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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HiiT with Weights – My first Video!

Hi Everybody,

I’m a shy retiring kind of guy at heart as my friends will tell you!! However I’m also on a mission to get my message on health, fitness, training and diet to as wide an audience as possible. So as a result I’ve had to bite the bullet and decide to start making YouTube video’s to post both on my website and other social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter etc. Believe me I find it slightly embarrassing at the moment but I guess I’ll get over that in time. Below is my first attempt and if I’m honest there are some mistakes in it. I’m sure I’ll get plenty of stick, especially from my friends, but I really would welcome your comments and thoughts, either on here or on the YouTube channel. If you like it then please like, share, subscribe etc.

HiiT with Weights:

This first video is an HiiT (High Intensity Interval Training) workout but with the added twist of using weights instead of just bodyweight exercises. I’m sure you all know the Body Coach Joe Wickes? He has done a fantastic job of getting the message out there about the positive benefits of HiiT, both in terms of fitness and weight loss or calorie burning. I want to take it up a gear by adding in some additional resistance in the form of weights. This will ensure that you still get that fabulous calorie burning metabolism boost from HiiT but at the same time get a little extra tweak in terms of toning and building some muscle. In this video I’m using 12.5kg/27.5lb dumbbells but you don’t have to do that. Anything from 1kg upwards is fine. This type of exercise would be perfect for all sorts of people from guys into building muscle who don’t want to do long boring cardio sessions on a treadmill or bike, to guys or girls who are looking to torch some fat, fire up their metabolism and tone up their thighs, butts, arms, shoulders and waists at the same time.

Here is the video, i hope you enjoy it and below are brief explanations of all of the exercises.

Dumbbell / Kettlebell Swings x 12: Traditionally this exercise is done with a kettlebell but a dumbbell is fine. Grip it firmly in both hands. Stand in a fairly wide (slightly more than shoulder width) stance. Swing down between your knees and at the same time bend your knees and at the waist slightly. Then swing your arms back up over head height and whilst doing that thrust up and forwards with your hips, concentrating on squeezing with your thighs and Glutes. Continue the same motion for 12 reps.

Shoulder Press x 12: This is pretty straightforward. Grasp both dumbbells firmly in your hands. Hold at shoulder height and push up above your head to full arm extension. Try to concentrate on lifting the weight with your shoulders rather than just using your triceps. The best way to do this is to concentrate on and think about mooving your shoulders up and towards your ears and initiating the movement from there rather than pushing through your elbows.

Goblet Squats x 12: Hold the weight at mid / upper chest level in both hands. Feet should be in a fairly wide (slightly wider than shoulder width) stance. Lower down into a deep squat (as deep as you can go) keeping the weight in front of you at chest level. Push back up by squeezing your thighs and glutes. Repeat 12 times.

Renegade Rows x 12: This is a tough exercise and some ladies unless pretty strong may struggle with it slightly. If that is the case just substitute in standard press ups or even knee press ups. Get down into a standard press up position using the dumbbells to support your weight. Lower down into a press up / push up. When you push back up and reach the top row (or pull up) one of the weights towards your arm pit, then lower back to the floor and repeat on the other side. This works your chest, arms, back and core muscles and will get you blowing.

Alternate Leg Lunges x 12: Most of you will have seen this before. Hold the weights at arm length by your sides. Take a large step forward with one leg and bend down towards the floor until your back knee touches or almost touches the ground. Then push firmly back up with your front leg and move back into a standing position. Then do the same on the other side. Do 12 reps or 6 on each side.

Bicep Curls x 12: This is usually a fairly easy exercise but by now you will be tired and blowing hard. Do not cheat the dumbbells up. Concentrate on keeping your body straight, do not lean back and swing them up. Curl the dumbbell upwards by squeezing your biceps hard.

That’s it. One circuit complete. Aim to do 3-6 sets depending how fit you are. It’s tougher than it looks especially as you start to up the weights. For most ladies I’d suggest starting with 1kg-4kg weights. For guys anything between 5kg and 10kg (unless of course you have been training for a while and are a strong, fit guy). The idea is not to shift massive amounts of weight but to train at high intensity burning lots of calories and firing up your metabolism for hours afterwards, by adding in the weights you will increase the workload and also tone and build muscle at the same time.

