You’re never too old… Watch this video to prove it!

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.

www.bitly.com/LifeAfterFifty

 I agree massively with Sun Life’s view that ‘You’re never to old to start something new’ and – as you know – the new thing for me was turning my health around with the discovery of the joys and benefits of getting fit.  So here is the video, produced by Kingdom Creative for Sun Life, and my thanks to both for permission to reproduce it here.

New leg training ideas

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 gym review

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!

www.bitly.com/ChrisClubLaSanta

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:

www.bitly.com/ChrisVideos

Subscribe on that page if you want to be sure to hear about new videos coming up!

 

Whole-body pre-contest workout

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.

Review of SCI-MX Recover 2:1 Isolate

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.

Golds gym at 50

As we get to the start of the year, there’s one anniversary I want to celebrate in fitness from the end of the last one – 2015 marked 50 years since Gold’s Gym in Venice Beach, California opened its doors.

Its one of my favourite places, and to mark that 50, here’s a short video I made there recently about some of the weird and wonderful exercise equipment to be found deep within its cavernous interior. Many thanks to Keith Cormican for the filming.

Hope you enjoy it, here’s to the next 50 years of a great place from Fitness Over Fifty!http://bitly.com/ChrisGoldsAt50

The LAD Bible

There’s many web magazine-style sites out there, many dedicated to fitness – and a huge number that have a bigger subject coverage.  But I’ve noticed that more and more of the generalist sites are giving more space to fitness-related material.

This is excellent news, the more that fitness gets to be a mainstream activity, the better.  I want to be where lifting heavy things for the pure joy of it, and for the heath benefits and for the way all aspects of life are improved by doing it – is absolutely the norm for the population.  ‘Sorry, you don’t workout?’ becomes a surprising reaction.

I’m old enough to remember when it was absolutely the usual thing to smoke – ‘Sorry, you don’t smoke?’ showed up the exception.  So as smoking decreases in popularity, lets see hitting the equally health-promoting activity of shifting weights as something that everyone does.  I’d love to see it where pub conversations include ‘What’s your favourite beer?  Football team? Chest exercise?’

One particular example of fitness hitting the mainstream magazine sites is The LAD Bible.  A site with a huge following and audience base (10million likes on Facebook isn’t exactly shabby!), they are focussing more space and devoting further effort on promoting fitness to its audience through articles and videos.  And still they keep the levels of humour and entertainment way, way up there.  Well done guys.

So its big thanks and two-thumbs-up to the team at The LAD Bible to be featured there.  They recently published an interview with me on my approach to improving fitness levels, both my own story and what I suggest to others. Thanks again – and take a look at the article on www.bitly.com/ChrisTheLadBible

Quick Muscle Beach day trip…

Filmed last November, when the weather was lousy here, Dan Wynes and I decided to do a quick all-body-part workout together showing some of our favourite exercises for Arms, Back, Chest, Shoulders and Legs – and then crammed them all into a quick four minute video.

And to make you truly jealous of the winter weather, we hopped on a plane and did it outside at sunny Muscle Beach in Los Angeles.

If you want to see these fave exercises, or just like seeing other people doing the work in the sunshine (or even see if my music choice has improved), take a look – its the top left video on www.bitly.com/ChrisVideos

Is it a jailyard?

One of the world’s best gyms – probably the very best actually – is Gold’s in Venice Beach in Los Angeles. They have a good yard out the back for working out in the California sunshine – but one problem is they really don’t like filming taking place.

But when I was there with Dan Wynes we managed to sneak a friendly cameraman’s lens through a hole in the fence – giving a very paparazzi and illegal look to what already appears like a jailyard in the first place!

Take a look at the video, so if you agree…

http://bitly.com/ChrisVideo015

On stage in two days!

There are now less than 48 hours to go until the Pure Elite Fitness Model contest in Margate. I’ll be there on stage, and I’m both looking forward to it and apprehensive in equal measure!

This is the first time I’ve competed in Pure Elite, although I have been on a stage elsewhere in similar contests organised by Miami Pro four times in the past – two categories each time, so in fact I’ve been on the stage for eight separate contests.

So why I am apprehensive? It sounds like I’m an ‘old hand’ at this game! Well, there are a couple of aspects about the Pure Elite that make it all a little bit more of a challenge.

Firstly, there are the age categories. For Miami Pro, I have always entered the over 50’s age group in both the Fitness Model and Muscle Model categories; I’ll be doing the same two category names this Sunday too, but Pure Elite has a different age structure, and I’m in the over 45’s, not over 50’s. This means I’ll be competing against guys who are almost 13 years younger than me – and age is certainly a factor in being able to reach peak physical condition. In my other contests, I was usually the oldest on stage by about 5 years; in this one, I’ll be a week away from my 58th birthday, I suspect I’ll be the oldest again, but will have a much greater age gap to the youngest.

Secondly, I’ve also had another fitness-related focus on my mind. I’ve been raising money for a good cause – a young girl called Esme with an incurable disease. The high point of my fund -raising for her was running a marathon in Dublin on Monday this week (the marathon and cash-raising story is on www.bitly.com/chris4esme). I’m not used to much long-distance running, and I was pretty exhausted at the end of the 26 miles. An article on marathon running I read previously suggested runners need 26 days without training to recover post-run, based on a day’s recovery for every mile ran. I certainly couldn’t afford that time off with the Pure Elite being 6 days after the marathon, so I decided to make that 26 hours off-training rather than 26 days! I hope the marathon hasn’t taken too much out of me for the Pure Elite, and that I haven’t taken my training too far off course as a result.

Apart from the marathon, I think I’ve prepared well for Pure Elite. I have been training alongside Dan Wynes, a young guy to whom I have been acting as fitness mentor for the past six months. Even though I’m the mentor, I know that I have learned as much from Dan as he has from me over these past months, and we have both been determined at pushing each other on. Dan has formally challenged me to be the best of my generation present at Pure Elite, and I issued the same challenge to him.

The most intensive period for us was a week’s dedicated training taken as a trip to Gold’s in Venice Beach, Los Angeles, ending the day before travelling to Dublin. That week in Gold’s was the toughest week’s gym training of my life, and my thanks go to Dan for encouraging me on so much – and also to Rob Riches of True Performance Nutrition (the USA-based company for which I am an ambassador) who joined in the training there and further helped both Dan and me reach new reserves of strength and dedication to achieving the best body we each can.

Coming forward to today, I checked the mirror and scales this morning, and feel happy with what I saw. I’m at the lowest bodyfat for five years, just beating my final number on the Gold’s trip – the bodyfat actually went up significantly in Dublin due to the mega-high carbs fuelling my run on Monday.

Have I done enough to repair the fitness diversion caused by Dublin, and to be a worthy opponent to those competing alongside me on stage? I hope so.

My wife Jenny and Dan’s girlfriend Liz are in the front row of spectators on Sunday, and will be screaming madly for both of us during our separate times on stage. I hope they get to see their chaps have met to the challenges we gave each other with success. We want our ladies to see us achieve results to make them proud of the two of us.

More next week, when Pure Elite will be over – for this year, at least!