Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Mental weight loss!

I'm sure that if you ask 1000 people 'what do you have to do to lose weight?' they will all say - 'exercise', but is it just about that?

What works before your muscles? your brain, and that's where it all starts - in the mind. To lose weight, and keep it off for good, then you have to have a strong mind. People that are overweight/obese usually have one thing in common - a weak mind, which leaves their body vulnerable. Many things can trigger weight gain - a family/relation death, bullying, a sudden change in life, and many more. Its very easy to have something happen in your life which can lead to weight gain, but it takes a lot of strength to overcome that mindset which will then give you the power to lose weight. If you can look yourself in the mirror and accept that you have let yourself go and treated your body badly, then you can do something about it. Don't just give 'a diet a go', you need to give a full healthy lifestyle a go.

If you can focus your mind on taking back control of yourself, then you will lose weight and get in shape. There will be temptations along the way, but that's where your mind can kick into gear and say 'no thank you, I don't need that!'. By learning mental strength, you will then develop physical strength. It's known that your mind will quit before your muscles, and that is so true. People who don't quit and get through any challenge, often its not down to their physical strength or endurance, its down to the strength of their mind.

Your body can do far more than you think it can, but it needs to be told by your brain. If you easily quit, you will never succeed.

You need to focus on why you want to lose weight, what things you currently cannot do because of your weight, what things could you potentially not be able to do if you gain more weight, and what your life would be like if you lost the weight. Focus on those things and you will have the motivation and will power to overcome the obstacles that lie ahead.

It will be tough.....both physically and mentally, but will it be worth it in the end??

Hell yes!

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Supplements Vs food

Time and time again I hear or read about guys stocking up on 'supps', tweeting every time they down a shake, and never hear/read what meals they have? Too many people seem to rely purely on supplements and neglect real food.

Supplements are used as a 'top up' to your diet, not to actually replace all of your meals. The common supps that people buy tend to be in powder form, and its not good to keep chucking powdered drinks down your throat. The good protein shakes out there can have about 24g protein in them, which is very good, but some of them don't contain much more than just protein, whereas with food you get a variety of nutrients. Supplement companies have become aware of this, and there are some supplements that have got extra 'goodness' packed into them, but its still not as good as food.

Things like protein shakes are great for 'on the go' people, who need a 'top up' but haven't got access to a kitchen to cook up a healthy snack. They are also very convenient. When you have just finished a workout, your body is craving some carbs, protein and other nutrients, and its so easy to down a protein shake and eat a banana, than it is to sit and eat a meal, especially if your in a rush. So shakes have their place, but they are NOT meal replacements.

When someone is training to become a lot bigger and stronger, they naturally need more nutrients, and sometimes you can't get enough from food (as eating enough food can become expensive, and even hard work!)  so you need to take supplements to make sure your getting enough. Its similar to someone who has an illness and is on very strong drugs - they often get told that the drugs can 'sap' nutrients that you consume, so that person needs to eat more to get enough.

Lastly, its also about satisfaction. You can buy your favourite flavour of protein, but I bet its no way near as good as eating your favourite meal.So make sure you get your nutrition right before buying supplements. If you are eating crap, there is no point in taking supps. Good training + good nutrition + good addition of supplements = great results!

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

'Digital weight gain'

What does the digital world and overweight people have in common? They have both sky rocketed over the last 5-10 years.

Go back 10 years and there was no such thing as 'online shopping', social networking sites (as we know them today) and apps such as whatsapp. The digital world has had a major impact on people's day to day lives, but are there problems...

How easy is it now to do your weekly shopping? You simply go on a website or app such as Ocado, click what items you want, and click checkout! You can do it on the sofa in front of the tv, or even in the bathroom! I'm not saying that physically going shopping at a supermarket burns 1000 calories a time, but at least you go out, walking around doing your shopping, its at least some exercise. It's not just grocery shopping that people do online, its also every other kind of shopping - clothes for example. There will be a fairly big percentage of people that will do all of their shopping online, and won't go out to actual stores. Not only has that hit the stores big time, but it also takes away a lot of exercise that people used to get. Some people are literally so busy that going shopping would have been the only exercise they could fit in (mon-fri anyway), so by taking all of that walking around away, that's taking the only exercise they could do, away. But what else does it do? it makes people lazy - they simply open the app or webpage, click buy, and wait for it to be delivered. So they get into a bad habit of 'click, buy, wait', rather than getting up off of the sofa and using their legs.

