My Journey

My Journey

THE BEGINNING

As a teenager growing up I was fairly active, even though I wasn’t skinny I wouldn’t say I was fat either.  Once I started working and had money in my pocket my diet changed to chocolate and cans of coke. Fast food 2/3 times a week as well as bread all of which helped pile the weight on. At my heaviest I was 110kg and was starting to think, “this is just my body shape“. It was starting to get me down and I was conscious that t-shirts and shirts weren’t fitting right no matter how many X’s were on the label. I just felt uncomfortable in myself and needed to do something.
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COMMERCIAL GYM

In 2003 I applied to become a firefighter /paramedic with Dublin Fire Brigade I now needed to lose weight and get fit. I used this as my motivation and joined our local commercial gym. I got a program from the PT there, 20-30 minutes of steady state cardio followed by 3 x 12 of each of the machine weights.  I finished each session with a swim and sauna.  A year quickly went by and I became the fittest fat guy in the gym. I lost no weight and my body shape didn’t change .  I couldn’t understand why I didn’t see any change as I was training 3 times a week doing exactly what I was told. I went back to the PT and told him I was upping my training days from 3 to 5 and needed a new program.  I foolishly taught by upping the number of days I’d start to get results.  He told me I should have come back to him after 6 weeks for a change of program to keep the body guessing.  I was a little bit angry because he saw me every week doing exactly as he told me. I couldn’t understand why he didn’t have the drive or interest in his clients to see them achieve their targets.

WHY THE COMMERCIAL GYM DIDNT WORK FOR ME

1) Didn’t lift any free weights

2) Cardio was steady state

3) Didn’t work hard enough

4) Nutrition wasn’t dialled in

When I eventually started with Dublin Fire Brigade the initial 6 mths training was very physical as well as academic.  The fire drills and other exercises we had to do were very tough.  We were running out hoses, lifting and extending ladders, lifting cutting gear, crawling, running, climbing and dragging gear while we had breathing apparatice sets on our backs.  The weight had started to shift at long last but why?? The training had my body working in a interval style. Our syndicate had 6 of us in it, each drill there is only 4 people used and each person had a different job. We switched position in each drill and we did many many drills… Heart rates were elevated followed by a short rest which as I know now is a form of high intensity anaerobic training (HIAT). Of course I didn’t know then what I know now but working like this gets your body’s metabolism raised for up to 24 hours after a HIAT session. This means I was buring fat while I sitting in the class room or when ironing my uniform which is another story. The lifting involved was very similar to compound lifting in the gym were I was working many muscles at once.  So on one drill my duty was to pull the ladder from the truck, extend it and climb up carrying a hose therefore working arms, shoulders, legs, back and core. The next drill my duty could be getting the water. This involves running out a hose, lift the cover of the hydrant and connecting it up then sprinting back and secureing the ladder. This drill was working upper chest, legs, arms and core.  In just these two positions for one drill I was getting a full body workout. We did all of this while an officer coached or pushed us to work as fast and effectively as possible.  As you can see I was working at a high intensity with short rests therefore my fitness was improved 10 fold. I was now getting stronger by improving my strength and my body was buring more kcals, I was attacking my fat from two angles, raised metabolism and more muscle mass had me looking leaner and fitter than ever before.
I made friends with lots of people during my 6 mths training, one of which was a strength and conditioning coach.  He explained why I was seeing results now and where I was going wrong before . This information has stuck with me ever since and is the core of every program I design.

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OUT TRAIN A BAD DIET

After 6 mths in the training centre I was stationed in Finglas for the first year. Even though it was busy the weight started to creep back on and then before I knew it  I was heavier than ever.  This was down to the fact I was trying to out train a bad diet.  I was now training 4 days a week lifting free weights and doing high intensity anaerobic training sessions, I also took up boxing.  The critical error I that I made was not looking at my nutrition properly. I now needed to learn what macro nutrients were and why they are important. I needed to learn the importance of nutrition and the role it plays in fatloss.  Cutting calories and exercise will only get you so far then there comes a point when we have to control everything we eat. We all need to know and understand why we’re eating it and what that particular food is going to do for us. (You’ll find my macro nutrient break down in an earlier blog) We need to understand by eating junk food when we’re metabolically inflexible it can halt fatloss for 4-5 days.  By understanding that last point I made my biggest gains because one  treat day or even meal was messing my whole weeks work up.

Chapter 2

I’ll be talking about.

