Sunday, 31 May 2015

How to make your abs POP!

How to get a ripped core is one of the most popular questions I get asked, and I'm not surprised. You must have all seen the adverts, the lean people on the beaches, the cover models, all having a ripped torso. Yes, it looks great, but it also functions as a support for your back (having a big gut can cause you back problems - having a strong core causes you no such problems).

In a sentence - to achieve a ripped core, you have to train hard (for both muscle gain and fat burning) and eat a strict diet. Saying and doing those are two completely different things. The diet is the hardest part. Performing exercises such as squats, lunges, leg raises, weighted Russian twists, planks, all work the core, building it stronger. However, to show the muscle you have to have a low body fat percentage. You could have a solid core, but if you have too much body fat covering it, you will never see those abs pop.

There are a handful of people who I follow and trust with their approach to fitness. They have different ways of targeting the abs - some don't target the abs specifically and rely on moves such as squats to build core strength, whereas the others train their abs religiously to get the definition they are after. All of the people who I follow have superb physiques, some bigger than others, some a little leaner than others, but all are very good in their own right. That shows that not just one approach works, it depends on the individual.

One thing's for sure, and that is you have to be strict with your diet. It will take some time to figure out how many carbs you can eat before you start to gain the unwanted stomach fat. Once you find out the amount that is right for you, you will be able to maximise your training while keeping your body fat low in order to show your abdominal muscles. Play around with your nutrient intake, varying the level of carbohydrates, until you find what works best for you. You want to enough enough so you can maximise your training, but not too much that you are covering your abs with body fat.

Experimenting with your diet can seem tedious, but trust me, it's very beneficial. You need to learn what your body responds to in order to maximise your conditioning. Make no mistake, having a ripped torso is very hard to achieve - if it was easy, everyone would have washboard abs! It takes a lot of hard work and discipline.

Lee Gregory Fitness

Saturday, 30 May 2015

My time in Monaco

This time last week I was in Monaco for the Formula 1 Grand Prix, unfortunately it didn't end the way I wanted it to with the mistake made by Mercedes, but moving on. The trip was a real eye opener for me, in more ways than one.

Let's get the obvious out of the way - the place is insane! the cars, the boats, the hotels, the formula 1, the atmosphere, and the money being spent. Unless you're rich, you will feel out of place, but to see all of that was tremendous.

One thing that hit me was the amount of people who were in shape. Now I didn't know who were residents of Monaco and who were tourists (apart from being able to detect the English!) but there were many people in shape. Lots of people road bikes and went for runs. I remember going to the beach on the Friday, and there were a group of guys doing a fitness routine - beach run, swim and body board. They must have done at least 10-15 laps, and it wasn't a tiny beach either.

Yes, Monaco is a place full of money, but I don't think that's the only reason why people put effort into looking good. I remember walking past all of the private and local banks, seeing extremely smartly dressed individuals - thinking "now that's people who succeed". If they take that much pride in looking good, they will feel good too, and I'm sure it reflects in their work. Being healthy, being fit, being in shape will boost your confidence right up, which will make you work that much harder, meaning you'll succeed more too.

Comparing being in the streets of Monaco, to the streets of Essex, there is no comparison. You don't have to have a 7 figure bank balance to look good. People in Essex (where I live, but I'm sure it happens in many other places) tend to copy other people with fashion and lifestyle choices. Out in Monaco, I never saw a group of women or men all dressed very similar - they all had their own styles. If someone goes for a run near where I live, people do look, almost with judgmental eyes, but in Monaco, its 'the norm' to go for a run.

One thing that I didn't see while being out there - people falling around, so drunk that they can't even walk. Alcohol consumption is something I get asked about a lot - "can I still drink even though I want to lose weight?", "If I'm going to get drunk one night, should I not eat much during the day to balance out the calories?". Out in Monaco it was just a lot more sophisticated; people drank alcohol, but they weren't falling all over the place - I guess it's just their lifestyle choices.

Going to different countries/places will always open your eyes to different ways of living, but I think many people could take a lot from Monaco. People out there earn a lot of money, have extremely expensive cars, yachts and apartments, but they choose to look after themselves, stay healthy, and enjoy their lives. Some people will say they enjoy going out getting drunk a few times a week, but in reality, it's not actually enjoyment, it's more 'the trend' that is common. Everyone can choose their own lifestyles, and that's completely fine - each to their own.

