Mix It Up Part 1

Last week we looked at the basic principles that need to be applied in order for a training programme to be effective. Today we’ll look at 2 methods of training that you can use to get leaner, stronger and fitter.

For the majority of people who are looking to lose body fat and improve strength and fitness, most exercise or training programmes will fall under the following headings: Weight Training, High Intensity Interval Training, Group/Class sessions and Steady-State Cardio. People will generally have a preference for one particular method, but in terms of improving body composition, a combination of 2 or more of the above will get best results.

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5 Things I (Re-) Learned This Week

I’m still recovering mentally and physically from 3 days of training and learning at the Hypertrophy Weekend run by Irish Strength Institute.

The following 5 items, in no particular order, are what I learned and/or re-discovered over the very challenging Friday-Sunday sessions. Hopefully, these lessons can be applied to your own training or even career.

  1. You have to Train Hard to Get Results: Seems obvious enough and this is one area that I always emphasize to my own clients. I pride myself on being able to push myself hard but this weekend was an eye-opener. I discovered how nice I was being to myself during my own training sessions – I had begun backing off on a rep or 2 every set and convincing myself that I needed the longer rest periods, although I wasn’t earning them. Part of the reason for this was, that there was nobody to push me harder. This leads us onto lesson number 2.
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Get Moving

While a healthy, nutritious diet is probably the most important aspect of achieving permanent fat loss, there is no doubt that regular bouts of structured exercise are also necessary for achieving body composition goals.

However, for many people, the whole area of exercise and training can be very confusing. I’m often asked about how to train in the “fat-burning zone”, or for exercises that will magically remove excess fat from abs/thighs/bums.

You may have heard it said that you can’t “spot-reduce” fat. From an exercise point of view, this is largely true. It means that spending your time doing countless sit-ups does not guarantee that you’ll lose the spare tyre around your mid-section. You may end up with a very impressive six-pack, but unfortunately it will still be hidden under layers of blubber!

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Back to Basics Simple Nutrition Part 1

“You are what you eat” is a common enough phrase that’s used to encourage people to eat healthy food in order to become healthy and energetic. It’s not 100% accurate because you need to be able to digest and absorb the nutrients in order to gain those health benefits. But that’s a story for another article. Today we’ll focus on eating the good stuff.

Your body is made up of a variety of tissues that make up muscles, bones and various organs. And each of these tissues is made up of cells. So, in order for the entire system (you) to be healthy, the cells need to be healthy.

OK, so what has this boring science lecture got to do with you fitting into that little black dress at Christmas? It’s very simple, because if your body is healthy at a basic, cellular level, it’s going to be in a much better position to provide you with the energy to perform your daily tasks and also have some left over to do a meaningful training session. It will also allow you to burn more body fat.

It’s a little known fact that the more toxic you are (i.e. your cells are unhealthy), the less you will be able to burn body fat. Regardless of the amount of training you do.

Therefore the obvious solution is to fix things at a cellular level before you waste your time and frustrate yourself by training while still eating a crappy diet. Thankfully, your cells are un-demanding little creatures and all they want from life is a good supply of vitamins, minerals, oxygen and water. And all of these are available in abundance in a healthy, well-balanced diet.

The following 3 very basic nutrition tips will help you to support cellular function which in turn will improve your energy levels and increase your fat-burning potential.

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Good Nutrition

Good Nutrition - Lifestyle DiaryLast week’s article was intended to get you thinking about your ideal health and body shape goals, and to translate those thoughts into a S.M.A.R.T. goal.

If you are one of the many people who trains regularly but has not seen any significant change in body shape as a result, this week’s article will be of interest to you.

Numerous research studies have confirmed that You Cannot Out-Train A Bad Diet. It may surprise you to hear (coming from a Personal Trainer), that exercise, without proper nutrition and lifestyle support, is almost useless when it comes to long-term weight loss.

Of course, many people drop body fat when they go from doing no exercise to walking or jogging a few times a week. But unless they also address their diet and lifestyle, these gains are minimal and very short term. There are numerous reasons why this happens. The main one is that they rarely have a good nutritional strategy to support this extra activity. So then, what exactly is Good Nutrition? As a Precision Nutrition Certified Level 1 Coach, these are the guidelines that I give to my clients.

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Sharpening The Axe

“If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend six hours sharpening my axe” – Abraham Lincoln.

I like wise quotes in general and I like this one in particular, because it reminds me of the importance of planning and preparation. Successful people in all areas of life tend to be very clear on the following items: what they want to achieve, when they’re going to achieve it, and what they need to do to make it happen. Then they take action and make it happen.

Now the problem with this for many people is that it requires a bit of thought, and to throw in just one last quote (for this week!) :“Five percent of the people think; ten percent of the people think they think; and the other eighty-five percent would rather die than think” (Thomas Edison),

What I’d like you to do over the next day or two, is to think about how you would look, feel and behave if you had the best health, energy levels and body shape that you can possibly imagine. And while you’re at it, let’s skip the mediocrity of settling for “losing a few pounds”, “toning up” or “being able to keep up with the kids.”

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10 Reasons to have a Massage

Whether you’re a top-class athlete or someone who trains for fitness or weight loss, a sports or holistic massage can help you reach your personal fitness goals, help prevent injury, improve your flexibility and give a wonderful sense of relaxation and well-being.

Specifically, massage will benefit you in the following ways:

  1. Pumping: Tight or damaged muscles can squeeze blood out of tissues thus depriving them of vital nutrients. Massage manually pumps the blood into the tissue to help speed up growth and repair.
  2. Permeability: Massage allows the pores in tissue to open, allowing waste products out and nutrients in.
  3. Stretching: Massage is a far more effective way of maintaining or improving flexibility than stretching alone.
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It’s Your Choice

Life by it’s very nature can be very unpredictable. But there are certain things in life that you can almost take for granted: In Ireland, it will rain a lot during the summer, governments will break pre-election promises and when you go to parties there will be a lot of food and drink available, and almost none of it will be low-carb.

It always amuses me when people seem surprised by any, or all of the above. I’ve lost count of the number of times that clients have had a particularly bad weigh-in and then confessed that it was due to a party or celebration that they’d attended over the weekend. They then tell me that they “had to” have the cakes, biscuits, chocolates and sandwiches because “there was nothing else there!”

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How to Keep it Intense Part 2

Last time we showed you how to get the most out of your weight training, and today we’ll keep it even simpler as we discuss High Intensity Interval Training (H.I.I.T) and give you an example that will spice up your training regime.

If you’ve been doing the regular gym routine of “20 minutes treadmill, 20 minutes bike, 20 minutes cross-trainer” and have found little or no change in your body shape, don’t worry you’re not alone.

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How to Keep it Intense Part 1

In the last post I gave you some general guidelines on how to make your workout more effective. Today we’ll go into a little more detail about what type of exercises and workouts are required to reach the body composition and fitness goals you want to achieve.

So here’s the science bit: There are 2 acronyms which lie at the heart of good programme design as it relates to body composition.

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