Loughborough

Laurence Holt on Loughborough’s win – MASS Championship

Loughborough president Laurence Holt shares words of encouragement for all 2017 MASS Championship hopefuls as we talk about what it was like to win the title.

Name: Laurence Holt
University: Loughborough
Course: International Business
Year of Study: second

Congratulations! How does it feel to be crowned the MASS Championship University Champions?

Unremarkable! How did we come from a team of just 12 members in 2008 to Mass University champions? I guess we have our competitors to thank.

After eyeing up our main rivals ( Cardiff ) we honestly thought all hope was lost, however over the series of the MASS Championship our members brought the fire and helped secure the title.

Amazing achievement by all the students who competed and we look forward to showing off the trophy.

 

 

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Which competitions did the team compete in, and how did they get on in each of them?

Across the year MASS brought a series of events, ranging from Physique to powerlifting. Fortunately for Loughborough, our members competed in 4 out of 5 sports covering a diverse range of results. Both the Powerlifting and Weightlifting proved to be most successful with coupling PB’s and total Wilks/Sinclair scores.

 

 

Which is your favourite competition and why?

Personally, I thoroughly enjoyed watching the Powerlifting as it was filled with new competitors and put a refreshing twist on competing in MASS championships.

 

 

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Was it hard to get members interested in competing?

Luckily for us, Loughborough already attracts athletes looking to excel in a variety of sports. Therefore with a little advertising and word of mouth, word quickly spread.

 

Give us the low-down on what it’s like to run a society?

Brilliant! I have had the pleasure of meeting and inspiring new members to the fitness world and attend some pretty cool lectures. With the backing of an enthusiastic committee a simple idea can turn into a extraordinary event.

Although it’s been a roller-coaster of ups and downs, I will be sad to be stepping down.

 

Does the work-load vary between term-time and holidays?

Running a society is simply what you make of it and the effort you put in. Work- loads and deadlines will come and go but a 1 hour meeting a week can make all the difference.

 

What’s the team’s training like in preparation for a competition?

This is a hard question. Some members prefer to train alone and focus on personal goals whilst others prefer to meet up and carry out joint training sessions.  Irrespective of training routines all members however are keen to motivate and provide a helping hand before the big day.

 

 

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Do other committee members help out with the competitions?

Yes, all competitions are seen as a responsibility by committee members to ensure athletes attend events to deliver a ground breaking performance.

 

In the end, is it all worth it?

YES, what’s the worst that could happen? You loose all your gains and look like Jeff Seid

 

What advice would you give to 2017 MASS Championship hopefuls?

What have you got to loose. If you don’t know have a go.

 

What’s next for you?

Hit the gym and get bigger than Dave Bissell himself. It’s always good to aim high Laurence 😉

 

Where can our readers follow your society?

Easy. Simply type in Loughborough Fitness and Wellbeing society on Facebook and await approval.

 

Interview by David Bissell
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rosie2

What It Takes to Be the Best – Rosie Howard

The MASS Team caught up with University of Reading student and female athlete of the year Rosie Howard to find out what it’s like, and what it takes, to be the national champ!

Name: Rosie Howard
University: University of Reading
Course: BSc Archaeology
Year of Study: 2

Congratulations! How does it feel to be crowned the MASS Male/Female athlete of the year?

It feels amazing, I only started competing in powerlifting last year at the MASS London Regional Competition and have improved so much since then! I’ve really enjoyed this year of competing with MASS and I look forward to trying to retain female athlete of the year next year!

Which competitions did you compete in, and how did you get on in each of them?

I competed in the MASS Powerlifting London Regional and MASS Southern Strongman Championship, I managed to win both of these competitions overall. At the MASS Powerlifting competition Team Reading also got the win.

 

 

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What was your favourite competition and why?

I would have to say the strongman competition, because it was something completely new for me and I had great fun competing with the other girls. The powerlifting comp brought back memories of my first ever competition last year with MASS, having Team Reading around definitely spurred me and all the other competitors on.

Did you have a lot of support from your family and peers?

Powerlifting and strongman are individual sports, but the people you surround yourself with can have a huge impact on your performance in and out of competition. Having that support from friends and family really encourages and motivates me to keep on improving and making gains.

 

 

Give us the low-down on a typical training week for you?

I normally train 4 times per week, sometime I do strongman events training as an extra session.

Does your training vary between term time and holidays?

No not really.

How drastically did you have to alter the way you train between prepping for the different competitions?

Not drastically, they are both strength sports so the general principles of training are the same. For the strongwoman competition I changed one of my Bench Press days to a Log Press day and incorporated more events training in.

What’s your current training split?

Delroy McQueen does all my programming for me (http://delroymcqueen.com/coaching.html). My current training split is building up to compete in a GBPF powerlifting competition

 

Session 1 – Bench Press

  • Bench with comp pause
  • Close Grip Bench
  • Dumbbell Chest Supported Row 5 sets of 12
  • Dumbbell Lateral Raise 3 sets of 15
  • Tricep Push Downs 3 sets of 15
  • Dumbbell Shrugs 3 sets of 15

Session 2 – Squat

  • Squat
  • Pause Squat
  • RDL 5 sets of 8
  • Seated Leg Curl (with resistance band) 100 reps total

Session 3 – Bench Press

  • Bench with comp pause
  • Close Grip Bench
  • Lat Pull Down 5 sets of 12
  • Front Dumbbell Raise 3 sets of 15
  • Dumbbell Tricep Extensions 3 sets of 15
  • Dumbbell Curls 3 sets of 15

Session 4 – Deadlift

  • Deadlift
  • Deficit Deadlift
  • Front Squat
  • Seated Leg Curl (with resistance band) 100 reps total
  • Lat Pull Down 4 sets of 10

 

 

How do you structure your nutrition?

I take an IIFYM approach to my diet, eating fairly clean most of the time but not being too restrictive. I compete in the u72kg class with GBPF and u75kg with GPC-GB and sit at about 70kg therefore don’t need to worry about cutting weight for my competitions.

Can we see your current diet plan?

My macro split is 235/78/176 (40/30/30)

  • Breakfast 8:00 – at the moment I have 3 eggs and 2 rashers of bacon to start the day
  • 1st Lunch 11:30 – protein shake 50g Protein Dynamix Vanilla Ice Cream flavour
  • 2nd Lunch 14:00 – 150g of chicken & lots of vegetables with 100g rice or pasta
  • Pre-Workout Meal 18:00 – 100g oats, 25g protein dynamix Vanilla Ice Cream flavour, 20g golden syrup. I make this up with water in the morning so the oats have absorbed the water.
  • Post-Workout Meal 21:30 – this varies a lot, I tend to make meals like; shepherd’s pie, lasagne, spaghetti bolognaise, chicken strips and chips, pork chops and mash.
  • Snacks – I have a really sweet tooth, so any leftover macros go on reeses pieces, kinder Buenos, cadbury’s and krispy cremes!

Is it hard to maintain such a training and nutrition regime as a student, and on a student budget?

It’s not that hard at all! I’m quite often working towards a competition and this drives me to keep consistent with training. Nutrition just takes a little bit of thought and planning, I am fairly flexible so can fit in the odd takeaway if I want one. I think if you shop sensibly it’s not hard to achieve on a student budget, I do most of my shopping at Aldi and spend roughly £25 per week on food.

 

Not sure if I have enough meat #protein #meat #gains #powerlifting #eattogrow

A photo posted by Rosie Howard (@rosiemayevelyn) on

In the end, is it all worth it?

100% I love competing!!

What advice would you give to 2017 MASS Championship hopefuls?

Enter and give it a go regardless of how much experience you feel you have. All the MASS competitions are well run by David and provide a really supportive atmosphere for lifting and competing in!

What’s next for you?

I am competing in GBPF South Midlands Qualifier on May 22nd then at the GPC-GB No Dumbelles competition on the 16th of July. I recently competed in Englands Strongest Woman Southern Qualifier and will be competing in strongwoman again this year. In the autumn I aim to compete in the GBPF and GPC-GB National Competitions. In the next year or so I hope to compete internationally in powerlifting!

Where can our readers follow you?

You can follow me on instgram @rosiemayevelyn

 

 

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instagramforfitness

#Fitsagram – Instagram for Fitness

There is no doubt that Instagram has become one of the most significant and active social media to date. The service launched in 2010, as little as five years ago, becoming one of the fastest growing cultural arrivals of the twenty first century with recent figures soaring over 300 million active users by the end of 2014. But what makes Instagram phenomenal is that it has become such an influential platform in marketing and monitoring the game of fitness.

 

And what do we exactly mean by Instagram? #doyoueveninstagram

To the majority of us, the app requires no introduction however we must acknowledge that Instagram only launched in 2010. Advances in technologies and its impact on culture has us both tech and trend savvy. It’s still important to be open minded that our age and generation plays a huge role in this cultural transition.  Instagram is a photo and video sharing service based online and on mobiles. The app enables members to capture, filter and share photos and videos onto their profiles and across other social media including Facebook and Twitter. But, distinctive features of the app include confining photos similar to Polaroid images but most importantly users are able to digitally enhance their images using filters.

 

Why is Instagram obsessed with fitness? #fitspiration

Photos speak more than words, in fact, they speak volumes. Instagram is image saturated, the whole concept itself is solely focused around imagery. When words are difficult to communicate, posting images simplify the task especially as other social media is either constrained with character limitations or crammed with too many functions of statuses, albums, videos, etc. An image is visual, artistic, the best and perhaps the only way to share your progression in fitness to whoever and whenever you want. The app allows you to follow whomever you wish, mainly for motivational purposes of cultivating these beautiful, inspirational fitness, health and nutrition accounts to help support and motivate us in our day to day goals. It’s common sense that sharing beautiful images creates a positive, motivating ambience, radiating positive emotions.

