Archive for October, 2012

I am often asked about the suitability of certain training routines/programmes or if it is ok to add certain workouts to a current schedule.

When structuring a programme obviously the goal of the programme is the first thing to consider. This should remain at the forefront of any subsequent decisions also.

Next the most important factors to consider are frequency and intensity of your workouts.

Frequency is simply how often you are training, is it 5 times per week? Twice a day? Etc. 
As previously mentioned your goal should always be in mind, so if you are training 5 times per week, is this the best way to achieve your goal? If not, then why are you doing it?

Also vital in creating any programme is the issue of intensity. As a simple rule the more intense your workouts the more rest you will require. 
This is due to the high level of muscle tissue damage during the high intensity workout, usually leading to DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) or aches to you and I.

The key is to alternate frequency and Intensity so that they allow your body to recover. When one is high it is a good idea to keep the other low.

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So to keep it very simple, you train intensely and allow adequate rest or you lower the intensity and train more often.

Other factors do exist, but exercising with high intensity and at a high frequency will likely lead to the onset of overtraining syndrome leading to weakened immune system, weight stall, chronic fatigue and in some cases depression and amenorrhea in women.

So….Train hard but train smart and structure your training to allow for recovery and better results.

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Often when hearing reasons or excuses why someone cannot lose weight/ body fat, I hear the same excuses regularly…

“I don’t have time”
“I cant afford a gym membership”
“I can’t do high intensity exercise due to injury”

So, to combat this I have created the Dog Walkers Guide to Weight Loss…. and the great thing is, you don’t actually need a dog!

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This plan is specifically designed to work both your cardiovascular system as well as fatiguing your muscles.

The nutrition plan too is created with the aim of providing your body with the fuel it requires whilst also burning the most amount of body fat.

07.00- Morning walk- Speed/distance
(Aiming to cover the most distance in the allotted time)

08.00- Breakfast
Handful of porridge oats cooked with 1 teaspoon of almond butter, topped with blueberries and a dash of cinnamon.

12.30- Lunch
Homemade tomato soup & 2 handfuls of strawberries.

15.30- Snack (optional)
Handful of almonds

18.00- Evening Walk- Hills
(Slower pace with a hillier route)

19.00-Dinner
Spicy parsnip chips with vegetable stir fry & small chocolate bar (under 250 calories)

The walks should be 30-60 minutes long and should be structured as follows:

Speed/distance walks should be on a flatter route with fewer inclines, the aim of this walk is to elevate heart rate which raises your metabolism and burn more calories.

Using bursts of speed walking for maybe 15 seconds as fast as possible, followed by 15 seconds slowly to recover, could increase this further. If timing your intervals is too much like hard work for you, then you could also count your steps. 30 fast steps followed by 10 slow would have the same effect and will dramatically increase fat burning.

Your evening hill walk on the other hand is not aimed at dramatically increasing heart rate, although it quite possibly will. This walk is more geared towards working the large muscles in your legs, which will devour calories for the next 24 hours.

Interestingly, whilst you may think the bulk of your workout comes during the uphill climb, actually, much of the breakdown to muscle tissue comes during the descent. If you walk down the hill in a controlled manner and do not let gravity do the work, you actually breakdown the muscles fibres much more than when climbing the hill.
This is due to the muscles tensing whilst also lengthening, known as an eccentric muscle contraction.

You can also vary the exercise to hit different muscles in your legs by walking backwards at times during your walk. Although you may look barking mad if you pass other walkers this is a great way to ensure you work as many muscles as possible in the legs and therefore burn more fat.

Not every day needs to be as intense as described above though and you can pencil in some lazy recovery strolls every few days to allow for muscle repair and recovery.

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Follow this plan for 4-8 weeks and you can expect to see noticeable changes in your physique. You will also benefit from being outdoors and the boost in vitamin d provided by the sun (if you’re lucky enough to have good weather).

Vitamin d deficiency is linked with depression and anxiety, so not only are you losing weight, you should also be much happier.

So too will your pooch, who will love the extra time walking with his or her master and a happy dog is usually a better behaved dog.

