach into the cookie jar for a boredom snack, lets get one thing straight.

You have not evolved far beyond these forty seven men, who were so committed to the promises that they made in life, they were wiling to fulfil those promises even in death. That’s powerful.

Their commitment to extreme ownership of their promises and accountability to their code of conduct was so strong, that people from all of japan, and indeed the world, travel to the grave site of the forty seven Ronin to pay homage to their sense of honour and duty.

It fundamentally comes down to sticking to all the little promises and expectations that you set for yourself on the daily basis.

Don’t accept less from yourself than you do from the people around you.

Want to start losing that body fat? Commit to the promise that you will eat well and move more.

Want to feel strong for the first time in your life? Get out there and do something that challenges you to be strong. And promise you wont quit when the going gets tough.

Want to be the best partner that you can be to your significant other? Then promise that you will work on tearing down the walls that you put up so many years ago that stop you from truly connecting with another individual on a truly open and vulnerable level.

Everyone wants to make the big change. Everyone wants to turn their lives upside down with the next fad. The next craze. The next hip thing thats sweeping the nation and day time television. But the truth is this – that’s not how it works.

It starts by committing to your promises.Laying a foundation of success that bleeds into your life not just in a macro sense, but also in a micro sense.

You have to throw yourself into the ‘Game’ daily, and choose to win. Because if you break those promises that you made to yourself, and lose a day of living as the best version of you – you chose that.

For my final words I want you the reader to meditate on a final thought.

“Virtuosity is not the art of mastering the uncommon. Virtuosity is the art of uncommon mastery of common things.”

Go forth and become virtuosos of the ‘Game’ in your own lives.

Live with love, strength, and passion.

Train Strong.

Live Strong.

Be Strong.

I’VE BEEN THINKING…

It’s been a while.

I’m sorry it’s been so long since we last talked.

It’s not because I haven’t had anything to say. And, it’s not because you’ve done anything wrong. It’s just… I’ve been distracted.

I’ve been trying to figure out my place in this whole training / coaching space. And, let me tell you, in an industry of millionaire charlatans. That’s not an easy mirror to look in to.

I think it was Nietzche who said that one should always be wary of looking in to the abyss. Because whether you like it or not, the abyss will stare right back at you. Well… I looked. And sure enough it stared right back at me. Leaving me with more questions than answers.

Now, with the added clarity many months of self reflection, meditation, and becoming intimately acquainted with Holly Hindsight (What a bitch!). I have come to a series of conclusions regarding my goals in the fitness industry – and they concern you.

So over the next few weeks, I am going to reveal to you some of my thoughts and meditations on the fitness industry, and where I see the priorities of Rebellion Strength taking us all in this crazy, mixed up journey.

  1. Education First –

Something that I have found astounding is that the more I look into the actual nature of coaches in the fitness industry, the more I realise that we are simply teachers.

For those of you who have suddenly begun the lengthy process of rolling your eyes at this seemingly grandiose statement… bore off.

For the rest of you, bear with me.

I’m going somewhere with this.

The reality is that while many of our academic cohorts will chortle under their breath about how “those that can’t do coach”. The fact of the matter is that whether we care to view ourselves this way or not. We as coaches are teachers to our clients. Who, for all intensive purposes, are our wards.

We are responsible for them and their development. And, if was are going to accept that role and responsibility. Then we also need to accept that, as with all teacher student relationships. There is going to come an inevitable end point to our time together.

This means that once your client takes their first steps into this new stage of life. The kind of person they are in this new chapter of their journey is a direct reflection of the impact that you have had on their growth as a human being.

So if you turn out a grown ass adult that has an adults bank account, but the nutritional self control of a five year old who’s been under dosing their ritalin… you my friend fucked up.

I don’t want to be part of an industry that puts the destination before the journey.

I don’t want to be part of an industry that’s happy to starve someone down to their desired bodyweight. But let them loose back into the dietary wilds with no tangible knowledge on how to actively keep themselves healthy.

