Posts in Strength
Why you aren't very strong

Reason #1 - You don't know what you're doing

For those of you who are new to lifting, or just outright weak, you may be halfway through an excruciating set of deadlifts and wonder…is there an easier way?

> Shall I try Romanian deadlifts next week instead?

> How many reps/days/kilograms/sets?

The list of questions is endless! But maybe you shouldn’t be asking the questions in the first place. You see, when you are first starting out in training (in fact it could be anything, a new job, new hobby etc.) you NEED someone to tell you what to do. This is important because you don’t know what you are doing! So why are you acting like you do? I think it’s because when it comes to our own body, we all believe that we are the expert….we could be wrong.


To further illustrate my point, let’s imagine that you can cook a little. You can whip up a nice Bolognese for the family, but that’s about it. Now would you go into the kitchen of a big restaurant and take over head chef duties? Would you feel comfortable doing so? Probably not…


Then why do people who have never lifted before write their own programs?! The easiest way to get bigger and stronger is to get someone who knows what they are doing to write you a program.


Reason #2 - You're not consistent


There’s nothing worse than the program hopper, the person who jumps from program to program without fully investing the time and effort necessary to make physical improvements. These people are usually the biggest moaners too, believing that most methods don’t work because they’ve tried everything!


It takes some trial and error to determine what exercises and loads work best for you. So a bit of program hopping is necessary, but you should take into account the following points.


It takes a minimum of 8 weeks of training with the same program for most long lasting increases in physical performance. This is 2 months of solid training. Whilst you will make immediate gains from any decent program (more reps than last week, more weight than last week etc.), these are almost completely neural gains.


The body will try to improve performance in the most efficient way possible, so if you want to add some muscle size, your body will adapt to make the nervous system better at your chosen exercises before it gives in and adds some muscle.


What works really well for you may not work as well for everyone else and vice versa. So beware taking the advice of someone who is raving about a particular training program, it may not work as well for you!


So when choosing and evaluating a training program, use this 3 step process to get the most out of every method you try:


1) Train on the program for a minimum of 8 weeks without changing anything


2) Keep the exercises that you got stronger on and drop the rest


3) Replace the dropped movements with similar but different exercises


Keep track of everything and use the above points every time you feel that a change is in order. Remember; it’s better to change one thing at a time with an existing program than to throw everything out and start again! If you have any more questions about this concept, just drop me an email and I’ll help you out!


Reason #3 – Training to Failure


When training for strength, training to failure is stupid. Lift a heavy weight for many repetitions and your muscles will get tired and motor control will deteriorate. If you continue until failure, your motor control will become so bad that the risk of injury increases significantly. Why risk it?


Training to failure on squats, deadlifts and bench press is a bad idea IF you are training for strength. 


Strength is a skill, practice your strength and stay fresh whilst lifting a heavy weight. Learn to stop the set when you reach ‘technical failure’. As soon as your technique worsens from your normal, solid groove and turns into a shaky, wobbly, camel-backed rep, you need to stop the set…for the sake of your strength gains as much as for your spine health.


So there you have it. Be consistent and train smart, and you'll get to where you want to be much quicker than rushing around and training like an idiot, although the second way 'feels' like you're progressing more, you're really just wasting your time. 


Practice your strength, help your body recover and you will get STRONG!


Rise above




Head Coach

Raw Strength Gym, Warrington


PS - 


Need motivation, help and a big challenge to reach your strength goals? One piece of advice: Start powerlifting correctly.


Beginners who haphazardly start powerlifting often end up hating what is a very rewarding, inclusive sport.


We have 5 places left this month for our brand new 12 Week STRONG Program.


Truthfully, this is all our best stuff from the past 9 years put into one fast-track Strength Training program. Start the right way with 12 weeks of intensive coaching at a very low price (less than 7 quid a session!)


But consultations can only be booked TODAY or tomorrow, these places will go FAST! 


You will train in a NWPL affiliated gym with experienced powerlifting coaches...


️ Here's what's included ️


> 4 Powerlifting Sessions per week with your Coach so you develop your technique safely and see rapid strength gains


> Customised training plan written specifically for you with your body type, weak points and goals in mind - we also give you a body scan and advise on nutrition


> Accountability and support whilst training as part of a small private team with other novice powerlifters


We aim to help you eat better, feel motivated and LOVE powerlifting with a great sense of belonging with our Barbell Club.


Go ahead and enroll now:


Or reply and we'll send you an information pack.


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The Top 5 Reasons to be Strong

This is a HUGE deal, so pay attention! Especially if you don’t ‘believe’ in the benefits of resistance training.

SO many times I’ve been into gyms, and worked within sports clubs, and seen people training for their health using the wrong methods!

I typically see bodybuilding style training…or training for ‘the pump’…which will NOT benefit long term health as much as training for strength.

STRENGTH training is the basis of any good strength and conditioning program and will enable you to turn that strength into ANY other quality of fitness.

Strength is the foundation of all other aspects of your fitness.

Get stronger and you can run faster, for longer.

Get stronger and you can do more reps on curls, dumbbell bench and other bodybuilding movements.

Get stronger FIRST - then do the rest.

In summary: Training to get stronger makes you a BADASS!

