Everyday is a struggle. A struggle to train, a struggle to eat well, a struggle to avoid the sweeter things in life, a struggle to be sensible on weekends and the king of all struggles- to combine the lot on a daily basis and still have a life worth living!
Well for some this will feel impossible. But the health journey is all about prioritising correctly and understanding how you to utilise your time. Now anyone can relax the whole Sunday evening, feet up and happily waste their day away, but an hour or so in the kitchen preparing for the next 3-4 days will save you far more time throughout the rest of the week to spend scrolling through Instagram!
Now imagine walking into a gym, with no plan, no idea of what what you wanted to do, no idea about form or technique! You may break a sweat or even get a good pump on but eventually your progress over time would become limited. Which is why having some direction or basic understanding of your training helps. It eliminates 99% of the decisions that can derail us on our progress: “Should I do 3 sets of 5 or 5 sets of 5 blah blah blah!
So, we know following a workout plan would improve our chances of reaching our targets so why don’t we think of food in the same way. Particularly when food controls a hugely significant amount of our progress. Studies would suggest over 75% of our progress happens in the kitchen!
I want to try to convince you that you should
Now with all the effort gone into committing yourself to your new fitness regime, staying in on weekends and avoiding the good friend that loves a glass of red during the lunch hour! The last thing you’d want to do is throw away all that hard work by diving straight into the nearest croissant basket or fast food restaurant the moment hunger strikes- simply because there was nothing prepared!!
Now with a little food prep you can can eliminate hours of work (or dozens of bad decisions) especially later on in the week. This could potentially be the difference between success and failure whether you are trying to gain weight, lose weight build muscle or improve your fitness performance!
We have a tendency to think we “know” about food so planning is unnecessary;
“Oh, I don’t know about squats, but I’ve been eating food since I was born! I know, sugar is bad, eat less processed food and more real stuff. I don’t have time to plan, so I’ll just make healthy choices as I go.”
Now as the saying goes “there’s a difference between knowing the path, and walking the path.” Whether you’re trying to build guns like Arnie or you're simply trying to stop yourself from eating like a hungry wolf, I think most of us know how difficult doing it can be. It’s always gonna be easier said than done.
Often our choices are based on either emotion, convenience or the the people around us ie work colleagues, friends & family. And if your days not going great or your support network is dead on the ground then these daily choices often result in having a negative impact on our progress. It’s just was too easy to say f*#k it and sink into those sweet juicy snacks. Your brain is constantly playing the devil and short term solutions are all about gimme, gimme gimme, now now now!!!
I don’t know a single person that hasn’t experienced a rough miserable day, skipped lunch, had a shed load of errands to run and still dinner isn’t paid for, let alone prepared...Yep, you know it, brutal! Our will power can run thin, decision fatigue sets in and you hear those famous words again...f*#k it!!!
But every day you wake up with good intentions, you meant well, you even had the ingredients in your fridge. But guess what- You had a hard day. You “earned it,” right?
Remember, lifes hard! Things get messy and shit happens. We already know this right! Which means there’s even more reason to try harder to set ourselves up for success. With just a little organisation, an hour or so behind the hob, slam on some good music, throw in a few herbs, experiment a little, breath, relax, feel good and enjoy the journey.
Reasons to prepare your meals
1. Saves Time
Endless shopping trips and you’ll also avoid the sweets far more by the cashier desk!
2. Saves Money
The initial investment might feel like a sting but do the maths once meals are made and you’ll notice see difference
3. Build knowledge
Allows you to know exactly what you're eating ie Weight, ingredients etc.
4. Portion Control
They’ll be no excess eating. You’ll prepare a sensible size meal and once it’s gone it’s gone!
5. Applies accountability
No one wants to throw away food they’ve prepared! So you're far more likely to eat well during the short time it’s all still fresh.
Note: Meal planning DOES NOT consist of making 21 different recipes for 21 different meals each week. Even those of us who have been doing this for years aren’t that crazy… that just sounds exhausting!
Instead, try be picking ONE meal per day (lunch? dinner?), perhaps the one you struggle the most with. Then try prepare those 5 meals for your workweek.
It's not easy getting lean, which is why fast fat loss is always a hot topic. So to get you on the rocket ship to ripped I've set out 5 fat- blast-off tips - from diet to training.
