Every Man needs a Gym Plan

Gym Plans

You may feel comfortable in your skin and not have any worries about your health whether you have an ailment/injury or not but in no man in the should be walking around without a gym plan or schedule in his weekly diary.

A gym plan or exercise/physical activity schedule could be anything from walking an extra 25 to 40 minutes per day, swimming twice a week, going to the athletics track, fitting in a few gym sessions, going to your circuit training group sessions or martial arts classes week to week.

In one of the most technologically advanced and financially strong societies being the United Kingdom, we have a lot of fitness avenues open to us. However, obesity is on the increase and many avoidable illnesses plague us while we generally have the means to avert them.

It’s a common occurrence that when January comes about many people join their local gym with the goal of getting into shape. They have good intentions but don’t take their thinking past “get fit”. What is fit? How will you know you are fit once you get past two months working out regularly?

A schedule of physical activity is a must-have, setting out what you’ll do, for how long, what the future steps will be and so on. This schedule doesn’t have to be gym based as explained above. The key thing is to work your heart, muscles and respiratory system regularly.

A father, son or husband that looks after his health will be encouraging those around him to do the same through his actions. A leader does so through action as well as speech.

If you’re sick and tired of being sick and tired get in contact with me, links below, we’ll design a gym plan that meets your specific health and fitness needs. Don’t forget to like this post and find us through our social links.

Strength and Wisdom: The Old Medicine

The Old Medicine 8 Week Programme

Strength in my view is much like wisdom. Wisdom is to do the right or appropriate thing in its correct time. I believe Strength is to use power in its appropriate capacity at the correct time.

Criterion Fitness and Nutrition are all about getting men fitter for life, the ability to move and do what is needed exactly when it is needed.

Mankind was created to be needy of provision and Allah (azza wa jal) has provided us with the sustenance we need to live. He also put tests in place and junk food is definitely a test for many of us. If you have issues with weight but don’t feel comfortable going to a gym that is an issue you don’t need to worry about.

The Old Medicine is an 8 Week Weight-loss programme for men, designed by a Level 2 Instructor and 3 Nutritional Adviser, Hanif Abu Hafs. We design workout plans for home or the gym and teach you all you need to know about food that will help you lose weight and maintain a balanced diet you’re happy with.

Physical activity, good and clean wholesome food, these are two aspects that earlier generations knew all too well. Today’s life is much different and because of the changes in modern society, we aim to counteract the spiral we are generally in and if you’re a father you may relate to this. Who would want their family to suffer from high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, joint pains?

The information you’ll learn will be information you can teach to your family and friends. Help yourself and help others by jumping on this 8 Week programme. Leave us a message [Here], follow our social platforms and sign-up to our mailing list.

Going to the Gym? You’ll need…

Every man is different, has different fitness goals as well as dietary needs so the things you need in your gym bag will also vary to the next man. However, there are a few standard things no gym bag should go without no matter your pursuit in exercise.

Covid-19 is still around but the gyms are now open so I’ve revised this article to include some hygiene essentials to keep you out of the hospital and under the bar.

In no particular order…

Gym Membership: You’ll save yourself a lot of money if you intend to be regular upon exercise if you get yourself a gym card/ membership log-in. You could be involved in Tennis, Football, Martial Arts, Archery, general resistance training and cardiovascular training in a gym. Save more, knowing you will attend.

What you need in your gym bag – the essentials.

Bag: Depending on the activity you may need a big bag or a small bag but what’s an active man if his not passing-by with a bag! Some sports like Cricket have specialised bags that can hold your bat and pads, martial arts participants may have a larger than average rucksack for spare Kimonos and the Gym goer may have as little as a string bag.

Gym Towel: This is a must-have when you’re in a resistance-based gym room or using cardiovascular machines. The amount of sweat machines can be covered in day-by-day can decrease the life of hand grips and so-on. Its unsightly and inconsiderate for the other gym users to use a machine you’ve left sweat all over so bring a towel with you so you can keep the equipment fresh (or use towels provided if possible). 

Wear the right trainers for your fitness goals.

Trainers: Wearing sport/activity specific footwear will give you the added comfort and support you need. These days it’s easy to find footwear for sport so no matter your budget you’ll be sure to find something to suit your needs.

