Category Archives: Fitness tips and advice

9 Workout Moves You Can Do In a Hotel Room

The easiest way to get fit (and stay that way!) is to use the one piece of equipment that will be with you no matter where you travel: you. With just the resistance of your own body weight, it’s possible to improve your strength, balance, agility, stamina, and more. The hotel doesn’t have a gym? No worries! Forgot to pack your sneakers? No problem! Accidentally booked a beach vacation during monsoon season? NBD! These 9 moves are excuse-proof, because wherever you go, there you are—literally!

CLICK HERE: 9 Workout Moves You Can Do In a Hotel Room

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How To Completely Change Your Habits

21 days to a new habit.

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Recently i have been doing #onesimplechange with my clients. It is 21 days of doing a healthy habit. Anything from 20mins meditation/day , reading to cutting out fizzy drinks or squats!

Research shows that it takes 21 days to develop a habit. That’s 21 days of going to the gym every day or exercising in some way every day, 21 days to meditation, 21 days to eat healthily, 21 days doing, 21 days of anything! The aim of one simple change is that it is a healthy habit that is easy and simple to start/change. 

When you want to start a habit, don’t tell yourself you are doing it for life, tell yourself (your conscious brain) that you are going to try it for 21 days. Then when you have completed this for 21 days your conscious mind has the choice of stopping it or carrying on, or so it thinks. Your neural pathways have formed already and you will more than likely continue with your new habit, you will have seen the benefits along the way your unconscious will want to continue if it has been beneficial. This can also work when trying to break a habit, however research has shown that the neural pathways to any habit could be lifelong and a cue or a trigger can cause us to start back up an old habit, like smoking.

This is not a bad thing; we just have to be aware of our thoughts when we have given up a habit such as smoking or drinking fizzy drinks.

When starting or breaking any habit we tend to tell our conscious mind we are going to change and it’s for life. The trouble is your conscious mind will just say ‘is that right? I’m in charge here, I’ll decide’ so there will be a battle between your two sides of your conscious mind.

If you tell your mind you want to try something for 21 days it won’t be so unwilling to co-operate. We all know we have conversations with ourselves, should I go to the pub should I not, should I go to the gym should I not. There are a hundred conversations we have with ourselves everyday!

When we want to start something or give up something, smoking for example, you might normally say to yourself ‘right that’s it I’m giving up for good’. Immediately your brain kicks in and says no smoking for life, and then it starts to think of all the situations it likes a good cigarette in; first thing in the morning with a cup of coffee, going out for a drink at night, at work when you’re a bit stressed, just after sex etc. Your brain thinks ‘lack of’ instead of the benefits of. It can’t really think as clearly about the benefits because it hasn’t yet had the benefits of giving up smoking but it knows the supposed pleasures that smoking brings.

So what one simple change can we start for 21 days?

Keep a Gratitude Journal 

Give up sweets 

Read 10 pages of a personal development book a day 

Meditate for 20 mins/day

30 squats a day

Write in the blog every day for 

Go to bed before 10:30pm

Get up before 6am 

Exchange my daily coffee for a daily lemon tea

Drink 2.5litres of water a day 

Replace breakfast for a Juice Plus Complete protein shake

Take Juice Plus capsules every morning

I’ve been asking my clients to download this fantastic free app for you to track your change. It counts the days for you and each day you click complete when you have done your change: CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE APP

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Remember, sustaining change is always easier – and much more fun – when you have friends along for the journey. They’ll keep you accountable, encourage you through the hard times and cheer you on from the front lines. Click here for more info on Juice Plus onesimplechange

Please comment below with what onesimplechange you are going to make starting this week and let me know your progress! Good luck! 

8 Lies No One Tells You About Weighing Yourself 

Let’s hear the TRUTH – and bin the scales!

Most women weigh themselves daily–and their whole day is dictated by “the number.”  

I’ll give you a number: ONE [the amount of times you should weigh yourself annually/at the doctors office], or how about TWENTY [the body fat % that separates the ultra-fit from the healthy], or even SIX [the dress size that the average healthy, fit 5’5″ woman wears]. Now these are numbers I am ok with!

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If you’re just starting a weight loss program, the number on the scale can be deceptive, making you feel that you’re not making progress even when you are.

Unfortunately, the hard work of diet and exercise isn’t always reflected on the scale for people loosing weight, especially during the first few weeks.

