When you are trying to decide what you should be doing during exercise, do you choose what you are best at? Do you train the way you always have, ’because that’s what works for you’? A scientific approach to both muscular- and neural stimulation during training has proven over and over that muscles, as well as neural systems adapt to stimulus. What this means is if you don’t keep changing your training style, eventually you will not get any more improvements from your training.
Conversely, if you keep ‘confusing’ your muscles/nerve systems by continuously alternating your training modality you will experience definite, measurable changes of all levels of your training.
Obviously I am more concerned with your bodies overall performance in terms of speed, power, agility and cardiac ability. If you just want ‘BIG GUNS’ then, snooze, you can just keep on curling!
I have, on this site written numerous programs for multiple modalities and progressions, for you to use in order to develop this overall concept of fitness. I suggest changing your program at least every 6 weeks; I use a month per program, and also completely switching your training style every 3 months. You have a wide variety of training styles to choose from e.g. traditional weight training, explosive multiple joint training, Cardio on machines, super circuit type training, outdoor agility and speed training, kettle bells, swimming, spinning and so forth.
The key is to never let your body get used to the stimulus. It requires a long term approach… see the article about ‘periodization’ on this site for more info. Try it. Choose an exercise e.g. Squats with a barbell. Train for a month and do squats in your routine twice a week. Then completely switch out and do plyometric exercises for your legs for the next month. 3rd month switch to interval spinning classes, then back to plyometric’s and 5th month go squat again. You will see massive improvements in the amount of work you will be able to do. Your legs will eat up the intensity and you will be stronger and more explosive than if you just squatted for 5 months.
Usually I would start the year with convincing you to set goals and thinking about structuring your program to achieve a final result at the end of the year… if you would like to read those they are available on this site… This year however I thought I would help my friends to get ready for this year’s big hike…Fish River Canyon, Namibia.
It’s a 5 day, overnight hike, and although there aren’t many big climbs, it’s the boulders and the distance that must be covered each day that gets you in the end. Last year I did the hike and it was incredible, but loads of my fellow companions suffered; really suffered. This year I thought I would help to make everyone ready, so we can all finish in a reasonable distance of each other
It must be said that every person is different. So as you look at the program don’t worry about what your friends are doing. Measure you against you. The goals in this program are to prevent injury, because if you can’t walk out you die! And to teach your body to deal with what the hike will throw at you.
I want you to focus on improving your balance and stability, especially in your ankles knees, hips and lower back areas. This is what takes the strain. The program will change every month so just keep going. It will get progressively more difficult but each time just adjust the level so that you can succeed. Don’t worry if the program says do level 5 but you are only comfortable will level 3. The point is to start early so you can have progression.
Once again I must stress that this program is to help you avoid injury more than it will make you a super athlete. The initial phase is mostly fitness bases, but not in the extreme at all. I want everyone to be able to finish.
You will be able to download the program from the instructions at the end of the article.
The first day is cardio… remember that the hike is a walk… so when you are on the stair climber take the biggest steps you can, to simulate the big boulder steps you will be taking; when you are on the treadmill, walk! If you want to make things more difficult, rather increase the incline.
Second day is stability…most of the positions are static…this means you just hold them. Always use time as your intensity measure e.g. all exercises for 30 sec, or 45, 60 etc. After day 2 stretch for 15 to 20 mins, especially your groin, hamstrings, back, hip flexors and quadriceps.
Third day rest.
Fourth day, super circuit training. This is standard work where you use the machines in the circuit… you know how this works…right? Anyways what I want to do is change the work you do between the machines…remember I don’t want you to run because you won’t be running on the hike!
Ok so you know there are two steps on the circuit for you to use between machine exercises. The program says ‘small’ for only climbing one at a time, and ‘big’ for where I want you to step 2 at a time.
Simple. I want you to use these steps to teach you how to step over big rocks…as we get more into the program i will change the steps and then add weight. This is where you will need to go even slower than normal, so you can condition your joints to do the work.
On one of the next three days you need to do a two hour walk, preferably on a mountain and preferably with your backpack and your boots on… you don’t have to load your pack to 17kg’s but carry water, food etc.
