Squat Clean From Blocks (hip)

Start of Pull

Top of Pull

Start of Receive




The Squat Clean from blocks (hip) is a natural teaching progression from the clean pull that is taught from the same height before you or your athlete/client attempt this movement you must be able to front squat and pull from the blocks competently.

This teaching progression can also be preformed out on the platform from the hip. There are
also a number of drills that can be used prior to using this drill that can make life easier for the
coach and athlete these will be touched on briefly in the discussion.

Squat Clean From the Hip.

Start of Pull.
  1. Set your self up in exactly the same way as a clean pull (traps long, knees bent, wrists and chest out).
  2. Initiate the pull by thinking about shrugging the bar first and the knees and hip will follow.
  3. Extend upwards through the middle of the foot as fast and forcefully as possible.
Top of Pull/Start of Receive
  1. When you reach the top of your second pull (shrug) start to pull yourself under the bar.
  2. Pulling yourself under the bar using your arms drop from you pull foot position to your front squat position.
  3. As you come to meet the bar think about moving around it in space.
  4. Whip your elbows through to catch the bar in the rack position.
  1. As you catch the bar in your rack position immediately start to squat.
  2. This may involve starting to control the decent or cutting the bar short by squatting upwards (in the instance of a power clean)
  3. When you reach full extension the clean portion of the lift is completed.

The squat clean is a reasonably difficult lift to learn with correct form however that is not to say
it is impossible. With a competent coach with a lot of tools and progressions learning the clean
doesn’t have to be that difficult or painstaking. As with all olympic lifts timing and technique are key
these will allow you to use your full potential (power and strength) to shift the bar any break down
in technique will only result in poorer performance.

This is a great teaching progression to teach a novice lifter the second pull/receive portion of the clean
which is probably the most difficult to get right. It may also be used to sharpen up or improve the
receive of a intermediate lifter.

Athletes can use this as a natural progression to the pull they will receive a similar benefit in the
training of explosive hip extension however this will also be accompanied by the motor skills/co-ordination
and quick change of direction of the hips that come from this kind of lifting.

Teaching tools.

  • Start with some front squats before attempting this as it will give the lifter a reference point.
  • Don’t be too quick to throw extra weight on the bar as it will make any bad habits instantly worse.
  • If they are using their arms too early try limit to a shrug – shrug and squat to try and hammer home the point of them moving round the bar.
  • A good warm up drill is to start in your deadlift position on the toes dropping into a full front squat

Till next time happy lifting.

Clean Pull From High Blocks

Start of pull.

End of Pull


Set up blocks so you can assume the correct second pull (power) position for the clean.

Take a clean grip (half a thumb in from the knurling)

Bend your knees under the bar until you are in correct position.

Make sure you are long up top (traps and arms relaxed) and have your chest out.

Shoulders should be in line with the Bar.


Think of initiating the pull from the shoulders (shrug).

Simultaneously extend at the hip and knee with your weight over the middle of your foot (back of the ball).

Keep the bar close and arms relaxed till you hit the top of the pull.


When you hit the top of the shrug break at the hip and let the bar fall back to the blocks.


This exercise can be used to teach a beginner lifter how to perform the second pull properly during a clean. It may also be used as an assistance exercise for lifters looking to develop their second pull however caution should be taken when choosing loads 110-120% of Clean 1RM is a good guide.

When using loads greater than 120% bar speed and lift mechanics are altered to the point that the exercise stops resembling a second pull and carry over will lessen.

This is an excellent exercise to develop explosive hip and knee extension for athletes that require such attributes.

Form must not break down too much during this exercise as timing and other issues will negatively effect the pull.
Straps should also be worn so grip does not become a limiting factor.
Pulls may be performed form the floor, hang or blocks (of various heights) these will be touched on in due course.

Book Review – Bad Science

Bad Science is a book written by Ben Goldacre of www.badscience.net. In the book he takes a look at a number of topics that all relate in some way to either a misuse of the scientific method or the blatant ignorance that pervades into modern society and the media.

During the introduction to the book you are brought through a check list of how to put together a good trial and using this new found knowledge the author takes you through a whistle stop tour of “alternative therapies” such as homeopathy.

As the book goes on Mr. Goldacre takes a look at a number of scams and incidences where the scientific has been bastardised or ignored.

