Tag Archives: gym
Are you stuck in a rut?
Do you feel your progress and results have ceased?
Is it getting harder to lose even a single Lb?
If you have answered yes to one or all of those then take a seat, I have some shocking news for you…
Continued progress/results will not just be given to you like they were in the first few months of your new training/nutritional regime, you will have to work hard to keep progressing and stay committed.
Have you ever wondered what happens after you see a persons Before & After pictures?
Normally there are 2 answers to that question:
1 – They stay the cause and continue to learn and progress.
2 – They rebound and put on what they have lost and some more for good measure (known as the after-after picture).
If it was easy to stay in shape the chances of there being an obesity epidemic would be very slim, but sadly that’s north case. This is why you need to be consistent and not go silly with eating things you probably shouldn’t, but if you want a piece of cake than have it, just don’t eat the whole cake (you know who you are if you do this).
You have worked hard and reversed the habit of a life time and lost weight that you have steadily been putting on for years, that’s an incredible thing to achieve, don’t throw it all away just because things get tough.
Be strong, be consistent and always strive to be the best YOU can be.
This will be the first in a small mini series on the common pitfalls of self diagnosed problem children in the gym, namely;
– Hard Gainers
– Those Limited by Genetics
I shall hopefully debunk some myths with my experience and give you the necessary knowledge to overcome these barriers.
Lets get started…
Over my years of training I have noticed some common mistakes made by the supposed ‘Hard Gainers’ of the lifting world.
We all know someone who claims that no matter what they do they can’t put on any weight, be that in the form of fat or muscle.
Normally this conclusion is reached relatively quickly, by that I mean within their first 6 months of training and it’s all down to their hyper accelerated metabolism, or so they claim…. I say ask people who were always skinny how that changed once they hit 30.
I have to be honest, unless there is a scientifically proven reason why a specific individual can’t gain weight (Thyroid Problem, Hormone Dis-regulation, Metabolic Disorder etc) then the answers in my experience are relatively simple and constitute of the following:
– Not Eating Enough
– Setting Unrealistic Goals
– Over Complicating Training
– Lack Of Intensity /Training Too Much
– Under Recovering
I shall tackle all of these problems and give you simple answers for them all based on my experience.
1 – Not Eating Enough
If your goal is to add weight (muscle) then you need to be in a caloric surplus of at least 250 calories, ideally 500 would be optimal.
There are various ways of establishing your caloric needs, google is filled with calculators and equations to help you but I have always found this rather simple sum gets the calories you will require: Your body-weight in LBS x 17-19 = Estimated calories.
Example: 170 lbs Person (I have sued this with both men and Woman to great effect)
170 x 17-19 = 2890 – 3230 Daily Calories
If you’re curious to know what macro nutrients you need then use the provided simple equations:
Total Daily Calories x 0.40 / 4 = Carbohydrates in Grams 3230 x 0.4 / 4 = 323g
Total Daily Calories x 0.25 / 4 = Protein in Grams 3230 x 0.25 / 4 = 201g
Total Daily Calories x 0.35 / 9 = Fat in Grams 3230 x 0.35 / 9 = 125g
*Fibre would be 7.5-12.5% of your carbs.
These simple sums are not gospel but they will give you a good idea of the calories you will need to achieve your goal.
2 – Setting Unrealistic Goals
It would be nice if we could all add 4 stone of muscle in a month, but sadly that is not really likely to happen.
Setting a realistic goal in the gym will help keep you more motivated because you can envision yourself at the finish point. If you were to set the goal of adding 1 stone in a year then that is very achievable (basically just over 1 lb a month in weight gain).
The same approach applies if your goal is to get stronger or faster, setting an achievable long term goal with regular mini goals is essential to help you stay motivated. Remember to set a date next to your goal too, setting a date will help make you more accountable, don’t just write ‘Lose 1 stone in a year from now’ write ‘Lose one stone by 1-6-16.’.
Example: Long term goal – 14 Lbs Weight loss in 1 year. Mini goal lose 4 Lbs total every 3 Months.
3 – Over Complicating Training
This is a demon many people fall victim too (myself included).
Doing too many isolation exercises, having 9 different exercises will do little for adding slabs or sought after muscle to your frail frame, but it will potentially lead to stagnation, boredom and a complete lack of progress.
Compound Movements – Squat, Bench, Deadlift, Press, Pull Up, Farmers Walk, Ab Roll Out – Those compound movements should form the basis of your program if you’re seriously looking to add some weight. Due to their multi joint/muscle recruiting nature your body will be forced to adapt by getting stronger and adding new muscle.
