Thursday, 29 January 2015

Workout for yourself, not Instagram

I see it so often these days, guys and girls posting numerous body selfies on instagram every single day. I myself have posted the odd picture, but that's merely to show that I do workout, I am in shape, and I do 'practice what I preach'. But to post multiple photos of your body every single day? you're not working out for yourself.

To me, working out to improve your physique should be a personal thing, it shouldn't be something to flaunt to the world. Those people who are obsessed with posting pictures showing off their muscular/slim/toned physique, they will most likely say they do it for themselves, but posting a ridiculous amount of photos, that's not doing it for you, that's doing it so people will like your photos, praise your body, and ultimately to just get attention.

You get two kinds of 'fitness Instagram addicts' - 1) guys and girls who are actually in really good shape posting ridiculous amounts of attentions seeking pictures, and 2) guys and girls who are entering the fitness world purely to have a huge online following because of their physiques.

Now, I'm sure people would challenge this post and say "I workout for me, but I just like posting pictures". But those people would have to ask themselves seriously "why am I working out?". I don't think you can say you workout for your own personal reasons, when you're always posting pictures of your body online, because people only do that for attention. Granted, you do get sponsored athletes, personal trainers, nutritionists and so on, who post pictures, but that is because its kind of 'their job'. Personal trainers need to show that they practice what they preach, sponsored athletes literally have to (usually in their contracts to show their physique - which is down to the supplements they use - sponsorship). Nutritionists also need to. Imagine a nutritionist who mainly worked online, and they were actually overweight? they would be known as a fraud, so they need to show that they are in shape - in person or online.

The reason why I'm putting emphasis on 'workout for yourself', is that unless you do, you won't have that personal drive that will push you all the way. Once you get to an age where your body is declining, nobody on Instagram is going to want to see that, so you'll no longer get the same attention, then what? most likely you'll give up. Whereas if you worked out mainly for yourself, even when your body is declining due to age, you're still going to love training, and you'll still train hard to stay in shape no matter what age you are.

 Lee Gregory Fitness

Friday, 23 January 2015

Lacking energy? or lacking focus?

A long time ago I wrote a post about being hungry vs being thirsty, where people often think they're hungry when in fact they are just thirsty. This post is similar.

People can easily think they are lacking in energy, when in fact they are lacking in focus.

The two do overlap as well as being different.If you lack energy, you will no doubt lack focus, but you can very easily lack focus while having adequate energy. Here's an example - roughly 2 months ago I started using caffeine in my pre-workout shake, and boy have I noticed the difference! I have also used beta alanine for quite a while, but if I'm bluntly honest, I don't feel an increased focus, but I do feel an increase in energy. Since using caffeine, I can honestly feel the difference in my focus levels. I've had workouts where I've had so much on my mind that I couldn't focus properly on my my session, and that leads to a feeling of a lack of energy. But the caffeine turbocharges my mind and I'm 100% in the zone.

When you're mind isn't focused, you're not fully concentrating on your reps, so you feel a bit lethargic - hence the feeling of a lack of energy. But your body isn't struggling for energy, it's simply struggling to focus. If you have ever seen a bodybuilder workout, you'll notice that they are 100% focused on lifting the weights every single rep. Then you see the 'posers' in the gym who lift moderate weights, checking themselves out in the mirror, looking around to see if anyone is looking at them, they are not concentrating on the exercise at hand. If they tried to lift heavy and do the same 'routine', they wouldn't be able to get anymore than about 3 reps out, because they aren't focused.

I have had workouts where someone has interrupted me, told a funny joke, or something that made me lose focus, and at the same time I lost strength and had to quit that set. If you got in a press up position, and then listened to your favourite comedian, try to do a set of 20 press ups while laughing your head off, you'll notice a drop in strength, because you have lost your focus.

I remember watching a video from Nick Mitchell on YouTube, and he said his 'pre-workout' is a cup of coffee, which helps him focus during his workouts. I personally don't like coffee, so I didn't try it, but instead I got myself some caffeine, and I'm glad I did.

Unless you walk into your gym feeling absolutely shattered, you will have energy in your system, so don't think that you're struggling for energy if your workout is poor, because it's more likely you're simply struggling to focus. Some people can instantly get focused when they put on certain music, whereas others need a stimulant of some kind (i.e caffeine).