Here are my top 5 reasons to be strong:

1) Greater Endurance: If you run (or want to run) or do any other endurance exercise you gotta be strong!

Gains in strength in the RELEVANT muscles for the activity will improve movement efficiency and therefore expend less energy. For example, lets say you have 80 units of strength in your body, and to go for a run this requires 40 units or 50% of your strength levels, imagine how much faster you would be if you increased strength to 100 units….now the 40 units required to go on a run would represent 60% of your strength. You’ll go faster, for longer…..but you still need to do endurance training too - just in case you started dreaming ;)

2) Increased Lean Muscle: There is a direct relation between a strong muscle and a big muscle. The stronger you are, the bigger your muscles will be. Useful for the over 35 year olds because you lose muscle faster as you age. So train for strength and the muscle gains will come too.

3) Increased Fat Loss: When you are stronger you can also work harder during fat loss circuits/complexes/sprints because you can move/life/carry/push MORE WEIGHT! Increasing the density of a workout (more work in the same or less time) is a key to fat loss and aerobic power.

4) Greater Confidence: If you can lift twice as much as your friends, and you flip tyres, throw heavy sandbags about and drag sleds here, there and everywhere, AND you know that you’re stronger than 100% of people on the plane every time you go on holiday, or everyone else in your company meetings…YOU are going to have more self-belief. Achieving your goals and improving your confidence is a big, BIG advantage when at work.

5) Injury Prevention: EVERY human needs to stay healthy throughout their life, you can’t enjoy earning more money or having a nice holiday if you’re injured and in pain! Getting stronger means that the usual wear and tear of life takes less of a toll on your body, and YOU will be better conditioned for any unexpected fall or ‘event’ e.g. sprinting to catch a train. Throw in some stretching too and your strong and flexible muscles will be indestructible!

There you go, still think you can skip the weights?! Well you can’t! Winners get strong.

Rise Above


Anthony Shaw

Head Coach
Raw Strength Gym, Warrington

PS - if you want help, you can start a 6 week trial on our RISE program.

You get teamwork, support, advice and a solid direction for your life so that you can feel good, look better and live a life of purpose.

Click here to find out more:

Carry Heavy Stuff to Kick Ass

In sport you’ll always have one person who doesn’t really train that hard, they can’t bench or deadlift as much as you can but they’re just STRONG!

Growing up in a rural town in south Wales I witnessed this all the time; because boys my age were regularly lifting bales of hay, logs and other farm type stuff it didn’t matter that they didn’t lift weights in the gym, they dominated on the field!

There seems to be two types of strength, ‘gym strength’ and ‘real strength’. I believe that you must train for both.

The best way to do this is by throwing in some strongman style carries at the end of your strength workouts, so after a squat day you might do some sled dragging or walk with a yolk or heavy bar on your back, after a bench workout you could do some farmers walks, or bear hug a keg or a stone and take it for a walk!

Just grab an awkward, heavy object and get walking! Heavy carries kick ass for the following reasons:

  • They promote chaos or imperfection training. Lifting an awkward object in a strange position will help injury-proof your back and build new muscle.

  • They increase intra-abdominal pressure, strengthening the core, making your back healthier and making your entire body into one-piece with no weak links in the chain….aka a weapon!

  • They improve mental toughness, if you’re walking 200m with a huge stone after every workout and your opponent does not. You have the tougher mindset and the upper hand when you compete.

All you have to do is get an odd object and walk with it. Aim for 150-200m total each workout and go heavier or further to progress!

An easy fitness plan

Fitness has got a bad reputation:


> overly complex advice


> differing opinions


> extremely boring and strict methods


Which leads people to flat out give up.


In my opinion, giving up is never a good option.


Especially when we’re talking about giving up on your own health, strength and really, your sanity! 


So is there such thing as an easy fitness plan?


The short answer is YES


The catch is - you have to LIVE it 24/7 to really get the benefits.


Here’s what I mean:


You start a new diet, let’s say low carb.


Week 1-2 go really well, you lose some pounds.


Then a minor cheat… the end of week 2, on a sunny Friday evening, your friend asks you out for tea.


You go crazy, eating pasta, pizza, bread and two bottles of wine!!!


What a lovely cheat meal.


The next day, you miss a few meals, go out for lunch and have a small beer.


Then Sunday, a big roast dinner and more red wine.


Monday rolls around, you’re completely off plan and start making the excuses…..


“low carb is just too restrictive”


“I want to have a life, not count carbs”


“low carb just didn’t work for me”


This is what I call “blah-blah-bollocks”.


Quite frankly these are excuses.


What is the REAL reason you fell off the low carb wonder-plan?


No Plan B.


Quite simply, when you don’t have a plan B, the plan B is your old, crappy eating habits.


So you’ll either be on the plan, or off the plan.


And THIS is why fitness has such a bad reputation.


It is a MASSIVE MISTAKE to think you're either doing it, or you’re not doing it! 


Don’t try and “do” fitness for a little bit.


Make your plan B the support plan for plan A.


Make plan C and D the same too.


Get rid of your old, bad eating habits FOREVER - and you will live the life you want, with the body you want. 




