Looking to Maximise your results?

If you are not assessing you are just guessing!

Are you training hard and eating well but feeling deflated when you step on the scales?

You are not alone!  I see this day in and day out.  We let those scales dictate how we are feeling.  If the scales have decreased - great, you feel fabulous.  If your scale weight has increased - you feel depressed because obviously you have put on weight right?   WRONG!!!!

The scales will only tell you how much your total body weighs - it does not tell you what that total body weight is made up of.  In other words, it won't tell you if you are losing or gaining fat or muscle.  Body fat and scale weight are two completely different things. Total body weight is not a clear indication of a person's health and it does not distinguish between fat and muscle mass. 

How do you know if you are actually reaching your goals?

Reach your goals faster by accurately assessing and tracking your body composition and fitness!  

Understand how your diet, lifestyle and training regime are influencing your overall body composition.

In less than a minute this state-of-the-art InBody scanner provides precise measurement of:

Body fat percentage and total fat mass

How many kilograms of fat you have on your body

Skeletal muscle mass

How many kilograms of muscle mass you have

Fat and muscle distribution on each limb and torso

Check if there are any imbalances

Visceral fat level

The potentially dangerous fat around your internal organs

Bone mineral Content

An indirect link to Osteoporosis.

Body measurements

Individual measurements of body parts

 

And much more!

The in body scan is scientifically-validated, radiation-free technology.

 

If you would like to find out more about In Body Scans please visit www.inbody.net.au

 

 

 

Goal Setting

As the days progress into the new year and you start to write down the goals you wish to achieve there are a few things I have learnt over the years that I would like you to keep in mind.

 

Don't change everything at once.  


Completely overhauling your lifestyle is a big thing.  And most people's goals fall by the wayside come February because they aim for perfection and try to change everything all at once - a recipe for failure.  It's hard to change food habits, exercise habits (or lack of), time management skills etc. all together, especially if you are a beginner.  Grab yourself a sheet of paper and set yourself some small, sustainable weekly goals.  Pick one or two things each week that you would like to work on and then focus on consistently progressing in those areas each week.  Once you've got that under control, pick another 2 things to focus on the following week.

For example, in the first week you might focus on drinking 2 litres of water a day and walking for 30 mins 5 days a week.  The next week you will continue with this and you might add "cutting sugar in tea/coffee" and "walking for 40 mins 5 times a week".

You will have setbacks


Life happens.  There have been some weeks when I have only managed to work out twice a week.  Days when I've been caught out and I've had to rely on food choices that are less than ideal.  Life will get in the way.  This is a journey.  As long as you are consistent most of the time this will not be a problem so don't beat yourself up.  Do not throw in the towel and assume you have ruined everything.  

Be patient


Results may not be noticeable be in a week or 2 or even 4.  Weight loss, fat loss, strength goals are all great but they take time.  Chances are others will notice changes before you.  Some changes will start from the inside out so do not panic if the scales are not changing (more on that in another post). Focus instead on the improvements you are making to your health, your fitness, your mood etc.  

Don't forget to rest


Rest is important not just for your body but for your mind too.  Giving your body one or two days rest a week will ensure you avoid over training, physical exhaustion, injuries and mental burnout.

 

Be Kind to yourself

Don't beat yourself up if you have a bad day/week/month.  Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and get back in the game.  No body is perfect, and they only person you need to be better than is yourself.

 

Tips for staying on track over the holiday season

For most of us it can be really tough to stick to being healthy over the holiday season but it is definitely not impossible.  I love this time of year because it is a time to relax with my family and take some time out to just chill!  I don’t focus on my nutrition 100% of the time although I do still try to make good food choices most of the time. I choose when I want to indulge but I don’t indulge every day.   Let’s be honest – Christmas is not a time to try to lose weight.  But it is not an excuse to go backwards either.  So here are my top tips to get you through:

 

  • Your goal over the Christmas period should be on maintaining your weight and fitness level.  It is not a time to stress about losing weight.  At the same time it is not an excuse to go all out.  Why undo all the work you have done all year?

 

  • Don’t lose sight of your goals.  Remember what you have set out to achieve this year and remember how far you have come.

 

  • Get your exercise out of the way early.  As soon as you get a chance get your workout in.  Once the day starts other things get in the way and we start to lose the time and the motivation.  Getting your exercise in early will also make you feel good for the rest of the day and I guarantee you won’t even want to over-indulge.

 

  • Involve others and  make it social.  Grab your partner, kids or friends and go for a walk or play a game of soccer. 

 

  • Do a little bit every day.  No need to try and make up a bit of indulging by smashing yourself with one big session.  Try doing smaller, shorter workouts each day – they don’t have to take up a lot of time and will keep you consistent.

