Sunday, 21 December 2014

Intra-workout fuel recipe

I've been asked a few times in the last week... "Breckell, what's that green slime you're drinking during your workout?" Well, it's my top secret, special intra-workout rocket fuel mix that allows me to push past any plateau that gets in my way! 

Just kidding! 

You'll probably notice around your gym more and more people are starting to drink some sort of coloured water during their workout. Many brands are making their own intra-workout products, but be warned some ingredients they may contain might just be wasting your time and money. That's why I make my own, this is what it includes...

10-15g apple BCAA's
BCAA's can prevent catobilism. They also compete with the amino acid tryptophan, a precursor to the calming neurotransmitter - serotonin. Who wants to feel "calm" during a workout? You want to be altert and ready to give it everything. I like apple, but you can go for whatever flavour you fancy.

You're a wet, moving organism. If your tissues are dehydrated they will dry up like tinder for a campfire, become sticky and prevent your body from moving in optimal range. With dehydration comes a decrease in work capacity by up to 30%. Prevent this from happening by spiking your intra-workout drink with electrolytes. 

That's it. Simple, yet effective. No BS included. 

Thursday, 11 December 2014

The spin class enthusiasts mobility drills

I used to say "if you want tight hamstrings and a headache, go to a spin class!" But I've come to learn there is no such thing as a bad spin class, just bad spin class attendees. If you're a regular spinner, and currently suffering with a niggle in the hamstring, calves so tight you could use them as guitar strings or achey hips, this probably isn't news to you, but the short 5 minute cool down of a few static stretches at the end of a class just isn't enough. You need to be able to perform some basic maintenance on your body regularly to keep your muscles and joints working in an optimal range. Otherwise problems get worse and worse and BAM! you've got an injury on your hands. 

Here's 4 drills you can perform anywhere/anytime to help recovery and restoration from a spin class. 

Calves foam roller smash
We'll start from the bottom up. Many inexperienced cyclists try and create power when they ride from the ankle joint, not the big strong muscles such as the quads, calves and glutes. This shreds your calves meaning they get very tight and your left missing ankle range. Counteract this by A: learning to cycle properly and B: performing this drill. Cross one leg over the other and place the roller on your Achilles and very slowly work your way up and down the calf. Pause on any tender spots for 20-30 sec and spend at least 2 minutes per side exploring around the calf.   

Hamstring ball smash 
Hamstrings take a pounding from cycling. Tight hamstrings are bad news and can lead to a
bunch of other bad things like lower back pain. Take a hard ball of some kind (massage ball, cricket ball, golf ball, tennis ball) and take a seat. Place the ball under your hamstring and explore around. You'll be unpleasantly surprised with what you might find here, as the hamstring muscle fibres tend to get all junked up. Once again two minutes of exploring per side.

Couch stretch
Spinning requires a lot of sitting. And sitting wrecks your hip action. You'll get really tight in the anterior hip/hip flexor area. This stretch will work wonders at opening your hips back out. 2 minutes per side.

T-spine smash 
Next time you're in a spin class and you go for one of those big sprints, you'll see everyone ducks down to make themselves more aerodynamic. Look at everyone's spine! It's in a big C shape. Now imagine keeping the spine in this position and standing up. Over time this is the effect it's going to have, so open that thoracic spine back up with this drill. Place a roller on your thoracic spine area and reach all the way over your head. Hang out like this for, yep you guessed it - 2 mins.

Monday, 24 November 2014

5 fat loss tips for an alien

So the other day I was asked "what fat loss tips would you offer that are so simple even an alien could understand them?". Here's my response....

Drink 2-4 litres of water a day
Staying hydrated is a must for optimal performance in life as well as the gym! Keeping hydrated is also important for fat metabolism.

Watch carbs
Carbs are quite energy dense, and I'm sure you'll all agree - they are very easy to over eat on. Carbs also effect your blood sugar levels. For fat loss our goal is to keep blood sugar levels stable.