Ok so download the program by clicking going to the ‘programs’ on the top toolbar of the site. Scroll down till you get to hiking programs select number one. The exercises are all available on google or youtube if you need a demonstration. None of the movements really require a gym so you can do this at home.
PS If you would like to get Lara to mail you the pics for the excersizes e-mail her…she downloaded them and has them available to print. Obviously this is only if you know Lara a.k.a. ‘The Rock Rabbit’, and have her e-mail addy!
So yes training goals and styles have change dramatically over the last 20yrs, but yet there are still those of us who enjoy the body building type body part split routines.
If you are a die-hard regular at the gym and feel torn between the new “functional” training approach and the bodybuilding type training, well then this is an article for you>
It has long been a thought process of mine not to discard what works, but to take it use it, and merge it with new and current training methods, based on scientific research and applied Kinesiology. It has been a personal quest of mine to see if the body can both be forged and shaped with isolation type exercises for aesthetic purposes, and yet also keep a healthy balance between proportion and the way your body functions together as a unit in the state of flow through various Kinetic chains of movement.
So yes I believe it can be done. This is how.
Take your normal body part split routine and start to look at using an integrated exercise or two in each session. What do I mean by this? Well, what I mean is that you add 1 or 2 core or multijoint exercises into a session to make sure your body still knows how to function as a unit and has strength in multiple planes of motion: coronal, sagittal and transverse. Why not make your body structurally sound, as well as look good on the outside, instead of just limiting it to one or the other.
Here is an example of what I mean by integrated exercises:
Let say you are working with a push/pull type split, then we will take a typical Chest & Back workout.
Let’s say this is your workout:
Chest exercises: Dumbbell Fly’s, Flat Bench press, Incline Dumbbell Chest press.
Back: Seated cable rows, Lat pull down, 1-arm rows, lower back extensions.
Then you would add what I would call a functional integrated exercise at the beginning or end, such as the Renegade row with a push up. This will then recruit both the pectoral areas and the lat’s during the rowing phase of the movement, whilst also challenging your stability, balance and strength in different ranges.
This type of exercise is very challenging to the body and can be done either right at the beginning of your workout or at the end for two different reasons.
1) If you are new to this approach and want to try it then it is probably best done in the beginning whilst you are fresh, as these multijoint exercises can be very challenging and require maximum focus to execute correctly.
2)You can put it right at the end of the workout if you are more conditioned and experienced as it will challenge your stabilisers in the trunk to another level. This is because all your prime movers will be tired out by then, and the body will not have the advantage of being supported by a bench or such apparatus.
This is just one example of an integrated exercise, and how it would feature in a programme, and the reasons to include it. I cannot obviously give you a whole programme with all the different options and variations, but if you do understand what I am saying and the approach to take, you can rack your own brain as to which integrated functional exercises you are going to add into your current regime.
If you do not however have the expertise to put a correct exercise programme together in this manner that is suited to your current abilities, then you can contact myself, and I will help you, at a reasonable fee.
Yours in Health & Wellness,
Virgin Active (Table View)
When I here the word DETOX I get shivers, its like when I here the words ‘Bicep curls’…
Detox reminds me of soup diets or days of eating fruit and drinking more water that humanly or humanely possible.
Once again I want you to consider a paradigm shift. As I have come to understand with my own eating. The shift is not to starve yourself and deprive yourself through limiting your eating. The rationale behind a DETOX is to create a system in your body that is closer to a natural state. I have found that even my own eating system which I have adapted through the years, which is mainly Atkins based, is greatly flawed. Even though I look great I don’t feel great. Over the last few years I have tried to eat better. More vegetables more fish but still I search for the perfect system.
Because I suffer from skin allergies and have had major surgery in the past I stumbled almost blindly into a homeopathic doctor’s office that has a different spin on it all. Fix your gut, fix your bowels and most important fix your liver. Years of stimulant, fat burners, and years of protein exclusivity has put great strain on my body. Coupled with anaesthetic from operations and anti-biotic administration creates strain on the organs and perfect conditions for parasites and adrenal burnout.