I don’t want to be part of an industry that doesn’t take the responsibility of educating their clients towards becoming healthier people for life seriously.

So with that in mind – I’m not going to be.

I am going to stand apart from the crowd and actively put the education of my clients first and foremost. If that means that they reach a point that they don’t “need” me any more. Then I know, hand on heart, that I have done a good job. And more importantly, done right by them. Laying the foundations for them to move forward with a healthier relationship with exercise, food, and themselves.

It might not be good business to create a system in which your clients out grow you. But your students can’t stay in school forever.

I truly believe that if you keep growing and developing the value and service that you bring to your clients. They themselves will grow to the point where, while they no longer need you, they will still “want” you. Because you bring so much more to their lives than simply tracking their macros or counting their reps.

You provide for them a connection to something that makes them better people. Both inside and outside of the gym.

And that my friends, is something that is priceless.

Train Strong.

Live Strong.

Be Strong.

 

Demystifying the Deadlift

The deadlift is one of the most fundamental movement patterns in training to get stronger. I would love to tell you all the science behind why the deadlift is such a great movement, but the truth is that there are many articles on the internet that do this far better than I can. The real reason that I love the deadlift and work to get all my clients to the stage that they can deadlift properly is due to the fact that we live in a time where men and women are throwing their backs out picking up their kids or keys.

The deadlift, when performed correctly of course, is the most efficient way to pick something up off the ground. As such I tell all my clients that the movement patterns that they learn in the gym should apply to all of the movement they do outside of it. There is no difference in how I pick up my keys after dropping them and how I pick up 200kg. One is just substantially slower than the other.

So, the aim of this article is to highlight some of my pet hates in the deadlift and see if we can get your deadlift looking as sexy as it possibly can!

It’s and deadlift, not a squat! – 

During the eternal search for a braced and neutral spine, the most common fault that I see is people dropping their hips so low that they in essence drop in a squat whilst holding on to the bar. While your back may be flat, and yes you may be holding on tot he bar to deadlift. the fact is that you my friend are not doing anything that resembles a deadlift. The deadlift is a hinge movement, the squat is a squat. So many people seem get lost when I explain to them that they need to think of the deadlift as a hinge movement rather than a squat, which is understandable considering that both movements are very hip dominant in their mechanics. However, what I try to convey to my clients that the whereas the squat is an up and down movement, the deadlift is a push into the floor with the feet and a pull backwards with the upper back. The hips are just the hinge.

Start the deadlift in about a half-squat position with your shoulder blades over the barbell. If you start too low, the barbell will end up too far in front of your body, which causes you to literally hang out on the meat of your lower back,compromising your leverage. Thus leaving you in a much weaker position.

On the left we have a squat. On the right we have a deadlift.

On the left we have a squat start. On the right we have a deadlift start – Know the difference

Not fixing your base! – 

Foot position and stance is the most important part of the deadlift. As with building a house, you need to start with a firm foundation. The deadlift is no different.

Unless you are pulling sumo then start with a hip width stance and adjust as required. Very rarely do I see anyone whose stance is too narrow, but more often than not I see a base that is too wide. Not taking time to set your stance will affect not just the quality of your pull but also the positioning of your levers, putting you at a mechanical disadvantage.

Check yourself before you wreck yourself

Check yourself before you wreck yourself

Shruggin’ and Tuggin’ – 

Ok, so while I have referred to the deadlift as a pull through pretty much the entirety of this blog, that doesn’t mean that you doing anything with your arms other than holding the bar in place. Too many people engage the arms and their traps while pulling, and this leads to a really messed up pull.

The reason for this is that for muscles to engage and move, other muscles have to shut off. By shrugging the weight you are simply decreasing the positional stability and tightness of your entire body, which can lead to really bad injuries. Bear in mine that the most common major injury associated with the deadlift is a bicep tear. Don’t be the guy or girl who tries to shrug and curl 140kg. It will end badly.

Don't be the guy on the left

Don’t be the guy on the left

Too fast. Too furious – 

Ok, this one is well and truly my biggest pet hates. Don’t jerk the bar off the floor! Attempting to rip the weight off the floor is more often than not is a recipe for disaster, and the last thing I want is for you to feel the ‘aster’.

