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Next in the intense series of training, transformer Phill learns the basics of a good lower day training session.

Last week saw the 19 year old marketing assistant a good ‘upper body’ work out, with the aid of Strength Expert Chris Brodie. With that insightful knowledge gained, learning what to do for Leg Day was next on the list.

On hand to help master the routine was Guru Rob Shaw. As a rugby player, Rob knows all too well the importance of having good lower-body strength.

We’ve all seen the memes about leg day - where someone focuses all their energy on their upper body, they forget their legs. Part of the transformation is to gain all-body muscle, and help develop the abdominal muscles.

Phill was given an example plan to follow over his transformation:

Squats – 3 Sets Of 20 – 10K On Both Sides

Lunges – 3 Sets of 20 – With 10K Dumbbells

Leg Press – 3 Sets of 20 – 40kg total (20 each side)

Leg Extensions – 3 Sets of 20 – 40Kg Total

Ham Sting Curls – 3 Sets of 20 – 40Kg Total

Calf Press – 5 sets of 20 – 50KG total

it’s 50% of your body, so leg day really isn’t worth missing. In addition to legs, it’s also a core workout, helps with balance, as well as being a cardio-vascular workout.

Rob commented:”don’t skip leg days, and just make sure your technique’s good. You want to lift with your legs, keeping your back straight”.

It’s important with any exercise that you maintain the correct positions to prevent injury occurring.

The weeks have passed and the votes are now in. The Transformation Challenge has been the most successful yet. Over 600 people across the UK and further afield entered the transformation challenge with their 1 ultimate aim.

Males and Females across the nation battled it out to achieve their dream physique, whether that was losing weight, or toning up. As the weeks went buy, tensions started to rise and some even gave up the challenge. But those who persisted reached their aim.

Before the Transformation Challenge, we asked the entrants to send in a before photo, and selected 30 participants – focusing on their journey through the 6 weeks. After week 6, those entrants were whittled down to just 9 finalists to win the prize of the transformation bundle.

BBC Radio 1′s Nick Grimshaw is embarking on an intense Sport Relief Challenge: Cycling Non-Stop for 12 hours in a transparent box outside the BBC’s broadcasting house in London.

The host of the station’s flagship breakfast show, Grimshaw has been training over the last few weeks leading up to his challenge on a few weeks time.

At this point, however, we thought it would be a good idea to share our take on the DJ’s formidable challenge. Bicycle riding is a test of endurance, motivation, stamina and mindset. It’s both physically and mentally draining over long periods so what we want to focus on is how does one prepare for this kind of challenge, and how do you keep going to the end?

So firstly, what started your journey in Bodybuilding?

I first started weight training when I wanted to tone up a bit for the Australian Swimsuit Calendar shoot I had coming up so I started going to the gym with my partner. Since I had no other females to work out with I would work out with Chris just doing what he did with a fraction of the weight. It was addictive!

The biggest adjustment though was my diet. After seeing the massive difference a clean and calorie/carb controlled diet made to my body as well as cutting out all alcohol and soft drinks. I don’t think I could ever go back to eating the way I used to.

The concept of broscience, what it is and how it came about is most certainly an interesting one.

In the early seventies a medical research scientist named Dr Bryn ‘Bro’ Walters was seen as the foremost expert in science and physical performance. A senior lecturer at Yale he was seen as the ‘man behind’ many of the sporting legends of the time. He was also a large part of the bodybuilding and physical culture that was taking off at that time. He advised silently many of the pro’s of that time in all manner of disciplines. Dr Walters revolutionised research fields at the time foregoing his lab coat often for gym gear and a bunch of interesting contraptions that cluttered weight rooms of major league baseball, college and golds gyms alike.

The results ‘bro’ formulated were intriguing to the gym going public and professionals alike.

He taught us the concept that lifting the heaviest weights you possibly can will lead to what is scientifically (bro science that is) referred to as ‘henchus maximus’.

Amongst his other findings he found that technique and form during lifting where an often overrated and inexcusable thing to do. To put less weight on the bar was to speak in the words of the great man a ‘foolish’ act. Bro was reveered in these gym and professional circles as not only did he own his own personal ‘arm blaster’ but he would be the ‘man’ with the answers, many would say he had marginally less willingness to listen than Chuck Norris had fear. He was a plethora of information that would spew relentlessly from his mouth between sets of squat rack arm blaster curls. One of his favourite exercise for loading his ‘guns’ before hitting the nightlife and collegiate bars.