That’s a lot to deal with hey. But it is not uncommon. This situation is actually very common in todays society . So what does she tell me…you need to detox! But no hocus pocus. No weird fruit and soup rubbish. Starve the parasites, let your liver fix itself. Eat normally just eat right.
So here it is, simple. How to fix your body. Try It for NO-vemeber:
NO Wheat…Why? Wheat is not a natural food source to us when its processed or ground up. The corn flour is too simple and provides too many simple sugars, which is no good to your body
NO Sugar… read previous article on this site for more information. Sugar makes you fat.
No Alcohol… Alcohol provides major calories in a short space of time. Coupled with simple sugars they feed the parasites in your gut.
NO Dairy… Dairy contributes to allergies
NO Sweets or Chocolates…Dairy, fat and sugar combined!
NO Preservatives… the salts, chlorine, sodium and sulphur, form acids when mixed with water and so do most other preservatives that are on the market. More acid means more toxins. So no sauces no additives. Although you can use raw spices like coriander and herbs but not BQ type spices that contain MSG.
NO Yeast or vinegar or brewed products, these also help parasites to grow in the gut.
Let’s get straight to the point: If you are not doing some version of a squat you are not training to your potential. Your Squat should be your best exercise, your strongest movement, your prime goal.
To begin always remember to work according to your power/weight ratio’s. Always start yoursquats using 25% of your body weight and work your way up to your max.
Different types of squat work different areas of your legs, basically you are activating your Quadriceps group, your Glutes and your Extensor chain (Lower back); but also you work your calves, Abdominals and shoulders if you are holding a barbell.
You should try to learn squats in this specific order:
FRONT SQUATS: This is the best type to learn first, you keep the bar in front of your head and squat with loads of stabilization. As a rule try to keep away from machines when learning squats; you want to make your body balance the forces. Never use load more than your body weight on the bar for this one, most people will not reach 60% of their body weight for the front squat.
DUMBELL SQUATS: This type allows you to concentrate on keeping your head forward and your knees in line with the front of your feet, without having to stabilize the bar in front of you.
BACK SQUATS: This is the Gold Standard of exercises. This is the one you want to concentrate on, Male or Female, this is for you. Form is key here. If you haven’t perfected the first two movements don’t go heavy on this one. I recommend using the squat rack for this. For men I recommend using up to 1.5 times your body weight, obviously after you have done several sets in progression; For ladies I never use more than 25 kg’s and just increase the repetition range rather than the mass on the bar.
SISSY SQUATS: A brilliant version where you do static squats against the wall and the thrust your hips forward to create tension on the muscle. Excellent for shaping the fibres.
OVERHEAD SQUATS: This is for those who really have the flexibility and control to perform a squat with the bar held above you’re head. For women 20 kg’s for men 1:1 ratio with body weight.
There you go. Start at exercise one and train yourself to perfect each movement. All the videos of these movements are on www.youtube.com ! Use it!
So if you never squat to your potential you are probably one of those guys who go to the gym in a little vest and long pants; or a women who wears the tight leggings but has to wrap her top around the sagging bottom! You know who you are. This article is for you!
Hi to all our readers out there.
This has been a much debated topic between scientists, nutritionists, dieticians and other experts in the industry.
Opinions on this subject are mixed, so I can only attempt to answer this question with the current knowledge at hand and what I have personally found to be the case with myself and some of the many clients I have helped to achieve fat loss.
A recent Hypothesis says insulin sensitivity decreases towards the evening and therefore if Carbohydrates are eaten at night they will be stored as fat. Still others say this is not the case, it is merely a question of creating the right energy deficit within a 24hr period and that it doesn’t really matter when you eat what, it is a matter of total energy consumed for the day.
Still others say the reason one should not eat at night is so that the body can settle into a fasting state 3hrs before bedtime which will cause the release of more Growth Hormone, which in turn will help the body burn more fat.
Whatever the differing reasons for it, I for one do recommend that clients cut their carbohydrate intake down after 6pm for women and 7pm for men (more lean muscle tissue to fill with Glycogen) if they are wanting a reduction in body fat?