When you work hard at your workouts and diet, you may expect more than your body can deliver, which leads to disappointment.

Here are my 8 reasons why your weight (in lbs, kg, tons, whatever) really means very little in the grand scheme of health, fitness & fat loss:

1) Muscle.

You have heard this before, and yet, you still don’t like it or want to get on board with it: muscle is more DENSE than fat and takes up LESS SPACE. The more muscle you have on your frame, the HEAVIER your weight will be, but the tighter and SMALLER your PHYSIQUE will be compared to someone who might weigh less but also has less muscle or a higher body fat %. 

2) Water weight.

You can literally GAIN up to 5-7 lbs within the same DAY. It’s simple. When you wake up in the morning, you are relatively dehydrated and in a fasted state, and then you hydrate throughout the day and eat food. Understanding this can help prevent melt-downs for people who weigh themselves multiple times a day.

Also, having a super-salty meal one evening can lead to excessive water retention the next morning. You can literally feel that you are holding water based on fluctuations in rings (tighter or looser) or joint swelling or looking at your midsection if you are fairly lean. This does not mean you are destined to keep that weight on…you rehydrate with 3-4L plain water, get back on your clean nutrition plan, eat lots of fibrous veggies and you can shed that retention within a single day.

 

3) Your weight is not an accurate reflection of how you look in clothes or on stage.

Once again, coming back to that muscle versus fat argument, your body fat % dictates what dress size you wear, though two people can wear the exact same size and look completely different. 

Likewise, two women can weigh the exact same (one at 20% BF and one at 40% BF) and look drastically different. Thus, using your DRESS SIZE and how your clothes fit are both much more applicable indicators of your health, fitness & fat loss than your weight in pounds–far and away.

4) Your weight is NOT always an accurate measure of health.

Ever heard of “SKINNY FAT?” (please see my previous post about this). This is someone who tends to have a higher metabolism, stays thin, but might be flabbier with a high body fat percentage. They often have sarcopenic obesity, meaning they are in the “normal weight” range for their height, but their body fat % classifies them as “obese” while also putting them at a higher risk for chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease and even cancer, not to mention the #1 most likely: osteoporosis. It is much healthier to be a little heavier in weight but with a lower body fat % than the opposite.

Unfortunately many insurance companies use weight and/or Body Mass Index (BMI, which is a height-to-weight measurement and essentially holds the same comparably inaccurate value to that of weight alone) to set their rates, which is bad for the people who weigh more because of their muscle mass! Yes, Jessica ennis is clinically obese I cording to the scales! What do you think?

So instead, use your body fat % or waist circumference as a more accurate measure of health.

5) Your ego.

Let’s face it, you get an ego boost when you weigh yourself and get a lower number. Not that there’s really anything wrong with that, EXCEPT how do you respond when the number goes UP? Often for people who are chronic-weighers, “the number” dictates how well their day will go: “Is it up? Is it down? This is going to be a bad/good day!” Having an attachment to your weight number is a double-edged sword. When it’s down, you’re up and when it’s up, you’re down. Having to rely on a quantifiable digit to decide your happiness is not a healthy place to be….

6) Playing with your self-worth.

Many people put way too much stock in their weight, their body fat % and dress size. Yes, the latter two can be a great indicator of health, but none of them should dictate your self-worth. “Your self-worth is inherent. No one can take it from you” and that includes a number on a scale. The problem with using any sort of objective measurement is that many times it can get entangled with our sense of self. You are worthy, special and a success right now, in this moment. 

7) Getting to know your body

You can’t lose weight until you exercise consistently and you can’t do that until you build endurance and strength. Take the first few weeks to experiment, condition your body and figure out what you’re capable of. weighing yourself once a month rather than daily or weekly to give your body time to adapt to what you’re doing. Another option is to shift your focus from the minutiae of weight loss and concentrate on what you actually need to do get there, such as:

-Showing up for your workouts 

– Set goals based on how many workouts you’ll do each week rather than how much weight you’ll lose.

-Learning how to exercise – If you’re a beginner, there’s a learning curve that may take you awhile to overcome. Give yourself space to learn good form, solid technique and effective methods of training before you put too much pressure on yourself to lose weight. 

8) Instead of watching the scale, focus on creating a healthy lifestyle.

