Why your Workout isn’t Working

Are you getting the results you want from your workout?

It’s always worth reflecting on contributing factors that help you hit your goal. For example, how has your sleep been that week? Have you been binge eating a bit more recently?
If you feel that all the contributing factors are on tap, then you may be falling into one of the common training pitfalls. When you train for a goal, It’s important that you are training with FOCUS and DISCIPLINE.
I’m going to cover some common mistakes made with training that you should avoid if you are serious about hitting your goal!

Do you skip workouts when you are not in the mood?

SANTA MONICA, CA - AUGUST 04: Grumpy Cat attends "The Grumpy Guide to Life: Observations by Grumpy Cat" book launch party at Kitson Santa Monica on August 4, 2014 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images)

Don’t get distracted! It’s easy to make a commitment to training when life is a breeze and you are not overly busy, but many of us as soon as life gets a bit hectic, we bottom pile our goal. Don’t let small distractions get in the way of your goal! It’s common when you are busy to say, ‘I’ll go to the gym later’, when you have a huge list of things to do. The time you have completed the daily tasks the gym doesn’t seem such an appealing idea and is more likely to be written off. It’s common to talk yourself out of training too. Whether you have had a bad day, a fall out with the partner, or a hectic day at work with high stresses, the last thing you feel like doing is exercising.

What should I do?

Consistency is the key to succeeding in your goals. If you stop every time life got a bit busy or you didn’t feel like it, how close to your goal are you going to get?
You don’t skip work when you don’t feel like it and you don’t skip sleep because you don’t feel like it. Make it a consistent routine you stick to. Set days and times you can stick to and regiment it into your weekly plan. You train on the good days and bad days, that’s the difference between making your results a success and not!

Are you going to the gym without a plan?

penMake sure you have a plan that is progressive. If you are just aimlessly training it’s more than likely you will hit a plateau. You need to have a structured plan that brings in challenges when you get stronger and fitter. It’s common to see people training in their comfort zone and not knowing about it because they have a few beads of sweat on their face. The muscles need to feel challenged! Going into the gym without a plan means you are more than likely going to stick to repetitive training programme. At some point your enthusiasm is going to drop because it’s getting boring.

What should I do?

Set a structured plan. Look at what you are looking to achieve short term and the long term. Set a programme you are going to start on for the first 4 weeks and look at how it’s going to develop. Monitor and track your progressions in a diary so you can see strength increases and fat loss

Are you lifting heavy all the time?

lift heavy‘It’s all about lifting heavy’ too many get caught up on lifting heavy weights they neglect other ways to shock and stimulate the muscle. The muscles will plateau if you choose to train the same and not vary your workouts. (If you are looking at specifically strength training then stick to a strength building protocol designed by a coach, trainer etc. or if you know yourself, then make sure you set a progressive plan that is cycling reps, weights exercise and volume.)
The keys is to shock the muscles which can be done in various ways from changing rep ranges per set, tri sets, giant sets and drop sets, time under tension split training and many more. So using light weights have their benefits; who would have thought using light weights would make your muscles grow?

What should I do?

Vary your workout, develop from just training with heavy weights. Look at failing the muscles through other methods of training such as the ones spoken above.

Do you let a bad workout dictate the rest of your workout? 

tiredSo maybe you are not feeling that strong today, energy is a bit low, or just generally struggling to push yourself. It’s easy in these times to cut the workout short and give a half hearted attempt. Some people can feel disheartened when they find the weights have gone down or they don’t hit the reps as well as they did last week, leaving them with worry they are not progressing. For some, it can ruin the next few workouts lined up as they reflect on the last, expecting the following workout to be no better.

What should I do?

Don’t write off the workout. No one is 100% on form on every workout. There will be days you are tired or struggle, just take it down a notch and aim to complete the workout. Doing a workout is better than not doing one. Consider modifying the workout that day to suit the needs of your ability. If you are consistently finding your workouts are draining you you are not progressing, take this as a sign you may need to take a week off for recovery purposes, check your nutrition plan you are eating enough and look at how much sleep you are getting per night.
Recovery is just as important as training and over training will only lead to back tracking in results.

Do you use the wrong weights?

A female fitness enthusiast looks confused over which dumbbells to use

This is quite common especially if you have a training partner. For convenience purposes and not hogging all the gym equipment, people will stick to the same weights their training partner is using. Make sure you are using the right weight and not just picking any old weight up that you feel is ‘about right’. It may be worth writing down what weights you use weekly in a diary, if you are not one to remember what weights you did last week,  then this is probably the best idea. You are less likely to re-pick up the old weights you did last week.
Many women fear to lift heavier in fear of become too ‘bulky’ as I have previously covered in many other blogs, weight lifting for women is the most effective way for fat loss so women should be picking up those heavier weights!

What should I do?

Log your weights in a book. Bring the book to the gym each time so you can see what you previously lifted and track what the reps and sets. This way you won’t accidentally lift a too light of a weight.

