The process of gaining muscle tissue isn’t as simple as lifting heavy weights and eating more protein. There are some key rules that must be followed if you are going to gain noticeable amounts of lean muscle mass. Many people gain weight but end up losing it all and realizing what they thought was muscle gain was actually fat they’d gained, with minimal amounts of muscle.

Science has evolved and since the old days of bulking up and then stripping away the fat, you can actually gain muscle and look lean at the same time. If you find yourself in this position, you may want to add these tips to your training plan.


1.Include Fats In Your Diet

Not only do healthy fats support your immune system and help deliver vital nutrients around the body, but foods such as avocado, oily fish, nuts and oil provide more calories to the gram compared to carbohydrates and protein. So if you’re trying to add calories to your diet to help build muscle, you’re missing a trick not eating your fats. Fats should form around 30% of your daily calorie requirements.


2. Eat More Protein

You must be consuming enough lean protein daily to build muscle tissue. There is so much debate out there about the quantity you should eat each day, but I work on around 1.5 grams per kilogram of body weight for muscle gain.


3. Use Your Training Time Wisely

You really shouldn’t need more than 1 hour of actual workout time in the gym. In many cases, guys spend half the time talking and scrolling on their phones. Prepare your sessions ahead of time, get in to the gym, train hard, and then get out. A little over or under an hour is fine, but spending over an hour-and-a-half training is a waste of time and energy.


4. Make Sure You’re Using Enough Muscle Tension

An area where I see so many going wrong in the gym, is their inability to use weights slower and for longer. This is important to make sure that the time frame being used supports muscle growth. For this to happen effectively, your must make your set last between 40-60 seconds. So those of you who use weights quickly, and you’re looking to gain muscle mass, chances are you are not even lifting in a range that will help you to grow. 12 reps lifted quickly with questionable technique could last around 20 seconds. You get completely different results doing the same 12 reps with a 2-3 second lowering tempo, a split hold at the bottom and a split second hold at the top of the exercise.


5. Learn How to Contract Your Muscles Properly

All to often guys tell me what weight they lift on certain exercises, only to take them through a session, only for me to drastically lower their weights. To grow a muscle, you must learn to contract it, the best way to do this is to learn how to connect your mind to muscle to which you are training and to avoid other muscles kicking-in to help with the load. So for the next time you’re training, slow down your reps for one workout and focus on the intending muscle you’re working on that day. Don’t be scared to drop the weight, remember it’s your body training, not the person next to you, drop the ego!


6. Prioritise Quality Sleep

You must sleep at least 7-8 hours per night. Lack of sleep increase your cortisol levels (the stress hormone) and high levels of the stress hormone lowers your testosterone level. If you didn’t know. You need testosterone to grow! Get some sleep and start growing.


7. Review Your Training Programme on a Regular Basis

The programmes I write usually work on roughly 4-8 week cycles. If you have been doing your current programme for a lot longer than that, chances are your body has become accustomised to it and your muscle development would have ceased. 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.


Written by – Paul Karoullas


Walking is one of the most accessible forms of exercise and great for supplementing your weight loss goals. It can boost your heart-health and even improve lower back pain. If you’re feeling stressed or anxious, a daily walk can help lighten up your mood and calm your mind.


How Far Should You walk Without Training?


If you’ve ever walked a long distance when exploring a new city or a park, you may have noticed you can walk surprisingly far any specialized training for it. This is perfectly safe, presuming you’re healthy and well-hydrated.


However, if you’re living with health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease or lung disease, or having recently experienced symptoms such as dizziness or balance issues, make sure to check with your doctor before going for a long walk. That way, you can determine what distance or intensity is a safe range for you personally.


If you haven’t done any physical activity for a while, you can expect your legs and feet to feel pretty sore after walking for a period of time. You may experience some DOMS (delayed-onset muscle soreness) for a couple of days. However, as your muscles become more accustomised to long walks over a week or two, these should become less of an issue.


To minimise injuries, it’s better to avoid overdoing it and stay consistent rather than starting with a super-long session and then crashing.

