ONE: London's exclusive personal training studio, in the heart of the city.

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

The year in review...

It's been a busy year. In 2009 the One PT studio has gone from strength to strength. The team has grown to a total of 6 trainers. This time last year there were only four of us!

A lot of our clients have experienced amazing results. There have been huge changes in some peoples body composition where in some cases people have dropped inches and lost stones of fat. In other instances people have run 5km's for the first time, there have been marathons and triathlons. Others have been increasing work capacity, strength and strength endurance. We have trained 7 brides for their big days, plenty for looking good on the beach and more recently there has been focus on preparation for hitting the slopes. All in all we hope that whatever you were training for in 2009 your time with us has got you there or a hell of a lot closer!

The momentum gained this year looks to continue in 2010. The team are taking on the Gherkin Challenge in February, we are organising a trekking weekend in May and the 3 Peaks Challenge in June/July. We have also organised educational talks on health, exercise and nutrition as well as put together a health assessment package for local firms and business'. If this is something your company may be interested in please let me or your trainer know.

So from all the team it has been a pleasure working with you all in 2009. We hope that you have a very enjoyable time over the Christmas and New Year period and we hope to see you again in 2010. The studio is closed from the 25th December and re-opens on the 4th January, be good until then.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Thoughtful Tuesday - 19

Okay so this is the second part to last weeks blog. So just a quick recap or indeed you can just read it again! Basically there is a theory and it's back up by some pretty good science in my view that the only way we could have developed our rather large brains is if another tissue or organ shrank. Now it would seem that the thing that shrank was our GI tract and the ONLY way this could have happened is if our food source changed from a plant based one to a meat based one.

There is also another part to the story. If you just look at our skeletal structure there are some pretty obvious signs that we are in fact meat eaters.

Now you can, in fact look at the ribcage and pelvis to also make an assumption on dietary habits. So, taking a look at the picture above (which has been taken from the proteinpower website) you can see that both the skeleton of the chimpanzee on the left and the australopithecus afarensis (Lucy) on the right have much wider rib cages and slightly wider pelvises. This is down to the fact that they would have to house a much larger GI tract. You can imagine both these animals to have quite large distended stomachs just by looking at these pictures. The human skeleton on the other hand has a much narrower ribcage and pelvis. Again, you can imagine the lines of the stomach to be much thinner and more svelte (at least that what it's meant to look like, there are exceptions!) this change in structure is down to the much smaller GI tract, which, again, can only exist with a higher quality diet (ie meat)

Now I know that we don't have fangs and claws and a lot of people would argue that we wouldn't have been able to tear flesh from carcases, which is probably true. I would argue that we wouldn't have had to tear flesh as our first attempts at meat were probably as scavengers and as our brains started to grow we developed tools to deal with the rest. Another point on fangs is that gorillas have some pretty nasty fangs on them and they are most definitely vegetarian (for the most part) so that argument doesn't hold weight either

So more fuel for the never ending fire on if we're meat eaters or not. I'll leave it up to you to make your own mind up. I for one will not be giving up my steak any time soon!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


Monday, 21 December 2009

Joslyn's Blog Spot - Save the best 'til last...

This post isn't itself the best that I have been saving until the end of the year, it's a little more about training theory and how you should always favour your weaker side when doing unilateral work.

Take a lunge for example. For the most part, one side is always going to be easier than the other, my left side is definitely weaker than my right. This could be due to weaker muscles, instability, poor proprioception, or a past injury. Whatever makes the side more difficult is neither here nor there and will probably be being dealt with in your training programme. Which side you prioritise in the movement however, is very important. It is natural to favour your good side and wow your trainer with how efficient you are, leaving the dud side 'til last. However, your ego should be pushed aside and you should always start on your weaker side, whether it's single legged toe taps, reverse lunges, single arm snatches, turkish get ups and so on. You will always have a little extra energy in the pot if you work the weaker side first, giving it a little more opportunity to catch up with the stronger side. If you always work the stronger side first, then you will continue to widen the gap between your weak side and your strong side.