Are you more disciplined with training than nutrition?

junkMany believe that if they just train harder or the longer, the food doesn’t matter so much. Your food plan should be a primary focus and if it’s not, you will never maximise your ability to attain your goals. Nutrition plays a huge role is muscle gain, fat loss or even both. If you choose to neglect food and under eat your energy levels are going to be rubbish, you won’t have enough energy to support the exercise you do which eventually leads to a health burn out. Body fat is more likely to be stored then burnt as the goes into starvation mode. Muscle breaks down before fat meaning you a) burn muscle and b) will burn fat at a slower rate because muscle have an essential role in assisting overall fat loss . Generally not tightening up areas in your food plan leaves people yo-yoing between little fat loss and no fat loss. It’s a dull repetitive cycle so take your food plan seriously.

What should I do?

Take your food seriously. What do you want to achieve? If you want to achieve more than maintenance work then you have to understand you need to make dietary changes. Set a plan, make sure you rotate food plans to avoid hitting plateaus and boredom. Keep your food interesting so you don’t sway off the plan. Take certain foods out and then reintroduce them to keep you interested.
Plan and prepare your food plan well accordingly to your training plan. Create routine even at the weekends.

Do you sway from your nutrition and training programme every weekend?

pizzaIt’s great to treat yourself after a hard week especially if you have been training too. Many of us spend Monday to Friday eating clean training hard and then spend the weekend undoing all the hard work. If you are partying, drinking alcohol and big binges every weekend you are not going to maximise your results. If you want to continue both routes then it’s important to reconsider the boundaries if you are going to continue making it a weekly habit.

What should I do?

Realistically, reduce binges and partying down. Regiment it into your training plan as a ‘cheat day’ which is done less frequently. When it’s done less frequently, you feel as if it’s more of a reward so you can properly blow out and enjoy it. If you wish to keep your socials through drinking and eating weekly, then you either accept you may not hit your goals quite where you want to, or change the variables. I.e. become designated driver some week, change from beer to spirits, don’t post eat after drinking every week and try to eat healthier options.
Some people get really busy at the weekends and actually end up neglecting a lot of food. This is key recovery time for muscle repair and fat loss so try to bring in a routine like you do in the week. Prepare food in advance that you can take on the go.

Are you expecting immediate results?

tapeIt’s great to be motivated, especially when you first start training but try not to let the enthusiasm lead you into having unrealistic expectations. It’s been known for people to train with extreme intensity and even over train in belief they will burn even more calories and see results quicker. Wrong! This will only lead to over training, causing fatigue weakness, plateaus in results and disinterest. Be patient and don’t over train. Enjoy the days off from training allow your body to repair.

What should I do?

Set a plan as to how often and where you measure yourself. Don’t get caught up on weighing yourself everyday and trying to achieve too much too quickly. Aim to measure yourself through better ways such as with tape measures along side of weighing, once a week. Take pictures too. Understand that recovery is where to magic happens, so if you are constantly training where will the fat loss and muscle growth occur? Over training stunts progression so it’s better to train a bit less but gives it more intensity, than to over train with you training half heartedly and tired.

 

If you need some help with training or you want an exciting, challenging, programme made specifically to your gym goals, contact on 07850968187

Can’t keep the Commitment?

‘This year is the year that I’m going to get fit and healthy!’ sound familiar?

Do you start with great intentions to lose weight, get fit and make dietary changes to better yourself? Does it usually result in giving up and then starting this health kick over and over again, with the intention of doing it better next time? Don’t worry you are not alone! 

It’s common to see these patterns from many gym members and its very typical to see fluctuations in attendance around the peak holiday seasons such as Christmas parties and New Year, making resolutions to improve health and fitness. The results are usually inconsistent  just as the attendance in going to the gym.

The question is, when you restart your health kick, why is this year ‘the year?’ Are you still intending to commit to the same food and fitness plan but expect to see different results? Or maybe you’re just going to try harder and commit to it for longer? If you are stopping and starting your health kick and struggling to be consistent with it, then you could be falling into the trap of these common mistakes below. Stick to your health kick, make change and see change for the long term!

Did you start too fast?

hard dietWhen you first start your health kick, many can jump in the deep end. ‘I need to start eating low calorie and exercising every day of the week!’ ‘I’ll go cold turkey on the fizzy pop!’ Making lifestyle changes can be challenging and take time to adjust to whether its cutting bread from your diet to drinking alcohol mid week, so set achievable goals which you can later on reassess and set higher challenges. I usually ask my clients what they can realistically do, so for example, if I was asking them to cut back on drinking coke 7 days a week what could they sustain without crashing and falling of their plan. If they say 4, then to me, that it s a reduction we can later on look at. Set short term goals for long term results. 

What should I do?

Make small progressive changes. Start where you feel it’s something you can achieve and maintain as it can be later on be adjusted accordingly. It’s easy to set a goal to high and negatively beat yourself up about it. Success drives from positivity.  


