Setting Your Fitness & Lifestyle Goals

You are over 75% more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down.  Here are some pointers to get you thinking, and there is space below to write them down – do it and you will be so please you did.  Note, one of the best things to do is establish where you are right now and for that you can come in for a Fitness & Lifestyle Assessment at the PT Studio in Brampton, contact me for more info.  Download my free Food & Exercise Diary, and bear in mind the following:

  • Diets Don’t Work – they make you crave or worse lower your metabolism
  • Focus on Bodyfat Not Weight and you will weigh what is right for YOU
  • Set Measurable Goals like dropping a dress size or losing an inch
  • Eat Low GI Food – this does not mean dieting or cutting out food groups!
  • Choose The Right Exercise – see suggestions below
  • Plan for the long term – how long has it taken you to get where you are right now? So, a two week blitz won’t work, this is a long term project.

Now focus on getting together an exercise programme.

How Much Should I Exercise & What Should I Do?

The answer to this depends very much on your goals.

Exercise for Health Exercise for Fitness
Frequency 5 times per week 3 – 5 times per week Minimum
Intensity 50 – 69% of MHR 60 – 90% of MHR
Time 30 minutes continuous, 2 x 15 minutes or 3 x 10 minute sessions 20 – 60 minutes
Type Any physical activity – walking, gardening, cleaning, DIY Rhythmic exercises using large muscle groups -

Why Should I Lift Weights?

Some women still fear that weight training might bulk them up in an unfeminine way but this is not possible. What is possible though are some fantastic results. Weight training raises your metabolism permanently, so you burn more calories even at rest. In fact, for each pound of muscle you gain, you’ll burn 35 to 50 more calories every day. So, if you gain three pounds of muscle and burn 40 extra calories for each pound, you’ll burn 120 more calories per day, or approximately 3,600 more calories per month. Muscle also takes up 50% less space than fat – so you develop lean muscle mass and not big bulky muscles but will be slimmer and trimmer. Weight training also strengthens bones – very important for women to fight osteoporosis and enhances balance and stability (Research has found that weight training can increase spinal bone mineral density by 13% in six months). You will also reduce your risk of injury, have more energy and feel great! So lifting weights is vitally important to everyone, especially so if you wish to tone up and lose fat – but not weight remember!  Resistance work is best done twice a week to get real benefits.

Your Goals – Write Them Down!

You stand a far better chance of achieving your goals if you write them down. This forms a contract with yourself, and you are much more likely to carry your goals through to completion. It also makes sense for these to be SMART – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time Framed. Take some time to think about your goals for the short, medium and long term. A great and realistic set of goals may be directly related to your assessment results such as body fat percentage. If your body fat is currently in the ‘Very High’ range, then a short term goal (6-8 weeks) might be to start reducing this by participating in an exercise programme and working out three times a week, a medium term goal (3 months) might be to get into the ‘High’ range and a long term goal (6-9 months) might be to move into the ‘Healthy’ range of body fat. I have provided some space below for you to write down your goals:

Short Term Goals___________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________

Medium Term Goals_________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________

Long Term Goals___________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________

 

Signed___________________________________________________________________

Dated:____________________________________________________________________

Exercise Is For Life, Not Just For January…

So here we are again – another January has arrived, the time when we all reassess those healthy living goals. This year, however, I want you to try and do something different. What often happens is that we get to this point and realise that another year has gone by and the healthy way of life, the regular exercise, the good food never really happened (again!) and we often do one of two things. One reaction is to get so depressed about it all and then hunker down, pretend it isn’t happening and carry on as normal until the same situation comes around next year. People often though find themselves doing quite the opposite and throw themselves into everything – launch into the latest diet and then do every single type of exercise class each day for three weeks. The first two weeks are fine but then you burn out and by the end of January give up altogether. Worse still, join a gym, start on a programme and then repeat that programme for the rest of the year with no changes.

Each of these options has appeal but in truth, and as we all know, there are no quick fixes and going mad for even six weeks is not the answer. What is the answer is to think and plan for the long term. So here’s the thing – this year make a realistic plan that you can continue through the whole year, not just for January. Set some goals for March, June and October and make them measurable. Make them exercise and food based but not related to weight and write them down. You are well on your way to making changes that will last all year by doing this.

In terms of exercise, find and start things you enjoy and that you can make part of your routine this year and then put them in your diary and plan your time around these. This will make the real difference in the long term. Include both cardio and resistance (weights) work in your plan and start gradually.

