Shoulder mobility: 5 moves to improve your overhead press

Shoulder mobility: 5 moves to improve your overhead press

The shoulder is the most complex joint in the body. However, it is also the most vulnerable. Shoulder mobility is heavily influenced by the surrounding muscles and these muscular imbalances can cause real problems with pressing movements.

In this article, I’m going to explain why this occurs and give you 5 exercises to help correct common shoulder issues.

If you can’t perform the full range of movement, you can’t fully train the muscle. This will be impacting your strength and size gains.

Although resistance training isn’t actually to blame for becoming tight, working muscles in shortened ranges of motion can cause them to become short. Further to that sitting forwards at a desk for long periods of time shortens the pec muscles and weakens the upper back. All a combination of bad posture.

So let’s look at some simple ways we can fix this to help you get more shoulder mobility and improve your pressing.

We need to stretch these shortened muscles and increase the range of movement, but a strong overhead press also requires good scapular movement so we need to make sure that is included in our mobility work.

Most people skip a proper warm up and get right to work, and as much as I applaud your enthusiasm, your shoulders probably don’t.

Here are 5 shoulder mobility movements to incorporate into your upper body warm up:

Scap pulls

Take a shoulder width grip on a bar and allow yourself to dead-hang. Let your shoulder blades separate and your shoulders come up to your ears, then retract your shoulders and lats and pull yourself up, not bending your elbows. Perform 2 sets of 10 reps.

 

Chest Opener - step2Chest opener

Attach a band to a frame at shoulder height or above, take the band in one hand and step forwards. Allowing the hand to rotate upwards with a locked arm you will feel a stretch in the pec and anterior delt. You can also rotate the elbow up and down (but keeping locked) for more of an active stretch. Hold for 15-30 seconds or 20 rotations per side.

 

Bully Stretch - step3 - front Bully Stretch - step3 - rearBully stretch

Attach the band overhead and turn your hand behind your back. Keep the band close to you and allow it to pull your arm up your back – like the classic ‘high school bully’. Do not allow your shoulder to roll forwards. By holding this position you will increase your internal rotation. Hold for 15-30s per side.

 

Band Dislocate - step4 - A Band Dislocate - step4 - BBand dislocates

Take a resistance band at both ends and hold out in front of you. Keeping your arm straight, take the band overhead and behind you as far as you can go. Bring the band back over to the front without bending your elbows to stretch the pecs, front delt, and bicep tendon. Perform 10-15, pausing at the top where the muscle is tightest.

 

Shoulder Mobility - step5 - Pull apart BBand pull-apartShoulder Mobility - step5 - Pull apart A

Take a thin band or cables and take your hands out straight in front of you. Retract your shoulder blades together and with palms facing down, extend your arms straight out to your sides. Repeat for 15-20 reps.

How to Effectively Calculate Your Macros

How to Effectively Calculate Your Macros

In this post, the latest member of #TeamReflex, Juggy Sidhu, goes over the macronutrient basics and shows how to calculate your macros according to your personal goals.

 

What are Macronutrients?

 

Macronutrient

Key Facts

Protein

4 calories per gram;
Composed of amino acids (‘essential’, which the body attains through diet and ‘non essential’ which the body can assemble itself);
Used in our body for growth and repair of cells, increasing muscle mass and in enzymes, hormones, antibodies and neurotransmitters;
Aids with satiety, immune function, metabolism, weight management and performance;
Protein has a thermogenic effect and can also liberate fat from stores around the body to be utilised as energy.

Carbohydrates

4 calories per gram;
Carbs can be classified as simple and complex;
Simple carbs are faster to digest and absorb compared to complex carbs;
Carbs are the primary source of energy for your bodies cells.

Fat

9 calories per gram;
Three distinct categories, saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated which can be found in unprocessed and wholefoods;
Trans and hydrogenated fats are industrially processed, usually found to preserve foods and increase shelf life of products;
Dietary fat supports metabolism, cell signaling, the health of various body tissues, immunity, hormone production, and the absorption of many nutrients;
Improves satiety, body composition, mood and can offer cardiovascular protection.

