Most people struggle with their motivation to workout during the dark and cold winter months and often stop exercising.
Below are five tips to help you CRUSH the winter blues:
- Decrease workout length: instead of working out for 1 hour, try exercising for just 30 minutes & increase the intensity of your workouts. This can be done by performing various exercises back-to-back with minimum rest, in a circuit or supersets fashion. You will be amazed what you can achieve in less time!
- Decrease workout frequency: change from going to the gym 6 days a week and instead commit to just 3 days per week through the winter months. This will prevent you from stopping when you are less motivated to workout. Something is a lot better than nothing!
- Workout at home: instead of going to the gym commit to working out at home. With a little creativity, you can perform fun and challenging workouts in the comfort of your own home. This can be achieved by using just your bodyweight and a few household items; chair, stairs, table, rucksack, suitcase etc. Give it a try!
- Warm up properly: the body becomes more rigid in colder conditions and will take longer to warm up. Performing an effective 5-10 minutes warm up will help prepare the body for exercise, reducing the risk of injury and will help maximise the effectiveness of the workout. A good warm up should include a series of dynamic stretches and bodyweight movements to loosen off muscles and increase the body’s core temperature. Always warm up!
- Prepare the night before: setting aside your workout clothes and gym equipment the night before is a great way to help motivate yourself to workout. Also writing out your workout on a white board or training logbook beforehand can help give you that extra push to get the job done. Simple but extremely effective!
For the next few months, implement 1-2 or all the tips above to help keep you active & focused on your fitness goals.
Have a Merry Christmas & a Flex-tastic New Year!
I get asked all the time, “what is the best exercise for losing weight?”
- Lifting weights?
- Circuit training?
- Cross Fit?
Look down, there is your answer….WALKING!
Walking is the most effective way for shedding pounds & improving your health & fitness. And here is why:
- You don’t need to be fit to start.
- It’s completely free.
- You don’t need to join a gym.
- It can be done anytime & anywhere.
- Walking is low impact on the joints.
- Improves your mindset & self-esteem.
- Boosts your overall energy levels.
- Walking in the sun can naturally top up your vitamin D levels.
- Enhances your recovery between workouts.
- Easy & effective way to burn calories.
Whether you are a complete beginner or a regular gym goer, walking & it’s countless benefits can help you live more active & healthy life.
I recommend walking for 30 minutes a day most days, with the goal of walking between 8000-10000 steps per day. This can be done in one outing or can be split into 2×15 or 3×10 minute blocks throughout the day. In the morning before work, during your lunch break & after dinner in the evening. Find a way that fits into your lifestyle.
Gaining muscle is a long process that requires a lot of patience & dedication in getting the fundamentals right.
Below is my muscle gain blueprint that has been tried & tested & has worked wonders over the years for both myself & clients:
- Be in A Calorie Surplus: To build lean muscle, you need to create the right environment within your body. That means being in a calorie surplus daily, consuming more calories than you burn each day. To few calories & you will not grow muscle, to many calories & you will gain excess unwanted body fat. The goal should be, to consume the right number of calories specific to you, that allow your muscles to grow in both size & strength, whilst minimising fat gain.
- Frequent Muscle Stimulation: For a muscle to change & grow, it must be regularly stimulated/ trained by resistance, around 1-3 times per week over a prolonged period. For the average person who is wanting to improve both body composition & strength, I recommend performing 2-3 times full body strength-based workouts per week. The workouts centred around getting stronger at performing compound strength training exercises; squat, lunge, deadlift, push, pull. Ensuring you are working out with intensity & regularly taking each exercise close to muscular failure. And over time making sure you progressively overloading teach exercise or muscle groups; lifting more weight or performing more reps or sets.
- Prioritise Muscle Recovery: Most people fail to build muscle because they do not allow themselves enough time to rest & recover between workouts. When you strength train, you’re breaking down the body’s muscle fibres & for them to grown bigger & stronger, they need time to adapt to the training stimulus & recover. Making sure you are getting enough restorative sleep each night & scheduling in set rest days throughout the week, can dramatically boost your recoverability. I recommend getting between 6-8 hours of unbroken sleep per night & scheduling 2-3 rest days per week.
If you have found these tips useful, are serious about getting results & are looking for guidance along the way, get in touch today!
During these uncertain times it’s important to prioritise our mental & physical health as best as we possibly can. Creating new systems to help provide structure to our new daily routines.
Firstly quarantine shouldn’t be an excuse to stop everything you’re doing, start eating crap & giving up on yourself. This is only going to take you further away from your fitness goals.
Quarantine should be used as an opportunity to prioritise your health & fitness more & develop new lifestyle habits & routines bringing you closer to achieving your goals.
I have listed below some tips to help inspire you get your nutrition back on track:
1- Stock up on nutritious foods: Aim to buy 3-4 sources from each of the major food groups; protein (chicken, eggs, fish, Greek yoghurt etc), carbs (pasta, bread, oats, quinoa etc), fat (red meat, nuts, nut spread, coconut oil etc) & while you’re at it stock up on some frozen veggies too.