Living well almost always leads to weight loss. This is one instance where the scale can lie, especially for new exercisers beginning a strength training program. I often hear this question from readers who mention losing inches while the scale doesn’t move. They wonder, “Why haven’t I seen any results?” If you’re experiencing this, one question to ask yourself is: Why do you believe the scale over your own experience? If you’re buying smaller clothes, you’re losing fat no matter what the scale says. 

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I’m upset about hearing from/of people who believe that the scale is telling them rather than what’s in front of our own eyes, leaving them discouraged and frustrated rather than celebrating their success ! BIN THOSE SCALES !!!!

 

 

9 Reasons Women Should Do Weight Training  

Strength training is an important part of improving your overall fitness, and for women, it can mean much more. In addition to numerous health benefits, adding weights to your routine can become a form of personal development that builds strength in all areas of life. 

1. Muscle increases metabolic rate and boosts your metabolism naturally.

The more muscle you have, the higher your resting metabolic rate. You read that correctly; by doing absolutely nothing, you can actually burn calories thanks to your mighty muscles. One pound of muscle uses about six calories a day to sustain itself, while one pound of fat burns just two calories daily. And after a session of resistance training, you’ll burn even more since your muscles all over your body are activated. 

Want to burn even more calories? In a study from the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, it was found that women who lifted 85 percent of their maximum load for eight reps than when they did more reps at a lower weight burned twice as many calories in the two hours after their workout. 

By adding muscle through strength training (even just a little bit), your resting metabolic rate (i.e., the amount of calories you burn daily by just existing) increases. Weights temporarily lift your metabolic rate, thanks to a handy process called excessive post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), which means your body continues to burn calories at a higher rate even when resting. That’s why, in a study at Penn State University in the US, dieters who lifted weights as well as doing cardio lost 6lb more fat than the group doing aerobic work alone. Athletes are calorie-burning machines even when they are not exercising.

MORE THAN JUST CALORIES:

2. Lifting weights strengthens muscle and bone, which helps reduce the risk of osteoporosis or brittle bone disease

Building muscle mass helps strengthen connective tissues, which increases bone density. By doing this, you’re reducing your risk for injury, and your chance of getting osteoporosis later in life which women are more at risk of than men.

Due to dropping levels of estrogen, postmenopausal women are prone to osteoporosis. Numerous studies show a positive relationship between resistance training and bone density. When bone feels the “pull” from the muscles, bone growth is stimulated. Not only can strength training offset bone loss, it can actually cause an increase in bone density in women who regularly lift weights.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have also found that exercise, which build muscles (here’s how to start your own strength training routine), can actually help to improve balance, improve blood-sugar control, and improve sleep and mental health.

3. If weight loss is your goal, muscle is your mate.

Cardiovascular exercise WILL burn a higher percentage of stored fat but, as Liz says, “A muscular body is a more efficient body. For every additional pound of muscle you gain by lifting weights, your body burns around 50 extra calories every day.” 

4. Shape without the bulk.

If I lift weights, I’ll bulk up like Arnie“- The Truth: Due to their lower levels of testosterone, it is very difficult for women to develop large, bulky muscles. Instead of the bulk, most women tend to build a nice hourglass figure—curves we can be proud of!

On a moderate training plan, building up excessive bulk is impossible. Muscle growth is very dependent on testosterone and women tend to produce 10 times less than men, so you can’t build big bulging muscles naturally. Add to that bodybuilders spend pretty much all day, every day, lifting HEAVY weights and eating large amounts of protein every couple of hours to achieve that look. Unless you put in that kind of time and effort, you’re not going to turn into Popeye.


5. Elevate mood.

Women are twice as likely to develop clinical depression as men, yet two-thirds of these women do not do anything to combat these feelings. The release of norepinephrine, dopamine and serotonin during resistance training chemically helps exercisers acheive a feeling of well-being. Weight training also leads to an increase in energy, better sleep patterns, and a feeling of accomplishment and control.

6. Lifting weights also has a positive effect on insulin resistance – so your body can convert carbs into energy more efficiently. It raises your metabolic rate by as much as 15%, reduces blood pressure and improves your mood. These are factors that reduce your risk of diabetes, heart disease and some cancers.

7. Improve posture.

Combat a kyphotic (hunched over) posture by strengthening the backside of the body. Proper posture leads to injury prevention and better power transfer in athletics. And let’s face it, you just look better when you stand up straight (your mother was right!).

8. Move better for longer.

By strengthening muscles and improving bone density, women who spend time in the weight room are typically active for longer periods of time. Increased hip and leg strength aid in mobility and balance, and upper-body strength helps combat postural issues that can lead to back and shoulder injuries.

