Friday, 29 March 2013

1 big tip for fat loss!

Keep things SIMPLE!

When starting a diet/healthy eating plan, try not to get sucked in by all these 'fad diets' out there, that sound crazy but claim that they work. There are many diets out there that stick by the stupid 'no carbs' rule. This is 100% NOT the way to go to become fit and healthy, why?? because its not sustainable. Your body NEEDS carbs, so not eating them is not a good thing. Other diets cut out all fruits, or even a lot of veg. Without letting my personal feelings about those 'companies' take over, they are just not sustainable. Can you do those kinds of diets for the rest of your life? no, you cant, so don't bother wasting your time or money. As soon as you start eating the foods that those diets 'ban', you will put weight back on.

Imagine if you did get sucked into one of those diets, and you went out for a meal with friends, how annoying will selecting a 3 course meal be? I certainly wouldn't bother. The best way to lose fat, get lean and in shape, is to keep things simple. Stick to eating lots of fruit, vegetables, protein and drinking plenty of water. Most fruit and veg have hardly any calories compared to meats, so you can eat plenty of them. As i have said in previous posts, you will do dam well to get overweight by eating fruit and veg! I personally have not come across one person who has. 

If you stick to eating lots of fruit, veg, protein and drinking plenty of water throughout the day, that is a simple way to lose weight. I personally do not believe in calorie counting as so many people end up getting annoyed and fed up. If you eat those foods, you don't have to calorie count, because you know your putting nothing but goodness into your body, so there is little to no fat for the body to store. A lot of people who want to lose weight become obsessive, weighing/measuring everything to 'the t', which is not enjoyable. If you know that the meals you consume are healthy, and your getting regular exercise in (preferably intense training) then you WILL lose weight. Its up to you how hard you work out and how committed you are diet wise. 

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

How to get rid of love handles!

I think this has to be the most common question a woman asks any trainer or nutritionist. Love handles are simply a part of the body where fat is stored. From recent studies, it is the part of the body that women in the UK hate the most, but don't worry, it can be fixed!

Now, as love handles are simply a place where fat is stored, it means that eating healthy and performing fat burning exercises, they will go away (wahoo!). Diet is crucial, because if you continue to eat fatty foods, and you have love handles, any fat you store will go straight to them. There are certain areas of the body where fat is stored, these are; the buttocks, thighs, hips (love handles) back, stomach and upper arms. Some of those are more common than others, but the hips are very common for women.

Firstly, you want to start by changing your diet. By taking out junk food, sugary foods, cakes etc, and piling in plenty of protein. water, fruits and vegetables, you will lose an 'x' amount of weight, simply by doing that! With just changing your diet, yes you will lose weight, but it will be at a pace that many people will think is too slow. To speed things up, you want to include some high intensity cardio training. By including exercises such as interval sessions on the treadmill, spin bike and rowing machine, this will burn a lot of calories and fat. Those exercises are hard work and people do find cardio training boring, but, do you want to lose the love handles?? then do it!

As well as cardio training, you want to include some toning exercises. These can include sit ups, crunches, leg raises, cycle crunches, lunges, side lunges, oblique sit ups and dumbbell side bends. All of those exercises target the core of the body, which will tone it up, making it firmer and giving a thinner waist. A big trick to having a thinner waist, is to tone the abs and obliques. This is because it will 'tighten up' the waist, pulling in the love handle area, therefore giving you a thinner waist! (similar to what a corset does)

So, to sum up - eat plenty of protein, fruits and veg, moderate carbs and drink plenty of water. Cut out all fatty foods, sweets, even alcohol! Get in the gym and perform lots of core exercises to tone up your mid section.

Hope this helps!

Saturday, 23 March 2013

How to 'cure' a hangover

To start with, there is no 'cure' for a hangover, there is not just one thing you can do that will take it away, but there are things to speed up the recovery. Anyone that has gone out for the night, drank too much, will know how bad you feel when you wake up - head spinning, feeling sick, feeling like your 'dying'.

To your body, alcohol is poison. So if you have eaten before going out, that food will get 'left' as your body will rush to process the alcohol, to clear it out of your system asap. This means that any food you eat, whether its pizza, burgers, chips, or even a healthy meal, any fat in those foods will get stored on your body as your body will think of it as - 'the food is not harmful, but the alcohol is, get rid of it!!'. That is the same for the 'post clubbing burger and chips', it will just get stored as fat as your body is still busy processing the alcohol.

When you wake up, your body is craving good food (not a greasy fry up! that's just what YOU want, not your body) and water! So you want to spend the day giving your body nothing but 'goodness'. From the moment you wake up, you want to drink plenty of water. This will help to flush out the alcohol from the night before. I would recommend to eat a breakfast based on eggs. Eggs have a good protein 'kick', and combine them with some wholemeal toast, a piece of fruit and a glass of water, and you have the best hangover breakfast cure. When lunch time comes along, you want to have some carbohydrates and protein. This will give your body energy to keep flushing out the 'poison' and the protein will help fill you up.

