What Should I be Eating Before Training?

What Should I be Eating Before Training?

Feeling Sleepy Pre Workout? Could it be your Pre Workout Fuel?

For a long time, for good reason, Carbohydrates have been recommended around the workout window.

Whilst it’s true that this is a fantastic window of opportunity to get a higher volume of Calories and Carbohydrates in, depending on your current condition, what is also true is that not all Pre-Workout Meals are created equal.

For many; Oats with Whey Protein have been the go-to meal.

But do you find they’re leaving you feel sleepy, lethargic and sluggish pre workout?

Oats, although a fantastic source of energy from a Caloric stand point, also encourage your body to produce Melatonin; the sleep hormone. In fact they include 79ng per 100g. Whilst this is great from a Holistic perspective in a world where a lot of people struggle to sleep – it’s not particularly beneficial right before we’re about to try and ramp up our intensity, mental focus and work rate.

What Should I be Eating Before Training?

They’re also an incredibly fibrous food stuff – meaning that your Gut is going to draw a large volume of energy and blood to the stomach to facilitate their digestion. This is the exact opposite of what we want during a training session; where we want easily digestible foods present that allow us to keep stable blood sugar whilst providing our working muscles with nutrient rich blood. This isn’t going to happen with blood pooling around our stomach, or if it does; its going to leave partially digested and ferreting food in our gut. Either way is a lose-lose.

So instead, try foods that are slightly less fibrous, more easily digestible and with lower melatonin content.

My personal go-to right now is Banana on Rice Cakes accompanied by a Whey Protein Shake around 60-90 minutes pre training.

 

What Should I be Eating Before Training?

Give this a try and see if it improves your workout energy! Want to discuss your training and nutrition more? Get in touch

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Episode #008 – “If it was easy, everyone would do it”

Episode #008 – “If it was easy, everyone would do it”

Another week has passed, and with it; new challenges have presented themselves.

Decreased Caloric intake coupled with an increase in Energy Expenditure is a potent cocktail for Fat Loss, but a challenge to the resolve of a first time competitor!!

Whilst this is not my first ‘prep’ scenario, I have dieted aggressively for Photoshoots before, I had been warned that “Contest prep is a whole different ball game”. How right they were!!

 

Episode #008 – “If it was easy, everyone would do it” Episode #008 – “If it was easy, everyone would do it”

This week, we decided to really turn the screw.

Bodybuilders are renowned for the paper-skin like condition that they bring to stage in comparison to Physique athletes for instance; and the 80kg division is infamous for displaying athletes with absolutely jaw dropping levels of body fat, so it was never going to come easily – especially for someone who is in their first run at it!

To get that lean is unnatural to the Human body. The human body hasn’t changed from a morphological standpoint since we were Cave dwellers. We’re designed to carry a small amount of muscle mass and gain body fat through the Summer months with the Seasonal availability of Fruits and Berries. This helped us to generate the energy to procreate and just as importantly, to store the energy we’d require to survive the famine of the Winter months.

As Humans, our bodies are not built to deal with the year round availability of extremely high energy and processed food stuffs – hence our obesity epidemic, but they are also not built to carry excessive muscle mass with scantily low levels of body fat. From a survival standpoint, that would be a big no go and would probably ensure you were the first of the tribe to fall victim to a harsh winter!

So in order to convince your body of otherwise, you have to be both smart and determined. You have to be armed with the information that it isn’t going to be easy and that your willpower is going to have to out last your body’s stubborn inherited programme to protect itself and its body fat stores. Only your mental robustness will decide who concedes first. 

Now this isn’t applicable to all dieting or health conscious, holistic approaches to being in great shape. Quite the opposite. A relatively low level of body fat and balanced approach to nutrition, training and exercise is fantastically healthy and your body will reward you for it. It’s rewards will come in the shape of a great hormone profile, making you feel and look great, as well as with endorphins and feel-good chemicals being released in to your system periodically to reward you for being kind to yourself and ensuring your longevity.

Ordinarily, the above scenario is where I am to take ALL my clients. Health, happy, lean and leading a balanced and holistic approach to exercise, nutrition and life. But ultimately, contest prep requires you to go above and beyond that. If it was easy, everyone would do it. Arguably what pushes a lot of people to go in to this sport is not wanting to be like everyone else. For me? I want to be the very best possible version of myself, mentally and physically. Typically, the dusk is always darkest before the dawn and hardship breeds greatness.

Food 

In order to manipulate the energy balance as effectively as possible at this point, Calories have been removed from the Non Training Day as well as an increase in overall daily activity.

 

Episode #008 – “If it was easy, everyone would do it”

Here’s how my rest day looks right now.

 

 

 

This is really going to start to pinch as my Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis, i.e. the amount of Calories I burn outside of weight lifting, is also going to increase as a by product of walking 9 Thousand steps per day!

Cardio

For the first time in Prep so far, Cardio has gone mechanical!

For this, we’ve opted to do 45 minutes at 140bpm (72% of my Maximum Heart Rate!) for 45 minutes every day.

