Killer workout!

Hey guys!

Firslty apologies! I’ve been busy! That aint no excuse, but I’ve now got a system of organising things so EVERYTHING should run more smoothly, including more regular blog posts!!

OK, I had a 3 day mentoring course a few weeks back in Guernsey via Jon Le Tocq, who is known for his “intense” workouts!
On the second day, he decided to put 9 of us PT’s through a workout.

It wasn’t pretty!

If you want to see some pain, some PT’s struggling, watch this video!
a 15 minute, non-stop round. Prowler Pushes, burpees and pressups.

Hmmm, yes, I’m the one at the end sitting down, not looking too fresh!!

If you’re gonna workout, workout hard!!

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Resolving workout fatigue

Sometimes you don’t have that spark for a workout, or muscles are still aching from a previous workout.
Yes, sometimes a rest day is as good as a workout, but if you’re there and want an alternative, try the following;

Problem – Aching legs from a football/sport or heavy legs workout
Exercise Resolution – Jump onto a static bike, plug in some tunes and go for a “steady state” cycle – keep the resistance low to moderate and look to spin the RPMs around the 70-80 mark for approx 15-20mins. This will get the blood around the body and legs in particular delivering key, fresh nutrients to those “worked” muscles, whilst assisting with removal of lactic acid and by-products. Finish with some static stretching.
Supplement Resolution – Vitamin C and a good strength Omega-3 oil will help with internal inflammation. Nitric Oxide or Arginine before the session is also good for blood vessel dilation to assist with nutrient delivery and by-product removal. Alternatively Magnesium oil is a fantastic muscle relaxant – spray this on the worked muscle before bed and wake up with fresh muscles!

Problem – Feeling round shouldered and slouched from sitting at the desk all day?
Exercise Resolution – Stretch out the pec muscles(those that tighten and round the shoulders) and then run through some pulling exercises, incorporating movements into the body. This will work the upper back muscles which will not only pin them back, enhance your posture, but will give you that feeling of “opening up” from the desk gorilla position!

Problem – General muscle ache due to previous workout
Exercise Resolution – Rather than hammering the muscles again, before they have properly healed, either pick a light weight you can perform 15-20 reps with and bash out 2-3 controlled sets of full body exercises to increase new blood flow to the area without causing further damage both to the muscles and the central nervous system (the nerves control your muscle stimulus as well as your “overtraining system”) or pick 5 full body movements, and run through 3-4 rounds of a bodyweight circuit – squats, pressups, lunges, burpee, inverted row, plank.
Again enough to get the muscles working and the blood flow moving, but without additional external resistance which could cause more damage than benefit.

Feeling low and in need of a pre-workout pickup? Here are a few;
1) Caffeine – a shot of espresso 30mins before a workout will give you the stimulant needed to power on. Advisable not to take after 4pm due to the stimulant effect
2) Try 5g of Tyrosine before the session to enhance mental clarity and alertness
3) Acetyl L Carnitine, 2g mid morning will keep senses alert and can help with fat oxidation.
4) 15mg of zinc before bed, or 5-HTP will help sleep levels, thereby increasing recovery and freshness for the next morning.

10 Exercise and Nutrition Myths

10 common Nutrition and Exercise Myths!

10. Women will get bulky from lifting weights

Women cannot get big and bulky for one very good reason…their bodies don’t produce enough testosterone to build the large bulky muscles. Testosterone is a key ingredient to putting on muscle mass, and the only way women can get this type of big bulky look is by taking steroids and hormone injections. This is why you see bulky female body builders. I know from personal experience how hard it is to put on muscle, and that is lifting heavy, regularly, consuming lots of protein and calories and being committed! Your 2 sessions a week with weights won’t get you big! So don’t be afraid to lift heavy weights if you’re a woman. Lifting heavy will make a woman strong, not manly. It will give you shape, and you more defined.

9. Carbohydrates make you fat Rubbish.

Excess calories make you fat. Gaining weight is basically consuming more calories than you are expending. This could be protein, fat, or carbohydrates. Carbs are needed as an energy supply, not just for your muscles, but your brain and bodily tissues. The main problem lies in that we eat too many carbohydrates. Nowadays, most processed/packaged food is high in carbohydrates, and often high in sugar. Once your muscles and liver is full (the main storage area for carbs) there is no where else for them to go, so the excess will be broken down and stored as fat. Look to limit your carbohydrates on non-exercise days, to natural ones (fruit, vegetables, small portions of rice) and you and you’re body will benefit from them. Aim to consume more protein and good fats and you will be on the right track.