You might like: Get Lean While Injured

Ways to Progress

1. Get The Right Walking Gear

Opt for wearing socks and well-fitted walking shoes with appropriate amount of support for your feet to avoid shin splints and blister. Make sure to stay hydrated, take a bottle of water, its better not have it and not need it rather than the other way round.


2. Start on Flat Level

Begin walking longer distances on flat, level surfaces like a track or pavement. Making your muscles work harder with hills or an incline too soon increases your risk of injury, so its best to incorporate that later.


3. Think Minutes, Not Miles

With walking and even with weight training, your body doesn’t know distance or repetitions it just knows ‘time under tension’. Aim to walk for a set period of time first. To start with consider how long it takes to walk to the supermarket first and build from there. For example, if it takes you 10 minutes then start with walks for 15 minutes or slightly longer.


4. Avoid Over Doing It

Overuse injuries come from doing too much too soon. To start with, limit yourself to 3-5 walks per week with recovery days in between. To increase your walking time safely, add just 5 minutes of time extra each week. This allows your muscles to slowly adapt to more stress, becoming stronger rather than breaking down and straining them.


5. Make it Fun

We tend to stick to types of exercise if we like doing it, and if you’re enjoying yourself, you might end up walking longer with ease. Consider scheduling your walks with nicer scenery or with a partner or family, or even dialing up your walks with short brisk walks every 5 minutes or so.



Exactly how far is too long for a walk depends on your personal medical history and fitness background. A good way to start is begin with a distance you already know you can walk – and gradually increase your walking distance. And remember either way, a regular exercise routine is a great addition to a healthy lifestyle.

If you are somebody who weighs themselves every day, you probably see the number on the scale change every time you step on it. Maybe you did actually lose or gain, but more likely, your weight is reflective of something less impactful; simple fluctuations in your daily life. If you have a routine where you ate, drank and exercised more or less the same times, then your weight would mostly be relatively balanced over time. However, that’s not something sustainable for most.

Let’s discuss a number of reasons that lead to fluctuations and what you can do about it.


1. Physical Weight of Foods and Drinks

Food and drink supply the body nutrients and calories that influence weight gain, loss or maintenance. These foods and drink have actual mass content which is different to calorie count, this does influence overall body weight in the short term.


If you for example drink half a liter of water and immediately step on the scale (even though water contains zero calories) you will weigh heavier due to that liquid weight. This does not mean you have gained an extra half a kilogram of fat or muscle. For this reason, it’s best to weigh yourself first thing in the morning before consuming anything. Also, if you ate a big meal the night before, chances are it has not digested yet and this will lead to an increase on the scale.


2. Sodium and Carbs

Another thing that can cause sudden-weight increase is your bodily fluid balance. Sweat and dehydration can create losses, but water retention from carbohydrates and sodium causes temporary weight gain.

Athletic situations, such as pre-workout or carb-loading, require high carbohydrate intake to load muscles and liver with glycogen to burn while training or in competition. While great for energy, each gram of carbohydrates stored requires 2–3 grams of water to go with it. This water will be used and lost as the carbohydrates are burned off, which is why the gain is only temporary.

Sodium is a mineral responsible for fluid balance and binging on a super salty meal can cause an imbalance in fluid levels between your gut and vasculature, leaving you with a bloated, puffy feeling as the body struggles to regulate fluids.


3. Sweating

Losing water is a big factor in weight fluctuations, many people can succumb to dehydration during long, hard workouts, especially in warm humid conditions. Weighing yourself before and after working out can provide you with a ‘water rate’ of how much is lost. This can also allow you to replenish with fluids more accurately.


4. Which Day of The Week

Our eating habits change throughout the week. Typically, after the weekend, many start of with a healthy motivation or the feel for some type of detox after the weekend. This slowly declines as the week goes on and Friday approaches again. Take into consideration the cycles of eating and drinking habits throughout the week. If you want to maintain consistent, healthy eating habits, try to establish some type of balance throughout the week.


5. Stress

Cortisol, the stress hormone can be increased after exercise and other periods of high physical or mental stress. This hormone increases inflammation in the body which can interfere with digestion, fluid retention, hunger and regular metabolism.

