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18 Jul

 

Can you do a pull up? no? here’s some tips!

Do you want to learn how to do a pull up? The thing about a pull up  is its a compound, pull-type exercise. It works a lot of muscles in your back, shoulders and arms at the same time. So do you want to learn how to do a pull up?

Pull ups can be performed by grasping a bar with a firm overhand grip. Your hands should be separated by about shoulder width and when your arms are straightened you will then pull yourself up so your chin touches the bar. Try and keep your body straight, don’t arch or swing. When your chin is over the bar you can lower yourself so your arms are straightened again. Don’t relax too much when your arms are straight as it can put a lot of pressure on your shoulders.

Pull ups are bloody hard, especially if you’re just starting to workout.

A lot of people struggle with these and find it very hard to do just one. The problem people face usually is they’re not too sure on how to get that one pull up done. “How can you work on them to get better if you can’t do one?” people usually say. Look, if thats you then you’ll find a great deal of advice in this article and I guarantee you if you stick to this article even just a little bit you’ll be able to achieve your first pull up soon. If you’re joining the army you’ll especially want to learn how to do a pull up before you go.

Why are pull ups so good for you?

  • Pullups are a great exercise for strengthening your back muscles, shoulders, chest and arms.
  • They’re fantastic for building grip strength and improving your posture.
  • If you’re wanting a stronger core then this is an ideal exercise for you.

Here is a list of muscles they work… pretty mental eh?

Middle and lower trapezius Rhomboids Pectoralis major and minor
Deltoids Infraspinatus Latissimus
Dorsi Teres major Subscapularis
Biceps brachii Brachialis Brachioradialis
Flexor carpi radialis Flexor carpi ulnaris Palmaris longus
Flexor digitorum profundus Flexor digitorum superficialis Flexor pollicis longus
External oblique Erector spinae

 

Just have a look at this video above first.

Heres a few tips to get you started.

  • The more you weigh, the more you have to lift so… If you’re truly serious about completing a pull up then you need to get your diet under control. Theres different diets you can do but I’m a big fan of the Paleo Diet. If you manage to keep this under control and stay consistent you will lose weight and you’ll be able to lift yourself much easier.
  • Back Muscles are a priority. Most people leave their back related muscle exercises till last. Heres a new rule – after you stretch and warm up the first exercise you do is the one you want to work the most. So, in this case it’ll be your back.

You should also remember that your grip might just not be up to par.

Your grip strength isn’t up to par!

If you don’t come from a sports background or work in a physically demanding job then you’re probably not going to have much grip… If your grip strength isn’t sufficient to hold your body weight then there is a slim chance you can do a pull up. Read my post here on improving your grip strength.

 

How to do a pull up

Okay, if you still want to learn how to do a pull up then start with these exercises. 

Exercise 1: Bent Over Dumbbell Rows

This is one of the most basic back exercises and is probably one of the best to start with if you’re starting from square one. Okay so here is the plan, three sets of 8 reps with 2 minute break between sets. Once you can do this successfully, up those weights!

Exercise 2: Body Weight Rows

I’m sure you’ve all heard of the regular barbell row! unfortunately its pretty easy to have improper form with this exercise and cause injury or just give u a pretty shitty workout. This is why I like the inverted row for people trying to get their first pull up done. The inverted row gets you used to your bodyweight and doesn’t add any extra stress to your back. This makes it PERFECT to get you used to doing a pull up, they use the same muscles but just at a slightly different angle and you can use the smith machine to change the height of the bar depending on your level.

So heres how you do an inverted row

  • Set the bar at a height that will be challenging enough for you to complete 3 sets of 8 reps. 
  • Lie on the floor underneath the bar
  • Grab the bar with your palms facing away from you.
  • Contract your abs, and try to keep your body a completely straight line.
  • Pull yourself up to the bar until your chest touches the bar.
  • Now Lower yourself back down to the starting position.
  • Once you can do your 3 sets of 8 reps, lower the bar!

 

Exercise 3: Assisted Pull Ups

I’m not a big fan of this one but it is better than doing nothing! You can try this with a chair, exercise band or a partner if you don’t have access to the machine.