8. 2 sets of 15 is all you need for each exercise

This often happens with a gym induction. You are put on all the gym machines, and are told to do 2 sets of 15, often with a weight you could perform 25 or more with. Yes, if you’re new to resistance work, work around the 15 rep range, but ensure reps 14 and 15 are getting challenging. After around 4-6 weeks, look to increase the weight so that you are performing around the 12 rep range. Once you have completed about 8 weeks, look to change the whole workout and add new movements.

7. If I exercise, I will get where I want to be without changing my diet.

If you think this, you’re heading down the wrong path! How would you expect to lose weight, put on muscle, get healthier if you’re still eating the same rubbish that helped you gain the weight in the first place?! The idea of exercise and balanced nutrition, is to get you and your body healthier, leaner, and in better condition. What you put into your body will determine this. Take this example – Look at builders and brick layers etc. Now, doing such a physical job day in, day out, all that lifting, they should have bodies of a greek Adonis? But what do they eat? Fry ups, pasties, crisps, all manufactured foods, and therefore they end up having a belly, high blood pressure, and probably a poor immune system. Let me make this clear, you will only get health and fitness results if you pay attention to your diet. I would go as far to say that weight loss, muscle gain etc is 80% nutrition and 20% exercise. Yep, now you see the need for quality food?

6. Machines are safer than free weights

Again, gym inductions are often to blame. These machines are a waste of time. Firstly, they move in a specific range of motion, meaning you will work the same muscles in the same line every time. Secondly you are sitting down, so muscles from your core down are switched off. This not only means you are limiting your work capacity, but you are burning hardly any calories. Surely it is better to work for less time and be more productive? Ask for dumbbell and free weight exercises, and you will soon be sculpting a good looking body!

5. Running, or cardio is the way to lose fat.

No. Cardio exercise should be just one part of your workout routine. When adding cardiovascular exercise, you should look to perform intervals, whereby you work at and easy pace for a period of time, then put up the resistance or speed, and work hard for a shorter period of time. You often will have two to three times more rest period than work. The idea of interval training is you can train for less time, but burn more calories, as it ramps up your metabolism, puts a greater workload on your body, and will get you ‘fitter’ quicker than steady state cardio. Too many people stick to the cardio machines, spending hours during the week on them. Yes you will burn calories, but you’ll also burn muscle because of the long, slow intensity. This in turn robs you of body shape, and will slow your metabolism. In the business this is known as “skinny fat” – you may be slim but you’ll have a high body fat % as you have minimal muscle.

4. Targeting specific muscle groups is the best way to lift.

How many times have you heard “Today I’m doing arms” or “Monday is chest and back!”? How you plan a resistance training program depends on several factors, but the above is pretty much setout for bodybuilders and can workout for long periods (often through enhancements), have a long training background, and consume a good number of calories. This kind of training is not functional. It will not help to give you a generally strong body that will help in everyday tasks. You will see guys at the gym who follow this type of programme, with hunched over shoulders where their chest muscles are over tight from too much bench pressing, and other such muscle imbalances, which in time, will give postural problems. You should look to perform exercises which use multiple muscles and combine the 5 body movements – Walk or lunge, squat or bend, push, pull, rotate.

3. You need supplements to get in shape

Supplements should be used only for what they’re name implies: to “supplement” an already nutritious diet. Pills, powders, potions, will not give the results often portrayed by magazines and adverts, it will just burn a whole in your pocket. What supplements do I consider worth using? A good multi-vitamin and an omega-3 supplement is about it. A protein powder is about the only other if you are working out strenuously, to help build or maintain lean muscle. Natural wholesome food is what your body is designed to consume, and that is what will give you the best results – guaranteed.

2. Cutting calories down will help me lose weight

When you dramatically reduce calories, your bodies metabolism slows down. This is the engine to your body. Also, if you go too long without consuming a decent amount of calories, your body will start to release fat storing hormones called Lipoprotein lipases. These will float around your blood system, and next time you eat, they will grab the nutrients and store them as fat – your bodies last possible source of energy, as it thinks you are in starvation. Eat little and often, every 3 hours and you’ll keep your metabolism high. If you are going to cut calories in an attempt to lose weight, start by just 300 calories a day, possibly moving to 500 if you see no results are a week.

