Should I take ‘fat-burners?’

Lifestyle, Supplementation

As each year comes around it seems there’s even less time to get in shape for summer, still, don’t be in SUCH a rush to lose that extra baggage you’ve accumulated over the last few months. Thanks to YouTube, cos who reads books nowadays? We are becoming, ever so surely- smarter. No longer do we need to sieve through the mass of scientific jargon to pick out useful information or have to ask someone with a relevant degree for help. Nonetheless, this does not mean our judgement on what we put in our bodies has improved, by any means.

For a lot of people, ‘Fatburners’ sound like JUST the thing to assist weight loss, even if their activity level is ‘next to nothing’ and while the majority of ingredients in these types of supplements are legal, they are not entirely safe. Now if you’re a professional athlete, fitness enthusiast or just an average guy, your body’s threshold managing physical exertion will extend over time. Meaning that your body will adapt to pretty much anything you do often enough. If you look at professions that require higher amounts of physical exertion such as a scaffolder or labourer, the strength developed by strenuous activity will adapt in order to function the job at hand. That being said, top athletes apply additional elements to their training and diet in terms of optimising their performance. Imagine that Elevation training masks weren’t just for idiots that want to look like Bane and ARE designed for serious athletes. Well, fatburners are kind of like this too. The thermogenic capacity of these products is down to a few distinctive ingredients that you will find in most ‘fat burning’ or ‘metabolism boosting’ products.

Just to name a few…

  •  CAFFEINE: Now while Caffeine is an everyday component of an active lifestyle, it also has diuretic properties in higher amounts- like your bladder if you’ve ever tried the Volvic 14 day challenge- but all the time.
  • GREEN TEA EXTRACT: Green tea is no longer just for folks that have a yoga mat and a vegetable garden, it too has diuretic properties, boosts metabolism and looks great on Instagram with a slice of lemon.
  • CLA- Conjugated linoleic acid: Another common ingredient in most diet/ fatburning supplements but will most likely be sold individually. CLA is a fatty acid that affects the enzymes that burn fat from both fat cells and fat within the blood- apparently.
  • Citrus Aurantium or ‘bitter orange’ This is a compound yielding similar properties to all of the above, including the release of epinephrine for improved focus and energy. I do believe the nervous/hot/jittery energy comes from this component within a fair few fat burning supplements I have tried, so do be cautious.
There are plenty of other common ingredients within most popular supplements like ketones, various herbs and capsaicin. Capsaicin is an active component of the chilli pepper, you can see where this is going…
By raising the temperature of the body, we burn more fat. Well that’s the plan anyway. This is why you’ll find ingredients in products that derive or relate to capsaicin such as cayenne pepper in Grenade Thermo Detonator. So technically if I eat a tonne of spicy food I will lose weight? Well no probably not. Nevertheless the role of heat-inducing compounds are essential in fatburners. As I previously mentioned these would be beneficial to individuals that have all of the fundamental controls in place in order to ‘cut’ employing the use of such products to optimise their performance and capacity to burn fat, NOT having the work done FOR THEM. This brings me on to people reasonably new to these types of supplements, unaware of their effects when combined with intense exercise. Bearing in mind supplement brands promoting aforesaid products will sometimes encourage users to take ‘X’ amount of servings in the hope of increasing ‘performance’ but even just ONE of the two- even three capsules recommended in a ‘serving’ could still put someone new to fat burners -even pre-workout- in a bit of a panic. If you’ve not exercised for quite some time and are desperate to lose the weight you’ve accumulated, at least get back into the swing of things before even considering using fat burners. This will only prevent you from passing out at the gym, or worse. If you’re considering the use of fat burners everyday, be sure to think about whether this will impede on your working capability of day to day tasks, will there be the possibility of a fan? am I on edge? is there a puddle in my shoe?
Fatburners and fasted cardio? This is a no-brainer, don’t do it. If you’re familiar with fasted cardio you’ll know that that the big HB- heartburn is bad enough without throwing a ghost chilli and shot of adrenaline in the mix. Don’t forget having these on an empty stomach will drastically increase the effects, you might sweat just as much as you would when doing HIIT , it’s probably not a good idea to pair these together, I once learned.
 Ultimately, fat burners are helpful to implement on top of a good solid diet, they speed up the process of weight-loss to an extent and do provide a somewhat substantial amount of energy when its needed -especially on low-carb days- even if it is all from caffeine. I would however, like to point out that they are not for beginners and certainly not for people with a poor cardiovascular ability, low activity level or bad tolerance of stimulants.
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More on Macros & ‘The Bulking Fear’


So in a previous post I mentioned the flexible approach to dieting known as IIFYM. This refers to inputting your daily meals and various other aspects of your lifestyle into MyFitnessPal, in order to track and manipulate certain elements when needed be. Now macro counting can seem tedious when the foods that you consume vary in size and frequency each day, ultimately though, having a solid structure to stick to may be just as critical in assisting weight loss or weight gain as the numerical nutritional values. For a lot of people, calorie counting is mainly for CUTTING weight, although adhering to or above a certain calorie goal everyday will benefit those with weight GAIN in mind all the same. Unless you’d consider yourself a food connoisseur and eat out almost everyday, you’ll find that the food you eat week to week won’t be worlds apart. Although, you still need to be conscious of the nutritional components in order to assist your efforts of physical CHANGE. This could be to lose 4kg or gain it, either way, failing to identity the amounts of macronutrients you consume daily will make it much more difficult to reap the benefits of physical EFFORT/EXERTION. Plainly put, and you’ve probably heard this plenty of times to know, ‘your body doesn’t WANT to change’ manipulating a number of different factors will FORCE it to do so, your calorie/carbs/fat/protein intake being just a few to name. 

