5 myths on sleep BUSTED

I will be the first to admit I used to preach a lot of 'facts' about sleep.

After some more research and talk with experts I now know they are simply wrong or exaggerated. 

It's always hard to hear the truth about a supplement, gadget or routine you believed was helping you sleep when in reality was doing nothing.

Thankfully I didn't lose lots of money...

But I did lose valuable sleep and time (tired = low productivity).

So here are the top 5 myths I used to believe in but I now know are simply not true...

1. Alcohol is a useful sleep aid

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Studies on alcohol and sleep have reliably showed two things. 
One.
You do in fact fall asleep faster.
Positive? Maybe.

Two.
Alcohol greatly disrupts REM sleep. This negatively effects your brain, cutting off it's regenerative process. 


2. The only way to get health benefits from the sun is on your exposed skin

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Vitamin D is created between the interaction of your exposed skin and the sun.
However this is only 1 important benefit from the sun. 

If you're thinking...
I'm in a suit I can't go out and get any sun today so what is the point. 

This is where you are making a big mistake.

The interaction between your eyes and sun light is a crucial process which needs to happen regularly in order to regulate your bodies hormones. 

At what time of day and how often are also critically important.


3. Any light before bed is bad

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Once the sun goes down all lights should go off. This is the best case scenario but in reality the most unlikely.

So are all lights bad?
No.

The spectrum between red and blue light is very important to know because by choosing the right end of the spectrum you still can have lights on and fall asleep naturally. 
 

4. Sleeping on your back is the best position 

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You may have been told sleeping on your back  is the optimal position.

The real answer is...
It depends. 

Knowing how to individualise your sleeping position for your body type and mattress is critical to having healthy aligned joints, unrestricted airways and deeper sleeps.
 

5. 8 hours is the optimal amount of sleep

It's not the hours you need to be counting but the cycles of sleep.

Ever heard the term... 
"It is not the length of life but the depth of life"?

This is key when it comes to your sleep cycles. Get the minimum amount of cycles and make sure they count.

 

Register here for the sleep strong 8 week challenge:


 https://goo.gl/forms/gA5mlHhVYmqzHngs2

Squat more weight with these 5 key exercises

If you are...
 

  1. Squatting heavy 4+ times per week 
  2. Constantly changing squat programs
  3. Making little to no progress
  4. Suffering from hip or knee pain in squatting

 

Then READ ON because this article is for you.

 

Below are 5 critical exercises when programmed properly into a well structured weekly periodised program you will:

  1. Develop a more upright squatting technique
  2. Build strength evenly in the quads and posterior muscles
  3. Easily put 10kg on your squat


There is however...


A sweet science to putting it all together. We do this tactfully at Creature but make sure if you're doing it yourself to do it right! Make sure you watch the video after you read the exercises.

 

1. Tempo Squats

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Why?

Developing strength through a full range of motion is critical to confidence and overall strength. Controlling a heavy weight in weak positions quickly removes the areas which often hold people back. 

2. Cyclist Squats

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Why?

This position overloads the quads to help develop more upright squatting strength. If you often fold over under squats this can be due to underdeveloped quads and overdeveloped hamstrings and glutes.

3. Box Squats

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Why?

By limiting your range of motion and taking a wider stance you can expose two things. Firstly a wider squat will hit different muscle groups which may be under developed. Second and most important with a limited range you can overload the movement.
Overload allows for the body to produce an exponentially higher amount of force than it usually would be able to handle. 
This means getting stronger faster.

4. Rear foot elevated Split Squats

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Why?

Any complete program has unilateral lower body strength training. The RFESS gives you the most bang for your buck by challenging balance, strength and muscle endurance. If you've got 'weak glutes you need this exercise.

5. Squat less, rest hard

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Why?

In order to adapt and be anabolic (build muscle and strength) we need to be resting. This mean sleeping between the hours of 10pm-2am and getting in a minimum of five 90 min sleep cycles. 
Reducing stress through meditation and walking also is a big part of recovery which can lead to bigger gains realised under the bar.

Watch the video to see demonstrations of each movement.

Want to see more ways to get strong and improve performance?

Check out our PERFORMANCE LIBRARY

The 3 best and worst training programs to make you a Ninja Warrior.

Hitting Australian screens this week is the international sensation Ninja Warrior.

