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Health And Fitness

FITNESS TRAINING FOR THE EQUINE WORLD

'Should I Fitness Train For Equine Sports?’

I have been Personally Training rising Dressage star Sofie Butchart for a few months now and she has really benefitted from the extra fitness, strength and overall well being that results from the training. She is winning competitions and is more determined than ever.

I know my bodybuilding career is ever so slightly different from equine sports but the drive and mental focus needed to win transfers over to all sports! We work on visualisation techniques and a winning attitude as well as the fitness etc.

I’ll hand over to Sofie and she can tell you in her own words how she transformed herself to rise in the world of Dressage. I did not ask her to write anything for me, this was done off her own back!

‘ Within the equine world it is hard to find the time to be healthy and look after your body correctly. Although in order to perform our best to contribute to our equines overall performance, we should look after ourselves like we do our horses!

Previously I literally lived on fast food, carbs and anything with sugar in to give me a boost of energy on a busy day. I had an extremely inconsistent diet with massive gaps between meals, then times of binge eating. I managed although my concentration levels, energy levels and my overall health were pretty awful! I was ill a lot, I would get injured very easily and feel run down the majority of the time.

I knew things had to change to not only become a better rider but also a fitter and healthier person! That’s when I met Peter Chown, former Natural Mr Universe and Heavyweight World bodybuilding champion who is also a well respected personal trainer and nutritional advisor.

With Peters help and guidance I have transformed from being McDonalds favourite customer to now managing to consistently eat the right foods to fuel my body and being healthy. I also train at the gym with Peter 3 to 4 times a week and under his watchful eye I am stronger and fitter and also i’m loving seeing the visual changes. I feel great!

During my training sessions with Peter we do some cardio but mostly weight training to help strengthen my whole body for my riding. We have recently progressed to training lower body and upper body both twice a week. I have felt a huge difference within my riding performance as well as feeling so much better in myself.

Beforehand I had ‘strength’ in my riding muscles but I was extremely weak in other areas making me prone to injuries, form hernias to having major surgery on my shoulders due to reoccurring dislocations.

Peter is always on the end of the phone for me whenever I have any questions regarding my nutrition plan and training.

Originally I thought eating healthy was just salad and boring foods, it isn’t, I now really enjoy my meals A LOT!! I cant lie, when I first started my nutrition plan I felt awful, my body wasn’t used to healthy food, I craved Dominos pizza so much! But I stuck to it and now I look back at how I used to eat and it makes me feel sick! I wouldn’t feed my horses an inconsistent and unbalanced diet and expect them to perform at their best, although I was doing it to myself.

I also have acupuncture and visit an osteopath every 2-3 weeks to keep any twinges at bay and help my bodys energy and my mind. My horses are very sensitive and their performance changes drastically if I am not ‘on form’ so it’s important for their sake I keep myself in the best shape I can mentally and physically.

I hope this has given you and idea to my personal training structure, how I look after myself in order to perform at my best and also how anyone can turn their lifestyle around with guidance and support, not just in the equine world but anyone! ‘

Michelle Bossing MS!

Natural Physique member Michelle this past weekend attended a paralympic trial for the British paracycling team. Michelle was picked due to her success in an earlier trial. She was diagnosed with MS (multiple sclerosis) 6 years ago and after getting over the initial shock she fought back.

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Her big goal was to make the paralympic cycling team due to being a keen cyclist. We worked hard together on resistance training, bike work and also her nutrition and supplementation while listening closely to her body due to her body not recovering the same as someone without a condition.

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The big weekend came and she worked hard at the trial but unfortunately she couldn’t be classified. The reason being, in the assessors own words, ‘you are too strong, too fit and have rehabbed yourself so well that we can’t classify you!’ . We were gutted in a way at first as it seemed the dream was over and we done “too well” but the most important thing is health. MS is very unpredictable, you never know what is around the corner. But with exercise, good nutrition and a very positive attitude it can be fought and held back.

So, whatever your goal, whether you have a condition, disability or are as healthy as can be, just go for it. Don’t let the dream go.

