Wednesday, 29 October 2014

"Celeb Diet's"

Millions of people follow celebrities every single day, sometimes for bad reasons, sometimes for good reasons. There are a lot of celebs who are very active, very fit, strong, similar to an athlete in fact, and those do tend to share their workouts and nutrition. I've read a lot of articles about celebrities who train 'normally', and by that I mean no crazy diets or crazy workouts - just healthy eating and hard work in the gym. But then you get some who decide to do some crazy workouts and 'diets'.

I've seen many different diets out there from celebs - juice diets, zero carb diets, vegetable diets, very low calorie diets, soup diets, liquid only diets, and more. What the general public don't seem to understand, is that most of the actress's/models/actors who go on a 'crazy diet', do it simply for a certain photo shoot/a movie/red carpet event/an appearance and so on. They have a short amount of time to make a big change, so you need to do something extreme. The bad side to this is that they then do an interview about their 'diet' and fitness plan and the readers then copy that. It's very common for actors to go up and down with their weight, because of certain movies requiring them to look one way or another. That style of dieting does not work in the real world, because you cannot possibly do it forever, and once you stop it you will then gain weight.

I myself follow a few celebrities, one being Dwayne Johnson, but I don't copy everything he does. He has to train in a certain way because of his busy schedule, his age (he's no 24 year old anymore! but still in great shape) but most importantly, he has clearly found a style that works for him. What works for one person, won't necessarily work for you. You can't copy someone, even Mr Johnson himself, and expect the same results. The same goes for fat loss. Just because a certain model used a juicing diet before a magazine cover shoot, doesn't mean that you can do that and be slim. Models who use short term diets will never be an 'even weight', their weight will always fluctuate, but they have the pressure on them to look a certain way with relatively short notice.

Just because the person/people you follow is your favourite celeb/s, doesn't mean that they are doing things the right way. The general public does not have deadlines for photo shoots, movies, red carpet events or anything similar, so you don't need to use a crazy diet to get in shape. Do things the right way, and you won't have to keep doing it over and over again. Eat healthy, workout, and enjoy your healthy lifestyle.

Lee Gregory Fitness 

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Hurdles and Your Goals

Many people who are 'in shape' seem to think being healthy is easy and they can't understand how people can be overweight and unhealthy. Some people who are overweight and unhealthy are genuinely lazy, and I think many trainers and nutritionists would agree. But there are a lot of people who are in that position because of things that have happened in their lives that has caused them to take the unhealthy road in life. 

I myself have been through extremely trying and tough times, especially over the last 4 years. I won't go into detail of what I have been through, simply because I don't want to and you wouldn't want to read it, but certain things have happened that have pushed me beyond my limits. I have had things taken from me, I have lost things, I've had to witness people who I love suffer, I have tried unbelievably hard to 'solve' my problems, and all the while it seemed as though nothing I did worked. I always felt like everything I did made me barely able to 'tread water' when in fact I wanted to swim (strange analogy there). People say things like 'what doesn't kill you makes you stronger', in a way that's true, but in a way it's not. Some things will haunt you forever, some things you won't ever be able to get over. It's only when you come out the other side of your troubles, when you can say 'it's made me stronger'. Whilst you're going through those tough times, you never think 'I'm stronger because of this', you only think negative thoughts. 

Being a nutritionist, I have worked with and have spoken to many people with weight related issues that have been through trying times. Usually there is a 'trigger' that has caused them to turn to food as a comfort, but sometimes there has been a build up of a number of factors that at some point all come to a head. Having gone through (and still going through to a certain degree) a lot of 'bad times', I can completely understand and relate to those who are going through a tough time. Saying things like 'don't worry, it will get better' is completely pointless, it never 'hit home' with me and I'm sure you would agree. So here's my advice....

