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Super Energise Your Body With This Acupressure Point

Posted on January 22, 2019 at 8:28 PM Comments comments (7001)
Super-Energise your body with this acupressure point
by Alan Levi
Do not utilise this point if you are (or suspect you are) pregnant. In China this point is often used for inducing labour.
In this article I am going to introduce you to an aspect of traditional Chinese medicine that could revolutionize your life and increase your well-being a hundred fold. It is the fundamental acupressure point – HE GU (the Valley of Harmony). This point is one of the key acupressure points to be taught in a TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) class, but is remarkably easy to locate correctly – and by the time you finish reading this article you will be able to confidently find and massage this point effectively yourself .
How do acupressure points work?
Well, the body can be likened to a motorway operating under optimal circumstances – traffic moving smoothly from point A to B, no delays, disruptions or jams (yeah, that will be the day!).
 However, in the event that there is a jam or accident the traffic begins to back up – an energy blockage or stagnation occurs. Now, according to the Mother and Son principal of Chinese medicine, this may not manifest itself at the immediate point, but show itself in some other (apparently) unrelated dysfunction. Thus eczema, considered by Western medicine to be a skin disorder is in fact considered a lung dysfunction by Eastern Medicine (as the skin is the 3rd lung).Have you ever wondered why most of the people you know with eczema have asthma or hayfever?
Western Medicine would approach this situation by putting up a contra-flow, redirecting the traffic,opening up another lane or closing a junction. The effect – the initial problem remains but the traffic starts to flow again. However a Chinese medical approach would seek to rectify the root cause and address this. The balance of energy in the body is thus realised.
 Acupressure stimulates the junction points in the body to increase energy along themeridians (motorway lanes) of your body, thus preventing stagnation andovercoming blockages.
So, now we have a general overview ofhow acupressure, and by extension chi gung and T’ai Chi work, we can apply these principals  we can stimulate the meridians by gentle accupressure on the meridian points.
Where is the He Gupoint and how do I massage it?
The He Gu(pronounced “Huh Goo”) is locatedon the dorsum of the hand,approximately at the midpoint of the second metacarpal bone, in the belly ofthe first interosseus dorsalis muscle. Too complicated? Let me break it down…
 Place the crease that marks the joint of your left thumb against the webbed area between you rindex finger and the base of your thumb of your right hand (so as if you were making an ‘L’ shape with your right hand -fingers pointing up, thumb pointing to the side). Find a point midway and press the crease of the left thumb joint into it. Now, without moving up or down, roll your thumb till it is resting on its tip.
You’ve found HeGu. Placing gentle pressure on that exact point you should feel a sore or‘bruised’ sensation, Apply pressure for 1 second, release for 1 second, applypressure for 1 second, release for 1 second. Do this 20 times on both hands.

So, what does this point do?
 Well the He Gu corresponds with Large Intestine 4 – it sends energy coursing up the channels into the head, stimulates the brain, alleviates headache and toothache (and is actually very good for soothing a hangover!).

It also alleviates abdominal pain, amenorrhea, arm pain, constipation, eye disorders,intestinal disorders, and throat soreness.

So, what are you waiting for - get pressing today, twice a day (morning and evening, though not just before bed) and within a week you will notice a difference.

Future articles will focus on other acupressure points and chi gung (Qi Gong)exercises that you can easily incorporate into your life.
 If you want more detail on this or other acupressure points why not contact me to arrange a session?
Get Stronger Live Longer !

BulletProof Your Body

Posted on January 22, 2019 at 8:24 PM Comments comments (2257)

Bullet Proof Your Body

By Alan Levi


Do you want to ensure a set of healthy joints, improved posture and stronger lifts?


Then you have come to the right place!


In the following article I will explore ways that you can incorporate corrective exercise into your existing regime,whilst keeping up the intensity, burning fat and building muscle.


First – the boring science bit.


What is good posture? Well the American Academy of OrthopaedicSurgeons (1974) define it as “the state of muscular and skeletal balance that protects supporting structures of the body against injury or progressive deformity”.


That is primarily why it’s important that some measure of your training is related to structural balance – without it you will either get injured or get a muscular imbalance, not to mention your lifts suffering from a lack of synergy within the body. If posture didn’t effect your training or add to your risk of injury I wouldn’t waste five seconds of my clients time on it!


