Stand Up More- You Will Live Longer…. Fact!

The vast majority of adults in Britain – between two-thirds and five-sixths according to a new study spend more than two hours daily watching television. Scientists have tried to quantify this data to suggest how much of this is negative and what the possible harmful implications are to people’s health.

They estimated that if people limited their sitting time to three hours a day, their life expectancy would increase by two years on average the article published in the journal BMJ Open showed. Not only this- if television viewing was reduced to below 2 hours a day life expectancy rises by 1.4 years.

They found that half the peopled surveyed spend 50% of their day seated (hint: this is where you stand up to read the second half of this article). Interestingly 50% of the people surveyed also spent half of their “leisure” time seated. Overall the study showed that out of the population recorded that on average they spend 7.7 hours of their day sitting.

So what’s the point of this article? If you want to live longer don’t sit for more than 3 hours a day or watch more than 2 hours of TV a day on average. Ration your sitting time and try to move as much as possible. Who knows- it may save your life!



Hot of the Press: Double Men’s Health Feature…

Just a quick blog post to let the regular readers of this blog that Results FAST has been featured in Men’s Health in TWO articles this month.

One of the articles is on progressions for those looking to build up their physique to progress towards Olympic lifting. I’ve often been misinterpreted in the past that I don’t value the O Lifts, this is not necessarily true. What I do believe is that a strong balanced physique with great form in the squat, front squat and deadlift are a priority before we attempt full body complexes. This means that to maximize power development it is important to become powerful on these lifts before progressing towards the O Lifts.

Our second feature is a bit more fun- it involves the Men’s Health elite challenge and a static fitness test. While the basic plank is one of the foundation exercises of all our trainees the iron cross and the wall sit are both exercises that may be that little bit out of the norm from what we regularly programme. Either way it’s a good test of static strength and a nice way to finish your programme. Both articles are featured in the July edition of Men’s Health so have fun testing some of the programmes out!

Single Leg Squats: 4 Fatal Errors…

The Single Leg Squat (SLS) is an advanced exercise for the lower body. Although it is advanced there are a number of errors in it’s performance as people rush to master this advanced exercise while still not having enough lower body strength to complete the movement succesfully. If you are a regular reader you will know that I place a massive emphasis on good form- indeed if it’s not in good form then you are performing the wrong exercise.

Problem 1: Poor Hip Range of Motion- Firstly, the question is why can some one not get the depth on the lowering portion of the movement? Simply, they are not strong enough to have control of the hip stabilisers during the lowering portion of the movement.

Problem 2: Lower Back Position- Typically this is due to problem 1. In order to acheive more movement often people will flex their lower back to acheive more range. Now when training a stable lower back it is unnecessary to emphaise flexion at the lower back just to get a bit more range. Individuals who generally have good strength levels can usually cheat the movement this way while beginners will often look to get range from the knee first (as explained in problem 3).

Problem 3: Forward Knee Position: Often the knee will push forward if there is not enough strength and stability around the hip. This gives a feeling of getting more range in the squat but instead emphasises the muscles in the anterior chain such as the quadraceps. A lot of the time I consider this “moving towards your strengths”. If you have poor hip extensor strength and stability through the muscles such as the hamstrings and the gluteals then this will happen. It highlights that often this movement needs to be taught with hip flexion being initiated first which will also limit unnecessary patella and knee joint issues.

Problem 4: Poor Ankle Stability- Often on this exercise people will shift their weight to their forefoot to compensate for forward knee position and a more quad dominant movement. This often means that the heel may lift. Having a good mix of stability and mobility is vital at the ankle for this exercise- if there is insufficnet range at the ankle then you may also fall forward on to your toes. Similarly if there is poor multidirectional stability at this joint then you may fall over.

This post highlights that although some exercises look cool they may be beyond some people no matter there fitness levels. As always making sure the leverages are right around an exercise are right before progression is suggested.

