Category Archives: Fitness and Health

1arm pull throughs to a press with 12kg using the TRX

1 arm pull throughs to a press with 12kg using the TRX

 

1 arm pull throughs to a press with 12kg using the trx
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1 arm pull throughs to a press with 12kg using the TRX

 

Using the TRX ropes is a great way to add functionality and real strength to any gym workout. Using your own bodyweight as a weight brilliant way to incorporate the abdominal muscles and stabilising muscles in most bodyweight movements. When I talk about real strength I mean not sitting down on a machine, resting your triceps on some lovely padded foam and curling your biceps with a weight you can’t lift properly!

Real strength is the ability to lift ones bodyweight effectively,efficiently and for reps. 

Performing one 1 arm pull throughs to a press using a 12kg kettle bell is an advanced move. You have to have good grip strength, pull up strength, core strength and even the hamstrings and bum will have to contract to allow you to perform the move correctly. You see how many muscles are involved here? There all big muscles too, meaning greater muscle building and fat loss and greater more effective workouts in a shorter amount of time.

A simple low lying bodyweight pull up using the TRX:

Thing is with bodyweight movements they are always working another muscle your probably not even aware of. So a simple low lying pull up with your feet on the floor of even in a bent position will greatly work the back muscles, lats, trapezius, rhomboids, biceps and abs. So in this one we are woking 5 different muscles but there is more, your pecs or chest have to contract and relax to allow you to perform this move, your triceps also. Your hamstrings and bum will also contact to allow you to perform the move. So in this one simple enough move we or you will be using 9 different muscles!!

Effective, fun and challenging: 

You can make bodyweight moves as easy or as hard as you want. You don’t need fancy equipment, you just need you a bar and some ropes. Simple press ups work the chest, shoulders, arms, abs and even the lower back. This exercise can be made easy with knees bent on the floor or harder by putting legs straight. Harder still is explosive push ups, or slowing the movement down so the muscle has to contract for  a longer period of time.

Functional: 

Lifting, pushing and balancing with your own weight will make you very strong, supple, agile and connected. When I say connected I mean traditional gym routines encourage you to isolate muscles, work any given muscle by itself. This encourages stiffness in movement, to be come dis connected from one muscle to another. You may have big biceps but can you do  pull up? Does your body know even how to move so that you could do one? Working with bodyweight movements teaches you to re connect, become strong and flexible. Working out should be about movement and not about working and isolating certain muscles.

Get on the TRX and give it a go. Not sure how just ask me.

 

Rich doing 24kg weighted pull ups!

Rich doing 24kg weighted pull ups!

 

Rich 24kg weighted pull ups!
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Rich doing 24kg weighted pull ups!

 

Not bad eh? This is my client Rich doing 24kg weighted pull ups! Thats and extra 4 stone to his body weight of around 80kg (12 stone 6 pounds). So that makes him 104kg (16 stone 3 pounds)! 

Most people find it hard to do a pull up let alone adding additional weight. Rich had been training hard with me during his 90 day challenge which ends on the 24th of July. Results photos will be posted then. He has been sticking to his diet set by me, been training between 3-5 times a week with myself and has shown great dedication and desire to truly change his physique for the better. His weighted pull ups are a testimony to how hard he has been training and how hard he continues to train. Adding additional weight when performing a pull up will help force the body to continue to build muscle, increase in muscular strength, bone density and reduce body fat. Pull ups are a great way to build serious strength, they are an excellent bodyweight exercise that incorporate a whole lot of muscles at the same time. This will give you real world strength. So when it comes to moving and lifting in a real situation you will be able to lift the weight in question or even lift your own bodyweight. When you compare weighted pull up strength to say a lat pull down on a machine, there is no comparison. Lat pull downs are useless, you are wasting your time and energy on something that will make you less functional and provide you will false strength and a lack of understanding on how to effectively use your body. As much as possible use your body as a weight, train with it, understand it and use it, do not lose it :).

Great work Rich keep it up. 

 

 

 

What to do is an important question

What to do? Is an important question.

 

Where to start my routine when training? How long do I train for?  How many reps or sets? Indeed what to do is an important question. 