1. Crunches will get rid of your belly fat

One of the most over rated exercises for sure! In a very broad sense, getting rid of fat is a simple factor of expending more calories that you take in. And doing a crunch, which moves the body through a minuscule range of motion, is not going to expend many calories. Plus you’re not going to see any benefit from them if you have a layer of fat over the top. Eat Clean, lift weights, perform intervals and you’ll start to get where you want to be!

Running isn’t the answer to a great body!

treadmill running
One of my PT clients who has been with me for around 4 weeks has put up the following post on my Fat Loss and Fitness Forum.
It’s such a good post, I thought I’d share it with you all, and hopefully it may help those of you who may run to lose weight, or who struggle to lose the last few pounds of fat.
“OK, so I have actually cheated a little with the transformation challenge… Alongside following the nutrition plan and exercises, I also joined up for some PT from Mark in the lead up to my wedding… 16.5 weeks to go guys, and I want to look perfect in that dress and a hotty on the beach on honeymoon for my new hubby to be… So, it is time to get serious.

I have always been on diets, WW, Slimmer’s World etc and although I am not massive, my body shape has never changed. I am/was an avid runner, and always adopted the attitude that if I had been a little bit naughty on the food side (or, more typically, booze side), I’d just run off the calories. Hours have been spent on a treadmill! But my shape never really changed and I remain a constant size 12 – varying between a big 12 and a normal 12…

So, off I go to see Mark, with a little breakdown of my current fitness regime, thinking, I’m going to be top of the class because I am FIT! No, no, no! I have no muscles! Anywhere! (Well, some but very limited)… All this running, and no muscles?… And spending an hour or more in the gym in each session… What the hell! And then I had to have a caliper test thing – ok, so having met Mark for approximately 30 mins, the last thing you want is for your layers of fat to be grabbed in a fancy instrument that resembles something you used to draw circles with! Hideous! But this is all part of the service, and the results were very interesting. I have hormone imbalances (my fiance could have told you that!) which leads to fat build up in certain areas (I would call it thunder thighs, Mark, very kindly, said “child bearing hips”) and now I have vits and supplements to hopefully help with this, as well as a change in my exercise routine – I’ll keep you posted on how those thighs are doing…

So, grudgingly, I have changed my workouts to be weights and resistance based rather than running and I can see the changes already – like, I can nearly see a line in my leg where the hamstring(?) is, and bum and arms not so wobbly. The time in the gym goes so much quicker and I can now fit it into my working week – 45 mins is much easier to fit into before work than an hour and a half! I did have to get over feeling like a numpty in the corner of the gym doing squats and jump lunges but, if you actually look around you, the women with the toned bodies are also using the free weights and not necessarily obsessing on the treadmill…

Another new lesson for me is that weight is really controlled by nutrition, and cannot necessarily be countered with hours on a runner. I also went to Mark with a copy of my starvation diet which incorporated a special k bar for breakfast, a salad or fruit for lunch and a stir fry in the evening – very hard to keep going with over a prolonged amount of time… Now, I have been re-educated, and not so hungry all the time. For me, not eating wheat and dairy has definitely helped in not feeling so bloated anymore. And it’s funny, after 4 weeks of saying no to the breadbasket, it’s not even a temptation anymore. I do love pasta though, so will make this a special treat once in a while……”

Does any of the above ring true with you’re diet or workout regime?!!
In reponse to this, I said;
“I see so many women/men out running, and obviously new to training, in an attempt to lose weight. Yes you’ll lose some at the beginning as you will with any form of exercise due to it being something that you haven’t done before, and obvisously more than you’ve done before! BUT, after a while results will dry up as will the weight loss, and most people then give up.
Bascially you’re body has got used to the running and the distance your doing, and so the only way to keep results coming is to run for longer, and then longer and longer etc (who really wants to work out for a long time?!!) or you have to start running harder and faster to change the intensity, which is also what most people don’t like….the hard work!!
Anyhow, running will not shape or change your body shape. Too many people get left with shapeless arms, legs, stomachs and bums, because they’re not really using any muscles with enough resistance to shape them.
You have to use resistance training to shape your body – be it by itself or alongside your running.

Sure if you enjoy running, then still do it, but ensure you add in some bodyweight sessions or weight sessions, as you won’t get results alone with running.

