Sports Nutrition Workshop 29th May & Trigger Point Workshop 31st May

We’re holding two great workshops this week.

On Wednesday 29th May we have a workshop on sports nutrition at 8.00pm. Absolutely free and open to all. Please join and tell anyone who may be interested. Anyone active in sport, running or people who exercise will benefit from the free info we’re dishing out.

And then on Friday 31st May we have a Trigger Point workshop at 1.00pm. We’ll go through the basics of how to use this pre- and post-workout mobilizing and self-massage tool, and the best way to apply its techniques to your workouts, training and preparation. Priced at 250 baht.

The Big Food Experiment

What and when to eat?

Don’t let me tell you what you must eat and when you must eat it

I’ve been asked recently how I’m doing on my 2013 goals and ideas, which I so publicly revealed. The answer is some better than others. They’re all ongoing, so the end of the year is when I’ll fully assess, and if I haven’t achieved and maintained them I’ll get a big ‘FAIL’ stamp tattooed on my forehead.

One of the things I wanted to do was ‘try new things’, and I’ve approached this in one way by trying out some experiments with food. By food experiments I don’t mean genetically modifying tomatoes to be as big as footballs (although I would try that if I knew how), I mean experimenting with how different foods and eating patterns affect my mind and body.

We’re constantly bombarded with information on diet and nutrition. Magazines and online fitness ‘gurus’ tell you what you MUST do, and use powerful statements such as ‘eat this food to turn your body a fat-burning machine’, and ‘if you don’t eat breakfast your body goes into catabolic starvation mode and your metabolism grinds to a halt’.

When it’s written with such strength and conviction, who cares if it’s true?

Decisiveness sells and attracts people, I get that, but this is one area that requires a more diplomatic approach – experiment with different things, monitor closely how it affects you, keep an open mind and discover a personalized solution for you, which admittedly doesn’t sound quite as good as ‘eat this and watch the fat melt away’.

I guarantee, in 100 years there will still be people telling you that you MUST do this, you MUST do that, and the masses will be lapping it up and paying for it, both with their wallet and their poor results.

Discovering what works for you is possible for anyone with a little intelligence and the will to succeed. Unfortunately a lack of will is what stops most people…

“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

Albert Einstein

My first food experiment was a month without meat. I’ve eaten meat all my life and I’ve tried almost every meat imaginable. If it has a brain and moves, chances are I’ve eaten it. I believe meat consumption is largely healthy, but my big issue comes with the quality of meat. Organic grass-fed beef is very different from supermarket beef lasagne, which probably contains more unicorn than beef. So I rather hesitantly embarked on my no-meat journey and loudly proclaimed it on facebook to get some feedback and hold myself accountable.

I could write a lot about how I felt and reacted to no meat, but I want to summarize the main points to keep this article at a decent length.

I was told by some that a no-meat diet would leave me feeling clean, fresh and light. I didn’t find this at all. I actually felt quite heavy and bloated. A lot of my meat seemed to be replaced by grains – pasta, bread, rice etc. Interestingly, some of my vegetarian friends have confirmed that almost every meal they have is grain based.

If I saw this I had to turn around and run for my life

If I saw this I had to turn around and run for my life

For the first few weeks I was lacking in energy. This improved towards the end but I was a long way from feeling at my best. I stress, this could have been due to many other factors – sleep, stress levels etc, but I definitely didn’t feel ‘alive’, like some said I would.

It made me realise that I enjoy eating meat. It tastes good and I feel good from eating it.
I was really looking forward to eating meat again, but my first meat meal after the month was a bit of an anti-climax. It tasted good, but not spectacular like I’d envisaged. But overall I was happy to get it back into my diet.

It showed me I could go without meat fairly comfortably if need be. The longest I’d gone before this was probably a day or two at most.

I’d like to stress at this point that this was a long way from being a scientific experiment. I continued eating some fish and as mentioned previously, so many other factors could have played a part in how I felt during this month. I’m open to the idea that if I’d perhaps given it longer or tried some other no-meat diet solutions, these could have been more positive. Perhaps I’ll try that later. I have some friends who are vegetarian, eat loads of bread and pasta and look and feel great. I’m not doubting this works for them as I can see the results, but for now I don’t think it’s for me.

The biggest and most positive thing I took from this experience was how I view the quality of the meat I consume – how the animals kept and fed and how that affects the taste and nutrient profile of the meat.

So that’s a summary of what I discovered about myself. Nothing too profound, but I’m glad I did it and it’s already set me on the path to thinking more about what I consume.

And in case you’re wondering, I put on about half a kilo.

