Monday, 10 October 2016

Going too fast is slowing you down

If you’re like most people trying to lose weight, you want the world.

20 years of bad food choices and on/off dieting has left your body unsure of how to deal with food and how to burn fat efficiently. Of course, you want to reverse those 20 years in 2 weeks; and the “insert name’s” 28 day rapid fat loss metabolic shred belly blast toning program has told you that you can do it, and it must be true because a well-paid celebrity is vouching for it.

They have their own branded foods in the supermarket, Jean down the road done it and lost 5 stone and looks great (in a gaunt, tired sort of way).

So what’s the problem? How can it fail? They even offer a free sign-up and a bunch of goodies to get you started!

The problem of course is that you can’t follow the plan! Maybe for a week, or if you’re really good, a few weeks. Then you crack… and eat everything under the sun because “today’s ruined” and you “may as well” make the most of it today and start again tomorrow… or Monday.

Even if you manage to stick to it and lose the weight, you feel like s*#! and you’re left clueless as to what to do now it’s over. You go back to eating how you normally would, maybe replacing the worst culprits with an “insert name’s” approved snack, and you gradually (or maybe not so gradually) start to gain weight again. After all the hard work you put in, why are you getting fatter again?!

The problem is if you’ve gained weight over a period of years it’s going to take more than a few weeks to undo all of the damage you’ve done to your body. You can cheat the system and shred it in that time (some of these systems DO work after all), but there’s a cost to that and it’s likely to be a short-term result.
I’m guessing you’ve been trying to lose weight for a while now. How far have you gotten in the last 12 months? Lost some and put it on again? Tried and failed 4 different diets and are back where you started (or maybe the diets failed you)? Feel like you’re chasing your tail?
If you could sit down a year from now at, or at least a lot nearer to, your ideal weight would you be pleased? Would more have changed for you than in the previous year?
The key to weight loss (and health) success is to find an approach that suits you personally. Something that you can follow easily, without crazy restrictions, that makes you feel great, gives you energy, helps you sleep better and relax, de-stresses you, and you can do without fail every day, even on holiday and on nights out.
Doesn’t even sound like a “Diet” does it?
THIS is the key to success.
It really is that simple. Making healthier choices, changing your habits, and integrating it into your daily life will get you where you want to be.
You can spend the next year going from diet to diet, scales going down, then up again, frustrated, stressed, tired and angry, or you could chill out and take it one step at a time, tweak things to suit you as you go, and make steady progress.
Which do you choose?
If you’re over-weight and just want to get to a “normal” size that you’re happy with, maybe a size or two less than what you are now, then the steady approach is best for you. Nothing complicated, no following a bodybuilder’s contest-prep meal plan and workouts, just a sensible approach to eating and a little bit more activity day to day.
If you’re currently 30% body fat, what do you need to do before you get to 10%?
…you need to get to 29%.
If your current diet is about a 5 on a scale of 1-10, what do you need to get to before you get to 10?
… 6.
If you’re currently gaining weight, what do you need to do before you lose weight?
…just STOP gaining it!
Small, simple changes will get you a little bit further forward. Drastic changes may get you quicker results to begin with, but then you’ll bounce back to square one and the trade-off is you have to go through hell to get there. Why punish yourself for 12 weeks if you can relax for 24?!
Think of one simple, small change you can make right away that would be an improvement on what you’ve been doing; and do it. Maybe swap just one of your cups of coffee for a glass of water; or buy ONE chocolate bar instead of 3 “because they’re on offer”; or swap to dark chocolate instead of milk. Whatever your guilty pleasure is – how can you make a small, manageable improvement to it?
Instead of focussing on what you can’t eat, focus on what you can eat and work from there. As you increase the amount of “good/better” foods you eat, you’ll naturally decrease the amount of “bad/worse” foods you eat.
If you’ve tried and failed at dieting before, take a look at my new Nutrition Coaching program. We take a long-term approach to your nutrition, making small changes one at a time to improve your diet.
 We’ll track your progress (no dingy halls to “weigh-in”), monitor your consistency (the part we’re crap at), and explain how you can enjoy the foods you like, guilt-free but without “saving up for it” all week or “making up for it” next week (that is not a healthy relationship with food!).
The program is delivered to you DAILY via e-mail and you can log-in on your smartphone, tablet or computer to read the day’s lesson (takes about 5 minutes to read or you can listen to the audio version).
The daily “nudges” will keep you focussed on what you’re doing and why, and make you think about your food and why you’re eating it.
The daily reminders are what keep people on track, and the successful dieter is the consistent one. How much easier do you think it would be to follow your program if you had someone reminding you every day what to do and why?
The power of this program is in the sustainability of the changes, and the constant monitoring of your success.
If this sounds like it would help you then get in touch. I’m currently charging just £30 a month for this program.
If you’d like more information visit and feel free to contact me if you have any questions.
Together we’ll work on improving your diet, health, body composition, energy levels, stress levels and lifestyle; one step at a time.
A year from now you’ll be able to look back with no regrets (diet-wise anyway) and will know what works for you. No more Diets, no more guessing games, no more fads. Just a bunch of new habits that require no extra effort to do, that keep you fit, healthy and well-nourished.
Can you say that about the last 12 months?
Go to now to find out more and sign up.
I look forward to working with you!