Did you expect too much too soon?

dangIt’s great to be a positive thinker but you also need to be a realistic thinker. Many of us come in with the mind set of dropping a huge amount of weight without taking into account the time, graft and difficulties you may come across on the journey. People burn fat and change physique at different rates, some faster than others. Even so, even the greatest athletic looking have been committing years even decades to get to where they are and would of come across times of struggles plateaus or even disinterest.

What should I do?

I always recommend my clients to set short term targets that will eventually achieve to their long term goals. Setting short term targets means you are making regular achievements. This will keep the motivation, dedication and enthusiasm going. Think about it, if two people were going to measure their fat loss results. Person one, measured once a week, and person two, measured once every 3 months, which person do you think would be more driven and enthused? More likely person one. Person one knows exactly what their current achievements are and knows that in a week’s time they are going to see more results!


Did you not make any changes?

junkDiscipline is important if you are looking to make long term changes. It’s about choosing what you want now over what you have always wanted. Sometimes you have to make dramatic lifestyle changes to improve your health or just cut certain food groups out. You may find it’s just even a bit of discipline when it comes to your eating habits. Fat loss doesn’t occur without making changes to where you currently are, because if it didn’t, you wouldn’t be where you are now. If you are not prepared to make change, don’t expect change.

What should I do?

Most fitness and health goals require some level of change or commitment. How important are these goals to you? How far are you prepared to go to see these changes in yourself? These are the questions you need to ask yourself prior to setting yourself a new health plan; if you don’t want to make change then you can’t expect to see change! Sometimes they can bring a challenge, look at making a plan that gradually implements the changes you need to put into place, this way it won’t seem as daunting and will be a realistic target you can achieve. With a bit of time and consistency it will become easier and then you can step your game up! 

Did you think about your goals?

smartSetting goals in detail such as setting a time frame and how much you want to lose by when, will harness your motivation, focus and drive. Saying that, ‘I want to lose weight’ but not going into specific detail and measures to ensure you will achieve it, leaves the goal being a bit half hearted, vague and usually leaves people training aimlessly and not goal driven. When you don’t set short term goals such as, ‘by the end of next week I will have reduced my excessive amount of caffeine intake’, you are more likely to proactively do it rather than delay or even dismiss areas for improvement.

 What should I do?

Find out what you ultimately want to achieve. Once you have set a plan that has short term targets make sure it is progressive and consistent. Reflect back to your developments to keep the motivation going. Make sure your goal doesn’t fizzle out. it’s easy for it to become a background target that loses drive. Keep it fresh in the mind! Things like putting before and after photos up on the fridge as little reminders.


Did you give up too quickly?
 

quitWhether you get busy with work and are struggling to juggle the gym with other lifestyle factors or your fat loss has slowed down, it’s important to keep your training consistent through these tough times. If you give up at every hurdle thrown at you outside or inside the gym, not only will you struggle to achieve your goals but you won’t be able to sustain it well. Part time committers tend to find themselves going round in circles by taking two steps back and one forward.

Sometimes people training for a goal tend to be extremely disheartened if one week goes by and they see little reduction. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will your ideal physique. Be patient and keep going. It’s common to hit plateaus, most people do, so rise to the challenge and break the plateau. if you lost a lot of weight/fat the previous week sometimes your body will slow down the following week to ensure it doesn’t drop too quickly. 

What should I do?

Understand that it is a personal journey that is going through and it’s going to be extremely educational about learning about yourself. Your physique won’t be built over night so be patient and be persistent to achieve your goals. If you find you have hit an obstacle like everyone does, embrace it as part of the journey and look to develop your plan. Most people have hit plateaus whilst training for a goal, so explore new ways to train and new food plans; seek advice through other people who take interest in food and fitness. When you overcome these obstacles it will feel extremely rewarding and strengthen your commitment with the training journey.

If you find things in your lifestyle change that impacts your commitment to exercise, then look at changing the plan! adapt it accordingly to fit your new lifestyle commitments. Sometimes it means going the extra mile like training on a weekend, or even training at home or a hotel gym. You may even just have to look at changing the time you train. If its something you want you will find a way to make it work. 

Have you shared your journey with anyone?

shareSome people like to keep their training private for various reasons. Maybe it’s embarrassment or maybe because they feel self conscious in this new area. Whether it’s having a training partner, personal trainer, training in classes, groups of friends or online community, if you neglect involving even your friends or family on your journey you are missing out on an effective form of motivation and public accountability. No one wants to be the person who couldn’t commit to what they said they would do. Support of others is also a power tool of motivation, it helps on those days where you don’t feel driven, people who also train can relate to and lighten the situation. These days where you just can’t be bothered, having someone to push and drive you really makes the difference. When you also share your journey, you may find some family or friend members will try to support you in other ways by taking into consideration your food needs when going out for dinner or inviting you out, making sure it sticks to your plan.

What should I do?

