Do I Need to Count My Calories?

Tracking your calories is the most surefire way to successfully change your body.  If you're trying to lose fat or build muscle you need to be in control of what you eat, and be accountable for it.

However, it's not always possible to track everything you eat.  

It's also possible that you might hate math and the process of tracking your calories may be too stressful for you.  

That doesn't mean you're doomed to failure, it just means you need to employ another method.

There's a simple way you can control your portions without counting your calories.

You just need your hand and the ability to count to 2.

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Patrick Henigan
Exercises You Should Be Doing: Offset Goblet Squat

I am a big fan of offset exercises.  It's when you perform an exercise with only one weight, normally only on one side of your body.

It's an easy way to make "boring" exercises more fun and to change the emphasis of the movement to incorporate more of your core.  They also force you to concentrate more on the movement as you don't want to fall or lose your balance.

The Offset Goblet Squat utilizes all these principles and has a host of benefits.

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Patrick Henigan
How to Do Your first Pull Up

Pull ups are famously hard.  They're so challenging that every underdog sports movie has a montage of the main character's pull up development.  At first they are an out of shape also ran who can't even do one pull up but over the course of one 80s song they become a svelt, contender who can bang out upwards of 10 pull ups.  Sometimes in the Russian wilderness.

Most people train pull ups wrong.  They think they are a purely strength exercise, so they load up a ton of weight on a lat pull down machine or try to cheat their way to a full pull up.

Pull ups are a skill.  You need to train the movement and the mental recognition of the separate parts of the movement. 

Yes, you need to be strong enough to pull yourself up to the bar, but you also need the physical skills to recognize what movements need to be completed in order to do that.  To be honest, most people are strong enough to do a pull up after 3 months of training.  They don't have the movement specific skills to execute a proper rep, or they freak out when they are hanging from a bar and have to overcome a mental hurdle.

Here are the only two exercises you need to progress yourself to a full pull up and to overcome the "sh*t I can't do this!" mental hurdle.

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Patrick Henigan
How to Survive Your First Month of Fitness

The first month of any endeavor will be the most difficult.  

This is simply because it is new, and the habits, actions and mindset required are new and different to what you are used to.  You’re going to be expending energy in new ways, and that can often be a shock to the system.
This does not mean the first month will not be fun, effective or enlightening.  It just means it will be difficult.  You will be sore, you might get tired and you might curse at us a few times.

In order to make your first month as easy as possible we focus on developing Healthy Habits.  


Taking the time to develop and reinforce these habits will make the rest of your fitness journey much easier, and ensure that you will constantly be progressing towards your goal.

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Patrick Henigan
22 AB Exercises That Aren't Crunches

Crunches are not the best exercise choice.  They are not optimal for your ab development OR the health of your spine.

This video details twenty two better options than the traditional crunch.  

The exercises included in this video will work your abs harder than 100 crunches and develop the athletic stability needed to have a healthy spine, and hips for the rest of your life.

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Patrick Henigan
How to Build Muscle: The Definitive Guide

A question I get asked a lot is “What exercise can I do to make (insert muscle) bigger?”

Most people want to be told of some magical, crazy exercise that will somehow perfectly stimulate their desired area in 5-10 reps and add 1lb of muscle per month.

As if there is an exercise Holy Grail they haven’t found yet.

I always disappoint them when I tell them the truth.

It really doesn’t matter which exercise you pick.

As long as you are stimulating the targeted muscle the exercise itself doesn’t really matter.

The most important factors that contribute to muscle size are volume, intensity and progressive overload.  It's about how often you stimulate each muscle group, how hard you work it and how much improvement you make with each muscle group that determines how big you can get.   

I'll define these terms for you as we go on.  At the end I'll show up how to put it all together to build the perfect muscle building plan.

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Patrick Henigan
Fix Your Bad Nutrition Habits

Whether we like to admit it or not, we all have bad nutrition habits.

You may eat something you love, and then feel guilty about it 2 hours later.  

That is a bad habit.  

It's like a smoker who is trying to quit cigarettes.  They want nothing more than to have a cigarette, and might mentally "need" it".  But after they give in to temptation they feel awful, guilty and less than themselves.

Why?

Because they have conditioned themselves to believe they need that cigarette, and are probably addicted to the nicotine.

Your bad nutrition habits are no different.  Here's how to identify your bad habits, and then how to change them.

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Patrick Henigan
How to Track Your Food

If you are trying to change your body in any way you need to track your food.

It doesn't matter if you're trying to add muscle and weight, or lose fat and slim down.  Tracking your calories is non-negotiable.  You must do it.  There is no way around it.

Calorie intake is the number one factor that dictates your weight and size.  It's so important that it can't be left to guess work.  You need to know exactly how many calories you need to ingest, and properly track those calories to ensure that you will hit your goal.If you don't track your calories you have no room for complaint when you don't reach your goal.  You didn't work hard enough, you didn't stay disciplined enough.  

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Patrick Henigan
A Smarter Way to Train Your Abs

If you're a beginner in the gym you shouldn't waste a lot of time training your abs.  Your time in the gym needs to be focused on being efficient and effective.  You need to focus on exercises and movements that will produce the biggest strength gains in order to reach your goal quicker. 

Spending 30 minutes deadlifting is unbearably more effective than spending 30 minutes wiggling around doing poorly executed crunch variations.  Bigger movements will burn more calories and make you stronger.  Focusing on doing stupid ab exercises will make your stomach sore, and that's pretty much it.   

All that being said, you can target your abs directly in a quick and effective manner.  You just need to be smart about their inclusion and add the right kind of resistance.

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Patrick Henigan
Posture Fixes that Won't Make You Look Ridiculous at Work

Bad posture is a position that hinders the natural movement and/or position of your spine.  It forces your body to compensate by limiting ROM or transferring force to another part of your anatomy.  For example if your hips slide forward on the chair it will make your upper back round, pushing your shoulders and scapula out of position causing you to look like the hunchback of Notre Dame.

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Patrick Henigan