How To Spot Reduce Fat
A question I get ask all the time is, how do you spot reduce fat?!
The truth is you can’t! The body doesn’t work in that way.
The number of fat cells in the body don’t change, unless surgically removed, however the overall size of the cell can be decreased and this can be done by good nutrition and regular exercise.
Despite what social media and “fitness gurus” have you believe, no amount of sit ups per day are going to get you a 6 pack.
Instead focus on training the whole body; chest, shoulders, back, arms, core & legs which will allow for a greater calorie burn to torch fat.
What is the best workout for burning body fat?!
The best way to burn body fat is a combination of resistance training and cardio conditioning. Both can be incorporated together into a HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) circuit or performed as individual workouts. It depends on your overall goal.
If you are someone who struggles to find time to exercise, or has little to no motivation to got to the gym, then short 20-30 minute HIIT workouts are your answer. Don’t worry, I’ve got you, give my quick and effective HIIT workout below a try:
Or perhaps you like going to the gym, however you are unsure on what exercises, reps & sets to perform. Don’t worry I’ve got your back too, check out my full body resistance workout for some guidance:
And for the SUPER motivated, who are up for a CHALLENGE and are READY for CHANGE, check out my F12-12 week Fat Loss Program available to download here.
If you want to find out more about my services I offer, feel free to contact me direct [email protected]
Small Group Training
“Push yourself HARDER, get results QUICKER by working out TOGETHER!”
“You don’t have to go to the gym alone!”
Through my own experience of working in the fitness industry, a lot of people don’t like the idea of going to the gym by themselves. Enter small group training!
Small group training of 4-16 people, is a great way to meet and connect with others who have similar fitness goals. Small group training builds a community of supportive people and provides the accountability you need to get the body you desire.
Small group training sessions are fun and very dynamic, integrating barbells, kettlebells, slam balls, speed ladders and more, that give you an effective and varied workout.
If you are a client of mine or a member at my private gym, you’ll know by now I am a big fan of HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training). It’s my favourite type of workout for small group fitness training and it’s a AWESOME training method for burning fat. Not only does it torch your body’s fat like nothing else, but it also boosts your metabolism and will get you ultra-fit by improving your cardiovascular fitness.
As a small token of appreciation for taking the time to read my blog, I would like to offer you, the reader, a 1x FREE pass to attend one of my small group classes (listed below) held at my personal training studio in Linlithgow. To redeem your pass, simply book in online at www.flexfitnesspt.co.uk and I will look forward to working with you then!
Fitness Class Timetable:
Mon: Kettlercise 7-8pm
Tue: Women’s Weightlifting 7-8pm
Wed: Hatton Boxing 7-8pm
Thu: Weightlifting 7-8pm
Fri: Flex Fit 6:30-7:30pm
Sat: Hatton Boxing 9-10am
If you want to find out more about my services I offer, feel free to contact me direct [email protected]
How To Succeed this Summer
Getting fit for your holiday holidays is one of the biggest reasons why people decide to take on the gym. Understandably, as everyone wants to feel and look good in their best swim wear next to the pool / beach. So, in this blog post, I’m going to take you through some key points to consider before getting shredded this summer.
Give yourself enough. This unfortunately is one currency in the world that once lost we cannot get back. So, start earlier, in fact, I dare you to start right now!
The longer we give ourselves to diet down, the more room for error we leave, the less time restricted we feel, the bigger the change we can elicit.
6-8 weeks to lose- 14lbs (1.7-2.3 lbs per week)
12 weeks to lose- 14lbs (1.2lbs per week)
Both targets are achievable, however allowing for extra time, will allow for more wiggle room, making your goal more achievable.
If you limit yourself to only 6-8 weeks, time isn’t on our side. You may encounter setbacks, decreasing your motivation and willingness to carry on. However, with time on your side, you will be more likely to succeed.
One thing to note, never take this extra time for granted! Give yourself 12 weeks, train and act like you have 4!
