Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Damage Limitation - How to keep happy and healthy over the Christmas break... by Graeme Marsh

1. Give yourself a real break from the things you really need to escape from - texting, email, blackberry, IPOD, Laptop - do it all less, if at all and you will be surprised on how much better you will feel...really, the world won't end i your phone isn't on 24/7.

2. Take the time off to catch up on some sleep. Stay in bed till 9 or 10 in the morning a few days if you can and enjoy the rejuvenating benefits.

3. Go get some pampering of some sort. There are some great christmas deals out there for spa days and pamper treats. Go reward yourself for a change.

4. Keep up eating a decent breakfast, it will greatly stop you overeating through the rest of the day

5. Take advantage of the free time to get out and walk - if you are away then explore where you are, if you are staying put then go out and check out more of where you live. Enjoy the fresh air and burn some calories too.

6. Don't eat just for the sake of it. If you feel stuffed, don't feel you have to cram in more christmas pudding!

7. Keep to good habits, eat plenty of seasonal vegetables and good quality proteins as the basis of your meals.

8. Drink plenty of water every day - keep hydrated and happy!

9. Watch the picking - its constant snacking on not so great food choices that will cause problems and sneak in excess calories....

10. Don't obsess - its only a couple of meals over the holiday period so sit down and enjoy them with the company of good friends and family. We don't do that often enough....!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Coming Soon - a month of fitness tips and workouts!

We know that January can be a depressing month. You ate and drank too much over the christmas break, probably won't have exercised that much, the weather will almost certainly be rubbish, and your next holiday isn't till Easter. However, to cheer you up and help get you through the January blues, we will be providing you with a DAILY nutrition tip and workout!

That's right, you don't have to do anything to improve your health except log onto the Aegis Training blog and follow the advice on there!

Simple right?

So, remember, every day in January we will be giving you a free nutritional tip and workout to get you feeling fitter and healthier again in no time! Of course, we would love to share these tips with as many people as possible to feel free to send the link to our blog to your friends, family, and colleagues so that they can benefit too!

Meanwhile, news of the latest recession had not been met well at HQ Santa Claus....

Thursday, December 18, 2008

There's no I in Team......but there's a lot of idiots!

Over the next couple of months we want to introduce you to the Aegis Training team in a little more detail....please don't let this put you off!

This month the spotlight is on....

Nikki Hall
Marketing and Communications
Start Date: October 2008


Rochford, Essex

Best subject at school
Does lunchtime count as a subject?

Worst subject at school

Dissecting a frog in Biology was the most traumatic experiences of my life!

Favourite Place on Earth
Havana, Cuba or New York oh or Paris. Actually my bed.

Most Embarrassing Moment
I'm such an idiot there are many.

Falling over in the middle of a fashion show.

Getting my heel stuck in a drain at Liverpool Street during rush hour, having to remove said shoe and get help pulling it out of the drain by someone who walked past who happened to be really hot.

When I was younger had a bet with my brother I couldn't fit my head through a turnstile at Homebase. I could but couldn't get it out and had to be cut out by fire fighters.

Current Read

The Pillars of the Earth - Ken Follett
The Four Hour Work Week - Timonthy Ferriss
What can I say - multitasker.

Favourite unhealthy treat

Pizza, peanut butter but Cheese and Onion crisp sandwiches would have to be the ultimate.

Favourite healthy food
I eat so much spinach I could be popeye!

If I wasn't a personal trainer I'd quite like to have been....

Mmmm..maybe in marketing??? When I was younger I wanted to be a ballet dancer, a teenage mutant ninja turtle or a panda.

Look out for part 2 on Nikki, where you can find out what she really thinks of Greg and Graeme, the absolute rubbish she has on her ipod and her proudest moment.

You also have next month to look forward to, when we will be focusing on another member of the Aegis Team....watch this space!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Change up and improve your Bench Press with this exercise...

Exercise Focus - The Lying Pin Press

From Team Aegis Trainers

There are a few exercises that can be seen done by just everyone in your local health club, and top of that list is probably the bench press. The bench is generally the first exercise people tend to gravitate towards when they begin their routines and not without good reason - its the number one movement for building strength in the upper body, in the main concentrating on the pectorals and the triceps.
However, something we also see with bench pressing is poor technique and sloppy exercise execution. Many of these mistakes are habitual, refined over years of practicing with poor movements. They are often central to people failing to progress in the lift and may also have a bearing shoulder injuries, which can often be related back to poor technique and weakness in stabilising muscles.

