Friday, 27 December 2013

Why do most 'diets' fail?

I have lost count with how many 'diets' I have seen out there, but are they good? I don't think so, because so many of people fail using them.

Most 'diets' out there are kind of known as 'fad diets', meaning they are pointless to be honest! To lose weight and change your body, requires a lifestyle change, not to just sign up to some diet on the internet. Many of these diets are extremely low calorie diets, which are NOT good for you, and can never EVER be sustainable. I hate companies that sell a diet that gives you 600 calories per day, because you can never do that for the rest of your life. You will go on it for a few weeks/few months, lose a bit of weight, and stop. What happens next? You go back to your normal life, cooking your own meals, shopping for food, eating out etc etc. You will gain the weight you lost, because your body has been starved for a period of time, and will cling onto the food you start eating. Also, a lot of these diets do not educate people, so once they stop, they don't know what they should be eating, how much, how to cook it properly - therefore they go back to their old ways, or back to the company and pay EVEN more money and go on a 'diet' that is not healthy.

I have said it so many times and I know I will have to say it for the rest of my career, but to get in the shape you want, you have to put effort in, and even learn a few new skills such as cooking.

Many people end up getting fed up with their 'diet' because its too strict - they can't eat any of their favourite foods or go out enjoying themselves. I am not a fan at all of diets that are 'shakes', that give a set calorie limit and you have 3-5 shakes per day. This is what I call a lazy diet, because you do nothing. So as soon as you stop it, you have no idea what to do, because all you are used to is mixing up shakes. This is what I mean by a lifestyle change, you can't just expect to drink a few shakes and your body is transformed forever.

Most diets fail because people lack the effort, but they also fail because so many of them are short term fixes, instead of long term results. Eat healthy, exercise regularly - you can do that for the rest of your life!

Monday, 23 December 2013

Do you ACTUALLY want to get in shape?

Some people say they want to get in shape, but to many, its just words. Changing your body into something that you are happy with and proud of takes a lot of work and dedication, and some are simply not up to the task.

If you are someone who is overweight, but wants a body like Nicole Scherzinger, but not willing to give up certain things (like alcohol and your daily junk food) then you simply don't actually want to get in shape. I'm sure a huge percentage of people would say yes, if someone came along with a magic pill that transforms their body. Why? because its easy and effortless. Some people are simply not prepared to put in the hard work that is needed.

Myself? I love to train, I love working out and I love to eat healthy. Don't get me wrong, I'm not someone who doesn't ever have alcohol or food such as burger and chips (and I will enjoy myself this Christmas), but I do it in moderation. I want to be in shape, I want to have a physique that I am proud of, and I am for dam sure willing to put the work in! You need to knuckle down and find out the real reasons why you want to get in shape, and then you can use those reasons as motivation. Many people who are overweight are actually, in a way, depressed. This is because you see your body every single day, and if you genuinely don't like it, you can't avoid seeing it. So many people get drunk a lot and act like the 'groups joker' to avoid the attention on their body. Also, people make fun of their own body which acts as a rebound of other peoples opinions. BUT, by getting in shape, those feelings of unhappiness will go away because you will love your body, which will give you an all new level of confidence and happiness.

Have a good think about your body - if you actually want to change it, if you are willing to put the work in to have something you are proud of and happy with.

Have a wonderful xmas and a great new year!!

Lee Gregory Fitness

www.leegregoryfitness.com 

Friday, 20 December 2013

Could your job be making you fat?

There are many 'things' that can cause people to gain weight, but one that seems to pop up a lot is jobs. Could your career be the cause of your weight gain?

There are some jobs that can cause weight gain if you don't do anything to help it. Jobs that require a lot of driving, or long hours in an office are among the most common. How many times do you see an overweight lorry and taxi driver? You can quite easily see why they are over weight - their job requires them to sit down, sedentary, the convenience of fast food, then when they come home they most probably sit down in front of the TV. Most people do come home from work and put their feet up, but if you have a job that all you do is sit down, then sitting down at home is just even worse! Jobs that cause high stress levels are also bad for weight. This is because when you come home, you could be irritated or annoyed and just want to have a beer and watch your favourite TV show. But things are starting to change. It has been in the media a bit lately, that people with high stress are starting to use the gym as a way to relieve that stress, rather than lounging on the sofa with a takeaway.

