Month: July 2012

Supplements – Do we need them?


You may have caught last weeks Panorma (if not I recommend you watch it HERE before it expires (likely this Friday?!)

The programme delved into the big money that is the supplement industry – so I thought I would share my views with you…….and let you decide for yourself.  If you haven’t watched it – I highly recommend watching it before reading on….!


1. Sports drinks

Here we have cheap-to-make tasty drinks that dont really help THE MAJORITY of us (if any of us!).   Most people I speak to, use exercise to aid in losing losing weight (and If I need to repeat myself LOSE FAT in particular) and therefore these sugary drinks are really a no-no.

You may have read in my posts before about halloween sugar content (HERE) .

Sugar does not work well for fat loss!

It disrupts your hormones, leading you to crave more of it (like an addiction).  It has been reported that lack of sleep makes people seek out sugary foods….so make sure you get your rest!


The only reason I can think of them being beneficial would be during longer duration exercise (and I am talking  3,4,5+ hour marathon type events)…or maybe for one wishing to gain weight (and even then I would favour more REAL FOOD anyway.)  Those wishing to maintain performance may benefit, but I would say professional sports where the sport is really intense and also quite long in duration.


2. Trainers

They looked at footwear, and highlighted that some trainers are ridiculously overpriced


The main problem here is that many people simply dont run very well.  This is probably why there are so many injuries to the hips, knees, ankles in people who take to the streets to lose weight.


Do you ever see a person running who looks like they’re putting lots of effort in, but not getting as far as they should be?  Have you ever felt like that?

Learning to run could be the most valuable time you spend if you’re spinning your wheels.


3. Hydration.

Panorma highlighted that many have been really ill  (and some fatally) from overconsuming sports drinks to try and stay hydrated.  (Companies often claim that you need to be hydrated and a drop in consumption will lead to a drop in performance.

They concluded that drinking when you feel you need to is adequate.

I somewhat agree with this – but I do think the main thing FAT LOSS WISE (as thats who I mainly deal with) is that people generally dont drink enough water WHILE IN A NORMAL DAY.  I see most people drinking when exercising – I doubt that its much of a problem.  Drinking enough water while sat at a desk or in a car though……


4. Branched Chain Amino Acids

Panorama came to the conclusion that BCAA’s boosted recovery or performance. They said that milk was just as good a choice….and cheaper.

I’m not convinced with their statements – as I think that most people don’t get enough protein as it is. (And milk has problems of it’s own)

Anyway, why do you have to have it everyday? Supplements are for when you need to supplement (do you get everything you need everyday?!).

They have been shown to increase muscle growth, and decrease visceral body fat (CLICK), so if you train regularly and hard, you may find protein in tablet or protein shake form something that helps.


5. Running footwear – Barefoot


I can’t comment on this as its really not my area – I would refer out to my friend who’s a podiatrist.  What I do know is that I have a pair of Nike Free’s  (like barefoot) and they’re

a) Really comfortable

b) Low to the ground

This makes them ideal for me to deadlift – and I have found sprinting in them much better.  I used to have a pair of those trendy ones with a raised heel, and they were a nightmare…………. (you can probably gauge how deep an instructor can squat by the shoes they wear )

(By the way, a bootcamper asked me what I thought about ‘Bodypump’ …..I told her briefly, and sent my article that I wrote nearly 3 years ago.  CLICK HERE TO READ IT Bodypump and its major flaws…….  )   I’m surprised its still as popular as it is (and I hear more people hurting their backs 🙁  )


Supplements and ‘healthy’ products are a way that companies can make money off you.  The thing is “If it sounds too good to be true…thgen it probably is!”   However, There are a lot of people out there missing valuable nutrients (vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, protein etc) and therefore supplements are a great way to stay healthy, look good and improve performance.

Heres the catch though:  The supplement doesn’t actually do the work for you! If you have a mutivitamin and some fish oil every day, sure – you’ll have some benefits.  That doesn’t mean that you can have a pizza every day and you’ll be healthy.  Every day is a series of decisions that you have to make – Let’s hope all who are reading tend to pick the better ones.



In closing……….

  • Sugary drinks are not a good idea for most people as the exercise is not long enough and intense enough to warrant extra sugar.
  • Most people want to lose weight – and sugary drinks will not help
  • Hydration is important – remember to drink outside of exercise too!
  • Proteins (BCAA’s) are expensive, but may help muscle growth and performance
  • If you run, be aware of HOW you run! Then, find some trainers you are comfortable in.
  • Supplements are there to supplement…….It’s rare to have the perfect day every day, and with so many people unhealthy – supplements are valuable.



John 😉

It’s Looking Better…..But Not For Shinji Kagawa


So Terry got found not guilty.  Anway,we know what hes guilty of in the past a la wayne bridge…..


On with Todays Post!

It seems that FINALLY(!) there is a lot more people starting to do a lot of things…..

