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Issue 11 – Ask the Experts

Issue 11 – Ask the Experts


experts header, issue 12, bestfit

“I’m off on holiday later this summer and I don’t fancy looking like I’ve got two loose threads hanging from my shorts. how can I build up my legs to match my guns?!” – Nick, via email

Leg training should be a staple part of your training programme all-year round. Too little too late is not the right way to go about this. That said, if you have a couple of months you can still add some serious size and strength to those pipe cleaners! Train with compound movements like squats, deadlifts, split squats, sled pushing, lunges and stiff-legged deadlifts.

Do three sessions per week and look at doing 12-16 sets of leg weights in each session. Make sure you do some single leg work in there. Eat plenty of protein and get ready for some soreness!

“I always look at the fellas doing pull-ups with a bit of jealousy. I’m nervous about trying them in a gym in front of people. how do I get started?” –  Will, via email

The best way to get started is simply… to get started! Start with lowers; jump up to the top and lower yourself down over 3-5 seconds. Do 5 reps. Then you can do holds; literally pick a position in the pull-up, either the top or part way down, and hold for 5 seconds. Finally, use resistance bands. Loop one around the pull-up bar and around your foot or knee and this will assist you on the way up and down. Do 3 sets of 6-8 reps of each, three times a week and at the start of every session try to do 1 rep on your own, too. In around six weeks you’ll be doing a set of six by yourself.

“A mate of mine raves about pyramid training. what is it and should I be doing it?” – Ben, via email.

Pyramid training is where the weight increases with each set and typically you would do less repetitions. Then you come back down and finish where you started. So, for example, you would do something like the following:

  • 100kg x 8 reps
  • 110kg x 6 reps
  • 120kg x 3 reps
  • 130kg x 1 rep
  • 120kg x 3 reps
  • 110kg x 6 reps
  • 100kg x 8 reps

It’s a good way to warm-up to big weights and then get some volume on the way down again. If you’re goal is maximal strength you would need to stay at the top for a number of sets to get that stress through the body. If you’re more concerned with muscle mass then it would play it’s part for that reason, to allow you to get the volume though the muscles.

experts- nutrition, issue 12, bestfit

“Summer is almost here and I always suffer badly with reactions to insect bites. is there anything I can do to calm them down?” – Sharon, via email.

Insect bites cause a classic histamine reaction, which isolates the poison and results in an itchy lump. You can apply MSM cream or Aloe Vera direct to soothe the itching. Vitamin C can act as an anti-histamine, if you take 1g every hour for the first three hours after being bitten. If you need any extra information, there are two articles on my blog: www.medicinalkitchen.wordpress.com. The first is about natural remedies for relieving allergies, the other refers to hints and tips for you to follow on holiday.

experts-alcahol“I drink infrequently but when I do I get a rash with wine and beer, but not spirits or champagne. is this an allergy?” – Scott via email

It could be a sensitivity to yeast. Wine and beer contain yeast but spirits don’t. Do you react to any other items such as bread, mushrooms, Marmite or sauerkraut? There are some signs of intolerance in dry patches around the nose, cheeks and eyebrows. You may well need to get an allergy test to confirm. You could also check for Candida Albicans, which could increase the sensitivity to yeast and which can give you sugar cravings, a white-coated tongue, fatigue and sometimes joint pain and stiffness.

“I have been told and seen in adverts that frozen vegetables are better than fresh ones for vitamins, is this true?” – Mark, via email

There is marginal loss of vitamins from freezing food. There is also a slight loss on storing and then defrosting, which is usually around 10 to 20% of nutrients depending on storage time. There can then be an additional loss from cooking; boiling, for example, can lose 20% giving a 40% total loss from frozen to plate. Fresh peas do not go through this process, so they would be best. Just consider how long it is between you eating foods from them being picked.


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