Exercise Execution Tips from PT Ryan

There any many many people performing exercises wrong in the gym and wonder why they are not progressing. 

Anyone can go into the gym and push, pull or move a weight from A to B. It’s a skill to actually contract the muscle against the weight lifted. If you can’t feel that muscle working, drop the weight and squeeze it as hard you can. 

Here are a few exercises not just regarding form, technique but tips to make them more effective. Check out the next 3 blogs! 

Exercise 1 – Lat Pull Down

Many many people do this one very wrong and hardly recruit any of the last muscle fibres.. 

The first part of the video, shows me swinging and lean way back making the moemvent more into a row rather than a pull down. Yes I could lift more weight but how much of the lays are you contracting? Very minimal!

Second part is correct form, were I am looking to gain a full stretch at the top (keeping tension) in my lats. I am then lowering my shoulder blade, retracting my scapula to enable full lat contraction. 

Take away tip for a wide Back: Look to arc and pull your elbows wide then drive them down. Keeping your abs tight will stop you turning it into a row and also arching your back. 


Read next blog for Squat tip… 

Carb Cycling For Fat loss & Hypertrophy Part 2

Carb cycling for hypertrophy is slightly different, because this is when we focus on utilizing the properties of insulin. Basically Insulin influences the amount of amino acids and glucose transported to the muscle cells. Increased intake of both of these will help fire up cell hydration and drove protein synthesis. 

Planning your routine 

A well planned routine of carb cycling will aid with increased lean muscle mass by utilizing insulin and decreases excess fat gain by varying the amounts of carbs you eat each day. 

To start carb cycling for hypertrophy pick a training Split that best suits you. From that routine select a high carb day, medium carb day & low carb day. 

An example could look like this, with quantities: 

Legs – High Carb Day (250g)

Chest & Back – Medium Carb Day (150g)

Shoulders – Medium Carb Day (150g)

Arms/ Rest – Low Carb Days (50g)

A good starting point with quantities is 1-3 grams of carbs per pound of bodyweight. 

Carb Selection 

Now moving towards processed refined carbs rather than natural complexed carbs will lead to more fat gain and could limit your hypertrophy response. For most meals I would stick to low (slow releasing carbs) and post workout carbs ( high fast releasing carbs), this will be beneficial in catabolic affect after a workout. 

Monitoring

Now it’s so important to keep track o your own progress. If you begin to gain fat to fast or gain weight to slowly then you may need to re adjust your carb & calorie quantities slowly. 

Carb cycling is not complicated. It’s very simple you just have to play around and work out what works for your body and your goals. 

Carb Cycling For Fat loss & Hypertrophy Part 1 

Often people are afraid of carbs and are not sure what to do with them. Carbohydrates when used properly can be very effective when losing body fat and building lean muscle tissue. 

The goal is to give you a better understanding on when and how to use carb cycling.

The basics of carb cycling are simple. You simply have to rotate between low, medium and high quantities of carbohydrates throughout the week.

To increase lean muscle tissue and lean body mass you need to consume more calories than you use, and for losing body fat you need to consume fewer calories than you use. 

Any diet that’s easy to follow and understand will be a successful one. 

So let’s talk FAT LOSS first! This is one I like to use for fat loss and is split into stages. 

Stage 1: 2 Weeks only 

Stage 1 eliminates all carbohydrate sources and increasing your green vegetables and animal protei sources. By taking carbs out you will have greater chance of increasing insulin sensitivity, reducing calorie intake and losing a lot of water weight. 

However remember to bring carbs back in after this phase! 

Stage 2: 

This stage will start to reintroduce carbs back into your diet but only ‘post workout’. There are a few different indicators to think about whether you need carbs back into your diet or not. You can monitor sleep patterns, energy levels, training performance, mood and body fat percentage. 

The reason for this is that any carbs you digest post workout have a higher chance of being used by the body and not stored as fat. 

So if you find any of those indicators are making you sleep less, feel more stressed, dip in energy levels by bringing carbs back in, then stick to high protein, high fats and a bunch loads of green vegetables. 

Stage 3:

This is were you can start to add carbs more regular. However depending on how your body is reacting to the carbs. If you are getting leaner as you add more then keep going, if not then limit them to your suited body fat level. 

You can start adding carbs once a week, every 3 days, or every 5 days, this again all works o how your body is handling the carbohydrates. 

Limit fruit to 1-2 on carb days as these all count to carb intake and ensure all carbohydrates come from complexed sources such as sweet potatoe, oats and brown rice. 

So here are the basics for fat loss, go and give this a go and I hope this helps a lot of you… 

The Importance of Sleep

The easiest way for an individual to get results without changing their calories or training is to simply have them sleep more.