About half way through the no-meat month I was looking at a wholewheat bagel I was eating and thinking about how it was making me feel, when it came to me – the next month I would cut out all grains, which meant no bread, rice, noodles, wheat etc, or anything deriving from grains, such as rice vinegar, wheat extract (found in a lot of processed foods) and most alcohol including beer (oh dear!). I knew it would be harder as many food items are off the menu, but I was excited about trying this one.

In my next post I’ll let you know how I got on…

Also, please note that we offer nutritional guidance in Bangkok at BASE.

5 Reasons You’re Not Getting The Results You Want

Gaining the perfect physique and optimum health is often not as straightforward as simply popping into the gym a few times a week. Getting great results can take time, perseverance and perhaps some experimentation and thought towards the kind of training you’re doing, food and drink you’re consuming and lifestyle you’re leading.

If what you’re doing isn’t yielding the results you want do not get disappointed  Embrace it and see it as part of the learning curve towards finding out what works for YOU. Remember, everyone is different and what gets me results may not work for you.

Below are five reasons why you aren’t hitting your health and fitness goals.

You’re not lifting heavy enough

You may not be gaining the muscle or tone you desire because you’re not lifting heavy. Male, female, old and young should include strong lifting into their training schedule. An obsession with cardio, calorie equations and core exercises is stunting people’s development and stopping them from getting the results and look they desire. Spending hours on the treadmill and not getting the look you want? Then add some heavy-ass weight to your routine, or try sprinting as fast as you can over 100 meters instead of bouncing along for hours.

She deadlifts heavy, and you should too

She deadlifts heavy, and you should too

You’re eating too often

The often-repeated ‘eat many small meals a day to keep your metabolism burning strong’ is unproven and false. 50 years ago snacking was frowned upon, people ate a few meals a day and obesity was almost unheard of. Now we’re told that we must be constantly eating all the time or we’ll go into ‘starvation mode’ – more wild, unproven claims masquerading as fact in health magazines and diet guides. If you’re trying to lose weight (or perhaps you would like to give you digestive system a break from constantly working), try having longer periods between eating. Your body will thank you for it.

Other sub-reasons would be ‘you’re eating too much’ or ‘you’re eating foods that you’re body doesn’t respond well to’. More on that another time.

You’re not moving enough

Training hard in the gym is sometimes not enough – you need to grab every chance possible to move. Our bodies were designed to be active and you need to take a dynamic approach to making movement part of your everyday routine. The old cliche ‘take the stairs instead of the lift’ is a little tired now, but very true. Walk instead of taking the bus, stand up and do some dynamic stretching a few times a day, play football instead of watching TV. Don’t see this as a chore – make it a habit. You may find that this additional exercise gives you the extra boost needed to hit your goals.

Start by walking home from the gym – the perfect cooldown. To go from a great, active workout with big movements straight into collapsing in front of the TV or jumping in the car and remaining static is not good for your body.

You think looking good is all about diet and exercise

Don’t get me wrong, diet and exercise are two huge pieces of the health and fitness jigsaw, and for some people this gets them looking and feeling 100%. However, the hormonal effects of things such as lack of sleep, stress, exposure to sunlight and happiness can play an essential part. Sleep and relaxation is essential for your muscles and body to repair and grow; sunlight gives us a healthy boost of vitamin D that leaves you looking and feeling energized; stress and tension can negatively impact your endocrine (hormonal) system, which needs to be running smoothly to give you a radiant, strong and healthy body.

Do not dismiss these factors. They are often underestimated and should be strongly considered if you’re not looking and feeling how you want.

You don’t want it enough

One of the most common questions I’m asked is “how do I lose this”, whilst pinching an often minimal amount of body fat around their stomach. Sometimes I’m not sure how to answer… Are they looking for a magic exercise? A five minute routine they can do before bed, perhaps?

The truth is often a sacrifice beyond what some people are prepared to do – lift heavy and regularly, mix in some HIIT training, pay close attention to your eating patterns and diet and experiment with how your body reacts to different foods, make sure you get 7-8 hours sleep a night, reduce alcohol consumption, eat very little processed food, do hill sprints/ kettlebell training/sled pushing etc, and so on.

Of course, some people embrace all this and get insane results, and some opt to strike a balance with the kind of lifestyle they enjoy and so don’t look like a fitness model. There’s nothing wrong with this at all, it’s just about finding out what’s important to you and being realistic about what it takes to achieve it.

How much do you want it, and what are you prepared to sacrifice to achieve it?

How much do you want it, and what are you prepared to sacrifice to achieve it?

So there are a few reasons why you might not be getting the results you desire. I hope it helps you make some positive changes and understand more about the complete fitness picture. If you would like help overcoming a plateau or need some inspiration and help to get strong, please contact me.

Yours in strength,

Jack T