There are many guys who message or speak to us on a daily basis about having issues with gaining and maintaining muscle tissue. No matter how much they’ve trained, they don’t seem to be seeing the growth that they are wanting.

Does this sound like you? And have you questioned why?

Here are some things for you to think about:

1. Training Frequency

So many people limit training certain muscle groups to once a week. What happens when you limit to load placed on a certain muscle is that you don’t give enough stimulus to the muscle over time to progress. For example, you don’t have to train legs three times per week, you could maybe look at two. What you will have to do, is lower your volume on certain other muscle groups, to allow for the extra volume.

 

2. Eating enough to Stimulate Repair and Growth

Many people eat way too little to even support muscle development. Its easy to tell when someone doesn’t eat much, as they gulp when their given a new meal plan.

 

At the first instance try increasing your protein intake to 1.5 grams per kilogram of body weight, and you’ll have a nice ball park figure for muscle development. So, somebody weighing 70kg then they should aim for at least 105 grams of protein spread throughout each day.

 

Read More: Which Are The Best Exercises To Lose Body Fat

 

3. Exercise Variation

Many guys stick to the same exercise, year in, year out. They don’t change angles, overload their weaker points, and as a result their muscles get used to the movements and are slow to respond. Vary your exercises regularly, and hit your muscles from as many angles as possible.

 

4. Isolated Training

A lot of people stick to the big compound lifts (bench press, squats, rows, deadlifts), in the hope that their muscles will develop will keep developing. Unfortunately overdeveloped or over-dominant muscles often take over the exercise, and smaller, lagging muscles receive less stimulation. To really develop and grow a lagging muscle you have to place specific focus and attention to it. So if you want your shoulders to grow, train them in isolation. Many people will not see shoulder development from doing bench press and overhead press alone.

 

 Written by: Paul Karoullas

 

Usually, as unaware men age (usually past 40), many of them notice the more lethargic and weaker they get, and they also notice some loss of muscle.

Many think that this is just all part of the ageing process, and decide that this is the way it just has to be and accept. What many men fail to realise is that this doesn’t have to be the way at all. There are many things that can be done to fight against a rapid ageing process, excess body fat levels (especially man boobs and stomach fat), reduction in muscle mass, and feeling fatigued during the day.

 

Many fail to understand, that increased body fat (usually as a result of poor lifestyle and diet over time), will negatively impact their androgenic hormones. Androgens are hormones that stimulate or control the development and maintenance of male characteristics (such as muscle mass). Low levels of androgens are closely linked to high body fat levels and chronic stress.

 

Many men who are overweight also have high levels of the hormone estrogen, this is very often because of high levels of body fat. One of the main reasons overweight men have high levels of estrogen is due to an enzyme called aromatase.

 

The higher level of excess body fat you have, the more aromatase you have. It’s the aromatase that converts the testosterone that you do have, into estrogen. High levels of estrogen will promote increased fat storage, especially around the breast area in men (man boobs).

 

So bearing this all in mind, a simple approach to anti-ageing and maintaining lean, lower body fat levels for men, would be to do as much as you can to stop this all happening. The best way to do this is to support the development of lean muscle, minimise breakdown of muscle tissue, increase testosterone levels from the foods you eat and minimise stress.

 

How do you go about this?

 

1. Lift weights

Lifting weights have been shown to increase testosterone levels in males. Be sure to review your programme on 4-8 week cycles. A simple step could be to move from a programme your higher rep ranges of 12-15, down to a lower end muscle gain range of 8-12 reps. It’s a simple change but enough to provide a response.

Read More: 7 Tips To Help You Build Lean Muscle

2. Consume protein with each meal

Men who don’t exercise, eat far too less protein. Adequate protein helps your muscles repair and become stronger following effective strength training. Increased muscle tissue is linked to increased testosterone levels. It’s no surprise that vegetarians have been shown to have lower levels of testosterone than males who eat meat and fish. I like to use and we advise our clients to use around 1.5 grams per kilogram of body weight.

 

3. Include healthy fats with your meals

You need to consume healthy fats such as almonds, cashew nuts, olive oil, coconut oil, grass fed beef, eggs and oily fish. Testosterone is made from cholesterol, and you need to consume essential fats for optimal cholesterol intake.

 

4. Reduction of stress

The reduction of stress levels has been shown to minimise overproduction of the stress hormone cortisol. Too much at the wrong times of day, has been shown to lower testosterone levels in males. Paying more attention to quality sleep and exercise plays a big part in combating stress.

 

5. Minimise alcohol consumption

Chronic alcohol consumption is linked to increased estrogen levels in males and lowered testosterone levels.

