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!

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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.

Achieve Your Fat Loss Goals Now!

Achieve Your Fat Loss Goals Now!

To set a goal correctly, you must first understand one other thing. Time.

“If I start trying to lose weight now – it could be MONTHS or YEARS before I get what I want. And its probably going to be REALLY hard!”

STOP!

These thoughts are not only demotivating, they show a misunderstanding of the nature of time itself.  We value our time, so naturally ,we have a tendency to only spend it wisely.

“Treat goal setting as a way to enhance your every day life, NOT as a way to control your future”

Who wants to work for years to reach something ‘one day’?

Not many people have that kind of discipline. But discipline isn’t the issue here. The issue is a misunderstanding of time. You cannot “spend” time. To complete a task that takes one hour, is to “spend” one hour on it – is it not?

This is an inaccurate way to think about time. Time is not a resource. You cannot ‘spend’ time. Time, spends itself. You actually have no choice in the matter. No matter what you do, time is GOING to pass; irrelevant of if you do one thing or another for the next 5 years. Irrelevant of it you get in the gym and pursue your goals, or continue to do nothing, make poor food choices and be unhappy with your body for the next 5 years. Those years will pass.

You are never in the past nor future, you exist only in the present moment. All you actually HAVE is right now. All you can control is your present moment focus. 

First, understand you can only achieve anything in the present moment. You cant achieve or enjoy anything in the future, because you’re not there. But too often, we’re guilty of trying to fight this

Achieve Your Fat Loss Goals Now!

It’s really difficult to achieve a goal thats based on an inaccurate model of reality. It will just make it an uphill struggle. 

The only value in goal setting is that it improves the quality of your present moment of reality. Setting goals CAN give you better clarity and focus in the right now.

Whenever you set a goal, ask yourself “how does setting this goal improve my present reality?”. If it doesnt, you may as well dump it.

IF that goal brings you focus, motivation and clarity however – it’s a keeper.

Many, many people set a goal and then assume the path to that goal will include suffering and hardship.

Instead? Set a goal then acknowledge what effect that has on your present reality.

Set goals that make a positive influence in your day to day and improve your reality, way before you ever actually reach your goal.

“Treat goat setting as a way to enhance your every day life, NOT as a way to control your future”

Picture yourself thinking about having the body of your dreams. You have the confidence to walk around in nothing but your underwear or swimwear. You can be relaxed and yourself on the beach or in the pool. You can wear that outfit you really think would look good on you.

But then you begin thinking “but that will be really hard”. “I’ll have to suffer, live a different life and there will be loads of hardships in getting there”.

Immediately, you’ve left the present and you’re dwelling in the future. That future is only an illusion. Come back to your present and realise that none of things have happened. None of those things will probably EVER happen. You just made them up. Isn’t that ridiculous?

Think of the benefits you’re going to get right now, and every day! 

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Episode #003 – Patience is a Virtue

Episode #003 – Patience is a Virtue

Welcome to my Blog. This week, I intend to continue to share my experience with you in a way never-before-done, giving you the nutrition, training, supplementation and cardio methods that can help YOU get in incredible shape – or at least give you an interesting read along the way!!

Background 

So I now find myself around 14 weeks out from my intended peak date. To bystanders and readers, 14 weeks perhaps sounds like a biblically long period of time. Weddings have been planned in less time! But to me, it seems like time is flying by at a rate of knots – days are becoming weeks and they’re picking up speed!! It’s worth bearing in mind, this show was in my sights from 54 weeks out!

This is how important understanding setting goals becomes – and not being phased out by the daunting prospect of how much time or work may lay between you and what you’d like to achieve.

You have to understand the nature of time. If you set yourself a body goal, but immediately begin to think – “If I start trying to lose weight now – it could be MONTHS or YEARS before I get what I want. And its probably going to be REALLY hard!”, then the chances are that you will end up not only demotivated, but also showing a misunderstanding of the nature of time itself. Episode #003 – Patience is a Virtue

Time is not a resource. You cannot ‘spend’ time. Time, spends itself. You actually have no choice in the matter. No matter what you do, time is GOING to pass; irrelevant of if you do one thing or another for the next 5 years. Irrelevant of it you get in the gym and pursue your goals, or continue to do nothing, make poor food choices and be unhappy with your body for the next 5 years. Those years will pass.

You are never in the past nor future, you exist only in the present moment. All you actually HAVE is right now. All you can control is your present moment focus. Whether you train today or not. Whether you eat junk food today or not.

Understanding that you can only achieve anything in the present moment is extremely powerful. You cant achieve or enjoy anything in the future, because you’re not there. But too often, people act regardless of this fact.

