fitness basics

Breaking Down the Basics Episode 1: Meal Timing

Myestery

The online fitness community is ever-expanding, and as consumers we are faced with masses of information on a daily basis.
Whilst this information sharing opens up incredible opportunities for learning, it simultaneously forces us to confront the issue of who is worth listening to, and who is best cast aside.
A topic guaranteed to get people talking and split opinion is meal timing.

Traditionally, gym goers might preach that meal timing is everything… Calling on you to neck a protein shake before your feet hit the floor in the morning, then follow up with an alarm for your subsequent 30g protein dose every 2.5 hours. All whilst nailing your pre and post workout nutrition, and of course avoiding carbs at night like they are going out of fashion.

But then as of late we have seen a different end of the spectrum rise in popularity. With countless spins put on ‘intermittent fasting’ and even competitive physique athletes taking a more flexible approach to their diet – so that weekly totals and overall food intake are all that seems to matter.

With the speculation and rumors aside, let’s make sense of the scientific research on meal timing. What has actually been shown in real, human studies? And what does that mean for you?

#1) Overall Daily Calorie Intake is King

Despite the countless details we could explore with meal timing, your actual calorie intake remains the overbearing factor.

If your body maintains weight at 2500 calories and you take in 3000 daily, you WILL gain weight. Whether those calories are from one Man Vs Food-style showdown, or they sneak under the radar disguised as 8 sporadic snacks.

Studies show that once daily intake is equally matched – almost all otherwise noteworthy factors become accounted for.

Meaning it makes up the biggest part of the picture and provides a foundation for the rest of your diet.

Take Home Message #1

Know your intake and focus on controlling that before you entertain anything else. Understanding your body’s response to a certain amount of calories is valuable information and will provide you with a base of knowledge going forward.

Focus on eating the right amount of calories for your goals, above the precise timing of different nutrients.

#2) Eating More Frequently Will NOT ‘Speed Your Metabolism’

The ‘Thermic Effect of Food’ (TEF) is the amount of calories your body burns in order to digest food.

TEF is dependent upon the calorie content of a meal, not the frequency of meals.

Studies have shown no change in TEF with meal patterns ranging from 2-7 meals per day. However, a reduced TEF has been observed in sedentary people that follow a sporadic weekly feeding schedule.

Take Home Message #2

Find a moderate, daily feeding schedule that best fits your lifestyle. Stay within the 2-7 meal range and your metabolism will be operating like a well oiled machine.

#3) Spacing Out Protein Intake May Benefit Your Muscle Mass

Net muscle protein synthesis moves in waves throughout the day. As you eat protein – it temporarily increases and peaks, followed by a steady decrease until your next meal. So fasting for extended periods increases your body’s time spent in a state of breakdown.

But pause the search for a protein-infused IV just yet. As studies have shown that once muscle protein synthesis is maximized – there is a refractory period, that requires waiting until your body is ready to maximize it again. Making you wait to reap the benefits of a high protein meal once more.

Take Home Message #3

Research has shown the sweet-spot to be a serving of high quality protein every 4-6 hours. To really ensure you maximize the muscles’ response to what you are eating – opt for sources high in the amino acid Leucine. Such as chicken, beef, eggs, whey, turkey and fish.

#4) There is NOT a One Hour ‘Anabolic Window’ Surrounding Your Workout

The notion that there is a single hour after your workout to capitalize on food intake actually originated from research done in the 1980s. But luckily, scientists did not call it a day there and then. As evidence has since surfaced to disprove that you need protein and ‘fast acting’ carbohydrates within an hour of your session.

In fact, a recent analysis has suggested a far more practical 4‐6 hour time slot surrounding your workout.

Protein and carbohydrates consumed in this time may work synergistically with the positive impact training has on your body.

Take Home Message #4

Intuitively, it makes sense to consume protein and carbohydrates to help fuel your weight lifting performance and recover effectively.

But you are most likely safe eating a couple of hours before your workout, then heading home to cook and enjoy a meal leisurely afterwards. Just ensure a good protein and carbohydrate dose with each meal.

The one caveat is if you train twice in a single day. At which point quickly replenishing your glycogen with carbohydrates becomes important to your performance.

To Recap…

First and foremost, focus on your daily calorie intake. Before finding a meal schedule that best fits your lifestyle, ideally between two and seven meals a day. Spread your protein intake out over those meals if you want to maximize muscle gain. Then, to fuel your performance and recover well – aim to eat protein and carbohydrates in the 4-6 hour interval around your workout.

