Why is it important that girls and guys need to lift heavy

Don’t be afraid to push, keep striving to get stronger and you’ll see dramatic changes in your body and an increased rate of fat loss.  

Why girls should also lift heavy

As a coach, son and friend I have had many conversations with people about their body image and changes they want to make. One of the easiest and most effective ways to train is using resistance or weight training. Whilst it may seem complicated, confusing or down right intimidating, ask yourself this…

Do you want to look toned, sexy and lean?

Or do you want to look skinny, slender and frail?

If the answer is the former, then you should definitely be lifting weights!

Why is it important that girls and guys need to lift heavy

Let’s look at the science:

As we get older the storage of fat happens easier, this is because of a decrease in testosterone (yes ladies, you have testosterone as well!). This is a massively misunderstood hormone which we all produce and is vital to health and wellbeing. Lifting heavy will help in boosting that testosterone to some degree. So if you want to stay lean & strong, keep the curves and be athletic, then lifting weights is the way to go.

Often people think that lifting weights is down to vanity and body building but it also has other benefits. For example, as we become older our muscles and joints slowly weaken leading us to become more susceptible to injuries and falls.

So if you fancy staying healthy and happy. Then lift heavy!

In my experience working in gyms and especially in the ‘functional training’ world girls love lifting heavy (maybe more than some guys!). It’s also is amazing to see how training heavy boosts confidence and more motivation, and in this day and age that is a beautiful thing!

Same ‘ol routine

Now here is the secret….always shooting for 20-30 boring old reps of the same exercises, not really following a periodised plan gets seriously monotonous and boring. But if you give yourself goals in terms of strength then all of sudden training can become a whole lot more fun. It’s the lifting ‘heavy’ (which is relative to each person) which is absolutely KEY! We need to stress to progress and give the muscles a reason to work hard and grow!! Lifting heavy also means we can vary our training more and everyone enjoys some variety, it’s the spice of life.

Guys you are guilty too

I get this all the time – People believe that to get lean and cut then you need to lift lighter for higher reps, or even they worry if they push too hard all of sudden they will sprout gigantic muscles! Listen up, you’re not the Hulk!

Celebrities like Dwayne “The Rock” and bodybuilder Phil Heath didn’t suddenly get huge as soon as they started squatting and pressing. It honestly takes DECADES of progressive overload, specific nutrition and most importantly consistency to get to the standard most would even consider ‘big’ so there is no need to worry that you might accidentally turn into Mr Olympia J

Practical Recommendations

With all that being said, first things first you need to enjoy your training, but I truly believe the best way to go both physiologically and psychologically is to train heavy. It doesn’t matter if it’s a deadlift, a squat or a sandbag, just make sure you are not going through the motions. Push yourself to move heavier loads and you will begin to see the results.

So where to start

Try starting with 2 to 3 sessions per week focusing on compound lifts like squats, rows, deadlifts, lunges and presses. Keep most of the rep ranges in the 5 to 10 range, occasionally going a little higher and sometimes lower. Keep the total reps to approximately 30, so this might look like;

Squats – 5 sets of 6 reps and Push press 3 sets of 8 reps followed by some cardio…

Don’t be afraid to push, keep striving to get stronger and you’ll see dramatic changes in your body and an increased rate of fat loss.  

What makes a good coach?

 ‘A good coach should become redundant’ – Unknown

A coach has the ability to lead and make things happen, inspires and helps an individual come to a new level of understanding of what is possible.

I can say that this coach (the legendary Dr Matt Vassey) has shown me that. This guy has empowered me, believed in me and has pushed me. Always questions me on why I’m doing that? What is its purpose? Although sometimes annoying, the benefits and his teachings have helped develop me. Wonder who pushed me to start blogging and use my degree to share my knowledge?

In his pursuit to be a better coach he will often set challenges.  If you want to grow as a coach and as a person you need to put yourself in uncomfortable situations and be willing to fail so you can learn from this. He is never afraid to try something new if it doesn’t work he will say ‘Yus we are never doing that again’ and move on.

