How do I Determine my Caloric Intake?

If you’re after a summarised answer and don’t want to read a comprehensive guide, we’ll save you the time and summarise the answer in this introduction for you. 

Your Caloric intake will depend on whether you’d like to tone up, losing some fat and gaining some muscle at a reasonable rate – or whether you’d like to gain muscle at a fast rate while incurring some fat gain, or lose fat at a fast rate while limiting much muscle gain. 

To recomposition you’ll need to find your maintenance calories by determining your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE). To calculate your TDEE head here.

To expedite muscle gain, you should add 200-300 calories to your maintenance calories. 

To expedite fat loss, you should subtract 200-300 calories from your maintenance calories. 

 

Now if you want to understand all the intricacies and really be set up with a sound understanding to make your own nutritional decisions, we’ll expand on the above. 

Four Main factors will need to be analysed and determined to accurately gauge your caloric intake. 

  1. Primary goal
  2. Your current body composition
  3. Your level of training experience 
  4. Your Body’s biofeedback

1.      YOUR PRIMARY GOAL

 Ultimately, determining where you want to head with your body composition in the near future is going to be the key factor in setting up your total calorie intake. Of course everyone wants to be lean and muscular right away, but it is important to consider the long run here.

You should never go to either end of the extremes of too lean or too overweight as this can result in health ramifications and will inevitably impact the efficiency at which you’re going to reach your goal by. Hence current body composition will also need to be taken into account before moving forward.

Say for instance you are currently overweight, even though you want to be more muscular as well, it might be more important that you get leaner. 

Conversely, if you are already relatively lean, but feel lacking in muscularity you may decide that building muscle is more important to you right now even though you may also want to remain lean. You will need to prioritize which goal is more important to you at the point of setting up your diet. 

Perhaps one of the most common questions we get is what to do when you’re in the scenario of being “skinny fat”. This refers to having a very low level of muscularity but also having a relatively high body fat percentage. In this situation, your primary goal will be the determining factor. Is it more important to you to look leaner with very limited muscle mass, or to look bigger overall with additional muscle mass but also fat. 

 

Generally speaking, your diet should be set up with a moderate caloric surplus if your primary goal is to build muscle. On the other hand, if you mostly want to lose fat, then a moderate caloric deficit is best suited for your goal. You may also decide that both of these  objectives are equally important to you. In this case, eating at caloric maintenance will be your best option as, depending on your level of training experience, it will allow for both fat loss and muscle gain to occur at the same.

So you see that choosing your primary goal will be the cornerstone of any goal oriented diet set up. Without it, you will be left aimless. Likewise, your current body composition plays a role almost as important as your current goal.

 2. CURRENT BODY COMPOSITION

This factor starts with objectively analysing your current body composition and levels of body fat.  Again, it is important not to stray too far to either end of being overweight or overly lean unless your immediate goal is to compete in a bodybuilding competition or a photoshoot.

Individuals with a higher starting body fat percentage should always set the primary goal of losing fat. People with a currently low body fat percentage should opt for gaining muscle. 

As simple as this may sound, your primary goal may not always be obvious to you. Hence we have separated these factors into separate categories. This will make the determination of your primary goal much easier.

 Individuals at neither extreme of the body fat range may still have differing goals. Take Jim, an individual at a current body fat level of 12 percent. He may be satisfied with his level of leanness and decide that building muscle is more important to him. However another individual Jason at the same level of body fat, may decide that he’d still rather lean down a bit. 

In this situation, Jim would want to set up a slight caloric surplus, while Jason would want to set up a slight caloric deficit, despite being at the same body fat percentage. 

Usually an individual with a current high percentage of body fat entering a caloric surplus would be detrimental to the goal of losing fat and even building muscle. In this case the ever increasing level of body fat can cause adverse health effects and throw other health markers important to the body’s ability to recover out of whack. This will stunt the rate at which muscle can be gained.

Contrastingly, individuals who possess an already lean physique, should opt for a caloric surplus, as this will lead to the most apparent progress. If they were to enter a caloric deficit or even stay at maintenance, they would drastically slow the ability to build muscle at an appropriate rate. This could in turn result in frustration in the individual due to the lack of apparent progress.

3. TRAINING EXPERIENCE

The longer you train in a progressive manner, the closer you will be to reaching your genetic limit in your ability to accrue overall muscle mass. 

On the other hand, there are the fabled ‘newbie gains’ – referring to individuals who are still at the beginning stages of weight training. They will be able to gain lean muscle mass at a much faster and easier rate. This means that they can also effectively make use of slightly larger caloric surpluses than intermediate or advanced lifters. 

So in summary, you are more likely to accrue fat  rather than lean mass gain if you opt for a large caloric surplus as an advanced individual, due to the increased resistance to muscle gain. The less advanced you are, the more likely you are to effectively make use of a larger caloric surplus. 