Share your journey! That doesn’t necessarily mean you need to make it public on Facebook and inform the media, but tell your close friends and family or even just people you know are supportive. Consider joining or finding some support within the industry as people who train will be on your level as they tend to experience many of the things you are going through. If you are not into training with a partner consider joining some community groups on Facebook or Instagram that support and motivate each other.

 

If you need help with any training, contact on 07850968187 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are you secretly sabotaging your fat loss?

Has your fat loss plateaued? Have you been slogging it in the gym, sticking to your food plan but yet to see any changes? Naturally, it’s going to leave you feeling fed up and frustrated, all your hard work amounting to very little change. It’s important in these times to reassess your plan. Simple things you may have implemented within your training or food plan could be secretly sabotaging your good intentions in fat loss and muscle gain. Here are some common mistakes people make on their own fat loss journey which could be potentially sabotaging your hard work. 


cardio againToo much cardio

One of the biggest myths in the fitness industry is that cardio is for fat loss and weights are for muscle building. Cardio implemented correctly, such in the form of interval training for example, has its benefits for fat loss but cardio shouldn’t be the primary focus when you train. If anything, steady state and long periods of slow cardio can actually stunt overall fat loss and cause plateaus. Spending hours on cardio can jeopardize your muscle gains and burn you out leaving you feeling drained and tired which will inevitably make it tough to continue exercise on a regular basis. Muscle is an important key factor to fat loss; it plays a huge role with burning fat.

Focusing on weight loss can potentially be a reason why your fat loss journey has stunted. When we focus on weight loss, it’s not a clear indicator as to what we have lost. Is it fat? Muscle? Water?

When we train with weights, our muscles grow and become stronger. Training with your muscles in a resistance manner means you will burn more calories at rest which effectively is the key for long term sustainable fat loss. 

 ‘The more muscle you have, the more calories your body burns at rest’ Hilgenberg says 

spinWhen you count calories/ go to low on calories/ it’s important to make sure you are eating enough. Many go too low on calories which results in plateaus in fat loss, tiredness, fatigue and stunted progressions in training. We need to feed the muscles to allow growth and recovery! Focus on the quality of calories opposed to general calorie counting. The way our body processes calories very different despite the foods compared may have the same number of calories in them.

Sometimes certain food groups have gone too low, such as protein. Protein plays a huge role in muscle repair, recovery and growth.  Many people who exercise may not work out their macros so they don’t know how much protein they should be eating a day. This means that they are not fuelling the muscles enough so there is no progress.

Hilgenberg advises, ‘If you’re not going to calculate it exactly, make sure that, at the very minimum, you’re getting one gram per pound of lean body weight [daily].’

 

butsFear of eating fat/carbs

It’s been known for people to fear certain food groups in the fear of getting ‘fat’ many food groups have been labelled badly, from various places such as poor diets. Fat has been given a rough ride for quite some time but fortunately the saturated fat causing heart disease has been debunked. Fat plays a role in fat loss!  Not only does it provide satiety to meals and fills you up so you are less likely to snack on sugary foods after dinner. Fat also helps with energy and helps with the absorption of nutrient such as A,D,E,K. Fat should be implemented in moderation, small but often.

After many people going low carb and seeing dramatic fat loss, people fear of weight gain from eating carbs. Carbs are important part of aiding muscle recovery, such as post training. They also help promote good sleep as carbohydrates release tryosine and serotonin, which are known to relax and make you feel sleepy. Good sleep is essential to good fat loss!

processedNot eating quality foods

How much processed food do you have in your diet? Are you eating pre-packed chicken as a quick on the go way to eat a protein based meal?  How many cheats do you have a month? Quality of food is important especially so when you do not cook your own food from scratch. Always check labels and packaging for the ingredients list as food is not always as it seems to be due to advertisement. Even simple things such as soups can have poor nutritional content or extremely high sugars with added rubbish which will stunt fat loss.

 
pourForgetting about the hidden sugars

As previously spoken above, always check the packaging for an ingredients list to see what you are really eating. From jars for curry sources, salad dressings and cups of tea, sugar can be hidden everywhere and even when you least expect it. Check to see how high the sugar is but try to opt for more natural approaches such as herbs and spices, cider vinegar etc. you can easily make your intentionally healthy meal a super sugar fest lunch!

 
weights againHaven’t changed your training

Doing the same workout week after week with little change will only slow progression and ultimately hit a plateau. You can potentially burn out too, from hammering the same exerciser all the time and not allowing certain muscles a break by varying your workout will lead to muscle tiredness and a decrease in performance. You should feel like you are challenging your muscles and outside of your comfort zone. When you do the same routine or format it becomes maintenance work. The muscles are not challenged by it any more than your legs are walking around doing shopping. You need to challenge the muscles enough to spur muscle growth and strength. It needs to be shocked enough to repair and get stronger. 

