The iPhone Apps I use to workout and get healthy.

I’ve been lifting weights on and off for quite a while but got in to power lifting more seriously around two years ago when I joined a boxing gym. I went to box, but ended up lifting weights.

The most common New Years Resolutions are based around diet and weight loss. It’s January, the gyms are packed and salads are flying off the shelves.

 I’ve been a long time gym go’er, but never managed to get into the shape that I want due to a poor diet and not always being consistent. However this year, that is going to change. 

I’m sure there are a million articles out there telling you what the best fitness apps are. But I thought that I’d add my tuppence to the pile. 

I’ve tried quite a few different apps, paid and free, but most have in app purchases for increased functionality. 

I used  to track my weightlifting progress on pen and paper with a book. It has a template, you write in the exercise and what you’re lifting. But its 2019 now and there are some great apps out there to digitise all this for you.

Strong Pro –

I wear an apple watch, but the Apple Watch workouts have zero functionality when it comes to any kind of weightlifting. I’ve tried a few different apps to fill the gap and found that Strong Pro is the best. I dabbled with StrongLifts 5×5 but there wasn’t enough flexibility in their programs and it didn’t allow me to change the workouts and do the kind of 5×5’s that I wanted to do. That being said, Stonglifts is far simpler.

Strong Pro isn’t cheap at £13.99 per year but allows you to build your own workouts from the ground up. It will calculate warm up sets, allow you to add in drop and fail sets and you can set custom rest timers that automatically start when you mark a set as done. It also has a pretty big database of different exercises for you to pick from. It’s well thought out and the interface is simple and intuitive to use.

It brings a satisfaction to your workouts and does all the maths for you, it produces graphs and charts to show your progress. It also links to apple health so you can use it to track your macronutrient intake if thats a thing that you’re into.
Apple Watch integration is in beta but works as you’d expect most of the time. It essentially just tracks your heart rate for a more accurate calorie burn count.

You can’t out-train a bad diet.

MyFitnessPal –

After many years of going to the gym and eating badly, I’ve learned that nutrition is probably the most important factor when it comes to weight loss or gain. You can’t out-train a bad diet.

MyFitnessPal is the easily the best food tracker i’ve used. I just use the free version, and I can add foods or build up recipes manually as i’m cooking food by searching their enormous food database or scanning the barcode. The barcode scanning is accurate 95% of the time, but sometimes it’ll find a pack of biscuits rather than what you asked.

I haven’t come across anything even close to MyFitnessPal. I dabbled with Eat This Much which is an excellent app for meal planning and grocery shopping, but unfortunately it was a little too American when it came to imperial weights and recipes. You should check out their site as well though as its a good resource.

Intervals –

I do two cardio days per week. I mostly do HIIT or High Intensity Interval Training which can be performed in a bunch of ways. Maybe I’ll go into more depth about my workouts in another video but intervals is a fully customisable interval timer that allows you to program your work and rest cycles, you can even customise it further to tell you exactly which exercise you should be doing. I tend to go with 20 seconds on 10 seconds off cycles for 8 rounds with a 1 minute rest in between rounds.

Zero – Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting can be a really effective way to lose fat fast. There is a really simple free app called Zero. You can set your start time and end time and it track how long you’ve fasted for each day. You could just use the built in stopwatch or timer app, but this keeps it separate and drops you a notification when its time to eat. There is also a science section where you can learn more about the benefits and science behind intermittent fasting.

Ok, thats it… Those are the apps I use on a daily basis. Obviously its down to you to do the really hard work, but these apps can definitely help you along the way as they have helped me. Let me know in the comments what apps you use and if you know of some better ones, and i’ll check them out. 

How to Wake up Early Every Day.

In this post I talk about introducing the habit of waking up early every day.

Getting up early can be super tough. Especially if you’re not a ‘morning person’. But I found that over time you can introduce this habit and the benefits pay off the struggle to hit snooze in really quickly.

These are the things that really helped me to wake up early every day.

1. Have a Reason

The most important thing i’ve learned is that you really need a reason to drag your ass out of bed. Whether it’s to start a blog, write a book, get to the gym or go for a run, if you don’t have a reason then you’re destined to hit snooze and ulitmately, fail.

If you’re just getting up to scroll through social media, then you should probably just stay in bed and enjoy the extra sleep.

2. Find what works best for you.

Many people have extreme routines. I heard that Mark Wahlberg gets up at 2:30am and goes to bed at 7. You don’t need to do this, you need to find what works best for you.

For a while I was getting up at 4:30-4:45am, but I found that I was overtired and not getting enough sleep. I couldn’t commit to going to bed at 9pm and generally found that I just wasn’t tired. So now i’ve found that going to bed around 10pm and getting up at 5:30am works best for me.

You also need to consider the other people around you. Is your partner going to appreciate you disappearing at 9pm every night? Probably not.

3. Make a routine

Making a routine and preparing the night before made getting up early much, much easier. Packing my bag the night before means that I don’t forget things and I can move much more quickly when i’m still waking up.

4. It’s ok to Fail

Sometimes you might want to lie-in. Maybe it’s the weekend, maybe you don’t go to the gym on Tuesdays. That’s fine. Just don’t make a habit of it. Personally, if I skip more than two days in a row, i’m back to square one and I have to re-learn the habit.

“It takes between 18 and 254 for days to form a habit”

James Clear

5. Drink More Coffee

For me, a coffee in the morning really helps me to get going and the caffeine is proven to help you out in the gym. Obviously this isn’t necessary but it’s something that helps me. Also, I wanted to put some pretty shots of me making coffee in the video.

