Martin Silva – How to Get Real Results From Home Workouts

Content by: Martin Silva

Watch the full interview below or listen to the full episode on your iPhone HERE.

Stu: This week, I’m excited to welcome Martin Silva back to the show. Martin is a transformation coach, award-winning fitness model, public speaker, podcaster. The list goes on. He’s a rare breed in the fitness industry and his focus is geared towards a holistic approach with long-term health as his main goal. In this episode, we talk about how the pandemic has affected the health and fitness industry and how he’s managing to get amazing results with his online clients using minimum equipment. Over to Martin …

Audio Version

downloaditunesListen to Stitcher Questions asked during our conversation:

  • How are you getting results with your online clients during lockdown? (12:33)
  • How long would you typically recommend a home workout routine or session? (18:50)
  • Are there any popular exercises/movements that you don’t recommend? (43:52)

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Full Transcript

Stu

00:03

Hey, this is Stu from 180 Nutrition, and welcome to another episode of The Health Sessions. It’s here that we connect with the world’s best experts in health, wellness, and human performance in an attempt to cut through the confusion around what it actually takes to achieve a long lasting health. Now I’m sure that’s something that we all strive to have. I certainly do. Before we get into the show today, you might not know that we make products too. That’s right. We’re into whole food nutrition and have a range of superfoods and natural supplements to help support your day. If you are curious, want to find out more, just jump over to our website. That is 180nutrition.com.edu and take a look.

Okay. Back to the show. This week, I’m excited to welcome Martin Silva back to the show. Martin is a transformation coach, award-winning fitness model, public speaker, podcaster. The list goes on. He’s a rare breed in the fitness industry and his focus is geared towards a holistic approach with long-term health as his main goal. In this episode, we talk about how the pandemic has affected the health and fitness space and how he’s managing to get amazing results with his online clients using minimum equipment. Over to Martin.

Hey guys, this is Stu from 180 Nutrition, and I am delighted to welcome Martin Silva back to the podcast. Martin, good to see you, mate. How are you?

Martin

01:25

Good to see you too, Stu. I’m great. It’s good to catch up. Last time we touched bases before lockdown, so great to see your face, man. Great to see you stack some size on there as well from some of the concepts of my program. You need to get a bigger t-shirt, Stu, for sure.

Stu

01:41

Like we were saying, it’s either a washing machine problem.

Martin

01:44

Yeah, a bit of both. I reckon a bit of both, muscle gains and tumble dryer job, that is.

Stu

01:49

Fantastic. So before we get into the conversation, I’ve got so many great questions to throw at you as well, this time. For all of those people that are new to the podcast and may not be familiar with you or your work, I’d love it if you could just tell us a little bit about yourself.

Martin

02:05

Sure. Yeah. So I’m a fitness professional, and I’ve been coaching people as a personal trainer for over 15 years now. I ventured into the online space as well. So I’ve been coaching people online for about five years and I literally live, breathe, and eat health and fitness and getting people in shape, that’s my wheelhouse, if you like, just to simplify that one.

And also I’ve competed as a bodybuilder, so I’ve done it naturally. I’ve never taken the performance enhancing supplements and whatnot, but I have competed against some of the best athletes in the world in non tested federation. So, where a lot of people do take stuff or whatever, but I’ve competed in those federations and I’ve done it naturally. I always like to clear that one up, right. Because it’s a fundamental difference, but no bodybuilding, I did that for about three, four years, competed nine times and got to the professional level there.

And yeah, I mean, like I said, lifting weights and health, I’ve had my own journey in terms of looking after myself and going from I talked about this on the last podcast, but being driven mainly by how I looked and maybe by aesthetics to focusing more on health, and being kind of forced in a sense to really hone in on taking care of myself and making my health a priority instead of being driven by how I looked. But yeah, I mean, I could go on all day. I don’t want to give you my life story and bore you, Stu. But that’s the main ones there, mate.

Stu

03:46

No, that’s perfect. I mentioned this before on one of our podcasts as well, but for our listeners, if they want to Google Martin Silva fitness, there’ll be pictures in Google that pop up in the images that will just show you what you managed to achieve. So my point on this is to say, well, look you walk the walk, you talk the talk. If people are looking to improve their physique and their mindset at the same time, then you’re the real deal. So I think it’s really, really important to understand that the guy that’s giving us the info today really does practice what he preaches and gets some fantastic results as well, which we’ll speak to in more detail in the podcast.

But crazy times at the moment, obviously pandemic came out of nowhere supposedly and taken everybody by storm. And I’m particularly interested in talking about the fitness world at the moment, because many of us listening to this will be vested in our own health and will have a fitness routine or an exercise or movement routine of some sorts, which more than likely took a sideswipe during this pandemic and is still being sideswiped. Now, given the fact that you live and breathe this world, how has this pandemic affected you personally in the way that you used to work and used to work out yourself and deal with the clients and everything under the sun?

Martin

05:29

Great question. So just to give a bit of an insight into what happened with my life during the pandemic, as you know, I was personal training people, I was a self-employed trainer at a gym here in Coogee at Titan Fitness. And obviously the gym closed down whenever that was, I think it was the end of March or whatever when the pandemic hit. And then I did have some business online as well. I had a few clients online, but the majority of my clients were face to face clients.

So fortunately, we didn’t get hit quite as hard as places like the UK and the U.S., in South Wales. So I continued to train my clients, some of my clients on a one-to-one level outdoors. Fortunately, we had a bit about weather here and there, but you know what it’s like the weather in Australia, very fortunate there. Still coaching people outside. And then I really put all of my energy and focus into looking at this, like everyone for a few weeks kind of go into a bit of panic, right? And you’re like, what do I do here? What action steps do I take? What’s the top priorities?

It hits you hard because the bottom line is when you’re self-employed, you could be left with zero business and then trying to figure stuff out, right? So I just thought, right, how can I plow all of my energy into firstly having a bigger impact? Now, we’re already built up an impact with and I’ve connected with a lot of people and helped a lot of people through my social media, through the online clients I’ve coached, through my podcast. Shameless plug, Optimize Your Body podcast.

