Opening Times:

6.00 AM - 21.00 PM

Call Us:

077699 02529

Meal Prepping Tips

 

Meal prepping is a great way to stay on track with your diet and ensure that you have healthy, nutritious food on hand throughout the week. Here are some tips for getting started:

 

  1. Plan ahead: Before going grocery shopping, sit down and plan out your meals for the next few days. This will help you avoid impulse buying and ensure that you have all the ingredients you need on hand. Consider your schedule for the upcoming week and plan your meals accordingly. For example, if you know you’ll be busy on certain days, plan for easy-to-make meals or leftovers on those days.
  2. Choose nutrient-dense foods: Focus on foods that are high in nutrients and low in calories. Proteins such as lean meats, fish, eggs and beans, Whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and healthy fats such as nuts, seeds, and avocados are all great options. Avoid processed foods, sugary drinks and snacks, and fried foods as much as possible.
  3. Prep in bulk: Cooking in bulk can save you time and money. Choose recipes that can be easily scaled up or that have ingredients that can be used in multiple meals. For example, you can cook a large batch of rice, potatoes or quinoa, and use it for multiple meals throughout the week.
  4. Keep it simple: Meal prepping doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming. Simple dishes like lean mince, grilled chicken or fish with a side of steamed vegetables, or a large salad with various toppings, can be just as nutritious and satisfying as more complex recipes.
  5. Get organized: Invest in some good quality storage containers and label them with the date and contents. This will help you keep track of what you have and when it needs to be eaten. It’s also helpful to have a designated area in your fridge for your prepped meals, so you can easily grab them when you’re on the go.
  6. Add variety: Don’t feel like you have to eat the same thing every day. Mix and match your meals and try to change them up every week. This will help you avoid getting bored with your food and make it easier to stick to your diet. This will also give you a diverse amount of nutrients.
  7. Enjoy: Remember to enjoy your meal and savour the flavours. Eating healthy should be a pleasure, not a punishment. Take the time to sit down and enjoy your prepped meals, and don’t feel guilty if you indulge in a treat every once in a while so long as you plan for it.
  8. Herbs and spices: stock up on herbs and spices so you can add diverse flavours to your food. A lot of individuals perceive meal prepping to be boring bland add some flavour to your food by adding herbs or spices.
  9. Keep track of your progress: Keep track of your meals and how you feel after eating them. This will help you identify what works for you and what doesn’t, and make adjustments as needed.
  10. I am not a skilled cook? No one is born with the skills on how to cook, we all have to start somewhere, so start today and try one recipe at a time and build on it. Practice makes perfect don’t make excuses and build barriers for yourself, change your mindset in the information age today we have 1000s of recipes at our finger tips.

 

By following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to meal prepping like a pro and staying on track with your diet. Remember to be patient with yourself and to not get discouraged if you slip up. Meal prepping is a process, and it takes time to develop the habit. We will be posting some meal prep friendly recipes throughout the coming weeks to help you all along the way.

Spot Fat Reduction.

Spot reduction is a term used to describe the idea that it is possible to selectively reduce fat in specific areas of the body through targeted exercise. However, this idea has been widely discredited by scientific research, as the body does not lose fat in a specific, localized manner. Instead, fat loss occurs evenly across the body, and is influenced by a combination of diet, exercise, and genetics.

 

The human body stores fat in adipose tissue, which is distributed throughout the body. When the body burns fat for energy, it does so by breaking down triglycerides in adipose tissue into free fatty acids, which are then transported to the muscles to be used as fuel. However, the body does not selectively burn fat in specific areas. Instead, fat loss occurs evenly across the body, regardless of the type of exercise being performed.

 

This is due to the fact that the body’s fat burning process is primarily controlled by hormones such as insulin, cortisol, and adrenaline, as well as genetics. These factors influence the body’s ability to burn fat, and can vary greatly from person to person. Additionally, genetics also plays a role in determining where fat is stored on the body.