It’s really difficult to achieve a goal thats based on an inaccurate model of reality. It will just make it an uphill struggle.

The only value in goal setting is that it improves the quality of your present moment of reality. Setting goals CAN give you better clarity and focus in the right now. Whenever you set a goal, ask yourself “how does setting this goal improve my present reality?”. If it doesn’t, you may as well not start.

IF that goal brings you focus, motivation and clarity however – it’s a keeper. Competition is something that makes me terrified with nervous excitement. It gives me goosebumps and causes the hairs on the back of my neck to stand up. This is the key.

  • Set a goal then acknowledge what effect that has on your present reality
  • Set goals that make a positive influence in your day to day and improve your reality, way before you ever actually reach your goal.
  • Treat goat setting as a way to enhance your every day life, NOT as a way to control your future.

Picture yourself thinking about having the body of your dreams. You have the confidence to walk around in nothing but your underwear or swimwear. You can be relaxed and yourself on the beach or in the pool. You can wear that outfit you really think would look good on you.

But then you begin thinking “but that will be really hard”. “I’ll have to suffer, live a different life and there will be loads of hardships in getting there”.

Immediately, you’ve left the present and you’re dwelling in the future. That future is only an illusion. Come back to your present and realise that none of things have happened. None of those things will probably EVER happen. You just made them up. Isn’t that ridiculous?

Think of the benefits you’re going to get right now, and every day! That is what will focus you!!!

Food 

As the name of this weeks blog suggests, patience is a virtue!

It’s sometimes assumed that food changes need to be frequent and noticeable in order to make progress. With a short preparation period; that is sometimes true. But when you allow yourself a much greater amount of time in which to prepare, you have the luxury of being able to be patient and say “if it aint broke, don’t fix it”. So right now, my food is slowly bringing in my condition whilst allowing me to add lean mass gradually – as well as continue to get stronger and feel happy, content and not hungry!! At 14 weeks out – that’s perfect.

Training

Again, this has remained the same. Here’s my week currently!

• Mon AM – Legs . PM – 30 min walk

•Tues AM – Push. PM – 30 min walk

•Weds AM – Pull. PM – 30 min walk

•Thurs AM – REST. PM – 30 min walk

•Fri AM – Lower Body. PM – 30 min walk

•Sat AM – Upper Body. PM – 30 min walk

•Sunday AM – REST. PM – 30 min walk

Health and Longevity

As we’re progressing slowly right now, it offers us a perfect opportunity to work on ironing out absolutely anything that is sub-optimal.

Due to the amount of food I’m eating, much of it from starchy carbohydrates and fruits, I’ve been suffering  little bit of digestive stress over the past week or two.

So to combat this, I’m using my time wisely and implementing a pretty aggressive gut healing protocol. I’ve included it below and would recommend to ANYBODY who suffers with gas, belching, wind, bloating, discomfort, cramps, inflammation or uncomfortable feelings caused by food in their every day. 

First up, it’s a shot of Apple Cider Vinegar.

 

Episode #003 – Patience is a Virtue

I take this three times per day, with the first dose being on an empty stomach on waking. Another shot of around 10ml mid morning and the same dose again in the mid afternoon – always a couple of minutes before food seems to work for me.

Using Apple Cider Vinegar can help with acid reflux, lowering your blood pressure, improving diabetes and glucose management and even support weight loss. It’s beneficial properties come from it’s powerful healing compounds, which include acetic acid, potassium, magnesium, probiotics and enzymes.

Acetic acid has the ability to kill dangerous “bad” bacteria and at the same time; encourage the growth of “good” bacteria. Acetic acid kills bacteria unwanted by our gut when it comes into contact with it; essentially acting as a natural antibiotic. This means apple cider vinegar naturally provides numerous benefits related to skin, digestion and immunity health without any side effects.

It can help with detoxifying your body, including your liver, treat acid indigestion and heartburn, kill yeast overgrowth and even support weight loss and blood sugar management.

Next – it’s the breakfast Kale Smoothie!!

Episode #003 – Patience is a Virtue

In this delightful looking concoction we have:

  • 1 Generous Handful of Kale
  • 1 Generous Handful of Ice Cubes
  • 1 Scoop Acetyl L Carnitine. Carnitine is valuable in aiding your body burn fat on a cellular level in the mitochondria.
  • 3 Scoops Multi-Vitamin Powder
  • 1 Scoop Vitamin C Powder
  • 1 Scoop N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC) – A powerful liver detoxifier
  • 1 Scoop Matcha Green Tea – rich in antioxidants, chlorophyll and high in L-Theanine and with slight caffeine content – it’s a great ingredient
  • 3 Scoops (15g) Lemon + Lime Flavoured Glutamine. The most abundant Amino Acid in the body, it aids in ‘healing and sealing’ the gut lining – as well as promoting an “anti-catabolic” state in your body.
  • Water as required. I use about 500ml to fill a shaker with the subsequent liquid.