People say the best cure is to not drink in the first place, but i know that people will not do that. I know that everyone loves to go out and enjoy themselves, and most people do drink. If your trying to lose weight, then obviously minimise your alcohol intake. But if your not actively trying to lose weight, then the above steps will help you feel a lot better.

Hope this helps!

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

One for the ladies!

This is something that i get asked often by female clients and women in general. Does weight loss affect breast size?

Well, breasts are mostly made up of fatty tissue. Considering weight loss plans are made up of fat burning exercises, then breast size will be affected. Breasts are also made up of 'the mammary glands', responsible for producing milk. If someone's breasts are made up more of mammary glands (a pregnant lady for example) then weight loss will not alter the size that much. However, if someone's breasts are made up mostly by fatty tissue, then losing a lot of weight will affect the size, resulting in a smaller band and cup size.

One thing to keep in mind, is the word 'proportion'. Lets take someone who is overweight but also has a large chest as an example. If that woman loses a lot of weight, including a reduction in breast size, the 'proportion' size of a smaller frame with smaller breasts will be similar to a larger frame with larger breasts. This is because if you lose a lot of weight, waist/hip/chest measurement will get smaller, you will become a 'smaller person', so having a smaller bust will actually be a similar proportion to being overweight with a big bust.

To help avoid 'sagging', you want to lost weight at a safe rate. If you lost a lot of weight in a short space of time, your body will not have time to react. However, a few pounds a week will give your body enough time to react and change your with the ongoing weight loss. 'Crash diets' and sudden weight loss can create 'loose skin' on the body, whether its breasts, stomach, legs or arms. By eating healthy, keeping hydrated, losing weight at a safe pace, you can help to avoid this. Once the weight has been lost, you can actually do a few 'tricks' to alter your breasts in a small way, and that is by weight training. By toning your muscles, mainly your chest muscles, it can help 'lift' your breasts, reducing a 'sagging look'.

So, in simple terms, weight loss will affect breast size, but that is not a bad thing! You can avoid 'sagging' by losing weight the smart way. But as breasts are mainly fatty tissue, there is no way in avoiding size reduction when on a weight loss plan.

Starving your body and weight loss

I personally read so many posts on Facebook and Twitter, from people who want to get in shape for the summer/for their holiday, and they starve themselves, thinking that is how to lose weight. People tend to think if they starve their body and go to the gym, they will have a body like Mila Kunis. This is wrong. I will guarantee that Miss Kunis does NOT starve her body get in shape for her latest movie. It sounds crazy by saying ‘eat more and lose weight’, but its true. You have to fuel your body with the right calories in order to lose weight. If you will be going to the gym 3-4 times a week, then you will need to fuel your body for those workouts, and your day to day activities. If your someone that needs to lose a lot of weight (i.e. 10st) then you won’t need to fuel yourself for the workouts as much, as your body will have a lot of fat (stored energy) to burn off.

I have read different figures, but to cover all bases, I will say this. Anywhere below 600kcal per day is considered as starving your body. I have seen ‘diet companies’ actually provide people that need to lose only a few stone, with 450kcal per day diets, which is just criminal and those people should not be allowed to practice nutrition! If you do that, your body is going to cling onto the fat you already have stored, because it goes into ‘crisis mode’. Once you stop starving yourself and eat food on a regular basis, your body will grab those calories and fat, and hang on to them for dear life. This is because a body is NOT designed to be starved, your body needs food, so if you starve it, it will panic. So what is the point in starving yourself? Enjoy healthy food and workout!

To lose weight, you NEED to eat food, healthy food and in correct portions. If you really want a ‘hot bod’, then you need to get yourself a gym membership, workout regularly, eat a healthy, balanced diet, full of protein, veg, fruit, carbs and healthy fats. If you do this? You WILL lose weight and get in shape. It takes dedication and motivation, but it’s worth it! As long as you are burning more calories than you consume, you WILL lose weight. 

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Cut calories & fat!

This is one tip that i tell my clients and advise many others to do.

If you walk into your kitchen and can see chocolate, crisps, biscuits etc, then those are the foods you will snack on. Those foods are high in bad calories and fat. So, if your someone who is wanting to lose weight, put away the bad foods!

If you make sure that healthy foods are on show, then you would snack on them. If you have fruit bowls around the house, then you are far more likely pick up an apple or a mango to eat as a snack, instead of biscuits. If you want to keep the 'bad foods' in the house, then put them away, far away! Make sure they are in a cupboard or in a draw, i even know someone that keeps them in a safe and only their partner knows the pin code! That is a little extreme, but at least the healthy foods get eaten and not the fatty ones!

