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