This man had respect so people simply shut up and listened………

I could expand further on what ‘Bro’ brought to the table but most of it I’m pretty fed up of hearing if I’m honest.

As you’ve probably gathered……today I was a bit stuck for truly inspirational writing and decided to take a light hearted look at something and a few lessons that can be learned.

My main point being is that knowledge is only powerful when you can validate it. I know for a fact many read the first part of this piece with ‘wow I didn’t know that’, others am sure and I hope realised pretty quick it was all fictitious.

Just lately and honestly if I recall I have always heard drivels of both supposed ‘professionals’ and just ‘bros’ in gyms giving out ridiculously bad information and people believing it. It’s been going on for years trust me. Many of us in this industry spend our time picking up the pieces caused by this ‘bro science’. It’s funny that stepping foot in a gym,  having a bag full of all the equipment, doing a 72hr qualification via the internet instantly allows you to give out what would appear to be informed and educated information.

If your trainer or advisor cannot tell you ‘why’ you are doing something or even ‘how’ to do something you have GOT to question the validity of that advise. You could even save yourself a heap of time and money which is always a good thing.

If I had a penny for every time in my career someone has said ‘but my friend said……..’ I would have about £20 (facts you see). This however is too many times in my opinion (and it isn’t enough to make me a wealthy man). I’m in a fortunate stage of my career that most people know that my knowledge supersedes what their pal down the pub knows but I KNOW from experience early in your career you will contend with it.

Keep learning and keep on top of your information people. If you don’t know find out and explain that you will. Be honest with your clients and give them what you have to the best of your knowledge!!

 

What is conclusive? That’s a very hard question to answer yet one I endeavour to one day build a conclusion upon. This question lies heavy on my mind after a good natured debate this morning with several ‘’house hold’’ (fitness industry anyway) coaches, athletes and personalities. Science has never impressed me so much that I exclusively follow its findings because there is often compromise. Good science and bad science exists, of that I am a firm believer in. However I do love a bit of science, especially when it is easily applied, understandable and usable. The piece I posted on which sparked the debate was on training frequency – how often should you train a muscle? The age old response is of course once a week, and you should ‘’smash it up’’ at that. My issues with this is that science tells us muscle protein synthesis levels (MPS) rise for 48 hours within the trained muscle, thereafter they return to basal levels. When you consider MPS allows for better protein utilisation and anabolism it makes perfect sense to desire elevated MPS levels within each muscle as frequently as possible. Annihilating each muscle once a week isn’t particularly efficient at achieving this, stimulating each muscle twice or even three times a week is. This is where I love science – some good basic solid information which can be taken and applied quite easily. For those who say I don’t listen to science I disagree, this gem has completely changed the way I program training plans for muscle mass.

Enough of that, we aren’t actually hear to discuss ‘’training’’ and ‘’frequency’’ it was merely an example to set the tone for a one-way debate (I am sure you can respond as you read). Some of the feedback from some world renowned fitness names was that they employ a ‘’once a week’’ training philosophy and feel it works fine. So does that mean they are defying science? I’m not sure; you could argue their way isn’t scientifically optimal. However their results appear to be impressive.

This is where I think science and ‘’real life’’ in the trenches know how can make the perfect marriage. There are often grey areas between the black and white lines – those who can exist in the middle, use some of each and apply it are usually those who become the better coaches in my experience.

Science certainly doesn’t have all the answers yet it absolutely has its place on a basic level (I’m not talking medical here, that’s a whole new ball game way above my head). If you can form a collaboration between the two then I think you are on to a winner. The trick is to learn how to do that. So could ‘’conclusive’’ mean to have ‘’an’’ answer? I’m not sure.

Injuries are often avoidable, there are many tell-tale signs before they occur and when they go bang we often only have ourselves to blame. Most human beings are guilty of saying ‘’it will be OK’’ and berry their head in the sand, ‘’it will pass’’ is the general attitude. Unfortunately it often won’t ‘’OK’’ and you could be left with an injury which will detract from your training and more importantly your health. Having suffered our fair share of injuries across the board at Team Monster we wanted to let you know what to look out for.