Females are more prone to weight fluctuations due to the menstrual cycle. This with a combination of changes in eating habits and the retention of fluids play a big part in overall body weight fluctuations.


6. Movement of The Bowels

Just as food and liquids has mass going in, so can what comes out. If you are a bit backed up, that can add to the weight which you see on the scale. Aim to maintain regular bowel movements with adequate hydration and a fibrous diet high in variations of vegetables.



Weighing yourself each morning allows you to connect the fluctuations on the scale to your eating, workouts, stress, etc … and get an overall better understanding of how your body reacts in a big picture way.

However, seeing a constantly changing number can be frustrating and research has documented that constant fluctuations can lead to a negative mindset around weight. If you are looking to gain or lose, keep in mind the day-to-day matters less than the long-term trend.

What we encourage a lot of our clients to do when tracking their weight is to track every day of the week and then get an average of seven days. This gives us a better understanding of their actual body weight, fat and muscle and anything else that maybe causing the scales to go up or down.


Whether you have trained at home before lockdown or not, it’s likely you have noticed a drop in daily movement since going into quarantine. This begs the question, how and what kind of exercising should we be doing when locked up indoors?


Here’s the thing, it’s important to remember that training is not just an output of calories. This is a multitude of benefits to exercising in the right way aside from just expending energy, including consistency and improving yourself, even on the days where you don’t feel like it. This is usually followed by a sense of pride, confidence and accomplishment.


The physiological benefits range too; from release of various chemicals and hormones which improve your mood and energy levels, to maintenance of muscle tissue and weight control. Therefore, if you like feeling fitter, more confident, and happier, sleep better and look leaner then we’d highly recommend sticking to consistent training during this time!


We are lucky to have access nowadays to free content online, but we’ve outlined some of the fundamentals to follow during your fitness regime.


  • Include some form of resistance training. This could be anything from bodyweight, for example press ups and squats etc. When you apply intention and purpose to bodyweight exercises, you’ll quickly realise how much these exercises can be underestimated.
  • Shorter, more intense sessions will likely yield the best results initially. This is due to the lack of weight or load that we have available to us right now. Rest times can remain short, and by performing the exercises with slower tempo. Having a higher frequency of these sessions (3-5 times per week) will then stimulate all the benefits mentioned above.


Examples of the type of exercises you could do at home are as follows:


Bodyweight full body workout:


4 Rounds:

30-45 secs each exercise

30 secs rest in between each round


  1. Squats
  2. Press ups
  3. Hip extensions (feet on floor or sofa)
  4. Lunges (alternate legs)
  5. Tricep dips (chair or sofa
  6. Plank


Full body light Dumbbell workout:


4 Rounds

30-45 secs each exercise

30 secs rest after each set


  1. Squats
  2. Bicep curls
  3. Lateral raises
  4. Hip extensions
  5. Overhead tricep extensions
  6. Lunges (alternate legs)


Enjoying your training and setting goals is an important factor to consider, as this will determine how long you stick to your home exercise. It can be tempting to train similar to the way you trained in the gym, but without the training equipment and environment it can make it harder, this isn’t a bad thing, it just requires to adapt to what you have available, in a structure you can stick to.


Use the time to make further improvements required for when you return to the gym. This could include improved flexibility, mobility or a strengthened core and the stability it comes with. With these improved skills, you will have far less limiting factors and reduced risk of injury when you return to the gym.


If you’d like to start or continue training from home but just lack the motivation and structure, then consider online group personal training. It will provide the structure and accountability required to make improvements when traveling, or within the comfort of your own home. Find out more here.


When we meet guys who want to begin our coaching process, it quickly becomes noticeable that age is ine of their biggest limiting beliefs.


They think that once they pass a certain age everything is supposed to be a lot more difficult. “this is what it’s like at my age” they say.


Luckily, we’re here to prove them wrong. At Lean Body Training in Finchley we strive to show them what’s possible for them. But not just getting our clients into great shape and feeling awesome, but to make them feel like they did in their 20’s.


