TRAIN LIKE A PRO WITH JAMES ALEXANDER-ELLIS
- Unlock the key nutritional principles for an elite physique
- Optimise your protein and fat at breakfast to perform at your max
- Use simple training cycles to accumulate and intensify your gains
- Harness the power of insulin sensitivity to get the best returns on your gym time
Over the past decade it's no exaggeration to say that I've transformed my body from that of an average gym trainer, to an elite WBFF physique pro, SCI-MX athlete and top tier London PT! This is why I know that you can achieve your own version of physique success – it just takes the right vision, dedication, training and nutritional know-how. Check out some of the key principles that I continue to use myself and with my PT clients to develop elite physiques.....
BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS
|Much of my early training success was gained by following the basic principles of world renowned training and nutrition expert, Charles Poliquin, whose methods I highly recommend if you're serious about getting in supreme shape. Over the past few years I've progressed as a personal trainer and massively increased my own physique success by completing Level 3 of the Poliquin International Certification Program (P.I.C.P).|
|In line with this, one of my key nutritional principles is the need for an optimised protein breakfast – with an emphasis on animal protein, essential fatty acids, functional fats and greens. The logic behind the 'meat and nut breakfast' is that it supports the production of neurotransmitters in the brain – leading to enhanced cognitive function throughout the day. Who doesn't want to feel awesome and train with maximum power and focus?|
Animal proteins Free-range/grass fed beef, lamb, venison, other meats, eggs, whey protein. Essential fatty acids Fish oil/EFA supplements, flax seeds, grass-fed meats, oily fish. Functional fats Handful of nuts such as almonds, macadamias, walnuts, Brazil's, pecans, nut butters (avocado or coconut oil/milk are also great).
QUESTION > Does this mean that carbs should be dropped from the breakfast menu?
My answer to this would be that it depends on the individual! I recommend you experiment to find the perfect strategy to achieve the physique you want. Many people do well with a low carb breakfast, but others feel best with a mixed-meal that contains carbohydrates – oatmeal, dark rye bread or a supplement such as OMNI MX® HARDCORE, for example. Take home message> Start out with protein, add the right fats – then experiment with carbs to find the level that helps you perform best and get optimal results in-line with your current training goal. Advanced tip: Consume red meats (or darker cuts of white meats) early in the day, since they tend to have an energising impact. In contrast, opting for white meats such as chicken breast in the evening may help with relaxation and sleep due to the increased production of the brain chemical, serotonin. Try it out!
THE BASICS OF ADVANCED TRAINING CYCLES
|The methodologies learnt during my P.I.C.P training are extremely well regarded and very effective – based around highly scientific concepts and decades of real-world application with elite athletes. Two key principles to get into your training plan for sustained physique enhancement are cyclical phases of 'accumulation' and 'intensification'...Accumulation: High volume with relatively light weights for high reps.Intensification: Heavy loads for less reps.|
The benefits of cycling between these phases is constant progression, something which the long-term trainer often fails to achieve as their body becomes more and more resilient. Here's how you might set-up a cyclical training plan to build muscle and get leaner over a 12 week training phase: Accumulation: 10 x 10 German Volume Training for 5 weeks Intensification: 5 x 5 strength block for 4 weeks: DAY 1: Front squat 5 x 5, Bench 5 x 5, Row 5 x 5 (rest 3 minutes between sets) DAY 2: Shoulder press 5 x 5, Dips 5 x 5, Front squat 5 x 5 DAY 3: Deadlift 5 x 5, Chin-up 5 x 5, Weighted crunch 5 x 5 Consolidation: 3 week general training (4-5 day split body part routine in the 8-12 rep range).
INSULIN SENSITIVITY & THE PHYSIQUE CONNECTION
To maximise lean muscle gains and reduce body fat levels, we need muscle cells to have a high degree of sensitivity – so they open-up their Glut-4 receptors in the presence of insulin, don't require excess production and suck-up anabolic nutrients such as protein, carbs, creatine / creatine monohydrate and amino acids extremely effectively: 1. Weight train intensely 3-5 times a week for a proven increase in insulin sensitivity that typically lasts around 4 hours. 2. Supplement with a high quality EFA supplement (TRI OMEGA EFA™). 3. Consume amino acids during workouts (BCAA INTRA HARDCORE™ or AMINO INTRA RIPPEDCORE™) and optionally throughout the day to support anabolic nutrient delivery to muscles. 4. Load carbs post-workout - consuming high glycaemic carbohydrates combined with fast absorbing proteins post-workout is an excellent strategy. Consume a serving of ULTRA WHEY™ PROTEIN + 1-2 bananas, RECOVER 2:1 ISOLATE™ or OMNI MX® HARDCORE soon after training to get the maximum returns. Then follow-up with a balanced meal containing a 2:1 or 3:1 carb-protein ratio.
EXPOSED: MY CURRENT CONTEST PREP DIET
I'm currently close to the WBFF London Pro Show, so my current diet is rather hypocaloric at 2600-2750kcals to ensure I show up looking dry and tight. Utilising calorie cycling is a highly effective method to adopt for leaner gains and metabolic maintenance. Although I always try and maintain decent definition all-year round, when on a hardcore lean bulk, my calories will exceed 4000 per day and I'll supplement with OMNI MX® HARDCORE. To stay lean – keep performing interval training 2-3 times a week, cycle your carbs (higher on training days) and be sure to consume the bulk of them around your training sessions to take advantage of enhanced insulin sensitivity. I'll leave you with a reminder of three key things to improve you physique results: 1. Eat a quality protein/EFA optimised breakfast. 2. Cycle your training regularly using accumulation and intensification phases. 3. Use quality supplements around your training sessions to take advantage of insulin sensitivity.