So you need to lose weight? You have been watching the biggest loser shows and thinking I wish I could go on that show, go to that ranch, be locked away from the outside world and train 3 times a day so I can lose 6st (or whatever your target may be).

Bad news is that you probably will never be on one of those shows.

Good news is, you can get the same results.

When we think about getting in shape we always think of the extremes. Extreme fat loss, extremely low body fat, extreme workouts. This can work for a week or so when you’re on an extreme diet and you have been training for 4 – 5 days a week plus going to classes. What happens next? You come crashing down with little or no energy and it feels like the next 12 weeks or so seem like a lifetime away.

The key to success is to take your time. You didn’t put on your 3, 4 or more stone over a few weeks so why do people expect to lose it over a few weeks? I currently have a client who is undergoing a life changing transformation. He wants to lose 8 stone. He has been with me for 12 weeks and trains 1 day a week plus goes walking for 40 mins at least twice a week. Over the 12 weeks he has lost 3 stone so far and the fat loss currently isn’t slowing down but it will.

How is he doing so well?

He’s consistent. One hour a week is nothing, remember there are 168 hours in a week. He keeps on top of his diet and walking. These 12 weeks were also over the Christmas period where he put on a few pounds but he’s only human. Just like everyone else he has a family and works long hours, and of course problems can occur which can interfere with all aspects of life but he knew this would happen.

Don’t think that you are going to lose all this weight without problems occurring. Problems will occur – the biggest issue with people is that they don’t expect them. My client and I have the big goal of 8 stone already set up but to get there we need smaller goals. Just like a pizza, if you are going to eat a pizza do you roll it up like a wrap? Probably not, you eat the pizza one slice at a time and this is the same idea of goal setting. We set weekly targets.

So if you are thinking of changing your life and doing everything 100mph then firstly good luck with this process and I hope you reach your goal, but remember to enjoy the process. Secondly I recommend to calm it down a bit and follow these tips:

1)Sit down with a piece of paper and write up what your goal is. No matter how far away you may be from it. Now write down how you get there. Make smaller goals that you need to reach to help with your overall goal.

2)Now we need to find the starting point. How can you mark out your route if you don’t have a starting point? Take pictures of yourself, plus take your weight and measurements (keep them somewhere safe). Every week around the same time you should be taking your recordings.

3)If you are not using a PT then I recommend you do a wee bit of reading on basic training styles and teaching points. Keep it simple.

4)Write up a simple training plan that you can take to the gym to record the weights you are doing on each exercise. (A big mistake people make is that they jump straight into a gym with no plan, they usually do very little work, waste time and start to feel demotivated).

5) Keep a food diary and calorie count. Purchase food scales if you do not have any and  I recommend buying a 1 / 2 litre water jug so that you can easily calculate your water intake.

6) Enjoy the process – over the weeks monitor how you are getting on in the gym and also how your body is responding. Ask yourself these questions: .Do I feel better about myself? .Am I getting healthy? .Am I getting fitter? .Am I doing everyday things easier? .Am I sleeping better? .Am I setting a good example for my loved ones?

If you are answering yes to these questions then well done and continue the good work.

I hope you have found this article helpful, if you have any questions about this article or any others then please send me a PM or you can contact me through my website.

Calorie counting can be a hot topic at times, some personal trainers encourage it and others don’t. Personally if it’s done correctly I promote it. I do not agree with ‘if it fits your macros you can eat anything’ though. Do you think someone who eats a balanced diet and someone who eats just jaffa cakes is going to look the same on the same calorie deficit? Of course not.

When I started personal training I didn’t get my clients to calorie count which I now look back on and think was a huge error. Personal training is a great job, but alot of the time it is problem solving. You might believe you are eating the cleanest diet around and when you get weighed/measured at the end of the week nothing has changed… how could this be?
Maybe your intake of fats or sugars is too high or you might even have an intolerance for a type of food. So these aspects need to be addressed but it can be very difficult to address this issue if the client hasn’t kept track of their calories. It can be the smallest of things – one of my clients’ weight loss stalled for a number of weeks until we removed lettuce. Next week we were back on track with a 3lb loss.
You do not need to to use apps to keep track of your food although it can help to make you aware of how much protein/carbs/fats you have left for the day via bar charts and pie charts. You can keep a log book if you wish.
Trust me it’s easier to lose weight if you know what your limits are, plus calorie counting makes you more aware of foods.

