Making fitness easier, so busy people become stronger, healthier & happier!!
Imagine yourself 5 years from now, are you happy? Are you fit? Are you healthy?
What does healthy mean to you?
There are all questions that you should be able to answer. As we get older, we spend more money on doctors appointments, hospital treatment and medication.
What we do today, will have an impact on that. In this section, there will be articles and tips to help you live a healthier lifestyle.
Many of us work long hours and have jobs that make our lifestyle sedentary. This causes health implications as we put extra strain on our body. Our posture and mental health can take a negative spin, unless we do something about it.
Along with those variables above, our blood pressure, cholesterol, body fat and heart rate will increase, whilst our flexibility, fitness and range of movement will decrease.
Being active, through NEAT or exercise, helps to release hormones and endorphins which not only help us to look good but feel good too, keeping our body in working order.
The fitness industry is always evolving, which is why we offer face to face and online Personal Training services.
Contact us today to set up a consultation where we will help coach you to a fitter, healthier and more active lifestyle.
The more consistent you are with your training, nutrition and overall health at this time of year, the better position you will be in come summer next year. I don’t believe in quick fixes, I believe in creating healthy sustainable habits.
Habits are often formed after 21 days. The main thing to remember, is that a habit must be done right consistently each time and you must replicate it week on week. Below are some good habits to follow -
Most of my clients do ALL of the above.
At first, we start with the habit which is the easiest as it takes time to form. They might not seem like much but doing these 5 good habits can be beneficial in a number of ways. It gives you something to focus on, which keeps you accountable and then once accomplished, will give you a sense of achievement afterwards. It will improve your health, no matter what your goal is. It will also give you a better understanding of how to look after your body. It will give you the best possible platform to reach your fitness goals as the above points are where most people go wrong.
Don’t wait until January 2023 to do this, start now and get the wheels in motion before the new year comes along. One of the biggest misconceptions in the fitness industry is that we think we can achieve results a lot faster than we actually do. We underestimate the commitment, the time it takes, the discipline and the amount of work needed to get to our desired goal. But the sooner we start the sooner we will get there, as long as we are moving in the right direction.
If you need help with your exercise regime, need a structure or a coach to guide you through the next few months, get in touch.
Most of the time, we don’t. It gets very confusing, one person says to lose weight you need to cut out Carbohydrates, another person says you need to eat less then someone else says you need to exercise 7 days a week. As a fitness professional in the industry, I get distracted by the cool video’s, music and graphics, so much so that I question my knowledge, my 12 years experience and what I learned from my degree. I know my clients feel the same, when they tell me about a new trend they saw online and ask me if they should try it. Just in case you didn’t realise it yet, there is no secret to losing weight or achieving the body you want.
The fitness industry knows how busy we are. It also knows how much we want a quick fix and how we crave that instant gratification. We want results fast, even though realistically it took us 5 years to gain weight, we want it gone in 5 weeks. As a result, to try and cater to our demands, there are new products being created and added to the ever growing list of supplements and pills which you must take to achieve a certain goal…most of which you don’t actually need.
For the record, supplements can be a good way to compliment your diet and help you get the adequate amount of macronutrients and micronutrients, but that depends on the foods you eat daily and the lifestyle you have. You must find what works for you.
Moving on to exercise. It ‘should’ be fun, so if you like going to the gym or to an exercise class, great. If you prefer to go outside for a run or a cycle, great. Too much of one thing can be bad, so include variety in training. Similar to food, boring tends to be best. Sticking to a basic programme which includes compound exercises, strength based resistance and cardio is probably more effective than the HIIT workout you saw on youtube or the cool functional workout using battle ropes and slam balls. Again, it’s all relative to you and your goal but trust me, if you enjoy what you do, it will be more sustainable. If you do something you like, you are much more likely to continue and keep doing it. Join a football team, play a sport, turn your garage into a home gym. You must find what works for you.
Once you have found what works for you in terms of nutrition, exercise and lifestyle habits, you need to stay consistent. This requires discipline and hard work, but it doesn’t feel like that if it’s something you like to do which still allows you to socialise with friends and maintain your life balance. There are a few ways in which my clients stay consistent in making fitness a part of their lifestyle.
Understanding the above, can have a big impact on your overall health, mental and physical wellbeing and your life. Compare yourself to you only, because what works for other people might not work for you, so spend the time trying to establish what works for you. Then it’s just a case of being consistent and fitting it into your lifestyle.
