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Imagine feeling like Arnie, Rocky and the Hulk all in one with enhanced strength, motivation, energy and drive. Well that was my experience of using Anabolic Designs pre workout supplement Aminotaur for the first time, and the second and ever since. When my trainer, Jordan Peters (awesome guy, check him out on facebook) told me to take it I didn’t question him but assumed it would be like all the previous ones I’ve tried (I’ve tried superpump 250, jack3d, no explode and good old coffee). How I was wrong…

I take 2 scoops pre workout and 1 scoop intra and in about 15 minutes I enter a state of euphoric awesomeness where all I want to do is my workout. All other thoughts leave my mind, I just know what I need to do and how to do it and I am BUZZING! ALL of my lifts increase by a significant amount and I have energy throughout the entire workout (no slump half way through) when taking the stuff (be it placebo or physiological, either way I’m not complaining). Even when my workout finishes and my muscles are fried my mind still wants more and I don’t feel tired afterwards (physically I do, not mentally), most importantly I don’t get that after workout crash which most pre workouts cause in my experience. So for my clients for the rest of the day I talk at 100mph, feel energised and clear minded…I felt like I had taken that nzt pill from the film limitless.

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You might be thinking “whose paying him to write such a biased review” “hasn’t he got anything bad to say about it” but to tell you the truth (believe me if you want) I just haven’t ever experienced anything like it before, my body just responds so well to it….will it respond for everyone as well, chances are no. Plus I’ve only been in the game for 4 months (eating and training perfectly) so my knowledge and experience of products is about as well nourished as the majority of the UK population – take that as you will.

Moving on from my experiences and lets dig deep into how they’ve managed, In my opinion, one of the best pre workout supplements around. I’m going to look at what I consider as the key ingredients:

PERFORMANCE BLEND
First up is their ‘performance blend’ which consists of 5000mg of AAKG, leucine, l-carnitine, l-tartrate, HICA, isoleucine, Valine. All of which claim to help in endurance, recovery, growth, blood flow and fat metabolism so lets break the key ingredients down to see how and if this is true;

– AAKG (arginine alphaketoglutarate) – has been marketed as a vasodilator in recent years and seems to becoming more popular within pre workout supplements. AAKG is said to work via the up-regulation of the endothelial L-Arginine-Nitric-Oxide pathway (for all you science geeks out there), in other words blood can get pumped to the working muscles more efficiently resulting in enhanced strength and hypertrophy (due to nitric oxide signalling to enhance vascular tone to working muscles during exercise). Despite the research seeming to swing both ways (as research ALWAYS will) there are plenty of people raving about its effects with a simple google search. AAKG in my view gets the nod.

– leucine – I don’t want to go into any detail with this one as we should know about its benefits by now (enchanted protein synthesis being the key one) however what I would be interested In finding out is the amount of leucine in each scoop. Leucine definitely gets the nod.

– HICA (Alfa-hydroxy-isocaproic acid) this is an end product of leucine metabolism and is allegedly an anti-catabolic substance. It has been suggested to reduce delayed onset of muscle soreness (DOMS). Also promotes anabolism (muscle growth). The metabolites from leucine and their effects (HMB is another I believe) have only recently began to surface and HICA is becoming more and more popular. From what the research suggests, it’s a must for a pre workout stack if you want to maintain/build muscle. I’m still digging around to understand the physiology behind this ingredient, which looks very interesting, so I’m sure ill be able to expand on it in the future. But not right now ūüôā

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NEUROFIRE BLEND
Then there’s the neuro fire blend (1255mg) which is comprised of tyrosine, green tea extract (non caffeinated), bacopa monniera, ashwagandha root and hyperzine A. All aimed to increase mind/muscle connectivity and alertness. The use of nootropics have become more and more popular (nootropics are any drug/supplement/food/nutraceutical that enhances mental function – in this case alertness and connectivity) and as they’re not caffeine based there isn’t the associated post activity crash (bit like sugar rush from any simple carbohydrate).

I have had a small amount of experience with nootropics back at university using aniracetam, piracetam, oxiracetam, pramiracetam, vinpocetine and DMAE (choline source, not nootropic). However I was also a student so my diet probably didn’t let me experience their full potential. But I did get awesome effects from them for the gym and for my studies.

