Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Obesity, NHS & The Government

This a very opinionated topic, with many people have many different views, but there is one thing in common - something needs to be done. 

The NHS is struggling, and it can't possibly carry on paying out the money it does forever. There are two big expenses - smoking and obesity. Apart from a tiny minority, they are two things that are choices for people - you choose to smoke and choose to eat a lot of food and not exercise. It is taking its toll on the NHS, and one of the governments answers was to link the NHS with Weight Watchers - which has resulted in a lot of backlash from nutritionists and trainers online. Weight Watchers is not an effective way of losing weight, especially if you want to keep it off, so to offer that to people is poor.

One thing that I personally think is a problem, is that there is no incentive for people to lose weight (but the only incentive you should need, is to not want to be obese anymore). If they have a health problem resulting from obesity, they know they can get it fixed for free on the NHS. They don't have to pay for treatments relating to obesity, they don't have to pay more money for plane tickets - something that did bug me when I was flying home from Australia. I went there for a training camp when I played cricket for Essex CCC, I was at Perth airport with all of my gear, and I got taken aside to pay a lot of excess baggage, and there was an obese couple behind me in the que and they didn't have to pay anything even though, separately, their luggage and body weight would have been more than me and my gear, I just don't think that's fair to be honest. Obese people don't pay more for clothing, and nor do bodybuilders and other people who are larger out of choice. Those are just some things that are the same for everyone regardless of size, and a lot of people feel strongly about it.

Education is also a factor. No, I am not saying overweight people are dumb, not at all, not that kind of education. What I mean is, a lot of people don't know how to put healthy meals together, what to eat, how to cook it and so on. People who have personal trainers, healthy friends, nutritionists etc, they learn how to do it and then get into it and educate themselves. But those who aren't in that position, it all becomes 'too much' and they can't do it, so they stick to what they know best - unhealthy food. The longer overweight/obesity goes on, you're getting that much closer to addiction, where it becomes a lot tougher.

Some people who are overweight/obese claim that it's too expensive to eat healthy. Well it's not actually. Takeaways are actually expensive, especially for what they are (crap, really). You don't have to get the best of the best when it comes to food, but you can get some pretty good deals on healthy produce, but it requires effort to not only go and buy them but to spend time cooking a healthy meal. I have also heard lines such as "not everyone likes to eat salads". Another garbage line. Being healthy doesn't mean you eat salads morning, noon and night. I may have 1 or 2 salads per week, so that's 1-2 meals out of 21 (I have 3 main meals per day).

A lot of people are lazy and just take the easy option, but it can't continue like that. The NHS does not have a bottomless pit of cash, and I have read numerous articles saying that unless something changes, the NHS could be in real trouble due to obesity and smoking related treatments that are being paid for. I have not met one person who is overweight that is happy. They have all said to me they put on a 'happy face', but deep down they are unhappy and want to be slim. You CAN do it. There is currently no 'penalty' for being overweight/obese - you don't have to pay more money for things such as clothing and plane tickets, you get free treatment on the NHS, some obese people get benefits because they are too fat to work. Something needs to change, but it's not actually down to the government to do something, it's down to the individuals. The government can come up with ways to help (currently, no good ways....) but unless people WANT to change, then nothing will change. I really do hope people want to change....

Lee Gregory Fitness

Thursday, 24 July 2014

12 week transformation?

I am sure you have seen this, I know I have... adverts on Facebook, suggested pages to like, ads on twitter, accounts on twitter, all showing quick transformations (usually around the 12 week mark). A lot of them are utter garbage and lying through their teeth, all to get you to spend your hard earned cash on their 'con products'. BUT! a 12 week transformation IS possible. 

How quick someone can change their body, all depends on their work ethic and their trainer. If you're someone who has changed a couple of things with your diet, you exercise 3 times per week, then no, you won't have a 12 week transformation. In order to completely change your body in a short space of time, you have to give everything you have. You have to completely change your diet, and be strict. You have to train 4 times per week, and those sessions have to be hardcore. You have to get yourself a good trainer, someone who knows what they are doing, someone with a good amount of experience and proof that he/she can change people's physiques. You have to be prepared to do anything it takes, because it is not easy.

