Le Tour De France

There is so much chat kicking around these days of what really is the toughest physical test on the planet. CrossFit claim they will crown the fittest man and woman on the planet at the CrossFit Games. There are protests from Ironman Triathletes who endure upwards of 8 hours suffering to complete their event and then we have the brutality of martial arts and the likes of UFC which boasts phenomenal athletes. Each of these sports have the right to claim they produce the fittest on earth but that’s not what what I am here to argue.
le tour

This post is about Le Tour De France which I personally believe is one of the most grueling and toughest physical endurance events on the planet. What makes it even more immense for me is that Le Tour was first raced all the way back in 1903. The history and complexity of the race is like no other and I have never seen it summed up so well in one article as the article I was reading this last week “Tour De France Brief A-Z”
My love for this great race started at a young age and I can remember vividly sitting down with my father (a veteran of Lands End to John O’Groats, North of the North Island in New Zealand to the South of the South Island amongst a number of lengthy cycle expeditions) every night for 3 weeks each summer watching Channel 4’s 30 minute daily highlights of this huge bike race. I was fascinated from the outset. I hardly understood how the human body worked but the pain, suffering and elation in the riders faces throughout the three weeks told me this was special.
lance
I have also long been a fan of seven time tour champion Lance Armstrong  (currently at the center of renewed doping allegations) having been lucky enough to watch every single one of his victories, read all of his gripping books and from its release to this day worn the band that symbolizes his Livestrong cancer foundation. This race is truly something very special.
livestrong

Today will see the start of the 2012 Tour de France and for me its a particularly exciting one with a lot of the media backing Englishman Bradley Wiggins to stand victorious on the Champs Elysee 3 weeks from now and the ever exciting Mark “Cav” Cavendish guaranteed to deliver a few stage victories with his epic sprinting ability. (Both athletes coincidentally race on the same team)
It's getting closer
To me this race is like no other sport event on earth and I will be following it very closely over the coming weeks. Its a race that proves sport is about more than physical capacity, Le Tour tests its athletes in every single department and puts their mental capacity to the ultimate test!

Rudimental – Feel The Love

If you like this song or you don’t that’s a personal thing, what I want to highlight here is the effect that music can have on your training. You can start using music to your advantage in a number of ways.

I had to share this particular song as it’s become somewhat of an anthem for my InnerFight lunchtime class recently after @92cupcake requested I played it one week.
I recently read this post which tells you all about how you can use music to change your brain waves which in turn will alter your mental and physical performance. It not only addresses the physical impact such as you could expect in a gym or in your training but also the positive mental improvements you may notice.


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Sweet Stuff

Ok ok ok so we are not all superhuman 100% of the time and from time to time we have to give into sweet temptation do we? Well for those of us with a sweet tooth yes we do.

This is for u @lovesweetstuff

The best way to attack this is look at how often we “can” have some Sweet Stuff, how much we should have and what sort of damage we can expect to our bodies.
I may well surprise you with the first answer in saying that to have something sweet (or that may be classed as a cheat) once a week I have found very beneficial with a number of clients I have worked with to achieve weight loss goals or maintain very respectable body compositions. For some its chocolate, others is pizza, the list goes on!
The second point however is key here as far as how much we should or can have. Now if you were going to destroy all the cup cakes in the picture above in one single sitting and you are desperately trying to lose weight then that’s maybe not the right way to go about things, however taking this great picture as an example you could perhaps have 1 of the delicious cupcakes pictured there, if of course cupcakes is your reward of choice.
Effect is what people are generally most interested in. I am going to look at this in two parts. Firstly mentally: I have seen huge positive mental impacts when people have a reward of their choice once a week and have also read of a number of studies that claim the same results. Secondly if we consider the physical impacts consuming a cupcake as exampled above has on the body then you will be glad to know it is actually very limited, I have never seen a rocket in body fat resulting from a single cupcake…..its the culmination of junk day in day out that causes that.
sweet stuff
So where is the danger? Well simply put the danger is having too many too often, so refer to the first point above and plan your reward once a week and keep it very small and limited. The danger is in the high sugar, fat and additive content of these things. No, that beautiful, pink colored icing is not natural!!
But is there a natural option to make your weekly cheat safer? Well as it happens yes there is. I have not been able to find these things in production commercially, mainly because with the obesity epidemic all we demand is what we are marketed which often is not quite what it seems (ref “Don’t be fooled by the salad”
paleo-brownieThe solution could be to use a Paleo treat which is based on  paleo diet principles. There are some great options available such as paleo brownies or paleo cupcakes which I can tell you from first hand experience taste pretty damn good.


