• To reach your greatest potential you’ll have to fight your greatest fears

Compound Movements and Why You Should Prioritise Them

 

Are you still trapped in isolation exercise training cycles?

Hitting one “muscle group” at a time. Chasing muscular destruction from every possible angle, each and every week.

Training ultimately comes down to a series of choices, and the type of exercises you choose to focus on consistently will be reflected in your body composition and athletic capabilities.

How do you view the human body, simply as a collection of muscle groups that need to be hit separately? Or, as an integrated unit that should be trained and strengthened through full-body movements?

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Mineralising Your Water for Optimal Hydration

 

Dehydration is a drag on human performance.

You’ve likely felt this yourself. Increased fatigue, lower motivation, and a reduced exercise capacity to name a few.

Surprisingly, these effects occur at as little as 2% total bodyweight dehydration(1).

According to the lay press, 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated. A shocking statistic if you think about it, the result being, hundreds of millions of humans that are underperforming physically.

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How Much Protein Is Optimal?

 

You’re probably aware of the importance of protein when it comes to body composition, muscle mass and optimal health.

And for a good reason, after all, it’s the foundation of the muscle tissue we work so hard to acquire and maintain.

It’s likely you’ve even taken steps to increase the amount of protein you consume. Protein shakes anyone?

What’s less understood is how much protein is optimal for building muscle, burning fat and improving recovery, and how this might vary based on your goals.

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Benefits of Caffeine

 

Caffeine, glorious caffeine.

Known for its mind and body stimulating effects, caffeine is the most widely consumed drug globally.

You might even be caffeinated as you read this.

Caffeine is found in many plants' leaves, seeds, and fruits, including tea leaves, cocoa beans, and coffee beans.

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The Benefits of Yoga

 

You already know that yoga can improve flexibility and strength, in fact, many people are surprised after their first class at just how physically demanding it can be.

But beyond the demanding poses and modern advertising of what’s become almost a fashionable endeavour, yoga is an ancient practice that’s been around for thousands of years, and it’s not for no reason. 

While Instagram reels would have you believe it’s all about extreme flexibility, there are a host of other reasons you might want to consider adding a yoga class or two into your weekly regime.

Keep reading if you want to discover some benefits of yoga that you may, and may not have considered.

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How To Get Stronger Using Progressive Overload

 

Strength - the quality or state of being physically strong.

As a new trainee pursuing an improved physique, strength gains are a fortunate byproduct.

But as the beginner gains curve begins to flatern, without specific intention, many athletes find their strength plateaus.

Perhaps you got into training for aesthetics, but as your obsession builds, you’re looking for a more performance orientated pursuit.

Want to train specifically for strength?

Today we’re going to discuss a fundamental principle of strength training, and how you can integrate it into your routine.

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How to Increase Your Testosterone Naturally

 

Testosterone is a hormone most men have heard of. After all, isn’t it THE hormone that makes a man, a man?

Because of its well-known links to muscle mass and sex drive, testosterone drives a lot of worry in men.

As you might expect, the internet is aware of this and is littered with potential ways to increase testosterone, often using photos of enhanced athletes in perfect lighting to lead you down a sales funnel to the latest supplement.

While some supplements can help, there are much more powerful and reliable ways to increase testosterone levels (T levels) naturally.

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What Is Intermittent Fasting and Is It Worth it?

Have you ever woken up late for work and accidentally skipped breakfast?

Turns out you’ve also practised intermittent fasting (IF).

In fact, you are intermittently fast every day whether you realise it or not.

Let’s say you finish eating your dinner at 8 pm and aren’t eating breakfast until 8 am, guess what, you’ve just fasted for 12 hours.

While calories, macros and meal plans focus on WHAT you should eat, intermittent fasting is the practice of WHEN you should eat.

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The Importance of Stretching for Injury Prevention and Performance

Do you ever find yourself at the end of your training session and think to yourself, damn, I should probably stretch but… nah.

Perhaps your body often feels tight and stiff, but you ain’t no yogi, you want to be jacked, strong and ripped, you wouldn’t be seen dead in the stretching zone.

But if you’ve ever experienced a serious injury, you'll remember that dealing with that can be a long and frustrating process.

