30 kg Fat Loss.. and still going..

I have worked in the Fitness industry for a long time and witnessed that many people state they want change, but most lack the guts and commitment. But every now and then you get someone that commits whole-heartedly, grinds it out and you see magic happen and I never cease to get a huge buzz out of it. This is an extremely powerful process if one chooses to stop making excuses and walk this path.

My second cousin Bryce, came to Sydney a year ago at around 114 kgs and contacted me and stated he wanted to make some changes. I told him I would help him out but whether he was my cousin or not, that if he wasted my time then I would never help him again. Years of being in the industry resulted in pretty strict boundaries and my pet hate is having my time wasted. So we discussed structure, psychology, habits, alcohol, life, food choices and I took him to the gym.

In the time since then, I have progressively watched this guy lose a jaw-dropping amount of weight. Literally he has shaved over 30 kgs off his frame bit by bit, over the course of 1 year. No stupid fads, no get ripped for summer crap, no calorie void starvation diets, just a good old fashioned life change, with exercise, healthy food and positive lifestyle choices.

Not only has he continually won my admiration but he has most certainly gained my respect. LET ME BE CLEAR: This guy didn’t have paid Personal Training sessions each week and he only recently hit up boot camp. Bryce is an example to us all and shows the amazing things that come from realizing our personal power (that we all have and the amazing things that can happen if we have the balls to dare and use it). Losing my shit (in a good way) over how damn good this guy is looking, awesome!

Sleep Hacking: 1 simple way to dramatically increase your sleep quality!

Picture of Baby Sleeping

Blue light from smart phones and computers can dramatically affect sleep quality, by effecting your circadian rhythm (sleep/wake cycle). Thus using computers and smartphones in the evening, can negatively affect your ability to fall asleep and your overall sleep quality.

Here is the solution: Download Flux – Its Free! Flux automatically shifts the colour spectrum of your computer in accordance with the time of day. This simple change can have a dramatic effect on sleep quality, for example when you have to work on your computer in the evenings (which I often do). I have been using it for years and it is something that I always recommend to clients.

In terms of your mobile that is a little trickier, you can get glasses that block the blue light spectrum and as a means to combat this (just google).

Tagged with: ,

How many carbs should you consume?

Photo of a lean mid-section

Society loves to polarise carbs, some people love them, some people hate them. But the reality is if you want to get lean, carbs are one of the first things that you want to manipulate, if you go too low you will be weak and zombie-like, too high and you won’t lean out and or worse you will accumulate fat.

At ESF we are not a proponent of consistently low carbs. Carbs play an important role in digestion, hormonal output and hypertrophy, that is why you want some in your diet. Thus the secret is: the right carbs, in the right amounts, at the right times (and not all every meal).

Whether putting muscle on, maintaining or leaning out, Carb volume should be a function of 4 things:

  1. How much body fat you currently have, more body fat = less carbs.
  2. How genetically carb tolerant you are. Better carb tolerance = more carbs.
  3. The amount and type of activity that you do. If you work an office job and don’t exercise, you will need substantially less carbs then a construction site worker that weight-trains 3-times a week
  4. Your goals: eg. Fat loss mean less carbs.

Teaching our clients about the correct amount of carbs for their lifestyle and genetics is key to their success. Understanding these 4 points and how to apply them to your life, will be the key to yours.

Dr. Mark Hyman discussing cutting food addiction

In this video Dr. Mark Hyman briefly addresses how to cut food addiction. He opens by stating that sugar and food can light up your brain in the same ways that cocaine and heroin can. Looking at this, is it any wonder that so many people regularly consume low quality and highly stimulatory foods?

When people start approaching food with the understanding that it either benefits or hinders the body, irrespective of how their tongue/brain perceive it, then they will be stepping one step closer to living healthier lives.

Note: The food requirements that we suggest for an individual involved in weight training and/or serious exercise are more pronounced but the same principles still apply.

What’s on your plate this morning?

Photo of dinner plate saying "what's for breakfast"

Eating cereals and grains for breakfast is a very poor way to start the day. Whilst this tends to be an unquestionable tradition for most Anglos, it proves to have a very poor outcome for both your cognitive alertness and body composition.

