Look good, feel good, play good

I have written this blog with rugby as an example, however I believe it would cross over to many athletes of all levels, especially older athletes who have been training for a long time.

When it comes to strength and conditioning there is a huge amount of scientific/anecdotal information available guiding coaches on how to improve certain physiological qualities, with a view to get every last inch out of an athlete come game day. Some of this information has an affect on how you programme, and can occasionally contradict your beliefs or philosophies on training, but can also add huge value to your programme going forward.

Having been out of rugby for 8 months now my philosophies have certainly been challenged from reading, exploring new training methods, and visiting other coaches to pick up ideas, however I sometimes need to remind myself of how I felt being the other side of the whitewash.

Towards the end of my career I realised that all I needed as a player to stand a chance of playing well was for my body to feel good, and ideally look like I was in good shape. I wasn't chasing any new test scores, I wasn't getting any stronger, I certainly wasn't getting any faster, and it took me ages to recover, so trying to beat my squat 1RM mid-season was of little interest. I had a loose tick-list that if I completed it on a weekly basis, made me feel good.. So here it is.

1. To have done some upper body weights late in the week so I feet tight (as does my shirt)
2. Have sprinted flat out during the week so I felt at my fastest (which wasn't very fast)
3 Little tight in the legs (hammys especially).
4. Have had 8 hours sleep, bed before 11 and up before 9.
5. Just getting peckish as I walked onto the field, last meal 3 hours before kick off.
6. Some naughty house music in the changing rooms.

When athletes have been training for over 5 years they should be very close to the peak of their genetic potential and they should have a good idea on how to train. I believe that after this point it  the job of an S and C coach to maintain these qualities, keep them injury free, and be flexible with how you programme, so they have some control about how they train, and more importantly feel. I'm sure many athletes have a list like mine, and although sometimes not optimal, works for them.
Last week on of the rugby boys asked if they could lift heavier in the week and add a hypertrophy session at the end of the week, as he felt like this is what he needed. It was a player I trust, who is diligent with his training and knows his body, so of course I said yes, and I will programme accordingly. This allows him to get what he wants, and I still have some control over what he is doing week to week, a win win.

I believe this has huge value in how athletes perform, and should be taken into consideration much more of often. It may not always be scientific, but experienced athletes know what makes them tick better than I do.

Let me know if you have a tick-list.

Andy

Do what you enjoy, or what works for you.

Today the fitness community will come out on mass with motivational quotes, 'revolutionary fat loss diets', and exercise programmes to advise you on how to trim off those Xmas calories.

With this is mind I will keep this short and sweet. Most programmes and diets fail because the person undertaking them does not ENJOY them.

Exercise.

Find something you like to do, or something you would like to learn to do, and do that for most of your available gym time. If there is something you don't enjoy particularly, but you need it to achieve your goals, do the minimum possible dose possible to achieve those goals.


For example. I enjoy weights, and last year I wanted to learn how to box. I don't particularly enjoy 'cardio', but I need it to keep my heart and lungs up to scratch. I therefore do 3 weights sessions a week, I use the boxing for cardio, and try and get on a watt bike once a week. This amount of training may not be feasible for some, but it works for me. FIND WHAT WORKS FOR YOU.

Diet

This is made very complex by some, but it needn't be. There are many techniques to achieve fat loss, but essentially you need to consistently eat slightly less calories than you use. The approach below works for me, but may not work for others.
1. Find how many calories you need to eat to get to your goal.
2. Find some foods you enjoy to get to those calories.
3. Make sure you get some protein at every meal
4. Add vegetables that you enjoy to as many meals as possible.
5. Drink plenty of water

If someone tells you to eat vegetable soup 3 times a day, and you hate vegetable soup, I'd  imagine this would become tedious after a while, so don't even waste your time. FIND WHAT WORKS FOR YOU.

I hope this helps

Andy

 

Why would you not track your calories once in a while?

A lot of people aren't keen on tracking their calories, feeling like they are becoming 'obsessive', or that it is an unhealthy state of mind. For the record, I COMPLETELY disagree. I heard an interesting video on facebook the other day comparing your calorie intake to your bank account.

Imagine that going into your overdraft is the same as eating too many calories. You would never ignore how much you had in your account, or simply guess how much you are spending and hope it will be ok, it would be financial suicide, so why would you guess when it comes to your body?

It is a hugely beneficial exercise to track your calories once in a while. It doesn't have to be forever, but you will be surprised how much you will learn. You will then be able to formulate a plan of what to eat on a daily basis, helping to keep your weight where you want it to be for the long term.

To have a go, download the myfitnesspal app and get recording.