Tips to keeping track of calories:

1. Food scales are a must

2. Apps / Log book

3. I recommend if using an app to scan all the products in your cupboard as this can be a huge time saver. If you usually have the same breakfast or lunch you can save them as a meal so it’s quick and easy to add on a day to day basis.

4. The first few days should be trial days, you will be surprised how difficult it can be in the beginning. I can guarantee in the beginning you can’t hit your protein and you go over on your carbohydrate. You will then try to rectify this by eating more protein products which will then send you over on the fats. Enjoy the process.
Be careful.
Just because its on the app already does not mean that the information is correct, ensure you check the package before using it. People can become obsessed with their calories. This can be dangerous, eventually you should not need the app/book and should know what you’re getting out of your meals without the app. Don’t be the person who has been logging on and inserting the same meals for the past 5 years.

Not a day goes by where I’m not sorting out someone’s calories. In my exclusive fb group I have even screenshotted images about how to input the correct information.
I hope you have found this article helpful, if you have any questions about this article or any others then please send me a PM or you can contact me through my website.

You need to drink more water! I tell my clients this all the time, but why? Below are a number of reasons why you should drink more water and action that can be taken to help with this issue.

1) Weight loss -The majority of my clients have some sort of weight loss goal so when they hear that water can help with weight loss, their ears usually perk up. Studies have shown that drinking water before a meal helps to reduce the urge to eat more. Water also eliminates fat cells and helps the body burn fat. Replacing a fizzy drink with water will save you calories and is a no brainer.

2) Digestion – Water improves function of the gastrointestinal tract. If for some reason you are dehydrated it can cause constipation. Constipation is caused due to the colon pulling water from your stool to maintain hydration, so hydrate with water!

3) Fight Fatigue – When we become dehydrated we start to fatigue, so it is essential to stay hydrated especially during training – if we don’t our training will suffer.

4) Keeps the kidneys busy – Water keeps the kidneys running smoothly. Water helps with a detox as we sweat and urinate. Since the kidneys are running smoothly it can help reduce the risk of kidney stones by diluting the salts and minerals found in our urine.

How to get more water into your diet? Here are some simple tips:

1) Buy a bottle of water e.g. 1 litre so you know how much you are drinking. Seems simple but can be very effective.

2) You can download apps to your phone or purchase a fitbit to help with tracking your water intake.

3) Some people don’t like the taste of water so why not fuse it with some fruit i.e. Lemon. I would infuse it yourself rather than buying it already like this but that’s just my own personal preference.

A very basic and simple article but sometimes you have to go back to basics. I hope you have found this article helpful, if you have any questions about this article or any others then please send me a PM or you can contact me through my website.

Everyone knows that you need to eat protein but do you know exactly why we should eat more protein?

Here are some key points you should consider:

1) Protein is a key element in your diet whether your goal is to bulk up or to lose fat. Protein helps to suppress your hunger by reducing ghrelin (your hunger hormone). The more protein in your diet therefore, the less likely you are to snack.

2) Protein forms the building blocks for muscle. Eating a high level of protein and stimulating your muscles with the right form of stress can help with muscle and strength development. When you are in a catabolic state (breaking down .i.e weight loss diet) it is essential that you keep your level of protein high to prevent the loss of muscle.

3) The thermic effect of food. The thermic effect is how much energy (calories) you burn when digesting your food. Food increases your metabolism for a short period of time. Studies have shown that protein has the highest level of the thermic effect (20-35%) compared to that of carbohydrates and fats (5-15%).

