Saturday, 17 November 2012

Shoulders and arms EDT workout

Here’s my shoulders and arms EDT workout, with a little bit of ‘core’ work thrown in at the end for good measure. You may be thinking, just one exercise for shoulders? But trust me, it’s fried my delts! Besides if you push the pace during the 20 minute work period you can easily get 8+ sets per exercise in.

First 20 minute time frame
A: standing fat gripz barbell military press
B: seated dumbbell shrugs

second 20 minute time frame
A: fat gripz dumbbell curl
B: straight bar cable press down
First 10 minute time frame
A: kettlebell get-up
B: back extension

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Legs EDT workout

Warning! This one’s not for the physically and mentally weak!
For a quick summary on what EDT actually is:
·         pick 2 exercises per 20 minute time frame
·         perform 2 x 20 minute time frame per workout
·         alternate between each one, resting only when you need to
·         don’t change the weight during the 20 minute time frame (so pick a sensible weight)
·         aim for 8-12 reps each set for hypertrophy

First 20 minute time frame
A: barbell hack squat
B: reverse hyperextension
Second 20 minute time frame
A: stiff legged Romanian deadlift
B: dumbbell lunge
10 minute time frame
A: hanging leg raise
B: seated medicine ball twist

Next EDT session is shoulders and arms, so keep your eyes peeled for that post over the next few days...if you survive! ;)

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Chest and back EDT workout

verb: become or cause to become more intense or serious
noun: the degree of compactness of a substance
noun: the action of undertaking a course of exercise in preparation for a sporting event

Escalating density training, or EDT for short, isn’t for the faint hearted! It’s fast paced, fatiguing and sweat inducing. If your goal is lean muscle mass it won’t disappoint! 

I’ve touched on density training before check it out here:

EDT, which was originally explored by Charles Staley, is a similar approach to the density training I’ve discussed. The only difference is you pick 2 exercises per 20 minute time frame and perform 2 x 20 minute time frames per workout. Alternate between the 2 exercises in the 20 minute period aiming for 8-12 reps (for hypertrophy) and rest as and when you need to. I’ve also added an extra 10 minute time frame at the end of each session where I train smaller muscle groups such as abs and calves.

There are two great things about this training protocol. Firstly you can guarantee you’ll be in and out of the gym within an hour. Secondly it’s so easy to see if you’ve progressed. Performed more total reps in the 20 minute time frame than last time? Congratulations you’ve progressed!

Here’s my chest, back and calves EDT workout. I’ll be posting the others as and when I get to them.

First 20 minute time frame:

A: fat gripz incline dumbbell press
B: bent over barbell row

Second 20 minute time frame:

A: cable flye
B: pull- up

10 minute time frame:

A: standing calf raise
B: tibialis anterior dumbbell extension

Thursday, 25 October 2012

5 meal ideas #3

Be under no misconception, reaching your fat loss or muscle gain goal will take time. Getting to your fitness destination is a marathon, not a sprint. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will your dream body. With this said one of the main areas so many people fall down on is not being consistent with the diet. It could be lack of preparation time or lack of healthy meal ideas. Besides eating right doesn’t have to be about bland chicken breasts, boring brown rice and dry steamed vegetables at every meal. My main aim of this post is to give you some inspiration for creative healthy meal ideas that taste good, can be made in under 15 minutes and can be suited to any fitness goal.
The rules of good nutrition
Whatever meal you choose to eat, if you stick to these simple rules you can’t go wrong!
·         Eat 5-6 small meals a day
·         Stay away from sugars and processed foods
·         Focus on consuming lean proteins with every meal
·         Eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables
·         Drink 3+ litres of filtered/bottled water a day
·         Save starchy carbs for breakfast or after a workout.
Wholemeal steak pitta pockets. with low fat cheese, spinach and avacado

Mexican brown rice salad, with borlotti beans, avacado, red onion, lime juice and peppers(suitable for vegeterians)

Wholemeal wraps with turkey mince, jalapeno peppers, spinach and avacado oil

Salmon filet with spinach, brown rice and borlotti beans

Have you worked hard this week? yes? Well go on then, treat yourself to slice of cake. You deserve it!