This same principle flows into the rest of your training. It makes sense to put large compound movements (squats, deadlifts, pull ups) that will require extra energy at the beginning of your programme when there is lots of fuel in the tank, rather than scraping up the energy to do them after having done smaller muscle movements like tricep dips and bicep curls.

So think, weaker muscles require more energy left in your pot in order for them to become stronger and bigger movements require more energy left in your pot in order for them to be performed efficiently!

See you in 2010!!! Have a great Christmas!!


Thursday, 17 December 2009

Veggie protein

Protein, protein, protein....we're all about the protein in the studio. Hopefully that should give you some indication of how important an element it is in your diet - and particularly if your goal is weight loss. So at the risk of sounding like a broken record I'm going to talk about protein...but I'm going to talk about veggie protein. Rather than start with why protein is important I'm going suggest you look back to Jos' blog on Monday and Jamie's blog on Tuesday to get the first parts of this lecture!!

I've recently had a few clients mention they were vegetarian, or at the very least don't like the taste/texture of meat and so rarely eat it. So given that the most common (and unfortunately best) sources of protein are animal based (read Jos' blog from Monday if you're not sure) what do vegetarians or reduced meat eaters have to do to get a decent amount of protein in their diets?

A bit of background about protein:

Protein is made up of amino acids and it is these which are one of the main building blocks of our body. Our bodies supply some of the amino acids we need, and the rest we need to get from our diet. Protein comes in two forms: complete protein which contains all the additional amino acids we need, and incomplete protein which contains only some if the additional amino acids we need.

Protein from animal sources is complete protein - this includes dairy (milk, yoghurt, cheese) and eggs - and this is why it's designated the 'best' protein. It is the easiest natural source of food by which our bodies can get everything they need in the amino acid department.

Plant sources of protein are incomplete protein. Plant sources high in protein include: beans, legumes, nuts, peanut/nut butter and whole grain products. They contain only some of the amino acids we need and therefore you need to eat a very wide range of them to create a whole amino acid chain - a state by which your body can utilise it. They are also less readily absorbed by the body - potentially to a ratio of only 50%, and so you need to eat even more to make sure you get a complete complement. So for example, if a packet of whole grain pasta has 5g of protein in it, your body will probably only be able to absorb and utilise 2-3g at most.

Another source of protein you may have heard of is soya. Soya comes in many forms now including milk, yoghurt and tofu to name a few, as well as many meat alternatives. While it is very high in protein and occasional consumption is fine, there is an argument raging as to whether regular consumption is a good idea. Soya has been shown to have high levels of a component known as isoflavones which imitate estrogen and can therefore cause hormonal imbalances in the body.

So they key to getting enough protein when a veggie? - if you're not vegan than up the eggs for sure and eat as wide a variety of foods as possible. The old veggie staple of pasta with a cheese sauce does not constitute a balanced diet!!! There is a technique called protein complementing for vegetarians which involves combining different types of foods to make sure you are getting a full range of amino acids. The general rule is that different food sources will have different amino acids present so for example a good example of protein complementing would be brown rice with peas - a whole grain and a vegetable.

A final note:

while you can get the full complement of amino acids from a meat free diet, getting enough protein this way, especially for weight loss is very hard. Eggs are absolutely a must and do consider a protein supplement. The better sourced the base materials the better they are for you, and the guys at the studio will be happy to suggest a few to try. Protein is very important for your overall well being and should be a part of every single meal and snack you have. Porridge with a little milk and a few nuts added is a good start, but none of us here would consider you've had anywhere near enough protein to get your metabolism started. Throw in a couple of boiled eggs or a protein shake and you'll be getting there.

That's me for now guys - I'm officially off on my maternity leave from tomorrow, so I'm going to take this opportunity to wish you all a very Merry Christmas, a great New Year - and productive training for 2010.

Rach :)

Pictures courtesy of:

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

A Night at the Woking Centre of Excellence

Well tonight I finally did it. I’ve been trying to get there for a while but kept coming up with excuses of one type or another. Tonight I went down to the Woking Centre of Excellence in… Woking!