Through out the book he takes both an informative and humorous look at some howlers like Gillian McKeith of channel 4 fame to multi million vitamin pill peddles who are muddying the waters in Aids torn Africa with their nonsense.

This book is a marvellously relevant and very lucid look at the world of nonsense. During the book the reader will be provided with the tools necessary to detect good trials from bad trails.

The sections on “nutrition” and media hoaxes make for particularly compelling reading.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone.

Dietary Protein Requirements of Bodybuilders and Strength Athletes

The bodybuilding community is deeply intertwined with that of the sports supplement world a look into any bodybuilding or fitness magazine will reveal a wealth of protein and supplement advertisements (Rankin 1995). Bodybuilders and other strength athletes have tended to always eat well above the normal RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) of 0.8g per kilogram of bodyweight on the rational that resistance exercise increases their protein needs substantially (Wilson and Wilson 2006). The purpose of this article is to look at these anecdotal recommendations and to contrast that with current scientific literature.

Protein consumption and muscle growth.

Bodily proteins are constantly being made and degraded this constant process is termed as protein turnover figure 2 shows a schematic of this process (Phillips 2004).

Figure 1 – Schematic of protein turnover and various fates of amino acids in skeletal muscle (Phillips, 2004).

Resistance exercise is followed by a period of up to 48 hours when rates of protein synthesis are greater than resting. The interaction between the chronic applications of resistance exercise and the infusion or ingestion of amino acids (protein) gives us a basis of understanding for muscle growth (Phillips, 2004). Bodybuilders are synonymous with high volume resistance exercise and high levels of dietary protein (Rankin 1995). The application of these two protocols may induce an increase in protein synthesis, overall protein turnover and muscle accretion (Phillips, 2004). This may more typical of novice bodybuilders as elite bodybuilders show much less response to resistance training stimulus (Tarnopolsky et al, 1992).

Bodybuilder’s Dietary Habits.

The primary goals of the competitive bodybuilder are to increase muscle mass and symmetry whilst decreasing body fat (primary pre-contest) which they obtain through high volume resistance exercise and dietary manipulation (Rankin 1995). There exist a limited number of dietary studies on the habits of bodybuilders however the majority of studies before 1989 do not take into account the time of season participants are in (Heyward et al 1989) this omission of the participants’ state of completive readiness is a serious handicap to their validity. In the preseason bodybuilders typically eat in excess of all RDAs (Kcal/Protein/Fat/Carbohydrate) in order to allow them to train at higher volumes and put on muscle mass typically termed as “bulking” (Heyward et al 1989). In contrast the pre-contest portion of the season which may last up to three months is a period of major Kcal and Fat restriction by these athletes in an attempt to decrease adipose tissue in order to increase muscle definition; commonly referred to as “cutting” (Rankin 1995). Dietary studies carried out on dietary habits of national level bodybuilders typically found their dietary intake to have been up to two to four times the RDAs with protein consumption making a larger contribution to the diet in the pre-competition phase (Heyward et al 1989). In a ten week dietary survey and blood analysis of a pre-competition bodybuilder Too et al 1998 found the participant’s dietary protein intake to be as high as 5g per kilogram of body weight (thus kg/BW) with a macronutrient split of 71% Protein, 16% Carbohydrates and 13% Fat. Blood analysis showed the athlete to be hyperglycaemic with high levels of creatine in blood samples being attributed to the athletes’ high protein intake. It is quite clear from dietary analysis carried out in both surveys and experimental studies (see figure 3) that these athletes consume protein levels well above the current RDA (0.8g per kg/BW) established for their sedentary counterparts. This article shall try and establish what evidence there is for this practice and what rationale may lie behind such a large increase in their RDA.

Figure – 2 reported habitual protein intake of resistance athletes (Phillips, 2004)

Dietary Protein Manipulation.

