The World has Gone Crazy – but I don’t need to tell you that!

So Gym’s, pubs, clubs and all meeting places have been shut down, and it is really for our own good, after all you don’t want the corona virus do you? the issue with this is that although life is changing in an unprecedented way it appears (through the front window) to be normal, peaceful and quiet, meanwhile the TV sounds and looks like the plot of a Hollywood movie, so it is difficult to get a handle on the reality of the situation.

The gym I attend was shut this week and fortunately for me they have taken the generous step of “hiring” some equipment out so I do have a bar and some 20k plates at home to train with, but before we knew that was going to be a thing I first went out and found myself a log, yes, a log, and I intend to find more, you see we have become so ingrained with the convenience of gyms and facilities that we have forgotten the very basics of why we can build muscle, Adaptation the muscle doesn’t care if you are deadlifting with an ivanko bar or a tree trunk, it reacts to something you can’t do by growing bigger and stronger in order to allow you to do it, your body is your greatest ally.

What the hell do I do with a Log ?

Here are my suggestions and the muscle groups this will use, remember that you are now working within “functional strength” so there is very little in the way of concentration movements but as well all know by now, when you recruit the vast majority of your muscle groups in a movement the effects on the body are increased, with elevations in BMR and testosterone production as well as growth hormone release.

  1. Lift above your head – Starting from the ground grip the log and lift so it is above your head horizontally (obviously balance will be a big thing here) and then pass it from shoulder to shoulder in an arc over you head, this will involve back and leg muscle as well as front delts to get the log in position and then delts and triceps as well as forearms to pass it from side to side.
  2. Bent over row – Easier with some grips but you can use rope or chain to wrap round the log to get a grip, I used chain, place the chain around the log taking great care to place the chains at the point the log is balanced, this way when you pick it up you will get even load distribution, then simply carry out your bent over rows.
  3. Squats – While not conventional these are easily achieved by picking up the log and rolling it along your arms until it rests on your upper chest, by slightly leaning back and opening up the chest cavity you will place the load in a balanced position then squat, for the squat monsters out there you may have to up the reps in order to compensate for the lack of weight.
  4. Deadlifts – same as bent over row really just deadlift it instead !
  5. Lift / Carry – with the heaviest log that you can carry, do just that, pick it up with your arms round it and walk, this is an amazing full body exercise and will help with core strength as well.

These are just a few examples and I have set myself a little challenge, rather than come out of this situation having to start again, I want to go back to the gym in better shape than when I left, remember the gym is the best place to build muscle it is just not the only place, and when this is all over these businesses will need us to go back as soon as possible, because while all this is going on they still have to pay the bills.

Boost Testosterone and build muscle naturally – at any age.

Ok so any age may be an exaggeration, we are looking mainly at men in the 30 to 55-60 range, which is typically when we all the majority of us start to have our second wind at the gym following the jibes about the ‘Dad Bod’ we are now sporting, unfortunately many of us go back to the gym and do not realise that (as sad as it is) the original flushes of youth have left us and our bodies do not react to training as they used to, infact from age 30 it has already started CHECK THIS LINK, but it definitely does not have to be this way.

Discussion

After 30 testosterone starts to decline, this means that where once in our teens or mid twenties we only had to look at a weight in the gym and grow, we now have to think things through and adapt to our the way our bodies need to be trained, more stimulus is required for the same effect and more nutrients are required due to less efficient metabolisms, and this is just taking into consideration natural decline, it is not factoring in any lapse in physical activity that may have crept in due to work commitments and families and so on, The task is to find a way of training, a method that can be applied that would maximise returns, actively boost growth hormone, testosterone production and sensitivity to nutrition, I give you Strongman Training, or large compound movements that require co-ordination from all muscles in the body.

