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Bad posture is a huge problem in this day and age.
We are addicted to mobile phones, tablets, and laptops. ‘I-posture’ is actually a thing now.
Our necks lurch out, our shoulders round forward, and we end up with a terrible hunchback.
Poor posture makes us look shorter and less confident.
As a man making his way through the world, that is the complete opposite of what we want.
We want a lean, powerful physique with a confident demeanour.
Losing fat and lifting weights is a powerful way to achieve this.
Good upright posture maximises our height (especially if we’re not already tall =/) and makes us look stronger and more dominant.
This has far-reaching effects, from being more attractive to women, to looking more intimidating to other men.
We are primates after all, and body language really does matter.
If you suffer from poor posture, here’s a quick prescription for you:
Do more horizontal rowing/pulling than you do pressing/pushing.
Most men do far more pressing than pulling movements.
This tends to cause imbalance around the shoulder (causing injury). It also makes the chest and shoulder muscles more dominant, leading to the rounded shoulder look.
To ensure this doesn’t happen, you need to do more pulling (i.e. cable rows) than pushing movements (such as bench presses or shoulder presses).
Rowing/pulling movements strengthen and build muscle in the upper back muscles (such as the rhomboids and rear delts) which help to counteract poor posture.
That means TRX rows, inverted rows, cable rows, barbell rows, DB rows, the list goes on.
Here are some common examples below.
Single arm DB row
Hope this helps guys
If you’re a man and you want to lose weight, hit me up for online coaching or in person PT based in Acton
Like most people in big cities these days, you are probably busy, distracted and have 1001 things to do.
Work, family, social outings, your side hustle, Netflix… we all have something going on and wish we had more time to fit it all in.
Because of the nature of my job (training clients and taking care of my online coaching business), I’m often left with small pockets in which to actually train and do the thing I encourage other people to do.
It’s easy to make excuses and not use these small pockets to train.
Sometimes I’m so tired from the early starts and late finishes that training is the last thing I want to do.
But the key to progress is always consistency. Acting in spite of thoughts, feelings and emotions.
Something is always better than nothing.
Today I had a 30 minute window in which to train my upper body between clients. Not ideal, but still a decent amount of time in which I could get something done.
I decided to do a short, simple, dense workout. Time-efficient and effective.
I simply picked two big exercises from opposing muscle groups and rotated between them for about 12 minutes (after a thorough warm-up of course).
I chose to pair Viking bar press (6 reps) with seal rows (10 reps). Alternated between the two for time.
You can see the workout below:
When picking these two exercises, stick to somewhat ‘big’ compound movements, not small isolation movements like a bicep curl and a tricep pushdown.
For example, dips paired with a bent over row would be excellent for the upper body. Bicep curls paired with tricep curls would not be the best choice.
If you’re in a time pinch, you need to get the most bang for your buck, and that means working large areas of muscle at one time.
By choosing opposing muscle groups for each exercise, you ensure you don’t overly fatigue a single muscle group, and can work to your maximum in the small time you have.
For example, one ‘push’ movement with a ‘pull’ movement works well.
You also want to make sure you don’t choose a weight too close to your max. If you do, within two or three sets you will be fried. The goal is here to get a lot of volume in (volume drives muscle growth), so reduce the weight slightly so you can do lots of rounds.
For example, if I can do 50 kg overhead press for 3-4 sets of 6 reps, I will drop the weight to 35-40 kg so I can get in as much volume as I can without failing.
Put a timer on and go to work. Don’t feel you have to rush from one exercise to the other, but bear in mind you are working against the clock.
Hit me up on instagram for any questions!
Nothing makes sense in fitness.
Everybody you speak to will tell you something different.
One ‘guru’ promotes one method, while another ‘guru’ is in diametric opposition to it.
We hear 100 different messages every single day, leading to nothing but confusion.
The truth is…. most things in fitness ‘work’.
Low reps work.
High reps work.
Bodyweight exercises work.
Dumbbell exercises work.
Full body splits work.
Body part splits work.
Back squats work.
Goblet squats work.
Low carb works.
Low fat works.
Slow cardio works.
High intensity cardio works.
Here’s the thing, depending on the context, all of it works.
Stop chasing the golden rabbit.
Everybody suffers from information overload.Get advice from ONE person you trust and commit to ONE strategy.
