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Saturday, 28 February 2015

How To Crank Up Your Metabolism

Don’t settle for a sluggish system. Boost your calorie-burning superpowers with these expert tips to burn fat 24/7.

Woman kick boxing
Have you ever watched a slim woman wolf down a giant bag of Kettle Chips and then wondered where she puts it all?
Well, she doesn’t put it anywhere. More likely she has a Maserati-fast metabolism that incinerates fat before it has had chance to latch on to her thighs.
Of course, to some degree our bodies hum along at a preset speed determined by gender and genetics – but there’s still plenty of wiggle room. In fact, you can rev up your metabolism to burn around an extra 500 calories every day simply by making a few pain-free lifestyle swaps.
“You actually have a huge amount of control over your metabolic rate,” says John Berardi, author of The Metabolism Advantage. While peoples’ metabolism typically nose-dives with age (see below), studies show that you can limit that decline to as little as 0.3% per decade – without gruelling daily sweat sessions and extreme diets.
Here we reveal the experts’ metabolism-stoking tips to help you fire up your body’s internal inferno and scorch through fat.


Metabolic Rating: 3
Eat a decent breakfast. Every. Single. Day. If you don’t, your metabolism goes into starvation mode (it’s paranoid like that) and slows to a crawl. In fact, research published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found testers who ate no less than 22% and up to 55% of their total daily calories at breakfast gained only 1.7lb on average over four years. But those who ate less than 11% of their calories first thing gained nearly 3lb. See the pattern there?

Crank it up: Go for morning munchies that are slow to digest. Try a mix of lean protein with complex carbohydrates and healthy fats. Berardi recommends an omelette made with one egg and two egg whites, plus a handful of sliced mixed peppers and onions. Follow that with a small bowl of porridge topped with a handful of frozen berries and 3tbsp of omega-3-loaded flaxseed (try Linwoods, £5 for 425g from Tesco). Great, now you’re firing on all cylinders.
Metabolic rating: 2
Rejoice, caffeine addicts. According to a study in the US journal Physiology & Behavior, the metabolic rate of people who regularly drank caffeinated coffee was an average of 16% higher than those who drank decaf. “Caffeine stimulates your central nervous system by increasing your heart rate and breathing,” says Robert Kenefick, a research physiologist at the US Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine. We won’t argue with that, Sir.

Crank it up: Follow your morning cup of the black stuff with an ice-cold glass of water. Researchers at the University of Utah found just drinking one glassful can raise your body’s metabolic rate by up to 30 per cent and keep it raised for around 10 minutes. The theory is your body has to burn extra calories to maintain its core temperature. Get your recommended eight glasses a day.
Metabolic rating: 3
Swap hours on the treadmill for the Tabata Method. This school of exercising is all about fast and furious intervals – 20 seconds of gut-wrenching effort followed by 10 seconds of rest, repeated a total of eight times over four minutes. Studies have shown working out this way is as effective at boosting your metabolism as much longer lower-intensity sweat sessions.

Crank it up: Geoff Bagshaw, a trainer at Equinox gyms, has come up with this three-move sequence. Do as many reps as you can of the first exercise in 20 seconds, rest for 10 seconds, then repeat eight times. Rest for two minutes, then do it again for the other two exercises. Got it?

Lunge with a bicep curl: Holding dumbbells at your sides, step back into a lunge, curling the weights up to your shoulders. Repeat on other leg. That’s one.
Squat overhead press: Hold your dumbbells at shoulder height, arms bent, and lower into a squat. Now raise the weights to the ceiling as you push back up.
Push-ups: You know this one. Assume push-up position, bend arms and lower.
Metabolic rating: 3
To slim down, pile your plate with protein. Regular large helpings will help you build and maintain lean muscle. And we all know muscle burns more than fat by now, right? Aim for 30g of protein – that’s 250g of low-fat cottage cheese or 100g of chicken breast – at each meal.

Crank it up: Chase your meal with a cup of green tea. “It’s the closest thing to a metabolism potion,” says Tammy Lakatos Shames, co-author of Fire Up Your Metabolism. In tests, people who consumed three to five cups a day for 12 weeks shed an average of 4.6% of their total body weight. Another study found having two to five cups a day torched an extra 50 calories a day. Not bad. Try Clipper organic green tea. To really go for the burn, down it two hours after eating. Research shows it can increase breakdown of fat by a third. Now go forth and burn.