If you want to minimise the chance of that happening as much as you can, this is your reminder. Today we’re going to highlight the benefits of stretching for injury prevention, and discover what kind of practice you might want to include in your routine.

So why is it important?

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Tips on returning to the gym

T-minus what seems like a lifetime until our precious gyms re-open. There’s light at the end of the tunnel for fitness fanatics, and that light shines down on the 12th April.

With just under a month until we can walk into our beloved gyms, this is the perfect time to congratulate our clients, and those yet to join Physique Academy, who have tackled lockdown head on and improve their fitness lifestyle. Those who have adapting their training programmes, completing home workouts and embracing the great outdoors for their cardio.

Unfortunately, lockdown has been the cause of many people who once loved training, neglect their fitness routines after the novelty of the Strava app wore off and the lack of access to gym equipment deterred any training motivation.

As the re-opening of gyms draws closer, we know there will be hundreds of thousands of gym goers eager to get straight back to where they left off. We love the determination, but this will do more damage than good. Here are some tips on returning to the gym after lockdown.

1. Take it easy

With a long break from the gym, your body has adapted to the reduced physical stress on your muscles, nerves and connective tissues. This means going straight into your 1 rep max after a prolonged time away from the gym is likely to cause injury and will increase your time away from the gym. For your first couple of sessions, bring back some of the intensity, reduce the weight from what you used to be able to lift and focus on your form.

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George Armstrong: 10 things I’ve learned as a coach

George Armstrong:
10 Things I’ve learned as a Coach

George Armstrong is the founder and head online coach at Physique Academy. He’s done everything from compete, PT and has ultimately found his passion with Physique Academy.

“I’ve been in this game for a long time. From competing at 17 years old winning the Mr United Kingdom under 18s in my first bodybuilding show in 2013. Then going on to win 9 shows in just 2 years of competing. I’ve done my fare share of training and learning. I’ve found my passion for using that experience in all areas of training and lifestyle to help others achieve their goals. Physique Academy was born and I have loved every second of it. Like everything there are challenges and I wanted to share 10 things I’ve learned since starting the Physique Academy”

  1. Focus on the basics and fundamentals.
  2. Coach the client I have, not the client I want.
  3. I try and learn something from anyone and everyone.
  4. Communication is everything. Don’t leave things unresolved and unfinished.
  5. You are never going to please everyone, don’t invest your expectations for others.
  6. Treat every client the same respect, regardless of their status.
  7. Invest and protect your energy.
  8. Set a high standard and don’t let it slip.
  9. Always be the student. I’ve learnt that the more I know, the more I realize I don’t know.
  10. Tell the truth. Leadership comes at a price.
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Overcoming the Victim Mindset

There are two different types of people. Those who act on their goals and strive towards what they want to achieve, they learn from their mistakes and take failure in their stride by understanding that failure is inevitable but look at this as a steppingstone on the road to success. There are also those who consider themselves as a victim, their constantly have a negative outlook on every aspect of what is happening around them, everything seems to be going wrong and they believe they have been dealt the wrong cards in life. Not only do they impact themselves through this way of thinking, but it can ultimately impact those around them to fall into this type of mindset.

Tackling Failure

When someone slips up or divert ‘off track’, do not consider this as failure. In fitness, it is not failure if you have gained a little bit of weight, it’s all about learning and using this as an experience because with fitness one weekend can be detrimental to someone’s fat loss results especially if you have a large appetite and enjoy your food. You could ruin time dedicated sticking to your training and nutrition plan but the moment you go off track is the pinnacle moment of whether you question yourself; are you going to act and get back into your routine? Or are you going to play what we call ‘the victim game’?


We see this multiple times. This is the moment when you step back and you think to yourself “what are we going to do here?”. A lot of the time, the victim game wins, especially if you have tried multiple training and nutrition programmes and have not seen the results you aim to achieve. It can be a constant battle with your goals, and it can be frustrating to keep fighting to achieve what you want to achieve. This isn’t just related to fitness, there are going to be things in life that will throw you off that track completely, but this is where you challenge your inner victim and come out stronger.