The nutrition guidance we implement are surprisingly simple, easily adaptable and very effective. But why does ageing healthily something we even need to consider? The number of people aged 60 and above worldwide is projected to more than double in the next 35 years. What if I told you that you can influence all the factors that play a role in your health and quality of life, from improving your daily energy levels, to reduce your risk of illnesses and reduce your risk of physical injuries?


Here are some of the strategies we use to get our clients looking and feeling younger than ever.


Resistance Training

Being more popular than ever, but still underrated for its benefits as you age and the improvements of overall quality of life.


When resistance training is applied properly, there are countless benefits to both physical and mental health including reduce risks of osteoporosis and other chronic diseases, as well as improved retention of lean muscle and strength.


We would recommend prioritising recovery as much as the training itself, as the responsiveness to protein intake, therefore a part of helping to recover is reduced, and therefore harder to from high volume resistance training.


Consuming Protein

With recovery in mind, consuming enough protein is vital. This is not just the course of the day where you exercise, but also protein servings in each meal. The consumption of protein helps stimulate a process called muscle protein synthesis which is essential in preventing the depletion of muscle, as well as the formation of new tissue.


Current research shows that 1.2-5g per kg/ bodyweight may be ideal range to hit each day. For an 80kg individual this would be around 100-120 grams of protein per day.

Blog: Eating Healthy Compared to Eating For Fatloss


Adequate Hydration

Although most people are aware of how important hydration is for our bodies healthy functioning, it still is a struggle for some individuals to drink enough water each day. The sedentary person excretes 2700ml daily, via respiration, urination and sweating. Water is vital for so many processes; from performance to helping the immune system. Given that the human body is 50-70% water it’s understandable why building habits around drinking enough water can make such a positive impact to the way we look and feel, especially as we age.


Try these strategies on improving your water intake:


1.Create a link to another habit to increase consistency. For example, when you wake up in the mornings – first thing you do is reach for your bottle of water in your bedroom and drink 0.5 – 0.75 litres. This will hydrate you immediately and also prevent you from having to play catch up for the rest of the day.

2. Out of site, out of mind. If you have constant access to a water bottle, then you’re far more likely to remember to drink some!

3. Stay ahead of dehydration – thirst, dry mouth, headache are all symptoms of being dehydrated.


Don’t choose to accept a lower quality of life as you age, when you have the opportunity to reverse a lifetime of bad habits. All you need to do is accept where you can improve and make the decision to start today.



Are you afraid of fatty foods? Don’t be. In additional to helping food taste good, fats play an important part in a healthy, balanced diet. I’ll cover the basics about fats, which ones to avoid and ones that play an important part in our overall health.


The Basics


Each gram of fat mounts to 9 calories, which is why foods high in fat mount to a large amount of calories. 9 calories per gram is way higher compared to 4 calories in carbohydrates and 4 in protein.

Unsurprisingly, fat breakdown occurs when your body runs on a calorie deficit, if you want to learn more about maintaining a calorie deficit and dropping body fat click here. In a healthy adult, calorie deficits mainly occur when their daily energy expenditure ie general movement, digestion, exercise and resting metabolic rate (RMR) is less than the amount of calories they are consuming. When this happens, our bodies tap into its fat stores and breaking them for energy.


Why We Need Fat


Fat is crucial, so much that our bodies figured out a way to make fat even if we eat very low levels. Fat also helps our bodies function correctly in several ways:


  • Protects Vital Organs and Maintains Healthy Cells – Healthy amounts of fat is protective. It plays a protective role for cells because it’s an important component of every cell’s membrane or “wall” that protects against invaders. It also protects your organs by cushioning them from the impact of everyday living. You also need certain fats to build and maintain a healthy brain and concentration levels.


  • Fat Fuels Our Daily Activities – from sitting in front of your computer to walking the dog — fat is the main fuel our bodies burn for energy. Generally, during activity where your heart rate is less than 70% of its maximal rate, fat serves as your body’s primary source of fuel. Not surprisingly, significant fat breakdown occurs when your body runs on a calorie deficit. When you take in fewer calories than you burn, your body taps into its fat stores, breaking them down for energy through a process called “beta oxidation.”