So congratulations to Michelle for working hard and getting that trial in the first place and Bossing MS! The dream isn’t over.



Peter

BIG BAD BACK TRAINING

Big Bad Back Training!

 

There is nothing like an impressive back. If you look over the past three decades all the Mr Olympias have had outstanding back development. Samir Bannout Mr Olympia in 1983 had a big and highly developed back, complete with Christmas tree development in the lumbar region. On to Lee Haney, Mr Olympia from 1983-1991 had a back as wide as a jumbo jets wings! Then the Brits took over the best back prize with Dorian Yates dominating the Mr Olympia from 1991 -1997 with a back incredibly detailed, thick and wide and as hard as granite. Ronnie Coleman was next with freaky development winning the Mr Olympia from 1998-2005. Along came Jay Cutler winning in 2006 and ’07 and regaining the title from Dexter Jackson in 2009 with an extremely wide back although not as detailed as Ronnie’s but up there with the best for width and thickness. If you have no idea who I am on about then open up another tab in your web browser and get googling and you will see what I am talking about. Great back development looks amazing and makes you stand out from the chest and arms brigade in most gyms these days, of course none of you belong in that category do you? You better not otherwise I have not taught you a thing! It’s all about complete development ok and if I see any of you lot ignoring legs and back then we are going to fall out! 

 

The main muscle that stands out when you look at an impressive back is what us bodybuilders call the lats, the latissimus dorsi muscle. This is what gives us that impressive width and thickness. Then you have the upper back muscles that look like small mountains from shoulder to shoulder consisting of the rhomboids, teres major and trapezius muscles.  The lower back looks mighty impressive when developed and these are the erector spinae.

I go on about it in every training article, and I am going to go on about it again as it’s even more important with back training and that is form. FORM FORM FORM FORM!!!!!! Got it? Good! I see so many people training back with bad form, pulldowns where the body is parallel to the floor or even worse the head nearly touching the floor. Serious you should spend some time in the gym where I work. I see it all there. The worse I have seen is bent over rows where the person has so much weight on the bar that he has to have a spotter either side of the bar to help him lift off the squat then he proceeds to do what seems like having an epileptic fit then has the spotters help him back with the weight. It’s shocking! Although it does crack me up that he thinks he’s tremendously strong and that he thinks everyone watches as they are so impressed, what he doesn’t see is everyone laughing at him, bless! 

What is unique with your back? You can’t see it can you? When you train chest, arms shoulders etc you can see these muscles in the mirror which really helps you focus on the muscle and use the visualisation technique. As you can’t see your back that means you really have to focus on the movement and muscle to really hit the muscles hard. Your visualisation skills will develop very quickly with back training. So when you first start training back do not worry about the weight. Go for the feel, really feel all them muscles working, feel the contraction. Once you have mastered all that the weights you use will go up and you’ll be nice and strong and using great form with good contractions at the top of the movements. 

Right, on to the training! I am going to give you a beginner’s workout and an intermediate workout for the more advanced. We will stick with basic exercises as you will know by now that that’s what I know is best and for bodybuilding we don’t want any of them sexy exercises doing 400 movements at once. We are after building good quality muscle and as much of it as possible naturally OK?! The beginner’s workout will consist of three exercises and intermediate will consist of four. The exercises will consist of a vertical pull movement and two horizontal pull movements. For the intermediate workout I will add a big compound movement that will hit the whole body but will help build a big strong back, and it is one of the best exercises you can do!

 

Vertical pull:

Machine Pulldown (various grips)

Chins (various grips)

Cable pulldowns.

 

Horizontal Pull:

Bent over row

T-bar rows

Dumbbell rows

Seated and various cable rows.

 

Onto the workouts!

Beginners:

Machine Pulldown. 3 sets of 12-15 reps. 