Training in the gym is one of, if not the best way to get rid of stress. This is mostly because working out releases 'feel good hormones' and requires physical exertion - which is awesome for getting stress out. A very common way of getting rid of stress is boxing. Just 15 minutes on a punchbag can make you feel a lot calmer and happier. I personally have used boxing as a way to relieve stress, and its great!

Don't just use the easy excuse of - "my career is so hectic, don't have time to exercise". Everyone can make time, it just takes effort and discipline. Do you want to carry on putting the weight on? or do you want to get rid of it? Its your decision. The older you get, the harder (but still doable) it is to lose weight, and to find motivation.

Getting in shape is like lighting a candle

You might be thinking - "A candle? really?". Well, yes!

If you want to burn a candle, what do you have to do? you have to light it. I once got told from someone that inspires me a lot - "If you want to burn a candle, you first have to light the wick" - obvious, but has other meanings.  That applies to getting in shape. You could have the best PT at your beck and call, but if you don't take the first step, nothing will change. If you want to be fitter, look better, feel better, you have to start things off (just like lighting the wick).

It is very common to struggle with taking those first steps - many people say "I would love to look better but I just don't have the motivation". How to help this?

First of all, write down the reasons why you want to get in shape. This could be anything from simply looking better, to a change in career. Then, you want to surround yourself with inspiration - print pictures of physiques you would want to have, and also pictures of your current self - to show where you are and where you want to get too. Everyone seems to be on Facebook and Twitter, so if you are, follow accounts of athletes, personal trainers, nutritionists, fitness models, celebrities that are in shape - so every time you log on, you are bombarded with motivation! This can very easily light that wick and get you on your way to the new you!

As with many things in life, being in shape doesn't just get 'given to you', you have to work for it. Don't sit around and wait for a good body to appear, because it's just not going to happen. Take that first step, and you will thank yourself later!

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Should you workout when you're tired?

I have seen people over twitter asking if they should train if they are tired, so I thought I would give my opinion on this matter.

Personally, I have trained whilst being tired, but not so tired that I could have fallen asleep within a few seconds. Sometimes you will wake up, not having the best sleep, yawning a bit, and think 'ahh i'll skip the workout today'. That is when you should workout! Being a little tired is fine to train, it can actually be good because your body works harder as your a little fatigued. If you wake up and you can barely keep your eyes open, then you should obviously skip that workout.

How can you help this situation?

You need to make sure you get enough rest. Whether you're training for fat loss or muscle gain, your body needs rest to recover. If you don't get enough sleep (and quality of sleep) then you will wake up feeling tired which can lead to missing workouts. Try and make sure you get around 8 hours sleep, and good sleep! By that I mean - make sure you have a good mattress, try and relax your mind before you go to sleep (don't sit up playing video games or watching tv late at night, as this can affect sleep).

I have read articles about boxer's and cage fighters that train when they are tired, as they teach their bodies and minds to work when they don't feel like they can. This is an effective training method as its common that people give up when they think they are tired - when in fact your mind gives up when your body has much more to give.

Nutrition plays a vital role too! Make sure you're getting enough energy and protein from your diet and supplements - this will help your body to recover, therefore helping to take away tiredness.

So, should you train when you're tired? YES - but not if you are shattered, be smart about it!

Monday, 16 December 2013

Say NO to COUNTING CALORIES!

One thing that people tend to think when they want to lose weight, is that they have to count all of their calories, measure out all of their meals etc etc...  I don't necessarily agree with that....

My method is - 'eat healthy and relax'. My nutrition plans are all simple, no counting, no measuring, and my clients like that. When people have to count calories and measure all their meals out, they end up becoming frustrated and annoyed - which often leads to people quitting. I can completely understand why that happens. Losing weight should be about feeling better about yourself, looking better and enjoying seeing your body change into something that you like. By counting and measuring, you end up feeling like every meal is a chore, and that is not enjoyable....

My advice is to just relax. Once you know what foods and drinks you should be eating and avoiding, you then don't have to worry about eating too much, because it is very hard to put on weight eating healthy foods. Obviously if you just stuff your face 10 times a day, you will! My 'Get Slim' nutrition plan outlines the 'do's and don'ts' of eating for weight loss.

When your diet consists of fruit, vegetables, lean protein, complex carbs and water, you don't need to measure everything, because you know the foods that you are consuming are healthy. Obviously, if you combine that with an exercise program, the weight will drop off quicker.