 

Calculating your Macros

When calculating your macros a good place to start would be to understand exactly how much energy in calories your body would need to maintain at rest- this is called your basal metabolic rate (BMR). To create a more accurate figure of your BMR, it would be wise to understand your body composition and body fat percentages. Body fat percentages can be calculated using skin callipers, although these are more likely to be correct if performed by a trained professional.

The Katch McCardle method for working out BMR is:

P = 370 + (21.6 x LBM), where LBM is the lean body mass in kg.

To workout LBM:

LBM= Body Mass in KG x (100 – Bodyfat %) / 100

 

Let’s take a 100kg athlete with 10% body fat.

LBM= 100 x (100-10) / 100

LBM is 90kg.

 

BMR= 370 + (21.6×90)

BMR = 370 + 1944

BMR = 2314 Kcal

 

Now you know your BMR, you need to factor in a few calculations based on your daily activities and of course your training!

 

Average activity multiples

1.2 Sedentary job (desk job and little exercise)

1.3-1.4 Lightly Active (Light daily activity AND light exercise 1-3 days a week)

1.5-1.6 Moderately Active (Moderately daily Activity & Moderate exercise 3-5 days a week)

1.7-1.8 Very Active (Physically demanding lifestyle & Hard exercise 6-7 days a week)

In the above example our athlete with a BMR of 2314Kcal has desk job but trains intensely 5-6 days a week.

If our above 100kg athlete works in a sedentary office job (category 1.2) but then trains hard 5 days a week (category 1.8), it would be sensible to put him in a mid range of around 1.5.

 

TDEE (Total daily energy expenditure) = 2314 x 1.5

TDEE= 3702 kcals

 

The TDEE is an estimate of your maintenance calories, which would effectively allow you to retain a constant weight, in order to create a deficit, you can decrease the overall calorie intake, or increase activity levels.

 

Knowing Your Body Type

There are other considerations when working out your preferred macronutrient intake. The following table will outline the characteristics of three body types, ectomorphs, mesomorphs and endomorphs.  When setting up a nutrition plan, it is important to know your body and understand some key traits that tie into developing an improved physique.  For example, if you are an endomorph, starting at a higher body fat percentage and a slower metabolic rate, you may find it useful to understand that due to impaired insulin response or beta cell dysfunction, your ability to utilise carbohydrates may be significantly lower than an ectomorph.  Having said that, if you are a trained individual, it could be that your carbohydrate tolerance is actually quite good! These tables are approximates only and in no way should be considered the key to success when creating your own nutrition plan, as you will surely realise by now, what works for one person will not necessarily be right for another.

 

Somatotype
Characteristics
Approximate macro % split for each somatotype

Protein        Carbs            Fats

Ectomorphic
• Naturally thin with skinny limbs
• Endurance Exercise
• Fast metabolism
• High sympathetic nervous system activity
• Higher carb tolerance
27.5%
52.5%
20%
Mesomorphic
• Naturally muscular and athletic.
• Bodybuilding/ Strength
• Testosterone and growth hormone dominant
• Moderate to high sympathetic system activity
30%
40%
30%
Endomorphic
• Naturally broad and thick set.
• Strength Exercises/ Powerlifting
• Insulin dominant
• Slow metabolic rate
• Low sympathetic system activity
• Low carbohydrate tolerance
35%
25%
40%

 

 

Our 100kg, 10% body fat example could fall into the mesomophic range.  Therefore to calculate protein, carbs and fats you will calculate the following:

Protein= (3702*0.3) = 1110.6 kcals = 277g protein

Carbs = (3702*0.4) = 1480.8 kcals = 370g carbs

Fats = (3702*0.3) = 1110.6 kcals = 123g fats

If you are unable to categorise your body type clearly, there is another simple approach to working out your macros.  Consuming between the range of 2-2.2g protein per kg and fats at around 1g per kg body would be within normal ranges for an individual that trains.  The rest of the daily calories can be consumed in carbohydrates.

Therefore protein would be 2.2*100= 220g (880kcals)  fats 1×100= 100 (900kcals) and carbs would be set at (3702-1780)= 1922 kcals (480g).