You will find this machine in all gyms. It is great for building width to the back and also some thickness. You can use various grip positions but for this workout we will use a wide grip. Grab hold of the pulldown bar about 1.5 times shoulder width, keep the back in neutral, chest expanded and shoulders back. Keep your core muscles tight and start to pull the bar down to the top of the chest so you get a good strong contraction in your lats. Keep the shoulders back at the bottom of the movement, do not let them roll forward. Keep the chest up and squeeze the lats. Keeping the weight nice and controlled raise the weight back to the start position.

Dumbell Row.

A great exercise for building thickness and one that will help the beginner keep the back in neutral. Have one knee and one hand placed on a flat bench, back in neutral and core tight. Have the opposite foot on the floor and grab a dumbbell with the other arm. The starting position will be with the dumbbell hanging, while keeping the back in neutral pull the dumbbell up towards the body pulling through with the elbow and keeping the elbow close to the body. Focus on pulling with the back and not the arms! Slowly lower to the start position.

Wide Grip Seated Row 3 sets of 12-15 reps.

This is a great exercise for thickening up the upper back muscles and also for pulling the shoulders back for an improved posture as posture is important! We do not want them shoulders pulled right forward and have  a rounded back looking like An ape walking around the gym, it’s really not a good look trust me! On a seated row machine ( if your gym doesn’t have one of these use a cable machine and pull a bench in front of it), use a wide bar, for instance the pulldown bar. Sit on the bench, knees slightly bent, back in neutral and core tight, chest up. Take a wide grip of the bar and pull the bar into the lower chest. Keep your elbows up so that the elbow wrist and shoulder are all in line. Pull the shoulders right back and make sure you do not shrug your shoulders. Feel that contraction then lower the weight back to the starting position. You do not need a lot of weight on this exercise it’s all about the feel.

That’s it for the beginner’s workout. It will hit all the muscles in the back and get you off to a good start. 

Intermediate Workout. 

Deadlift  4 sets of 8-12 reps.

This is one of the best exercises you can do to gain mass on the whole body but also great for building thickness in the lower back and all over! Start with the bar touching the shins. Grab hold of the bar with one hand using an over grip and the other hand using an under grip. Your grip will be just outside your lower legs. Get you hips down and have your back in neutral, core tight and chest up. Once you are in position pull the weight off the floor until you are standing tall. Make sure you pull while pushing your heels into the floor. The best thing to do is rather than thinking of pulling the weight up, imagine you are pushing your feet through the floor. Then lower the weight under control back to the floor. So many people round their back when doing this exercise, don’t! Keep it in neutral throughout. If your back rounds you have too much weight. Form remember!!!

Bent Over Row  4 sets of 8-12 reps.

One of the best back exercises for thickness and width. Take an over hand grip on the bar, have your back in neutral and core tight. Have your back at about 45 degrees and knees slightly bent with your backside sticking out. Pull the bar towards the midsection pulling the shoulders back and pulling through with the elbows. Contract the back muscles then lower to the start position. Do not round the back or throw the weight up. Control and form at all times. I’ll be watching! 

 Wide Grip Seated Row 4 sets of 8-12 reps.

Same as in the beginner’s routine but using a little more weight, again keeping good form though.

This routine will be all you need for building an impressive back. The addition of deadlifts will take your physique to another level and make your physique more powerful looking.

Good luck with your back training, listen to what I have said and go for it! Do not ignore this important bodypart. I may be watching!

Peter

WELCOME SOFIE BUTCHART!

SOFIE BUTCHART ON TEAM NATURAL PHYSIQUE

Natural Physique has recently taken on the training and nutrition of dressage champion Sofie Butchart.  Sofie approached me to help with her nutrition for the competition year ahead and I also persuaded her to let me help her with resistance training which she was excited about!  

  Sofie Butchart

Sofie Butchart

We are training at Muscle Limit Gym twice a week when she can and Sofie is already making great progress!  

  Sofie Training Hard at Muscle Limit Gym.  

Sofie Training Hard at Muscle Limit Gym.  

Check here at Natural Physique and my Instagram (@Chownie1) for progress updates.  Check out Sofie's Instagram @sofiebutchartdressage and website www.sofiebutchartdressage.co.uk . 