When you see lads weighing themselves after every workout -as though the iron from a few dumbbells has somehow transcended into them- the reason why they could have hit a ‘plateau’ is probably gonna be to do with their input vs their output. This refers to the nutrients that we consume -input- as opposed to physical effort, what we do -output- If you put the wrong fuel in your car not only will you not get to work, you will most probably damage the engine. Our bodies are the same, in that we fuel -feed- ourselves in order to function. The way that we look is simply a byproduct of how much food is used as energy or stored as fat. Our body’s capacity to burn or store fat will undoubtedly be predetermined by our genetic makeup, but I believe it can be overruled to an extent just the same. 

Our primal predecessors would have had to hunt for food, conditioning their bodies by means of function and survival. Today we have the facility to have someone else find an animal, someone else to kill it, another to cook it and another to bring it to us. By doing so we impede evolution, and endanger the once predatory genetic makeup of our ancestors -cheers JustEat. For anyone thats heard of The paleolithic or ‘caveman’ diet, mainly consisting of meat, nuts and berries, by contrast it highlights the kind of foods that the modern world has grown accustomed to through agricultural and productive advancement. These include dairy, starchy carbohydrates and processed foods -so basically everything we eat. I have tried the Paleo diet for a short period in the past and it was beneficial to the extent of not being able to function on a human level due to such low carbs. Although in retrospect, adopting certain approaches of the caveman diet may be of some merit with regards to weight loss especially when its needed within a restricted time frame, i.e contest prep, summer holidays etc. When the instance of this is relevant I could attempt to cover more of it, but technically we’re still in the ‘off season’

Now for anyone that considers themselves a successful bodybuilder/fitness athlete/ sponsored bitch, the key to attaining a solid physique is all down to the work put in during the ‘off season’ If you look good all year round, give the swans a smooch you absolute hero. For most of us, the additional weight we acquire during the winter months SHOULD be seen as more of a blessing than a burden. If you get over the fact that you may be holding onto a little more water than usual and realise that those around you aren’t interested in the slightest, you may be a step closer to your ‘#goals#2016goals’ Now there’s two words that get thrown around often enough to me cringe -even worse when they’re in same sentence- but LEAN MASS for most people, will always be in vain. This refers to gaining as much muscle as possible, whilst minimising fat. This is possible by narrowly exceeding a caloric threshold but you’ll still need to get somewhat ‘fat’ in order for this to be of any benefit. I can’t imagine this appealing to anyone that already considers themselves reasonably lean without exercise but if they wanna look like someone a 14 year old girl would have on their wall thats up to them. So this is the part where I mention this new flexible approach to dieting called ‘If It Fits Your Macros’ … IIFYM

So THE BULKING FEAR. Does she think I’ve let myself go? Do I use the pool at the gym? Is there a chance that we could end up playing strip poker? shit, I have rolls? All these questions are indicative of consuming extra calories, but unlike make-up, its better to have MORE as opposed to LESS. Just look at most professional fitness athletes when they’re not competing, the extent to which they go to pretty much epitomises what an ‘off season’ SHOULD entail, look at someone like Sadik Hadzovic and tell me that he looks the same all year round. Lets face it, for someone that trains consistently and has an awareness on the importance of diet, putting on a few kg’s over the space of a few months isn’t something to be fearful of in the slightest. For anyone struggling to gain weight for any particular reason, ignoring this fear will not only put the knowledge you may have acquired into practise, it will provide you with an insight to how sensitive your body is to change. As previously mentioned, genetics may stipulate our ability to gain or lose weight but be realistic in the sense that it may take a while.

Current macros -although I aim to exceed these daily-  for my current weight of 94kg are as follows;

Screen Shot 2016-01-13 at 00.36.17


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New Year’s Resolutions & Alcohol