I've taken a lot from Monaco - not just the incredible experience of watching the Formula 1, seeing the beautiful super cars and the luxurious yachts, but it gave me incredible motivation. It just kept slapping me in the face - "this is what people can achieve"....

I had an incredible experience, and if you wish to see my pictures, follow me on Instagram.

Lee Gregory Fitness

Friday, 15 May 2015

How To Get Great Results!

It always seems as though people expect way too much when they start their 'transformation'. They either expect the fat to literally fall off of them, or they turn into The Hulk after just a few weeks of lifting weights. Those two things simply will not happen - it takes a lot of hard work and dedication. But here's my best advice  in order to achieve great results!


Yes, it really can be that simple - no secret workouts, no secret equipment or pills, just find what works for you. Here's an example. Some people say the bench press is not the best exercise for developing the chest muscles, but there are a lot of people with great chest size and definition who swear by the bench press - because it works or them.

The only downside with this tip, is that it takes time - you have to be patient to find out what works for you.

I've tried many different exercises, supplements and different nutrient timings, and I've found some successful methods, but I'm always learning. Finding out what works for you can take your game to the next level. I like to compare it to a formula 1 steering wheel - a device with many, many functions. If a driver can 'master' the switches on the wheel, he can gain valuable lap time which could be the difference between winning and losing.

By simply copying someone else's diet and fitness plan, you can get 'okay' results, but you'll never reach your full potential. Record your diet, your training, your supplements, and you'll soon be able to tell what works for you and what doesn't.

Lee Gregory Fitness

Monday, 11 May 2015

Habits and Obesity: Are You Really Hungry?

Some people think overweight/obese people are just greedy, but in fact, to an extent, they are just habitual. Humans by nature are habitual, but when it comes to overeating, habits are dangerous.

In my experience, those who overeat don't always eat because they're hungry, they eat simply because its 'routine'. Those who eat too much, often eat because they don't know what else to do. A lot of people eat out of boredom, not because they are actually hungry. The bigger you become, the more energy your body does need in order to function at a bigger size. However, your body won't want to keep getting larger, but you will still carry on eating as it's a habit. I've come across clients who have had habits such as having "a packet of crisps at 10:30am", or "a chocolate bar straight after work". Those are bad habits - not needed, nor wanted by the body, they're just what your taste buds are used to. 

The good thing about habits, is that you can change them. People have bad habits, and people have good habits, both of which you're not born with, they are simply developed. For example, a habit of mine - In the evenings I always have my Hench Nutrition Protein Mousse, and my Drip Feed 6hr Casein Protein shake before I go to bed. That is a good habit to have, but one I got myself into. It did take a little while to simply 'do those things without thinking' - to start with I had to consciously think about doing them, whereas now I just do them when the time comes around.

If you're someone who has bad habits, you just need to realise that you can change them. Changing habits that you've had for a long time can be very hard, but the reward should be more than enough motivation - a healthier, fitter, you. With some people, it really is as 'simple' as changing your habits.

Lee Gregory Fitness

Friday, 8 May 2015

Are Treadmills Dangerous?

The safety of treadmills has come into question since the tragic death of Sheryl Sandberg's (Facebook's COO) husband Dave Goldberg.

Treadmills are one of the most popular piece of gym equipment that is used, but it is also one of the most dangerous. You wouldn't think it, as it's a piece of machinery that you simply run on, but people can very easily get carried away. One thing that I have never understood about treadmills, is why on earth they can go so fast. Seriously, who can actually run as fast as a treadmill belt can spin?? Some of them go ridiculously fast. But because the speeds go so high, people almost see it as a challenge, and they try and run faster and faster and end up having an accident. It's similar with cars - some people say "why make a car that goes faster than the national speed limit? if the car can go faster, people will dive faster" (a tad different to treadmills obviously).

Every gym (unless it's a dodgy one) will require someone to have a gym induction before they can use the gym. This is when people are shown how to use the equipment safely - which is obviously a good thing. However, once they do the induction, they are pretty much free to do what they want - the same with driving. You learn to drive a car in a safe and responsible way, but once you pass your test, you can do what you like whether it's safe or not, as nobody is there to stop you at that moment in time.