Episode #008 – “If it was easy, everyone would do it”

My step count also needs to equal 9000 steps per day!

And that’s it! Those are the changes that have been made this week and I’m really excited to see what difference they make and just how peeled I can get!

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Episode #007 – Head Down, Eyes Up.

Episode #007 – Head Down, Eyes Up.

It’s now 10 weeks to go. It’s getting scarily close to becoming single figures. Whilst the sensible amongst you may sit and proclaim that 9 weeks is a phenomenally long period of time, when you put it into consideration that this has been a 2 year endeavour for me – it’s getting exceedingly close, and extremely real!!

This fills me with absolute nervous excitement, anticipation, terror, focus and exhilaration.

The fear of the unknown is a powerful motivator.

And so is focusing on what I know I need to achieve to be “ready” on the day. Put simply, it’s the greatest Pre Workout on earth. Ever struggle to get yourself ‘up’ for a session, motivated for a big lift or psychologically prepared to go in the Gym and do the business – whether it be cardio or weights? Then I cant recommend setting yourself a target enough. Any goal that pulls you toward working hard, improving yourself and making better decisions every single day is simply priceless..

 

Episode #007 – Head Down, Eyes Up.

Runner or Bodybuilder – the Motivation is the same

I understand that not everybody wants to be a competitive bodybuilder. I love that about our Industry and Fitness in general. I love that it’s so far reaching, with so many niches, so many ever-expanding avenues to be explored by absolutely everybody – thats what makes it so exciting. Powerlifting to Kayaking. Cross fit to Roller Derby. Bodybuilding to Marathon running.

I have a colleague, Iain Maynard, who’s preparing to run 200 miles in 4 days to raise money for Charity later in the summer. You can follow his story at @i_m_fitness_frontier . We’re both climbing our Everest in what couldn’t be more dissimilar disciplines, but the focus, motivation and unwavering dogged determination it gives us both is identical.

In another instance, I was fortunate enough to begin working with a new client this week who, by his own admittance, needs to lose at least 10 stone. He has never set foot in a Gym before in his life. He finds himself at the foot of a completely different journey again, yet his determination to achieve what he’s wanted to do his entire life is giving him the hunger and drive akin to myself and Iain. An unrelenting self motivation that drives you not to focus on the hardships, but on what you can gain out of it all.

The event, doesn’t matter. Your end goal, doesn’t matter. All that matters is that it PULLS you towards it and improves you, in some small way, every single day. The rest becomes much easier then. Working hard becomes easy because you know what you want. Slacking off, giving excuses or giving up may cross your mind in a fleeting thought now and again – thats only normal – but the drive and focus that your goal gives you will ensure you do the right thing. I truly believe that THAT, is the key to being successful. Don’t aim for somebody else’s goal or compare yourself against their standards – do it for you. 

 

 

Episode #007 – Head Down, Eyes Up.

Current Condition – 10 Weeks Out

Episode #007 – Head Down, Eyes Up.

Front Relaxed – 10 Weeks to Go

 

 

 

 

Food

Carrying on from above; one thing I’m frequently asked or a statement that I’m presented with is “I don’t know how you do it”. I’ve not deviated from course since Easter Sunday, when I was permitted an allowable meal and enjoyed a Sunday Roast with my partner and family (it was unbelievable by the way). Now I GET that not everyone see’s the world as black and white as it is during contest prep and I also would heavily stress that keeping contest prep-esque levels of vigour with your dieting 365 days a year isn’t in keeping with creating a ‘healthy relationship’ with food, which is what I always strive to do as a coach amongst my clientele.

There are times when more rigorous control may be appropriate or necessary, but there is also never grounds to make somebody feel bad for a decision they have made regarding food – there is ALWAYS a case in point for the benefit of ‘relaxing’ somewhat with your dietary control and enjoying the finer things in life; as long as this doesn’t detract away from our end goal.

Contest Prep however, is not one of those times. Every gram of Macro and Calorie must be accounted for; and whilst this doesn’t mean there are no “must eat” or “must avoid” foods – there is also a heavy biasing on appropriate food choices. For instance, if I’m allowed 500g Carbs per day in Off-Season, there is no qualms whatsoever with using Carbohydrate dense foods like Bagels, Pancakes, Cereal Bars etc to hit that high requirement.

If during dieting however, I’m allotted just 100g Carbs of day – it might not be the most appropriate decision to eat 120g of Cocopops and be out of Carbs for the rest of the day. This is where less calorie dense and higher volume food choices come in to their own. Foods such as white or sweet potato or rice cakes are the logical choices.

Episode #007 – Head Down, Eyes Up.

So the take away message? Be weary of any coach who tells you that you ‘cannot’ eat certain foods because they’re ‘bad’. Ask “Why”, and if they repeat some Bro-Science babble, this should begin lighting warning beacons about their level Nutritional education and understanding to you.

Whilst there is a case that repeated consumption of Gluten and Inflammatory foods MAY cause some gastro-intestinal upset in some people; this is absolutely no grounds whatsoever to eliminate it from everybody’s daily choices.