For more information on Health and fitness or to book a training consultation, contact me through the form on www.razor-performance.co.uk/contact/

A simple guide to macronutrient needs for a male.

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Basic Guide to Calories and Macronutrients.

Calories needed  per day = Bodyweight (kgs) x 22 = Calories to keep all bodily functions running.

Do you want to lose Weight? - 500kcals

Gain weight + 500kcals

Are you training today?

Yes + 500kcals per session

No – Stay the same

Do you have an active job? 
Yes xtotal calories by 1.4
Non Active Job x 1.2

Total Calories - Example for a 100kg male trying to gain weight
e.g. 100kg male 100kg x 22 = 2200
Non active job 2200 x 1.2 = 2640
Gain weight 2640 + 500 = 3140
Training day - YES (1 session)
3140 + 500 = 3640
= 3640
Macronutrients - Example for a 100kg man
• Protein = 2 - 2.4g per kg body weight. E.g 100kgs x 2.4g = 240grams

Fat = 0.9-1g per kg Body weight. E.g 100kgs x 1g = 100grams

Carbohydrate (This is where it is tricky)

Total Calories = 3640 Protein contains 4 calories per gram = 240 x 4 = 960 Calories

Fat contains 9 calories per gram = 100 x 9 = 900 calories

Therefore 3640 – (960 + 900) = 1780 calories left to fill with carbs. Carbs contain 4kcals per gram so 1780/4 = 445 grams of carbs.

Important notes
• Protein and fat stay pretty much the same EVERYDAY. Carbohydrate should be manipulated for training. • The day before a game you must eat 4g/kg Bodyweight in Carbs for performance • Eat Carbs the meal before and the meal after training for maximum performance, recovery and body composition. • Eat Loads of Green vegetables, loads and loads.

Want to build muscle, you're probably not eating enough!

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The biggest problem I encounter with men trying to add muscle mass is the amount they are eating. 'Eating clean' has become a buzz phrase for those avoiding any processed or calorie dense food, instead opting for lean meats, fish, salad, vegetables and anything else considered 'clean'. This blog is by no means discouraging people from this, and I applaud the discipline, however I just wanted to put the issue into perspective with an example of how much clean food you need to eat to add weight.

A typical 80kg man enters the gym, wanting to add muscle mass.

- Typically he needs 1700 calories when at rest to live and for all bodily functions to be working and correct. Note, this is him lying down doing sweet FA all day. (Future blogs will show how to work this out).
- If he has a sedentary job (office based) he would need to times this by 1.2 meaning he needs 2040 calories to achieve his daily work. A busy job would need to times this by 1.4 - 1.5
- He then goes to the gym and does a heavy weights session, so needs an extra 500 calories. So we are up to 2540 to keep his weight the same.
- We then need to add weight, so need to add at least 300 kcals per day, but ideally 500, so suddenly we are up to a conservative 3000 calories.

So on a training day let say that he needs
2g/kg of protein = 200g =800kcals
1g/kg of fat = 100g = 900kcals
And the rest carbs = 325g = 1300kcals

Here is what a typical day could look like

Breakfast
4 eggs on brown toast

Snack
Total 0% yoghurt 250g (half a large pot)
Blueberries
Honey
45g oats

Lunch 2
2 Chicken Breasts
Salad (lettuce/tomatoes/quarter of an avocado)
1 pack of rice (think uncle bens packet, whole pack)

Dinner
Salmon fillet
Green beans
Broccoli
2 small sweet potatoes

Pre bed
Protein shake.

This is a conservative day, which needs to be consistent, so if you aren't eating this much or more, you will struggle!!

For more information visit www.razor-performance.com.

Cross fit, the debate continues..here is my take.

Cross fit, the debate continues..here is my take.

So cross fit seems to be the new fitness craze sweeping the world, with Reebok investing millions trying to make it a 'sport', and many more millions taking part. So why is it splitting the opinion of so many strength and conditioning professionals?

For those who have never heard of cross fit, it is made up of a set of exercises which can be gym based (e.g weight lifting exercises), random physical exercises (e.g. skipping, rope climbing, tyre flips and many many more), cardio based execises

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Arm curls not the answer for big biceps!!

Arm curls not the answer for big biceps!!

My first post has been inspired by my first visit to my new local gym. I was downstairs in the free weights room with 8 other men, and 6, that right, 6 of them were doing arm curls. Now don't get me wrong, at the end of a weights session it always feels good to do arm burnout, but to improve the size and strength of your arms, you need to do large, compound exercises (exercises that use multiple muscles). These exercises will ultimately be targeting other muscles but you will also need to use your arms indirectly to perform them.

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