Happy Sunday everyone.
Thanks to everyone who has been in the gym over the past couple of weeks – the sessions have been going a touch crazy (to say the least)…which is a GOOD thing of course. It has been really exciting to see so many people having a good crack at the Try July Challenge and – like I said before the challenge started – we aren’t chasing ‘en mass’ migrations from the Boxing gym to the Strength gym…but we do believe we have TWO good products and would kind of like to see more of a 50-50 split between the classes rather than the 90-10 split we were seeing pre- challenge.
So. With the challenge finishing up this WEDNESDAY, we will retain the JULY timetable throughout August. It seems to have been pretty effective and – in my way of thinking – the consistency of it makes it ‘easy’ for everyone to remember. I don’t really know if this is what we will continue with for the ‘long-term’ – we actually have to see what attendance looks like throughout a ‘non-challenge’ month before deciding exactly what to do.
The question from there is ‘what does that mean for ‘Hammer Time’ and ‘Barbell Club’? Well – I don’t know yet. Nothing during August. In the longer term, we have a couple of options including re-adding them to the timetable OR creating a ‘block’ of sessions (say, 6-weeks worth?) and running a separate program (like we have done with the SPARTAN program in the past). In any case, they are pretty awesome sessions and wont be lost to the gym – BUT in the short term they wont be back on the weekly timetable.
Of course – the only other thing to cover off is the use of the Strength gym post-challenge. It is pretty simple – if you want to continue to participate in the Functional Fitness sessions/use the strength gym, then you DO need to upgrade your membership in order to do so. You don’t need to sign anything – but you do need to let us know and we will process the changes from Thursday this week (the upgrade to your membership will just happen when your next fortnightly/monthly debit falls due). It’s as simple as that.
Onto the blog. Such as it is.
I do want to start with a BIG happy birthday to my one-and-only, Vanessa. I am still annoyed that you asked our daughter if you needed to ‘put your game-face on’ when opening presents on Sunday morning, but I love you all the same. You put up with an awful lot from me (let alone the feral kids who occasionally appear out of their caves to ask “what’s for dinner”) and do it all without (much) complaining…anyway, Happy Birthday!
I then wanted to talk – and very quickly, it is Vanessa’s birthday! – about food.
The Try July Challenge is over – so the follow-up body scans are starting…and the questions are already on the way! How is it that I have trained EVERY DAY and the weights I lift have GONE UP but my Body Scan says I have lost muscle? And HOW COME, I have come every day, and trained really hard, and not only has my muscle dropped, but my BODY FAT % has INCREASED. THAT DOESN’T SEEM FAIR.
And it’s not fair. But let’s take the questions one at a time.
Point 1 – You have increased your weights – therefore you MUST be stronger. Therefore you MUST have gained muscle.
Ummm. Not exactly. Because you have been lifting a lot more, well, you have gotten BETTER at lifting. So you are more efficient. The truth is, none of us – even the strongest people in our gym – are even approaching our lifting potential…we just aren’t. What happens as you practice a skill over and again (and yes, a squat is a skill, a bench-press is a skill, even a ‘simple’ pushup is a skill!) you get better at it. And because you become better at it, you can do ‘more’. You don’t have to have gained muscle to do that…all you have to do is have a bit more PRACTISE.
So. If you have improved your lifting but LOST Muscle, well, that means you have gotten BETTER. Which isn’t a bad thing. It isn’t bad at all…not even a little bit.
Point 2 – I trained all the time – but I LOST muscle. How is that even possible?
Well, if you trained more than usual – and ‘really’ watched your food – you probably didn’t EAT enough to enable you to gain muscle. Muscle doesn’t grow when you train – it grows when you rest and recover. When you sleep. Muscle NEEDS FOOD in order to grow. If you maintained – or like a lot of people, RESTRICTED your food whilst also INCREASING your training, you might find that your body used some of your muscle as ENERGY to fuel your training…how do you avoid this? By eating MORE food – by eating sufficient food to support your training!
Point 3 – All of which leads to the final question – “I eat pretty healthy. I don’t know what is going on. Just TELL ME WHAT TO EAT”.
Let me start by saying that for most people I talk too, the problem is (ultimately) the gap between “eating ‘pretty’ healthy” most of the time and “eating HEALTHY” all of the time, but regardless of that…
It’s sort of hard to do this (tell you what to eat) – even though we have a pretty good crack at it during our health checks where we provide full eating plans for everyone. But in simple terms:
Eat meat, fish and vegetables 2-3 times per day…and try for BALANCE on every plate – protein, carbs and fats. You can eat with abandon when it comes to leafy greens – with starchy veggies (potatoes, pumpkin)…be smart. 1 serve = ½ cup and you get 2 serves of the starchy stuff every day.
Meat and fish? Well…again – it is good for you (like veggies) but don’t go too crazy if you are trying to lose weight. One serve is 100g (raw) – 120g raw of fish – and you should have around TWO serves every day (maybe THREE for boys!). Training for the Olympics or trying to gain size – sure thing – eat some more. But if you are sitting down for a 400g steak every week, well, don’t be expecting great results on the scales.
Limit your intake of seeds, nuts and fruit. 2 pieces of fruit each day is a GOOD guide. 6x almonds is a snack size, not a huge handful.
Be CAREFUL with bread and pasta. I am not saying “DON’T” – ‘cos I do. What I am saying is it is VERY EASY to over-eat these foods and a ‘standard serve’ of bread is – depending on the loaf – actually LESS than a single slice. Which means TWO slices (a typical sandwich) is > 2 serves…and the total recommended serve of bread/cereals in Australia is just FOUR (4) serves per day. ½ (ONE HALF) of one cup of COOKED pasta is a serve of Pasta…which means 1 cup is 2 serves…toast for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch and a ‘typical’ serve of pasta for dinner…well, that’s going to come in around the EIGHT serves mark.
Dairy isn’t bad. It isn’t. But just be aware of the impact it has on YOU! Some people do GREAT with dairy – others not so great. Fermented dairy such as cheese and yoghurt can be amazing and can help you feel amazing. But watch the sugar content in the yoghurt.
Stay away from stuff that isn’t food. Alcohol is a ‘sometimes’ treat. Lollies and ice-creams are an occasional treat. Hell – think twice and three times about adding commercially made sauce to your Sunday night nacho’s!
If you need more help with all of this, come and see me…if you REALLY want to get into it, I would suggest getting in touch with the great people at Hardy Nutrition who dropped by the gym for an info night back in April and are an awesome resource for us to have in the Cockburn area (Megan is based up at Gateways).
See you in the gym,
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