BMR Calculator

Posted: July 20, 2015 in Weights

Here is a BMR Calculator which will help you work out your Basal Metabolic Rate, or the amount of calories you need to take in daily in order to maintain your current weight. This is the first stage in working out how many calories you need to consume and ignores energy expenditure (which will have to be factored in once you have this calorie starting point).

Here is the calculator:

With highly relevant and recognized qualifications alongside significant experience in personal training, I am starting up my own business in the Wichita area. I will be working with anybody who wants to cut their body fat, get fit, get more muscular or train towards improving their sports performance.

My website is Wichita Body Fitness and I look forward to helping my clients get results and reach their goals.

By now I was expecting the ‘resolutions’ crowd to have gone already and the gym get back to some kind of normality (namely without huge crowds of people hugging around every bench or machine). In my gym this certainly isn’t the case! Good news for the industry, good for the gyms profits but not such good news if you had planned certain exercises on certain machines.

So what do you do? Many will stick to the plan and simply wait for the machine. I cannot understand this. It will destroy your rhythm, you will get cold and most likely annoy the person currently on said machine.

So, by all means have a plan in mind but be adaptable. Use a machine you have never tried, the dusty one in the corner that gets ignored by everyone or better still find a clear space and focus of some good basic compound movements working the body part you were focussing on. This could be to hit 100 reps of press-ups in as short amount of sets/rests as possible. Or do some dumbbell front squats followed by tuck jumps.

If anything embrace your limitations and think outside of the box!

With us now well and truly into 2015, many people are now haunted by resolutions made in the hangover haze of the 1st Jan. With that in mind here’s just a little something to ponder…

Were you making good progress last year? Were you looking forward to exercising and enjoying you workouts? Were you injury free?

If you answered yes to all the above then I would have to ask the question: Why change anything?

I found last year rewarding in both enjoyment and progression towards my goals. I therefore made no fitness related resolutions apart from just to keep doing what I’m doing.

Sometimes change is required if you are seeing no difference… but staying consistent and maintaining pleasure from positive workouts will always win. Remember the long game!

I came across an interesting article by Dr Jim Stoppani. This well read and educated man is someone in the fitness industry who’s views I trust and respect.

It challenges conventional muscular hypertrophy tenents. Most peer reviewed theories agree that muscular growth occurs within the rep range of 8 to 12 per single set.

Within the ‘muscular strength and endurance continuum’ this sits in the middle of strength training (which uses 1 -8 reps per set with heavy resistance) and endurance training (which uses 12 – 25 reps per set with light/moderate resistance).

The article can be read by clicking here.

The conclusion of the article is that the use of high reps taking the muscle to failure induces growth. When you read further down it also indicates that this is only true when mixed with other types of training with low rep ranges and higher weights. So in essence keep mixing things up to confuse your muscles into growth.

The reason I like this method is that I am not a huge fan of heavy lifting all the time. I feel it puts muscles and joints under considerable stress and can increase the possibilities of injury. Nor do I think that sticking rigidly to an 8 to 12 range can always bring on failure, some sets you feel stronger than others.

I am however quite happy to work hard and grind out as many reps as possible one week, then reduce the reps and up the weight the next week and continue cycling like this; so long as I really struggle on the last rep.

So up until Christmas I am going to apply the muscular failure approach. Hope Santa brings me some muscle relaxing bath soak!

After conducting a fairly lengthy food diary, where I recorded my daily calorie, fats, carb and protein intake at every meal a few important findings became clear. I was substantially under my calorie intake that would be condusive for putting on more muscle.

Muscle needs food and therefore calories to create an anabolic state for the body to induce muscle growth.

My BMR should be around 2200 calories per day (this is the amount of calories required just to survive (breath/brain function/digestive system etc) but my daily activities level could be regarded as ‘highly active’. Using the Schofield calculation, I should actually have a calorie intake of around 3200 – 3400 calories.

So, I’ve established I need to take in more calories, as one of my goals is to put on more muscle… but where should these calories come from?

Well, going back to my food diary it appeared that my protein and fats intake was perfectly adequate (following ACSM guidelines) but my carbohydrate volume was half what it should have been.

Now, I am an advocate of listening to your body and not always following the rules for the masses, however,  just seeing the fact that my carbs were very low I thought doing a carb increase trial (for a couple of months) would be worth it.

I am trying to double my intake. It was previously around 15-20% of my total calorie intake. I am trying to push this up to the 35% mark.

The carbohydrates will take the form of low GI based foods such as sweet potato’s, quinoa (see pic below) and porridge oats for example. Alongside slightly simpler carbs like banana’s straight after training (within the so called metabolic window).

Carbs and protein in this ancient aztec food...

A great choice for good clean carbohydrates.

It may increase my muscularity, or may add a little little more wobble!!! I’ll keep you posted on my results.

Devised in Germany, the volume training approach is something I have just begun to adopt to my leg workouts. Basically, the method is to use volume to instigate hypertrophy (muscle growth), rather than lower reps and heavier weights.

The reason I have done this is I injured my left knee around 3 years ago and have a touch on tendonitis (jumpers knee) in it. This was from Thai Boxing and most probably from doing too many tuck jumps in training. As a result I struggle a bit with squatting big weights… I say struggle but it is more the fear of injuring it again really.

