Category filter:AllBetter Body ImageDream BigEat SmartFor Fit-prosMindset MojoRecover HarderTrain Savvy
No more posts
maria-fernanda-gonzalez-461521-unsplash-1280x1920.jpg

Every day as a Personal Trainer I hear more or less the same questions just asked in different ways.  I have the same conversations about fat loss, getting stronger about sets and reps and of course getting abs.

Here are the three most common questions I get as a personal trainer:

Will I get bulky?

This question is 100% from females, so guys read on.

For female’s, it is very hard to grow muscle naturally through exercise and nutrition as we have different hormones to men. If you’re just starting out to strength training and are absolutely going all out it in your training the top end of muscle gain over 1 year would be 4-5 kgs.

Most of us would be looking at about 2kgs in the first year if you are training regularly and consistently.

With your training is likely to be some body composition changes as in losing fat, and so your weight may actually be the same but you will have more muscle and less fat.

Getting bulky muscles will take a matter of years and dedicated training The bodybuilders you see looking swole have put years of dedication into their training, nutrition and lifestyle to achieve that look. Certainly, some of us are genetically blessed to put on muscle more readily or to have a body shape where muscle mass can appear unevenly distributed. If this is the case then have a look at your programming and individualise it to suit your needs.

How much Cardio should I do?

The second part of this question, spoken or unspoken is How much cardio should I do to burn fat?

The majority of people prioritize vast amounts of cardio and conditioning while starving themselves to see fat loss results.

Whilst this may work in the short run, to continue seeing results more cardio is needed and calories are reduced further. There becomes a point where there is nowhere left to reduce and progress stalls and then often weight returns.

This training can often lead an undesirable physique., where a person can be quite lean looking but still carry fit in trouble spots and have little muscle tone.

Proper amounts of cardio and conditioning work are healthy and fine to do. But they do not build shape and tone as strength training does. The majority of us are in the gym to tone up, create shape and sculpt some muscle which is where the weights come in.

While cardio burns calories and fat when you’re performing it, strength training has what is known as high EPOC or This is a fancy term for saying how long your metabolism is elevated after exercise.

Lifting weights also burn calories during the workout, whilst maybe not at quite the same rate as cardio, however, weights also have the benefit of EPOC ( Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption). Lifting weight burns calories after exercise due to muscle break down and repairing and EPOC. Lifting weights can burn calories for up to 38 hours after exercise due to muscle break down and repair.

Any movement will burn calories, walking, swimming, bike riding, however, some will burn at a higher rate than others.

What’s the best exercise to get abs

I am yet to meet someone in the gym who doesn’t list one of their goals to get abs. Unfortunately, most gym goers are not going to achieve this, due to misinformation and a lack of a clear goal as to how to get there. Getting abs is 99% nutrition,  what you are eating outside of the gym is going to have a far greater impact than the exercises you are doing on the gym floor.

To get abs you need to be visibly lean enough to see the abdominal muscles underneath. To get lean enough you need to be consistently in a calorie deficit for long enough for your body fat to drop to around 6 – 9% for guys and 12 – 15% for females. To get this result it is likely you will need to sacrifice some socializing, cut out alcohol and prep your food in advance to ensure you are getting the correct calorie intake. This requires dedication, commitment and proper planning.

When people tell me they are in the gym to do “ab day” or “core finisher” I always ask why? Core and structural abdominal exercises are great, they help with your posture, your balance and all sorts of daily life functions like walking, lifting and twisting.

Doing 100 crunches is probably going to hurt your back more than anything else.

If you have asked your trainer this question, googled it, or dreamt about it. Don’t worry you are not alone.

I have no doubt I will keep getting asked and keep answering these three questions for many years to come.

 

Have you downloaded my Free DIY resistance training program? 12 weeks of progressive training you can do from your living room.


qtq80-MDurig-1280x853.jpeg

Integrating exercise or movement back into a routine when you’re recovering from an Eating Disorder can be challenging, here are my top tips to help you get started.