The show’s mission is to search the globe country by country to test and find the best Ninja Warriors.
 

To be a Ninja Warrior contestants have to conquer a simple but difficult obstacle course testing elements of grip strength, agility and balance.

What’s most exciting about the show is seeing how the varied athletic backgrounds fair on the obstacle course.
Hundreds of seemingly ‘fit and capable’ contestants are subjected to nation-wide humiliation as their failed attempt and subsequent ‘wipe out’ is replayed countless times.

It’s very likely...

You are wondering to yourself…


If I was to go on Ninja Warrior what training program would have me most prepared to conquer the course?

 

After 3 episodes here’s what we know… (for a fact)

 

The 3 least capable contestants…

 

1. Bodybuilders

 

They look incredible but at the best of times are underwhelming.

Bodybuilders who train primarily for looks and have no athletic background (yes there was one former pro athlete turned bodybuilder) were incapable of using their bulging biceps for the requirements of the course.

Bodybuilding focuses on aesthetics not performance. This means more time in the mirrors, more time on machines and more time in the kitchen perfecting their diet.


This is less time balancing, jumping and climbing.


Another aspect to consider is the majority of their training involves moving external objects through space. Whereas the course requires the opposite.
It requires them to move their body (internal object) through space.

So yes looks can be deceiving. They look athletic but lack athleticism.

 

2. Swimmers

 

Whilst there were not a lot of swimmers on the show you can see why contestants who spent a good majority of their training in the water were not prepared for course.

Swimmers have huge engines and powerful shoulders but the specialist nature of their sport/training makes them poor ninjas.

 

3. Fitness enthusiast programs (Run clubs, F45 & boot camp)

Only 1 or 2 of these contestants made an appearance on the show.
Their lack of representation makes it clear they are not prepared for the ninja warrior course.


As seriously as people take these training programs often doing 12+ sessions a week there is just not the right exposure to gymnastics and bodyweight strength training.  


These programs are designed to help people with weight management and a healthy lifestyle.

Excelling as a high performance athlete is not the focus of these programs.

So unfortunately no matter how many classes you do it is highly unlikely you will ever be a Ninja Warrior.

 

The 3 most capable contestants…

 

Keeping in mind before you read this…
YES... there are contestants who are from the following three training types which have wiped out.
There will never be a perfect program.

The training types represented below have been proven to be the MOST capable. No training background guarantees success on the course but these three give you a fighting chance.

 

The 3 most capable contestants

 

1. Acrobats (stuntmen/parkour)

 

Being a master of your own bodyweight is essential for these athletes. Their body control and spatial awareness is second to none.


What is most impressive about these athletes is their ability to avoid danger.


Their training often requires them to risk serious injury.
Practicing these unpredictable scenarios is what the Ninja Warrior course is all about.

Balancing across uneven surfaces, running up walls and jumping from object to object in their training has these athletes well prepared to be ninjas.


 

2. CrossFit

 

Close to one of the most well represented disciplines CrossFitters have had mostly positive results on the course.

One thing CrossFit athletes have above all others is superior conditioning.
 

You may not think this is important but let’s look at why it is...


Unlike the other contestants the CrossFitters train their grip, jumping and climbing under extreme fatigue.
This gives them a superior ability to recover faster between obstacles. This results in less fatigue through the entire course and faster completion times.

Because the CrossFit contestants are more enduring at jumping, swinging, gripping and pulling they are often left fist in the air wanting more.


 

3. Rock climbers & Gymnasts

The masters of upper body strength. Gymnasts and rock climbers are some of the more popular contestants on the show.
Their freak grip and upper body strength comes from countless years of hanging, climbing and pulling their own weight around.

 

Whether it be a vertical wall climb or a routine on the bars these athletes know how to hold on.

 

Another characteristic they excel in is catching themselves with their hands only. At least one obstacle in every episode requires contestants to leap and catch their body weight in their hands.
This is a basic skill all gymnasts and climbers train.
They are very well equipped for the Ninja course.
 

So if you’re looking to become a Ninja Warrior this is what it takes.

Good luck to all the future and current contestants.


 

If you want to know the 5 best exercises we use to train insane upper body strength (the kind you need to be a ninja warrior) drop in your email and we will send you them.

Oh and it’s not pull ups.

