Do You Even Lift?

But more to the point, you should be.

We all know that resistance training (weightlifting, HIIT training) is good for our health. It increases muscular strength and endurance, decreases body fat, speeds up our metabolism, improves immune health, balances hormone production etc etc.

The truth is that resistance training is more important than cardiovascular training. This is because you can improve cardiovascular endurance by resistance training, but you can’t increase muscular strength by doing more cardio.

study proved that resistance training can be amazing for your heart. Researchers from the University of British Columbia found that just one—that’s right, one—session of weight training is enough to reduce your risk of diabetes complications. The researchers gathered 35 students to participate in the study, dividing them into three groups: diabetics, exercisers without diabetes, and non-exercisers. All of the students performed the same twenty-minute warm-up, followed by a seven-minute high-intensity interval weight training program. After the seven-minute workout, the researchers tested the students to see the effects. What they found was impressive: the students had greater blood vessel function after the workout, with the most significant improvement in the diabetes group. The increase in blood vessel function means a reduced risk of heart attack and an improvement in overall heart health.

Also interestingly, the students also underwent a session of cardiovascular exercise (cycling on a stationary bike). The exercise did yield results, but nowhere near as visible as the resistance training. This goes to show that resistance training really is more important than cardio.

Even if you don’t have a family history of diabetes, heart disease, or metabolic syndrome, it’s in your best interest to get active now. But don’t waste your time doing hours of cardio every week; who has that much time anyway? Instead, start mixing in the resistance training. As this study proved, even just a few minutes of interval-based weightlifting can lead to a huge improvement in your cardiovascular health.

You can always add cardio to your workout, but keep your main priority resistance training—both interval-based and regular. The effort you expend on lifting weights and strengthening your muscles will never be wasted, and will lead to a healthier, happier you in the long run.

To Eat or Not to Eat

That is the question, and the answer is?

Recent research in the UK has found that eating before exercise DOES have an effective on adipose tissue (fat). The trial involved a group of overweight men and tested a gene response to exercising either on an empty stomach (fasted state) or two hours after eating a high carbohydrate breakfast. Researchers also collected fat tissue samples before and one hour after exercise.

The trial showed that a gene (PDK4) was significantly raised in the fasted exercise; this likely indicates that fat is used to provide the energy required to exercise. This means that exercising on an empty stomach might provoke more of a favourable change in adipose (fat) tissue, therefore more beneficial for fat and weight loss in the long term.

Bottom line? If you want to lose more fat try to exercise empty, however, if you aren’t a morning person, all isn’t lost, at least you’ll have more energy to put into your workout whenever you do have time to do it.

Don’t Panic!

This isn’t about not wanting to exercise (that’s a totally different, regular occurrence) this is when you really can’t due to injury, health, work schedule or other random things that disrupt your usual routine. It happens from time to time to all of us and can really throw a spanner in the works and if you’re not careful it can lead to a total derailment of your progress and mindset.

First things first, don’t panic. You have to admit that this is unfortunately how it is for now, it doesn’t make you a bad person, you’re not going to get fat overnight and you will at some point be back at it in no time. Look at it as like a comma, not a full stop.

Secondly, you have to put a little more thought into planning your week. If exercise is totally out of the question then nutrition has to be your new best friend. You don’t have to live on lettuce but you do have to be more aware of your mood as this can lead to cravings for the wrong types of food as we are feeling down. For me it’s chocolate, having a bad day? Eating chocolate makes you feel better instantly but then eater’s remorse kicks in hard.

There is always something you can do, it just might not be as exciting or at the usual intensity you like to work at, but even if you’ve hurt your knee or ankle you can still do floor work with weights and body weight and I know several exercises that are guaranteed to get your heart rate up and those endorphins pumping.

But the take home message is don’t panic, enjoy the break, move as much and as often as you can and eat well, muscle memory is amazing and will have you back to where you were in no time.


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Do you get enough?

There have been many research articles published over the last few years regarding how sleep and weight loss are linked. The media has hyped this up to tell us that we can lose weight while we sleep, unfortunately this isn’t the case.

However, if we are sleep deprived we are prone to gaining weight. This is all due to hormones called grehlin and leptin, grehlin tells us when we should eat and is at a higher level than normal and Leptin tells us when to stop eating and we have less of this when we are tired. Because of these pesky hormones we reach for high sugar/ carbohydrate snacks as your brain is craving energy and the quickest way for it to get that energy is with sugar. We may miss out on our workout and possibly grab takeaway on the way home because we are too tired to cook, all of these things will ultimately slow our metabolism down which is a big no no!

So, how much is enough? Ideally as we all know 8 hours sleep is the key, however, this just isn’t possible for most. The studies I looked at compared 5 hours or less sleep to 7 hours. Quite a big difference! Personally I believe it is up to the individual, you know how much you need to function well and be on top of your game, if you aren’t getting enough change something so that you do. There are ways to manage or treat most of these issues so don’t get grumpy and fat at the same time. Regular exercise and fitness program, a balanced healthy diet and a good bed time routine will help if you are prone to stress, insomnia and other sleep deprivation issues.