This is especially true with Sugar. Sugar has been vilified lately as being more destructive and addictive than Cocaine; however finally the world has come to it’s senses and begun listening to research that has identified that although the human brain does have a penchant for nice tasting food – Sugar is NOT an enemy. What do you think all Carbohydrates turn in to once present in the body anyway?

Episode #007 – Head Down, Eyes Up.

As of this week, we decided to pull food a little more on my training days. Rest days still remain zero carb and lower calorie, but my training days are as follows:

 

 

 

 

 

Training

Training has remained the same! After last week and the reintroduction of squats, my legs have taken an absolute battering!

Episode #007 – Head Down, Eyes Up.

Episode #007 – Head Down, Eyes Up.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To that end, I found myself on the massage bed getting some much needed TLC!

Some interesting new Research emerged this week as well; regarding rest periods in resistance training too!! I wont bore you with the ins and outs, but it’s another nail in the coffin of short rest period, metabolic based training if you’re in the pursuit of building a physique.

I’ve never been a huge believer or fan or Super/Tri/Giant sets in training. By the time you reach your 3 or 4th exercise, or by the time you hit the later rounds of the routine – your output is SO low that your actual ability to cause meaningful trauma to the Tissue is completely negated. You’re just left with incredibly swollen cells and high levels of lactic acid – which feels GREAT (depending on your outlook) there and then, but doesn’t equal much in results over the long term. It may be beneficial for those looking purely for fat loss or fitness, but not in building or maintaining lean tissue.

In the past 6 + months I have favoured heavy lifts, in single sets, across ALL rep ranges with longer rest in-between and it’s safe to say my physique has absolutely transformed – now the science is beginning to reinforce that approach.

Longer rest periods, closer to 5 minutes or so, are much more beneficial for Muscle Protein Synthesis and Output than 60 second rest periods!! Give it a go! Work your butt off in your working sets and hit absolute failure, before taking slightly longer rest periods. 

Cardio

As we’ve opted to keep changing the energy balance from the Food perspective, Cardio has remained constant.

Logical decisions are key in what is an incredibly methodical process. Taking from both ends at once can lead to not only burning out and draining an athlete unnecessarily early, but also makes it very difficult to ‘pin point’ specifically what change was responsible for the response that was gained. To this end, cardio has stayed at 35 minutes walking per day!

I’d encourage you to use this approach with your own training and/or dieting. Regardless of what it is you’re trying to achieve, if you change too many variables at once, it’s going to be impossible to identify how you ended up where you came out.

And that’s pretty much it – that’s a rap on another week!! Weeks seem to be going past like days at the moment! I’m thoroughly embracing and enjoying every moment of it!! I hope youve enjoyed the read and there’s something applicable to you in there that you can take from it all!!

Have a great week and see you all next time!!

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The Top 3 Bad Habits in Women wanting to get Lean!

The Top 3 Bad Habits in Women wanting to get Lean!

Most Female clients I’ve ever dealt with want very similar things. Reduction of body fat in their stubborn areas; the hips, thigh, glutes and back of the arms; but currently have no idea how to achieve that. Building the body you want and have described is very different to just losing a load of weight, and so the approach itself can be very different too.

Many Women may have spent months or years dodging weights areas or gyms altogether and gone to their safe haven of Cardio machines or training at home; but if you really want to look great, feel great and be more confident than ever in that bikini, little black dress or just in your own skin – then we need to change things up. You’re going to look better, feel better and radiate confidence.

  1. Ditch Your Classes

This is going to be a bitter pill for a lot of Women to swallow, but you will never build a physique like the bodies advertised on the latest Pump/Grit/Body (__insert workout name__) here by doing classes. People do classes as a social event. If I asked you to perform the content of the class on your own in the gym, you’d more than likely hate it. Classes are just circuit classes, focusing largely on aerobic training. People go to classes because it gives them social acceptance and it’s comfortable – but how many of these individuals make a change to their body week in, week out?

2) Stop obsessing with Body Weight

When you’re in the pursuit of building a physique, you are going to build some muscle. Don’t panic, this is natural and is essential to building the ‘shape’ you want. You will also be dropping body fat, sometimes simultaneously. What we’re doing is changing the ratio of fat to muscle, meaning that body weight doesn’t always move. Sometimes it wont budge for a week or two, thats okay. We have more accurate methods of ensuring you’re progressing.

Its tempting to go for the easy reach ‘slimming clubs’ just to get weight loss, but bear in mind that within that weight loss will be muscle loss. This brings me neatly on to my next point.

3) Stop going to Slimming Clubs

“It gives me structure” and “It’s easy to stick to” are the most frequent rationale I hear for these clubs. Again, these are largely social interactions where people get comfortable and these rationales are your emotions generating excuses for not leaving that comfort zone.

Whilst theres a time and a place for indiscriminate weight loss, if you want to actually build the body you talk about; you’re going to have to start training and eating more appropriately – ensuring to spend time around like minded people in the process.

 

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Episode #006 – Effort is the greatest Tool in your Arsenal

We’re now down to just 11 weeks, or 77 days, until show day. You can all but disregard the last week – as all the hard work should have been done by then; so time really is marching on!