So that’s it. My first video. Feel free to poke fun (my friends) or make comments etc. As i said the videos will improve as i go along but it’s the content not the style that I’m more concerned with, after all this is “Ordinary Guy Fitness” and I’ve never claimed to be Stephen Spielberg. Above all I hope you enjoy and if you do then please like the posts, share the posts, comment on the posts and subscribe to my email list , Facebook page or YouTube channel.

Take care,

John

PS; The external link to the video is https://youtu.be/IXyi5Qr0yGk

 

How to Look & Feel Younger….Guaranteed!!

Looking good older

We all want the secret of eternal youth right? We all want to know how to slow down the ageing process, look our best, and convince the world that we really are 21 and always will be. Not only that , but as well as Thursday being the new Friday, most of us believe that 65 is the new 45. I’m 47 years old now and still do most of the same things and behave the same way (sometimes stupidly) that i did when i was 25. I plan on growing old disgracefully and being as fit and youthful looking as possible for as long as I can manage. Below are some tips which i guarantee that if you follow as much as possible you will look, feel and act younger than you are.

Tips on Staying Young:

#1. Do Resistance Based Weight Training. I know a lot of people hate the idea of this, especially some women who associate weight training with big bulky muscles and a lack of femininity. Well forget that idea straight away. You’d have to train your arse off and eat like a horse to change your body that way. It has been proven that weight training, done correctly has all sorts of benefits that make you look and feel younger and as i said in a previous blog post on my facebook page on 24th March there have been various studies that confirm the anti ageing benefits of training with weights. For a start it strengthens and tones not only your muscles and ligaments but also helps to increase bone density and strength. We all know that bones can weaken and even start to crumble as we get older and regular resistance training fights this process. Even if you don’t have access to a gym, resistance training using body weight or bands can have a fantastic positive effect. As well as strengthening and maintaining muscle tone, regular resistance training will raise your metabolic rate, aiding fat loss. Not only that but muscle is more metabolically active than fat. What does that mean? Well it means that 1 kg of muscle uses up more calories to maintain it than 1kg of fat. This means that as you become stronger, leaner and more muscular it actually becomes easier to maintain that shape and keep the weight off as your body naturally burns more calories. Great eh? Being fitter, stronger and leaner is guaranteed to make you look younger.

Old bodybuilder

#2. Reduce traditional lengthy cardio sessions and do HiiT (High Intensity Interval Training) instead. Why? Lots of reasons. Firstly from a purely practical point of view it takes a lot less time. You can achieve in 15 minutes what traditional cardio would take 45 minutes or more to do. HiiT has been proven to build more muscle tone, give a more intense cardiovascular workout thus improving your heart and lung function, AND raises your metabolic rate allowing you to continue to burn calories and fat for much longer after your workout than a long slow cardio workout would. Also from a purely aesthetic point of view there seems to be a connection with how people look. Take a look at many (not all) endurance athletes, long distance runners, long distance cyclists, triathletes etc. They often have a somewhat taut, gaunt appearance and lean, loose, sometimes saggy muscle tone. Compare that with sports that tend to use shorter bursts of more intense exercise such as sprinters, boxers (3 mins on, 1 minute off), gymnasts etc. They look more toned, less gaunt and yes it’s true….younger.

#3. Drink lots of water….loads of it, as much as you can get down your neck (within reason). Our bodies are largely made up of water. Studies have shown that up to 75% of people walk around partially dehydrated for much of the time. It’s just plain logic that if you are fully hydrated your cells will be more full of this life giving substance. Full cells = plumper and healthier looking skin, more luscious hair, clearer eyes, fuller muscle tone. That’s aside from the longer term health benefits of better digestion, less gut issues, improved kidney function, improved vacscular performance etc. People often think tea, coffee, juices all count for hydration but it’s not the same thing. Tea and coffee are both diuretics which means they make you pee or expel water from your body and juices, all juices, contain sugars. Try to drink 6 to 8 glasses of water every single day. Do it for a month and i guarantee you will be shocked and amazed at the difference it makes to your skin and overall sense of well being. People make me laugh when they say “how hard it is to drink 6 glasses of water a day” then go to the pub and drink 5 pints of larger or 5 Gin & Tonics in 2 or 3 hours. Don’t make excuses, get to the tap and drink yourself younger.

