How Do I Get In Shape?

Thinking you have to be perfect will be your undoing! Being consistently good is far better than inconsistently perfect!

The amount of times people give it the beans with their new drive to get in shape is getting boring now. Be it a new year’s resolution or the easing of lockdown procedures that sees a new fitness pursuit. It’s quite astounding how people go about it

Sipping on BCAAs whilst trying to get in 7 gym sessions a week. Along with keeping up your 10,000 steps and meal timing. The only meal allowed being kale and chicken

Some Chinese whisper or half baked fitness claim from some person. or article from a Men’s Health to which sensationalizes everything. It has to.  how else can you get across that you only need resistance training, protein to build muscle

And how else are they going to keep subscription rates up by telling people that there is only one way to lose body fat. and it’s not a workout before you ask! Why let the truth get in the way of a good story – Their editors are thinking

If you cut back all the bullshit they would only need a couple of pages that you would need to follow to get in shape. Not the myriad of over-complicated regimes or conflicting articles surrounding muscle growth and fat loss.

and there would be no need for the celebrity on the front cover. whose Personal Trainer and nutritionist has got them to do some resistance training. be in a caloric deficit and get enough protein in their diet

No. – they need to let you know about their latest hack that has ‘rebuilt their body’ Christ on a bike! Look past the lighting, the airbrushing – the dehydration and the filter. – that cover model doesn’t look like that in real life

You only need a couple of things to get the body you are after! Keep it simple and stick to those and you’re good!

Should I Have a Cheat Day?

I get people messaging me with pictures of their food – which is great as I love food. The deflating thing is the comments that come with the pictures;

‘I have these when I need something a bit naughty’

‘This is my cheat meal’

‘I know these are bad but they taste so good!’

It’s amazing the connotations that people assign to a meal or food – which is a huge problem! The assigning of negative language to foods or meals.

Like the whole ‘cheat meal’ thing – that is something that grinds my gears! The premise that because you have been good for the week. Which entitles you to a debauchery fuelled weekend day that’s labeled as a ‘cheat meal’ or ‘cheat day’

This will usually be super calorific and take you well over your weekly calorie target. Undoing the effort you have put in leading up to that point!

It’s done because the days you have been ‘good’ are so over-restrictive that you need to break free. and splurge on all the food you have been declaring ‘bad’ and in great volume whilst doing so! Rendering the whole week pointless

There are no bad meals or foods- remove morality from your food. A pizza, some chocolate, and beer can be part of a healthy diet! 

It’s when you deal with these absolutes you get in trouble. The thought that when having these things you have slipped or fell off the wagon. 

What you have to remember is that this dieting thing is a numbers game. Hitting X amount of calories for the amount you move over the week will do it.

As for this cheat day/meal – there is no cheating physics! There is no cheat day! You can in no way cheat your body!

It is always counting – even if you are not!

To think otherwise that you can somehow cheat physics is ludicrous. Cheat days are the reason you are spinning wheels and getting nowhere. Stop cutting out things from your diet you enjoy. I say again; Pizza, Chocolate, Beer, Ice cream can all be part of a healthy diet! Notice I said ‘part of’ not ‘all’!

And if these foods are the range of your diet – It’s time to have a day off from being a dick!

How Do I Improve Motivation?

How are you staying motivated over this period?

I’m going to let you in on something 

I’m not!

I’m not reliant on motivation!

It’s not a consideration for me

If you are reliant on motivation then you will struggle with consistency!

That’s why I don’t rely on motivation,

I rely on habit!

Lots of people have more time afforded to them at the moment,

yet they aren’t exercising/doing workouts or keep on top of their diet because motivation is low,

due to our current climate.

I’m not relishing the workouts I’m doing but I know they are beneficial to me

positive action for the future me

So I know I should be doing them

But I’m getting them done out of habit, not motivation.

It’s like saving money.

No immediate gratification now,

but in the future, that money and the interest on that money will compound

and add up to a nice amount in your account

I make sure I’m putting in place things that will keep those habits going,

like setting a reminder to put money in my bank account

or better yet set up a direct debit to do it automatically.

