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CONTENTS January 2017

Want fast gains? Step this way for 50 expert tips

Cover model Steve Cook Cover photography Glen Burrows Grooming Simone Beyleveld

4 | January 2017


Personal Best


Build explosive power Add plyometric movements to your training to build muscle fast


Get back on track Try the new Santiago trail shoe from 361 on for size


Boost your brain power Think smarter and faster with steak



Cycle like a pro Stay strong in the saddle to shave time off your rides

Invest in the best Treat yourself to some of the newest and best clothing, kit and tech that every active man needs


The gift of youth Look great even when you feel terrible with these morningafter face and skincare savers


Winter is coming Perform better on the slopes and look the part too, with our pick of the best new snowsports gear


King of the swingers Incorporate kettlebells into your session to burn fat and get abs


Diet at your desk Adopt these healthier eating habits at work to keep your belly at bay

p27 p66 p56 p73 p11

Features p38

Man on a mission Steve Cook, the world’s most popular fitness model, is here to make you healthier and happier


50 ways to add muscle fast Turn your body into a musclebuilding machine with advice from the world’s leading experts



Beyond the marathon Take your running to extremes with our complete guide to mastering an ultra-distance race Never back down Former England rugby captain Chris Robshaw is still all about winning




The raw truth Why eating tomatoes in their natural state keeps your body fighting fit


Lift weights, lose weight Follow these resistance training rules to shrink your belly faster


Out for a duck Impress your dinner guests with this no-fuss big-muscle meal


Sculpt a rock-hard six-pack Do this six-move session twice a week to build lean, hard abs


Can you bear fruit? It’s high in sugar – but is too much fruit really thwarting your fat loss?


What not to do in the gym Train smarter every session by ditching these overrated lifts


Protect your liver With these organ-supporting supps

p106 See you at the bar Five barbell moves to blast fat fast


10 gut-healing foods A healthy gut equals better health. So eat more of these foods


Workout of the month ’Tis the season where gym time is limited. But do this plan for big gains January 2017 | 5

Photography Glen Burrows

“Beingfitforlifeis aboutmorethan benchpressingyour bodyweight”

Cover star Steve Cook embodies the notion that balance is the key to a healthier, happier life

Workhard, playhard

Theonlywaytoliveagenuinelyfitter,healthier andhappierlifeistohavesomebalance betweentraininghard,workinghardand playinghard.Becauseifyouputthehours in,youdeservetoletyourhairdown 6 | January 2017

The nature of making monthly magazines means that this is the January 2017 issue of Men’s Fitness, but I am writing this at the end of October 2016, and you won’t read it until late November (if you subscribe), early December (if you buy in a newsagent’s) or July 2020 (if you only ever read MF in a dentist’s waiting room). If you’re in that third category, please forgive me for saying that coming up with something suitably inspirational to write here has been a bit like pulling teeth. You see, I should be using this page to tell you to prioritise your training programme and clean-eating diet plan over more appetising activities, such as boozy Christmas parties, long weekends away to use up holiday, and more time with good friends and good food.

But I’m not going to do that. Because being #FitForLife – the MF mantra – doesn’t just mean you can bang out a 10K run before breakfast or bench press your own bodyweight. It also means having the strength to help someone carry a pram down a flight of stairs, the stamina to keep up with your kids in the park, and the energy to be the life and soul of every party. Because without a little balance, life soon gets pretty boring.

JoeWarner,editorialdirector @JoeWarnerUK


Issue 200

January 2017

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MEN’S FITNESS Dennis Publishing Ltd, 30 Cleveland Street, London W1T 4JD EDITORIAL Joe Warner Chris Miller Sam Rider Joel Snape Glen Burrows Ash Gibson (creative consultant), Ian Ferguson (design), Ben Backhouse Brand Director Jon Lipsey

Editorial Director Managing Editor Fitness Editor Editor-At-Large Photography Director Thanks this issue

Staff email Work experience enquiries Editorial postal address York House, 2 Avonmore Road, London W14 8RW DIGITAL Website Editor Jon Shannon ( MANAGEMENT Group Publishing Director James Burnay Associate Publisher Dharmesh Mistry ADVERTISING Group Advertising Director Group Advertising Manager Account Director Agency Account Manager Classified Sales Manager Classified Sales Executive Classified Sales Executive Creative Solutions Project Manager Creative Solutions Project Co-ordinator Northern Representative


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1Ahappymindsoon makesabetterbody

2Addmusclefast bynailingthebasics

3Don’tfret:fruit won’tmakeyoufat

4Fixyourgutandfeel betterthanever

Cover star Steve Cook may now be the biggest name in fitness, but it was only when he realised that there was more to life than a six-pack that he found global fame. Find your balance and a better body will follow. Find out more p38

The equation to work out your daily calorie requirement is more complex than the one that sent Sputnik into space. But eat 2g of protein per kilo of bodyweight per day and you’ll be in great shape to add lean muscle mass fast. Find out more p46

You may have read in less respectable fitness mags that fruit makes you fat. It doesn’t – if you eat it whole rather than blending your fivea-day into one sugar-packed smoothie. After all, ever tried eating five bananas in one go? Find out more p76

Your gut is known as your “second brain” for good reason. Feed it shrimps to help it perform its myriad roles more effectively and you’ll benefit in every area of your life. There’s nine other foods, including curry, that help too. Find out more p80

8 | January 2017



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What matters now


The increase in lean body mass percentage following a 12-week strength and plyometric training programme in elite handball players, according to the Journal Of Human Kinetics. Their squat jump max increased by 6.8%


Makeexplosivegains Photography Getty


If you want bigger and stronger muscles then most of your training time should be dedicated to lifting weights. But you can reach your size and strength goals faster by also including some weekly plyometric work, which means doing more explosive bodyweight moves such as box jumps or clap press-ups, according to a study published in the Journal Of Strength And Conditioning Research. The research found that subjects who performed plyometric exercises added more muscular size and had greater power output than those who didn’t. And the best bit – aside from not needing any equipment – is that you only need to do it once a week, because those who did just one plyometric session a week saw greater benefits than those who did four. Turn the page for three plyometric moves you can do today.

January 2017 | 11

Updates | Training

Beatheartdisease withberries

Adding a handful of blueberries to your morning porridge, one in your post-workout shake and another on your evening Greek yogurt will certainly add extra deliciousness, but new research shows it will also help your heart by tackling the major causes of cardiovascular disease: high blood pressure and arterial stiffness. In the Florida State University study, subjects who ate 150g of blueberries a day for eight weeks saw a reduction in blood pressure (5.1% in systolic and 5.3% in diastolic) and a 6.5% decline in arterial stiffness, plus a 68.5% increase in nitric oxide, a key compound involved in blood vessel widening.

Illustrations Sudden Impact Photography Getty, iStock

Build muscle mass faster “Adding plyometric exercises to your routine will not only increase your athletic capabilities, it will also improve muscle mass by recruiting your fasttwitch fibres,” says trainer Alex Gildea (gildeafitness. com). “Start by keeping the rep count low to perfect your technique and avoid injury.” Do one of the following three plyometric moves before a legs session or combine all three for an quick and intense cardio workout. 12 | January 2017




Squat down and load tension in your legs and glutes, then jump up powerfully, swinging your arms for momentum. Push your hips forwards at the top and exhale. Don’t roll your knees inwards when you land. Do 5-10 reps for 3-5 sets, resting 60sec between them.

Start in a split stance and load tension on your front leg with your core engaged. Jump up powerfully and switch legs in mid-air to land with your other leg in front. Don’t let your knees go ahead of your toes. Do 5-10 reps per leg for 3-5 sets, resting 60sec between them.

Squat down, jump your feet back and do a press-up. From there bring your knees towards your chest, then jump up powerfully. Land softly by bending your knees and go straight into the next rep. Do as many reps as you can for between 30sec and 60sec.


Lifting weights for sets of between 20 and 25 reps using 50% of your one-rep max is as effective at building muscle as doing eight-rep sets using 90% of your max, according to new research from McMaster University in Canada. Researchers analysed muscle and blood samples from a 12week study and found gains in muscle mass and muscle fibre size – a key measure of strength – were virtually identical.

Updates | Nutrition


Forahealth-boostingmeal,crack threeeggsandaddthesefivefoods

The percentage of your RDI of vitamin B12 in a 250g steak. It plays a vital role in optimal brain function, and it’s found predominantly in meat, fish and eggs

Photography Getty, iStock

Anomeletteistheperfectmeal:quick,easyand tasty–andwiththesetoppingsyou’llfeelgreat Thefood

Theeffect Thescience


Healthy blood

Spinach and other leafy greens are a prime source of the element iron, which your body needs for hundreds of biological functions, including healthy blood.


Cell protection

Tomatoes are a decent source of vitamin C, one of the most powerful antioxidants for mopping up the celldamaging free radicals caused by exercise, stress and pollution.


Blood sugar stability

White onions are high in the essential element chromium, which your body needs to better regulate blood sugar levels to support muscle growth and fat loss.


Stronger bones

All cheese is high in calcium, which you need for stronger bones and teeth. It’s also involved in neurotransmitter release and muscle contraction.


Higher energy levels

Mushrooms are low in calories but high in B vitamins for efficient energy metabolism. They also contain selenium for better hormone production.

Wanttothinkquicker? Eatmoreredmeat 36% The reduction in the risk of developing dementia by people who eat the most saturated fat (the type found in red meat), according to a study by the Mayo Clinic.

The next time you face a big challenge at work that requires you to perform under pressure and keep your cool, give your brain the nutrients it needs by eating a steak the night before – preferably one from a grass-fed cow. Organic red meat, or wildcaught fish if you prefer, is high in docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which is one of the most important types of omega 3 fatty acids. Research published in the journal Nutritional Health found that when consumed this compound improves neural function and signalling, while another study in Nutritional Neuroscience found omega 3 consumption reduces anxiety, lowers levels of the stress hormone cortisol, improves mental focus and concentration, lifts mood and promotes better-quality sleep. January 2017 | 15



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Updates | Fitness


The speed limit to which cyclist commuters should stick to protect their lungs, according to a study from the University of British Columbia. Cycling any faster than this (equivalent to 15km/h) in urban environments increases the pace and depth of breathing, which draws in more toxic air pollution into the cyclist’s lungs.


3waysto boostyour bench

Fromtrainer AndrewWatson

1 Breakthechain

Hit a plateau? Swap 15kg with 2x10kg chains. As the chains hit the floor at the bottom of the rep the bar gets lighter, so you can bust through sticking points.

Increaseyourpedalpower Startcyclinglikeaprowiththeseexpertinsights WORDS JOE WARNER PHOTOGRAPHY GETTY


“Efficiency beats brute strength on the bike,” says cycling coach Paul Butler ( “When you’re riding, focus on keeping your shoulders down away from your ears so they don’t get too tight, your elbows slightly bent to absorb the road, and your pelvis still in the saddle. Let your legs do all the moving and aim to pedal smoothly rather than ‘stabbing’ at the pedals.”


“On long rides move around on the bike to stop getting stiff,” says Butler. Use this drill when the road is clear. “Stand up out of the saddle (remember your cadence drops when you do this so change up a gear first). Next, take one hand off the handlebars to give your shoulders a rest, look over each shoulder to rotate your torso and mobilise your spine, and push your chin into your chest to stretch the back of your neck.”


If you’re pushing your body to its limits on the bike, it’s a good idea to back off a bit when you’re off the bike. “Attend a yoga or Pilates class once a week to develop strength in your core, back and shoulders while increasing flexibility in your back and hamstrings,” says Butler. “This will lead to less soreness and tightness on a ride, which means all your energy goes into pushing those pedals.”

2 Dropthebar

Load a bar with 5x5kg on each end. Aim for ten good reps, rest for ten seconds, remove one plate on each side and repeat until you’re just pressing the bar.

3 Backitup

An imbalance between your chest and back will stop you in your tracks. Aim to do as many bent-over rows as bench presses. If you’re too front-heavy, focus on your back until it’s even.

January 2017 | 17

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Updates | Fat Loss

Kingoftheswingers Addkettlebellsintoyourweights workouttogetstrongandlean

Whereyoueat affectsappetite When you’re trying to lose weight and want to go out for a meal, you need to know the menu will keep your diet plan on track. But another consideration should be the establishment’s interior design. New research from the University of Notre Dame in the US found the floor plan of a restaurant can significantly affect how much you eat. Subjects who ate meals in large, open-plan kitchens or dining rooms ate on average 170 more calories per meal than those who dined in more intimate environments. So keep dinner personal to keep getting lean.


late night sleep snacks

1 2 3 4 Quickwarm-up Mobilitydrills Sculpthardabs Workoutfinisher “Kettlebell cleans and kettlebell snatches will wake up your nervous system and stimulate more muscle fibres, allowing you to go heavier on squats and deadlifts,” says trainer Ollie Foxley of W10 Performance.

You don’t need science to tell you that a bad night’s sleep makes you feel moody and irritable the next day. But did you know it can also make you fatter? Research in the journal Sleep found inadequate sleep increased junk food cravings the next day, so try these pre-bed snacks to help you sleep better and look leaner.

“Turkish get-ups and kettlebell windmills at the end of your warmup will improve your movement patterns, improve hip mobility and shoulder stability, and throw some hard direct abs work into the mix,” says Foxley.

1 / Yogurt

Yogurt contains the amino acid tryptophan, which is needed to make melatonin, the hormone behind making you sleepy.

Doing more bell work will tax your abs and get you closer towards a six-pack by torching belly fat. “Pick four or five kettlebell moves and do ten to 20 reps per move in a circuit, only resting at the end to keep your heart rate high,” says Foxley.


Bananas contain tryptophan too, and it’s also a precursor to serotonin, the happy hormone that promotes feelings of well-being.

Ending legs day with a kettlebell “finisher” works your fatigued muscles hard but safely. “Try four sets of ten goblet squats straight into ten swings,” says Foxley. “A good weight of bell is a quarter of your bodyweight.”


Can’t stomach food before bed? Drink milk instead. It contains tryptophan and slow-release casein protein to build muscle. January 2017 | 19

Updates | Health

Resistoffice temptations Endyourworkplaceaffair withjunkfoodbyforging healthierhabitslikethese

Words Sam Rider Photography Getty

1 2 3 4 Startthedaywith Sortoutyour Alwayshavea Makeevery The office is a breeding ground for bad food habits. A recent survey by US company CareerBuilder of 3,000 fulltime employees found 80% tend to scoff snacks at work and 55% deem themselves overweight. One in three blame stress for at-work bingeing, 53% snack because they’re sat at their desk all day, and 45% say they’re too tired from work to exercise. Use these four simple solutions from nutritionist Sophie Enever ( to avoid the temptation to snack on those high-fat and highsugar foods commonly found in the office that will derail your better-body efforts.





Prevention is always better than cure, and eating breakfast will keep you feeling full all morning and put snacking far from your mind. Of course, that only works if you start eating a better breakfast. “Swerve the bowl of sugary cereals for a breakfast based around quality protein,” says Enever. “Eggs are a great choice and some studies have shown that eating them first thing can help prevent unhealthy snacking later in the day.”

“You don’t have to starve yourself at work but you do need to snack smarter,” says Enever. “Keep a stash of healthy snacks in your desk drawer so you don’t get caught out if hunger strikes.” Swap crisps with mixed nuts or popcorn (just not the kind drowned in sugar or butter), and a chocolate bar or sweets with nut butters and rice cakes to boost your intake of the quality fats and protein your body needs to build muscle and burn fat.

“If you’re really struggling to resist sweet temptations, treat your diet like a well-structured exercise plan,” says Enever. “Plan what you’re eating each day in advance and give yourself time at the beginning of the week to pick up supplies on the way to work.” Think Greek yogurt, whole fruit, beef jerky and porridge pots for a good mix of protein, slow-release carbs, vitamins and minerals.

“Watch out for empty calories,” Enever says. “Fizzy drinks can be a big contributor to your calorie intake but are nutritionally useless because they generally just add sugar to your diet and not many essential nutrients. They also don’t keep you very satisfied and can send your blood sugar and appetite on a rollercoaster ride.” If you don’t like plain water, add some citrus fruit or cucumber for a more refreshing taste.

January 2017 | 21



Featuring exclusive and market-leading technology, including the new ACTIVEBlade that has moveable blades for 250% more active cutting area for 200% finer blending of even the toughest foods. And with blades that also move up and down at speed, powered by a 1000w motor, the MULTIQuick 9 makes it easier than ever to blend more of the foods you need to eat more often to build a better body, especially those tough but essential superfoods such as raw vegetables, nuts and seeds.

World-leading technology

Building on it’s reputation as the world’s number one handheld blender builder, the Braun MULTIQuick 9 also features new technological innovations, including SPLASHControl technology. Thanks to the interaction of three design factors in Braun’s patented PowerBell blending shaft, the six feet and arched openings allow optimum flow into the blade area, and the unique floral bell shape of the blending shaft draws food inward for finer and smoother blending. The new MULTIQuick 9 also features the new POWERBell PLUS PLU with an extended cutting area for faster and more efficient blending. This innovative extra milling blade lets you even process large pieces of food. The blender not only makes food preparation quick and easy, but the EasyClick Plus patented system allows the quick and easy change of attachments to instantly expand your range and creativity in the kitchen. The result? It will take you less time than ever to make the healthy meals your body needs to look and perform at its best.