Taking steps to increase your testosterone, can impact your life in such a positive way. Try starting with some of these tips and see how good you feel.

 

12 Week Transformation For Busy Men: Click to pick up your free copy

 

Want to know the truth about “stubborn belly fat” and how you can get rid of it?

 

It’s not really stubborn fat at all,  you just haven’t committed to the right approach for long enough to get rid of it.

 

I have heard many clients talk about it over the years, and the conversation often continues like this…

Client: “I just want to get rid of this fat around here (points around his belly and mid section). It doesn’t matter what I try; it just won’t go down enough. Maybe it’s my metabolism or I eat too late?”

Me: “What exactly have you tried and for how long?”

Client: “Well, I’ve done Slimming World, Weight Watchers, Herbalife, Atkins, keto, intermittent fasting, juice cleanses – it worked and then I put the weight back on”.

Me: “Have you tried getting into a consistent small calorie deficit, eating good food and staying with that long term”?

Client: “Well, I don’t know, I guess so?”

 

The sad truth is that the client has likely done all the wrong things. Or even if they have been doing the right things, I can say with 100% certainty that they haven’t been doing those things consistently for long enough for them to work.

 

If you are reading this nodding your head a little and grabbing that little “stubborn” pouch of fat on your belly, then you’ve probably fallen into the same trap as everyone else. It is easily done – celebrity-endorsed diets and workout plans, the latest fad or miracle plan or another special workout.

 

Eventually, after trying a few things and after some temporary success you come to a trainer only to have them tell you what you already know deep down, but you didn’t really want to do because it takes time, effort and consistency.

Eat a calorie-controlled diet, comprising nutrient-rich real foods, and exercise regularly.

 

Unsurprisingly, it’s the thing you knew you should do (but chose not to really put enough effort and time in) that is most likely to be the solution you need.

 

So, how can you put that into action after reading this long enough so you can see lasting results?

Well here’s a good place to start…

 

What? 

1. Eat 3-5 meals/ snacks per day depending on appetite

2. Eat a handful of lean protein from varied sources at each meal

3. Add half a plate of green veg, splashed with some colour

4. Add a handful of carbs after training (rice, potato, couscous)

5. Add a little fat especially if your energy is dropping (nuts, oils, avocados)

 

When? 

Whenever you like and fits with your schedule, try not to overeat in single sittings and do your best to spread the meals out. This and a training structure is what we help our clients with a Lean Body Training.

 

Why?

The problem with everything many tried before is that they have tried to take “the easy way out”. But, unfortunately, there are no easy routes through this.

 

Quite often this route promises some form of lightning-fast result and to do that it’s usually a case of malnourishment and bringing calories down so low that both body fat and muscle are lost to give the illusion of progress.

 

But this is likely to affect you physically, mentally and emotionally, and eventually, you will crash and burn and just relapse back to your old habits again.

 

When you pile up a plate full of nutrients, your body will feel safe and healthy, your muscles will be fueled, your systems will be optimised and your metabolism will fire up.

 

Once this happens, you will begin to lose fast quickly, perform brilliantly and feel great while doing it.

 

This brings me to my last point; you must do something for long enough to allow it to work. This means consistently doing the right thing even if you think it’s not working to begin with.

 

The body needs to reach a point of relative health and stability before it loses fat, and that takes time.

If you jump from diet to diet, never really laying a consistent baseline, you will always fail.

Get things organised, create a routine, build new habits and your body will thank you for it.

This is what our 28 Day Kick Start Programme is about, and why it is so effective is in its simplicity.

We create good habits, consistency and optimal health – the rest falls into place in time.

 

When some of our clients begin to work with us, it quickly becomes apparent that their age is one of their limiting beliefs.

They think that once they reach past a certain age, everything becomes a lot harder. “Just wait till you get to my age” many say.

 

We like to prove that wrong. At Lean Body Training Finchley, we strive to show what is possible, not just getting our clients into the shape of their lives, but making them feel like they did in their 20’s and 30’s.

 

The nutritional planning we help them with are surprisingly simple to follow and very effective. But first, why is ageing healthy something many of us even need to be considering?

 

What if we told you that you can influence all the factors that play a quality role in your life, from reducing the risk of future injuries and improving your day-to-day energy levels?

Here are just some strategies we use to help our clients feel younger and stronger than ever:

 

1. Resistance Training

Gaining more popularity, but still under appreciated for its role and benefits as you age and improvements in your daily quality of life.

When resistance is applied appropriately, there are various advantages to both physical and psychological health including a stronger immune system, osteoporosis and other chronic diseases, as well as supporting healthy muscle tissue and strength.

