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Ok, so you have been making an effort and have been doing some exercise (with your personal trainer I hope). Now for the hard bit; keeping it going and keeping fit.
Six tips to hang in there…
1 – Keep it regular. It’s much more effective and also physically and mentally easier to do a small amount often than letting it slide only to try a mammoth session to make up for your previous slackness. This will just put you off. No matter how old you are it is essential to part of your daily (ideally) or weekly routine. Studies have shown that it only takes about three weeks to build a habit. So do it for that long and you are there.
2 – Don’t go it alone. Support is vital. Sign up for a regular class, get a PT or do at least one session a week with a friend. Not only will this provide motivation and encouragement, but accountability as well. It will make the exercise harder to forgo.
3 – Food food food. Staying healthy and trim is as much, if not more, about nutrition than exercise. Plan ahead right from the supermarket shop, surrounding yourself with good things. Have a treat from time to time too.
4 – Integrate. Cardio is not enough on its own. Weights will increase your resting metabolic rate, bone density and overall heart and functional fitness. They are a vital part to keeping fit.
5 – Monitor. Use science to help stay on track. Chart your weight with the scales, wear a heart rate monitor to see how hard you are actually going (you should always be working at least around 60% of maximum heart rate; work this out by taking your age away from 220. This is your theoretical maximum, go from there). There are also lots of apps for smart phones that really work well to track workouts, eating, calorie intake, the lot!
6 – It’s lifestyle, not a means to an end. Having a finite target is great, but look at exercise as a way of life. Your life will be so much better for it…trust me. Just keep at it. Remember that things have to be challenging to be truly rewarding.
Despite government and media bombardment that we all need to have five portions of fruit and vegetables a day, many modern celebrity endorsed diets warn that fruit should be taken only in moderation or avoided altogether. But surely fruit is good for us, right?
As with all things nutritional there is no right or wrong answer, but a trade off between different benefits and downfalls.
Fruit is, in essence, very healthy and good for us. It contains large amounts of vitamins and nutrients that aid the immune system, help keep skin glowing and provide a good source of carbohydrate. Fruits provide plenty of soluble dietary fiber, which helps to ward of cholesterol and fats from the body and to get relief from constipation as well.
Fruits contain many anti-oxidants like poly-phenolic flavonoids, vitamin-C, and anthocyanins.These compounds help keep us protected from oxidant stress, diseases, and cancers; they also help the body develop capacity to fight against disease by boosting our immunity level.
Fruits provide plenty of soluble dietary fiber, which helps to ward of cholesterol and fats from the body and to get relief from constipation as well.
However, for those in show business or who need to get rid of as much fat as possible (for example if you need to look good in a black PVC catsuit in 6 weeks) then fruit is actually to be avoided. Fruit contains fructose. Fructose is a sugar. Sugar, when consumed, ids readily converted into blood sugar, causing a rapid rise in BGLs, or blood glucose levels.
When blood glucose levels are high, we deal with this potentially damaging high level of sugar by releasing insulin. Insulin is a storage hormone (or chemical messenger) that instructs the cells to move this energy into storage, namely in the muscles, liver and fat cells.
Thus, logic dictates, that the more we can reduce our insulin reaction to food then the less fat we will store. Now, simultaneously, when insulin is present in the blood stream, we reduce the amount of fat that we burn. As blood sugar levels are already high, is there any point metabolising fat to be released into the blood for energy? Nopt really. This would be like trying to put more petrol into the car when the tank is already full.
So..we eat fruit containing fruit sugars. BGLs rise, insulin is released and we start to store fat while ceasing to burn it. Thus to burn the most fat and get ready for the catsuit, we need to limit our insulin reaction as much as possible. So no sugar and no fruit.
Thus in some situations fruit can indeed be bad, but for most of us mere mortals it is good and healthy, especially if we try to stick to fruits with a low glycaemic index, like apples, blueberries, blackberries, grapefruit, cherries and strawberries. Be careful with bananas, oranges, pineapples and melons, as these contain more sugar.
