Sunday, 31 August 2014

leave your ego out of the gym

I have lost count with the amount of times I have been in a gym and have seen guys thinking they're Dwayne Johnson. Going in the gym and simply trying to lift as much as you can is not the way to build a strong, good looking physique. The problem is, some guys simply don't want to lower the weight, as they think that will make them look weak. 

You may be able to bench press 100kg, but your form could be absolutely shocking, and your simply doing everything possible to lift that weight, not caring what muscles you are actually using. That is not what you should be doing, if having a strong, muscular physique is what you're after. Instead, you want to lower the weight, to a manageable level, so you can really target the muscles that are intended for each lift. With a bench press (use that as an example as it's common) you want to obviously target the chest, so make sure you pick a weight to start with that is fairly comfortable, increasing the weight sensibly each set, still being able to keep good form. Correct form is crucial to building muscle mass. If you watch any guy who's in great shape when they train, I would guarantee they have awesome form, as it allows you to hit the right muscles, and you can then gradually increase the weight as you get stronger.

Yes, you would be lifting less, but you would be doing a far, far better job, and your workouts would actually be worthwhile. I think every guy at some point kept his ego in the gym, and just tried to lift as heavy as possible, completely neglecting form. I know a few well known trainers who have said they have done that, and it's a common and easy thing to do. The gym can be a very egotistic place, and a lot of 'gym rats' can be very egotistic, so I can understand why some people don't want to lift less weight, but it's the right thing to do. I have done it myself - when I first started working out, I wanted to see how much I could lift (which doing that is not bad, finding your 1 rep max is a good thing) but then I didn't want to lift less as I thought that would be going backwards, but I have long learnt my lesson.

It's like with a lot of things in life, you have to start off small before you jump into the big leagues. Look at racing for an example. Nobody jumps straight into a high powered sports car, they start with a small engine car and learn the skill of racing, and then gradually build up the power of the cars. With weight training, you have to learn the right techniques, using lower weights, and then you can gradually increase the weight as you get stronger and have a solid technique.

Just a quick post today, but something I wanted to write about, as it is a common problem. It may be hard to do, but leave that ego (if you have one that is) at the door. Train smart!

Lee Gregory Fitness

Friday, 29 August 2014

Alcohol VS Fitness

Over the last couple of weekends, me and a friend of mine decided to do a little experiment. There are two popular things in today's world - alcohol and fitness. There are a lot of people who go out every weekend (and sometimes weekdays too) and get drunk, and there are other people who get up at 7am on a Saturday morning and go to the gym. Here's what me and my friend found out....

Those people who love to go out and get drunk, claim that it's awesome and people who don't do it are just boring. Over the last couple of weekends, I done a little bit of drinking, and even though I am someone who gets hangovers real easy, it was still bad. During the night where you're out having a a good time, at bars or clubs or wherever you go, things seem great, and that's because you are buzzed. Then the following morning comes along, and that's where you regret the night before. You wake up literally feeling like death. You feel gross, warm, dehydrated, sometimes that sort of sweaty feeling, headaches, sometimes feeling sick and so on. That's the effects alcohol has on your body.
I personally woke up and felt disgusting, and made me think "how can people do this twice or more every week??". That's usually what older people say (as you get older your body can't tolerate alcohol as well), but I'm not old, I'm only 24, and yet that's what I was thinking. I had to jump straight to my 'hangover cure' - couple of hits of green tea, a banana and a couple of pints of water! and that's just for starters - the effects of a hangover lasts all day, as your body can't get rid of it that quick. To me that's not a lifestyle, even though many people say it is. If you have a birthday to go to, event, Xmas, new year, by all means, enjoy yourself, but to do something like that multiple times a week, it's just beyond me. Not only do you feel like garbage, but the effect that has on your body week in week out, late down the line your body will start showing a few problems.

That is just my own personal view, I know there are people who wake up feeling perfectly find after a night of drinking, but as I am not one of them, I can only comment on my own experience.