#4. Eat natural and whole foods. Again you don’t need to be a genius to work out that what you put inside your body is going to have an effect on how the outside looks. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a food facist that is going to dictate that you ONLY eat organic, never have a treat and never drink again for the rest of your life. God knows i have some bad habits and love a blow out now and then. However consistency is key. If you can eat well 75% of the time AND drink a lot of water it will 100% be reflected in how you look. What do i mean by eat well? Again it’s pretty simple. Try to eat loads of fresh foods. Fresh fish, meat, poultry, lots of veg, salads with 4 or 5 meals a week, lots of nuts, proper butter and dairy products, fruit, and DO NOT be afraid of fats as long as they are good fats eg fatty fish, lean meat and poultry, nuts, eggs avocado etc. A report came out in the UK press only yesterday  (see my facebook page) talking about the benefits of good fats and they aid not only muscle development and fat loss but keep your skin looking healthy, and some studies claim they even protect brain function longer term.

#5. Keep active. I’ve already talked about training and exercise so that is not what i mean. By keeping active I mean keep your mind and body active. Be passionate about life. Have hobbies, go to museums, eat out, travel, go on walks, read books, go to concerts, play golf or bowls, have a wide social circle, keep working even if part time once you reach retirement age. This mostly applies to older people who are perhaps at or beyond retirement age but the mindset also applied to the younger ones of us. I firmly believe (and I’m sure you can think of and name examples) that if you keep doing stuff (anything counts), stay active, keep your mind engaged and keep that verve for life, then it keeps you young in both mind and body.

#6. Act younger than you are. This one is very closely to linked to number 5 above. Some people use the phrase “act your age”. Well screw that. As soon as you start to do that you are on the slippery slope to doom. The world has changed, you are no longer middle aged as soon as you hit 50 and old when you hit 60. I’m not saying behave like an idiot the whole time, I’m saying that just because you get older that doesn’t mean you can’t do all or at least most of the things you always used to do. You may need to make some minor adjustments but just keep going for it. Laugh loudly, sing badly, dance embarrassingly (my friends will tell you I’m a world beater at this but I don’t care, i love it), take up hobbies that you enjoy and just generally try to seek out fun and big experiences wherever you can. The minute you start to think you are old, that’s what you will become. I think someone once said “I think therefore I am”…..or something like that. It’s true. You become what you believe you are. If you believe you will be successful in life, you will. If you believe you are invincible and will always stay young, you will, if you believe you are getting old and “can’t do that any more”…guess what, it’s a self fulfilling prophecy.

#7. Supplements. This is a very quick paragraph. I’m not really one for taking pills and potions. I take a protein shake and some creatine when I train, that’s it. What i mean by supplements are natural products that I believe, and there is a lot of evidence to back ity up, that are supremely healthy and have some amazing benefits for your body, fitness and skin. So just to briefly list some favourites. Ginger – add it to everything from tea to stir fries to salads. Honey – preferably a non mainstream organic honey. Green tea or other variations on herbal and green tea’s. Lemons – squeeze them into and onto everything, grate the skins, drink lemon water as often as you can. Chilli, again add to food as often as possible and put in salads, soups etc. Turmeric – add to food or make Turmeric milk, its has amazing properties. Cinnamon – the same as with Turmeric. Tomatoes – eat as often as possible. Avocado – eat almost every time you have anything cold. Nuts – all sorts and also spread nut butter everywhere and anywhere you want. There are others but if you can use these as often as possible you won’t go far wrong.

ginger-tea-with-lemon

#8.The obvious stuff – basic skin care, look after your teeth, dress well. I’ll be honest, I’m a bit slack here. I have never ever used a moisturiser or ANY sort of skin care product of any type ever. So I can’t really preach. All I’m really talking about are the basics. if you are covered in spots, have yellow teeth and wear baggy, shapeless clothes are you really going to look good and younger than you are? Probably not. So all I’m saying is to do whatever works for you to keep your skin looking moist and fresh, your teeth as white as possible (a 6 monthly dental hygienist appointment does wonders) and if possible choose some well coordinated, properly fitted clothes so that you look good when you go out. I bloody hate shopping and buy very very little, but when i do I like to buy a couple of things that are good quality, fit me well and show off my best qualities. Am I a vain overly egotistical sod….yeah probably, but you know what I don’t care. I embrace many of the tips I’ve given you above and am proud of it, i enjoy trying to look younger than I am. If people don’t like that, tough. In fact that may be my tip #9. Learn to not give a S***. Do things for you, because you want to and because they make you look and feel good. If some people don’t approve that is their problem. This is your life, grab it by the scruff of the neck, go out and live it.

