The Importance of Adherence

 

So I haven’t written an article in a wile because I have been smothered with tests and projects at university and every time I go through a test week I realise how much it actually takes out of me. Because of this I feel like I need to write this article for everyone who is like me and tries to take on too much.

For those of you that don’t know me I am the type of person who wont take a break till I am done, I keep pushing myself till I burn out completely and then I keep pushing through that till it goes away. I am a very hard headed person who has been fed the idea that working hard every hour of every day is the only way to reach your goals, and if I’m not working hard I begin to feel like I’m not making the most of my life. This type of mind-set is especially fed to us in the fitness industry and where for some it may work, but for the other 99% of the population it’s actually to your detriment.

What Fitness and living a healthy lifestyle is actually about is adherence. What is the point of having the best training and nutrition program that will guarantee results if there is no chance of you sticking to it?

You need to start by developing an internal dialog with your body and your self as a whole. What I mean by this is take time out of everyday just to check in with yourself and see how you are actually feeling. Ask yourself things like, how do you feel? Are you tired? Do you need to rest? Do you have energy to push yourself harder? And when you develop this internal dialog you will know exactly what your body needs to maximise its performance. This idea doesn’t just pertain to fitness, creating an internal dialog is a very powerful tool that with lead you to success in any area of life be it physically, financially or relationally.

Personally I try to meditate once a day and would recommend it to everyone. It has allowed me to break through my hard headed mind-set and actually give myself a break from time to time.

So what I am trying to say is don’t listen to what people say on social media because most of the time they don’t even practice what they preach. Rather put more of your focus on becoming in tune with what your bodies wants and needs are and once you have done this you would have mastered adherence. From here the sky is the limit in terms of what you want to do and how far you want to take this lifestyle.

Featured image taken by: Matthew Withers (aka SoundPix)

The secret to staying lean year round

I’m sure many of you have wondered how professional athletes are somehow able to stay lean year round and still gain muscle? Most people chalk it up to be “genetics” or something that is out of their control, but this isn’t true. So how do they actually do it? Its simple: intermittent fasting!

What is intermittent fasting?

Intermittent fasting is not a diet; it is an eating pattern where by you cycle through periods of fasting and periods of eating. There are various methods of intermittent fasting one could adopt, but ill save you the hassle and get straight to the method I find works best:

The 16/8 method

The 16/8 method is very simple and powerful tool, basically you have a period of 16 fasting hours followed by a period of 8 eating hours. This is best done by skipping breakfast, starting your eating period at 12pm until 8pm. Now you may be wondering, “how does this help me stay lean wile trying to build muscle?” well I’ll tell you how:

Intermittent fasting can increase your production of human growth hormone up to 5-fold; this will increase your ability to gain muscle wile also having fat loss benefits. I.F. will also lower your insulin levels making it easier to burn that stubborn fat and will also increase cellular repair.

Intermittent fasting as a tool

Intermittent fasting can be used in a number of ways to achieve different results, of which the two main ones are weight loss and lean muscle gains.

Weight loss – by only allowing yourself 8 hours to eat your calorie intake will naturally drop as you don’t have as much time to eat, this along with the benefits I spoke about earlier will increase your metabolic rate up to 14% allowing you to shed the pounds even faster.

Lean muscle gain – due to the way in which intermittent fasting affects your hormones you will be able to put on those lean muscle gains with out having to increase your body fat percentage. In order for this to work effectively you should still eat the same amount of calories you would in a normally day but now eat them in an 8-hour period.

Other health benefits

Intermittent fasting has a number of other health benefits such as cancer prevention, brain health, anti aging effects and heart health to name a few.

So now that you have the basics of intermittent fasting down go try it out for yourself and you can thank me later.

