How to build muscle while in lockdown image

How to build muscle while in lockdown image

Is it really possible to build muscle in lockdown?

In short, Yes!

Even with limited equipment, it is possible to stimulate muscle growth. Limited equipment means we may not be able to load up our muscles as many of us are so accustomed to doing in a gym environment. This method of building muscle is termed ‘Mechanical tension’ and involved lifting weights closer to your max. This is out of the question for most of us, but don’t say goodbye to your gains just yet as there are other ways in which we can stimulate muscle growth. Another way is by placing your muscles under what is called metabolic stress. This involves taking muscles to failure (in a safe manner), using moderate to higher reps and shorter rest intervals. The third way in which we can cause a muscle to grow is through muscle damage.

This is characterized by slowing down the negative (lowering) portion of the movement. But what do each of these looks like in a practical sense…

Metabolic stress

Perform 10 full range Press-ups with controlled lowering phase (you can regress to your knees if you are not competent in doing normal press-ups), then rest for 10 seconds. Repeat this as many times as you can until your technique starts to breakdown and you reach muscular failure. After, you will feel that your chest and tricep muscles (the main working muscles) are pumped and visually look larger in size. This is because your muscle cells swell up and trigger anabolic adaptations to occur.

Muscle damage

Perform 10 full range bodyweight squats lowering for no less than 6 seconds and coming up at a normal pace.

6 Week Online Lockdown Challenge Image

6 Week Online Lockdown Challenge Image6 Week Online Lockdown Challenge 💯🏆

The goal is to get you the best results possible in 6 weeks whilst we’re in lockdown. This will include:
• Before photos, weight and waist measurements
• 2-3x week online coaching
• 2x live fitness classes
• An individualised calorie-controlled nutrition program
• Weekly check-ins via Whatsapp
• 24/7 accountability from your dedicated group chat
• Access to our online membership with lots of recipes, workouts, motivation and more

Start date: Monday, March 30th
End date: Sunday 10th May

Click the link below to secure your space 👇🏼👇🏼

Can I spot reduce body fat from a specific body part

Can I spot reduce body fat from a specific body part
Can I spot reduce body fat from a specific body part? 💭🤔

No, you cannot spot reduce a certain area of your body. The most common areas for people to want to spot reduce are the waist, back, arms and legs, and while it is possible to intentionally build muscle in these areas to have a ‘toned’ look, it’s not possible to spot reduce. So then, how does fat loss actually work? Well, Fat is stored in our cells as something called triglycerides, but in order for your muscles to use it, your system needs to break it down into free fatty acids and glycerol, which are transported into your bloodstream to then be used as fuel. The fat being used comes from anywhere and everywhere in your body, not the area you’re working at the time. Where your body loses fat from first comes down to your sex, genetics and body shape. So, if you are on a calorie-restricted diet and are struggling to get rid of stubborn body fat in a certain area, there is no need to do anything juristic, just stick with the process and in time the result your after, will come 💯🙌🏽

Habit of the month - February

Habit of the month - FebruaryBeginner-Go for at least a 10-minute walk a day

Intermediate-Go for at least a 30-minute walk (this can be divided into two 15-minute walks)

Advanced-Go for a 60-minute walk (this equates to around the 10,000 step mark and can also be divided up into smaller walks throughout the day).

This month’s habit is something we do every day, but something that once you start using it to your advantage can make a big difference in your health and fitness goals. If your goal is fat loss, keeping active outside of your workouts can make the difference by burning extra calories thus creating the right energy balance. In the case of fat loss, it’s not always dropping your calories which is the answer, programming in daily walks can be a better alternative to keep you on track. According to the NHS, the average person in the UK walks between 3,000-4,000 steps a day. A good target for us to work towards is 10,000 steps a day. This burns, on average, 400-500kcals. But like anything, if you’re not quite there work up to it gradually. Start by just going for a 10-minute walk a day. This can be done in the morning, evening or during work breaks. Walking regularly is not only good for your fat loss goals but also great for your cardiovascular health. It improves blood circulation, reduces inflammation and lowers cortisol levels. All key components of a healthy body.

Strength & Conditioning Internships image

Athletic Development Club, based at the Re-ex centre in Trent Park Country Club is offering an internship role to 1-2 applicants. ADC are prior UKSCA accredited strength and conditioning/Personal training practitioners who also hold post-graduate MSc degrees, delivering general public PT sessions and coaching of S&C to athletes of all ages.

ADC are now seeking new interns for the forthcoming period, running from February 2020 to May 2020. Placements can potentially be extended beyond this following a review towards the end of the role.