9. Become a better athlete.

Gone are the days when coaches worried that lifting weights would build bulky muscles that would weigh down athletes. Strength training can lead to better functional movement, explosive power, durability and, of course, greater overall strength.

The bottom line.

Let’s face it: As often as I spout out all of these benefits, I still hear 9 out of 10 women saying they want a better butt. What is the best way to achieve a better butt? Squats. Lunges. Strength training.

Why Kettlebells Are Good For A Toned Body & Fat Loss

Why Kettlebells Are Good For Weight Loss Your Calorie-Burning Secret: Kettlebells

There’s a reason why so many people love kettlebell training — after all, who doesn’t want a total-body resistance and cardio workout that only takes half an hour? And even more surprising, an American Council on Exercise (ACE) study recently found that the average person can burn 400 calories in just 20 minutes with a kettlebell.
That’s an amazing 20 calories a minute, or the equivalent of running a six-minute mile!

What makes the workout so effective, especially when compared with traditional weights like barbells or dumbbells? “You’re moving in different planes of movement,” says Laura Wilson, director of programming for KettleWorX. “Instead of just going up and down, you’re going to move side to side and in and out, so it’s much more functional. It’s like you move in real life: kettlebells simulate that movement, unlike a dumbbell.”

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You can use kettlebells anywhere ! Workout whilst watching TV or a film at home , in the morning before work or even in the local park. No excuses!
You can buy them from tesco’s or amazon from as little as £10!

http://www.tesco.com/direct/one-body-5kg-kettlebell/206-3376.prd

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So what should you do once you’ve got yours ?

These cast-iron weights come in a range of sizes from two pounds to 100 pounds (for the really strong ladies and gents). Proper use of kettlebells requires strength and coordination, so it’s best to start off with a light weight at first. If you are a healthy and fit female, begin using one that’s about 15 pounds (8 kg).
If you haven’t strength trained in a while (or ever), start with a lighter bell, such as five or eight pounds. To figure out if you’ve chosen the right size, try these three exercises after you read more.

1.Stand with feet hip-distance apart. Holding the handle with both hands, squat down and dangle the bell in between your legs. Hold for a few seconds, and then straighten your legs. You should be able to do this without your lower back or shoulders hurting.

2.Stand with feet slightly wider than hip-distance apart, and hold a kettlebell with both hands between your legs. Bend your knees slightly, and then swing the kettlebell forward. You should be able to explosively straighten your legs and lift the kettlebell up so it’s above shoulder height.

3.Place a kettlebell in one hand, and lift it above your head. You should be able to lift your arm all the way up without arching your back and should be able to hold the weight up there for a few seconds.

It’s better to start off with a lighter weight and learn correct technique and posture. Then you can gradually increase to a heavier kettlebell as you become stronger. Since many of the exercises involve ballistic (fast) work, you want to be sure you get some personal instruction on how to use them, since you can end up tearing a muscle if you lift too much or move the wrong way. If this is your first time using this type of weight, I’ll warn you that it can be very strenuous on the body and feel awkward at first. But as with anything, practicing will make you feel more comfortable.

Now what?

1. Follow this amazing workout –

http://www.popsugar.com/fitness/Kettlebell-Exercises-Weight-Loss-21504882?slide=1

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Then move on to the following

2. Basic 5-Move Workout

This five-move kettlebell workout will torch tons of calories. When learning these exercises, it’s important to start with a light weight first, such as a five- or 10-pound kettlebell. You can increase the amount of repetitions as you become stronger, but first focus on your form and only increase the weight after you can do 20 reps of these moves correctly with a lighter weight.
http://www.popsugar.com/fitness/Basic-Kettlebell-Workout-31607864

3. Circuit Workout
This high-energy 30-minute circuit workout combines moves that use kettlebells and weights for a calorie-burning bonanza, which keeps your heart rate up and challenges your core.

http://www.popsugar.com/fitness/30-Minute-Circuit-Workout-From-Equinox-Trainer-19828470

Stress And Damage Caused By Dieting, And How To Get On The Path To Recovery-By Nia Shanks

Nia Shanks makes a great summary here for why we should not diet !
(And explanation of how the stress dieting causes you actually makes you gain weight!)

http://www.niashanks.com/2013/05/stress-damage-dieting-path-recovery/