What’s happened Your New Year’s Resolutions?

Posted on March 23, 2015 · Posted in Clients, Personal

With St. Patricks day just gone by and the Easter break looming it’s time to ask are you still pursuing your New Year’s resolutions or were they brushed to the side while your work and social life snuck back up to the top of your priority list? A comprehensive study commissioned by Australian comparison website in 2014 of more than 2,000 people showed that almost two out of three people (62%) didn’t succeed with their resolutions. Interestingly, out of those who did achieve their resolutions three in four participants (76%) believed that sharing their goals helped reach them. 92% of people fail while only 8% succeed.

If you need a kick up the backside to get your health and fitness back to your number one priority there are some nice little pointers below to get you back on track.

There are 3 types of client that walk through our door. Client number one is overweight, inactive, eats too much junk food and wants to change- this desire to change is always essential for results but can go up and down like a rollercoaster- it’s our job to keep them focused on the end product by setting small achievable bi-weekly goals, this may be as simple as looking for a reduction in your body fat. So you walk out the door thinking all I need is a reduction the next time I get my body fat taken, no huge goal, just a reduction. Very achievable! Client number two is out of shape, has an average diet and does a little bit of training already- but normally does everything wrong, training and nutritionally. This client needs motivation, someone to push them, hold them accountable and to point them in the right direction. They’re actively pursuing health but need to shift some bad habits. Client number three is eager to train, trains regularly but again makes some big mistakes especially when it comes to program design and supplementation. They’re putting in the hours but aren’t getting the strength gains they need or their efforts are resulting in injuries including back and shoulder pain due to poor program design. They need a professional opinion.

If you fall into one of the above categories here’s a few simple tips to get you started yourself or to help you decide on how to find a good trainer.

Our Weight Loss Clients

There’s 5 rules to abide by when it comes to fast results in weight loss and one more to make them last. These rules are black and white, there are no grey areas!

Rule Number 1)   Eat more protein. Research this yourself but time after time studies will show that weight loss programs that adopt a higher protein approach yield better results. The only issue with this is misinterpretation as to how much protein do you actually need. This can vary according to sex, size, and body composition, training frequency, practicality and finance available. Here’s a sample 3 day food diary for a 77Kg female looking to lose one stone.

Day Mon Tue Wed
Breakfast 2-4 soft boiled eggs, small knob of Kerry gold 2 grilled turkey rashers, 2 slices mccambridge brown bread, small knob of Kerry gold 3 Scrambled eggs, tomatoes, 2 slices mccambridge
Lunch Large fillet of fish- hake, cod, salmon etc. with salad Goats cheese salad, Dijon & olive oil dressing, include 1 whole avocado in salad Quinoa and roast hazelnut salad
Dinner Chicken with roast root vegetables, small serving of roast sweet potato Prawn and vegetable stir fry, small serving of brown rice Roast turkey breast, steamed carrots, broccoli, cauliflower
Snacks Apple, blueberries Pear, strawberries Blueberries,


Higher protein breakfasts can provide more sanity throughout the day, reducing the need to snack on sugary foods. If you want even faster results pull out the starchy carbohydrates from this program- the bread, sweet potato and brown rice.

Rule Number 2) Zero calories from beverages. The more liquid calories you drink the more you increase your risk of obesity. When it comes to weight loss you need to stalk your food and drink intake. Ask yourself if there are any excess calories coming in that you’re not aware of. Most people don’t realise the extra calories hidden in the cup of tea, with milk, sugar and “a little biscuit!” or in the cans of coke and lattes they’re drinking. These comforts have to go- they’re just a bad habit. Allow yourself an espresso in the morning if you need the caffeine and a couple of cups of green tea or peppermint tea throughout the day. Expect withdrawal symptoms- headaches, tiredness etc… but they should ease off after 2 or 3 days.


Rule Number 3) Maximise the benefits of regular exercise. Weight train and interval train. A couple of days a week weight training and one or two days interval training will rev up your metabolism and turn you into a fat burning machine! There’s no point in coming into the gym once a week to give yourself a pat on the back for turning up. Regular exercise is needed. Learn to listen to your body- some people will lose weight training 2 days a week others will need 3 to 4 sessions a week. The rule of thumb is the more you train the more you lose.


