Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Nutrition - Healthy Snack

Myself and Nutrition Guru Matt Lovell  (who has his own site, with tips, recipes and supplements at ) have put together another little video on a perfect snack, or meal accompaniment. Its quick, healthy and packed with everything you need.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Nutrition - Simple Protein Shake and other Recipes

Here is a video on a simple Protein Shake to make in the mornings or post training. You can add or take away any of the ingredients as required.  

Other Recipes you might like.

Peanut Powerhouse

Whey Protein 2 scoops (works best with Chocolate)
1 large tablespoon of Peanut butter
1 small handful of Almonds
1 large tablespoon of Cottage cheese.
- You can add some BCAA's etc. if you want.
Water or Skimmed Milk till you are happy consistency.

Berry Builder.

2 scoops Whey Protein (strawberry recommended)
1 handful of blueberries
1 handful of Strawberries and Raspberries 
1 large banana
Milk or Water till you are happy with consistency.

All in one Breakfast

2 scoops of whey
1 tablespoon of peanut butter
1 handful of oats or muesli
1 whole egg Raw
1 handful of berries
1 handful of mixed nuts (almonds, walnuts)
1 small glass of fruit juice
Skimmed Milk or water till you are happy with consistency

Green Tea Taster - little fat burning element

2 scoops of whey
120mls of cold green tea
1 handful of berries
1 finely chopped apple
some lemon juice
ice cubes
Water till you are happy with consistency.

Put all the ingredients in a blender, and BOOM tasty Shakes.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Training - Split Body Parts

If you are trying to build some size in say preseason or just because you want to get lean and ripped. Then split body weight workouts with high reps, could be what you are looking for. This means essentially every day of the week is a different body part, so you are really hitting all the areas for maximum growth. These are different body part, Hypertrophy sessions with a higher rep range 6-12 and 3-5 sets.

If you look at the sessions I have put on my blog already, they are often combination sessions, with things like legs and upper body, or strength and power. I don’t ever really need to do split workouts, because size is not really an issue at the moment. If I was to stop playing or get an injury and needed to bulk up they are what I would go back to. If you are a keen trainer who wants the bodybuilding frame, then crack on.

Again if you are unfamiliar with weights then please get some advice or convert stuff to just body weight, with good technique. IF you are a keen trainer then modify the routine to suit your particular level of expertise.

Chest Session
  • Bench presses 4x 6-10
  •  Incline bench presses 4x 4-10
  • Flat-bench Dumbbell flyes 4x 8-10
  •   Dips 4x 8-10
  • Dumbbell pullovers 4x 8-10
Take a short rest in-between sets, maximum a minute. If you have a training partner as soon as they finish their set, you get on and vice versa. If you have any energy, which i doubt then throw in some abs at the end.

Back session
  • Bench pull 4x 6-10 reps
  • Wide grip chins 3x 10 reps
  • T-bar rows 3- 8-10 reps

  • Lying fixed barbell row 3x 8- 10

  • Narrow grip seated pull downs 3x 8-10
If i ever have a fixed amount of rest then i try to get a ball in my hands, to practice passing etc. Its a good time to practice your skills when you are .

Other body parts will follow. Add or take away exercises you like and don’t like in these session. These are just suggestions.

Nutrition - Weight loss

There are a lot of myths written about weight loss, people make all sorts of excuses to avoid knuckling down and shedding that unwanted padding. There are always short cuts, or promised short cuts that fail to deliver. Things aren't that complicated. Sort your diet out, plan a head, do some cardio and lift some weights. Its simple things like, not buying junk food. If it’s in the house you are going to eat it, even if it’s just for the “kids”.

If you burn more calories than you take in, then you are going to loose weight. Those of you who diet every 5 mins and don't do the work are kidding yourselves. Often the weight falls off, and than bang you put it back on again. You need to condition your body and metabolism. Everything works in tandem, eat well, train well, weight isn't an issue.

There are of course caveats to this, if you are old, injured or have medical problems. However the fact remains the same, you can always eat well and do some sort of modified training. Even if it’s coming home from the shopping, taking out 2 tins of food and doing some over the head shoulder press, bicep curl, Lat raise, and upright row. You don't have to go to a gym to work out.