For more reading on sleep follow this link

For more help regarding your sleep and how to make sure you’re getting enough along with things you can change in your diet to improve the quality and quantity of sleep speak to you PT Taylored trainer during your next session.

Get Motivated and Stay There  

When you know you should exercise but you just can’t get yourself there, you need to find motivation that works for you and cuts through the usual excuses.

Here are just a few excuses that I hear regularly. No time, no energy, too tired, too lazy and my personal favourite, I forgot!

What motivates me might not motivate you. The trick is finding your thing, the one thing that will get you out of the chair and get moving. There are plenty, I have mentioned a few below that are popular, but remember if it works for you then that’s perfect.

Set a goal – remember make sure it’s a realistic goal. If you set it too high and constantly don’t reach it, this can de-motivate you. Your goal can be a kilo weight loss per week, or to lose 1cm from your waistline in 1 month, or to run non-stop for 5kms in under 35 minutes. To make it a proper goal you need to set a time limit and be specific, saying 10-15 kg in 4-6 weeks is not good enough, be precise! Otherwise you can keep telling yourself next week, next month, there or thereabouts.

Rewards – if you love a massage or really want a new pair of shoes, set yourself a goal and if you achieve it allow yourself to indulge in that massage or go shopping. Rewards shouldn’t be food orientated, as you will undo all of your hard work. The reward doesn’t have to cost a lot or be complex, it could be as simple as watching your favourite movie or having a sleep in.

Get a friend involved – if you have someone waiting for you at the end of the street every morning for a walk or exercise at the park you are less likely to make excuses not to go. Set firm times for training, make each other feel guilty if one of you slacks off. If you have similar fitness and weight loss goals the time you train together can be used to give tips on new recipes or to chat about how you can train harder next time.

Join a team sport – it doesn’t have to be competitive, again it comes down to committing not letting your team down.

The other side of this is to not beat yourself up if you don’t reach your goals, the fact that you are getting active and trying is better than making excuses and not trying. Your workout doesn’t have to be an hour a day, 20 minutes is better than nothing. You don’t need to spend a fortune and buy a new home gym. Bodyweight exercises are just as effective. Keeping your workouts varied will keep you interested. Mix up the type and intensity of your training. You’ll see greater results and enjoy it more.

Ultimately you are your own worst enemy and best friend, if you can get started and set small goals, plan regular exercise and the journey to a better body and healthier life is easier than you think

Quick Swap Snacks

If you find yourself raiding the fridge or cupboards for snacks here are some ideas for healthier swaps than the usual chips, chocolate and sweets that we all tend to go for when we are tired, hungry or even worse; bored!

We all want to improve our diets and nutrition density on the foods we eat, most of try to follow a fitness program or have a personal trainer, don’t undo all of your good work by making the wrong snack choices. Listed below are easy swaps that will reduce your fat and sugar intake easily without missing out on taste.

  • Swap crisps (250 calories) for roasted chickpeas (95 calories)
  • Swap a chocolate bar (255 calories) for a homemade protein bar (140 calories)Click and print the FREE recipe 


  • Swap diet yogurt (200 calories) for full fat yogurt (160 calories) CONTROVERSIAL but true!
  • Swap orange juice (120 calories) for an orange (70 calories)
  • Swap mixed nuts (170 calories) for edamame (33 calories)
  • Swap crackers and dip (300 calories) for raw vegie sticks and dip (150 calories)

I know that some of these are make-ahead items, but if you know you like a snack be prepared, a healthy, balanced post workout snack should be a must as you don’t want to undo all the good work you’ve just done. I advise anyone to be prepared for all meals if possible but snacking is a danger zone for most of us, the preparation will stop you making the wrong choices. For more snack ideas or recipes head to our Facebook page or ask your PT Taylored trainer during your next session.

A Beginners Guide to Exercise      

We all have to start somewhere, here are a few things to think about before you throw in the towel, or worse, not pick it up in the first place.

  • Nobody is perfect at anything the first time we do something. The more you work out the more comfortable you’ll feel; don’t worry if you are unco-ordinated, I’m shocking!
  • Don’t focus on just one area; even though you may hate your thighs if you only work them you’ll get muscle imbalances and not maximise your time and effort to your training.
  • Consistency is the key! This applies to diet and exercise; you need to stay in control of both. Aim to train 3 times a week and stay on track with your food 7 days a week!!! This doesn’t mean you can never have a treat just stay in control and don’t binge.
  • Patience is a virtue… Rome wasn’t built in a day… etc. You won’t get your ideal body in a week, but if you keep going and stay focused on your goals you WILL get there. Don’t give up just when things get tough, dig in deeper and get through it.
  • Nutrition should be a top priority; it’s absolutely true that you can’t out train a bad diet.
  • Keep advancing; up your weights, run further or faster. Your PT will help you do this in your sessions but if you are training at home go for another 5 reps or run 100m more, the results will come.
  • Soreness isn’t an indicator of a good work out; the fitter you are the less sore you’ll be. So if you aren’t sore every session that’s ok, as long as you are working at 100% you will get the results you want.
  • Don’t just do what you like; you may HATE push ups, but you should do them at least once a week just so you don’t get muscle imbalances and bad posture.
  • Set your goals; write them down and review them often. You need to stay focused and remind yourself what you want and why!