2- Portion Control: I’m a big advocate of the plate method, consisting of 3 meals per day, breakfast, lunch & dinner. Fill your plate up with 1/3 protein, 1/3 starchy carbs & 2/3 non-starchy carbs. This will ensure you’re getting a good balanced amount of nutrition per meal. Simple yet extremely effective.
3- Set Meals: Having set meals throughout the day will give you structure to your nutrition, providing you with a constant supply of energy & will stop you from grazing & potentially over eating.
4- Batch Cook Meals: Batch cooking meals & dividing them into smaller portions to be stored in the fridge/ freezer is a great time efficient way of keeping your nutrition on track for the days ahead. Think casserole, pulled pork, homemade chilli & soups etc.
5- Suitable Snacks: If you’re hungry in between your main meals, aim to eat a food source high in protein; protein bar/ protein shake, boiled eggs, cottage cheese etc. Or if that that doesn’t tickle your fancy, have a piece of fruit instead. If you’re no hungry enough to eat an apple, then you’re not hungry.
Ultimately it’s down to you having structure with your nutrition & having the discipline to follow it through.
Losing weight IS NOT AS HARD as people like to make it out to be, providing you get the fundamentals RIGHT.
Below is my fat loss blueprint that has been tried & tested & has worked wonders over the years for clients:
- Be in A Calorie Deficit: For fat loss to occur you need to create the right environment within your body. That means being in a calorie deficit daily, burning more calories than you take in each day. To many calories & you’ll gain weight, to little & your weight won’t budge. The aim is to eat the right number of calories specific to you, to allow you to fuel your body with the right amount of energy to help burn body fat.
- Regular Weekly Exercise: Following an exercise routine you can consistently stick to over time is what gets results. Newbies to exercise often naively jump into an exercise regime with two feet & commit to a schedule that is to demanding for them to keep up long term, committing to 5-6 hours of working out per week. Resulting in them burning out after only a few weeks, finding themselves back at square one again. The aim is to find an exercise schedule that fits into your lifestyle & one you enjoy! Most people can achieve great results by working out just 3 hours per week!
- Get Your Steps In: Most office jobs involve you sitting for long periods of time throughout the day/week/year. You also need to make sure that you’re staying active & getting your steps in each day, especially on days you’re not working out. Doing so will help improve your health, self-esteem & will also speed up your fat loss results. A target of between 8000 to 10000 steps per day is enough to get the job done!
If you have found these tips useful & serious about getting results & are looking for a helping hand along the way, get in touch today!
We all know, that you can exercise as much as you like, but if you’re not fuelling your body with the right nutrition, you won’t get results! In this blog I’m going to show you a simple & effective way to calculate your calories & macros (protein, carbs & fats) for fat loss.
Calories: Firstly, in order to lose weight, you must be in a calorie deficit, consuming less calories than you burn each day. Females multiply your body weight (lbs) by 10 & males by 12. For example; 160lbs x10 = 1600 calories per day.
Protein: Next you want to make sure you’re eating enough protein per day, as this will help your recovery & preserve/ build lean muscle tissue. Aim to consume 0.8 to 1.0g of protein per pound of body weight. For example; 160×0.8 = 128 grams of protein per day.
Fat: For brain health & host of other physical benefits, you also want to make sure you’re eating a good amount of healthy fats each day. Aim to consume 20-30% of your overall calorie intake from fats. For example; 0.3x1600cals = 480cals (1g of fat equals 9 calories) 480cals divided by 9 = 53 grams of fat per day.
Carbs: For extra energy when exercising & for going about your day, you definitely want to make sure you have some carbs factored into your diet. The remainder of your calories should be made up from fibrous carbs. For example; 1g fat = 9cals, 1g protein = 4cals, 1g carbs = 4cals.
Protein = 128g x 4cals = 512cals
Fat = 53g x 9cals = 477cals
Carbs = 1600cals – 512cals – 477cals = 611cals divided by 4 = 152 grams of carbs per day
Now simply input your numbers into your my fitness pal app & start tracking your daily food intake.
A lot of people like to over complicate things when it comes to growing stronger & building more muscle. For best results, you must train properly, get enough sleep/ recovery & make sure your nutrition is on point!
To help you on your muscle building quest, I would like to share with you the 3 keys to building strength & muscle:
- 1. Frequency: How often you train a muscle group/ movement pattern is a key component when looking to get strong & jacked. For a muscle to grow it must be regularly stimulated by resistance, around 1-3 times per week over a long period of time to get results. I recommend picking a workout routine that fits into your lifestyle & sticking to that plan for at least 6-8 weeks to see if it is working for you or not.
- 2. Intensity: If you want to get stronger & grow bigger muscles you must train with intensity. This requires you to work with close to maximum loads & placing a large amount of tension on each targeted muscle group. For a muscle to improve in both strength & in size, you must take that muscle group close to failure. For longevity, depending on the exercise, I recommend performing each exercise with perfect form, stopping 1-2 reps short of muscular failure for each set.