N.B You don’t have to use flavoured Glutamine. In fact, the removal of Sucralose you could argue would be beneficial. Having said that, this is what gives it a tolerable (quite nice actually) taste. But it’s personal preference here. 

And I use that to wash down the next supplement;

Curcumin

This little molecule has  potent anti-inflammatory effects, so potent that these anti-inflammatory effects may even be protective against some form of cancer progression.

I’ve included it for its potent anti-inflammatory properties; to help heal and soothe a stressed gut – as well as kick start the healing process caused after every weight training session. It’s also been shown to ease and control joint aches and pain brought about by stressful training.

Typically, it has poor bioavailability; meaning your body has a hard time extracting what it needs from it in tablet form, so shopping about for the premium brands is definitely worth while with this product. I take 2 tablets in the AM, 2 in the PM. 

Digestive Enzymes Episode #003 – Patience is a Virtue

Digestive enzymes essentially act as catalysts in speeding up specific, life-preserving chemical reactions in the body. Essentially, they help break down larger food molecules into more easily absorbed particles that the body can use to survive.

I’m currently using a product called Similase. Similase is a full spectrum digestive formula that  contains eight plant-derived enzymes including protease, amylase and lipase (for the digestion of proteins, carbohydrates and fats).

The enzymes in this formula are active in both the stomach and the small intestine and it’s a good choice for anyone looking for broad-spectrum digestive support.

It may seem trivial and un-interesting, but without them, we can’t effectively process food, and they help massively in enhancing the actual efficiency of your gut.

I take one in the early stages of each meal, up to a maximum of 6 tablets per day. 

Probiotics

Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that are good for your health, especially your digestive system. We usually think of bacteria as something that causes diseases, but its becoming more common knowledge that your body is full of bacteria, both good and bad. Probiotics are often called “good” or “helpful” bacteria because they help keep your gut healthy; as well as

•boosting immune system.

•preventing and treating urinary tract infections.

•improving digestive function.

•healing inflammatory bowel conditions like IBS.

•fighting food-borne illnesses.

Again, there are a massive variety of products available here; but quality is paramount with this specific supplement. Look for a product with at least 15 Billion Live cultures, with cultures that are guaranteed at the time of expiry (that’s really important, otherwise you’re just swallowing dead bacteria!). I’m using Nutri Advanced Ultra Probioplex ND Capsules – one of the best on the market. Take one every night before bed on an empty stomach and keep them in the fridge after opening!!

And that’s it..

That’s me for another week!! I hope you’ve found it as interesting and enjoying to read as I have to write – I thoroughly enjoy having this opportunity and this forum through which to share it all with you.

Here’s my current condition, wedgie and all, with 14 weeks to go! Have a great week!

Episode #003 – Patience is a VirtueEpisode #003 – Patience is a Virtue Episode #003 – Patience is a Virtue Episode #003 – Patience is a Virtue

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Apple Cider Vinegar for Fat Loss – More than meets the Eye

Apple Cider Vinegar for Fat Loss – More than meets the Eye

Organic, raw apple cider vinegar is fast becoming one of my top dietary recommendations and something I have begun using every day; multiple times a day, to outstanding effect.

Using Apple Cider Vinegar can help with acid reflux, lowering your blood pressure, improving diabetes and glucose management and even support weight loss. It’s beneficial properties come from it’s powerful healing compounds, which include acetic acid, potassium, magnesium, probiotics and enzymes.

Acetic acid has the ability to kill dangerous “bad” bacteria and at the same time; encourage the growth of “good” bacteria. Acetic acid kills bacteria unwanted by our gut when it comes into contact with it; essentially acting as a natural antibiotic. This means apple cider vinegar naturally provides numerous benefits related to skin, digestion and immunity health without any side effects.

Not only this, it’s been proven to be full of a compound called polyphenols, which have been noted in their prevention of cardiovascular diseases, cancers, osteoporosis, diabetes and neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.

How can it help you? Here’s 6 ways you may find it help you lose fat and feel better!

1. Detoxification

Apple cider vinegar is well documented as an effective liver and lymphatic tonic; aiding in detoxifying your body.  It helps balance your body’s pH and aids cardiovascular stimulation, healthy bowel movement and encourages draining of your lymphatic system, enhancing immune health.