OLD SCHOOL QUAD BLAST! - SISSY SQUATS

NOT FOR THE FAINT HEARTED

The Sissy Squat doesn't sound like a tough exercise does it?  Ok, its not quite as tough as a back squat, but it is tough, do not let the name fool you.  It's named after a Greek mythical king called Sisyphus who was made to push a big rock up a hill only for it to roll back down again for eternity, as punishment for being a not very nice person.  He ended up with big legs funnily enough.

This exercise is a great quad exercise for men and women to add to your leg training, or if you train at home and haven't got much equipment, then this will hit the quads hard.  It isolates your quads really well as the hamstrings and glutes are mostly eliminated from the exercise.  

It's also a great exercise to superset with a compound leg exercise like the squat or leg press, this will have your quads on fire!  

To add size, shape and awesomeness to your legs then this is it, demonstrated by my buddy, of Diversity fame, former client and now owner of his own PT business Bodybox, Terry Smith -

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-Stand Upright, feet shoulder width apart.

-Lean back until your body forms a straight line your neck to knees, supporting yourself by holding on to a piece of equipment.

- You can use just bodyweight or when you are stronger then hold a weight place across your chest.

- Descend as far down as you can to work through the full range

-Drive back up through the quads to the starting position. 

Give it a go and let me know how you get on!

Peter Chown

 

 

 

Age Is But A Number

I'm Too Old To Do That!

As we get older we do like to make excuses to not do things, I know, I've tried a few of them!  But age is just a number, ok as we age we do get a few aches and pains, Im now 45 and I definitely have a few of them due to my intense training for my sport, but that shouldn't stop us from doing things.  I hear many excuses about being too old to exercise, too old to eat healthy,  too old for this, too old for that, but it really hasn't  got to be like that.  

Over 40 and think you've missed the boat?  

Being over 40 doesn't mean it's too late to be the best you've ever been.  It's a great time to start a healthy exercise routine and start eating healthy.  Being over 40 isn't old  

Over 50? Why not look better than you've ever been! 

Take my client Karen here, she started exercising at 40, she has been training with me since 2007.  She's now 55, an inspiration to anyone over 50,  it goes to show with a healthy and fit outlook you can be just as active as you were in your younger days.  

 

Randhir Singh Transformation

A Natural Physique Success Story

Randhir Singh has been a client for a few years now and has made an awesome transformation over that time, his health has improved, he's changed physically and his strength has gone through the roof.  This is a short video I made for my YouTube channel a while back.  I hope you enjoy it.  If you would like me to be more active on YouTube then let me know and what you would like me to film and I'll get on it.

Peter 

My Mindset! By Peter Chown

Mr Natural Universe?  My life?  What was the mindset that I had to achieve what I have achieved in natural bodybuilding?  Hey, its no secret, it was just the way I lived my life!  But none the less I am more than happy to share with you my 'secrets'.  

I started competing as a natural bodybuilder in 1991 after 2 and a half years of training and over the years have won several Under 21 Junior titles including the Junior Mr Britain and Junior Mr Europe.  Later on in my career my achievements extending to winning the INBF World Heavyweight tile in 2005 in NYC and a year later winning the heavyweight title and overall champion at the INBA Natural Mr Universe in Los Angeles, California where I earned my natural bodybuilding professional status.  Plenty of moments I will remember for the rest of my life.  

 ANB SOUTH EAST AGE 23, WINNING THE HEAVYWEIGHT CLASS AND OVERALL IN 1996.

ANB SOUTH EAST AGE 23, WINNING THE HEAVYWEIGHT CLASS AND OVERALL IN 1996.

Getting yourself into the mindset to train for a bodybuilding competition can be hard!  You know you have many weeks, or even months if you have more than one competition lined up, of hard dieting, hard training, 24 hour commitment, tiredness.  What the hell made me want to do this?!  Well, it is a sport I love and luckily for me its a sport that I was encouraged to compete in from early on in my training as I was actually good at it!  I'm not very good at many things so this was my opportunity to excel in a sport.  When I'm passionate about something my drive towards my goals is intense.  Even before I started training I knew I wanted to be a bodybuilder, I wanted to win the Junior Mr Britain title, to be one of the best in the world.  

