Christmas night outs, family visits, epic meals & new year festivities can make it difficult to fit in your exercise & stay on track with your nutrition during the festive season.
Below are my 5 top tips to help keep your health & fitness in check:
1. Eating slowly & stopping when you feel “satisfied” instead of “stuffed” is a simple & effective tool to help curb your holiday eating. It takes 15-20 minutes for your digestive system to let your brain know that you’re satisfied. When you slow down & savour your food, you will feel more content with much less, meaning you will eat less & will enjoy your food more. Eating slowly will also allow you to try all the delicious foods on offer at granny’s buffet without guilt or the feeling of needing to “work it off later”.
2. Christmas is a time for giving, with many work places bringing in sweets & chocolates for all to share daily. Rather than eating a few quality streets/ celebrations try to hold off for something worth having. If a work colleague brings in a homemade chocolate cake on Friday, take a slice & enjoy it, without worrying about all the other indulgences you’ve had throughout the week.
3. December can be a mad rush, trying to fit in visits & catch ups with family & friends before Christmas. If you find yourself eating out a lot, don’t panic, enjoy it. Rather than starving yourself all day because you’re going out at night for dinner, try to eat healthy throughout the day, such as porridge for breakfast, a big green leafy chicken salad for lunch, a protein shake, fruit with yogurt or a handful of mixed nuts for healthy snacks. This will prevent you from craving everything on the menu & you will be able to enjoy your meal knowing you made good healthy food choices earlier in the day.
4. As Christmas draws in closer many people will skip their planned workouts for “that last bit of Christmas shopping” or “after work Christmas drinks”. So rather than skipping your workout, aim to get your exercise in before work or even at lunch time. If you miss a workout don’t let that put you off for the rest of the week, simply make time to exercise the next day.
5. If you regularly workout for 1-hour multiple times per week, however due to the busyness of the festive period you are struggling to find time to exercise. To avoid “falling off the wagon” for the rest of the year & undoing all your hard work, try reducing the duration of your workouts to just 30 minutes. During this time focus on the quality of work performed rather than the quantity of time spent working out. Performing body weight exercises at home is a great way to fit in your exercise when pressed for time. Pick 4x body weight exercises; squats, press ups, plank, burpees & perform each movement for 40s of work with 20s of rest, rest for 60s & repeat for 5 rounds for a quick & effective 25-30-minute workout. It may also be worthwhile booking a one-off appointment with a personal trainer who can prescribe a suitable workout for you to perform. Something is better than nothing & the key to success is consistency.
I truly believe the above tips will serve you well. Be mindful of your health & fitness goals & remember to enjoy yourself, it is Christmas after all!
Fitness doesn’t take 15 hours a week to be in shape & to be fit.
Most people are under the impression to lose weight & get fit you need to be in the gym for hours at a time, 7 days a week. Thankfully this is not the case.
You can torch fat, stimulate lean muscle, improve overall health & boost your fitness levels by exercising just 30 minutes, 3 days per week.
Rather than spending 1-2 hours in the gym walking around, taking long breaks & not having a plan, focus on the intensity & quality of work performed over the quantity of time you spend working out.
In these 30 minutes bouts of exercise you want to make sure you are training with high intensity & are executing good quality movement. This approach is a more time efficient & sustainable for most people.
Along with making sure you’re keeping active; walking, stretching, foam rolling, playing tennis, football, yoga, hiking & in general just doing things you love, will serve you well & will yield results.
Below is one of my favourite time efficient workouts for you to try:
30 Min Fat Burning Workout:
OMEM: On The Minute Every Minute
Perform each exercise on the minute, rest the remainder of the minute before performing the next move. Once you have performed the last exercise, rest the remainder & start again from minute one. Repeat circuit 6 times for an effective full body fat burning workout.