Here are some tips on weight loss from Matt Lovell.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Training - Pitch Running Session

It doesn’t really matter what your training goals are, you can’t avoid having to do some cardio work. A lot of what I try to do as a rugby player is specific to my sport, but as I have mentioned already on this blog, its always good to change things up now and then, trying different sports and getting different kinds of work outs.

This is a conditioning session that covers most of the areas you need to play rugby. If you look at rugby match it is very stop start, with sprinting, jogging, contact, all coming in different amounts, and at different times. As backrow forward you are constantly involved whether, that’s in attack or defense. You may only have a short burst of activity for say 30 seconds to a 3mins, but that could mean you sprint twice, make 2 tackles, get to your feet, carry the ball, chase a kick, before there is a turnover over, infringement etc. which stops play. You then need to recover quickly and go again.

You can remove the down and ups if you have any injury worries or don’t need this kind of fitness. Down and ups make it a lot like you are tackling someone, or entering contact, so gives you that extra fitness blast.

This can be done in season, but might require some modification on reps etc. Good session for preseason.

Session- Pitch based running, Ideally a football pitch or rugby field should be used, but if not just mark out your own distances.

Warm Up:-
10 Mins Drills/Dynamic Stretches/Strides – finish with accelerations over 30m @ 60/70/80/90/95% with jog back recovery – MAKE SURE YOU ARE READY TO RUN.  TAKE ALL THE TIME YOU NEED.

Set 1:
-       Start on Touchline on 22m line, sprint to 15m line hit line down and up (just touches the ground) and up, sprint back to 5m line (from touchline) down and up + run to far touchline (next drill starts here)

Complete 6 reps with 45s Rest between reps

80s rest

Set 2:
-       Start on Deadball line (last line on a rugby field) in the middle of the posts.  Run round left post and back to Deadball line, run round right post and back to Deadball line, then run to half way line.

Complete 6 reps with walk back recovery

90s rest

Set 3:
-       Start on half way line, sprint 10m to 10m line, hit line down and up, turn and sprint 20m to other 10m line, down and up and sprint back 10m to halfway line.

-       1 set = 6 reps with 10 s between reps

Complete 3 sets with 90s between sets

Friday, May 25, 2012

Training - Crossfit and Boxing

If you enjoy training, but get a little bored of hitting the pavement or bike for your fitness needs. Then I would recommend the following as a change up.

 Crossfit is growing in popularity across the world; there is nothing quite like the tiredness and physical gains you get from the full body hammering this sport gives you. Apart from covering most of the key Olympic lifts, its great for full body fitness, toning, weight loss and strength development. Its also a lot of fun, some of the sessions will only take you 4 minutes, but its 4 minutes of flat out work, which leaves you in a pile. There are competitions and team events around the country if you want to take it more seriously. If you are playing sport or keen for something to get you into shape during preseason, then this kind of work out is great as its dynamic and a lot more applicable than running on a treadmill or doing bench press.

I have included a video of one of the sessions I did with Richard Tidmarsh. Crossfit is something I do to keep things fun and complement my other training during the season, or during some down time. It has been broken down on the video so you can try it if you want. Please remember if you haven't done anything like this for before or have no experience, then edge on the side of caution and seek some qualified advice. 

The other sport I find that adds a nice change up is boxing. Its gets you fit, strong, coordinated and ultimately competitive if that’s what you want. I started at London shoot fighters a little while ago and have carried on at NZ fight and fitness in Dunedin. If you have a heavy training load then it’s not something you can do all the time, but it’s great to fit in now and then. I find if you are carrying any sort of injures that prevent you from running, you can always get a good fitness blast from boxing. You also become stronger and more toned. Some of the prolonged boxing sessions with abdominal work, technique pads, skipping etc. are all great for weight loss. You will be surprised how quickly you can get completely knackered. If you are quite muscle bound, it also teaches you to move better and get the link right between your legs and upper body.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Nutrition - Protein and Carbohydrate

The other day I put up a few key pillars of Nutrition from Matt Lovell ( These should really help you to get started on your road to getting more out of your diet