 

Timing and considerations

While cutting, your goal should be to retain a positive nitrogen balance and stimulate muscle protein synthesis (MPS).  This can be achieved through consuming between 20-30g of high quality sources of protein every 3-4 hours. MPS offers a protective effect against muscle loss, as body fat levels reduce.  By retaining a high level of protein in your diet there will be an increased thermogenic effect (calorie output will increase to digest the protein,) muscle protection and offer greater satiety.

I am a huge advocate of using carbohydrates within your diet, if you are able to utilise them effectively.  Carbohydrates will fuel your sessions, your recovery and also improve your sleep. Carbs have had a bad reputation, because most people tend to either over eat them or tend to consume refined or processed forms, whilst also misunderstanding optimal timing of consumption.  I tend to use slower digesting carbohydrates pre workout or through the day and faster digesting carbs post workout.

For some reason dietary fats got a bad rep, then a great rep and then people thought that it would be better to just replace all carbs with fats.  Nutrition can be a minefield.  Therefore keep it simple, if you have moderate amounts of each macronutrient you will cover all basis for optimal health and function.  I keep a healthy level of fat intake in my diet throughout a cut, as they play a huge role in mood, energy provision, increased insulin sensitivity, fat loss and hormone production.

I always start a cut on around 4 litres of water, which for me is quite easy.  Others struggle to drink plain water, therefore mixing in Reflex Nutrition Amino Fusion can have a great effect on not only hydration, but also providing your body with a constant stream of essential amino acids. Consuming enough water can aid in the blood flow from tissues and improve the ability to oxidise fat on a cellular level.

How to Build a Bigger Back

how to build a bigger back

#TeamReflex athlete and Muscle Model champion, Emil Hodzovic, gives us a run down on some fundamental movements for building a bigger back.

The back. Now, not to state the obvious but it’s behind you. This often means in a new gym-goers formative years it is often forgotten or at least neglected for more obvious muscle groups (such as the chest). However, it is such a fundamental part of a physique that physique shows have been won or lost the second the line-up turned to face the rear.

Let’s be honest, you can see a good back from the front and even clothed, a mountain range of a back will leave people in no doubt whether you even lift, more so than that chest or set of arms.

So how does one go about building a bigger back that a gorilla would be proud of? Read on…

This topic is huge. I could lecture endlessly about all of the fine intricacies of a bigger back training. Instead, I’m going to break it down into my top three back exercises. If you include these in your weekly split then you’re well on your way to a sick set of wings. If you don’t do any of them on a regular basis then you really need to re-evaluate your status as a gym goer.

 

1. The Deadlift

The deadlift is the bread and butter of back training. Before we go into some more detail, let’s just clear a few things up. Deadlifts don’t give you a thick waist. They will develop your core, just like squats and the other big compound movements but to achieve a level of oblique hypertrophy where your waist is thicker than if it just had excess fat on it is nigh on impossible. So get that excuse straight out of your head. And that’s exactly what it often is, an excuse…because deads are HARD. There is no other exercise that loads the back to the same degree as deadlifts from the sheer weight lifted. It will build both thickness and width and it will give you that 3D effect that so many people crave.

Top Tip – Deads are hard and although this isn’t an excuse not to do them, it is possible to overdo them and deadlifting heavy and often can be quite taxing. For me personally, I tend to do them roughly once a fortnight as part of my back workout but I tend to go in hard when I do. Oh, and also, don’t bounce them. It’s a ‘dead’ lift. That means a dead stop at the bottom before you go again.

 

2. The Barbell Bent – Over Row

The barbell bent-over row is next on my list of bigger back training essentials. It’s such a versatile and comprehensive movement and although you can’t load it as heavily as the deadlift, you can still shift some pretty serious weight. There are infinite variations of grips and back positions including the single arm dumbbell row and T bar row but generally speaking the barbell version is the most ubiquitous and even within just this bit of kit there is wide variation. Generally speaking, I prefer over grip and I try to get right over the bar with my back as horizontal as possible. If you’re not careful or start any higher it just ends up turning into a shrug. Within the movement, try and lift the bar to the top abs and control the movement as much as possible but you can alter the line of the lift and angle of the back so you are hitting different parts of the back.