The manner in which the body creates a muscular imbalance is a result of the daily stresses placed upon it and the fact that it rapidly adapts to these demands. Let’s use the following analogy to make things a little clearer.


Your body is an office. Hopefully, in these times of recession, it is a productive and profit-making organisation. But there is a problem. Some heads of department are bone-idle. They are on the golf course, taking sick days, and generally slacking off. Let’s take one part of the body as a specific example, the Hip Extension Department. The head of this should be the butt – gluteus maximus.But gluteus is out all day on business lunches and has delegated all his work to his underling, the hamstrings. The result? Hamstring has got her own workload to attend to, but unfortunately the work load builds and builds –until she reaches meltdown, throws all her papers down and storms out of the office at the unfair demands being placed upon her.


The physical manifestation of this is that the glutes have become long and weak and to counteract this deficit the hamstrings have become short and strong. The hamstrings are now overloaded and in danger of being pulled or torn due to this excessive tightening.


This is a concept called adaptive shortening. It happens all over the body – the tonic muscles (those responsible for fighting gravity) and the phasic muscles (those responsible for movement) create an imbalance, so some common issues are:


  1. Strong/shortened pecs – weak/long rhomboids
  2. Strong/shortened upper traps – weak/long lower traps
  3. Strong/shortened lumbar erectors – weak/long abdominals
  4. Strong/shortened hip flexors – weak/long glutes
  5. Strong/shortened adductors – weak/long adductors



The result? Excessive lumbar curvature leading to lower back pain, a perpetually rounded stomach due an excessive anterior pelvic tilt, and potentially slouched shoulders, forward head posture, hip pain, and/or lower back pain.


So what is my posture?


Your best bet isto see a trainer who specialises in postural correction or has some training incorrective exercise. However a simple test is this. Be honest with yourself.


Look in the mirror. Do your shoulders round forward? Does your head protrude forward? Areyou a woman who would take a chainsaw to anyone who tried to separate her from her high heels? If you totter around in shoes that require an oxygen mask to compensate for the high altitude, then my guess is that you have a significant arch in your back caused by adaptive shortening.


A simple test is to stand against a wall with heels, glutes, shoulders and head resting against the wall. Get someone else to try and run their hand behind your back. If their palm gets caught half way then you have a normal curvature of the spine. If you could drive a bus through the gap you have glutes that aren’t firing properly, overly tight hip flexors and weak abdominal muscles.


So what do I do about it?


Well, you know me – I am all about finding practical solutions to these issues and have outlined a plan of attack that will minimise the weaknesses in both the upper and lower extremities.


As a Personal Trainer, the key areas that clients tend to come to me with that are injured or weak are the scapula retractors, the external rotators, the lower back, the knees or the ankles – so the joints of the body at various junctions would appear to require a bit of additional attention rather than getting too gung-ho initially and having them find their 1-RM on a bench press!


First off, let’s look at a great exercise that you can incorporate for the upper body.


One of my all-time favourite exercises is the multi faceted inverted row. It is a “chinup” for the scapula retractors (the muscles that pull the shoulder blades back)and posterior deltoid. It is very easy to set up, but brutally humbling for even the most advanced gym-goer.


Move the bar on a Smith Machine down to waist height. Position yourself so that the sternum (the breastbone) is aligned with the bar. Bend your knees if new to this exercise and grasp the bar. Push up your hips into a “bridge” position, and keep the glutes tight throughout. Tense the stomach. Look straight up and not forward. Pull your sternum up to the bar quickly and lower for a count of 3 seconds. Pause for one second at the bottom. That is one rep.

If you are more advanced, straighten the legs, but remember, your glutes are tight, abs aretight. Don’t let the hips droop lazily down towards the floor, or overly arch the back.


Easy I hear you say. Have a go, then drop me a line! Still want more? Well, once you can comfortably nail 15 reps in the lengthened position it is time to pop your feet onto a bench. This will ramp up the intensity once again, and if you fancy incorporating some serious core-stability into this exercise, try it with your feet on a Swiss ball. Or, the ultimate show-off exercise that will get eyespopping – inverted row, with one leg on the stability ball and one leg off !