Why am I saying that it is possible even with most of the claims being garbage on the internet? Well, two words - Nick Mitchell. He created a book based on a real 12 week transformation of a Men's Fitness editor. The book is called "12 week body plan". It is 100% real, and from the results, 100% effective (IF you do it properly!) Nick took an average guy, and turned him into a cover model, all in 12 weeks, pretty good right? The plan in the book is the one used by Joe Warner, so it's not something 'along the lines' of the one Nick had given Joe. I have read through the whole book, and there is a lot of great information in there. If you have a gym with the equipment needed near to you, and you want to change your body, I suggest you buy this book. This is pretty much having Nick as your Trainer, but at a HUGE discount.

This book is the perfect example of a great trainer with a motivated, dedicated client, and the results speak for themselves. It is also extremely useful for current and aspiring personal trainers and nutritionists, and I can honestly say that I am glad I bought this book.

If you still think a 12 week transformation isn't possible, then buy this book and follow Nick Mitchell. He is one of the very few fitness professionals that I trust.

Lee Gregory Fitness

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Sunday Supplement

Today on Sunday Supplement, I want to talk about a lesser known, or lesser used supplement - green tea extract. 

I have never been a lover of hot drinks, and I'm still not, and that's where green tea extract comes in. Green tea has been bounced around the fitness world for a long time now, and it comes in three forms - tea bags, powder and capsules. But what is it?

Green tea is is made from a special plant in Asia, using only the leaves. It is hardly processed and the method of converting plain leaves into a drink or powder, ensures that the majority of its nutrients is preserved. Green tea is nowadays known as an antioxidant and scientists have strongly suggested that it plays an important role in helping to prevent cancer, cardiovascular disease and some other conditions. It can also help with fitness goals.

Green tea is said to help stimulate fat oxidation, raise resting metabolism levels and kick start your fat burning process. Many people are 'hot drink lovers' and a lot of people drink high calorie hot drinks. If you make a simple swap to a calorie free green tea, you will cut a fair chunk of calories everyday, that in itself will lose some body fat. I want to make this point very, very clear - green tea is NOT a 'fat loss pill'. If you are a sedentary person, eating a poor diet, popping a green tea capsule of drinking a cup of green tea is not going to shrink your waste line - it can AID fat loss, not magically do it by itself.

Green tea can also help strengthen your immune system and help with stress levels. One study that I stumbled across stated that in a 5 day extreme physical test, 45% of placebo takers reported illness's, whereas just 5% of green tea takers reported illness's.

Many trainers/nutritionists out there recommend you take green tea pre-workout, as it can kick start your fat burning system, and it also contains caffeine which can give you an added boost. As it is caffeinated, exercise with caution! too much caffeine is NOT good. I actually use Hench Nutrition's green tea extract, which I have about 250mg each time (and usually 1-2 servings per day). As with any supplement, always consult your GP if you have any queries or worries.

I think green tea can really help you, with fat burning and general health. You have to use it alongside a healthy, balanced diet though - as stated above, on its own, it will do nothing.

Lee Gregory Fitness 

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Why more people don't workout

I have seen the question of "why don't more people workout?" bounce around online for quite a while now, and I have always had an idea as to why they don't. 

Living the 'fitness lifestyle' takes a lot of hard work, dedication, patience, being strict and giving it your all. Not many people want to do that. It is a lot easier to eat whatever, drink whatever, and just live life like that. One word that comes to my mind when thinking about this is 'lazy'. Lazy people don't want to wake up at 6am to get a workout in before work, they want to sleep as long as possible. Lazy people don't want to walk around a supermarket (or spend time shopping online) for ingredients to make fresh, healthy meals, they want 'ready-meals'. Lazy people don't want to cook healthy meals, they would rather wait for a takeaway to be delivered. Lazy people don't want to avoid certain foods and alcohol, they want to go out and get drunk (not all of them, I know). This is the common trend - always taking the easy option.

