Gym Factory News

March 7, 2017

“The Gym Trip …”

Its 5.30 on a hot Wednesday summer afternoon and I’m leaving my office in the Sydney CBD, then walking through the crowded footpath along George Street heading for the Wynyard bus stops so I can stand in a long queue to then get the opportunity to sit or stand for an hour on a crowded bus heading back to the northern beaches.

Frankly, its “hump day” and I am feeling a bit flat and “over it” but then I kick myself… “this negative thinking isn’t achieving anything – how about a bit of positive!”. I think about looking forward to going to the gym again tonight and how good training makes me feel and how great it would be if everyone could feel that good all the time.

So now the positive feelings are kicking in as the bus trundles along and I start thinking about what I love about health and fitness: (warning – this is from the heart so going to come across as pretty tragic but anyway…..)

I love:

  1. That exercising is just heaps of fun……come on you know it is! It’s a lot like what we did naturally as kids, running around and always trying new things and testing ourselves. I know we all mutter a bit about how hard that session was, or that we have sore muscles from pushing weights around but really, I reckon we just love it and that’s why we keep coming back for more and more….
  2. Feeling fit and healthy, your body feels alive and you can sense it appreciates and positively responds to the exercise it gets…
  3. Feeling much more vibrant, happy and relaxed after working out than what you did when first you walked into the gym….
  4. The proven benefits of regular and challenging exercise….lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, lower resting heart rate (just like an athlete ha ha), greater bone density, stronger muscles and joints, better circulation, better lung capacity, greater endurance, better posture etc etc…
  5. Learning about and appreciating your own body – how the individual parts work together, what parts are strong and what parts need working on, how it quickly adapts to that new exercise or weight like it always worked that way….
  6. Learning new training techniques that are so unfamiliar to your mind and body that you have to cope with that initial “unco” feeling and thoughts of “I hope no-one is watching”, but before long its feeling like “this is starting to work” and then “I’ve got this” and ultimately “now I want to take it to the next level”…
  7. The huge variety of types of gym based exercises you can enjoy …free weights, cable machines, cardio boxing, HIIT, Tabata sessions, unilateral exercises, super sets, drop sets, boot camps, pump classes, circuits, AMRAPS, core, yoga …. aren’t they all just music to your ears too? ha ha…
  8. The satisfaction you get from achieving your own small goals – lifting a weight that you couldn’t safely lift 3 months ago, killing a Tabata session that you struggled with last time, nailing some extended “core” work that you just couldn’t do without stopping before ….
  9. That “endorphins” high you have for hours and hours after a high intensity class or a really satisfying weights session where you pushed yourself to hit new levels.…
  10. That getting into health and fitness has made you so much more conscious of the importance of really good nutrition and the positive effects that brings for your energy levels, endurance, mind set and happiness….
  11. That it doesn’t matter that you are not the biggest, strongest, fittest, most balanced or most flexible. Whether you are old or young, heavy or light, tall or short…. all that matters is that you are doing what you love and what makes you feel great in a massively positive environment with a lot of great people around you…
  12. That you are happier with what you see in the mirror every day – that is the constantly improving version of “me”….
  13. The great vibe that comes with challenging yourself in the company of other like-minded, positive, goal oriented, brave, health and fitness conscious people……
  14. That the PTs really care, and they want to help people change their lives. That they turn up at 5am and will still be available at 8pm with a laugh or smile. That they themselves are motivated and positive, and they help their clients become more motivated and positive…
  15. Being part of the growing community of people who prioritize being fit and healthy via fitness / gym activities. Over the past 10 years this community has increased from 12% to over 17% of Aussies (and more females than males …go the girls!)

So back to the bus trip, it’s almost over for another day, and I am feeling really good about being back in the gym in half an hour. Best of all – it’s only a few weeks before I can hit my next goal in helping as many people as possible feel that “health and fitness” buzz, and capture all these benefits when I take my next step and become a full time Personal Trainer and fitness class leader.

(Ha ha – it’s long way from sneaking into an old locked-up gym in Bondi Road at 6am with a mate so we could “work out” together in preparation for the school rugby team U14’s trials…….)