I’ve been there and I’m sure you have too. You have a goal in mind, you commit to the training and you know what exactly you need to do. You start strong, feel good about yourself and then bam. All of a sudden, around the 3-4 weeks mark, you question whether you are making progress or have set the right goal for yourself. You begin to doubt what you are doing and you stall, losing direction and motivation which can be detrimental to your results.
The good news is, this is very common. Think of it like your mind is playing tricks on you. When this happens to me, I make sure I have a few ways to measure my progress and look at the facts, without leaving anything to chance.
Below are a few examples, which can help assure you that you are on the right track, some of which you may be already using:
For me and my clients, it is incredibly powerful to know that you are making progress. Whether that is something as small as attending the gym three times a week when you used to go twice or doing 20 minutes of cardio instead of 15 minutes, that is still progress.
Here are three key tips, that can really help you…
First, you need to analyse your sleep, hydration, recovery, strength, cardio, nutrition, flexibility and identify which needs the most work. You could simply score yourself out of 10 for each one. These are the 7 fundamentals which I explain to my clients and they all interlink. If you neglect one of these areas, it could really hinder and impact your progress.
Second, hold yourself accountable. You can enforce this by speaking about your goal or sharing it with someone, even using social media. From the bullet points above (Eg taking a before and after photo to illustrate the changes made) you could show the differences on social media or to a friend. This helps with ownership because the more people you tell, the more you won’t want to fail.
Thirdly, keep the faith. There will be times when we lose direction or think we have hit a plateau. Go back to the 5 bullet points above and that will tell you if you are making progress or not. If not, change what you are doing. This could be that you need to increase the effort you are putting in or re-evaluate your goals to be more realistic and achievable but don’t stop, you got this!
Small progress is still progress.
Last month when I was in Swansea, I watched the Ironman 70.3 with hundreds of people swimming, cycling and running across our lovely city. If you are one of those people who took part, congratulations as it was an incredible event. I was in awe and inspired, not only by how many people took part but also the diverse ages of all the competitors. I’m a firm believer that you are as old as you think you are and in this article, I will explain why and how you can change your perspective on age, to help you live for longer.
Should you still be training and taking part in triathlons in your 60’s? Some of you might think yes, others might think no, let’s look in more detail. As we get older, changes take place in our body. Our ligaments (which connect bone to bone) and our tendons (which connect muscle to bone) can change and may not be as strong. There is the risk of osteopenia or osteoporosis, where our bones get weaker and more brittle. Our metabolism can slow down, resulting in us burning less calories at rest and therefore gaining weight. This can impact our cholesterol, blood sugar and body fat levels.
As our body grows and goes through changes, we tend to stop exercising and stop doing the fun day to day tasks like we used to. This lack of activity can actually accelerate all the changes in the paragraph above. But before I continue, I must add that it is sometimes inevitable that we are faced with challenges which stop us from exercise, such as overuse. If we have always been incredibly active, our bodies can be affected. In this case, it is really important you speak to a specialist who can advise you on what exercise you can do and speak to a dietician who can advise you on what foods you can eat which can help you.
Ikigai, is a Japanese word which means ‘reason for being’. In Okinawa, Japan, there are the most super centenarians still living on this planet. Their reason for this is that when they retire, they still have a purpose in life. This means, they continue to do:
Doing the above keeps the people of Okinawa active, mentally and physically. It helps socially with communication and relationships, it helps financially and gives them a sense of fulfilment. To these people, age is just a number and you should continue to live your life the way you want despite how old you are.
If you are over 50 and reading this article, doing strength training such as lifting weights can keep you muscles active and strong. Walking or swimming is a great form of cardio that can keep you heart healthy. And if you’re good at this or enjoy it, maybe you will be taking part in next years Swansea Ironman. This leads me back to my initial question ‘should you still be training and taking part in triathlons in your 60’s?
My answer is…yes. If your body allows you to. Not everyone reading this article will have performance based goals or be able to commit to the level of training needed for a triathlon which is fine, it’s all relative. If you improve your health or fitness in any way, you’ve done well.
Remember, you're as old as you think you are and it’s never to late to improve your health, fitness or lifestyle.
Many of us will have set targets for the New Year and for the coming months. Maybe you have joined a gym, signed up with a Personal Trainer and decided this is the year that you improve your health. If that’s you and you’re reading this, well done, I hope the positive changes work out for you.
However, if you haven't started yet or have already stopped, I can help you. There are a few reasons why people lose interest, give up and stop working towards their health goals, particularly in February. Firstly, the goals set are unrealistic. Secondly, the programme you are following is too complicated and too intense. Thirdly, you don’t see the results or the progress you were expecting so you lose motivation and stop. All of these are regular occurrences and I hear them every year. Below are some tips to overcome those barriers.