> CALORIES - don’t do a diet - instead find a calorie target for your goal (ask a coach or work it out online)


> WILLPOWER - find 10000000000 ways to hit your calorie target whilst eating the foods you want (“meet you for tea? Of course. I’ll just skip the bread and have one small glass of wine thanks”)


> LET GO - truly let go of your old life, once and for all. You know where those habits are getting you, and it ain’t pretty.


Now go live a life that supports the body you want and MAKE IT EASY TO DO.


Rise above




Anthony Shaw

Head Coach

Raw Strength Gym, Warrington


PS - 

Want some motivation, help and a big challenge to kickstart your fitness?

We have 10 places left this month for our best ever 6 week transformation challenge, and it is absolutely free.

Truthfully, this is all our best stuff from the past 8 years put into one fast-track program.

 But consultations can only be booked TODAY or tomorrow, these places will go FAST! 

Here’s what you get:

> Up to 5 sessions per week, coached - in our awesome private gym.

> Train with other people with similar goals and have fun in the gym (possibly for the first time ever)

> Begin implementing proven nutritional methods into your day-to-day life with our simple homework modules

> Ask questions and get motivated with your coach on hand online and in the gym for support

> We’ll customise your program with more strength training, conditioning or muscle building work - depending on your personal goals.

> Train in a place where everyone knows your name, cares about your progress and notices if you don’t show up!


The goal is to notice rapid improvements in your strength & fitness

 See radical and visible changes in the mirror 

And feel on FIRE mentally.


Apply here:

Strong News: Strength Testing Results, Client Spotlight & F*CK The Haters!

Whats Up Raw Strength Fans!

Sara here, I'm happy to share this weeks Strong News with the latest gym happenings and some nutritional advice.

Week 2... 21 Day Spartan Body / Wonder Woman Challenge

Our clients are onto week 2 of our TOUGH 21 day challenge. So far they are smashing it in the gym, attending their sessions and food diaries are on point. We've seen plenty of treats get brought out in the office, tempting cakes, mince pies and chocolates, but our guys and girls have stayed strong! Good work! 

The Fit Life Community: FREE Training Session Monthly

Our first FREE 45 min High Intensity Training Session will be taking place this weekend at Raw Strength Gym, Saturday 10th December at 10am. Make sure you send us a text message/FB message to book or book by emailing us at Get a taste of how we train here at RSG and most of all, have fun! 

Strength Testing... The Results Are In!

The last two weeks have been strength testing for our Built and Lean Girls members and they have SMASHED IT! All our clients have made incredible improvements, you should all be very proud of your results and the work you have put in to achieve them. It's great to see that the constant improvements that we make to our programs have seen our clients go from strength to strength. Special mentions have to go to Elaine Holme for an incredible 47.5kg on bench press at 58kg BW, Chris Billington with a massive 180kg squat, John Marland for a huge 175kg on Deadlift and Chris Foy for 120kg on Bench Press which was a huge personal goal for him.

Lets take this momentum through and the Christmas period and into the new year. Exciting times ahead and lots of changes in the gym to match the ambition of our clients.

RSG 4th Annual Charity Strongman Competition & Christmas Party

Our RSG Annual Charity Strongman competition is going to be held on Saturday 17th November for the 4th year running! Incredible! Each year we get a bigger and bigger turnout, the competition gets fiercer and the prizes get bigger! This year we will be raising money once again for local charity Ciaran's Cause, an independent non-profit charity raising awareness and money for defibrillators in schools and sports clubs. 

Our events and weight categories are yet to be finalised, last year we had 4 events, 3 men's weight categories and 1 women's category with prizes for 1st, 2nd & 3rd Place in each category. This year we're aiming to go bigger and better, so make sure you enter the competition as soon as possible. Entrance cost is £10 with all proceeds of entrance fees, plus the proceeds from all refreshments and snacks we sell on the day going to our awesome chosen charity. So make sure you bring some spectators with you on the day!

In the evening our Christmas Party is going to be held at Mojo Bar & Tapas, Warrington from 7:30pm, clients and friends welcome! Tickets for the party are £22, guaranteed to be an awesome night with more than one "drink for the road"!

Client Spotlight: Alison W

So proud of our girl Alison who has been a member of our Team Tone program since September. She's lost 4kg and 5cm off both her waist and her hips in the last 9 weeks, and she looks incredible! 

"I wasn't going to compare pics but I didn't realise the difference until I actually put them side by side. So pleased with what I have achieved in nine weeks looking forward to what can be achieved in nine months"

Well done!

F*CK The Haters - Nutrition: There's NO RIGHT OR WRONG

Obviously, some stuff you just don't do if you're trying to lose fat. Eat pizza, icecream, burgers... Right?

Well no, the thing about nutrition is that a thing that works for one person doesn't necessarily work for someone else... This ain't just about getting results, but also about eating things that you actually enjoy, or can be bothered to make/cook.

The body needs fuel, so obviously you have to EAT. So any of these stupid slimming world shake diets, magic pills, aloe vera, bees wax, whatever the fuck it is. It's all a load of marketing bollocks.

BUT that doesn't mean I'm going to walk straight up to someone I work with or my neighbour and go "hey Sue, what you're eating there is not gonna work". Even if, as someone well versed in good nutrition, I know that it ain't.  