 

  • If you are going away and staying in a hotel make use of the hotel gym.  If not, the great outdoors is perfect.  Don’t underestimate the power of walking – physically and mentally.  It’s also a great way to check out new places.

 

  • Don’t’ go overboard with food.  You know that uncomfortable bloating feeling.  Moderation is key.

 

  • Don’t go to a party hungry because you know you will snack on all the things you really don’t need.

 

  • Be aware of what you are drinking.  For every glass of alcohol follow it with a glass of water to keep you hydrated and full.  Lower calorie alcoholic beverages (vodka/soda) are a better choice.

 

  • Don’t starve yourself to make up for eating too much.  It really is a terrible cycle to get into.  By all means eat lightly to compensate for a full day of eating but do not skip meals.  If you do over-eat the best thing you can do is to get back to your usual routine the very next day.

 

  • We are so lucky here in Australia that it is warm and we are fond of BBQ’s!  It’s easier to fill up your plate first with the fresh stuff first – proteins (meat, chicken, seafood) and veges (salads).

 

  • Keep a food journal.  Ok, maybe you don’t want to do this over Christmas day but for the holiday season keeping a food diary may just keep you on track when you see how much or how little you have been eating.

 

  • Remember, if you are still eating then you should still be moving. Most people say they don't have time to exercise but being on holidays gives you that time.  Kids at home?  When my kids were younger I used to take them to the park or the skate park and exercise while they played.  That way we all get out and get active.

 

  • And finally, don’t’ beat yourself up! Take some time to relax and enjoy.  Celebrating and sharing a meal with family and friends is a big part of our lives and should be enjoyed.  Balance is key – not deprivation!

Don't forget to keep an eye on Facebook over the break for workout ideas!

 

Jo

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How do I get a toned belly?

 

No doubt the most common question from female clients!  And there is so much conflicting information out there it can be confusing!

Let me first start by saying this:

You don’t need to do ab specific exercises to get a toned stomach.

That's right!  A common myth is that doing ab specific workouts will get you noticeable abs – not true! 

It is overall body fat percentage that will determine how much of your ab muscles will be visible

We all have a 6 pack – some are just hidden under a layer of fat and therefore not visible. 

Having a low enough body fat percentage = visible abs! 

 

So how do you do that?

In order to decrease body fat you need to burn fat – with a combination of exercise and nutrition:

  • Intensity, intensity, intensity!   Training with intensity is more efficient and changes in the body will be much quicker  than doing long hours of  steady state cardio.  So if you want to make changes quicker – up the intensity!  Sprinting, plyometrics and any  HIIT workout.

 

  • A lot of you have heard the saying that “abs are made in the kitchen” and for the most part that is pretty much true – it  plays a huge role.  Because if you eat more than you are burning in the day then you will store more fat and that layer will find its way onto your stomach.  So to start seeing some improvements take note of how much processed food you are eating during the day, how much sugar is included in your diet and how big your portion sizes are.

 

What about your "core"?

When most people speak of their core they are usually referring to their stomach muscles.  Your core actually includes more than just “abs”.  It includes the deep abdominal muscles, the pelvic floor, your lower back stabilizers, and the glute (bum and hip) muscles – basically all those muscles that stabilize your spine.  Think of your core like a “belt” – and the muscles are on the front, the back and the side of your body.  

A lot of the time I hear clients complaining of lower back pain, especially those who are sitting behind a computer all day.  This has a lot to do with core strength and posture.  Engaging your core does not just mean sucking in your stomach.  Roll your shoulders back, stick out your chest (chest proud), tuck your pelvis, and squeeze your glute muscles.  You should then feel the lower part of your abs engaging to support your spine.

Doing core focused workouts such as different plank variations, spiderman push ups, push up planks  etc  (rather than traditional sit ups) will strengthen your core and give you a strong base for performing other exercises as well as improving your posture. 

Remember:

Doing 100 sit ups a day will not get you a six pack.   You cannot remove body fat from one particular part of the body.  Getting a 6 pack is about achieving a low level of body fat – so you would be better off spending that time preparing your meals and focusing on core and compound movements. 

I love doing ab specific exercises but I do not do them a lot.  The reason being is that my abs get a good enough workout when I am doing compound exercises like squats, lunges, push ups and deadlifts because my core is working and switched on all of the time.

Planks are great for the lower back when done with correct form and are amazing for core development.  They are challenging and there are many progressions to make it a little bit harder.  When you can work up to a 2 min plank you can start progressing (eg. Lift one leg up, lift one leg and opposite arm up, shoulder taps).

Your challenge:

Each day this week try to hold a plank for one minute and take note of your time.  Repeat this 3-4 times.  Each day that you do this aim to hold just a little bit longer.  Once you reach 2 mins, let me know and I will email you some awesome progressions.