1 – Dull Aches

Dull aches are often the beginning of something worse. Often described as the equivalent of tooth ache in the joint you will get that irritation which makes you want to climb walls because it really gets under your skin, literally. If you are experiencing any dull aches, particularly in your lower back, shoulder joints or knees get it checked. The chances are a specialist in this area will be able to recommend a plan of action to reverse the issues and steer you free of future issues.

2 – Stabbing Pains

This is most common in the shoulder joint and is often due to rotor cuff issues or bicep tendon issues often exacerbated by a serious lack of mobility within the joint and potentially an imbalance within your back muscles, causing a constant rate of pressure to rest against the joint. This isn’t pleasant and as it progresses it can grow into a constant pain rather than one you only experience when lifting. Again, a specialist is your point of contact here. Don’t ever overlook any pain like this, you could be left with a pretty nasty injury if you do.

3 – Clicks

We all click that is normal however what is less normal is constant clicking in the same area, every time there is movement. If you experience this then there could be several issues which only a specialist can advise on.

Injuries are seriously unpleasant, unwelcome and a right pain (literally) to live with. If you are yet to experience one bad enough to concern yourself about the possibility of suffering from one then take our word for it. Taking precaution now will make your life a lot easier, hopefully prolong your health and in turn have a positive impact on your training. Learn from those who have gone before you.

One of the most common questions posed to myself by trainers is where do they go to? Where do they apply to when they get their qualification and step foot into the ‘Industry’.

I managed to drag a figure off one of the main training providers in the country and they claim to have trained since 1992 in excess of 30,000 people. Bear in mind that this is one of dozens of training providers in the UK. So we can estimate that there are probably in excess of 100,000 qualified trainers in the UK alone. So when the question of what’s the next step arises it’s a tricky one.

I started as a Fitness Instructor on if I recall about £3 something an hour. I would clean gym equipment, do inductions and ‘showarounds’ to demonstrate how each individual piece of kit worked. I would often do 7 or 8 of these a day, I would clean changing rooms, do open and close shifts back to back and at times…….YES I hated it. I came into an industry that at times shows NO prospects. My sister was very academic and went into accountancy so no wonder (and I know why now) my father questioned my career path and would often enquire ‘where it was going?’ and I tell you what, he was right to ask.

Now almost 18 years on I’m doing ok and am making a good living out of something I love. I know on a daily basis I am helping someone and still don’t ever see what I do as work. Do I work? Damn right I do. I’m going to run over a few things for all of you people that have joined or are in the rat race that may potentially help and give you an early insight.

1. Realise you are NOT going to be training athletes or celebrities now or possibly even ever (and don’t worry as everyone pays the same). You will make money from the 62,218,761 people in the UK that ALL need some sort of training, compositional help and simply motivation. Latest figures show that nearly 1 in 4 adults, and over 1 in 10 children aged 2-10, are obese and the gym going population is over 1.5million so anyone out there moaning because they cant find clients is just plain lazy!

2. Acknowledge that you will earn a low income as the set point and average income of a trainer is NOT great and at times you will have to watch the incomings and outgoings. The great thing is your best school is right there in front of you. Tim Ferris in his book, The Four Hour Work Week (which is VERY worthy of a read) stated that in order to become great at something you must do it for at least 10,000 hours. That’s 7.6 years, training 5 people a day 5 days a week every week of every year. If you learn something in every one of those sessions you will become great.

3. Understand that unlike other peoples jobs you CANNOT leave yours at home. You will live, breathe and eat it if you want to become something. EVERY function or event you go too people will ask your advise once they find out what they do. If this annoys you already, get out as you’re in the wrong field.

4. People will infuriate, frustrate and challenge you every damn day of your career. Over time you will learn who is worth persevering with and who isn’t, until you learn that you will just have to deal with them.

5. Early in your career train as many people as you can. You will have messed up hours to begin with and long days but over time you will have the luxury of dictating training times.

6. Brings me onto point 6. Don’t be desperate. People need you more than you need them so if it messes up your times or schedule try to move them to suit. I do a 6,7,8 9.15,10.15, 11.15 and 12.30pm client. If they cant fit in those slots for the most part I wont train them as it will; cost me another client.

7. Get used to getting up EARLY! People want to be trained in these hours and this will be your bread and butter. Most of my days are done with clients by 2pm, I will train myself then work on other things till early evening (sometimes all evening).