Rule Number 4) Minimise starchy carbs. If you’re 10Kg overweight you’re storing 10kg worth of energy. To lose weight we need to dig into this stored energy. Sweet potatoes, brown rice and whole wheat pasta, oats and good quality brown breads are all good foods- but they’re usefulness is relative to the amount of excess fat you hold. These are all activity dependant carbohydrates, if you’re already lean and training regularly they’ll help fuel your training sessions but if you’re overweight and inactive they can contribute to weight gain. You can still eat them and lose weight but watch your portion size, we would suggest having one serving per day instead of three.   

Rule Number 5) Include healthy fats. Fats have been made the scape goat in the weight loss industry. Yes they have more calories than carbohydrates and yes some of them have negative effects but if we all use a bit of common sense we can see clearly the cause of weight gain worldwide has been down to lack of exercise, too many take away, too much junk food- crisps, sweets, biscuits, chocolates and sugary cereals and binge drinking. So let’s not blame the avocados! Include small portions of real, unprocessed fats in your diet- Olive oil on your salads, small amounts of real butter, small amounts of nuts and eggs.


Rule Number 6) Tough Love! When you get the results you’re looking for the temptation is always there to think, “I’ve done what I need to do, now I can go back to the way I used to be!” Remember, the way your lifestyle used to be got you into this mess in the first place- overweight, fed up, unfit, depressed, guilty and knowing you have more to give. A bit of tough love can be the key to long lasting weight loss– This means No Excuses. Trust me when I say 80% of your results will come from just showing up and getting stuck into it but watch the excuses you will start to make for yourself and refuse to collaborate with them. It’s self-sabotage! “I’m fit now so I can drink 3 cans of coke a day, I’ve lost weight but I’m tired so I don’t need to go to the gym, the kids need a lift so I’ll just order a take away, I don’t have the money, I’ll start train again week, I’ve too much to do!!!” Most people that you see that are fit and healthy are so because they put health and fitness high up on their list of values and they keep them up there!


Our Health Conscious Clients

With all the different diets, superfoods, training gimmicks and training fads on the market today good health can be misinterpreted! Do you put goji berries on your cornflakes? Should you do a 5K and join Bikram yoga? Should you buy the low-fat yoghurt? Where should you buy your supplements? What type of olive oil should I use? Organic or non-organic? Atkins, South Beach, Low GI, Low GL, Paleo???? The questions are endless! If you’re already training regularly in the gym and trying your best to eat well here’s 10 rules that will help you get better results.

Your Training

Rule Number 1) your rep bracket is the most important variable in your training plan. Your chosen rep bracket will determine how much you lift, the number of sets you do, how long you rest and most importantly- your end result, whether it be strength, muscle growth, strength without growth, rehabilitation…… Most people will train on the same rep bracket for months on end without giving it a second thought. If you want to give your body a different stimulus to respond to, changing your rep range will force you to change the intensity of your lifts. Simple, but often overlooked.


Rule Number2) Try New Exercises. Having an arsenal of 8 exercises isn’t good enough. Try Bill Pearls Book, Keys to the Inner Universe for some ideas on new exercises.

Rule Number 3) Train with a Partner. Find someone with similar goals to you and your      training will improve. A partner will hold you accountable for showing up and egg you on when you’re training. And remember this isn’t a social gathering for a natter about the weekend! It’s still training.

Rule Number 4) Know the Big Bang Exercises. The exercises that have increased strength and lean muscle for the past 60 years are the exercises that will increase strength and lean muscle mass for the next 60 years. Don’t be side tracked by gimmicks– dyno bands, yogalates, local muscular endurance exercises, step aerobics and aqua aerobics. Always include some types of squat variations, pulls or Olympic lifting variations.

Rule Number 5) Change your cardio. Steady state cardio isn’t going to cut it! I’ve been doing intervals since I was 14 and needed to get fit for football, they always gave me more than a 40 minute jog would. But High Intensity Interval Training has really been put on the map for the average joe to see since BBC’s Dr. Michael Mosley did a one hour documentary concluding that fast exercise is even more beneficial than experts thought. Well done “experts,” any 14 year old kicking ball down in Malahide Castle could have told us that!


Your Food Habits

Rule Number 1)   Follow old traditions. White flour, white sugar, factory farmed animals, aspartame, Splenda, sucralose, fizzy drinks, “diet” drinks, frappachinos…..what’s happened to the basics? Porridge, a spoonful of cod liver oil, an Irish stew, mashed carrots and parsnips, brown bread. Ireland didn’t suffer from obesity issues 50 years ago. We need to start taking responsibility and really pay attention to the foods that are becoming our staples. Real food, will keep you lean and fit to train.