High carb meals like cereals prompt the body to produce insulin which then has the knock on effect of making you tired and sleepy, which is a poor state for the morning. Switching to a high protein breakfast with high levels of healthy fats, will help you start off the day with steady energy levels and a crisp mental state.

Furthermore recent research suggests that when the body is first given glucose in the morning as a fuel source, it gets locked into wanting to burn glucose for the day (cravings anyone?). Choosing to have a healthy fat/protein breakfast, instead prompts the body to burn fat. From this initial state the body can switch throughout the day from burning glucose (when you eat some carbs) and back to burning fat, a process which has been dubbed ‘metabolic flexibility‘. Our experience both personally and preparing our athletes for competitions shows that this had been a very effective addition in getting athletes leaner whilst maintaining excellent mental alertness.

Want an interesting read check out Strength Sensei (aka Charles Poliquin’s) post here regarding his approach to the most important meal of the day. It is well worth the quick read and also tackles variety.


An Update

Eastside Fitness with be going down to Tasmania to see our friends at PROTRAINING to engage in some training at their facility and to exchanging competition preparation strategies. We can’t wait. Be sure to check out our up & coming posts about this.

Also, have noticed that there has been less content of late? That’s because come the end of semester, naturally the volume of content slows down due to assessments and exams, but the posts will be being ramped up again soon.

Sugar: Is it as addictive as cocaine?

I often tout my concerns about the very big societal issue of frequent and high sugar consumption and I specifically wrote a post referring to how people’s brains have been hijacked.

I want to continually draw attention to this issue, as I believe that it is one of the biggest issues facing society today. So to continue that focus: You will find Dr. Mark Hyman in the video, briefly addressing the issue.

What’s in your trolley?

What's in your trolley?

The trolley items on the left were from the Eastside Fitness food shop from this evening and the items on the right were from the lady in front of us.

So let’s make a comparison of the two:

The ideal shopping trolley for a good body composition (the one on the left):

Lean meats, nuts, and vegetables most of which are leafy greens. Basically a paleo shop (true paleo, not BS paleo cakes and crap).

The ‘bad body composition’ shopping trolley (on the right):

Crackers, biscuits, cereals, honey, bread, chocolate ice cream topping. In summary no protein, no veggies and all carbs. This shopping trolley is the ideal shopping trolley for a skinny actor that had to play the role of a sumo wrestler in an up and coming movie, or someone who’s goal was to be a diabetic by the middle of their life.

Moral of the story, you are what you eat and as Charles Poliquin once said “If you want to look like a pyramid, then eat like the (food) pyramid”, in other words eat a diet with a foundation of carbs.

If this trolley looks like your trolley and you are not happy with your body composition and/or your health, then maybe it is time to chat to us and make a life change.

All the best,

The Eastside Fitness Team



Tagged with: , , ,

7 reasons why a low-cost 24-hour gym isn’t for you!

No Culture No Future

It goes without saying that the most recent and dramatic change in the Health & Fitness sector in the past couple of years is the entry and saturation of the low-cost, low-service, 24-hour model gym model from which Jetts and Anytime Fitness are the most recognised.

For an experienced trainer like myself that has numerous certifications and 15+ years of training experience, for the most part these 24-hour gyms are very suitable, as I do not need any instruction and my only requirement is facilities. Thus I am able to access these facilities any day of the year (like boxing day, and yes I train on boxing day) at a substantially low-cost.

Whilst I know a few people that have my training experience, they tend to be of a similar pedigree (trainer and/or compete) and thus do not reflect the typical members of these low cost gyms. In fact nor do they (in my experience) reflect the trainers in these low-cost gyms.

The typical member is looking to get in shape, doesn’t have a lot of experience, knowledge, nor do they have a lot of know-how. So these members are most disadvantaged by the low-cost, low-service model and let me explain why:

1. The staff/trainers spend little time on the floor:

One of the key ways for members to learn and be corrected traditionally was through trainers and through staff interaction on the gym floor, though in every low-cost gym I have trained at, the trainers spend more time in the PT office on Facebook then they do out training themselves and interacting with and assisting members. Literally the only time I have observed them on the floor is when they have a PT session. I always found this odd, as being on the floor not only benefits members and adds to the culture but is also an excellent way for trainers to get exposure to potential clients!