Setting a reminder/time in my diary to workout,

or better still having a coach to prompt me and keep me accountable with my training and nutrition.

These things make sure what I need to do gets done

They ensure it happens and these actions add up to a big change

Can You Boost Your Immune System?

The advice from the world health organization is social distancing 

I’m miles ahead of it, as I’ve been avoiding people for years!

On a serious note, what I also want to do is help you to avoid any decisions that charlatans thrust on you

 I find it incredible that people are proclaiming to have methods and products to cure the virus or products to ‘boost your immune system’! 

You can’t, neither would you want to ‘boost your immune system’

Your immune system can be split into 2 parts;

innate and acquired responses.

The innate response first and it’s not specific.

It makes you flemmy/snotty to try and catch the infection. It also increases your temperature [a fever] to try and, for want of a better word, boil off the infection.

You may feel weak and want to stay in bed,

which is a good thing because you don’t want to go out and catch another infection in this delicate state.

The acquired immune system takes longer to kick in [5-10 days]

This part is more precise and makes specific antibodies.

The only thing that can speed up the response of the acquired system is vaccines.

So if you boosted your immune system [innnate] you would feel pretty crappy all the time.

If anyone starts blabbering on about foods or supplements to boost your immune system,

they don’t know what they are talking about!

Components of our diets are required for healthy immune function [vitamins and minerals] the ones claimed to boost it!

But if you have a good diet you will not need extra.

And if you have a good diet you do not augment your immune system with supplements

Focus on maximizing your health now,

avoid those health conditions that put you more at risk.

Ensure your diet is healthy and inclusive of lots of fruit and veg.

Stay on top of your exercise 

and get good quality sleep 

What is Emotional Freedom?

Picture this situation you are on your way home from a great day at work and your favourite song comes on the radio
 
It’s been a fantastic day so what do you do
 
You do what any reasonable person would do in this situation, you start singing, a little bit of dancing, you’re in your own little world loving life
 
Until you see the guy in the car next to you looking at you. This is where you could go from feeling great to wishing you were invisible
 
You might turn the radio down back into your seat and try to look serious mature thoughts. Ascribing too much importance to what other people think
 
It’s not that you won’t give any importance to other’s opinions myself included in this. Where it crosses the line is when you care what absolute strangers think or people that are insignificant in your life
 
If it was up to someone else how to achieve our dreams and progress most of us not achieve anything in our lives
 
You need to base your decisions and goals on you and not other people. Too many people base their success and goals on the opinions of other people. Friends, family, co-workers
 
You need to stop worrying about what other people are thinking about you and your decisions. It is a very dangerous habit it to have as it encourages you to move with the masses or conform to the group
 
The emotional freedom technique will help. Now, this is not designed at making you arrogant. It resolves and dissolves the emotional reaction you have to and about other people places and things
 
To be an independent and self-confident person you need to start being more independent
 
When you start to care less about what other people think you start living more. This doesn’t mean you don’t care about people
 
Emotional freedom technique resolves and dissolves what you think other people think
 
Have you ever thought to yourself?; ‘he or she makes me feel guilty’
 
Who is doing the feeling?
 
You are!
 
It is your reaction to what they have said or done or not done that you interpret guilt. Most people get it wrong about you or what you can achieve anyway
 
The Beatles were rejected
 
Michael Jordan didn’t make his school basketball team
 
Richard Branson has had more failed businesses than successful ones

If they have worried about what others have thought you would never have heard of them. Your feeling is created by yourself. Other people do not have the power to make you feel a certain way. You choose to feel that way 
 
using the emotional freedom technique will help you to overcome the fear of rejection
 
Overcome your fear that they will think that your goals are too big and not possible for you to achieve them
 
Overcome any emotional reaction to something in the past that they might have said or done
 
Overcome your fear of putting yourself out there 

and taking the much-needed action in achieving your goals
 
Develop your own things of self-worth and deserving 
 
With the emotional freedom technique 

it could be something as simple telling yourself
 
Even though I’m afraid of rejection
 
Even though I’m afraid that others will think my goals are too big for me and I could never achieve them 
 
Even though he or she said x or did y and it made me feel

Even though I’m not worthy of great success

even without being specific in all your detail, 

emotional freedom technique will still work
 
If you’re afraid about what you think others think about you doing Emotional Freedom Technique you can EFT that away too

Feedback not Failure

Taking the mail from my letterbox I could make out the police insignia through the window on the envelope. I have an idea what this is 

Yep speeding offense

I have the choice of 3 points on my license or speed awareness course. Shot or stabbed!?