Another excellent, simple and highly effective exercise for the postural muscles (specifically the scapulae retractors) is the Wall Angel. It is a “must-do” exercise if you train the chest and back a lot, and will help avoid the Gorilla shoulders that are sported by many male trainers who like to look like extras from Planet Of The Apes. This exercise is always greeted by a snort of derision when I first demonstrate it to clients because it looks so simple.  Then they try it. The key to this exercise is to ensure that the lumbar spine remains in contact with the wall behind you, or at the very least maintain a neutral spine. Be very conscious ofexcessively arching you back to achieve the overhead reaching movement – if you find this exercise easy my guess is you are doing it wrong!       

So now with your back to the wall, and the back of your arms pressed against it, as if you are being held at gunpoint and have your hands up, reach up towards the ceiling whilst maintaining contact with the wall, then slowly lower back to the starting position (like a Snow Angel).

A very important point to consider before you do this exercise is this – remember the office analogy? Well, your pec muscles and lats are the muscles that have been overworked here, and you want to get the lazy scapulae retractors to function fully without being impinged.Therefore my recommendation is to stretch out the lats and pecs prior to doing the inverted row or the Wall Angel. You will force the muscles to work more effectively, as, by stretching out the antagonists, the agonists fire to a greater degree. Theground breaking work of Janda (1986) indicated that overactive muscles actually hinder the opposing muscles. This inhibition is called Reciprocal Inhibition and is the principle that “when one muscle is contracted its antagonist is automatically inhibited” (Liebenson, 1996). Pavel Tsatsouline, the kettlebell specialist trainer articulates this principle better when he states that the body does not wish to press the accelerator and brake at the same time, and I think this analogy works well when it comes to these principles. So, now we have worked on the postural muscles of the mid-back, you may be thinking “yeah, but my lower back is also an issue”. That however is an article for another day!  

Resistanace Band Training

Posted on January 25, 2018 at 4:27 PM Comments comments (668)

Estrogen Dominance

Posted on November 4, 2017 at 12:27 PM Comments comments (514)
Check out my latest article on Estrogen Dominance :

The Perfect Plank

Posted on October 31, 2017 at 6:44 PM Comments comments (645)
Check out my contribution to this article on achieving the perfect plank


The TUT workout

Posted on January 6, 2017 at 8:17 AM Comments comments (762)
This workout is a challenging and powerful way of burning fat rapidly.

 It utilises the principal of TUT training (Time Under Tension). This relates to how long the muscles are stressed under tension. To train muscles appropriately they need to be exposed to tension for certain periods of time that will alter the effect and even the muscle fibres recruited.

1-20 seconds relates to Relative Strength (ie your strength relative to your bodyweight). This is most important for power and explosive athletes or sports people, whether it be boxers, MMA fighters, rugby players, and even footballers (though football is often incorrectly considered to be more of an "aerobic" activity, it really is a succession of sprints and therefore does require levels of relative strength).

40-70 seconds relates to hypertrophy or sarcoplasmic hypertrophy (an increase in the amount of the non contractile proteins in the muscle). Basically muscle toning or lean muscle size increases. This is the best type of training for fat loss as keeping the muscles under tension for this amount of time increases muscle mass, the bodies disposal of glucose, insulin management and also improves the bodies production of growth hormone, the bodies elixir of life that is responsible for our metabolism and get up and go.

There are different ways to work Time Under Tension, one is to have each rep take a certain amount of time (ie, in a squat lowering for 4 seconds, pausing for 1 second and coming up in two seconds. This would mean each rep would take 7 seconds). Do 10 of these and you have done the exercise for 70 seconds. The other way is to simply time the sets and I have found this to work equally well.

So on to the workout:

Russian Step Ups:

Round 1: 70 Seconds
Round 2: 60 seconds
Round 3: 50 seconds
Round 4: 40 seconds

Inverted Rows:

Round 1: 70 Seconds
Round 2: 60 seconds
Round 3: 50 seconds
Round 4: 40 seconds

Push Ups:

Round 1: 70 Seconds
Round 2: 60 seconds
Round 3: 50 seconds
Round 4: 40 seconds

Kettlebell Swings:

Round 1: 70 Seconds
Round 2: 60 seconds
Round 3: 50 seconds
Round 4: 40 seconds

You can choose other exercises, and a good way to ensure your workout is balanced, have a push movement, a pull movement, a lunge, a squat and a bend-to extend movement, This will ensure that you don't overburden the body with one movement pattern.

