mens health

3 THINGS EVERY BEGINNER GETS WRONG

3 THINGS EVERY BEGINNER GETS WRONG

Being a rookie is the gym is exciting, but tough. You have so much potential to fulfil but the pitfalls are all to easy to fall down on. Here's three of the biggest mistakes I see beginners making (not to mention three I made for years too!).

MEASURING YOUR PROGRESS

MEASURING YOUR PROGRESS

Tracking your progress is crucial to you being successful in your health and fitness journey. This also means understanding what methods and metrics of measurement apply best to you and your goals. 

5 WAYS TO STAY MOTIVATED THIS MONDAY

5 WAYS TO STAY MOTIVATED THIS MONDAY

Achieving anything of meaning to you is going to take a big chunk of motivation and there will be times where you're hanging on by a thread. Here's five ways you can can start gain and retain your motivation to ensure you do all you can to win.

YOUR HEALTH AND FITNESS JOURNEY - WHERE TO START?

YOUR HEALTH AND FITNESS JOURNEY - WHERE TO START?

Knowing where to start can be a real issue for anyone looking to get their head around beginning their own health and fitness journey. So much so that it often paralyses people into not bothering at all! Too complicated. Too hard. Too much conflicting information.

WHAT'S STOPPING YOU MAKING IT TO THE TOP

WHAT'S STOPPING YOU MAKING IT TO THE TOP

There's two things I find that are the most common reasons for people failing to find their results.

GETTING FIT IN LONDON

GETTING FIT IN LONDON

If you're reading this as someone who is based in London, but also as someone who wants to get fitter, healthier and look/feel better, I want you to realise what an awesome place you're in to make this happen.

10 GOLDEN RULES TO BUILD MORE MUSCLE AND BURN MORE FAT.

10 GOLDEN RULES TO BUILD MORE MUSCLE AND BURN MORE FAT.

It's taken me years of trial, error, research and at times, head to brick wall moments to get to where I am today. That said if I knew back when I started what i know now? WOW. Different story

WHY THE GYM DOESN'T MATTER

WHY THE GYM DOESN'T MATTER

The reality is that if you train for 3 hours p/w that works out to be just over 2% of your week in total.

Let that sink in for a moment...

5 THINGS SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE DO DIFFERENTLY

5 THINGS SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE DO DIFFERENTLY

I'm a big believer in working on yourself as a person, not just in a way that gets you abs and pecs but a way that brings you success in all areas. I'm far from being there yet, but being a work in progress is a good place to be! Here's a couple of things I work on daily that might help you too.

CARB BACKLOAD YOUR WAY TO FAT LOSS

CARB BACKLOAD YOUR WAY TO FAT LOSS

What is carb backloading?

This approach requires you to eat a low carbohydrate diet up until your evening meal/post workout.

EAT MORE FOOD, FOR LESS CALORIES.

EAT MORE FOOD, FOR LESS CALORIES.

Losing fat requires your calories to be lower than you'd like at certain times, that's pretty much a given. There's loads of ways to try and soften this blow; cardio, use of sweeteners/zero calorie alternatives, increasing total daily steps per day etc etc.

LOSING FAT AT YOUR DESK

LOSING FAT AT YOUR DESK

So you have a desk bound job but you want to lose fat? Here's some ideas:

11 TIPS FOR BEING A BLOKE IN THE GYM

11 TIPS FOR BEING A BLOKE IN THE GYM

1/ IT'S NOT ALL ABOUT WEIGHT - Lifting progressively heavier will contribute to massive success in the gym BUT it means naff all if regard for your technique goes out the window. Perfect your form first, then start working your way up the dumbbell rack. 

5 BREAKFASTS TO START YOUR DAY STRONGER

5 BREAKFASTS TO START YOUR DAY STRONGER

Probably one of the most common meals of the day you could be improving to push you closer to your physique goals. Drop the toast and cereal and try out these:

3 DAILY DECISIONS AT WORK THAT ARE MAKING YOU FAT

3 DAILY DECISIONS AT WORK THAT ARE MAKING YOU FAT

1/ YOUR COMMUTE - Your choice of travel to and from work every day could be a great chance for you to get some calories burnt. Do you get the tube to work in London? Get off a stop early and get those steps in. Maybe you work only a couple of miles from where you live? In this case maybe cycling to and from work would be a cool way to get your daily activity up (and save some petrol money!). The other thing to consider is how stressful is your commute? If every day it's an unbearable grief then it's time to try and think around it. Being stressed for extended periods of time isn't great for you for all kinds of reasons and will make it physiologically tougher for you to lose fat.

ARE STEROIDS YOUR ANSWER?

Revisiting an old blog here, but as I see many guys getting disgruntled with their lack of progress so far in 2017, I wanted to put this out again to give some perspective if you're starting to wonder whether steroids are the answer...

There's two ends of the spectrum here.

On one end, you might make bit of a meh decision to to jump on a quick cycle of gear. You think popping a few pills and a handful of semi structured, mediocre workouts are going to do the trick and have you ripped for ibiza in a few months. Nothing much happens in the first few weeks so you fob the idea off and think no more of it.