Tony

#fitness #goals #newyears #warriewood #northernbeaches #thegymfactory #monavale #elanora #newport #narrabeen #collaroy #beaches #gym #weightloss #transformation #bayview #churchpoint #muscle #healthy2017 #lifegoals #followyourdreams #dontstayinarut #controlyourfuture

February 21, 2017

MAKE A WEIGHT DATE

Let me tell you something about myself. Guy’s and Gal’s, I dislike cardio IMMENSELY. I won’t say I hate it, because I understand and appreciate its benefits, but for me, well, nup! If you ever see me going for a leisurely run beside the road, you should pull over and offer me a lift because I’m either drunk and don’t know where I am, or my car has broken down.

I much prefer, and am a huge advocate for the art of strength and weight training. I find that it pushes me more physically, and mentally than its cardio cousin, and being someone with a chronically short attention span, I find I’m more ‘engaged’ in my training when weights are involved. I’m more driven to push harder and be better. Plus, being strong is impressive. And if you’re REALLY strong…it’s REALLY DAMN IMPRESSIVE!

Unfortunately, there are a few stigmas that are associated with weight lifting, particularly among females. So firstly, let me debunk the biggest myth of them all. Ladies, if you lift weights you are NOT GOING TO TURN INTO A MAN! That’s because women simply don’t produce enough testosterone to grow manly muscles. Yes, you can increase your muscle mass and decrease your body fat to look toned but you’ll never be ripping out of your tops, don’t worry.

Now, with that covered, here are just a few of the benefits of lifting heavy things and putting them down again:
1) Increased muscle mass will speed up your metabolism, helping you to burn more calories when at rest because muscle burns more calories than fat. It will also allow you to eat more food without putting on weight. (Sign Me UP!)
2) Everyday activities will become easier as your body gets stronger. Just think, you just might be able to carry all your shopping bags into the house in one trip!
3) Bone density is improved by putting heavy loads onto your bones through activities like weight lifting. This is particularly important as you age and you can actually reverse the early signs of osteopenia or osteoporosis through weight lifting.
4) You’ll get lean, that all-encompassing golden fitness goal. While you might not see any difference on the scales, your clothes will feel looser and you will be tighter all over as 1lb of muscle takes up a lot less space than 1lb of fat.
5) Your posture will improve, instantly giving the illusion that you’re taller and slimmer. By strengthening your core (including your back) you’ll be able to pull your shoulder-blades down your back, elongating your neck and pulling in your waist.
6) Improves motor skills like balance and co-ordination. If you can clean and jerk like a boss then your everyday life will be a breeze.
7) Decreases the risk of injury through strengthening bones, ligaments and tendons. Say goodbye to back pain, twisted ankles and twinges in your knees.
8) Weight lifting, like any exercise, releases endorphins which will instantly lift your mood and make everything seem better. Remember this one when you can’t be bothered to go to the gym.
9) It allows you to focus very specifically on muscles and areas that you want to work. For example, you can work on bulking up your calves, or ‘toning’ your upper arms by working on your biceps and triceps. I seem to spend an extraordinary amount of time on my legs for some reason…(shut-up, I know, you can’t tell!)

When you start weight lifting it’s a good idea to have a session either with a Personal Trainer or Gym Instructor so that they can show you the proper form and technique on the resistance machines and free weights. Technique is so important when you’re loading your body with heavy things as it can be very easy to do something wrong and not work out the part of your body that you’re trying to target, it’s also an injury risk if you’re not doing the exercises correctly.

If you have any queries or are interested in slinging some iron, let’s get in touch, have a chat and put a plan in place. If you want to start lifting heavy things with me, I’ll see you at the bar!

Steve.

#fitness #goals #newyears #warriewood #northernbeaches #thegymfactory #monavale #elanora #newport #narrabeen #collaroy #beaches #gym #weightloss #transformation #bayview #churchpoint #muscle #healthy2017

February 3, 2017

What’s the secret?!

If I had a dollar for every time I have been asked that this month, I would have a fair amount of dollars.

So what’s the secret to weight loss? Well, firstly I am going to answer your question with a question – why is everybody looking for the secret, the quick fix, the easy way to achieve? Because let’s be honest, we are. We are looking for something that is easy; no one really wants to put in the hard yards.

But I am here to tell you that the secret is not an easy fix, it doesn’t even come close to being easy. The secret to weight loss is bloody hard work, not eating half the rubbish you want to eat and at the end of the day it comes down to being good at doing the above day in – day out.

I have been a Personal Trainer for the past six years. In that time I initially lost 15kgs, gained 25kgs (and a baby) and have gone on to lose 23kgs in the past 10months.

