“I’m not a Personal Trainer, just think of me as your favorite hype man, you are all fantastic and I’m here to help you realise this.” Inspired by my friend Yasser I have decided to share some of my insights from exercise and dietary to guide you to the perfect body. I say this with a bit of tongue and cheek because the perfect body is YOUR body! Apologies for the cheesy cliche but it’s true and hopefully this post will act as the perfect guide for you in life. But first a couple of reality checks!
- If you are exercising to get in shape for a specific point in time e.g get fit for summer. Then this is not the post for you and you might as well stop reading now!! These type of plans are temporal and often can’t be maintained. What happens after the summer has passed?
- Context building. Fitness motivation pages on social media create unrealistic images of fitness and health. Most of these people live and breath for exercise, it’s their profession to look like that! We’ve got plenty more things to do than be in the gym all the time lol. So please try your best not to compare yourself to them.
- Diversity. We all have differing natural body shapes and make ups that lend themselves better in different situations and develop at different rates! Embracing your own strengths and weaknesses will help you get the best out of your body.
But enough of the rambling, if you’re still with me now, the rest of the post should be right up your street ;). I’ll regularly update this page and my youtube channel AJ Haast Channel
Section 1. Dietary Tips (Overview)
- Beans and Nuts are life. Great source of protein without heavy calorie intake, include them in as many meals as you can. Ask the writers of DBZ #senzubean
- Eat minimum 3 times a day, breakfast, lunch and dinner are essential.
- Fibres can save your life!
- Swap your treats for fruit and veg, carrots and hummus hit the spot.
- Yogurt is great for aiding with recovery..
- Little and often if you are looking to cut. Small regular meals will keep you from maxing out on one meal and give the illusion that you have eaten more than you have.
- Working out in the morning activates metabolism helps you eat more
Section 2. Exercise Tips (Overview)
- Build on body weight exercises to keep mobility. “You want to be a F1 Car, Fast and Agile, not just a top fuel dragster capable of only one direction” , Kishon Richards
- Variety keeps you motivated. Exercise shouldn’t be confined to the gym, play your favourite childhood sport, run, jump,skip. Swimming is great and preserves the joints.
- Variety in your muscle movement is essential. You can do the same exercise in 3 different ways. This helps build rounded even muscles.
- Cardio Cardio Cardio (running, swimming,skipping) Running gets your heart rate up, stamina is essential for every exercise.
- Your breath is your greatest spot/gym-buddy. Getting your breathing under control will help you keep the form in your reps and push those extra reps through.
- Yoga and Pilates are harder than they look. These exercise help with focus, balance and core strength. Great to get all round strength up.
I currently don’t have a specific diet plan and I don’t like the rigidity this enforces. But I do have a simple foundation that you can tailor to your own likes. The only thing I would reinforce is to eat at least three times a day. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are essential. Try to get as many types of nuts and beans involved in every meal. They had the right idea in Dragon Ball Z with the senzu beans ( it actually does work). Great sources of protein without the calories!
Breakfast: I usually keep this as light so I don’t feel too bloated in the gym. Eat 2-3 hours before any exercise …Oats, Muesli, Bran Flakes and fruits and nuts. Great source of fuel and fibre that charges you for the rest of the day. Helps lower your calorie intake whilst still making you feel full. Fibre has bountiful health benefits from lowering cholesterol and stopping heart disease. There’s plenty of foods that have fibre in them. My go to breakfast is 4-5 spoons of porridge, whole milk, bran flakes, chopped bananas and brazil nuts (5 nuts max), one tablespoon of sugar or honey. Or you can have it savoury by adding a pinch of salt, pepper and a poached egg.
Check out this page on how to get more fibres involved in all meals. http://www.care2.com/greenliving/how-to-eat-more-fiber-at-every-meal.html
Lunch: Avocados, Tuna, boiled/scrambled egg, 2 slices cheese vegetable medley of vegetables. For me its carrots, courgettes, tomatoes, aubergines. You can fry these but if you’re really going for it boil or steam would be better. These is usually a big meal for me after gym to refuel. Does make you feel tired though. I recommend a cold shower to reinvigorate the body and stay away from the midday slump!!
Dinner: Pasta/rice(wholemeal pasta/brown rice ideal) again a medley of vegetables because I’m lazy it’s usually the same as lunch but ideally a bit of variation will give you more benefits. Kidney or butter beans. I usually try to keep my ratio of Carbs to beans/veg 50:50. Roasted Chicken or mince make up the protein most of the time.