I’ve mentioned this Weightlifting gym with head coach Brian Hamill in the past. A good mate of mine Mark Hill trains there, I’ve written about one of their best lifters Chris Chea, I’ve even posted an article by another of their lifters David Woodhouse. So as I’ve referenced, begged, borrowed, stole and used them for writing material in the past it was about time I made my down there to train with these guys.

Now the studio is in London and Woking is in Surrey, a lot of people commute and know which trains to get, I however messed this up and I ended up on a train that stopped at every station between Waterloo and Woking. So instead of the anticipated 35minute trip, it nearly took me an hour from Waterloo alone.

Anyway upon my arrival at the Woking Centre of Excellence; which is a small room tucked away at the bottom of Woking Leisure Centre behind a sports hall, with Mark Hill, I was greeted by a couple of familiar faces Brian and Chris. Now the room is like a throw back to what gyms should be, there’s not a machine in sight! There are plenty of discs in stacks, Olympic bars, dumbbells, a few pull up and dipping bars, plus some portable benches. In the middle of the room and on the floor is- space!

Scattered about the place was an assortment of individuals in a varied state of dress and undress. With all the banter about each others training kit at one stage I wasn’t sure if I was mistakenly at the London Fashion school. However after a few short seconds I was no longer under any illusion as to where I had turned up. There was encouragement, lifting chalk, screams, smelling salts, bodies, bars and plates flying all over the place.

The lifters varied from the very experienced and elite, Chris Chea is the current British 70kg champion, to the novice and early teen. Brian the Head Coach spent time attending to everybody- including me. I was a little nervous lifting in this environment. Hell last week I wrote about taking myself out of my comfort zone and here I was lifting with some of the best in the country.

Anyway after a Snatch warm up I started to load the bar. I soon had people shouting instructions at me “Tighter at the start!”, “Pull high”, “Drop under”. How could I net perform under this type of pressure. I worked my way up to a respectable single and also missed a couple. The ones I missed were almost the most pleasing as I threw myself under the bar and at least lost the bar over my head as opposed to not even trying to get under it. My take home points are that I need to: finish the pull; get tighter at the start and; commit to get under it!

I’ve not cleaned in a while and to be honest seeing people attempt and get numbers in the range of 140- 150kg I wasn’t that sure I wanted to. Mark thought otherwise and using the same teaching points I had picked up in the Snatch I again worked up to decent singles and even ended up Cleaning 105kg. My best ever when I was training the lift was 115kg. I feel with the one session after one session at this place I now have the tools to reach above and beyond my previous best.

All in all it was a brilliant session and reinforced to me that taking yourself out of comfort zone and having a go really is worth it!

Thanks to everyone at the Woking Centre of Excellence, if I get the trains right I may see you all again soon!

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Thoughtful Tuesday - 18

I've always been interested in humans. We are a strange bunch, are we animals aren't we? If we are then why do we act the way we do? For the most part, slightly more emotional and caring. What is it about us that allows us to be the dominant species. I guess most people would point to our brains. One on one I don't think there are too many of natures predators that we would do too well against, in a physical battle (unless you're me of course!) We can make tools and outwit creatures and mould the landscape to our advantage. So our brains must be the source of our power as it were. The question therefore is, why did we develop such large and powerful computers? Now obviously I am no expert but I was reading a blog (one of my favourites) by Dr Eades, and he was writing about this very concept. For the full blog then please go here and I'll do my best to summarise. I would recommend reading it if you have time.

Okay so basically the whole article was trying to sort out why we have such large brains. A possible route to the answer is actually down to thermogenics. Now brains are quite an energy hungry organ. The larger the brain, the more energy is required to keep it going. Now some research was done far back in 1947 by a man called Max Kleiber, to record the different amount of heat that is produced by different sized animals. Now with a lot of work on his part Kleiber found "a line of best fit" between different animals and their size, in relation to their metabolic rates. This work has been worked on further and all animals that have been tested fit Kleibers Line. So any animal's metabolic rate can be found if you know their size.