 

It’s more than perving #WOD

Many of us students including myself follow fitness accounts not only on the basis of aesthetic images but we love nutritional recipes, workout plans and exercise tips and tricks – all of which are free (almost! if you’re careful)! But this is the best part, we are extremely lucky to have access to so many sources of information in targeting our fitness goals, bearing in mind that not so long ago these little gems of tips were difficult to access without purchasing the magazines or hiring nutritionists and personal trainers. I’m talking about the days before the technological boom! Yes, there really was a time.

So exactly who are these leading fitness gurus?

 

#WCW women crush wednesdays

 

The Superstar Booty: @jenselter

 

 

Jen Selter, 20, New York 2,450,000 followers

“I don’t really post a lot of face pictures. I mainly do body selfies,”

 

 

The Personal Trainer: @nataliejillfit

 

 

Natalie Jill, 42, San Diego 320,000 followers

“There’s a few things that work: the picture needs to be colourful and happy, and people like seeing me do tricks on my rings. The ones that get the most likes are my morning work-outs. I try to teach something, not be all ‘look at me.’’

 

 

The yogi: @yoga_girl

 

 

Rachel Brathen, 25, Aruba 630,000 followers

“The pictures that get the most traction? The upside-down poses – especially if I’m in a beautiful location – paired with some words of wisdom. People are really hungry for inspiration, not just for tips on how to do poses.”

 

 

The celebrity trainer: @mankofit

 

 

mankofitMassiel Arias, 25, New Jersey 1,045,000 followers

“A lot of people do ‘shout-for-shouts’, where they ask you to follow their friends. I could have three million followers if I did that. My followers are all word-of -mouth. I want to show people that working out should be fun.”

 

 

The ballerina: @balletbeautiful

 

 

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Mary Bowers, 33, New York 110,000 followers

“The photos of me dancing pregnant were popular because they were so unexpected. No one had seen a ballerina in a leotard doing advanced moves like that. Ninety per cent of the comments were supportive, but it made some people uncomfortable.”

 

 

#MCM Man Crush Mondays

 

The superstar body: @kyleclarke

 

 

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Kyle Clark, 27,  Los Angeles 67,000 followers

“When you focus on problems, you’ll have more problems. When you focus on possibilities, you’ll have more opportunities”

 

 

The personal trainer: @lazar_angelov_official

 

 

lazar

Lazar Angelov, 31, Bulgaria 1.4m followers

“I want to inspire people, I want someone to look at me and say, because of you I didn’t give up”

 

 

The yogi: @carsonclaycalhoun

 

 

carson

Carson Calhoun, 35, Arlington 88,900 followers

“One of the most important elements of a well-rounded workout is stretching and no other activity does it better than yoga. Press up handstands and arms balances reveals the importance of flexibility and engaging your core to achieving a flawless practice on and off the mat”

 

 

The celebrity trainer: @therock

 

 

therock

Dwayne Johnson, 42, California 8.4m followers

“Success isn’t always about greatness. It’s about consistency. Consistent hard work gains success. Greatness will come”

 

The ballerino: @marcodalia

 

 

ballerino

Marco Dalia, 23, Italy 1483 followers

“Dance everywhere”

 

 

My Personal Favourite @kayla_itsines

 

 

kayla

Kayla Itsines, 23, Adelaide 2.4m followers

“I have been personal training women since 2008. It is my mission to bring incredible confidence and pride to women all around the world. We all deserve to feel great about ourselves. Everyone always says change your life today, but no one ever provides how. My life goal is to provide the how to as many women as possible”

 

Kayla’s beliefs summarises the reasons as to why she appears on my IG feed. The publishing of her Bikini body workout guide that aims to motivate women into fitness has become a global success. For myself, I need motivation and encouragement to keep going and Kayla provides the perfect balance of tough love and lots of love. This guide is dominating and proves to be working for her hundreds of subscribers and millions of followers. Kayla’s Instagram feed is saturated with motivational images, not only of herself but of the women that have followed her programme.

 

Interview with Bryan Leong

 

In seeking a male student’s position on fitness accounts. I’ve kindly sat down with student and powerlifter Bryan Leong to quiz his perspective.

 

What do you look at for in terms of following a fitness account?

“Twofold.  For powerlifter’s accounts I am looking for advices in technical lifts. For accounts of Youtube’s celebrities, I mainly follow them for their persona.”

 

Who are your top favourite IG fitness accounts?

@Marksmellybell and @Silentmikke. The more I get into the sport of powerlifting, the more I study ways to maximize progress. One of many ways to achieve this is to dig into powerlifting-specific gym equipment and accessories. Marksmellybell and Silentmikke are the spokespersons of the company ‘How Much Ya’ Bench’, in which their IG accounts focuses mainly on demonstrating and test-driving their latest products. Plus occasional posts of motivations featuring top powerlifters in the US.

 

What makes them different from other accounts?

The one thing which all of these accounts stands out from the other is, they represent the pinnacle of different aspects and field of ‘fitness’. To be fair, based on the current trend of fitness, the content of every fitness-related accounts share 90% of similarities. But I rather follow those who are at best at what they do to receive the most reliable content.

 

Any other fitness related accounts you’d like to share with us?
  • @Marksmellybell for powerlifting motivations and advices.
  • @thebodymass for general student fitness activity log.
  • @Stevecook_32  for its unique approach to motivation and the preach to balance different goals and aspects in life.
  • @Dangreenpowerlifter for the ‘animal’ side of powerlifting. helpful in learning the mindset of a champion.
  • @Nikkiblackketter for her persona and physique.

 

Rumina Awal
Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies student
Cardiff University

 

 

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joshleader

Interview with shredded student Josh Leader

University: Leeds
Degree title and year of study: MBCHB MEDICINE AND SURGERY (3RD YEAR)
BSc CLINICAL SCIENCES (CARDIOVASCULAR MEDICINE) 2014
Age: 21
Height: 170cm
Weight: 160lbs

 

How long have you been weight training?

3.5 years

 

What got you into weight training?

I was a keen sportsman at school and wanted to improve performance.

 

How did you get into competing in physique?

I did a fair amount of fitness and underwear modelling when I was 18; one of the photographers suggested I considered competing so I looked into it chose the class that suited me best and the rest is history. Only those who have also competed will truly understand the reason why. The feeling you get after weeks of dieting, intense training and prolonged cardio are all worth it when you have the opportunity to display your physique and the improvements you have made.

 

 

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What have you gotten out of competing?

First and foremost, competing has allowed me to meet so many amazing people who all share the same passion for bodybuilding and fitness like me. Through competing I met Pat Warner, CNP professional sponsored athlete and 2009 UKBFF British Championship, who I class not only as a mentor, a training partner but most importantly also a very close friend. Competing has given me a lot of discipline and allows me to remain focused. Following a strict routine has actually allowed myself to be more successful at University as my busy regime means that I have to utilize my time very efficiently in order to ensure that everything gets done to my best ability. Competing has also taught me how to present myself with confidence without appearing arrogant.

 

 

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What are your goals for the future?

In 2015, I have the UK Nationals event on 12th April where I aim to qualify for the European Championships in both the open and junior classes, the British Finals, the Arnold Madrid as well as the Amateur Olympia being held in Liverpool later this year. My goal is to be the youngest ever IFBB Physique Pro from the UK and seeing as I am only 21 years of age, I still have 4 years to make this a reality! I am deeply passionate about the science surrounding bodybuilding/fitness and wish to utilize my status as a qualified doctor to help educate others.

 

What are some of the difficulties in achieving the ideal physique as a student?

  • Balancing workload with time available to train
  • Restricted budget to afford the correct nutrition, gym membership, supplementation, competition fees, tanning, posing courses etc.
  • Becoming isolated from other students, as those who do not compete do not often understand the reason we go to the lengths we do
  • Furthermore, competition prep can often prevents us from eating/going out socially

 

 

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How is university conducive to concentrating on your physique?

 

University is the ideal time to concentrate on my physique as I have total independence of what I do. The structure/routine that is required for competition prep helps me to remain productive and organized whilst on placement too. I tend to find the busier I am, the more I achieve.

 

What are some of the misconceptions held by students who want to get ripped?

Students often believe you need to do copious amounts of cardio and to do very low carbohydrate diets in order to get ripped. This is not the case at all. There is not a set formula; everyone has different genetics. You just have to find what works best for you. You should remember fitness is a lifestyle and should not feel like a job. It is a continuous process of progression so whatever you chose to do should be maintainable for your circumstances.

 

 

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Who do you go to for training/nutrition advice?

I have always read about different training/nutrition protocols on the Internet, on websites such as bodybuilding.com or musculardevelopment.com.

As previously mentioned, Pat Warner, is currently mentoring/prepping me for my upcoming competitions this year. We call him ‘The Illusionist’ due to the dramatic changes in the shape and condition he has helped make possible in such a short period of time. Mr. Warner is an extremely smart trainer and no session is ever the same. We hit the muscle with different tensions, from different angles and with different tempos. This way the body never knows what is coming next and has to constantly adapt. I feel this is the secret to stimulating optimal muscle hypertrophy as well as achieving as much detail as possible.

 

How do you feel about the stereotypes of students leading unhealthy lifestyles?

I feel that stereotyping in general is an extremely negative aspect to society and we should all try not the band certain groups of people together. Everyone is unique and should be treated this way with no labelling or stigma attached. I personally think that due to the emphasis being placed on aesthetics and body image in the social media, that everyone is becoming a lot more body conscious. This is reflected in the increasing number of students who attend the gym and are beginning to implement healthy diets. The poor habits tend to occur in Fresher’s at University but once the novelty has worn off, people soon alter their lifestyle. I also find that medical students tend to have better habits due to the larger load of work, which makes it difficult to go out on a constant basis.

