Why aren’t I losing weight or making the gains I want?

Obviously we train to see progress yet sometimes we feel like we’re slaving in the gym but getting nowhere. Without evidence of progress, sessions become mundane, you may skip one or two, and before you know it you’ve lost all motivation and not going at all. Here’s a brief look at some of the possible reasons for your lack of progress:

You’re not eating enough – Sounds silly right? You’re not losing weight because you’re not eating enough? “Take this man and have him publicly executed.” But this may in fact be one of the reasons why. What I’m referring to is the CONSISTENCY of your meals –  you need to eat approximately every 2-3 hours to keep that metabolism pumping. The key here is portion size – you still want to be around the recommended calorie intake for your specific goal but the constant eating will help your food digest properly and help fight cravings and the possible BINGE session. A breakfast, morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack, dinner, supper is a commonly used split with roughly 2 hours between each.

Drinking – As we know our body is made up mostly of water and if you restrict it of fluids or put in useless fluids it’s not going to function at its full potential. Alcohol contains what the fitness world call “EMPTY CARBS” and these are of absolutely no value to your body. Quick nutrition lesson. Each gram (or mL because its liquid but they’re equivalent) of alcohol contains 7 calories. Now this is only just 2 calories behind Fat (9 cal per gram). The other two main nutrients (Carbohydrates and Protein) only contain 4 calories per gram. This means on a night where you’ve had a few drinks, especially if drinking pre-mixes containing soft drink or beers, you can easily have more than a whole days calorie intake from drinks alone. Other than that a hangover will cause you to be lazy the next day or two and you wont be training at your peak, that is if you even make it to the gym! So try going dry for a while and you may surprise yourself at your gains.

Heart Rate – You may be training everyday, gym and cardio, but if your heart rate is not above resting you are wasting your time. For example if you are on the pec flye machine complete a set and then take a break for a couple of minutes before your next set, your heart rate has more than enough time to return to “resting” mode. This is a common mistake novice gym goers make because machines are the easiest to use. They are still fine to use but it is better to use them in a “circuit” routine or in a superset with another machine or exercise. Also with cardio, we need to elevate the heart rate and keep it up there for a decent amount of time. Interval training is of the most value to you when stripping fat or attempting to replace it with muscle. You want to peak that heart rate, recover for a bit but not long enough for it to return all the way to resting and then pump it up again. Successful cardio is about raising the heart rate and more importantly keeping it there.

These are a few of the reasons you may not be seeing the gains you want to in your physique. Quite simple really but some people don’t fully comprehend how important the simple things are. If you stay consistent, train hard, eat clean, your body will have no choice but to give you gains towards whatever your goal is!

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The Laws: Visualisation – Can it really be the key to your Success?

“Losers visualize the penalties of failure. Winners visualize the rewards of success.”

– Unknown

There has been alot of hype around the power of “Visualisation” due to numerous self help seminars being built around it and the release of books and dvds such as “The Secret”. Many sports stars and celebrities swear by it, so what’s all the fuss about and is there really any merit to the concept?

First we must establish what is meant by visualisation. It’s not simply just thinking an idea in your mind, it goes much deeper than that – it is mentally experiencing an action/idea and sending triggers to your senses, visually and emotionally to even the point where one can feel the sensations they would when actually performing this action. A vision could be compared to a “day-dream” as it should give you the same insecurity and emotional ride that a night-time dream would but all happens while you are still conscious. Now the concept veers and starts to form into the argument of “If you dream, and believe, it will come true.” In “The Secret” they advise to put these dreams onto boards in the form of pictures and words to help trigger your feelings and by the law of attraction you will receive these things.

So will dreaming about the big house you want, the sporting team you want to make, the job you interviewed for, the body you’re striving for, turn to reality through visualisation?

It can, but there is one VERY important step you MUST understand to turn these dreams into reality – and step is the APPLICATION of your VISION.

Will Smith explained it perfect on the Ellen Degeneres Show when he said his success came down to talent versus skill. Talent you have naturally, where as skill comes from hours and hours of working, dedicating yourself and perfecting your craft. If you have your dream, you must use the power of choice to bring it to life. Whats the power of choice? To put it simply – If you choose you want something, and dedicate yourself 100%, with every fibre in your body, work towards reaching that goal, you can make the universe get out of your way so you can achieve it.

You need to walk, talk and act your dream every single day. If what you did yesterday seems big, then you haven’t done enough today. “There is no need for a plan B, as it distracts you from Plan A” – Will Smith. When living your dream, you cannot look too far ahead. Although your success may not come for a year, you don’t say “I’m going to have the perfect year”. But rather start with the day, say “I’m going to have the perfect day” and when you go to sleep at night mark down a tally in a diary to represent your perfect day complete. The next day repeat the process. Before you know it you will have completed 7 consecutive perfect days and you will have a perfect week. Your perfect weeks will turn into perfect months. Perfect months grow into perfect years and perfect years will equal your success.

