Controlling your diet for the first time.

If you have never controlled your diet before, don’t fall into the trap of starving yourself to lose weight. This will cause muscle wastage and will increase your body fat stores. Instead you should eat better quality of foods, providing more good quality nutrients with less empty calories. It’s important to keep quality protein consumption high to maintain muscle mass, enough Un-processed fat to maintain health and help with mineral absorbtion. Finally, in most cases, reduce carbohydrate consumption and insure they are unrefined. Changes like these make a big difference to your body composition. 

When I first made these changes to my diet my days eating looked like this:

Breakfast: porridge with blueberries and cinnamon. 

Preworkout snack: an apple

Postworkout snack: a banana and whey protein.

Lunch: roasted/baked meat or fish with sweet potato/ brown rice and vegetables.

Evening meal: roasted/baked meat or fish with boiled eggs and salad.

Supper: raw nuts and whey protein.

Since then I have altered a few things but changing to this eating pattern with my training, made me lose 12kgs (2st) in 2 months while rapidly gaining strength. This was an easy meal plan to stick and made a big difference, but there us always room for improvement. The most important thing is to keep making little positive changes when progress slows just to keep improving. 

For online coaching email me at gareth.clough.p.t@outlook.com with your enquiry.

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Free weights vs cables vs machines vs bodyweight 

Each of these groups of exercises has their place and purpose, pros and cons. Depending on your goals and physical condition. 

Free weights require stabilisation and are very affective at improving functional strength.

Cables require less stabilisation than free weights are slightly safer when training around injuries. Cables keep muscles under tension more effectively than free weights.

Machine weights are safer than other methods. It requires no stabilisation so is a poor method for gaining functional strength. It is however a safe way to build muscle. 

Bodyweight exercises require the most stabilisation. If these are loaded they are the most affective way of building functional strength. These are a must do what ever your goal as most of these work the full body.

Select wisely to get better results and achieve your goals.

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5 bad habits to avoid in the gym

1) Being inconsistent with your gym attendence.

If you go 5x per week and only once the week after you will not hit sufficient volume of training in the 2nd week to continue your progress. Training 3 times each week would be more effective. You can’t follow a good gym programme if you can’t consistently train enough times per week. Progress takes time and effort.

2) Being random

If you go in without a plan, you will not train your body evenly or effectively. It’s best to split up your body parts or plan your exercises to cover the whole body in preportion. For example, if you don’t balance you pulls and presses you will end up with bad shoulder posture.

3) Don’t skip leg day.

You don’t want to look like Jonny Bravo do you? Men a the worst offenders on this one. Having said that many women avoid upper body or weights all together.

4) Avoiding weights/resistance training out of fear of getting bulky?

This tends to only apply to women. Women contain far too much estrogen and far too little testosterone to build large amounts of muscle.

4) Not resting sufficiently

You can in theory train as many times per week as you want, but you need good quality rest between sessions. Action e recovery is a useful tool when you become more advanced. Hard work is still the key bit full recovery between workouts is a must.

5) Using just cardio to burn fat

If you don’t at least work to maintain your muscle mass, you will struggle to burn fat. It’s best to do weights before cardiovascular as you will burn more fat. Make the strength work the priority and use less but more intense cardiovascular to finish off. 2 hours of steady state cardio on a crosstrainer is the biggest waste of time in a gym, watch the people who just do this, their bodies never change. To force a change on your body it takes consistent hard work.

Thanks for reading and I hope you find these tips useful.

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What is Periodization and how can you use it to maximise your results?

Periodization is the way training is organised for avoiding plateaus. The three parts of this include: long, mid and short term training cycles. These are called macrocycles, mesocycles and microcycles. In affect a microcycle is one week of training a mesocycle is often 4-8 weeks and a macrocycle can be any time between 3 months and 2 years (this is only really Olympians who also compete in the commonwealth games as well.) Another good example would be in seasonal team sports eg. Football and Rugby. A macrocycle would be a season and the microcycles would be: off-season, pre-season and mid season.

 It’s not only athletes who should arrange their training in these cycles, it’s also vitally important in training for aesthetics. For example if you want your peak physique in time for your holiday in 3 months, you should arrange your training from that. The start of your program to your holiday is a macrocycle. Your mesocycles would be a bulk and a cut, so you can focus on building muscle then maintaining it while you aim to burn fat.

I would recommend a mesocycle lastin 6 weeks. After that I would alter my training methods. The quickest progress happens in the first 3 weeks of training, the next 3 weeks will be when the results “settle down a bit” 

The main piece of advice I would give on programming is to not change your training to often or too rarely. To often your body won’t adapt to the training, to rarely and you will hit training plateaus you will never overcome. There are many people you will see in your gym who never progress in terms of performance or physique, this is because they have done the same thing at the same level consistently, for a huge amount of time. These people plateaud long ago, don’t be like them keep your training fresh and achive your goals.

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Meal prep

This week’s blog post is my take on meal prep and how it can help if done properly. I also look into ways of making good eating habits easier.

You may see gym goers posting pictures captioned “meal prep” with a pile of tuperware tubs full of food.

The main theory behind meal prep is to make sure you always have a healthy meal to hand so you don’t resort to eating junk food for convenience. This can be done by cooking the next day or weeks meals in advance, depending on what is practical for the individual.

For me the most important part of the healthy eating process is food shopping. If you just buy healthy ingredients you can only make healthy meals. If your fridge, freezer and cupboards are full of healthy food, your diet will be good.

I don’t believe it’s necessary to cook all your meals in advance unless you just have one small window of time each day or week.

To conclude, eating healthily is a mixture of organisation, discipline and knowledge.

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Training Splits

I’m restarting regular blogs to give an insight into my views on training as well as my experiences.

This blog is my take on training splits. What muscle groups to train when. There is no golden ticket and it’s not compulsory to train chest on a Monday. The split that is best for you is dependant on your goals and number of training days.

When I was playing rugby on Saturdays, I did my weights Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. Lower body strength, upper body strength and full body power. I found this ideal for a weekly peak on a Saturday and found consistent improvement in functional strength.

Now I focus purely on the gym I train Sunday to Friday. I have a body builder split on  my weights and finish with conditioning and/or cardio. Shoulders, legs and core, back, chest, legs and core and arms. I aim to achieve a mixture of muscle growth, fat loss and strength gains.

I now like to use a variety of methods of training as it gives me many ideas to plan good, varied sessions for my clients in the gym. When I have a more specific goal to work towards I will have a more specific split.

When chosen your own split, make sure you bear in mind, your daily routine. This will determine how much gym work your body can cope with. Make sure you allow each muscle group 2 days of recovery before training again. Make sure all of your body is trained evenly and in proportion, weak areas may need extra training volume. It is also very important to ensure your diet is good and you get enough rest.

For further advice contact me via social media and I will see how I can help.

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Stanningley RL preseason sum of 4 skinfold results

  • Stu Halliday 67
  • Josh Tate 66
  • Homer 66
  • Ian Crowe 75
  • Darren Hoyland 98
  • Chris Burke 85
  • Joe Ugarte 53
  • Scott Pascal 77
  • Jack Brown 57
  • Josh Jones 49
  • Adam Benn 60
  • Sean Cooper 85
  • Dean Parker 69
  • Dan Swift 106
  • Glenn Metcalfe 75
  • Curtis Sidebottom 74
  • Connor McGill 85
  • Jack Sykes 90
  • Tom Kent 112
  • Ewan 104
  • Josh Roberts 54
  • Brad Cox 62
  • Mark Doogan 112
  • Chip 112
  • Josh Hickey 72
  • Dan Berril 89
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