 

2. Protein Consumption

With a recovery in mind, protein consumption is vital. This is just not over the course of your training days, but also protein serving per meal. Protein consumption helps stimulate a process called muscle protein synthesis which is important in preventing the breakdown of lean muscle tissue, as well as the new forming of tissue.

 

Read More: Why Consuming Protein Helps You Lose Fat

 

Current research shows that 0.4-0.6g per kilogram/bodyweight may be an ideal range to follow and aim for within each meal. For a 70kg individual, this would be around 28-40g of protein within a meal, which should be able to follow for most, this can equate to a large one-sided chicken breast or a good-sized serving of fish.

So, per day we would then need to be hitting around 1.4-1.8kg per kilogram/bodyweight. Again, for a 70kg person, this would work out to 100-140g protein.

 

3. Keeping Hydrated

Although most people are aware of how important it is to drink adequate amounts of water, it still difficult to keep up for a lot of individuals. Water is a vital component in so many of our internal processes; from the immune system to water retention, to daily performance. Given that the human’s body equates to 50-70% water it’s understandable why keeping hydrated can make such a positive impact on the way we look and feel, especially as we age.

 

Try these methods if you find yourself struggling to improve your water intake:

1. Create a link with another habit help remembering. For example, eating is a typical habit, breakfast, lunch and dinner. If you have a glass of water before of with every meal, then you’re well on your way to getting your daily requirements.

 

2. Out of sight, out of mind. If you have constant access to a water bottle around you, then you’re far more likely to maintain an awareness of your fluid intake.

 

3. Stay ahead of dehydration – feeling thirsty, dry mouth, feeling fatigued and headaches. If you feel these symptoms, you’re potentially already dehydrated!

 

Don’t choose to accept a lower quality of life as you age, you have the opportunity to reverse long term habits. All you need to do is make a decision to start today.

Are you over 50 years of age and would like to feel fitter, stronger and be healthier? Get in touch for a free personal training consultation today

 

‘Calorie deficit’ is a term thrown around a lot, especially on social media, to express how un-complicated losing weight can be. Moving more and eating less is the principle said to guarantee results.

But how far does this concept take, and to what extent to keep eating less and less appropriate?

Very low calorie dieting has become a popular method to lose weight over the years, with few lasting success stories and fewer long-lasting results. We often have people getting in touch with us asking for our help and support when it comes to nutrition.

Evidence and experience show that very low calorie diets CAN work in certain circumstances with specific people – seen more often in special medical cases.

However, you’ll rarely find me or our coaches prescribe this extreme method of dieting to our clients at Lean Body Training, as it’s uncommon for us to encounter anyone that actually requires it.

The reasons why we don’t recommend these diets will now be explained.

Psychology

Very low calorie diets can have negative physical, mental and emotional impacts whether weight loss is achieved or not. We come across many people who have already have a poor attitude towards food due to societal norms, the influence of social media and promotion from companies who sell diet-related products.

 

At Lean Body Training, we believe it is important to cultivate a positive relationship with eating and not negative ones. Therefore, our aim is always to steer our clients away from extreme diets, restrictions and weight loss potions. While we work with our clients, we educate them to make positive, health focused decisions when it comes to food, and providing self-sufficiency in the long term.

Physiology

Low thermogenesis is the process of our body slowing down (especially subconsciously), where even the smallest of practical tasks seems like an effort. What happens when you undertake an extreme diet for a sustained period of time, is you will rest more than usual and move lazily to accommodate the lack of energy you’re consuming.

Suddenly your extreme calorie deficit has become much smaller if not non-existent! This is otherwise looked at – and mistaken for “slowing down of the metabolism”, when really its just the slowing down of you. Try eating enough to feel energetic and nourished – enough to keep a healthy relationship with food and better at controlling cravings. And more importantly, enough to fuel whatever activity you are required to do. This will also free-up energy to tackle that next work out!

What we recommend

Behaviour change is the one variable that has proven to sustain weight loss over a longer period of time.

Therefore, especially at the beginning – aim to make small positive changes on a daily basis, instead of drastically and suddenly driving calories down to an unsustainable level. Begin implementing simple habits such as:

  1. Drinking more water
  2. Eat more fruit and veg
  3. Manage your portion sizes
  4. Don’t solely focus on removing foods from your diet but make better and more sustainable choices that work towards your longer term goals.

Choose to sustainably look after your body rather than punish it.

Would you like to change your body shape and take your results to the next level? Get in touch about our online training services and work with one of our expert coaches today.

 

 

“Which exercises should I be doing: compound exercises, HIIT, split set training, what reps, sets, tempo, how many times per week?

