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By samuel pont, Apr 2 2017 12:06PM

How to combat Over Training Syndrome (O.T.S)

If you’ve read the last post you’ll realise what a nightmare O.T.S can be on the body and your performance.

Knowing what causes OTS is just as important as recognizing the symptoms, once symptoms have begun performance will have already started to drop, and it can be a long process to claw back gains. So, *HINT* – Get on and read the previous post ☺!

1- The main issue here is to ensure that you are following a proper periodised routine. There’s too much ‘bro science’ in the world of training. ‘Going hard’ and ‘Beast Mode’ each session will leave you ultimately as sick and weak as Donald Trumps foreign Policy.

True you need to ensure adequate periods of intensity and volume or you’ll never make progress, but without scheduled in periods of lower volume and extra recovery time you’ll soon plateau and OTS will creep in.

How much recovery do you need? Well that’s as long as a piece of string. It depends on your training experience, current condition, hormonal profile, which recovery methods you are using regularly (see below) and a host of other factors. This is why it is extremely worthwhile hiring a professional to work alongside you to make sure you don’t hit these bumps in the road.

2. Sleep. Sleep is vital to performance and recovery. Much of our recovery takes place while we sleep. Vital hormones for growth and repair such as HGH (human growth hormone) pulse out while we sleep and the body is given a chance to heal and repair.

Just a slight reduction of sleep time each night can have profound affect on the recovery we experience. If you are in a hard training phase, up to 10-11 hours sleep may be indicated. One way to make up extra sleep time is napping. A quick power nap after training is always recommended ☺

3. Correct nutrition. You need to eat well to recover well. Your micronutrient balance should be always optimized if you are training hard. The RDA for many vitamins is not sufficient for most athletes. Hard daily training is not a natural state for the body to be in and requires a higher balance of many micronutrients. Supplementation here can help, especially with Zinc, Magnesium, Vitamin D3, and omega oils.

4- Sauna has been clinically proven to have a host of recovery benefits. In studies sauna has been shown boost endurance capabilities and has also been shown to reduce all cause mortality by a significant degree. This last effect is through the production of heat shock proteins that seem to have a protective effect (which is far to long and complicated to go into here!)

Sauna use has been also shown to help prevent muscle wastage in periods of injury without the use of weight training and after a fairly long sauna session growth hormone output is massively increased.

5- Cold/Ice Baths. A foul invention! I only recommend these on an irregular basis as daily ice baths have been shown to mitigate some of the inflammation response from training. Although excessive unchecked inflammation can be a bad thing we actually need some of it, as it seems this is by one of the complicated processes with which the body gets stronger and lays down muscle tissue.

That said however if I find a student has a resting pulse of over 15 beats extra per minute than normal I will recommend a couple of sessions of ice baths to help reset the Sympathetic nervous system.

6.Mobility and Yoga work. Yoga has been a saving grace for me over the last couple of years. Originally I scorned it, probably because I found it pretty tough! However the slow yoga flow I practice each day has improved my recovery from hard sparring two fold at least!

Just 20 minutes a day in the evening is enough to bring my resting pulse down back to baseline and also improves my oxygen sats (how much oxygen your blood is carrying) back to a normal level.

Often after training my SATS would be at around 97% well into the evening, after yoga these returned to baseline of 99% and you can really feel the difference, plus I get to wear cool yoga pants ☺

7. Meditation gives you plus points on all of the above recovery methods. It seems to enhance all of them. That’s purely anecdotal but I’ve seen it in many of my students too. When they start to meditate all the other methods get a +1 bonus point.

Much in the same the ice bath works, it helps calm the sympathetic nervous system reducing resting heart rate and improving heart rate variability.

8-The Gut Biome! A Healthy gut is important. The good bacteria that live in your gut is literally a whole eco system, and weighs around 2kg!

We are only just starting to realise the importance of a healthy gut biome for the immune system, psychological and physical health. There seems to be several things that are beneficial to the gut biome. First up avoiding simple sugars, starves the bad bacteria in the gut. Starving them out gives more room for the good bacteria to have a home.

Secondly adding good bacteria to the gut to bolster populations can be very beneficial. Kefir is excellent for this and is being stocked by many mainstream super markets. Also Sauerkraut is a great choice and you soon get used to the taste!

The knock on impact from both a healthy and unhealthy gut cannot be understated.

Ok so until next the next post keep strong!!

Oh yes! if you could chuck us a facebook like and a share below that would be fantastic :) Thanks

By samuel pont, Feb 27 2017 08:43AM

Over training is an insidious beast. It creeps up on you like the mold in the bathroom you never dealt with. It grows week by week and then suddenly you’re struggling to perform at anywhere near your best and your motivation is rock bottom.

Over training syndrome occurs much like mold, when you ignore the symptoms for too long you suddenly realize one day its out of control.