8. Don’t settle. Take your ideas to management as most facilities are ran badly. My first gym I worked out of didn’t even offer Personal Training so I put a proposal together and took it to head office, explained how it would be ran, how it would make money. They launched PT across all of their facilities within 3 years and still make a pretty penny from it. My last employers I had topped out on income and the only way to earn more was to work more hours (Which trust me I couldn’t). I took a proposal to management with incentives for trainers across the board. The club now makes more money as do the trainers and they also do more sessions on average. DO NOT rest on your laurels. Be pro-active.

9. Train……you will learn more from training and using systems yourself than any other way

10. Be confident in your abilities and don’t undersell yourself……….also don’t be a smart**** there are people out there who have forgotten more than you know…..and there always will be. Learn and KEEP learning and do not be afraid to learn from ANYONE!

11. Be your own trainer. There are hundreds, thousands of trainers out there who copy systems who become known as a ‘________ trainer’. Not great as A) it means you cant think for yourself B) It limits your audience. However DO NOT be afraid to learn from these people. Some of them are great, others are absolute clowns. You read enough you’ll figure out who’s who.

12. Get some good links. Find people who are useful who can do for your clients what you can’t. Get ties with people who can provide high quality food produce, supplements. People who can help with regeneration, sports massage, physio, chiro etc etc. Eventually you will get referrals and perhaps even make some money from this network.

13. On that note DO NOT claim to do something you actually have very little experience in.

14. Learn to speak infront of more than just one person and be confident with what you know. If you don’t know it say you don’t. People respect that so much more but THEN go and find the answer.

15. ENJOY what you do. If you don’t get out. Working for a living sucks!

For all you budding trainers out there that should give you a little insight into whats ahead of you and hopefully some useful things to think about.

In 2013 look out for the course that will be going on as part of Ultimate Performance Education including several on Business and how to make money in this industry.

As well as reading, studying and then readying some more I have found as a coach the best way to learn is hang with the best!! What do I mean by this? Simply put, become interested in learning from those who have gone before you and built a reputation on consistently delivering mind blowing results with their clients. This is one of my secrets, my contacts list boasts a range of knowledge fit to write several very comprehensive training and nutrition manuals – no joke. By having people like this available on speed dial the rate at which you can progress multiplies. If you are serious about being a top coach then I suggest you get networking, learning from the very best and being cheeky enough to make contact and pick up bits where you can.

I have said on numerous occasions that I believe in ‘’real life’’ results over studies used in isolation. Having publicly said this several times I have often come under fire from avid science preachers but I stand by what I say, I think these people are missing the point. The business we are in is result based, people want to get leaner, more muscular or stronger – the results are measurable and tangible. With that said my initial opinion ‘’who gives a s*** what the study says’’ as long as the coach is getting results on a consistent basis AND doing it in a healthy manner. In my experience the ones who do this are by definition using ‘’science’’ because they are getting the results – whether or not the science has caught up with them yet is another story. Science is by no means white and black, remember that!!

Here are a few points I want to share with you on this topic.

Often I have seen people follow studies blindly to base their prescriptions to clients upon, the thing is what works on paper doesn’t always translate to ‘’real life’’ results. If I had the choice of learning from a lab rat or gym rat who has spent years in the trenches learning their trade I would take their offer before the one from Mr ‘’Studies-are-everything.’’ The thing is more often than not a study isn’t conclusive, far from it. When you have coaches who have SEEN something work for years with a very high success rate recommend something and someone quotes study which opposes it who will you side with? Think about it.

Every time I am drawn into debate where studies are thrown back and forth like missiles I instantly walk away – the thing is we can come up with studies which support pretty much whatever we want. There are very few GOOD conclusive studies which support methodology’s exclusively. If I had enough money I could have a study conducted which supported the idea that my ‘’secret protocol’’ of using cat p*** 30 minutes pre-workout stimulates protein synthesis by 700%!! You get the idea, for those who are not able to digest and dissect studies as perhaps you should it can be very easy to be drawn into the conclusions any given study supports. I was recently challenged by a post I made on nutrient timing and one guy was so sure his point was right and then he backed it up with a study – a study done on 6 people. Conclusive? Really? Mmmmmm.

Finally, a little respect goes a long way. In the bodybuilding industry we have a LOT of coaches who undoubtedly preach a lot of BS there is no doubting that. However, there are also many very good coaches who have more experience than 10 of these trolls put together. Most coaches I see these days who preach the word of science and nothing else tend to have very few ‘’real life’’ results to support their work. Ironic?

 

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