Month: March 2012

Lose Fat in Less Time


I hope you’re having a great week, I love it when the sun is out and we all just feel that much better from some much-needed Vitamin D.



“Run 10k Every day”

So I was watching the Biggest Loser Final…….and although Kevin won it…………….



I was particularly impressed with this girl ‘Jessie’…….


Make no mistake, these 2 (and all the contestants) made MASSIVE improvements and have changed their lives and healths MASSIVELY.

However,  When Jessie was asked what she did after the show………….She said

” I just ran 10k every day”


Let’s just think about that for a minute.

That’s a lot of work

Just look at what Funny bloke John Bishop did recently —>

and also, do you remember Eddie Izzard’s plight in 2009 when he ran 43 marathoins in 51 days?!!

That’s  A LOT of TIME.


Now, you can take some advice from this, and start running, and you will probably lose weight.  However,

1) The leaner you are………….it probably won’t make that much of a difference.

 2) If you’re going to run 10k everyday, that’s still going to be more than 7 hours of time you will have to free up.

3) The more you do something that repetitive………….the likelihood of injuries increases.

4) I recommend around 3-5 hours training…..BUT FOOD ALWAYS COMES FIRST.

Take home message?

You NEED to have a training program that you can ACTUALLY FOLLOW!

It’s no good telling someone to train 7 hours a week when they work 8 hours a day, need family time, time to tidy up the house and actually have a life!  Which is why aerobic exercise (while good)……….is not particularly efficient in terms of time.   I particularly like 4-5 hours a week as a great target (and often not exceeding 5 hours unless simply walking).

They even demonstrated that you can get similar benefits here on The One show’ —>

and I wrote up about the   Truth about exercise on BBC 1 right here —>

If you have 3 hours, It would make much more sense  to do 4 x 45 minute session using weights and high intensity intervals – or maybe 3 of these sessions, with 1 aerobic exercise session.   I spoke about training quality instead of quantity right HERE.

You know what?  If you only have a limited amount of time…….your best bet would be to plan your meals 🙂


No blog next week – Hope you won’t miss me!!!!



Kettlebells: Enter the Pro’s and Cons

As a successful personal trainer in Hull, I get a lot of questions. 

Someone recently asked me about kettlebells…….do they work, what are they like and do I use them. 

Heres what you ll find under my magnifying glass:

I’m not going to go into details of the history of kettlebells here……… if you want the origin of the kettlebell – I would go to wikipedia (CLICK)

Baiscally, kettlebells are like fancy dumbells.

Unlike a standard dumbbell, which has weight plates on each end of a single handle, a kettlebell is practically an iron ball with a thick handle on it.

Here are the pro’s and cons that I can see:

The Good!

1. Is a form of Free Resistance

I have touched upon this many times – I USE FREE WEIGHTS FOR FAT LOSS. Resistance training causes more energy expenditure in the long term………….so use it!  Kettlebells are resistance, so they have the same benefit.  Give me kettlebells over a long run for shaping a body, burning fat and keeping or increasing muscle. 

Check out this post In which you can see why chin ups and deadlifts (and GO APE!)  are always regularly in my program.

2. Working legs can feel easier than dumbells

Kettlebells can be used to work arms or legs on their own – reducing weaknesses and possibly the rate of injury. Also, as noted above, they are much better for posture than machines. Kettlebells can ‘feel’ better in the racked position (shoulder position) and you might be able to work heavier than with dumbells.  However, if you want strong legs, you should ideally be good friends with a power rack …………….liked I worte about HERE

3. You can work posterior chain well

In fact the kettlebell swing is perhaps a great basic movement that loads the lower back and hamstrings, but is a double-edged sword.

 This is because if this exercise is not done properly……….it’s like doing a badly executed deadlift…..and fast!  Not your best exercise if you like to have a back that’s pain free – unlike sorry ol’ Gil here.
4. Portable

Can be portable, you might only need a 12kg kettlebell if you’re a lady, or a 16-20kg if you’re a man……..and you can get an awesome session in without a boatload of equipment.

You can take one Kettlebell outside and train away!  Who doesn’t like training outside??   ——->


5. They look pretty cool!

 When you’ve used dumbells for years – sometimes it’s just a nice change to dabble in something new and get excited about training again!