The challenges aren’t always fitness related sometimes life related and fun i.e. whilst coaching the other day my challenge was to only play music that was Dancehall not everyone’s cup of tea for exercise music but, nevertheless again stretching my abilities. Did we succeed? Let’s just say we changed it after three songs.

When I coach with him I can’t help but also become a student and just listen to his knowledge something he has humongous wealth in.  The science and knowledge bombs he drops are freaking awesome!

A quote I heard the other day which struck a chord was ‘a good coach should become redundant’ – Unknown 

Hmm an interesting thing to say that If I excel at my work as a coach, ultimately I won’t be needed. However, it’s meaning is perfect and true.  It is something in which Vass embodies and hopefully I now do. This means the best thing you can do as a coach is to empower people, teach them what you know so that they can teach themselves.

That’s inspiring, that’s selfless, that’s passion, that’s Vass.

Can’t thank this man enough for inspiring me, pushing me and believing in me.

Brothers for life.

Love you man.

Cardio – The truth (Finally)

Cardio – The Truth (finally)

For any person, the amount of fat you want to lose will be controlled by your energy balance. This balance can only be changed in one of two ways; through decreasing calories or increasing your activity. One of the best ways to do this is to combine approaches and develop more lean muscle and increase your BMR (I’ll explain about that another time…) but for some lifting weights everyday just isn’t practical or optimal. So to increase our daily activity (and therefore calories burnt) we can do cardio to help, plus there is also some nice other health benefits in doing cardio!

Not all cardio is equal…

If you think cardio is going for a jog, you should probably keep reading! Cardio (short for cardiovascular training) is about training the different energy systems of the body and generally people are missing out on the good progress that can be made if you are using cardio effectively.

So what should you be doing?

HIIT

High Intensity Interval Training is a system of organising cardio training into repeated bouts of short duration, all-out effort exercise intervals. For example; 12 seconds all out on the Watt bike, with 2mins rest repeated 5 times.

HIIT produces more fat loss in a shorter period of time. Great so we should just do HIIT right?

  • If you ever have done HIIT I mean true HIIT Running sprints or on a Watt bike it is exhausting and can leave you flagging and drained for the rest of the day having an impact on your recovery and strength.
  • Plus you can only do this tough training so many times (you have to psyche yourself up to push yourself to really give it your all for HIIT for it to truly have an impact).

 

The best bit?

HITT has less of an impact on hypertrophy and creating/keeping lean muscles. So you can burn those calories, lose fat and keep those muscles; all in minutes of effort, not hours.

Sounds stressful! What other cardio is there?

LISS

Low Intensity Steady State training Instead of pushing yourself to breaking point for a short burst of time, you should aim for a low level of exertion for a long, continuous period. This includes; walking for sustained pace for 45mins, a steady bike ride or even some gardening!

No doubt, LISS is more convenient and practical.

  • It is not as tiring. You don’t need to get all psyched up, literally just leave the house and start walking.
  • You can multi task, you can be doing LISS whilst being on Instagram, watching TV or even reading this! We have a few podcasts to recommend as well, more on that soon.

 

Sounds perfect! So just go for a jog then, Yusuf??

  • Hold on! It does take time and do you really have an hour spare in the day to cycle, walk or swim? Sometimes more isn’t less..
  • Studies have shown that too much LISS training has more of an impact on hypertrophy and maintaining muscle mass that HIIT due to the catabolic nature of the energy systems used, I’ll fill you in on the science next week.

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Here are some things to keep in mind and take home from all this.

  • Cardio is a great tool but can be over used, especially if in a calorie deficit, stick to 2-3 times per week and mix it up.
  • Long steady can be used as its own training to develop your aerobic system and aid in muscle recovery (as well as Vitamin D levels if you get outside!)
  • If doing HIIT try to do it on a separate day to your weights/resistance sessions.
  • If you do both on the same day try separate the sessions for as long has possible I.E. weights in the morning, cardio in the evening. And if you haven’t got the time then do some weights first then the cardio.
  • As ever, the value of this training is all dependant on the individual and the goals. If you have a specific goal then you need to train a specific way, if you want a balance then make sure you do exactly that and go for a walk every now and again.