Children (and some adults) are even having their 'social life' over the internet, rather than face to face. That in itself doesn't cause weight gain, but by staying at home and talking to your friends, rather than going out socialising, can cause loneliness and even depression - which are both triggers for weight gain. Cyber bullying is a very common trigger for excessive eating these days, and it hits children hard because when they are on the internet in the comfort of their own home, they should feel safe. But when they have other people messaging them with abusive comments, and also get similar things at school, there is just no 'getting away from it' - home or school, they still get bullied.

The 'digital world' has transformed the world, making people's lives easier, but is it all actually good....? I'll leave you with that question.

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Why is childhood obesity on the rise?

I read a disturbing quote in a newspaper the other day, that said if things carry on the way they are, parents will be burying their children because of obesity. That in itself is horrible to read, no parent should have to bury their son/daughter. Granted, tragedies like car crashes can take someone's life regardless of their age, but its just wrong that someone can die from obesity. So why is childhood obesity on the rise? I have a few theories...

Children becoming obese is mostly down to how they are raised. Children don't go out doing their own weekly food shop, their parents do it, and schools feed them food that they choose to have on offer. Those two things are what I believe starts the weight gain in children. I myself am not a parent, but I would hate to see my son/daughter becoming overweight, I couldn't bare it. I would want my children to grow up healthy, fit, strong, so they can enjoy being a child - running around at school, playing football, cricket, tag, and other games they like to play. When a child becomes overweight/obese, they can no longer do those things, and if they can still do them, that's when they get bullied by other children. Weight is in your control, if your a child, most of that control is with the parents, and if your an adult, its down to you. I believe that health should come first, no matter what. I know the economy has been awful the last 5 years or so, and people have used that almost as an excuse - 'I don't have the money to buy healthy food'. But I have watched programs and done my own research showing that it is actually rather expensive to live off junk food. So I don't really buy that as a reason, I think its just an easy escape route. I honestly don't know how parents can be happy watching their children growing up putting on weight. A lot of them will say they are not happy, and it upsets them, which is completely understandable. But they have the power to change that, to stop wasting money on junk food and going to fast food restaurants. Make cut backs in other parts of your day to day lives and spend a tad more money on healthy food, it will make a huge difference.

School meals have been in the news for ages now, and I'm not sure how much has been done about that problem, but I know that Mr Jamie Oliver has done so much work to try and get schools to offer healthier meals. The only reason schools offer fatty foods is because its cheaper for them to buy. They don't think its worth spending more money on food because then they can spend more money on other things to do with the school (or in some cases, give massive pay rises....) Surely children s health should be at the top of the agenda??? obviously not. You can get around this by taking packed lunches that are made fresh at home and are healthy, but kids don't tend think that is 'cool', but if everyone did it, it would be. When you are a young child, they tend to burn a lot of calories because of how active they are (even though kids are becoming less and less active nowadays...) so if they don't put on weight at a young age, and carry on eating junk, when they get older, they will most likely continue eating junk but no longer burning so many calories - meaning weight gain will hit them like a train. I personally know people that were normal weight during the school years, but when they hit late teens and now early 20's, they have gained a lot of weight....and then it almost becomes an 'addiction' and that's where it becomes real tough to reverse that and shift the weight.

I think I will leave it there, I could go on a lot longer but wouldn't want it to become a gigantic post! I honestly believe childhood obesity is getting worse because of the decisions made by the people that are supposed to be responsible for those kids. End of the day, they are just that - kids! they have no responsibilities, they just want to do whatever they want, they don't go food shopping or cook their meals, that is all done for them - and those people are the ones that can really help this problem that this country and also worldwide, is suffering with.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Overweight excuses

Over time, I have heard a lot of different reasons (I call them excuses) as to why people are overweight. So here are some of the most common ones that I (and other trainers/nutritionists) hear regularly - don't let this be you!!