Top tip – Depending on the variation, a little bit of leg bounce is entirely acceptable but if you’re nearly upright and throwing the bar in some sort of half range jerking movement then you’re doing it wrong… bro.

 

3. Lat Pull Down

I think the final one on the list has to be the Lat Pull Down. Often available in even the worst gyms and even more often performed horribly; it hits the back in the vertical plane versus the horizontal movement of say, the Bent Over Row. Again, there are infinite variations of grips and handles and ranges of movement but the standard wide grip front down does the job.

Top tip – Before you start the movement, grip the bar and allow the arms and scapula to extend fully – imagine you’re hanging loosely and letting the shoulder relax. Then, to begin, bring the scapula down and back, keeping the arms straight before bending at the elbows. This is the FULL range of motion and allows you to engage the lats and rest of the back MUCH more effectively.

 

… 4. Pull-ups

I know I said only three, but no discussion on a bigger back training can be complete without talking about the lowly pull up. I love this movement but in terms of sheer versatility the Lat Pull Down pips it when talking general usefulness and versatility. That said, I include pull-ups in most of my workouts as it’s both extremely effective but it’s also one of those movements that you’re kind of expected to be good at as someone who trains regularly. I often put it towards the beginning of a session as a warm up while I’m still fresh. I find I fatigue quickly on these and I try to keep them in even when gaining weight as this is essentially adding resistance to the movement over time.

 

Recipe: Fruity Amino Fusion® Cocktails

Recipe: Fruity Amino Fusion Cocktails

Summer is coming! Slowly… but we promise it is coming, and our favourite protein magician, Gauri Chopra, has been whipping up some delicious fruity cocktails to celebrate!

Perfect for an amino boost day or night, try these refreshing combinations – or create your own!

 

What is Amino Fusion®?

Amino Fusion® is formulated to be the market leading amino energy formula; it provides up to 40% more amino acids than some other formulas, tastes amazing, contains zero sugars and provides great caffeine kick.

Amino Fusion® only contains research supported amino acids along with science based dosages of citrulline malate, beta alanine and l-carnitine tartrate. You can use Amino Fusion® any time during the day, it is a great pre-workout and a great energy drink to use during the day, with virtually no carbs it is also perfect for those on a carbohydrate restricted diet.

Virgin Apple Mojito

A mid-day, party-starting drink worthy of being enjoyed just as much inside the gym as it is out!

Ingredients:

  • 1 serving Green Apple Amino Fusion®
  • 8-12 fresh mint leaves
  • 1 lime
  • Sparkling water
  • Ice

Method:

  • Place the Amino Fusion® powder, mint leaves and squeeze the juice of half your lime into the glass
  • Use a muddler or spoon to squash and mix the ingredients together to release and combine the flavours
  • Fill a quarter of the glass with ice and top it up with sparkling water
  • Add a fresh wedge of lime, a fancy straw, or an umbrella to really get you in the mood!

 

 

 

Pink Lemonade Spritzer

Want to spark up your Pink Lemonade Amino fusion into a delicious & fancy little drink? Try this simple way of serving it over ice!

Ingredients:

  • 1 serving Pink Lemonade Amino Fusion®
  • 1 handful of frozen mixed summer berries (or fresh raspberries work well!)
  • Sparkling or Soda water
  • Ice

Method:

  • Pour the Amino Fusion® into a glass along with just enough sparkling water to mix it into a paste
  • Add your frozen berries, (mash half of them into the paste if you’d like more of a tangy, fruity kick!)
  • Add the ice before topping your glass up with more sparkling water

 

 

 

Tropical Fusion

Your pre-workout just got a summer makeover!

Ingredients:

  • 1 serving Fruit Punch Amino Fusion®
  • 1 hand full of Frozen mixed fruits (Mango & berries work best!)
  • Enough water to fill a glass/desired sweetness

Method:

  • Simply mix the amino fusion with cold water until the powder is fully dissolved
  • Add a handful of your favourite frozen fruit  for a tropical twist in place your ice cubes
  • Sit back & sip through a bright and colourful straw to get yourself in a real holiday mood!

