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WEATHER is NO EXCUSE, nor is TIME

Thursday, December 2nd, 2010

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So today the whole of Weymouth has come to a monstrous stand still. Snow everywhere, cars sliding all over the place, kids launching snowballs in your face, and facilities closing for no apparent reason.

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I have to tell you that the weather is no excuse not to train! Yes it’s cold, so wrap up. Yes it’s dark, so get a head torch on your skull. Yes it’s easier to sit at home watching Jeremy Kyle and eating chocolate buttons, and plumping up ‘because it’s that time of year’. It’s not however so easy to get into shape, after you’ve let yourself get in even worse shape than last week, and the week before that, and the month before that and so on. You gotta do what you gotta do to get results. So get your ass out there and train. Whether you’re just heading out for a walk because the gyms closed, or maybe a run, perhaps you’re gonna hit out a bodyweight workout in the snow filled park. Whatever you need to do, DO IT. If you don;t want to get outside, then do it indoors TRY THIS 4 MINUTE WORKOUT 4 TIMES IN A DAY if you’re not sure what to do.

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You’ll see how little of an excuse the weather is by watching the video in the top right of this post! Not the greatest workout ever arguably, BUT we got in there nonetheless!

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This evening my TO THE MAX program should be cancelled due to the snow, as the venue has told me they won’t open up for us. BUT, I know that all 24 of the people on the program are serious action takers, committed to success, and  WANT to train as much as I want to train them. So, this evening, we’re braving the cold, getting outdoors and we’re gonna have a BLAST with our triathlon training on the beach here in Weymouth. weather is no excuse, and lack of facilities is no more of an excuse than a little bad weather is.

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Anyway, I also wanted to make a confession today, because I’m not perfect, and I slip up, just like you do. You see, the past 4 weeks, I’d done what I tell SOOOOO many clients NOT to do. I’d let my work take over, and have let my training slip. Although I’d been still getting in around 5 sessions per week, I’d let my triathlon training fall onto the back burner. I’d been so busy with clients, planning for next year, courses, writing stuff, creating new things etc, that I found I didn’t have enough time to train. Or rather, I wasn’t MAKING enough time to train. Although 5 hours a week is a reasonable amount of training, and by no means lazy, I should’ve been doing close to double that to push toward my goal of hitting a sub 10h30m Ironman in Frankfurt in July.

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So what did I do? Well I did exactly as I tell my clients to do. I went back to my diary, rearranged a couple of things, PLANNED my week out to the minute, and made sure that I’d scheduled in enough time to work, learn, create, train and LIVE. All it takes to break the ‘no time to train’ excuse is a little planning, time management, and a willingness to get it done.

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Anyway, end of the story, I’m now back up to hitting my training targets, and also now have MORE TIME to do other stuff too. All because I managed to plan things a little better. If you’re lacking time, PLAN your week, and make sure you PLAN TIME TO TRAIN, as well as PREPARE FOOD.

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Have a great week. Be true to yourself and your body, and get some workouts in, NO MATTER WHAT!

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Andy ;-)

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Weymouth Personal Trainer: Interview with UK’s leading fat loss expert

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

Hey guys, hope you’re well. Thought this might interest you:

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Basically I was privileged and really excited this week to be asked to do an interview by the UK’s leading fat loss expert- Paul Mort of thefitnesscamp.co.uk .

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Paul tours the UK and Europe teaching Personal Trainers and fitness instructors how to get great results and he’s personally mentored me.

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Here’s some of the interview we did:

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PM: So Andy, can you tell us a little bit about how you got into the business of weight loss and a little about your journey. I know you’re well into training, but what’s the story behind you?

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AS: Yeah, well I did a sports degree at Uni, and during the last year of that decided that I wanted to get into personal training. At that time, I was really into weights and all I wanted to do was get as big as I could, just like most 19-20 year old lads who hit the gym. I also got into running while at uni, banged a couple of decent half marathon times and kept training hard. I think what made me want to get into coaching others was the fact that I loved training so much, and couldn’t, and in fact still can;t, see how anyone couldn’t have it in their lives. Soon as I left uni, I set about getting myself into PT, so got the courses done, worked my ass off, studied under a pile of the worlds leading fitness minds including JC Santana and Dax Moy, and just did everything I could to get as good as I could be at training people. Through my years of training people, I found that I got very good at getting people to shift fat fast, and decided that that was one of the things I’d like to specialise in. For me it’s about getting changing people’s lives by getting their bodies to look, move and feel how they want them to. I find that my clients fat loss is just the same as me and my Ironman training and competing. The harder and better they work at it, the better the results. Same with me and my training. The better I train, the faster I get.

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PM: Wow, you really have ‘been there, done that’. Now lets get into the meat of the interview. What would you say are the 3 MOST IMPORTANT things when it comes to losing bodyfat

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AS: First off I’d say that you’ve gotta eat right. Everyone knows what they should eat Fresh food, and no crap. But so few people actually do it! I hit this on the head with my clients through my Hit & Miss Diet, which I’m actually currently turning into a 30-40 page document that I’m gonna let 1000 people download for free! Secondly is the training. This can be a little different to diet, as although everyone will admit that exercise is necessary for getting in shape, there’s still a lot of misconceptions about what they need to do to get into shape. So making sure the training is correct is vital. Lastly is the biggest one, and if they nail this then I can be sure they’ll almost instantly change their lives, and that’s commitment. No commitment equals no results, fact. You can’t cheat yourself to good health and fitness, and as soon as more people realise this, they’ll get the kind of results that my guys are getting every week.