Any workout routine should start with a basic stretching session, 5-10 minutes focussing on the backs of the thigh (hamstrings), front thigh(quadriceps), lower back, inner thighs(iliposas), chest(pecs).

Included in this routine should be some bodyweight deep squats, forward bends from the hips and shoulder rotations to help get the muscles warmer. Basically after stretching start to move more dynamically gradually. Try and replicate some moves slowly and controlled that you will be doing in your main workout too.

How long should one train for? Indeed, good question. Truth is no real set time is ever going to be applicable to everyone at any stage or their fitness journey. You may feel tired or stressed both of these will affect your performance in the gym. As a rough guide beginner 30 minutes, intermediate 1 hour and advanced 1 hour +. Always factor in stretching at the start and end of any workout.

 What are reps and sets? 

Reps simply are repetitions that make up sets. You can perform less reps on a heavier weight or more on a lighter weight. You may do 8 reps s

Start your day right.

Start your day right. 

 

 

Start your day right. What you eat when you wake greatly affects your mood, energy levels, concentration, your ability to perform normal boldly functions well, your ability to burn fat effectively and maintain muscle mass are also greatly affected by what you eat when you wake.

So what do you consume upon wakening? Sugar? nope big mistake! If you consume high sugar cereals or foods for breakfast then its a sure recipe for fat and weight gain. Too much sugar and no exercise causes the body to store excess sugar as fat. High levels of sugar lead to insulin resistance, this can lead to type 2 diabetes !

Most cereals or what are perceived as healthy breakfasts are high in sugar. So simply avoid these.

So what do I eat? 

Simply put you want to eat foods that will leave you feeling full with long lasting energy so you avoid over eating. Foods that help burn fat, build muscle and that are high in vitamins, minerals, quality fats, protein and carbohydrates.

So eat these: 

Oats: This very slow-digesting carb keeps blood sugar and insulin levels low, so fat burning can stay high.

In fact, research has shown that athletes who consume slow-digesting carbs in the morning burn more fat throughout the entire day and during workouts than those consuming fast-digesting carbs.

 

Avocado: The mono-unsaturated fats found in avocados are burned readily for fuel during exercise and actually encourage fat burning.

Avocados also contain a very interesting carb called mannoheptulose, a sugar that actually blunts insulin release and enhances calcium absorption, both of which are critical for encouraging fat loss.

Salmon:This fish is one of the richest sources of the omega-3 essential fats EPA and DHA. Unlike flaxseeds, which provide a type of omega-3 that has to be converted into EPA and DHA, salmon provides your body a direct supply of them with no conversion required.

This way you know you’re getting a direct supply of the fats that turn on fat burning and block fat storage.

Eggs: Contain about 6 grams of high quality protein, so high that it is used as the standard by which other foods are measured. Eggs are also a rich source of vitamins, including A, E and K and a range of B vitamins such as B12 (energy), riboflavin and folic acid. Eggs also contain all eight essential amino acids needed for optimal muscle recovery and building valuable minerals like calcium, zinc and iron.

Flaxseed: 

Lowers blood cholesterol and blood sugar levels. The soluble fiber in flaxseed has been shown to lower cholesterol, helping to prevent the buildup of plaque, which can clog arteries and lead to high blood pressure, stroke, or heart attack. Fiber is also believed to lower blood sugar levels, which is important for people who have type 2 diabetes.
Reduce bone loss. A study of diabetic rats showed a delay in bone loss after they were fed flaxseed, thanks to its concentration of fatty acids.
Helps with weight management. Flax expands when ingested, making you feel fuller. You might want to take flax 30 minutes before meals to control your appetite.
Improve digestive health. The fiber in flaxseed can help relieve constipation and make toilet trips easier:)
Increase immunity. Flaxseed has been shown to decrease inflammation, which allows your immune system to function better. Preliminary research suggests that flaxseed can help relieve autoimmune and inflammatory disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, and lupus.
Fight cancer. Studies show that flaxseed may have a role in fighting cancer, particularly colon and breast cancer. The benefit is based on its high concentration of lignans, which are believed to inhibit tumor growth.

