How to lose weight fast using Maths!!

Hi Everyone,

So if you are like me, or in fact any normal human being, you will have at one time or another wanted to lose some weight. How important that is to you will to a large extent depend on just how overweight you believe you are, and what your end goal is.

So you want to lose weight…….then what? How, over what period, in what way? Does this mean you’ve got to go on a diet? And if so which one, there are literally hundreds of them.

Now at this point I’m going to own up to being something of a hypocrite. I have written articles before (see here) where I have attacked diets and said that they don’t work. For me that still holds true. Rather than going ON A DIET I would advocate adopting a long term healthy eating plan that you can maintain AND that also allows you to eat some of the things you enjoy and have a blow out now and then whilst still controlling your weight.

However, that is not to say that you can’t adopt a plan to lose weight when necessary and this article is purely about the mechanics of how to do that. The subject has become almost fiendishly complicated in many peoples minds and my aim is to simplify it as much as possible. Low carb? Low Fat? High Protein? Which is the right path? Most people become so confused and frustrated they just revert back to their normal eating habits and never achieve the results they want.

So lets start with the basics….Calories. You’ve all heard of those right, your dreaded enemy in the battle with the scales. Well not really, a Calorie is just a calorie, it’s neutral. It’s how many and what you do with them that counts.

Calories and what to do with them.

A calorie is simply a measure of energy, heat energy to be precise. Food releases energy as it burns inside the body, so the more calories something contains, the more energy it releases. Body fat is essentially stored energy. So if you don’t use up the energy (Calories) that you eat, your body will store them as fat for future use (or not). Here is the first Maths fact. Each pound of Fat contains 3500 Calories. So in simple terms if you eat 3500 calories more than you use in a week, you will gain roughly a pound of fat.

Essentially you can think of your body as a bank account and Calories as money. If you use/spend the exact amount you put in the account you will remain level. If you put in more than you use your balance will go up (gain fat), and if you use more than you put in your balance will go down (one of the few times its good to spend too much).

To some extent it really is as simple as that. Use more Calories than you eat and you’ll lose weight. From a purely weight loss/gain point of view it also doesn’t really matter where those calories come from ie whether it is healthy or completely unhealthy food, the result will be the same. However not all calories are created equal and clearly from a health, nutritional, muscular, vascular and overall wellbeing perspective its good to eat as healthily as possible and get your calories from good sources.  Don’t just eat rubbish.

So, here is the key part. How do you work out exactly how many calories you use and how many you should be eating to obtain your goals.

This is where it becomes slightly more difficult, but keep reading and I’ll make it as simple as possible. Each persons metabolism (the speed and rate at which it burns calories) will vary slightly and is affected by how much and what type of activity and exercise you do. It also varies slightly from men to women. Roughly speaking however, these figures will work.

First you need to work out your Base Metabolic Rate (BMR). This is the rate that if you laid in bed all day and did very little you would burn calories. Essentially its your maintenance rate each day.

Do this calculation: 66+ (6.3 x your weight in pounds) + (12.9 x height in inches) – (6.8 x age in years). So to use me as an example:  (6.3 x 168lb) + (12.9 x 68) – (6.8 x 48) = 1675. So my BMR is 1675. You then have to factor in just how active you are. Do you sit at a desk all day and do no exercise, or do you work as a labourer and go to the gym?

Sedentary – desk job, very little exercise. Multiply BMR x 1.2

Lightly Active – Workout or do some activity 1-3 days per week. Multiply BMR x 1.325

Moderately Active – workout 3-5 days per week. Multiply BMR x 1.55

Very Active – workout 6-7 days per week. Multiply BMR x 1.725

Extremely Active – workout everyday in addition to a physically demanding job (rare). Multiply BMR x 1.9.

So again using me as an example. I am probably between moderately active as i workout 5 days a week but do a sedentary job, so i took a figure of 1.55. 1675 x 1.55 = 2596.25. So for me my Total daily expenditure of Calories living the lifestyle i do is 2596 per day or 18,173.75 calories a week.

Remember i said earlier that 3500 Calories = 1lb of fat. So very simply if i cut my calories intake by 3500 to 14,673 per week or 2096 per day, then i should lose a pound of fat per week. For most people it is sensible to cut your calorie intake by 15/20% (in my example it was 19%.

