I was recently asked by SunLife to feature in a video promoting something close to my heart – that life can and should be great after the age of 50, with new experiences and enjoyment around every corner waiting to be discovered.
Here are three leg training machines that are a little different to ones I’ve used elsewhere. Filmed at Watson Gym Equipment stand at BodyPower, and many thanks to them. Here are my thoughts on the relative merits of each.
Check out the video: click here then select the first video on my video wall.
This particular 45° leg press has a feature I’ve not seen before in that the footplates can be joined together as is most common, or can be separated with different resistance on each side. This gives the chance to have differential resistance if one of your legs is weaker than the other. With footplates disconnected you can press both legs in sync or alternating. Using in sync gives you the ability to check if one leg has a greater range of movement then the other (then work on that one). Alternating enables you to put more mental focus in the press on just the one pressing leg. An excellent piece of equipment.
The Leverage Squat Machine is the closest machine I’ve found to reproducing the traditional back squat but adding some safety features, concepts that will enable some people to get far more benefit. For those with shoulder flexibility issues, the positioning of the hands on a part of the machine forward of the body is a big bonus. It’s far enough forward to be non-weight bearing so leg resistance isn’t reduced. And for those a little concerned with balance and stability, this movement gives all the benefits and feel of the back squat without the possibility of tilting or ultimately falling in any direction. As you can’t lean towards one side, any unwanted unequal forces down the spine and posterior chain are removed. Meaning you can go heavier and torture those quads, hams and glutes more!
Finally, the Vertical Press. The position of the lower body here is it’s unique feature. By pressing with the weight exactly vertically, the full resistance of the weight is borne by the legs especially the quads at all times – you are working with 100% of the gravity component. With the weight of the carriage known, the full force of the weight needs to be pressed giving maximum focus with precision on resistance amount with no lateral element. I found it works the legs in a direct way that isn’t fully possible in any other position.
I don’t think your upper leg training should be exclusively on any of these machines / but add them to your leg day mix to discover new and efficient ways of training those pins safely.
Remember to check out the video to see all three machines in action!
Club La Santa on Lanzarote is well known as a sunny training location for pro athletes, as well as being a fab holiday resort in beautiful sunshine. We were there last week for a holiday with very much a fitness focus.
But how good is it as a destination for gym fans like me? Take a look at my video review – with comments that are totally my own!
And if you also want to see more workouts, comments on equipment and other gyms, nutrition advice and more fitness information, see the full range of my videos on:
Subscribe on that page if you want to be sure to hear about new videos coming up!
Season Two of my Fit Happens TV series is now ready!
Initial TV transmission in the UK is in May 2017 by the Community Channel.
Season Two is five half-hour episodes similar in format to the episodes 1-4 of Series One, but bigger and better with an extra cast member – joining Keith Cormican and me on the studio sofas and in fitness locations globally – is top fitness personality Nicola Feustel.
As well as improving the looks of the sofa-sitters massively, Nicola brings massive knowledge and experience from working on her own fitness, individual clients and group training.
There are many new features in Season Two – a new logo, more segments, more subjects, more cameras – our first drone footage – and a massive crew of highly-talented media production individuals putting it together.
Expect to see crossfit, boxing, spinning, fun-running, bike testing, group workouts, a brand-new ultra-cool kitchen with great new recipes, and new workouts and exercises all over the place!
Plus more expert guests to join the three of us from the world of fitness.
The current transmission times are here: Fit Happens Transmission Times May 2017
Keep looking on www.Fit-Happens.co.uk or the Fit Happens Facebook page for more details of future transmission times.
I sometimes get asked if there is just a single workout that I would recommend to work all the key muscles in just one workout. And one that includes some cardio element as well as effort for the muscles.
The answer is that there is – and its the workout I specifically use for a few days before going on stage in a fitness model contest. To me, this workout ticks both boxes – its a perfect whole-body workout – plus a great pre-show conditioning session that works everything to the level I need before that big day.
Take a look – its the first video on my video wall – www.bitly.com/ChrisVideos
I recorded it the day before appearing on stage in the Pure Elite Fitness Model Championship, so you can tell I was motivated to get it right.
And feel free to let me have any questions, of course.
