Is ‘healthy’ food making you gain bodyfat?



‘It’s good for you’……………….

You’ve heard it before, somebody is describing or selling the benefits of a certain food group to you and they tell you how ‘healthy’ it is……

I’m not denying the health properties of certain foods, and the inclusion of these foods can be of benefit to you.

However some foods can become over hyped and all too often one MAJOR factor becomes lost in transaction……………………..


I’ve said it before and I will keep saying it: calories DO count!

It doesn’t how ‘healthy’ those calories may happen to be, an excess intake will STILL cause weight gain.

Foods that typically fall into this bracket include:


>Coconut Oil (and any other oil for that matter)

>Nut butters (doesn’t matter how ‘natural’ or ‘organic’ it is, calories STILL count…)

>Dried Fruits



The list goes on, but these are the typical choices that I see the most of.

Nuts are a classic example, 25g of walnuts equates to a small handful but typically gives you around 175kcal.

If you aren’t careful, ‘snacking’ on nuts can easily rack up an additional 500 -600kcal a day!

Keep in mind, that all of the above choices are also very easy to overeat on…

I’m not saying these foods are bad, far from it, I am saying that you need to be mindful of the caloric value when you include any of them into your diet.

Remember that too much of ANY food choice will result in weight gain….

That’s all for today, until the next time,

Tristan ‘had to stop buying peanut butter’ Buttle.

p.s – I’ve been using powdered peanut butter recently, but more on that another day…………….




a quick one on training……..


In order to achieve your health and fitness goals, you simply MUST train!

When it comes to training, rarely does one size fit all, and if you were to ask 10 people (who have got results) what they do, you may get 10 different answers…

How I train is specific to ME, how YOU train needs to be specific to YOU.

Training age/experience, injuries & limitations, personal likes & dislikes, frequency & time are just some of the factors that need to be considered when looking at what is the best approach for you to take.

There is no such thing as the ‘best exercise’, only the best exercise for you.

However, I do believe there are two factors that apply to ALL forms of training:

1) You must train with relative intensity.

Training ‘hard’ is all relative, but remember that training needs to place a stress on your body for it to change. Training NEEDS to be intense, otherwise we would all get in shape from simply going shopping or cutting the grass.

How do you know if you are training hard?

Ask yourself this:

When did you last truly step out of your comfort zone in the gym?

Or imagine this:

On a scale of 1 to 10, 1= laid on the sofa doing nothing, and 10=being sick out of your eyeballs (not literally ha) where would you currently place your sessions?

2) You must train progressively.

Put in very simple terms, you need to beat or improve what you do every time you train.

No matter what style of training you adopt, you need to log your workouts and come into the gym with a clear plan of action.

You need to log all reps and all weight lifted and create targets.

Your body will adapt very quickly to the stress of exercise, therefore progression is an essential factor in helping to ensure that your training continues to provide the correct stimulus for change.

Chances are you do this in all other areas of your life: for example, your relationships and work life both progress, this what keeps things moving forwards, this is how we grow and develop.

Please note that both of the factors above have nothing to do with age or the ‘amount’ an individual may currently be lifting.

e.g. – Lets say I’m lifting 100 kg on an exercise, but I’ve been doing so for the last 2 months, I haven’t increased in either weight or reps performed….

…..and Mrs Smith was lifting 3kg 2 months ago and is now lifting 6kg, then Mrs. Smith has progressed more than I have.

Where you start is irrelevant, intensity and progression is relative to you and your goals….

That’s all for today, until the next time, keep moving forward

Tristan ‘log book’ Buttle.

P.S – Adding weight to an exercise or increasing reps should NEVER be done at the expense of poor form!

P.P.S – If your performance isn’t progressing then you need to ask yourself why?

P.P.P.S – Give me a shout if I can help you out with any of the above.

The 4 essentials to fat loss: Number 1………


We live in a world of information overload, & the birth of social media has provided many individuals and self-proclaimed ‘experts’ or ‘gurus’ with a voice…

Often, these voices tell you that they have THE answer, and that they have THE secret, and that ultimately, their way is THE way.

When it comes to fat loss & getting in shape, there are many ways to train and many ways to set up a nutritional plan….

…..however what works for someone else is not guaranteed to work for you.

The work that is required to achieve any goal is always obviously dependent on the specifics of the goal in question, that been said, I believe there are 4 basic areas that apply to ANY fat loss related goal…..

Today, we are just going to look at number 1, I’ll be in touch over the next few days with the rest…

1) Eating and understanding calories:

Nutrition is a MASSIVE topic and probably THE most confusing area of fat loss.

>However, in simple terms, fat loss ultimately comes to down to creating a calorie deficit.

