Exercise of the Week

Exercise of the Week

Single Leg Burpee & Lateral Jump

Love them or hate them, no one can deny just how effective burpee's are. By targetting all the major muscle groups and helping to get the heart rate up this is a seriously dynamic exercise and one that and be easily customised to add some variety.

In this case throwing in a lateral jump and reistricing the movement to a single leg helps to work balance, agility and leg strength.

Method

1.  From a standing position lower yourself down into a squat with one leg lifted off the floor.

2.  With both hands on the floor and the same leg lifted off the floor, hop back into a press up position with chest to floor.

3.  Return to the squat position by hopping back, keeping the same leg lifted off the floor.

4. Jump laterally to the side landing on the foot you've been using.

5. Repeat the exercise but with the opposite leg.

Potato and Vegetable Frittata

Potato and Vegetable Frittata

Potato and Vegetable Frittata

This is a seriously quick and easy to make meal packed full of nutrition.  It's also versatile enough to be a decent breakfast, lunch or dinner meal.

It's also easy mix up with different ingredients (adding salmon or bacon add's a whole new dimension to what's already seriously tasty).  What's more, you can change macro split by simply removing the potato, useful if you're looking for less carbs.  

KEY BENEFITS 

  • Excellent source of both Protein and Carbs
  • Packed full of vitamins (namely Omega 3)
  • Cook for breakfast, lunch or dinner
  • Add or remove different ingrediants to change the nutritional macro splits

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 whole eggs
  • 6 egg whites
  • Cocunut Oil
  • 1 x Red Onion
  • 1 x Corgette
  • 1 x Green Pepper
  • 6 x New Potato's
  • 1/2 cut of paramesan 
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp of basil

 METHOD

  • Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6.  
  • In a bowl mix together the eggs
  • Heat up coconut oil in a medium sized cast iron pan
  • Throw in the onion and cook until soft
  • Add the potato's and cook until soft before adding peppers, courgette and basil/salt, cook for a further 5-8 mins
  • Pour in the egg mixture
  • Cook until the egg has set around the edge of the pan but still slightly running in the centre.
  • Through on the spinach leaves and tomatoes and cook for a further couple of minutes
  • Remove from the pan by tipping upside down using a plate (see video).
  • Add back to the pan, sprinkle parmesan over the top and cook in the oven for a further 10 mins.
  • Serve hot or cold.

NUTRITIONAL CONTENT*

  • Per quater slice
  • Calories - 530kcal
  • Fat - 23g
  • Carbs - 32g
  • Protein - 16g

*Nutritional content is an estimate

Banana Protein Bread

Banana Protein Bread

Banana Protein Bread

Another HEX staple.  We love this stuff.  We'll make one or two of these every couple of weeks. Perfect after a workout, delicious with nut butter spread, and full of goodness.

Get your bake on!

KEY BENEFITS 

  • Excellent source of both Protein and Carbs
  • Packed full of vitamins (namely Omega 3 and Potassium)
  • Alternative to oat bars like TREK that have higher sugar content

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup of coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup of almond flour
  • 2 serving scoops of Banana or Natural Protein Powder
  • 4 ripe banana's
  • 1 cup of oats
  • 1 cup of oat milk (or almond/coconut)
  • 1 tsp of nut butter
  • 1 tsp of baking soda
  • 3 eggs
  • 4 eggs whites
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup of chopped pecan nuts

 METHOD

  • Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6.  
  • In a large bowl throw in all the ingredients and mix
  • Use a blender or nutribullet if you have one
  • Ensure it's a goey consistency before adding it to the baking dish (add more milk alternative if you need to)
  • Grease a baking dish and add the mixture 
  • Bake for 45mins until golden brown.
  • Let it cool and serve or store

NUTRITIONAL CONTENT*

  • Per thick slice
  • Calories - 112kcal
  • Fat - 6.5g
  • Carbs - 11g
  • Protein - 8g

*Nutritional content is an estimate

Exercise of the Week

Exercise of the Week

The Glute-Ham Raise

T- Nation describe the glute-ham raise (GHR) as "one of the most popular posterior chain exercises in the lifting world."

BENEFITS

It's certainly a powerful exercise that helps you build strong hamstrings without the need to load your back (via more common Deadlift and Good Morning exercises).

Perform it properly and you'll improve your sprinting speed and jumping ability alongside the powerful benefits of having a solid posterior chain.

Most decent gyms will have a GHD machine, but if not look out for some alternatives that we'll be posting over the next fe weeks.

Method

This is very different to the back extension. This exercise needs you to keep your back in the same position throughout.