 

Despite the fact that spot reduction is not possible, there are still effective ways to reduce fat in specific areas of the body. The most effective way to reduce fat in any area of the body is to create a calorie deficit through a combination of diet and exercise. This means consuming fewer calories than the body burns, which will cause the body to burn stored fat for energy.

 

Another effective way to reduce fat in specific areas of the body is to focus on exercises that target those areas. For example, to reduce fat in the abdominal area, exercises such as crunches, roll outs, and leg raises can be effective. To reduce fat in the legs, exercises such as squats, lunges, and leg press can be effective. However, it is important to note that while these exercises can help tone and strengthen the muscles in these areas, they will not selectively reduce fat in those areas.

 

Spot reduction is a widely discredited idea, and the body does not lose fat in a specific, localised manner. Instead, fat loss occurs evenly across the body, and is influenced by a combination of diet, exercise, and genetics. The most effective way to reduce fat in any area of the body is to create a calorie deficit through a combination of diet and exercise. Additionally, exercises that target specific areas can also be effective in toning and strengthening muscles in those areas, but will not selectively reduce fat in those areas.

A good start would be to initially begin to track your calorie intake and place yourself in a 10% deficit to begin with. Try to perform x2 resistance training training sessions per week, a personal trainer could construct a program where you can focus more on specific areas to create a program bespoke to you. Try to perform x2 sessions per week of cardio vascular exercise decide on something that you particularly enjoy and that you can keep consistent.

How to break your snacking habits

 

We all love a snack and snacking can be a great way to fuel your body and keep your energy levels up, but it can also lead to weight gain and other health problems if you’re not careful and make the right choices. We are going to go over some tips and strategies for breaking your snacking habits and developing healthier habits in their place.

 

  1. Identify your triggers: Before you can start breaking your snacking habits, it’s important to understand what triggers your snacking in the first place. Common triggers include boredom, stress, and certain times of the day. Once you know what your triggers are, you can start to develop strategies for avoiding or managing them.
  2. Plan ahead: One of the best ways to avoid snacking is to plan ahead. Make sure you have healthy snacks on hand, like fruits and vegetables, so that you can grab something when you feel the urge to snack. You can also plan your meals in advance so that you know you’ll have something to eat when you’re hungry.
  3. Find healthy alternatives: If you’re used to snacking on junk food, it can be hard to break that habit. But by finding healthy alternatives to your favourite snacks, you can still enjoy the flavours you love without the added calories and unhealthy ingredients.
  4. Get moving: Exercise is a great way to reduce stress and boost your energy levels, which can help reduce the urge to snack. Try to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day, whether it’s a workout at the gym, a walk, or a yoga class. If you have enough in your budget to hire a personal trainer this can be a great way to learn the skills on how to exercise correctly.
  5. Be mindful: Be mindful of your snacking habits. Pay attention to when, where, and why you snack, and try to be aware of your body’s signals of hunger and fullness. By being mindful of your habits, you can make better choices about when and what to eat.
  6. Stay Hydrated: Thirst can make people eat more and increase the urge to snack. When we feel thirsty, our body is actually signalling that it needs water. But sometimes, our brain can confuse thirst for hunger, which can lead us to eat when we actually need to drink. Drinking water can help to curb your appetite and reduce the urge to snack, as well as keep your body hydrated. It’s also important to make sure you are drinking enough water throughout the day, so that you’re not getting dehydrated and mistaking it for hunger. Drinking water before a meal or snack can also help you feel more full and eat less.

 

Breaking a snacking habit can take time and effort, but with a little patience and persistence, you can develop healthier habits that will benefit your overall health in the long run. Remember to be kind to yourself and don’t get discouraged if you slip up. Don’t give up just keep moving forward and you’ll get there.

