Training and Nutrition Articles in Iron Paradise Fitness Blog

#THEDAILYGRIND 010: How To Make Good Food Choices

There are no good or bad foods!  There are no miracle foods.  There are only foods that work for YOU!

Ok, that might be a gross over simplification of the subject, but the statement still holds water to a degree.  I get asked on a regular basis whether a particular food is healthy and ok to eat.  Often it might appear as a text message or physically placed under my nose for approval.  My answer is always the same…

One food type or specific meal is, in itself neither bad nor good.  It’s more about how that food or meal sits in the overall context of what you ate (or plan to eat) in the day.

It goes back to the fundamental principle of good nutrition.  And that’s energy balance.  Calories in vs calories out.

If your goal is to lose weight, then you need to be eating less calories than you burn (calorie deficit).

Flip that around if you want to gain weight for the purposes of increasing muscle mass, ie eat more calories than your burn (calorie surplus).

If you make this mindset shift in how you think about food it can unlock your potential to succeed in your fitness goals.

Think about this for a second.  It’s lunchtime.  You’re out and about in town, rushing around trying to get all your shopping done and your starving.  You haven’t brought any food with you and you haven’t got time to sit down for a full meal at a restaurant.  Out of the corner of your eye, you see those golden arches.  You wouldn’t normally do it, but you decide to dive in and get in the queue.  You know that McDonald’s has some healthy choices these days, so you’re going to be good and stick to the ‘boring’ side of the menu.

As you’re standing in line, you glance up to the display boards all brightly lit with their perfect photography of succulent burgers stacked high on seeded buns.  You’re now at the front of the queue.

What do you order?…

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Caffeine: 5 Benefits For Fat Loss & Building Muscle

Do the benefits of caffeine extend beyond a morning ‘pick-me-up’? Can it really help with fat loss and increasing muscle mass? 

Does your morning routine consist of some form of caffeine hit?  Do you stagger out of bed, fumble around for the light switch and trudge zombie-like to the kitchen to make yourself that first coffee of the morning.

Benefits of caffeine

It’s behaviour akin to a drug addict looking for their next fix, but you feel like it’s what you need to turn you from an extra of the Walking Dead into the human being you and those around you recognise.

And this little wonder drug sometimes get a really bad wrap in the mainstream press.  You’re told to cut back on your intake on a regular basis because of all its negative effects. And while side effects such as sleep disruption, nausea, stomach pain, and irregular heartbeats are very real. They only really come into play with heavy usage and for those with a particular sensitivity.

In this article I’m going to outline 5 benefits of caffeine for fat loss and building muscle. And crucially I’ll tell you how much you should be looking to consume on a regular basis.

Ultimately, my aim is for you to experience all the benefits, while reducing the risk of any side effects.

So, go put the kettle on.  By the time you’ve finished this article you’ll know whether or not you should make that coffee.

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#THEDAILYGRIND 008: Why Testosterone Boosters Are Worthless & What You Should Be Doing Instead

Google the phrase ‘Best Supplements for Muscle Growth’ and you’ll be hit with a myriad of companies claiming their product is exactly what you need…  The truth is they’re probably just bullshitting you…

And it’s not just the supplement companies.  The same can be sent of online websites that have poorly researched articles giving mediocre advice.  Either that’s just pure laziness or there’s some inherent link back to a supplement company they’re surreptitiously promoting.

Where does that leave you in your quest to find out what you need to be doing to optimise your training in the gym?  You’re putting in the hours in the Iron Paradise and you want to make sure that you can squeeze every last drop of growth from your efforts.  That’s totally understandable.  I’m the same!

But the search for the silver bullet that’s going to bring you huge gains in 2017 has the danger of leading you down totally the wrong path.  Listen to the advice in the articles from those first few Google hits or the glossy marketing of supplement companies and you’ll be mislead.  The promise of ‘packing on muscle’ will never live up to the hype.  The sad reality is your desire for gains is only really going to lead to gains for supplement companies.  In the form of YOUR hard-earned cash lining their pockets.

What you’ll be left with is a face of bemusement and frustration as you’re 3-6 months down the line and wondering where all that muscle you had been promised is hiding, because it certainly isn’t on your body!