Flip that to the fitness lifestyle. Waking up for a morning workout on a weekend, when most people are hungover, feels awesome, it makes you feel productive and energised. Does that make you boring? not at all. Go meet some 'fitness people' and tell me if they are boring people, you won't be very successful. If you work mon-fri, why would you want to spend your weekends feeling like trash and not doing much apart from laying on the sofa? I don't fancy doing that. When you live the fitness lifestyle, getting up for workouts in the mornings, you feel great, you feel like you've done something good (which you have) and you have the whole day to do whatever you want, knowing you got a good workout in.

Now, if any trainer or nutritionist tells you that they never drink any alcohol whatesoever and give that 'perfect impression', from my personal experience, 99% of them are lying. It's completely fine to have a drink, it's okay to get drunk EVERY NOW AND THEN, if that's what you want to do - some people don't and that is obviously a great choice, is it going to ruin your progress? no. End of the day, you have the right to enjoy yourself, but if the majority of your 'routine' is healthy and fit, that's fine. Have I been drunk before? yeah, will I get drunk in the future? yeah, but not every single week, not at all!. Some people might be thinking - "erm, you're a nutritionist and you're saying you get drunk?". I am human, I like to have a good time like anyone else, but I know what alcohol does to the body, and I rarely get drunk. Having alcohol every so often does nothing to your fitness goals. However, drinking alcohol every week will have an effect on your goals. Obviously, cutting out alcohol altogether is the best choice, but that's not always the easy thing to do. If you're at a wedding and everyone is having champagne celebrating, for you to say "no thank you, ill have water", it might be a bit of a buzz kill! Celebrating events like weddings, it's fine to have a drink.

Well, I just wanted to share that, I'm sure not everyone will agree, but if you're reading my blog I would like to think you are into health and fitness, so hopefully you would agree. If you really care about your health and fitness goals, save the drinking for special occasions, don't make it a regular thing! A lot of people don't want to give up drinking alcohol, and expect awesome fitness results with still drinking a lot, and that just won't happen. My advice? limit the alcohol consumption to, as mentioned, special occasions.

Have a super weekend!

Lee Gregory Fitness

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

"keep it real"

Firstly, no this isn't a post about a certain 'Ali G' and his slang, it's a post about keeping things realistic. 

So many people either have unrealistic expectations of what their body could look like and/or expect way too much too soon.

Here's an example - If you are a female, around 5ft 10/11, you will never have a body like Shakira, simply because your body is not built that way. Women like Shakira and Mila Kunis are small, and their frame is small, therefore they have a small, slim, petite body, but it's not for everyone. If you are taller, you naturally have more 'mass' which means your weight will naturally be higher. So if you're trying to get down to a certain weight or look like a petite celeb, that is just totally unrealistic, and also pointless. Being tall doesn't mean you're big. If you are tall, you can still have an amazing body that suits you, small/petite/slim is not the only way to look good. You should never aim for a goal weight, because as mentioned, your body may not be built for the weight you want. You could get down to that weight, but your body could look a bit odd, simply because you have lost too much fat and muscle tissue. Instead, you want to keep working out, training hard, eating right, until you look in the mirror and are happy with what you see. Your body isn't like a hairstyle - you can't just walk into a gym and say "I want to look like him/her!", because it doesn't work like that, everyone is different.

A lot of guys would love to look like Dwayne Johnson, but unless you are fairly tall with a wide frame, that's another unrealistic goal. He is tall, and has always been 'broad', so adding a lot of muscle mass doesn't make him look 'out of place', his size completely suits him.

Expecting too much too soon is such a common problem, and it causes so many people to quit. The best transformations I have seen have come from UP Fitness, but they work their clients harder than anyone, and they get great results, fast. BUT, they don't take a weak, skinny or fat guy, and turn him into Jay Cutler in 3 months, that is physically impossible, but many guys think that results should come a lot faster than they do. If you train right, eat right, are strict with your lifestyle, then you can get a very impressive transformation in a relatively short space of time, but you have to stop expecting too much too soon.

Some people put on muscle faster than others, some people burn fat faster than others, everybody is different, but the most important thing is to learn about your body and its limits. Once you figure out what your body responds to best, then you can expect faster results because your're going to be training right for your body. But some people will still expect to much too soon, and that's where they will 'fall down'.

If you have unrealistic goals or expect too much, then you're really going to struggle to get anywhere near where you want to be. Relax more, stop worrying about getting in shape in a matter of weeks, and enjoy living the fitness life!

