Wednesday, 5 December 2012

GAINS, YOU NEED GAINS PT 1 - Consistency & Macros

Gains, gains you say? Gains I say, what are gains you say? A measurement of success I say, not just in the gym, in all aspects of life.

There's many reasons and also many excuses as to why people lack gains. This will be a series of articles addressing many of the common mistakes people unwittingly find themselves making when it comes to the gym.

Lack of consistency

By consistency, I mean going to the gym 3-5 times/week and very rarely missing more than a consecutive week or two throughout the year. Even following the most horribly designed program and nutrition, someone consistently pounding away at the gym will be able to make some form of progress over the guy who goes once or twice a month.

The most common issue with inconsistency is lack of patience, adaptation is a slow gradual progress. You are not going to achieve your idealistic Tyler Durden body overnight, a year of consistent lifting with a good program however? More than possible! When people complain about the lack of progress after a few weeks with a program and then hop to another program, not only does it fuel anger for my squats, but it's probably one of the biggest reason why gyms these days are full of physiques that look like they haven't touched a weight in their lives.

The other issue with consistency is lack of a goal, just going to the gym and lifting weights is great and all, but your program should be designed with a goal in mind and a time in which that goal is achievable. This can be applied to many aspects of life, want to save £1000 by Christmas? Bench 100kg by the new year? Don't talk about it, plan to make it happen. Not only does this allow much more focused programming it's also a lot more motivating to come into the gym with a goal in mind.

Goals can be missed, which is why I like setting small achievable goals under time constraints and just keep the big goals in mind, if you set a time constraint on big goals then you're far more likely to rush them near the end. A nice example of this is weight loss, a lot of people set arbitrary dates regarding this and end up trying to rush it when they don't look like they're going to hit that date, crash dieting is obviously never ever good and comes with a lot of complications. If you need to hit a certain weight for something important like a contest/holiday then it needs to be planned well in advance, but setting an arbitrary date is more than likely going to do more long-term harm than good.

Ultimately, being motivated and having both a long term and a short term goal that contributes to said long term goal will increase your consistency in all aspects of life.

Tracking macros

Eyeing things up is not acceptable, swaying from macro targets constantly because of lack of will power is not acceptable.

This is also a matter of consistency. How is one meant to make progress when one is eating an extra 250 calories from what they are prescribed due to lazy tracking? (This is easy to consume in just cooking oil alone) That's an extra 1750 calories a week which works out to half a pound of fat per week that could have been burnt just from pure laziness when it comes to tracking. One cannot simply disobey the laws of thermodynamics. Track wrongly for a few weeks and suddenly that half a pound is several pounds, you wonder why you're not making progress, your motivation is down, was it really worth eyeing things up instead of taking the extra 30 seconds to weigh and measure things?

The same goes in reverse for bulking, while some may advocate the eat-everything-in-sight bulk method it's not advisable for health reasons, excess fat gained while bulking is also fat that will need to be burnt at some point. As anyone who has ever cut to a low percentage of body fat knows, the longer you're in a choleric deficit, the more people are going to want to avoid you.

The point is, track everything, to the gram/ml! For the extra 5 minutes a day you're saving yourself a lot of time wasted trying to cut/bulk, is a great resource for this.

Programming and supplements shall be covered in part 2, if anyone is looking for a program for the New Year please drop by our Facebook page from the link on the side as we would be happy to help.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

5 ways to increase the manly man exercise, the Overhead Press

When you see an object on the ground, your initial testosterone fuelled primordial instinct is to lift it above your head. To clarify what I mean by an overhead press - a bar, taken out of a rack, pressed to overhead lockout, while standing, with a narrow grip and no kind of push pressing (leg assistance). With this in mind, why is it that there is a serious lack of any kind of heavy overhead work in most gyms today? Struggling to lift 40% of your bench press over your head in a strict press indicates an incredible imbalance in muscular function between anterior and posterior muscles and also leaves you primed for a shoulder injury that sadly won't be prevented by a sophomoric obsession with curls. 

A strong press these days has become an oddity, something rarely seen, the overhead press declined greatly in popularity after it's removal from the Olympics as the athletic merit of a strong press quickly became irrelevent. A guy with horribly proportioned weak shoulders and a general lack of gains? Your weight room is more than likely full of them.