OR.

You decide to do it 'properly', but just one cycle right? What harm can that do.. You're willing to use whatever drug it takes but you're going to follow the recommended doses right? You train like an animal and weigh your white fish and oats to the gram. You see some results.

But you want more. And because more is better you up your dosage, perhaps you bring in another drug to help 'get rid of that last bit of fat' or 'give you that hard 3D shouldered, Instagram filtered look'.

So you go on holiday and look/feel better than ever have before. You thrive on the compliments and love the attention. You figure you've done a great job and decide when you get home you'll come off the gear and just maintain your shape. Cool.

But a few weeks down the line you feel small, weak and soft. F*&k it, jumping on one more cycle should do the trick.

That right there is the slippery slope of steroid use.

If you get the desired result from taking something, you will go back to it to regain the results you lose coming off it and the further down the path you get, the harder it is to find your way back..

You've not just built a physique with drugs, your mind is now at the mercy of them too.

It's now a part of who you are. You feel the desire to keep up this reputation of being the guy everyone looks at in the gym and asks for advice.
Dysmorphia kicks in. You become increasingly dissatisfied with where your physique is at. Thus more drugs. More drastic measures.

The negative physiological effects have now hit really hard. Unbeknown to you your natural testosterone production is shutting down. Your liver is starting to wane and your nuts are shrinking.

So where does it stop?

Worst case scenario... Your body says enough is enough. Heart attack. Done. You're out. Dead.

Still worth cracking on with a quick course for your holiday?

If you want a physique like the guy in this picture, please believe me that you DO NOT need to take drugs. Is that kind of physique easy to achieve? No. But is it achievable.. For absolute sure.

If you want to be Mr Olympia then yes, at some point drugs will have to come into the equation. But if like most of us guys you're after that lean, men's heathesque kind of look you really do not need to be anywhere near drugs.

Gyms this day and age are littered with guys using performance enhancers and that's their body and their choice, no judgement on them.

But it pains me to see so many young guys resorting to such drastic measures because they feel it's the only way to get the results they want or the easier/quicker way to make it happen.

I urge you to look at the bigger picture and consider your decision on this kind of stuff very, very seriously.

THE BIGGEST THING HOLDING YOU BACK FROM TRANSFORMING YOUR BODY

Lets cut to the chase. It's YOU. You genuinely are the only person stopping yourself from achieving fantastic results. You're also the only person that can make it happen. Powerful position right? 

Truth is many people would sooner create 100 excuses than find a single solution. What I want to get at in this post is that getting results requires you to take action. You'll have to do some stuff you're not doing currently and probably cut out/adapt some stuff you are doing.

This inevitably means you're going to have to change some habits, which often isn't easy or comfortable. But I can promise you that this is where your results are hiding. 

I'm going to give you a couple of case studies from just today coaching my 121 clients:

0900am My first clients walk in the door.  A Husband and wife ready to crush a leg session. Husband has been out of training for the last 6 weeks and Wife originally came to me post stomach op a couple of years back and has been working closely with me or my co-trainer ever since. Husband knows he's going to struggle to keep up with her but gives it 110% to keep the pace giving an awesome account of himself showing some real grit in his first leg session of 2017. Wife is also a Mum and juggles a hectic homelife with coming to see me x 3  a week. Coming to me originally post op with apprehension and plenty of work to she has now carved out an envied physique that 95% of women would kill for. 

1000am My next guy rolls up as he does every Saturday morning with a smile on his face and ready for action. This guy's a city boy with a demanding career as well as a happy home and social life. Despite this he's managed to adapt his weekly routine in a way that he gets his 3-4 training sessions in which has seen him progress every single month. To the point we even worked towards a successful photoshoot a couple of months back to showcase his fantastic results so far. 

1130am It's time for one of my newest recruits to get involved. Heading into week 3 of working together and I'm starting to see the first glimmers of progress. He has been willing to strip back the weight on a lot of movements and start from scratch to relearn techniques with superior execution than previous. He has also made conscious decisions nutritionally detailing to me how his day pans out and the new informed choices he is making rather than just opting for what is easy and convenient. I'm excited to see where he is in a few months time.

All three of those above have the same thing in common. They haven't just voiced their desire to change, they've consciously made decisions followed by positive actions and a willingness to learn and embrace feeling uncomfortable. 

Research as much as you want, spend as much money as you can and take all the most cutting edge 'fat loss' supplements you can, but I promise you NOTHING will change until you start acting in a way thats conducive to change. Thoughts are great, but they don't change anything. Actions do. 

6 THINGS I WISH I KNEW WHEN I STARTED TRYING TO GAIN MUSCLE

For anyone who is at the start of their health and fitness journey I can completely understand if you're a little puzzled as to what direction to turn when it comes to building muscle. Just google "how to build muscle" and you'll be bombarded with over 8 million search results! So here's a couple of key things that in hindsight I wish I had got to grips with sooner when I made my start.

1/ CALORIE SURPLUS - Without this you won't build muscle. It's as simple as that. What this means is you need to be eating more calories than you are burning for a sustained period of time. It works a little like this... Imagine a house (your body right now) and it's made of a certain amount of bricks (calories). If you want to build a bigger house, you're going to need more bricks right? Very simplistic analogy but you get the picture. 

