How about we consider Health for a moment when we think about Fitness…
Fitness is MORE than just your looks and appearance. Instagrammers, take note: fitness is not just about how you look!
I see the people I work with make awesome transformations, but these are NOT solely physical changes to their appearance. I see them make positive changes to their health and their wellbeing. They change mentally and psychologically, as well as often physically.
Yes, clients’ physiques change. They lose body fat, they tone up, they gain muscle, and they gain strength. But so often many more changes than this take place, that you just CANNOT capture on camera.
My point here, is NOT to put too much emphasis on the way you look when it comes to gauging your fitness progress. And of course, usually the worst thing you can do is compare yourself to others. Prioritise your overall health and set your goals to become a better version of YOU!
Because my “diet” isn’t a diet at all. A “diet” is a temporary short term way of eating to force temporary unsustainable weight loss. My protocol implements an enjoyable way of eating for sustainable maintainable permanent results.
Online Coaching is essentially, the same as working with a personal trainer in-person, but it all takes place online. It is a more cost-effective, flexible, and convenient option for people wanting to achieve their weight loss / fitness goals.
We don’t do crash diets!
We don’t like crash diets. They don’t work. Well actually they CAN work. Except you end up putting any weight you lose back on, and often gain even more weight than before! That is why through working with me, we will get you losing fat at a healthy and sustainable pace. We want your weight loss to be permanent!
Additionally, we don’t like cutting out food groups either. Unless you have some kind of allergy or medical condition, we see no need to deprive your body of essential nutrients! Flexibility and the option to personalise your diet is a big component in getting you to stick to your diet! This is why by working with me, we will get you losing weight while still eating the foods you like!
Now apart from occasionally having to speak out against a minority of naysayers to defend my natural status, this is a topic I don’t usually broach.
There are a few reasons for this. But my main reason is simply that I don’t consider myself knowledgeable enough on the subject. I don’t have any personal experience of steroid use. So, the only knowledge I have is based on what I see from others’ use, and from what I read.
However, this is an interesting study that I came across, and I thought it was definitely worth discussing.
For 10 weeks, 40 “normal men” (i.e. not bodybuilders / regular gym goers / athletes – originally there were 50 men, but 10 dropped out) aged 19 to 40 years old were assigned to one of four groups:
No steroids, and no exercise
Steroids (600mg testosterone enanthate per week), and no exercise
No steroids, and exercise (weight training 3 days per week)
Steroids (600mg testosterone enanthate per week), and exercise (weight training 3 days per week)
Fat-free mass (i.e. lean muscle mass) levels and strength levels were measured before and after the 10 weeks.
Food intake of the participants was controlled throughout, with a diet of 36 calories per kilogram of bodyweight, and protein and at 1.5g per kilogram of bodyweight. (Protein was surprisingly on the low side compared to most recommendations for muscle size). Dietary intake was adjusted every two weeks according to changes in bodyweight. The weight training sessions were controlled and supervised.
So, what happened?
After the 10 weeks, the changes in muscle mass for the four groups were:
No steroids, and no exercise = no significant change in muscle mass
Steroids (600mg testosterone enanthate per week), and no exercise = an increase of 3.2kg of muscle mass
No steroids, and exercise (weight training 3 days per week) = an increase of 1.9kg of muscle mass
Steroids (600mg testosterone enanthate per week),and exercise (weight training) = an increase of 6.1kg of muscle mass
The body fat percentage did not change significantly in any group.
Note that neither mood nor behaviour was altered in any group (I.e. “roid rage” is a myth – but this could be another topic of discussion in itself!)
But wait – there’s more!
The four groups also had the following changes in strength:
No steroids, and no exercise = no significant change in bench press or squat 1 rep max
Steroids (600mg testosterone enanthate per week), and no exercise = an increase of 19% squat and 10% bench press 1 rep max
No steroids, and exercise (weight training 3 days per week) = an increase of 21% squat and 11% bench press 1 rep max
Steroids (600mg testosterone enanthate per week),and exercise (weight training) = an increase of 38% squat and 22% bench press 1 rep max
So, what’s the big deal?
OK, so it was no surprise that group 1 (no steroids, and no exercise) saw no changes in muscle mass or strength. And it is also not surprising that group 4 (steroids, and exercise) saw the biggest gains in muscle mass and strength.
But, how about the fact that group 2 (steroids, and no exercise) saw much greater gains in muscle mass than group 3 (no steroids, and exercise), and had almost the same strength gains too. So, let me reiterate that the guys taking steroids but not working out had much greater gains in muscle mass than the guys who were working out without steroids.
Am I saying we should all start taking steroids?
The purpose of me discussing this study is not because I want to try to encourage people to take steroids. Steroid use can often come with a bunch of negative health implications. And if you are taking steroids while competing within a drug tested sport, then obviously you are straight up cheating. Though I am not bashing steroid users here either. To achieve maximum muscle size and strength, steroid users will still train hard and be dedicated to their nutrition. Yes, the study showed that steroid users grew even without training, but they will never reach their maximum muscle size potential without hard training.