When training with Physique Academy, we can guarantee that there are going to be situations and barriers you are going to have to overcome but we nurture and enhance the positive mindset for you to wave goodbye to the ‘victim game’, the self-blame and negative thinking. We know that external factors have a factor on your fitness. Whether this is work, financial, family or friend related, these can lead to a downward spiral preventing you from staying on track with your training and nutrition. It’s vital that we work together to stop factors sabotaging your progress and continue to keep going, as this will not only continue to push you towards your goals, we guarantee this will help overturn any negative thinking you have with an alternative and fresh outlook at these external factors.
Do not worry if you have gone off track, or you have slipped up. This is not failure. Failure is letting this minor setback influence your future self and being unable to get back on that progress path you have worked so hard to get to. It has a lot to do with your emotions and how you deal with them and everyone has different ways of doing this. It may just take a minute for you to sit down, and simply tell yourself that you have slipped up and this is just temporary, or you talk to us here at Physique Academy and get the best advice on how to turn things around. We learn, overcome and adapt to these small hits, but we avoid playing the victim with positive headspace and realising what the real goals are.


If you have diverted away from your fitness goals and want to change your lifestyle and mindset then book a free consultation call with us here.

The Impact of Sleep on Performance

Sleep is vital to sports performance. There are numerous studies and countless professionals, some of whom are considered the best in their respected fields, that support the enhancement of physical and mental attributes associated with sleep.

Weight Control

Studies have shown that deprivation of sleep has a positive correlation with cravings calorie-dense, high fat foods. Those who gain the correct amount of sleep will find it much easier to make healthier nutritional choices as the hunger for junk food is much less than individuals who don’t. Getting yourself into a fixed sleep routine with enhance this even further as you will be consistently getting the ideal amount of sleep to curve those cravings.

Motivation

Lack of sleep is known to effect mood and emotional health. Motivation is key to anyone’s fitness journey. It’s a main source of positive mindset that pushes you to keep going to achieve your fitness goals and reduced sleep can ultimately impact this.

Recovery

Sleep facilitates the production of human growth hormones which repair damages muscles. A consistent sleeping regime in lined with a training schedule will allow for optimal performance and recovery. A full night’s sleep allows your body to recover from specific work-outs, maximising your preparedness for the following days session and reduces and potential injury problems.

Stamina

Waking up with heaps of energy is positively correlated with a good night’s sleep. This will enable to you take on your training schedule with peak energy levels. A lack of sleep will decrease your stamina and will negatively impact your training, in some cases rejecting any training at all. Increasing your stamina levels by being well rested will impact your fitness goals.

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Benefits of HIIT

HIIT training stands for High-Intensity Interval Training. This form of training consists of a combination of short bursts of a verity of exercises, usually paired to target all areas of the body with limited rest periods. Pushing your body to go harder in a shorter period of time has a multitude of benefits compared to your conventional training session or a steady state workout.

Improve Fitness

HIIT is a form of cardiovascular training and implementing a HIIT workout into your training regime will improve your fitness and stamina levels.

Burn More Fat

The result of training at high intensity in a shorter period of time challenges your body to work harder. Burning fat requires oxygen and the more oxygen you intake, which is increased with a HIIT workout, the more fat your body burns. This form of training also impacts the recovering and repairing of fatigued muscles, resulting in burning more body fat and calories post workout than you would from a steady state workout. Pushing your body’s repair cycle means you will burn fat for 24-48 hours after interval training.

Retain Muscle

Studies have shown that in the 24 hours after a HIIT workout, the body produces more human growth hormone than a steady state workout, encouraging your body to build and reserve muscle mass whilst targeting the removal of fat.

Fit for all

HIIT workouts can be adapted to all kinds of fitness levels. This can be done by reducing the number of exercises within the workout or extending the rest period to allow for optimal performance. HIIT workouts are also extremely versatile compared to your standard training session. You can change and modify these types of workouts to remain motivated as you are ultimately not getting bored of a repetitive routine. 

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The impact of cutting calories too soon

Cutting back your calories can be detrimental to your fat loss results. We get it, you want to get fast results and achieve your results in the quickest time possible. A lot of the time, it’s really difficult to sustain a calorie intake that is pushing you both physically and mentally because when you cut back your calories your energy levels will decreased leaving you feeling lethargic, drained, fatigued, ‘hangry’ and will see an ugly side to yourself then when you were on a healthy and rigid diet tailored to your body. We’ve all been there; hunger can stir up emotions like anger and agitation. When you are on a fat loss journey and you cut your calories back too much too soon, these are the emotions you will feel frequently on a daily basis and is not sustainable.