Most of you reading this probably want to uncover your abs sooner rather than later but there are a few basics you need to get right before anything else; Eat well, drink well, train well & sleep well. Be consistent with the basics, have some discipline, take control and over time you'll start to recognise progress.
Top 5 Fat Loss Tips
1. Eliminate Junk Food Most Of The Time:
This is an obvious no-brainer, but you'll be surprised at how those few chips, sweets & biscuits start to add up (a small cookie packs around 50 calories! Eat 8 and that's almost HALF your daily calorie intake, if your target is a 1,000 calories).
Notice I said to eliminate junk "most of the time." That's because a cheeky 'cheat' day will prevent over-the-top binges and allow you to get rid of a few demons! A controlled higher-calorie jolt can also prevent your metabolism from slowing down, so it's a good thing.
A common mistake is to make a gigantic calorie cut all at once. Many people get so motivated to lose fat that they starve themselves right off the bat. That causes your metabolism to slow to a crawl, and your body thinks it's starving, it hordes fat and burns your hard-earned muscle. That's when you get so frustrated that you give up.
The lesson is to reduce calories gradually, and the first action is to generally eliminate junk food.
2. Tone Down Alcohol Consumption:
A few beers or libations every so often won't hurt, but if you do it regularly, you turn off fat burning. The reason is that your body burns off alcohol first, it becomes your primary energy substrate.
So as you're burning off the alcohol, what happens to the food you eat? It's merely surplus calories going directly to fat cells. Not good. That means when you do choose to drink, don't eat a lot while you indulge.
3. Read the Label
People who understand food labelling weigh 4.5kg less than people who don’t, according to research published in Agricultural Economics. Check the ingredient order – manufacturers are legally bound to put the biggest one first. If your protein bar’s first, second and third ingredients are varieties of sugar (sucrose, fructose and saccharin, say), it’s basically a sugar bar.
There's no need to get obsessed but it's really useful to take 1-2 minutes before each meal to take a look at the information and start to develop a better understanding of the food your consuming. Spend at least a week or two developing this habit and hopefully gain a little knowledge.
As a rule of thumb, weight loss is generally 75 percent diet and 25 percent exercise!! So don't lose all that hard work by slacking on your food planning.
4. Eat a good breakfast
Start your day with a good healthy breakfast. Egg's are fantastic option. You can boil 4-5 and keep them in the fridge for a couple of days. Grab a couple when rushing late or slap on some avocado or spinach for the perfect protein hit first thing in the morning.
Porridge is also a favourite of mine. Throw on some fruit to add some flavor and It'll keep you full until lunch, stopping you snacking soon after arriving at work!
5. Train everyday
Yes you heard it...Every damn day!!! Small sessions each day will have a huge impact psychologically. The physical aspect of getting something done will naturally encourage you to go for a healthier option when deciding what to eat. Training well and eating well go hand in hand and even the smallest of sessions will influence your decision making for the rest of the day.
Training before breakfast can encourage a greater weight loss. When your wake up on an empty stomach your body then relies on it's fat stores as it's primary energy source.
Not all sessions need to be done in 'beastmode'. A light run at 70% of your max heart rate(220 minus your age) is a great fat burning option. Otherwise a bodyweight HIIT circuit is another no brainer. Take 15 minutes, pick 3 exercises, whack on some tunes, start the clock, and away you go!!
Don't Get Greedy
Don't get greedy; lose fat gradually and have patience. Enjoy the journey and the destination will be far more satisfying. If you drop more than 3 pounds a week it could potentially be a lot of water and muscle.
You'll also feel like crap and look worse than you feel. We're all impatient when it comes to changing out bodies, but the best strategy is gradual and steady.
Have a goal of losing about 4-8 pounds of fat in a month as you keep training hard to notice them gains. But remember, if you do it right you'll be adding muscle(this doesn't mean getting bulky!) so the scale isn't something you should pay attention to very closely.
In other words, if you lose 10 pounds of fat and gain 10 pounds of muscle, you will look completely different (so much better), but the scale will read exactly the same. It's the fat-to-muscle reshuffle.