Back to the Future… The Last 10 Years of the Fitness Industry

In this post I thought I would review the fitness industry’s evolution. Now from a historical standpoint I have been immersed in  fitness and nutrition for over a decade. With a background in both commercial fitness and small start ups and have a unique insight in to both ends of the market. As tradition dictates we tend to follow American trends in the UK- London first and the rest of the country a couple of years later.

Personal training was a lot smaller 10 years ago. In fact most gyms had one or two guys who pretty much had the run of the place. No competition ment a steady stream of clients. These are a lot of the guys who we see as industry leaders now. Make no mistake- these guys may not be the best technically, they got lucky and were on the boat first. The one’s still working are probably as smarter businessmen as they are trainers and they have had to adapt to a changing more educated customer as well as competition.

Around the year 2000 there was a big influence of rehab based training and the start of what is considered “functional” training. This led to a more cerebral product being sold to the consumer. Trainers no longer did bodybuilding programmes, they wanted to explore the inner workings of your torso, cardiovascular exercise became potentially fatal for your lower back and all of a sudden lying on your back became the new standing up as you try to activate your “inner unit.” This was a result of the synergy of physiotherapists becoming more involved in the training process post injury. Now, not to discredit the therapy fields, these approaches where designed for injured people by people who work with injured people. The kid glove approach would suit firstly those who needed it and secondly, those who didnt want to work that hard.

Pilates started to rise in popularity, this was great for the functional rehab guys. Clinical pilates remained true to it’s ideals- posture correction and the development of a strong mobile body. Pilates though started to morph in to what some will consider an expensive “abs” class. These group session promise all the ideals of pilates but cannot deliver the personalisation. As posture is a personal thing it leaves pilates as a contentious form of training between purists and commercial forces and a pack them high class mentality.

Also from a class perspective ten years ago salsa, yoga and step aerobics ruled the roost. In the present day Zumba get’s more press than anything else- these is effectively latin dance and is basically dance aerobics. Spinning, yoga, circuit training and combat based training such as boxercise are still popular- reason being that if done well they work for enhancing “conditioning.” It shows that if done well classes that get people the results that they want will be successful. It also shows that creating a social friendly and fun class builds adherence- regardless of the results (work out which one I am alluding to there- if you know me then you won’t need to guess).

The rise in Bootcamps is effectively the revival of circuit training. The reasons for this rise are also commercial- more for the trainer than anything else. With zero facility costs they are easy to setup and get going. Again these services can not be personalised for the individual and are a group exercise class. It will not make me popular in the fitness industry for saying this but this is fast food fitness to maximize profit for the trainer- most fitness “marketeers” even suggest rebranding these classes as “fitness camps.” A smart move perhaps… but if you put lipstick on a pig it’s still a pig. That said great trainers are great trainers and if the groups are small enough and inclusive for a range of fitness levels then they will continue to grow.

As personal training became more popular “functional” training became popular. Functional was a term used to represent training that translated to every day use. Vanity went out the window (perhaps for the first time) and training to help what you do every day became popular. I always think this is a bizarre concept it suggested that any other training was non-functional. Even to a point that cycling was non-functional unless you where a cyclist, running was non-functional, unless of course you where running a marathon and having big shoulders was non-functional… looked good but definetly non-functional.

This was aslo around the rise of sport specific training and the influence of training athletes. As a lot of training filters through from elite sport, if performance is hindered then people get sacked. Functional training in this sense now had to translate to direct improvements. Balancing, bosu boards and vibration plates grew in popularity, commercial health and fitness followed the craze. High end strength and conditioning though realised pretty quickly that this approach didn’t cut it. Old school methods individualized to the athlete worked, the smart guys assessed and took what they needed but barbells and dumbbells didn’t go away, commercial fitness though still has not caught up.

Athlete based training has started to shape commercial health and fitness. Why? It gets results simply, the customer is more demanding because they are more educated about methods of training and can demand perfection. Fitness professionals have become more widely read and in some cases better educated than they where 10 years ago- they two are not necessarily inclusive.