But I wanted to really have a bigger impact, and I wanted to reach more people and of course build my business more online. So, to have a bigger impact also to create more freedom. So yeah, I really put my time and energy into that when it comes to my business and stuff like that, and fortunately it worked out. Honest to God, I’ve never, ever, ever worked as hard as I have in terms of the work I was putting in to pick up more on clients, to build my online business than I did throughout the lockdown period. I really went, went, went hard on that and continued to coach the clients that I wanted to continue coaching.

Like there was a few who kind of dropped off, who weren’t really interested in continuing when the gym closed down. Long story short, yeah. So that side of it was the best thing that ever happened to me in terms of business. Actually, it was one of those things where it was transformative for me. I managed to turn it around and I managed to really grow my business. So that was great.

In terms of health though, that is one, let’s face it, financial health is one pillar of health, right? But emotional and physical health, I was just primarily doing stuff at home with my training. I really took it as an opportunity to focus on mobility, as I’ve talked about before. Now, you can never do enough mobility. And just for the listeners, mobility is not just stretching. A lot of people think, oh, mobility, I’ll just do some stretches. There’s more to it than that. It’s a combination of like strength and flexibility, and it’s really working on the weak areas and everyone’s got weak parts of their body.

And to be honest with a lot of people, it’s very similar for most people in terms of weak posterior chain, because we’re sat down too much, tight hips and all the rest of it. So I’m no different to anyone else. So I really leveled up on that for a good month. And I was really just doing primarily mobility and resistance band workout, sorry, for a few weeks. Then, like we said off air, I managed to get my hands on some equipment. So I was just lifting weights twice a week.

And to be honest, I’ve pretty much just done two weight training sessions. Some weeks, like I said, I was just doing mobility and bands, resistance bands, which I’ll talk about in a minute, but I’ve done no more than two weight training sessions now in the whole time. So five, six months, two per week. I mean, prior to lockdown, I was only doing two or three per week anyway, training sessions.

So without going on too much about that, I’ve just kind of done my own thing at home. I only recently over the last month or two I’ve started going back to the gyms and stuff, started going to fitness first gym. I want to talk about emotional health and mental health as well though. Because I had been put to the test because in a sense, a lot of the time, I haven’t been practicing what I preach, because my sleep’s been compromised a bit because I haven’t been disciplined like I normally am with a night routine.

I was never perfect with my night routine in terms of preparing myself for a good sleep and stuff. But since all this happened, I have been just grinding too late, not prioritizing sleep. I’ve been under more stress and I’ve really been put to the test mentally. There’s been days where highs and lows, Stu, you know what it’s like trying to build a business, highs and lows. But the good thing is now after tuning into podcasts like yours and really learning. And like I said at the start of the podcast, really tuning in and honing in on health and really getting in tune with the simple things, which we always talk about like getting sunlight.

Stu

10:26

Yes.

Martin

10:27

Now I’m so connected now. Thankfully over the last few years, I’ve really tuned in with the health side of things. And now I’m like, why am I feeling low? I’ve had a low day, always comes back to two things really, sleep and stress, right? Sleep and stress, too much stress, not enough sleep. 80% of you feeling down or wherever it is normally is related to those two things. Lack of sunlight, you throw that into the mix. And the funny thing is now I always connect the dots. It’s like, why am I feeling? Why is my mood low? Why is my mood really low?

Wow. Once again, you didn’t prioritize your sleep last night. You didn’t get much sunlight today and you’re overstressed. On top of that as well, I was pushing my workouts a bit. So again, we talked about this just then, but you haven’t lifted weights for a while and you get excited and that’s an added stress on the body as well. So yeah, I guess just to summarize my answer, it’s been great business wise and all in all, it’s been a great experience for me because I think the bottom line is the people who is survival of the fittest. Right.

I think as bad as it sounds from what I’ve seen, it’s washed out a lot of the, I hate to say, but like the weak characters and the weak people in the fitness industry. I’ve noticed a lot of them have died off or gone quiet. Whereas the real leaders and the people who are really game changers have really stepped up to the plate. So I think in a sense it’s been a good thing in that sense, if that makes sense.

Stu

11:50

No, certainly does. So, I’m keen to talk about your online program because many people then have been forced to adopt some form of online routine regime, whether it be on the iPhone, Zoom, Skype, whatever method they may use. But obviously they haven’t got all the equipment that you would have at the gym. They may have other constraints as well. They haven’t got a group fitness in terms of all the enthusiasm and motivation that gets pushed when you are surrounded by others as well. So, how are you managing to get results? And I’m sure you are getting results, hence being presumptuous.

Martin

12:33

Yeah, yeah.

Stu

12:33

How are you managing to get in results with your clients in the online space?

Martin

12:38

Yeah, well, it always comes down to the number one thing, right? Which is mindset and behaviors and habits. I already knew how important it was to change behaviors. I’ve been honed in on this for a long time now. When it comes to getting results with your physical and mental health it’s all about mindset. You have to switch up your way of thinking. So with my methods of coaching online, it’s great because I’m really having to level up with that side of it when it comes to mindset and people implementing habits, and not just implementing habits for four weeks or for a few weeks or for even 12 weeks for that matter, but permanent lifestyle changes, right?

So that’s how I’ve managed to get results is by focusing on the fundamental things, the things which really get you results, because if you would have asked me before, what’s the best way to get results throughout the lockdown period? I would have said in terms of what equipment people haven’t got access to equipment. I would say yeah, resistance bands and body weight, you can get amazing results. When it comes to building muscle and burning body fat, if you really connect and you really get good technique and focus on form, when it comes to using your own body weights, you’d be blown away by the results you can get. And you throw resistance band into that as well and you can get really, really good results.

But the thing is you have to take into account, if it was like that, if it was that black and white, it’s the same as macro nutrients and calories, right? In an ideal world, if people could just follow what macros to hit and what calories to hit, everyone would be in shape, right? But not everyone’s in shape, Stu. In fact, it’s quite the opposite, right?

Stu

12:38

Yeah.

Martin

14:21

The same goes for training as well. I know what methods work, but it’s always adapting to the person. So that’s something I’ve really, really kind of focused more on throughout this lockdown period is I was always focused on the individual, right, as a good coach. And that’s why a training program is people think, oh, a training program, I’ll just go on YouTube and follow these workouts.

