Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Switching up routines

I woke up a little later today after not getting to sleep until near midnight. Just further proof that I need a minimum of seven hours sleep to feel rested and ready for the next day.

I got to the gym an hour later than usual - 7:10 am and started pedaling on the stationary bike as I usually do. After a few minutes of warming up I felt that something was different. I was feeling pretty awake considering the lack of sleep but I couldn't quite put my finger on it. Then it hit me - there was no music playing in the gym. Something that was always just background noise to me, and not something that I really listen to when I workout, (after all, I have my own music I listen to), was now not there, and it threw me off my morning routine. I couldn't seem to get into a rhythm like I normally do. I had my headphones with me in my bag, but as I use my iPhone for emails whilst on the bike, I didn't want to have to stop doing that over having music (I use AOL radio on my phone, and cannot use both at the same time. ). As I continued pedaling on the bike without music, continuing to go through my emails, I realized that my morning routine had become exactly that - a routine! If something wasn't as it normally was, it would effect me, and throw me off track meaning that I had to compensate for it in some way.

It had meant I had become comfortable with what I was doing, and if I was comfortable, I wasn't likely to be pushing myself as hard as I could be. Sure, I was still sweating on the bike and felt as though I put in a good hours worth of cardio, yet by the end I didn't feel like I really gave it my all. If I'm feeling this way then I can hardly expect to see the best gains and results from my efforts.

The lack of music this morning was a wake up call for me to switch up my routine and move away from my morning routine as I know it. It's been about three weeks now that I've been doing anywhere from an hour to 75 minutes of steady pace cardio each morning, followed by an abs circuit. My body had adapted to it's environment, and even though the bike was showing me burning around 500 calories each session, I know my actual calorie expenditure would be less than this now due to my metabolism adjusting accordingly.

As much as I'm not a fan of interval training - mainly due to the fact that it's just so energy depleting, and takes me into a training zone that I'm not used to training in, I knew it was time to step it up and take my body out of its comfort zone.

The headphones would need to come out of my bag, and the dance music turned up loud to keep my motivated by the beat. One thing I am looking forward to is the extra half-hour that this will allow me to sleep as HIIT only needs to be performed for 20 - 30 minutes as opposed to steady pace cardio. Sure, the calories expenditure may be more with the latter due to the time spent on the machine, but the HIIT training increases your metabolism by up to 5% long after you've finished doing cardio. This alone will keep my body burning a higher percentage of calories throughout the day, and where will those calories come from? Yep, don't you know it - FAT!

Cover shoot next month.. Here I come!

Ok, so I've just got back from my second workout - this time training back and forearms, and felt I had the strength and intensity that I need to take my body to it's threshold in order for it to grow. I put this down to going in around 2 pm instead of leaving it until the last thing in the day, which is how I've been planning my two-a-day workouts for the past few weeks.
I also weighed myself, which is something that I don't often do but it helps keep me on track if I'm trying to gain or shed fat. I'm tipping the scales at 183, and reckon I'm around 6% body fat. My goal for my cover shoots next month is to be a solid 180lb at 4%. So far I'm on track..

Here's the split:


Lat Pulldown: 30x70lbs (warm up set). 20x120lbs (2nd warm up set)

Weighted Pull Ups: 10x25lb. 8x35lb (+3 more after a short rest of 10 sec). 7x40lb (+2 more after a short rest of 15 sec)

Bent Over Barbell Rows: 12x205lbs. 12x235lbs. 10x245lbs. (All using straps to allow me to fully engage my lats).

Hammer Strength Iso Lat Row: 12x180lbs. 10x195lbs. 10x205lbs.

Wide Grip Lat Pulldown: 8x210lbs. 10x200lbs
Close Grip Underhand Pulldown: 10x200lbs. 8x200lbs.

Seated Cable Row: (Using two handles attached to hook): 12x170lbs. 12x190lbs. 10x200lbs.


Standing Olympic Bar Curl (Behind the back): 20x45lbs. 15x65lbs. 15x70lbs. 15x70lbs.

Reverse Preacher Curls (Using Rope): 20x4 Blocks. 14x5 Blocks. 10x5Bl (+6x4bl) - drop set.
Block = 1 weight block. (This particular machine did not state the weight of each stack!)

Standing Reverse Barbell Wrist Curl: 20x30lbs. 15x40lb. 15x40lbs. 15x40lbs.

5 minutes spent stretching the back and working the forearms.