Do it consistently for a minimum of 3 months, preferably 6 months.
If it works, great.
If it doesn’t, at least you learned that it’s not right for you.
But here’s the thing – methods can differ, but principles always remain.
There are some immutable laws of training that will never change.
Following these laws will result in losing fat and building a body that you’re proud of.
The immutable laws of training:
Follow these rules and regardless of your training, you will never go wrong!
I write online training programmes for men who are looking to lose fat and tone up. If you’re interested, click here –> Online training application
Do you need cardio to lose fat?
(I’ve purposely used the phrase ‘lose fat’ as opposed to ‘lose weight’ in the title of this blog – the former is exactly what we want, the latter may be less desirable for reasons outlined later).
Before I start, let’s just clarify the following:
Diet is the main driver of fat loss.
In order for weight loss to occur, you must be in a caloric deficit (A caloric deficit means you are taking in less calories than you are expending (i.e. dieting))
Making sure the quality of the food you eat is good is also of vital importance.
Now with that said, let’s get back to cardio – do you need it to lose fat?
The answer, like most questions in fitness, depends.
I’ve had clients lose fat with minimal cardio, and some who only lost weight once formal cardio was introduced.
I will, however, always stick by the idea that lifting weights is the major key to losing fat, keeping it off, and looking good in the process.
Lifting weights helps preserve muscle tissue.
Dieting of any type puts you at risk of losing fat AND muscle as your body fights for resources.
If this happens, the number on the scale will go down, but you will look ‘soft’ and sloppy. You won’t look good despite having lost weight.
Muscle gives you the toned and sexy look of somebody in shape.
Therefore the aim of any successful weight loss campaign should be to lose fat while keeping muscle.
Now let’s not get it twisted, cardio is very good for you from a health perspective. No doubt about that. It is very important actually.
Certain types of cardio are also very fun. I love sprinting, boxing, and playing football. Once the summer starts, I’ll be hitting the hills again.
Boxing, like above, is an excellent form of cardio.
But we are talking about whether it’s necessary for weight loss here, not whether it’s fun or good for you.
The fact is, some people can get away with doing pretty much no cardio, yet have abs all year round. All they do is lift weights and go about their daily lives.
For these lucky people above, there may be several reasons why they can get away with this. They may be genetically blessed. They may have a tightly controlled, clean diet. They may be so active outside the gym that they naturally expend a lot of calories without realising (i.e. walking, moving and standing a lot).
For these guys, cardio is not required to stay lean.
Someone else might be the complete opposite.
They may have poor genetics. They might be eating at Star Chicken every night. They may move less than a slug throughout the day, thus not spending any calories.
These people definitely need cardio.
General guidelines to determine whether you need to do less or more cardio:
(Assuming you are lifting weights at least 3 times a week, as this pretty much covers muscle retention).
The cleaner your diet and the more active you are during your daily life, the less specific ‘cardio’ you need.
The looser your diet and the less active you are during your daily life, the more cardio you need.
If you fall in to the second camp, cleaning up your diet &/or becoming more active in general will start to reduce the amount of cardio you need.
In terms of intensity of cardio you need to do, here are some good guidelines:
The more active you are in the gym (i.e. the more you lift throughout the week), the lower the intensity of cardio you need to perform.
The less active you are in the gym and daily life, the higher the intensity of the cardio you need perform (i.e. interval training). (Of course, you will need to work up to this as it is very demanding).
It’s also worth noting that you both types low and high intensity cardio are important for weight loss and health.
So do you need cardio to lose fat? Look at your diet and lifestyle, then judge from there.
Hope this helps guys
Hit me up for online coaching & or personal training here –> Coaching
It seems like every week I make an Instagram post extolling the benefits of split-stance leg exercises.
(Note: Split-stance exercises refers to exercises where the legs are ‘split’ apart or staggered, such as lunges, reverse lunges, split-squats themselves (current favourite), Bulgarian split-squats etc. They do not refer to the ‘pistol squats’ shown in the picture below).
Along with deadlifts, split-squats are my favourite exercise right now, so it only makes sense to write a long blog post about them.
I rarely see split-stance exercises done by the average gym go-er. When they are, they’re usually performed pretty badly, with lots of lower back arching and quarter reps.
Plus they burn, alot.
The acid build-up in the quads can become excruciating, especially in high rep sets (the Bulgarian split squat is possibly the worst offender of all).
