Thursday, 28 January 2010

Fat Burning - whats it all about?!!!

Recently one of my clients asked me what was the best way to burn fat, she had been listening to the radio and the debate had been mentioned on there, one trainer argued that long cardio sessions with high repetitions of weight training was best and the other argued that short fast bursts were the best.

My client isn't the first to be confused over which is the best way to burn fat, in fact its one of the most common questions people ask! I have to say I agree with the second trainer and here I'll tell you why.

Well lets look at the 'fat burning' slow cardio - high repetition weight training, sure theres a need to include a few higher repetitions into your training programme to build muscular endurance but when it comes to the statement - you have to jog at a slow pace to stay in your fat burning zone - I have some shocking truth, I was shocked when I first learned this because up until several years ago I occasionally added this type of training into my routine.

Well lets say you want to stay working in this fat burning zone which you'd assume is great yeah? Well here's where you might decide that its not so great! If you're working regularly in this 'fat burning zone' what your essentially doing is teaching your body to use fat as its primary energy source - what does that mean, well your teaching your body to efficiently store fat for energy!! If you have taught your body to store fat then in time you would have to work for twice as long in your fat burning zone to remove that fat. Lets use a well known celebrity who spends much of her time in the gym, her trainer has advised her to perform high repetitions of low weight, her marriage split because of her dedication to spending all of her time in the gym so would you really want to follow this kind of advice! Who has several hours to spend in a gym training anyway - not me that's for sure, and no doubt most of the population!

Lets cut to the chase, if you seriously want to shift the fat from your body you want to be doing some fast burst resistance training and intervals. Exercises that use the whole of the body such as squats, press ups, lunges, plank, jumping jacks, burpees (these are great because you don't need any equipment!). Short fast bursts of sprinting can be extremely beneficial too - this can be done in an interval format, here's an example of an interval session using running:

The intensity is based on rate of perceived exertion (RPE) scale of 1 to 10 (1 being easy 10 being extremely hard)

Up to five minutes (warm up) (RPE 4)
30 seconds (RPE 8)
1 minute (RPE 4-5)
30 seconds (RPE 8)
1 minute (RPE 4-5)
30 seconds (RPE 8)
1 minute (RPE 4-5)
30 seconds (RPE 8)
1 minute (RPE 4-5)
30 seconds (RPE 8)
1 minute (RPE 4-5)
30 seconds (RPE 8)
Up to 5 minutes (cool down) (RPE 3-4)
Total Time Approx 18 minutes

This kind of interval training can also be done on a bike or a rower.

By doing the resistance training you will build muscle, the more muscle you have the more calories you burn at rest. The short intervals mean you get your heart rate raised very quickly so after you're workout has ended your heart rate will still be raised and you body has to work really hard to repair and replenish the muscles - burning even more calories sometimes for up to 48 hours - wow you're teaching your body to become a fat blasting machine!!!

So every time you train - put in 100% and reap the rewards!!

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Just how willing are you to work towards your goals?

Lose weight, get fitter, tone up – these are goals written so often, you may have been someone who has also written goals like this or told yourself this on numerous occasions, but just how much weight exactly are we talking here or how much fitter?
Get the message? These goals are a bit too vague so you won’t put your heart and passion into achieving them.

If your 4 stone over weight and want to lose it and get a six pack or get into those size 8-10 jeans but decide that it’s easier to set yourself a 1-2 stone goal or drop to a size 12 because its more realistic, then where’s the drive, passion and motivation going to be? What’s going to make you get up on a morning and eat the healthy food or follow through on your training programme?

A lot of people, myself included are sometimes scared to set themselves a big challenge because of the hard work it will involve. If you’ve hired a Personal Trainer or signed up for a boot camp but aren’t completely sure of your goals you’re not going to have the motivation to follow through on your programme. You’ll probably start to resent the programme because you’ve been advised to follow because you’ve lost sight of that end goal.

When we find ourselves feeling like this we should take a deep think about our goals, don’t just set one or two stone because it’s realistic. If you’re a size 14 and used to be a size 8 and would love to get back into those clothes but have decided that a size 10-12 is much more realistic you’re not actually going to have the same drive. Think about how you felt at a smaller size, how much confidence you had, how well your clothes fitted, if you were happier. Then set that big goal, set yourself a timeframe of how soon you would like to reach that goal then pay the price that is expected to get you there. Every time you are working out and its tough remind yourself of why you’re doing it – that passionate goal and you will push yourself much more.