Pro Supps Whey review- Glazed donut

Pro Supps is a relatively new brand that has come into South Africa, and first impressions are pretty damn good. Coming from a design background, the packaging of a product speaks volumes about the companies pride in their product. When looking at the Pro Supps packaging you get a sense that the company has a great deal of pride in their products and therefor suggesting that it they of a premium quality. In terms of the Practical design of the packaging, it has a wide opening so you wont ever struggle to get the protein out or get your hand stuck, this may seem like a small thing, but you will be thanking them when you are trying to fish out the last remaining grams of your whey for those extra gains.

 

Review:

At the end of the written review I will rate the product based on 5 criteria (taste, quality, price, availability, overall impression (of brand and product)) and how I will be rating each criteria will be amount of starts achieved out of a possible 5 stars.

PS whey is an 80% whey concentrate and 20% whey isolate blend. The macronutrients per 33g serving are: 2.5g fat, 3g carbs and 24g protein coming to a total of 130 calories.

The product itself is of a very good quality containing both whey Isolate and whey Concentrate. You may be wondering what is the difference between the two? Very simply put, Whey Concentrate is further processed and purified into Whey Isolate; this basically means that whey isolate is more denatured (i.e. further broken down) allowing for it to be more efficiently absorbed by the body. The 80-20 blend allows for the whey isolate to be absorbed faster, nourishing the muscle sooner wile the whey concentrate is still being broken down.

The actual macronutrient content is much of a muchness really, but you know that they are of the highest quality and do not contain any soy protein (a cheaper protein often used by companies to bump up the protein content), trans fats and only contains 2g of sugar.

Another thing that is awesome about Pro Supps is that all their products are gluten free and they have no banned substances in them. All of their testing is independently done so you know it is correct.

 

Breakdown:

Taste: There is such a wide variety of flavours so I am sure there will be something for everyone. I bought the Glazed Donut flavour and I really like it, some may find it quite sweet but it is just right for me. Personally I am the type of person who wants my post workout shake to feel like my sweet reward after a hard training session, so the sweeter the better.

Quality: The quality of the protein powder itself is very good. You don’t get the feeling like you are drinking some artificial mixture like you do with other brands, nor does the powder clump up when trying to mix it, in fact you can stir it with a spoon and it dissolves no problem.

Price: I bought the 55 serving 4lb (1815g) tub for R850 (57.65 dollars), in South Africa this is considered quite expensive but for the quality of the product I think it is well worth the price tag.

Availability: Here in South Africa it can be quite hard to find the Pro Supps products but that is down to the fact that it has only recently been introduced into the market here. So far I only know of Xtreme Nutrition that stocks their whole range. Alternatively you can order directly from the Pro Supps website and it will be delivered to your doorstep.

Overall: Personally I am completely sold on the Pro Supps products (especially the PS Whey) as well as the company itself. With top quality products, amazing packaging and athletes such as Jason Poston, I believe Pro Supps will be come one of the most followed, used and believed in supplement companies in the world.

 

Ratings:

  • Taste – 4 stars
  • Quality – 5 stars
  • Availability – 2.5 stars
  • Price – 3.5 stars
  • Overall – 4.5 stars

Total – 20.5 stars out of a possible 25 stars

 

Personally I would recommend this product to absolutely anyone in the market for a good and affordable whey protein. Pro Supps also has another slightly more expensive whey protein product I hope to review called “PS isolate” which 100% whey Isolate (not blended with whey concentrate), so if you do have the extra cash go for this option as I’m confident it will be one of the best protein shakes currently on the market.

The basics of the “Myo-rep” set

As promised in my “New training and nutrition programs” article, here is a very quick summarised idea of what the Myo-rep is all about. For those of you who want to go more in depth here is the original article.

 

Ok so the Myo-rep is essentially a time efficient way to get maximum muscle growth. The way in which I do it is slightly different to the article but we will get to that later.

The Myo-rep training system/concept utilises what is know as an effective rep. So what is an effective rep? An effective rep is when you are recruiting 100% of your muscle fibres to complete a repetition/movement. For muscular hypertrophy the effective rep is all mighty.