It really is as simple as that. Get a calculator, work out what your Base Metabolic rate is. Multiply that (be honest now) by your activity levels, cut 15/20% off of that figure and hey presto you will lose weight.

Of course what that means is that you do need to count calories fairly carefully. Nowadays most things are labelled so it’s not that hard. It also means you are allowed to have some good days and bad days as long as you achieve your overall target each week. It also means that whilst it is best to get your calories from non processed, healthy and natural products ( fish, meat , poultry, vegetables, healthy fats etc), you are allowed to be naughty now and then and hit the ice cream, as long as you meet your weekly target.

Throw in some intensive exercise and you WILL achieve your targets. I’d also add that if you are heavily overweight and you are currently eating way over your total daily calorie expenditure then you will find that if you get your calorie levels to where they should be, then initially at least the 1lb per week barrier is conservative. You may find that for the first few weeks you lose 2lb or even more.

As some of you may have noticed, I’ve kept this on a very simple level. There is a lot more detail to be covered in terms of exactly HOW you should eat and WHAT you should eat. Specifically there is the complex topic of Protein, Fats and Carbs and if you really want to get into some detail, Macro levels and how to eat to build or maintain muscle. However, I’ll do an article on that in the next couple of weeks. For now lets keep it simple.

Work out your daily calorie rate to maintain your current lifestyle and activity levels using the formula I’ve given you. Knock off 15/20%. Eat as healthily as possible, treat yourself now and then (this is Ordinary Guy Fitness after all) and exercise regularly. Follow these simple numbers and the fat loss will come and weight loss will follow.

Take Care,

John

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How Your Mind Can Build Your Muscles!

We have all heard phrases like “your mind is the most powerful muscle in your body”, or “we only use 10% of our brains capacity”, or in this case the critical one “you have to build the mind-muscle connection”. However, have you ever really thought about what they mean, especially the last one, and also what impact it might have if you could really switch on some of that extra brain capacity, especially in relation to your muscles.

For the purposes of this article I’m only focusing on the brain and your minds ability to enhance your physique and help you build a better body. So if you are a budding Einstein, Mozart or Newton, you’d best look elsewhere, this article is not going to help.

The Mind Muscle Connection:

So what exactly do we mean by the often used phrase “the mind muscle connection”. Well, to be honest, it’s exactly what it says on the tin. It is about finding and using the ability to tune your thoughts and your mind into the specific muscles that you are working at a particular moment. What do i mean by that? Well let me give you some examples.

How many times have you gone to the Gym or done a workout with a specific goal in mind, or even followed a programme for a period of time, and then come away disappointed. You haven’t really felt it the next day, weren’t sore in the areas you expected to be sore, or simply after a period of time, just weren’t getting the results that you expected. It is very possible, even likely that the reason for this is that you weren’t correctly working the muscles you intended to work, and therefore just weren”t getting the results you wanted.

Again I’ll give you some examples. You are working your chest doing some form of press (bench press, dumbbell press, incline press), but instead of getting a good chest pump and soreness the next day your triceps give out first or you feel pain in your shoulder joints. The same may go for shoulder press where you end up using triceps, Lat pull downs where you end up using biceps etc etc.

Another common fault is where people try to use too heavy weights and end up swinging them into position or forcing them up, thus using a whole variety of different muscles and muscle groups, other than the one your are actually trying to work.

In short people are not actually thinking about what they are doing and not focusing their mind on what they want to achieve and how to go about doing it. This is often driven by ego. Lets be honest we have all been guilty of trying to outdo the guy next to us in the Gym, or just throw some extra weight on in the hope that extra weight equals extra muscle.

The solution to this is very simple and there are three or four key elements that if you use correctly and every time, will have a really dramatic impact on the results you achieve.

Key Mind Tips:

These are my key mind tips which if you use will boost your gains and results enormously.