 

 sleepNot enough rest

Sleep plays a huge role in fat loss. Sleep is prime time for muscle recovery, repair and growth. If we deprive ourselves of sleep not only do you feel tired, ratty and less productive, it makes training difficult and the muscles cannot keep up because of the lack of sleep. They can often still feel achy from previous training and strength only depletes. Long term deprivation of sleep can set hormones into imbalances and cause such problems such as insulin resistance, which overtime can fat loss more challenging.

If you need help with your training programme or food, contact on 07850968187

How do I progress my programme?

So, we know we need to train with weights, go compound, and expect the workouts to be challenging, but where do we go from there? Maybe you have been on a one way split (all body work out) with a typical rep range of 10-12 reps, 3 sets. Maybe you have changed the exercises around a bit and even tried new things. However, have you ventured out of the format? How long have you been doing 10-12 reps? 3 sets? Even a one way split? It’s easy to get stuck into a routine of the same format and expecting to see change, even if you are lifting weights! At some point you will need to progress your training programme and there are many ways of doing that depending on what your goals are. It can be quite daunting especially if you are unsure how to develop your programme. Here are some ideas to try if you are getting bored of your training programme and need to step it up a bit!

 

Sport shoes, skipping rope; dumbbells and water bottle isolated on white

Supersets (S/S)

A ‘superset’ is where two exercises are performed in a row without stopping. This can be done with two different body parts, such as opposing muscle groups. i.e. chest and back or the same muscle groups. e.g. quad and quad. This is great for adding intensity to the workout and great for those who are pushed for time training it makes the training a lot quicker. By having little rest and moving about it adds more demand to the body. Intensity is the key for fat loss! By super setting two muscle groups together it enables you to train that muscle group to a higher, intense level.  Super setting is also beneficial for people who want to work on fitness, cardiovascular and muscle endurance.

Example muscles opposing:
Chest S/S Back
D/B Chest press S/S Lat pull down

Same muscle group:
B/B Squats S/S D/B Walking Lunges

Tri-sets

Similar to supersets but with the added exercise. Trisets have similar benefits. They save time in training, add intensity. They can be done with the same muscle group or opposing. Opposing would almost make it a circuit format so it would be great for those looking to improve fitness. There are various benefits for tri sets but ultimately it’s great to help you push your muscles past their usual fatigue point which ultimately helps for muscle growth and fat loss. It’s easy to think that after 12 reps of squats you have pushed your muscles as far as you could. In a way you are tricking your muscles past the usual failure point by changing the load through different exercises but to the same muscle group. Naturally, it is very hard work but surprisingly you can push your muscles to a high level such as this.

Example of same muscle group:
B/B Squats- D/B walking Lunges- Leg extension

Opposing:
D/b Squats – press ups – Lat pull down

 

pictureGiant sets

Giant sets are 4 or more exercises performed in rotation with little rest as possible. Ultimate intensity! Great for those targeting one muscle group. For example, your back. If you are training your back, 4 various back exercises is going to be the ultimate fatiguer! Giant sets incorporate a greater amount of work in a smaller time frame. Giant sets target a muscle group from all angles hitting deep muscle fibres which help stimulate muscle growth and give you that intensity boost you need to get out of the plateau.

Example: Back
B/B Row – Lat pull down- Vertical row – V grip lat pull down

Drop sets

From 3-4 sets of one exercise performed without a rest and weight dropped to make it lighter per set.
Drop sets are great for fatiguing the muscles in a short time. They are great as finishers to give the muscle the final push when you think you can’t get any more out of them. They shouldn’t be used in every exercise in the programme as you will fatigue too quickly and not be able to perform the rest of your workout. I recommend using drop sets to one, two exercises maximum on isolated exercises, e.g. cable tricep extension, bicep curls, leg extension. Put them in at the end of the workout or on the last exercise of the given muscle group.

Example:
Leg extension, 10 reps x3 drops no rest  x 3 sets

Circuits

As spoken above, very similar to supersets and tri sets. They are a series of exercises, usually 6, but you complete without any rest until the end of the first set. They are usually full body work outs, where as tri and giant sets are can be used to be more focused on one body part particular. Circuits are great for short blasts of exercise. They save time on training and great for hitting on the cardiovascular fitness and keep training exciting.

blog 4Sets and Reps 

Consider changing your rep range around. Have you always gone heavy weight low reps, such as 8-10? Or have you always gone for a middle rep range such as 10 – 12? To really spice it up, how about going 15-30 reps? This is a great way to shock the body and hit the cardiovascular if you are used to lifting heavy. Great for getting out of plateaus.
But who says you have to stop there for varied rep ranges? How about changing the reps per set? Such as pyramid training? Something I find that works well within my training is starting out on 8-10, 10,12  then high rep 12-15 how many sets do you do per exercise? You could try adding more volume to a particular muscle group. For example, why not try 4 sets instead of 3? If there is a particular area you are trying to improve on you could add an extra set or bring more sets into that muscle group later on in the training programme. Split Training will also determine how many sets you will do per muscle group.