This is interesting as if you take an early humanoid of the same size as a modern human their metabolic rates should be the same. The problem arises when the human brain would require around 4-5 times the energy requirements of the early humanoid brain. Where does that energy come from? Is it possible that the increase in brain size has caused another organ/tissue to reduce in size? Well as it turns out that is exactly what happened. As is shown in the blog the consequence of us growing such large brains meant that a reduction in the size of our GI tracts took place.

The next question would be, why did our GI tracts get smaller and not another organ? Now some scientists named Aiello and Wheeler thought that an increase in diet quality was the reason. The only way our brains could have got bigger was to allow something else to get smaller, the fact that our GI tract decreased in size meant that a higher quality of diet was needed. A diet that could infact deliver all the nutrients needed. A diet that increasingly contained more animal derived food.

So there you have it, irrespective of what caused our brains to grow, they could only grow by increasing the readily available nutrients in our diet through meat.

There is more to this blog which I think is just as interesting so either read it here or I will summarise the second part next week.

In short the next time some tree hugging vegetarian says we're not designed to eat meat, you have something to tell them. Also on another note, that phrase is an oximoron, if you want to save the plants and trees, why are you eating them??!

If I don't speak to you before, have a merry Christmas and a very happy New Year!


Monday, 14 December 2009

Joslyn's Blogspot - Protein gives you a lean mind as well as a lean body

As you know we are sticklers here for ensuring that you get protein in with every meal. You'll already know that, like good fats, it helps to control blood sugar spikes caused by eating carbohydrates on their own; it has a thermogenic effect (more fat burning); and keeps us fuller for longer.

So it's pretty important to make sure you get it in. Just a quick refresh on protein sources:

Meat* (ideally lean cuts)

(* the best sources)

Before we go on, a little bit about amino acids. Amino acids themselves are the building blocks of protein and us. There are 20 altogether of which we produce 10. The rest we have to obtain through diet. As trainers, we are extremely interested in branched chain amino acids (BCAAs), leucine, isoleucine and valine, which we do not produce ourselves but are hugely important in reducing muscle breakdown and promoting quicker recovery and growth. It is not uncommon for BCAAs to be taken after a training session, they taste pretty nasty but you get used to it!!!

New research from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia has shown that protein may help to heal a damaged brain. The researchers mimicked brain injury in mice, and noted that after seven days the mice had lower levels of BCAAs. Another set of brain-injured mice were then split into two groups, one group were given plain water, and the other group were given water enriched with branched chain amino acids. After a five day period, the group fed with BCAAs returned to normal levels of the amino acids and performed better on learning tasks.

Last year, Simona Viglio of the University of Pavia and colleagues found that minimally conscious patients who were given BCAAs intravenously improved in their "feeding, grooming and toileting" abilities.

Finally, burns patients in hospitals are fed on high-protein diets to speed their recovery.

So there it is, BCAAs are considered to be extremely important in more areas than just muscle. It would appear they are required for both brain and brawn!

Friday, 11 December 2009

You can sleep when you're dead!

Welcome back! After a long weekend and my absence on here last Friday I am back again. Over the last couple of weeks I have been talking to some of you about your food, analysing food diaries and advising on what to eat to make the most out of your training and day to day activities. As it turns out most of you are .... how do I say this ... caffeine dependent. Downing 4 or more cups a day ... oh my days! Caffeine is baaad for you I want to scream. Yeah, yeah I know I said in my last blog a nice brew every now and then will not hurt, however that is once a week or so not once every couple of hours! I must say I am very proud of a couple of you who managed to cut down to one or two cups a day ... beware though! We're aiming for NONE!!! The reason to take small steps at a time and reducing caffeine intake gradually is that as any addictive substance you are trying to get out of your body it will have some withdrawal symptoms. Therefore to make the experience less painful we want to do it step by step, making sure your body does not suffer too much. As little as 100mg of caffeine a day can lead to you suffering withdrawal symptoms and a large cup of coffee from any of the high street coffee shops contains up to 500mg ... Just think of what your caffeine intake is if you are having 4 or 5 of those! Scary, eh? So what can you expect to happen if you decide to cut down (I'll tell you why you should in a moment)?