  1. The first is really simple. Concentrate on the specific muscle you want to work while doing the exercise. Feel that actual muscle contracting and extending and whilst doing the concentric part of the movement really try to squeeze the muscle as hard as you can. Do that for each rep, and at the same time, try as much as possible not to engage or use other muscles around it. This is quite hard at first but with a bit of practise it comes naturally.
  2. Concentrate on form and tempo, and lower the weights from what you would normally do. This is vital. To start with lower the weights around 20/25% from what you would normally use. Do each rep slowly and concentrate on squeezing the weight up (or down) and then controlling it slowly on the way back down. Believe me this is really hard and there is no way you will do full sets with the amount of weight you normally use if you do it this way. The eccentric or lowering phase if done really slowly is just as important as the lift or squeeze itself.
  3. Use a full range of motion. Use strict form, don’t swing the weight up which often shortens the lift, and when lowering the weight really feel the stretch of the muscle and open up the joint as much as possible whilst still keeping it under control.
  4. Finally, try to keep the muscle you are using under tension the whole time. What this often means is that you won’t quite lock out at either the top of the bottom of the movement. By doing this you ensure that the muscle being used is constantly under tension, constantly being used and gets no sneaky little rests.

Watch this guys video here. He covers a number of these points and demonstrates what i mean about controlling the reps, really focusing on the specific muscle you are trying to work, and keeping tension in the muscle.

As I already said, if you do this strictly you will find your workouts will change immensely. Number one you’ll be super tired after completing them. Number two, you’ll be very sore the next day (and hopefully in all the right places). Number three, you will absolutely have to use lower weights, but Number Four, don’t worry about that because after a month of doing this you will make monster gains in both your muscle size and strength.

I hope you enjoyed this article. Please give it a try and I’d really welcome your comments and thoughts once you have done it. if you enjoy the article please share, comment, like etc etc blah blah.

Take Care,

John

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7 Top Tips to Look Great by Summer!!

Hi Everyone,

I wrote a post previously (see here) about Winter being the time to put in the hard work to get the body you want in the Summer. Well that is absolutely true Summer bodies are made in Winter. However if you over indulged a bit over the Christmas period (like me) and are keen to have a body to die for when beach season comes around (or at least not look like a beached whale), then what can you do to turn things around in the next few months.

Below are my 7 top tips for getting yourself beach ready and looking as well as feeling fantastic when Summer comes around. After all feeling fantastic on the inside will go a long way to helping you look great on the outside.