So the next time you're working out and thinking "I've got nothing left in tank", it's probably that you're struggling to focus on your workout. I do recommend trying caffeine - coffee or powder form, it really works for me.

Lee Gregory Fitness

Thursday, 22 January 2015

This one tip can help you get in shape!

I see so many articles, posts online, pages in magazines, even tweets, giving tips on getting in shape. They usually all consist of the same things - eat healthy, cut out processed foods, train 3x per week and so on. Well here is a tip that is not one of the above and not one that I actually see a lot. 


A big reason why people struggle when trying to get in shape, whether it's fat loss or muscle gain, is that they're not organised. They don't know when they're going to be working out, what time they're getting up each day, when they're going to bed, what they're going to eat during the day, not sure what they will have for dinner and so on. 

I remember reading an article as to why Ford (the car manufacturer) do so well compared to other manufacturers, and it came down to organisation. The method they developed of building the cars saved them a lot of time and money, and it was unbelievably organised. 

I like to think that I'm an organised guy, and here's a few things that I do. I buy my meats from Muscle Food, and when they get delivered I individually bag the portions and put them in the freezer so I can get a portion out when I need it. It is time consuming but it's well worth it. I organise my supplements so I know exactly what I have, how much is left, and for easy access. I have a 'pill box' where I have a compartment for each day that contains my vitamin D and Omega 3's, which makes sure I have my daily dose. I plan out exactly when I will be training, I even get my gear ready the night before. 

Those are just some of the organisation methods I use, and they work for me. I personally love being organised, I hate not being in the know. Some people seem to get along just fine being unorganised, and that's okay. But there are many people who struggle with their nutrition and training, and their work/school life because they are simply unorganised. 

So that really is one of my biggest tips. 

Try and organise your life, both at home and at work/school. Your day will run a lot smoother, you'll know what you're doing and when, your nutrition will be better planned out, you will know when you'll be training and you'll have a lot less stress. 

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Taking your eyes off the prize

In many different sports there's one key factor, something that you must do without question. That one thing is focus. It's the same with getting into shape.

Think about it, let's take formula 1 for example (purely because I love it!). Lewis Hamilton won his second world title last year (wahoo!!) but what would happen if he lost focus? He sure as hell wouldn't have won the title, but even worse, he could have been seriously injured. He drives one of the fastest machines in the world, you think a Ferrari 458 is quick? that's nothing compared to an f1 car. If he doesn't focus every second of every lap, if he just 'daydreams' for a split second, he could end up slamming into the barrier at speeds of up to 220mph. Last year there were some great camera shots of the drivers eyes through their visors, and you could really see the concentration. I rarely saw any driver blink while watching through that camera. Concentration is not only vital to avoid accidents, but it's crucial to go as fast as possible.

Now let's transfer that to the fitness world. You have to really focus on the job at hand, which is training hard, eating a healthy diet and living a healthy lifestyle. Once you lose focus for a little bit, it's easy to let your focus slip even more. Say if you started by working out once every two days, eating healthy, doing food prep, shopping regularly for fresh produce, avoiding alcohol and processed foods. If you slip a bit by having a regular 'treat', that could easily turn into eating/drinking more unhealthy foods/drinks. You'll then think "ah that's not doing any harm, it's okay", and it just goes downhill from there. But it is doing harm. You may not be going backwards, but you won't be progressing in the way that you want.

There are 3 pillars to fitness success - training, nutrition and mindset. Focus obviously comes under mindset, and if you start to lose that, your training and nutrition will suffer. There is also the danger of completely giving up. That may seem extreme, but it has happened. I have personally known people who were 'gym junkies', and then a few too many parties came around, a few too many holidays happened, and within a year, they went from a 'gym junkie' to almost allergic to the gym.

It takes effort to stay focused. Even the most dedicated of athletes will sometimes feel like they could easily lose focus, you just have to keep yourself reminded of why you're doing it. If your reason is good enough, you will always be able to keep that focus.

If you want real results, then stay focused!

Lee Gregory Fitness

Thursday, 15 January 2015

All The Gym Newbies!

Over the last couple of weeks, I have seen so many moaning status's online about the gym 'newbies', saying they don't know what they're doing, they're hogging equipment, and so on. I have one thing to say to all the moaners out there - STOP! Just be patient. 

