Mind DOES Matter

For most of the past 12 months we have been enduring various levels of ‘imprisonment’. If not total Lockdown, then an assortment of restrictions and limitations to the normal enjoyment of our lives

Many have found this state of affairs stressful and pressurising to say the
least.

The good news is that many people have been turning to exercise to help them cope with the stresses and mental strains that every day life piles upon us. And there is evidence that it works. Take a look at this article from the American Psychological Assoc written in March this year.

About Stress

When our balance is upset in some way, our body creates a stress response as a defence, which can make us behave differently (Sound familiar?).

Symptoms of stress can include sleeping problems, inability to concentrate and fatigue (feel sometimes like your dumbbells are heavier than usual?)
Stress also can increase the level of the hormone Cortisol in the body, which can lead to fat deposits building up around the midriff (annoying!).

Surprise surprise – exercise can be very effective in relieving stress.
Research has found that highly active individuals tend to have lower stress rates compared to individuals who are less active.

Here’s a helpful publication about Stress and steps on how to reduce it from The Mental Health Foundation.

Look after YOU, inside and out in 2021

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Be alternative

We all come across aches and pains in life, and sometimes are unfortunate to get a sprain or minor injury just from everyday activity.

Depending on what the injury is, and as long as you have had to ‘OK – go!’ from a medical professional (if necessary), you DON’T have to throw your fitness regime out the window!!

If you find you can’t perform a particular movement, don’t
despair and just “sit it out”.

I have said it time and time again – but there is ALWAYS an adaptation that can be prescribed to achieve the same(or similar) effect. OR a complete alternative to keep you working without aggravating that area. That’s just one benefit of personal supervision over a group fitness class or pre-recorded online video.

For example – knee injury and squats are out of the picture? To still work the Quads, hamstrings, glutes and hips we can sit to stand, perform seated leg raises, use resistance bands or leg weights to work the muscles and tendons without strain on the knee joint.

There is no excuse to sit still, and infact- recovery from injury or aches can be quicker if you continue to work your body in the right way.

See you soon

B

Flip The Script

So as the Second Lockdown is announced, I decided to try to take a positive spin on it. (Don’t get me wrong, I have exhausted my 4-letter words and had a couple more glasses of wine than normal too…) .

In my current reading, I have come across the not-so-radical idea of trying to seek a positive out of a negative. And here I am trying to impart the same idea to you.

So – 4 weeks. We could focus on all the things we’re not allowed to do, or we could use this as an opportunity for a short-term focus.

4 weeks to fat loss:

Reducing your kcal intake by 3500kcal a week (that’s burning off (or eating less) 500kcal a day) can lose 1-2lbs a week. Speak with me for specific guidance.

4 weeks to perfect press ups

Review with me to check form, then we aim for your goal – 10? 20? 60 in a minute? A little work every day for the next 4 weeks could get you there (and get some great core and upper body strength in the process).

4 weeks to a 4 minute plank

Again, check form with me to make sure you get the most out of your plank and don’t do any damage, then you’re away! Try adding 10 seconds to your current time every day or every other day..and 4 mins is in sight!

4 weeks to get 20 burpees in a minute!

Average just under 3 secs per burpee…it all starts with one!

My point is, you can make this period work FOR you and use it to focus, rather than lament what we are missing out on.

We can’t control the situation but we CAN control how we react to it.

Muscle Mass – not all weight gain is bad!

I was directed to this article this week:

https://www.msn.com/en-gb/health/fitness/is-muscle-mass-the-key-to-your-health-and-fitness-goals/ar-BBZI3Oj?ocid=spartandhp

and it simply explains the importance of building muscle and the benefits of it to many aspects of our health and well being – not just the aesthetics!

So often I am asked ‘how can i lose this bit of belly fat?’ or ‘how can I lose the fat on my arms/inner thighs/waist?’ and the answer, along side healthy diet, is WEIGHT TRAINING! 