 

Five foods we would find in your kitchen:

Cod, rice, oats, supplements, broccoli

 

Josh Leader
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flexibledieting

Weight Loss through Flexible Dieting – Daniel Olusina

Are you tired of doing endless cardio with no signs of weight loss? Eating the same “clean” meals over and over causing you to cheat regularly? Would you like to learn of a new approach that enables you to treat yourself daily? Then flexible dieting aka if it fits your macros may be just the approach you need.

 

Name: Daniel Olusina
University: Kent
Course: Actuarial Science
Year of Study: Graduated in 2015

 

Macro and Micronutrients

  • Macronutrients are nutrients that provide calories and energy. They’re found in all foods and are made up of carbohydrates, proteins and fats.
  • Micronutrients are vitamins and minerals required in small amounts that are essential to our health, development and growth. They are widely found in an array of fruit and vegetables.
  • By knowing that all the food that we eat is merely just a certain amount of macro and micro nutrients, we can track them and know precisely how much we are actually eating.

 

 

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How to Track What You Eat

  • Any food can easily be tracked using the MyFitnessPal app. This app can be downloaded on any of the latest smart phones or can be accessed on the internet.
  • Log each each meal you eat by logging the individual foods used to make up that meal. Doing so you will find out the exact amount of macro and micro nutrients you’ve consumed in that meal.
  • Food on MyFitnessPal can be logged by either weighing out each food using a weigh scale and searching for the food & the amount of if on myfitnesspal or if you’re using the the myfitnesspal app on you’re smart phone then there is a feature where you can scan the barcode which will immediately show you the amount of macronutrients in the food you’ve just scanned.
  • This can be very handy when you’re out looking to treat yourself but are unsure of whether the desired food (poptarts for me) will fit the total amount of macronutrients to be consumed for the day.

 

Caloric Deficit

  • By tracking our food on MyfitnessPal we are able to find out the total macro and micro nutrients we are consuming and thus the total amount of calories we are consuming
  • Depending on the total amount of calories we are consuming, we may be in a caloric surplus, deficit or maintenance.
  • Caloric surplus is where we are consuming more calories than the energy we’re expending during the day and thus gaining weight (the amount depends on how big the surplus is).
  • Caloric maintenance is where we are consuming the same amount of calories as the energy we’re expending and thus our weight stays the same.
  • Caloric deficit is where we are eating less calories than our caloric maintenance and will therefore lose weight

 

Flexible Dieting Coming Into Its Own

  • What I advise is to track the amount of food you generally eat over one day.
  • See what the total amount of macronutrients is and keep that the same throughout the entire week.
  • That doesn’t mean eat the same food over and over. Eat a wide variety of food and meals but make sure at the end of the day it all adds up to the same amount of macro and micronutrients which were consumed on day 1.
  • Whilst you’re doing this I also suggest weighing yourself daily. First thing in the morning after using the toilet. This is to track weight progress. At the end of the week add all the weights together and divide them by 7 to see your average weekly weigh in.
  • If you’ve seen that your weight has gone up then you are in a caloric surplus and may need to reduce your macros slightly (either carbs or fats) however if your weight has gone down then you’re in a caloric deficit and just need to keep maintaining the same macronutrients to keep losing weight (if weight loss is your goal).
  • My rule of thumb is whether you were in a caloric surplus or deficit for week 1, if you are looking to lose weight then fats should be around 60g a day for guys and 50g for women to make sure you are still eating an adequate amount of fat to help maintain bodily functions.
  • Protein should be at least 1.2g per pound of bodyweight but this can be more and carbohydrates throughout the diet phase should be kept as high as possible despite this being the macronutrient that you’ll be looking to reduce every so often when reducing calories further.

 

 

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Average Weight Loss

  • So now we’ve set our macro and micronutrients its time for us to lose some weight!
  • If you’re already losing weight on your current macros then just stick with it and enjoy fitting them small daily treats into those weight loss macros.
  • You should be looking to lose around 0.5-1kg a week on average so a sufficient caloric deficit of around 300 below caloric maintenance may be all that is needed.
  • However fat loss isn’t linear so it could a loss of 0.2kg one week and 1.3kg the next.
  • Try your best to keep fat loss at under 1kg a week as if it is over it may cause a loss in muscle tissue as well, which is not what we want if we want to be looking toned.

 

Busting weight plateaus

Lower carbs, higher cardio, more intensity in gym
  • If your weight loss has stalled then fear not for there are many ways to combat this.
  • As 1g carbohydrates is equal to 4 calories then by merely reducing the daily amount of carbohydrates by 25g you’ll have reduced the daily calories by 100 calories!
  • This small refinement may make all the difference and allow the weight loss to continue
  • Another way is increasing the amount of calories you are burning through increased cardio. I would suggest HIIT (high intensive interval training) starting with once a week for 15mins (12-15secs flat out, 45sec to 1min rest) and then increasing to twice a week if weight plateaus. HIIT causes the body to experience an afterburn effect that will cause it to burn many calories throughout the day even when you’re at rest.
  • Incorporating Steady State cardio in terms of burning a specific amount of calories is also useful but doing this to burn a large amount of calories many times a week may induce metabolic damage so use it sparingly.
  • Increasing the intensity of your weight training workouts will allow you to burn even more calories and thus be further into a caloric deficit. Supersets, dropsets and less rest periods can all be utilised to make you train even harder and thus burn more calories.

 

Refeeds vs Cheat Meals

Once a Week
  • We’ve all been there, just lost a kg and we want to reward ourselves with a KFC bargain bucket.
  • STOP RIGHT THERE!
  • Unless that bargain bucket fits your macros (which I doubt it will) then refeeding may be the answer to eating more and potentially losing even more weight
  • Instead of plain cheating and eating food we know is extremely high in fat we can instead eat roughly 150-200% more carbs on a refeed day.
  • On this refeed day our fats should be lower than a normal diet day (around 10g less or so) and protein should be around the same level or a little less.
  • This will cause our leptin level (fat burning hormone) to spike temporarily as it is normally fairly low when we are dieting.
  • Our metabolism will therefore increase and when you go back to your normal food amounts you may notice that you’ve lost even more weight which is what we all want.

 

So lets all ditch the 6 meals a days of sweet potato, lentils and plain diced chicken and start having a wide array of meals that fit our caloric deficit macro and micronutrients!

 

Daniel Olusina
Instagram @danielolusina
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press up

Push Up, Or Shut Up!

Reinventing the push up into a viable bench press alternative.

 

You love to bench press. Everyone does. It’s a simple move, you can load up big weights on it, and it trains major muscles you love to see in the mirror. However, the bench press isn’t always the safest option. If you don’t have a spotter, it can be dangerous to overload yourself to a point where you might fail a rep and need the bar lifted off you. Furthermore, excessive bench press in your training can lead to a whole host of shoulder issues. Sometimes, when training your chest and triceps, it can be useful to revert back to the bench presses little brother; the PE teachers favourite; the push up.

You probably left the push up behind as soon as you discovered the bench press. You now probably view it as a warm up exercise, cranking out a few sets of 10 before you start your chest day. However, by a few simple tweaks shown in the exercises below, we can amp up the intensity of push ups so you can get great upper body results without even touching a weight.

Before you try some of the more intense and advanced push up variations, here are some key coaching points to make sure you’ve mastered the ordinary push up.

 

  • Make sure your hands are placed directly below your shoulders to ensure you’re stressing the correct muscles.
  • Keep your elbows tucked to your sides. Flared elbows are one of the most common mistakes when performing a push up. To help you keep tucked elbows, imagine you are trying to grip a business card in-between your arm pits.
  • Maintain a straight and rigid body. A rigid body during a press up involves straight legs, hips not sagging and a neutral spine position. To help with this, tense your glutes and core as well as pressing your legs and feet tight together before starting to complete your push ups.
  • Get low enough. Lowering yourself to the correct position in a push up ensures you work your muscles through a full range of motion. Lower yourself til your face is 2 to 3 inches off the ground then push away again.

 

Regular push up - start-finish position

Regular push up – start-finish position

Regular push up - mid position

Regular push up – mid position

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once you can perform a good set of 20-25 push ups following the coaching points above, it’s time to attempt some more advanced versions of the push up. Caution! Huge pecs and massive triceps may result from completion of these exercises.

 

Staggered push up

Set up: Set yourself up for a normal push up; hands below shoulders, core braced, elbows tucked. Now, take one hand and move it forward until it is below your eye line. Your hands are now in the staggered position.

Execution: Lower yourself as normal, then focus on driving through your hand that is still below your shoulder on the up phase. Use your more forward hand as a support. When you’re done, take a short rest, switch which hand is forward, and repeat.

 

Staggered push up - start-finish position

Staggered push up – start-finish position

Staggered push up - mid position

Staggered push up – mid position

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This move increases the intensity on one pectoral at a time, by increasing the work each side does during one rep. It is a good first move to attempt after mastering the regular push up. Aim for 15 – 20 reps each side before attempting archer push ups.

 

Archer push up

Set up: Again, set yourself up for a normal push up; hands below shoulders, core braced, elbows tucked. This time take one hand and extend it out to the side of your body. Raise your extended hand off the palm onto just the fingers and make sure that arm is straight. Imagine looking down on your body and you should see an image similar to an archer with his bow. Your extended hand is ‘drawing the arrow’ while the hand still under the shoulder is ‘holding the bow’.

Execution: Similar to the staggered push up, focus on driving through the hand still under your shoulder. Your extended arm should bend slightly as you lower to the bottom point of the push up. Switch sides again and repeat.

 

Archer push up - mid position

Archer push up – mid position

Archer push up - start-finish position

Archer push up – start-finish position

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The archer push up is very similar to the staggered push up in that it isolates the work onto one side of your upper body. However, by moving the non-working arm laterally and further away from the body’s midline, the support is reduced, so the intensity placed on the working arm is further increased. Aim for 10 reps each side before moving on.

