In my opinion

This is a blog about nothing. Like Seinfeld. I couldn’t think of one thing to write about so it’s just a bunch of observations mainly about clients, training, dieting, and how most people are just all talk.

Most of my new female clients have a background of calorie restriction, often cutting out carbs completely, and doing some form of cardio most days; basically a cycle of starving and binging They ruin their body and lose their mind in the process. I don’t know where these women get their information from but it’s messed up! The positive thing is that after a few weeks at Recomp they feel so much more energised, happy, and not hungry or tired all the time. They’re on a nutritious diet with lots of carbs, and doing less training sessions per week with zero cardio, this is the way to a better body.

There are always some new clients who ask “when will I see results, how long will this take?”, but also say “I’m really committed, I’ll give it 100% blah blah blah”…  these are the ones who screw things up very quickly. They cheat on their diet just weeks into the program. Their training is shit (quit early, don’t push to their body to its limit), yet they complain about the training being too hard. It’s amusing when people ask “how long did it take you to look the way you do?”, then seconds later they’re telling me they went out on the weekend and had a few wines. Seriously? Pick a lifestyle and stick with it, you can’t have both. Making positive changes to body composition requires a strong work ethic, self discipline, and consistency. It’s supposed to be hard. It’s a constant battle with your body, which is designed to survive, not be lean athletic and look amazing without having to try. You are a reflection of what you repeatedly do; eat shit food = look like shit, train like shit = look like you don’t train at all! Apply yourself 100%, and then expect more. If you’re having a bad day, you have to use the anger or frustration to fuel your training session, rather than go home, sulk and eat a tub of ice cream. Don’t pile food on top of the problem.

Do people know how dumb they sound when they say “I followed the diet, except one day I had a muffin (or other food not on the prescribed diet). I’m sorry but that is not following the diet…..Or saying I went away on the weekend, “I didn’t drink, I just had two wines” (yes, someone seriously said this). Drinking even a sip of alcohol is still drinking. It’s black and white. I don’t care what you did, it’s your body, but just say it like it is! I can’t stand bullshit excuses. It’s as simple as making a decision to either stick to the diet or not, and then expecting the outcome to be a reflection of what you did. I’d rather hear “I didn’t follow the diet 100%…I ate X, Y, Z” … not “It was really hard to follow the diet because blah blah blah”… Why is it so difficult to stick to a diet for 7 days? After 7 days it gets adjusted, based on your body composition result. Most people eat the same breakfast every day, and most people have a couple of favourite things they have for lunch every day. Tell someone they have to eat the same foods every day for a week they freak out. This kind of person are not truly ready to change their body, they don’t care enough, they are not willing to make sacrifices. And that’s fine, but don’t pretend you’re ready. It’s the “doing” that creates a better body, not the “talking”.

The clients who do well are the ones who put their head down and work hard. They don’t complain about the diet, they see the food on their diet as the tools to create an amazing body. Food is not supposed to be interesting and entertaining, but that’s not to say you can’t be creative with the foods on your diet. Use your brain. Here is something I do with just a few ingredients. A simple protein pancake. If you have not experienced a protein pancake you are truly missing out on one of life’s simple pleasures. Don’t knock it until you try it! This is how I make mine: In a mixing bowl combine 30g whey  (bulk nutrients or international protein or your favourite…WPC or a blend works best, I use bulk nutrients), 1 or 2 whole eggs, 100-150ml filtered water. Add the water gradually, while mixing with a fork until it forms a smooth batter consistency. Spray a non-stick pan with oil (this does not work in a regular pan!), pre-heat for a few minutes. Pour in the mixture. Cook until almost cooked through. Don’t flip it or it’ll be way too dry. Fold in half and serve. It tastes the best when it’s gooey on the inside, crispy on the outside! Can also be made with plain rolled oats or quick oats 50g to 100g. It can be adjusted to suit what ever foods are on your diet (e.g. nuts, berries, banana added). I have been eating a protein pancake before bed for over 3 years and never get bored of it!