7 Top Summer Tips:

  1. Drink as much water as you can: Yeah yeah, yeah. I know you’ve heard it all before, hell I’ve even written about it numerous time (here and here) for example. It just happens to be true however. Did you know that drinking a large glass of water will make your body burn 30 calories more over the next hour than it would have done without drinking it, even if you just sit on your arse for that hour. 6 glasses a day = almost 1300 calories a week burnt off. Water also allows your body to work more efficiently, flushing toxins out of your body, improving your skin and also allowing more effective processing of proteins and good fats to help you build muscle and shed fat. Finally drinking lots of water make you feel more full, reduces your appetite and actively helps you shed weight.
  2. Cut out the booze: I know, I know, this is a hard one right. Well I don’t mean completely. This is a site for ordinary people and most of us like a few beers or glasses of wine now and then. However what I do is try to be good and have no alcohol at all from Sunday night when i hit the pillow, until Friday evening. Why? well a number of reasons. You sleep better which is major factor in both physical and mental wellbeing. You sleep well you look better, simple. Proper rest also allows your body to rebuild its cells and grow muscle. As well as sleeping better you will be cutting out tonnes of calories you probably didn’t even think about. A pint of Lager contains approx. 190/200 calories, wine even more at about 210. If you can cut out 8 beers or 8 glasses of wine a week that’s roughly another 1600 calories gone (2900 including the extra water.) Just these two measures alone over the period of 3 -5 months will have you shedding pounds in weight.
  3. Eat right: At this point I can feel you frowning at the screen “damn this all sounds like hard work” you’re saying. Well I have two answers to that. Firstly, I’m all about moderation and enjoying your lives so believe me I’m not saying you have to deny yourself completely. Secondly, yes it does involve a bit of effort…..shock horror!! Did you really expert to transform your lazy arse into Elle Macpherson or Dwayne Johnson without having to do just a little work? So what do I mean by eat right? Well in previous articles (here , here and here) I go into a lot more detail. However lets keep things simple. Try to reduce portion sizes by 10%. Cut as many starchy and heavily refined carbohydrates as possible (that means less bread, less white pasta, white rice, potatoes). Cut out or at the very least reduce sugar as much as possible (sorry, that means very few cakes, biscuits/cookies, sweets and definitely cut out the soda’s and fizzy drinks). Eat lean proteins – Fish, Chicken, lean red meat every day and get as much salad and vegetable matter down your neck as you can. Again, for me, the same rules apply as with booze. Cut it our Monday to Friday and then (within reason) enjoy what you want at the weekends. Do this and again that will be many hundreds of calories less per week. Combine with the above two measures and you’ll be rocking and rolling in terms of internal health and weight loss.
  4. Aerobic Exercise: Or as it’s also known cardiovascular exercise. By this I don’t mean an old school John Travolta aerobics session (leg warmers are soooo last century). Unless you love running and have plenty of time on your hands I also wouldn’t go the route of long distance running (nothing against this, it’s just not time efficient in getting you fit and looking good). I would go the way of HiiT (High Intensity Interval Training, or if you are more old school Circuit training. Pick 6 exercises that work your whole body between them. Do each exercise for 20/30 seconds or 10/12 reps with no rest in between. Once you have completed all 6 rest for 1 minute. Then repeat 3-6 times depending how fit you are. It should only take 10-20 mins max and you can do it in your garden, a park or even in the house if you can’t get to a gym. If possible try to incorporate some weights such as dumbbell/kettlebell into 2 or 3 of the exercises as this will tone muscle as well as build fitness and torch calories. This article and video demonstrates some examples you can use.
  5. Do some Strength/Weight training: I know that some of you hate weights. Ladies either get embarrassed using weights or mistakenly believe that they will turn into a 1970’s style East German shot putter as soon as they pick up a Dumbbell. Guys either don’t know what to do or again feel embarrassed by the muscle heads in the gym. Ignore all that, bite the bullet and do some strength/weight training. This sort of training tones and shapes your body like nothing else can. For ladies it will shape your legs and butt, define your shoulders and neckline and help shed those saggy backs of your arms that you hate when wearing summer dresses (yeah i know about those). It doesn’t have to be Olympic style lifting ladies, some smallish dumbbells and the right exercises will do the trick. Guys, unless you shift some weights around now and then it’s going to be very hard to tone up the muscles underneath that weight you have lost. Every man in the world looks better with slightly wider shoulders, a narrower waist, toned, fat free arms and a chest that is firm and free from moobs. We are not trying to turn you into Arnold Schwarzenegger here (unless you want to), just simply putting some muscle and toning onto your frame.
  6. Be targeted: I mean this in two ways. Firstly think about what you want to achieve by the Summer and write it down as a goal committed to paper becomes much more tangible and real. It could be I want to lose 2 dress sizes and tone up my butt. Or for guys, I want to get into 34 waist jeans and have muscular arms. Set a date to it eg by 1st if June i want to….. . Once you have done that you also need to be targeted in terms of your actual body. Take a look in the mirror and be honest. what are your good points that don’t need much work, and which are the bits that are heading south faster than you would like or are just a bit to squidgy and need some work. Once you have done that tailor your approach around those parts. If you are a lady and you want to firm up your bottom and legs then focus your training around those a little more (lots of lunges and squats). If you are a guy with a Pigeon chest or saggy triceps then target those areas and hammer things like presses and crossovers or push downs. It’s just common sense.
  7. Have fun and enjoy life: This is probably more important than all the others. None of the stuff above should be a chore. It’s all about moderation in life. By working hard and having some discipline some of the time, you can have fun and enjoy the good things in life the rest of the time. However it’s more than just that. I mean really enjoy life. Spend time with your kids, be stupid, laugh a lot, put work second to family, go on long walks, visit amazing places, eat good food, try new things. Get out and experience the world and squeeze the enjoyment from it. This is critical. People that are happy, enjoy life and are vibrant just exude a sense of wellbeing and simply look better. If you want to look and feel fabulous this summer the trust me, the six points above may help you along the way, but it’s this one, number 7 that will make all the difference.

Take Care,

John

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8 Top Tips To Defy Age!

sly-stalloneAge….It gets us all in the end!! However there is no need to be defeatist about it. We are all living longer, generally are healthier and with a little work can look and feel amazing well into our latter years. We may not all be able to look as incredible as Sylvester Stallone as we approach 70 (or even want to) but we definitely can defer, defy and defeat some of the symptoms that we’d all rather avoid.

