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  • Donald "Cowboy"Cerrone touches down in Boston.

    Donald CerroneDonald "Cowboy" Cerrone will face Benson Henderson in UFC Boston this Sunday, January 18th.

  • 5 Post-Holiday Weight Loss Tips

    CM3R8979         Bryn Lewis; Fitness and Conditioning Coach, Nutritionist

    During the holiday season many of us tend to overindulge in our favorite foods which are more often than not unhealthy and this is usually combined with lots of alcoholic beverages.  However, this is increase in your calorie intake can lead to you feeling sluggish afterward your holiday and this is a platform for some ‘short term’ weight gains.

    Yes, that is right short term weight gains because when you have finished celebrating you need to get back onto the horse and detox your body.  By following these five simple steps you will detox your body and increase your metabolism, so that you are burning off those extra calories that put into your body. By using these simple remedies straight after your holiday and you will start to see some weight loss results pretty quickly because your body will be in a healthy cleansed state. Here goes........

    1.Say Hello to Your Liver!

    You probably forget about your liver but its health is absolutely vital to you losing the weight that you have just gained. Your liver is the brain organ of the body and it helps to remove toxins, breakdown fats and to regulate the fat burning hormones. Therefore, when you overload your liver during your holidays it can cause an excess of toxins to build up and this can lead to inflammation in the body and weight gain. If the liver is working to its capacity when breaking down all of the beverages and food that you have consumed without any rest bite; then it begins to store body fat especially around the abdominal area.

    The solution is to flush out your liver with some milk thistle or Oil of Oregano. In addition, you can add some fresh lemon in 500 milliliters of hot water and drink it with every meal.

    2. Detox Your Kidneys

    To run effectively your body needs you drink the right amount of water on a daily basis. Everything within your body runs more sluggishly and not as effectively when in adequate water has been taken on board. One of water’s main roles is to boost blood flow to your cells and major organs within the body; this increases oxygen delivery and helps with the removal of the dreaded toxins.  The kidneys can hold onto these toxins and this can cause weight gain and some lifestyle illnesses. Ideally you should be drinking half of your bodyweight in water and at a minimum 2 litres per day, even when you are not training. In addition, water enhances your metabolism because your body has to warm it up to digest it and this process boosts your fat burning potential.

    3.Kick-start Your Gut Health

    We have millions of healthy bacteria in our guts which are essential for weight loss and for boosting your metabolism. Each of these bacteria has a different role and some can impact on the appetite regulating hormones e.g. ghrelin. Ghrelin controls the cravings that make you hungry and this increases your appetite. Therefore, healthy guts have higher levels of ghrelin and this also helps to keep your blood sugars within a healthy range and stop you from feeling hungry.

    To maintain a healthy gut drink a pro biotic yoghurt drink; research has indicated that this strategy can boost your healthy live bacteria in your gut and this improves your overall gut health. An improvement in your gut health can speed up carbohydrate and fat absorption. This can lead to improved insulin control and a quick reduction in your body weight. A key point to remember is that high levels of insulin can be catalyst for your body to store fat!

    4. Switch to Omega 3-s

    Omega-3s are found in foods such as fatty fish, olive oils, nuts and flax seeds. Omega-3s are high in the Mediterranean style of high fat diet and are pivotal in regulating the T3 and T4 thyroid hormones. These hormones boost your metabolism and this helps your body to burn those additional calories that you have consumed. Research has indicated that these types of fat lower leptin levels. Leptin is a hormone made by the adipose tissue; it helps to regulate appetite and energy balance within the body. It stimulates the hypothalamus to reduce food intake and increases the use of energy, in the form of calories. This all good news for blasting off these few pounds that you have gained during your holidays!

    Introduce Some Green Tea into the Equation

    Green tea is a relatively cheap metabolism booster and it is a great substitute for tea and coffee. In addition, you don’t have to add milk or sugar for taste and this helps you to control your calorie intake. You will surprised by how many calories we actually consume when drinking certain fluids e.g. a small glass of wine is around 100 calories. The active ingredient in green tea is the ‘epicatechins’ and it these components that help the body to burn fat. So next time you switch the kettle on; don’t reach for the coffee but try some green tea indeed. You will be surprised how tasty it actually is!

