Your Journey to Better Health: Where to Start

It’s that time of year again, new year, new me etc…We’ve all said it at some point…

We obviously hope that many people are embarking on a journey to a healthier life, we’ve got some tips to help get you started.

Set goals:
Without a target it’s hard to judge our progress and whether it’s working.. We use the analogy ‘would you get in your car and drive off without knowing where you’re going?’.

Your goals can be simple and can come in many forms, such as:
– drop a dress/jean size (or more)
– drop x cm/inches off your waist
– eat at least 5 portions of fruit & veg/day
– only have 1 unhealthy snack/day
– prepare lunch for work every day
– performance based goals, eg. run 5km in a certain time or squat 60kg

Set a realistic timeframe for your goals, you may want to break your long term goals down into smaller, short term goals. Don’t forget to review your goals regularly.

Make a Plan:
You didn’t get to where you are overnight, therefore we can’t expect instant change overnight, especially if we don’t plan how we’re getting there.

You need to start by identifying:
– goals & timeframes
– changes needed eg. join a gym, dedicated time for meal planning & prep, better time/stress management etc
– potential barriers to your success: old habits, belief systems, time, work, family commitments
– how you’ll overcome these barriers
– how you’ll track your progress
– set review points
– what reward awaits you when you are successful

Collect Data:
Data drives success! We take measurements with all of our clients on their 1st session, we then use regular reviews to map their progress and make changes where needed.

  • what data can you collect: weight, waist, limb circumferences, fitness tests, performance times, food diaries, £ spent on convenience foods

Data is only helpful if you respond to what you find.. Use the data to adapt your plan as you go and always question the outcomes and how you got them.

Lets Go!
There’s no time like the present so let’s get after it….REMEMBER: This is a long term lifestyle, it needs to be sustainable and it will take time to tweak…Be kind to yourself!

Happy Health,
Tom’s

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Using Rest Pauses

When lifting weights the aim is to overload the muscle and create muscular stress through load and intensity.

Rest pauses are a great way of adding more intensity into your sets within a short space of time.

Rest pauses are nothing new and have been adopted by lifters for years, the philosophy is simple: lift to near/partial failure, rest a few seconds and then squeeze a couple more reps outs.

There are 2 ways to apply rest pauses depending on what you’re training for:

Rest Pause for Hypertrophy (growth):
Perform your normal set for 8-12 sets with a lowering phases of 3 seconds and a lift of 2 seconds..Once you reach the end, rest for 10-15 seconds and then go again. You can repeat this as much as you like but twice is enough. We recommend only using this for one set on each exercise and choosing the compound exercises such as the bench press, row or squat etc

Rest Pause for Strength:
This is a great, condensed way of performing more volume of high load reps in a short period of time.
Pick an exercise and set the weight at 90-95% of 1 rep max. Perform 1 rep, rest for 30 seconds and repeat up to 10 times.
We wouldn’t recommend this as a long term strength strategy but it’s a great way of mixing up traditional strength training approaches.

Happy Health,
Tom’s

The 3 r’s of fat loss

Dropping body fat doesn’t have to be complicated or require crazy diets.

The one thing that all ‘diets’ have in common, including:

  • Keto
  • Paleo
  • Atkins
  • Cambridge
  • The 5:2
  • Intermittent fasting
    etc etc is that they produce a ‘calorie deficit’, this is the only thing that can cause a decrease in body fat.

You can reduce your calorie intake by making simple changes to your existing diet, a much more enjoyable and sustainable approach which can be done using the 3R’s system.

The 3R’s simply stand for:

  • Remove
  • Reduce
  • Replace
  1. Remove:
    This is the process of looking at which foods you can permanently remove from your diet without much difficulty. Where do most of your calories come from and are there foods here that you can live without?

    Start with 1 item at a time and be realistic, once you’ve adapted to one removal you can then look for the next.
  2. Reduce:
    As you can imagine, this involves looking at your portions and quantities. For example reducing from 2 slices of toast to 1 will instantly halve your calories from that snack. Reducing your servings of pastas, potatoes, meats, snacks & high fat foods etc will all have the same effect.

    You can bulk out your meals to ensure that you’re not hungry by increasing your intake of low calorie, high fibre foods (mainly veg) and lean proteins (chicken breast, turkey, beans & pulses).

    This approach allows you to continue to eat the foods that you like, just in a moderate amount, this is especially important regarding your favourite snacks as a diet without these will have a short lifespan.

3. Replace:
Finally, we can substitute and replace ingredients for healthier alternatives to lower our calorie intake. Great examples of this are:

– switch from butter to vegetable spread
– switch from full fat milk to semi, skimmed or even nut milks
– switch from rice to vegetable rice
– switch from sugar to sweeteners
– switch from fats to rapeseed oil
– switch to sugar free products such as drinks & sweets
– switch crisps to homemade popcorn

Applying the 3 R’s:
Naturally this won’t happen overnight and the key is in the planning.

You’ll need a good understanding of your current diet as a starting point, a great way to do this is to track your eating for a few days. A pen and paper is more than suitable, however an app such as myfitnesspal will give you all of the information that you need including which foods are highest in calories, sugars & fats.

We suggest splitting a page into 3 sections, one for each R & highlighting 1 or 2 changes for each R and slowly building on each area from there.

Over time these small reductions will add up to big change. Think of it as ‘saving £’, a few £’s here and there each day soon add up to a tidy sum.