There’s a fundamental difference between a random workout and a specialized training program. There’s so many individual variances from person to person. And this is not just how their body responds. This is the psychological factors, like their past experience. What have they experienced in their life? What’s their training history like?

Martin

15:00

… what’s their gut health like, all these kind of things I could go on forever about, the different things which come into it. When you designing a training program, it’s not just the physical side of it, obviously, it plays a huge part in it in terms of the person’s training history, what kind of weights they’ve done before and whatnot. But the bottom line is, are they going to stick to it, right?

Stu

15:19

Yes.

Martin

15:19

So it’s the form of communication. So again, just to summarize that, really, to get results, I’ve really focused on communication and building systems, because that’s something I didn’t really have in place as much prior to lockdown, was having the right systems in place. For example, having the app that I use to keep everyone’s training program, nutrition, their daily habits, they’ve got a calendar in there. Literally, day-by-day they can see what habits they’ve got to do, what workouts they’ve got to do, or whatever, so that’s really important. And also doing group coaching calls as well, which is something that’s been really, really powerful for added support and also added accountability. I feel like accountability is so-

Stu

16:06

Yeah, it’s huge.

Martin: 

16:07

Having someone hold… Oh, it’s huge. Having someone hold you accountable every step of the way, in terms of getting results with your physique and your health is paramount at some point, if you haven’t had that accountability and you haven’t had that expert guidance. So that’s why those group coaching calls I do, it adds that peer accountability. And also we all know how important community is as well, obviously it’s not going to be as good as face-to-face human interactions, but when you’re coaching people all over the world, there’s only so far you can go with that.

So getting everyone in the group, you’ve got like-minded people in a group, who actually want to see each other get results, and they’re all in the same boat, so that’s been really helpful as well. But yeah, in terms of, for example, let’s just say someone wants to build muscle and lose body fat, I’ve had best results with people who’ve got no equipment, because that’s face it, throughout the COVID, very hard to get your hands on equipment, and not everyone can afford it, right? So resistance band and body weight, I’ve had insane results with people, the ones who are consistent and they just stick to the plan.

But I think the most important thing I wanted to talk about today, real quickly is, it’s what you enjoy doing. It always comes back to what you are going to enjoy doing is what you’re going to be more consistent with, and really is going to get you better results. Look, if your main… Well, yeah. Well, if your main focus is aesthetics and you want to change the way your body looks, which let’s face it, is 80% of people, and I’m not going to say I’m just purely driven by health, Stu, we both want to look good, let’s be honest. But if that’s your main goal, yes, you do have to be diligent with types of training, which you wouldn’t necessarily enjoy at the start, depending on the person, because let’s face it, you suck at a lot of these movements.

It’s funny, how we lean… we run away from the things we’re shit at. Sorry about the language, we run away from the things that we’re not very good at, right, like mobility, so [inaudible 00:17:58] don’t do it. And it’s like, you got to lean into that. I said this to people, if you can put the same intensity that you were putting into weight training, prior to lockdown, into mobility and body weight movement and that kind of stuff, just watch the results you get. Yeah, so the training, resistance band, body weight and mobility, and then focusing on movement.

And then nutrition, changing behaviors with food, and that’s a whole nother animal. That’s really, let’s face it, people say it’s 70% nutrition. I don’t really fully agree with that, they’re all very important in different ways, sleep, training, and nutrition, all as important as each other, I would say. If I had to say a percentage, sleep 40%, training 30%, and nutrition 30%, I’d say. So those things put together, combined with individualizing the program, yeah, that’s got me game changing results with clients.

Stu

18:50

And how long would you typically recommend a home workout routine or session? And I’m talking, is it half an hour a day, seven days a week? What are we looking at? Because some people, obviously, we’ll have different scenarios, we’re at home, some of us got kids, some of us haven’t, some of us are in lockdown completely, others have got more freedom and can get out and about. But if we were thinking about an online program, specifically with the type of thing that you’re doing at the moment, how long would we have to spend to get results?

Martin

19:26

Let’s talk about the two main goals that people have, fat loss, building muscle. Fat loss, probably more common, right? So when it comes to losing fat and training, basically movement, so it’s your overall calorie burn. So I’ll talk about the types of training methods to do at home and what I’ve been prescribing people, but the bottom line is, how can you increase your calorie output, right? That’s the bottom line, right? So without even taking nutrition into account, about 30% of your calories you burning a day are going to be manually burned, right? So give or take, 60 to 70% of your calories are burned by you not even thinking about it, by your organs working, your brain… your brain takes up, what, 20, 30% of your body’s energy or whatever it is. So most of your calories burn it just automatic, but the rest are manual, right?

And around 15%… so let’s just say 70% is your basal metabolic rate, the remaining 30%, 15% of that is going to be done through basically NEATs, what they call NEAT, which is non-exercise activity thermogenesis, basically movement. So 15% of your… So that’s basically half of your waking calories are going to be burned by you moving, right? So if you’re sat down for most of the day and you’re not moving, you’re not getting many steps in, your output’s not going to be very high. So number one is focus on increasing your movement, so walk more. Yes, rack your steps up, that’s going to be number one.

But one thing that people don’t really read into enough is what I just talked about NEATS, it’s the calories you’re burning when you’re… yes, you’re awake, but you’re not necessarily aware of it. When you move it around the house, when you cleaning, when you’re fidgeting around, right? So just getting up and moving regular and doing more stuff around the house. You notice a lot of people were, especially guys, were doing their houses up and stuff, whatever it was, or doing stuff in their garage that they haven’t done for a while, that’s an example of NEAT, to burn more calories.

And then you’ve got only 5%, 5% of those categories are going to be through actually doing a workout, that’s the funny thing. So a lot of people… It’s funny, I’ve had people in the past and they’re like, “Yeah, I’m training five, six times per week, but I’m not losing body fat.” And it’s like, firstly, their nutrition is not dialed in enough, and secondly, they’re not moving enough. So people think that you burn loads of calories when you train, you don’t. Even if you did a super high intensity workout, which I wouldn’t really recommend anyway for most people in terms of getting results, you’re going to burn at most, within an hour, at very most, what, 600, 700 calories. Whereas when you walking, if you can rack up, say, even 10,000 steps in a day, you’re going to burn much more calories, right? So that’s something that people need to hone in on.