Did you know that the mind has a very strong influence over our motivation to do things, how many times have you woken up after a poor night’s sleep and told yourself all day how tired you are, or started to get a sniffle and you tell yourself you must be coming down with something then low and behold you suddenly feel at deaths door!

Next time you go to tell yourself you’re too tired or too ill - STOP, by doing this you will cure a lot of your tiredness and illness. When we exercise how easy is it to say it’s too hard or I can’t then not even try, even when we do try, how many of us tell ourselves it’s too hard then fail anyway.

Try being positive with yourself, we have more strength than we realise it’s just some people lose sight of what they really, truly want. If you want to stay happy and healthy in life don’t just go for the quick fix, set yourself that massive goal, work towards it, pat yourself on the back when you get to it then set your next goal – this time you might want to go for sports or improve your running time – whatever it is that will help you maintain that massive goal DO IT.

Think about it as a building being constructed – the plans are made, the end is in sight but it may take several months of hard work to finally get there, then lots of work to maintain it once it’s built - inside and out!

Don’t settle for what you’ve been told is more realistic, other people would rather pull you down to their standards because they’d rather eat crap then complain about being fat when they aren’t prepared to put in the hard work themselves!

Here’s something to make you think!

Thomas Edison was interviewed by a young reporter who boldly asked Mr. Edison if he felt like a failure and if he thought he should just give up by now. Perplexed, Edison replied, "Young man, why would I feel like a failure? And why would I ever give up? I now know definitively over 9,000 ways that an electric light bulb will not work. Success is almost in my grasp." And shortly after that, and over 10,000 attempts, Edison invented the light bulb.

Just think where we’d be if Thomas Edison gave up his light bulb invention after the first few attempts?

You are more powerful than you realise so go! Set that big goal that makes you passionate and begin to love the steps you are taking towards achieving that goal rather than dreading it! Remember there may be hurdles or setbacks along the way but you’ve just got to get back to it again and get to that end goal in sight.

To your Health and Fitness Success

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Why fad diets are bad for your health and you should NEVER follow them!

The truth some food manufacturers don't want you to know!

Ok so you’ve heard of them - try this diet and you’ll shift the weight faster than you know!! The Cambridge Diet, Kellogg’s drop a dress size, lighter life and dare I say it – weight watchers?!!

Don’t get me wrong the weightwatchers plan is probably the best one there if followed healthily and with exercise too then people might get lasting results but if you eat their crappy foods and choose the unhealthy processed foods they allow you to have in your ‘points’ system then you’re not going to lose body fat.

Ok so here’s the truth with these diets, they are calorie restricted diets, (Cambridge and lighter life the most EXTREME) and although calorie restriction is needed when you are trying to lose weight you do not need to go as severe as some of these diets make you do!

I remember on one of my first boot camps one of the ladies who was going to a well known slimming club and hadn’t lost any weight, when she stated that she had been training and building muscle, (you could clearly see she had lost inches and toned up), the so called ‘health’ professional leader of the slimming club said she’d need to have been training for several months for that to make a difference on the scales and she HAD to lose weight to get results, BULL this person didn’t have a clue! Even after one session of weight training your muscles are starting to build and form, not a huge difference but after a few weeks there is a difference!

I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news but weight loss is not the be all and end all, some people can lose weight yet put on inches around their stomach!

Anyway back to the point, the reason why severely low calorie restrictive diets are bad for you is because whilst you may lose weight on them a lot of that weight loss will come from muscle. Muscle is VITAL for fat loss, the more muscle you have the more calories you burn at rest (yes that means the faster metabolism you will have). When you do these low calorie diets and lose the valuable fat burning muscle guess what happens when you go back to eating normally again, you pile the pounds on – and even more this time, and worse to come this time it’s even HARDER to shift so you get into a pattern of yo yo dieting and teaching your body to be the most efficient fat store there is!!

On a scarier note advertising companies will have you believe that their processed product is healthy or their breakfast cereal is the healthiest. Ever wondered why these cereals are ‘fortified with vitamins and iron’? The process that these grains go through to bring you the perfectly shaped breakfast cereal actually leaves them pretty nutritionless, so to counteract that they stick a load of manmade vitamins in there – pointless! Furthermore what kind of process must those perfectly shaped ‘potato’ crisps that fit into a tube, oh and that saying ‘once you pop you can’t stop!’ there is actually an ingredient called monosodium glutamate which can have addictive properties in this product, so when they made their advert they weren’t lying!