Bacopa monniera – apart from the health benefits such as inhibiting the oxidation of LDL and VLDL as well as improving certain behavioural problems such as attention disorders and speech defects. It is also awesome at improving mental sharpness and alertness via the frontal cortical muscarinic cholinergic receptor activity (check out http://www.mindnutriton.com for a better explanation than what I’m probably giving). Therefore it has properties which improves memory, concentration and overall mental performance.

Ashwagandha – considered as an adaptogen “herbs that improves energy and athletic ability”. It’s also been shown to improve immunity (increased white blood cells), improves anxiety and has protective effects on the nervous system. Importantly it has a beneficial effect on cortisol and has been shown to help alleviate chronic cortisol levels with studies suggesting improved energy, sleep and less fatigue in participants.

I will look more into nootropics and the positive effects it has mentally soon, from previous experience I have found enhanced cognitive function from vinpocetine, aniracetam and a choline source resulting in improved workouts.

– vinpocetine – has been shown to improve memory, improve brain circulation, improved awareness, increase brain blood flow to and from the brain and aids in helping to remove free radicals and toxicity from the brain. Therefore, I believe, may be worthwhile researching and considering to also supplement with.

– aniracetam – improves focus, memory and relaxes you to allow for better cognitive and physical function.

– choline source – e.g. DMAE and alpha GPC, stimulates production of choline and results in production of acetylcholine in the brain. ACl works in the peripheral and and central nervous system, some of the functions include aiding in muscle function and decision making.

I hope this review has firstly made sense as its my first one Ive ever written, secondly given you an insight into the ingredients which makes up this awesome product. I would STRONGLY recommend giving this product a go as it definitely does what it says on the tin.

On a constructive note, I would appreciate feedback and comments on anything you feel like I’ve missed so I can improve next time I write a review.

Sources for information
http://www.mindnutrition.com
http://www.anabolic-designs.com
http://www.wikipedia.org (yeah yeah unreliable I know…)
– various other google sites for checking information (didn’t take note, sorry!)

Dream. Believe. Achieve!

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Think about all the previous times that you’ve been injured and your mum, coach,doctor or physiotherapist said to just go away and rest the injury, usually followed by recommending ice, compression and elevation. The old school ‘rice’ recommendation.

Now imagine if someone told you to go and increase your olive oil, red meat and vegetable intake you’d be thinking they’ve been smoking Amsterdam’s finest. But, in reality, it’s potentially useful information when applied correctly.

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When we get injured we go through stages of inflammation which help to recover and rebuild the injured site (be it a tendon, muscle or ligament problem for example). We get a wide variety of different enzymes and hormones which will come into the site and out of it to help lay down, take away and strengthen anything which needs to be. Now where do we get these enzymes and hormones from? Two places…firstly what our body creates, secondly what we put into ourselves (see my article on the nutrition basics to get an understanding of this).

But before we get into that we need to understand the process the body goes through straight after an injury and during rehabilitation. Firstly we will look at soft tissue injury and repair:

Stage 1: inflammation
This is referring to the acute version (4-5 days post injury) rather than the chronic version of inflammation which lasts for lengthy periods of time and is destructive to our tissue. This is the period when our very clever bodies clear out the damaged and dead cells and start to lay down new ones. It is considered as a mechanism of innate immunity (first line of defence) and involves the increased movement of plasma and leukocytes from the blood to the injured area…causing a cascade of biochemical events which is going to be important in a later part of this article.

Pain, swelling, redness and heat all signify inflammation however shouldn’t be interpreted as something bad as it is our body healing itself (hence why taking NSAIDs immediately after an injury isn’t advised). However prolonged inflammation is detrimental and means that something isn’t working correctly so needs to be sorted!

Stage 2: proliferation
This starts just as the first stage is finishing. The majority of the damaged tissue will be removed and new tissue will have come in, but won’t be very strong. Oxygen and nutrient flow should have restored allowing collagen and fibronectin to be laid down, commonly known as scar tissue. Scar tissue is the building blocks of the new muscles being laid down, the force in which you place now on this injured site will dictate/influence the alignment of the new forming tissue. The scar tissue is contracting on a daily basis once it has started and brings the wound closer together, hence why wounds get smaller during rehabilitation!

Stage 3: remodelling
This is when the initial scare tissue (collagen and fibronectin) gets replaced with newer and stronger collagen to make the site stronger (it will be about 80% as strong as the previous tissue but that’s better then nothing). This period can last up to 2 years (even longer in bones!) so efficient and clever rehabilitation and training strategies will ensure a good recovery.