 

1. Start slow, and have a plan and stick to it. Work on integrating one movement session into your normal routine and feeling comfortable with that before building to the next one. Work out the time frame you want to exercise for – 45 mins to 1 hour and plan what you will do during this time.

Don’t start haphazardly as you’re more likely to overdo or under do it. After each session review and reflect on what feelings came up for you? If you have a support team share your feelings with them.

 

2. A lot of people have found Yoga to be very beneficial during Recovery. Yoga can help to quieten the mind whilst also bringing awareness to your body position, muscles and movements. It can be challenging to sit in silence but it gets easier with time and practice. If you can I would recommend adding yoga into your schedule once a week either in a class or there are many classes you can access online.

 

3. Don’t feel pressured to do what everyone else is doing, movement doesn’t have to be in a gym and it doesn’t have to be hot and sweaty. Think about movement as something that brings pleasure and fun and take the focus away from calories burnt.

Some activities that you might like to consider are trying a dance class, hip-hop, salsa, contemporary. If you can try something outdoors bushwalking, kayaking or SUP.

If you like sky high movement Ariel silks, acrobatics and even adult gymnastics are really fun options.

 

4. If you are thinking about going into a gym environment a group class can be a fun environment with music, choreography and a good social environment. They are time capped and classes usually go for 45 minutes or 1 hour.

It is important to be aware of your triggers, avoid classes that focus on calories burnt, heart rate monitors or competing against each other. Also be aware that some instructors will also use food or body shaming as ways to motivate clients, this is not okay, if this occurs I suggest you leave the class.

 

5. For resistance training, I highly recommend getting the support of a trainer who has an understanding of eating disorders. Resistance training is great for strengthening bones, muscles, ligaments and can help to make a mind-muscle connection which creates mindful movement.

Having a structured program can help you to track your progress and also keep you from feeling confused or overwhelmed by all the machines and weights. Growing in strength and feeling what your body can do over how it appears can be a wonderful part of recovery.

 

6. Ditch the fitness trackers and avoid spending too much time in the cardio area, the constant display of calories is not beneficial for anyone. The benefits of taking a walk outside in the fresh air include mental clarity, reduced stress and anxiety and improved focus. Set aside 30 minutes and see if you can focus on the smells, sights and sounds around you. There are also some mindfulness apps that focus on ‘mindful walking’.

For more tips from trainers all over Australia, you can read the full article here.

Have you downloaded my Free DIY resistance training program? 12 weeks of progressive training you can do from your living room.


34b20fd86f767fd9dbf0f6624ad6975b.jpg

 

Clients often come to me and say they have read about this latest study in a fitness magazine, or another trainer has told them that they are not going to get the results they are seeking if they keep training the same way.

The article tells them they are making huge mistakes and they are unlikely to see much progress if they see any progress at all. This creates fear, confusion and anxiety for clients. Worrying that they are doing the wrong thing, that they are wasting their valuable time investing in the wrong training methodology. They get mad at themselves or mad at the trainer for clearly steering them in the wrong direction when there is certainly a better way.

These fitness myths lead to clients programming hopping, quitting something if they don’t see results fast enough and lots of confusion around exercise. This, in turn, makes it feel like exercise is hard work and needs a lot of energy and concentration and they are likely to quit as it feels too hard. As a trainer that is certainly frustrating and saddening to see clients quitting before they are able to start to see the rewards and benefits of exercise.

The gyms want to see you in there, paying money, chasing an elusive feeling of not good enough, working harder and harder until it becomes overwhelming and you quit.

Here are a couple of myths floating around that you may have heard one twice or too many times to count.

 personal trainer

1. That more time in the gym equates better results.

 

I’m sure you have seen the hashtags and messages implying that if you’re not smashing yourself 7 days a week at the gym your efforts are pitiful. People bragging about 3-hour sessions or double sessions on social media. More is certainly not better, double the time does not mean double the results.