 

 

 

 

A Look for the Future

Reflex Nutrition Re-Brand and new categories

Along with a reputation for delivering unparalleled quality in the sports nutrition market, at Reflex Nutrition we are known for our unique holographic packaging.  As part of a process of ensuring that we capture the very essence of the brand and make your navigation around the different categories as logical as it can be, we have redesigned the labels and trimmed the categories down from five to three (but keeping all existing products). Each new category has a dynamic logo that reflects its individual essence;

Strength and performance

Our previous ‘muscle and strength’ and ‘energy and endurance’ ranges have been merged to form a category that contains every product needed for any strength, performance or endurance goal.
The Strength & Performance graphic is designed to represent a brightly shining force, almost star like sense capturing the sense of strength or dynamic performance.

High protein

The High Protein graphic is designed to represent a highly active, almost sense of breakthrough in whatever physical activity you are undertaking.

Vitality

Our vitality range has been expanded to include out previously named ‘weight management’ category and contains everything from vitamins and minerals to diet proteins and other weight management supplements.
The Vitality graphic is instantly much calmer and softer, representing a more rounded sense of health and wellbeing.

All new Reflex Nutrition products off the production line will have the new packaging layout with existing products coming into circulation from early March.

Train to Gain: A Guide to Progressive Overload

When it comes to strength training, how to do you ensure your progress? Athlete Tom Wright talks us through Progressive Overload – what it means and how to use it.

If you were to ask any coach worth their salt what the most important factor in strength training then they would likely say progressive overload. You may never even have heard of it, but you’ve almost definitely seen it and even used it in practice before. So what exactly IS progressive overload?

Simply put!

Progressive overload is the increase in stimulus on your muscles (and connective tissues) over time. If your goal is to become bigger, stronger or faster then your training volume must increase over your career. Muscle adapts to the stimulus put on it, so if you want it to grow you must create a hypertrophic stimulus by increasing the stimulus on a weekly/monthly/yearly basis. To add strength you need to increase the weight lifted over time. Thankfully the two tend to go hand in hand and in most cases increasing one will allow you to increase the other.

However, when applying the principle of progressive overload it’s important to remember that more isn’t always better. If lifting more weight comes at the cost of your form then scale it back and complete all your reps with good form. This is still progress. Simply performing movements that you couldn’t before is improving your neurological signalling and motor unit recruitment.

How to Use Progressive Overload

If you’re a novice starting out in your weightlifting career then increases in size and strength will come quickly. The first 6 months of lifting will allow you the most gains as your body adapts to completely new movements and stresses. That being said proper programming can set you on the right path to moving up the ranks quickly.

Try to add ~5% to your lifts week on week for 3 weeks for the same sets and reps, and on the 4th week (or when you can’t manage full reps at the increased weight) drop your weights by 10% to allow you to progress the following session. This is known as a deload.

Tom Wright - Progressive OverloadAs you progress to intermediate level things become a little more complex. Increases in strength and hypertrophy won’t come as easily and programming will need to be more thoroughly planned out. Increases in strength can be achieved using programming such as ‘wave loading’ in which you increase the weight by no more than 5% but decrease the reps each session. Eg.

  • Bench press week 1: 3×8 at 80kg
  • Bench press week 2: 3×7 at 84kg
  • Bench press week 3: 3×6 at 88kg
  • Bench Press week 4: 3×6 at 80kg (deload week)

You can see that as the reps decrease we increase the weight by 5% of original weight. On week 4 we program in a deload week by dropping back to original weight but keeping the same reps. On week 5 we would go back to 3×8 but at the new weight of 84kg and the process is repeated.

Of course this won’t always go as smoothly as above, but by following a process like this we will see progression over time.

Anything else?

Another factor to consider is your assistance or isolation lifts. These are the exercises performed after your main compound movements. For bench press this may be the French Press aka ‘skullcrusher’. To increase strength and muscle mass you want to increase the reps each week but using the same weight. So on week one you perform 3 set of 12 with 20kg, week two you try for 14 reps, and week 3 you aim for 3×15, followed by a reload of 2×12 at 20kg.

Advanced lifters will only see marginal gains for a large amount of effort. Small increases in strength over months and size may not change at all once you are at your genetic potential. Programming becomes essential at this stage and periodisation is integral to progression.