- Minute 1: Press Ups x10
- Minute 2: Split Squat (Right Leg) x10
- Minute 3: Split Squat (Left Leg) x10
- Minute 4: Suspension Row x10
- Minute 5: Reverse Crunch x10
(Repeat for 6 rounds)
Thank you for taking the time to read my blog & I hope the information I’ve shared with you will help you towards achieving your fitness goals. If you would like to work hire me as your coach, I offer 121 personal training, small group fitness classes or 121 nutrition coaching, contact me direct; [email protected]
To get the most out of your body each day, it’s important you have enough energy to successfully perform your daily activities; work, parenting, school, gym, sport etc.
Below are my 5 top tips for all day energy that you can easily apply to your busy lifestyle to help boost your overall energy levels.
- Aim for 6-8 hours of sleep per night. This will help reduce stress levels & feelings of tiredness & you will be more capable of producing a higher standard of work.
- Avoid checking your phone: emails, social media, texts before bed or when you wake up in the morning. This will allow your brain & body to switch off from the outside world, helping you to fall asleep & wake up easier.
- If you sit at a desk all day, get up & move every hour. Walk somewhere, perform a stretch or an exercise for more energy. Walk over to the photocopier, stand up & stretch off your shoulders for 60s, perform a set of 50 bodyweight squats & then carry on with work. You will be amazed at what a little movement can do for your productivity.
- Eat healthy, avoid over eating, eat real food & limit refined sugar intake for sustained energy. Take your own meals/ snacks to work & have them to hand for when you feel your energy levels dipping. For lunches try; a homemade chicken salad wrap, or a ham, cheese & tomato baguette. For snacks try; a handful of mixed nuts & or a protein bar/shake, all of which are great for providing long lasting energy.
- Limit caffeine consumption throughout the day & avoid at night. Caffeine increases alertness & enhances reaction time & is best consumed in small amounts during the day. At night however, you want to wind down for a peaceful night sleep, for this reason I recommend having your last cuppa around dinner time 5/6pm at night.
Don’t just take my word for it, try it! Start by implementing just one of the above tips & you will instantly feel the benefits of having more sustained energy.
The term “Functional Training” is one of the latest buzzwords to be thrown around the fitness industry & is often misused, misunderstood by coaches & gym goers.
Despite what your social media news feed will have you believe;
Balancing on a stability ball performing a barbell squat
Standing on a giant tyre, shoulder pressing a beer keg are NOT functional training exercises.
Not only are they not functional, they’re extremely dangerous to perform & have zero carry over to lifestyle or sport & are only posted online to attract attention for more “followers”.
Functional training is adapted exercises that allow you to perform activities of daily life more easily & without injury. These exercises closely mimic the basic primal movement patterns of the body; squat, hinge, row, press, twist, run, carry etc.
A large part of determining whether an exercise is functional is to look at what that individual does daily & what activities they partake in. If that person is a warehouse worker & is required to lift boxes from the floor to overhead, 9-5pm Monday-Friday, performing exercise variations of deadlifts, squats, chest press & shoulder press will be extremely beneficial. If the individual plays football or rugby, a big part of the game is moving around the field of play with a high level of explosive power, speed & agility. Performing exercises such as Bulgarian split squats, sled pushes & speed ladder drills will facilitate them.
Training tools such as; bosu balls, wobble boards, stability balls etc. should not make up the majority of someone’s training. These tools all have their place & are a great way to work core stability, however they often get overused & coined as “functional training”.
Just because a football player is required to have good core strength, doesn’t mean they need to spend an hour balancing on a gym ball. Quite the opposite! Football & most sports are played on a flat none moving surface, where the players move around on, therefore a large part of their training should somewhat resemble that. Yes, core strength for athletes is important but so too is strength, speed, agility & power & required specific programming.
That about covers it, I hope this blog has helped you understand the term functional training a little better & that you think twice before performing a circus act on a gym ball. DON’T be that person!
Keep training HARD!
MAXIMISE your recovery to help ACHIEVE your fitness goals QUICKER!
Eating the right foods after you exercise will dramatically improve your rate of recovery, allowing you to train harder, decreasing the time it takes to reach your targets.
The 3 R’s of recovery are a simple yet highly effective way to help improve your nutrition for optimum performance.