*There is plenty of studies to back this up and explain about the increase in HGH, Testosterone etc but I won’t bore you with that today.
4 – Lack Of Intensity/Training Too Much
These two mistakes fall hand in hand, not only in regard ot the gym but often in life too.
If a little is good then more must be better right?
There is what’s known as a tipping point, the point of which was was beneficial becomes dangerous and can potentially lead to injury or worse (getting squashed under a barbell). I personally feel that if you spend more than 45-60min in the gym then you’re not working hard enough; it’s that simple.
Spending 2+ hours in the gym doing Drop Sets, Giant Sets or Ultra-Mega-Colossal Sets-Mark 3 if pretty pointless, the bodies testosterone levels start to decline after around 22min and by 47-60min are pretty much done for the day, which then leaves your glucocoticoids to rise which can lead to excessive breakdown of proteins (not what you need).
Aim to keep your workouts short and intense, you will see far more benefits, as my grandparents always used to say “Less is more”.
5 – Under Recovering
This problem is linked with the two of the mistakes written above.
It seems once again the theory of ‘More is better.’ takes over, when the truth of the matter is that enough is enough and more is rarely, if ever better.
Along with overdoing it in the gym another factor lined with under recovering is simple not eating enough, remember your body needs the calories so don’t be afraid to eat.
The last cause of under recovery is a lack of sleep, this is easily fixed. STOP watching TV until 2am and get to sleep. If you find you struggle getting to sleep have a meal with a hefty amount of simple carbohydrates in it, this will help increase serotonin (the happy hormone) levels thus potentially increasing Melatonin (the sleep hormone) levels whichmeans a better night sleep.
You can only train at the rate you can recover. If you’re not recovering properly you won’t be progressing to your full potential.
These mistakes are ones I come across time and again, normally when a person gets these in check they start to make some decent progress.
take it from me, I was once a self diagnosed ‘Hard Gainer’ until I started to avoid the mistakes written above.
What is a good day of meals meant to look like?
Who really knows. It’s all down to personal opinion, so here is mine for your consideration.
In the modern world lots of people are over worked, over stressed and under nourished. Their choice of foods and when they eat them does not always help these common problems, simply because the foods are often highly energy dense and devoid of nutrition, leading to potential lethargy if they don’t have them in constant supply.
A typical persons daily eating regime might look like this:
7.am Breakfast – Cereals, Skimmed Milk and Orange Juice or Skipped
11.am Snack – Some form of Granola or Chocolate bar and a Latte
1.pm Lunch – Sandwiches or Skipped
6.pm Snack – A Post Workout Shake or another Latte
8.pm Dinner – Take Away (only because they got in late from work…)
11:30.pm Snack – Chocolate or a form of sweets
I know this is an extreme example, I am not saying it is true for everyone but I have met and trained plenty of people over the years who’s nutritional habits aren’t too far of this day in day out.
While I have given some general times that I have seen in my experience, you get the idea of what some people eat on a regular basis without too much thought. I’m not going to get massively technical, but I have personally found that most people respond very well by tweaking what they eat and when.
You will notice that the day starts off with highly processed foods and then continues on the same route (for most people this is not a good thing and can lead to obesity), there is very little quality protein, fibre and water in a typical persons day, because of this unknowingly formed habit it’s not uncommon to see improved energy levels, a better mood, more concentration and overall quality of life from a few simple tweaks in what foods they eat and when.
Try the following:
7.am Breakfast: Salmon & Eggs
11.am Snack: Tin of Tuna & Salad
1.pm Lunch: Chicken & Roasted Veg
6.pm Snack: Post Workout Shake – Optional
8.pm Dinner: Steak, Sweet Potatoes & Veg
10.30pm Snack: Frozen Yoghurt or Sorbet
*A glass of Water with each meal.
There might seem like a lot of change, but realistically all a person has done is added in more Protein, more Veg (fibre), drunk more Water and eaten less Processed Foods. I have found that when people start the day off with a breakfast loaded with quality protein and fats they sustain their energy levels throughout the day. Then they add in carbs int he form of fibrous veg throughout the day with meal that also contains a good quality protein.
I have left he post workout shake in because after a workout a meal high in protein and carbs will be beneficial in anecdotally aiding your recovery (if you eat enough real food there is no necessary need for a post workout shake).
As the day wears on the carbs start to become less complex, eventually ending with a does of simple carbs. This will help increase your serotonin levels which in tern will help increase your melatonin levels and hep you have a better nights sleep.
Give this structure a go and see who you look, feel and perform. If they all improve, then eureka!