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8 Ways to Stay Fit for Christmas

8 Top Tips To Enjoy The Holidays And Stay Fit For Christmas Without Undoing All Your Hard Work.

Staying healthy and fit for Christmas doesn’t have to be as believable as Santa himself. Find out how to stay on track over the holiday season and not turn into a Human Mince Pie…

If you hadn’t realised already, Christmas is just around the corner.  And the thought go trying to stay fit over the Christmas and New Year period might be a little bit of a mind f*ck! Well it doesn’t need to be. With just a few simple tips, staying fit for Christmas can be a reality…

Thinking about staying fit for Christmas, might have you in two minds. On the one hand you think “f*ck it” and are prepared for the complete blow out. On the other hand, you might be thinking about being so strict you skip dinner altogether and stick to your trusty Tupperware. Or maybe you’re somewhere in the middle.

Either way temptation is at every turn and that a calorie deficit could be the hardest thing to maintain. So that’s why I’ve got 8 top tips for you to stay fit for Christmas. Follow these and take the worry out of the festive season. Trust me, they’ll stop you turning into a human mince pie and keep things on the rails over the next couple of weeks.

So let’s start unwrapping this early Christmas present…

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#THEDAILYGRIND 013: To Cheat or Not to Cheat?

“Hi.  I’ll have 4 meat samosas, the chicken korma with Pilau rice, and a Naan bread.  Oh and could you add in 5 poppadoms.  Oh and could you add in 4 bottles of beer.  Don’t worry, it’s my cheat day.”

Sound familiar?  That single takeaway order just weighed in at a whopping 3,330 calories!!!  That’s more calories than I’m currently consuming each day on my bulk!

I get it.  It’s Friday night.  You’ve had a long week at work.  You’ve been hitting the gym hard all week, your diet has been on point, but you’re absolutely out on your feet.  You just can’t face cooking another meal.  Tonight you just want to rest.  Someone else can do the hard work for a change.  So you ransack the drawer in the kitchen that’s hiding the one takeaway menu you’d secretly hidden for emergencies such as this, and you start dialling.

This is all ok isn’t it?  It’s all part of the plan.  It’s that little (or not so little in this case) treat for all that hard work during the week.  It’s a mental break from having to count calories and worry about macros.  You tell yourself it’ll be beneficial in the long run.

But is it?

Could this small indulgence be the one thing that’s holding you back from achieving your weight and fat loss goals?

Let’s find out by starting with the basics first.

The simple truth is that a cheat meal (and definitely a cheat day) can put your progress off the rails and have it careering into oblivion if you’re not careful.

But it need not be the case.  You can have your cake and eat it (I never understood that phrase, what’s the point of having cake if you can’t eat it?…).

In this article, I’m going to guide you through the do’s and don’ts of cheat meals and how you can build the concept into your meal plans without worrying about the negative effects to your weight loss and progress.  I’ll teach you how a second on the lips need not mean a lifetime on the hips.  All it takes is a few simple tips and a little application.

So why not sit back, put your feet up, grab that tub of Ben & Jerry’s Peanut Butter Cup ice cream and a large spoon.  And tuck in while I show you how to make sure you can enjoy that indulgent treat and feel good about it at the same time.

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BCAA blog pic

BCAA’s: Essential or Simply Overrated?

BCAA’s are marketed as an essential supplement to support your training. But should you believe the hype?

I’ve spent thousands of pounds on a whole host of supplements over the years. Not just BCAA’s, but a myriad of different products. After all that wasted time and money, I finally feel I’m able to separate what works from what’s just marketing hype.  And I’m going to share some of that knowledge with you in this article.

Honestly, I wish I could’ve done it quicker.  If I’d have known what I know now, my physique would be much more developed. And there’d be a few more notes in my wallet as well.

And that’s the fundamental reason why I wanted to write this article.

Essentially, I don’t want you to make the same mistakes I did.

I’ve no doubt you work hard in the gym.  You want to maximise all your efforts and turn every set and every rep into gains.  Be that muscle growth or fat loss.  And that’s perfectly natural.

But the honest truth is that filling your cupboards with every pill, potion, and powder on the market isn’t going to bring you the results you hope for.

As a natural weight lifter you’re always looking for marginal gains. Especially if you’ve been lifting for a couple of years. Because that extra bit of width on the shoulders or that added thickness in your back is harder and harder to come by with each passing year.

You’re maxing out your training in the gym and your diet is consistently on point.  So now you look to the added boost that supplements can give you.

But how do you know what works and what doesn’t?

So let’s get down into the detail of today’s article and lift the lid on BCAAs. And let’s see whether they should be on your shopping list or banished for good.

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#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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#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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6 Healthy Recipes for a Nutritious Day

So, you’re looking ahead to the New Year and hunting around for a few new healthy recipes to spice up your new 2017 nutrition plan.  You want to leave the dull and boring things in the past and create dishes you’ll actually look forward to and enjoy.

No problem, Iron Paradise Fitness has got you covered.

Over the last few days the blog posts have been geared around the post-Christmas ‘get back on it’ plan and generally gettin’ after it in 2017.  This one is in the same vein and squarely focused on nutrition.  I hope you like it.