The next best thing this January is to forget about weight and forget about diets. Firstly, forget about diets because they do not work – they are not sustainable. You can’t cut out major food groups or fill yourself up with shakes and bars for ever; the moment you stop you risk going back to old habits and to where you were before, the vicious circle of dieting which most of us have experienced this at some point in our lives. Make sensible eating choices that will last the whole year (think Low GI carbs, lean protein, a good amount of vegetables and smaller portion sizes all round). Weight is something we obsess about but at the end of the day does us no good to worry about and is, in fact, meaningless. It would be much better to focus on other things like dress size and body fat percentages instead. Focus on these and have these as part of your year long set of goals and you will be much happier and see much better results in the long term. Body fat is a scientific measurement that applies to all of us and there are normal ranges that we can aim to fit within no matter what our age, shape or size – something diets do not take into account when they suggest you should weigh a specific amount based on your height – they ignore your age, gender, body type and body shape. Get to the right body fat percentage and you will be the right weight for you when you get there. You can measure your body fat with scales readily available now in most high streets.

So, start January by reviewing those life choices yes but ensure you are not here next year doing the same thing and make some realistic, long term plans based on the right amount of exercise, the right type of food and some sensible goals spread out across the year based on specific and measurable targets dress size and body fat and then record your efforts on a food and exercise diary, You are 76% more likely to achieve your results by doing this than if you do not – stack the odds in your favour and start now.

Exercise: Don’t Hope, DO…

I work with lots of different people but general goals are often very similar and along the lines of getting fitter, losing weight, toning up and feeling better. Whilst people vary immensely in size, shape and personalities, they very nearly all fall into one of two camps – those who say they want to achieve x or y goal, and those who do.

I ask clients each day what exercise they have done and what they will be doing before I see them next – I invariably get one of two responses back – “I am going to do x, y or z exercise” OR “I hope to get out and do x, y or z”. Those who have decided and make a definitive “I am” statement are the clients who get the results they want, who achieve the goals they set, and who end up making exercise part of their daily life.

Amazingly, a recent survey by the Women’s Sport and Fitness Foundation found that just 19% of women participate in moderate-intensity physical activity for at least 30 minutes three times a week. When you consider that most of are awake for around sixteen hours each day, it seems amazing that so many can’t find even half an hour to get some exercise in. Largely, I think this is because fitness is not always the highest priority in our lives, or even we are not a high priority in our own lives. This is patently crazy when you consider just half an hour of exercise a day could enrich every single aspect of our lives out of all proportion to the small amount of time required to carry it out. Surely all of us can find 30 minutes out of 960 to make ourselves a priority – can you, and do you?

If you don’t and you’d like to, then make the change and start by saying ‘I Will’ instead of ‘I hope’, or worse still ‘I can’t’ because the truth is you can – everyone can. If you can move then you can perform some sort of exercise, no matter what age you are, size you are, shape you are or condition you have – there is something for you that will enhance and enrich your life immeasurably. At the very least you will feel better because exercise releases feel good hormones into your brain – in troubled times like today that’s the very least we all deserve isn’t it?

Making exercise, your mental and physical fitness a priority in your life will enhance your life and extend it, you will look better, feel better, be healthier, have more energy, be more focussed, be better at every single thing you do; in short, you will be a better you because of it? There is no downside here, it’s a complete win-win situation, you and every person you interact with will have better lives.

If that sounds like too good to be true then you have not experienced the high from exercise and I urge you to do so, don’t write yourself off, don’t hope, DO….

Lose Weight & Make Friends At The Same Time…

We are social creatures, and applying this to your exercise routine may really help you get better results. When you have a “workout date” planned with a friend, a personal trainer, or a small group, you’re more likely to keep the commitment to go to the gym.  Working out with others also adds an element of fun to your exercise – have an opportunity to socialise whilst working out, and, as a result, the time becomes more enjoyable.  Moreover, at the end of a block of sessions, you will know each other a whole lot more and have a real sense of having achieved something together.

Friends can help keep each other motivated and accountable to a regular exercise schedule. You can push each other to go the extra mile–literally! This is one of the benefits of Small Group Training sessions. Not only do you pay less for the training, but you also make friends who can become your future workout buddies!

Benefits Of Exercising With A Small Group:

•    It’s human nature that you don’t want to be left behind so you do your best.
•    You develop accountability and teamwork & your exercise is more effective.
•    It’s always good to have people encouraging each other.
•    Time tends to go fast, because you are all having fun.
•    You all see each other develop from day 1, and group effort really helps.
•    Nobody gets bored, because each one has his/her own improvement that day.
•    It’s much cheaper than 1-2-1 Personal Training.
•    You can make new friends and get closer to existing friends.
•    You are far more likely to go to your session come rain (snow) or shine!
•    The group pulls you along – so together all of you become better.
•    Workouts are more fun and challenging.

image image

Neal Thomas runs Fit4purpose.me which provides Small Group Personal Training Sessions & Nordic Walking in your area.  Neal can be contacted on 07887 845703 or by visiting www.fit4purpose.me.