Most people have heard the saying “you can’t out-train a bad diet”, it’s a real thing. No matter how good (you think) your training is, when you eat crap food you will actually look like you don’t train at all. You will look soft and out of shape. You can’t argue with the data from a body fat test, if it says you put on 1% body fat, you got fatter! Yet you stand in front of the mirror and think you look good. Sorry, the numbers don’t lie. For those who are happy with their results each week when I body fat test them, and they’ve eaten off the diet – that’s fine too, it’s about not lying to yourself, just be real.

On a positive note – I’m grateful to have clients who have a genuine interest in their training and nutrition, who really do give 100%. Some come to training saying they’ve been counting down the hours to their session, or I’ll get a txt saying they just hit a personal best on the deadlift that day. These little things show a person’s level of commitment, and their enjoyment of the whole process. These clients apply themselves at training, they schedule time for meal prep, because their goal is a priority. Success is an every day thing. Thank you to all the people I’ve worked with who “get it”.

I’ve never understood the “I deserve a treat” after reaching a certain point in your progress, not when you have reached your goal, but let’s say the person has dropped half of the fat they want to drop, then they go out and eat Ben & Jerry’s or a burger and chips, and say they deserve a treat. Eating it is taking a step backward, it’s sabotaging your body. Get to the goal you set out to achieve, maintain it, then you might be able to afford to relax a little (I still personally don’t get that either, I like being lean year-round and I don’t care for ice cream and burgers… I prefer abs)…But each to their own. I am not going to judge anyone who does the above so long as they don’t use the words “I deserve it”… Just say, I’m not that concerned with reaching my goal… say it like it is. You want to enjoy ice cream and burgers, and be happy with slower progress in the gym and your body composition. It’s when people question why they are not changing, while eating that food. This is just plain stupidity and ignorance!



According to the ‘average person’ trying to ‘eat healthier food’ … brown rice is better for you than white. Ah, no, it’s not. There is no difference between the two in terms of the effect on blood glucose, insulin, G.I or G.L … But there is a difference between them that makes brown rice useless for it’s vitamins, minerals, and fibre that everyone eats it for.

Did you know that brown rice, raw almonds, and other grains and legumes contain an acid that binds to minerals in the digestive tract, making them less available to the body? Phytic acid messes with your digestion, interferes with the breakdown of protein, and can cause bloating and cramps in your stomach. Some people don’t experience this problem, but that doesn’t mean the phytic acid isn’t doing anytthing. The only benefit is that it acts as an antioxidant, apparently. There’s only about 3.5g fibre per 100g raw brown rice, it’s seriously not worth eating for that tiny spec of fibre. Just eat green veggies or take a fibre supplement.

White rice doesn’t contain phytic acid, because it has the outer layer removed. It’s a great source of glucose – the body’s soul source of fuel! White rice is your friend. Long grain, short grain, jasmine, basmati, eat it all. Brown rice not only tastes horrible, it’s not doing anything good for you.

As for almonds, ditch the raw and opt for plain roasted, because phytic acid has been deactivated (or if you have a lot of time on your hands, soak raw almonds overnight to ‘deactivate’ the phytic acid).

The other thing I hear a lot of people say (new clients who were previously educated by their GP or uneducated PT), is that eggs are bad for you. This false out-dated information being dribbled down to people is just stupid. Stop throwing out the best part of the egg! Egg yolks contain all the nutrients, the whites are just protein (and not a great source by the way with only 3g per egg white!. Egg yolks are a great source of fat (you need unsaturated and saturated fat – this is not “bad fat”!), vitamin A, vitamin Bs, iron, calcium, folate, and selenium (packed with a lot more nutrients than brown rice). It’s often said, the egg is nature’s multivitamin! Eggs contain cholesterol, but this does not adversely affect blood cholesterol! Cholesterol in the diet doesn’t raise cholesterol in the blood. New dietary guidelines are finally being put up online about this. Many people fear the fat and cholesterol in eggs, which is in fact necessary for every process that occurs in your body! Also, fat does not make you fat. Sugar does… but that is a topic for another blog.

I’ve rambled on about eggs before… but it had to be said again. Eat more eggs, eat white rice, and while I’m at it eat more red meat!  


Can’t sleep?