Beat the downshift in metabolism that creeps up along with those laughter lines. With each passing decade, your metabolism slows down by about 5%. Ouch. Hormones are partly to blame, but so is the typical drop-off in physical activity. As a result you lose muscle mass, a major calorie consumer. So by the time you hit 35, you’ll burn about 75 fewer calories a day than you did at 25, and by age 65, it’s a hefty 500 fewer, says Dr Madelyn Fernstrom, author of The Real You Diet. But don’t panic. You can outsmart Mother Nature with the tips above. A warning: here’s what happens if you don’t.

20s: Your muscle and bone mass are at their peak and your metabolism should be firing on all cylinders. Enjoy it while you can.
30s: Your body’s cellular powerhouses, the mitochondria, start to get less effective at turning food into energy for your muscles to burn.
40s: The decline continues as your oestrogen levels go into free fall, further slowing your metabolism and causing belly fat.
By Jen Ator

Monday, 12 January 2015

Personalised Dietary Plan

In search of a personalised diet

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Spartan Beast Trifecta


Spartan Beast at Pippingford Park, Nutley was the venue for the gruelling last race of the Spartan Race Obstacle racing season.
The course was very muddy and full of hills, various weight carries, punishing obstacles and water crossings.
My back decided to call it quits after 1.5 miles

It took me nearly 5 hours of cursing, grimacing, hopping and being offered help by many amazing racers to make it around the course.
A big thanks to everyone that helped drag me out of bogs, ditches and offered me support (as they ran past).
It was all worth it as I crossed the finish line a member of the Trifecta family, having completed the Spartan Race Sprint, Super and Beast in one race season.

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Obstacle course medal hanger

Obstacle course medal hanger has arrived.
Now I just have to complete the Spartan Beast and claim my Trifecta.

'just, have to...'

It seemed like a good idea, 10 months ago when the training began. Now with a week to go and reality dawning, it's more than a little scary.
"Legs don't fail me now".

#SpartanBeast #Trifecta

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Training lacking direction? Set yourself a goal and deadline.

There are lots of reasons why you decide to do something that will challenge you mentally and physically.
  • Reducing body fat
  • Testing your fitness
  • To focus your traininng
  • Overcome adversity
  • Challenge yourself to something extraordinary....

The prospect of entering your first obstacle course race is a great motivational tool that will get you off your couch, focused on your training and make positive life changes.

Will I be able to finish the race?

 The Spartan Sprint is a 5k muddy ostacle course with 10 or more obstacles. This is an excellent starting point in obstacle course racing. Participants range from marathon runners, elite racers, tough guys and gals to first timers with little or no previous fitness experience. Elite runners tend to finish the course in about 45 minutes whilst absolute beginners with a low level of fitness can expect to take 2.5 hours.
99.9% of all people who enter a Spartan Sprint will finish!

What training do I need to do?

For the Spartan Sprint, race participants should aim for at least 3 training sessions a week.
For the Spartan Super or Spartan Beast you will need 5 training sessions a week covering total body strength, functional movement, flexibility and endurance.
  • A long run of approximately 8k or 5 miles
  • Hill runs and sprint circuits
  • Total body training with an emphasis on the upper body and core strength.
The long run, hill running and sprints will prepare your legs for the Spartan Race hills, muddy terrain, water wading and any climbing, pulling and pushing obstacles.
Women especially need to focus on upper body strength training as they are generally weaker in this area.

Performing exercise circuits that work the arms, shoulders, chest, back and core muscles will prepare you for the demands of the obstacles.
Devise a circuit that includes exercises such as: explosive press ups, tricep dips, inverted pull ups, jump or assisted pull ups, medicine ball slams, shoulder press, wood chops and hanging knee raises.
Doing total body functional exercises such as burpees, bear crawls, crab and gorilla walks helps to greatly strenghen the body, increase your fitness and flexibility.

Don't like running? - then crawl


People are put off from entering races because they hate running. I fully understand this hatred of pounding the pavement or even worse clocking up the miles on a treadmill. I tend to put the headphones on and run through the leafiest green space I can find.

 If this doesn't appeal you can still get your leg training done so you are ready for race day. There are numerous exercises you can do that will help you develop the kind of leg strength necessary to overcome the muddy hill runs. Try and add some of these into your routines:
  • burpees
  • squats and jump squats 
  • lunges, pulsing lunges and split lunges
  • mountain climbers and squat thrusts
  • skipping
  • Step ups 
  • To increase the difficulty of these exercises hold a medicine ball/, dumbbells or wrist/ankle weights whilst performing them.                                                                                                                                                            

What obstacles will there be?

Spartan Race are very secretive about the obstacles in upcoming races and course maps are not made available to participants before race day. The main stay obstacles are the hills, rope climb, monkey bars, hills, barbed wire crawl, wall climbs, hills, cargo net climb, spear throw, did I mention the hills?
It is beneficial to practice floor movements such as the bear crawl, rolling and crab walk and to train for pulling, pushing, lifting, throwing, crawling, climbing and hanging. 

