How to stick to your fitness goal

How to stick to your fitness goals

By now, most New Year’s fitness resolutions are abandoned. Researchers found that gym attendance among new members begins dwindling 41 days after the New Year (February 10th), with most new gym-goers falling off  February 24.

Here are some tips to stay on track and avoid letting your goals go off the cliff.

Buy yourself new exercise clothes, sneakers or a workout bag. Doing so will prove to yourself that you are taking your fitness goals seriously. Plus, not wanting to new and/or expensive equipment to go to waste will make you more apt to get off the couch and use it.

Get a program
Not knowing how you will get from point A to B is a sure way to never get there. You do not need to earn a degree in exercise science, but take the time to look up or write out a plan that will help you build muscle, lose fat, or stick with your new diet.

Use music
Keep your gym music fresh. Find new tracks or swap playlists with friends. Even your favourite headbanger-hits can get stale after a while, and fail to provide the motivation you need for intense, productive workouts.

Assosciating your workouts with fun, music or escapism will make yo not want to miss them.




How stressing your body will get you success

How stressing your body will get you success

Anything in excess, is a poison.

Even good old fashioned exercise. And what is exercise but the application of a stressor? And what is stress in excess but a poison? But our bodies need to be stressed as much as they need rest.

Applied stress is how we disturb, destabilize and knock our body off its homeostatic kilter, expecting an adaptation of resilience to the exact distress we put it through. This can be over-done or under-done, however, and that is where good science is best applied as intuitively guided art – the art of program design.

And this is where the majority of people are failing with their goals. While hyper-complexified and sexified nutrition is incessantly promoted, debated and prodded for details, program design (how the training plan is designed and then an eating plan to feed the training) is barely given an after thought.

The reverse is where your focus should be instead. But I digress. So let us stay on topic.

Specify stress and you specify your result
All exercise is a regimented, controlled and applied form of stress seeking a positive adaptation. Like a wound seeking to heal, the body seeks to heal from the infliction of this stress by becoming more resilient to the act of being kicked, prodded and knocked around just so you and I can have a nicer looking body.

My argument? That the way you program your exercise gives it’s own “stress signature”. And your body interprets this signature uniquely. That as you adapt, you accumulate fatigue and fitness – the negative and the positive.

And that with enough an iteration and extended enough a duration, the negative over-powers the positive and you experience organismic fatigue. No such separation as neural and muscular fatigue.

But that fatigue has a specific and general aspect. And that if we view fatigue in this way, we can create an additive or emergent effect with programming where one and one added become much more than two.

Break it down to build it up
The fundamental principal of all exercise methodology to date has been the realization that we need to break down, and allow the body to re-build. Even the most illiterate novice understands this in a tacit sense.

But we are now beginning to understand “why” biological systems, like you and me, need to be challenged to stay healthy.

Complex and dynamical systems like our bodies literally feed on disturbance.

Thus application of stress through the strain of training, to illicit a short term detriment in physical capability and stress buffering capacity, is done in the expectation of the long term enhancement of the same stabilizing mechanisms we are disturbing.

The idea is to cause chaos great enough to serve as the stimulus for subsequent adaptive reconstruction.

This is the cyclical nature of all things biologically complex.

Pendulum like, booms and busts, ups and downs are the basics of natures innate protocol. Tear her down in a specific way and let her rebuild herself. She will process the instructions you leave in the design of your destruction.

Which is why specific programming is essential for optimal progress.

Is stress all the same?
No. Absolutely not. 5 sets of squats at max intensity, done in one day is not going to be interpreted (or cause the expression of the same neuro-muscular adaptations) in the same way as 1 set of squats at max intensity done every day for 5 days in a row.

First of all, max intensity will mean two different things depending on which break-down we use. Secondly, the chaos rate, magnitude and frequency is completely different and the body literally “interprets” the uniqueness of the stimulus as such.

You will eventually fatigue from either method (or something in between) used for too long. And then a break becomes almost essential. The mental/physical conjunction engine needs respite. Because you cannot continually accumulate positives.

The negatives eventually over-power. There is no continual up-regulation, ad infinitum.

But you can continue training extremely hard if you cycle the stressor types. While you are adapting to the short term effects of one, you are adapting to the long term effects of another. This, of course, has to be planned well.

The pay-off is tremendous as it allows more training per year, at a higher intensity than if you had stuck to one singular method, technique or style of stress application; of training.

When is a poison an elixir?
The role reversal of stress as a positive or negative, seems to be frequency, magnitude and duration dependent. How much is too much and how little is not enough are variables that have to be assessed through individual biofeedback.