Once you have the information you need, you don't need to count and measure, you just need to be sensible. That way, you are far less likely to become frustrated, annoyed and end up quitting.

My inspiration

Everyone has their own inspiration, something/someone that motivates them, goals, targets and so on. I would like to share mine - Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson. I remember when I first saw Mr Johnson, was many years ago watching WWE - everyone watched it when I was a kid! Compared to other wrestlers, he always had that natural 'flare', a natural connection with the crowd, awesome showmanship. I never used to think 'he would make an amazing actor', because I simply never looked at him past wrestling. He is what I class as a true athlete. Coming from an American Football background, he's always been athletic, and that showed in his wrestling. He was in very good shape throughout his WWE career, but it wasn't until he retired that he actually seriously got in shape. Only The Rock could 'out-do' The Rock! 


There has been many people voicing their opinions about Mr Johnson and the use of steroids. Obviously I don't know the guy, but i would bet a lot of money on the fact he hasn't used them. He never looked like Jay Cutler or Phil Heath. He was in shape when he wrestled, but his schedule was manic, which didn't leave as much time as people may think to properly work on his physique - and wrestling did 'take it out of you' requiring rest. But once he retired, he had more time on his hands, and the films he got casted for, gave him time to prepare his body. I remember reading an interview with Mr Johnson about working out for one of his film, ans his training was insane! He works out like a madman, and his body shows the results of that! Just because he got tanked after his wrestling career, doesn't mean that he jumped on the steroids train, it simply means he upped his game. Yes, he is big now, but he is also tall, which makes him look like a much bigger man. 

Why do I admire him? because of who he is, what he does and how he does it. He gives his all in everything. When he wrestled, as mentioned, he always had that flare, and no surprise film producers snapped him up. He trains like an animal, but also loves doing things that we all do - being with friends, family, having cheat meals! having a beer, but most importantly - he gives so much of his time to his fans. Many celebrities these days take things for granted and kind of neglect their fans - letting their management control their social networks, but The Rock? he uses his twitter a lot, and his fans love that. I remember reading that he grew up with not that much....and he gives back, to charity and his family. I remember seeing a picture he uploaded, of a car he bought his mother (I think that is right anyway!) 

He is such a cool guy, I admire him in many ways, but he is a true athlete, and I can't wait to see him in more awesome movies! 

If you haven't already, follow him here - The Rock

Saturday, 14 December 2013

What we can learn from cats

I own 3 cats, who I love dearly. I was watching them the other day, and it made me realise just how 'in sync' they are. Seeing them run, climb, jump, for small animals they are extremely powerful. So, how does that affect us?

Well, I came to realise that one of the reasons they are so effective at climbing, running fast, jumping, is because their muscles are all balanced. Think of a guy at the gym who is only obsessed with his top half and neglects his legs. He may have a superb figure up top, but if he tried to run fast or jump, he would fail miserably. With cats, as they are balanced all over, and also very flexible, it makes them superb climbers and sprinters. Lets look at the sprinting part - My eldest cat is extremely fast, I honestly haven't seen a cast as fast as her, and she is also very strong. Compare her to Usain Bolt (the worlds fastest man). He is extremely powerful, explosive, flexible, but his muscles are all balanced. He doesn't just have strong legs, or just a strong upper body, all of his muscles are strong and balanced by their opposites.

Being flexible, powerful, explosive, strong, are all attributes of being a true athlete, and if you want to have a body like an athlete, then you have to train like one. By having your body in a 'balanced state', you will feel at your best.

It was strange noticing that whilst watching my cats, but they are incredible animals. They stretch regularly, which is a huge benefit to their explosive power. Stretching is under rated in the fitness world, but it keeps your muscles supple and ready for action - as with cats.

The main lesson here is to train your body to be balanced - don't neglect certain areas of your body, as this could lead to injury, aches, pains, soreness, and will also look odd! Muscles in your body need to be supported by others, so train them equally.

Friday, 13 December 2013

A must have for your body!

I would say in the last year, I have read many articles in newspapers, magazines and online about a general deficiency of vitamin D in people. But what is vitamin D and why do we need it?