See I've been there.

I'm a firm believer in keeping meals as simple as possible. I just CAN'T BE ARSED. Results > Cooking for me, so I stick to no drain cans of tuna, and Chicken and veg. I've eaten it all day every day in the past for a reason, so I can get the results I want and have the odd cheat meal on the weekend to keep me sane. 

But when I used to work in an office, all I got constantly was

> Why do you eat that?
> Isn't that boring (yes it is)
> That looks disgusting
. Are you a bodybuilder?

See when people feel it necessary and perfectly ok to judge others... That's when we've got a problem...

Office Bullies, Facebook Wankers who shame others for their lifestyle by posting endless posts about prosecco and chocolate and negatively commenting on a picture of you at the gym, Sugar police, Carb Haters, Detox Dicks, I could go on.  

Point is, there is no right and wrong. Our job is to advise our clients on putting together a balanced food diary, so that they can look epic. But we don't tell people you can't have a drink, or a burger, or a whole fucking tub of Ben & Jerry's, unless they're looking for results and eating that shit every day. 

There is no such clean or dirty foods, just the amount of fuel you need to consume to get results... Obviously there are foods that are better to eat eg. unprocessed over processed. But as long as you eat what makes you happy, healthy and still getting the fat loss or muscle gain that you're looking for then what else is there to know? 

Be lenient on yourself with food choices, if you take out all the foods you love when trying to hit a goal, you'll be miserable and more likely to give up.

So find a way that works for you and stick to it, no matter what the haters say!


So that's it from me! Keep up the good work, and smash December out of the park!

Client Experience Officer (CEO of EPIC Results)

P.S. Grab a FREE copy of our Lazy But Lean™ Nutrition System right here:

How to Build More Muscle and Strength

Most people struggle with building muscle more than any other goal

You may think fat loss is hard to achieve?

Maybe you can’t improve on your pull-up strength?

Is your nutrition and meal prep overwhelming you and not getting done at the moment?


ALL of those areas pale in comparison to building muscle.

Reason being it’s relatively simple to burn fat

on a basic level - develop fitness & eat optimally and you’re done

It’s also relatively simple to build strength

Simply repeat a technique, for example, deadlift - over and over again with progressively heavier weights and you’ll get stronger - simple right?

But ah, the holy grail of training is building lean muscle

It’s hard, nigh-on impossible for 99% of men and women to do

But why?

Let’s dive in:

The body ADAPTS to training - because training is a stimulus

The first 6-10 weeks of your strength & fitness improvements on a program will OVERWHELMINGLY be neural

NOT building new muscle, but instead re-wiring the nervous system

This is a GOOD thing, or we’d all be building muscle from driving the car every day

Or learning to play the piano would result in forearms like Popeye!

Basically the body is smart with saving energy

And it takes a LOT of energy to build muscle

So I want you to think of your body as a Tony Soprano type character

And muscle building like being promoted within the ‘family’

You don’t just ask for a promotion and get it

Hell no!

You gotta earn it, kill, steal, extort and build up a reputation for months and years

THEN you get the promotion

Same with building muscle…

ATTACK 1: You hit the gym and work on chest for muscle growth

DEFENCE 1: The body will see that you are bench pressing and re-wire your nervous system to make you more efficient


ATTACK 2: You hit the gym the week after and add more weight to the bar… this has gotta work!

DEFENCE 2: Nope! The body has DORMANT muscle fibres that are only awakened when you lift super heavy (Motor Units), these guys jump in and help, then also get re-wired and more efficient

Double damn!

Still no muscle growth!

ATTACK 3: You bench yet again on week 3! More reps and more weight, that’ll fix it!

DEFENCE 3: Foiled again! The body now brings in other muscle groups to help out, your shoulders and triceps now wake-up and join the fight to stop your chest from getting overly fatigued. Now the whole lot get re-wired and more efficient.

Around now, most people give up

The body goes back to rest mode

And over time the co-ordination and improved efficiency in the bench press wilts away

Meaning you have 3-4 weeks off heavy training, then hit the gym again and wonder why you can never build muscle….

….because the body doesn’t want you to, it’s the least efficient adaptation!

So how do we build muscle?

> Long-term approach

> Fuel the body so it has enough SURPLUS energy to allocate to muscle growth

> Constantly vary the exercises so you max-out neural adaptation and force the body to build muscle as a last resort

> Constantly vary the types of training, yet keep them fairly similar at the same time (I explain below)

Here’s the commandments:

1) push through a solid 8 week block of training with no expectation of muscle gain

2) constantly vary your exercises, same but different exercises, e.g. Squat, front squat, single leg squat are all similar but varied.

3) vary the amount of reps you lift, have an easy week 1 (10-30 reps per lift), then a high volume week 2 (40-50 reps per lift) whilst continuing to change the exercises as above.

3)  constantly vary the types of training, e.g. 4 weeks of heavy strength work, then 4 weeks of higher rep ‘bodybuilding’ work, then 4 weeks of low rep high volume work (EDT, supersets, GVT…things for you to google now!)

4) ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS do your strength work first. This wakes up the dormant muscle fibres so you optimise your later exercises in the same workouts. Getting stronger means you can lift more weight and stimulate more muscle fibres to grow. Strength drives muscle growth essentially.