Controversy has existed over dietary protein needs of athletes being greater than current RDAs for sedentary individuals (Campbell et al 2007). Protein needs are typically measured using nitrogen balance and amino acid tracer techniques (Campbell et al 2007). The nitrogen balance technique involves quantifying how much dietary protein is entering the body and how much nitrogen is being excreted (Campbell et al 2007). When a person is in negative nitrogen balance they are said to be in a state of catabolism, when in a neutral state they are said to be in a state of equilibrium when they are in a positive nitrogen state they are thought to be in a state of anabolism (Wilson and Wilson 2006). There however exist quite a few methodological issues with the nitrogen balance technique such as increased leucine oxidation during exercise not recorded in urine excretion as well as nitrogen loss through excessive sweating and breathing (Wilson and Wilson 2006). These methodological issues aside nitrogen balance remains the basis for all dietary recommendations for protein intake even though it has been suggested that a mixed approach of amino acid tracing and nitrogen balance techniques should be used (Phillips, 2004). In one of the earliest studies of protein dietary manipulation using bodybuilding athletes Tarnopolsky et al 1988 assessed the effects of protein intake and training status on lean body mass comparing three groups (sedentary controls, elite endurance athletes and elite bodybuilders n = 6) using both high protein and low protein conditions all diets where isocaloric. There was a ten day adaptation period and three days of nitrogen balance measurement for both conditions. Despite of the studies age it offers a well controlled example of the nitrogen balance technique, during the thirteen day of low protein diet (1.05g per kg/BW) bodybuilders showed a positive nitrogen balance and no loss of lean body mass leading the author to extrapolate that elite level bodybuilders have a dietary protein requirement only 12% greater than their sedentary controls (1.2g per kg/BW). The conclusions that may be drawn from this study are limited due to the short term of intervention, the nature of the exercise (maintenance) which may not have induced a hypertrophy response in the bodybuilding group as well as the small sample size. In another of the few experimental studies carried out on bodybuilders Tarnopolsky et al (1992) found that 1g per Kg/BW was insufficient to maximise muscle gain and recommended 1.43 – 1.6g per Kg/BW to maximise training effects in novice bodybuilders. The greater protein needs in this study where justified by greater levels of muscle accretion and the large amount of stress that new exercise protocols put on individuals which has also observed in endurance athletes. This study however may not be applicable to elite level athletes; this may be attributed to the likely hood of elite athletes reaching a plateau in their training. Hakkinen et al 1988 showed elite level strength athletes making modest gains of 4% in strength and 5.9% in muscle hypertrophy over a two year period whilst comparatively novice trainees during a month of resistance training gained 7.9% and 8.8% gains in strength and fibre cross sectional area respectively (Tarnopolsky et al, 1992). It may prove prudent to keep in mind that nitrogen balance techniques are limited in the conclusions that may be drawn as shown by high nitrogen balance in protein intakes similar to habitual diets of bodybuilders (2.8g per kg/BW) showed high nitrogen balances (12 – 20g of nitrogen a day) which should of attributed to a lean mass gain of 400-500g per day in these bodybuilders which obviously did not happen (Phillips, 2004). This data could be wrongly used to recommend very high levels of dietary requirements in bodybuilders. In a review of the available literature on protein requirements of strength athletes Phillips 2004 showed that an intake of 1.19g per kg/BW of protein (49% greater than current RDA) was required to maintain zero nitrogen balance which is demonstrated by figure 4.

Figure 3 – taken from Phillips (2004).

Wilson and Wilson 2006 conducted a large literature review addressing the protein requirements of strength athletes they identified a number of different measures used including nitrogen balance, amino acid tracing, performance based and body composition measurements. They suggest that studies using the nitrogen balance technique have lead to protein requirements ranging 1.2g – 2.2g per kg/BW to retain a positive nitrogen balance in strength athletes (appendix 1) these nitrogen balance techniques seem to be backed up by similar values in amino acid tracer studies (Wilson and Wilson, 2006). The studies involving both body composition and performance measures where typically longitudinal (6 months) these seem to indicate that higher protein diets (2.0g per kg/BW) lead to greater strength gains and improvements in body composition (see figure 5). It would seem that the lower value set at 1.2g per kg/BW has a sound basis in experimental studies however the value of 2.2 as the upper limit is slightly dubious as there may be health issues with high protein diets (Metges and Barth 2000 (see appendix 2)) however little or no supporting evidence exists for the negative effect of high protein diets on healthy athletic populations (Cambell et al 2007) there may a need for future investigation into optimal upper levels of protein consumption.