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Give it a try and who better to support you along the way, than your most loyal companion!

I am asked this question so many times that I think it’s about time I wrote something on the subject as it will save me time in the long run.

When training people I always recommend 3 or at the most 4 workouts per week, this depends on goals, but for fat loss, that’s my preferred method.

A few days pass then the questions start appearing.

“Could I add a cardio session?”
“Would it be good if I did a boxing workout”
“Is there anything I can do at home to speed up fat loss?”

To answer this we first have to know what causes fat loss, and ultimately, the very bottom line is an energy or more specifically, a calorie deficit.

If you consume less calories than you burn off you will lose weight/fat.

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That is the very basic but ultimately deciding factor, other things can affect fat loss such as nutrient timing, quality of food etc. If you focus simply on calories and neglect the other things you could end up losing muscle mass which is not a good idea, but that’s a story for a different day.

So, we’ve established that a calorie deficit is needed to drop fat, this is done by either,

a) Eating an amount of calories that maintains your current weight, whilst adding exercise to create a deficit.

b) Not exercising and instead consuming less food to create a deficit.

c) Both of the above

Now we know that a calorie deficit causes fat loss, and we know how to create a calorie deficit, let’s go back to the questions I’m asked on a regular basis.

Basically, the question is “can I do any extra training to speed up fat loss?”

Firstly I would ask “why?”….why do you feel that adding this extra session will help you achieve your goal?

The likely answer will be “It burns more calories”.

Whilst this is true, if you create too high of a calorie deficit you risk slowing down fat burning.
Also, lack of rest/recovery brings on overtraining syndrome, which again, slows if not stops fat burning altogether.

Let’s assume for the benefit of this example that the overtraining and excess calorie deficit aren’t an issue, and you still want to add an extra workout into your already busy schedule.

You decide to add a 45 minute jog into your day.

So 45 minutes on the road, 20-30 minutes getting showered and dressed, then you devour a protein shake, because it helps preserve muscle and will help you recover.

Without realising it you’ve just spend over an hour of your very busy day earning around the equivalent of a mars bar!

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If we estimate that you have burned around 500kcals on your run, and your protein shake was 250kcals, then that means you’ve burned 250kcals on your run, which ultimately used over an hour of your time.

Correct?

Would it not have been a better idea to not run, and instead take 250kcals away from your diet that day?

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By doing this you’ve created EXACTLY the same calorie deficit and you’ve saved your valuable time which you could spend doing something useful instead of literally running round in circles.

You may say “Ok, I won’t have the shake”, but exercising, especially if its high intensity training, then not re-fuelling is likely to leave you feeling drained, more so if you are not used to doing this.

So, my advice, question everything.
Ask yourself “Will this take me closer to my goal?”, and think about things logically.

I am in no way saying do not exercise, I simply want you to understand that working yourself into the ground is not productive and that discipline with nutrition is actually a far more useful way of dropping excess fat. If you can utilise both then that’s even better but remember, you can’t out-train a bad diet.

Over the past 26 years theres a lot I haven’t learned about women, there are however a few things I think I have.

One of these things is that most women have a “friend” or a group of friends that they talk to, hang out with, call and act like best buds together…..whilst secretly both trying in every way possible to be better than the other.

Be it cars, clothes, shoes, hair, physique…..

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“Theres is no way she is looking better than me when we go on holiday!”

If this scenario strikes a chord with you then this may be worth reading…..I call it
The Sneaky Bitch Workout.”

Here’s what to do.

It is essential you bring out the competitive nature of your foe!

Do this by setting a challenge.

Firstly purchase some coloured confectionery, any will do but the tastier the better, that way she will want to keep eating, you may want to check the calories too….and buy the most calorific you can find!

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Spark her interest by telling a funny story of how good you are at eating junk food, if your adversary has that ruthless competitive streak, she should now be thinking of her very own story to best yours.
Once she has gone for the bait you set the challenge….

“Think your a good eater? I bet I can outlast you…..I’ll bet your not even good enough to outlast me while Im doing burpees!”

