Fitness Review, Lawrence Price, Lifestyle, Marathons, Product Review

Manage ‘Energy Output’ Better to Maximise Training Sessions.

September 14, 2017

Maximising training sessions isn’t only about what happens inside the gym!

 

Let’s start with this question…

When is the best time to train?

I’ve been asked this question countless times over the years and the answer remains the same – ‘when the body is at its optimal state under the circumstances’.

The ‘circumstances’ I am referring to are regular people like you and I – not full time professional athletes, who have the luxury of a lifestyle that mostly revolves around the goal of peaking at the right moments for training/game days. The rest of us have very real and very busy lives outside of our fitness regime, so this is an article about managing that side of our lives, better, in order to maximise our training sessions.

Think of this as a management tool for understanding when to produce your best training sessions or likewise to know when to scale it back…equally important!

Firstly allow me to summarise my ‘fitness coin analogy’ to highlight the difference between ‘energy output’ and ‘controlled environment’ exercise.

It is useful to think of your training as taking up two sides of the same [fitness] coin:

On one side is your ‘energy output’ which can be seen as activities as broad in range as running for the bus, to playing football, to walking up the stairs at work. These are activities in which your body is producing energy but in a random manner that is unstructured and hard to quantify (until recent years with the arrival of Fitbit).

On the other side of the coin is your ‘controlled environment’ training. This is orientated around specific movements for a specific outcome and is often attributed to gym workouts for example.

Our controlled environment training often revolves around structure that extends beyond the individual session itself in the form of a longer term training plan full of periodical micro and mesocycles to help us navigate what we should or shouldn’t be training on any given day/week. This is periodisation in its essence and what brings structure to most training programmes.

Having all data to hand takes away the guess work and helps to avoid inaccurate emotional decision making!

Training programmes are massively helpful but not ‘always’ essential – you can also go through periods of ‘intuitive training’ in which you combine your knowledge with listening to your body for cues on how and what to train. The message of this article is maximising your controlled environment training sessions, by better understanding your energy output is applicable to both programming and intuitive methods.

Ok, so here we go…

We’ve all been there – dragged our heels to the gym, feeling low on energy, but put ourselves through the strength or hypertrophy session anyway. Sometimes we surprise ourselves with how much energy and how successful the session was whilst other times we crash and burn and finish the session early feeling utterly dejected muttering to ourselves how much our fitness/strength has dropped to an all-time low as we sheepishly shuffle home from the gym.

Why does this happen?

Simply put, sometimes we arrive at the gym feeling artificially fatigued after a long day in the office and the low energy feeling is simply a state of mind…it’s all in our head and the body is more than capable of producing a strong workout (in fact it would be the best thing for us!).

Other times we arrive at the gym feeling knackered because the body really is, well…knackered! Perhaps the accumulative buildup of the last 48 hours on your feet has taken its toll and the body now needs to rest…a moderate to high intensity session simply isn’t going to happen with any quality at all.

It is an important skill to be able to decipher between the two sets of circumstances.

But how do we tell the difference between the two states of being?

Simply put in one word….DATA!

We need the facts in order to make the right decision – do you still go for the strength session the programme is asking of you, or do you save it for another day when you’re on better form? Let’s just take the guess work away from this and look at how much energy your body has actually been producing, during its ‘energy output’ phases of the last few days.

This is where my Fitbit Blaze plays a massive role!

To me activity trackers are not just about helping people to move more, but are also a fantastic tool for helping highly active people to understand where their body is at, in relation to their overall training patterns. Let’s use myself as an example….

As a busy Personal Trainer I am constantly moving around London coaching my clients. I am on my feet all day travelling between gyms and when I’m in the gym, I am moving with my clients. This in itself can become an energy sapping experience day after day, and certainly contrasts greatly to the commonplace, sedentary office way of working. I have moments, as mentioned previously, where I start one of my own training sessions, feeling tired but soon light up and feel a thousand times better for it…but I also have times where I am better served saving it for the next day after a good night’s sleep. In my opinion, training should be all about quality and not dragging out mediocre sessions, therefore picking and choosing my moments is important to me.