2. Help Remedy Acid Reflux and Heartburn

One of the biggest causes of acid reflux and heartburn is an imbalance in your stomach pH, along with a lack of enzymes and probiotics in the gut. It affects an alarming number of new fat loss clients that I work with, so with Apple cider vinegar being full of all of these nutrients, it comes highly recommended by me.

3. Can Kill Candida, Yeast Overgrowth and Boost Probiotics

Yeast overgrowth and Candida are conditions that affect millions around the world, often without even knowing. It can cause bad breath, lack of energy, urinary tract infections and digestive issues.  ACV contains probiotics and acids that promote the growth of probiotics, aiding in killing off candida.

4. Regulate Your Body’s pH

Apple cider vinegar contains acetic acid, which is acidic in nature but has a more alkaline effect on the rest of your body. Balancing your bodies pH can reduce your risk of chronic illnesses like cancer and can dramatically increase your energy.

5. Support Weight Loss and Metabolism

A study published in the Journal of Diabetes Care found that consuming apple cider vinegar can promote weight loss. There are several reasons for this, namely that it helps reduce sugar cravings and improves clearance of toxins often released in to the blood as fat breaks down.

6. Balance Blood Sugar and Improve Diabetic Symptoms

Medical research has proven that the acetic acid found in apple cider vinegar can balance blood sugar and help improve insulin sensitivity.  Vinegar has been shown to have numerous benefits for insulin function and blood sugar levels, including

  • Improving insulin sensitivity during a high-carb meal by 19-34%
  • Reducing blood sugar by 34% when eating 50 grams of white bread.

When getting yourself some Apple Cider Vinegar, the cheapest is not always the best option.

Look for organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar. “Bragg’s” tends to be one of the best choices available and is readily available cheaply online or in most health food shops – including Holland and Barrett.

Apple Cider Vinegar for Fat Loss – More than meets the Eye

 

 

My recommendation:

Take a couple of Tablespoons’ worth (around 10ml, or a splash in the bottom of a glass) taken like a small shot (mixed with water if you don’t like the taste) 3 times a day; before breakfast, mid morning and mid/late afternoon!! 

The post Apple Cider Vinegar for Fat Loss – More than meets the Eye appeared first on Marc Rhodes PT.

Carbs For Fat Loss

Carbs For Fat Loss

It’s long been the belief of many avid yo-yo dieter and run of the mill personal trainer that low carb diets are the only way to induce weight loss.

Realistically, the VAST majority of weight loss that’s brought about in the initial stages of a low carbohydrate diet is partly the result of changes in cellular fluid levels and partly the reduction in overall calories consumed. 

So why do low carb diets seem to work in the short term?

Any “diet” or “dieting system”; whether it’s Keto, Paleo, Atkins, Cambridge, Low Fat, Low Carb.. (this list is ENDLESS) ALL revolve around removing a certain food type. The removal of an entire food group is what underpins all of these diets, nothing more than that. If you’re only eating two thirds of the available food groups, it’s highly likely you are not meeting your caloric needs – hence the weight loss.

Keeping Carbohydrates out of your nutrition for any length of time is not sustainable and completely unnecessary. Ultimately, as a fat loss coach, the goal is to create a sustainable and enjoyable lifestyle change – not a diet of hardship and “getting by” that has an expiry date. 

How can I help you do this using Carbs?

It is completely appropriate however to remove, or at least lower, intake higher Glycemic Index foods from your diet whilst fat loss is your main concern. Foods such as honeys and breakfast cereals for instance.

Carbs For Fat Loss

Instead of completely removing carbs, replace your carbohydrate choices with lower GI, complex and fibrous carbohydrates to meet your demands and get better results in the earlier stages of your weight loss efforts. Foods such as beans, oats, lentils, basmati rice or sweet potatoes are great examples.

Carbs For Fat Loss

For further information or help with your weight loss, please feel free to get in touch. Email me at marc_rhodespt@icloud.com, or fill out my contact form on the contact tab! 

 

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Episode #002 – Walk the Walk.

Episode #002 – Walk the Walk.

Welcome to Episode 2 of the Road to Competition Blog!

I started last week by saying that I understand that not everybody who has a slight, or even keen, interest in Fitness wants to become a competitive Bodybuilder.

I will always understand that everyone has different dreams, goals, aspirations and levels of involvement in what is the most astounding, versatile, welcoming and ever changing industry on earth.

Whether you’re a Park Runner, an avid and experienced Weights Room veteran, a Cross Fitter, a healthy eater or even someone who just has an interest for all things varied in the Fitness world; this Blog is designed to give you an insider insight in to the world of competitive Bodybuilding.

In a way never-before-done, I hope to share my experience with you; giving you the nutrition, training, supplementation and cardio methods that can help YOU get in incredible shape – or at least give you an interesting read along the way!! 

