Long before I was a personal trainer & nutritional advisor, I was a musician. I toured the world in a rock band called Skin, and lived the full rock & roll lifestyle. I was extremely hedonistic and my energy was very misguided; to say that I was unhealthy would be an understatement. An accumulation of drink, drugs, sleep deprivation, bad food & bad company, led to a physical and nervous breakdown. I was staring into the abyss and very close to losing everything. I had a very simple choice, change or die.
I stopped playing music and went back to school, studying nutrition, biomechanics & martial arts. At first, my only goal was to heal the body that I had abused for many years. But now, at the age of 41, I am stronger, fitter and happier than at anytime in my life. My personal relationships are built on strong foundations, and for the first time I am comfortable in my own skin.
Health & fitness dominate my life, and now my goal is to stay fit & healthy for as long as I can, and in turn help others see the benefits of a healthier lifestyle. Whether it is through exercise, nutrition or positive thinking. Thankfully, not everyone has gone through the extremes that I have, so changing to a healthier lifestyle may be a lot easier than you think.
I have built this website to show that it is never too late to make positive changes, and with a little will power, you can achieve any goal that you put your mind to. I would like to share with you the knowledge I have gathered on my journey, and even it helps just one person it will have been worthwhile.
I am not a doctor or dietician, and everything I talk about is based on my own life experiences. Here are 20 steps that I try to follow, all I can say is that this has worked for me, so please enjoy and hope you find it helpful.
I advise that you consult your doctor before you attempt any form of strenuous exercise, or change of diet.
Do you still feel tired after 7 hours of sleep? Chances are the quality of your sleep wasn’t that good. You should wake up in the morning feeling refreshed and full of energy.
Sleep has different cycles, and if your sleep is interrupted, you will never reach the all-important deeper stages of anabolic recovery. There should be a natural winding down of the body before you go to sleep, but if you are in front of a computer writing emails 10 mins before you go to bed, your stress levels will rise, releasing your body’s natural stress hormone, Cortisol, which puts more load on your nervous system, stopping you from fully re-charging your battery over night.
At the end of a day relax, have a bath, light some candles and slowly ease into sleep.
Everything that happens in your body is fuelled by water. You are made up of between 60-70% water, so that gives you an idea of how important it is. As little as 1% dehydration, a lack of water, can cause significant mental impairment and psychological difficulty. The organs most at risk are the brain, kidneys and heart.
If you are thirsty you are already dehydrated. The darker the urine the more dehydrated you probably are. Ideal water consumption is half your body weight in ounces everyday. 175lbs equals 87.5 Ounces. But this will depend on your body type.
Everything you eat becomes a part of you, nearly every cell in your body is replaced over a two year period, what you eat are the building blocks for your new body. Do you want to be a derelict unused warehouse or a temple to be worshipped in? What you eat is the most important decision you make everyday.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, when you first wake your blood sugars levels are low because it has been several hours since you last ate. You need to get your body back in balance by restoring blood sugar levels, but what you eat for breakfast is also important. By eating quick energy boosts such as sugary snacks, jam on toast, tea and coffee will lead to blood sugar lows soon afterwards. Try incorporating protein into your breakfast such as scrambled eggs, yoghurt with nuts and seeds.
The digestive system uses more energy than all your other systems put together, have you noticed how tired you are when you have eaten a big meal? That is your body’s way of saying you ate too much. By eating a little but often is a way of keeping your metabolism high but not overloaded. It also keeps your blood sugar stabilised and stops you craving the sugary snacks that cause so much damage to your health.
To help your digestive system, chew your food until it is liquid, this enables your body to absorb nutrients more efficiently, and makes it easier for the body to digest your food. It also fills you up quicker, stopping you from over eating.
Drinking fluids while you eat will dilute the digestive juices made by the body to break down food, this will prevent your body absorbing nutrients from your food optimally.
In a nutshell, in order for your body to stay healthy you need vitamins and minerals, this is fact and undeniable. The best sources for these two vital nutrients are fruit and vegetables. But something to consider is this, when you heat fruit and vegetables, depending on how long you cook them for, the vitamins and minerals are destroyed, and oxidisation begins as soon as you cut open the skin, in fact a sliced orange will lose half it’s vitamin C in the first sixty seconds. So all the pre-packaged fruit that you see in supermarkets will have very little left in the way of vitamins and minerals. So eating fresh, raw fruit & vegetables is vital for optimal Nutrition.