One look at my Fitbit Blaze and I understand my recent energy output levels immediately. I can then also assess this against the quality of sleep I have been getting as another measurable from my tracker. Alongside this I am constantly reminded of my resting heart rate which allows me to assess if I am potentially run down or on fine form and able to smash another effective training session.

Understanding and managing heartrate is an essential tool for improving training performance

 

All this data means I can understand my body better when approaching training sessions or conversely, choosing when to leave training sessions alone.

There is another benefit to tracking my day to day energy output too.

Understanding my various heart rate zones enables me to ‘rest better’ and ‘train better’ with heightened fluidity…after all how can performance exist if recovery is not also adhered to both within training sessions and outside of them.

Within training sessions it is essential to increase my heart rate to exist in the ‘peak zone’ for set periods if I want to get fitter and likewise to allow it to drop back into my cardio or fat burning (active recovery) zones if I want to be able to continually perform at my peak during that particular session. Having this information on my wrist allows me to make the correct decisions on when to work for intensity and when to contrast this with lower intensity cardio or recovery. The time it takes for my heart rate to recovery will quicken the fitter I get and so it doesn’t make sense to only rely on time as a means for measuring recovery – listening to my body by observing my heart rate zone instead means a more focussed and accurate training session.

Also, and this is quite important…training in your peak heart rate zone is difficult…I mean really quite hard! It is sometimes all too easy to cut short our top end interval training phases if the mind is not feeling as resilient as usual – looking at the data (peak heart rate) allows us to stick to the plan and put the required work in that the training shift requires. No cut corners just more progressive training!

Using my Fitbit to measure my rest inside sessions is essential but using it as a guide to assess rest and recovery outside of training sessions is also incredibly important. Monitoring sleep quality, daily step counts and even breathing quality is all part of building performance…now that we can measure the quality of these areas of our lives we should be able to perform better in training and within our chosen sports.

It is only in relatively recent times that we (regular folk) have been able to use such measurables – when Fitbit arrived it changed the way most people viewed and understood their energy output. It is now being used to help us to move more and also to regulate our overall energy output levels, in order to maintain ongoing performance with our training. Before Fitbit most of this was either guesswork or the reserve of the professional athlete.


Quick-fire tips to achieve top drawer training sessions: 

1: Keep your step count to below 8,000 on the day before your event/session.

2: Ensure full hydration in the 48 hours leading up to the event/session. 2-3 litres daily depending upon physical requirements.

3: Ensure 7-8 hours of undisturbed sleep per night with the best ratios of light to deep sleep and REM achieved with minimal awake time. *All data provided on my Fitbit Blaze.

4: A light 30minute mobility session on the day before the event/session will encourage heightened performance levels alongside the allocated rest.

Now go smash it!!!!

All, Featured, Lawrence Price, Lifestyle

DO LESS….SO YOU CAN DO MORE!!!

May 5, 2017

I have been a coach for over 10 years now…

…but recently I’ve started to notice that people appear to be busier than ever! I can see it when my clients walk in the door, through their body language and then through their performance in sessions. It seems that there are a million and one things to do each day and this can take its toll…on your body and your mind!

As a result I have spent more time, in recent years, factoring in key prehab and recovery protocols into sessions to ensure that performance levels remain high and injury levels low. The modern world is a demanding one with more stimulus and information around us than ever before…our training and recovery must consider this if we are to avoid burning out or suffering repeated injuries. As a coach, when you work with professional athletes, there is just as much emphasis put upon recovery as there is upon performance and I think we could learn a lot from this approach.

According to new research from Bupa, despite waking up at 6.30am and going to sleep at 10.40pm, the average person in the UK tries to fit in over 17 ½ hours of activity into that time, with only 1 in 20 opting to properly switch off. Are our lives balancing this energy output with enough rest and recuperation time? The research also shows that over half (54%) of people are now experiencing health problems associated with burn-out such as stress, fatigue, illness or injury.

As a coach working with many people each month, I definitely see this…

…In fact I am constantly telling my clients to get more rest, be kinder to their bodies by focusing on hydration/sleep/nutrition and I even promote the practice of mindfulness – my own meditation habit has made a huge difference to me personally, and I highly advise that others follow suit!