Below is a list of 8 top tips to help you beat nasty Mr Age!! if you adopt at least some of these you’ll hopefully be looking and feeling fantastic well into your latter years. I’m 47, approaching 48 and fully intend to be fit, fun and ageing disgracefully for as long as I can. These tips apply equally if you are in your 20’s as your 70’s. The earlier you start, the easier it is.

Top 8 Tips:

  1. Mentality: This is hands down THE most critical thing for helping you stay young. How you feel about getting older will to a large extent determine not only how you age but how you deal with ageing. Of course getting older has it’s frustrations but if you get down about it, worry about every little ache or pain and generally live a life where the whole concept of getting older makes you miserable then that will be reflected in your health and face. Worry and frowning ages us, both medically and facially. Worry and stress release a chemical called Cortisol into our bodies which has a whole plethora of negative effects. Instead try to be positive in all things. Count the blessings that you have, laugh loud and hard as often as you can, shrug off all those daily little setbacks and generally squeeze as much fun from life as possible.
  2. Walk: This sounds very basic but again it makes a massive difference. Walk as often and as far as possible, ideally with some scenery thrown in. It has been proven in study after study that people who walk regularly are fitter, happier and live longer. If you are going on a short journey, just popping to the shops or heading into the country for the day then ditch the car or bus and walk. Get your head up, look around you , take in your surroundings and really notice the world. Most of us are in a hurry and don’t really look around us. Walking every day and getting into the outside air WILL have a hugely positive effect on both your fitness and mental wellbeing.
  3. Stretch: Maintaining your mobility is key as you get older. Many people start to suffer with aches and pains, lack of mobility in their shoulders and hips, lower back problems and general creakiness when getting out of bed or chairs. Unfortunately, to a degree it’s just a wear and tear issue. However you can really help yourself by stretching regularly. Spend 10 minutes in the morning and 5 minutes every evening doing a proper routine of yoga like stretches (loads to look up on YouTube) and focus on your back, hips, legs and shoulders and you will feel loose and mobile for as long as you want. Actually this applies to everyone, not just older readers.
  4. Exercise: “No shit!!” i hear you all cry. Yes I know this is an obvious one. We all know we should exercise but to me it’s important what type of exercise you do. If I’m honest any form or exercise that gets your heart rate up and lungs working will benefit you, but for maximum benefit as you get older you definitely need to incorporate some weight training into your regime. Why? I know many people are scared of weights. The answer is that by regularly doing some weights (doesn’t have to be hugely heavy) you will build and maintain muscle strength, tendon, ligament and joint strength and even more importantly It will help with bone density and strength. As we age many people, especially women suffer from decreased bone strength and even crumbling bones. if this happens in your spine or hips it can immobilise you. Regular bouts of strength or weights based activity fights this off.
  5. Drink Water:…..and lots of it. Yet another obvious one. Yes maybe it is obvious but how many of you do it? I wrote a previous article here proclaiming the many benefits of water consumption, but as we get older it’s even more important. If you want to fight off things like kidney and liver infections, bladder problems, joint stiffness and a whole host of other irritating age related issues then drinking 4 -6 glass of water a day WILL help. I guarantee it.drinking-water-2
  6. Supplementation: By that I don’t mean cramming a load of pills and vitamins down your neck. What I mean is using natural ingredients that have proven health and wellbeing benefits. Such as? Well if you can get as many of the following into your diet as possible on a regular basis they will have a wealth of benefits for your physical and internal health; Ginger, Turmeric, Chilli, Lemons & Lemon water, Apple Cider Vinegar, Natural fish oils, Organic Honey, Chia seeds, Cinnamon….and as stated above lots of water.
  7. Booze: Waheey…..that’s more like it. Don’t get too excited. This is not a license to go out on the lash 3 nights a week. However a couple of drinks in moderation has been shown to be good for the heart AND to help alleviate stress (see Cortisol above). So what do I mean by a couple of drinks? Well one glass of red wine 5 or 6 days a week will do you no harm. Or if you abstain 3 or 4 days a week then a couple of glasses of wine or 2 or 3 beers now and then should also be fine. I wrote a piece way back when i started this blog (see here) all about consistency and how it can give you freedom to enjoy your life. A few drinks here and there will allow you that enjoyment that is key to looking and feeling younger, and if you are consistent in your approach to fitness and wellbeing in most areas of your life, cutting loose now and then will do you no harm at all.
  8. Diet: Yet again a pretty obvious and boring one, but vital all the same. Lets be honest here, we all know what we should and should not be eating. Just to recap and break it down into basics. Lots of good protein – Chicken, Turkey, lots of fish and less often, good quality red meat. As well as Nuts, eggs and some good cheese. Don’t avoid fat as long as it isn’t processed fat. So some fat from meat, nuts, eggs, natural dairy products, real butter, real yoghurt, Avocado…it’s all good for you. Lots of fruit, veg and fibre. Basically as much veg as you can get down you. Things to avoid? Well, processed and packaged food as much as possible, sugar in all it’s sneaky hidden forms, almost all drinks other than water, tea, coffee and some occasional alcohol, and try to limit starchy food such as bread, cakes, flour based products, pasta etc.