Background 

After last weeks Blog, I had a few emails and questions regarding dieting for 16 weeks. The general query was “16 weeks – isn’t that too long to be dieting? Isn’t that unhealthy?”

So I wanted to clear that up a little bit. Contest preparation, or a diet in preparation for a particularly important event, beach holiday, even just to get healthier; whatever it may be, should be always defined by the condition of that person at the start of that process.

It’s really common to see people say “I’m going to do a 6 week diet before Holiday”, or to even see Personal Trainers sell an “8 week transformation package”. The end point is ALWAYS dictated by the start point and the length of time you diet for should be based on your physical condition when you started. 

The fitness Industry can be its own worst enemy here, with magazines and Instagram accounts claiming that you can go from Dad-Bod to Greek God in 4 weeks.

It comes down the fact that sometimes people just aren’t patient enough. So so often, people don’t achieve the ‘look’ they wanted, whether it be on stage or just in their Gym transformation because they just didn’t diet for long enough (Trust me..gradually increasing Cardio by 5-10 minutes per week and reducing calories every other week or so for 16 weeks is MUCH easier than being malnourished and exhausted for 6).

This can often lead to people over stretching themselves and “over-dieting”, i.e. being TOO aggressive with their food cuts and cardio. If you are a million miles away from how you hoped you were going to look 5 weeks in to a 6 week Holiday Cut; cutting food to 1000kcals and doing 2 hours of cardio really isn’t going to make the difference.

Dieting is about patience, persistence and intelligent caloric and macro manipulation; which is  often far simpler than people make it. Make sure your Body is in a place to be able to eat more consistently from the off, rather than being hungry to start. This brings me neatly on to the topic of FOOD!!

Food

So last week I shared with you my current Caloric intake at 16 weeks out (This was actually a slight cut from 17 weeks out) and its been doing the job pretty well. Condition has been slowly coming in but with bodyweight not dropping drastically which is perfect. If it aint broke? Don’t fix it – so my food has remained the same. Heres’s a quick snapshot of that from last week.

Episode #002 – Walk the Walk.

Current Food – 15 Weeks Out

We’ve opted instead to swing the Calorie equation in our favour by continuing to expel more energy during the day

Training and Cardio

Training programming has also remained the same for this week, bar the inclusion of one new tool!

I went in to Optimum Health and asked Pete for a potent fat-burning pre workout. He recommended Diced by The Warrior Project. My advice? Get yourself to your local supplement shop and get some bought. I took 2, and later went on to leg press 1000+lbs for the first time ever (that’s a huge breakthrough for me…I weigh a measly 79.5kg).

Recommendations:

  • Pre Workout Meal 60-90 mins before training (Carbs + Easily digested Protein)
  • Take 1 Diced 20 Minutes Pre Training for a mild but noticeable amount of stimulation and great focus.
    • Take 2 Diced for unbelievably brutal stimulation and focus like you’ve never ever had before. Be warned though, you will sweat. A lot.
    • Take 3 if you’re a psychopath with a death wish.

I feel it’s my obligation to warn you though, do not take this stuff lightly and definitely do not take it within 6 hours or so of sleep. 

Moving on, my training is still currently laid out like this. I imagine it will remain that way for most of this prep.

• Mon AM – Legs . PM – 30 min walk

•Tues AM – Push. PM – 30 min walk

•Weds AM – Pull. PM – 30 min walk

•Thurs AM – REST. PM – 30 min walk

•Fri AM – Lower Body. PM – 30 min walk

•Sat AM – Upper Body. PM – 30 min walk

•Sunday AM – REST. PM – 30 min walk

Now the sharp eyed amongst you may have seen that my 20 minute walk per day, has increased to 30. This is what I referred to as “expelling more energy throughout the day”

In order to stoke your metabolism and burn fat, there’s more than one way to skin a cat. The way I favour for myself and my clients right now is to iust increase my step count per day. Make yourself more active. If you currently do 4,000 steps per day and we can increase that to 10,000 without too much additional effort; essentially we increase the amount of times your heart rate will be elevated throughout the day. In simple terms – we burn more fuel but can continue to stuff our faces. Anabolism AND fat burning in one neat little package.

My recommendations? Start with 20 minutes per day on week one of this approach. 

Other Stuff

Posing; my first real crack at the Whip..

In perhaps what is the biggest development of the last week – I went to my first ever professional posing lesson. Its not particularly expensive; but is 100% necessary to actually effectively showcase what you’ve spent thousands of hours (and pounds!!) developing. Being shit on stage when you’re spending every waking moment building the physique of your dreams is akin to building a Ferrari (or other equally desirable supercar) and then covering it up and never letting anybody properly see it. 