The fact that tolerance and adaptation rates are highly individualized – if optimal progress is what you seek – means that each program has to have various degrees of freedom within a large encompassing structure.

Thus a stress or poison, in small enough a dose, or for short enough a time frame can heal, strengthen or rejuvenate. The opposite is true when a biological system does not expose itself to the demands that seek to destabilize it’s homeostatic state.

Long term stability can sicken, poison or kill. Death is stability. Life is instability.

Nature is an unstable bitch.


Why you are not losing belly fat

Why you are not loosing belly fat

From missing out on sleep to genetic factors, there are plenty of reasons why your abdominal fat may be stubbornly sticking around

Getting rid of your belly bulge is important for more than just vanity’s sake. Excess abdominal fat-particularly visceral fat, the kind that surrounds your organs and puffs your stomach into a “beer gut”- is a predictor of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance and some cancers. If diet and exercise have not done much to reduce your pooch, then your hormones, your age and other genetic factors may be the reason why.

Read on for 11 possible reasons why your belly fat will not budge.

Getting older
As you get older, your body changes how it gains and loses weight. Both men and women experience a declining metabolic rate, or the number of calories the body needs to function normally. The good news: you can fight this process. Read on.

Wrong workout
A daily run or spin class is great for your heart, but cardio workouts alone will not do much for your waist. You need to do a combination of weights and cardiovascular training.  Strength training increases muscle mass, which sets your body up to burn more fat.

Muscle burns more calories than fat, and therefore you naturally burn more calories throughout the day by having more muscle, I recommend 250 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or 125 minutes of high-intensity exercise a week.

Eating processed foods
Refined grains like white bread, crackers and chips, as well as refined sugars in sweetened drinks and desserts increase inflammation in our bodies. Belly fat is associated with inflammation, so eating too many processed foods will hinder your ability to lose belly fat.

Natural foods like fruits, vegetables and whole grains are full of antioxidants, which have anti-inflammatory properties and may therefore actually prevent belly fat.

Wrong fats
The body does not react to all fats in the same way. Research correlates high intake of saturated fat (the kind in meat and dairy) to increased visceral fat. On the other hand, monounsaturated fats (the kind in olive oil and avocados) and specific types of polyunsaturated fats (mainly omega-3s, found in walnuts, sunflower seeds, and fatty fish like salmon) have anti-inflammatory effects in the body, and if eaten in proper portions may do your body good.

But Patton warns that eating too much fat of any kind increases your calorie intake and could lead to weight gain, so enjoy healthy fats in moderation.

Weak workout
To banish stubborn belly fat, you have to ramp up your workouts. In a study published in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, people who completed a high-intensity workout regimen lost more belly fat than those who followed a low-intensity plan.

In fact, the low-intensity exercises experienced no significant changes at all. You need to exercise at full intensity because the end goal is to burn more calories, and high intensity exercise does just that.

High intensity workouts mean you are going all out for as long as you can. If this sounds intimidating, think of it this way: you will burn more calories in less time.

Wrong exercises
Doing crunches until the cows come home? Stop it! When you are down to your final inches of belly fat, the dreaded crunch will not be the exercise that finally reveals your six-pack. You can not spot reduce.

Instead, I suggest doing functional exercises that use the muscles in your core — abdominals, back, pelvic, obliques — as well as other body parts. These exercises use more muscles, so there is a higher rate of calorie burn while you are doing them.

Planks are my favorite functional exercise — they activate not just your core muscles but also your arm, leg and butt muscles.

Stressed out
Tight deadlines, bills — whatever your source of stress, having too much of it may make it harder for you to drop unwanted pounds, especially from your middle. And it is not just because you tend to reach for high-fat, high-calorie fare when you are stressed, though that is part of it.

It is also due to the stress hormone cortisol, which may increase the amount of fat your body clings to and enlarge your fat cells. Higher levels of cortisol have been linked to more visceral fat.

If you are among the 30% of Americans who sleep less than six hours a night, here is one simple way to whittle your waistline: catch more Zs. A 16-year study of almost 70,000 women found that those who slept five hours or less a night were 30% more likely to gain 30 or more pounds than those who slept seven hours.

The National Institutes of Health suggest adults sleep seven to eight hours a night.

Are you committed to the work needed to lose belly fat? Reducing belly fat takes a combination approach of a low-calorie diet that is high in fiber and low in carbohydrates and sugar along with cardiovascular and weight training.

If you are willing to do the work, you can move past genetics and lose it.

How to lose weight fast

How to lose weight fast

How to lose weight fast

For years, most exercise programs focused almost exclusively on only one kind of cardiovascular exercise, but that it no longer the case. There is a new kind of exercise that is exploding in popularity and it is called “high intensity interval training” – and it’s a welcome add-on to traditional “steady state” exercise.

