What’s in that Energy drink?

More and more people are drinking “energy” drinks for pre-workout pickups, the morning after a heavy night on the drink, or just as a pickup during the day.
But what’s really inside these drinks?
Jump starts the nervous system, helping to kick the body and brain into gear.
The energy boost is short-term. Caffeine is a stimulant and addictive, therefore people will often follow the first drink with more, to keep the stimulant effect. This can lead to dehydration, lack of appetite, and irritability.
Increases Awareness and energy levels.
Combined with caffeine it will provide a boost, but some studies have found it raises blood pressure and heart rate.
These essential vitamins helps your body convert energy from food, and will help your body burn fat.
Your body will absorb some of the B Vitamins from drinks, but most will be urinated out. B rich foods like green vegetables, cheese and whole grains are better, sustainable options.
Most energy drinks contain sugar in one or more forms, and often in the largest quantities. Will provide a short term energy boost, due to the quick release of the sugar.
Most people consume too much sugar as it is! You will get a huge blood sugar spike and then crash resulting in an energy slump shortly after. This often resolves in a further sugar fix to pick you back up again. As well as tooth enamel damage, excess sugar can lead to fat gain and possibly diabetes.
Said to improve concentration, aid weight loss and enhance your mood.
It’s just caffeine in a different form.
Improves circulation to the brain, heightening awareness.
Studies go back and forth over it’s possible benefits. At least it is safe with few proven side affects.
An Amino acid which is said to take the fat out of your blood, improve circulation and help with fatigue.
Often used as a supplement for those with heart disease. Never really been proven to affect energy levels though.
Produces ATP, your bodies immediate energy source for body cells.
Quite expensive still, and although it does create ATP, whether this is enough for an “energy lift”

Like anything, in moderation these drinks are acceptable if you do need an immediate energy, awareness lift. But if you do, go for the sugar free versions.

Alternatively, drink 1.5 – 3 litres of water a day, keep eating every 3-4 hours, choosing low GI foods, protein rich foods, and those with B vitamins, and you shouldn’t need a daily fix of energy.

Burn off the FAT –

“With this great Abs workout!”
Well, that was a headline on the front of Runner’s World last month, and is often a headline you’ll see on most “fitness or celebrity” magazines, every month.

Will it do as the headline says?

Largely, No.

Yes ab and core exercises will help strengthen those muscles and improve posture, but they’re not going to burn fat alone. Just how many calories would a set of ab exercises burn? 30, 40, 50 at most if you’re going for a while!

Ab and core work should be built into your workouts, along with big full body exercises like Squats, Lunges, Pressups, pullups, Kettlebell or dumbell swings, Rotational work etc, and again using freeweights and not machines, unless you’re using assisted pullup work.

Add in some interval training, be it on CV equipment or with resistance exercises, and cut back on sugar, wheat and processed foods, whilst eating more protein and natural foods, and you’ll be on your way to really burning off the fat!

If you want more information on Interval Training, signup to the box on the right and you’ll receive my report on how to integrate Intervals into your workouts for maximum results!

1 BIG Fat Loss Tip for a flat stomach

I’ve been reading posts on other forums recently, where people are trying “slimming” pills, “appetite suppressant” pills, cutting out fat from their diet, even dropping below 1200kcals a day. All of these are damaging to your body and health – all in search of quick fix. Surely it’s better to do something sustainable? Well here is 1 BIG tip that will allow you to drop fat, and flatten your stomach!

! Yep, don’t add it to your diet, REMOVE it!

Wheat is a cheap bulking agent that is used in many food products nowadays, meaning that we consume far too much of it, knowingly, or unknowingly.

A typical day could be;

Wheat based cereal for breakfast

Sandwich for lunch

Pasta for evening meal.

That’s a lot of wheat.

Wheat is listed in the top 8 food allergens along with peanuts, tree nuts, milk, eggs, shellfish, fish and soy.

Most people eat wheat so often their bodies adapt and cope, and so they experience mild forms of the symptoms (known as wheat intolerance) without ever really being aware of where the problem lies. These symptoms can be anything from diarrhoea, lethargy, bloating to skin rashes and mood swings.

Withdrawing wheat from the diet and therefore ridding the body of wheat can lead to immense improvements in health and wellbeing, along with a drop in excess water, toxins and bodyfat.

Alternatives would be Oats, or eggs and rye bread for breakfast, a lean protein and salad lunch, or sweet jacket potato, and a great alternative to wheat past is SPELT, which is so much lighter and easier to digest than wheat, you’ll wonder why you didn’t change before!

Go on, break your routine and give it a try. I guarantee after 4 weeks you’ll be thanking me, and loving your new flatter stomach and increased energy levels!

