Home Archives 2011 July 3

Daily Archives: Jul 3, 2011

Here is the photo you all may, or may not have been waiting for. Taken this Friday just before a group of us got together for a big couple of nights out at Henley Royal Regatta. This is going to be my chance to detail a portion of our routine.

Max Willcocks - FitMag 'writer of the month!'

 

To give you an idea the Bulge is weighing in at about 85kg and myself at 83kg. Both being of similar weights makes it easier to use a broad stroke approach to applying routines. Generally we’re aiming for 3 isolated resistance training sessions during the 5 day working week and one full body compound session on the weekend. To get the Bulge back into the swing of resistance training and lifting tin we are opting for 5 sets of 8 reps on a medium to heavy weight. Comfortable lifts in the first set turn to struggling lifts in the last set, and we’ll do this for 6 different exercises. Thus far he’s done a handful of sessions and this week (Mon/Tues/Wed) he’s already got through a load of cardio and resistance work- ‘go on The Bulge’. We’ll give this a few weeks before dropping reps and increasing weights to improve strength and then start the cycle again. Here’s a quick copy of an email I was sent this morning about his gym time:

Tues:

Incline Bench – 5x8reps @60kg

Flys – 5x8reps @20kg each

Side arm raises – 5×8 @20kg each

Overhead pullovers – 5×8 @22kg

Straight arm pull downs – 5×8 @the stack

Hammer curls – 3×8 @22kg each

5km run – 5x500m @12.5 alternated with 5x500m @17.5

Wed:Leg curls – 5x8reps

Leg extension 5x8reps (I don’t like this exercise)

Leg Press – 5×8 @160kgs

5km run – 5x500m @13.0 alternated with 5x500m @17.5

It’s great to know that he’s out there doing it. I try to motivate him as best as I can but there’s only so much a text/email can do as we don’t get the chance to gym together during the week. This I can tell is going to prove slightly problematic when we have him lifting slightly heavier weights as he’s working without a spotter but for now he should be fine. Its also great to get his feedback, comments like “Couldn’t be more excited for the next few weeks!” and “starting to feel better already” put a spring in my step not to mention his. For a man who was on his knees having champagne sprayed in his face in a marquee at the Henley regatta this weekend he’s really made the most of the start of a fresh week. When two massive bouncers kindly escorted him to the exit for his behaviour I could swear I heard him asking “so what do you bench?” It looks like we have his attention and with a half marathon in 3 weeks and a 10k in 4 weeks he’s got something to aim for, indeed we both have. Its early days, but we’re putting the effort in. So once again- GO ON THE BULGE.

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Supplements are often perceived as magical formulas which hold the key to untold physical transformations! Unfortunately, I would be lying if I said this was the case, but instead they have the ability to give you a 20% boost in the right direction. However, if you feel that this isn’t true and you think that the supplements you are using have not done as you had hoped, I wouldn’t mind betting there is a good chance you may have missed a trick! Here are 3 very simple steps to ensuring that you get the most out of your supplements. After all, it is your hard earned money so I want to make sure you enjoy the best possible gains!

Listen!

Don’t allow yourself to be blasé about when you take your supplements! In the past I have forgotten to take them before a meal, after a meal, an hour before my workout or whatever else and just taken them when I felt like it. This approach doesn’t work; supplements are designed to affect our bodies in a very scientific and specific way. If you think taking them whenever will do the trick it won’t, and whilst this may sound obvious, so many people I know take them at the wrong time of the day! Personally, I would suggest this could potentially 100% defeat the point of using the supplement, do don’t snub the advice on the information label!!!

Keep it Relevant!

Make sure you are buying the right supplements! Just because you want to ‘gain’ muscle doesn’t mean you need a 500 calorie serving 3 times a day! By keeping your supplement intake very specific to your goals you are much more likely to get the gains you want.

Eat up!