And that’s pretty much it for the basics

Obviously eat clean, eat more than you think and be prepared to spend 1-2 years getting the body you want

That goes for ladies just as much as men

If you want my help to put together a 12 week plan for strength and muscle growth then it’s important that we know exactly where you are right now with your fitness

…What you want to achieve short term AND long term

…And exactly what your goal is.

Fill out THE FITNESS BREAKTHROUGH QUESTIONNAIRE as your first positive step today!

It’s right here:

Your situation doesn’t change until You do.

Speak soon

Anthony Shaw
Head Coach

Raw Strength Gym, Warrington

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3 Secrets to Dramatic & Lasting Body Transformations: PART THREE
This is a three part series to help men like you BREAKTHROUGH the barriers and myths of training, nutrition and mindset so you can create a DRAMATIC and LASTING body transformation.


PART THREE: How to Create a Warrior Mindset


Now you are embarking on a life changing journey, it’s important to give yourself the best possible chance of keeping all the positive habits you’ll develop as you read this blog series...


…and just in cased you missed them, click here for PART ONE & PART TWO


Creating Mental Space


An important concept you’ll want to consider is that of creating more mental space. Giving yourself ‘room to think’ is an age old concept, and one that we must grasp!


Firstly, tidy and clean your home. Starting a new diet and exercise plan is an exciting time, if the rest of your life reflects a change you’ll feel better and are more likely to stick with it.


Throw out or give away all clothes you don’t wear anymore, get rid of old magazines and books. Find anything and everything in your home that you haven’t used in the last year and get rid of it! Be sure to spend extra time throwing out junk food and cleaning in your kitchen, because this will help your Sunday prep!


Having more physical space will literally give you more mental space. Get rid of the clutter in your life and your mind will follow. Now let’s turn our attention to your thought patterns…


Think of a typical dieter…or think back to a time when you tried and failed a diet …and imagine what is going through their/your heads on a daily basis; ‘I’m too fat, I must eat like a rabbit to get thin’, ‘I feel so guilty because I ate that chocolate cake’, ‘I must remember to go to the gym today, I can’t miss another workout!’ And so on and so forth.


If you have to remind yourself to go to the gym, or if you feel guilty after unhealthy eating etc. then guess what…that diet isn’t going to work! When diet and exercise become automatic AKA a habit, then you will have the body you’ve always wanted and it will be easy and enjoyable too! It all starts with simplifying the process…


Simple plans are often the best, for example, the Sunday Prep Day is a simple way of preparing a load of healthy food each week. BUT, if you were performing an unhealthy version of the Sunday Prep Day and made a week’s worth of pizza and ice cream, it would still work as a method of keeping you on the pizza and ice cream diet! Put simply, you will always take the easy option. If food is there you will eat it, it doesn’t matter what you’ve made.


So how do we use this to our advantage? Well, get a piece of paper and draw a vertical line down the middle of the page. Now on one side of the line make a list of all the things that will help you get a great body; healthy foods, more sleep, more exercise etc. On the other side of the line, list all of the opposite things that will stop you getting a great body; unhealthy foods, less sleep, missing a workout etc.


We know that your mind will always choose the easy option, so you must find a way of turning each good/evil decision into a no-brainer. Make it easier to choose the positive option and harder to choose the negative one.


Here are a few examples:

Positive Action

Negative Action

Make it easier to take the positive action

eating healthy eating junk food Throw out all junk food, prepare a weeks worth of tasty and healthy food
exercising not exercising Lunchtime workout with training partner. A more time efficient way to exercise with added accountability from partner
sleeping more staying up late, not sleeping Get a regular bedtime routine, read an enjoyable book in bed, make your bed really comfortable and inviting



Now work through your list of actions and work out a way to make it easier to complete the positive than the negative. The best thing you can do is make it fun! Think of fun ways to do lots of positive things for your body transformation.



Reg Park proved the 5x5 program works!


Emotional Triggers


We are our emotions. The way you think has a profound effect on what will happen each day. If you think you’re going to have a bad day, you usually do! On the other hand, if you think you are going to have a great day, you usually do! Let me put it another way; Thoughts + actions = results.


We’ve covered actions enough so far (diet, exercise, sleep, habit changes etc.) so let’s take a look at your thoughts and see how they can affect your results…


An emotional trigger is when something you do changes the way you think. For example, looking at your naked body in the mirror thinking ‘I have let myself get really fat, I’m not happy and I want to change!’ This ‘triggers’ your emotions from standard thought patterns into highly motivated and positive thought patterns.


Keeping your mind in this ‘triggered’ way of thinking will increase your chances of losing all your weight and will help change your lifestyle for good (which is the goal of all this isn’t it!). You’ve probably experienced this at some point in your life and hit the gym hard and ate really healthily……for about 2 weeks! The trick is maintaining it for good.


On the other hand, if you’re upset and need comforting the mind will be triggered to help you eat comfort foods and not exercise. So even when you’re happy, because your brain has been set to ‘comfort mode’, you will now eat loads of food and not exercise until you reset your thought patterns.