Firstly let me just put two things out there;

  1. I did not by any means expect to put on 25kgs during my pregnancy in 2016. Ok once maybe I did eat 40 dim sims somewhere in a dark place called my first trimester, but for that I didn’t deserve 25kgs. It just happened. But hey! I had never been pregnant before; I was so far out of my comfort zone, literally.
  2. I did not spend the first 10 months of motherhood, stressing over my weight and how I would get it off. I truly believe no mother should.

I’m not trying to focus solely on post pregnancy weight loss in this blog, but I believe what I have learnt in the past year could possibly help anyone who is in search of weight loss, a healthier body, a more toned body, a fitter body, a happier you!

As mentioned, I’ve lost weight before, big numbers, and have helped numerous clients lose big numbers. I’ve seen all types of motivations, temptations, successes and hurdles. Interestingly enough this past year was the first time I haven’t been that overly concerned with what I looked like, and what the scales said.

Rewind back to around August 2016, I was a new exhausted Mum. My decision that something needed to change was when I asked my husband one day what he had for lunch at work? When he asked me what I had I simply replied with, “all I have eaten today is vegemite toast and two coffees”. It was 5pm by this stage. I had a bit of a ‘what the’ moment and thought, this is not me, I know better than this. That day I went to the gym, for me, and I ordered a food service to remind me what portion control was again and I made a change for me, no one else, me.

The secret to getting the ball rolling when it comes to weight loss is to firstly be in a place where YOU are ready, if you are not ready; it’s not going to happen. When you are ready, set a goal. Something that you want, not something someone else wants for you. And most importantly choose a path that you ENJOY!

Do not slog through boring exercise routines that you dread and live day-to-day eating foods that you despise. If you choose a path that you do not enjoy, it will not last, neither will the weight loss. That I can promise you.

When I was just out of hospital a nurse said to me “this is no time to stress about baby weight. This is hard, life is going to be hard so give yourself a reward every day”. THIS IS GOLD. Honestly I don’t think I will ever forget that lady telling me this. I once read that post pregnancy is a time to kick the cravings. No, no it is not. If a new mum wants a handful of arrow roots whilst binging on net flix while the baby sleeps, you go girlfriend. This stage is survival, no time for a strict diet routine. Believe me, been there, eaten the biscuits.

Whether you are a teenager, adult, parent, grandparent, full time worker, part time worker or a stay at home mum. Life is hard. Why shouldn’t you reward yourself every day? So I have chocolate every single day. You don’t need to read that twice, I said it. I just came up with a way that I could feel good about treating myself whilst in work mode. I buy individually wrapped chocolate bars (2 squares) that way I’m not tempted to eat a block.

So my advice to you is treat yo’self, it doesn’t have to be in the same way I do and I’m by no means telling you to go out and eat a big mac but you do have to enjoy the ride. Choose your process; make sure you choose the path that you actually enjoy! I am all for a cheat meal (not when you have eaten well for three days, give it a week!), a glass of wine, a piece of cake and popcorn at the movies BUT you do need to put in the hard yards 99% of the time.

Whilst I do believe 90% of weight loss comes down to what you eat, the training component is also so very important. You have to move, firstly to feel good and secondly to lose the weight. Pick a process you enjoy – training solo, training with a friend, training with a trainer, your favourite class, cardio, weights. It is your choice, choose what you enjoy and go for it! I will put it out there that I am 100% behind the idea that it is a healthy balance of weights and cardio that enables the weight to move, happy to speak to anyone about that.

Everyone is on their own journey. If weight loss is the path you want to follow sometimes it is about hearing someone else’s story, feeling guided in the right direction and feeling accountable to your goals. Here are 10 facts about my latest journey that might encourage you to get the ball rolling on your goals.

  1. I eat 5 – 6 meals per day
  2. Water and hydration is something I struggle with
  3. I am a personal trainer who pays a personal trainer to train me. I simply don’t train as hard on my own
  4. Every now and then I buy a food service to remind me about portion control, then I go on to prep all my meals my self
  5. I can’t stand when people say ‘just because it’s there doesn’t mean you have to eat it’, yes I will eat that bag of chips, because they are there
  6. I train 5 days a week, and I do a lot of weights
  7. I cannot stand running
  8. I was not prepared for lunch last Saturday so I ate one of my babies frozen meals (chicken, rice and veg), it was that or cereal
  9. It took 3 months for people to mention I had lost weight, it took me four months to really notice and feel it
  10. I eat bread everyday, love me some toast

At the end of the day everyone is on their own journey, with their own goals. There is no one secret to weight loss, but if you see me in the gym I would be more than happy to talk to you about how I go about dropping the kg’s.