If she accepts your challenge then you’re good to go, and she cant back out as that would mean accepting that you were the better woman.

You then set a forfeit and make the rules clear..

For every one of the following sweets your friend eats you must do the matching exercise…

Red sweet= 5 burpees

Blue sweet= 5 press ups

Orange sweet= 5 high knees sprinting

Green sweet= 5 star jumps

…and so on depending how many colours you have.
Your opponent must eat only one sweet at a time and the first to quit or be sick must do the forfeit.

You get a workout, your arch nemesis (friend) gets fat.

Win win!

We’ve all started a “diet” in our time and I think 99% of us (if not more) have failed at some point too.
Why?

Most of the time I think we can narrow this down to an emotional trigger.

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An emotional trigger is best described as a situation or circumstance that causes you to react in a self destructive manner, be it binge eating or something else.

Emotional triggers will always exist, just because you are attempting to lose weight does not stop your job from being stressful, it does not mean your friends can never party and it does not prevent other people from poisoning their bodies with junk, you cannot change the trigger……However you can change the reaction!

Until now these triggers have probably resulted in failure for you.

If you wish to have any success in getting lean you must retrain your brain to recognise these triggers and a) remove yourself from the situation before it develops or b) create a new reaction to the trigger

This is now minimising the need for will power, meaning your conscious and subconscious mind are working together therefore making your new healthy lifestyle so much easier and more sustainable.

My tip for success is to spend a few minutes to consider what your own individual “Triggers” are (there may be more than one) and you should come up with a plan of action before the situation arises, so that when it does you simply acknowledge the trigger and revert to the plan.

This could be..

Stressful job- Instead of coming home and raiding the fridge, immediately upon arriving home spend 5, 10 or 15 mins listening to your favourite relaxing music and looking at a motivating picture.

So…find the Trigger and develop and coping strategy….this is the difference between success and failure!

Start developing new healthy habits that will stand you in good stead for the rest of your life, no will power, no battling against yourself, just slowly but surely changing all your old unhealthy habit to new, goal orientated ones.

There are so many guides, tips and articles out there regarding fat loss that I wanted to try to clear some things up as best I could.

I have tried to cut away at any unnecessary info and give real basic, and I mean bottom line basic info that is essential. There are many other factors involved in fat loss, for example I haven’t even mentioned exercise, I simply want people to grasp the basics before moving on. Obviously exercise is fantastic but even that is not entirely essential to drop fat (can of worms here but it’s not).
So in my humble opinion, here are my three top tips to starting to shift the fat.

1/ Calories in vs calories out.
Ultimately the very, very bottom line when it comes to fat loss is calories in vs calories out. You must create a calorie deficit!
If you are unsure what a deficit is, imagine you run a business. Your income each month is £1000 and your out goings each month are £2000, that leaves you with a deficit of £1000 and you are losing money.
The same applies to your body. Your metabolism describes the rate at which your body burns calories, if your daily metabolism, known as BMR, is, let’s say 2500kcals (calories) and you only consume 2000kcals each day then you have created a 500kcal deficit. This means you will lose “weight”.
Now “weight” is a very unspecific term, this can include anything from muscle, fat, water and your internal organs. So while a calorie deficit is vital it is however not the only thing that matters, if you want “fat” loss rather than purely “weight” loss then the quality of those calories taken in matters very much.

2/ Quality of calories.

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As mentioned, this is a bare essential, no frills guide. I do not want to confuse you further; I instead want to cut away the unnecessary and instead only focus on the essential.
There is a long winded, ongoing debate in the fitness industry to decide “Are all calories equal?”
What this means is, is a gram of sugar the same as a gram of rice and so on, or are the better quality calories more beneficial.
While you probably feel the answer is obvious it is not actually as clear cut as you think. As mentioned above, if you have a calorie deficit, you will lose weight. Therefore if you ate 2000kcals of rice crispies and burned off 2500kcals each day, you would in fact lose “weight”.
So what’s the issue?
The problem lies in the nutrient content in the food you choose, if say for example you eat 200g of carbohydrate from rice, potato, vegetables etc you are getting way more nutrients than you would from the same amount of rice crispies or pop tarts.
This lack of nutrients in the long run will leave you malnourished and will also lead to muscle loss as the sugary carb choices do not contain amino acids and other nutrients that are found in rice etc.
If you do this and you do lose muscle, you now make fat loss even more difficult, as muscle is the bodies most efficient fat burner. You will also develop a body know as “skinny fat” this is where you lose muscle and fat at the same time and instead of becoming lean, you in fact look just as overweight, only slightly smaller. Basically you will be a clothes size smaller but still not look better naked.
So a calorie deficit is essential but quality of those calories does matter.