 

Exercise 4: Negative Pull Ups

Okay if you don’t have a rubber band, someone to hold your feet, a machine or even a chair… but you do have a bar.  Then we can do negative rep pull ups. So heres what you do, just jump up above the bar and lower yourself slowly until your at the bottom. Please beware though that this is very very dangerous if you’re overweight. Negative reps is a great way to build arm and back strength! Keep your movement slow and controlled and engage the upper body muscles to give more tension during the exercise.

Here is why Negative pull ups are so good. Overloaded Eccentrics is a fancy way of saying lowering heavy weights slowly. They’re a great way to recruit more muscle fibres and motor units and is a great effective method for increasing strength and triggering hypertrophy.

This method can be used…

  • As a finisher to a pulling or pull-up workout. Just add a few negative reps to the end of your normal workout.
  • To pre-exhaust back and arms. Start your workout with negative-only pull-ups.
  • To excite and “potentiate” the central nervous system.

 

 

Exercise 5 – Chin Ups and Pull Ups


It’s time to do your pull up! Depending on your weight, fitness levels and strength and how far along you are in these excercises but you’re probably by now going to be able to manage one pull up! You may find it easier starting with a chin up, thats where your palms face towards you.  If you want you can read about my chin up advice in my other article. Just try focus on keeping your butt clenched, your abs and core tight and get your chin above the bar!

Whats next?

Once you can easily crack out 3 sets of 10 pull ups/chin ups you can then move onto the following:-

  1. Get better at doing more reps i.e 3 sets of 20.
  2. Try other types of pull ups like wide grip pull-ups or go side to side etc etc
  3. Get a weighted belt and add more weight to your pull ups.

Theres a lot more to write about so I’ll be touching up on this article over time.

Need a pull up bar? check out the Powerbar 2

12 Jul

Online personal training is definitely becoming more common. Especially in the Uk! You’re given a tailored program that you have to do in order to achieve your goals. The obvious difference is the trainer isn’t with you! I personally love having a personal trainer when working out – they always help me get those few extra reps!

 

There is quite a few positives to using an online personal trainer though. I’ve pointed out a couple below and you can let us know what you think!

Positives

1 – You get instant access to expert advice, there is PLENTY of well known fitness professionals out there who are offering an online version of their services. This is great because you can get training from some very well known fitness pros you wouldn’t of been to able to get otherwise – for example training from a specialist who has a lot more knowledge than your average trainer.

Even still your local trainers can offer you amazing advice that will push you further into the right direction. I’ve seen guys in the gym who have been in there almost as much as me and made absolutely no changes compared to myself. The difference was, I had a coach by my side telling me the do’s; don’ts and just generally giving me that boot up my arse that I needed.

2. Easy to ascertain a trainers s ability. You could take a few online sessions before you get the real session in the gym. Look at their reviews, mentions and check out their social media!

3. Less expensive. It is much cheaper as they can deliver courses/deal with more people online than they can in a 1/1 session – this means you get things cheaper obviously. When PTs online build a reputation up they can get busy extremely quickly and this leads to them increasing their pricing.

4. Flexible! It is much more flexible! having an online trainer means you can access your workout on your mobile at any time and usually trainers let you message them if u need advice/tips too. So you don’t need to be restricted to gym times.

5. Extra support.  I touched on this earlier but most trainers do offer a way of providing additional support if u need it. Need help with your diet? are u struggling with an exercise? they are there to help you! and none of them should have a problem with giving u a bit of help. In my opinion any trainer who won’t have any contact with you isn’t worth it.

 

The Negatives

Bad form. There not with you so its impossible for them to know if you’re performing an exercise right. This can reduce the effectiveness of the plan/workout and potentially cause injury.

Motivation. You don’t feel like u actually have to turn up anymore… you don’t have someone pushing you through tough workouts.

 

So what do you think? would you pay for an online PT or do you?

Let us know.

 

The next best thing would be Fitness DVDS – why not try some of these:-

Charlottes 3 min bum blitz – http://premiersportsandfitness.co.uk/product/charlottes-3-minute-bum-blitz-dvd-2015/

Davinas –  http://premiersportsandfitness.co.uk/product/davina-5-week-fit-new-for-2016-dvd/

Scarlets - http://premiersportsandfitness.co.uk/product/scarletts-superslim-me-plan-dvd/

 

07 May

Zac Efron’s workout and diet plan are making waves this Summer because of his incredible physique transformation preparing for Baywatch. Along side the Rock, Zac holds his own, having carved out a chiseled body by focusing on 7 key elements of his training and nutrition. Recently, Men’s Fitness magazine published a story about the gains Efron made to get ready for his Summer comedy role.