And the other thing is nutrition. So let’s just say you’ve got 30% of your waking calories when you’re actually awake, right? 15% of them are going to be through movement, 5% is going to be through your workout, and that 10% is going to be the thermic effect of food, give or take, right? So food choices, protein and fiber, eating decent quality protein sources, and eating plenty of fiber, i.e. plant-based foods, vegetables, right? And that actually speeds your metabolism up as well. So I just wanted to clear that up, that the workouts are important, but it’s more important if you’re trying to build muscle. So with fat loss, focus on your movement, and if you can get even two to three purposeful at home workouts. I’d say three, really purposeful, say, give or take time limit about 40 minutes, let’s just say, give or take about 40 minutes, three times per week, you get really good results if you following a proper program, where you’re using your body weight properly, focusing on technique, throw in some bands in the mix.

But another thing is, studies have shown this as well with movement and exercise, frequency is king, so you’d be better off doing 20 minutes in the morning and 20 minutes in the evening. Or if you’re going to do, sorry… Yeah, so if you’re going to do 40 minutes of resistance training at home, for example, body weight squats, core work using resistance bands, you actually get better results with fat loss and building muscle, marginally, if you were to do 20 minutes a morning, 20 minutes in the nighttime. And actually what you do is you actually improve your energy levels and stuff then. So it’s actually better, and I found that myself.

So I think that’s something that’s overlooked is that frequency is really important, and the same goes for movement as well, when you walking, you’re going to be better off breaking up your walks. Getting your steps in is number one, but actually for your mental health and for everything else, stress levels, reducing stress levels, moving more regularly is going to be better. And actually for fat burning as well, studies have shown that you burn a bit more fat if you were to break your walks up into, say, two or three walks. So they’re splitting hairs. But when it comes to building muscle, I would say, ideally, you want to get your three foundational work…

You know how I lay my programs out, Stu, anyway, it’s similar to the at home stuff, so they’ll have three foundational workouts to do, which are the main workouts, which are non-negotiables, you’ve got to get them done. Two, some people can do two, days in between then, just doing resistance bands and mobility work. If your goal is purely to build muscle doing, again, talking about frequency, doing ideally two to three resistance band sessions, and some body weight stuff, like pushups and squats on the days in between these main workouts will get you game changing results. But the only thing is, it’s like I was talking about earlier, human behavior just isn’t that simple. For people to actually stick to that, it’s tough, because it’s a different animal trying to get the discipline to train at home. I don’t know if you had this problem, but it’s a different animal, right?

Because people don’t realize, when you go to the gym, Stu, it’s a ritual, you will ritualize it. You have your caffeine, you put your music on, it’s the whole experience that drives you to the gym. But people think they can just be on their laptop, answering emails or watching Netflix on their couch throughout lockdown and then get up and go and do a good workout, but it just doesn’t work out like that, you’ve got to psych yourself up. You know what I mean? You got to get some good music in, get some caffeine in and ritualize it. So that’s something that really helped with clients, is getting them to prepare themselves for that workout.

Stu

25:24

Excellent advice. And you’re absolutely right, it is ritualistic. And there’s so much accountability there as well, because you’ve made yourself accountable by perhaps signing up for gym membership, training with a friend, you’ve made that proactive step to get in your car and get to the gym, so you want to make the most of it.

Martin

25:45

100%.

Stu

25:45

Now you were mentioning, build muscle, lose body fat. Now the females in our audience may recoil at that phrase, build muscle, because in their minds eye, they’re thinking-

Martin

25:45

Oh, I’m glad you mentioned it.

Stu

26:03

They’re thinking of competitive bodybuilding, and some of these guys just look quite unusual, and they wouldn’t want to get there, and they afraid of that term, build muscle. But fundamentally, that’s really what you want to do anyway, isn’t it?

Martin

26:19

100%. 100%. So I’m so glad you asked this question because this is a common struggle that I’ve had over the last… since I’ve really, really known my stuff over, say the last six to 10 years, battling with clients, with female clients when it comes to building muscle, right? So just of simplify this, now I find myself using these words, the funny thing is I still find myself doing it, it’s like, “Yeah, you’re going to get more toned.” I found myself saying that the other day. “You’re going to get more toned and more defined.” Bottom line, it’s really simple with how the body works, you either building muscle or it’s shrinking, there’s no in between, right? It’s really simple as that. So with women, they think building muscle and… oh God forbid if you use the word bulking to a woman, which effectively is what they’re doing, which is what you’ve done over the last few years, right, is bulk. And you need to eat more calories, most women are really, really… And I can totally understand it, society’s made it that way, it’s put women under pressure to constantly try and be slim and all the rest of it. But in reality, in order for you to actually… And it’s crazy how often this happens, we had a whole podcast on this, I think it was the last podcast. What was it? Eating more to get the body you desire.

Stu

27:38

Yes.

Martin

27:38

And it’s true, right? Obviously there’s lots of context there, you can’t just eat processed crap unfortunately, it needs to be primarily whole foods if you want to get the best results. But in reality, you do need to eat more. Most women, they been kind of yo-yo dieting. Let’s face it, even guys. In general, yo-yo dieting is just rife. I mean, most people that come to me… or I wouldn’t say most people, but at least half the people that come to me have tried a lot of stuff to get in shape, they’ve tried lots of different diets, and I’m sure lots of listeners can relate to this now.

But with females, they come to me, they want to lose body fat and get, quote unquote, toned, I’ll use that word, and they have been cutting back. They spent their whole, say, however long they’ve spent trying to get in shape, cutting back on calories, following a certain diet, getting in shape short term, losing body fat normally for an occasion, like a holiday or a wedding, and then they go back to their old, again, going back to behaviors, they go back to their old behaviors and old habits after that. 90% of the time, that’s what people do, and then they gain the fat back and the weight back, and the body actually gets better and better at storing fat.

I don’t want to scare people, I just wanted to bring this one out there as well. More studies are showing is that actually when you lose weight and gain it back and lose weight and gain it back, the body’s smart, the body gets better and better at actually storing fat, and the body produces more fat cells, or has done anyway in certain people. So most people do that, and then they come to me and they’re like, “Right, I want to be able to lose fat, but I want to be able to sustain it. I’m sick and tired of this back and forth stuff.”

