Top 10 Tips for Cutting up in January



These are not tips for drastic weight loss, they are tips for dramatic fat loss! Forget the scales and go by how you look and feel. Our top 10 tips for keeping off the Xmas pounds in December and January are:

1. Metabolise!

Our first tip for January takes place in December. Do whatever strength training you can, if its not a class you could even do 100 push-ups and 100 squats (take as much rest needed to complete the sets) every couple of days. This way all the calories will be at least be used for building muscle in your legs (squats) and chest/shoulders/triceps (push-ups). Your muscles are big engines, so keeping them fired any way you can will keep your metabolism strong. All the meat over the season contains the valuable muscle building protein too. With a stronger metabolism when January comes you’ll eliminate body fat a lot quicker!

2. Watch your Ratios

When having your Xmas meals, still enjoy everything but load up on your chicken and turkey first. You’ll fill quicker and end up having less of the potatoes and other carb rich foods, so your protein intake ratio will be higher keeping you more lean and muscular.

3.  Do not avoid your basic meals

With all the treats and mince pies around it will be easy to load up on them and forget your regular meals. What a lot of people don’t know is that your metabolism and body composition (ratio of muscle to fat) is dictated a lot more by the type of foods you eat as opposed to the amount of calories they contain. So you’re much better off still eating your standard breakfast, lunch and dinner even though you may think its way more calories when added to your treats. You’re far better off eating 2000 calories of standard meals and treats, than just eating 1000 calories of treats alone. The added “good calories” from protein and fibre keep the metabolism strong and delay muscle atrophy (muscle wastage form un-use).

4.  Avoid Juices

Unless you are a juicaholic fruit juices and soft drinks are usually just taken when thirsty or to accompany a meal. Through December try to minimise all juices consumed, leading to inevitably removing them fro  your diet altogether. A great drink is cold water with freshly squeezed lemon juice, its has a cleansing and anti-inflammatory effect!

5.  Keep Moving

In the mentality of using the stairs instead of the lift try to stay as active as possible in everything you do. Walking is a great fat burning activity, so I hope everything went out to do their Xmas shopping this year instead of buying online! If it snows in January get out and play, or wrap up and get out walking the dog. Even standing around talking on nights out is shown to burn more calories than sitting and talking. So try to remember to use your body as much as possible.

6.  Get enough sleep

Late nights and busy morning around the Xmas season are bound to happen, but be sure to start getting into a good sleep cycle in 2014. If its a life changing New Year resolution you’re after aim to get roughly 8 hours of sleep per night. A good night sleep reduces fat storing cortisol levels and increases your natural production of fat burning and muscle building growth hormone. A way to find out if you need more sleep is to check for fat on your calf. Extra adipose tissue storage on your calf is a sign of elevated cortisol levels due to insufficient sleep.

7.  Train Intense

When you want to kick into fat burning mode again you elevate your growth hormone levels by training intensely. When you train anaerobically (basically when you get out of breath and really hot) you start to burn lactic acid. You have to remember that a person body is designed to adapt to what its subjected to. In the metabolic fires of intense training like the Underground when you really push your body to its limits, your body responds by secreting more growth hormone. Growth hormone is more abundant in children, reducing as you get older. It is the reason kids can eat more and stay in shape, because they are “growing”. Raising your growth hormone levels will you build lean muscle and keep body fat levels down, so train like an animal and stay young!

8.  Man Up and Lift Heavy

Just as important as growth hormone to us all, in both men and women, is testosterone. Both testosterone and oestrogen are present in both sexes in varying amounts. Men with higher test levels put on muscle and burn fat quicker. The same thing is true for women. Although they will always have more oestrogen, women with higher test levels stay more toned, depositing less body fat on their hips, backs and triceps (as these are all oestrogen storage sites). Heavy lifting is shown to increase test levels in both men and women, as is eating red meats. So have beef twice a week and lift as heavy as you can when you’re training.


9. Eliminate and Replace

I wont talk about specific diets here, these are all tips relevant to everyone. The one thing every diet should recommend is the reduction of bad food stuffs. I do not recommend and diet that still allows you to eat refined sugary crap foods. Come January completely eliminate all foods that don’t serve your purpose (of course this does not count for cheat meals). Try to find healthy snack alternatives to keep yourself sane. All nut butters are good for fat burning, and eat the fruits you like early in the day. Protein shakes can be used in some great ways to make healthy treats. A great snack is mixing it into natural yoghurts, its will be full of protein and low GI gut healthy carbohydrates.


10.  Cleanse

Fat burning and muscle building is based largely on your level of homeostasis. This is your bodies healthy hormonal balance for optimal health. Everything in any way bad for you can have an acidic effect on your body, increasing inflammation and the amount of toxins and free radicals in your body. This can be said for environmental, psychological and nutritional elements, as well as recreational drugs and illnesses. These toxins and free redicals get stored in body fat tissue, and cause a state of imbalance where your natural processes like fat burning can get skewed. I talked above about Cortisol, the stress hormone, which is released when your body is under stress and can lead to fats torage and muscle wastage. Cleansing your body can help flush out free radicals and stored pollutants, cleaning out your gut and restoring you closer to a state of homeostasis. Not only will you drop weight, but you will be left in an optimal state to start burning the rest of your fat or building additional muscle. You will look and feel great, just remember to start training and eating correctly post cleanse to cancel out any of the negative effects in can have on your metabolism. A good cleanse if the Clean 9 or the Watermelon Cleanse.