Prior to this week, I lost 0.8kg Body Weight just from the dietary changes that were made in the week prior; that’s fantastic. Seemingly small drops in body weight, frequently, amount to big changes.

Smaller drops in body weight are also much healthier, as they’re indicative you’re doing a better job at holding on to your hard earned lean muscle. This is absolutely essential, regardless of your objective with dieting. The mechanisms that burn fat, mitochondria, are present only in Muscle tissue; so losing Muscle = losing the ability to burn fat. This is why ‘weight loss’ clubs, I won’t name names, never tend to be effective in the long term!

More and more frequently we’re seeing the popularity of the 8, 10, 12 or even 16 week transformation in the fitness industry; but the transformation should not end when the time scale is up. That should be just the beginning of your journey. A transformation should set you up metabolically, psychologically and morphologically to go on and succeed and achieve bigger and better things from that point. This simply isn’t possible if you’ve ripped your calories apart and are left with no food, and even less muscle than you started with.

Episode #006 – Effort is the greatest Tool in your ArsenalThe same is very much the case with contest prep. The idea being to have a fantastic end product, but one that isn’t completely good for nothing after that point. If you aggressively remove calories from day 1 week 1 of the process, sooner or later you’re left with no calories left to play with and a very tired, very drained, very flat, unsuccessful and unhappy competitor.

So whats the other key ingredient that gets overlooked in order to change body weight? Whats the acute variable we changed this week, without cutting food, to hopefully shift some more body fat?

Effort.

 

Effort is the single most overlooked tool in your arsenal.

In some instances food can be exactly where it needs to be. Cardio is set precisely as it needs to be, but something can still be manipulated to get more from less. It’s time to look deeper and ask if you can turn the screw on your training. The answer here is always “Yes, I can”. No matter how hard you train, how hard you think you train, it’s ALWAYS possible to train harder (Trust me, I’ve learned this lesson the hard way. Twice. Once on my trip to Mi40 in Florida for the Hypertrophy camp, where I had my arse handed to me twice a day, every day for 4 days. Again when I begun working under Jordan Peters).

Put simply, by pushing harder and asking MORE of yourself, your session intensity and thus your overall energy and caloric output increases, creating a greater deficit WITHOUT having to eat less. When you combine this with the metabolic and hormonal adaptations and the potential for additional hypertrophy and strength gains – this is a perfect cocktail for success.

But effort isn’t easy. It’s hard. You cant buy effort, you cant be taught effort. You can only develop an ability within your mindset to push harder and further than before. It’s not always easy, quite the opposite, but the rewards are incredible.

Truthfully, I believe this is the primary difference between the competitive athlete and the avid gym goer. One of them has something at stake and will train like their pride, reputation and values depend on it. The other is just turning up. You decide which one will go farther.

Episode #006 – Effort is the greatest Tool in your Arsenal

This links back in to my earlier blogs on the importance of setting goals. Your goal doesn’t have to be getting on stage, running an Ironman or breaking a Powerlifting record; it could just be to lose 1 stone. It could be to gain body confidence and look good naked for your summer holiday. Either way, it will motivate the hell out of you and your effort will inherently increase.

Food

As I mentioned above, my food has stayed the same this week. So right now, food and carbs stay pretty high on training days; favouring a zero carb and lower calorie approach on rest days to induce a caloric deficit.

Training

The training split remains the same; that is as follows: –

Monday AM – Legs PM – 35 Minute Walk

Tuesday AM – Push PM – 35 Minute Walk

Wednesday AM – Pull PM – 35 Minute Walk

Thursday AM – REST  PM – 35 Minute Walk

Friday AM – Lower PM – 35 Minute Walk

Saturday AM – Upper PM – 35 Minute Walk

Sunday AM – REST PM – 35 Minute Walk

But in the interest of inducing higher levels of effort in every session, one move we have made is to reintroduce squats.

Episode #006 – Effort is the greatest Tool in your Arsenal

Barbell, Smith Machine and Hack squats have previously been eradicated from my programme due to the famed lower back injury. This injury consists of the musculature of the lower back becoming tight and compressing the delicate spinous processes of the vertebrae, upsetting the intricate balance of space, movement and rigidity in the lower back and presenting with one hell of a lot of pain! But as time progresses and my rehab is nearing completion, it’s becoming safe to reintroduce these!

This is a double edged sword. I love squatting, but my God I’d forgotten how much they hurt! Talk about making you put in the effort!

Cardio

Cardio again has remained consistent for me, with 1 daily walk of 35 minutes. This has remained a constant for the past 2 weeks and is actually really quite enjoyable!!

I suggest you try it increasing your own caloric expenditure, if not just for the mental clarity and enjoyment! It’s not so fun in the rain, but needs must and you must be stronger than the excuses!

 

 

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Episode #005 – Pain is Temporary…

Episode #005 – Pain is Temporary…

 

With around 12 weeks to go, the heat is rising…

The world of competitive bodybuilding and sports science is fast evolving, and so too is the understanding of the science and biological mechanisms behind getting the body to go where it doesn’t always want to go..