We must consider that we have more information readily available to us via our smartphones as social media and work emails constantly vibrate away in our pocket.

We are the first generation to experience such information overload.

This means that, as a generation, we are in fact far less likely to take time out and press pause once in a while…seemingly there is always another email to answer or another social media post to respond to. The effect of this on our mental and physical health should be a genuine consideration in our lives – we should strive to obtain balance in our lives so that we can enjoy a fuller life with all these tools at our fingertips and not let modern times take over to the detriment of our health and wellbeing.

We live in an amazing game changing technological era…but there are more distractions than ever before!

Having seen how many of us can easily fall into this trap of being overworked, over trained or ‘teched’ out, I am making a couple of changes to my life and advising that my clients and online followers do the same.

In a show of support for hitting the pause button every once in a while I posted this image and didn’t touch my social media channels for 24 hours this week!

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I took time out of my hectic schedule to do… well, as little as possible!

Why? Well like most of us I had muscles to repair and regenerate, a busy mind to settle and wanted to get some R&R.. I spent this downtime doing the things I love – hanging out with my loved ones and popping off on a country walk to take in the beautiful nature we have around us…all too easily missed if we never take time to stop and look up at the environment all around! I have to say…it felt pretty awesome and I’ll be doing it again for sure!

This whole approach, in my humble opinion, is not embraced enough in our culture.

Instead we are told that ‘sleeping is cheating’…

…and a machoism of grinding yourself into the ground at work followed by post-work drinks at the bar is a popular way to live particularly in city life. You only need to spend a few minutes scanning the social media landscape to see these themes being promoted time and time again – before long it is easy to think that this is how we all should be living our lives! Don’t get me wrong, we should all enjoy a night out every so often …but only when the right balance is being struck in our lives overall. Taking valuable time out and hitting the pause button once in a while will help us to obtain that balance and with balance comes a more wholesome enjoyment of life. Try it…I dare you!

So how can you include rest, recovery and repair in your life?

I have worked with many people over the years and helped them to obtain the right balance and a recurring theme has always been to start from within – this means starting by developing your internal functions and giving muscles and joints a chance to fully recover in order to fully function. Learning about your body is just as important as getting any treatment that your body may need, which is why seeing a quality health practitioner when the need arises is essential. When I was in my early twenties I ruptured my ACL playing rugby…the fact of the matter was I was playing for 2 teams and most definitely overdoing it. Something had to give and eventually it was my knee during a rugby match. I was extremely lucky in that I had healthcare with Bupa and I saw a consultant within days and once the relevant surgery was completed, I was assigned a Bupa physiotherapist who helped me recover post- operation.

But one of the great things I discovered through working with Bupa is that you can actually access their products and services without the need for health insurance or a contract. You can just pay as you go for everything from physiotherapy to GP appointments – so whether it is just a simple ‘check in’ and body MOT or something more serious, it is pretty easy to strike that balance between fitness and health.

So take the weight off your feet, slow things down and enjoy some time doing the things you love.

Personally I’m going to make sure I get out for my countryside walks every weekend and completely switch off by enjoying the nature around me…but whatever floats your boat will work!

For more information on Bupa pay as you go visit  www.bupa.co.uk/_payg

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Lawrence Price, Marathons, Motivation, Workouts & Routines

Working out the at-home workout…!

January 30, 2017

 

 

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There are 3 main challenges to overcome in order to workout out successfully at home.