Bone remodelling:
It has similar stages to soft tissue injury however the length of time is usually longer for recovery. Callus formation is the main difference in this injury as it is used to create new bone which soft tissue obviously doesn’t need. Bone strength and shape can be nearly returned to previous condition also after injury! All good news despite the inconvenience of the actual injury!

Why tell me that? Your boring me now!
I can appreciate that what I’ve just told you is either 1) really boring and too complicated for you OR 2) you already new you so I just wasted your time ūüôā either way its my blog and this is how I chose to write it….but here’s what I know your desperate to here (desperate is probably an exaggeration).

How can we NUTRITIONALLY optimise the above response to ensure a safe and more efficient recovery (let me point out I am not about to state that you can Speed any of the above processes as these things take time but you can optimise the recovery period).

There are three points to consider:
1) how to manage the inflammatory period
2) how to support immune function
3) how to help the long term repair and regeneration of new tissue

INFLAMMATORY PERIOD
Remember we WANT this to occur as it will allow recovery so trying eliminate it will be costly. In a review by Hertel (1) it was found that the use of NSAIDs immediately post injury caused greater muscle healing and function short term however long term it was seemed to delay the inflammatory process, causing longer rehabilitation and less efficient recovery. So what do we want to do? Manage the inflammatory process to ensure a smooth transfer from stage 1 to 2.

Dietary fats should be your first thought for this stage, the majority of people are deficient in omega 3 and have to much omega 6. Now too much omega 6 causes what? You guessed it, excessive inflammation which means potentially a disrupted stage 1. Therefore consider the following:
1) supplement with omega 3 daily (3-9g)
2) decrease your omega 6 consumption (vegetable oil, sunflower oil, processed foods, soy)
3) increase your monounsaturated (MCT) fats such as nuts, seeds, olive oil and avocados (has been suggested to repress pro-inflammatory genes (2))
4) the use of herbs and phytochemicals such as garlic, turmeric, bromelian, flavanoids should be considered as they all have proven anti-inflammatory effects.

*just remember you don’t want to stop inflammation, just control it so dont go overboard on your omega 3

CALORIC INTAKE FOR STAGES 2-3
What do you think will happen if your immobilised/inactive for a lengthy period of time? You’ll waste away, lose all your muscle and lose everything you’ve trained for – not really but that hopefully woke you up a bit. You will lose weight, decrease strength and atrophy as your body will only keep what is necessary (natural homeostatic adaptation – don’t keep onto what we don’t use). However is it possible to limit these losses? Of corse! Will you have to eat more despite doing less activity? Definitely.

Winthrop et al (3) conducted a study looking at basal metabolic rate (BMR) and protein turnover and concluded that post injury BMR went up by a significant 15% and protein synthesis increased by 93%. There is an alteration in the internal environment/composition of the body reflected in electrolyte metabolism, energy and intermediary metabolism and endocrine function (4). Due to the increased stress (injured site) the body requires more nutrients and minerals to assist in repair and remain functioning to its day to day rate. Therefore overall caloric intake should be increased by around 15-20% to assist the body during the repair states (especially stages 1 and 2).

Anabolism is the process of building muscle, however due to decreased activity overall net protein balance becomes negative and catabolism (protein breakdown) dominates. Therefore it has been suggested that increased protein intake is required in order to increase the rate of protein synthesis to around 1.5g/kg bodyweight.

Fat intake has been previously discussed and you should be looking to balance out your omega 3 and 6 ratio. Finally, carbohydrates which aren’t essential (see my nutrition basics article) should be considered to help regulate insulin. The more stable your blood glucose levels the more efficient you’ll be. Insulin is known for being one of the most anabolic hormones in the body so the theory is control insulin then help control repair and growth.

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MICRONUTRIENTS DURING INJURY REPAIR
Vitamins: any group of organic compounds that are essential for normal growth and nutrition and are required in small quantities in the diet
Minerals: a solid inorganic substance of natural occurrence

Now imagine if we were deficient in any vitamins and minerals, optimum growth would be hindered. Guess what….we are all deficient somewhere in the body (which is normal so don’t freak out), however for improved overall health and well being we should strive to balance out any deficiencies to alleviate any stress for our body to allow homeostasis to occur.

Vitamin A- Gives inflammatory support, assists in collagen remodelling and reverses post injury immune suppression…beautiful stuff!