These diets are not enjoyable and will end up hindering your quality of life for yourself and others around you. When you are trying to speed the process up too much and cut corners it never works. It’s rare that we see people go on a very strict low-calorie diet, get amazing results and then sustain it. Usually, the case is people cut back too much to speed up this process as a quick fix to look good but don’t consider the physical and mental implications. Essentially you cut back your calories and are left with no energy to train to your full capacity, you don’t enjoy the food included in your diet, you ruin relationships within your support system because of your mood and you are more likely to fall into an unhealthy regime. So, unless you are willing to completely suffer then you want to think about the long game and enjoy the process of training, eating the foods you enjoy and getting better results because of this.

This is journey for a reason. Take your time and trust the process and most of all enjoy bettering yourself, your lifestyle and your mindset. There is no such thing as a successful quick fix, it’s all about adopting those healthy habits and implementing a routine to allow you to enjoy the journey and relish in the results without suffering.

At Physique Academy, we guide every client on their diet and training to ensure they get optimum results whilst enjoying every second of the journey. We supply the tools every step of the way on the right time to alter specific parts of their training, whether this be cutting calories, adding certain food groups, increasing training to benefit each individual.

Book a FREE consultation call with us and let’s kick start your routine.

The Importance of Routine

At Physique Academy, we constantly push our clients to implement, perfect and continue a specific routine. An effective routine result in consistency, and consistency effectively gets results. We promote a sustainable routine not only for the physical and fitness benefits, but in many ways building the foundations of a specific routine can enhance other areas of your life.

As humans, we are creatures of habit and good habits in the form of a well-structured and organized routine promote health and wellbeing. A routine can be applied to all areas of your life; the time you wake up, making your bed, morning steps, ensuring you eat breakfast, training and eating at certain times, going to bed. All these elements carried out each day, every day will form your routine and when you factor a routine into your training and nutrition, this is where we see the best results.

Training and nutrition aside, as we mentioned earlier a well-structured and organised routine promotes both health and wellness:

Improved Stress Levels

A daily routine has the ability to eliminate stress levels and can lead to better mental health. Having no routine can cause anxiety, leaving people feeling they can’t get things done because of the lack of organisation.

Better Health

Becoming more organised through the help of a routine will ultimately lead to better health. Routines will enable you to free up more time ensuring you don’t miss that meal, you don’t skip that training session and you don’t slip into unhealthy habits. Healthy diets and training require advanced planning, by having no routine you are not planning ahead which can force last minute unhealthy nutrition decisions and lack of training.

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The Miracle of Morning Steps

Contrary to the title of this blog, no morning steps are not a miracle, but there are plenty of reasons both physically and mentally why you should boost yourself up and get active first thing in the morning with a step routine. Getting to the gym first thing in the morning for some may be impossible to due opening hours, commute, working hours and family commitments, but morning steps are the perfect alternative to maintaining your fitness and hold some fantastic health benefits.

Routine

Morning steps are a perfect way to kick start your daily routine. We’ve touched on the topic of why implementing a fitness routine is vital for success.

Boost Your Energy

Getting outdoors for your morning steps has proven to be a natural energy booster when compared to indoor walking. A study showed that adults who walked for 20 minutes outdoors experiences more vitality and energy than those who walked indoors.

Improve Mental Clarity

A morning walk has the ability to improve cognitive processing, meaning you can think more clearly and creatively throughout the day.

Mood Enhancer

Completing exercise as your first task of the day will certainly lift your mood. As previously mentioned, morning steps can improve mental clarity, this can also reduce stress levels and anxiety towards daily jobs. Walking has proven to help release endorphins and serotonin, especially in an outdoor environment. These are your body’s natural mood and self-esteem enhancers.

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The Importance of Frequency & Meal Timings

Meal timings and frequency, are they important? So, in terms of timings, the most important timings for your meals we would say (if you’re training that is) is pre and post workout. The reason why that is you need to fuel your body to allow for optimum performance. Using carbohydrates before your training will give your body the energy to train at maximum capacity. Therefore, pre workout is extremely important for meal timing as is post workout to replenish your muscles.