Lee Gregory Fitness

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

How BAD do you want it?

Fitness isn't a game, it's not something that you can give 50% effort and still get awesome results. Fitness is a lifestyle, but it all depends how bad you actually want it. 

I still receive questions such as "can I still get drunk while on a diet?", "can I still have my favourite takeaways while getting fit?" These are people who claim to be unhappy with their body, want to be slimmer, want to be fitter, want to look better in clothes, but they expect to be able to get their dream bodies without giving up their bad habits. To me, that means they're not happy with their bodies, but they aren't prepared to make any sacrifices in order to get in shape. That's what it takes, making sacrifices, could be large ones, or could be small ones, but you have to stop certain things you're currently doing, because if they were the right things, you wouldn't be wanting to get in shape. During my time at Essex CCC, I gave up alcohol during the season, I never went out the night before a game, I stopped eating bad foods (actually started seeing a nutritionist) I made quite a few changes to my diet, and a few other things. Those were all sacrifices, because I knew it would benefit me, and the positives outweighed the negatives. It's the same with myself now. I'm not someone who wants to get huge like Jay Cutler, never been attracted to that, not my thing. But the goals I have for myself, require me to make a few sacrifices, but again, the positives outweigh the negatives.

Before embarking on any fitness related journey, I would always advise the person to really figure out why they want to do it. Telling yourself why you want to make a change, why you want to get fit and healthy, will give you that motivation and reassurance. As mentioned at the start, fitness is not a game, it's not something you can 'half ass', it's a lifestyle, it's tough sometimes, but the rewards are huge. Cutting down from say, a size 20 to a 12, requires a lot of hard work and dedication. BUT when you get down the the size you want to be and are happy with, maintaining that is far easier than the journey of getting there. Many people quit because they find it too tough and think "how can I do this for the rest of my life??", well, you don't have to. It's the same with bodybuilding, to get to a size that you're happy with, my god it's hard! but maintaining a certain size is a lot easier.

If you don't want to put the effort and commitment into the fitness lifestyle, then stop moaning about not being in shape (harsh but true). What is more important, getting drunk? partying? clubbing? eating takeaways? OR getting in shape and being truly happy because you like what you see everyday? To me that is a no brainer, but clearly not to some people.

It all comes down to that one phrase that you should ask yourself - " how bad do you want it? "

Lee Gregory Fitness 

Monday, 18 August 2014

Core150 StackPack review

Today I received my belated birthday present, the Core150 StackPack. Why did I want this? Well, I will tell you. 

Since setting up 'Lee Gregory Fitness', I have done so much research into what I will need in the future, and one thing that I couldn't seem to find, was a functional, trendy gym bag that can also accommodate work things (such as a tablet, files etc). I knew I would need two bags - one being a normal gym bag for clothing my gear, and the other for my work. I then stumbled across a Facebook post from the Core150 page. I have already purchased their awesome shaker, and absolutely love it, so I was very intrigued to see they were bringing out a bag.

This isn't just any ordinary bag. This bag holds one shaker, 4 of the shaker's storage compartments, two meal pods, room for your tablet/laptop, files and any other bits and bobs you may need with you on the go. One thing, (one small thing) that I noticed straight away, is that they put 'padlockable' zips, which is a must when storing gadgets and private files (BIG tick right there!) That was one thing that many other bags I came across didn't have. The bag itself feels incredibly strong and robust, but yet soft. It's not flimsy, it's not weak, but it is a soft material that when you pick it up, you know it's made well. It's like a German car - you know it's build to last!

I can see myself using this product everyday. When I have to go and see clients, I can safely store all of my work, supplements and a meal or two, in one secure, convenient bag. This bag won't appeal to some people, but it's not just the 'fitness guys and girls' that will love this. I showed my brother the bag when I pre-ordered it, and he thought it was amazing, and he works in an investment bank (completely 'non fitness') but yet he thinks it's great. People in offices could have their tablet/laptop, work files, and any supplements/snacks they may want during the day.