Order your Braun MultiQuick blender now at

A healthy and balanced diet is an essential component in your quest to build a bigger and leaner body and improve sports performance. But with your time at a premium it is increasingly difficult to dedicate enough effort in the kitchen to prepare the meals your body needs to look and perform better than ever. So if you’re short of time but want to eat for a better body look no further than the new MULTIQuick 9 handheld blender, designed by the experts at market-leading Braun. It possesses the power to transform your cooking skills and you strive to transform your body. With the MULTIQuick 9 in your kitchen arsenal you can make health-boosting smoothies, shakes and soups in no time, as well as slashing the time it takes you to prepare your muscle-building meals.

Updates | Supplements


Whichpillsare worthpopping?


of the men surveyed admitted they were worried by their supplement intake

Wewenttothreetopcoachestofindout whichsupplementstheyswearby

Vitamin D keeps my bones healthy and my immune system fighting fit, says Amy Hughes, endurance athlete, blogger and charity record breaker (

Words Sam Rider Photography Getty

Fish oils keep my mind sharp and my body prepared to build muscle, says Ben Mudge, PT and fitness model (

Whey protein shakes help me maintain lean muscle when I’m on the go, says Andrew Tracey, functional fitness specialist (wayofthenomad.

“I only take a small amount of supplements as I try to get as much as I can from food – but I always take vitamin D. I know my body takes a pounding from the crazily stupid number of miles I run [Hughes has run 53 marathons in 53 days] but this vit helps regulate absorption of calcium for healthy bones and supports my immune system to help me recover quicker.”

“Omega 3 fatty acids in fish oils help with hormone production – including testosterone, which is vital if you want to build lean muscle – and it’s also been shown to increase cognitive function. People generally lack quality fat intake but are reluctant to eat oily fish like mackerel, so that’s another good reason to take omega 3 supplements.”

“If you’re trying to lose weight it’s often difficult to find a meal on the road that’s high in protein but low in carbohydrates or fats, which is where 20-30g of whey between feeds goes a long way. It helps boost your protein intake for fast recovery, curbs hunger and helps you avoid any unnecessary calories so you can enjoy a big, wholefood meal at other sittings.”



Are you too reliant on pills and powders? Recent research by the American Psychological Association found men are becoming increasingly dependent on supplements such as protein, creatine and fat burners, at the risk of forming poor dietary habits and compromising their health. Of the 195 men surveyed, who were all supplement users, 22% said they regularly replaced meals with tablets or shakes. A further 8% had been advised to cut back on supplements by their doctor because they were missing out on vital minerals, vitamins and other micronutrients from whole food sources. Remember, supps are a useful back-up to support your health and aid with recovery after exercise, but they aren’t a substitute for a balanced, healthy diet. January 2017 | 23

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Off road running shoes need to strike a careful balance between mobility and protection. We offer the full spectrum, from low-profile racers to high mileage training shoes. Visit us in-store to see our range of the latest footwear for trail, mixed use and off trail running. 24 STORES NATIONWIDE Find your nearest store at

Personal Best



The tyre-like lug pattern on the 361 Santiago trail shoe is segmented for increased traction

Hardandfast Get the comfort of a road running shoe with the protection of off-road design in the new Santiago trail shoe from 361

The compromise you usually have to make when you choose a pair of trail running shoes is that in order to protect and stabilise your foot, you lose some of the comfort associated with road running trainers. This new offering from 361 sidesteps that issue by using the QU!KFOAM QDP (Quick Dynamic Performance) system, which enhances shock absorption and acceleration to provide a high-performance blend of comfort, cushioning and forward propulsion. The shoe also weighs just 309g, which makes it ideal for fast runners looking to clock up significant mileage. 361 Santiago, ÂŁ110

January 2017 | 27


MF & The Bluebeards Revenge present...




To keep dryness away, apply moisturiser twice a day – and it’s important to wash your face beforehand and make sure that the skin’s still slightly damp upon application, which allows it to soak up as much hydration as possible.


Take a dollop of moisturiser the size of a 10p piece and apply it to your face in stages. Make sure to dab it and blend evenly rather than rubbing it outwards, so you limit the chance of spreading excess oil into your hairline.


Your neck is exposed to the same elements as your face, so don’t forget it! You’ll need a dollop twice the size of the one you used on your face, and use the same technique to apply it across your neck, throat and top of your chest.



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Use tips from Amit Katwala, author of The Athletic Brain (£16.99, Simon and Schuster) to get the edge on the sports field In association with

TRAIN UNDER PRESSURE The goal when training should be to ensure that your brain has seen it all before and knows what to do no matter what the scenario. This is less practical for amateurs than pros to implement, but you can still work it into practices: simulate the pressure of a game by ensuring something is riding on the outcome, whether it’s money or simply the threat of having to run a lap around the field.

PB | Gear & Tips

Newwatchletsyou swiminactiondata Nixon has made a splash by creating the world’s first ultra-rugged action sports smartwatch. The Mission uses Google’s Android Wear technology and a suite of custom applications to give you activitytracking data and real-time information on conditions, whether you’re catching a wave or climbing a mountain. Its tough hardware means that it will withstand a battering, while its 10-ATM rating means it is water resistant to 100m – although if you find yourself that far below the surface, you’ve probably got bigger concerns than the performance of your watch. Nixon The Mission, £339


OVERLOAD YOUR BRAIN Once you’ve learned a skill you can make it more robust and instinctive by training while performing other tasks. Some coaches get their charges to shout the colour of a dot on a ball as they catch it. Petr Cech, the Arsenal goalkeeper, practises catching against a table tennis robot to sharpen his reflexes and co-ordination. Be imaginative how can you stretch the skills required for your sport?


LOOK IN THE RIGHT PLACE Your brain knows how to do most things – you just need to give it the right information. Whether you’re playing pool, golf or basketball, simply looking at the target for longer before you start your action can make a huge difference by letting your body align its movement with your gaze. Try saying out loud a set phrase such as “sight, focus” before you take a shot to fix your eyes on the target.


USE “MASSED PRACTICE” If you’re struggling to learn a new skill, research suggests it’s better to dive into it for an extended period, rather than spreading out your efforts. Early in his career, snowboarder Billy Morgan would work for six months then spend six months snowboarding – because of this his brain changed more quickly than it would have if he’d spread out his snowboarding across the year.


GET YOUR HEAD OUT OF THE GAME One of the simplest fixes for “paralysis by analysis” is to simply give your brain’s interfering left hemisphere something else to do. Something as simple as clenching your left hand could help to maintain your sporting performance under pressure. Other athletes have used performance cues - saying a word out loud as they hit the ball in golf or tennis, or singing to themselves to keep their brain busy.


TIRE YOUR BRAIN OUT By doing a mentally fatiguing or boring task and then going out to exercise, you’re stretching the brain’s powers of response inhibition - its ability to ignore the signals from the body telling you to stop – so you should be able to go for longer. Scheduling some longer runs for after work will make your brain feel like it has covered extra distance, so when it comes to a race, it will be used to the feeling. January 2017 | 29

Photography iStock


VISUALISE PATHWAYS Neurons that fire together wire together, and imagining yourself succeeding at something is a great way to strengthen the neural pathways that will determine that success. Visualisation works better the more realistic it is, so focus on all your senses before big moments – whether in sport or outside it – and concentrate on the details. Feel yourself performing in the way you want to.

PB | Gear

STUFF MF ’spickofthebestnewclothes,kitandproductsfortheactiveman

Rohan Fall Line jacket A heavy-duty yet lightweight waterproof to keep you dry when the heavens open. £179,

Michael Kors Access smartwatch Bringing high-end design to the smartwatch space, it’ll track your activity levels in style. £329,

Bon Courage T-shirt This leads the line of new tees, hoodies and accessories from the bike-mad brand. £12,

Salter chopping board and digital scales An ingenious dual-function kitchen tool for chopping and weighing food at the same time. £39.99,

Psycho Bunny polo shirt The preppy-inspired design behind this shirt means it’s fit for both work and play. £69.95,

Dorco Pace 6 Plus razor Remove stubble swiftly – and never run out of blades with Dorco’s subscription service. £7.99 a month,

Henry London watch A timeless piece inspired by the historic link between watchmaking and astronomy. £135,

Wahl beard trimmer Keep your facial fuzz in check whatever your preferred length from 24mm to 0.5mm. £45,

Luke Sport Rod jacket This stylish black and silver hooded jacket has a zip front pocket with side entry access. £95,

30 | January 2017



Our bodies are designed to move. As well as maintaining physical performance, exercise benefits many aspects of your brain function; various studies have shown improvements in short-term memory and the ability to focus. Make the most out of your session with Lucozade Sport Did you know? While training is vital for keeping your body physically fit and healthy, exercise benefits go far beyond just that.

Brain power Studies have shown that a short burst of high intensity exercise can help your brain to process information better, providing you’re hydrated. Try a Tabata workout on a rowing machine. Row with max effort for 20 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds and repeat 8 times.

Everything helps Worried about the best training for you? Stop fretting and just do something. Activity has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity and blood lipid levels, important in keeping your heart healthy.

Control your appetite Craving the snacks? People who exercise regularly have been shown to be more in tune with how much energy their bodies need, compared to those who do little or no exercise.

World class sessions It’s why Lucozade Sport’s Made to Move campaign aims to get one million people moving more by 2020. It’s launched the Move Sessions, a series of free livestreamed workout classes taking place at Pure Gym facilities around the UK. You can sign up to a session at And events are already happening, starting with Olympic boxing gold medallist and IBF World Heavyweight Champion, Anthony Joshua, who ran a dynamic bodyweight session, offering a window into his training regimen.

For more details on the Made To Move live sessions, go to

Other events include sessions from Victoria Spence, Bradley Simmonds and Emily Skye.

Seize the day A chance to train with people at the top of their game is an exciting opportunity, so make sure you make the most out of these sessions by staying properly hydrated. Lucozade Sport provides carbohydrates and electrolytes, enhancing hydration and maintaining endurance performance during exercise. Meaning all you have to worry about is keeping up with the workout.

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PB | Fragrances


Wear a fragrance that combines classic masculine values with contemporary charm to stand out from the crowd


NOTE DI COLONIA II Intense and intoxicating, this scent combines orange and cardamom with a musky base. It’s ideal for making a great first-date impression.

32 | January 2017

To celebrate its centenary, luxury fragrance brand Acqua di Parma has launched a new collection inspired by its home city’s musical heritage. The three scents in the Note di Colonia line-up are variations on the brand’s original fragrance – favoured by the suavest Italian men in the early 20th century – and aim to capture the passion of Parma’s rich operatic tradition. Even the bottles, with their handmade stoppers and elegantly rounded corners, are harmonious in style, giving the whole product a highly refined feel. Note di Colonia, £280 for 150ml


NOTE DI COLONIA I A light and vibrant fragrance with bergamot notes that give way to a soft, sweet scent, making it perfect for an evening with your partner.


NOTE DI COLONIA III This bold, dramatic scent has a perfectly balanced mix of delicate vetiver and woody jasmine. Spray it on when you want to feel powerful and confident.

built for the challenge

PB | Grooming

Eatyourwayto abrightersmile


Now you can get ice cream delivered to your door in under an hour, eternal youth is possibly the last thing on Earth that you can’t buy online. This new anti-ageing MAX LS Deluxe gift set from Lab Series, however, is the next best thing. And it comes with a wash bag from those distinguished folk at Aspinal of London.

Addtheseteeth-whiteningfoodsto yourshoppinglist,sayscelebrity dentistDrRichardMarques £150

1 Strawberries “The malic acid in the berries is a natural cleaner that will whiten your teeth.” 2 White foods “The whiter the foods you eat, the whiter your teeth will be. Eat chicken, rice and fish and avoid pigmented foods, such as Chinese or Indian takeaways, which can have lots of colourings that stain your teeth.” 3 Milk “The calcium in milk helps reinforce tooth enamel and structure, as well as helping to strengthen your jawbone.”

+ 1

MAX LS Daily Renewing Cleanser is a creamy moisturising lotion with anti-ageing properties.

+ 2

MAX LS Power V Lifting Serum speeds up the rate of skin cell turnover to keep you looking youthful.

+ 3

MAX LS Instant Eye Lift is an intense moisturising treatment that will make your eyes look fresh.

+ 4

MAX LS Power V Lifting Cream uses Lab Series Molecular Age-Less Complex to tighten your skin.

4 Cheese “This is another great naturally cleansing food that can strengthen the teeth. It contains calcium and also has a cleansing surface structure, especially hard cheese such as cheddar.” 5 Coconut oil “Swill a tablespoon of coconut oil around your mouth for up to 15 minutes. It helps remove damaging bacteria and stains on your teeth.” For more information on Marques and his Londonbased dental practice visit

Thecompletepackage Ourpickofthebestgroominggiftsets Availableat

A★Men Christmas Coffret This classic coffret set includes a refillable eau de toilette and a body wash. £42 34 | January 2017

L’Oréal Men Expert Barber Shop Collection This six-strong set includes stubblefriendly moisturiser and a beard comb. £25

Clarins Men 12 Days Of Christmas Designed to be opened on Boxing Day, this pack will help undo Xmas excess. £65

It’s a rare accomplishment to o find the prestigious ETA Valjoux 7750 50 in a diving watch as rugged as it is attractive, e, but the C60 Trident Pro Chronograph aph 600 manages it. Waterproof to 600m, the dial contains a regulator-inspired ‘breathing’ athing’ small seconds indicator. Perfect for or professional divers – and those that want to look good. £1,395

Discover the new breed of watchmaker...

PB | Snowsports


Lookgreatandperformbetterwithour pickofthebestnewsnowsportsgear You’d be forgiven for not pulling off something as impressive as this move demonstrated by Burton rider Danny Davis – but if you take to the slopes with his Led Zeppelin-inspired board, you have a duty to attempt something gloriously freestyle, even if it does leave you dazed and confused.

BurtonEasyLivinSnowboard OakleyMod5SnowHelmet AdidasProgressorProPack VolcomT2DJacket

The only way to ride this board, which has been decorated with Led Zeppelin iconography, is to go freestyle. £430,

36 | January 2017

The dual material outer shell provides a lightweight feel and durability when you need it most. £160,

The pack includes two lens options: one for challenging conditions and another for enhanced peripheral vision. £155,

This hi-tech jacket is both waterproof and breathable, keeping you comfortable in any weather. £430,

GETTING ITOFF HIS CHEST Steve Cook is the world’s number one fitness model and has inspired millions to get into the shape of their life. But he won’t be satisfied until everyone gets the message that real success comes by loving what you do and having the desire to do better today than you did yesterday. Get that right, he tells MF, and the six-pack will take care of itself PHOTOGRAPHY GLEN BURROWS 38 | January 2017

January 2017 | 39

“If it, o I did peo the do ple r it to ca o” n

Features | Steve Cook


fter his Men’s Fitness cover shoot, Steve Cook tweeted to say he would be at St Paul’s Cathedral the following morning at 11am if anyone wanted to do some sightseeing with him. His followers turned up in droves. The 31-year-old from Boise, Idaho, didn’t see many sights in the end because he spent the rest of the morning talking fitness and posing for selfies with his fans. To say that Cook is the most popular man in fitness is no understatement. He has more than 1.2 million Instagram followers, 600,000 subscribers to his YouTube channel, and every event he attends – whether it’s the world’s biggest fitness show or an informal weekend meet-up – brings people from miles around for the chance to speak to their idol. But what he tells them isn’t necessarily what you’d expect. With so many self-proclaimed fitness experts on social media banging the drum about how you should smash yourself in the gym every day – hashtagging every post with #BeastMode or something equally hardcore – Cook’s message is loud and clear: health comes first. After all, he says, what’s the point of having a rock-hard six-pack if you go to bed every night starving and miserable and dreading the 6am alarm to go to the gym? For Cook, as it should be for us all, his fitness isn’t defined by his body-fat percentage, nor is his happiness measured by the circumference of his biceps. Cook’s ethos is simple: to be healthy you have to be happy, and he’s a man on a mission to spread that message far and wide.

40 | January 2017

“As bod I g bec yb ot m and om uil o les ing ding re in s h les I w to eal s as thy ” Steve, you started out as a pure bodybuilder, but over recent years you’ve branched out into many other areas of training. Why?

I decided about two years ago that I was done with competing [in bodybuilding shows]. I could see major holes in the way bodybuilders were training. Most of them use improper form and they’re not looking at movement patterns. I realised that the [bodybuilding] industry was and is behind the times – they’re not using mobility and not getting the greatest value out of it. They’re not doing stretching, yoga, incorporating Olympic lifting. I think it could be done in a way that all works together. That’s my goal. That’s why I’m doing triathlons and half marathons, to show people you can be big, strong and athletic. You don’t have to train like a bodybuilder just because all the oldschool bodybuilding magazines tell you to.

What did you learn from competing?

I competed a lot and really got my name out there, but I also learned that as I got more into bodybuilding I was actually becoming less and less healthy. I wasn’t flexible. I wasn’t in a good place mentally either. You get this idea you have to look

January 2017 | 41

Features | Steve Cook perfect and that you need to look like you do on stage all year round, which is just not the case. It’s much better to concentrate on the performance in the gym and the looks will take care of themselves. For me to do a show I needed to concentrate on every little detail, literally everything. But now year-round I concentrate on trying to improve my squat or my power clean, or my half marathon time or triathlon time. I’m constantly pushing myself to find new ways of getting fit because it’s a better way for me to stay in shape.