There are two kinds of 'newbies'. 1) - The genuine new comers to the fitness world, and 2) - The ones who do it for about 1-2 weeks and then quit. But just be patient regardless what type of 'newbies' you're having to deal with, if it's the latter, then they will be gone soon! 

Just remember this, everyone starts at point A, including yourself, so instead of moaning about a 'newbie' who doesn't look like they know what they're doing, why don't you try and help them instead - give them some guidance. Sitting around moaning about them will do nothing, helping them to get to know the gym and get better with their form will do something - it will stop you moaning for one! and they will also get around a bit quicker as they know what they are actually doing. 

I remember when I first went to a gym, it was rather daunting. Even though when I had my first visit, I was playing cricket for Essex CCC, so I was active, was a sportsman, I didn't have a clue about training in the gym. I went to a gym for the first time and there were quite a few guys in very good shape, had some very big guys, women in awesome shape, and I honestly felt out of place, even though I saw myself as an athlete. That is the mindset of a lot of newbies, so the first thing you should do is respect them for actually getting their butts in the gym. 

Granted, there are 'x' amount of people every year who go in the gyms in January and have no intention of getting into shape, but are there to simply fulfill a few weeks of there New Year's resolution. Those people annoy me too, so I know where you're coming from, but it's just easier to ignore them. But with the people who are serious about it, but they look like they need some help, why not offer some to them? You'll be looked at as a decent guy, and who knows, you could make a great new gym buddy! Don't ignore the social part of the fitness world. Yes, when you're in the gym, you're there to train, but it is such a great environment to meet new people, learn from different people, share ideas, and just have a good time. People say playing sports when you're young is a great way to make new friends (and it is) but the gym is also a place to expand your social life, and end of the day you're all there for the same reason (the serious ones anyway) so you have something in common straight away! 

Just a quick post as I'm a little bored with all the moaning about the instead of moan! 

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

New Year resolutions update!

We're pretty much half way through January now, and I have already seen A LOT of people online who have quit their fitness resolutions, which is shocking. No wonder why a very high percentage of people never go through with them, when they quit after a couple of weeks!

I have personally stuck with mine. But what is my resolution? Well, I told myself that I wanted to start 2015 very strictly - both with diet and workouts. I have upped my workout intensity, I have been more strict with my diet, and so far I'm feeling great, my workouts are great, and my progress is better than last year. I have my goals set, and I will achieve them.

I guess those people who have already quit their fitness resolutions, never actually wanted to achieve them, they simply said them probably because their friends did too. You won't notice a major change in 14 days, except you may feel a bit better because you have cut out the garbage in your diet and pumped good food in and started to exercise.

Obviously everyone has their own priorities in life, and if socialising, drinking, holidays and shopping are yours, then you're not going to be worried about getting into shape and becoming fit and healthy. With me it's different, coming from a sporting background, it's just a part of who I am, so health and fitness will always be a top priority to me. You just have to knuckle down and decide what you really want to do, and don't just think about 'the today', think about the future too. Yes, you may love living the 'clubbing lifestyle' now, but what about when you're 30/35/40? they seem to be the ages where people start panicking about their weight and body, but it's all because of the lifestyle they lead in their younger years.

If you are still progressing with your New Year fitness resolution, then respect to you! and keep it up!

It does take effort, it does take dedication, but just remember your own personal reason(s) for doing it.

Keep up the good work!

Lee Gregory Fitness

Monday, 12 January 2015

Have a spring holiday? Start Now!

A lot of people book a holiday for March/April time, and I can see why - just had a cold, wet, windy winter, time for a bit of sun and sea! But many people leave it until 2-4 weeks before their flight to start 'getting into shape' for their holiday. Here is why I think you need to start much earlier....

Leaving it until a few weeks prior to your flight means one thing - water weight. People tend to go on these crazy starvation diets which only tend to lose muscle tissue and water, therefore giving you a poor 'beach body'. Muscle is what gives a body good shape, and by losing that, you're not going to look good on the beach. You may well be thinner and lighter, due to the water loss and muscle tissue loss, but you will notice your weight will increase fairly quickly when you start eating normal food again and drinking alcohol (what many people do on their holidays).

So when should you start?

I would recommend starting in January if your holiday is booked for March/April. This will give you at least a couple of months to train and  sort your diet out (especially after Christmas and New Year celebrations).