  1. Position your knees as close to the pad as possible.
  2. Start the exercise by squeezing your hamstrings, glutes and abs.
  3. Extend your legs bringing your torso down so that your body is aligned and parallel to the floor.
  4. Keep your body straight and ensure your feet are pressed against the foot platform.
  5. Elevate your body into a vertical position by bending your knees (pull them down), activating your hamstrings and continuing to push your toes against the foot platform.
  6. Avoid bending at the hip
  7. The key is to keep your torso and spine aligned at all times.
  8. Stay as straight as possible from knee to shoulder.

 

Cauliflower Crust Pizza

Cauliflower Crust Pizza

Cauliflower Crust Pizza

This is a great alternative to a standard pizza especially if you're trying to avoid grains or simple looking for a vegetable fix.  Packed full of vegetables, vitamins and nutrients. 

It requires a bit of effort but there are some short cuts (namely buying pre- shredded cauliflower from your local Tesco's).

KEY BENEFITS 

  • Low Carb
  • Packed full of veg
  • Alternative to Pizza

INGREDIENTS - BASE

  •  1 Cauliflower head (or pre- shredded) 
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup of coconut flour or almond flower
  • 1 tsp Oregano
  • 1 tsp Dried Basil
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt

 INGREDIENTS - TOPPING

  • Pepperoni
  • Mushrooms
  • Onion
  • Red Onion
  • Chopped Tomatoes (one can)
  • Mixed Herbs
  • Fresh Basil
  • Parmesan Cheese

METHOD

  • Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6.  Shred the cauliflower head (remove stalks) until finely chopped either in a blender, nutribullet or by hand.  Or if you've opted for the pre shredded Tesco version, even better.
  • Add the cauliflower into a bowl, cover with cling film and microwave for 5 mins until soft.  Leave to cool.
  • One cool, stir in almond/coconut flour, egg's, oregano, garlic and herbs.
  • Grease a baking try and add the mixture, create/mould your pizza base.  
  • Bake for 18mins until golden brown.
  • Whilst the base is in the oven heat some olive oil in a large frying pan.  Throw in diced onions, garlic and mixed herbs and cook until soft.
  • Throw in the chopped tomatoes, bring to a simmer and cook for around 8-10mins until thick.
  • Add the tomato sauce to the base - spread evenly.
  • Then add your toppings; in this case it's pepperoni, mushrooms, and parmesan cheese.
  • Return to the oven for another 10mins or so.  Then done!  

NUTRITIONAL CONTENT*

  • Per quarter slice
  • Calories - 225kcal
  • Fat - 21g
  • Carbs - 12g
  • Protein - 8g

  

 

*Nutritional content is an estimate and should be used as a rough guideline only.

Should you exercise with a cold?

Exercise and colds

On Tuesday last week I began my usual training but everything felt heavy.  I thought i was probably dehydrated, but by the evening I was even more exhausted.  I then woke on Wednesday to a nasty sore throat and a bunged up nose.

No big deal, just a cold.  

I'm following a strict training plan and enjoying it, the thought of having to slow down or even rest wasn't an option I allowed myself to consider.  So I pushed on regardless.  But by Friday I was even worse.  It was only then that I decided to rest up and recover. 

So I learnt the hard way.  

When you're feeling groggy continuing to workout is a mistake.  It just makes things worse.  In my case it's made my recovery longer and I still feel ropey now.

So what is the correct thing to do if you begin to feel lousy?  Two words, REST and MOBILISE.

  • Accept your sick
  • Don't stress about it
  • Rest
  • Drink lots of water
  • Work on your mobility
  • Ease back into it
  • Dose up on good quality vitamins and veg
  • Get some sleep

As a rule of thumb...

A) If your symptoms above are above the neck, such as a sore throat or bunged up nose, basically a light cold - then you can continue to train but lightly.  If you're doing sprint work or high energy HIIT, go for a short jog instead.  If your lifting heavy weights, go lighter and take bigger breaks between sets.

B) If your symptoms are below the neck, such as a chesty cough, sickness or diarrhoea, then stop.  It's likely you've got an infection or virus and working out will make you much worse.  Stop and rest.

But generally, a rest day or two is always the smarter option – not the lazy one.

 

 

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Post Workout Meal

Post Workout Meal

Butternut Squash Lasagna

This is a firm HEX favourite.  A one hundred percent perfect post training dinner.  Packed full of protein as well as good quality carbs.  

The parmesan cheese isn't necessary but a small about on the top to make the crust golden brown is well worth it.