Figure 4 effects if high protein diet (2.0g per kg/BW) and low protein diet (1.0g per kg/BW) on strength Vukovich et al 2004 (Taken from Wilson and Wilson 2006)

Other Factors effecting protein consumption

It is impossible to talk about protein consumption and not include some of the spectrum of factors effecting protein use in the body. One of the biggest factors in protein use is the total calorie content of a diet; bodybuilders may require more protein in a calorie restricted diet due to the increasing oxidisation of amino acids (leucine) as an energy substrate (Wilson and Wilson 2006, Rankin 1995). Millward 2004 found that protein requirements for zero nitrogen balance at daily energy intakes of 30, 45, and 60 kcal/kg were 1.42, 0.87, and 0.32g/kg/d, respectively (Wilson and Wilson 2006). Protein timing, quality and feeding quantities have also been looked at in recent research and may affect overall RDAs (Campbell et al 2007). Carbohydrates seem to have a protein sparing effect and interact with protein to effect insulin secretion since all macronutrients interact it may prove prudent to take carbohydrate levels into account when assessing overall dietary intake of protein (Wilson and Wilson 2006). Overall training volume will also affect protein needs due to increased oxidisation and damage typical nitrogen balance studies have used sessions lasting around 75mins (Wilson and Wilson 2006) whilst studies on elite weight lifters using much higher volumes have shown protein requirements as high as 3.0g per kg/BW (Tarnopolsky et al 1992) more research is required on athletes who perform high volumes of resistance training.

Conclusion and practical applications for bodybuilders.

Current evidence seems to support the anecdotal recommendations that bodybuilders do require higher levels of dietary protein. However their reported habitual diets 2.8 – 5g per kg/BW are excessive even in light of recent studies and reviews (1.4 – 2g per kg/BW recommended in Cambell et al 2007). Due to the use of high volume exercise and severe calorie restriction during pre-competition diets (1000 – 1500 Kcal below maintenance, Heyward et al 1989) bodybuilders may need to vary protein intake in respect to contest readiness. Pre-Competition phases may need to include higher than normal levels of protein intake in an effort to preserve lean mass. Bodybuilders should also look closely at their overall Macronutrient profiles and calorie levels since increasing carbohydrate and fat intake whilst keeping a modest calorie restriction may help spare dietary and muscle amino acids leading to increased preservation of muscle loss (Rankin 1995).


1 – Campbell B., Kreider R. B., Ziegenfuss T., La Bounty P., Roberts M., Burke D., Landis J., Lopez H., Antonio J., International Society of Sports Nutrition Position Stand: Protein and Exercise. Jornal of the International of Sports Nutrition 2007, 4:8 doi:10.1186/1550-2783-4-8

2 – Heyward V. H., Sandoval W. M. and Colville B. C. Anthropometric Body Composition and Nutritional Profiles of Bodybuilders During Training. Jornal of applied Sports Science Research, Volume 3, Number 2.

3 – Phillips S. M, Protein Requirements and Supplementation in Strength Sports. Nutrition 20:689-695, 2004.

4 – Ranking J.W., A review of Nutritional Practices and Needs of Bodybuilders, Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 1995, 9(2), 116-124.

5 – Tarnopolsky MA, MacDougall JD, Atkinson SA. Influence of protein intake and training status on nitrogen balance and lean body mass. Journal of Applied Physiology 1988;64:187

6 – Tarnopolsky MA, Atkinson SA, MacDougall JD, et al. Evaluation of protein requirements for trained strength athletes. Journal of Applied Physiology 1992;73:1986

7 – Too D., Wakayama E. J., Locati L. L., Landwer G. E., Effect of a precompetition bodybuilding diet and training regimen on body composition and blood chemistry. Jornal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness. 1998 Sep;38(3):245-52.

8 – Wilson J., Wilson G. J., Contemporary Issues in Protein Requirements and Consumption for Resistance Trained Athletes. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 3(1);7-21,2006 (www.theissn.org)

9 – Metges C. C., Barth C. A., Metabolic Consequences of a High Dietary Intake in Adulthood: Assessment of Available Evidence. Journal of Nutrition 130. 886-889, 2000.

Resistance Training a Beginner’s Guide: Part II

So how can I start to implement resistance exercise into my programme?

Depending on your goal you will have to choose the exercise method and manipulate sets and reps to best suit your goal. In the next instalment of this article series we will cover the most common examples of people and discuss the best approach to achieve their end objective.

The total beginner.

For the brand new trainee the best induction to weight training is through the use of a coach or personal trainer. However for those without access to the means to hire a coach or personal trainer a workout buddy who is already proficient in weight training is a reasonable alternative.

When beginning exercise selection should not wonder from the fundamentals so the use of basic movements such as squats, presses and rows should form the vast majority of their programme.