Working out doesn't just make you look better - it makes you feel better, feel more confident, more content, more alive, more alert, to take control of your life. Some people just 'go through the motions' in terms of career, simply to have enough money to do what they want outside of work. This lifestyle can work for a while, but not long term, and one day, when you're past the age of drinking and clubbing, where are you going to be? The fitness life isn't as expensive as people seem to think it is. I'm pretty darn sure that people who spend their money on 4 holidays a year, clubbing, booze, designer clothes, a new phone every year, and so on, will spend a heck of a lot more money than someone who spends their money on fitness.

I know that those people who don't workout aren't all lazy, there are other reasons, but the majority of the time, I see and read that it is down to being lazy. Ask any bodybuilder out there (and no, I am not saying everyone should be a bodybuilder, just read...) if they always enjoy their workouts, always look forward to them, never think 'ahh I'm just going to stop now, I've had enough'. I could almost guarantee that you will find zero people. Everyone goes through times where they just don't feel like it, want to give up on that last rep, that last set, don't feel like cooking that night, don't feel like getting up early to workout, but they do it, why? because they want that end result.

You only live once - wow, how many times do you read that.... but it's true. Do you want to be lazy in your life? always taking the easy option? some people will always be like that, but I'm sure many people would change. I get asked a lot if it's possible to combine a good body with a clubbing lifestyle, and I always say no, because you can't. When people ask me that, it simply means that they aren't prepared to put the hard work in. Fitness is a very powerful tool, and if you use it, many, many good things can come your way.

Lee Gregory Fitness 

Thursday, 17 July 2014

More than nutrition & workouts

When it comes to fat loss or muscle gain, most people just think of it as 'workout and eat right', but it's far more than that. 

Whether your goal is to shed fat or build muscle, both are lifestyle choices, meaning that there is more to them than eating right and training. Let's look at fat loss first.

I always explain to my clients and others that losing fat and becoming healthy isn't a chore, it's a lifestyle choice, and a dam good one. So in order to be slim, fit, strong, healthy, you must change your lifestyle. Yes, working out and eating right are two extremely important things, but you have to make other changes as well. Going by experience and people who I personally know who have changed their lifestyle, these things could be - changing job, mixing in with different people, ditching those people who are a negative influence on you, clearing out social media and starting fresh (a surprisingly 'big one' these days...) getting into a routine (breakfast, pre-made lunch, shopping regularly, fresh food etc etc) sleep (make sure you get enough, and good quality sleep). You get the idea. All those little things add up and give you a better life. It reduces stress, you're happier, more comfortable with yourself, and many good things can come your way.

With muscle building, things are a similar, but slightly different. If you are serious about packing on muscle, then you do need to be strict. I know a few bodybuilders and they often use lines such as - "sometimes you don't feel like eating that extra meal, or getting in the morning workout, but you just gotta do it, simple as". You know that if you put in the work, even at times when you don't want too, you will get that bit closer to your goals. Missing meals, missing workouts can really hinder your training. Same goes with your nutrition. You have to get the right nutrition in your body at the right times - two important ones - pre and post workout. I can noticeably feel the difference if I don't have my post workout shake (I have missed it a few times), So I try my best to get it in within about half hour. You have to be prepared to pre-cook your meals, freeze your meals, food prep, shop regularly, cut back on other things in your life in order to afford the 'muscle lifestyle'. A lot of guys can't do it, and it's because it is really strict. But as with the fat loss way, all of the little things you do, will all go towards building a more muscular physique. You can do all you want in the gym, but if you don't do other things outside the gym, you won't meet your goals. There's a saying (that I can't remember where from) that goes - "it's the little steps that clime mountains". That fits in here - its the little bits that piece together that enable you to reach your goals.

Well, just a quick post today, something different, but something I believe is very important. Have a great evening, super weather down south right now!

Lee Gregory Fitness 

Monday, 14 July 2014

Start moving your body!

You may guess what this post is about going by the title, but you're probably a tad wrong. This isn't a post telling you that if you want to lose body fat, you have to get moving. This is a post telling you if you want to lose body fat, you have to use multiple body parts. 