How do I know this is the case?  Because I’ve been there.

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#THEDAILYGRIND 007: 4 Reasons Why You Need Regular Massage

Can massage really help you build muscle and get you to your goals quicker?

A week into the New Year and the first week of that new training programme.  Are you feeling sore?  Does every muscles and sinew ache?  You might even feel like you’ve been hit by a freight train!

The chest is tight.  You’re back is tight.  Even your arms shake as you try to hold a pen and make those notes in that important meeting at work.

Your colleagues are looking at you, not as the picture of health and fitness you thought you’d be, but battered and broken like someone 50 years your senior.

And as for the two days after leg day…  Well let’s just say you probably weren’t alone in struggling to get on and off the toilet for those two mornings.

These feelings and sensations are totally normal, especially if heavy weight lifting like I recommend in my Aesthetics Through Strength programme is new to you.  Even I still get tight and sore after a tough workout.  It comes with the territory and it’s almost like a badge of honour.  A sign that you put the work in.  That you battled through those last few reps when your body was screaming at you to stop.

Now’s the time you need to think about recovery.  Nutrition, rest and good sleep are all necessary elements of recovery. And you can take this a step further with regular sports massages.

In this article I’m going to take you through 4 benefits of massage and how it can help your training and actually get you to your goals that bit quicker.

Results, quicker?  Sounds awesome right?  Let’s go…

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#THEDAILYGRIND 006: To Bulk Or Not To Bulk?

Winter’s here, beach bodies are a distant memory.  Now’s the time to bulk, or is it…

You only have swipe your thumb up through your Instagram feed a couple of times to see your timeline filled with posts about bulking.  Hands up, I’m one of the guilty ones in that group, so I apologise.

We didn’t get much of a summer this year (at least in the UK), but there were a few days were you might have gotten the opportunity to whip that top off and tan those abs you’d been sculpting for the last few months, but now the winter nights have drawn in those abs aren’t likely to see the light of day for a good while now.

And this is why most people switch to the off season bulk.  Hibernating their bodies away like a bear in the woods.  Exchanging stringer vests and shorts for thick hoodies and jogging bottoms.  If your gym is anything like mine you’re probably spending the first part of your workout trying to get some feeling back into your fingers.  These gyms are damn cold and I’ll be damned if I’m working out in a vest!

But is this seasonal bulking process right for everyone?

How do you know if it’s right for you?

In today’s blog, I’ve put together a quick guide to determine if bulking is right for you.

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#THEDAILYGRIND 005: The Best Shoe For The Gym

Progress is made one step at a time, but you can make the journey shorter with the right shoes.

Those brand new Nike trainers have still got that new shoe smell as you walk into the gym, but are they actually stalling your progress?

You’re in the gym dressed head to toe in the latest kit.  Santa was good to you and you’ve got a brand new pair of high-end trainers to strap on to your feet as you strut into the gym for the first day back after the holidays.  You walk around the gym floor, chest puffed out like McGregor on fight night and you’re ready to start lifting.

But are those shiny new boots holding you back from your progress?  Are they in fact the antithesis of what you need to achieve your fitness goals?

Buying the right gym shoe can be quite a confusing process and more so than it probably should be.  The last time I went to by some trainers it felt like there was a pair of shoes for every possible step I might take in life.  Shoes for running, shoes for crossfit, shoes for boxing, shoes for wrestling, shoes for weightlifting, shoes for brushing your teeth, and shoes for wiping your ass.  Well, maybe not the last two, but you get what I mean…

And the complexity doesn’t just end there.  It gets worse!!!

Once you’ve picked a type of shoe, there’s a plethora of sub-types to choose from.  How is the average person, particularly a beginner expected to find their way through the minefield.

So in this article, I’m going to give you an insight into what has worked for me.  If it works for me, there’s no reason it can’t work for you.

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#THEDAILYGRIND 004: What to do When Progress Halts

Everyone wants to progress.  Every week.  Every workout.  But want do you do if it all grinds to a halt?