Even with physique the changes may be so minimal that measurements don’t reveal true progress so it is better to track weight lifted and volume. This is especially true for athletes in an ‘off-season’ as added body fat will make it incredibly difficult to track lean muscle gain. Track strength with 1RM or AMRAPs and look at total volume of each session and for the week. A monthly or 3 monthly increase in these will indicate progressive overload.

Start seeing greater results in the gym by using the information above to better plan your sessions, and training blocks. Train smarter, not just harder.

From Strongman to Lean Machine: My Transformation Story

Reflex Nutrition athlete, Emil Hodzovic, shares his unique transformation story and reminds us that whatever your goal – enjoy the process.

A lot of people ask me about my transformation. It’s not a traditional ’12 week weight loss’ or anything like that, rather, it is my continued evolution and journey through the fitness world.

It all started when I first discovered the gym at around 16. I already played a lot of sport and I was quite slim and athletic. Like a lot of teenagers, I wanted to bulk up. I started training, and alongside rugby, I steadily gained some muscle. This was slow and I was further distracted by university, alcohol and exams but I was hooked.

After a few injuries, I was forced to quit rugby but I kept training while moving between sports. I dabbled in MMA wining my only amateur fight and I also did some kettlebell training and general functional fitness. Then, after meeting the legendary British strongman Mark Felix at BodyPower in 2010, I decided to compete as a strength athlete and this is where the real bulking started.

As with everything I do, I took it very seriously and meticulously tracked my macros up to 6000kcal a day for months on end. This packed on the size and I grew to a peak body weight of 142kg. I was pretty good at strongman and won a few competitions but ultimately when I started work as a junior doctor in 2011 I couldn’t maintain the rigorous eating and training and had to give it up.

I kept lifting weights despite not competing and I lost a little bit of weight through apathy and a busy schedule at work. I was in a pretty bad state in my mid 20’s with a BMI of over 40 and I getting out of breath walking up stairs. Thoughts of going back to strongman had made me subconsciously try to stay heavy but it dawned on me that it probably wasn’t optimal for my health so I made the decision to drop some fat. My first real ‘cut’ was a shambles but it worked. I went from 132kg to 110kg but lost a lot of muscle in the process due to lack of knowledge. Although I never stopped, my training had again taken a back seat to work as a doctor and my weight remained pretty steady for a while. I had no aim and no sport to focus my attention; I just carried on with my life.

In 2014 I did my second cut, more out of curiosity, to see what I could achieve and again lost a lot of muscle but I got much more shredded this time and my diet was much more moderate. Overall I was progressing and I was slowly discovering the bodybuilding way of training.

At the beginning of 2015 I met Shaun Stafford at an event and that was the impulse I needed. At that point I decided to compete as a physique athlete (can you sense a pattern emerging?) and got to work planning my next diet. In May of that year I stepped on stage with the WBFF as a muscle model and although I didn’t win, I’ve been desperate to get back on stage since.

My journey has been full of ups and downs and as you can see it’s far from a single rapid fat loss ‘transformation’ like social media can so often portray. There were many false starts, steps backwards and periods where other things were more important. This is real life and the most important thing is that you enjoy the process, as I did and still do.

Athlete Favourites: 3D Protein

In this blog post, Reflex Nutrition athlete and A&E doctor – Emil Hodzvic – tells us why 3D Protein is his ultimate choice of protein supplement and how it fits in with his hectic lifestyle.

 

My favourite supplement at the moment has to be Reflex Nutrition’s 3D Protein. The concept is simple – three different sources of top quality protein in one blend, each with a unique and complimentary digestion and absorption time. What this means in everyday terms is you’ve got three different ‘speeds’ of protein in a single shake from rapid whey protein, to intermediate egg white protein and then much more gradually absorbing micellar casein.

 

When do I use it?

Most people who train use whey protein powder regularly and rightly so as it’s a complete, rapidly absorbing protein. It’s perfect for after the gym when you need that immediate protein hit to optimise the hard work you’ve done during your session. What about at other times though?