Boy, did I feel a pump in my arms and back! Definitely starting to get back on track with some focused training!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Starting the day off on the right foot

This morning I woke up at 5.30 am to head down to the gym for cardio and abs.
(For my full training program and cardio split, check out
Recently, I've only been getting between 5 - 6 hours sleep, mostly because I'm still up past midnight doing useless things or just watching TV. 

Around 2-3 pm I've started feeling lethargic and had to rely on things like caffeine and fat burners (often with natural stimulants), to help get me through the rest of the day, let alone my second workout of the day, which is when I lift weights. This is not the kind of cycle I want to be putting my body through each day, and is certainly not conductive towards making gains or optimally burning fat. My metabolism becomes sluggish with lack of sleep, and even with the best nutrition and training plans, without proper rest, I'm really giving up one of the best things I can do for my body to recover and come back fighting fit for the next day.

Last night, when I got back from my evening training session that I had to change from legs to arms because I didn't have enough energy to even think about working legs, I ate my evening meal (turkey, egg white omelet, and asparagus), and then took 3m of Melatonin  and 500mg GABA, which help calm my central nervous system and allows me to relax. I think I was in bed by 10.30 pm, and although I didn't fall asleep straight away (mostly because my two housemates were still running about opening and shutting every cupboard and door in the house it seemed - thanks guys!!), but I did get a much better nights sleep.

This means I'm more proactive throughout the day, and can focus on what's important and needs to get done instead of falling tired throughout the afternoon, having a less than optimal workout, and then staying up for several hours beyond when I should be allowing my body to rest and recover.

If you feel the same way, give it a try and let me know how much better you feel throughout the day. Right, speaking of being proactive - I better get to work editing some more of my videos for you all, and planning my trip to Canada next month before hitting the gym earlier today to ensure I get a good leg workout in after missing it last night..

I'll re-post later this evening..


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Tuesday 18th: Shoulder Day

Just a quick entry today as I've been busy packing for my week-long trip to London tomorrow, and preparing for my seminar at the end of the week.

Although I'm 5 months out from stepping on stage at the WBFF World Fitness Championships in Toronto in, I've already started training with the final date of September 18th in mind.

Over the next 2 months or so I will be training heavy with low reps (5 - 7), focusing on negative, or eccentric lifts to really overload the muscles, forcing them to grow.

Today I trained shoulders with my friend Jeremy (who used to play the son of David Hasselhoff, Hobie, on Baywatch for 11 years), who also favors heavy training, mixed in with powerlifting and explosive exercises. It should be an interesting two months to see how my body changes, as I'm already close to my all-time strongest, and yet am still lean enough at around 9% bf with my abs showing.

We trained at the Equinox gym on Sunset Blvd in Hollywood (not my usual gym), where many celebs go to workout, or be seen. I didn't really notice any even if there were as I'm so into my workouts normally that most of the time I couldn't even describe 10 people who were in the gym at the same time as me.

It was a well-eqiuped gym, and provided everything we needed for out heavy shoulder routine.

Here is the routine that we did.

Seated Dumbbell Press:
12 x 45lbs,
10 x 55lbs,
6 x 65lbs (Used as a warm-up exercise before going heavy on the following exercises).

Seated Military Barbell Press: (Behind the neck):
8 x 135
6 x 145
5 x 155 (spotted)
4 x 185 (negatives)

Seated Military Barbell Press: (Front Chest):
9 x 135
4 x 155 (negatives)
7 x 145

Seated Rear Cable Fly:
10 x 30 (each arm)
10 x 35
8 x 35

Standing Lateral Raises:
10 x 35
10 x 35
8 x 40

Standing Bicep Curls (EZ Bar):
10 x 75 (warm up)
8 x 105
6 x 105 (slow eccentric lifts)
4 x 115 (negatives)

Standing Alt. Dumbbell Curls:
6 x 45
6 x 45

My delts were pumped after this workout, and my biceps were full and hard. Next time I'll try and take a few pics of the exercises that I do, although it's a bit difficult in a gym like Equinox to take any video or photo.

During the time that I am writing this I am uploading a heavy chest workout that I did with Tyler Sarry, a fellow fitness model and trainer from Canada. You can check it out on my YouTube channel:

I'll be flying to London tomorrow so may not get a chance to post anything, although I'll use my phone to take pictures of any of the meals that I take with me on the plane to show you what I eat (before a photoshoot) when travelling.