The Bad!

1. Dumbells are probably just as effective

 First of all – kettlebells are not magical!!!!  They do not have powers to make you outrageously fit and strong – it is a weighted ball with a handle.

If anything Dumbells are just as good – and are usually cheaper than kettlebells.  Barring the swing, generally any dumbell exercise can be use instead of a kettlebell

If you’re on a budget, dumbells will work!

2.  Injuries

Here’s the big one.

Like I mentoned above – lower back pain is a massive one.  SO TECHNIQUE IS CRUCIAL.  So get a coach…………..please, please, please DO NOT just buy one and go to work on it. The swing as mentioned if you dont have the right posture will set you up in a bad way.  

Your movement will only be as good as your coach – and if thats a novice (you) – then you’re playng with fire.  Get someone who knows, and have 30 minutes with them, your back will thank you!

 Also, if you’re not used to kettlebells, then the strain on the wrists and elbows are likely to take a bit of shock as the lifts need to be done a little quicker than with a dumbell…….mainly due to the reason that the centre of gravity on the hand is off-set from the wrist with a kettlebell as opposed to a dumbell.

You can get dumbells with rotating handles……….kettlebells usually don’t.  This is extra stress on the wrist.

 Also, if you havent done any overhead pressing with kettlebells before – be prepared for some bruised forearms!


3.  Often, Kettlebells are not adjustable

So, you’re a keen female trainee and want to lose fat so you get a 8kg Kettlebell (KB) as thats what someone said would be a good start. 

What happens when you het stronger (which is inevitable if you’ve been training right!)

You’ll need a 12kg KB.  

Then maybe  a 16KB.

Then you decide want to do 2-handed kettlebell stuff.

Adjustable dumbells or a barbell and plates can be a lot more appealing to someone who wants to progressively overload their body without overloading their wallet.


Do I use them?  

I have used them now and then, but I rarely do………and I don’t use them at Maximum metabolism Bootcamp. 


Here’s why:

1) Due to the steeper learning curve – I dont want lots of injuries!
2) We have adjustable dumbells – we don’t need KB’s
3) We still work the posterior chain through different exercises than a kettlebell swing
4) We use exercises with a higher benefit to injury ration to get our heart rates up

5) If I get some……………people will need individual 1-on-1 training to make sure they stay injury free!

In summary

1) Kettlebells are a great form of resistance training – you will get a lot more from them than doing a 45 min run (especially if thats what you do multiple times a week anyway!)

2) Kettlebells are probably not suitable for a total exercise beginner, or for those who are returning to exercise after a long period of inactivity. This is due to the high risk to the wrists, elbows, shoulders and lower back, plus the complexity involved in many of the exercises.

Loading appropriately will decrease the risks substantially.

3) Dumbells are just as effective in 90% of exercises.


4) Forget whether kettlebells are ‘magical’ or are  injuries-waiting-to-happen. 

 Work hard, use resistance (Kettlebells, dumbells, barbells, sandbags, sleds, water!) at least 3 times a week,  and use the right tools to get the results you’re looking for!



Til next time,



The Truth About Exercise

You probably have loads of questions about exercise:

Which exercises?

How many reps?

How many Sets?

Cardio then weights?


Anyway, there was a program on TV last week called ” The Truth About Exercise.”

I just had to watch…………..much like when Adrian Chiles has to watch for a sneaky peak at Christine Bleakley……


It addressed

  1. How much exercise and
  2. Why

 It showed how we all respond to exercise is very different ways, and that many people eat a lot more food than they think……..without exercising that much.


It went on to discuss this BRAND NEW THING  called “Interval training”. 

Ha! – This was priceless!  The concept is at least 15 years old (or more……..I believe the ‘ Tabata study ‘ was in 1996)  I have written extensively about interval training below

 HERE in my blog post Quality Over Quantity (Part 1)

 I even mentioned it  HERE – where you can see that weight training can be a form of interval training as it is high intensity and can get your heart rate going big time.

This might not seem like anything funny to you but it was to me !  Its like me saying to you:

“Hey……have you every thought about sending an email rather that posting a letter?  It’s a lot quicker you know!”