Eating the right meals and that means NOT missing a single meal and drinking enough water (4 litres of clear water a day MINIMUM) is probably the best piece of advice I can give to get the most out of your supplements. As you have heard me say already, the supplement stack I am using has taken my strength and energy levels to a whole new level, I have never trained or looked so good. However, the fact my diet is PERFECT has enabled them to work. Envisage this, you are in a Ferrari and you have paid a lot of money for this car (supplements) and it is supposed to be the fastest, most exciting thing to ever grace the road. However, because you cannot be arsed to drive another mile to the proper petrol station you just fill it up with Diesel! What do you think will happen? You have the best engine available, yet because the foundation (Diesel) you have laid by feeding it rubbish means that the actual benefits of all that money spent cannot be enjoyed! Eat well, and then the supplements come to life! Eat rubbish and you will struggle to notice any gains!

 

There are, 3 very simple ways to maximise the effects of your supplement stack! I am not going to lie to you, supplements are revolutionary and they really DO WORK! However, to enable them to work you have to make sure you are giving them a chance to work!

Hi all!  8 weeks to go till my next competition! Feeling good! Training hard and eating well. I’ve made changes this time to keep it simpler. Sleep. Train hard. Eat well. Simple, huh? And even better…..it works.

With work, long hours and personal stresses I didn’t realise how little sleep I was getting and how long it had been going on. So, I have started taking Magnesium before bed (early nights too!) to aid better natural sleep, napping here and there if needed (yep, my grandmother was right….’a nap does you the world of good…’ she’d say!)  Add this to continuing a gluten and dairy free, high protein diet and in as little as a week I noticed changes such as my abs coming through more and reduction in abdominal bloating and body fat. Simply by resting more and training harder…..that is the way uh huh uh huh I like it. . . . . .OK enough of that!

So how’s your training going? If your answer is ‘great!’ Or ‘meh…’ Tell me why….?

We all train for different reasons and as long as you are achieving the goal you’re working to achieve then you are on the right track. As a trainer, it is unfair to assume that every woman wants to lose weight or every man wants big muscles. Funny story….. Check out this conversation I overheard in a PT consultation in a gym I was training in…..

PT- ‘’ok then, so tell me your goals? (Good start…..)

Female Potential Client (FPC) – ‘’well I suffered from a terrible loss about a year ago and haven’t really done anything since.’’

PT-‘’you’re in the right place, I can definitely help you lose the weight and looking beach ready in no time.’’

FPC-‘’I never mentioned losing weight. Or a beach for that matter. I like my body. I’d like to start by getting out the house, try something new, and perhaps do a ‘race for life’ in honour. Are you saying I’m fat….?’’

PT-‘’er……. (Bad start…..)’’

Not good. The PT didn’t get out of that easily!

Anyway, Off the point. Are you actually involved in your training? Are you looking at the body you dreamed you’d have? As I say to my clients, training starts in your head and then the body will follow.

How do you know if you are achieving the results? If you are planning to achieve a certain weight or body fat percentage or complete a race then it is a clear goal to aim for but so many of us don’t get there as we don’t monitor the changes as you go. Sometimes as you live in your own body you don’t notice how well or badly you’re doing. Motivation can go and before you know it, you’re face down in a chocolate gateau.

 If you’re training for a race, say a half marathon, would you go to bed a non runner and wake up as Paula Radcliff? No. You would run or walk what you could and improve little by little until the distances added up. Same for changing your body shape, if you spent 2 years getting fatter and fatter it won’t come off in 2 days….

One of the best things you can do is to honestly monitor and asses your training, your food and even your sleep! It should be natural that you regularly monitor and chart your mileage as a runner or your body fat if you’re planning to change shape, but try this. Plan your training and after each set or after the session write a couple of words next to your program to make the next session more productive. No need to write a dissertation on it, but things like ‘struggled with the last set….more focus needed next session’, ‘felt good and energised today’, ‘weight too light, must increase next session’. Even things like, ‘damn I have a good butt! But I want better shoulders’. All these things keep you involved in your training. Then read your previous notes before you train again. It really worked for me. Even if you’re sceptical and think it’s a bit ‘new age hippy’ just TRY IT. You never know until you have a go. Through personal experience, your frame of mind can change everything. Understand who you are, your weaknesses and strengths, why you’re doing it or even why you’re NOT doing it.  Where’s the harm if you feel you’re not at the goal you want? Sometimes there’s a bit more to it than just turning up…..

