Fish Oils, and The Underground.

Finding Nemo… and using him for parts.

One supplement we recommend to all clients, members, well-wishers and of course the general public is fish oils. The main function of supplementing fish oils in regards to training is for their ability to reduce inflammation in the body. Reduced inflammation will reduce recovery time, and with it the risk of over-training.

Fish oils are derived from the tissue of oily fish like mackerel, salmon and sardines. The active elements EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) are what you are seeking. EPA and DHA are EFA’s (essential fatty acids), meaning they are essential to our function, but cannot be produced in our bodies. Fish oils are one of the best sources of these essential fats.

These fats reduce inflammation due to their anti-oxidizing effects. High intensity training like the Underground workout causes a high level of oxidation in the body (that’s why you remain out of breathe due to an increased need for oxygen). Fish oils help filter out the oxygen and lactic acid which will reduce that muscle soreness you get (which is inflammation), leaving you recovered quicker and able to train.

Apart from this reduction in inflammation fish oils can also help stimulate your brain function, and they can actually change the way you store fat (if taken enough), making body fat more accessible for energy.

Sourcing Quality Oils

With fish oils it is usually “you get what you pay for”. You can buy fish oils in Lidl but they’re pants. Usually I would deter people from Holland and Barrett for supplements but they have good “health supplements” (avoid for protein etc.). Look for a high level of both omega-3 and omega-6 (which means EPA and DHA), or for high levels of EPA and DHA themselves.  Anything above 300mgs for 1gm of total weight is good.

Requirements

For 50-75kgs, take 5gms of oils a day (usually 5 tabs)

For 75-100kgs, take 7gms of oils a day (usually 7 tabs)

100kg+, 8 tabs.

Conclusion

Nemo’s death need not be in vain. Supplement fish oils to help change your body composition, and to enjoy the additional health benefits.

Metabolic Consistency for Weight Loss

Metabolic Shift: Consistency is King

By Patrick Mackeogh

 

Here we will take a look at a problem that many people will be facing without even noticing it.

We have found out that every person has a BMR (Basal metabolic Rate). Their overall daily calorie expenditure (TDEE) can be found by multiplying this amount by an activity calculator, which makes sense because the more active twin will burn more calories.

The problem lies in that many people lack consistency in the amount of calories they take in, due to having work days, weekends, holidays and events etc.  So let’s take a typical person that has a TDEE of 2000 calories. This means that their body runs optimally on 2000 calories a day with consistent work, so a drop of 500 calories a day to 1500 calories will provide 1lb of fat loss a week (3500 calories in 1lb body fat).

So calorie intake over a week may look like this:

1500 x 7 =  10,500 calories a week for 1lb loss

What people don’t realise is that you cannot simply variate calories wildly from day to day and expect to make a loss just because your total weekly calories match this amount.

This example (not same as diagram) will not have the same weight loss effect:

900 + 1000 + 2000 + 1200 + 2200 + 800 + 1500 = 10,500 calories

This is because wild variations in calorie intake mess with your hormones, and stop fat burning.

Let’s take the example below:

 

This is a typical dieter aiming for 1500 calories who can’t seem to get it right. Their quantities vary due to their emotions and what’s happening around them. The first calorie amount is Monday, where a big drop in calories has been caused by guilt from a high calorie weekend. A drop too severe can cause a metabolic slowdown as your body goes into starvation mode. Your body gets confused about the varying calorie intake and seeks to hold onto fat for future use. It’s a survival mechanism where your body thinks it may have to go long periods without food.

So this person had what they thought was a good day, so on the next day eats more than intended. While they think it’s not too bad they will store a lot of these nutrients as body fat due being in starvation mode. (jump to more info here http://yourfitness.ie/blog/?p=229)

The next day they get motivated again, but thinking they had a good bit of food the day before, they drop calories too much again. Again they drop metabolism. It then approaches the weekend where they really splurge. They go out to dinner, have a big meal, a big dessert and a bottle of wine. Still being in starvation mode their body stores these nutrients as body fat (the negative process of storage is coupled with the fact that these sugary carbs will also be seen as unused and definitely stored).  Sunday comes and there’s a hearty intake due to a hangover. More storage. The individual then starts the wrong process again the following Monday.