Rule Number 2)   Clear out the excess. If you can’t shift the extra few pounds from your hips and tummy ask the question, What are my “sneaky” calories? 4 coffees a day instead of 2? 8 cups of tea a day with milk and sugar? 3 cans of coke? Late night biscuits? All these hidden calories when added up over a year can make a huge difference to your ability to burn fat. We’re not saying cut them all out completely but do bring your awareness to them and ask the question- Has my habit become excessive? And maybe cut the coke right out 😉


Rule Number 3)   Carbs are activity dependent. Think of your bread, potatoes, rice and pasta as your fuel sources. If you’re a lean athlete you’ll need regular servings. If you’re training 3 -4 times a week, driving to work and sitting at a computer all day it makes sense to reduce your fuel intake to match your activity. 

Rule Number 4)   The 5 day diet! Create a Monday to Friday routine so you have access to good foods on a regular basis. Roast a chicken, some root vegetables and sweet potato on a Sunday, stock the freezer with frozen fish and roast a turkey breast and peppers, red onion, aubergine, courgette on Thursday. Alternatively, locate a good coffee shop or restaurant close to work that you know has good quality foods. Nail your diet Monday to Friday and relax it a bit at the weekend

Rule Number 5)   Put on Your Apron! Some of you won’t like this, but if you want better results it means knowing what’s on your plate and the best way to know what’s on your plate is to cook it yourself. If you try one new recipe a month, really master it- whether it’s a soup, stew or curry at the end of the year you’ll have 12 recipes you can rely on and maybe even pass on to your kids.



Our Athletic and Performance Clients

There’s a lot of websites and magazines out there with strength, conditioning and supplement plans. One of the issues that arises with some, not all, of these sites and magazine articles is they can be moderated and written by steroid users. If you pull a program from bodybuilding articles on the internet or from articles in magazines always question the source. A clean athlete cannot compete with a drug user and they definitely can’t do the same training schedule as them. Here’s a few ground rules for improved program design and increased performance.

Rule Number 1) Reduce your acidity. Our bodies were designed to function optimally when our blood acidity/alkalinity is at a certain PH level. The more acid our bodies are the more hormones it takes to get the same response as a body with optimum PH levels.  Once hormones & their receptors are functioning outside their PH they continue to function at a reduced rate so it takes more of the hormone to get the same result. Hormones are PH dependent. Stress, lack of sleep, alcohol, sugar, and processed foods can all make us more acidic. Eat more fruits and veg to balance your PH and maybe supplement with a green drink.

Rule Number 2) Balance your rotator cuff. Tightness in the rotator cuff muscles is a red flag for a shoulder blow out. This usually occurs when we don’t balance out our push and pull exercises or our front and back. It’s a known fact most lads love to train their pecs and shoulders but this usually always ends up in strength discrepancies between the two muscle groups. The lats, triceps and rotator cuff muscles become chronically tight and imbalanced. End result- shoulder pain! The best way to improve range and prevent impingement, shoulder pain or bicipital tendonitis is to get the whole area stripped. This means coming in for some deep tissue hands on therapy, active release, muscle energy techniques and appropriate stretching and strength exercises.

Rule Number 3) Olympic Lift- if you want increased speed and an ability to go up a gear when everyone else is fading get the posterior chain (hamstrings, glutes and low back) strong with variations on the snatch and power clean. You don’t have to do the full lifts, for some sports the risk of injury when doing the full lift outweighs the potential benefits but you can get huge strength increases from partial lifts.

Rule 4) Squat- squatting is the king of leg exercises, when done correctly squatters will see strength improvements in the glutes, external rotators on the hips, some of the adductor muscle group and the quads. A good squat looks like a good squat! Knees travel forward, hips lower, slight hinge forward at the hips, thighs come just below parallel to the ground. However 8 out of 10 people who come through the door squat poorly, they get dragged forward by tight muscles, the back rounds, bum pops out of their pants, knees don’t travel forward, they can only squat halfway down! A good squat needs flexibility in the hip flexors, the adductors, the hamstrings, external rotators of the hip, quads and low back.  If you want strength for sports and performance learn how to squat well, through full range

Rule 5) Ask the Question, “How flexible do I need to be?” If you sprint you need excellent flexibility for stride length, decreased stride length will lead to poorer times, if your involved in martial arts you need to be flexible to get good range on kicks, gymnastics speaks for itself, shoulder, torso and hip flexibility is needed for golf and most field sports- rugby, soccer, Gaelic require participants to have good hamstrings for stride length and speed too. Although the opposite is often what we see with full on athletes! Include a stretching sequence in your training program to target tight areas.


Enjoy the training folks!