There is a sweet spot in your training which is about enough exertion, effort and enough rest. The real magic of your training in the gym happens when you are resting and sleeping, that is the time when your muscles grow and recover stronger for the next day. Additional hours in the gym above that sweet spot are going to have very limited results.

Doing this consistently will lead to injuries, burn out, and completely screw up your relationship with fitness and yourself. Unless you are an athlete we don’t need to be doing 7 days a week, double sessions or 4 hours in the gym. A realistic aim is to work towards 2 -3 sessions of resistance exercise a week and increase activity outside of the gym.

 

2. Your results are solely coming from your workouts

Say you spend 1 hour a day at the gym, 4 days a week that is only 6.7% of the hours in your week. The time you spend in the gym may contribute to your results in the following ways.

  • Increased metabolism after working out
  • Boosted mood and endorphins
  • Muscle repair and recovery requiring more fuel throughout the day
  • Increased focus, motivation and alertness
  • More likely to make healthier food choices later in the day

Time spent in the gym can also have a negative effect if we don’t plan properly or tell ourselves the hard work is all done

  • Increased your appetite  cravings more likely to binge eat after a big cardio workout
  • Move less during the day as they are more tired or sore
  • More likely to overeat if they have told themselves they have done their workout for the day

Most of the physical results come from NEAT and nutrition. NEAT is Non-exercise activity thermogenesis, basically, any effort that comes from outside of the gym, running for the bus, moving boxes at work, or every time you go from sitting to standing. Increasing your daily activity by walking from the train, moving more at the office, investing in a standing desk, spending time outdoors on the weekends are easy ways to increase NEAT and get more movement outside of the gym,  and will have a bigger impact on your health and fitness than the 4 hours in the gym.

 

3. You must be smashed at the end of a workout for it to be beneficial

A workout does not need to leave you sweating, gasping and half dead to be beneficial. Unfortunately with the latest focus on HR monitors and calories burnt a workout is now a competition of who pushed themselves the hardest and with the most intensity. This also creates an intensity mindset which says working out is all or nothing.

Even if you know your body needs to rest and stretch you go to the gym and smash yourself because you don’t “burn or sweat” from a solid stretch session. This kind of thinking also takes the focus away from the numerous other benefits of exercise, including improved mood and reduced stress.(Read more here)

It also leads to more likelihood of injury, overtraining, and an unhealthy relationship with exercise. Anxiety can be created when a workout feels like it wasn’t hard enough and going back for a second session isn’t going to give you the best results, as mentioned above. An ideal training week looks like a mix of intensity’s, some cardio and some resistance training as well as planned rest and recovery session.

 

4. If your sweatier your burning more calories

The more you sweat, the harder you worked, the more calories you burn. You see this with the hot studios now, trying to trick you into thinking you burned a bucket load. It gives you the perception of working harder but has no overall effect on the energy used in your workout.

Instead, sweat is just your body trying to cool your skin and regulate your internal body temperature, and it depends on you, different people will sweat different amounts. So if you are using sweatiness as a guide to how much fat you burned, try to tune in to your internal cues instead.

 

EATING DISORDER COUNSELLOR

 

5. Fasted cardio is the cure for stubborn fat

The idea behind fasted cardio is that by burning energy first thing in the morning you can target specific body fat stores. Research does show this to may be true during your workout, however, it is the overall daily energy intake and usage which makes the most impact.

  • Are you are doing fasted cardio are you then going home and eating everything in the cupboard because you are starving?
  • Are your workouts sluggish and tired because you don’t have the energy?
  • Are you finding a massive afternoon crash when you run out of fuel?
  • And is this going to be something you can commit to long term?

For most of us, it is really going to make so little difference to your overall health that it is not worth worrying about. What is more helpful is to think about moving more in your daily life and focusing on eating nutritious whole foods.

6. You can spot target fat

I feel like this myth has come from the late night infomercials where the product promises to lose centimetres from your waist merely by hooking up some fancy electrodes that guarantee to lose 5cms in 5 mins per day. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!