So I’m like, “Okay.” And then I’ll monitor stuff, see what they’ve been eating. Most of the time they’re not eating enough protein and their diet is kind of good in the week. A lot of people are really tight in the week, but they’re not tracking their food, so they’re just kind of guessing. They’re pretty tight in the week, and a lot of people are in a calorie deficit all week. They’re burning more than they eat all week, and they’re like, “I’m going to be good now, I want to get in shape.” Weekend comes round, and what happens? You go out, you have a couple of drinks with friends, a meal here, a meal there, a few snacks here. For example, nuts is a big one, people say to me, “But nuts are healthy, right?” And I’m like, “Yeah, they’re loaded full of nutrients. But also in a handful, you’re looking at 500 calories.”

Stu

29:54

That’s right. They’re loaded full of… yeah, certainly healthy, but not by the bag full.

Martin

29:54

…Not quite a bagful. Anyway, I’m going off on one a bit here. But the bottom line is then, I’m telling them, right, okay. Straight off the bat, we might do 30 days, like with a recent client had 30 days. I was like, right, okay. You want to see results, you want to lose body fat, that’s your goal. So, for the first 30 days I’m going to cut you back and restrict you on calories. And then, what happens then a lot of the time, I don’t do this all the time though, it really depends on the individual. They get the confidence, they get the momentum, they see visible results in pictures. And that also builds trust between you and the client then as well, because they’re like, “Oh, his methods do work.” And then from there, I’ll build them up from there.

But a lot of the times, Stu, straight away I’m like, right, okay. You need to eat more. So, we need to get you doing a strength training program. And just to explain to the women what happens. When you focus on eating more protein and eating calories where you’re basically eating maintenance calories or surplus. So, basically you’re feeding your body more, and you’re eating just ideally just above what you maintenance calories are, I won’t go too much into the logistics there. But if you combine that with a proper strength training program, you’ll build muscle and then, providing your strategies right as well, you’ll still lose body fat. But it’s important to note that it is generally better and more effective to really focus on one goal.

So, you need to focus on building muscle, so you’ll do, what I call, a clean bulk. So, for the average woman out there, ideally if you want to build muscle and lose body fat, and you want to do this so you set yourself up for longterm success. So, you’re sustainably losing body fat, getting healthier, building muscle, getting stronger. For the average woman, let’s just say about 0.5 to one kilos a month. If you want to do it slow and steady, and you don’t want to gain body fat or gain any noticeable body fat, and you want to really build lean muscle and look better, that’s a healthy amount of weight to gain month on month. But women listening to this now, they’re like, “No, I’m not down with that. I’m not down with that.”

And the problem is then they stay stuck, and at some point they’re always going to come looking for the right answer, so it’s getting over the mental barrier and being okay with focusing on getting stronger. And this is another big one, Stu. It’s important to switch your focus, especially for the women, guys as well, from focusing on how you look to focusing on your performance in the gym. So, focus on getting stronger, that’s what I’ll get people to do. For the first four weeks let’s do a strength training phase. Yes, we might take some pictures once every four weeks, but we’re not going to do it frequently. And we’re going to focus purely on you getting stronger, and you developing new habits. I’m going to have you honing in on your sleep, on your hydration and really focusing on getting enough fiber and taking their mind away from it.

And then what happens is four weeks down the line, they look at the pictures, they’re like, “Wow. I’ve actually built muscle and I’m leaner as well.” So, it is complicated though. You don’t build muscle and lose body fat at exactly the same time. But simultaneously, that’s what happens. Your metabolism doesn’t work like a clock. People think it’s so complex, metabolism, that every day your body’s changing. So, one day you could be in a calorie surplus, the next day you could be burning more than you eat. And this is how I do it with clients, so they’re not necessarily eating loads more calories than they need to, to build muscle. And that way then, if they’re in a little bit of a surplus, but they’re also lifting heavy weights, so the metabolism’s elevating, they actually slowly, month on month, they’ll build, let’s just say an arbitrary number, they’ll build a pound of muscle and lose a pound of fat, month on month.

And that’s what I find is the sweet spot for a lot of people, because, especially women, they don’t want to go aggressive with a bulk and put on body fat. So, yeah. So, basically women, just to summarize, you will basically look tighter, leaner and more toned. And you’ll get the body you desire and you’ll get more sculpted by making, building muscle your focus. It’s as simple as that. Rather than trying to lose body fat all the time and really focusing on, I’m going to diet down. It’s like, no. How can I make permanent lifestyle changes? How can I eat better? How can I slowly make changes to my nutrition, get my protein up and follow a proper training program? It’s pretty simple really, Stu.

Stu

34:14

Yeah.

Martin

34:14

I hope that made sense. I went on a bit there.

Stu

34:17

No. It totally did, and I think I used this phrase before with you, and a longevity expert shared this with me and he said, “Muscle is the organ of longevity.” And so outside of purely the aesthetics, it will literally build a better foundation for everyday life and long lasting health as well, because you’re more metabolically efficient, you’re stronger, your bones retain their strength as well.

Martin

34:47

100%. Let me just quickly talk on that for one minute, because I do want to make this significant. Because resistance training, time and time again, i.e. lifting weights, has been proven to be even better for the heart than cardio now, it’s getting a bit ridiculous. So, the new studies coming out and saying that resistance training actually gets rid of, or generally will reduce the two types of fat that build up around the heart. Won’t go into what that is. But cardio only reduces one type of that fat, resistance training is being the only type of training in studies proven to remove both. Mental health as well. So, what they found is lifting weights and building strength actually promotes neuroplasticity, which is crazy. So, certain regions in the brain, especially the hippocampus, which is responsible for mood and memory, actually develops and grows from lifting weights. They’ve done studies on people with anxiety and depression, and resistance training was the only type of training which alleviated symptoms of anxiety.

So, other types of training did work as well, but resistance training was superior, and that was Alzheimer’s as well. There was a study done in Australia recently, and that’s not to say cardio is bad, a small amount of cardio is good. But resistance training and bone density, as you get older, mobility in terms of how you move. If you can get good at those fundamental lifts like squats, dead lifts, overhead press, these are movements that if you don’t use it, you lose it. So, when you see people who are older and they’ve, I hate to say it, but they’ve accepted that they’re getting old. A lot of people accept it because they don’t know any different, and you see they’ve got the rounded shoulders, poor posture, health ramifications, and that’s because they haven’t really focused on moving well, mobility, strength training, there’s other factors which come into it. But strength training, I mean, the people who live the longest, they have high levels of strength and they tend to move a lot. It’s pretty simple. So, for health, it’s number one. Yeah. It’s up there. It’s up there anyway, Stu.

