Why Lockdown Was The Best Thing To Happen To My Gains

When The Pandemic really took its toll on New South Wales and forced businesses to close their doors, I was scared. Not because of the possibility of contracting said disease, nor because I wasn't sure when my next schooner on tap would come, but because I knew full well that I was going to come out of lockdown – which back then was anyone's guess as to when – an unhealthier, fatter, unhappier version of myself.

Why? Because barely a week after I finally found myself getting into a decent routine at the gym, and noticing results for what seemed like the first time in forever, The Virus hit. Talk about bad luck.

Obviously I was bombarded with articles relating to home workouts, hell, I even wrote a fair few myself. But did I take heed of my own advice? Did I f*ck.

As I’m sure is the case for many during the lockdown period, summoning the motivation to don your best gym gear, only to lunge, crunch and jump your way into better shape in your front room, was far easier said than done. There were far too many distractions facing my steadily-increasing midriff, especially since the suburb I live in wasn’t too strict on rules (not naming names, obviously. I'm loyal). I would still go outside for at least one coffee per day, and I did at least get into walking a few kilometres each day...but that only lasted around a week and a half.

Nearly two months into lockdown and I found myself staring at a figure that I remember describing to a friend as being “the worst shape of my life”. That may not have been strictly true, but it sure as hell felt like it.

So, how does that relate to the title of this article? Well, dear reader, it’s because as soon as the gym doors were flung open again, I knew I had to seize the opportunity to put right the copious amount of Dairy Milk consumed over the previous few months.

That’s exactly what I’ve done. It’s only been a few weeks since gyms were allowed to reopen in New South Wales, but I’ve been to three classes a week for all of them. I go to a class-based gym and my membership only allows for three per week, so no, I’m not slacking still.

As for my level of effort during the classes, well, I tried going full H.A.M (hard as a motherf*cker) during a HIIT class. At 5 am. On a Monday morning.

It was clear my fitness has taken some backwards steps.

More than just a couple of steps but several god damn kilometres. I was unfit to the point where I was close to vomiting. And that was from what would have been perceived as an ‘easy’ HIIT class.

That second wake up call gave me the motivation that I was severely lacking at home to do something about my level of fitness, as well as my aesthetic appearance (read: gains). I’ve already noticed differences since going to my classes and feel like I’m actually beyond the level of fitness that I entered lockdown with. Not to mention (well, actually, I'm pretty keen to mention) my burgeoning six-pack...

I’ve even signed up for extra personal training sessions, that’s how seriously I’m taking this whole shebang, because, as Victoria has recently proven, we're not out of the woods yet when it comes to The Virus, and those gym doors that I enter gleefully before 6 am each time may be forced to close once more.

I’ve never had any sort of ab definition, but with lucky bastards around me retaining theirs even with two months off and a likely increased amount of alcohol and junk food, I feel like I now deserve to have some of my own. This is just one of my goals, and going by some other strength-based classes, my whole upper body could do with a kick into shape.

Maybe, just maybe, I'll be in a similar shape to Zlatan when I reach his age.

But I'm more determined than ever to achieve these goals. So in many ways, I actually want to thank Wuhan. You might resent it, but me? Considering I can now commit to training and enjoy a schooner at the weekend, I'm pretty content.

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American Couple’s Incredible Fitness Transformation Proves The Power Of Simple Changes

The conversation around fitness and physical health has dramatically evolved in recent years, becoming more holistic and less narrowly focused on just 'gains' or losing weight.

That said, many Australians still struggle with their body image and self-satisfaction; we're still inundated with media that largely champions skinny (white) women and muscular men; dozens of diets, exercises and technologies spruiked as the silver bullet for fitness; and the ever-increasing franticness of our daily lives makes it harder than ever to fit exercise and dieting into our routine.

It's not all doom and gloom, however. If you cut through all the hype and hearsay, there are easily achievable ways to improve your fitness and transform your body.

One American couple's amazing transformation proves just that: through a combination of straightforward exercise routines, simple dieting and supporting each other's fitness goals, these young parents have turned their health around dramatically – and they're sharing how they did it with the world.

Danielle Rivoli, a young mum-cum-fitness blogger from Downstate New York, has garnered over 55,000 Instagram followers by documenting her and her husband's fitness journey, as well as her trials and tribulations as a mother of two. She recently posted a photo comparing her and her husband's physiques from before they started training to how they look now, and the results are shocking.