10 Important Habits for Weight Loss.

Weight loss requires a combination of several habits:

 

  1. Eating a balanced diet that is low in calories enough to place you in a slight deficit and high in nutrient-dense foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and adequate amounts of proteins.
  2. Engage in regular bouts of physical activity, such as cardio and strength training, to burn calories and build/preserve muscle mass.
  3. A consistent monitoring of portion sizes and keeping track of the number of calories consumed each day. Don’t try to guess, use scales for an amount of time that it takes for you to know how to estimate your portion sizes but alway refer back to your scale weight when in doubt.
  4. Drinking enough water to stay hydrated and avoid overeating. Set hydration targets throughout the day to help you stay on track. Keep a water bottle with you at arms length at all times.
  5. Managing stress levels through techniques such as yoga, meditation, mindfulness or deep breathing. Anything that can put your body in a parasympathetic state of deep rest.
  6. Getting enough sleep each night, as lack of sleep can affect hormones that regulate appetite. Your quality of sleep is also important, have a sleep routine and stick with it consistently, this discipline will change your life.
  7. Avoiding processed foods, sugary drinks, and excessive alcohol consumption.
  8. Following a consistent eating schedule and avoid too much snacking. If you need to snack eat fruits or protein sources.
  9. Finding a form of physical activity that you enjoy and making it a part of your daily routine. This will help you stay consistent.
  10. Seeking support from friends and family, or a professional personal trainer, to help you stay on track and achieve your weight loss goals.

 

Weight loss is not a one-size-fits-all process and it’s important to consult a professional coach who can guide you and mentor you through a weight loss program with the right strategy for you. There is no quick fix, achieving health and weight loss is a journey that will have many hurdles stick to the plan and get through the tough bits and you will reap the rewards in the long run.

Energy Systems: Lactic Acid System

This article will go more in-depth about the Lactic Acid Energy System and also how you can focus you’re training to improve its efficiency to further benefit your performance in the gym.

 

The name Lactic Acid Energy System derives its name from the fact that the by-product lactate is produced when this energy system is predominant. This system uses only carbohydrates as its fuel source to, like every energy system, produce energy in the form of ATP for muscular contraction. It does this by a process called anaerobic glycolysis. Anaerobic means without the use of oxygen and glycolysis is a series of reactions that extract energy (ATP) from glucose (a carbohydrate).

 

The lactic energy system produces ATP quickly, which is why it is the predominant energy system for exercise between 30 seconds and 3 minutes, depending on intensity and the person’s fitness level who is exercising. It yields 2 molecules of ATP for every molecule of glucose broken down.

 

However, the build-up of the by-products of this energy system causes fatigue. This cause of fatigue is due to the build-up of pyruvic acid in the muscle. Pyruvic acid is made up of two molecules; pyruvate and a hydrogen ion (H+). Without oxygen, the body converts the pyruvate and two H+ to lactate. This helps to reduce the acidity of the muscle and allows anaerobic glycolysis to last longer, as the lactate is removed from the muscle and taken to the liver where it is converted to a useful fuel source such as glucose. However, in continued high intensity activity the lactate cannot be removed fast enough, which results in a buildup of pyruvic acid. It is specifically the buildup of the H+ within the muscle that causes fatigue. It does this by increasing the acidity of the muscle and causing the enzymes needed for anaerobic glycolysis to slow down.

 

To apply this to athletic performance and the gym, we have to acknowledge that any working set or event lasting between 30 seconds to 3 minutes will primarily be using the lactic acid energy system. In sport, this would include events such as the 400m and 800m. In the gym, any sets 12 or more reps or circuit training for working sets within the duration mentioned. Therefore, to become better at these events, we must know how to train this system effectively.