Keep a Record!
This is a big one. It is all well and good going to the gym and getting started, I love that! In fact, if you haven’t started already, then stop reading and get your ass down to the gym and finish reading this blog when you’re back home resting.
You want to make sure you have a plan to follow. Recording your progression is important, it will help gives you both a physical & mental boost. Knowing week on week you are getting stronger, lifting more weight for more reps, will fire you up!
Things to write down and track:
- Sets and Reps
- Progress Pictures
- Track your Weight
These are all areas we want to keep track of and will allow us to see improvements in performance and if we are getting closer to our goal.
Be accountable to someone and create a support network around you, tell people at your work, tell your friends, your family, tell Facebook! The reason this is important, is because when times get tough, which at some point they will, being accountable to someone else will help keep you from throwing in the towel. The thought of someone else knowing you have given up, is sure to stop you in your tracks and make you realise that you aren’t going to let that happen.
Find a friend or a group of friends who are also willing to make some positive changes in their lives, help each other:
- Create Messaging Groups
- Check- In with each other every single day
- Train Together
- Send Pictures of your food to each other
Be there for one another and most importantly, don’t let them slip! Because if you do, you will be inclined to follow.
Support, Grow and Dominate this Summer.
A lot of people will only track their progress on the bathroom scales. However, the scales don’t always tell the full truth of the tale.
Take my Client Abbie for instance, in 4 weeks she dropped 5lbs (-1lb per week is good weight loss) however she managed to lose massive 12.5 inches from her full body measurements. Had we not tracked this, she may have let her expectation of losing more weight than she did, get her down. When in fact she had made tremendous progress.
There are many other ways we can track our progress to validate what we are doing is working:
- Scale Weight
- Body Girth Measurements
- Progress Photos
- Training Diaries (If you’re getting stronger, your making progress)
- Clothing Sizes
Remember, 5 measurements of progress are better than 1.
To summarize, to succeed this summer make sure you:
- Give yourself enough time & start earlier
- Keep a log of your training
- Create support network around you
- Use more than one method to track progress
Blair Johnston – Flex Fitness Personal Trainer
What if I told you, you can achieve the body of your dreams by eating the foods you enjoy?!
You’d think I’m crazy right?! WRONG!…Ok maybe a little.
When it comes to nutrition there is a lot of BS out there. You read one thing one minute and then five minutes later you read something else, that contradicts what you’ve just read.
All too often, you’re forced to believe that to achieve your fitness goals you must only eat “clean” foods; chicken, broccoli, rice etc and avoid eating “bad” foods; bread, sweets or chocolate etc.
Thankfully this is NOT TRUE!
The key to nutrition success is MODERATION!
Eating a diet including a wide variety of wholesome minimally processed foods along with foods you enjoy factored in when appropriate.
The problem being, the word moderation isn’t sexy and when people hear it they switch off.
People are more attracted to the sexier more extreme sounding nutritional approaches; juice detoxes or toxic cleanses. All resulting in you eliminating the foods you enjoy and feeling miserable whilst trying to loose body fat….sounds great right?!
When looking to achieve sustainable results, food elimination is not the way forward.
When you eliminate foods you enjoy from your diet completely, your urge for those foods significantly increases. This eventually leads to you bingeing, diminishing your results, creating an unhealthy/ negative relationship with food and before you know it, you’re back to where you started.
It’s like having a big red button placed in front of you, which says DO NOT PRESS!
….What do you want to?….You want to press it!
You have the same emotional triggers when it comes to the foods you enjoy.
What if I told you, from this day on and for the rest of your life, you cannot eat a single bit of chocolate!
….What food do you now want?….Chocolate, that’s right!
Therefore when it comes to nutrition, I am a HUGE advocate of moderation.
I practice and I preach the 80:20 rule to all my coaching clients; 80% of nutrition from healthy nutritious foods and 20% from less nutritious foods. This ensures your body is getting the right amount of nutrients it needs to function properly and will also encourage a positive relationship with foods, helping you sustain your results.
