While change is inevitable, how and when we age is highly influenced by our lifestyle.

And much of what we call “aging” is actually very much an accumulation of lifestyle habits.

Here are 6 simple habits that can help you live a healthier, more enjoyable, and meaningful life, longer.

1) KEEP MOVING- Exercise (about 30 minutes a day) is one of the most impactful

things we can do for our health. Exercise also improves mood and well-being. This is especially true if exercise is social, like walking with a friend or attending group classes.

2) EAT HEALTHY MEALS- Although all nutrients are important, two

 are critical during the older years:

  • Protein: this helps to preserve valuable lean tissue (muscle and bone); and
  • Antioxidants: these are like the body’s defense team. Aim for five servings of vegetables and fruits a day. The more colorful the “rainbow” you’re consuming, the more nutrients you’re getting.

3) MODERATE or ELIMINATE ALCOHOL- The research on alcohol consumption — even moderate consumption — is mixed. Most experts suggest that if you don’t drink already, don’t start. The body can’t store alcohol, so it must prioritize clearing it. As the liver metabolizes alcohol, the side effect is that it may delay or neglect other tasks — like digesting, absorbing, and storing other nutrients like proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals.

The earlier you start implementing these habits, the better, but these habits can make a difference no matter your current age.


*Content from Precision Nutrition*




Simply this is the method your parents implemented to make you eat your veggies. “ You must eat all your veggies before you are allowed desert’
A behavior or problem must be fixed before a reward. In a training environment, this can be useful in the sense of getting something you don’t like done before a reward.
An example is mobility work, you know mobility is important but hate doing it. A simple DG method would be to make a rule that you can’t train unless you have done 10 minutes of mobility. Here the mobility is the problem and training is the reward.

Below is a 3 step guide to using DG to help overcome your problems:

1. Make a list of the habits you want to change:
This is determining behaviors that take you away from your goal or keep you where you are. The trick is not to categories behaviors as good or bad but rather, behaviors that are acting as blocks.
Here is an example that I currently use: I am not doing enough cardio, which is keeping me from reaching a body fat percentage goal

2. Determine the reward:
This is the best part, find something you really enjoy that helps move you towards your goal and make it the reward. My example: Enjoy training by biceps and Triceps

3. Quantifiable measures:
Now if you do the habit you get the reward. Make sure this is strong and clear so that you can’t cheat. My example: If I do the prescribed cardio, I get to train arms after the session! If I skip out on cardio, I go home without an arm pump.

Special Notes:
> Make sure you follow all our other posts about sticking to habits, like telling friends and family…
> Start by only choosing one behavior to train and focus on that until you consistently meet it for 3 months.
> Adherence is still King




Here is a real life scenario:

You have been in a cutting phase (trying to drop body fat) and have been success. You are likely to notice a few changes other than just a decreased body fat percentage. Some might include:

> Higher Hunger

> Less Satisfaction

> Less Motivation

> Slower Recovery Time

> Lower Calorie Threshold (TDEE)

If you are experiencing any of these it may be time to consider mesocycles and how deloads. Below are 3 mesocycle strategies to employ to combat the adverse effects of constantly dieting.

  1. Diet Breaks: These are short periods (normally no longer than 10 days, I think 7 is best) where you allow yourself to have a higher calorie balance (maintenance level to ensure no fat gain)
  2. Maintenance Blocks: These are normally longer in duration and are planned ahead of time. It is a period where maintenance levels of calories are meet (rather than calorie deficit for fat loss) meaning that you don’t gain or lose fat, instead of maintaining your current body. A general rule of thumb is every 3 months incorporate a maintenance block (4-6 weeks long) with more drastic cutting phases and experience in training requiring more often (anywhere from monthly to every 3 months)
  3. Calorie distribution: This can be the process of looking at calories over a week instead of an individual day. There are 3 options for this, carb-cycling , re-feeding (the process of having a higher calorie meal or day, to increase satisfaction) or calorie borrowing (which means eating fewer calories at some point to allow eating more later. A example is having a smaller lunch because you are going out for dinner)

Although this may sound complex, what we are really just saying is that it’s okay to have a bit of a break. Living in a calorie deficit is hard and takes its toll on the body, a short period of maintenance can help in the long run.




