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Thursday, 26 February 2009

Cutting carbohydrates

I was a guest on BBC Radio Nottingham today and managed to turn the conversation to how if you're fat it is your responsibility.

I don't care if the 'F' word is no longer politically correct.

No doubt this was dreamt up by one of the many fat politicians who think it is okay for the UK health service to dish out gastric banding and other cop outs for fat people.

Yes Gordon Brown you are fat and you should be setting an example. (Obama's better than you at this so why don't you play sheep as usual but for something positive this time??)

The point is 99.9% of the time it is........YOUR FAULT!

You choose to not eat breakfast, go to a party instead of the gym, drink alcohol as a treat when you have nothing to reward yourself for and you also choose to eat too many carbs which you DON'T need to 'stop you getting hungry'

At the end of my Metabolic Circuit Class last night at the studio, I overheard one of the regulars say they had cut out carbs so my ears pricked up!

On further investigation it emerged he was cutting out carbs because another of the group had lost around a stone since Jan 1st doing it (the 'other' being one of my personal training clients who is a machine - or will be by the time I'm finished....)

It reminded me that people STILL insist on picking bits out of other peoples' diets, weights routines etc and often end up worse off as they don't have the full story.

This client in question has not 'cut out' carbs but instead follows one of three variations of carb cycling I use depending on the goal, the person and what we have found works for them.

I would never recommend cutting carbs 100% a la The Atkins Diet as this will results in a slowing of your metabolism and greater difficulty in shedding fat in the future.

In the Fat Loss Action Blueprint I use one variation of carb cycling which works really well for fat loss whilst maintaining muscle. This involves only eating carbs after exercise.

Another variation is to not eat complex carbs for 3 days then have a high carb day.

Another which I am personally using at the moment is eating complex carbs BOTH sides of my training as I am more about performance at the moment and feel I need the carbs beforehand to 'fuel' up. I want to get the most out of my workouts in preparation for Tough Guy but also want to keep body fat down.

Today's food plan looks like this:

0700 Live biopot yoghurt with nuts, blueberries and dates plus protein supplement
1000 Grilled chicken breast, spinach, olive oil
1230 Salmon, wholegrain rice, tomato, olive oil
1530 Boiled eggs, wholegrain rice, spinach, olive oil
1900 Lean minced beef and chopped tomato, herbs (chili con carne style) with asparagus
2100 Nuts and peanut butter

Another important factor is when you cut something out you often need to increase something else in order to avoid swinging the other way.

This will involve eating more lean protein, more vegetables and/or more healthy fats such as flax oil to avoid being too low on calories.

Go too low on calories for more than 2-3 days and your caveman instincts will kick in, slow your metabolism and often leave you 'skinny fat' (the technical term used to describe those who drop weight but maintain their semingly treasured muffin top...) and low on energy.

This will effect your productivity at work as well as in the gym!

So today's message is stop taking snippets of nutrition plans, training plans or anything else and make sure you get the full story and understand what you're doing and why!

And yes IT IS your responsibility to go and get the full story - don't wait for someone to read it to you!

What are your thoughts on carbohydrates?

I want to know what works for you and wasn't doesn't!

If you don't know you need to learn!


Fat Loss Action Blueprint

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Jon's Holiday Workouts

I spent the end of last week back home in Guernsey with my family who I don't get to see nearly enough.

However, I went through the usual frustrations which include....

- Why when you have a gathering of people with diabetic conditions, impressionable kids and two world class athletes does the host choose to put out twiglets, cake, cheesy Wotsits and caramel shortbread?

You reckon I'm fit? One cousin runs 10km in under 29 minutes, has broken a 4 minute mile and should be selected for the World Cross Country Championships.

Another is the World Touring Car Champion.

Neither can do as many burpees as me though....

- I want to be back on the cliffs and forests of Guernsey out in the fresh air, breathing in the sea and just feeling alive. People in cities are literally half dead and they don't even know it. Why won't they just open their eyes?!

- That damn hill on the headland never gets any easier. Especially when you do it 10 times.

- My grandma is 85 and can touch her toes in standing yet half of the under 35's in the world can't because they're fat and lazy and sit in offices too much. Why can't they see that in 50 years all the money and the hours worked will count for nothing?

- The same faces sit at the same bars talking the same old crap about how bad life is. Get up off your arse and change it then. That goes for everyone not just the old Guerners in the Ship and Crown!

As I had no access to the gym I had to improvise as usual - here's what I cooked up for myself and my girlfriend...

Session 1

Hill sprints on grass (30-45 secs each). Very steep, very hard, very good for leg strength and fat burning! Much more effective than boring cardio in stinking gyms.

Session 2

One person does 3 rounds of 15 burpees and 15 push ups as fast as possible while the other boxes on my punch bag in the garage then swap with no rest.

Rest 1 minute after doing both activities then repeat.

Do 5 rounds of each.

Again great conditioning and fat burning in about 30 minutes - the pressure of the other person waiting for you really kicks your ass!

