Lose the belly fat

Read more: Lose the belly fat

Belly fat, aka Abdominal visceral fat or intra-abdominal fat, is the fat that surrounds the internal organs in the abdominal cavity. Excessive accumulation of visceral fat can pose several health risks. Here are some potential dangers associated with abdominal visceral fat:

1. Increased risk of chronic diseases: Excess visceral fat is strongly linked to an increased risk of developing chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and certain types of cancer. This is because visceral fat releases inflammatory substances and hormones that can disrupt normal metabolic processes and contribute to insulin resistance, elevated blood sugar levels, and abnormal lipid profiles.

2. Metabolic syndrome: Visceral fat is a key component of metabolic syndrome, a cluster of conditions that include high blood pressure, high blood sugar, abnormal cholesterol levels, and excess abdominal fat. Having metabolic syndrome significantly increases the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, stroke, and diabetes.

3. Insulin resistance: Visceral fat is associated with insulin resistance, a condition in which the body’s cells become less responsive to the effects of insulin. Insulin resistance can lead to elevated blood sugar levels, which can progress to prediabetes and eventually type 2 diabetes.

4. Hormonal imbalances: Visceral fat can disrupt the balance of hormones in the body, including those involved in appetite regulation, metabolism, and inflammation. This can contribute to weight gain, difficulty losing weight, and an increased risk of hormonal disorders such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) in women.

5. Cardiovascular complications: Excess visceral fat is associated with an increased risk of developing cardiovascular diseases, including heart attacks, strokes, and atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). Visceral fat releases fatty acids into the bloodstream, which can lead to the accumulation of plaque in the arteries and impair their function.

6. Reduced lung function: Visceral fat can compress the diaphragm and restrict lung expansion, leading to decreased lung function and increased risk of respiratory problems.

It is important to note that everyone’s body composition and health risks are unique. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise, a balanced diet, and managing stress levels, can help reduce abdominal visceral fat and mitigate the associated health risks.

Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash

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Harnessing the Power of Sunlight: How Sun Exposure Boosts Fitness and Health

In our modern, fast-paced lives, it’s easy to overlook the simple yet powerful benefits of sunlight exposure. Beyond its role in providing warmth and light, sunlight plays a crucial role in building fitness and promoting overall health. In this article, we will explore the various ways in which sunlight exposure positively impacts our well-being and discuss the importance of incorporating it into our daily routines.

1. Vitamin D Synthesis:
One of the primary benefits of sunlight exposure is its ability to stimulate the production of vitamin D in our bodies. Vitamin D is essential for maintaining healthy bones and teeth, as it aids in the absorption of calcium and phosphorus. Regular exposure to sunlight can help prevent conditions like osteoporosis and rickets, particularly in regions with limited sunlight during certain seasons.

2. Mood Enhancement:
Have you ever noticed how a sunny day instantly lifts your spirits? Sunlight exposure triggers the release of serotonin, a neurotransmitter responsible for regulating mood. Increased serotonin levels can help alleviate symptoms of depression, reduce stress, and improve overall mental well-being. Spending time outdoors in the sunlight can be an effective natural remedy for boosting your mood and combating seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

3. Sleep Regulation:
Sunlight exposure also plays a crucial role in regulating our sleep-wake cycle, also known as the circadian rhythm. Exposure to natural light during the day helps synchronize our internal body clock, promoting better sleep quality at night. By getting enough sunlight during the day, you can improve your sleep patterns, enhance alertness during the day, and reduce the risk of sleep disorders.

4. Immune System Support:
Did you know that sunlight exposure can strengthen your immune system? Sunlight stimulates the production of white blood cells, which are essential for fighting off infections and diseases. Additionally, sunlight exposure has been linked to a reduction in autoimmune disorders such as multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis. However, it’s important to strike a balance and avoid excessive sun exposure, as it can lead to sunburn and increase the risk of skin cancer.

5. Physical Fitness and Performance:
Regular exposure to sunlight can have a positive impact on physical fitness and performance. Sunlight stimulates the production of nitric oxide in the body, which helps improve blood circulation and oxygen delivery to muscles. This can enhance athletic performance, increase endurance, and aid in post-workout recovery. Additionally, spending time outdoors in natural light can motivate individuals to engage in physical activities such as walking, jogging, or cycling, leading to improved overall fitness levels.