In closing, visualisation is a great daily reminder of what you are working for and to help you stay focused. It alone will not achieve success. Greatness will stem from a relentless work ethic towards perfecting your chosen craft and not settling for anything short of the best. I’ll leave you with a quote from Confucius which really wraps up the whole concept and is one to dwell on;

“He who says he can, and he who says he can’t, are both usually right.”

How to build the Ultimate Home Gym

When starting off building your home gym can be one of the hardest things a budding fitness enthusiast can do. Here is a look at what equipment is best to purchase to start off with, what equipment may be living in disguise around your house, and what rubbish not to spend your precious money on!

Home Gym Essentials –

Skipping Rope – We all remember playing with these at school. The perfect piece of cardio equipment which is cheap and takes up next to no space at all. A great station on circuits or used in interval training this is sure to spike the heart rate.

Kettle Bell – Said to originate from Russia as early as the 1700’s, this ancient exercise device has stood the test of time and is a home gym essential. A circle weight with a handle it can be used for various exercises and workouts (Swings, Cleans, Presses, Curls and many more). Not only used for strength building but also for cardio, there’s no mystery why it has been used for hundreds of years by athletes and the military.

Swiss Ball – Great for your core and ab workouts this baby can also double up as a chair for your computer desk. It can add some variety to your standard exercises (push ups, presses, curls etc) to engage your core and make sure you aren’t taking the easy road.

Dumbbells – Probably up there with the most over-purchased piece of home gym equipment, these still have their place in the garage gym. Although not quite essential, they are good for convenience and easy to change the weight for your lighter exercises.

Advanced – If the above items aren’t cutting it for your hardcore workouts look into buying these:

Olympic Barbell / Plates – Before going all out and buying a bench press or multi-function home gym have a look into these badboys which cost roughly the same price. Although you may need to do your homework on proper lifting techniques, once you purchase one and the appropriate plates, you are able to do most of your full body compound functional exercises – deadlift, squat, clean, press / jerks. If you think the 20kg minimum is a little heavy you can purchase a standard barbell (which weighs about 7.5kg) for the same purpose and lesser price.

Power Rack – These suckers will cost you upwards of $800 but if you’re a budding fitness enthusiast they are of much more value to you than a bench press or treadmill. Usually with a chin up bar attached its great if you are starting to get heavy with your olympic lifts and squats and you can easily buy a bench to slide in as well.

Gym equipment you may already own but are living in disguise at your house!

Benches/Chairs – We all have one of these. Start using it for your dips, push ups, step ups, ab workouts and much more. If you stumped for inspiration just google/Youtube chair or bench workouts and your eyes will be opened to how much you can actually do.

Steps – Cardio, cardio, cardio! Expect lactic acid in your calves, quads and glutes but these are one of the most underused, “already there” fitness apparatus. Not only for leg strength you can also use for a variation on your push ups and ab workouts. Step up and give your workouts another dimension.

Flat Ground / Grass – If you have an open space, you have a workout already! Smash your body-weight exercises in this vacant area. If you’re struggling for inspiration YouTube/Google “Tabata” to see some of the hardest workouts you will ever experience.

Tires – You may have a spare tire lying around from your mechanical experiments in the garage somewhere. Adapted by alot of gyms these days, tires are awesome for jumping in and out of, flipping, hitting with a sledge-hammer and for ab workouts.

COMMONLY BOUGHT EQUIPMENT TO BE WARY OF PURCHASING – This list is made up of the typical things most people buy because they thought that’s what fit people buy.

Bench Press – Usually accompanied by a pathetic leg extension attachment, we’ve all seen these before collecting dust in the backyard or garage of people we know. Mainly due to the fact most people only see one exercise (obviously the press) when they look at it. Although still a decent piece of equipment you are better off purchasing the above items before you look at one of these.

Treadmills – Setting you back an arm and a leg this is one of the most overpurchased, overpriced pieces of fitness equipment on the market. What can you do on it? Walk, Jog, Sprint? All things you can do around the block but for some reason people still insist on buying them. If you are self conscious about what you look like exercising around the block don’t be! People don’t care what you look like : One, because they probably look just as silly if they were exercising, or Two, they see you’re making an effort to improve your life!

Ab Circle, Ab Swing, Ab King Pro, or Anything that promises a six-pack – Pet hate, any of these contraptions which cost 3 payments of $49.99 that come with a 30 day money back guarantee. Obviously initially you will see improvements because anything is better than what you were doing before (usually nothing if you bought one of these). Once the infatuation wears off the only place this puppy is going to end up is under your bed or in a dark corner of your closet. Leg Raises, Crunches, and Bicycles are three exercises which can be done on the floor which will get you the same or better results.