There are 3 types of cardio and each has unique pros and cons when attempting to lose fat, so below I quickly explain each so that you can make up your own mind.

Type 1:HIIT (High-intensity interval training): has a very high calorie burn per minute and benefit of EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption) but is very fatiguing and has a higher risk of injury.
An example is 20:10 sec work/rest airbike

Type 2: MISS (Moderate intensity steady state) has a moderate calorie burn and is great for cardiovascular fitness but interferes with muscle gain and adds fatigue.
An example is our Wednesday and Friday session (60:30 work rest)

Type 3: LISS (Low-Intensity Steady state) Adds little fatigued and has a low chance of injury however also a low calorie burn per minute
An example is a 10km jog

So the question of what is best?
At Big 5 we tend to use HIIT during finishers for the benefit of high calories and EPOC and to balance out the extra fatigue we emphasize the importance of proper recovery and rest. For total training outside of our sessions and for anyone doing their own thing, try to include a mixture of all three. HIIT works really well when done at the end of your normal weight session around 3 times a week, We include MISS once a week in its own 45 min session. LISS is something that can be done as more of a recovery once a week.


Ps: Thanks Renaissance Periodization for the pic


Everyone always talks about goal setting and how to set SMART goals, we all know how to do it now. The thing we struggle with is keeping ourselves motivated, disciplined and accountability. We tend to send a goa

l when we are most motivated, which means we are likely to be discipline but as motivation drops (this is normal too, motivation levels will vary every day) we can lose sight and never achieve them.

So I thought I will share the method I use to make sure I actually achieve my goals.
Welcome my little Green Book, it’s where all my goals are written down, planned and measured.
At the front of the Book are my yearly goals, then there is a section of each month. At the start of these sections are the monthly goals, followed by weekly goals. Then if there are any other goals (ie: drop 5% body fat before a certain date) these are put at the back of the book.

Here are the steps to do for your goals: 

1. Set your major goal with SMART techniques.

2. Write down why this goal is important (this should be deep and meaningful)

3. Work backward from your major goal, create a plan on how you will get there, break it down into what you need to do each month. Here are now your monthly goals. Write this under the goal. You now have your monthly goals, and again plank how you will achieve these and write them under the monthly goal.
Use these to plan your weekly goals and weekly musts, write them down.

You now have a blueprint on how to reach your major goal whether it be yearly, or anything else with what you must do everyday, every week, every month in small achievable steps.
This is the best part, you get to cross off each goal when you complete it, meaning to achieve success everyday and every week, keeping you motivated.




Do you have trouble sleeping?

Here are 5 steps to have your best night sleep yet!

1. Dim the Lights: Light suppresses melatonin which is responsible for making us fall asleep.

2. Avoid a screen: Light from your screen is even worse than normal light, so stay away if you want a good sleep.

3.Mindfulness and Breathing: Allow your body time to relax and clear the mind. I like to do a breathing exercise (from the app Calm) but mindfulness is even better! Calm also offers guided mindfulness designed for sleep which takes about 5 minutes!

4.Magnesium: Helps reduce insomnia and cortisol (the stress hormone) and relaxes muscles which can all keep you up at night.

5. Repeat breathing: If you can’t fall asleep get-up and find a comfy space and repeat the mindfulness or breathing. Don’t go back to bed until your sleepy!





                                                         Often, we get asked about how someone can target their fat loss, what exercises are best for reducing fat around areas like the thighs and stomach. Although it would be fantastic if we could target specific sites and increase fat loss, there are no such methods. 

The rate of fat loss in different areas of our body is determined by how the fat cells respond to fight/flight hormones, insulin and blood flow, all of which are largely uncontrollable and genetically influenced.

The body will draw energy from fat cells in response to a calorie deficit to a limit, meaning that unfortunately these stubborn areas just need longer. These areas will we be used to draw energy once less stubborn areas (arms…) have used most of the stored energy.  In summary to lose fat in these stubborn areas you simply just need keep at a calorie deficit for longer.