Spot Reducing Fat

If I could spot reduce fat I would be a millionaire, or own a liposuction machine!
I often get asked by clients if we can focus on their problem areas; think inner thigh, stomach, arms etc. They want to spot reduce fat in that area specifically.
Unfortunately the body doesn’t work like that and I’ll explain exactly why.
Fat cells and muscle cells are not the same, the fat in a fat cell are triglycerides and muscle can’t directly use the triglycerides for fuel, muscle fuel has to come from the liver in the form of glucose. The fat has to go through a process called Lipolysis first; this is when the body breaks down the fat into fatty acids and glycerol. Or it can use another process called gluconeogenesis which is when glucose is made first. Once the fat has been broken down in the cell it is transported to the liver where it is turned into glucose and then sent to the muscles.
So by working your abs or inner thighs you won’t burn off the fat in that area, fat gets burned wherever is feels like. Therefore having a good diet and training hard you will achieve the results you want but it will take time and it may not come off those problem areas immediately but it will happen!

Fasted Cardio – Fact or Ficition

For a few years now body builders and sport models have been doing fasted cardio. This is when you do a cardio workout for 45 to 60 minutes in the morning before you eat anything.
The theory is that as your stomach is empty there is no fuel to burn immediately so your body will take our fat reserves and break them down for energy for our workout, therefore helping you lose weight and fat.
Nice! If only it were true.
The truth is that yes you will burn more stored energy if you train empty your body will not differentiate between fat and protein. So you may end up losing lean muscle mass and not the fat that you want to. Also it doesn’t make our bodies’ better fat burning machines, so yes you may feel better running on empty it maybe doing you more harm than good in the long term. The after burn of the fasted cardio may actually encourage the next food you eat to be stored as energy therefore increasing your fat stores.
Don’t worry if breakfast doesn’t sit well with you before training; just know that the time and type of training you do will matter if you want nice and steady fat loss.
Speak to your trainer if you have any more questions with this or Facebook us and I’ll be happy to talk it through with you.

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Boosting your metabolism

Boosting or speeding up your metabolism is like the holy grail of fat and weight loss. If you can speed it up enough weight loss becomes easier, great right? So if you aren’t blessed with a fast metabolism what can you do to improve it? Here are some of my top tips;

  • More muscle! Muscle burns 3 times as many calories even while resting than fat does, so for every kilo of muscle you have rather than fat the more calories you’ll be burning.
  • Increase your intensity –we know we should all do cardio for heart health so make it worthwhile. Short bursts of intense cardio are more effective in raising your metabolism as it shocks your body than longer low to moderate intensity.
  • Drink your water – your body needs to be hydrated to process calories, even being mildly dehydrated will slow the process down. Make sure you are drinking 8 glasses a day.
  • Eat regularly – to maintain the burn of fuel in your body it needs to know that you aren’t going to starve, so by eating every 3-4 hours calories will continue to burn at a steady rate. Eating very large meals slows the process down, so eating once a day is a bad, bad thing.
  • Protein – I know, again with the protein but your body uses more calories converting protein to energy than carbohydrates and fats. Choose lean, good quality proteins such as chicken, tofu, eggs and legumes.
  • Coffee (caffeine) – music to my ears! Caffeine raises your metabolism slightly so if you need a perk up have a cup before training and it’ll help increase your endurance. Green tea and oolong work just as well if you don’t like coffee.
  • Avoid crash diets! While you may drop a few kilos by reducing your calorie intake dangerously low the long term effects are that you also lose muscle (see point 1) and have less energy to burn
  • Try these tips and see how you feel, you should feel as though you have more energy and the fat loss should follow.

    Making the best lunchtime choices

    What should you eat when you are at work? How can you make the best choices?
    Well, first and foremost try and take your lunch with you, preparing them on the weekend and ensuring you have healthy, filling and delicious lunches ready to grab on your way out of the door in the morning will help. You can make a big batch of salad, divide it into 5 portions and either; add your protein (egg, tuna, chicken, falafel etc) or take it separately and mix in at lunch time. If you need a dressing make your own, it’ll be a lot less salt and sugar than in your one bought one. Or in winter make one big batch of soup it’s a great way to pack in your veggies and you can make it as tasty as you want it.
    If you can’t be that organised, or if you can’t take your lunch here are a few healthier choices that you can grab on the go from the supermarket or café. Salad – watch for heavy mayonnaise sauces and nasty carbs (pasta, rice etc). Wraps – much lower carbs than rolls. Sashimi – just protein…love it! Things to avoid…pies, rolls and sandwiches, muffins, pizza and energy bars. These are full of fat, carbohydrate and empty calories.
    That being said don’t skimp on lunch, make sure you eat enough to get through the rest of the day, having enough protein will ensure you get through the 3pm slump.