To be eligible, you must be able to commit to a minimum of 8 hours per week, plus a 2hr team meeting/CPD each month between the above dates.

Hours available (although these may be subject to change):

  • Monday to Friday 6-10:30 am and 4-9 pm
  • Saturday 8am-12pm

The role will be to shadow/assist in PT and S&C sessions whilst completing general admin work. On occasions, there will also be the opportunity to assist on other work including pitch-based S&C sessions, HIIT classes, client and athlete monthly body log screenings.

Please note that this is an unpaid role, however in return for assisting with the daily running of ADC, we offer the following benefits:

  • The chance to be mentored by accredited, experienced and knowledgeable coaches, working in high-performance sport and post graduate education.
  • Weekly small group/1-1 CPD meetings with studio manager (covering corrective exercise, how to be a coach rather than a standard PT, how to create programmes, warm-up/cool-down etc).
  • Weekly staff development team meetings
  • Hands-on guidance towards your UKSCA accreditation OR level 4 S&C qualification.
  • The opportunity to train, work and learn in a thriving, happy and high-performance environment with newly fitted facilities and equipment.

What we are looking for:

  • Professional, organised and polite aspiring coaches with an interest in high-performance training, sports science and strength and conditioning.
  • Strong work ethic and hunger for learning and developing.
  • Prior experience with free weight training and general athletic movements.
  • The minimal standard of sports/health and fitness qualification, for example, Level 2 Fitness Instructor & Level 3 Personal Training.
  • Candidates must be 18+.

To apply, please send a CV (maximum 2 pages) and covering letter (maximum one page) before midday on Monday 10th February 2020.

Send email to:

Interviews TBC shortly after.  

should i train when i am ill image

should i train when i am ill image

Usually, around this time of year as the temperature drops, many of us struggle to get to the gym due to being under the weather. Although this is quite a subjective topic, here are some of our top tips if you are feeling a bit run down over the winter period ⬇️⬇️⬇️

• Listen to your body – If you feel like a workout will make matters worse then give yourself time to rest. A couple of missed sessions will not hurt your progress in the long run.

• Drop the intensity of your workout – If you feel as though you are well enough to do a workout, then drop the intensity of your training. This is done by decreasing the amount of weight that you use.

• Just move your body – You do not need to go to the gym to exercise. Going for a walk outdoors can help you in the recovery process by opening up your airways and improving circulation.

• Drink plenty of fluids – If you have a temperature you may lose a lot of water in sweat. It is important to rehydrate your body to help fight off infection.

• Get your vitamins in – Vitamins C, B6 and E all play a big role in immune function. Foods which are high in Vitamin C include oranges, broccoli and bell peppers. Foods rich in Vitamin B6 include chicken, salmon and chickpeas. Vitamin E is found in nuts, seeds and spinach.

• Improve your sleep – Sometimes all we need is a good night’s sleep to help speed up the recovery process. Try going to bed an hour earlier than usual and give your body the rest it needs!




With the new year upon us, it can be a good time to reflect and set new goals. But why exactly is this so important? Well, setting a clear and specific intention about what you want to achieve, or who you want to become, gives you a sense of direction and purpose. It is important to realize that it’s not necessarily what you get at the end but who you become in the process.

A recent Harvard Business study found that those who have goals are ten times more successful than those without goals. What’s more, those who wrote down their goals are three times more successful than the those who did not! So, there is certainly value in setting goals. But how exactly should you do this?

Try using the SMART acronym when setting your new goals by asking yourself are they:

• Specific – Being as clear as you can about where you want to be will help you plan more effectively. E.g. If your goal is to lose bodyfat-how much? What is your ideal physique and weight? Or, if your goal is performance related, what area would you like to improve?

• Measurable – You want to be able to measure your goal, so that you know if your making progress or if you need to change something. E.g. If your goal is to increase your bench press 1 REP MAX from 80kg-100kg, you can measure your progress by testing your 1 REP MAX each

• Attainable – Your goal should be achievable or attainable. E.g. You should ask yourself questions like; Do I have the time to complete the required training effectively or are the necessary resources available to me?

• Relevant – Your goal should be your own. Don’t let other people’s opinions stop you from being true to yourself about what you want. It is important to be honest with yourself here as it can be the difference in you going all in on your goal or not. Use your goal as a way of helping others. Research shows that we feel more deeply satisfied when a goal is tied to something bigger than ourselves.

• Time – Your goal should have a target date. This will give you a focus and allow you to work back from this date.

Let us know some of your fitness goals for the year ahead 🙌🏽❤️ #TeamADC

Many say life begins at 40. Life may not be as it used to be in the past. But it is not the end of the world. If you are over 40 and wish to live the lean lifestyle or if you want to get lean and stay lean, nutrition is king and training needs to be strategic.