Following on from this Nutrition commandments Matt has gone into more detail about some of the key factors and important areas that need to be addressed in your own personal nutrition. 
The focus is on some key elements like Protein, Carbohydrate and post training.
Hydration must be your foremost priority. Each meal should consist of a portion of protein, complex carbohydrate (CHO) and vegetables. An effective strategy for fat loss has been revealed to be one of reducing fat in the diet by substituting it with protein. CHO should still be the major source of energy and, and consuming this with green vegetables, high in cellulose, has been shown to allow this energy to be released slowly, maintaining constant blood-sugar. This will mean your energy levels don’t fluctuate too much.
   The average adult requires at least 2-3 litres of water a day (2). This requirement increases if you exercise.
   Studies report performance losses after just 2% dehydration (about 1.5L of sweat).
   Salts increase water retention as well as thirst, encouraging rehydration. Added CHO has also shown an ability to improve fluid balance, as well as protein.
   Not only will dehydration affect your muscles’ ability to function, but the loss of salts may eventually affect your nerve function, reactions and concentration.
   Thirst is a poor measure of dehydration. You become dehydrated long before you feel thirsty so drink water continuously throughout the day.
   The best measure of fluid balance is urine colour, this should be clear and pale at all times. Dark yellow urine is an indicator of dehydration, though some multivitamins may give the urine a bright yellow appearance.
   Rehydration drinks contain salts, and it’s also advisable to drink water when you eat food. If making your own, use full-sugar squash for recovery, or diluted fruit juice or low sugar-squash at other times, adding a pinch of salt.
   Start the day with a mug of freshly boiled water and a slice of lemon. In summer add a fresh sprig of mint and fresh lemon slices to a jug of cold water.
   Drink from a bottle of water to measure daily intake until you are used to drinking enough.
   Weigh yourself before and after exercise. For every kilogram lost, a litre of water is lost. Carbohydrate (CHO)
 Carbohydrate (CHO) is the body’s primary energy source, essential for short bursts of intense activity. It is stored in the form of glycogen in the muscles and the liver.
      You need to ensure an adequate supply for intense exercise and replenish afterwards. Action Plan
        Replace some starchy carbs with fibrous carbs at each meal. This will increase fibre and help fill you
        Avoid large carbohydrate meals, as these will make you sleepy and excess calories will be converted into body fat.
        Always choose whole grain options. Brown rice, whole-wheat cereal and whole grain breads are always higher in nutrients and have a lower glycemic index.
        Starchy carbohydrates should be limited in the evening meal where fat loss is a goal, as the need for an energy source at night is limited.
After training...
   Insulin released in response to CHO prevents muscle-breakdown & promotes synthesis.
   In the “recovery period” immediately after training, we can take advantage of these properties.
   More “sugary” carbs (white bread/rice, “hypertonic” sports drinks etc) should be eaten to help “spike” insulin levels and to promote the uptake of sugars, protein and nutrients for repairing muscle.
   Replace brown with white bread/rice. Try and eat a good portion of carb and protein within 45 min of training. However...
      Insulin acts as a signal to your body that you are fed, and so can promote the storage of fats and conversion of carbs to fat. Generally we don’t want too much simple/sugary carb for this reason.
      Eating complex carbs like brown rice and pasta when recovery isn’t the primary objective, will encourage your body to use this carb gradually for energy, instead of just storing it as fat.
      Eating complex carbs will also let your body burn fat more efficiently and prevent you feeling tired once all the CHO has been stored.
      Insulin also interacts with other hormones released from training.
      Growth Hormone, released after exercise, promotes muscle-building, and in a lower-CHO/insulin environment also causes your body to burn fat. If there is a lot of CHO and insulin, Growth hormone then has the opposite effect on fat metabolism, causing fat to be stored.
Suggestions for a small portion, providing around 150Kcal (adjust depending on your goals)
   Brown rice (40g serving)
   Brown pasta (40g serving)
   1xSmall sweet-potato (80-100g cooked)
   1xSmall potato (80-100g cooked)
   Wholemeal bread- 2 medium slices Protein
   Protein is the main structural component of muscle tissue as well as providing a source of energy as an alternative to CHO during exercise and being the primary fuel for cells of the immune system.
   At least 20 - 25% of your daily energy intake should come from protein.
   Protein should be included at every meal, this will help control blood glucose levels support muscle and improve appetite control.
   Protein is required in higher amounts during weight loss in athlete. Replacing calories from fat and CHO with protein is an effective strategy for fat-loss.
   Using protein as a source of energy requires it’s degradation, followed by inter- conversion of amino acids to glycogenic and ketogenic substrates, requiring the use of around 30% of the protein’s calories.
   Protein intakes of around 1g per lb (2.2g per Kg) are effectively used by athletes wishing to maintain muscle mass, considering their body composition.
   Choose lean meat and poultry, avoiding prepared meals and processed meats (Preparation!). Fish is a superb source of protein, it is low in fat and oily fish like mackerel have the added advantage of being high in omega-3 fatty acids.
to avoid farmed fish and choose wild and organic fish whenever possible. Avoid pork, as it is the most fatty of red meats.
   Peas and beans (legumes) are excellent sources of protein and fibre, especially when combined with wholegrains. Most plant proteins do not contain all the essential amino acids (animal protein does); combining different sources of plant protein solves this problem.
   Legumes should be eaten with wholegrains, e.g. brown rice and lentils, houmous with wholewheat pitta bread. Plant proteins are very low in fat and have a very low glycemic index (see later), this means that they cause a slow release of glucose into the blood. Baked beans have a low glycemic index, are cheap, convenient and easy to store. Serve as a filling for baked potatoes or on toast.
   Nuts are also a useful protein source but they should be eaten in moderation as they have a high essential fat content.
   Choose a mixture of almonds, pecans (The King of Omega-3!), walnuts, and Brazil nuts, hazelnuts, cashews, pumpkin, sunflower and sesame seeds. Add them to a salad or stirfry, or eat them as a snack. Avoid nuts that have been roasted in oil or are salted.
   Tofu is a bland, tasteless food that can be prepared, flavoured and cooked in a multitude of ways so that it can take on the flavour and texture of any ingredients it is combined with.