For workout DVD's, personalized nutrition and training programs, and the latest in workout clothing, check out my store at

Friday, February 5, 2010

Private Fitness Training in London [25th Feb - 2nd March]

It only seems like yesterday that I was back in London, but I'll be back there once again from Thursday 25th February until Tuesday 2nd March.

I have a scattered schedule, but for those of have contacted me about private training, I will try and accommodate you the best I can. All sessions will once again be at the new Hook's Fitness center shown in the image. Training and nutrition packages available.

The address is:
Royal Leisure Park,
Great Western Way,
Park Royal,
London W3 OPA

Each session will last 90 minutes, and includes a full training session based on your needs.
If you would prefer to join me on one of my workouts then please note this when you purchase your time slot. There will be no cost to you to enter the gym, as this will be covered within the training price.

Below are the times that I currently have available for each day. When purchasing your session, please note which time slot you would like, as I will remove this from this link straight away.

Thursday 25th February.

Time Slot 1: 9am - 10.30am
Time Slot 2: 11.30am - 1.00 pm
Time Slot 3: 4.00 pm - 5.30 pm
Time Slot 4: 6.30 pm - 8.00pm

Friday 26th February.

Time Slot 1: 9am - 10.30am

Time Slot 3: 4.00 pm - 5.30 pm

Saturday 27th February.

Time Slot 1: 10.00 am - 11.30am
Time Slot 2: 1.00 pm - 2.30 pm
Time Slot 3: 4.00 pm - 5.30 pm

Sunday 29th February.

Time Slot 1: 10.00 am - 11.30am
Time Slot 2: 1.00 pm - 2.30 pm
Time Slot 3: 4.00 pm - 5.30 pm

Monday 1st March.

Time Slot 1: 9am - 10.30am
Time Slot 2: 11.30am - 1.00 pm
Time Slot 3: 4.00 pm - 5.30 pm
Time Slot 4: 6.30 pm - 8.00pm

Tuesday 2nd March

Time Slot 1: 9am - 10.30am
Time Slot 2: 11.30am - 1.00 pm
Time Slot 3: 4.00 pm - 5.30 pm

Time Slots must be purchased online prior to the session taking place.
To book a time slot, see the link below, and include the day and time slot that you would like.
Nutrition plans also available as an add-on package.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Ab and Shoulder Routine

Not since training my last competition did I have such a structured routine, and that was by far when I was seeing the best results - when I had a consistent training schedule that was all written out ahead of me, and one that I could progressively increase my weights each workout to the point where I was able to keep my body fat level low enough and still work on strength and conditioning. This was pretty much my approach to training for and winning the WBFF World Finals last September - by having a clearly laid out plan, from which I knew exactly what I was doing on every day, and could chart my progress to ensure I was on target to get to where I wanted to be. I knew that if I could step on stage at 178lbs at around 4% body fat, I would be a force to be reckoned with.

I've started to get back into a more regular routine after having at least a month away from any structured sort of training, and have just been playing around with a few different workouts to see what type of results I get. 

My training is determined by my goal, whether that be for competing, modeling, or just for the sheer joy of training. 

My focus now is to build a balanced physique that I can only best describe as one of those old-style action man, or GI Joe dolls. In the coming months, I have several underwear shoots, as well as building on my portfolio outside of fitness, at least until the summer when I start to prep for the world finals again in September (again, I will track my progress with video's again). My training is now geared towards remaining lean and being defined without looking too muscular (not the best look for mainstream modeling), and so I'm doing higher intensity with less weights.

Here's an overview of my workout tonight.

I started with Abs so that I could work them hard at the beginning of the workout, instead of working them at the end of the workout when I'm usually too tired to put in the required effort to work them optimally.

I performed these in a circuit for a total of 3:

Decline Bench Leg Raises 20 reps (2 second pause at top)
Bosu Ball Crunches
Side Crunches on Swiss Ball
2 minutes jumping rope

I performed 3 sets of each exercise, allowing no more than 1 minute's rest between sets. My weights and reps remained pretty constant throughout. I just changed the tempo of each set so that I failed by the end of 15 reps.

Behind the neck military press on smith machine (only to the top of the ears). 
Clean and Press with Olympic Bar
Seated rear-delt cable flys.
Standing forward dumbell raise (alt. arms).
Seated (leaning forwards) side lateral raises.