Happy training! Peace out x

Cheating during a diet is very demoralising and it usually leads to one of two things; complete discipline because of guilt, OR, a downward spiral! Considering there is a 50% chance it could lead you into a downward spiral the odds are way too high to leave to chance, therefore here are 4 top tips to limit the risks of cheating! These are based on real life situations and what you can do to combat the temptation!

Shopping in the supermarket –

Last Saturday I was walking down the aisles of Tesco getting my usual foods when I stumbled passed a few of my favourite treats! Crunchy nut clusters, Chocolate Hobnobs and Ben & Jerry’s Ice cream were just a few to name. Quite frankly the reason I have such discipline to block them out is because, well, you guys are watching me like a hawk so I cannot afford to slip up. However, in my younger days (there I go again, sound like an old git at 21!) I was easily tempted by these ‘naughties’, so I know what it feels like. What I would suggest is you eat a good solid healthy meal, with complex carbohydrates, protein and plenty of healthy fats before you shop. Feeling full will help suppress unbearable cravings, as where if you are hungry the only thing between you and picking up that delicious chocolate bar and bag of cookies is £2.67. . . . .So they tell me!

Post-Workout –

Damn you forgot to pack your post-workout shake; you just did 40 minutes on the weights and the same time on the treadmill. Man, you could eat a horse right now! The thought of driving for 15 minutes without anything to eat is sometimes unbearable here and for some reason the UK has a rather odd tradition of promoting ‘health and fitness’ and simultaneously selling chocolate in gyms!!! So by now you are starving, post-workout ‘shakeless’ and to top it off the only food available is chocolate! To avoid this, I would suggest doing this! Always, keep protein powder and protein bars in the car! IF you haven’t remembered to do this, grab some fruit from the gym or a local shop to help get your hunger out of your system until you get home. Pineapple, Kiwi fruit or berries should do the trick and the sweet taste should also curb your desire for chocolate!

Meal for two –

So your partner totally respects your diet and supports you, yet it doesn’t stop them from ordering something inappropriate! With that delicious meal sat no more than 20 inches away the smell is practically hypnotising you! What do you do in this situation? I would advise when you go out for a meal plan so that you can enjoy something you like! Chips and greasy gammon may be off the list, but what about lean steak and baked potato, loaded with lovely fresh veg? If you try and eat boiled cod on its own whilst your partner is eating beer battered cod and chips, I bet more than 80% of you would have a cheeky chip or two, so the important thing is to make the situation manageable!

Drive Through –

No word of a lie, just last night I was picking my girlfriend up from work and she decided she wanted a treat, and that so happened to be a drive through at MacDonald’s! By now you should know unlike a lot of other fitness individuals in this sector, I openly admit I would take on anybody in a chunk fest eating competition! Give me a free card to eat what I want for a day and the calories I ingest would be lethal, that’s just how I am!!! Obviously, not all the time mind you! So you can imagine sat next to the food window in Macdonald’s on a LOW carb day on my carb cycling pattern was not easy, so I had to have something! Situations like this are so funny, you genuinely try and pick the ‘healthiest’ option and bull yourself that it isn’t bad! As much as I wanted to, and I have had a lot of practice at doing that over the years, I wasn’t even going to consider cheating so I ordered a coffee with extra Splenda!! This may sound ridiculous, but the fact is my cravings started bouncing around because I wanted sweet and fast calories, and a sweet coffee gave me just that! So am I advising to go to Macdonald’s and order a coffee with Splenda? No, it isn’t smart to put yourself in that situation, BUT if you are through no fault of your own don’t even look at the ‘best food’ because there isn’t any and satisfy your cravings with a sweet coffee!