Diets Don’t Work – Go For The Long Term & Enjoy A More Fun & Active Lifestyle For Ever……

Diets have a 99.5% failure rate – even if you have managed to lose weight the chances are you will have put it on, and more, afterward – I know I have in the past. So why do they fail? Why have there been over 26,000 popular diets over the last seventy years, when each one promises to have the answer. I firmly believe the answer is because diets only ever focus on the short term, and this is where they are falling short. We should be thinking long term and not short when it comes to our health and fitness, after all we all want to live long term, don’t we?

The long term answer, then, is to move towards a more fun and active lifestyle – it has to be fun otherwise you will not want to carry it on in the long term. There are real, small but significant changes that you can make today and, if you stick with them, will truly make you a fitter, healthier and happier person. These do not have to be huge changes, but small and manageable habit changes.

We tend to link the word ‘habit’ with negative things, but we can all have good habits too, the trick is to find the right kind of activity for you at the right level and combine this with a healthy eating lifestyle – not a diet – and you will be well on your way to a healthier, happier you, for ever.

We sometimes assume exercise has to be organised, scheduled and certainly not fun. But by making small changes in the way you move every day you can incorporate more exercise into your lifestyle. How about the following:

  • Taking the stairs at work instead of the lift
  • Parking at the furthest end of the car park at the shops or work (or both)
  • Getting off the train one stop earlier (if you commute to London for instance where stops aren’t that far apart!)
  • Walking the dog (yours or a friend’s!) more and for further
  • Doing more gardening
  • Washing the car by hand
  • Playing a fun sport
  • Walking with the children or grandchildren

Some of these will take more time than others, but there are clearly a few that could be done easily each day and that won’t take up loads more – certainly less than driving to a gym and doing a workout for instance.

Even more structured exercise can actually be fun and sociable – it does not have to involve pain and discomfort, or be a miserable experience. How about some of these activities, none of which involves necessarily joining a gym:

  • Nordic Walking (social, fun, a great way to enjoy the amazing countryside we actually live in and this actually makes walking easier and yet burns 30% more calories!)
  • Pilates Classes (great for toning up your body)
  • Dance Classes (great fun and certainly does not feel like exercising)
  • Jogging with a group (so much easier than on your own, the group help motivate you and gives you an accountability to turn up, no matter what the weather)

All of the above can be done locally, are fun and enjoyable and can easily be incorporated into any lifestyle and all without shelling out each month on a costly direct debit.

How Often Should I Exercise?

As a fitness professional, one of the most common questions I get asked is “how often should I exercise” along with “what type of exercise should I do”. There are some excellent guidelines laid down by the American College of Sports Medicine which suggest the following:

For General Health:

The minimum guidelines for general health are as follows:

Frequency:

5 Times a week

Intensity:

Moderate (50-69% of your maximum heart rate*)

Time:

30 minutes (note this is cumulative so could be two separate blocks of walking for 15 minutes)

Type:

Any activity which is of a similar intensity to brisk walking. Examples: brisk walking, housework, gardening

For Cardiovascular Fitness:

The term Cardiovascular Fitness is one step up from merely Cardiovascular health – the ‘fitter’ your heart is, the more efficient it becomes at pumping blood and oxygen to the body, and the body becomes more efficient at using that oxygen. This is the one we should all aim for as the health benefits to Cardiovascular Fitness are far more beneficial to us in the long term:

Frequency:

3 – 5 Times a week

Intensity:

Moderate (55-90% of your maximum heart rate*)

Time:

20 minutes continuous

Type:

Rhythmic, continuous exercise that uses the large muscle groups. Examples: Jogging, Nordic Walking, Aerobics Classes, Swimming, Squash, Rowing, Cycling, Hockey, Cross-Trainer

*The term ‘heart rate’ above refers to an age adjusted maximum heart rate which is worked out by the sum 220–your age. So if you are 60, your maximum heart rate is 160. Heart rate monitors are now widely available and can ensure you are training at the right level and safely. Note for cardiovascular fitness the intensity is much higher.