“I want to lose weight” is not a goal and neither is “I want to get stronger”. It doesn't state how much weight you want to lose or how much stronger you want to get. Also, setting a target to lose 10kg in 1 month is a massive task which even the world’s best nutritionists and fitness athletes would find extremely difficult. You must make sure you are not setting yourself up to fail, before you’ve even get going.
A goal must have a value and it has to be something you can measure and record. The acronym SMART which stands for :
…is easy to use and can really help identify the goal and break it down into achievable chunks. This improves clarity and makes you think about the goal in greater detail. Another tip when setting goals is to write them down. Having them in your head is another mistake people make, so make sure you write them down somewhere you can see it. Then finally, plan backwards. Start with the long term (the end goal) and work backwards to the medium term and the short term. For example, if the long term goal is to lose 6kg of weight in 6 months, the medium term goal will be to lose 3kg in 3 months and the short term goal will be to lose 1kg in 1 month.
If you are following a programme that is over complicated, then you are more likely to not follow it correctly, injure yourself or lose interest. Speaking from experience, there are many online programmes available and there are many PT’s who will send you a jazzy programme with exercises you’ve never heard of before. My advice is to stick to the basics and keep it simple. The best programmes I have followed are ones I have written myself. They are successful because they are simple and effective. In order to monitor progress and see change, exercises will need to be repeated. I believe that focussing on 3 or 4 exercises is much better than having 8-10 exercises. The programme might even look boring on a piece of paper but keeping it simple will promote consistency and help you achieve better results in the long run.
In today’s society, when we want something, we want it now. Instant gratification is something which is hindering consistency, hard work and results. Let’s look at it logically…going to the gym for 4 weeks is not going to transform our bodies after the 4 months of not exercising and eating bad foods. If you set the bar too high, you will find it harder to reach.
In the first few weeks of starting any training programme or gym routine, your body will adjust and adapt to the new demands that are placed upon it. These are the foundations and shouldn’t be rushed. If you can get though the first 4-6 weeks of your new routine, you are much more likely to instil good habits and make the new routine part of your lifestyle. For anyone wondering when they can expect to see results, check out the estimated guide below:
Weeks 1-4 = you will gain fitness and strength.
Weeks 5-8 = you will start to see some physical changes.
Weeks 9-12 = other people will start to see physical changes. Of course, you can achieve results in less than 8-12 weeks but that depends on your effort, discipline and lifestyle habits.
I’m confident that if you implement all 3 of the above, you will have a better chance of sticking to you health goals and a better chance of being successful.
If you need any support, online coaching or training, don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Have you got a weekly plan? Do you have a target in mind or a goal you are working towards? Do you know what you are going to do at the gym before you get there? Do you track your strength and fitness levels on certain machines to monitor progress?
If you answered no to any of the questions above (hopefully not all) then this article will help you.
In reality, most of us won’t say yes to all the above questions. My previous article last month, spoke about not doing too much too soon. Now that the gyms are open, you need to be smart with your training. If you try to exercise at the same intensity, do the same amount of classes or lift the same amount of weight as before, there is a high risk you could injure yourself…you need to build it back up gradually.
This is referring to the 7 days in the week. For example, What days will you workout? What times? How long for? What days will you take as rest? Knowing the answers to these questions before the week has begun allows you to plan ahead. That way you can pack your gym gear or leave it in the car so you can train after work. You know when to relax and recharge on a rest day. You know when to eat 2-3 hours before to give your body the fuel and energy before you exercise. Very basic but very effective. Little adjustments that make a big difference.
This is the main reason you are exercising. Why are you even training? What is motivating you? Once you have established what you are training for, this could be weight loss, muscle gain, rehabilitation, general health and fitness etc you can now strategise your training to streamline towards your goal. If you don’t have a goal in mind then you will go to the gym and ultimately waste time. You can use the acronym ‘SMART’ to set your goal, which stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time. If you want to lose weight, don’t spend all your time on the treadmill, you need to strength train. Once you achieve one goal, reset your focus and follow the same procedure for your next goal. Little adjustments that make a big difference.