Focus on consuming lean protein
Protein will help repair and recover your muscles from your workouts. It's also quite hard to digest, meaning it'll cost more calories to do so.

Eat little and often
Even though there's actually no evidence that eating little and often will raise your metabolism for whatever reasons it seems to work for most people.

Make resistance training and intervals your main training modes
A smart combo of resistance and interval work will raise your metabolic rate for up to 48 hours after your session! Resistance training will help build or at least maintain the muscle you have, the reason we want to do this is because muscle mass is metabolically active tissue. Meaning it'll burn calories even when you're at rest.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Beating the bench press warm up blues

Hands in the air if you do a couple of light sets of bench press for your bench press/chest day warm up?....

How about this for a more productive bench press/chest day warm up....

Step 1: the kettlebell shoulder mobilisation. 

Great for resetting the shoulder into an optimal position for pressing before you train chest. For more info check out my full post on the drill here (the before/after pics have to be seen to be believed)

Step 2: elbow voodoo band mobilisation. 

Great for loosening the elbows, allowing for a full range of motion during presses. Once again for more info check out the whole post on this drill here

Step 3: a couple of light sets of your first exercise, ramping up to your first working set weight.

Step 4: have a good workout! 

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Create a vision board for continued motivation

Setting goals is something that we're all familiar with. In fact, it's so common today that it's becoming a little mundane! So why not take that a little further and create yourself a vision board?

A vision board is quite simply a collage of images of things you're currently working towards. Whether that be you're ideal figure, a new watch or a dream holiday you've always wanted to go on. Once you've created you're vision board place it in a prominent place that your going to see every day, so that it can keep reminding you to stay focused on your goals. The kitchen fridge for example, or use my idea and save it as your phone wallpaper.....

Most of it is pretty obvious, but here's the reasoning behind my vision board:

Top left - Steve Reeves circa 1950, proof that tall people can have a set of legs!

Top middle - Vegas, a place I've always dreamed of going. I've recently had some friends visit and it sounds epic.

Top right - Actor and fitness model, Joe Manganiello. Still what I think to be the ultimate male physique and a look I want to work towards.

Bottom left - The new Mercedes A class.

Bottom right - A house key. Currently embarking on the daunting task of saving for a place of my own.

"Creative visualisation is real. It's a powerful force that works to shape future outcomes." Harvard Medical School

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Counteracting 21st century shoulders

Living in the 21st century amongst cars, desk jobs, computers, mobile phones, sofas in front of the TV and heavy chest pressing in the gym etc. We all tend to live in the front of the shoulder capsule and get this forward rounding shoulder appearance. Now I've tried many different techniques to try and correct this and improve my own posture, but nothing has been more effective than the kettlebell shoulder capsule mobilisation. 

What you'll need
An 8-12kg kettlebell and a jump stretch band

How to do it
It's quite a complicated set up, but once you get it right it'll work wonders!
-Lying on your back, Use the jump stretch band to get a lateral distraction of the shoulder joint.
-Press the kettlebell into the sky (like a chest press) and hold it in position. I like to use my free arm to steady my working arm. 
-Drive your hips up off the floor, as you do this you'll feel your scapular move out of the way and your shoulder drop back, then return your hips to the floor. 
-Hang out in this position for at least 2 minutes to see some change. You can also internally/externally rotate your arm to encourage improved range of motion with your shoulder in a better position. 

Why it works 
The jump stretch band gently opens up the shoulder joint whilst the weight of the kettlebell drives the shoulder back into the socket into an optimal position. You'll see results from this after just 2 minutes, however for long term change make this drill part of your weekly routine. Boom!

Sunday, 2 November 2014

The Captain Morgan pose

Drinking Captain Morgan's rum is cool, but do you know what's even cooler?...standing like him!