It requires some effort but well worth it.  It's a great Sunday meal prep dish.  Make a big one and you can save it for lunches and dinners throughout the working week.

KEY BENEFITS

  • High Protein
  • Low Carb
  • Meal prep storage 
  • Post Workout nutrition

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tbsp olive oil OR Coconut oil
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 500g beef mince (look for grass fed or lean)
  • 250g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
  • 350g chopped tomato (mascarpone sauce optional)
  • 6 leaves of sage, roughly chopped
  • 100g baby leaf spinach
  • 1 pack butternut squash lasagne sheets (sold in Sainsbury's - genius!)
  • 25g parmesan cheese (optional)

METHOD

  • Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6. Heat the oil in a large frying pan.  Throw in diced onions. Add mince and fry until browned all over.  Add mushrooms and cook for 5-6 mins.
  • Pour 75% of the tomato (and mascarpone sauce) into the frying pan.  Add the spinach and sage.
  • Once cooked add a into an over proof dish and then cover with a layer of butternut squash lasagne sheets. Repeat this until the mix is used up.  Make sure the butternut squash is the final layer.
  • Top with the remaining tomato sauce and top with parmesan cheese (optional). 
  • Bake in the oven for approximately 50 minutes until a golden brown crust has formed.

NUTRITIONAL CONTENT

  • Per 100g Serving
  • Calories - 355kcal
  • Fat - 14.1g
  • Carbs - 18.7g
  • Protein - 35g

HEX & John Lewis

HEX & John Lewis

Wake Up London!

Phil and Chris talk about their collaboration with John Lewis and why it's such a great class to wake up to.

What actually is ‘Wake Up London’?

PW - Wake Up London is a boxing circuit class.  

How did it come about?

PW - John Lewis were looking to do something a bit different on their roof this year - and fitness was an interesting option for them.

CT - They asked us to design a class that specifically cater's for London professionals working in and around central London.  They were particularly interested in how fitness can help people start their day in the best possible way.

Describe the class

PW - The class is structured around ‘Tabata’, a style of high intensity interval training. Using a combination of boxing, knee/leg kicks and fast paced strength exercises participants work hard for 20 seconds and rest for 10, before going on to the next exercise.

CT - It's pretty hardcore, but the best thing about it is that you can manage the intensity.  Go as hard or as soft as you like.  As long as you work for the designated time and do the exercise with the correct form you'll reap the benefits.

PW - The class is divided into two, a boxing section and a strength section.  We've included kettlebells, dumbells and a rope as part of the strength section of the class - so there is lots of variety. People seem to love it.

CT - It's actually evolving now we're 6 weeks in.  Phil's been throwing in some competitive team work at the start which people seem to really react positively to.  It's great.

What are the main benefits?

PW - This is classic HIIT training - high intensity interval training.  Which is proven to trigger fat burning for up to 24 hours after training.  So your metabolism will get a decent kick and remain high for hours after the session.

CT - We've also ensured that by including a decent mix of exercises that participants get a full body workout.  Which means all the main muscle groups are targeted.  So by attending your building all over body strength - and who doesn't want that?

PW - And the boxing element contributes to that too. You’ll be working your lower back, your abs, arms, shoulders, legs AND (and here's the interesting bit) your BRAIN. Boxing helps you concentrate better by encouraging you to focus on the moment, without any distraction. Punching a bag or sparring requires focused movements, challenging not only your muscles but more importantly your mind. 

CT - You’ll be forced to focus on the task in hand, without the distraction of your iPhone, email and twitter feed demanding your attention.

Wake Up London runs on Tuesday and Thursday mornings.  Kicking off at 7.30am and ending at 8.15am and running until the end of September.

 

 

 

 

Man Vs Mountain

Man Vs Mountain

MAN VS MOUNTAIN

On 2nd September (42 days and counting) Chris will be competing in a 22 mile adventure race, starting at sea level and climbing 5055ft all the way up to the summit of Mount Snowdon, then back down again.  Here's why, how and what he's doing to ensure he completes it in a respectable time.

What's inspired you to take part?

I felt a plateau in my general training.  I was uninspired.  So I read up on some decent fitness challenges and this one caught my interest.  I like to have something big to train towards, it makes me work harder and keeps my focused.

What are you expecting?

I'm used to running marathon's, and expect this to feel similar in terms of the mental challenge tackling a long race.  But I expect Man Vs Mountain will test my fitness in ways i've not experienced before.  There will be a huge amount of variety; fluctuations in pace, climb, terrain and running styles.  I'll be running, crawling, scrambling and even swimming at one point.  I've read that there is a vertical kilometre to tackle before the finish line.  