I have lost count of the amount of times I have seen people in gyms performing calf raises, sit ups, bicep curls, hamstring curls etc etc, when wanting to lose body fat. These exercises are called 'isolation exercises' - they are good for growth on the given muscle, but not good for burning fat. You want to concentrate on compound exercises (or, 'exercises that use multiple muscle groups'). For example, an overhead barbell squat - uses your arms, shoulders, back core, thighs and bum. It's a hard exercise to do, and burns like hell - but also burns a lot of calories! The more muscle you have, the better your body burns fat - I got told that a very long time ago, and it's still true.That is why the good trainers out there use weights to burn fat - you sweat, you burn, you start building muscle, you get stronger, you get fitter, you get more efficient at burning body fat.

If you are one of those people who performs isolation exercises in the gym, barely breaks a sweat, then you need to seek advice, as you are not going to get any results. A trainer that I trust swears by using weights to shift body fat, and also to mix the weight up - most days use light-ish weights (ones that you can do 12-15 reps with) but every now and then, he strongly believes in throwing in some heavy lifts. He has an awesome career, and the results show that. You don't have to stick to one type of training, or just a few exercises - you want to mix things up. But the important thing to remember, is that you have to use your body! So ditch those exercises that you don't need, and get going with full body/multiple muscle exercises.

Here are some great compound exercises:

- Squat
- Kettlebell swings
- Deadlift
- Bench press
- Power cleans
- Back rows
- Pull ups
- Overhead squat
- Burpees
- Jumping squats

and many more!

I have never seen, known, or heard of an individual who has lost body fat and got in shape but performing isolation exercises. Use your body!

Lee Gregory Fitness

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Mobile phones & the gym, do they mix?

You can't pop down the shops without seeing people using mobile phones, they have become a part of our everyday life, but do they mix with gym?

I myself love my phone, and it helps me tremendously with my work, but they can be extremely distracting. Back to when I started secondary school (11-12 years old) mobile phones were virtually useless compared to today - you could send a text, make a call and play snake! (great game). But now, you can call, text, email, browse the web, shop online, instant message, play advanced mobile games, control other devices with them, use them as a decent camera and video camera, conference calling, video chats, the list just goes on. I did read a study a while back to do with phones, and apparently people 'did nothing' on their phones for an average of 2 hours per day. This 'nothing' could be looking through your photos, contacts, app stores, functions on the phone and so on. So, pointless usage really. It has even gone into gyms - the amount of times I used to see people sitting on a bench using their phone instead of working out, was insane. Nowadays the app stores are flooded with fitness apps, so people are on their phones in the gym (or working out elsewhere) even more, but is it worthwhile or pointless? My opinion is that using a mobile phone when you're working out is a waste of time. You WILL get distracted, you could even lose motivation because of being distracted, which will lead to a reduced workout.

I personally use my phone when working out, for one reason - music! I don't own an iPod anymore, or any other mp3 player, so I use my phone. Sometimes I switch off my data, so I can't get messages/emails, which works. I have been there and done it though....When I was younger, I used to train at a local gym, and I did used to text and that during my workouts, and looking back now, I can see how stupid it was. My workouts were no way as good as they are now, and I do regret doing it. With the fitness apps, I'm just not a fan to be honest. A lot of them are so basic that you don't even need them. There are a few out there that are simply just a digital workout log, which saves you having to take your notepad, and they are good. But those that say things like - '10 minute workouts for a flat stomach' - Shut. Up. ! They are pointless, do nothing, and simply distract you from your (pointless) workout. Ditch those apps, get a trainer or learn from others, and train hard. No 10 minute workout performed a couple of times a week will get you a beach body. For that matter, no app will get you a beach body! If it did, personal trainers would no longer exist.

When you go to the gym, you want to be 'pumped up' and ready to train hard, not worrying about who's gonna text you, or even worse...... DO NOT stand in the gym, taking selfies! you know who does that? morons, that's who. The gym is for training! not for taking pictures of yourself and acting like some fitness god. That is another downside to mobile phones in the gym. If you are someone who likes taking tons of selfies, leave your phone in the changing room, otherwise you maybe tempted to show how vein you are. Lots of people who are in shape take pictures of their physiques, and that is fine, but not in the gym!

Well, those are some of my thoughts on mobile phones and the gym, I'm sure the 'phonaholics' will disagree, but end of the day, you go there to train. If you're on the phone or texting whilst 'using' a piece of equipment, prepare to have some very bad looks from people wanting to use it!