I don’t just talk a good game, I also practice what I preach!
I am currently carrying out an experiment on myself called – A Chocolate A Day Experiment, where I aim to eat 1x chocolate bar every single day for 8 weeks straight whilst losing body fat.
The purpose behind this experiment is to help educate client, friends, followers etc. on nutrition and moderation to achieve their fitness goals.
To find out how I am getting on with my experiment, you can follow me on social media:
Thank you for take the time to read this blog. If you wish to get in touch, feel free to contact me direct [email protected]
Firstly, To elicit fat loss, you need to first be in a calorie deficit, meaning you have to make sure your energy balance is correct.
Energy Balance simply put is; Calories In vs Calories Out.
So, for you to be in a calorie deficit, you need to have ‘calories out’ higher than the ‘calories in’. This creates a good environment for your body to burn fat.
So, before you even begin to think about the correct number of macronutrients (carbs, fats, proteins) to consume, or optimal meal times, or what supplements you should take etc. you need to make sure your energy balance is correct.
Here are a few tips/hints to help you create a calorie deficit:
- Keep A Food Diary – Now this one can go a long way in our fat loss efforts. Write every little thing down, if you put it in your mouth, then scribble it down. This will make you become more aware of what and how much you’re eating. People tend to forget the little nibbles and snacks they have each day.
- Walk More – Simple things like, taking the stairs, parking further from the entrance of your work, parking on the top floor at the shops, walking to the shops instead of driving. Now these may seem small inconvenient changes, but the more steps you do each day the higher your calorie output will be. Create that deficit remember!
- Read Food Labels – Many people will neglect to read the nutritional content found on food labels. By taking some extra time to read the nutritional information on the food label, will make you more aware of the calorie value of each food. You may be shocked to find out, the foods you think are ‘healthy’ are packed with calories, granola being one. So always read the label, which will allow you to make smarter lower calorie food choices i.e. Special K or oats instead of granola. Save the extra calories and create a further deficit!
- Fill Your Plate with Greens – Now most if not all green veg tends to be low in calories, so it is a good idea to up the volume/amount of greens on your plate instead of higher carbs foods such as potatoes, rice, couscous, pasta etc. Not that these are “BAD” carbs sources, more the fact they will be higher in calories.
- Feeling Hungry? Drink Water! This one may seem a little strange, however allow me to explain. The next time you’re feeling hungry in-between your meals/snacks, try drinking 1-2 glasses of water and see how you feel. Often you may feel or think you’re hungry when you are thirsty or slightly dehydrated. If after 10-20mins of having something to drink you still hungry then eat something.
- Be Accountable To Yourself Or Someone – This is one most people forget to do, now this may not be a nutritional tip or a training tip to help with fat loss. However most people will neglect to set themselves up for fat loss psychologically. So my advice would be, find someone to become accountable to. Tell your partner, family, friends even put it out on social media and let everyone around you know you’re on a fat loss journey. Now you don’t have to go out there and shout about it, but make sure you let people know. If you are the only one to know, you may find it easier to give up, however if you tell people, it becomes harder to give in. Nobody likes to be seen as a failure, so if you’re serious about your fat loss goals, make yourself accountable!
- Include Resistance Training & Cardio – You have no doubt heard this one before, a good training plan for fat loss normally entails both resistance and cardio training. One is not far better than the other and both work tremendously well together when the goal is fat loss.
- Set Small Achievable Targets – Set yourself targets to achieve. Many people will start their fat loss journey and will fail to set a goal. In fact, that’s a lie, most will set out a goal, their end goal, the finish line. Yet when you begin, just like when you start a marathon, the finish line is so far away. So, my advice would be, set yourself check points, small goals which over time add up to the final goal.