Some of you reading this may think that's too soon, but many people expect good results far too quick. A couple of weeks of training and eating healthy will not make any noticeable differences to your figure. If you're actually serious about getting into 'beach body shape' for your holiday, then you want to start now.

By giving yourself enough time, you will be able to shed actual fat tissue, build a little bit of muscle and not having to worry about the weight coming back on after a few days of eating food and drinking alcohol.

Don't leave it until the last minute, give your body enough time, and you'll be very happy with the results!

Lee Gregory Fitness

Monday, 5 January 2015

Getting out of bed & fitness

Fitness can be a lot like getting out of bed in the morning, bare with me! When it's Monday morning, do you struggle to get out of bed? knowing you're off to school/college/university/work? I'm sure a lot of you do. It's a similar problem with fitness and nutrition, people struggle to get motivated to do it.

You would have no problem with waking up at 4am on a Monday morning, if you're off to the airport to go on your holiday. I'm sure you wouldn't have a problem with getting up early to hit the January sales at your local shopping center. I'm sure you wouldn't have a problem with getting out of bed on Xmas morning. See a pattern?

When you have something to do that you cannot wait to get out of bed for, you will find it easy. However, if you have to get out of bed in the morning to go and do something that you don't really want to do, then you will struggle, and you're mind will find every excuse to use to stop you getting out of bed.

It's the same with fitness. Unless you WANT to workout, you WANT to get in shape, you will struggle to get out of bed in the morning and hit the gym. You're mind will try and find an excuse, you will promise yourself that you'll workout the next day. If you really want a new body, a slimmer body, a muscular body, you WILL get up in the morning, because you'll be properly motivated, you'll be looking forward to it.

Many people take the easy way out, and stay in bed. But as mentioned, you don't stay in bed when you're going on holiday that day, so don't stay in bed when you're meant to be at the gym!

A lot of people 'talk the talk' but never 'walk the walk'. 'Saying' that you're going to hit the gym, eat healthy, get in shape, is COMPLETELY different to actually doing it. Many people say they will, but never actually do it because they can't be bothered to get out of bed, or would rather go clubbing and spend the next day with a hangover. If you want to change your body, then nutrition and fitness should be like going on a holiday - something that you WANT to do and can't wait to do.

I personally look forward to my workouts, and I feel lazy when I don't workout. It's even better if I'm a little stressed, because working out clears away any stress and makes my workouts more intense!

Lee Gregory Fitness

Thursday, 1 January 2015

New Year, New You?

Some people don't like the phrase "new year, new you", but I do. Many people pick a new years resolution, and one of the most popular ones has to be "get fit!", but it shouldn't be just a resolution. A new year is a great way to start fresh with something - out with the old, in the with new!

I want to be honest about something, and it is some proof of how the health and fitness lifestyle can change you. I've gone through a lot of tough times over the last 7 years, and previous Christmas's and New Year's, I've been guilty of having a few drinks to celebrate (hey, it's Xmas!) but this year has been different. Just after a couple of beers, I'm thinking "yeah, that's enough now", and bare in mind, I'm only 24! many 24 year old's get hammered at Xmas! But in the back of my mind I kept thinking about my fitness and physique, and telling myself "it's not worth it...". Some people may call me boring for not getting plastered at Xmas and new year, but I still had a great time, and didn't pile on a load of 'booze calories'. I know many trainers and health enthusiasts who still enjoy having alcohol at Xmas, as it only comes around once a year.

I'm sure many of you have a New Year's resolution of getting fit/losing body fat/increasing muscle mass/ or improving on what you already have. I'm the same. I want to carry on in the direction I am with my physique. We're all in the same boat!

One piece of advice I would like to give you, is to set periodic goals. Don't just go into the year thinking "must lose weight!". Instead, try and set smaller goals, for example - "By March, I want to be 'x' amount of pounds down, then by June I want to shed the excess fat, and then start to build some muscle mass". That way you have smaller, more manageable goals. Just one goal of 'lose 8 stone' can very quickly and easily become overwhelming.

Don't be one of those people who quits their (sometimes too ambitious) New Years resolution. Break the main goal down, get rid of any negativity, have a clear out of your surroundings and your mind so you start the year in a positive frame of mind, and able to tackle your resolution the right way.

I hope all of you had a fantastic Xmas and a great start to the New Year! Don't let things go downhill from here....!

Lee Gregory Fitness