Beginner’s also need to be exposed to these movements for long enough to acquire the necessary motor skills to adapt the appropriate postural positions and motor patterns to perform the movements both safely and effectively. This requires significant volume for practice of these exercises.

It must also be noted that the beginner’s capacity for work is less than the intermediate or advanced trainee so adequate recovery time is required (as with all programmes).

For the beginner the following guidelines should be followed.

• Number of Sessions per Week – 2-3.
• Number of exercises – 4-6 exercises per session.
• Exercise selection – large compound movements (squats/pulls/presses and variations).
• Rest between sessions (24-48 hours)
• Number of sets – 3
• Number of reps – 10
• Rest between sets – 90-120 seconds.
• Progression – Try adding 2.5% to weight used every week.

* Please note that before starting any of these following programme outlays you should have performed a block of at least 12 weeks following protocols similar to those outlined above.

The Beginner/Intermediate who wants to put on size/definition.

First we must establish that muscle has the capacity to do three things hypertrophy (get bigger), atrophy (get smaller) and stay the same. So for those who wish to simply tone and stay the exact same size the only permissible option is to loose fat and perform enough volume to maintain their current muscle mass. Now to those that want to hypertrophy the muscle you need to provide enough volume to allow the muscle to adapt (Kramer, 2002). This volume load must also be progressive in nature to continually provide an exercise stimulus.
Exercise selection should be split into target areas since hypertrophy has been shown to be very exercise specific (Folland and Williams, 2007). As with all exercise selection and programming exercises should be prioritised in order of difficulty with bigger more complex movements being placed first (squats, deadlifts etc.) with smaller less complex movements being placed last (machine weights, bicep curls etc.) (Zatsiorsky and Kramer, 2006). Also adequate time, nutrition and sleep should be allotted for the hypertrophy response to occur.

• Number of Sessions per Week – 3-5.
• Number of exercises – 2-3 compound movements and 2-3 isolation exercises.
• Exercise selection – large compound movements (squats/pulls/presses and variations) followed by isolation movements (curls, machines etc.) exercises should be muscle specific (i.e. squats for quad development, bench for chest/triceps development etc.)
• Rest between sessions (72+ hours for the same body part)
• Number of sets – 4-6
• Number of reps – 8-12
• Rest between sets – 90-120 seconds.
• Progression – Try adding 2.5% to weight used every week or alternatively an extra rep to every exercise.

The Beginner/Intermediate who wants to get lean while maintaining a similar muscle mass.

For those who fall into this category we have already touched on the three things that muscle can do (hypertrophy, atrophy and stay the same) so it is our aim after the first 12 or so weeks of training (total beginner guidelines) to perform exercises that will give us the greatest efficiency for the following

• Muscle mass maintenance.
• The hypertrophy of muscle mass that we view as a “problem area”.
• Maximise health benefits.
• Burn the most calories whilst training to try and help out fat loss efforts.

Since spot reduction of fat is all but impossible as shown in the research (Stallknecht, Della and Helge, 2007) the best way of achieving the so desired “toning” effect is by loss of body fat through exercise, a calorie reduced diet and the maintenance of muscle mass and selective hypertrophy of our “problem areas”.

For this effect the following guideline would best suite:

• Number of Sessions per Week – 2-3.
• Number of exercises – 2-3 compound movements and 1-2 isolation exercises.
• Exercise selection – large compound movements (squats/pulls/presses and variations) followed by isolation movements (curls, machines etc.) isolation exercises should be muscle specific (i.e. single leg squat for quad development, triceps push downs for triceps development etc.)
• Rest between sessions (24-48 hours for the same body part)
• Number of sets – 3
• Number of reps – 5 for compound movements, 8-12 for isolation movements.
• Rest between sets – 90-120 seconds.
• Progression – Try adding 2.5% to weight used every week.

That about covers it for this series of articles in a future article we will cover the beginner/intermediate athlete who wants to engage in weight training for sports performance.

1. Kraemer, Progression Models in Resistance Training for Healthy Adults, Jan 1, 2002, Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.
2. Folland J.P. and Williams A.G, The Adaptations to Strength Training: Morphological and Neurological Contributions to Increased Strength, Sports Medicine:Volume 37(2)2007pp 145-168
3. Zatsiorsky and Kramer, Science and Practice of strength training, Human Kinetics, 2006.
4. Stallknecht B., Della F., and Helge J.W., Are blood flow and lipolysis in subcutaneous adipose tissue influenced by contractions in adjacent muscles in humans? Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab 292: E394-E399, 2007.