Similar to the first two questions but slightly different so let me explain. If someone asked you, what are you training today? And you reply ‘bit of this, bit of that’ or ‘not sure maybe some chest and arms’ it is going to take you longer to get results than someone who knows exactly what they are going to train. This plays a big part of mental preparation and can improve motivation. When planning your week and the days you are going to workout, you should also plan what you are going to train on that day. For example, if you train legs, wear low to the floor, flat shoes. If you wear running trainers with a cushioned raised heel, you won’t be as stable when performing the squat or lunge. Have a pre workout or a coffee before you do a Bodypump or RPM class to get you fired up because you lack motivation to do classes. It also saves time when you have a plan because you don’t have to aimlessly walk around the gym and use only the machines that are free, you can use the ones specific to your goal, so take the time to prepare before you train. This also increase the chances of you actually going because you have structure. Little adjustments that make a big difference.
If you shook your head and answered no to the above questions, it is likely this one will be a no. Tracking is very important. You can not remember everything you do in the gym, all the weight you lift on each machine or the amount of reps or sets you do. It is worth keeping a log book or a note on your phone of maybe one or two exercises that you want to improve on. Then write the exercise, the weight, reps and sets along with the date. That way you can visually look back on the week and see if you are improving. Of course, you will start to physically feel fitter or stronger, but it is important to have the figures to back it up…the stats don't lie. Little adjustments that make a big difference. Little adjustments can help you REACH THE TOP!!
There is no doubt that the global pandemic has played a big part in changing our day to day lives. Many people are working from home, gyms and fitness facilities are closed, exercise classes are limited with little or no equipment and above all, its the winter so nobody wants to go outside when its freezing cold, raining and dark all the time.
Some of my online clients have found that they now have more energy than they did when the pandemic started. Their circumstances haven't changed…they are still working from home and not going to the gym. What they are doing is making the most of the situation they are in. For example, if your goal is to lose weight, then that will still be the goal after the pandemic when the gyms reopen and operations return to some form of normality. Why not work towards that goal now? Why wait?
Our main source of energy comes from the foods we eat - Carbohydrates. They are consumed as Glycogen and broken down into Glucose to give the body fuel, also known as energy. If you are not as active as you were and are now spending more time sitting down and eating then your energy expenditure is reduced. The calories you burn are less and the way in which your body stores and uses energy has changed. It is likely that over time, your BMR will reduce and you will feel low on energy, constantly feeling tired and lethargic. Is this a good thing? Of course not.
Start off by increasing your NEAT (Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis) on a daily basis. This can be described as simply moving more. If you are stuck at home, do some jobs around the house. Tidy the attic, clear the shed, do some ironing, painting, cleaning etc. Movement is a big factor in energy balance so if you move more, you’ll burn more calories.
Once you have done that, look to incorporate some form of daily exercise routine. This can be tailored specific to you (don’t go following someones HIIT workouts online if you have not exercised much lately, it will be too intense, you will be sore the next day and won’t like the feeling) so try to do a 10 minute workout with some bodyweight stretches. Gradually increase the exercises or the time you work for and you will not only release endorphins to feel better but you will actually improve circulation along with many more physiological benefits.
If you are someone who already does a HIIT workout once a week, then why not do it twice or three times? Find a way to be more active as it really can make you feel better and look better.
There is no denying that 2020 is definitely up there as one of the most challenging years we have experienced, as the world came to terms with adapting to the global pandemic of the Corona Virus. Don’t worry, this isn't gong to be a New Year, New You article. We are going to go a little deeper by looking at two elements which I believe will help us get through 2021. Those elements are mindset and wellbeing.
With the gyms being closed across the country, it is extremely difficult to find the motivation and discipline to keep active. The easy option is to not exercise, to comfort eat, watch television and drink. I know this because I have friends who are doing just that. Friends who used to be in the gym 5 times a week doing exercise have now gone weeks without exercising. This is understandable and I hope this article will help you. It doesn't take a fitness professional to tell you that this is potentially undoing the hard work they have done and that they are giving themselves a mountain to climb when the gyms do open again.
When it comes to fitness, I have worked with many people and a big part of whether they are successful or not when training with me, comes down to their mindset and wellbeing. There is only so much a Personal Trainer can do, when the biggest challenge comes down to the individual and what they do when they are not with you, this taps into their mindset. Some of those people are CEO’s, business men and women, members of the royal family, parents, single parents, fitness enthusiasts, pre or post natal or have a health condition. Being able to balance a healthy lifestyle with work, feeding a family, home schooling, having a social life is extremely difficult but it is possible.
Mentally, we are going through something which we have never experienced before and the new normal is boring, not as fun as before and is restricting us but if we focus on trying to adjust our mindset to small wins, we will not only feel better with a sense of fulfilment but we will actually turn something negative into a positive.
Here are some tips that can help you get your mindset and wellbeing on track. In no particular order:
Yes, the above are related to fitness and nutrition. But they are heavily associated with mindset and wellbeing. Being physically active and fuelling your body with the right Macro and Micronutrients can have a big impact on our mood, our confidence, our health, our physique and much more.
