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.