Category Archives: Fit Lean and Strong

Are Personal Trainers Failing?

We are in denial. Yes you, me, everyone in this industry.

We see a varied, hopefully high, percentage of our clients change.  Real, lasting, life-altering change.

Changing their bodies, their diet, their health, their movement patterns, their mindset, their self-worth, their lives.

We cling to them. Our testimonials, our walking billboards, our legacy, our CV.

So proud. A complete Transformation. A defining moment in a PT’s career. And so it should be.

But we are failing, from a general societal perspective, as we, the median, get sicker, fatter, and unhappier.

The numbers don’t lie. The markers are all trending in the WRONG direction. Obesity, diabetes, auto immune diseases, depression, the list is long and all inclusive.

We get absorbed in the underground health movements. The cult-like preaching of organic, grass-fed, gluten-free, crossfit, paleo, fasting, raw, clean eating, functional training, detoxification, primal living, juicing, greens… Not to mention our insatiable appetite for viral transformation Insta-celebraty programs.

We are entrenched in this community, the passionate believers in underground health. We live it, breathe it, and evidently are blinded by it.

It’s time for change. It’s time to spread our wings, our expertise and our words. Time to make the doubters believe, the self-loathers love, the worn and tired FEEL the difference.

No more intimidating tribes. Instead inspiring communities.

Everyone is looking a quick fix, a short-cut, a secret ingredient.

It’s time for the truth:

The quick fix is CONSISTENCY.

The short-cut is EDUCATION.

The secret ingredient is ENJOYMENT.

Now bottle all three, embrace the challenge, be empowered by your responsibility and go change the world. Our future is in your hands.supertrainer

Hamish

20 Easy Nutrition Swaps to Improve Your Health and Physique Today

foodswaps

Here are 20 easy Swaps that will quickly improve your health and body composition. Try them today and make them habit:

  1. WHITE/WHOLEMEAL/MULTIGRAIN BREAD – swap for – PALEO / PUMPKIN / BUCKWHEAT / CHIA BREADS
  2. VEGETABLE / CANOLA OIL – swap for – OLIVE / MACADAMIA / COCONUT OIL
  3. MARGARINE – swap for – ORGANIC BUTTER
  4. OLIVE OIL (when frying) – swap for – COCONUT OIL (or grass-fed organic butter)
  5. TABLE SALT – swap for – HIMALAYAN SEA SALT
  6. PLASTIC BOTTLED WATER – swap for – FILTERED WATER (store in glass bottles or stainless steel like http://www.thejado.com/)
  7. REFINED SUGAR and SWEETENERS – swap for – COCONUT SUGAR / MAPLE SYRUP / RAW HONEY / RICE MALT SYRUP / STEVIA
  8. DAIRY or SOY MILK – swap for – COCONUT /ALMOND / RICE MILK  (or RAW MILK thats fresh and straight from the source if you can tolerate it)
  9. COFFEE AFTER LUNCH – swap for – GREEN TEA / HERBAL TEA / GREEN SMOOTHIE / PROTEIN SHAKE
  10. CAGE EGGS – swap for – ORGANIC FREE-RANGE EGGS
  11. GRAIN FED MEAT- swap for -GRASS-FED / ORGANIC / FREE RANGE / WILD MEATS
  12. FARMED FISH – swap for – LINE / WILD-CAUGHT FISH
  13. FLAVOURED YOGHURT- swap for – GREEK / COCONUT YOGHURT
  14. RAW SOY PRODUCTS – swap for -FERMENTED SOY PRODUCTS
  15. ROASTED NUTS – swap for – SOAKED RAW NUTS
  16. PEANUT BUTTER – swap for – ORGANIC PEANUT BUTTER / ALMOND / CASHEW / BRAZIL NUT BUTTER
  17. CANNED LEGUMES – swap for – SOAKED then BOILED LEGUMES
  18. BREAKFAST CEREALS – swap for – OATS / EGGS / PALEO GRANOLA
  19. WHITE PASTA / RICE – swap for – BUCKWHEAT PASTA / ZUCCHINI PASTA / BROWN RICE / CAULIFLOWER RICE
  20. BACON / SAUSAGES / DELI MEATS – swap for – TRADITIONALLY CURED MEATS

 

How many of these changes have you made and have they made a difference to your health, energy and physique?

