Performance Ground

Performance Ground was founded in order to empower athletes of all levels to unlock their body’s best performance.

I really loved this mission and so didn’t think twice about working with the team in order to develop my strength, work on my weaknesses and become the best athlete that I can. 

Performance Ground is based in Holborn which is right in the heart of London: 

Performance ground

Although I don’t live in London, I am still able to work with Performance Ground online. You can start to work with them too, simply check out their online forums! But, when I can get to London I always make sure to pop in to the awesome gym and catch up with the team because that is how I know that I am on track, and also ensure that I am doing everything properly.

Also, the gym really is one of the coolest, and best equipped gyms that I have seen in London. So I wouldn’t want to miss out! I mean just check out these images of the facility that I found on the Performance Gym website (and I guarantee the facility does look like that as I have been there!):

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According to Performance Ground, ‘the facility that is revolutionizing Central London’s fitness industry’.

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Not only is the gym awesome, always super tidy and full of top end equipment, what they believe in is great too:

  1. Being the best: We are committed to being the best in sports performance.
  2. Accessibility: Science driven performance coaching has been accessible to elite athletes only. We make it accessible to athletes of all levels and individuals of all backgrounds.
  3. Camaraderie: We believe in creating a community of like minded people.

I really enjoy working with Performance Ground to improve myself, and boost my strength.

I personally work with Tristan who is the Performance Director. He has years’ of experience in coaching strength and conditioning to amateur and elite athletes across a number of different sports- I think I am his first race walker! He, like the other members of the Performance Ground team, know what they are talking about and have worked with me as an individual.

Here are a couple of pictures of me working hard on my stability, control and strength.

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Want to find out more? 

For more information on Performance Ground, to see what other services they offer, or to see how you can get involved check out their website here: https://trainwithpg.com/  or send them an email: info@trainwithpg.com

Don’t miss the Performance Ground blog

Also, makes sure to check out their blog because it is full of interesting content that will help you to be the best you can be, whether you are a rugby player, runner or want to build strength for day to day activities. The blog is available on the Performance Ground website, you can find it here: https://trainwithpg.com/blog/

Momentum Nutrition: Catalyst Pre-Workout

Momentum Nutrition’s CATALYST pre-workout supplement has been scientifically produced in order to help promote endurance, recovery, energy, and muscle growth, whilst reducing soreness. And it tastes great!
Like all of Momentum Nutrition’s products, CATALYST has been researched backed as MN don’t believe in pseudo-scientific ingredients that may or may not do what they’re supposed to. According to MN, the ingredients in CATALYST have actually been proven to work.
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Additionally, because MN believe that it is not enough just to include the right ingredients, their CATALYST pre-workout has been produced so that each serving provides true clinical doses of all the key ingredients needed for the beneficial effects. No need to double dose, or take on board huge quantities of supplements.
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Another great aspect of MN is that they are 100% transparent and honest. They promise that we will never see a proprietary blend on any Momentum Nutrition product. They also promise to never deceive customers by not listing the precise doses of each individual ingredient. I think that this is really important, especially when supplements can become dangerous if they are not taken as they should be.
I tried the Peach Mango and Blueberry Lemonade flavours and both tasted great! Not too sweet, and not too strong- which meant that I was able to train and race without a horrible taste or cloying lingering sweetness. A real revelation for me in terms of pre-workouts!
I loved how CATALYST contained no artificial dyes, sugar, or “filler” ingredients because it meant that I could concentrate on my performance and not on thinking about what horrible ingredients i had just consumed!
Read on to find out more about the ingredients…. 
MN’s CATALYST pre-workout combines some of the best ingredients for optimal results.
  • A non-essential amino acid that is needed in order for the body to make Carnosine which can delay fatigue in the working muscle by reducing the build-up of lactic acid. The result: greater muscular endurance.
  • Research suggests that Beta-Alanine can increase Carnosine levels by 20-80% at daily doses ranging from 2-6g.
  • CATALYST provides 3.2g, and this amount of daily Beta-Alanine supplementation can increase muscular Carnosine levels by roughly 44% over 4 weeks.

Betaine

  • Betaine is the amino acid Glycine with three methyl groups attached.
  • Over time, betaine supplementation has been shown to increase power output and/or muscular endurance at doses of 2.5g daily.
  • CATALYST contains 2.5g- most competitor pre-workout mixes only contain 1.25g.

Agmatine Sulfate

  • Agmatine can stimulate the release of β-endorphin which increases glucose uptake in muscle tissue, and is capable of improving performance (more glucose in muscle tissue) as well as supporting a lean body composition (less glucose in fat cells).
  • CATALYST provides 1000mg of Agmatine Sulfate per serving, about double what you’ll find in most pre-workouts.