 

Lateral push ups

Set up: Slightly different to the others, you start lateral push ups with both arms extended laterally away from the body. If you looked down on your body, it would resemble a cross. You can keep your fingers facing forwards, or point them out laterally too; whichever is most comfortable for you.

Execution: Lower yourself down towards your left hand. You should be moving diagonally downwards, trying to get your left pec as close as you can too your left hand. Drive back up and away so your body becomes central again. Immediately repeat to your right side.

 

Lateral push up - mid position

Lateral push up – mid position

Lateral push up - start-finish position

Lateral push up – start-finish position

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This exercise provides a more dynamic version of the archer push up, and the different movement pattern makes it a difficult move to master. Aim to hit 16-20 reps before attempting the daddy of all push ups; the one arm push up.

 

Conculsion

It is hard to let go of the staple upper body exercise of the bench press. Most of us are comfortable and feel at home with a bar above our chest, but you can achieve similar results, in a safer and equally as challenging environment with the push ups shown above. And as if this article hasn’t already done enough to convince you to try some advanced push ups in your next upper body workout, always remember that push ups work your core at the same time as your pecs and triceps.

 

Mark Harvey
Loughborough University
BSc Sports and Exercise Science

 

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Insulin – The Muscle Building Hormone

Insulin is a protein that is secreted from the pancreas when a carbohydrate or protein source is ingested into the body. It is transported in the blood in order to regulate blood glucose levels as they must be closely monitored by the body in order to ensure internal conditions in the body remain stable and constant.

Insulin’s Roles in the Muscle Cell

Promotes
  • Glucose uptake across the cell membrane
  • Glycogenesis (Glycogen synthesis)
  • Amino acid uptake
  • Protein synthesis
Inhibits
  • Gluconeogenesis (the generation of carbohydrate from non carbohydrate sources – ie inhibiting protein degradation)
  • Glycogenolysis (the breakdown of Glycogen to glucose)

 

The conclusion of all of that is that insulin plays a huge part in muscle building as it allows for better amino acid uptake resulting in greater levels of protein synthesis. Furthermore, it increases glucose uptake into the cell, which results in fuelling muscular contractions. Does that mean we should look to maximize insulin levels throughout the body and we’ll experience great muscle gains with no negative effects, yes?

Not exactly. Insulin also has an anabolic affect in adipose (fat) tissue and it decreases the rate of lipolysis (fat breakdown) thus decreasing fatty acid plasma levels stopping the body from utilizing fats for energy.

 

In order to avoid insulin’s anabolic affects in the adipose tissue it’s ideal to be as sensitive to insulin as possible, to allow muscle cells to be able to utilize it effectively to fuel contractions and aid in protein synthesis. The more desensitized the insulin receptors become, the lesser ability the muscle cells have in utilizing the insulin and the more insulin is used in lipid formation and fat storage. The leaner an individual is the more sensitive they will be to insulin and thus, that individual may find it far easier to add muscle, as their insulin will be able to transport glucose and amino acids efficiently. This is where the ‘dirty bulk’ theory is shown to be false as leaner individuals are far more anabolic than individuals who carry a large amount of excess body fat.

 

Insulin Levels and Post Workout

 

z274Your body is most sensitive to insulin at particular times throughout the day. One of these is after a resistance training workout, so post-workout is a good time to have a source of carbohydrates and protein to spike insulin levels. Post-workout is when your muscles need nutrients urgently as they’ve just been broken down by your training and your body will be in a very catabolic (breaking down) state. Around 30g of fast digesting carbohydrates post workout with a source of easily digestible protein is sufficient to maximize recovery and protein synthesis. Followed by adequate intake of overall calories throughout the day.

 

 

7 Ways to Achieve Greater Insulin Sensitivity

 

  1. Resistance training
  2. Cardiovascular training
  3. Low carbohydrate/ High fat nutrition
  4. Manipulating carbohydrate levels over time e.g. Carbohydrate cycling
  5. Eat plenty of Omega 3 fatty acids (found in oily fish and nuts)
  6. Control blood glucose levels by avoiding massive insulin spikes caused by eating large amounts of fast digesting carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates with sources of protein and fats affect blood glucose levels less, alongside high levels of total daily fibre.
  7. Regular consumption of cinnamon in the diet and supplementing with ALA (alpha lipoic acid) has been linked with increased sensitivity (ALA can be found in the diet in foods such as broccoli, spinach and tomatoes but in smaller amounts than in supplements).

 

Justin Bland
University of Leeds
BSc (hons) Sport and Exercise Sciences with Physiology
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The 2015 MASS Student Physique Championship qualifiers

Tans radiated, smiles glistened and bodies rocked: How our students battled it out in attempt to qualify for the Mass Student Physique finals in London this April.

 

This March saw an array of talent in both the Midlands and Southern SPC Regional qualifiers. More than 100 of the best student physiques flocked from across the country to each show, managing to sell out both Leicester’s O2 Academy and Southampton’s Student Union in celebration of the student athlete. Both heels and standards were set sky high, filling our stages with professionalism, sportsmanship, and a positive example for students everywhere to follow.

Posing was in full force, with Manchester’s medic Sam Parsons and Exeter’s Adam James impressing the judges enough to take home awards for best stage presence of the day. The talent displayed in the Women’s bikini categories proved particularly hard to judge; finalist Rosie Williams, Serife Ustuner and Liberty Pullen demonstrated incredible presentation skills in the Southern qualifiers, while Nikita Scholes, Holly Couzens and Sarah Baron shone for our Midlands judges.

 

 

LEICESTERemily      LEICESTERfeyi

Emily Wilson & Feyi Oyebode, Midlands regional overall champions

 

Bournemouth served to be the South’s hottest Uni, gaining overall best team of the day as well as celebrating Tom Vessey’s victory in the Men’s Athletic category. Other successes included George Morgan, Roehampton’s winner in the Men’s Fresher’s category and Nathan Etherington, Plymouth’s short physique victor.  Daniel Olusina, former self-confessed “stick-thin” physique, was announced proud winner of both the Men’s Tall and overall Men’s Physique of the day. All praises for the healthy lifestyle, Olusina urges anyone to get involved,

“With hard work, dedication and consistency you can build the body you want!”

Other athletes, who are living proof of the latter, included Midlands overall Men’s champ of the day, Feyi Oyebode and both Women’s bikini winners, Hattie Moran of Westminster and 20 year old Emily Wilson of Coventry.

Each student has undergone an incredible individual journey throughout the SPC process, proving the mental discipline required to compete at this high level. Best friends and gym buddies, Duncan Barry and Jake Sales, demonstrated that physique competitions delve far deeper than surface looks

“It’s changed our mentality towards all aspects of life, and it’s great that we can do it side by side”

 

 

SPCsouthern      SOUTHERNbikini            Daniel Olusina & Hattie Moran, Southern regional overall champions

 

Unlike professionals in the industry, the students have had to juggle their rigorous training and nutrition with the hardships of student life. First time competitor, Megan Coldicott, who studies adult nursing at De Montfort University, told us,

“I train twice a day; I start with fasted cardio followed by a weights session later. It’s been hell but so worth it-I’ve never seen my body like this!”

Coventry’s 23 year old Josh Sainsbury-Bow, who gained 2nd place in the Men’s Athletic Category, believes the healthy lifestyle is well worth the time and money

“It can definitely be expensive, but I’ve saved a lot on alcohol!”

When asked to advise other students wanting to compete, Josh Bridgman, winner of the Men’s Physique, insisted,

“Just get out and do it! It’s the best thing you’ll ever do!”

 

 

15377_909478945749420_8458613695485571878_n

Congratulations to all our inspirational competitors, who proved being a student doesn’t have to mean sleeping all day and drinking all night: we can’t wait to see what you can bring to the championship next year!

 

By Britta Zeltmann
Cardiff University

 

Links
Midlands Scoresheet
Southern Scoresheet
Finals Scoresheet
Competition Page

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MASS’s Strongest Man 2015

The first ever MASS strongman competition was held in the ‘larger than life’ Warehouse Gym this March.

 

Amongst murals of the Kings and Queens of strength and acres of gritty strength machines for people who mean business, athletes from across the country battled it out to be crowned the strongest and hopefully earn points for their university in the MASS games.

 

strongman Geoff

 

After some close weigh-ins and an explanation of the events from MASS chairman David Bissell, the day quickly got underway; starting with the farmer’s carry.  From the outset a high standard of competition was evident, amidst an atmosphere of encouragement and good natured competitiveness familiar to those who attended previous MASS events.

From the females, Cari Davies and Catherine Smith were neck and neck for first place alongside a strong performance from Sharon Shergill. Catherine dominated the log press to nudge ahead at the second event but a comeback from Cari’s now legendary deadlift skills left it all up to the last event; Catherine narrowly pipped Cari to pull the overall result back to a draw.  This meant that Catherine won the junior gold medal, Sharon won silver from the juniors and Cari won the senior gold medal.

 

 

catherine

 

From the males, Zib Atkins blazed through the events in first place across the board from the 85kg category, including a sub 30s time to load a 50kg stone, 65kg kettlebell and 70kg sandbag at the end of a 15m carry. This landed him squarely with the 1st place senior prize, alongside Jacob Hetherington as first place junior following the quickest time to load up to the 80kg atlas stone.  The 105kg male category was more contested, although a solid senior victory was earned by Geoffrey Kirby, following a spectacular 43 reps at the 180kg car deadlift and RAPID 105kg atlas stone loading.

 

 

strongmanjazeer

 

Finally, the MASS games points were awarded, including 25 points to Loughborough in first place, 20 points to Cardiff in second and 16 points to Nottingham in third.  Overall, the first MASS strongman competition was a great example of the friendly, supportive and competitive student strongman community. And we got to pick up a car, which is pretty cool!

 

Words by Shaun Howell

Links
Scoresheet
Competition Page
Event Photos

 

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Green Tea – A Natural Fat Burning Supplement

With the number of people in the gym ever increasing, treadmills smoking and the sight of people crunching widespread, the question burning everybody’s’ lips, does that magic supplement exist? A powder or capsule that can torch fat naturally?