In practical terms, Parikh et al. found that skin exposure to afternoon sunlight for about 30 minutes (such as by wearing shorts and short-sleeved t-shirts) increased testosterone, estrogen, mood, and libido in both men and women. To follow their protocol, get outside in shorts/t-shirts for ~20-30 minutes in the afternoon, 2-3x per week minimum. (Don’t sunburn!). Arguably, that’s the best time to do your sun salutation

Sunlight exposure is not just about enjoying the great outdoors; it is a vital component of building fitness and maintaining good health. From promoting vitamin D synthesis and mood enhancement to regulating sleep patterns and supporting the immune system, the benefits of sunlight are numerous. However, it’s crucial to strike a balance and practice sun safety measures to avoid overexposure. So, make it a point to step outside, soak up some sunlight, and reap the incredible benefits it offers for your fitness and well-being.

Should you add isometrics to your training ?

In the realm of fitness and strength training, there’s a hidden gem that’s been gaining traction for its remarkable benefits – isometric training. If you’re on a journey to enhance your physical prowess and overall health, integrating isometric exercises into your routine might be the missing piece you’ve been searching for. In this article, we’ll delve into the advantages of including an isometric regime into your training, and how it can help you reach your fitness goals faster than you ever imagined.

  1. Understanding Isometric Training

Before we dive into the benefits, let’s clarify what isometric training is all about. Unlike traditional resistance exercises that involve moving a weight, isometric exercises involve holding a static position without any visible movement. This might include planks, wall sits, or even pushing against an immovable object. The key here is the contraction of muscles without changing the muscle length.

  1. Efficient Use of Time

In our fast-paced lives, time is of the essence. Isometric training offers a solution by providing efficient workouts that yield impressive results. Since isometric exercises can be done anywhere and require minimal to no equipment, you can integrate them seamlessly into your daily routine. Spending just 10-15 minutes on isometric exercises can target multiple muscle groups, making your workout time highly productive.

  1. Increased Muscle Endurance

Isometric exercises challenge your muscles to maintain a contraction for an extended period. This prolonged muscle engagement leads to increased muscle endurance. Improved muscle endurance not only helps you power through your workouts but also enhances your overall physical performance in various activities, from running to sports.

  1. Joint Stability and Injury Prevention

Isometric training focuses on stabilizing muscles and joints. By holding static positions, you engage smaller, stabilizing muscles that are often neglected in traditional exercises. This contributes to better joint stability and reduces the risk of injuries. Stronger stabilizers mean a more balanced physique, which can have a positive impact on your posture and daily movements.

  1. Plateau Buster

If you’ve hit a plateau in your strength gains, isometric training can be a game-changer. The unique nature of isometric exercises challenges your muscles in a different way compared to traditional dynamic movements. This variety can help break through plateaus and spark new muscle growth.

  1. Time-Under-Tension for Muscle Growth

Isometric exercises create prolonged time-under-tension for your muscles, which is a key factor in muscle growth. The sustained contractions recruit more muscle fibers and increase metabolic stress, promoting hypertrophy (muscle growth). Incorporating isometric exercises alongside your regular routine can lead to well-rounded muscle development.

  1. Convenience and Minimal Equipment

One of the most enticing aspects of isometric training is its versatility. You can perform these exercises virtually anywhere – at home, in the office, or even during travel. The need for minimal to no equipment means you’re not dependent on a gym, making it an accessible option for all fitness levels.

Conclusion: Elevate Your Fitness Journey with Isometric Training

Incorporating isometric exercises into your training regimen can open up a world of benefits that traditional exercises might not offer. From increased muscle endurance and joint stability to breaking plateaus and convenient workouts, isometric training is a powerful tool that deserves a place in your fitness routine. As you embark on this exciting journey of strength and balance, remember to start slowly, focus on proper form, and gradually challenge yourself to reach new heights of fitness.

The Weight Management Manifesto

As part of my work with Crossfit London I recently wrote this outline of what I consider to be the most effective methods of helping people manage their weight.