When you undertake an exercise programme which involves using weights and body weight, you will more than likely gain some weight. This is OK! Muscle mass is LEAN weight and makes up a significant proportion of our body’s over all weight. Muscle requires energy to fuel it and maintain (most efficiently calories from a healthy diet, not chocolate bars and wine!), therefore, muscle BURNS calories that you consume. Building muscle protects the skeleton, stabilises joints and takes pressure off knees, hips and ankles. Building muscle creates lean definition, thus making the body appear more toned and ‘tight’.

One of the best ways to workout your body fat to muscle ratio is to use a Bioelectrical Impedance Scale (I have one, give me a shout!) which breaks your body weight down into muscle, bone, water and fat. This can be really encouraging especially if you feel you aren’t making the progress you want.

Eat healthily, with a sustainable and varied diet. Keep an eye on portion sizes and reduce the amount of refined sugars and unpronounceables (artifical sweeteners, preservatives and chemical additives). Drink plenty of water and avoid eating late. and..

PICK UP THOSE WEIGHTS!

NEW YEAR – LET’S DO THIS!

So: most of us are feeling a little squishier, a bit guilty and in need of getting ‘back on the wagon‘ and feeling fit again. (If this isn’t you….what’s your secret?!:p)
That’s OK! Don’t feel bad for enjoying yourself! Of course, there are ways of being a little bit more virtuous when socialising (as mentioned in previous email!) But, what’s done is done and let’s LOOK FORWARD.
Fact: Resolutions made on Jan 1st are 40% more likely to be kept than ones made at any other time of the year
So, what changes would you like to make for this coming year? Continue as you have been, working towards your goals in a manageable, sustainable wayDo you need to ‘up your game’ and have a little word with yourselfOR do you need to be a little LESS hard on yourself and celebrate your successes more?
Whatever you want to do, make the goals SMART:
SPECIFIC (what is the goal, what does it look like?)
MEASURABLE (is it in weight, amount, size, shape, ? Eg 10 pull ups!)
ACHIEVABLE (There is no point in choosing something so far out of reach you will always be disappointed!)
REALISTIC (as above! Make sure you have chosen something you know is possible, even if it’s a challenge)
TIME BOUND (set a time period to achieve this in, to keep focus and limit how overwhelming the task might seem!)
Loosely set goals like ‘eat better, move more’ aren’t going to be as successfully met as ‘stop mid week drinking’ or ‘ exercise every Friday’ …!
Let’s make 2020 GREAT
 
HAPPY NEW YEAR

THREE THINGS YOU NEED TO DO TO CHANGE YOUR BODY COMPOSITION. PT 3

Eat correctly
  • Yep  the old adage “you can’t out-train a bad diet” is spot on.
  • I never recommend ;dieting’ per-se, healthy habits are for life, not for a short amount of time. Quick-fixes are just that – quick and short term. I promote long-term lifestyle changes which will be sustainable, non restrictive, and ensure maintaining progress for life.
  • General rules apply – avoid processed sugars and carbohydrates as much as possible (white bread, white pasta, sweets, chocolate, foods and drinks with added sugars and ALCOHOL). Eat wholegrain and protein with every meal (eggs, wholemeal bread, brown rice, fish, white meats, soy and vegetarian alternatives), drink plenty of water throughout the day (carry a bottle everywhere) and don’t have a heavy meal late in the evening, it’s not needed!
  • Additionally – eating TOO LITTLE can mean you aren’t going to be fuelling the new muscle you are building, you don’t have enough energy and you feel generally rubbish! It’s a learning process, but I can help if you seek specific weight management help when it comes to food.

THE THREE THINGS YOU NEED TO DO TO CHANGE YOU BODY COMPOSITION. PT 2

Rest when needed
  • Stress hormone Cortisol can actually make your body hold on to fat, particularly around the waist.
  • It’s hard with jobs, families and social commitments to ensure you rest enough. This doesn’t mean a take away and a bottle of wine in front of the telly, this means allowing yourself a day when you are not going 100 miles an hour – take a gentle walk in the fresh air, do some stretches, read a  book, go to bed earlier and lay off the caffeine and alcohol.
  • As much as you need to exercise, you need to rest to avoid the symptoms of ‘over training’ such as fatigue, plateaus in progress, injuries and losing motivation.

