What are they?
Protein supplements can be divided into three main categories. Powders (which you mix with water or milk), ready made drinks that you get in a convenience store, and protein bars. They may contain whey protein, casein, soy, hemp, or a mixture of these.
What do they do?
They provide a concentrated source of protein to supplement your usual food intake. Whey is derived from milk, and contains high levels of amino acids, which are quickly digested and absorbed and retained by the body for muscle repair. Whey protein may also help enhance the immune system. Casein is also derived from milk, and provides a slower digested protein, as well as high levels of amino’s. It may also help against the breakdown of muscle tissue. Soy protein is widely used in supplements, and is a good option for vegans and people with high cholesterol. Soy protein (as part of a diet low in saturated fat) can help reduce cholesterol levels. Hemp protein is derived from hempseed. It is a non-intoxicating supplement that is relatively high in fatty acids such as omega 3’s and 6 and polyunsaturated fatty acids. Hemp is not a complete protein source, but has the benefit of a high source of fibre over other protein supplements. It is a suitable source of protein for post-workout repair of lean muscle mass.
So what’s the best I can buy?
All protein powders are not created equal. First of all, go for a tub of powder rather than the ready made shakes or bars that you find at most grocery stores. They are more economical and usually have less extra additives and a higher quality protein. But that’s not true of all protein powders…
If you are considering the cheapest tub of protein powder over the expensive kind, then you may want to think again. There’s probably a reason that it’s cheap. A common practice of companies who churn out cheaper proteins is ’protein spiking’. That’s when they add non-protein related additives to inflate the protein content. Sounds confusing? In short, protein is made up of amino acids, and some companies realised that they could mix up a cocktail using cheaper individual ingredients that mimick the nitrogen ratio of protein. So you’re getting shortchanged on your full spectrum of amino’s. The safest bet is to spend some money, or look for a seal on the label showing that the protein has been third party tested by a company such as ’Chromadex’, who ensure the protein is free of nitrogen spiking ingredients like cheaper amino acids. PrimateFit unbiasedly recommends a few of the best premium quality brands out there: ’Ghost’ Whey Protein (review of this product coming in a future blog post). Muscle Meds Carnivor Beef Protein. Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey Protein. Universal Nutrition Animal Whey. BPI Sports Whey HD. Onnit Recovery Protein. Onnit Hemp force Active (vegan option).
Suffer with lower back pain? Stiffness and difficulty with mobility? Could be that the problem lies with your hips..
In anatomy, flexion (from the Latin verb flectere, to bend) is a joint movement that decreases the angle between the bones that converge at the joint. For example, your elbow joint flexes when you bring your hand closer to your shoulder. Flexion is instigated by muscle contraction. A muscle that flexes a joint is called a flexor.
Now, the hip flexors are a complex group of muscles that deal with flexion, some to a greater degree than others. For the purpose of this post, and keeping things user friendly, we’ll skip listing each one of them here, and refer to them as a collective.
The Hip Flexors do way more than allow your legs to move in conjunction with your torso. The hip flexors also serves to stabilize your hips and lower body, keeping the joints of your pelvis and lumbar spine strong. This means they directly affect the lower back and your abs, known as that popular training buzzword, the core.
If your hip flexors are overdeveloped, tight, stiff or short, you’ll suffer from lower back and hip pain. That’s because tight hip flexors pull your pelvis into an unnatural forward tilt, which in turn pulls your lumbar spine out of alignment, causing the all too common and often misdiagnosed lower back pain.
Here are a couple of quick tests to see if your hip flexors are working at their best.
Stand on your left foot and pull your right knee to your chest. Let go. You should be able to keep your thigh above 90 degrees of flexion for at least 10 seconds. Repeat with your other leg.
Second, place one foot on a bench or step that’s around 25 inches high. You want your thigh to be above 90 degrees of flexion, that’s beyond parallel to the floor. Wth your hands above your head, lift your foot off the bench. You should be able to hold it in the air for at least 5 seconds. Repeat with the other leg.
If you can’t pass either of these tests, or you have to twist or bend to pull it off, your hip flexors need to be stronger.
Luckily for you, you’re reading the right blog.
Incorporate this into your pre-workout stretching routine
1: Get into a lunge position.