Studies

Studies have been conducted on the subject and the results are nothing less than staggering as far as I am concerned, one study found that after a prescribed set of traditional strongman event exercises there was a 54% increase in salivary testosterone in a group of sixteen men between 24 and 44, even allowing for the small sample size of the study that is an astounding result, and it is backed up by many studies both scientific and anecdotal, as with most of these things the budget for study is limited so they are are never huge, but if you think about the occupations that mimic these types of movements, you see solid fit men well into their 50’s and 60’s, I am thinking about in the construction trade, farmers and road workers, I know that these occupations generally bring their own issues but these are more of a result of the extended period of exertion as opposed to the type of exertion.

Types of Exercise Suggested

As previously stated these are all big gesture compound movements and taken to failure, which is also easier to do with these exercises as opposed to say, Bench Pressing where failure can mean you are trapped under a bar waiting for somebody to let you out !

  • Farmers Walk
  • Chain Drag
  • Atlas Stones
  • Keg Carry
  • Tire Flip
  • Over head Press

These are just a few and I completely understand if you do not have the facility to do these at your gym, but there are ways to simulate the movements, you could use dumbells for the Farmers walk, and a squat bar for the frame carry, also concentrating on squatting and deadlifiting as opposed to leg press or bent over row, basically you are looking to engage the largest amount of muscle participation you can in a movement, it may feel odd after doing a lot of concentration exercise, but you can always put those in at the end, and benefit from the added hormone boost as well.

Conclusion

I have switched to this way of training now (being a man of a certain age) and I have to say that initially it has been brilliant, after a workout I am actually more energised, my sex drive is through the roof and I am normally jumping around like tigger, it doesn’t always make me popular with the wife but all in all it has been a success for me and something I am going to continue, I have added some links below and I am going to do some articles on the different movements in the future, so happy training and remember as cliche as it is age is just a number, there is no reason why we should grow old before our time and start to slow down before we are ready to, with adaptation (a human quality we are all born with) we can continue living how we want to for almost as long as we decide.

Links

Photo by Binyamin Mellish from Pexels

Over 40 ? You need more Protein

I actually turned 40 sometime ago and have struggled to regain the growth of my youth with little to no success, you see the problem is that although we all age we don’t like to think that it has happened and therefore very few of us adjust our lifestyles and nutrition especially to accommodate the changes.

So when I set off back to the gym I was training and eating exactly as I did before, and the results were mediocre at best, the fat refused to budge and the muscle wouldn’t come back for love nor money, a lot of the reason for starting this blog was to share the learning process with like minded people as I try and work out some of the most difficult things to nail down if we are all to live free with happy lives.

Please take a look at my Protein page here where I have included the section on protein over 40 and how the requirement changes, it is truly my intention to educate and assist with my blog and site and welcome any questions at all, I will endeavour to answer them either through a post or as an update on the site.

Photo by Modernista Magazine from Pexels

Nature has an answer for everything – Fenugreek

If you have spent anytime pursuing any kind of sport you will have definitely been exposed to the myriad of pills and potions to help enhance physical performance, from sports drinks laced with sugar for running all the way through to steroids and growth hormone for bodybuilding, the supplement industry is a multi billion dollar industry and it is not difficult to see the motivation behind the glossy advertising campaigns and influencer posts.

Meanwhile for the vast majority of us the availability of the base ingredients of these hyped products never crosses our radar, sitting anonymously on a shelf in a health food store waiting for the inquisitive and informed person to notice just how much cheaper they are compared to the big company names pushed on us from any chosen publication as we pursue our sport.

One of the things I and men all over the world have to deal with is the decline of testosterone from the age of 30 and all the negative symptoms this brings, lack of energy, lack of sex drive, lack of intensity, and as a consequence lack of activity can increase bodyfat and without testosterone to keep the levels down estrogen will rise and cause more weight gain, this is a cycle that many men find themselves in and are looking for a way to increase testosterone without going down the slightly risky route of testosterone replacement therapy or even worse trusting the local dealer to sell good quality steriods.