In an ideal world I aim to have decent protein-containing meals at regular intervals throughout the day. This protein hit is especially important first thing in the morning and last thing before I go to bed though this realistically rarely goes to plan. Essentially 3D Protein is absolutely ideal for periods either when you haven’t eaten for a while or when you won’t be eating for a while whether it’s because you’re working, sleeping or travelling for example. As an Accident and Emergency doctor, fitness professional and physique athlete I’m extremely busy and my schedule is all over the place. For this reason I don’t know when I’m going to be training or eating day to day and on top of this my actual shifts can be totally unpredictable (as you can imagine in a busy A+E).

 

Early mornings

Often when I’m waking up early to get things done (4am, for example) I’m simply not hungry. However, just because I don’t want a full breakfast, it doesn’t mean I want to miss the chance to trigger muscle protein synthesis (MPS). You only get 3 or 4 opportunities in a day to spike this vital muscle building process so it’s a folly to neglect it. For this, 3D Protein is perfect. It provides the whey for the rapidly absorbing, high quality protein to initiate MPS, then it has the slower blend for a sustained release of protein to keep me full for as long as I need before I get round to my next meal. This means once I get my head down in my pile of work or get on the road to travel somewhere, I don’t even need to think about food for the next 4-6 hours. This would be sacrilege, usually as a bodybuilder, to go this long without eating but it’s OK as I’m confident I’ve got a steady stream of amino acids trickling in.

 

Post workout but before bed

I also like to use 3D Protein if my workout is delayed and I end up training late. It is the perfect post workout for me. Once I’m finished, I aim to have a shake immediately afterwards. If it’s my usual Instant Whey Pro shake, then that’s perfect for the post workout period, but I’m aware that I need to try and eat again before I go to bed to keep the protein going in all night. However after these late sessions I usually just want to shower and go to bed. On top of this, straight after an intense workout I don’t tend to get hungry for a good few hours and realistically I’d rather not stay up just to wait to eat again. For these reasons, 3D Protein covers me with both the rapid release whey protein perfect for post workout to ensure I get the most benefit from my training, but it also has the slower release egg white protein and micellar casein for overnight while I sleep.

 

Shift work

Finally, during my long night shifts I can never guarantee when (or if!) I’ll have a chance for a break. This means I need a quick snack that will last. I simply put 2 scoops of 3D Protein ready in a shaker for as soon I get a moment to add water and get it down. It fits the bill perfectly and even if I don’t manage to have a proper break for the whole 10 or 12 hour shift I can still pop out for a few seconds to get my shake in before jumping straight back in.

 

For me, 3D Protein is absolutely invaluable because of it’s unique time release formula and the requirements of my busy, non-stop lifestyle. There are other ways to get my protein in but none as neat and effective as this one.

How to Set Yourself Up for Success

We’ve all heard the phrase ‘fail to prepare, prepare to fail’, when talking about upcoming events, but how true is this really?

Everyone has dreams but very few know how to turn them into a reality. Whether your goal is fitness related or not, the process is always the same. I’m going to tell you how to set yourself up for success with easy manageable steps and milestones along the way.

Now a huge goal can seem very daunting even when it’s over a long time period. But imagine a set of dominoes that start out very small and get bigger with each one until the last one is the same height as you. If we knock down the first small domino it will hit the slightly larger one, knocking it into its superior and so on. Eventually the last domino will fall, all originating from that tiny flick of a finger. This is how we are going to approach your goal.

Let’s look at that big domino. The end goal. First thing’s first – be very clear about what you’re setting out to achieve. If your goal is to lose 10kg then let’s set a deadline for that and make it realistic, so 10kg over 4 months would be manageable with some consistent hard work.

It’s very important to know why you want to achieve this goal. Is it for you? For your family? Think about what achieving this really means to you. A strong ‘why’ will make it easier to stay motivated.

Now we need to work backwards. If we have 16 weeks then we can set markers of success. Every 4 weeks we want to see a 2.5kg weight loss to show that we are on our way to our target weight. Plan it out on a piece of paper or in a diary and write down your target weight to aim for. These markers are milestone dominoes in our line.

During these 4 week blocks we have a lot of work to do so we are going to split them into weekly chunks. Each week you are going to have actions you need to perform. We will set small actionable tasks to do each week, and by completing these weekly we will hit our milestones. If we consistently do this then there is no reason the dominoes won’t keep on falling.