Now, there are special individuals who can, and do, rip the weight off the floor at incredible speed, but these guys and girls are freaks, and chances are you cant do it. Honestly though, don’t worry cause neither can I. Check out Dan Green putting the ‘rip’ in ripping weight off the floor.

You need to think of the initial pull like going through the gears on a car. No one would jump straight from first to fifth gear, and the deadlift is no different. Try pulling all the slack out of the bar by building power from the floor and prioritising position. Dan Green is one of the most dynamic pullers in the game, but what he does is so far removed from what most normal humans can do that to try and copy him is pointless. Yes be fast, but only as fast as you can maintain position.

If you have read this and recognised any of these as mistakes that you are making, then scale back, take your time and remember – deadlifting right can save your life!

If you feel your deadlift needs a little more hands on attention then get in touch via the link below to book your free deadlift clinic >>>>>>>>>

http://bit.ly/1rvbFHQ

Train Strong.

Live Strong.

Be Stronger

Hand care for athletes!

The truth is that the state of your hands says a great deal about you as a person. It is common knowledge that if you take part in the strength game that you are going to end up dealing with callused hands, torn skin, and being a little rough around the edges. However, this doesn’t need to lead to you having a sandpaper handshake for the rest of your life.

Chalk can only get you so far!

Chalk can only get you so far!

So what exactly is a callus, and what causes them? Well calluses are very similar to blisters i the way that they are simply a separation of skin layers due to friction, with a subsequent fluid build up underneath them. Once they have dried and hardened then they become full blown calluses. They are caused by friction against the skin by another surface. Calluses are common for workmen, rock climbers and strength athletes given the amount of resistance activity they have to undertake with their hands.

Short of a world record, nothing is worth this.

Short of a world record, nothing is worth this.

The fact is that skin trauma to the hands is an inevitable part of strength training, but while many like to view their calluses as marks of pride, the truth is that there is nothing beneficial about having hands like a cliff side. If calluses tear, they are actually pretty messy and can cause you to develop some mega rips in your hands. Tears to hands are some of the most common and most easily avoided injuries in lifting, and Rebellion Strength is going to teach you the secret of having strong, yet healthy hands.

1.Wear Gloves –

HA! Just kidding! Sort of…

If overly manly man says it, it must be true!

If overly manly man says it, it must be true!

2. Train your grip –

The truth is that the movement of the bar against the skin that causes a shift in the hand that leads to skin being stretched. The harder you squeeze the bar the harder it is going to be for the bar to move around in the centre of your grip. The fact is that a great number of lifters that I have seen in my time as a PT simply don’t understand how much force is actually needed to have a strong grip. More often than not I find myself having to use the cue, “choke the bar” to actually get my clients to engage their grip fully. Add more time under tension by adding in pause reps to help develop your grip and above all else – squeeze the bar!

3.Use Straps –

Ok, this time I am not joking. While straps get a bad rap as an easy way out of lifting big weights ‘correctly’, just like anything else if they are used appropriately then they can save your hands a great deal of stress in your workouts. I like to cycle the use of straps in and out of my workouts in order to give my hands a chance to recover while still getting in enough work to develop my lifts. People tell you that straps are cheating, but as far as I am concerned they are just a tool to help you get towards your goals faster and with healthier hands.

4. Actually take care of your hands –

Ladies are pretty good at this. So chaps, stand up and take note! There is nothing sexy about hands that can snag a pair of your best gals tights, so sort it out. Sack up and go into boots and buy a pumice stone. Then go into Lush and get a hand moisturiser than will absorb into the skin and help your skin stay strong. Bad moisturiser sits on the first layer of skin and isn’t absorbed into the other deeper layers of skin, these are what you wan to avoid, so go in and ask the Lush ladies if they can help you. Once you have these essential items get home soak your hands in water and use the pumice stone to smooth out your calluses. From there wash of what ever lose skin has been worn away and then moisturise your hands to make sure that the skin heals cleanly and smoothly. If the site where the callus was is jagged its just going to tear again.