Are you concerned that too many people are too focused on the way they look, and don’t pay enough attention to how they feel?

Yeah. I realised if you obsess about how you look you have no balance in your life. You’re placing unrealistic expectations on yourself and when you do that you’re going to end up unhappy and never satisfied with what you have. I now focus on performance and my goals are what I can see on paper, not in the mirror. I’m at a point where I’m happy with the size I’m at and I’m trying to push myself in other ways, like improving my cardio fitness with swimming which is killer because it’s all about breathing. When you’re in the gym you’re pushing and tensing and flexing, and being fluid is the opposite. That balance has been great.

You’ve got a huge following on social media and people travel miles to see you. Why do you think your message resonates with so many people? I’m about people being healthy and what I love most is when someone comes up to me and says, “Steve, you helped me lose 20kg” or, “Because of you I started to do this and now I have confidence”. I’ve been that person who felt I had nothing. My message is telling people that if I did it, then they can do it too. Hopefully they can see what I do and what I’m about and use that motivation to start something themselves.

42 | January 2017

“I’m pus c to f hin ons of g ind g m tan ett new ys tly ing w elf fit” ays So many people see exercise as a chore or a means to an end. How can people switch that mindset to a positive one? Think about being happy today. So many people say “I’ll be happy when I hit my goal” or when they lose a certain amount of weight. Actually it’s about learning to be happy today but not content where you’re at. If I could change anything it’d be to change people’s minds about training and having fun with it. Learn to do new things. Find a way to have better life balance.

Why is that so important to you?

I’ve know a lot of people who’ve struggled with addiction, including two of my friends – one committed suicide and one overdosed. I played college [American] football with them and they both passed away about five months ago. One thing I want to do is find people who are struggling and get those people to realise they can make positive changes to your life through the gym or through exercise. We need to learn to be happy in ourselves and not look at what other people have whether that’s cars or money or fame. We should never say that we’ll be happy when we have that person’s life. You need to be happy today, happy now. For me it’s about trying to get people to appreciate how important that outlook is.

How have you changed physically since embracing a more rounded approach to training?

Now I’m stronger. I might not be stageready right now but what I found was I used to bulk up, I’d get really lean for a show and I’d win – I won nine out of my first ten shows – and it was cool but it was the same thing: diet down to this extreme level, do your stepping on the treadmill, over and over again. I wasn’t doing it because I enjoyed it any more – I was doing it because I needed to better the results I’d always had. And it got really old. I decided to do a Tough Mudder and a half marathon in Saint George, Utah.

How did you get on?

It was all right. My goal was under two hours and I did an hour and 54 minutes – not bad when I weighed 215lb [97.5kg]. For me I needed a goal. Next I did Olympic lifting which I liked, did CrossFit for a little while but didn’t love it. I liked Olympic lifting, and I like gymnastics and calisthenics, but I don’t necessarily think CrossFit is the best way to go in terms of programming. Elements of it are great. It’s a sport, though, and in sports there’s always a risk of injury. When you’re doing stuff that has a high degree of difficulty, like Olympic lifts, under stress and for time there’s a good chance of getting hurt eventually. But I tried it and I love aspects of it.

Has there always been an athlete under your bodybuilding exterior?

I always played sports growing up. I played baseball, basketball, football and track. I wrestled to eighth grade [around age 14]. My dad was a high school athletics director so that probably played a part but sports was just something I did. I got into bodybuilding when I was playing college football – I’d go back later at night and do arm curls and stuff like that because I loved both. After that I got married, then got divorced, and the thing that got me [mentally] back on track was having a goal to work towards and that goal was a bodybuilding show.

How old were you?

I was 23. Yep, I was young! I got married at 21. After the divorce I hadn’t finished my degree so I moved back to my college to study. I was a

January 2017 | 43

“Yo bal u’ve eat ance got a d . It’ to h oug s O ave hnu K to t” Features | Steve Cook

44 | January 2017

you can’t get up the next morning and work out… I never want to be that way. My happiness comes from my body feeling good so if something starts interfering with that then it’s too much.

You travel almost constantly. How do you keep in shape when you’re on the go all the time?

biology/psychology major and my whole senior paper was on how exercise affects college students. Not just physically but also in classroom performance. While I was doing that I was prepping for one of my very first shows, a male model search. There were 300 guys that entered. It was the first time the event had been held and it was in Las Vegas at the Mr Olympia contest. I won and part of the prize was a magazine cover and it launched my career.

Will you ever compete in a bodybuilding show again?

I might get back on stage but I’m going to have fun with it. If it’s not adding value to my life I’m not going to do it. Every fitness thing you do should make you feel better. You should always feel better after working out. I got to the point when I was just going through the motions – doing it because I felt I had to. I wasn’t enjoying it and I didn’t have any balance, and that kind of manifested in that I would cheat on my diet and it became very unhealthy. Now I don’t diet. I eat and train, I don’t diet and exercise.

That explains the doughnut you just ate…

Ha! Exactly. It’s about balance. For example, today people brought doughnuts. If that had been a couple of years ago when I was in my bodybuilding mindframe, the whole day would have been a wreck because I had that one doughnut. I would have binged the rest of the day, eaten myself sick because I messed up. Now I realise you’ve got to have balance. It’s OK to eat a doughnut. I’m training, I’m working hard, it’s OK.

I make training the first thing I do in the day. The longest I’ll be at home is two or three weeks – I’m on the go constantly. If I try to work out after an expo it doesn’t happen. I need the morning to get up, meditate, stretch, train, eat a good breakfast, start the day. If I get all that out the way I know the things that matter the most to me, my body, is taken care of.

Do you count calories?

I don’t count [but] I have a rough idea of what’s in things. With protein I try to hit about 250g a day. I’m carb cycling now so on days I’m active I’ll be on 300g of carbs, days I’m less active I’ll be at about 200g. With fats I shoot for about 80g – a little higher than in my bodybuilding days, but fats are so important for hormone balance and staying healthy. I’m doing so much more cardio now that I’m actually getting leaner on those macros so I might have to bump them up.

I heard you were lactose intolerant. How does that affect your diet?

I’ve never actually been assessed – I just feel I get bubble guts with milk, so I have almond milk. Don’t get me wrong, if there’s a good ice cream I’m going to have it and pay the price! With supplements I have hydrolysed whey protein that’s really low in lactose. My stomach is a lot happier with me on things that are low lactose.

How about booze? Do you drink?

I did last night! That’s because I was out with the Optimum Nutrition [Cook is an ambassador for the sports nutrition brand] guys to celebrate their 30th birthday. But I never drink at home. So maybe once a month I drink. There’s been occasions when I’m out on the road travelling and there’s events… but fortunately for me I don’t crave it.

Does it affect your social life?

When you’re on the road what’s the one piece of gym kit you won’t travel without? I always take my running shoes and Nike Met Cons for training. If I can fit it in my bag I’ll always take a foam roller and a massage ball, and then my supplements.

What’s the most effective way you’ve found to train your chest?

I do one major day and I’ll hit it again later in the week with two movements. Incline dumbbell presses are the best for the pecs. Developing a big chest is all about angles. You can be on the bench press and only really be working your anterior deltoids and triceps. A lot of it is checking your ego and using your back. You’ve got to activate your lats so keep your shoulders back, a little arch under your back, and your feet flat on the floor.

You’re an inspiration to many, but who was your inspiration growing up?

Rob Dyrdek, the skateboarder. He created something – he started out sponsored by DC and now he has his own empire. He had a vision of what he wanted and through sheer passion and enthusiasm he created it. Also Tony Robbins, the motivational speaker. Check him out on Netflix – he’s a big guy, 6ft 5in, big booming voice. He’s written some bestselling books and he just changes people and understands people. He really cares about people – he gets it, and people love being around him. If I could be a balance of those two people and do it through fitness… that’s my lifelong goal.

I dated a girl who loved a glass of wine. That’s fine but for me I’d rather splurge on pizza or something, use my calories differently. If it gets to a point when

January 2017 | 45

50 ways to add

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Thebasicsmightstaythesame–butscienceisalways findingnewtwistsonthem.MFpresentsthecutting-edge researchthatwillletyouupgradetoaleaner,strongerbody

46 | January 2017

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January 2017 | 47

Features | 50 Muscle Tips

Modify your moves

If size is the aim, training takes on a different tone. Here’s how to change the classics accordingly Chest Step away from the bench – you’ll get more pec activation from moves that aren’t just about pressing. Switch your press-ups for “squeezers”, as done by the BarStarzz calisthenics team. Start with your hands slightly outside shoulder-width apart, and squeeze them together (they shouldn’t actually move inwards) on the way up. Do three max-reps sets, every other day. Biceps “Unfortunately the best biceps move is the least practical,” says strength coach Chad Waterbury. “If you can hang a rope up somewhere, do ten climbs, two or three times a week for all the stimulation you’ll ever need.” Not an option? Do neutral-grip pull-ups (palms facing in) or pull-downs using your gym’s double-D handle to give your guns similar stimulation. Triceps Dips done properly – with your elbows tucked to your sides – might be all the triceps training you need, but once you hit the 30-rep mark, switch to the Russian variation. Drop into the bottom of the move, shift your weight backwards onto your forearms, then push forwards again and come back up. The (nasty) goal is ten reps. Forearms Forget wrist curls and work these muscles alongside everything else. Fat-grip training is the key – either invest in a set of Fat Gripz ( or wrap a towel around the bar for pull-ups, rows and dumbbell curls. Quads No leg extension machine? No problem: do the natural version. Start on your knees with your upper body raised off the floor, then lean back slowly, using your quads to control your descent. You might need to use some momentum to get back to the top, but the goal is to ascend and descend without using your hands.

48 | January 2017


Whenyoucando30dips, switchtoRussiandips forbigtriceps

Shoulders Don’t chase the weight on shoulder moves: your rotator cuffs will struggle to handle the stress. Instead, use light dumbbells and strive for perfect form – when you’re doing lat raises, for example, do one rep, then hold at the top for ten seconds, two reps and 20, all the way up to four and 40. Rest for a minute, and repeat twice. Traps Sure, shrugs will do the job – if you go heavy enough – but for better and quicker gains, switch up to the snatch-grip high pull, which hits the rhomboids, shoulders and mid-back for shirt-stretching muscle. Using a wide grip on the bar, pull it explosively upward, keeping your elbows higher than the bar and aimed slightly backward. Then let the bar fall back to the start position.

Back You need to hit it from all angles. To do the job, pick a rep count that’s roughly a third of the number of pull-ups you can manage in one set, then do three sets of this number of normal-grip pull-ups, three sets of closegrip and three sets of wide-grip, with 60 seconds’ rest between sets. Once you can do all nine sets with perfect form, increase the reps by one for your next workout. Glutes They won’t activate themselves. Before you squat, use the fire hydrant: get on all fours, then bring your knee up and out to your side, like a dog marking its territory. For more activation, straighten your leg – if your glutes start twitching, it’s working.

Hamstrings The Nordic hamstring curl is a fine move – and, according to studies, a solid way to protect your hamstrings from sports-based wear and tear – but it’s not easy without someone to hold your legs. Use a lat pull-down machine as an improvised spotter: get into the machine with your shins on the seat and ankles tucked underneath, then lean away from the machine, holding on to the handle. Calves You don’t need machines or added weights. Do single-leg calf raises with your fingertips against a wall for balance – no bending at the knees or waist. Aim for three sets of max reps (each leg) and when you make it to 20, stop using the wall. The increased motor unit recruitment will add both power and muscle.

Eat big (and smart)

Because ‘just eat more’ lacks finesse Know what you need First, you need to work out your Basal Metabolic Rate, or how many calories you’re burning just to stay alive. Plug your stats into the equation: (10 × weight in kg) + (6,25 × height in cm) - (5 × age in years) + 5 to get it, then multiply the whole thing by 1.375 (if you’re planning to train one to three times a week) or 1.55 (if you’re aiming for four to five). Once you’ve got your baseline, add 300-400 calories per day for a controlled bulk. Track your intake “It’s counter-intuitive, but you need to watch your diet more when you’re bulking than when you’re cutting,” says Jay Waldron, who writes about training at “When you’re cutting, the only difference the numbers make is how fast or slow you lose fat – but when you’re bulking, days of excessive eating will mean fat gain, and days of missing your macros will slow your progress.” Spend five days tracking your calories and macronutrients with MyFitnessPal: after that, you’ll have a better idea of how you’re doing.


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Watch your macros Watching calories? Keep your priorities in order, says Dowey. “Don’t over-eat protein. There is very little research to suggest more than 2-2.3g per kilo of bodyweight a day equates to greater strength or mass gains. If you consume more than this then they’re wasted calories – calories that could be eaten as carbs or fat, increasing the rate at which you recover.” Keep carbed up “Don’t demonise carbohydrates,” says strength and conditioning coach Joel Dowey. “Recent research suggests that when protein is eaten with carbs, muscle protein synthesis increases as much as fourfold compared to protein and fat or protein alone. Consume high-GI carbs after training to maximise the recovery process.” Make your own gains shake Shop-bought mass gainers are not always ideal. Blend your own with a handful of frozen berries, a scoop of protein powder, a teaspoonful of peanut butter and some water or almond milk to taste. Throw an egg on it “Eggs contain the most complete amino acid profile of all foods,” says Dowey. “The yolk has an abundance of healthy fats and micronutrients that help rebuild damaged cells and encourage the production of hormones. HDL cholesterol present in eggs also lowers total body cholesterol.” Steak, leftover chilli, stew: not much is worse with an egg thrown in. January 2017 | 49

Get your mind right

Focus and attention will make all the difference. Here’s how to stay on target

Build the mind-muscle connection Yes, it really exists: in a recent study, 18 subjects managed to increase the activation of their pec or triceps muscles just by focusing on them during sets of bench presses. If you’re struggling to “feel” a muscle during an exercise, coach Greg Nuckols suggests switching to an isolation move that emphasises it – you’ll be able to feel the activation better when you switch back to compound movements. Reframe your goals It’s easier if you’ve got something worth aiming for. “Don’t chase a summer body, chase the desire to be a strong, fit human being,” says Gym Jones coach Pieter Vodden, who worked with the cast of Suicide Squad. “Understand that this is a lifestyle choice and not a temporary fix. Commit to training and to local events, and make things fun.” 50 | January 2017

Go airplane mode Nobody needs your Twitter bons mots when it’s gym time. If you’re taking your phone for music or workout consultation, switch to airplane mode. Better yet, get an MP3 player. Keep a diary It makes sense to keep track of your weights, sets and reps so you can beat them in future. But there’s more to it: if you had a really good session, had you slept better the previous night, or changed your warm-up? Taking a couple of minutes to note what you’ve done will let you stick with what works. Have a back-up strategy “It’s fashionable to say that it’s the 23 hours of the day when you’re not in the gym that you get results,” says Andrew Tracey, founder of The Nomad Way training philosophy. “But what if you’re forced to miss one of your four weekly gym sessions? That’s 25% of your training time gone. Keep a back-up plan so you can get results anywhere.” …And stick to the plan You do have one, right? “Going into the gym knowing what you’re going to do means you’ll be more efficient and move with a purpose,” says Vodden. “Get in, get it done, get out. And eat.” Less time dithering means more time to enjoy your post-workout burrito.


Dosetsof8-12heavy repstostimulate absgrowth

Sculpt abetter class ofsix-pack

Losing fat helps, but building a 3D set of abs is better. Hit them from all angles and build a six-pack that’s visible through a T-shirt

Features | 50 Muscle Tips

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Hold it “Isometric holds are underrated for building abs,” says Dowey. “Use the basic plank or a hanging/supported leg raise holds with a neutral lumbar spine to strengthen your rectus abdominis.” Aim for four sets of 40 seconds, then switch to a more difficult variation of the move. Lower the reps “If you enjoy more traditional abs training, then train them as you would other muscles,” Dowey says. “Mix in some heavier eight, ten or 12-rep

weighted training to promote a different hypertrophic response than the usual higher-rep training.” Crunches work especially well but if you’re doing them on a gym ball, make sure it can take the load. Do mechanical drop sets They work for biceps, so why aren’t you doing them for your core? Do them with hanging leg raises: go to failure on a two seconds up, two seconds down tempo, then switch to knee raises. Finally, ditch the tempo and go to failure one last time. Three reps will torch you.

Let it roll In real life, your core does its best work when it’s resisting movement. Focus on what experts call “anti-extension strength” with roll-outs, done with an abs wheel or TRX. Go down slow, pause at the bottom, and contract your core to come back up. Aim for five sets of ten. Thick back and sides Tiny waists are for supermodels. Work your obliques and lower back with a versatile core, courtesy of a gymnastics superset: first, lie on your front and arch your back,

then hold for 30 seconds, then go straight into five kettlebell windmills on each side. Repeat for four sets, no rest. Breathe easy “Learn to breathe properly when squatting and deadlifting,” says Dowey. “This will ensure your entire core musculature is activated during each of the lifts while also protecting your lower back.” To do it, take a deep breath into your abdomen, as if you’re trying to press outwards against a weight belt, and hold it throughout the move.

