Abi’s best of booty tips

In dramatic weight loss it can often leave areas in physique needing extra work! My booty last year needed some Booty Liftin after shredding a fair bit of weight. These are the main exercises that have helped me, along with the extra focus on glute squeezes. My booty has certia ly been through a wicked transformation so I hope these help you too!

For more Nutrition + training tips, find my on Facebook: Facebook page – Abi-Personal Training Instagram Abi_pt and Youtube: Abi Harvey 

 

All about the abs

Some of the most common questions I am asked by my clients and many others outside of work are:

·         ‘How do I get rid of my belly fat?’

·         ‘What exercises should I be doing to lose it around my waist?’

 Whether it’s just a flatter belly or six pack I think we all to some extent, crave to achieve some sort of belly fat reduction and improvement.

It can be quite misleading about how to actually achieve better abs when there are many products out there marketed to promise you a flat tummy or a 6 pack. They specifically say they work on the abs by ‘stimulating’ your abs therefore burning belly fat.  If it’s not exercises or devices marketed directly at you, it will be supplements promising to drop belly fat in short periods of time. Unfortunately that’s not how it works. It can be confusing to know where to start and what actually works. 

What are abs?

Abs are your abdominal muscles that stabilise your core. A great example of this is standing on one foot. Trying to maintain good balance and stabilisation is harder with a weaker core. Notice how your belly kicks in and tenses when you sway from side to side when you are trying to keep balance?  A strong core is what stops you falling over and stabilising yourself

They also assist in breathing, allowing movement, protecting your internal organs, postural support and balance.

ab-2

 There are four main abdominal muscles:

·         Rectus abdominis

·         Transverse abdominis

·         External oblique

·         Internal oblique

 Strong abdominals can improve posture and flexibility.

Types of abdominal fat

Having excess abdominal fat is associated with many health problems such as insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes and heart disease.  Abdominal obesity is also one of the main causes of metabolic syndrome.

There are two types of fat when it comes to the abdominal – Subcutaneous and Visceral fat.

Subcutaneous fat

This is the fat you can pinch, more like ‘outer surface’ fat. When we exercising that’s the area we notice and want to burn. It’s underneath the skin between the skin and muscles

Visceral fat 

This ‘inner’ fat is located in the abdominal cavity around your internal organs which is linked to metabolic syndrome and health conditions such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Visceral fat is hormonally active and releases compounds that influence several disease related processes in the human body.

 sit-upsit-up-2Exercise and abs

In the gym, it’s common to think that exercising a certain area will reduce the fat on that worked area. Also known as ‘spot reduction’ although the muscles do grow and strengthen in the trained area, studies show that spot reduction on the abdominal area won’t help you get rid of belly fat. Exercising your abdominal muscles will help to strengthen them but twisting, crunching, sit ups, planks and side bending will not make your abdominal muscle visible if they are covered by a thick layer of subcutaneous fat. So to define your abs you need to burn the subcutaneous fat.

 How to burn belly fat

One reason why targeted fat loss doesn’t work is because muscle cells can’t use the fat contained in fat cells directly. Fat mass needs to be broken down before it can enter the bloodstream. This fat can come from anywhere in the body, not just where you are exercising. 

squatThe best exercises you can do are big compound movements, or whole body exercises that will speed up your metabolism and burn calories. Exercises that are high intensity and are high demand on the muscles. The core is a stabilising muscle, and is constantly worked when training with weights, which is another reason why exercises such as squats, lunges and dead lifts are great for belly fat burning. The core works very hard to stabilise the exercise, in conjunction with the high intensity of the exercise, it’s the best fat burner! Aerobic exercise may also be effective to targeting visceral fat, but combining resistance training and aerobic exercise has been shown to be more effective for fat loss than aerobic alone. 

Intensity is key for belly fat loss in resistance or cardio training followed by regularity to see results. There are many ways to train at an intense level to reduce belly fat, such as training to failure, lifting heavy, interval training such as High Intensity Intermittent Training exercises (HIIT), which can be done aerobically e.g. cardio sprints, or lifting weights on intervals etc. HIIT is where you combine short bursts of high intensity followed by less intense rest periods. Or even combine the two together, e.g. lifting weights followed by skipping with a rope.

 

foodOther factors

As we know, nutrition plays a huge role in any body composition changes, and plays an essential part for creating lean abs. For leaner abs start off by reducing processed foods or foods packed with sugar and are likely to bloat or cause inflammation. It is common to find diets high in wheat and gluten cause some people to bloat out around the mid area, just by reducing these foods this instantly reduces the waist line.  Other factors such as stress and sleep and good gut health are to be taken into consideration for improving body composition, even more so if your primary focus is lean abs! When the body gets stressed, cortisol (the stress hormone) plays a role. Too much cortisol released regularly causes the body to store fat around the mid area. So this is why for lean abs, it’s important to sleep like a baby and keep stress levels low!