 

Hamish

Smart Nutrition Steps

WHICH STAGE ON THE NUTRITION SPECTRUM ARE YOU?

Too many people go to extremes looking for a short term fix when it comes to nutrition. That’s exactly why diets are destined to fail, by their very definition they are something that you must ‘go off’. Instead, I recommend all clients to gradually progress through the ‘clean eating’ spectrum, building ONE healthy habit at a time. One habit that becomes unconscious, part of you, your life. It shouldn’t be an effort, the benefits of this habit should outweigh the temptations to break it. A strong mind leads to a strong body. Don’t overcomplicate it. Add more water. Pre-prepare your lunches. Write up a weekly meal plan (with meals you LOVE to cook and eat). Remove an allergen. Take your time and FEEL the difference in your energy levels, your sleep quality, your mindset as well as your physique.  Here’s a little blueprint to help you uncover the psychological barriers, then learn to plan, shop and cook for PERMANENT health (and an improved body composition).

STEP 1: NUTRITION PREPARATIONS

READY TO TRANSFORM – BEHAVIOUR CONTROL

– removal of toxic foods/drinks

– beliefs, stress, sleep and routine

– addictions and self-sabotage, relationships and situations

– your compelling reason to transform

– why diets always fail. Hormones, calories & establishing healthy habits

 

STEP 2: NUTRITION FOUNDATIONS

THE PILLARS OF CLEAN EATING

– clean eating, unprocessed foods and understanding ingredients

– food quality – free range, organic, grass-fed, line-caught…

– increasing fruit and vegetable intake

– planned and ‘cook-up’ eating

– caloric balance and maintaining a deficit (portion control)

– the power of protein

– the essential calorie free element : water and hydration

paleo-food-pyramid

STEP 3: NUTRITION ESSENTIALS

THE INSULIN EPIDEMIC – SUGAR, INSULIN AND FRUCTOSE

– macronutrients (PCF) and micronutrients (essential minerals and vitamins)

– insulin, blood sugar and refined carbs, grains and starches

– insulin sensitivity and diabetes

– turning on ‘the fat burning switch’

– the fructose to fat relationship

– HFCS – the hidden killer

 

STEP 4: NUTRITION TRANSFORMATIONS

CARB CYCLING, INTERMITTENT FASTING

– the anabolic window – utilise, manipulate, lean body mass

– strategic starchy carb and natural sugar intake

– green faces meals (protein + vegetables)

– treat meals

– intermittent fasting, is breakfast essential?

 

STEP 5: NUTRITION ORIGINS

PALEO (REMOVAL OF ALLERGENS AND TOXIC ADDITIVES)

– paleo guidelines – hunted, gathered, fished or plucked

– removal of  – Processed Foods, Alcohol, Grains, Legumes, Soy, Sugar & Dairy

– bacteria, digestion and gut health

– hormonal benefits

 

 

 

Your questions answered… 17 lessons learnt.

After spending the morning on the phone to several new coaching clients, here’s a few of the discussion points that came out of our conversations.

