By samuel pont, Apr 25 2018 05:58PM

We all love to get the most amount of training in as possible right? However sometimes our love of the relentless grind of lifting , sport or competing can start to take a toll on an otherwise healthy body. Unless we sufficiently recover from our training sessions then your body will not make the due adaptations needed for results. We just end up compromising our immune , muscular and neurological systems and results at best can stagnate and at worst start rolling backwards!

Below is a simple table I’ve compiled that can be very handy when monitoring your own training or your clients recovery . You want the balance sheet day by day to total a 0 score . If you end up training more than an hour then of course this equates to more points .

A quick word on cryotherapy though . If you are using cryotherapy on a regular basis you may want to rethink how you use it . Recent studies have shown cryotherapy can reduce the adaptation phase after training so may reduce the physiological benefits of a regular Training session. So it may be worth using the day or two before a sporting competition to ensure you are totally recovered or after a big event , but maybe not so indicated after regular training sessions. When using the sauna be sure to replenish with electrolytes after too.

Please feel free to share this post to anyway you feel may benefit and gives us a thumbs up below and until next time keep strong - Sam.

Training for one hour + 10 points

Sleeping less than 7 hours + 5 points

Consumption of Alcohol + 5 points

-5 points 20 minute yoga session

-5 points 20 minute mobility session

-5 points 20 minute sauna

-5 points - regular cryotherapy session

-5 points 20 minutes of meditation

-10 points massage with a therapist

By samuel pont, Mar 27 2018 06:21PM

5 Easy Hacks for Health

The saying goes ‘ you haven’t got anything, unless you’ve got your health’ and in terms of universal truths, it’s kind of up there with the most important.

As Virgil said, ‘ The greatest wealth is health.’

So I’ve compiled 5 easy things you can do this week to get your health back on track.

1. Quit the sugar. If there is one piece of advice that will make a profound difference to your overall health, it is drastically cutting down or eliminating simple sugars from your diet. Sugar is not only a major factor in weight gain, but in many studies has been proven to create an inflammatory state within the body. Why is this bad? Well excessive inflammatory states are not only linked to weight gain and bad joints, but a whole host of diseases ranging from dementia, heart disease and diabetes. 1.It also feeds the bad bacteria in your gut (see below). So quit it! If you do nothing else make a commitment today to at least half the amount of sugar you consume.

2. Sort out your gut biome. Gut health is drastically important for overall health. Only now are we seeing research come through linking how important good gut bacteria is for mental health, the immune system and even testosterone production. Naturally most of us would have a good balance of gut bacteria, however with our heavy sugar diets and harmful courses of antibiotics our good gut bacteria has taken a battering. So what can you do about it? Cutting out the sugar above is one step, as it will allow the good gut bacteria to take hold. Also creating a good environment within which it can thrive is essential. It is like laying down the manure for the seeds to take hold in. Do this by eating oats, beans and mixed veg, and you’ll be well on the way to creating a lovely environment within which they can flourish. The next step is to help things along a little with pro-biotic type foods. I try to have one pro-biotic type food a day. Kefir, Kombucha, sauerkraut and pro-biotic natural yogurt are all good choices. I make sure to have one of these per day and sometimes all three.

3. Turn off that light! Sleep is massively important to your endocrine system. If you don’t get the right sort of sleep and enough of it, your hormonal system will suffer, as will your recovery from exercise and training. One of the banes of our modern existence is light. Light from our phones, tablets and computers is wreaking havoc with our sleep patterns as they emit what is known as ‘blue light’. This blue light is known to be a massive sleep disruptor. 2.Most modern phones and computers now come with a blue light blocking function, so make sure this is switched on at least two hours before bedtime. Better still put down the electronics during this time instead and relax.

4. Sauna. Sauna in many studies has been proven to create a host of health benefits. Studies have proven that weekly sauna use has great cardiovascular benefits and can also boost growth hormone by an astronomical percent. Not only that, further studies have proven that independent of all other factors weekly sauna use decreased all death mortality by a staggering 63%. 3. Scientists believe this may be down to ‘heat shock proteins’ that are released during sauna use that has a protective effect on our physiology.

5. Do some training (but not too much). Exercise is obviously important for health. Simply having extra muscle on your body, again independent of other factors, has been proven in older age to reduce all cause mortality! However it is important to not over do it. Long drawn out sessions- over 1 hour, do nothing for improving health. Longer sessions can create an excessive inflammatory state that’s hard to recover from and can also start to erode your immune system. Check out my other article on over training below for the detrimental effects of hitting it too hard and too often. A few hard shorter intense sessions a week is enough. Balance this out with some lighter recovery work such as gentle yoga sessions and you’re on to a winning combination.

If you’ve enjoyed this article please share on social media and click the like button below!

Until next time Stay Strong


1. Sugar- and Artificially Sweetened Beverages and the Risks of Incident Stroke and Dementia: A Prospective Cohort Study.Department of Neurology (M.P.P., J.J.H., A.S.B., H.J.A., C.L.S., S.S.) and Sections of Preventive Medicine and Epidemiology, Department of Medicine (R.S.V), Boston University School of Medicine

2.Timing of light exposure affects mood and brain circuits* Laboratory of Genetics, Salk institute for Biological Studies, La Jolla, CA, USA.2015.

3.Tanjaniina Laukkanen, Hassan Khan, Francesco Zaccardi, Jari A. Laukkanen. Association Between Sauna Bathing and Fatal Cardiovascular and All-Cause Mortality Events. JAMA Internal Medicine, 2015

By samuel pont, Mar 20 2018 07:08PM

Can You Build Muscle Using Kettlebells?