That’s it, all pretty straightforward and basic stuff. The truth is however that its often the obvious things that we ignore. This article is not aimed just at us old/older gits. Whether you are 22 or 72 you are still ageing. If you can incorporate as many of these tips into your daily, weekly and monthly routines as possible then it will help everyone to age more healthily and gracefully and to actually start to forget that age is even a problem.

Take Care,

John

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The No Plan Training Plan!!

workout-diaryHi Everyone,

I hope you are sitting down as what I’m about to say might shake your world just a little bit. At the very least it will send any professional coaches or trainers reading this into meltdown. Here goes…….”I’m a big fan of not having a training plan!!”  There I’ve said it, you can pull yourself up off the floor now.

Let me try to put a little context around that bold statement. I know that the entire industry revolves around fitness and training plans. Magazines, Websites and many trainers base their entire income and life around designing and coaching fitness, training and workout plans. So who am I to diss them so easily? Well the answer is, I’m no-one, and I’m not dissing them…well not completely.

This site is Ordinary Guy Fitness and for many ordinary people trying to stick to a hard and fast training and diet regime can be very tough. I’m not talking about mentally but more so just because our lives are complex and busy. You may be able to get to the gym 4 times this week but only twice next. You can prep your meals and eat healthily for the next few days but then are going to be away on business and eating out a lot, etc etc.

Don’t get me wrong, properly designed training and eating plans 100% work BUT in the real world, hand on heart, are you always going to stick to it?

time-for-fitness

No Plan:

So what exactly am i proposing…..that you have no plan at all and just turn up and wing it whenever you can? No, absolutely not. That definitely won’t work. However there is a middle way, a way that builds flexibility, some creativity and a longer term approach into your health and fitness. Here is how it works, or at least how I utilise these ideas myself.

Firstly you need to understand what it is that you are trying to achieve, and ideally this should be a medium to long term goal. So the best example I can give is myself. What’s my longer term goals? Well i want to be fit and healthy, able to run, play some sports, look good in clothes and on the beach well into my 60’s (I’m currently heading for 48). That’s the long term goal. The medium term (next couple of years) is to hit 50 looking and being as fit and buff as possible. Shorter term (next 6/9 months) is to gain as much muscle as I can over the next 4 months and then get as cut as I possibly can in time for summer and possibly, finally, at long last reveal some proper six pack abs.

So you would think that to achieve that I need a proper plan right? Not necessarily. What I have is a broad brush , high level plan, and then I just change the day to day components to suit how I’m feeling, what I’m doing and what’s happening in my life.

So for example. I know that to gain muscle I have to train all the main body parts – Shoulders, Back, Chest, Arms, Legs, Abs probably a couple of times a week plus throw in some good cardio/fitness work. A traditional plan would probably split that into something like a 5 day routine with a couple of push days, a couple of pull days and a cardio day. Or 5 days of 2 bodypart splits etc. You would then stick to that routine pretty rigidly for 2 to 3 months.

I’m not suggesting anything radically different to that, I just like to take a slightly more intuitive approach based on what I’m “feeling”. Here is what I mean. I may go to the gym on Monday and blitz a Chest and Triceps session, maybe with a little Abs to end. Then Tuesday I might do Back and Shoulders. So logically Wednesday should be Legs and Biceps right? However , If I came out of Monday’s session thinking “you know what, i really didn’t feel my Triceps and wimped out a bit on them, I’m gonna do them again today”….that’s fine, do what you feel is best. Then the next day you hit the Biceps and Legs. Day after that you should probably do Chest and Triceps again but you’ve already done those twice so maybe do Chest and Shoulders. Just mix it up as and when you feel it’s right.