The final form of a person’s character lies in their own hands.” – Anne Frank

Train Strong.

Live Strong.

Be Stronger.

Streamlining your business, your life, and your fitness!

I have been having a number of client engagements of late that have left me both baffled and inspired, and ultimately have lead to some what of a theme in my latest stream of content. Maybe its me and my lack of pop culture knowledge and general societal awareness- but when did we start making life so complicated?

The last time I checked as a culture we were all about ergonomics, streamlining and convenience, and yet all I see is that in our day to day thinking we are over complicating what are very simple issues. It is almost as if we are suffering from paralysis by analysis on a global scale. We have so many options, how are we meant to pick what is the right one? The fitness community is no different than anyone else in regards to being trapped in this cycle of ‘to choose or not to choose.’ As I have stated in one of my newsletters, which I invite to you subscribe to, I go into some depth regarding the shift in the role of fitness professionals, and how we have gone from being the keepers of fitness and health related knowledge, to being the distillers of publicly available information and, in short, are tasked with separating the wheat from the chaff in regards to applicable training advice.

This mass of publicly available information has left scores of people left dumbfounded as to what they actually need to do in order to lose weight, get strong, and generally live a longer, healthier life. Should you go low carb? HIIT training or Strength training? Do raspberry ketones actually work?

Ultimately we can keep complicating the act of getting healthy much as we want, but if you don’t get to the places that you want to be, then what is the point? I like to think of myself as somewhat of a training minimalist – I am all about getting the most results from the minimal amount of work. Ultimately I am a business owner and I am the other half a long distance relationship. I am a writer, and a socialite. I am a councillor and lifter. I am more than just a gym bunny and I have a life to live outside of the gym. For a long time I struggled with managing my business life, my personal life and my training. It wasn’t till I was introduced to two principals and what is known as 10X thinking by Tim Ferriss that I realised that the problem wasn’t my lifestyle it was me. I was overcomplicating things and not stream lining my lifestyle around my goals.

Ultimately I have three main goals:

1. Make my fortune helping others to become empowered through strength and knowledge.

2. Become the strongest version of myself.

3. To have a family that I can provide for without sacrificing my time with them.

If these are my goals, then I know that I have my end points, but the real question is, how do you get there? 10X thinking is essentially looking at your goal and asking yourself what is stopping you getting a ten times return on your investment. Or in my case, how can I take my  athletic and business 10 year plan and turn it into your one year plan, and a big part of that is focusing on these two rules:

i – Pick the low hanging fruit!

With fitness and business it is easy to get bogged down with the million and one seemly important tasks upon which you believe your business is founded, but the truth is that when you take a long hard look in the cold light of day, you begin to realise that the vast majority of these tasks actually lead very little by way of a return. In regards to business, how many of you go out there and start actively trying to change your life by adding more to it? Checking emails every hour on the hour, or trying to hand write all of your emails to give them a ‘personal feel’? I know I did, and the truth is that if you want to grow your business then you need to accept the fact that it is going to grow to the point where you either need to streamline the way in which your business run and accept simplicity and automation, or hire people and outsource these tasks to them. Both are valid options, but essentially allows you to free up more time to work on the what Stephen Covey calls the ‘essential’ and ‘important’ aspects of running your business.

The world of fitness is no different. How many of you have wanted to lose weight and get in shape after one too many years of abusing your body? I imagine its a fair number. So you go about adding in the stress of counting calories, the stress of having to prep your hundred and one fat burning supplements and juice cleanse shakes, rather than just taking a simple look at what you are doing and realising that rather than adding in more complications to your life, you should be looking to reduce the complexity of your situation.

Start but just taking the processed junk out of your diet. Then start exercising more, even if you decided to just cycle to work instead of taking the car. These two simple factors will give you far more sustainable results than any fad diet or supplement ever will.