 

We have established that our working sets need to be between 30 seconds and 3 minutes, but ideally less than 3 minutes when training though as 3 minutes using the lactic acid energy system would be an all-out effort, taking a lot of time to recover from. However, how long should our recovery intervals be? The process of recovery once fatigue has occurred requires oxygen. Pyruvic acid in the presence of oxygen will be converted to acetyl coenzyme A, which is then broken down through the Krebs cycle to produce more ATP. Without oxygen, it is converted to lactate and removed from the muscle and taken to the liver to be converted into glucose. Full recovery can take anywhere between 30min and 60 min. Although, to train this energy system we do not want to fully recover, we want to recover just enough so that we can do another rep whereby this energy system is predominant. For this, a work to rest ratio of 1:1 is recommended. To give an example, if you are training this system to improve 800m performance, then a session consisting of 3-10 45-second-high intensity running intervals with 45 seconds rest in between would be enough to stimulate improvement of this energy system.

 

Adaptations to this type of training include an improved tolerance to lactic acid, as well as the ability to buffer the amount of lactic acid produced. Thereby, allowing you to perform at a high intensity for a longer period of time before the event becomes too painful to continue at that sustained intensity. One way to improve lactic acid buffering besides from training alone is the supplementation of beta alanine. Beta-alanine supplementation increases carnosine levels which, simply put, helps your muscles reduce their acidity levels during exercise, thereby reducing pain. It is recommended that to see these benefits to performance, 2-5 grams is taken daily. 500g of Beta Alanine can typically be bought for 40 pounds. Therefore, at 40p per serving it is a relatively cheap supplement. Caffeine has also been shown to reduce perceived exertion during endurance performance. For these effects, 3-9mg per kg of bodyweight is recommended 1 hour prior to performance. For a 70kg person, a dose between 210mg and 630mg is recommended. However, tolerance can build quickly and if taken less than 6 hours before sleeping, can be detrimental to sleep quality, so it is worth being selective on when using it.

 

Overall, I hope this article has been insightful as to how you can improve the efficiency of your lactic acid energy system and how you can apply this knowledge to your own training to benefit your performance.

How Much Does Muscle Growth Differ Between Lifters?

Reference to the Study:

Hubal et. al. (2005). Variability in Muscle Size and Strength Gain After Unilateral Resistance Training. MED SPORTS EXERC.

 

 

Details of the Study:

 

  • 585 untrained adults performed the same arm training routine for 12 weeks.

 

  • Most lifters experienced around a 10-20% increase in cross-sectional area, but there was extreme responses on either end of the spectrum.

 

  • A small number of individuals experienced no detectable muscle growth (with some even seeing losses in muscle size).

 

  • On the other hand, a small number of individuals saw increases in biceps cross-sectional area of greater than 50%.

 

  • As with most biological traits, the response to resistance training generally follows a bell-curve relationship. This means that most people see an ‘average’ muscle growth response, but a small percentage of people experience extremely more/less growth than average.

 

 

Applications to training:

 

  • This study supports the idea of the importance of an individualised plan in order to optimise muscle growth in each person.

 

  • Furthermore, it is unavoidable that some people will find it significantly easier to add muscle more than others, rendering comparison between peers futile. If you want to progress, then track your progression against yourself.

 

  • Ultimately having a personal coach who has the skills to guide you on how to execute your exercises correctly to get the most out of each exercise will put you in the best position to see results with your hypertrophy goals from your training in the gym.

The Energy Systems: ATP-PC System

When we exercise, our bodies require energy to cause our muscles to contract, resulting in movement, cardiac muscle to contract more frequently and powerfully to increase blood flow and smooth muscle, such as the muscles in our respiratory system, to increase the amount of oxygen we take into our bodies. Energy can otherwise be called Adenosine Triphosphate (1 molecule of adenosine and three molecules of phosphate) or ATP for short. The body has 3 systems that it can create ATP from and, although we always use all 3 simultaneously, there will always be one system that is much more predominant than the others, based upon the activity and environment you’re in. This article will go more in-depth about the ATP-PC system or Alactic System and also how you can focus you’re training to improve its efficiency to further benefit your performance in the gym.