The penny drops

1: Hard work and determination

2: Designing my own resistance program

3: Seeing the results

Get Strong Burn Fat

TIPS FOR THE HOLIDAYS

It’s that time of year again where everyone panics about the amount of food they’re going to eat and the obvious weight gain that comes with it.

Life is for living and a few days off is a good thing. People spend too much time worrying about the time between Christmas and the new year. When in fact we should worry about the time between new year and Christmas .

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Heres a copy of my blueprint that I follow every year. With few simple changes to my approach I’m preparing my body for the madness that happens on that one day. Christmas

Tip :1 Water

Drink plenty of water a pint with each meal this will keep you feeling full and help flush the system

Tip 2: Carbohydrates

Deplete glycogen stores through carb cycling.

This is a process where we eat no carbohydrates in the 3-4 days leading up to Christmas. This will Deplete your stores so when we do overload on the glycogen goes to your muscles rather than the liver which will convert it to fat

Tip 3: Training

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Train whole body with big lifts and high volume leading up to the big. Think empty the tank, this will help empty your glycogen stores burn fat and speed up your metabolism

Tip 4: Christmas day

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Eat your meat and veg first on the big day. IF you’ve a sweet tooth or like a drink enjoy them, today is yoir day off. Your not thinking fitness weightloss , or anything else other than having a great day

Tip 5: The next day

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Train the next day even a home workout but again think empty the tank. Your aim here is to use all the stored glycogen. Get a good sweat on this helps detox the system.

Happy Christmas

Get Strong & Burn Fat

Lets Talk Kettlebells

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At fitclub we coach hardstyle kettlebells.  This is the purest form of  strength and conditioning you’ll build explosive power, increase fitness and burn a shed load of fat due to  the high intensity workouts. This style can be summarized by high intensity and few repetitions. Power optimization is the key rather than power conservation. Each rep should look just as powerful no matter if it is 12kg or 48kg.

This style focuses on a balance between high tension and relaxation. For example, in a kettlebell swing there is an explosive hip hinge and then relaxation as the kettlebell floats up. It is a ballistic exercise in that the kettlebell is launched with an explosive movement and then is guided into position (as opposed to a grind where tension is applied throughout the movement)

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As we’re working many muscles at once  your metabolism will be fired up for  36 hours after your finished training.  Which means more fatloss and better body composition . Your also going to empty your glycogen stores as you’ll be using your glycolytic energy system

This system can be trained using fast intervals lasting 30 seconds to 2 minutes with an active-recovery period twice as long as the work period (1:2 work-to-rest ratio).

8–10 x 30 seconds fast with 1:00 active recovery 4x 1:30 fast with 3:00 active recovery

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By working in this energy system your earning your post training carbs meaning they’re going straight to work rather than being stored.  We all know what happens when glucose gets stored

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Fighters and high performance athletes should use kettlebells to increase power fitness and structural balance.  The high intensity low repetition means it’s unlikely to add too much muscle,  taking an athlete up a weight division. Using single arm movement like single hand swings presses  snatches or Turkish getups fixes any weaknesses or imbalances. they also  take your body through different planes of motion making your core tighter and stronger creating a more powerful athlete

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If you train like an athlete you’ll soon look like one.

Get Strong & Burn Fat

Whats The Deal With Carbohydrates

Carbs make you fat??
Carbs give you energy and therefore need them??
Cut carbs cut weight??
Carb load for better results
Good carbs bad carbs

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No wonder there’s loads of confusion when it comes to carbohydrates. There’s so many  different views and different ways to get them. This blog is aimed at the average gym goer looking to drop body fat and increase fitness.

So here’s the truth

After a carbohydrate is eaten, it is broken down into smaller units of sugar (including glucose, fructose and galactose) in the stomach and small intestine. These small units of sugar are absorbed in the small intestine and then enter the bloodstream where they travel to the liver. Fructose and galactose are converted to glucose by the liver. Glucose is the carbohydrate transported by the bloodstream to the various tissues and organs, including the muscles and the brain, where it will be used as energy.

If the body does not need glucose for energy, it stores glucose in the liver and the skeletal muscles in a form called glycogen. If glycogen stores are full, glucose is stored as fat. Glycogen stores are used as an energy source when the body needs more glucose than is readily available in the bloodstream (for example, during exercise). The body has limited storage capacity for glycogen (about 2000 calories), which is why carbohydrate is commonly referred to as the limiting fuel in physical performance

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This is why it’s so important to empty your stores  during training (when fatloss is the goal) .  The aim should be to empty your muscle stores of glycogen  so when you eat your post training carbohydrates they go straight to work in repairing the damaged tissue and not get stored as fat

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Different types of carbohydrates

The two types of carbohydrates are simple and complex. Simple carbohydrates, also called simple sugars, include sugars founds in fruits, vegetables and milk, as well as sugars added during food processing. Complex carbohydrates, also called starches, include whole-grain breads and cereals, starchy vegetables and legumes. Most complex carbs contain fiber, which helps digestive health and increases satiety, reducing overeating and weight gain. Additionally, high-fiber foods help lower cholesterol and decrease the risk of heart disease.

