Friday, 6 April 2012

Food and movement: The art of keeping it simple

As I sit here contemplating how big and ass I really am, I thought why not write a new blog?

By the way Its Good Friday, a holiday or late start to most human beings… but to me its another day of getting up super early even though the gym opens at 8am! Yes I got it wrong again, Don’t feel bad as I did the exact same thing last time.

Orchard road, Singapore at 06:30am

So I now have 2 extra hours to kill before work i can write up an idea ive had in my head for the past few days called "Food and Movement". In my opinion these are the fundamentals that anybody has to worry about to get in better shape. The world has gotten a little bit too clever, a little bit to analytical and really forgot the nuts and bolts of how people got into shape back in the day. Im looking around at people and most i see are overfat, its true. These people (in my opinion and whether they care or not) are regularly making poor food choices and not moving enough to support their calorific intake. simple enough?

"Work more, eat less will 99% of the time fix a problem"

...As i write the 24hr cafe sound system is pumping out heavy trance! 06:50am. Get in.

Component 1: Food
According to Precision Nutrition, there are 10 golden rules to live by. Lets look at some of them:
Habit 4: If fat loss is your goal, eat veggies and fruits with any meal: ‘other carbs’ only after exercise. If you have got fat to lose, you have got to earn those higher carb meals by exercising first! *Note: When it comes to body composition change, carb timing strategy is the single most effective strategy to kick fat loss in those stubborn and hard to remove fat stores.
I think 'other carbs' seems to be the modern day issue as almost everything seems to contain carbs. Put simply Carbs is energy, so if you dont use it - you will wear it.

Habit 6: Don’t drink beverages with more than 0 calories. Drink water as your habitual beverage and green tea is also a great choice.  Coffee in moderation works too.
The emergence of Starbucks, Costa and other coffee places has escalated the poor food we all consume. Ive mentioned in earlier blogs that about 1/month i enjoy a ice blended frappacino (which i consider a dessert) but unfortunately folk seem to think this is coffee! Its not at all. Coffee places are riddled with dead calories, stick with the simple choices like Americanos, Expressos, Nuts and fruits and get out of there with the same size waist as you went in!
Black gold!

Check out the shooping list below, how many of these do you consume regularly?
Carbohydrate (Low GI)
Wholemeal bread
Wholemeal pasta
Wholemeal rice
Peanut Butter
Cottage Cheese
Hazel Nuts
Beans, pulses, wholegrains

Olive oil

Flaxseed oil
Soya Milk

Natural yogurt
If you stick to this list (90% of the time) you will be fine. Remembering that carbs are best eaten after exercise. If you cant or 'dont like' any of the foods above i really cant help you. Really. Make some sacrifices in terms of taste to get a better result - if you are one of the people who are overfat and "want to lower bodyfat levels" - PLEASE stop having an opinion on food and 'schooling' others on nutrition.
Step 1: seek out somebody you want to look like
Step 2: Ask them what they did and how they did it
Step 3: Listen and use the advice

Component 2: Movement
Im keeping this as simple as i can. There are 1000s of ways to get this done and my only advice for you is basic.

If you love exercising and training...
Seek out people/trainers with the same passion as you and find out what are the most challenging and effective forms and get stuck into different programs and training phases to get better results. As training isnt your main issue, really dial in with your nutrition - this will enhance your results and really start to give you the body your training deserves. If you 'train hard to eat whatever you like on the weekend' thats ok - but really analyze that statement and ask yourself 'how long that will last before your body starts to let you know thats probably not the best way to go?'. Reward your training with proper nutrition and see better results.

Perfect example: CrossFit
Why are these girls/guys in such good shape? Because they work hard (movement) and eat towards fat loss (Paleo). Its really that simple.
These girls probably dont do 'Zumba'
If you hate exercising and training...
I meet people who 'hate' training. really i do. I assume they either dont 'get it' or don't do the right things and/or havent got the results from their particular choice of training. As im not one of these people i really can't empathise but i will give this advice... Find something (physical) that you enjoy doing and do lots of it.

Perfect example: Zumba/Danzika
At our gym, there is a dance class called "Danzika" - its basically MY worse nightmare. There about 10 x 5 minute tracks with all different dances from around the world, energetically led by our resident latin swinger David (the girls love him). Every single class is full of 20+ smiling faces and they all leave sweating and laughing - its awesome. Do you think these ladies (and usually one guy - weird) felt for one minute they were 'training'? No way. They have found an escape from training in this dance class and thats great in terms of getting movement into your week.
I challenge you to find your 'Danzika' - or exercises that raising your pulse while you ENJOY. Because if you really hate 'training' then its your only answer to getting in better shape.
Did i mention i love Zumba?

