LONDON FITNESS GUY X LAB SERIES

What is “health and fitness?” Well to me it consists of looking after your body – both inside and out! As a Personal Trainer, I support others in helping them to achieve their goals and at times it can be difficult to ensure I also look after myself. But whilst we take time to look after our bodies, we often fail to support and ignore our largest organ – our skin!

There is a clear relationship between the foods we eat and the health of our skin. During my teenage years my skin (like most teens) was prone to spot outbreaks and when I started shaving any troublesome areas were exasperated. It was then that I really began taking care of my skin and have not looked back since!. It is something that is really important to me and in my opinion, essential as we get older. We should be aware of foods that support our skin such as salmon, avocado, nuts, red peppers and broccoli which are great sources of Omega 3 Fatty acids, vitamin C and other minerals such as Zinc, Magnesium and folate.

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To me, this is all part of the bigger “health, happiness and fitness” picture and therefore I jumped at the opportunity to work with LAB SERIES as the face of their latest campaign for ‘Day Rescue Defense Lotion SPF 35.’ A little bit about the product? Well it’s a SPF 35 moisturizer to help combat the visible effects of sun damage, extreme climate and pollution/environmental damage. I have used LAB SERIES since I was 17 and have formed a regular routine consisting of their Multi-action Face Wash, Future Recur Repair Serum and a combination of moisturizing creams (MAX Lifting Lotion in the evening and Day Rescue Defense Lotion SPF 35 in the morning). The campaign itself followed a day in my life and the stresses that I put my skin through – from morning runs, transport between studios, teaching high intensity classes and obviously training myself! It is without doubt one of the most exciting projects I have been part of since making the jump into the health and fitness industry full time, and I am thrilled to share it with you.

So what goes on behind the scenes to produce a campaign? Well the day started pretty early – 6am to be precise! The team arrived at my home for hair and make up preparation, where the brilliant Enzo Volpe (@splitenz) talked to me about the LAB SERIES products he was using throughout the day to really bring out the best in my skin tone/quality. Hair and makeup perfected, we were ready to shoot! Outside it was literally freezing as we shot the campaign the day after the ‘Beast from the East’ turned London white with snow, so we really were put up against the stresses of the environment.

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We headed out to my local run route in Wandsworth, along the Thames to begin our filming with a film crew of around 6. It felt a little surreal having gone from working everyday 9-5 job last year to actually getting out and pursuing my passion and having it filmed for the day! We took some amazing shots and the snow actually made the video look so fresh and clean. Although it was challenging, I was really pleased having seen the final product. It made those pull-ups holding a freezing bar all worth it!

Outside shots complete, we then headed over to my place of work, KXU Studio in Sloane Square to get some typical shots of my Spin Class, PT session and also my own training time. It is crazy to think that a whole day of filming is required to produce just a 50 second clip. It is really tiring work shooting any campaign such as this, as its multiple shots of the same movement to make sure you have every angle covered. Bear in mind this included flipping an 80KG tyre (!!), so needless to say no further workout was required at the end of the day.

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Adam Slama (@adamslama) and his team did such an amazing job filming this piece and I really hope you agree that it is so well produced and created. Personal Training is always my core focus when it comes to work, but I am so proud and grateful to be able to work with brands such as LAB SERIES in producing this type of content. So, to finish and before you watch the final clip below, I wanted to thank the team for making it happen and you guys for supporting me on my social media channels to make this all possible! Enjoy x

Your chance to Win your own Day Rescue Defense Lotion SPF35!

Thank to the guys @labseries_uk,  I have 10 Day Rescue Defense Lotion SPF 35 to giveaway. It’s super easy to enter.

Head over to this Instagram post (https://www.instagram.com/p/BhFD0NvASwc/?hl=en&taken-by=london_fitness_guy) and comment with #OwnYourDay #freeprizedraw. Be sure to follow @labseries_uk too to fully qualify to enter! On the 6th April 2018, I’ll be selecting the 10 winners!

Entrants must be 18 or over.  Closing date 6th April. 

No purchase necessary.

Find full terms and conditions below.

For more information on LAB SERIES SKINCARE FOR MEN VISIT WWW.LABSERIES.CO.UK

Paid partnership with LAB SERIES Skincare for Men


MY DAY AS A VEGAN WITH THE NEW 'WICKED KITCHEN' BY DEREK SARNO IN COLLABORATION WITH TESCO (AD)

The rise of vegan followers over the last year or 2 has been incredible, with a significant portion of the UK population set to move away from animal based products in 2018. Previously, I have always relied on meats as core components to my diet, primarily due to lack of knowledge around alternatives and partly due to the lack of availability and accessibility of meat-free products. The introduction of the ‘Wicked’ Kitchen’ range from Derek Sarno to Tesco really highlights how important this diet has become and how sustainable it can be.