So why would you submit yourself to this torture?
Well first, “only a sucker does not train his legs” according to legendary heavyweight Charles Martin.
Second, see the benefits below:
Doing 10 reps of a split squat on one leg is hard. But doing another 10 on the other leg is even harder.
Effectively, you end up doing double the work you would for a 2-legged exercise like the squat (although yes, the squat would most likely be heavier).
This jacks up your heart rate and gets the blood pumping like crazy, making the exercise very metabolic in nature. Doing it for high reps (8-15 per side) boosts this effect even more.
Plus it’s a bodyweight exercise, much superior to sitting down on a machine when it comes to fat loss.
Both back squats and front squats done heavy enough bother my lower back. I’ve scrapped both from my training.
The weight you can lift with split-squats is obviously lower than you can with a back squat, so there isn’t as much stress on the joints (even when using a barbell on your back).
I only do split-squats now, and the size and strength of my legs are increasing while my lower back still feels great. W all round.
Split-stance exercises are fantastic for sports. We have to remember that most sports are pretty much played in a split-stance (i.e. during running).
Because the legs are split apart, split-squats variations hugely challenge your balance and co-ordination.
Instead of wasting time on Bosu ball squats, spend time getting better and stronger better at split squats. I promise you your balance co-ordination will improvement exponentially. That’s where the real improvements in athleticism come.
Most athletes neglect split-stance exercises for heavy squats, and while heavy squats are brilliant, the benefits they offer in terms of co-ordination are not exactly the same.
Many people have tight, short hip flexors (the muscles at the front of your hip on the top of your thighs).
This can be partly due to a sedentary lifestyle and sitting all day (i.e. in the office, on the couch). Since the body is an inter-connected chain, tightness in the hip flexors can lead to injuries elsewhere.
Split-squat variations are great for stretching the hip flexor of the back leg while strengthening the muscles in the front thigh, making it a great ‘bang for your buck’ exercise.
Split-squats also work the small stabilising muscles in the hips much more than conventional squats. The glute stabilisers in particular are very important for staying healthy – weakness here can lead to problems elsewhere, i.e. the lower back or knees.
Not only this, but imbalances between legs are very common. Big differences in strength between legs can often predict future injuries – so split-stance exercises are an excellent way to address this difference.
(Pro tip: always start your set on your weaker side first).
Here are some common split stance leg exercises you can try out. I always advise mastering form before trying to go too heavy. Form always comes before weight!
Hope this helps guys, contact me on Instagram @jumpliftsprint or via email (firstname.lastname@example.org). Will be releasing a mini-programme for athletes soon too.
In life, we always have things we’re good at and things we’re not so good at. Nobody is perfect in every area.
But to progress in life, we have to address our weak points until they no longer hold us back. If that weak point is something within our control, we can ALWAYS work on it and improve it.
In terms of fitness, everybody has certain body parts/areas they need to work on. If you’re a guy, you may feel your biceps are not big enough or your shoulders aren’t wide enough. Standard thoughts for many guys to be fair.
For years I prioritised training my legs because they were my strength.
I neglected my chest and shoulders because I couldn’t push a lot of weight with them. Instead of addressing the issue and taking matters into my own hands, I allowed my upper body to remain a weakness and an area I wasn’t proud of.
Only recently have I added size and strength by really prioritising this area, which I’ll tell you how to do below.
Let’s use the upper back as an example – you want to fill it out, making it thicker and wider. Here’s how you would go about it.
Pick a compound exercise that works that muscle group (i.e. barbell row shown below).
Aim to get strong as possible in this exercise.
Do this compound movement first in your session, when you can really devote your energy to it.
After doing this first movement, add 3-5 ‘accessory’ exercises into your programme (i.e. cable rows, inverted rows, lat pulldowns, chin-ups etc).
If you don’t already, you can dedicate a whole session purely to this body part (i.e. ‘back day’ or ‘pull day’).
To make the session even more effective, attack this session at the start of the week when you’re freshest.
You can even add in certain back exercises on unrelated training days (I used to superset upper back exercises like face pulls with leg exercises on leg day, as neither exercise interfered with the other).
This helps give you more overall training volume, which is great for increasing size and strength.
Another way of increasing volume is to do more sets of a given exercise. For example, instead of 3 sets of barbell rows, do 4-5. More volume = more muscle growth.