The end result of O.T.S (over training syndrome) is extreme lethargy, reduced immune system function- leading to frequent infections and illnesses, increased incidence of injury, low libido, depression and reduction in sporting performance – now doesn’t that all sound lovely!

So what causes O.T.S? O.T.S is caused when the body cannot adequately adapt to either the volume or intensity of training.

It most frequently occurs when the person has not followed a correct periodised routine, staging in adequate periods of recovery or has just added so much volume recovery becomes impossible.

Athletes during an over reaching phase of training, such as the fighter in the middle of a fight camp or marathon runner during the volume phase of their training are particularly susceptible.

It can also come about from the fitness newbie throwing themselves with vigor into an extreme exercise routine – one of the main reasons why extreme boot camp style training sucks!

When starting out I never recommend that people attend fitness classes (unless they are designed for the beginner) until they are not only in good physical condition, but have the motor skills to move their body correctly. Too many people are initially put off exercise because either the intensity of exercise breaks them down to a point where recovery becomes impossible, or the coaching standard is so low injury is inevitable.

What will cause O.T.S in an untrained individual is much lower than that of the conditioned athlete. Each person has their own threshold at which gains will not only diminish but also become a detriment to their physiology.

So how first can you spot O.T.S?

1. Your morning resting pulse is elevated . This is a great simple test to establish if the body is playing catch up. If your morning pulse is elevated by more than around 10 beats per minute you could probably do with some extra time off from training.

2. You’re results are diminishing even though you’re putting in extra work in the training room.

3. You’ve been susceptible to more colds and skin infections . This can also be more serious. With a reduced immune system so to does the work your body does to clear cancerous cells. You may find simple cuts and injuries also take much longer to heal.

4. Insomnia often goes hand in hand with O.T.S you may feel like you can’t sleep even though you’re exhausted.

5. Your libido may be significantly lower. Bummer right. As a man you may find that you don’t wake up..ahem hard! Testosterone can plummet if you are suffering with O.T.S (both men and women) and also women’s periods may become irregular.

6. Morning grip strength can be significantly lower. A test to see when an athlete is peaking or over training can be a baseline morning grip strength test with a dynamometer. Morning grip strength can fall as much as 40% in my experience when an athlete is red lining.

7. Lack of motivation for training and even depression can be experienced with O.T.S .This can be influenced by the fluctuation of hormones.


1.O.T.S is caused by too much training and not enough recovery.

2. The amount of training leading to O.T.S varies from person to person.

3. By sensible monitoring methods O.T.S can be prevented.

So now you know the signs what exactly can you do to combat this menace? I’ll be addressing that in the next blog post so stay frosty ☺

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By samuel pont, Aug 23 2016 09:16PM

5 reason to hire a personal trainer

Having a good personal trainer should be a life changing experience. Whether you are just starting out in fitness or are looking to employ a trainer to help you excel at your chosen sport, there are many good reasons to bring a professional on board to help.

1. A good personal trainer is an expert at what they do. If you had no idea at D.I.Y you wouldn’t attempt a loft extension by yourself. You should have no less respect for your body. An experienced personal trainer will be able to work with your distinct physiological and psychological makeup, helping you to reach any goals you may have by any routes necessary!

2. Injuries. We all have them. Whether its those dodgy creaky knees or bouts of regular back pain it would be very unusual that you wouldn’t have at least one issue as you get older. A decent coach will be able to help you work around these areas far more effectively than you would alone.

3. You’ll succeed quicker. Having an awesome PT onboard you’ll reach your goals far quicker than you would alone as you’ll not only be making the most of every session, but you’re far less likely to skip sessions too. You become accountable to someone apart from yourself. This is a two way street of course, you have to want to change but I’m sure by now you do!

4. You’ll save money. Strange as this may sound as having a good trainer isn’t what most people would class as a cheap thing to do. In the long run however you’ll save yourself more than you spend. If you add up all the failed gym memberships, exercise equipment that is never used and random harmful crash weight loss products, spent over a lifetime we are talking about big money. Not only that if you consider the financial cost of being sick from being out of shape with the increase of metabolic disease you’re definitely more than breaking even.

5. It’ll help you with more than just fitness. It’s hard to quantify this one but I think a good trainer should not just be a fitness don and nutritionist, but also part life coach, part psychologist and know their clients on a deep level inside and out. The positive benefits don’t just end with the client, each client has definitely added value to my own life.

By samuel pont, Jul 22 2016 02:29PM

Training for an adventure Race like Tough Madder!

Adventure races can be fun. They’ve filled the gap between the long drawn out marathon type endurance races and shorter cross-country sprints. They also have the added appeal of the excitement of an army type assault course, something most people have wanted to do since being a kid!

Adventure races also give the average man or woman a fairly safe environment where they can experience an element of fear that has been removed from our daily lives. In the past mankind lived a pretty brutal adrenaline filled existence, but now much of our lives have become sanitized to the point where we no longer regularly feel the ‘fight or flight’ state that would have been invoked by combat or the hunt.