Flexibility is the basis of all movement; without flexibility the muscles cannot work properly to their full range and so mobility is hampered. Flexibility is determined by the shape of the bones and cartilage (that are the foundation of a particular joint) and the length of the muscle that crosses over that joint. It is possibly one of the most overlooked aspects of fitness; it only becomes a concern when the joints start to stiffen and inflexibility causes other musculo-skelteal problems. It must be remembered that the body is a kinetic chain, so shortened hamstrings (the muscles running down the back of the leg) are often the cause of posterior pelvic tilt which in turn can lead to a bad back!
The body adapts to stresses placed upon it. This includes doing nothing! If muscles are unused then they will become efficient at not moving, wasting and shortening. Some sports, like running, football, boxing and hockey only use the muscles through a limited range, causing adaptive shortening.
Muscle shortening can also be the result of poor posture. This can happen in some sports that make one muscle group strong, pulling the opposing group and making them shorter. Age is also a cause of muscle shortening. As we get older we become less flexible.
These inflexible muscles can cause a host of problems, from bad backs, headaches, poor posture to muscle injury. When a tight muscle is suddenly placed under stress and forced past it’s habitual range then injury or tear to the muscle becomes likely. This could be playing sports but might also happen if you slip, reach for something or have to react suddenly.
So, good flexibility, achieved through proper stretching, will lead to an increased range of movement, relaxed muscles (increased physical and mental relaxation), a reduced risk of joint/muscle strains, improved co-ordination and less likelihood of postural problems like bad backs and stiff necks. It also helps you to get fitter and perform better in all aspects of life, as the muscles are using more of their fibres through a greater range.
There is a full list of stretches on the site here. All sessions with a personal trainer in Windsor and Maidenhead include 10 or more minutes of dedicated stretching, mainly passive where the trainer stretches you. The full rock star treatment!
By Robert Atkinson
Your gym membership may still be unused and the christmas weight gain un-shifted, so you need all the help that you can get. Obtain the biggest possible calorie burn by exercising in the cold. As Gary the Irishman can testify after his personal training session this morning – 7:45am, Bath Island, Windsor, temp -2 degrees – exercising in the cold not only burns more fuel but will also leave you feeling virtuous and alive.
Exercising in the cold means that your body has to work slightly harder to maintain its core temperature, giving you a slight boost to the calories that you have burned. This type of outdoors exercise will also leave you with greater feelings of well-being and positivity than the traditional gym based exercise.
For outdoors sessions with a Windsor Personal Trainer call or email and we can arrange a free consultation. Remember that we also run the Windsor bootcamp, a fun outdoors class that will give you a heart like a lion and a butt like J-Lo.
For those whose resolution is failing, some comfort. A new study has indicated that people who are just a little overweight will live longer than those who are either obese or thin. Data from 100 hundred worldwide studies was analysed involving nearly three million people, 270, 000 of whom died over the course of the studies.
As expected, they found that those who were severely obese (with a BMI of more than 35) had shorter lifespans on average than those who were a normal weight (BMI of 18.5 and 19.9). However, even including and accounting for other factors like smoking and alcohol consumption, the team found that those who were slightly overweight had lower death rates than their slimmer counterparts. They were 6% less likely to die during the period of study than those deemed to be a normal healthy weight.
Dr Stephen B Heymsfield, in the Journal of the American Medical Association speculated that some fat protects against falls, helps to aid recovery after periods of serious injury and also led to more detection and prevention (through medicine) of conditions like high blood pressure and cardio-vascular disease.
The study, however, remains controversial, with other experts pointing out that the study only looked at death rates, not length of life of years of healthy living.
Many studies have also shown though that it is fitness and exercise that outweigh thinness. Even while carrying an extra few pounds, those that take part in regal;ar exercise live longer and healthier lives than those who are thin but do not do any exercise at all.