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PM: Great stuff. So what would you say are the 3 BIGGEST MISTAKES you’re seeing people make

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AS: Ha, it’d be easy to say ”not doing the previous three things”, and that’s pretty much what I’d say. However, I’d also add a fourth and say that one of the main things is when people don;t make themselves accountable for their success. After all, I know that my methods work, not sometimes, not most of the time, but every time, when the client follows everything I tell them to do to the letter. But people are too quick to say things like ‘I had to have a drink coz it was my friends birthday’, or I had no time this afternoon so had to grab a sandwich’, or ‘I couldn’t find the necessary 15 minutes to train today’, and generally a pile of BS excuses like that. People need to realise in no uncertain terms that the success or failure of their mission is in their hands, no one elses.

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PM: you know, I see those all the time too and it makes me a little sad. So what would you say to motivate someone to finally get into great shape, even if they’ve tried everything?

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AS: Everyone’s different, and so has to be treated as such. Some people need a mahoosive kick up the arse, while others need an incentive. Some people need weekly measurements, or a weekly coaching call. Others will find one of my other clients or fitness class or bootcamp members to train with outside of time with me, and some will just need a little love! Ha

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PM: I’ve heard A LOT about your fitness bootcamps, can you tell me a little bit more about them and the training and nutrition plan that seems to be getting superb results?

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AS: Yes mate. Well They started initially as my Summer SLimmer program during the summer months, and these were quality. We were hitting the beach, the parks, the cliffs and hills, everywhere outdoors that would help us have a killer workout. Then the weather and sun disappeared so we took it inside, and I called it Wake up and Shape up, as it didn’t really warrant a summery name anymore. So thats been running since September, and we’ve got some great results. One of the guys lost 21lbs in 28 days in one of the camps, and that’s the current record. But in January things are changing. I’m going to be putting on a pile more sessions, giving people even more value for money in terms of the extras I’ll be giving them, and it’s generally gonna kick some serious ass. I’ll be using my FLAME principle, which is my Fat Loss Accelerating Metabolic Enhancement system, and this is the single most effective way I’ve found to burn fat in the quickest way possible. Nutrition is simple. Eat the good stuff, and stay away from the shit. The Hit & Miss Diet is where it’s at, and as well as this I’ve got a pile of other protocols to help people bust any plateaus too. The guys get a program to do in their own time too, which is up to 2 sessions per week, and these only take like 15-30 minutes so are dead easy to fit in between sessions with me. I love the program, and cant wait for january when things are gonna get insane.

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PM: Sounds amazing, in fact a lot of the principles make complete sense. So where can people find out more about you?

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AS: Glad you think so chief. Yep, well procisionfitness.com is the site to head to for info about me, and in a couple of weeks, I’ll be launching the all new weymouthfitnesscamp.co.uk too. There’s also a social members only social network site too, which I;m gonna use as added support so my guys get even more bang for their buck. I’m running a free fat loss seminar, provisionally at Weymouth Pavilion on January 12th, and with any luck I’ll get 100-200 people there who are keen to learn about what they need to do to get in shape. Should be quality!

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PM: Well Andy, thanks for your time, you’ve been a gent, and I hope it all goes off with a bang for you and your guys in January.

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AS: My pleasure mate, great working with you.

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So that’s how that went down anyway. Paul’s a great guy, and a great mentor of mine, and I’m really chuffed to be working with him.

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Eat clean, train mean, stay lean

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Andy

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Are YOU and action taker? Christmas Bootcamp Weymouth

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

NEARLY CHRISTMAS!!!

