“The other place where a lot of people go wrong is that they want to build the upper body, so they neglect their legs, which are the biggest muscle group in the body. Legs definitely do need training if you want to increase overall body mass, even in the upper body. That’s why you should incorporate full-body movements and exercises such as deadlifts, squats, bench presses, shoulder presses, which are called compound exercises because they use several muscle groups to perform the movement. When you’re doing a squat, you’re using your quads, hamstrings, inner thighs, glutes, lower back and core to perform that movement. That promotes a really good response to muscle growth.
“For fat loss, I would say a lot of people fall into the habit of just hammering the cardio. If you are the person who has just been doing a lot of cardio to lose weight, mix it up with some weighted exercises. When you do a cardio session such as running, pretty much as soon as you’ve stopped that session, you’re going to stop burning as many calories; if you do a weighted session, you’re promoting slight tears in the muscle groups, which your body has to repair after you finish training, which requires burning calories. If you fall in the trap of just doing lots of cardio, then try and put in maybe one or two weight sessions into your week.
“If you’re looking to improve fitness and strength, set a workout at the start of your training regime. That might be 50 burpees, 50 press-ups, 50 squats, 50 sit-ups and doing three rounds timed. Then do your training regime and then retest that at the end of a six-week block. This means you’re not just going into the gym, hammering yourself doing random stuff all the time and not really testing if you’re getting any fitter. If you do that test at the start, have a good six weeks of training and you’ve cut two minutes off your time, then you’ve know you’ve increased your fitness.”
How to change your nutrition for your goals
“If you want to lose weight, it very much comes down to calories. MyFitnessPal is really good just to track exactly how many calories you should be eating. Also make sure you’re getting a nice split between your fats, protein and carbs. Aim for maybe 40/40/20: 40 per cent protein, 40 per cent carbs, 20 per cent fat and then just make sure that you are not having too many calories within a day, which is the most important thing. You could have the perfect split of macros, but if you have too many calories you’re not gonna lose the weight.
“It’s similar for the muscle burning side. Obviously, you want to be having a lot more calories than what you would do if you were on a weight-loss journey. But it’s still really important to track how many calories you’re having, with a similar split for macros, it’s just that your calorie intake will be a lot higher. The most important thing is you’ve got to be willing to put on some fat, because you’re going to need an excessive calorie intake to put on the muscle. You’re not going to necessarily maintain your perfect six pack while trying to build that muscle up, because you just need the amount of calories to sustain that muscle building.”
How to keep your mental health in check
“Really easy tell-tale signs that your mental health is suffering on a fitness journey are if you’re out at a restaurant at the weekend and you don’t want to eat any of the food or you take your own food or say no to social occasions because you can’t eat their specific diet. Those steps are important if you want to be a physique model or if you want to go on stage and win a physique competition. That’s the sacrifice you’ve got to make. If you’re just the average Joe who wants to lose weight, then you don’t have to be that extreme. If you’re turning down social events or you’re in the gym two or three times a day, or if you’re someone who gets grumpy if they don’t go to the gym, I think they’re really easy tell-tale signs that you’re being too intense with it.