Session 3

Cliff run - about 4 miles.

Yes it's cardio but more of an interval session as it's all up and down steps which kills!!

Plus I just wanted to get out in the fresh air and enjoy nature!

Try any of these sessions if you can, instead of your gym workout - you'll never go back!


Sunday, 15 February 2009

Two hot fitness trends for 2009

There are two things you must be doing if you're going to optimise your fitness levels in 2009. If you neglect either of these key elements you can expect further frustration at why everyone else seems to be able to burn body fat easily and enjoy their exercise, but you can't.

The first is to establish a solid base of social support. One of the easiest ways is to join an online community which shares your goals, ambitions and favourite methods of training. Such communities are sprouting up everywhere and you will soon be able to find one which suits your goals. Most also have transformation contests which will keep you on track for the duration!

Don't forget to look close to home though. Whilst your partner or friends may not be too interested in their physique, if they are good friends they will do all they can to help. Sit down with them and explain what you want to achieve and that you need support rather than temptations which could lead you astray!

Close relationships can be very powerful in helping you lose body fat. If you can rope your friends into a mini fat-loss challenge, you stand a much better chance of succeeding and so do they. The person you actually live with will be the key however because they may well prepare your food or at least share it with you. Being on the same wavelength will make compliance with a nutrition and workout regime so much easier.

The other side of the coin is that if your friends only ever try to bring you back to their fat, lazy levels, your life will become very difficult. Consider carefully what you surround yourself with as it is more than likely you will become the same. This can be both a positive and a negative!

Do not be afraid to issue challenges to people close by. It can make life much more exciting and give your relationship a new lease of life! Workplace challenges are also very popular so throw down the gauntlet to your colleagues and see what you can achieve together!

The second hot fitness tip to help get you fast fat loss results in 2009 is the use of challenge workouts. These workouts involve racing against the clock to complete a given workout, trying to get as many rounds as possible of a circuit in within a set time, or trying to beat the number of repetitions you managed last time round. This is what is known as Escalating Density training and is a simple but challenging way to ensure progress!

When you combine the use of a social support and challenge workouts you have an powerful recipe for losing your belly, dropping the cellulite or simply shedding body fat. Whatever your goal is, you require challenges and people to push you towards your goals!

You can join my free Fat Loss Actions community. No charges, just info and fitness challenges!

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

How to improve on pull ups

Many of my new female clients laugh at me when I tell then they'll be able to do full ups in a couple of months.

Here's one of the tricks to use to build up the strength in your arms and back.

Don't just see pull ups as an arm exercise! If you can get your back involved you'll put all the bicep curling, pink dumbbell girls to shame and have a much better physique.

Also because this will enable you to use more muscles, you'll burn more calories doing your workout.

And most importantly you can make your boyfriend or husband look an idiot when you're walking in the forest and go past a conveniently placed tree.....

Do this 2-3 times per week and watch your pull ups materialise!

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Is nutrition or training the most important?

The dawn of the internet seemed to signify the beginning of instant access to all the best fitness advice the planet could deliver.

Unfortunately it didn't bring the 100% fat loss results across the globe that should be possible! Instead we just had greater access to Britney Spears' private life, anonymous marketers selling products they never tried simply by adding a link to their blog and a Nike desktop dancer on your laptop.

None of these cleared up the issue of whether training or nutrition makes the biggest difference in a fat loss program!

So here are the arguments in black and white.

There are quite a few arguments for nutrition being the most important factor. The increasing levels of anorexia and other eatinng disorders highlight why it is so important.

You cannot out train the dinner table.

An extremely hard workout lasting an hour may burn around 800 calories if you really have the drive to push yourself. A typical evening meal can easily account for that nevermind the rest of your meals through the day, leaving you flabby and frustrated despite working hard!

The thermic effect

Certain foods can increase your metabolic rate significantly and as you eat food all day (or you should) many changes will occur inside and outside of your body when you switch to a diet consisting largely of lean protein, healthy fats and vegetables. These will help keep you satisfied, maintain muscle and stimulate your metabolism without piling in excess calories.

Fuel in the tank!

You cannot train properly without the right fuel! By manipulating carbohydrates so that you have enough to fuel your workouts and recover afterwards, your energy levels, body composition and training performance can improve almost instantly!

High energy

Sustained energy levels can only be achieved through a clean diet with very few additives or added chemicals. Without consistent energy levels, all elements of your lifestyle will suffer leaving you down in the dumps and exercise will be the last thing you want to do! Pour sand in a Ferrari and it won't move very fast!

Poor nutrition leads to bad sleep

Eating the traditional big family meal in the evening is likely to leave you bloated and with digestion problems which will prevent you getting to sleep as your body will be in work mode! The added sugars in many processed foods will also give you an energy high just at the wrong time!

Too little food can also prevent sleep though! Going to bed hungry may well leave your brain short of sugars to keep functioning so you are likely to keep drifting in and out of sleep as your brain keeps reminding you it needs some fuel!