Even though it seems impossible, you want to try and focus on the positives in your life. Try writing them down. I personally did that, not because I was crazy or something, but I found that writing down the positives in my life, even things I have done a long time ago, it helped reassure me that what's going on is only a temporary problem. With your fitness related goals, you want to do the same - write down your current situation, why you're not happy, why you want to change yourself, what are your goals? what are your aspirations? how do you want to look? Then write down things that you need to do in order to change them, even if some of the things are blatantly obvious, just write them down. Why all the writing? well it's a method that is used to help yourself regain control. The mind is a crazy machine and if left unfocused, it can drive you insane! By writing things down, it's there in front of you - you don't have to consciously think of those things, because they are right there. 

Once you have everything written down and you have a plan, then you can move on. You can hire a trainer, a nutritionist or go online. There are tons of forums, as well as Facebook pages and Twitter where you can gain motivation, talk to people who are, or have gone through, similar experiences as yours. This will make you realise that your not 'the odd one out', that you CAN change and you will have the support you need. I personally get motivated by Twitter - because my timeline is full of athletes, personal trainers, nutritionists, fitness enthusiasts and so on. If you use social media a lot, then get following and liking accounts to do with health and fitness - that way when you go on those sites/apps, that's all you'll see! 

It's all about being positive, but I fully understand that being positive is hard when you're going through a rough time. It took me a while to fully engage in a focused lifestyle, but it was worth it. You will have down days, you will sometimes lack motivation, but as long as you keep looking over your 'notes' you will be fine.  Just remember, you're doing it for you, not for anyone else. Ignore any bad influences, focus on yourself, and give it all you have. 

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Renee Zellweger - The Change

I'm sure most of you reading this would have already seen the BIG difference in the appearance of Renee Zellweger. I have unfortunately read so much abuse from the public - saying shes been under the knife, saying that being healthy can't make you look different, even comments saying she should have 'stayed fat' as that's what she was famous for! What on earth..... Here's  my view....

Changing your lifestyle for the better can have many, many positive affects on your life. Yes, it is possible to actually look noticeably different by living a healthier, fitter lifestyle. Let's take The Biggest Loser for example. I have watched many series of that show, and when the contestants lose a ton of weight, they have sometimes looked completely different, and that's because they have lost the fat that was on their face and necks. By doing that, you are almost 'deflating' your looks, which shows your jaw and cheekbones much more - which in turn shows you the 'real you'. By having that layer of fat, you are actually masking the real you, and it makes you look different. With Renee, you can clearly see her jaw and cheekbones far more than when she was overweight. Her weight has fluctuated over the years, but she has always been someone who has been overweight, whereas now she is much healthier and fitter, and it shows. 

I really don't understand people who slate celebrities for losing weight. It happened with Dawn French (who I also wrote a blog post on). She lost a lot of weight, and people criticised her - saying she won't be funny, because being overweight made her funny. What a load of garbage. Someone who is a well known actress, loses a lot of weight, that should be inspiring! that should be motivating! It shouldn't be criticised. 

Renee has done a great thing, she has made the choice to become healthier, be fitter, and in turn that has made her look better. The main problem with what is being said, is that people are comparing her looks from the first Bridget Jones film to her recent change this year. Well that is a gap of 13 years! anyone will look different 13 years later. I think she looks great to be honest, and I'm pleased for her that she has made this choice. She is very well known for being the 'chubby girl' from Bridget Jones, and I'm sure she was never happy being that way. I think people should take inspiration from seeing changes like hers. 

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

How to burn fat, FAST!

I always get asked "how long will it take to lose some weight?", and the answer is never simple. You see, everyone is different, everyone 'burns' fat at different rates. But most importantly, everyone has different effort and commitment levels.

Let's get right to it - how to burn fat, fast! You're going to need to work your butt off, and I don't mean just in the gym. In order to burn fat fast, you need to get everything working - Your gym/fitness routine, your nutrition, your organisation, your lifestyle, your socialising habits. You could workout 3 times per week, pretty hard, but if you neglect those other parts, then you're not going to get the results you want, especially fast. If you really want to shift the unwanted fat, pack on a bit of muscle to give you awesome shape, live a healthier lifestyle, feel better about yourself and be more confident, then listen up.