If you are wondering about interval weight training and those extra pounds around your waist, then we might have gratifying news.

Steady State Exercise & Weight Loss Exercise Programs
Most of our most popular exercising regimes – like pedaling a bike, doing laps in a pool, jogging in the fresh air or walking briskly through a park – are referred to as steady state exercise because our activity level is fairly consistent. Individual experience and medical science recommends this type of exercise as a high-octane way to burn fat because we need the energy to execute these activities and our bodies use fat to provide the fuel for that essential energy.

Have you ever exercised and found that you were depleted in only minutes or were urgently pumping your lungs, attempting to inhale more air? If that is occurred, you have overdone your exercise and you are absolutely not burning fat efficiently.

Bad idea. Tens of thousands of people are dedicated to steady state exercise because they’ve lost lots of pounds by sticking with it.

High Intensity Interval Training
Interval training is not “slow and steady wins the race” – instead, it’s about extremely intense activity, followed by low intensity recovery sessions. If you sprint as fast as possible for about 30 seconds and alternate this with a two minute, much slower run, then duplicate the sequence for 20 minutes, you’re practicing interval training.

The consequences of such strenuous exercise are satisfying – for a minimum of 24 hours you will ignite calories like a furnace. A brilliant new star in gyms and fitness programs, interval training is exploding in popularity.

Interval training workouts are outstanding choices for individuals who do not have much time to exercise because these heart-pounding sessions should not occur more than three times each week. Interval training and fat loss will only happen if the strength of your workout is really, really high.

The end of your exercise periods should actually be painful and some suggest that if they do not feel like throwing up they are not doing it ‘correctly’.

Too extreme? An interval training program does not suit numerous people who believe it is too hard on the body. For those who avoid extremes, a more traditional, steady weight loss exercise workout is the solution. On the well-known 1-10 scale expect to engage in steady state exercise at least to a 5, if you expect to lose weight.

A window-shopping stroll is preferable to sitting in a chair, but you will not lose weight.

So If An Interval Training Program Is Tough, Why Bother?
Some physically fit people love interval training, whereas others detest it, so make a choice that you can be comfortable with. If it is tough, though – why bother? Simply because your weight loss exercise program will cause the weight to fall off fast, fast, fast!


How working out will make you stronger mentally


How is exercise good for your mind?

You know that feeling you get when you sip on a good cup of coffee, the friendly yet firm kick it gives you, arousing you mentally and giving you that extra edge? It is great!

Unfortunately, as we all know, too much of the black stuff is not great for us. It can cause a lot of stress in the body.

What if there was something else that could give you this same kick as coffee, without the negative side effects?

The good news is: there is!

The not so good news is: you have to actually move – it is exercise!

Fitness and productivity just go together. No denying it.

There is no need to break into a cold sweat though. This doesnot mean you need to drop and give me 60 or sign your free time away to train for a triathlon. What it does mean is that exercising regularly is a sure way to relieve stress, enhance mental clarity, empower your mind, energise your body, help you sleep, make you feel calmer and ultimately make you more productive.

Exercise relieves stress and enhances mental clarity.

When you exercise, especially cardio – running, cycling, and swimming – feel good neurotransmitters called endorphins are released in your brain making you feel better and more relaxed.

This super happy hormone also fights against the stress hormone cortisol thus reducing stress is the body.

It is a no brainer really, exercise makes us feel better.

What usually happens when you are stressed? Do you have a cigarette? Some chocolate maybe? Does it take a glass of wine for you to decompress in the evenings? Would it not make more sense if you could relieve this stress in a healthy more constructive way? Exercise can do this. It helps to clear your mind and gives you time to process.

It empowers your mind and energises your body.

When your brain is a mush of ideas, obstacles, problems and questions, there id just no clarity. You will not be surprised to hear me say that exercise can help here too. I actually think this is one of the most significant benefits of exercise.

When I run, sometimes I think, sometimes I do not. The silence and solitude enables me to gain more perspective. It allows me to go within and look for answers or find peace. It is quite often a meditative activity.

It is also a space to think things through, outside the box, with a calmer perspective. Think about it. Concentrating on just what you are doing – running – removes the focus from the stressor.

Concentrating on the movement of your body, your feet on the pavement or the sounds of your breath helps you to remove yourself from your mind and allows you to let go of whatever it is that is causing you stress or pain giving you a fresh viewpoint on things.

We live a lot in the mind; we become our thoughts and the constant traffic of tasks. Imagine getting away from that regularly? How much more focused and in control would you feel?