January 2017 | 51

Features | 50 Muscle Tips

Train bythe numbers

No need to get the calculators out - some pretty basic maths will improve your gains Count your sets “If you’re trying to get jacked, your secondary goals should be to minimise joint wear and tear, and maintain – or increase – your proficiency on the big lifts,” says Nuckols. To do that, aim to train each muscle or movement for four to six sets (or 40-70 total reps) per session. “I recommend accessory lifts over lighter sets of squat, bench or deadlift to cut down on overuse injuries,” says Nuckols.

Time your rests If you’re training strictly for strength, rests should let you fully recover. For fat loss, they should be so short you’re gasping for breath. For muscle? It’s somewhere in between. “Getting a timer that you keep in view as you train so you can stick to your rest periods is one of the best investments you’ll make,” says trainer and MF cover model Sean Lerwill. For muscle, 90 seconds after heavy supersets is a good guideline.

Vary your reps Yes, most studies agree that six to 12 is the ideal range for maximising muscle growth – if you go heavy enough – but that’s not the full picture. Lower rep counts - three to five, say - will let you build the strength you’ll work with later as well as maximising mechanical tension, while going above 12 will help build up your lactate tolerance. Go low early on, when you’re doing compound moves, then switch to high when it’s time for isolation work.

Watch your tempo It’s been a constituent of most muscle plans for a decade or more – but before that, the Schwarzeneggers and Ferrignos of the world built bulk without anything so prescriptive. If mid-set counting isn’t your forte, just think “forceful up, slow down”. “As a rule, take twice as long on the eccentric [lowering] as you do on the concentric [lifting] part of the move,” says Tracey. Keep it controlled, and you won’t go far wrong.


seconds’restafterheavy supersetswillhelp buildmuscle 52 | January 2017

“Failuorestis the m tant impor in factortrophy” hyper

Advanced strategies

Bulking hit a roadblock? It’s time to dig out the technical tricks Vary your speed Three key factors maximise muscle growth: mechanical tension, muscle damage and metabolic stress. Switch your tempo between moves or workouts, and you’ll alter which one comes to the forefront. For instance, do your bench pressing with a pause at the chest to increase mechanical tension, but switch to dumbbell bench with a bigger ROM and slower lowering motion to up the muscle damage. Change things up every couple of weeks for bigger gains. Know when to fail According to a study in the Journal Of Applied Physiology, failure is the most important factor in hypertrophy – but that doesn’t mean going all-out in every set is the smart strategy. Going to failure on heavy, compound lifts is very taxing to the nervous system, to the point where doing it on your first move might ruin your workout. Save it for isolation moves.

Stretch better Not just because you’re channelling Van Damme. Static stretching for 30-90 seconds per muscle group after a workout can stimulate a recovery response in your nervous system thanks to receptors in your soft tissues. Struggling with your nodoubt-tight pecs? Sling a resistance band over a pull-up bar and tug gently against it so that you feel the stretch in your pec. Push, then pull There’s more to supersets than just saving time: according to an effect known as reciprocal innervation (first hypothesized by René Descartes, philosophy fans), muscles exist in pairs with contraction of one being matched by relaxation of the other. There’s some evidence that this means supersetting, say, a triceps move with a biceps move (chin-ups and bench press is a classic example) aids recovery from both moves, by forcing the non-working muscles to relax – and letting you get more reps next set.

Change angles “One way to do mechanical drop sets is to change the angle at which the resistance is placed upon the muscle,” says Dowey. “With rope triceps extensions, take two or three steps back from the machine, then perform eight to 12 reps, or enough so that you’re close to failure. Take a step forwards and repeat. Then do it again, until the cable is moving vertically. This type of drop set uses the same weight but places the peak resistance at different muscle lengths within the same movement.” Feel the squeeze “When doing any arm exercises, try squeezing or tensing the ‘antagonist’ muscle before each rep,” says Dowey. “The triceps if you’re doing curls, for instance. This will fully lengthen the target muscle ensuring a greater ROM, which leads to increased microtears in the muscle.”

January 2017 | 53

Features | 50 Muscle Tips

Train like apro

…with advice from MF experts KIRK MILLER Four-time MF cover model “Use a 4111 tempo – so four seconds for the eccentric or lowering phase, one for every other phase – on every rep with perfect form, on virtually all exercises with real intensity. I guarantee you will grow from the time under tension. Do this for six to 12 reps each set and you’ll not only grow but reduce the risk of injury.” BEN MUDGE Reflex Nutrition Athlete and MF cover model “Instead of doing lots of moves for each body part, focus on the big five: the deadlift, squat, bench, overhead press and pull-up. I think these are the best five movements you can do for overall muscle recruitment – do them correctly and you’re going to add some serious muscle.”

54 | January 2017

SHAUN STAFFORD WBFF pro fitness model world champion and MF cover model “Rather than going into a set with a desired rep range in mind, go in with the aim to work for a certain amount of time. Select the weight you would use for your set of ten to 12 reps but try and work for between 40-70 seconds – the accepted ‘time under tension’ for predominantly hypertrophy. You still need to be working at a max level. Try to make the set last as long as you can – either more reps or slower reps – until you hit the latter end of the time bracket.” RICHARD PEARCE Three-time MF cover model “I superset almost everything – it’s a great way of maintaining intensity. Generally I do a heavy compound move such a bench press then a much lighter but higher-rep, higher-tempo supporting move for the same muscle group like weighted dips or press-ups.”

ig b e v a h o “T ou’ve got legs y at, but to squyour form tailor r goals” to you

The only supps you need

Remember: they’re a helping hand, not miracle pills Protein You only need it if you aren’t getting enough from food, or if you’re struggling to eat during your post-workout window (don’t panic, it lasts up to 90 minutes). Aim for 30-50g in a shake after training. RYAN TERRY IFBB Pro bodybuilder and MF cover model “Everyone knows to have big legs you have got to squat, but tailor your form to your goals. Stand with your feet close together and you switch the emphasis of the movement onto your outer quad, which helps to build the outer sweep, giving you a more ‘3D’ look. The sumo squat, done with a wide stance and toes pointing out, focuses on the inner quad to give the leg more overall thickness – you’ll tend to be stronger on this movement than the normal squat.” ANDREW TRACEY The Nomad Way creator and MF cover model “Focus on form. The last rep should look exactly like the first, whatever weight you’re moving - but prioritise the eccentric. The lowering portion of any lift is the most effective at causing the damage that’s necessary for hypertrophy – just look at the difference in shoulder size between Olympic weightlifters or CrossFitters, who drop their lifts from the top of the lift, and bodybuilders who focus on a slow, controlled lowering. To take it a step further, try to activate the antagonist muscle during the eccentric phase – for instance, try to fire up your lats to actively resist the barbell as it’s coming down during a bench press.”

Magnesium Sleep is as important to muscle growth as food: it’s when recovery happens. Magnesium - the fourth-most common mineral in the body - helps with stress levels and improved kip-time. Take it in spray form, or add the salts to your bath. BCAAs They can increase muscle protein synthesis, especially if you’re not getting enough protein from other sources. There’s also some evidence that they reduce post-workout muscle soreness and increase testosterone recovery. The standard dose is around 20g a day, and it’s especially useful if you miss breakfast. Creatine It’s naturally produced in the body, and you can find it in food – mainly meat, eggs and fish – but supplementing can increase power output, by helping out your body’s stores of ATP, its primary source of energy. Recent studies support taking it with a loading phase: take 0.3g

per kilo of bodyweight for five to seven days, then back off to 5g total a day for three weeks. Digestive enzymes If you aren’t actually digesting properly, all your chicken thighs mean nothing. “Include a quality digestive enzyme,” says Dowey. “An optimally working gut will ensure a great uptake of both macro- and micronutrients, leading to greater recovery from training.” So you’ll be able to train again faster, which means more gains. Zinc It won’t let you lift harder immediately, but it’s key to hundreds of biological processes, including testosterone production and metabolism. Aim for 10mg a day.

n’t e r a u o y f “I ting diges rly, all your propeen thighs chick nothing” mean January 2017 | 55

Features | Ultra Running

56 | January 2017

RUNNING WILD Marathontickedoffyourfitnesschallengelist? Thengetinspiredbytheseepicultras –and tackleonewithexpertadvicefromIanCorless

“The arena in which ultras take place is so fascinating,” says Ian Corless, author of Running Beyond, an inspirational new book exploring long-distance off-road races. “There is something primitive about covering huge distances on foot. I like that. I also love that ultras can provide an opportunity for anyone to take part. The speed is always slower, certainly for those near the back, than shorter races.” It’s true. But don’t be fooled into thinking that they’re easy – they’re not. They are, however, worth the effort because you get to yomp through incredible scenery as in the three races on the following pages, which are all detailed in Corless’s book. Suitably motivated? Then use his tips to start going long. Photography Ian Corless

January 2017 | 57

Features | Ultra Running

Dragon’s Back WhereWales



The first edition of the Dragon’s Back Race in 1992 struck fear into both participants and onlookers. Starting in the north of Wales at Conwy Castle, competitors travelled down the toughest mountainous spine of Wales over multiple days and finished in the south at Carreg Cennen Castle. A singular, breathtaking journey of 300km with 16,000m of vertical gain, all while navigating your route using a compass and map. The race was beyond challenging – so punishing that it took place only once. It became infamous, and the mere mention of its name made the most experienced ultra runner shudder. That is, until 2012, when Shane Ohly, an experienced mountain runner, broke a 20-year hiatus and revived the event, sticking to the original format. Renowned mountain runner Steve Birkinshaw won the 2012 event, while 1992 champion Helene Whitaker returned and won the women’s prize, placing fourth overall. The Guardian called it, “one of the world’s most challenging races… It fills even the hardest runners with awe.” In the period between the first and second races, the sport of ultra running had changed. Further, tougher, more vertical, 58 | January 2017


gnarlier – use the word “hardest” to describe a race and runners would now flock to sign up. The once-intimidating reputation of the Dragon’s Back Race had become a calling card. In at the steep end Day one is one of the best days one could ever experience in British mountain running. Its 49km route takes in all the Welsh 3,000s – 15 peaks over 3,000ft (914m) in succession on a route totalling 3,823m of vertical gain, as well as the exposed knifeedge ridge of Crib Goch. It would make a great standalone race – and in fact it does, in the form of the V3K, a Skyrunning UK race that takes in much of the same route. However, V3K participants run for one day, rest and then go home. No such mollycoddling on the Dragon’s Back. It’s followed by four long, torturous days that make the hardiest competitor question his or her sanity. The race isn’t just one of the toughest challenges in the UK, it’s one of the hardest worldwide. Wales may not have peaks that soar thousands of metres high like the Alps or Pyrénées but what makes Welsh mountains so tough is the relentless rollercoaster

Wales may not have the world‘s highest mountains, but it has some of the most breathtaking scenery

of highs and lows, combined with unpredictable and often boggy ground. The weather is a huge factor, and the runners’ ability to navigate the fastest and most logical route is a key element of the race. The route is often off-piste, far removed from the groomed trails of, say, the Ultra Trail du Mont-Blanc in France. Multiple days of relentless climbing and descending, harsh terrain, self-navigation, lack of sleep, frequently poor visibility and daily distances of 50km or more… At some point every runner asks themselves: “Can I really do this?” Mountain women Only 30 people completed the 2012 edition. When it was staged again three years later 300 applied, but only 144 were accepted due to strict entry criteria, of whom 128 made the start line. And in the end only 65 completed the journey, a failure rate of 50%. In the original race, Whitaker showed the men a thing or two, and 2015 had the potential for a repeat as Jasmin Paris led for much of the race. She eventually placed second overall, closely followed by Beth Pascall in fourth and Lizzie Wraith

(sixth). Race victory went to Jim Mann, but it was the women to whom Ohly paid tribute at the post-event awards: “Despite the so-called advantages that men have, ladies once again triumphed at the Dragon’s Back Race and I think that is brilliant.” It’s fascinating to see how racers change from day to day. The race is full of highs and lows, and not just in the mountainous sense. Some found increased strength from the process, realising that the mind was actually the supreme endurance tool and not the legs or the lungs. For others, their mind became exhausted from the fullon concentration required to navigate the fastest way to the line. Competitor Mike Evans describes his experience vividly. “What a journey. Cut off from the world, no social media, no showers, just living in the wild with a group of equal enthusiasts. It is impossible to explain how tough, how mentally and physically challenging it was, but also how spiritual it has been.” The Dragon’s Back Race now has a reputation as one of the races to do – and Ohly has pledged to hold it every other year, so there are no guessing games about when the next one will be. For more info visit January 2017 | 59

Features | Ultra Running

IceTrailTarentaise WhereFrance



Starting and concluding at the beautiful mountain retreat of Val d’Isère in the French Alps, the Ice Trail Tarentaise in many respects personifies what Kílian Jornet – probably the world’s best-known skyrunner – has been pursuing throughout his career. If alpinism is high-speed mountaineering, skyrunning is high-speed alpinism, doing away with any clutter that might prevent you from moving at a pace. This is a race that involves traversing glaciers and ascending and descending summits like the 3,386m Aiguille Pers, and takes in some of the most iconic mountain landscape found anywhere in the world. Although this region is closely associated with the Tour de France, and the route includes the highest paved mountain pass at the Col de l’Iseran (2,770m), which has been included in the Tour multiple times, there are no bicycles to be seen on the Ice Trail. Instead there are ropes, ladders and way markers to assist the competitors – but with more than 60km of the race route above 2,000m altitude, a highest point of 3,653m at Grande Motte, other peaks over 3,000m and around 5,000m of ascent and descent altogether, you can guarantee that not all those who line up at the start will see the finish. Weather the storm It’s such a tough race, in fact, that the inaugural event didn’t even take place. It was due to be staged in 2011, but severe weather left the organisers with no choice but to cancel – only the safer 32km “Altispeed” race was run, won by Damien Vouillamoz in just over 3½ hours. The 2012 edition was eagerly anticipated after the shortened version whetted many racers’ appetites, and despite (again) initial weather concerns, the race went ahead. François D’Haene and Anne Valéro were the winners, with times of 8hr 16min 35sec and 11hr 20min 13sec respectively. Despite the technical demands of the race, the challenging terrain, the high altitude, the snow, the ice and extreme difficulties, the race has continued to attract a plethora of runners. It’s easy to understand why – to climb Grand Motte, for example, from the lower


altitudes in one push is a pure, adrenaline-charged experience. At the summit, the challenge changes as, with the help of light crampons, participants traverse a glacier, with extreme danger lurking either side. French trail runner Fabien Antolinos, twice winner of one of the France’s most prestigious trail races, the Grand Trail des Templiers, articulates the event’s specific attractions. “The Ice Trail Tarentaise is a race of pure happiness. To travel in high mountains in running shoes and not boots, moving from summit to summit in an often wild and organic way… it is magic. The highest trails in Europe offer a challenge for any runner, especially when moving as fast as possible and with less oxygen because of the altitude.” Breaking the ice Depending on the year and the conditions, the race can offer varying challenges of terrain and bodyclimate control. The upper slopes of Grand Motte will almost certainly be covered in snow, but the lower peaks and valleys can be clear – or they can be icy. This was the case in 2013, when deep snow and ice made the paths treacherous work, and for many it exemplified a true mountain race. In contrast, the 2015 edition saw only minimal snow and ice, creating a very different race with only one thread of continuity: incredible beauty, views and landscapes. In 2015, the race had the honour of hosting the Skyrunning World Championships, which meant runners travelled from all over the world to run, climb and traverse the alpine slopes, trails and mountains of the Tarentaise valley. Luis Alberto Hernando of Spain and Sweden’s Emelie Forsberg were crowned champions in the male and female categories. Owing to a dispute with Val d’Isère, the 2016 Ice Trail Tarentaise was run on a different course that some say is even harder. One thing is for sure: the extreme challenge that has made this region an adrenaline junkies’ playground will continue to inspire skyrunners to take part in one of the great ultra races. For more info visit

Depending on the weather, the Ice Trail Tarentaise presents different challenges from year to year

60 | January 2017

Features | Ultra Running

MatterhornUltraks WhereSwitzerland



Located 1,600m above sea level, the picture-postcard mountain resort of Zermatt is a town of contrasts. Tourists flood in to trawl the streets, shop and snap photos of the Matterhorn looming high above, while among them hardcore mountaineers head upwards with packs, ropes, crampons and ice axes. It’s also the start and finish of the Matterhorn Ultraks race, a 48km skyrunning race with 3,600m of positive and negative gain. The race offers wild, expansive space and dizzying climbs, while the lone peak of the Matterhorn provides an ever-present backdrop, raking the sky above the runners with its majestic beauty. The Ultraks is renowned for its tough opening kilometres: from the start it immediately heads skywards, to Sunnegga at 2,260m and then down to 2,000m beore swinging up to the race’s highest point, Gornergrat, at 3,130m. This brutal 14km stretch is arguably the hardest 62 | January 2017


opening of any race anywhere, and those opening stages can be decisive in determining who crosses the finish line first. Megan Kimmel from the USA ran hard from the gun in 2015, setting the pace against a world-class field. “Any time you get the rhythm in the up, the down or the flat, the body is abruptly put into one of the other actions,” she says. “It is steep enough to grind you to a walk on a lot of the uphill, and has fair bits of technical descent.” A 1,000m drop from Gornergrat is broken by a small climb at Riffelalp, followed by the 1,880m Furi at 24km. Two short sharp climbs come next, the first to Schwarzsee at 2,583m and then, after a critical drop down to 2,200m, another 500m-plus climb. As Kimmel notes, these can be defining moments in the race, as the efforts from the brutal first section can leave legs struggling. “I was comfortably leading the race for 30km,” she recalls. “When I say comfortable, I mean it seemed fairly effortless in a racing sense.

