Lenny (Philip Leonard) is the Head PT at premium boutique fitness provdider, Ten Health & Fitness. Today Lenny’s with us sharing his My Lockdown Workout insight…
How did you get into fitness?
I have over two decades’ experience as a coach across the fitness and sporting spectrum, with 15 years of that time spent in the British Army as part of the Royal Army Physical Training Corps. During the army, one of my roles was delivering fitness programmes and training sessions to teams in the field. After leaving the forces, I found my way into fitness coaching, initially working as a PE Teacher/Strength and Conditioning coach before moving to London to begin a Personal Training career. Finding that there is simply no ‘one-size-fits-all approach’, I have come to believe that we are all a unique Rubik’s Cube of conditions, adaptations and issues that have been formed by our preferences, experiences and lifestyles. Solving some of these puzzles is frequently the key to achieving our fitness goals. My major fitness love is FRC – Functional Range Conditioning, which is about increasing range of motion and joint health.
FRC is a relatively small knowledge market in fitness at the moment, but it’s quickly gaining traction. Many US sports teams and disciplines like the UFC are starting to involve FRC training into athlete programmes and in this country, fitness influencers, like Joe Wicks, are also learning more from specialists like Hunter Fitness to incorporate the importance of FRC into fitness regimes.
As a result of adopting FRC into my own fitness lifestyle, I’ve managed several severe injuries including ones I sustained from my time in the army. I’ve studied it extensively and I’m completely sold on its ability to change the fitness industry in a positive way. It’s only a matter of time before FRC is a mainstream fitness approach, so watch this space!
What is one of your favourite lockdown workouts?
I like lifting heavy weights from time to time, but really I’m a skill orientated fitness lover. I like learning whilst I work out. For example, engaging my brain to learn a new skill, learning the incremental parts of a movement and putting it together for the final product – this is what encourages me more in my fitness journey. For this reason, I keep going back to body weight training to learn new moves like handstands, ring-work and one arm pull ups! At the moment, I’m learning how to do a muscle up.
So my favourite workout at the moment is one that gets me to a place where a muscle up may be possible…
01. CARS work
CARS is Controlled Articular Rotations and it’s a discipline which is all about active rotation movements at the outer limits of your range of motion. Because we spend so much of our time in closed off and sedentary positions, CARS encourages joint health and rehabilitation of your movement with controlled rotations and movements that release inflammation and tension. I do CARS* work on my spine, shoulder blades, shoulders, elbows and wrists for a Muscle Up training session. I do 2-3 reps per joint.
02. Joint expansion
For a muscle up, your pull from above your body and roll through your body line to push back up. It involves a lot of wrist rotation as a result. I work on my joint expansion by expanding my range of motion in an active way. So think isometric contractions in the form of flexion and extension, (for the wrist, always use a closed fist to increase the effort). I do this again, for my shoulders, my elbows, my wrists for about 5-10 minutes per side and 2-5 reps per joint again.
03. Strength work
This is where the skill itself comes in. With muscle ups, strength work comes in the form of ring pull ups and dips (or if this is too hard, a straight bar can also work. n lockdown, you could use two chairs and do the dips on the chairs (make sure it is safe to do so! Tricep dips also work as well as standard pull ups. Anything that will increase the muscle strength for the skill to work. I do about 3-5 sets of short and sharp bursts with long rest periods. When you are building strength, it is all about high intensity for short periods of time.
04. Accessory work
Accessory work is all about working on transitions. For a muscle up, the transition from pull to push is a very specific action which requires training in your outer limits where you may be weakest. That may be your wrist or your shoulders, you can usually tell when you have tried it enough times. I do high repetitions (between 8-15) for about 3-4 sets.
Finally, I do core at the end of every workout. It’s really important to be strong in your mid-line so I incorporate two or three core exercises into my workouts. Isometric movements like plans and V ups are great for this! I build on my reps but start at about 10 reps for two or three sets.
What’s your nutrition like when doing a lockdown workout?
I believe that it’s all about consistency and calories. I eat almost exactly the same thing Monday to Friday and it’s usually structured. This means I don’t vary too much on my Sunday afternoon weekly shop, so I can basically do my weekly shop with my eyes closed! I’ve learned what I need in terms of calories to stay at my weight and build and if I want to increase that, I add protein shakes and supplements.
Nutrition for me is about habits. I also do intermittent fasting, so I only eat between 9am and 7pm and usually within this format:
- 9am – fruit and yoghurt
- 10.30am – eggs and avocado
- Lunch – salmon and sweet potato, broccoli and kale
- Dinner – chicken, sweet potato, broccoli and kale
- One snack: dark chocolate and sometimes a protein shake.
I also drink a lot of water, it’s so important for your physical and brain health.
As structured and systematic as my diet is Monday to Friday – I do tend to let go at weekends and enjoy the things I want to like a takeaway! At the moment, it’s all about the lockdown banana bread – my girlfriend makes it every weekend and I love it, so it’s a staple on the weekends.
Do you have any tips for those new to working out?
Absolutely. My best advice would be: micro-focus, macro patience! Expect the journey to take years… if someone promises you something in three months, walk away. You’ve got your whole life to train, don’t try and squeeze it into a few weeks. Little things done often trump the big things done only occasionally.
Find out more about Ten Health & Fitness, their love online classes (first 2 classes for £10) and more at: www.ten.co.uk.