4) Do you have hypertension (high blood pressure)? Studies have shown in recent years that an increase of protein in your diet can help with lowering high blood pressure.
Now and again you will hear the myth that too much protein is bad for you. There are no studies that have proven that too much protein is bad for you if you have healthy, fully functional kidneys. The majority of studies show that participants involved in these studies have some kind of underlying kidney issue.

I hope you have found this article helpful, if you have any questions about this article or any others then please PM me or contact me through my website.

Before we go into this topic, NO you will not put on huge muscle if you start to throw dumbbells about the gym. This is one of the worst myths that people believe still to this day. Trust me many men have tried for years to put on a mass of muscle and it doesn’t happen too easily. Females do not produce enough testosterone to increase muscle mass hugely. If you eat well and perform resistance training you will burn fat, become stronger and look more toned.

1)Prevent muscle loss – Studies have suggested that when we reach the age of 35 we begin to lose 5% of muscle every ten years. This in itself should be enough to make you want to start training with weights, but if you want more reasons here are a few:
Weight training stimulates the muscle and helps the muscle to grow and become more effective. The more muscle you have on your body the higher your metabolism meaning you will have that lean look. Not only are there aesthetic improvements with weight training but also internal improvements. A huge health problem affecting older females is osteoporosis – weight training can significantly help to battle this issue by increasing bone mineral density.

2)Everyday life can become easier – Ever gone to pick something up off the ground and feel a pull in your lower back? Weights will help to strengthen the body so it can withstand more pressure but it will also help you improve technique in everyday movements such as picking items up off the ground using the proper squatting technique. My clients see improvements after just a number of weeks i.e. bending down to tie their shoelaces, finding it easier to get out of bed; the list goes on.

3)More Energy – You will experience improvements physically and mentally. You will find everyday challenges much easier to overcome, you will have more energy and your normal day will become more productive.

4) Role Model – This point might be the one closest to your heart. In a previous article I talked about the mother and daughter bond that comes with training together and the improvements that can be made by doing so. If you are training, you are a role model because you are taking control of your life and are improving yourself physically and mentally. Your partner might want to start training because you are doing a great job. Your daughter, son or even your friends might want to follow in your footsteps which creates huge opportunities for quality time to occur. You might see your children’s health start to decline as they are putting on excessive amounts of weight due to poor decision making i.e. poor food choices, watching t.v for hours after they have arrived home from school or work. You are the gold standard, the benchmark, so if you challenge yourself with the weights you are working with and by sticking to a healthy diet, you will see the rest of your family start to follow you.

Hopefully, you have found this helpful. If you have any questions then just send me a message.

Social Media, what a great thing. You are reading this from a social media platform, GREAT. You can use social media to stay in touch with your friends, keep up with what your favourite celebrities are doing and also see the latest on trends. How many times a day do you see pictures of people you admire with a gym changing room selfie, new supplements you should take or the new killer workout? 10-20 times a day? Do these images make you feel motivated? Confident? Increase your self-esteem?

For some people yes, this can motivate you to kick yourself into gear, but for the majority of people it can really have a negative effect on your mental health. You feel depressed because you aren’t in that shape or you aren’t good enough but, YOU ARE MORE THAN GOOD ENOUGH.

Smoke and Mirrors

These unrealistic standards that we are measuring ourselves against have been about even before social media, i.e. in magazines etc. It has been recorded that girls as young as 7 have put themselves on diets to look like their idols. Lets think about that for a second.

Please take everything, and I mean everything, you see on social media with a pinch of salt. Everything you see on social media is like a highlight reel, the best of the best unless you are looking at gym fails but that is for another day. People will take up to 30 pictures of themselves before posting it. Why? To ensure that they are tensing their muscles, sucking in their stomach, lighting is correct, plus adding a few filters. Pictures can then be photo shopped as well.

When looking at these images please keep the following in mind:

1) You don’t know how much editing has taken place.

2) People can take pictures at one time of the year but post them throughout the year to make it look like they are in shape all year round.

3) You don’t know what they might be taking.

You can achieve these great physiques, but you need a different point of reference. Record everything, take beginning pictures of yourself, record weight/measurements and finally keep a diary of weights you are doing on exercises. Refer back to this, this will help gauge how well you are progressing.