Even though their overall weekly calorie consumption was under their estimated TDEE, their wild variation in intake caused hormonal imbalances that ended in weight loss.

Consistency is the key here; you must stick to regular meals, while attempting to take in similar calories each day. This may seem like bad advice, but if you know you will be eating bad things on a day, try to stick to your overall calorie amount. So this means if you want an ice cream, skip lunch, but maybe have a protein shake and a multi-vitamin tablet so adequate nutrients for muscle growth are coming in.

This may seem like terrible advice, but fat and carbs are energy sources, and if there’s energy coming in from bad sources, why bother throwing more in that will be stored, regardless of them being healthy or not. If your calorie intake should be 1500 calories, better 1000 good calories and 500 bad, then 1500 good and 500 bad. You are trying to achieve close to your target calories every day. Get what I mean? Just don’t make a habit of this. It’s just good logic for days when you know bad food stuffs will be coming in. You’ll be more likely to burn off what you eat, just don’t expect to lose any weight!

JUST TO BE CLEAR, THIS IS NOT A GOOD APPROACH, JUST A BETTER STRATEGY FOR THAT ONE TIME A WEEK YOU CAN’T CONTROL YOURSELF!!! HEALTHY NUTRIENTS ARE EVERYTHING; THEY SUPPORT A GOOD HORMONE BALANCE!!!

 

 

 

Reconditioning – For those who want everything and nothing

Welcome to the middle ground.

Best for those who want to improve over-all shape. This is the plan most suitable for those of you who aren’t bothered with a plan. The Underground System in its simplest form is a conditioning class, which will affect your body in different ways based on your nutritional intake. If you find you have been following a pattern of eating that has not been effecting your weight, then tackling the class in no particular fashion (neither essentially heavy or fast) will recondition.

Your diet, as long as you are getting adequate protein and staying away from the bad stuff, will maintain the support and construction of muscle mass. The workout itself will work to burn off unnecessary body fat. The result could be seen as losing 2lbs of fat, and building 1lb of muscle. A great achievement that only looks like 1lb lost on the scales. But you know better than that. 😉

Reconditioning is the ultimate plan to work on until you decide to lean your training in a single direction, muscle building or fat burning.

The Workouts we design are balanced in the fact that it’s a mix of cardio and strength movements. It’s called cross functional training. So lift heavy in your strength, and go strong in your cardio, not sacrificing one for better achievement in the other.

Tackle each exercise individually, and never look or alter your exercise to what’s coming next. This is the Reconditioning code, a blueprint for a more powerful, athletic and lean you.

The Reconditioning principle. Hit it hard, hit it fast, don’t think what’s ahead, but never look back!

Melt Down – Cutting back to cut up!

Hey, where did she go?!

Melt Down, the conditioning and nutrition program designed with one thing in mind: maximising fat burning to reveal the slenderest you.

Although the Underground System is an on-going and ever changing fat burning workout, there are steps you can take to ensure you drop body weight fast. The Reconditioning program will build muscle while burning fat (which would greatly improve your appearance), but won’t allow you to drop much weight on the scales. To do this, you must increase the amount of calories you burn daily while you reduce your calorie intake. Increase output, reduce input. Simple enough.

The Melt Down training system seeks to increase the amount of fat you burn in the workout (instead of carbs), while the diet seeks to limit carbohydrate intake on non-training days. This effect leads to the burn off of body fat stores. Where-as Muscle Up uses a lot of carbs to perform heavy lifts, the Melt Down system revolves around consistent movement, which is closer related to cardiovascular training (just like on a bike/treadmill).