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So we’re just shy of a month away from Christmas now, and that means parties, works do’s, treats in the house for the kids, dinner with friends, seeing family you’ve not seen since last Christmas and so on
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But what do you do? Do you say ‘I’m going to get in shape in January, so no need to worry about it yet’, or do you say ‘JANUARY?! I need to get in shape NOW!’?
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I know which one I’d recommend, and I’m sure you do too. On that note, check out this quick video I did for you this week on goal setting: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lfU-PBIhMq4
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Anyway, here are 4 reasons not to wait til January:
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You can enjoy yourself MORE:
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Simple. If you’ve done a pile of work and begun getting your body into great shape, your metabolism will already been on the up, you’ll be feeling and looking better, and when on Christmas day someone hands you a piece of cheesecake, that you have absolutely no room for as you’ve already just nailed 3 desserts, you can be like me and say ‘well, I’ve earnt it, so I’ll get it down somehow’. Simply put, if you’ve kept a pretty clean diet, and trained well up to Christmas, then you can feel good about actually eating whatever the hell you want to eat on Christmas day.
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Waiting sucks:
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Waiting for a bus sucks. Waiting for a train sucks. Waiting too long in a restaurant sucks. Waiting for someone else to get you in shape is pointless. Waiting for ‘the right time’ to start shaping up SUCKS. Come January, it’ll STILL be the same. You’ll be the one responsible for your own body shape destiny, no one else will get you to where you want to be. Ultimately it comes down to YOU. But why wait when you don’t have to? If I could buy a ticket to skip a bus line I would. Same for a train. If I could slip the waitress a fiver and get my food quicker I would. So if I was out of shape and needed to get myself looking good, why would I wait? I wouldn’t. I’d do something about it now. Today. If you could drop 10lbs BEFORE January, have an amazing Christmas eating and drinking what you want, and then when all your pals are just starting to think about losing weight, know that YOU already lost a load, would you want that? Of course you would. So WHY WAIT? Don’ tell yourself it’s a time thing. It’s not. Don’t tell yourself it’s a motivation thing. It doesn’t have to be. Don’t say it’s a ‘being too tired thing’. It’s not!
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Getting off to a running start:
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We’ve already briefly mentioned it. In January, YOU can be 10lbs lighter, fitter and sexier., while your buddy’s are just thinking about joining one of those horrendous women’s only fixed path machine circuit groups. Come January, would you rather hit the ground running, already with all the momentum you’ll need to see you through, or would you rather risk another year of ‘what could have been’?
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Waiting REALLY sucks:
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I forgot to mention this bit in the ‘waiting sucks’ bit, so have added it as it’s own, stand alone reason, and here goes. IF YOU SPENT YOUR LIFE WAITING TO CHANGE IT ON JANUARY 1st AND ONLY JANUARY 1st, YOU’D SPEND 364 DAYS OF THE YEAR WAITING FOR JANUARY 1st AND WOULD GET NOTHING ACCOMPLISHED.
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Hope the cap’s didn’t scare you there!
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Anyway look, I’m going to make this extremely simple for you right now. IF and only IF you are ready to be an action taker and not an excuse maker, then keep reading and this will be for you:
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WAKE UP AND SHAPE UP – CHRISTMAS MELTDOWN
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This kicks off on Monday December 6th, and is 3 x 45 minute early morning, metabolism boosting, ass (and excuse) whooping workouts, fat destroying workouts per week for the next 3 weeks up to Christmas! We are training Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 6.30-7.15am at St Aldhelm’s Church Hall, Radipole, Weymouth, and YOU are invited. This program takes you right up to Christmas eve, meaning that when we torch your metabolism on that morning, come Christmas Day, the rate at which you’ll be burning calories will still be through the roof, meaning much less of your Christmas eats and drinks will end up making you pile on weight.
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Sound good?
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I bet it does.
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As well as the coaching, you’ll also get 1 x FREE 20 minute coaching call with me, Dorset’s leading fat loss specialist, as well as a full nutritional plan with no calorie counting, point scoring or wasted time. EVEN BETTER than all that, you get a 100% money back guarantee that says that if you’ve not dropped at least 1 clothes size by Christmas, you’ll get EVERY PENNY BACK, PLUS free entry to the next program!
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All this for an investment of just £45. To sign up, do it right now over at http://www.procisionfitness.com/fitness_classes.html All you need to do is scroll down the page, click on the PayPal button on the Wake up and Shape up box, and pay an initial £40 to secure your place (the remaining £5 is payable at session 1).
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So that’s it.
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The program is gonna be a hoot, and there are just 16 spaces available, so if you want one, get one today!
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Are YOU an action taker? Marcus is . . . .  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YsFzU_feSVk
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If you’re not, then feel free to try the magical power plate I’m ranting about in the top right of your screen!

Here’s the link again: http://www.procisionfitness.com/fitness_classes.html
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Andy Sloan BA (Hons), MMA – CSCC
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Procision Fitness

Dorset’s ONLY guaranteed results personal trainer

T – 07843438173
E – andy@procisionfitness.com
W – www.procisionfitness.com

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Why Crunches DON’T WORK!

Saturday, November 27th, 2010

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Hey, so I’m feeling a little lazy right now, so have just stolen an awesome little blog post by my buddy Tim Megginson, who’s destroying some serious fat stores of his clients in Cambridgeshire.

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Anyway, check it out and be enlightened . . . .

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I’m always amazed at how many people in the gym nowadays spend hours doing stomach crunches. Yet to no avail as their bodies never ever change.

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The truth is this.. Crunches don’t work and they never will. A couple of years ago, Men’s Health magazine made a big deal about a research study proving you would need to do 20,000 crunches to burn 1 pound of belly fat. Twenty thousand! Even a “crunch fanatic” would need a few days to do 20,000 crunches. The bottom line is that ab crunches are a HUGE waste of time when you are trying to lose belly fat.

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You would probably get better abs from not even working that area. You see, we all have abdominals there just hidden under our party pack. 6 pack abs will come from doing high intensity work involving many muscles in the body to achieve fat loss. Not a burnt out mid section from doing too many crunches each week. Weight is also a very poor measure to go by, when you get to the stage of having minimal body fat and you want to reveal your abs, chances are you will make small gains in weight as the core musculature will weigh more than the flabby bits you are looking to burn off.

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Abs are not supercharged you do not need to do 600 sit ups a day, besides the fact that this is dangerous. Imagine this- a man walks into a gym does 3 sets of 200 bench presses and the 3 sets of 200 pull ups and so on.. That would be ridiculous! The high reps for tone myth is stuff of the dark ages now, you need to get with the times, the abs like any musculature of the body need to be worked within normal hypertrophy (size gaining) rep ranges and tempos in order to develop muscle tone. Toning does NOT happen with more repetitions of a movement! The core zone (mid section) also needs to be worked using bridging (stabilisation) exercises as well as rotation and extension. Not just constant bouts of spine flexion.

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As well as being absolutely useless the constant movement pattern of spine flexion (stomach crunches) will lead to lower back pain and a nasty bit of flab storage just at the bottom of the stomach. This is because generally you will have the hips flexed tightly in this crunch position. Constant flexing in this position can lead to the pelvic bones being pulled forward out of optimal alignment with the skeleton. Okay this becomes technical, but simply put you will be pulling the lower back in more tightly causing a tightness often leading to lower back ache.

