Supplement time

I recently received an email from Kay, one of the readers of my regular articles in ultra-FIT magazine.

Kay asked me: I need answers to question about the role of Testosterone and Growth Hormone supplements efficacy in older people, what is your view? I am a doctor and the Internet publications on the subject are inconclusive. Would adequate protein intake and weight training be sufficient in stopping the muscle wasting of old age?

My response to Kay was:

Firstly on supplements: I’ll say up-front that that I’m not a fan of too many supplements, I believe that most people should concentrate on getting their diet right first. Supplements are only a valid supplement to a good diet. I wouldn’t touch Testosterone or Growth Hormone, ones you mention. Having said that, I do take three supplements on a regular basis. I choose the ones from True Performance Nutrition, as I am an Ambassador for the brand – I’ve found their products to be the highest quality and generate results, and I am a 100% believer in the people involved in the brand and development of their products.

I take BCAA 4:1:1 capsules which I take before and after training to supply specific proteins to help build and repair muscle. The three BCAA’s are the most fundamental amino acids used by the body for muscle repair and growth, and the numbers 4:1:1 refer to these tablets delivering a four-fold amount of Leucine compared to the amounts of the other two BCAA’s, Isoleucine and Valine. This is the ratio that I believe has found to be the best to promote delivery to muscle cells.

My second supplement is Tri-Creatine Malate which helps the body to deliver energy to the muscles, further assists muscle growth, and also helps control muscular fatigue and pain. The name here refers to the structure of three Creatine molecules linked to one molecule of Malic Acid – a combination determined by the company to be the optimum for delivering results.

Finally on supplements, I like and use the RIPPED product, and use it pretty much daily to help keep body-fat levels under control. I’ve used RIPPED since pre-launch, as I was in the trial group as the over 50′s representative back in September 2012. I now use it most days of the week as my only consumed item before morning cardio – so that’s usually 4 or 5 days per week. In the two-month run-up to my World Championship contest in April 2013, I used it every single day – and am convinced I would not have achieved my lowest ever levels of body-fat that I had at that time without my pre-cardio RIPPED. And even though I’m not heading for another contest at present, I still take it on morning cardio days – and as always come home to a great high-protein, high-carb breakfast afterwards.

I also use Whey Protein Shakes from True Performance Nutrition as part of my regular diet, including that breakfast I mentioned. I don’t really call whey protein a supplement, as such, to me it is basic nutrition, as without protein shakes I couldn’t make the levels of protein that I want to consume daily (delivering 40% of my calories). My favourite flavour is Chocolate Mint, and two scoops stirred into my 60g of breakfast oats, nuts and fruits gives me the protein I need to add to the carbs from the oats and fruits to get my preferred macronutrient split for breakfast. An extra benefit is that it turns the oats into a delicious chocolatey flavour! Another favourite of shakes is Banoffee, which is my preferred post-workout flavour and I take a couple of scoops at that time with an apple and the BCAA’s I mentioned before.

Secondly, on exercise: I’m a massive fan of stopping muscle wastage/atrophy in old age through 40 minutes of cardio and 5 minutes on an Abs:100 set pre-breakfast, then an afternoon or evening resistance training bodypart split workout – cycling around days for Arms, Back, Chest, Delts and Elevators (that’s legs!). For each of those body-parts, on the appropriate day, I do 3 sets of 6 exercises, plus a final set of a seventh exercise on more of an endurance basis. So, for example, that’s 19 sets (spread across 7 exercises) for back in workout B, the same for chest on workout C, and covering all body-parts cycling through A-E, then back to A on day six. All done on an incremental progressive overload basis, where every time I do an exercise I make it that tiniest bit harder than the previous time. Much more on all this on my website.

Thirdly, nutrition: You don’t ask about this subject, Kay, but – in one sentence, keep the protein, healthy fats, natural products and fibre up – and keep the calories down, especially those from processed food, sat fats and sugar.

In summary, I’m a massive fan of stopping muscle wastage/atrophy in old age through good nutrition, daily cardio and challenging resistance training – adding (if you like) reasonable amounts of quality supplements. This forms my recipe for keeping fit into one’s old age.

Thanks to Kay for her question, and everyone please keep those questions coming to – including if anything in the above needs a bit more detail. Have a fit and healthy weekend!

A bit of re-resolving

The first blog of 2014 and so, of course, the first thing to do is wish you a happy, healthy and fit new year! I’m not a big fan of the word ‘resolutions’ – they get broken far too easily – but I hope that you have taken a few minutes to think of your fitness priorities for the year.

I’ve a bit of ‘catch-up’ work to do on the fitness front myself. The family Christmas and other celebrations have led to me being less fit than I’d like to be – for example, I’m up to 12% body fat today, and I like to be under 10% for most of the year, coming down to a lower number for contests. Additionally, I have a number of fun events coming up (some holidays in Feb, a TV series in March, and the Miami Pro Fitness Model World Championships in April) so its definitely time to get back into shape.

I’ve decided to commit to my fitness objectives for the year, and here are the highlights. It’s nothing new, just a re-commitment to last years approach. I hope it’s of interest, and if you need some inspiration in setting your own priorities, maybe there’s something in here that can help.

Keeping fitness levels up and fatness levels down is a blend of nutrition and movement. My view is it’s 50% nutrition, 30% cardio and 20% resistance training, and since there are three components, I’ve re-committed to objectives in all three.

On the nutrition side, my ideal day has seven meals. That’s made up of three smallish main meals per day – breakfast, lunch and dinner – with a smaller snack in between each, plus a shake after resistance training, and finally a late night snack. I don’t count calories accurately, but I do make a rough eyeball estimate of each meal; the three mains should typically be about 500 calories each, with the snacks and shake each at 250 – that comes in at about 2500 for the day. I make sure that each of those seven meals has a substantial protein element, and I keep the sugar and saturated fats down. And it’s definitely time to put the Christmas booze away.

For cardio, I’d like to get my 40 minutes pre-breakfast cardio back up to five days per week. I keep my cardio effort at around 65% of my maximum heart rate, which works out to be 120bpm – this ensures I keep in the aerobic activity zone with the main fuel source being fat. Nothing eaten beforehand, only black coffee or my RIPPED fat burner from True Performance Nutrition. On Saturdays, I replace the cardio with a 5k ParkRun – and I’m sure I can keep to the Sunday goal of a lie-in!

On the resistance side, my aim is to get back up to five days per week in the afternoons or evenings – cycling round ABCDE body parts, one part per day (arms, back, chest, delts and elevators). That’s a 50 minute per day trip, which is now back to being a high priority, as Christmas is done. Elevators are legs by the way, in case you don’t know my strange use of the alphabet!

There’s nothing new in the above, it’s what I was doing pre-Christmas for 2013. So my resolution – if we are going to use that word – is to get back to business as usual!

I hope there’s something in the above that helps you. There’s more about everything on my website – and I’d be happy to answer any questions or comments on

And as I said, a happy, healthy and fit new year to you!