Please give this article a like and share, I’m sure everyone knows someone who is addicted to social media and whose moods can change drastically by what they see or compare themselves against.

Why training with your daughter/mother can be key in reaching your goal!

It is always scary to step outside of your comfort zone especially when you are starting at a new gym or you are going to a new fitness class. The mental stress that comes with this new ordeal can be deluded by having a friend/family member accompany you. Who would have thought that your daughter/ mother would be the ideal candidate on this great adventure?

A study by the University of Utah tested this theory and found that participants both mother and daughter stuck to their exercise routine and also showed improvement in aerobic capacity, muscular strength, flexibility and fat loss. These are positives that most clients look for as the end goal, but why are these results so great?

Quality time: I believe it is very important to have a supportive structure in place if you wish to reach your goals, meaning having your families backing can be key to succeeding and failing. The days of 9am-5pm jobs are long gone and family time is now more and more prestige. I know what you are thinking and the answer is NO, dropping your kids off at your parent’s house for a few hours is not quality bonding time but yes they are probably getting a good workout chasing your kids about.

Competition: bragging rights at the dinner table of who done more press-ups? Competition is key to success as cliché as that does sounds its true, training is symbolic to life as a whole. You compete with people every day to try and get that promote or a new job, you have to put in work to get results. Age is nothing but a number it is how well you look after your body. I know as your reading this you are thinking my mother is 20 something years older than me, I would leave her in the dust. Are you sure about that? I think you would be surprised, she might even put you to shame.

24/7 Support: When you are in the gym or at a class you should be training in a positive surrounding with plenty of support. I think everyone can relate to when you get home and maybe the positive attitude can dwindle and you think sure that biscuit or bag of crisps will do no harm. If you are fortunate to still live at home that support will still be in place as the daughter and parent or more liking to eat together after a hard workout.

I know from my own experience that my mother/daughter sessions my clients make the most of their quality time together and usually head off after their session to a juice bar. What they are talking about or what they might be calling me might be better left unknown.

Benefits to training in the morning:

1)If you train in the morning you are unlikely to cancel sessions as you have very little hurdles in your way. This can help put you in a good mood and set you up for the day as you know you are being productive. If you are training in the evening then you may cancel due to :
-being tired
-bad mood
-poor time management
-something comes up
– negative thoughts throughout the day which have disheartened you

2) You can create the perfect mindset for the day ahead. You can train with no external stresses and just focus on the job ahead. Training in the morning will keep you calm and allow you to better relax throughout the day.

3) I know if I’m in the gym my pet hate is having to wait to use a particular piece of equipment, but with training early in the morning you usually have the freedom of the gym, a great experience in itself.

4)You have the rest of the day to own it. If you get hung up on trying to get your calories in after your gym session and stress over this aspect then morning training might be for you. You can use the rest of the day to meet your calorie needs.

Morning training may or may not be for you but my advice is to try it and see what the fuss is about! Early starts might just grow on you!

1) Avoid the all or nothing approach – Sometimes in life we are too impatient and want results straight away. I recommend if you are choosing to go it alone on your fat loss journey that you start slow. i.e. Week 1 cut out snacking, week 2 Improve portion control on Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.

2)Get Active – Create a calorie deficit by increasing your activity. Aim to walk 30 minutes at least 3 times a week at a good steady pace.

3)Keep Track – Keep a log of everything you eat and the exercise you are partaking in. This is a great asset to help you see improvement in your diet/exercise, plus you can make slight adjustments which can lead to great results.

4)Measurements – Do not just use scales to analyse how well you are doing. You can use scales but make use of other strategies as too. Measurements can be taken to check if you have lost inches i.e. off your waist. Before/After pictures are excellent to see if you are making progress.

5)Support – This support can come in all forms. It can be as little as talking to a friend and telling them that you are going to start losing weight, they should give you support and confidence from their reaction. Ask a friend/family member if they would be interested in joining you on walks for instance.