It’s not the longest race but with its brutal opening section, climbing from 1,600m to 3,130m in 14km, the Ultraks is one of the toughest

I was moving with the terrain on the uphills and I was holding back on the descents, because it was a long race with a lot of transitions.” Then, suddenly, she was “just empty. I couldn’t drink enough to satisfy my thirst and I couldn’t get the gels down my throat. The three big 600m climbs were never-ending… My discomfort was deep-seated and my mind quickly shut off. My lead was enough to delay being passed until about 38km, but the whole time between 30 and 38km – which is probably an hour on this course – I was wondering how could I feel so miserable while winning a race.” Fearsome finish With around 13km to go, the runners begin the gradual descent to Trift. After a final 200m burst upwards, a fast and furious drop of almost 1,000m over a distance of 6km leads the pack to the finish line in Zermatt and the assembled crowds. But the

final stages in 2015 brought no relief for Kimmel, who a few weeks earlier had won the Dolomites SkyRace. After leading the women’s race for more than three-quarters of the course, she was overtaken by the chasing pack and sadly ended with a DNF (the victory went to the previous year’s winner, Stevie Kremer). The Ultraks is an essential lesson in the requirements of skyrunning. You need not just speed on the brutal ascents, but a true head for fast descents. Besides this, racing is often a psychological journey as much as physical experience, and Kimmel says this was what proved her undoing. “I was exhausted – I am sure I needed more water and calories – but I think really I just wasn’t mentally prepared.” It’s a telling example of the extreme challenge that faces each runner on the start line. Happily, Kimmel was better prepared in 2016 and won the race in 5hr 25min 15sec. For more info visit January 2017 | 63

Features | Ultra Running

64 | January 2017


UseadvicefromultraexpertIanCorlessto gofurtherthanyou’veeverrunbefore

Be kind to yourself If it’s your first ultra, make things as easy and enjoyable as possible. “Pick a race in a great location that has a reputation for good organisation,” says Corless. “Pick a distance that will test you but isn’t so off-the-scale it becomes intimidating. For example, if you have run a marathon, a 50km or 50-mile race would be a logical step. Finally, incorporate a holiday or at least some downtime into your race trip.” The only way is up... It doesn’t matter where or how long your race is, you can be sure of one thing: it will involve some steep inclines. “Climbing is a skill and to do it well takes practice,’” says Corless. “First, get low and take small steps using your hands on your knees to help build momentum. The alternative is to use poles (make sure they’re not too long). Both techniques require practice, and which technique is preferable depends on the individual. My advice is learn both techniques because some races don’t allow poles.” This means targeting your legs in training. “Use hill repeats – and lots of them,” Corless says. “In addition, work on leg strength and core strength. In particular, your achilles and calf muscles take a great deal of pressure when climbing. Also, your lower back can really feel the pressure of long sustained climbs. In Europe, races often require well over an hour of climbing at a time. If you don’t live near hills that can replicate that, use a step machine in the gym and a treadmill set at a steep incline.” ...except when it’s down Running downhill sounds easy. And it is, on a gentle decline. Sadly those are few and far between in the world of ultras. “Descents are all about agility, foot-to-eye co-ordination and reading the terrain,” says Corless. “A runner should be looking 2-3m ahead and planning where his or her feet will go – that way they can keep a good pace. If you are only looking as your foot lands, you’ll be constantly braking.” The right kit and technique are even more important on the descents. “Have the correct shoes for the terrain – protection and the appropriate grip is essential when running downhill. As for the technique, lean forward and let go. Finally, remember the best descenders are able to switch their brains off and not think about fear.”

Bring the pain The brutal truth is that if you hate the idea of suffering, ultra running probably isn’t for you. “There is a great saying in ultra running that when someone says, ‘I feel good!’ the response is, ‘Don’t worry, it won’t last long!’ If you run long distances, one thing is guaranteed: you are going to have low spots,” Corless says. “That’s one thing that makes ultra attractive to people – it’s about how you get through it. The best ultra runners are often as strong in the mind as they are physically, if not stronger. Above all you need to be stubborn and keep going.” So what tricks do ultra runners use? “One good tip is to break a race down into segments, such as aid station to aid station, or kilometre marker to kilometre marker. If you look at the big picture it can be daunting but, say, 100km broken down into ten 10km sections is less so. Also, have a plan A but also have plans B and C. The better prepared you are, the more possibilities you can deal with and the more likely you are to finish.” Relax and recover A lot of ultras take place over multiple days, so recovery at the end of a day is key. “You need to eat and drink, making sure you get some protein for repair and good-quality carbohydrates to restore energy,” Corless says. “After a few hours you can eat a balanced meal. With hydration, drink when you’re thirsty, but you’ll need plenty of liquid after any run, particularly in a hot climate.” Recovery is about more than eating and drinking, though. “Take a nap and elevate your legs to promote a quicker recovery. Although proof on compression kit’s effects is still not 100%, many believe that wearing compression gear helps. And although maximising rest is crucial, so is planning for the next day before you go to bed. Have supplies and kit ready, and attend to your feet if need be, so that you’re not rushed in the morning. Get into a rhythm and a routine and you’ll find the days will go much more smoothly.”

Running Beyond by Ian Corless (£20, Aurum Press) is out now

January 2017 | 65


EnglandflankerChrisRobshawdescribes thepastyearofhiscareerasarollercoaster –fromWorldCupdisappointmenttotriumph inAustralia.Butashetells MF,hewon’tlet anythingstophimfromstrivingforperfection

Features | Chris Robshaw

If you were to pick one word to describe Chris Robshaw, it would be “stoical”. The 1.88m, 110kg flanker was forced to play the waiting game for a large chunk of his career. When called on, though, he was fully prepared to carry the weight of national expectations on his shoulders. Success followed – but inevitably, things didn’t always go according to plan. And when that happened, Robshaw wasn’t fazed. The Harlequins man won his first England cap in 2009 against Argentina having just turned 24, but had to wait until January 2012 for another. His patience paid off and he started only his second game for the national side as captain. He retained the captaincy for four years, becoming England’s most experienced skipper in the professional era with 42 caps. However, the hugely disappointing home World Cup in 2015, when England lost to Wales and Australia to be eliminated at the group stage, proved costly for Robshaw. While the appointment of new head coach Eddie Jones has turned the team’s fortunes around - at the time of writing England are unbeaten in 2016, winning the Six Nations Grand Slam followed by an unprecedented 3-0 series win in Australia - it’s been bittersweet for the two-time Premiership Player of the Year as he was required to hand over his armband to Dylan Hartley. Rather than throwing a tantrum, Robshaw chose to focus on how he could improve his game to better help his club and country achieve success. It wasn’t a surprise to his team-mates or rugby fans – but, as he admits, it’s not been easy. How did you find out that you’d lost the captaincy after four years? And how did you react at the time? I met up with Eddie and we had a good chat for an hour or so about the captaincy. We got to know each other a little bit. He decided to go with someone else [as captain], which I completely respected and supported. He told me I was still going to be an important part of the team and that was great to hear. How do you assess the past 12 months of your career? It’s been a rollercoaster. There was huge disappointment after the World Cup but there’s been some huge highs since then. Sport is like life, in that there are low points but all that matters is how you pick yourself up and dust yourself down and move forward. You need the support of the people around you: family, friends, coaches and team-mates. You can’t do it all alone. 68 | January 2017

What has that year taught you? It’s not always going to be smooth. But then that makes the good times so sweet. I think when you have a setback you need to allow yourself that time to sulk or mope and take it all in – because it does hurt and it is a tough time – but once you come out of that, you can prove people wrong. And that’s what I wanted to do: go out there every week and perform better than I have ever done before. I still want to improve and be better this week than I was last week. How do you put that mentality into practice? There’s no secret. If you want to go far or reach the top in your profession then it’s about hard work. You don’t get anywhere by just assuming things will happen. You have to put in the hours and always be willing to learn and to try to be better. You just have to go out there and be the best you can possibly be.

Photography Getty Robshaw winning his 50th England cap in a 23-7 defeat of Australia in Melbourne in June 2016

“Successisabouthard work.Youdon’tget anywherebyjustassuming thingswillhappen.You havetoputinthehours” What is the main thing Eddie Jones has done for the squad? The confidence he has given us all to go out there and perform and do well. He works us pretty hard - he won’t mind me telling you that! - but allows us all to have downtime at the right time, and that allows us all to improve. How hard is it - mentally and physically - when you’re under pressure to perform? It can be pretty painful and pretty exhausting at times, but do you want to be the guy that lets the rest of his team down? The team at the moment has such unity – the guys all want to work for one another and I think that shows. We all want to go out there and perform. We know we are improving game by game and that requires everyone to put in the effort and do the things no-one ever talks about, like getting back up off the floor quickly. It’s easy to run ten metres when you’re about to score a try, but

who’s running hardest on that kick-chase, or to make a tackle, or to make a dummy run? The team right now is outstanding. Following the Six Nations Grand Slam how did you approach the trip to Australia, where the team has historically struggled? I think a number of us had fallen short a few times - and there was a hunger to put in as much effort as possible. We went there with an intense mindset and we wanted to take the game to them. We were a laughing stock in Australia when we turned up, mocked on every TV channel and adverts, so we had some points to prove. You won your 50th cap in the second Test against Australia, a 23-7 win in Melbourne, and were named man of the match. How did it feel to win that landmark cap and clinch a series win? It was an incredible Test. The whole week was pretty special for me. As soon as I knew I was playing I told all my family and January 2017 | 69

Features | Chris Robshaw

“There’s lotofpreparation andyouhavetolearn fromyourmistakesthe weekbefore.Youdon’t everstoplearning”

friends, and I got messages of support from so many people. The team had a talk and presentation the night before the game – we’d conceded quite a few tries in the first Test [a 39-28 victory in Brisbane] – so we spoke about being able to look ourselves in the mirror afterwards and it really touched everyone. And then everyone saw how we went out there and defended. Every single guy was on it and did their job. And in the changing room afterwards my 50th cap, my silver cap, was given to me by Jason Leonard, England’s most capped player [Leonard won 114 caps between 1990 and 2004] who was president of the English Rugby Union at the time. He is a person I have always looked up to so it was extremely special. What does the week leading up to a Test match entail? A lot of it now - since Eddie came in - is recoverybased. We train very hard but recovery is extremely important. After every session I’m stretching or going in the pool, seeing the physio or having cryotherapy. It depends a bit on what suits you – not every guy has to do the same thing. I personally like an ice bath, and a massage works really well for me, but some of the guys tried an ice bath and it didn’t work for them! It’s very individualised and specific to each person. How much do you train during the week? Monday, Tuesday and Thursday before a Test match we work extremely hard. Wednesday is our skills, pick-up and recovery day. Friday is the final day for preparation and making sure we are all set. For me it’s about getting to the Saturday knowing I’ve done the work, and being confident in myself. I am sure that is the same for most players around the world in the club and international game. Being confident that you’ve put the hours in and that you’ve improved from where you were last week - that’s what is important. What do the training sessions focus on? Tuesday is our heavy day. We do legs in the morning, so heavy squats, deadlifts and lower-limb stuff. The forwards then go and do a unit session: scrums and mauls and breakdown work. In the afternoon it’s defence, which as you can imagine is quite 70 | January 2017

tasty! Eddie always wants us working hard, harder than we do in a game, so when we get to the game we know the intensity that we have to work at so we can compete. The guys are fighting for their places and have to impress but we all work together. After training the guys not in the 23 will work with those who are to help us all improve so we are all getting better and stronger as a unit. What happens after a big match? On Monday and Tuesday you are still a bit sore from the last game, especially if it’s been an intense one. There’s a lot of preparation and team meetings and you have to learn from your mistakes of the week before. If I’ve missed a tackle I look at how and why I’ve missed it, then speak to the coaches and get a couple of the guys to spend an hour with me on the training ground going over it and correcting it. You don’t ever stop learning. I will speak to the coaches a lot and try to help other players, whether that’s helping some of the young guys do something or some of the older guys. There will always be areas in which you can improve. What about right after the final whistle? I’ll have an ice bath for ten minutes after a game, then a protein shake and a couple of litres of water. I’m mainly just trying to get my breath back! The night of a game some of guys won’t sleep very well because of the adrenaline and caffeine, and rethinking key moments of the game. So no beers in the changing room or players’ lounge? We might have a couple of beers in the changing room while we have a bit of a chat about the match. But it depends on the game, or the stage of a tournament. At the end [of a tournament] you can let your hair down a little more than at the start. How much has the science of training changed since you turned pro? It’s always changing. When I was first involved in the England training squad we used to have 90-minute training sessions. Now with GPS and other technology that measures your speed and impact and many other aspects besides, we train for 45 minutes but much more intensively. So it’s more similar to being in a game. Nutrition is more important than ever in professional sport. What’s your approach? The day before the game is the important day and that’s when I primarily try to eat a lot. Whey protein, eggs, sandwiches. I want to be light on my feet but have enough in the tank to perform during the match. What about just before kick-off? We have some jaffa cakes, bananas and some sweets knocking about the changing room before a game. Most people don’t want to

Robshaw isn’t afraid of a hard aerobic workout – and battle ropes offer both cardio and muscle gains

train or play on a full stomach and I agree with that. You need to have enough fuel in your system to perform but still need to move and operate without feeling sluggish or heavy. So what is your fighting weight? It’s between 108kg and 110kg – as soon as I go above that I’ve eaten too much and if I go below I feel too light. Mid-season I am looking to eat 3,000 to 3,500 calories a day but it’s about eating enough of the right foods often enough. So on heavy training days I need to increase my carb intake. What role do supplements play in your nutritional approach? In the morning I have fish oil. As soon as I finish training I have whey protein. Like a lot of people I don’t want to eat a big meal after training but I want to help my muscles recover. On Tuesday, our heavy training day, I’ll also have some casein at about 9pm, because it’s a slow-release protein [to help my muscles recover overnight]. Throughout the year I’ll get knocks and niggles and I may not always be able to eat that well so it’s about maintaining my weight throughout the season. I need to get good calories in so I can always perform. What do you prefer: strength training or cardio work? When I was younger I had some leg injuries which meant I spent more time in the weights room to put on some of the size I needed, rather than just playing rugby all the time. Now I am always looking to get better and improve and it all depends on finding what works for you. For an entire year, after training, I’d get on the rower for 150m and aim for under 27 seconds, rest 30 seconds, and then repeat that ten times. It was great anaerobic work that relates to rugby and that didn’t take up much time or involve killing yourself too much. So unlike many players, you don’t mind the intense cardio work? I like to work on my aerobic base. If I have that then everything else falls into place. On a Monday I will get on a Wattbike on a level four resistance for about 15 minutes, which gives me a good session but doesn’t take too much out of me for rugby in the afternoon. It’s also good for recovery because the resistance isn’t too much on my legs but gives me a good sweat. You’ve acknowledged the past 12 months were difficult. What does the next year have in store for Chris Robshaw? I try not to look too far ahead. A lot can happen in sport in a week, let alone a year! I just want to be a better player tomorrow than I was last week. I want to keep on improving so I can go out there and help my team-mates as much as possible, and to be on a winning team to pick up silverware for both club and country. Chris Robshaw is a Maximuscle ambassador and was speaking following the launch of Maximuscle’s new raw ingredient powders, now available at January 2017 | 71



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Get fit in the kitchen


The percentage of your daily vitamin C needs you’ll get from 100g of raw tomatoes, which also contains 16% of your vitamin A requirement – all for a total of just 18 calories

Photography Getty


Add raw tomatoes – in all shapes and sizes – to your meals to increase your intake of vitamin C

Tomatoes are known for their high concentration of lycopene, a type of carotenoid that has cancer-fighting properties. However, while cooking tomatoes makes more lycopene bio-available - levels increase 171% when cooked for 15 minutes - there’s a good reason to eat raw tommies too. When heated to 88°C for two, 15 and 30 minutes the amount of vitamin C dropped by 10%, 15% and 29% respectively, according to research in the Journal Of Agriculture And Food Chemistry. January 2017 | 73

Fuel | Muscle Meal

Roastduckwithfigsandfarro Impressyourmateswiththisrestaurant-qualityhigh-proteinduckdinner WHY


Duck is always popular at restaurants but it doesn’t occur to many people to cook it at home. Sure, duck is more expensive than chicken, but it’s also cheaper than a good-quality steak. Why? We’ve no idea - in fact, duck breast is easy to cook thanks to the ample layer of fat that keeps the meat naturally moist and tender while it roasts. This is a restaurant-quality dish, but quick and easy to bang out at home and a great choice when company’s coming. Farro, also known as emmer wheat, is a type of wholegrain wheat that can be used to make farrotto, a risotto-like dish. If you can’t get fresh figs, you can substitute an equal volume of apricots, peaches, apples or pears.