    Defend Your Choices?

    If you are new to eating healthy you may have come across the haters, they may be friends and family or random people that have an opinion about your diet and exercise choices. If you are seasoned you’ll all know people that do this, some of them constantly.
    Your choice is just that, your choice. If you don’t want to eat any animal products, only eat protein, choose no to eat gluten even though you aren’t coeliac or only eat foods that start with A! (it’s not too difficult actually). We are grownups and as such we can make our own choices, ok so we don’t want to be THAT person that doesn’t get invited out anywhere because we are so fussy or moan all the time about how there’s nothing for us to eat, however, as long as you are healthy and you’re getting all of the nutrients you need from your food or with supplements go ahead, eat avocado, aduki beans, apples, almonds and artichokes. You don’t need to explain why you’re doing it, just leave it at “it’s my choice”; don’t give them any room to argue. Stand by your choice and be proud!

    Up the Intensity!

    When is it time to change the intensity of your workouts?
    Answer – when you get bored and it’s easy. It’s a very individual thing; your trainer will know and will change the type of exercise, the time, the weight and the rest periods for you. However, if you train on your own here are a few tips for you to try;

    • Change the number of sets and repetitions – if you always do 3 sets of 12 reps try 5 sets of 8, you’ll need to increase the weight too. Even if you don’t like it (you’ll be sore:)) do it for 1 week and then go back to what you prefer. It maybe what you need to kick start your metabolism or weight loss again.
    • Change the weight – super simple really, depending on what exercise it is add another 2.5 – 5kgs to your weight, you’ll fatigue faster so watch your form.
    • Change the tempo – if you don’t feel that you can add more weight; change the amount of time your muscles are under tension. For example; a squat can be done by lowering down with a count of 4 and then come up on 1, a push ups can be down on a count of 1 and up on 4. Try it; it’s challenging and a great way to change bodyweight exercises.
    • Superset – This is when you do 1 exercise back to back with another from a different muscle group without resting between, for example a push ups followed by bent over row (however many repetitions you normally do of each (12 of each?) rest 1 min and do it again). The benefit of this is that the reduced rest periods mean you get your workout done faster and you don’t fatigue just 1 muscle group at a time.
    • Have a go at these (not all at the same time) you’ll notice the difference and your body will appreciate the change.

      Psychological Benefits of Exercise

      Many studies show that people who exercise regularly benefit with a positive boost in metabolism and lower rates of depression.
      I believe that improved self-esteem is a key factor, if you look better and know you are proactively doing something to help yourself you are going to feel better.
      When you exercise your body releases endorphins. These endorphins interact with the receptors in your brain to reduce feelings of pain. Endorphins also trigger a positive, happy feeling that is similar to morphine – for some workout junkies it’s just as addictive! Although they haven’t found proof that they are; speak to any runner or someone that has done a big circuit session, they may disagree.
      Regular exercise has been proven to:
      • Reduce stress
      • Ward of anxiety and feelings of depression
      • Boost self-esteem
      • Improve sleep
      Along with all the other health benefits of exercise such as strengthening your heart, improving muscle tone and strength, lowering blood pressure, increases energy levels… I could go on! There are so many benefits to exercise and many aren’t even physical, get up, get out and get some endorphins released.

      Why you Need a strong core

      While everyone wants to have a beach ready body and to fit into their jeans all year round there are other more important reasons why you should have a strong core;
      Here are 5 reasons why having a strong core is so important

    • 1. Help prevent injuries – A strong core can help prevent back injuries by preventing over-rotation and over extending this isn’t just while your training, you need a strong back even if you’re sitting at your desk.
      2. Support your internal organs and central nervous system – The deep muscles (close to your spine) surround your internal organs and CNS, they do not like to get moved around too much so having a strong core allows them to work unaffected by the rest of your bodies movements.
      3. Banish back pain – a painful lower back is a sign of a weak core. Especially if you sit at a desk all day, the front of your body will be contracted meaning your back will be extended (stretched) so it is always under pressure. By having a strong core (don’t forget your core includes back muscles not just abs) your back pain will be eased.
      4. Improved posture – standing tall makes us look better, fitter, thinner and more confident. If you have a strong core your posture will improve automatically, if you want to look as though you’ve lost 1-2 kg stand up straight, simple.
      5. Look great in a bikini – so some of it is about looks, when you have a good strong core you can then start working on the superficial (6 pack) muscles so you can look fantastic at the beach.
    • A simple way to engage your core that you can do every day is to sit up tall and pull your belly button into your spine, hold for 5 breathes then release, repeat 10 times. You can do this as many times a day as you want. For more help with your core strength speak to your PT today.