I often ask my clients what has been their best decade of life, and everyone over the age of 30 says, their 30s.

Those in their 40s say their 40s and those over 50 say, the 50s! So, I guess that means life only gets better! 🙌💪👊

The bottom line, make sure you in good physical shape, and even more optimal mental state.

You can shed stubborn fat and increase your strength at any age. And nothing really changes from your earlier years.

The most important would-be to stay safe, work smart, not hard and heavy.

Here at ADC, we get asked what do we believe to be the best strategy for getting lean and living a lean lifestyle no matter what age you are?

 Would it be a new approach to nutrition?

 Perhaps it might be a different way of training?

What do you think???

Getting lean is all about a sustainable lifestyle shift rather than anything else.

When I say sustainable, I’m not talking about a quick fix diet plan or training plan that only lasts for 12 weeks, and then you’re back to old eating habits and can’t wait to stop the training nonsense that’s running you into the ground.

I’m talking about a lean lifestyle shift that’s sustainable over the long term, something that becomes part of your life, like brushing your teeth and something you actually enjoy that doesn’t end up consuming your entire existence.

I’ve always approached fitness completely different from what the mainstream advises when trying to get in shape, mostly because I’ve studied with the best mentors.

Everyone is just so busy these days, and I’m sure it is no different for you.  You’ve probably got a lot on your plate right now, demanding career, family and all this means that you don’t have time to train more than 2-3 times per week without running yourself into the ground.

So how can you lead a lean lifestyle without spending hours in the gym?

The answer comes from two of the most effective strategies that I know to help you achieve and/or maintain a lean body.

Strength training and nutrition.

When you have those two things dialled in correctly, there’s not a lot else you really need to do to get and maintain a lean body.

Of course, you have to know what exercises are best to use and what set and rep ranges work best, but once you have this nailed it’s simply a matter of time before you get the lean physique you crave.

Work with your body in a sustainable and enjoyable way, and you’ll be rewarded with a lean lifestyle and strong body.

Sure, the fitness industry over complicates everything to make you believe you need more protein, more workouts, more cardio and more of the latest fat burning pill, but honestly all that is just marketing.

It’s in their best interests to get you training more often, the more you train, the more likely you are to consume their protein shakes.

And, the more you fail with your training, the more likely you’ll think the answer lies in some miracle fat burning supplement when it really doesn’t.

You can get to lead a lean lifestyle with only 2-3 strength training workouts per week


Sounds like a marketing ploy doesn’t it?

Get lean with only 2-3 weights workouts per week; you must be kidding I need way more than that to shift all this fat?!?

But the truth is if you are building a nice natural amount of muscle that increases your metabolism even at rest and you’ve got your nutrition dialled in so that you are losing 1lb of fat every week, there’s not a whole lot else you need to be doing.

As a youngster, I was a skinny kid and hated it. Being skinny is no different than being overweight.


Chris Varnavas shows the proof of the Lean Lifestyle System


I did not feel great about my body,

I lacked self-confidence,

I wanted to be lean.

After years of trying different training and nutrition methods, I managed to find the right solution for me, and that helped get me started in the fitness industry.

Chris Varnavas is proof the Lean Lifestyle System works

It wasn’t enough for me to use do it for myself. My mission is to help as many people live the life they wish to lead through improved health and wellness.

Through trial and error and using myself as a guinea pig I was able to discover what worked and perhaps equally as important, what didn’t work.

I felt like a mad professor locked away in my secret laboratory (i.e. my private studio ;-) and the research has resulted in my Lean Lifestyle System.

I might not be the biggest guy in the gym, but I believe the more natural, balanced and lean look is what not only looks the most pleasing, but makes you feel at your best as well.

What’s wrong with what you see in the magazines?

All those pictures you see in the magazines, i.e. men with ripped abs that look great, the problem is they’ve trained for a short period of time just to look good for that day!

I know this as I used to do it myself when getting in shape for a fitness model competition.

I’d train very hard, limit my calorie intake and carbohydrates, look great for competition day and then burn out and crash a few days after!

All that excessive cardio and skewed eating might get you lean, but it’s certainly not sustainable over the long term, ask any fitness model, most look good for the few days of the year and then either blow up like whales or spend their entire lives maintaining their physiques!

Both approaches are useless, and I knew there had to be a better approach.

I knew I had to create a brand that not only teaches everyday men and women how to get lean, but how to stay lean for life while being able to eat the foods you want without feeling like you’re on a diet.

Is staying lean possible without dieting?

You bet it is; I’m living proof.