This is ESSENTIAL, please don’t let anybody tell you calories don’t count. Too much of ANY food can result in weight gain.

A deficit can be achieved in a variety of methods and no one approach suits everyone.

What I will say is that when it comes to a creating a calorie deficit consider the following:

>What is the highest (not lowest) number of calories you can consume to achieve your goals? This will prevent you from starving yourself, setting unsustainable targets and stop you from burning out and giving up on your goals… remember that by definition, calories are a unit of ENERGY.

>The biggest influencing factor on fat loss is the TOTAL amount of calories you consume on a continual basis, not the time of day that you consume your calories.

Eg: let’s say you need to eat 2500kcal, but you have a busy day and it gets to 9pm but you still have 500kcal left to consume, then eat!!

It is the total figure that you hit by the end of the day that counts.

Start with the basics first, if you reading this and you are struggling with losing body fat, I suggest you start by logging your daily food intake.

You can easily do this by downloading the myfitnesspal app on your phone.

Its free, its simple and very user friendly.

Don’t worry about the targets the app sets you with, just use it as a log, this will help you to assess exactly where you are at with your intake.

It will also educate you on the true calorie content of certain food choices!

I’m not saying that you need to log everything, every day for the rest of your life, but if what you are doing isn’t working, then perhaps it’s time to try something new?

That’s all for today, if you get stuck with anything, then give me shout,

Tristan ‘calories DO count’ Buttle

Ps – part 2 with you tomorrow, if you are lucky!

Alfred’s Golden Knowledge Bombs!


Alfred’s Golden Knowledge Bombs:

Since I was a kid I have always loved Batman (not as in actual man love). He was (& still is) my fav superhero. I always liked the idea that Bruce Wayne is human, & doesn’t possess any actual ‘super’ powers, he is a self made man (who also happens to be a
billionaire) who has taught himself what he needs.

Anyway, before I geek out totally, this blog is actually about Alfred Pennyworth, Bruce’s loyal & ever faithful butler, & how he may just be able to help you.

I recently re watched Batman Begins & it struck me how much mega advice Alfred gives Sir Brucey. So mega in fact, that I thought I would share some of it with you:

Alfred’s 3 golden nuggets:

1 “You start pretending to have fun; you might even have a little by accident.”

This is a true golden nugget of advice he gives to Bruce. We all are all capable of influencing & shaping our time to be either positive or negative. You know those days, you wake up tired, convince yourself you are tired, look in the mirror, tell yourself you look tired, go to work tell everyone your tired etc etc, this is building evidence in your mind to support the negativity you are putting on yourself. Or maybe you convince yourself with what you cannot do & limit your own potential? I know because I do this myself. I doubt myself at times just as much as the next person. Sometimes it’s hard to see a way out of certain situations and it is normal to feel overwhelmed, but if you can try to convince yourself, even if you are ‘pretending’ you may eventually not know the difference and have more fun & laughs along the way! If you pretend to have fun would your mind know the difference, even on those days when you really can’t face it and can’t be arsed?

Take home point: Can you fake it, until you make it?

2 “Why do we fall? So we can learn to pick ourselves up”.

How do you ever expect to grow as a person if you cannot rise after being knocked down? Falling in life is guaranteed; picking yourself up is what can define you & in turn make you stronger.

Take home point: Welcome adversity (you have no choice, it will appear anyway), rise to it, and ALWAYS get back up.

3 “What is the point of all those pushups if you can’t even lift a bloody log!?”

Alfred even gives Brucey some training advice. Bruce is trapped under a log after being attacked, & despite his physical training & muscular development he struggles to apply practical strength. Basically, Bruce looks great but in this situation, struggles to function. Consider day to day functional fitness in conjunction to your training, what would have a bigger or more positive impact to your life?

Take home point: you may have a great hot body, but what can you do with it? I know guys who are immensely strong, but struggle to tie their own shoelaces!!

Until the next time Bat Fans, thanks for reading, as always, if you found it useful, please like & share.

Tristan ‘man child’ Buttle

Ps Alfred also once saw a child playing with a ruby the size of tangerine, but that’s another story……..

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Light hearted lifestyle lessons to be learnt from Leo (our cat). Part 2.


Light hearted lifestyle lessons to be learnt from Leo (our cat). Part 2.

Following my last blog about our ‘hairy son’, (, I have still been hanging out with Leo and his behaviour still cracks me up and continues to intrigue me.

I have noted another huge lesson we can learn from Leo. He has the ability to do one very simple thing that we humans seem to really struggle with….

If Leo wants something or needs help with anything, he isn’t afraid to speak up or ask!

He has absolutely no problem in speaking up and/or raising his paw (quite literally) when he needs something. Admittedly he is a VERY loud cat, and his requests are very often centred on food and attention (like father like son!) However I believe we can all learn from this.