A better strategy to gauge your progress is to take photos every few weeks. They're real eye-openers. You can take relaxed front, side and back views. Be sure to keep a list of the shots you take-the poses you hit-and the camera settings you use. A few weeks later, take photos again and use the same poses and camera settings.
Also, and this is important, if possible be sure the lighting is the same. Take the pictures in a room with a fairly bright overhead light and don't use the flash on your camera.
Try all of the above for 30 days and prepare to be amazed! Do your best and if you slip up then dust yourself off and go again, remember It happens to the best of us. Share your targets/goals online to add healthy pressure and be sure to kick ass at bootcamp. Good luck
Running doesn't get no better than this! The 10K is a classic distance that covers all the bases - a great distance that's achievable for beginners yet respectable to the typically advanced! The pro's can target rapid PB's whilst the newbies can complete competently without shattering their bodies in a way that longer events can..
If you find the right course, it's a challenge that requires fitness, preparation and tactical thinking. It combines a mix of speed and endurance, and boy does it feel good when you reach the finish line with enough left in the tank to sprint for the crowds.
You can do it, even if you're new to running by following a few basic set of rules.
There's nothing like having the goal of competing in a race to focus the mind. It gives you a target and doing three sessions a week is enough to really allow you to notice significant improvements! With steady, consistent appearances out on the road and progressive training sessions you'll rapidly progress. That's the beauty of running. Get yourself out there and you can guarantee, gradually becoming better, faster and stronger!!
Training for a race has many benefits, so you should enjoy training while gaining satisfaction from an end result. Running is one of the best the best forms of exercise particularly for weight loss. It'll help you shift pounds as well as get fit, and the 10K is a great mix of speed and endurance to help you achieve both of those goals.
It also releases feel-good endorphins into the brain - so it's not all pain. A race should be tough but training can be fun, It can also help lift self-esteem and fight depression.
The immovable goal of a race date will also make you concentrate on healthy eating. Running will help you eat well and snack sensibly. The combination of eating healthily and running 10K can help lower the risk of heart disease, diabetes and osteoporosis, and strengthen your bones.
Training for a 10K doesn't have to take over your life in the way preparing for a marathon can. However it can help you be more organised. The 10K allows you to set goals and train hard, but also enjoy the scenery and still have time to see friends.
One of the best exercises for you, whether you’re trying to build muscle or lose weight (or both) HAS to be the squat.
However, it’s also one of the most difficult exercises to do properly unless you actually know what you’re doing. Let’s take a look at why this exercise is so great, and then how to perform it properly for maximum results and minimal chance of injury.
Squats include various muscles around the body but most importantly they target the legs and butt(Hamstring, Quadriceps & Glutes)! These are the most important muscle groups If you’re looking to burn fat. To do this you want exercises that trigger as much of your body as possible so it’s all about the squat On the other side of the coin, if you’re looking to build muscle, your legs and back can put on the most muscle in the shortest amount of time. So it's a win win move!
If you are serious about getting in shape and losing weight, or if you’re a beanpole and looking to gain muscle, you absolutely need to include squats in your routine.
Squats for Newbies
Before we start loading you up with tons of weight, make sure you can do regular body weight squats. Here is a video that looks like it was made in 1984, but does a great job explaining good form on a body weight squat:
A few tips to remember:
Squat down until your thighs are at least parallel to the floor. If you don’t go down that far, you’re cheating yourself and doing a fake squat. Go way down, and you’ll feel it in every muscle in your leg. This will give you a really strong core along with strong legs and a strong back.
Try not to extend your knees past your toes. If you’re doing the squats right, you should be sitting back with your ass out and back straight.
Don’t arch your back. The best way to make sure this doesn’t happen is to keep your head up when you squat, and KEEP YOUR ABS tight throughout the whole exercise (that’s right, squats will even work your abs).
Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart, and point your toes slightly outward.
Want to see a good test if you’re doing a good squat? Stand up in front of your desk chair, and ‘squat’ down into the chair. Are you sitting? Good. Now stand up without leaning forward at all. if you’re squatting properly, your ass will be sticking out, your back will be straight, and you’ll be able to stand right back up without having to lean forward to get momentum to stand back up.