Physiologically carbohydrates do not turn to fat if eaten after a certain “cut off” hour anymore than a bewitched person turns into a ware wolf on a full moon. What I do know is that the law of energy balance is operating in our bodies in a constant state of flux in every hour of the day. This bears some deeper thought as we need to look at what times of the day we expend the least amount of energy. Yes, you are right, it is night time!
Sports nutritionist and dietician Dan Benardot said that thinking in terms of 24 hour energy balance may be a seriously flawed and outdated concept. He says that the old model of energy balance looks at calories in versus calories out in 24 hour units. However, what really happens is that your body allocates energy minute by minute and hour by hour as your body’s needs dictate, not at some specified 24 hour end point. Whoever decided that our bodies operate in a 24hr day cycle? Does your body really do a calculation at midnight and add up the day’s totals like a business man when he closes out the register at night? It’s a lot more logical that energy is stored in real time and energy is burned in real time, rather than accounted for at the end of each 24 hour period.
This suggests then that we should adjust our energy intake according to our activity. If you trained at night, then yes you would eat more carbohydrates at night, as this is when you are most active and should surround most of your pre and post workout nutrition around this point for optimum performance and recovery.
Bottom line as that your RMR (resting metabolic rate) will be just that at night, you will not have the added benefit of an extra energy expenditure rate at night time as this is when people generally are less active. Therefore if you do consume carbohydrates during this period then you will have an insulin surge and some of it will be stored as muscle and liver Glycogen (energy), but the excess will be stored as fat, as you are in a resting state and will not require the immediate extra energy at that point. It is far better to eat a lean protein source with some fibrous vegetables or salad at night as it will have a lower Glycaemic load and your body will expend more energy trying to breakdown proteins into amino acids for muscle recovery and immune function, than it would carb’s.
I also want to remind you that your body doesn’t generally favour protein as a fuel source and so most of it will be used for tissue repair and growth.
Regardless of which side of the “carbs at night” debate you lean towards, if you consider the within day energy balance principle, it makes perfect sense not to eat large, calorie-dense meals late at night before bedtime.
Keep in mind of course, that cutting back on your calories and or carbs at night makes the most sense in the context of a fat loss program, especially if fat loss has been slow. It’s quite possible that I might give the exact opposite advice to the skinny “ectomorph” who is having a hard time gaining muscular body weight.
Yours in Health & Wellness,
Virgin Active, Table View
Because I deal with all kinds of people in all stages of life and who have completely different backgrounds, goals and circumstances, I find solutions and adapt my abilities to solve many different problems.
So what is the solution to the question? Can you build muscle; can you provide your body with the right type of building blocks to stimulate muscle growth and power from your muscular tissue?
I might step on a few toes here but I have not seen one person ever in my whole experience able to succeed in this area on a vegetarian type diet. I have tried everything, believe me.
So why not. Surely this can be solved by eating ‘high protein’ types of veggies like soya or quinoa.
Lets begin with the first problem! The way you train to build muscle is to use powerful movements, big, multijoint explosive movements! This requires a certain type of muscular fiber…Muscle. And this muscle is fed by protein and….Creatine. Now without the prescience of enough protein and creatine, which is found naturally in meat you cannot provide the building blocks to keep up with the demand.
So what happens? Typically two things happen at the same time. First, the client gets weaker because the demand is not being met by the dietary requirements. Secondly, the muscles actually degenerate and atrophy and although the client thinks he/she is losing kilo’s this is not actually what I want. The body starts to eat the muscles to provide the protein for energy.
Second problem, Protein that comes from vegetables comes with carbs…too many carbs. Ever checked the chick peas, or soy ratio’s for carbs to protein. Mmmm. 24 grams/400gof protein: YAY; 50 grams/400 of carbs. BOO.
Just a quick sum. A person wanting to eat to build muscle generally needs 1.5 g of protein per kilogram body weight. This means for a 60 kg client to get enough protein they need to eat 1.5 kgs of Chick peas/lentils/soy beans to get 90g of protein a day. 1.5 kgs of the right veggies! This comes with 187g of pure carbohydrate. OUCH way too much. And no Creatine with it.