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Take away points

*We need carbohydrates  for energy and muscle repair

* Too much and they get stored as fat

* Best time to eat carbohydrates is post training, “earn your carbs”

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Training Tips For Fatloss

I get asked all the time what’s the secret to fatloss?  There is no big secret or magic pill but I do have 5 tips to get you on the road to reaching your ideal weight or body composition

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1) Strength train the big lifts

Strength train to build muscle and release testosterone and growth hormone to accelerate fat burning. Aside from the obvious benefit of burning a massive amount of energy quickly, working every muscle group hard, frequently, and at a very high intensity it will elevate hormones that support protein synthesis and fat burning.

For example, a study in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise compared fat loss in three groups of overweight subjects. All groups were on a fat-loss diet and one group only did the diet with no exercise, whereas a second group did the diet with aerobic training, and a third group was on the diet and did strength training.

The diet group lost 14 pounds of fat, while the aerobic group lost 15 pounds of fat—only one pound more, which was not statistically significant. The strength training group lost 21 pounds of fat, which was 34 percent more than the aerobic group!

Consider the amount of time spent on aerobic exercise (36 sessions of up to 50 minutes each) for only one extra pound of fat loss! The six extra pounds lost in the strength training group is worth it, but one pound?

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2)  super and giant sets

Supersets and giant sets are great for getting more volume in without spending all day training.  1 hour sessions are long enough for body composition training.  For supersets Try using upper/lowrbody parts together for example A1) back squat 15 reps rest 30 seconds A2) pullups 12-15 reps rest 90 sec and repeat.  Giant sets I like to use the same body part, but different exercises,  A1) Front squat 6 reps A2) Lunge 12reps (per leg) A3) goblet squat 25 reps (GBC) 2 min rest and aim for 3-5 sets
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3) modified strongman

The type of energy system trained with strongman training is called anaerobic lactic capacity. Depending upon the conditioning level of the trainee or competitor, this energy system is involved in activities that range from 40 seconds to 120 seconds. Such training produces the highest levels of growth hormone production, which in turn stimulates the greatest amount of fat loss.

Another element of strongman training that promotes fat loss is the use of odd-shaped and unevenly balanced objects. Using Sleds, Ropes, Medicine Balls, kegs , and all other sorts of different and odd-shaped implements in strongman training not only keeps training interesting, but it also creates barriers to vastly improved efficiency. While efficiencies are great for performance, a more efficient athlete may not be working quite so hard.

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4)  recovery

While it’s important to work hard to burn fat you also have to make sure your recovering.  Rest is a major part in any program and more people are realising the importance of listening to the body.  I like to program a back of week every 5/6 weeks depending on the cycle we’re in but to get the most bang for buck you really need to dial it back and make sure your leaving feeling refreshed. These weeks are great for working on technique or learning a new Skill.   I’ve been talking about keeping a training  log for the last 3 years and the benefits.  This is one of the biggest and can really add to your long term gains

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5) empty the tank

The biggest thing when it comes to burning fat and changing how you look is good old fashioned hard work.  This means sticking to the rep range,  when you see 4 sets of 12-15 you should only be hitting 15 on the first two sets,  if you can do 15 for the 4 sets chances are the weight is too light and your not getting that deep burn. Likewise if your not hitting at least 12 with good form and tempo the weight is too heavy.

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References

Charles Poliquin – strength train for fatloss

FIGHTING FIT WEEK.1

Hey guys it’s been a while but I’m back blogging and plan to keep going at least till fighting fit is complete. I want to talk about different aspects of the program and any little issues than can come up.

The biggest concern I’m hearing is  calorie counting and if there’s a need to do it.  To put it simply,  you have to burn more kcals than you eat to burn fat.  Yes most people will naturally do this by cutting all the junk food and replacing it with healthy foods. There will come a time in your journey where you’ll platueu and that’s the time to tighten up.

I’ve been talking to a few of you during the week about issues so I’m just going to share these with everyone and hopefully get people talking.