2/ MUSCULAR DAMAGE - This is something you're looking to create through training. Not in the same way that you would tear a muscle and end up with an injury, we're talking about tiny micro tears within the muscle tissue. Causing these microscopic tears is one of the goals of weight training when trying to build muscle. Again, lets use the above analogy... If you're going to build your bigger house, you're going to need to chip away a few bricks and cement (muscle damage) to be able to add on more bricks (new lean muscle tissue). 

3/ PROGRESSIVE OVERLOAD - This is crucial for making progress in whatever the aspect of fitness and building muscle is no exception. The term progressive overload simply means progressing your training over time. This might mean adding extra weight on certain movements or maybe more total reps and sets of specific exercises. The key is to log your training so you know your numbers to then push forward on as the weeks move on.

4/ PROTEIN - Being in a calorie surplus is important but if you don't have an adequate amount of protein in your diet then it's all for a lost cause. Aiming for 2/2.5g protein per kg of bodyweight puts you in a great position. If you don't want to get lost in the maths of it, another good gauge is to include a palm sized protein source in every meal (based on three meals a day) and then supplement with a standard whey protein shake once a day too. 

5/ FEEL THE BURN - If it ain't hurting it ain't working. You need to understand that the dull ache you get towards the end of an exercise, that's important! I'm not saying you need to yourself into the ground killing yourself 7 days a week, especially in the early days, but you do need to get your game face on and get comfortable being uncomfortable. It isn't a social event and it will require effort.  

6/ IT TAKES TIME - Building muscle is a long steady process. There is absolutely zero chance of you waking up and seeing superman's torso after a week of bench pressing. If only it were that simple! One week you might notice your a couple of pounds up on the scales, the next month you might notice your t-shirt sleeves getting a little snug and next year you might be looking back at holiday pictures and getting some clean cut perspective of the gains you have made over the year. 

Building muscle isn't easy, if it was everyone would be walking round looking enviably good! But the benefits of carrying a little extra muscle mass than the average guy or girl definitely make it worthwhile. In fact, they deserve a post all of their own, so i'll leave this one here for now!

WHAT IS ONLINE COACHING AND IS IT FOR ME?

Online health and fitness coaching has surged over this past few years. The development of relevant apps, software and communication technology had made online coaching a legitimate service than can help you along your health and fitness journey. That being said, it doesn't come without it's drawbacks too.

WHAT IS IT?

Well this can vary. There are many different models of online coaching out there but generally ranging from the low budget model which will involve equally low input from the coach. My honest advice is to avoid the cheapest services out there. You won't get any individualisation or contact time with your coach as the business model involves bringing in a high number of clients to make any kind of profit. You are for the most part treated as just a number.

Move across to the other end of the spectrum where you will have to part with a more chunky investment and you should find yourself in the hands of a coach that truly customises your training, nutrition and lifestyle plan to help you obtain the results you want. This means bespoke training, a nutrition plan that is tailored to you (this could be macronutrient based or more meal specific) and the guidance you need to help address the 23 hours outside of the gym, not just the 1 in it. They should also hold you accountable and regularly evaluate progress, whether that be email check ins, weekly calls, weigh ins, photo updates etc. 

WHO IS IT FOR?

Online coaching works best for those with a good basic understanding of training who aren't fearful of walking into a gym environment. Those with little to no experience of training should seek a 121 Trainer first ideally. As an online client it's up to you to shoulder a lot of responsibility, you need to make sure the workouts get done and you must be honest with the Coach. They cannot pick the weights up or eat the food for you. If you find it tough to fit allocated slots with a 121 Trainer into your hectic schedule then Online Coaching might be great for you. You get all the structure of working 121 but get to train when it fits in best for you. 

HOW I DO IT?

My online approach has evolved over time and still does much like my approach with each of my 121 clients. Some of the common components my online coaching involve are:

- Access to the Brisbournefit app where you can access and log your specific workouts.

- Weekly check ins evaluating the week previous and pre-empting the hurdles in week coming up.

- Initial diet diary assessment and relevant guidance moving forward (Myfitnesspal set up/meal plan templates etc).

- Detailed check in calls/Skypes/Facetimes varying from weekly to monthly.

- A number of 121 sessions if geographically viable (e.g. day one, half way point, completion date).

- 1/2 day workshops where I set aside time to go through specific, relevant content as well as spending some extra time getting to know one another.

- Nutritional sensitivity testing via blood draw.

- Basic supplemental set up.

- Hormonal assessment and custom supplemental protocol following this.

- Email/Whatsapp support as required within guide times.

If you're considering hiring the services of an Online Coach, do your research first. Run a google search, read some reviews, even speak to some of their current/previous clients if possible to get some insight first hand into what it's like to work with them. The fitness industry comes in all shapes and sizes and finding not just a coach who is knowledgable, but a coach that you get on well with and respect is massively important. Use the beer test. If you can imagine going out for a beer with them, chances are you will work well together. Well maybe, not a beer, but you catch my drift!