I hope you found this article valuable and that the tips that work for me and my clients, will work for you too.
Invest in your health, to save your wealth.
You should take your body for a Fitness MOT every 3-6 months. This will identify any concerns. You should keep a record of the following pieces of information and try to stay as active as you can.
From these, a Fitness Professional will be able to help you with your goal and improve your overall health and wellbeing.
To carry out our day to day tasks, we all need a basic level of fitness. To carry the shopping in from the car, requires a level of strength. To walk up stairs, requires a level of cardiovascular fitness. Even though we may not think that we are fit, we actually need to be more fit than we realise.
Let’s think about it from another perspective. Imagine you are unable to lift or carry anything. Imagine you get too tired or too out of breath to walk up stairs. How would that feel?
Many of us compare ourselves to people with a greater social media following, to celebrities or sports athletes, to other people who we look at or follow. As a result, we then feel that we are far far behind. We feel that we will never look or be like that, which makes us depressed and demotivated. Can anyone relate?
In a previous article I spoke about how important it is to ignore what you see in magazines, on television and on the internet. The most important comparison is one you can make with yourself. Compare yourself to you and strive for progress not perfection.
Whether you work in a 9-5pm office job or whether your a taxi driver, if you spend time sitting down all day, you need keep active. What happens if you don’t? A lot of bad stuff can happen. Your weight will increase. This is mainly due to the fact that you’re eating but not burning so your energy expenditure doesn’t counteract your energy consumption. Another consequence of not keeping active, is that your blood pressure will increase along with cholesterol. At rest, our pulse, for most adults, should be between 60-80 beats per minute. This can increase if we don’t keep active, which means we become less fit. In terms of anatomy, this means our heart has to work a lot harder to pump blood around the body. Over time this can add more stress to the heart increasing it’s cardiac output and stroke volume. An increase in cholesterol will have an impact on our arteries, which transport the blood away from the heart, which may cause arteriosclorosis, leading to the parties getting narrower and a potential blood clot.
I often get asked ‘what type of exercise should I do?’ and that is a great question. One which depends on what type of person you are. It’s much better to do something that you enjoy, which is something you are more likely to continue to do.
Does exercise have to be walking or running on the treadmill for 10-20 minutes? No. If anything, that is one of the machines I limit my clients to, when they’re having a session with me. Anyone can walk or run on their own outside, right? If we associate an exercise like that with the gym, the chances are that we won’t enjoy it. We associate walking and running as a negative emotion, which makes going to the gym seem like a chore. Therefore, as a result, we will stop or give up. Can anyone relate to this?
After explaining this, the client then asks me ‘so what should I do at the gym?’
Firstly, you don’t need to go to a gym to be active. Secondly, you can choose a variety of activities that will get you fitter. Thirdly, choose something you enjoy, which doesn’t cost too much money and isn’t too difficult to replicate weekly.
One of my biggest satisfactions about being a Personal Trainer, is helping people make lifestyle changes. For me, I like to educate my clients. I want them to not only learn the exercises, what muscles they’re targeting with the correct form and technique. I want more than that. I want my clients and you reading this to make behavioural changes and better choices. How? By teaching and educating them how to make ‘being active’ a lifestyle change.
Ultimately this is down to our daily routine and what we do consistently. It requires discipline but like anything think about the consequences of not changing. Think about you in 5 years from now without change, how does that look and feel? Now try to visualise yourself in 5 years from now…healthier, more active, fitter, stronger, happier, motivated. How does that feel?
Small lifestyle changes like eating one vegetable a day or going for a 10 minute walk after work. Parking the car further away so you have to get more steps in to get to the office or supermarket. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. All of these are simple but effective. For more help on how you can increase your NEAT, get in touch.
In the meantime, start doing more, start being more active and make it a part of your lifestyle.
Most people would say it helps to motivate them, to structure their training, to achieve a specific goal or to make sure they exercise, because without one, they wouldn't train at all.
to aspiring Personal Trainers, I understand all of these reasons and more. But the reality is frightening as more and more Personal Trainers are putting people’s health in danger. How? I hear you ask. Let me explain.
Imagine you have to go to the doctor because you need an operation. Would you prefer a person with lots of experience or a person who is newly qualified? I have nothing against either but ask yourself what would you prefer. Then imagine if you could find out the doctors qualifications, would you prefer a person who has the proper, relevant qualifications or would you prefer a person who says they are qualified, but has nothing to back it up?