2: Shoulders back.
3: Core tight, glutes squeezed.
4: Tuck your hips under (posterior pelvic tilt)
If your hip flexors are tight, you’ll feel them stretch. If you desire more of a stretch, gently push your hips forward as though someone were pushing your lower back.
Stretch your hip flexors regularly to keep them loose and supple. Low lunges, butterfly stretches, seated head to knee stretches and deep squats will also help.
Most of us hate cardio. At the very least, we aren't enthusiastic about it.
Unfortunately, it is a necessity if you are going to commit to a programme that gives you results. There are plenty of articles and blogs and opinions that say you can skip cardio. "Abs are made in the kitchen, not the gym, etc etc." That's possibly true if you're under 23 years old and slim. But for those of us who aren't, if you think that lifting weights and diet alone will let you sculpt a sixpack, I have some bad news for you. They won't.
It's hard to get moving. But you have to accept that as well as your ten minute warm up on an elliptical machine, before you hit the weights, you're going to need to add about another hour and half to that per week if you want to see real results.
Not doing cardio is probably the biggest barrier for most people, and men in particular, from seeing decent results to outstanding results. You're either in the boat, or you're not. Why go this far and then not all the way? It will suck at the beginning. But you must accept that it's part of the process. It's probably the one thing that you avoid the most, yet it is quite possibly the biggest part of what you need to get those abs, and stand out from the pack.
Either hit it first thing in the morning at a slow pace for 45 minutes on the elliptical, or try hight intensity interval training later in the day, on a treadmill or the street for 30 minutes. Kettlebells can count as cardio. Anything that gets you breathing hard and your heart pumping. A circuit of jumps, rope skipping, knee ups, battleropes, kettlebell swings. That counts as cardio, and is probably more fun than banging out half an hour on the treadmill. High intensity slow cardio also works. Put the treadmill at a brisk walking pace (around number 5 or 6 on most machines), then set the incline up to 10 to 12 percent and get stomping for half an hour. For the first five minutes you'll feel fine, by 20 your legs will hate you, but if you make it past that, you'll feel like you can go on forever.
Try not to think of cardio as being a caged hamster on a wheel, but rather make it part of your evolutionary process. I have been guilty of doing the bare minimum for years at some points, and wondering why all the dieting and lifting weights at an intense pace with minimal rest doesn't make my abs pop. The answer was simple. Run. Move. Get the heart pumping. Work at a 10, and not a 6.
12 Week Online Training Programme Sale.
- 3 progressive training programmes (programmes followed for 4 weeks each before moving onto the next one).
- Video links directly from Onnit for proper form as well as tips.
- Rep range, Tempo & how many sets to preform.
- A nutrition plan part based on a ketogenics which allows you to keep eating the foods that you love while optimising your goals.
- I will teach you how to calculate your macronutrients simply and effectively as well as discuss how to maximize your overall fuel burning capabilites throughout your training sessions.
￼- Tips and tricks to help you stay on top of your nutrition in a work environment.
This will be a similar programme to the 12 Week Body Plan which is also available, except the programme won't be tweaked to your current physical conditions, and there won't be any one-on-one sessions.
Email and telephone support will be available, and the programme is designed for you to start immediately and effectively.
For the rest of the summer, the programme is available for only €50!
12 Week Body Programme Sale. There's still time to get in the best shape of your life before summer! If you give me 4 hours per week of your time, I will give you the 12 Week Body Programme. An exercise and nutrition plan tailor made to your needs and fitness goals. In it is included: 3/4 personal training sessions per week, both indoor and outside (depending on your time schedule and availability) based around the primal blueprint using minimal and highly versatile equipment, taking all aspects of energy expenditure into account: physical, mental, and spiritual. 3 progressive training programmes (programmes followed for 4 weeks each before moving onto the next one) these will help you smash through your plateaus, gain muscle mass, develop areas you personally want to concentrate on, and burn fat. A nutrition plan part based on a safe ketogenic diet which allows you to keep eating the foods that you love (e.g bacon, chocolate, cheese) while burning fat for fuel. Body composition and body fat percentage monitoring so you can track your progress throughout. I will also teach you how to calculate your macronutrients simply and effectively as well as discuss how to maximize your overall body fat burnt throughout our training sessions.
