1 – Focus on reducing inflammation: exercise stresses your energy systems and damages muscle and connective tissue. Your body improves and grows only when you recover. By exercising you effectively create an inflamed state, so your pre & post workout needs to focus on reducing inflammation to boost recovery and growth. Omega-3 is a great anti-inflammatory, whereas omega-6 promotes inflammation. Aim to balance omega-3 to omega-6 by eating fish, grass-fed animal products, consuming fish oil and avoiding vegetable oils. To boost post-workout gains by improving protein synthesis and reducing inflammation take 4g of high quality fish oil

2 – Use caffeine wisely: there are a number of articles and research studies touting the health benefits of coffee. Coffee does possess health benefits but for maximum performance and fat loss you need to be aware of how caffeine personally affects you and the best times to consume it. Performance wise caffeine is the most effective legal performance-enhancing substance available. Take an espresso shot before training anytime you feel unmotivated, tired, or simply require a boost. However, due to it’s effect on cortisol try never to take it when anxious or after a workout.

3 – Manage hormones: hormones control every function your body has and therefore every action you engage in elicits a hormonal response. By performing smart actions you can maximise your hormone responses to optimise performance and fat loss outcomes. Charles Poliquin, the world’s leading strength & conditioning coach, suggests that the aim is to “optimize baseline levels of hormones, particularly testosterone, because it is a significant indicator of athletic ability. Higher resting T means you’ll get more out of workouts to induce greater muscle gains”. Testosterone levels are affected by sleep, vitamin D3, zinc and magnesium levels. You need to have adequate amounts of these while minimising alcohol consumption and exposure to estrogens or estrogen promoting substances.

Stress (or cortisol) also has major negative impacts when striving for improved performance and fat loss. Aim to reduce and manage your cortisol levels (stress) to maximise results by taking vitamin C post-workout or anytime you’re stressed. Dehydration is another major concern when attempting performance and fat loss goals. Inadequate water consumption will raise cortisol levels considerably. Aim to drink 800 mls per 23 kg of body weight

4 – Take a multivitamin: again, combating stress is the major key to achieving gains. With added stress your body needs extra B vitamins to repair and reenergise. Both mental and physical stresses deplete vitamin stores, particularly vitamin B5. I also recommend additional antioxidants to help fight free-radical development and help repair cell damage.

Phil Kelly is a health practitioner and expert in body transformation. His services are available at Star Fitness (starfitnesssaigon.com), online or at your home. Contact him through his website phil-kelly.com or facebook.com/BodyExpertSystemsVietnam.