There you go guys, 4 real life situations and my weird and wonderful methods to cope with the strains of desire!

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Every year as the rain starts to go away and the sun starts to break through the clouds, the one thing on many people’s minds is how to get their abs looking good for the summer! My question to you is, why did you leave it so late? But the fact that you have left it late doesn’t mean you can’t improve on your abs. You can still obtain extremely great results in a short period of time, whether it’s for a holiday or you just might want to show off a little flesh and feel more confident. If you’re willing to put the work in then there is no reason you can’t transform yourself into the new and improved you.

Now a lot of peoples misconception of abs is that doing 100’s of sit ups everyday will get you a beautiful stomach, well this is wrong. Improving your midsection is not a complicated thing but it needs to be attacked from two different angles, eating and exercise. Both areas are really important and if you’re not whiling to apply 100% to both areas then you can’t expect to reach your full potential in the time which you have allowed yourself.

Eating plays a big role, what you need to do is begin to change the way you look at food! Stop looking at food as a luxury and think of it as fuel, think about what each meal does for you and how it will benefit you. When eating you are providing the body with energy, and it will use that energy function during your day, now many people tend to over eat taking in too much energy! Come the end of the evening the energy left over is not just discarded, your body try’s to store it by converting it into fat, and majority of your fat is stored in your abdomen area.  Different food groups provide different amounts of energy. Carbohydrates provide you with the most amount of energy, now you have complex carbs which break down slowly over time, complex carbs being things like oats, rice, potato etc. Simple carbohydrates are broken down quickly, not giving off too much energy but give little bursts, these are things like fruit. The key to your perfect diet is being nice and balanced, you see a lot of quick fix diets that work but they are unhealthy and you will lose the result quicker than you got them. The secret to burning body fat and improving you abs is to consume less energy then you are using up during the day, you can increase the amount of energy you use via things like exercise (read on to find out more about the exercise), this will force the body to break down the body fat that it is storing and use that instead. You want to start of everyday with some complex carbs, this will help to boost your metabolism and get your body to start burning fat first thing in the morning. The key to burning fat after that is to eat small and often and as the day goes on begin to reduce your carbs. The reason you reduce your carbs later on in the evening is because you are consuming energy with no way of burning it, therefore it will probably convert into fat. Now you want to maintain a steady protein intake throughout the day. This would help you repair the muscle tissue which you will be using when you exercise, and it will also help stabilise your blood sugar levels which is vital in order to maximise fat loss!

The second part is exercise. Now this should be broken into two sections, cardio and resistance. Cardio can be carried out every day. What you need to remember is the main focus of this cardio is fat burning and not about improving overall fitness. This is a common mistake that people make. The difference between the two is all about intensity and heart rate. Now your fat stores are used mainly at low intensity cardio carried out for long periods of time, so this would be things like slow jogs, or incline walks for around 40 minutes. The moment you up the tempo you are no longer using your body fat stores you are now carrying out a cardio workout out which will no longer prioritise the use of your body fat as energy, this is because body fat takes a little longer to break down so the moment your intensity is increased your body knows it will not be able to utilise your body fat in time so therefore it will focus on using of your cardio vascular system.