Doesn’t he play leftback for Juventus? No – it’s a healthy, delicious wholegrain dish, and here’s how you make it

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HOW 4 x 280g–340g duck breasts (ideally Pekin or Muscovy)

4tbsp dry sherry, 4tbsp sherry vinegar, 2tsp honey and 120ml chicken stock 1tsp chopped fresh thyme, plus coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper 8 fresh figs, halved and stems removed, and 1tbsp unsalted butter

Farrotto (recipe below)

Ingredients (serves 4) 105g farro 1.5 litres chicken stock 3tbsp olive oil 30g unsalted butter 2 small shallots, chopped Coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper 80ml white wine 45g diced fresh figs 30g pine nuts, toasted 3 handfuls of rocket, preferably wild 40g grated parmesan ¼ lemon

1 Preheat the oven to 220°C/gas mark 7. 2 With the skin side of the duck breast facing up, use a very sharp knife to cut through the skin and fat almost to the flesh, forming a grid pattern with the lines 3mm apart. Flip the breast over and if there’s any silvery white skin, trim it off carefully. 3 Heat a large cast-iron pan over a mediumhigh heat for one minute. Place the duck breasts in the pan skin-side down and cook for about six minutes. When the skin is golden brown, begin basting the tops of the breasts with the fat that’s in the pan. Continue basting and cooking until the skin is crisp and deep golden brown. 4 Put the pan in the oven and roast the breasts until cooked through. Use a meat thermometer if you want – it should read 57°C in the centre for medium-rare. Transfer the duck breasts to a plate to rest, covering them with foil to keep warm. 5 Pour off the remaining fat and set the pan back on a medium-high heat. Add the sherry and vinegar, and boil for three minutes. Add the stock, honey and thyme and season with salt and pepper. Boil for three more minutes. Reduce the heat and add the figs and butter,consistently stirring the pan. 6 Slice the duck against the grain into 2cm slices and arrange them next to or on a bed of farrotto. Drizzle with the fig pan sauce and serve.

1. In a bowl, soak the farro in a litre of water for 30 minutes, then drain it. Meanwhile, heat the stock in a small saucepan and keep it warm on a low heat. 2. In a large saucepan, heat the oil and butter over a medium heat until the butter begins to foam. Add the shallots and season with a little salt and pepper. Cook for about two minutes until softened.

3. Add the drained farro and stir until toasted. Add the wine and stir until evaporated. Add a ladleful of stock, and stir the farro constantly until it’s absorbed. Keep adding stock in the same way until the farro is creamy and cooked through. Turn off the heat and stir in the figs, pine nuts, rocket and parmesan. Season with salt, pepper and lemon.

Taken from Cooking, Blokes & Artichokes by Brendan Collins (£20, Kyle Books) Photography Jean Cazals, iStock

Fuel | Nutrition Knowledge

Eatfruit, burnfat

Words Joel Snape Photography iStock

Sayingyoushouldavoidfruit ifyouwanttoloseweightis trendy.It’salsobananas

You’ve probably heard the argument at some point: fruit contains fructose, fructose is a form of sugar, and sugar is the worst thing you can possibly eat if you’re aiming to get lean or show off a six-pack. Right? Wrong. “It’s really just a poor interpretation of the chemistry to say you shouldn’t eat fruit for fat loss,” says Luke Leaman, a body composition specialist and co-founder of Muscle Nerds ( “It’s not true, and worse, it can have negative health effects, since most people could probably use more fruit in their diet. When you look at how much fructose there actually is in fruit, it’s not that big a deal – especially when you’re training.” When bargain-basement diet books are claiming that all sugars are equal, the trick is understanding why having a banana is very different to drinking a can of fizzy pop… or even a smoothie. Don’t worry: no degree in chemistry required.

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Q WILL EATING FRUIT MAKE ME FAT? A NOT UNLESS YOU’RE ALREADY EATING BADLY “The first thing to understand is that glucose, the most common type of sugar, and fructose, the kind that’s specifically found in fruit, are processed differently,” says Leaman. In simple terms, glucose is metabolised in both the muscles and liver, but fructose is entirely metabolised in the liver. When you eat too much fructose the liver can’t process it fast enough and instead starts to store it as fat – and also suppresses the hunger-regulating hormone ghrelin, increasing your appetite. But the key part of this is “too much”. “This is mainly a problem with people who are overeating, or with eating a huge amount of fruit at one time,” says Leaman. “If you’re in a calorie deficit

anyway, then any fruit you eat is going to go to energy, any left will carry over into your glycogen stores, and that’s it.” Q SO HOW MUCH CAN I EAT? A QUITE A LOT “The critical mass for fructose consumption has been estimated at around 35g a day, and that wasn’t in a trained athlete,” says Leaman. “Trained athletes and other people who work out burn energy faster, so they can get away with having more – some studies say 8090g a day still won’t lead to excess fat storage. But anyway, realistically you could eat ten apricots and still only be at 32g of fructose in a day. To give you an example, I recently started eating 300-400g of fruit a day during a diet phase where I lost 10kg of weight and my body fat went from 16% to 8%.”

Orange is the new snack: fructose is nothing to worry about, and fruit gives you vital nutrients


DOES IT MATTER WHEN I EAT FRUIT? Because fruit replenishes liver glycogen - as opposed to muscle glycogen there’s an argument for eating it before rather than after a workout, to ensure that the energy from it is used throughout the day. That said, the insulin hit from fruit isn’t dramatic, so the effect isn’t too pronounced. It’s more important to get the nutrients than anything else – any time of the day.

36 GRAMS OF SUGAR IN THREE BANANAS Has anyone told you fruit is “as bad as a can of cola”? This is a question of numbers. Scientists often compare foods based on calorie counts, and a can of Coke, which has 268 calories and 33g of sugar, is comparable to three bananas, which provide 270 calories and around 36g of sugar. The difference: who eats three bananas in one go? Eat them one at a time, like a normal person, and you’ll be fine.

Q ARE THERE BENEFITS TO EATING FRUIT FOR FAT LOSS? A IN A WORD, YES Cutting calories to get lean can also mean losing helpful nutrients. “There are certain things you get from fruit that you can’t get from taking vitamins,” says Leaman. “You want the fibre, you want the phytonutrients, and you especially want the potassium, which has a role in glucose transfer and muscle impulses, and which most people don’t get enough of. Papaya and bananas are particularly high in it.” There’s a bonus side effect: potassium also helps to control blood pressure, which is a problem for more men than you’d think. “Stop throwing salt on everything and eat a banana,” says Leaman. Q WHAT OTHER FRUITS SHOULD I EAT? A BERRIES Strawberries have around 4g of fructose per 100g serving,

raspberries slightly more, and blueberries go up to 10g – but that’s more than compensated by a substantial hit of fibre and phytonutrients. There’s also a good argument for eating some of your bananas slightly underripe. “They’ve got a lot of good resistant starch in them,” says Leaman. “Your body can’t really use it, but it’ll feed your gut bacteria.” Q ANY DON’TS? A BLENDING OR JUICING HUGE AMOUNTS OF FRUIT AT ONCE That’s how you get the heightened fructose hit that starts to be a problem. If you’re going to make a shake, include just one piece of fruit alongside some vegetables and nut butter or almond milk. Avoid eating fruit alongside other sources of glucose, like fizzy drinks (though you should be avoiding those anyway). Otherwise, eat up to five pieces a day, and be happy.

Fuel | Supplements

If you’ve given your liver a workout, help repair it with some strategic supplementation

Gotsmashed? Takethese

Photography Getty

Yourliverfiltersout toxinsfromyourdietand environment,sokeepyours fightingfitwiththesesupps

Good liver function is essential to optimal health because it is your body’s natural detox organ and performs more than 500 biological functions, including a major role in the metabolism of glucose, amino acids and lipids (fats), as well as regulating glycogen storage and hormone production, and storing glycogen, iron, copper and vitamins A, B12, D and K. Keep your liver in good health with these supp recommendations from the independent experts at

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Silybum marianum, also known as milk thistle, is a herb traditionally used as a detoxifying agent. It’s best known as a treatment for the effects of death cap mushroom poisoning, and acts as an antiinflammatory agent in the presence of liver toxins. There’s some evidence that it increases the DNA and protein synthesis rates in the liver. However, supplementing with milk thistle is only necessary for people who are using compounds that may harm the liver, excluding alcohol or medication.

Although similar to a B vitamin, this compound is actually a methylation agent, which means it supports levels of S-adenosyl methionine (SAMe) in the liver. Low levels of SAMe are associated with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Though methylation agents won’t cure the disease, they are thought to reduce the risk of accumulating liver fat in the presence of compounds that may harm the liver, such as alcohol. You can take SAMe supplements but they’re significantly more expensive than choline.

This compound – NAC for short – is used for producing glutathione, low levels of which are associated with inflammation and oxidative stress (both are associated with age-related disease). NAC supplementation will support glutathione levels and is often used in cases of liver failure and toxininduced liver damage, such as acetaminophen (paracetamol) overdoses. Low doses of NAC are a cheap and effective way to support liver antioxidants.




Fuel | Nutrition Tips


Fix your gut health to look and feel better

Words Joel Snape Photography iStock

What’s your gut feeling? According to mounting evidence, that’s one of the most important questions you can ask yourself when it comes to health. Your gut, after all, is responsible for letting in nutrients and water while keeping out toxins - as long as it’s working properly. Let it start to leak and it’ll allow substances into your bloodstream that shouldn’t be there, causing a host of problems. A healthy gut depends on good bacteria, a solid lining and a working immune system. Keep topped up on these nutrients to maintain all three.

As if you needed an excuse to have a curry, it’s good for your gut thanks to the turmeric

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The active ingredient in turmeric protects your intestinal walls against the negative effects of a Western diet, helping prevent the proliferation of “bad” bacteria, suggests research published in 2014 by Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine. Use turmeric in curries, or toss a teaspoonful into rice or scrambled eggs.

Low vitamin D can decrease immune system function and is associated with bowel disorders. Sunlight makes it in your body but from October until March in Britain, the sunlight isn’t strong enough, and the NHS estimates that one in five UK residents are deficient. It’s easy to supplement: keep a bottle next to the toothpaste, and take it daily.

There’s some evidence that lack of iron depletes gut bacteria. A recent rodent study published by the British Journal Of Nutrition suggests extra iron helps, but absorbing it can be a problem. To be on the safe side, stick to sources of heme iron like red meat and eggs, rather than nonheme supplements that mimic the plant variety.

According to a 2015 study published in the journal Lipid Research, omega 3 fats work with probiotics to foster “friendly” bacteria in your gut. The researchers used (and recommend) fish oils: supplement with a pill a day, taken with food. Flax and chia seeds, walnuts, olives and coconut are also good sources, though less research on them exists.

Along with carotenoids, these phytonutrients (found in plants) have high antiinflammatory gutbased benefits, and can reduce your risk of gastric cancer, according to a 2012 study. Cabbage and onions are good sources: cook them in a stew to keep the nutrients in the broth.
















It’s used in almost every barrier between your body and the filthy outside world: as well as your gastrointestinal tract, your skin and lungs rely on it. Sweet potato, pak choi and peppers are all excellent sources: for a top-up hash, cube the potatoes and parboil them for five minutes, then chop up the other veg and pan-fry the lot.

Technically they’re a sub-category of flavonoid, but they’re worthy of separate consideration since they reduce the amount of Clostridium histolyticum, a pathogenic bacteria, in the gut. Green or white tea is your best source: aim for two or three cups a day.

Your body uses it to build the protective mucous membrane that lines your intestinal tract, providing your first line of defence. Get it from shrimp, eggs and poultry: if you go out on an all-nighter, eroding your gastrointestinal defences with a booze binge, a turkey frittata the next morning will start to redress the damage.

There’s some evidence that it can reverse excess “intestinal permeability” – or the much-feared leaky gut syndrome. Supplement companies sell it in L-glutamine format, which coats cell walls and acts as a repellent to irritants. The usual dose is 2-5g, twice a day.

Technically not a nutrient, but it adds bulk to what’s already going through your intestines, reducing your exposure to potentially dangerous compounds, and helps to regulate pH balance, promoting a better environment for beneficial bacteria. Get more by building your diet around vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts and seeds.

January 2017 | 81

Fuel | Nutrition Tips


Feelinggrounddown?Thenre-stockyourcupboardwith theseherbsandspicesandenjoythehealthbenefits CUMIN HEALTH BENEFITS The iron content of cumin means that it can support energy production and play a role in immune function. It has traditionally been thought of as a digestive aid but while human studies are thin on the ground, one on rats did support that claim. WHAT’S IN IT? Iron and manganese, plus smaller amounts of copper and calcium. ADD IT TO Vegetable and lentil soups for spicy extra flavour.

CHILLI HEALTH BENEFITS Eating 10g of chilli has been shown to increase metabolism for about 30 minutes after a meal. One rodent study also showed increased fat oxidisation, which is when more calories are burned from fat cells than glucose. WHAT’S IN IT? You’ll get a good hit of vitamins A and E from 2tbsp ground chilli. ADD IT TO Curry and chilli, obviously, but it can also give bland food like eggs a kick.

TURMERIC HEALTH BENEFITS There is evidence to suggest that turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties, which are useful after a workout. Studies have also found that it may increase HDL (good) and reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol. WHAT’S IN IT? It’s a good source of both manganese and iron, and also contains vitamin B6 and potassium. ADD IT TO Curries, where it’s a staple, but it also works well with lentils, beans and sautéed cauliflower.

GINGER HEALTH BENEFITS Research suggests that, like turmeric, ginger is useful after a hard gym session thanks to antiinflammatory properties. There are contested claims about its ability to reduce muscle soreness but there’s no harm in seeing if it works for you. WHAT’S IN IT? Significant levels of copper, manganese and potassium. ADD IT TO Many Asian dishes, as well as your post-workout protein shake.

FENUGREEK HEALTH BENEFITS It can slow the rate of glucose absorption and therefore help to control blood sugar levels, according to one doubleblind placebo-controlled study. There’s also evidence to support the claim that it can increase testosterone levels. WHAT’S IN IT? A solid dose of selenium, zinc and magnesium, plus vitamins A, B6 and C. ADD IT TO Curries, especially dhals – or protein shakes, if you want to be hardcore.


Photography iStock

For a healthier brain, don’t overcook your steak

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When you cook meat over a flame, it’s best to keep cooking time to a minimum – not only for greater flavour and juiciness, but also for a better-functioning brain. Research has now found a link between how long meat is cooked and the risk of developing age-related dementia. The more time meat spends on the heat, the greater its concentration of glycotoxins, and research published in the US journal Proceedings Of The National Academy Of Sciences found that mice fed a diet high in glycotoxins had a significantly higher likelihood of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s-type symptoms. You don’t have to switch to steak tartare, but do get yours onto the plate before it starts to blacken.






Your blueprint for success

Liftweights toloseweight

Photography Glen Burrows Model Sean Lerwill@WModels


If you’ve tried and failed to lose weight before, the chances are you tried to do it through more running or cycling, especially slow, long-distance jogs or rides. But while steady-state cardio – when you run, cycle or swim at a consistent intensity for a significant amount of time – has many health benefits, maximising fat loss isn’t one of them. Instead you need to hit the free weights if you want to strip away body fat quickly and transform your body. In one study, published in the Journal Of Applied Physiology, people who followed a resistance training programme added more muscle, got stronger and torched body fat. The subjects’ strength levels increased by 36%, and they reduced body fat by an average of 2kg, despite their total weight not changing. This means they lost fat but added muscle mass and, because muscle is active tissue, their resting energy expenditure (calories burned at rest) increased by 6.8% too. So not only did they get lean, but their streamlined bodies then helped them stay lean. Turn the page to find out how to get the most out of your weight training sessions.

COMPLEX SOLUTION Doing barbell complexes (multiple moves back to back) can help you to torch unwanted body fat

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Trainer | Lift For Fat Loss

The3rulesofliftingforfatloss DO COMPOUND LIFTS Compound (or multi-joint) lifts - think deadlift, squat, pull-up, triceps dip and overhead press - are so called because they work more than one muscle group at a time. For instance, the squat works all the muscles of your legs, as well as your glutes and your core, while the deadlift works pretty much every major muscle in your body. That means that compound lifts should be your go-to exercises when your priority is torching fat fast because you’ll burn more calories in less time. Even better, you can pair two compound moves into a superset (see the box on the opposite page) for an even greater fat-loss effect. LIFT FOR LONGER Shorter sets of six reps or fewer using a very heavy weight are great for increasing muscular strength. To burn fat, though, you need do a higher number of reps per set to get (and keep) your heart rate high. The more work your heart must do each session, and the more muscular damage you do, the greater your post-workout fat loss because your body burns calories during the recovery process. Aim for single sets of 15 or even 20 reps, or combine different compound moves into supersets or even tri-sets (three moves done back-to-back without rest) or giant sets (four or more lifts done without rest). KEEP REST BREAKS SHORT One of the best ways to keep your heart rate high throughout your workout, and thus help your body burn as much fat as possible, is to keep the length of time you rest between sets and exercises as short as possible. The less recovery time you have, the more time your heart spends working hard to pump oxygenated blood to your working muscles. If you’re doing straight sets, keep inter-set rest breaks to less than 30 seconds. With supersets, tri-sets or giant sets don’t rest at all – just move straight on to the next exercise without stopping, and only rest after the final rep of the final exercise in a circuit.

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GET A GRIP An added bonus when doing barbell moves for fat loss is increased grip strength because you hold the bar for extended periods





WHY This superset will add serious size to your arms HOW For the pull-ups, hang from a bar with an overhand grip. Squeeze your lats to pull your chest up towards your hands then lower until your arms are straight again. That’s one rep. After eight reps, move on to parallel bars. Keeping your chest up, bend your elbows to lower yourself as far as you can, then press back up to the start. That’s one rep. Rest for 60 seconds after the final rep, then repeat for a total of four supersets.

