Live life

This post needs very few words as Ric Elias manages to sum many things up in his short address at TED:

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The “Smash Life” Seminar

InnerFight founder Marcus Smith is a high performance coach with a wide array of clients on all matters related to performance. For more information how he can help you increase your performance contact him direct at

Female Hormones & Training Methods

Post by Marti Susanne
As females, from an early age we become very aware of the impact hormones have on our body. It’s unavoidable. Our period’s start, we develop breasts, experience mood swings and our bodies alter from the ‘boyish’ shape into a more curvacious feminine body. All these things happen because of an intricate communication system of chemical messengers called hormones. You’ve heard of the most commonly known ones progesterone and estrogen. Well, these are only 2 of the hormones that play a role.
Women have monthly fluctuations in certain hormone’s that are vital for procreation and the survival of our species, that’s the obvious part we all know. Yet you can also use these hormones when training, wanting to gain muscle or lose fat.
A quick brief on what happens. The female monthly cycle is made up of 2 phases and varies in length from around 28-32 days. The first phase is called the Follicular phase and is when your body is maturing an egg in a follicle. This maturation phase relies on certain hormones and chemical messengers to get the job done and is a time where ‘estrogen’ is higher in relation to ‘progesterone’. The next phase is the Luteal phase. This is when ovulation occurs triggered by a rise in another hormone that causes the follicle to rupture and release the egg. There is a subsequent increase in progesterone as a result of this that alters the internal chemistry of our bodies and if fertilization does not occur then estrogen and progesterone levels drop off and menses start (a period). 
Right then onto the cool stuff – you can use this hormonal edge to get the best out of your training sessions and nutrition throughout the month. Exercise scientists call it ‘Metabolic Flexibility’. At certain times in the month your body will have a preference to burning sugar or fat as fuel & you can manipulate your nutrition and training accordingly to give yourself a little competitive edge. Exercise metabolism or the fuel source you use is dependent on the concentrations of  progesterone and estrogen at certain times of the month 
Ok so you can’t change your hormone status, however you can change what you eat, when you eat & how you train right?
If you want to pull out all the stops in your quest to looking lean then you can try this method, but a word of caution here you must have adopted a diet that is based around a lower proportion of starchy carbohydrates. The insulin response to food needs to be on the lower side as Insulin and cortisol have powerful effects on the body. These will therefore over ride the ‘female hormonal’ advantage mentioned. 
So what does this all mean? Well going back to those 2 phases within the female monthly cycle. Day’s 1-14 is an Estrogen dominant time and this is a better fat burning time as estrogen opposes the action of insulin making in your body less likely to store fat and more likely to release it! It is also a time where you are considered more ‘anabolic’ so in training, lift heavy for 4+ sets using big compound moves like the squat or deadlift. Plus you can introduce steady state cardio in this phase with less chance of breaking down lean muscle tissue. Nutritionally you can add a few more starches too, in the 45 mins post workout ideally, so your body can store this energy for your next workout rather than extra insulation.
During Days 14-28 because of the hormone status at this time, you are more catabolic, meaning more likely to lose muscle, so you should avoid cardio in favor of metabolic/HITT conditioning type workouts that are shorter in duration and using circuits or giant sets.
Remember the less lean muscle you have the slower your metabolism will be, and you will not achieve that hard toned shapely look you actually want! Too many women over do the cardio, which really is not necessary unless your goal is endurance based! In this phase, nutritionally be careful of too much starch in your diet too and keep protein on the higher side to support protein synthesis (this will help prevent muscle loss). This phase is also a time when cravings might kick in so have a plan. If you are someone who gets cravings, there are many things you can do to help prevent them and one solution I would suggest is, not leaving any more than 3 hours between eating a meal. This will support your blood sugars and keep those hormones in check.  