 

Name: Brandon Tiller
University: Southampton
Course: Biochemistry
Year of Study: 2nd Year

There are whispers in the corners of gyms, telling you this and that, those sceptics laughing the idea off, and those who sink down every supplement thrust upon them with the hope it is the one. I’m sure you’ve heard of green tea extract amongst those whispers, but is the cousin of Britain’s famous brew really a heavyweight in the fat burning industry?

 

greentea

 

The Fundamentals of Fat Loss

Lets begin right at the foundation. Every time we chow down on that man-sized, muscle fuelling, umpteenth meal of the day, desperate to squeeze as much muscle-building potential out of our bodies as possible, excess calories eaten in the form of fats and carbohydrates are no use to the body and are packed together and then stored for a later date as triglycerides, or fatty acids within fat cells, and to some degree liver and muscle cells, a process known simply as lipogenesis.

Being the automated machine it is, our body thinks this is ideal, however, in the eyes of a fitness enthusiast, this is disastrous. These fatty acids have a very high energy yield (9kcal/g) compared to that of carbohydrates (4kcal/g) and are therefore retained and stored with more abundance than glycogen.

The Process of Fat Burning

Fat-burning itself is achievable in one of two ways, increasing the bodies metabolic rate, the breakdown and use of fatty acids as an energy source or raising the activity of enzymes that act on fat cells to maximise the availability of these fatty acids.

In the case of fatty acid breakdown, a process known as β-oxidation occurs, in which the triglycerides are catabolised (broken down) back into fats and carbohydrates to be burnt as energy. Much like shovelling coal into the furnace of a steam train to keep everything moving. Not to worry though, that dreaded C word, synonymous with muscle building, is positive in this case, and completely unrelated to muscle catabolism.

Now this all sounds a little bit tricky, when ideally, all we are concerned with is walking down that beach with a six pack so chiselled you could grate a block of cheddar on it.

 

 

David_bissell_bike_4_low_res

The Key to a Sculptured Physique

That is where green tea may potentially be the Holy Grail, the key to a sculptured physique. How is it that a plant can be related to such a complex mechanism though? And does it have a significant effect? Well, once the kettle has boiled and the bag is brewing, catechins (natural chemicals present within the leaves) are extracted into the water and it is these small compounds that can make such a big difference!

The noted catechin in green tea is called Epigallocatechin gallate; we’ll call it EGCG for short to save a mouthful. And studies with this have been conducted to define fat-burning fact with fiction. Different doses of EGCG and a placebo were given to active men to identify whether or not it has the ability to increase β-oxidation of fatty acids and assist in fat-burning.

Across all studies, it was conclusive that supplementing with EGCG did in fact aid fat burning across the board.

 

Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG)

Reasons for this are not yet set in stone, but are proposed to be down to one, or a combination of these three ideas. EGCGs ability to increase fatty acid breakdown, decrease fat cell production or reduce fat absorption in the small intestine, not too bad for something you can sip on and enjoy whilst you relax and read this article.

Surprisingly, lower doses of EGCG (300mg/day) were more beneficial than higher doses (600mg/day), increasing β-oxidation by up to 33%, compared to 20% respectively within two hours of meal consumption.

However, the exact level of EGCG in a single cup of green tea is not definitive, which is why many sports supplement manufacturers have developed their very own ‘Green tea extract powder’, an accurately dosed powder that provides the ideal amount of EGCG as well as high levels of additional antioxidants that have a host of other health benefits!

 

It must beegcg noted though that the greatest effects were seen whilst the EGCG was supplemented with 200mg of caffeine, a stimulant of the nervous system that controls the release of adrenaline into the blood stream, hormones that act to mobilize fatty acids and, of course, give you crazy levels of drive and intensity whilst busting your guts in the iron clad dungeon.

Increases of up to 50% were reported, so why not combine Green tea extract powder with Caffeine for the best possible benefits.

 

As it stands, there may be truth behind those whispers after all. Green tea extract alone will not build the lean body of Adonis; intense and smart training coupled with a calorific deficit will be the main factor.

 

But, like Rome, a ripped body is not built in a day, who’s to say the Romans didn’t use all the help they could get?

 

Brandon Tiller
Facebook Brandon Tiller Fitness
YouTube Professor Muscle
Instagram @brandontillerfitness
Twitter @btillerfitness

 

 

 

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powerliftingmax

MASS Powerlifting National Championship Report

Following the growth of MASS Powerlifting and the successful regional championships, 40 student athletes filled Bethnal Green Weightlifting Club along with dozens of spectators and GBPF officials to find the best of the best at the MASS National Student Powerlifting Championship.  A truly ‘down to business’ gym set the perfect tone for a day of serious heavy lifting, and the friendly staff perfectly complemented the supportive and encouraging atmosphere.

The group was split into 2 waves across 9 represented categories from 17 universities, proceeding as usual through Squat, Bench and Deadlift with 3 attempts at each starting with the lightest female and ending with the heaviest male.  The lightest women, at 52kg, put in some strong performances with Becky Montague pipping Alexandra Langberg at 235kg to 232.5kg totals.  The 57kg female group was the most contested with 4 athletes and Catherine Smith coming in top place with a total of 282.5kg thanks to a 140kg deadlift, although Carrie Shearer’s 105kg squat scored her 2nd in the group. Of the 63kg females Cari Davies stole the show with a 302kg total thanks to a 160kg deadlift amidst a roaring crowd, although Elly Bar-Richardson did pip her on the Bench Press with a 50kg press. In the 72kg female category, Kimberley Cowell and Ursula Artjoki tied for highest total with 282.5kg, although Ursula’s slightly higher Wilks earned her 1st place.

 

 

NATIONALSsquat NATIONALSbench

From the lightest male category, Amrik Mehta put in a solid performance at 66kg with a 475kg total that would have won him the 74kg category crown too, although that went to Joshua Foo with a 462.5kg total after a big 240kg pull. From the 83kg males, Zib Atkins stormed his way to 1st with a huge 615kg total that also would have won him a crown at the next weight category, in part due to a 230kg squat. The 93kg men’s crown went to Ryan Strother for being slightly lighter than Oliver Sawyers after they both totalled 590kg, although the standout performance from the category was Oliver’s big 270kg deadlift.  From the heaviest men’s category, at 105kg, Marcus Jolly thrived on the support of his friends and managed a big 635kg total following a 275kg deadlift to have the biggest total of the day.

 

 

10649979_902756136421701_1735464752571927233_n

Overall, Zib Atkins achieved the highest male Wilks at 412 followed by Amrik Metha and Marcus Jolly, and Catherine Smith achieved the highest female Wilks at 343, followed by Cari Davies and Carrie Shearer.  The battle for best university was hotly contested but Loughborough achieved the highest Wilks total with 1430, followed by Cardiff at 1294 and Bournemouth at 962.  Finally, MASS games points were awarded, prizes were distributed and plates were put away to mark the event of another brilliant MASS example of competition and community amongst student strength athletes.

 

 

PL

A huge thank you goes to the event sponsor USN – Ultimate Sports Nutrition, to Bethnal Green Weightlifting Club for hosting the competition and to all the spotters and plate loaders who made the day possible.

Links
Scoresheet
Competition Page
Event Photos

 

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MASS Society Awards Winners

The annual society awards dinner went down a treat, literally. No one was holding back as celebrated an amazing year by super-setting meal after meal, noodles with chicken with cheesecake with chocolate fudge to name a few. Many reached failure early on, but determined to reach the end we incorporate rest pause, drop sets and other techniques into the workout to get the last drops of ice cream down the tank.

 

MASSAwards (2 of 38)

Things got emotional in the awards ceremony as David Bissell pulled out some unrehearsed superstar speeches before he was bicep curled by our female athlete of the year, Cari Davies. Cardiff University took the most prestigious award of society of the year for oustanding achievements that were illustrated in a 7,000 word nomination form. A couple of the Cardiff team (who shall remain unnamed) then proceeded to knock back their beverages and provide the nights entertainment as we hit Leicester town.

 

MASSAwards (22 of 38)

Thanks to everyone who travelled from far and wide to be at the awards and thanks to all of the awards sponsors for providing £1000 worth of prizes.

We proudly present to you your 2015 MASS Society awards winners…

 

Society of the year

To recognise the most outstanding society. Sponsored by Log it or Lose it.

Shortlist:

  • Loughborough University
  • University of Leicester
  • Cardiff University

Awarded to:

Cardiff University

 

President of the year

To recognise the most outstanding president. Sponsored by Protein Dynamix

  • Sam White, University of Leicester
  • Shaun Howell, Cardiff University
  • Adam James, Exeter University

Awarded to:

Sam White, University of Leicester

 

MASS Games University Champions

Awarding the highest scoring University in the MASS Games. Sponsored by Log it or Lose it.

Awarded to:

Loughborough University

Runners up: Cardiff University, Bournemouth University

 

Male Student Athlete of the Year

Awarding the highest scoring male athlete in the MASS Games. Sponsored by Frontline Fitness.

Awarded to:

Zib Atkins, Northampton University

Runner up: Will Harding

 

Female Student Athlete of the Year

Awarding the highest scoring female athlete in the MASS Games. Sponsored by Frontline Fitness.

Awarded to:

Cari Davies, Cardiff University

Runner up: Catherine Smith

 

Committee of the year

To recognise the most outstanding committee. Sponsored by Coconoil.

  • University of Exeter
  • Cardiff University
  • University of Reading

Awarded to:

University of Reading

 

Event of the year

To recognise the most outstanding society event. Sponsored by Muscle Treats.

