Tuesday, January 28, 2020

How do I get the body of a Personal Trainer?

Special thanks to Dan De Sanctis 

The question on every gym goers lips

You've probably read every article online, in fitness magazines and health columns on how to get a six pack.  Maybe you've spent loads on late night TV 'six minute ab' machines, or even tried fat melting treatments, like freezing, creams and even electrocution.
You may have even tried every supplement, from protein shakes to 'fat burning-grenade-exploding, metabolism boosting' pre/post workout pill and still not seen the abs.  Why-oh why, haven't I got a six pack yet?

What's the secret to a six pack?

Hard work and sensible work. Sacrifice and dedication to reaching and maintain the abs. There isn't a short cut I'm afraid, well unless you are a genetic freak. Then good for you.

How do I get a six pack?

Before you get all down hearted about your efforts, quickly reflect on where you are now:

  • How much does it mean to you to have a six pack?  
  • What are the benefits of having the six pack?  
  • How will your six pack benefit others around you?
  • What are you willing to sacrifice?  
  • What's the worst thing about not having a six pack?  
  • Will a six pack advance your career?  
  • Will having a six pack make you more popular?  
  • Will having a six pack get you a partner?  
  • Will having a six pack, make you your fortune?  
  • Will having a sick pack give you purpose in life?  
  • Will have having a six pack make you a better person, more charitable, or spiritually fulfilled?  

No? Well it's not worth it then.  Ha ha

But will having a six pack make you look cool AF, make you proud of yourself, give you a sense of achievement and make people green with envy? Yes of course, so go for it!  Who gives a shit, do it for you at the end of the day.

Can you get six pack abs from just cardio?

Yes, just look at a long distance runner with a six pack and only runs.  But it doesn't exclusively mean you need to do marathons.

Can you get Abs from just doing weights?

Yes.  Just look at the beefcake in the gym with a ripped abdomen, that swerves cardio like the corona virus.  But again, it doesn't exclusively mean you need to become a bodybuilder.

Do I need to do sit ups to get abs?

Nope.  Though to build abdominal muscle 'bulk' and size, then abdominal work will help with that.

Do I need to eat clean to get a six pack?

Technically no.  You just need to create an energy deficit i.e. reduce the calories (energy from food) going in, relative to the calories you expend (energy 'out' through exercise and movement).  

However, keep eating shit and see how motivated you feel to go the gym before or after work.
Look in the mirror and see if the spots on your face are taking the attention away from your torso.   And also, does that low calorie, low carb, zero taste heathy-organic 'oat-ien' bar satisfy you after 30 minutes of eating it, without craving for coffee as a 'pick-me-up'? 

In my opinion, you're probably better off eating as 'clean' as possible, as much of the time as possible, but allowing yourself treats and a bit of booze every now and then. (Caveat) If-ifff!, you put yourself into a big enough energy deficit that week and commit to the same the following week also.

Image: Thanks to Ironmag labs

The inside secret 

There is no secret to getting a six pack and it's not exclusive to Personal Trainers or athletes either.  It's just a lot easier for people in the fitness industry, as we pretty much live in the gym.  We have the knowledge.  We tend to practise what we preach.  We can train when we want. We're constantly active, walking the floor, passing weights to clients, taking classes and tidying up the gym etc.

We are pretty anti-social, as we have to be in bed early and up early for clients.
...We nap during the day.

We spend our money in other places, where people would spend on alcohol, drinking and eating out.

It's a lifestyle for us and we are our own advertisement.  We have to commit ourselves to our appearance.  So of course most of us are in good shape.

The pictures that are taken on social media, tend to be all smoke and mirrors.  Filtered, air brushed and 'App'd' (use of editing apps) to death.  The models are tensing hard, until they're about to pass out. They're tanned, shaved and know how to use downward lighting effectively.

Not to discredited good bodys, but there's a lot pot fitness professionals out there on some sort of 'special' supplement anyway.  If you want to go down that route, then do it safely.  At the end of the day, if you're not competing in any competition and it's purely for aesthetics, then I think go for it (although I would personally never recommend it).