1. Rebuild: When you perform strenuous exercise, the body’s muscle fibres brake down & need repaired with the help of dietary protein. This enables the muscle fibres to grow bigger & stronger for more challenging workouts in the future. Aim to eat 1-2 palm size portions of protein shortly after you finish training; 1-2 scoops of whey protein, 1-2 skinless chicken breast, 1-2 small tubs of low fat Greek yogurt etc. Rebuild your armour!
2. Replenish: When you exercise, the body uses its energy from stored muscle glycogen/ carbohydrates. After exercise the body’s glycogen stores are depleted & need replenished to for full muscle recovery. Simple carb sources; 1-2 pieces of fruit, 1-2 cupped handful of white potato, 1-2 cupped handful of sweets etc. are best consumed post workout, as these foods are broken down fast by the digestive system to provide a quick energy release. Get your carbs in!
3. Rehydrate: When you train with intensity & intent, it’s inevitable you’re going to sweat & lose body fluid. To avoid dehydration, to help kick start the recovery process, aim to drink 1 to 2 litres of water for every hour of intense exercise. I recommend keeping a large 1 litre bottle of water close by for when you finish your sweat fest. Drink up buttercup!
If you are looking for a step by step guide to build lean muscle, burn excess body fat & live a healthier lifestyle, simply download my F12 beginner fitness plan & start today!
Or alternatively if you’re interested in working with me on a more personal level; 121 personal training, small group fitness classes or 121 nutrition coaching, feel free to contact me on [email protected]
When was the last time you had 2 days off from exercise?
Through my experience, many gym goers do not factor in rest & recovery time into their workout schedules & as a result they either plateau, get injured or become demotivated by their lack of results.
This I why I am a huge advocate of scheduling in 2 days of complete rest into your weekly regime, no matter what!
That includes 2 days off training, 2 days off any supplements & 2 days off your diet.
Training: Time away from exercising can work wonders for both your brain & your body. This time can be spent on other fun activities you enjoy; football, basketball, cycling etc. It also allows time to improve flexibility, muscle tissue quality, mobility, all of which can help enhance your quality of life & boost your performance & results in the gym.
Supplements: Stopping nutritional supplements; protein powder, creatine, fish oils etc. for a short period of time can be super beneficial for your body. After a few days of taking a nutritional supplement, the bodies chemistry changes & over time the effects of the supplement are minimised. Therefore, I recommend after 2-3 months of taking a supplement, you should stop for 2 days, so you’re able to get maximum benefits again.
Diet: Ditching your diet for 2 days will help you achieve long lasting results. Most people go too hard on themselves, eliminating food groups, foods they enjoy & restricting themselves to only consuming a small amount of calories per day. This approach to nutrition never works! Instead Choose to eat well for 5 days & for the next 2 days eat good for 3 out of 4 your meals. Allow yourself those ‘care free’ meals to enjoy life.
Looking for advice on how to live a healthy lifestyle through regular exercise & good nutrition, get in touch today or download my 12 Week Fitness Plan HERE!
Following a rigorous exercise routine that requires you to workout 3-5 times per week; weight training, sprinting, high intensity circuit style training etc. can be extremely taxing on the body’s central nervous system (CNS; brain & spinal cord). Therefore, if you are serious about getting results; growing stronger, building muscle, burning body fat & improving overall performance, rest days are a MUST!
Rest is where adaptation to training takes place. Planned rest days allow time for the body’s CNS & muscle fibres to fully recovery, recharge & grow stronger in time for the next workout. I recommend to all my clients to take at least 2 full rest days off per week.
Rest days can also be used as active recovery days, these days are lower in intensity to aid recovery. Time can be spent improving mobility & tissue quality performing foam rolling, mobility stretches to ease muscle/joint tightness/pain. Doing so will boost performance in the gym/field & will enhance your quality of life.
I recommend performing 10-15 minutes of soft tissue work on rest days, working on 2 to 3 muscle groups at one time, foam rolling each site for 2-3 minutes, followed by 2-3 minutes of corrective stretches. Compound over time you will see & feel a huge difference in both posture & performance. Your body will thank you for it!