Let's start with the training side of things. When you go to the gym (always preferable) if you are one of those people who don't want to 'break a sweat' so you don't ruin your make up, then that needs to change. You should hit the gym raring to go. You want to train hard, you want to mix things up - use free weights, use a few cardio machines (mostly to warm up though...) you want to challenge your body. Don't just push your boundaries, you want to destroy them. Use compound moves (multi muscle moves such as as squat) as they burn more calories. If you finish your workout and you're not drenched in sweat, looking like a lobster, walking like you've just run 2 marathons, then turn around and carry on. Sound tough? good, because it's meant to be. That's what real training is, and that's how you get results FAST!

Here's the nutrition side of things. You don't have to be 100% dead strict like you read from some trainers and nutritionists. Some people may disagree with that, but from my experience, it's not a must. I'm not saying you can eat what you want, NOT ONE BIT. But a cheat meal once a week? that's fine. You want to raise your protein intake, increase your healthy fats, lower your carbs (DO NOT cut them out altogether). Some people I know like to have 'no carb days', and that's fine, but to cut out carbs day after day, week after week, it's not healthy. Also, make sure you up your water intake - I recommend at least 2 liters, but with all the training, I would personally make that towards 3. Also, I would say to save most of your carbs for training days. This is something I personally do, and many people I know, and it works. Rest days are just that - rest - and protein and healthy fats are important there, and a few carbs, not a lot. Supplements will also help with your rest and recovery, but it's up to you as an individual if you want to use them or not.

Here's probably the part that most people find the hardest - Lifestyle. I'm still only 24, so I understand and know what is common right now, and even though fitness is on the rise, it still seems to be real common to go out clubbing as much as possible. Even if you nail the fitness and nutrition sides, if your lifestyle sucks, then you're really not going to get the results you're after. So here it is - ditch the alcohol. It's packed with worthless and pointless calories, it messes wit your body, it literally does nothing for you and it wrecks with your recovery. Also the effects can last up to a couple of days, which will hinder you in the gym too. I guess organisation comes under lifestyle as well. You want to know what your doing and when. You want to plan when you're going to hit the gym, what you're doing for dinner that night, prepare your meals ahead of time to save time and have any supplements organised too. By doing this, you're going to be in a better place, you won't feel so overwhelmed by having to run around like a headless chicken to get everything sorted.

All sound a bit much? I can see that, but this is what is needed if you want real results, FAST! You can't expect to transform your body by going to the gym one or twice a week and eating a bit more veg. It takes a lot to change an overweight body to a lean, muscular one, but it takes even more to do that in a short space of time.

Hope you liked this post, feel free to share it and I hope this information hits home to those who need it.

Lee Gregory Fitness

Monday, 20 October 2014

The Wolf Of Wall Street and Fitness

Let me start by saying that this is not a film review, even though I think it's the best film I have ever seen - it has everything - a true story, action, immense comedy, drugs, sexual scenes (to put it politely) money, huge highs, and also the lows. I also know that the only scene relating to fitness is when Mr DiCaprio and Mr Hill take some 'lemons' (one of the strongest drugs at the time) and then begin to workout, only hoping to get the drug pumped around their bodies as fast as possible. So, what has this film got to do with fitness? well, a lot.... but it can also be interpreted into many other careers/hobbies/goals.

I've read the book, I've watched the movie, and even though Mr Belfort committed some crimes, there were a few things that hit me over and over again - Passion! Determination! Drive! Ambition! and the main one, Vision! Jordan Belfort always talks about that last word - vision. I've watched many video clips of his talks/seminars, and he always talks about that, and it's because it's true. Those who don't have a vision, will never be successful, whether it's about any hobbies, a sport, a job, a career, their physique, or anything else. Which brings me onto my main point.

Guys and girls who are in awesome shape, look the way they do because they have had passion, determination, drive, ambition, and a vision of what they want to look like. Without those things, they wouldn't have got to where they are. Some people say to me - "I want to gain a bit of muscle", "I want to lose a bit of fat". Those aren't visions or goals, they are barely ideas. those people don't have any drive, they don't know where they want to go with their bodies. On the flip side, I've also had people come to be with pictures of athletes or celebs, saying "this is what I want to look like! I want to shift my fat, tone up my arms, legs, core, back, improve my flexibility, my agility and endurance". That is a vision, that is someone who knows exactly what they want to do with their body.