It is repeated efforts, sustained over a long period of time that yield results. I get it, that is not new and sexy. It does not promise 30-day abs nor guarantee less work and more results. But, creating your ideal physique involves playing the long game. By choosing sustainability and enjoyment over short term extreme measures, you can appreciate the journey all the more. Ensuring that the process is just as gratifying as the end goal.

By Jack Lenton
Exercise Science Student
Follow @JackLenton7 on Twitter for thousands of more training and nutrition tips!
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spcqualifiers

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!”

 

 

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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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carbcycling

Carb Cycling Explained – Justin Bland

Carbohydrate cycling is a method of carbohydrate manipulation that utilizes days of eating both high and low amounts of carbohydrates on a daily basis.

Name: Justin Bland
University: University of Leeds
Course: BSc (hons) Sport and Exercise Sciences with Physiology
Year of Study: Graduated in 2015, Starting an MSc Nutrition.

 

Why Carb Cycle?

  • Improves insulin sensitivity
  • The low insulin levels from the low carbohydrate days will allow for more efficient fat burning as insulin blunts lipolysis (fat burning)
  • Helps spare lean muscle mass as the high carbohydrate days allow carbohydrates to become the primary energy source so the body wont be converting excess amino acids in the body for energy. Also carbohydrates cause an increase in insulin levels which is a highly anabolic hormone that aids in protein synthesis
  • High carbohydrate days help blunt cortisol levels. Cortisol is a catabolic hormone which is released during times of stress and dieting, so blunting its catabolic effects aid in the maintenance of muscle mass
  • Can be adapted for both fat loss and weight gain by manipulation of overall calorie levels.
  • When looking to increase in muscle mass, carbohydrate cycling is a good way of minimizing excess bodyfat due to the low carbohydrate days blunting the insulin response and the high carbohydrate days which increases the hormone leptin, leptin is one of the best fat burning hormones. Leptin levels decrease when in an extended period of calorie restriction, so high carbohydrate days allow for extra calories to be eaten and enables leptin levels to increase and therefore increases fat burning.

 

 

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Examples

This example is for an individual weighing 180lbs looking to decrease body fat levels on 2000 calories a day (with the individual being a 500kcal maintenance deficit daily). Protein levels stay consistent throughout the whole week but carbohydrate and fats are manipulated daily, hence the name ‘carbohydrate cycling’ ;).

  • Day 1- P-216g C-100g F-82g Calories-2000
  • Day 2- P-216g C-100g F-82g Calories-2000
  • Day 3- P-216g C-100g F-82 Calories-2000
  • Day 4- P-216 C- 250g F-40g Calories-2224
  • Day 5- P-216g C-100g F-82g Calories-2000
  • Day 6- P-216g C-100g F-82g Calories-2000
  • Day 7- P-216 C- 250g F-40g Calories-2224

 

This is obviously just a theoretical example trying to illustrate the concept. This person is following 3 low carbohydrate days at 100g a day, followed by one high day of 250g. Then the person has 2 more low carbohydrate days at 100g daily and one high day at 250g.

The pattern is; low,low,low,high,low,low,high.

Looking at the weekly picture your calorie intake will average out at a deficit throughout the whole week, which will result in a loss in bodyweight. The manipulation of carbohydrate levels, will allow the benefits of insulin’s anabolic properties and increase in leptin levels on high days and the fat burning benefits on low carbohydrate days, due to the lack of circulating insulin.

Another common method of carb cycling is to match your carb intake with the size of the muscle group your training that day. Leg days being high carb days, upper body being medium carb days and cardio, abs and rest days being low carb days. This can be seen as a more efficient use of the energy source, maximising your carb intake when it’s most needed and making sure your hormones are in the right place for each particular training day.

 

 

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Progression

When results start to slow down you can tweak your plan to help revive progression. Ways to progress carbohydrate cycling…

  1. change the amount and order of low/medium/high days you do
  2. change the amount of carbohydrates you eat on low/medium/high days depending on your goals
  3. increasing calorie expenditure from exercise.

There are a variety of progressions available to you when looking to keep progressing. But as with every diet, remember not to use all your tools at once. Little changes over a long period of time will see greater long term results.

 

Justin Bland
Facebook Justin Bland Fitness 
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Instagram @jbland21
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whatiscrossfit

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.”