     

     

     

     

  • 5 Winter Training Survival Tips

    CM3R6249 Bryn Lewis; Fitness and Conditioning Coach, Nutritionist

    Don’t become lazy because winter is on its way and you can’t be bothered to go outside to train. Here are some top tips to keep you motivated in those bitter winter temperatures and to help you to lace up your running shoes making you to ready to go.  Yes the drop in temperature combined with the threat of frost bite and black ice are barriers to you lacing up your training shoes ready for the off. But like most barriers with the right equipment and knowledge you can either go around them or through them. These top tips will ensure that you will keep your fitness levels up during the winter months and when you begin ‘spring’ training you are in top shape and ready to hit the ground running.

    Some Interesting Points

    If you are carrying an extra few pounds than you should be, training in the winter can help you to shift them. Research has indicated that exercising in colder conditions can increase your body’s ability to burn calories because the body has to expend additional calories to keep you warm. In addition, training in the cold can increase your body’s capacity to use oxygen and regular work outs can increase your running speed by up to 30%. So what are you waiting for? Please read on for some top tips….

    1) Dress Warm but Not Too Warm

    When you go outside to start off with you will feel cold. However, don’t over dress because you will over heat and this can lead to dehydration and dizziness. You should dress in clothes that are 10 degrees warmer than the outside temperature and you should never over heat during the warm up part of the session.

    Dressing in layers is vital for you to train comfortably and must be able to disperse heat without becoming dehydrated and/or overheating.  The following are some recommended products from the JACO clothing range that will enable you to train effectively throughout the winter months:

    • Hat: a huge amount of heat is lost unnecessarily through the head invest in a ‘Tenacity FlexFit Cap’ to stop this from happening.
    • Training Top: invest in a ‘Jaco Performance V Neck’ which is made from 60% Rayon and 40% from Cotton. This slim fit top is durable, breathable and very comfortable.
    • Jacket: invest in a ‘Warm up Jacket’ as this keeps the heat in and pulls the moisture out. In addition, there are front welt pockets to keep your hands warm and thumb holes to lock your wrists into position.
    • Bottoms- buy some ‘Warm up Pants’ as they are 100% polyester and can be worn stylishly in most winter training conditions.
    • Socks- invest in some ‘Bamboo Training Socks’ as they are made from 75% Rayon and 25% spandex. This makes them feel soft, wicks moisture and keeps your feet warm and odor free.

    2) Go Easy

    If you lose sight of why you love training in the kick arse high intensity summer months; then use the winter sessions to get your mojo back.  For athletes who train all year around, winter is an excellent time to build up the stamina base needed for the rest of the season.  In terms of training don’t have set routine that solely concentrates on pace and/or intensity. Instead focus on goals that are easily achievable e.g. one month, run 4 times a week for 35 minutes and the next run 4 times a week for one hour. Your body can’t train at high intensities throughout the whole year it does need a break to prevent over training. Therefore use the time wisely to build up a solid fitness platform for the spring.

    3) Extend Your Warm Up

    In the winter months you should take longer to warm up than in the summer months. This strategy will help your muscles to ease into your training session and should prevent tears and/or pulls. If you usually warm up for 10 minutes, then add an additional 5 minutes before you are working at your desired intensity. At the start of the session your body will be cold and stiff so start off with a gentle walk, then ease to jog and build up into a medium paced run. Remember that your body needs time to adapt to the decrease in temperatures and if you warm up properly you will last the winter months without crying off with injuries!

    4) Be Aware of your Surroundings

    When training outside in the winter you should always be 100% switched on and totally aware of your surroundings. Don’t get too absorbed with the playlist on your ipod, as your mind should be focusing on any potential injury hazards e.g. black ice or slushy snow. When these potential hazards arise you should be alert to the changes in terrain and shorten your stride pattern and length. Running through these conditions can build up leg stamina and change your route frequently to keep your mind alert and fresh. When training in the dark always be seen and use a reflective vest and a head lamp. This will keep you on your pre-planned training route and will also enable you to see any potential dangers ahead.

    5) Invest in Some New Training Shoes

    Your summer training shoes will not provide you with enough traction to run through slush and ice. It doesn’t matter how mentally switched on you are sometimes you will not see the black ice and boom over you go onto your wrists or elbows. This will put you back big time in terms of your fitness goals and this can be avoided by some degree by investing in the right footwear. You should invest in footwear that has a thick tread as this increases traction.

