Wednesday, October 26, 2011

One For The Ladies - How To Be The Skinny Bitch At The Office Christmas Party

One of the things I pride myself on is achieving outstanding fat loss results with busy female clients.

In fact when people ask me who my "target market" is or to describe my typical client, the ones who I have the best relationships with and therefore get the greatest compliance and most rapid results with, my answer is always the same, "female lawyers and gay men!"

Well, I have yet to come up with a program for the second of those specific niches. But if you're female, are interested in losing two jeans sizes in the next month and have limited time to commit to an exercise program, I do have something that might tickle your fancy.

In January we will be launching a home fat loss program. This will be for clients who want to achieve the kind of fat loss results our clients do on a monthly basis, but for whatever reason, financial, geographical or other, can't make it in to our studio to physically train with us.

However, I don't want to launch it until its been tested. I know the program works, but I've never delivered it in this way before without seeing the client in person.

So it comes down to this; I want 20 ladies who will be my trial subjects (I was going to write guinea pig there but its hardly the most flattering analogy) who I will work with over the next month. I will go to work like a mad man to get you looking your absolute best for the Christmas party season. You don't have to meet me in person, you don't even have to live in the UK. You just have to be willing to do exactly what I say for 30 days. Do that and you will get better results in those 30 days than you have in your last year of diet and exercise. I know because I do this every week and its what we have built our business on.

The ideal candidate for this program will-

-Female (obvs)

-Have had at least some experience of exercise in the past, but you DO NOT have to be super fit to begin with. I'm talking you've tried a few fitness classes in the past and at least know what a dumbbell looks like.

-Be willing to give me 30 days of your life and trust what I recommend. By the way, I train people who routinely work ridiculous hours and have a lot on their plate. I generally have 2 hours a week of in-person contact time with my clients. I'd be a moron if I asked them to do hours and hours of exercise every day, be insanely restrictive in their diets or go through bottles of obscure supplements. I know you're busy and am prepared to work with rather than against your schedule to get you the results you need. But remember I'm doing this to test a program, if you don't stick to it the test results are worthless so if you don't think you can commit this is not for you.

Thats it.

How much?
In January when we launch this program to the thousands of new years resolutioners we'll probably set the price at around £139. But this is the test phase so I'm not going to charge that much.

So for the month of November only it will cost £47, significantly less than the cost of one private session with me.

If you want in, email me at and if you're one of the first 20 applicants who I think are going to stick to what I say, we're in business.

30 days from now you'll be the skinny bitch at the office Christmas party. Love it.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Brekafast Cereal, Snake Oil And Other Rubbish

It was heartening to see this article appear in The Guardian this week

It gives an excellent summary of the history of breakfast cereals and makes for very interesting reading. Its great to see an article in a national newspaper suggesting that cereals are not the healthy choice many still think they are.

Breakfast cereals were first promoted by Victorian era religious zealot Sylvester Graham as an antidote to such evils as "carnal thoughts." These guys had quite a bee in their bonnet about sex, JH Kellog (he of the corn flake) even advocated burning the sex organs with carbolic acid.

Cereals are also the ultimate example of selling a cheap commodity at a huge mark up by creating the perception of health benefits, when in fact they are simply cheap, abundant crops processed in a way that removes any and all nutritional benefits. This is a common tactic, seen also with whey (a by-product of the manufacture of cheese) and soy.

Quaint as all this seems, things haven't changed much in 100 years. Its fascinating to look back on the tactics of these early health guru's and snake oil salesman such as Bernarr McFadden (christened Bernard, he changed his name to Bernarr to sound like the roar of a lion) and Dudley LeBlanc who created the first "health tonic" Hadacol (named Hadacol because he "hadda call it something") and see just how similar they are to today's TV nutritionists and pill peddlers.

There will always be eager customers for someone willing to claim they have an easy answer to a problem. Too fat? Lacking energy? Take this pill/drink/super food and your worries will be gone. Wouldn't that be great?

I attended a convention where someone used a device to demonstrate how tap water was horribly polluted. The device, a box with two metal rods, when placed in the tap water, turned it a nasty brown colour. Anyone who studied science until the age of 15 may remember this as the process of oxidisation, or in laymen's terms, rust. Yet many were amazed and eager to buy the demonstrators magic water cleaning device.

This was pure snake oil selling, it couldn't have more authentic if the guy had rolled into town on the back of horse and cart with tales of his discoveries in the far East.

I don't see this changing. Its a very old scam and is as effective today as it was in Kellog and Sylvester Graham's day.

But if people are beginning to realise breakfast cereals one of the worst foods you can start your day with and an absolute disaster for fat loss, its a definite step in the right direction.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Once And For All- Running Does NOT Make You Fat

This article popped up in the Independant this week.

I immediately had a apoplectic fit. But on reading it its actually not as bad as the headline suggested and the journalist deals with the subject in a fairly balanced manner.