 

MASS_CrossFit1

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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bethlord

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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owenhubbard

Bench Press World Record Holder – Owen Hubbard

Celebrating the end of exams just found whole new meaning, recent Bournemouth University graduate Owen Hubbard left the partying to the rest of us as he flew out to South Africa to set the Junior World Record in the Bench Press! Just 1 hour after the final exam of his entire degree Owen boarded a plane to the IPF World Classics where at only 21 years of age and 83kg in bodyweight he bench pressed a staggering 190.5 kilograms…. That’s like three times the weight of Mo Farah holding a watermelon! As well as ginormous bench Owen can Squat 257.5kg and Deadlift 265kg giving him a combined powerlifting total of 705kg…… lightweight baby?! StudyFit caught up with the student power lifter, originally from Merthyr Tydfil, to find out more about him, how he built such strength while at University and what his future plans are. Naturally, there was only one question to open with.

You’re one of the UK’s strongest students! What’s that like?

“It’s not really something I think about too much, but it’s nice to be reminded from time to time! The great thing about powerlifting is that you can always get stronger, so I haven’t finished achieving yet.”

How and why did you start Powerlifting? How long has it taken you to build your strength?

“I started Powerlifting at quite a young age, around 15. As a younger child I was a bit of a fat kid sitting at 11 stone, aged 11. So to combat this I joined the local gym which was a real chalk, meat heads and rusty bars type gym. This environment introduced me to weight training pretty early on and through this style of training I ended up losing quite a bit of weight and getting down to around 8% body fat. Then I did what quite a lot of gym goers do, and became complacent. Luckily there were a few guys in the gym, who competed in powerlifting. I’d seen them gym shifting these massive weight and thought yeah, I wanna be able to do that! So I jumped in at the deep end, and 2 months later I was in my first comp totalling around 360kg in the 75kg class. From there I caught the bug and never looked back.”

Where do you train and do you train by yourself or with others?

“Throughout my time at Bournemouth University I’ve been fortunate enough to train with a powersports club, Bournemouth Barbell. This is run by a terrific coach, Paul Rees, who has helped me since my first year of University. It’s safe to say that without him I wouldn’t be where I am now. He creates a good lifting environment with other likeminded lifters which, I believe, is paramount to success.”

 

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How have you learned what works for you and what doesn’t?

“It’s a lot of trial and error. I train with my coach, Paul, 3 times a week but the rest of the week I train on my own due to work commitments. Over the years I have picked up a lot of things that I know works for me in both my nutrition and training. After every training cycle I review and adapt to what suits my needs at that particular moment in time. By doing this you can work on weaknesses and build on strengths!”

Which body parts do you find toughest to work on?

“I wouldn’t say there was a body part that I find toughest to work but there is an exercise for sure….. I HATE deadlifts! Probably because they are my weakest lift by far. But all I can do is keep working at it as much as possible until it gets better. I blame my short arms…” Weakest lift? You lift 265kg! Make the rest of us feel small why don’t you Owen.

What type of diet do you follow?

“This is an aspect of my training that I’ve done a lot of experimenting with in the past and I’ve finally got to a point where I can keep my performance up as well as maintaining my body weight around 83kg. This is very important for a power lifter who has to stay at a particular weight for his or her category. I usually train each day at around 5pm. Before I training my meals are mostly high fat, high protein (around a 50:50 ratio) with no carbs. Post workout this is where I introduce carbohydrates into my diet, around 150/200g altogether… depending on how hard the session has been! Over the years I’ve found I don’t really hit the higher rep ranges enough to warrant a ridiculously high carbohydrate intake throughout the day. Carbs just tend to make me sluggish for lifting more than anything. This is what works for me!”

What is the IPF and what was it like competing in the IPF so close to your final exams?

“The IPF is the International Powerlifting Federation and is the largest drug tested federation in the sport of Powerlifting. I was fortunate enough to compete in their World Classic Powerlifting Championships in South Africa in June this year. Competing there was pretty stressful considering my last Uni exam was the same day as my flight out to South Africa! My social life suffered a little leading up to the competition as I spent early mornings in the library so that I had enough time to train in the evenings. I’m glad I had the opportunity to lift out there and it was definitely worth the stress leading up to the competition!”

 

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How do you motivate yourself to train and eat clean?

“For me this is easy. I want to be the best and I know if don’t do it, someone else will. I have the ambition to become a World Champion and I know that’s not going to happen unless I’m training as hard as I can all the time.”