    They may be heavier but that doesn’t matter as you should not be preforming high intensity training. Prevention is definitely better than the cure when it comes to contact/collision injuries in the winter months!

  • Tabata: Does it really work?

    IMG_0402Tabata Training the New Smart Method to Lose Weight

    Have you just jumped onto the weighing scales and realized that you need to shift a few pounds? Are you spending hours in the gym on the treadmill and still getting nowhere in the battle of the bulge? Well perhaps you need to train a lot smarter and incorporate some Tabata style training into your regime.

    This style of training is the new kid on the block in the fitness industry and it is causing an absolute storm. This is because you can lose up to 12 times as much body fat when compared to conventional cardio. You are performing high intensity exercises for blocks of four minutes and it is this process that shocks your body into blasting off the fat up to 24 hours after you cease exercising. The question is ‘how does Tabata actually blast off your body fat?

    What is the Tabata Model of Training?

    As mentioned previously Tabata style training is a high intensity exercise model that was discovered by the Japanese sports physiologist Dr. Tabata. He discovered that when performing high intensity exercises for 8x 20 seconds with 10 seconds rest in between, there was a massive increase in fat loss and fitness levels when compared to exercising in a steady state.

    The enhanced weight loss and fitness levels were accredited to the body’s ability to perform the high intensity exercise without oxygen, and to be able to energize the body in this state improves your fat burning capacity. All of the exercises performed during Tabata training should be at the intensity you would use when sprinting for a bus or down a running track.

    There is little time for breathing and your muscles will get used to you performing at this high intensity pretty quickly. Have you ever wondered why sprinters look so jacked and trim with a very low body fat? Well, much of it is down to the intensity that they are training at, combined with a short and sharp duration of their sessions. Successful weight loss is all about training smart and cute; as this will help you to burn the stubborn fat in a much shorter space of time.

    An Overview of the Tabata Model

    • Every exercise lasts for a duration of 20 seconds followed by a 10 second rest
    • Every round of Tabata last for a duration of 8 exercises and/or four minutes
    • As your fitness levels improve you stack up the four minute blocks e.g. 20 minutes = 5 x 4 minute blocks.

     

    How does Tabata Really Work?

    Exercising at a very high intensity when performing cardio and/or resistance for 20 seconds with a 10 seconds recovery time can:

    • Fire up your metabolism
    • Enhance your metabolic conditioning
    • Improve your body’s efficiency at fat burning.

    You will undoubtedly sweat your butt off and many of the exercises used in Tabata training are compound in nature. The exercises in Tabata training should be multi jointed and use all of the major muscle groups e.g. push-ups, squats and rows. In essence you will be fine tuning the cardio vascular system to deliver the blood to the working muscles. By incorporating high intensity resistance training into your regime you will be improving the muscle’s ability to accept the fat burning hormones and vital nutrients.  In a nutshell this boosts your body’s fat burning potential because your muscles can use burn the calories and turn them over more effectively.

    The Fat Burning Hormones

    Tabata training boosts your testosterone levels in your body, improves your lean muscle mass along with the capacity for you to grow new muscle tissue. Testosterone is a major fat burning hormone and an increase in muscle mass is extremely important because it is 15 times more metabolically active than body fat. Hence you will increase your energy turnover when resting because of a higher muscle mass. Energy is essential for the muscle tissue to survive!

    Your training gains in muscle mass will be directly related to increase in strength and a trimmer physique. Tabata training will definitely give you a leaner and a more athletic physique because of the increase in your testosterone levels.

    Additional Advantages of Tabata Training

    Tabata training has the following advantages in comparison to steady state conventional cardio:

    It enhances your human growth hormone and catecholamine level which are both extremely powerful fat burners

    • It helps with insulin control and blocks the body from storing fat
    • It enables the body to burn fat up to 24 hours post exercise
    • It enhance the use of glucose as an energy source

    This is all superb news for the success of your weight loss goals; why not give Tabata training a go because you will definitely torch your unwanted fat in a much shorter period of time. Remember the key to successful weight loss is training smarter at a high intensity and not jogging aimlessly on your treadmill for hours at a time!