But there's still that headline; "does running make you fat?"

I get the need for attention grabbing headlines but lets get it straight- Running, or any form of exercise does not, does not DOES NOT make you fat.

The argument here seems to be similar to writer Gary Taubes' position, that aerobic training makes you hungry which makes you consume extra calories which makes you fat. The problem with a lot of fat loss research is that people tend to only report the mean numbers or read the abstract. What you find when you look closely at the numbers is that there tends to be a huge variance in individual responses, with some participants losing huge amounts of weight. Effectively, people can be divided into "compensators" and "non-compensators"

Compensators (and the author of the article in The Independant is a classic case of this) will sometimes consciously, sometimes unconsciously eat more and move about less in their daily life while undertaking an aerobic training routine.

To quote the article - "Getting up at 6am for long runs demands an increase in calorie intake. My response? Two breakfasts, minimum, and then protein-based snacks before and after runs. Ah yes, and the cake."

If I drive around for a few hours til my petrol tank is empty, then go to a station to fill it up, do I then conclude that driving causes my petrol tank to be full? Aerobic training is a way of burning calories, plain and simple. Calories as we know are not the whole picture when it comes to fat loss but they are a factor. If you take the fact that you're exercising as carte blanche to eat what you want, its not going to work. This is not complicated.

There are a number of factors that make running a less than ideal training method for many people, but this suggestion that it makes people fat is moronic, oversimplified and misleading.

Its this woolly thinking thats led to statements like "Sprinters are leaner than marathon runners so you should sprint and totally avoid aerobic training"

This has been repeated so much that it is accepted as gospel. While it is technically true, trainers are massively overinterpretting the statement when applying it to their clients.
Sprinting, probably more than any other sport in the world is self selecting. Sprinters are born so if you want to be a world class one, as the saying goes, you need to pick the right parents. A small percentage of people on earth will ever be able to run 100 metres in less than 10 seconds. They aren't built like that because of sprint training, they are sprinters because they are built like that.
Sprinting is the most genetically predetermined, self selecting sport on the planet. I'm not saying training plays no role. Clearly lifting weights, doing physical work every day and in some cases use of steroids will get you big and ripped. But to take what a sprinter does and extrapolate that out to " 20 minutes of intervals a few times a week will make you look like a sprinter" is bullshit.

Bottom line, I don't know what parallel universe people are living on where they think moving more is going to be counterproductive for fat loss, but it doesn't reflect the reality I see in my gym every day.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Jodie Marsh's Muscles

So Jodie Marsh has done a bodybuilding competition. Judging by twitter, Facebook, and various opinion pieces the general consensus seems to be a mix of "I don't like her but fair play" and "looks gross though"

Having never met the woman I can't quite understand the outpouring of scorn. She seems to just be one of many people playing the fame game and doing well out of it and good luck to her.
As for the "she looks gross" part, well bodybuilding is a pretty weird sport I'll give you that. I can easily see how someone on the outside looking in would find it pretty hard to relate to and wonder why anyone would ever want to look like that. It's worth bearing in mind that when someone is on stage they are at their absolute leanest, a state that is maintainable for only a couple of days at a time. They are fake tanned and oiled up and looking about as far removed from a normal human being as possible. It looks weird, I get it. But I think in many cases, people who readily dismiss bodybuilding as ridiculous or pointless are telling us more about their own lack of progress in the gym or discipline at the dinner table.

Whether you like the look or not bodybuilders are the most successful dieters in the world. They are bigger and leaner than anyone else, so whatever your physique goals you can learn something from the bodybuilding world.

Will these new pictures result in women shunning weights for fear of "bulking up"? I don't think so. In recent years women have definitely woken up to the fact that weight training is essential to body transformation and that a few sets of squats do not a Ms Olympia make. At Aegis, slightly more than half of our client base is female and they are a pretty cool bunch. They power clean, squat and drag sleds and no one worries about getting bulky. Any such worries, if they are expressed, are generally stamped on in the consultation process with a pair of steel toed boots.

If anything, I have witnessed a baffling increase in new male clients who utter the dreaded phrase "I don't want to get too big" ("Oh thank God you told me! We'll only do two sets of lunges instead of three, otherwise you'll wake up tomorrow looking like He -Man")

If you take a look at the cover of mens health from 2000, and then look at an issue from the last two years you'll notice a stark difference. The cover models from the 90s and early 2000s were uniformly lean, muscular guys. The modern trend however has been towards men who are just, well, skinny. Perhaps the roles are reversing.

Where am I going with this? Men need to man up, and women need to keep it up. You don't have to like bodybuilding but don't be scornful of someone elses hard work. And if you're a man who is worried about lifting weights for fear of getting too big, do me a favour and give yourself a good, hard slap round the head.

PS - While I was writing this someone sent me a link to an interview with Jodie on This Morning. My thoughts-
1- I want to marry Holly Willoughby
2- I thought she came across like a nice person.