- Simply sitting down at a desk all day will tighten your hip flexors (top of the thigh) which will cause your glutes to lengthen to compensate, causing possible hip pain.
- Sitting slouched will also cause more pressure on your intervertebral discs in the lumbar spine (lower back) which can cause lower back pain and stiffness.
- Stretching specific areas for up to 60 seconds each regularly (at least every other day, or when tight) can help posture improvement, reduce muscle soreness and improve circulation and help to heal and prevent back and knee pain..
5 reasons you’re not hitting your weight loss goals
I want to begin by strongly stating that ‘weight loss’ is the term I am using to improve body composition – gaining muscle, reducing body fat. Remember that every human body needs a certain amount of body fat to function, fat has an important role to play in the functioning of the human body, and the ‘goals’ I encourage are to be healthy, fit and strong – inside and out.
1) You’re not taking notice of what you consume
A nibble here, a spoonful there, half of this and that. When we think of our day’s food and drink consumption, we regularly think only of Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner, not the milky coffee with a muffin, slice of bread and jam, or banana we had randomly. These mouthfuls all add up, and could be the reason you’re not shifting the weight.
2) Underestimating portions
So, you are keeping a track of your daily intake of food and drink, but are you weighing and measuring? Are you checking the back of packets for what a ‘portion size’ means? We can greatly underestimate our consumption by 10-50% which can have a huge effect on our weight-loss goals.
3) Not keeping a weekly calorie deficit
To lose 1lb of fat per week, we need to be in a calorie deficit of 500kcal per day (=3500 per week). This is a healthy and sustainable rate to lose body fat at. However, if you are inconsistent, then this will not be the case. For example, yo-yo-ing between very low calorie days and high calorie days, bingeing at weekends way beyond your daily calorie expenditure, not taking in to account the 1000kcal of alcohol you consumed in one night…this will all add up to a detrimental effect on your diet goals. (similarly, too large a deficit will slow the metabolism and have a detrimental effect on your goals as well as your health. Don’t be fooled into thinking ‘the less I eat the better’).
4) Not mixing up exercise routine
Do you spend hours on the treadmill? Or bike? Or ONLY do weights because you HATE cardio? Whilst the digits on the screen might say you are burning a huge number of calories, your body will be getting used to the exercise, and its weight-loss effect will become diluted. Cardio is great for heart and lung health, and does burn calories, but to get more out of your time, mix up your routines with some resistance training and HIIT. The human body burns more calories per day to maintain a lb of muscle than a lb of fat. Therefore the more muscle your build, the more calories you burn. And ladies – YOU WILL NOT GET ‘CHUNKY’! High Intensity Interval Training is a time-effective way to challenge your cardio system and boost fat burn through the EPOC (Excess Post Oxygen Consumption), or ‘after burn’ which you will benefit from long after the workout.
5) Not chilling out enough!
After all of the above, don’t forget the importance of sleep and rest. Yes, being ‘lazy’ isn’t going to help, but you will learn to listen to your body. If you have been ill or excessively busy and feel downright exhausted, don’t throw yourself into a gruelling HIIT routine. Aim for a walk, maybe some stretches. Overtraining is a real phenomenon and symptoms can be fatigue, failure to recover from workouts, and plateaus in progress. Aim for good ‘sleep hygiene’: get to bed at a decent time, avoid caffeine late and night and have less crazy nights out!
If you’re serious about hitting your goals, you will make these changes.
- Remember to check food labels for their amount of carbs, fat and protein per portion.
- Aim for no more than half of a portion to be carbs, no more than 1/3 to be fats.
- Look at food labelling and see the first 3-4 ingredients. Thy are the ingredients which are in the largest quantity in the food. If any of them is ‘sugar’ (in any form!) then this is a HIGH SUGAR product and best avoided.
- Invest in some scales and get into the habit of weighing and preparing food.
A MORE DETAILED 8 WEEK FOOD DIARY ANALYSIS AND WEIGHT MANAGEMENT PROGRAMME IS AVAILABLE – CLICK HERE TO ENQUIRE!
- It’s not SPECIFIC (how much weight? What would you like to reduce/increase in your diet? )
- Without a starting and end weight specified, how to measure it cannot be identified.
