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.
5 Tips for Instant Muscle Growth
A close second to fat loss, one of the most popular fitness goals, especially in males is muscle growth. It is apparent most people would like to improve their body composition by “bulking up their shoulders, chest & arms” or “toning up their bingo wings” to feel better and more confident about their physical appearance.
To help you on your muscle building quest, I would like to share with you my 5 tips for instant muscle growth.
1. Full Body Workouts: These workouts are a great for building muscle. Pick 6-8 moves (push, pull, overhead push, knee bend, hip hinge, rotation, arm bend, arm extension) that work the whole body, perform straight sets of 3 sets of 6-15 reps, resting 1-2 mins between rounds.
2. Progressive Overload: Build muscle faster by pushing yourself harder during each workout. Choose to lift more weight, push for more reps or decrease the time you rest between sets to progressively overload the body to build new muscle tissue.
3. Log Your Workouts: Aim to log each workout by writing down the exercises you performed, weight lifted, time rested etc. Doing so will help you progress faster with your training, resulting in you becoming stronger and building more muscle quicker.
4. Prioritise Protein: Aim to eat an adequate amount of protein throughout the day. Males 2 palm, females 1 palm sized portion of protein per meal/ snack; red meat, white meat, cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, protein bars, protein shakes etc. This will help promote the growth of new muscle tissue and will support recovery between workouts.
5. Rest & Recover: Gain more muscle by staying out of the gym. For a muscle to grow bigger & stronger, you first must break down the muscle fibres by resistance training (body weight, fixed weights, free weights) and then allow time for the muscles fibres to rebuild and repair in time for the next workout. Aim to schedule in 2 to 3 rest days per week to allow your body to fully rest and recover to maximise your muscle building potential.
If you are looking for a step by step guide to build muscle, change your physical appearance & live a healthier lifestyle download the F12 Plan today
5 Tips For Rapid Fat Loss
During my 10 years of working in the fitness industry, I can confidently say fat loss is the most popular fitness goal for those who exercise. It’s apparent most people would like to lose a few unwanted pounds to feel healthier, leaner and more confident in their own skin.
To help you on your fitness journey, I’d like to share with you my tried and tested 5 tips for rapid fat loss.
1. Whole Body Workouts: These workouts give you the most bang buck. Pick 5 moves that work the whole body, alternate between these exercises in circuit format, repeat for 10,20,30 minutes depending on fitness and time schedule.
2. Set A Step Goal: Keep active outside of the gym and set yourself a goal of achieving 8000 or 10000 steps per day. Choose to go out for a stroll at lunch, take the stairs at work, walk the kids to and from school and get your steps in for the day!
3. Fuel Up On Protein: Aim to eat 1-2 palm sized portion of protein with each main meal; chicken, turkey, beef, fish, eggs, quorn, tofu etc. This will enhance your recover time and will allow your muscles to grow stronger in time for the next workout.
4. Double Your Veggies: Aim to eat 1-2 fist sized portions of veggies with each main meal. Doing so will help boost the body’s immune system, keeping you fighting fit and full between meals.
5. Get More Sleep: Burn more body fat by simply getting to bed earlier. Shoot for 7-8 hours of sleep each night, this will improve overall stress levels, helping regulate and maintain normal hormone levels in the body and it will also stop you from snacking late at night.
For more information on meal plans and training download the F12 Fitness Plan today.
Beating the Christmas Bulge
It’s important to remember Christmas is only one day out of the year and therefore should not get in the way of you achieving your fitness goals.
I love Christmas and I’m all for letting my hair down, spending time with family and enjoying some festive goodies, in moderation of course.
Most people approach the busy festive period with the mentality of stopping exercising and accepting weight gain as part and parcel to the time of year.
“I’m too busy to work out for 1 hour a day”
“There is too much chocolate and sweets about the house”
“It’s too cold and dark at night to go to the gym”.
All the above might be true, however adopting this mindset could potentially diminish all your hard-earned progress made thus far, setting you further back from your goals, making it harder to get started again come the 1st January.
Therefore, I practice & I preach living a healthy lifestyle through regular exercise and good nutritional habits 365 days of the year.
Instead of working out for an hour 3x per week, commit to working out just 30 mins instead.
Ask your partner to “hide” the unwanted chocolate and sweets or choose to donate them to your local food bank.
Invest in a kettlebell or some handheld weights & perform your workouts in the warm comfort of your home.
My advice for anyone who is serious about improving their body composition, fitness, health and wellbeing is to simply approach the coming winter months like any other time of the year. Get active most days, consume most of your nutrition from real foods and do things you enjoy in life with the people you love.
Is weight training ok for children? Heck yeah it is!