Rather than continuing to struggle in any aspect of life, if we all admitted we need some occasional help and assistance we would surely progress through life easier and in turn reach our goals quicker?

This does take a certain level of admittance and confidence, particular when using the gym as an example. I see many gym users who are afraid to ask for help and who would rather struggle on with what they ‘think’ is right rather than asking for advice. This will lead nowhere, fast. Results breed retention and very often tweaking things such as technique and tempo can have a massive effect and play a huge part in achieving ones goals.

Very often people drop out of the gym because they believe it ‘doesn’t work’ as they didn’t achieve what they wanted, not that perhaps they maybe weren’t doing what was right for them?

The chances are, especially if you are new to the gym and/or a particular new method of training, then you won’t know what you are doing. But guess what? That’s ok! That’s normal! Do you think I or any other Fitness Industry professional could turn up at your job tomorrow and perform it efficiently and effectively without asking for any help and advice? Do you think I could I look after your kids without asking any prior questions and learning all about them as individuals? Even then, would I be successful instantly?

This not only applies to gym users but also fitness professionals. I see a lot of people in this industry who are scared to ask for help, like it’s seen as a perceived weakness, this is madness! Nobody can be expected to know EVERYTHING about EVERY aspect of fitness, training and nutrition. Part of what makes this industry so enjoyable is things are constantly evolving and new things are brought to our attention all the time, so learning and embracing the new is essential to keep moving forward.

I would suggest it’s far more beneficial for us all to confidently say ‘I’m not sure what I’m doing’ rather than under confidently say ‘I know what I’m doing’.

Speak up and you will move forward quicker.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog, now go forward and be more cat!

If you found it useful please like and share with others.

Any questions, give me a shout on here or on Facebook.


Chest Training: Your guide to doing what is optimal.


Chest Training: Opening your treasure chest!

Why you aren’t seeing your true potential and how to do what’s optimal.

From the ages of 15 to 25, I was a stereotypical guy in the gym. I LOVED training chest and arms, and chest and arms, arms and chest, chest and chest, arms and arm etc, you get the picture!

Don’t get me wrong I have always trained other muscle groups, but when I was younger (I am 36 this year) I always found myself desiring two major areas of development: chest and arms or the t shirt muscles! To this day, the average male client I deal with will very often also cite these areas as key components of their training.

When it comes to chest training, Ive tried a truly massive variety of approaches: High Volume/Low Volume (Dorian Yates style) /Tri sets/Giant Sets/ 500 rep workouts (simply awful!)/body weight only & every barbell/dumbbell angle possible. Over the years through continually educating myself both with practical application and scientific research I feel now is an appropriate stage for me to share some of this valuable knowledge with you to help you with your own chest development. You may also see why you are NOT getting the results you wish for and/or you are not using the most optimal methods you can for this development.

Please note that this blog is centred purely around compositional/hypertrophy goals, whilst there are some crossovers to the application for power/pure strength the tempos and contractions detailed would not apply.

Pressing Movements:

Step 1: Chest Bouncing & Mind Muscle connection:

Step 1 begins BEFORE you even pick a single weight. What I want you to do right now is attempt to bounce/flex your pectoral muscles. Literally try to bounce your pectorals as you are reading. Flex and physically move your pecs. My reason for this strange request is that you NEED to learn how to connect with the muscle in question so you can flex against resistance when you are lifting. Once you have learnt how to contract/bounce/flex your pectorals you need to then apply this when you are pressing, more of this later in terms of how and when to move. For now, start bouncing your chest.

Step 2: The Bench Set Up.

Whether you are using a barbell or dumbbells the set up/body position you adapt is essential to getting the most beneficial pathway of movement. You need to adopt your usual bench position( feet to the floor, back flat) HOWEVER you must shove your weight down into the bench, place your weight through your heels, and through your back. Avoid placing your feet on the bench. Before you commence you must also drop your shoulders down away from your ears. If you are starting any press with your shoulders forward (internally rotated) you are not only limiting your range of movement (R.O.M.) but you are also taking focus out of the pectoral and into the anterior (front) deltoid. EXTRA TIP: if you have shorter legs, and struggle to place your feet on the floor, use a step for support, and drive your weight through the step.

Step 3: Execution 

To encourage a full ROM, take a slightly wider than shoulder grip and aim to flare the elbows out as the weight lowers towards the chest. Aim for the centre of the chest, but do not touch the body with the bar/dumbbells, then continue to press the weight back up through the chest, keeping the elbows soft at the top of the press, never fully locking out. Throughout the entire movement, keep your body shoved towards the floor, and as you press the weight focus on squeezing the hands/elbows in to squeeze and contract hard at the top.