  1. You must decide to transform your physique, it won’t just happen haphazardly. You must take action, reinforce good behaviours to evolve into unconscious healthy habits. Most clients have what I call the ‘aha’ moment, that trigger, be it a bad photo, tight clothes, illness, struggling up the stairs or keeping up with the kids. An instigator to take action and prioritise it.
  2. Jogging probably isn’t helping your cause. Honestly, most bodies aren’t designed to jog – too heavy a load, too much impact, too inefficient with technique. Sure if it’s your cathartic escape then great, but if you are doing it for physique reasons then I’d prefer you changed your speed – sprinting intervals are one of the greatest physique transformation tools one can use, and a long walk (outside) should be part of everyones daily routine (for mind and body).
  3. Constantly pre-habilitate. Stop injuries occurring in the first place by staying mobile and aligned. Tightness and muscular imbalances are the most likely culprits when it comes to injury. So focus on muscular balance and mobility especially around the hips, shoulders and ankles.
  4. You can’t exercise off bad eating. You also can’t diet your way to a healthy body. Nutritious clean eating, focusing on single ingredient foods found in nature or at your local farmers market is the key to weight control. Movement is the key to a beautiful physique.
  5. Resistance is the key to body transformation training. Moving weights, be it your body weight or external loads, is the secret sauce to rapidly transforming your physique.
  6. Processed food, at least in the quantities and qualities modern man is consuming it, is poison. Before you jump on the next fad diet, please start by reducing the toxic load you are ingesting from most boxed and canned foods. Man-made sweeteners in particular are playing havoc with your hormones and hence weight control, so start by watching your sugar load.
  7. Avoid the lethal Carbs-Fat combo. If you find a snack or meal that is primarily made up of significant quantities of carbs and fat (with very little protein) then chances are it’s one skip. I know, eliminating biscuits with cheese, not to mention donuts and hot chips from your daily meal plan is going to be a challenge. But to simplify carbs spike insulin making us anabolic while fats become fatty acids circulating the blood ready for storage = recipe for fat gain!
  8. Watch your posture. Be aware of your body position. Pull your shoulders back and down, head back and chest up, push your heels into the ground. Find and maintain neutral spine when standing and be very aware of your core control and spinal shape when sitting.
  9. Sore knees and/or back often equals tight hips. Make a concerted effort to free up your hips, especially your psoas (and other hip flexors) and piriformis, but also your hamstrings, quads and adductors.
  10. It’s all in the glutes. Too much sitting has led to an epidemic I term ‘dormant butt syndrome’. You MUST wake them up and strengthen them. Learn to activate them correctly and ‘feel’ them working in your big leg movements (squats, deadlifts and lunges).
  11. Protein is essential. Protein makes up the building blocks of your physiology. Base your meals and snacks around it and you will quickly feel and see the difference.
  12. You’re not eating enough vegetables. Especially green ones. Enough said!
  13. Recovery is vital. Sleep properly- I recommend 7.5 hrs in a very dark room. Have a specific ‘wind-down’ routine leading to bed time. Utilise massage, hot-cold therapy, Epson salt baths, topical magnesium, stretching, foam rolling, yoga or simply walking to improve recovery.
  14. Take advantage of the anabolic window. Post-workout is your time to consume carbs and protein. Rice, fruit and root vegetables should be regular inclusions in the two meals (or shake then meal) after your workout.
  15. Hydrate and then some more… Drink filtered water and not from a plastic cup or water bottle!
  16. Consistency is the only program that works.
  17. First master bodyweight, then master (meaning use impeccable technique) the big lifts.

 

Any of these prick your ears? Which one can you incorporate to build a healthier you?profile

The Truth About Transforming Your Body

Sometimes I have to ask myself…

How Bad Do You Want It?

Wanting and doing are two completely different things. We all want a lot of things. But how many of us actually achieve our goals? How many are willing to put in the hard work necessary to reach the top?

Are you?

Am I?

We live in a world of instant-gratification. Everyone looking for a short cut or quick fix when the real secret-sauce is the unmarketable ingredient called ‘consistency’.

How long will it take me to transform my body? You can do it quickly but it’s unlikely to last.

Truth… for long lasting results with new ingrained healthy habits, the question you should be asking is how long will it take you to transform your mind, your body will follow.

“100 days?! That’s a lot of dieting and hard work. I can commit to 28 days but not 100.”

No matter what anyone tells you there is no replacement for hard work. No training system, no diet, no machine, no gimmick and no supplement.

Vanity aside, the body you live in and time are some of the few things that CAN”T be replaced in this world, you only get one shot at health, and surely now you can see that your health is by far your greatest asset. SO nurture it, respect it, and value it above all else.

Raw vegetables and hummus anyone?

Make Your Training Count – The Perfect Rep

On the rare occasion I frequent a commercial gym I get shocked by what I see!

And no, not just the common place:

  • Lack of workout intensity
  • Lack of structured programming
  • Overuse of pin loaded equipment
  • Zero smiles attitudes
  • Shortage of squatting and deadlifting facilities
  • Massive overuse of cardio equipment

 

No. It’s actually the POOR QUALITY REPS that every Joe Blow seems to be punching out.

