Blog - Health & Fitness
For more than 20 years the media has bombarded us with a perpetual diet craze. An avalanche of fad diets are announced one after another as breaking news while producing zero true results.
Sure, you may lose 5, 10 or even 20 pounds on a fad diet...but you'll gain it all back and then some. How can I be so confident that your results will be short lived? It's actually a simple concept, and once you understand it you will be forever saved from the tortures of yo-yo dieting.
Fad diets saddle you with unreasonable calorie restrictions and some even cut out entire food groups just to produce that short lived drop in weight-a process that is actually harmful to your health. The fad diets also ignore one major component to shaping up: exercise.
You see, most fad diets operate on one age old premise: cut calories, cut calories, cut calories. By restricting the type and amount of food consumed the fad dieter usually sees an immediate drop in weight. If only it stopped there...
But it doesn't stop there. Life continues, and the fad dieter returns to their pre-diet eating habits-with one major difference in their body due to the sudden drop in pounds. Their calorie requirements have gotten smaller.
In practical terms this means that the dieter will begin gaining weight even though they are eating their normal pre-diet portions. And since exercise hasn't become a part of their routine, the unneeded calories will result in pounds gained. So what's a dieter to do? Find a brand new diet to follow-right? Wrong.
There is a way to drop pounds and firm your body, but you won't read about it in the next diet book or hear it on the news. The solution to your fad dieting nightmare is a lifestyle change.
“It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.” Leonardo Da Vinci
Did you set some goals in the beginning of this year? More than half of 2014 has passed. Have you managed to do what you said you would? Or have you been living in Procrastinationland all this time?
Procrastination is the triumph of short-term mood repair over long-term goal completion, says Timothy Pychyl, Ph.D., a psychology professor at Carleton University in Ontario. The part of your brain that controls emotion (and thrives on instant gratification) is older and often stronger than the part that understands what’s best for you in the long run, Pychyl explains.
Procrastination entertains the delusory feeling that the task at hand may, with time, disappear. It is usually a symptom of some other problem: poor preparation, perfectionism, a fear of failure or rejection, or just a simple lack of motivation and interest. You know very well that if you don’t eventually get into action, you’re wasting your time. So what can you do to cross the barrier between merely thinking about it and actually making it happen?
I’d like to share with you an email I got from a female client recently:
I just want to start by saying a huge thank you for all of your support so far!! I've still got some way to go in reaching my ultimate goal however, I am so much closer to what I'm trying to achieve and the results so far are amazing.
Just wanted to talk to you about the Hip Thrust exercise. Now as you know I'm keen to work towards creating that apple bottom, lol. But I have found that the equipment / weights are largely kept in quite male dominated areas of the gym... Oh the testosterone! I've had stares, competition for attention, flirtatious glances, guys trying to spark a short conversation... All a little awkward during or after I'm thrusting my hips in the air! Today I totally zoned out and thought f%#$ it! Completed my reps, ensured there's no eye contact and went on to my next exercise.
So my question is, are there any other exercises that I can do to achieve the same result? Or shall I stick with it!?”
Why Are They Staring?
I guess staring is something we have all experienced in the gym. And usually a woman is more likely to be the staree in these dynamics. Not that guys don’t stare at other guys, and girls stare at girls too, but that’s a different conversation.
I believe there's a difference between staring and noticing. Nobody would like to be seen as perv, but I'm sorry, when a woman with a nice body comes in with a lycra workout outfit, you just can't help but at least look at her out the corner of your eye. It’s only noticing and appreciating the aesthetics.
Discretely checking out the women around you in any environment is normal. Now when you’re camped out with a pair of binoculars and a box of donuts, that’s a different story.
My blog post last week had some jokes about cooking salmon, now I show you how :) I don’t know what it is about salmon but once it’s prepared the right way, it may just be my favorite food. And it’s also very quick and easy – you can sort yourself out with an amazing meal in less than 10 minutes.
Salmon is high in Omega-3 fatty acids. Because Omega-3 fats are potent antioxidants, they can reduce inflammation to help muscles recover after workouts, lower blood pressure, improved mood, memory and concentration, anticancerogenic properties and more.