Monday, 5 September 2016

Cardio or Weights for Fat Loss?

Are you wasting your time on the treadmill?

For the most part fat loss is about energy expenditure. Calories are units of energy, fat is made up of stored energy, ergo to burn fat you must use up energy.

I’m going to tell you how you can burn more energy, without spending precious extra time in the gym.

Your muscles are the engines of your fat burning. The harder they work, the more energy [calories] you’ll burn.

Whilst running on a treadmill/outside, cycling, or jumping on the cross-trainer for 40 minutes will burn energy and improve your aerobic fitness, it’s not going to work your muscles particularly hard, especially after a few weeks of doing it when your body becomes accustomed to the workout and more efficient at it (more efficient = less calories burned).

For the most part, the sheer amount of time people spend running is what produces any fat loss results, but also normally comes with a loss of muscle too (picture a typical long-distance runner – not the most muscular people).

If your goal is fat loss, without the accompanying loss of muscle and strength (remember you want to keep hold of your muscle to burn more calories, and I see no reason why anyone would want to get weaker!) then resistance training is your best choice.

Already I can hear the usual response (normally from women): “But I don’t want to get muscly”

You won’t.

Let me explain.

To burn fat, you need to be burning more calories than you consume – should be quite obvious.

To build muscle, you need to be consuming more calories than you burn (you can’t build muscle without adequate fuel – it would be like trying to build a wall without any bricks).

So while there are some slight differences between training protocols, training for fat loss and training for muscle gain are very similar. The difference comes from your nutrition.

By lifting weights (resistance training) you will be burning more of the fuel in your muscles. This fuel then needs replacing, which will come from your food, or if you’re burning more than you’re eating, from your energy (fat) stores.

Enter the next problem: Gyms full of machines.

Machines made to target specific muscles are great for rehabbing an injury or for targeting problem areas for body-building, but for the weight-loss community, they’re using too few muscles to burn any significant amount of energy; and if you spend your hour in the gym going from one machine to the next with your “3 sets of 10” programme, you’re missing out on A LOT of calorie burning.

There’s a reason that squats, deadlifts, lunges, burpees etc. are hated world-wide – because they’re hard work! Hard work means they’re using most of your muscles at the same time, draining your energy (burning it) and getting you out of breath (muscles need oxygen to burn fuel – so the more out of breath from lifting weights you are, the more energy you’re likely burning [as a side note – this also counts as “cardio”]).

THIS is how you should be allocating your gym time. Focussing on large movements with resistance.

Remember, if you’re eating less calories than you burn, you won’t be able to build lots of muscle! For women, you also don’t have the right hormones to build muscle easily, especially without eating enough.

Some people will notice an ‘apparent’ increase in muscle size to begin with. If you’re not used to lifting weights, your muscles will draw in more fluid (water/blood) in order to repair, and they’ll also become more efficient at storing energy (which is a good thing because it’s easier to burn it from here, and it means less will be stored as fat if more can be stored in the muscle).

This is not your muscles growing, just becoming more efficient; and it will not continue unless you are over-eating – don’t panic about your jeans getting a little bit tighter around your thighs initially.
Fat-burning is much, MUCH faster than muscle-building so this will be a non-issue very soon.

Another point to remember is that bodybuilding requires the muscles to grow in size. This means striving for the famed “pump” in the muscle. This shouldn’t really be an issue if you’re using large, full-body movements instead of isolating small muscle groups, but if you’re worried about this, avoid lifting light weights for high reps – a sure-fire way to get a pump in the muscle and a common mistake women make when lifting weights, as people generally believe that this is better for “toning”!

This is a classic trap that women lifting weights fall into – too scared to get big and muscly, so they lift light weights.

If you want a leaner, more toned, firmer look, you need to make your muscles firmer and more toned. 

To do this you need to put tension through your muscles with heavier weights.

“Toning” requires heavy weights, not light weights and high reps.

Please be aware though that as with any training there is risk involved and by “heavy” I mean the heaviest weight you can lift with good technique. If you’re unsure of technique, get a good trainer and make sure your focus is on technique, not going for PB’s (personal best’s) every session.