Vitamin c – enhances neutrophil and lymphocyte activity (stage 1), assists in collagen remodelling, antioxidant and immune system modulator

Zinc – zinc has hundreds of different functions within the body, protein synthesis, DNA synthesis and cell division are all influenced by zinc which are all necessary for tissue remodelling and repair

Other micronutrients which may have an effect: leucine, arginine, copper, glutamine and HMB, however I haven’t got the time at the moment to research all of these and the links no the recommendations so I will leave that down to you (or probably myself at a later date).

Here is an example of a daily nutrition plan for someone who has recently undergone surgery and is looking at 3-4 months out:

Assuming a 80kg male

Breakfast: 50g oats in water with 2 eggs mixed in + 50g blueberries + 3G omega 3

Meal 2: 100g chicken + 1 avocado + 100g vegetables + 10g walnuts

Meal 3: 150g salmon + green vegetables + 3G omega 3

Meal 4: 150g chicken + vegetables + 50g rice

Meal 5: 250g mince + vegetables + 10g walnuts

Pre bed: 150g full fat Greek yoghurt

Optional supplements:
– vitamin A: 10,000IU a day (first 4 weeks post injury)
– zinc: 20mg a day (first 4 weeks post injury)
– vitamin c: 1-2g a day (first 4 weeks post injury)
– glutamine 10g morning and night

I hope this gives you a fresh perspective of nutrition at all times in your lives and not just for enhancing performance. A healthy body is a healing body and will grow and become stronger so much more easily than an unhealthy one.

Dream, believe, achieve ūüôā

1) Hertel, J (1997). The role of non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs in the treatment of acute soft tissue injuries. The journal of athletic training, 32(4), 350-358.

2) Rahman, I., Biswas, S.K., & Kirkham, P.A. (2006). Regulation of inflammation and redox signalling by dietary polyphenols. Journal of biochemical pharmacology, 72, 1439-1452.

3) Winthrop, A.L., Wesson D.E., Pencharz, P.B., Jacobs, D.G., Heim, T & Filler, R.M. Injury severity, whole body protein turnover, and energy expenditure in paediatric trauma. Journal of paediatric surgery, 22(6), 534-547.

4) Moore, F.D & Ball, M.R. (1952). The metabolic response to injury, Springfield, USA: Thomas Roe, C.F (1966). Monographs in surgical sciences (3), 85.

“There is no diet that will do what eating healthy does”

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We’re surrounded by diets left right and centre ranging from eating purely grapes for a week, having 700 calories for a month, buying man made wonder drinks to drop a dress size in a day! Heck I’m sure this time next year people will be told that eating their own poop will ensure you get all the minerals and vitamins possible for the body (as long as you buy it back of corse)! Whatever the latest fad is there is never going to be anything which beats going back to basics and eating the correct ratio of macronutrients (that’s carbohydrates, proteins and fats) to optimise body composition and longevity.

And why is this so hard for people to appreciate seeming as our civilisation managed it for 2000+ years….laziness. Period. My rage and frustration of the mindset of the public though will be saved for another day and I will stop banging my head and get back to basics for everyone, macronutrients…what, why, when and who will be answered!

PROTEINS

You cannot survive without them, full stop. The greek word for protein is “first”, which highlights the importance and priority it should have in nutrition (personally protein intake is what i firstly address for all my clients). These essential nutrients play a massive part in the regulation of the body. Proteins are amino acids linked together (all together there are 20 amino acids we can get from our diet, we’ll come back to this in a bit), they have the following responsibilities:
– structural responsibilities: protein is found in bones, muscles, organs, skin, hair and all cells.
– repair and growth
– hormones: amino acids create hormones such as insulin
– energy: when the body is depleted of carbs and fats than it will switch to proteins from muscles
– blood clotting properties
– ph balance
– strengthens the immune system

Now I don’t no about you but I would like to know my body was carrying out the above functions effectively so I could live my life healthy and happy. I referred to there being 20 amino acids earlier, these amino acids can be sub divided into two classifications of essential and non-essential. Essential means that they can be must be obtained from food (therefore what we put in our mouth makes a huge impact on any of the above functions that proteins carry out) and non essential are amino acids which our body can create naturally.

Interestingly protein is the only macronutrients which contains dietary nitrogen. Nitrogen is a necessity within any organism as it allows amino acids to be created which in turn creates proteins, additionally nitrogen is used to make nucleic acids which create DNA and RNA.