Why should you overhead press with a barbell? Here's a few reasons -

  • Balances anterior/posterior deltoid development, this will prevent a lot of bench press related injuries and shoulder issues. If your press is weak (under 50% of your bench press) it would be an idea to replace your bench press sets with press sets, your bench won't stagnate and your pecs won't fall off so don't worry.
  • Incredible tricep strength builder, if you're a weak presser but have a strong bench, expect your bench to shoot up with the addition of overhead presses.
  • Involves the whole body, when you're standing with a heavy weight locked out above your head your entire body is under compressive tension. While it may be seen as a shoulder exercise, learning to press heavy weights will make your whole body that much more stable from neck to toe. This again carries over very well to things like the bench press.
Do not confuse it with a seated press/dumbbell press/some kind of machine though, they are very different exercises with very different contributions from different muscle groups!

So now you're convinced that you should man up and lift heavy things above your head, here are 5 tips that will help you along your way -

Many people will have a tendency to either overextend their hips or curl the bar around their face, the bar should be incredibly close to touching your face (once you've hit yourself once you won't do it again, trust me). Both of these result in the bar being away from the centre of gravity (the middle of your foot). This results in a leverage force being applied to the bar which again makes it harder to lift and results in you lifting less weight. “A” has the correct position, “B” shows hyperextension and a lot of stress being placed on the lumbar spine. The line through the bodies indicate where the center of gravity lies.

If your chest is not up, your upper back is not tight, if your upper back is not tight, you cannot press properly. It sounds simple enough, and it is, if your upper back is not engaged your ability to press heavy will be greatly diminished.

As in, don't have the bar set too far down on the rack, unrack the bar in a tight posistion. Don't push press the bar out of the rack, you will lose stability doing so. Saying this, it's ok to slightly take the bar out with your legs (a few cm), but if you're having to bend under the bar to take it then you're not going to be in a stable position from the get-go and the bar should be set higher.

If you're working out in shoes with an air padded base, take them off and do it bare foot. If your gym does not allow you to work out bare foot for your sets, find a new gym. Solid base shoes are fine. The reason for this? The air will absorb some of your force production, a good press is pushed through the heels and if some of this force is being absorbed by empty space then your muscles are going to have to work harder to make up for this resulting in you lifting less weight. This also applies to squats/deadlifts/any lift where your feet are in contact with the ground!

By tensing your quads and glutes not only are you making the whole kinetic chain more stable, you're firing up the spinal erectors and greatly lessening the chance of hyperextending your back. You can see this by simply standing up, tensing your quads/glutes and trying to lean forward/back, it's incredibly difficult and it puts you in a very stable position to press from.

With these things in mind and your reacquaintance with your long lost love of putting things over your head, man up and get under a bar next time you train your shoulders.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

The number 1 newbie mistake

When you start out in this game, you know best.

Those isolation concentration curls are going to get your 11" guns to 22" Olympia worthy monsters within a year. Those lateral raises with 2.5kg dumbbells are going to make your shoulders broad as can be. That beer gut? By steadily increasing from 50 to 1000 crunches a day you're going to get an 8 pack that puts Lazar Angelov to shame.

My own opinion? Your worst coach is yourself.

Sadly these misconceptions of nearly every newbie trainee is one of the main reasons why there is a significant lack of progression in gyms around the world. It's also why nearly every routine put together by someone new to the game is a butchered mess of isolation work that will give just that, newbie gains and nothing more. There are several things which I have found to stand out though -

  • “If I'm not sore the next day I don't feel like I've had a good workout”

DOMS (Delayed onset of muscle soreness) is not associated with progress, nor do you have to wait until the soreness subsides before you work out again. As long as weight is being added to the bar every work out, you are making progress. This is the number one factor, not soreness, the sooner people understand this the sooner they will start making gains. If you are so sore that you can't raise your arms above your head the next day, you are just an idiot.

  • Ridiculous amounts of volume, less is more in this game

It takes a lot for a newbie to exhaust their CNS (Central nervous system) to the point it can't recover, but it has been done (look up the dreamer bulk story if you're curious). Not only will this kill any kind of progression, but it's brought upon you by a ridiculous amount of isolation work. This isolation volume is not only counterproductive for a newbie lifter, but it's also a complete waste of their time. What kind of hypertrophy do you think you will get by lateral raising 5kg dumbbells with poor form? Very little compared to the guys who can bang out 12kg's with perfect form for much higher amounts of volume, why can they do this? They have achieved a decent level of strength (through whatever manner) already.