A high 80% of the clientele I work with have desk jobs so I'm always focusing on counteracting the detrimental effects of sitting. So what about the other 20% that spend the day standing? Long periods of standing incorrectly can be just as harmful to the spine as sitting can. Look at the images below. On the left is a shot of the spine in neutral which is how it should be ideally. After standing for a number of hours we tend to see an overextension fault of the lumbar spine (middle image). This is bad news for the lower back. 

The reason this happens is the muscles such as the glutes and core that play an important role in midline stabilisation start to fatigue. You can save the lumbar spine when this happens by elevating a foot onto a box/ step/ shelf/ dumbell/ keg etc. (right image) This allows the lumbar spine to return to optimum positioning. Now I'm not suggesting you stand like this all day, but every so often adopt the Captain Morgan pose for a few minutes each leg to save your spine.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Voodoo band elbow mobilisation

Why voodoo? Well 90% of my clients I'm sure would agree, using the voodoo band is literally like voodoo magic for hot joint issues! Following on from my previous post on the knee joint drill, here's one for your elbow. If you suffer from stiff painful elbows, or want to improve bench press positioning or shoulder press positioning then this could be for you.

What you'll need...
A voodoo compression band or a bicycle inner tube cut in half will work just fine.

How does it work...
Wrapping the band around a joint (knee, elbow, ankle etc.) a few inches above and below the joint and keeping the band nice and tight will create compression forces. This helps restore sliding surface function to the underlying banded tissues as well as create a flexion-gaping force at the joint. This can help restore normal range of motion in the joint. Once the band is removed the tissues surrounding the joint will flood with fresh blood bringing nutrients to the muscles and joint for improved recovery. One of the biggest advantages of using the banded mobilisation technique is you can closely mobilise the movement you want to improve.

How to do it...
Wrap the elbow joint fairly tight a few inches below and above the joint. Start from the bottom and work your way up. With each wrap move the band up around half an inch. 

Move the elbow in different directions (flexion/extension). You can even perform a few bench presses or shoulder presses if this is the movement you want to mobilise. Spend around 2-3 minutes in this drill, then change arms. 

....literally everyone's interested in voodoo band mobilisation techniques!

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Whey is not always the way!

One of the tips I'd give to guys and girls that regulary use a whey protein powder (or even a whey protein blend) is to rotate it every so often with a beef protein powder. The main reason being, whey can be quite allergenic. Some individuals can't take whey for this reason right from the outset. Like whey, beef will still deliver those all important amino acids for muscle growth, repair and recovery. The main difference is, unlike whey, beef protein's digestion takes place in the stomach. This avoids the swelling sensation that is commonly associated with whey digestion that takes place in the intestine. 

I regularly rotate between these two awesome products....

Impact whey protein 

And remember for 10% off all Myprotein products use code 007PT80

Sunday, 19 October 2014

The big 100

This post marks the triple figure milestone! And fast approaching 20k hits, I want to take this opportunity to say a massive thank you for your continued support and giving it a read when you can. For me, even if you take one useful tip away from this blog and apply it to your lifestyle and see a positive outcome then it's worth it. 

Hitting this milestone today did make me take a minute to look back about how far I've come I'm the last few years in my career as a personal trainer and fitness professional. Currently working for the flagship David Lloyd leisure health club and about to hit "platinum trainer" status, things are going well for me. Now one important lesson I've learnt along the way is that no matter where you're headed you should never forget from where you came. I started my PT course with Future Fit Training around 4 years ago now and the first contact I had with a more experienced fit pro was with my tutor Jacqueline Hooton. Thanks to Jacqueline's expertise and guidance and the useful course information from FFT, I believe it's set me up on the path for a long and successful career within the fitness industry. Jacqueline's recently been nominated for the 'most inspiring physical activity professional' for the UK active awards. Myself and Jacqueline would very much appreciate it if you could take 1 minute out of your day and vote for her by clicking the link below!