Benefits to Cardiovascular Fitness:

The health related benefits of increasing your cardiovascular fitness are simply amazing. They include the following:

  • Reduced risk of Coronary Heart Disease
  • Lower Blood Pressure
  • Increased Bone Density (important as we age)
  • Reduced Body Fat
  • Reduced Cholesterol
  • Reduced Stress
  • Increased Self Confidence
  • A lower Resting Heart Rate

Haven’t Got The Time To Exercise – Make Time & Reap The Rewards

Who needs the gym? Outdoors, especially the beautiful countryside we have within Cambridgeshire, offers you much more than any gym will ever offer you in terms of opportunities to exercise, lose weight, drop a dress size, tone up or whatever other type of goal you might have. Exercising outside does not have to cost anything too, and there are no monthly subscriptions!

To get the most out of the outdoors, it will help you to know just what sort of exercise you can do to maximise your time spent. Most people agree that keeping our heart fit is of vital importance to them, and this can be the start of any fitness regime that will see you get to your ideal weight/shape/size in the long-term. The term for Heart Fitness is Cardiovascular Fitness and essentially he ‘fitter’ your heart is, the more efficient it becomes at pumping blood and oxygen to the body, and the body becomes more efficient at using that oxygen. The health benefits to Cardiovascular Fitness are extremely beneficial :

  • Reduced Risk of Coronary Heart Disease
  • Lower Blood Pressure
  • Reduced Body Fat / Reduced Cholesterol
  • Reduced Stress
  • A lower Resting Heart Rate

Achieving Cardiovascular Fitness outdoors is best done by rhythmic, continuous exercise that uses the large muscle groups such as:

  • Fast Walking
  • Nordic Walking (more info below)
  • Jogging
  • Rowing
  • Cycling

In order to gain Cardiovascular Fitness you need to put the work in, so 3 – 5 times a week for at least 20 minutes each time will make a big difference to you and your heart. In terms of what type of effort, you should look to be reaching 55-90% of your maximum heart rate which refers to an age adjusted maximum heart rate worked out by taking your age away from 220. So if you are 60, your maximum heart rate is 160. Heart rate monitors are now widely available and can ensure you are training at the right level and safely.

Nordic Walking is UK’s fastest growing outdoor physical activity – it is easy, fun, social and uplifting. Nordic Walking enhances your natural walking experience by using a pair of lightweight poles that provide support while increasing the effectiveness of exercise without extra effort. I offer you the most extensive timetable of Nordic Walking sessions in the Cambridgeshire area to suit everyone no matter what age, fitness level or physical condition. Nordic Walking with fit4purpose.me  will bring you and your entire body immense fitness, health and well-being benefits – you really MUST try it!

Lose Weight The Right Way – Make Exercise A Habit

Diets Don’t Work – most of us know this and yet at any one time 75% of women are on diet of some sort, and yet 99.5% of them will fail to lose any weight or will put what they have lost – or more – back on. As a Personal trainer I see people every day who want to lose weight and my sole goal is to get them to enjoy exercise so much that it becomes a habit for life. When I say exercise, it does not have to be going down the gym or be expensive either! What it does need to do though is raise your heart rate.

In order to start burning fat you need to be raising your heart rate to between 55 – 70% of your age related maximum heart rate. This might sound complicated but in truth is very simple. Your ‘age related maximum heart rate’ is easy to work out – you simply take your age away from 220. If you are 30, your ‘age related maximum heart rate’ is 190 and you need to be getting your heart rate between 55% and 70% of that. There is a chart below to help.

clip_image0026You can measure your heart rate by investing in a simple heart rate monitor which are available from Argos for less than £20. This comprises a strap which goes around your chest to pick up your heart rate and a watch which will display your heart rate constantly. You can also use a simply 1 – 10 scale in terms of how hard you are exercising – if 1 is lying on the sofa and 10 is working so hard you think you will die, then you should be working at about a 7 – hard enough to be getting out of breath!

Once you have got your heart rate into this zone you need to keep it there for twenty minutes and you need to be doing this at least three times a week. In terms of what sort of exercise –anything that is continuous and rhythmic and which uses the large muscle groups. Below are some examples:

  • Fast Walking
  • Nordic Walking
  • Jogging
  • Cycling
  • Dancing
  • Swimming

Try any or all of the above and you will certainly find something you like – and stick with it, make it a habit for life and the rewards will be amazing. My personal favourite is Nordic Walking as it is sociable and you get to see the amazing countryside that we are so lucky enough to live in here in Cambridgeshire.

Kettlebells – Lose Fat & Tone UP the Russian Way…

What are Kettlebells?

If you’ve never heard of kettlebells, you aren’t alone. Although this piece of strength training equipment has been around for decades, it is only now starting to become more mainstream and are becoming very popular. Kettlebells are bowling ball-sized cast iron weights with a single looped handle on top. Kettlebells range in weight from two Kilograms to over fifty.