So each week set yourself some tasks and daily habits.

For example:

Weekly targets – 4 gym workouts, stick to my diet, no alcohol

Daily tasks – prepare all my meals, go to the gym, no drinks after work

If we perform all of our daily tasks then our weekly targets become much easier to do. When we weigh in at the end of the week our weight should go down and then every 4 weeks we can see if our 2.5kg domino topples. If it doesn’t then we need to go back to our weekly goals and daily tasks and see how we can make them work better for us.

One of the pitfalls of goal setting is willpower. But thankfully there are a few hacks for willpower that we can use to our advantage…

Think of willpower as a cup full of water. At the beginning of the day our cup is full after a night of sleep. Throughout the day we sip from the cup until at the end of the day it’s almost all gone. This is how willpower works. Whatever your worst task is, try to do it in the morning. If you find it hard to work out when you’ve finished your day job then go in the morning or at lunchtime. This is when your cup is full and you’re more likely to get it done. Sleep refills your cup so get a good night’s rest and watch your progress increase.

So to recap:

  • Set yourself a clear, measurable goal that is achievable and matters to YOU
  • Give yourself a time frame to work to and work backwards from there
  • Set milestones and aim towards those
  • Plan out your week with weekly tasks, targets and checklists
  • Perform your daily actions – small things you can do daily that amount to big success

Goal setting can be a very powerful tool if used correctly so make sure you give yourself the best chance for success.

Protein Pancakes | Cheat Day Recipes

Reflex Protein Pancakes

Cheat day: potentially the best day on the calendar. Anyone that follows a fitness and nutrition regime will know that to maintain it in the long-term, flexibility and balance is crucial. So we set out to find the ultimate, mouth-watering treat for cheat day – and came up with one that amazingly, isn’t actually all that naughty and still packs a protein punch.

The Protein Chef has collaborated with Reflex Nutrition to create a stack of delicious protein pancakes, smothered in peanut butter and chocolate sauce, and topped with soft R Bars for your protein-packed pleasure. The best thing about this recipe? It won’t destroy your calorie count for the day or leave you feeling sluggish and full of remorse. And to top it off, each serving delivers 33g of protein to support your workout when you pick it up the next day.

Here’s the recipe to get you started:

Pancake ingredients
200g Oat flour
70g Reflex 3D Protein vanilla
10g Baking powder
100g Liquid egg whites
400ml Milk
1tsp Coconut oil (for frying)

Toppings – as much or as little as you’d like
Peanut butter
Reflex R Bars
Sugar-free chocolate sauce

Method

  1. Mix together the oat flour, protein powder and baking powder.
  2. Then add the egg whites and milk and whisk well.
  3. Heat a pan to a medium/high heat and add the coconut oil.
  4. Once the coconut oil has melted, add a few spoonfuls of the mixture to the pan.
  5. Cook for a couple of minutes then flip it over and cook for a further minute until golden and fluffy.
  6. Pile the pancakes high, add the toppings and enjoy.

Macros
(per portion for the pancakes only. Recipes serves 2-3 people)
Calories – 409
Protein – 33g
Carbs – 55g
Fat – 6.6g

One portion of these protein pancakes provides 33g protein, 55g carbohydrates, 6.6g fat and just 409 calories, meaning you can enjoy your day off without regret. The light and fluffy texture has a delicious naturally sweet flavour, thanks to the vanilla ice cream flavoured Reflex 3D Protein used in the recipe. Our 3D Protein is the first time release protein to contain Native Whey Protein, Micellar Casein and Egg White Protein for a fast, medium and slow release of protein, in the correct ratio.

We’ve topped with chunks of our R Bars, to give an extra protein kick, fantastic texture, and a satisfying sweetness to round off this dish. Our R Bars provide 20g protein, 1-2g sugar and 9-10g fibre per bar, plus they are made with almonds and peanuts, cocoa butter, and natural flavourings.  The Protein Chef has used our Chocolate Peanut Caramel flavoured R Bar, but you can choose from our range of six flavours including double chocolate brownie and cookies and cream.

Reflex sends huge thanks to The Protein Chef. To read more of her fantastic protein recipes, visit The Protein Chef website.

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