I’ve got 6 awesome recipes for you that you can weave into your meal plans for some tasty alternatives to what you might be having at the moment.  And there’s no brussel sprouts in sight!  Most of the recipes will take less than 15 minutes to cook, so you won’t have to worry about slaving over a hot stove all day.  These are designed to work if you want to prep in advance or if you want to whip something up on the fly.

Perfect if your still lacking motivation to do a full on meal prep.  Knock these up as you go and you’ll have a good basis to start from.

I’d love to see your own creations after you’ve given the recipes a try.  Tag me in your photos on Facebook and Instagram.  The best photo will get a a FREE copy of my November and December recipe packs, containing a total of 20 awesome recipes!

Get cooking and GET CREATIVE!

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How to get back on track after Christmas and the Ultimate Body Weight Workout

Hands up if you over indulged this Christmas. Was it just 1 day? 3 days? More???

And with the main indulgences on the holiday period behind you, did you spring out of bed this morning, eager to smash out a post-Christmas chest workout (because let’s face it everyone is going to be doing chest the first day back)?

Did you wake up and leap out from under the covers with the breathless anticipation of the day ahead?

Did the thought and excitement of getting back to your regular gym and eating regime just become all too much and have you almost at bursting point?

I can imagine it was like that Christmas Day feeling when you were 10 years old.  Never really going to sleep properly on Christmas Eve and waking up a 4am, rushing into your parents’ room and proceeding to jump on their bed until they caved in an begrudgingly trudge downstairs with you.

But instead of rushing downstairs to open presents, you’re making a beeline for your gym bag.  You throw on your brand new threads that Santa brought you, mix up a bit of pre-workout, grab a protein shake for after your workout and off you go.

Or is that all just wishful thinking?

After a few days of over indulgence with the family, do you really feel like getting back to the old routine?  Doesn’t a another lie in and a day of eating some more good food sound like a much better deal?

Exercising your way out of a food coma isn’t the most appealing of propositions.  After all, the new diet starts in the New Year right?  So you’ve got at least another 5 days or so to work on that food baby that’s growing inside of you.

Visualising yourself as a slightly fatter, slightly hungover version of yourself sweating out that turkey dinner and copious amounts of mince pies is the last straw.  You turn over, curl up under your nice warm duvet, like a hibernating bear and steal a few more hours of shut eye before you have to face the world again.

So how do you get back on track after all that over indulgence of the last week?

How do you motivate yourself to get back into the routine?

How do you avoid the temptations that are still littered throughout the house?

How do you start making good food choices again when the fridge is seemingly bursting with treats?

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First World Problems & Getting After It In 2017

After a few days in New York / New Jersey I can truly attest that winter is well and truly here.

Walking around NYC in just a T-shirt and a fairly thing coat was definitely one of the worst decisions I could’ve made.  Stepping out of Penn Station I should have been amazed by the sights in front of me.  Yet all I could think about was making a beeline for the nearest store where I could buy a decent jacket and gloves.

Now, I’m sure for the average New Yorker that wasn’t a particularly cold day, but for me, it felt like deepest, darkest Siberia.

I felt like Luke in the Wampa ice cave.  Hands turning to ice blocks and low level numbness spreading throughout my body.  I would’ve given anything to curl up inside the warm belly of a Tauntaun even if they do smell bad on the inside.

Now that I’m back in the UK things are a little bit warmer, but those cold, dark mornings have set in and are now the norm.

If you’re like me and train first thing in the morning, your daily routine starts 10 minutes earlier than normal to get the car warmed up, defrosted and ready to roll.  Sitting in the car waiting for the screen to clear you pray for your bones to stop shaking in their frame.

This is the true definition of dedication.  Finding the motivation to lifts weights in the gym when you’d much prefer to be curled up under your thick duvet with an extra hour on the alarm clock before you have to muster the effort to drag yourself out of bed and go to work.

It’d just be easier to train in the evening, surely?

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Forming Habits in Bitesize Chunks

It’s Christmas Eve Eve (I’m using artistic license to claim that as a day).  It’s 7:30am, it’s dark and a bit of a ghost town as I look out of the window of the local coffee shop.

This has to be the calm before the storm.  Surely in a few hours time as the sun rises and the nation slowly gets to grips with the fact that there’s just 48 hours to go until the big day, this place will come to life.

The car park will be filled to the brim with cars nested side by side like sardines in a tin.

Latecomers to the shopping centre will be on the hunt for that one available space out of thousands.  Like a Great White sensing a drop of blood in the ocean, they stalk shoppers loaded up with bags, trudging back to their cars to free themselves of the weight.

But are they leaving or are they heading back for round 2?  Whatever happens, one thing’s for sure.  They’re gonna need a bigger boat!

Not everyone’s a morning person, but it certainly works f0r me.  I’ve definitely been the early bird catching the worm instead of a night Owl.  I find it the most productive time of the day.

Get the gym stuff out the way.  Get the adrenaline flowing and hit the day hard from the start and don’t let up until it’s time to hit the hay.

It’s a habit that I’ve formed over the years.  And this is what I want to talk about in today’s blog.

How to form positive habits to keep you progressing forward with your fitness goals each and every day…

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