The reason for the boost in Kettlebell popularity is that that it gets back to basic training and builds functional, whole body fitness. Kettlebells require you to focus on whole-body conditioning because lifting and controlling a Kettlebell forces the entire body, and specifically the core, to contract as a group, building both strength and stability at the same time.

Kettlebell training employs dynamic moves targeting almost every aspect of fitness – endurance, strength, balance, agility and cardio endurance. People love it because it’s challenging, efficient and you only need one piece of equipment. Each Kettlebell exercise involves multiple joints and many muscle groups working together. Many of the moves mimic tasks we perform in our daily lives, from swinging shopping bags to lifting babies from the floor to pulling ourselves up after a fall. Performing these moves with the kettlebells works all the muscle groups and not just single muscle groups like traditional weight training. In this way, they are a great option for getting a whole body workout in a short time. More importantly, they also work the heart, so you are getting a cardio workout at the same time!

The Benefits of Kettlebell Training

Almost anyone can benefit from Kettlebell training. Just a few benefits include:

  • Improved coordination & agility
  • Better posture and alignment
  • It’s time efficient – you train multiple fitness components in the same session including cardio, strength, balance, stability, power and endurance
  • The exercises are functional and weight bearing which helps increase bone density and keep the body strong for daily tasks
  • You become more efficient at other types of exercise
  • Increased power development and endurance, which is great for a variety of sports
  • It can help protect athletes from injuries
  • Low risk of injury when you use good form and the right weights
  • Simplicity – the exercises are simple, the workouts are straightforward and you only need one piece of equipment

It’s all about functional training – training you can apply to real life and for the rest of your life.

clip_image006clip_image010

Want To Tone Up Fast ? Here’s The Answer…

Want to tone up, lose weight and have loads more energy! Here’s how you can achieve all that:

Cardio Interval Training – Most of us know that cardio work is important for our heart health and fat burning, and generally at a low intensity. Interval training varies the intensity between high to low though – that is to say you complete a high intensity exercise followed by a rest period of low intensity. This is usually repeated a number of times. Interval training burns more calories than low intensity training, stimulates your metabolism far more AFTER the workouts than lower intensity, is much more fun and can be done in much less time so is more efficient.

Weight Training – some women still fear that weight training might bulk them up in an unfeminine way but rest assured this is not possible. What is possible though are some fantastic results. Weight training raises your metabolism permanently, so you burn more calories even at rest. In fact, for each pound of muscle you gain, you’ll burn 35 to 50 more calories every day day. So, if you gain three pounds of muscle and burn 40 extra calories for each pound, you’ll burn 120 more calories per day, or approximately 3,600 more calories per month. That equates to a loss of 10 to 12 pounds in one year! Muscle actually takes up 50% less space than fat – so you develop lean muscle mass and not big bulky muscles but will be slimmer and more trim. Weight training also strengthens bones – very important for women to fight osteoporosis and enhances balance and stability (Research has found that weight training can increase spinal bone mineral density by 13 percent in six months). You will also reduce your risk of injury!

Food Choices – not dieting because we all know diet do not work! However, you can choose to make some small changes that will make a huge difference. Stick to lean protein (skinless meat or fish), good fats (like rapeseed oil) and low GI carbs – those are carbs which release energy into your system slowly which will then keep you fuller for longer and stop any temptations to snack between meals. Do not skip meals, and try and have your main meal at lunchtime if you can. Low GI carbs do not mean excluding a food group, like a diet will often do, but changing your choices – so for breakfast think porridge or muesli, for main meals think wholewheat pasta, brown basmati rice or pulses like lentils, beans or sweet potatoes instead of mashed white and switch to wholegrain and seedy stoneground bread. Your plate should be half full of vegetables and the rest filled with ¼ lean protein and ¼ low GI carbohydrate and make the plate itself smaller, and think lighter meals like soup in the evening. These small differences will make a massive difference in the long term. Snacks can also be low GI – oat cakes for example are filling and release energy very slowly.

clip_image004clip_image006

clip_image008clip_image010

Weight Loss For Life – Top Tips That WILL Work For Ever….

Life means life here – I am afraid there truly are no short cuts or fast tracks to weight loss. You simply can’t think short term – over 95% of dieters put back all, if not more, of what they lose from diets. Diets, therefore, do not work – in fact worse, diets actually make you fatter!

So then, in terms of weight loss the first thing is to think long term – but be specific and set goals and here is my second point – forget about weight! Stop dieting and forget about weight – are you insane? No, actually these are the best things you can do. Diets do not work because they are not sustainable – you can’t cut out major food groups or fill yourself up with shakes and bars for ever; the moment you stop you risk going back to old habits and to where you were before – the vicious circle of dieting – most of us have experienced this at some point in our lives.