Additional cardio training can also be performed on active recovery days, in the form of LISS (low intensity steady state); walking, jogging, swimming etc. or HITT (high intensity interval training); sprinting, weightlifting, circuit training etc.
LISS is low in intensity, utilising fat as the body’s main energy source, placing minimum stress on the joints, muscles & CNS, helping the recovery process. HITT is high in intensity, burning muscle glycogen for energy. This style of training could potentially interfere with recovery, however done sensibly can still be beneficial.
If you are looking for a structured training plan & a step by step guide on how to build muscle & burn excess body fat download my 12 Week Fitness Plan HERE!
Over the years I have worked with hundreds of beginner clients who were new to. It is my duty as a fitness professional to help educate & coach individuals on how to live a healthy lifestyle through regular exercise & good nutrition.
To help guide & kick start you off on your fitness journey, I would like to share my top 5 beginner mistakes.
1. Going Too Extreme
Newbies to the gym often make the critical error of jumping in with two feet, following a rigorous exercise routine, exercising 5-6 hours per week. This is simply not sustainable for most people and you will more than likely stop after only a few weeks. My advice, start off slow and commit to just 2-3 hours of exercise per week and see how you progress.
2. Having Unrealistic Expectations
People who are new to fitness often have unrealistic expectations of what they can achieve in a short period of time. Like most things in life, if you want something, it’s going to take time and you’re going to have to work hard to achieve it. Improving your fitness, losing weight, building muscle takes weeks, months & years to master. My advice, adopt fitness into your lifestyle and enjoy the process of becoming the strongest best version of yourself.
3. Not Measuring Progress
If you’re not measuring your progress, how do you know if what you’re doing is working? If you are serious about achieving your fitness goals, you must monitor your progress. Doing so will help you reach your goal quicker. My advice, take your weight 2-3 times per week, monthly progress pictures, fortnightly body girth and log your training daily.
4. Not Making Time for Recovery
Recovery is key for all fitness goals. Making time for recovery will dramatically improve your performance, reduce your risk of injury and will promote more fat loss and muscle growth. My advice, have at least 2 complete rest days per week and perform mobility & soft tissue work for 10 mins most days. Your body will thank you for it!
5. Eating a Bad Diet
If your diet is whack then your results & performance will be too! Your body is like a car and the food you eat for energy is the fuel. For a car to run properly it needs to the right type & amount of fuel, your body is much the same. My advice, eat real food (meat, potatoes, veggies, fruit etc), consuming at least 3 portions of protein, carbohydrates and fats per day with each meal and drink 2-3 litres of water each day as part of a healthy balanced diet.
If you are looking for a step by step guide to build muscle, change your physical appearance & live a healthier lifestyle download my F12 beginner fitness plan.
Or alternatively if you’re interested in small group fitness classes of 121 personal training, contact [email protected]
Phase One Complete
Today was my final workout of Phase one and tomorrow I have my first progress meeting with Gordy ahead of starting Phase Two Sunday evening. Speaking honestly, I am quite nervous of the results as I know that I have let myself down with my eating habits. Thankfully, I have never missed a workout, so I am hoping this makes up for it.
Each phase last 4 weeks and each workout is designed to work the whole body as this burns more calories than focusing on one area per workout. Each week is made up of 5 workouts – 3 resistance (weights/strength) and two conditioning (high intensity intervals). Phase one focuses on muscle endurance, therefore the resistance workouts focused on more reps and less rest.
For the last 4 weeks I have completed the same resistance workout 3 times a week, each time increasing either the weight or the reps. For example, on the first workout I was squatting 40kg (the bar + 20kg) for 15 reps each set as I knew it was a weight I could manage. Because I was hitting the maximum reps each set, I increased the weight on the next workout to a harder weight. Each time I achieved the maximum reps in any exercise I would make a note in my training diary to increase my weight at the next workout. Tonight, I squatted 15 reps at 52.5kg for all three sets. That means in just 12 workouts, I have increased my weight by 12.5kg. Not too bad if I say so myself 😀
Challenges & Frustrations
The main challenge I have faced is completing the interval training. Due to my work routine I have only been able to make it to the gym in the evening when it is at its busiest therefore making it difficult to complete some of the workouts that are part of the programme. To combat this, I have been attending Les Mills GRIT classes across various Xcite venues to ensure there was someone there to push me to my limit and beyond. It is the only gym class (outside of Flex Fitness) that I would recommend as it only last 30 minutes, but you work the hardest you ever will for those 30 minutes. After a GRIT class it takes my face roughly 3 hours to return to its natural colour of ”Casper White”.