 

The ATP/PC system derives its name simply because it recycles the small storage of our bodies ATP and PC (Phosphocreatine) to produce ATP for exercise. Firstly, ATP is broken into ADP (Adenosine Diphosphate which is 1 Molecule of Adenosine and two molecules of phosphate). This action releases the energy required for our muscles to contract. Phosphocreatine is then broken down into creatine and a molecule of phosphate by an enzyme called creatine kinase. The energy released from this reaction is then used to join the phosphate group to ADP to create ATP which can then be broken down to create more energy for muscular contraction. Therefore, the limiting factor for this energy system is our body’s stores of phosphocreatine (or just creatine, which will be touched on later in the article.

 

As our bodies only have small stores of ATP and PC, this energy system can only be used for 10 seconds of exercise before we primarily use either to lactic acid energy system or the aerobic energy system, which will be looked at in the coming articles. However, despite its short duration, a huge positive of this energy system is that doesn’t produce performance debilitating by-products like lactic acid. Once used up, it takes approximately 3 minutes to replenish our body’s stores of ATP and PC, in order for the ATP/PC system to be the predominant system used in the next 10 second bout of exercise.

 

If we apply this to training in the gym, strength training, power training (less than 6 reps per set) and sprint training (10 second bouts or shorter) will primarily use this energy system. Therefore, if you are looking to improve on your strength, power and/or sprint performance, then it’s important to remember the principle of the 3-minute rest in order to be providing the stimulus to the ATP/PC system and therefore bring about the desired outcome of becoming stronger, faster or more powerful. Inadequate rest or prolonging the duration of repetitions will place stress onto the lactic acid energy system. The negative of doing so, is that this does not have the same benefit when it comes to all out efforts of 10 seconds or less, which is of particular concern for people partaking in sports where performance in these areas is key.

 

Although our stores of PC are very small, there is ways to increase them slightly. We can do this by supplementing our diet with creatine. This is because creatine has the ability to increase our muscle’s stores of PC and thereby prolonging the amount of time we can utilise the ATP/PC system before the lactic acid energy system becomes to primary energy system. The benefit to this is that you can place the training stimulus onto the ATP/PC system for an extra couple of reps/ few seconds per set which, over time, results in greater adaptations, and therefore performance, in strength and power.

 

Also, creatine is the most well researched supplement in the world and, unlike some supplements, it has been found to have no negative side effects. The recommended dosage for creatine is 5g per day which is relatively cheap as you can purchase 250g for approximately £15-£20. However, as it is a loading supplement, it is important to consume every day so that the quantity of creatine in the muscles can build up in order for you to see the benefits, unlike caffeine, whereby you take a dosage 1 hour prior to training and feel the effects for the next few hours.

 

I hope this has explained how you can improve the accuracy of your training and supplementation when you wish to focus on improving your strength, speed or power performance and overall bring about better results.

 

 

Is Training to Failure Better for Hypertrophy

 

Reference:

Refalo et. al. (2022). Influence of Resistance Training Proximity to Failure On Skeletal Muscle Hypertrophy: A Systematic Review With Meta-Analysis. Sports.Med

 

Details of the Study:

 

  • The researchers analysed the effects of failure under three separate categories- muscular failure, set failure and high velocity thresholds.

 

  • In all categories, there were trends favouring the failure condition, although these findings did not reach statistical significance.

 

  • This lead to the authors to hypothesize that training closer to failure appears to be non-linearly beneficial for muscle growth.

 

  • In other words, training to failure may be slightly superior compared with leaving a few reps in reserve, although the benefits are marginal.

 

 

Real World Application:

 

  • Training to failure can be fun to truly test your limits and this research supports the idea that it would be beneficial to do so, when the goal is muscle growth.

 

  • However, when adjusting to new training loads or during times when life stress is higher than usual, you can train slightly sub-maximally safe in the knowledge that it will not significantly prevent you from reaching your training goal.

Adherence – WHATS YOUR WHY?