  • Fat Helps You Maintain a More Blood Steady Sugar Level – Fat aids the release of CCK, a hormone that helps you feel fuller after a meal. Pairing high-fat foods with carb foods helps prevent a rapid spike in blood sugar because fat slows digestion and keeps you feeling fuller for longer, which lessens the feel for more ‘picking’ throughout the day.


Different Types of Fat


Fat is found in a wide variety of foods — either from its natural content or added during processing and cooking. Naturally occurring fats tend to be found in dairy, meat and fish, nuts and seeds, oil and fatty fruits (Think: olive oil and avocado). Added fats tend to be found in processed, packaged goods and typically fast foods. Not all fats are created equal when it comes to health.

Here’s a run down of common fats in food:



Solid at room temperature, saturated fat mostly comes from animal sources like meat, particularly red meat, and dairy. Certain plants and their oil are high in saturated fat, such as coconut and palm. Virtually all major health organizations advise us to eat less saturated fat since it raises LDL cholesterol, a risk factor for heart disease.



Most trans fat found in food are synthetically made by taking liquid unsaturated fat and blasting it with hydrogen so it resembles solid saturated fat. This makes foods more shelf stable, easier to cook with and allows manufacturers to replace saturated fat in their products. However evidence has revealed trans fats are one of the worst things for your heart. Not only do trans fat increase LDL (bad) cholesterol, but they also decrease HDL (good) cholesterol.



These fats are what we think of when we say “healthy” fats because they don’t carry the same risk for heart disease as saturated and trans fat. Generally, MUFA and PUFA are found in high-fat, plant-based foods such as avocado, nuts, seeds, olives and fatty fish such as salmon, tuna and mackerel.



While they’re technically polyunsaturated fats, the omegas deserve a separate call-out since our bodies cannot produce them and we must get these from the foods we eat. Both omega-6 and omega-3 fats play important roles in regulating our immune systems. Omega-3 fat plays an essential role in developing our vision and nervous systems.

READ MORE: Why consuming protein helps you lose fat


Fat Myths


The nutrition field has recovered from its fat-phobia of the ‘90s. Just in case any of those old beliefs are lurking in your mind, we want to be extremely clear.




Your body stores fat mainly from excess calories. If a calorie excess is available, even if those calories are from carbs or protein, your body is fully capable of turning them into fat for storage.




Your body burns a combination of carbs, fat and protein. Fat is the fuel of choice at rest and during low-intensity exercise (e.g. exercising at less than 70% maximal heart rate). Your body’s fuel of choice shifts to carbs when you exercise harder — at a moderately intense pace and beyond.




Contrary to what the label might tell you, low-fat and nonfat versions of foods tend to contain more fillers and additives to make up for missing flavor. Usually in the form of sugar, artificial flavours and sweeteners.


As people, we thrive when we have structure and daily routine. When our routine changes, it can take some time to adapt back into a momentum that worked for us before.

For a lot of people, this will be a very hard time to adapt due to the curveball we have been thrown in this moment of time. Whether we realize it or not, our diets and eating habits will change along with us.

Many factors influence our eating choices; from our home surroundings, the amount of sleep we get, change in our body-clocks and especially levels of boredom.

Here are some ways that can help take back control over our nutrition habits during this lockdown situation that we’re in.


Quality sleep should remain constant where possible. If you maintain good quality sleep, your body will have improved it’s decision making process, control of hormonal levels, control of blood sugar levels, sustained energy levels and more.  Try having a set sleep and waking up time even on the weekends.

Timing of meals

This can be valuable when trying to keep a structure to your days. It doesn’t matter how many you decide or setting of particular times, but try to have some some rounded times to aim for to prevent endless grazing and consumption throughout the day. Try planning 3 meals and 2 snacks between the meals, and adapt eventually to works best with your appetite.

Keep occupied

Keeping busy when you are off work for the foreseeable future so eating through boredom is something you don’t develop. There’s nothing mindful about eating when you’ve got nothing else to do and find yourself heading to the fridge all the time! This can also develop a poor relationship around food. A great way to avoid this is to drink water frequently and staying busy. Give yourself daily tasks to accomplish for the day whether that’s work, hobbies, cleaning, exercise, reading or otherwise. It’ll be a way of keeping your mind busy and away from the thoughts of what’s in the fridge!