So how do we reset old (negative) thought patterns and trigger new (positive) ones? Well firstly, get out a sheet of paper and write down:


  1. Everything you don’t like about your body (love handles, double chin etc.)
  2. All the bad things you do that help maintain the things on your body that you don’t like (gorging on ice-cream, drinking too much beer, not going to the gym etc.)


See a link there? If not then you will have to dig a little deeper. Spend some time on this exercise until you find a link between your behaviour and your body. Now turn the sheet of paper over and write down:


  1. Everything you want on your dream body (six pack abs, toned arms etc.)
  2. Everything you could be doing to help achieve your dream body (eating healthy foods, little or no alcohol, exercising regularly etc.)


Can you see anything here that you aren’t doing? What’s stopping you?


The goal here is to realise that your current thought patterns may be maintaining a poor body image. Being aware of how your thoughts affect your actions is the first step in correcting bad habits. Just like with drug addiction (but don’t worry, I don’t think you’re as bad as a junkie!) the first step is being honest and admitting you have a problem.


So first become aware of your current thinking patterns and then understand the link between your current lifestyle and your current body. Crappy lifestyle choices = crappy body. Let me just clarify; when I talk about your lifestyle I do not mean your house, hobbies, car or anything material, I mean the way you eat, exercise and recover.


Now that you understand the link, it will be much easier to make some really important lifestyle changes so you can lose fat, become healthier and do it permanently! Great lifestyle choices = great body!


The final step is controlling your own thoughts; every time you catch yourself thinking in the old or negative way, say out loud, ‘I am making a lifestyle choice to live and eat healthily, I recognise that this old thought is stopping me from doing so, therefore I will replace it with (insert new, positive thought here)’. Or something similar, just find what works for you!


Put simply:


What do you ‘think’ is stopping you from the body of your dreams?


Stop thinking it and replace it with a new, positive thought!



Don’t Call it a Diet


What does the word ‘diet’ make you think of?


When someone tells you they are on a diet, usually you’ll ask which diet they are doing and why. Diets typically don’t work as they promote eating healthily for a short period of time to ‘drop a dress size’ or ‘quickly lose fat’. So once the goal is achieved or the participant gives up, they balloon back up to their starting weight!


For our purposes we aren’t going to call it a diet; instead it’s your lifestyle. It’s the way you choose to eat, and will continue to do so, for the rest of your life! A few things pop into your head when you start thinking, ‘for the rest of my life’, instead of, ‘for the next 3 weeks’.


Usually starting with panicky thoughts about how you can’t live without cheesecake or lasagne (of course, both are allowed during your weekly cheats! We’ll cover this later), and then followed by thoughts about how long the rest of your life is, surely you can’t be ‘healthy’ for that long?


Well you can! And it all starts with you deciding to change your lifestyle for good. So don’t call it a diet whatever you do, as this will bring up thoughts of temporary changes. Instead call it a lifestyle, get used to the idea of ‘for the rest of my life’ and deal with all the worries and negative thoughts you have.


For example, you may say to yourself; ‘I thought this was just gonna last 4 weeks? I don’t think I can eat healthily for the rest of my life!’


Instead of giving in to these types of feelings, let’s deal with it and get back on track:


First, you must understand that your existing beliefs about diets are probably wrong. For example, if you believe that diets are hard, you’re always hungry, they’re expensive and will make your friends laugh at you then you’ve got some serious issues with ‘diets’. You need to change the way you think…


Understand that whilst the first 2-3 weeks may be hard for you to adjust to, as soon as you find foods that you like, you take advantage of the weekly cheats, you learn that you can eat fun foods and eat out without breaking any rules then you quickly realise that it’s not a diet, you’re just choosing slightly different meals each day, if anything you should feel better and healthier (but you won’t feel hungry!).


So call it a lifestyle instead of a diet, and if you feel uneasy about anything, don’t ignore it, face it head on and stay positive!


I want you to be successful and achieve all of your goals this year! So...




Anthony Shaw


Performance Director

Raw Strength Gym, Birchwood Park, Warrington



3 Ways to Expand Your Mind…


The power of the mind can unlock massive gains in strength, muscle growth and athletic performance (aerobic/anaerobic power)…


So how much do you care for your brain?

I’m going to show you three incredible ways that I’ve used with myself and my clients to help the mind expand into new beliefs, behaviours and strengths that will take you to a higher physical level that you are on right now.



#1 – Take a Walk


The modern weekday is full of too much stress. Your work, personal goals, relationships, family, friends, commuting, shopping, training, eating and on and on…


It can be too much to take sometimes.




Take a walk, and reflect on each day to note your successes, think about how grateful you are for every person in your life and take a few minutes to think about how lucky you are to live in an advanced country like ours.


Drop all those ‘first world problems’ and you might just be able to relax!


Not to mention walking is an impact free, easy way to burn up some energy and is great for recovery from more intense training. So take a walk, decompress your mind and take 20-30 mins each day to look after yourself.



#2 – Write down your goals


It is WAY too easy to get yourself all hyped up for an incredible year of training and nutrition – saying things like “This year is THE year” and other such nonsense – yet what really happens is you lose your focus after about 3 weeks.


In fact, 3 weeks is the MINIMUM time necessary to commit to a new habit becoming permanent.