A lot of clients and friends seem to be suffering from poor sleep lately. Is it seasonal? Or is it a range of other issues that could easily be addressed? Read on…

I have been suffering from lack of sleep too (difficulty falling asleep, waking up throughout the night, about every 3 hours, then waking up 1-2 hours too early…leaving me feeling like absolute shit the next day). This has been going on for almost 3 whole months.

So I decided to share some information about the effect that poor sleep quality has on training, recovery, mental and emotional health, and also some remedies that worked for me, to fix the issue. These remedies are simple, and are NOT ‘bandaid approaches’ like prescription pills.

If you have disrupted sleep, struggle to fall asleep; wake too early (e.g. more than an hour before usual waking time, and unable to get back to sleep), don’t have enough ‘deep sleep’ (easily woken by sound for example), or any combination these things, your body and your health is compromised. Memory is impaired, immune system is weakened, headaches and/or migraines are frequent, performance on physical tasks is impaired (whether it’s training or day to day stuff), mental health is affected (more stressed, anxious, short-tempered, moody, unmotivated, generally feeling “down” for no real reason).

Sleep is incredibly important for performing at your best, and simply being able to get through the day without being clumsy, forgetful, stressed, or overwhelmed (or no more than usual if you’re normally this way!)

I believe consistent QUALITY sleep, and proper nutrition are so important for performance and recovery in strength training. To increase strength, or even just maintain the strength-level you worked so hard to reach, quality sleep is vital! A few days or weeks of shitty sleep, and you will struggle to put on muscle and/or drop body-fat, you’ll most likely gain fat. Your results in the gym will plateau, which in my book is going backwards.

I’ll use myself as an example. From August 2014 to Oct 2014 (at the time of writing this blog), I have been losing approximately 2 hours of sleep every night, I wake earlier than my usual wake-time and I don’t the slightest bit rested. My eyes feel dry, my skin feels all ‘crawly’ by the end of the day… The effects of poor sleep for me include: poor memory, fatigue, increased headaches, migraines, and weakened immune system (got a bad cold), and the most obvious and frustrating of all – my training went to shit…  I simply could not handle losing the strength level I’d worked hard to achieve, and I still had more to go. I know I genuinely lost strength because I track and measure every training session using Recomposer. My 1RMs dropped by roughly 10kgs on all big lifts (bench press, squat, deadlift, leg press, military press, stiff leg deadlift). I value my training, so how could I enjoy the thing I loved if I was getting weaker? It was exhausting training clients and doing my own training on top of that while feeling like a zombie… So I did a lot of research to figure out how fix this situation for good!

Here’s what I got…

If you wake up too early unable to fall back to sleep you could try going to bed earlier (10pm, so you fall asleep by 10.30pm at the latest). If it works, then great. But this didn’t work for me, I just woke up even earlier, still losing those 2 hours! Fail. But below is what actually DID work, so give these things a good go, (for a week not one night!), unless you enjoy feeling like shit 24/7 from lack of sleep?

Avoid computers and mobile phones an hour before bed, at least. They emit blue light, which night disrupts the body’s sleep-wake-cycle, suppressing melatonin levels. Melatonin is a hormone made by the pineal gland (small gland in the brain); it helps control your sleep and wake cycles. Your body has its own internal clock that controls your natural cycle of sleeping and waking hours. In part, your body clock controls how much melatonin your body makes. Normally, melatonin levels begin to rise in the mid- to late evening, remain high for most of the night, and then drop in the early morning hours. Light affects how much melatonin your body produces. source

Sleepiness should increase throughout the day, peaking just before you go to bed at night. This is ideal, as you want your sleep to be high at the beginning of the night. Making sure you’re exposed to bright sunlight, and high-quality lighting during the day, followed by decreased light exposure once the sun sets, will help maximise your natural sleep cycle so that you’re appropriately sleepy at the end of the evening. Noise occurs in three zones or levels: the mind, body, and the environmental level. If the noise is conceptually greater than your level of sleepiness, you will not fall asleep. More often than not, the reason why you can’t fall asleep is NOT because you’re not sleepy enough, but rather because you’re subjected to excessive noise, which, again, can be either mind/body/environmental-type noise, or a combination thereof. Typically, people will find between three to six different factors that contribute to the noise burden keeping them awake. Therefore, don’t give up if you’ve addressed the most obvious source of noise and still can’t sleep. source

Night time routine. It’s important to do things that clear your head of all the “noise”; thoughts, stress about work/life etc, anything that keeps you from winding down or calming down, and being able to have a restful night’s sleep. Deep breathing helps to focus on lying still and resting, instead of taking shallow breaths while you lie there overthinking and unable to relax.