The key to maximising fat burning in the workout is to select the maximum weight that allows you to work continuously through the stations (each of the exercises). So for example, if in a squat with a 12kg kettlebell you have to stop short of the whistle, reduce your kettlebell to 8kg so you can go the full 45 seconds. You are trying as much as possible to maintain consistent movement through the exercises, including jogging from station to station, while sacrificing as little weight as possible. Reducing the weight you would usually use in order to perform consistent reps is sacrificing muscle building stimulus for body fat burning.

One thing you definitely do not want to do is use this as a subconscious excuse to train easier. In the example of the squat, if you can nearly get the full 45 seconds with 12kg stick with that weight. Only drop down weight when you are forced to pause consistently throughout.   It is much better for fat burning to nearly be consistent with 12kg than it would be if you dropped it to an easily manageable 8kg. Find a weight that you can use relatively continuously before dropping to a weight you may find easy.  You must still preform with maximum intensity!

Train outside your comfort zone. The hot feeling you get when you train intensely is your body giving off energy (calories) as heat. This is greatly desired.

Power based movements should be performed where possible. Box jumps or anything explosive (jumping/ burpees etc.) will burn off more calories than their low impact counterparts (usually the beginner exercises).  Of course you may need to build up your ability to perform these exercises, or may need to avoid them due to injury, but strive to perform them intensely and never avoid them because you think they are “too difficult”. Can you honestly say you 100% deserve to achieve your goals if you have this attitude? You must train hard and push yourself to your limits. It is in this stress your body is forced to change.

 

 

 

 

Nutrition

To achieve maximal fat burning you must get rather technical. It takes some careful planning to not only drop down to a weight you want, but to maintain muscle mass and with it your metabolism in the process.

In the guide there is constant reference to a cut-off point for dropping calories below required levels. We cannot stress enough how dangerous and counter-productive it can be to drop below this amount. Don’t think that we do not have your best interests at heart; we want you to achieve your goals as much as you do. These are set to maximal limits, and thinking you can do more could destroy the process. The weight drop is for 1.5 – 2lbs of body fat a week, which is a good target when you can come out the other side with the ability to keep it off.

The Melt Down meal plan consists of plenty of protein, and well-timed carbs, having them dropped or eliminated when they are simply not needed. Protein is muscle, and if you are what you eat… you see where this is going.

Keep moving and stay consistent in your diet. We will be supplying you with information to integrate into your plan, like meal ideas/ what to do for snacks etc. We are hoping to provide you with on-going support and information to help you better achieve your goal.

Follow the plan. Melt Down. Lose the weight. Keep it off.

Muscle Up – For Size, Performance, Definition

Get Big. Scare Children.

The Muscle Up program is a method of training used within the Underground System that will enhance muscle growth and increase separation. The advantage of this system is the functional nature of the exercises that will help grow muscle uniformly around the body, additionally targeting small muscles usually forgotten in the gym setting. You will grow muscle while maintaining functional strength across 3 dimensions (up/down/left/right as opposed to just front/back or left/right). This is extremely important for sports, where varying movement requires strength and power at many different angles. Heavy bench pressing for example would be of little benefit to an athlete whose sole purpose is not pushing something forward.

To maximise hypertrophy (the growth of muscle) you have to work with heavy weights. You’re not going to build much muscle if you’re lifting light weights, which is more suitable for fat burning (toning – Melt Down). In a workout such as that in The Underground System toning is inevitable, as you are performing so much work in a short space of time. Your heart’s pumping, and the burning sensation you feel is the burn off of calories as heat. You could not become a bodybuilder in this class, but that’s not why you’re here. You are here to be fit, lean, and functionally superior. That said, it doesn’t mean we can’t put on a good bit of muscle in the process.