- I don't have time to exercise
- I've tried every diet out there, I just can't lose weight
- Its in my genes to be overweight, I can't help it
- Healthy food is too expensive
- I don't have time to cook
- I work all of the time
- I have a super slow metabolism
- My medication causes me to put on weight
- I don't want to eat salads every day
- My body retains too much water
- I'm big boned

These things are easy to say, and that's what excuses are - an easy escape route. Because the subject of weight is sensitive, if someone who is overweight/obese said 'I just have a slow metabolism', their friends are likely to say something along the lines of 'aww that's so bad! is there anything a doctor can do to speed it up?'. This is because friends won't come out with the truth - which is that they are just making excuses and need to get up off of the couch and get moving. Granted, I know that there are rare cases that someone might have a super slow metabolism, caused by something, but nearly all of the time its an excuse.

I do believe that behind every overweight/obese person, there is a 'trigger', something that has caused the excessive weight gain, whether that could be from childhood bullying, a family loss, depression or many other reasons. Top trainers (like Jessie Pavelka) get inside the mind of that person, attack the root cause of the weight gain, understand why they have gained so much weight, and then they can fix the number on the scales. I think the most common reasons for weight gain are depression and bullying (which can be linked). Once you find the trigger, you can then fix the problem. So, stop using those excuses, take responsibility, and attack the problem head on - it will be tough, could be emotional, but at the end of the day, it will be so worth it....

Friday, 9 August 2013

'Eating for fat loss' - really?

Well, how often do you hear this term - 'eat for fat loss'? I personally hear it a lot, and I have to say, its not a very good term... Whilst it is true that some foods can accelerate calorie burn, there are no such foods that simply 'melt fat away'.

Its so easy to get 'sucked in' to these magazine articles that claim if you eat 'x' foods, then you will drop 3 dress sizes in a week. But to be frank, its pretty much a sales pitch. If you speak to anyone that is fit, healthy, has a low body fat etc, and ask what their diet is like, I can guarantee you that it doesn't contain just foods that are linked with burning calories faster. Their diet will consist of foods that are just 'healthy foods'.

If you are someone that wants to drop their body fat, and get that 'cover model' body, then just forget about 'eating for fat loss', and concentrate on eating to be fit and healthy. To get a low body fat percentage is a simple equation - regular, intense exercise + low fat, high protein, moderate carbs diet = low body fat. (that is a shortened down version as the diet part is a little longer than those three things, but you get the point!)

The problem with 'fat loss' and 'nutrition', is that every year there are a bunch of new foods that are apparently amazing 'fat burners', so everyone that wants to lose weight jumps on board, hoping to burn unwanted fat with a few foods, it's just not going to happen. Same to be said about 'fat burner pills', but that's another story....

So, if you want to shift some fat, then just forget about 'eating for fat loss', and just concentrate on training hard, eating a variety of healthy foods (lean protein, complex carbs, fruit, lots of vegetables, cut the fat and sugar) and most of all - be consistent and have discipline.

Monday, 5 August 2013

'I've tried every diet, I just can't lose weight'

I'm not sure if you have, but I have definitely come across some people that have claimed to have tried every single 'diet' out there and then use the excuse of 'I just can't lose weight', end up blaming it on their genes or something.... So, I thought I would do a post to clear up a few things...

Firstly, when people say something like 'I have tried every diet out there', that simply means they have been enticed by the 'fad diet' companies that try and flog some half hearted attempt at weight loss. There are SO MANY of these companies around, preying on people that are in fact desperate to lose weight, knowing they will try anything. That does make me rather angry. There are some companies that claim to employ nutritionists and then sell you 6 months of powdered food - what kind of nutritionist tells you to drink low calorie shakes 5 times a day??? crazy! But all of these kinds of companies cost money, and often, they aren't cheap. To me, that is not 'trying every kind of diet out there', because to me - there's no such thing as a 'diet'. A 'diet' means something that you 'go on' and then eventually 'come off of'. Instead of looking for the word 'diet', try looking for words such as healthy eating. This is because eating healthy is not a diet, its simply a way of living - which means you don't necessarily 'come off' of it. 