How do you achieve an effective rep? Basically an effective rep is achieved by fatiguing the muscle enough in order for it to recruit all the fibres to complete the movement. During your normal set of 12 reps, the last 3 reps will most probably be effective reps.

 

Now that we have the basics down here how I would perform a Myo-rep set from start to finish:

  1. Firstly I like to establish the mind muscle connection by doing 1-2 set of 10 reps using a light weight (this does not constitute part of the Myo-rep set, its simply to connect with the muscle being worked and gauge my strength level for the day)
  2. Then the set begins. Now that I have established how I am feeling strength wise through my warm up sets I select a weight I can get the prescribed reps on, normally around 10-12 reps. (the weight selected should be heavy enough so you are 1 or 2 reps away from failure in the 10-12 rep range)
  3. Rest for 15-30 seconds and perform a series of mini sets of around 3-5 reps using the same weight (perform anywhere from 3-5 mini sets)
  4. Once you have complete the mini sets that is the end of the Myo-rep set

Lets compare how the Myo-rep set above compares to a conventional set of 3 sets of 8 – 12 reps (in terms of effective reps: annotated using a “*” symbol)

 

Myo-rep set:

Activation set – 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10* 11* 12* (15 seconds rest)

Mini sets – 1* 2* 3* (15-20 seconds rest), 1* 2* 3* (15-20 seconds rest), 1* 2* 3* (15-20 seconds rest), 1* 2* 3* (15-20 seconds rest) 1* 2* 3* (end of set)

Upon completion the set has taken approximately 3 minutes, where you have completed 27 repetitions 18 of those being effective reps

 

Conventional set:

Set 1 – 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10* 11* 12* (1-2 minutes rest)

Set 2 – 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9* 10* 11* (typical drop off is reps due to muscle fatigue using the same weight) (1-2 minutes rest)

Set 3 – 1 2 3 4 5 6 7* 8* 9* (end of set)

Upon completion the set has taken approximately 6 minutes, where you have completed 32 repetitions 9 of those being effective reps

 

As you can see you are performing a similar amount of reps (27 vs. 32) but in terms of effective reps you are doing double the amount when doing a Myo-rep set and on top of that you are doing it in half the amount of time.

Now that you understand the basics of how to do a Myo-rep set try to incorporate it in to some of your workouts, I would suggest doing it on more of a compound movement than an isolated one as you will get even more bang for your buck.

My new training and nutrition plan

So having pulled out of my show and feeling like training and dieting has become more of a task than my passion, I have decided to change up my whole approach to fitness.

Being quite a serious person I originally adopted a strict training and nutrition program where more was always better. I use to spend up to 2hours in the gym just banging out high volume exercise after high volume exercise. Because of this I would eventually burnout and feel drained for a 2-week period. I would still train but I wasn’t able to enjoy it because I was so fatigued. My nutrition my much the same where I would be so strict all year round because making gains was my top priority. My life was nowhere near balanced.

Now having changed my outlook on life and the way in which I live it, I realised that my previous approach was not working and was in no way sustainable, so I made a change: Now I am on a flexible diet (still eating clean just not the same thing day in and day out) and on a training regime where I am only spending anywhere from 35 – 45 minutes in the weight section and waking up with more DOMS than ever before. So for everyone that is feeling this way I would like to take the time to explain how I have made this change, what I have done and how it is effecting me.

 

Goals:

My main goal is no longer just based in fitness, I am now aiming to live a more balanced and sustainable lifestyle. I have rather set sub-goals in the 3 main aspects of my life, which will contribute to my main over all goal of a balanced lifestyle. Out of the 3 main areas of my life one being fitness, I have set a goal to continue cutting down to sub 6% body fat but simply doing it much slower and retaining a lot more muscle.