For those who don’t want to immerse themselves in the martial arts or extreme sports, adventure races can be a good option to irregularly get a taste of what it would be to work through fears such as heights, submersion in water or simply pushing through fatigue.

So you’ve decided to enter an adventure race like Tough Mudder, so how do you go about training for it?

1.Don’t leave it too late. Don’t simply think one months training is enough. I would recommend a minimum of 6 months training if you want to get around the course without too much discomfort and longer if you want to race for time. Your body takes time to adapt to the stresses of training, and these don’t happen over night, as marvelous as the body is, it takes time for tendons to toughen and for your cardiovascular system to improve.

2.Don’t rush straight into long distance running. Trying to increase your distances too quickly will most definitely lead to injury. Shin splints I can tell you from experience last for years and are absolute agony. Start off by building up your tolerance with longer hilly cross-country walks interspersed with different exercises every 300 meters or so. Exercises such as burpees, pushups and static hangs of any (solid) tree branches you can find.

After a few weeks of training like this start to interval jog some of the 300-meter periods, alternating between fast walking and jogging for the distance. Gradually you will be able to jog the whole distance and complete the exercises in every 300 yards or so. Remember you won’t be running non-stop for the whole distance during the race, the obstacles break up the run into manageable sections – train specifically for what the race entails.

3.Don’t neglect training yourself to land. There will be plenty of sections in the race where you will have to jump down from various heights. Learning to land is a crucial skill most people don’t possess. Initially start from a small step and learn to repeatedly land from this height activating your core and absorbing the shock on impact. Gradually increase the height as your training progresses. It may sound like overkill but trust me; many people have been injured jumping down from different heights in nearly all race events.

4.Learn to crawl. Crawling should be a natural innate human skill, however it’s something most of us have forgotten. Crawling is usually a big part of adventure races, in the Tough Guy race I competed in, the crawling section was done not just under barbed wire through thick mud but also through a 20 meter tiny enclosed half pipe that constricted my fairly muscular frame. I was happy I’d worked on crawling, as I knew I had the endurance to pull myself through it, even with the extra drag of resistance either side.

Crawling should be built into your interval run as one of the exercises. So aim by the end of your training to be able to complete 5x50 meter crawls as part of your training run. The crawls should be varied too, working army style crawling to dragging your body along with straight legs incase you have to contend with the half pipe where you simply can’t use your legs due to the circumference of the pipe.

5.Strength train . One of the most important strength elements that will test you during the race is your ability to pull yourself up onto obstacles and also hang with your bodyweight such as on the monkey bars. Static hangs, i.e. just hanging from a bar or a branch is a great way to increase up your grip strength for this and develop strength through your back muscles and core. If you can’t manage chin-ups then recline rows are a fantastic option and are a great regression from the chin up.

I hope you enjoyed this article and it helps you in your future race preparation! If you did like it if you can click the Facebook like button below and share the article on to Facebook I would be most pleased! Until Next time Stay Strong!

By samuel pont, Jul 17 2016 11:16AM

Starting to get fit can be one of the most daunting things a person can do. It takes courage and determination to make some major changes to your life. More often than not people will talk about getting into shape but when it comes down to it will fail within the first few weeks. I’ve outlined some points below of how to drastically improve your chances of success.

1.Hire a professional. This isn’t to plug my own services but your chances of succeeding are far greater if you employ a professional to help you. A good personal trainer is not cheap, however the long-term health benefits will save you more money in the long term. Consider this- if you were going to try to rebuild the engine of your car, would you be better off buying a manual and trying to do it yourself or pay a good mechanic who will do the job much better and quicker than you ever could hope to.

2.Don’t go in too fast. Small changes initially are what most people need to prevent them from resenting the lifestyle changes. Often when it comes to nutrition I’ll get my clients to at first just give me one meal a day that I am in control of. When they start to feel the benefit of this small change I’ll take control of another meal and some extra training. Slow steady progress beats rapid failure each time.

3.Get a decent support network. If you haven’t got a great personal trainer then a decent support network is a must. You need people around you to support any fat loss or fitness goals, as a resentful partner has been the end of many people’s aspirations of lifestyle change. If possible get your partner or friends on the journey with you.

4.Don’t neglect recovery, rest and relaxation. Its sounds odd but a key component to fitness and health are these three R’s. Without enough of each of these fat loss actually can slow right down to skidding stop. When you’re stressed, not sleeping enough or over worked then your body will release more cortisol into your body, which can promote extra fat gain, especially around the belly area.

5.Don’t stop starting again. We all fail and we all quit sometimes. The most important thing is to not stop restarting. That is only when you have truly failed is when you stop giving it another crack of the whip. A wise man once said ‘if you want to double your chances of success, then you have to triple your failure rate’. Success isn’t built on a linear ascent, its built on the experience of many failures. Don’t quit!

Stay Strong! Sam.

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