The best way to lose weight (body fat) is to eat nutritious foods such as lean protein, green leafy vegetables, dark fruits such as berries and cutting out high sugar snacks, processed foods and reducing ALCOHOL intake to a minimum, stick to the 90/10 rule and you can’t fail (90% of the time eating clean nutritious food allowing for 10% treat – i.e. the occasional cheat meal). Exercise regularly and include weight bearing exercises / lifting weight and make the exercise vigorous.

Don’t get sucked in by the advertising companies selling you their ‘healthy’ product, they’re not bothered about your health – they just want to make money off you!

Monday, 4 January 2010

Todays Workout!

Just a quick post to let you know what I did in the gym today

super sets

Assisted pull ups x 10
Front squats x 10 (12.5kg DB's)

rest repeat x 3

Press ups x 10
Front lunges x 8 (10 kg DB)

dead lift (15kg DB's)
Reverse Wood Chop 10 each side

finished with 20/10 (20 seconds on 10 off) x 8 rowing as fast as I could!

If your a woman looking for workout ideas and tips check out

Sunday, 3 January 2010

New Year - New Goals!

Happy new year everybody I hope you've all had a great start.

I always like to think about my goals around new year, I have a list of business goals, health goals, family goals and personal goals and I set out in as much detail what my goal is, ways in which I can achieve the goals and work hard towards them.

Fair enough there are times when I let things lapse a bit (especially this Xmas when illness struck) but the main thing is picking yourself back up and getting back on track.

If you've put on a few pounds over Xmas and the New year, no worries, s**t happens you'll shift it again at least you enjoyed yourself right? (and weren't too unhealthy ha ha), Xmas is about taking time out for yourself and having a break from all of your hard work over the year. If you followed some of the advice given on staying as healthy as possible during the festivities and continued with some exercise then you shouldn't have put on too much?! Maybe you even lost some which is a bonus and well done if you did, great stuff.

As a nation we are being conditioned to believe its fine to be unhealthy and pile on the pounds over Xmas and the New year and that you must diet come the beginning of January. Ever noticed how many food adverts are on before and during Xmas and the increase in cooking shows, then the new year hits and you have weight watchers, slimming world and the biggest waste of money- the Special K 2 bowls 2 weeks challenge (all this is going to do is mess up your insides and the way you process your foods causing you to retain fat even more efficiently!). Some people rave about the weight watchers diet, it works as a calorie restricted diet that is all, I can guarantee that a lot of the people following the diet will not be in a state of true health. The points system and the weight watchers ready meals will make sure of that, a choice of a piece of fruit or a small packet of crisps and I know what most people with a weight problem would rather choose! They might end up slimmer but they'll still have a high body fat ratio which is not healthy.

What my aim as a Personal Trainer is to help people get a healthy body (strive for health and thin will follow), basically by giving up any pre packaged foods (if its in a packet - sack it, in a tin - bin!!) in favour of wholesome nutritious foods and best of all choosing organic, local produce will ensure that your food will be as fresh as possible. Buying from farmers markets will help you achieve this, also making sure that the meat that you eat is grass fed and has had the freedom to roam, much of the meats we eat are injected with antibiotics and growth hormones, ever wondered how MRSA came about (I believe eating meats full of antibiotics must play a huge part in making your body resistant to them), also what about what happens to your body when the foods we eat are injected with growth hormones to help fatten them up? Will that have the same effect on us when we eat them?

I know I've put on weight this Xmas what with the mulled wine (red wine has its health benefits you know : ) and flu just before Xmas putting me out of action but I'm not going to stress about it, I know I've made a few unhealthy choices and fallen off my 'health wagon' and I've got to admit at times I've suffered! No chance I could eat a diet like I have on a daily basis as I'd get nothing done and sit on my bum all day doing nothing feeling low and lethargic! Unfortunately this is what much of the nation have become, without education on food people don't know what’s healthy and what isn't anymore, kids choose sitting in watching telly or playing on their computers eating crap in favour of getting outside and playing with their friends. No wonder there's so many fat kids these days!

Well with the festivities over I've got some preparations to do today to clean up the food in the kitchen and get ready to do an elimination diet (my Personal Training and Boot Camp clients use this) to remove the toxins built up over Xmas and the New Year!! I know one of my goals is to shift at least 2 inches off my waist by the end of Jan (and I haven't even measured yet!), to do this I am going to have to eat healthy, cut out the crap and step up my exercise regime.

I also have a personal goal - not to take myself so seriously!! When in times of stress I must remind myself of this to remain happy and positive, after all life is about being happy isn't it - who needs stress!!

So come on what are your goals? What does January and 2010 have in store for you?

I for one can't wait to get back to normality after a well deserved break!

Happy New Year - to your success : )