  

To summarise, if you are looking to lose belly fat, get a six pack or just trim around the waist a bit, exercising abs alone is not the answer! Use a combination of aerobic and intense resistance training (i.e. lift weights) followed by looking at your nutrition, sleep and stress levels.  Aim to speed up the metabolism to burn overall fat rather than focusing on training specific areas.

 

Struggling to burn the belly fat? Book in today for a complimentary consultation 0n 07850968187 for more training tips and guidance.

 

 

https://authoritynutrition.com/do-ab-exercises-burn-belly-fat/

 

Push through the pain

Something I come across regularly working in the fitness industry, is people training in their comfort zone. As soon as the training gets a little bit uncomfortable, the reps end and the person chooses to rest. When your body sends messages that you want to quit, how do you respond? Do you push harder and push through the pain, or do you quit because it’s getting a bit too much?

Training on an intense level is vital to see progression in any body composition goals. Great results are not made in the comfort zone. Most of the time, it isn’t your body that gives up first, it’s your mind. So if you can work on building a strong mind to push through pain barriers, the achievements you make will be great!
The body has the ability to withstand loads of hurt and extreme levels of fatigue. The problem is, many gym goers fear the pain – who likes to be in pain?

Hopefully by the time you have read this blog you will have a greater understanding of the effects of training at an intense level and the results that are possible so you will be so much better for it.

 tufGood pain?!

There is good pain and bad pain. Make sure you can differentiate the two. High pain tolerance training does not mean working through an injury, it’s about working through the physical discomfort and stress of the challenging workout – the muscular burn you usually feel.

The key tip to successfully training of an intense level and getting out of the comfort zone is working until your muscles can’t physically finish the rep, not the mind! Use the reps as a guide rather the end and be all. I have seen it a few times when training my clients. If I put the rep range at 10-12, they stop at 12 because that’s what it says on their training programme, not because their muscles are done at 10-12 reps. Use it as a guide and listen to your body, something I can’t stress enough to my clients in training.

When your training and your legs are burning and your mind keeps shouting, “No more, I’m done!” that’s when you have to use your strong mind to push through because that is when great things start to happen. You then reap the benefits from the workout.

Why should I work out at such an intense level?

When you workout this intensely, your body undergoes an important neuroendocrine adaptation or hormonal change. It releases human growth hormone, testosterone and other fat burning, muscle building hormones to enhance your body composition. If you have been training long term too, the level of intensity has to be greater than what it used to be! You are fitter and stronger than when you first started training, so what once seemed like a challenging workout, which may still slightly get you out of breath, is no challenge on the muscles any more. Your body builds up a lactic acid tolerance with repeated exposure, so overtime naturally, you have to step up the intensity and keep your body guessing.

angry-gymGet angry!

Believe it or not, getting angry can help with you pushing through the pain!
Now that doesn’t mean going in the gym, causing some chaos with the other members and throwing the weights around! But when you can’t quite get those last few reps, fight it! Get angry and smash them out! We obviously don’t want to be in a uncontrolled or chemically enhanced state of anger for many reasons, but try getting angry at the reps and the muscles you are using! Maybe you have had a bad day so push it onto the training. Don’t accept a half cut workout. If your mind becomes weak when the pain kicks in, throw some anger back at it!

With practice and time, you will get mentally stronger to push through the pain and your tolerance for it will grow. The results will then follow, which will drive you to push harder in your training session because you are seeing the benefits of it.

When you have trained to this intensity a few times (and survived) you will realise you are capable to ‘train insane’. Each intense training session will set the bar for your next workout, and help you gauge the level of intensity you should be training at.

toughYou will know when you have reached that point in your training session when you are pushing past your comfort zone, because the only thing on your mind will be the pain and discomfort of the exercise. Not what you need to buy from the supermarket tomorrow, or what you are going to cook for tea tonight.

When you are training, it can help to visualise the last time you did that exercise and how uncomfortable it was. It will remind you of what your pain threshold was, and maybe, actually, the session you are doing now, is not as painful as the last one you did. This will ultimately drive you to push harder like your previous training session. So compare your pain, remind yourself how it felt last time, how it feels now, and gauge how much harder you need to push.

The only true guide we have to how hard we can push ourselves is by what we have done before and what you are willing to believe right now.

Revisiting your past training pain victories is concrete proof that you have the ability to push through your pain barrier that your mind puts up very quickly. The question is, are you going to listen to it?