As with everything the way I frame this is, as feedback, not failure, which is important

I haven’t failed at driving, I’ve received some feedback that I need to be more aware of variable speed limits

Going forward I’m not going to make the same mistake again. This feedback, not failure is an important mindset. Let’s take the Christmas period

This is a time of year when people feel guilty about the food choices they make

You may eat things that you don’t usually eat or may eat more than is comfortable

This is why short-term diets start popping up. Your typical New Year’s resolution of weight loss. Trying to ‘undo the damage of the holidays’

What determines self-control? Is it a sacrifice?

Do we have to sacrifice the foods that we enjoy? To claim that we have self-control

No!

If we have self-control failure it actually comes from believing that there are consequences to our actions. Even if it is something minor

 Choosing chocolate instead of celery sticks

If we eat one meal or several meals over the course of the day where we feel uncomfortable

If we believe we have broken some food rolls or there are going to be serious consequences

That can be perceived as a self-control failure

If we don’t have those  food rules and we give ourselves permission

That we enjoy oi then there’s not play a self-control failure we haven’t broken any rules

So we don’t have to deal with the guilt shame and frustration anxiety that comes with breaking those self-imposed food rules

We simply enjoy that food or meal and move on

Or if we don’t we use it as a learning opportunity and move on

Learning not failure!

We don’t repeat those habits over and over again 

And if you do find yourself in that cycle of repeating those habits that are not in line with your goals

You can reach out to to a professional and find out why you might be doing that

Why Does My Weight Fluctuate?

After talking to one of my online clients this morning, he was telling me how he had quit so many other diets because of his misunderstanding of this

Something that he had seen on the scales that led him to believe what he was doing was not working

From working with him for a few weeks he now understands what is happening and is making progress. This weight fluctuation on the scales has thwarted many a weight loss attempt

He told me of the frustration of putting in all that hard work at the gym and with his diet only to step on the scales and be disheartened when he saw that his weight has actually increased

Today I want to put an end to that frustration and help you understand why these fluctuations occur. To get you to take on board that this is very common during weight loss

The first thing to get your head around is because you see an increase in weight on the scales. It doesn’t mean you are not losing body fat

I will say that again

Your weight going up on the scales doesn’t mean you are not losing body fat! What you are looking for is a downward trend with weight over weeks

This will tell you that you are in a calorie deficit and you are where you need to be with your calorie intake for your body function and activity 

Back to that infuriating fluctuation business. The reason that we see these fluctuations in weight is due to water 

When we have a meal high in carbohydrates and sodium – think Chinese takeaway. Your body will hold onto water

For every one gram of carbohydrate stored in the body (as glycogen) we store approximately 2 grams of water. This is why low carb diets are a very easy sell to people

They drop carbohydrates, therefore, they drop water weight. They think that carbs are the enemy and they are converted to carb-free life of misery 

Then they experience a plateau after the initial drop because they are still consuming the same amount of calories from fats and protein and are not in a calorie deficit, thus fat loss stops

Confused because they saw a correlation between dropping carbs and weight loss but didn’t realize it was only water they had lost not body fat!

How frustrating to be in this limbo of confusion. The other lesser-known reason these fluctuations occur is due to physiology 

When we are in a calorie deficit our body will take fats [tryglicerides] from the fat cells as energy because we haven’t enough energy from our diet so our body takes it from our fat cells

Great! That’s what we want for fat loss! But when it takes these triglycerides from the cells it backfills the cells with water which is when we see this weight increase

That is until our body decides that it’s good and ready to evacuate the water from the cells. Then we see a drop in weight, usually a large one, to a new low!