There is no such thing as targeting a certain area to whittle away the fat. If you are losing fat your body will take fat deposits from certain areas based on your genetics. 20 minutes on the elliptical bike will not slim my thighs, neither will a full day of tricep work tone your arms.

Working with resistance exercise may change the shape of your muscle which may, in turn, lead to more shape in your arms or legs.

 

Personal training

 

7. The only way to improve your fitness is to go to the gym

I understand that a lot of people hate and dread exercise, the mention they feel sore the next day, it feels uncomfortable when you first start and its just something they don’t enjoy. This makes it twice as hard to get motivated, to stick with it when life gets tough, and to maintain it as a priority for your own health and wellbeing.

If you hate going to the gym, just go there because you feel you have to, or feel it’s the only way to maintain your weight, you don’t have to. Instead, find something you do enjoy and do as much of it as you can.

Pick up an old hobby you practised as a child

Learn a new skill such as dancing or horse riding

Join a team sport and find a fun community

Spend more time outside and walking before and after work or join a walking group.

Start yoga, all the benefits of flexibility and body awareness plus will help to reduce your cortisol- (stress levels) which have a huge impact on your sleep, digestion and overall health.

Let go of the idea that exercise has to be in the gym and has to be a punish.

 

You may have fallen for one or all of these myths at some time in your fitness journey. Thats ok, me too! If you want to learn to let go of the confusion and overwhelm and just focus on being the best version of yourself, I can help.

Have you downloaded my Free DIY resistance training program? 12 weeks of progressive training you can do from your living room.


qtq80-NBuNBh-1280x855.jpeg

I get it nutrition can seem super overwhelming and crazy, all these rules and diet, how do you know what it best for you?

Have you tried all the latest programs thinking this one will surely be the one, I’ve done the hard work for you so you don’t need to repeat my failures..

  • clean eating
  • if it fits your macros
  • paleo
  • low carb high protein
  • low carb high fat
  • high protein high carb no fat
  •  keto (lasted one day)
  •  intermittent fasting (lasted 2 hours lol)

My aim is to make it as simple as possible for you to be able to eat foods that nourish your body and give you energy and focus throughout the day.

Start with three regular meals a day

 I know for some people there is the temptation to skip breakfast or lunch in an attempt to lose weight.

Your body likes to have a regular supply of energy and when you are skipping meals it is more likely that your bodies hunger response will spike in the afternoon leaving you with cravings and energy slumps.

It may also lead to binging in the afternoon or evening, making poorer food choices and particularly lack of energy to be able to get motivated to go to the gym  or prepare healthier choices at home.

But I hear you saying I have heard it is more important to eat 6 meals a day?

This is recommended as a way to rev up your metabolism and boost fat loss, unfortunately, research show this is not necessarily true.

There are however some benefits to eating more frequently than 3 meals a day.

  • Energy slumps – if you are eating more regularly your body has more able to have a regular energy supply so you won’t hit the wall at 3pm
  • Brain fog – along with your body needing energy as does your brain and we often have ‘decision fatigue’ by then end of the day, so giving your brain a steady supply can help with focus and productivity
  •  Reduced cravings – often cravings for sugar can be when our blood sugar is low and our body is screaming for an energy pick me up

Eat breakfast

Breakfast literally means breaking the fasting period of the previous night.

Alot of people skip breakfast in an attempt to diet or just don’t make time to prepare something and grab a coffee and muffin on the way out the door.

Eating an energy filled and breakfast nutritious breakfast will give you benefits such as:

  • Improved learning/retention
  • Improved mood
  • Better food choices later in the day
  • Improved energy
  • Muscle preservation
  • Lower body fat
  • Increased strength
  • Lower cholesterol
  • Improved bowel movements
  • Balanced blood sugars

These are the sort of health benefits that will help us perform better in our daily life, live longer and stronger and improve our mental health.

Some suggestions for a energy and boosting breakfast

Include some protein dense food, eggs, fish, tofu

Eat enough food. If your feeling hungry at 10am eat more!