Step 4:Tempo

It is essential you create time under tension (TUT) and place as much stress/emphasis on the working muscle as possible. To extend TUT you must work on your tempo (speed) with particular focus on how you the lower the bar/dumbbells.

The lowering phase of the bar/dumbbells MUST always be SLOWER than the lifting phase. My golden rule /mantra is ‘ALWAYS LOWER SLOWER’!

Sadly I see the complete opposite of this on a pretty much daily basis. A slow lifting of a weight (that’s often too heavy) no pause or contraction, followed by the weight crashing back down in a fast uncontrolled manner.

My recommended Tempo for hypertrophy based goals is 3121, which in terms of practical application translates as:

-Lower the weight for 3 seconds.

-PAUSE at the bottom phase of the movement for 1 second.

-PRESS the weight over 2 seconds.

-SQUEEZE at contraction (top of movement) for 1 second.

Doing this would give an average TUT of 40-60 seconds per set of work (based on performing 8-12 reps).

So far, so good? Hopefully. So what does chest bouncing/pec flexing have to do with all of this?

The contraction at the top of the move is where you need to connect with your pectorals. If you can bounce your pecs you are on the way to creating a strong mind-muscle connection, therefore when you flex against resistance you will create far more muscular tension in the correct areas. I would suggest that by following all of the above pointers, you may need to lower your usual weight selection. Technique, tempo and stimulation should all come before weights selection in terms of priority of importance and reflection on your results. Your ego may take a battering but it will be worth it. I invite you to take this opportunity to try a new approach, think about the actual muscle in question and focus less on the actual weight used.

Resistance Training for composition should NEVER be about simply moving a weight from ‘a to b’. It should ALWAYS be about moving the weight with as much tension (difficulty) as possible.

Choice of exercises for optimal chest development:
In order to adhere to the above guidelines and to encourage you to learn how to fully contract your pectorals I strongly suggest introducing the following exercise into your chest routine/pressing program:

Incline dumbbell neutral grip bench press.

If you can master this exercise you will begin to create a strong mind to muscle connection with your pectorals. Using all of the above pointers, if you focus on driving your elbows in towards each other at the top of the press and fully contracting your pectorals you will literally transform your dumbbell pressing work. Keep your wrists strong and drive through the centre of the chest through every repetition. Do not confuse this with a close grip dumbbell press; it’s a totally different exercise!

I would always look to and encourage you to vary the angles in which you target/stimulate your chest. However, remember that when performing any incline work (bar or dumbbells) the steeper the angle the greater potential there is for you anterior deltoid to take over. Logically thinking you will know that if the bench angle continues to increase, a bench press eventually becomes a shoulder press. I would advise no higher than a 1 or 2 notch incline bench for chest focus.

One of my favoured pieces of reference work is from the great Tudor Bompa. Tudor conducted massive research using Electromyographical (EMG) to measure the actual muscle fiber stimulation utilised in a variety of exercises. This is where science meets practical application. If you imagine 100 represents maximum potential stimulation and 0 is nothing at all, his results for chest based exercises where as follows:

Pectoralis Major (Chest)
Decline dumbbell bench press —————-93%
Decline bench press, Olympic bar(OB)———89
Push-ups between benches ——————–88
Flat dumbbell bench press ——————-87
Flat bench press (OB) ———————–85
Flat dumbbell flyes ————————–84

Pectoralis Minor (Chest)
Incline dumbbell bench press —————-91%
Incline bench press (OB) ——————–85
Incline dumbbell flyes ———————–83
Incline bench press (smith machine) ———81

Tudor’s research reinforces my own practical experience and experimentation and as result I rarely advocate a flat barbell press into a routine. I would urge you to utilise both decline and incline pressing into your training routines.

If you are not currently utilising free weights of any kind into your routine, do not worry, you can still apply everything I have detailed above to a standard chest press machine. If the machine you are using has the option of a neutral grip, try it and focus on applying the contraction outlined above at the top of the press.

When performing any form of Fly movement the same outlines above also still apply. The bench set up and the tempo would be performed exactly as outlined above. I always describe fly movements as ‘hugging’ motions. Your elbows must always be slightly flexed and the resistance should travel through the centre of the chest, this is basic stuff but often I see a fly movement becoming more into a press, which in my mind is the equivalent of doing two things inadequately opposed to doing one thing optimally.

It you take only one thing away from reading this I would like it to be that you apply more focus, energy, connection, intention, and concentration into all of your chest workouts and less attention to simply how much total weight you can move.

I guarantee that with less weight, using all of the above principals, you will develop and make far greater gains and progress than before.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog, if you found it useful please like and share with others.

Any questions, give me a shout on here or on facebook.