Resistance training is not a race. Slow down.

Muscles don’t count reps.

Throwing your shoulder into your bench will not grow your chest.

Is that a swinging bicep curl or some new shoulder flexion exercise I missed the memo on.

A squat should activate your glutes, get LOWER.

Try flexing your target muscle group when training them.

A seated row or late pulldown at speed is a recipe for rotator cuff problems at best.

Do you even know which muscles that exercise is designed to work?

Try quality not quantity…

Somebody stop me… Anyway, here’s three things you should think about on EVERY REP, for EVERY SET.

* The two exceptions are doing Olympic or Power lifts for low reps (strength and power work) or momentum exercises (like the kettlebell swing)

The Perfect Rep (for optimal muscle size – hypertrophy, mobility and tissue quality):

  1. TENSION – ‘feel’ the working muscle. Understand how the muscle contracts. Flex it like a bodybuilder.
  2. TEMPO – ‘control’ the rep. Start with a 3120 cadence. Thats 3 seconds lowering (eccentric); 1 second pause (at stretch position); 2 second raise (concentric); no rest at lockout.
  3. RANGE OF MOTION – Reduce the weight and work through a full range of motion – yes right through to that ‘stretch reflex’.

Try it next time you work out and let me know the difference you fell in your workout.

 

To detox or not… my thoughts

It’s a horrible word… DETOX. Sounds painful doesn’t it!

To me it, detox, conjures images of raw green vegetables, clay and lot’s of lemons. The words deprivation, torture, tasteless, starvation and frequent toilet stops come to mind. So I recommend detox the natural way. By eating the foods we should be eating anyway, and just adding some extra citrus and hebs to help the cleanse process.

broccoli

But truth be told, the detoxification process doesn’t have to be painful, or bland, or even that radical a change to your regular eating habits.

So WHY DETOX?

– to increase energy, vitality and improve digestion.

– to allow your digestive track and liver to better utilise nutrients.

– to help improve protein synthesis and avoid insulin resistance.

– to ensure we are functioning optimally at a cellular level.

 

DETOX101 – So here’s my basic formula to help you detox without purchasing a fad ‘cleanse’:

HOW OFTEN: My recommendation is try this plan for the first week (5 work days) of every second month (or around every 8 weeks).

MEAL COMPOSITION:

– Prioritise GREEN (preferably organic) VEGETABLES (they should make up the majority of your meal)

The main benefit of greens is the chlorophyll which help the liver cleanse the body of environmental toxics from air pollution, heavy metals, herbicides, cleaning and cosmetic products and pesticides. They are also high in fibre, increase cellular alkalinity, improve bowel function and contain essential antioxidants and phytonutrients.

Fill your fridge with kale, spinach, bok choy, wheatgrass, barley grass, broccoli sprouts, asparagus, broccoli, spirulina, brussel sprouts, zucchini, cucumber and all other organic leafy greens. You can also use a quality organic ‘greens powder’ supplement here, one of the few supplements I recommend EVERYONE take. Utilise healthy oils, vinegars, nuts and seeds to dress and flavour your vegetables.

– RAW (again preferably organic) VEGETABLES (to be eaten raw or my preference – juiced)

Especially beneficial are foods high in glutathione and sulphur. Artichoke, asparagus, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, carrots, onions, kale, garlic, turmeric and oregano.

– PROTEIN SOURCES

Base your main meals around the following proteins: organic (free range) eggs, chicken or turkey; line caught fish. Use primarily herbs and spices to flavour your proteins.

– CITRUS FRUITS – lemons and limes

Citrus fruits flush out toxins, jump start the digestive tract and aid the liver in its cleansing process. Start and end each day with a warm glass of lemon water (then clean your teeth – with natural toothpaste:)

– Quality OILS

To lubricate the intestinal walls and help absorb and eliminate toxins. Include as dreessings (NO NOT HEAT) high grade Omega-3 supplements (Look for high levels of EPA/DHA) or fish oil, avocado, flaxseed oil, cod liver oil. When cooking at heat I would recommend coconut oil (or organic grass fed butter).