Stu

36:50

Totally, totally. I mean, it’s definitely a focus in my life and I can see, through all of the people that I’ve interviewed over the last decade, that it is something that is worthy of your full attention. It just has to be.

Martin

37:02

A hundred percent. And only two sessions a week, that’s what I just want to say to people. It doesn’t have to be every single day, busting your balls in the gym. Two sessions per week has proven to be really, really good, just two purposeful training sessions, lifting weights. That’s what I do at the moment. Doesn’t have to be anything crazy.

Stu

37:18

So, given the fact that many of us now are spending a lot of time in front of the internet, and we’re looking at home workout routines and tips and tricks from the personal trainers to the stars. And there are so many experts out there now that have a YouTube channel, and it can be quite conflicting. You think you’re doing something right and then you watch a YouTube video that says, actually don’t ever do this. These are the one things that you don’t ever want to do. In your opinion, are there any popular exercises or movements that you think are not worth the time of day?

Martin

37:58

Not worth the time of day. Yeah. Do you mean in general? So, are we talking at home?

Stu

38:05

Yeah. Well, like for instance, the common sit up. You can do thousands and thousands and thousands of sit ups.

Martin

38:14

That’s a great example.

Stu

38:15

Yeah.

Martin

38:16

I’ll talk on that one quickly now.

Stu

38:18

Yeah. Go for it.

Martin

38:19

There’s a few. The core is the hardest muscle group to connect to, people don’t realize. The abdominals and the core are by far the hardest muscle group to connect to. This is partly why people get back issues. Mainly why people get lower back issues. Doing a sit up properly, there’s methods to teaching people how to do a sit up properly. It’s like a step by step process that I have as a coach. But doing a sit up properly, probably 80% of people just don’t do it properly. They just don’t do it properly. They haven’t built the foundation, they haven’t got the connection to the core. So, that’s a very, very incredible exercise, the common sit up, but not doing… Like you said, people think with abs, for example, that you’ve got to do loads of crunches and loads of reps.

And I don’t know why they treat it like it’s different to any other body part. You need resistance. Like you would add weight for leg exercises and upper body, you need the same core at some point. You need to add weight and get stronger, but it’s all about technique. So, in terms of exercises which I think are a waste of space, what grinds my gears is all the resistance band… Not resistance band, like the mini band glute stuff you see women doing, in the gyms and stuff. And look, there’s some value to using those mini bands to fire up your glutes. But that’s about it. It all comes down to connection when it comes to training, it’s just my muscle connection. It’s your ability to connect to your muscles. That’s what really… And add tension to your muscles is what helps you build muscle.

So, those little mini bands you see people doing, like women on Instagram and stuff, and YouTube, doing lots of stuff with those bands to build their booty, and you see these women in incredible shape using bands all the time. Thing is, behind the scenes, they’re lifting heavy weights as well. Plus they’ve got crazy genetics. Plus they’ve been lifting weight for 20 years, and there’s all these factors that, I’m just using women again as an example, that women don’t take into account. So, they’re a waste of space. I use the mini bands just to prime the glutes. So, just to switch on the glutes.

Stu

40:10

So, switch them on before you actually move on to the exercise that makes the difference?

Martin

40:14

Yes, exactly. Before you do the exercises which get you bang for your buck, which is like some form of a squat, like Bulgarian split squats or lunges. Barbell squats is king, but nine out of 10 people can’t squat with good enough form, so they’re better off doing the Bulgarian split squats I had you doing, Stu. No wonder you put on five kilos.

Stu

40:33

Boy, oh boy. They’re ruthless those ones but, yeah. Fantastic. And even body weight.

Martin

40:41

Body weight. Exactly.

Stu

40:42

Unbelievable.

Martin

40:43

Again, time and attention. So, yeah. Body weight, an example. A rubbish exercise, you know you see people doing, I’m just going to use the at home. So, first of all, those bands can be good to prime your glutes, but just use them for that reason. And just focus on technique for your legs, for example, squats and deadlifts, king and queen. It’s simple. And then with the squats and the at home stuff, so, you see people doing the high intensity jumping around the room kind of stuff, and like I said, once again, if you enjoy it, you’re going to be consistent. Great. Right. If it’s going to make feel good, I’m not taking that away from anyone. But when it comes to getting results and building muscle, slow the tempo down. This is something you can do at home.

Or you do it in the gym. And 90% of people, even in the gym, you’ll never see them doing that right tempo. I know you do the slow tempos, Stu, and there’s a place for going fast. Obviously when you’re doing strength training, you don’t want to be too slow. But slowing down the tempo and focusing on tension. You try doing, for example, a squat. One of my main home workout programs that I have clients doing, on the second phase I’ve got them doing tension squats, where they’re doing, imagine you’re stood up, you’re about to do a body weight squat.

You’ve got your hands on the back of your head. You’re squatting down, but you’re squatting down for five seconds. For the listeners, try this now. Put your hands on the back of your head, anchor your feet into the ground, and literally flex your legs as hard as you can as you’re doing it. So, you’re flexing your core and your legs. And just five second count on the way down when you squat, don’t pause at the bottom, and just come back up for two seconds, and repeat that. Time and attention. Same goes for pushups. [crosstalk 00:42:17]

Stu

42:18

Totally, totally. Time and attention. And when you think about it, if you took that methodology of time and attention to your existing workout, you’re going to get twice the bang for buck out of each and every workout.

Martin

42:31

A hundred percent. But the ego gets involved, Stu, and when you use lifting weights as an example, I sometimes still fall into this trap. But people get caught up, increasing weight, increasing weight, increasing weight. And even now I have that battle with clients all the time. And I’m like, “Okay, what weight were you doing? It’s too much weight. The technique wasn’t there.” So, just slow the tempo down, focus on looking at the videos I sent you, and nothing’s going to be perfect form. So, if you focus on… Just remember this little statement now. The muscles are pretty dumb really, when it comes to how they work.