 To avoid any guessing or confusion moving forward, it’s important we define beginner, intermediate and advanced trainee stages as follows:

Beginners

  • Generally 0-1 year of lifting (provided they’ve trained with decent knowledge in training and nutrition planning from the start)
  • Visual changes on a monthly basis
  • Can progressively overload by adding weight or reps or both to their lifts on a session by session or weekly basis

Intermediate:

  • Generally 1-5 years of listing
  • Can see visual changes bi-monthly
  • Progressive overload occurs on a monthly basis

Advanced:

  • 5+ Years of Lifting
  • Visual changes on a half yearly or yearly basis
  • Ability to progress lifts is much more difficult and requires intricate planning

4. BIO FEEDBACK

Letting your appetite dictate your total calorie intake is not always a great idea. Sure, you should listen to your body and avoid extremes as we’ve talked about previously, but frankly, your appetite doesn’t care about your goals. Monitoring your biofeedback can be a useful tool when it comes to adjusting your total calorie intake.

When implementing changes to your diet and figuring out the correct surplus, maintenance or deficit calories for you, it is important to pay close attention to your body’s biofeedback – its recovery and hunger signalling. If you increase your training demands through increased volume or intensity during this period, you may also require an increased amount of total calories to fuel performance and proper recovery.

Calculating your TDEE

 Alright with all these baseline principles understood, we can now move on to what most people will really be after. The magical black and white answer of a daily caloric intake number.

 All joking aside, there is no way for us to give a definite answer on the exact amount of calories YOU should be eating. Your body, your level of activity, your daily habits and metabolism are yours alone – so no calorie calculator will be able to give you an exact answer as there is a lot of inter individuality to consider here.

 Any calculation, no matter how scientifically backed will still be off the mark. A good calculation will fall near your actual maintenance intake, but due to the multitude of influencing factors outlined above, they will likely still be off by anywhere from 200-500 calories. This might not seem like much, but it can make the difference between your intake seeing you at a caloric maintenance, surplus or deficit and not achieve your desired body composition goal.

 We can however use a daily caloric intake calculating formula to establish a well estimated baseline and find the right caloric intake for your through a short period of trial and error.

As a general rule of thumb start with taking your bodyweight in kg, multiplying it by 22 and your level of daily activity. If your job or day has you being more sedentary use the lower end of the activity factor in the formula (more towards 1.2) and if you tend to be very active and on your feet all day, steer towards the higher end (1.9). A moderately active individual would be wise to aim for the middle ground here, at around 1.5.

 

The formula will look as follows:

Bodyweight(kg) x 22 x (1.2 – 1.9)

 Let’s use Jim as an example here again. Jim currently weighs 75 kg and works a desk job. His cardio is minimal and he tends to be sedentary even at home. Hence he would use the lower end of the activity factor in the formula (1.2). Jim’s daily caloric intake calculation would looks as follows:

75kg x 22 x 1.2 = 1980 calories.

So Jim’s maintenance calories would roughly hover around 1980calories. If Jim is a relatively lean, untrained individual with the goal with the goal of gaining muscle mass, he would be wise to enter a caloric surplus. As discussed earlier, untrained individuals can make efficient use of higher caloric surpluses. Let’s use a relatively large surplus of 25% here again:

1980 x 1.25 = 2475 calories.

So Jim’s goal oriented daily caloric intake would roughly be 2475 calories. It is important to keep in mind that this is only an estimate and not the ideal intake. Jim would be wise to spend about 2-4 weeks at this calorie mark, track his macronutrients and bodyweight each day, to get a weekly weight average. If the body weight average sees Jim slowly increasing, training performance and recovery seems on point, then Jim has probably found his ideal daily caloric intake.

If however, Jim is gaining weight far too quickly, feeling sluggish and full all the time with appetite plummeting, then he has probably overshot the mark and would be wise to reel back 200-300 calories and re-evaluate after another 2-4 weeks.

Conversely, If Jim’s body weight hasn’t increased or he has even lost some weight after the 2-4 week mark is up, his training performance and recovery seem impaired, then he has probably undershot and is currently sitting at maintenance or even at a deficit. As such, he’d be wise to increase his total daily caloric intake by 200-300 calories and re-evaluate after another trial period.

 

Let’s use another example of a more trained individual with a higher daily activity level, Joe. Joe is currently sitting at 80kg, has been training hard and seriously for a few years and wants to shed a bit of body fat to look good for the upcoming summer. He’s a tradesman and on his feet all day at work. He does daily cardio and lives an overall busy and active lifestyle outside of the gym. Hence he would use the high activity factor of 1.9 in the formula.

Joe’s daily maintenance caloric intake calculation estimate would look as follows:

90kg x 22 x 1.9  = 3344 calories

So Joe’s maintenance calories would be 3344 calories.

As Joe wants to shed a bid of body fat, he’d be wise to enter a small and adherable caloric deficit of 300-500 calories.

You’ll see a discrepancy of 200 calories here. The magnitude of the deficit will also depend on Joe’s recovery ability as well as his dieting experience. If this were Joe’s first time dieting, he would be wise to enter a rather small and well maintainable deficit of 300 calories.

Again, by tracking his macros and body weight each day and getting a weekly average after a 2-4 week period, Joe would check to see whether body weight is dropping at the desired rate. If it isn’t he feels like he’s recovering well and overall energy levels are good, he would decrease the calories by a further 200 and re-evaluate after a further 2-4 week period.

Everything You Need to Know About Macronutrients

Getting to grips with your nutrition can be daunting. Straight away you’re bombarded with terms like macro-nutrients, meal timing, calories and you’d rather remain oblivious and turn to the current health fad that seems to suit you best. 

