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Myth Busting 101

I can’t lift that it will make me huge!

By Mark Gallagher                                        29/02/2016

Ok, so you are the gym or a class and the weight you are lifting is getting easier and you could probably lift a bit more. So do you move up in weight or just stay where you are? Common sense would suggest you move up in weight and make it more difficult. However there seems to be a universal myth that lifting heavy weights will make you have big muscles and look like a bodybuilder. All I am saying is I WISH! I’d like it to be as easy as picking up a heavier weight and instantly putting on loads of muscle (that’s if I could pick the weight up in the first place). It’s my job to convince you that this is the case. So that’s what I am about to try and do. Stay with me!

So why should I lift heavier weights?

Well firstly if it’s safe to do so and you are finding it pretty comfortable at the weight you currently use then why not? I know that’s a pretty basic answer but sometimes most of the time keeping things super simple is the way forward. But on a more serious note there a couple of legitimate reasons as to why we should increase the weight, sets and reps when exercising on a regular basis. Here are my thoughts on the subject:

  1. Your body and everyone else’s for that matter is a smart piece of kit and adapts very quickly. So if you have been training for a while using the same weights your body adapts to make the task in hand easier and there is less impact on the body. Therefore your progress slows down, hence why we always see great progress with people who have just started as the body isn’t used to the exercise and has to adapt. So you need to keep pushing yourself to see adaptations and progress otherwise we will just plateau over time.
  2. Secondly a Woman doesn’t have the same testosterone levels as men when it comes to building muscle. So it would take females much longer and much more training and food to put on more muscle over time. Male and Female hormones work differently (as we all know) so as much as we have many of the same systems in the body some are different and result in Male and Female characteristics.

So lets get lifting!

Now it’s time to increase the weight you use next time you are at the gym. Even just a couple of kg’s or the next weight up from what you have been using previously. Here is a though…

“If we keep doing what we have always done, we will get what we always got.”

So lets challenge ourselves and not just go through the motions at the gym and in life.

Next time we will discuss Progressive Overload, not the sexiest of titles but it is directly linked to the topic of muscle building we have just went over.


Synergy Performance

I needed a break!

If you come to our gym then you will know I have just had a weeks holiday. It’s been 11 months since we opened the gym and it was just time for a break. I was starting to get tired. As most people do I didn’t think this would happen to me, we all think we are invincible, right?The early mornings and the late nights were starting to take their tole and the training every week for months on end meant my body was getting no real rest. Something had to give.
So I went away with family and friends and tried to get my mojo back. I think I have succeeded. I did no exercise (except carrying my 18 month year old son around the pool), didn’t focus too much on what I was eating, kept my phone in the safe in my room as much as possible and tried to get a nap or do some reading when my son had his nap. I now feel ready to get back into my training, my work and my life with renewed motivation and enthusiasm. You may be reading this and thinking I am telling you to don’t need to do as much or take a break. Not exactly. What I am saying is you need to find the balance in your life. We can’t be all work and no play. It’s about creating a balance that works for you. If you are struggling and feel like you have no time to yourself then pencil in some YOU time in the calendar and do whatever makes you happy. You may be looking for a fresh start, a change to you life. You maybe want to change the way you look and feel for the better. The balance works both ways.

Protein Shake? No, they make you huge.

It seems to be the consensus among the general population that protein shakes/ powders are for weightlifters and weightlifters only. There seems to be a stigma attached to them that they are not for NORMAL people to consume. Some stereotypes are they give you big muscles, make you bulk up and taste like something you wouldn’t even give to your dog. Thankfully none of these pre-conceptions are true (although I must admit flavours are a bit odd, cookies and cream protein shake anyone?).

So Why Do We Take Protein Shakes?