(Even Santa is getting in on the idea!)




They went to Loughborough university……….where I go every year to the annual fitpro convention. I wrote an article about one of my experiences HERE

The interviewer (Michael Mosely) addressed the concept that many people have got really wrong…… “you can burn it off” 

Mosely did a run and burned 16 calories per minute………and highlighted the amount of exercise needed to burn off some foods………..

A banana, some coffee, and a muffin.

Mosely estimated 20 mins…….yet it was 55 mins of running to burn off a mid morning snack.

 Take home message?  Food is more important than exercise



He then ate a high fat and protein breakfast to compare the amount of fat in the blood pre-meal and post-meal. 

Obviously the post- meal reading was higher.  90 mins of walking produced favourable effects.  Its quite obvious that walking instead of sitting is a good idea. Nevertheless, good to see – and this will jump out to some people.


Without getting into fats vs. carbs vs. protein. …take home message –  Exercise is good and should be done everyday! I give it the thumbs up!


They then mentioned that Government guidelines are 150 mins of moderate exercise  or 75 mins of vigourous exercise.

 Here they spoke about interval training……..Why it works. Why intensity might work.

 They  talked about high responders and low responders – genetics.  

 They went through N.E.A.T. –   I wrote an entire article on this concept (for website members) called “What is N.E.A.T  does it work? Right HERE


In my opinion – N.E.A.T. will work for the more obese, but if you are trained, it wont do very much – intensity it where its at!



Simply because of the S.A.I.D principle.  Specific adaptation to Imposed demand.

 EG  Say you are 100kg. You don’t go to the gym or do any activity, but you walk an average of 2 miles a week. 

 Say, you walk everywhere, and increase your N.E.A.T. to 6 miles a week. 

 You MAY lose weight….you MAY not.  Simply because diet is key.


IF you DO LOSE WEIGHT………..(eg you now weight 97kg after 4 weeks)……doing the same 6 miles a week without any dietary changes will do next to nothing!

 So what this guy is saying is ‘do more….then some more…..then some more!’   This simply becomes impossible.



I really liked the interval part – and to say Im not surprised is not unusual……SEEN AS THOUGH THIS IS THE TYPE OF TRAINING WE DO AT MAXIMUM METABOLISM BOOTCAMP.

One thing that did annoy me at the end was this.


They measured the interviewers VO2 max again, and said it hadn’t changed.

It had! 

 It had taken longer to get to exhaustion………which is a positive result.  They fobbed him off with something about being ‘a non-responder’ to exercise.  (In which he had just improved his insulin sensitivity….and the time to exhaustion……… a 4 week period training only 12 mins per MONTH!)


 I would suggest a simpler explanation.  The interval training WORKED.  Ideally, he would have done 8 weeks of training, and will have seen even better results. Also, I would have liked to have seen more volume in the week myself.

 As for VO2 max………….this may have improved with another 4 weeks………..but generally I would expect a more endurance focused program to improve that. Like with a distance runner’s training program.

 After all VO 2 max is a measure of AEROBIC capacity. 



1. Want do you want? If you want to manage your sugar better, handle carbs better and lose fat then do interval training – like we do at Maximum Metabolism Bootcamp

2. If you want a bigger VO2 max – then train like an endurance athlete.

 This ‘you’re a non responder’ bulls**t is typical of whats wrong with society today……….they just give up with an excuse.  

You want an excuse?  How about having no legs and getting on with living life (like I posted HERE in one of the most moving videos I have seen)


Also, a number of people will have seen the program and say they re doing high internsity training………..when really they re just doing 3 x 20 second sets that are ‘hard’.    That’s not enough.  All out ……….or it’s not enough – just to do that few number of sets.

Take home points


1)      Moving about more (a la N.E.A.T.) will be good if you re just starting out or are obese.

2)      Food is key – so regardless of exercise, always try to eat better.  Even if someone tells you (no matter who they are) you can ‘always burn it off’

3)      Interval training will work wonders for many – especially if you haven’t done something like it before.  Also, if you re strapped for time – then this is better than most options.

4)      Don’t try and improve a boat load of things at once. You want to have a higher aerobic capacity – train long.  If you want to be strong, traing heavy – I thought this would be obvious!



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