Category Archives: Fat loss

Habits + Pen + Paper = Long Term Success

It’s the weekend, you are heading out for the night to your friends birthday party.

You look in the wardrobe and pull out you favourite pair of jeans. Pulling them on you notice your thighs are a little bit snugger than they used to be. ‘They must have shrunk in the wash’, you think. You zip them up and struggle at the last button. Twirling around (as you do when nobody is looking) you view from all angles the apparent new tightness, your sense of unease grows. ‘No worries’, you figure as you pull out your favourite shirt, ‘I have only worn it a few times and it is always a winner’ you reassure yourself. Buttoning it up, a feeling of fear and dread takes hold as you realise the shirt is also extremely tight.

You are stunned and embarrassed all in one.

Suddenly at that moment, like a bolt of lightning, you decide you must do something radical to reverse this trend. Monday can’t come quick enough to start your new healthy life.

When we start a new exercise plan or a healthy diet, we are generally full of enthusiasm and vigour. The ‘trigger’ to start this new way of life can be very powerful and can be full of heart felt emotion. We may jump head first into all manner of crazy low calorie juice diets and ultra exercise plans. We punish ourselves for getting into the situation we found ourselves in the first place and believe the all or nothing game plan is the only method to bring success.

After a week or two of hard graft, we may have fallen off the wagon somewhat, the juice diet is replaced by the normal pattern of eating and after missing a session or two of the extreme exercise, you decide to return to the safe haven of the couch.

Feeling a sense of defeat, you console yourself with that piece of chocolate you have been depriving yourself and think that you gave a good shot anyway.

Unfortunately without an actual long term plan many people will be doomed to failure every time they get determined to make a change.

Meaningful change requires a change of HABITS

 

woman sitting with her legs crossed on bed and writing in a journal

No matter how string our intent, will power is only so strong and we will eventually return to our normal ways.

Without changing our habits we are just setting ourselves up for a fall. Becoming healthier, losing weight and getting fitter is a long term life project. It should not be a something we do for four weeks and expect to see amazing results.

If you try to run a marathon by sprinting at the start, you might make great progress initially but it is unsustainable. You will burn yourself out and may have to pull out due to overexertion or injury. If you start slowly, you will make slower progress, but you will quickly gain confidence, the miles fly without too much effort as you reach towards your goal. You are far more likely to get to the end.

What the hell does this mean in our lives?

Gung ho approaches to our fitness and health can work for some but not for all. Most people work better with small, sustainable changes over a long period of time.

Pick one aspect you want to target with your Diet, Exercise for this month.

Pick something so simple, that it will be impossible for you to fail. This is crucial, people think that picking something easy is a waste of time but the confidence that you get from achieving something, no matter how small can be dramatic. When these positive changes add up over a period of time, this is where the magic happens.

Get a diary and write down your two goals for the month.

Work on them solely for the month and forget the rest. When you achieve them, pick something else for the next month but make sure you retain the first habits you tried to develop.

As we are at different stages in our journey, we will all have different goals and expectations. Everyone can pick their own goals but examples could be…

  1. Diet – Eat two different vegetables with dinner. Eat two/three pieces of fruit a day. Reduce alcohol to 10 units per week. Eat protein with breakfast. Drink 2/3 litres of water every day. Consume take away foods only once a fortnight. Eat ‘healthy food x’ instead of ‘unhealthy food y’. Will refuse all cakes and chocolate in work.
  2. Exercise – Walk for 30 minutes four/five days a week.  Every Saturday morning, go for an hour cycle. Do a body weight circuit or a dumbbell workout twice/three times per week. Use the bike to go to work on a Monday and Friday instead of using the car. Use the stairs instead of the elevator whenever the opportunity arises. Get over 6000 steps every day on your pedometer.

Now get a pen and paper and write down your monthly targets. You will be glad you started in a few months time.

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Filed under Exercise, Fat loss, Health

FAQ about the PH Fitness Class

corrie 2x2ft (1)

A hypotetical conversation with Claire (35) from Stoneybatter. (Yes, I made up a person and made up a conversation)

Hi Philip, I just saw this flyer about your class and I was wondering who the class is catered towards?

Well Claire, it’s nice to meet you. We cater for men and women who aren’t happy with how they currently look and feel. Most of our clients are female between 25 and 40 who want to lose some weight, tone up and feel better about their fitness and health. We can provide a road map to help them get from where they currently are to where they would like to be. The class environment is great for people as it provides a social outlet as well as a fitness class.