In this video, I am breaking down the most important aspects of his diet plan and workouts to help you to start getting better results from your workouts heading into Summer. I’m also going to take a look back at a former “most wanted” celebrity body (that of Taylor Lautner) to see what went wrong and prevented his gains from being permanent.

First and foremost, it is worth noting that neither Zac Efron or Taylor Lautner are heavyweights. Both stand just 5 foot 10 inches tall and weigh no more than 170 pounds. To make his transformation for Baywatch, Efron gained just 10 pounds of lean muscle. The thing is, when you minimize your body fat levels and maximize the amount of muscle your body can naturally carry…you look much bigger than you are. Both of these guys have mastered this.

That said, you can’t expect to look better without being willing to put in some hard work along the way. Zac did just this by adopting more heavy weight training into his workout routine. He stated that he never had lifted very heavy or explosive before preparing for this film. A lot of people actually find themselves in a similar position either because they are uncomfortable lifting heavy or just don’t have the base strength to be able to do it.

By increasing his strength levels on the basic compound lifts, Efron was able to start adding to his muscle density and thickness.

Next he followed a push, pull, legs training split. This workout sequence allows you to train your body more athletically since you train movements instead of individual muscles. The back and biceps are responsible for all lifts in which you pull the weight towards you or pull your body towards a fixed bar. It’s impossible to isolate their actions so it helps to train them together to allow you more recovery time between workouts.

Daily ab training is another key to having the resting tone needed to showcase your abs year round (provided your diet and nutrition are in check). Zac Efron’s diet is also covered here as well. By including a cheat day once in awhile, he is able to maintain his sanity and consistency required to keep his body fat levels low year round.

For a complete workout and nutrition plan to build athletic, ripped muscle like Zac Efron head to http://athleanx.com and get the ATHLEAN-X Training System. Get step by step workouts and a day by day meal plan to take all the guesswork out of your transformation.

For more celebrity workout videos and videos on how guys like Zac Efron build muscle fast, be sure to subscribe to our channel here on youtube at http://youtube.com/user/jdcav24

GIVE THIS A WATCH! 

 

 

03 Jan

To cheat or not to cheat ???
Ok so firstly what is a cheat meal?
A cheat meal is a meal containing food sources usually in the “junk food” bracket & this is not usually calculated within your calorie/macro nutrient targets.
I.e. A kebab, McDonalds & deserts etc
Now secondly why would you have a cheat meal?
Ok so if you think about food being the fuel for our performance, not just training but our over all performance & bodily function then it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realise eating healthy while foods with a good nutritional profile would be the best option. But can you imagine how boring and unsociable it would be always only doing what was best for our performance (unless you get paid ££££££ then of course it’s your job) so a CHEAT MEAL is perfect for us to get that bit of garbage that we all enjoy & to allow us that sociable meal out with family/friends etc. Now take into consideration the psychological effect of dieting. ITS HARD!! A lot of us give up on our goals because the dieting is to difficult, but that is because we make it to difficult. Again this is where a cheat meal can benefit us psychologically, think of it as a small break from routine and a chance to wake up ready to battle the upcoming week, almost like a reward if you want to think of it that way for all of your hard graft the previous week.
The big one. WILL IT MAKE ME GAIN FAT?
If your nutrition plan already has you in a caloric deficit which is large enough for you to lose a 1lb+ a week then you are likely in a weekly 3500+ calorie deficit. Now if you eat a ridiculous 3 hour all you can eat buffet & desert then there is a high possibility you will take yourself out of a weekly calorie deficit that is high enough for you to continue to LOSS FAT. Now it’s also highly likely that you won’t endure enough damage to make you GAIN FAT, however it may ruin the hard work you are putting in on your subsequent days in your fat loss phase. You will however almost inevitably have some weight gain.
The better one WHEN IS BEST FOR MY CHEAT MEAL?
Let’s keep this simple.
Firstly REPLACE a meal or 2 that day with the cheat meal, DON’T add the cheat meal onto your daily plan. This will decrease the extra calories you are putting in.
Secondly POST WORKOUT or NIGHT BEFORE A BIG WORKOUT will be times in which you will benefit from the extra calories, whether it is for replenishment/recovery or fuel for your hardest session of the week.
Thirdly MAKE IT A FUKIN MEAL! Not a bloody humongous binge, your trying to transform your body!!
Key points:
1. Actually be in a fat loss energy balance before you consider cheating.
2. It won’t turn you into the “fat bastard” from Austin powers.
3. It will help you sustain your diet for a longer period of time.
Peace ✌️️