Marti specializes in establishing lifestyle programs for females that promote long term sustainable transformations to optimize healthy living. Her attitude is simple: “Believe it; you will achieve it.”
Connect with Marti: TWITTER, BLOG

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This weeks InnerFight training 26-08-12

“What ever your 100% looks like, give it” Lance Armstrong

InnerFight founder Marcus Smith is a high performance coach with a wide array of clients on all matters related to performance. For more information how he can help you increase your performance contact him direct at

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Lance Armstrong "Enough is Enough"

You can hardly miss the onslaught of articles and comments in various forms of media today as US born, cancer survivor, 7 times Tour De France winner Lance Armstrong has come out and said “enough is enough”, and he will cease his defense of the USADA’s accusations.

So where do I start?
The best place would be to refer you to Lance’s first book “It’s not about the bike……my journey back to life” where he graphically describes the closeness he was to death and accompanies this with some quite gruesome images. Cancer so nearly ended this mans life at such a young age.
The next piece of the puzzle that so many don’t quite get is the complexity of corruption in the cycling world. During Lance’s 7 tour wins I can clearly remember on numerous occasions news scenes as French police were filmed raiding team hotels as the cyclists slept. On some occasions they found what they were looking for, but on most they left empty handed and the next day’s scene was a bleary eyed riders on the start line. Cycling has always been surrounded with it’s fair share of poor media exposure related to various cases of performance enhancing drug use and abuse. For those that are unaware the gentleman Alexander Vinokourov that we saw take Gold in the recent London Olympics was banned for the sport for 2 years for doping offences.
When it comes to drugs in sport and the policing of it one should note that for a number of years anti doping agencies had a contract to be able to test Lance any time they wanted, 365 days of the year and often purely leveraged this to make his life uncomfortable, raiding his house at ungodly hours.
Now lets look at the USADA and the mans name that is all over the press today; Travis Tygart. I read an article no so long ago which very simply summed up Tygart as being, the judge, the jury and the prosecution, quite a busy man you may say. The word on the USADA today is that they will be stripping lance of his 7 tour victories, victories that were handed to him by the ICU and in fact the USADA has no right to take these titles away, but it will be something that the ICU has to deal with as it was under their jurisdiction that the titles were awarded in the first place.
Do I personally think Lance used performance enhancing drugs? I believe that he may have done so during his career. If you look at the big picture of cycling many do. Is it right? No of course not, and I don’t condone the use of performance enhancing drugs in any sport. I believe each individual has been blessed with various skills and abilities and it is up to them to make the best of these skills and not artificially enhance them. However, what I do not believe is that Lance used performance enhancing drugs during all 7 of his tour victories. Do you not think he was tested on any of the 365 days that he could be to make sure he was living by the rules?
livestrongThe situation that we now have is so much different than the argument as to “did he” or “didn’t he”. To me that is minor and what I encourage you to do is look to the bigger picture. In that I mean, turn your attention to the Livestrong foundation. A foundation that for sure may be shaken depending on the outcomes of today’s news but I can assure you will not crumble. By Lance being laid on his death bed and getting up and back into professional cycling and setting up Livestrong alone has given so many cancer sufferers hope, strength and what they need to keep fighting and hold onto life.
There have been very few sporting icons that have been able to leverage their success into a brand that lives on far past their demise. Fred Perry the English tennis player is one of a few whose brand still holds strong today. In the Livestrong foundation you are going to have just that. An institution that continues to give people hope, continues to encourage people to fight and helps people overcome cancer, a disease that many of our lives have been touched by and will continue to be affected by in the future I am sure.
In 2003 when Lance was half way through collecting his 7 tour wins the Livestrong foundation released yellow wrists bands on their website. I pre ordered 10 as a sign of my support for cancer victims around the world and what Lance was doing. These bands became a world wide phenomenal for charities and business to express their message, all on the back of what Livestrong had created. I have worn a yellow Livestrong band since that day, and I will continue to wear one for the rest of my life because of what it stands for personally and the lives that cancer has affected.

Lance Armstrong’s decision to say “Enough is Enough” does not surprise me at all. The man was given such a small % chance to live and has given so much to a disease that is in the lives of so many, lets not lose sight on what is important here!

Read Lances statement here

The "Yoke of Justice" has arrived!

