A Year Off Writing About Fitness and Nutrition.

This is my first blog post for a considerable amount of time. Well actually pretty much a year. It was a conscious decision to take a step back from something that I had pretty much done part time for the last 12 years.

Pretty much I was writing 5-10 articles a week from witty one liner rent-a-quote pieces up to 1000 word articles about something health and fitness related. Some of it was fun, some of it was like pulling teeth.

For a period of time and the majority of the “volume” I was writing it was as a ghost writer for varying trainers which wasn’t really that challenging and in truth a bit boring. Consider it as the writing equivalent of “vanilla ice cream”, fundamentally dull (yes, I know some people love vanilla but that is super charged vanilla with hawaiian vanilla pods and all that). Personally I did a piece on Men’s Health on training Batman, did a few articles on the Huffington Post but after those I felt a step back was necessary. To frame it I don’t really make money of this blog, I do it for interest and to frame what we do at Results FAST and ultimately to interest people in the training and nutrition services we provide there (NB I hadn’t retreated to the Batcave to train Batman as has been suggested merely I just got a bit bored writing content for the sake of it (Batman’s trainer would obviously say that though)).

Well relatively time has moved on (as it does) and I feel recharged or re-focussed to contribute something beyond eight great glute exercises or a High Intensity Training video that makes you want to gag when you watch- not because it’s hard but more because you are wondering just why (this is more my issue- social media and the internet is great for sharing information but it really depends what you read and who you follow, put it this way my “circle” is smaller than it’s ever been).

I’m not the only person trying to share practical usable content- it’s just that there is so much volume it’s hard to discern from good and bad sources, hopefully the content I share will clarify certain things or at least be a flag in a hurricane (James Bond reference there… ahem).

So what’s been going on? The gym is busy and has been busy for the past 11 months good. Our fat loss, strength and fitness clients are achieving varying levels of success (our naughty list is pretty short at the moment so shame on you if you are on it). We have seen some good challenges beaten, PR’s being achieved in the weight room and generally all round good stuff for those wanting to take a step on. Our athletes are pushing on, predominantly our swimmers, tennis and our kayakers are doing great stuff at a county, regional and for a few national level so it’s great to see  their efforts being rewarded. What does this say? People who turn up achieve their results.

I have been working on some interesting side projects which hopefully we will be testing in the new year and by the way it’s not an app (as people keep on asking- good ideas can still be on paper btw).

We have refurbed the gym in the last couple of months as well- for me this was basically two 60 hour weeks of labour but at the same time a lifetime of praise for a partition wall that appears to be not falling down, we now look a bit sharper and the new flooring is better for dropping heavy things on!

I think that will do for now, I really wanted to not kick this off again in the new year.

3 Proven Fat Loss Tips…

Fat and weight loss is often a lot of our clients main goal at Results Fast. With the volume of misinformation in the media it is hard to find information that is factually correct.

 

These three strategies are backed up in research as having a positive correlation with fat loss. Now this does not mean they are the causitive factor- it means these three things are associated with getting a positive result.

 

Strategy 1- Eat more nuts. Nuts get a bit of a bad rap because they are high calorifically, however in research nut consumption has a positive corelation with weight reduction. The calorie theory of weight loss in the sense of “what goes out has to be more than what comes in” is useful as a guide. The fact is though that nuts are packed with quality fats which have a hunger satieting effect and makes them a useful addition to most nutrition plans as a snack food in small quantitites. So take Mr T’s advice and get some nuts!

 

Strategy 2- Drink Green Tea. The metabolism enhancing benefits of green tea are again well documented. Green tea consumption is a good replacement for calorie containing beverages which may be unnecessaery when trying to burn body fat. There are a variety of mechanisms for green tea’s metabolism enhancing effect, but often it is a case that it may be better than an additive field soft drink or a sugar laden juice drink which may promote fat storage.

 

Strategy 3- Positive Social Support.  This is probably the most important and is where we excel at Results FAST. Getting the support of your friends and family is vital for getting a great result in your health, training and nutrition. Being in the right environment is a great thing for acheiving your goals and getting motivation not just from a trainer but also your training colleagues. So if you are not getting the support you need ask yourself is your training environemnt conclusive to acheiving your goals and is your trainer giving you the positive support you need.

 

Train to be Better- Not Just Tired…

 When exercising we all want to be pushed. Indeed fatigue is a good thing. Fatigue effectively shows that we are working at our physical limits for a given attribute. However, the issue I have with higher repetition work is that often form is compromised. When form is compromised the body places undue stress on its joint structures. For example, press ups- the lower back often drops under fatigue putting strain through the lumbar spine as well as flared elbows putting excessive strain on the AC joint at the shoulder.

It happens on lower body exercises as well- excessive flexion of the lumbar spine when performing exercises such as Burpees as well as more fundamental exercises such as squats and lunges for high repetition.

Now some people may say this is reflective of “fitness” (which in itself is a highly general term and can mean a lot of things). Ultimately though fatigue will mask function if too extreme- indeed fitness for a given parameter is the ability to resist fatigue compared to it being the factor that ultimately ends the given exercise.

Training emphasis should always be on correct form ahead of fatigue. Endless repetitions of poor fatigue can cause poor movement patterns and ultimately injury- don’t compromise what you do to just feel “the burn.” Training is about making yourself better be it strength or cardiovascular- endless repetition in an incorrect way does not emphasise good training. Remember you are looking for the best possible result with the least possible effort- once you have achieved what you need to in a session then excessive work will generally fatigue you unnecessarily.

Bashing the Bootcamp…

Getting the form of an exercise to look right is a lot of the time the primary role when coaching. Indeed there are some great personal trainers, strength coaches and programme designers who in principal write good training regimes; a good programme though can be made great by informed coaching.

This is part of the job in my mind that is starting to be missed out on. With the advent of boot camp style fitness, the rise of methodologies such as cross- fit, fitness pilates and other mass forms of exercise the time for fine tuning and making sure things look right seems to be getting even smaller. Indeed if personal training and small group fitness coaching are the equivalent of fine dining then boot camp fitness is the equivalent of fast food- easy, cheap and although it cures hunger  there will be complications down the line if you do too much.

This does not mean I am anti-boot camps (or indeed fast food), I think that when you do this type of training it can be done in a more considered fashion. Take for instance most park based bootcamp workouts, they include excessive amounts of press ups, sit ups and dips. All these exercises can help aggravate shoulders susceptible to impingement or instability related issues. Twinned in with shed loads of running jogging you have some of the most aggravating methods of exercise for beginners.

Most beginners (male and female) are not functionally strong enough to handle excessive training volume, indeed after 20minutes good form may go out the window as another 200 press ups have to be performed.

The key is education: while I believe you can train a large group of exercisers I don’t think you can train a large group of beginners well. Coaching good form in large groups becomes more like a forest fire- once you put one fire out another three have started behind you.

My recommendations are quite simple if you are a beginner don’t join a bootcamp; invest in a fitness professional who makes sure you are doing things properly (this doesn’t mean sitting on a bike for an hour). The teaching of foundational moves such as squats, lunges and press ups are a start. Master 3 sets of ten, add some weight and then progress. Focus on developing basic strength levels before adding in higher repetition based workouts at least if you have a good foundational strength level then you know you will not be doing any structural damage to your body. Most over use injuries are related to poor movement dynamics and incorrect form, for example, your knee is a hinge joint- if it is not stable enough in time you may suffer from injury, time and time again we also see this with amateur joggers.

For intermediate exercisers and indeed the guys who consider themselves “expert” get some advice from someone who has been training more people than you. Indeed if your own training programme is built purely from your own experiences then you need to look elsewhere for advice.

Ask yourself what you goal is and get fit in a smart way! Don’t smash yourself in to oblivion- it’s progress you can’t maintain… and down the line you may find yourself suffering from a few injuries.