 

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A post shared by Danielle - PWR | Sweat (@raisingmeadowsage) on

"We aren’t trainers [and] we haven’t always been into fitness," Rivoli explains.

"We actually didn’t even go through our lifestyle changes together, Louis started on his CrossFit path a year after I started with Sweat [a popular fitness app]."

"We both had to be motivated on our own to start and be consistent. We had to break habits we made together and had developed from childhood, create new definitions and boundaries, break the chains of what weight loss and scales meant to us, really set small goals, and discover what works best for each of us."

"For me it was Sweat... the gym, treadmill HIIT and macro counting. For him it was CrossFit... community support, and a primarily paleo/high protein diet."

RELATED: This CrossFit Champion's Workout Routine Will Obliterate You... But Is Strangely Addictive

"We are normal people. And I say this only to stress that a huge lesson I learned is that you can be any version of fit that works for you. Not my version. Not a trainers version. Not societies version. But be you, with fitness as a part of your life," Rivoli relates.

The biggest takeaway from Danielle and Louis' transformation?

"We are normal people, with jobs, and kids and excuses. We aren’t naturally 'fit', but now fitness is apart of our nature. We decided to make time for ourselves and our health a priority, and the rest gradually happened [with] years of growth and learning between these photos, ups and downs."

It might be easy to scoff at Rivoli's platitudes but her and her husband's results speak for themselves. A source of inspiration for others looking to start their own fitness journey of self-improvement should be that none of the techniques the couple used are particularly inaccessible. HIIT, CrossFit, a high-protein diet... Sure, these require some adjustment to your weekly routine, but they aren't as insurmountable as other fitness fads out there.

The fact that both mum and dad follow different routines and have achieved similar results should also be a cause for optimism, as it proves that you don't need to follow some ultra-specific workout or diet. Nothing comes without effort, but even simple steps can make a big difference.

Rivoli's last word on the matter: "It most certainly was far from as easy as this photo may make it look, but the blood, sweat and tears are well worth the journey we each individually went through, and now we can’t envision it any other way!"

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Mark Wahlberg’s Latest Workout May Reveal The Secret To His Giant Pecs

Mark Wahlberg is one of the fittest men in Hollywood. The 49-year-old Boston native and star of films like Boogie Nights and Daddy's Home has a physique so sharp it could cut glass, and is widely regarded to have some of the best pecs in America.

Discovering the secret to Wahlberg's success would be like discovering a cure for baldness: men around the world would pay squillions to find out. Luckily, Wahlberg teases much of his exercise routine, regularly sharing on Instagram footage of his workouts from his palatial home gym.

Wahlberg's latest workout's got fitness fanatics scratching their heads, however. The bizarre-looking circuit, utilising a variety of novel fitness technologies, looks like the kind of thing a gym newbie would attempt. Yet if Wahlberg's testimony is anything to believe, it might just be the key to unlocking a ridiculous rig like his.

Wahlberg, with the assistance of F45 coach Shannon Helm (Wahlberg owns a minority stake in the Australian gym chain), can be seen doing one-legged pushups, his leg balancing on an exercise ball. If that wasn't hardcore enough, he's upped the ante by using Perfect Pushup handles on top of a Power Plate, whilst also wearing B Strong BFR armlets.

While the exercise looks a bit ridiculous and gimmicky, there might be some science to back up Wahlberg's claim that using these tools you can "cut your workout time in half...and get way more gains.”

 

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The Power Plate is an interesting piece of equipment that essentially uses vibrations to stimulate muscles to contract and relax as much as 30 more times a second than with normal exercise. While the science isn't settled on whether or not vibration plate equipment like the Power Plate can reduce recovery time, some fitness experts suggest that because it exercises multiple muscle groups at once, it can reduce how long you need to work out.

A professional-grade Power Plate like Wahlberg's is an expensive piece of kit – top of the line Power Plate models can cost up to $18,000 – although you can find cheaper vibration plate brands for sale that will achieve similar effects.

B Strong armlets are an example of BFR (blood flow restriction) technology. Also called occlusion training or hypoxi training, BFR's exactly what it sounds like: you intentionally restrict bloodflow to the parts of the body you want to work out in order to prevent blood leaving the muscles. The theory is that this forces muscles to grow quicker and can reduce recovery time. It's a potentially risky technique but there's plenty of evidence to support it.