  • Lack of compound exercises (big multi joint movements, bench/squat/deadlift etc.)

Most people new to lifting have poor coordination when it comes to handling a barbell, look at the bench press of someone who has never benched before and you'll see exactly what I mean. The compound exercises not only contribute to strength/hypertrophy in a far more meaningful way to any newbie than any kind of isolation centric routine, but they also teach coordination of the muscles so that they work together as intended. Someone on a diet of leg extensions and leg press may have the strength to squat reasonably heavy, but their balance, coordination and general movement pattern will be all over the place if they have never squatted before. I know these movements are hard, I know your average personal trainer won't advise you to do any of this, because squatting on a bosu ball with pink 2kg dumbbells is the new thing, but this and the things mentioned above are associated with one STRONG correlation between them -


The issue when you start out is, the internet is at your fingers, there's a wealth of misinformation out there. So not only do you create a butchered routine, you most likely switch it up to another one every couple of weeks because you don't get the progress you're looking for. This goes on until you either discover the light and find something that works, decipher the bioscience of the internet, or give up and go back to drinking beer and watching ludicrous displays down t'pub in your gym time.

The prime reasons for enrolling a coach -

  • You are your own worst critique, selfbias is natural and unavoidable, in your eyes, you are a contender for the next Mr Olympia title before you've even set foot in the gym. You are not a special flower, the same rules that apply to everyone sure as hell apply to you too. An honest coach can give you a no bullshit opinion and also a suitable routine for your level of progression. This may be gaining strength as a newbie or fixing a weak point. These things are nearly impossible to decipher for yourself without a second opinion.

  • A newbie lifter will benefit the most from a routine made up almost entirely of compound exercises, isolation work should not even come into the equation at this point. Routines such as starting strength are great, as is the book (probably the closest thing you'll get to a coach in text) for learning how to do the exercises. However, learning to do these compound exercises correctly by yourself takes time. A coach can teach you the exercises within a few sessions at max, experience is invaluable as is a keen eye to correct mistakes. This is also the reason many people film their lifts and post to youtube for critique.

A new lifter is in a prime position to make incredible strength gains, one of our clients was able to increase his squat from 20kg to 60kg within 3 weeks by using a nice simple compound based routine. Myself? I think I did that in about 6 months when I had my self designed routine taken out of a book with a few 'intelligent' additions to the program and about 10 times as many exercises. My own opinion on isolation work is that you should have achieved a 1RM of at least 0.8xBW Bench, 1xBW Squat, 1.2xBW Deadlift before any of this even becomes considerable to add to your program, even at those levels of strength there is still PLENTY of room for linear progression before any kind of assistance work is needed.

My current routines are produced through the critique of several people and my progression is faster now than it ever was as a newbie, this in spite of newbie gains being the best time to make gains. They're also still very much based around compound exercises, rather than a butchered routine that attempted to increase the weight on everything every workout with about 20 different isolation exercises per body part. If anyone considering lifting weights reads this, please search for a good, experienced, coach, or at the very least hunt down a copy of the Starting Strength book, the cost will be well worth the increase in progress and the time saved!

Ripptoe, M. and Kilgore, L. (2010) Practical Programming for Strength Training. 2nd Edn. Aasgard Company

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

5 things you wish you knew when you started benching

Simple movement they said, push the bar away from your chest they said, let me help you by rowing the bar up they said. The bench press is by far the most popular and most butchered (often to the extent of not even being a bench press anymore) movement in any gym.

Here are 5 little things that could clean up your form or break a small plateau -


Everyone has seen a bar path that shakes like someone high on amphetamines, by staring at a fixed point in the ceiling your bar path will automatically guide the bar back to the point where it was at the start of the motion. People have a tendency to watch the bar as it goes up and down, this is bad not only because it distracts your focus but by overthinking the bar path, that's what sets it on an inefficient pat in the first place.