Coffee withdrawal symptoms are:
- headache
- fatigue
- difficulty concentrating
- drowsiness
- low mood
- anger and
- irritability

So why would you stop just to experience all this? Well ... It may be worth for you to know caffeine actually works. It boosts your mood and energy levels by blocking receptors for a brain chemical called adenosine. The body produces adrenalin (one of the stress hormones, preparing our body for exertion- the 'fight or flight' syndrome). Adrenalin is produced from dopamine - another hormone. After exertion we break both dopamine and adrenaline down in order to return back to normal. Adenosine blocks dopamine breakdown, so the body ends up with more dopamine and therefore more adrenalin. In effect we feel more alert, motivated and stimulated. That's all good you may think. That's what you want - being energised and motivated! But what happens if there is way too much adrenalin in your system?

It makes you even more stressed and tired!
Research shows that students dependent on caffeine have higher levels of anxiety and depression than abstainers. Lower academic performance was also recorded. Other symptoms correlated with an increased caffeine intake were:

- loss of energy
- reduced libido
- joint stiffness
- hardening of the arteries and
- increased risk of heart attack or disease

Your body treats caffeine as toxin. It also causes inflammation in the body and contributes to dehydration since it is a diuretic - a substance encouraging your body to get rid of fluids. That is the last thing you want wanting to have that fresh looking skin, good joint mobility and clear mind. Once your body gets too toxic, the liver is unable to deal with the overload. Detoxification mostly happens at night when you sleep. Caffeine also affects melatonin (sleep hormone) production, therefore if you are getting less sleep that further reduces the liver's ability to detoxify which then contributes to reducing the body's ability to release fat from the adipose tissue. It also affects blood sugar levels - the long term key to both energy and weight control - in other words if you drink coffee it is harder to get rid of that spare tyre!!!

Well ... was this enough to put you off at least a little? I hope so! Treat it as a treat and trust me it will taste better :)

Have a fab weekend.

Marta :)

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Sensible advice from the media - what next?

My shift today started at 12 - so I had breakfast in front of the television. I don't watch a lot of television, mostly coz I'm never in the house, but after a late ante natal class last night I was waking up quite slowly so thought some external stimulus would be a good idea.

Whilst flicking through channels (I have a short attention span when it comes to the media) I stopped on GMTV for a minute and they had an 'article' on a mother who had received a letter from her Primary Care Trust (PCT) saying her 4 year old daughter was overweight and here were some suggestions on what she should do about it.

Now let's put this into context: the girl was in actual fact 1 pound overweight and the sort of advice they gave the mother was to make sure she had 5 portions of fruit and veg, got at least an hours exercise everyday - the usual bumf. As her mum suggested she was very conscious of what her daughter ate, didn't let her touch junk food or pre-made food and took her out every day to ensure she got enough exercise. So what was the PCT's reasoning for chasing up on an excess pound of weight - cue the TV doctor.

He intelligently said their assessment was probably based on body mass index (BMI) which for a very many people is a totally inaccurate method for detailing their healthy weight. It doesn't take into consideration lean muscle mass, cartilage weight, bone density, hydration levels, fat percentage or a great many other things. I would wager that all trainers in the studio come out somewhere on the overweight graph for the BMI - purely down to the amount of muscle we all carry. So how does this relate to you. Well get off the scales for a start. They are the least accurate indicator of how healthy you are. When I'm in shape I can weigh a stone more than when I'm feeling a bit podgy, and yet despite carrying an extra stone around I'm usually a dress size down. Using a tape measure - or even more simply, your trousers to gauge how you are feeling is lot more accurate.

Finally what else did the TV doctor suggest - use a bit of common sense. The little girl in question looked the picture of health and while she might have had plump cheeks she is four years old for crying out loud. So long as children (and you for that matter) are getting a bare minimum of 5 portions of fruit and veg a day (the Australian system recommends 15 different ones including grains!) and plenty of exercise then the rest will generally take care of itself. Oh and for that matter ditch the computer games for Christmas and get some kit you can all enjoy together such as bikes or a footie!

I still despair of the media and how they report on the health industry in general as it's usually so poorly balanced and researched as to make any mildly educated person cringe, but for once...a piece of sensible advice - maybe Christmas is the season for miracles!

