You have heard me talk about weights, paleo, being vegan, sprint work, martial arts, gymnastics, Olympic weightlifting and bodybuilding and boxing. I have said to you readers timelessly that men must look and be fit and strong like a fighter and women readers that you must have the elegance, and grace of dancers and as I love publicising balance to you I have recently experienced a new area of study… Capoeira!
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It hasn’t been deliberate but it has been interesting. I did get down to 7% body fat percentage on a paleo diet which was a kilo of meat and as much greens and vegetables as you wanted but that wasn’t totally right for me because my gut one morning was in agony and I had to go to hospital with my girlfriend at the time only to find out that I couldn’t sleep all night because I had gas.
After speaking to my ex girlfriend who was a nutritionist, she suggested that I eat rice and yoghurt to help with my gut. I started to focus on building muscle so my diet then consisted of lots of meat and fish for protein and then carbs and also vegetables. With the carbs added to my diet I started bulking. I also started adding fat to my body. I felt less energetic and was avoiding any cardio. In fact it seems that there is a clue there that the nutrition we eat may even affect the exercise and activities you do.
Then I decided enough is enough add that it’s time to get fit. I went to an Anthony Robbins seminar and decided energy and being lean and enjoying exercise that makes me feel good is my new priority. My diet completely changed to great fats that really upped my energy. Avocados. Almonds. Flaxseed. Nuts. Seeds. Coconut oil. I started eating fruits like bananas. Mixed berries. Apples. Kiwis. I continued eating meat and fish I just found myself eating less meat and fish due to having more fruits and vegetables.
I used my fitness pal and discovered that I was getting a lot of protein from the nuts, seeds, green drinks with wheatgrass and these new foods I introduced. The result… Im leaner, more active, ripped, feel fantastic and Look younger and feel a lot more intuitive. After all, variety is the spice of life. Find out what works for you as it will well be worth it.
First of all, my first real life hero that inspired me on my fitness journey was Bruce Lee the revolutionary martial artist who gave birth to MMA. Then there was George St Pierre and now theres Connor McGregor. In my studio we have a bunch of trainers who compete in UFC, Bellator, Jiu Jitsu, Thai Boxing, Karate and Krav Maga!
All these fighting disciplines are incredible and require infinite intricacies and skill levels. The thing that fascinates me is the conditioning you have to go through to get the edge and that competitive advantage and gift.
Don’t forget ultimately MMA covers multiple discipline at once for example Boxing, Jiu Jitsu and Wrestling. The coordination, the footwork, the speed, the power, the timing and the reflexes are unparalleled.
I may be biased because fighting and gymnastics are my currently loved skillsets but to me they are the ultimate athletes. The conditioning. The bravery, the frustration and the heart that goes into it are incredible. On top of all of that they have to cut weight for their fight which can be extremely difficult and requires high levels of metal and physical discipline.
Let’s now look at the rewards. PRIDE. FITNESS. COURAGE. DETERMINATION. FULFILMENT and ACHIEVEMENT. Personally I love the conditioning and I think you will find it awesome too. So come over and I’ll get you a UFC or Martial Arts coach to start you off on one on one training. You will love it plus getting punched in the face isn’t a requirement to take part!
One dimensional personal trainers tend to be very focused at what they are good at but what they are good at may not suit your client and their goals.
Let’s say you’re a personal trainer who’s into bodybuilding and your client wants to be functional, fit and slim, there may be a conflict of interest. (However, all styles of fitness have some benefits to any style of training.)
Whether you’re a bodybuilder or a functional trainer it doesn’t really matter… what does matter is that you know how to give your clients the results they actually want, this comes from constantly improving your own education no matter what style of training you may prefer.
A good coach/personal trainer is a great listener, a great observer and also able to read between the lines and understand what your client is not saying. For example, when you see them move dysfunctionally, look at correcting the movements and notice what else may be weak and where else they are strong. That way you can focus on one of his or her strengths and of his or her weaknesses or imbalances rather than hammering them with something that works for you!
To be fit and healthy for the long term and to do so enjoyably you will need experience regular progression and maintain your ability to be strong and mobile in using multiple disciplines of training. For long-term commitment to your health, you will need to recognise progress and celebrate your improvements:
So the first thing to do is to look at what works for the bodies structure for long term health.
1 Fitness. Pick something you love doing that is cardiovascular and also has a fat burning effect as this will boost your mood and your energy and also give you psychological well being. Physically you will also have a slimmer and sexier presence. For a minimum of 3 times a week and you can if you love training do a form of cardio for 30-60 minutes a day. Within those 30-60 minutes you could also add 8 rounds of 20 second all out sprints. That will give you a feeling of power and of determination whilst steady state cardio will give you a feeling of rejuvenation and vitality.
My favourite methods are using the curve treadmill, skipping and also Thai boxing. For you it could be dancing or rowing, it doesn’t really matter what you choose. What does matter is that it feels good first and can progress month by month.
2. You will need mobility to feel relaxed and strong. Mobility is a combination of flexibility and strength. I tend to like getting this from gymnastics and from martial arts at the moment. You can get this from Olympic lifts as well. The snatch lift requires great mobility and can also give you great power. For me I like handstands. Bridges, pull ups and pistol squats.
You can actually get this done in as little as 20 minutes a day for three days a week or do as much as an hour a day everyday, again that’s up to you. You have to workout what works best for your lifestyle. None of this is set in stone. You can focus on different parts of training for different phases. There is no one single solution that fits all and there is an art of tweaking and finding what works for you.