When the bar is gripped tight and you attempt to pull it apart (obviously nothing is going to happen unless you're the hulk). Not only does this involve more triceps, but this will also engage the lats and increase your general levels of stability. Which brings me on to the next point!


The number one issue with people plateauing in the bench press is technique, the technique being down to a lack of stability. I've experienced it myself and also corrected it for numerous people. Your feet should be firmly on the floor and locked in place, your glutes should be tensed creating a firm base for leg drive. Your scapula should be driven INTO the bench to the point it hurts creating a solid upper back to push from. Your whole body should be tight and not move until the set is finished! Make sure you find a comfortable way to setup and reinforce this technique every time you bench, everyone is different in this aspect. Some like to set their feet first, some like to set their back first, it's down to the individual, the end result must be the same though – tightness throughout.

People arching/moving their feet around/their asses coming off the bench, it all comes down to poor technique and a lack of stability. Another thing to note is that a lot of those come with trying to lift too much weight.


If the weight you're benching doubles, yet the range of movement decreases by 50%, you're still lifting the same weight as you were when you started (ignoring the biomechanical differences of different parts of the ROM). If you can't do a full ROM bench press without a spotter rowing the weight, then reduce the weight until you can. A 2 man team of rower and pusher is not a bench press. People who say they bench '350' yet look like they can't handle 135 is simply because they can't handle 135, the other chuckle brother just has a strong back. This is not only unsafe but it makes you look like a prat trying to lift too much weight (nothing wrong with failing and getting stuck under the bar however on an honest set).


The brain often limits you far more than your actual muscles do simply to prevent you injuring yourself. This can be overcome by adrenaline or simple psychological cues like the one above. By thinking of the bench press as pushing yourself away from the bar, the perceived weight may be less which will make it feel 'easier'.

Try implementing these and see if they help! Don't forget to check out our Facebook & Twitter pages.

Friday, 5 October 2012

10 reasons why you should be squatting!

At your local gym, there's most likely a rack. It's probably a bit dusty and lonely from the lack of use. Occasionally some bros will curl in it.

These are sad times. With the current obsession with functional training, functional being balancing on a bosu ball and doing pump and squeeze curls with 4kg dumbbells to really tax your 'core', it is a tragedy that a far more effective and legitimately functional exercise is often forgotten in most commercial gyms. Ladies (because men would already know this), I present to you. THE SQUAT!

Here are 10 reasons why you should never forgo the squat being an integral part of any workout program!

Human aesthetics, like most things, can be governed by maths. We call it, 'the golden ratio'. The golden ratio dictates the proportions of the human body that are most aesthetically pleasing and is what artists and sculptors have used to create their works. To this day it is even used by medical staff for body reconstruction. The golden ratio is why an X shaped physique for men (not a V on pencils) and an hourglass shaped physique for women are the most desirable physiques.

This ratio is normally 1:1.618 and this appears all over your body, by far the most visible one is shoulder to waist, or 'v-taper' as it's known. What does this have to do with squats? For the golden ratio to apply to your legs, we compare the size of your knee bone to your thigh. The thigh should be 175% of the knee bone diameter. This alone should be enough of a reason for you to give up on the notion of fitting into your sister's skinny jeans.

Since the dawn of time squatting has been one of the most natural movements for humans, to lift, to grab, to sit on the toilet, it's a natural movement that you do every single day. Having a weak posterior chain (the muscles responsible for squatting) is a great way to injure yourself later in life. Not only are hip based injuries incredibly common in the elderly, it could all be prevented by a healthy diet of squats. An interesting and related note is that heavy weight training is a great aid for preventing an early onset of osteoporosis from the increased bone density.

“I just want big arms man, chest and bis all day ery' day"

In reference to the golden ratio above, not only do you look ridiculous with the legs of an emaciated chicken, but squats train the whole body. Under a heavy squat there is not one muscle in the entire body that is not under tension maintaining stability.

Yes leg press is easier, yes leg curls may make you 'feel' it more in your quads. But neither of these train the entire posterior chain in quite the same way that squats do. Not only do these isolation movements take individual muscles out of the kinetic chain, they also train them in ways that they're not intended to be used. It would also take a good 6-10 machines depending on how well equipped your gym is to even isolate the amount of muscles that a squat recruits. Think of it like a football team that had never played together vs one that practices together the whole time, the one that plays together will have a huge advantage in both coordination and functionality!