So, why am I discussing this study? It is to promote a greater level of appreciation for those who choose NOT to use steroids. It is so much harder to build a muscular physique while drug free. And I don’t think those who manage to do it always get the credit they deserve. I am also trying to demonstrate just what a significant advantage steroids give in boosting physical performance. Anyone who downplays the edge steroids give, saying “it’s mainly all about training and nutrition”, are very naive.
Additionally, I want to emphasise the importance of those that train drug free not to compare themselves to those taking steroids. It is important to manage your expectations. Don’t expect to go to the gym, following the training program of a professional bodybuilder (usually obtained from a muscle magazine), and think that you’ll end up looking like them.
This brings me to my final point. Drug free trainers can still build an impressive physique and can still gain muscle. No, you won’t put on mass comparable to a professional bodybuilder. But by paying particular attention to getting body fat levels relatively low (through a good diet), you can still look awesome. And remember, that when you are lean, with visible muscle definition due to having lower body fat, you actually look “bigger”. So, don’t be disheartened. You can still build an impressive physique without steroids. But my recommendation would be to focus more on getting lean, rather than shooting for pure size (which you may never achieve drug free).
Before thinking about what you WANT to achieve NEXT year, ask yourself what you ALREADY achieved THIS year.
Before you go steaming ahead, and start planning for the new year, I want you to take some time to review how THIS year went. Ask yourself the following about this current year:
What went well?
Why did it go well?
What could you have done differently to make it even better?
What didn’t go so well?
Why didn’t it go well?
What could you have done differently?
This applies to ALL areas of your life, including your health and fitness.
What’s the purpose of doing this?
Many of us are not very good at recognising and celebrating our own achievements. We often overlook or fail to even notice our successes, deeming them as “insignificant” or “still not good enough”. That is why it’s important to cut ourselves some slack, and to be grateful and happy for the things we have done well. Even if these things seem minor, or even if you fell short of hitting a specific target you had in mind. It’ll do no good for your confidence if you are always hard on yourself!
Plus, it is useful to recognise HOW you managed to achieve what you did. This way you will have to hand proven methods of success that you can continue to apply into the new year.
However, it is also important to recognise (but not to dwell on) our shortcomings. If we can analyse what didn’t go so well this year, and identify WHY these things didn’t go well, then we can learn from our mistakes and ensure we don’t repeat these mistakes next year!
“I want to lose 50lbs of body fat, gain 50lbs of muscle, play competitive tennis, climb a mountain, and compete in a power lifting meet, all at the same time.”
Who the F are you? Wolverine?! How are you going to recover from all of that training?
While most of my previous articles have been about general goal setting in life, I want to focus on goal setting in regards to health, fitness, and weight loss.
Don’t overstretch yourself
I mentioned previously about not overstretching yourself with too many New Year’s Resolutions (READ THE POST HERE). I said that instead of listing loads of goals and achieving none, why not set yourself one goal to focus on and then make it happen! And the same applies to your health and fitness goals too!
We have limited time, energy, and resources. And as adaptable as we may be, we can only implement so much change at once, without reverting back to our old ways. Not to mention that with fitness goals in particular, our goals really will take significant time dedicated to training in order to see results.
If you want to compete in a marathon, but you’re not already a competent runner, do you really think your body can handle multiple stressors at once? Long distance running WHILE trying to train for muscle growth too! Conflicting goals bro!
Or if you wanted to climb a mountain, do you honestly think this is also a good time to start training to compete on the powerlifting platform?
Yes, a year is a fairly long time, and you can achieve a lot in a year. But still, you need to be realistic, and appreciate that the body only has limited recovery capabilities. Not to mention that even if you’re a professional athlete, there’s only so much time that you can spend training across the week.
So my take home message is to train for one goal at a time!
You want “to get fit”. But what does that even mean?
“This year I’m going to get fit”.
We’ve heard it all before. Many of us have said it ourselves many times before. But let’s pause for a minute to ask what we even mean by that? What are we actually trying to achieve?
Different things for different people
“Getting fit” will mean all sorts of different things to different people. For a clinically obese person, “getting fit” will most likely mean dropping a significant amount of body fat to get their weight in a healthier range. But for a scrawny guy, “getting fit” will probably mean putting on some weight, albeit ideally mainly muscle mass. Then for an ever-injured footballer, “getting fit” could mean to rehab their injury and to address any physiological weaknesses in order to get back playing again.
So, really what I’m saying, is that I can’t emphasise enough how important it is to be specific when it comes to our health and fitness goals.
Let me bore you for a second and remind you that “specificity” is a component of our SMART goals acronym. Goals should be:
So, how about we change “I want to get fit” to “I want to lose body fat”. Now let’s make it SMART:
Specific: I want to lose 20lbs of body fat.
Measurable: I will weigh myself each week.