There are also people who know what they're doing - the people who have been in the gym a while and know what works for them. They have a vision. They know exactly how they want to look, the size they want to be, and they know how to get there, it simply takes the effort, and they are more than determined. Those are the people who succeed in fitness. Those are the people who will get the body of their dreams.

It's extremely strange to compare fitness with Jordan Belfort and The Wolf Of Wall Street, but there's parts of his story; his personality, his way of thinking, that you can apply to many, many things, including fitness. Being someone who runs his own business, and works out, I have taken great inspiration from him and the film (not the parts to do with drugs, alcohol, the prostitutes, and of course, the crimes) and I am beginning to apply his way of thinking to my training and to my business. He created a multi-million dollar business from scratch, because he had a vision. Everyone starts from scratch with their bodies, but it's down to you to have a vision of what you want your body to look like.

Lee Gregory Fitness

Thursday, 16 October 2014

How many protein shakes should I have?

I get asked this question a lot, mainly by the guys, so I thought I would write a quick post on it. Firstly, protein shakes aren't a necessity to achieving a muscular physique, so you don't 'need them', but they do help.

Most protein brands that I have seen, recommend you use 3-4 shakes per day, but it really does depend on your goals, your current physique, your daily diet and lifestyle. If you're someone who struggles to physically eat a lot of food (some people just can't eat that much), then shakes will definitely come in handy. Most brands tend to pack 20-25g of protein per shake, which is a good amount of protein and it's so easy to drink a shake.

If you're serious about your training, and you want to pack on serious muscle, then I would advise the 3-4 per day, unless you can get enough protein in during the course of a day through food. I want to say this now, food is always better than a protein shake, but sometimes you won't have access to a kitchen or have time to whip up a high protein meal/snack, whereas it can take seconds to down a protein shake. Lets look at it like this. Say your brand of protein powder has 20g of protein per serving. If you have 4 per day (morning, mid morning, mid afternoon, before bed) that's going to be 80g of protein and 320 overall calories. If you're aiming for on and around 200g of protein per day, you're nearly half way there through shakes, and will need around 120g of protein from food - 3 main meals per day, that's 40g protein per meal - easily doable. That's what protein shakes can do - they can easily, conveniently, cheaply increase your protein and calorie intake. It can be very expensive to get all of your nutrition requirements through food, and protein powder is a lot cheaper. But as I said, food is better, and where you can, go for food first.

As mentioned though, it does depend on your goals. If you want to get 'super jacked', then you will need a lot more nutrition, and those kind of guys will be having around 3-4 shakes per day (more than just protein in them though). If you're somebody who just wants to stay lean with some muscle tone (more of a swimmers body than full on muscle mass) then you might only need 1-2 shakes. You will need to analyse your current diet, see how much protein/calories you can get from food. Then, with your current diet, you will need to judge for yourself how well you're progressing, how fast you're recovering and how good you feel. If you find that you're not recovering that fast, or you're not seeing the results, then you could turn to protein shakes to up your protein intake. If you have a rather large budget, go for food. If you have a large budget but a super busy schedule, then you'll be able to buy the premium protein brands. If you're a super busy person but on a tighter budget, then protein shakes will definitely help.

Everybody is different, so everybody will need different amounts of protein, as well as carbs and fats. You don't want to overdo protein shakes, or protein intake overall for that matter. It's all trial and error, you need to find out what your own body needs. But for an average guideline, I would say 3-4 shakes for those who want to add serious muscle mass. For those people who just want to be 'in shape', 1-2 should be fine - or maybe none, depending on your diet and your goals.

I hope that gives you a bit of information and help. Protein shakes can be overwhelming to those who are new to them.

Lee Gregory Fitness

Monday, 13 October 2014

Are YOU a bodybuilder?