WHY This superset will send your heartrate rocketing and build bigger legs HOW For the back squat (pictured above left) stand tall with the barbell across the back of your shoulders. Keeping your chest up and core braced, squat down until your thighs are parallel to the ground, then stand back up. That’s one rep. After eight reps, re-rack the bar, then lift it again so it’s across the front of your shoulders. Follow the same form as with the back squat. That’s one rep. Rest for 60 seconds after the final rep, then repeat for a total of four supersets.

WHY This superset will add mass to your shoulders and upper back HOW For the overhead press (pictured above right) hold a barbell across the front of your shoulders. Press the bar directly overhead until your arms are straight, then lower it to the start. That’s one rep. After eight reps, lower the bar to your thighs. From there, hinge forward from your hips with arms straight. Row the bar up towards your chest, leading with your elbows, then lower it under control. Rest for 60 seconds after the final rep, then repeat for a total of four supersets.

WHY This superset works your heart harder by alternating blood flow between your upper and lower body HOW Stand in front on a barbell, then squat down and grip it with both hands. With your chest up push through your heels to raise the bar. Push your hips forward at the top, then reverse the movement. That’s one rep. After eight reps, get into the press-up position with hands under your shoulders. Bend your elbows to lower your chest, then press back up. That’s one rep. Rest for 60 seconds after the final rep, then repeat for a total of four supersets.


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Trainer | Kettlebell Masterclass

Photography Glen Burrows


“The aim of these kettlebell circuits is to build strength and power,” says trainer Ashton Turner of London’s Evolve 353 gym. ‘This is a great workout for athletic development and it’s much less technical than trying to learn the Olympic lifts. The exercises chosen have a carryover into sporting movements such as running and jumping, and they build strength and power through the posterior chain (the muscles on the back of your body). All that means they’re great for combat sports, athletics, rugby and football.’ 88 | January 2017

HOW TO DO IT You can either do both power circuits and the finisher or, if you’re short of time, just one of the power circuits and the finisher. When you’re doing the circuits, do one set and then move on to the next exercise. Record the time it takes you to complete the total number of circuits and aim to beat your time next time you attempt the workout - making sure your form is good.

MEET THE EXPERT Ashton Turner is the co-founder of Evolve 353 gym in London ( He has worked with clients across multiple training disciplines including kettlebells, Olympic lifting, strength and conditioning and Pilates.


1A ONE-ARM SWING REPS 8-12 EACH SIDE Set yourself with your feet a little wider than shoulder-width apart. Brace your core and pull the kettlebell back between the legs to initiate the swing. Pull your shoulder blades together and brace your core. When you feel the stretch in your hamstrings engage your glutes and thrust your hips forwards to swing the kettlebell out in front of the body. Squeeze your glutes hard as the hips come through and bring the kettlebells up to shoulder height. Turner says “This is a great exercise to build balance in your body. Swinging the kettlebell with one arm means you have to work hard through your core and obliques to stop your body from twisting.”

Do one set of each exercise in order. Rest for 60 seconds between circuits and complete eight circuits in total.

1B ONE-ARM SNATCH REPS 8-12 EACH SIDE Start with a one-arm swing, but as the kettlebell starts to come through your legs, shrug your shoulder backwards and up to keep the kettlebell close to your body. Raise your elbow to draw the kettlebell up and, as kettlebell and elbow reach the same height, rotate your arm under the weight and press up until the weight is aligned above your body. Turner says ”The snatch is a fantastic exercise for power development because it takes you through triple extension and requires extra power to get the kettlebell above your head in one movement. It’s also great for improving shoulder strength and stability.”

1C PLANK DRAG REPS 16-24 EACH SIDE Start in a high plank with the kettle bell set to the outside of your body. Keep your hips tucked under and core braced and reach under your body with the opposite hand. Drag the kettlebell under your body without letting your hips twist. Repeat on the other side. Turner says “In order to create power you need to have a stable and strong core. The plank drag is a great exercise to challenge anti-rotation – your ability to resist an external rotational force – and to learn how to control your core.”

January 2017 | 89

Trainer | Kettlebell Masterclass


2A DOUBLE KETTLEBELL SWING REPS 8-12 Holding two kettlebells of the same weight, set yourself with feet a little wider than shoulder-width apart. Brace your core and pull the kettlebells back between your legs to initiate the swing. Pull your shoulder blades together and brace your core. When you feel the stretch in your hamstrings engage your glutes and thrust hips forwards to swing the kettlebell out in front of the body. Squeeze your glutes hard as the hips come through and bring the kettlebells up to shoulder height. Turner says “Swinging with two kettlebells increases the weight, which means you increase both strength and power.” 90 | January 2017

Do one set of each exercise in order. Rest for 60 seconds between circuits. Complete eight circuits in total.

2B DOUBLE CLEAN AND PRESS REPS 8-12 Start as if you’re doing a double swing but as you bring the kettlebells through, initiate a high pull and rotate arms to catch both kettlebells in the front rack position. Engage your core and glutes and, with a small bounce, explosively push kettlebells over head. Re-rack and repeat. Turner says “This is fantastic for developing explosive power and overhead pressing strength.”

2C RENEGADE ROW REPS 8-12 Set yourself in a high plank with hands on the kettlebells. Keep your feet a little wider than normal for better stability and engage your core and glutes. Row one arm up, keeping your elbow moving back towards your hips and pulling shoulder blades together. Support your weight with your opposite side of your body. Lower the weight and repeat on the other side. Keep your core tight to stop your hips rotating. Turner says “This is a fantastic core and back exercise which will help to build stability in your core and therefore power. For a harder challenge bring your feet closer together.”





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Trainer | Kettlebell Masterclass


3 TWO-ARM SWING TIME 60SEC Do as many two-arm swings as you can in a minute, then rest for a minute. Record your score for the first minute and try to beat it in every subsequent minute. Ensure form doesn’t suffer at any point. Complete eight to ten rounds in total.

92 | January 2017


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Trainer | Body Part Workout

Getleanabsin just20minutes Trythistri-setworkouttosculptahard anddefinedsix-packinsixmoves

Your abs are no different to any of your other major muscle groups in that they need to be exposed to high volumes of workload to grow bigger, stronger and more defined. And for a genuinely impressive six-pack, you also need to place your abs under as much muscular tension as possible, because exposing your muscles fibres to time under tension breaks them down, which initiates the process whereby they grow back bigger and stronger. This six-move abs-focused workout - split into two three-move tri-sets - will work your abs hard to move and manage your bodyweight while also placing them under significant tension, through increasingly higher rep ranges, to do as much muscular damage in the shortest possible time. Do the three moves of the first tri-set in order, sticking to the sets, reps, tempo and rest detailed. Then move on to the second tri-set and do the same. That’s it. Do this workout twice a week for a month on top of your normal training plan and you’ll shock your abs into shape.

Photography Tom Miles Model Richard Scrivener

Howtogetthemostoutofthisworkout MAINTAIN TENSION FOR EVERY REP For a truly effective workout, you must apply then keep tension on your abs from the start of move 1A right through to the end of the set of 2C. Forcing your muscles to stay engaged will hurt, but that’s what forces change. 94 | January 2017

STICK TO THE RIGHT REPS In each tri-set the moves get slightly easier but the number of reps increases. Working your abs through different rep ranges in a workout hits more muscles fibres as others are recruited to help out those that are fatigued.

DON’T REST UNTIL THE END Try not to rest between moves A and B and moves B and C in either tri-set – you should rest only after all the reps in the tri-set are done. The more time between moves, the longer the time your abs are not engaged or working.

Dothisworkouttohit yourupperandlowerabs, aswellasyourobliques andthedeep-lying musclesofyourcore

POWERTHROUGH THEPAINBARRIER Whenthegoinggetstough, rememberthesethreetips


Why? During this workout your abs will start to cramp – if they don’t, you’re not sticking to the tempo – but this short-term pain is the price you have to pay for long-term progress. Embrace it.


Why? When you do cramp and feel like you can’t do one more rep, stop for two deep breaths, still keeping your abs tensed. This short pause will allow you to finish the set.


Why? Once your abs start to fatigue it’s tempting to rush through the remaining reps to get to your rest break. Don’t. Keep reps controlled so your abs don’t switch off.

January 2017 | 95

Trainer | Body Part Workout 1A CRUNCH Sets 4 Reps 12 Tempo 2011 Rest 0sec Lie on your back with knees bent. Raise your torso and engage your abs. Crunch your torso up, hold at the top for a second, then take two seconds to lower back to the start. Don’t pause at the bottom.

1B BICYCLES Sets 4 Reps 20 each side Tempo 1111 Rest 0sec After the last rep of 1A lift your feet up off the floor. Crunch your torso up and rotate at the top while bringing one knee in to meet your opposite elbow. Keep reps smooth and your abs tight.

1C PLANK WITH TOE TOUCH Sets 4 Reps 25 each side Tempo 2111 Rest 90sec Form a plank with your feet on a box and abs engaged. Lift one foot out to the side and lower so your toes touch the ground. Return it to the box and repeat with the other foot.

96 | January 2017

Thisisatough movebuttrytoget toeightrepsasa minimum

2A HANGING LEG RAISE Sets 4 Reps 8-12 Tempo 2011 Rest 0sec Hang from a pull-up bar with your abs engaged. Keeping your feet together and legs straight, raise your feet to hip height and hold for a second. Take two seconds to lower back to the start.

2B HANGING KNEE RAISE Sets 4 Reps 20 Tempo 1111 Rest 0sec Stay hanging from the pull-up bar with your abs engaged. Raise your knees as high as you can, keeping tension on your core, then lower and straighten your legs.

2C HANGING KNEE TWIST Sets 4 Reps 25 each side Tempo 1111 Rest 90sec Still hanging from the bar with your abs engaged, raise your knees and rotate them to one side. Lower them back to the start, then repeat, alternating sides with each rep.

January 2017 | 97

Trainer | Workout Tips

Fivemostoverrated musclemoves

It’s time to trim the fat – from your workout. Stop wasting time on these moves and do their more effective alternatives instead

Box jumps are great for building bigger calves and explosive power, and barbell roll-outs (above right) are far more effective than sit-ups if you want to sculpt a six-pack

98 | January 2017

WHICH MOVES SHOULD YOU DITCH? Hardly any moves are completely useless – but there are definitely some you might want to stop doing. While most of the moves on this list could be useful for, say, an experienced competitive bodybuilder, you’d be better off using your (probably pretty limited) gym time doing alternative exercises that will be much more effective. Unless you’re planning to end up on a stage in tiny sparkly pants.

CALF RAISE Schwarzenegger tore the bottoms of his sweatpants to force himself to train his calves more. But he was the Terminator; you don’t need to worry so much. “Your time’s better spent working on plyometric or jumping exercises alongside walking lunges, step-ups, squats, deadlifts and sled work,” says Olli Foxley, a trainer at W10 Performance. “I love the ‘calf pump’ you get when you go from a sled push into a sled pull.” Swap it for… Box jumps Jumping moves involve triple extensions, which is where you simultaneously bend your hips, knees and ankles. Because your calves, glutes and quads all get worked, you get more bang for your buck than when you do isolation moves.

DECLINE BENCH PRESS If you’re using the Bro Template to work your chest – bench, dumbbell bench, incline, decline – something’s got to give. “Using the decline bench to target your lower pecs is pretty much useless unless you’re very lean and a competitive physique athlete,” says trainer Adam Wakefield. “You’re better off getting strong on the flat bench and losing some body fat.” Swap it for… Dumbbell bench presses The dumbbell version of the bench is effective because it gives you great pec muscle activation. Using dumbbells lets you move the weights across your chest as you press up, allowing you to squeeze the pecs at the top of the move for a better muscle contraction.

FRONT RAISE They’re one of the most frequently performed exercises in any gym – and they’re also one of the least useful. “If you’re already doing a lot of pressing exercises in your workout, your front deltoids will already be taking a beating in your training,” says Foxley. “Adding in direct front delt exercises can push too much volume onto a small muscle group and cause it to be forever recovering and never adapting.” Swap it for… Lateral raises Raising the weights to the sides instead will build more muscle mass in your shoulders and make you look broader. Just make sure you do them properly, by using your muscles rather than momentum to lift the weights and leading with your elbow.

WRIST CURL You may well have already binned these, but there’s always one guy in the gym using a perfectly good bench and barbells to focus on his forearm pump. “I like people doing arm work as they work hard at it and consistency is the thing I value most, but these are a micro-targeted step too far,” says strength coach Joseph Lightfoot. Instead, go heavy. “The best way to get jacked forearms? Get a strong grip,” says Wakefield. Swap it for… Farmer’s walks This simple but effective move involves picking up a heavy weight and walking with it. Do it as a finisher: grab the heaviest dumbbells you can manage, set yourself a distance – 100m is a good start – and walk it in as few “sets” as possible.

SIT-UP Even with the best intentions, you might be doing them wrong. “Many people can’t perform these exercises with enough intent to stimulate the correct abdominal muscles,” says Foxley. “An exercise like a roll-out will target the abs better.” Start with five sets of five at the end of your workout twice a week, and work on increasing it. Swap it for… Barbell roll-outs Kneel on the floor while holding a barbell with your shoulders over the bar. Brace your core, then slowly roll the bar away form you, keeping your abs engaged. Go as far as you can without letting your back arch or your hips drop, then return under control to the start. Quality of movement on this move is vital for avoiding injury. January 2017 | 99

Trainer | Cycling

Ridefasterforlonger Long rides can either be a tiring drag or your biggest endorphin rush of the week. Make sure it’s the latter with our expert advice on how to make the most of time in the saddle Words Josh Cunningham

Bikes were essentially invented to make our lives easier – to get us from A to B with less physical effort than was previously required. That, ultimately, is the beauty of cycling: there is no great impact on the body because your weight is supported, which means you can frequently achieve prolonged efforts of four hours or even more. Elements of strength, endurance and power are all naturally included in any type of ride and, in the words of pro cyclist Conor Dunne, “rather than the confines of a gym, workouts will get you out exploring the great outdoors”. So whether you’re looking to breach the fourhour mark for the first time, or want get better at the long rides you already do, here’s what you need to do when tackling serious distance.

January 2017 | 101

Trainer | Cycling

Gooutwithagroup “The social element of riding in a group is a huge positive – you will find time passes a lot quicker when in a group, not only because you’re rolling along at a faster speed, but because the engagement with others will take your mind off any fatigue or monotony,” says Elliot Lipski of TrainSharp Cycle Coaching ( As anyone who’s done solo long rides will attest, they can feel lonely. “Arguably, you will not get quite as good a workout in a group because of the effort saved when drafting, but including both solo and group rides will give you a good combination that includes the social elements and bike-handling skills from group rides.” To find a group to ride in visit for info about your local club. Or if you’d still prefer to ride alone, look into apps like Strava, which tracks your ride and compares your times on certain routes with other riders, bringing a competitive edge that should help you get faster.

102 | January 2017




“Ensure that the majority of the ride is in the fat-burning domain,” says Lipski, who coaches some of the UK’s top pro teams. “That means cycling at relatively low intensity and as steadily as possible, then if you have anything left in the tank in the final hour you can up the intensity a little.” “It can be easy to feel like a cycling god at the start of a ride and after a couple of espressos,” says Dunne. “But rein it in and ride within yourself. Heart rate monitors and power meters are good for making sure you do this, but if you haven’t got one then just use your head and don’t go too far into the ‘red zone’ too early.”

“Carry as much speed into the climbs as possible,” says Lipski. “On the shorter ones, you can get away with going a little harder and using your speed to get up and over it quickly. But you’ll need to ride the longer climbs well within yourself, using your gears effectively to keep on top of the gradient without going into the red.” At 2.03m tall, Dunne is a man who needs to ride hills conservatively. He says this means keeping your cadence (pedalling speed) high and the legs spinning at the beginning of longer climbs – around 90rpm is the sweet spot. “You don’t want to be grinding a big gear around and tiring your legs out.”

“If you’re starting to struggle, try and keep your cadence as consistent as possible, as changing frequently will mean you’re working harder for the same speed,” says Lipski. “Always aim for around 90-95rpm as a target.” There are ways to restore energy quickly but Lipski advises caution. “Energy gels can be effective, but come with risks [they can cause stomach problems]. And avoid caffeine-based products until the final 60-90 minutes of the ride as there’s an inevitable slump after the boost. I’d recommend that you try out any energy products on a shorter, less important ride first.”


Useintervalstogetstronger Usefatstoresasfuel

Some experts no longer recommend carb-loading for endurance sport but, says Lipski, “the bottom line is it works. Aim to consume 8g of carbs per kg of bodyweight the day before a long ride, as this will increase muscle glycogen concentrations and delay the onset of fatigue. Then have 2-3g of carbs per kg of bodyweight about three hours before you start.” You need carbs during the ride too. Science suggests 60-90g of carbs an hour, but Lipski’s coaching experience has taught him that eating what you want is important. “If that’s ham and cheese sandwiches, fine. Often morale gives in before the body does, so some comfort food can often be a blessing.”