Confused?

Our answer to everyone with this question is – what is your exercise experience and what is your goal?

How we design programmes specific to individuals is different for someone with 10 years weight training experience compared to somebody who is just starting out who hasn’t exercised in a long time.

How we design a programme for a man who wants toned arms and a flatter stomach, will differ completely to someone who Is looking to start a 4-5 stone weight loss transformation.

There will be many variables to consider, which makes it so difficult to give a clear answer to a wide audience.

However, here are some fundamentals everyone should think about.

If you’re looking for general fat loss and you’re quite new to training, you want to pick exercises that utilise as wider range of muscle groups as possible. You also want to endure a whole body approach, where you are moving from upper to lower body exercises throughout the workout.

 

You want to be trying to include as many compound exercises as possible – especially in the first month of training. These are the ones where you will be using as much muscles as possible. Examples of these are, pull downs/ pull ups, bent-over-rows, squats, lunges, big pressing movements, deadlifts and lower body hinge movements.

As a beginner, your body will respond so well to multi- joint exercises, you wont have to worry about individual, small muscles. As you get more experienced and as your body becomes more conditioned, then you can start to split body parts up.

Pick up a free copy of our 12 Week Transformation Ebook For Busy Men here

 

If your goal is building muscle or fat loss, you would have a specific shape in mind you would like to have at the end of it. You would then need to incorporate specific isolated muscle exercises to grow and shape different parts of the body. You will get your overall growth from the big lifting such as squats, deadlifts, bench pressing, rows etc. but to work on smaller, weaker areas you would have to work on them in isolation. If you are weak at pull ups, for example, I would suggest working on seated-pull-downs for a period of time first and build up to it. Also, by simply getting stronger in your arms, chin ups or any other pulling movement will help your back exercises and shape your back.

 

Too many people copy workouts from magazines that are purely focused around isolated exercises when they really need to be putting meat on their frame and increase their overall strength. On the other hand, people who lack shape but have size, need to look at refining their physique with more isolation work.

Think about your goal, think about your training experience and work from there.

Do you need help with your training programme? Get in touch for a FREE consultation or find out more about our personal training services.

 

You may have already noticed your metabolism slowing as you age. According to research in the Public Health Nutrition journal, you’re right. In a review of data on energy expenditure, researchers found getting older is associated with progressive declines in basal metabolic rate. On top of that, many daily habits can drain your metabolism even further.

But you don’t have to go down without a fight. Below are six habits to cut out, and notice your metabolism and your energy levels grow.

1. Eating The Wrong Breakfast

There’s more to it than just eating something in the morning. By grabbing a sugary muffin or croissant on the way to work, you’re setting yourself up for a crash later. Instead choose something containing filling, containing lean protein. Opt for eggs, Greek yogurt, or whole meal toast with peanut butter.

 

2. Sitting Too Much

Going from your office chair to your car daily can lead to a sedentary lifestyle, eventually slowing your metabolism down and lowering your energy levels. According to the UK’s National Health Service, “Sitting for long periods is thought to slow metabolism, which affects the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar, blood pressure and break down body fat.”

 

3. Not Enough Strength Training

Cardio and body weight HIIT is great and can burn a quick amount of calories in a short space of time. But once you finish, the calories you burn quickly goes down. When you do resistance based workouts, your calorie burn when building lean muscle keep burning more calories – even when you’re resting. The more active muscle you have, the higher your metabolism will be. According to the American Council on Exercise (ACE): a pound of muscle burns an additional 4–6 calories daily compared to a pound of fat.

 

4. Stressing Out

When we are in a stressful state, our bodies produce a hormone called cortisol. Excessive levels of cortisol lead to an increased appetite for cravings, sugary foods, and a decreased desire to exercise – all leading to a negative impact on your metabolism. So while we sometimes can’t control our stress levels all the time, managing your stress can go a long way.

 

5. Not Getting Sleep

One bad night’s sleep is enough to make you feel sluggish, can cause a rise in cortisol levels and cause us to make poor eating choices. String together several nights in a row — or a lifetime of inadequate sleep — and science shows decreased metabolism and hormonal imbalances may follow.

 

6. Not Eating Enough Protein

Protein feeds your muscles, increases satiety and is an overall important component to encourage a healthy weight balance. Eating too little would probably reduce recovery and growth for muscle mass – and we know how important muscles are when increasing our metabolism. Also, protein requires more energy to digest than carbs or fat, so you’ll burn more calories when your body breaks down protein.

 

Do you feel you are putting much thought and preparation into your food everyday, spend your hard earned money filling your fridge every week, pay for a gym membership every month and dedicate hours to the gym every week? Do you expect your body to be looking different to what it does right now?