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portion sizes
Everyone is on a different plan,  so one persons lunch could be another’s snack.  I’ve seen a few pictures in the members group that may look very skimpy.  However this person eats 6 meals a day taking on their total Kcals .  The point I’m trying to  make is, take others, meal ideas and recipes but remember your nutritional numbers are yours to make up.  I find 5/6 meals a day works for me but 3 square meals might work better for you. There’s scientific proof to say yes you do a have a raised metabolism by eating 5/6 times a day but it’s so small it makes little difference.  keep the body fuelled and your metabolism will burn at a heathy rate.

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Too much fat
Another issue I addressed was by a client who couldn’t understand that a lot of their kcals are coming from fat and not having enough room for carbs, even though they where eating whole healthy real foods,  how could this be happening,? .  Firstly Carbs are essential to growing muscle  and for fat burning but too many and we store it as fat so it’s important to get this right. Post training is the best time to eat carbohydrates. This person was told to play around with different protein sources for example instead of eggs for breakfast have a chicken or Turkey  breast.  Also add in a whey protein shake if numbers are a little low,  have a look at all the different sources of protein and try have 1-2 portions from low fat options  .  Again my fitness pal is great for this

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To finish.

Week 2 we’re all going to focus on drinking more water

To work out your daily water intake take your weight in kilograms and multiple it by 0.044 to get the amount in litres you’ll need every day. For example, an 80kg man would need 3 ½ litres per day. Additionally, for every hour you exercise you should consume an extra litre of water. Try and sip the water throughout the day as this will increase the absorption rate versus drinking a litre all in one go.

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TIPS for an easy transition to CLEAN EATING

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Eat food that comes from nature. Fresh fruits, veg whole grains, nuts, seeds, lean meat and fish and Healthy fats. Avoid highly processed foods as they contain refined white sugars and flour, too much salt, preservatives,additives, artificial sweeteners and trans fat. Stop eating 3 hours before bed time. Eat breakfast  within 1 hour of waking, everyday. Eat regularly, every 3 – 3 ½ hours, (to include 3 main meals and 2 snacks) Eat a protein source with each meal. Watch your portion size

Protein : the size of your palm

Complex Carbs : one cupped hand (e.g oatmeal, sweet potatoe, rice , root veg)

Fruits & Veg : two cupped hands

Nut butters : thumb size

Cooking oil : thumb tip

Stay hydrated drink 2 – 3 litres of water per day PLAN PLAN PLAN and prepare your food in advance when possible this will help to avoid those ‘crisis’ moments Enjoy a ‘clean cheat’ for a special occasion but get straight back on the clean eating wagon

To hell & back

To hell & back

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Yesterday saw 53 brave Fitclubbers take on hell & back 10k of water mud obstacles & more water just in case you weren’t cold enough . We were honoured to help raise money & awareness for Aiobhenn’s Pink Tie .

The day kicked off at 9 am with everyone meeting in Fitclub we were delighted the guys from APT came down to wave us off it created a buzz & reminded people why they were taking this on . We arrived in hell and quickly dropped our bags did a quick warm up ,we then came across the first obstacle a 5 ft wall at the entrance which wasn’t a problem for anyone as we all helped each other over and into the muddy holding pen

3.2.1. Go

And we where off I decided to stay at the back for the first 2k just to make sure everyone got through the first pond which was freezing but once you got out and jogged a bit the heat soon came back into the legs . We were soon faced with more water and climbing again we had to get moving once we got through this and I decided to move up a bit where I came across Niamh who took the jog for a 100-200 meters then walk catch your breath & go again strategy which is the way to go in my opinion as you don’t want to blow up too early , the climb was a steady one to sniper ally which frightened everyone especially the lads in just shorts , as I got to the entrance Edel & Dermot just went through I gave them 10-15 seconds head start to let them draw fire away from me , & I just went for it ran all the way through using and I’m not proud to say it but a girl from a TRX group for cover after I got through sniper ally I met Deborah & Teresa who just got out ahead of me poor Deborah fell twice and the sniper emptied his gun hitting her many times but again on the bright side the last sniper was reloading as I came running out .. So I got away with just few glancing shots

The baby sugar loaf was lot tougher than I remember from last year the climb zapped my legs & energy . Half way up a girl needed medical assistance I checked with the paramedic who stopped to give assistance to see if he needed help , as he had everything under control and a marshal was there on the radio looking for back up I had no excuse but to go on .
Finally I reached the top where I can across our winning team Ciara Brendan Amanda & Hugh , they had team work down to a tee with Brendan taking the team motivator role , we’ve video footage coming soon .