Once you’re feeling comfortable on longer rides and looking to improve, start to introduce some intervals to increase power and aerobic capacity. “Bike-specific leg strength intervals will improve muscular endurance and power,” says Lipski. “Use climbs to do lowcadence intervals in a bigger gear. Concentrating on pressing down from the tops of your thighs, keeping a strict pedalling style and a solid upper body.” For the more advanced, try what Dunne calls sweetspot efforts to increase fitness. “Ride at the pace you could just about hold for an hour or so for a few 30-minute efforts in a longer ride. It’ll really boost your fitness.”

Photography iStock



Ensure that your saddle height is correct, with your knee very slightly bent at the bottom of the pedal stroke. If your hips are rocking it’s too high.


Avoid extreme adjustments. If your saddle and handlebars are being pushed to the limits of adjustability for comfort, chances are you need a different frame size.

A common tactic employed by athletes across a lot of sports is to do some fasted aerobic activity - before breakfast, for example - to train their bodies to use fat as a fuel source, and cycling is no exception. But, Lipski says, this can be a tricky area. “It isn’t as easy as going out for a ride hungry. This is something I’d recommend working closely with a coach on – these sessions need to be completed at an intensity that is quite specific to the individual, and at TrainSharp we complete several physiological tests to determine the exact intensity to get the most out of fasted rides. If done correctly the benefits are plentiful – it can lead to greater adaptations in fat metabolism.”


If you’re on a road bike with curly bars, use the tops for climbing, the drops for descending, and the hoods for the flat.


For longer rides, having a slightly lower saddle and higher handlebars will be more comfortable because it puts less pressure on your back. January 2017 | 103

Trainer | FitBrit 2016


Here’showtosetthefastest possibleFitBrittime

FitBrit, the UK’s biggest and best fitness challenge, is back again to find the country’s number one amateur athlete. The qualifying competition is now closed, so if you’ve qualified for the grand final – or want to get a head start on training for next year’s event – follow this advice from Fitness First trainer James Capon to set the best possible time. For more details about the event go to the Fitness First website (fitnessfirst. 104 | January 2017

1 START STRONG The right warm-up means you can hit the ground running as soon as the stopwatch starts. “It’s important to keep your warm-ups specific to the task in hand,” says Capon. “Get your heart rate up on the treadmill, bike or rower, and perform the challenge’s resistance moves with around 40-50% of the weight for half the reps. This will prepare both your mind and your muscles so you’re ready to start as strong as possible.”

2 PACE YOURSELF You might be feeling strong but you don’t want to ruin your chances by setting off at an unsustainable pace. “The biggest mistake people make in FitBrit is setting off too fast. Going too hard too soon will empty your tank,” says Capon. “Start at 70% of the effort you’d normally exert for 800m for the first exercise, then perform the next three moves [30 24kg kettlebell swings, 20 20kg ViPR tilts and ten burpee box jumps] at a decent but steady pace. Then you can push hard on the 1.5km bike, which is where you can make up the most time with a high RPM.”

3 FINISH FAST Once you get off the bike, you have three resistance exercises to get done quickly: ten parallette shooters, 20 20kg kettlebell sumo deadlift to high pulls and 30 7kg sandbell rainbow slams. “These are tough, especially after a hard ride, but it’s a good idea to keep each move fast but consistent to get to the final event - the 500m row - in good shape,” says Capon. “The row is your opportunity to empty your tank and really go for your best possible time. Leave nothing on the gym floor - this is where you can make or break your FitBrit Challenge.”

4 STAY FOCUSED Ask anyone who has ever completed the FitBrit Challenge and they will tell you how tough they found it. Not just physically, but also mentally. “You’re likely to be attempting the challenge in the middle of a busy gym so you’ve got to stay focused on what you’re doing and not allow any distractions or mental fatigue to set it,” says Capon. “Stick to your plan and concentrate on just one event at a time. Thinking about the next event or how much you still have to do before the finish will only harm your chances of setting a new best time.”

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Trainer | One-Kit Workout


Torchfatin15minuteswiththis five-movebarbellcomplexworkout Looking to shift that last stubborn bit of belly fat and achieve a lean, defined body that you’ll be proud to show off? Try this super-quick fat-torching workout. This type of single-kit, multiple-move circuit is known as a complex session, but not because there’s anything complex about it. All you need is an empty Olympic barbell (or a “fixed” barbell, which is a bar with a certain weight on that can’t be adjusted) and a small space on the gym floor. Then simply go from one move to the next – without putting the bar down between moves – and stick to the reps detailed. You’ll work all your major muscle groups intensively and make your heart and lungs work hard to keep pumping oxygen and blood to the working muscles. You’ll build muscle, burn fat and get stronger to transform your body. We’ll see you at the bar.

Do this circuit with just a barbell. Once that’s too easy, add a 2.5kg weight plate to each side, then continue to go up in 2.5kg increments.

Photography Hugh Threlfall Model Toby Rowland

FIRST AT THE BAR This workout has five moves which are performed in a circuit. Do all the reps of move 1 then go straight on to move 2 and complete those reps without resting. Follow this pattern for the rest of the circuit and only rest once you have completed all the reps of the fifth and final move, and for no longer than two minutes. The first and last exercise are 20-rep sets, and the three lifts in between them are ten-rep sets. You’ll do five circuits in total.

106 | January 2017







Reps 20 Rest 10sec

Squat down to pick the bar off the floor with an overhand grip, then stand up tall.

Doing deadlifts with an empty bar will improve your form and work multiple muscle groups.

If 20 reps doesn’t get your heart rate high and breathing hard, add five more reps per circuit.







Reps 10 Rest 0sec

Bend forwards from the hips with arms straight to lower the bar down your shins.

This move will work your glutes and hamstrings and keep your heart rate elevated.

If this feels too easy, increase the rep count to 12 or 15 for each circuit of the session. January 2017 | 107

Trainer | One-Kit Workout







Reps 10 Rest 0sec

Hinge forward from the hips with legs and arms straight. Row the bar up to your stomach.

It works all the major muscles of your upper back as well as your core and forearms.

If this feels too easy, increase the rep count to 12 or 15 for each circuit of the session.







Reps 10 Rest 0sec

Stand tall holding the bar across the front of your shoulders. Press the bar straight overhead.

It’s one of the best moves to work your shoulders and your triceps.

If this feels too easy, increase the rep count to 12 or 15 for each circuit of the session.

108 | January 2017

Trainer | One-Kit Workout

A B Keep each rep smooth and controlled so you never pause at the top or bottom, but don’t “bounce” at the bottom either





Reps 20 Rest 2min

Stand tall with the bar across the back of your shoulders. Squat down as deep as you can.

This final move of the circuit works your legs and core and again elevates your heart rate.

Increase the number of reps you do per circuit to 25 if you have more left in the tank.

110 | January 2017

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Transformyour bodyinlesstime Trythisfour-weekfastresultstrainingplantoadd muscleandstripawayfat It’s fast approaching the time of year where our normal schedules go out the window. Christmas parties, after-work catch-ups and general festive fun mean it’s all too easy to let your training regimen fall by the wayside. Which is why this workout plan is designed to give you big results without you spending any longer than absolutely necessary on the gym floor. All you need to do is get in, follow the fivemove sessions (sticking to the sets, reps , tempo and rest detailed), then get out again. Try this approach and you’ll realise that building and maintaining a better body doesn’t mean slaving away for hours in the gym.

Trainer | Body Work

Photography Tom Miles, Glen Burrows Models Greg Cornthwaite, Daniel Ventura


HOW THE PLAN WORKS This month’s four-week workout is made up of four sessions a week, two of which (workouts 1 and 3) focus on your upper-body muscles while the other two (workouts 2 and 4) are total-body sessions. The emphasis in all four workouts is on working multiple muscle groups with a hard and intense approach - think high reps and short rest periods - in order to make every move of every session as effective as possible to help you build muscle and burn body fat in less time. All the workouts are made up of five moves. The first two moves of all four workouts are big,

compound lifts done in a superset, which means you do all the reps of move 1A then go straight into all the reps of move 1B, resting only after that set is complete. The final three moves of each session are straight sets, so you’ll do all the sets and reps of each move, then move on to the next one. Lift as heavy as you can while maintaining perfect form. Do the workouts in order, sticking to the sets, reps, tempo and rest periods detailed, and you’ll be amazed how quickly you build lean muscle and strip away fat to transform your body.

To get the full effect from these workouts, you need to stick to the four-digit tempo code for each exercise. The first digit indicates how long in seconds you take to lower the weight, the second how long you pause at the bottom of the move, the third how long you take to lift the weight, and the final digit how long you pause at the top. X means that part of the move should be done explosively. The accumulated time under tension increases your heart rate to burn fat and break down muscle tissue so it’s rebuilt bigger and stronger. Keep each rep smooth and controlled so your muscles – not momentum – do the work.

Yourfour-weekbetterbodyplan Here’showeachsessionoftheplanisstructured


Upperbody1 114 | January 2017

Workout2 Workout 2






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Cycle from London to Paris and raise funds for the charity of your choice For more information and to register online: 01590 646410 |

Trainer | Body Work



Sets 5 Reps 8 Tempo 2010 Rest 0sec Lie on a flat bench holding a barbell with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Brace your core, then lower the bar towards your chest. Press it back up to the start.

1B CHIN UP Sets 5 Reps 8 Tempo 2010 Rest 90sec Hold a bar with an underhand grip. Brace your core, then pull yourself up until your chin is higher than the bar. Lower until your arms are straight again.

116 | January 2017

2 INCLINE DUMBBELL FLYE Sets 4 Reps 12 Tempo 2010 Rest 30sec

Lie on an incline bench holding a dumbbell in each hand above your face, with your palms facing and a slight bend in your elbows. Lower them to the sides, then bring them back to the top.

3 TRICEPS EXTENSION Sets 4 Reps 12 Tempo 2010 Rest 30sec

Stand tall holding a dumbbell over your head with both hands, arms straight. Keeping your chest up, lower the weight behind your head, then raise it back to the start.

4 LATERAL RAISE Sets 4 Reps 12 Tempo 2111 Rest 30sec Stand tall, holding a light dumbbell in each hand with palms facing. Keeping your chest up and a bend in your elbows, raise the weights to the sides until they reach shoulder height. Lower back to the start. January 2017 | 117

Trainer | Body Work




Sets 5 Reps 8 Tempo 2010 Rest 0sec Stand tall with a bar across the back of your shoulders. Keeping your chest up and core braced, squat down as deep as you can. Drive back up through your heels to return to the start.

1B BENT OVER ROW Sets 5 Reps 8 Tempo 2010 Rest 90sec Hold a barbell with an overhand grip, hands just outside your legs. Bend your knees slightly, brace your core, then pull the bar up, leading with your elbows. Lower it back to the start.

118 | January 2017


Sets 4 Reps 8-12 Tempo 2010 Rest 30sec Grip rings or parallel bars with your arms straight. Keeping your chest up, bend your elbows to lower your body as far as your shoulders allow. Press back up powerfully to return to the start.

3 GOOD MORNING Sets 4 Reps 12 Tempo 2110 Rest 30sec

Stand tall holding a light barbell across the backs of your shoulders, feet shoulderwidth apart. With your core braced, bend forwards slowly from the hips, as far as your hamstrings allow but not past horizontal. Return to the start.

4 BARBELL ROLL OUT Sets 4 Reps 6-10 Tempo 4111 Rest 30sec Kneel on the floor holding a barbell with both hands. Roll the bar forwards so you lower your torso, keeping your core braced. Then use your abs muscles to return to the start.

January 2017 | 119

Trainer | Body Work


UPPERBODY2 1A INCLINE BENCH PRESS Sets 5 Reps 8 Tempo 2010 Rest 0sec

Lie on an incline bench holding a barbell with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Brace your core, then lower the bar towards your chest. Press it back up to the start.

1B PULL UP Sets 5 Reps 8 Tempo 2010 Rest 90sec Hold a pull-up bar using an overhand grip with hands slightly wider than shoulderwidth apart. Brace your core, then pull yourself up until your lower chest touches the bar. Lower until your arms are straight again. 120 | January 2017

2 SEATED OVERHEAD PRESS Sets 4 Reps 12 Tempo 2010 Rest 30sec Sit on an upright bench with a dumbbell in each hand at shoulder height. Keeping your chest up, press the weights directly overhead until your arms are straight, then lower them back to the start.

3 STANDING BICEPS CURL Sets 4 Reps 12 Tempo 2110 Rest 30sec

Stand with dumbbells by your sides, palms facing forwards. Keeping your elbows tucked in, curl the weights up, squeezing your biceps at the top. Lower them back to the start.


Sets 4 Reps 12 Tempo 2111 Rest 30sec

Bend forward from the hips with a light dumbbell in each hand with palms facing. Keeping a slight bend in your elbows, raise the weights out to shoulder height, then lower back to the start. January 2017 | 121

Trainer | Body Work




Sets 5 Reps 8 Tempo 2010 Rest 0sec

Stand tall with a bar across the front of your shoulders with elbows up. Keeping your core braced, squat down as deep as you can. Drive back up through your heels to return to the start.


Sets 5 Reps 8 Tempo 2111 Rest 90sec Stand tall in front of a barbell resting on safety bars at knee height. Using a double overhand grip, bend down and deadlift the bar up, squeezing your shoulder blades together at the top.

122 | January 2017

2 GLUTE BRIDGE Sets 4 Reps 12 Tempo 2111 Rest 30sec Sit with your upper back supported on a bench, holding a barbell across the tops of your thighs. Thrust your hips up, squeeze your glutes at the top, and then return to the start.

3 OVERHEAD PRESS Sets 4 Reps 12 Tempo 2010 Rest 30sec

Hold a bar with your hands just wider than shoulder-width apart. Keeping your chest up and core braced, press the bar overhead until your arms are straight. Lower it back to the start.

4 BARBELL ROLL OUT Sets 4 Reps 6-10 Tempo 2111 Rest 30sec

Kneel on the floor holding a barbell with both hands. Roll the bar forwards so you lower your torso, keeping your core braced. Then use your abs muscles to return to the start.

January 2017 | 123



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Cavendish now has 30 Tour de France stage wins, more than anyone except the great Eddy Merckx

Last Word Mark Cavendish

Golden touch

In2016Britain’s MarkCavendishwon worldchampionship goldandfourTourde Francestages–even wearingthefamous yellowjersey–before claimingsilverin theomniuminRio. Hetalksto MF about hisstellaryear

How did it feel to win the first stage of the 2016 Tour de France at Utah Beach and claim the iconic yellow jersey for a day? It was so nice to wear it – a real honour. It’s probably the most significant item of clothing in sport. I don’t know what else there is clothing-wise. People who don’t even ride a bike could tell you what the yellow jersey means. I hadn’t worn it before in my career, and I respect that race so much so to lead it for a day was such an honour.

Words Mark Bailey Photography Getty

In March at the track world championships in London, you won the madison event with Bradley Wiggins. Was that a confidence booster ahead of returning to the track for the Olympics? Last time Brad and I rode the event together was in 2008 at a home track worlds in Manchester [and they won gold]. Back then neither of us had won a Tour stage or a Grand Tour – it was only my second year as a pro. Since that we have seen this revolution in British cycling and we’ve had lots of success across the road and the track. Now Brad’s retiring and it feels like things have come full circle with everything we’ve achieved. So to finish with another gold at another home worlds felt like a nice bookend. You also won your first Olympic medal this year in the omnium. You are a born winner, so were you happy with silver? I am now, yes. I could have raced certain races differently but I smashed any targets I had for all my timed events and the guy who won [Elia Viviani] was perfect across all six disciplines which is what you’ve got to do to win an omnium. So in the end I am happy with it. How did it feel to be part of the Team GB medal factory? Yeah, I was proud to be part of British Cycling and Team GB this summer. We had this big apartment block which Team GB took over and whenever you went into the lift you might as well have said congratulations to whoever was in there – they probably won a medal! It really was like that. Everyone was going round in their medallists’ tracksuits… It was a really good atmosphere and I was dead proud of that. 130 | January 2017

Did you get much chance to celebrate your Olympic medal? If the [road] worlds weren’t coming up soon after [in Qatar in October] I probably would have lapsed after the Games. But I went straight back to the Isle of Man and got the hard graft in there for a few weeks. That big block was finished off with the Tour of Britain in September. So it wasn’t much of a break. Was it hard to combine both track and road events this year? It was hard on the body but not so bad on the mind. Because I had different goals, my mind was quite fresh on both sides. When I went on the track, I was fresh because I’d just come from road riding and vice versa. Has your diet changed much over the years? Nutrition is very important for pro cyclists, and I learned a lot about protein this year. I was going between the road and the track and had to keep my muscle mass up, so I needed to know about protein intake and good sources of protein. I now take little pistachio bags with me. They are good when you are in a rush. And it feels like fiddling with a bag of crisps. It’s the sensation – you know how some people like to hold a cigarette? For a snack, you like to have something you can dip into. And they’re a source of protein too. What are you like in the kitchen? My wife [Peta] is the best cook, but I spend a lot of time on my own so I have got to be good at it. I have got pretty good at poached eggs – my wife showed me how to do it. The trick is to keep the water shallow but you need it to simmer. Boil the water, then just as it comes to the boil, bung it in and simmer it. It needs to be still bubbling but not too much. And it comes out wicked. But mine are still not as good as hers… Mark Cavendish is an ambassador for American Pistachio Growers - his official snack of choice to fuel his training. Visit


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