12 weeks of dedication and I guarantee you will be in the best shape you've ever been. That's beach-ready by July. The programme requires commitment for success, so if you're ready to put in the effort, you will see the results THIS SUMMER.
For this April only the programme will cost only €690. That's a massive reduction in price from what would usually cost over twice that amount. Thats 48 one-on-one Personal Training Sessions as well as a 12 Week Nutrition Plan. Payments can be made in installments. The clocks have already changed for summer, maybe it's time you do too :)
In recent years, coconut oils, coconut waters, coconut allsorts, suddenly came to the forefront in health, beauty and food trends. So what was all the fuss about? Is it worth believing the hype? My opinion is yes. So here's the lowdown.
Coconut oil contains an average of 60% MCt's. (Medium Chain Triglyceride). This type of fatty acid supercharges your brain and body. MCTs improve blood sugar circulation, metabolism (especially fat metabolism), may improve thyroid function, and improve appetite regulation. So it actually assists in burning fat. Instead of being metabolized through the digestion process like other fats are, MCTs are taken straight to the liver where they act very similar to carbohydrates, providing instant and long lasting energy. It also enhances ketone production, which are a super efficient fuel for your brain. So as it bypasses the digestion process it is quickly used for fuelling the brain and body. And here's an interesting fact: Human breast milk naturally contains MCT’s. It is a crucial component of the diet for even the tiniest developing brain and body.
So back to Coconut oil as a whole and as a food source, it aids digestion and increases the absorption of other nutrients and amino acids. It acts as a transportation shuttle sending other nutrients around the body.
And that's just as a food source. Here is a list from Coco Luxe Organic on some of the many uses for coconut oil:
Grey hair prevention.
Heals diaper rashes, cuts, burns, scars.
Increases oral health.
Act as a breath freshener.
Shave your legs.
Even wash your face.
Clear up acne because it's antimicrobial!
Use as a moisturizer. It's great for every part of the body from the top of your head to soles of your feet.
So what are the best coconut oils around you can buy?
After many trials and research, my opinion is that cold pressed, unrefined, extra virgin organic coconut oil is the way to go. Anything less is inferior, and you'll be skimping on the benefits we've listed above.
My personal 2 favourite coconut oils on the market:
For the kitchen: Onnit's cold pressed organic coconut oil.
As always, they excel at striving for excellence. With 64% MCTs they have some of the highest concentration of premium nutrients on the market, helping make Onnit Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil one of the purest and best out there. Go to the Primate Fit 'Onnit' page and click on the links to visit their site.
For absolutely everything else: Coco Luxe Organic.
100% Organic, Unrefined, Extra Virgin, Non GMO, Cold expeller-pressed coconut oil from Fiiji coconuts. They sell their oil in handy 100ml resealable tubes that you can carry in your sports bag, purse, beach bag, and carry-on travel luggage. They're versatile and designed to go in your medicine cabinet, your desk drawer, & even your shower. It's 3.4 fluid ounces of Organic, Unrefined, Extra Virgin Coconut Oil. Top quality, Non-RBD, Non-GMO, conveniently packaged to keep with you on the go. A superb product that can be used as anything from a lip balm to an instant moisturiser after showering and leaving the gym.
Visit www.cocoluxeorganic.com and check out their excellent and unbelievably affordable rates at 10 euros a tube and flat shipping rates no matter how many you buy!
So there you have it! The lowdown on coconut oil from every possible angle. Go get some and enjoy the many uses and benefits and believe the hype!
Most guys, having been training for some time, will agree that it feels great to be walking around with their t-shirts nicely filled. When you get beyond the point of noticing results and actually pack on some size, there's no denying it boosts your confidence when hearing people refer to you as a 'big guy', especially if you never were before.
The same goes for losing weight and staying lean. Fitting into the same dress size you were at 18. They're polar opposites but the level of commitment it takes to keep either up, and keep it up right, are in very similar leagues, but leagues all of their own.
It's easy to fall into a trap of eating pretty much anything you feel like, all in the name of 'bulking'. Especially this time of year, with Christmas fast approaching. It's easy to eat junk, train, and stay big. But to stay big and maintain lean muscle, and staying healthy, are other matters entirely.