If you fail to complete an obstacle you will have to undergo the Spartan Race penalty.

 Scared of getting hurt

The risk of injury can be greatly reduced by effective training. Increasing your balance/ stability, muscular strength and aerobic fitness. Spartan Race hold training camps across the country that will instruct you into how to safely prepare for and overcome the obstacles in any Spartan Race. 

What clothes do I need to wear?

If your wearing shorts go for light water-wicking shorts that have a drawstring waist tie. It is hard enough trying to drag yourself out of muddy bogs without your shorts halfway down your hips or thighs.
Compression tops and leggings keep you cool in hot weather and warm in the cold. The compressive nature of the materials also help to reduce muscular injury, limit swelling and reduces the time needed for muscles to recover following exercise. They will also protect you from the scratches and scrapes that can happen during crawling and climbing etc.
Gloves will protect your hands from chaffing on rope climbs, pushing and pulling obstacles as well as when you have to crawl across rough ground.
Opt for a pair of trail shoes will give you good traction, are light in weight and allow the water to quickly drain out of the shoe. This will help to stop you slipping down muddy banks, losing your footing on hill climbs and getting blisters.
Avoid cotton and pockets at all costs; cotton will act as a sponge and will become very heavy and pockets unless zipped shut will quickly be filled with water and mud.

What do I do now?

The first races this year are not until August so there is still plenty of time to enter and get training.
  1. Register for your Spartan Race event and enter code 2toughenup during checkout to claim your 10% discount
  2. Book your place at a Spartan Race training camp. You will learn the three Spartan Training core elements, Spartan Race FitSpartan Race SafeSpartan Race Ready.
  3. Subscribe to Spartan Race Workout of the Day and receive daily workout routines direct to your inbox.
  4. Get training
  5. Run your race, facebook your pictures, tell your friends and motivate others to get off the couch and change their lives for the better.


Photos courtesy of Epic Action Imagery

fficials just told me it is actually measuring around 5.3 miles today.”
Keep in mind, I am not a long distance runner, so the whole 5.3 mile thing was not what I wanted to hear…  Oh well, time to man up…
You’ll Know at the Finish Line. Sign up for a Reebok Spartan Race Today!

The Obstacles:

I may end up missing some of the obstacles, but here are the ones that stood out:


  • The race started with a jump into the Moats.  Basically mud pits filled with water…
  • We then had to jump a couple 6 foot walls, crawl under walls, and go through holes in walls…
  • Then came the monkey bars…
  • Possibly one of the most difficult obstacles was the 100 feet we had to crawl up an extremely muddy hill, under barbed wire the whole way!  It was so muddy that you could not get good traction and the mud really held you back…
  • There were numerous areas where we were trekking through the creek, falling into deep areas of water, climbing muddy mounds and then dropping into more water…

Mid Race:

  • There was an area where we had to jump two 6 foot walls, followed by a 7 foot wall, and then try to spiderman our way across a plywood wall with 2×4′s screwed to it…
  • Then came the cargo net cross, climbing 30 feet up a cargo net, across a suspended cargo net, and back down the other side.
  • Then came the slippery, muddy, rope climb.
  • Followed by Spearman…  Where we had to throw a spear into a bail of hay and make it stick.
  • Then came the most difficult of trails, with extremely steep hills.
  • There was a point where we had to drag a 35 pound block on a chain through a little loop course.
  • We then had to use a rope and pulley to pull a weight 20 feet in the air and back down.

Home Stretch:

  • Then came a grueling sand bag carry about 100 yards down a hill and then back up again…
  • Tried our balance at the stump walk…  No dice…
  • More f**king hills…  Followed by a dip back into some cold, muddy water…  Which then led to a “victory run” around a lake.
    • At this point I and two other guys on my team started getting cramps in our calves.  It was almost the same exact time…  The only thing I could think was the cold water, followed by the run started to make my calves cramp up…
  • We then got around the lake and had to jump into 5 foot deep water, cross, and climb up a barbed slip wall.
  • That then led to the famous “fire jump” and finished with a clash of the Gladiators who smack you with one of those giant q-tips from the American Gladiator show
After plowing your way through the Gladiators, at the finish line they place your medal around your neck, refuel your body at the banana table, and grab some water.
Now, take that free beer ticket that they gave you upon registration AND GO DRINK A BEER!  You have earned it…
They do have “showers” which is just a row of garden hoses and some VO5 shampoo…
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