  • ‘Stand up for War Children’, Charity event, Cardiff University
  • Max Bench Press Competition, University of Bristol
  • Zyzz Themed social, Loughborough University

Awarded to:

‘Stand up for War Children’, Charity event, Cardiff University

 

Collaboration of the year

To recognise the most outstanding collaboration between two societies. Sponsored by Nutripak.

  • USN Seminar, Leicester University and DeMontfort University
  • BodyPower Trip, University of Bristol and Oxford Brookes University

Awarded to:

BodyPower Trip, University of Bristol and Oxford Brookes University

 

Fastest growing society

To recognise the fastest growing society. Sponsored by Shakesphere.

  • University of Reading
  • University of Nottingham
  • University of Bristol

Awarded to:

University of Bristol

 

StudyFit writer of the year

To recognise the most creative and hard working StudyFit writer. Sponsored by Branded Ego.

  • Emma Pudge, University of Exeter
  • Shaun Howell, Cardiff University
  • Adam James, University of Exeter

Awarded to:

Emma Pudge, University of Exeter

 

Club member of the year

To recognise the most enthusiastic and inspiring club member.

  • Paul Wilson, University of Leicester
  • Philippe Rodriquez, Loughborough University
  • Nicolo Bertoncello, Cardiff University

Awarded to:

Paul Wilson, University of Leciester

 

Coach of the year

To recognise the most supportive society coach.

  • Will Harding, Loughborough University
  • David Crole, Cardiff University
  • Chris Langford, Oxford Brookes University

Awarded to:

Will Harding, Loughborough University

 

Alumni of the year

To award the alumni who has shown the most dedication to helping MASS’s development.

  • Chuk Uzowuru
  • Stephen Olagoke
  • Sarah Catford

Awarded to:

Chuk Uzowuru

 

Gym of the year

To recognise the most supportive gym or training facility

  • The Warehouse Gym, Leicester
  • Loughborough Powerbase Gym
  • Strength & Conditioning Centre, Cardiff University Sport

Awarded to:

The Warehouse Gym, Leicester

 

Sponsor of the year

To recognise our most dedicated sponsor/advertiser

  • USN – Ultimate Sponsors Nutrition
  • BodyPower
  • GymShark

Awarded to:

USN – Ultimate Sports Nutrition

 

Students Union of the year

To recognise the most supportive students union

  • Leicester Union
  • Cardiff Athletic Union
  • UEA Students Union

Awarded to:

Leicester Union

 

Media Contributor

To recognise the most supportive media outlet

  • LUST – Leicester University Student Television
  • STTV – Sean Thompson Television
  • The Tab

Awarded to:

LUST – Leicester University Student Television

 

MASS Society Awards 2015

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Shopping on a Student Budget

Shopping on a student budget is all about common sense. It’s very simple. The key is organisation and sacrifice. Being smart and thinking before you act. Planning ahead in order to not find yourself with an empty fridge. Don’t give into peer pressure, just because the house is ordering a pizza it doesn’t mean you have to get involved…. Leave them to munch their circle of grease in front of the TV while you snack have a bowl of Greek yoghurt and nuts as you get tomorrow’s assignment done. Prioritise quality food over expensive spirits and ‘procrastination foods’ and you’ll feel a whole lot better about yourself. There is a choice here between buying her a drink at vodka revolution or seducing her with a salmon tagliatelle, for less that £10.

Food

To make shopping more cost-effective, organise your groceries into three categories. Fruit and veg, meat and the rest (whole grains, rice, oils, dried fruit, nuts, dairy)

  • Fruit and veg; Find a local market, where everything is usually ‘‘a pound a bowl’’. You’ll get x3 more bang for your buck at a market than in the supermarket. Markets are also great for bargaining quality fresh herbs such as mint, coriander, thyme, garlic, onion and lemons that are all expensive in the grocery stores. If you use these everyday in your cooking, buying them individually can equate over time. A trick is to go in the last hour of the day where you can definitely bargain for a buck!
  • Meats; If you have a few keen gym buddies or house mates, save money by going to the quality local butcher as a group, you’ll be surprised how much discount the butchers will offer if you buy a large amount of meat. By all chipping into a big order of chicken breast you’ll get that price per kg right down. Even if you buy in bulk on your own 9 times out of 10 it’ll still workout as better value for money than the supermarket. Similarly to meat, your local fishmonger will have great quality and variety of seafood. There are always plenty of offers in the fishmonger. Buying whole fish is cheaper, and the guy wearing the silly hat will always clean and cut the fish for you. Become a regular and take your friends, and watch the loyalty discount appear! Make sure to freeze the excess, as you don’t want to confuse the flatmates with an organised but reeking fridge.
  • The Rest; Aldi is King! It is excellent quality and value for money. If you don’t have an Aldi near you then look for the nearest value supermarket. Buy the supermarkets own brand of dairy and the largest containers you can carry of the stuff that doesn’t go off. Alternatively, Amazon can be a great shout for buying large bulk bags of rice, nuts, dried fruits and the like and as it’s delivered it saves you from a torturous journey home carrying it all on your back!

Nutritious food doesn’t have to taste plain, adding flavour and variety to meals is simple. Don’t be afraid to experiment with the huge selection of fresh herbs and good quality spices that are available. Buy a few healthy carb sources such as basmati rice, wholemeal pasta and couscous in bulk and use them interchangeably. Have meat sources that you use continuously then save room to vary one or two meals week by week.

Other than fresh fruit and veg which should be bought at least once a week, the idea is to bulk bulk bulk and occasionally, treat yourselves to a 13 oz. steak or a pound of king prawns, be it for your own pleasure or to keep your mum happy when she comes to visit. Start taking advantage of the loan drop at the beginning of term to invest bulk, this will A) mean you never run out of chicken, and B) give you a well needed newsflash that you can’t spunk all of your cash on fresher’s week club nights.

Sports Supplements

You should consider a few points before clicking buy in your shopping cart! There is no need for a drastic shelf of supplements if you eat a balanced macro and micro rich diet. Avoid buying the latest mind-busting, vein popping, pump surging pre-workout every month and instead prioritize the core essentials. To help you on your way to making the right choices here’s our top student sports supplements;

  • Milk based proteins (Whey/casein); Good quality milk proteins are rich in essential amino acids (EAAS) and also posses many immune boosting effects. They also contain the greatest density of leucine, which is related to as the protein synthesis trigger. 2-3 g of Leucine is vital for triggering muscle protein synthesis. Whey is the faster digesting out of the two and due to its higher leucine content is a preferred choice for athletes to potently stimulate muscle protein synthesis during rest and post exercise.
  • Caffeine – Caffeine, a naturally occurring timethyxanthine, is the most widely used drug in the world. It is a very effective at stimulating the central nervous system (CNS). Caffeine has been shown to successfully increase performance during endurance, power and strength exercises as well as helping you burn fat cells. Even though studies have shown marginal performance enhancing improvements; the placebo of drinking a strong coffee does work wonders. Now, there is no need to waste money every day on Starbucks! Whether it comes from a good quality instant coffee or those tablets we take before exams, caffeine is a winner!
  • Creatine – One of the most widely studied supplements, creatine is found naturally in red meat and herring. Creatine has been shown to increase energy and speed up recovery and its use can lead to increased strength and lean muscle mass. In terms of it’s loading protocol, loading of 15-20g for the first 5-7 days and then a single 3-7g pulse post workout will be sufficient. Creatine monohydrate is the best form to take and is cheaper than other, ‘’improved formulas’’ that keep appearing on the market. A good tip is to mix it with lukewarm water to increase solubility. There is no reason why you should not be taking creatine, it is not dangerous at all and can add some great spark to your training!
  • Fish oils– EPA and DHA are highly unsaturated, essential fatty acids that stand for eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid. Yes that is mouthful! They’re called “essential” because your body can’t produce them on its own. Omega-3s are found in fatty fish, like salmon, sardines, tuna and of course, fish oil supplements. The omega-3 fats have been shown to turn on genes that increase fat loss and decrease fat storage, increase muscle recovery and growth, decrease inflammation, and support brain and bone health. If the thought of oily fish is off putting, then fish oils are a must!
Do men and women need different supplements?

The short answer is no. On a hormonal level, men and women differ greatly and women face some unique challenges, especially when that time of the month dawns! So, yes, if we’re talking women-specific health issues then there are health supplements, vitamins and minerals that may be of more benefit to women. But if we’re talking about general health and fitness then no, all of the supplement that men typically use will also be beneficial for women.

The take home message is that supplements do as they say on the tin, they should supplement the diet not replace it!

 

Now go forth! And be the most cost effective student shopper the world has ever seen!

 

Mo Bouaziz
www.mednutritionltd.com
Facebook: Med Nutrition
Instagram @MED.NUTRITION
Twitter @MedNutrition

 

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What is CrossFit?

It’s the Fitness Craze that’s sweeping the nation!

If you’re already slightly confused, asking yourself… What is CrossFit? Then we’re about to confuse you even more! But keep on reading and I promise that by the end of this feature you’ll be slightly less confused! So, CrossFit is many things… Primarily, it’s a fitness regimen developed by Coach Greg Glassman over several decades. He was the first person in history to define fitness in a meaningful, measurable way. CrossFit itself is defined as that which optimizes fitness. It’s also the community that spontaneously arises when people do these workouts together. In fact, the communal aspect of CrossFit is a key component of why it’s so effective!

MASS met with CrossFit expert and organiser of the Student Throwdown Andy “The Machine” Osborne to get to grips with the sport.

Andy has been in the fitness industry for over 15 years and has a wealth of sports science and fitness certifications and qualifications to his name. He is regarded as one of the leading and most respected personal trainers and fitness instructors in the country, and is Head Coach and affiliate owner of CrossFit Leicester.

What is CrossFit and why is it so effective?

“CrossFit “The Sport of Fitness” is constantly varied, functional exercise done with high-intensity. CrossFit unlike other fitness programmes covers all the elements of fitness: Strength, cardiovascular endurance, speed, power, flexibility, stamina, coordination, accuracy, agility and balance.

