The Blog


A Carb is a Carb is a Carb… RIGHT!?

The war on carbohydrates has been raging for about 10 – 20 years now (depending on which side of the diet adoption curve you sit), and after vilifying fat, grains, dairy, meat, cooking, and certain proteins… I’m not looking forward to eating what’s left (well, at least not every day). It’s about time we sat back and had a look where this war on carb’s started, and approach this from a (hopefully) more objective vantage. In part 1, we’re going to look at what carbohydrates actually are, before getting into how we use them in part 2!

…Carb’s essentially mean glucose (end product). Glucose means fuel for your body. Where did we go wrong…???

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Ever wondered how caffeine actually works, or if it’s good for you… or how much of it is SAFE!? Here is our quick 521 guide to all things caffeine. 

Caffeine, as a stimulant, has been a part of our lives for thousands of years. From monks saying that drinking green tea allowed them to meditate endlessly without needing sleep, to Coca Cola replacing cocaine with caffeine (not a fair swap… but given the market price of cocaine it’s probably for the best), it’s pretty prevalent and lots of people will wax lyrical about how it’s trying to get you! But is it all that bad??? (… the caffeine, not the cocaine)

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Following on from our 5 Nutrition Tips, here are our 5 Exercises for getting in shape without a gym membership (though we should mention that beyond beginner level some equipment will be necessary).

We’ve organized these exercises into 3 stages, with the first stage be those who have mobility issues, the second stage being slightly more challenging, and the third stage being more advanced again. If you can make it to the third group of exercises and do these exercises will a reasonable degree of intensity, not only will you look better, but you’ll feel better and move better too! If you want to know more about exercise, make sure you check out the next installment of this exercise series! For those of you who are here as part of the Home Workout Series, you can head back to the HIIT page here, or continue on to the HWS Review Page here!Continue Reading..

5 Tips To Simplify Your Diet

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Getting in shape is not easy (as evidenced by the 10,000+ word post we did on it), but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some simple changes you can make that will have a dramatic impact on your weight and health. First and foremost, remember that there is some separation between weightloss and health insofar as weightloss is primarily calorie driven (consume less calories than you burn = weightloss) but that does NOT mean you’ll feel healthy or in any way good about your weight loss. Health will come from good food choices and emphasizing raw, natural ingredients. Many well-intentioned dieters will cut back on their eating, feel starved, then splurge on snacks and end up eating proportionately MORE junk food than they had before! 

We learned from our previous article looking at diets that the primary factors that influence weight loss include:

•  Hormones
•  Calories
•  Exercise
•  Sleep
•  Metabolism

Take a look at our weight loss guide for more in-depth information on these, but suffice to say sleep, exercise, and manageable changes are going to be your best way forward. As for our top 5 nutrition tips, without further ado:

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Sometimes it can be nice to feel like you have some kind of road map to help guide you when you’re unsure of where you’re going. Sometimes it’s just nice to take stock and a spend a few minutes thinking about where you are in your journey. Here’s 5 questions that can help bring a little clarity when it’s time for self-reflection.

Am I Happy?

This isn’t really a question you need to ask, you’ll easily be able to feel the answer. The difficulty here is whether or not you’re willing to listen. Sometimes it seems like admitting your unhappy is the easy part, because you have no idea how to fix the problem (or you lie to yourself about what the problem really is). Ignoring the feeling of unease can be easier than facing up to being unhappy with your life.Continue Reading..

This is really just an introduction to how training programmes should be structured. There’ll be a follow up article with a little more concrete information about how a routine would look using a few different systems, but for now you should have enough information (if you have also read the article on Exercise Selection) to get started with what’s in this article here.

Structuring training was a reasonably straight forward process that – ever since someone realized that you can’t just use linear periodization forever – has become somewhat confounded with a lot of new training concepts. The old model of squat once a week, bench x1, bench accessory x1, and deadlift once a year fell flat on it’s face when people started to notice that if you’re not lifting equipped and you’re not lifting enhanced, you’re not going to have enough stimulus to progress with routines so accessory oriented. So, we’ll try to bring you up to speed on how routines are put together these days and what you should be focusing on if you’re a beginner or intermediate lifter. Continue Reading..

Today we’re talking about… exercise selection!

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Exercise Selection

This is a topic that even advanced lifters find difficult, as there are literally hundreds of exercises and exercise variations! The key is TRAINING EFFECT. You are looking to bring about a specific and measurable goal, which should help narrow down your choice of exercises!

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Today we’re looking at… designing your workout! (We know… exciting times, right!?)

Today’s post follows on from our last post on Complexes, and the previous posts on the Lunge Matrix and Deadlift Variations. Designing your workouts doesn’t sound all that “sexy” but it can really fast-track results. When designing your example routine, we’ll assume that you only want to spend an hour in the gym and still see substantial results AND have a few spare minutes to take notes on your workout (read: mirror time… there’s no need to feel embarrassed). Routine design can actually be quite fun and interesting, as it affords you a LOT of scope to change the focus of your workouts. All routines are split (whether you know it or not) as it’s not possible to just walk straight into the gym and lift heavy weights for an hour. That’s why there’ll generally be some combination of: warm-up, primary focus lift(s), secondary focus lift(s), mobility work, cardio, HIIT, pressure proofing (for things like crossfit), technical work, pre-hab, and/or skill work (sport specific skills as opposed to lifting specific technical work)

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Today we’re looking at… how to use Complexes!