PART 3 ON IT’S WAY…

THE THREE THINGS YOU NEED TO DO TO CHANGE YOU BODY COMPOSITION. PT 1

1: Strength Train
  • Training with me, we will use weights.
  • Building your muscle WILL NOT MAKE YOU BULKY (GIRLS!) It will increase the lean muscle mass in your body, meaning your body burns calories more effectively due to needing to fuel these muscles. Building lean muscle improves your aesthetic – definition, shape, less ‘wobble’! It also means support for joints and improved posture. Guys – you have testosterone – which is why guys and girls can lift the same weights and guys will ‘bulk up’ (in general) and women will not achieve the same shape.
  • Aim to lift weights, or use resistance bands, 3-4 times per week, covering each muscle group and not just doing what you like! 3-4 Sets of 8-10 repetitions is a good area to aim for, you should just about to be able to complete the last couple of reps whilst still keeping good form (this gives you an idea of the kind of resistance you should be using).

PART 2 COMING SOON…

SEIZE THE DAY!

Today I’m just asking a simple question :
What are you doing today?
As in.. What exercise activity are you undertaking?
Every day, there is AT LEAST 15 minutes  which you can use to make a deposit into your ‘fitness bank’.
  • Will you do a fast and furious HIIT session?
  • Go for a run?
  • Have a brisk walk?
  • Pop to the gym?
  • Drop into the swimming pool?
  • Pump some iron in a home-strength workout?
  • Get down to the yoga or pilates studio?
  • Or maybe… You’re seeing me?!
If you’re at work today, pick before, during (lunch break) , or after work to do SOMETHING beneficial to your health and fitness... And stick to it.
It’s not a luxury or an option to be overridden: your health and fitness is your priority, after all, you only get one body 💪👍

‘weight’ loss

Today I wanted to say a little bit about weight, losing it, maintaining it and what IT is!
When we fitness folk hear the phrase ‘i want to lose weight’, we probably get REALLY annoying by asking what this means. Our body’s weight is made up of
Water
Muscle
Fat (Subcutaneous and Visceral)
Bone
Hair
Skin
So when you say you want to lose weight…we need to define this as ‘losing body fat’ or more specifically: ‘reducing body fat percentage’.
I offer for you to hop on the BEI (Bio-Electrical Impedance) scales to see just what your body is made up of, in what proportions, and where this sits in the healthy to unhealthy range for each element. Now, DISCLAIMER: none of these portable scales is going to be as accurate as a DEXXA scan at a hospital or specialist centre, however they are pretty accurate and great to track trends and progress over the weeks. 
A little about fat vs muscle
If you come to me with 30% body fat and 2.5kg of muscle on your body, and tell me you wish to lose weight, we are going to be focusing on reducing that body fat percentage, and aiming to maintain or possibly slightly increase your muscle mass (depending on your needs)
If you lose 1kg body fat, and gain 0.5kg muscle mass, then the general ‘weight’ on the scales won’t look like it’s changed much. BUT your body INSIDE will have. You will have shed some useless, unhealthy fat, and gained lean muscle. More muscle doesn’t mean bulky – it means more calorie burning to maintain the muscle, it means support for the skeleton, it means more strength, balance and resilience.
Eg. pics  taken from the internet :
image.png
Both these women are the SAME WEIGHT. However, one clearly has a higher body fat percentage than the other, less muscle tone, and that is only what you can see on the outside. An unhealthy lifestyle can also impact on fat around your organs (visceral fat) which we DON’T want!
So, when you say you ‘want to lose weight’, my aim is to lose some of the ‘unhealthy; weight, the body fat, and build lean muscle which may not have a massive impact on your ‘weight’ but will show a change to your BODY COMPOSITION.
 
AND, of course,  none of which can be fully achieved without regular exercise AND a healthy diet 😉