Done properly, strength training can offer many benefits to young athletes. It can even be a good idea for kids who want to look and feel better about themselves. It can also be used as a pathway to get into fitness from an early age.
General strength training should not be confused with other forms of strength training; Olympic lifting, bodybuilding or powerlifting. These activities involve lifting heavy weights to build large amounts strength and muscle mass. This can place too much stress on young muscles, ligaments, tendons and may damage to soft tissue growing on their bones (growth plates).
Prepubescent Children under the age of 13, can start off strength training by using bodyweight type exercises (press ups, squats, sit ups), rubber exercise bands, fixed weight machines or light free weights (barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells). Focusing on developing strength by learning body control and proper technique.
Strength Training Benefits for Children:
Strength training done properly can:
– Increase your child’s muscle strength and endurance
– Decrease your child’s risk of injury when preforming their sport
– Help your child’s sporting performance most sports from dancing, gymnastics, football to running etc.
– Help your child maintain a healthy weight
– Improve your child’s confidence and self esteem
– Improve your child’s overall strength and bone density
– Teach your child correct lifting technique required later in life
Strength Training Guidelines for Kids:
1. Favour the lower intensities (light weight for higher reps 10-20 reps)
2. Stay away from overhead pressing or barbell squatting (to minimise compression of the spine when still growing and developing)
3. Favour bodyweight exercise first (before adding in external resistance)
4. Favour eccentric and isometric contractions to help develop strength, body control and injury prevention
5. Keep it FUN!
So, mums and dads don’t worry little Gordy isn’t going to turn into mini Arnold Schwarzenegger anytime soon 😉
The 21-day beginner boot camp program is designed to kick you into shape from a couch potato to a superhero and will help prep your body for higher intensity training to come.
The program can be performed as a standalone exercise routine or as additional exercise alongside personal training or fitness classes.
You will repeat a 7-day workout schedule for 3 straight weeks with the weekly progressions listed below.
It uses minimum space and minimum equipment and you can perform it right in your living room if you like. All you need is a kettlebell, space and DESIRE!
There are 7 daily workouts you will perform over the course of 21 days:
Mon- Workout A
Tue- 30-60 min power walk (outside or treadmill)
Wed- Workout B
Thu- 30-60 min power walk
Fri- Workout C
Sat- 30-60 min power walk
Sun- 30-60 min Power walk
1. Press Up
2. Goblet Squat
3. Single Arm Row R&L
4. KB Swing
1. Kneeling Press
2. Single Up 2 Balance
4. Single Arm Swing
5. Reverse Plank
1. Decline Press
2. Bulgarian Split Squat
3. Squeeze Row
4. Alt Swing
5. Kettlebell taps
Week1- 30s of work 30s rest 5 rounds
Week2- 40s of work 20s rest 5 rounds
Week3- 50s of work 10s rest 5 rounds
Males- 8 to 10kg
Females- 4 to 6kg
Click HERE to purchase a kettlebell and get started straight away!
Preform daily mobility (stretching & foam rolling) for 10-15 minutes on 2-3 tight muscle groups alongside this program for best results. Perform it pre or post workout or before bed to help maximise recovery.
If your goal is weight loss, you NEED to monitor your weight on a regular basis.
Think monitoring your weight like driving a car: you have a destination and you want to make sure you get there in sufficient time with as little upset as possible.
Monitoring your progress will allow you to see how your body is responding to your training and nutrition.
However, keep in mind your weight can fluctuate on a daily to weekly basis, especially in females. Factors such as; high stress levels, hormonal changes, lack of sleep, eating foods high is sodium and or carbohydrates, food allergies, not drinking enough water etc can all impact your weight on the scale. And therefore, I don’t recommend only taking your weight once per week.
I also don’t advise taking your weight daily, as I feel this is way too excessive and can play mind games on most people.
Instead I recommend weighing yourself on a regular basis of at least 2-3 times per week (Mon, Wed, Fri) and calculating an average of your three scale readings and using that number to determine your progress.
The most optimal time to weight in is first thing in the morning, once you have been to the toilet, on an empty stomach, wearing minimum clothing, with scales positioned on a solid even surface.
The table below can be used to determine your progress based on your average weight loss for the week.
If you are progressing well, this will help motivate you to work harder to achieve your fitness goals. If on the other hand there is little to no progress or you have reached a plateau and you have stayed at the same weight for 2-3 weeks, carefully monitoring your progress will allow you to make strategic dietary and training interventions to help you progress further.
It’s important to remember the number on the scale only tells part of the fat loss story and other methods of monitoring progress, such as fortnightly girth measurements and monthly progress pictures are essential.