Having a six pack isn't exclusive to personal trainers or athletes, but it's not all it's cracked up to be either.

So I ask yourself the 'spice girls question'...

'Tell me what you want, what you really-really want'

Zigga-zig-ahhh folks


Want a six pack?  Sorry I can't help.  Want a fit and healthy body, where you look great at work and are confident on the beach?  I can help with that and if you'd like to learn how, I'd love to have a chat.

Monday, January 20, 2020

The game changers: The new food war

Credit to training ground guru

Can't we all just get along?

I was in the UK again recently and so surprised by the 'in your face' Vegetarian and Vegan campaigns there were, even KFC had a new veggie menu campaign!   Then, I've got friends jumping on the band wagon for 'Veganuary', like that's going to make a difference to you eating like a fat f**cker over Christmas! "But everyone's doing it".  Tut!

Q: How can you tell someone's a vegan?
A: They'll tell ya!

So who's right?

As many topics health and fitness, the whole 'veggie vs carnivore' debate has come around again, thanks the latest documentary on Netflix, The Game Changers.

There is no simple right or wrong.  To me it's all a matter of understanding your 'why'.  If you're going Veggie or Vegan just to lose weight, well then that's just daft, because you don't have to do that, just to lose weight.  

If you're looking to improve your health and digestive system again you don't have to go 'V/V' to do that either.  

If you're looking to contribute to reducing your carbon footprint on the planet, well there's other ways you can do that too.  

Is it because you love animals, then that's fair enough, but again you can still eat ethically, from good quality sources and as locally as possible.   

So what's your reason?  

Personal trainers working with V/V's

Generally speaking, Personal Trainers don't like working with Vegetarians or Vegans and will do our best to pass them off to the newest trainer.  The success rate for fat loss with V/V's is pretty low, as is the adherence too.  Maybe that's just the mindset of the coach and the lack of interest comes off?  I've personally worked with V/Vs and have surprisingly had great results.  Though that's mostly because we've cut out the crap foods and increased their protein intake (nothing new there).

Dieting is mentally exhausting 

Concentrating so hard on some kind of deprivation, like 'hardcore' dieting, is mentally fatiguing and there's a lot of social experiments that prove this. This is why 'blow out-binges', affairs and cheating for exams happen, it's know as 'ego depletion'.

Let's use this scenario as an example;   You're on a strict caveman weight loss plan.  You go to a house party, you're offered free drinks all night and there's a buffet of your favourite foods including, all of your fondest deserts, (like what your grandmother used to whip up). Now with all that temptation, you resist because you're on this strict plan and YOU-MUST stick to the plan.  That burns mental energy.

You get home later, but you're feeling peckish (but actually fatigued and drained, from say 'no').  You head to the fridge and you go rummaging around, picking at bits of left overs.  But you can't seem to stop.  You open every cupboard, still picking at more snacks as you go, justifying it to yourself because 'I didn't eat at the party'.  Now you've gone well over your calories for the day and now you're about to go to bed on a full stomach.  Sound familiar?

The 90/10 rule

90% good 10% bad.  As simple as that.  Eat well 90% of the time and then you have 10% slack to eat 'bad'  (though don't have to eat bad, just because you can).  That needs to relative to what you're doing currently though and you must be honest with  yourself.  So that could be 90/10 per day or 90/10 per week, or even 90/10 per month.  That way, you're never going without and it gives you something to look forward to.                     
 'Being vegetarian is a big missed-steak'

In my opinion 

In this particular article I don't want to 'preach' one side or the other, as eating meat and not eating meat have benefits.  There are plenty of research articles, bloggers and influencers that say their way is the right way based on science and personal case studies.

What you tend to find (particularly in the fitness industry), is when someone of influence latches onto something, 'their' way becomes 'the' way'.  Even in science there is bias.  If the researcher's initial hypothesis predicts and negative or positive outcome to their theory, then by-joe they'll find evidence to support that hypothesis.

It's confusing for fitness professionals who are on top of their game in this field, so it's got to be a nightmare for the laymen, desperately wanting to improve their health.

So what do you need to do?  K.I.S.S.  Keep It Simple Stupid!