  1. Environment – there can be many distractions within a non-fitness environment such as that of your family home. The risk is that your headspace is one of sidetracking ‘chore hunting’ instead of setting down to business and getting some serious training done. The key to overcoming this, much like most fitness ambitions, is developing the right mindset for action once intent has already been confirmed. The fact of the matter is that you can have an extremely accomplished workout at home…your mind will get you there if you channel your focus at the one goal of training effectively for just 30-60 minutes. The hoovering, cooking, admin, Netflix can all wait until a little longer…!
  2. Lack of training equipment – is this the weak link of training at home? No I don’t think so, it could potentially be used as an excuse not to train but that would be unfounded. In fact I would argue that lack of equipment can be perceived as a strength of training at home. All too often gym workouts focus on counting numbers – how many reps per set, etc, etc and miss out on the detail of quality of movement. Workouts at home with little equipment force you to concentrate on the quality of movement you are producing and in doing so can lead to an enhancement of your own biomechanics and physiology. You only need look as far as some of the calisthenics experts out there to see the truth in this.
  3. Space – the cramped space of your living room or hall way can be a far cry from the open spaces of the gym floor. While that is a fact I will always remember a lecture I sat in on 10 years ago when my lecturer claimed he could train someone for a marathon in a store cupboard. I have always felt inclined to agree – there have even been books since written on ‘prison fitness’ and a subculture of training in small spaces with minimal props has emerged. Ok so lets not think of your home as a prison or store cupboard…but you get the picture?

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So lets discuss the solutions:

Environment – yes so your home, I’m assuming, lacks the buzz and vibe of the commercial gym floor, but you’re a mean machine with dreams and goals to chase so you wont let a tiny aesthetic detail like that get in your way! At least thats the kind of mindset you have to adopt if you want to make the kind of progress you’re dreaming of. Mindfulness practice comes in many shapes and forms – shutting off the outside world and focussing on ‘you’ for your workout, regardless of environment, is another worthy form of practice. If you can crack this nut then you are one rather large step closer to being invincible and totally awesome. Fact.

Lack of training equipment – this really is a blessing in disguise. When is the last time you stepped into a gym and focussed on the quality of movement you are producing above and beyond the size of the load you are lifting? Sadly most people get summit fever and just count the numbers each and every time…how many reps, how many kilograms, how many…how man.., sadly much gets lost with this whole approach. Slowing things down and focussing on simple mobility and stability drills is a great start to any home workout – if you have any imbalances whilst just working your bodyweight then these will be amplified when you apply load or intensity so make sure you take care of the fundamentals first. I’m a big fan of single leg balance drills to kick things off – if people cannot produce symmetry in this area then I wont progress them to the full squat (let alone a barbell loaded back squat) as their body has not ‘earned the right to progress’ that far yet. If you are massively right side dominant at your hips, for example, and you are going for heavy back squats then things aren’t going to end well. Instead try mastering your single balance drills (single leg standing, 360 degree hand taps to the floor, stand fully upright between each rep), then look at your single leg squat progressions/regressions (eccentric single leg squat to a chair taking the knee inside 90 degrees). Soon you will be pistol squatting like a pro and the envy of everyone in the gym anyway (then see your back squat PB fly through the roof!).

Space – how much space do you actually need? If you think about it, the HIIT workout you attend down your local club is designed to slot you into a small 2 by 2 metre space that can be easily replicated across the studio floor to facilitate all the other class attendees. I have hosted crowded fitness events for leading brands in which the mats on the floor were so tightly packed that the workout was more akin to a large tin of wriggling sardines (great source of Omega 3 BTW…wink wink) but everyone still had a top workout and loved every second. Again much of this comes down to atmosphere and environment which you have already overcome due to point 1 of this article. Therefore training in small spaces becomes a non-issue rather quickly. If you focus on mastering your bodyweight exercises, or even as a more advanced enthusiast go down the path of practicing calisthenics, then small spaces are your friend.

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Other tips for the successful home workout…

Considering all the aforementioned here are some nuggets of advice to set you on your way:

  1. Start each session small and focus on stability and mobility before you progress to your working sets. I always look to get my posterior chain working with some single leg deadlifts and combine with some glute isolation exercises such as bridges or clams. Slowly build the intensity until you are ready to take on the more intense working sets.
  2. As you don’t have heavy weights to lift, obtain intensity through other means such as combining isometric holds with drop sets and contrast sets in that order. A good example may be this routine: Pistol squats to chair/step x 5 each side – Air squats with 10 second hold at bottom x 10 – Semi squat jumps x 10. Rest 1 minute, 3 sets. Feel the burn….
  3. Get some inspiration and guidance – there is some great (and some not so great) fitness advice online nowadays, but like most things you have to be careful and sift through the garbage to find the good stuff out there. Shameless plug alert (but you know it makes sense)…alongside my Online Personal Training www.LP-PT.com I’m now also starting to post workout videos on www.joinflex.tv so you can see whats happening over there. Free options – Youtube has been great up until now but just be careful and select from true coaches rather than just other fitness enthusiasts without the qualifications or coaching experience.