So, instead of weight, think in terms of body fat instead. Body fat is a scientific measurement that applies to all of us and there are normal ranges that we can try and fit within no matter what our age, shape or size – something diets do not take into account when they suggest you should weigh a specific amount based on your height – they ignore your age, gender, body type and body shape. Get to the right body fat percentage and you will be the right weight for you when you get there. You can measure your body fat with scales readily available now in most high streets. Set yourself realistic targets based on this, write them down (short, medium and long term), and you are well on your way.

Next, food – yes not dieting but make a few small changes that will make a massive difference. Stick to lean protein (skinless meat or fish), good fats (like rapeseed oil) and low GI carbs – those are carbs which release energy into your system slowly which will then keep you fuller for longer and stop any temptations to snack between meals. Do not skip meals and try and have your main meal at lunchtime if possible. Low GI carbs do not mean excluding a food group but changing your choices within – so for breakfast think porridge or muesli, for main meals think wholewheat pasta, basmati rice or pulses like lentils and beans or sweet potatoes instead of mashed white and switch to wholegrain and seedy bread. Start with half of the plate as vegetables and make the rest up with ¼ lean protein and ¼ low GI carbohydrate and make the plate itself smaller, and think lighter meals like soup in the evening. These small differences will make a massive difference in the long term. Snacks can also be low GI – oat cakes for example and wonderfully filling and release energy very slowly.

Exercise is the next thing – being more active for life will also make a huge difference. Start small by walking just a few minutes more each day and build it up. Try and raise your heart rate at least three times a week for a minimum of twenty minutes. The two key huge things that will work for you are interval training (working at a higher intensity for short periods of time with short breaks in between) and weight lifting. Do this three times a week to see a difference. The next is weight lifting – lifting weights twice a week for twenty minutes will raise your metabolism permanently and put you into permanent fat burning zone – how good is that!

In short – remember the following

  1. There are no fast fixes – think long term and plan for it
  2. Set realistic goals based on body fat not weight
  3. Eat lean protein, low GI carbs and lots of vegetables
  4. Eat smaller portions in general
  5. Be more active every day

Why All Women Must Do Weight Training

Again and again, research has shown that women who maintain a regular, moderate strength training program enjoy a long list of health advantages. Some women still fear that weight training might bulk them up in an unfeminine way; however, as women of all ages realise the benefits of resistance training, negative attitudes about women working out with weights are rapidly fading.

1. You’ll Lose More Fat Than You’ll Gain in Muscle. Research shows that the average woman who strength trains two to three times a week for eight weeks gains 1.75 pounds of lean weight or muscle and loses 3.5 pounds of fat. Unlike men, women typically don’t gain size from strength training, because compared to men, women have 10 to 30 times less of the hormones that cause bulking up.

2. Your New Muscle Will Help Fight Obesity. As you add muscle from strength training, your resting metabolism will increase, so you’ll burn more calories all day long. For each pound of muscle you gain, you’ll burn 35 to 50 more calories daily. So, for example, if you gain three pounds of muscle and burn 40 extra calories for each pound, you’ll burn 120 more calories per day, or approximately 3,600 more calories per month. That equates to a loss of 10 to 12 pounds in one year!

3. You’ll Be a Stronger Woman. Moderate weight training increases a woman’s strength by 30 to 50 percent. Extra strength will make it easier to accomplish some daily activities, such as lifting children or shopping. Most strength differences between men and women can be explained by differences in body size and fat mass; pound for pound, women can develop their strength at the same rate as men.

4. Your Bones Will Benefit. By the time you leave college or university, you have established all the bone mineral density you’ll ever have–unless you strength train. Research has found that weight training can increase spinal bone mineral density by 13 percent in six months. So strength training is a powerful tool against osteoporosis.

5. You Will Reduce Your Risk of Diabetes. Adult-onset diabetes is a growing problem for women and men. Research indicates that weight training can increase glucose utilization in the body by 23 percent in four months.

6. You Will Fight Heart Disease. Strength training will improve your cholesterol profile and blood pressure, according to recent research. Of course, your exercise program should also include cardiovascular exercise and flexibility training.

7. You Will Be Able to Beat Back Pain and Fight Arthritis. A recent 12-year study showed that strengthening the low-back muscles had an 80 percent success rate in eliminating or alleviating low-back pain. Other studies have indicated that weight training can ease arthritis pain and strengthen joints.

8. You’ll Be a Better Athlete Strength training improves athletic ability. Golfers, for example, significantly increase their driving power. Whatever your sport of choice, strength training may not only improve your proficiency but also decrease your risk of injury.