Dedication vs Motivation

 

Adherence to any program or plan is the number 1 factor that will determine success to reach a particular goal or failure where you quit prior to achieving it or even getting close to it.

 

Don’t make excuses find solutions!

 

In any pursuit of getting to a certain goal consistency is king, if you are not consistently putting in the effort for the most amount of the time you will be taking 1 step forward and 3 steps back rather than the opposite.

 

Motivation will fail you, when emotions get in the way when your not in a good mood, your stressed sad, overwhelmed. Motivation will seize you’ll quit or have a day off that turns into a weeks to a month off.

 

Dedication is something that you will do regardless of your circumstances, regardless if your stressed, tired, overwhelmed and regardless if your not in a good emotional state. You’ll always find a way regardless of the situation.

 

If your just motivated you will find any little excuse to stop yourself from doing the things that you need to do. When we are dedicated we will find a solution you’ll adapt to get what you need get done to progress.

 

That’s why it’s important to identify your Why, your why is an emotional thing which can change and progress or can remain the same through the course of your journey.

 

It’s really important that we really think about this and put some focus into it as we can use it to remain dedicated when things will get in the way of our progress and progression and having that awareness as we navigate through our journey on how it may change or progress.

 

Be attached to your why, write it down put it on your notes in your phone and review it periodically. When your making excuses to yourself read it out 10 times and you will see how your focus /mindset will change.

 

We have to set our self’s up for success we are living in a more stressful environment at present and each individuals allostatic load is much higher which means we are required to acknowledge all of these things that may happen along the way over the course of the month and year and say to yourself your reactions to these stimuli that may raise your emotions will be X or Y. For example I will not drink a bottle of wine when X happens at work. I will do a workout and do 10 mins of deep breathing and meditation, or I will book myself a massage so I can release the tension from my body. Often times it’s not the stimulus but our reaction to the stimulus how we perceive it and react to it.

 

Let’s look at examples of what someone’s WHY may look like?

 

  • I want to be fit and healthy for when I have children.
  • I want to be able to keep up with my Grandchildren.
  • want to be a good role model to my children so they can see me focusing on good habits toward my health eating good foods and exercising regularly.
  • I want to be mobile and active when I reach and elderly age.
  • I like to look good for my husband/wife/partner and myself.
  • I want to look good for my clients so they believe in what I advise them to do (as a coach you are your own business card).
  • I like feel good cognitively which by creating healthier lifestyle habits allows me to feel this way. (exercises has a positive impact on mental health).
  • I want to be healthy enough to continue to do the hobbies/sports I love.

 

Make note of yours, focus and review it regularly, use it as your fuel to keep your dedicated on becoming the healthiest and strongest version of yourself.

 

A good physique, health and vitality is created by consistent habits that will require a consistent dedicated approach. As coaches and personal trainers we help individuals navigate through this process and keep you accountable to your WHY!

 

 

Static Stretching on Muscle Thickness.

 

Reference to the Study:

Warneke et. al. (2022), Influence of long-lasting Static Stretching on Maximal Strength, Muscle Thickness and Flexibility. FRONT PHYSIOL

 

Details of the Study:

 

  • Subjects used an orthosis (a brace) to hold the ankle in a dorsi-flexed position for 60 min per day for 6 weeks in total.

 

  • The device stretched the calf muscles to an 8/10 pain rating- as perceived by each individual subject.

 

  • It was found that gastrocnemius muscle thickness increased by around 15% at the end of the 6 weeks, compared with 2% from the control group who did not use the brace.

 

  • These results support the idea that static stretching is an anabolic stimulus.

 

 

Applications to training:

 

  • These results help explain why training through a full range of motion (and partials when overloading a muscle in the lengthened range) often produces superior levels of muscle growth.

 

  • Therefore, focussing on overloading the muscle in the lengthened position may be superior for hypertrophy.

 

 

Considerations:

 

  • The body of evidence supporting this idea is still small, therefore more research into this would need to be done until this is a genuine, evidence supported application to training.