Hopefully this guide will take the gitters away and you can now feel safe to go out and start building your home gym! Commercial gyms have their place but sometimes you just can’t make it out or need to release some stress and your new home gym can become the perfect place for this. Better yet become your sanctum.

Happy hypertrophy people 🙂

 

Which Female Stereotype is the Hottest?

We live in a vicious, no apologies, dog-eat-dog, world where it’s blood thirsty occupants lust for competition. Without competition and the naming of a victor, the world and life itself would be nothing but a bland, repetitious, habitual act which takes place on a heap of soil and water that gravitates around the sun. So in the spirit of competition we are going to have a closer look at which female stereotype is the most attractive to a young male in modern times.

image source: collegegrantsandscholarships.net

Obviously intelligent with hopes and dreams “The Student” is an interesting breed to examine. Although there is some security in a future with them, they typically live by the slogan “while I’m young” and may party a little too much for your liking. Also while paying off those studying funds and working twice a week in retail or at a bar, you may find yourself forking out a bit of dough but in ten years it may be the other way around.

Usually possessing a great attitude and is a happy-go-lucky, chirpy, high on life human being, “The Athlete” is also another tricky one. Possibly with too many commitments as a member of a netball team, coach of a junior team, and a cheerleader on weekends, they may want to spend any free time they do have with other female creatures and may not be around much. Although there are complications and obstacles, they are hard to pass on because of their incredibly toned legs and perfect hourglass figure,

Committed, hard-working, caring, what is there really to bag about “The single mum”? With the ability to care for another soul, they have patience, are willing to do things they don’t want to do, and are just all round lovely. They may have a few extra curves and soft spots but so would you after carrying around a 10 pound human being inside your torso for 9 months. Usually just down on luck, they are more often than not just waiting for a prince charming to come and help them grow a family.

 

Enthusiasm, motivation and will have all been poured into a bowl, whisked together and popped into the oven of life to create “The Career Woman”. Independent, not nagging, and hard-working, they have all the makings for a perfect partner. However sometimes this select niche of ladies be a little intimidating and much like the athlete, may not even have time for a functioning relationship. They may be employed in a work enviroment dominated by sexually frustrated males, but at the end of the day is them doing something productive all day really an issue?

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We have all been out at the local pub and in walks this stunning, usually brunette, goddess like life-form that enters and migrates towards the bar. Instantly surrounded by heaving males that ensure she doesn’t pay for a drink all night, she’s the center of attention and her low-cut halter neck gives the impression that she knows it as well. Who is this mysterious walking piece of art? You know I’m talking about “The Cougar”. Not much to bag about these, as I have a soft spot for them, however if you are a younger male she most probably wants nothing more from you than a one night experience so she can relive her youth.

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So after an in-depth review of the female species, which one of these stereotypes comes out on top? Well for me, as long as she has clean teeth, a decent looking mum and a superior personality to a brick wall, any one of these categories is fine by me. We just need to recognise that true love is not something we choose, but something the heart does and it is a perpetual unconditional emotion that we must cherish once we have found it and hold on to it forever. xoxo

Things gym goers hate – Don’t be one of them!

Once considered a sanctuary by most fitness enthusiasts, the commercial gym of late has become more of an intolerable experience than a rejuvenation process. Due to countless weight-loss programs and the fitness fad being taken to a new level, gyms have become filled with “when-they-feel-likes” who don’t completely understand the unwritten law which is followed by the regular exercising community. So here are a few tips, laws, and guidelines to abide by if you feel like a refugee when entering the gym because after all exercise is a ritual that should be cherished, enjoyed and loved by all of mankind.

The Unwritten Laws:

Don’t stand in front of the dumbbell rack while exercising – the free weights area is usually small enough due to the amount of machines gyms purchase these days. Don’t make it any more difficult for others to grab their desired weights.

Don’t take your phone into the gym – Are you really that popular you cannot delegate one hour of twenty-four to the gym. Unless used as an iPod(put it on flight mode if so) it will be nothing but a distraction to you anyway while you also annoy others.

Don’t ask for advice off fellow gym goers – Questions like”How can I get bigger?” and “Whats the best exercises for me to lose weight” will do nothing other than annoy those working out around you. You are probably asking them because they are in a condition or size which you also would like to be but I promise you they didn’t get to that state from talking when they should be exercising. Ask the staff at the desk if you are that desperate but do you’re homework! Book a trainer, research at home on the internet or hit the library and make your plan before you get there.

Don’t train in massive groups – Try to work out with only one other person (two if you must), not in groups of four or five even if its more motivating for you. The wait for equipment is often long enough, don’t prolong it by you and your entourage having a bench press king-of-the-hill. If you really want to train in massive groups, go to the park or beach and use the benches, playground equipment and surroundings to have your session!