Here is a video from my “lost tapes” collection (the haircut makes me cringe – what was I thinking?), where I show you how to prepare a simple meal that tastes delicious, and will support any fat loss goals.
- 225g salmon (one portion)
- Black pepper
- Himalayan pink crystal salt
- Extra virgin coconut oil
TOTAL: 50 g protein, 2 g carbs, 27 g fat
Portion size should be individualised for best results.
Check out the video for instructions!
I am thankful for laughter, except when milk comes out of my nose. ~Woody Allen
Laughter is strong medicine for the mind and the body. It’s a powerful antidote to stress, pain, and anxiety.
Nothing brings your mind and body back into balance like a good laugh. It makes you feel good. And the good feeling that you get when you laugh remains with you even after the laughter fades.
Humour always helps you keep a positive outlook. It lightens your burdens, connects you to others, and keeps you grounded, focused, and alert.
Here are 5 reasons to laugh more often:
- It Enhances Blood Pressure and Flow
When it comes to cardiac health, seriousness may be, well, as serious as a heart attack. That's because laughter has been shown to lower or balance blood pressure and increase vascular blood flow. Scientific studies have shown that by reviving blood circulation and increasing oxygenation of the blood, laughter may help to prevent heart disease.
- It Improves Blood Sugar Levels
In a medical study, people with type 2 diabetes and those without the disease ate a meal, and then attended a boring lecture; the next day, the subjects again ate the same meal, but then joined a comedy show audience. The subjects recorded that blood glucose levels didn't increase after the meal for the diabetic patients at the comedy show. Researchers haven't pinpointed the exact cause -- perhaps laughter impacts the neuroendocrine system and restrains blood sugar levels from spiking, or it may cause the acceleration of glucose use by muscle motion.
- It Relieves Stress
Laughter decreases levels of stress hormones like cortisol and epinephrine that can suppress the immune system, opening the floodgates to a host of infections, illnesses and general poor health. It also triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins promote an overall sense of wellbeing and can even temporarily relieve pain.
- It Provides a Burst of Exercise
According to researchers, laughing 100 times is equivalent to 10 minutes on a rowing machine or 15 minutes on the stationary bicycle. And the best part is that you don't need to break a sweat in order to have really good laugh! Besides that laughter can momentarily clear the respiratory system. Just like with exercise, people tend to take deep breaths in and out during heavy laughter, which helps unclog airways and enhances inhalation and oxygen intake.
- It Boosts Your Social Skills
They say when you laugh, the world laughs with you, but when you weep, you weep all by yourself. That's because no one wants to hang around someone who has nothing positive to say. Finding the humor in life and being able to laugh at it will only improve your social skills. Many scientists believe laughter allows humans to connect, bond and communicate with each other. The more comfortable you feel with someone else, the easier it becomes to laugh. In fact, leading researchers believe people are 30 times more likely to laugh in social settings than if they were alone.
Funniest Personal Trainer In London?
If you have been following my blog posts, you may remember that I mentioned recently taking part in a comedy show. Basically, I heard about this stand-up comedy workshop, and it’s something I’ve always enjoyed, I thought I’d give it a try. Little did I know that by taking part you also commit to doing a 5-minute stand-up comedy set at a famous pub in Central London!
Here is a video from the event. It was an amazing experience, considering that it was the first time I’ve ever done it. Pardon some of my rude jokes, and remember that it’s not necessarily a true story unless a comedian explicitly states that it is :)
One week has passed since WBFF London fitness model competition where I was awarded a Top 5 placing, and I can honestly say that I was in the best shape of my life. It’s an amazing feeling when you just keep improving after many years of training. I started working out 12 years ago as a scrawny teenager who couldn’t do a single push-up or pull-up due to bone condition and multiple surgeries suffered as a kid.
To achieve a body transformation you need a suitable training programme, quality nutrition and adequate recovery. And then you have to be consistent with it over a certain timeframe. You must set the foundation to reap the rewards of your hard work. However, when it comes to truly maximizing your efforts, if you are looking for elite results you must approach the matter like an elite athlete would. This means introducing some key supplements into your daily nutrition.