Achievable: Yes, 20lbs over 12 months allows for a rate of conservative fat loss, and leaves time for any periods of stalled weight loss, plateaus, or relapses!
Realistic: Yes, 20lbs over a year is certainly doable. I will aim for roughly 2lbs of weight loss per month.
Timely: I want to achieve it over 12 months.
You should do the same!
Now, that looks a bit better, doesn’t it! Now do the same for your own fitness goals.
Are you really going to achieve EVERYTHING this year? Don’t overstretch yourself!
Earlier I posted about my contempt for the term “New Year’s Resolution”.
As I explained, it’s not that I am against setting a New Year’s Resolution. In fact, I think goal setting is very important in order to achieve success. Be it success in weight loss, muscle gain, strength, or in any area of life!
But it is the negative connotations associated with setting New Year’s Resolutions that make it a meaningless activity.
Why are New Year’s Resolutions meaningless?
And why is setting New Year’s Resolutions a meaningless activity? Because we make half-hearted, outrageously unachievable goals, that we have little intention of actually taking any action to achieve these goals. How many people achieve their New Year’s Resolutions? My point EXACTLY! Very very few!
But besides these already mentioned points, why else do New Year’s Resolutions fail? Because we set the bar too high. But also, because people set too damn many of them!
As I mentioned in my earlier post, don’t try and change everything in your life at once. Don’t try and quit smoking, while also quitting drinking, while also training to run a marathon, while trying to gain 10lbs of muscle, and training for a stronger deadlift!
Implement gradual subtle changes. We have limited time, energy, and resources. And as adaptable as we may be, we can only implement so much change at once, without reverting back to our old ways. So, tying in with that, don’t set yourself too many goals and expect to achieve them all at once! My suggestion is to just focus on ONE! One New Year’s Resolution!
Make it a genuine, realistic goal, set an action plan, and then go after it. Don’t be like the rest of the population who fail to achieve their Resolutions year after year!
F**k New Year’s Resolutions. How about instead we set some realistic goals, make a manageable action plan, and then DO IT!
And this doesn’t just apply to your health and fitness / weight loss goals. This applies to all areas of your life!
I’m not saying that New Year’s Resolutions are necessarily bad. But the problem is that we make the routine “new year, new me” outrageous resolutions each year. And our goals are so high and unrealistic that it’s no surprise when we fail to achieve them.
Aim high, by all means, but make that resolution a 5 year or even a 10 year goal. So, for your New Year’s Resolution (i.e your goal for the next 12 months – the next 52 weeks), set the bar at a reasonable achievable level. And then act on it!
How are you going to achieve your goal this year? Break it down into small tasks that you can do everyday. And don’t try and change everything at once! Again, you’re only setting yourself up for failure.
So, break down your goal into small daily tasks, that won’t involve a complete lifestyle change. It’s all about implementing subtle changes! Persist with your small tasks everyday, and after a year you will find you have achieved your goals!
A quick message here. I want to talk about successful people.
In my opinion, most of the time highly successful people, people that I look up to and admire and aspire to be, they get to where they are not because they are able to do what others “can’t” do. It’s because they do what others “won’t” do.
Yes, l know there are exceptions. Only a teeny tiny percentage of the population could ever be as good at football as Cristiano Ronald for example. He might be hard working, I’m not saying he’s not, but he has the kind of God given talent that most us will never obtain, no matter how hard we try. The late Professor Stephen Hawking is another example – he had the kind of intelligence that none of us could ever have.
But people like that are the exceptions! I’m talking about the majority of cases here. The majority of highly successful people made the sacrifices, put the time and relentless work and effort in that any of us “could” do too, if we chose to. Remember life is all about choices.
I’m not just talking about fitness here, I’m talking about absolutely anything in life. There’s no reason that you, me, or any of us can’t be highly successful too in anything we do. If we’re willing to put the work in, that is.
So, if you’re not getting to where you want to be in life, then ask yourself “what’s your excuse?”
We’ve just established that it’s not because you “can’t” do it. Therefore, it can only mean that the reason is the second option, that it’s because you “won’t” do it. And that sounds like a pretty weak excuse if you ask me!
So, my take home message? Just like the Nike slogan – just do it!
However, Christmas = Weight Gain. Unfortunately for most of us, that’s a fact.
One of the main problems is that we are talking about “the Christmas PERIOD”. It’s the overeating and lack of exercise that takes place over the weeks (and even months) leading up to Christmas, and sometimes after Christmas too! Think about it. Often it begins anywhere from early to mid-November, through to the middle of, or even near the end of January!
That’s potentially 10 weeks of over-indulgence! No wonder our waist lines pay the price!
But, it’s not all doom and gloom!
After all, Christmas is meant to be a time for fun with family and friends.
But that’s not to say that you can’t enjoy yourself to the fullest, without having to sacrifice your health and fitness.
Let me show you how you can balance your life throughout the festive period.
You can still have a great time, yet still stay on track to achieving your health and fitness goals!