I can guarantee if you sleep more you will lose fat, build lean muscle tissue, have more energy and have a better sex drive. Ideal sleep is between 7-9 hours, especially if your seeking a change in body composition.


So what happens when we sleep 5 hours or less??

1. leptin levels drop, meaning we decrease our key fat burning hormone.

2. Ghrelin levels go up, which is our hunger hormone. So if you want to be starving all day, do this! 

3. We increase our sugar and salt cravings. So not only are we hungry, we also crave bad foods. Not a great combination! 

4. You are said to be at a 70% chance of being obese, compared to people who sleep 7-9 hours. 

There is more than just training and calories for a change in body composition and our overall health. 

Get a set bedtime routine were you start to wind down 20-30min before bed. No phones, no TV’s just darkness and relaxation. Try and stay away from things that are going to keep our eyes alert (bright lights).

Maybe try yoga or meditation to help you learn to relax.

Short & simple for this week. Take all this into account. Make good practice and consistency!

Any questions please get in touch….

Chris Nicklin – Personal Trainer Fitness experience

 

Meal Frequency & Timing

The most important thing when it comes having adequate meals throughout the day, will come down to your own individual work/ life pattern and routine. 

If you work 9-5 then you will only be able to have food at certain times during the day. So the most important this for you would be to get adequate 30-40g protein, portion of Veg & complexed carbohydrates with each meal as a baseline. 

If you can eat at regular intervals say every 2-3 hours then great keep with that routine with the same format of maybe 20-30g of protein, portion of veg and complexed carbohydrates, healthy fats (salmon, mixed nuts) for your everyday Joe Bloggs. 

Everything will differ depending on your goals and aspirations. So moving on to specific meals, these are examples for the average person training in a gym/ or at home wanting to get stonger, leaner and healthier:

Breakfast Meal – The first meal of the day should consist of High protein, high fat, with low complexed carbohydrate complex. As an example (3-4 egg omelette, spinach, mushroom, ham, peppers) or (Extra Lean Minced meat with seasoning, spinach & handful of nuts) try these and watch your energy levels and body fat drop. DITCH THE CEREALS!!

Dinner/ Lunch Time Meals – These can be anything you like, make sure your meals are tasty and exciting. Check out some meal ideas from the previous blog on meal ideas. High protein content 30-40g, 1-2 portions of leafy green Veg, and or complexed carbohydrates (potatoes, rice, oats). 

Make it something you’ll enjoy eating or you won’t stick to it. 

Evening Meals – Evening meals can be or will be the same as above, just make sure you mix up your meat, fish for example. Don’t eat the same day in day out, as most of you will give up so easy. There is plenty of recipes out there, have a play around with them. 

Supplementation

Pre Workout – Black Coffee w/Coconut oil. This will give you that caffeine boost you need for an intense workout, with added fats as a source of energy to train. 

Intra Workout – BCAA’S (Powdered preferably to drink during training session. These will reduce muscle soreness from intense workouts, increase fat burning and promote lean muscle building. 

Post Workout – Low Carb Protein Shake w/ glutamine. High protein shake will promote protein synthesis and muscle development. Glutamine aids muscle recovery and improves gut bacteria. 


Just to finish on a great tip to help recovery and for better sleep. Having a high complexes carb meal 1-2 hour before bed has been show to help relax the body and mind into a deep sleep. We all know how important sleep is.

If your sleeping well, your less stressed which means less cortisol and a leaner physique. 

Please leave your questions & Comments 

YOUR BODY NEEDS FATS

In my opinion our body needs fats, and sufficient amounts within our diets. 

The Fats ‘good fats’ come from avacadoes, coconut oil (in moderation as it has a high percentage of saturated fat), olive oil, dark chocolate, salmon, sardines, tuna, walnuts, almond nuts, almond butter and whole fat yoghurt. 


All these types of good fats are high in Omega 3, which is the type of fats you want to be looking for.. These fats help our bodies turn off genes that store fat and promote us to burn fat effectively. 

Now these types of foods should be consumed within your diet. Why? 

Because they help improve gut health, function, digestion and improve our bodies ability to become less inflamed and reduce our body fat, sometimes better when carbohydrates are reduced. 

How much fat should I consume?

Fats contain 9 calories per gram! Now as a recommended guideline and here at FX we get the majority of our clients to have a macronutrient Split of 40% Protein, 30% Carbohydrates and 30% Coming from fats. As a starting place! Using my fitness pal will help keep track of these percentages. 

This is a good starting block to work from, then as your body shape and body fat starts changing you can start to adjust carbs and fats to suit what your body reacts well from, in relation to your goals.

Depending on your goals and a tip too always use is when carbohydrates are reduced within your diet, you should always increase your fat intake and vise versa. 
This option is a great way to start your journey from as it will reduce insulin sensitivity and Inflammation. As your body becomes leaner and leaner you can slowly start adding carbohydrates back into your diet and increasing fats gradually. 