*Until your technique is near perfect, you should NEVER increase the weight you’re lifting!*

In summary:

● For fat burning you need to lift weights (even just bodyweight exercises are sufficient) as oppose to spending countless hours doing “cardio”.

● Choose large, full body exercises over small isolated ones.

● Technique comes first and foremost, only then can you add more weight.

● As long as you’re burning more fuel than you’re consuming (calories), you CANNOT build masses of muscle, just a small adaptation to begin with as the muscles adjust to the extra work.

● More sets, less reps, heavier weights (with good technique) are preferable.

● Eat a healthy diet full of nutritious foods and avoid over-eating, but don’t drop calories too low; as long as calorie intake is less than expenditure you’ll lose weight, but if you drop calories too low your calorie expenditure will drop to match it and weight loss will stop.

For guys (or girls) wanting to burn fat AND build muscle this becomes quite complicated. Without a good coach I would recommend you focus on just fat burning first – if you’re doing strength training you’re unlikely to lose too much muscle so focus on getting leaner. Then, when you have lost an adequate amount of body fat, change to a muscle building routine (it’s easier to build muscle when you’re leaner as testosterone/oestrogen balance is more favourable for this with lower body fat).

For help with your training and/or nutrition, visit for more information on Nutrition Coaching, Personal Training, Bootcamp, and other classes.

And follow us on Facebook and Twitter (do it now……) for extra tips, advice and motivation.

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Improving your eating and health without “Dieting”

For most people “Diets” are too difficult. The healthy recipe book or diet plan is great for about a week, then compliance drops off and the excitement of trying something new wears off because you haven’t lost 10 lbs in a week.

Gradually the “Diet” goes out the window and old eating habits creep back in.

For some people, the traditional method of following a strict diet for a few weeks, or the points systems or calorie-counting that have been relied on for so long do work, but for most, they don’t quite get the results you’re after.

Enter Habit Based Nutrition.

The reason people fail at dieting is because their new actions go against ingrained habits. It’s your behaviour and habits that need to be addressed rather than a strict plan telling you what you can or can’t eat.

You don’t need to be told what you can or can’t eat as this is the failing point in most diets, and most people know what they should and shouldn’t be eating. You need to be able to enjoy the foods you like, but still eat in a way that works for your body and delivers the results you want.

By addressing your daily habits, you can make small, healthy changes easily; gradually improving your diet over time so it changes for good, not until “the end of your diet”. Every couple of weeks you should introduce a new habit that you can scale up or down to suit your current level – if it’s too hard, make it easier. If it’s too easy, make it more challenging.

By introducing one achievable habit at a time, you’ll build up step by step to a healthier lifestyle.
Progress should be tracked in a number of ways, not just with weight on the scales (which is useful, but not ideal); photos, measurements, compliance and any other specific markers you feel will be helpful are essential in keeping you motivated.

DAILY reminders will help you stay on track; and learning why you’re doing what you’re doing will help you understand and commit to your habit changes more easily. 

Remembering why you’re making the changes (what your goals are) will also keep you motivated.

One of the main reasons slimming clubs work is because you’re making yourself accountable. Tell someone what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, and ask for their support (it doesn’t have to be a facebook announcement to the world, but someone you trust who will hold you accountable and give you a hard time if you slack off – like a trainer or coach). 

The aim is not to embarrass you when you fail, but to motivate you to try harder and boost your pride and confidence when you succeed.

Now you can do all of this yourself, but there’s so much nutritional “information” out there that it can be difficult to work out what you need to do next, or even where to begin!

As a Precision Nutrition certified coach, I can now offer you access to ProCoach, a habit-based nutrition coaching program that will help you to easily integrate healthy eating into your lifestyle.

It covers all of the above – teaching you new habits in a structured way to ensure you start at the beginning and build up slowly, one success after the other. While there’s no right or wrong way, certain foundations need to be laid before you can build on them, so getting the right habits under control first will prevent you from falling off the wagon by trying something you’re not ready for.

This is an entirely new approach to dieting for most people, (in fact, for the first couple of weeks we don’t even talk about food!) but it’s effective and it works. By helping you think about and focus on your goals, it will help you make better choices that will ultimately lead to your desired result.

If you’d like more information on ProCoach, visit where you can watch a video of people who’ve done the program, and contact me with any questions you might have.

If your current efforts aren’t working for you, it’s time to try something new! 

Visit for more information on Personal Training, Nutrition Coaching, Bootcamp, and other classes.

And follow us on Facebook and Twitter (do it now……) for extra tips, advice and motivation.