Alpha GPC

  • Alpha GPC is the most bioavailable source of Choline and can help increase power output by increasing the neurotransmitter Acetylcholine which is directly involved muscle contraction.
  • Alpha-GPC is quite expensive by weight so most other pre-workouts often skimps on this ingredient.

Caffeine

  • Caffeine increases alertness, focus, and perceived energy in the average individual, and increases Noradrenaline which is responsible for concentration.
  • Caffeine’s effects vary between individuals, but the 250mg dose present in each serving of CATALYST is enough for the average individual to feel noticeably more alert and focused.

Theanine

  • Theanine is an amino acid that found almost exclusively in Green Tea.
  • Theanine reduces the negative side effects of Caffeine, and can even enhance the cognitive benefits.
  • CATALYST contains 100mg of Theanine per serving, roughly twice as much as what is in most other pre-workouts.

Hordenine

  • Hordenine is a naturally occurring alkaloid found in a variety of plants such as Barley.
  • Hordenine acts as a Monoamin Oxidase Inhibitor (MAOI), meaning it blocks the enzyme (Monoamine Oxidase) responsible for the breakdown of Noradrenaline so it can amplify and/or extend the effects of Caffeine.

How to Get Stronger Without Increasing Weights

Featured article for crosstrainingpro.com

To get stronger we have to go heavy and hard, right? Wrong. Its ok, I used to think so too. I would add more and more weight to all my exercises because I thought that was the only way forward. But, because the weights were so high I had to up my recovery time. This meant that most of the hours I would spend in the gym were spent sitting- very little training was actually getting done. I am not saying that going heavy is wrong, or should be stopped, because done right, it can yield awesome gains. For some great ‘heavy weight’ workouts head to: crosstrainingpro.com!  However, it is not the only method out there.

Read on to find out how these four body weight exercises can help you reach and obliterate your fitness goals.

  1. Slow down

If you are anything like me then you probably think that the faster you can do an exercise, and the more reps you complete, the fitter you will become- something a lot of gym bunnies would agree with I am sure. I mean how many people have you seen in the gym rushing through sloppy movements, that probably wouldn’t even qualify as a rep, just to hit their target numbers?

Image from Meme Generator

Although most of us think that more is more, in reality, if you want to get the most from every exercise- from sit ups to squats, and increase your gains, then taking things slow is far more beneficial. By slowing your movements down, (not super slow, but just concentrating on control, range and preventing excess motion), you will increase the resistance on every rep. This will increase the load on your muscles, promote pure strength and get you fitter faster.

  1. Amplify your range of motion

Adding more weight to an exercise is not the only way to make it more difficult. By simply increasing your range of motion, you can up your gains on every rep because our bodies were made for maximum range of motion- even if it doesn’t feel like it at first!

The key is to go from as low as you can to as high as you can. So, to get more from your pull ups exaggerate the movement. So, go from a full dead hang (arms outstretched and body straight), and pull your chest (not chin) all the way up to the bar. By increasing your range of motion you will increase the distance you travel, and therefore intensify the exercise- no weights needed. Don’t worry if you have to decrease your reps, the strength stimulus your body will get from these epic pull ups will make up for it.

Another example for you is the squat. By increasing your range of motion here, i.e. squatting all the way down to the ground with your thigh pushing against your calves, you will increase your strength gains massively. When we squat and stop with thighs parallel to the ground we are selling ourselves short- so stop!

Image from Zen Gardner 

Make it harder

I bet you think this one is obvious, but it is probably not quite what you think. In order to make our training more effective we should think in terms of movement patterns, as opposed to exercises. For example, thinking of a chin up as a vertical pull. By doing this, we can take the chin up movement and increase the intensity, and resistance by doing the same movement pattern in a different exercise- thus altering load, and taxing other muscle groups

For example, by doing a single leg squat instead of a standard squat, we remove a point of contact with the ground, i.e. the foot. This doubles the load on your standing leg- without adding any external weights. Other examples are one arm pull ups, single leg calf raises and one arm push ups.

Another great way to make exercises harder without adding weights is by amplifying leverage. A great example of how this increases intensity is by comparing a standard push up with one where by your feet are on a bench. By raising the feet, more weight/ load is on the arms, so this will intensify the exercise- thus increasing your strength gains.

Image from Stack.com

Improve technique

Getting the most from bodyweight workouts will take time and practise because the right technique is essential. However, proper technique is hard and so often to get started; you will have to just give the exercise everything you’ve got just to get it done. In order to progress and increase your gains, you may have to take a step back to get your technique on point. As you improve, you can just keep perfecting your technique, making exercises harder and harder by getting more ‘air’, aiming for more range, taking it slower or adding in a clap.