Vitamin D plays a vital role in maintaining overall health. It has several important functions - helps to regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in your body, helps to regulate cell growth, neuromuscular and immune function and helps to reduce inflammation. Scientific research has even suggested that vitamin D could be important in preventing forms of cancer, cardiovascular disease and multiple sclerosis, but more research is needed to provide a definitive conclusion. By not getting enough vitamin D (from the sun, food or supplements) bones can become brittle and can begin to thin. A deficiency in children can cause rickets (softening of the bones that can lead to fractures and deformity) and sadly, rickets is on the rise.

How do we get vitamin D? Well the best source comes from sunlight on the skin. This doesn't mean that laying out in the sun for hour after hour is the way to go! Experts actually suggest short bursts of exposure to the sun without sun screen on is the best way to obtain vitamin D. This could be a quick walk to the shops, cutting the grass, or simply sitting outside for a short time. But, be careful so you avoid burning. Vitamin D is also found in a small number of foods, but its very hard to obtain enough vitamin D through food. Good sources are - oily fish (such as salmon) and eggs. But as mentioned, your not likely to get enough through food, so either be out in the sun, or use a vitamin D supplement (liquid form is the most common).

Not getting enough vitamin D can be harmful to a range of different people - pregnant and breastfeeding women, children under 5 years old, elderly people 65 years and above, people who rarely go in the sun and people with darker skin (such as African people, as their bodies are less able to produce as much vitamin D)

A great way to help ensure you get enough vitamin D, is with a simple supplement. I personally use one, which is in liquid form, that I simply put a few drops under my tongue everyday. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, I would strongly recommend you use a supplement. Also, young children between the ages of 6 months and 5 years old should have a supplement, along with elderly people over 65.

As with any supplement, make sure you read the label and follow the instructions to ensure you are using it right. If you are unsure, visit your GP.

This is a serious issue, and even though rickets is still a rare disease, it is on the rise.

Monday, 9 December 2013

Junk food - made healthy!

You won't believe the amount of times I have been asked - 'How can I lose weight but not give up junk food?'. So, here is a way you can have your junk food but also lose weight.

What is the main problem with junk food? well, it is extremely unhealthy - full of fat and salt. What you want to do is make your own! I have got into making my own pizza's and burgers, and I love it. The great thing about it is you can create a few different pizza's in one, so there's a mixture of flavours, which is great if you are sharing too! The best thing about making your own is that you know exactly what you are putting into it, so you can make it as healthy as you like. Takeaway's are made with cheap ingredients, that's why the prices are low. Saying that, the prices aren't actually cheap - but if you broke down price per ingredient, and also the margin the companies have on making a profit, then the products are actually made cheaply. There are recipes out there for healthy pizza bases, I like to keep mine simple and let the toppings provide the flavour. The same goes with burgers - you can make your own, experiment with flavours and not feel guilty! This is great in the summer, when you can get the bbq out! (when England decides to hold back the rain!).

By making your own, your cutting out a lot of the calories, fat and salt that is in the traditional takeaway's. The main reason why people don't tend to make their own is because it takes time and effort, where as its quicker and easier to pick up the phone and order a pizza. I personally like doing it, its fun, creative and at the end, you have a healthier version of your favourite takeaway.

Give it a go, see how you get on - guilt free junk food!

"The modern day decision"

In the last 5 years, society has seemed to have gone one way - party party party.

Now, i'm not saying everyone is like that, but there has definitely been a big rise in the amount of people going out drinking, maybe it has something to do with all of the reality TV at the moment? who knows. I have spoken to quite a few people about this topic, and there seems to be a common answer - 'I don't want to lose my social life, just to lose some weight'. That really isn't the case.

There has actually been survey's done on this and the results have shown that a fair percentage of people that regularly go out and drink a fair amout of alcohol, admit that its because they have confidence issues, and alcohol helps them overcome those issues. You may see where i'm going with this. If you are someone that has weight issues and that in turn reduces your confidence, then you want to attack that problem, not to drink a lot to overcome it, which will actually add to the weight issues Many people don't realise how many calories alcohol actually has, and the bad effects that come with it. It is definitely possible to have a social life whilst on a weight loss plan. If you are someone that drinks because of a lack of confidence, then by losing the weight, you will gain a lot of confidence, which in turn will reduce 'the need' to drink alcohol to get over those confidence issues that you no longer have.

Some people drink a lot even if they love the way they look, and those people will find out the effects of that in about 10 years time...