Resistance Training a Beginner’s Guide: Part 1.

Pink vest and complete lack of effort optional.

Resistance training is the use of an external load to place an exercise stimulus on the body. These external loads can come from the use of your own body known as callisthenics (press ups/sit ups etc.) to the use of implements such as barbells, dumbbell, kettle bells. Resistance training can help people reach a wide variety of goals. From those who want to look like Schwarzenegger to those who just want to look good in a dress Resistance training can be used to help you reach your goal.

What are the benefits to resistance training?

What a lot of people don’t realise is that the majority of the energy you expend is done at rest typically 70-75% in the average person (Rowette, 2008). This energy is expended during the upkeep of your bodily tissues from the repair and replacement of cells. These processes take part in the metabolically active tissue (lean mass) of which skeletal muscle makes a large proportion (40-50% for the average male and 30-40% for the average female).

Whilst in a calorie deficit (created through diet) the body becomes significantly more likely to use muscle as a source of both energy and amino acids this leads to a loss in lean mass. This loss in lean mass in turn may lead to a drop in Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). This drop in BMR can lead to the rebound effect experienced by dieters who after coming off a period of reduced calorie intake return to regular eating habits resulting in the regain of some if not more body fat than lost during the diet (Skender et al, 1996).

One of the most effective ways to avoid this phenomenon is through the use of resistance exercise both during and after a period of diet and significant weight loss. The implementation of resistance exercise has been shown to significantly increase the maintenance of lean mass over other forms of exercise during periods of calorie deficit (Bryner et al, 1999).

Resistance exercise has also been shown to significantly increase BMR (Bryner et al, 1999) this increase in BMR can lead to sustained or increased fat loss.

Resistance exercise has been shown to have the following benefits:

• A decrease in LDL cholesterol and an increase in HDL cholesterol.
• An increase in cardiovascular fitness (for sedentary people).
• Increases in lean mass.
• Increases in insulin and glucose sensitivity.
• Decreases in subcutaneous and visceral fat (visceral fat is one of the main risk factors for coronary heart disease.)
• Increases in bone mineral density (of special interest to both ladies and the elderly.)
• Reductions of lower back pain.
• Increases in the strength of connective tissues (tendons and ligaments) reducing the risk of injury significantly.
• Increases in growth hormone (one of the major hormones associated with fat oxidisation after exercise).
• Significant increases in testosterone levels (in men).

But I don’t want big muscles!

One of the most common reasons for ladies in abandoning heavy progressive weight training into their schedule is the fear of putting on large amounts of muscle mass which may lead to them appearing bulky or manly.

This fear is however totally without merit women lack the key ingredient to significant levels of muscle hypertrophy, testosterone. Women have on average 1/100th of the serum testosterone found in men (Folland and Williams, 2007) given that testosterone is by in large the main anabolic hormone this proves a problem when trying to put on muscle mass.

Also given that women naturally have much higher levels of body fat (average healthy range for a lady is 20-30% and 10-20% for a man) ladies have a much tougher time getting lean enough to appear muscular.

Given its positive effects on both health and aesthetics can you really justify omitting resistance exercise from your routine?

In the next instalment we will look at common goals for the beginner/intermediate trainee and practical solutions to achieve these objectives.


1. Bryner R.W., Ullrich I.H., Sauers J., Donley D., Hornsby G., Kolar M. and Yeater R., Effects of Resistance vs. Aerobic Training Combined With an 800 Calorie Liquid Diet on Lean Body Mass and Resting Metabolic Rate, (1999) Journal of the American College of Nutrition, Vol. 18, No. 2, 115-121
2. Folland J.P. and Williams A.G, The Adaptations to Strength Training: Morphological and Neurological Contributions to Increased Strength, Sports Medicine:Volume 37(2)2007pp 145-168
3. Rowette Research Institute, Energy Expenditure Fact Sheet, 2009 (http://www.rowett.ac.uk/edu_web/sec_pup/energy_expenditure.pdf)
4. Skender M.L, Goodrick G.K., Del Junco D.J., Reeves S.R., Darenell L., Gotto A.M. and Foreyt J.P., Comparison of 2-Year Weight Loss Trends in Behavioral Treatments of Obesity: Diet, Exercise, and Combination Intervention, (1996), Journal of the American Dietetic Association
Volume 96, Issue 4, April 1996, Pages 342-346

8 New Habits to a Leaner You

Over the course of this article we will discuss eight habits that you can bring into your daily routine that will help you loose body fat without counting calories or doing any extra exercise in the gym.