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This pelvic tilt will also allow visceral (internal organs of the gut) to almost spill out forwards from the pelvis. This results in the small pouch of fat that a lot of people get right at the bottom of your stomach. This commonly seen with people that crunch with very poor technique and get really flexed at the hips. This can also lead to very poor core development, and incorrect firing sequences, through the TVA (transversus abdominas) which can result in problems at the hips.

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All told, we need to put a stop to the abdominal crunch before more people damage themselves. If they got results the people that did them the most, would have great abs. As Paul Mort says ‘”the best abs exercise you can do is called the ‘plate push away’ that plate of pasta push it away”. On serious note, if you want abs, firstly you need address your nutrition, your eating habits need to be sound to get you losing the fat. Secondly you need to address the core zone with stabilisation exercises such as plank and side plank; Rotational exercises such as Russian twists and Woodchops; And flexion and extension exercises such as stability ball full range abs draw ins.

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To target Fat Loss- this is the main component of having visible abs. You need to look at high intensity interval training protocols. Preferably compound resistance movements, put together in circuit and complex style formats as well as brutal interval cardio sessions.

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Tim Megginson

http://www.fitnesstm.co.uk/

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Weymouth Personal Trainer | 5 ways to boost your immune system

Sunday, November 21st, 2010

Weymouth Personal Trainer reveals 5 simple ways to boost your immune system this winter

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If you are like much of the population, chances are that during the winter months, you frequently suffer from a weakened immune system, displaying itself as bouts of the common cold, coughs, sneezes, lack of energy and a general feeling of not being 100%. Many of us will battle through, telling ourselves ‘everyone’s getting ill now, so I guess it’s just my turn’. Some of us will stock up and fill up on cough and cold remedies in the form of hot drinks, chews and capsules. Very few people however, will set about attacking the problem at the source.

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You see, beating the winter blues is simple, and can be achieved to excellent effect by following these 5 simple guidelines. These are very straight forward, and deep down, we ALL know them, but just tend to neglect them far too often. If you follow these guidelines, within a very short space of time,you’ll be feeling and looking much healthier, and won’t have to worry about these unnecessary little ‘illnesses’ anymore.

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1. Reduce/eliminate processed food intake

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Processed food and foods containing added sugar cause an inflammatory response within your body, while also suppressing your immune system by causing your pancreas to secrete abnormally large amounts of insulin. This remains in the bloodstream even after it has helped metabolise the sugars, and one major side effect is that it suppresses the release of growth hormone (this is a primary regulator of the immune system) from your pituitary gland.

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2. Get at least 7 hours sleep per night

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Your immune system is under most threat during the day, when you’re exposed to a whole range of nasties, from other peoples germs, to pollution, to the toxins in our food. During sleep, is when your immune system is able to recover. You should try to sleep at least 7 hours per night, and at least once per week, lay in until you wake naturally. For maximum benefit, you’ll make sure you’re asleep by 10pm, as it’s between 10pm and 2am that the physical repair takes place within your body.

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3. Take regular exercise

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We all know exercise is good for us, but many still neglect it. Exercising regularly will increase blood flow, help your body to remove toxins, and improve the health of your pulmonary and cardiovascular systems. Exercise will cause an increase in macrophages, which are the cells that attack bacteria and improve the circulation of immune cells.

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4. Eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables

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Eating plenty of fruit and vegetables of varying colours will provide your body with the vitamins and minerals it needs to keep your immune system operating properly. Carotenes (vitamin A), as found in red, orange, green and yellow vegetables, are needed for white blood cell function as well as protecting your skin. Vitamin C helps protect the blood from infections, and can be found in kiwis, oranges, berries and leafy green vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are also packed high with antioxidants, which are vital for preventing and repairing damage cause by ‘free radicals’ within your body.

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5. Drink at least 2 litres of water per day

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As humans, we are composed of around 75% water. It is required for just about everything that goes on in your body, and drinking plenty of water each day will help your body to remove toxins, fight inflammation, and stay in good health on the inside and the outside. Ideally, you should drink filtered water which will minimize your exposure to metals, chlorine and other toxins.

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So that’s it. 5 simple ways in which you can get your immune system working well again, and finally stop being beaten by the winter blues.

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Train, eat and live well.

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Andy ;-)

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Eat your immune system to optimum health . . .

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010

Autumn is on it’s way out, and Winter is on it’s way in. As I sit here writing this post, it’s hammering it down with rain outside, and howling a gale at the same time. From a training perspective, I’m just happy to own a turbo!


Anyway, I’m not here to rant about the rain, whinge about the wind, or feebly try to alliterate any more words.

Triathletes and long distance runners are a strange breed. We often look so fit on the outside, train like champions and have a strictly ‘can do’ mindset. But on the other hand, we often have weakened immune systems, causing us to need to take time off training every month when we get a cold or just don’t feel right. Maybe you’ll take off up to 3-5 days per month due to this, which results in a loss of up to 60 days (around 2 months!) per year or quality training, all because your immune system isn’t as strong as it ought to be. In the Triathletes Training Bible, Joe Friel makes reference to a study of runners in the LA Marathon that found that runners training for more than 60 miles per week were twice as susceptible to respiratory illness as those who ran for just 20 miles per week (another tick for reduced volume training!). The runners who completed the marathon, were then 6 times more likely to be ill in the week following the race as those who had done the training, but didn’t race. As well as all this, internally, our bodies are often inflamed from the volume of training we do, coupled with the high consumption of inflammatory foods, many of which cause a hyperglycaemic (fast blood sugar release) response, such as breads, pastas, cakes, muffins, pastries, energy gels, bars and drinks and whatever else we eat ‘because we need to’.