Change of clothes/ t-shirt: After killing it in the gym the last thing you want to do is walk-out feeling and looking soggy. A change of clothes or at least a top will save you a bit of embarrassment. You may also want to spray deodorant and perfume so you don’t smell like death.

Reusable Water bottle: Staying hydrated will help you keep going throughout your activity. However, Magnesium and Sodium levels reduce through sweating and drinking a lot of water could further reduce your levels so think of drinking sports drinks or adding a tablet with electrolytes rather than water alone. This will help your levels get back up and reduce fatigue and/or blackouts.

Bluetooth headphones

Headphones: Bluetooth headphones are ideal for the very active training days that require explosive and ballistic movements but if your the weight-room beast you’d be able to get away with over-ear headphones.

As I said at the beginning one mans gym bag could be totally different to the next mans due to his specific goals. Above are just a few things you may need to check-list before you get to your exercise session. 

Yes, we’re still in Covid-19 territory so don’t forget the following…

Anti-bacterial hand gel: To cut the risk of catching Coronavirus it makes sense to keep a small bottle of hand gel and use it throughout your training session as you move around the gym.

Face mask & Gym gloves: Machine washable masks and gloves make real sense in these times and you can get stylish with them as well. Reduce the chances of catching and/or spreading the coronavirus with these essential gym bag inclusions.

Don’t forget a gym lock!

Why Circuit Training keeps up the Pace

In this article, we’ll discuss the ever-popular form of exercise that is Circuit Training and why it’s still a major mover from gym-to-gym and park-to-park.

Thanks for taking time out from your busy life to read what I hope will inspire and motivate you on your fitness/health journey. My name’s Hanif and I’m a Fitness Instructor, Nutritional Adviser and I’m currently furthering my knowledge as a Personal Trainer.

If you’ve got a gym membership and have already found yourself to the gym since they resumed on the 25th July then, well done. If you’ve not been in yet or don’t have a membership but want to get training then, let me say a few words to help you get in there.

Some people won’t let up or give in. During this whole Covid-19 issue I’ve seen soo many people killin’ it in the local park and it was encouraging to see families, men and women taking the time to stay active. I noticed groups of people and sole individuals working out and I was impressed by the dedication many of the people in the local community place on staying fit and healthy.

“Maybe it was down to good coaching, a feeling of inclusion, the price they paid to be in the group…”

Before Covid-19 happened I was looking at the next few course modules I’d pick for my Personal Training Learning and Circuit Training won me over just from me seeing how happy and motivated the people were that I’d seen in the park. Maybe it was down to good coaching, a feeling of inclusion, the price they paid to be in the group…I have no idea but it was motivating enough for me to share this.

Circuit Training was first developed by R.E. Morgan and G.T. Anderson in 1953 at the University of Leeds, to allow exercise participants to work out at their own pace whilst gaining the benefits of working out with other people.

Example Circuit.

Circuit Training has different definitions to that of the 1950s but the core aspects are still in place. As a basic breakdown, it is…

“several carefully selected exercises arranged consecutively.” 

This form of training is very popular today, even with army forces because strength, agility, endurance, balance and coordination can all be put out there for your training partners to see. That’s right, you may feel uncomfortable at first doing this kind of training but if situated with likeminded individuals and with a focus of why you’re training, there’s no need to be sad over anything.

What makes Circuit training so good for your body is that you can combine strength gains with cardiovascular endurance which will generate better health throughout your body. Also, you don’t need to be in an enclosed environment – you can train in the park, a car park, on the beach the list goes on. But if muscular development is what you’re after then strength training doing a gym circuit is a great way to go.

Many forms of training are fighting for your attention from the Peloton movement, F45 and CrossFit, many of them utilising the simplicity of circuits. It’s the ease of circuits that keep this form of training going. I will inshaAllah (God willing) be aiming to set-up circuit training sessions for men in the local area. It’s fun, builds a community spirit, adaptable to every individual and capable of helping anyone reach the health and fitness goals their shooting for.

If you benefitted from this post, have questions or would like more information on this form of training and when I’ll be teaching, drop a message [Here] and I will be in touch.