Episode #005 – Pain is Temporary…

12 weeks is the amount used to be the amount of time that most competitors would give themselves to prepare for a contest, but changes in science and practices has seen this time become slightly longer; in favour of small and frequent

changes that the bodily can (semi) happily adapt too, rather than making aggressive changes over a short space of time to take you from plump to pumped in 12 weeks.

Episode #005 – Pain is Temporary…

Calorie restrictions placed on

Episode #005 – Pain is Temporary…you in a short space of time often have the opposite effect and make you hungry, tired, irritable and you’ll crave like never before!!

The methods I use to drop body fat from clients whilst holding lean mass is exactly the same as the methods used in competition prep; just applied appropriately. It can take months, years even, of experience to improve emotional attachments or understandings of “food”  – so I never suggest that someone go from zero control to complete contest prep levels of vigour with their dieting in a short space of time, it’s just asking for an uncontrollable food binge! But progress is progress, and every day is another battle won.

Even the littlest things like disassociating breakfast with sweet things, breakfast cereals or toast, canEpisode #005 – Pain is Temporary… take time. Your whole life you’ve been programming your brain and gut otherwise, so all of a sudden changing your breakfast ritual to meat or eggs or other high fat, high protein options is completely alien and can take time; not to mention churning your stomach! This is why we call it a ‘lifestyle change’, not simply a diet. Diets have expiry dates.

Food

This leads me nicely on tothe topic of food. As I mentioned above, the new school of thinking in todays industry is that little changes made frequently are much easier for the body to adapt to so are much more sustainable, less stressful and ultimately more successful.

This week we’ve opted to pull food ever so slightly from my Training day, with restEpisode #005 – Pain is Temporary…Episode #005 – Pain is Temporary… days remaining the same at zero carb.

Here’s what my Training Day food looks like right now!

 

 

Training

As stated a couple of weeks ago, training is staying largely the same – with a couple of exceptions. We have cycled a couple of the “key lifts” on my leg days.

Key lifts, primary movements, predictor lifts, big lifts; whatever you want to call them, are usually the lift that takes pride of place at the top of your workout. It’s the single lift that above any other, you’re aiming to progress week in, week out.

With leg movements; I’m semi-limited. A career as a Front Row Forward in Rugby, as is often the case, has left me with a lasting legacy of low back problems – namely compressed Vertebrae in my Lumbar spine from years of scrummaging, high impact collisions and lifting huge loads in the Squat and it’s variations through Strength and Conditioning. I’m assuming theres more than a handful of retired rugby players out there who can relate to this!

This generally doesn’t effect me too badly on a day to day basis, but “axial loading”, or placing a bar or pressure directly on to my spinal column isn’t going to get a warm welcome from my lower back. So instead, we opt for other leg movements like the Leg Press, Horizontal Leg Press, ‘V’ Squat, Pendulum Squat and Linear Hack Press. These are all fantastic lower body compound movements that wont interfere with low back injuries on the same scale.

Recently however, I maxed out the Horizontal Leg Press and V Squat, so they’re no longer suitable as my primary movement. This is where intelligent programming comes in.

Simply put something ELSE that you want to develop as your primary lift, and then move a lift where you’re strong further down your agenda.

So for me, a leg day has reshuffled itself as follows

A1) Leg Press – 3 Sets. Set 1: 13-15 Reps. Set 2: 9-11 Reps. Set 3: Complete failure 6-8 Reps 

B1) V Squat – 2 Sets. 8-12 Reps. 

This means that I can still use the stimulus of the V squat, but in a rep range that I’m unlikely to be able to use as much load on and AFTER a completely exhaustive lift, so my output will be slightly down.

Episode #005 – Pain is Temporary…

 

I recommend using this yourselves. There are no “best exercises” or “magic tips and tricks”. Just the basics done right. Eventually, when you become obsessed with getting strong, you will either plateau, or max out a machine – it’s at this point that I advise swapping out a lift or at least changing the rep range.

You can check out training videos and more of this kind of stuff on my Instagram. Thats not a plug for followers, but if you’re interested, you can check them out at @m_r_training_frontier

The other element of training is of course, cardio. This is the lesser known, less sexy family member of training that is still a valuable tool in increasing your caloric expenditure. My cardio is currently set at 35 minutes walk each night.

What else is new?

As the blog title suggests and as I spoke about earlier – this kind of training is not without its setbacks.

Pushing your body to it’s limits week in, week out, is going to cause some wear and tear – you’d be naive to think otherwise. My journey is no different, at at the tail end of last week I picked up a lower back niggle (again!!) – so I headed off to the only physio in Lincoln I will happily vouch for, recommend, refer and praise. Mr GavinEpisode #005 – Pain is Temporary… Cummins at Lincoln Physiotherapy and Sports Injury Clinic.

If you want a no BS approach, great diagnosis, hands on therapy and a realistic, holistic and effective care plan then look no further. It also helps that he doesn’t charge the absolute earth, which is more than I can say for some of the charlatans out there who pray on the unfortunate victims of pain.