      The Truth About Exercise

      Here are 6 simple tips that I hope you’ll take on board that will help you achieve your goals. Exercise is a swear word for some of you and others love the rush, whichever side you’re on these tips will help.
      1, Commit to the long term – even though your goal maybe just to lose a few kilos you need to create the right habits and attitudes so that when you do reach your goal you don’t go right back to where you were. Stop thinking about “dieting” and “sacrifice” think about making it a normal part of your life.
      2, Set a schedule for your training – obviously having a PT turn up on your doorstep every week is a good start! However, if you are committed to achieving your goal you need to set aside regular time each week to do some extra work. You know if you’re a morning of afternoon person so plan around that to your advantage; being consistent even when you aren’t motivated will get you achieving your goals. Don’t even consider your motivation as a factor – it’s the time you told yourself you were going to train so DO IT!
      3, Focus on the best exercises – I don’t mean doing compound exercises over isolation (many muscles used over one or two, think squat over bicep curls). Do what you know you like and can do with good form or if weights aren’t your thing make sure you do what you enjoy doing, you’re more likely to stick at it. Remember moving is better than not.
      4, Get the basics right – if you are training at home (following my YouTube videos) try and do it in front of a mirror or window so you can make sure your form is good. There is no point injuring yourself and then having to take a week off. Same with walking and running – build up slowly; give your body (think muscles, tendons and bone) time to catch up.
      5, Make progress every week – as a PT I see my clients improve, they can do more, train harder etc. The same should be for your workouts at home, aim for a little improvement every week, even if it’s one more repetition or ½ km extra on your walk in the same time. Work on improvement and progress, it’s a great motivator.
      6, Record your workouts – what gets measured, get managed. While I’m not doubting your memory, how can you know what you did two weeks ago on a certain day. A simple notepad will do, it doesn’t have to be high-tech, although MyFitnessPal is good for this. You’ll be able to look back and make sure you are improving, training when you say you will and making sure you are on track for the long term.
      Hopefully these tips can help you put together an action plan, speak to your PT about it as well, we are here to help you x.

      My Vegan Challenge

      My latest self-imposed challenge was to follow a vegan diet for 2 weeks.
      However, I didn’t want to lose out on protein by replacing it with carbs, so I was a clean eating vegan. It’s a thing and it’s called plant based diet.
      Therefore I didn’t eat bread, rice, pastas etc or tofu or any weird meat replacement I.e “fakon” (soy bacon) or Quorn “mince”.
      A few people (ok more than a few) thought I was mad and would be weak and sickly by the time the 2 weeks was up, or that I would dive straight into a pile steak on the Sunday morning.
      I wasn’t sure how I would feel, and I admit the 3rd day of the trial was a challenge and my work out that day was lack-luster to say the least, however as the experiment continued I really started to enjoy not eating meat or dairy, and I have always LOVED dairy!
      This was a scientific experiment, I took my measurements on the first and last days of the trial; weight, girth and body fat. My aim was to seeing if I lost any muscle from not eating the volume of protein that I would normally and also would I cope energy wise.
      I am happy to say that I didn’t lose any muscle! I lost a 1 kg and 1% in body fat! So that proves that the kilo was fat alone not muscle! Yay me!
      Not that I did the experiment to lose weight, but I does prove that you can be healthy and have as much energy as other people while chowing down on real, unprocessed food.
      I have put the meal plans and macro nutrient break downs on the website on the blog page, so if you are interested in what I ate (I think the nerdy foodie in me loved the challenge) head over there and maybe you can get a few ideas.
      A lot of the recipes I publish will now be plant based as I really didn’t miss the meat at all, I admit I missed seafood, that was hard and honestly I can’t imagine going out for breakfast and not eating eggs, however, for the foreseeable future I’m going to continue being plant based Monday to Friday and then at the weekend just not eating meat. (I still want to get invited to friends for dinner, and no-one likes a fussy eater, we all have the gluten free person to deal with anyway :))
      Here are the menus that I followed for 2 weeks with the macro-nutrient breakdown.
      Vegan Week 1