I want to live longer.  I want to be fit and stronger and I want to enjoy my life was much as possible.  A big part of my life is eating, I love it!  I love the social aspects of it.  I love fish & chips, chocolate, cookies and I love drinking beer and getting smashed.   So I have to find relative balance to fit with my goals and my values.

Environment:  I don't own a car.  I catch the train to work and walk where necessary.  I don't drop litter.  I take showers rather than baths. I recycle.  I'm conscious about using plastic bags.  I can control this stuff and that's my contribution to the environment (until one day when I have enough money to have a massive impact on cleaning the ocean, a big passion of mine).

Longevity:  I exercise regularly, I eat relatively well (as in, the best quality I'm willing pay for).  I  get out in the sun for at least 15 minutess per day.  I take multivitamins and fish oil.  I journal, goal set and am constantly reading and learning new stuff to improve my business, my well being and mindset.

Animal welfare:  The most control I have over this one, is not be a dick to animals.  I eat as ethically as I can,  even if it's free range eggs.  I've even adopted animals in the past.

Weightloss and performance:  I sit at round 9% body.  I work from 0600-2100 most week days and I train at least x1 per day, up to twice per day.  I eat meat because I want to maintain muscle mass and because I like the sensation of chewing, it's part of the experience of eating for me.

Socially:  If  you have an extreme 'dieter' round for dinner, you already know they're going to be awkward and it's going to be chore. C'mon, no one likes having a V/V round for dinner or going for dinner with a V/V either (unless you are V/V).  But the same goes for a 100% carnivore too.  (I was recently at a BBQ with one, literally 1kg of red meat and x10 eggs per day-a different blog).   BOOOOR-ING!  Now from the other side, imagine everything you have to sacrifice, friends gatherings, family engagements, events and parties.  Are you really going to be as relaxed and really enjoy yourself 100%?

So thats how I find peace with eating meat, based my values and my beliefs, my circumstances and my lifestyle and not based on some hyped-up documentary on Netflix, or because it's trendy at the moment.

If you'd like to read an annihilating review of the Game Changers documentary, I'd really recommend this blog from Layne Norton, it certainly breaks down the biases portrayed by producers.

Ultimately guys, do what's right for you and if you need any help working out healthy habits to tie in with goals and lifestyle, feel free to get in touch.

Keep it real folks.


Sunday, January 12, 2020

6 reasons you shouldn't join a gym

The gym is actually a zoo

Going into the new year, the obvious resolution is to get either back into, or to start getting into shape and where better - the gym right?   Before you consider forking out for a membership, check out some of my 'favourite' stories about working in a commercial gym...

#1  I want to suck your toes

I had a great relationship with the sales team in my first gym, we'd play pranks and have great banter. One day I walked out to my car and on the windscreen was a note that said "If you'd like a foot rub, call this number".  Ha ha very funny guys.  So I text the number replying "thanks but I don't think my girlfriend would appreciate that".   Thought nothing of it.

The next day, I was with my then girlfriend and my phone began to ring.  A guy on the other end of the phone said something along the lines of "Hi Phil, I left you a note yesterday.  Apologies, allow me to explain...". Okey dokey I thought, let's hear him out. "I'm practising to become a reflexologist and noticed you had some nice feet and wondered if you would be interested in having your feet rubbed?".  My immediate response was "how do you know I have nice feet?".  "I've seen them in the changing room."  I was like errrrm no thanks and hung up, WTF!

Almost a year later I received a call "Hi Phil, it's Jono.  I spoke to you a while back about practising reflexology.  I'm now qualified and wondered if you would like your feet massaged?".  I was actually surprised and thought 'oh', he must've been legit before and so gave him the benefit of the doubt.  "Sure no problem, where shall I come?".

'Happy days' I thought, free treatment and a I chance to build my network.  After toing and froing via text, about what days and times would suit (and even having to do it at his 'friends' house), it started taking too much time, so just I called the number.

It went straight to answer phone "Hi this Jono, if you're calling it's because you want your toes sucked, please leave your name and number...".  Naively, (even at this point) I thought 'ha ha, that's quirky' and proceeded to leave a message.