Sunday, 14 October 2012

5 foods that WILL change your body and health

Here are some things you may or may not already include in your diet. Some you may already know about, others you might not. Regardless, each of them has a numerous amount of benefits that can help you towards your goal.

·         Eggs – the combination of protein and other nutrients in eggs will satiate your hunger, keeping you fuller for longer. Making them a great choice for breakfast.  The yolks also contain good amount of fat and vitamin D. Both of which can help increase your testosterone levels.
·         Almonds – like most nuts, almonds are very calorie dense. Meaning they’re a great addition to your diet if you’re looking to increase your daily calorific intake and gain some weight. They contain plenty of ‘healthy’ monounsaturated fats. What’s more they also contain plenty of the important anti oxidant, vitamin E. This has cancer fighting qualities.
·          Salmon – as well as being high in protein it’s probably most known for its high levels of omega 3’s fats. I could fill the rest of this blog post with their benefits, but quite simply they are important for joint health, muscle recovery, cardiovascular health and normal growth and development. Plus salmon tastes great with some piri piri seasoning on it!
·         Cinnamon – first off, cinnamon can make most bland meals taste so much better, but it also has a lot of benefits that can help you achieve your goals. Just smelling it can help boost cognitive function and memory. Did you know taking cinnamon with your meals can help stabilize your blood sugar levels making it great for weight loss?
·         Cherry juice – fruit juices often get a bad wrap in the fitness and bodybuilding world. Simply because they’re loaded with sugars. But, sometimes they can be of some use provided they’re drank at the right times (mornings and after workouts are best to help replenish glycogen and spike insulin). Take cherry juice for example, its loaded with chemicals called anthocyanin’s which have been shown to sooth inflammation and soreness (aka DOMS) helping you recover from your workouts faster.

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Here i go again on my own....

So the other day, whilst casually browsing through fitness magazines it occurred to me every one of them puts so much emphasis on finding a training partner! But what if having a training partner is completely out of the question? Maybe you hate people or you’re socially inept. Or perhaps you're in the Antarctica where the current permanent human residence stands at a staggering 0.
All jokes aside, a training partner can be very beneficial to your motivation and safety. But if you don’t have one? Don’t fear! In the last 3 years I’ve been training, I would say only 5% of my workouts were with a partner and I’m still alive and I’ve seen some great results. This blog post is a quick guide to what you can do to make sure your ‘one man band’ performs in tune, every time.

Lets start by looking at some of the benefits and drawbacks of training solo.
Training alone allows you to completely focus on the workout. No chatting with your buddy about the treadmill treats you want to ‘mo’
Safety could be compromised. We’ve all heard the story of some poor guy being pinned down by the bench press
You can hit the gym at a time convenient to you and not that of your partner
A partner shouting in your ear “push push push” really does something for motivation. This is something you will never get training alone
No arguing over what exercises you should be doing (if you have a proper programme to follow, this shouldn’t happen anyway)
Provided you both don’t get too side tracked, having someone to have a friendly chat to can make the workout a much more enjoyable experience. Therefore keeping your motivation levels to come back, high

Next time your training alone, put these simple tips into practise to ensure your workout is as productive as it can be.
·         Make use of safety equipment where appropriate. For example, on chest day a smith machine or power rack would be a great alternative to the standard bench press.
·         Make sure you follow a workout plan and write it down.  Going back to the music metaphor, a musician wouldn’t play without musical notation would they?
·         Leave your ego at the door. It’s not about how much weight you lift, but more how you lift it.
·         Listen to music that motivates you. Whether its some heavy metal or dirty drum and bass, invest in some good headphones and isolate yourself away from everything else that’s going on in the gym.
·         Lastly, learn to channel your anger into your workouts. This is something that I’ve done ever since day one, but only recently have I learnt that I do it. Generally I’m quite a calm person, but things do piss me off in life. I’m only human! I seem to bury a lot of it though, and then dig it back out when I’m in the gym and take it out on the weights. It works wonders for self motivation prior to a gruelling set.