 

There are so many people dedicating so much of their time and effort, and they hardly have anything to show for it.

 

If this is you, take a step back and question what you could be doing wrong, no it’s probably not that you’re eating carbs after 7pm instead of 6pm. Hiring a skilled professional (who gets results) and asking for their opinion, could actually cost you a fraction of the money you’re wasting by not making any progress.

 

If being healthy is your goal, and you’re happy, then good on you. But most people are doing what they do for results, be that muscle gain or fat loss.

 

There will be something you’re either doing wrong or something you could add-in that you haven’t even thought of.

 

What we do is all about making progress, be that large steps or small consistent ones. If you’re not assessing and tweaking on a regular basis, you can’t expect to be moving forwards and looking any different in regards to your body shape.

 

Don’t be the person committing everything you got, and have nothing to show for it.

 

Would you like to change your body shape and take your results to the next level?

Book a consultation and start working with our personal trainers on one of our programmes.

 

If you are a beginner or just starting back, then you might find this read useful A beginners guide to losing body fat.

 

How many times have you asked a trainer “I want to tone my body” or “what are best exercises for my stomach?”

 

How many people do you know who spend hours each week in the gym on the cardio machines, or every morning in an attempt to get a six pack? When someone says the word “tone”, what they should be saying is that they would like to have less body fat, so you can see the definition of the muscle underneath.

 

If you want to develop a better body shape, the definition will be coming from getting leaner, and the shape and firmness will come from building more muscle over a period of time. Have you ever found yourself losing lots of weight, yet you still don’t have a firm, “toned” shape? Well, that’s because you’ve more likely burned off a good amount of muscle too (remember its muscle that will give you shape).

 

READ MORE: Why quick fad diets won’t really work

 

Be warned though, crash weight loss diets are the quickest way to lose your shape. For those of you who think simply changing your rep ranges to higher numbers will help tone. Think again.

 

Whilst taking shorter rest periods can help with increase endurance of the muscle, you should really be focusing on your diet, an effective weight training programme and perhaps some level of supplementary cardio to address excess body fat levels.

 

So, ditch the “toning” myth we’ve been lead to believe for so long and keep focusing on getting stronger in the gym, build muscle tissue, be smart with your nutrition, and focus on reducing body fat levels if you want to get leaner and see more shape.

 

Would you like to know how we help our clients at Lean Body Training achieve results and change their body shape? Pick up a free copy of our popular 12 Week Transformation Ebook here.

Have you just started out on your weight loss journey and have quite a lot of stubborn fat to lose?

There are quite a few articles we write that relate to people toning, getting stronger and are looking to progress to the next level. However, this article is for those who are just at the beginning of their journey and need some helpful hints and tips to get them started.

 

1. Start initially by cleaning up your diet

Start by reducing processed foods, dairy, gluten, wheat and any food that you know causes inflammation and bloating. Also eliminating starchy foods such as white bread and pasta and replace them with gluten free oats, sweet potato and wholemeal grains. There is no counting calories at this stage, no weighing of food, just simply gaining some control and cleaning up your diet.

 

2. The next step is to set a protein goal

Simply start by using your body weight and add another 50% to it and that will be your calorie number. This will give you a good guide to start with. So for example, if somebody weighs 90 kilograms, their daily protein target will be 135 grams of protein. All you have to do is make sure you spread that number throughout the day and hit that total amount.

 

3. Eat a portion of essential fat with each meal

This could simply be a drizzle of olive oil over salad or vegetables, a few nuts, or cooking meals with a teaspoon of coconut oil. The essential fats are not just vital for hormonal -health, they should make up around 20% of your daily calorie intake. Low calorie eating is a major reason why people don’t maintain fat loss over time.

 

4. Hit a water goal

I make sure everyone I work with drinks at least 2-3 litres per day.

These first tips along with training a minimum of 3 times per week, will help you see very good results and help set a structure/routine to move forward with. There will come a time when you start to stall, this is where a consistent food diary will come in. You can find a sample training programme and nutrition guide in the Lean Body Training ebook by clicking the link.

 

5. Make a record of your food diary

This will show you how consistent you’re being. Inconsistency leads to poor results. So this next step is just to make sure you stay consistent at all times.

 

6. If you have been exercising 3 x a week, this is the time when you could add in another session

This session will add a boost to your results.

So as you see, you don’t have to do anything fancy, you don’t have to count everything at the start and skip meals, you just have to do the basics and make sure you remain consistent.

As you get leaner, and you lose weight, then you do have to become slightly more specific to see further results.