So, by simply hiding the bad foods and putting healthy ones on show, this will cut a lot of unwanted calories and fat. This in turn will shed those pounds! Before you know it, you won't find yourself wanting to raid the biscuit tin, as you will be more than happy raiding the fruit bowl!

Friday, 15 March 2013

Calorie counting, Should you do it?

Whenever you hear about weight loss, the one word that always seems to be mentioned is ‘calories’. This can be a controversial subject, with many trainers/nutritionists believing in different things. To put it in blunt terms, calories are energy. Fat has the most calories per gram with 9, carbohydrates and proteins have 4. There are many different diets out there that monitor what you eat and drink in one way or another, but they all have one thing in common, measuring. For example, there are diets out there that stick to a certain calorie intake, meaning you have to add up everything you eat, which let’s be honest, is a bit annoying!

My personal view on calorie counting, is you don’t have to do it. I think the only times when calorie counting should be done, are when someone is morbidly obese, or if you want to get ‘cut’ (bodybuilders, extremely low body fat percentage). The reason for counting with those two scenarios are this. When someone is morbidly obese, they need to be eating below a certain amount of calories, in order to drop the weight (usually trying to get to a weight limit for surgery). With bodybuilding, they have such low body fat percentages, they HAVE to stick to a strict calorie intake. They need to make sure they get enough of healthy fats, carbohydrates and protein, and the only way to do that is to measure. By doing that, they can achieve the very low body fat percentage that they are after.

If the everyday person, who wants to lose weight, sticks to calorie counting, they will soon get annoyed, fed up and lose motivation. This is because it can become tedious; having to measure out everything they eat and drink. The people that turn to a healthy diet are most probably used to having takeaways, ready-meals, convenience food. So if they then have to go into a strict calorie counting diet, they will most likely think – ‘Ah this is too annoying, ill just go back to my old ways’. I believe if you eat healthy foods, smaller portion sizes, you don’t have to calorie count. This is because your typical healthy foods don’t have that many calories. A lot of fruit and veg are low calorie and near to no fat. Healthy proteins such as chicken and turkey are high protein and low-ish calories. When eating a diet packed with fruit, veg, lean meats, healthy fats, you don’t have to worry about calorie counting. It is extremely difficult to gain weight eating healthy foods. It can be done, but you have to eat so much that it is pretty darn unlikely!

So, to sum up, I don’t believe you have to calorie count unless you are morbidly obese or want to have a really low BFP. Eat healthy foods, smaller portion sizes, treats in moderation, lots of water, and you WILL lose weight. 

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

The "Diet Chef" Method

Most of you would have seen adverts for weight loss companies such as ‘Diet Chef’. These companies are different; I will give them that, but are they any good? Should you invest your hard earned cash and trust in them?

So, how do they work? Well, in blunt terms, they work in the same way as picking up the phone and ordering a fatty, greasy take away. I personally have not used Diet Chef, but the method is simple. (I am simply using Diet Chef as an example, instead of naming all of the companies) When using a company like Diet Chef, you have meals delivered to your door. I have looked at some, and yes, they do look healthy, and nice, but is it a good method? Here is my view.

If you have an upcoming event, such as, a photo shoot, a wedding, a red carpet (if you’re a celeb!) then this method MAY work for you. That is if you’re looking for a quick weight loss, rather than a permanent weight loss. By eating meals that get delivered to you that you know are healthy, low fat etc, then yes, of course you can lose weight. Now here is the bad part. By doing it this way, you’re just going to be used to getting food delivered to your door, you pop it in the microwave/oven, ‘cook’ it and then eat. What does that remind you of? That’s right, those (actually unhealthy) microwave meals you can get from your local supermarket. What is it also like? Well.... ordering food to your house.... I think that sounds like ordering that ‘good old’ fatty takeaway. So, by doing this, you’re not learning anything, you’re not getting used to shopping for healthy, nutritious foods, your simply eating what your given. A method such as Diet Chef is NOT a long term thing, so you cannot do that for the rest of your life. So, when you stop, for whatever reason, you’re going to be ‘lost’ again, back to not knowing what to eat, when to eat, how much to eat, how to cook certain foods, shopping without just straying to the cake isle etc etc. That is the bad part of this method.

If you want permanent weight loss, you have to change your lifestyle, your way of thinking about foods, learn how to prepare and cook healthy, tasty meals. By simply ordering meals, regardless if they are healthy or not, is not a long term weight loss solution, it’s just a ‘quick fix’. All of these ‘fad diets’ out there, are they recommended by nutritionists and personal trainers? No. (If they are, lord help us!) THE best way to lose weight and KEEP it off, is to go and see a nutritionist, get a proper nutrition plan, which educates you and changes your way of thinking, and get a personal trainer. That method has been used for many, many years. How long has Diet Chef been around? And all of the other ‘fad diets’? Not that long. Many of them pop up each year, and many die out each year. There is a reason for that. 