Time under tension

Time under tension is important for muscle growth and ultimately for fat loss goals. It’s easy to lift the weight quickly and neglect how long the muscle is under tension for and how hard it’s being pushed. Many people focus on sets and reps and don’t consider tempo of an exercise. Changing the tempo can make the same exercise you normally do feel more difficult than usual various tempos can be added on the contraction of muscle and on the descending motion of exercise which is usually what gets neglected. An example of this would be leg press. On the way down, changing the tempo from a usual fast 1, (1 being second) change it to a 4. Instantly the normal easy part of the leg press becomes a challenge in itself.

What is split training?

A full body workout means you are exercising your entire body with all the muscles being stimulated in one workout. You would target most muscles groups from compound, i.e. from squats and lunges, chest pressing to smaller groups like bicep and triceps. Split training; separate the workout into muscle groups or movement patterns on different days. So for example, if you were to do a 2 way split, you could do, chest shoulder and back, then legs bicep and tricep on another day.
One way splits, aka, full body workouts are great for an overall workout, great fat burners as you hit most muscle groups with compound exercises. They tend to be very cardiovascular programmes with the high demand on muscle use. Unfortunately it is easy to over train on a one way split because of the high demand on muscles daily. Training legs 4 times a week may make you naturally prone to tiredness if you are not resting and recovering enough in between. They are beneficial for those looking to improve on health, fitness, general fat loss, enjoy high metabolic intense workouts and also great for beginners.
When you are on a split, you may only go in to train one muscle group, e.g. a five way split, which allows your body at least 4 days before you train legs!
Split training is ultimately great for those looking for a higher level of body composition. It’s a great way to develop your training to the next level.
If you plan to lift heavy, split training makes lifting heavy more manageable. If you are only focusing on a couple of muscle groups you won’t be too fatigued from previous exercises, therefore you will perform better, split training requires a level of commitment because if you miss a workout, you potentially miss a whole muscle group or more.

Examples of a few splits

2 way split:
Chest shoulder back,
Legs bicep and tricep

3 way split:
back and bicep
Chest and tricep
Legs and shoulders

5 way split:
Quads,
Chest and bicep,
Back and tricep
Hamstrings and glutes
Shoulders and calves

If you need help developing your training programme, contact on 07850968187 

Have you cut the carbs?

Something I come across a lot as a trainer is people being afraid of certain foods because it will make them ‘fat’. This is usually because of a previous experience of dieting. An example of this would be going low calorie and having to cut down on fat, low carbs diets where carbs are dismissed at night and only low GI carbs should be eaten not high starchy ones such as potato.

Many diets have flaws for various reasons, such as being unsustainable for a long period of time, therefore the fat loss only lasts as long as the diet. Unfortunately, not all of them teach people to have a good relationship with food, especially the foods they are cutting out on that particular diet. They create an image of these foods being ‘bad’ or ‘sin’ foods and dieters have this bad association about the food groups. Many people never reintroduce these foods after the diets either because of this.

An example, would be fat, many people when they give up on diets, or yoyo diet, never really introduce fat back properly into their diet as they should do and consciously still check the fat content in many food products because fat is ‘bad’.

 

sweet potatoWhen I train my clients in a healthier and sustainable approach to their fat loss, it goes a lot against what they have previously been ‘taught’. I tell them to eat fat, eat protein, eat carbs don’t go too low on calories and even better eat some sugary food after you have trained. Many cannot get their head around it, even after fully explaining the reasoning and science behind it because some of these food groups have been labelled badly for so long in their head.

Carbohydrates have been known to be given a hard time as people associate it with weight gain and cutting carbs has been shown to dramatically drop fat. It’s understandable for that reason alone why some people fear of eating carbs. Carbs are an important part of training and achieving body composition. It’s just making sure when, where, how much carbs and types of carbs you are having. If you introduce carbs into your diet you will find your energy levels and mood sustains better and so does your training performance. Here are a few common questions I come across when people are unsure about carbs in their diet. Hopefully this will help you relax a bit about eating that bit of potato tonight 🙂

 

 

banner of potat

 

 

So what’s the deal? Can I have carbs?

Yes you can have carbohydrates. The key thing is timing when it comes to eating certain foods, such as carbohydrates. For example, having a high carbohydrate meal first thing in the morning isn’t the best way to start the day for fat loss. You want foods that are going to fire up the metabolism and regulate blood sugars well. That’s why many including myself suggest eating protein. Eating carbohydrates in the morning on an empty stomach is going to spike blood sugars too high and quickly and require insulin to bring it down. (Insulin aka fat storage hormone to keep it simple).

 

Ok, so it’s the timing of the carbs. When is the best time to have them?

 Naturally, how much carbs, where and when will vary person to person. From what your goals are, female, male, current weight and how much you want to lose, or even if you are trying to put muscle on. As a general guide for someone looking to strip some fat and are exercising, I would suggest for you to focus on your carbs before and after you train. You wouldn’t want anything to heavy before you train, something that is easy to digest and isn’t going to sit heavy in your stomach whilst training. So, things like apples, bananas, oats, protein shakes are good pre-workout foods to provide some energy whilst you train.