Eat real, unprocessed food

Include some real fats, yogurt, butter

Don’t be afraid to eat leftover dinner or vegetables for breakfast

Try whole grains, particularly helpful if you want to prepare something the night before

Consider your lifestyle

It is about what works for your lifestyle and your body, someone in an office with easy access to a kitchen may find eating 6 meals a day easy whereas someone who is super busy out on the road all the time will find it very challenging.

Recognize when you might be the busiest and need to most energy and ensure you have a good energy sourceon hand at the time

Similarly some people find 6 meals a day doesn’t agree with their body and leaves them feeling sluggish, I personally try to eat 4 -5 meals a day as I have worked out that feels great for my body and energy.

Start with simple and small steps, focus on building one habit at a time and then maintain that before moving on to the next one.

Want to level-up your nutrition and ditch the detox forever? Stuck in the dieting merry go round?

Take my online course Ditch the detox and eat right for your body.


adult-1866793_1920-1280x1223.jpg

How to boost your mood with exercise

There is plenty of research existing now that reports exercise and movement as a natural mood booster.  But how long does it actually take to reap those rewards?

It only takes around 5 minutes of moderate exercise for your body to get this effect of the mood-enhancing affect. Moderate exercise can be anything that get your heart elevated, gets you slightly out of breathe and warms your body which is the blood pumping faster.

All that’s needed is a 5 minute brisk walk around the block for an instant gratification mood boost.

During these 5 minutes the body is releasing feel good chemicals– serotonin and endorphins which are the body’s mood boosters. Moderate exercise also reduces the stress hormones: cortisol, noradrenaline, and adrenaline. These are the stress hormones which cause headaches, migraines, insomnia and irritability, and in excess are linked with depression, anxiety.

Don’t skip exercise when you’re feeling down

Often we skip the workout at the very time it has the greatest payoff.

Avoiding exercise when you feel bad is like deliberately staying up late after you had a terrible night’s sleep the night before and struggled through the day.

That’s the time you get the payoff.

When we feel this way is helpful to remind ourselves just how much better you feel when you exercise.

Think outside the box

Something a lot of weekend warriors struggle with is the concept of doing a shortened session. We can be caught in the trap of all or nothing thinking that an exercise session is at the least 1hour and must be a hard slog which leaves us feeling sweaty. This can play into those doubting thoughts when we are deciding whether to show up or not when we are feeling average.

 

Here are a couple of suggestions for mood boosting exercise:

  1. Take ten minutes at lunch time and walk around the block. Even better if you can get amongst some nature or trees as studies show that a walk in nature over an urban environment can reduce rumination.
  2. If you’re a gym go-er, make a list of your favourite exercises, set the timer for ten minutes and take yourself through an EMOM workout. Don’t overthink it, just do it, and remember to reflect on how you felt afterwards and store that memory in your hard drive.
  3. Do some light stretching or foam rolling at home, get your body moving and concentrate on breathing and muscle contractions. If you are not sure what to do jump on YouTube and have a look for 10 mins stretch sequence or mood bosting yoga.
  4. Go for a dip in the ocean or pool. The hypnotic regularity of a swim stroke and guidance of the black line on the bottom of the pool can provide a perfect opportunity for giving your mind some space to re-set whilst adding to the mood boosting endorphins.
  5. Borrow you friends/neighbours/ sister’s kids and play with them all afternoon: Frisbee, tag, soccer. Kids seem to have unlimited energy and I guarantee you will tire before they do. They don’t care if you’re not very good and you will have big brownie points for getting them outside and away from the screens.
  6. If you have a bit longer on the weekend go for a road trip and find a bushwalk or scenic track to try out. Take your time and enjoy the peace and quiet of nature.

Ongoing benefits of exercise on mental health

It is also important to recognize that continued and regular exercise also improves self-esteem and resilience, improves memory and cognition, reduces symptoms of anxiety and depression long term, and reduces risk of Alzheimer in older adults

Have you downloaded my Free 12 week DIY program? 12 weeks of progressive overload you can do from your living room.