Give this a go for 2 weeks and assess how you feel..

What are my energy levels like? Am I losing fat? Am I sleeping better? Am I less bloated? Is my water retention coming down? 

Use these questions to assess your own progress, an watch your body change. 

Easy go to meals 

Meals made easy with pack load of nutritents!! 

People often struggle with what to eat for breakfast and lunches while at work or when out driving for work.. 

Check out my go to meals that don’t take long to prepare and store. 

Breakfast Meals: 
Protein Pancake – 3 whole eggs, 80-100g oats, 1 chopped banana & Cinamon. 


Whisk eggs and oats together in a jug, place contents in the frying pan, 2min each side. Place banana on top of pancake with sprinkle of cinnamon 👌
High Protein – Complexed Carbs – Healthy Fats! 

Omelette (No Picture) – 3 whole eggs, splash of almond milk, Hanful of spinach, chopped mushrooms with a sprinkle of cheese. Takes 10-15min Max!!! 

Weekend Breakfast – 3 low fat pork sausages, 2 whole eggs, handful of spinach & 1 bagel. 


What’s not to like??!!

Lunch Time/ Evening Meals: 
Handful of broccoli, Tinned/ Tuna Steak, chopped avocado baked with 2 eggs.. 


These Can be warmed up or eaten cold!
High Protein – High Fats & Fibre! 

Honey chicken – Per portion! 1 chicken breast, hand full broccoli, mange tout and 1 sweet potatoe. Seasoned with salt, pepper, paprika, honey and olive oil. 

Turkey Mince Wraps – 150g turkey mince, 2 handfuls of spinach, 2 Tortila wraps (brown would be better). Seasoned with salt, pepper, turmeric, paprika, chili powder. Finished with handful of broccoli or other of your choice. 

Thai green chicken curry -(lower carb option). Included Garlic, Thai Green Curry Paste (didn’t make my own but ready made stuffs easier!) soy sauce, chicken breasts, coconut milk, chicken stock, mushrooms, red pepper, brocolli, kale, green beans, manjetout, bit of salt and pepper. 

 

Night Time Oats – 150g oats, chopped banana, semi skimmed or almond milk (all blended). Microwaved with added total Greek yoghurt, flaxseed, cinnamon and finished with peanut butter cupcakes 😜


As long as you have high protein source (meat, fish or eggs) with handful of Vegetables, and complexed carbohydrates, you can’t go wrong. Make it tasty and interesting! Mix your Veg, seasoning so it doesn’t become boring!!!

Give these a try and Please leave comments below and let me know your thoughts… 

Our Views On Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are one of the main macro nutrients that we should be using in our daily eating routines. 

Now if the goal is to drop body fat, lose weight and building lean muscle tissue, then carbs are needed in my opinion for most people. 

Below are a a few tips on carbohydrate intake. When to use them? How to use them? 

Always eat Carbs Post Workout 
Obesity and weight gain is caused through insulin resistance. So one of the best ways to improve insulin sensibility is to lift weights. 
When lifting weights our muscles become responsive to insulin, which takes blood sugar out of the blood and places it into our muscles. A great form of post workout carbs would be sweet potatoe, brown rice and oats as these are more complexed carbohydrates. 



No carbs in the morning
Breakfast that contain cereals, fruits and bread are a quick way to put on weight. 
When we wake up our cortisol levels are high due to our bodies being deprived of nutrients throughout the night. Eating carbs first thing will increase your insulin hormone, emptying our blood sugar making you hungry. 
Stick to Proteins & Healthy Fats!! 
Depending on the time you train will determine when you have your carbs. So if you train in the morning then by all means you need your carbs straight after. 

Night time carbs
When we are looking to sleep, our bodies releases our sleepy hormone called serotonin. 
Research has found that consuming carbs before bedtime. Complexed Carbs (oats as an example) will help your body and muscles relax, to get a good deep sleep. 


YOU HAVE TO EARN THOSE CARBS!! 

All these tips will help you with great body composition results! Go and use these simple tips and fast track your results. 

Protein diet tips

Protein – Are you getting enough?

Your easy to follow tips to get results…

Do you think you’re getting enough protein into your diet?

 

What are the benefits of Protein? 

1. Greater muscle mass and lean tissue

2. Less hunger and lower calorie intake

3. Less belly fat

4. More muscle development

5. Better sleep

6. Lower blood pressure

And many More…. Now are you going to start getting more in?

Intake – How Much? It’s simple (grams X per pound of Bodyweight). So for example if you are very very new to training or having a lot of protein in your diet then I would start at 0.8g per pound of bodyweight. 1g if you train 2-3 times a week. 1.2g if you train 4-5 times a week. 1.4g if you train 5 or more times per week. Protein Contains 4 calories per gram.