So even though Christmas is over, for most of us it’s still that time of the year to put everything diet/health related on hold and enjoy a well-deserved break from the monotonies and stresses of life. Although January is the perfect time to right wrongs, start a fresh and strive for better, anyone in NEED of a new year to change themselves will almost certainly fail after a few months once the novelty of 2016 has worn off. For anyone wanting to cut down on addictive means such as smoking, drinking or gambling I suppose a fresh calendar could be beneficial given ones reasons to eventually stop, but when it comes to diet, I personally don’t agree with introducing a completely NEW approach to nutrition in the new year. With the opportunity to start a fresh from the excesses of the winter months, most with self-improvement in mind always seem to resort to extremes, mainly to see results in short periods of time. This is probably even more destructive than continuing the usual routine of doing nothing. A few weeks of suffering from a typical low carb diet or adhering to ill-advised fads will just make you go running back to the comforts that have ultimately made you unhappy about your body EVEN MORE. When the majority of people look at seemingly ‘GIFTED’ individuals -not just within the fitness industry- but in everyday life, aspects that may be habitual for some may be utterly ludicrous to another, keeping to your capacity in terms of the things you eat or the way you train is much smarter than going off and trying to be a hero. The reason that the guy next to you is lifting three times as much, and isn’t sweating like a pig is most likely due to the fact that he’s not given up at the first hurdle and has persevered despite the possibility of failing. In this game, time is your friend, to make mistakes, to recognise, to learn and to improve, like playing a buzz wire. In terms of diet, I’d suggest seeking advise from a reliable PT or a specialist that can tell you what foods to eat, and can continue to eat throughout the year, not just restricting your eating habits when results are needed -a holiday, important event etc.

While its good to find the time to exercise and feel good about yourself, recognise that getting an extra plate out on bench press won’t pay your bills and will most certainly not make you anymore friends, by all means make time, but don’t make it your top priority. To anyone planning on renewing their gym membership or even joining for the first time, I salute you, but don’t shy away and reduce yourself to half an hour of half-ass cardio and consider it “TRYING” Start by building a solid foundation that will most likely consist of slow progress, observe the basics or even ask someone willing to help before getting injured because of your ego. By willing, and no matter what gym you go to, whether its a leisure centre or Gold’s, I mean that there’ll always be someone happy to practise their knowledge of training/diet with you, everyone starts somewhere. This of course means that you will have to LISTEN intently, not nodding to your new Dre Beats that your eager-for-you to-lose-weight-girlfriend got you for Christmas , if you assert yourself as being a “know it all” chances are you’ll get left to your own devices and join the infamous bad habits club that the guys eager to learn are eager to laugh at.

With regards to alcohol, I’d love to say the usual ‘its fine in moderation’ and yes, to a degree I do think the odd drink every now and then won’t harm your progress that much. However, think about your eating habits and the little energy you have on the days that follow a big binge, for anyone that tells you that they crave chicken & rice when hungover should certainly not be a friend. Ultimately, alcohol is deemed a poison by our bodies, and just like a previous article where I mentioned the impact high amounts of fructose has on the liver, you don’t need a degree in a biology to know what long term damage drinking can have. Especially for anyone wanting to lose weight, at seven calories per gram of alcohol -without all the additional sugary mixers-  the fact that alcohol temporarily shuts down the body’s ability to burn fat whilst the liver processes it, in hindsight what would the damage be when drinking say, three or four times a week? Not to get into the technicalities of how long ‘X’ amount of units will take to be fully metabolised but for a lot of people alcohol is never fully processed, and so the ability to burn fat and lose weight will almost certainly be in jeopardy. I’m not talking about alcoholics now, because that is a different matter regarding addiction, but even for someone that’s active, eats reasonably clean but binges to excess on the weekend, chances are all the efforts to looking and feeling better will literally be in vain. I’m saying this cocooned in my bed after a heavy NYE and to be quite honest I feel like a slug thats been dipped in salt, nevertheless I, like many others,  am partial to a good night out, and always will be regardless of how strict my diet/training regime will become.

Now I’m not saying its one or the other, unless you’re planning on being at the level where by drinking you would be directly restricting your capacity to perform and putting yourself at a disadvantage. Being aware of the amounts to which you drink -whether you’re counting calories or not- could highlight where you’re going wrong. Now I try to stick to spirits simply because the effects are more immediate, the percentage per volume or ‘ABV’ is much higher than that of beer and cider and unless I really go -dont wanna say HAM but HAM- I very rarely get bad hangovers that are going to interfere with the following day. In terms of training after a night of drinking I  would suggest trying to sweat it off with cardio BEFORE going near any anaerobic exercises, not only will you not have sufficient energy to do train as hard as you usually do, lifting weights whilst still under the influence could be potentially dangerous.

Be sure to have a look at how many calories/carbs from alcohol that you may be having on a regular basis using the chart below, it covers the majority of drinks consumed and it won’t be difficult to recognise whether the majority of your daily/weekly calories are from alcohol. This diagram was taken from an article on

All the best for 2016

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Mutant Mass vs USN’s Muscle Fuel Anabolic