Take Care,

John

PS: Click on the red links for access to extra info or other sites.

No Excuses – How to always find the Time!

Tennis SprintingJust a very quick post today, in and out, job done!

Many people will find reasons and make excuses for not having the time to work out. I understand that, life is very busy. However what YOU need to understand is that work outs and activity can come in many forms. It doesn’t need to be a full on Gym session. ALL activity counts. Today is an example.

In a previous article i talked about Sprints remember (here it is) Well It’s bank holiday Monday. I’m at home with my two sons this morning. So what are we going to do. Well luckily they are sports fanatics so they are well into my plan. We are heading to the park for 45 mins on the free tennis courts. Hitting a ball around (and constantly chasing the mis-hit ones) counts as good activity, for me and them. Then on the field next to the courts is a whitewashed 400m running track on the grass. Perfect excuse for 10/15 minutes of sprints and runs to finish. They both love the idea and it is a great fat burner for me.

So 45 minutes of Tennis. Maybe 1 x 400m at my best pace followed by 6 x 50m interval sprints. That’s it. Metabolism fired into overdrive. Fat burning capability increased massively for today, children entertained. Perfect.

There are no excuses. You can always do something and those little extra activities are what will make ALL the difference.

Keep Working.

Take Care,

John

Todays Training- Resistance Super Sets, HiiT stylie!

CircuitsSummer is coming, I have a holiday booked and I freely admit I’m vain. I like to look as good as i can in my beach shorts so need to start adjusting my training accordingly. Therefore I’ll still be hitting the weights but will be making some changes to how i train a couple of time a week. Generally speaking I’ll be throwing in some weights based resistance circuits, a bit more HiiT and just aiming to burn some fat and get a bit leaner. Also trying to be good when it comes to food and diet so bye bye to the Wine, Beer and Crisps that I love (well at least to some extent, I’m not an angel after all).

So here is todays training workout. Basically i picked sets of two exercises at a time and did them as Supersets with very little rest.

I started with Hanging Leg raises supersetted with Chest/Tricep dips on parallel bars. 8 hanging leg raises, straight into 12 dips. Then rest for around 45 seconds and repeat. 3 sets in total.

Next was standing alternate arm shoulder press with 15kg dumbbells supersetted with Kettlebell swings (2 hands between legs). Concentrate on bracing the core when doing the shoulder press and pushing with the shoulders not the triceps and then thrusting forward with the hips and glutes when doing the swing. 10 reps each side for the dumbbell press and then 12 reps for the Kettlebell swings.3 sets in total.

Next bent over Dumbbell rows supersetted with Goblet squats. Again using the same 15kg Dumbells in each hand concentrate on squeezing the weight up, back and into the side and pulling with the back rather than the Bicep, then standard Goblet squats with a fairly wide Sumo stance and going down as deep as possible to stretch the Glutes and Hamstrings. 3 sets in total.

Next I used an exercise ball as a bench and did Dumbell Chest press. The ball wobbles slightly which means you engage your core to maintain stability and you also get a really deep stretch in your chest as you lower the weight down. 15kg for 10 reps.This was immediately followed by standard exercise ball crunches x 15 reps. 3 sets in total.

The final exercises of the circuit were on the cable machine. I set up a single handle at mid chest level with 20kg on it. Then did Cable twists or woodchoppers as they are sometimes called. 10 reps on the right and then 10 on the left. I supersetted this with Tricep pushdowns on another machine. 12 reps at 50kg.

That was it for the weights. These exercises used pretty much every part of my body – Shoulders, Chest, Back, Legs, Abs etc and gave me a pretty good full body workout but would also have burnt calories due to the superset effect and low rest periods.