I was very surprised at how attractive it is. It's very well put together, it has a simple yet stylish look about it, and it's the sort of thing other people will be jealous of. Take a normal holdall - not usually very attractive, the top always 'sinks in' because of the basic design, and when you're walking (or running for a train!) the contents inside gets shaken about, and it's very easy for things to get spilled. With the StackPack however, everything has its place, and it's all secure, so nothing is rattling about or supplements being spilled, or risk of your tablet screen getting scratched or cracked.

I know for a fact that this bag will make my life so much easier when it comes to being 'on the go'. I am so glad I pre-ordered this, and it has far exceeded my expectations. Core150 are not a 'one hit wonder', their shaker is the best, and now they have brought out the StackPack, incredible!

I highly recommend anyone that is on the go and into health and fitness, wants a functional bag, to go and buy one of these! You won't be disappointed!

Visit their website

Lee Gregory Fitness

Friday, 15 August 2014

Obesity and high street clothing stores

Before I start, I want to state that I am not 'against' obese people in the slightest, I wouldn't do the job I do if I was. I work as a nutritionist (and will be a personal trainer too in the future) to help people with their health, weight and fitness goals. I am sure this will be a 'touchy' subject, but I really want to talk about it.

This week, I read an interesting article on the Daily Mail Online, it was about obese people struggling to find fashionable clothing in high street stores. Apparently, overweight people have claimed that they struggle to find fashionable clothing in sizes 14 and above. That in itself I don't believe, because I know for a fact two highstreet clothing stores go up to a size 18.

It's a very controversial subject, and many people are frightened to talk about it, but I want to try and bring some motivation to people who are in this situation. If you can't get the clothes that you want, don't waste your time complaining to stores, because if they don't provide that clothing, I honestly don't think they will change their minds. You should instead, concentrate on using that as motivation to lose weight so you can wear the clothing that you want to wear. Many designer brands don't have larger clothing sizes available, as they 'don't want larger people wearing their clothes', as unfair and as harsh as that sounds. If stores supply trendy clothing for obese people, that will give them no motivation to lose weight, which in turn could lead to an increase in obesity. Currently there is an incentive to lose weight - shift the pounds and wear fashionable, trendy clothes. I have commented before about there not being enough incentives for people to lose weight, and if high street stores start supplying clothing for larger sizes, this will be another incentive gone.

There are thousands of trainers and nutritionists around these days, and now the government are really trying to take action to combat obesity, so clothing companies will think 'is it worth our while to bring out a larger range?'. If obesity starts to decline, people in general will be wearing smaller clothing sizes, which will then prove to the clothing stores that it was a waste of time in bringing out a larger range, as people have lost weight and are wearing smaller clothes.

I can completely understand why larger women are annoyed - you want to wear trendy clothes, but brands don't make your size. Some might mention 'supply and demand' - there are a lot of overweight/obese people in the UK, which would mean that the demand is there, but brands still don't want to bring out a larger range. I think that even the smaller chain clothing stores are trying to act like the big designer brands - not wanting overweight people wearing their clothes. Yes, it's wrong. But as mentioned, I would use that as motivation. If you have two fashionable dresses, one size 8 and one size 22. The two women would be wearing the same designed dress, but people will say that the smaller woman looks much better in it, that's just the way society is. I have had clients say that to me, and say that they wish they could wear the size 8's and 10's, and they use that as motivation to lose weight so they can wear the clothes that they see are won by the models. One client of mine even purchased 3 size 10 dresses that she loves, and looked at them everyday - guess what happened - she lost the weight and now wears her perfect dresses.

This isn't me having a go (not one bit!), this isn't me saying 'tough luck' (not one bit!). This is me saying, 'sod the clothing brands, shift the weight and wear the clothes that you really want to wear! Use that! Don't waste time moaning about it, because quite frankly, the clothing brands don't seem to be taking any notice.

Everyone needs motivation, and this is one of the biggest pieces of motivation that you can have! Everyone deserves to look good, everyone deserves to wear clothes that they want to wear, and you CAN do that. Make a change, eat healthy, exercise, shift that weight and you can wear whatever you want!

Lee Gregory Fitness 

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

hitting a plateau

Its extremely common for people to 'hit a wall', or a plateau, during their training, and some people simply quit because of it. I have seen beginners, amateurs, personal trainers and even professional athletes 'hit a wall' with their training. How do you overcome it?