 

At Dukes, we’ll cut straight through all the info that is unnecessary and just confusing, to give you all the clarity you need. 

 

For a summarised quick guide to macronutrients, we’ll provide you with a summary in this first paragraph. But to gain a complete and comprehensive understanding, read on using the heading tags for any further questions that will pop into your mind. 

The calories we consume in food are made up of three key macronutrients:

  1. Protein
  2. Carbohydrates 
  3. Fats

As the name MACROnutrients suggests, these are the nutrients our bodies use in BIG amounts to function properly. You’ll want to have an adequate amount of each of these to maintain your bodily functions. Each Macronutrient is responsible for different functions and biological processes, but as long as you’re eating a balanced, whole foods diet, you don’t really need to worry too much about what your exact ratio is, as long as you feel fit and healthy. If you’re experiencing a lack in energy or similar, you’ll want to keep reading to gain an exact understanding of these and figure out what your diet might be lacking. Head to the above numbered headings for the macronutrient you’d like to learn more about.

Protein

Proteins play a huge role in recovery as well as energy production. Our bodies need protein from the foods we eat to build and maintain bones, muscles and skin. They are also the most satiating of all the macronutrients, meaning you will feel fuller for a given number of calories consumed. This essentially makes it the most important for both muscle gain and fat loss and hence, it is often the most talked about when it comes to a healthy well balanced diet. 1 gram of protein contains 4 calories. 

The process of repairing and building muscle sees protein as the most essential macronutrient. Protein is also the most thermogenic of all the macronutrients, meaning that it’s processing and digestion in the body leads to more caloric expenditure in and of itself as opposed to carbs or fats.

The amount of protein you need to optimize your recovery in the weight room and maintain or improve your body composition is a controversial topic and is constantly and continuously being researched and updated by scientists.

The most thrown around guideline in the fitness industry and ‘golden rule for optimal protein intake’ is 1 gram per pound of body weight. At Dukes, we believe that this guideline will be a good starting point for most individuals. 

It is not too much protein to cause any problems in the gut, as protein is quite a hard macronutrient for the body to digest. It’s also not too little for you to run into any recovery issues. 

If you feel the need to add more protein to your diet, you’re not finding any digestion problems such as bloating or gassiness, and your energy levels and progress in the gym aren’t impaired then go for it. 

Likewise, if you are overweight and have entered a caloric deficit with limited calories, we suggest going by an estimated lean body mass weight and using 1 g per pound of lean body mass. 

This will allow for more overall carbohydrate and fat intake, ensuring your energy levels throughout the diet don’t plummet.

Fats

Fats are essential for hormone production and to support cell growth. They also help protect your organs and help keep your body warm. Fats help your body absorb some nutrients and produce important hormones. 1 gram of fat contains 9 calories. 

Your body definitely needs fats and once again, it is important to find out how you respond to them. Most people fare better, keeping their fats on the lower side and in turn upping their carbohydrate intake, as this will leave them feeling more energized and less lethargic. 

Generally speaking, most individuals feel the best and meet their essential fat intake by aiming for 0.5g per kg of bodyweight. Again, use this as a baseline and adjust from there based on your body’s biofeedback in terms of energy levels and recovery. 

Your total daily fat intake will add up quickly as there are lots of “trace fats” contained in most foods.

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are your body’s preferred source of energy. It is important you find out how your body responds to these. Some individuals can eat large amounts in a single sitting and be rewarded with a long burst of energy, while others are better off spreading their carbohydrates over their daily meals, as large amounts leave them feeling lethargic and tired. 1 gram of carbohydrate contains 4 calories. 

Many myths surround carbohydrates and weight loss, such as the fabled no carbs after 6pm, sugar makes you fat, or you should only eat low glycemic index (GI) carbs. Most, if not all of these myths have been debunked in recent research and literature. 

As already stated, they are your body’s preferred source of energy. Hence cutting them out completely or limiting their intake will likely leave you lacking in:

  • Energy – both mental and physical
  • Performance in the weight room
  • Recovery
  • Mood may be impaired

Generally speaking, you should aim to keep your carbohydrate intake as high as possible while meeting the essential intake requirements for fats and protein as outlined above. 

This will ensure maximum performance levels and recovery, ultimately fast tracking your progress.

What Sources of Food Should I be Eating?

Most people have the question of what they should be eating when making positive body composition changes as their common trigger for confusion.

 

Where should I get my protein from?

Are there good and bad Carbs?

How many vegetables should I be eating?

Which foods contain bad fat sources?

 

We often see these things being overcomplicated, so we’ve put together a clean and easy to read guide for you. 

Click on the relevant heading for the macronutrient that you’d like to know good food sources for. 

We’ve also included some sample meals at the end of this guide for you if you’re struggling to put these sources together in a complete meal. 

 

Good sources of:

  1. Protein
  2. Fat
  3. Carbohydrates

 

Food Sources:

Good sources of protein:
  • Whey protein
  • Chicken
  • Eggs
  • Peas
  • Beans
  • Lentils
  • Greek yoghurt
  • Fish

You’ll often hear people talking about high quality protein sources and prioritising animal protein to plant protein. But what does a high quality protein source actually mean? What criteria make a protein source “high quality”?