When it comes to injury prevention, it is equivocal whether a certain exercise is actually bad for you. In fact it is more a case of whether YOU are bad for that exercise. Many people can do dips, deep benching, and behind neck presses for years without ever suffering from shoulder problems, and it is more down to individual biomechanics and exercise performance when considering injury potential. The bench press can be performed in many different variations, some of which are far more likely to lead to shoulder issues than others. That is why we favour exercises such as the Pin Press, which has some key benefits listed below:

1. Pin Presses limit the range of shoulder extension and internal rotation, and when performed as outlined below they also reduce the amount of abduction. These three factors significantly ease the strain on the shoulder by placing it in a lower risk position for injury.

2. Pin Presses teach the importance of a strong scapula position during pressing

3. The bar starts from the bottom part of the lift, without momentum, which creates less reliance on elastic reaction from the muscles, tendons, and ligaments of the shoulder and instead places more emphasis on generating muscle activity and overcoming inertia. There is in essence a strong isometric action at the start of the lift as the muscles struggle to overcome the inertia of a heavy bar.

4. The movement strengthens the lockout portion of the lift primarily

5. The exercise concentrates the effort on the triceps and pectorals, without any lower body assistance

6. As it is performed in a power rack, it allows heavy weights to be used as the pins increase the safety of the exercise and remove the need for a spotter overhead.

7. Increases confidence handling heavy weights in the bench press

8. Provides an active 'change/rest' for the shoulder from deep pressing movements.

9. Ideal for rest/pause techniques such as cluster training - a favourite of ours!

So, hopefully by now we have convinced you that it might be worth giving the pin press a try in your next upper body routine as a break from the conventional style of bench pressing. Let's now take a look at our technical advice for it along with a small video.

- Begin supine on the floor in the power rack. The pins can be set at whichever height you choose to work from, a higher position will obviously concentrate the effort more on the triceps and the lockout phase of the movement.

- Legs should be straight out in front with shoulder blades retracted and held tight to the floor

- Take a grip on the bar a couple of inches out from where the knurling begins on the bar. This will be wider than for a normal close grip press, but probably narrower than a lot of you are used to using.

- Take a deep breath, and keeping the shoulders locked in tight, drive the bar upwards to lockout

- Lower under control to the pins, allow the bar to come to a dead stop, reset and repeat for the desired number of reps. (we tend to favour lower reps on this exercise - between 3 - 6 seems to work well)

check out the video below to see the lift in action. Remember, please feel free to post comments or questions to us at info@aegistraining.co.uk

Pin Press from Team Aegis on Vimeo.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Christmas time, too much food and wine?!

Christmas is just around the corner and it is a time when many hard training individuals take a much deserved break from the gym. Occasional periods of less intense exercise or even total rest can be a valuable part of your training strategy, allowing for physical and mental regeneration and a renewed enthusiasm when you hit the weights again.

But let's take it one step further; how can you maximise the effectiveness of your rest period?

One very effective (but very taxing) method is a planned period of over-reaching, also known as "super-accumulation". In short this involves a large but short term increase in overall training volume and intensity. By pushing your body harder than usual within sensible limits, then taking a full week of res, it is possible to kick back and relax during your holiday period and still make gains.

Here are some guidelines for doing this-

1- If you usually train 3 times a week, commit to 5 sessions for the next two weeks. If you normally train Monday/Wednesday/Friday for example, add sessions either on Tuesday and Thursday or Saturday/ Sunday, or any combination that fits your lifestyle. If you normally train twice a week, step things up to four sessions. You get the picture; do significantly more work than you're used to.

2- Use full body sessions. If you normally do some sort of body part split, switch to full body routines on each training day. This may not be ideal long term, but remember; the goal is to shock your body. Expect some muscle soreness in the first week.

3- If you're already very fit and used to hard training, you could consider two sessions a day. An effective method is to do heavier lifting in the morning (4-6 reps) and higher reps in the evening (12-15).

4- It should go without saying but you need to eat supportive foods if you want to try this method. If you're skipping breakfast and having soup for lunch then you're not ready yet! Get your protein in and eat regular, nutrient dense meals.

That's it! Again, this method is not for the faint hearted. It requires serious commitment and proper nutrition. But get it right and you earn some guilt free Christmas slobbing!