Now go and boss it team!

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All

8 HACKS FOR WHEN YOU ARE TOO TIME POOR TO EXERCISE FULLY!

January 23, 2017

As a Personal Trainer in London I spend about 10% of my time training ‘athletes’ and about 90% of my time training regular people who are also holding down demanding jobs and have numerous commitments to distract them away from their fitness training routine. Sound familiar?

 

Whilst we would all love to be able to spend the amount of time a professional athlete would on their training the facts are that we often only have limited time to dedicate towards our fitness goals among a plethora of other non-fitness related priorities to keep in check. My job is to help people to keep those fitness goals firmly in check, and to do so I have developed a few essential hacks over the years to ensure heightened training efficiency and lifestyle optimisation ‘on the go’!

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1. Don’t know how to maximise the little time you have to train? Roll all your training into one (ok this is a biggie so its first up on the list!)

When you actually find an hour to train it has to be efficient but where to start with so many areas to work on? Split your training session into 3 sections to maximise time and cover all those bases.

  • For the first segment you obviously want to start at a low intensity so focus on your prep/prehab/corrective (whatever you want to call them) exercises instead of a simple (non time efficient) cardio warm up. Common areas that I see people developing niggles often include tight necks and shoulders or tight hip flexors and lower backs, etc, so keep on top of problem areas with suitable corrective exercises. If in doubt get educated with some quality coaching advice, it just might save you hours of aimless training time and vastly improve your training efficiency.
  • Build the intensity up slowly towards the middle third of the session in which you focus on your main ‘working sets’ of the day – these will often be your resistance exercises such as bench press, squat, etc.
  • Use the final 3rd to focus on your conditioning – this is often where you ‘build your engine’ and increase your aerobic threshold through a series of higher intensity athletic body weight movements such as squat jumps, mountain climbers and burpees and/or work the rower, treadmill, etc.
  • End result is a pretty complete session in which you have taken care of your corrective movements, developed your strength and technique in your working sets before building your cardio and aerobic engine to finish. Boom!

 

2. Not even got enough time for the gym? If you can’t train as often as 3-5 times a week you need to focus on the 2 other pillars of health – sleep and nutrition.

Emphasising the small day to day details of your health instead of letting everything tumble out of control can really make the difference in the long run. Drink your quota of water a day and get your 7-8 hours sleep!

 

3. Struggling to control the quality of your meals? Simply put, if you’re training less often you need to eat better…sourcing plenty of healthy nutrients whilst avoiding excess amounts of empty calories that you’ll never burn off is essential if you want to stay lean and healthy.

‘Food prep’ can be stressful and is more appealing to macro counting body builders than us regular folk, SO, instead simply cook double portions at supper and use the left overs for breakfast – e.g. if you’re looking to lean-up go for a protein, quality fats and fibrous veg breakfast. Basically the same as supper, non-conventional but gets you closer to your fitness goals than cereal, toast and orange juice ever will!

 

4. So you’ve found time for one big training session and you really want to make it count! Train your 3 compound (full body) movements in equal measure and cover your cardio base too in a simple circuit format.

Sure in an ideal world you may wish to split training sessions into individual muscle groups (depending on your goals) but if you are short of time then it’s a good idea to positively affect the body as a whole. So work your upper body push, upper body pull, leg press movements AND cardio all in one session.

Perform the following as a circuit:

  1. A) Chest Press B) Leg press C) Lat pull down D) 4 mins cardio at 75% effort.

Then 2 minutes rest

Repeat for 4 rounds total.

As you progress you can elaborate on each movement accordingly.