So our advice is, eat healthily, exercise, focus on getting fitter (not obsessing with weight loss too much) and you will probably get a bit lighter, and certainly have a longer and better life. This ethos is part of the Diet’s Don’t Work ethos and a cornerstone of our method.
The habits that we are trying to break have usually been built up over many years. This slow process means that the actions have become adopted by our subconscious and become automatic. A good example of this subconscious automatic behaviour is looking left and right when crossing the road; changing gears while driving. When you were learning to drive this action was difficult and most certainly required concentration. But after several months or years the action becomes embedded within the subconscious and becomes automatic. This is just like our bad habits. It also explains why techniques like hypnotherapy and NLP are effective against long term habits like smoking – they address the problem in the unconscious mind not just the conscious one.
Logic dictates that something built up over years will be difficult to undo in a day, week or even month. Here are some steps to help you be successful.
1 – Change is a process. Be patient. Habits that have taken years to learn may also take a while to undo. Some habits and addictions may require effort for years, perhaps the rest of your life. So be patient, and stick at it for the long term.
2 – Get help. It can be unrealistic to try to change on your own. Get the help and support of friends and family. In many cases professional help may be needed. A personal trainer, hypnotherapist, behaviourist, therapist or doctor may be the difference between success and failure.
3 – Just pick one resolution. Spreading yourself too thin can lead to failure. It’s better instead to pick one thing you would like to change and focus all your energy on that.
4 – Plan ahead. Don’t necessarily wait until New Year’s Day. Start at a time in your life when there are not too many pressures around; begin planning by noting down things you would like to change. Pick one. Then note down what you might have to do to change it and any obstacles you may encounter.
5 – Small steps. Don’t kill it at the start. Cut calories a bit at a time. Jog for 2 minutes, walk for 1. Build it up from there. Making it too hard at the start can lead to failure.
6 – Expect setbacks. Giving up after a small setback is very common. Weight loss is a good example. We do not lose weight at a consistent rate regardless of how good we have been. You may have had a really good week, but the scales don’t reflect this. The key is to have another really good week, and more than likely you will get nearly 2 good week’s worth of weight loss. We see this in personal training clients all the time.
Good luck, you can totally totally do it! Really. If in doubt, get help!
If asked to chose what is the best gym machine for cardio, what would our answer be? The answer may surprise some, as this is the most under-used and under-rated in the gym. Many are left with rusting chains while people pound along on the treadmill. It is, of course, the concept 2 rower.
Why? No other machine works more muscles. The more muscles you use the faster you become aerobically challenged. Thus you will get more out of shorter sessions and get fitter more quickly than other gym machines.
The concept 2 also has the huge advantage of being non-weight bearing. This means that the forces on the joints (in particular the knees and hips) are greatly reduced, meaning that there is much less wear and tear and no hard impact on each foot fall. The exercise is smooth and rhythmical.
The rower is also one of the most measurable bits of kit in the gym. It will tell you (through the /500m pace) exactly how much effort you are putting in during any given second. You can’t cheat! . This allows workouts to be very precisely tailored to an individual’s goals and starting level. No other gym machine can work you out exactly below, at, or above your anaerobic threshold with such precision.
Finally they are immediately variable. That is to say you can go from a slow pace to a sprint with no changing, setting or pressing of buttons.
Technique is very important so it’s essential that you get some coaching before you start. We have lost count of the people we see flailing away in a crazy manner. Our personal trainers can get you started and also provide great and varied training programmes to make you fit and lean in no time at all.
All of us would like a flatter stomach. Anyone who says otherwise is fibbing! For some years now those in search of physical perfection have aspired to the six-pack, a clearly visible group of six abdominal muscles running down the midriff. To get a six pack takes some serious determination, and not just in the gym. In order to reveal the muscles of the abdominal wall you need to tone and build them up through focused exercise, but most importantly you need to reduce body fat so that they can be revealed.
