Did you kick off January with a 'New Year, New Me' mindset?
Do you, like thousands of others around Ireland, feel like you're about to fall off the wagon and order a 3-in-1 instead of eating clean and binge on Netflix instead of heading out on a run?
Fear not! Dermot & Dave health and fitness expert Ronan Murphy from Viking Build and Toned Fit dropped by for a chat on how we can stick to our January goals long past February and into the rest of 2020 too!
For the full chat press the Listen Button on this page.
⬇️Ronan also answered some of your most-asked questions below, everything from how to not lose motivation to ⬇️
Hi lads, I started so well, I was in the gym, eating well but I’m finding it just so BORING. How do I not lose motivation completely? I’m not really seeing the numbers either which doesn’t help. Mary in Arklow
Hey Mary, Right, boredom is a big red flag for me. If any of my clients or members use the B word then I know I need to address it as quickly as possible. Firstly I have a chat with them and find out what makes them tick. What type of training they like doing, what do they do in their spare time, where do they go, what makes them happy, what they work at during the most part of the day. Once I get all this I’ll have a better understanding of the actual person and can then advise on what they can change up.
For example, I had a chat with a guy last week about the reps in his routine being ‘boring’. It’s a catch all term that’s used and I had to dig a little deeper to find out what exactly was boring about it. After a short conversation we found that it was the actual low rep count on his exercises and a ‘lack of sweat’ in his sessions. He still wanted to develop muscle tone and size so we agreed that the sessions would entail mainly rep based resistance training like deadlifts, press etc… but we modified it so the reps were higher without losing the muscle building aspect and we also factored in a metabolic (hi heart rate and tempo) session once a week and some smaller ones to go as ‘finishers’ at the end of his sessions. Boredom abated!
Ask yourself what you like about the training and what you dislike. Then try and identify alternatives that fall in to the ‘like’ column that would address the areas you’re looking to get rid of. If you’re struggling then ask a trainer, that’s what they’re there for. Hell, send me a message and I’ll get you set up! Hope that helps!
I’m starting my health kick today-thought it was best to get rid of all the chocolates before getting into it, any tips for getting going? Ciara in Nenagh
Keep the chocolates! Everything in moderation. It’s always good to reward yourself for a decent run of training with a ‘day off’ or ‘cheat day’ where you can indulge without the guilt. Just dropping the chocolates entirely will leave you craving and ultimately you’ll have a ‘screw this’ moment’ and go off the rails.
With regards the training I’d look at a few different angles; mobility (yoga or similar), cardio (running, sprinting, spinning, rowing or similar) and resistance (pushing pulling, lifting twisting, bending while under load – your bodyweight or an external source like a kettlebell, dumbbell or bar).
Aim to get one session of each of the above done within a 7 day period. With this you’ll ensure you’re keeping things fresh. You’re staying mobile so you’ll be offsetting any potential injuries and you’re strengthening joints, tendons, muscles and ligaments. Put it all together and you’ll be more mobile, fitter, faster stronger, healthier and happier.
Just don’t go 100km per hour in one direction from scratch. Start slow and build it up gradually, you’re looking for a lifestyle change, not a short quick fix blast.
Ronan, I’ve been doing couch to 5k since the first of Jan and I haven’t been able to get beyond the second week. WHY CAN’T I RUN? Lorraine in Drogheda
Sounds like you’ve plateaued, Lorraine. Don’t worry, this happens to everyone. Whether it’s a particular lift in resistance training like a deadlift or it’s an endurance thing like cycling, running swimming.
It comes at different times for everyone. We’re all made differently so we have to deal with the individual aspects of training as we go through it. What you might find is you’re better at other areas of training like resistance training compared to other people where they plateau early.
Anyway, getting back to the 5k running. ‘Softly Softly’ is the approach needed here. Don’t just stop. Let’s put it in a hypothetical situation. Let’s say you’re getting stuck at the 5m walk, 3 min jog, 5 min walk part…. Here’s what you do…. Pause the regime for 2 weeks and stick with the 2nd week of it. That means do an additional 2 weeks at 5mins walk, 3 mins jog, 5 mins walk. Don’t be tempted to extend the jog part. Stick to the 3 mins, but, increase the speed of the walk, almost to the point that you feel you could break into a jog.
After an additional 2 weeks trying to increase the walk part get back into the regimes timetable and give week 3 a bash. You’ll be surprised at what you’re able to do.
Again, if you start to get stuck, revert to the above plan with the week in question. Keep me posted on your progress!
How do I move from gentle walking to jogging? Mike in Dingle
Hi Mike, walking and jogging can be very different and put different stressors on the body depending on what type of fitness, health, body composition we’re coming from.