The muscle group I absolutely hate training are my shoulders. The first exercise in every resistance workout of Phase one has been a standing shoulder press. My shoulders are so weak that I couldn’t even complete the minimum reps on my first workout and every workout since I have had to turn the last set into a push press (using my legs to help push the bar up) just to complete the exercise. It is quite a difficult start to the workout, but I push through knowing that each week, although the weight I use has changed, I am gradually relying on my legs less and less for help.
My Top Tips for Phase One
- Grin and BEAR IT!!: For the entire first week your body is going to be in agony because you have been tearing your muscle fibres in a way they are not used to. Push through every workout no matter the pain, lower your weights if you have to but never miss a workout because by week 2 your body will have adjusted and you will be proud of yourself for not giving up!
- Take baby steps: if you continually take small steps each workout, at the end of the 4 weeks you will be surprised how big a difference you’ve made.
- Celebrate your achievements:you may only do one extra rep in a whole workout but that is one better than before and is worth a pat on the back.
The F12 Plan – Client Review
“The purpose of this blog is to log my progress through a 12-week “shred” programme designed by Flex Fitness called the F12 in the hope that my journey will help others who are not happy with how their current lifestyle impacts their health, confidence and feeling of self-worth. I am also hoping that by ,making my progress and experience public it will encourage me to work harder and remain motivated.
People close to me have encouraged me to write this blog as they say they would love to try weight (resistance) training but feel too intimidated and self-conscious to do so and think my experience would encourage them to try it. If I can inspire just one person to face their fears and make a change then this blog will have been a success.
I am 26, female and my passion for fitness and nutrition started when I was 19. I was heavily overweight and chose to join a 10 week boot-camp in order to shed the fat and feel better about myself. It was an intense 10-weeks but paid off as I dropped 10kg and two dress sizes and have never looked back. My weight has fluctuated during different training styles and life events, but I have always maintained my new dress size.
During my boot-camp time I met an incredible young woman who was training for a marathon and, after much persuasion, convinced me to sign up for the half. We trained together for years and she introduced me to some other incredible people who made long-distance running look like a walk in the park. Thanks to these people I can now say I have completed 4 half-marathons, 5 10k’s races and endless 5k’s, getting PB’s every time! After growing bored of running and struggling with contant injuries from running I turned to strength training and hill walking which lead me to summiting the top of Mount Kilimanjaro and trekking to the base camp of Mount Everest.
In the last 18 months, I have struggled to maintain my usually strict routine due to unforeseen life events and adapting to a new work role that was very demanding on my body physically which is why I turned to my friend and fitness expert Gordon Hunter and was put on the F12 programme.
About Flex Fitness and The F12 Programme
I have trained with Flex Fitness founder Gordon Hunter since I was 19 and attending boot camp. He has coached me, motivated me and, when necessary, kicked my ass back into gear when I’ve needed that extra push. During every challenge, whether it was half-marathon training, concurring mountains or recovering from injuries, he has been my go-to person for help. Below is a link for the Flex Fitness website that gives more details about Gordy and the qualifications he has obtained over the years.
The F12 programme is made up of 3 four-week cycles and includes exercise diagrams, nutrition advice and an FAQ section for beginners who are less confident when it comes to these styles of workouts. The programme is designed to help lose fat weight while sculpting lean muscle mass to improve the shape of your body. I am currently entering week 4 of the programme (which is the last week of phase one) so will be due a progress update by the end of this week. This blog will follow this progress and include discussions about my fitness journey.”
– F12 Plan Client
Please note that I am not a qualified fitness expert, and everything is based on my own experience, research and opinions.