How to squat in a squat rack:
So you’ve done the chair test, and you can sit and stand without having to lean forward. You can do 3 sets 12 reps of body weight squats and that’s no longer a challenge. Let’s try adding some weight. Get into the squat rack, set the bar at just below your shoulder level, and set the safety bars low enough that you’ll be able to squat low with the bar on your shoulders. Duck under the bar, grab the bar with your hands in a wide grip (palms facing forward), and rest the weight across the upper part of your back (not your neck!). If the weight bothers you across your back, see if there’s a bar pad that you can put on there. They’re usually lying around by the squat racks, smith machines, etc.
The position you want:
Chest up and out
No Squat Rack?
No problem, grab some dumbbells, and hold them in front of you like you’re getting ready to press them up to work your shoulders. Keep them here as you squat up and down, maintaining the same good form as described above. Want to get a full body workout? Every time you stand up for your squat, press the weights up above you. You’ll be working your legs, abs, back, shoulders, chest, and triceps with one exercise. Just practice good form on both and you’ll be all set.
If you’re afraid of squats, now is the time to add them into your routine. Start with very light weight (or just your body weight), practice absolute perfect form, and then in a matter of weeks you’ll be packing on the plates and dropping body fat while building muscle
Everyone knows that running is a great way to get into shape, but did you know that it can benefit almost every part of your body, as well as lift your mood? Running is incredibly effective at making you healthier in a number of ways. While it may not be everybody's favorite form of exercise, knowing what it can do for your life just may make you look at running in an entirely new light.
Improve Your Health
Believe it or not, running is actually a great way to increase your overall level of health. Research shows that running can raise your levels of good cholesterol while also helping you increase lung function and use. In addition, running can also boost your immune system and lower your risk of developing blood clots.
For women, running can actually help to lower your risk of breast cancer. It can also help reduce the risk of having a stroke. Many doctors today recommend running for people who are in the early stages of diabetes, high blood pressure, and osteoporosis, and it is proven to help reduce the risk of having a heart attack. By helping the arteries retain their elasticity and strengthening the heart, your chances of suffering a heart attack can be significantly reduced.
Running is one of the best forms of exercise for losing or maintaining a consistent weight. You will find that it is a leading way to burn off extra calories and that it is the second most effective exercise in terms of calories burned per minute, following only after cross country skiing.
Boost Your Confidence
Not all of the benefits of running are physical. Running can provide an noticeable boost to your confidence and self-esteem. By setting and achieving goals, you can help give yourself a greater sense of empowerment that will leave you feeling much happier.
Stress can actually cause a number of health and mood problems. It can also diminish appetite and sleep quality. When you run, you force your body to exert excess energy and hormones. Running also helps to reduce your chances of developing tension headaches.
When you are depressed, the last thing you likely want to do is to get up and go for a run. Yet you will find that after only a few minutes of running, your brain will start to secrete hormones that naturally improve your mood. In fact, there are few things in the world that can better or more rapidly treat depression than exercise such as running.
It may seem surprising to learn all of the different ways that running can improve your health, but the truth of the matter is that these are only a few of the many benefits that it can offer to your body. Running really is incredibly beneficial to the body, mind, and spirit, and you will find that even short runs can leave you feeling more energized, more focused, and better able to enjoy all that life has to offer.
Tyre flips are tough and look awesome, the real big one's demand every ounce of strength you can muster and they never, ever get easy! However, they're not for the faint hearted... But, if you build your fitness before-hand and approach the exercise with correct form, be steady in your progress and strong in the lifting then eventually you'll be rewarded with a new level of power and athleticism!
The strength and aerobic benefits of tyre training are endless. It'll enhance your performance in all areas of fitness and it's one of the best strength & conditioning workouts you can do. It takes your whole body to flip a decent tyre and by varying the distance/time you can get in a great aerobic workout.
HOW DO YOU FLIP THE TIRE?
When you flip it's best to start with the tyre flat on the ground. Place your fingers and hands as far under the tyre as you can in this position and keep your hands about shoulder width apart. Squat down and then while pulling the tire up with your arms and back explode out of the bottom position. As the tire comes up you should have enough momentum that you can change your hands from a pulling to a pushing position and push the tire all the way over. Immediately after the tyre is pushed over and flat start the process again.