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How I spent less time in the gym and made more progress

Thank you to Jack Moseley who helped me write this article.

This is my observation, analysis and memoir of one of my long terms clients.

2016 marked a decade in the ‘sport of fitness’.

Born out of a humble garage to now boasting million dollar facilities and TV contracts the Sport has become a force in the industry.

As a coach to hundreds of athletes I witness the sport absorb many people.
Whether you’re a middle aged corporate worker or a fitness-lifestyler the Sport of Fitness can quickly pull you into its net.

The path to the top unlike many sports is clearly laid out.
 

Enter Jack Moseley.

12 months ago… deep into the 2016 season Jack had hit a wall.

Jack came to Creature with almost 3 years of competing and training under his belt.

He was good.
He had the tools and experience...
But something was not right.

Jack is the first to admit he is a full time ‘frother’.
He loves everything about the sport.

But his passion for training is what drove him to burnout.

When Jack started with us he did all the weekly training and more.
I don’t think knew what a ‘rest day’ was.

If I had asked him for his formula for success he would have told me…

Work harder, do more and sacrifice the most.

Come the 2016 season and nearly 2 years of beating a dead horse Jack had plateaued.
In fact he had even gone backwards in his progress.


“Last year the open took a lot out of me... it was pretty stressful and I just needed to take time off and revaluate”.

So he did.

What happened over the last 12 months saw Jack improve at a rate I would equal to that of the best in our sport.

So how is it possible…

With a busy 9-5 job, a mortgage and a partner who needs his time did he make so much progress?

Jack and I sat down and spoke.
 

From what we discussed and what I observed here is what I believe led to his success…

 

1. Consistently Training mornings

 

Jack became a 6am regular.
No meetings, deadlines or traffic could interfere with his training.
All he had to do was wake up, slam coffee and head to the gym.
Having to be at work also forced him out of the gym by a certain time everyday.

 

2. One session per day

 

In the past a second session for Jack often involved a lot of his own programming. This often led to him overtraining.
Training once a day allowed him to focus undistracted in the gym.
Finishing earlier in the day also allowed him to focus on other areas of life outside the gym.
His career, relationships and recovery got more attention and this made him a better athlete.

 

3. Better life balance

 

More holidays and time at the beach.
Yep.
Jack had the best tan ever this season because he allowed himself to train once and then go relax.
Allowing himself the downtime his body needs led to better adaptation. Mentally it also allowed him to enjoy his time in the gym more.
The gym was no longer dominating his life.

 

4. Applying the right advice

 

The fitness industries misinformation can really f**k with your training.
Jack put his faith in a very select few resources (Guests on The Mind Muscle Project & the Creature Coaches) trusting the information if applied correctly would benefit him the most.
 

5. Sticking to a program
 

The Creature program is very carefully progressed and laid out. Jack like the other Creature members has access to the 5-week cycle structures.
This allowed him to carefully lay out and plan any additional training he would do.
He took a much more intelligent approach.
 

He assessed the weekly structure of the Creature program to see what elements of his individual weaknesses were missing.

‘Extras’ were never just aimless metcons. Each week included its own purpose and progressions.  

Not hours of random conditioning but instead quality doses of what he needed.

 

6. Being Coachable

How coachable are you?
This is what I ask new clients who want to train with us everyday. I believe it is the most foundational quality for any athlete to have.
This was not always the case with Jack.

But over time we built trust and he allowed himself to be more coachable. The last 12 months more so than ever before.

Movement quality and mechanics became the number one focus.
We rebuilt his squat mechanics.

We change from an ‘external torque knees out’ approach to a ‘knees aligned internal torque’ approach.

We also used different tools in classes to address positional weaknesses.
I can’t possibly describe to you the progress in the 12 months. Weights which used to bury him he could now do for 5 reps.

It really paid off.

 

When I asked Jack what his goal was for this 2017 season he said this...

“I never really liked goals. I don't write things on the board, I don't have open place goals (can't control what other people do) and I don't have strength numbers to chase. Instead I like to just focus on consistency in my training and progressing on things like movement quality and mobility.”

I honestly was surprised to hear this from Jack.
Coming from someone who used to attempt back squat maxes weekly it has been a transformational process.

His progress is because of a change in attitude not some miracle program he found.

This year it will be exciting to see him make his debut on Team Creature at regionals and have his hard work pay off.