3. Flexibilty. This is so so important for the long term as tight muscles are soon to be injured muscles. So doing as little as 5 minutes of stretching everyday doing the actual stretches you need will revolutionise the quality of your life as you will move easier more fluidly and with grace which again feels awesome. Generally I would say from the thousands of people I’ve met and trained the common link is to do stretches and breathing techniques that improve your posture. When you improve your posture you will feel more present and look more present to others and since great posture improves diaphragmatic breathing and deep breathing you will in turn feel more confident.
4. Balance and footwork. This is something you can daily and this will also benefit your posture, your balance and the function of your body as a whole.
This can be done in as little as 4 minutes a day. One exercise you can do is simply close your eyes and stand with one leg while the other knee is raised and close your eyes and hold for 2 minutes on each leg and then switch over.
The foundation of these concepts will make everyone and anyone healthy.
Ideally your body will want to sleep 7-9 hours per day to help you feel energised, vital and slim. A fantastic nights sleep will help you have more energy and keep you healthy.
I also want to add that energy comes from your brain and your heart. It comes from your mental power and your psychology.
In fact, Marines the best of the best in the military are have their sleep tested and monitored for performance and how we’ll they deal with stressful and life demanding tasks.
Here are a few tips to improve your sleep quality:
One is magnesium supplements such as oil, tablet or epsom salts ideally in the evening which will calm your body and mind down.
And another thing that can help is deep breathing and thinking of your goals and celebrating them
Avoid stressful television before bed like your favourite murder series or horror before bed or blue light emitted from your mobile as you scroll through Facebook as these confuse the body by mimicking daylight which will keep you awake.
Can food affect your mood? ABSOLUTELY. High levels of sugar and alcohol can really mess up your energy levels, your hormones as well as your ability to burn that fat as they also affect the speed of your liver function.
Can food elevate your mood? ABSOLUTELY. On the flip side the general equation to food that improves your mood is eating foods that release into your system in a slow and complex manner. So the best foods that release the slowest are natural fats like coconut oil which is a must and absolute essential. It will boost your brain power and your energy levels. Another power food is avocado. Almonds are also fantastic as they are high in alkaline which cleanses the body and they have proteins and fats in them. Water is clearly an essential and will help with feeling hydrated and energised and vital.
Greens as a general rule are really good too as they are high in alkaline so will help in cleansing your system.
Now these are all perfect foods so I believe in the acid alkaline equation of having some foods that aren’t perfect such as steak which is high in iron and seems to definitely have a calming affect on me due to high protein as well. Dark chocolate is high in anti oxidants and salmon is high in omega 3 oils.
We all have different foods that we like the taste of, we all have a different bio chemistry and different dietary needs eg some of you may be vegetarian or vegan so what I would say to everyone is the best way to good mood from food is when you balance your hormones by balacing an even level of carbs, fats and proteins.
So here are some perfect meals for me:
As a snack after a workout
Find what works for your body and mind and tweak.it every day and mix it up everyday so that you get the best from your self in energy, in shape, in performance and also in mood.
A tight, restricted chest means that we have tension and stress held within our body. Our body and our minds are linked, so a tight chest means anxiety in the mind whether you acknowledge it or not.
The solution is to counteract that so that you improve your posture, feel good and loosen up so that you open up and are more relaxed, comfortable and confident.
An easy way to open up your chest in less than 2 minutes is to do a couple of exercises 20 -30 times each quickly whilst breathing. All you need to do is have your arms and shoulder height and pull them back and forth 20 to 30 times and have two different hand positions. Eg thumbs pointed back or thumbs pointed forward.
If you do these stretches daily they will improve the quality of your life as better posture, physiologically speaking will increase your self belief.
Sometimes we don’t feel like working out because we may be subject to a mood or associate too much pain with working out.
Some people do not workout because when they go to the gym or class or train on their own he or she just beats themselves up and get injured or exhausted. So my first tip to everyone is slow down and start with small wins, healthily and progressively.
The first thing to do is to take the first step. The first step into the gym, the first step outside for a small run or even the first step to trying a class you would like to go to.
Another thing to do is to tune into your body and do gentle bodyweight movements and cardio movements that you can keep going at a steady state and build yourselves up with.
Also before you even start any exercise see in your minds eye all the positive benefits of working out. See yourself becoming more energetic, more trim, more sexy, more upright in posture and being complimented by others and feeling good about yourself because of your improved shape and effort put in.
It doesn’t matter what you want, whether it is to have great abs, incredible energy, a multi million pound business or a loving relationship. Whatever your goal may be and whatever the results you are looking for, go for them with optimism.
Not just will power and determination as they will give you the drive at the beginning but if you keep crashing and burning you will fall hard too many times and give up from associating way too much pain in taking action.
Always choose optimism followed by patience. Trust that you will get the results it just may take time. The idea that you can enjoy the process, amuse yourself, be playful and put a lot of positivity into what your doing to get there.
For example let’s say you want to improve your body. The worst way to go about it is to beat yourself up and train way too hard and exhaust and injure yourself. The key is to enjoy the process (even when it’s tough) without losing motivation. To appreciate and celebrate getting the tiniest and smallest improvements but it’s a step in the right direction nonetheless.
Always take things slowly. Be playful. Enjoy yourself and watch yourself progress slowly and daily and keep watching until a month later. 3 months later. 6 months later. 1 year later. 2 years later. 5 years later! Then celebrate and see how much you have achieved.
That’s optimism for results!