The ones I have are the Dark Chocolate flavour, they are also available as Chocolate Orange or Chocolate Mint – I prefer the 100% chocolate flavour hit of the Dark Chocolate ones. Whichever flavour you choose, the nutrition information is the same – so flavour choice is purely down to taste preference. The bars are supplied individually as a 60g bar or in a box of 12.
Let’s look at the nutrition first. Each bar provides 206 calories of energy. The macronutrient breakdown is that these calories are sourced 44% from protein, 36% from carbs and 20% from fat. For me, that is pretty close to ideal as I like to have a 40:40:20 ratio. Of course, that is a target ratio for me across the whole of day, not per individual food item, but it’s excellent that this one item already hits the ratios pretty much on the nail.
The 23g of protein is a combination of whey protein concentrate and milk protein isolate (MPI). Whey protein concentrate is in fact the largest single ingredient of the bar – representing 17% of the weight of the bar – and is a variant of whey from which not all fat is removed. It’s a dairy product of course, as is the less commonly seen MPI, which forms the second largest ingredient. MPI is the dried substance once lactose and minerals are removed from skimmed (de-fatted) milk. I’m not a big fan of milk in its natural state, but I don’t have a problem with MPI. That 23g is a good chunk of the daily protein amount I’ve selected to help in my muscle-build and muscle-maintenance goals.
The 18.8g of carbs represent 36% of the calories, and a surprisingly large amount of that is sugar – 10.9g which provide 21% of the total calories. The sugars come from a few sources – including actual dark chocolate, which represents 14% of the 60g bar weight. It’s interesting to see real chocolate included, as many bars have synthetic choc-like substances as their coating and flavour. That’s not to say this is a fully additive-free product – for one thing, the degree of sweetness that makes it enjoyable to taste can’t come just from that chocolate – there’s several added sweeteners in there too which promote the sweet taste while adding fewer calories than extra sugar would.
I wondered what made this bar particularly identifiable as ‘Lean’ in its title. This would be the added ingredients which aren’t often found in bars of this type – such as caffeine and L-Carnitine. The caffeine content is quite high – at 125mg its not far off the amount you get in a large can of fizzy stimulant drink. The effects of caffeine are well known – increased focus, up-regulated heartbeat, and release of bodyfat to the bloodstream for use. The amino acid derivative L-Carnitine is less well known, but is seen by many as a bodyfat metabolizer over continued use; and the 2g provided in each bar is typical of the recommended daily dose in the supplement world.
So much for the ingredients and the nutrient numbers. When do I have a bar and why?
My daily diet includes a mid-morning snack and a mid-afternoon snack – the two smallest meals of my six meals a day – the others being a larger breakfast, lunch and dinner plus a post-workout protein and natural fast carb meal. And I like those two small snacks to be around 200-250 calories, with around 20-25g of protein. So these bars fit that perfectly. I usually have one of these bars, or something similar, for one of those two snacks per day. They are also my ‘emergency’ go-to snack food if I have an irresistible craving for breaking my daily calorie target of 2250.
MaxiNutrition recommend no more than two Promax Lean bars a day, and I agree with that. I like to keep my diet varied within my target numbers, so I wouldn’t exceed that anyway.
How do I think the product’s claims stack up with my own thoughts? On the box MaxiNutrition claims the product assists in lean muscle definition, energy metabolism and alertness. From my study of it, I reckon those are very fair claims – provided the bar is taken as part of diet that focusses on clean, healthy nutrition that maintains the macronutrient ratios along with undertaking significant resistance training and cardio-based exercise.
Thanks to the guys there – check out their full range on www.MaxiNutrition.com
I recently received some excellent trainers from the guys at Brantano. These are Adidas Cloudfoam City design and I have a lot to say about them – what’s good, where to wear them, design characteristics and foot support.
Take a look at my video which tells more on all these points by clicking here
And for more information on Brantano and their full range, click on Brantano
I’ve been working with the guys at Damart to produce a very quick and easy guide to fitness for the over 50’s – with a few exercise ideas and descriptions of other activities that could assist those (like me) in the better half century of life.
The document is A Damart fitness guide for over 50s and is an introduction to building activity and movement into the lives of those who realise how beneficial exercise can be at this time of life – without getting too much of a glow on and without going to a gym. Take a look and see some ideas that may just help to add years to life, and life to your years.