I got a call back almost immediately.  "Hi Phil it's Jono".  "Hi mate how you doing?". "Yes good thanks sorry I missed your call.  (X day) and (X time) is ok, I'll see you then.  Just to confirm you're ok with it, I have to let you know... I have a bit of foot fetish and I want to suck your toes".


"I want to suck your toes".


I burst out laughing and hung up.  No Thanks Jono, end of!  

Two days later I was waiting at reception, and huuuuge black guy walked up to me and said "Phil"  Extended his arm proceeded to shake my hand, "Hi I'm Jono, we spoke on the phone.  I didn't mean to offend you, hope you're all good?".   "No-no mate, not at all", as I cleared my throat, jaw hanging open as I was looked up to this giant.

He just walked into the gym all happy, as if nothing weird had just happened, while I was left stood there stiff as a statue.

#2 This shower gel smells like S**T!

Again hanging out at reception (same gym), a gym came running out of the male changing rooms soaking wet, with a towel wrapped around his waist, going absolutely berserk, screaming and effin and blinding!

We managed to get the full story of his upset and what happened was, someone dirty git, had taken a dump in the shampoo dispenser.  The poor fella hadn't noticed and obviously applied gel to hair and seen Mr hanky sunken in a green liquid attached to the wall.  I think I'd be slightly miffed too.

Was funny AF though!


#3 How much is that doooo-gy...in the locker!

I was working for a popular gym chain and one the female members needed to do some exercise, so decided to do it with her little dog.  You're probably thinking, 'I run/walk my dog all the time, big deal'.

Well this particular member brought her dog to the gym...hidden in a handbag.  She then put the handbag in the locker...WITH-THE-EFFIN-DOG still in it! and went about her workout.

The way we found out, is because she loaded up a picture on Instagram and tagged the location on. #twat!  She was banned and reported to animal services.

#4 I'm a laaady

We had a call on the radio from reception about a very angry lady, that had an encounter with a male intruder in the female changing room.

I have to give him some credit though for his ingenuity on this.  He put on an available robe and wrapped a towel around his face and head and sneaked into the ladies, via a joining chill out area.

The lady that reported the incident noticed 'she' (the intruder) had particularly hairy feet and so began to probe him.  In a high-squeaky female voice,  gave his excuses and quickly ran off through the connecting chill out room.

Obviously we never found out who it was.


#5 Ello-ello-ello

A man was reported, as he was inviting other men from the changing room, into the steam room.

When one particular lad went in, he was surprised when the gentleman in question was sat there naked (fair enough)....and masturbating.

The guy actually turned out to be a police officer and there was a big investigation.  I saw him on the streets roughing it recently.

#6 The decorators are in

My manager at the time was livid because he had to make a phone call to a lady, to explain  how unacceptable it was to slap her USED sanitary towel the locker door, while she got changed.

I later over heard the conversation on the phone...I was in laugh out loud stitches.   But ultimately, she seemed to think there wasn't a problem.

I'm fortunate to say I'm now working in lovely facility, where there are lovely-respectable and normal (well sort of) people that come in and train hard and go again.  

If you'd rather save the wildlife visits for a zoo, but have a goal you want to achieve, feel free to come down to Ufit for a chat, where the people are friendly and very nice.

Keep real folks



Sunday, January 5, 2020

Why nutrition plans don't work

Everyone's got a plan until they get punched in the face

"Everyone's got a plan until they get punched in the face" - Mike Tyson. What a great analogy for following a nutrition plan.

It's all well and good sticking to your calories, macro's and micronutrients until someone/thing changes the plan for you. What do you do when you can't do exactly what's on your plan?
...you're f@*Ked!

So here's what you need to do...


Saturday, January 4, 2020

Bums on a rugby post

Can weight loss goals actually work?

Think about it, you set yourself goals/objectives/targets all the time and that's how you continue to develop, learn and grow.  The 'bums on a rugby post', gives you a way of reflecting, structuring and figuring out 'The what-when-how' of achieving your goals.  With a pen and paper write down each 'W' word, answer it and then add 'what else'.  The more options you uncover the easiest, fastest and most preferable answer will present itself.

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