Another common mistake people make (and I’m sure my client won’t mind me saying this?!) but when she joined she only really wanted to lose about 4-5lb, and that was her focus every week, the scales, to lose a few pounds.
If you have a lot of weight to lose, then fair enough, but when we’re talking a few pounds it can become “obsessive” in the fact that bodyweight can shift a few pounds during the day, down to fluid intake, food eaten that day etc etc, so you’re never really going to get a true reading for a few pounds, and could well get upset that you’ve lost 0.5lb a week etc etc.

Therefore we changed the emphasis of workouts from weightloss to intensitythe keyword!
I told her to enjoy her workouts, to put in maximum effort each time she trains, to challenge herself. Run that bit faster than last time, push a few extra reps than last time, and if you truely can say you’ve worked out hard each week, and you’ve been eating sensibly, there is NO WAY you’re body will not change!
Having a competitive streak, this is working a treat, and it’s pretty hard to keep her from busting a gut every day!

Remember, the workouts are the stimulus for your body, but it will only change through rest and nutrition, so ensure this is a key priority!!

Workout smart, Eat smart, workout hard, workout with resistance and intensity and you’ll get the body you are after!
Did you start out this way, and now have results from resistance training? Let us know your results and how you go them!

Barefoot is best!

bare

I love working out at my local gym! I see and hear so many exercise and nutrition myths, I reckon I could keep my blog full with them!

Today I was running through some front squats, trainers off, when the female instructor and also the gyms Personal Trainer, came up and said, “Where are your shoes?! Health and safety!” I nodded towards the floor where my trainers were sitting, and said, with a smile “Just exercising properly, surely you know you’re stronger without shoes on?” she just smiled back, not knowing what the hell I was talking about, and continued to show a guy how to perform a single arm DB Row with the best rounded back teachnique ever!

If you perform an exercise standing, wear no training shoes, or some very flat shoes, like converse or adidas all stars. The reason being, your feet have around 28 bones, a large number, therefore you have a  large number of muscles and nerves associated with these bones. When you wear a pair of nicely padded training shoes, you are not only displacing your ankle and therefore the rest of your kinetic chain when you push into the floor, but you are numbing a large number of these muscles, and therefore the contractions of the muscles, including the hamstrings, glutes, lower back etc are weaker and out of synch.

Compare this with training in level shoes, or socks, and your feet and nervous system come alive! It is foot to hard floor contact, and when you push into the floor, those nerves and neural drive will fire up big time, contracting many more muscles and in turn will create a stronger contraction and you WILL be stronger.

I have all my PT clients working out without trainers, and when performing standing exercises, I’m down to socks for my own workouts. Give it a try, drop off those shoes and try some OH presses, Squats, Deadlifts, Cleans etc, and you’ll notice how much more “aware” your senses and muscles are, and how much stronger you will be – just make sure you have clean socks on!! Let me know how you get on!

 

P.S. Here’s a great article on why “barefoot” is better http://nymag.com/health/features/46213/

Post Workout Nutrition – What’s yours?

Sometimes these posts just write themselves!
I was at the gym this afternoon, primarily working on strengthening my glutes, after attending a Kinetic Chain Assessment course in London with Dax Moy last week. A post on postural issues and correction will be at a later date!
However, there was a girl at the gym running through the usual “lost sheep” routine of moving from one exercise to the next with really no intensity, and no workout plan. The only thing going for her was that she was in pretty good shape. This was by no means down to a good workout routine however!
She then spotted a gym instructor and asked him about putting on some lean muscle and protein shakes.
I could just overhear him suggesting big, compound exercises (good so far!) and going to the high street to buy some protein powder, but to “buy one of the big brands” because they have done more research and their products are proven!
Hang on! Protein powder is just skimmed and extracted from milk!! There is no secret formula or proving to be done by anyone!!?
Anyway, she went back to her workout and eventually left.
I left shortly after and as I went through reception, I saw the same girl, standing at the vending machine!
In this machine you could buy chocolate bars or crisps! She bent down and pulled out a bag of crisps!


Now, post nutrition is probably the second most important meal of the day, after breakfast.
Your body, if you’ve worked out correctly, will be looking for nutrients to refuel, repair and re-grow your muscles. It wants quality foods, and fasting acting ones.
It doesn’t want artificial, packaged fats and useless calories.
Look to drink chocolate milk or soya (or another flavour!) as you’ll get some fast acting carbs and protein, the perfect mix, or a protein shake with half a banana.

You should then be aiming to eat a meal with a balanced amount of carbs, protein and good fats within the next 2 hours to continue the refuel and repair process.

Don’t waste your efforts in the gym, or even during the week by neglecting post workout nutrition!

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!