Once I understood this concept fully I just looked at what was going to get me towards my goals the most effectively and simply. Streamlining my own training allowed me to spend the same time training, but get far more quality out of my investment in time allowing me to get do an all time deadlift PR of 220kg in my last powerlifting meet.

Some highlights from me and my clients

ii – The 80/20 Rule

The 80/20 rule was created by an economist from Italy named Vilifredo Pareto, and it states that roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. What this means in regards to your business is that roughly 80% of your profits will come from roughly 20% of your clientele. Pareto’s law of the vital few forces us to look at ways to maximise our time and minimise our stress by focusing on the 20% that bring you the most amount of profit, and seeking to replicate this select clientele throughout the rest of the business. Seek to find those who will value your product at a higher price point and seek to over deliver in terms of the delivery value. In Tim Ferriss’ seminar ‘Opening the Kimono’ he charged $10,000 dollars per seat. He also made his clientele fill out a large questionnaire to assess whether or not they where appropriate attendants for his seminar, and only accepted payment in the form of wire transfers, thus eliminating any from of debt accruement for his wannabe attendees. He filled out his two hundred seat seminar without anymore advertising than a seven hundred and fifty word blog post on www.fourhourworkweek.com. This if nothing else shows you the value of appreciating the impact of the 20%.

Tim Ferriss - Master of effective efficiency and potentially the most interesting man alive!

Tim Ferriss – NYTimes best selling author, master of effective efficiency and potentially the most interesting man alive!

Pareto’s law applies to your fitness goals as well. Focus on the 20% of your activities that are getting your the closest to your goals. This of course comes back to what you know the be the most effective in regards to you and your own personal training. I simply focus on getting my clients to clean up their diets in regards to eating whole foods with little to no sugar, and getting them to exercise more. We can complicate things further by adding in macronutrient ratios and macronutrient cycling, but the truth is that the whole journey starts with just getting moving and eating better. These two things give you the greatest return on your investment.

This has played out in my own training as well. I am currently committing to an olympic weightlifting focus in my training and as such I am doing what I need to do to get good at the olympic lifts, i.e the lifts themselves, squats, and deadlifts. I have gone from doing 5-8 exercises per session to doing 3-4. Sure, a few accessory exercises are thrown in here and there for good measure, but for the most part my training is just that simple.

I hope that you have enjoyed this blog and as always, please share the blog, please positive comments, and above all else, subscribe to my newsletter and follow me on all forms of social media.

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P.S –  I want to offer you guys a chance to change your training and change your life. Click on the link below to book in your complimentary personal training session and nutritional consultation:

http://bit.ly/1rvbFHQ

Train Strong.

Live Strong.

Be Strong.

Rogan Allport – Personal Trainer

The Daily Rebel – Snatches, misses, and offering a different perspective

So today was a very odd workout for me.

While I managed to make 76kg in the snatch my toy, I couldn’t stick it. What do I mean by the? Well, getting the weight overhead was sickeningly easy… keeping it there on the other hand was another matter all together. Truth is that I have always sucked over head, however, while I could simply chalk this up as another bad session, I actually looked at this from a different perspective. I chalked this workout up as a win!

The last time that I snatched that heavy I was 94kg, while at this current moment I sit at a svelt 88kg (194lbs), and while this may not seem like a big difference is weight, when you are performing something as technically demanding as weightlifting, then small changes in body composition and levers does play a huge factor. Also, while may max lifts have not gone up, e.g, my 1RM’s, my minimum weight has increased massively. I have gone from hitting 65kg 5/10 times to consistently being able to get 70kg up and over my head with ease on any given day. This positive outlook on todays training session was bolstered even further when I think about how easily the weight popped up over my head in regards to what that weight felt like only a few months ago.

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One day…

Training is going to be filled with failure, especially in weightlifting. So stop taking everything at face value and broaden your horizons when it comes to defining ‘progress’. There is more to success that more weight on the bar.