Xx Ash

#fitness #goals #newyears #warriewood #northernbeaches #thegymfactory #monavale #elanora #newport #narrabeen #collaroy #beaches #gym #weightloss #transformation #bayview #churchpoint #muscle #healthy2017

January 19, 2017

Training as a Mum

Can I tell you what the hardest thing is that I have ever done? A half marathon? A 200kg leg press? Giving birth? Jo’s ‘Pump it up class’? Nope. None of these things even come close.

It was becoming a mum.

I read every baby book from cover to cover while pregnant with my first, 8 years ago. But none of them even came close to preparing me for what I was about to go through. Baby books are all about, yep, you guessed it, the baby- how to settle and feed your bub and how to deal with potential problems or issues they may have. There is hardly any information for mum on how to cope and what you will go through emotionally- the exhaustion that feels like it is never going to end, the loneliness you feel when you are at home all day with a screaming baby, and the frustration you feel because everyone seems to make it look easy – Facebook and Instagram are full of pics of happy smiling mums and bubs, but you can hardly manage to brush your hair, let alone put make up on and take a photo!

For me, I felt like I lost myself. I was no longer me. I was a mum and I was doing everything for this little devil, oops I mean baby, who needed me 24/7! Don’t get me wrong, I Ioved being a mum but I just felt a bit lost, and like my whole life had suddenly changed.

After about a year I decided – ok….actually my husband encouraged me- to start looking after ME. (I think he realized that if I started doing some things for me, I would be much easier to live with!)

Did you know that you can be an awesome mum and at the same time, still have a life of your own? I know- shock, horror!!!! It’s actually true! And I would even go so far as to say that you can become an even BETTER mum because you get to focus on YOU so when you are with the kids, you are 100% there and much more patient and ready to tackle any issues!

It is ok to look after yourself, treat yourself and put yourself first sometimes as a mum. For me, that started with getting fit and feeling GOOD about myself again.

At The Gym Factory, you can put your kids in the crèche for 90 mins- that is a FULL ONE AND A HALF HOURS JUST FOR YOU!!! Why not train for an hour and then have a shower UNINTERRUPTED?!!!!? Even (dare I say it because I know a lot of mum’s don’t have time to do this often) dry your hair!! If mum is happy, then this is sure to flow on to the rest of the family.

As mums, we tend to put all our energy into making sure our kids are doing well- that they are eating their veggies, that their homework is done and that they are happy. But we can have other focusses too. Why not set some goals for yourself? This will make you feel like YOU again and not ‘just a mum’ (I hate this phrase but it’s how I felt at the time) and will also give you motivation to keep going.

I hear so many mums say they are exhausted. Believe it or not, working out actually gives you energy! This then means that you can keep up with the kids more as well, win/win!

I know being a mum can be lonely at times, but by committing to working out and focusing on YOU, you will meet some awesome people too. Whether you do classes, PT sessions or your own thing in the weights area, you will be surrounded by lovely people. I have made some of my closest and best friends through the gym.

The main reason I love working out, is because IT MAKES ME FEEL AWESOME!!! I love walking out after a session feeling like I could lift a truck! It makes me feel like I can handle anything life throws at me.

You will also learn to love and appreciate your body. You are way stronger than you think, I promise, and you will be in awe of what you can actually achieve. It is all in your mind. Your body can do a lot more than you think. Training makes you stronger in BODY and MIND! Your body is amazing and working out helps you to realise this.

Lastly, how awesome is it to know that you are being a good role model for your kids? They look up to you and copy what you do, so you are showing them first hand how to live a healthy lifestyle. My boys will often “train” with me outdoors and we talk about the importance of exercise and how it keeps our bodies healthy and strong. I love that they want to be fit too and my 4 yr old always tells me that he wants to work in a gym when he grows up so he can help people be fit too!

I know it is hard, especially as a mum, you probably feel self-conscious? You are nervous about leaving the kids in the crèche? And maybe you are worried you won’t be able to keep up? I PROMISE you that is all completely normal. Everyone has felt this way at some point.