So in order to change your behavior you MUST stay focused for longer than 3 weeks.


But how do you do that?




Just write your goals down. A seemingly trivial action such as this can lead to twice as much more success. That means that if you have a piece of paper stuck on your fridge that says, “I am going to eat healthy 90% of the time this year in order to lose 3 stone of fat and keep it off forever”, then you’re much more likely to do so compared to just saying it to yourself.


You will literally FORGET to stay on course to smash your goals.


Writing your goals down is like a compass, just nudging you constantly in the right direction.


#3 – Ignore Your Feelings


Your mind is wired to keep you safe.


So putting a heavy bar on your back in order to complete a killer set of 20 reps of back squat will inspire your brain to talk you out of it.


Ignore it.


When you’re running the last kilometer of a 5k and your muscles are screaming for you to stop and take a rest.


Ignore it.


When the barbell is loaded to a NEW PB for deadlift and you’re stood there, getting psyched up and preparing to lift and break some records. A little part of your brain will whisper that you can’t do it…


Ignore it.



Training and nutrition in these modern times is EXCEPTIONAL. If you do what an expert tells you, you WILL get in shape. You will get stronger, leaner, faster, bigger or whatever the hell you’re training for.


But the very process of change is painful for both the body and the mind.


Stay safe, but don’t be afraid of ignoring the little voices inside your head.


Who knows, you might actually be successful.



*      *      *


So try these 3 things. I’ve really noticed a difference since using each of these tactics regularly, with both an increase in strength, muscle size and a relaxed feeling in my mind because I know that I can achieve anything.


You just have to convince your mind that you can achieve MORE than you are right now.


And if you want a daily kick up the arse to stay motivated, committed and stress-free when training for your goals, then sign-up for my email newsletter right HERE.






Anthony Shaw


Founder & Head Strength and Conditioning Coach


Raw Strength Gym, Birchwood Park, Warrington.  

3 Secrets to Dramatic & Lasting Body Transformations: PART ONE

This is a three part series to help men like you BREAKTHROUGH the barriers and myths of training, nutrition and mindset so you can create a DRAMATIC and LASTING body transformation.  

PART ONE: How Training Sessions Should Really Feel…..




Let’s take a trip back through time.


It’s 1975 and you are in Gold’s Gym, Venice Beach, California with Mr Arnold Schwarzenegger. …


You are his training partner charged with the sole mission of getting him in shape for his next Mr Olympia contest.


This is DAY ONE.


Today you are both going to obliterate and stimulate the chest muscles in order to gain some freaky size.


First up, BENCH PRESS…


Arnold hands you the bar as you take your position lying down on the bench.


The game plan is simple; All you have to do is PUSH until you’re on the last couple of reps. Then keep pushing through to absolute muscular failure. Only then, Arnie says, will you stimulate your muscles to GROW!


So you begin…









And on, and on, and on until your muscles finally start to give out around the 11th rep…


But Arnold tells you to push on in his thick Austrian accent…


“Come on! Push it now! Come on!”  (…and I challenge you to read that without doing the accent in your head, impossible!)


So you DO push harder and slowly grind through the 11th and 12th reps, sweat is pouring down your head and into your armpits in the heavy, Californian climate…


But Arnold doesn’t give a crap, he just wants you to lift.


Halfway through the 13th rep the bar slows down and starts to stall, hovering above your chest in a frustrating mix of the painful lactic acid burn and the helplessness you now feel as you’re about to be trapped under the bar.


So Arnie grabs the bar and slowly gives you some more pressure to help you through the upper part of the 13th rep.


Then you rack the bar.


Good set!


But it’s not over yet, just as you think you were done Arnie takes one plate off each side of the bar to lighten the load…


“5 more reps! Do it now!”


Shit. You’re tired. You’re sweating. You’re chest and triceps are pumped full of blood to the point of being useless.


But hey, Arnie said to do it, so you’re gonna do it!



5 more painful grinding reps go by in the haze of exhaustion and with a little help from Mr Olympia.



That’s set one complete.


4 more sets to go.


Then repeat the process on 5 more carefully selected exercises to build the chest of a Champion.



*          *          *


If you’ll forgive the storytelling approach to introduce this article you’ll be able to see what I’m getting at here.


Training should be tough. It should feel as though you can’t go on, yet, somehow you do.


I speak to a lot of men who want to get in shape and what I hear is ALWAYS the same.


“I’m not happy with my level of body fat”


“I want my chest to be leaner and stick out more”


“I’m losing deals at work because I don’t have the confidence to look the other guy square in the eye, shake his hand HARD and know I’m a bad ass”



I want you to know that it is SIMPLE to build a great looking body. All you have to do is train the same movements over and over again focusing on getting stronger.


The first thing you need to understand are the main human that need to be improved, strengthened and perfected.


Once you start working on these movements you’ll notice immediate improvements in your body shape, muscle size and see a much leaner stomach & chest staring back at you in the mirror.




  •   SQUAT
  •  PUSH
  •  PULL
  •  HINGE
  •  CARRY



The 5 human movements are the only ways that the body can move. What you  need to do is take all of your exercises from these categories and progressively improve your performance in each.