What tips have you for others who want to take up Powerlifting?

“The Great Britain Powerlifting Federation (GBPF) website is a good place to start or see if your University have a club, learn the rules and compete! Powerlifting is such a welcoming sport and that’s what got me hooked in the first place. I was a 15 year old boy with no idea what I was doing in my first competition and I was welcomed and supported by the other guys at my gym who had been lifting for years!”

What would you say is the key to managing training and diet as a student?

“Diet is preparation for sure. For the last few months of my degree I lived out of Tupperware in the library shovelling mackerel salad down my throat. I was probably the last person you would want to sit next to but it’s got to be done!

Training is similar and you get out of your training what you put into it. If I wasn’t too far away from a competition I would socialise and go on nights out without a problem, but I would do it strategically. Basically never go out the night before a heavy squat session as that hangover is just going to make it a write off! Bench on the other hand, your lying down so it’s not too bad!”

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

“Obviously the occasional night out never hurt anyone. Also I’m a bit of a secret nerd inside too so I love my gaming and anything do to with superheroes. Sad I know… “

What are your future plans?

“I’ve graduated from Bournemouth University now with a 2:1 in nutrition and am personal training out of 180 degrees gym in Sandbanks. It’s a nice place to be, training people on the beach!

Competition wise I have a bit of a break now until the British Classics in October held in Dover, so I’m training for some big numbers there.”

 

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Owen’s Training Regime

Training can vary depending on how far away from a competition I am. The closer to a competition I am the heavier the weights and my session become more intense and focused on the main three lifts; squat, bench and deadlift. On the other hand, the further away from a competition I incorporate more variance, assistance and repetitions.

Typically leading up to competition my training consists of the following;

Monday – Squats
  • Squats – 8 sets x 6 reps (preceded by at least 2 warm up sets)
  • Tuesday – Assistance Bench
  • Barbell floor press – 5 sets x 5 reps
  • Overhead press – 5 sets x 5 reps
  • Weighted dips – 5 sets x 5 reps
  • Bench press (speed work) – 10 sets x 3 reps (explosive)
  • Abdominal roll outs – 3 sets x 10 reps
  • Weighted sit ups (on a decline bench) – 3 sets x 10 reps
  • Finish with foam rolling and mobility work
Wednesday – Deadlifts
  • Deadlifts – 10 sets x 2 reps (building the weight up)
  • Deficit or block pull deadlifts – 6 sets x 3 reps
  • Weighted chin ups – 5 sets x 5 reps
  • Weighted side bends – 5 sets x 5 reps
  • Thursday – Bench
  • Bench Press – 8 sets of 6 reps (preceded by at least 2 warm up sets)
  • ‘Board’ or ‘chains’ Bench Press – 5 sets x 3 reps
  • Friday – Assistance work/active recovery
  • Bent-over rows – 3 sets x 10 reps (concentrating on technique and squeezing the scapula together)
  • Wide grip chin ups – 3 sets x 10 reps superset with Lateral raise – 3 sets x 10 reps
  • Barbell curls – 100 reps in as little amount of sets as possible
  • Abdominal roll outs – 3 sets x 12 reps
  • Weighted sit ups (on a decline bench) – 3 sets x 10 reps
  • Finish with 20/30 minutes of foam rolling
  • Saturday – Deadlifts and squats
  • Deadlifts – 5 x 5’s
  • Deficits speed deadlifts – 3 x 5’s
  • Squats – 5 x 5’s
  • Heavy bent over rows – 3 x 5’s
  • Weighted sit ups – 3 x 20’s
  • Glute ham raise – 2 x 20’s
  • Back raises – 2 x 20’s
Sunday – Bench

Similar session to Thursday’s but usually a little lighter and stricter. This means incorporating paused bench into the session. Paused bench involved a 1 second pause at the bottom of the rep before pressing the bar; this is how the bench press is performed in powerlifting. When training I usually pause the first and last repetition.

Owen’s titles
  • Commonwealth Champion 2010
  • British Classic Champion 2013
  • British Equipped Champion 2014
  • Junior World Record Holder in the Bench Press @ 83kg (190.5kg)
  • British classic record holder for both the junior and senior
Owen Hubbard
www.owenhubbardfitness.com
Twitter – @Hubbardfitness
Facebook – Owen Hubbard Strength and Fitness
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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

MASS_AdamHope

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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