– FRUIT

I would recommend limiting fruit during a detox phase (which I recommend to try for a week every couple of months). I would personally limit fruit to the occasional serve of berries or half a grapefruit, and perhaps the use of an organic apple of kiwi fruit in your green shakes.

DRINK:

– APPLE CIDER VINEGAR (20 ml half an hour before each main meal)

– FILTERED WATER (with a slice of lemon)

– GREEN TEA/MATCHA (three times daily)

– GREEN SHAKES (the perfect snacks between meals)

 

So that’s the basic list of what to include, now a few things NOT to include for your 5 day detox:

No sugar or artificial sweetener -( if you can’t live without use raw honey or maple syrup)

No dairy – includes milk, cheese, whey protein.

No SOY. Enough said.

No Gluten. Sorry carboholics!

No red meats. I know… It’s only 5 days you can do it!

No cooking using olive oil (use coconut oil).

No using the microwave (and NEVER heat with glad wrap or in plastic).

 

Need more carbs?

If you are really struggling for energy, exercising a lot or your primary focus is muscle gain, then I would add brown rice or quinoa to your lunch or post workout meal. Pumpkin and sweet potato are also a GREAT starchy carbs to add natural sweetness and fill your energy requirements.

 

I hope this helps. Let me know if you have any questions.

 

Hamish

Movement Foundations and why most people are getting them wrong.

SkulptplankHave you ever watched BAD group exercise instructors?

Unfortunately they are everywhere, giving personal trainers a bad reputation, neglecting the fundamentals of movement and the specific biomechanics of each exercise. Reinforcing bad habits, poor posture and muscle imbalances and of course increasing the likelihood of injury.

Yesterday I saw a group of girls doing pushups where it looked more like they were praying to Mecca.

I saw people doing step ups where struggle to rise then balance themselves at the top.

I saw people squatting when their knees are almost kissing at flexion.

I saw people dipping on benches with their hips closer to their ankles than the bench.

IT HAS TO STOP.

There is NO governing body policing neglectful and incompetent personal trainers. I would love that job!

So learn the basics yourself, learn how to position your body for maximal tension. Tension through the right muscles. Tension through the muscles that support your spine and keep you aligned and upright and able to move efficiently and effectively. Without applying these essential technique tips you are wasting your time doing exercise.

These are the foundations of movement. Not only applicable on the gym floor or exercising at the beach. These are the body positioning and muscular-tension building tips that APPLY TO LIFE. Standing, sitting, walking, running, lifting, swimming, playing. Simple cues for you to reinforce until they become unconscious healthy habits.

Save your back, your neck, your knees and your overall health by applying these now, tomorrow, and every time you exercise.

STEP 1: STANDING POSITION (feet shoulder width apart, hands by your side):

* GLUTES OF STEEL – Activate your glutes (aka. bum, bottom, butt, booty, derriere), squeeze them and make sure (by touching) that there is maximal tension in them. Your goal is to maintain glute activation through a range of movement (ie when squatting). One great little cue is to imagine holding a pure gold coin between your butt cheeks, now squat without dropping it. See, can you feel your “Glutes of steel“!

* PELVIC BALANCE – Neutral spine is the natural position of the spine when all body parts are in good alignment. To find this try ‘humping the air’, take your pelvis from maximum anterior tilt to maximum posterior tilt. If you have very little movement here then that is a ‘RED FLAG’ – you need to free up this area. Now imagine your pelvis as a bucket and “Don’t spill the water” by holding it ‘flat’ between the two positions. For most people this will be a slight anterior tilt (reinforcing the activation of your glutes -see above).

*SCAPULAR POSITIONING – “Put your shoulders in their sockets“. We live in a ‘pushing dominant’ world as can be seen by the prevalence of rounded shoulders and kyphotic upper backs. Most of us are also upper trap dominant from constantly shrugging or holding our tense shoulders up toward our ears. ‘Back and down’ is a simple cue. This should not only correctly align your shoulders, stable in their girdle, it should also lift your chest (open your lungs) and straighten up your thoracic spine. NOTE. It is easy to overcompensate here so from this position “Tuck your ribs in”. Ah ha… feel your core activate?

“Wow, you look hotter already, and taller, and leaner… seriously!”