The two photos above are taken exactly five months apart - 2nd of January and 1st of June. It’s a bit embarrassing to publish the first photo, as you can see that I don’t look quite the same as in my professional fitness photos. Yes, I went a bit off track around last Christmas – I was visiting my mum in Paris, and I guess that’s what TOO MUCH foie gras and macarons do to you. Also, I didn’t train for a few weeks, and because my body is inclined to become quite skinny when I’m not throwing heavy iron around, I also lost a lot of muscle :(
However, the basic truth is that muscle gain or loss is not a runaway train. You always have the power to change your body by taking action and giving it 100% effort. And if you’ve been in good shape before, your body responds even quicker, as the mystical force of muscle memory kicks in.
Here are the top 5 supplements that helped me achieve a top 5 placing at WBFF London, as I used them various amounts during both muscle gain and fat loss phase of my programme:
Hope you are feeling great, and dominating this week! I’m still getting back into the swing of things from last weekend, and what a weekend it has been…
I received great feedback from a stand-up comedy show, which I did for the first time in my life just to test myself and break a comfort zone. Then I was competing at WBFF London fitness model show the next day, achieved a Top 5 result, and got a medal for it. Even though I seldom give myself a pat on the back due to the high standards I've set, I guess it is pretty cool after all :)
I'm glad that the judges recognised my potential, and the key thing for me has always been PROGRESS. If I see progress, I'm happy. Now it's time chill out, have some fun and reward myself for my efforts and commitment, gather feedback thoroughly, reflect, and then refocus and make some plans. One thing is for sure - I'm more motivated than ever.
Hope that your training is going well, and you're dominating the week!
Apologies for lack of posts lately, I've been extremely stretched out with training for WBFF fitness model competition 1st of June at London O2, and also I was representing Team Optimum Nutrition at BodyPower last weekend. It's the biggest fitness expo in Europe, and I was very happy to take part, catch up with loads of people from the fitness industry, and had an absolute blast. Here's a behind the scenes photo, prancing around Team ON style :)
I've put together a video from my training session last week. It was a high intensity back workout, using a few special techniques like drop sets, supersets and rest pause that are great to boost metabolism for fat loss. Of course it may need to be adjusted for YOU and YOUR goals, so let me know if you got any questions.
If you have a body, you are an athlete. ~ Bill Bowerman, Nike co-founder
I sometimes wonder WHY do I really bother with this.
Why do I keep physically pushing myself past all limits? Continually striving to be the best I can be, giving full hundred to my training, never missing a meal etc. At the end of the day, I am not considered a professional athlete, and this is not what directly pays the bills.
Mute The Voice Of Your Inner Critic
We all have those days when our inner critic just seems to be determined to sabotage our efforts, and make us accept less than we deserve. Muting the voices of self-doubt gremlins can be quite a feat, and we must be vigilant against these thoughts while striving towards success.
The stories we tell ourselves largely affect our outlook on life. The way you see yourself will determine how you feel, and how you feel will impact what you DO.
After all, the doing part is what brings results. It is what gets us from A to B. We can read all the books in the world, we can create an amazing plan and talk about strategies all day, but we have to set the wheels in motion through taking action.
You may not realise this about me, but I used to hate exercise. I was always the last pick for any sports team in school, I couldn’t do a single push-up, and my body type was what you may call skinny fat when I was a kid.
Back then if you asked my classmates whether I had the potential to be successful in the fitness industry, helping people achieve their goals, winning trophies, and being a sponsored athlete, they would think you’re crazy. Athlete? What athlete? Are you kidding me??
Here's a quick way to decorate Easter eggs with onion peel:
- Boil onion peel for 20-30 min
- Wrap eggs in onion peel, tie around with a cloth, and place in the pot
- Boil for 10 min
- Leave for 20 min
- Cool the eggs under cold water
- Rub some oil on the eggs to make them shiny
Watch the video for full instructions!