Monday, 17 June 2013

Officially a Sponsored Athlete

With BodyPower 2013 a distant memory and being such an amazing weekend it got me thinking about the previous 12 months as it was at BodyPower 2012 where I had my first fitness shoot with Justin Taylor. Following from this I started to receive more and more emails and messages from people asking questions regarding my training, nutrition and general advice regarding the gym which prompted me to set up my blog on 10th June as a place people can come to ask me questions, find out more about me, my training and hopefully answer more than their original question. Since setting up the blog I’ve loved writing all kinds of articles covering different aspects of fitness and trying out new recipes too.

For anyone that knows me or follows me on twitter that’s ever asked my advice/opinions on supplements you know that I have always used and recommend Bodybuilding Warehouse. They offer great quality products, competitive prices and free delivery on all orders plus weekly offers on their newsletters. So it gives me great pleasure to announce that I’m officially a Bodybuilding Warehouse sponsored athlete and couldn’t be happier, plus the fact that I'm from Manchester it's good to represent a North West company.

I met up with everyone from Bodybuilding Warehouse at the BodyPower expo and also worked on their stand the Sunday of the show and had an amazing time, great banter, great atmosphere compared to other stands and a perfect way to finish the weekend.

Here’s a few pics from the show:

Representing BBW and Warrior Supplements

Talking mens physique with Steve Cook

Gregg Plitt

Men's Health cover model comp

Me and Matt Gus

As a sponsored athlete I’ll be writing articles and recipes solely for Bodybuilding Warehouse and they’ll also be offering a unique discount code for AestheticLifestyle followers. In the mean time check out my interview with BBW and all their latest products and deals- Bodybuilding Warehouse


Wednesday, 12 June 2013

UKBFF Mens Physique Class Video

I’ve finally got round to editing the videos from my Mens Physique show and got them up on the AestheticLifestyle YouTube channel. Just watching the video back gives me a real buzz to get back on stage again, I’m still undecided if I should compete again in a few months time or hold out until early next year and carry on with my current training and calorific surplus. I’ll write a separate article discussing my current diet and training program, which I’m loving at minute but check out the video and let me know what you think.


Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Simon Reeves Photo Shoot

1 week before my show I had the privilege to shoot with Simon Reeves at The Fitness Factory in Burnley which is a huge fully kitted out gym, very impressive. As I was so close to my show I didn’t manipulate my water, carbs or sodium and felt lean yet full. I’ve never done an actual gym/workout shoot before but I loved it and preferred it over a studio shoot as there’s so much more you can do and work with. Anyway here’s a few of the photos, let me know what you think.

Unedited but I love it 

For anyone interested in shooting with Simon check out his website, GL Images. I’m more thanhappy with the photos and look forward to shooting with Simon in the near future.

So this weekend sees the return of the BodyPower Expo at the N.E.C. in Birmingham, last year was the first time me and Nathan we to the expo on the Saturday and loved it, so this year we’ve decided to do the Friday and Saturday seen as there is so much to do and people to meet. Anyone attending on Friday or Saturday and spots us, come say hey and if you fancy joining us and a few of the other lads for a training session we’ll be hitting Future Fitness after the expo on Friday.

For anyone attending on the Sunday, I’ve been fortunate enough to be asked to be on the Bodybuilding Warehouse stand representing Warrior Supplements so make sure you come say hi, have a few pics and take part in the Warrior challenges.


Friday, 10 May 2013

Chocolate & Peanut Butter Protein Brownie

After a crazy response on Facebook and Twitter today here’s the simple recipe for making the Chocolate & Peanut Butter Protein Brownie I posted this morning. As always with my recipes, make sure you tailor the ingredients and amount depending on your own macronutrients and dietary goals.

Before I begin, big shout out to Chris Lavado who gave me the initial idea for the brownie!


2-2.5 scoops of Whey Protein – I use Bodybuilding Warehouse Premium Whey (chocolate cookie flavour, all of their Premium range taste amazing!)
1 can of Diet Coke or 7-Up (just less than half a can)
1 Egg White (33g liquid egg white)
25g Almond Butter/Peanut Butter
Walden Farms Chocolate/Caramel Syrup (its fat free, sugar free, carb free and calorie free)

Step 1
Add the whey protein into a large bowl.
Add the egg white.
Add the diet coke (half a can to start off with)

Step 2
Mix with a fork and feel out the constancy, if its too think add more diet coke, but add a little at a time.
The diet coke is what gives it the fluffiness and more constancy than a standard protein sludge.

