The festive season is full of parties, food and alcohol and although it is the time to be merry it may be worth taking a few measures to ensure our waistbands don’t expand to the size of Santa Claus! No one wants those post-Christmas blues because they have put on a few extra pounds so try these neat tricks to stay on top.
By making a few good choices when you have a tipple or have a meal you can maintain a reasonable calorific income.
1. Alcohol: Spirits with a mixer or prosecco rather than wine and beer. Drink lots of water during this time.
2. Nibbles and Starters: go for the nuts and fruits when snacking. Look for the protein and salads for starters and try and avoid the bread.
3. Main Course: The trimmings are the bit that can tip the scales in terms of calories. So focus on the protein of the meal, for most the chirstmas turkey and then have lots of vegetables (especially the carrots, sprouts and swede). There is no reason why you shouldn’t enjoy every part of your Christmas dinner just keep a check on how much you are having, portion control goes a long way on keeping the calories in check.
4. Desert: you can either go for the healthy option, such as fruit, give it a miss, share with a friend or plan the meals at which you intend to have whatever desert you want.
5. Keep moving, it’s easy to go from one place to another always sitting down, from the car journey to the relatives house, why not meet in a park or at a local nature reserve so everyone gets some fresh air and exercise. Christmas party games are another great way to keep active.
6. Short workouts. Don’t let a lack of time be your reason for not working out over the festive season. If you can’t make your usual 1 hour sessions try and complete a 20 minute high intensity workout.
7. Get walking. You’ve finished your Christmas dinner and you want to sit in front of the tv, get up, out on your gloves, hat and scarf and go for a walk, that sit down afterwards will feel even more deserved after stretching your legs.
8. Stop eating when you are full. It’s so easy to over indulge and have ginormous plates of food at this time of year but you should still stop when you feel full.
9. Don’t skip meals. Even though you may know that you will be having a more extravagant meal than usual don’t send your body into starvation mode because you know you are going to eat later on in the day. Also try to eat slowly so your body realises when it is full.
10. Drink a glass of water. Before a meal and when drinking alcohol a great way to reduce the amount that you are eating and reducing dehydration is to have a glass of water.
11. Portion control. Try to not overeat. Often you can make good choices but eat much more than usual and that alone can stack on the pounds. Quality not quantity.
12. Go for a run or a cycle ride.
Hopefully this will help you enjoy your Christmas parties and Christmas dinner a little bit more this year safe in the knowledge that you are more likely to feel good going into the New Year.
As always, please get in touch if you need any help formulating a plan of action...
The true value of an online coach
You may be considering getting help to get in shape, get stronger and feel more confident and therefore look into getting yourself a personal trainer/online coach. Many people may see the price of personal training and think they are expensive. This is understandable but there are many advantages to getting yourself a good coach. By taking a look at the reasons why people may need a personal trainer and what a P.T. can do may make the price tag seem better value for money than you first thought.
Why would you want or need a personal trainer and what can they do for you?
1. You are not seeing results from your current training. A trainer can look at your current exercise and dietary habits and help you make changes in order to achieve your goals effectively.
2. You don’t know what to do or where to start. They can help you determine goals, hold you accountable and motivate you. A personal trainer can give the knowledge needed to carry out complete and effective routines to achieve your goals. This knowledge is something you can potentially use for the rest of your training life and habits that will stay with you.
3. You find your current workouts boring. They can give you fresh ideas or reignite your interest in healthy living and training effectively to achieve the body that you want.
4. You want/like to be challenged. Motivation is extremely important. For example within a session if you have a trainer pushing you to do that extra rep and spotting you in a safe manner if you are lifting weights, the chances are you will get pushed harder than if you had trained by yourself. This in turn should also help give you greater strength and more confidence in your own abilities.
5. You want to learn and have the ability to work out on your own but lack the knowledge to do so. Once you get given this foundation of knowledge it gives you the freedom to be confident that you know how to start.
6. You need accountability and motivation to stay on track. You are much less likely to skip a workout if you have an online coach to check in with, this can help you get into the routine of training, making it easier to continue.
7. You have a specific illness, injury or condition that needs to be addressed in some way. Training can be focused depending on the needs of the client. An injury or area of weakness can be focused on and improved.
8. You are training for a sport or event. Training can be designed to focus upon performance goals to achieve in a particular sport or event.
9. You want supervision and support with your training. Having someone able to observe and step in when needed whilst you train is useful as this is safe way to learn and check technique.
10. You want to be able to work out at home but need guidance in order to do it safely and effectively. A trainer can design and show you how to execute home workouts. Once again, gaining the knowledge to carry out workouts effectively.
Having a personal trainer/online coach can mean different things to each individual. Where one person may be looking for a long term training mentor, others may just need some motivation and help keeping on track with their health and fitness goals. Knowledge is the key component to training and achieving results. There are many training packages available, personally I try and tailor them to an individuals needs. We bring everything together, keeping it simple and supporting you each step of the way.
Many people who come to me want to look and feel better. Some have never done structured exercise before and others may have joined a gym at some point. Many also come under the umbrella of a yo-yo dieter. For some a quick fix is all they want, being able to get into the outfit for a special occasion. Most people ultimately want to achieve something that is going to last long term. A lifestyle to last a lifetime.
In order to look and feel good it is necessary to have a healthy lifestyle and for many this means making lifestyle changes. Two main areas to consider are diet and exercise. You need to have a good, balanced diet and exercise regularly and consistently.
Healthy habits include drinking at least 2 litres of water every day, drinking little alcohol and removing processed food, in particular sugar, from your diet as much as possible.
People are time poor.
We now live in a fast food nation. Takeaways, fast food we can pick up on the go in petrol stations and corner shops, microwave meals to name just a few. The fact that people are time poor means turning to these options are becoming more common. People are trying to juggle all of their commitments, work and family, this is challenging and that is often why a healthy lifestyle can slip. But lack of time should not be used as an excuse! Planning and organisation is key, fail to plan, plan to fail. It is possible to achieve a healthier lifestyle if you apply some of these methods to your weekly routine.
Planning and preparation
Make a plan of what you are going to eat for the week ahead. This means you can write a shopping list and ensure that you have everything that you are going to need. It also allows for you to be prepared for potential mid-week shops knowing exactly what it is you need and when. Restocking on the items you need without the temptation of those you do not. It is also a good idea to plan preparation times, when you are able to cook and more importantly when you need to prepare in advance. If you are fortunate to be able to cook each meal fresh that’s great but chances are this is either rarely the case or at the very least will occur. The easiest way of having balanced and nutritious meals throughout the day is meal preparation. Cooking in bulk is a great time saver. Something that you can eat within a couple of days can be boxed up and put in the fridge ready to take when you need it. For some even preparing a couple of day’s food is not enough. You can also freeze meals that you have bulk prepared and then get them out of the freezer the night or morning before you want to eat them.
If you are out all day preparation is especially important. Boxing up your meals (essentially a packed lunch) can ensure you don’t miss a meal. The problem if you don’t is you may end up grabbing fast food that you’d rather not eat or reaching the point of hunger and overeating because of that. If you go long periods of time without eating your blood sugar level, energy level and metabolism will drop and these are things that you want to try and avoid.
The same amount of planning should go into your exercise routines. Decide when you are going to work out during the week ahead. What you are going to do for each workout and what your goals for the week ahead should all be considered. Being methodical and organised should keep you on track and potentially increase your enjoyment as you will be achieving goals each week. A feeling of satisfaction at the end of the week is a great motivator for wanting to keep going next week. Focusing on improvements and positive steps will lead you to a healthier lifestyle.
Prepare, be organised and make it a lifestyle.
Walking is good for your health...
With most people in sedentary jobs the amount of daily exercise that people are taking is in decline. A huge negative to our health. A simple and effective form of exercise is walking. A brisk walk can give you the benefits of going for a jog without the high impact on our joints.
Walking can be a great calorie burner. Increasing the intensity of walking to a brisk power walk you can burn the same number of calories as going for a jog, which can help you lose weight and improve your overall fitness. You can increase the amount of walking that you do within your normal working day.
· Take the stairs instead of the lift
· Use a printer on the other side of the office so you have to walk further to collect your papers
· Go for a walk at lunchtime
· Get off the bus a stop earlier and walk the extra distance
You can make a few changes to improve your health without making it feel like a workout. Walking releases the same chemicals that you would from any other workout, serotonin and the release of endorphins means you get a feel good feeling at the end. That feeling should help keep you motivated to walk consistently as it can give a real boost of energy for the rest of your day.
Government guidelines recommend doing at least 30 minutes of exercise each day. This can be done in one session or split into 2 15 minute sessions. A good goal to set yourself is 10,000 steps every day. We would recommend that you get yourself a pedometer. “You can get many different types of pedometers, from an app that you can download on your phone to a dedicated piece of equipment such as a Fitbit. You may find that they are not 100% accurate but it will give you a good indication as to how active you are each day. See how many steps you do currently. Once you know that you can try and improve how many you take each week. As you can measure this it makes it easy to increase your steps, at first trying to reach the daily goal of 10,000 steps. Then try to improve the amount and intensity of the steps, such as going up stairs, climbing up hills or increasing your speed.”
As well as trying to increase the amount of walking you do each day try and do 1-2 longer walks each week. There are so many areas that are great for walking, we have country walks and urban paths to follow. If you are going on an untarmacked route then you may want to invest in some walking shoes. Uneven ground can put a greater strain through your foot and ankle, increasing the risk of injury, investing in some well supported walking boots is highly recommended before you start.
Take steps with a friend
Another way of making walking more fun and challenging is to find a friend to do it with. Arrange to go for walks together, this will make you more likely to do it, especially when the weather isn’t sunny. You may want to set yourselves a step challenge. Try to beat each other with how many steps you do each day. A little competition between friends can really help motivate you to do more every day.
So there you have it, an easy and effective way to improve your health that you can do every day. Dig out those walking shoes, get yourself a pedometer and get walking!
Time to stretch
Make time to reach for your toes!
Stretching is hugely beneficial to people of all ages, once again something that everyone would benefit from doing. You don’t necessarily need any equipment you just need to make the time to do it. You could do a simple stretching routine or perhaps give Pilates or yoga a try depending on your interests and experience. Many people may only start to do it when something starts to hurt but prevention is better than cure and who wouldn’t like to feel a little more flexible.
Benefits of stretching
There are four different types of stretching: ballistic, dynamic, proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation, and static stretching. I could bore you with the detail but let’s keep it simple. Everyone could incorporate some stretching into their daily routine here are some of the benefits that you may get should you start stretching regularly. Stretching can:
1. Improve flexibility
2. Reduce muscle soreness
3. Improve stamina and muscular strength
4. Improve alignment, posture, appearance and self-image
5. Allow good muscular and joint mobility.
Ideally you want to stretch your entire body. Be methodical and treat it like any other workout, make a note of your routine and perhaps make notes on the ease of a stretch or how far you can go. If you stretch in a random fashion chances are you will forget what you have done and more importantly you may end up missing an area entirely. Planning also allows for you to focus on a particular area if there is a weakness or something that you want to improve.
This discipline has very much entered the mainstream over the past few years. When done correctly it offers many fitness benefits. With the correct form, mental focus and connection between the body and mind you can see fantastic results. It is something that can be done at home or in a class environment. Form is key so make sure you get someone to show you the moves before you get started. If you’ve never tried it before you may think that it seems like an easy workout that may not challenge you but that is certainly not the case, however fit you may be, you can be pushed to your limits in this controlled environment. Core engagement is a fundamental value of this discipline and something that can transfer into daily life and other types of training or sports. If you are looking for all round fitness then it is definitely something that you should try.
Yoga is another mainstream discipline that can improve your flexibility. As well as flexibility many people use it to aid stress relief as well as to improve their health and physical fitness. It includes practicing postures, breathing exercises and meditation. With a focus on body, mind and spirit it is a form of exercise that many people feel huge benefit from. Again it is advisable to get guidance before starting yoga as in order to experience the full benefit and enjoyment of it, it is important to know what you are doing.
5 stretches for you to try at home:
1. Standing hamstring stretch: bend over, try to reach the floor with your hands and hold.
2. Quadriceps stretch: hold one foot in your hand bringing it up behind you, bring your knees together and hold.
3. Chest/back stretch: bend your arms to 90 degree angles (one up pointing up and one pointing down) then push back as though you are standing against a wall, hold and then swap over.
4. Shoulder stretch: bring one arm across the body and hold it in position with your other arm, hold and then change over.
5. Full body stretch: reach up to the ceiling as much as you can, stretching from the floor right up to the ceiling, you should be able to feel the stretch through your whole body and hold.
These stretches are static so try and hold each position for at least 20-30 seconds before releasing.
You may want to start with a few simple stretches or perhaps you like the idea of giving pilates or yoga a try. Any or all are highly recommended to try. You can start to improve your flexibility, posture and strength today, it won’t take long for you to feel the benefits and touch your toes again!
Any questions get in touch!
Why lift weights
Do you want to look good, feel strong and have confidence in your own skin?
Yes? Then you should start lifting weights. Everyone would benefit from weight training. A bold claim, but one I am going to demonstrate by showing you the benefits. Once you see the results that you can achieve by weight lifting you may find yourself wanting to give it a try yourself as regular training can reap many health benefits.
5 benefits of weight training
1. Improves performance. In sport and daily activities.
2. Increases bone density. Lifting weights is a great way to control bone loss as you get older and you are never too old to get started.
3. Promotes fat-free body mass. Lean muscle mass will make you look, feel and perform better as well as aid weight loss.
4. Increases strength of muscles, tendons and connective tissue. Which can lead to improved performance and reduce the risk of injury.
5. Improves body confidence. Feeling strong and looking better will make you more confident.
Common questions and concerns
Why would I want to improve my performance?
Everyone would feel the benefits of feeling stronger. Not just at the gym but it can make it easier to complete simple daily tasks too. Whether you find daily chores a challenge or not get stronger and make it easier.
I don’t want to get big muscles!
One of the most common misconceptions about weight lifting is that if you start lifting you will suddenly look like the incredible hulk. This really isn’t the case. Lean muscle mass is what gives us a tight defined figure if coupled with a relatively low body fat percentage. Building muscle mass is a goal for many people that lift weight but it is by no means the results that everyone who lifts weights get. You have to eat big to get big and if you weight train as part of a balanced, high protein diet it’s the tighter, more defined figure that you will be sculpting.
Should I lift weights?
The simple answer is yes. Depending upon your individual goals the methods and frequency of training may vary but it is recommended that you lift weights. From sports specific training to wanting to look better, you will benefit from the results of training in this way. It’s about finding the right weights routine for you. Give it a try and chances are you may start loving the new challenge of your workouts. If you have any pre-existing medical conditions or have never tried lifting before make sure you seek professional advice before you start.
How do I start?
1. Get some weights. You can start at home or get down to the gym.
2. Get professional advice. Make sure you get advice so that you know what you are doing. Knowledge is key so it is vital that you get professional guidance to make sure you are lifting safely and efficiently.
3. Plan a workout routine (or get one designed specifically for you) and get a diary to keep a log of your strength gains.
I have seen fantastic results with my clients who have started to lift weights and they have found a whole new enjoyment in training. Not only that, I have experienced first-hand the difference that weight training can have on the shape of your body as opposed to just doing cardio training. If you are looking for a strong, tight and taut body then without doubt you should give training with weights a go. It can be fun, rewarding and a great challenge!
I hope this information is useful, if you have any questions about anything please get in touch.
Fun cardio at home
Cardio is a central part of many peoples exercise routines. For some it means going out for a bike ride or doing a 10 kilometre run but for many this is either not appealing or they would like to try something a little different. A fun option is using weights and it is something that can be done at home.
“The idea of cardio with weights at home may seem a little intimidating but essentially it follows along the same lines of a “Bodypump” style workout. You just need a few pieces of equipment and you can have your own version of this class at home. Examples of exercises include squats, lunges, bicep curls, chest press, tricep extensions and pullovers to name just a few.”
What you need
You will need some small hand weights (or you could even use a tin of beans) and ideally a Barbell too. Inexpensive, easy to get and they shouldn’t take up too much space either. You will need to have at least two different weights, a light and heavier weight to start. All of the exercises are high rep sets, so movements will be repeated many times before you get a rest, so bear this in mind when you select your weights. (Ideally, select adjustable weights so that you can change them as you get stronger and fitter.)
Don’t forget your MUSIC! Music is a great motivator and time keeper when working out. Dig out your favourite playlist or find yourself one on YouTube or Spotify.
What you work
Every muscle group. By the end of a session you should feel like you have worked every part of your body, especially the cardiovascular system. If you are out of breath, sweaty and your body is tired then you will most likely have completed a good workout.
Activating all muscle groups is a good way to increase fitness levels.
How to start
Get some workout routines. This means you can make progress in a measured way, working your way through different routines. Start easy and push yourself every week, adding more reps, time or weight.
Set out a suitable workout area, with all of your equipment close by before you start.
If you are new to this style of workout, take it slowly and don’t rush, it is important that you get technique right. Without safe technique you not only limit the productivity of your workout you also risk injury which could stop you training for weeks. It is recommended that you are shown the ropes by a professional first so that you can be confident in the knowledge that you are working out in a safe and effective manner.
1. Set yourself goals. Have an aim of what you want to be able to achieve before you start.
2. Make a note of your workout, weights and times so you can improve each week.
3. Consistency. For the best results you need to train regularly in order to see an improvement in your fitness levels.
4. Mix it up. Making changes to your workouts every few weeks can keep it interesting.
Something for you to give a try!
Time to make a change?
People are always considering new goals for themselves to work towards, and this often includes the desire to lose a few extra pounds, get fit and look better for the future.
If this is you then there are a few things you should consider getting on track with my GPS tips:
· Get advice from a Personal trainer. They can help you set goals, assess your diet and show you workouts that can help you achieve your goals. However, some of the most important skills a good PT will teach you is the significance and execution of weight training, hypertrophy, mind-muscle connection and learning to push yourself both mentally and physically. Learning these aspects can take time but is vital, especially when weight training is proven to be the most effective way to lose weight.
· Plan your workouts each week. Sit down on a Sunday evening and plan out what you are going to do for the week ahead. This should also include dietary aims, such as substituting a coffee and a cake with a bottle of water and an apple. These small changes make a big difference in the long term.
· Set yourself small, achievable goals as well as long term goals. Short term goals may be changes to diet, regular exercise commitments or hitting a personal best in the gym, while long term goals tend to veer towards the aesthetic, such as fitting into a dress size or losing X amount of weight.
5 things you can change today
1. Drink at least 2 litres of water each day.
2. Reduce the amount of alcohol you consume.
3. Reduce the amount of salt and sugar in your diet, no sugars in your tea and no chocolate bars/crisps as an afternoon snack.
4. Increase the amount of steps you take each day. Walk to collect the kids from school, go for a gentle evening walk etc.
5. Try and get at least 8 hours sleep each night.
Training from home
“Working out at home can appeal to people who don’t like training at a gym. Our private gym provides a comfortable environment in which to train and learn different training methods that you can then put in to action by yourself.”
There are many advantages to training at home. Other than equipment your outlay will be minimal. Equipment that you may want to consider purchasing for home workouts include: a set of dumbbells or kettlebells, exercise mat, bench, step, stability ball and resistance bands. Equipment may seem expensive but if you add up the cost of gym membership chances are you will see how much cheaper it can be to train at home.
Convenience is also a massive selling point, with no travelling time, no need to arrange a babysitter and open 24/7. All of this in the privacy of your own home, no need to feel self-conscious, just enjoy the endorphin rush once you’ve completed a work out.
For many people working out at home provides a great solution to achieve their goals, give it a try and see how much you can achieve! Something that holds many people back is a lack of confidence and knowledge of what they need to be doing to achieve results. A few sessions with a personal trainer to set out workouts and goals could make achieving even easier!
We help you set goals and how to work towards them. Get in touch if you would like some help.
The key to success...
I think we would all love to be given some magical answer of how to get the results that we want quickly, right? Would you like to know the secret? The thing that I say most to my clients... you must be consistent. Consistency. The thing we all need to be but find it hard to do. Consistency really is the key.
I don't just mean with exercise either, but every element of our daily lifestyles. You need to stop thinking quick fix, go hard core, extreme diet and/or exercise. Think about how you can be consistent. With your workouts, nutrition, sleep, water intake and overall recovery. All of these things are vital for overall health, fitness and physique goals. Ignore one thing and you might find that you're not making the progress you were expecting.
If you think about everything that you do as your lifestyle, if you make changes to that, is it something that you can maintain for a week, a month, a year? Yep, long term, not just a few days.
You really need to take a look at your mindset and the fact that you need to address that in order for everything else to slot into place (but more of that on another ramble).
We help you address consistency issues, get you to think about what holds you back and then find solutions to deal with them. Your Fitness Coaching wants to help you achieve your long term goals we will show you how to make sensible choices, how to train efficiently and with confidence, all in all giving you the tools to achieve your goals. Pretty exciting stuff really and we'd love to help you too.
Until the next time...
Jon and myself are extremely excited to finally launch our new website. Your Fitness Coaching.com. The result of lots of hard work to bring you a product that will allow you to have a custom designed program that you can access 24/7. We will give you the structure and support to achieve your goals. You will have workout and exercise plans to follow and we will check in with you each week to help you stay on track.
If you feel lost or are unsure of what to do next you can message us anytime for our guidance, knowledge or support. We won't just design you a program and leave you to it, we want to help you stay on track so you can build up the consistency to get long term results.
We love the app aspect of our program as it means you can access your plans on the go.
We will be making lots of videos to showcase all that we offer but if you have any questions in the meantime please get in touch.
We are very excited for whats to come and there will be many more posts on the way!
LiveFitNow Online: making getting results simple.