It’s all in the brain. So, all the muscles know is tension. Muscles have no idea how much weight you lifted. They don’t know. They’re not concerned. All they’re trying to do is contract and get it done the easiest way possible. So, your job is to send the signal. Is to send a signal where you’re connecting to the muscles, you’re focusing on technique and you’re applying tension to the muscles. All the muscles know is tension. They’ve got no idea how much weight you lifted. So, honestly, if all the listeners just took like, obviously it depends, but 20, 30% less… Take the weight down by 20 to 30%, slow the tempo down, so each reps taking you about six seconds. Come back to me.

Stu

43:40

Yeah. Totally. And quite likely as well that you’re going to reduce injuries because you’re not loading up with something that you can’t really lift properly in terms of form.

Martin

43:52

Absolutely. Okay. The exercises that I don’t like, Stu, I think a waste of time, are things like burpees and stuff like that, and the high intensity stuff where it’s just squat jumps and all these kind of things. Anything which involves just jumping around in general, most people they do loads of reps, so most people train and they look at it as a workout. So, they look at it like I’m going to train to get tired. So, I’m going to do burpees, squats jumps. I’m going to train to fatigue. But the thing is, there’s no benefit in doing that. Like I said, if it makes you feel good and that’s what you’re going to stick to, great. But if you want to get better results, just focus on technique, like I said, because doing that kind of stuff, it’s setting you up for failure with injuries. And also it’s just not going to get you bang for your buck when it comes to building muscle and losing body fat.

Stu

44:40

Yeah. Which is the ultimate goal, irrespective of what perhaps you may think, ultimately everybody wants to, whether we use the term lean or define or tone, that’s your muscles getting bigger, rather than atrophy, isn’t it? It’s shrinking away.

Martin

44:59

That’s it. And

Stu

44:59

Yes.

Martin

45:00

Your metabolism elevates so normally you’ll slowly start getting leaner, as well.

Stu

45:00

Yes.

Martin

45:03

So then when you look at pictures, let’s just say three months apart, or even a month apart is significant, but three months apart, it doesn’t sound like much if you built two pounds of muscle and you lost a few pounds of fat. Look at that in pictures, because muscle is so dense, it doesn’t take up much space on your body. But in reality, how you look is just night and day different. But like you said, health is key though. People should be doing strength training for health.

Stu

45:28

Totally.

Martin

45:30

Yeah.

Stu

45:30

So I’m just mindful, we’re kind of coming up to time and I think we’ve got so many little gems there in as much as people want to understand perhaps how they should be structuring their home workouts, what they should be doing in terms of movements, how long, focusing more on whole food nutrition. Like you said as well, ensuring that they’re eating enough because obviously it’s always a big fear of people, “I eat too much. I’m going to put on the weight and it’s going to destroy my workouts.” But outside of that, we all want to be happier and healthier and live longer lives. We’re in the time of crazy pandemic where our health is compromised.

I’m particularly interested in understanding what you personally do to support your immune system because we could go into the gym every day and decide that we’re going to make every day a deadlift day, right? That will fry your nervous system. I don’t think that would do your immune system very good. So irrespective of how wonderful we enjoy working out, it probably isn’t beneficial to go gangbusters every single day, day after day after day, because I don’t think that’s going to be great for your immune system.

Martin

46:46

Absolutely.

Stu

46:47

So what do you do? How do you structure your week, your days, in order to optimize the immunity?

Martin

46:54

So there’s a few big rocks, right? I like to call it you’ve got the big rocks and you’ve got the pebbles. So for me, the big rocks, I think for most people, really, this is going to be the most beneficial is, “I’m going to run through my day really quickly, get up in the morning. Now where most people go wrong and they start their day off wrong is they go on their phone straight away, start checking emails, start checking social media whilst they’re still lying in bed. Right. Let’s face it. That’s most people. The first thing you’ve got to do is you need to have some sort of, if you ask me, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying you need to, but you need to have some space in the morning where you’re going to be at your best to serve.

You’re also going to be in a calm state where you’re responding to things. Yes, you’re going to get stressed. Yes, you’re going to get into a reactive state throughout the day. But if you start your day in that reactive state where you’ve checked emails, you’ve gone on social media. You haven’t given yourself time to really take care of yourself. You can’t serve from an empty vessel. So in the morning, first thing I do is I’ll get up like I said before, hydrate number one, right? You wake up dehydrated. Hydrate. Add some lemon, if you can, into your water because digestive system. Then I’ll do some sort of exercise routine. Now, Wednesday and Saturdays, when I do my weight training on all the other days in between, I’ll literally just do 20 to 30 minutes of mobility, but combined like the stuff I was just talking about that.

So combination of strength and mobility. So it’ll be like some stuff on my neck because I got a tight neck, mobility, then it’ll be shoulders and then it’ll be some stuff in my lower spine. Our low spine gets tight so rotational movements are important. Then obviously the hips. I’ll just do something. It might even be 10 minutes sometimes. Then I’ll jump in a cold shower. Now that little ritual in the morning sets me up for the day. The cold shower then, talk about immune. I talked about this last time, but this has being one of the most noticeable, powerful things for my immune system. Now I’ve never been one to get ill all the time or run down. I’ve been having cold showers now for about two and a half years, plunging into the cold oceans and stuff like that.

I never, even the common cold, touch wood, it’s very, very rare that I get run down and ill now. That’s a game changer for me, wakes me up, sharpens me up, and it’s just changed my life, really, cold showers. After that, then obviously I’ll just go for a walk and then I’ll check my phone. So that’s maybe 30 minutes. In an ideal world I give it an hour but it’s not always that easy when you’re trying to run a business, right? So as I’m walking I’ll go and get my coffee then and go on my phone and stuff like that. That’s when I’ll check my phone. Just to fast forward a bit, I think for your immune system, obviously what you eat. Let’s just cut to the chase there.

It’s hard to summarize in terms of what to eat and what not to eat. The bottom line is we always talk about Stu, whole foods is very, very simple.

Stu

49:36

Totally.