A tree is only as strong as it’s roots!

While PT’ing at the gym today, the freeweights area was unfortunately full of men, and boys, performing set after set of bicep curls and tricep work! All with tracksuit bottoms on.

Yes, the weather is getting warmer, and T-shirts are starting to make an appearance, but soon, it will be Summer weather (hopefully!) and the shorts and skirts will have to come out!

If you’re not training your legs, and this applies to women too, how are you going to feel when the legs are on show?! Yes guys, you might have a nice set of guns, but it looks a bit comical when there are a set of chicken legs further down! Or ladies, are you fed up with shapeless, round legs, and no bum to speak of?

Then get working on the lower body! Stretch your hip flexors and start performing Squats, Lunges, Straight Leg deadlifts, Deadlifts, Good mornings, weighted steups, Sumo squats, and you will soon start shaping that bottom and building definition in those legs!

Add in 2-3 interval workouts a week, be it on the bike, running, or circuit-format weights, and you will start to see your results!

Combine your exercise with some clean eating, more water, nuts, lean meat, fruit and vegetables, cutting back on sugar, wheat and processed foods and you’ll be bringing out the shorts and skirts before the majority!

Interview with Craig Ballantyne – Turbulence Training

Craig was kind enough to supply me with the following interview recently.

If you haven’t checked out any of his workouts before, they are definitely worth investing in, as have thousands of people throughout the world!

1) Hi Craig, thanks for taking the time to talk to me and my readers!
Give us a quick biog of yourself and how TT started?

Turbulence Training is the combined result of over 6 years of University study (including a Master’s Degree in Exercise Physiology), 16 years of hands-on, in the trenches gym experience, over 5,318 personal training sessions, and careful scrutiny of over 723 medical research papers.
It started in 1999, when I was a struggling grad student at McMaster University in Hamilton , Ontario , Canada . We had just finished one of my graduate research studies and I was spending up to 16 hours a day in the lab analyzing my research data.
As a former athlete, I knew that I had to find a way to stay lean and muscular and avoid the fat gain that comes from working long hours in a lab and at a desk as a researcher.
The workouts were a combination of my experience and the research I was going over at that time.
Now we use even more bodyweight exercises and the workers are sometimes even shorter, but it’s all based on that original TT philosophy.

2) With so many diets, programmes, ideas out there, what do you think are the top 3 things that people do wrong when starting a fat loss/fitness programme? A few months back, I made a post on my blog saying people had to “buy-in” to the whole package (exercise, nutrition, and think about it
daily, integrating it into their lives, rather than just at workout times, if they are to achieve successful results.)

i) They cheat too much on weekends and snack mindlessly. Diet is the biggest factor in fat loss, and most folks cheat a lot more than they like to think.
ii) They do too much long, low-intensity exercise (i.e. low intensity cardio). You don’t need to do that much exercise to lose fat. Just focus on your diet and quick workouts instead.
iii) They neglect resistance training. If you really want to change your body, you need to do some resistance training twice per week. But again, most fat loss comes from diet, not exercise.

3) You talk a lot about the ‘social support’ aspect when setting out your fat loss goals. Can you tell us more why this is an important key towards your success?

It’s difficult for most folks to lose fat on their own. Worse, a lot of folks live in environments that are unfriendly to fat loss (friends, spouse, significant others, etc., want to eat bad foods and sit around).
So you must get support outside of your normal social circle. This can be online or at the gym, or maybe you could even find a nutrition buddy at work.
But it’s too hard to do it when you are the only one who wants to see you succeed.

4) What would your top 5 bodyweight and ‘gym’ based exercises be?

My big 5 fat loss movements are…
i) A squat-type movement (squatting, kettlebell swings, jumps, etc)
ii) A pushing exercise (pushups, dumbbell chest press, kettlebell press)
iii) A pulling exercise (pullups, dumbbell rows, bodyweight rows)
iv) A single-leg exercise (split squats, 1-leg lying hip extensions)
v) A total body ab exercise (Knee ups, planks, side planks)
That’s a well rounded total body, fat burning, body sculpting routine right there.

5) What are your top 5 foods that people should and shouldn’t be eating?

Should be eating…
– more fruits
– more vegetables
– more raw nuts
– more protein (to a point…but the average person doesn’t eat enough…but you don’t need to eat more than 1 gram per pound of lean body weight) Nothing specific…just a wide variety of whole, natural foods.
Should NOT be eating…
– liquid calories
– anything with added sugar
– anything with trans-fats
– processed carbohydrates

6) Can you give us a quick breakdown of what you ate today/yesterday?