Next in line is the actual abs exercise routine!  Your mid-section is built up of 4 main areas, upper abs, lower abs, oblique’s and lower back. You need to think about the current condition of your abs. Do you need to flatten your abs or need to get more definition, by pulling out your 6 pack a little more? This is important because the exercise you carry out will play part of the roll towards the type of results you will be left with. If your aim is to flatten you will need to carry out a higher range of repetitions using your body weight, things like crunches without a weight for instance. Many people carry out sets of 20 or 10, but if your abs are strong that might not be enough to force your body to adapt if it is too easy, therefore not causing any real adaptations. So what is better to insure your abs workout is as good as it can be is by carrying out each set until failure. If you can carry out a higher rep range like 25-30 then that usually means the exercise you are doing is too easy for you. The general range you want to achieve is about 20reps, with around 3 sets, your abs are a muscle just like the rest of your body so the same rules apply, you do not need to carry out abs workout every day for more results, that would work against you, be sure to allow your abs time to recover.  If you need to pull out the muscles in your abdominals you need to carry out more weighted abs exercises, these are exercises with extra resistance like preys, decline weighted crunches. The rep range you want to be working threw is around 12 for around 3 sets as well.  Abs workout should take around 20 minutes with 30-40sec rest between sets; it should be hard and intense!!!

Flatten programme 3 X failure

  • Crossed leg raises
  • Flutter kicks
  • Swiss ball crunches
  • V sits
  • Oblique crunch
  • Hyper extensions

 

Build muscle programme 3/8-12

  • Leg raises
  • Weighted leg pull ins (in/outs)
  • Preys
  • Decline weighted crunch
  • Side dumbbell tilts
  • SLDL

There you guys have my all time best tips for getting a ripped mid section!!! Hopefully I have enabled some of you to hit your goals and you will continue to prosper as an athlete using these rules!

Below is another storming article by Omania, a very much respected individual and writer on FitForum and FitMag! I would personally advise any beginner to read this and take note, as you progress a few years into your journey as a ‘health conscious person’ all of these points will suddenly seem very relevant, trust me!!! Tackling these issues now will definitely pay dividends in the years to come!

Have you ever thought that you are simply making the same mistakes over and over again? If this scenario sounds familiar, then look no further —FitMag has narrowed down the top 10 dieting blunders that may be holding you back …

Missing meals — a major problem for many people who commonly believe that by missing a meal they are actually reducing their calorific intake. This is often counterproductive; as you may become so hungry that at your next meal you overindulge.

Skipping carbohydrates at meal times — thinking that bread and potatoes are fattening is a big mistake. Starchy foods such as bread, rice, pasta and potatoes are filling foods and should not be avoided — the portion size is what you have to watch and the glycemic index of the food!

The belief that you have to eat less when you want to lose weight — a full plate is not possible when you’re on a diet — right? Wrong! Many of us believe that we should be cutting back on food to lose weight whereas we really should be eating more. The most important foods that we should be filling up on are vegetables — so fill your plate with them!

Not increasing your exercise levels — upping your exercise levels will maximise your loss of fat and minimise your loss of lean muscle. It will also help you maintain your weight long-term and prevent weight re-gain. Try to do around 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity at least four times a week.

‘All or nothing’ — this approach is the downfall of many — don’t make the mistake of thinking you should never have a treat. A pizza is okay, there is nothing wrong with having a pizza — just make sure that you don’t follow it with a large helping of chocolate fudge cake and ice cream everyday, limit this to a treat once every couple of weeks!

Make realistic changes to your diet that you can stick to — Dieting severely is not advisable in the long term; it may seem boring, but making a few small changes that you can stick to is far more likely to result in a weight loss that can be maintained over the long term.

Buying foods such as chips and chocolate for the kids could be holding you back – Having these types of foods in the house can be a temptation; you are more likely to reach for the chocolate if it is to hand, whereas if you had to make the effort to go to the shops — you probably wouldn’t bother!

Being influenced by others – are there saboteurs in your house? Are you being held back by your friends or family? It may be uncomfortable to address these issues as family members or friends may not want you to change — think about talking through your plans with them.

Is your routine holding you back? Do you pass Starbucks every day and fail to resist their carrot or chocolate fudge cake? If you were to take another route to work would that help you curb your habit of nipping in to buy something for that mid-morning snack?

Planning — this is often where successfully lean people do well; they plan their meals and write their shopping list accordingly each week! Failing to plan is planning to fail!

There are 10 cracking points to consider if you are new to all of this ‘health and get into shape’ malarkey!

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