Final thoughts
Combine components 1 and 2 and you should be on your way to getting in shape. If you're dancing (no pun intended) between both or simply doing 1 of the above components then you are probably unhappy and frustrated with the way you look. Match nutrtion with exercise. I dont know you but there is a 90% chance you eat far too much for your energy demands - Thats not sexy. Zumba clearly is! :)

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Fitness people

Hey all,

Before you read on, please let me reiterate that some of the things i say here are written tongue in cheek and are mostly out to entertain. I mean dont get me wrong im mostly telling the truth but its all meant to be a laugh really.

If your really offended id love to hear from you - just put your name onto my "Bothered list" at the bottom of this blog and some day (actually never) i will get around to replying to you :)

Its been a bit busy on the work front lately and doesn't look like slowing down so the writing has taken a back-step for the time being. However when inspiration hits me in the face (like slap from a clingy girl you just dumped) I am compelled to write!

Answer me this... What do you wanna look like?

Mel B rocking some impressive abs

Cover model look? Catwalk model look? Bodybuilder look?

Ryan Reynolds ripped up for a film role

Decided? Ok, Answer me this... What do you do for exercise?

Classes? kettlebells? weights? running? etc. 

Q. Are these forms of training taking you closer/further away from your desired look?

Just recently there have been several instances where this has become really obvious to me.

1) I watched a guy perform a brilliant workout on the TRX and new TRX rip trainer recently. His form was impeccable, his timing and control was expert. I was seriously impressed with that. Trouble is... he was overweight. Pretty chubby actually.

So, that made me think... do i actually want to spend hours and hours on the TRX and become an expert to look like that? hell NO. Without going into to things too much i think the trend these days is all talk and no walk. too many 'experts' not doing what they teach, anyway i digress...
2) Someone mentioned to me the other day they want to reduce the size of their legs/thighs but would not give up multiple spinning classes per week. I shrugged and had nothing else to say. You see in one sentence they told me why they had big legs (spinning), told me that they wanted smaller legs and then told me that they would not give up potentially the biggest reason they have big legs in the first place. People truly are strange!

Whats my point?

Well it seems people are hooked on forms of exercise that are not creating the results they actually want. Once again the 'behaviours' are not matching the desired 'goals'. So here is my homework for everyone this week (school flashbacks urgh) - Look at the physiques on the people who do that particular form of exercise you regularly do and make a decision about whether it is a good fit for your goals. Look at the instructors, the trainers, the experts - chances are if you get any good at what they do - you will develop similar physical characteristics.

If you ultimately do not want this look, why ar eyou training like he does?

A quick note on the above. Unless you live, eat, sleep and take drugs like this guy you will never look like that - sorry but its not possible. 

From years of gym and people experience, here is my concise guide to exercise modes and the people that perform them. See if you can identify one that fits your goal or maybe you are doing the wrong type already and need a change?

Weight training 
Ah my first love, Mrs Iron! When used correctly weights will mould your body into a sleek, sexy machine that can drop the mouth of the opposite sex from across the room (an old training goal of mine)... but BEWARE. too much of a good thing can be bad. Too much 'mirror muscles' training with too much weight and bad technique can lead to a "mutant" look thats just not thats sexy.

Bodybuilding done good

Bodybuilding done bad!

For the record, the massive upper body/no lower body look is just plain f*cking dumb - 70% of the muscles of the body are beneath the waist. Be a man/tough woman and train your legs with as much effort and attention as your biceps and you'll be fine.

Another interesting finding recently showed that the average 'weights only' session burned about 250-300 calories an hour, so as a 'bodybuilder' if you're not eating a really clean diet or living a clean lifestyle - you'll end up big and round (not a great look) as the calorie burn of each training session is not high enough alone to get you lean.

Cardio bunnies 

Without destroying the soul of every person that does 'cardio' as an exclusive form of training (although its always been fun for me) i will just highlight some facts:

1) On assessments over the past 6 years, 'runners' have presented with the worst lower leg problems of any other clients.

2) Cardio enthusiasts rarely enjoy the gym because 'Steady state work' is a complete bore and  totally inefficient for time.

3) The people that do it aren't in that great a shape, the new term is "skinny fat" - small but high fat... a bit like a dunkin' doughnut really (you really are what you eat!)

4) 'Cardio' people regularly complain about the TV/DVD systems not working properly - This crime used to get you a f*ckin roundhouse kick to the face in my old gym! But now i must be polite and attempt to fix the problem without sarcastically suggesting they get a good workout!

When used correctly as part of a balanced training program, 'Cardio-vascular' training is an essential part of the puzzle. Improving one's fitness is a must. However i personally advocate that you can raise you heart rate more efficiently elsewhere and with more than just a treadmill or bike exclusively.