When I talk about getting lean, I’m talking about body fat of around 9-12% that’s lean enough to see the abs but not so lean your hormone levels will take a hit.

A body that’s truly strong, lean and completely natural and perfectly attainable and sustainable year-round without the constant periods of highs and lows.

That’s what ADC is all about.

So, going back to the 2-3 workouts per week, how is it possible to get lean that way?

Well getting lean is all about building a nice natural amount of muscle through strength training and minimising body fat through nutrition.

Once you’ve got those two things nailed you’ll be well on your way to getting the lean body you want.

Now although a lot of men and women might already know this, not many will cut their training down to the bare minimum, thinking that the more training sessions they clock up, the leaner they’ll get.

But the problem with this approach is too many workouts will overtrain the body making it very hard to recover, and it only takes us longer to recover from our workouts. Even more so when over 40 years old.

The lean lifestyle means not exhausting yourself

If you train too often, you won’t be able to get stronger on the exercises that really matter, and when you focus on getting stronger on the main compound lifts that are suitable for you, you’ll find it a lot easier to get leaner as well.

Not to mention all the challenges we face each day such as demanding jobs, family and a million and one things to do.

Being able to train every day is something very few of us can do.

But when you cut your training down to the bare essentials and really focus on getting stronger on the most productive compound exercises for you, two to three times per week training works really well.

Are you interested to learn more?

Here’s are the most important points to leading a lean lifestyle for everyday men and women: 

  1. Focus on getting stronger on compound exercises that cover all the major muscles of the body
  2. Train in a variety of rep ranges, for muscle growth/strength and fat loss.
  3. Limit training to 2-4 x per week for the best gains in strength and lean muscle
  4. Eat in an enjoyable way that supports hormone health and fat loss
  5. Increase calorie expenditure by including some 30-45 minutes walks at the weekend or 10k steps per day.
  6. Once you’ve got a sound training and nutrition plan, you’ll be well on your way to getting the lean body you crave

 Nutrition for a lean lifestyle

Nutrition is a big part of the equation when it comes to getting and maintaining a lean body, but a lot of men either don’t know what healthy foods to eat, how to calculate the correct number of calories or how to break those calories up into the correct quantities.

Lean Lifestyle means delicious wholesome foods

Or worse still, they think excessive protein or fat loss pills are the answer to a lean body.

When it comes to getting a lean body, the first thing you need to know is your basal metabolic rate or BMR, this is how many calories you burn at rest without gaining or losing any weight.

In order to get your BMR, there are many different formulas out there, but the quickest way to get it is to multiply your bodyweight in lbs x 15.

This will give you a fairly accurate figure of how many calories you’re burning at rest each day. Now in order to get lean, you want to be eating at no more than 20% less than your BMR calories.

This will provide you with enough calories to keep you feeling full and losing approximately 1 lb of fat per week.

When getting lean it’s very important to lose fat slowly, those who try to lose fast weight will end up losing more lean muscle than fat resulting in a down regulated metabolism.

Once you have your number, it’s now a case of breaking up your goal calories into 2-3 meals per day. 

Note: it doesn’t matter how many meals you eat throughout the day as long as you don’t exceed your goal calories for the day. 

Once you know your calorie intake the next step is to ensure you’re having an adequate amount of protein in your diet (approximately 1g per pound of bodyweight) to help elicit muscle growth and repair and to prevent muscle loss while in a calorie deficit.

Whether you have 3 bigger meals or 5 smaller meals it simply does not matter as long as you reach your prescribed calorie and protein intake you’ll still be on track. 

Never go too low in calories

Sometimes guys get stuck in a fat loss rut when they’ve been in a calorie deficit for a long period of time. This invariably crashes the metabolism, and I’ve advised them to periodically increase their calories to kick start the fat burning process once more.

Sometimes increasing your calories after periods of long calorie reduction is just what your body needs to start dropping body fat, so don’t start thinking if you do not see fat loss the answer is to restrict your calories even more.

This simple step by step system (here at TEAM ADC we call it the Lean Lifestyle System) has resulted in hundreds of North London men and women achieve their health and fitness goals which are exciting… but we are FAR FROM FINISHED!

We are looking for 15 men and women in Hadley Wood and surrounding areas who are sick and tired of the way they look and feel they are in that ‘place’ where something HAS to change.

If this sounds like you, then this is a must.

We want to hear from you.

If you’re still interested, here’s what you need to do.

Complete the form below and include your reason why you are applying for this program.

You can achieve INCREDIBLE things when you put your mind to it… and we’ll prove it to you!


Find out more about the ADC Lean Lifestyle System

The age-old question – training or nutrition. What do you think what I believe the answer to be???