Related articles:

https://criterionfit.com/2020/07/03/what-are-sedentary-and-healthy-lifestyles/

https://criterionfit.com/2020/06/24/core-strength-a-routine-for-stamina/

https://criterionfit.com/2020/06/11/is-strength-training-for-you/

https://criterionfit.com/2020/05/04/20-minute-workout-with-the-basics-only/

https://criterionfit.com/2020/03/13/my-top-5-sculpting-exercises-to-do-every-morning-to-build-a-strong-and-balanced-body/

https://www.coachmag.co.uk/tags/circuit-training

Images found via google images, they are not my own.

Why Training on Coffee & Caffeine is Supercharged

NOTE – In this article, we’ll explore the world of coffee and why you can expect to get in the best training sessions whilst on the elixir. If you aren’t used to drinking coffee or Pre-workouts seek advice before starting due to Caffeines potent effects on the body and mind, now lets get it!

Double Shot Espresso – A potent hit of Caffeine

I’ve loved Coffee ever since I worked in a coffee shop in the West End of London; I’ve had a taste for a Mocha, Espresso, Black Americano or Iced coffee in the heat of the summer. So it’s my pleasure to tell you some of the known bodily benefits of coffee, so get the kettle on and prepare to brew that chocolate coloured wonder drink.

‘Caffeine has been used by endurance athletes for a long time to help them stay alert on those long runs.’

Pre-workouts Loaded with Caffeine

Going hard in the Gym:

So have you ever wondered why your gym workouts have you feeling like you’re the chief Silverback Gorilla in the Jungle when you’ve been on the coffee? It’s the Caffeine bro. 

Yeah, you’ve heard of it and likely drunk it in a fizzy drink and tea among other things. Caffeine has been used by endurance athletes for a long time to help them stay alert on those long runs. The morning kick we all need at times comes due to caffeine’s ability to stimulate the hormone adrenaline linked to the bodies ‘fight or flight’ response so now you know why you beat up the rowing machine like that! Caffeine also has an effect on muscle contraction, helping in strength and power-based activities like weight training.

Tracking down the Free Radicals:

Coffee contains Polyphenols which are antioxidants. These antioxidants scavenge free radicals that oxidize (destroy tissue and DNA). Increasingly scientific researchers are recommending drinking a few cups of coffee per day just for this reason.

Other suggested benefits of drinking coffee include:

heart health

lower risk of heart attacks and stroke

lowers levels of liver disease

Caffeine boosts cell function

Caffeine can be used  as a Fat burner

Research into this age-old drink shared to the world via Muslim roots is still ongoing but it isn’t hard to find benefit in the drink (I say this at 3.30 am – living proof). If you’re not used to drinking coffee be cautious of filling your cup up too high until you know what your body can handle. Drinking too much coffee can be dangerous to your health, just like anything, a balance should be applied.

If you’d like to tell me what you thought of this post, if you benefited, liked it please leave a comment and share it. To get in contact with regards to your nutritional and fitness goals [Email Here].

Top Companies selling Premium Coffee:

https://www.qahwahclub.com/

https://www.whittard.co.uk/

Pre-workout Supplements to Consider:

https://www.myprotein.com/sports-nutrition/the-pre-workout/11351672.html

https://www.theproteinworks.com/genesis-preworkout

https://www.hollandandbarrett.com/shop/product/grenade-50-calibre-pre-workout-berry-blast-60002905?skuid=002905

Past Articles to Read:

https://criterionfit.com/2020/07/13/do-you-need-bcaas-protein-powder-or-to-eat-eat-eat/

https://criterionfit.com/2020/06/29/you-need-more-protein/

https://criterionfit.com/2020/06/08/dates-workout-food-with-added-benefits/

https://criterionfit.com/2020/05/11/pre-workouts-and-the-alternatives/

https://criterionfit.com/2020/04/02/food-a-cure-for-stress/

What you Eat vs. How much you Eat

Eat Well Guide

When the time comes around to set the table and knockback your favourite munch you may be under the illusion that the size of the pie is what counts i.e. the more you eat the worse-off you’ll be when you step on the scales. And in reality how much you eat of can have negative effects on how you feel about yourself, what the scale says and so on, but what you put into your body should be the first thing you think about.

If we asked two identical twin brothers to take it upon themselves to stick to a diet of (brother 1) Vegetable Smoothie as a drink and protein, carbohydrates and fats in accordance to the Eat Well plate. While (brother 2) would have a diet of Orangeade as a drink and his pick of the menu from Mc Duffie’s burger shop for the duration of the experiment we will likely find that brother 1 would be nutritionally better off and healthier.