Martial artists
Pure martial artists are usually slim and skillful guys that never see the inside of a commercial gym and will use dojos or clubs to hone their skills. If you are one of those dickheads who does his full routine on the commercial gym stretching area, STOP please. Nobody cares you are trying to look cool or tough doing freestyle kung fu, go to a proper club and get your ass kicked there, thats all you really deserve! a regular ass-kicking.

Kung fu gym nerd

Class people

Hmmmm... Personally I look at class goers and i really do not identify with them at all. They are literally a different breed to my own style and prefered way of training - For class-goers Its all about the social and the fun element... i get it. I just wouldn't do it myself as an exclusive form of training. I honestly think for the mentioned reasons above that classes are mainly for the ladies. I think classes are perfect for those with no real training goals or aspirations for improvement in anything specific.

I believe all men should have an interest in strength training, its nature. If you don't then change in the other changing room and get into 'chats' during your gym time.

Again i look at the general crowds of classes and they are not always in great shape (some are) -  It may be something to do with (lack of) effort applied in the class and that the body is completely bored with the same exercise over and over again? Class goers are quite random in the way they look from lean and fit to heavy and unfit - again i would say the difference being variation of exercise, diet, genetics and talent as major factors. Unfortunately for those who regularly 'hide' in classes they may never identify what their personal limitations are and continue 'smile and wave' to the beat! On a positive side, those folk who use classes correctly will find a way to progress and vary the way the do them to keep the body guessing and not fall into the same training stress for months on end.

I have and always will have my own opinion about 4/week spinners - thats for another time. I think too much spinning without anything else will leave you walking funny. Obviously if you excessively train one movement pattern over and over there will be problems/issues down the line. I also frown on an activity that actively encourages 'high-fives' between members.

In terms of physiques. Spin class instructors are usually buffed up GX guys/girls with big legs (but remember they are more than likely to be taking a few other classes too) Spin class members/people seem to be half super skinny, half overweight? The guys who use the class once per week as a supplement to a balanced program, look... well balanced. just my observation.

NOTE: Im not saying spin instructors dont look good, they 99% of the time do - remember the person earlier i mentioned didnt want big legs? Thats why i said 'buffed up' - as this is not necessarily what some people want.


Every serious KB practioner i have met is ripped and looks strong. Need i say more? For this reason i have adopted more KB training as it fits in with my bodyfat goals.


I like TRX, i also like eating cheesecake but doesn't mean i eat it every day. Personally Im using TRX as a deload to my strength stuff and i use it with clients when the gym is busy. The ab stuff is hard and you can really get a full body functional workout without stressing the joints too much. Just remember if you're gonna wear the TRX t-shirt and sweatbands and buy a special green one to show everyone you are 'special' - eat properly or you will still look overweight. TRX is a great exercise tool but it never promised to burn 1000s of crappy calories you over-consume on.

TRX experts (good ones) tend to be lean and slightly muscular. I guess 'slender' could be the best term.


Great for people who need to be more flexible and a really healthy form of restorative exercise. nothing really bad to say as Yoga does seem to fit a certain personality type and some of the practitioners look fantastic. The worse thing i can say is that Yoga (like spinning or crossfit) has an almost 'cult' following which then makes people to believe there is no better way to get a result... and thats wrong.


Anyone else noticed how overweight/unfit people love to stretch? They LOVE it.

"Gee, I wonder why?"

Because its effing easy and requires no effort, thats why! If your overweight you should be banned from all stretching areas, no exceptions. Believe me thats not the issue that needs addressing. Get a sweat on and eat better or less or both - simples.

Sorry for the tough love but someone has to say it? Laying on the floor of the gym for 90 minutes, feeling great and updating your facebook status with "still at the gym" is not getting you anywhere near to that size 16 dress you so want to buy. Meaaw! i'm such a bitch.

Stretching is not a great way to lose weight. It should not take up more than 10% of your total workout time.


Although 'cultish' (yes thats cultish not what you all were all thinking! - ironically either would work fine) CF guys/girls are jacked up (thats good), why? because they work hard and eat right! its simple. Im not getting into a CF debate because 10 in one week is too much. If you want to look like you train, Join a crossfit gym and get with their program. Your shoulder could fall off after 12 months but who cares when you have an 8 pack? (sorry couldn't resist) - I like sensible Crossfit training. I do it myself.

Crossfitters are generally ripped due to their simple approach to hard work/good diet


Im just trying to get people to think about why they are actually doing what they do? You have a choice on what you want to look like and there are numerous tools to get you there.

If you want smaller legs to look good in a pencil skirt - Maybe spinning isnt for you?

If you want to add some muscle mass to hit the beach this summer. Lift some weight? TRX will not get you that much bigger.

If you need to drop some fat - burn some calories when you train AND eat for fat loss. Lots of stretching and muffin eating isnt the answer.

Seek out bodies you wish to emulate, find out how they got there and then copy it!

That is all, its good to be back :)