03 Jan

??WATER??
Water is a component of the body which is usually overlooked as a vital nutrient. It acts as transport for various chemicals in the system. Without a sufficient intake of water you become dehydrated and your body begins to retain water to protect itself which can smooth out muscle definition to some extent.
The water in which your body retains becomes contaminated because your kidneys cannot filter out contaminants properly when dehydrated. The liver then intervenes to help process these waste products which interferes with one of it’s main functions which is breaking down body fat.
To conclude: without sufficient water in your body you are likely to end up bloated, water logged and obese so drink up ??

03 Jan

10 REASONS YOU’RE NOT GAINING WEIGHT:
1) you don’t eat enough, skipping breakfast, a packet of crisps for lunch and sitting down to dinner just won’t work. You wanna grow? You need to eat!
2) you do not hit you’re protein intake. Protein repairs muscle tissue helping it grow, without sufficient amount of protein in your diet you will not gain muscle.
3)you skip meals, especially on a bulking phase this can prove to be vital as you might not hit your protein count for the day or your targeted calories.
4) you only use machines, machines are great and I think they are a brilliant way of setting you up for free weight movements but without doing free weights you are at risk of only really isolating the muscles, using one side more than the other and neglecting your core.
5) you do not eat enough complex carbs, forget refined carbs and sugars, carbs will hold water making you look fuller and be slower digested for prolonged periods of energy.
6)you do too much cardio. When going to the gym you cannot resist getting that sweat on. You’re energy output will then be too high meaning it will be harder to gain weight.
7) you do not use compound lifts in the gym. You will not gain weight with isolation exercises but you will with compounds such as bench, squat and deadlift.
8)you blame your genetics or your metabolism. Complaining gets you nowhere hard work does. If you eat right and train well you will bulk.
9) you don’t train hard enough, when you feel the muscle burning that is when to push those last reps out these are the reps that count don’t stop at the first sight of pain.
10)you don’t train legs, training your legs gives you a great foundation for big lifts such as squats and deadlifts which help strengthen your back and core.

03 Jan

STARVING YOURSELF BUT NOT LOSING ANY WEIGHT??
A common problem I see with people trying to lose weight is that they are simply not eating enough. Don’t be daft I hear you say but this is true. Through a low calorie diet you tend to damage your metabolism and lower your metabolic rate which is essentially something you want to be high in order to make it easier in losing weight. If you starve yourself and do not get the correct nutritional balance in your diet your metabolism suffers. Your body will also plateau at a point where it would be near impossible to eat any less than you are on the low calorie diet and your weight does not decrease.

What is the solution to this? Get as far away from the low calorie diet as you can. We want a long term fix and we want the weight to stay off therefore we need to do this right. Track what you are eating just now and add 100-200 kcal more per day. You will notice that you may put on a slight bit of weight or no weight at all bare in mind this is a long term fix to keep the weight off. Once you are comfortable eating this amount do the same again. Again the weight increase at this point will be minimal or none at all and you’ve just added 200-400kcal more to your diet. This helps speed the metabolism up which will burn fat. Once you have completed this process you can now drop your kcal by a few hundred again and notice the weight loss results now compared to the beginning because you have helped repair the damaged metabolism. Don’t ever go for the quick fix it never works out on the long run and you end up having to do more work than you did before because of this. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again Rome was not built in a day. Good things come to those who wait and are patient. Take this advice on board if weight loss is your goal and let me know how you get on. You will not be disappointed.

