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Tuesday
May202014

Stop being so emotional 

Muscle is an emotional issue. By building muscle you are literally trying to create more of your self. Consequently people tend to get very emotional about how they achieve their muscle, there's a kind of religious zealotry around certain schools of training and nutrition and people will take offence if you disagree with their pet methods.

This is an unhealthy way to live. Not only is it pretty miserable, it guarantees you're not thinking logically and critically about you're training. It forces you into dumb choices and makes you anxious and insecure.

As much as the fitness industry is obsessed with "passion", I really feel we should learn to be dispassionate about our bodies. Ultimately, if you're not an athlete and just want to look good, training is basically a fashion decision. You are deciding to look a certain way because you think it's attractive or will make you feel good. That's no different to buying a pair of shoes, it just takes longer.

Some may disagree with what style of shoe looks best, but you're not going to call them an asshole for disagreeing with your choice.

Take the emotion out of the choices you're making, pick a sensible plan you can actually follow and enjoy, and then get on with your life.

Tuesday
May132014

7 Signs You're A Health And Fitness Idiot

This is a guest post from my Friend Jeremy Boyd of Resilience Fitness. Jeremy massively knows his shit. Enjoy

 

As we develop our understanding of health and fitness, we discover new information and gain new perspectives on how to eat and train for best effect. For some people this can mean the difference between first and second place at the Olympics, whereas for others it can simply mean more stuff to needlessly stress or obsess over.

The following list represents some of the most common concerns that I see on a regular basis, that really don't apply to you unless you're a competitive sportsperson (by which I mean you stand a chance of winning, not get your ass handed to you on a plate regularly).


1. You're not a coeliac, but you still eat gluten free.

To be clear, most of the foods that contain gluten, are energy dense foods that will probably help you consume more calories than you truly need. However, most of the supposed benefits to going gluten free are simply the result of reduced calories and fewer refined foods, not because the evil protein gluten has been vanquished. So unless you have a genuine reason to avoid it, don't stress over whether you're eating gluten free.

2. You're counting calories and still eating crap foods.

My biggest issue with companies that promote this approach, (weight watches and the like), are not that you're eating crap food, but that the habits that relate to it haven't changed. All of our clients eat waaaay less processed or refined foods eventually because we teach them how to make proper food (you know, stuff you could grow or catch yourself), taste delicious. Once they know that, we can redefine what their habitual eating habits are, because they no longer see junk food as a necessary pleasure. So unless you want to carry on counting calories for the rest of your life, focus on eating better, not just less.

3. You have no idea how many calories you eat, but you've been struggling to lose weight for ages.

This may sound contrary to the previous point, but in the long run, assuming you're eating well, if you're not losing weight it's because you're taking in too many calories.

Now the secret here, is that sometimes this can be a daily thing or an ad hoc thing. One of my clients would consume around 300 calories less than he needed on most days, yet struggled to lose weight. Why? Because every 3-4 weeks he'd go away for the weekend and take in a whopping 30,000 calories made up almost entirely of beer, burgers and pizza.

So if you want to lose weight, eat good food and don't eat too much. Then make sure your fun times don't completely eradicate your efforts.

4. Your training involves wave sets, clusters and a periodised structure and you're not strong.

If you don't have a decent foundation of strength, you don't need any advanced training strategies. Focus on getting your Deadlift, squat, push ups/bench press, rows, pull ups and military presses to a decent level, before messing around with advanced training protocols.

5. You're training for fat loss and resting more than 60 seconds between sets/exercises.

Like everything, there are exceptions to this, but unless you have any psychological, emotional or comfort issues that prevent this, your goal should be to keep rest to a minimum. if you need more rest than that, you're probably working too hard on the wrong stuff or not adjusting your intensity levels properly.

6. You listen to or read mainstream media for your information.

As someone who regularly writes for a number of publications internationally, you need to know that we get asked to write on whatever's new or to create a new spin on something that's already around. Mainstream media doesn't make money by telling you that what they've been publishing for the last year is still true and nothing's changed. Not only that, but in some cases articles are biased towards a particular product or sponsor. Instead, avoid the middlemen and go directly to the source for your information where possible.

 7. You try and convert people to your way of living.

Now don't get me wrong, if someone wants more information on what I do or how I do it, I'll happily share that information with them. What I don't do is try and tell every poor sod I speak to that what they're doing is wrong and that they should immediately convert to my style of living.

Crossfit and the paleo movement have done a lot for the health of the nation, but they've also created cults of zealots. If you've found something that works for you great. If you want to share your experience, awesome. Just don't try and convert anyone else unless they ask for your help, it's really annoying.

So, for those who like bullet points, here's the takeaway points:

1. Only avoid gluten for medical reasons

2. Eat decent food 90% of the time or more

3. Get a ball park idea of how many calories you consume on an average day

4. Get stronger

5. Rest for a maximum of 60 seconds between sets

6. Get the bulk of your health and fitness info directly from experts, not the mainstream media

7. Share ideas and tips with others if they've worked for you, but don't preach or be an idiot about it.

Wednesday
Apr092014

Ten Commandments For Getting Ripped

Hi all. I wrote these Ten Commandments for getting ripped for FHM, check them out here-

http://www.fhm.com/upgrade/mens-style/the-10-fitness-commandments-thatll-get-you-ripped-quick-85409

Just to put it in context, this would be for a very short term plan hence the extra cardio. The diet would usually be as part of a 16/8 fasting plan. So all meals would be eaten between 1pm and 8pm.