Oh right that’s great. Unfortunately though I haven’t done much exercise recently, will the class be too hard for me?

We cater for all fitness levels. All exercises have regressions and progressions that allow people with different abilities to get a great workout. Many members have started with no experience of resistance training but have quickly learned the basics and are progressing at a great rate.

What is resistance training? That sounds hard?

No need to worry, resistance training is a super form of exercise. It means using resistance to challenge the muscles to get stronger and develop shape. It can take many forms such as bodyweight exercises, lifting weights, cable pulls etc. We try to concentrate on the main human movements such as push, pull, hinge and squat.

Won’t that make me big and bulky? I want to lose weight!

No, it absolutely won’t make you big and bulky Claire. That is a major myth amongst many women. Resistance training is the most effective training method to help women and men improve body composition. By building muscle, your body does many wonderful things that help turn you into a fat burning machine. Your metabolism increases, you burn more calories at rest and your new found strength will catapult your fitness and health to new levels.

Also women cannot build as much muscle as men because of hormonal differences so instead of having big bulky body, you are more likely to achieve toned and slender physique.

Great, sounds like just what I need. But what type of class can I expect?

It is a class that emphasises strength through a variety of basic human movements. Stand-alone strength exercises are followed by a resistance circuit that will really work the heart and lungs giving a strong cardio hit. We want our clients to be the strongest version of themselves.

We place a strong emphasis on learning proper form and technique. We also pay particular attention to mobility, if a person has restricted movement, we will make sure they perform various exercises throughout the session that will tackle particular issues.

Lunges-And-Squats

I’m tired just hearing all that, are you sure that won’t kill me! Did I mention I haven’t done any exercise in ages?

There is no need to fear Claire, we are well aware some people may have absolutely no experience in doing any exercise or have done very little in many years like yourself. It takes courage to start a new regime. Everyone will work at a level that is suitable for them. Your body may be sore after the first few sessions as you adapt to the new stresses but our intention is not to flog people with incredibly tough workouts. We hope that everyone works from a level where they feel challenged to improve and progress in a sustained and fun environment.

Cool, that’s reassuring, thanks Philip, is there anything else that I will need to know before I sign up? 

Yes, there is a strong nutrition component. I encourage all clients to keep a food diary. Research has shown that people who keep regular food diaries are far more successful at maintaining healthy body weight or losing weight in the first place. We also give people nutrition advice and a template to help them improve their lifestyle habits to ensure progress can be achieved.

Remind me again, where and when do the classes take place? 

Oh yes, the classes are run in the hall in St Paul’s CBS primary school. It is located on North Brunswick Street around the corner from Smithfield square. They currently run every Monday and Wednesday at 7pm.

How much are the classes?

It’s ten euro for a pay as you go class and 50 euro for a block of four weeks. People can sign up whenever they like.

Don’t forget, the first class is free of charge so you can come and try out before you buy a four week block.

Brilliant, do the classes run the whole year? 

There will be some breaks, classes will not run on bank holiday Mondays, over the Christmas, Easter holidays and during August. We find that people like this break and are away on holidays at these times of the year. We follow the primary school calendar to some degree.

Ok thanks Philip for all that information. I am really looking forward to getting started. Do I need to bring anything for my first class on Monday?

Just come wearing comfortable workout gear but bring a bottle of water and a can do attitude. The first class is free of charge so if you want to join you can pay starting from next Monday on.

Super, I’ll be there, I look forward to it.

Cheers, will see you then Claire.

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Filed under Bootcamp, Exercise, Fat loss, Health, Nutrition, weight training

10 tips for successful fat loss journeyl

We all want to have a slim, toned, sexy looking body. This is the holy grail of the fitness industry!

Our eternal quest for the perfect body is fuelled by the media who spin tales about the new potion, pill, exercise regime or superfood that will miraculously shed the body fat for us.

Unfortunately life is not that simple and in this article I present some tips you might want to adhere to if you want to lose body fat the correct way.

1. Consume less calories than you burn: To lose weight, we must take in less calories than our bodies use. It is a scientific fact. There are many ways to eat less calories. Eat smaller portions. Replace high calorie foods with lower ones. Eliminate junk food. Remove drink calories with water.

THIS IS BY FAR THE MOST IMPORTANT VARIABLE IN A WEIGHT LOSS PLAN. IF YOU DO NOT ADHERE TO THIS RULE YOU ARE LEAVING YOUR MOST IMPORTANT WEIGHT LOSS TOOL ON THE BENCH.