In a sentence - you have to mix things up! If you carry on doing the same exercises, the same routine, the same weight, the same duration, then you will only progress so far before your body becomes accustomed to it and stops progressing. I will use two examples - weight training and cardio.

With weight training, you have to regularly mix up your workouts. Don't quote me on this, but I'm pretty sure that one of the Men's Health magazines that focussed on Jason Statham, he spoke about never doing the same workout twice - he always mixed things up. That is obviously an extreme, but it clearly works for him as he is in tremendous shape. The human body is a wonderful machine, but it does 'easily' adapt to stimulus. So unless you change up your reps/sets, tempo, weight, exercise, then your body will become used to that specific stimulus and you will likely hit a plateau at some point.

I have read many different opinions on when you should change up your routine, and to take the average, it seems to be around 8-12 weeks. If you workout 4x per week, then you would be doing 32-48 workouts before you change up your routine, which is actually a fair amount. During that time though, you won't be lifting the same weight, you will obviously be lifting heavier, but the whole routine might not be drastically different. I remember reading a trainer saying that he likes to mix up traditional weight training with German Volume Training. He said he likes to do 8 weeks of traditional weightlifting, and then 8 weeks of GVT. He claims that this hits his muscles better, keeps them guessing and avoids hitting those annoying plateaus. That is simply one example. Weight training is different to other types of training, and you have to be patient, mixing things up too much might disturb your progress. I myself have used the traditional style for a few months this year, and after watching Nick Mitchell's video on GVT, I am now utilising that style of training, and I can really feel it! The great thing about weight training, is that there are many, many exercises, so you have a big choice of what ones to use, and that's why its so easy to mix things up because you can swap one leg exercise for another, for example. There isn't just one exercise per muscle group, there's many, so mix things up!

With cardio, I would say it's best to mix things up more regularly. Fat burning training is hard work, and the last thing you want it to be, is boring. Back in the day, fat burning used to be just 'treadmill running', but nowadays it's mostly weight training, but using lighter weights. Again, there are so many exercises that you want to mix things up during the workouts, you don't want your client or yourself to be doing the same exercises every single workout. You want to work your whole body too, so make sure you pick exercises that work your whole body every session. I have read, and been told by many trainers, that full body workouts burn a lot more calories, and I agree. It's different with weight training though, then it's best to split them. If you wanted to burn fat and 'tone up', you woudn't just want to pick leg exercises and neglect your top half. You want to keep your body guessing, so it doesn't get used to your routine. But most of all, to be honest, you want to have fun, you don't want to be bored during your workouts, as that could easily lead to quitting. I would say you would want to regularly mix up your exercises, your tempo, weight, duration - that way you will always have something different to do, you'll keep your body guessing, and you'll have fun.

That's my view on how to avoid/break plateaus. I'm sure people out there will disagree, and that's always okay. I don't just have my opinions and thoughts on things from my own mind, I love to read and learn from other people. There are a handful of trainers/nutritionists that I trust (I don't trust people that easily...) so I incorporate their ideas, opinions, styles, into my own approach to nutrition and fitness.

Lee Gregory Fitness

Monday, 11 August 2014

Should you get into the 'baking buzz'?

Over the last couple of years, I have seen a trend that has started - 'Get The Nation Baking'. It got me thinking, is that actually a good idea? I'm not so sure...

What is generally wrong with baking? It tends to be unhealthy. If you go into a baking shop, the food in there looks pretty good right? pretty tasty? I'm sure they are, I'm sure they taste delicious, but I'm also sure they are unhealthy and fattening.

People may think that, if you bake at home, it can be healthy, as you will know what you are putting into the food you make, and that is true, in a way. If you cook anything at home, you will know exactly what is going into your food. But if you want to make cakes and pastries that you see on TV, in magazines or in bake stores, you will have recipes that contain a lot of unhealthy ingredients. So doing that isn't going to be a healthy way to go. I am all for cooking your own meals, I do it myself and I advise my clients and others to do it, but I don't advise cooking unhealthy, fatty foods, as there is no point.

The way 'baking' is advertised in the UK, it's almost done in a 'healthy' way, and convincing people it's healthy, when in fact, it generally isn't. If they are baking healthy food, then yes, it is good, but usually baking is unhealthy.