I couldn't finish this post without offering some form of tip you can take away with you could I? For an awesome plateau busting training protocol, why not try the 100 reps method. It's also a great way to increase work capacity. To do this, pick a weak or lagging muscle group and select an exercise. Select a weight you can complete 20 reps for. You would then perform as many reps as you can followed by a 30 sec rest. Then pick the bar up and repeat this process until you accumulate 100 total reps. For example:

Biceps - barbell curl - 25kg
Set 1 - 18 reps
Set 2 - 18 reps 
Set 3 - 17 reps 
Set 4 - 20 reps
Set 5- 18 reps
Set 6 - 9 reps

Total reps = 100

Have fun!

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Bulk like Ben Affleck pt.2

In my previous post (pt.1) we looked at training in order to bulk up like Affleck has successfully done for his upcoming role as batman. Obviously that's only half the battle! Proper nutrient intake is also important. Now I don't know for sure what Bens diet consisted of, but I'd put money on it was something like this...

The 5,4,3,2,1 nutrition basics protocol

5 small-medium meals a day should be consumed in order to consume enough nutrients, increase the metabolism and maintain energy.

To work out how many carbs you should be eating per day, use this simple formula:

4 x bodyweight in kg = total grams of carbs per day

For example if you weigh 80kg you'd need 320g of carbs per day. Divide this number by 5 and that's how many grams of carbs you should put in each meal. Good carb sources include sweet potato, quinoa and all green vegetables.

Aim to drink at least 3 litres of water per day.

To work out how many grams of protein you should be eating per day, use this simple formula

2 x bodyweight in kg = total grams of protein per day

For example if you weigh 80kg you'd aim for at least 160g of protein per day. Once again divide this number by 5 and that's how much protein you should have in each meal. Good protein sources include eggs, chicken, fish and nuts.

Allow yourself 1 treat meal per week. This could be whatever you're craving, wether that's a pizza, burger and chips or a slice of cake! This will help keep you motivated and a few dirty calories will help towards the muscle building process and keep your metabolism stoked. The only rule is, you have to get straight back on the good quality, clean nutrition intake right away for the next meal.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Bulk like Ben Affleck pt.1

Who's seen the latest pics of Ben Affleck's transformation for his upcoming role as batman? Well if you haven't here's one....

Pretty impressive eh? He's certainly bulked out with some superhero worthy muscle mass! For those wondering how he's done it look no further. Now just to clarify I don't know for sure what Bens trainer had him doing, but it was probably something like this...

Following the 1-2,3-4,5-6,7-8,9-10 protocol.

1-2 muscle groups per session
Focusing on 1-2 muscle groups per session allows you to really stimulate the fibres for optimal growth.

3-4 workouts a week
3-4 sessions a week is plenty enough for the natural trainer. A 3 day split over 4 training days allows you to train a muscle group every 5 days which is perfect. 

This could look like:
Session 1: chest and back 
Session 2: legs 
Session 3: shoulders and arms
Session 4: repeat cycle

5-6 total exercises per workout
For example a chest and back session might look like this:

1A: Barbell bench press
1B: Pull ups
2A: Incline db press
2B: 1 arm db row
3: Back extensions

7-8 reps per exercise
7-8 reps per exercise on a 3010 tempo will be sufficent enough time under tension for gains in muscle and strength. The heavier weights will also hit the fast twitch fibres, which have most potential for growth.

9-10 total sets per muscle group 
Again this is sufficent amount of volume to work the targeted muscle fibres thoroughly, without overtraining. 

Using the above example you could do this:

1A: Barbell bench press x5 
1B: Pull ups x4
2A: Incline db press x4
2B: 1 arm db row x4
3: Back extensions x2

Chest total sets - 9
Back total sets - 10

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

T-spine smash

Tackle poor posture, spine mobilty and improved overhead positioning with exercises such as shoulder presses with my favourite spinal mobilty drill...