Martin

49:36

If you could comprise your diet, 180 nutrition, the whole philosophy is whole foods, right? Eating real food. You won’t find anything processed in your products, right? It’s real food. The same goes for what you eat. Studies have shown talking about overeating and eating too many calories, Stu. Where people go wrong is they’re worried about eating too many calories, but eating the wrong kinds of calories, and they’re not counting the amount. Processed foods will win the battle, people, every single time. Processed foods will win the battle. I don’t want to go off on one too much yet, but the recent study, I’m not sure if you saw it.

Two groups of people. They said eat as much as you want. One group were eating processed foods, one group were eating whole foods. The funny thing is they monitored the macronutrients as well. The macros are pretty much the same. Protein, fats, carbs are pretty much it. Eat as much as you want. The processed food group overate by 500 calories a day. This isn’t the end of it. They crossed the groups over and the same thing happened. Just to make sure. So 500 to 600 calories a day, that’s three and a half thousand. That’s what you got to look into. Processed foods will make you eat more calories. They’re engineered to make you eat more. For your immune system, if you can eat predominantly whole foods, i.e. good quality sources of plant based foods and vegetables and some good quality animal sources. I eat a lot of grass fed red meat. Personally I eat grassfed red meat five times per week and I feel phenomenal. It’s so funny, the whole red meat thing, but generally that is something that’s really noticeable for me. Red meat, plenty of veggies, and just plenty of whole foods for the immune system. Something else that’s integrated into my day is obviously I’ve talked about the training, immune system. Like I said at the start, sleep is the foundation. Focus on preparing yourself for a good sleep. I know you had James Swanwick on the podcast, so I’d recommend the listeners listen to that. I had him in mine as well. Having a good bedtime ritual is just as important, if not more important, than a morning ritual, preparing yourself for a good sleep. I’m not going to sit here and preach too much about that because lately I’ve been slacking on that.

Blue light blockers, living by candlelight for at least an hour or two before bed so the lights are down. Blue light blockers to block the blue light. Not going on your phone as much in the evening and reading and winding down before bed will improve your sleep quality. Sleep quality is so important. Sleep is number one, like I said, so they’re the main things. Hydration is key. A lot of people, they just don’t drink enough water. It’s a simple one but people don’t monitor that. They’re kind of the big rocks. I could talk about other stuff, but they’re the most important things, and daylight. Sorry, I want to mention the daylight as well.

That’s something I’ve noticed big time over the last few months when I don’t get that hit of vitamin D. The sun will switch like 500 of your genes or something like that. The sun can literally hit a switch on 500 different genes in your body. Mental health, vitamin D is a hormone. The vitamin D you get from the sun is like no other vitamin and it actually acts as a hormone in the body. What they’re finding with the Covid things. Stu, I’m not sure if you looked at the studies, but they’re finding a massive link between vitamin D deficiency and a higher rates of COVID and mortality with COVID so that’s a big one.

Stu

52:55

Oh, absolutely. People tend to get the sniffles, cold, and flu and everything that comes along with that in winter time because they’re rubbed up and shut inside. Very, very important to try and get some full body sun exposure as much as you can. We’re lucky, obviously in this country.

Martin

53:11

Yeah. We’re lucky for sure, but taking a supplement, I would say to anyone who’s not in Australia and they don’t get good weather or wherever it is, taking a vitamin D supplement, and quite high dose, they’re finding 2000 to 4000 IUs a day. They’re finding it to be really effective and there’s no dangers to having more of the dose, allegedly. Look into it. I would say vitamin D supplement for people who are not getting much sunlight.

Stu

53:33

Brilliant. Fantastic. Wow. A wealth of knowledge as usual.

Martin

53:39

Thanks, mate. Sometimes I feel like I just go on and on, but I’m so passionate about this. I feel like it’s hard to summarize those questions into two minutes.

Stu

53:47

The beauty is when we listen to podcasts, we can hit that button that slows it down by like two times and we can speed the thing up as well. It’s all good.

Martin

53:55

Exactly. You need to do that with my motor mouth.

Stu

53:59

So just before we go, what’s next? What’s in the pipeline for you for the remainder of the year?

Martin

54:06

For me, for the remainder of the year, I’m looking to continue to pick up more and more online clients and continue to grow my community and really have more impact, a bigger impact, and more of a positive impact on people’s lives. I’m looking to get a podcast. Obviously my podcast, we got locked down. I put that on the back burner. I’m looking to kickstart that again, but like I said, if the listeners want to check that out, Optimize Your Body. That’s a big thing for me to get sorted before the end of the year as well, and just continue growing myself as well, Stu. To be honest, every day I’m trying to improve.

In terms of mental health and time management and stress management, there are things I really want to work on myself personally. I’ve been putting the work in there with journaling as well and stuff like that. So the things I really want to focus on more for my clients and for myself is mindset. I think stress management right now, Stu, I think it’s never been more important, right?

Stu

55:01

Totally, absolutely. Right. Fantastic. For all of our listeners that have enjoyed the conversation and want to find out more about you, listen to your podcasts, check out your online programs, and everything that you offer, where can we send them?

Martin

55:16

The best place really is my Instagram. So at Martin Silva Fitness, and my podcast Optimize Your Body also. Just check out my website as well, optimizeyourbody.com. That’s probably the best places to find me. My YouTube, I forgot to mention that as well. So my YouTube, I talked about a lot of the training stuff. I’ve got lots of stuff on my Instagram, but I do have lots of home workouts and stuff like that, or a good few anyway, on my YouTube. So Martin Silva Fitness on YouTube. That’s the best places, Stu.

Stu

55:48

Fantastic. Look, we will put all of the links that we’ve spoken about in the show notes today, release this to our audience very shortly. But Martin, always a pleasure to talk to you. I love learning about what you do to try and maximize your health and also pass your knowledge on to your customers and clients as well because I’ve seen the success visuals on Instagram and your various channels as well. People are really, really shining within the direction that you’ve given them. We’ll put some of those links, we’ll throw it all together, and look forward to the next chat.

Martin

56:25

Thanks a lot, Stu. Really appreciate that, mate.

Stu

56:27

Speak soon. Thank you mate.

Martin

56:28

Speak soon. Bye.

 

 

Martin Silva

This content features Martin Silva who is a transformation coach, award-winning fitness model, public speaker and a personal trainer with over a decade of experience in the fitness industry. Find out how Martin's life changed when he put health before aesthetics with a clean diet and a clean lifestyle.
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