We all have muscles in our abdominal area; if we did not then we wouldn’t be able to get out of bed in the morning or get up from a chair. The problem is that for most of us these muscles are covered up by our fat suit. And you don’t have to have much fat for them to be covered up! WHO (World Health Organisation) states that the healthy range for men and women is 8-19% and 21-33% respectively. Normal healthy levels of body fat for those training hard and eating well are usually around 12-15% for men and 15-18% for women. But this isn’t quite enough to get a six pack. To get a prominent 6 pack body fat levels need to be even lower than this, around 10% or less. The only way to get these low levels of body fat are by eating very, very well. The saying that a six-pack is made in the kitchen and not the gym is oh so true. So what do you need to do? Here are some pointers:
Here are some exercises to try:
Create your own Olympic legacy by trying an Olympic sport and finally getting fit and slim. Tap into the inspiration and enthusiasm in the air and get going yourself. Then in 5 years time you will be able to look back to 2012 and say: “that’s when my life changed for the better”.
The good news is that to start an Olympic sport you don’t necessarily have to have access to lots of expensive kit or be super fit. The home games also mean that you can actually use some of the London Olympic venues to give sport a go! Here are some options..
Running: all you need is the will and a good set of trainers. Try to run until you are out of breath, then take a short recovery break. Then run again. Each time you will go a bit further and need less recovery. Trying to run too far to fast can be painful and discouraging. Need some specialist coaching to get kick started? Windsor Slough Eton & Hounslow Athletics Club is an active athletics club that caters for athletes of both sexes and all abilities, right through from 9 year olds to top class seniors and veterans of all levels. Check http://www.deleisure.com for details.
Rowing: this sport uses more muscle groups than almost any sport, and will get you super fit. It’s also quite social as usually rowing is done as part of a team. Just up the river is the amazing Eton Dorney rowing centre. Eton college runs rowing courses for beginners in the summer, contact them at http://www.dorneylake.co.uk/contact.html
Kayaking: from the 8th of September experienced kayakers can try the Olympic course at the Lee valley centre in Hertfordshire (www.visitleevalley.org.uk). Beginners can also try white water rafting there at £49 for half a day.You can find other kayaking courses at www.bcu.org.uk
Sailing: you may not realise, but you don’t need to go to the ocean to sail. Cookham reach sailing club (CRSC) is a friendly, family club sailing a variety of boats from Merlin Rockets to Toppers on a delightful reach of the River Thames at Cookham. They have excellent Club facilities, a spacious boat park for storage, club boats that can be borrowed and an active social scene for all ages. Check cookhamreachsc.org for details. If you fancy the real thing then the coast is less than 90 minutes drive away. The Royal yachting Associacion (www.rya.org.uk) has details of over 2000 sailing centres nationwide. A two day beginners course starts at £200.
To get the best out of these sports some pre-conditioning and basic fitness will be a great help. Check www.dietsdontwork.co.uk for information. We provide training and conditioning for a wide range of sports, as well as being the area’s leading experts on fitness and weight loss.
Photo compliments of www.seo64.co.uk
Once again, as the summer wanes, we are having a challenge! As with all the Diets Don’t work challenges, we have chosen an exercise that can be done by anyone on a fairly even keel regardless of body shape or skill level. It really is for beginners to advanced. There will be a trophy for both best male and female, as well as a free PT session for both winners!! The challenge ends on the 30th of September. All current PT clients and bootcampers are eligible for prizes, but if you are not training with us have a go anyway – we will be happy to put you on the leader board and on our facebook page.
The ski squat is a timed exercise – once you are in position get your trainer to start the timer, and hold the position for as long as you can. It will mprove your performance and be safer if you can have a warm up first by walking, jogging or just doing a dynamic warm up.
Find yourself a wall. Lean back on the wall with your feet about two feet in front of you. Slide your back and bottom down the wall until your knees reach an angle of 90 degrees, with your thighs parallel to the floor. Your ankles should be directly below your knees. Hold this position for as long as you can. It helps to think of happy thoughts. Or just imagine that you are dead.
The world record is held by Thienna HO, USA. It’s 12 hours.