So don’t be deterred by these fluctuations they are part of the process. Stay resolute to the process and you will see these downward trends over weeks and realize you are making progress

What is Muscle Confusion?

Sometimes I think to myself people will believe anything

In passing at the gym I will always say hello and ask people how their training is going. This is not an empty question. From their response, I can surmise a lot

How competent their training programming is, their understanding of exercise physiology, and a heap of other things. So when people say things to me like:

‘yeah training is good, I’m trying to confuse the muscles as much as I can’

I will tell them that they can’t confuse contractile tissue [muscle] and they are the ones confused. A little blunt I know but those are the facts and facts don’t care about feelings

Many gym-goers switch up their training programs to the point, they’re doing a different workout for each muscle every time they train it. The rationale for this is down to some idiot out there putting out the concept of ‘muscle confusion’

The premise being that by confusing the muscle, you prevent it from adapting to the training program. ⁣This idea is erroneous

First, you can’t confuse contractile tissue!⁣ Second, adaptation is not undesirable! Adaptation is the very goal of a training program: by applying stress on a muscle in the form of mechanical tension, we cause it to adapt to that stress making itself bigger and stronger. ⁣

Recent studies this year have shown that muscle confusion does not work; when a group of men trained to apply progressive overload [increasing strength over time]
⁣compared to another group of men applying ‘muscle confusion’ rotating through different workouts the ‘confused muscle’ men didn’t gain more muscle!

The bottom line, have a good training program and stick to that. If you don’t want to be confused about what to do in the gym for building muscle

check out the training programs on our site

What is Exercise Afterburn?

High-intensity training is all the rage. One personal trainer with an annoying voice and ridiculous hair who has amassed a small fortune from his misinformation to the masses about nutrition, along with his complicated meal plan and joint busting workouts has made this style of working out very popular.

He has alluded to this type of exercise creating the afterburn. And whilst technically this is true, it is very exaggerated. Like the monthly interest on your bank gives you is not going to have any impact on your account the afterburn has the same inconsequential impact on your calorie expenditure

We could go into how your oxygen respiratory exchange rate puts the brakes on this after only on a few hours but that would be boring and you knowing that this afterburn is the calorie equivalent to one grape per hour for only a few hours after the session would be more impactful

Here’s the kicker…

if you are overweight and looking to shed some body fat performing the high impact exercises that Mr Vidal Sassoon demonstrates is going to be detrimental to your joints

Your body is designed to carry a certain amount of weight when you jump up and down you put seven times the force of that weight through your joints so that increased force is going to exacerbate joint issues. Your bones and joints will not thank you

So use high-intensity training for the right reason; To improve cardiovascular health

Forget about the afterburn it’s redundant

How to Eat to Maximise Muscle Growth

So you are excited that you have your holiday booked, an assumption I know, but I’m probably right. Although the thought has dawned on you that you will be spending a significant amount of time in minimal clothing.

You have your training program and you have your calorie deficit in place. You’re looking forward to feeling ‘beach ready’ when you leave for 7 days of all-inclusive bliss

So it’s time to start cranking it up. You want to make sure that while you are losing body fat you are building muscle in the process Training is key and making sure you have enough protein – that’s important too!

Read my previous email ‘How much protein do I need?‘ and you need to read ‘sorry‘ as well for help with understanding.

We could also maximize our muscle growth through nutrient timing! We know our daily protein target now it’s time to look at spreading that out over the course of the day. Your daily protein target spread over 4 servings is going to be very helpful to keep you in a net anabolic [muscle building] state.

Refractory period, leucine threshold, MPS, EAAs blah blah, it’s not that important. Just know that 4 servings are going to be optimal in novice trainees and 3 is fine for beginners.

Then we want to time our carbohydrates [simple & complex carbs] to ensure we are getting the most out of and recovering from our sessions. After we have all that in place we are looking at introducing performance supplements. Pre-workout, post-workout, and some at various frequencies over the day!

So let’s have a look at what a good day looks like…

With all this in place, you are going to make some serious progress with muscle growth

How much protein do I need?