    Want to try it out? Below is an example of a Tabata Work Out

    Exercise Exercise Duration Rest Intervals
    Barbell Squats 20 seconds 10 seconds
    Push Ups 20 seconds 10 seconds
    Jump Rope 20 seconds 10 seconds
    Bodyweight Lunges 20 seconds 10 seconds
    Barbell Upright Rows 20 seconds 10 seconds
    Pull Ups 20 seconds 10 seconds
    Jump Rope 20 seconds 10 seconds
    Kettlebell Swings 20 seconds 10 seconds

  • Caught in JACO: Chris Pine with co-star Patrick Wilson in the movie "Stretch"

    Chris Pine was seen recently wearing customized JACO apparel on set of his latest film "Stretch". Stretch is a 2014 American action comedy thriller film written and directed by Joe Carnahan. The film stars Patrick Wilson, Brooklyn Decker, Chris Pine, Ed Helms, and Jessica Alba.

    Available on Netflix.

    Jaco Chris Pine Stretch Warmups-01

    Jaco Chris Pine Stretch Warmups-02

  • Easy steps to improve your chest size

    chestBryn Lewis; Fitness & Conditioning Expert & Nutritionist

    The chest is the one of the hardest parts of the body to build up in terms of muscle mass and size. A lot of people hit the gym on a Monday after the weekend and try to pump out four sets of heavy bench presses, incline dumbbell presses and finish off with some dumbbell fly’s. They have been performing this routine for years without any alternations because does show some muscle gains- to a point.

    Is this strategy the right approach? Well, for some it may work. But for others training in a ‘smart’ way and having the scientifically backed knowledge will definitely help you to boost your chest muscle mass/size. This approach will stop you from hitting the dreaded plateaus in gains, will shake things up a bit and will add some new stimuli into your chest training. A key point to remember is that chest training is hard work but it doesn’t need to be difficult. Your working regime should be smart, fun, motivational and goal driven. If one of your physique goals is to improve your chest size and mass then please read on………

    Chest Anatomy and Function

    Your chest is made up two muscle groups that work with each other to make the area with your body function effectively. The two muscles are the pectoralis major and the pectoralis minor. The pectoralis minor is situated directly underneath the pectoralis major. The pectoralis major is the broad and thick fanned shaped muscle that is located across your chest. Both muscles begin at the clavicle, are inserted at the chest bone and also into the arm pit. In simple terms of the chest muscles they have three main functions and these are as follows:

    1. They cause flexion of the humerus e.g. throwing a ball side arm
    2. They adduct the humerus e.g. bringing your arms up and down by your sides
    3. They rotate the humerus medially e.g. the arm wrestling motion.

    Chest Building Strategies

    As mentioned previously, the chest is made up of 2 muscle groups. However, in terms of training it should be broken down further into three key areas i.e. top, middle and bottom. These 3 areas of the chest can be targeted simply by changing the angle that you are performing the exercises at e.g. the presses or the flyes. The main techniques of targeting the 3 areas can be broken down as follows:

    Upper chest- perform incline barbell chest press, dumbbell chest press and incline dumbbell flyes. The bench should be between 35-45% at an incline. Why not spice it up with some 180 degree twisting dumbbell bench presses.

    Middle Chest- perform flat bench presses and flyes, these are standard practice. Add in some pull ups, close grip push ups and some cable flys. Also exchange the dumbbells for some kettlebells, as you will recruit more muscle fibres to counteract the kettlebells hanging below your palms.

    Lower Chest- the lower chest is best targeted by decline bench press and flyes; again this is standard practice. The bench should be between 30-45% on the decline. Why not try some lower forward leaning dips, as they target the lower chest and the triceps.

    In terms of rep range try to press heavy with a low rep range (4-6 reps) and then advance to 8-12 reps. If you are finding 12 reps easy then increase the weight used. For flys go for a higher range (8-12 reps) with a weight that you feel comfortable using. You can increase the weight but try to keep the reps within this range during each set of flys.

    Another Option

    If you are feeling brave why not ditch the bench and use a Swiss-Ball instead. You use the same principles as mentioned above but instead of adjusting the position of the bench, you adjust the angle of your body on the Swiss Ball. Research has shown that using a Swiss Ball helps you to engage your core muscles more and aids with stabilization at the shoulder joint when performing presses and flys.