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Weightlifting Complexes

Complexes are quite similar to HIIT training, but differ in their goals, in that the goal of a complex might be stamina, or work-rate with medium loads, or even pressure proofing a specific movement by placing it at the end of a complex so that it’s done in a fatigued state. HIIT training is about maintaining the highest intensity possible for a given length of time to use the most resources possible. For this reason it’s usually done with less complex movements where attention to form is not as highly prioritized.

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Brain Training

Ok, so as you may or may not have noticed, our approach to everything we do follows the same general curve of thought. Look at the prevailing trend, see if there’s any substance to back it up, act accordingly. When it comes to SEO… well, nothing spells success quite like a “5 ways to blah blah blah” article with added pictures to make sure we don’t drift off while reading challenging, technical information like “stay away from processed foods” or “grains can cause alien abductions” (as in aliens being abducted, not the other way around… you don’t have to worry). Seriously, 40 word posts are apparently all that can survive on Facebook now (40!?!? You couldn’t write the ingredients on a pack of bread!)

It genuinely seems like room for the informative or thought provoking is disappearing fast (don’t worry, today’s article will be neither!). So, we laid down the gauntlet for ourselves: to have the most concise, informative, entertaining articles IN JUST 5 POINTS (2,000 words or less). Never ones to be outdone by monkeys with typewriters, this is day one of our Learn in 5 series!

Willpower goes by many names (perseverance, stubbornness, follow through, though for most psychologists it’s known as ego-depletion), and is generally the difference between making magic things happen and seeing mediocre results. It is the ability to make the difficult decisions, even when there’s an easy way out in front of you. But, just like everything else, it’s not inexhaustible and needs to be trained, and if you take on too much at once, you can find yourself relapsing into bad habits or into self-comforting behaviour patterns.

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Today we’re looking at the DEADLIFTING… (because it deserves BIG LETTERS)

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ANYONE who has a gym membership (or a concrete floor) should be doing some form of deadlifting. While the squat is known as the “king of lifts”, the deadlift offers so much more in its simplicity. There’s limited injury risk for those with mobility issues and limited equipment needed. Obviously, if you have any injuries or health issues, you should check with your doctor/physician first and they will be able to give you a suitable variation.

The 4 deadlift variations that will add 10 years your body’s health (bone density, core stability, general stability, better posture, better muscle tone… confidence, well being, attractiveness, success, fashion sense [no skinny jeans with deadlift butt], mental arithmetic [from counting plates], it’s everything… AND MORE)

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Today we’re looking at the lunge matrix…

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Popularized by the rather exceptional Gray Cook (also well known for popularizing Bretzels and his own FMS – the Functional Movement System), the lunge matrix is both versatile and incredibly functional. Need a quick workout, here you go! Need a good lower body warm-up, right here! Need a good way to test stability and mobility in your lower body, this is your first step (no pun intended, kind of).

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Weight Loss 101

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In an ocean of “lose weight fast” and “quickest way to lose weight” fad diets, figuring out how to safely and effectively lose weight that doesn’t come back (with interest) seems near impossible. So we’ve put together this all-in-one guide to get you started on healthy dieting and healthy weight loss. It doesn’t matter if you’re male or female; the advice given here will work the same either way.

This guide covers an awful lot of ground and will bring you right up to speed with current weight loss research and making sure you can get in great shape. Read through and take notes of what kind of lifestyle choices would suit you. Do you want to be very active? Have you heard endlessly about low carb diets and want to see for yourself what it’s like? Do you want to know more about fat-loss (more than eat less = lose weight)!?

For those who don’t want to dig in too deep, we got you covered! Just look through the bullet points and if something catches your eye, you can read through the section and get more details (and plenty of links to great resources). Then finish off with the SBF section so you can impress your friends with how much you know about why magic pills don’t work and what’s actually making losing those last few pounds so difficult!

References are provided where some scientific backing may be prudent and there’s plenty of links to help you get all the information you need. Also, our website has LOTS of information on exercise and healthy eating too, so this is the last “diet guide” you need to look at. You should end up with full plan of action for how to get started on your healthy diet / weight loss journey!

This is your 521 Guide for what to do (and more importantly, what not to do) when losing weight!

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Your Guide To Hydration

We are born in water. Water is one of the most fundamental, and often overlooked, components of our health. Composed of two of the most important elements with regards our body’s functioning (hydrogen and oxygen), we think it deserves a more thorough look (especially considering the attention dehydration has been given over the last few years). Water comprises about 70% of our body and is used in tens of thousands of reactions, all vital to our health.

521 - Hydration 101

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Originally written as a piece about New Year’s Resolutions, this is applicable to making any changes or trying anything new (especially when it’s good for you). Almost every lifestyle change follows the same pattern: that slight glimmer of hope you will become the new and improved you, which is almost always followed by running into to people you had told your resolution to and joking about how you’d never even got started, let alone became the new, improved you.