The macronutrients we eat (Carbohydrates, Fats and Protein) have various and necessary places in our diet, facilitating growth and hormone regulation among many jobs. Eating a diet of refined carbohydrates, trans fats, high amounts of salt and sugar all negatively affect the way we feel and this translates to how we work and do our daily chores.

Changing the way you look at food is essential to any weight-loss goals. Food is stored energy that we all need to survive, some of us are allergic to one thing and may have an aversion to another food. We’re all different and have different relationships with the food we eat but it’s important to work on eating habits a bit at a time.

Changing eating habits isn’t easy and can require time and coaching to achieve over time but know that adapting your taste for food is the best thing you can do in order to control your weight. If you were to eat 1kg of Salad in the day you’d be better off than if you were to eat 1kg of Crisps in a day. What you eat is more important to your goals than how much you eat.

I’m on the lookout for Men like yourself, determined and motivated to change their health and fitness for the better. If you’d like assistance to lose weight get in touch via [email Here] and we’ll get the ball rolling real soon.

Do you need BCAA’s, Protein Powder or to Eat Eat Eat

The protein we get in our daily diet is broken down into amino acids (simple organic compounds) when we eat. Our body can produce 11 of the amino acids we generally need but there are 9 more that must come through our diet and these are known as essential amino acids.

Of the 9 essential amino acids there are three amino acids in particular associated with muscle growth, held up high in every weight room around the world and they are Leucine, Isoleucine and Valine, together they are known as Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAA’s). BCAA’s are said to have the ability to speed up post-workout recovery, repair muscle and reduce muscle soreness as well as aid the increase in muscle size.

A balanced diet and sufficient rest can save you money here because where we find protein (fish, eggs, lean meat) we find BCAA’s however if you lack time, generally, then you may find benefit in BCAA supplementing.

Also, a good quality whey protein powder will give you the full range of essential amino acids and not just the three you’ll find in BCAA’s which further reduces the need for BCAA’s. Another benefit of Whey protein is that it increases the ‘full up’ feeling which is good for those of us with the aim of losing weight.

Protein has many functions such as skin, bone, muscle and cartilage repair and can be found in sources of food adequate for meat-eaters as well as vegetarians and vegans (however it’s important to get in your vitamin B12, calcium, iron and zinc as a veggie or vegan). If you aim to lose weight you likely still want to maintain muscle mass if not increase it. With this aim consuming good sources of protein will be important to you. The first point of call should be to get all your needs from natural, organic foods rather than supplements but if this is not possible due to time and/or ability then you should also include supplements in your diet after seeking specified advice.

BCAA’s and Whey Protein are great and have a place but before using them seek out good food. If you need personal, specified advice on food and supplements that will increase your quality of life and help you reach your goals get in touch with Abu Hafs Hanif [Email Me Now] and we can design a plan of action to help you in your goals.

Further Reading:

https://www.theproteinworks.com/thelockerroom/article/jayprovan/benefits-branch-chain-amino-acids-bcaas

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18974721

https://www.theproteinworks.com/thelockerroom/article/vikkiroberts/benefits-protein-shakes

What are Sedentary and Healthy Lifestyles?

Lifestyle is a word that every company, team and movement would love for you to buy into. If an action, belief, product, can reach enough people to the point it becomes synonymous with that group you may just have a lifestyle on your hands.

I’m sure you’ve heard the word lifestyle or healthy lifestyle, fitness lifestyle and so on in the last few years; in print and social media, at work and in the supermarket, it seems like everyone’s on a healthy lifestyle but you. The flipside of a healthy lifestyle is undoubtedly a sedentary lifestyle, you may also be aware of this one. If not, you’re in the right place because I’d like to talk to you about the two briefly.

Both sedentary and healthy lifestyles are subjective and mean different things depending on who you’re talking to and how the influences of life have shaped their outlook on health and fitness. But the basic breakdown of a sedentary lifestyle and associated factors will include little to no physical activity throughout the week, extended time sitting down, the consumption of foods that are of lower quality and eating in quantities that could be described as overeating.