In regards to meal frequencies, this is all dependant on your goal, a discussion and plan that we here at Physique Academy will specifically plan for your body, training plan and your objectives. If you’re aiming to build muscle, 4/5 meals will be much more beneficial than a few small meals a day or one enormous amount of protein meal per day. You’re going to be getting the best results by eating more frequently in a 24hr time period. Let’s say you’re every 2 to 3 hours, your body will constantly be getting those protein hits and this will build more muscle, enhance strength and improve performance. Your body will be in that state of growth and recovery instead of not having the effective amount of amino acids to build the muscle because you won’t have been fuelling your body with the correct amount of nutrients at the most effective times.

To keep it simple, if you’re trying to build muscle and maintain this muscle then 4/5 protein hits per day is going the be the most effective. If building muscle isn’t your goal, then get in touch with us here at Physique Academy for a FREE consultation call and let’s discuss.

Coach Spotlight - George Armstrong

After being knocked back from various football academies around the UK, George turned his attention to fitness as the age of 14. Gaining advice on both nutrition and training from a local Bodybuilding gym, George started competing at 17 years old and won the Mr United Kingdom under 18s in his first bodybuilding show in 2013. After which he went on to win 9 shows in just 2 years of competing. After taking a step back from competing, George found his passion for helping others achieve their fitness goals by sharing the expert advice he gained throughout his own journey. Coaching clients at all levels became his main goal and thus, Physique Academy was born.

When did you begin your fitness journey?

At 14 years old, I started weight training in my garage. My brother Harry and I worked out with limited weights; a bench press, rusty dumb bells, a few kettle bells and an EZ curl bar. We then joined the local gym in the space of a year as we needed more equipment, but I will always thank that garage gym for opening my eyes to fitness and fuelling my passion for it.

What is your greatest achievement in fitness?

I have two achievements I consider my greatest. Firstly, winning MR UK Body Building show at just 17 years old. Secondly, this is an unconventional achievement but overcoming a 4-year battle of injuries. Not only did this time period away from training to my full capacity took its tole on where I wanted to be physically, but also pushed my mental capability to the max. Fitness is my passion and injuries hindered this, but I managed to put my focus in helping others and getting back on track.

How has investing in a fitness journey helped you in other areas of your life?

It has helped to build discipline, structure, relief stress, good habits and developed my mindset to push through difficult situations. These are they key elements I push on our clients, adopting a structured fitness routine will 100% help you in other areas of your life.

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Choosing the right Support Group

Let’s face it, going through your fitness journey as an individual can be a challenge. Going through the process alone will test your levels of dedication some days and there is nothing wrong with relying on support to keep you on track. In fact, we encourage it!

Identifying those around you who support your fitness goals, promote a positive mindset, and have similar interests and goals can improve your dedication and focus to achieving the lifestyle you aim for. We call this your ‘support system’ and choosing those to include can enhance and improve your fitness goals. Take a moment and think about friends and family, who are those who will encourage you to stay on the right path? Who are those who will congratulate you on your achievements? Who are those who will join you on your journey? These are the people you want to surround yourself with during this process.

This system usually includes friends and family but reaching outside your inner circle to groups who share the same interests and goals as yourself, can offer an extra level of support and can open new avenues of achieving your goals.

Immersing yourself with the right support system has both phycological and physical benefits. The physical benefits show in your results as the positive support system keeps you on your fitness journey, which in time will show physically. Also, choosing individuals who share fitness interests can help with the actual activity of training. You no longer have to go to the gym, run, cycle, walk (or whatever your training method) alone as you have your support system there to train with. As we mentioned, reaching out to other groups can introduce you to alternative training methods that can keep training from getting repetitive and keeps you motivated.

The psychological effect of having the right support system is vital to upholding a positive mindset. Your mindset is your greatest asset and surrounding yourself with people who encourage a positive outlook will influence your dedication. The social aspect of having a support system is also great for your mindset. Discussing training regimes, nutrition, exercising with those who share the same goals and interests will improve your focus and will allow yourself to enjoy the process more than going it alone.

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