Combining these technologies with a more traditional workout technique like pushups allows Wahlberg to effectively target specific muscle groups and hone his workout, reducing exercise and recovery time. You should always consult a PT or other health professional before jumping in and using these sorts of technologies, but it's hard to argue with Wahlberg's results.

Gimme another 20, Marky Mark.

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Sergio Ramos’ ‘Formula 1’ Workout Might Be The Secret To His Success

Pro footballers are athletes par excellence. You need otherworldly levels of speed, dexterity and strength to be able to play in one of the most competitive sports in the world.

Real Madrid's captain Sergio Ramos is no exception: the 34-year-old Spaniard's extreme athleticism and strong, vocal leadership has helped him lead his team to consistent success since his tenure, and Ramos is widely considered one of if not the best captain (as well as somewhat loose unit) in football today.

Another sport that perhaps counterintuitively requires similarly demanding levels of physical performance is Formula 1. It might be their cars that are doing the 'legwork', so to speak, but F1 drivers also need to be incredibly fit. Driving an open-cockpit car at average speeds of over 200km/h, pulling up to 6g's in corners with a need for constant needle-sharp focus places huge stresses on the human body: you need to be in peak physical condition in order to drive these insane machines.

Ramos' latest workout suggests that he's taken some inspiration from the training F1 drivers do, debuting a bizarre-looking head exercise that's not as strange as it appears to be, whilst captioning it, "This is the reason why... WORK!" apparently in reference to Madrid sitting pretty at the top of the table, one point clear of Barcelona (and with a game in hand).

 

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This is the reason why... WORK! #HalaMadrid 📽 @lukamodric10

A post shared by Sergio Ramos (@sergioramos) on

Head / neck exercises like this are crucial for F1 drivers to help build up muscle strength. When you're spending up to two hours pulling g's on dozens of corners every lap, you need to have a strong neck.

It's also useful for footballers looking to improve their header game. Ramos' game-making headed goal in the 93rd minute of Real Madrid's 2014 Champions League final match against Atlético Madrid is the stuff of legends – clearly, he wants to repeat the same magic again in 2020.

Real Madrid currently sits comfortably on top of the La Liga table with only four matches left in the 2019-2020 season. Ramos himself scored the winning goal in their 1-0 game against Athletic Bilbao last Sunday. With the Champions League Round of 16 on the horizon, Ramos is sure to want to stay in tip-top shape.

Australian F1 champ Daniel Ricciardo's also a fan of the old neck stretch, posting a photo of him doing a similar workout to Ramos. Ricciardo's been the talk of the F1 town recently, having announced he's moving from Renault to McLaren next year.

 

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Catching UFO’s and making my neck big & beautiful

A post shared by Daniel Ricciardo (@danielricciardo) on

Hopefully, both Ramos and Ricciardo's dedication to training pays off for both of them.

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Fitness Coach Explains ‘Muscle Memory’ Trick That Stops You Losing Gains

With all the crazy stuff going on in the world right now, you could be forgiven for not sticking to your workout routine – there's much bigger fish to fry.

Social distancing and lockdown have made it harder for the health-conscious to maintain our gains, with gyms and personal trainers only just starting to resume normal business here in Australia. That's to say nothing of the added stresses of working from home, looking for work or studying during this pandemic; the anxiety and mental toll of lockdown; or the economic belt-tightening that has made working out a challenge.

A common complaint people have made is about feeling guilty about letting their fitness slide during These Unprecedented Times. But maybe we shouldn't stress so much, as this Irish fitness expert sets the record straight on the science behind muscle loss and detraining.

Peter O'Reilly, an Irish personal trainer and mobility coach with a substantial social media following, shared some sage advice about detraining on his Instagram last week, which should be a cause for relief (and maybe even some inspiration) for any budding bodybuilder.