The CrossFit Program was developed to enhance an individual’s competency at all physical tasks. Our athletes are trained to perform successfully at multiple, diverse, and randomized physical challenges. This fitness is demanded of military and police personnel, fire-fighters, and many sports requiring total or complete physical prowess.
Aside from the breadth and totality of fitness, our program is distinctive, if not unique, in its focus on maximising neuroendocrine response, developing power, cross-training with multiple training modalities, constant training and practise with functional movements, and the development of successful diet strategies.”

 

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So what sort of stuff would I do in a CrossFit workout?

“A variety of things! We train our athletes in gymnastics from rudimentary to advanced movements; garnering great capacity at controlling the body both dynamically and statically while maximising strength to weight ratio and flexibility. We also place a heavy emphasis on Olympic Weightlifting having seen this sport’s unique ability to develop an athletes’ explosive power, control of external objects, and mastery of critical motor recruitment patterns. Our athletes are trained to bike, run, swim, and row at short, middle, and long distances guaranteeing exposure and competency in each of the three main metabolic pathways. And finally we encourage and assist our athletes to explore a variety of sports as a vehicle to express and apply their fitness.”

How does a CrossFit gym differ to a regular gym or health club?

“A Crossfit gym or “box” as it’s called, has no treadmills or shiny machines, instead they contain barbells dumbbells, kettlebells, rowers, racks, rigs, jump boxes, wall balls, atlas stones, sandbags and the like. They and focus on running, rowing, skipping and bodyweight exercises. Unlike most globo gyms all of our sessions are headed by a coach to guide members through the class. A coach focus’s on good technique, good form and take the member from the basics and build’s them up from there. A good CrossFit box like CrossFit Leicester will teach members the importance of good movement patterns, good posture and being body aware.”

“At CrossFit we work exclusively with compound movements and shorter high intensity cardiovascular sessions. We’ve replaced the lateral raise with push- press, the curl with pull-ups, and the leg extension with squats. For every long distance effort our athletes will do five or six at short distance. Why? Because compound or functional movements and high intensity or anaerobic cardio is radically more effective at eliciting nearly any desired fitness result. Startlingly, this is not a matter of opinion but solid irrefutable scientific fact and yet the marginally effective old ways persist and are nearly universal. Our approach is consistent with what is practised in elite training programs associated with major university athletic teams and professional sports. CrossFit endeavours to bring state-of-the-art coaching techniques to the general public and athlete who haven’t access to current technologies, research, and coaching methods.”

 

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What is a ‘WOD’?

“A CrossFit workout or WOD stands for Workout of the Day and is different every day to ensure randomised varied training. A box will each have their own WOD programming that promotes a well-balanced mix of metabolic conditioning, skill development and strength conditioning. A box will typically post the WOD on their website or Facebook page, including advanced-level (‘RX’d’, meaning as prescribed) weights, reps and rounds for men and women. The coaches show athletes how to scale the WOD down or up according to varying fitness and proficiency levels of those taking the class. Here are a few WOD basics that should help you get a better understanding of what it is and how it works.”

Results Driven

“CrossFit is a results driven community and record all of their workouts so that members can track their progress.  It encourages people to step outside of their comfort zone and challenge themselves to try new things.  You don’t have to be fit to do CrossFit.  CrossFit is for everyone and by taking part it will make you fit!  The workouts are tailored to your fitness level and experience and no matter how old or young you are you will gain the benefits that CrossFit has to offer.”

CrossFit Competitions

“But It doesn’t stop there, once you’re feeling fit and in the groove of things there’s plenty of opportunities to push yourself further.  CrossFit is not only a fitness regime but a sport in its own right.  Every year CrossFit.com hold a competition in the United States to find the fittest man and woman on earth, it’s called “The CrossFit Games”, and this year the titles of fittest man and woman went to Rich Froning and Camille LeblancBazinet.  This is a worldwide competition; however you will find local CrossFit competitions run every week/month all over the UK and Europe. The Student Throwdown is the UK’s leading student competition.”

 

So there you have it, that’s CrossFit! To find your nearest box and get started go to map.crossfit.com

 

Andy Osborne
Head Coach and Affiliate Owner CrossFit Leicester and Owner of BOX HQ & Andy Osborne Fitness Personal Training Services
www.leicestercrossfit.co.uk / www.andyosbornefitness.co.uk
Facebook: CrossFit Leicester
Twitter: CrossFitLeics

 

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Student Throwdown Champion – Bethany Lord

Every year a CrossFit Throwdown is held to find the fittest male and female CrossFit Student in the UK. CrossFit Leicester and MASS host “The Student Throwdown” and Bethany Lord blasted her way to victory at the 2014 competition.

Name: Bethany Lord
University: University of Leicester
Course: Physiotherapy
Year of Study: Graduated in 2014

Bethany Lord is an all-round athlete to say the least, only one week before powering her way to victory at The Student Throwdown Beth competed in Ms University, a sport which requires a completely different style of training altogether! Beth’s numerous appearances in The MASS Games earned her the title of Student Athlete of the Year. StudyFit caught up with the Women’s champ, Bethany Lord, a 22 year Physiotherapy student from the University of Leicester to find out exactly how she does it all…

How did you get into CrossFit and what do you love about it?

“I’ve always enjoyed keeping fit, and so when a friend said to me that she had just been to the craziest workout ever I had to see what it was all about! Instantly, I knew this was a new door opening for me and after my week induction at CrossFit Nottingham, I was addicted! The reason i love CrossFit is that it incorporates powerlifting, Olympic lifts, gymnastics, bodyweight exercises and cardio which means that it is constantly varied and every WOD is a challenge. The adrenalin rush you get is insane and also the CrossFit community is fantastic and it welcomes all abilities!”

 

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How do you manage training with University life?

“Training is something that I look forward to doing, where I can clear my head and blow off some steam after a stressful day studying. I’m not saying it is easy, but dedication is key; I found that being able to motivate myself was very important.”

What motivates you to train?

“I love the buzz you get from training , whether it’s in the gym or at a CrossFit box. I just tell myself if I don’t train then I’m going to get out of shape, my fitness levels will drop and I know that I will be disappointed in myself. I love looking back at where I started and seeing how far I’ve come, I become more and more motivated each time I look at my progress – whether that is an increase in weights, technique improvement or learning a new movement.”

What advice would you give to students interested in starting CrossFit?

“Just pop into a free taster session at a box in your chosen city and give it a go! Remember that it’s for all abilities and everyone was a beginner once! Don’t worry about not knowing what to do – there’s always an induction to make sure you are applying the correct technique during a WOD.”

 

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What are your top fitness tips?

“Train hard, eat clean and when times get tough stay passionate and think of those results you strive for, no matter what others may say.”

Beth’s favourite WOD

Cindy
  • 5 Pull-ups
  • 10 Push-ups
  • 15 Squats

*For as many rounds as possible in 20 minutes

What do you like to do when you’re not WODing?

“I enjoy spending time with my family, eating good food and going travelling. I recently went travelling in South East Asia.”

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What are your future plans?

“I have graduated from University now and so I plan to continue training around full-time work and incorporate it with my preparation for competing in Toned Figure, women’s body building. After competing in MASS Student Physique Championship that is another passion I have recently adopted!”

Bethany Lord
Twitter @BethanyLord
Instagram @BethanyLord_

Check us out The Student Throwdown Facebook and Twitter to see what happened this year. Then get down to your local box to prepare for The Student Throwdown 2015!
Facebook: Student Throwdown
Twitter: @ST2K15

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Student Transformation – Rachael Tordoff

Name: Rachael Tordoff
University: Plymouth University
Course: Computing
Year of Study: 3rd Year

Plymouth University Computing student Rachael Tordoff, 20, transformed her body in 12 months. She took on the challenge of a lifetime when she decided ditch the PlayStation for the gym…. and this is what happened!

“I feel healthy, happy, and positive in every aspect of my life now. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done.”

 

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“I remember the day, this time last year when I realised I had gone from trying to squeeze into a size 10 to suddenly not being able to fit into my size 14 jeans. When realising I was borderline a size 16. I decided at that point I had to change my entire lifestyle before it got worse.”

“The journey was long and bumpy, it wasn’t just about losing fat, I had to learn about myself and my body. I was never active growing up, I was the typical tv/gamer couch potato snacker and I didn’t even realised that I was doing it!

During my journey I started to enjoy the process, started believing in myself and actually thinking “I’ve got something here”, and so I decided I wanted to start competing to see how far I could push my body and my mind. Mr University was a great experience I want to shout out to the world and say you DON’T have to have a background of fitness to compete!”

 

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Once I achieved my goal of being ‘bikini fitness ready’ I realised it was only the beginning. I am now training for an 85 mile cycling race and plan on doing a triathlon, something I never thought I would do and this is all because I realised how much I could push myself whilst preparing for the MASS Student Physique Championship.”

Rachael got through to the finals of the MASS SPC 2014 placing 4th and also won the highest public vote Award with 1,300 ‘Like’s on her photo.
Rachael Tordoff
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Ask The Academic: Martin MacDonald on Fresher Problems

MASS Spoke with Martin MacDonald to get those all important answers to some underlying Fresher Problems.

Martin is a Clinical Performance Nutritionist and founder of the UK’s Leading Consultancy for Nutrition Advice, www.Mac-Nutrition.com. Martin now works primarily as a the lead nutrition consultant to teams such as Derby County FC and Leicestershire CCC, organisations such as Universal Pictures and Total Greek Yoghurt and many governing bodies, including British Weight Lifting and England Swimming. The rest of Martin’s time is either spent delivering lectures and seminars both nationally and internationally or spent working with the a small number of motivated individual clients whom will benefit from his level expertise and support.

Question:

I get wasted 3-4 times a week while I’m out trying to pull fresher’s…. How detrimental is all this drinking and late nights to my health and fitness?