Its easy to sign up to a 'fad diet' where you pay a monthly fee and buy their products instead of going food shopping yourself, but is that sustainable? hell no. I tell all my clients the same thing - 'If you can't do it for the rest of your life, then don't do it at all'. I think this is a great saying. Its like the companies that deliver meals to your house every week, can you do that for the rest of your life? no, they may not even be around in 3 years time! So what happens when that stops? you will most likely to back to your old habits. 

If you are one of the people to have used the line of 'I've tried everything', then my advice is to stop lying to yourself - harsh? maybe, but its just simply not true. Losing weight and getting in shape takes hard work - there is no easy route. That hard works takes place in both the gym and the kitchen. You cannot be lazy if you want to look good and feel good - cook your own healthy meals, go to the gym regularly, walk more, take the stairs instead of the lift and so on. I bet most people who have used the line above have not tried the hard work route - because it works! 

So, to 'sum up' - don't bother with these 'fad diets' that are purely their to take your money. Get a gym membership, get a nutritionist and work your butt of! 

I do have a very simple and easy to follow weight loss healthy eating plan (which is pretty much like a guide, giving you the info you need) that you can purchase on my website - 

Thursday, 1 August 2013

A human, a formula 1 car, and personal training

Those who know me, know that I am a massive formula 1 fan, obsessed is probably the best word! So I have decided to do a post to show you guys that a human body and a formula 1 car, are in fact similar! The reason I want to do this, is because I have had friends come to me asking if I know a good trainer that won't over complicate things, but come across in a way that they know what they are talking about. How does that tie in with an f1 car? bare with me....

A formula 1 car is one heck of a complicated piece of kit, not only to build, but to actually 'run' and drive. On a race weekend, they spend three practice sessions 'tuning' the car to the specific needs of the track they are at, and even then, they don't always get it right! Then, when it comes to race day, they make sure everything is good, then fire up the car and the drivers do their 'out lap' to the grid. Whilst on that lap, they are checking the systems. They then park the car on the grid where the tyres are covered in the blankets to keep them warm. Then on the warm up lap, the drivers have to work like crazy in the cockpit - checking the systems again, warming up the brakes, warming up the tyres, getting the tyres to the correct pressure levels, making sure everything is as good as it can be to get the best start. Does that relate to a human? of course! Mr Bolt doesn't just walk in the stadium and go to the blocks and sprint, he has to prepare his body in a specific way. BUT! whenever you hear a driver or team principle talking about something to do with the car, no matter how complicated it is, they will tell you in such a simple way, and that is what I love! That is what personal trainers should be like. 99% of the time, someone goes to the gym and hires a PT to either lose weight or gain muscle, they don't want that trainer to talk to them in the most complicated way, because 1) they aren't interested in the technical side of the body and/or 2) they will just feel overwhelmed.

Trainers that tend to do that, I have found, are ones that want to show off how much they know, and I don't really like that. Personal training is all about the 'personal' part. Clients want to get along with their trainers, trust them, like them, laugh with them, work hard with them. They don't want a biology lesson. Granted, there are some people that do get into it and start asking questions and learning, but that is not the majority of people. Back to the f1 comparison - most of the public would like to know how something works on the car, but they don't want the in depth complicated explanation, so that's why drivers and teams give the simplified versions. A personal trainer is there to get results, not to be a school teacher, if you're genuinely interested, then that is perfectly fine, but if you feel overwhelmed and don't feel connected to your trainer, then get a new one.

Both a human body and a formula 1 car, are very complex machines, and both can be described in scientific language, but does everyone want to hear that? no.... I like to compare things to do with nutrition and fitness to things such as formula 1, because my clients can understand it better. It doesn't feel like I'm just reading something out of a text book to them, because lets face it - anyone can do that. The best trainers out there have their OWN style, and their own way of getting the necessary information across. A lot of trainers like to over complicate things, once again - to show off their knowledge and give the 'look at me! i'm amazing!' impression. The good trainers out there actually do educate their clients about health and fitness, but not in the way of preaching textbooks, but by simply training them with their own style. Those are the kids of trainers people should pay for.