But enough wisdom, here is todays workout:

A1) SNATCH: 1X1RM / 3 X 1@90%

B1) HANG SNATCH: 1X3RM / 3X3@90%

C1) SNATCH PULL: 1 X 3RM

D1) SNATCH GRIP DEADLIFT: 1 X 3RM

Hope you enjoy todays training and, while I don’t know about you, I cannot wait for squats tomorrow!

Rogan Allport

The Daily Rebel – Front Squats, Push Press, and grit!

So the up shot of having the worst workout imaginable yesterday is that todays workout had to be better!

The lesson of this is this - Sometimes you need to just say f*$#k it and decide to be a bear!

The lesson of this is this – Sometimes you need to just say f*$#k it and decide to be a bear!

Needless to say that it was, but I was doing front squats, so how could I not have a great time right…? Squatting whimsey aside, this was a pretty good session considering I was tired and had to really dig deep to get half as far as I did – 130 x 3 as a top set.

Here was the workout:

A1) FRONT SQUAT – 1 X 3RM / 4 X 3 @80%

B1) PUSH PRESS – 1 x 1RM / 6 x 1 @80%

C1) STRICT PRESS – 3 X 5 + STRIP SET ON THE FINAL SET DOWN TO THE BAR

E1) PULL UPS – MAX REPS

E2) DIPS – MAX REPS

More than anything else, I knew that this was not going to be a world beater of a workout, but it gave my a chance to get over the mental drain of yesterdays non-event of a workout and get back under some heavy load.

That’s all for today Rebels, but never fear I shall be back tomorrow with a trouser splitting, t-shirt ripping accessory day workout. LETS GET JACKED AND TAN!!!!!

Train Strong.

Live Strong.

Be Strong.

Rogan Allport

The Daily Rebel – Cleans, hang cleans, and clean pulls, a.k.a – The worst workout ever!

Hey Rebels!

Well, I have to say it has been a long time coming, but today was the worst workout I have had in a very, very, very (did I say very?) long time!

In my mind, I looked like this... I didn't.

In my mind, I looked like this… I didn’t.

Here is what I had planned to do today:

Cleans and Jerk: 1 x 1RM (work up until the Jerk started to feel heavy)

Clean: 1 x 1RM / 3 x 1@80-90%

Hang clean: 3 x 3@90%

Clean Pull: 1 x 3RM / 1 rep every minute on the minute for ten minutes @3RM

Pull up’s: 4 x max reps

What actually happened was me failing left right and centre at weights that should have been easy, and not being able to stay co-ordinated through any of the movements.

My training delusion continued as I tried to pull like this guy!

My training delusion continued as I tried to pull like this guy!

However, while this workout may have been a failure, it was not a waste of time. There is no such thing as a wasted workout. You simply need to disengage from the over emotional attachment that you have to having a ‘good workout’. 

Just as the tide ebbs and flows, and the summer gives way to autumn, you are going to have bad workouts. As surely as death and taxes, it is going to happen. So learn to accept it and let go Even if you do everything right in regards to recovery and nutrition, you still sometimes perform less than admirably. So take it for what it was, a fluke, and get on with your training and your life. The worst thing that a bad workout can do is ruin the next one.

Train Strong.

Live Strong.

Be Strong.

Rogan Allport

Clean Pull: 1 x 3RM / 10 x 1 (1 minute rest inbetween)

The Daily Rebel!

18/12/14 –

Hey there Rebels. I am sorry for lack of posts over the last few days but I have been going through a number of personal issues that have prevented me from posting, so I will be giving you all the workouts I have done. I have had to make a number of personal choices this week regarding my personal life and also my career, and it got me thinking. We as people are the result of the choices that we make. There are no ordinary moments and how we respond to them dictates the kind of person that we are going to turn into, and whether or not that person is going to be extraordinary. As such, we need to always strive to make the decisions that allows us to develop into the person that we want to be.

A little know fact about me is that one of my favourite super heroes of all time is actually a side kick. Please bare with me, there is a point to all of this. Robin from the Batman series as own by DC comics played a huge roll in the development of not just my personality, but also my beliefs on the potential of human kind. When I say Robin many of you are thinking about a young boy in a red tunic, but that is not the Robin that I am talking about. I am in fact not talking about any singular Robin, rather, I am talking about the mantle of the Robin that has been passed down to four different young men who in their own unique ways have struggled to become, not only the Robin they could be, but the men that they had to be.