- 3. Volume: If you want a muscle to change, you must make sure you’re performing enough total training volume on that muscle group. Volume is sets + reps + weight for example 3 sets + 5 reps + 100kg weight = 1500kg volume for that exercise/ muscle group. Your aim should be to gradually increase your training volume over time by either adding more weight or performing more reps or sets. The amount of volume required for a muscle group to progress will differ depending on the body part being trained & individual’s genetics etc. Weaker body parts need more training volume & stronger body parts need less.
I hope you have found this blog post useful & If you are looking for a structured training plan that has it all laid out for you, download my F/Strength plan today!
There is a lot of misleading information out there on how to exercise when pregnant & as a result people are unsure about the best way to stay active during pregnancy. Can I still lift heavy weight? How many days should I exercise per week? How long should I work out for? The tips I share are from my own personal experience of working with clients, safely guiding them through exercise when pregnant.
Below are 5 general tips to follow:
- TRAIN TO MAINTAIN: You’re training to maintain. You are no longer training to lose weight & improve your body shape. Instead you are training to maintain your current level of fitness as best as you can. You are prioritising you & your babies health & are preparing your body for pregnancy.
- AVOID CERTAIN EXERCISES: Avoid any exercises that have you lying on your back; ab crunches, bench press etc. Instead try training your core by performing planks, cable wood chops, band anti rotation exercises or working your upper body by performing body weight push ups. As you progress with your pregnancy, you may want to stop using free weights & use fixed weights instead.
- AVOID LIFTING HEAVY WEIGHTS: As you are not focusing on improving, lighten your weights & focus more on lifting with low to moderate intensity with good technique. For example, when lifting weights for 8-10 reps, select a weight you can perform for 12-15 reps instead.
- ADJUST YOUR CURRENT TRAINING ROUTINE: Your capabilities are going to change throughout your pregnancy. As you progress, you will need to reduce the amount of days you exercise, time spent working out & the amount weight you’re lifting.
- LISTEN TO YOUR BODY: If something doesn’t feel right, don’t do it! What works well for one person exercising whilst pregnant may not work for you. I recommend sitting down with a personal trainer who can carefully assess your capabilities & design a well thought out periodized training plan for you.
Always consult your GP & Midwife first before attempting any advice you may have heard or have researched. If you find my tips helpful, let me know.
Ditch the shoes for more gainz!
Getting rid of your shoes will help you run faster, jump higher & lift heavier.
Stuffing your feet in shoes for 12 hours per day, 365 days per year will cause your foot muscles, tendons & ligaments of the feet to weaken causing arthritis, achilles tendonitis, bunions & pronation of the feet.
You will lose mobility in your foot because they’re not moving around on the ground like they’re supposed to.
The structure of your hands is almost identical to your feet, imagine if you stuffed your hands in thick gloves all day, you’d decrease your awareness & sensation of those limbs.
Your feet are the only body part that are in contact with the ground when performing most exercises; squatting, deadlifting, jumping, throwing etc.
They are covered in proprioceptors which are sensors that single to the brain about the body’s positioning & alignment.
When performing an exercise, you produce force through the feet & up the kinetic chain (nerves, spinal cord, brain) to perform movement. Wearing soft/ spongey thick soled shoes can inhibit force production & in time can lead to injury.
With your feet in contact with the floor it will allow for more muscle activation and bigger gains in your performance.
For health & safety & hygiene reasons many gyms won’t allow for bare feet training. Instead try wearing a flat sole trainer like a pair of converses or any other flat sole lifting shoe & feel the benefits for yourself!
Sticking to your exercise regime when travelling can be difficult but not impossible. If you are serious about your fitness goals, you will still make time to work out. Below are 5 tips to consider when travelling on business or holiday:
- Look Up Local Gyms: Before setting off on your travels, spend some time online researching local gyms in the area you’re staying at. You could also phone up & ask the hotel if there is a gym close by. Some gyms offer day passes or week passes at an affordable price. Or alternatively choose a hotel with a suitable gym.
- Hotel Room Workouts: If you’re unable to get to the gym when on the road, your hotel room will work just fine. For hotel room workouts all you really need is your body weight & a small amount of space to get a good sweat on. Performing a few bodyweight exercises; press us, squats, sit ups & burpees for high repetitions with short rest periods work well. You could also use your suitcase or rucksack as a weight for some exercises, to help get the job done!
- Exercise Bands & Suspension Trainers: To help intensify your hotel room workouts, I’d recommend packing 1-2 exercise bands & or a suspension trainer. These exercise tools are extremely easy to pack, they are light in weight & take up very little space in your luggage. Both pieces of equipment are extremely versatile allowing you to perform many challenging exercises; banded push ups, banded deadlifts, suspension rows, suspension split squats etc. all in the comfort of your hotel room.
- Try Out New Exercises: Instead of sticking to the same exercises you are used to doing, switch things up a little & try out exercises you wouldn’t normally preform or have access to back home. Doing so can help make your workouts more interesting & fun.
- Exercise Outside: Perhaps you are away somewhere hot & sunny, if so, choose to swap the 4 walls of the gym for the glorious outdoors. Changing the environment you work out in can provide additional health benefits & a different training stimulus. The extra vitamin D from the sun will do your skin & wellbeing wonders, along with the mixed terrain & outdoors obstacles will help keep your workouts challenging.