The girls in the crèche are incredible and they will come and get you if there is a problem. You just need to say YES to focussing on yourself. You so deserve it! Walk into the gym with your head held high knowing that you are improving your health and fitness.

Who knows- you might find that your life changes in more ways than you expect- just like mine did….

Xxxxxx

P.s- if you have recently had a baby, please make sure you get checked for abdominal separation before you start exercising. I am fully trained in pre and post-natal training so I can do this check for you.

Eve Blackburn
Feel Great Fitness and Health
Ph: 0410 552 178

#fitness #goals #newyears #warriewood #northernbeaches #thegymfactory #monavale #elanora #newport #narrabeen #collaroy #beaches #gym #weightloss #transformation #bayview #churchpoint #muscle #healthy2017 #fitmum #rolemodel #youtime

January 6, 2017

NOTHING TO IT, BUT TO DO IT!

Let’s be honest. Most of our bodies took a bit of a hit during the festive break. We may have had grand plans to be good on the lead up to Christmas, but unfortunately….if it wasn’t your works Christmas party, it was your partners, or your kids or even the streets! We may also have wanted to have a relatively healthy Christmas, but that was until the hams and the pavlova’s came out to play. And then there was New Years. Just when you thought your body had had enough, it finds that extra gear (or extra beer) and you’re into it again! That was the fun stuff….now is where it gets tough!

You see, this, my friends, is the festive hangover. We’re all a little bit fuller. A little bit slower. And a LOTTLE bit lazier. The cricket’s on. The beer is still cold. The kids are still home and if your house is anything like mine, no matter how hard you try and how many chocolates you eat, they just keep coming back. Seriously. Those of you who bought me chocolate….WHERE ON EARTH did you find those bottomless boxes!

This time of year generally proves to be the hardest when it comes to getting our fitness on track. The momentum we had pre-break is long gone. The habits we worked so hard to form have evaporated and the excuses we battled persistently to overcome have come back….with a vengeance. You’re left feeling like you have to start all over again. Well. Do it. Start over!

The beauty of the whole New Year thing, is that it’s just that. A new year. A fresh start. A clean slate. You don’t have to worry about what you did or didn’t do over the festive break, because it’s been and gone. Now you just have a fantastic opportunity to draw a line in the sand and say “this is my year”.

You see, if anything, you’re better prepared for success now. Your body knows that it can do it, because it’s stronger. You know how to push yourself above your own expectations, because you already have. You know how to kick those little bad habits…because you punted those bad boys last year. And those excuses we spoke of that have re-emerged. They remain just that. Excuses. You got past them before, you just have to do it again.
So what are you waiting for?

There ain’t nothing to it….but to do it!

Steve

#fitness #goals #newyears #warriewood #northernbeaches #thegymfactory #monavale #elanora #newport #narrabeen #collaroy #beaches #gym #weightloss #transformation #bayview #churchpoint #muscle #healthy2017

July 29, 2016

THE DIET

Ladies and Gents, I’ve done it! I’ve come up with THEdiet to achieve your health and fitness goals. A definitive list of foods you should NEVER eat for fat loss, and a list of foods GUARANTEED to make your muscles burst at the seam with vascularity…..Are you ready?…….Here goes;





Nope. Not a typo.This is the truth. There really are no foods that you should NEVER eat, NONE. The same goes for gaining muscle, nothing. In isolation, NO food can help or hinder fat loss or muscle gain. So what does this mean? Let me break it down…

The not-so-harsh reality is that you can eat pizza, ice-cream & even doughnuts EVERY DAY if you wish, so long as you are properly accounting for it within your daily macronutrient requirements.

Truth be known, I hate the word DIET. To me, it’s a word associated with Restriction. Discipline. Structure. The true trick to any “DIET” is sustainability. Find what works for you, and enjoy the process. Yes, going all out may have worked TO AN EXTENT in the past….and you lost that 10kg…but where are you now? And more importantly – why? If the answer is because you “fell off the bandwagon” or “lost motivation”, you’ve just proved my point of writing this post. What you were doing didn’t work for you because you couldn’t stick to it.

My opinion is simple; find your appropriate macronutrient targets, eat accordingly to them with FREEDOM, and trust the process. Sure, the results may not be as drastic as your extremist diets, but the process as a whole will be much more enjoyable, and more importantly, rewarding. You will LEARN about your body. What foods you do and don’t like. How to factor those into your day without hindering progress, andwhat you may have to sacrifice to do so?