Post training is great for carbohydrates. After you train you become more insulin sensitive. Basically, less insulin is required to bring blood sugars down if you eat something sugary. This is because after you have trained your muscles are fatigued and the food you eat is going straight to the muscles for repair and recovery, not to be stored as fat. Therefore, if you wanted to cheat and have a muffin that is the best time to do it, surprisingly to many. For optimum results I wouldn’t suggest using this as an excuse to have a blow out, but this is a great opportunity to enjoy eating your carbs and sugars. So, good foods again, protein shakes, oats, rice cakes, jam, honey, bananas and fruits.

 

rice bowl After you have trained your body is still in recovery mode. Therefore I would recommend having carbohydrates before bed with your tea. This is going to help with your body repairing and recovering through the night, as it doesn’t just stop after you train! Fat loss happens whilst you are sleeping! Carbohydrates at night are known to help relax you and promote a better sleep because they help to increase the availability of the hormones melatonin and serotonin. These two guys help you feel sleepier and relaxed. It’s important to have good sleep to aid your fat loss, energy and good mood!

Some diets suggest cutting carbohydrates after a certain point in the day because it will be ‘stored as fat’ at night because the metabolism slows down so the carbohydrates have a greater chance as being stored as fat and also insulin sensitivity drops at night, meaning its more likely to shift towards fat than muscle. Many studies show that exercise increases metabolic rate significantly leading to greater fat oxidation during sleep.

 

What type of carbohydrates can I have?

Stick to carbohydrates that are easy to digest such as potato, sweet potato, rice, fruit etc. and unlikely to cause bloating or discomfort such as refined carbs such as bread, and pasta. Refined carbs are usually high in wheat or are extensively processed which won’t aid with fat loss.

Overall the key tip with carbs is timing, sizing and the type of carbs you choose. Carbs have their role in aiding your goals so they should not be dismissed.

 

If you would any nutrition advice, contact on 07850968187 or ‘like’ me on Facebook for more food plans and ideas

Facebook page: Abi-Personal Trainer

 

 

For more information on the study on the sleep increasing the metabolism in active people see this article:

http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/carbs-at-night-fat-loss-killer-or-imaginary-boogeyman.html

My Journey- Train together, gain together

I’ve recently adopted a training partner, my partner in crime! In the past I’ve always been adamant I like to train on my own, that people slow me down. I love putting my ear phones in, just completely focusing on my own training and not my surroundings.lat pull down  My views on this are now swayed between the two. Which to me, is a positive thing. I still really enjoy training on my own and love how you really zone into your workout. But I also now really enjoy training with others. It’s important to have the right training partner though, as I previously used to think, some people will and do slow you down. You see it a lot in gyms where the gym workout becomes more of a social gathering than an actual training session. If you have someone focused and as driven as you, then it’s very beneficial.

It’s been great for those times where you have been feeling not 100% on form. Just to deload before you train and to have someone pick up and re-motivate you. It also helps massively for me on the days where I’m training heavy and need a spot. There’s nothing more frustrating when you are training and you are hitting your last rep and if only somewhere was there just to tap the weight up that tiny amount! I have been able to improve on strength for those moments when I’ve needed a spot.

It is great too when you find someone actually move insane than you to train with. It gives you a whole new perspective on how hard you actually have been training. With their insights on different ways to train it’s actually very educational too. I try to get the balance between the two now. Sometimes I train alone, sometimes I don’t. I split it between the week and the days where I need an extra push and drive, such as quad day, I make sure my training partner is there!

Bad ‘Health’ foods

It can be a tough time trying to eat healthily. We can be easily deceived through marketing and advertising the so called ‘benefits’ of buying and eating these ‘health’ foods.

Here are some common mistaken health foods people tend to consume when trying to eat a healthier diet.

‘Low fat’ ‘ Fat free’ products


Saturated fat has been given a hard time for quite some time. A  study by Ancel Keys claimed with no definitive proof that saturated fat was the main cause of coronary heart disease, which now through many studies and testing has been debunked. It was then recommended that the public to eat a low saturated fat diet and to opt for fat free or low fat products instead. The problem with this was that:  

fatsugar1. the food tasted horrible when fat was removed 

2. people didn’t feel full or satisfied and it lead to cravings and eating more

3.  sugar was usually added in as a replacement to fat.

Saturated fat is an essential part to health, it aids absorption of nutrients such as A D E K, whereas added sugar in large amounts is harmful to health and does not sustain or aid fat loss.

 Fruit juices

 

Many of us are lead to believe that fruit juices are a great way to stay healthy. fruit juiceMany even invest in a juicer to make their own juices. It’s got to be healthy because it’s from fruit right? Kris Gunnars (2015) article explains why it is not. 

When fruit is juiced, it extracts an important part of the fruit. The fibre. Fibre has many roles, including digestion. If you extract the fibre from the fruit you are just left with the sugar. Have you ever noticed its easy to drink a large glass of orange juice, but eating more than a couple of oranges is quite filling? It would be hard to eat as many oranges if you equated it to the amount you drank in juice form.