In the next post I will review where I think the next 10 years will take us…

Exercise of the Week:Dumbbell Floor Press

The dumbbell floor press is a progression I use with individuals before we look to advance them to flat bench chest press and bench press. The lying position means that the range of movement is controlled with minimal stress to the shoulder joint. This makes it a perfect exercise as a progression on from incline chest press as well as press ups. Often in individuals with unsuitable shoulder stability the scapula cannot hold position if you go to flat bench or chest press too early in their progression.

Twin this with poor torso stability and you ultimately leave yourself open to more shoulder issues. The floor press enables you to have a controlled range of movement while maintaining a suitable elbow position. Often in the pursuit of more weight the shoulders will flair out making the movement more nech dominant and placing more stress on the acriomioclavicular joint.

As you can see in the image there are a lot of ligaments that enhance stability at this joint which helps keep movement stable. From a muscular standpoint the movements you undertake will determine the pressure placed upon these ligaments. This can be shown in the image below- as joint position needs to be maintained as you lift the arm to vertical the more stress placed upon the shoulder joint which can lead to irritation and injury of the joint capsule as well as the structures of the shoulder used for shock absorption such as the bursa and cartilage.

All in all the floor press is a good compromise and a starting point for progressive loading for those with stable shoulders and can be a useful inclusion for newbies and advanced trainers alike.

Hertford and Ware’s Premier Gym and Fitness Training Facility

Do you want to look good, feel great and perform better?

Are you looking for a gym or personal trainer that get you great results?

Then Ian Mellis and the team at Results Fitness and Sports Training could help you. Results FAST is a gym and fitness training center with a unique and proven approach to helping you acheive your goals.


With an emphasis on personalised programme design, a supportive and motivating training environment and focussed coaching to help you acheive your goals in a effective way making the most of your time an effort.

With over 30 group training sessions, personal training and personalized nutrition, sports massage, physiotherapy, focused strength and conditioning areas and a cutting edge results driven attitude to fitness Results FAST is a gym that will help you acheive your potential.

Punch Bag

Results FAST success has been featured in a number of national publications including Men’s Health, Glamour, Men’s Fitness, The Telegraph, Healthy Magazine and the Livestrong website among other national publications, please contact us for more information.

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Fat Loss- It’s Not Just About Cutting Carbs…

In continuation from my previous posts on hormonal influences on fat loss it is important to state that keeping carbohydrates in your diet can still invoke fat burning.

Another hormone Lipoprotein lipase (LPL) is moderated by insulin levels. Increases in insulin (due to carbohydrate consumption) increase LPL and elevated levels of this hormone are seen in line with elevated blood triglycerides. This is because LPL’s role is to break down triglycerides in the chylomicrons releasing free fatty acids which are then available for energy metabolism or indeed to be restored by the body as fat. If it was all about high insulin equals no fat burning and low insulin levels equalling fat burning it would be a simplification.

This highlights that even during carbohydrate consumption and elevated insulin we will still metabolize fat- a good reason not to exclude carbohydrate from consumption as standard in the long term as a lot of “dietrary extremists” suggest.

There has been tentative research in to the importance of Acylation Stimulating Protein (ASP) which plays a role in the breakdown of triglycerides as well as the transport of glucose. This enzyme which is stimulated by insulin is also stimulated by high numbers of chylomicrons in the blood stream indicating again that high insulin is not the sole mechanism for fat storage.

So what does the science behind fat burning tell us? Well there are a range of factors that influence the rate of fat breakdown and storage.

It is clear to see that focussing upon one part of this process would be ineffective as a mechanism for fat loss. This also highlights why if you over eat on carbohydrate or indeed fat you will convert excess fuel to be stored as fat regardless of food combinations, timings or amounts.

Taking one supplement may help one part of this process but it may also limit another process in the body over a period of time.