Now I am not saying you cant get thin using a veggie type diet. I am saying that you cant expect to build muscle or be toned and firm from this type of eating pattern. I know many people who and skinny and flabby and who look pretty good for a while before they start to waste away. Your body needs protein from meat to work properly. This is a fact.
As you can see I am at it again..I want to make you aware of the limitations of a one dimensional approach to your fitness. Over and Over; Again and Again I see it every time I walk into a public gym: People lifting as heavy as the can, doing the same exercises day in day out. Monday chest, Tuesday biceps….are you bored yet. I thought so.
Listen up here is a little gem of advice. Your body is more bored and that’s why you can’t get any results.
This is for both men and women: The way your body, and your brain, works is that it responds to different stimuli. It adapts to a changing environment all the time. That is what gets the brain juices flowing. Not being so pumped up that you can’t scratch your back.
Alright so What is it that make Ballerina’s better that Bodybuilders?
The short answer is APPLIED FORCE! You see the way a bodybuilder trains is to increase muscle size and definition, and also maybe his strength, but generally it’s about how you look. Whilst a Ballerina trains to be able to move, to be graceful to have control and explosive power, to have balance and ability.
As we have discussed previously, the concept of ‘healthy body’ and even of ‘fitness’ has advanced from the thinking of ‘big chest big arms’. Fitness is a multi-dimensional framework with many different aspects and approaches. Let’s see how body building shapes up.
I will be generous and say that body builders are stronger than ballerina’s but how do they compare when we evaluate them against deeper criteria of performance. How would you shape up when you look at yourself? What do your goals reveal about your current training style?
Acceleration from standing , Balance, Strength, Agility, Power Speed over a distance, Graceful movement , Plyometric Ability, Flexibility, Control of movement , Endurance.
It is important to recognise that body building trains muscles to be slow, they stimulate slow twitch fibres, where sports type training focuses on explosive, fast twitch training.
So there you have it, you can clearly see that bodybuilding is a discipline that fails to produce a completely healthy and fit individual. It might produce one that looks good in a vest, but when it comes to applying the strength they have developed they don’t have it. It’s kind of like a flatbed truck that has a v 12 engine, undoubtedly very strong, but it has no steering wheel, no tyres and no shocks. All that power, no application. Whilst the ballerina is like a sports car. Fast, elegant powerful, aerodynamic, superb road handling…you get the point. Which vehicle do you want to be?
Also, remember that most body building techniques focuses on the ‘slow-twitch’ mechanism in your body…this makes you slow! Whilst using your explosive mechanisms activates ‘fast-twitch’ fibres…work it out! For more info on fibre types refer to my article on Slow&Fast Twitch fibres.
Don’t fall into the trap of not learning to apply the force you develop. Exercise should be about acquiring a skill level that goes beyond mere strength or aesthetics. What that means for you is that if you have been doing the same routines, the same exercises for a while and you understand the basics of exercise it would be wise to look into expanding your knowledge, not only mentally but also physically. Switch your outlook from a performance based goal, like ‘I want to bench press 100kg’ to a skill based goal like’ I want to learn as many different types of push ups I can’. For ladies why not try to learn all the different types of lunges…it will add intensity to your workouts and you will not be so bored.
Learn, and keep improving your skill level. This is what movement is about. Challenge yourself to improve your ability. This is what leads to proper, sustainable results.
I will start this article with a little story…
My grandfather is a farmer; he lives in the valley and lives off the earth. Every time my wife and I travel to visit we are reminded of the simple things and the old ways. Along with this comes the traditional Sunday lunch. The full spread as you can imagine. The potatoes and veggies come out amazingly well. Never mind the rest. Anyways we asked Granny for the secret… How can she make those standard potatoes and veggies taste like heaven? So she showed me…every time she makes sausage in the pan, or beef or whatever she saves the FAT in a bucket. Then what she does is add that fat into the roasting dish. Now I want you to imagine a bucket of white, gelatinous, gooey,solid fat; lard the old people call it. It is fantastic! My wife almost fainted. NO WAYS I AM EATING THAT!
So why mention that?