By making it liquid sugar the body digests its differently. It delivers it a lot quicker which overloads the liver which ultimately forces it to turn in fat. This means that fruit juices are not great for people who are trying to lose weight. Excess fructose consumption can cause many long term health problems such as, insulin resistance, obesity, type 2 diabetes, Lustig and many other scientists believe that excess fructose consumption is may be a key driver of many and most serious diseases of today. 

Margarine

 

 margAs previously spoken above about how saturated fats was recommended to be eaten sparingly or even replaced to low fat or fat free products, naturally butter was demonised because of its high fat content. As an alternative, margarine was invented. Back in the day margarine used to be extremely high in trans fats which is harmful to our health but as time has gone on there is generally less trans fats but usually high in refined vegetable oils. Ultimately, margarine is not food. It’s an assembly of chemicals and refined oils made to taste and look like butter. There has been many studies on people who replaced butter for margarine and to no surprise the risk of heart disease was increased. By far was the worst nutrition advice in history.

 Agave nectar

 

syrupAgave nectar (also known as agave syrup) is a popular ‘natural’ sweetener alternative.  You can find it in all sorts of ‘health foods’ and there are many types of sweeteners as an alternative to sugar. Some people put sweeteners in their teas and coffees as an act of good health.

Unknowingly to the public who are lead to believe through marketing and advertisement that these alternatives are ok, they are actually very, very bad!

The problem with sugar is the fructose. Fructose in large amounts and consistency digested, overloads the liver which not only causes weight gain long term, but can cause severe metabolic problems when consumed in excess. Sugar is about 50% fructose and high fructose corn syrup about 55% agave contains up to 70-90%!

 Vegetable oils

oilThere are many seed and vegetable oils we are advised to bring into our diet because they are classed as healthy because its been shown to lower blood cholesterol level, at least in the short term. Some example are, soybean, sunflower oil, safflower oil and canola. 

Many studies have shown that these unstable oils can cause serious harm. According to Gunnars (2013) article, these oils contain a very large amount of biologically active fats called omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are harmful in excess. This excludes good oils such as coconut oil and olive oil. Several controlled trials show that despite lowering cholesterol these oils can increase the risk of death from both heart diesease and cancer. Vegetable oils are loaded with trans fat. These types of fats are highly toxic and are associated with an increased risk of various diseases such as diabetes obesity, heart disease and cancer. 

 Breakfast cereals


cerealCereals.  Start the day on sugar! Cereal can be very misleading with the health claims they put on the packaging.
Many claim to to be whole grain low fat or with added vitamins and minerals! Most cereals tend to contain refined grains, sugar and artificial chemicals. It’s not a sustainable breakfast which most of the time leaves you feeling hungry soon after. This is because of the big sugar spike and insulin having to regulate the blood sugar levels. It’s questionable as to how much nutritional value it actually has the time it ends up on the shelf in the supermarket after the many processes it has to go through to make it shelf worthy and ‘tasty’.   

 

If you would like to find out more about how you can eat healthy, contact on 07850968187

 

 

 

For more details see these articles here:

 

Gunnars, Kris (2015) http://authoritynutrition.com/fruit-juice-is-just-as-bad-as-soda/
Gunnars, Kris (2013) http://authoritynutrition.com/6-reasons-why-vegetable-oils-are-toxic/
Gunnars, Kris (2014) http://authoritynutrition.com/15-health-foods-that-are-really-junk-foods/

My Journey- Mixin’ Monday up!

Monday comes around pretty quickly, even more so when its quad day. I spent a lot of time at the computer that day so I felt a bit mentally tired but at the same time itching to move about. I was not built to sit down for long periods of time!quads
The gym was empty and I had two choices. Focus on how I didn’t feel quite up for the physical battering, or crack on and make it a workout to remember! Naturally, I chose the second option. I find in these times when you need a motivation kick, it helps to change the format of your training, reinvent! It makes it exciting and new! So that’s what I did. My programme consisted of barbell squats of 10-12 reps into light high rep work on hack squat with a finisher on sissy squats.. if my quads could handle it! 4 sets of this and I was about cooked. A couple of sets of walking lunges and leg extension and my legs were feeling the shakes. All it took was just a bit of loud music, a shake up in training and the performance was top! Sometimes you just need to get through the first ten minutes and the rest just falls into place.

My legs 2 days on, are pretty sore. The stairs are once again my enemy, this seems to be a weekly battle! Some people may think its crazy, but the truth is I won’t progress if I’m in my comfort zone. My body is used to regular exercise and hard work outs as I have been training for over 10 years, so it’s important to keep the intensity! It’s a satisfying feeling when you have completed such an intense workout. Monday night training is challenging and also exciting! it’s a great way to start the week right for a productive training week. 

If you would like to learn new ways to train, contact on 07850968187