With the current overhaul of ‘weight gainers’ on the supplement market, it’s hard to filter through such that may be of substantial benefit to diets requiring extra calories or stuff that’s basically packed with more sugar than a tub or two of Ben & Jerry’s. Now obviously to bump up the calorie content there’s gonna be some sacrifice to clean carb sources, so it’s fitting to compare what I deem to be the two hard-hitting weight-gain products on the current market; USN’s Muscle Fuel Anabolic and MUTANT Mass.
These brands are worlds apart in terms of their approach to training and diet philosophy. If you’re not familiar with Mutant, It’ll most likely feature a behemoth like Rich Piana and market itself in a way that would probably deter the ‘average’ person that maybe doesn’t pride themselves in looking like a Belgian Bleur that can’t tie their own shoelaces. USN takes a much more marketable approach, with an expense of endorsements from numerous top athletes and fitness models, presenting the potential of attainable physiques as a result of proper training and nutrition.
With regards to the cost, size and value of each product, Mutant’s 6.8KG bag will stretch your money much further than MFA’s 4KG tub with the average online price of both products ranging between £43-£50. Although depending on which serving suggestion you adhere to when using each product will determine how many servings you can expect. MFA suggests using 150g in every serving to which there are 26 in every tub, a smaller 100g would give 40 servings for individuals not wanting 90g of carbs sitting on their stomach. Mutant Mass also features the same amount in each 130g serving but does have almost three times the amount of sugar as the 7g in a serving of the USN All in One. This is definitely evident in the taste of Mutant Mass across the three flavours I have tried; Cookies & Cream, Triple Chocolate and Peanut Butter. They are quite sickly and don’t sit very well to say the least, making it difficult to have in conjunction with a diet requiring a surplus of calories. The strawberry, vanilla and chocolate cream flavours of Muscle Fuel Anabolic are definitely much more palatable, with a thinner consistency that mixes with minimum effort as opposed to Mutant Mass that should come with a free cement mixer. No it does EVENTUALLY mix together but can’t imagine why anyone would attempt to consume FOUR scoops indicated within the nutritional information, bearing in mind each 130g has the same amount of sugar as a typical serving of Ben & Jerry’s. Some of Mutants ‘athletes’ even condone putting a few ladles of ice cream into shakes which I personally think is ill-advised to those who don’t know the technicalities of diet and are wholly impressionable to what they see online. Although I do feel like as a “does what it says on the tin’ type product, it’d be narrow-minded of me to fail to recognise some people aspire to reach the largest form they can possibly attain, therefore by requiring extra calories by convenient means is just as practically justified as MFA to athletes in a surplus of calories.
As far as protein is concerned MFA’s 150g serving has double the 25g in Mutant Mass, and although there is probably some merit in comparing each of the various protein sources in both MFA and Mutant Mass I’d rather not to go down this precarious rabbit hole leaving me in no-mans land between vegans and everyone else with a degree in nutrition. With the ever-growing knowledge of supplementation within the bodybuilding community it’s great to see brands that can cover an array of different nutritional functions in a single product, and it’s clear that Muscle Fuel Anabolic covers near enough every point on the spectrum. With 3g of Creatine in every serving, ZMA and a huge amino acid profile including arginine, glutamine and aspartic acid, You’re looking at a good £25/30 saving from just the Creatine and amino acids alone. Mutant Mass does also hold a rather sufficient profile, each serving containing the afore mentioned AND MORE in abundance will support muscle breakdown, protein synthesis and the potential increase of growth hormone, making it a fundamental staple of recovery.
Ultimately, I can’t see the amino acid profile clawing it back for Mutant Mass, although it will definitely be of some benefit for the hard-gainer that counts KG on his bench and never the scales. I feel Muscle Fuel Anabolic is much more suited to my goals in terms of gaining lean muscle gradually in a surplus of reasonably clean calories rather than overloading on sugar and mistaking an overloaded carb pump for genuine progress. I will continue to use MFA during this stage in my training but would consider using Mutant Mass in the event that I take up powerlifting or a sport that requires a lot more calories in order to maintain or to grow.

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Summer Blues & The ‘Juicing’ Craze


It’s late September, not back in 63. The money you scrimped together to afford the multitude of holidays, festivals and the like is now a distant, hazy memory. The sound of snotty sniffles is now more familiar than the clinking of cocktails and your pasty complexion has recently had people wondering if you’re actually ill. Whether your job is as BS as you think it is compared to polishing dolphin heads or whatever you’ve got planned for summer ’16, the last place you wanna go when you eventually finish work is gonna be the gym. Ultimately though, if you’re not prepared to put the winter work in, you can say ta ta to looking like the body you probably have as your lock screen wallpaper.

So 2015 was the year everyone either started up their own clothing brand, became a PT or shifted JuicePlus to their hairdressers mates at yoga. There is however a silver lining to this new influx of vainglory- despite those taking advantage of people that are uninformed. This being the fact that the expanse of supplement/lifestyle brands that are essentially encouraging crash diets will be exposed on their ineffectiveness after the first month or so.Now I can TRY and respect the fact that ambassadors of such brands utilise social media as an advertisement platform as it can make them more money, but conveying results from the use of a product they are selling but not using is simply exploiting the naivety of those just wanting to get in shape by any means.With every motivational quote spelt out on a plate of gluten free spaghetti comes the type of people that’ll probably be dishing out mounds of irresponsible advice to the paying customer. Of course someone going from 4,000 calories to half the amount from just protein and greens WILL start seeing changes, this is simple mathematics that no one should be paying weekly for. The effects of such sudden alterations to calorie consumption goes way beyond problems with functional energy because of less fuel than normal, restriction from certain food groups that are deemed BAD although essential, such as CARBS and FATS may induce extreme levels in blood sugar which can be toxic.