No excuses!

Nutrition can still be done well when you're injured. That means it has more potential long-term.

Illness prevention

Finally training may not matter when your nutrition is likely to leave you with heart disease, diabetes, cancer and immune system deficiencies anyway. If you're just fighting a losing battle there may not be much point hitting the gym everyday!

There are a few arguments which support training as the most important factor. Consider them carefully!

More muscle, more calorie burn!

The right kind of training - weight training and short intervals - will build muscle. More muscle means a greater metabolic rate both during training and at rest. This will make the fat burning process much easier and faster!

Training burns calories, simple as that. Or maybe not. Intense weight training can leave your metabolism elevated for 24-36 hours after the session whereas low intensity cardio won't, so the choice of training method is important!

Heart strength

Putting pressure on your heart will cause it to adapt and become stronger. The use of interval training in particular will help prepare your heart to cope with the sudden ups and downs of daily life. If you die of a heart attack due to a weak hard, surely the nutrition doesn't matter?

Feel good baby!

Exercise gives you the feel good factor and will generally encoourage people to eat better as they don't want to undo all their good work in the gym! An enthusiasm for health and fitness is what prevents short-lived January fitness kicks!

Physical ability

Exercise gives you strength and physical abilities, if done correctly, which nutrition won't. A weak body is no fun and could leave you depressed as you feel incapable of doing anything without getting tired quickly. This is likely to lead to comforting eating, ruining any carefully planned nutrition regime.

Skinny minny isn't nice!

If you only eat healthily and don't exercise, the chances are you will just end up skinny. Having low body fat is great but having no muscle to go with it can make you look ill despite having an apparently healthy lifestyle.


Training used the right way can improve your posture and prevent niggling back aches and injuries. Such issues can put an fat loss routine on hold. Poor posture can also affect internal functions which will play havoc with your fat loss attempt!


Our bodies need strength training throughout life to prevent the effects of ageing. No amount of vegetables can prevent a stooped posture and loss of physical capabilities. This should be considered!

It is clear that this argument could rage all day.

The truth is that there is a very simple solution which we all know but few actually implement in their life as a regular habit.

You must do both! Yes you know that but you're not doing it!

There is always some excuse for why you couldn't eat properly or get to the gym.

The more I progress as a trainer and coach, the more I see that great results can be achieved with short exercise sessions so long as they are intense enough. However, these sessions can't be maintained week after week without a solid nutrition plan which is carried out every single day, bar the odd blip!

If you truly want to see your body change for the better, you must accept that a clean diet and well-structured, challenging exercise routine cannot be mutually exclusive but must be part of a holistic approach.

With as little as 20 minutes exercise 4 times per week and 10 minutes per day preparing food you could see your entire life change for the better. You just need to make the commitment today!


The power of 6 inches

I'm in the process of writing a new system to ensure every single client at my personal training studio achieves impossible things.

I can't bear the thought of being average and I want to make every client exceptional too.

Obviously some of this relates to training and nutrition but that's the easy bit to be honest.

It's the two inches above your eyes that count the most and that's where everything else starts so we are working hard to develop a process to ensure our clients experience 'deliberate success'.

Here's part of the system which I hope can help you guys who don't train here as well.

To maintain purpose of action, simply follow this rule all day, everyday.

Question every action with

“How does this action move me towards my experience goals?”

If it doesn’t why are you contemplating doing it?

Usually it will be peer pressure, habit, or uncertainty about where you want to be in life.

At first, this can be a frustrating process as you’ll have all sorts of voices shouting things at you! However, you will soon see how effective this can be.

You will be making a highly important transition from having to resist things to not even contemplating them because the subconscious part of your brain already knows the answer!

This is why cravings will disappear fast and you will feel yourself rising above the mindless, unproductive drivel that dominates most of Western society.

It’s the difference between watching Big Brother and hitting the gym for half an hour.

It’s the difference between being another overweight office worker who is first on the cake list at work and passing with a ‘no thanks'

It’s the difference between spending an hour on Facebook everyday but complaining of no time to exercise, and seeing your body transform.

It’s the difference between stopping when your legs hurt a bit and pushing through your limits and having a great body to show for it.

It’s the difference between running in the rain and cold, and having to look at your flabby body in the mirror.

It’s the difference between average and exceptional.

It’s the difference between them and us. We all have a 'them' we don’t want to be like and yet who constantly try to drag us down.

This applies to all areas of your life, not just training and nutrition.

Question everything and the answers will astound you.

You face a future of clarity and purpose of action and many incredible experiences!


I love Al Pacino's quote from Any Given Sunday about life being about the next 6 inches.

Question what the 6 inches in front of you will do for your life (no rude comments....)

Put all the inches together and soon you have a life of achievement.

Check out Big Al here

(Please note there is a little swearing in it)

Let me know what your next 6 inches are going to involve.

Today mine will be whether I get the deadlift bar to the top or whether I quit 6 inches from the top.

That bar will get up don't you worry.