Whats does your training plan involve?

I'm keeping things simple and following a similar marathon plan to what i've used previously. But I'll be doing most of my training off road, which is new to me.  I'll be doing more fartlek training and all of my runs will include hill sprints and climbs.  
To compliment the running i'll be continuing my weight training, which can only help me to build the solid muscular foundation I'll need.  Plus i'll be doing some heavy crossfit style workouts to test and push my cardiovascular system to the max.

Are you changing anything in your diet?

Yes, i'm eating a lot more.  I'm adding approximately 750 additional calories into my diet a day - adding up to nearly 4000. My splits of Fats, Protein and Carbs are all divided evenly.

How serious are you taking it?

I'm taking it as seriously as I did my first marathon - which is very!  It's been a while since I felt this way about my training, and i love it.  Taking it seriously is part of what i love about it - it's a great thing to focus on. I'm turn 40 in early January, I want to be in the shape of my life, which is great additional incentive to work harder.

What kit are you taking with you?

I need to get myself some new running shoes.  I'm about to start investigating whats out there for off-road trail running, so that should be cool.  I know Inov-8 do some decent fell running type shoes, so i'll probably start there.  I'll also need some waterproofs, gloves, headwear.  I think the organisers insist everyone has a mandatory kit they have to carry - so i'll need to check that out.

What time are you expecting?

The average time is 5 hours 50mins - so my aim is to beat that.
 
20 miles. 1 mountain. Brutal but beautiful. Enter now 5th September 2015. www.ratracemanvsmountain.com
 

Bulking Up

Bulking Up

IF YOU WANT TO BULK UP BUT YOU'RE FINDING IT HARD, HERE'S WHY...

 

1. YOU'RE NOT FOLLOWING A SPECIFIC PROGRAMME

- Find a decent hypertrophy programme and follow it.  Check out either bodybuilding.com or t-nation.com - they have a wealth of programmes to choice from.  

- Log your weights.  Knowing your numbers is a game changer - week in week out you'll need     to lift the same or heavier if you want to see results.

- Use a timer for your rest periods in between sets.  Be strict. 

- Get your tempo spot on.  Time under tension is crucial if you want results.  Follow the tempo outlined in your programme and control the weight, don't let the weight control you.

2.  YOU'RE NOT EATING ENOUGH (AND YOUR INTAKE OF CARBOHYDRATES IS TOO LOW)

- If you want to grow you need to eat, a lot.  You need to be eating way more calories that you're burning.

- Protein, Carbohydrates and Fats are all essential.   Protein is the obvious one - but you wont build muscle without a decent amount of carbohydrates and fats either.  Carbs will provide the energy needed to help your muscle to grow, and calorie dense fats like olive oil, nuts and avocado will help you eat more than the energy you consume.

- Directly after a workout spike your insulin with a decent amount of all three.  Starchy carbs like a baked potato's or a couple of cups of rice along with a large chicken breast or salmon fillet will do the trick.  Chuck in a healthy splash of olive oil or a couple of spoons of nut butter and you're sorted.

3.    YOU'RE NOT RECOVERING.....REST REST REST.

This the most important part of the jigsaw to bulking.  If you're doing all the above, but without decent recover, then kiss goodbye to growth.  

- Sleeping allows your muscles to recover

- Sleeping is when your 'Growth Hormone' levels are at their highest.

- Sleeping helps you replenish energy stores

- Sleeping helps you recharge your brain.  A rested brain ensures you'll be focused the next time you train.

It's simple, when you sleep well you recover, repair and rebuild.

 

 

 

END.

 

 

Why I Love a PB

Why I Love a PB

And why you should too. 

By Philip Wilkins

Here's a video clip of me a while back hitting a 150kg clean.  A great moment but besides being a moment of celebration, it goes far deeper than that.

 
 

 

Whenever we see someone achieve something outstanding (whether than be in their career or personal life) we only get to see the victory 'moment'.  We don't get to see the blood sweat and tears, the failed attempts and the sheer hard work involved.

So what you see in that video clip is my victory moment.  What you don't see is the years of training, focus, time and dedication that went before it.

Many people outside of fitness say to me how they wish they were as fit or as strong as I am.  My answer is simple "set yourself a goal and start working towards it".  I started out at the beginning too.  

Here are 5 key points to think about when setting yourself a goal in the gym;

1.  Start a journal and track your progress - a great way to see the small but incremental changes that will lead to you hitting your overall goal.  When you're having a bad day you'll be able to take a look and see how far you've actually come.