You can enjoy a night out with the boys/girls. You can have your Sunday family barbeque. YOU CAN HAVE YOUR CAKE AND EAT IT TOO! You just have to earn it…

If you want help, hit me up in the gym or shoot me a message. We can sit down and establish where you’re at, where you want to go…and the SMARTEST way about getting there!

Your friend in the fridge,
Steve Hanson

July 4, 2016

Lacking Motivation? Read Here!

What drives motivation?
Motivation can be used to describe ones behavioural patterns and a person’s willingness to do something based on their actions, desires and needs. It’s the difference between ordering a pizza and watching TV or having a fruit shake and going for a run.

What drives a persons motivation can come down to a number of different factors such as eating habits, energy levels, stress levels, desire to reach a goal, importance of a goal, time constraints, self image and many more. I see all too often the face of self-doubt, the cancelled membership and the wasted money due to lack of motivation. Ahead are some strategies that can be implemented if motivation is the key factor affecting your performance.

Set goals
If you don’t know where you are going, how do you know when you get there? Set your self-short term and long-term goals. Make sure you put a number figure on it and ensure you have a finish date. This can be related to anything –
• Attending the gym 3 times a week up until Christmas
• Do 10 push ups in 3 months time
• Be able to run 1km in 4 weeks time
• Lose 10kg by the time you go on a planned holiday

Have a work out buddy
Working out by yourself can definitely get boring and you can lose focus pretty quick. Have a member of your family or a friend to train with you and help push each other that bit harder. You’ll be surprised how much faster a workout can go when you’re enjoying it with someone else!

Reward yourself
I find for myself that a reward when I reach my target always helps me push harder for my next goal. The reward must be proportional to the goal. This can be buying new gym clothes when you get to that squat target, or going on a weekend trip when you get to that 20kg weight loss target.

Classes or PT sessions
You are more likely to stick to a session if it has a time attached to it rather than deciding to go to the gym yourself. Group classes and Personal training sessions offer the best motivation you can get.

Get into your own rhythm
There’s often a lot going on in a gym and a lot to distract you. If you find you get distracted easy, put in your headphones, go into your own zone and block the rest of the world out just for that work out.

Think positive!
Always stay in a positive state of mind no matter what. Exercise actually releases the same chemicals in your brain as eating chocolate or laughing!

Conclusion
Remember that motivation is simply a mindset, and it is something that we do have control of, obviously there are a lot of contributing factors that can cause our motivation to go up & down – but ultimately we have the ability to change this! Try incorporating some of the above into your training plan and see if they have a positive effect on you. If you are still lacking motivation, feel free to come and have a chat to me in the gym and we can discuss some other ways to help you…

Ritchie

#goals #motivation #northernbeaches #warriewood #gym #fitness #groupclasses #yoga #pilates #bootcamp #narrabeen #newport #elanora #collaroy #avalon #monavale #strength #cardio #weights

May 10, 2016

An insight into Bodybuilding preparation!

Hello to the people of the Northern Beaches. Ritchie here, Personal Trainer and first time competitive bodybuilder. I wanted to give you a bit of an insight into the preparation that leads into a bodybuilding “comp day”. While people who compete take it to the absolute extreme, the disciplines used are not too different to that of a person with a weight loss, or muscle gain goal!! Hopefully you find it useful ;)

What exactly is competitive bodybuilding?

For years now, it has been an increasingly growing trend among people of the fitness industry – to push their bodies in search of the perfect physique and to match a certain criteria that would bring them into spotlight on stage. There are many divisions such as bodybuilding, physique, fitness, bikini, all of which require you to meet different criteria. I can’t speak for all divisions here as preparation varies greatly, but I will give you an insight as to what’s involved leading up to a competition as a bodybuilder…. Focusing on the 3 months prior to comp day!

So what’s involved?

Like most people competing, I did so with the help of an experienced coach who helped me with nutrition, cardio training, posing and on day preparation. In bodybuilding, it is essential to get down to a low, yet safe body fat percentage, and depending where you start, influences your training scheme.

Weight Training

The “bodybuilders” is the division where you’re required to hold the most muscle mass, so weight training is essential. Though I’m unlikely to put on much muscle mass in the 3 months leading up to a competition as I am in a calorie deficient phase, however it is important that I am maintaining all the muscle mass I have put on prior and that I keep my strength up.