For more awesome idea’s for how you can reach your health and fitness goals, head to http://www.crosstrainingpro.com

Weights

Hitting a plateau with your cardio workouts? Spending hour upon hour on the treadmill or cross trainer? Not getting the results your after?

 

Hit the weights!

 

Strength training has many benefits for both cardiovascular fitness, muscular endurance and overall strength.

 

2-3 weights sessions a week could seriously change your body shape and give you a variety of other health benefits including stronger bones.

 

Not only does weight and strength training burn as much if not more calories as isometric training but your muscles continue to work and burn the calories post workout.

Stop wasting your time for hours a day on the treadmill, elliptical or other cardio machine. Yes cardio has it’s place but if a lean physique is what you are aiming for then get off the machine and hit the weights!

Time to refuel!

Just finished a hard workout? Don’t ruin your hard work by grabbing that chocolate bar or can of coke.

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Your post workout meal is extremely important to you – probably the most important nutrition that you take in all day! Here’s some advice to improve muscle recovery and increase your gains from your workout!

Why?

After working hard, the body uses up its store of glycogen and looses up to 2 liters of liquid.

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Red blood cells and muscle are broken down and so you must replenish your body. The crucial time for this is the minutes and then hours after your work out. This time is key for recovery and performance.

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Post workout recovery allows the body to replenish water and electrolytes that were lost in sweat. This helps with repairing the muscles broken down during high intensity of prolonged exercise, replenish glycogen stores in muscles and the liver and finally it helps to support the immune system to allow it to deal with the damage of training hard.

When?

There are two stages to post workout recovery in terms of nutrition. Research suggests that the best time, i.e. when the body is most receptive to replenishment, is within the first 20-30 minutes after a hard work out. This is particularly true for glycogen stores.

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This first and most important, stage begins therefore as soon as you enter your warm down. The second stage then occurs following this, within about 2 hours.

What?

Different forms of training require different nutrients for muscle recovery. Weight training you need more protein, after cardio work you need to refuel with carbohydrates, and a mixture of weight training and cardio make sure to get a mixture of both protein and carbohydrates!

Glycogen stores are key to performance and so need to be replenished.  Some recent research has suggested smaller quantities of carbohydrate (0.8g/kg of bodyweight) with protein (0.3g/kg of bodyweight) following hard exercise as this combination has a similar effect to the previously recommended 1.2g carbohydrate /kg of bodyweight. as it stimulates the bodies insulin release with helps to replenish glycogen stores.

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Up the protein as it ensures that catabolism (break down) stops and that anabolic (build up) processes can increase. These changes can continue for up to 24 hours post hard training and consuming protein can help with the process, helping muscles to build.

For continued high performance you must replace these = consume 130% of the fluid lost. This should be done within 4-6 hours following exercise. To prevent the fluids taken in from being excreted, electrolytes like sodium should also be consumed. It has been suggested that about 60mmol of sodium should be added to the fluid taken in. The sodium can be taken in via sports drinks or by eating foods high in sodium such as peanuts.

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Dont always rush to for the supplements – real foods always win over supplements! They do not have the same nutrients and minerals in like whole foods.  However taking supplements such as pre-prepared protein shakes and bars, can help people who have a lack of appetite or time, so don’t give up on them completely, just don’t rely on them wholly for your recovery needs.

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real foods always win over supplements

Immediately post exercise….

Quite often after a workout people turn to the shakes, which although are work and aid recovery there is a cheaper option which is just as good – or better! Chocolate milk – high protein and high calcium which aids muscle synthesis and glycogen replenishment. Other options could be a fruit smoothie with milk or greek yogurt? To enhance the recovery add  cherry juice or watermelon juice as they have anti-inflammatory properties which reduce muscle damage and soreness.

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An hour or two post exercise…

A high quality carbohydrate and protein meal would be ideal.

Good sources of carbohydrate =  pasta, rice, potatoes and quinoa. Good high sources of protein include grilled chicken, salmon or eggs, nuts, cheese and beans

Whole grain salads; Jan'12; Quinoa black rice; FS=Kevin Crafts

A great meal to have after a hard workout could be a simple chicken with sweet potato and broccoli. This meal would provide adequate amounts of protein, carbohydrate and other nutrients to aid recovery.

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Rule No 1: NEVER skip your post workout meal! 

Rule No 2: THINK about what nutrients your body needs!

Rule No 3: REST & RECOVER for your next workout!