  1. “That big guy over there doesn't squat”

In point 4 I mentioned that you would need 6-10 machines to replicate the squat, this is incredibly time consuming over doing a few sets of squats. There is also the fact that in this day and age of bosu ball curls and endless variations of crunches, we're missing one of the most functional and useful exercises for core stability. Nothing builds a good set of abdominal/lumbar musculature like heavy squats and nothing more so in a functional way to operate under a compressive load. So ditch the 15 mins of crunch variations and get squatting.

A stronger muscle can produce more force, this means that basic movements such as running use far less of your maximal effort. This in turn leads to a large increase in performance correlating with the strength of your legs. The muscles that benefit from squatting make this applicable to pretty much every sport under the sun.

To squat close to your maximum, it requires a certain amount of mental will power, a bit of emotion and perhaps a bit of insanity. Squats are difficult, people don't like doing difficult things, pushing through difficult things not only teaches you work ethic but it also carries over into many aspects of life. I mean, why do squats when you can just go to the gym, do your curls and leave just as skinny and unimpressive as you were when you came in?

Your legs make up 50% of your body. Movements such as bench press and overhead press largely rely on stability for maximal force production (and the biggest weights lifted). If HALF, note, the half that often gets 1 day a week of training from the people who actually bother to train it, the half that gets ignored by the large majority of trainees. Yes if HALF of your body is small, weak and untrained, then half of your body is not going to be anywhere near as stable as it should be. This will limit your stability and limit your lifts regardless of how strong your upper body is.


If the rack is in use by team brocurl

Now get squatting!

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Binge Eating, the devil or a useful tool?

Lets be realistic, if you're on a diet, you're probably on it because you love food, maybe even a little too much. The fact is we've all been there, on a diet, uncontrollable urges kick in and we just eat everything in sight. The next few days are made up of guilty feelings and poor attempts of overexercising/undereating to try and control the damage before the urges kick in again and the whole process repeats itself, or the diet ends.

It doesn't have to be like this! While it is expected that a binge can easily go hundreds, even thousands of calories over the intended amount for the day, there are ways to control and prevent the damage so that one does not feel compelled to punish themselves for their gluttony. In fact in lower % bodyfat individuals it is even beneficial to overeat once in a while, sometimes even several times a week at extreme leanness (under 10%). Here are the benefits of a letting your inner fat kid out -

  1. It provides a temporary boost in metabolism, even more so in high carb binges (1).
  2. It provides a boost in Leptin, this is specifically a problem for people already lean that are dieting to lose the last few %'s of bodyfat or people on a prolonged diet. Low Leptin is effectively the 'starvation' mode of the body where the priority is keeping the body going. This is accompanied by intense hunger and negatively effects things like libido and metabolism.
  3. The temporary boost in Leptin is essentially 'tricking' the body back into homeostasis so that fat loss can continue at a normal rate. This is because the body is assuming that the calorie intake is now back on track to regain that lost weight.
  4. It's a huge psychological release. Once you get past the mental barrier that you're eating far more than you normally would and relax about it, you begin to realise that it makes continuing with your diet far less stressful and a lot less demanding on your will power.
  5. At the end of most diets, people plan a binge to release themselves from the diet, this normally lasts for several days and results in undoing a lot of the work of a diet. By including them into your diet you're setting yourself up for a much easier transition into maintenance mode at the end of the diet.



So now you're sitting there drooling with images of pizzas and that great genetics ice cream on your mind, just wait a second before you begin to plan your feast as there's a few things to bear in mind -

  1. The day before the binge try to eat mostly protein, to use a 2000kcal 40% protein 30% carb 20% fat macronutrient diet as an example, I would attempt to eat 200g protein/50g carb/50g fat which comes to a total of 1450 calories the day before the binge. Only do this the day before the binge, if you have starved yourself leading up to the binge you will eat far more.
  2. Fasting as much as possible prior to the binge is also beneficial. I strongly recommend this over doing exhaustive amounts of cardio to deplete glycogen stores. This just sets you up to eat even more on your binge as your body will sense a huge energy deficit and in response to this lower Leptin levels further unless you are heavily overweight (2).
  3. Eat some protein on the day of the binge a few hours before the feast, this will effect your satiety and result in you eating less. If at a buffet, prioritise high protein/veg foods as this will also result in you eating less. The higher % of protein of the binge, the less fat gain there will be.