Injuries in the gym and in sport happen, always have, always will, but some can be prevented. The tragic death of Mr Goldberg has simply highlighted a safety issue with the gym environment. Personally I think there could be more emphasis on what happens if you ignore the 'proper way' of using the gym equipment. Yes, it's fine to tell someone how to use a certain piece of equipment, but by putting a little emphasis on "you can seriously injure yourself if you don't use it in a safe way", can make people aware that severe injury is possible.

You don't want to scare people, but you need to make them aware that they have to be careful. When I started my cricketing career, I always got told by coaches that if I didn't wear all of the equipment I could get seriously injured, if I didn't respect the dangers in the game it, could cause injury and so on. Sport and the gym are similar in the way of potential injuries. Weights are also dangerous if you don't perform exercises properly.

I don't think this tragic accident will put people off of the treadmill, but I think people will think twice about trying to out-run the belt. I personally think that the speed limit of treadmills should be reduced, nobody maxes them out and if people try then the chance of injury (or worse) sky rockets.

RIP Dave Goldberg.

Lee Gregory Fitness 

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Lifting Weights On An Empty Stomach: Good or Bad?

Previously I wrote a post about fasted cardio, but now I want to focus on lifting weights on an empty stomach.

Many people train in the mornings (on an empty stomach), but is it beneficial? To be honest, it's a personal thing, some people like to lift weights in the morning, and others dislike it. I say the morning as that is when you are most likely going to have an empty stomach.

I have performed weight training on both an empty stomach and a during the day in between meals, and my personal favourite is in the mornings. I just feel more 'up' for the workout in the mornings, and have felt sluggish training between meals. This is a personal thing, as I know people who hate training in the mornings.

I honestly don't think there's a difference, simply because it works for some and not for others. If training on an empty stomach was just plain bad, then how can it work for some people? Some people mistake feeling tired for a lack of energy (they are different). If you're someone who struggles to get up in the morning simply because you love your sleep, then you'll struggle to lift weights in the morning. There are ways you can improve your 'get up and go', and if you do improve that then I am sure your morning training session would improve. It is partly a mental thing - if you're still half asleep mentally, you're not going to be able to lift a lot of weight. You could get enough sleep but still feel tired as you're simply not a morning person.

My advice is to workout when you can fit in a session (not everyone gets to choose when they can train due to work and family) and to train when you feel your best - that could be in the morning, lunch time or evening. Training is a very individual thing, and what suits one won't necessarily suit another.

Lee Gregory Fitness

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Mayweather vs Pacquiao - The Verdict

So it's all over, the fight of the century - 36 minutes of boxing generated over $400M. Why am I writing about this? after all, I'm not a boxing journalist. I wanted to do a post because this fight showed the natural decline of fitness levels.

I've followed boxing for a long time, and every fighter eventually begins to go in decline, with regards to their fitness levels. Floyd Mayweather is renowned for his lightening reflexes, quick hands and footwork, and superb counter punching. However, those skills have been reduced slightly. Don't get me wrong, he is still very fast, but not what he used to be. He got hit from punches that he never would have in the past, he wasn't as light on his feet and his hand speed has slowed a tad.

Manny Pacquiao is a completely different fighter to Mayweather. Manny is known for his relentless pressure, his strength, quick hands and footwork, and fast combinations. Over the last few years his power and speed has dropped, which has made him vulnerable.

No matter how hard you train, you can't out-train your age. They are still top fighters, but they have both lost their edge. They have access to the best resources - nutrition, gym, supplements, trainers, equipment and so on. This can only do so much, but I do believe they have both made the best of what they have. They are both at the end of their careers, and they have been a credit to the sport of boxing. They are two tremendous athletes and I truly believe they wouldn't have got to where they have without the training and nutrition - which shows just how important they are.

With regards to the fight, I personally think the best man won. Even though Mayweather is two years older, I think Pacquiao has had a much tougher career which has taken more of a toll on his body, and that showed in the fight.

The take home message? Fitness and nutrition can prolong a sporting career in elite athletes, which means it can have huge benefits for non athletes.

Lee Gregory Fitness