The key factor here is the amino acid profile of the protein you’re consuming. Generally speaking, most animal protein has a higher concentration of leucine. As we’ve talked about previously, leucine is the key amino acid in triggering the body’s process of muscle protein synthesis. You’ll want to meet a certain threshold of leucine within a single protein feeding to maximally stimulate muscle protein synthesis. This amount can range anywhere from 2-4g, depending on your lean body mass. 

So you’ll need less total protein from sources such as meat and yoghurt, compared to beans or legumes – but both sources will still work! You just have to make sure you meet or go above that leucine threshold. 

 

Good sources of fat:
  • Coconut oil
  • Fish oil
  • Krill Oil Nuts
  • Olive oil
  • seeds (pumpkin, sunflower etc.)
  • Milk

Quality of fats plays an important role as well. Steer clear of trans fats, as these are processed within the body in a way that is almost comparable to alcohol. Your body draws limited, if any energy from them and they are likely to be stored as straight body fat. Additionally, when consumed above moderation, they can also lead to an array of health ramifications. 

Stick to good quality fats such as omega 3, monounsaturated and saturated fats. Yes, you read that right, saturated fats are also essential to a healthy and goal oriented diet. 

Good sources of Carbohydrates: 
  • Rice, any sort of potatoes
  • Pasta
  • Bread
  • Fruits
  • oats.

Don’t be scared of wheat containing products if you feel it doesn’t mess with your digestion.

 Likewise, don’t worry too much about the glycaemic index of the carbohydrates you consume, as long as you’re eating whole meals with all macronutrients and a bit of fibre – proteins, fats and carbohydrates. 

Assuming all of these are present in your meal, your body will digest the entire meal at a slower rate anyway. The glycaemic index looks at carbohydrate digestion in isolation. 

 

 

 

Sample Meals:

Breakfast:

4 whole Eggs

½ Avocado

5ml MCT Oil or coconut oil 

 

Calories: 438

Carbs: 5, Fats: 35, Protein: 25

 

Pre-Workout:

Raspberries 100g

30g Whey

30g 80% Dark Chocolate

Calories: 347

Carbohydrates: 22g, Fats: 16g, Protein: 27g

 

Intra-Workout:

20g Essential Amino Acids

40g dextrose Monohydrate

Calories: 232

Carbohydrates: 40g, Fats: 0g, Protein: 18g

Dinner – Chicken, Broccoli and Rice:

200g chicken breast (raw weight)

50g brown jasmine rice (raw weight)

250g Broccoli

Calories Total: 552

Carbohydrates: 53g, Fats: 8g, Protein: 69g

 

Pre- bed meal – Salmon with Spinach, veggies and sweet potatoes:

170g Salmon

200g Spinach

5g Coconut oil

100g Capsicum

100g Zucchini

200g sweet potato

Calories Total: 494

Carbohydrates: 53g, Fats: 13 g, Protein: 45g

 

Breaking through Plateaus

Breaking through Plateaus

WHY MAKE A PROGRAM?

You’ve heard that programs work, but why follow one? Following a program in the gym can have numerous benefits, including:

  • Preventing under/over training
  • Creating goals
  • Providing structure when you’re feeling un-motivated
  • Clearly tracking progress (which is the main driver of muscle growth)

And this is just to name a few.

 

HOW TO MAKE ONE THAT’S RIGHT FOR YOU

There’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all program, which is why you need to ask yourself some questions before creating one for yourself.

 

WHAT IS YOUR GOAL?

You need to have a clear idea of what you’d like to achieve over the duration of your program. Your goals will inform how often you workout and what kind of exercises you do. If building muscle is your primary goal, you might reduce your training frequency and make your workouts longer.

 

HOW OFTEN WILL YOU TRAIN?

This is to determine your level of commitment that you’re willing to offer towards your training goals. Everyone has varying levels of lifestyle, work and family obligations that they need to consider which is why it’s important that you make an honest assessment of your personal situation and make a firm commitment to the minimum number of days per week that you can train. If you’re tossing up between four and five days, go with four. It’s better to make a program that will work given your minimum time availability.

 

Once you’ve decided how many days a week you commit to per week, you can start to organise your training split.

 

WHAT EXERCISES AND MOVEMENTS SHOULD YOU DO?

With so many different excercises that can be chosen, it can feel like an overwhelming decision to choose which ones to include in your program. The selection of exercises will depend on your goals. Assuming your goal is tobuild muscle, you definitely want to include compound movements as the basis for your training sessions.

Compound movements are the foundational exercises that use multiple joints and lots of muscle mass.  The main movement patterns are pushes (e.g. bench press), pulls (e.g. pullup), hinges (e.g. deadlift) and squats (e.g. barbell squat).

These exercises should consume the majority of your time and effort during your workouts.

If compound movements are the cake, then accessory movements are the icing. These are generally single-joint exercises such as bicep curls and leg extensions that you can do after your compound movements to add some extra stimulus.

 

HOW SHOULD I TRACK PROGRESSION
DURING MY PROGRAM?

Progression can be measured in the
following ways:

• Increasing the amount of weight
you’re lifting

• Completing more repetitions at a
given weight

• Improving the quality of your
repetitions

Keep in mind that it’s easier to progress
these facets while in a caloric surplus –
progress will be slower if you’re in a caloric
deficit for fat loss.

 

I FEEL LIKE I CAN HANDLE MORE – CAN I
ADD SOME EXTRA SETS?