My solution is now to do lighter front squats going very deep and then ‘German Volume Training’ on the leg extension machine. How do I do this? Well, it sounds a bit sadistic but it is actually just more of a mental challenge in overcoming the lactic acid build up. I do 10 sets of 10 reps on the extension but with only 10 seconds rest in between. So in total it’s 100 reps… but I do this twice in one training session… so 200 reps!!

I tend to leave at least half an hour between the two and after only one month I have seen some muscle growth, in particular some good separation in the quads. I highly recommend it for those that don’t want to do heavy squats but are struggling to build their legs up. It’s even great for just toning them up.

But get ready for the lactic burn… just swear in German and no one will know! Achtung!!!!

Over the last few weeks I have been aching a little bit more, especially in my legs. I put this down to the fact that I have been doing fairly long sessions (approximately one and a half hours) with many sets and typically 15-20 reps per set. I have responded well to this hybrid of German volume training approach but I really don’t think it is something I could keep up for weeks on end.

After a good two weeks of doing this I decided to change this up (or more like down!). I have been doing sessions for about 45 mins, hit it hard and heavy and get outta there. And I must say it is a nice change; I have got back home for my post workout meal and I still feel full and pumped and the muscles are still pulsing with warmth… perfect for growth.

So, all I am suggesting is don’t be afraid to do a shorter session. So long as you warm up and then hit the sets hard and heavy, you may find that it benefits you more. I just enjoy being in the gym and training, I’d be in there hours if I could… but it may not be the best for the body and your muscle gains.

There you go… just like this post, keep it short and sweet (occasionally).

Thought for the day…

Posted: March 10, 2014 in Weights
Tags: ,

If you are ever tempted by snacking, be it at home or work then a nice little phrase to think of is ‘Resistance is temporary… regret lasts forever!

When you see that doughnut being waved in front of you just remember that phrase and I can assure you it is then easy to say no.

Last night was a brutal back workout but brutal in an ‘I Love It!!’ kinda way. Working the back is something many people struggle with but is essential to get a well rounded and symmetrical appearance. It is a large area (stating the obvious!) made up of a number of muscles such as the Latissimus Dorsi (Lats), Rhomboids and Serratus amongst others.

The key to working out the back has the same principle as all other muscles; the focus should be on the mind to muscle connection. You must feel the muscle working, feel the contraction whilst moving the weight. With all back exercises the temptation is for the arms take over, instead what you need to do is imagine pulling the weight from your elbows. If you concentrate on just moving your elbows back, then you will begin to be on the right path… the path of en’LAT’enment!!

So onto my workout last night:

Firstly, warm up on the cable pull down for 5 sets of 10-12 reps. I often do this standing to begin with for perhaps the first two sets and then I get into the conventional seated pull down position. I use a light weight (around 30-40 kg for the first two sets and then move up 10 kgs each time for the next 3 sets). But remember this is just the warm up so use lighter weights and do it slow with a full range of motion.

Next we get the back pump on! Starting off with my favourite machine:

Seated Cable Row – 5 Sets of 15 reps. In a working set I use a mix of hand grips; hammer grip, overhand and underhand, each for 5 reps. This may seem excessive but I want to work all grips and target all the different angles because I love the feeling on this machine and also next we have…

One Arm Dumbbell Rows – 10 sets in total but divided into both arms (so essentially it is 5 sets). I pull a moderate to heavy weight up with a powerful concentric contraction (up) and a slower eccentric move (down) and trying to really feel the pull in the lats. Again, don’t let your arm do all the work, pull from the elbow.

Smith Machine Deadlifts – 5 sets of 10-12 reps. This is not your conventional deadlift as I set the stoppers around shin height. So, although I am still bending with my legs with good form (arched back etc.) most of the weight is pulled from your inner back muscles such as the internal obliques and even into the traps towards the top of the motion (via a slight shoulder drawback at the top of the movement). To really accentuate the muscle contraction I also try to pull away from the machine.

Low Cable Rows (with rope attachment) – 3 sets to failure. A fairly simple move; I pull up the U-Rope attachment to chin height, flaring out the elbows and feel the burn around the shoulder blades. Just go to failure as this is one where 15 reps just isn’t enough!

Pull Downs – 5 sets (dropsets). I move back to the pull down machine and do more or less the same as the warm up but with bigger weights and not standing! Often, I do drop sets on these so I go very heavy for say 5 reps, then a bit lighter for the next 10 and then even lighter until failure. A partner is required for this… my wife seems to manage but she is a bit hardcore!

– Lastly, Lat ‘Squeeze’ Machine – 3 Sets of 6-8 reps. I purely use this as a finisher and go a bit lighter on the last set. I like to hold/ pause the rep at maximum contraction for a couple of seconds just to feel the burn but really this is the beginning of the warm down so full motion is accentuated which leads into the stretching process.

Now we are done don’t forget to fully stretch. I find the most effective stretch after a back workout is ‘The Tree Hug’. If you join your hands together by interlinking the fingers and create a circle with your arms, imagine you are hugging a tree and stretch up down and all around.

And that’s that. Back peaks back…alright!!