When in training, a triathlete/runner will burn around an extra 600-1600 calories per day, depending on training volume and intensity. This obviously puts a big demand on the athlete to consume enough food to maintain and develop themselves physically, so most athletes will turn to the high glycaemic index, sugary foods such as those outlined above in order to bridge the gap. BUT, but eating these foods, you cause this inflammatory response within your body, which often leads to unstable appetite, frequent illness, increased body fat and increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Not what you want. Chronic inflammation is closely linked with, and can lead to, a whole world of different problems such as irritable bowel disease, Parkinsons disease, various cancers, psoriasis, atherosclerosis, chronic dystrophy and type 2 diabetes to name a few. So definitely not good.

So enough of the depressing stuff, and onto what can help you.

In order to ensure that your immune system remains in tact, and your internal environment is not inflamed, there are a number of things you can do. The good thing, is that everything I’m about to lay out for you is dead simple. Before we kick off, here’s a list of some of the top culprits for causing inflammation within our bodies:

  • Sugars
  • Polyunsaturated vegetable oils such as sunflower, canola, safflower,
  • Trans fats such as those found in fast food, processed foods, cakes, pastries
  • Dairy products such as milk, cheese, yoghurt
  • Processed ‘meat’ (if you can call it that!)
  • Refined carbohydrates such as breads, bagels, muffins, tortilla, pitta, pasta (brown included)
  • Alcohol
  • Artificial food additives such as those found in just about any food which comes with a label
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Now, just as foods can cause an inflammatory response, they can also cause an anti-inflammatory one too. So there are foods out there that’ll reduce the inflammation within your body and bring you back to full, optimum health once more. Some of the best include:

  • Papaya
  • Blueberries
  • Broccoli
  • Sweet potato/yam
  • Cinnamon
  • Turmeric
  • Parsley
  • Cabbage
  • Bell peppers
  • Avocado
  • Fresh salmon
  • Almonds
  • Flaxseeds
  • Lemon
  • Lime
  • Kiwi
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You get the idea. FRESH FOODS! There’s a tonne more foods that’ll fight inflammation within your body, and also give you the vitamins and nutrients you need to ensure your immune system gets back to greatness, and if you follow the (very basic yet very effective) guidelines I’m going to lay out for you for your off-season training, you’ll be well on your way to optimum health, recovery and performance. So here goes . . .

For ultimate results you’ll . . . . . .
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  1. Remove all dairy from your diet
  2. Remove all wheat and gluten from your diet
  3. Remove caffeine from your diet
  4. Remove artificial sweeteners and packaged foods from your diet
  5. Remove alcohol from your diet
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You’ll fuel yourself on fresh, wholesome foods alone, such as plenty of fish, meat, vegetables, legumes, pulses, beans, nuts, seeds, and all that other good stuff. You’ll also drink plenty of water, around 1 litre per 50lbs of bodyweight per day.

If you can’t remove EVERYTHING outlined above, then simply make a conscious effort to greatly reduce your consumption of those foods, and ensure that you are eating fresh fruit and veg with every meal, and drinking plenty of water.

If you use energy drinks, bars and gels, or high sugar content foods for training, limit these to either 5-10 minutes before training, during the workout, or within 20 minutes post workout as these times are when the body is more likely to use these sugars as a primary fuel.

Ideally, you’ll also ‘front load’ your carbohydrate intake. By this I mean that you’ll eat the majority of your carbs earlier in the day, and then gradually reduce carb intake as the day progresses. This will mean that you’re more likely to use the food as fuel in the day, as opposed to going to bed with high insulin levels. Think of your carb intake as a pyramid, so plenty for breakfast, slightly less at lunch, then minimal at dinner (also include healthy snacks in between meals if hungry).

With vegetables, the brighter the better. Try to include a variety of colours within your diet, as this will provide a massive range of phytonutrients that’ll help boost your immune system and vitality. When snacking on fruit, make sure you eat some form of protein and fat with it, as this will slow down the rate of sugar release into the bloodstream, release hormones such as leptin to signal fullness, and also helps ensure a steady release of energy so no ’spiking’.

If you employ the strategy I have outlined above, you will quickly find that you will improve your health, vitality and general feeling of well being within a very short space of time, as well as drop a few pounds along the way. I should also warn you though, that by removing the inflammatory foods, your body will thank you initially with headaches, fatigue and maybe some mood swings for 1-4 days. After that time however, you’ll feel like you’re living in a totally new body, and will quickly find that the common colds and illnesses you suffer with frequently, will disappear.

Enjoy ;-)

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Ironman Nice - Race Report

Thursday, July 1st, 2010

So that’s it, Ironman Nice has been completed, and now it’s time to tell you just how it all went, so read, enjoy, and then decide to do something to REALLY challenge yourself this year ;-)

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Ironman France, Nice, June 27th 2010

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Hands down, this was is the hardest, most gruelling, relentless race I’ve ever competed in, but it’s also the greatest. I’ll kick things off by telling you the lead up to the race:

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I eventually flew out to Nice on the Thursday, after being sat on the runway for 3 1/2 hours due to a strike in France. Upon arrival, I got to the hotel (in the centre of Nice), unpacked a few things, built my bike, then went off to meet my buddy Sam Wait at the Ironman Expo to register, sign the waiver and get our transition bags, race numbers etc..