Out of your comfort zone

Taking you out of your comfort zone- it's one of the things that training is meant to achieve. It may just sound like I'm being sadomasochistic here but it's true, in order for our bodies to progress, improve and develop we have to apply a new stimulus. This stimulus needs to be progressive, if we continue to do the same thing are bodies as well as our minds get a little stale and stagnant.

As I've mentioned in previous blogs I've been working on improving my Kettlebell Sport lifting for the last few months with mixed results. I've been working with the 24kg bells which is what amateur Kettlebell lifters use, the "big boys" or professional lifters compete with 32kg bells.

Just to remind you what Kettlebell Sport lifting is all about: Kettlebell Sport is a power endurance sport where you have a maximum of 10minutes to Jerk (2 bells) or Snatch (1 bell) continuously without putting the bell/s down. To say it's tough is an understatement, it's probably one of the bloody hardest things I've done.

The worlds best Ivan Denisov.

One of the hardest things not only physically, but psychologically and even emotionally is lifting continuously for between 5 and 10 minutes. Sometimes knowing that I have a 7 or 8 minute set in front of me makes me feel ill.

Anyway recently I've been slightly demotivated to pick up the bells for long sets. Things have felt very stagnant. Both my jerks and snatches both technically and for time and numbers have been rubbish.

Yesterday after doing a few sets of barbell snatches I had planned on a medium set of both jerks and snatches with the 24s. For whatever reason I decided to have a go with the 32's instead, to see where I'm at. The initial plan was to wait until I could get to 100 Jerks and 200 Snatches with the 24s before I trained with the 32s. But as discussed above motivation was low to do sets with the 24s.

Picking up the 32s was an initial shock. However after the initial shock was over technique set in and it wasn't too bad. In fact I felt technically better with the 32s than I do with the 24s. The same applied to my Snatch. For most of this year it's felt like my snatch has been going backwards, with the 32s I felt like I was finding a groove.

Now my numbers and time under the bells wasn't great and I still need to achieve certain numbers and build up endurance, but at least I'm excited about Kettlebell Sport lifting again.

Taking myself out of my comfort zone (which wasn't that comfortable) has been a blessing of sorts. I'm now motivated to train with the bells again and I feel that the work with the heavier bells will have massive positive effects on my technique.

Next year I'd like to Jerk 100 times and Snatch 100 times each hand with the 24s and by August I'd like to compete internationally and Jerk 50 times and Snatch 50 times each hand. Until yesterday and prior to taking myself out of my comfort zone I wouldn't have known if this was possible, but now I'm extremely confident and I know that it will happen!

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Joslyn's Blog Spot - Demotivated?

If you're not feeling in the mood to exercise, it is the very thing that you should do. It's amazing the amount of excuses we find, to not train.

"Just don't feel like it" - it will make you feel good!
"Have no time" - nobody is asking you to do a marathon session.
"I'm tired" - exercise will energise you.
"I can never use the equipment I need" - boo hoo, improvise, one movement or body part can be worked in many ways.
"I'm injured" - so your shoulder hurts, what's wrong with your legs?

It takes more energy to make excuses than it does to just do it. The bottom line is, an exercise session, when done properly will give you the physical results you want, enhance your mood, and make your body work better. There's no downside, so find the time, get the work done, and look forward to the benefits of each session.

Friday, 4 December 2009

Exercise of the Week

The Deadlift

The deadlift is an excellent compound movement where one lifts a loaded barbell off the ground from a stabilised bent over position. It works virtually every muscle in the body with an emphasis on the quadriceps, hamstrings, gluteus maximus, and most muscles in the back. Its especially important to keep the back straight during the movement so its not put under any undue stress.

How to perform:

1. Stand facing the barbell with feet shoulder width apart. Bend down until your thighs are just above horizontal with the ground and grip the bar with a slightly wider than shoulder width grip. Keep your arms straight and have your shoulder blades directly over the bar. The bar should be very close to your shins. Your back must be flat in this position, do this by looking forward and keeping your chest out.