2.  Record all your PB's - it's important to have a log of all your personal best scores and refer to them regularly.

3.  Write a plan - at work you always have some kind of roadmap that gives you and your team or colleagues a sense of strategic direction.  It's no different in the gym.  Avoid just showing up and working out.  Instead, build a sensible plan that has a strategic aim.

4.  Test - every so often test yourself to see where you are and how far you've progressed.  It will show you where your strengths are and equally highlight weaknesses.  And believe me, nothing gives you more encouragement that setting a new PB.

5.  Work with percentages - and don't always try and hit your PB.   If you're lifting weights or performing complex Olympic lifts (or even running marathons for time)  then work with percentages.  Trying to smash your PB at every session will put enormous strain on you central nervous system and leave you over trained.  Work at 80% or 90% of your target and perfect your form, technique and delivery.  

Imagine if you attempted PB's at every session but failed each time. It wouldn't make you feel good. But more importantly your bad technique would begin to enforce bad habits. Effectively you would be getting better at being bad. You'd be perfecting your bad habits. Leave the PB for testing weeks.  That way you'll be doing the opposite, hitting successful lifts, feeling good about them and all the while enforcing great technique.

Patience is key. 

 

Sports Specific Training

Sports Specific Training

How to create a training programme that will help you perform better outside the gym

1.  Failing to plan is planning to fail

I’m always harping on about planning.  But it really is a game changer, especially if it’s well thought through and strategic.  

Developing a training programme that is thoughtful and considered will help you achieve better results, help you smash PBs, and if you’re clever, ensure you excel in your games outside the gym (whether that be on the court, pitch or open road).

2.  Don’t ignore your legs

If you’re feeling the post workout aches in your legs from all those barbell walking lunges, then good news!  Performing them will be helping to increase your strength and ensuring you sprint faster.  Always choose free weights instead of machines as synergistic muscles are involved to stabilise.

Here is a clip of me performing lunges using a barbell in the front squat position.  This is a seriously powerful exercise that builds explosive power.  A game changer for sportsmen and women.

3    Don’t ignore your glutes either

The gluteus maximus muscles are without doubt the most important muscles in sport. Squats and deadlifts build the glutes the most but body weight exercises will help too by keeping you balanced, helping you develop your stability and ensuring you build your muscular endurance.  

Check out these body weight exercises which you can do at home or in the park or in the gyms where you train.  Ignore your glutes at your peril!

3. Learn to be explosive

A weighted vest is a piece of fitness gear thats great for building strength, burning calories and building muscle.  But essentially, it will help you to develop more strength, power and acceleration during running and also during speed, power and agility drills.  You’ll be developing strength in your muscles and at the same time increasing your aerobic capacity as your body adapts to the us of the additional oxygen it needs. 

Head to the park, crouch and explode into a sprint for 8 seconds.  Rest for 1 minute.  Repeat 4 times.  You'll develop your muscles for greater acceleration.

5.  Develop your 'Balance, Stability and Co-ordination'

Peak power and agility cannot be optimised unless you have developed a decent level of balance and stability.  I recommend dedicating at least one hourly session a week to stability exercises.  Variety is key.

Check out these body weight exercises which develop your balance.   Again, you can do these at home or in the park or in the gyms where you train.  

 
 

A final thought

Whilst you should look to mimic movements in the gym that relate to your chosen sport (like ball slams and side throws for tennis) you’re not necessarily going to see the benefits as much as when you focus on the more fundamental areas of fitness, such as strength, flexibility, agility, aerobic capacity and endurance.  If you’re looking to improve your golf swing, then take some golf lessons from a qualified golf coach and then practice, practice, practice.  Swinging a weighted object in place of a golf club will not develop your swing.  In fact, it could cause you a disadvantage, by creating new muscle memory mechanics that will distort your regular swing.

HEX's top 10 to running the London Marathon

HEX's top 10 to running the London Marathon

Sign up, start training, blag sponsors, facebook every run (and every blister), eat carbs, invite everyone to watch, sprint over the finish line, sleep for a month.  It's as simple as that, isn't it?  Actually, no - running your first marathon is about so much more.....

1.  The hardest part isn’t the race.  People talk a lot about those 26.2 miles, but they talk a lot less about the miles you have to run and the hurdles you have to overcome just to get to the start line. If you clock up the miles throughout the winter months you will breeze through. 

2.  You will fall in love with your foam roller.  Looking after your feet, legs and hips is vital.  You’ll be rolling out whilst watching TV, eating your dinner, and in between meetings at work.