These are a few things that really helped me along the way to get up early everyday. I hope that they can help you too. Let me know in the comments what helps you to get up early and make your habits stick.

Thanks for reading!

New Year, New Start.

I’ve never been in to New Years Resolutions. I always just thought, what is the point? Why don’t we just make the changes we want to make now or tomorrow instead of waiting for a new month or a new year.

However this year I’m trying to do things differently so I thought I’d just do the thing that everyone else does and write my goals for 2019 down so I can aim for something, and weirdly, I feel really good about it. By writing down the things that I want to achieve this year, I can formulate a plan for each resolution or goal in advance and start to work at it.

My main goal is to grow my YouTube channel and i’ve been struggling to find my voice on there for a while. I’ve been breaking all of the rules and just making videos about different things and posting them from time to time. There’s no consistency or common theme.

To work at this goal i’m going to be producing a new video every week around my different goals and resolutions and how each one is going. I didn’t want to tell other people how to live their life, but let others know the things that have worked and helped me. The channel will also help to keep my honest and provide others with the resources that i’ve used.

If you have any questions, drop me a tweet.

Staying in a Shepherds Hut in Wales.

Sometimes I like to surprise my girlfriend with little weekends away, or micro adventures. I tell her we’re going away but nothing else. She often guesses the location but obviously not the details.

I did this last weekend and we went for a nice long walk around Waterfall Woods in Wales. It’s a picturesque walk along a network of rivers with a few waterfalls along the way and a big one at the end. If you’re interested in going there, the actual village is called ‘Pontneddfechan’.

After walking for a couple of hours and exploring the waterfalls, we went on to the real surprise location which was a tiny cabin or ‘Shepherds Hut’ in the middle of a field in a Hamlet in the Brecon Beacons. It was absolutely freezing outside so we went in, got the log burner going and made ourselves at home as the Sun went down.

After we’d rested our legs we popped in to the local town, grabbed a bite to eat and watched some Rugby amongst some passionate welsh fans. We then headed back to the hut and got the fire going again as it was freezing outside. It was so nice to just relax in this tiny space that was only as wide as a double bed is long.

In the morning our host Jodi dropped a full breakfast outside in cool bags, it was a selection of lovely pastries, granola and yoghurt. We tucked in before heading home.

You can find the airbnb here.

If you have any questions, drop me a tweet or comment below.

The Best Budget RAID for Photo & Video Editing?

No one likes buying storage… It can be expensive and its not like its going to help you take better photos or make better videos. But it’s essential, especially if you’re handling client work or shooting a lot of stuff you want to keep. 

And if you want to keep that data really safe, you’re going to want a RAID array that stores your data on two hard drives, so in the event of a failure, you can pop a new one in and nothing is missing. 

I did quite a bit of research on which RAID to get, and I trust LaCie as a brand. But their products aren’t cheap. The Big2 is currently £620 on Amazon. I’ve had a few of their rugged drives and none of them have failed on me. The thing that really sold me was the good old usb and SD card slots on the front. It means that when I use this with my Macbook Pro i’m not constantly fishing in my bag for dongles etc..

Although,  this drive only has USB-C, Thunderbolt 3 and a Display Port which means I had to buy a Thunderbolt 3 – Thunderbolt 2 adapter in order to use it with my iMac. This cost me an extra £78 – thanks apple. There is a USB-A – USB-C cable in the box, but you’re going to want to use Thunderbolt to get the most out of this drive. 

Another reason for the upgrade was speed. My Western Digital 6TB drive is good for storage, but if I want to edit a project directly off the drive, its just too slow. I find myself copying projects to the desktop and editing from there. The LaCie Big2 handles the job with ease though. See the video for the speed test. Though, the real test is everyday use. And editing video with Final Cut Pro X and Adobe Premiere has been a breeze over the past week. I’ve never felt that there is a bottle

If you have any more questions about the drive drop a comment below or hit me up on twitter. (Amazon US) (Amazon UK)

(please note that I use amazon affiliate links and it helps me to make this content, if you’re interested in the product, give em a click and we all win – thanks!) 

Sony a7iii Custom Function Cheat Sheet

If you happen to own a Sony a7iii then there is a great YouTube vid from MAKE. ART. NOW. with a perfect setup of the custom buttons and functions. I’ve been using his settings for a couple of weeks and getting along with it really well, its speeds up your shooting so much. However, sometimes I forget the buttons, so I threw together a super quick cheat sheet to reference until i’m fully accustomed. You can use it too if it helps.

A Perfect Wedding with the Sony a7iii

I recently went to my friends wedding and we had a spectacular time. I’d recently got a Sony a7iii and Sony 24-105mm f/4 lens. I got some shots of the ceremony, snuck off to the car and edited it in secret. Then we put it on the projector before the first dance for a little same day edit and it went down really well. 

This combo is so good and so powerful, the 24-105 is expensive but worth every penny when you can just punch in, knock the background out and get beautiful shots like these.

I also shot it all in picture profile 10 (PP10) or Hybrid Log Gamma (HLG) as its more commonly known. Because it was just for fun there was no pressure to produce anything perfect so it was a good chance to experiment. I was super impressed with the results. I didn’t have to use the native ISO of 800 like I do in SLOG2 which makes shooting a bit easier.

There were a few slight changes that had to be made in final cut pro, but on the whole it was pretty straight forward. I just added a LuT and it all came out pretty great. 

If you have any questions about the workflow, drop them in the comments and i’ll do my best to answer.

Music is by Cat Power.