You can absolutely increase the volume, as long as it doesn’t impede your ability to recover or harm the strength in your lifts. However, keep in mind that there’s a limit to how much extra volume is beneficial – if you’re consistently completing 20+ sets a week on a muscle you’re training twice per week, consider lowering the volume and increasing the frequency and intensity (eg. Instead doing 18 sets over three sessions with higher intensity).

HOW MUCH CARDIO SHOULD I DO?

This depends on your focus – cardio has a plethora of mental and physical benefits, but if your main goal is to gain muscle then cardio shouldn’t be emphasised. We’d suggest having one low-intensity steady state session (LISS) a week and one high-intensity interval session (HIIT). If you prefer to keep your food intake maximised, you can add in an extra 1 – 2 sessions of cardio as necessary. But if you don’t enjoy cardio and would rather have less sessions, make sure your food intake isn’t too high (if your goal is to lose fat). An example of a LISS session would be to perform a form of cardio at an intensity that gets your heart rate up to around 128 – 140 BPM until you’ve burned the desired number of calories. An example of a HIIT session would be as follows:

• 5 minute warmup
• 20 second sprint
• 40 second power walk
• Repeat the sprint and power walk one
after the other ten times
• 2-3 minute cool down jog
This is just a guideline – HIIT just needs to have
something with maximal intensity followed by
a cool-down exercise.

HOW DO I ORGANISE MY TRAINING
DAYS AND REST DAYS?

The organisation of your rest and training days are flexible – what’s important is that you consistently reach the weekly training volume of the program and get enough rest to maintain it. We’d advise to prioritise your weaker muscles at the start of your rotation – for example, in an upper/lower split, it’d be a good idea to start your rotation with a lower body session if that’s your weaker muscle group. In terms of rest days, if you’re a beginner or an intermediate it’s advised to have at least one whole day without any lifting or cardio.

 

HOW OFTEN SHOULD ABS BE TRAINED?

Abs recover quickly, so around three times a week is recommended. It’s a good idea to train abs on days that you have plenty of energy at the end of your workout.

HOW LONG SHOULD I FOLLOW MY PROGRAM?

Like with most programs – stick to it as long as you’re making progress. This will vary greatly from individual to individual, so monitor your progress and stick to it until you feel like you’re plateauing.

HOW DO I KNOW IF I’M ACTUALLY
MAKING PROGRESS?

The easiest way to know if you’re making progress is through the numbers in your logbook and the mirror. The scale is an important tool, but if your goal is fat-loss, the change is visual – so gauge both what you see on the scale and in the mirror. In a good caloric deficit, weight loss for men should be around 450-900 grams per week and 200-250 grams per week for women.

SHOULD I HAVE DELOAD WEEKS?

After weeks of consistent, heavy training, it’s common to experience a few consecutive days of feeling weak, exhausted and unmotivated. If this occurs, you can have a few days off, or take a deload week. Central nervous system recovery, reduced risk of injury and mental and physical recovery are the main benefits of a de-load. To do a de-load, simply follow the program as you were but with 50-60% less weight on each exercise and half the sets. You can alternatively just not train for a few days – but any more than 5-6 days without training isn’t advised. Generally speaking, de-loads are required more often when following a program during a caloric deficit. Monitor how you’re feeling and don’t push yourself too hard if you’re overly fatigued.

 

That’s a lot of information to digest – constructing and following your own program is a process that takes time to learn. You’ll make mistakes along the way and learn from them – the main thing is consistency. A poor program followed properly is better than a proper program followed poorly.

Happy training!

COVID-19 | Member Info

Gym Access will be restored from 6:00pm on Friday 29th October 2021 The Victorian government has announced changes to the road map from Friday October 29, as the state will reach its 80 per cent double dose vaccination target almost a week ahead of schedule. From 6pm...

Build Session

Bench Squat - Kettlebell | 3 Sets, 10 Reps, 30 Seconds Rest Inbetween Sets Single Leg Hip Thrusts | 3 Sets, 10 Reps, 30 Seconds Rest Inbetween Sets  Single Leg Kettlebell Deadlift| 3 Sets, 8 Reps, 30 Seconds Rest Inbetween Sets Banned Triplanar Toe Taps | 3 Sets, 10...

Intermediate Upper Lower Split

Bench Press | 5 Sets, 5 Reps, 3 min Rest Inbetween Sets Bent Over Barbell Row | 5 Sets, 5 Reps, 3 min Rest Inbetween Sets Bench Dips| 4 Sets, 8-12 Reps, 60 Seconds Rest Inbetween Sets Pec Deck | 4 Sets, 12 Reps, 60 Seconds Rest Inbetween Sets Wide Grip Lat Pull Down |...

Beginner Push Pull Legs

Bench Press | 5 Sets, 5 Reps, 3 min Rest Inbetween Sets Incline Dumbbell Press | 4 Sets, 8 Reps, 2 min Rest Inbetween Sets  Pec Deck | 4 Sets, 12 Reps, 60 Seconds Rest Inbetween Sets Overhead Tricep Extension | 3 Sets, 8-12 Reps, 60 Seconds Rest Inbetween Sets  Tricep...