- Prepare, Prepare, Prepare – If you plan everything out, from your training, your meals, when you’re going to workout, things become a lot harder to fall away from. If you prepare your meals in advance for the day ahead, you will be less likely to succumb to the easy convenient foods that surround us in today’s society. If you plan and set out time in your day to exercise, it will become a lot harder to not workout. If you record your training it will be a lot easier to make sure you do a little more each time.
- Avoid Cutting Out Your Favourite Foods. When you look to begin to lose weight, one of the worst things you can do is ‘ban’ foods from your diet, as you will immediately create cravings. After all we are all human, we all want what we can’t have. Now, on the other hand we all know there are certain foods out there to which we cannot control ourselves from eating, these are what’s known as ‘Hedonic Foods’. Foods in which there is no portion size imaginable that will fill you up. We all have them, for me, it’s Granola! It gets me every time, I could eat bags of the stuff. So I just simply don’t buy it when fat loss is the goal. Out of sight out of mind. Other than this, I rarely do change or ban foods from my diet. When it comes to nutrition, I recommend following a simple 80/20 split of your daily calorie intake. 80% of your foods consumed coming from wholesome nutritious foods and 20% from less nutritious foods you enjoy. This will ease the temptation to binge and it will ultimately help you stay on track with your goals.
Start slow. I recommend implementing 1 or possibly 2 of tips discussed above to your current at lifestyle, as this will in time create new subconscious habits, helping you get to your goal quicker.
Another thing to remember when it comes to fat loss is only you can make a difference, if you are not where you want to be right now, something must change. Nothing will come to you without change. Consistency is key when it comes to any form of change, be it fat loss or weight/muscle gain. Change takes time, so give it a change a chance and allow your body time to adapt.
The truth is, you will probably get to your end goal, however when you get there you may still not be satisfied. It is human nature for us to want more. You will always be left wanting more, to become leaner, to become stronger, to become bigger. No matter how far you go, you always be left wanting more. And at this point it is important not to get wrapped up in the process of consistently moving forward, but to stop for a moment and look back on what you have achieved and where you have come from.
Because that moment of realisation of the work you have put in, the realisation of what you have once overcome, that moment is worth every little bit of sweat and tear you gave along the way.
There is no better feeling than realising you are in a better place than before.
Never lose sight of where you have come from!
Flex Fitness Personal Trainer
E: [email protected]
Hi Flexers, welcome to another monthly blog post by yours truly. This month’s blog is about the benefits of full body workouts.
There are a hundred and one different ways to workout and get in great shape.
And for most individuals wanting to improve their body composition and fitness levels, full body workouts are the way forward.
Full body workouts boast a number of physiological training benefits:
1. Greater calorie burn per workout: Due to the large amount of muscle mass being taxed with every training session, full body workouts burn more calories per session. This means you can avoid your starvation diets.
2. Increases fitness levels: The increased intensity of full body resistance training has also been known to increase aerobic and anaerobic fitness. Meaning you can skip your next cardio session if you want.
3. Increases lean muscle mass: The increased frequency of training each muscle group multiple times per week will insure each muscle is getting the right amount of stimulus to grow.
4. Promotes muscular balance: Whole Body workouts allow for balance and symmetry across the entire body. This can be useful when trying to improve weaker, less developed areas of the body.
5. Strengths all major ligaments and tendons: This ensures the body’s skeletal system is physically stronger to handle heavier weight/load in future training cycles.
Who would benefit from full body workouts?
There is a misconception that such routines are only for beginners and people who only want to “tone” and achieve the “fitness look”. When in reality, recreational gym goers, competitive bodybuilders and sporting athletes would all benefit from following a well-structured full body workout training program.
How to structure a full body workout?
You want to make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck when in the gym. This means performing exercises that are physically demanding, working multiple muscle groups in one go, allow you to get stronger over time and replicate functional movement patterns:
– A bend/ squat
– A hip hinge/ stiff legged deadlift
– A horizontal/ barbell bench press
– A vertical push/ barbell standing shoulder press
– A horizontal pull/ barbell rows
– A vertical pull/ lat pull down
– A single leg movement/ dumbbell split squats
– A torso twist/ barbell landmine twist
How often per week?