 

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Tag a Friend That's Worried About Losing Their Hard Earned Gainz - Follow @P.T.Pete for daily fitness/nutrition tips &education - Great post here by @muscleengineered - At this time, many of us are unable to get to the gym. It may not be such bad idea to take this time to give your body a rest. ⠀ The average time before muscle loss occurs is 2-3 weeks. Strength can be maintain for up to 4 weeks before it starts to decline. This is if you’re someone who is trained. If you were only training for a little bit and are now taking time off, you won’t have the same turn around. ⠀ The Science of Detraining You muscle fibers get bigger from training and subsequently gain more nuclei. Once you stop training, your nuclei don’t decrease that quickly. the nuclei help resist muscle loss. This is what we call “muscle memory”. ⠀ Point Where Muscle Loss Occurs 3-8 weeks is where the decline occurs. ⠀ The Science of Retraining Once it’s been about 2-3 weeks you can retrain and make your gains back fairly quickly in comparison to someone who has no training history. You won’t need to go through the process of forming new nuclei. ⠀ ⠀ The best way to also help in prevention of muscle loss is to keep up with your protein intake. Whole Foods is the best but I also suggest a high quality protein powder like @pescience if you struggle to get in enough protein. use code for 15% off your order ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ #backday #pullday #pullups #legday #quads #hamstrings #yoga #fitness #mobilitywod #flexibility #physicaltherapy #yogi #bodybuilding #weekendyoga #deadlift #hypertrophy #workout #yogaformen #physio #irishfitfam #idoportal #idoportalmethod #myodetox #shouldermobility #mobility #hipmobility #yogafit #stretchdaily⁣ #iifym #sportperformance ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ References Myonuclei acquired by overload exercise precede hypertrophy and are not lost on detraining by J.C. Bruusgaard et al Muscular characteristics of detraining in humans by Mjuika, Inigo et al

A post shared by Peter O Reilly FRCms P.T. (@p.t.pete) on

In short, if you're already in good shape and following a decent exercise regime, it shouldn't be too much of an issue to rebuild any muscle you lose. And besides, you only start losing muscle in a serious way after 3 weeks of not training.

As O'Reilly suggests, "many of us are unable to get to the gym [so] it may not be such bad idea to take this time to give your body a rest."

This isn't an excuse to slack off completely, however. We still need to make sure we're eating well and following other good habits e.g. good sleep hygiene, staying off the sesh, practicing mindfulness... Any really fit person will tell you that building a good physique is a holistic process: it's not just about training.

Once things approach something that more closely resembles 'normal', get back into the swing of things, and fingers crossed you'll be back on track to being swole in no time.

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38-Year-Old Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s Outrageous New Physique Proves Age Is Just A Number

Clowning Joe Hart. Teasing journalists. Sending defenders to go get hotdogs. Calling himself god. When it comes to football Zlatan Ibrahimovic talks a big game.

Generally speaking, he backs it up.

Physically, however, his rig has always been overshadowed by the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, much like his sense of style takes a back seat to David Beckham (to be fair, so does everyone's).

In terms of physique, however, the tables may have turned: Zlatan just posted a picture of his 38-year-old rig that not only rivals 35-year-old CR7 but also puts most 20-year-olds to shame.

 

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A post shared by Zlatan Ibrahimović (@iamzlatanibrahimovic) on

The post, captioned, "man's not hot," (a reference to a viral Big Shaq music video) was met with adulation and praise, from "Zlatan the god" to "bravo" to "come to Galatasaray."

There were a few snide comments too ("bra you are an old man and you are also poor") but generally, everyone was impressed at the almost-forty-year-olds insane physique.

Though he doesn't post training shots very often, Zlatan also recently gave us a (very short) glimpse at his training routine.

 

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A post shared by Zlatan Ibrahimović (@iamzlatanibrahimovic) on

Zlatan over the weekend returned from a calf injury and scored a penalty in AC Milan's 3-0 victory against Lazio.

Although the training appears to be paying off, many would argue the 38-year-old has little choice but to worship the gym and his body. After an ACL injury ended his time at Manchester United in 2017, the Swedish superstar flitted across the pond in a successful stint to LA Galaxy and then more recently moved to AC Milan.

 

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God and his students

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Rumour has it though that his AC Milan contract may not be extended at the end of this year, with Football Italia reporting that he's set to leave at the end of the season to join Swedish outfit Hammarby.

As Sport Bible reports, "Ibrahimovic re-joined Milan back in January and has scored four goals in 11 games since his San Siro comeback."

"However... the Swede's contract is up at the end of this season and it's unlikely he'll be offered a new deal," Sport Bible reports.

"His deal is expected to expire on August 31 with a move to Hammarby looking likely."

Whichever club Zlatan's at next year, comments from ex team mates (and the above Instagram pics) suggest he'll continue to be both a physical and mental inspiration – and continue to prove the studies that show age is (to a great extent) just a number correct.

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