Hopefully these basic tips will help keep you fit, lean and muscular into 2014. We hope to see you in the New Year training hard and pushing your fitness forward.

Happy Xmas and a Fantastic New Year from myself and the rest of the Underground Team!


5 Tips for Increased Energy and Wellness over Winter

Christmas is all around us, but so are runny noses and phlegmy coughs, so here are a few tips to keep you fit and full of energy over the Christmas season.

1. Keep The Body Working

Enjoy your time off work over Christmas, and enjoy your treat meals and feasts, but don’t slack to a terrible degree. People passionate about training will continue to do so to some degree through December, and will be all better for it come January. The metabolic after effect, or the EPOC effect (Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption) is when your body continues to release energy long after a workout is finished. It is this effect that will give you heightened energy levels through the day. As you train anaerobically (basically very hard) your body cannot supply enough oxygen to the muscle to support its work and recovery, so you keep supplying oxygen by way of elevated heart rate long after the workout is done, burning additional calories along the way. This is why you feel more energetic on training days, because stored energy (body fat) is being released throughout the day as a result (nice). So try fit in a few sessions over the Season to keep energy levels high. Training will also keep your metabolism strong; just remember to wrap up after your workouts pre-shower!

2. Nutrition

Ooh I have to be careful here. You can review my last post on the blog that details how to make the most out of the additional calories you’ll be eating over Christmas. Here I’ll stick to the topic of energy and well-being. Of course Christmas is about food and eating excessively, but trying to stick to some sort of metabolic plan in your regular meals with help you have increased energy, and will help you burn off the additional calories coming in. Just like the EPOC effect above, a metabolic nutrition plan helps you burn off excess body fat through energy stimulation (which you will feel as increased energy). If you stick to a metabolic plan, even 75% of the time, you’ll be livelier over Christmas and be leaner come January. The nutrients and hormonal balance the metabolic diet contains will help ward off colds through heightened immune support.  When your body is in a metabolic pattern you are less likely to be hit with a sugar crash, but more likely to get energy from the sugars you consume. Eating sugars alone gives a higher blood sugar spike, and with it higher levels of fat storing insulin and the resultant sugar crash. So try not completely fall off the nutritional plan, but stick to it where you can and eat crap where you want.  (Just don’t tell any other trainers I said that)

3. Get Outdoors

Don’t turn into a complete sad act, sitting indoors watching whatever RTE throws at you, despite the fact in this day and age you can watch any movie you want at any time! Ooh… Gladiator’s on! You have it on DVD anyway, so stop neglecting the dog or your children and get outdoors and enjoy the beauties of nature. Again, as above, activity of any nature will increase energy availability, with the added bonus of burning off the sugars that could lead to fatigue, while being a fat burning activity in itself. People also have trouble getting in good amounts of Vitamin D during the winter, which comes from the Sun (which required being outside). Don’t mind the myths, the sun’s rays can penetrate the clouds to some degree so you will get Vitamin D even in this crappy weather. Vitamin D is important for your energy levels and over-all health, so get out and about in the elements when the opportunity arises.

4. Reduce the Negative

This pertains to anything, in both nutritional terms and the psychological. Don’t over-do anything that will lead to a negative space. This is probably the tip that will be ignored the most, because we just want to enjoy ourselves. All I am advising is that you think long and hard about what level of alcohol you should drink to give you either positive or negative memories about the night, and how many Quality Streets will leave you feeling happy or depressed after wards. I’m saying to drink, but not to be hanging so bad you think you’re in a wardrobe. Negative thoughts and energies are all linked to the body, increasing levels of Cortisol and with it fat storage and muscle wastage. Remain optimistic in everything that you do, focus on what’s important and those things that give you the most joy. Don’t be distracted by what you don’t have and probably don’t need, and keep your attention to the things that you would really miss if they were taken away. (for more info watch “It’s a Wonderful Life”)

5. Have a Plan

If you go wandering off without a clear idea of what to expect more positive actions are likely to be forgotten, such as training and clean eating days. Party season comes first, so you need to work to fit in healthy days. Even if all but 3 days were bad, you would still come out much more positively having trained and eaten well for that small time. It would make a big difference, enough to keep the metabolism stimulated and the body running smoothly. Most people know well in advance what days they will be out, so develop in a good system for what days you’ll behave. You will be able to enjoy all the things you would have enjoyed, but you will be greatly reducing the negative withdrawals faced in January.

Any questions just throw them my way. We’ll be running classes through the Xmas season, so hope you see you there and training. We will be!

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