For what it’s worth – here’s my advice. Always, ALWAYS be weary of physiotherapists, chiropractors or otherwise who tell you that you need their “screening” process and a block booking of follow up sessions. Remember, experts as they may be, they’re also running a business.

But I digress, after a great catch up and check over by Gav, he succeeded (yet again) in putting my mind at ease. I thought I’d strained a deep core postural muscle, the QL, which is a big deal. Tearing that is an absolute minimum of 3-6 months out. But after further investigation, I’d just knotted up and caused adhesions on some tendinous fascia in my back. Uncomfortable as it may be, its nothing to be worried about and can be remedied with *sensible* mobility, heat relief and listening to your body.

The heat and pain relief I opt for was recommended to me by the absolute guru Jordan Peters; Kwan Loong Oil.

If you’ve ever suffered a sore elbow, knee, low back, anything really, Kwan Loong Oil  will revolutionise your training.

Kwan Loong Oil is an aromatic oil formulated to relieve pain and treat mild skin irritations. Often used in Chinese Health Traditions, Loong Oil is a natural, low-risk treatment for minor aches and pains, most commonly used for muscle pain, joint pain, backaches, arthritis, bruises, sprains and strains.

It has a mild anaesthetic effect, which is absolutely perfect, and doesn’t contain the harsher NSAID’s present in lotions such as Deep Heat.

So with that problem ticked off, I’m back in full swing and good to go for another week!!

Thats all from me again for this week – thank you kindly for reading! As always, I hope I’ve been insightful enough for you to learn something or at the very least provided an interesting read!!

I always appreciate critique or support, either way, so feel free to share, comment or tag your friends in! I’ll see you all next week!! 

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Favour Weight Lifting over Cardio for Faster Fat Loss

Favour Weight Lifting over Cardio for Faster Fat Loss

So you want to lose body fat?

Research shows that aerobic training from cardio alone is not only ineffective for fat loss, but it can actually work against you. It’s been shown to actually increase your body fat by around .5% over 12 weeks, in comparison to those who did sprints – who lost 1.5kg of body fat. Yet all too often I see new comers to the gym sign up, grab a sweat towel and water bottle and head for the nearest cross trainer, gym bike, stair master or treadmill.

In fact, the only way to not gain body fat is to increase your intensity to HIIT like levels or massively increase your weekly mileage.

But why is this? Surely if you’re elevating your heart rate you’re burning fuel and thus increasing your energy expenditure? Surely the calorie balance must swing in our favour at some point?

Whilst this is absolutely true; there’s two main floors in this plan.

  1. More often with Cardio – trainees, the tendency is to reward the session with extra food afterward, completely removing the calorie deficit you may have just created.
  2. Cardio training is catabolic. TFavour Weight Lifting over Cardio for Faster Fat Losshere’s no escaping that fact. Over a period of time, extended periods of cardio lead to a loss of lean mass and ultimately – your metabolic rate decreases; meaning you can tolerate LESS food whilst gaining MORE fat.

So what’s the solution? We can’t be doomed to getting fat?

Lift. Lift heavy. Lift often.

Regardless of your protocol, opinions or favours to this point; if you want to lose fat then you should be strength training AT LEAST 3 days a week for approximately one hour each time.

Favour Weight Lifting over Cardio for Faster Fat Loss

This doesn’t mean you have to train like Mr. Universe; and done correctly you can ABSOLUTELY programme these sessions to catapult your results for both body composition, strength AND performance if running or cardio really is your thing!

Use bang for buck exercises.

Providing you move well and are stable enough, use compound exercises like the Squat, Deadlift, Lunge or compound Pressing/Pulling movements for heavier rep schemes. 20-30 reps of Dumbbell tricep kickbacks isn’t really what we’re getting at here.

 

 

Interested? Give this fat burning, metabolic booster a go!!

A1) Hamstring Curl. 3 Sets. 6-8 Reps. 10-12 Reps on Set 3

A2) Lat Pulldown/Pull Ups. 3 Sets to Failure in a Minimum of 6 Reps. Use weight/Assistance as necessary.

 

B1) Deadlift. 3 Sets. 8-10 Reps.

 

C1) Tricep Dips. 2 Sets. 10-12 Reps aiming to Fail. Use weight/Assistance as necessary.

C2) Underhand Leaning Back Lat Pulldown . 2 Sets. 8-10 Reps, 11-15 Reps on Set 2.

 

D1) Walking Lunges. 2 Sets. Fail in 8-12 Reps Each Leg.

Rest for 90 Seconds to 2 Minutes in between sets. Use the above 3 times per week, log your lifts and track your progress! Watch your strength and fat loss explode!! 

 

If you want more information on training, dieting and changing your lifestyle – I want to hear from you!! Head to https://mr-training.co.uk/#contact/

The post Favour Weight Lifting over Cardio for Faster Fat Loss appeared first on Marc Rhodes PT.

Lose Fat Faster By Training for Fun and Getting Strong

Lose Fat Faster By Training for Fun and Getting Strong

Very frequently, I consult with new clients who are trying everything with their training but still not losing body fat to a satisfactory level.