This is my foundation of foods and I mix and match on random days. To build variety and fill the gaps my routine leaves, below are a couple sites I found with good extra meal examples. Amounts to eat really depend on you and your body. Rule of thumb, eat till you are full and as you get more exercise involved your body will tell you when you need more. That’s the best way to grow mass and muscle naturally I have found. No need for protein shakes etc. They take the fun out of learning about what foods get you the best results and natural is always better ;).
- .BBC Healthy, easy Cook recipes. Honey mustard grilled salmon with Puy lentils is magical and simple to make.
- Mediterranean cuisine naturally have superb nutritional values and are flavoursome!! http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes_menus/collections/healthy_mediterranean_recipes
- Jamie Oliver knows a thing or 2 about food. http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/category/healthy-recipes
- Maybe not strictly healthiest but some great variety offered up by Nigella. https://www.nigella.com/recipes
2 .Exercise Tips
My goal with exercise is to get gain strength and mass whilst keeping mobility. There’s no point being big if you can’t move. That’s why I mostly stick to calisthenics and bodyweight exercise. Yoga and pilates have really helped with focus and flexibility so getting at least one session of each in a week is highly recommended. However the most important part of gym is going!! Sounds simple but is the most common failure in reaching intended exercise goals. Check out this great article that breaks down the science of getting yourself to the gym. I can testify that it works. Check out Adrienne’s Yoga channel o youtube. I’m on day 24 now and can really feel the benefits already in the flexibility in my back and quads.
Once you get a regular rhythm of going then stepping up intensity is easy. Here are some examples of my favorite exercises that should get size and strength
If pull ups are hard then try eccentric (reverse pull ups). You start at the top of the bar and let yourself down slowly. This lets you get used to the motion of the pull up and rips the muscles. 3 sets of ten of these really burn. check this video for in depth explanation. If you got the pull up down then try this set. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=90zaCFYwEpM
Pull Up Burner, The law of 8: The trick here is to get the full extension in the arm to get balanced muscles. Works Back, Biceps, Shoulders, and core. Repeat this set 2-3 times. (This can also be done on the pull up machine) 3 minute rest inbetween sets.
- 8 reps Close grip pull up
- 8 reps Wide grip pull up
- 8 reps behind back pull up
- 8 reps close grip pull up
Core exercises, Ab burner: Leg raises and L sits are my favorite the work on balance and and really engage the muscle lying beneath the skin.
Beginner- Knee raises 15-20 3 sets
Intermediate Knee raises with leg extension at the end 15-20 3 sets
Advanced Leg raises hanging or on the tricep dip equipment 15-20 3 sets
Weighted Triceps Dips Triangle Drop Sets: Between 5-10 kg should be enough. Repeat this 3 times and rest 3 minutes in between.
- 10 reps no wait
- 10 reps 5kg weight
- 10 reps 10 kg weight
- 10 reps 5kg weight
- 10 reps no weights
- * Hint lock out arms at the end of each set for 10-10 seconds to really squeeze the tricep this gives extra definition and strength.
One handed dumbbell row: (Get 3 sets of dumbbells increasing by 5kg each time) 3 sets of these. Rest 2.5 mins roughly. Works back and biceps.
- 25kg 10-12 reps
- 30 kg 10-12 reps
- 35kg 10-12 reps
- Repeat on other arm
Squats (weights optional): Squats are a great to get the blood flowing. I try to get a 50-100 squats a day in. Sounds a lot but if you break it down in 25 reps for each set you can get this done within 10 mins easy ;). In addition your legs are the biggest muscle group in your body, getting these bumping releases the necessary hormones to get your whole body performing better.
These are the foundation of my workout the rest I would say tailor to yourself. Depending on the body part you’re working on I would say between 4-5 exercises. and uses the law of 8 or the pyramid Drop Sets to really push the muscles to the max. Sleep is essential get your 6-7 hours a day. I recommend 2 days of training, a days rest of stretching/Yoga and then 2 days hard workout and then resting in between the days with some light yoga/pilates and Cardio. Running at least 2 times a week for between 10-12 minutes with high intensity sprints between 30secs -1 minute long. This final link below should help you fill the gaps.
If you have read this far down then I know you are dedicated and I’ll leave you with this last cheesy message. Enjoy it!! Try to build an environment of fun, get friends involved or make friends at the gym. The greatest advice I have received has been from different people at my actual gym. Open yourself but be careful you might make some friends*shock face*. My next challenge is to built strength and mass in my calves. Due to simple neglect and genetics these remain tiny. I’m gonna try the best to find a natural formula to get these bigger. Let me know of your challenges and goals and hopefully we can share ideas.
Take care you beautiful people.
Warm regards AJ Haast