The general instructions for the Muscle Up program are relatively easy to grasp. You simply need to perform clean reps of as heavy a weight possible in the strength exercises. This means that in all the exercises we do involving kettlebells, dumbbells, bars or even yourself as resistance, you need to perform the exercise with great muscular control,  and as heavy as possible. If a weight is too heavy or too advanced to perform correctly, lower the resistance (or drop down from advanced to intermediate), and continue in good form. Doing things correctly will increase your likelihood of being able to correctly perform the lift/exercise next time you tackle it. A good slow lowering tempo is key.

The process of lengthening and shortening muscle fibres under control is what weight lifting is. If you perform an exercise too heavily or with bad technique, other muscles not meant to be involved will kick in to compensate, and you will develop back posture, poor muscle alignment, and possibly get injured.

Muscle building and strength development go hand in hand. You develop strength in order to lift heavier weights that will develop muscle. What also governs strength along with size is your body’s motor units. A motor unit contains a number of muscle fibres that it is responsible to contract. Lifting heavy weights has an effect on your muscles causing them to grow, and also on your motor units that improve your ability to perform that movement (like your muscles get better from practice). Your body’s central nervous system (CNS) is responsible for activating your muscles to flex/extend (move). Remember a time in your life when you lifted something very heavy, like furniture. You would not have really felt it in your muscles. It felt more like a body shock. These types of heavy strenuous movements are fired by your high threshold motor units.

You must train these higher threshold motor units with heavy weight to increase your chances of handling heavy weights in other exercises. If you train your body to lift a very heavy aqua bag even a few times, your body will be more adaptive to lifting heavier kettlebells in your swing etc. So you need strength to lift bigger, and it is in lifting bigger that muscle gets stimulated to grow.

As well as focusing on heavy weights where possible, you must also develop power. Power is defined as the maximum exertion of strength within a short burst movement. Power is like strength and speed combined. Power can be seen in a boxer’s punch or a footballer jumping high for a header. Excelling in the power based exercises of the class will increase strength and muscle size, by stimulating both the muscle tissue and the motor units of your central nervous system. You need only look at a sprinter to see how power affects the aesthetics of your body. Powerful muscles are lean, separated and Vascular (visible veins).

To enable you to perform at your maximal level in these exercises, you must sacrifice some of the energy spent on the cardio exercises (laps, jump jacks, skipping etc.). These exercises are great for fat burning and fitness, but to tip the scales more towards building strength and size you must pull back on your cardio intensity. Instead of hammering down in the cardio, go at a slower pace to slowly steady your heart rate. This will enable you to gather enough energy to perform maximal weight with good technique on the following strength/power exercises. Try to create balance where you increase cardio output (raise heart rate) in laps/skipping etc. while being able to lift heavy weights for good reps in following strength exercises.

Nutrition

In regards to diet, muscle loves carbohydrates and requires protein. Proteins (amino acids) are the building blocks of muscle. You are essentially eating an animal’s muscle when eat meat.  The Muscle Up Meal Plan is the diet guide supply’s you with the carbohydrates needed to perform exercise intensely, and the protein required to recover and grow. When you perform exercises (heavy lifts especially) your body is burning off an energy source found within your muscles.  There are a few different types of energy that your muscle uses in order, all deriving from sugars (carbohydrates).  After exercise, if you eat a good dose of carbohydrates, these energy stores can “supercompensate”. This means your muscles can almost fill to the brim with glycogen (one of the energy forms), enabling them to lift slightly heavier than the last time.  This is why carbohydrates are so important to weight lifters and athletes.

Protein is transported to muscle with the carbohydrates, where they act as building blocks repairing damaged muscle, which will build bigger than before (especially in the presence of supercompensation).

Eating big and lifting big is required to get big. The beauty of the system is that if you see yourself putting on unwanted fat with muscle, you can supplement in a Melt Down workout a week, or just switch to the Melt Down program for a period of time. It’s all scalable and changeable. We are here to help you achieve your desired look or performance.  If you have any questions just ask, and be sure to check out the blog regularly for tips and tricks to maximise muscle growth.

Lift Big my brothers.