Remember, it’s your mind you have to convince, not your body.

http://www.bodybuilding.com/content/3-ways-to-increase-your-pain-tolerance-in-the-gym.html

Lift those weights ladies!

Ladies! It’s time to lift those weights! here at some top reasons as to why you should be weight training 

Burn more fat and calories
Studies have shown that weight training is better at helping people burn fat, especially around the mid area compared to cardio exercise alone.
Training with weights creates a higher demand on the muscles. When you do cardio only, you burn fat when that cardio session ends, therefore the fat burning stops. When you lift weights with intensity, you’re burning fat and calories too, even after your training session has ended! The metabolism speeds up when you train with weights and when you are resting and recovering the body is repairing the muscles, strengthening them and, well, burning fat!

fat lossDrop a dress size and create a better shape
Weight training has always had a reputation of making women bulk up, which is far from true. It is quite hard for a woman to body build huge, and if choosing to do so would take a lot of discipline and graft. Women tend to burn fat, drop dress sizes and generally look healthier when they lift weights.
Cardio alone does not sculpt a woman to their true potential shape either. Many cardio trainers waste away a lot of muscle, creating a flat unhealthy look. When you train with weights you can sculpt your body! Create curves and a killer booty!

Confidence boost
Many women fear of entering the free weights section because of the overwhelming amount of testosterone pumping iron in there! From my experience training women with weights their confidence boosts massively compared to the days they would plod along on the treadmill for an hour. When you lift weights, see results and feel strong, you naturally feel more confident in what you do in the gym and eventually, you will feel like the men are in your free weights section! Little things can feel empowering from carrying the shopping or luggage, moving furniture; the little things that were once very difficult are a lot easier, you feel like a superwoman!


To eat more carbs!potato

Many women are scared to eat carbs because of the fear of gaining weight. Carbohydrates play a important role in fueling your workout and also recovering from your workout. Now that doesn’t mean a blow out, but it means a more relaxed approach to nutrition, which long term is more sustainable for long term fat loss than some low calorie deprived diet.

Strengthen bones
Women are at higher risk than men for osteoporosis. A great way to minimize that risk is by lifting weights with intensity.

New to weight training? Then contact me today to book in for your complimentary training session to kick start you on your fitness journey! 07850968187 

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 

Do you worry about your weight?

Why worry about weight? Many of us who are exercising and trying to eat healthy are focusing on weight, not overall fat loss. Really the main focus should be fat loss and body composition, not weight. If you focus on just weight loss, how do you know what you are losing? Is it fat? Muscle? What about water? For those who diet for quick fixes in weight loss it’s more than likely that what you are dropping is not fat. For example, low calorie for long periods of time puts the body into starvation mode, therefore breaks down muscle first before fat. Losing muscle will lead you into believing you have dropped fat when you look at the scales and see a kg or two has dropped. So why would people just focus on weight? Surely it’s fat we want to drop and know we are dropping that.

Depending on how you choose to achieve these goals, you should be focusing on important factors such as increasing muscle mass to assist with overall fat burning and monitoring fat loss, not focusing on a number on the scales. Many fad weight loss diets leave people looking unhealthy, tired and not good! With the deprivation of nutrient intake affecting energy levels and general functions of the body, many dieters have a drained depleted look opposed to someone who eats well and trains well for their muscles.

skin vs

I regularly remind clients that it is more of a priority to be healthy and achieve long term sustainable results and not to fixate or even obsess with what the scales say. Surely it’s better to lose fat,  increase lean muscle even if that means your weight fluctuates around a bit and to look and feel healthy! A number shouldn’t dictate how they feel about their overall current and blatantly obvious fat loss results.

Weighing alone isn’t an accurate way to monitor results. Why is this?  Here is a few pointers as to why weight changes throughout the day

Time of day. Your weight varies throughout the day because of body fluid fluctuations,  from how much water you are retaining to digestion. Naturally you will be lighter in the morning from having a night of no food and drink, to night time where we continue the day fuelling our self with liquids and food.  Daily weighing isn’t healthy or accurate to overall loss.

Women’s menstrual cycles. This affects women’s weight prior and during the menstrual cycles. Women tend to retain more water and can put up to a kg or 2 on.

Training with weights. Naturally,  as you become stronger and leaner the more dense your muscle becomes.  Some people’s weight doesn’t always change but their waistline does. Weight doesn’t reflect well on actual fat loss.

Focus on body composition not weight. Two people can weigh or even be the same sizing in clothes but look COMPLETELY different.  Focus on how much how much fat mass you are carrying to lean mass. Sometimes people’s weight don’t change, but lose inches and completely change shape and figure.