Guidelines state that we need 55g from the age of 19+ however I am sure that the majority of health and fitness advocates would tell you that is horribly low and 1g/kg is usually a starting point for someone (depending on goals and targets for their body composition)…and before any of the female population ask “no you will not grow massive biceps by having more protein”

* and no you can’t have too much protein!! If you have had previous kidney problems then you MAY have a problem, but otherwise don’t be scared to eat it!

CARBOHYDRATES

These are not essential to daily living for us, you can remove all forms of carbohydrates from your diet and you would survive (wouldn’t have brilliant health but you wouldn’t die). Our bodies have an ability to change proteins and fats into useable energy source when glycogen stores are low (called gluconeogenesis).

Carbohydrates are subject to massive debate within the dietary industry however bottom line we should have them in our diet to optimise our health. Carbohydrate literally translates into “sugar” and can come in many simple to complex forms.

Carbohydrates are our primary energy source and can be divided into two categories, starchy and fibrous. Fibrous carbohydrates are vegetables (exception of one or two) and starchy carbohydrates which is practically everything else including fruits (bread, pasta, potato’s, rice etc).

There are three molecular classifications of carbohydrates which you may have heard of previously, these are: monosaccharide, oligosaccharides and polysaccharides in which sugars such as fructose, glucose, sucrose, fibres, starch and glycogen all fall under uniquely. For the purpose of this article there is no need to go into detail about the differences on your health and well being that each different one can cause however be sure to check back soon to find out more!

FATS

Let’s make this bit clear, fat does not make you fat unless (like everything else) you have to much of the wrong sort. There are four different types of fats:

Trans fats
In other words man made fat (vegetable oil which has been solidified to give it a longer shelf life basically). These types of fats need no debate as we all no that these give the most detrimental affects on the body such as increased diabetes risk.

Saturated fats
Probably one of the most mythical fats of the lot with many extremist view points on this matter. Inuits have been said to consume 80% saturated fats within their diet however don’t have any problems with heart disease and other ailments commonly associated with a high saturated fat diet. On the other hand some research has claimed heart problems to arise and cholesterol to increase when consuming saturate fat. For a good article on the matter check out:
Saturated fats: what dietary intake? German and Dillard, 2004.

Monounsaturated fats
Olive oil is the most obvious example of this sort of fat. Their have been many claimed health benefits of this fat type and all the products which are “high in fat” are usually due to this fat being the predominant one. They have been said to reduce cholesterol, have high vitamin E and act as a anti oxidant.

Polyunsaturated fat
Omega 3 and 6 are the two most talked about in this fat type, which have been said to have very opposite effects on the body. Omega 3 includes the infamous, ALA, DHA and EPA and have been given a massive list of health benefits such as:
– decrease chronic inflammation
– turn off fat storing enzymes
– turning on muscle building enzymes
– aid in joint health
– improve brain function

On the other hand the western society consumes way to much omega 6 in our current lifestyle (4:1 of omega 6 to 3 allegedly), however we should be having an equal ratio of both within our diets. Over consumption of omega 6’s have been linked to causing unhealthy inflammation within the body so get yourself balanced!

Sources of omega 6: vegetable oil, walnut oil, corn oil, walnuts, soy based foods.

So increase your omega 3 consumption, the easiest way to do this is via a good supplement. Get in around 5g per day and you’ll feel the effects quicker than you think!

Hope this basic overview of macronutrients has helped out!

Dream, Believe, Achieve!

These are words that a client of mine said to me and have stuck with me pretty hard the last couple of weeks whilst I reflect on where I want to take my career, so I thought I would share my thoughts…

I got a personal training job, I have got an okay number of clients and I’m earning a wage which is just about survivable on, so reflecting my position in the current economical position we’re currently in I am quite fortunate. However. I don’t want to stagnate, human beings, I believe, are born to grow, adapt and thrive on opportunity.

I could easily settle for where I am which would allow me to become comfortable with my financial, personal and spiritual self but I ask myself do I want this? If I allow my day to day life become to predictable, repetitive and monotonous than how will I ever have a chance to grow and adapt to new surroundings and teachings? I wouldn’t.