If you want to get into baking, but are also health conscious, then it could be a good idea. There are tons of baking recipes out there that are healthy - high protein, low fat, low carbs, natural ingredients. That is the right way to go. If you are going to get into baking, and make the unhealthy, fatty, sweet 'treats', then that is only going to make things worse (in terms of health and weight). Baking will only be healthy is you bake healthy. Just because you are making food from scratch at home, doesn't mean it's healthy.

You want to check your reasons for starting to bake, but try not to get 'sucked in' to this 'buzz' that is claiming baking to be out and out healthy, because it's not. It is only healthy if you bake healthy.

Lee Gregory Fitness

Monday, 4 August 2014

'9bar fruity' product review

So, on the weekend, my mother saw me and gave me this 'health bar' that she got free in one of her magazines, and here is my honest review of it. The manufacturer is called '9bar', and this bar was the 'fruity' flavour. 

I may as well say this now, this is not a good review. I first looked at the product's packaging and was actually impressed. It was simple, looked good, a good slogan on the front, but then I turned it over to look at the contents. On the front it did say 'The great tasting nutritious mixed seed energy bar', so I was expecting good contents. Here is the nutritional info:

Per 40g bar

Energy - 213kcal
Protein - 5.7g
Carbohydrates - 15.8g
of which sugars - 13.3g
Fat - 13.7g
of which saturates - 4.2g
mono-unsaturates - 3.8g
poly-unsaturates - 5.3g
Omega 3 fatty acids - 0.2g
Fibre - 1.9g
Sodium - <0.1g

The ingredients are:

Mixed seeds (sunflower, pumpkin, sesame, dehulled hemp) (50%), carob topping (sugar, vegetable fat, soya, carob, emulsifier; sunflower lecithin, dried apricots (11%), golden syrup, dates (9%), raw cane sugar, vegetable oil, rice flour. 

This is where it goes bad. Some of the ingredients in there are good, such as pumpkin seeds, but others are awful, such as sugar and vegetable oil. One third of this bar is sugar, to me that is poor. This is supposed to be a bar that is healthy, but yet it has 1/3 sugar. Divide the bar into 3 even chunks, take one away and replace it with the same size block of sugar, that's what you're eating. It contains 'sunflower lecithin, which is a product that manufactures use to give food a creamy, moist texture, and is a gum byproduct (sounds nice doesn't it? nope). Vegetable oil is one of the worst oils you can have (they also put vegetable fat in there too, for some crazy reason), and here's why :

- It's unnatural
- It wreaks havoc with your fatty acid composition of your body's cells
- It contain a lot of trans fats
- Increases your risk of cardiovascular disease and many other diseases
- It increases inflammation

Obviously, it doesn't say how much vegetable oil is in this bar, but the fact they have used it, and claim the bar is healthy, completely puts me off. The fat percentage is reasonably high, with nearly a third of the total fat is saturated and only 0.2g comes from omega 3's (the fats you WANT). They used carob instead of real chocolate (it doesn't say if it is sweetened or unsweetened) but here is a comparison. 1tbsp of unsweetened carob - 25kcal, no fat, no cholesterol, 6g of carbs. 1tbsp of unsweetened cocoa powder - 12kcal, 1g fat (0g sat fat) no cholesterol, 3g carbs. The taste of carob, I personally find, is horrible, whereas cocoa is actually nice, and very dark cocoa has antioxidants. 

If you want a healthy snack that will fill you up, you want SLOW digesting carbs, a good amount of protein and some fibre. Sugar does NOT fill you up, it simply boosts your blood sugar levels for a short amount of time, and then you will have the 'drop off', it's pretty pointless to be honest. Then you will be hungry again, and will likely buy another. 

What do I have as a healthy snack? I make my own batch of Hench Nutrition's protein flapjacks. They are high in protein, a good amount of carbs, low fat and barely any sugar. No, I am not just trying to 'flog' these. I would NOT buy or eat something that I personally find disgusting or if it was poor nutrition. 

If the sugar content was much lower, the protein increased a bit, and the fats lower and with better ratios, this bar would be a lot better. But as it stands, from a nutritionists point of view, I do not recommend these, even if it is 'convenient'. 

