Tag Archives: fat loss

Eating for health vs Eating to lose weight

Is there a difference between eating for health and eating to lose weight?

If you have been eating junk food on a regular basis, changing your diet to one based predominantly on whole natural foods will be a great move and will more than likely result in weight loss and improved body shape. Hunger should be regulated and overconsumption of hyper palatable calorific foods will be less likely to happen.

This will definitely improve your health and aid your fitness and performance goals.

There still are many people though who seem to eat a whole natural ‘healthy’ diet, consuming plenty of nutritious foods but are struggling to lose weight.

Unfortunately they are simply consuming too many calories. Unless you are eating at a calorie deficit you will not lose weight.

You can eat a diet full of nutritious foods but if you overconsume you will not lose weight.

In the picture below is a small lunchbox of Irish Muesli with some seed mixture. Muesli is a nutritious food especially when mixed with some nuts and seeds and dried fruit.
This lunchbox of food has approximately 700 calories and another 100 when you add in milk. 800 calories.

From MyFitnessPal App
100g of Irish Muesli Lifeforce = 400 calories
1 tablespoon Milled Linseed = 75 calories
80 g grapes = 50 calories
50 g raspberries = 25 calories
Seed mix 25g (pumpkin, sunflower)  = 155 calories

Healthy foods can still be very high in calories.
Nuts and seeds are very healthy and full of nutritious fats but be aware of overconsumption.

An average 65kg lady who is on her feet most of the day and exercises 3 times a week should be eating around 1800 calories to lose weight. This meal would be nearly half their total for the day.

Take home message: Be aware that overconsuming healthy but high calorie foods such as nuts, seeds and muesli can be detrimental to your weight loss goals.

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FAQ about the PH Fitness Class

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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.


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

8 Week Fat Loss Project

You are fed up with not achieving the results you deserve.

You don’t know what to believe and who to trust in the murky world of fitness media.

You want that healthy routine of exercise and nutrition which is sustainable, enjoyable and challenging but most importantly, will produce real world fat loss results.

As part of the 8 Week Fat Loss Project, we are looking for positive, enthusiastic and energetic people to come on board to work together on this shared goal. Your current fitness level or perceived ability to exercise is not a concern, but having the right attitude and a can do approach though is what we are looking for.

Is this for you?

Is losing weight something you would like to achieve right now?

Are you prepared to make some changes in your routine so that you can properly prepare nutritious food and complete an exercise routine a few times a week?

Are you truly interested in learning the knowledge that will help you master your own body weight so that nutrition and exercise becomes a fun and enjoyable part of your life rather than a ball and chain around your neck dragging you down and causing you distress.

Are you willing to identify and tackle some negative, lifestyle habits that you may have and learn how to replace them with constructive ones which will help you achieve your goals rather than sabotage them.

Do you want to be part of a group of hard working, genuine and like minded people who are on a similar path that may be tough in parts but will be thoroughly enjoyable and worthwhile.

If you answered YES to the above statements, then this course may just be the one you were looking for.

Unfortunately this course is definitely not for everyone.

It is not for you if…

You want to put on weight or get mega big – You might build some muscle on this course and that is a good thing to help you achieve the shape you desire, but the main goal is fat loss and body composition improvement.

You want to do exercise but aren’t bothered with nutrition – The nutrition aspect is key, for improving health and body composition. You cannot out exercise a bad diet.

You drink a lot of alcohol – If drinking a few times a week is a habit you can’t shift, then your priorities lie somewhere else instead of health and fat loss goals.

You can’t put aside a few minutes every day to record, plan and prepare food – People live busy lives. I totally understand this but if you cannot make time to buy healthy food, prepare the food for breakfast, lunch and dinner and record what you are eating, then maybe this is not a good time to be doing this project right now.

Ok so you think you’re a good match and want to get involved, here are the finer details.

Location: St Paul’s CBS Hall, North Brunswick Street, Dublin 7 (2 minute walk from Smithfield Square)

Map Brunner

When: Monday and Wednesday 7-8 pm

Dates: Monday 31st of August until Wednesday 21st October

Cost: 160 euros

What you get: Nutrition Seminar and individual dietary guidelines, 16 Exercise Classes, Online Forum and a Detailed Assessment Guide to monitor body changes, food intake and overall progress.

I am passionate about providing the best service possible. If you participate and are not happy with the quality of this product I will happily refund the money.

Reserve your spot by emailing philiphowardfitness@gmail.com

If you need any information, don’t hesitate to call or text me on 0879613012

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Beginner Resistance Training

One of the best things one can do to improve their body composition is to do some resistance training.

So if you are new to this game of fitness, you might not be totally familiar with what resistance training is. Resistance training is a form of physical activity that is designed to improve muscular fitness by exercising a muscle or a muscle group against external resistance.

This could take the shape of body weight exercises, lifting weights, pulling and pushing bands and cables etc.

This type of activity has tonnes of benefits and I mean loads!