This along with the fact that FRUIT is incorporated so much so in new diet plans and media advertising that seems to CONDONE heavy consumption, when really it should CONDEMN. We all know by default fruit is a ‘health’ food, and yes, if your diets been trodden on, a fresh bit of fruit would probably put a spring back in your step. We’ve been eating fruit for thousands of years, it’s got us this far? Most come from plants, plants are nature – therefore it cannot be harmful? especially when smoked? perhaps another topic.

When it comes to diets, you give people an inch and they take a mile, especially when it comes to ‘natures fast food’ surely blending up ten different fruits with some kale has got to be better than my regular 500ml of CocaCola? Well actually, probably not. If you’re reading this with the phone resting on your NutriBullet, set me down on the table and listen carefully.

So fructose is a naturally occurring sugar found in fruit that will usually be the other half of a 50/50 split with glucose. Glucose is essential for energy and the main component for fuel of most living organisms, although this doesn’t mean you can sink a litre of Lucozade everyday because it’s on the neck of the bottle. While glucose can be used as fuel for the body, fructose can only be metabolised by the liver, not only making it completely useless to us, it is even toxic to the liver. This is similar to alcohol in the way that it prioritised during the flushing of of toxins before metabolising fat. Most people tend of drink alcohol on the weekends, so the majority have the days that follow to process this, yet daily “juicing” to extreme extents will not only be spiking your blood sugar levels, causing a low when you don’t get a fix, but also overworking the liver by overconsumption of fructose.

If you’re guilty of getting the majority of your daily “nutrients” from fruit that isn’t in capsule form, try and work out just how much sugar you are actually consuming in a shake or smoothie as it could be having a negative effect on how you suppress sugar cravings whilst dieting. Perhaps including more vegetables higher in potassium and are more calorie dense- leaving you fuller for longer. This will help improve energy levels regularly without too much of one thing and not enough of the other.

Ultimately sugar doesn’t cause diabetes, eating too much of it does, and while fruit is certainly better than most things, not recognising that the ‘healthier’ card may be more damaging to your health and more importantly damaging to your diet progress, will present yet another variable stacked against you when it comes to stepping on the scales, or sandy beach.


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Over supplementing your diet 

Lifestyle, Supplementation

Now whether you’re just starting out training or you consider yourself a seasoned pro, supplementation is probably gonna be a reoccurring topic of your lifting life. Each time you order your most recent ‘stack’ you’ll always be faced with some degree of doubt as to whether you should stick to your guns or try something new. This also includes adding a tub or two of pre workout to your basket so you’re “eligible for free delivery” and not because you now need three scoops just to get you through ‘cardio’ – whatever that is. Ultimately, you’ve rationalised a huge section for supplementation in your diet so much so that not only will most of what you consume be full of sweeteners/preservatives by convenient means such as bars or shakes, you most likely have very little left to afford the main component of your diet, food.

So why does it seem like I’m forbidding people to buy them? despite the fact that I spend a fair amount of supplements. Well the function of supplementation for me is simply a matter of convenience. If I had a different job or was lucky enough to work from home, I probably wouldn’t even buy supplements just so I could focus more on the better nutritional sources from actual food rather than something in powder form.

This does not mean however, most supplements aren’t nutritionally sound or useful as part of your diet, because most will be exactly that. However the fact that people may have allowed supplements to overshadow more important aspects of their diet without knowing, may be problematic when perhaps they can’t afford it, a certain product is out of stock or even discontinued. You may feel like your progress will suffer without supplements and probably already convinced yourself that you look smaller after missing one shake post-workout, but be realistic and don’t keep checking yourself at every mirror opportunity, because it was probably only a bit of water weight the starter three servings of ‘x’ or 5 servings of ‘y’ would do anyway.

This is another thing, look on the back of your containers to see exactly how many servings you’ll get and how many you actually need daily as opposed to what is suggested for “the hardcore gainer” -this is by no means a challenge and not only will this stop you getting your money’s worth by doubling up servings, you’ll soon begin to replace the food in your diet, by something that will obviously be more convenient but insufficient in the role of fueling your body properly, rather than just feeling temporarily ‘full’ Despite acknowledging that consuming more specific nutrients during the whole “anabolic window” may have some benefit behind it, this is also yet another method to encourage you to consume more and buy EVEN more, so try to sieve out genuine serving instructions from yet another marketing ploy.

For a lot of people, the addition of any new supplement will be for an extra ‘boost’ and that’s understandable, but be sure to at least research some of the ingredients in certain products individually before jumping straight in. Many substances can have a profound effect on one person and not even touch another, regardless of ones tolerance to ‘similar’ compounds, so obviously don’t take the amount you may have had using a previous product.

When it comes to any kind of stimulant or test booster making it’s way into your shopping basket every month, be sure to realise whether it’s still having a constructive part to play, as the effect from these types of products will gradually wear off. If it’s the break from caffeine you need in order to allow your system to level out, realise the advantage of saving such energy-based supplements for when you actually plateau or have recently had a few weeks off from training because of injury or otherwise.