So while researching testosterone boosting supplements I noticed Fenugreek came up over and over again and so I looked into it further, there is a plethora of information out there and lots of scientific studies proving the effectiveness of this herb (1) and the thing that caught my eye again was the dosage levels, this particular study cites 500mg of Fenugreek as an optimal dosage, most of the supplements I had seen were around 350mg, so far below, it is also widely accepted and shown in this study (2) that the combination of Fenugreek and protodioscin (Tribulus Terrestris) had a significant effect on testosterone, libido, strength and mental alertness.

So rather than purchase the sports manufacturer product that contained only one of the ingredients required and at a lower dosage level than is effective, I set out to buy them separately and see if I could get the results that the study showed.

I began with 600mg of Fenugreek and 300mg of Tribulus as these were the strengths that the tablets came in, and I have been doing this for nearly a week now, I can report with some confidence that my strength has increased and my focus at work has very much improved, one of the effects of higher testosterone is the reduction of bodyfat in general and I think I am seeing some changes but in fairness it is too early to really tell and as far as timelines is concerned I have only just started, I did go up to 600mg of Tribulus but I am not sure if i will continue this as I did start to feel a little odd but this could be just the body getting used to the new substance.

I will monitor my progress for 12 weeks and report my findings as I go, but it is looking really positive so far…

Nature truly does provide for nearly all our requirements, sure it takes more looking and the results are rarely instantaneous, this doesn’t sit well in our on demand society and so natural products often get overlooked in favour of synthetic drugs that hit the system like a steam hammer, but you should always balance the benefit you are looking to achieve, as there is nearly always a detriment to drugs and very rarely to normal dosages of natural products.

As always I will provide links to the products I am writing about, if you are interested and would like to buy through my link please do so, but if not simply google Fenugreek or Tribulus and you will find a whole load of places where these are available.

This is What Your Overactive Brain Needs to Get a Good Night’s Sleep

https://getpocket.com/explore/item/this-is-what-your-overactive-brain-needs-to-get-a-good-night-s-sleep?utm_source=pocket-newtab

During all the activities we undertake to increase physical well being, financial gain or simply to educate ourselves further the one thing we need on our side is cognitive function, sleep is by a long way the most important aspect of this.

Now one thing that does annoy me and I assume annoys or at best confuses others is the sheer dichotomy of advice that is given, we have people shouting that the only way to get ahead is to stay up and work 20hrs a day and people shouting that you need 7 to 8hrs sleep a night, well the maths just doesn’t work, the good thing about this article is that it goes into ways you can improve the quality of your sleep, this really is the only way we can satisfy the best happy medium of the two messages, so enjoy and I hope that it helps at least a little bit.

You dont always have to increase your output if you can make it so much more effective, and improving your ability to solve problems and be creative will definitely improve your chances of success.

Till next time……

Cardio Increase Slowing Down Metabolism ?

So I recently increased my Cardio work, I was previously walking 5k every morning and burning (according to Strava) around 700 calories, this was good, so in the vein of more is better I decided to cut down the distance (as I am not ready for 5k runs) and increase my pace, but this has had an opposite effect, instead of the steady 3 or 4lbs a week loss I have stopped, completely, my weight, despite running being the only change has refused to budge from 17st 11lbs, so I have been looking at why this may be.

Additionally and quite worryingly I have started to run out of energy at the gym, my strength has increased and I am able to work harder at the start of the workout but hit a wall about half way through feeling dizzy and faint, this is obviously not good.

I have come to the conclusion that I am not taking in enough Calories or Carbohydrate to fuel my workouts and so I plan to increase these using clean sources such as boiled brown rice and pasta, potatoes and using Tuna and lean Beef for protein.

I have been giving some consideration to body types as well as this seems to be one of the areas that I have not spent too much time researching, I am a classic endomorph as I gain muscle easily but I also have a propensity to gain fat, so for the meantime I will be eating clean as above and doing some research into metabolic typing as it relates to my diet and exercise routine.

The takeaway from this is that you need to constantly monitor your progress, not everyday as that is impractical, I would say more like looking for consistent results over a period of about two weeks, this way you see the week to week change which may go up or down but the overall momentum over the 14 days will give a more accurate picture of the effectiveness of your training routine.