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After looking round the expo, we headed off to have a look at the start along the Prom Des Anglais, right on the beach. Already the whole place seemed to be buzzing, with hundreds of soon to be Ironman athletes wondering around, swimming in the beautiful sea, cycling, running, and soaking up the sun. The organisers were in the process of constructing the finish line, stands, transition tents and bike racks, and I got massively excited picturing myself crossing the line at the end of the race.

Getting hungry, I headed back to the hotel via a butchers and fresh veg shop, then cooked up fresh chicken breast and steamed potato  on the George Foreman grill and vegetable steamer that I’d packed in my suitcase in order to ensure my diet remained clean. After happily watching Italy crash out of the world cup, I headed out for an easy 30 minute run with a few 60 second bursts of pace, then headed back, showered and into bed.

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I was up at 6am the next day, steaming more potato, and some eggs as well, then headed off to the beach for a swim around 7 with Sam. The sea was immense. Warm, blue and a pleasure to swim in. A far cry from Weymouth Beach in April when I began this seasons open water swim training. Part of my bike had been damaged in transit, so I took that to the Shimano bike mechanics at the Expo, who sorted it out for me. After a bit of sunshine and a lot more chicken, rice and potato, I headed off to meet my girlfriend who was flying in that morning, before later heading out for an easy spin on the bike with Sam along the prom. Then it was more chicken, more rice, more eggs, then bed.

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On Saturday morning I’d planned to get up early and head out for a swim, but woke up at 5.30, and decided that an extra couple of hours sleep would do me better than half hour in the water, so went back to sleep. I headed out with my girlfriend to the Expo, bought some new tires for my bike, fitted them, left her on the beach and then headed back to the hotel to pack my transition bags, do some final checks on the bike, and ensure all my nutrition was sorted and ready for the morning. By now I’ve got pretty excited, and am getting the standard random giggles whenever I think about what I’m about to do the following day. It gets to 5.45 and it’s time to head off to check in my bike and transition bags. The nerves start to set in a little now, not so much about the race, but whether my knee, which had been in poor form for the last 3-4 weeks, would do it’s job on the day. Anyway, checking in was smooth and stress free, and took little time, which left me loads of time to cook and eat before getting an early night.

However, I ended up watching Ghana beat USA in the World Cup on TV, so bed didn’t end up as early as I’d hoped! After tossing and turning, I finally got to sleep, and 4 hours later was up at 3.30am, cooking and eating skinless steamed potato, steamed rice, grilled chicken, steamed eggs and half a small slice of pineapple as a treat. What a breakfast. It was so dry that every mouthful needed to be flushed with a big gulp of water, and even then it wasn’t fun! Still, it was going to do the job, and do it well, so I forced it down (well, most of it). I had a quick shower to wake myself up properly, necked an energy drink while getting dressed, grabbed my stuff and headed out, excited, and ready to get stuck into some serious work.

After leaving my girlfriend at the entrance to the bike park, I headed in, pumped my tires, attached all my food and drink to the bike, queued for half hour for the toilets, got the wetsuit on, and headed down to the beach with 2500 other people.

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I wasn’t too excited about the swim start. I’d raced in Bolton last year and that wasn’t too fun, but there was just 1500 people there. 2500 people in the sea was set to be a nasty encounter, with punches, kicks pushes, slaps, and people pulling you down and swimming over you. Still, I decided to get right in amongst it and hammer it out any way I could. The atmosphere was already electric, and as soon as it hit 6.30am, the race began. We piled into the sea, and the carnage began. Arms flying, head getting whacked, kicked in the face, pulled under, swallowing water, it all happened. Do you stop? Not even if you wanted to. Stop and you’ll get swum over, probably concussed, and may not come back up until you get dragged out. Not an option. To be fair though, I quite enjoyed the swim! Most of the time swimming for 70 minutes gets pretty dull, but when you’re constantly having to avoid being hit, it makes it a little more interesting to say the least, and time passes nicely. I swam pretty well, and had no problems. More than I can say for the owners of the dozens of empty swim hats and goggles I saw floating and sinking in the sea, some right at the very start!

Anyway, my swim split was 1h12m which I was happy enough with, and after slipping out of my wetsuit, grabbing my transition bag and getting ready, I legged it out, got my bike and headed off, feeling fresh, happy and ready to bang it. The bike leg starts off flat, fast and easy, so I was able to stay aero for the first 20km and hit some good speeds at a high cadence. You then hit the first hill, a 500m climb up a steep incline. We’d been warned about this as being a tough hill, but to be honest it was nothing even compared to Abbotsbury hill. The hardest bit was trying not to crash into the hundred other people climbing it at the same time.

