GOAL SETTING

It seems like an extra chore, I know, but how are you going to know when you have succeeded if you don’t have goals and ways to measure them?
You will probably have heard of ‘SMART’ goals  – Specific, Measurable, Agreed, Realistic, Time-bound. Goals can only be ‘Agreed’ between you and I if the other 4 criteria are met.
Example of BAD ‘goal setting’: ” I want to lose weight and eat better”
  • 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)
GOOD Goal setting:
” I would like to lose 2st (SPECIFIC, MEASURABLE) by End of August (TIME BOUND and REALISTIC) , and I would like to reduce my alcohol intake from a glass of wine every night (SPECIFIC)  to JUST at the weekend”
How can you measure your success?
Whether it’s losing weight, increasing muscle tone and definition, reducing body fat %, increasing strength, or improving ability to perform everyday tasks and enjoy life…you can set goals and measure your success in one or more of the following ways:
  • ‘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!
Any way you can note your progress can be a great motivator, it can show you if the routine you are following is working, if not – we can tweak it! It can also reassure you of your progress even if you don’t feel particularly good one day.
Set realistic goals and keep focus

WHEN YOU CAN’T TAKE THE HEAT…

So, when the hot weather hits – do you feel sluggish and just wanting to remain as still as possible and do minimum exercise??
Unless you are genuinely feeling unwell – no excuse!
  • 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!

DON’T LOSE FOCUS

I regularly get emails saying that person A wants to lose weight, get fit…however they are their ‘own worst enemy’! Starting with a ‘diet’ only to sabotage this after a couple of days and then binge! Motivation for exercise is low, and given the option, they would take a lazy evening after work rather than workout.
My response:
  • 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!)
In short – excuses don’t burn calories/build muscle/make us healthier (some of you may have heard this before..;)). Excuses make us feel guilty, put on unhealthy weight, and slow progress.
Hear your excuses next time you feel them coming on , imagine someone else saying them to you…and what you might say back!
Don’t lose focus 🙂 

TOOLS OF THE TRADE

Some of my clients will have been subjected to my ‘toy box’ of various items.  I thought I would post list of all I believe you need for a good home-based workout. When you’re short of time or space, there is no excuse!
Bands
You can get loop bands such as these
Good for putting around the ankles or above the knees, for squats, lateral leg raises, lying on your side and performing leg extensions to work the glutes and hips.
You can also get straight bands with various attachments for a full body workout. I have these
These can be used for EVERYTHING – pop round a banister for rowing, under your foot for bicep curls, around the ankle and a chair for glute kick backs, under the foot for upright rows or shoulder press…
I also have these
These are longer bands, typically I would loop them round a bar or sturdy branch for assisted pull-ups. But with a bit of creativity, they can also be used for most of the above exercises.
Weights
These are less portable, but I believe a great part of any tool kit is either an adjustable set of weights, with interchangeable plates, or a couple of pairs of dumbbells (heavier and lighter pair)
  • 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)
Kettlebells are also a great versatile piece of equipment. I would start lighter if you have never used one before – 4 or 5 kg max.
For those who are experienced and have no lower back issues, aim for 8kg +
Kettlebells are fantastic for upper, lower, cardio and core workouts with minimal equipment.
What you don’t have to buy:
The steps in your home! 
Brilliant for:
  • 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
A simple dining chair:
  • 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
Any solid, weighted object:
Heavy books are a great item for pressing over head, lateral raises for the shoulders (one in each hand), holding whilst squatting and lunging, using in russian twists abs exercise..
and finally…
Your own body
You needn’t spend a lot of money to have a good strength or cardio workout. Use your own body. Vary intensity with speed, depth, direction, number of repetitions or number of sets of the exercise.
  • Press ups (off floor, step or even upright off a wall
  • Squats
  • Lunges
  • tricep dips off chair or step
  • crunches, knee folds, ….in fact ALMOST ALL ABDOMINAL EXERCISES
  • Glute bridges
  • Donkey kicks (on all fours)
  • Super-mans
  • cat-cow stretch

That’s NEAT!

I was away on holiday recently and DETERMINED to keep my exercise and enjoyment in balance (I was in Italy…pizza and prosecco anyone?).