Why does it taste soooo good? Well simply, your brain likes fat. When you eat it and it goes into your tummy your receptors send messages to your brain to say you are full. It says you are satisfied. It says you feel good.
Specifically I am talking about Saturated Fat, the type you get from animals. THE BAD TYPE. The one that gives you cholesterol and that makes you fat.
I know that many of you…especially the ladies, wouldn’t be caught dead eating the skin of the chicken, or the fatty strip on the edge of the steak or pork chop. So What’s the deal with Cheese and Chocolate?
Mmmm where does the fat from cheese or chocolate actually come from…Mmmm can’t put my finger on it….YES that’s right. It comes from the milk that cows produce. Actually what they use is the nice fatty full cream part of the milk and then they process that. So do you know the difference between the fat they get from the milk and the fat on the piece of steak….NOTHING! Same bad white, gelatinous, gooey, solid fat. It’s the same message that gets sent.
Here is a little experiment…take a block of cheese and microwave it for a minute…look what is left over. Yes it is FAT. That is what you are putting into your body. Now look, I have had this conversation with many people. All I am saying is that you need to make an educated decision as to what you eat. However, is it not hypocritical to say you won’t eat the fat on the steak, or the skin on the chicken, yet you keep eating chocolate and cheese without pausing to consider the effect.
Funny thing is, you are well within you rights to keep eating blocks of cheese and bars of chocolate. Just don’t be confused when the weight won’t come off, when the skin starts to fill out. Remember you are what you eat. I just give you the information. Use it, don’t use it. Up to you.
When I started looking into the major causes for obesity and over eating, I kept finding a common thread. People who suffer with weight and over eating are often un-satisfied by the food they consume… Why?
Why do you feel hungry?
Your brain has several receptors in the body and bloodstream specifically that help to measure levels of nutrients and also the needs of you tissues. When your demand is high, or your supply of nutrients is low, those receptors send messages to your brain to make you feel hungry. The reason you sometimes feel like specific things is those food items contain the nutrients your body requires. Interesting hey?
The problem occurs though when the food you eat fails to provide the necessary nutrients for your body even though you have just eaten. Although you have consumed calories, the need for specific energy has not been met… so you still feel hungry!
The major cause of this nutrient and energy deficient state…Processed foods and Alcohol.
Remember I said you get hungry because of a certain need. Your body wants specific nutrients. Well processed foods are energy depleted imitations of the real thing. An example is process. There are many examples I am sure you could identify. Processed foods fail to supply your body with proper energy so you consume more to meet the chemical levels versus eating natural foods that have high nutrient contents. The solution lies not in volume of consumption, but in actually selecting the most energy rich foods to supply your body with energy.
A general rule is that if it comes out the ground or is produced by nature it is far better than anything that comes out a factory.
The reason I mention alcohol is because I have seen its effects on clients that I train. Alcohol actually robs the body of essential nutrients. The calories consumed by alcohol are not only unwanted but the chemical composition of alcohol actually blocks absorption of nutrients in the stomach and it is an undeniable fact that alcohol messes with your insulin secretion, which in turn MAKES YOU STORE FAT!
The moral of the story here is that you have a choice to make about what you eat. Processed foods, and yes alcohol is also processed, are making you fat. Even some of the yogurts out there are so full of CRAP that they aren’t healthy anymore. Oh sorry CRAP stands for Carbohydrates, Refined Sugars, Additives and Preservatives.
I will keep this article short. Easier for you to read but it is the information that is important. Hidden hunger is a reality. People are eating themselves to sickness and death because the food they consume is of pathetic quality. Marketers and food sellers are very, very smart. They know that need to sell you stuff that tastes good and is cheap. It used to be that if it tasted good your body recognised it as healthy. Nowadays the food producers mimic those chemicals with all kinds of things to fool your brain. They use cheap poor quality products like MSG, corn syrup and maltodextrin to make there product taste better or look better. Sneaky hey. Watch out cause they don’t have your interest at heart, they just want your money and your tummy!
PS I have moved my training business to the Cape Quarter in Green Point. If anyone needs to contact me I am there. My mobile is 076 3970 284.