I had no outlet to manage the stress that I was bringing home after a day/weeks work. My mind was often a wash with a multitude of thoughts and problems with no more ‘head space’ to think things through –  so I took up running and lifting.

While getting fitter was one of my reasons for taking up running and lifting the primary driver was stress management. Running and lifting provided me with that ‘thinking time’. Time without the ‘pollution’ of daily work/life demands.

I am the only person in my head when I am running/exercising, there are no external distractions.

I have lost count of the number of work problems I have solved when out running.

Exercise gives you the mental edge.

We all know that sluggish feeling in the morning. Your body is moving but your mind has not switched on yet. Imagine the impact on your day if you had a dose of endorphins before your morning meetings?

Exercising first thing is daunting, it is tough, but it truly sets you up for a wonderfully effective day. It gives you a positive, fresh outlook and a real head start. Adding exercise to your day means your productivity will increase because you arrive to work energised, focused and more organised than before.

You will be able to think more clearly, your energy levels will be higher throughout the day, you will be less stressed, more creative and better prepared.

Just think about it – you have done a workout, had breakfast and are up and at them, feeling amazing – and all before 9am!

Working out helps improve sleep.

Sleeping better allows you to be more productive, energised and empowers your mind. If you’re the type of person whose sleep is interrupted when stressed or busy, you have probably lay awake on numerous occasions figuring things out in your mind, going over the day, planning for the next.

Lack of sleep can wreak havoc on your mood and your productivity, we all know that feeling. Would it not make more sense to process all of this mind matter during a workout, at a time when you can actually make something of those thoughts?

Regular exercise boosts your self-image.

As you become fitter you feel more confident and enjoy your body more. Your body changes, your muscles firm up; your abs might even make an appearance. You begin to look at yourself differently, you feel good and have more confidence, all of this being great news for your personal life and your libido.

Yep, exercise is proven to boost sex drive, now if that is not a reason to dust off those trainers I do not know what is!

“But I just do not have the time to work out” you say…

I have heard this too many times. My response to this is – If Barack Obama can do it, you can too! His logic is that if he has his daily work out time, the rest of his time will be more productive. Try it.

Do not get me wrong, I know it takes time and planning. But if you have a job you schedule meetings and tasks, why can not exercise be one of these tasks? If you want to live a balanced, healthy life exercise needs to be a major player in it.

It does not have to be a long distance run or anything too strenuous. Start slow and build up, do what is right for you, 20 minutes of exercise can have incredible benefits on your body and mind.

Practical ways to fit exercise into your life:

  • Get up earlier and fit your workout in before work. You have done it for an important meeting so you can absolutely do it for yourself. Getting up earlier is incredibly uplifting; you feel so connected and it gives you an extra edge to seize new opportunities with lots of energy and inspiration. Get into a routine and it will get easier.
  • Schedule a weekly meet with friends or a personl trainer. This becomes routine, something you do weekly like taking out the bins. When you organise to meet someone you are less likely to cancel. You are accountable to someone else which is hugely important when achieving goals.
  • Walk and talk. Are there meetings during your day that you can take outside instead of sitting in a stuffy room? Make your meetings walking meetings. When people are taken out of the usual office environment it gives space for a more relaxed and creative conversation. This is a great way to get not only the blood flowing, but the creative juices too.
  • Exercise at lunch is a fantastic way to get your workout down and energise your afternoon. Rather than feeling lethargic and sluggish after lunch you will feel rejuvenated and recharged. Get your workout in at lunch and free up your evening for personal time to have fun and rest.
  • Work out in work. Lots of companies organise corporate training which really helps to boost morale and productivity. We all know a healthy workforce is a happy one and happy people are more productive.

There’s nothing better than setting yourself a goal of working out and achieving it.

You feel like you can take on the world.

You feel so powerful and invincible afterwards.

This feeling of empowerment and strength that exercise gives transfers into other areas of life without you even realising it, giving you a more productive, positive, healthy life.


Here is the supplement of all supplements

The supplement of all supplements
There are almost too many potential health benefits to count when it comes to
consuming whey protein — but whey protein isolate, in particular, is higher in protein and
lower in lactose than whey concentrate.

Here are the top four reasons it should be part of your personal muscle plan.

Lose fat and preserve muscle
Researchers in Minnesota conducted a 12-week study where subjects’ daily caloric intake
was reduced by 500 calories. Then some participants were given whey and the rest were
given an isocaloric mix beverage.

Those consuming whey lost significantly more body fat (6.1% total) and better preserved their muscles. If you have an urge to snack on something, try a whey protein shake.