- Without knowing the goal , we cannot agree it will be a realistic goal
- AND there is no time-limit set (by End of August/ in 8 weeks)
- ‘Before’ and ‘After’ Photos
- Waist, hip, chest measurements
- Body Fat percentage measurements (calipers or Bio Electrical Impedance scales)
- Keep an item of clothing aside which you use as your benchmark (maybe a pair of jeans you would like to wear comfortably again?
- Simply noting in a diary or calendar how much easier it was to get out the bath/get up the stairs/climb the hill to the bus stop/ walk into town.
- Noting weights used/reps each week and tracking the increase
- and more!
- There will be better times in the day to exercise – pre-midday is going to be cooler, pre-9am even better. there is ALWAYS 15-30 mins somewhere in the day
- Choose the exercise appropriately – if you feel you will be unwell if you do a HIIT (high intensity interval training) kind of workout, choose resistance work (squats, press ups, tricep dips, bicep curls, core strengthening)
- If you can’t exercise, be good with your diet – avoid sugary soft drinks, ice creams, choose to have less bread and condiments if you have a BBQ (and choose lean meats such as chicken, fish, turkey….over sausages, steaks and bacon)
- Drink at least 2ltr water throughout the day. This is not only essential for your body to function, but will wake you up, stave off snacking, and stop you feeling like rubbish waking up dehydrated after a sweaty night’s sleep.
The weather is only an excuse, NOT a reason!
- Noone can make you change, unless you WANT to. And it’s not just a ‘oh wouldn’t it be nice if…’ statement, but a ‘I want to … and I will do what ever it takes’.
- The only person who it negatively impacted by you not doing your workout/not sticking to your healthy eating habits/not foregoing that pudding…is YOU. You can’t make changes for someone else’s benefit, it must be for YOU.
- Prioritise YOU – person B can WAIT while you finish your workout, it’s ONE HOUR out of your day! That pile of laundry can be done later, (or can be done by someone else?). IF people want their shirts ironed and aren’t doing anything – get them to do it! You have a workout/stretches/walk to do!
- Cravings are just that – cravings. You don’t NEED or DESERVE that chocolate/beer/slice of pizza. I DON’T promote excluding any foods from your diet, because when you deny something, it becomes even more desirable (am I right?!). You can be educated about how calories work, how many you need, and enjoy a range of foods and drinks and STILL stay on track. (If you would like detailed Nutrition guidance, please let me know)
- Instead of giving in to habit and choosing to do diddly-squat after work which benefits no-one, YOU will BENEFIT from going for a walk, doing 30 mins workout in your living room or bedroom, picking up some dumbbells and going through a routine. (not to mention how everyone else will benefit as you will be pleased, less irritable, and more relaxed!)
- Heavier pair can be used for leg work (holding whilst squatting, lunging, stepping up)
- Lighter can be used for upper body (bicep curls, tricep kickbacks/overheads, bent over rows, chest press/flyes)
- raised burpees/mountain climbers, plank jacks, squat thrusts and press ups
- Step ups and knee repeaters
- Toe Taps
- Calf-raises (single and double leg)
- Tricep dips
- Split lunges
- good for all the above, but also a good anchor for straps if you are performing leg exercises
- sit-to-stand squatting practice
- balance support for lunges and calf raises
- Press ups (off floor, step or even upright off a wall
- tricep dips off chair or step
- crunches, knee folds, ….in fact ALMOST ALL ABDOMINAL EXERCISES
- Glute bridges
- Donkey kicks (on all fours)
- cat-cow stretch
I was away on holiday recently and DETERMINED to keep my exercise and enjoyment in balance (I was in Italy…pizza and prosecco anyone?).
- taking the stairs
- walking to work or the shops
- household chores (a particularly vigorous cleaning session, changing the bed or gardening are all great examples)
- Standing at a desk to type instead of sitting
- Running your own errands – walking to the post box, whizzing round Tesco,
- Even fidgeting!
- If you feel TIRED or UNWELL, go for a slower more gentle workout involving a walk, or stretches and gentle core strength.
- if you feel STRESSED, go outdoors or stick some music on which uplifts you to take yourself OUT OF YOUR HEAD and into the moment.
- if you feel ANGRY, you need some strength work…or some boxing gloves, give me a call 😉
- If you are feeling good and motivated – GO WITH IT! Make the most of the rare free time and positive attitude and give yourself a great workout (be that a jog, a mini circuit in your living room, a YouTube workout… the possibilities are endless!)