Finally i headed over to the running machine. Incline up to 4.5. Speed up to almost sprint level. I jumped on and did 20 seconds running at speed, then stepped off and rested for 30 seconds. Repeated this 6 time. Then did 2 more reps with 30 seconds sprinting and 30 seconds rest so 8 in total.

That’s it, done. Back to doing some mass building stuff tomorrow in training and then something similar to this on Friday maybe. As always, if you have any questions please ask. It’s probably cheeky of me to ask but if you are enjoying these posts, or any of the stuff i put out, then please share or Like them from the website or Facebook, Linked In or wherever you are reading them. I really appreciate it.

Have a good evening.

Take Care,

John

 

Todays Training – Chest, Biceps and Some HiiT

Kiddie Biceps

Just a very quick training diary update for today. Todays aim was to hit my chest hard, then do some Bicep work and finish with a few rounds of a HiiT type routine. It’s late and I’m knackered so I’ll keep this brief.

Chest: Started with Dumbbell presses on a very low (almost flat incline), maybe around 15 degrees. 1 x warm up set of 12 reps @ 17.5kg in each hand. Then some proper sets. 1 x 10 reps@24kg, 1 x 6 reps@30kg, 1 x 5@30kg, 1 x 8 reps@22kg and 1 x 10@17.5kg. Tried to keep rest to a max 1 minute between sets.

Then put the incline up slightly but still only about 30 degrees. The next exercise was again dumbbell press but alternating from hand to hand. So basically press both dumbbels overhead, then lower one back to your chest whilst keeping the other hand extended overhead. This really works your chest well but has the added advantage of working your core as you need to maintain your balance and prevent rotation of your body.  1 x 10 reps (each side)@22kg, 1 x 8 reps @24kg, 2 x 10 reps @17.5kg.

Then 4 sets of cable crossovers @20kg each side.

Finally I shot across to the seated front bench press machine and knocked out one set of 40 reps at a low weight (think it was about 20kg in total) just to really fatigue the chest.

Biecps: I decided to start with an exercise I am really poor at but which is a great mass builder, close grip chin ups focusing on pulling with Biceps rather than using the back. 5 sets and managed a feeble 6 reps, 6 reps, 5 reps, 5 reps and a final 3 and a bit. Definitely needs work.

Then good old fashioned standing barbell curls. 4 sets of 10 @ 35kg and really focusing on no body movement, squeezing the weight up with the biceps and no body movement with a slow lowering of the weight.

Finally seated incline dumbbell curls with a drop set. 10 reps @10kg per hand, then no rest into 10 reps@6kg, then 10 x 3kg. Repeated this 3 times. I realise the weights sound really low but if you go slow, don’t cheat and really squeeze and isolate your bicep it hurts like crazy by the end.

Finally onto a quick HiiT (High Intensity Interval Training) circuit.

30 jumping jacks, no rest into 12 press ups, into 16 (8 each side) alternate leg jack knives, into 20 twisting slow mountain climbers and then 20 (10 each side) jumping alternate leg lunges. Had about a minutes rest then went again. Did it 4 times.

That’s it, am already feeling the chest tonight but not so much the biceps. Think I’ll probably do some more resistance circuit work tomorrow. Have a good night.

Take Care,

John

6 Exercises that Build Muscle Fast!!

ArnoldOk so maybe we can’t all look like Arnold, but we can dream right? The summer is coming, T-Shirt season is upon us and most guys would love a little extra muscle in the parts that show. However it isn’t quite as easy as just grabbing a couple of dumbbells and doing curls until your arms fall off. There is some theory behind gaining muscle and particularly in trying to gain it quickly.

Firstly a little bit of science. In order to gain muscle or at least to shed some fat and show off the muscle underneath, you need to eat right AND get your body, it’s metabolism and hormones working the right way to produce that muscle. To do that you need to do a few things. Concentrate on eating high protein, lean foods such as Chicken, Turkey, Fish, lean red meat, nuts, beans and lots of vegetables as well as good carbs such as Sweet Potato and brown rice. Cut back on Acohol, ditch sweet/fizzy drinks and restrict white carbs such as bread, pasta, potatoes etc. Not only will eating this way provide your body with the right nutrients to build muscle but it will also help fire up one of the most important hormones in your body, Testosterone. If you can increase your Testosterone levels naturally it becomes far easier to both gain muscle size AND shed fat.