I was asked this very question just the other day, and it reminded me of a quote from the greatest bodybuilding trainer of all time, Vince Gironda.

Vince was ahead of his time and because of his amazing physique (see below), he had A-list actors, high-fashion models and competitive bodybuilders flocking to his gym during the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s to train under his watchful eye.

Vince Gironda.


When he was asked if training or nutrition was most important, he once famously stated that it was his belief that body transformation success is 80% nutrition!

But is this really true?

I’ve put together some ideas about my thoughts on training and nutrition and why they are both very important…

…although maybe at different times, depending on the level you are at in your fitness journey.

Carry on reading to find out why…

Two (Or Three) Parts Of The Same Whole

The first thing I would say is that…

you cannot separate training and nutrition.

The two work together synergistically regardless of your goals – be it gaining muscle, losing fat, athletic conditioning, etc.

You will get less-than-optimal or even non-existent results without paying attention to both.

In fact, I like to look at gaining muscle or losing fat in three parts…

  1. Resistance training;

  2. Cardio training; and

  3. Nutrition…

…with each part like a leg of a three-legged stool.

If you were to take away ANY one of the legs of the stool, then you know what will happen…

That’s right; the stool will collapse.

In reality, I believe it’s impossible to put a specific percentage on which is more important – how could we possibly know such a number to the digit?

Training or nutrition? They are both important.

But at certain stages of your training progress, I do believe placing more attention on one component over the other (training or nutrition) can create larger improvements.

Let me explain:

The Beginner: Concentrate On Nutrition

If you’re a beginner and you don’t possess what I would consider a base level of nutritional knowledge, then focusing on what you put into your mouth is, in my opinion, more important than training and should become your number one priority.

I say this because improving a poor diet can generate significant fat loss and muscle building.

For example, if you’ve been skipping meals and only eating 1 or 2 meals a day, then increasing your meal frequency up to 3 – 5 smaller meals a day will transform your physique very rapidly.

If you’re still eating lots of processed fats and refined sugars, cutting them out and replacing them with good fats like the omega three oils that are found in fish and unrefined foods like veggies, and whole grains will make an enormous and noticeable difference to your physique very quickly.

Food with Omega-3 fats

If your diet is low in protein, simply adding a complete protein food like chicken breast, fish or eggs to each meal will help improve your muscle building efforts.

No matter how hard you train or what type of training routine you’re on, it’s all in vain if you don’t provide yourself with the right nutritional support.

If you are a beginner and wish to transform the look and feel of your body, these changes in diet are more likely to result in great improvements than a change in training.

Your muscular and nervous systems will be relatively unaccustomed to exercise. Therefore, just about any training program can cause muscle growth and strength development to occur because it’s all a “shock” to an untrained body.

You can almost always find ways to tweak your nutrition to higher and higher levels, but once you’ve mastered all the nutritional basics, then further improvements in your diet don’t have as great of an impact as those important initial changes.

Intermediate/Advanced Trainee: Concentrate On Training

At this point, as an intermediate or advanced trainee who has the nutrition in place, changes in your training become much more important, relatively speaking.

So to answer the original question…

…Training Or Nutrition: Which Is More Important?…

…my answer is “it depends”.

And NO, I don’t think that is a cop-out!!

I believe that nutrition is ALWAYS critically important and it’s more important to emphasise for a beginner to fitness (or for someone whose diet is still a “mess”)

Whereas training is more important for the advanced person.

It’s not that nutrition ever ceases to be important, the point is, further improvements in nutrition won’t have as much impact once you already have all the fundamentals in place.

Once you’ve mastered nutrition, then it’s all about keeping that nutrition consistent and progressively increasing the efficiency and intensity of your workouts, and mastering the art of planned workout variation, which is what we coaches call “periodisation.”


The bottom line on training or nutrition is this:

There’s a saying among strength coaches and personal trainers…

“You can’t out-train a crappy diet!”

If your nutrition program is your weakest area, either because you’re just starting out or you simply don’t have the nutritional knowledge you know you need to get results, then help is at hand.

Team ADC understands the significant part nutrition and eating well plays in helping you achieve your health and wellness goals and to help you live that ‘Lean Lifestyle”, we will be running a NUTRITION seminar to help you to get the best RESULTS possible!

We have some special guest speakers attending the event and you are invited.

Plus, we will be keeping you up to date with future ADC events that we are planning to hold in 2018 such as Tough Mudder.

This is going to be a fun, interactive and educational evening and we look forward to seeing you there.

It’s FREE to attend, and you can book your seat by getting in touch with one of the coaches or clicking the following link…