2. Take a deep breath and contract your abs, push through your heels and drive your hips forward squeezing your glutes as hard as you can. Straighten your legs keeping the bar as close to your shin as possible. Keep looking forward and have your chest out during the movement to maintain a flat back.

3. Exhale and squeeze your glutes at the top of the movement and make sure your knees and hips are locked.

Shoes with air or gel filling are compressible and can impair, power transfer & stability. It’s best to wear shoes with hard soles.


Thursday, 3 December 2009

Treating the sniffles

Being that time of year when it's dark and cold (and wet if you're in the UK), cold and flu are more likely to spring up on you than at any other time.

So what can you do when you feel the sniffles coming on:

1. make sure you have a PMA - positive mental attitude. If you're resigned to getting ill, then - well here's a surprise, you probably will. If I feel the symptoms coming on I'll do something proactive about treating it rather than just assume I'm done for and generally the symptoms have gone away by the next day.

2. Reduce your carbohydrate and sugar intake. Sugars actively work to lower your immune system, so now is not the time to go treating yourself to that chocolate bar. This also means that you should steer clear of all fruit juices, including orange juice. Yes upping your vitamin C intake is one of the next things on my list, but all the sugars that juices contain - including organic non-sweetened variety will dump yet more work on your immune system. Avoid like the plague sugar substitutes like sweeteners - they're no good at any point let alone when you're immune system is compromised.

3. Increase your vitamin C intake. The Recommended Daily Allowance is barely enough to prevent scurvy so you can up it from what it says on the bottle. If you've taken too much you'll get diarrhea so you'll know to cut back.

4. Rest up. Your body's immune system can do a hell of a lot on its own if you only give it the opportunity. Rest up and see how quickly you sort yourself out.

5. Get hot. Cold viruses can't reproduce in high heat. Take a hot shower or bath and then hit the sack. The little blighters won't know what's hit them.

6. Have a healthy meal. Essential fatty acids and vitamins are all great weapons against colds and flu. My fav is to cook a salmon cutlet and have with steamed veggies - all the greens.

7. Ditch the stress. Nothing in guaranteed to prolong a cold than having your immune system further compromised by stress and high blood pressure.

So much to do? Nonsense. Go out and buy some vitamin C supplements and then when you get home, cook a healthy meal of oily fish and steamed veggies. Have a long soak in a hot bath and hit the sack early. You'll be sorted by tomorrow, or most of the way there.

It's that time of year again...

That's right it's that time of year again. Yep it is the end of the year, but not that, yep it is getting close to Christmas, but it's not that. It's time to start having a think about what you want to achieve next year.

Now this could mean everything you want to achieve for next year including your family and social life, your career and finances, but what I really want you to do is set some goals concerning your health and fitness (the other stuff is really important too!).

There are plenty of methods that help you set some goals and send you on your path toward achieving them, but one that I find really quite useful is the SMART method. Now the SMART method is just that smart, but even better it's simple and memorable. The SMART method states that a goal should be Specific, it should be Memorable, it should be Achievable, it should be Relevant and it should be Time- Bound.

Specific- a goal should be specific. Now for most of us/you at One PT (and the general population) this is quite important, but often negelcted. Most people will declare that they "Want to lose weight", that they "Would like to be fitter and healthier", but wouldn't we all? The problem here is that these goals are quite general and don't really mean a hell of a lot! The goals firstly need to be specific. How much weight, why, what does it mean if you don't lose weight- does it mean that you will live longer if you lose weight or that you won't live as long if you don't lose the weight? Specificity will make the goal more powerful.

Fitness itself is very specific, marathon runners are fit, rugby players are fit, grand prix drivers are fit but all have very specific types of fitness. An elite rugby player would be able to run a marathon but would an elite marathon runner survive a game of rugby? A more specific goal would be "I'd like to play a season of rugby next year" or "I'd like to run a marathon next year". Your trainer may be able to help you set smaller goals that will help you get fitter next year, this could be along the lines of performing 10 chin ups and 50 press ups by your next birthday. Both of these goals are Specific but they also take us onto the next step of SMART....