  1. Suggestions for a portion, providing around 30g of protein
    • 1 Skinless chicken/turkey breast
    • 2 White fish/cod fillets
    • Mackerel
    • 4 large eggs (have one full egg plus 3 whites in each portion)
    • 1 can tuna 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012



The reasons behind my writing of this blog and updating it Often, are A my passion for training, and B. my desire to share some knowledge and gauge the interest out there on training and nutrition. I have selected a few different sessions that I am doing currently or have done, they are stand-alone sessions to be selected as and when you feel like it. I haven’t put a structure, or a lot of context to my sessions as there is a very mixed audience looking at them, and you all have different needs. I will always explain what the session is based on and what targets are being met.

As interest grows I will start putting a lot simpler sessions up and more context behind why I am suggesting these specific sessions.  For example I may have done certain fitness sessions, because I have a slight injury and cant do other things.

It is extremely important that you remember I have been training and lifting for over 10 years, and its part of my Job. A lot of the existing sessions on this blog are fairly advanced, and if not done properly can cause serious injury to you and to others around you. I can’t accept any responsibility for personal injury or accidents caused by following these programs. Please take care and train sensibly , its the only way to train.

If you are young and inexperienced, then my recommendation is to speak to a qualified professional about technique, weight loads and whether you can do this. I am a big believer in working hard, but building a base first. Getting good technique with a lot of body weight training. I probably started too early on the weights and have a few issues because I didn’t get a good enough base. Little and often is a good motto

Any questions then leave a comment and ill answer it in the question section.

Training - Fast Upper body session

If you have very little time, and want to get a good beach weight pump on, then try this. Great for lunch breaks and post work training Sessions.

The idea is one push, one pull, bicep, triceps and abs.

Bench press – 3 sets of 10 reps
Followed straight away by 10 clap press ups.

1 min rest.

Bench pull or seated row – 3 sets of 10 reps
Followed by Reverse dumbbell flies – use a light weight and make sure you target the small muscles.

1 min rest.

Chin ups – 3 sets of 10 reps using Body Weight. Changing your grip each set.
Followed by Z bar bicep curls – 3 sets of 10

1 min rest

Triceps push down – 3 sets of 10 reps. Use either the rope grip or an angled bar
Followed by skull crushers.(see pics) - 3sets of 10

1 min rest

Abs – seated medicine ball twists 10 each side

Straight into bent knee crunches. 20 of these.
front and side planks - 30 seconds on each.
Do the abs twice through