Here’s the thing…fitness is a big part of most of our lifestyles. The industry is becoming more and more saturated with Personal Trainers, which are not qualified or don’t have the relevant qualifications. Forget about obesity, lack of exercise, poor nutrition and bad lifestyle habits. Those will take care of themselves if we choose to follow the guidance of qualified Personal Trainers.
In other parts of the world, it is seen as being a luxury. As I visit many gyms across Dubai, to train my clients, I often see some very bad exercises and some very bad trainers. Some are demonstrating poor technique that can cause injury, while some are on their phones texting or on social media. Others are taking selfies or videos whilst training and some are just rep counters who count from 1-10. I must add, there are some very good Personal Trainers in Dubai but there are also some very bad and unfortunately these are on the rise.
How do you choose a good one?
My advice is to do your research first. Don’t jump to the conclusion that they are good ‘just because' they are in good shape themselves…that’s great, but can they TRAIN YOU? Don’t be afraid to ask to see their certificates or qualifications, this will give you piece of mind and you will be able to establish if they really are qualified from day one. Speak to their clients to find out about them as a person and as a trainer. Both are important if you are going to be spending time with them 3-4 times a week. This will save you time and money.
I’m going to leave you with a little quote, you can decide if you agree with it or not.
‘If you think investing in a Personal Trainer is expensive, try paying for hospital bills, doctors prescriptions, medicine and other health related remedies’
Most of the time, we associate exercise as walking round the shops or going back and for on the school run. Yes, it is tiring and yes it is exercise, but will it help you lose weight?
Last months article spoke about BMR, Basal Metabolic Rate. This is our maintenance calories or our daily calorie intake, which we need to consume each day. For Males this tends to be between 2000-2500 cals and for Females between 1500-2000 cals. These are just estimates but should give you a good idea.
But what happens if we exercise? Our body uses the food we eat as energy. Carbohydrates are stored as Glycogen and get broken down into Glucose to give us energy. Exercise burns calories. Therefore, the more exercise we do, the more calories we can consume to replace what we have burnt. This is just to maintain.
Let’s say our goal was to lose weight, we would need to create a calorie deficit. See the simple equation below:
Exercise more + Eat less = Calorie deficit = Weight loss
If our goal was to gain weight or muscle, we would need to be in a calorie surplus. See this equation below:
Exercise less (in terms of cardio) + Eat more = Calorie surplus = Weight or muscle gain
We can track how many calories we burn, every day, from our watch. Wearing an Apple watch or a Fitbit can monitor how active we are, how many calories we burn and how many steps we do. But that alone, isn't always enough.
There are more and more ‘fast food’ restaurants than ever before. Natural local produce is being outnumbered by the amount of processed foods from the bigger chain companies. So what can you do?
Researchers believe that the daily requirement for exercise in terms of physical activity, for adults is 30 minutes x 5 days a week. How many people are currently exercising, increasing their heart rate, getting out of breath, sweating or feeling fatigued by exercising x5 a week? This is a government standard. For children, the requirement is 60 minutes of exercise x5 days a week.
Exercise is a great way to relieve stress, get stronger, improve the function of the heart, help circulation, improve breathing capacity and many more. Think about what you want to achieve, whether it is to lose some belly fat, get more stable on your feet or build muscle, the foods you eat and the exercise you do on a daily basis, will determine your results.
I teach my clients little habits. When they train with me, they train hard but there’s more to living a healthy lifestyle than just going to the gym x3 times a week. My clients are also improving other aspects of their lifestyle such as making healthier food choices, avoiding too many sugars, cutting back on smoking cigarettes or drinking too much alcohol, only ordering a take away once a week instead of three times, attending exercise classes in addition to gym sessions. It all contributes to helping you to have a healthy and balanced lifestyle. For more information, get in touch.
Many people will have their own opinion on what ‘being fit’ actually is. If you were to ask someone randomly, they may reply with one of the following… ‘it’s about how you look’
‘it’s about your body shape and how much fat or muscle you have’
‘it’s about how far you can run or how much exercise you do’
To me, fitness means ‘to be able to complete daily tasks without getting tired easily or getting out of breath too quickly’
So Nicky, what does that mean?
Well, everyday we carry out basic tasks. Some include, walking up and down the stairs. Some include standing in a queue at the bus stop or at the shop. Pushing a trolley around a supermarket. Running around after your young child. These are just some examples where we need to be fit. As we get older, we will not be able to do some of the above, because we are not fit.
When we do any form of movement or exercise we are working our circulatory system, where blood is pumped around the body by the heart. The blood contains oxygen which gets transported to our muscles to help us move. Our lungs also play a part here by helping the body to inhale oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide.