 

Training:

Previously my training would be set up over a weekly split where I would aim to train each muscle group at least once and training my weaker areas twice. I never accounted for overlap and was always doing a high volume of reps and sets. This ended up with me spending 2 hours in the gym where by the end of it I just wanted to leave, so I would neglect things like cardio, stretching, abs and calves.

 

Now my split is over 8 days where I do 3 days on and 1 day off and it is a 9-week program:

 Monday: Chest, abs & 15min cardio (morning), Back & 15min cardio (evening)

Tuesday: Legs (including calves)

Wednesday: Shoulders & 15min cardio (morning), Arms, abs & 15min cardio (evening)

Thursday: Rest

Friday: Fasted cardio & stretch/foam roll (morning), Push workout I.e. chest, tri & side deltoid (evening)

Saturday: lower compounds (i.e. Squat, Deadlift & lunges) & calves

Sunday: Fasted cardio & stretch/foam roll (morning), Pull workout i.e. Back, Bi’s, traps & Posterior deltoid (evening)

Monday: Rest

 

Below are some pictures of the program showing exercises, sets and reps: where you see the name of an exercise you are to do that exercise ever week over the 9-weeks (they are mostly compound movements) and were you see “Iso” you need to choose an appropriate isolated movement, changing it up each week.

A new training technique I have incorporated is the “Myo-rep” which you will see in the set column: essentially its allows your to do more effective reps in a shorter time frame. Keep checking out my blog over the next few days as I am going to make a post explaining everything you need to know about the “Myo-rep”.

Following this program you will still be spending a total of around 1h 10min in the gym but you will only be on the weights floor for about 45min (leg day will be about an hour). This allows you to still have energy left over to do the essential things that we all neglect, like stretching and foam rolling.

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Nutrition

I am now following a more flexible diet regime where I have low, medium and high carb days. I am working off the assumption that my maintenance calorie intake is 3200cals. The macronutrients for each day are as follows:

High (3200cal): P – 200g/C – 440g/F – 71g

Medium (2800cal): P – 225/C – 370g/F – 47g

Low (2400cal): P – 210/C – 240/F – 67g

 

I have assigned a specific eating day with a corresponding training day following the same 8-day split. Nutritional split is as follows:

Monday: Medium

Tuesday: High

Wednesday: Low

Thursday: Medium

Friday: Low or Medium (depending on how I feel)

Saturday: Low

Sunday: Medium

Monday: Low

This eating regime puts me in a 4400 – 4000 (depending on Friday) caloric deficit for the total 8 days.

 

Advise

So what I like to do to make sure I’m on track is keep a training and nutrition log. Take a book to the gym and write down the weights you use and the rep ranges you are able to achieve, this will motivate you as you know exactly what to beat next time round. For nutrition download the My Fitness Pal app and it will track everything for you.

 

This program has specifically been designed with me in mind so you are more than welcome to change it up a bit as long and you keep the principals the same. I hope this can help some of you get out of a rut or just simply get you started on your fitness journey. Any questions either comment or send me an email and I will get back to you as fast as I can.

Shameen Classic – Pulled out

Measurements

Chest – 106cm

Thigh – 57cm

Waist – 81cm

Arm – 36.5cm

Calf – 37cm

Hips – 92cm

Body Fat % – 8%

Body weight – 82.5kg

Lean muscle – 76kg

 

Sorry I haven’t posted on this thread for quite a wile, I have been very busy with university tests and assignments. On top of that I couldn’t see my coach for 4 weeks so I couldn’t really gauge where I was.

Unfortunately I am going to be pulling out of the Shameen classic as I know given the week I have leading up to the show I wont be able to bring the best package I know I can bring. Basically the reason I am pulling out is the same reason why my show last year didn’t go very well, and that is my stress levels. When it come to tests I am a very anxious person, the whole concept of passing and failing just gets to me and that takes a huge toll on me physically and mentally.