  1. There seems to be a lot more focus on high quality foods – and people generally are more aware of what is good for you and what isn’t.  This has been highlighted quite recently in the TV series “The Men That Made Us Fat” and last night’s “Myths About Your 5-a-day”.   This is a big plus, and I hope people start reducing the amount of packaged processed food that’s loaded with sugar, sugar and more sugar…….oh, and a boatload of chemicals:
  2. It seems that people are embracing the need for more intense exercise.  Signs are showing that people seem to be pushing themselves harder, and not necessarily longer.  I have been saying this for years, and touched upon why gyms try to get you to believe in “the fat burning Zone” HERE (CLICK)   . Chances are, you’re already stressed, adapted to your usual program of 10 minutes on the bike, 10 minutes on the stepper……..(I’m actually yawning as Im typing this) ………..I’m pleased to see that many are using Interval training and weight training and pushing their comfort zone.
  3. People are using resistance!  More barbells, dumbells, kettlebells, Vipr’s………this is a far cry from what was going on 3,4,5 years ago.  If you want to change your body shape – a form of resistance training is essential.
  4. My ankle still feels 100%, thanks to me doing low level work on it every day – and then going back into weight training step by step.  I have found that weight training strengthens your body – not injures it (if done properly).  When someone tells you that weights are dangerous – check out there statistics HERE . (Sport tends to be more risky. I’m so glad I am back to full strength – being on crutches and the weeks getting back to normal were a nightmare.
  5. Most of my wedding planning (of which I have hardly done any!) is nearly done! Suits…..sorted.   Wedding venue, table plan, rings………sorted.  Stag do? Well, thats to come so I hope I make it back alive! HERE is the post when I announced my engagement  
  6. In the last few months I haven’t heard one person say ” …But…..aren’t eggs bad for you?!”    This has been going on long enough, and I’m pleased that people are now more educated. (That, or it’s just my bootcampers that know the score!)  If you don’t already eat your eggs – tuck in from today!


I hope some of these good trends continue ……



When’s The Best Time to Train?

Some people say that there’s a best time to train.



Some say first thing in a morning – “It gets it out of the way”

Some say straight after work – “I can’t exercise in the morning”.

Some say circadian rhythms are ideal at 3 hours after waking and 11 hours after waking……..


All are quite valid reasons……I thought I’d touch upon the advantages and disadvantages of various training times.


1. Training first thing

For some, this seems like hell on earth. Right from a cosy bed to the hustle and bustle of training……….some might see it as an out of body experience!


The benefits

1. If you get it done – it’s done.  I know many people who would not train AT ALL if they couldnt train at 5.30/6/6.30AM (that’s right ‘A.M!’) .  With work and family commitments – it’s simply the only time available.

2. Morning training gives boost to energy levels and metabolism throughout the day.

3. Fasted exercise (before breakfast) has been reported by bodybuilders for years to speed up fat loss leading up to competition.

4. Testosterone is tends to be high in the morning, and could help muscle growth.


The Disadvantages

1. It has been suggested that morning workouts should avoid all exercises involving bending and twisting, especially within the first hour upon waking. The reason is that fluid remains in the discs of the spine for around an hour after getting up.

So, make sure you’re up early, or leave the heavy squats and deadlifts to evening or days when you’ll be up in time.

2. Some people just can’t train as well first thing.  I myself like training early sometimes – but I do need that hour-and-a-half or so to eat a decent breakfast or I feel drained if training intensely (of which intense training I do most of the time – just like in bootcamp).  If I’m training really heavy – I need to train later in the day or my grip doesn’t feel as strong……...find what works for you.

3. Most people tend to eat their biggest meals at teatime.  Ideally, your post-workout meal should be large enough to replace your glygogen stores, and eating your biggest meal away from training might not be optimal.

4. Stress hormone cortisol tends to be highest early morning. This can hinder fat loss in some that are already particularly stressed…..Could this be detrimental to some fat loss goals if you’re not already taking care of rest and recovery?  Who knows?

I do know that many often neglect sleep and need to get this is in- before adding more training.


So which is best?



The best time to train is the time that you can fit it in.

Studies have shown that people who train first thing usually adhere to training better – because it’s made a priority.  Try to find a few days that fit your schedule – and stick to it.  My top tip would be NOT to OVER PLAN.  Eg, dont go from no exercise to 5 times a week for 60 mins as you think you have that much spare time.  Start with 2-3 times , and maybe make it 20 minute of honest hard work (or even less if 20 mins is too much)….and re-assess it next week.

As it happens I trained on Sunday night at 9pm!  We had been to a friends wedding the night before, had a lazy morning, and my girlfriend is on nights…………so I planned accordingly.

BOTTOM LINE = Make your exercise plan fit you – NOT YOU to IT!




PS I remember writing about training on a hot sunday a while back – click to check it out (and you dont have to use a sled – most exercises can work well) . Makes me kinda wish for those sunny Sundays again!




It’s Hard

Sometimes the last thing you want to do is eat something healthy, or do something that gets you sweaty.  I wrote about what you should do if you are ill in LAST WEEKS POST (click).

What about when you aren’t genuinely ill?  You just feel like it’s going to be ‘one of those days.’


Well……I will let you in on a secret:



If you want to change something in your life – Most of your working days should feel like a small battle

Life is hard!  No one has a simple life. For some its worries about weight, for others money, for other family and social stuff.

Today I had a client who wasn’t really up for training……….they had some symptoms in the morning that may have had them cancel.

Feeling lethargic, headaches, bloated…….yet they made it to the training session…..even though their body said NO!

I shelved the tough training I had planned, and we started off easy  – some aerobic exercise.  Then some mobility work, some lower intensity resistance exercise and a walk in the fresh air to finish.  They felt much better afterwards!  This was just the right amount without pushing them over the edge.

I then did my training session – my first full hour since feeling ill (and still not quite there yet) – and it was hard!  I had to drop my weights,  increase the rest periods I had planned……..the main thing was that I did something.


The point I am trying to get across is that sometimes it is hard. It could be hard everyday! There are some simple things you can do, and this doesnt just apply to exercise.

1.Make your plan (to fix a problem or make life easier/better )

2. Stick with your plan as much as you can

3. Make tweaks along the way.

4. If you’re struggling….what is the simplest and easiest thing you can do today to keep you on track?



Because one day, if you lose every battle – you will look back and think you could have won.