If were were to focus on our Cardiovascular system, by doing exercises or activities that raise our heart rate, we will then see our fitness improve.
Below are some tips which you can do to improve your fitness levels…
Initially, you might find yourself getting out of breath from doing some of the exercises above and that’s ok, as long as you are not feeling too faint or tired. You know your body better than I do, so make sure you don't over exert yourself. A good way to measure this is using the ‘Rate of Perceived Exertion scale’
This is basically a scale of 1-10 where 1 = easy, very light and 10 = exhausted, can’t do any more need to stop.
When you are performing any exercise, you can ask yourself this question ‘on a scale of 1-10, how do you feel?’ From the answer, you will be able to judge whether you are working too hard or too light. Then you can increase the speed or the amount you do. It is important to note, everybody is fit. Some more fit than others but fitness can change if you work at it!!
Check out my Instagram page for more tips and videos @nicky__fitness
There are many rules and regulations that we should follow and many decisions we have to make on a daily basis. So many that we often get bombarded with so much information, we don't know what to do with it. The important points are sometimes overlooked.
In this article, I have highlighted 5 key points which can be categorised as 'Common Mistakes'
Don’t go food shopping when you are hungry. This can be a big test of willpower as we are more likely to overindulge when we are hungry. Therefore we put more of the ‘bad’ foods in our trolley, more of the foods we want but don’t need.
We starve the body all day, then eat one big meal at night. This causes us to increase portion size and doesn’t give out body enough time to break down the food before we sleep. The digestive system can only break down food quickly if we eat often, which affects our metabolism. If we don’t exercise, this food will then be stored as fat.
We don’t drink enough water or fluids. We wait until our body tells us we are thirsty before drinking, which is the way our body tells us we are dehydrated and need to drink.
From experience in years of Personal Training, people will either be really good, training hard and eating clean or…really bad, not exercising and eating anything and everything. Small adjustments are needed for sustainable results.
We expect results too soon. Usually, on average it takes 4-6 weeks for your body to adapt to exercise. Therefore our fitness will improve. It takes 6-8 weeks for our strength to improve and 8-12 weeks for our physical shape to change. Trust the process, be consistent, results take time.
Each month a new topic will be written which will help to give you invaluable information, that can change your mindset and help you get more positive results.
If we take these tips board, we are more likely to see better results. Health is important and we need to look after our bodies order to live longer. Avoid these common mistakes and by combine a well balance nutrition plan with an exercise programme can help you get the results you want.
Check out April's edition of Outdoor UAE magazine for a better read.
It’s that time of year again where the sun makes an appearance and we are frantically trying to lose the extra pounds gained during the winter months. We want to look good and feel good about ourselves when we are out sunbathing or on holiday.
We’ve all been there and its not an easy process…But, this article will highlight some key tips for you, which will help you be more confident in your body. Follow these steps to get results.
Let’s dive right in, with one of the most anticipated questions which, as a Fitness Professional, I get asked the most…
Some people believe that starving the body or not eating will lose weight, then if they exercise, that will help lose even more weight and speed up results. Yes and no. I’ll explain…
First of all, starving is never a good idea, it’s not healthy. Your body needs food as it uses it as energy to function. Think of it like fuel for a car. A car needs fuel to go, however it is your choice how fast you drive. Just like the type food you eat and how much is your choice. We all know the foods that make us put on weight, such as fast foods and take aways because they are high in fats and high in carbohydrates. So reverse this by staying away from fast foods and eat more protein.
I believe the most reliable way to lose weight is by being consistent with your daily intake and understanding your Macros. Macronutrients are the amount of Carbohydrates, Proteins and Fats in our diet.
How can you do this? Write down what you eat everyday and keep a food diary. Include meal times and also portion sizes. From that you can estimate your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) also known as your daily calorie intake. The app MyFitnessPal is great for this as you can input and scan foods, then it calculates it for you. Once you know your BMR, you can try to reduce this number. Smaller sized meals, eating more frequently throughout the day will mean your body is constantly breaking down food, which means we feel fuller and are less likely to overindulge in bigger meals, with bigger portion sizes that contain higher calories. Try it!! If you aim to reduce your daily BMR by -500 cals, then by eating less, you create a negative. This is known as a calorie deficit. Exercising on top of this will speed up your results.
The next question that I get asked the most is…
Cardio is important. That doesn't mean 1 hour on the Treadmill everyday, as that’s just boring, but you should mix it up by doing Cardio-Strength training. My clients tend to get the best results when they do this.