To reduce and better still reverse the effects of sedentary living a man must employ a healthy lifestyle. This can take many forms and include but not restricted to:

  • Fasting
  • Balanced Nutrition
  • Exercise
  • Healthy Relationships and Community
  • Good Money Management
  • Good Management of Mental Health and Sleep

As you can see a healthy lifestyle is a lot wider in meaning than Fitness, Fixie Bike or BJJ Lifestyles for example. Leading a healthy lifestyle isn’t going to come about overnight but by writing down *SMART goals in these areas you can make positive changes in your life to the point you’ll look back at yourself and notice the growth within you.

If you need help as it relates to the fitness and nutritional sides of your personal healthy lifestyle in particular, and feel ready to get into better shape, drop me a message [Here] and turn this year and the rest of your life around. Don’t forget to like, comment and subscribe to CriterionFit, stay blessed and strong.

Further Reading:

World Health Organisation on Sedentary Lifestyle [CLICK HERE]

*Specific, Measurable, Agreed, Realistic and Time-bound.

You need more Protein!

Protein Powder

Protein is an essential Macronutrient that we all need in our diet. It doesn’t matter what diet you’re on be it Paleo, Sunnah (eating in accordance to the example of the Prophet Muhammad – peace be upon him), it doesn’t matter if you’re a Vegetarian or Vegan we all need protein in our lives.

If you’re an active person due to your job or enjoy exercise and sports then you may need even more than the average person does due to the additional strain and muscle repair you’re body needs to go through.

Generally speaking, the average person needs 1g (protein)/kg (of weight) per day. If you weight 75kg you need to consume 75g of protein each day. And for a very active person, this could be bumped up to 2g/kg per day.

Protein is made up of amino acids, some the body can produce whereas others must come from our diet. The ones that can’t be made in the body are known as ‘essential amino acids’.

Protein is needed for growth, formation and the repair of bodily cells, including muscle, bone, skin, hair and organs. Protein is also needed to make enzymes, hormones and antibodies as well as being a source of energy.

If you have too little Protein this can lead to:

  • Low energy and stamina
  • Poor resistance to infection
  • Depression
  • Slow healing of wounds
  • Prolonged recovery from illness.

Eating balanced meals with all food groups on a regular basis will ensure your body is getting what it needs. I say again ‘balanced meals’ because take away foods are unlikely to get this balance right. And you don’t need to eat meat or chicken if you don’t like them, protein can come from many sources such as:

Milk, cheese, egg, beans, peas, nuts, seeds, wholemeal grains and bread, dark green leafy vegetables, spinach, broccoli, almonds and pulses.

If you want to adapt your lifestyle to include good food and more exercise, you’re tired of being sick and tired, follow me and get in touch [Here].

Core Strength: A Routine for Stamina

Stand-up if you do the shopping for the family from time-to-time, you get props from me and if you’ll walk the bags home you get double – it doesn’t matter your age. The local Supermarket is a great place to pass through especially if you know a bit about food groups. With knowledge of what you and your family need nutritionally, you can mix and match foods in order to ensure your nutritional balance is sorted, but this post is about exercise and how to make those long walks home with the shopping easier.

Functional Training has many faces and meanings depending on who you’re talking to. To me, the main idea behind Functional Training I hold is to be able to execute the tasks of daily living with ultimate ease. A core component (pun not intended) of any style of training is Core Exercise which is your midsection also known as the ‘Trunk’ which also includes your Spinal Column. Your core muscles stabilise your body so increasing strength in this area will help you when walking and carrying heavy loads as well as balance.

This core burning workout is just what you need to strengthen your core and put the ‘F’ into Functional Training. Doing this workout once or twice a week will help you to increase muscle endurance and strength so give it a try, don’t forget to stretch before and after your workout.

Warm-Up:

High Knees: 5 sets – 30 seconds (per set) – 15 sec Rest.

Planks: 3 sets – 30 seconds (per set) – 30 sec Rest.

Main Session:

Squats: 3 sets – 8 to 10 reps – 2 min Rest.

Static Squat (body Weight):  5 sets – 30 seconds (per set) – 2 min Rest.

Farmers Walk: 3 to 5 circuits – 1 min Rest.

Walking Lunge: 3 circuits – 2 min Rest.

Barbell Roll-out: 3 sets – 8 to 10 reps – 2 min Rest.

Chin-Ups: 3 sets – 8 – 10 reps – 30 sec/1 min Rest.