A while into the bike, and there’s an epic 20km climb, which isn’t made any easier by 30+ degree heat. This was intense and the climb seemed to go on forever. There were people stopping on the side of the road, falling off, bikes breaking and ambulances with lights flashing. Never a good sign. The good thing was that at the top of this climb you knew that you’d done the hardest art of the course. I’d felt strong the whole way for the first 49 miles, but at mile 50, I had the worst most painful, horrific cramps I have ever experienced. Not just in one place, but in both sets of quads, both sets of hamstrings, both glutes and both sets of abductors. I hoped that I;d be able to shake these off, but despite taking on plenty of water, loads of energy drink and salt sticks, it wouldn’t go. Every now and again my legs would literally stop working due to the involuntary contractions, with quads fighting hamstrings and hip flexors fighting my glutes for the right to take me down. I kept having to slow, almost to a stop, and it for the first time it crossed my mind that it was possible I wouldn’t actually be able to complete the race. This is when mind over body takes over. It’s just cramp I told myself, and despite the absolute agony that caused me to occasionally let out some sort of an ‘arrrgghhh’ sound, just a minor setback. I could still move, so I could still bang it out, and even if it meant slowing considerably, stopping was never an option. Anyway, there were a couple of fun descents, some nice flat roads and the a nasty 12km climb, which again, went on, and on, and on. The landscape and scenery was immense, among the best I’ve ever seen, but when you looked over the edge of the 2-3ft high wall lining the road, you saw a shear drop down the mountain. best to stay away from there given the cramp situation!

After this last big climb the bike was largely easy. The cramps were still horrendous and frequent, but the remainder of the course was downhill, and flat at the bottom. The descents were amazing. Flying down a mountain at 30-35mph on a bike, round 180 degree bends, past shear drops, was an awesome sensation. Not so awesome for those who came off. I must have seen the ambulances go by around 10 times during the bike course. There were people with bust bikes all over the place having fallen off. Couldn’t help but just feel glad I was in one piece!

My bike split ended up at 5h57m, which although I was aiming for 5h30m, I was pleased with due tot he situation with my legs. I entered transition, someone racked my bike, then I grabbed my bag and hobbled off to get into my run gear. By now the day was intensely hot, up to around 35 degrees, and the run didn’t look fun. It’s flat, yes, but utterly relentless and extremely hard with no respite from the intense sun. My legs were still fully cramped, and so just moving was an effort, but I started the run relatively brightly. As the cramps worsened and the heat intensified, my speed dropped. The course involved 4 laps of running up the prom for just over 3 miles, then back to collect a coloured wristband, until you’d collected all 3 bands and were finally allowed to finish on your last lap after 26.2 miles of pain. The thousands of onlookers in the crowd that lined the streets were fantastic, and every time you’d start to walk, you’d just here ALLEZ! ALLEZ! and would have to get your ass back up and at least try to run, cramp or no cramp.

The run went on for what seemed like an eternity, when in fact it was around 4h16m. Severely unimpressive, and a far cry from the 3h30m I wanted to hit. But bearing in mind my legs had been in a severely damaged state for around 7 hours by the end of the race, I was happy enough to come home in 11h39m.

The sweet end

The sweet end

Upon crossing the finish line, you get what you’ve been picturing every time you thought about skipping a training session, every time yo feel at all down during the race, and every time you thought about just giving up; that golden Ironman medal. The thing that tells the world that you’ve just swam 2.4 miles, cycled 112 miles, then run a 26.2 mile marathon at the end of it, and that reminds you of what you’ve achieved, and that you can accomplish just about anything you set your mind to, so long as you’re willing to commit, sacrifice, and stop at nothing to achieve what you set out to. The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is simply the word extra. Extra will power, extra motivation, extra effort, extra attitude and extra determination to succeed. The accomplishment of the 2000+ people who managed to finish this race, and in fact the race itself, is truly extraordinary.

Next stop = Ironman UK in Bolton, August 1st 2010. Yep, 5 weeks after Nice!

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Day 5 on IHP Mentorship Program

Saturday, February 20th, 2010

One word.

WOW

It’s extremely hard to explain just how amazing this past week has been. Mind blowing stuff, and capped off this afternoon with the most intense, and stimulating lecture I have ever experienced. I’ll take you back to the start of today.

We got to IHP bright and early this morning, and managed to get in a sneaky workout prior to the start of the days program, which really set us up for the day. The morning kicked off with a lecture from Elvin, another one of IHP’s fantastic trainers. We looked through business skills, the importance of education, philosophy, and communication through JC’s CLUEPRO model.

We then had a session with Cesar in which we went through the Fitmoves protocols. This is an excellent way to train people in small groups for an amazing aerobic and strength workout at the same time, and follows the 4 pillars of human movement also. The way it works is an aerobic exercise in the centre (such as stepping, crossovers, skipping, or a million other methods), and then one exercise for each pillar of human movement around the outside (so one push/pull, one locomotion, one rotation and one level change). This is the very same method of training that Cesar used himself prior to becoming an IHP trainer, and lost 3 stone in fat, and now stands in incredible shape. Bottom line = IT WORKS! He then took us through a few other protocols and methods of training, and threw in a bunch of cool aerobic exercises too.

After that, we had a little time off, which enabled us to get a little prep in ready for our FUnctional Training Specialist exam which we were set to complete in the evening. Following on from that, JC gave an inspirational lecture, in which he developed what Elvin had already gone through with regard to business and philosophy, and then went into the 4 L’s. Live, Love, Learn, and Legacy. To some, initially, these will just be words, but when interpreted and developed upon in the manner in which JC has done, you can see how each one has helped forge the legacy that is IHP and JC Santana. When broken down as they have been, those 4 words are all you need to worry about in business and in life, and by ensuring all 4 are as good as is humanly possible, success is there for you, whether you’re wanting to make £1 million, lose 10lbs, become a professional athlete, or simply maximise your human potential.