This blog is something I decided to write after I saw a question posted on Facebook earlier this week.  The question related to a guy that had seen is weight / fat loss take an almighty slow down.  He’d been dieting for a year and his weight hadn’t really changed that much.  He was fluctuating about 5 lbs each day.  He was stuck with where to go next.  He’s strategy was going to be to cut 800 calories out of his diet.  Quite a drastic change.

This got me thinking.  There’s probably a ton of people out there that have similar problems.  Progress has pretty much come to a stand still.  They’re lost and don’t know which way to turn.  The only logical thing they can think of doing is to keep stripping away calories.

After all it’s all about calories in vs calories out, right?

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#THEDAILYGRIND 003: Remember Your Why

It’s day 3 of the New Year and Day 3 of your new regime.  Motivation is high, but for how long?

Following a new fitness regime is tough.  Hell, making any sort of major lifestyle change is difficult no matter what your goal is.  Even if you plan to commit to taking positive steps outside of your health, like your career, it’s going to take a big effort and a whole heap if grit and determination to get there.

I seem to remember reading somewhere that it takes on average 66 days for something to become a solid habit.  So only 63 days to go and counting!

Along the way your motivation is going to ebb and flow.  This is totally normal and all part of the process you’re going to have to go through.

It’s time to suck it up and battle through it.

But it’s not all about ‘manning up’ and getting on with it.  That’s not really a strategy that helps.  Yes, it sounds cool but I think you’ll agree it’s not particularly helpful.

What’s the best way to deal with that dip in motivation?

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#THEDAILYGRIND EPISODE 2: 7 Steps to Great Nutrition

You can do all the training in the world, but if your nutrition is lacking, so will your results.

The old phrase “you are what you eat” has some merit.  Generally speaking, if you meticulously work your way through the takeaway menus stuffed in your kitchen draw one by one throughout the week, you’re probably not going to be the poster boy (or girl) of the next government healthy eating campaign.

Today’s episode of #THEDAILYGRIND is about nutrition and how to make sure that yours is working FOR YOU and not AGAINST YOU.  I’d say that this is hands down the biggest problem that people encounter in trying to achieve their fitness goals.  The first thought when setting up a new programme is the gym.  The motivation is high and that feeling of running, lifting, rowing, pressing, and generally sweating your way through a 60 minute workout gives you an instant sense of satisfaction.  You instantly feel like it’s done you some good and that body fat is now just going to melt away.

What I’ve experienced myself is that this is actually the easy bit.  Getting the foot in the door at the gym is not actually that hard.  Set someone up with a great training programme that is personalised, effective, and fun and it just takes that push of motivation to get the ball rolling.  Where the difficulties come is in changing ingrained habits around food and educating people on how to make good food choices throughout the day.

Fail to get the nutrition side of things right and you’re doomed to fail from Day 1.  It’s that simple.

But the good news is, it doesn’t need to be as hard and complicated as you might think.  If you’re about to kick-start a new training programme, this article is for you.  I’m going to walk you through a 7 step process to get your nutrition dialled in and working for you to make those results come quickly.

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#THEDAILYGRIND EPISODE 1: 5 Tips For A One Way Ticket To Success In 2017

If that New Year’s Resolution is going to stick you better start doing something different.

It’s New Year’s Resolution time and millions of people all over the world are making promises to themselves to lose weight, tone up, work harder, be less of a moody f**cker in the office (that might well be one of mine).  But in the haze of the New Year hangover are these realistic goals or just a whole bunch of pipe dreams and wishful thinking?

How can you turn these pipe dreams into reality?  How can you make sure you shed that Xmas weight and finally get into shape?

You want to one of the 8% minority that are alleged to complete their resolutions each year.  The misery of being in the loser camp with the other 92% just doesn’t leave a good taste in your mouth.

You’re PUMPED.  You’re COMMITTED.  It’s the 1st of January and you’re ready to go.

95% of people that I’m likely to speak to over the next 4-6 weeks will probably have the same goal.  LOSE WEIGHT AND GET TONED.

So if that’s you, then this article is addressed directly at you.

Watch the YouTube video below to see me talk through everything and read through the rest of the blog for even more detail to help you out.

Let’s dive in and give you those top tips…

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