I'll be returning to regular blogging soon when my book is finished.
Zack

@zackcahill

Wednesday
Mar052014

How To Be A Superhero

With Captain America-Winter Soldier hitting the big screen and a slew of superhero films following, isn’t it time you developed a heroic body?

Between this Summer’s Amazing Spiderman 2, Captain America 2 and Guardians Of The Galaxy, superheroes are bigger than ever. At some point we’ve all wondered what super power we’d most like to have, but you don’t have to wonder anymore. Just use the Aegis Training guide to becoming a superhero and you’ll be leaping tall buildings, wielding hammers and pulling your own Lois Lane in no time.

Disclaimer- We do not recommend dressing in lycra and dispensing vigilante justice.

Superman- Super Strength

Superman dates back to the 1930's, his famous underwear-on-the-outside fashion statement was a nod to Victorian era circus strongmen. The underpants have been ditched for the latest big screen incarnation but the super-strength remains intact.

Get The Power –

Follow the rule of 3-5

3-5 sets

3-5 reps

3-5 exercises (deadlift, chin-up, military press for example)

3-5 minutes rest between sets

Low reps with heavy weights and long rest are the way to develop superhero strength.

The Super Shortcut- Testosterone tends to peak around 3 in the afternoon, so if possible try and schedule your strength workouts then.

 

The Flash- Super Speed

Struck by lightning and sent flying into a shelf of radioactive chemicals (which is pretty unlucky by anyone’s standard really) Barry Allen developed superhuman speed. The long-rumored Justice League movie should see his luck change as he rubs shoulders with Batman and Superman on screen.

Get The Power- If you want to be fast you need to train fast. Stop running long distances and choose short burst sprints of 20-50 metres. Keep the rest periods long to allow full recovery between sets, the goal is performance, not getting out of breath.

Start with 6 sets of 40 metre sprints three times a week, resting three minutes between sprints.

Always warm up thoroughly to avoid muscle strains.

The Super Shortcut- Stretch your hip flexors regularly, this increases stride length making you faster.

 Thor - Power

Thor is the only hero with a day of the week named after him (seriously, Thursday is named after Thor, Wednesday after his father Odin, and Saturday after rubbish-but-hot girl-band The Saturdays)

Thor is one of the most powerful Avengers. In the technical sense, power is a combination of strength and speed. Think throwing a heavy rock rather than hoisting it slowly off the ground.

Get the power- You can’t beat Olympic weightlifting for power development. It’s a very technically demanding sport, the masters of have been slaving away in a Bulgarian training camp since they left the womb. However, the Snatch Pull is a far less complicated movement that yields the same benefits. 

The Super Cheat – Schedule the snatch pull first in your workout and then follow it with the deadlift for a heroic combination of strength and power.

 

Wolverine - Super Healing

Thanks to his mutant healing powers Wolverine has survived being stabbed, beaten and mutilated in every imaginable way. Kind of like Jackie Chan, but with Danny DeVito's body hair.

Get The Power- Boost your immune system by looking after your gut. A probiotic supplement and two tablespoons of coconut oil per day along with plenty of green veg are a decent start. Sleep is vital too, so get to bed before 11 to get your regulation 8 hours.

The Super Shortcut – Buy a greens supplement and have one scoop with your breakfast every day.

Spider-Man- Super Agility

Another in the proud line of Marvel Comics heroes to develop fantastical powers after exposure to radiation. When we tried that method we just lost all our hair and teeth and went partially blind. Moral of the story? Comic books lie!

Get The Power – Parkour, also known as free running, is every bit as impressive as Peter Parker’s wall crawling heroics, and you don’t need to be bitten by a radioactive spider to learn it.

Be sure to get professional instruction from a company like Parkour Generations, who run classes all over the UK. 

Reed Richards (The Fantastic Four)- Super Flexibility

Bombarded by radioactive gamma rays, Reed's wife has the power of invisibility, his brother in law can turn into fire and his best friend has superhuman strength. Reed has the ability to...stretch quite far. Okay so he's kind of the Ringo of the group, but he’s married to Jessica Alba so don’t feel too bad.

Get The Power – Most men treat stretching like Dracula treats garlic, crosses and the Twilight movies (i.e. they fear, hate and avoid it). But flexibility is very important for injury prevention. There's nothing big and clever about being stiff as a girder

Start your workouts with at least 15 minutes of stretching and mobilisation. Joe Defranco's Limber 11 is a great option.

The Super Shortcut- Roll the soles of your feet with a tennis ball for freakily instantaneous improvements in hamstring flexibility.

Wednesday
Feb192014

Why Americans Are Fat

I've just spent five days in Vegas and have now arrived in Palm Springs, and I've figured it out.

American's are world leaders at breakfast. I wake up here giddy about it. Cruising the buffet like some hungover apex-predator , ladling food stuffs into my plate with a total disregard for genre. Sweet meets savoury, Thai meets southern, honey drenched waffles sit astride knuckles of lamb. Every meal a pan global celebration of diversity to make Dr King salivate. I return to my seat with the entire cast of The Lion King on my plate.

You've heard about American food servings of course but you've got to experience them.
At restaurants, servings are so large they take on the quality of a mad dare. The waiter deposits a groaning tray of triple-carb apocalypse, a thermonuclear assault on your waistline, with a smile that says "you just try and finish that one buddy".

I battle through it bravely , emerging proud and somehow changed, like a veteran of some sort of delicious Vietnam. Finally finished, I put my cutlery together and sit back contentedly digesting. This must be what those huge snakes feel like after they swallow an whole zebra and need to just lie still for a few weeks.

It's at this moment that the waiter arrives with a dastardly twinkle in his eye and a plate of complimentary ice cream. Once more into the breach, dear friends.