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I decided to ask myself a bunch of questions, and after asking myself I would say to myself “so what if that happened”. These we’re the scenarios I contemplated:

– changing jobs and moving to a better gym (starting on a budget a lot lower than what I’m currently on)
– doing another educational course (which costs a LOT of money)
– changing my own training and learning from someone else

And these were the answers I gave myself:
– so what if I change jobs and earn less? Short term would I be earning less and have less to spend, yes I would. Long term is there a greater chance of being in a better situation than previously. Yes definitely. Is that guaranteed to happen? No. Will I make it happen? Yes.
– can I justify spending money I haven’t got on a qualification that will give me better credentials at the end. Yes. What if I fail the course? Ill re-take. What if it isn’t worthwhile in the end? I’ve done my research, it is. Is it guaranteed to make me a better trainer? No, but I am willing to put the time and effort into my studies to make sure it becomes worthwhile. Yes I am.
– can I afford to spend money on someone to train me? Only just. What if they don’t give me the results Im looking for? I ask simply, what If they do. What if they train me with a different approach to what I’m used to? Im always willing to learn new approaches to maximise results.

So guess what I done. I done all the above, I am now on a sports nutritionist course to become a certified sports nutritionist, I have someone training me (controlling my entire diet and training) and I am currently applying for other gyms elsewhere. I am making a gamble, will it pay off? Only time will tell. Has history shown us before that making changes to your norm make a difference? Yes over and over again:

– Harland David Sanders (KFC colonel) had his restaurant rejected over a 1,000 times and could have easily quit.
– Oprah Winfrey could have walked away after being told she wasn’t fit enough to be on screen
– Dr Seuss first book was rejected 27 times, he could have just walked away and changed career paths.

Even simple changes day to day lifestyle, from the food you put in your mouth, books you choose not to read and the little things you always forget to say to close people around you. Have I succeeded in where I want to end up? Not by a long shot. Do I want to return to my previous lifestyle, not a chance.

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Someone once said to me that we repeat 95% of what we said the day before. I don’t no how true that statement is but makes me realise that I don’t want to keep repeating the same thing.

What’s the point of this article? There isn’t one, I’m making it up as I go along without any thought. I just want to send a little probe or thought into your brain to see if your happy where you currently are or if there is anything you would want to change. I’m not saying you should or shouldn’t but just questioning whether your happy with where your life is right now or would you like to improve it. Because if you want to improve it than it won’t happen repeating everything day in day out hoping for a magical phone call asking you to come and get a job at whatever utopian, virtuous reality you dream of being in.

You can’t just think, you must act.

The majority of the public want to improve their body composition but there are so many products in the market and it becomes all a bit confusing. Every trainer has their own approach and their own methods in dealing with clients and even the fundamentals will differ (usually because experience has taught the older trainers wiser) in regards to their most efficient ways in burning the fat. Either way here are my top 5 methods in no particular oder:

1) If you catch it, kill it, grow it than eat it

Personally nutrition needs to be taken down a notch and we as humans have developed way to fast for our bodies to keep up. In today’s world we’re surrounded by fast food, ready meals and artificially created ‘health’ foods. Lets go back as nature intended and have nutritionally dense foods packed with vitamins and minerals rather than man made garbage. I challenge any person who reads this to try it for 2 weeks and claim it had no positive change on their body.

2) resistance exercise

How many overweight people do you see in the gym who run for miles and miles on the treadmill and are lucky if they see any significant results after a month? Not many from my experience (which I appreciate is under a year and always willing to change my view point on a subject if someone can prove it to me). The problem is aerobic exercise has a positive correlation with cortisol release, accelerated ageing, oxidative stress and inflammation. Whereas resistance training (including interval training) has an anabolic hormonal effect on the body in which it can help counter the effects of cortisol and help build muscle and burn fat.

3) keep a food diary

So simple! Most overweight people UNDER eat, yes that’s correct UNDER eat. Problem is they eat to much in one sitting and not enough throughout the day. I have all my clients make detailed food diaries which they write down what they eat, when they eat, how the food makes them feel after, how much they eat and any other comments. It gives them an understanding on what their body is doing and how it’s responding throughout their time with me and teaches them how to look after themselves when I’m not around. E.g. If they have some sweet potatoes at a sitting and it bloats them out than we’ll change the carbohydrate source next time etc.

4) Sleep!

I can say I have definitely under appreciated the significance of sleep and all the wonderful things it does for our body. I went through a stage of trying to survive on three 20 minute naps a day and a 4 hour sleep each day…don’t do it. Shoot for 7-9 hours sleep, remove any lighting in your bedroom and turn it into a bat cave! Avoid any electronics an hour before bed (read or prepare tomorrows food) and see if you feel any better! The fresher you feel, the less stressed your body is, the more efficient the system is and works therefore more productivity in the gym to fight the fat!