      Vegan Week 2

      How to eat out and stay on your diet

      So you know you can be good and eat well at home and it’s easy when there’s no junk food in the house to eat; what happens when you go out to eat? I have outlined the best options for each meal and tips you can use to not completely throw all of your good work out of the window.
      Breakfast – if you are going for high protein ask for a grilled breakfast with no toast and poached eggs. If this is too much for you go for a muesli (un-toasted) or porridge. STAY AWAY from pancakes, muffins, toast and hollandaise sauce!!!
      Lunch – I think lunch is the easiest, go for a salad and protein, i.e grilled fish or chicken and salad. If you are having Japanese go for sashimi or octopus salad, have a burger and no bun (or fries). STAY AWAY from bread, anything deep fried and starchy carbohydrates
      Dinner – very similar to lunch, again salad and protein, i.e steak, salmon etc, if you have Italian chilli mussels or calamari salad are great. Mexican, go for chilli and no rice (or sour cream). STAY AWAY from starchy carbs, alcohol and high fat foods.
      Dessert is discretionary, you know how good you’ve been and if you deserve a little treat 🙂


    • Ask for salad dressings and sauces on the side, you then have control over how much you eat.
    • If a dish comes with chips or potatoes ask for extra salad instead.
    • Don’t be afraid to ask for something different, most GOOD restaurants will be able to make small changes at no charge.
    • You don’t have to have 3 courses, I often just have an entrée as my main meal and then I can have dessert!
    • Don’t forget that what a menu tells you in low-fat or low-carb may not be, use your knowledge and make the smart choice.
    • Plan ahead, most places have a menu online now, use it and have a plan if you can’t be trusted to make the good snap decision.
    • Bon Appetite x

      Get a good nights’ sleep

      Magnesium is a very important mineral that most of us don’t get enough of. It helps with relaxing muscles, keeping bones strong, regulating heart rhythm, can help with PMS symptoms, high cholesterol and kidney stones.
      The RDI (recommended daily intake) of magnesium is 400mg, below is a list of magnesium rich foods.

        1. Dark leafy green – 1 cup cooked spinach 157mg
        2. Pumpkin seeds – 25g 150mg
        3. Mackerel – 100g 97mg
        4. Kidney beans – 100g 23mg
        5. Low fat Plain yogurt – 1 cup 47mg

      If you are very stressed; have heavy periods, drink a lot of caffeine or alcohol you’ll need more than the RDI, so try to eat more magnesium rich foods or do like I do and take a supplement. Take it just before you go to bed and it’ll help you sleep like a baby. You need to get magnesium citrate as this is the most bio-available form, be aware though too much magnesium has a laxative effect, so don’t go crazy just stick to the recommended daily dosage as advised on the bottle.

      Is breakfast important?

      I tried the 5:2 diet last year and liked it. In fact I raved about it, some of my clients and friends went on it as I was such a great ambassador for it (some still do it too). I can’t even remember why I stopped fasting. So when a client mentioned that you can do prolonged fasting daily I thought mmm, I’ll give it ago.
      The premise is that you don’t eat for as long as you can after waking, for example eat dinner at 7pm and then don’t eat breakfast/lunch until as late as possible the next day. Several studies have shown that people who skip breakfast can lose the same amount of weight as breakfast eaters. While I was concerned that all my hard-earned muscle will deteriorate as I’m starving it my own testing has proved otherwise. I measure my body fat regularly and have found that I have dropped fat and only a small amount of lean muscle; while any loss of muscle is annoying I did think that it’d be worse. Is it safe? Well yes and no, if you have underlying medical issues I wouldn’t try it (heart, cholesterol problems, diabetes etc) or if you’re one of those people that get “hangry” you may not have any friends left, however, if you want to try it to lose a few kilos then go for it. As with any diet, you will lose weight if you eat fewer calories than you were.
      I try these diets/fads call them what you will so I can pass on the results to my clients, I am not saying that it’ll work for you however, new research is proving that breakfast is not the most important meal of the day and if you aren’t a morning person then don’t stress, you can still lose weight just as easily as the breakfast eaters.

      Pre-Workout Food

      It’s important to have enough fuel in your tank to be able to focus and put the effort into your work-out, there’s no point showing up to your session if you feel as though you could blow over in a breeze! So here are a few options that you can try, yes the calories count but think of it as eating for performance. NOTE: eat 30 minutes before training, any later and you may see it again 🙁
      I’ll start with breakfast/early morning ideas;

        1. Really can’t face food? Have a cup of coffee (cold) and add a scoop of protein powder.
        2. ½ cup plain Greek yogurt and a scoop of protein powder
        3. 1 or 2 eggs and 1 piece of toast (if you’re doing a lot of cardio)
        4. Smoothies – any fruit you want with a scoop of protein powder, go easy on the milk…

      If you smash it at lunchtime

        1. Apple and 2 tbsp of peanut butter
        2. Veggie sticks and 2 tbsp hummus
        3. Banana and 5-6 nuts

      Late afternoon/evening workout

        1. Protein shake
        2. Protein balls (homemade of course)
        3. Boiled egg

      You’ll notice that these are all high in protein and low in carbohydrates, you don’t need to carb load before a regular workout, you just need fuel; protein is perfect for this, it’ll give you energy to see you through your workout and until your next meal.

      Can A DNA Test Change Your Body?