When if comes to preworkout, if you haven’t already made the connection to the ‘3D’ – perhaps another topic- I myself became dependant on stimulants to the point where training without them seemed redundant. Making this realisation probably saved me from seriously harming my body as well as the detrimental effect on my training. I now appreciate the facility of supplements that I believe potentially have a positive effect in moderation to the point where I only find myself buying essential supplements that support an active schedule such as protein powder and maybe even pre-workout when I feel it will be beneficial and not destructive.

In terms of what you could potentially take that may be beneficial to your diet considering all of the above, I’d suggest researching a few different ingredients or compounds yourself to help you consider your options when choosing a ‘pre’ or test-booster.
For pre workout, any reputable brand with enough CAFFEINE that’s gonna get you through a demanding workout but not gonna keep you up for a week. As far as CREATINE is concerned, I don’t see this being of immediate enough effect to you to make it a must despite the fact this’ll probably be in every pre’ on the market anyway, but again nothing stupidly dosed everyday that’s gonna swell you up like a puffer fish but shrivel you like a prune when you haven’t had as much water that day. Any HERB or l long-ass word that seems to be a plant-like substance that you tried to google but ended up on some hippy-bashing Wikipedia page; take with a pinch of salt and see if you can find a credible study or even more credible BRO that has tried it himself. If this is the case and if seemed to work for him, see if this was actually legit or not due to the concoction of other shit, but anyway. BETA-ALANINE, this is the stuff that makes you feel like you’ve got ants crawling on your skin if you have too much, but a warmish buzz of energy when ‘dosed’ correctly, you’ll also find this in most popular products on the market, so if you’re deterred by the thought of an unfamiliar sensation double check if this ingredient happens to be in the product you may still be deciding on.

As far as test-boosters are concerned, most of the ingredients you will find within them will feature some of the same plant-like substances previously mentioned, where the official effects are mainly myth but can prove otherwise after trying it yourself. Naturally occurring herbs such as ‘TRIBULUS TERRESTRIS’, ‘MACA’ and ‘HORNY GOAT WEED’ all share a similar credibility within certain cultures as aphrodisiacs, thus instilling a stronger libido and even appetite in some, although others claimed no significant benefit. Despite some of their outlandish titles, along with SODIUM D-ASPARTIC ACID, I believe it’s definitely worth investing in some if not all of these at some point to satisfy the curiosity of boosting testosterone naturally without total hormonal shutdown that improper use of anabolics or prohormones may have.

For any supplement advice or general discussion about any aforesaid topic, feel free to email me;

A ‘Balanced lifestyle’, ‘IIFYM’ and ‘The usual tangent’


With the overhaul of information in the modern day we live in, it’s extremely difficult to sieve through the useful and practical from the BS. Let’s face it, we’d all take the shortcut to our destination, despite the risk of getting lost in the process. With every cover model that you’re not ever going to look like, comes the expanse of advertising opportunities by magazines and supplement companies. Even though ‘ABS IN 28 DAYS’ or ‘DROP 10% BODY FAT’ might sound promising, these are just marketing ploys to optimise potential sales regardless of how effective the information is.

You won’t have to look very hard to find some sort of interpretation to the ‘balanced diet’ from TV ads and social media to that tatty ‘Now’ magazine stuffed down the chair at your local dentist. Who wouldn’t be intrigued by such a somewhat flexible approach to nutrition? It may not be physically possible to adhere to rigorous meal prep due to your job or maybe you don’t find yourself partial to piri piri cardboard, rice and broccoli . Maybe you’d like to incorporate clean, whole foods into your diet but find it EXPENSIVE and INCONVENIENT compared to fast food? I myself am also guilty of succumbing to such stodgy means whilst on the go, although I’d much rather resist this temptation of convenience in order to stay on track metabolically and actually see a ‘cheat meal’ for what it should be, a TREAT.

Macro counting is essentially adhering to a daily calorie target generated by personal numerical values such as age, height, current weight and goal weight. The extent of this system will depend on how much information you input, but most people tend to work out the calorific value of fats, carbs and protein. When you’re new to macro counting it definitely does seem trivial, along with the fact that MyFitnessPal won’t reflect your potential weight just by logging your calories, as there’s no such parameter that can account for metabolic rate or training intensity- accurately.  It will however, make you more conscious of your eating habits, flagging up a surplus or deficit of maintenance calories- the basepoint inbetween weight loss or gain. If you’re like me and eat pretty much the same week in week out, you’ll quickly pick up the values or ‘macros’ in foods that you regularly eat, so if reading the nutritional values on the back of your rice is like understanding The Matrix, youl only have to endure this once or twice.

Now with every health/fitness trend comes criticism in the light of those abusing such information, especially when a concept based on flexibility is taken to the extreme-  the ‘M’ in IIFYM being ‘MOUTH’ much like the eating habits of people that see the word ‘DIET’ as ‘DO.I.EAT.TODAY?’ to then justify an evening meal rammed with the worst kind of calories imaginable, as a reward for not eating. Some girls like to call the first part of this process ‘BEING GOOD’ and will probably stunt potential weightloss even more so by the extreme of 0 carbs to plenty.

I don’t understand how some people won’t even take the time to educate themselves on the basic fundamentals of what is considered- not by myself, ‘a balanced lifestyle’ ultimately we are all aware of the importance of presenting ourselves to capacity, much like the judgement our personal qualities receive, our bodies reflect just as much about who we are, whether that be extreme to some or otherwise.