I know that sounds confusing but it really isn’t. It’s just about doing what your body and mind feels is the best to do on that day. You know in your own mind that you need to train all your body parts regularly AND do cardio. None of you are dumb and can remember what you have been doing over the last week or two so just adjust and flex as you go along. Rather than a weekly plan, have a more holistic 3 to 4 week plan where you roughly speaking hit everything that you need to equally during that period. This has so many positives for your training and lifestyle.

  • It means you don’t get stale by following the same routine all the time
  • It means that if you are really sore and need to rest a body part, fine, just hit something else
  • It means if you feel a body part is lagging behind, or you need to focus on weight loss or need to bulk up you can do it. Hell I’ve trained Biceps 3 days on the trot sometimes….it’s not against the law. Going off plan isn’t illegal despite what your PT says.
  • It means that if your life gets in the way and you can’t train as often or when you want you just adjust things. Do 3 bodyparts or a whole body workout for a few sessions.
  • By having an overall strategic plan but not a rigid daily plan you don’t feel like you are letting yourself down when you miss something out.
  • It’s fun. Last Friday I drove to the Gym with no idea what I was going to do and in the end did a load of stretching , made up a HiiT routine and then went on the rowing machine. I loved it. Follow your intuition.

Psychologically I really think this works. So many people set off on a training regime with fantastic intentions. Then something happens, an injury, family commitments, work issues etc. They fall off the plan for a week or two and their mind set changes. They believe they can’t get going again, become despondent “this damn fitness stuff is just too hard!!” and they give up. Having a “No plan, plan” helps with that because you haven’t really missed anything or let anyone down.

The critical thing is, you DO need to understand what your targets and goals are. You need to know that when you gaze into the distance, you do have a specific destination. As long as you get there at roughly the time you want and in the shape you want, does it really matter what route you take?

So if you have an organised life and can follow a strict plan fantastic, that will work for you. If not, if your life is a bit more chaotic like the rest of us, then ditch the rigid plan and follow your instincts. To recap, here are my top tips.

  • Have an overall plan of what you want to achieve some way down the track
  • Figure out the things you need to do regularly to get there.
  • Incorporate all of those things regularly and semi methodically into your routine BUT mix it up based on what’s happening in your life and how you feel.
  • Adjust the plan (or no plan) regularly based on the progress you are making and what you feel needs extra focus and work.
  • Above all, be happy with yourself and enjoy what you are doing.

Take Care,

John

As always if you enjoyed this post please comment, like, share, subscribe etc. My other social media links are below.

ALSO – Don’t forget. If you want my fantastic OG Fitness home workout exercise bands please visit Amazon here . The price has just reduced for Christmas and if you use my special discount code of OGSALE01 you will get a further 15% off at checkout.

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Ordinary Guy Products!!! With a Discount

Hi Everybody,

What feels like months ago I promised you the opportunity to start to buy recommended fitness products with discounts from the retail price. Well after a lot more work than I anticipated I am very proud to say that the first product is now available on Amazon.

Please click the following Link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01KQAWUU6

All of my readers and subscribers can get a discount on the products by simply entering the discount promotion code OGSALE01 at point of purchase.

The first product for sale is a full set of my own Ordinary Guy Fitness branded Exercise Bands. These are perfect for people who want to work out from home, use in hotel rooms when they travel, take to work or simply don’t want to go to a Gym. They offer a varied range of resistance and can replicate virtually all of the exercises that you can do using normal gym equipment. Below is a short video that I posted previously showing some of their uses and exercises that you can do.

I do have a small favour to ask. In order to continue to offer products at discount I need to sell reasonable volumes and to do that I need some good reviews. So If you use the products and are pleased with them then I’d be extremely grateful if you could leave a positive review on Amazon (This especially applies to my family and friends….i know where you live). Of course if you aren’t happy with them for any reason then please go through the usual return process with Amazon and make sure you let me know so that I can sort the issue out.