Measurable- A goal needs to measurable, this may be quite obvious but it's important none the less. How do you know that you've reached your goal? If you've run a marathon and that was your goal, well you've done it. But if it was just to "get fitter, healthier and to lose weight" well these things may be difficult to measure. To get fitter you may measure this by performance, your running time over a certain distance might be reduced, you may be able to perform more chins, more squats or press ups, or to be able to lift more weight. As mentioned ask your trainer to help you come up with some ideas so you can better measure your pending improvements in fitness.

Attainable- The goal needs to be attainable and achievable. This doesn't mean that it needs to be conservative though. It just needs to be realistic. For example there is no point setting a goal that you're going to break the record in the 100m or that you're going to lift the Football World Cup in South Africa next year, unless you're Usain Bolt or Wayne Rooney. But there is plenty of point setting a goal that might be to take 5mins off your 10km time or that your team might win your 5 a side competition.

Relevant- Relevant follows on from attainable. The goal you set should be relevant to your abilities, your level of commitment and how badly you want to achieve it.

Time- Bound- placing a time scale or frame on your goals is absolutely necessary. This will enable you to put the steps in place to make sure that you go about achieving what you set out to achieve. If a goal is left without a time frame it is open ended and the ability to prioritise and achieve it is greatly reduced.

So using the above methods your goal could like the following:
S- I will be able to Jerk the 24kg bells 100 times in 10minutes.
M- 100 reps is a measure
A- My current Jerk is 72 reps. With proper training this should be achievable
R- It is relevant as these numbers are a progressive measure
T- I will get these numbers by the end of March

The whole goal under the SMART method could look something like this:
"I will Jerk the 24kg bells 100 times by the end of March!"

Other tools that will help you reach your goals are making sure that you write your goal/s down and that you tell people about it. Both of these will put positive pressure on you to help you achieve.

So there you go, it's time to get SMART and set some goals!


Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Thoughtful Tuesday - 17

Okay so I was down my local gym the other day and the usual banter was flying around from the different guys there when I noticed one guy had the biggest tub of protein I've seen in a while with him. So I asked him what the hell he was doing with that seriously over-sized tub of protein. His reply is one I hear a lot "I won't to put on some more size". I should probably put this in to some slight perspective, his main training parameters are in the 1-3 rep range lifting weights which are suitable for those reps a fair few sets on each exercise and he doesn't do any direct leg work either. Now this is all well and good if y0u want to get stronger, this is not a good workout if you want to put on some size and get bigger. The introduction of a protein shake or two or three or half a cow isn't going to make any difference to that fact. I have no doubt that it will probably aid in a bit of recovery but that will be about it. Indeed it might even help him lose some body fat but it won't make any sizable difference to the maximum peak of his biceps!

Okay so what is my point? Well there are a few actually. First and foremost, the introduction of extra protein in to your diet will not somehow magically increase body muscle to some freakish extent. This is a very common misconception. In order to put on some noticeable difference in muscle size you need to be lifting a high volume of semi heavy weights, constantly destroying yourself in the process, seriously looking after all of your nutrition so you're getting the proper nutrients and on top of that getting enough rest (i.e. sleep) so your body can recover and rebuild with said nutrients. Oh and this needs to be done most days, at least 5-6 times a week. For someone to think that all they need to do is add some extra protein to their diet in order to grow is laughable. I guess he thinks he has some special gene that will amazingly convert dietary protein in to muscle.

Now I know I've gone off on one there and to be fair it's not his fault in the slightest that he thinks that way. The supplement companies have worked long and hard to brain wash people on the effects of protein. They use phrases like "freakish" and "maximum human potential" when describing the benefits their protein will have to your body. Fact is, it's not true. Protein is one of those very important essential nutrients our body needs regardless of what it's used for but just by adding it to your diet will not increase muscle mass (I wish it was that easy! I could stop training!!) Fact is you still need to put in the hard graft.

Getting the physique that you want is exactly the same as any other thing you may want out of life. Nothing worth having comes easy. Whether it's work, love or body. Sacrifices need to be made, hard work has to be put in and sometimes, just sometimes you have to be an ass in order to get what you want, there are no short cuts.


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