 

5. Be happy and therefore perform better (more training efficiency!).

As a generalisation happy athletes tend to perform better and stay injury free because of the hormone balances they enjoy whilst in a stress-free state. If you suspect that you are stressed then take some time away from your training to implement some mindfulness and wellbeing techniques. Your training will benefit and you’ll be busting out tip top express sessions in record time! There are some useful apps out there, such as Headspace, that can help you obtain a good level of wellbeing amongst the hectic nature of today’s busy world. * Athletes also perform better in sunny climates as their serotonin levels soar with plenty of Vit D around so as winter draws in get yourself a quality Vit D3 supplement to stay on top of your game.

 

6. Avoid injury. Being ‘out of action’ means your training efficiency massively suffers and while injuries can be a fact of life reducing their frequency and likelihood is a must for your training and lifestyle goals.

Embark upon a balanced training programme that doesn’t focus on hammering a few body parts only, if you’re looking to improve pectoral size for instance, make sure you are still rotating your programme around the body to share the workout load and allow joints and tendons enough time to recover. You can also focus on improving your total body biomechanics with this approach.

 

7. Planning and mindset – develop a mindset that prioritises training and healthy habits, if only for the small windows of opportunity, rather than looks for an excuse or a way out.

Remember that your mind is complicit in how favourably you view anything in life – it’s amazing what can be achieved with an all embracing positive mindset. There are plenty of amazing books and apps out there to help with planning, it is an ongoing process but oh so worth it!

 

8. Morning metabolic boost – I have saved the best ‘time poor hack’ for last!

If you’re going through a particularly hectic patch and work has completely taken over your life then how appealing does burning fat whilst sitting at your desk sound? Pretty darn appealing right. In that case a quick 10 minute HIIT morning routine to boost your metabolism for the rest of the day could be the answer.

Simply try this 10-minute workout at the start of the day before heading up and off to boss your working day;

  1. Slow squats (squeezing glutes during the upwards movement, tightening core, focus on form) x 20, B) Reverse lunges, alternating legs (for extra postural benefit extend the shoulder and raise arm on the same side as the rear leg) x 10 each leg C) Press ups, slow and steady (engaging scapula, tightening core) x 20 D) Mountain climbers, blitzing for 20 seconds E) High knees, blitzing for 20 seconds.

Then catch your breath for 30 seconds and repeat until your 10 minutes is up…a challenging but effective way to start your day!

Afternoon With, All, Fit Food, Lawrence Price, Lifestyle

An afternoon with…Rhiannon Lambert aka Rhitrition

November 9, 2016

Chewing the fat with Rhi…and the carbs and the protein…

I’ve known about Rhi for a while (not just in an ‘Instagram stalking’ sense) as she is not only highly thought of as a health practitioner but also moves in similar circles in the London fitness blogging scene. Something I felt Rhi and I had in common was the similarity in how we have combined our professional careers with our social media and blogging activities in a bid to communicate with more people beyond our private clientele.

I was interested to spend some time with Rhi and ask her a few questions on themes that I have seen pop up time and again in the fitness industry, as a nutritional expert I was keen to hear her take on subjects that, as a fitness coach, I obviously have a keen interest in. I wasn’t disappointed…turns out Rhi is of course not only extremely knowledgeable but also has some fascinating insights into human behaviour when it comes to choosing the food we eat and why we choose those foods (whether it be due to our fitness goals or for emotional reasons). All thoroughly interesting stuff…

My first question to Rhi…

…was based upon my own personal frustrations with the advertising side of the fitness industry. Historically, in my opinion we have been oversold products such as aesthetics and undersold other much more important reasons to select appropriate foods such as gut health, etc. Rhi’s response was to describe the body as a series of cogs that all need to be in place for the body to function fully. If we focus only on the aesthetics or sporting goals when consideration our nutrition then we run the risk of over prescribing in one area and detracting in another, ‘each cell in our body needs adequate nutrition in order to perform. You could be putting a physical pressure upon the body, but if you don’t have the actual support from your liver, your organs, your muscles, everything works in tandem together – so my real emphasis is that food should be used as fuel to keep us alive everyday, to keep the brain ticking over. With our brain comes the function of our body, our muscles…everything works all together.’