It’s not healthy for the mind. With the worry and stress of checking the scales and seeing my fluctuations of it going up and down it can mentally distressing.  Stress can affect your health physically too. It’s disheartening and with it being not the most accurate way to determine results, people can be left feeling disheartened and discouraged to continue the health and fitness plan.

You are more than a number. Why should a number should dictate your happiness?  If your weight is up but your health, fitness and shape has changed for the better, it shouldn’t matter.  How you fit in clothes and the changes to your shape should be a higher priority to the reduction in weight.

Ways to monitor progression

Take pictures of you monthly and see the difference. When you see yourself everyday it’s hard to notice the inches you are chipping away week by week.

Try clothes on whether it’s your old clothes or a tight dress you aim to get  into. See the changes from your clothes once being a bit snug to now loosely fitting.

measure

How do you feel?  Do you feel stronger in the gym? Are you able to walk up the stairs now without feeling puffed out?  Have you got more flexibility picking things up from the floor?  Have your muscles aches and pains reduced?  Are your completing day tasks with more energy? Reflect on where you started, how you felt to where you are now. 

Track and monitor with various methods. Tape measure and caliper in conjunction with weight. It makes it more in-depth with knowing what you have put on or lost. It helps give an overall picture. For example, if your calipers and tape measure to go up, and so does your weight. You know you have put on fat. Whereas if you are dropping inches with the tape and calipers but your weight has sustained or gone up, you know you haven’t put on fat. Tape measuring and calipers will help you to track and monitor your fat loss and shape change.

 If you would like your body fat % worked out, or your measurements tracked accurately, contact on 07850968187

Rest and Recovery

It’s easy to neglect the importance of rest and recovery when you are training for a goal, especially if you have a short frame of time to achieve this in, such as a holiday or a wedding. How important is rest and recovery? Rest and recovery is a major part of achieving results and mustn’t be dismissed lightly. Here’s why…

Not resting enough through sleep or allowing recovery by over training doesn’t give our bodies a chance to repair the damage from exercise.  When we train, especially with weights, our muscles fibres wear and tear. So resting and recovering allows the muscles to get stronger and our body repairs the damage done in that training session. This is essentially where your fat loss/muscle gain results are happening!

recovery

Over training will stunt progression

By training too much and not allowing enough time for the body to get stronger and energise again it will only result in fatigue, loss of strength, prolonged muscle DOMS, (delayed onset of muscle soreness) and slower immune strength making you more susceptible to catching illnesses. With exercise being a form of stress on the body, neglecting rest and recovery long term can send the hormones into imbalances. For example, it can burn out the adrenal glands from the high demand of cortisol required. This can lead to many symptoms, chronic fatigue being an example.

How to implement rest and recovery

It’s important to have quality rest. Resting, through sleep not only affects our training performance, energy levels, strength and results but it’s important for health and mood. Make sure you get at least 8 to 8.5 hours of sleep. Implement a routine that allows quality sleep, such as being in a dim room prior to sleeping, reading a book and relaxing. Try to avoid being in bright rooms or bright lights such as laptops which will imitate daylight and start to wake you up again. Long term, this can lower melatonin levels which will overall effect the quality of sleep regardless of how many hours you are getting.

Implement recovery days into training
Don’t over train! Whether you train 5 days a week or three you should at least have a day, preferably two days off. Space your training out throughout the week if possible. Try not to do other forms of exercise on recovery days as it’s still not allowing your body to completely recover. It may not seem a lot of hard work for you, going for a bike ride on your recovery day but with the everyday demands we put on our body, it will slow down recovery.

Take a week off
It’s ok to take a week off once every couple of months. All your results won’t be lost. It’s more than likely you will feel energised, enthused to exercise and for some, even stronger!

rest period

Have a rest period in your programme

Make sure you have breathers between sets. This will allow the muscle to regain a bit of strength and the fatigue aches or pain to lesson. It will maximise performance including rest periods. If you are training compound and heavy, you may find the rest will be a bit longer as the muscle will need a bit more time to recover from a high demand exercise.

Listen to your body
Are you always tired, strength depleting and not progressing, weight loss plateaued and it’s affecting daily tasks too? Sounds like you are run down! Give your body a break, take a week off and see if you feel better when you return to exercise. Look at other potential lifestyle factors that could be contributing, such as daily stressors and your food plan. Is your food plan supporting the exercise you are doing? If the problems persist then it may be worth looking into supplementation through the guidance of a trainer. Certain hormones may have imbalanced and they need a boost back up! Most importantly, listen to your body, be aware of energy and strength levels regularly. Monitor how you feel after sleeping and how you feel during training. Strong or weak?

If you would like to learn more about training, rest and recovery, contact on 07850968187