Don’t worry too much if your body isn’t ready for jogging. You might be doing more damage than good by forcing it. It’s actually possible to burn more calories by walking than jogging as you can last longer and there’s less impact on the frame.
If, however, you feel you’re ready you can start by increasing the gentle walk to a more vigorous one and so on so forth. Once you get to the point where you feel you could jog then take it softly like the above advice for Lorraine
Hi Ronan, I actually started my health kick in December and I was doing really well, stayed on track over Christmas but last week, I fell over and have done some serious tendon damage to my leg. How do I not ruin the plan completely? Orla in Ashtown
Ok, stick to the following….
Upper body push, pull, hold and core work. Go heavy, like 3 - 4 sets of 12-15 reps heavy.
While this is happening focus on the rehab work you have for the lower body.
What exercises? There’s loads!
Any kind of bench press – that covers your push. Any kind of overhead press, seated or standing – that also hits the press and little bit of core. Any kind of pulling exercise like bent over row etc.. – that covers the pull.
Plank work where you keep the knees on the floor to avoid over taxing the leg and heavy holds from a kneeling or standing position. Be sure to mix dumbbells in there with bars in order to address any stability issues.
If you do heavy lifting and holds it will benefit the cardio, muscular, skeletal and nervous system massively for the whole body. What does this mean? It means you can stick to a regime that will benefit you while you’re rehabbing the leg and also benefit you for when you start using the leg again with your training!
What’s your take on training when doing intermittent fasting? I’ve had great results using it but some people have been saying it’s not ideal. James in Ennis
Intermittent fasting works for some people and doesn’t work for others. When it’s all boiled down it’s a case of calories in Vs. calories out. If it works for you great! If it doesn’t work for you then there’s other ways to approach nutrition and reduce bodyfat.
For some people when doing intermittent fasting they find they lack energy and focus due to the low numbers of calories consumed. If this is the case then your training will be affected negatively too, resulting in a half assed workout and the possibility of getting sick due to a low immune system that can be over taxed.
Training when doing intermittent fasting aims to encourage the body to go to the fat stores for energy and thus reduce your overall bodyfat. If you find you’re able to do a good workout when in the fasting stage then good on you, go for it.
If you’re one of the people who finds they’re lacking when attempting a training session on intermittent fasting then I would advise against it, or at least modify your eating hours to include your training. If you can get your training done in the middle of the ‘intake’ phase then you’ll make sure you’ve enough calories and energy to take on a decent workout and still have time to repair post workout.
Lads, what the eff is resistance training? I see everyone talking about it and I don’t know what it means, but I know it’s important? Kate in Letterkenny
Lift stuff up, put it down again. There you go.
Resistance training is any training that requires your muscles to resist against an external force. A Push up is a bodyweight exercise but your chest, core and triceps must resist against your own bodyweight to lift you off the ground. Same for back, core and biceps on a pull up.
You can always add more or less weight than your bodyweight to really dial in exactly how much you want your body to resist against i.e.; doing bench press with a 40kg bar is less than your overall bodyweight but it’s still resistance that the muscles you’re targeting have to work against.
Literally anything can be used for resistance training; your own bodyweight, bars, sandbags, sleds, dumbbells, kettlebells, small children*, OAPs* even a hill when running!
*some children, no OAPs
Is yoga any use on its own? I started doing Yoga with Adrienne last month and I love it but I’m not seeing any difference? Sinead in Blessington
Yoga’s great. It focuses the mind and ensures the body is mobile and flexible. However, there’s very little in it to actually stimulate the muscles to get stronger beyond a bodyweight hold. Try and incorporate some resistance training each week along with some cardio and you’ll have an awesome training regime!
I was doing 5 sets of 40 pushups in one go at 43yrs old. I've a sore shoulder blade this past week, have I over done it?
5 sets with 40 push ups in each set…. That’s 200 push ups…. In one go… That’s a lot of reps. A few questions though that may affect the overall answer: How long did each set take? How long was it between sets? What’s your recovery period like i.e.; eating, drinking, resting, stretching?
That’s a lot of focused work on one area. It’s a very small area in the grand scheme of things.
Basically, a push up mainly focuses on the chest, triceps and core. There’s other muscles involved too like the anterior (front) of the shoulders etc… but these are in a smaller role.