Ever thought to yourself ‘how much protein do I need?

And the answer is…

…it depends

Let’s go through it

The first thing we need to find out is how much lean mass we have; muscle, ligaments, organs, bones, etc

We need only to take into account lean mass as these are the structures that need protein, body fat does not

How do you work out how much lean mass you have?

First, you would need to know your body fat percentage 

There are a few ways to find this out

One option is skinfold testing, for which, you would need a qualified professional

Then there is bioelectrical impedance 

Machines that passes a small amount of electrical current through your body, 

The latter is the least accurate

From one of these, you will derive your body fat percentage. Again one will be more accurate than the other but it’s a good starting point

Knowing your body fat percentage we move onto the next part of the puzzle

Subtract your body fat percentage from 100 to get your lean mass percentage.

Here is an example: 

100 – 25 percent body fat = 75 percent lean mass.

Divide your lean mass percent by 100 to calculate the decimal for your lean mass percent. Here is an example: 100 / 75 – .75

Multiply your lean mass decimal by your total body weight to calculate your lean mass weight. If you weigh 175 lbs, multiply 175 by .75 for 131.25 lbs. of lean mass

And there you have your lean mass

So how much protein do you need for that lean mass

Before we answer that we must ask ourselves what is the goal?!

Are you focusing on fat loss or building muscle and size?

We need different protein amounts in each phase

Here is where most people get it wrong; when in a fat loss phase you actually need more protein! And when in a building size/muscle phase, less

The reason being as you get leaner and leaner during fat loss muscle breakdown is an issue

So we want to guard against it! More protein will help not only keep and repair muscle but aid satiety

which during weight loss is always helpful!

When we are building size and in a calorie surplus there will be more insulin in our system

Which is the anti-muscle breakdown hormone, and we get to have more calories from carbs and fats…

which are our energy macronutrients!

This is good because we are more fuelled for our workouts and are in a position to achieve more weight lifted

In a fat loss phase, you are looking for around 2.5g of protein per kg of lean mass

In a weight gain phase, you are looking for 1.5g of protein per kg of lean body mass

Then to really optimize muscle growth, you would want to split this total over several servings in the day

Why so much conflicting information in nutrition?

From a certain perspective, nutrition science can seem like a mess.

Lots of competing theories. One study seems to suggest one thing. The very next study seems to say the opposite.

People interested in health, fitness and wellness are stuck in limbo. Confused.

Another point of view could be, that “mess” demonstrates the real beauty of science.

Science means putting all the ideas, good and bad into the ring and letting them fight it out

This takes place over hundreds of years

And using a particular method to determine the winners.

And that’s why nutrition science is so confusing at times. We haven’t yet had the hundreds, even thousands, of years for the best ones to emerge.

Fats, carbs, and protein weren’t even discovered until the 1800s

It’s only in the last 20 years that we’ve begun studying new problems, such as what’s healthy 

In a world full of tasty processed food and very little movement.

All scientific disciplines begin with confusion, dead ends, frustration, and silliness.

But what’s young is going to mature.

Nutrition science will grow up.

Not as fast as we’d like. Yet over time, the scientific method will cut and prune and do its work.

Meanwhile, here are some reasons why nutrition science can be so confusing at times.

And why (sometimes) the media screws up reporting it.

1. It takes time to master a science – compared to Chemistry, nutrition is in its infancy.

2. Most funding goes to disease prevention, not preventative nutrition – most researchers would ask ‘how can we prevent this epidemic’ over ‘how can we get abs’

3. Where funding comes from can affect what studies find – corporate pressures can influence study design so the results favour what the company want s to show!

4. Most nutrition studies are observational – correlation isn’t causation – does red meat cause heart disease and cancer or do people with these chronic diseases happen to eat more red meat

5. If doing the research is tough, reporting it is going to be even harder! – Journalists aren’t usually trained research scientists, which means that they often:
 

  • misunderstand study conclusions
  • over exaggerate single study findings


Single studies are interesting but often not important. They only usually provide one piece of a big puzzle that may take hundreds of years to complete