If you’re new to weight training, I would recommend you start off with 2-3x resistance training sessions per week.
If you are no stranger to the gym, have 1-5 years training experience, then I would recommend performing between 3-4x full body resistance sessions per week.
Due to the high frequency and intense nature of full body workouts, you will also need to factor in “rest days” into your weekly regime. This will allow you to recover in time for the next grueling session.
How long should each workout last?
If your goal is to get strong and build a good looking body, then I recommend spending no longer than 1 to 1.5 hours’ max in the gym at one time.
This will allow you to maintain a high performance with heavier loads.
If you like the idea of full body workouts and are looking for a plan to get you started, I recommend downloading my F12 plan. The F12 is ideal for beginner and intermediate trainers looking to drop body fat and build a strong, lean, and healthy looking body.
Thank you for taking the time to read this blog, if you have any questions or comments please feel free to contact me on [email protected]
Intro/What is it?
So this month’s Flex Fitness blog is all about what they call ‘The Prowler!’ sounds menacing right? Well you would be correct to think this.
The Prowler is a weight loaded metal sled, used to perform conditioning type exercises. It can be incorporated into your weekly exercise regime via circuit training, strength and conditioning style sessions or even to an entire session focused around the bad boy himself!
What can it be used for?
So what use is the Prowler to us? And what benefit can we get from running ourselves into the ground with this piece of kit?
Apart from an outrageous quad burn, there are many benefits you can get from incorporating some prowler work into your training.
The prowler can be used to help improve multiple aspects and components of fitness; cardiovascular fitness, speed, endurance, strength and even muscle hypertrophy (muscle building)
To improve strength and muscle hypertrophy, the focus should be on the load being used, adding a little more weight and or performing 1-2 repetitions more each workout.
Break the work down to a similar lay out to when preforming Squats and perform 4 sets of 5 Lengths. This can be done after performing any of the main lifts i.e. squat, bench press, deadlift, OHP etc.
For Endurance, incorporating the sled into a circuit or by adding in higher volume work would tap into muscular endurance and cardio vascular fitness. Something along the lines of a ladder set could be used here; sled runs partnered with another exercise like ab slams with a slam ball, starting with 10 Sled runs,2 ab slams, continually working your way down the ladder to 2x sled runs and 10x ab slams.
How to incorporate into to training routine
When adding the prowler into your training plan, there are a million different ways to do so.
It can be used as an exercise in a strength and conditioning circuit or as the “finisher” exercise on a leg day. The prowler can also be used as an accessory exercise, in a similar fashion to dumbbells.
Challenges to try?
2 Challenges to test you.
Prowler Challenge #1
(This challenge is best carried out over 4 weeks, 1 sessions per week)
-Load the Prowler with weight equalling your current body weight.
-Now it is time to see how fast you can complete 10 rounds of 2 lengths. Breaks can be taken when you want and for how long you feel you need.
-Note down your time, this is the bench mark to beat for week 2. The aim of the challenge is to get the quickest time possible.
Challenge Tip- Pace yourself, don’t go all out too fast, otherwise that latter rounds will be harder and longer rest will be needed.
Prowler Challenge #2
10 minute Push Pull
– Load the Prowler With your current body weight
– Attach a length of rope (Thin tug of war style) to one end of the prowler.
– Sitting at the opposite end of the track, you will use alternate arms to pull in the prowler, once the prowler has been reeled in, stand up and push the prowler back to the start.
– Repeat as many times as possible in 10 mins.
Challenge Tip – Again similar to the first challenge, pace yourself, also use something like a sand bag to place your feet against whilst pulling the prowler.
The prowler is a very versatile piece of kit and can be incorporated in to any type of training. There is so much you can do with the prowler the list is endless.
One thing you can guarantee, is that if you tackle this guy, he will bite back!
However, the feeling of a post prowler session is one of relief and satisfaction, so Get involved!