Example: 1.2g x 165lbs = 198g per day.
Meal Frequency – You should be having protein with every meal of the day.  Starting with breakfast, being the most important. This stops you from becoming hungry and less tempted to snack. A great way of checking portion size is to use the size of your hand for each meal as a good guide to start from.

The best sources – Mix it up, so it doesn’t become boring. There are many different sources. The best ones are Eggs (free range), fish (salmon, cod, prawns, haddock, tuna many others). Chicken, turkey, beef, pork, steaks and lots more. Remember to use a variety of meat!

Protein diet

Protein Shakes – Now the best time to have your protein shake in your diet is post workout (after your training session). Why? Because it gets the source into your system and muscles a lot quicker and can start that process of repairing and rebuilding lean muscle tissue, and great for recovery.

DO NOT, I repeat do not replace any meals with protein shakes!! Why?? Because one your calories will have a high decrease meaning your metabolism will be all over the place resulting in you being more than likely to put that weight back on. Recipe for disaster!

If you have any questions or would like any help please contact us at FX Fitness or speak to your Personal Trainer.

macro nutrients

Hitting those Macro Nutrient targets! 

What are Macro Nutrients?

These are your proteins, fats & carbs. Proteins help build, repair muscle tissue and aid in good liver function. These can be found in meat, fish & dairy. Fats can come in good and bad forms and the good fats are essential in everyone’s diet in my opinion. The best forms come from salmon, mackerel , tuna and sardines. Good fats also enable our bodies to burn fat more efficiently and reduce Inflammation through omega 3 fish oils. Finally carbohydrates can aid in muscle growth, energy production and helping with dropping body fat depending on individual goals and their bodies responses.

macros macro nutrients
So why are these so Important?

The importance of macro nutrients is that they are essential to your training and your overall goal outcome, but most importantly they help  maintain your results! We need them on a daily basis to help our bodies function in normal life and through training.

Knowing your goal & the Split of Macro Nutrients.

Knowing your goal is the most important bit of this process, understanding whether you need to gain weight, maintain or decrease your bodyweight is crucial. If you are looking to lose weight then you need to be in a calorie deficit of an average 500kcal less than what you’re burning in order for you to lose weight and body fat.

If you’re looking to increase weight through muscle tissue and mass then you need to be eating around 500 extra calories in order for that weight to increase. It is that simple but people often overlook this and make it more complicated than it is.

Are you Under Eating?

As an example- if you’re looking to lose weight and in a calorie deficit of 500kcal (needing 2000 kcal per day) and you are under eating and only consuming 1200kcal as an example, then this can have an opposite effect on your results and your body will start feeding off itself – wasting muscle tissue, mess your metabolism up and will be more prone to putting that weight back on. So making sure you reach your daily targets is essential to your results! If you’re 10% under or over on your targets do not worry –  I say to people all the time as long as you get as close as you can to them you’ll be fine. Bearing in mind you’re eating enough!

Fit it into your schedule!

Most people might think ‘oh I can’t eat that much a day’ it’s too much. Yes you can!! Break your day down, know your eating pattern- as an example: Breakfast, Dinner, Tea, Supper. Average each macro nutrient down for each meal and consume adequate amounts. Making sure you reach or are near your target intake for that day. There’s no one way about it, whatever works for you, do it and you’ll stick to it consistently and results will follow.

Prepare food/ Weekly shop/ Online Shopping.

One of the most important things to do if you don’t have time during the week is to spend 30 min to 1 hour at the weekend, Sunday for example prepping your food for the week ahead. That’s all it takes! Then get at least 3-4 meals prepared for you to take to work, something that is easy to warm up or to have cold. This way you will less likely to buy crap out of the vending machine and buy a ‘meal deal’ from tesco. Preparation is key and everyone can do it!! A balance of proteins, fats & carbs with each meal will be the best way to do this.
One of the best things a lot of people do is plan their weekly shop online knowing exactly what they need for their meals etc & family food. Order it, get it delivered on a weekend and get your meals done and organised for the week. This will save a lot  time and you’ll be less likely to pick random things you don’t even need off the supermarket shelf.

Prioritise – make time!! No excuses.

It’s really that simple. Make a list of your priorities in life, now if fitness and healthy eating isn’t up there, then you need to move it up the list! Make it a priority and you’ll reap the rewards. Set a specific time and day to get your food planned and do other things with family around it.

How much do you actually want it?

Do I need to say more?! This is all it comes down to. Set yourself a goal, have a picture of where you want to be (realistically). Now It’s ok saying I’ll do it and planning – it time to TAKE ACTION to get  the RESULTS –  Game On!

Jamie Kennedy …

 

 

*TAKE ACTION*