9. It Will Work No Matter How Old You Are. Numerous women in their 70s and 80s show that strength improvements are possible at any age. Note, however, that a strength training professional should always supervise older participants.

10. You’ll Strengthen Your Mental Health. 10 weeks of strength training reduced clinical depression symptoms more successfully than standard counseling did. Women who strength train commonly report feeling more confident and capable as a result of their program.

What Type Of Exercise Should I Do?

As a Personal Trainer, I often get asked what should I do to tone up ‘X’ body part of ‘X’ area. Unfortunately, you can’t ‘spot reduce’ specific areas of the body but need to exercise all of it to see changes anywhere. However, listed below are some type of exercise and their benefits which you may not necessarily be aware of:

Benefits of Regular Exercise (this is exercise in general)

  • Reduces Body fat
  • Halves Risk Of Getting Type 2 Diabetes
  • Halves Risk Of Developing Coronary Heart Disease
  • Increases Levels Of HDL & Reduce High Blood Pressure
  • Increases Bone Density, is Beneficial Effects For Arthritis & Lower Back Pain
  • Reduces Your Overall Risk Of Getting Cancer
  • Reduces Risk Of Dementia In Later Life
  • Helps Depression, Reduces Stress & Improves Your Sleep

Benefits of Resistance Training

By resistance training I mean lifting weight – heavy weights. Heavy enough so that you can do two sets of 12 repetitions with a two minute break between and no more – you get to the 12th repetition of the second set and you can’t lift any more. Do this for twenty minutes twice a week using a programme that involves all your major muscle groups and you will see the following benefits:

• Raises Your Metabolism permanently so you burn more calories, even at rest (A pound of muscle burns 10-20 calories a day – a pound of fat burns just 5)

• Muscle takes up less space than fat – so you develop lean muscle mass and not big bulky muscles but will be slimmer and more trim

• Strengthens bones – very important for women to fight osteoporosis

• Enhances balance and stability

• Reduces risk of injury

Benefits of Interval Training

Interval training varies the intensity from high to low – that is to say you work complete high intensity exercise followed by a rest period of low intensity. This is usually repeated a number of times, being determined by the energy system utilised. Do this three times a week and the following benefits are yours for the taking:

• Burns more calories than low intensity training

• Higher intensities stimulate your metabolism far more AFTER the workouts than lower intensity

• Combats monotony

How To Make Exercise A Priority In Your Life

Recent studies suggest only 19% of women participate in moderate-intensity physical activity for at least 30 minutes three times a week. When you consider that most of our waking days are around sixteen hours, it seems almost unbelievable that so many can’t find thirty minutes to get some exercise in and yet lack of time is so often stated as a reason for not doing so.

Get Real

I think this has to do with us having unrealistic expectations about exercise in general. Many of us expect:

  • Quick weight loss – weight loss will not come after just a few weeks, but will generally take months of consistent exercise and healthy eating to boost metabolism to achieve weight loss.
  • Exercise to be short term – We think that we only need to do it temporary or for a few weeks or months, stop and somehow it will stick.
  • Will spot reduce problem areas – Many people mistakenly believe they can do certain exercises and they will improve trouble spots like the tummy. You cannot change your body like this. Our body has genetic preferences where it stores fat and it what order it will remove it from the fat stores.
  • Exercise to be easy and effortless – To make the necessary changes to your metabolism muscle tissue has to be re-toned and rebuilt. This does take some consistent hard work to overload your muscles so they become stronger and burn more fuel. Low intensity activity will not produce noticeable results.

If we continue to think like this then we will get nowhere, become demoralised and end up reverted to previous patterns – a viscous circle. . Making exercise a part of your life so you can live a better life starts when it becomes important to you. Those of us with careers argue that they are important and work hard to achieve our career goals, move forward and are motivated to do so. Exercise is just like any other commitment in life, something we need to work hard at to achieve real results- but these results will help every aspect of our lives, because at the end of the day if you look good you feel great and if you feel great then everything is better.

Set Your Goals

This is something so few people seem to do and yet is so vitally important. You need to know where you are now and where you want to go – and they should be realistic and time framed – getting fit and losing is no good as it is not measurable. Dropping a dress size by summer is, losing 10% of by bodyfat by the end of the year is.

Schedule Exercise In:

A good thing to do is to take out your calendar and schedule time for your exercise routines, and develop the determination that nothing is going to stand in the way of those appointments. Schedule in your fitness routine, and keep your appointment with yourself and before long you will have developed a new habit. The clients I work with who achieve their goals are those with exactly this attitude

Record Your Work

Finally, the most important thing is to keep a food and exercise diary (most of us overestimate the exercise we do by as much as 50% and underestimate the amount of food we eat by the same amount) and keep a record of your results – regularly. Make these changes and your will find a new you in six months time!