It's a lot easier to lose weight when you're younger, so its best to get your weight 'sorted' in your younger years. What tends to happen, is younger people will enjoy being young, go out drinking, clubbing, partying, and then they will get to a point where they will start a family, and then the excuses will come out - 'I don't have time to lose weight', 'I've had a baby, that's why i'm overweight', and so on. It can be a vicious cycle really....

So, you need to make a choice, whether you want to carry on with a party lifestyle, or attack the issues head on, which will make you feel so much better about yourself. It's a simple question to me, but to other people, the thought of getting rid of the weight can be a scary one. Yes, it is hard work, and it is 'easier' to just do nothing about it and carry on with the party lifestyle, but you won't be happy...

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Paul Walker

A few days ago, I heard the tragic news that Hollywood actor Paul Walker has passed away in a car crash, I literally couldn't believe it, thought it was one of those hoax's, but it was real.

Paul was best known for his role as Bryan O'Connor in the fast and furious movies, which have simply exploded in popularity. He was also a very athletic guy. I remember when he was on the cover of Men's Health, reading about his lifestyle which was different to what I expected to be honest. I thought he would be someone in the gym a lot, as he has active roles in his movies, but he didn't use the gym much. He loved being outdoors, getting exercise by surfing, rock climbing, bike riding etc. He just seemed like a very active guy who lived life to the full. I did read that he once said something like, if he died because of speed, don't weep for me, because its what he loved. That sums the guy up to be honest.

Many people think you have to be in the gym all the time in order to get fit, but you don't. No, Mr Walker was not 'ripped' or 'tanked', but he was fit and athletic and he became that by living an active lifestyle and did the things he loved doing. I think that is great to see, as most 'big names' that are in shape tend to share their exercises, reps, sets etc, whereas Paul was simply active, and it worked for him. He was always in shape and able to perform the scenes in his movies, and I think that is down to his pure acting talent and his fitness.

Rest in peace Paul Walker - you will not be forgotten


Christmas and weight

With the Christmas holiday fast approaching, I'm sure a lot of people are worrying about the 'inevitable weight gain'. Can be it avoided? helped? yes.

A common 'strategy' that people use is to have a 'health drive' leading up to xmas, which can get rid of a few pounds/gain a bit of muscle/ or whatever your goal is. This way, your going to be in a bit better shape going into xmas, so after the Christmas festivities have passed, your weight will 'equal out', or at least that is the aim. I myself have been injured for the passed 5-6 weeks, but I am back working out, and I'm going to get a good 3 weeks of workouts and strict eating in before xmas. That's simply because I have hated being injured, and want to get back in shape real bad, but also so I can enjoy xmas without feeling too guilty afterwards. Just because I'm a nutritionist and love working out, that doesn't mean I don't enjoy an alcoholic beverage or christmas food, because I do, I just do things in moderation.

There are a few things you can do to help during the Christmas holiday though. Its quite obvious that there are two 'bad things' that are consumed over the holiday - chocolate and alcohol. If you are someone that enjoys those things (which I'm sure that is a lot of people) then you want to make sure you are eating 3 healthy complete meals each day. Try and get good, lean protein, vegetables, fruit and water. You might be thinking 'yeah right, its xmas!'. Well, if you do that, then you are still getting goodness into your body, which will help balance out the chocolate and booze. If you simply eat nothing but fatty foods and drink alcohol, you will gain more weight and end up feeling lethargic after.

I read the other day that the average weight gain over Christmas is between 5 and 7 pounds. Some peoples Christmas holiday's are 1 week, some are 3 weeks. But gaining 5-7lbs in a week is quite a lot - and that's just the average weight gain, meaning some people gain more.

Obviously, if you're not too fussed about your weight (well, firstly you wouldn't be reading this) secondly, you're not going to worry about what you're eating and drinking over xmas - but I'm sure most people are worried about gaining weight. I admit, it is hard, because you want to enjoy Christmas - the food, the drinks, parties, meals etc etc, but you don't want to gain weight. My advice is to just be sensible. Try and eat healthy foods during the day, drink plenty of water, and just don't go overboard with the chocolate and booze. That way the weight gain will be kept to a minimum rather than exploding out of control. Another thing that you could do is workout a few times over the holiday. By getting a good few workouts in, that can burn off some of those pesky calories!