Of all the nutrients fat is probably the most misunderstood. Fat is essential to the human body and we would die without it, even the much maligned saturated fat is vital, it gives your cells that jelly like consistency that stops the nutrients from leaking out. So a fat free diet is not necessarily a good thing when you consider that one quarter of the brain is made of the essential fat, Omega 3. However, the consequences of consuming too much saturated fat and the even more lethal Trans Fats are well documented, but making sure you get enough good fats, Omega 3, 6 and 9, is very important.
Good sources of Omega 3 are salmon, tuna, sardines, flax and pumpkin seeds.
Good sources of Omega 6 are sunflower, sesame and pumpkin seeds.
Good sources of Omega 9 are olive oil, almonds and walnuts.
Protein, probably the most talked about nutritional subject you will find in the gym, mainly because the fitness industry has made a fortune convincing men that consuming large amounts of protein powder will make their muscles bigger. It is true that protein is essential for growth and tissue repair but like every food, too much in any one time will turn to fat. There are many different kinds of protein; the one found in the majority of protein powder is the lowest kind, whey protein, which is in fact a by-product for the diary industry. Probably the best sources of high quality protein are free-range eggs but you can also get protein from broccoli, runner beans and peas. The UK department of health recommends 44 grams a day for a man and 33 Grams a day for a woman. For the average person, 1 gram of protein for every kilo in body weight is a good guideline to follow.
Everything you eat, whether it is fat, protein or carbohydrate is turned into glucose. Any excess glucose that isn’t used by the body is then stored as fat. You burn fewer calories when you sleep than at any other time, so by not eating within 3 hours of going to bed you are less likely to have excess calories left over. You also give your digestive system a rest allowing the body more energy for repair.
There are many good reasons to exercise, it improves digestion, improves circulation, helps relieve stress, helps strengthen your heart etc, the best time to do intensive exercise is two hours after eating. There are many ways to incorporate exercise into your daily routine, take the stairs instead of the lift for instance. Don’t exercise late at night, as it will make it much harder to sleep and stop your body from repairing.
From the second alcohol enters our bloodstream our body tries to get it out, and in doing so depletes you of vital vitamins and minerals. The side effects of alcohol, all of which have been proven, are- depression, erectile dysfunction, diminished concentration, and liver disease among others.
Refined sugar contains no vitamins, no minerals, no fibre, no protein, no fats, and no enzymes, only empty calories. It robs your body of Calcium, Sodium, Magnesium and Potassium. Refined sugar also lowers your immune system. It is hard to think of a more pointless and harmful food substance, it would be better described as non-food substance.
Caffeine is found in tea, coffee, chocolate and soft drinks, and can cause upset stomach, insomnia, nervousness, headaches, caffeine dependence, dehydration and bone loss. Caffeine is a carcinogenic and contributes to heart disease incidence. Caffeine can increase the level of Cortisol, the body’s stress hormone, which can lead to other health consequences ranging from weight gain and moodiness to heart disease to diabetes. Caffeine also increases Dopamine levels in the system, acting in a way similar to amphetamines, which can make you feel good after taking it, but after it wears off you can feel low. It can also lead to a physical dependence because of dopamine manipulation.
The American Medical Association gives guidelines of 300milligrams a day or less.
1 16oz Starbucks =330 milligrams
It is worth noting that children are being encouraged to ingest both sugar and caffeine in large quantities and the prospect of a generation addicted to these stimulants is already upon us.
There is overwhelming evidence that an excess of dietary salt, coupled with a deficiency in potassium, is perhaps the single largest contributor to health problems in the U.S.
A high sodium/salt intake will; Increase your blood pressure, increase your rate of aging, slow down your nerve impulses, weaken your bones, impair your memory, impair your ability to fight cancer and increase your risk of kidney stones.
For every gram of salt/sodium consumed the body retains 70 grams of water; it retains this water to dilute the salt levels within the body, but having this extra fluid makes the heart work harder, increasing blood pressure.
The American Heart Association recommends no more than 2,300miligrams of sodium per day, 6 grams of Salt per day.