03 Jan

FAT LOSS
WEIGHTS ?? VS CARDIO ?
Okay so a very popular topic for debate amongst gym goers is which of these is best to maximise their fat loss goals. Here are a few things to take into consideration before you decide which is best.
1)METABOLIC INCREASES. So post workout we burn more calories (upto 36 hours worth) weight training than what we do cardio. To give an example of this you may burn upto 60 kcal/hour (cardio workout) sitting doing nothing after your workout due to your metabolism compared to 70kcal/hour after a weight training workout. So what’s the big deal an extra 10kcal?? NO! When the goal is fat loss multiply this 10 by the 36 hours you are burning this for post workout. Starting to make sense now? Now multiply this number by how many sessions you are doing a week or even a month. This is a considerable difference now and one which will maximise your fat loss goals.
2)the next thing to take into consideration is your BMR or familiarly known as your metabolism. For every pound of muscle gained your metabolism burns an extra 50-70 calories a day (weight training builds muscle). Now in doing so and don’t worry ladies by gaining muscle I do not mean gaining that masculine look, we raise our metabolism even further through the more muscle we gain meaning we burn a lot more calories sitting about doing nothing due to this.
3) My last and final point cardio will help you lose weight but this is all it will do you will transform yourself into a smaller version of yourself looking soft with no muscle tone. During weight training you are primarily burning fat and either gaining or maintaining muscle which will give you that “toned” look you have been looking for.

Now I’ll leave it upto you to decide now. Weight Training or Cardio?

03 Jan

Clean Bulk vs Dirty Bulk
A topic that most will debate about within the fitness industry.
Firstly lets distinguish the 2.
Clean Bulk: when energy in is greater than energy out (when you eat more calories than you burn) in a surplus of up to 500 calories.
Dirty Bulk: No restriction on the surplus of calories.
Now we have distinguished the 2 let’s look at the advantages of both.
A clean bulk will gain muscle and restrict the amount of fat you gain (fat Gain is inevitable on a bulk) meaning that it will be easier and quicker In your “cutting” phase to get down to your expected body fat percentage.
A dirty bulk will help you gain mass fast ideal for ectomorphs looking to gain size in a short period of time. Although you will gain more fat on a dirty bulk this may actually look better on an ectomorph. Because of the rapid weight gain you will make rapid strength gains as well which works in the bulks favour (if you become stronger it means you have gained muscle) also when you can exert more force against a resistance you will make faster and more effective gains. You will gain more muscle on a dirty bulk compared to a clean bulk all be it not a drastic amount but still more.
Now let’s look at the disadvantages of both.
In a clean bulk you have to be patient in an ideal world you will be gaining 2.5lbs of muscle per month and that’s your first proper year of training, an experienced lifter will be much less than this.
On a dirty bulk you are most certainly going to gain plenty of unwanted fat that will damage your image and you are going to need to put yourself on a larger and more intense cut which could damage your metabolism due to the restriction on calories and huge calorie deficit.
WHAT IS BEST?
That is the golden question, for me I prefer dirty bulk as this means I gain more muscle and I’m not afraid of the excess fat it brings because I can discipline myself well on a cut. This is my opinion and everyone is different you may be impatient and turn to the dirty bulk or you may be scared of gaining fat because you don’t have the discipline to cut properly and may have the patience for a clean bulk. So now I have filled you with the info you can decide what suits you best.

03 Jan

COMPOUND VS ISOLATION:
Something that has been brought up a lot recently by people in which I would like to answer. A question I am always likely to be asked when doing a training plan is “is there not any arm work?”. Here I will justify the thought process behind the “no arm work”.
Firstly the difference between a compound and an isolation exercise. A compound will target more than one muscle area think bench press (pecs and triceps) compared to an isolation only working one think tricep kickback (triceps).
Ok so where does the problem lie? Why not just focus on one muscle area? This is ok for tweaking or if you have an area that you feel lags but why not make your most out of your time at the gym? Why not target more muscle fibres at the same time? If your goal is to gain size brilliant you’re more likely to do this through harder exercises and ones that require you to exert more force against a resistance which would be your compound. Trying to lose weight? This requires you moving more in order to burn more calories which again falls under the compound label. Don’t get too caught up with doing arm or isolation work, get more from your workout. One last note before I finish up, isolation work is still I very handy tool if used correctly and something I often use myself but not for the majority of my workout.
P.s. I do 1 exercise for my arms every week and they still grow ???
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