Current obesity research highlights this point in that eating excessive calories from one food source or indeed all the major macronutrients may not be the sole cause of obesity and fat gain:

“…Obesity can arise in the absence of calorie over consumption. In addition, opposite models can show how obesity can be prevented by increasing expenditure to waste energy and stabilize body weight when challenged by hyperphagia (over consumption).”

(Rampone, AJ, Reynolds, PJ. Life Sci. 1988; 43(2):93-110).

“The regulatory systems (of the body) control both energy input and output so that for a given steady state, compensatory changes on the input side are made if expenditure is challenged, or on the output side (expenditure or efficiency) if intake is challenged…Realizing human obesity is caused by the interaction of an obesigenic environment with a large number of susceptibility genes, successful treatment will require uncoupling of these compensatory mechanisms”

(Jequier et al 2002).

“The critical issue in addressing the problem of alterations in body weight
regulation is not intake or expenditure taken separately, but the adjustment of one to the other under ad libitum food intake conditions”

(Buchholz et al 2004).

In the end, as these papers suggest, understanding the relationship between “energy in” and “energy out” requires a more complex energy balance model than currently espoused by the media and health authorities, again this is an example of where there has been an oversimplification (and where a calorie may not necessarily be a calorie) of the science behind not weight loss but fat loss.

Training Programmes- Critical Non-Essentials and Finding 5% Extra

Training by it’s general nature is the repetition of something to get better at a given task. This often can lead to a lot of repetion of certain exercises or types of training which can lead to staleness, boredom and sometimes a loss of motivation. In our training centres we pride ourselves on having an innovative approach to training.

Often changing or tweaking the way you train with subtle changes can provide a whole new training stimulus, indeed trying something different although not a wholesale change can give a good training effect. That is why I term some methods critical non-essentials. If anyone has read Sir. Clive Woodward’s autobiography on how England won the world cup then you will understand that sometimes little things can be the difference between a good and a great result- he discussed this with it’s merits towards winning a rugby match but the same thing can be applied to your training..

1. Go Barefoot… Dropping your footwear or buying a minimal shoe such as a Vibram Fivefinger or a New Balance Minimus can have a profound effect on your training. Though not necessarily for everyone and not necessary for those who run large distances the effect of trying a change in footwear can have a great carryover to balance, proprioception and strength. The concept revolves around training the foot to do it’s proper job helping strengthen your arches naturally- something that modern supportive shoes do not necessarily do very well. By performing your gym based workouts barefoot it can help develop foot strength and ankle stability with exercises such as walking lunges before moving on to low level running for those with suitable strength and good posture.

2. Intensity Ahead of Volume… The efficency of what you do has a direct corelation with the results that you want to acheive. As you become fitter you develop the ability to do more- in effect you acumulate training volume. The key to really taking your fitness levels up to the next level is working on developing your training intensity- not just how much you do. The benefits of interval training are pretty well documented so rather than using steady state cardiovascular exercise mixing periods of high intensity work with active recovery is a more efficent way of working. We have found (escpecially in women) that aiming to improves someone’s top levels of strength translates well to helping improve their conditioning gains once their general conditioning levels have plateaued. Dropping your repetitions per exercise to 5 for bigger exercises such as squats, deadlifts, press ups and pull ups will help lift maximal strength levels and can give you training the kick it needs to take you on to the next level.

3. Turn the Session Upside Down… From time to time we get stuck in a training rut. Turning things on it’s head from what you normally do can have a great effect. For example, do you normally stretch at the end of your session? If you do it may mean that you have not been prioritizing flexibility as part of your training. Moving it to the start of the session may help give this facet of fitness a push as well as give a slightly different emphasis to your training. Do you normally train your abs at the end of a session? If you do place them at the start, it will switch your abs on and mean that you core muscles are ready for the session ahead instead of justing throwing a bit of ab work together at the end of the session.

So why not try this three methods and let me know what you think!!!!