5) increase your protein intake

I don’t care if your an intermittent faster, a 6 meal a day guy, or only want to have 3 meals a day. I guarantee if your trying to lose weight your most definitely under eating in protein (check out my other article on what protein is and does for more information). Increase your protein intake to 1g/Ib bodyweight and you’ll have a solid foundation! And I’m talking protein from clean sources such as meat, fish and eggs…not tofu, lentils and nuts (not saying their bad foods but not as high in protein). Also protein shakes do not count before you get excited at the thought of 3 shakes a day, start on the basics then supplement AFTER.

Hope you enjoyed this short article! Leave feedback and opinions!

“Suck it up so one day you won’t have to suck it in”

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It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog
Mark Twain’s famous quote can be related directly to the Adrenal Gland. ¬†It produces more hormones than any other gland, metabolises proteins/fats/carbohydrates, balances blood sugar levels/stress/sodium and potassium levels, produces corticosteroids, ¬†controls water retention and is only the size of a walnut, weighing in at about the same as a grape! ¬†It’s fair to say that if we have an adrenal related disorder than we will potentially be in a bit of a state, conversely if we have any disorder than it’s also a fair assumption that our adrenal gland is out of sync hormonally somewhere!
The adrenal glands sit above both the kidneys (abdominal region) and consists of the adrenal cortex and the adrenal medulla.  The Adrenal cortex consists of three layers (zona glomerulosa, zona fasciculata and the zona reticularis), this area of the Adrenal Gland is hormonally controlled and is in charge of secreting hormones such as cortisol (stress), sex steroids (reproduction) and aldosterone (water retention).  Whereas the adrenal medulla is in charge of the fight or flight activity (release of epinephrine and norepinephrine) and is therefore sympathetically activated (neurological control).
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An inefficient Adrenal Gland can cause numerous disorders such as low blood pressure, allergies, asthma, stress, anxiety and autoimmune problems.  Interestingly, its known that disorders such as anxiety and depression can be due to a malfunctioning adrenal gland so before your doctor goes putting you on anti-depressants and ant-anxiety medication (which may cause detrimental side effects) you should find out if you just need to address your adrenal gland firstly.
The signs and symptoms are vague and non-specific so may just reflect the individuals personality type, immune function or physiological issue rather than an adrenal issue.  Symptoms are as followed: Run down, weakness, sweet and salt cravings, mid/lower back pain, PMS, mood swings, mental exhaustion, easily agitated,  chronic headaches, weak pulse, low blood pressure/blood sugar, irregular heartbeat, constipation, dizziness when standing up.
Reasons for the Adrenal Glands becoming fatigued are from basic things which can be controlled daily: Dehydration, food allergies, anaemia, toxicity, traumatic event (chronic stress), protein malnutrition, blood sugar surges, poor sleep pattern, caffeine consumption, alcohol, leaky gut and trans fats.  Therefore rehabilitation of the adrenal gland consists of doing the following:
– Rest/Sleep
– Hydration (plus sea salt once in morning such as himalayan sea salt for electrolyte balance)
– low/moderate carbohydrate intake
– Saturated fat (surprising? not really seeming as saturated fat maintains structure and rigidity of all our cells!)
– Increase vegetable intake
– Alkaline diet!
РYoga (believed to temporarily turn of the  adrenal glands to help repair them)
– Vitamin C
Also exercise seems to have benefits on the adrenal system, as the adrenal glands have an indirect effect on stroke volume, heart rate, blood volume, respiration, perspiration and blood flow than the more efficient we become with our cardio-respiratory system the less stress is placed upon the adrenal glands during exercise or fight/flight activity. ¬†However we should be aware that anybody with diseases such as increased blood pressure and diabetes may be on medication which slows these processes and the effects of the adrenal gland so make sure you understand what your limitations are and if you don’t know ask your doctor!
As you can see the adrenal gland is very important to our bodies. ¬†In fact before they new much about the gland they tried removing it from patients who have a dysfunction and each time the patient died (compared to pancreas removal etc in which doesn’t result in death) so look after your gland with care!
That’s me done for this article, let me here what you think!
Healthy living,
Luke Nevill

Aside  —  Posted: October 20, 2012 in Physiology

Core blimey, I’m not functioning properly!
 