      Could your genes be holding you back from achieving the body you want? Or, is it just an expensive test that doesn’t mean anything?

      DNA fitness and diet testing is giving people more information about themselves that they could never know, but is it worth it? Well yes, if you do something with the information. Your genes are you and while you can’t change them, if you have an insight into what your DNA responds well to surely that’s a good thing.

      I think so, I love that I know how well I respond to dietary fats and what minerals my body is naturally lacking in, I can change my diet to include these nutrients and adjust my workouts to maximise my time and effort into ways that will get me results that I want faster.

      If you have been doing the same workouts or trying lots of different diets and they aren’t working, take the test and find out how you can amend your diet and training to mirror what your genes respond well to. It’s simple, painless and the results will never change!

      Call me today to order your test and unlock the secrets to your DNA.

      Psychological Advantage

      We often focus on the things we feel we should or have to do. How about approaching it from a different angle? Why not try focusing on things you shouldn’t do???
      Here are a few things that mentally strong people avoid.

      1. Dwelling on the past – the past is over and can’t be changed.
      2. Remaining in their comfort zone – it may seem cosy and safe but it is a dangerous place to be as you’ll never know what you can achieve.
      3. Avoiding change – it is inevitable, don’t fight it, embrace it!
      4. Getting jealous over others successes – we can all be successful, share the love instead of the hate.
      5. Thinking about their weaknesses – while it’s important to know them and work on them, focus on what you’re great at and excel!!!
      6. Refusing help from others – learn from others and except advice, you don’t have to use it, just understand that we all have a wealth of experience in different areas.
      7. Being impatient – Rome wasn’t built in a day. How do you know you’ve failed at something if you don’t give it enough time.

      We are unique, what works for you may not work for your friends. Understand your strength and think positively.

      Finding Time

      I know that we aren’t ladies (and gentleman) of leisure and have hours to fit in our workouts, but it’s so important to get into a good routine of setting side time each day (5 out of 7 at least) to fit in a workout. Easy to say I know but here are a few tips;

      1. Get up 30 minutes earlier – sure sleep is important but so is your long term health!
      2. Get off Facebook – limit your activity by 15 minutes in the morning and evening and you’ve found your 30 minutes!
      3. Plan your day – we know if we’re morning or night people, plan your work out to be when you’re going to feel most motivated.
      4. Put it in your diary – actually set time aside in your day for a work out, there are no excuses to not do it.
      5. Commit with a friend – or your Personal Trainer! By setting goals and committing to someone else you will get the added motivation you need to get moving and workout every day.

      What is a balanced diet?

      A balanced diet should consist of all 3 major food groups; carbohydrates, proteins and fats.

      Others…there are approximately 90 other nutrients that our bodies need for good health!

      You have the usual vitamins and minerals that we’ve all heard of but there are many others that we don’t even think about. Who thinks about our Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of manganese?

      Other suggested dietary advice is to avoid refined carbohydrates (sugar), avoid deep fried food, choose the oils you use wisely, don’t use canola oil! There are so many to choose from now, olive, coconut, peanut etc each one has its own uses in the kitchen.

      Easy rules to follow

      1. Eat a wide variety of foods, make it colourful and use whole grains
      2. Reduce fat by selecting lean meats and fish, remove skin and visible fat
      3. Help prevent obesity by reducing sugar and alcohol intake
      4. Food should be prepared and cooked simply and not over-processed
      5. Drink 8 glasses of water a day
      6. Chew! Between 5-10 times per mouthful, it aids digestion

      Some medication and even herbs can alter the digestion and absorption of the nutrients we eat, so even if we think we are eating well we may be counteracting it with other supplements.

      How much?

      How much of each nutrient should you be eating daily? This depends on you and what your body needs, however, approximately you should be eating around 35-40% carbohydrates, 35-40% protein and the rest in good fats. Does this mean you can eat bread? Sure, if you want to feel bloated and then hungry soon after. The carbs should come from vegetables, not processed food or starchy foods like pasta and rice. The protein should come from lean cuts of meat or fish and the fats should be from avocado and nuts etc. As a guideline look at your plate and see if it meets this ratio, if it does you’re on the right track.

      Also, how many calories? Weeellll again this depends on what you’re eating, when and what training you are doing. It’s wrong for anyone to say that to lose weight you need to eat 1200 calories per day, this isn’t for everyone! As an extreme example what if you were a Fruitarian? Should you only eat 1200 calories of fruit? NO! However if you want to eat the typical diet of mostly carbs (starchy ones) some protein and fat then yes 1200 is a good number. However, everyone is individual and getting the right advice for you is tough, speak to me about how you and Taylor your nutrition so that you get enough of the good stuff and not too much of the bad.

      What is a calorie?