Blueberries: This are full of insoluble and soluble fibre. Meaning that if you struggle to do a number two then these might help you. Check that I made a rhyme. Anyway a bit more science now. Blueberries help the GI tract. This is the pathway food takes from the mouth, through the esophagus, stomach, small and large intestine within where the nutrients are extracted for the needs of the body. The residue then passes to the rectum where it is evacuated. As I say helps you go to the loo.

Nuts in general, taste wise I go for pistachios:

Pistachios contain:

Zinc(mineral): Vital in the production of testosterone and growth hormones, perfect for muscle building and fat loss. Supports reproductive health and fertility. Helps prevent cancer and help stregthen your immune system. Zinc lessens the affects of inflammation and lessens the affects of ageing!

Monounsaturated fats: These help reduce bad cholesterol levels in your blood which can lower your risk of heart disease and stroke. They also provide nutrients to help develop and maintain your body’s cells. Contains the antioxidant Vitamin E which helps protect and maintain the skins appearance and protect against conditions such as diabetes.

Magnesium(mineral):Magnesium is important for bone formation. High magnesium intakes are associated with a greater bone density and have shown to be effective for decreasing the risk of osteoporosis in postmenopausal women.

Copper(mineral): Pistachios are high in copper which acts as an anti inflammatory that helps reduce the symptoms of arthritis, copper assists in growth of hair, organs and muscles. Also copper helps prevent premature ageing! Copper helps us utilise our energy department. Therefore, when we have enough copper in our bodies, we will have enough functional and accessible energy to get through the day without feeling lethargic or tired.

Protein: Greater muscle growth, more lean body tissue( less body fat). Protein makes you feel fuller, so less chance of over eating and gaining excess weight. Protein raises you energy expenditure when resting so more calories burned at rest more fat loss and more muscle preservation. Increase in strength and bone density.

This is just one example of one food containing fats that are high in quality nutrition that will leave you feeling energised and full of health. So please don’t be afraid of cousumming fatty foods as long as they are the right type.

What you eat matters, start you day right. Get the quality nutrition, lead an active and healthy lifestyle.

Blueberries! Bad ass superfood !

Blueberries! Bad ass superfood!

 

 

 

Blueberries! Bad ass superfood!

Want a kick ass healthy snack? Want to look younger? Blueberries are full of healthy goodness that will help you live a healthier, fuller life. So read on and reap the benefits of this bad ass superfood!

1) Blueberries help keep you looking younger! Thats right! You too can look young again, just kidding but seriously if you feel you need a little extra help then blueberries can help you fight those shits called free radicals running around damaging cells. Blueberries are full of antioxidants kicking ass helping you look young and fresh.

They also help fight inflammation, this nasty word causes heart disease, diabetes, cancer and so on but our little friend helps prevent these unwanted problems. Not bad eh?

2) Blueberries help fight cancer! Blueberries are shown to have a high Gallic acid content. Gallic acid acts as a antioxidant and helps to protect our cells against cancer without harming healthy cells. Meaning skin, bones, joints, organs are all better protected from free radicals that cause cancer.

3) Helps you get rid of unwanted waste( going to the loo). 

Blueberries are full of insoluble and soluble fibre. Meaning that if you struggle to do a number two then these might help you. Check that I made a rhyme. Anyway a bit more science now. Blueberries help the GI tract. This is the pathway food takes from the mouth, through the esophagus, stomach, small and large intestine within where the nutrients are extracted for the needs of the body. The residue then passes to the rectum where it is evacuated. As I say helps you go to the loo.

4) Heart health. Blueberries keep your heart healthy! Amazingly eating strawberries and blueberries together cuts your risk of heart attack by 33%! 

5)Weight loss! They help you lose weight! Man these things are goo aren’t they? Because they are high in fibre and what I call slow releasing carbohydrates they make you feel fuller for longer. Meaning less chance of over eating and gaining excess weight. Boom.

Blueberries! Bad ass super food!

Cravings! Cravings, I want sugar!


Cravings! Cravings, I want sugar!

 

 

 

Cravings! Cravings, I want sugar! These can be an absolute nightmare! They can wreck your diet and cause you to gain weight!

Cravings are generally a sign that you are simply defiecent in certain nutrients.