Advanced Push Pull Legs

Flat Barbell Bench Press | 4 Sets, 6-10 Reps, 3 min Rest Inbetween Sets Incline Dumbbell Press | 4 Sets, 8-12 Reps, 2 min Rest Inbetween Sets  Machine Chest Press | 3 Sets, 8-12 Reps, 2 min Rest Inbetween Sets Pec Deck | 3 Sets, 12-15 Reps, 60 Seconds Rest Inbetween...

3 Day Cardio Burn Program

Superset: Burpess & Mountain Climbers | 3 Sets, 10-20 Reps, 30 Seconds Rest Inbetween Sets Medicine Ball Slams | 4 Sets, 20 Reps, 30 Seconds Rest Inbetween Sets Squat Jumps | 4 Sets, 20 Reps, 15Seconds Rest Inbetween Sets Superset: Flutter Kicks & Leg Raises |...

Building Muscle – 4 Day Split

Machine Row | 3 Sets, 8 Reps, 2 min Rest Inbetween Sets Close Grip Pulldown | 2 Sets, 12 Reps, 2 min Rest Inbetween Sets  Bench Dumbbell Row| 2 Sets, 8 Reps, 2 min Rest Inbetween Sets Reverse Machine Fly | 3 Sets, 12 Reps, 2 min Rest Inbetween Sets  Rope Face Pull |...

Programming: How to do it properly

WHY MAKE A PROGRAM?

You’ve heard that programs work, but why follow one? Following a program in the gym can have numerous benefits, including:

  • Preventing under/over training
  • Creating goals
  • Providing structure when you’re feeling un-motivated
  • Clearly tracking progress (which is the main driver of muscle growth)

And this is just to name a few.

 

HOW TO MAKE ONE THAT’S RIGHT FOR YOU

There’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all program, which is why you need to ask yourself some questions before creating one for yourself.

 

WHAT IS YOUR GOAL?

You need to have a clear idea of what you’d like to achieve over the duration of your program. Your goals will inform how often you workout and what kind of exercises you do. If building muscle is your primary goal, you might reduce your training frequency and make your workouts longer.

 

HOW OFTEN WILL YOU TRAIN?

This is to determine your level of commitment that you’re willing to offer towards your training goals. Everyone has varying levels of lifestyle, work and family obligations that they need to consider which is why it’s important that you make an honest assessment of your personal situation and make a firm commitment to the minimum number of days per week that you can train. If you’re tossing up between four and five days, go with four. It’s better to make a program that will work given your minimum time availability.

 

Once you’ve decided how many days a week you commit to per week, you can start to organise your training split.

 

WHAT EXERCISES AND MOVEMENTS SHOULD YOU DO?

With so many different excercises that can be chosen, it can feel like an overwhelming decision to choose which ones to include in your program. The selection of exercises will depend on your goals. Assuming your goal is tobuild muscle, you definitely want to include compound movements as the basis for your training sessions.

Compound movements are the foundational exercises that use multiple joints and lots of muscle mass.  The main movement patterns are pushes (e.g. bench press), pulls (e.g. pullup), hinges (e.g. deadlift) and squats (e.g. barbell squat).

These exercises should consume the majority of your time and effort during your workouts.

If compound movements are the cake, then accessory movements are the icing. These are generally single-joint exercises such as bicep curls and leg extensions that you can do after your compound movements to add some extra stimulus.

 

HOW SHOULD I TRACK PROGRESSION
DURING MY PROGRAM?

Progression can be measured in the
following ways:

• Increasing the amount of weight
you’re lifting

• Completing more repetitions at a
given weight

• Improving the quality of your
repetitions

Keep in mind that it’s easier to progress
these facets while in a caloric surplus –
progress will be slower if you’re in a caloric
deficit for fat loss.

 

I FEEL LIKE I CAN HANDLE MORE – CAN I
ADD SOME EXTRA SETS?

You can absolutely increase the volume, as long as it doesn’t impede your ability to recover or harm the strength in your lifts. However, keep in mind that there’s a limit to how much extra volume is beneficial – if you’re consistently completing 20+ sets a week on a muscle you’re training twice per week, consider lowering the volume and increasing the frequency and intensity (eg. Instead doing 18 sets over three sessions with higher intensity).

HOW MUCH CARDIO SHOULD I DO?

This depends on your focus – cardio has a plethora of mental and physical benefits, but if your main goal is to gain muscle then cardio shouldn’t be emphasised. We’d suggest having one low-intensity steady state session (LISS) a week and one high-intensity interval session (HIIT). If you prefer to keep your food intake maximised, you can add in an extra 1 – 2 sessions of cardio as necessary. But if you don’t enjoy cardio and would rather have less sessions, make sure your food intake isn’t too high (if your goal is to lose fat). An example of a LISS session would be to perform a form of cardio at an intensity that gets your heart rate up to around 128 – 140 BPM until you’ve burned the desired number of calories. An example of a HIIT session would be as follows:

• 5 minute warmup
• 20 second sprint
• 40 second power walk
• Repeat the sprint and power walk one
after the other ten times
• 2-3 minute cool down jog
This is just a guideline – HIIT just needs to have
something with maximal intensity followed by
a cool-down exercise.

HOW DO I ORGANISE MY TRAINING
DAYS AND REST DAYS?