A Total Body Workout Without Weights

Posted on January 2, 2017 at 9:06 AM Comments comments (722)
Got a bit of extra time to do a full body workout?
Try this one for size…I have included links to YouTube clips of instructors whom I respect and where the form and technique are described well.
A1 Hindu Push Ups –

Do this for 60 secs, now take 1 minute rest then move to…
A2 Wall Squats (RKC style)

Do this for 60 secs, now take 1 minute rest then move to A1. Do this 3 times and then move onto B series.
B1 T-Push Ups

Do this for 60 secs, now take 1 minute rest then move to

B2 Lunge and Twist
 Do this 60 secs alternating legs, now take 1 minute rest then move to B1. Do this 3 times and then move onto C series.
C1 YTW’s for 15 secs in each position, of the first exercise on this video.
now take 1 minute rest then move to

C2 One Leg Toe Touches

 DO this for 30 seconds on each leg, 
Now take 1 minute rest then move to C1. 

Do this 3 times and that is it!

SuperFast BodyWeight Workout

Posted on December 30, 2016 at 12:28 PM Comments comments (790)
Here is a super quick fat burning workout that requires no kit (by that I don't mean perform it naked, though, go for it, as long as you are at home  ), I mean it requires no equipment.

So here goes:

30 mountain climbers

20 push ups (off a wall, staircase or sofa if necessary)

10 Star Jumps

5 Burpees

Rest 75 seconds exactly

Repeat. 3 times.

Make sure to warm up thoroughly first

The Guide To The Perfect Day

Posted on December 29, 2016 at 8:44 AM Comments comments (602)
Engineering a blissful and productive day requires some forethought and a degree of creating healthy and productive rituals. Here is a sample of some of the ones I use to ensure an amazing day .
First off, have a warm shower and then blast out cold water onto yourself paying particular attention to your shoulder area, as long as you can tolerate, please. This area is rich in Glut 4 receptors and brown fat. What??!!! I hear you ask? Basically it will make you burn fat better and make you more insulin sensitive.

Next stand like WonderWoman for 2 minutes exactly! Why? Because it has been scientifically proven that this Power Pose drops stress hormone and elevates testosterone, the "take charge of my day" hormone.

Now write 10 things for which you are grateful.

Ok, out of the door and donate some money, any money to a charity, homeless person or whatever makes you feel good, kind and productive.

You are already feeling amped and amazing, grateful and compassionate.

Every hour on the hour I want you to do 10 squats, push ups, lunges or something, anything ! At the end of day you will have done at least 80 of that exercise, and you won't feel tired or wiped out, just invigorated and charged up.

When you are in the queue at the traffic lights or in Sainsbury's tense your abs for 10 seconds, 4 times. Like someone is going to slap you hard on your stomach. The law of repeat endeavour and the capacity to generate tension is the key to muscle development. And this is cheaper than one of those Slendertone devices 

Eat mindfully. Savour each bite. Notice the texture and flavour. Stop when you are full, not when the plate is empty.

Drink water all day. 2 litres.

When its bedtime tell 3 people you love them.

Didn't do all of these? So what?!

If you did one you succeeded ~ you proved to yourself that you have the infinite capacity for change. Nobody expects it all at once ; every journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. You have taken that step today...guaranteed.

May your day be happy, healthy and abundant xxx


The Deck Of Cards Workout

Posted on December 28, 2016 at 11:48 AM Comments comments (1225)
Get ready for a fun, effective and challenging workout that is different every single time !

This is such an effective workout, and you can either aim to work thru the entire deck or just do as many cards as time allows.

Grab a deck of cards, shuffle them, and deal out a card. This is your first exercise. Now work your way thru the deck !

Spades  ♠ are mountain climbers, 
Diamonds  ♦ are push ups 
Clubs  ♣ are squats and 
Hearts ♥ are burpees

The number on the card relates to the reps.
Jack = 11 reps
Queen = 12 
Ace = 14 reps

If you want to keep Jokers in make sure they are something super-challenging like push up, into burpee into star jump

So get started ! And if you haven't got a deck of cards you can use a pair of dice for reps and then write down the exercises on paper and play four card monty with them to decide what exercise you will do