Have you ever craved sugar? Chocolate? Cake?

Its simply a sign that you’re body is deficient in certain vitamins and minerals.

Below are some examples of common cravings and what you can eat thats healthy instead to satisfy these cravings without destroying ones diet.
Craving Cheese? Then your deficient in essential fatty acids.

So eat: Essential Fatty Acids deficiency Omega 3′s (EPA and DHA)- Flax oil, ground flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts

Craving pasta, white bread? Then you are deficient in chromium.

So eat: Onion, lettuce, tomato, cinnamon, grapes, apples, sweet potato

Red meat cravings? Means your deficient in Iron.

So eat: Beans, legumes, prunes, figs+ other dried fruit, seaweed, spinach, cherries, Vitamin C for iron absorption

Crisps? I like these too but its a sign your are deficient in chloride.

So eat: Celery, olives, tomato, kelp, Himalayan sea salt.

Chocolate? One of my favourites! Though it means you are deficient in magnesium.

So eat:  whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds, greens, fruit, magnesium

Pop? Fizzy drinks? Means you need to eat more calcium.

So eat:Sesame seeds/ tahini, broccoli, kale, legumes, mustard and turnip greens.

Craving sweets? Generally means your low on blood sugar(hypoglycaemic).

So eat: Fruit, high fibre foods (beans, legumes), complex carbs (grains), chromium (cinnamon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are you confident?

 

Confidence is a massive bonus if you have it!

 

People love confident people. I’m sure you aspire to be confident and successful. We often associate confidence with success, wealth and happiness.

 

We all want that right? Success, wealth and happiness?

 

Guess your asking now what has this got to do with fitness and health?

 

Well a lot to be honest.

 

If you are confident and happy within yourself then you will try! Try new things, take risks, push yourself and most importantly achieve what you set out too do.

 

Your mental state or mind set can greatly affect how you interact or what you do.

 

In a fitness sense if you are positive and strong mentally you will push through to rep out those last few reps, go that bit heavier or run that bit faster for longer.

 

Ever walked into a gym and felt inadequate next to the guy with the bulging muscles or the woman with the great abs and bum?

 

Take a step back, think about what they have done to get where they currently are. They have researched and researched, tried and tried, failed and failed, then tried again and succeeded.

 

To get in great shape, improve health and fitness you need to plan, plan your training, track your progress, plan your diet to maximize your results.

If your training is planned, measured, specific to you and realistic then you will feel confident in what you are doing.

 

Confidence will lead to success. 

Below are some simple tools to help you track and record progress. These will help you stay focused.

 

S.M.A.R.T stands for specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timed.

 

Are your goals specific to you? Pointless trying to run a 4 minute mile if you can’t run for 30 seconds.

 

Keep track and measure your performances. So you can see improvements an failures. This gives you the opportunity to praise yourself for doing well but also to the chance to put right current failings.

 

Can you realistically achieve your goals? Be honest with yourself here. Set unrealistic goals and you will fail, this will lead to a negative response and potentially lead to giving up on your fitness goals.

 

Put a time frame on achieving your fitness targets. This will give you focus to stay motivated and succeed.

 

Hope you find this useful, James

 

 

 

Eat more FAT for health

Consuming fatty foods for many is bad idea! Ill get fat, ill put on weight… the amount of people who are so confused largely thanks to the food industry is shocking.

 

 

For a long time and it still goes on the food industry has marketed their products as being low in fat, low in calories, more like low in anything remotely nutritious or beneficial!

Lets be clear quality fats are not your enemy. Goods fats such as Polyunsaturated and mono unsaturated fats are very good for you.

Things that are high in FAT are not necessarily bad for you as food manufactures would have you believe. It all depends on what type you consume. You want to avoid trans fats and hydrogenated fats as these are man made. Hydrogenated fats can be found in chocolate, french fries,ice cream and biscuits for example.

These Trans fats/hydrogenated fats will lower your good cholesterol and raise your bad cholesterol! Meaning greater risk of heart disease, strokes and heart attacks.

Lets look at one source of quality fat. One of my favourites is pistachios :).