This month’s blog is on resistance training for women and how lifting weights can help you reach your goals faster.
During my time spent working in the fitness industry (9 years), I have worked and helped many female clients transform their bodies and achieve their fitness goals.
The majority of females I coach come to me with the same objectives:
1 – Lose Weight
2 – Tone Up
Both of which are excellent goals and can be achieved after a few months of regular training and good nutrition.
My experience has taught me; most people aren’t performing the right type of training associated to their fitness goals.
Their weekly exercise routine normally consists of endless amounts of cardio and no resistance training at all. Often resulting in very little to no change in their body shape.
The Myth of Resistance Training:
Most females opt to stay clear of lifting weights in fear it will make them look “bulky” and “manly”. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Yes, lifting weights builds muscle but not to the extent most females fear. And this is largely down to the simple fact that the female body doesn’t produce enough testosterone compared to males.
The human body is made up of two different types of sex hormones, eastrogen and testosterone.
Eastrogen is the main female steroid sex hormone that promotes the development and maintenance characteristics of the female body.
Testosterone is the main male steroid sex hormone that is responsible for muscle growth and the development and maintenance of the male body.
Females naturally produce more eastrogen than males and males produce more testosterone than females.
Fear Less Train More Ladies!
The Benefits of Resistance Training:
Resistance training provides multiple benefits to all aspects of fitness. And in my opinion, everyone regardless of their fitness goal should be performing some form of regular weight training per week.
If your main goal is to lose weight and “tone up” and to improve your overall body composition, then resistance training should make up the majority of your weekly exercise regime.
It is common knowledge resistance training builds muscle and strength. However, people are less aware of the fat burning benefits associated with growing new muscle tissue.
New muscle tissue is referred to as “live tissue” and like most living things it requires energy to stay alive. The body adapts to its new energy demands and expends more calories at rest resulting in increased fat loss.
Physiological benefits of resistance training:
1. Enhances muscle shape and size
2. Increases bone density
3. Prevents the onset of osteoporosis and arthritis
4. Increases ligaments and tendon strength
5. Elevates Resting Metabolic Rate/ RMR
6. Enhances fat loss
7. Improves power
8. Improves strength
9. Improves muscular endurance
10. Increases sports performance
Why would you not lift weights right?!
Types of Resistance Training:
There are many forms of resistance training, all of which provide multiple training benefits:
1- Bodyweight exercises i.e. press ups and pull ups
2- Free weights i.e. barbells and dumbbells
3- Fixed weights machines
5- Resistance bands….. and more!
I personally prefer to train my clients using a variety of bodyweight and weight training equipment, this allows them to become stronger in multiple areas resistance at one time.
Training Frequency Recommendations:
Training frequency ultimately depends on the individual’s overall goal and training experience.
Females who are new to weightlifting can make really good progress performing 2-3 whole body resistance training sessions per week.
More advanced female trainees may need to up their training frequency to 4-5 whole body or body part split sessions per week, in order to keep progressing.
I recommend finding a training frequency that allows you to progress and one you can adhere to.
My passion for resistance training and helping women transform their physiques goes way beyond the scope of this blog.
I have recently released the F12 – 12 Week Shred, which is a 12-week fat loss plan and is now available to download from my website www.flexfitnesspt.co.uk
I also run a successful women’s weightlifting class at my gym in Linlithgow, every Thursday evening 7-8pm.
Thank you for taking the time to read my blog, hopefully I have helped inspire you to pick up a barbell and start lifting for your goals!
We’re proud to show off our new shiny website to you flexers out there! Flex fitness has undergone a lot of changes recently, and for the better. With a new brand, image, program and website, Flex Fitness is ready to take on new and exciting challenges.
Our new website has also came at the perfect time, with the launch of our new fitness workout program, F12. To find out more about F12, why not have a look round our site and see how Flex Fitness can help you achieve your fitness goals!
Watch this space for future news! Thanks Flexers!