Core stability has been the centre of recent attention with the concept that human mobility and stability stems from a ‘core’ system working hard to maintain human movement. ¬†Exercise professionals seemed to have jumped aboard this fascination and used it to their advantage and now we currently have hundreds of classes, exercises and equipment which all claim to improve your core and function. ¬†This article will look at the anatomy of the core briefly and revise current methods used within the health and fitness industry. ¬†
 
The human body has an inner unit and an outer unit, known as the local and global systems.  The local system is in charge of mobility and stability (e.g. transversus abdominis), compared to the global system which are in charge of movement as these muscles typically cross multiple joints (e.g. pectoralis major).  
 
The inner unit has been shown to have separate neurological control compared to the other ¬†muscles of the core. ¬†The inner unit comprises of the transversus abdominis ¬†(TVA), posterior fibre of internal oblique, pelvic floor muscles, multifidus, diaphragm and the lumbar portions of longisssmus and iliocostals. ¬†Whereas the rectus abdominis , anterior fibres of obliques and the external obliques don’t have the same activation pattern. The relationship between the muscles of ¬†the inner unit have a strong impact on the stability on the lumbar region and if muscles aren’t working adequately than individuals may be predisposed to lower back pain. ¬†This is probably one of the main explanations that 80% of people will suffer lower back pain at some point in their life. ¬† When the inner unit is working adequately there should be a simultaneous activation of the pelvic floor muscles and the diaphragm to encompass the internal organs as the TVA tightens like a corset. ¬†This stiffens the trunk as the diaphragm generates intra abdominal pressure and causes a decompressive lift via the the crura of the ¬†diaphragm (L2-3) through the lumbar spine.
 
The outer unit, or known as phasic muscles, consist of the muscles which allow movement of the human body and cross more than one joint.  These are the muscles we see everybody traditionally working in the gym, and typically over activating which leads to an imbalance between the inner and outer unit leading to injury predisposition.    
 
The question is, do doing planks, sit ups, crunches and other floor based activities have any effect on function and our ability to stabilise our spine and allow us to do a variety of different movement patterns in a tri-planal fashion. ¬†The answer is most definitely no. ¬†Unless the client/patient can’t literally do anything so is forced to be lying down 90% of the time than there is no reason in which we should be training people to activate their core in these positions, or if their activities involve being in these floor positions e.g. gymnast. ¬†The inner unit needs to have isolation training to develop sensory motor control and, as soon as possible, needs to be integrated into movement patterns. ¬†Plus the constant exposure to performing endless amounts of rectus abdominal shortening exercises like crunches will only lead to shortened abdominals and an irregular 1st/2nd rib position attempting to re-correct posture to help respire which will most likely end up in a shoulder problem due to a problem within the sternoclavicular or acromioclavicular joint. ¬†Our body’s are just crazy at times!
 
Using core training which involves lunging, squatting, twisting, pushing and pulling will prove to be much more functional than telling your clients to lie down on the floor and perform an abdominal hollow ten times, unless they spend 90% of their time on floor of corse!  Obviously such exercises have a time and a place in a rehabilitation sense however when we are constantly exposed to squatting and lunging daily to do day to day tasks we need to have a more practical approach to prevent injury and improve function. 
 
What can we do?
First thing we need to address is the way our clients breath, if our clients breath leading with their chest rather than their diaphragm than they need to be re-corrected.  If we lead with our upper diaphragm, rather than our chest (which many people do!) than we start to stabilise the lumbar spine better (as mentioned above).  As our core is activated at each breath we take, we technically activate our core roughly 24000 a day so if we can correct that than we are one step closer to where we want to be!
 
Secondly, teaching the client how to abdominal brace is key and once learn we can get them to do this in low level movement patterns such as squatting and lunging.  
 
 
 
There are many great exercises and classes out there however everyone needs to be aware of what is good and what isn’t. ¬†Before doing an exercise which claims to improve just ask yourself does it match up with any of the above information?
 
In summary:
– core training should be done in day to day positions (squats, twist etc)
– control the way you breath
– get of the floor, you won’t get 6 pack abs by doing endless amounts of sit ups
– simple sensory motor patterns should be learned than progressed to more unstable surfaces e.g. Woodchop progressed to on a bosu ball.
 
 
I look forward to talking about this topic with you all guys! 
 
 
 
Dream, believe and achieve!