I’d love to know how you go.

Jo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What To Eat Before and After Training

Eating around training times is critical to getting the most out of your training sessions.  What you eat before and after your workout could be the difference between meeting your goals and not.

 

Before training - AIM: to fuel your body

Carbohydrates are your body's preferred fuel source - and you need carbs in order to fuel your body so that it can train at its best - gain muscle, burn fat, and recover effectively.   Simple carbs are fast digesting and will provide your body with energy quickly.

Examples:

  • Apple slices topped with natural peanut butter 
  • Slice toast or rice cakes topped with banana
  • Muesli bar
  • Greek yoghurt
  • Eggs on toast
  • Traditional oats topped with fruit
  • Banana

Many people find that they prefer to train on an empty stomach  for 2 main reasons:

1.  Some choose to train without eating because they find eating beforehand makes them feel uncomfortable and even nauseous - and this is fine.

2.  Others prefer to train on an empty stomach in order to tap into their fat stores immediately - again this is fine.  There is a lot of buzz about working out on in a fasted state for this reason.  On the one hand it taps into your fat stores but it can also mean you don't have as much energy to workout as hard as you could if you had some fuel in the tank.   It's a personal choice and one which you will need to assess depending on how you feel hen you workout.

I will generally exercise on an empty stomach if I am doing cardio, but for weight training or a higher intensity workout which can be quite taxing I will always eat beforehand.  So, yes I eat carbs and I eat the majority of them before and after a workout.

It really depends on what type of exercise you are doing and for how long.   If you are going for a power walk, for example, you don't need much (if anything) to eat beforehand.  Lower intensity workouts won't require the same fuel as higher intensity ones.  Again, assess how you feel.

I recommend eating around 1-2 hours before a workout, depending on the size of your meal, to give your body enough time to digest the food.

 

After training - AIM: to repair/recover

A post workout snack or meal 30-60mins after your workout can help your body repair the damage done to your cells from training and help you to recover quicker.  After exercise your muscles are depleted of glycogen (stored form of carbohydrates).  If you don't eat anything after your workout your body starts to look for what else is available in the body - which is usually protein (ie.muscle) - a scenario you want to avoid because the more muscle you have the more efficient your body will be at burning fat.

The best thing to eat after your workout is a mix of protein and complex carbs - both of which will help in the muscle building process, prevent any muscle loss and aid in recovery.

Examples:

  • Protein shake 
  • Protein bar
  • Low fat Chocolate milk - believe it or not has the right mix of protein and carbs.
  • Yoghurt with fruit
  • Chicken salad with pumpkin/sweet potato/rice
  • Protein bar
  • Egg on toast

I always have a protein shake immediately after a workout because it is fast digesting and it's convenient. 

And, don't forget to HYDRATE before, during and after your workout.

If you need help with meal planning or nutrition drop me a line.

 

Jo

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I want to tone up!

Whenever I work with a new client or talk to friends, they almost always tell me that they want to tone up.   And I usually always clarify what they mean by that because this is such a broad goal that they often don't know exactly what that means or how to go about reaching their goal.

Most of the time when a woman tells me they want to get toned what they really mean is they want to have a firmer body (or particular body part).  They want a little definition and shape.  And the best way to do this is to strength train.  Because strength training is going to INCREASE your lean muscle tissue and DECREASE your body fat - which is your aim if you want that toned, defined, firm look. 

Think about it.  In broad terms, if you have 70% of lean muscle tissue then you have 30% of body fat (give or take).  So if you can increase your lean muscle tissue (say you 80%) then your body fat will drop to 20%.  Once your body fat reduces to a certain point your muscles start to become more visible. 

And usually the next thing ladies tell me is that they don't want to get "big" from lifting weights.  Not going to happen.  Unfortunately this is a huge myth!  Women do not have the body types or the levels of testosterone to get huge unless they are training with lots of volume and taking lots of supplements.  I find women are happy to spend hours on the treadmill or under the assumption that in order to tone up they have to do lots of cardio each week but this could not be further from the truth. Yes you may lose weight but you will be a smaller version of yourself and won't give you firmer muscles. Want a tighter bum? Strength train.  Want to improve your tuck shop arms?  Strength train.  Want to have a firmer stomach?  Strength train.  And don't be afraid to go heavy.

Of course there is another part of the equation (and a major one) -  nutrition.  Eating small, regular meals which are focused on unprocessed foods is a must in order to drop body fat.  You can't out-train a bad diet so don't think you can exercise every day but not look after your nutrition and still get results.  It's like trying to ride a bike with only 1 wheel.

4 strength exercises you should be doing.

1. Squats - love them or hate them squats will work almost all muscles in your legs as well as your core and your back.  That's a lot of muscles.  Which means lots of fat burning potential.  