What you need
Two massage balls in a sock or 2 lacrosse balls duct taped together will work just fine.

How to do it
Elevate your feet with your knees bent at 90 degrees and keep your spine in a neutral position. Hug your arms round your body to move the scapular out of the way. Place the 2 balls on the thoracic spine (around chest level). Slowly extend over the balls, but keep your core engaged to prevent any hyperextension of the spine.The great thing about working with the two balls is you can localise the target area and work on 2 segments of the spine at a time. Feel free to move the balls up or down to work on another 2 segments of the T spine. Spend at least 120 seconds on the mobilisation to see and feel some change.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

The best shaker bottle

For the last year, a client and friend of mine regularly lectured me on how he found the protein shaker bottles with the metal ball in had the ability to make a better shake than the style with the grid at the top. Eventually I gave in and tired one, and guess what. He was right! They really do make a creamier, smoother shake.

I suppose you're thinking "why is this relevant?!". Well my theory is, if you can make a more enjoyable tasting shake with ease, it becomes something you look forward to having. You'll be less likely to skip it, meaning your nutritional intake is optimal for your goals. And believe me there's nothing worse than having vile tasting, watery, lumpy shake to consume day in day out.

Get yours here from Myprotein and for 10% discount off all products use code 007PT80

Friday, 3 October 2014

Compression band knee mobilisation

Using a compression band for increased joint mobility is nothing new. If you struggle with stiff, tight painful knees, or if you have difficulty driving the knees out during a squat/achieving decent range of motion then this technique might be for you! I've been using it for the last few months and my knees feel stronger, looser and I my knee mechanics are much better during squats. 

What you'll need...
A voodoo compression band or a bicycle inner tube cut in half will work just fine.

How does it work...
Wrapping the band around a joint (knee, elbow, ankle etc.) a few inches above and below the joint and keeping the band nice and tight will create compression forces. This helps restore sliding surface function to the underlying banded tissues as well as create a flexion-gaping force at the joint. This can help restore normal range of motion in the joint. Once the band is removed the tissues surrounding the joint will flood with fresh blood bringing nutrients to the muscles and joint for improved recovery. One of the biggest advantages of using the banded mobilisation technique is you can closely mobilise the movement you want to improve. Just like below, I want better knee mechanics during squatting so I'm squatting! 

How to do it...
Wrap the knee joint fairly tight a few inches below and above the joint. Start from the bottom and work your way up. 

Start by performing some basics squats. Then sit in the the bottom position allowing the knee to come into deep flexion. You can also drive your knee out with your elbow. The whole drill should last for 2-3 minutes. Then unwrap the knee and perform on the other side. 

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Overloading the strength curve

Ok so let me start this post by just defining the strength curve. The strength curve is a graphical representation of how the body generates force through a specific range of motion. Different exercises will train the muscles through different parts of the strength curve (low, mid, upper). Now, to thoroughly hit all fibres and really get the best from an exercise you need to overload the strength curve. By tweaking an exercise that let's say normally trains the muscle through the low range of the strength curve, you can work the same muscle through the mid-upper range. Let me further demonstrate this with an example aimed at working the biceps thoroughly...

1A: ez bar preacher curl holding onto straps
6-8 reps
2121 tempo
Strength curve target: mid-upper range 

1B: ez bar preacher curl
12 reps
2010 tempo
Strength curve target: low range

By holding onto straps and moving the weight of the ez bar outside the centre of gravity you'll work the biceps through a different range of the strength curve. Now that's how you really push 1 exercise to its limit!