Increase size and strength
Researchers at Baylor University in Waco, TX, took 19 men performing resistance
training over a 10-week period and gave some of them 14 grams of whey and casein
protein along with 6 grams of free amino acids, while giving the rest a 20-gram placebo.

Those who consumed the whey combo had greater increases in fat-free mass and muscle

Reduce hunger
Australian researchers had 28 obese men consume four different drinks. Those who
consumed the beverage containing 50 grams of whey had significantly reduced levels of
ghrelin (a hormone that tells your brain you’re hungry) up to four hours later.

So instead of munching on unhealthy party snacks, drink a protein shake beforehand.

Boost immunity
University of Alberta researchers found that male subjects involved in strenuous aerobic
activity suffered from significantly reduced glutathione levels that could impact such things
as the nervous, gastrointestinal, and immune systems.

However, they also discovered that by supplementing with whey protein, the subjects experienced significantly less reduction in glutathione levels. If you like extended cardio sessions, but do not want to risk compromising your body’s immune response and more, combat those effects with whey.

How much do you need?
I personally recommend looking for whey protein isolate with no less than 24 grams of
protein per serving, and no more than 5 grams of carbohydrates. Go with whey protein in
the AM and post workout.


How to sleep well


Every other day some ‘sleep committee’ or council are changing the recommended hours of sleep you should be receiving each night, but what about these celebrities and hustlers that claim they only sleep for an hour or two a night in order to maximise time to work on their success? That is false, without sufficient sleep the likelihood of car crashes, occupational errors and diseases such as diabetes, depression, obesity, cancer and the like greatly increases.

“But sleep is a waste of time, I need my body to be productive”

You may think while you are lying there in bed that your body is simply in an eternal slumber but that is far from the case. While you are asleep your body is hard at work, specifically repairing tissue and producing hormones.

Now, I can not tell you exactly how much sleep you should be getting as your genetics and age play a huge factoring in determining this magical number. However, to avoid of any the nasty effects of sleep deprivation your sleep should be within the 7 – 9 hour bracket per night, keeping in mind this is high quality, uninterrupted sleep.

With TVs, mobile phones, tablets, computers and every other electronic device possibly imaginable at our fingertips these devices often keep us awake, or at least distracted into the early hours of the morning.

The quality of sleep the majority of people are getting is simply insufficient.

I am completely against taking any kind of drugs or sleeping pills, they are a band aid fix and are not a long term solution for you, not to mention how bad for your health they are.

So listen up, here is my recommendations for increasing the quality of your sleep:

Avoid stimulants
Caffeine, alcohol, nicotine and the like will prevent you from entering a deep sleep, or quite often prevent you from falling asleep at all. After midday I avoid consuming any form of stimulant.

Have a  bed time
Get yourself into a sleep routine, I personally have decided that 11 PM is my bed time, regardless of what I am doing at 9 pm or 10 pm I know I will be in bed at 11 PM, once you have got your body into a routine like this the quality of your sleep will skyrocket.

Make the room dark
Bright lights before bed are known to suppress the production of melatonin, which is produced by the body to induce sleep. As you are getting ready for bed have the lights dimmed if possible.

When you are ready for sleep pop on a sleep mask, for the $5 you spend on one of these they provide a fantastic return on investment.

No technology
Your TV, computer and mobile phone all emit what is known as ‘blue light’ this blue light suppresses melatonin which, as mentioned earlier assists in putting your body to sleep.

If you must use your computer I highly recommend downloading and installing the free application ‘f.lux’. It adjust the screen according to whether it is dark or there is sun outside.

Have rituals
Before your set bed time set and perform an evening ritual, this ritual should consist of relaxing activities, avoid anything strenuous or stressful. Examples of great activities to include in your evening ritual include reading a book, having a bath, stretching or meditation.

Avoid exercise 
I am a big fan of training early in the morning, this is another reason as to why. After exercise cortisol levels are increased in the body, cortisol is a suppressant of melatonin, body temperature is also raised after training which will cause greater difficulty when trying to sleep.

My general rule is do not train within three hours of going to bed.

Be cool
It does not come as a great surprise that we sleep better when we are cool. From my personal experience and from the research of others (Tim Ferriss’ did extensive research on this) we appear to sleep best with a temperature between 65F – 70F.

Notice how your quality and duration of sleep deteriorates in summer? This is why.

Sleep is very important for your well being. And even though I was out last night and got under 5 hours a sleep, I feel good today cause I wake up at the same time every morning.

If you like to fix your sleep you will find these two other articles about the subject useful.

Here is a guide on how to get up in the morning.

And here is how to get more energy just by sleeping.