* MUSCULAR TENSION (Lower) – Now “Screw your feet into the floor“. Imagine tearing the ground apart with your feet and feel the tension in your calfs, quads and glute muscles. This will help you track your knees (avoiding valgus – knock knees) over your toes reinforcing correct muscle firing sequencing and helping your glutes and quads take the load.

STEP 2: PUSH UP POSITION

* Start with the first three teaching points from above:

“Glutes of steel” – squeeze those peaches

“Don’t spill the water” – neutral pelvis

“Shoulders in their sockets” – strong scapular position

“Tuck your ribs” – fire your core

* MUSCULAR TENSION (Upper) -Now “Screw your hands into the floor“. Imagine snapping a stick with your hands and feel the tension in your rhomboids, lats and chest muscles. This will help you track your elbows (aiming to keep them around 45 degrees in a push up) reinforcing correct muscle firing sequencing and helping your chest and triceps take the load.

 

OK so these are the foundations of body positioning for all movements. The fundamental cues you need to practice and reinforce until they become second nature. Try them now and feel the difference when you move. You will find some exercises harder – push ups for example – but this is because you are finally doing them properly. Remember exercise is not about reps, at least not until technique is mastered. Focus on building maximum tension and impeccable technique not counting reps.  Feel each exercise in the core and glutes as well as the target muscles for that particular movement. So stop counting reps and instead I would recommend training for time instead (ie. starting with 20-40 second sets of controlled 4-8 second reps). One perfectly executed rep at a time is your goal.

Please read these tips again and apply them to your exercise routine. They will not only deliver you better results, they will bulletproof your body, improve your posture and make you a functional machine.

 

 

Booty… Glutes… Butt… Rear… Gluteals

 

There seems to be an obsession with bum’s at the moment. From twirking to the new mandatory gym warmup of the glute raise, and all for good reason too.

You see your glutes are probably the most important muscle group in your body, not to mention the biggest, due to the simple fact they allow us to stand on two feet (and walk/run/sprint/jump).

It’s true… Not only is a quality pair of glutes good on the eye, they are also highly functional and an accurate predictor of ones athletic prowess.

Only problem is…

You are probably sitting on it right now!

That’s right, ‘dormant butt syndrome’ is an first world epidemic and it’s a result of sitting. Sitting at your office, in your car, on the tram/train, on your couch, at the cafe bench, at your dining table…

You see your body want’ made to sit like this.

Have you seen a baby squat, then stand up off the floor from a seated position?

Have you used a drop toilet? Sat in the correct deep squat position our bodies are designed to?

It’s been a while, right?

It’s OK, I’ve been there too and the problem can be remedied.

BONUS. Free up your hips, actively fire your glutes and you may also just find that back and knee pain diminish or even disappear. That’s right fix the centre link of the chain (the hip area) and suddenly you may just be pain free and ready to really train hard to achieve that ideal body you have been dreaming of.

Interested?

Here’s what you need to know:
– The function and physiology of your glutes
– Why most of us suffer from dormant butt syndrome
– Why the glutes are the MOST important muscles in your body
– Glutes and their relationship to posture
– Glutes and their relationship to performance
– Exploring the posterior chain and it’s importance
– Hormones and their role in butt fat storage
– How to lose butt fat through diet and lifestyle alterations
– Supplements, sugar and sleep, why they matter

And here’s how you need to move:
– Releasing your dormant glutes
– How and why you must have mobility through your hips
– Our TOP 5 Activation techniques for your glutes
– Our TOP 5 techniques to getting a STRONG booty
– Our TOP 5 techniques to lifting and building a SHAPELY booty
– Our TOP 5 techniques to burning fat off your booty
– Training essentials: Tempo, Weight, ROM (range of motion) and TUT (time under tension)

**HOW TO BUILD A BETTER BOOTY**
FREE Download:
The Personal Trainer’s secrets to activating, lifting and building your perfect booty.
The exact sequence of exercises to target and isolate the glute muscles when training, even if you’ve never felt them working before.
The most effective exercises and lifestyle changes for burning fat from your butt and thighs and revealing your strong and shapely glutes.

Get your report now:skulpt_betterbooty4