To summarise in Rhi’s words

her emphasis is on ‘balanced nutrition, always food for fuel…and food for enjoyment – because at the end of the day we also lose the enjoyment if you’re very preoccupied with things like macro counting or ‘numbers not nutrients’ and I actually think its ‘nutrients not numbers’…you’ve got to think about protecting your organs!’

I have to wonder, when most people think about their fitness routine and supporting eating habits, how many are thinking about protection of their organs over obtaining that elusive six pack? I’ve been on this mindset journey myself. In my late teens/early twenties my motivation for training and nutrition was sports performance orientated, in my mid to late twenties it swung to aesthetics as it does with most young men, but now in my early thirties I can say that I exercise and eat healthily for a whole new set of reasons – cognitive function, physical energy/vitality and longevity to list a few. All of which are by products of a healthy gut…from which a lean abdominal area is more likely to emerge anyway! So if we can obtain the same lean definition result via a different mindset that brings about healthy organ/gut/body changes then shouldn’t we all be approaching our nutrition and training this way?

So my next question to Rhi was simply

‘What one bit of advice do you find yourself giving out the most to your clients?’

Her response…

‘Huh such a good question (why thank you)…I always seem to find that blood sugar balance is the ultimate one. People tend to skip meals or they’re not snacking when they should be snacking because it doesn’t fit in with their daily requirements they’ve calculated for themselves OR they are making the wrong choices which is affecting what I call the blood sugar rollercoaster. The insulin releases if you have too much sugar in your diet, not enough protein to slow down the release of these sugars and with these highs…come massive crashes in energy lows. If we can keep our blood sugar one stable line you’re more likely to perform better and have more energy and sleep better!’

Pretty awesome retort I thought!

The next subject we discussed was particularly directed at the men out there who ‘may’ tend to over focus on their protein intake when working on their goals (of muscle mass gains and sports performance) at the potential detriment of other important areas of nutrition. Yes I know that I am generalising here but I can’t get away from the fact that most men I have encountered over the years seem to eat a disproportionate amount of protein to fibrous vegetables. I know because I used to be one of them and it wasn’t until a few years ago that I got on top of my weekly veg intake by getting Abel & Cole on the case which made a huge difference.

I asked Rhi that ‘IF’ men do over focus on protein then what other things should they be bringing into their diet to reach those goals of muscle mass, sports performance, etc???

Rhi made some really interesting points that made lots of sense but perhaps often get overlooked.

‘So for the men out there you are very good at being aware of your protein intake, that is something I don’t get with the women so much, you (men) are very aware you need enough. The problem is that you forget that protein only works with certain elements in the diet. I find a lot of men are not eating enough good carbohydrates; our brain has a blood-brain barrier, imagine a line across your head, without the help of the carbohydrate carrier certain amino acids in proteins cant get through the brain and can’t do their job adequately in terms of serotonin production and other neurological functions. So one thing people also tend to forget is vegetables…guys you tend to count macros but you forget that because your carbohydrates and veg go into sugars [into one category] you’re not getting anywhere enough micronutrients. You need more zinc, more B vitamins, vitamin C, magnesium – things that come with colour.’

So this is where the term ‘eat the rainbow’ comes from…

If you’re a guy who is looking to get bigger and perform better then fill your plate with loads of vegetable with plenty of colour to ensure you’re more likely to hit your micronutrient requirements to make the most out of your training routine.

A snapshot of the foods I eat...it's all about the colour!

A snapshot of the foods I eat…it’s all about the colour!

Colour = micronutrients!

Colour = micronutrients!

Lastly I had a few quick fire questions for Rhi, here’s my favourite.

Me, ‘If you were stranded on a desert island for 6 months and were only allowed one food item what would it be?’

Rhi, ‘If only a food existed that gave me everything in one bite. If I had to pick a food I enjoy and I knew it gave me a lot of nutrition it would be…eggs! The yolk alone contains vitamin D. A whole array of micronutrients as well as protein as well as a bit of healthy fats. You’ve got a winner in an egg.’

What an amazing answer…and imagine the variety. You could have scrambled one day, boiled the next. Poached, fried, an omelette…even coddled or steamed (apparently a Swiss method!) the list goes on.

Well done Rhi…I actually think that you’re a pretty good egg yourself.