Strength is resistance, so what type of exercises should you do?
Use compound and functional exercises. This activates a series of muscle groups, working more than one muscle and joint at a time, rather than isolating just one. The big muscle groups will also work the smaller ones so it will save you time and give you greater benefits. Below are the best exercise techniques you can do to lose weight. However, cardio alongside these is key such are running, rowing, cycling, jumping, skipping and swimming. You can start with the following exercises for x3 sets of x10 repetitions.
I hope this will give you a better insight into exercise and nutrition, whatever your goal may be. Eat less calories and exercise more.
Check out my Instagram page for more tips and videos @nicky__fitness
One of the main downfalls in people achieving their goals is that they don't see themselves achieving them. That could be down to the Goal being set unrealistically due to the amount of work needed or in the timeframe it takes to achieve it. Alternatively, it could be down to the lack of confidence and self belief. Remember, results don't happen over night. You need to be consistent.
This article will be able to help you with that.
Many women want to look good. They want to feel confident going out with friends, fit into that tight fitted dress, they want to make people jealous when they wear a bikini on holiday and walk along the beach. They want heads to turn when they elegantly walk passed in a nice restaurant. I'm sure you can all relate.
Like being a man, it's not easy. I'm joking. What we experience is actually a viscous circle. We train hard to look good for an event, a wedding, a holiday etc then afterwards we let ourselves go a little bit by putting on weight, then we start to train hard again to look good. In an ideal world we would remain the same bodyweight and keep our perfect body shape all year round...but that's not the case.
In reality, women are faced with obstacles such as falling pregnant, being ill, not having the time to train to name a few. But we can still achieve a good physique and be happy with the way we look.
What is the Perfect shape?
What does that mean to you?
Close your eyes and visualise what you want. Think of what you look like now and imagine the perfect you, what would you like to improve?
People will often choose to be like the models or celebrities they see on TV or in magazines. This is down to the misconception that we see. We are lead to believe, that the person looks like that 'all year round' which is not true.
For example, people don't see the intimating fasting, hardcore dieting, double PT sessions, make up and grooming, airbrushing, liposuction etc that takes place before appearing on TV or for a magazine shoot.
What have I learnt?
In my years of experience as a Personal Trainer and Fitness Professional in the industry, I have worked with lots of women of different ages, sizes and abilities. The majority of them that I have trained, want to lose weight or tone up. The area's where they want to target and focus on are -
They want their legs to be thinner, their stomach to be flatter and the back of their arms not to be saggy.
However, recently, women want to gain too. They want a bigger, more curved, peachy bum. The narrow waist and bigger bum look means 'Growing the Glutes!'
Therefore, you must understand that as a woman, if you lift weights, you will not get big and muscular. This is a fear which puts people off resistance and weight training. In order to become muscular, you must first increase your calorie intake and you must perform weights at a high volume. This is called Bodybuilding and takes years of practice, which will not occur when you are lifting weights or following this programme.
Here are some exercises which you can try, that will help you get fitter and stronger. It will also help you target the areas women want to improve.
You can do this workout on your own or with a partner.
Warm Up: 5-10 mins
Stretch: All main muscles
Main Session: 15-20 mins Cardio
Arms - Triceps
Now to grow the bum or tone your Gluteus Maximus, you can follow the exercises below:
Rest period between sets should be 30-60 seconds. When completing the resistance exercises, focus on the area you are working. Think about contracting the muscle each rep so you feel the movement and isolation. Keep the reps controlled and challenge yourself so you feel the burn on the last few reps or toward the end of the set.
That we sometimes need to stop, take a moment and look back at how far we've come.
It sounds cheesy doesn't it, but hear me out. We often compare ourselves to others. We compare ourselves to instagram models, influencers, celebrities, sports professionals, movie stars etc
So much so, we actually forget to compare ourselves to ourselves.
The desire to grow and develop is a good thing. But it needs to be channelled correctly.
We don't know how many times these people train per day or if they have a private cook making their meals. We don't know how much money they invested or spent on themselves to look that way.
Many people compare themselves to what they see on social media and the television, when in reality, that will just make you depressed, sad, demotivated and frustrated.
But what if I told you, you could change that. You just have to change your expectation.
One of the things I like to do with my clients is allow rewards. This is a sign to show them, they have progressed and done well. They are comparing their current state to what they used to be like. Not just their physical appearance, but their fitness levels, their strength, their energy levels, their lifestyle.
Aim to be better than you were before & that's progress.
For daily motivation for a healthier, more active lifestyle, check out @nicky__fitness on instagram