What can I tell you about this? Well..Donning some budgie smugglers (In dazzling Blue, a lucky last minute lend from colleague Craig that carried him to the British Finals in 2015) and flexing in front of the mirror for an hour was WELL and truly outside of my comfort zone – but if you want to talk about calorie burning?! I was literally dripping.

The general consensus from many people I speak to (and my own personal previous belief..Guilty..) is that posing is easy. It’s just flexing with not much on. How wrong we all were. I’m not exaggerating when I say I was beading from every single pore; but its so incredibly beneficial. I have a whole new found level of respect for seasoned competitors and professionals who make it look both seamless and effortless – it really isn’t. The closest comparison I can make is trying to hold a plank and glute bridge simultaneously for an extended period of time, whilst squeezing every muscle in your upper body also. Now don’t forget to smile..

Now I understand this isn’t particularly relevant to many of you who AREN’T going on stage, but I’m just trying to show some insight. To any of you reading this that may be considering it? I recommend Miss Emma Hyndman (find her on Instagram) for your posing coaching. Incredibly welcoming, intuitive and ridiculously experienced.

Episode #002 – Walk the Walk.Episode #002 – Walk the Walk.Episode #002 – Walk the Walk.

Blood Tests

Now this is a Technology that’s only just beginning to become common place in the Health and Fitness Industry; previously you would have to have gone to your GP and begged, pleaded and demanded for any kind of service like this – but fortunately we have an FDN Practitioner (and former UKBFF British Finalist) in house at Frontier, who has both secured an account with a US Laboratory and gained the necessary qualifications to interpret the results; in the shape of Craig Barton. Not only does this save us a lot of time, energy, miscommunication and stress with our clients; but it also allows us his interpretation to give us the “optimum” values; not just the enormous ranges often used by the Health Care Industry. From there, we can rub heads and decide on what supplements and protocols might be best to act on the results; as well as seeing if theres any lifestyle factors we could change.

I never thought competitive bodybuilding would require this (and hoped it wouldn’t; as I f*cking hate needles) but with it becoming more readily available, it makes sense to have it done if you have access to it. The cost comes in around £240 for the whole procedure, but if you’re serious about your health and/or suspect something isn’t right – it could probably be the best money you ever invest. It can help you sleep, function and feel better, ultimately extending your life and training potential. 
It’s the usual procedure of fasting for 12 hours, plenty of Water and then Alex, our roped-in registered Nurse, provides her phlebotomy service and fills our 6 vials of blood.

Episode #002 – Walk the Walk.

Those will now go for examination for several dozen different screens, including Sex Hormones, Thyroid Function, Cholesterol, Vitamin and Mineral deficiencies as well as potential parasitic and bacterial infections and immunity markers; all in the hope of optimising absolutely everything on a cellular level to look, perform and function to the best of my ability. A stressed body will never respond or look how you want it to; because its simply not capable of doing so! Once Craig receives the results back, we can forward them on as well as set to work understanding what may or may not be out of line and more importantly, decide how to fix it.

Contest Prep can be a rough old business, so it’s best to make sure you’re fighting fit before entering the trenches, and this decision was backed up by a respected opinion from a prodigy and pioneer of the industry, Jordan Peters (follow him on Insta if you don’t already. What this guy doesn’t know about exercise physiology; isn’t worth knowing – and he’s beyond monstrous  – @trainedbyjp) that suggested it would be a good idea.

I’ve got my fingers crossed that I’m fit and healthy once those results come in, but for now I play the waiting game!! And that’s been in, my week in its entirety!!

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading it as much as I’ve enjoyed the experience of living and writing about it, have a fantastic week!!

The post Episode #002 – Walk the Walk. appeared first on Marc Rhodes PT.

L-Carnitine: the powerful, lesser known Supplement for Fat Loss.

L-Carnitine: the powerful, lesser known Supplement for Fat Loss.

L Carnitine is potentially one of the least understood and least utilised supplements in fat loss.

Its formed naturally in our body in the liver and kidneys and is made up of amino acids lysine and methionine.

Its stored all over the body; even in sperm, amongst other places. Red meats are the perfect source of L Carnitine, and it is impossible to ingest it in meaningful quantities on a vegetarian diet.  Don’t fear if  you are vegetarian however, it is available in Supplement form.

There are four common forms of carnitine supplements: L-Carnitine, Acetyl-L-carnitine (ALCAR), L-Carnitine L-Tartrate (LCLT) and Propionyl-L-Carnitine, with ALCAR being the most popular.