Hope this helps for you ‘one man band’ trainees out there! Now go and have the workout of your life...

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Becoming Bolt: wrap up

I became Bolt!

Well not quite, but I have just completed a 4 week phase of my sprint inspired training programme. Now remember its main aim was to change body comp (more muscle less fat) but I did also want to see if it made me faster at sprinting. Did it? In a word, yes.

In this post I’ll just give a quick rundown of how the programme went, what I liked, what I didn’t like etc.  If you remember before I began the programme I took a simple 60 yard sprint test, then after the programme I took the same test. My fastest times were:

60 yards: 7.95 seconds
60 yards: 7.05 seconds
That means I have shed 0.9 seconds off my 60 yard sprint time, not bad. But there are some things to consider. Firstly a lot of this is probably down to improved neuromuscular coordination and better motor unit firing. For example, just by practising sprinting my muscles learn to fire more efficiently for a sprinting action. So even though it looks like I have become faster, I haven’t. My body always had that speed capability I just had to unlock its potential. To see real increases in speed a long term programme would have to be adhered to.  Another thing I have to consider is I did my ‘after’ 60 yard sprint test in slightly damp conditions. It doesn’t take a genius to work out this would of effected my grip (without running spikes). So I may have been able to run a faster time in dry conditions.

So what things did I enjoy and what results did I see with this programme?  First off I enjoyed the challenge, each workout was tough! However remember what doesn’t kill you makes you a stronger person, mentally and physically. I saw some great strength results in my legs during this programme. They also looked fuller and felt harder after the 4 week programme. This is great because that’s an area I feel I need to work on. All the time I saw these results in my leg development, my body fat was kept down (I’m still hovering around 8-10%). Lastly I became a faster sprinter!

Anything I didn’t like? Well, if you’ve ever read any of my sports influenced training programmes before on my blog, you’ll know how frustrating I find it to make arms training take a back seat. After all my roots are in bodybuilding! With that said my arms didn’t exactly look worse after the programme. Believe me, 6 sets of pull-ups to fail gives a hell of a bicep pump! This candid iPhone shot I took during one of the workouts proves this point.

So overall a really good programme and something different to what I’ve done before. So what’s next in store for me? I’m currently planning on going back to a simple muscle building split to switch things up, and really focus on putting on some muscle size and strength. I'm really looking foward to it becuase its been a while since I've trained like that and certainly going to be a shock to the system!....

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Becoming Bolt: supplements

For those that were interested in the sort of supplements I am stacking together and why I’m using them during my ‘Becoming Bolt’ sprint inspired workout plan, here you go…

To be honest, most of these supplements (with the exception of a few) I use all year round. So if you’ve read some of my other blog posts on supplements you’ll notice a few familiar faces.

Before I give you a quick run down of what I’m taking and why, remember, your supplement regime is only as good as your diet.