    Compound and Isolated Chest Exercises

    Another key point to consider is that bench pressing, push ups and pull ups are all compound exercises that use multi-joints. They also utilize numerous muscle groups and recruit a huge number of muscle fibres when performing them. Due to the large recruitment of muscle fibres you will see rapid gains in strength and size. However, compound exercises are very poor at shaping/defining the chest muscles and this is where the dumbbell/kettlebell flys come into play. They help to isolate and rip up the chest muscles because they are focusing on the 3 main areas. Therefore, both compound and isolated chest movements should be incorporated into your work out regime.

    Upper Chest Work Out
    Barbell Incline Medium Grip Bench Press 4 x 4-6 reps
    180 Degree Twisting Incline Dumbbell Bench Presses 4 x 4-6 reps
    Incline Kettlebell Flys 4 x 8-12 reps
    Wide Arm Push Ups 4 x 12 reps

     

    Middle Chest Work Out
    Barbell Incline Medium Grip Bench Press 4 x 4-6 reps
    Kettlebell Flyes 4 x 4-6 reps
    Cable Flys 4 x 8-12 reps
    Pull Ups 4 x 12 reps
    Wide Arm Push Ups 4 x 12 reps

     

    Lower Chest Work Out
    Barbell Decline Bench Press 4 x 4-6 reps
    Forward Leaning Dips 4 x 8-12 reps
    Decline Kettlebell Flyes 4 x 8-12 reps
    Decline Dumbbell Flys 4 x 8-12 reps
    Push Ups 4 x 12 reps

  • CrossFit: How you're doing it wrong

    CM3R0071By: Douglas Wheeler, Strength Coach

    Not seeing results from your CrossFit WODs?  Or have you reached a plateau that you just can’t seem to cross?  Perhaps it’s because you’re doing it wrong.  These quick and simple tips to spruce up your WODs can get you back on the road to meeting your goals from weight loss to strength gains!  One or more of these issues apply to most people, so adjust your workouts accordingly.

    • I Got My WOD From The Internet-Well sure, the WOD looked great on paper, and maybe it was even fun to do, but if left you too sore to go on, or it just isn’t working for you.  Forget the WOD, they are designed to sell…if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.  The problem with some WODs is that they are not designed for the general population or really for more than the person for whom that workout was tailored, if anyone at all.  More and more, these workouts look like the authors are just trying to one up each other with the most intense workouts with high volume or high impact exercises leaving you sore or distraught because you couldn’t do it all.
    • I'm Not Losing Weight Anymore-Perhaps you’ve hit a plateau in your exercise, you’ve been doing the same thing for too long, or maybe your diet has changed; any of these can contribute to the stop in weight loss.  Never fear!  It’s not as hopeless as you may think!  If you’ve been using the same sets by reps scheme (4x10, 3x5, etc.) for the past several months or your WODs are similar, change it!  If you do fewer reps, you can do more weight, leading to gains in strength and a greater calorie burn.  If you do more reps, you’ll need to use less weight, and some studies have shown this can lead to muscular hypertrophy and/or toning.  Doing more reps with a higher intensity can lead to a greater calorie burn and will also help build strength endurance.  Maybe you are more about endurance than strength…change your course for your run, maybe decrease the distance and incorporate sprints.  Little changes can make a big difference.
    • I’m Not Getting Stronger-Like mentioned above, change up your sets by reps scheme, don’t worry about the WODs for the time being.  Go for heavier weights with fewer reps and you’ll see strength gains.  Eat more protein, and get your protein from different sources.  Don’t rely solely on your protein supplement, but change your diet to get more protein at each meal.  Try supplementing with creatine.  Studies have shown creatine to be effective in increasing explosive strength/power in athletes.  As with any supplement, always be cautious with what product you purchase and how you take it.  When increasing your protein intake or supplementing with creatine, be sure to drink plenty of water so that your body can utilize those nutrients and get them to your muscles.
    • My Form Sucks-If you have poor form, you’ll never get better and you won’t see the results you want to see.  It can take a lot of swallowing your pride to admit you have poor form in something you enjoy doing, but it’s necessary to fix your form and technique if you ever want to get better.  Have someone film you while you exercise and watch yourself.  If your form sucks, learn how to fix it.  This is essential for any activity, from running to Olympic Weightlifting.  It will be difficult at first to complete your chosen activity with the proper form, and your distance may need to decrease because of the fatigue involved-both mental and physical, or in the case of weightlifting, you will need to decrease the weight until you are comfortable with the proper form and technique.