Cardio Training

If you know me well, you would know that cardio is definitely not my favorite thing to do in a gym! But it is an essential part of preparation, and depending on your starting body composition, cardio may be implemented right away, or it may come in later down the track. Personally, I started my preparation on 11.5% Body fat so it wasn’t until the closer weeks that I needed to include cardio. (thank god haha). Cardio training is a great way to burn down fat and my coach and I managed to get me down to 8% for my first show.

Eating / Drinking

Eating and food preparation is the most important part of the whole equation. In order to lose fat, you have to be consuming less calories then what you are burning each day. Your daily macronutrients have to be met, going to the extent of weighing each and every part of your meal, every day…. to the gram, slowly decreasing portion size until a steady rate of fat loss is achieved.
During the course of the comp preparation, most people do not consume any alcohol!

Posing

Perfecting posing is vital. You can go on stage with the best physique there but if your posing isn’t perfected, it could cost you a placing on stage. Hours are spent in front of the mirror practicing transitions, flexing and of course a big smile.

Why is it thought of as so challenging?

In my opinion, it’s one of the hardest but most rewarding things I’ve done. To me, food was the hardest part as I LOVE food, and it really affected me….. I was told what I could eat, and at what time I could eat it. I was in a constant state of hunger. I’ve always had a healthy lifestyle, but like anyone I enjoyed things in moderation so removing all sugar, fast food and alcohol for 3 months definitely takes its toll on you and tests your will power! You would be surprised at the large part of your social life that revolves around drinking and eating. Always having to think ahead, bringing my pre weighed meals to BBQ’s and fighting the temptation to have an ice-cold beer or a nice hot dog with onion and cheese.

How I overcome challenges and temptation;

The challenges I face everyday are no different to that of the general person looking at weight loss. Struggling for that bit of motivation to go to the gym or fighting the temptation to eat that chocolate bar. I’ve implemented certain strategies to beating temptation, which everyone can find useful!

Remove opportunity – If you find you have weak will power like me, remove any sort of opportunity of cheating your self. Don’t walk down the chocolate aisle, only store healthy food at home, avoid situations where you are going to be overwhelmed by unhealthy options.

Don’t justify bad decisions – It is really common for people to justify their snacking. “I walked 30 mins extra today, I deserve a chocolate.” You are putting positive reinforcement of bad decisions that you always regret later.

Set goals – Set short and long-term goals and keep track of them. There’s nothing more rewarding than reaching the end of a week and being exactly where you planned to be or even ahead!

Planning – Meal prep can be done by everyone. Though you shouldn’t go to the extremes of weighing each portion of your meal, preparing your meals for the day the night before can drastically decrease the chance of spontaneous snacking. If you are having trouble with motivation to get to the gym, make a weekly plan. Write a weeks plan and mark off each day as you complete the day. Book in group classes or Personal training sessions. If you have a time booked in, you are more likely to stick to it.

Get creative – Eating healthy doesn’t have to be boring. Check out healthy-recipes for some healthy tasty recipes. You are less likely to snack if your taste buds have been satisfied!
And if you’re struggling to stay on track and find that these strategies aren’t working for you. Feel free to come and see me in the gym and we can brainstorm a way that works for you!

Conclusion

By no means do I recommend this drastic lifestyle change for everyone. But if it’s something you have been considering doing, I highly recommend it as it so rewarding! On May 28th I will be competing in the Nationals where I hope to get my “pro status” and an invitation to compete in Bali in October. I have a further 3kg’s to lose in the 3 weeks leading up to competition day and have never been more motivated. Always keep your eyes on the prize and don’t let anything stand in your way!!

April 14, 2016

The mechanics behind weight training and muscle growth

Ok Northern Beaches crew, learning time…..

A lot of people set out with the goal for muscle growth… generally for men that will be to put on size or to get stronger for sport/work. For women quite often it is to become stronger, more defined and to have the ability to burn more fat at rest…..

So what are the mechanics behind muscle growth and what do we need to know?

How do muscles grow?

To start off we need to know how muscle growth occurs.650 skeletal muscles surround the skeleton. These muscles receive motor signals telling them to contract. The better these signals are passed between the brain and the muscle, the stronger you get.