In the beginning you may have to use your knee to pop the tire up high enough so that you can change hand positions to a pushing motion. Try to get away from using your knee as soon as possible to avoid possible leg injury when you have one leg planted on the ground and one in the air. Don't go too heavy too soon and for goodness sake remeber to breath!
WHERE/WHEN CAN YOU FLIP TYRES?
Kings Cross, Lewis-Cubitt Square
What is High Intensity Interval Training?
High Intensity Interval Training involves alternating between very intense bouts of exercise and low intensity exercise. For example, sprinting for 30 seconds, then walking for 60 seconds is high intensity interval training. HIIT can be used both anaerobically (in the gym with weights) and aerobically with cardio
TOP 6 BENEFITS OF INTERVAL TRAINING
1. Extra Free Time
Interval training is the most efficient form of cardio, and can deliver benefits much more quickly than typical cardio workouts. In fact, research shows that 27 minutes of HIIT performed three times per week delivers the same aerobic and anaerobic results as 60 minutes of regular cardio performed five times per week. Interval training can also get you in shape more quickly – according to a studies a mere two weeks of high-intensity intervals can improve your aerobic capacity as much as six to eight weeks of endurance training.
2. More Calories Burned
In terms of weight loss, intervals are more effective than long, slow endurance exercise. The intense effort you put in means that your body must work harder to recover, so you’ll burn more calories in the 24 hours after an interval workout than you would after a slow, steady run. During those 24 hours after high intensity interval training, your body can also produce up to 450 percent more human growth hormone, which increases caloric burn and even slows down the aging process.
3. A Big Smile
Interval training creates a surge of endorphins, the natural opiates your brain produces as a result of difficult exercise. Because of its short bursts of strenuous activity, interval training drastically boosts endorphin production, so you’ll experience a true “runner's high” and will feel happy and energized after your workout.
4. Increased Speed and Endurance
Interval training stimulates several physiological changes that can lead to greater speed, and stamina. For example, HIIT helps your body learn to burn lactic acid more efficiently – allowing you to exercise for a longer period of time before fatigue sets in. Interval training makes it easier to go farther and faster with more energy, and will also help with your other cardio activities, including hiking, biking, swimming and skiing.
5. A Healthier Heart
Although high intensity intervals accelerate your heart rate, HIIT can actually decrease strain on your heart. Over time, cardiovascular exercise can increase your heart stroke volume, or the amount of blood that your heart pumps per beat. Interval training maximizes cardiovascular benefits, so it can quickly increase stroke volume, making your heart stronger and more efficient. HIIT also maximizes the other benefits of cardiovascular exercise, including decreasing your risk of both heart disease and high blood pressure.
6. Fewer Sick Days
Interval training also amplifies cardio’s other health benefits, including reducing cholesterol, which in turn lowers the risk of arthritis and other inflammatory problems. Additionally, challenging exercise strengthens the immune system, so regular interval work can boost your immunity and help prevent colds and the flu.
A SAMPLE HIIT WORKOUT
1. SQUAT JUMPS
2. PUSH UPS
3. JUMPING JACKS
BEGINNER- 20 SECONDS ON, 40 SECONDS REST 3-5 ROUNDS
ADVANCED- 30 SECONDS ON, 30 SECONDS REST 6-8 ROUNDS
EXTREME 'MIGHTY MOE' EXPERT- 40 SECONDS ON, 20 SECONDS REST, 8-10 ROUNDS (GOOD LUCK;)
What’s your favorite interval workout? Post your HIIT successes and tips to Twitter; @mw5fitness Instagram; @mw5_fitness
Every Sunday morning, myself and a small group of friends hit the mud track for a leisurely(depending on your fitness) 5k run through Hampstead Heath. The hills are steep, long & tough and the muddy uneven terrain combine together to create an adventurous, challenging little session!
We start and finish the route down by the Lido. And for some people that's plenty...Enough even to put your feet up and enjoy the rest of the weekend! A 'great workout' you might say. But for the few that remain, regardless of the weather, we hit the water. Now the Lido is a freezing cold pool situated at the bottom of Parliment Hill Fields and there's always one man who's always committed, 100% involved!