The 5 habit cheat sheet is a GREAT reference tool to use to help structure your meals. These simple highly effective habits can be used as a guide when you are preparing a meal(s) at home or when eating out. Give them a try!
1. Are You Eating Slowly
Many of us are eating far too quickly resulting in overeating.
Check in with your hunger, sit back & relax and take your time; allow for 15-20 minutes for a meal is about right. Make sure you eat until you’re around 80% full.
This habit teaches you how someone should eat. By slowing down your eating and stopping at 80% fullness, you will improve digestion, enhance appetite cues for the next meal, better performance with exercise, more time to enjoy your meal & if you eat before bed you will improve your sleep quality too.
2. Where Is The Protein Dense Food?
Are you about to eat at least 1 palm size of protein dense food? Women get 1 palm size & men get 2 palm sized portions.
This will ensure you’re consuming an adequate amount of protein per day, stimulating your metabolism, supporting new lean muscle tissue & recovery & reducing body fat.
3. Where Are The Veggies?
Are you about to eat a large portion of veggies? They can be prepared anyway you like. One serving is about 1 fist sized portion & you should try and eat a few portions per meal.
By developing this habit, you will ensure you’re getting in your 5-6 servings of veg per day, boosting your micronutrient intake, supporting your immune system from harmful disease i.e. cancer, colds, high cholesterol etc.
4. Where Are The Carbs?
If you have fat to lose but haven’t just worked out, eat less pasta, bread, rice and other starchy carbs. Opt for a double serving of veggies instead. If you have just worked out a mix of carbs sources is fine.
This is a good habit for controlling your carbohydrate intake. If your goal is fat loss getting most of your carbohydrates from non-starchy carbs, veg & fruit is fine with a small amount of starchy carbs post workout is fine.
5. Where Are Your Fats Coming From?
Today you need some fats from various foods, prioritizing wholemeal food sources like eggs, meats, fish, olives, nuts & seeds. Spread these throughout the day
This habit will ensure you are consuming the right amount of “good” dietary fats per day. This will help optimise your health, brain function, body composition & exercise performance.
You have probably heard of the following: “It’s all about the diet!” // “It’s all about the exercise!” // “To get results it’s 80% diet and 20% exercise!”
Through my own experience and working with clients, to achieve sustainable long-lasting results, it’s all about 100% living a healthy lifestyle through regular exercise and good nutritional habits.
Your lifestyle includes the food you eat, the liquid you drink, how much exercise you do, how often you work/ study, how much you sleep, the people you socialise with and much more. All areas of your lifestyle need to be addressed and in check to successfully achieve and sustain your fitness goals.
If your goal is to lose weight, get fit and build muscle then 3 to 4 hours of exercise per week, over a prolonged period, is all that’s required to get you results. Assuming you’re performing the right type of exercise and working at the appropriate level of intensity.
However, all your hard work will be wasted if you chose to not put the same level of dedication into your diet.
Exercising stimulates the change, but the actual change can only be optimised when exercising has been matched by good nutrition.
If you are consuming more calories than you’re burning or you’re not eating enough calories per day, then you will not achieve the results you desire.
1 hour of exercise per day equates to just 4% of your day, therefore it’s what you do with the remaining 23 hours that truly matters.
How To Lose Weight By Walking More
One question I get asked a lot is, what is the best way to start losing weight & get fit?
Look down, the answer is right in front of you…your feet!
Just getting out & walking more and putting one foot in front of each other is sometimes all you need to do to dramatically improve your health & wellbeing.
Walking between 8000 to 15000 steps extra a day (2 to 3 20 minute walks per day) is a simply yet very effective way to boost your fitness levels, burn more additional calories & is great starting point for beginners.
Walking more per day can also dramatically reduce your stress levels and less stress = easier weight loss.
Here are my 5 tips to walk more:
- Walk instead of taking the car
- Kids school run: park the further from the school
- Walk around the shops instead of shopping online
- Take the stairs instead of the lift/ elevator
- After lunch go for a walk 15-20 minute walk outside
Overtime time the little bursts of movement really do add up and make a huge difference.
If your only form of exercise is low intensity long distance walking to lose weight then you need to make sure your nutrition is in check.
Everyone’s exact nutritional needs are different, taking many different factors into account. However, most females walking to lose weight normally follow a 1200-1600 calorie diet, males 1600 to 2000 calorie diet rich in protein; chicken, turkey, red meat, fish, soft cheese, tofu, eggs, nuts, protein bars/shakes etc.
If you want to lose weight you must make sure you’re burning more calories than your consuming per day. So even though you’re increasing your activity levels you will still need to decrease your calorie intake.