Two of the most popular 'hashtags' that I see on Twitter is '#bodybuilding' and '#bodybuilder'. It's usually attached to a photo someone has uploaded, or in reference to their workout sessions. Bodybuilding is usually only associated with one thing - muscle bound gym freaks! Because of that, a lot of people who aren't 'muscle bound gym freaks', are afraid of using the word 'bodybuilding' or 'bodybuilder' in their Twitter bio's or in tweets, as they think people will laugh at them as they're not 'massive'. Do you have to be huge to be a bodybuilder?

The answer in my opinion is, NO! To me, everyone who works out, trains hard, eats healthy, is a bodybuilder - you are building your body. It doesn't matter if your goal is to be 150lbs, 200lbs or 250+lbs, you're still building your body and living the 'fit life'.

I can completely understand people being embarrassed or shy about using words associated with bodybuilding if they're not big, but everyone starts from point A, nobody (not even Phil Heath!) starts as a huge guy. That's the great think about fitness - no matter where you come from, anyone can get in shape, because nobody who is born naturally develops into the next Mr Olympia. Yes, it's true that some people find it easier to pack on muscle and some struggle, but everyone still starts in the same place. If you Google Phil Heath, you'll see where he started from. He used to play basketball and he was fit, but wasn't 'big'. Now he is 4x Mr Olympia.

I would call myself a bodybuilder, but my goal is to never become 'huge'. I would be happy with being between 175-190lbs, which isn't overly big, but not small. You want to build your body the way you want it to be, not just to 'fit in' to certain gyms, or to be able to use certain 'hashtags'.

Bodybuilding is a huge industry, so don't just think of it as 'muscle bound gym freaks'.

Lee Gregory Fitness

Friday, 10 October 2014

"No Carbs Before Marbs" - really?

I have seen the line of "no carbs before marbs" so much over the last few years, and it makes me think one thing - "what is wrong with those people?". I don't mean that in a rude way, but people who do that, are simply people who do not know what to do. So here is why that is a line that you want to avoid. 

What happens when you avoid carbs? Well, your body goes into a little panic mode actually. Carbs are in a lot of foods, and unless you know what you're doing with your diet, it can be dangerous. I know guys who have 'no carb days' but they are in shape, muscular and fit. They also take in a lot of protein and healthy fats. I have seen and known people who don't have carbs 'for marbs', and they tend to eat salads, fruits, a bit of protein, not many healthy fats at all, and they also tend to actually eat some carbs. Firstly, fruits have carbs in them (simple sugars) and also, if you are taking in low calorie foods everyday, you're not feeding your body what it needs. Getting rid of carbs is not the way to lose body fat. You will likely lose just fluid and muscle tissue.

Carbs are your bodies primary energy source. If your body stops receiving them, it will try and find another source. Many people think that it will only take the fat, BUT, it doesn't really work like that. Fat is stored energy, and if your body stops getting carbs to use as fuel for everyday functions, it would tend to keep the stored fat as a reserve, and start getting rid of muscle tissue and use that as fuel. I've known people who have gone the 'no carb' way, and they have lost muscle tissue (which gives you a worse shaped body) and lost fluid. As soon as you start eating normally again, the weight comes straight back. You don't really lose body fat, it is mostly muscle tissue and fluid. It's a technique that models and actors use before a photo shoot or something - temporary weight loss to fit into the right clothing, but the weight doesn't stay off.

Carbs have been demonised and people think that carbs cause obesity and you must avoid them if you want to be 'skinny'. Well, being skinny is not a healthy or good look, and carbs are not the enemy, it just depends how much of them you eat and how active you are. Think of it like this - If you are going on a road trip, and you calculated that you need 40 liters of fuel (that's allowing for a few mishaps along the way), would you put 50 liters in? no, as it would cost more money, your car would be heavier, and your car doesn't need that much fuel. It's the same with carbs and the body. If you put too much 'energy' into your body, it will store what it doesn't use, that's how you gain body fat.

If you really want to lose weight 'before marbs', then LOWER your carb intake, INCREASE your protein and healthy fat intake, and get exercising. That will be healthy, it will lose body fat (NOT muscle or just fluid) and you're weight won't suddenly come back when you start eating properly again.