Step 3

Pop in the Microwave for 2 mins, after 2 mins it should be like a thick mousse.
I put it back in for a further 1.30min to thicken it out and make the edges harder but the middle still gooey.

Step 4
Add the Peanut/Almond Butter then the Waldens Farm chocolate syrup on top.

Step 5

Let me know what you think and what added ingredients you used. I’m thinking next time trying vanilla premium whey with cinnamon and Waldens Caramel sauce!


Tuesday, 7 May 2013

UKBFF North West - My Show!

Its Tuesday 7th May, I'm two days post contest and I'm still on a high and feeling extremely positive and motivated. The two days leading up to my show were a real mix of nerves and excitement, luckily I was fully prepared way in advance so could just chill out and relax rather than running around panicking over the small stuff.

Unfortunately I didn't make the top 3 however I did make the first call out for comparisons against the competitors that placed top 3 so I'm more than happy with that. I've contacted the UKBFF to find out exactly where I placed and for some form of feedback regarding my overall score. The experience from stepping on stage was incredible, I loved every minute of it and remember standing there at one point thinking to myself "this is amazing, I can't wait to do it again, and I honestly can't. I had some really positive feedback from friends, family and other competitors on the day so felt I held my own and brought my best condition to the stage, there's nothing I would of changed or done differently about my prep and I think that's a huge reason why I'm still on a high as I have no regrets.

Top 3, congrats Olly (1st) and Chris (3rd)

After the show I headed straight down to Sussex for two photo shoots the following day, the first was with well known photographer Simon Howard who was amazing to work with and really knows his stuff, I've seen some of the unedited shots already and they look incredible, I can't wait to shoot with him again this sunday in the gym. The second shoot was for Skinny Chimp, an instantly popular clothing company mixing fitness with fashion. I'm looking forward to working with these guys in the future.

Skinny Chimp Shoot - Awesome vests!

Finally I just want to say a huge thank you to my family, in particular my Mum and Dad for really being there for me throughout my prep, especially my mum as she's helped my cook my chicken and cooks my fish for me while my Dads at work because he can't stand the smell of fish and neither can my house mate! haha

Me, My Mum & Sister, Vanessa

Another huge thank you to Dara for encouraging me and giving me the confidence to step on stage and also follow my passion for the gym and fitness industry. It really was a nice surprise to see you at my show to wish me good luck and show your support.

A big thank you to my main man Nathan who is has supported me so much throughout this prep and has always stayed positive and kept me focused on the end goal, I think I'd of lost my mind by now if we didn't work together bro! We've both been there for each these last few months and I massively appreciate it mate, can't to hit Bodypower next weekend with you. And thanks to Tom who although I haven't know him long has been great support the last few weeks going through posing practice with me, to get my show tan and even coming back stage to help out on the day itself, cheers mate, you'll kill your show in a few weeks! Thanks to Stuart, my old training partner who sold me out for crossfit haha he always pushed me in the gym and has support my blog since it started nearly 12 months ago.

And finally a big thank you to Dan Wheeler, Mike Read, Bleddyn Escott and Craig Dickinson, I've spoke to these guys every single day way before I decided to do the show. They're a top group of lads and all have great potential, its our year boys! And a huge thank you in particular to Dan for prepping me since 2nd January for my show, its been such an enjoyable and flexible diet along with the added support through think and thin. Not only has Dan prepped me but he's also dealt with his own clients, moved house and nailed his own transformation since 2nd January, very motivational!

If I've missed anyone off I'm sorry, I appreciate everyones support and was overwhelmed by all the tweets, texts and messages on the day of the show.

I'll update in a few weeks regarding my new training and nutrition but I can guarantee I'll be stepping on stage, very soon!


Sunday, 28 April 2013

1 week to go!

Today I'm currently 1 week away from stepping on stage for the first time, in the first Mens Physique class of the UK. Since the UKBFF Nationals last week I've been looking through all the pics and videos, analysing poses etc. It really has motivated me throughout this final week especially seen as it was my last week of heavy weights and low reps.

One part of the prep that I've had to keep on top of, is being super organised and last week was the biggest test, planning my workouts, food shop, tan, wax, clothes, travel arrangements etc. I feel like I've covered everything and spent most of yesterday finalising everything so that Friday and Saturday next week I can just chill and rest up. 

I won't post any progress pics this week however yesterday I received one of my shots from Justin Tayler form our shoot 2 weeks ago, let me know what you think.