The week leading up to the show I have 3 tests during the week and an assignment due on the day of the show, and knowing myself I am going to be unbelievably stressed and as a result hold way to much water come show day.

Some people may be able to handle the stress and the prep at the same time but what ultimately lead me to my decision was how my body reacted to the tests I just finished writing: Physically I felt drained and completely fatigued, no amount of rest seemed to help, I took 4 days off from training and I am still struggling to stand with out a considerable amount of pain in my legs. This messed with my training, my motivation and my studies. Mentally I was exactly the same, I had zero energy to deal with anyone, I would have rather avoided any situation entirely and this was affecting my relationship with my family, friends and girlfriend, and honestly a show isn’t really worth that to me.

This was all wile I was still consuming carbs and come my next set of tests I would be on a strictly no carb Keto diet, and I know I wont be able to handle that and all I would be doing is damaging my body. That is why I made the decision to pull out

 

So what’s Next?

 Now that I am not prepping for a show, first and foremost I am trying to still recover from my burn out. After which I am going to completely change my outlook on the fitness lifestyle, I want to live a more balanced life style that isn’t so restricting. I am still looking to cut down to 6% body fat but now I am going to take my time to get there rather that having a date I have to be there. I will keep you all updated as to how my training, eating and over life style changes as I figure it all out. Hope you are all having a HAPPY EASTER, best wishes to everyone.

Shameen Classic – Week 8 & 9

Measurements

Chest – 106cm

Thigh – 59cm

Waist – 84cm

Arm – 36.5cm

Calf – 38cm

Hips – 93cm

Body Fat % – 8.33%

Body weight – 85kg

Lean muscle – 78kg

My cut is coming along nicely now, my waist was at one stage 95cm and is now 84cm. losing those 11cm has really put my mind at ease as I was worried that my waist had grown due to my bulk throwing my shoulder to waist ratio out. Body fat has come down 1% over the past 2 weeks, which is spot on. Only thing I want to try improve are my arms, but when I full out and pump up for stage im sure they wont be much of an issue.

 

Training

My weights training is going to stay the same as the previous weeks:

  • Monday – Chest and triceps
  • Tuesday – Shoulders and calves
  • Wednesday – Back and biceps
  • Thursday – Legs
  • Friday – Arms
  • Saturday – Shoulders and lower lat
  • Sunday – rest

As for my cardio, I am going to be dropping it to only 30minutes of fasted cardio a day (20minutes steady state incline walking and 10minutes HIIT). The reason why I am dropping the cardio is because in pure South African unorganised fashion the show has once again been moved. The show is now on the 30th on April, putting my just under 9 weeks out. If I had to carry on doing 60minutes of cardio a day I would have peaked way to early and there after be sacrificing muscle, which is the last thing you want to be doing.

 

Supplementation

My supplementation is on point at the moment and it all seem to be working perfectly so I am going to keep it exactly the same (see Shameen Classic prep – weeks 6 & 7)

 

Nutrition

So now as the show has been moved back 3 weeks I have had to change up the diet ever so slightly. If you remember from my previous post I was doing a keto diet for 5 and a half days and carbing up after my workout on the 6th day and for the whole of the 7th. Now I have taken my carb up day and made it my everyday diet. So to recap here are the macros for that day:

  • Calories – 2598
  • Protein – 223g
  • Carbs – 351g
  • Fats – 29g

Hopefully this will prevent muscle loss and help me stay full for show day.

 

Mental state

The past 2 weeks I have been so positive, the extra carbs in my diet have seriously helped. I feel like this show is going to be by far my best performance, both shape and conditioning wise. The reason why I say this is because normally I start cutting around 6 weeks out and I am able to come in just below 6% body fat, so now being 9 weeks out and already feeling lean at 8% just put me in such a good position to peak at the right time.

I just want to say thank you to everyone that has sent me emails showing support and encouraging me, it really means a lot for me. I hope every one is having an amazing 2016 so far and you all reach those goal you have set for this year.

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