An hour or so after this lecture, the three of us from the UK sat the Functional Training Specialist Exam, and JC was so excited to see the results that he had them marked within the hour. The result? All passed with flying colours and we have now become the ONLY people in the whole of EUROPE with this certification, and everything that it and IHP stands for. This however is just the beginning, as the journey is longer than a week, longer than a year, longer than 10 years. But for now, what’s next is this. In July 2010, myself, Matt Luxton, and Danny Hague are coming back out here to Florida as assistant coaches for the next IHP International Mentorship. The opportunity to help other people from the UK and around the globe to gain what we have in this week is a real honor and privlige, and we can;t wait to get back out here.

Tomorrow we’re popping back down to IHP with JC to hammer some last minute training, but then it’s back to the UK, ready to give YOU, even more amazing results.

I’ll soon be posting a pile of videos from the week so that you can get even more insight into what’s been happeining here, as well as an interview with JC that we have just come back from filming.

Have a great day.

Andy ;-)

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Day 4 at IHP

Friday, February 19th, 2010

Day 4……this week is going far too fast! JC picks us up from the hotel and we head to IHP, with some Santana (the guitarist) music in the background on the CD player.

The first lecture was taken by JC, this was probably the best so far…not quite sure how they keep getting better and better but they do! We learnt about programme design and the stages required to optimise performance. With this we learnt how to adapt this to help clientele with limited time or specific individual needs.

We discussed the volumes and frequency required to train each sub section of a programme in a progressive manor. We later focused on power; this can be a combination of force and speed or amount of work done in a specific amount of time. JC shared with us some of his latest findings from the training floor about how to improve power and how to measure increases in power just using a stop watch to record time. This kind of information is not in any books, journals or any publications at present, so it is great to get our hands on this to give our clients the benefit as early as possible.

JC presented us with a very clear and easy to follow template for programme design that takes all the element of risk of leaving a particular movement pattern out of a training programme away. We then talked about the transfer from training room to outside world. JC then discussed his opinions on the need to not over emphasise the increase in absolute strength but more to develop strength you can use. For example, on a rugby field it’s unlikely that you will need to pick up more than 200Kg, so there is no need to keep striving to improve this 200kg figure, why not strive to improve your ability to pick someone up and throw them backwards. This is where the functional exercises give you the edge, transferring absolute strength into something you can use in whatever situation it may be. He is not saying that you don’t need to be absolutely strong to perform well, but when you get to this level, perhaps it’s more beneficial to work on transferring this into a powerful specific movement, rather than worrying whether you can lift 5Lb’s more!

JC also shared his views on the over training culturisation that surrounds swimming and endurance sports.  He proposed that most endurance athletes train too much because they believe that because this is how it was done before, and internationally, this is how they do it in my country so this is how I must train! We need to replace high quantity with high quality. Ultimately it’s not the person who trains the most that wins; it’s the person whose training is most effective that will win!

A practical illustration of this is a swimmer who does a 30 length warm up and swims 10 x 100m and 5 x 150m sprints. If the swimmers event is 50m, then why not train at the pace you want to achieve but for shorter distances, so you know how it feels to go at that pace not at sub maximal paces over distances that aren’t even applicable to your sport.

Right that’s it for me…..tomorrow is the last day…lectures and practical in the morning, then the Functional Training Specialist exam and then a workout with JC to finish me off.

Catch you tomorrow

 

Andy

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Day 3 at IHP

Thursday, February 18th, 2010

Wednesday started early with an observation of Conan Silveira, (the owner of the American Top Team) performing a fight specific workout with his trainer, Seth Jordan from IHP. This was another chance to see the triplexes (combination of 3 exercises) in action, with a strength emphasis. He was doing a heavy exercise, followed by a cable/band exercise then followed with a Stability ball exercise. All of these exercises were specific to the movements performed in MMA.

The first lecture of the day was with Griff Fig, IHP’s most senior trainer. Griff discussed the need for rotation exercises for the improvement of speed. This was illustrated with a video analysis of a top Olympic sprinter. This rotation is a result of core strength from the ground up, so implications in terms of core exercise prescription need to be based around exercises that are performed in a standing position.

We then discussed various warm ups and how to integrate dynamic movements that are specific to the movements performed in the actual working sets. Griff then highlighted how traditional exercises can be paired with functional exercises to provide the performance related gains that every client is looking for.

The afternoon session was a practical with Cesar and this was a chance for us to feel how a biplex (e.g. 2 exercises- one traditional paired with a functional exercise working opposite muscle groups) or a Triplex (e.g. Pushing exercise followed by a pulling and a core exercise) session would be for a client. I really like the triplex as it allows the fitness professional to create a great balance between  upper and lower body work and upper or lower body balance/core work. I’ve found this method of training highly effective with clients who I have used it on in the past, in particular for athletic development.

I then finished off the day with a Legs dominated training session with Cesar, based around the biplex method. I concentrated on a heavy first exercise followed by a functional exercise for the back of the core, as my abs were on fire from Tuesday. Here’s how it looked!

1.       Barbell Squats                                                      (3×12) (Heavy legs)

2.       Reverse Hyperextensions on Stability Ball            (3 x 15) (Functional back)

 

1.       Dumbell Split Squat                                              (3×10 each leg) (Heavy legs)

2.       Band Swimmers to Bicep Curl                              (3 x 15) (Functional back)

 

1.       Barbell Deadlift                                                    (3 x 10) (Heavy Legs)

2.       Band Step & Press                                                (3 x 20) (Functional chest and front core)

So this was another fantastic day, and I’m extremely excited about getting back to the UK soon to implement the new methods and principles that have been learned during this course.

Take it easy, and I’ll write again soon!

Andy

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