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All the Robins new and old

The first Robin was Richard ‘Dick’ Grayson. Orphaned at a young age Dick was a member of ‘The Flying Graysons’ and saw his family murdered before his very eyes. After many years as Robin he eventually left the Batcave to seek out his own destiny as Nightwing, a hero in his own right. Jason Todd soon followed after Grayson as the new Robin. Todd was taken in by Batman after being caught trying to boost the Batmobile and was a more aggressive Robin than his predecessor. Jason was eventually killed by the Joker, beaten to death with a crow bar during a mission gone bad. Jason later returned from the dead and took up the mantle of the Red Hood, acting as an enemy of the Bat Family before eventually returning to their side and leading his own group of heroes known as the Outlaws. Tim Drake was taken in during the time period that Bruce believed Jason to be dead and struggled with the combative arts that Jason mastered, and the gymnastic ability that was ingrained within Grayson, but became a fine Robin in his own right, and like Dick left that Batcave to become Red Robin, a greater detective than either of the previous Robins, some might go so far as to say equal to Batman himself. Last but not least, Damian Wayne, the true son of the Batman came into the fold as the lastest incarnation of Robin. Damian, as the child of Talia al’Ghul, daughter of Raas al’Ghul – the leader of the League of Assassins, was raised to be a killer. Mercy was a weakness that even at the tender age of 12 he could ill afford as the heir to such a mighty dynasty. However, due to reasons that I will not go into he eneded up in the charge of his father, Bruce Wayne, and took up the Robin costume. As Robin Damian presented a violent and bloodthirsty streak that none of the previous Robins, save Jason Todd, shared and saw Batmans view on killing as a sign of weakness, but he too learned what it truly meant to be a Robin, and wore the cowl and cape with pride.

These three extraordinary young men moulded so much of my life because I looked up to them as individuals who, despite their trials and tribulations, always strove to be better. Sure, they made mistakes. Their mistakes cost lives, but it never ended their pursuit to be the best that they could be, not just as Robins, but as men. All of the Robins, save Damian, eventually went off to lead their own lives but they did so not because they sought freedom from the Robin mantle, but because they knew that to honour Robin they had to move forward and become heroes. There must always be a Robin to keep Batman grounded in reality, and to show him that he is not alone in the fight, but more than that he acts as a symbol that, while the Batman has never been able to move past the murder of his family, resulting in his drive to complete his mission no matter the cost, this need not be the case for them.

They can move past the circumstances that threw them into the life of a Robin, and become strong enough to not out grow the cowl and cape of a Robin, but to let it go and pass it on to the next generation. A Robin is someone who can show hope to the readers of the Batman series that no matter how dark the times you go through, no matter how hard the decisions that you have to make, when you make the decision that allows you to become a stronger and better person, you will make it through and be reborn. In many ways, I believe it shows us that there is hope for all of us, even the Batman.


Workout 1: Squats

Back squat

– Work up to a max – strip down and work up to a beltless top set of 5

Pull ups

– 4 x max reps + 1 x max reps strip set of lat pull downs

Leg extension

– 4 x 8 + 1 x max reps strip set

Dips

– 4 x max reps

Ab roll outs

– 4 x max reps (30 seconds rest in between)


Workout 2: Bench Press

Bench Press

– Work up to a 3RM

– 4 x 2 @ 3RM

– 4 x max reps close grip @ 50%

Single arm press

– 5 x 10

Dips

– 4 x max reps

Tricep Push down

– 5 x 10 + 1 x strip set

Banded pull apart 

– 1 x 100


Workout 3: Deadlift

Conventional Deadlift

– work up to a 3RM

– 1 rep EMOM x 10 minutes @ 3RM

Shrugs

– 5 x 10

Bent over rows

– 5 x max reps

Pull ups

– 3 x max reps


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