In order to build up muscle tissue, you have to apply a greater stress to the muscle that it had previously received. The easiest way to do this is to progress to heavier weights. The process of muscle hypertrophy (muscle growth) does not occur while lifting weights, rather when you rest. Your body uses satellite cells that act like stem cells which repair or replace the muscle fibres that have been damaged during weight training to form new strands, coming back stronger in numbers. This is why there is some soreness felt after a workout.

What factors may affect muscle growth?

Obviously no one is made the same, and there are many factors that affect muscle growth and ones ability to add muscle tissue. These may include gender, age and genetics, which is why some people find it harder than others to put on muscle mass.

Am I doing the right weight?

Too often people are lifting incorrect weights. To progress, you need to be constantly keeping your muscles under tension, which is why adding weights is essential. On the other scale, people tend to over do them selves lifting weights beyond their capability. This leads to poor form, half repetitions and strain on your joints, which will eventually end in an injury. Ensure you are practicing correct technique within your own range of motion.

Conclusion

Always be pushing yourself to new limits, constantly putting your muscles under stress. While weight training is very important, it is also essential to add proper eating as well as good sleeping patterns to ensure you perform at your best!

Further to this, ensure when adding weight to your exercises that you do not compromise form!

If you would like a FREE weights focused personal training session with me, pop into the gym in Warriewood and I’ll be happy to take you for a session.

Ritchie

March 31, 2016

DO FITNESS REALITY TV SHOWS PAINT A FALSE IMAGE OF WHAT ITTAKES TO GET FIT?

Fitness reality shows have become pretty popular over the last decade, but do they paint a false image of what it really takes to become fit and healthy?

Since the boom of shows such as ‘’The Biggest Loser’’, which is regularly filmed on the Northern Beaches, people have become far more aware of their own health and fitness and for some, it has even inspired them to want to starttheir own fitness journey – which is absolutely fantastic, and should be applauded, anything that makes people more aware of their health & fitness is a positive! The problem with these shows is that we are given the impression that theonly way to get fit and healthy is to put yourself through deliberating and torturing workouts.

Challenge 1: Exercise needs to be excruciating in order to see any kind of results.

These shows give uneducatedand unhealthy viewers the impression that it is a must to go to the extreme to transform their bodies. Falling off treadmills, grown adults having temper tantrums and outbursts, crying on the ground and not to forget – vomiting. It’s great for TV!But the problem is; the uninformed viewers sitting at home watching, think this is actually what you need to do to get fit and that it is the norm…but it’s not!!

For most people the mindset is “If that’s what it takes to become fit, screw that!’’

Now we are not saying that your exercise program should be easy, or our trainers programs are easy, we are saying that they are appropriate to the individual that they are training in order for that individual to reach their goals!!

Generally slower and more sustainable progress for most people works a lot better,however this would make fairly boring TV viewing….

Challenge 2: Using scales as the only means of progress.

People obsess over “checking their weight”, and don’t get us wrong – the scale is good as a guideline to your progress, but by no means is it the only measure of progress for overall results. There are so many other factors that come into play. For example; building muscle is proven to speed up your metabolism helping you become leaner, but if you measured this simply by the scale it would say you had put on weight! The best way to measure progress is through different methods or using multiple methods. These include body-fat percentage, measurements, as well as fitness testing as well as using the scale will give you the best idea of how much you are progressing. Even if the scales don’t change, you may see that your measurements have changed! Or that your fitness level has improved!

Challenge 3: All or nothing mentality.

These programs give viewers and the contestants an “all or nothing” mentality. You have to lose X amount of weight or you’re going home.Train till you puke or you didn’t train hard enough. There is no middle ground!The truth is that real sustainable weight loss will come about by making small changes in your daily habits from week to week, or day to day.E.g. commit to eating a healthy breakfast each day, or do 20 minutes walking before your morning shower. These changes alone are a celebration in progress, but if we measure our progress purely with scales and how much “weight” we’ve lost, that is just going to knock down ones confidence!

Conclusion

There are huge positives to these shows, because as already mentioned – it makes viewers aware of their own health & fitness. However, we have found that a lot of people have a negative view of training, or personal training due to the extremes that these people get put through.

Remember that a lot of people on these shows are at a “do or die” stage, and they need a real shake up in order get somewhere.

Chances are majority of you reading this are not at the same stage, therefore the way you need to train, and the shift you need in your mind-set would not be anywhere near as great!

In wrapping, if you’ve been put off by TV – take yourself down to your local gym (not a big chain :p), and experience what it is actually like to be trained by a fitness professional!!