As we head towards a warmer Bank Holiday weekend, I thought this week I’d summarise the answers to the most common questions I get asked. Questions about losing weight, getting fit and losing wobbly bits.
These conversations come around fairly often and go something like this…
For losing weight
“I have been working out three times a week for a month and not lost a pound. Why?”
“I am eating under 1200 calories a day and not losing weight. Why?”
“What’s wrong with me? I eat healthily but nothing is working”
Whilst I don’t believe that one rule suits all, I do think there are some general principles which we can apply if looking to change shape.
- Find complimentary ways to track your progress. I know you know this. But still there are so many of you using your weight as the only true measure. It’s one way, but not the only way. Over the last few weeks I’ve heard about a client knowing that she’d lost weight as her knickers were too baggy. Another because his girlfriend told him that his trousers looked shapeless and someone else telling me that they can feel joints and see ankles again. All fabulous, weight free ways to track.
- Eat three times a day. No snacks. I expect for many, this one thing alone will make all the difference. We’ve been marketed to for so long about snack foods and energy foods. The vast majority of us just don’t need it.
- Have protein at each meal. Whether it’s eggs or pulses, cheese, milk or fish. A hamburger or nuts and seeds. Protein is the component which keeps us full, repairs connective tissues, muscle and hair and nails. But we need it little and often. When you include it at each meal, three times a day, you’ll notice the difference.
- Eat more plants. Drink more water. You know this. Are you choosing to do it?
“Why isn’t it getting any easier?”
“Why can’t I run without getting out of breath and having to stop?”
“Why can’t I do full press ups?”
Getting ‘fit’ is a personal matter. What’s fit to you may not be fit to me. Make sure that you are defining getting fit so you know when you get there.
- Any exercise regime, when done fully, will feel a challenge. As you get stronger or faster or more flexible you will be able to challenge yourself more. Rather than considering why it’s not getting easier, consider how much more you can do now that you’ve been doing it for a while.
- Keep it varied, lots of different activities including walking, Fit Camp, Pilates, yoga, cycling will enable you to transfer how fit you feel into many areas of your life. Not just in the session when you’re working out.
- It’s quite common for people to tell me they can’t run very far as they get out of breath too quickly. Mostly people try and run too far, too quickly, too soon. Just because you can do one type of exercise doesn’t always transfer to another. Start slowly, do interval running (1 minute walk, 1 minute run) until you can run for longer. It won’t take long. Just start slowly.
- Full press ups require you to, at some point, do full press ups. Many people tell me they can’t do them but never actually get around to doing them. Doing high planks, low planks, bottom half press ups and tricep dips will also help you build strength to be able to do a full press up. But unless you start doing them on your toes, you won’t just one day be able to do full ones like a pro!
Losing wobbly bits
“How can I lose my stomach?”
“What do I need to do to shape my shoulders?”
“Why don’t my legs change?”
1. Whilst it’s not easy to spot reduce body parts, you do need to think about the body part you are wanting to improve before embarking on a regime. Running isn’t going to shape your shoulders for example…
Belly fat can be caused by several things. It could be food related, you may be bloated from food not being well digested. Systematically seeing what causes bloat can be a great win to reduce the belly without having to drop into a burpee.
It might be hormone related. If you are very, chronically stressed you are likely to see a gain in your belly size. With more cortisol receptors in the cells in our belly we can quickly see a change when stress is high.
It might be alcohol related. The beer belly is a thing, but so it a wine waist. So if lockdown has been more fiesta than prohibition and your belly has changed this could be an area to address.
Drinking enough water. Keeping your water levels high will keep you full for longer and keep your insides happier and more regular. Getting things moving through you at a natural and regular pace will keep how your belly feels and looks under control.
2. With summer and warmer weather comes vest tops, wedding dresses and holidays. A nice pair of shoulders can make you feel good about exposing the flesh. Working shoulders comes from strong upper body work. So moves like press ups, inverted shoulder presses, burpees, renegade rows, mountain climbers, boxing and planks all help. Then any movements pressing weight overhead or pulling weight down or rowing will help too. Be careful not to overwork the shoulder. They are a relatively small muscle and some of these moves can challenge them. If you’ve heard of rotator cuff injuries, that’s a shoulder issue. Whist you don’t want to overwork it, you also don’t want to be adhoc about it either. Consistent practice will show good results.
3. The accumulation of fat around the legs, hips and bum is directly affected by hormones. When we are out of balance the fat storing hormone estrogen will cause us to store fat more easily in these areas. So you can exercise this part all you like but if the underlying issue isn’t addressed it can feel like nothing is changing. Making the changes I’ve mentioned already will help. Eat more protein, eat three times a day, keep water up and keeping stress managed all help. As will cutting back on dairy foods, avoiding body/cosmetic products with parabens and phthalates in (these mimic estrogen in the body and it gets confused). And avoid too many synthetic air fresheners, plug in room smellies and sprays. These too confuse our body. Finally, where possible avoid all artificial sweeteners. They have been shown to slow down fat loss despite the low calorie load.
So there you have it.
A little Q&A today.
If you fancy joining us this weekend I’ll be at Bearwood Recretion Ground in Winnersh on Sunday and Monday (and on Zoom) at 9am. All welcome, all you need to do is pre-register. It would be great to see you!
FastTrack Fit Camp is an outdoor fitness business with the focus on improving people on the inside so they feel good on the outside. In 2019 FastTrack Fit Camp became a Social Enterprise and committed to distribute a minimum of 50% of profits back to community environmental projects each year with the goal of helping our local citizens feel good whilst being outside too.