Saturday, 20 September 2014

The tortoise and the hare

I'm sure you're all aware of the tortoise and the hare story. The slow tortoise smokes the hare that gets to tired before the finish. As a trainer I know full well how this story can transfer over into a clients success. The hare client tries to implement every healthy nutritional, lifestyle and exercise habit under the sun in week 1. This enthusiasm is great, but it normally leads to failure. The tortoise client develops small habits, working on getting each one nailed down before moving onto the next. This creates long term, sustainable success. Take a look at one of my clients bodyfat caliper test readings over the course of about 10 months. We worked on changing small habits week after week and progresive resistance exercise. Simple, but this dropped his bodyfat by 10%, decreased his fat mass by 10.3kg's  and increased his lean body mass. Now there's a few blips here and there (that's life), but the best part is he's now at a weight and shape he's happy with and he's just ticking over. Everything we've changed has developed into a habit that's set for life.

So are you a tortoise or a hare? Just remember....

Slow and steady progress trumps the 2 week success story every time! 

Friday, 12 September 2014

Upgrading your armoury

I'm a big believer in regularly changing your exercises to see continued progress. Using the same exercises for months in and out (even if you are changing other variables such as reps/weight/tempo etc.) will soon see you plateau. I know this because I was once that guy! Try these different arms exercises to inject some variety and results into your routine...

Seated low pulley cable concentration curl
A fantastic finisher to your biceps work, you'll get a massive burn! With the elbows in front of the body the short head of the biceps are recruited thoroughly. Make sure you make the most of every rep and squeeze the biceps hard at the top. 

Lying ez bar skull crusher with pulley cable attached 
The problem with the lying skull crusher on a flat bench is it mainly works the triceps through the bottom part of the strength curve. Attach a pulley cable to the bar and the triceps will be under constant tension through the whole of the strength curve. For even more fun, have your training partner remove the cable from the bar when you've finished your reps, so you're free to bust out some more (like a drop set).

Ez bar preacher curl holding onto straps
Like with the previous exercise, the ez bar preacher curl only works the biceps through the lower end of the strength curve. In other words as you curl the bar up towards your shoulders the tension tends to minimise in that top position. However if you place the weight outside the centre of gravity (like a kettlebell) and hold onto 2 straps, tension will be on the biceps through the whole range of the strength curve. This exercise tends to work best with a slower tempo like 3031.

Thick grip reverse barbell curl 
Thick grips will recruit more motor units than a standard bar. You'll work the forearms harder and improve your grip strength. Flip your grip and your biceps no longer get an effective line of pull. Therefore the brachialis come into play (the golf ball shaped muscle on the side of 
the arm between the bicep and tricep) a muscle of the arms that is often undertrained. 

Monday, 1 September 2014

How to do pull-ups (properly)

Ah the pull-up, the king of upper body exercises! Often performed incorrectly. With any exercise the smallest of tweaks can have a dramatic impact on your overall performance during the set. And remember if you can perform an exercise better (more reps, more weight etc.) it will have a greater training effect.

Legs crossed and knees bent behind you. This causes an overextension fault of the lumbar spine. From this position it makes it impossible to engage the glutes, create a neutral spine and therefor create stability in the shoulder joint. The shoulder joint will rise up towards the ears to try and create a stable environment and in turn the lats switch off (the muscle group you're probably trying to hit with this one)

Legs together, toes pointed just out in front of you. Glutes engaged and core pulled in tight. From this position the spine remains in neutral and there is greater stability within the shoulder joint. Don't be surprised if you can perform more reps from this position!

What you need to remember is with any compound exercise a small fault can cause you to dump torque and leak power, which will take away from the exercise. Think of it like this, your body is an electrical circuit. If the circuit is broken (in this example there is overextension of the lumbar spine) you'll lose power.

Saturday, 23 August 2014

2 factors for long term success

Long gone are the days where your trainer would have you believe you need to eat plain tuna and rice out of a tupperware box every day for every meal to see a result! Moderation and consistency are key! These two factors are extremely important and often overlooked if you're after long term progress.
You need to get your mindset into longterm thinking. You need to accept that you may be working towards a 3 month goal, however the journey will not end there. For long term success and ongoing results, consistency is your best friend. To me, the ultimate fitness professional sets an example - they practise what they preach. In my eyes that's moderation. I can live my life how I want and I look how I want....And besides no one envies the trainer that lives on plain tuna and rice out of a Tupperware box 6 times a day!