If your primary motivation for training is to lose fat, research and experience suggests that training for alternative objectives; like the fun of training, to get strong or to build muscle, tend to be much more successful.

Set performance related goals rather than fat loss goals for your training.

My personal preference of concurrent objectives for clients to work toward is to get stronger. By getting stronger, not only then will they go on to smash their body composition and fat loss goals; they also

  • Improve the quality of lean mass they have; often building more
  • Increase their sensitivity to insulin and create a healthier metabolism
  • Have much greater motivation to do other things that aid in helping them feel energised, strong and lean – including being studious with their food.

Training for fat loss alone can be boring, uninspiring and demotivating when things aren’t going your way.

All to often, I meet people who are in the habit of ‘rewarding’ themselves with extra food after training just to reward their attendance at the gym.

Be aware of your eating behaviour and how external stress influences it. It’s incredible common for fat loss clients to begin rationalising their behaviour to over eat around hard training sessions.

By tracking your sleep, food and water intake and the weights lifted in your workouts; it’s a great way to get a thorough picture of how effective your current fat loss efforts may be – or if they’re actually working against you.

Use A Log Book

Lose Fat Faster By Training for Fun and Getting Strong

I encourage every one of my clients to ‘log’ their sessions. This creates a fantastic tool for a number of reasons. Seeing how far you’ve come, predicting your next lifts and giving you a focus point other than just “am I losing enough fat” are all fantastic reasons to use one.

Fat loss is not linear, so knowing that you’re still always progressing in some way is incredibly motivating and inspiring. Getting stronger is also hugely rewarding and a sure fire way to sky-rocket the effort and intensity of your training sessions.

For more information on building a healthy, sustainable and effective fat loss plan, get in touch at https://mr-training.co.uk/#contact.

The post Lose Fat Faster By Training for Fun and Getting Strong appeared first on Marc Rhodes PT.

Use Drop Sets to Ramp Up Your Intensity and Make Huge Progress

Use Drop Sets to Ramp Up Your Intensity and Make Huge Progress

One thing I have always included in my own and the training of my clients is “post failure” techniques; including the drop set.

More recently as I have favoured the higher intensity, lower volume approach (to great results) – it becomes really important to get absolutely everything out of every set you perform, rather than just training to a number and then stopping.

So what are drop sets and how do they work? 

This is how you might see it written in one of my programmes

A1) Dumbbell Lateral Raises – Triple Drop Set. 1 X 12. 

Use Drop Sets to Ramp Up Your Intensity and Make Huge Progress

Lets break this down. Firstly, lets identify the exercise. The lateral raise.

 

 

 

This is a deltoid exercise, so the perfect applicant for drop sets – as this particular muscle responds extremely well to lots of lactic acid and little rest.

Secondly, what am I being asked to do?

I’d like you to perform one set of 12 reps to complete failure, followed by a “triple drop set”. This essentially means once Ive done 12 repetitions to failure with the weight I’d selected, I will drop my weight down by approximately 20% .(12.5kg down to 10kg is a perfect example), before continuing to perform the exercise, until I fail again.

I will repeat this process three times (as it’s a TRIPLE DROP set).

This is what that might look like 

12.5kg X 12

10kg X 8 

7.5kg X 6

5kg X 5

It’s important that you go to complete muscular failure on every single drop.

So how do they work?

They increase what’s known as motor unit fatigue. It offers us greater release of hormones particularly important to hypertrophy, including Human Growth Hormone, and creates a larger increase in muscle cross sectional area than one set alone.

If you’re eating in a calorie deficit – this is GREAT for torching fat, or if you’re in a surplus – you can be sure to add mass to whichever muscle group you apply this to!!

If you want more information, or for training programmes, fill out the contact form on the tab at the top of the page!

The post Use Drop Sets to Ramp Up Your Intensity and Make Huge Progress appeared first on Marc Rhodes PT.

Episode #004 – Turning the Screw on Fat Loss

Episode #004 – Turning the Screw on Fat Loss

Welcome to my Blog; where I intend  to share my experiences with you in a way never-before-done, giving you the nutrition, training, supplementation and cardio methods from the Bodybuilding world that can help YOU get in incredible shape – or at least give you an interesting read along the way!!

So this weeks blog, as the name suggests, includes some more techniques and tactics to turn up the heat on fat loss and dieting efforts. These changes are all gradual, but necessary in order to maintain momentum during fat loss. With a little over 13 weeks to go now, it’s time to start turning the screw. It can’t always be plain sailing; and as my Dad always told me growing up ‘if it was easy, everybody would do it’.

Episode #004 – Turning the Screw on Fat Loss

Training in Future Fitness, Hannover

Episode #004 – Turning the Screw on Fat Loss

The 6-Pack ‘Beast’ and Backpack are life savers.

This week has been a relatively unorthodox one though, as it included a brief stint over in Hannover, Germany!! Ordinarily, this would be a fairly open and shut case for most individuals, myself included; if it weren’t for contest prep that is!