The organisation of your rest and training days are flexible – what’s important is that you consistently reach the weekly training volume of the program and get enough rest to maintain it. We’d advise to prioritise your weaker muscles at the start of your rotation – for example, in an upper/lower split, it’d be a good idea to start your rotation with a lower body session if that’s your weaker muscle group. In terms of rest days, if you’re a beginner or an intermediate it’s advised to have at least one whole day without any lifting or cardio.

 

HOW OFTEN SHOULD ABS BE TRAINED?

Abs recover quickly, so around three times a week is recommended. It’s a good idea to train abs on days that you have plenty of energy at the end of your workout.

HOW LONG SHOULD I FOLLOW MY PROGRAM?

Like with most programs – stick to it as long as you’re making progress. This will vary greatly from individual to individual, so monitor your progress and stick to it until you feel like you’re plateauing.

HOW DO I KNOW IF I’M ACTUALLY
MAKING PROGRESS?

The easiest way to know if you’re making progress is through the numbers in your logbook and the mirror. The scale is an important tool, but if your goal is fat-loss, the change is visual – so gauge both what you see on the scale and in the mirror. In a good caloric deficit, weight loss for men should be around 450-900 grams per week and 200-250 grams per week for women.

SHOULD I HAVE DELOAD WEEKS?

After weeks of consistent, heavy training, it’s common to experience a few consecutive days of feeling weak, exhausted and unmotivated. If this occurs, you can have a few days off, or take a deload week. Central nervous system recovery, reduced risk of injury and mental and physical recovery are the main benefits of a de-load. To do a de-load, simply follow the program as you were but with 50-60% less weight on each exercise and half the sets. You can alternatively just not train for a few days – but any more than 5-6 days without training isn’t advised. Generally speaking, de-loads are required more often when following a program during a caloric deficit. Monitor how you’re feeling and don’t push yourself too hard if you’re overly fatigued.

 

That’s a lot of information to digest – constructing and following your own program is a process that takes time to learn. You’ll make mistakes along the way and learn from them – the main thing is consistency. A poor program followed properly is better than a proper program followed poorly.

Happy training!

COVID-19 | Member Info

Gym Access will be restored from 6:00pm on Friday 29th October 2021 The Victorian government has announced changes to the road map from Friday October 29, as the state will reach its 80 per cent double dose vaccination target almost a week ahead of schedule. From 6pm...

Build Session

Bench Squat - Kettlebell | 3 Sets, 10 Reps, 30 Seconds Rest Inbetween Sets Single Leg Hip Thrusts | 3 Sets, 10 Reps, 30 Seconds Rest Inbetween Sets  Single Leg Kettlebell Deadlift| 3 Sets, 8 Reps, 30 Seconds Rest Inbetween Sets Banned Triplanar Toe Taps | 3 Sets, 10...

Intermediate Upper Lower Split

Bench Press | 5 Sets, 5 Reps, 3 min Rest Inbetween Sets Bent Over Barbell Row | 5 Sets, 5 Reps, 3 min Rest Inbetween Sets Bench Dips| 4 Sets, 8-12 Reps, 60 Seconds Rest Inbetween Sets Pec Deck | 4 Sets, 12 Reps, 60 Seconds Rest Inbetween Sets Wide Grip Lat Pull Down |...

Beginner Push Pull Legs

Bench Press | 5 Sets, 5 Reps, 3 min Rest Inbetween Sets Incline Dumbbell Press | 4 Sets, 8 Reps, 2 min Rest Inbetween Sets  Pec Deck | 4 Sets, 12 Reps, 60 Seconds Rest Inbetween Sets Overhead Tricep Extension | 3 Sets, 8-12 Reps, 60 Seconds Rest Inbetween Sets  Tricep...

Advanced Push Pull Legs

Flat Barbell Bench Press | 4 Sets, 6-10 Reps, 3 min Rest Inbetween Sets Incline Dumbbell Press | 4 Sets, 8-12 Reps, 2 min Rest Inbetween Sets  Machine Chest Press | 3 Sets, 8-12 Reps, 2 min Rest Inbetween Sets Pec Deck | 3 Sets, 12-15 Reps, 60 Seconds Rest Inbetween...

3 Day Cardio Burn Program

Superset: Burpess & Mountain Climbers | 3 Sets, 10-20 Reps, 30 Seconds Rest Inbetween Sets Medicine Ball Slams | 4 Sets, 20 Reps, 30 Seconds Rest Inbetween Sets Squat Jumps | 4 Sets, 20 Reps, 15Seconds Rest Inbetween Sets Superset: Flutter Kicks & Leg Raises |...

Building Muscle – 4 Day Split

Machine Row | 3 Sets, 8 Reps, 2 min Rest Inbetween Sets Close Grip Pulldown | 2 Sets, 12 Reps, 2 min Rest Inbetween Sets  Bench Dumbbell Row| 2 Sets, 8 Reps, 2 min Rest Inbetween Sets Reverse Machine Fly | 3 Sets, 12 Reps, 2 min Rest Inbetween Sets  Rope Face Pull |...

Top 5 Reasons NY Fitness Resolutions Fall Through

It’s finally come to the end of this harrowing year and many of us are preparing to embark on our New Year’s resolutions. According to this survey, the second most common New Year’s resolution is fitness based.