Friday, 8 August 2014

Post-exhaust past a plateau

Post-exhaustion is a fantastic training protocol for stimulating new muscle growth whilst giving you a challenging workout. It involves starting with a compound exercise to fatigue the targeted muscle, followed by an isolation exercise that further taps into the same motor unit pool. This will increase the overall training effect for that muscle group. There are plenty of combinations you can try that will keep your workouts fresh and exciting, but how about this for a post-exhaustion triceps routine....

1A: Tricep dips

4 x 8-12
3011 tempo

1B: lying skull crusher

4 x 10-12 reps
3010 tempo

If your a regular reader of my blog you'll notice exactly what I've done here. This post is almost the same as my previous post on pre-exhausting past a plateau. I guess my point is that by simply tweaking your workout by changing 2 exercises around you create an entirely new training stimulus.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Pre-exhaust past a plateau

Pre-exhaustion is a fantastic training protocol for stimulating new muscle growth whilst giving you a challenging workout. It involves starting with a single joint exercise to fatigue the targeted muscle, followed by a multi joint exercise that hits the same muscle group, plus a few others. This will increase the overall training effect for that muscle group. There are plenty of combinations you can try that will keep your workouts fresh and exciting, but how about this for a pre-exhaustion triceps routine....

1A: Lying ez bar skull crushers
4 x 10-12 reps
3010 tempo

1B: tricep dips
4 x 8-12
3011 tempo

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Summer supplement essentials

One thing I've come to learn when it comes to supplements, is to see the best results your supplements should intentionally work to support the particular training regime you're on. For example - doing a strength phase? Take creatine. Using a high volume protocol? Take beta alanine to help reduce fatigue...etc.

This time of year many gym goers are trying to "shred" "rip-up" "cut" "slice" or whatever the latest fancy word is for reducing body fat whilst gaining or at least maintaining lean body mass for the beach. Here's my favourite 3 Supps that I would include in a summer "shred" plan to see the best results from your training and diet regime.....


Why? Fires up the adrenal glands for fatloss, increased energy and focus (particularly important if you're about to smash a workout or are on a calorie deficit diet plan) and it can increase the metabolic rate.

How much?  Try 5-10mg per KG of body weight before your workout.

Omega 3 

Why? Joint health, faster recovery, fat loss, brain health, they're anabolic - sold!

How much? If you're really serious about your omega 3 intake you'll aim for as many grams per day as your body fat %. So if you're 14% body fat, aim for 14g per day! Sounds like a lot, but as your body fat drops off with this dose, drop your omega 3 intake to match.


Why? 2 main reasons. Firstly arginine changes into nitric oxide, which causes vasodilation aka blood vessel relaxation. This is great for improved blood flow and incredible muscle pumps - exactly what you want during the beach season! Secondly, some studies have shown arginine to be very effective at increasing human growth hormone levels. Higher GH means less body fat and more muscle!

How much? Try 2-3g twice a day.

I'm sure there are many others you could include! But hopefully from my explanations you can see why I've chose these 3 as my favourites.

For an exclusive 10% off all myprotein products use discount code 007PT80

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

The 1-6 principle

I've recently come across and tried one of the best protocols for strength and muscle mass in my 4 years + of training! I just had to share it with you. It's called the 1-6 principle and the theory behind why it works is actually quite simple. Take a squat. A very heavy squat. Load it up with 95-100% of your 1 rep max and perform 1 rep. Now strip the weight off and squat with just the bar. It feels light right? It feels as if you could explode through the ceiling! This concept is known as post-tetanic facilitation (PTF). And the 1-6 principle uses it to its full potential. The idea is you'd perform a heavy 1 rep for an exercise to ramp up the central nervous system (CNS), then strip the weight back and perform 6 reps. Because the CNS is switched on, you should be able to handle a heavier weight with your 6 reps than you normally could. Thus having a better training effect. It worked well for all muscle groups, however I particularly liked it for arms (workout shown below), the pump was pretty impressive!....