A typical day goes like this:
6:30am – water and vitamin C before dog walk
8:30am – breakfast bowl of blueberries, pecans, a banana, a tbspn natural
peanut butter, coconut flakes. Green Tea.
11am – 4-egg omelet (omega-3 enriched eggs) with green & red peppers,
asparagus, broccoli, onion, mushrooms, spinach and a bit of cheese. topped
with salsa. Green Tea. Greens plus drink.
2pm – After a workout, I drink 2 cups of chocolate milk.
3pm – Lunch of salad and chicken and an apple and raw almonds.
7pm – Dinner of either:
chicken breast plus broccoli, asparagus, spinach and soup.
Amy’s Organic Chili plus added vegetables
10pm – raw nuts and apple or pear

7) If you’re aiming to put on muscle, how you should eat differently to a fat loss specific programme?

Eat more carbohydrates at all meals. Pretty simple.

8) Do/should you train women differently to men for fat loss? Are they
any exercises women/men benefit from more, or should perform more often?

Not really. Sometimes we just do fewer sets.

9) Should workouts for fat loss be a set followed programme, with weight increases each session, for say 4 weeks, or does a challenging, varied workout each time have the same effect?

It depends. There’s nothing wrong with sticking to the same program for 4 weeks straight (each program consisting of 2-3 workouts of course). But you can change the workout each time and still lose a lot of fat.

Thanks to Craig for his time during his busy schedule! Checkout his work at http://www.turbulencetraining.com/ or his blog at http://www.turbulencetraining.blogspot.com/

Is it wrong to be proud of an ex-doping cheat?

I must admit, since Dwain Chambers tested positive for doping back in 2003, I haven’t really followed his comeback that much. He was refused entry into the last Olympics by the British Athletics board, despite serving his ban and being one of the fastest still in Britain.

I saw yesterday he set the fastest ever 60m time in the semi-finals in Turin. Today was the final.
He won that, and got the gold medal, and crowned European Indoor 60m champion.

Chambers is running faster than ever, and admits taking drugs in the past was a BIG mistake, and he has proved to himself, and others that you can do well, even better in Chambers’ case, without drugs – he is now running faster than he did on “performance enhancing drugs”.

I actually feel pleased for Dwain.
Yes he did wrong, he cheated. But unlike a lot of other drug cheats, he didn’t just retire and take the easy option. He’s trained, improved, and set his focus and targets to get better and stronger than before. He’s also proved to people that you can achieve everything you want without resorting to drugs, and that they are not “the golden key” to results.

I hope he can improve further, go on, and get himself back in the English and British athletics squad. It will be a personal triumph for him, and a show of determination and self belief, training day in, day out for what you want to achieve. All of this while people still call him a cheat, and don’t want him competing – that’s quite some self-motivation on his part.


Am I wrong in supporting someone who was labelled a “cheat?”

How hard do you push yourself?

I’ve just got back in from a run, and had to write a post about what I’ve just seen!(After a protein shake and a banana!)
I was on the home leg of the run, when to my right a bike pulls alongside, and slowly starts to edge past me. The bike had all of it’s “brand” stickers and markings removed, and in it’s place was “POLICE“, and riding it was a pretty overweight policeman. This by itself, looked amusing, but also disturbing.

Next, however was the worst part. The road starts to go up a slight incline, nothing much and not for too long. I’m just about to pump my arms and shorten my stride a little, when the “Bike bobby” grinds to a halt, and gets off!! There was no dropping it down a gear, and pushing on for 2 mins, no, he had decided things were gonna get tough, and he was going to walk up this little incline.

To me this is a pretty poor show. To me, a police’peson‘ should be in good shape. They are required sometimes to chase people, to be involved with overly aggressive people, to restrain people, and to look like a ‘guardian of the law’. They should be in a decent physical state.

A friend of mine Jon Le Tocq recently started a post, on Dax Moy’s PT Success Academy site, which had us all commenting, stating that as Personal Trainers, we should be accountable for ourselves, and should be an example to our clients(how we eat, look, train, and talk), otherwise how can our clients be expected to trust, follow, and be inspired by us.

This same sight struck a chord, and showed a lot of what is wrong with not only our policeforce, but also many people today.

Many people are overweight, and they’re not prepared to put the work in to change this. Getting lean and staying there is not easy.
You have to make changes to your diet, and your lifestyle, breaking habits that you may have had for some time.
You have to work out regularly and challenge yourself outside of your comfort zone.
You’ll need to realise that these challenges are there to test you, and by achieving them you will be on your way to achieving your goals, and building a positive mindset with it.

Don’t be a “get off and walk” person, be a “stay on and push through it” person! You will become a stronger, fitter, leaner, more confident person for it.