I was reminded while I was away of a little thing called NEAT – Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (the energy expended by everything we do which is not sleeping, eating or deliberate exercise)
This can increase your body’s fat burning  efficiency, using extra calories by simply continuous movement. Examples will be some you have heard before:
  • 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!
Studies show that lean men and women stand, walk and fidget significantly more during the day which results in around 350 kcal more energy expenditure than overweight individuals.
It is SO important to be as active as you can be OUTSIDE of exercise classes or PT sessions. Your body will benefit from being active throughout the day, rather than 60 mins of concentrated exercise in the middle of an otherwise sedentary day.
The suggested target of 10,000 steps a day is a good way to motivate yourself to keep moving as much as possible each day
So take this thought with you this week – move as much as possible, do chores, walk and stand, move around every hour if you have a desk job, take things one at a time up and down the stairs….

Exercise for your mood

Some of you may have noticed the benefits of undertaking an exercise programme on your mental health:
Physical activity is proven to have positive effects on DEPRESSION, SLEEP, RELAXATION, ANXIETY PROBLEMS, SELF-ESTEEM AND STRESS MANAGAMENT
We all have ‘bad’ and ‘good’ days, and these can be for many reasons.
I like to encourage in myself and others the belief that whilst you may not be able to control a LOT that is going on around you, you CAN take control of your health and fitness. YOU can take yourself out for a jog or a brisk walk, YOU can avoid the biscuits and prepare a healthy meal, YOU can pop some music on and go through a strength or cardio routine for 20 minutes.
Sometimes you may find it REALLY hard to get the motivation:
  • 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 motivatedGO 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!)
I am here not only to make folks sweat but to try to help them be the best version of THEMSELVES, and that means Mind, Body and Spirit.
We will always find a workout to suit any mood (oh yes we will!)

The importance of being active

It’s Mental Health Awareness Week, and so I wanted to write a little something about Mental Health when it comes to exercise. mental health 1

I absolutely LOVE MY JOB. I get to meet so many different people, with different jobs, interests, families and outlooks on life.

The more folks I meet, the more reasons that emerge for individuals wanting to take on a Personal Training programme. Primarily, weight loss and improved body composition are the motivating factors. The PHYSICAL benefits. As time goes on, the physical changes start to bring benefits for the individual, and their families, mentally:

  • Couples have told me that they are arguing less, as they are sleeping better, which helps them tackle the anxieties and stresses of the next day with a clearer, better rested head.
  • I have been over to train individuals after a particularly horrible day at work, finding them feeling relaxed and ‘lifted’ by the end of the hour – either through letting it all out with a bit of boxing (!), or chatting through the day whilst working through resistance work and stretches.
  • I have been informed that gaining strength where someone once was convinced they would never have it has given such a profound sense of achievement and pride that they feel a boost in confidence and feel more comfortable with themselves.

From my own experience, appreciating my body for what it can do, what I can achieve, how strong or fast or energetic I can be, has helped me gain confidence and be comfortable with myself physically, which has had an enormous positive  impact on me mentally.

I have wanted to share and give this feeling to others ever since I started training. And I feel so happy that I see this feeling in others when we work together.

I urge you to check out this article from MentalHealth.org.uk Mental Health and Exercise if you need any more convincing that Exercise is about so much more than just the Physical Benefits.

Don’t underestimate the importance of being kind to yourself.

 

KIM’S MARATHON DES SABLES

 kim 2
Ever thought about doing a Marathon? How about one every day for 6 days (and two on one day?). Now, how about doing that in 40+ C heat, over sand dunes, on open roads and carrying all your clothing and food?
That’s is just what Kim is doing in a week’s time!

Kim made the decision a year ago to sing up to the Marathon Des Sables, a 250km race across the Sahara over 6 days. While Kim has funded her participation herself, she is choosing the race to raise funds and awareness for Hector’s House – a local charity that provides contact to support for young adults who are facing depression and suicidal thoughts. Please have a look at their website www.hectorshouse.org.uk
THE TRAINING
Kim is a keen ultra-marathoner and no stranger to long-distance races, however the MDS is as much of a mental as physical challenge. Together, Kim and I devised a training plan to prepare gradually over 3 months.
Now, living in the UK it’s pretty hard to train in an environment to acclimatise to the heat of the Sahara in April. So Kim’s training has consisted of gradually longer walks – usually with the fittest dog in Tring, Finn, in tow – whilst carrying the EXACT weight on her back that she will be carrying around in the desert.
Kim has been averaging 100-150 miles per week, with speed walking.kim1
The benefits of taking longer to prepare are:
  • less chance of injury, not only in the race, but during training. The body is not pushed too far, too quickly
  • mentally, what once was difficult becomes easier, and what once seemed impossible – becomes possible!
Over time, the body and mind can adapt well, but it takes will-power and determination, something Kim has buckets of!
On top of the race-specific training, Kim has been attending regular spinning sessions at the local gym for cardio conditioning, as well as working with me with resistance sessions which:
  • maintain total body strength,
  • ensure that the supporting tissues around the joints are stable to minimise injury
  • improve stamina

 

Kim also is a fan of yoga to stretch the muscles out, and maintain core strength –  which is essential to protect the back, hips, knees and will help her carry that backpack over 250km!