It will improve the strength of the muscle thus making you better at lifting stuff and better at performing any physical task you can think of. Playing sport, carrying multiple bags of shopping, grappling with crocodiles, throwing bales of hay etc

It will make you look better. Who doesn’t want a strong toned lean physique? Resistance training is the numero uno go-to training modality for any body looking to shed pounds, lean up and just change the shape of their body. If you have just 3 hours per week and want to maximize your training to help change your shape, you need to be working those muscles.

Strong people are harder to kill than weak people. Regular resistance training can decrease the risk of heart disease by lowering body fat, decreasing blood pressure, improving cholesterol, and lowering the stress placed on the heart while lifting a particular load. Improving muscular fitness is very important for enhancing the quality of life. Also if you stumble on the side of a cliff and are hanging off the edge, that weak lad is heading for the sharks but the strong lad has a chance of salvation!

Anyway you get the idea, resistance training is good stuff for both men and women.

So where does one start in making progress into the deep enchanted woods of resistance training.

You don’t need any equipment, just your own body and an open space.

Here is a basic guide for anyone who wants to get started with resistance training but doesn’t know where to start.

Warm Up: Gentle pulse raiser to increase blood flow and increase heart rate, mobility type exercises to open up the joints and push them through a wide range of motion.

5 minutes: Marching on the spot, jogging on the spot, jumping jacks, swinging arms forward/back, circles with hips

Main Circuit

Perform as a circuit and work on each exercise for 30 seconds. (20 seconds to make it easier and 40 seconds to make it harder). Do 3 to 5 repetitions of the circuit depending on your fitness level.

Exercise 1: Forward Plank

Exercise 2: Bodyweight Squat

Exercise 3: Press Up

Exercise 4: Split Squat Lunge (Left)

Exercise 5: Split Squat Lunge (Right)

Exercise 6: Hip Lift

Cool down and stretch

It is important to cool down after exercise and stretch properly. Shake out the arms and legs, move around and gradually let the heart rate fall down. Stretch the main muscles in the leg, the hamstrings, the calf and the quadriceps.

There you have it. Get started and no excuses!

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10 Weight Training Tips

These tips are designed for anyone who wants feel comfortable lifting some weights in a safe and productive fashion.

Lifting weights has many benefits for our health, fitness and body composition. Women should not fear doing weights. Many women think they will get big and bulky if they lift anything more than pink fluffy dumb bells. This is just a pure myth. It’s akin to fearing that you may get selected for the Olympics because you did a few 10k runs! Women just don’t possess the hormones in their bodies to easily grow substantial level of muscle. Those that do manage to acquire high levels of muscle must do colossal training and eat an exceptionally strict diet whilst taking particular dodgy ‘supplements’.

Rather weights or resistance training will give you that toned, lean and slim physique that most women desire. Men are easier sold on the weights training road and are generally easier to convince of its merits.

Building muscle is also every beneficial for increasing your metabolic rate. Muscle burns more calories at rest than fat so if you have more muscle you, not only do you look better but you also burn more calories than someone with less muscle.

Other benefits include improved bone density, reduced risk of injury and improved strength (why be weak when you can be strong!)

So those are some reasons why should not fear some weights, here are some ways to do it effectively.

1. Warm up.
The purpose of a warm up is to increase your body temperature and increase blood flow, put your limbs through a full range of motion and stimulate muscle fibres for action. This ensure you reduce your likelihood of injury.
A warm up should replicate some of the exercises that will be done during the main exercise. Some dynamic stretches can be used in the warm up to improve mobility and range of motion.

2. Start off gradually.
If you are new to using weights then you will need to start off easy for the first few weeks. Your muscles will not be used to this new stimulus and will need some time to adapt.

3. Practice perfect form
Regardless of whether you are a novice or have been lifting weights a few years, you should never compromise on form. Your technique should always be spot on. There is nothing worse than seeing some young lad trying to impress his buddies by doing bicep curls whilst swinging his back to and fro to help lift the weight. Not only is he failing to work his biceps but he is also risking injury. He may also be failing to put the muscle through a full range of motion meaning only half the muscle is getting worked
If you are new to lifting weights and are not sure of your form, get a trainer who can help you or check out some videos on youtube. You are better off lifting a lighter weight with perfect form than risking an injury by lifting a big weight just to boost your ego.

4. Master your own bodyweight
Can you do full body press ups? Can you hold a plank for 30 seconds? Can you perform a number of body weight squats whilst maintaining a straight back? Can you do a chin up?
If the answer is no, then you need to become better at the basics.
These moves should form the basis of your programme if you are new to resistance training.

5. Balance muscle groups
Some people are vain and do weights to look good. Unfortunately when they look in the mirror, they fail to realise that their poor back needs to be developed too. Therefore many men will have well developed chests and biceps and poorly developed backs. This will cause poor posture with a curved rounded forward tilt because of the excessive pull from their stronger chest muscles.
It is very important to balance muscle groups. If you work your bicep, you must work your tricep. Agonist and antagonist.
When thinking about the arms, it is easier to think about pushing and pulling. Pushing exercises would be press up, bench press, shoulder press and pulling exercises would be chin up and varieties of a row.
With the legs we must try and balance hip dominant (glute and hamstring) exercises such as a dead lift with knee dominant (quads) exercise such as the squat.
If you keep this in mind when working in the gym, you will be less likely to have muscle imbalances and get injured.