(However, it’s important to bear in mind that too much volume can stress your system, so you have to reduce volume elsewhere temporarily. Doing lots of sets of the same exercise over time can cause overuse injuries, so be smart.)
Learn how to do the exercises properly – being able to activate the correct muscles will help you improve muscle size and strength. Poor technique will cause injury and you won’t work the target muscles properly.
If you have a weak point you want to address, dedicate a good 4-8 weeks to it and then go back to your normal training regime after.
Thank me later, and if you need help with training, hit me up for online coaching or in-person training in Chiswick.
Growing up in London I’ve seen many things come and go – ‘happy slap’ videos, grime music and Tony Blair’s integrity. But one thing has come and never gone – shisha cafes.
The rise of the shisha cafes was swift and rapid. Every week there was a new place would pop up – usually somewhere along the murky depths of Edgware Road.
To this day they are still popping up left, right and centre.
For those who don’t know what I’m talking about, here’s what a shisha pipe looks like.
It contains heated tobacco that is passed through water, and the user takes ‘pulls’ through the pipe, producing a deceptively comforting ‘bubble’ sound.
So what’s the deal with shisha? Is it dangerous? And why is it so popular?
First thing’s first, it’s easy to see why people get sucked into it.
The buzz of a busy cafe, young people of the opposite sex, football on the TV, good music, and the intoxicating smell of apple and mint wafting through the air – it all makes for a perfect night of Snapchat stories.
Not only that, but certain shisha places are hangout spots for celebrities, making them even more of an attractive option for impressionable young people.
So with that said, is it even that big of a deal?
According to most young people, it isn’t. Many assume that the smoke from a shisha pipe is safer than a cigarette (maybe because it’s passed through water).
This is not true.
We all know the numerous negative effects of smoking cigarettes, and shisha is no different. Similar to cigs, it uses tobacco and the health outcomes are most likely the same.
The smoke coming from the shisha pipe contains carbon monoxide, tar, and heavy metals to name a few things.
In other words – toxic and cancer-causing.
The numbers vary, but scientists estimate that 1 hour of shisha can be equivalent to 2-10 cigarettes (more extreme estimates suggest 1 hour is worth 100 cigarettes!)
To make this worse, the average time spent at a shisha establishment is 2-3 hours – and that’s a conservative guess if anything.
Multiply this by 2-3 nights a week and you are asking for addiction and chronic illness (shisha is addictive because it contains nicotine, the addictive substance found in cigs).
And not only do shisha sessions tend to be way longer than cigarette sessions, but they also often take place in hotboxed rooms, making the effects even worse. You sit there inhaling your own smoke, as well high amounts of passive smoke.
Furthermore, the majority of shisha ‘lounges’ also double up as ‘restaurants’, selling deserts, burgers and snacks.
Normally at fast food establishments, you eat your meal and leave. But if you’re going to a shisha restaurant for hours at a time, you are most likely going to order multiple snacks throughout. It all adds up.
While there’s nothing wrong with this for an occasional treat, many shisha-goers spend their whole weekends doing this.
The smoking and diet together form a very dangerous cocktail for your health and physique.
In terms of superficial reasons not to do shisha, there are plenty.
So big belly, no muscle, and no stamina. Very stubborn and difficult to reverse.
Lung damage makes cardio more difficult too. So the whole process of going to the gym becomes more arduous, and making any form of progress becomes more difficult.
So no, shisha is definitely not harmless compared to cigarettes. It’s just as problematic, if not more for the reasons mentioned above.
If you are complaining about your health and physique but are going to smoking regularly, you are missing a huge part of the puzzle.
People who started shisha in their teens are showing up at age 30 addicted, fat and out of shape. And people are starting younger and younger.
If you smoke consistently and can see it’s affecting you, you must take action.
When it comes to training, there are only a few hard and fast rules.
You must progress over time.
You must be consistent.
And you have to deadlift!
It’s a well known strength and conditioning cliche that the deadlift is the ‘king of all exercises’, and for good reason. It’s majesty cannot be denied. Don’t forget the deadlift.
Pretty much everything gets worked – glutes, lower back, lats, quads, grip, and even your traps. It’s the epitome of a compound lift.
Plus it makes you feel like a beast. Part of training is the mental aspect of it, and lifting heavy weight reconnects you with your inner animal.