 

L-Carnitine: the powerful, lesser known Supplement for Fat Loss.

Why is it beneficial for fat burning?

It literally helps take fat from a cell, in to the mitochondria of other cells to be burned. Think of mitochondria as little fuel stations within a cell. They’re what oxidise fuel and turn it in to ATP – our bodies energy currency.

If you DONT have adequate Carnitine, most of your dietary fat cant get in to your fuel stations to be burned. It can lead to muscular weakness and even stunted growth. 

As well as being a great transporter of fat around your body, it’s also recently been shown to be able to keep your insulin levels low (This is incredibly important if you want to be lean) and helps improve the speed at which your body can clear blood sugar.

In fact its been shown that people who overeat can actually gain no further body fat whilst using L Carnitine, against those who overeat but DONT use it.

L-Carnitine: the powerful, lesser known Supplement for Fat Loss.

 

How Much and When?

While as little as 1 gram of L-carnitine can be effective; the best protocol is to take 2-3 grams per dose for maximum benefit, along with at least 30-40 grams of carbs and 20-40 grams of protein, so preferably with a meal. This applies if you take straight-up L-carnitine, L-carnitine L-tartrate, or propionyl-L-carnitine.

Acetyl-L-carnitine (ALCAR) however, is more easily taken up by the intestines and the muscle cells, not to mention the brain, in the absence of food. Therefore, this form of L-carnitine may be stacked with other ingredients that enhance fat-burning, such as caffeine and green tea, and taken between meals.

One of the best times to take L-carnitine is post-workout, but you can take it with any other high-carb, high-protein meal throughout the day. If you want to stack L-carnitine with other fat-burning ingredients between meals, consider using the acetyl-L-carnitine form.

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Detox Diets and Fat Loss: Do They Work?

Detox Diets and Fat Loss: Do They Work?

Detox, Juicing; whatever you want to call it. Can detox diets for toxin elimination and Fat Loss actually work?

I have my own opinions about this; however this is already a heavily debated topic and emotions tend to get heightened when discussing it, especially when discussing it with a purveyor of said detox diets – so I’m going to let Science do the talking.

In a 2015 study, Klein and Kiat attempted to answer this question.

Their findings? They concluded that “there is no compelling evidence to support the use of detox diets for weight management or toxin elimination.

“Considering the financial costs to consumers, unsubstantiated claims and potential health risks of detox products; they should be discouraged by health professionals and subject to independent regulatory review and monitoring. It is hoped that this review will encourage systematic evaluations of commercial detox diets, so that an evidence base can be established to inform future legislation.”

They then went on to add;

Perhaps an important question to ask is why are detox diets for Fat Loss so appealing?

The seductive power of detox diets presumably lies in their promise of purification and redemption, which are ideals that are deep-rooted in human psychology. These diets, of course, are highly reminiscent of the religious fasts that have been popular throughout human history. It would be useful for future studies to examine the psychological aspects of detox diets and investigate why people are drawn to extreme diets that have no proven benefits.

Unfortunately, equating food with sin, guilt and contamination is likely to set up an unhealthy relationship with nutrition. There is no doubt that sustained healthy habits are of greater long- term value than the quick fixes offered by commercial detox diets.”

Detox Diets and Fat Loss: Do They Work?

 

So there you have it. Please, PLEASE do not buy in to these shambolic, dishonest and borderline dangerous schemes in an attempt to get a quick fix. Save your money and just look to improve your Nutritional and Lifestyle habits!!

The post Detox Diets and Fat Loss: Do They Work? appeared first on Marc Rhodes PT.

Episode #001 – Laying the Foundations

Episode #001 – Laying the Foundations

Hello and welcome to the Road to Competition Blog!

Now I want to start by saying that I understand that not everybody who has a slight, or even keen, interest in Fitness wants to become a competitive Bodybuilder. I get that. I love that. I love that the Fitness Industry is such a versatile, all encompassing and ever accepting place to work and thrive and that there’s so many different avenues to explore.

Do you think I was always hell bent on going on stage?! Not a chance.

I actually started out my passion for fitness in Rugby, hitting up S&C sessions to enhance my performance on the pitch. I didn’t particularly watch what I ate, I had a brief understanding on what I thought were “good” and “bad” foods – but more often that not would sink a Lucozade, Mars Bar and a Beer (once I was old enough..honestly..) after a game; as well as whatever semi-nutritious meal was on offer from the Rugby Club after a game.

It usually consisted of chips. The point is..it’s a polar opposite from where I find myself now, but that truly is where my journey started. In the sweaty, rusty, dank and desolate weight room of Lincoln Rugby club before I was even old enough to buy a lottery ticket; my love for training was born. It might have evolved just a bit since then, but the childish (immature) love of picking up heavy things has remained the same.