Post-binge you're feeling bloated, the scales have gone up several lbs (don't worry if this happens it's more than likely sodium/water bloat if the steps above have been followed and will dissipate in a few days) and you now wonder what to do to control the damage. Here's what you do -

  1. DO NOT go and do excessive amounts of cardio in an attempt to burn off the calories, this will greatly deplete your now topped up muscle glycogen and make the next week of dieting much harder.
  2. DO NOT feel guilty or bad about it, the benefits of the odd binge often outweigh the potential bad sides!
  3. Continue with your diet as if nothing happened.

When to binge

When and how often depends on your level of leanness. You can look at a rough guide here, these are the maximum amounts that I recommend and what has worked for me and my clients.

18%+ untrained - Once/month
18%+ trained - Bi-Weekly
12-18% - Weekly to Bi-weekly
10-12% - Weekly
<10% - Several times/week

Personally on my last diet, I had one day/week once I got below 12% where I ate double the calories that I normally would while dieting. If anything, this sped up my diet due to the hormonal benefits and made it a lot easier to deal with the hunger. The temptation to cheat on my diet also became a lot easier to handle because I knew that I would be able to eat until I'm full and bloated in a few days time regardless of what happens. If you have problems with uncontrollable binging on your diets try incorporating these guidelines and you may just find those urges disappear.

1. Pubmed (1979) Dietary-induced alterations in thyroid hormone metabolism during overnutrition. [Online]. Available at:

2. Pubmed (1999) Regulation of body weight in humans. [Online]. Available at:

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Why you shouldn't be afraid of Carbohydrates!

Carbohydrates are, in fact, not quite the same as eating lumps of fresh lard as the media would like you to believe. Influential phrases such as 'NO CARBS BEFORE MARBS' are gleefully preached as if going near a source of carbohydrates will instantly cause you to gain fat. Now I don't know many people who don't love carbs, but I do know many people who would love to just eat them and diet. The problem is they're stuck in the thought that eating carbs and losing weight are like separate dimensions. While I've gone over this quite in depth in the IIFYM blogs (read them before this one if you haven't), people I've spoken to about this still appear to be overly confused by carbohydrates and their general purpose/role in the body. Here are 4 incredibly common myths.


Lets take a brief look again at the metabolism of carbohydrates (1) -

  1. You eat them, they're tasty, you wonder why on earth you stopped eating them.
  2. Digestion begins in the mouth and they get broken down further in the stomach.
  3. In the small intestine they get broken down into glucose/galactose/monosaccharides and then absorbed directly into the bloodstream.
  4. The pancreas is informed that the blood sugar levels have risen and releases insulin*
  5. Insulin transports the glucose to the cells that require it (mostly muscular cells)/liver.
Now where in this chain of events do you see 'HOLY SHIT I'VE EATEN A CARBOHYDRATE BETTER GET A NEW WARDROBE AND PREPARE FOR OBESITY TO SET IN'. Wait, you don't. For de novo lipogenesis (conversion of carbohydrates to fat), you must consume so many carbohydrates you become completely saturated with glycogen, this is actually quite a rare thing to happen.

Lets look at it in a metaphorical way, your glycogen stores can be seen as a bucket -

This is where people begin to believe the no carb dietary myths simply because their inactivity is causing their muscular stores (80% of the bucket) to be untouched. They are untouched because the body prefers to use fatty acids as fuel when in a state of inactive/low activity (2). Consequently you're not going to gain bodyfat eating any type of carbohydrates unless you go on some truly excessive binge or do no exercise.


*Insulin is often cited as the fat storage hormone, it's main purpose is transporting glucose. What it does do is inhibits glucagon and the resulting lipolysis (breakdown of fat) until blood sugar levels return to normal. Insulin is not a fat storage hormone in times of normal carbohydrate consumption as you are led to believe, it is a transport hormone.