The photo wasn't the only thing I received last night, I also got my final week prep and had a Skype call with my good friend Dan Wheeler who has been amazing throughout my whole prep for the show. Not only has Dan worked on my own foods, his clients plans and moved house but what he personally has achieved from 2nd January until now is a great transformation and very motivational. I won't post any pics up but if your coming to the BodyPower Expo in 3 weeks time, keep an eye out for us and the rest of the 100 Day Plan gang on the stand.

Anyway I'm now off down to Fitness Factory in Burnley for another shoot I have lined up with Simon Reeves, this one is more of a workout/gym shoot as oppose to a studio like I've done before so really looking forward to seeing the final images.

On to the home straight!!


Tuesday, 23 April 2013

UKBFF Nationals 2013 and 2-3 weeks out progress

Last weekend saw the UKBFF Nationals being held in Leamington Spa with all the new classes added, with all receiving a great response. I unfortunately couldn’t make the trip down but was very keen to see the pics and videos from the mens physique tall and short classes, particularly the short class as Rob Riches was up against USN sponsored Ryan Terry. Both have very well conditioned physiques and from looking at the pics it was a tough decision however Rob Riches came out on top with the win.

I'm sure you'll agree it was a tough one to judge, in my eyes Ryan takes it!

Rob Riches & Ryan Terry

Bikini tall top 3 (left to right: Kathryn Fardon, Lauren Ashwell & Sarah McLean)

Next up was the tall men’s physique class, the class I’ll be competing in, in just less than 2 weeks time. I knew of 2 of the competitors entering, ON sponsored Leon Williams and Richard Lawrence so I was interested to see how they got on. Leon competed in the first UK men’s physique class at the Stars of tomorrow back in November and placed second however this time round he out with first place. From looking at the pics a well deserved first place too, congrats bro! Both Rob and Leon will now be representing the UK in 8 days time at the IFBB European and World Championships, so best of luck to them.

After seeing the pics and having a really solid posing practise on Sunday after a chest session I feel motivated more than ever for my show, I know I won’t be the biggest on the stage but I guarantee I’ll be leanest, most confident and showing that I’m really enjoying myself up there! I had a photo shoot last week, when I was 3 weeks out with Justin Taylor and can’t wait to see the final images. I’ve also got shoots lined up closer to my show with the likes of Simon Howard and Simon Reeves so even though my shows next week I’ll still be maintaining my diet, then having a huge reefed after the BodyPower Expo.

3 Weeks Out

Hitting concentrated flyes on Sunday with Nathan, 2 weeks out.

As my final week gets closers quite a few changes will be made, cardio will be taken up a notch, my calories and carbs will be a tad lower than usual and my fluid intake will be going up. Training wise this is my last week of hitting heavy sets and low reps then I’ll be focusing on more hypertrophy training next week, I have noticed over the last two weeks my strength has dropped a little but that was to be expected and I’m really happy its happened so late in my prep. Apart from that I’m pretty well organised and ready to rock, hair cut this week, photo shoot on Sunday and my show tan is finally booked in for the day before my show with A1 Tropical Spray Tanning based in Leicester, check them out for anyone looking to compete around the UK. And finally I wanted to say a big thank you to my sister, Vanessa for tracking down a pair swim shorts that I’ve been trying to hunt down for weeks seen as I bought the wrong size first time round!!

For the people that have tweeted and messaged me about tickets for my show you can get them from the Pyramid & Parr Hall Box Office on 01925 442 345 or you can pay on the door on the day of the show.

Thanks again for everyone’s support, Lee

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Pre Workout Reviews & Supplement Box

As I diet down for my show I’m finding my energy levels are dropping just as quick as my body fat. I also noticed last week I tried 4 different pre workouts so thought I’d put together a mini review article to let you know what I tried and my initial thoughts.

One think to note about pre workout supplements is that everyone has different tolerance level when it comes to stimulants however over a period of time taking them you’ll find your body will adapt and you’ll need to keep adding an extra scoop here and there to still have that desired effect when you first started taking it. That’s why half way through November and throughout December I didn't take any pre workout supplements and started fresh again come January but only on leg days.

I’m not putting up any progress pics this week as I have a photo shoot this coming Saturday so I’ll save it until then, however I’ll be posting a few pics throughout the week of my condition seen as I’ll be upping my water intake and dropping my carbs for the shoot. Similar to my fluid manipulation I tried last year before I went to Ibiza- Part 1, Part 2 and Part3.

Ripped Freak – Pharma Freak (Chest Workout)

Price: £34.95

Servings: 45

Taste: 9/10

As you saw from my pictures on my last 5 week update, I got a heavy chest session in on Sunday while I was down in Wales with the lads. As I was travelling down and staying over the night I had to prep and pack all my food and shakers when I realised I had a Ripped Freak pre workout sample that I could bring with me. I've heard good things about this pre workout and couldn't wait to give it a try. I took a full sachet (blue raspberry flavour) and could already feel the Beta-Alanine kicking in as I was warming up and going through my mobility stretching.