The weight management industry is huge yet unregulated, and its advice is contradictory and confusing. We thought it ethical to clearly outline the strategy our team will use to help you build the capacity in managing what you eat.

OBJECTIVE 1 Restore normal eating

The last 30 years have proven beyond doubt that simply manipulating food –  be it by calorie counting, playing with macros, bingeing on a specific type of food, banning others and playing with time slots – has little lasting positive effect.Apart from not working, attempts to deploy starvation and deprivation methods merely result in disordered eating.Stop dieting and start eating normally. Basically, that means the plate method. A highly validated, effective nutritious method harking back to the “good old days” of “meat and two veg”

If you click here, you may do the 6 day mini course for free.

Objective 2 :Master your mind

Most people have no idea how to master their own minds. Our thinking is wrong, we do not recognise the influence our bad habits have, are often too inflexible in our approach to life, and have little to no idea as to how to change our behaviour.Our aim – using cutting-edge business, elite sport, and combat techniques –  is to put you in control of  your mindDon’t commit to goals, commit to processes.Treat goals with contempt. Goals are about the results you want to achieve. Systems are the processes that lead to those results.Goals are fine for the general direction of travel, but systems give you progress. Problems arise when you use your energy to focus on your goals rather than perfecting your system. Every sports person, and competitor wants to win. The winners are those who optimise their system.

Goals destroy your happiness. Your belief that joy and success appear only when your goal is achieved means you are never happy. Instead of tormenting yourself with goals, fall in love with the process.Goals are at odds with long-term processes. If you have a specific goal, what happens when you reach it? The purpose of setting goals is to win. The process of building systems is to continue playing the game.Setting up your system and processes is not a euphoria moment where you revel in positivity. Effective plans anticipate the barriers you may encounter and help you plan in advance about solving them.  Otherwise, you can fall at the first fence. These barriers are known as inflection points. We help you imagine unpleasant situations in advance and write out a plan for responding. This strategy isn’t speculation, it’s taken from the Starbucks playbook. This is how willpower becomes a habit. By choosing a response to an issue in advance, that becomes the behaviour when that inflection point arises.

Objective 3 Build Better Habits.

We get you to understand habits. We guide you to identify the bad or unhelpful habits you’ve acquired, and how to transform them into better, more helpful habits. It’s certainly unhelpful to harangue people with generic exhortations to “meditate,” or “drink water”.Increasingly research has shown that those struggling with weight management often have certain habits in common. The more flexible you become in your daily life, the easier it is to manage what you eat.  

Objective 4 Understand Will power

.For years people have been made to feel like failures when their willpower faded and their diet collapsed. It was thought that willpower was a skill to be learned, like riding a bike.  This is a useful analogy. If you ride your bike on Monday, you don’t expect to be unable to ride it on Tuesday.  So, if you have the skill to eat healthily on Monday, then Tuesday should be a breeze!  We now view willpower as a muscle that needs both exercise and practice, but can equally end in failure. Willpower is a finite resource that needs to be managed. We will help you build your willpower.Some find the concept of willpower unhelpful, so we also explore the idea of “grit”. To make you more “gritty” we need to engage your interest, develop your ability to practice, discover your real (higher) purpose and build your hope. Researchers like Angela Duckworth have popularised and validated this approach.Little winsLittle wins have been shown to be crucial in redesigning how you think and feel about situations. By using simple daily tasks, we will get you some early successes.The underpinning theme is to help you find out how the mind works.We support you in studying powerful mind management models that can help you become a more happy, confident,  healthier, and more successful person. We will help you understand the struggles that happen within your mind and know how to apply this insight to every area of your life.  You have to changeTo manage your weight, you must change. At a fundamental level, you need to change your beliefs and values. This may sound drastic, but as the British cycling team found out, change is successful when made in 1% increments.