The next team I came across was Niall Gemma john Ciaran & Vanessa . John Ciaran & Niall took to descends with speed and pulled away so I decided to try catch them just to see if I could , we came to the hill with those 10kg sandbags and knew this was my opportunity to close the small gap which I did but again on the descends the lads took off . We then came to satins pit where Niall & myself helped a few people over before getting help ourselves, more water and cow shit to crawl through which had to be got through as quickly as possible .

The river was the next big thing we came to and again from last year I knew it was over & back 3 times this was by far the coldest part and was deeper than last year but again Niall & myself just helped pull a few people through this and we ran to warm up which to be fair didn’t take to long the marsh we came to was sticky and we where forced through unlike last year, there was a path .I nearly lost a runner here which would of been a game changer .Up the ladder & over where we saw Suzanne Mitchell our photographer snapping away and shouting encouragement .

The finish line was close but first we had to get through the dark sewer pipe which was ok till about 2 ft from the end where there was about 6 inches of water coupled with the dark conditions raised your heart beat a notch or 2 , the crawl under the shock of horrors was tricky one as again your crawling in 1 ft of water and when you touched the cables it gave you a shock . The 10ft wall was a monster and I was determined to get over , again we helped a few over before it came to us taking it on which wasn’t as hard as I taught once I got my hands to the top I was able to pull myself and throw a leg over . The final climb up to the slide was good as we knew that’s it we’ve made it through hell & back , down the slide “& through the finish line Niall 2 seconds behind me of course . The hell & back photographer got us up onto the little platform & took a quick snap . The cup of tea & warm shower was heaven all there was to do now get dressed and get another hot drink into us.

As we drove home on the bus listing to all the war stories it was a proud moment for Edel & myself last year we did hell & back with 8 , this year we’d a full coach ,53 members and 4 supporters who not only took this challenge on but also helped a great charity while doing it . I’m delighted with the response we got within Fitclub and I’m already working on our next event our 1st birthday is coming up in April & we have to celebrate the fantastic year we’ve just had

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WHAT TO EXPECT

Ok guys I’m making the big step into blogging , I’m going to use this to explain or discuss the latest topic this one is about FITCLUB what & why we do what we do
I get asked all the time will I get big and bulky by lifting heavy weights
The answer is simple NO . At Fitclub we train for strength & fitness our long term goal is to get you strong lean & fit as possible . We do this through constantly varied high intensity functional movements . We practice and strength train all the major lifts deadlift squat over head press & variations , we are constantly trying to improve our gymnastic movements push-ups squats lunges ring rows pull-ups box jumps skipping  and few others .  We believe when you improve your strength & technical ability  in all the above movements using bodyweight kettlebells or barbells you will start to look lean fit & healthier  .
The best approach to take when entering FITCLUB  is to set short medium & long term goals, EVERYONE’S first short term goal is settling into a routine for training, getting to know everyone  & learning the technique , I will be constantly be going on about technique and how to improve this . You’ll also hear me talking about ego and how it should be left at the door , the quickest way to get injured is lifting a weight that is too heavy or pushing yourself too hard just to keep up with your training partner , know your strength & weakness and trust me or any of our coach’s it’s our job to increase strength & fitness . We are there for your benefit & we love nothing more than seeing progress .
Once you settle into FITCLUB & learn the basics you’ll have noticed  a physical difference,  clothes will start to feel loose or fit a bit better increased energy levels being able to run for the bus and not getting out of breath . Remember  at this point you’ve only been getting the technique down the real magic has still to come . When we are happy with your technique we’ll increase intensity & volume we’ll find out what your capable off so we can work towards  our first medium term goal of becoming stronger fitter faster this will be done in 8-10-12 week cycles . You see at FITCLUB we let the results speak for themselves if your not progressing in fitness & strength then your not getting closer to your goal whether its strength , fitness or even just weight loss . This is why we measure & record every session . If you don’t see progress we don’t rest until we figure out what’s going on, are you eating right getting enough rest , are you training regularly, we will sit down and figure out whats going on .We are a service based gym we want our clients to see results we want them talking about us telling family & friends about FITCLUB . I answer emails facebook messages and phone calls everyday from family and friends of existing clients asking on how to get into FITCLUB  – the first rule of Fitclub , is to talk about Fitclub – boooom.
  We will guide you on nutrition what’s food & what’s not, & how much to eat . But the main benefit of FITCLUB is the community we’re building ,everyone is there to work, help and cheer each other on when things are getting tough.  Nobody cares who the  strongest fittest weakest or most unfit member is , what matters is progress & results there’s always a pat on the back & a high five  for a new personal best ,time score or lift .