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Don’t be fooled by the salad!

Don’t be a victim of big fast food chains ability to convince you that what they are about to feed you is actually good for you just because they have marketed it well. The truth may be otherwise.

Mcd
Take the McDonalds Caesar salad which comes in with a whopping 425 calories and 21.4 grams of fat and compare this to the 253 calories and 7.7 grams of fat in their standard burger. Even if you add a portion of fries to the burger it only ends up 4 calories more than the salad at 429 but still with less fat at 16.7 grams.
On a brighter note, McDonalds aims to withdraw its super-size portion options by the end of the year, possibly due to the amount of blame that is being thrown around for the obesity epidemic that we are now seeing and has been further highlighted in the recent BBC series “The men who made us fat”

For those who wish to see facts you can check out McDonald’s Nutrition Facts

The information quoted in this post can be found at Daily Mail

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You want a "Cardio" workout?

Whilst I am not a huge fan of splitting gym work into “Cardio” and “Weights”, I want to share with you what I believe is a pretty solid 20 minute “cardio” solution.
I came across this in 2001 when I was first introduced to the Body For Life program. The cardio solution that Bill Phillips came up with I recommend to people and use myself to this day from time to time.
Body for life
It’s so simple to follow and you can really smash yourself up nicely in 20 minutes and unlike getting on a piece of CV equipment and just looking at the screen waiting for your workout to end, this session doesn’t bore the hell out of you.

The great thing is you can apply Phillips’s solution to any piece of cardio machinery be it the treadmill, stationary bike, Concept 2 rowing machine, Cross-Trainer or even just use the structure in your run outside!

Do I think its the ultimate? No not at all! But I think its a neat little workout which when you figure out your zones works well so its worth a try!

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Why use Trigger Point Therapy?

As you may see from my training log I am using Trigger Point Therapy quite regularly as part of my training. I have had a few people ask me about this and inquire why I am using it and if I think it works or delivers benefit.**(see note at bottom of post)
For real!
A few months back I went on the master trainer course run by MEFIT PRO (regional distributor for TP Therapy) The course was delivered by the founder and CEO of TP Therapy Cassidy Phillips. The first thing Phillips asked his audience was “Do you brush your teeth daily?” of course the answer was positive and Phillips was ready with his response “Well why don’t we look after our bodies daily too?”…

A fair point I thought and quite a way to kick off the course.

What Phillips has delivered in TP Therapy is Myofascial Compression Techniques through a product with programming! This is unlike anything else I have come across. You actually get a program to follow for each part of the body. Many people have a foam roller and we are very good at telling people to hop on the foam roller for 10 minutes a day or 15 minutes a day, but what should they be doing with it, where should they be hitting, how should they be moving on it? All of these questions spring up all too often and are perfectly valid. The fact that Phillips has identified the 6 key points on the body that are essential to human movement and performance and attacks these with his Ultimate Six program shows that there is some serious thought gone into this. Each of the ultimate 6 has a specific program to be carried out on it for what Phillips has discovered gives the maximum return.
I challenged Phillips as to the difference between the TP Therapy kit and a standard foam roller or his version The Grid! His answer again related back to his opening subject of dental hygiene as he responded with, “Do you floss daily?” of course my answer was yes, Phillips continued, “foam rolling and the grid are great tools, they move the plaque off the teeth and into the gums, what TP Therapy does to your muscles is what floss does to that plaque, it takes it away.”
After day 1 on the course I started incorporating TP Therapy into my program because the practical demonstration of the positive impact of the system was literally mind blowing. I was however not 100% sold and hence why this blog post is only been written now. For me to fully buy into a concept I need to use it over time, the long term positive effects on my body and my performance are my number 1 priority. 2 months later I am still using the product and the effects are insane. Increased flexibility, improved range of motion, reduced muscle soreness and improved performance to mention a few. The longer term effects I can not comment on but if the difference I have noticed so far is anything to go by then the future is all positive.
In the UAE TP Therapy is available from MEFIT Pro and globally you can check them out at http://tptherapy.com/
**Let me just say one thing. I do not receive any financial benefit from any products that I use, I am not paid to promote brands. The brands that I work with and am an ambassador for I was using before they approached me as I believe in the brands. Hence it always amazes me when people ask me “Why are you using that?” or “Do you think it works?’ The only reason I use certain brands or do certain things is because yes I think they work and believe they make me perform at a higher level.
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