Here is a scenario: 

You have a goal to lose a 10kg in 6 months and choose to do an extreme diet that is over-restrictive and cuts out a food you love completely.  You last the first week and have great success dropping 2 kg however the second week comes and you are struggling to get motivated already! Now the chances of you completing the diet for 6 months is greatly diminished and therefore you are less likely to reach your goal.  

The goal to lose 10kg in 6 months is great and is possible however the choice of an extreme diet is the downfall and the mindset to which you decided to use it is the bigger problem. You were looking for quick results and something that is not sustainable. This is called a rigid mindset which leads you to failure.

For success adopt a flexible mindset, one that understands the goal is a process and is more sustainable and better for your overall health. A flexible mindset has 3 important qualities:

  1. Adaptability: Being able to adapt to different situations and obstacles in a consistent manner is going to determine how long your diet will last and continue to maintain weight loss.
  2. Habits: For weight loss to achieve and maintain the program needs to become a lifestyle change. There should be no “on and off switch” and the sooner you accept that this is a habit the faster you will break through
  3. Long-term perspective: Understand the process takes time and that a gradual approach is more successful for habit formation. Understand why restrictive diets won’t last and that a better approach will gradually build and will incorporate holidays, re-feeds and maintenance blocks.




So, what is a Core?

 The core muscles are a group of muscles that pretty much traverse the gap between your rib cage and your pelvis. They include your abdominals, pelvic floor, and diaphragm.

What is the Cue?

“Ribs Down”. At some point, if you have been trained by me,  you have heard me say this at least once (and probably looked at me confused). This cue basically means to pull your ribs towards your pelvis.

Why is “tightening our core” important?

It is important because these are the muscles responsible for keeping you upright when doing exercises such as squats. When these muscles are engaged we can use our legs to properly drive the movement. If these muscles are not engaged…. All sorts of CRAZY things can happen. Especially lower back pain.

How can we “tighten our Core”?

Tightening our core is much more than just a “Crunch”. It’s is about keeping all the muscles engaged and “tonic” to keep ourselves in a position where we do not hurt ourselves. We do this by breathing in deep into our stomachs trying to fill our entire bodies up with air, then we squeeze this “air bubble” (REMEMBERING RIBS DOWN!) so that our core becomes rigid. This is the basis of core bracing.

Should I brace my core?

The really simple answer is HELL YEAH! If you want to get the most out of the exercises you do, this could be anything from planks to headstands. YOU NEED TO LEARN HOW TO BRACE YOUR CORE! This can increase your ability to balance, maintain posture and most importantly not get injured!

Who should I talk to?

If you want to know more, just ask one of the trainers about how to brace your core and they will be more than happy to show you more




How often have you found yourself in the gym attempting to go heavier, faster, more explosive, harder, more, more, more every workout?..

Mentally we can get stuck in the mindset of it’s not a workout if we haven’t gone harder, done more or at least equal to the last session. Thereby applying more pressure to ourselves, kicking ourselves and feeling guilty if we miss a session, is this sustainable?

I used to think like this…I’d train 6 times a week, often finding the start of the week was good, and as I went on through the week I would plateau out and my training would be up and down. If I’m honest by the end of the week mostly down. For a long time I never really stopped to listen to my mind and body, I thought that If I wasn’t flogging myself every session that it didn’t count and I was weaker because of it – mental.

Niggling injuries, feeling exhausted, it all builds up.
So how did I change that mindset, I came to the understanding and realisation that PROGRESS ISN’T LINEAR!!!! It’s not a straight line, it’s not up up up up, and far from it. It actually looks something like this…. (pic below).

For me I’ve come to understand that many things add up to progress, here’s but a few: – learning the skill, understanding the process, asking questions, active recovery, getting enough sleep (which is a big one!) Eating and fuelling properly is also a big one!

Taking my time and not rushing, not giving myself a hard time when I missed one session in the succession of 45 sessions! I could go on but you catch my drift. One of the best pieces of advice that has stuck for me “play the long game” (thanks to my wife Kirsten for that). But what does the next two weeks look like, the next month, the next 6 months and onwards.

Coach Scott.