A new toy arrived at Evolve today. We took it for a test drive…..

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InnerFight founder Marcus Smith is a high performance coach with a wide array of clients on all matters related to performance. For more information how he can help you increase your performance contact him direct at

What does it take to be Triathlons Olympic Champion?

Written by Neil Flanagan (Dubai Flanners)
Sadly, the Olympic flame has now been extinguished, and we are left to reflect on what has been a phenomenal Olympic Games 2012.
Of course, the highlight for me was the Triathlon, with Great British Brownlee brothers, Alistair and Jonny claiming Gold and Bronze (even with a 15 second penalty) respectively. So what is it that sets the Brownlee boys above  the rest? – a) are they genetically superior?, b) do they simply train harder than everyone else?, or is it c) their winning mentality and quest to leave no stone unturned?
Lets explore these briefly in turn…
a) Triathlon is a bit of a strange sport – swim/bike/run – there’s not a lot of natural synergy between them – you could argue, for example that Michael Phelps was born to swim, or Lance Armstrong was born to ride a bike, or Haile Gebrselassie was born to run, but given their vastly different physical attributes, how can you argue that somebody was born to swim, bike, AND run?.  Undoubtedly the brothers have some natural talent, but we all know some talented people who aren’t Olympic Gold Medalists, right?.  Two of my favorite sayings in sport:
  1. “Hard work beats talent when talent refuses to work hard”
  2. “Only in the dictionary does success come before work”
b) Below is a sample of a typical week in the life of the Brownlee boys – given that they currently live and train together, you can imagine some of their sessions get a little bit spicy!
Monday – easy 75 minute run in the morning, followed by running drills with physiotherapist, weights in the gym, 1 hour swim, easy “few” hour bike ride in the afternoon.
Tuesday – hard swim at 7a.m, easy 30 minute jog, easy1 hour spin on the bike, hard track running session in the evening.
Wednesday – long easy intervals in the pool, easy 75 minute jog, 3 hour bike ride in the afternoon.
Thursday – easy swim in the morning, 1 hour run, 2 hour bike ride in the afternoon.
Friday – hard swim in the morning, followed by weights in the gym, 1 hour run and 1.5 hour bike in the afternoon.
Saturday – hard run intervals on grass in the morning, 3-4 hour bike ride in the afternoon, easy 1 hour run in the evening.
Sunday – Long ride and long run (a long ride is 3-4.5 hours, and running volume can be up to 70 miles a week depending on time of year and event scheduling)
c) Given the work schedule above, which is frankly enormous, the boys take rest and recovery very seriously indeed – they will no doubt have all the recovery toys available on the market, and are both reputed to be phenomenal at natures best recovery activity – sleeping! – I could write a whole article on sleep alone, but that’s for another time.  Alistair had an endless pool installed in his back garden (kind of an aquatic treadmill) and actually sleeps in an oxygen tent – Jonny is getting one! – I saw a documentary recently where Jonny fondly recalled falling through ice into a freezing lake in the middle of winter on one of their long rides, and continued to finish off the remaining 2 hours.  I suspect more than a few of their peers might have been on the phone begging for a lift home!
So what is my take away from all this?
Well, it’s quite simple – yes, they may have inherited some good sporting genes from their parents, and yes, they may have all the latest gadgets available to help them train and recover – but it’s only when you add that to their incredible work ethic and mental fortitude that you get the complete package that they undoubtedly are.
The frightening thing is that Alistair is 24, Jonny is only 22, neither are yet at their physical peak.  If you want to win Olympic Gold in Triathlon in Rio in 2016, chances are you’re going to have to beat the Brownlee boys to do so…good luck with that!!
Neil Flanagan is a triathlete with serious talent having completed Ironman Hawaii in 2011 and been selected for Team Great Britain in the 2012 world triathlon championships in Auckland New Zealand. Neil lives and trains in Dubai. You can keep up to date with Neils training and commentary on the sport of triathlon on his blog Dubai Flanners and follow him on TWITTER,
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