So here are a few examples of exercises that come under each category:





Lunge, front squat, box squat, back squat, safety bar squat, leg press, split-squat, 1-legged squat.





Press-ups, bench press, overhead press, floor press, board press, dips.





Pull-ups, inverted row, lat pulldown, 1-arm row, seated row, hand-over-hand rope pulling, tug of war.





Deadlift, kettlebell swing, 1-leg deadlift, Romanian deadlift, jump shrugs.





Farmers walk, yoke carry, keg carry, sled dragging, lorry pulling, sandbag carry.






Now the process of training here is VERY simple.


Just pick ONE exercise from each category and put them into the SAME workout 3 days each week.


For example:


  • Press-Ups
  • Pull-ups
  • Front Squat
  • Romanian Deadlift
  • Farmers Walk



Now pair up one lower body movement with one upper body movement:


Press-ups with Romanian Deadlift

Pull-ups with Front Squat



Then perform the carry by itself at the end.



Let’s recap what you’ve learned so far today:


1) You understand just how hard you have to train (like Arnold in 1975)


2) You understand WHY you are training (more confidence, get leaner, look better)


3) You understand WHAT exercises you should train using the 5 human movements


4) You understand that you are going to train all movements on the SAME workout, 3 times each week.



Now finally all you have to do is pick a method of sets/reps and GET ON WITH IT!


Here are a few REALLY EFFECTIVE METHODS to choose from:


  • 5 sets x 5 reps
  • 10sets x 3 reps
  • 5 sets x 10 reps




Or just mix and match your own method.





For the carrys you need to move the weight for DISTANCE not for reps. So what I recommend is a minimum of 3 sets of 40m.


You can have some fun with the carries and go balls to the wall with 1-3 sets of maximum distance. Use the carry as the icing on the cake, a bit of conditioning and a little competitiveness with your training partner.


So you’ve learned all about training; the effort required, the movements required, the amount of workouts required, the sets/reps required.


With that we will conclude PART ONE.





You can apply for a free trial of my Body Transformation Program which will help you lose 5-7lbs of fat every 3 weeks – which is 2 stone over the full 12 weeks – whilst adding 7-10lbs of muscle and improving strength, health and athletic performance.


Apply Here:



Until part two, train hard!


Anthony Shaw


Head Strength and Conditioning Coach


Raw Strength Gym, Birchwood Park, Warrington. 


Spartans! How Did You All Get So Lean?! (in 3 weeks…)

Getting the EXACT results you want from an exercise plan can be hard, right?  

Whether it’s losing weight, gaining muscle, running a bit faster or simply feeling better about yourself – sometimes this difficulty in matching your effort with some sort of TANGIBLE reward can make you feel like shit, or get you down, and ultimately may cause you to give up on your goals.


Or WORSE….put you off even starting out!


So last month I started a 6 week transformation challenge called The Spartan Body Challenge. Cool name right?

Here's a picture of a Spartan just for fun:



And with the Spartan Body Challenge my goal was to provide a group of 10 people with a really simple DONE-FOR-YOU and FOOL-PROOF system to help them get leaner, stronger and healthier. Combining strength and conditioning principles with a great team atmosphere, think: band of brothers.


Whilst also teaching them how to fully understand nutritional concepts in an EASY and fun way to CREATE their own AWESOME eating plan (I hate calling it a 'diet' as that implies that it's temporary or limited in calories, neither is true here).


So what would you do if I told you that these guys are only 3 weeks in and they are getting results like:

- LOSING a stone of fat

- Improving posture

- Easily preparing each days meals in advance either the night before or that morning….in 5 mins or less!

- And other cool stuff….just wait for the pictures!


You’d think I was full of crap wouldn’t you?!


And what would you do if I said that you can get this too in just 3 HOURS of exercise each week?


And you will look forward to each day with more energy and a NEW attitude about eating REAL food to help you look leaner and fitter (or for you men, more BUFF and muscular!)


So f*ck that, I’m going to SHOW you what I can do to YOU in just 3 WEEKS!


Check these pictures out – and remember, this is only HALF-WAY through a 6 week program, just imagine what they’ll look like at the end (actually, you won’t have to imagine as I’ll be shouting about their transformation very soon all over the place. But don’t blame me, I’m just trying to get you training with us and making a change like this for yourself!).


 These guys have killed it! I'm so excited to take their after pictures at the end of the 6 weeks and show you the full transformations.

In terms of training we've focused on the 5 human movements: Squat, push, pull, hinge, carry.

Each workout focuses on at least 2 of these 5 movements.

The first exercise is a heavy basic lift then we move through fast, power exercises and then gradually reduce the resistance with each exercise but extend the duration of each set. See pic below for details. Essentially we're training using 'strength circuits' at a fast pace.



I wanted to show you these pictures to INSPIRE you to take some action.

Changing yourself starts with ONE thing and one thing only: The decision to take action.

You have that power. Just DECIDE!

Is it simple? Yes. Lift weights eat real food.

Is it easy? No. You're trying to alter old habits and behaviours and become a new person.


If these guys have done it (remember this is only 3 weeks in to a 6 week program!) then I KNOW you can do it too.


Click HERE to sign-up for the next program.