Aromatherapy oils can be beneficial; your senses have the biggest impact on your mind. Bergamot and geranium oil, among other essential oils are known for their for calming effect on the brain. The sense of smell is a very powerful; think about how different scents make you feel and how they trigger different memories. An electric oil burner is safer to use than a candle-lit burner if you want to leave it on overnight.

Meditation music for relaxation is profoundly effective. I discovered “binaural beats” – sound waves that help relax and calm the mind, helping you to drift into a deep sleep. When signals of two different frequencies (sounds) are presented, one to each ear, the brain detects phase differences between these signals. The brain processes this anomalous information differently when these phase differences are heard with stereo headphones or speakers. A perceptual integration of the two signals in perceived in the brain, producing the sensation of a third “beat”. Changes in consciousness are associated with binaural-beats. source. Delta (1 to 4 Hz) and Theta (4 to 8 Hz) sound waves help your mind relax and therefore induce a deep sleep – I fell asleep a lot faster listening to binaural beats. On You Tube you’ll find a lot of meditation channels such as ‘binaural beats sounds’ with playlists for sleep. It was hard to find tracks to download so I just listen to what I found on You Tube. 

After doing all of the above, I was still waking through the night and waking up too early was hit-and-miss. So I went to a health shop and got a herbal tincture from a naturopath who I used to work with. The tincture had roughly equal parts passionflower, lemon balm, california poppy, withania (ashwagandha) and skullcap (look them up!). These herbs, when combined correctly, relax your brain, have mild sedative effects, and help achieve a deep sleep without a ‘groggy ‘ or hangover feeling the next day. This was a wonderful thing! It worked! The first 2 nights using it, I slept amazingly (10ml dose 1hr before bed), and 2 weeks into it I’m still sleeping amazingly. Safe to say this stuff is awesome. I think doing all of the above first, getting a good routine in place, was important before taking the herbal tincture. If I ever have the problem occur again, I’ll be onto these herbs quick-smart. I highly recommend this option over any prescription or over-the-counter sleeping pill or herbal even sleeping tablets off the shelf. Tinctures are more potent and pure, and based on your particular sleep problem it can be mixed up with the most suitable herbs for you. I know I don’t respond to valerian or hops (in fact it wakes me up more, the opposite of what’s supposed to happen!), and a lot of off the shelve herbal sleep tablets contain these two herbs. So a tincture was the best option. Thank goodness for herbs!

I found the below points really helpful, on how to improve your sleep pattern. (full list here on Dr Mercola’s site).

TV, computers or other artificial light-emitting devices: do not use these 1-2 hours before bed.
Water and other fluids: do not drink anything at least 1 hour before bed to reduce the need to wake through the night for the bathroom.
Darkness: use black out blinds or curtains or an eye mask. The tiniest bit of light, even from an alarm clock can decrease melatonin.

Noise: use earplugs if you constantly get woken up by noises.

Alarm clocks, phones, ipads: if they have to be in the bedroom, you need to put these devices at least 1/2 metre away from your body as they emit blue light.

Your bed is for sleep! it should be for sleeping not working or studying or watching tv, if you associate your bed with relaxing and falling asleep, your body will adjust to ‘switching off’ and feeling more sleepy when your head hits the pillow.

Bed time: If possible, o to bed so you can fall asleep before 11pm, because the adrenal system recharges during this time. Going to be bed too late affects your body’s detoxifying processes, and can lead to digestive problems.

Routine: Do things at night that will clear your head of all the “noise” that prevents you from having a restful night’s sleep. e.g. deep breathing; aromatherapy oils; meditation music.

This obviously isn’t a comprehensive analysis of sleep and everything that can be addressed, but the above is what I found to be important and helpful to begin correcting my sleep pattern.

Sleep well!

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