1. Eat a small meal every three hours.

People that skip breakfast before and other earlier meals throughout the day are far more likely to overeat or make bad food choices when they come around to eating. By splitting your daily food intake into 5 or 6 smaller meals you will help to regulate both your blood sugar levels and increase satiety throughout the day. Meaning that you will be far less likely to make bad food choices or overeat when you it comes around to eating.

2. Include vegetables with a low calorie density (such as broccoli or spinach) with every meal.

By making filling the majority of your plate with vegetables that have a low calorie density you not only drastically reduce the calorie content of the meal (by reducing the portion sizes of calorie rich foods like pasta) but you will also ensure you get all of your 5 a day helping to ensure you have all the vitamins and minerals required for a healthy diet.

3. Buy Smaller Plates!

Where a lot of people fall down when in day to day life is portion size. Without weighing each meal it is virtually impossible to know precisely the content of each serving. When people put food on a plate the tendency is to fill the whole space. By using smaller plates and reducing the available space you potion size instantly becomes a lot easier to control.

4. Don’t have any junk food in your house at all!

This one is so simple that it is missed by the majority of people. By having no junk food around you are instantly much less likely to make bad food choices. Sitting at your computer doing some work at 1am and suddenly fancy a mars bar? Fancy getting up and walking all the way to the local 24 hour shop to buy the mars bar? Didn’t think so.

5. Pre cook all of your food for the day

Work can be a tricky situation for the health conscious or dieter with the need to eat approaching and no other option but what is available on the high street you are pretty much setting your self up for a fall. By cooking and storing all of your meals for the day either the night before or the week before in one day (the Sunday ritual) you have a convenient and ready selection of diet friendly foods. Success just became a lot easier.

6. Drink only non calorie containing beverages such as water.

By omitting all calorie containing beverages such as coke, lemonade etc you will eliminate a source of both sugar and calories from your daily life. A 500ml bottle of Lucozade original contains 365 Kcal and 91g of sugar (Lucozade 2009) accounting for 18% Kcal and 227% of your recommended daily intake of sugar (numbers are based on 2000 Kcal daily allowance (USDA) and sugar guidelines form US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) 2009).

7. Use only herbs and spices for seasoning foods.

By steering away from pre packaged sauces for pasta, chicken etc. you can avoid more hidden calories a typical jar of Dolmio’s creamy tomatoe pasty sauce contains 510 Kcal, 35g fat, 10g protein and 45g of carbohydrates which by any standards is nearly a meal in its own right. Herbs, spices and raw ingredients (such as onions, tomatoes etc) contain very few calories and taste just as good if not better then their pre packaged counter parts.

8. If it comes in a box chances are its bad for you.

This one may seem like a bit silly but heavily processed foods are not always what they claim to be. Where you can always choose the raw unprepared food over its cardboard boxed breadcrumb smothered counterpart. This will help you avoid more unwanted surprises in your food.


1. Lucozade, 2009 (http://www.lucozade.com/energy/facts/default.aspx).
2. United States Department of Agriculture, Dietary Reference Intakes for Energy, Carbohydrate, Fiber, Fat, Fatty Acids, Cholesterol, Protein, and Amino Acids (Macronutrients), 2004
National Academy of Sciences. Institute of Medicine. Food and Nutrition Board. (http://fnic.nal.usda.gov/nal_display/index.php?info_center=4&tax_level=4&tax_subject=256&topic_id=1342&level3_id=5141&level4_id=10588
3. US Food and Drug Administration, 2009 (http://www.fda.gov/)

North of England Weightlifting Open 2009.

I went down to the North of England Open yesterday with one of our lifters Robin Fourman for his first comp.

He weighed in at 81.4 kg and is 17.

He went 65/70 in the snatch narrowly missing 71 for a PB.

In the Clean and Jerk he went 75/80/85 for a huge 7.5 kg PB.

He totaled 155 and came 3rd in the 85kg Class.