And likewise the pitfalls of not eating right in the name of staying slim are even more hazardous.
Personally, my weight and size goes up and down throughout the year. Some months you train harder, or have more time to focus on working out. Sometimes you go on a holiday to Italy and eat pasta and pizza for two weeks. It takes next level dedication to maintain a 'perfect' physique 365 days a year.
Everything in moderation, is a popular catchphrase. But is it correct? Can you train moderately and achieve the goals you want? Well it depends on your goals. Can you train moderately and get noticeable results, compliments from friends, and be 100% satisfied with what you see in the mirror? Simply put, no.
But is it healthy to go at it like a bat out of hell each time you hit the gym or do a spin class? No to that too. You need rest days. You need a tub of ice cream some nights also.
I've wrote elsewhere here about training hard and pushing your boundaries, about thinking that you're crushing at an 8, but really you're cruising at a 4. You absolutely should push your limits and go at it hard. But you need days off also. You need days when you work at a 4 sometimes too. Coming back to training after an illness, for example, or a long rest period. Or coming back from taking it too easy for too long. The trick is to not get too comfortable, because before you know it you've slid into a routine of doing 3 sets of 8 reps at a nice and easy moderate weight and all you're now doing is maintenance.
So the question is balance. It's next to impossible to stay huge whilst being healthy and ripped all year round. You'll ebb and flow. The same goes for staying healthy and staying thin. So moderation does come into play.
Train hard, but time your rest periods well, and you should be able to maintain something of your best physical self almost all year round.
The trick is this: be moderate with your moderation.
Summer is finally upon us. And with it the bar has been raised when it's time to take your shirt off or wear a new bikini at the beach. I want to talk about idealisms and expectations and I want to use the media and particularly the recent trend in superhero movies as the perfect example. The 'perfect physique' in the public eye has evolved to a flawless demi-godlike form over the past few years due to Marvel movies in particular. Of course, peer pressure from the media is nothing new to women. And talking of which, a quick disclaimer here that this blog post isn't advocating unhealthy idealisms in terms of the messages the media gives our children or the public in general. Of course that is of concern. It always has been. But for the purpose of what is written here, this is purely a simple observation of what is our current pop cultures ideal of the human form. Nothing more nothing less. Eating disorders are up for discussion, but not now. This is an unashamed look at what we can expect to achieve at the gym compared to what we see at our cinemas.
So in terms of the male form, some celebrities have always given young men something to aspire to. Ferrigno, Schwarzenegger and Stallone were the forerunners back in the day, and inspired hordes of young men to hit the gym and a new spark in bodybuilding interest. Later on pop culture moved to a different ideal in both men and women alike. Kate Moss and Tyra Banks fuelled debates over what was healthy versus what was attractive in the 1990's, and Brad Pitt changed the game for the guys in Fightclub. Then somewhere around the start of the last decade, as information became more readily available on the ever developing internet, we took a quantum leap in our understanding about fitness and working out. The tried and tested old school bodybuilding approach still worked fine. But as we became more health conscious, and developed our understanding about nutrients and diet as well as different degrees of intensity in exercise, a global consciousness shifted in the way we viewed our bodies both intrinsically and aesthetically. And it's no coincidence that we began to see evidence of this on our television and cinema screens. The perfect example of this, is to check out Hugh Jackman in the first X-Men movie, compared to how his character looks in the most recent one. The ideal of what we thought was acceptable in the year 2000 compared to 2010 is staggering. The bar has been raised and is almost unreachable to the average gym goer. Television shows played a huge role in this ever evolving ideal also from the end of the 90's and up. Jennifer Garner in Alias, reality shows like Survivor with the contestants running around half naked, Americas Next Top Model, and of course Baywatch : another great example of what the actors looked like at the start of the show compared to the end. And now what is considered to be almost normal, is watching actors such as Chris Hemsworth put on 100kg of pure muscle every couple years to play Thor.
To discuss if this is a worthy topic to write about is debatable. But I think in terms of what we can expect to achieve at the gym, it's an essential example.