1 teaspoon of salt- 2325milg of sodium
A very surprising fact is that a Prêt all day breakfast sandwich contains 1,416 milligrams of sodium
The way that someone breathes reflects their emotional position in life- fast shallow breathing when under stress as opposed to slow calm breaths The immune system can be stimulated by up to 70% by the way you breathe. Breathing is your most powerful waste removal system and affects the nervous system, the heart, the digestive system, muscles, sleep, energy levels, concentration, memory, and much more. We not only breathe in oxygen, but also life energy.
Take 15 minutes a day to forget about the stressful life you have built for yourself, turn off the inner dialogue that constantly reminds you of all the things you should be doing, and focus on finding inner calmness and peace. A definition of heaven is to be surrounded by hell and be completely unaffected.
Easier said than done, but when mastered gives you control over your thoughts and emotions and the ability to see things from another person’s perspective.
Ask yourself this question, are you a giver or a taker? Do you take energy away or do you give a person more energy? Think about the people who have inspired you in your life, they probably gave you more than you gave them. Who have you given to today?
Everyday I make sure that I put into my body the daily nutritional requirements that I know that it needs; Water, protein, vitamins & minerals, essential fats & fibre. I know the foods where I get them from, and seek out the highest quality I can find. I see a direct correlation between the food that I put into my body and my personal health. This is more important to me than clothes, holidays, fast cars and any other form of materialistic pleasure.
My energy levels are essential for my lifestyle, I am extremely active, exercise a least once a day, and on top of that I work a 10-hour day, training my clients. I still write & play music and tour in a rock band. I cannot afford to be tired. Therefore, my diet is crucial for me. I have learnt that certain foods give me energy and certain foods rob me of energy. Everyone is different, and you have to find out what works best for you. Some people are allergic to foods but don’t even realise it. Unless you have a blood test to find out, you will always be searching in the dark.
Many people think that they are eating healthy- but are unaware of the high levels of sugar and sodium in processed foods. Food companies know how addictive these two substances are and fill their low quality food products with them; to disguise the fact that it has no nutritional worth. I see mums pushing shopping trolleys around filled to the brim with crisps, fizzy drinks and sweets. They are turning their kids into addicts, and creating addictions that will have long-term negative effects on their children’s health. Ignorance is not an excuse.
I have studied the food diaries of hundreds of clients over the years, and it has shocked me just how many of them are deficient in the vital nutrients that our bodies need daily to stay healthy.
Eating healthy is actually very simple; the hard part is breaking the addictions that have been created from eating unhealthy food. Try taking a chocolate bar from a kid and swapping it with an apple, you will see how strong the addiction is.
The importance of good nutrition is becoming increasingly more important; obesity, diabetes, cancer and heart disease are becoming more & more prevalent in western society, with record numbers of these symptoms in children.
Take responsibility for your health, try to have a diet that is high in fresh fruit & vegetables, eat high quality protein, especially fish containing essential fatty acids, nuts and seeds and drink plenty of water.
Everyday your body is regenerating new cells for your body, and it makes them out of the food that you eat daily. Imagine the low quality cells that chocolate bars, crisps and fizzy drinks will make.
For me, there are so many reasons to exercise, it helps keep the body mobile and flexible, it helps to promote muscle mass, which protects the joints and skeleton, which in turn allows you to enjoy a high quality of life. Exercise trains the cardiovascular system; keeping your heart strong & healthy, and one of the most important, it is fun. The same fun you had as a kid, playing in the park. Exercise is for the young and old, and it is never too late to start. Whether you are competing in an Iron man competition, taking a leisurely stroll through the park, or just doing the gardening, all exercise is good.
The human body evolved over thousands of years and was designed for movement. It was not designed to sit behind a desk for 12 hrs a day, staring a computer screen. There are so many forms of exercise, yoga, Pilates, swimming, running, walking the dog, kickboxing, football, tennis, bike riding, the choice is endless. If I was to list all the benefits of exercise it would take up the whole page, but alarmingly a lot of children do not exercise at all, but spend their time playing video games, ironically a lot of them are based on sport.
I believe that regular exercise is a vital part of having a healthy and balanced life, I have felt the benefits myself, and have seen the positive effects that it has had on my clients. It is never too late to start, and you can do it right now.