Answer:

Fortunately the alcohol part of this question can be answered with data from actual research, however it is impossible to quantify just how much of an effect this will have. Very recent research by Parr et al (2014) studied protein synthesis in response to a protein feeding after training with and without alcohol. The amount of alcohol used in the study was enough to get you ‘wasted’ so you can take the results as being pretty valid!

The results showed that protein synthesis was significantly reduced by 24% in the group that consumed the alcohol as opposed to protein alone. The researchers concluded that “alcohol ingestion suppresses the anabolic response in skeletal muscle and may therefore impair recovery and adaptation to training and/or subsequent performance.” Previous in vivo research has also shown that baseline protein synthesis rates can still be impaired up to 24 hours after training therefore if you are binge drinking 4 times per week you could well never be recovering optimally.

Whether ‘late nights’ will have a detrimental effect is any bodies guess and will depend on other factors. Sleep is obviously important in the recovery process however the question is, would late nights be followed by waking up late and therefore getting adequate sleep? Or would the late night be followed by an early start, leading to inadequate sleep, and therefore recovery, and perhaps a substandard performance in the gym? In my opinion, and that is all it is, it is the knock on effects of inadequate sleep that would be more detrimental to progress than any specific physiological responses.

Question:

Freshers week left me with a bit of a gut so I’m trying to trim up, I asked my friend in the gym for some advice and he told me no carbs after 6, bro! Are carbs really the enemy?

Answer:

Carbs are certainly not the enemy for someone who goes to the gym! More specifically, the idea that having carbohydrate after some predetermined hour of the day is more fattening than having them at some other time is a myth that has been firmly blown out of the water. ‘Cutting out carbs’ in many people does lead to a transient decrease in body fat however the reason for this is a reduction in calories, not some unique hormonal or metabolic response to eliminating carbs. Earlier in my career I would often get asked questions about ‘a quick diet for holiday’ by my fellow gym trainers; my response was often ‘stop drinking, cut the carbs’ as I knew, for the two weeks they had before holiday this would work and wouldn’t require a great deal more input. If you want to low your ‘gut’ then your best bet is to combine a decent training program with a consistent diet that manages your hunger to a level where you can eat few enough kcals to lose weight. Generally speaking, get your protein intake adequate at around 2g/kg of your bodyweight, eat plenty of green leafy vegetables at each meal and then manipulate your carb and fat intake depending on the foods you prefer to eat and the way they effect your hunger.

Question:

As you might have guessed…. I struggle with consistency! I’ll go hard on my diet for 2 weeks and begin to see results, then put it straight back on in a few days and feel shit about myself. What’s the key to maintaining a healthy diet and achieving long term results?

Answer:

What a question! It’s not one that I can objectively answer but I can talk from my experiences with clients. The key might be finding a way to change your psyche away from a ‘going hard’ type mentality. If you’re after consistency then you need to make realistic changes that you can sustain OR you need to have a baseline diet that allows you to maintain your progress and then have periods of progression that can be a little more aggressive. Often having a specific goal in mind is a great incentive to keep on track; for instance booking a holiday, a photo shoot or the most motivating of all… entering yourself in a bodybuilding show! Either way, don’t do anything without an exit plan in mind and don’t be insane – expecting to do the same things you’ve done before and expecting different results.

By Martin MacDonald
www.martin-macdonald.com / www.mac-nutrition.com
Twitter @MartinNutrition
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Being The Best: American Football Exclusive with Adam Hope

What does it take to be the best? Genetics, skill, dedication, training, practice – All of those. However, I always remember the saying “hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard”….

 

Know your Nutrition

There is no ‘one size fits all’ for nutrition, the demands of each position require different nutritional goals. For example, the diet of a 290lb Lineman will be much different to that of a 170lb Defensive Back. However, I would firstly suggest eating enough calories to suit your training needs; you cannot perform if you’re not properly fuelled. Secondly, eating high quality food sources and avoiding processed foods – you wouldn’t put poor quality fuel in a race car. Finally I would stress the importance of post workout refuelling; simple carbohydrates and protein in a 3:1 ratio. My diet typically played around with carb cycling, where I would consume a larger proportion of carbs (mainly starches) on higher intensity training days. I tried to eat well but also within the constraints of a student budget; this involved a lot of eggs, milk, rice and beef and Peanut Butter.

If I was to recommend supplements I would suggest Creatine, ZMA and vitamin D.

 

 

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Train by Season

  • Off-season training: is about looking at your weaknesses and improving them. This should include working on the movements involved in the game and perhaps improving your strength, speed, fat loss or weight gain. It all depends on the individual, but simply put, it is a time where you can focus a great deal of time on physical improvement.
  • Pre-season training: should taper towards the specific requirements of your sport. So for me this was typically improving my footwork agility and power endurance. You want to be prepared for the upcoming season to hit your first game at full speed.
  • In-season training: for me this focuses on skill development, and strength maintenance. I typically drop to sub-maximal training, and remove speed work as this is covered in practice and during games (extremely taxing on the CNS). For guys who may not see a lot of game time, you can add more training sessions in to help improve your weaknesses. I typically switch to full body training and incorporate relevant shoulder and hip mobility work.

 

 

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Train Sport Specific

The biggest mistake I see is players training like a bodybuilder. If bodybuilding made you a better player, then all bodybuilders would play in the NFL. Performance is totally different to Aesthetics. Look at the movements of the sport, look at the performance requirements of the sport, and incorporate them in your training. The commonly used ‘3 sets of 10 reps’ isn’t the best for American Football!

Adam’s Top 5 Exercises for Sports Performance
  • Push ups
  • Pull-ups
  • Medicine ball throws
  • Hill Sprints
  • Single leg Split squats

 

Adam Hope
Twitter @AdamHopeTweets
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American Football… In the UK!

MASS spoke to MASS SPC 2014 Athletic winner and GB American Football player Adam Hope.

Name: Adam Hope
University: Nottingham Trent
Course: Building Surveying Msc
Year of Study: Graduated in 2014

More and more students at University are getting into American Football, and with its recent introduction to BUCS (British Universities College Sports) it’s more important than ever that players are exploding over the touchline and bringing the point’s home for their University. MASS spoke to MASS SPC 2014 Athletic winner and GB American Football player Adam Hope to find out all about what American Football has done for him.

The sport of American Football has taught me much about myself and has instilled traits that I will carry forward to other aspects of my life. Dedication, perseverance, attitude, commitment, effort and success are just a few of the qualities that you’ll learn! Not only have I (and many others) developed these traits but I have done so whilst having extremely great fun and making some life-long friends from multiple countries. American Football at University level is a must. It is a sport that rewards effort and commitment, where rewards are earned not given; for me, this is the thrill. I would encourage everyone to try it and stick at it for at least a year.

 “Getting involved in American Football at University was one of the greatest decisions I have made in my life.”

 

Great Britain

Community

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Playing football at University brought me a whole new circle of friends – far bigger than I’d ever imagine. There is a great community amongst American

Footballers, from all teams, across the

globe and being part of American Football has allowed me to make great friends from all across the UK and USA, it’s really quite amazing.

Its allowed me to travel to Sweden, Italy, Netherlands, and the USA and make some great connections along the way. Events such as team socials, long journeys

to away games (always the best), play-off football, end of season meals, tours and exhibition games have added all given me some great memories I will never forget.I love it so much because of the rush of adrenaline you get when you make big play, lay a huge hit, truck an opponent, or score a vital Touchdown in the dying seconds. It’s a sport where all players can make an impact and can change the tempo of the game in one single play.

Finding the time

Having the time to be an American Football player as part of your University life all comes down to time management and priorities. Some people prioritise FIFA and drinking, others don’t. I find training and playing extremely enjoyable, and it’s great to give my mind a rest from studying. It may seem like a lot of time to commit but the rewards really are worth it. Quite simply, you make time, you learn to make the most of what you have and in fact become far more productive.

 

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Where it all Began

I first was introduced to American Football about 6 months before I was set to start University, through a friend for my hometown Youth team; Sheffield Tomahawks. As a scrawny 70kg lad I wasn’t the biggest, but I was quick. As such I was selected to play Running Back (RB). After a summer playing this position I decided to continue the sport at Loughborough University and ended up as the starting Running Back for 4 years. During my Freshman year I started off playing a combination of Slot Receiver and Running Back – quick, yet not big enough to carry the full load running the ball. I sharply realised I needed to add more size and with some help to my training and nutrition I was able to add approximately 15kg in my first year. Ever since then I have honed my position as a work-horse Running Back. All in all, I have been playing for 6 years now and still love the sport.

 

Adam Hope

Achievements

My highest achievement as a player has to be representing Great Britain in both their Senior team and Student team, and scoring in both tournaments. Representing the senior GB team has to be the greatest, as it took the greatest amount of work. I was first invited to a trial for the GB Lions in 2010, weeks before the European Championships in Frankfurt. I didn’t make the cut, and I promised myself that next time round I’d be selected. It took a hell of a lot of work to make the next team, and at times I questioned whether the effort was really worth it, but standing on the field in Milan under the flood lights with 3000 fans watching and hearing the national anthem play was such an immense and proud feeling that confirmed it was all worthwhile. Other achievements I am proud of have been winning the League’s Most Valuable Player award and receiving Full Colours from Loughborough University. Whilst I never played the sport for accolades, it is a great feeling to have your efforts recognised – and American Football is a sport that does so.

 

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What are you doing now?

Since graduating in June 2014 I’m in full time work and am currently awaiting details for the next GB tournament, I hope to make the team once again!

 

Thanks for sharing your story with us Adam. From all of the team here at MASS we’d like to wish you a MASSive good luck with all your future endeavors!

 

If this article has inspired you to start playing then wait no more… get onto your SU website now, call up your Uni’s American Football team and get down to the next training session!
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