2. Keep a food diary: research has shown that people who write down everything they eat are more successful in their weight loss efforts than those who don’t. It can be tedious and time consuming but if you are serious about your weight loss efforts, it is a must.

3. Eat enough protein: Protein should be the first macronutrient on our plate. It is essential for basic bodily function, cell growth and repair, enzyme and hormone production. More importantly it is muscle sparing and reduces hunger enabling us to feel full especially when we are trying to diet. We should all be aiming to eat 1.5g to 2g per kg of bodyweight. Therefore if you weigh 60kg, you should be aiming to eat between 90g and 120g per day.

4. Resistance Training: Bodyweight exercises, weights, TRX, kettlebells are all examples. Resistance training will help build muscle. Muscle is more metabolically active than fat meaning that your body will be able to burn more calories at rest. A body with more muscle is far more efficient at burning fat and staying lean than a body with little muscle.

5. Eat enough plant foods. Plants are high in micronutrients and full of fibre. People who consume high quantities of fruits, vegetables and legumes are less likely to suffer illness and be overweight. Those who eat a plant rich diet have well regulated satiety mechanisms. The body is less likely to crave sugar and processed foods because of the high fibre and micronutrient content. Try to eat plant foods at each meal. Colourful vegetables should be consumed at lunch and dinner.

6. Carb count. It is important to look at overall carb intake especially if you have a lot of weight to lose. Your body may not be very efficient at using carbohydrates as a fuel. Someone who is very active and is lean will get away with eating a diet high in carbs but another who is sedentary and carrying a lot of fat will not be able to use those carbs efficiently and they will be more likely to be stored as fat. In this case, you may need to remove sugar and processed carbs from your diet, replace starch with vegetables and eat more healthy fat.

7. Sleep. We should all aim to get a minimum of 7-8 hours sleep per night. Studies have shown that sleep deprivation can cause weight gain. People who do not get much sleep or get poor quality sleep will have impaired hormone function. The hormones which regulates our appetite and suppresses hunger is called leptin. This is reduced in people with poor sleep and the hormone Ghrelin which increases appetite is increased. If you sleep well on a regular basis it is shown that your hunger will be controlled and appetite will be easier to manage. So therefore get a good night sleep will help you control cravings and eat less!

Growth hormone is  also released in large amounts when you sleep. This stimulates cell regeneration and growth. This helps in muscle growth and helps increase metabolism. With a higher metabolism, you burn energy faster which leads to easier fat loss. Don’t pass any heed on your housemate who wants to stay up talking rubbish, get to sleep, your body will thank you.

8. Eat sufficient Omega 3. Studies have shown that eating foods rich in omega 3 in conjunction with exercise has been shown to increase fat loss instead of just exercise alone. Diets rich in omega 3 have also massive benefits for disease prevention and brain health also.  This can be consumed in the form of oily fish or as an omega 3 or cod liver oil supplement. If taking a supplement, aim to get a good quality supplement with over 1000mg of DHA an EPA.

9. Reduce Stress. Stress can have a huge effect on the body and reduce its ability to burn fat effectively. Stress on the body can manifest in many ways A) insomnia B) chronic infections C) inflammation D) environmental toxins E) dieting F) too much exercise.

The body releases cortisol to help battle these ‘fight or flight’ stressful situations. Over time this over production of cortisol can wreak havoc on the normal cortisol cycle. Cortisol is meant to be peak in the morning, preparing us for the day and gradually taper off and lower as the day progresses.  If the body is churning out cortisol on a long term basis it can lead to huge many dysfunctions within the body.

– reduces your ability to burn fat, makes you hungry and crave sugar, increases the rate at which you store sugar, increases your belly fat, makes your cells less sensitive to insulin…the list goes on. BASICALLY CHRONIC PROLONGED STRESS MAKES YOU FAT!

NOTE: I did not mention anything about calorie counting. If you stick to the rules mentioned above you will not need to count calories. Your hormones should be regulated and appetite under control. If you are eating the right foods, counting calories will not be a problem.

10. Organisation: Are you prepared? Did you do your shopping? Do you have fresh healthy snacks in your home, plenty of fruit and vegetables in the fridge and lots of varied sources of protein and healthy fats? Do you have kitchen basics? Are you prepared to cook nutritious meals? Do you have lunch boxes to bring into work?

Do you have good intentions but are being let down by terrible organisation in your life? You will not have success in your weight loss journey if you are not prepared. As the old saying goes, ‘fail to prepare and prepare to fail’.

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Filed under Fat loss, Health, Nutrition