Even though I was definitely lifting less weight than I was able to, I certainly felt like I put in a good effort and left feeling pretty pumped.

I'll be posting further workouts including all body parts, cardio and ab routines, plus some healthy meal ideas over the following weeks.

For further workout plans, training tips, plus video's and more photo's, join for free. Also check out for workout DVD's, and to find out more about personalized workout and nutrition plans.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Superset Back and Bicep’s Workout.

Superset Back and Bicep’s Workout.

I’ve been following pretty much the same workout routine for the past few months now, and whilst I’ve been making some pretty good gains consistently, I’ve been finding myself in the mood for a different style of training recently. Still wanting an intense pump from lifting, and to focus on conditioning over muscle growth, I decided to put together a workout routine that worked muscle combo’s, such as the back and bicep’s, which are worked both as primary and secondary muscle groups depending on which exercise is being performed.

This workout below is intended to be performed with exercises A. and B. supersetted, with minimum time between stations, and no more than 2 minutes rest between supersets.

The exercise combo’s are listed below, but if you want the full workout plan, ready for you to follow and enter in your weights and reps per workout (a total of 6 workout slots are already designed for you), you can download it for free on my members site.

For each pyramid work set, you  should aim to increase the weight by a minimum of 5%, and drop your rep range by 2. Ideally you should select just the right weight for your rep range so that you don’t reach failure until the final set.

Only increase your weights per set if you achieve your rep-range within a 1+/- range for that weight. For example if your first work-set is 12 reps lifting a 50lb weight, and you only achieve 10 reps, then increasing your weight for fewer sets will only fatigue you further without causing further micro-tears to your fibers, equaling in muscle-repair and growth. The test for whether you should be increasing your weights per set is that you can complete the same weight for the next rep-range within 30 seconds. If you can’t, stick with the same weight even though you are reducing your reps per set until you can increase the weights and still complete the reps within a 1+/- range.

Seated Lateral Pulldown (In Front of Chest): 3 x 20/15/12

Bent Over Bar Bell Row (Overhand Wide Grip): 3 x 20/15/12

Bent Over Dumbbell Rows: 3 x 15/12/10

Reverse EZ-Bar Push Up*: 3 x 15/12/10

Inverted Underhand Pull ups**: 3 x As many as you can.

Seated Low-Row Cable Pull: 3 x 15/12/10

Seated Preacher Cable Curls: 3 x 15/12/10

Overhand Grip EZ Curl: 3 x 15/12/10

Alternative Dumbbell Curl: 3 x 12/10/8 (Per arm)

High Cable Pulley: 3 x 15/12/10

A quick note on nutrition:- As I trained quite late in the night on this occasion, I didn't want to consume much in the way of carbohydrates, even though I felt depleted after my intense workout, I am cutting down on body weight for an underwear shoot that I am the new face and body for that is launching throughout the USA in February (The brand is called ES Underwear). So I cooked a simple meal of white fish with greens, that is high in lean protein, virtually fat free, and contains plenty of alkaline-rich vegetables.

Steamed Talapia and Greens.

It's really simple to cook. I normally buy a bag of frozen Talapia and allow half to thaw in the fridge over night. Once thawed, I I place each fillet in a sheet of baking foil, and sprinkle generously with red fish spice, some mixed herbs, and a squirt of lemon juice. I then folded up the two shorter edges, rolling the longer ones together like you would the top of a brown paper bag. (You can also lay several stems of asparagus on the top of the fish before you roll up the foil, so as to cook the asparagus at the same time).

Place on a cooking tray and cook at 350f in the oven for 14 minutes, and serve immediately for the best taste, although if you cook several at a time, you should allow them to cool before putting them in a tupawear container or zip-lock back, and keeping in the fridge. 

For the green veg, I steamed these over a hot pan with a little salt added, until just firm to the touch, and once on the plate, topped off with diced organic tomatoes that were heated in a pan on low heat.

Supplement wise, I've really cut back on many that I was taking when I was pre-contest, if anything just to see how this affected me, and the one thing that I can say is that I do feel a difference in my ability to recover and length of time that I can go all out in the gym. One thing I have started doing more recently in drinking alkalinized water, and taking a digestive enzyme with each solid meal. For more info about these supplements, check out my recommendations on my fitness site: 

For individual workout programs and nutritional plans, contact me at 

Until next time, stay focused and continue to make progress in each of your workouts, no matter how small they may be! 

All then best,

Rob Riches