Now these are tasty as. Quality sources of monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats, protein, vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates…

Pistachios contain:

Zinc(mineral): Vital in the production of testosterone and growth hormones, perfect for muscle building and fat loss. Supports reproductive health and fertility. Helps prevent cancer and help stregthen your immune system. Zinc lessens the affects of inflammation and lessens the affects of ageing!

Monounsaturated fats: These help reduce bad cholesterol levels in your blood which can lower your risk of heart disease and stroke. They also provide nutrients to help develop and maintain your body’s cells. Contains the antioxidant Vitamin E which helps protect and maintain the skins appearance and protect against conditions such as diabetes.

Magnesium(mineral):Magnesium is important for bone formation. High magnesium intakes are associated with a greater bone density and have shown to be effective for decreasing the risk of osteoporosis in postmenopausal women.

Copper(mineral): Pistachios are high in copper which acts as an anti inflammatory that helps reduce the symptoms of arthritis, copper assists in growth of hair, organs and muscles. Also copper helps prevent premature ageing! Copper helps us utilise our energy department. Therefore, when we have enough copper in our bodies, we will have enough functional and accessible energy to get through the day without feeling lethargic or tired.

Protein: Greater muscle growth, more lean body tissue( less body fat). Protein makes you feel fuller, so less chance of over eating and gaining excess weight. Protein raises you energy expenditure when resting so more calories burned at rest more fat loss and more muscle preservation. Increase in strength and bone density.

This is just one example of one food containing fats that are high in quality nutrition that will leave you feeling energised and full of health. So please don’t be afraid of cousumming fatty foods as long as they are the right type.

Slow releasing foods? What’s that?

Eat slow releasing energy foods. Why you ask?

There is a thing called the glycaemic index. This simply gives a rank as too how fast food elevates blood sugar. Now we want to avoid high glycaemic index foods when we are not training as high glycaemic foods will cause you to gain fat. So things like porridge oats, green beans, broccoli, cherries, plums, peaches are all good examples of slow releasing energy foods that will leave you feeling fuller, energised and importantly avoiding the temptation to snack on sugary foods.

Meaning greater Fat loss, so make sure you avoid most of the time, chocolate, sweets, sugar, white rice, cakes, alcohol and processed foods. As these will raise your blood sugar! Most people’s blood sugar is not properly balanced. If you’re getting too much glucose, it leads to high blood-sugar levels, which your body can’t break down and stores as fat.

So here is a table ranking various foods on there ability to elevate blood sugar. Now I must point out that you want fast releasing ones when training such as bananas! These give you a boost to keep training hard.

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This remember is a quick guide on sustaining energy through slow releasing energy foods. Don’t forget you need a varied diet of protein and fats as well as carbohydrates. Eat well, live well and be well.

 

Sweet and tasty, Pineapples Rock!

 

Pineapples not only taste great but are packing dense nutrients that will aid your performance in the gym and overall health!

1: 1 fresh cup contains 131% of your recommended daily intake of vitamin C. This helps keep you healthy, heal, increase your uptake of iron, meaning higher haemoglobin and red blood cell production leading to a more efficient heart and lungs! Great for all you cardio kings and queens :).

2: Contains riboflavin, also known as vitamin B2, plays a significant role in the production of energy. It helps in the conversion of carbohydrates to sugar, which fuels the body’s many functions.

3:People who eat pineapples will have a lower risk of developing Asthma due to certain nutrients.  The nutrient is beta carotene  which is found in plant foods like pineapple, carrots and  apricots.

4: Helps prevent cancer! Due to high levels of the antioxidant vitamin C.

5: Increase in fertility! Pineapples high in antioxidants such as vitamin C, beta carotene as well as minerals and vitamins like copper, zinc have the ability to boost the chances of those looking to conceive.

6: High in potassium that helps maintain muscle mass! Diets that are  low in potassium can result in muscle wastage! Especially as we get older. Higher protein intake and potassium rich foods need to be consumed. The tasty pineapple comes to your aid :).

7: The antioxidant vitamin C helps fight skin damage caused by the sun,pollution,reduces wrinkles and aid in improving the overall appearance of a persons skin.

 

 

 

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