I think it would be very difficult to wake up in the morning and decide you aren’t going to eat meat from that moment on (although I am sure many people have done this and succeeded!). It seems the general approach is a bit like changing any diet, you gradually phase out meat-based foods until you become less reliant on them. I have never gone ‘meat-free’ so, as a part of my own test, I wanted to try a day as a Vegan. I used the ‘Wicked Kitchen’ range throughout my day and focused particularly on taste and convenience. I wanted to review whether my diet felt compromised and if I would really notice the change.

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I kept the majority of options in line with the types of foods I would usually eat day to day. Breakfast was the same for me, oats with almond milk and for snacks I had my usual nuts, fruits and added dairy free yoghurt. Due to my schedule, the hardest part for me when it comes to diet is finding those balanced, convenient meals on the the go. Thankfully, there is always a Tesco Express nearby and one right around the corner from my place of work - so I purchased 3 meals for the day.

1: Rainbow Curry Bowl

2. Kung Fu Bowl

3. Smashin’ Pumpkin Falafel Sandwich

Training for a Marathon, I eat quite a lot! A typical day for me involves plenty of carbs or fats so working the diet around my goals was quite straight forward. As 'on the go' meals, I was impressed by the nutritional breakdown of the meals I selected. The Rainbow Curry Bowl and Kung Fu Bowl in particular contained 350 kcal’s or less and were low in both sugar and salt.

When it comes to taste, I am a lover of Indian food so the Rainbow Curry bowl was always going to be a hit for me. I was pleasantly surprised as I didn't miss the meat at all - the bhajis and chickpeas where a great alternative. I always thought and previously had been one to say, “but don’t you miss the meat?” but I have to admit that I really didn’t. It was similar when it came to the Kung Fu Bowl, the tofu was a replacement for the chicken I would usually have, and I came away having enjoyed my lunch.

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When it comes to post-workout or post-run, I like to refuel with carbs so chose to have the 'Smashin Pumpkin Falafel' Sandwich, which also has 16g protein so great for the protein-hit too! Again, the convenience was key for me as there is nothing worse than preparing a meal starving after a run or a big workout! One thing I really noticed whilst trying these meals is the thought and planning that must have gone in to creating them and making them enjoyable for everyone. The falafel was a different (for me) but great sandwich filler!

Overall, I was really impressed by the Wicked Kitchen Range and I genuinely believe that this introduction is a HUGE step towards making Veganism more accessible. I think it will also help other chains recognise the importance of accommodating for Vegan lifestyles. Yes my diet is not 100% meat-free, but making small changes is a big step in the plant-based direction for me which is personally, a big achievement. Will I eventually go vegetarian or vegan? Who knows, but I am definitely more open to the idea which really does show how this lifestyle is becoming achievable and sustainable. Check out the full WICKED RANGE range by clicking here:

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James Stirling
MY DAY AS A VEGAN WITH THE NEW 'WICKED KITCHEN' BY DEREK SARNO IN COLLABORATION WITH TESCO (AD)
MY DAY AS A VEGAN WITH THE NEW 'WICKED KITCHEN' BY DEREK SARNO IN COLLABORATION WITH TESCO (AD)

The not-so-healthy side of health and fitness

THE UGLIER SIDE OF THE FITNESS INDUSTRY

I have been involved in the Fitness industry for a good 7 now years now. What started off as a hobby at university became a passion, and then a career having recently made the jump into self-employed life as a Personal Trainer. What’s great about my journey in fitness is that I have literally tried to reach every possible goal. Growing up I was always the skinny guy at school who wanted to be bigger, until I got to university and gained far too much weight living off a diet of cheap alcohol and microwave meals. It wasn’t until I turned 21 that I decided I wanted to drop the pounds and try my luck in a Fitness competition, the type whereby you tan, wear short shorts and strike a pose of two in front of judges.

Over the years I have experienced the shift in fitness trends and through this time, changed my own perceptions of health and fitness. I want to reinforce the term ‘health and fitness’ - as surely health should be the priority, right? But what about when Fitness is taken to the extreme? In this article, I want to address my experiences of training, diets and fitness practices and share the uglier side of the industry. I want to open up about some of the struggles I have faced.

When I first decided to compete, it was completely unknown to me the pressure I would be putting my body under to look muscular whilst maintaining incredibly low body-fat. Over a course of 3 years, I competed 3 times and each time began to question why I was doing this to myself. I was blinded by the idea that winning a competition would catapult me to sponsorship and fitness recognition! Don’t get me wrong, I maintain the upmost respect for anybody that does compete in competitions, and by writing this I absolutely do not want to take the hard work away from anybody.

