“I work out two or three times a week and I’d say I’m pretty fit, but I’ve always wondered if I’d benefit from using a PT. Worth the money? – Joe, via email.”
Well of course I’m going to be biased here, but I believe there are very few people out there who wouldn’t benefit from some fitness coaching. The trick is to find a good PT, one that isn’t just someone who’ll write a programme for you. You need one who knows how your body works, where you have tightness in your muscles, what exercise progression is right for you and they can then pinpoint your weaknesses, help improve your form and motivate you to push yourself. What I would say is that if you are looking for a PT you have to be in it for the long haul and willing to invest in yourself, a PT is there to teach and help you to improve. Any exercise programme in a magazine or website is as good as a programme blindly written by a PT.
“I’ve been travelling a lot recently with work, which means it’s hard maintaining my fitness routines. any tips to help tide me over? – Mark, via Facebook”
Bodyweight training is the way to go for you. Purchasing a portable pull-up bar and a resistance band is a brilliant way to train. Remember your primal movement patterns of horizontal pushing and pulling, vertical pushing and pulling, squatting, lunging, hingeing and twisting and search online for exercises that would challenge you for 8-10 reps with good form. A full-body routine of three sets of each movement pattern will be enough to keep you in shape. Using the Tabata protocol of 20s of 90% effort work (press ups, jumping/sprinting, lunging etc) followed by 10s rest repeated 6-10 times is also a great way to burn fat and ramp up your metabolism for days after.
“I’m always sore after a workout. sometimes it’s not the day after, but the day after that. is it really ‘no pain, no gain’, I’m in pieces?! – Tan, via email”
Soreness after training is normal but if you’re experiencing it after every single session that isn’t always a good thing. Here are a few ways to combat the soreness: foam rolling before and after sessions helps improve blood flow to muscles to shuttle nutrients in and toxins out. Stretching before and after training does the same. Make sure you’re eating enough food to refuel your muscles, if you’re not eating enough your muscles won’t heal, this means you won’t get stronger and your workouts will always be pushing your muscles to the limit, you should be aiming to increase weights every three weeks or so, if you can’t do this you’re not eating enough! Sleep is also very important, your body releases a growth hormone as you sleep which helps to heal and build new muscle, people lifting regularly need eight or nine hours per night, naps will also help too! Supplementing your diet and training with Creatine and BCAA’s will also give your muscles extra fuel to perform and should help too. If you try to implement all of these and you are still aching every session you should consider consulting your GP.
“The question everybody wants answers at this time of year – what is the best way to detox? – Tom, via email”
The festive season can wreak havoc on your liver. Firstly, remember to drink at least a litre of water every day, especially if you have been drinking alcohol the night before. The supplement milk thistle assists your liver with the detox and removing toxins. If you want to detox properly, water is the best substance and remember, you must steer clear of alcohol completely. Also it’s wise to avoid tea, coffee, sugary foods, sweet drinks, fried food, cheese, and fatty meat. You must eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. Try to make sure the source is organic; broccoli, kale, cabbage, onions and garlic. Carrot juice and celery with nettle tea will be necessary. Eat fibre-rich foods such as wholegrain rice, too. Taking a shot of Aloe Vera a day whilst you are flushing out the toxins will also help. It is probably a good idea to up your vitamin C intake, so maybe 3 x 1g tablets a day for a week. Then reduce it to 1 a day. Combining MSM with vitamin C and water is great for hangovers, but the best thing I have found is to stir a heaped tsp of glutamine powder (about 5g) into a glass of water and drink it before going to bed.
“In my job I have to deal with people that have usually suffered a shock, is there anything I could be suggesting to them to help in this situation? James, via email”
Shock in itself releases a large amount of adrenalin irrespective of the causative nature. They will need to take some time to come down and relax. Ensure an intake of 3g vit C, 2 vit B complex tablets and 300mg of magnesium during the course of the following day. Valerian is extremely relaxing but can be soporific, so may be better to use during the night to help get a good night’s sleep. The best herb, kava kava, is no longer available in the UK although, but is available in the US.
“My girlfriend keeps dropping hints to me that my eyebrows are starting to merge into one. can I really get away with starting to pluck them now? I don’t want people to suddenly notice the change. – John, via email”
Don’t be afraid to tweezer the odd hair here and there. It’s unlikely anyone will notice. Start by removing any strays that seem to have sprouted in the middle of your brow, at the top of your nose. Don’t be afraid to ask your barber to trim them a little too…sometimes with age they can get a little bushy as well. Importantly, don’t try to wax or use hair removal cream at home, unless you want to look like Lily Savage.
“I am a guy in my early thirties and have started to notice crow’s feet around my eyes, a mate suggested buying one of those eye roll-ons.can you tell me if it’s worth the money or should I just accept the signs of ageing. – Fred, 32, via email”
With any eye cream or gel, you have to manage your expectations. It is unlikely you will find a product that will reverse signs of ageing without breaking the bank, but you can manage and prevent. At your age, starting to use a roll on now will help to moisturise and plump the delicate skin around your eye area and reduce the early signs. Prevention is always better than cure. On the plus side, eye roll-ons are great for helping you feel more refreshed and reducing the look of tiredness.