We sit down at computers all day eating processed crap, then go home and watch reality TV. Training is one of the few areas in life where you can actually feel like a man again.
Deadlifts will make you feel like a caveman. No omega males here.
So aside from making you feel like a beast, how do deadlifts actually benefit you?
Doing a proper deadlift will make you:
I’ve had lower back issues for a long time, and starting Brazilian Jiu-jitsu didn’t exactly help (BJJ is notorious for lower back injuries.)
Unfortunately, I made my back issues even worse by deadlifting with poor technique. Deadlifts can absolutely improve lower back health and function, but only when done properly.
For that reason, I dropped deadlifts out of my training. While I thought I would be able to replace it easily, nothing else really came close to developing the raw, full body strength that deadlifts do. I became much weaker in general, and my legs and glutes seemed to shrink. No bueno.
So after about a year without deadlifting, I’ve begun incorporating them again, paying extra attention to form as I build it back up. It will be interesting to see how it affects my athleticism and muscularity.
A good goal for most people able to pull from the floor is to lift 2x bodyweight with the trap bar or barbell.
Having said that, this does not mean you HAVE to deadlift with a trap bar or barbell, nor do you necessarily have to pull from the floor. Some people will never be able to perform these lifts with good form, and that’s ok.
The important thing is that you’re doing some kind of deadlift appropriate to your level. Don’t worry about what other people deem to be the most ‘manly’ or effective. Do what works for your body.
Below is my list of different deadlift variations, starting from ‘easiest’ to most difficult:
When you are learning to deadlift – get someone to watch your form! Make sure you get the best from the exercise and and don’t hurt yourself. Not many lower backs can survive years of horrible deadlifting – eventually you will get injured.
Get yourself a PT or sign up for coaching and I’ll watch your back (pardon me).
The key with the deadlift is to look at it like a long term investment – don’t rush the progression. Increasing the weight slowly over time is the right way to do things. 2.5 kg here, 5 kg there. It all adds up in the long term.
In terms of performing the deadlift, there are a few cues I like to use with my clients.
So guys, don’t forget the deadlift. It’s benefits are numerous and it will help you achieve pretty much any fitness goal you’re striving for. Just make sure you do it correctly.
I love everything old school. I still listen to the Nas album ‘I Am’ more than any other album out now. I still watch Coming To America more than any other film that is out now.
Some would say I’m stuck in the past.. but I don’t care. I love the old school.
As much as I am constantly learning new things about fitness, the truth is, there really is nothing new under the sun.
Since the dawn of civilisation, early man has been running, sprinting, climbing, lifting heavy stuff, and generally doing all the things people nowadays don’t.
It’s only in recent history that training has been confined to one hour a day at the local ‘gym’. While our scientific knowledge of training is leaps and bounds ahead of anything we’ve had in the past, we are lazier and more uninspired than ever.
‘Old school’ forms of training, like climbing ropes, running up hills, swinging sledgehammers or lifting odd objects like rocks have been cast by the wayside and deemed not good enough by the fitness industry.
Instead, ‘health club’ memberships and shiny exercise machines have been given priority.
These basic forms of training will give you honest, real world athletic strength and conditioning. The main price you have to pay is sweat.
Doing 3 sets of 8 on the leg press in an air-conditioned gym press is nice and all, but it will never beat the feeling of running up a steep hill in the baking sun, chest heaving and legs filling with acid. That’s real, raw and old school at it’s finest. And it’s what we were made to do.
However, I’m not shitting on barbells, machines, or gyms at all. I just think that we shouldn’t be so quick to write off tried-and-tested methods that have been around for centuries in some cases. By combining the old and new school, we can get the best of both worlds.
This is a clip of a recent sprint session I did.
Here was the fancy set and rep scheme we used. Run up the big hill. Walk down. Repeat until fed up. (Obviously this was after a thorough warm up – see, we still can’t neglect the science part!).
Look at the best fighter in the world during his era, Floyd Mayweather. Here he is chopping wood in preparation for the biggest fight of his life against Manny Pacquaio. Raw, old school, pure hard work. And as always, he came in to the fight in impeccable physical condition.
I’m currently lifting 4 days a week and sprinting on the 5th day. That fifth day is all about having fun and just doing something primal, and I’m loving it. Currently very fit.
Try it out guys, and let me know what your favourite form of old school training is.