The nice guys over at SCI-MX www.sci-mx.co.uk sent me over a box of goodies and I thought I would share my thoughts of one of their products in the box – the Recover 2:1 Isolate.
I chose this product as this isn’t a nutrition style I normally take. It is designed for post-workout recovery – and for this function, I normally take a combination of a low carb whey protein isolate shake plus some fast natural carbs – usually a banana or perhaps some slices of pineapple, both consumed 15-30 minutes after the workout. So I normally get my amino acids for muscle building from the shake, and my fast carbs for glycogen replenishment from the fruit.
This product combines both functions into one drink. It has both the protein and fast carbs needed in one go – and is a great orange flavour (and rather stunning orange colour) too! A serving of the product is 80g – which is more than my typical protein shake, which is already a large portion at 60g. That is due to the extra ingredients – specifically the fast carbs.
I want to look at the product in more depth – and as always with me – it starts with the numbers. The first numbers on the label are those in the ratio 2:1 – which refers to the ratio of carbs to protein in the product; 51g of carbs go with the 24g of protein in that 80g portion.
Overall, the calorie per portion of SCI-MX Recover 2:1 Isolate comes to 300 per serving – which compares with around 220 in my usual whey shake. However, if I add that medium-sized banana or the pineapple rings – which roughly work out to 80 calories each – then these numbers are nice and close – which makes comparisons easier.
Let’s look at the protein. That 300 calories portion of Recover delivers 24g of protein including 2.5g of the all-important BCAA’s. My usual shake gives a whopping 48g of protein including 5.5g of BCAAs – in just 220 calories – so on the face of it, the Recover isn’t the winner here. But remember that with Recover, purely protein delivery isn’t the object here; its carbs too.
So let’s look now at the carbs, just as important for the body post-workout as the protein but for different reasons. In that single portion, Recover provides 51g of carbs, including 25g of dextrose-based sugar, compared to 23g of carbs with 14g of sugar in a typical banana – and zero in the whey isolate, of course. So Recover is great for getting a generous serving of fast-acting sugars, delivered just when the glycogen levels are depleted.
What about the third macronutrient – fat? Well, there’s zero in Recover – that’s absolutely zero by the way, not close to zero as some zero products claim – which compares to a few grams in the usual whey and banana combo. But not enough for me to worry about.
Also interesting are the micronutrients. Recover provides substantial chunks of vitamin C (must be the orange colour – joke), calcium and phosphorous and magnesium. You’d find most of these in the whey + banana combination too – but in different amounts. For example, the 170mg of calcium in a recommended serving of Recover compares with 280mg in my normal whey + banana treat; however, in the opposite direction, a single serving of Recover provides three times as much fatigue-reducing magnesium as in the whey + banana approach.
A couple of things I didn’t find in Recover are the potassium which bananas are famous for, and the dietary fibre that comes from consuming the fruit. In the opposite direction a serving of Recover provides nearly 5g of creatine monohydrate, a compound well-loved by those seeking muscular rebuild and growth. And this creatine is the final 5g to bring the 51g of carbs and 24g of protein up to the serving size of 80g.
So, in summary on the macro nutrients, and rounded for ease of comparison, this product gives 50g of carbs and 25g of protein per serving. And my usual whey protein isolate plus banana switches the numbers the other way round – 25g of carbs and 50g of protein.
That’s 2:1 fast carbs to protein. And my usual whey protein shake plus fruit is 1:2, with the bulk being protein with the ration this way round – that’s a big difference. The 2:1 ratio of carbs to protein is favoured by many as a post-recovery drink – so this product is perfect to get that ratio.
So what is my conclusion? I like to keep my carbs lower than most – even after a resistance workout – so for body recovery and muscle growth + maintenance, then I’m probably going to stick to the low-carb combination of whey protein isolate and the fruit after most of my workouts. But if I feel I need more fast carbs than the banana or slices of pineapple can provide, maybe after a particularly tough session, or a long run, then I would reach for the SCI-MX Recover 2:1 Isolate to really up the carbs, even at the expense of some protein.
I’ve also done a video review of the product – take a look here.
Thanks again to the guys at SCI-MX for sending the products and the invitation to review.