Objective 5. RECONNECT WITH YOUR EMOTIONS. Practicing healthy eating, building better habits, and understanding your mind is helpful. It’s also found that building your emotional resilience is equally important. However, secure within our relative wealth and comfort, much of our lives to date have ignored the need to attend to our emotional health. The overused phrase “How do you feel?” Is hackneyed, but the question remains essential. If you follow the work of Julie M Simon, you may quickly trace many issues as being created by a failure to manage your emotions. In its simplest form, people need to recognise, identify and accept their emotions.Once this is done, you can move forward to finding a solution.Emotions are too often either ignored or discounted. In other words, you are taught to ignore your emotional state. What can you do? You still have the emotions, you still feel them, fear sadness, and anger (more choice here!).How do you deal with them? You haven’t been taught how to cope with emotions so you need to soothe yourself. The number one choice of self-medication is food, although later on it could be drugs, booze, or pornography. Every time you feel joy, sadness, happiness, or failure, you go straight to food. Essentially, food becomes the only thing that means you can control your emotions. Where does this get you? If you cannot identify or control your emotions, then realistically you cannot control your food. It seems that food is the only thing that keeps you sane.  For years you have used it to smother emotions, so it makes sense that you won’t allow it to be restricted or measured. If you do restrict, then it makes sense that you’ll binge later on during the day.Our program guides you through the emotional maze and helps you reconnect with your emotions, dealing with them in a better way than binging on cake

Objective 6 . Understand Trauma. One of the last pieces of the puzzle is trauma. Today this is an overused word. In this program, we use it to describe a “failed freeze” response.In simple terms, if you are attacked, most people think you have two options: fight or flight. Actually, you have four: fight, flight, a search for social support, or “the freeze” response. On a primal level, predators don’t like eating “dead meat”, so often creatures that freeze stand a higher chance of escaping. The mouse feigns death while the cat is staring, but when the cat loses interest the mouse runs like hell! The full freeze response is freeze THEN run.You may not have experienced a war zone or been mugged in the street; but what if your boss walks up and shouts at you, and you sit there and take it?  Once your madcap boss wanders off, if you stay put, the chances are that you are accumulating micro traumas.. You froze, but you didn’t run. This leaves you feeling very unsafe. You do not need to be shot in a war zone to feel trauma (more here). Using drills developed for the military, our program gets to restore the safety you need and teaches you how to stop it from happening again.How does this all work?We start you off with a quick 6 day virtual crash course on the Plate Method. It’s easy to learn the basics. We drip-feed you the skills you need by email over the 6 days. You’ll get feedback if you submit  1 photo of a meal you have prepared each day You are welcome to do this course free of charge and obligation. Click here to begin.

Each weekday you’ll send us a photo of your best meal and we will feedback and get you to nudge it to a better composition. We will be tweaking and optimising it throughout the course.Each weekday, we will also set you a task that helps you build emotional resilience, deal with trauma, develop effective processes, build better habits, loosen or convert unwanted habits, and clean up your mental management game.Each week you’ll get a reading that forms the basis of a weekly class.Each week we will have a class that reviews the previous week, gets an overview of the following week and discusses the weekly reading.If you would like to explore these ideas in more depth, sign up for the free course, or email Andrew@crossfitlondonuk.com

Test at home

Read more: Test at home

The older you get the more conscious you become about your health and the need to test to catch things early. At the same time the more people you like, the more you want them to test too so they can hang out with you, and not die in agony!

I’d been struggling to do a prostate test for years, but it seems, with the modern-day doctors that I use, it’s all a bit of a ballache (go in, collect tubes, take them home, bring them back blah blah), so I was delighted to come across the heavily marked Icle test. Basically, you spend £20 on amazon, it arrives the next, you wee on it, and voila you get your result there and then.


This article was going to be a free push for the Icle test, but I thought I’d see what other tests are about, and I came across Urinox-10 (on amazon!!).

Rather than one test for £20, it’s basically one test for 30p. ( you still have to buy 30 for, wait for it, £9.99)

By testing your wee , you get early indications of possible problems.