We need sufficient amounts of protein in our diets to ensure optimal growth and repair of our bodies on a daily basis. Although the amount can vary depending on your lifestyle, age and activity levels and can range anywhere from 0.8 to 2.5 grams of protein/per kilogram of bodyweight/day. Now in an ideal world we would want to get all of our protein sources from whole foods such as meat, poultry, fish and some dairy products but this isn’t always feasible given the hectic lifestyle many people have. This is where protein shakes can come in handy and help provide a top up of protein to your diet and be linked in with your current exercise regime.

During exercise our bodies are breaking down our fuels sources and using them for energy. Depending on what intensity you exercise at this could be fat or carbohydrate as well as protein. After exercise our bodies require us to replenish the nutrients we have just used up in order to have sufficient energy levels and re fuel for your next session. A quick and simple way to achieve this is by having a post workout protein shake.

There are two main types of protein powders available on the mass market, which are whey and casein. Now to put it simply whey is fast acting and gets into your system and where it needs to go very quickly (ideal for after exercise). Casein is a bit slow on the uptake and is gradually released into the system more suited if you haven’t got time to make a meal and casein mixed with some healthy fats or carbohydrates will keep you going till your next meal.

Don’t Knock It Till You Have Tried It.

Protein shakes can be a great addition to a health diet and you should definitely be considered if you are serious about your health and fitness. They are so many brands out there all doing relatively similar products so find a flavour and brand that you like and stick to it. A protein shake after exercise won’t give you huge muscles (believe me I know) but it will help replenish the body with the vital nutrients it needs after exercise. So don’t be afraid to jump in the pool and try something new.

You never know might actually like it.

There is more than one way to skin a cat!

People often get caught up in finding the best way to lose weight, put on muscle or get better at specific sport. The truth is there are many different ways to achieve the desired results so we can’t dismiss another method until we have at least understood the method or tried it for ourselves. People seem to quick these days to think there is a quick fix and if I follow this certain plan/regime for the next six weeks my life will be changed forever. When the goal should be not to change in the short term but to change for the long term and invest in your future.

Lets look at the various methods people use to achieve their goals:


Cardio has long been hailed as the No. 1 solution for fat loss and weight loss programs and can be found in various forms. We mainly have LISS (Low intensity steady state cardio) and HIIT (High intensity interval cardio) both have their place and promote different reactions within the body. LISS is cardio performed over a longer period of time (i.e 40 Minutes) at a low pace which will over time burn fat in the body as fat is the main fuel source used when working at lower intensities. HIIT on the other hand is high intensity interval training and in this method we working extremely hard for a short period of time followed be a rest, then repeat several times which puts a lot of stress on the body but by doing so means it will use everything it has to cope with the added stress. Which will also allow you to lose body fat while maintain lean body mass.

Both systems have their advantages and are both effective ways of losing fat, it just depends on your circumstances and what you enjoy.

Resistance Training:

Now weight training has unfairly in my opinion been tagged as an exercise regime that is only for big burly men and people with not a great deal of intelligence. However it is a training system that anyone can undertake and I feel should almost certainly have it as part of their weekly exercise routine. Men, Woman, boys and girls can all benefit from resistance training albeit with adjustments required for each specific population. Basic resistance training programs should be focused on compound movements such as Squats, Deadlifts, Shoulder Press, Bench Press, Lunges. These exercises work various muscles and reflect movements in everyday life, which we all want to be physically capable of. We can also implement various bodyweight exercise into our routine such as press ups, pull ups, dips and some core exercises to build up strength and ultimately help will us with the big compound lifts we mentioned earlier. Technique is key to all movements and must not be overlooked when trying to lift additional weight.

It all depends what you want to achieve when it comes to exercise and health. These training systems work in different ways to suit your needs and goals. There are many variables when it comes to exercise and training and we need to adapt and change them as we move through different stages of training. Nutrition is another massive variable but that’s for another day.

Like I said there is more than one way to skin a cat or get to you’re your ideal body composition so don’t focus on one, utilise all the best bits of each to suit you and get moving.

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