I hope this post was helpful, and hopefully those of you who are currently having "no carbs before marbs" may think twice.

Lee Gregory Fitness

Monday, 6 October 2014

How much PROTEIN can your body absorb at one time?

This topic seems to be a constant argument between athletes, trainers, nutritionists and others. There is a myth out there that apparently your body can only absorb up to 30g of protein at any given time. Is this true?

I remember reading about this myth many years ago, and being a lot younger, I just believed it (who was I to argue with people a lot more qualified?). But with the qualifications I have earned, the tons of research I have personally done about a variety of health and fitness topics, I stumbled across a few studies and articles that completely disagreed with this myth.

Let's say that you eat a meal that consists of 100g of protein. If this myth is correct, then you can only absorb 30g. So according to that, you would be getting rid of 70g of protein, as your body simply can't do anything with it. To me, that seems completely odd. The human body is a very smart, clever and an adaptive machine. There is no way your body will get rid of nutrients that it needs. Your body doesn't need a ton of fat, but yet it has the 'ability' to store it. So why would your body store fat, but get rid of anything above 30g of protein? doesn't make sense to me.

When I've done some research on bodybuilders - looking at their diets, their intakes, different dietary methods and so on, I never once found a bodybuilder eating a maximum of 30g of protein in each meal. If the average bodybuilder eats 6 times per day, that means they could only eat 180g of protein. Again, not true. Many bodybuilders eat a lot more than that. Your body will digest a lot more than 30g of protein, how much will depend on the individual. I see many athletes, fitness enthusiasts, trainers, bodybuilders, all eating around 50-60g of protein per meal. I honestly do not think they would spend the money and time on doing that if their bodies only digested 30g of protein per meal.

So, my conclusion would be - your body can digest more than 30g of protein per meal. Eating way too much protein than your body needs can be bad, so there will be a limit (and also a limit on how much you can actually eat! protein fills you up - good luck eating 10 chicken breasts in one meal!).

Don't always listen to myths. Some things have been founded many, many years ago when there wasn't the ability to actually properly find out the truth. From what I have found, 30g per day is a myth.

Lee Gregory Fitness

Friday, 3 October 2014

Nutrition When You're Injured

My last post was about listening to your body when you pick up an injury or a little niggle. Well, this post I want to talk about something that I have been asked quite a lot over the last 2 years. "How can I avoid muscle loss during an injury"?

My best answer is to not change your diet that much. Some people have said to me that they don't want to pay out for a 'muscle building diet' when they aren't training, which is completely understandable. The problem with completely changing your diet is that it could force your body to store fat and breakdown muscle tissue. If you have a sedentary job, then still eating a fair amount of carbs and a lot of protein, can actually store fat. If you eat too much protein, your body can either just get rid of it or store it. Eating too many carbs when you're not being active will be stored as fat too. Whilst being injured, your body does not need as much nutrients as it does when you're fully into training, but doesn't need too little either. (depending on the injury, eating certain amounts of different nutrients can help the recovery process, but it does depend on the injury)

I would say you want to lower your carb intake, still eat a fair amount of healthy fats and a fair amount of protein.I haven't used specific measurements of them as everyone is different and everyone has different needs. By doing that though, you will have enough carbs to function and do day to day activities, but not too much that is sits on you as fat. You want to keep the protein intake high, as its filling and can avoid muscle breakdown. You can also use glutamine and bcaa's which help avoids muscle tissue breakdown too.

You just want to keep your diet lean to be honest, that way you aren't taking on any excess fat, which will keep you lean, and you will give yourself the best chance of keeping as much muscle tissue as possible. The main thing is not gaining fat. You don't want to recover from an injury and have to work your butt off in the gym to shed fat you have gained, before focusing on pure muscle building. By staying lean, when you are fit, you can then get straight back to your training. Obviously, if you get injured whilst you're halfway through a fat loss program, you don't want to gain any more fat. By eating a 'lean diet' before and during an injury, you will still lose weight, as dieting alone can lose body fat.

Lee Gregory Fitness