Actors usually have a good 6 months or more to prepare for a roll. They have a trainer and nutritionist to constantly keep them in check. They work out twice a day, depending on what the role requires, and they work out hard. And it shows. If the rest of us didn't have to pay our bills with our own chosen professions, plus the knowledge that we would be seen by people the world over, 30 feet high on a big screen, and getting paid thousands for the privilege, I'm sure we would be inclined to hit the gym a little harder too. But the reality is we usually don't have the time, energy, or indeed the inclination to do so.
But these people do give us something to aspire to. With the exception of someone like Dwayne Johnson, or Joe Manganiello, who walk around looking like that 24/7, it's unlikely that even most high profile celebrities can keep up those physiques permanently. It requires unparalleled dedication and intensity with precision-like timing of rest periods and nutritional intake.
One thing I am certain of though, is that this is no longer a trend. Someone who puts their time and effort into working out and attains their fitness goals is unlikely to just let it all go again. Once you're in, you're in. There's no turning back. I dare even say this is an evolution. And as much as we would like to dismiss the media and claim it's of no consequence to the way we think, it is. This isn't about the pro's and con's of the shallow experience of celebrity worship. Nor is it about promoting anorexia or other image related illnesses. It's simply a matter of fact, that these are the times we live in, and for the most part, for anyone who takes their health and fitness seriously, it can be used as inspiration.
Regardless of drive or intentions, training alone simply can't match supervised sessions with a Personal Trainer. Recent research from Ball State University in Indiana USA, put two groups of ten men of similar ages and body mass, through exactly the same strength training routines using identical exercises, reps, sets, and rest. The also followed a calorie controlled diet specifically tailored to their body types. No variable was left unchecked. One group hit the gym with Personal Trainers and the second group followed the regime by themselves. In only 12 weeks, the group that had trainers had gained a staggering 32% more upper body strength and 47% more lower body strength than the group who did it alone. And The Journal Of Strength And Conditioning conducted a similar test and found that women who use a Personal Trainer used 9% more weight than they did training alone.
The proof is that having a guide and mentor watching your form and motivating you through the tougher parts of a set can yield some amazing results.
Here's to the start of a new year and new achievements. There's no better time than right now to set those good intentions in motion. Not just because it's January, but because it's always right now. I won't throw the usual generic motivational selling points at you. When you're ready to work out you'll work out. People can encourage and inspire you, but at the end of the day only you can make you do it. Set your mind, and the body will follow (ok I had to throw in at least one). But the last thing I want you to do is rush into a gym expecting instant success. Either as a beginner or returning after a break. Start slow, but don't get too comfortable.
The hardest thing for most people to understand, is that most people don't have an accurate frame of reference for what intensity is. Everything is based on an individuals experience. And just to get things straight, I'm not speaking in metaphors here. I'm talking about good old fashioned working out. Those first few weeks back at the gym may be hard, but if your own perception of 'hard' is what you've set as your threshold, you may never understand how much you can really achieve. Of course, we only have our past experience as a reference point. But when was the last time you really pushed yourself physically? You could get stuck at your idea of what hard is. In order to move forward, in order to evolve, you need to be able to figure out how far is your far. The real far. When you leave the gym with your legs shaking, or your stomach churning, then that's it. I'm betting that most days you walk out of the gym feeling pretty good and invigorated. You might think you're working at an 8, but in reality you're working at a 4.
We all do it from time to time. Some days you're just not feeling it. Sometimes you stick to that gym plan a Personal Trainer made for you 8 months ago when you should have changed it up 7 months ago. So you Google new routines and mix things up for awhile, but sooner or later fall back into that old comfortable biceps and triceps day that worked wonders when you first did it. Only now you just don't seem able to bust through that brick wall you've hit.
So what I'm suggesting is throw a spanner in the works. A monkey wrench would be even better.
Train unconventionally. Don't go back and start doing your isolation curls and monotonous deadlifts. Go to the gym and beat the crap out of a punchbag for your warm-up. Then swing some battle ropes around for 30 second intervals followed immediately by Kettlebell Goblet Squats then hits those ropes again and repeat. Do Tri-Sets, Drop Sets, Plyometrics, swing Kettlebells. Get savage.
Train conventionally and get conventional results.
If you truly want to evolve this year, physically and with the mentality it takes to accomplish that, then there's no better time than right now. It's always right now. We've got no choice in that. But it's upto you when you start taking advantage of it.