Sunday, 10 March 2013

How to REALLY get a 6-pack!

I think the abdominals are the most talked about part of the body. Whether its women who want a flat stomach, with some tone, or a guy wanting a cut 6-pack, the abs are the most sought after and hardest part to get right.

So many people, still to this day, think they have to do tons of crunches and sit ups to get washboard abs. That is just wrong. The way to get abs worthy of a magazine cover model, you have to reduce your body fat percentage. You can train your abs all you want, but if you have fat covering them, how can anyone see them? Believe it or not, sit ups are not actually the best way to get great abs, there are a ton of exercises out there that are better. The best way to get great looking abs, is to actually use them in your training. A lot of people think squats are one of the best ab building exercises, as your body relies on your core so much during that movement. Exercises using cables, free weights, leg raises, and so many more, are all great at building up those abs.

But how do you reduce body fat? Well, that brings us back to good old cardio training! In my previous post, I spoke about spin classes, and that is one of the best ways to burn calories and fat. High intensity training is the way to go. By working your body hard, keeping your heart rate up, pushing your body to the limit, you will burn the most fat. Exercises such as spin classes, high intensity circuit training, rowing machine, treadmill, are all great at burning fat.

Don’t waste your time doing 100 sit ups a day and expecting a 6-pack to pop up, because if you have fat covering your abs, doesn't matter how many sit ups you do, you won’t have a 6-pack. So, get rid of the fat, train your abs, and that is how you get that 6-pack!

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

One of the best classes - Spinning!

I often get asked - what are the best classes to do? what are the best ones for weight loss? One class that i always recommend people and my clients is spinning. I'm a big fan of spinning (even though its hard!) as it pushes you to your limit. But don't worry, its safe to do! just make sure you go to a class that is taught by a qualified instructor.

For those who don't know what spinning is or know very little about it, i'll explain. Spin classes are cardio sessions that use the spin bike. Spin bikes are different to the everyday exercise bike that you can purchase about about £100. They mimic a real bike by having a more advanced flywheel, which gives you the feeling of being on a real bike on the road/cross country. Classes using spin bikes are hard work but burn a ton of calories! And will feel it the next day!

The best thing with a spin bike is you can go 'up and down' on the seat. Just like you see people on a bike in the streets, when they often are off of the seat, you can do this on the spin bike. By constantly changing from sitting on the seat, and raising yourself up, this hits more muscles, and is a lot harder, therefore burning a lot of calories! (the more muscles you use, the more calories you burn!)

I would definitely recommend taking a large water bottle/energy drink to your spin class, as you will lose a fair bit of fluid through sweating. The instructor will often give you a few moments on a regular basis to take some fluid on board!

Good luck!

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Alcohol and weight loss

This is a very common question I (and I’m sure a lot of other nutritionists/trainers) get asked. Everyone knows the way society is at the moment. People’s nightlife and social life are such a vital part in their day to day life. So what happens when they want to lose weight? Will their nightlife have to be put on hold?

When training for weight loss, the best and most effective way is to simply, train hard, diet harder. Someone’s diet during a weight loss program is key to succeeding, doesn't matter how much or how hard you train, if you feed your body poor nutrition, you’re not going to get the results your after. A lot of society now, drinks far too much, that’s just a fact. So how can someone who loves the nightlife, the clubbing, drinking, partying, lose weight? Short answer? They will have to either quit drinking or limit it. There is a term that is thrown around in the fitness world, and that is called ‘liquid calories’, and these can be damaging! People know that a chocolate cake from Starbucks will have a lot of calories and fat in it, but so many people do not know that alcohol is jam packed with calories! 

If your someone that goes out, drinking some glasses of wine/bottles of lager, then some shots, maybe some cocktails, and then staggers out of the club at 2am, starving, so you get drawn to the nearest burger van like a moth to a flame, you could be consuming way over 1500 calories in just that night! Add that to the calories you ate during the day, and I’m sure you could easily be over 3000 calories, and that is not good at all....
A tactic many people use, is to hardly eat anything the entire day, so when they drink, they don’t go over the 2000 calorie limit (women) or 2500 calorie limit (men). This is just bad, bad bad bad. By doing that, your body is in ‘starving mode’, and it needs food. So when you guzzle down that alcohol, firstly, you will get drunk quicker, absorbing those bad calories, but also, whatever food you eat (and that tends to be fast food on a night out) your body will cling onto it, so that fat and grease in the fast food meal you eat, will stay on you.

So, my answer to this oh so common question? Its simple, you simply cannot lose weight and be healthy if your life revolves around alcohol and night clubs. People that have a few drinks just on a Friday/Saturday night, either with family, or a meal out somewhere etc, that is okay, as it is in moderation.