Month: November 2011

X Factor? More Like the ‘C’ Factor

Hey up!

Less than 4 weeks ’til Xmas – Im seeing Xmas trees up here and there already and it’s not even December yet.



Times are busy – but remember, there are ways to combat all the Christmas parties -as I wrote about in Women’s Fitness Magazine a while back.   (Even though it’s a different year……the same tips still apply!


Sometimes I wonder if people think that there is a ‘new’ way to staying shape.  People used to be in better shape than we are now!




If you live in Hull – you might like find this older article from 2004 highlighting the obesity level in Hull  (also, it mentions sex lives, and snoring!)



So in X factor – favourite Janet left.  Not that it’s important, but I wanted to talk about the ALL IMPORTANT



The c factor?…….What is it? I ll get to that in a minute.

A little pre- amble first!!

If you had to……………
If you had to pin point a few things that help you improve or maintain a healthy lifestyle, feel fit, strong and full of energy……what would you list?
You could list a great diet, with good food choices.  

You could list strength training.  resistance training has been proven to change body shape more permanently than aerobic exercise. 



You could list getting 7-8 hours sleep each night, and getting to bed early, with a lot of destressing before bed. 



                                                                                                                  (Max can be hard to move when he gets comfy)

Spot on.

Sorted!!!!!   We don’t need anything else do we?


So you do that for a week, and then you fall off the wagon.  Can you tell what the C stands for?

Consistency is doing those 3 major things (and some other smaller details), regularly……….until it becomes practically automatic.


Here are some of my top tips.
1. Consistently Eat Good Food

People often say that Good food often gets boring – coz its the same old ‘chicken and broccoli’ etc.   Heres what you need to do.

Spice food up.

There are LOADS of flavours in your supermarket.  Go wild!

Try different protein sources.
Chicken breasts can get boring.  Chicken legs are juicier.  Why not try lamb, pork, beef, salmon, tuna, mackeral, prawns, eggs……it soon becomes a little more exciting.
If you’re out and about, then preparation is key. Some quality protein and salad is a pretty good choice. If you can have some nuts to keep the hunger at bay until you get home – try that.

Consistently eating good food combined with exercise will be what separates you looking good and looking great……or looking a bit soft to looking firm.



2. Consistently Exercise

Even though Exercise is not as important as food choices – its is a big part of the puzzle.

Firstly, consistently get your exercise IN!!!

There are again a million different ways to arrange different exercise, different sets and reps, different intensities, different environments.

Sometimes we get that distracted from simply lifting, that we don’t do anything. Simplicity is key.

Yep, even just carrying a pair of heavy dumbells OUTSIDE can make a world of difference

3. Consistently Destress

Try not watching TV for an evening or even just the hour before bed.  Why not find 10 minutes to just sit in peace and relax?

Perhaps reading is what relaxes you? I dont’ know what does! 🙂

Talk with your significant other, a friend, or your family.

Meditate before bed.  This can be as simple as deep breathing and relaxing.


In summary…..

The best program and best meals in the world won’t do you any good if you’re not consistent with your habits. 


Now get to it, and nail it before picking another program or fad diet thats the ‘new way to thin.’


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If You Are 30 And Over… You Might Want To Read This

Hey!  Is it that time of year already???!!!

You may know by now, that I really rate strength training as a tool for looking and feeling better.


When you are stronger you:

1. Have a lot more confidence (because you are stronger than others!)
2. Are a more athletic shape (due to the positive effect strength training has on particular hormones)
3. Feel better in everyday life (because when you lift things, they feel easier than if you were weak)

This means you probably feel less tired (Compare lifting things that feel ‘medium’ compared to feeling ‘heavy’)

You re probably wondering why I mentioned in the title about whether you are 30 or not?   I am 28, and when it comes to things in the 80’s………my memory is a bit hazy.  For example, If someone asks about 80’s bands like Bros, WHAM! or some random music question.  Bands from the  90’s I’m pretty good at!

                                                                                                                             Sometimes…’s best you just missed out


Anyway, so if you’re over 30, you probably have a good grasp of what the 80’s were like.

This means you are probably more brain washed than younger people!

Why do I say this? 

During the 80’s, there were more research experiments on aerobics than strength training.  So, if you wanted to lose weight, the prescription was:
Low fat or no fat
Calories in vs calories out  (So eat less and less…..and less…..)
1-3 hour marathon exercise sessions (to burn more…..and more…. and more…..)
‘Go for the burn’
Lycra is a must!!!!



Ok, so maybe all guys didnt have spandex



Ok not ALL guys…….


Times have radically changed, we have a lot more information (although we re still fatter than we were)

If we re informed(You’re in the right place) many of us now:
Dont discount fat totally – and realise there are different types of fat (Some even argue the benefits of saturated fat)
We dont count calories, (we tweak as we go)  – If it’s working, keep doing it!
Have short intense and frequent exercise sessions that provide a better hormonal environment
We don’t wear lycra



                                                                                                                                  (O.K…… lycra is out and baggy trousers are in?!)


The fact remains, a lot of mis-information still circulates.  They will  become ‘old wives tails’ and maybe perpetuate on for another generation (or 5).   I still have people ask me about eggs and that you shouldnt have more then 2 a week.  This blog post about how many ‘Easter Eggs’ I ate (click!!!!!! )  might put you straight.

My Calorie article might help iron out some issues that still linger about (click to read!!! )

                                                                                                                                      Its low calorie so it must be good!!


So there you have it.  You might have been told:

Not to consume more than 2 eggs a week or something,
To run, run and run some more (because distance runners are light and skinny)
To count calories ad nauseam

If you’ve been doing this, and its not working for you……then why not try out a radical 180 degree turn?