It was also my first BWLA comp (all be it down as a coach and not lifting) and I was pretty impressed with the officials and the set up every one was very friendly and it was a good day of lifting.

Some other highlights included a 69 kilo lifter clean and jerking 140 kg and attempting 145.



5 Common Pitfalls in Exercise

Despite all the best intentions in the world we are all still human and thus are susceptible to folly. Over the course of this short article we will cover five of the most common pitfalls that lead to people either getting in the way of their own success or loosing motivation and giving up.

Gold fish Syndrome

This for a lot of people is a big one. You have been following the same programme for a few weeks but you have already grown tired of doing the same thing week in and week out.

Unfortunately fitness is a cumulative progress that requires a sufficient time to build through exposing yourself to similar exercise protocols over an extended period of time.

Depending on your previous exercise history (also known as training age) you will have to stick to a certain exercise protocol for different periods of time to adapt to it and reap the benefits of your endeavours. With beginners requiring a longer time and advanced trainees adapting quicker and thus requiring shorter periods of similar training.

Off setting tedium is an important factor in keeping your self motivated so for this reason introducing blocks of training is a good idea. A block of training can be defined as periods of time were you stick to a planned programme of exercise.

As a rule of thumb you should stick to these block durations.

· Beginners (those who have been engaged in an exercise protocol for less than 12 months) 8-12 weeks.

· Intermediate (those who have been involved with an exercise protocol for 12-36 months) 4-6 weeks.

· Advanced (those who have been involved with an exercise protocol for 36+ months) 4 weeks.

I want that one!

People see the new workout posted in an exercise magazine or website and decide yep this is just what I need! Is it really?

Just like in life during exercise honesty is always the best policy. Only by being honest with your self and your current situation can you best choose the approach that will get you the best results. For some people this may involve hiring a personal trainer for an objective and informed opinion on your needs. For others this will involve taking a long hard look in the mirror and being brutally honest.

If you are 40%+ body fat and are just starting the latest men’s health workout or celebrity endorsed training programmes are not what you need. You need to look at what you are doing at the minute be honest and modify it appropriately.

By cutting out the three pizzas a day and replacing them for healthy foods you will affect your current situation in a positive way a lot quicker then by doing one legged kettle bell squats on a bosu ball.

Not the place to start.

Too Much Too soon.

A very common pitfall especially for those beginning or just getting back into regular exercise is to try and exercise far too much. For someone who is just starting up again 2-3 days a week is perfectly adequate for the first 12 weeks at the very least. As you get fitter and your recovery ability improves you will be able to fit in more sessions without burning out.

But as you start a moderate and measured approach is by far the best policy this will allow you to maintain a decent level of intensity while you are at the gym and stop you from burning out and becoming disheartened.

Paying too much attention to the scale

Although bodyweight is by far the most common measurement used by people to describe their physical shape it is far from being the only or the best gauge to your current physical condition.

Obese according to scale weight and BMI

Bodyweight is a gross measurement of mass which does not account for where that mass comes from. It can come from muscle, bone, organs, water, fat or a rucksack full of rocks on your back. Weight alone does not paint a full picture of how you are put together, that is why it is a good idea to take it in conjunction with the following measurements.

· Waist, upper arm, chest, hips and thigh circumference.

· Body fat %.

· How you look in the mirror.

Placing all of your attention to weight loss could lead to you trying to drop gross weight too fast. This will make you more likely to drop muscle mass and body fat together which may leave you more susceptible to a rebound in your body fat percentage in the future.

Believing the hype.

Last but not least buying into exercise or diet fads. What ever is in vogue in the world of celebrity gossip magazines, exercise dvds, diet books or infomercials should be taken with a large grain of salt 99.9% of the time. Anything that promises an easy route out or comes along with a claim of reaching your end goal in a time frame that seems too good to be true is too good to be true.

Not to be the harbinger of bad news but nothing in life worth getting is ever easy. If the claims of these marketing schemes panned out don’t you think everybody would be walking around with “hawt abz!”?

Question everything and never take someone at face value especially when they have a pony tale, are wearing spandex, are swinging about on a metal cross trainer and are talking to you via the medium of the early morning infomercial. But wait there’s more!

The principals you need to apply to achieve your fitness goals are simple enough to understand and follow. The hard part comes in dedicating yourself to the long term goal of achieving something worth while. The road may be long and more difficult for some but the view from the top is more than worth it.