 

Whatever you do, enjoy it.

Now go get it!

 

My inspiration

 

“My Mum is for sure my biggest inspiration.” – Yusuf Paterson

She left Mauritius at the age of 17, leaving the comfort of home to venture to another country – a country so vastly different to her own. Even though she was born in paradise all wasn’t what it seems. She was the middle sister of 5. Her family were poor and often would go without meals, sometimes not even being able to pay to go to school.

She arrived in the U.K. without being able to speak much English, however she got educated became a nurse and had me – her son. Bringing me up all on her own from day one, she’s struggled, but she has never asked for help.

She’s been working for the NHS as a nurse for over 30 years and in that time she’s helped so many people from all walks of life. Honestly when I get the bus with my mum it’s like getting a bus with a celebrity everyone knows her and the majority know her for doing such an amazing job helping their spouses, friends and family members and they always sing her praises!

She is such a caring, loving thoughtful person. 

My mum has always done such an amazing job raising me – balancing work with caring for me. I’ve never felt I was missing out by not having a father. She pushes me and I’ve done some amazing things as a result of her hard work and effort. On top of all this she somehow manages to find the time to run marathons and do charity walks!

She’s 65 and her medals for these achievements are getting overwhelming (as you can see). In doing all these runs she’s found them challenging but she’s succeeded and raised so much money for charities.

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If ever I’m down and need strength or courage I always think of what my mum as overcome and I always then find that strength.

 

Who inspires you?

 

5 ways to keep hunger at bay

 

‘Hit your macros, make it simple, look great naked.’ – Yusuf Paterson

Its Wednesday, you’ve made it to midweek eating super healthy Monday and Tuesday because lets face it like most of us you’ve over indulged a little over the weekend…

Now those cravings are kicking in. All you can hear is that voice in your head telling you to eat anything and everything that is in front of you or to go out and buy anything covered in chocolate goodness.

Hold that thought.

Here are some simple tips to keep those cravings at bay.

  1. Plan your day in advance. Don’t log and track your macros as you go, it’s a surefire way of spending the latter half of the day eating broccoli and egg whites. Understand the nutritional content of the food you’re eating and it’s ability to affect your hunger and make intelligent decisions which will allow you to truly maximise the calorie budget you’re working with.
  2. Eat plenty of fibre – fibre slows the digestion process, literally keeping the food inside you for longer. Plus, it helps you poo, so there’s really no reason not to include plenty of this in your diet. Aim for 10-15g fibre per 1000 calories as a general rule of thumb, but make sure the lid of the toilet bowl stays up if you’re towards the upper limit of that range and like to drink plenty of water. Which leads me to the next point:
  3. Drink plenty of water. Whilst staying well hydrated may not necessarily directly affect hunger, it’ll help to ensure you aren’t confusing thirst for hunger, plus research suggests water-rich foods may assist with reducing calorie intake
  4. Eat bigger meals. Seriously. Every time you eat, your body tells you you’re hungry. Reduce the frequency with which you do so and you’ll not only be able to eat bigger meals throughout the day, you’ll be able to truly satisfy your hunger by doing so and reduce the physiological ‘you’re hungry’ messages you keep sending your body.
  5. Get enough sleep. Too little, and your appetite can increase whilst hormones associated with fullness can decrease. I must admit I am the worse at this one though.

Don’t let hunger get the better of you. Chances are, it’s a short term thing.

Diet with personal preference and practicality in mind – so long as you’re hitting your daily macronutrient requirements with your goals and activity levels in mind you’re going to get from point A to point B.

Make it as painless as possible, so that you can ensure it is a lifestyle change not just a quick fad.

Hit your macros, make it simple, look great naked.