So now you know you won't gain any weight with carbohydrates, lets dispel the thought that eating a diet of wholemeal bread and fruit is healthy whereas haribo and white bread will cause rapid fat gain. This is down to the glycemic index (GI, 3) and the erroneous way it has been pushed to the public by the media. Here are my issues with it -

  1. The GI index of foods was worked out in a study using fasted subjects and using pure carbohydrate sources. I don't know anyone who eats a diet of 100% carbohydrate sources while fasted. As soon as fat/protein or even food that's still digesting enters the equation, it completely changes the glycemic response (blood sugar levels) to eating said foods. This alone completely discredits the GI scale.
  2. The GI index does not take into account quantities at all. If you think eating 5 bananas (110g of carbohydrates roughly) is going to have a lesser glycemic load on the body than eating a packet of fruit gums (40g of carbohydrates) because of the scale saying they aren't absorbed as quickly, then you have been misinformed.
  3. The human body itself is incredibly sensitive to small changes in blood sugar and will regulate it very fast and efficiently with insulin and glucagon.

The conclusion of this being that the science behind carbohydrate metabolism does NOT support the notion that eating 'bad' carbs will make you gain fat any more so than 'good' carbs, nor does it support the notion that rapid increases in blood sugar will happen by eating faster absorbing carbs. Because to be quite honest, unless you're eating a diet consisting of 100% carbohydrates, you're not going to notice any difference between white refined bread and brown wholemeal bread for example, other than the mineral/fibre intake.



Your metabolism does not change into a fat storage machine over night. The processes are the same, the rumours are pushed by companies/magazines to sell various products that promise to repartition the nutrients. If your 'bucket' is not full when you go to sleep it's not going to suddenly overflow, to test this theory, please purchase a bucket, put some water in it and then tell me if it somehow overflows while you're sleeping.



Leptin is a hormone and like most hormones it is governed by homeostasis. The body wants to keep body fat at an optimal set point, not shredded with striated deltoids and most certainly not obese.

This is where leptin comes in. Leptin is produced in fat cells, so essentially the more body fat you have, the higher your leptin levels will be and the lower your appetite should be. This is also a reason why woman generally eat less than men because of naturally higher fat levels.

The issue here is that chronically obese people have so much leptin that they become leptin resistant, resulting in eating ridiculous amounts of food to feel 'full' and just worsening the problem. The other side to this is ridiculously lean individuals such as a competitive bodybuilder after a show having an insatiable appetite. This is because the body attempts to restore itself to a homeostatic amount of body fat, this is not ripped with striated deltoids, nor is it obese with several chins. The body actively attempts to prevent this happening with the hormone leptin.

What people like to say however, is that they got obese because of eating carbohydrates and having a slow metabolism due to genetics.

If this was a photo, that may be true. The reason people get obese and end up in the leptin resistant hole in the first place is down to poor dietary choices combined with disproportionate amounts of diety fat (basically over consuming food). Often combined with lack of activity.

Another note to make on the subject of leptin, low carb dieting (4) tends to reduce the short term output in Leptin which can lead to large amounts of hunger. This is why refeeds and carb cycling tend to be popular at lower levels of body fat (<10%). It's also why large uncontrolled binges tend to happen on low carbohydrate diets, even more so when alcohol is involved and the impulse to eat an entire loaf of bread at the end of the night overcomes logical thinking and leads to a bit of fat gain.


A short anecdote of my own experience of carbs and dieting is that I was able to drop about 70lb, from an obese state, to under 10% bodyfat without the exclusion of any carbohydrates at any point in my transformation. The last stages of the dieting phase were full of wonderful cheesecakes, chocolate and various other things that one would just simply not think to include on a diet. How? IIFYM!

To conclude, the thing that matters the most is ENERGY BALANCE (calories in<calories out). If your bucket overflows, it will spill into fat storage. If not, enjoy your tastier new way of eating. 


1. Self Nutrition Data (2012) Glycemic Index [Online]. Available at:

2. Ripptoe, M. and Kilgore, L. (2010) Practical Programming for Strength Training. 2nd Edn. Aasgard Company

3. Raw Food Explained (2012) How Carbohydrates are Digest and used by the body [Online]. Available at:

4. Pubmed (2000) Twenty-four-hour leptin levels respond to cumulative short-term energy imbalance and predict subsequent intake. [Online]. Available at:

5. Pubmed (1997) Effect of fasting, refeeding, and dietary fat restriction on plasma leptin levels.[Online]. Available at: