Despite being a personal trainer and fitness enthusiast, I don’t actually like spending long periods of time exercising. Been there, done that. Many a time, in my days practising martial arts, did I have 8 hour training events with little more than a boiled egg and a glass of water to sustain me! It was fun at the time but I was younger then and childless, so I had plenty of time on my hands and a body which was much more forgiving than now, nearly 20 years later!
These days I prefer to partake in what I call ‘Efficient Exercise’. The idea is to get the maximum benefit in the minimum amount of time. For this reason, I am a huge advocate of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) which involves working flat out for very short periods of time and resting in between sets.
By using bodyweight exercises such as squats, press ups and their many variations, HIIT is a great way to get the heart pumping and strengthen the body too. It’s also really good fun and a brilliant way to challenge yourself - when you know it’s only for 30 seconds a time, you can push yourself to do almost anything!
After I’ve had a good old blast of HIIT, I like to slow things down a bit and really tune into my body by doing lots of stretching, core and balance work. This again relates back to my martial arts days, focusing inward and using the mind to connect with the body and the breath. Core work is key to strength and helps to improve everything we do with our bodies. Balance exercises force us to sharpen our focus and become fully aware of ourselves in the present moment thus serving as a kind of meditation in movement whilst strengthening from the inside out.
If you like to sound of my exercise ethos, you can contact me for personal training (Skype sessions available) or you can subscribe to my YouTube channel to get access to my HIIT, Core & Balance mini workouts which you can do yourself, at home! youtu.be/kY2Q-Ikznaw
I am also running my HIIT, Core & Balance classes at the Coddenham Village Hall on a Tuesday evening from 8.15-9.15pm and a Friday morning from 10-11am. Come along and try your first session for free. Booking essential.
For years we've been told that fat is bad for us and is the cause of heart disease, obesity and various other illnesses. We've been told to limit red meat because it raises our cholesterol, drink skimmed milk if we want to lose weight and use low fat spreads instead of butter because apparently they are better for us. Well it turns out that much of this information simply isn't true!
In actual fact, healthy fat from meat, fish, butter, eggs, dairy, nuts, avocados and olive oil is GOOD for us. It provides nutrients, helps our bodies to absorb vitamins and....now here's the interesting bit....encourages NATURAL AND PERMANENT WEIGHT LOSS!
That's right, FAT DOES NOT MAKE YOU FAT. It's actually carbohydrates in the form of sugars and starches that make you put on weight by raising blood sugar levels.
When you follow a Low Carb High Fat (LCHF) diet, you restrict carbohydrates such as sugary foods, pasta and bread and eat real foods such as proteins, vegetables and natural fats. Eating this way stabilises blood sugar levels and decreases the production of the fat storing hormone insulin. Your body starts to burn fat, you feel more satiated, you eat less and you lose weight.
However, following a LCHF diet is not just about losing weight. Studies have shown improved health markers and people who eat this way often report having more energy and improved mental clarity.
So forget counting calories and tasteless low fat foods. Just eat real, natural foods with lots of healthy fat!
How many of us at this time of year think to ourselves hmmmm… I may as well wait until the new year to get fit, go on a diet, lose weight. It’s almost like giving yourself the green light to just go for it and eat whatever you want. The nights are longer, the weather is colder, let’s face it, all you want to do is curl up on the sofa with a big bag of maltesers. Mmmmm….
No! Stop! Don’t do it! This whole idea of ‘starting afresh’ in the new year is closely linked to the classic diet binge/purge mentality. You know you’re starting a diet in a week...month...year and so you think “Sod it! I'll pig out now before the diet starts.” The trouble is DIETS DON’T WORK! If they did, you would only ever diet once.
Diets don’t work because, even if you do lose weight, it all piles back on once you stop the diet. It’s just not sustainable. What you need is a lifestyle change that enables you to lose weight naturally and to maintain that weight loss without having to count calories, starve yourself and feel miserable.
Small, progressive, consistent changes that make a real impact on, not only your weight and appearance, but also your health and the way you feel. Changes that you can maintain, not just for a few weeks or months to fit into those old jeans, but for your entire lifetime.
For me, being fit and healthy is not just about exercise. Exercise is great but you can’t outrun a bad diet and unhealthy way of life. Equally important is what you’re putting into your body, how much sleep you get and how you manage your stress levels. All of these things combined equate to a healthy, balanced lifestyle. The hard truth of the matter is, there’s no quick fix. It’s a continual process and you need to be committed. But once you get started and feel the benefits, you just won’t want to stop. So don’t wait till after Christmas. Summer bodies are built in winter. Start now, hit the ground running in January and sprint towards an amazing summer!