That made the trip an entirely different beast, so preparations began on Wednesday night to ensure every meal, supplement and training accessory was packed and ready to go for the trip.  This is where meal prep bags come in to an absolute league of their own!! If you haven’t got one, GET ONE!

The reason for the trip, I hear you ask, was for a Coldplay gig. I might not seem like your average Coldplay fanatic, prepared to travel the lengths of Europe to see them, but you can’t argue they’ve got some real toe-tappers (not to mention this was actually a Christmas Present for my better half).

Now I’m no musician or concert-critique, but if you want my two-cents worth, it was the greatest show I’ve ever seen in my life. The gym wasn’t half bad either! If you ever find yourself in Hannover, head for Future Fitness in Hannover. The space is enormous and it literally has anything you would ever want from a Gym on the road; with extremely extensive kit and friendly, English speaking staff!! 

Blood Test Results

This week also saw the return of my much anticipated Blood Test Results. We took these two weeks ago to ascertain if everything was as optimal as could be, to make sure me and my body are as healthy and happy as possible heading in to what can be a stressful environment for your physiology.

I’m happy to report, everything is pretty much good to go!! One thing in particular did catch our eye however, my Creatine Kinase (CK) Levels. 

Episode #004 – Turning the Screw on Fat Loss

Now this is actually nothing to worry about, despite my levels being over 183 TIMES the optimal amount; but it does stand as perfect testimony as to how HARD and FAR you can expect to push your body using strength training in pursuit of a bodybuilding physique.

This test measures the amount of an enzyme called creatine kinase (CK) in your blood. CK is a type of protein. The muscle cells in your body need CK to function and these levels can ordinarily rise after a heart attack, skeletal muscle injury, strenuous exercise, or drinking too much alcohol.

Episode #004 – Turning the Screw on Fat Loss It’s well known that strenuous exercise will elevate these levels, but the extent to which these are elevated shows:

  1. the intensity at which training is necessary in bodybuilding 
  2. WHY such screens are necessary 
  3. the absolute importance of specific and precise supplementation, nutrition and recovery protocols during phases of such intense training! 

If you’re thinking of pushing your limits and seeing what shape you can really get in to – I cannot recommend this procedure enough! Health must always come first and whilst you may “get away” with things now, it will always catch up with you in the long run!

Which brings me neatly on to food!!

Food

The food protocol had remained the same for the past couple of weeks, as we were seeing the adaptations we needed from the same plan. If it aint broke, don’t fix it! But as things naturally begin to adapt, changes in your body will slow. So in come further dietary changes. This week in the shape of removal of carbohydrates from our rest days. This is how my food looks right now.

Episode #004 – Turning the Screw on Fat Loss

 

As you can see, theres no changes to my training day protocol. The surplus here allows us to stay anabolic and induce proper recovery around training.

On rest days however, carbs are a luxury at this point and are no longer a necessity. Removal of them will further increase the weekly caloric surplus and will also begin slight “depletion” of glycogen from muscle cells. Once this begins to happen, the body has to pull fats, or triglycerides, from adipose tissue (fat cells) and use them for energy by burning them in the mitochondria.

NOTE: Supplements such as L-Carnitine help facilitate this, hence why it’s present in my morning shake every day!

 

Training

Now the other way to enhance the fat burning potential of the body is to simply make it need to burn more. In the bodybuilding world, that’s done with training alongside cardio when necessary. Currently – weight training is remaining the same. 5 sessions per week in the format of 3 days on, 1 days rest, 2 days on, 1 days rest. 

Cardio however has slightly increased. At this point, cardio is non-aggressive. In fact, you could argue “is it even cardio at all?!” as there’s not a piece of cardio machinery in sight. Instead, the option taken right now has simply been to increase my step count. We begun at 20 minutes per day, moving on to 30 and now to 35 minutes walking per day; every day – prior to my evening meal!

It’s a simple principle of moving more during the day to elevate your activity levels as much as possible during the day. The more active you are, the more fuel your body eats through! Simples!!

Small and gradual changes are always preferable here. Implementing an aggressive Cardio schedule that’s not sustainable or achievable is a sure fire way to ensure failure.

Little and often is much more realistic and guarantees success. So if you’re currently conducting cardio, make amendments of 5-10 minutes here or there; don’t shoot from 30 minutes to 2 hours because you feel you’re not making progress.

Consistency and gradually turning up the heat wins every time!! My current condition is testimony to that:

 

Episode #004 – Turning the Screw on Fat Loss Episode #004 – Turning the Screw on Fat Loss Episode #004 – Turning the Screw on Fat Loss Episode #004 – Turning the Screw on Fat Loss

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That brings me to the end of another week!! It’s been a fantastic training week and I’ve got plenty to work on moving forward. As always, I’m giddily excited to see what tomorrow and all of next week brings and I’m thoroughly enjoying having the opportunity to share it all with you. Bodybuilder or not, I hope you enjoy reading the experience as much as I’m loving living it – and I hope it gives you useful and insightful information to apply to your own personal scenarios!!

Have a great week!!

The post Episode #004 – Turning the Screw on Fat Loss appeared first on Marc Rhodes PT.