Lee Gregory Fitness

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Sunday Supplement - ZMA

Welcome to Sunday Supplement! 

Today I am going to quickly talk about a supplement that isn't as popular as others, but still has benefits - ZMA.

ZMA stands for 'zinc monomethionine aspartate and magnesium aspartate'. It's a blend of zinc, magnesium and vitamin B6. Those who participate in regular exercise/sport can benefit from ZMA because it has been clinically proven to increase anabolic hormone levels, help with production of free testosterone, increase strength and recovery. ZMA is taken at night to increase recovery during sleep.

Sleep is vital for many things in life, but when it comes to fitness, it is one of the most underrated 'supplements' that you can have. So many people live hectic lives, and they often use the excuse of 'I'm just too busy, I need more sleep but have too much to do'. Quality of sleep is actually better than duration. ZMA can help you with getting better quality of sleep, and I have read many reviews of ZMA that say their quality of sleep has improved since taking it. If you train hard, your body needs to recover, and if you live a hectic life, sometimes your body won't be able to recovery as good as it needs to, because you are busy doing other things (such as physical activity relating to your job).

Using ZMA can also lead to:

- Increased muscle mass + strength
- Faster recovery
- Increased libido
- Because of the faster recovery, you'll have more energy for workouts
- Less mood swings/better mood
- Fights free radicals that are produced during exercise

For anyone who is looking to get leaner, stronger, bigger, ZMA can really benefit you. It's also not overly expensive, which is always a bonus when it comes to supplements.

I'm now off to watch (hopefully) Lewis Hamilton win the British Grand Prix!! Come on Lewis! Have a great Sunday!

Lee Gregory Fitness

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

"In a bar or in a gym"

In my experience, people tend to go one of two ways when it comes to finding confidence - the party lifestyle of the gym lifestyle. I have known many people to say something along the lines of, "I'm not confident unless I have a few drinks", and that seems to be common. But I also know quite a few 'fitness freaks' that work out a lot, eat healthy, and they have plenty of confidence without the need for alcohol. Coincidence? I don't think so.

You see, being in great shape gives you the kind of confidence that you wouldn't think is possible. When you have a few drinks, sure, you feel 'good', and happy, but you know the whole time that when you wake up the following morning, you're gonna feel like death and all of your confidence issues will still be there. I know that not everyone who has confidence issues, has them with their body, but fitness isn't just about looking good (which can make you feel good), it's about changing your mindset, be more positive, being able to take your frustration out during your workouts - an amazing (if not the best) stress reliever. This can have a knock-on effect, which can help you with your everyday life.

There's nothing wrong with having a chilled beer on a Friday night after a hectic week, but if you make things like that a regular occurrence, they can then become a habit, that's where it can turn bad. Alcohol can be addictive, and it's something that you can easily get sucked into. As mentioned in previous similar posts - in the last few years there has been a huge increase in the whole 'party lifestyle', and I think that is primarily down to all of this reality TV that consists of drinking, partying, holidays and so on, and people try and copy it. I'm sure some people will disagree with that and try and convince me how good the reality shows are.... but I'm not a fan. If you are someone who does those things, whilst they last it may seem 'great', but you can't do that all the time, for the rest of your life, so it will have to stop at some point. Then what? what will replace that 'good feeling' that you got from doing those things?

A lot of people ask me if it's possible to still go out, drink and have fun clubbing/partying, whilst training in the gym and eating healthy, and I always say the same thing - those two things don't really mix. You can still go out, have fun, have a few drinks (but in moderation, and not all the time), but what you will find is that you have this new natural confidence that you never had before. Being fit, healthy, looking good, feeling good, you wont' worry so much about what other people think and needing something like alcohol to 'pump up' your confidence levels. Some of the happiest people I know are people who are fit and healthy, and I'm not surprised.

It has been a bit of a different post to my usual stuff, but nutrition and fitness isn't always all about eating healthy and working out, I like to come from different angles sometimes. The decision is obviously yours - whether you get into the fitness life, or carry on down the party lifestyle. Years of drinking, partying, tanning, will eventually catch up with you - it does damage your body, does cause premature ageing, and most things to do with the body can't be reversed.

Lee Gregory Fitness