So where do I find myself now?

Food – 16 Weeks to go..

I’m currently 16 weeks, or 112 days if you prefer, away from my intended peak. That means food is actually quite high right now. Here’s a quick run down. From this point on, it’s all about fat loss but staying muscular.

 

Episode #001 – Laying the Foundations

Current Calories – 16 Weeks Out

My Calories on a training day are noticeably higher than a non training day. Now thats for good reason.

  1. My training sessions are currently between 90 minutes and 2.5 hours in duration. We’ll come on to that in a bit, but essentially it means my caloric expenditure on those days is huge. To put it simply; I need that food right now.
  2. On the reverse side of “needing loads of food” on a training day – you simply just don’t need that much on a non training day. These are my rest days, so my food is set around my ‘maintenance calories’

As we progress, food is more than likely going to have to decrease – but one of the most difficult elements of this process is that there are no certainties. You couldn’t ask “where will my food be in 5 weeks time”, because the answer will always be “it depends”. The same is largely true with every single fat loss client I work with. The practice of weight and fat loss is always the same. “It depends” means, “we need to see how your body responds. How well are tolerating those calories”. Have you lost strength, or do you just look visibly leaner? Has your weight loss stalled, or is it falling nicely? What are your energy levels like? These are all considerations to be made. Theres ALWAYS a plan, but “No plan survives a battle” is one of my favourite sayings.

Training

Training right now is not for the feint of heart. As I mentioned earlier, my training sessions are between 90 minutes and 2.5 hours in duration. Now that’s going to have some people recoiling in shock with thoughts of “that’s far too long!! That can’t be good for you”. The fact of the matter is, a LOT of time spent training isn’t actually under tension. There’s warm up sets (of which there may be 8 or so). Then there’s “feeler” sets – between 1 and 3 rep “mini sets” to try and decide/ascertain what an appropriate weight is going to be for the actually working sets. Then of course there’s the loading/unloading and set up of machinery and bars. That shit is time consuming.

But regardless of that – it’s my genuine belief that you will only endanger “over training” when you have poor recovery protocols in place. I take 2 days off per week. I sleep for a MINIMUM of 9 hours per night. My nutrition and supplementation is set up to allow the body to do it’s thing to the best of its ability, day after day. I don’t allow myself to use any more than 1 Caffeinated drink per day, and never any caffeine on rest days. I also drink around 5 Litres of water per day, 2.5 just during training.

Aside from resistance training 5 times per week, I’m currently doing a 20 minute walk every day before my evening meal.

My week right now looks like this

  • Mon AM – Legs . PM – 20 min walk
  • Tues AM – Push. PM – 20 min walk
  • Weds AM – Pull. PM – 20 min walk
  • Thurs AM – REST. PM – 20 min walk
  • Fri AM – Lower Body. PM – 20 min walk
  • Sat AM – Upper Body. PM – 20 min walk
  • Sunday AM – REST. PM – 20 min walk

TOP SUPPLEMENTS FOR RECOVERY

I’m really lucky that my local supplement shop, Optimum Health Supplements is the largest retail stockist of SciTec Nutrition in the UK and not only makes HEAPS of top level premium products available, but also provides nothing less than a SHIT TONNE of quality and unbiased information on what’s out there. Petes knowledge of the industry with my own nutritional knowledge have helped me formulate an unstoppable combination for progress and health… Here’s my stack right now;

  • Omega 3 Fish Oil (For its anti-inflammatory properties)
  • Curcumin (Same as above)
  • Vitamin D3 (For its energy metabolism benefits)
  • Magnesium (This micronutrient does EVERYTHING in your body. But mainly, for its energy production and sleep enhancing properties)
  • Probiotics. (If you want to cram heaps of protein and 3000+ kcal down your neck a day, you HAVE to make sure your gut is doing its thing)
  • Digestive Enzymes (same as above)
  • Greens (Although I don’t dislike salad and vegetables; they don’t often keep well in Tupperware all day. Plus these products are STACKED with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory mixes to help kickstart your recovery on a cellular level)

Closing thoughts?

Honestly, life is easy right now (I really hope I don’t regret saying that any time soon). The focus right now is on laying the foundations. Ensuring the body, it’s metabolism and internal structures, are as happy and healthy as they can possibly be to endure the next 16 weeks!

This is my current condition – All I have to do is work!!

Episode #001 – Laying the Foundations

Episode #001 – Laying the FoundationsEpisode #001 – Laying the Foundations

 

 

I really hope you’ve enjoyed reading guys – I’ll see you all again next week!!

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