Meet Charlie Watts ex MMA Fighter and Founder of WorkIt.London He has amazing positive energy that's inspiring and infectious and it's all his crazy idea. Charlie is a huge advocate for organic living. Eating and training in a way that our bodies are supposed to, and he know's all about the benefits gained from an ice cold swim. Well somehow I got dragged into this and since the first dive I haven't looked back. I wasn't sure about the whole thing at first. The fact I hate cold water was a bad start! And hopping into a freezing pool for no real apparent reason just seemed insane.... My worst nightmare!
But It's only when you put yourself out there to truly test yourself your bodies full capabilities, only then can you appreciate the value it has on your body & mind. I mean how often do we push ourselves beyond our comfort zone? In a day of iphones & computers, it's easy to get lazy and comfortable in our skin... Become creatures of habit and stick to what we're used to, or what we're good at. This is a shame especially when you realise the incredible potential our bodies have; To adapt, survive and grow stronger. Situations that are tough and challenging will improve you no end- physically and psychologically.
After each swim I feel positive and I'm buzzing off endorphins, not just the same day but for the whole of the following week! I sleep far better too. So for me, I couldn't think of anything worse than a cold swim which is a weird concept because at the same time, I could'nt think of anything better! Understanding and believing the rewards & bi-products has significant bearing in my decision no doubt to participate. So, even it it's your worst nightmare, just as it was for me, give it a go, it'll be worth it...
Health Benefits of a regular cold swim
Improve blood circulation
Help build and maintain a strong immune system
Improve skin tone and skin health
Improve libido and fertility 6
Release endorphins to improve feeling of wellness and vigor
Encourages good sleep.
Heavy weight's, fast runs, hard circuits, big lifts and a whole host of other workouts throughout 2016 mean I should be feeling in great condition leading up to the Summer, right? Not quite! All that training means very little without one very important component-Rest! So instead of peaking just at the right time I found myself sleeping on the floor(apparently this helps!) and booking a trip to the local Osteopath.
Stiff knees, a sore hip and an unstable shoulder are injuries generally carried by your typical retired broken old man, but instead those symptoms have been adopted by yours truly! For all the advice I give I should've known better! All my energy was focused on getting faster, fitter and stronger and it seems there was a major oversight, I was in fact making myself weaker! Lucky for me the problems are relatively minor and treatable. With the correct treatment and a little tender loving care I'll be back to my best in no time. And lucky for you because this means you get to learn from my experience.
The Therapist who treated me- Gio, and I had had a conversation regarding my health and it turned out we share similar opinions with regards to training methods, the intensity, it's rewards and repercussions. It was refreshing and inspiring to hear his views and this reminded me to seriously consider the same advice I'd generally share with everyone else; Rest, rest and more rest. Take things easy, sleep well, eat well, stay hydrated, train smart and recover fast! Respect your body, listen to it and be aware of the signs. Your body is way more sophisticated then you'll ever know so whether you feel tired, anxious, weak, sick or sore it's important you take action and respond in away that's beneficial for the long term...
Lifting weights is an amazing way to get fit. But lifting too heavy for too long and you might just be asking for trouble.. Injuries may not occur straight away but possibly in the future- 1, 2, 5 or even 10 years time. The same goes for every type of discipline; Running, Combat Sports, HIIT Training, Yoga etc etc. The point remains the same. Overuse at extreme intensity without correct application, nutrition, sleep and rest and you could potentially be doing more damage than good. The 'go hard or go home' attitude could put your body in a very dangerous position.
A Tough, insanely difficult training regime made sense to Spartacus, I mean he was prepared to die for his cause. Training every session as if it were his last! But for everyone else, we've got to go work the next day! Now no one needs a situation where getting your socks on requires an assistant, or the toilet- don't get me started on that one... Damn that ache, we've all had it! Now I'm not saying don't go hard, we all love a bit of 'beast mode' now and again but just remember to focus and be sensible. Train smart! Too much of the same thing can have an adverse effect on your body. Have a healthy balance. Remember to keep it fresh, keep it fun and keep it functional. After all, affectionate attention is a blessing and when all's said and done the aim of the game is to be healthy, for as long as possible. Peace out!
8 ways to avoid Injury
- Apply correct technique
- Don't Lift too heavy
- Warm up/Cool down
- Stretch often
- Avoid over-training
- Follow a healthy nutrition plan
- Sleep well
- Stay Hydrated