I by no means follow what is considered to be an ‘extreme’ regime, but to someone unaware of the process acquiring a well-rounded physique is, understandably whatever you say is going to seem barbaric to them. Eating seven of the same meal throughout the day may be just as extreme to someone that eats heroin rather than steamed tilapia, but each to their own I suppose.

I do think though this may be one of the reasons why the men’s-physique-category-look has grown to be just as popular as that of a classic bodybuilder. Simply because it seems to be more attainable than the somewhat extreme attitudes toward training and nutrition prevalent in professional bodybuilding. Hence why there is definitely some snobbery between the physique-bodybuilding community, of course guys that have trained for decades on every last inch of their body are gonna be pissed off when someone that’s barely scratching the surface in terms of the technicalities that deem ones stature a ‘physique’ rather than just a marketable body.

Going back to a previous point made about the modern information overhaul we live in, I’ve came to recognise how one can effectively utilise such an abundance of knowledge, everything from fitness related YouTube channels or physiological explanations to nutrition and exercise at the click of a button. I believe such access in recent years has catapulted the standard of amateur guys to that of professionals, those once a small minority of applying aspects of bodybuilding to a more attainable look. Yet now, you wouldn’t find any successful physique/fitness figure that hasn’t stepped up at least 15lbs into the next category, so that they aren’t lost in the current of upcoming guys with even MORE POTENTIAL and even MORE KNOWLEDGE.

If you feel the ‘IF IT FITS YOUR MACROS’ approach to weight loss or even weight gain- depending on your goal-  may be beneficial to you, be sure to input all of the relevant information into either the IIFYM calculator or download the latest version of MyFitnessPal on the App Store.

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Short term satisfaction, long term misery. 

Lifestyle, Special

Taking a slightly more philosophical turn from the usual health/fitness agenda despite this being considered a health ‘issue’ to some extent. It’d be my pleasure appearing as a hypocrite to justify a life of excess for anyone in need of their own realisation.

Most of us seem to rationalise the occasional ‘blow-out’ into our ever-so vacant calendar, in the attempt to cleanse the urges and behaviours that would limit our capacity to function during that which seem to grant us fulfilment in the day to day. In theory the plan is to dose ourselves with enough endorphins to fill the void of we are now, and where we want to be. Whilst time is the entity that can either allow a idea to blossom or wither, it’s also the one thing most of us ambitious folk still can’t quite seem to fathom, conceptually not numerically. Plain and simply we are so dissatisfied with the time it will ultimately take to ‘succeed’ in whatever is it we think will provide us with absolute content, the short term ‘reward/high’ slowly registers even more gloriously than your realistically UNREALISTIC goal.

So whether poker your poison or boozing your burden, it wouldn’t take long for this ‘temporary’ substitution of your time to taint or even overshadow the goals that you’re subconsciously putting on the back-burner. Such goals referring to an ideology defining success for YOU, this isn’t monetary and will not be attained by any another currency besides hard work. I am certainly not the most ideal ambassador to the whole ‘clean’ lifestyle/fashion trend but I do make a conscious effort to satisfy long term goals slowly but surely. Besides, even though the journey to ‘success’ in whatever you aspire to become will be unsettlingly precarious, it should more importantly be enjoyed nonetheless. I personally am a firm believer in the value of adjusting your outlook toward others on their own ‘journey’ and you too may find this even more rewarding than something only you can reap the benefit from.

Calming the perceptions of those around you when you suddenly go ‘off the radar’ socially will give you a better opportunity to channel every effort necessary to create a bigger void between you and your competition whilst maintaining a sufficient support network. If ‘the lads’ have enough respect for you they’ll know when not to mither for your attendance simply out of boredom. If it just so happens that one of the more sensitive chaps in the group is having girl trouble, an emergency shindig will suffice but won’t justify a full week of binging out to the point of it damaging three.

On a serious note,  if it seems to be that such instances have become paramount in your overall ‘wellbeing’ regardless of whether they are as destructive as mentioned, just remember that all you’re doing is desensitising the component of potential success with false reward. If you believe a ‘blowout’ every so often is going to be constructive then by all means. I’m clearly a degree short of offering any credible physiological insight that you can quite easily google yourself. If it’s knowing the technicalities involved, thus altering your approach to breaks in your routine, such may provide  you with a big enough incentive to apply appropriately. Ultimately, if you find yourself in this vicious cycle of demotivation through false reward not only will recognising it shed light on your true aspirations that have been cast aside for short term social appeal, the sensation of achievement will return in full flux of colour over the greying sense of plateau or self-doubt.

Bodybuilding aside, it saddens me to see friends set for such great things in sport with SO MUCH MORE raw talent than the average guy busting his balls week in week out would kill -for just a fraction of, throw it all away by destructive means. I too unfortunately have the bug of being overly ambitious and feeling demotivated when I don’t quite cut somewhat unrealistic goals- whether training related or otherwise, hence using immediate means of ‘reward’ that requires minimum effort yet yielding an adequate state of contentment.