I'm glad my mother received the 9bar for free, as I personally wouldn't ever pay for one. 

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Sunday Supplement

Welcome to Sunday Supplement. Today I want to talk about a supplement called Taurine.

Many people wouldn't have heard of this supplement, unless you are really into fitness, as it's not a supp that get's as much attention as others.

So, what is it? Taurine is actually an amino acid, that is mainly found in the heart and brain - shows how important it is!

Out of the fitness environment, taurine is very beneficial to people who have heart conditions, liver conditions, high cholesterol, ADHD and many more. Whilst taurine is an amino acid, it doesn't actually aid in the muscle building process, as it doesn't link with other amino acids that do repair muscle.

Taurine has 3 main benefits:

- It acts as an antioxidant
- It can help improve athletic performance
- It can help you focus

Those three functions can really benefit your fitness levels/goals. Having a good supply of antioxidants helps to keep your body 'clean' and if you can focus better, and improve your performance in training and competition, well, that's just a win-win. There have been many studies to show the effect taurine has on sporting performance, one being a cycle test. A group of men were given taurine prior to a bike ride to exhaustion, for 1 week. The results showed a significant increase in their endurance levels.

Most people do use a supplement for this, but you can find it in food such as meat and fish, and also energy drinks (but they aren't the best to have...)

As I always say with supplements, you don't know until you try. Supplements have similar effects on most people, but not everyone gets along with every supplement - what might work for one, might not work for another. It's worth a try, the benefits are great and it's not an expensive supplement.

Have a great Sunday!

Lee Gregory Fitness

Friday, 1 August 2014

Is fear holding you back?

I'm mainly aiming this post to the fitness industry, but it can actually be taken by anyone, in any job. I have heard a lot of reasons/excuses for quitting things, and there seems to be a common factor. Behind the smoke screen, it seems to lead back to being afraid of failure. 

Failing in itself is not a bad thing, that's how we learn and do better next time around. Everyone has and will fail, and no I'm not just being negative, it's just a fact of life. If someone claims that they have never failed, then that means they have lead an unbelievably cautious life, which means they have failed by default because they have not attempted to succeed.  I have failed hundreds of times. When I used to play cricket for Essex, I was always learning new skills, tweaking with my game, and doing so caused me to fail. Nobody succeeds first time in everything they do, some things I picked up straight away, but most of them took a lot of practice to make it 'second nature' so I wouldn't fail at them. That proves to myself that you fail so you can do better, but some people are so afraid of failing, that they risk not progressing and coming to a stand still.

As mentioned at the start, this can be read by anyone really, you don't just have to be into fitness. Even though fear is self imposed, humans have always been susceptible to fear. Go back to the caveman era, those guys were afraid of the wild animals they had to kill, but they knew they needed to kill them to live. But some people let their fear become bigger than their dreams. Let's take banking as an example. I know someone who works in banking, and has passed a few very tough professional exams, in order to get 'higher up in the food chain'. If he let the fear of failing overwhelm him, and avoided taking those exams, he wouldn't have progressed, he will still be in the same situation, with the same job title, doing the same work.

Nobody likes to fail, failing does not make us happy, but it is a necessity of life. How on earth would we learn something new, if we didn't fail at it?We are not robots, you can't program in a new skill and do it perfectly the very first time.

If you are in the position of wanting to lose weight and get in shape, but you're afraid of failing and thinking people will laugh at you, then you will stay in the same position, well.....actually probably slowly get worse. Get rid of the fear! So what if you fail? so what if you don't lose as much weight as you want or your trainer wants during the first week? As long as you stick with it, work your ass off, you WILL get to where you want to be. If you quit however, then that's what failing is. Everybody gets knocked down in life, and those people who stay knocked down, those people fail, but those who get back up and try again, they're the fighters, and they're the people who will succeed.

Don't let fear control you, because if you do, you will never move forward. Some people avoid making decisions, because they are afraid that they will make the wrong choice. So what? you try again. Fear can very much make or break you, but the most annoying thing about fear, is that we control it. So in a way, if avoid doing something because you are too afraid, you have actually been beaten by yourself. The thought of that is what spurs me on with my goals. I will accept being beaten by someone better than me, but I will not accept being beaten by myself.

Lee Gregory Fitness