During the session itself I hit a PB of 42kg dumbbells on incline press with strict form and maintained high intensity throughout the whole workout with short rest periods. I did feel a slight come down afterwards but not as bad as I've experienced before from pre workouts like Jack3d. I’d defiantly use Pharma Freak again but mainly for leg sessions as they can be so taxing or possibly a heavy back/chest workout.

Muscle Pharm - Assault & Sugar Free Mountain Dew (Back & Traps workout)

Price: £24.97

Servings: 32

Taste: 8/10

I've been using Muscle Pharms Assault for around 10 months now (I stopped taking a pre workout throughout December) and I really rate it as a product and recommend it to most people who ask for my suggestions on pre workout supplements. I got the idea of mixing  Assault with sugar free Mountain Dew from a Matt Ogus video a while back. I've never tried Mountain Dew before but 200ml mixed with the Assault (Raspberry Lemonade flavour) not only did it taste really good but the kick it gave me during my workout was incredible and a nice upgrade to my usual pre workout.

As I said, I always recommend Assault to people, it’s gets the job done for me and doesn't give a crash or come down after wards. I've even used Assault as a pre workout before my 2 hour mma sessions after a stressful day at work and my brother has even used it when he’s felt drained but had football practice.

Rocket Fuel (Legs Workout)

Price: £2.98

Servings: 100g

Taste: 7/10

I've never had a hot pre workout before so was unsure what to expect, I mixed two heaped teaspoons of Rocket Fuel with hot water (Not Boiling), mixed in my shaker and drank it on my way to the gym. Once I was in the gym I got the Swedish House Mafia album on my ipod and couldn't wait to get in the squat rack I could feel it that much. My legs session slightly changed this week, I was going for heavier weights and lower reps with a 4 second negative-1 second pause-1 second positive so I was glad I could feel the Rocket Fuel.

I’m not going to lie this was easily the best workout of the week, I've never felt like I've pushed myself on legs as I did, I loved it! Again I did have a slight crash afterwards and felt really drained but I don’t know if that was down to the caffeine of because of the workout.

Optimum Nutrition - Amino Energy (Arms Workout)

Price: £24.99

Servings: 30

Taste: 10/10

I sampled Optimum Nutrition’s Amino Energy at last year’s Bodypower Expo, however I've never actually tried it alongside a workout so seen as my MP Assault was running low I picked up a tub of ON Amino Energy using my Protein Discount Card. I had two scoops of the fruit fusion flavour mixed with 250ml cold water and the first thing I noticed was how good it tasted and mixed. Once I was in the gym I split my arms workout with super sets from Triceps straight into Biceps, again heavy weight and low reps.

On this particular session I was short of time so knew I had to up the intensity and be super strict on my rest periods. I genuinely think the pre workout helped me focus and drive through the workout. There was no crash afterwards and I felt full of energy throughout the rest of the day. ON have recently brought out a new pre workout supplement as part of their platinum range PRE and like last year I look forward to sampling some at this year’s Bodypower Expo in May.

Overall I’m going to stick with Optimum Nutrition’s Amino Energy, although its similar to the Muscle Pharm Assault that I’ve been on, its a nice change and I feel I got a better kick from it and like the MP Assault no crash afterwards.

Supplement Box

This article fits nicely into a package I received recently from a company called Supplement Box. They’re a monthly subscription service that sends its subscribers a curated box of the best sports supplement sample around. This is ideal for people to discover new products and save you money at the same time, with a kind of ‘try before you buy’ approach. The idea came when they guys over at Supplement Box walked into their local supplement store one day, browsed the different products and couldn’t decide which to go for, what they tasted like, amino acid content etc and came up with the idea of making it easier for people to try samples from the industry’s biggest brand to help make their mind up.

Not only do I think it’s a great idea as I’ve been in that situation before and have also helped people in that situation before when I used to work at Holland & Barretts when I was 17 but I also think it has more advantages, everyone knows how hard it can be to hit your dietary needs when you’re on the go and for that reason I always make sure I have a few whey protein and pre workout samples in my gym bag and in my car. Not only that but last year after the Bodypower Expo I kept 10 whey protein samples and 2 protein bars to one side and took them on holiday with me, so there’s a few added options for using Supplement Box. To find out more and to subscribe simply check out their web site: My Supplement Box