3/ Cheat

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Many people start “diets” and convince themselves they must live like monks, they will not touch or look at another sweet ever again!
Two days later you’ve ate a packet, your diet is over and you’ll start again next Monday, because you can’t start a diet on a Wednesday can you?
The crazy thing about this scenario is that the sweets you have just eaten probably actually benefitted you!

As mentioned it part one, you need a calorie deficit, this deficit over a prolonged period however causes a drop in a hormone called Leptin.
If you don’t know about Leptin, this hormone helps regulate your appetite and controls your metabolic rate, remember this is the amount of calories you burn each day. More Leptin equals more calories or fat burned lower appetite. Less Leptin and the opposite occurs, increased appetite and reduced fat burning.
This explains why, when on a crazy restrictive diet you will get hungrier and hungrier each day until you eventually pig out.
So what’s the solution?
To combat this a re-feed is needed, otherwise known as a cheat meal.
Keep in mind that out of the all macronutrients (carbs, fat, protein) Carbohydrate causes the greatest increase in leptin. So in fact, that pizza, or pack of sweets you ate has actually boosted your leptin levels, meaning fat burning will speed up and appetite will drop.

No need to self destruct after all!

To summarise then, keep things very simple, eat less than you burn off, choose good nutrient dense food and once per week have one meal of absolutely anything you fancy.
As mentioned there are so many more variants involved in the fat loss process but if you get these three in check you will give yourself a great foundation to start seeing noticeable changes in your body.

To check out our before and after pictures head over to our Facebook page
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Bushido-Fitness/194620697245822 

Everyone at some stage will hit a plateau, it is expected and it is no reason to panic, but when you do here are a few things to consider before you pull your hair out….

1. Have you maintained discipline in your diet?
If not, mystery solved…..if you had an all you can eat buffet 3 nights last week then I think we can safely say the stall is completely normal.

2. Are you already fairly lean?
The leaner you are the slower your losses will be!

3. Was yesterday a high carb day?
For every 1gram of carbohydrate you consume your body holds onto approximately 4grams of water. This does not mean avoid carbs! It just means avoid getting weighed the following day.

4. How many workouts have you done recently?

Too many any you risk sabotaging your results, as when you exercise, especially on low carb days you create too high a calorie deficit, which lowers leptin levels and slows down fat burning.

5. Are you eating too much?
As you lose weight/fat your metabolism will also drop depending on the amount of muscle you lose in the process. Less muscle means your body burns fewer calories at rest. You may need to lower your intake by around 200kcals to start with and assess weight loss from there.

6. Are you eating enough?
If your portion sizes are too small then you again risk creating too high of a calorie deficit and slowing down fat burning. Too big, and you have no deficit at all!

7.  Are you tracking your progress?
If you’re not then how do you know you’ve stalled? Take responsibility and even track your own progress, after all it’s your own body and we want you to be able to maintain this forever.
Take fortnightly pictures on your phone, measure yourself-to the nearest millimetre if you must, weigh yourself at the same time on the same day each week. If you’re not paying attention to detail the “stall” that you think has happened, most likely hasn’t.

In the event of a stall go through this check list and answer them honestly, even if you are doing all of the above correctly the stall is still perfectly normal, give it 2-3 weeks and it should be dropping again. It’s all part of the process, you can’t lose 5-10lbs week in week out, your body needs to stabilise and adjust to the new weight before dropping more.