Want To Lose Weight? Lift Weights To Develop Lean Muscle & Burn 4x More Calories…

Some people still fear that weight training might bulk them up in an unfeminine way but rest assured this is not possible! What is possible though are some fantastic results:

  • Fight Obesity. As you add muscle from strength training, your resting metabolism will increase, so you’ll burn more calories all day long. For each pound of muscle you gain, you’ll burn 35 to 50 more calories daily. So, for example, if you gain three pounds of muscle and burn 40 extra calories for each pound, you’ll burn 120 more calories per day, or approximately 3,600 more calories per month. That equates to a loss of 10 to 12 pounds in one year!
  • Be Stronger. Moderate weight training increases a woman’s strength by 30 to 50 percent. Extra strength will make it easier to accomplish some daily activities, such as lifting children or shopping. Most strength differences between men and women can be explained by differences in body size and fat mass; pound for pound, women can develop their strength at the same rate as men.
  • Your Bones Will Benefit. By the time you leave college or university, you have established all the bone mineral density you’ll ever have–unless you strength train. Research has found that weight training can increase spinal bone mineral density by 13 percent in six months. So strength training is a powerful tool against osteoporosis.
  • Reduce Your Risk of Diabetes. Adult-onset diabetes is a growing problem for women and men. Research indicates that weight training can increase glucose utilization in the body by 23 percent in four months.
  • Fight Heart Disease. Strength training will improve your cholesterol profile and blood pressure, according to recent research. Of course, your exercise program should also include cardiovascular exercise and flexibility training.
  • Beat Back Pain and Fight Arthritis. A recent 12-year study showed that strengthening the low-back muscles had an 80 percent success rate in eliminating or alleviating low-back pain. Other studies have indicated that weight training can ease arthritis pain and strengthen joints.
  • Works No Matter How Old You Are. Numerous women in their 70s and 80s show that strength improvements are possible at any age. Note, however, that a strength training professional should always supervise older participants.
  • Be Happier. 10 weeks of strength training reduced clinical depression symptoms more successfully than standard counseling did. Women who strength train commonly report feeling more confident and capable as a result of their program.

The idea of weight lifting can sound daunting and doing it alone not inspiring. fit4purpose.me provides Small Group Personal Training Sessions in a non-gym environment so you can work out with other people in a fun atmosphere and achieve great results. It really does work, and you have nothing to lose except bodyfat!  Put some .me time back in your life…

Survive The Party Season & Still Lose Weight…

Is That Possible?

Absolutely – the most important thing though is not to give up now and promise to start in the new year – you will be giving yourself a much harder job. Instead, be realistic and understand that you will be going out and there will be food and alcohol around and deal with it by making some sensible choices. Match each glass of alcohol with two glasses of water and each one last a long time. Look at the following tips for eating out and most importantly, remember to EAT SLOWLY so your brain gets the message you are full.

Ten Weight Loss Tips For Eating Out Over The Party Season

  1. Portion Size – you can ask for a starter size of most meals even if they are not advertised on the menu.
  2. Eat Before – eat a really small bowl of high-fibre cereal with skimmed milk to take the
    edge off your appetite
  3. Order Water At the Table – drinking before your meal will make you feel fuller and help avoid alcohol
  4. No Bread – send the bread basket back and make sure it stays away.
  5. Soup or Salad – order this first and choose chunky soups. Soup can also be a main course.
  6. More Vegetables – order double and hold the fried potatoes/chips/rice or ask for boiled new potatoes.
  7. Meat & Fish – choose lean meat or poultry and remove the skin. Fish and shellfish are great choices
    but avoid the sauce and stay clear of battered or breaded fish.
  8. Ask For Sauce On The Side – and keep it there. This goes for everything not just salad or fish.
  9. Fresh Fruit & Berries for Desert – if not, and you really must have something, share with someone.
  10. Decaf Coffee – a much better choice and you will sleep better too.

Fitting Exercise Into The Party Season

Dance Dance Dance! If you are going to a party then there is always dancing and the more time you spend on the dance floor, the more calories you will be burning and the less alcohol you will be consuming so go for it, dance the entire night away if possible and give yourself a workout. On those cold, crisp, quiet days over the holidays – and especially on those cold, crisp noisy family and guest filled days in the holidays – take yourself out for a wonderful walk. Walk fast and for as long as you can, you will be burning calories, getting fresh air and will ALWAYS arrive home feeling better.