Good luck & happy health,
Tom’s

lose fat without counting calories

Counting calories is a great tool for managing your weight and has a proven track record for many reasons, these being:

  • the numbers don’t lie
  • we often have a distorted perception of what we’re eating, kcals and portion sizes (research has proven this)
  • we have bias beliefs on what is healthy & unhealthy
  • it’s almost impossible to accurately recall from memory all that we eat & drink and then estimate the calories
  • calorie counting makes you accountable
  • calorie counting gives you an honest understanding of what you’re eating and your relationships with food & drink

However, whilst an excellent tool tracking doesn’t fit with everybody. It can be time consuming at first and is not a sustainable long term approach. It can also encourage unhealthy mindsets around food. We’ve also found that people fear counting calories. In this article we’ve got some top tips to help you manage your calories without counting them.

>>>You can lose weight without counting calories and still enjoy your favourite foods<<<

Intuitive Eating
This means eating without emotional attachment to food whether positive or negative (guilt). Understanding when to eat and choosing foods that will nurture your body. Eating high fibre and protein rich foods at regular intervals will help you to manage hunger drastically reducing the chances of binging on high energy foods when you’re hungry. A good rule of thumb is to rate hunger from 1-10, 1 being extremely hungry and 10 being full..Ideally we should eat when we’re at 4/10..any lower and you’ve left it too long, any higher, ask yourself ‘do I really need this?’

Cravings vs Hunger
Often we overlook the reasons why we eat when we do. Unknowingly we all develop relationships between certain environments & feelings and foods, for example ice cream sales are much higher in the summer than winter. The more that we respond to these triggers the more ingrained and automatic our responses become, this is the formation of habits whether healthy or unhealthy.

A helpful exercise is to write a list of triggers that could cause you to make unhealthy choices eg. stressed = binge on sugar, in a parallel column make a list of positive responses eg. take 20 mins to relax/exercise etc.

Cravings = Specific foods, situational, pass within a short time – distract your mind!
Hunger = non specific, will eat anything, gets worse if ignored

Portion Control
By far the most effective way to drop fat. Smaller portions = less calories! (the basis of every diet & fad)
– use a smaller plate or bowl
– take longer to eat, enjoy every mouthful and savour the flavours
– pack out your meals with vegetables
– balance your macros

Takeaway Tips
– Focus on how much & how often you eat
– consume smaller meals at regular intervals
– prioritise vegetables and proteins over carbs and fats
– it’s ok to enjoy snacks – low kcal snacks are great for keeping hunger at bay
– there is room for sweets etc in your diet, in moderation and for the right reasons
– identify your negative triggers and create a positive responses
– set yourself short term goals that lead to your ultimate target
– monitor the outcomes – if you’re still not losing weight you’re not quite in a calorie deficit yet
– review and adjust the process when needed
– don’t stress, this is a long term lifestyle not a short term ‘diet’

Happy Health,
Tom’s

Slow Cooker: Pasta bake

We’ve got a super healthy slow cooker recipe for you that only takes 10 minutes to prepare.

Stick it in the slow cooker in the morning and forget about dinner for the rest of the day, it’s taken care of.

Prep: 10 Minutes
Cook: 4 hours on medium / 8 on low
Serves: 2

Ingredients:
2x Chicken Breasts (skinless)
1 Tin of Chopped Tomatoes
1 Chicken Stock Cube
Black Pepper
80g Wholewheat Pasta
vegetables of your choice
1 garlic clove
cheddar or Parmesan to taste

Instructions:
– Chop Pepper, Onion & Carrot (or veg of your choice) and crush garlic and place in the bottom of the slow cooker (cut fairly chunky to stop cooking too quickly)
– Dice the chicken and place in the cooker
– Add chopped tomatoes and diluted chicken stock to just cover the ingredients
– season to taste
– Cook on medium for approximately 3 hours
– Add uncooked pasta and cook for 1 more hour
– add cheese to taste for the last 30 minutes
– Serve & Enjoy

Covid-19 Update for Personal Trainers

On the 13th May the UK government released their guidelines for the return of sports coaches and personal trainers in the UK.

The great news is that we’re now clear to work with the public face to face in a safe manor. For us this means:

  • 1:1 only
  • outside in parks & gardens accessible without entering the home
  • no equipment provided by us for the meatime
  • sanitation pre & post session to be completed by both parties
  • a minimum distance of 2m to be kept at all times

This great news can be found here:
>>>CLICK HERE<<<

We’re sure that this news is as exciting for many of you as it was for us and we hope to see you soon.

Stay safe,
Tom’s

Slow Cooker: Asian Noodle Soup

We’ve got a super healthy slow cooker recipe for you that only takes 10 minutes to prepare.

Stick it in the slow cooker in the morning and forget about dinner for the rest of the day, it’s taken care of.

Prep: 10 Minutes
Cook: 4 hours on medium / 8 on low
Serves: 2

Ingredients:
2 Chicken breasts (Skin Off)
2 Nests of Noodles
4 Mushrooms
1 Medium Onion
2 Garlic Cloves
500ml water
2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce (Low Sodium)
1/2 Teaspoon 5 Spice
1/2 Tablespoon Fish Sauce
1 Tablespoon Ginger Paste.

Instructions:
– Chop onions, mushrooms and crush garlic and place in the bottom of the slow cooker (cut fairly chunky to stop cooking too quickly)
– Place chicken breasts on top
– Mix together the other ingredients and pour over
– Cook on medium for approximately 4 hours
– Boil noodles and add to the soup. Slice up chicken breasts
– Serve & Enjoy