If you’re doing a lot of reps there will inevitably be fatigue and damage involved. A little damage, to muscles, is a good thing as it promotes repair and strengthening but from what you say I would hazard a guess that you are overworking and as a result pushing yourself hard to get the work done. As a result you’re sacrificing form and allowing the larger muscles you initially targeted to take a break and let smaller joints and muscle groups to take the load and ‘help’. However, these smaller groups aren’t designed to do the heavy lifting that the chest (pecs) triceps and core are and as a result will fail quicker and more drastically. This sounds like it’s being reflected in the shoulder blade as a result of a failure somewhere along the chain.
It’s like a surgeon suddenly taking a step back during a complex section of a surgery and saying to a supporting nurse ‘right, I need a break, you keep going there and I’ll come back when I’m feeling up to it’. The nurse will give it a bash, the best they can, but inevitably they’re not as good as the surgeon and as a result the whole surgery will ultimately become compromised.
My advice? Break it into smaller sets of 10 reps. Focus on perfect form for each set. Keep the core tight and head out in front of the hands. At the end of each set take 30 seconds rest and go again.
How can I get rid of chronic shin Splints. Mark
Tightly wrap your shins for periods of time after training to help support the muscles in their repair. Before exercise roll the front and sides of the shin (tibia) with a foam roller. Try to do this daily too. Introduce ankle mobilising drills to mobilise your ankles before training. Stretch the Achilles, soleus and gastric head (calf area).
How do you keep 400 calorie lunch?
Ooh, unless I’m standing with you at the lunch counter / fridge it’s hard to do. There’s a lot of planning required here…. Try to follow the saying “leafy greens and proteins”. If you apply that you’ll generally be able to get in within the 400 cal mark.
Think leafy greens, that means anything that grew above ground i.e.; spinach, kale, rocket etc.. and keep the proteins lean i.e.; fish, lean cuts etc…. It’s slightly harder as a veggie or vegan to keep the proteins low in carbs but it’s doable if you stick to the likes of tofu.
The one stumbling block a lot of people come up against is the dressing or flavour aspect. Try dry rubs / shakes instead of sauces and oil and vinegars instead of the typical salad dressings. Also, if you do have a sauce or dressing, have it on the side instead of all over as it will keep you honest and conscious of over use. Also, stick to Americanos and herbal teas.
Recently over back surgery and given all clear to exercise again.. what's the best exercise to do?
Compound movements with a lot of core work.
Compound movements such as squats, lunges, deadlifts (don’t be afraid of these due to the back surgery, just modify the resistance accordingly, presses and rows. These will all boost the immune system, metabolic rate and stimulate the muscles to develop tighter and stronger.
The more core work you do, the better, as it will strengthen the muscles around the spine and result in a stronger, more stable core which puts less pressure on the vertebrae and ultimately the discs in between.
At the start of each training session focus on mobility through the hip flexors, glutes, hamstrings and T-Spine
Can you ask Ronan if there’s anything that can help a dodgy knee from running?
I really enjoy running for the mental release (work from home with my 2 young kids) by the time I’ve done stretches and get out the door, running around our neighbourhood is easier (and more enjoyable imo) than the gym but my knee always acts up and I have to stop for a week or so.
Any tips? Or is road running just too harsh on joints?
Single leg exercises. You say you already stretch so I would hazard a guess there’s a joint weakness somewhere along the line. If you’re stretching focus on the glutes, hip flexors, Achilles, soleus and gastric.
Now, when you have a spare 10 minutes each day stand with a chair or bench behind you. Put one foot up on it and stand upright on the other leg. Keeping your front foot flat on the floor drop your back knee down as close to the floor as you can. Then brace your core and push through the sole of the foot to stand back up again. Don’t push too much through the front or back of the sole, try and push through the whole sole with equal pressure. Do 20 on each leg, 3 times. This introduces instability in the ankle and knee and ultimately promotes stability. Do this enough and you’ll be flying….!
Hi Guys. I've been doing Spin and weights now for the last six years with a bit if jogging/running in between. I'm fit enough and pretty ok shape but I'd like to sculpt a bit more around upper body arms back... any advice.. I'm also pretty bored at this stage with my regime...please help
Sounds like it’s time to change up your program. To get the definition you’re talking about you’ll need to reduce the calorie intake slightly to promote bodyfat reduction so the muscles are more prominent as there’s less fat lying on top of them just beneath the skin.
You need to start into a 4-6 week regime which encourages hypertrophy. That’s 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps. However, before you do this do 2 weeks of strength training. That’s 5 sets of 4-6 reps lifting your absolute maximum.
All in all, if you did this 3-4 times a week for 6-8 weeks you’ll notice definition and size.
Then we can do 2 weeks of polishing where you focus on lighter weights but much higher reps. That one’s a killer!
Dermot & Dave's Mind Yourself Now with thanks to Laya Health and Wellbeing Clinics, a new era of health care.