2. The trainers have a poor knowledge base:

With the onslaught of 3 month PT courses, the industry is awash with poorly trained PTs that lack any education past their initial certification. You only need to question a trainers understanding of anatomy and you will start to see serious deficits in most modern trainer’s understanding. I recently observed a trainer that had his teenage client doing Farmer’s Walks, which is a pretty poor return on investment for a skinny little kid if you ask me. This poor knowledge base is further reflected in poor client advice, poor client training and ultimately poor client results. This should be a serious concern for most members as their personal knowledge is where they lack and where they stand to gain the most.

3. There seems to be a general lack of mentoring:

I have also observed a poor level of mentoring. Even with existing training experience, when a trainer is first certified they are still very “green” and require a lot of mentoring in all areas. In fact no matter the currently skill level, all trainers require ongoing mentoring through out their careers, if they want to progress and develop professionally. Oddly enough, I have not observed this once in the few low-cost gyms that I have (frequently) attended.

4. Managers and staff do not train themselves:

What does it say about a gym, if the staff do not train? It has been stated that a business is a reflection of the owner and the staff, so if they don’t train themselves, how can they connect with their members, understand their needs and what does this say about the business as a whole?

5. The business is run like a vending machine:

In the low-cost gym in which I train, in spite of my frequent requests over the past year, they are unable to spend another $200 on another barbell. This means that if a member wants to deadlift then they have to remove a bar from the squat rack or squat cage, which means other members have to sit around idol and wait. When I got rather vocal about this (after waiting 20 minutes for the bar to be returned to the squat rack so I could squat), the manager replied “But we have just bought the vending machine”. I immediately thought: what are we a gym or a snack company? Secondly the vending machine enables them to profit further from members, when a barbell is seen as just another expense. Furthermore a vending machine is how these gyms are run, no money in, nothing out. If you are new to exercise and require nurturing, is this really the environment you want to be in?

6. There is no gym culture:

This ties into all the other points: Low quality trainers, non-training staff, no staff presence on the floor, a business run like a vending machine, then it goes without saying that there is zero, sometimes even a negative and hostile culture in these low-cost gyms. As a recent example, I asked a trainer if he and his client were using the bench, from which he replied “yes”, I then went onto observe that he was not using it for anything other then to rest the barbell on for his client, which left me puzzled as to why he was incapable of just passing the 15kg barbell to his client?! If you need a spot or want to workout in a busy exercise environment where people need to share equipment, which we all do in a shared gym space, then a lack of culture will get you no where.

7. Members don’t respect the space, equipment or other members:

Again this ties into all the other all points, where there is a lack on all regards people will do what they want, which in my experience results in frequently disgusting and/or broken bathroom facilities, equipment that is misplaced or equipment that is rarely unloaded or returned. Sure I can remove 8 plates-a-side off the Leg Press, but how about an elderly female?!

If you are thinking about joining a gym don’t have existing knowledge base and experience, I would strongly argue that the low-cost model is not for you.

In the end it is up to you, but as the saying goes “You get what you pay for”.

Tagged with: , ,

Why being overweight makes you a bitch!

eCard for Aromatase Article

Ok now that I have got your attention, I will correct the title to: Why being overweight makes you a bitch (hormonally)!

Increasing body fat levels are accompanied by increasing levels of aromatase, which means a hormonal shift to being comparatively more “feminine”. To explain: Aromatase is an enzyme that converts androgens to estrogens and thus by having increased aromatase activity will result in comparatively higher levels of estrogens (dubbed the “female hormone”).

Having more estrogen means that you are comparatively  more prone to developing cancer, but also from a body composition standpoint you are also more prone to fat storage and will also find it harder to lose body fat. It is a vicious circle, more fat, more aromatase, more estrogen, more prone to fat storage and the cycle continues. Hence the title of the post.

To understand this mechanism, at Eastside Fitness we suggest that all out clients have a read of: Know your body: Aromatase