Whey protein
3 x 30 gram servings a day between meals. (1 of those servings post workout)
Protein is vital for muscle growth, development and recovery. Its also used in the production of hormones, enzymes and immune system components
Waxy maize starch
100g serving immediately post workout
A fast acting carb, ideal post workout to replenish depleted muscle glycogen levels
Milk protein
40g serving pre-bed
Milk protein contains high levels of casein protein (very slow digesting) making it ideal to keep you fuelled over night whilst you sleep
Omega 3
2 capsules with a meal, 4 times a day
Helps with brain function, joint and muscle health. Taking with meals will help control insulin levels
Vitamin D3
2500iu with breakfast
Bone health, muscle power and strength, blood sugar regulation, brain health, reproductive health. The list could go on…
3000mg serving with various meals 1-2 times a day
(normally I take them with meals that are lacking protein. For example the other day I had a peanut butter sandwich, so the BCAA caps made a great addition to the snack)
Great for increasing the branch chain amino acid content of a meal. BCAA’s are vital for muscle growth and development
5g post workout (or during the day), 5 g pre bed
Great for its ability to prevent muscle catabolism, assist with growth and recovery, boost your immune levels and could help increase HGH levels
1 serving pre-bed
Promotes a deeper, restful sleep. In turn this could help with increasing HGH levels, lowering cortisol, and help with recovery

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Becoming Bolt: 4 week sprint inspired training plan

9.63 seconds. NINE POINT SIX THREE SECONDS! That’s just 0.05 seconds slower than his own staggering world record 100m sprint. If you don’t know who I’m talking about, have you been living on mars all summer?

If you’re anything like me, you’re still on the Olympic 2012 hype. Watching the games and Olympians (especially the weightlifting and athletics) really did inspire me to train and work harder. When it all came to an end, emotions were certainly on a high for me. But it didn’t have to end there. I had this sudden thought. I may not be a world class athlete, but I sure as hell can train like one! Here’s my 4 week ‘sprint inspired’ workout plan. Behold ‘Becoming Bolt’….

Now before I get started I just want to stress that even though this programme does use sprint drills and explosive weight lifting techniques its main aim is to change body composition (less bodyfat, more muscle). However I am pretty sure it will cause an increase in sprinting speed. So, just to be sure I’m going to put it to the test with a simple experiment – the 60 yard sprint test.

Before the 4 week programme my result was:

60 yards: 7.95 seconds

My aim is to at least try and get that down to 7 seconds or below after the 4 week period.

The programme uses a 4 day a week plan. 3 sessions are gym based, 1 session is formed of sprint technique drills and various sprints of set distances. Each gym based day starts with a classic weight lifting exercises aimed at increasing general strength, power and hip extension explosiveness (note, if you would class yourself as a beginner/intermediate these technical exercises can be removed from the plan to make it easier for you). The other exercises are simple compound moves that will help develop strength, power and size in important ‘sprinting’ muscles whilst keeping a balanced physique. One thing I have noticed is that this programme places a lot of emphasis on the legs. Which is great if that’s an area you need to bring up. Without further ado here is the programme:    

 Day 1
Power clean from blocks
Great for teaching your body to explode out of the sprinting blocks
Smith Romanian deadlift
Smith bench press (3 wide grip, 3 close grip)
Alternate grip widths to give the triceps some attention as well as the chest.
Nordic hamstring curl
Sprinting involves a great deal of concentric action of the hamstrings. Performing an eccentric only exercise will help balance that out.  
Core strength is vital in any sport
Seated med ball twist

Day 2
DB step up
DB Push press
Pull up (3 wide grip, 3 close grip)
Alternate grip widths to give the biceps some attention as well as the back
TRX pike
Exercise Ball roll out

Day 3
Clean high pull from floor
Smith front squat
In my opinion, best quadriceps exercise ever!
Heavy DB walking lunge
Calf raise
Strengthening the calves will prevent them from fatiguing as easy during sprints. Plus no one wants to look like Johnny Bravo!
Side plank
Cable wood chop

Day 4
Wall drives
20 sec
Great for firing up the hip flexors. Bring knees high
Arm action
20 sec
Practising the pumping arm action will in turn help you run faster. Sit on the floor and try and lift your bum off the floor just by pumping your arms hard.
Broad jumps
Good for explosive hip and knee extension
Sprint 20 yards
Sprint 40 yards
Sprint 60 yards

 So there it is! As always, I’ll sum it up with another blog post after the 4 weeks is over. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me via Twitter or Facebook etc.

Enjoy the rest of your summer!