Kettlebells are like the Swiss army knives of training gear. With one tool you can complete a myriad of different exercises that exceeds the number you can do with dumbbells or barbells. You can also work all elements of fitness at once, strength, speed, cardio and flexibility. They really are an essential element to any fitness routine.

However when people think of kettlebells they don’t automatically think of using them to gain muscle. This however is a mistake.

Like the old phrase says ‘it isn’t what you got it’s how you use it!’

Kettlebells after all said and done are just a weight with the handle in a different location (which in itself opens up an array of different exercises). Building muscle with kettlebells can be done just as easily as with regular weights. In fact kettlebells offer some distinct advantages to the goal of muscle building. This isn’t to say there aren’t some negative points too but I’ll address these as we go along.

Some Points of building Muscle with Kettlebells.

1.Kettlebells keep constant tension on the muscle throughout many lifts. Keeping tension on the selected muscle is a central tenet of bodybuilding and hypertrophy. Kettlebells do this during the curl, press, chest fly and shoulder press. The kettlebell during these movements as it is constantly hanging on the back of the forearm keeps the targeted muscle under load, much in the same way a cable would but with the added stimulus of being a free-weight. With a dumbbell the weight at the top of these movements drops off as the weight is raised perpendicular to ground. The kettlebell keeps pulling on the muscle so there is no rest point and full complete range can be completed.

Try a set of curls or chest-flys with dumbbells then give it a go with kettlebells of the same weight. You’ll feel a pump and burn like you’ve never experienced.

2-Because of the unusual shape, kettlebells can be used for a variety of other lifts ranging from the triple crush, crucifix to hot potato to name just a few! Which will keep your muscles growing from new and unusual angles.

Swings are obviously the central movement and can only really be conducted well with a kettlebell. Swings are great for hamstring development. Hit a heavy set of high rep swings and superset with one leg deadlifts and your hamstrings will be screaming murder!

3- One of drawbacks of using kettlebells is that you need to have access to a good set of them to start packing on the muscle. Another key tenet of building muscle is the aspect of progression. Without progression and increase in weight session by session; building muscle can slow to a stop. You can initially get around this by focusing on slowing down both the concentric (lifting phase) and negative (lowering phase) aspects of your lifts right down.

This will fatigue the muscle deeply and will work for a while,but a decent set of kettlebells is always worth investing in. They will be with you for life.

4-One of the most important factors why kettlebells can be great for building muscle is that they can always be with you at home. There is zero excuse not to train (unless of course your sick/dead). A key factor in putting on muscle is consistency. Inconsistent heavy work in the gym is no match for consistent hard work daily at home with kettlebells. You’ll also save time. As soon as you get back from work you can pick up the bells and release the stress of the day.

So the take home is this. Kettlebells can be either an awesome addition to a standard gym training routine, or a decent standalone method for building muscle at home. However consider investing in a decent number of them to keep your gains coming!

If you’ve liked this article if you can click the Facebook like button below that’d be great! Check out the other articles in the Blog section too. Until next time stay strong.Sam.

By samuel pont, Mar 11 2018 08:56PM

Diastasis Recti or D.R for short is a condition that can happen in up to 50% of all pregnancies. It is where the abdominals post birth do not fully come back again towards the midline, leaving a fairly thick protrusion out from the abdominal wall. A split that is anything more than two fingers thick post birth is defined as D.R.

The split allows the internal organs to bulge forward through the abdominals, which can be felt as a hard thick line between the abs or like a small loaf of bread. So why is D.R an issue more than just an aesthetic one?

Unfortunately apart from looking unusual D.R can create a host of physical issues such as, chronic back pain, incontinence, constipation and painful intercourse.

So how do we fix diastasis recti? The best way is develop a strong core and body before pregnancy. If you have developed a strong base before pregnancy you should continue to exercise throughout your pregnancy however there are many adaptations in your routine you will have to make. An experienced personal trainer best oversees this, in particular one who has the knowledge or pre and postnatal training. Developing a strong body before pregnancy has been shown to reduce the incidence of D.R. and maintaining that throughout the pregnancy is advised but again adaptations have to be made. I’m not going to cover the adaptations to a strength routine in this post, rather just cover which core exercises you should be avoiding as you get larger.

To reduce the chances of getting D.R and it persisting or indeed to help treat D.R please see the video I have made below with a great breathing technique to help train your abdominals to knit back together. Unfortunately in some cases the split is too large to treat with exercise alone so surgery may be indicated, so please always check with your health care provider. Below are some things you should do to avoid and treat diastasis recti.

1.Develop a strong core before the pregnancy. Consider hiring a personal trainer to help you do this.

2.Avoid weighted forward flexion exercises as soon as you know you are pregnant. Weighted cable crunches etc. Avoid core movements that place too much stress on the anterior core compartment such as crunches sit ups and excessive planking. Avoid movements such as burpees and chin ups until a good 10-12 months post-partum. These place too much stress again on the anterior core compartment and so can increase the chance of D.R. Even pushups should take a back seat for a while , work instead on low stress T.V.A work and stabilsation through the waist during light - moderate weight training.

3.Work on ‘belly breathing’ and the core exercise as shown in the video below.This can be conducted pre conception to help establish correct neurological control of the core. During pregnancy it can still be practiced, however keeping the draw in only to around a slight pull inwards at a slight tummy tuck inwards. Post birth this breathing technique can be worked a little deeper with a stronger contraction inwards.

If you’ve liked this article please share to your social networks and click the like Facebook like button below!

Click here to go to video on how to fix Diastasis Recti.

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

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