2. Deadlifts - slowly becoming one of my favourite exercises. Again these will work your leg and hip muscles as well as your core, your arms and your back.  You will definitely feel these the next day. Technique is hard to get right so please see a trainer for some advice.

3. Bench Press  (or chest press) - which works your chest, shoulders, triceps and even your core.  The chest press can give women amazing shape in the shoulders and arms (great for all the strapless tops that are currently in fashion!)

4. Bent over rows - which work all the major muscles of the back as well as your core and your biceps.  Rows will give you great shape and definition in your back (and a nice V shape which will make your waist look smaller - win!)

 

Jo

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Motivation...where is it?

It’s almost November and we are coming up to the busiest time of year.  You’ve been exercising and eating well but somehow your motivation has started to disappear.  You’re not that keen to get to training.  What do you do???

Motivation is so tricky!  It’s one of those things that comes and goes and happens to all of us.  We all have ups and downs and times where we just cannot be bothered chasing our goals because maybe we are tired, maybe we think our goals are too unattainable, maybe we aren’t seeing results quick enough, or maybe we just simply cannot be bothered right now with everything else going on!

As Michelle Bridges says, “Motivation is like a bad boyfriend – never there when you need it”!  So what do you do when you just can’t get that desire back? 

Let me be straight up first -  sometimes it’s a matter of sucking it up and just getting it done.  Seriously, if I only did things when I was motivated I wouldn’t get much done at all.  Having said that, if I have a client whose motivation has waned, the first thing I tell them is to start getting back to creating habits again.  That may not mean going all out at the gym – it may mean starting off going for regular walks, trying to get back to the gym at least 2 times during the week, starting to prepare lunches again etc, and DOING SOMETHING YOU ENJOY.  There is no point continuing with something if you simply do not enjoy it.

Also, try to not to can your goals altogether.  Sometimes it is a matter of re-assessing those goals.  And when you work out what you want to achieve and how you are going to do it, make it non-negotiable.  For example, it is non-negotiable for me that I exercise 3 times a week at a minimum.  End of story.  I have to reach that goal. No excuses.

Lastly, surround yourself with like-minded people who have similar goals and who can provide encouragement and support.   And you may just be surprised to realize that you are actually inspiring them!

4 reasons you may not be losing weight

You’re eating and training is on track, you’ve been super diligent but your results are not reflecting your hard work.  And you’re deflated. I get it.  We all want to see results and we want them yesterday. But there are other factors outside of what you eat and how you move that may be affecting your lack of results:

1. Stress

Did you know that exercise is actually a stress on your body?  Don’t take that as a sign that you shouldn’t be exercising.  But when your body is in a stressed state (either from work, a bad relationship, lack of sleep, grief, gut issues, anxiety,  etc), your body has a hard time regulating itself for fat loss.  When you are chronically stressed your body releases a hormone called cortisol – cortisol slows metabolism down and is one of the main culprits of fat storage.  So when you are highly stressed and you add the additional stress of exercise (particularly high intensity) then it will be extremely difficult to lose weight.  Often it is a matter of addressing health issues and chronic stress that you may be experiencing first.

2. You are eating too few calories.

This is a big one and something I see time and time again.  A lot of people (especially women) have the mentality that they should workout more and eat very little.  Please realise that exercise is only a small part of the equation.  Good nutrition to support your workouts is ESSENTIAL.  Our bodies are VERY clever and like to operate in “equilibrium” or "balance".  Tip things too far in one direction and your body will do everything it can to get back to that balance.  So if you restrict your food intake too much, your body goes into “starvation mode” and will hang onto any fat it can because it doesn’t know when it is going to get its next meal.  

3. Hormones

If sleep, stress and dietary adherence look good, a closer look at hormones may be needed.  In particular, cortisol (mentioned above), insulin  and leptin (the hunger hormone).  Interestingly, if a client has a habit of under-eating their body may produce less leptin which in turn slows down fat loss (because your body is working hard to keep that balance).  You can have these levels tested through a blood test at your local GP.

4.  If nothing changes, nothing changes

Have you been doing the same workouts and eating the same thing day in day out?  Have you been progressing your workouts (either by changing weights, reps, sets, exercises; walking/running longer or faster)?  Are you working out at an intensity that supports your goals?  Our bodies get used to things very quickly so you need to keep it guessing.  Shake things up a little. Do things a little differently. Start to get uncomfortable and really challenge yourself.  If you need ideas, I have plenty!

And my final tip..…..please do not cut out food groups.

Unless you have a medical condition or cannot tolerate certain foods there is no reason why you should be cutting out any foods or food groups from your diet.  Incorporate a range of foods, be flexible and enjoy.