      A calorie is the amount of heat necessary to raise the temperature of 1 gram of water 1 degree Celsius, to find the amount of calories in food it was burnt, then analyised to see how much heat and ash was made. So, based on this (back in 1890’s) many, many diet books, how to guides and “weight loss gurus” have made several fortunes by making us weigh, measure and obsess about our food.   Did we waste our time? YES! Not all calories are equal, even the thought of measuring out leafy greens or salad is MADNESS! Weight loss and health comes from being aware of the high fat, sugary and processed foods we eat. To illustrate this further 200 calories can come from 41g corn chips or 1 fun size chocolate bar or 500g CARROTS! Not that I’m telling you to eat ½ a kilo of carrots but you get the point, one of those items will keep you full for a LONG time.

      Don’t get hung up on counting calories, make smart, healthy and fresh food choices, don’t be scared of natural fats in food and stay AWAY from junk food!!!  Concentrate on eating the right amount of vitamins and minerals and everything will follow, fat, protein and carbohydrates and their ratios are not as important as we are lead to believe if we are eating a wide variety of foods daily.

      Curbing Cravings

      If you have a chronic sweet tooth or find yourself craving chips at any time of the day read on, I can give you some tips to hold them off so you don’t ruin all of your training.

      1, Don’t say you’ll never eat your treat again, this is unrealistic. Schedule it in, so you can look forward to it, just once a week though!

      2, Measure out your treats into a portion then put the rest away, don’t sit of the sofa tucking into the entire packet!

      3, What you eat this today shows next week. Think about it, will eating that chocolate get you to your goal?

      4, Diet foods won’t help your cravings, the sweetners in diet foods will only make you crave more real sugar. If you’re going to cave in do it properly and in moderation.

      5, Go and shower or brush your teeth, if you can take your mind off of your craving for 20 minutes you won’t want it anymore.

      Try these but for even more tips speak to your trainer, we have lots!

      Energy Metabolism

      Every living organism requires energy; ultimately all of this energy originates from the sun. Plants make energy during photosynthesis, humans then eat these plants and/or animals that have eaten plants; this food is then broken down and used as fuel for our bodies.

      We are made up of trillions of cells, each cell is busy doing what they do all the time, therefore needs a constant supply of energy. The liver is the most active organ as it is responsible for receiving all of the nutrients we eat, metabolises them, packages, stores or ships them out for use by other organs.

      Energy metabolism is a complex process; basically ATP captures the energy that is released when food is broken down, all tissues in the body need ATP. Then other reactions and reductions are made so that all the cells in the body have the right type and amount of energy it needs.

      When we call on our bodies to respond to exercise or stress the cells are then called on to release their energy. There are 3 systems that produce ATP; aerobic for endurance (2-3 minutes to activate), anaerobic for speed (about 5 seconds to activate) and “immediate” for power (no delay), these systems can be used simultaneously.

      The preferred source for energy is glucose for fast energy production, which comes from carbohydrate metabolism. Then fats for steady background energy and then protein which is only broken down when blood sugar levels drop.

      When we exercise it is important that we have enough fuel to support our workouts, as you can see if we don’t we will just make our body use protein which reduces our muscle. It isn’t necessary to completely cut out carbohydrates from our diets as we do need them, just don’t over eat them as too much glucose is turned to belly fat!

      Goal Setting – Why bother?

      If you don’t have a goal why get up at 6am? Or meet your PT after a hard day at work? You do it because you know you should and you’ll feel better afterward. They are good reasons but the other reason is because you have a goal and you are going to ACHIEVE it!

      It doesn’t matter if it’s to lose 10kgs or run the City to Surf or to fit in those jeans you bought last year and can’t do up anymore. Your goal and dedication to it is what sets you apart from everyone else, with me as your personal trainer we set your ultimate goal and then break it down into manageable parts so you can make wins every few weeks.

      Fake or Real?

      Sugar vs artificial sweeteners – this debate has been raging for years! Should we be able to eat ice-cream, diet sodas etc because they are lower in calories but have artificial sweeteners in them or should we just have an apple instead?
      My view is that we need to be aware of how the artificial sweeteners are derived and the possible affects it can have on us, but firstly I want to add that no study has proved that any artificial sweetener is unsafe…however, who pays for the studies and do the parent companies financially back the governments?
      So, we have a huge range of sweeteners, some are completely synthetic i.e. Saccharin and Equal, some are nonsugar alcohol sweeteners i.e Splenda and the “natural” alternatives i.e Stevia. Even the natural alternatives are a highly processed product so if you’re thinking of an environmental cost these aren’t a great alternative.
      Studies have shown that consuming sweeteners can alter the affect that then consuming real sugar has on the brain, as sugar is ironically less sweet than sweeteners it encourages us to eat more! This is not only bad for our current health but it could also have long term effects on our bodies. Will we ever know when enough is enough?
      There is a lot of information around on sugar and sweeteners, my best advice is eat any of it in moderation, just because you’re eating less calories it doesn’t mean you’re looking after your long term health and well-being.