Unfortunately, you can’t just write yourself off as lazy or a terrible person (it might be the case, but that’s probably not why you didn’t follow through with your resolution). The reason is that it is practically impossible to break habits instantaneously and become a new person just by clicking your fingers, which is what we all invariably try to do. Understanding that breaking bad habits is VERY tough is very important, so we’re going to replace the bad habits with better ones to amend the old routine. Will you have bad days? Of course. Will you fall off the wagon once or twice? Probably (everyone does). The goal is progress, IMPROVEMENT, not perfection. Mistakes are a perfectly normal part of change (almost all learning comes from mistakes). Continue Reading..

Today we’re going to take a look at the most pressing health issue of the last 2 decades, and probably the next 3. Obesity is now rampant globally, and we’re struggling to account for why we can’t find a solution. The finger was initially pointed at our lazy, overindulgent lifestyles and how we need to eat less and exercise more. The first wave of “fitfam” (?????) began in earnest. Then, when the backlash came, many said it was diet related with “big food” like Kraft etc. filling our aisles with processed, sugar laden crap (it’s hard to argue with that). But after substituting to a more natural diet many still struggle to lose weight! This issue is far more complex than main-stream media portrays, and not simply a case of “maybe if you ate less crap, you’d lose weight” (still advisable), which seems to be the prevailing theme.

What today’s article is about is taking a look at what we now know about obesity from 4 separate, but related, perspectives. The first and fourth parts are primarily to do with weight and weight management, while the second and third parts look at the overall health aspect of food and obesity. It shouldn’t get too heavy (no pun intended), as we’ll dedicate a whole article to each of these individual topics in the future, but today should serve to bring you up to date on where our modern diet puts us.

 

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Download Today’s Blog As a PDF HERE!

Today’s post is about how you can stop yourself from reaching for that biscuit tin. One of the key complaints people I meet have is that every time they try to eat healthy, they end up sabotaging their own efforts by either falling back into old habits, or gorging on sugary snacks. First off, I’ll start by saying that any diet that is restrictive in nature will not work for 99.9% of people. One of the key points of today’s newsletter that you should take away is that willpower has been shown in study after study to be limited, and like a muscle that needs to be trained. If you jump straight into a new diet/exercise regime, you will eventually fail unless your willpower is already EXCEPTIONALLY high. And the real kicker here is that this willpower that you are so dutifully spending eating right is no longer available for other acts of saintliness (such as not snapping at everyone, driving on the right side of the road, and not spending your afternoon on Facebook at work).

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TCYH (Full Series)

Now that we’ve actually finished our exercise series which includes a section on how to start from absolute basics, this should probably be renamed our feeling healthy (long) post.

This is our full introductory article on getting healthy, but not just “healthy” as in jogging without armpit rain or looking at the mirror and not being hugely depressed, but healthy as in feeling good. We should really stress – as a business that sells health – while everything we sell is incredibly healthy and nutritious, there is no MAGIC PILL, it just does not exist. There is no “lose fat – give you a six-pack (and a thigh gap???) – make your legs look great – add six inches to your biceps – remove cellulite” one a day pill. The sad thing is all those things are achievable if you’re willing to put in the time. If you’re thinking about transforming your health (and we hope you are), then it’s going to take more than just a pill in the morning and switching to diet coke (the second worst drink in existence for your health after petrol). The goal is to make meaningful changes and then have them become the norm. We’re hoping to help make a transition to that (healthier) lifestyle easier. If you’re in a hurry (shame on you) read Part 1 and 3 (Part 2 is kinda scary anyway). If you’re really REALLY in a hurry, you should probably just go to one of those websites that lies about how easy everything is (…it’s not even really a diet, you can eat AS MUCH AS YOU LIKE! Hahaha, good luck with that!)

So how DO you start getting healthy??? Here’s a quick overview!

1. Exercise (sorry to do this to you… again), is the single most important thing you can do to help your body. Your body was designed to move, and allowing it to do that is essential to your well-being and ability to feel good. It reduces stress, increases energy levels, balances hormones, helps with sleep, and has countless other benefits (asides from the obvious, healthy heart, bones, and muscles). The key is to do the right kind of exercise (treadmills don’t count!). To read more about what exercises you can do, read here (HIIT) or look here (Personal Training)! Or look here (Best 5 Exercises)here (Weightlifting Complexes), and here (How to Design a Workout)!

 

2. You are what you eat. Yes, this is shaping up to be something you’ve heard a hundred times before, but did you know that what you eat effects not just your current physical (and mental) state, but also your genetic health, and that that may be passed on to your kids. It adds a whole new level to the nature/nurture debate.

Everything on supermarket shelves these days is covered in pesticides and full of synthetics (flavours, sweeteners, colours, preservatives); it is astounding that food companies are allowed to sell this stuff. Get educated before you end up with any of the known side-effects (infertility, cancer, obesity etc.), or even some of the unknown ones.

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