Balancing work and training can be tough. Equity broking is my profession but exercise is my passion. I’m limited to very few hours during the week that I can train, so I have to make the most of them when I do.
Part of my lifestyle is to make the most of my commute, a very convenient and often quicker way to make it to the office, not to mention more pleasurable. I enjoy my morning run; I guess you have to if you are going make it out on the road at 5:40am! However it beats the hell out of anything TFL can offer! A swift 7 miles to and from work have helped me to train for several events, from 10k’s to marathons to ultra marathons; 7 miles… twice a day… everyday! Its one thing to compete but I aim to be competitive, and a top 10 finish in my ultra marathon last year and top 3 finishes in my marathons prove it can be done. Strangely, my background doesn’t lie in distance running; in fact it’s far removed, having been a rugby player from a young age and more akin to sprinting.
I am happy to say I’m not a natural distance runner and part of this is based on the fact I enjoy the gym. I’ve become too accustom to resistance training to want to give it all up in search for the svelte figure of a distance runner. To give you an idea, I’m 5’11 and 83kg. Not huge by any stretch of the imagination, but a fair few KG’s over where one might want to be to take the step to the next level as a distance runner. I have a tempestuous relationship with the gym, I hold my ideal as the lean sports cover model look. Functionally athletic and dynamic, consequently it’s been a good 5 years since I’ve lifted really heavy weights and I personally favour up to 80% of body weight and mid range reps. I have the perfect setup with a gym in my building. I’m not surprised if I find myself there 5 times a week.
All the cardio keeps me pretty lean but we should all know by now that diet plays a crucial role. How many times do we hear a personal trainer in the gym tell someone that they have to change their eating habits, then never to see that client again?! I’m up at 5:15 during the week and eat almost immediately, routine is my friend and breakfast is a never changing remedy. For breakfast I will eat 20g vanilla whey protein and peanut butter on oatmeal with honey and banana, which is a great source of various fuels to get me to the office and something to get the metabolism going first thing. We all have our vices and mine happens to be in the form of finely chopped peanuts on pretty much anything. I can’t say I fuss over lunch, salad from somewhere, brown sandwich from somewhere else but I always make time for another 20g protein shake in the afternoon. I find gyming in the evening a nice wind down from the day and a great de-stresser. There’s always a wary smile on my face come Wed/Thurs evening when numbers dwindle and the ‘’Johnny-come-lately’s’’ decide that a 40 min spin class on a Monday is enough to keep them in good stead. In an attempt to keep things simple I stick to a four day cycle, chest/shoulders on one day, back another, legs then either abs or rest!
To get the most from my gym sessions I’ve been finding that PhD Nutrition do a great pre-gym V Max Pump, while the taurine and the caffeine have potential to keep me up all night, a hard days grafting at work and plenty of exercise usually wins that battle. It also contains micronised creatine, great for helping to sustain muscle mass especially with all the cardio I do. However before heading to bed and to round off the day I take a final shake. This time it is PhD Pharma Whey in a vein attempt to stave off any sore feelings the following day. It may not always work, but at least I have the fresh morning air to remind me how much I enjoy it all.
Back in 2008 I was a very unhealthy, overweight person, I would play computer games all the time, and my fitness level was 0. Being 6’1 I was able to get away with my weight and size of my stomach as it was most hidden by my clothes, but I was buying all large t-shirts as I didn’t like to wear tight ones. I would regularly buy a Men’s Health magazine thinking I could do what they say in the magazine and shape up, but never really had the commitment, or enough info.
It was February 2009 when I decide to join the gym and make the change. Having had my 3 introductory PT sessions I felt I was ok doing weights, although at this point it was only on resistance machines, but it was better than nothing. I then started to build my cardio up slowly, as my starting point was shocking. But the one thing I was failing on was my diet! My mindset was that as I was now working out, I could get away with eating some of the foods I really liked – crisps, chocolate etc.
It wasn’t until my partner left me in the summer of 2009 that I started to really change my diet, and I went the wrong way very quickly. At my lowest I reckon I was eating around 1200 calories a day, whilst running around 4-5km at lunch times. Yes I was losing weight and body fat, but I didn’t look good, and I had no definition. My family were worried about that fact I wouldn’t eat, and they thought I looked very thin in the face. However, I thought I looked good.
It wasn’t until I researched some more into the importance of good nutrition that I started to eat properly, 5-6 meals a day, higher levels of protein, carbohydrates and good fats. I started to put weight back on, but I also started to do weights properly for the 1st time. I used a PT for 8 weeks to get a good routine and have my diet editing and improved again, and then I really started to see increases in strength and size, and with my diet improving, I could see the importance of knowledge, and knowing what you’re doing.
I’ve now got to a stage where I’m around 8-9% body fat, and weigh 78kg, having started in 2009 at 94kg and 22%. I find my strength increases all the time, having started with an aim to be able to dips with my own weight, I can now dip with 18kg between my legs. I found it was all about setting small goals that I could reach along the way, and then once they were beaten, finding new ones.
Having tried so many different dieting things, slightly ashamed here, but I even tried Slimfast! Yeah I know it’s bad, but at the time I was misinformed, and had no idea! It’s getting help from people at the gym, and different forums out there that got me to where I am today. My key piece of advice would be; don’t be afraid to ask for help or advice, you will find almost everyone at the gym is happy to help, and they will have some great experience and knowledge. And there is never a stupid question, we have all had to start somewhere, and would have had the exact same question in our heads too. FitMag certainly has the right content for you guys to learn off too, and I wish that there was this kind of resource around when I started!
Read my next blog to find out what my experiences have been with supplements, during my quest to get to where I am today!
Leg training isn’t everybody’s cup of tea; it certainly wasn’t mine until a couple of years ago. Yes, I would train them but it would be a case of ‘tickling’ them just so I could say ‘I have trained legs’ more than anything else. As I have matured I have come to appreciate the importance of intense leg training and why anybody who is serious about their gains needs to up their ‘leg game!’ Here are 3 compelling reasons why leg day should be your most intense workout of the week bar none!
Legs lead the way!
When you push your legs to the limit it really sends shockwaves through your body, and it stimulates a reaction like no other workout can! The simple reason behind this seems to be the sheer fact that your legs are a massive muscle group, therefore if you push them beyond limits your body has to learn to cope with this! How does it do this? It increases your natural anabolic hormone output! This means that by blasting your legs every week you are not only improving your leg development, you are also developing an environment within your body which promotes additional muscle growth!
Fat loss alert!
An intense leg workout is definitely the best way to obliterate the calories and significantly lower your body fat levels! Due to the size of your quadriceps, hamstrings and glutes when you press, squat and deadlift with them this causes a huge expenditure in calories. Ladies and gents if you want the ultimate fat burning workout just follow one of the leg routines on FitMag! Again, due to the intensity of a leg workout, your metabolism is going to get fired up as well!
Upper body strength!
If you train your legs as hard, and as consistently as your upper body, then your overall strength will certainly increase. If you can imagine standing barbell curls; if your legs are weak you will become ‘jelly legged’ and begin to feel unstable. However, if your legs are strong, your overall stance should be a lot for solid! The body really does work as one big machine, and you need to make sure you are ‘fine tuning’ all of the components!
If these 3 reasons don’t make you want to train legs harder than you have ever done before then I don’t know what will! Begin to attack leg day whether you want to gain lots of muscle, just get lean or get stronger! An intense leg workout will help a man or lady achieve any of those results with the correct application!