According to their website this sort of means

A 10-parameter urine test strip such as Urinox-10 by Diagnox tests ten different urine parameters that include:

  1. Leukocytes (for possible inflammation)
  2. Nitrites (for bacteria in urine)
  3. Urobilinogen (for liver health)
  4. Protein (for kidney and urinary tract health)
  5. pH (for acidity and alkalinity of the urine sample)
  6. Blood (for visible and non-visible blood in urine)
  7. Specific Gravity (for hydration status and the body’s ability to conserve water)
  8. Ketones (for diabetes and high-fat/low-carb diets)
  9. Bilirubin (for liver health)
  10. Glucose (for diabetes)

You can get them here. (You’ll notice this isn’t an affiliate link). Each test is individually sealed, so they keep for a while.

If there is a drawback it’s that you need to “dip the strip” rather than just wee on it, so you need a reasonably sized container that you can fill to the right height.

Core traumas

Read more: Core traumas

Most dysfunctional behaviour probably comes from trauma, we normally associated trauma with great big awful stuff. However, it seems that it can also accumulate over time. No one considers that the rage, rejection and blame that children are subjected to amounts to trauma

Maybe trauma is the wrong word, maybe its core issues or core wounds. Maybe it’s as classic as the death of a thousand cuts

It seems that numerous petty wounds, accumulated over time can begin to disconnect you from your emotions. Julie Simons in The emotional Eaters Repair Manual gives the following examples of the stuff that you could be subjected to as a child that could have effects later on.

Abandonment: a caregiver dies or is so overworked that they are “not available.

Attack: your caregiver attacks you (everything from a wack to constant aggression, threats, or ridicule

Betrayal: your caregiver lies or makes empty promises.

Blame, you were blamed for the feelings and actions of others

Deceived: you were intentionally misled.

Neglected: simple neglect of your physical and emotional needs

Domination: excessively controlled

Engulfment: you were smothered

Exploitation. You were made to do excessive and age-inappropriate chores

Fragmentation: your caregiver was mentally ill.

parentification. you were made to be responsible for others.

Rejection: dismissed as useless or worthless.

Shame: regularly criticized.

Violation: invasion of your space.

But what could be the mechanism or process? Why would having to do extra chores or get a slap on the back of your legs mean you are unable to control certain aspects of your behavior when you are older?

As a small person, your job is to learn lots of stuff, verbs, going to the toilet, and setting fire to things. You also should learn how to manage your emotions. The correct process of looking after your emotional health is to understand how you feel, then accept those feelings as appropriate, and then make sure you have enough emotional resources to support going forward. Once you have this process, you can move quickly to technical solutions.

However, if you are brought up by idiots, no one asks you how you are. Your emotions are either ignored or discounted. In other words, you are taught to ignore your emotional state. As a child, what do you do? You still have the emotions. You still feel them, fear sadness, and anger (more choice here!).

How do you deal with them? You haven’t been taught how to cope with emotions so you need to soothe yourself. The number one choice of self-medication is food (although later on, it could be drugs, booze, or pornography). Every time you feel joy, sadness, happiness, or failure, you go straight to food. Basically, food becomes the only thing that means you can control your emotions. Where does this get you? It means that realistically you cannot control your food. Food is the only thing that keeps you sane. for years you have used it to push down emotions so it makes sense that you won’t allow it to be restricted or measured. If you do restrict it makes sense that you’ll binge later on during the day.

Maybe this speaks to you.

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How to build your memory!

When you’re trying to improve your memory, it’s best to do which of the following? 

1)Rest your mind so that you will have enough energy to remember stuff

2) Multitask

3)Rely on your friends to remember things for you

4)Focus your attention, form associations, and review your

Are you feeling miserable?

Are you feeling sad and down in the dumps

If you’re down in the dumps, what is the best choice? 

1) Hideout from family and friends until you feel up to seeing them
2)Draw the curtains, stay inside, and rest
3) Get out of the house, exercise, and engage in activities
4) Self-medicate with alcohol and/or sweets to soothe your

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Save your wrists: get some parallette bars

Save your wrists, vary your training. Get some parallettes.

If you regularly push up, L sit and practice handstands the chances are you could end up in intermediate hand and wrist pain.

After too many years of coaching, I’d suggest you seriously consider mixing your hand position up by including the use of parallettes. You can now pick up cheap ones any where, although if you intend to handstand with them, you ought to look at what they are suitable for. That said, Ive bought the cheapie set (pictured) about 10 years ago and Im still alive!

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