6. Write everything down
As you progress, you need to keep a record of how many reps and sets you are completing. This enables you to see if you are actually making any progress or whether you are just doing the same as we did at the start. You should always be trying to beat old times and reps and to constantly improve. Get a notebook and pens and jot down every exercise you do and the volume of exercise.

7. Have a plan
We have all done it…you come to the gym and have a look around. You have a drink of water, you survey the free machines. Eventually you decide to jump on the bike for a few minutes . You then get chatting to some lad you know for 10 minutes and maybe decide to do a few weights, a few reps of this and that. You might check your phone a few times and decide ‘ah feck it, that’ll do me!’ And head off home having done very little.
The moral of the story here is that you must come with a plan. Aim to do certain exercises. Record your sets and reps and know exactly what you plan to do. Otherwise you are only shooting in the dark and it will be impossible to track progress.

8. Eat well
This doesn’t apply in the gym but it would be remiss of me not to mention food. If you are exercising hard your body will need the proper nutrients to refuel and regenerate. You will need sufficient protein to stimulate muscle and tissue growth, carbohydrate and fat to fuel the efforts. You need a vast array to micro nutrients and minerals from fruit and vegetables to preserve and improve health and vitality. Without adhering to a sensible, healthy,nutrition plan, any efforts in the gym not be maximised.

9. Rest and recover
Sleep, sleep and more sleep. Aim to be in bed by 11 and seven hours should be a minimum target. Our muscle and tissues regenerate as we sleep and growth is stimulated during this time. If we neglect sleep, our gym efforts again will suffer as a result.

10. Foam roll and stretch
Over the years our bodies may become used to various positions such as sitting at a computer or driving in the car. Unfortunately these positions tend to create a hunched bent over posture which can be difficult to fix. This causes various muscles such as the hip flexors to tighten up and shorten because of lack of use. We tend to think of a lack of mobility with older people but with many people spending hours everyday in sedentary desk jobs, it is becoming more prevalent issue for people a lot younger.

We should set aside 10-15 minutes every day to foam roll and stretch. This will not only help our ability to do the exercises better but will improve our how we move and perform in our everyday lives.

Check out the link for a guide to foam rolling. http://youtu.be/tu3nnOGAfdA


This lassie here you can be sure wasn’t afraid of a few weights!

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Filed under Exercise, weight training

The 6 Week Body Transformation

Sept Camp 2014

Just some details about the 6 Week Body Transformation that I am hosting in Dublin in November. The event will take place in St Paul’s CBS, North Brunswick Street, Dublin 7. (Near Smithfield)

The course will start on Monday 3rd November with an initial assessment and nutrition guidelines. The assessment will consist of a weigh in and a body fat assessment using skinfold callipers.

The exercise classes will take place every Monday and Wednesday at 7pm and will run for 6 weeks. The first class will be on Monday the 3rd. They will cater for all fitness levels and be equalling challenging for the beginner to the more trained individual.

Adherence to the nutrition side of things will be key to the success of the plan. This programme is not for people who are stuck in their ways, are not willing to change some aspects of their life and are not motivated to give their full effort.
This does not mean that you have to give up all your unhealthy treat foods forever or start eating broccoli for breakfast but it does require an acknowledgement in the person that if they want to change their body for the better, they must make some realistic changes to what they eat and how they live their life.

There will be continuous assessment and monitoring. As well as the initial body composition assessment, there will be a half way assessment to check progress and a final assessment to see the final results.

Each client will get self monitoring sheet where they will be able to check if they completed the various daily tasks which I will set. These daily habits will be the cornerstone to future success. Success will be determined by how consistent we are over a long period of time.

I am very motivated to helping people achieve their goals. I believe eating healthy and exercising can transform our lives.

Who doesn’t want to feel better, have improved energy, better quality sleep, sharper concentration, reduced aging, less illness and fatigue, fitter, stronger and happier?

Still not sure check out these comments from the last camp I ran…

“Such a great course, had more of a personal training type feel than a regular bootcamp. Great results after only 6 weeks”

“Good nutritional programme, great motivation, always on hand to ask questions and give advice. Great value for money”

“Going into the bootcamp, I wasn’t fully sure what to expect. I was really impressed by the amount of effort and preparation that was done in organising the whole thing. I feel like I got the most out of the classes and with the aid of the diet sheets it made it a whole lot easier to keep on track of things. Definitely a worthwhile 6 weeks!”

If you are interested in getting involved you can leave a message her, email me at philiphowardfitness@gmail.com or contact me on the mobile 0879613012.

Will only be taking a limited number of people so get in touch!

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