Tuesday, 27 May 2014


There's 2 keys to success in the personal training business. First of all, you've got to stay relaxed. Do you nap?

I don't want to, that's not why I do it, I do it because I need to! Think about it, your dealing with reps, sets, rest periods and weights all day long. This is not a tip, this is a prescription. Trust me, if you don't, you will fall out of balance. Split your differential and tip the f*ck over. Or worse yet, I've seen this happen, implode!

All jokes aside, if done correctly, napping can really help your body's health, recovery and performance. Especially if you work shifts or long hours (like that of a personal trainer!) here's 5 tips and benefits of a good nap...

- napping can improve altertness and reduce mistakes and accidents. A study at NASA showed improved performance on military pilots by up to 34% after a 40 minute nap.

- a nap of 20-30 mins is recommended. Any longer and it could interfere with normal sleep patterns and cause sleep interia. Which will leave you feeling groggy and disorientated for hours after your nap.

- napping has psychological benefits. It can provide a quick hit of relaxation.

- for a quality nap make sure you have a quiet, comfortable area. Where you are unlikely to be disturbed.

- a nap could help speed up recovery from exercise.

....and when you get really good at it, you'll be napping and planning your next PT session!

Saturday, 19 April 2014


As the old saying goes "variety is the spice of life", it's also the spice of your workouts. Adding variety to your sessions is a simple way to keep your body guessing and progressing. 
If you just think variety in your workouts would be just changing your reps and sets you'd be wrong! Check out this list I've put together that includes variables I, and my clients regularly change in our workouts to keep the results coming...

Rest periods
Number of Sets 
Total workout duration
Rep brackets
Lifting tempo/speed
Exercise order
Exercise selection
Grip or stance width
Grip diameter (thick bars etc.)

I'm sure there's many more, but the variables above are enough to keep your workouts fresh. My personal recommendation is to perform a workout no more than 6 times, or less if you adapt to it faster...

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Fitness banking

I've invested in a lot of fitness related products over the years. Things like lifting gloves, hand grippers, battling ropes, gliders, trx, fat gripz, powerball, a dipping belt and many more! Some I've felt like I've just thrown my money away, others definitely have their place. I was just thinking about which one I would say I've had the most returns from my investment on, the result.....

The trigger point grid! This foam roller has been a fantastic, key tool in my training as well as every single one of my clients! Getting down on one of these things will help with recovery, mobilty, postural correction, flexibility and de-knotting the muscles. This act of rolling your muscles over the roller is know as self-myofascial release (SMR). When the pressure of the body against the roller is sustained on a trigger point the Golgi tendon organs (GTO) will turn off muscle spindle activity, allowing the muscle fibres to stretch, realign and relax. They can also be used as a great core training tool. Well worth the cash if you ask me....

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Arms 5x5

Following on from my last post on 5x5 training, here's my arms routine I've been following. It's a great well balanced session that will improve your strength and size on the elbow flexors and extensors. Give it a go!...

It's worth mentioning I used fatgripz on the seated dumbell curls, to increase the dumbell handle width. This will recruit more motor units. With the dips aim to keep your torso up as straight as you can to focus on the triceps. Leaning over and into it will shift the emphasis onto your chest. I also had a few questions regarding exercise 2A. Scott bench reverse curls are great for targeting the brachialis, which is a ball shape muscle that lies between the bicep and tricep on the outer arm. Unfortunately the forearm work I did isn't pictured.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Back and shoulders 5x5

Just did an awesome back and shoulders 5x5 session that I have to share with you guys! The main aim of this session is functional hypertrophy and strength...