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Eat, Feel and Perform Better – Instalment 2

Phil graham bodybuilder personal trainer

1. Soy Lecithin – Is It Really a Big Deal?

Soy lecithin is one of the most ubiquitous additives in our food supply.  Its primary use is as an emulsifier (prevents two liquids separating).  It can be found in everything from tomato ketchup right through to whey protein powder. Quite often people go into hysterics when they see soy lecithin listed on an ingredients label. When you ask them why, 9/10 times they don’t have a clear answer.

Is it really that bad?

Generally speaking soy lecithin isn’t that much of a big deal unless you’re allergic to soy or have concerns about the pesticides, solvents and GMO’s used in soy production. Even still this can be avoided by purchasing products containing organic soy lecithin.

Either way, the actual amount of soy protein found within soy lecithin is less than 3%.  Bear in mind most protein supplements contain a mere few hundred milligrams of the stuff. To give you a better picture take these milligrams and slice off 97% – that remaining 3% is the actual amount of soy protein you’re getting per serving.

There is no chance you’re going to see a significant physiological response from such a small dose of soy protein. For the vast majority of the population, conventional soy lecithin isn’t worth worrying about one way or another.

2.   Manage Your Mood

Starting the day in a calm state of mind is essential when it comes to getting the right things done and allowing you to focus.  However,  when you wake up with phones ringing,  a mountain of text messages, Facebook notifications and an inbox full of e-mails – one can tend to spend the rest of the day procrastinating and reacting.

This means you’re not in the drivers seat working on your priorities; You’re responding to what gets thrown at you, important or not.  Research has shown that how you start the day has a massive effect on your productivity.  We tend to procrastinate more when in a bad mood and be more productive when we are happy.

Instead of isolating your focus on managing your workload, shift your attention to managing your mood as it plays a significant role in your ability to work hard and reap success.

What’s the first step you take in managing your mood after you wake up?

3. Don’t Check E-mails First Thing In The Morning…

To some people this might sound bizarre.  Many can’t imagine not waking up and immediately checking their e-mail inboxes or social media feeds. For some people this may feel like loosing your right arm. I’ve spent time speaking with a lot of productive people and none of them have said, “Spend more time answering e-mails”


When an e-mail comes in your attention is drawn to someone else’s goals, not yours. This prevents you following your plans and prioritising If possible, try not to check e-mails for the first two hours when you wake.

Instead work on your most important one or two to-dos first. If your most important to-dos involve answering specific mail spend your time wisely by limiting the number of emails you respond to or allocating yourself a time frame to work within.

If you don’t, you’ll find your inbox could trap you for hours on end with the distracting influx of new mails, ultimately stealing your attention and holding you back from being productive and getting meals/workouts in.

4. Designing Your Own Nutrition…

Quite often I am asked what makes the perfect diet. My answer – there isn’t one…

However, when crafting your own diet consider these fundamental steps, most people tend to overlook:

Step 1: KNOW your goal – Fat loss, Muscle Gain, Weight Maintenance etc..

Step 2: Set your calories ( in accordance to your personal goals)

Step 3: Set your protein goal

Step 4: Set your fat and carb intake according to personal preference and specific goals (especially level of activity).

Other considerations:

– Medical Conditions (allergies, autoimmune conditions etc)

– Financial constraints

– Access to food

– Food storage ability (students for example)

– Food cooking facilities

5. Cambered Bar Squats – Bringing a new challenge to the core…

I absolutely love the challenge this squat variation provides! The natural sway of the bar enforces you to engage the core and lower back (somewhat more than a regular squat) especially during the concentric part of the lift (pressing). The movement is also easier on the shoulders than regular back squats allowing some individuals to train around mobility/injury issues.

Like exercise machine rotation also consider rotating your implements to bring a fresh stimulus to your training…

Here’s some footage a leg session earlier this year using the cambered bar pushing 200kg x10 – not much but as I reinforce to all my clients control and contraction mean everything… Quality not quantity especially when it comes to complex moves.