 

Statistic: What are your 2018 resolutions? | Statista
Find more statistics at Statista

Ofcourse, New Year’s resolutions aren’t necessarily a bad thing, but short term motivation tends not to be enough for long-term goals. Here are some mistakes to avoid that make your fitness resolutions more likely to slip away.

1. Not having a training program

2. Not having a nutrition plan

3. Not meal prepping

4. Neglecting recovery

5. Treating a marathon like a sprint

 

 1. Not having a training program

 

This point especially pertains to you if you’re a complete beginner. You sign up to a gym, excited to make a change and ready to go.

Walking in for your first session, you look around the gym at all the machines and have no idea where to get started – so you get onto the treadmill and start doing a mild walk/jog.

After you’ve done that for a few minutes, you get off and wander around looking for something that looks doable. The leg extension catches your eye.

You get into the leg extension which was adjusted for the person before you, but you’re too embarrassed to ask the staff how to change it so you just deal with the slightly awkward settings and do some reps.

You walk around and get into a pec deck which is set up to go backwards and do a couple of awkward reps that make your shoulders feel weird.

Once that’s done, you walk off and finish up with your first session.

A big barrier to consistently coming in to the gym is having no idea what you’re supposed to do when you’re in the gym, let alone correct technique and execution.

It’s not difficult to see why repeating this pattern for a few weeks would lead to a drop-off.

 

A beginner’s training program is one of the best weapons you can arm yourself with against awkwardness of not knowing what to do when you’re in the gym.

When you come in with a plan, you know where to get started, what to do next and so forth. This empowers you with purpose – you’re coming into the gym to follow the steps already set out for you.

A program will tell you which exercises to do on which days for how many reps and sets, but it won’t tell you how to perform the exercises properly which is why having some initial sessions with a knowledgeable personal trainer is a highly intelligent investment.

An alternate route to personal training is to spend hours on the internet doing your own due diligence, but not have the resources or motivation to do that.

 

If you have a training program, you know that you’re going to warm up for five minutes on the treadmill, do three sets of 12 reps on the leg press, 3 sets of 12 reps on the cable row machine, 3 sets of 12 reps on the chest press and then do 5 minutes of core strength work.

Compare this to the previous scenario with no training program.

 

2. Not having a nutrition plan

 

If your New Year’s resolution is fitness based, you’re probably aiming to gain muscle, lose fat or both. These goals are heavily reliant on nutritional factors, especially caloric intake.

If you embark on your fitness journey without a clear plan of what you’re eating throughout the day, you’re inevitably fall back into your old eating patterns which led to you to want to make a change in the first place.

Have a simple, realistic nutrition plan to follow so that you know how much to eat each day for your specific goals.

 

3. Not Meal-Prepping

 

This point mainly pertains to those who have particularly busy schedules.

As mentioned earlier, knowing what/how much to eat is going to have a huge impact on your fitness goals. Consistently having cooking healthy meals all throughout the day is much easier said than done- that’s why meal prepping can make or break your fitness goals.

Once you have your meal plan and know how much of what foods to eat, it’s very smart to prepare them in advance. Some people cook their meals for the next day at night and keep them in containers in the fridge.

Meal prepping is intelligent effort that saves you from having to cook multiple times throughout the day and makes it much easier to stick to your plan.

It’s much easier to opt for the healthy option when it’s prepared in the fridge!

 

4. Neglecting Recovery

 

The topic of recovery is often glossed over – all the tips on getting muscular and lean are usually about what exercises are best or what the hottest fad diet is so it’s no surprise that most people aren’t aware of it’s importance!

Recovery is simply your body repairing itself after exercise. As you may or may not already know, muscle growth occurs during recovery, not exercise.

If you don’t recover properly from your training, you won’t be able to reap the benefits of your hard work in the gym.

If you’re a beginner, here are some things you can do to improve your recovery-

  • Do full-body workouts three times per week
  • Try to have some protein and carbohydrates after you workout
  • Finish your workouts with a cool-down (eg walking on the treadmill for 5-10 mins) and some gentle stretches

These points are on top of maintaining a healthy diet and adequate sleep. The main thing is to make sure you feel just as good or better when working out than the week before.

 

5. Treating a Marathon like a Sprint

 

Whether you like it or not – progress takes time. Depending on your consistency and level of effort, truly noticeable progress is probably going to take around a year. Sure, you might try keto and lose significant water weight in a couple of months, but that weight comes straight back on as soon as you start eating carbs again.

The point is, fitness is a long-term lifestyle choice and results aren’t going to come without persistence.

Whatever method/training program you use to make the change you want, you need to follow it as consistently as you can over the long term to see any results.

Don’t worry if you slip up here and there – that’s completely normal. What really makes a difference is your overall progress throughout the year.

Good things come to those who wait!

 

Conclusion

 

Whether you like it or not – progress takes time. Depending on your consistency and level of effort, truly noticable progress is probably going to take around a year. Sure, you might try keto and lose significant water weight in a couple of months, but that weight comes straight back on as soon as you start eating carbs again.

The point is, fitness is a long-term lifestyle choice and results aren’t going to come without persistance.

Whatever method/training program you use to make the change you want, you need to follow it as consistently as you can over the long term to see any results.

Don’t worry if you slip up here and there – that’s completely normal. What really makes a difference is your overall progress throughout the year.

Good things come to those who wait!

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