The second way to boost your T levels and therefore your muscle building potential is to do the RIGHT exercises, ones that will stimulate your entire nervous systems and FORCE your body to produce more testosterone and grow muscle. So what are those exercises? Well I have listed 6 of the best weight and body training exercises below that if you can hit hard 3 times a week for 2 to 3 months you should be in great speedo shape by the time the weather finally warms up. (This assumes you live in England like me).

They key thing here is to focus on “compound” exercises. Those are exercises that use multiple body parts at one time and force your nervous system, muscles and metabolism to respond. I know the temptation is to focus on your arms but believe me, if you follow these lifts and steer clear of isolation exercises like curls you will gain more muscle, more quickly than you thought possible. If you go to the Gym three times a week do all 6 exercises for only 3 sets of 8-10 reps at as heavy a weight as you can manage for that number of reps, you will gain strength and size very quickly. Don’t do more, you will only injure yourself or overload your system.

Click on the links highlighted in red for demo’s of the exercises. Forgive the cheesiness of a couple of these videos.

The Deadlift: One of the best exercises you can do. It works your entire back, your traps, Your legs, glutes (butt) and hip flexors. However, be careful. It is a complex exercise and if done wrongly can damage your lower back. Take it slowly, use strict form and use a weight that is heavy but manageable. You are not trying to break world records, just build some muscle.

The Squat: I love squats, no idea why, i just enjoy doing them. Squats will again work your entire lower body, thighs, glutes etc but will also actively engage your core muscles meaning you’ll improve your abs without even working them directly. Again focus on good form and use a weight that will allow you to squat as deeply as you can. The closer your arse gets to the floor the more muscles you will engage and it is also better for your knees. Squatting also gets you blowing and is great for cardio and your metabolism.

Bench Press: Everyone loves the bench press right? Well not necessarily. The bench is famed for building chest size and strength but actually that is not what it is best for. A barbell bench press actually works the triceps and deltoids (Shoulders) almost as much as the chest. However it is included here for precisely that reason, it is a compound movement that uses a number of muscles.

Military Press: This is a fantastic exercise to add shoulder size and width, grow your triceps and also builds great core strength which stabilises your body as you push the weight above your head.

Bent Over Row: This works your entire back as well as biceps and will help give you that deep wide looking back that fills T-shirts as well as promoting overall body strength. It will also work on bicep strength and size which I know you all want. You can use an overhand or underhand grip but do not go with too heavy a weight and keep strict form.

Pull Ups/Chin Ups: This is a fabulous but very tough exercise to conquer and build up any volume on. If you can use it correctly, do it regularly and start to do some decent numbers it will give you fabulous Lats to create that wide V-shaped, narrow waisted look that we all want. It is also one of the best exercises you can do for biceps but is often overlooked. Wide grip pull ups work best for a wide back and chin ups for your biceps. If you are new to this exercise a good way to do it is to do sets of just 2 to 3 reps and aim for 5 to 6 sets with only 30/40 seconds rest in between, then build up to longer sets and more reps as you become stronger.

That’s it. It seems too simple to you I’d imagine but believe me if you do this full routine 3 times a week and push yourself as hard as you can in every session as well as eating the right food you will shed fat and grow muscle like you wouldn’t believe. To finish each work out I’d add in 3 sets of hanging leg/knee raises super setted with 3 x 45 second planks. Then do 5 minutes of HiiT (High Intensity Interval Training) on either the rowing machine or running machine. Basically go as fast as you can for 30 seconds then as slow as you can (or stop) for 30 seconds and repeat for 5 minutes.

The whole work out should take no more than an hour max. After 2 to three months you will probably get bored and need to add more variety into the routine but by then you will have added an inch to your arms, 2 inches to your chest, have a wider back and shoulders, jeans busting thighs and will have lost 2 to 3 inches from your waist. 

Have fun, take care and remember i really would welcome any comments or questions,

John

PS: I realise that this is called Ordinary Guy Fitness and that many of the people in these video’s are very far from Ordinary guys or girls but that’s the nature of the internet and YouTube. It doesn’t change the fact that you, as an ordinary person can do all the same exercises that they can.