 

 

NUTRITION AND HYDRATION
Kim has been staying hydrated and eating nutritious, energy-rich foods which provide slow-releases as well as instant peaks of energy when flagging. Kim will need to consume a MINIMUM of 2000kcal each day of the race. Recommended foods for endurance events, are dates, bars such as CLIF, 9 BAR, TREK, ‘Bounce’ balls and other such snacks. Some also choose to take energy gels, which are light but some do not like the taste!
55% of Kim’s diet in the event needs to be carbohydrates for the essential energy to keep going.
Water consumption will be rationed, but along with salt tablets, should be enough. And Kim will need to drink 6-7litres a day. (3x the recommended intake of an average person going about their everyday business!)
With BE Fitness and PT, you can train for specific events like Kim, or simply for your own fitness, weight loss and everyday wellbeing.
 
We wish Kim the best of luck! Can’t wait to see the pictures!!

It’s Valentine’s Day – Love YOU

Roses are Red, Violets are Blue, Who’s the number one important person? YOU!

It’s true – if you don’t look after yourself, you’re no good to anyone! It’s all too easy to help others with their problems and make very helpful, sensible measured suggestions when it comes to other people’s health, love and work lives…but when it comes to you, do you  ‘have a word’ with yourself?

For example, when a friend says ‘I am having real trouble giving up chocolate for lent’ (how mean it is that Valentines was THE DAY AFTER Shrove Tuesday?! I digress..), do you find yourself saying ‘just don’t have it in the house’ or ‘only have ONE’ or ‘eat carrot sticks (!)’? Then, when you come home, you have a chocolate biscuit (the third one that day)? OR when they say ‘I know I should exercise more’ you offer the helpful advice of ‘go for a walk your lunch break, easy!’ …then your lunch break comes around and you can’t be bothered?

I could go on with a million examples, and I am sure you could think of a few too. The point is – why don’t you give yourself the same care and attention and advice you give to others? 

When it comes to health and fitness, whilst many see exercise and healthy behaviours as a chore, they should be seen as a treat. YES! A treat to your mind, body and soul to allow the body to do what it was built to do  – get the heart pumping, get those legs working, get lungfuls of air and let the pores open and sweat the stress away! Your body WANTS to be exercised, and your mind NEEDS the satisfaction and escapism of the achievement of reaching your physical goals.

TREAT yourself! Not to a piece of cake, but to a brisk walk or run. NO better way to warm up – it’s free, it’s refreshing and it burns calories. MUCH better than under a blanket with a box of Lindt truffles (other chocolates are available).

INDULGE yourself with a strength circuit! Get your biceps firing and those glutes toning. Increase your metabolism and LUXURIATE in the fat-burning benefits.

DELIGHT yourself with a stretch session. Loosen the tightness of a hard day through slow, controlled movements and improve your posture through gentle but firm stretches. Done before bed can really help with getting a good night’s sleep – and we all know the impact this can have on the following day!

Next time you find yourself giving advice to others about their lifestyle, health or fitness, take a second to hear your own words, and PRACTICE WHAT YOU PREACH.

Love YOU!

 x

Getting Juicy!

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This week I have been using my juicer to the max!

if you have been uhhming and ahhing about buying one – go for it! We use the Andrew James Slow Masticating Juicer and whilst it is a bit of a faff to clean, the juices are excellent.

NB: To ensure you are not overloading on the fruit sugars, try to mix in at least 50% vegetable juice. I also like to add Coconut Water to each of mine! Here are some of my invented combinations:

ORANGE ZINGER

  • 1 large orange
  • 1 nectarine
  • 1 cm cube ginger root
  • 1 carrot
  • half pint water
  • 200ml coconut water

GREEN POWER

  • 1 large apple
  • 1 carrot
  • 1cm cube ginger root
  • handful spinach
  • half pint water
  • 200ml coconut water

AVO-NOTHER ONE

  • half avocado
  • 1 apple
  • handful spinach
  • a few fresh mint leaves
  • 300 ml coconut water

Great as a snack or a morning boost, keep well hydrated and get your greens in!