Deflecting self doubt can only develop further and even project itself onto relationships, where the outlook of ones insecurities can be just as telling to potential partners as one would view those of others. I can’t think of anything worse than those bitter- drinking bitter; ‘could’ve’, ‘would’ve’, ‘should’ve’ guys, the same flock that failed to channel their efforts sufficiently enough to achieve their potential, the instance where complacency would be the issue of fulfilling potential.

I would finally like to add that just to give you an idea how much you’ll be consciously assessing the depth of your own fulfilment, when you’re next out trying your best to convince everyone how much of a piss can you are, notice how even the extremes of  ‘pleasure’ in the form of alcohol/substances only heighten your internal desire of ultimately reaching your potential even more so. This may present you a realisation of needing an immediate lifestyle change, a strong enough one stop you demolishing a kebab whilst simultaneously chewing an ear about diet again.


Steroids/Performance enhancers & the ‘seasonal lifter’

Lifestyle, Supplementation

It’s only taken a handful of recent remarks on the fact of whether or not I currently take steroids to instil this desire of putting even more fuel into the precarious fire of all things “natty” or otherwise. With the enormous influx of young guys looking like they’ve just stepped off the set of 300 after probably the same number of days training inconsistently and adhering to the ‘IDGAF’ approach towards nutrition, rather than something like IIFYM. It’s safe to say the standard of ‘physique’ guys, who’d dabble in any such powder/pill/injection with any assuring enough promise to a ‘BIGGER/LEANER’ physique has clearly skyrocketed the bar unrealisticly high for the regular guy. This is more than likely a byproduct of the mainstream and social media glorifying vanity. For every ‘aesthetic’ looking ‘brah’ that would probably go train “biceps with bi’s” rather than take their even more shallow IG fitness chick- that’s also a keen yoga-‘enthusiast’ out on a date, there’s a thousand guys besotted with the glamorous lifestyle he seems to lead. Ultimately though, no one really cares HOW he got to there, or whether his body realistically reflects his attitude towards training and nutrition. We only see snapshots into the lives of such individuals, that have handpicked moments they want to characterise themselves with, and who’s ‘job’ just so happens to fall hand in hand with their lifestyle. Thus making us even more envious and them even more marketable to supplement companies and the like.

The issue of steroids comes into action where young guys at the forefront of such judgement and self doubt at defining ages of teenage-hood seek out a safe haven in the opportunity to transform their appearance enough to either overshadow their rivals or simply to fit in among peers. Whether this incline occurs in sport where optimal conditions for muscular endurance is essential in supporting performance, or simply satisfying the desire to be DESIRED by the opposite sex. This can of worms opened by the seasonal lifter can’t just be added to the diary on MyFitnessPal and burnt off during tomorrow’s cardio. The psychological implication of such a decision so early on during the life/lift-span of a young guy -who might actually have the ability to win shows naturally if it weren’t for the odd week in Ibiza or occasional piss-up, could potentially hinder his outlook on the one thing he once enjoyed.

A lot of the problem is the fact that the fitness industry has paved the path of the seemingly  marketable/attainable physiques so much so that the fundamental knowledge and solid attitude towards training and nutrition has somehow became redundant to entities which can be bought. Even with every last ounce of information surrounding the countless training/nutrition related topics on YouTube, there will always be something promising even more results in even less time. Is there even a line that distinguishes the adulterated supplementation from the somewhat ‘extreme’ nowadays? With such contest among the masses of supplement companies, now even natural supplement brands insist on daubing their products with overly clinical terminology and bold marketing ploys to snatch every last penny from the fickle Neanderthal under the pretense of getting like Leonitus after six weeks, but looking more like Ephialtes after twelve.

I’d like to point out that the only extreme aspect of PROPER steroid use would be that they are EXTREMELY effective, that is, in conjunction with sufficient nutrition and having established a solid foundation that’s not going to wither you up to nothing when you ‘come off’ On a serious note though it would be refreshing to see people drop the whole steroid- ‘cheat/shortcut’ facade and focused on their own training and nutrition rather than stressing so much about what everyone else is “taking” It’s ridiculous how the tone of casual conversations amongst gym-goers can take such a clandestine turn when anything ending in ‘ine’ or ‘ol’ is mentioned. If you’re a seasoned lifter and are reading this in hope to mock the ‘newbies’ attitude towards the one thing that once gave you an edge over everyone, I hope you always have the motivation there to maintain a solid physique that isn’t going to be suspect when you go from stacked to average in a week.

But if you’re just starting out and are overwhelmed by the all the various attitudes and quick methods that you’re convinced will propel your efforts to ‘the next level’ just remember the that the shortcut to success is the fasttrack to failure.

Obviously I’m taking a dramatic tone when it comes to such a topic and I hope you can sense my lightheartedness despite some somewhat personal jabs, literally. But I do believe people need the realisation that having a good body will not eclipse the stresses of life, despite a short term feeling of satisfaction. If anything the personal qualities acquired from such a lifestyle usually set you up for more harm than good. Because nobody sees the pumped up chest and grainy abs when you’re a narcissistic feather of a man that would blow away in a negative wind.