Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background in fitness.
I’m a personal trainer with 4 years of experience and currently finishing my degree in Strength and Conditioning Science. I work with variety of people with different goals, starting from semi-pro and professional athletes to general public.
What made you get into this field?
Since the day I started my journey, I’ve always been interested to find out the best ways of improving physical performance, health and overall wellness. This curiosity I have has driven me to test newest workout methods, diets and recovery modalities so that I can transfer the knowledge to my clients.
What are exercises someone can do directly from their hotel room?
The best option would be compound and dynamic exercises, namely, exercises that engage two or more joints that recruit different muscle groups. This is due to greater energy expenditure and greater metabolic stress, meaning that the body will use more energy to implement certain exercises.
Following exercises: Squat, Burpees, Reverse Lunge, Glute Bridge, Push-up and Dead Bugs could serve as fundamental exercises when no equipment is available. Besides, to get the most benefit, I would suggest performing these exercises in a high intensity interval circuit. Very basic routine would look like: 20 seconds of each exercise, rest 1 minute, repeat 5 times. Pre-workout I always suggest to do a small full body mobility routine that could potentially serve as a good warm-up.
What about hotel gyms?
When people are traveling and visiting new places, the last thing they want to do is spend hours at the gym. Consequently, most of the hotel gyms lack proper equipment. Luckily for you, it isn’t detrimental. In the scenario where you aren’t able to use heavier weights or use machines, a set of different weight dumbbells is all you need. My suggestion is – keep volume (sets and reps) high; intensity (weights) low; rest periods short and keep it simple. Like I mentioned earlier, compound or dynamic exercises would be the best option.
What is your favourite core workout?
I separate my core workout in 3 different categories of movement, namely, anti-extension, anti-rotation and anti-lateral flexion. These 3 movement categories not only will improve the definition of your core muscles (Although the cornerstone for abs is a sound diet), strong core will improve your posture and prevent unneeded injuries.
My favourite exercises for Anti-Extension (Band Resisted Dead Bugs and Barbell Ab Rollout); Anti-Rotation (Pall of Press Hold and Stir the Pot); Anti-Lateral Flexion (Single Arm Farmer’s Walk). My favourite core workout: 1 min of Band Resisted Dead Bugs, 1 min of Barbell Ab Rollout; 30 sec rest; 2 min of Pall of Press Iso Hold (1 min each side), 1 min of Stir The Pot 30 sec rest; 2 min of single Arm Farmer’s Walk; Rest 1 minute, repeat 3 times.
How many days do you recommend for someone to train in order to have an impact?
I would recommend to start with 3 sessions per week and progressively increase the total amount of training to 5 days per week. The common mistake I frequently see is doing too much too quickly, thus leading to overtraining. When a person decides to get fit, they want to see results quickly and with this thought they train 5-6 times per week, hoping that it will elicit desired effects quicker. Unfortunately, it is not the case and what usually happens, people burn themselves out. As a consequence, immunity system gets impaired, small micro injuries might happen and willingness to train is gone. Therefore, I always tell my clients – quality over quantity. Getting fit doesn’t happen overnight, it is a process that will bring joy and happiness to your life.
What is the best meal someone can have after a workout?
For most of the people, protein shake is a must have. Simply because it is convenient and quick and allows you to hit your daily protein needs quicker. After 1-2 hours, the biggest meal of the day should be consumed. This is simple because your body will absorb these nutrients much more efficiently in order to initiate proper recovery. In addition, when losing weight, a common misconception is not to eat after a workout, however in most cases not eating after a training session can be detrimental to fat loss.
An example of my training day meal plan – First meal at 14.00 (Lots of complex carbs, with animal protein and good fats); Post workout shake at 18:00; Second meal at 19:00 (Lots of complex carbs, with animal protein and good fats) Last meal at 22.00 (Only protein and fat; I’m a big fan of cottage cheese as it contains slow digestible protein casein).
When I train, I usually consume more calories than when I have a day off. Generally, I cut down carbs after 7 PM and eat only fat and protein after. This is due to melatonin release, which is known to reduce carbohydrate sensitivity (Good tip for anyone who’s trying to lose weight – cut down carbs around 6-7 PM).
You are a big advocate of intermittent fasting. Can you tell us a bit more about it?
This is a question that we could devote the whole interview to. Briefly, intermittent fasting is a term that refers to several eating patterns. I’m doing time restricted eating, which is a type of IF, other popular types are 5:2 fasting and 24 h hour fast. Fasting for 14-16 hours a day, while restricting the times you eat can have significant effects on hormones that control your metabolism, blood sugar, inflammation, heart health and etcetera. I’ve been doing time restricted eating for almost a year and I can’t speak highly enough about it’s benefits. For the first time in my life, I constantly have decent energy levels throughout the day, I do not crush like I used to do after a high carb meal, my sleep, cognitive functions, performance at the gym and physique have improved remarkably. Besides, it’s not as hard as people think it is because you can readjust fasting hours for your schedule and benefits to effort ratio is just ridiculous! It is a must try eating method.
Favorite health spot in London
Madison London. Place with an amazing view and tasty food.
Favorite snack on the go?
I’m very simplistic with my snacks, so it would be a protein bar with low carb; moderate fat, high protein content. If I have time to cook a snack, then I like your suggested spinach muffins, as they are low-carb, high protein and fiber.
Favorite way to splurge?
Only one option – traveling.
Step Up To Reverse Lunge
This is a great unilateral exercise that implicates two fundamental movements into one exercise. It starts with step up on the platform and finishes with step back lunge which is a superb lunge variation that take away stress of the knee comparted to forward lunge and activates the glutes and hamstrings more. For beginners it will help to balance out possible asymmetry and enhance coordination. Suggested volume and intensity (12-15 reps; 4 sets; 60 seconds rest).
Incline Banded Frog Pumps (Alternative for Frog Pumps)
This exercise was invented by Bret Contreras, known as “The Glute Guy”. This exercise can serve as regression for people who cannot feel their glutes when implementing hip thrusts. This exercise can be used as activator during a warm-up or as a finisher to burn the glutes. When your feet are together and knees spread out, you will initiate this exercise in an abducted and externally rotated hip position, resulting in proper glute activation. This can be a fundamental step in the right direction for teaching the glutes how to fire properly. Suggested volume and intensity for beginners (25-30 reps, 4 sets, 45-60 seconds rest between sets).
Single Leg Swiss Ball Curl
This exercise is a progression of a Swiss Ball Curl. This exercise will greatly activate your hamstrings whilst simultaneously challenging your core muscles.