Eat plenty of protein, and less non-foods (like sugary cereals, chocolates, crisps, cakes)
Weight train and try to lift more each session or week
Use your time to plan, rather than count what you eat (You can’t change the past)

What have you got to lose?!





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These Guys Were Ripped

 Hey up!!

Its been about a year since I got back from sunny Tenerife –  this chilly weather will soon become ice cold freezing brass monkeys! Make me realise why I try to get away this time of year 🙂

                                                                                                                                        Spot the difference….

When I was there, there was an act on every night, and on one of the nights – there were 4 gymnastics.

If you didn’t see the post I wrote – CLICK HERE 

These guys were RIPPED……………… I mean SUPER RIPPED.

There were so lean, and it wasn’t all show – they definitely walked the talk.  It reminded me of when I went to see the film ‘The Expendables”….and wrote about how big and powerful Terry Crews with his Euro Training was (Click to see those vids again

Theres a difference between looking like you can lift a lot and actually being able to do a lot.   That’s why during our Bootcamp and Personal training sessions at Hessle Rugby Club – we aim to improve performance AS WELL AS our appearance.
Look at most elite athletes, and they are lean, strong – and the lean look they have is a by-product of their training methods.

So when I see things like power plate adverts,

 or shake weight…..

Even if they do work (which by now you probably know that I don’t believe they do!) ………..wheres the performance aspect?

What good is it to have big arms if you can’t deadlift something (like a settee or a chest of drawers) up some stairs?

What good is it being a stone lighter………..if get out of breath going up some stairs? 
Once you master your own body weight – you can do wonders………check this ‘I go- You go’ video when I got cherry picked from the crowd to get on stage.  Watch out for my back flip….(click for the video)


Yeah, I havent done a back flip since I was like 12 when I did gymnastics……wise not to start in front of about 80 people!

Press ups, chin ups, and tumbling, cart wheeling forward rolls etc……all make a difference to performance much more than you’d realise 😉

Have a good week, and watch out for freezing brass monkeys!


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Does Running Make You Fat? (Independent Article)


I got in from Monday night Bootcamp  and on my facebook profile  ( Click here to sign in if you havent already today ) a friend had sent me an interesting article in the Independent  – titled “Does Running Make You Fat?”

Click here to read the FULL ARTICLE.

I enjoyed the read, and put some thoughts together for you.

Before you read on…I suggest you read the full article (CLICK) – just so you’re not biased by me and my writing?!!!!  Also – theres quite a few comments – its sparked a mini debate over there on their site (to the tune of 334 comments at the time I write this)

So……………..who’s right?


Heres my take. on the good and the bad.

The Good

1. Running is cheap – it’s free and you don’t need equipment!  Walking or running (if not really overweight) should be something easy to do. 

                                                                                              Gyms can be expensive when you don’t actually use them

2. It’s flexible. You can walk and run, run faster or slower depending on where you are at.

3. Running will definitely burn lots of calories (read the rest of this blog post because there is a downside)…while you are doing it.

4. Fresh air and time to think can do a world of good (doubly so if you’re stressed).

                                                           Running can be good when you want to get away from your….*ahem* ….beautiful significant other!

5. I am a big fan of sprints – if you are already fairly lean and used to running at high speeds.  Believe it or not – this is actually called ‘running’ too!

6. You can run with a friend – and this will keep you doing it.  Which, if you don’t already know – is extremely important.  

7. Regardless of weight loss and body composition (Muscle Vs. Fat)………there are other health benefits from walking and running.  To name a few:  Increased Cardiovascular Fitness, lung capacity, as well as decreased blood pressure, and also even if its not muscle – if you are lighter……your joints will thank you for it.

The Bad….

1. Running can be boring.  Don’t get me wrong, I like a 10-20 min fairly fast run every now and then. A 90 minute run would bore the s**t out of me.  Now, put a leather ball in front of me and 21 other players and I’ll be fine.  If that’s how you feel – then take up a sport – theres plenty of teams looking for football players, rugby players – take the time to look around and join a club.

2. Running only burns calories while you re doing it – and then only for a very short time afterwards.  High intensity exercise has shown to raise metabolism much longer.  Burn fat while at rest? 

Give me some of that!


3. Doing the same thing over and over (including running)….will mean your body starts to burn LESS calories with every subsequent attempt.  Eg you run 5k,  3 times a week and everytime you complete in 30mins.  Maybe you burn X amount of calories.   A few weeks later, if you re doing the same amount of work in the same amount of time……..its likely you ll be burning less than you originally did. 

I ll point out that this can be true with a weights program.  For example, if you are lifting the same size dumbells as you did 3 years ago for the same amount of reps – chances are you ll look pretty similar. 

                                                                                                                   Often You can lift more than you think

4. You may lose weight – you might not lose fat. 

Muscle weight and Fat weight are totally different.  Muscle is more dense………therefore it takes up less space than fat does. So, if you re after changing your bodyshape – running and running some more probably wont cut it.

Many of us want to change the way WE LOOK……so it makes sense to use exercise that does this.  Running will help you lose mass……..but it will come off wherever it comes off – and often, you can look the same……….just a smaller version !!!!!


So in Summary…….

1. For fat loss and weight loss = Food is more important.

2. Running doesn’t make you fat. Excess calories from junk food, combined with a lazy approach to moving around does. Your body is more clever than you think – and will try to keep a sense of balance.  

3. Running is better than sitting, and if you’re looking to change your shape (I would guess higher than 75%) – you should be incorporating some resistance exercises.

4. Eating better is better than Eating crap – and depending on whether you want to change your weight or body shape – running will have some value.

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