One other thing that drove me as well was that I was scared of losing!  I wanted to win, I wanted to feel special, I wanted to inspire others to build a body that they want, if I can do it then so can others.  I was a very shy teenager, I worked in retail where you get many customers look down at you, I wanted to prove that with drive, determination, consistency that this shy teenager in a dead end job could work hard and become a World Heavyweight Champion, a Mr Universe, who could train in Golds Gym in Venice California and be recognised for the physique he built.  

What else drove me to have this intense mindset?  It was seeing how much the body can take in the gym, as I have always been lifetime natural I didn't have the option of drugs helping me build my physique.  I didn't want to limit myself either with the mindset that as I was natural then I'm limited to only building a smaller physique, a physique that could only lift a limited amount of weight.  My goal was to build a physique that wouldn't of looked out of place amongst 1980's style physiques, as to me this was one of the best eras of bodybuilding.   If I told myself that I can't do this because I'm natural, I can't do that because I'm natural then I would limit myself to what I could achieve.  I was a bodybuilder, thats it.  I trained harder than anyone else, I was known for crazy intense training sessions, especially leg workouts.  I got the respect of high ranking non natural competitive bodybuilders.  It's amazing how much punishment the human body can take.  I'm not saying this is the way for everyone to train as everyones goals are different, but this was my mindset, every workout was a challenge, I trained intelligently, but like a nutter too!  

A massive tool that helped me too was visualisation.  I'll cover this inmate depth in a separate blog another time.  In my mind I had what I wanted my body to look like.  Every workout I trained my body, I could 'see' the fibres contracting, the muscle growing.  My body just had grow into what was in my mind.  Every time I ate a meal, every gram of protein was building my body, every step of cardio pre contest was turning my body into a fat burning furnace.  Visualisation really works!

One other thing that is really important, and something I learned later in my competitive career is a balance in life.  Even though I was very intense with it all I learnt to switch off as well.  Pre contest I still made time for others in my life, not early in my career, but the last few years I did.  In the early years I thought everyone should understand what I was going through.  I didn't make much time for others pre contest.  It was when an ex of mine competed I found it really hard to be the partner who wasn't competing, not going out, the arguments.  This was coming from someone like me who had competed several times!  I thought if I found it hard then what must people think who aren't into the sport who's other half is competing, it must be hell!   From then on when I competed I always made time to do things with my other half, no matter how tired I was, my cool bag can come with me and we can have days out.  It helped and I then had more of a balance, certainly not perfect, I did have competitions coming up but I made the effort.  Now when competitors tell me their husbands or wives don't understand, its causing problems in their relationship, I can help.  Competing certainly isn't worth losing a great relationship over and no-one forces us to go through this, we can stop at anytime.  

This sport isn't for everyone, I've seen many people diet for a show and they've suffered badly mentally, they just haven't got the right mindset, they're almost losing their mind, they get angry with everyone, ranting, its really not worth it.  Competing should be fun, seriously hard, but fun seeing the changes your body can make with hard work.  If its not fun then take another sport or activity up, life too short! 

Anyway, I waffled on enough I think but I'll cover more on mindset, visualisation etc. in the future. If you have anything you'd like me to cover then just let me know!  

Peter Chown

London To Brighton Bike Ride 2016/2017

I never did do an update on the L2B bike ride last year!  The ride was amazing, we all completed it  and raised plenty of money for the MS Society UK.   Michelle and I raised nearly £2000 between us to help people like Michelle, who herself has multiple sclerosis.  Michelle completed it on her mountain bike and myself and my friend Nathan completed it on our BMXs.  Thank you so much to everyone that donated.

It was such good fun that we have decided to do it again in September 2017, again raising money for the MS Society UK.  We are aiming to get a good size team this year, so if you're up for it....