Dont hog mirrors and power racks for isolation exercises – If you are doing lightweight and/or isolation exercises(such as bicep curls, lat raises, tricep ext. etc.), try not to do these in prime mirror space and in power racks. Both are there to monitor your form and body alignment on your full body compound exercises such as squats, deadlifts and cleans.

Have good manners – Just be generally well-mannered. Little things like wiping down equipment, putting your weights back, asking others before you use equipment if they are using it, not hogging the drink cooler, will go a long way in making your training experience more pleasurable.

Without having even made a dint in the laws, this select few will help you if you are a new kid on the block of fitness. Abide by them, and let us together return the exercise facilities of this world back to their former glory.

 

10 Quotes

10 Quotes To Read Daily For Motivation, Inspiration and Self Belief

“In my mind, I’m always the best. If I walk out on the court and I think the next person is better, I’ve already lost.”

Venus Williams

“You can’t change the past, but you can ruin the present by worrying about the future.”                                         

  Unknown

“If you’re absent during my struggles, don’t expect to be present during my success.”         

Will Smith

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

Eleanor Roosevelt

“I know what is within me, even if you can’t see it yet.”  

Michael Jordan

“If you only give 90% in training, you will only give 90% when it matters.” 

Michael Owen

“Success is to go from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.”

Winston Churchill

“We are what we repeatedly do, excellence therefore is not a single act, but a habit.”

Aristotle

“Your worth consists in what you are, not what you have.”

Thomas Edison

“If it falls to your lot to be a street sweeper, sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures, sweep streets like Beethoven composed music … Sweep streets like Shakespeare wrote poetry. Sweep streets so well that all the host of heaven and earth will have to pause and say: Here lived a great street sweeper who swept his job well.”

Martin Luther King Jnr

Why He’s with Her and Not You

Common misconceptions women are told and led to believe regarding the male mind and how to correct them.

For generations there has been a cloud of mystery slowly forming and growing as to why divorce rates are climbing and why there are an increasing number of singles in this world (although I’m not complaining about the latter). The most obvious reasoning behind this is because there has been a recent influx of sugar-coated lies and misconceptions flowing into the minds of our world mostly due to the media and friends who care about our emotions. Sources who project these teachings think they are helping but they are in fact disrupting one’s quest for love. Below are a few insights into the male brain (which I possess in conjunction with the appropriate genitalia) and how to correct your ways as a female on your mission for finding a soul mate.

Misconception / Lie – If he doesn’t like you for who you are, then he doesn’t deserve you. This lie is about as close to the truth as I am to marrying Beyonce. Perform a self-evaluation and see why he really doesn’t like you. Maybe you’re unhappy due to a variety of reasons, this guy who you are trying to attract does not want to hear about it on a keyboard damaging status update on your Facebook profile. I’m not saying change, I’m saying alter his perception of you so he may see your “highlight reel”. Nobody would have went to watch Shaq play if all they heard was he couldn’t shoot, they went because they knew or heard he could slam dunk and break backboards!

Misconception / Lie – You don’t have to be able to cook to find a man. This may not interfere with your relationship at first , but as things get more serious this will be a major factor in keeping you two together. Cooking doesn’t mean having the ability to fry breast fillets and add a simmer sauce, I am referring to proper cooking. To learn the culinary arts is a long and grueling process, to master it takes patience, dedication, ability to improvise and a lot of effort, all which are necessities in a successful relationship.

Misconception / Lie – You don’t have to look nice, your personality will win him over. Let’s face it, you may have an amazing personality but he’s never going to know it if he doesn’t look at you twice. I’m not saying you have to look like you fell from Mt. Olympus or like a cover model from Victoria Secret, what I’m saying is PRESENTATION is the KEY to initial attraction. You cannot use what you don’t have. By this logic if you have pretty eyes be sure to blink a few extra times when you two are admiring each other’s retinas. Or if you have a nice behind, wear jeans or a dress that will amplify your quality rear end!

Misconception / Lie – You should tell him how you feel about his faults, it’ll be healthy for your relationship. That’ll be as healthy as putting Coca-Cola in your car’s petrol tank. Men have a leadership quality installed deep within which has been passed from generation to generation, from the neanderthals that roamed planet earth in prehistoric times, which causes them to think they’re the never wrong. Although a male may have faults, DO NOT tell him. You must be subtle with your actions and create a delicate plan of attack, plant a seed of change in his mind, water it with a treat of some description(get creative with this), and make him believe he came up with that idea all on his own. Then you two may have a fighting chance.

Unfortunately there is a perpetual list of lies and misconceptions which is ever-increasing and I do not have time to address them all. However hopefully these four may help you in landing and/or keeping your potential soul mate. The mulch has now been added and the seeds have been planted. It is up to you to water and watch your plants grow.