Try implementing these simple tips into your daily life during this time, and don’t let your situation dictate your nutrition habits.




Where all experiencing a lot of changes right now, but here’s what you can do to help to keep your health and spirits up.


Taking Care of Your Mental Health

I’m putting this before any physical exercise or healthy eating tips, I truly think it’s one of the most important things you can do for your health right now, especially as we go into the weeks and possibly months (washing hands and avoiding crowds and sick people, also critical).

These can be stressful times, and you had no way to prepare for this. If news coverage is stressing you out, keep a timer on when to shut it off or switch off your news notifications on your phone. Take a breath, or go for a walk.


Nourishing Your Body

People often think of eating healthy as nothing but kale salads and green smoothies. Processed foods the type people have been stocking up on, have their place in your diet. Especially when they’re easier to store and stock up. Frozen fruit and shelf-stable milk can turn into a nutritious smoothie. Add some carrot sticks or fruit and you’ve got yourself a snack without feeling bloated. Keep your immunity levels high by getting quality sleep (aim for 7-8), plenty of fruit and veg and adequate amounts of water.

Walk or run outside and a lot of fitness providers are offering online home training.


Consider a Schedule

I am a fan of schedule and structure. However, for many of us—especially for people who aren’t used to that way with their eating and exercise—it can be tricky with having your home office next to your pantry. Taking regular breaks for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and workouts can add some routine to your days, especially as they start to blend together. While you’re at it, make a schedule for your day. I’ve seen plenty of home schedules for kids, but adults can benefit too. Just remember, not every day is going to be the same and not every meal and snack will fill you up in the same way. A flexible schedule will be the key here.


The Bottom Line

We’re all figuring this out as we go along. Personally, I’m trying to focus on what I can control and use the time productively. I know I’ll be eating a bit more packaged food, keeping active training our clients online and schedule my own workouts- in whether at home or outdoors.





Each season, usually winter and spring we hear from people who are complaining of colds and flu-like symptoms. They ask what they should be doing around exercising when feeling like this. If you don’t think anything can be done to prevent colds and flu in the first place, think again.


Most people take their bodies for granted. They push themselves every day with little or no regard for their health, and before they know it, they’re exhausted, stressed, and getting closer to illness.


If you want to keep illness at bay, you need to respect your immune system. The immune system is our primary defence system for our bodies. It is made up of cells, tissues and organs. Pushing your body by overworking it and limiting of vital nutrients, lowers its ability to keep you healthy and strong. As your body’s defences weaken, you leave yourself wide open to infections and illness.


The way that we help our clients to steer away from anything like this, is by respecting areas such as nutrition quality and quantity, sleep, stress and by also taking time to relax.


Here are some key tips to help you keep on top of your immune system.

  1. Drink at least 2 litres of water per day
  2.  Have a protein source with every meal
  3.  Eat a wide range of vegetables with at least 3 meals per day
  4.  Focus on getting at least 7 hours of sleep each night
  5. Exercise for at least 30 to 45 minutes 3 or 4 times per week whether home or at the gym
  6. Use a multivitamin supplement


Would you like to know how we help keep our clients in shape, strong and healthy?

Drop us an email and we’ll answer any questions you have about how maybe able to tailor a workout and nutrition plan around your specific needs Contact Us



“I want to tone my arms and chest” are common statements we hear from guys who come in and speak to us at our gym facility.


How many people do you know who spend hours each week using cardio machines, countless stomach exercises and bicep curls in an attempt to get a toned stomach or firm looking arms. When you say the word “tone”, what you should be saying is that you would like to have less body fat so that your muscles are firmer, shaped and are more visible.


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 mass over a period of time. Have you ever found yourself losing lots of weight, yet you still don’t have a hard “toned” shape? Well, that’s because you’ve more likely burned off a good amount of muscle (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.


If you struggle to lose body fat and stick to a weights programme by yourself fill out a Contact Form and we’ll be touch.