During this time, my diet became more and more regimented, living life out of a tupperware box, eating meat for breakfast and cracking more eggs than a baker! I love routine in my life so the training aspect was actually very enjoyable - up early for a morning walk before breakfast and then training after work in the evenings. In the lead up to my first competition, I actually felt great until about 4 weeks before the date (or ‘4 weeks out’ in the fitness world!). What didn't feel great was the anxiety and guilt I would feel - I became a recluse. No drinking or eating out and feeling extremely disappointed in myself and concerned about how I would look if I ate anything unhealthy. Over this 3 year period, I actually thought this was ‘all part of the process’ and every time someone said it wasn't ‘normal’, I just thought ‘they are just jealous they can’t do it.’

Looking back, I was trapped in a bubble. I would have ‘cheat meals’ each week, whereby I would consume ridiculous quantities of junk food until I had stomach cramps. Every morning, I would look in the mirror and think that I needed to be leaner, bigger, wider, thicker. Ironically, I never thought to myself I wanted to be healthier or fitter - yet this is health and fitness!

The issue with what I had done, is that I had created ‘norms’ for myself through social media and disregarded anybodies concerns for my behaviours. I was suffering. It took some time for me to start shifting my attitudes and food behaviours. I slowly started to introduce ‘normal’ foods into my diet and live less from the tupperware. I am not saying food preparation is ‘bad’ by any means - in fact I think its great to be organised and maintain a healthy diet. But, these behaviours where not healthy. I realised that actually, I could look fit and healthy whilst enjoying the finer things in life.

I don’t know what it was that finally broke the bubble I was in - perhaps it was when I moved to London and realised that there was far more to life than what I was currently living! My whole ethos with my training today is balance. I know this is a term that is thrown around so freely, but balance to me simply means enjoying life, sacrificing somethings but not everything and maintaining a guilt free approach to diet. Don't get me wrong, I work hard in the gym, I run, cycle and generally I am very active, but I would say my diet is 70% healthy. If I want a drink, dessert or a meal out I enjoy it!

The fitness industry is great and I love the work I do, but at times the line between healthy and unhealthy can become blurred at the top end of the spectrum as well as at the bottom. Don't become trapped in the bubble - lift but live!

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MY FIRST BLOG POST! GRAINS & GAINS

THE FIRST BLOG POST! SO KICKING IT OFF WITH A BIT OF NUTRITION AND A RECIPE WITH A BIT OF SPICE

So having NEVER done a blog post before, I thought it was about time I included some content on my website. So heres my first mini post talking about the power of grains and my sheer love for turkey breast as the protein source to my plate. I want to keep my blog posts short and informative so that you don't get bored half way through and give up reading what is hopefully useful information. So here goes...

      Grains: what are they and why are they good for me?

Grains are an excellent source of fibre and a key source of nutrients such as riboflavin, niacin, magnesium and iron. What does that mean? Well, fibre is essential for regulating bowel function and supports your body in feeling full without the additional calories (result!). B-Vitamins such as niacin, riboflavin help the body release energy from protein, fat and carbohydrates and play a key role in regulating a healthy metabolism. So how about Iron? Iron is used to carry oxygen in the blood. For Vegetarians out there, it can be difficult to achieve the RDI (recommended daily intake) of iron, and therefore the addition of grains to the diet helps you hit that intake! Grains have been suggested to support weight management and reduce the risk of constipation, so get 'em down you!

SO how about that Turkey Breast? 

Turkey?...Chicken? Whats the difference? Like Chicken, Turkey is a great source of protein which we all know supports muscle repair (great post-workout!). White meat is lower in fat than red meat, and Turkey just so happens to consist of 70% white and 30% red meat! Great for the muscles, but what else? Well Turkey breast also contains the amino acid tryptophan, the producer of Serotonin which supports a strong immune system. So actually, eating Turkey in the winter is not only festive, but also helps your body fight off the winter cold and flu. All in all, the difference between Turkey and Chicken is marginal - however Turkey does boast a higher amino acid profile, higher % protein and lower fat. It can also be purchased in its minced form, which makes it perfect for Turkey Chilli's or turkey meatballs.

So finally, how about a recipe?

Mexican Turkey and Grains

1 x Lime (squeezed)

150g Turkey Breast

Chilli Flakes

A squeeze of Tomato Puree

and Garlic Puree

Pepper

1/2 teaspoon Chilli Powder

Mix it all together and cook in coconut oil in a pan

Add 125g (half a bag) of Merchant Gourmet Spanish Style Grains

Top with coriander

Cooking time: 15 minutes