In the meantime, I really hope you find them useful and over the coming months there will be more products to follow.

Take Care,

John

PS: If any of the links don’t work or you can’t access the product please let me know asap.

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Winter is the time to transform your body!!

summer-winter-bodiesWe all train and try to keep fit for a variety of different reasons: Health, weight loss, sport, to achieve a goal or simply for enjoyment. However one thing I think very few of us would deny is that we all like to look good, or as good as possible. That is especially the case as we move into summer. When the tree’s start to bloom, the sky brightens and the weather gets a bit warmer every lady I know swaps from winter wardrobe to summer wardrobe………often involving hours of deliberation and a great deal of standing in front of mirrors muttering to themselves.

It’s not just the ladies, us guys, or at least the vain ones like me, break out the t-shirts and shirts, and then stand side on to the mirror patting our guts and saying “I really must do something about this beer belly”.

Winter Training:

However what so many people fail to realise is that by then it is almost certainly too late, or is going to take an incredible amount of hard work and self discipline to really make the changes you want in time to hit the beaches in great bikini shape for July/August.

There are a few points I would make here. Firstly so many people see fitness, weight and shape control as exactly what I’ve just described……a summer sport if you like. Something not to be thought about too much when the days are cold and nights are dark. Then panic sets in as soon as spring comes. Well it’s pretty clear that that is the wrong way to approach things. Rather than crash diets and crash fitness plans it’s far better to take a much more year round, lifestyle and holistic approach. In previous articles here and here I talked about why continually going on seasonal or crash diets don’t work and how by being consistent over the long term you can achieve amazing effects AND still lead a fun and treat filled life.

Secondly, by leaving things late you will have to work much harder, physically punish yourself much more and also be much more rigid in your eating plan. If you have any significant weight or fat to lose or intend to build any real noticeable muscle, then trying to do that in 8-12 weeks is so much more difficult than doing it over a 6 month period. By going more slowly you can gradually shed the weight, still eat healthily but also still allow yourself the odd blowout. You can also work more effectively on your fitness regime as you will have more time to build in both cardio and metabolic training to help you shed the pounds or kilo’s, as well as time for muscle building and toning to give your body the shape you want.

winter-weight-trainingFinally, most people have more time in the winter. There are less BBQ’s to attend, holidays to go on, sunny evenings with friends and a bit less temptation to drive you off course. Even as a committed fitness fan I freely admit that when it is a sunny Sunday afternoon in the garden all I really want to do is crack open a couple of beers or get stuck into a nice chilled bottle of white wine, often washed down with some fattening snacks. In winter there is less cause to dress in your finery and go socialising and more chance to dig out the old tracksuits, set yourself some targets and warm yourself up by working hard. Then by Summer you can emerge like a Phoenix from the flames with a brand new set of feathers and looking magnificent (well that’s the plan at least).

So how should you go about this. Firstly you should spend five minutes giving some thought to and ideally writing down your goals. It could be as simple as “I want to fit in those skinny jeans that used to fit me”, or “I want to lose 20 lbs in weight”, or it could be something much more specific like I want to be able to run 5 miles and have built my shoulder, chest and arm muscles up significantly.

Then you simply break that down into workable and mouthful sized pieces. So if you want to lose 20lb in weight, that’s roughly 3.5 lb a month or just under 1lb a week. Believe me with some dietary changes and an increase in your exercise that is achievable for anyone over 6 months but would be far more difficult if not impossible in 8 weeks. Similarly if you hit the weights fairly hard in a structured programme, throw in some cardio and also make some changes in what you eat, then you can really transform your build and musculature over 6 months, much more so than you can do in 8-12 weeks.

The final and fun benefit of training hard in the winter is that it is hidden. Just think how you’ll feel Ladies on that first sunny weekend (about the end of June if you live in England) when you finally shed the heavy jumpers and wear a sleeveless blouse for the first time and all your friends gasp at how you have traded in your batwings for svelte and toned arms…….it can be done. So what you really need to do, as with almost everything I advise is change your mind set. It’s September now, the dark days are coming (if you’re in the northern hemisphere at least). Plan ahead. Picture how you want to look and feel by May/June next year and put your plan into practice now. Summer bodies are built in Winter so this Winter make it count!!

rocky-balboa-winter-training

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