Opinions


I’m a big believer in diversity. Whether we’re talking food, friends, politics, body image…I believe that the more options we have, the more open minded we become, and the more we understand what makes us happy as individuals.

Still to this day, diversity seems to be the most passionately and fiercely debated topic among the human race. Immigration polarises people on a macro scale, body image on a micro scale…

Since this isn’t a political blog by any stretch of the imagination, I want to talk about body image and my experience with my own…

Growing up with parents in the public eye and at one point even chasing my own television presenting dreams, I have always been fair game to the opinions of others. I’ve read it all, from comments about how pretty I am, to comments about how ugly I am, and everything in between.

About 2 years ago, I met my ex boyfriend Danny, who undoubtedly changed my life forever. I was frustrated internally, trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life and struggling with anxiety and self confidence, and I was frustrated externally too, running for hours on end, avoiding carbs and not really getting anywhere with how I wanted to look. I was lost and unhappy.

Lucky for me, Danny was a PT. When people hear the term ‘Personal Trainer’ they don’t feel particularly inspired, rather imagining someone who helps others workout for a few hours each week. While this is true for some, there are plenty of us who use the structure and challenges of diet and training as a way to rebuild the courage, confidence and mental strength of our clients. And it works.

Danny did exactly this. He challenged me, broke me, and allowed me to rebuild myself from the ground up. I became strong, capable, and focused in every area of my life. He inspired me to become a PT, and I am a completely different person now to the girl of 2 years ago.

Of course, the physical changes of my body have invited attention. Don’t get me wrong, I court this attention and accept the flak for doing so, posting selfies and nodding my head when people call me narcissistic. It sounds like a cop out, but ESPECIALLY when I was starting out, the thing that kept me going was the selfies coming out of various fitness model’s social media accounts. The nights I was the only family member eating fish and veg, surrounded by bowls of pasta and bread, those half naked fitness models were my rock!

When I finally got into an iota of the shape they are in, I wanted to post similar images to inspire and motivate my followers, and yes, as a sort of celebration and congratulations to myself.

But with the inspiring and motivating force of these images came the ridicule and disdain. Comments like:

Ew, she’s so muscly she looks like a man!

She looks unhealthy! She shouldn’t be encouraging young girls to look like that!

She’s not even in shape?!?!

Very strange figure! Not attractive at all!

Women shouldn’t look like this! Women should be curvy. She has ruined her body!

She could have at least sucked it in before she took the photo!

 

Here’s how I see it: Everybody has their own taste and their own opinions of what looks good. What maybe attractive to some will be unattractive to others. Just because I have muscle, does not mean I think curvy girls need to lose weight, I consider MYSELF a curvy girl. Nor do I think that skinny girls need to gain weight, my best friend eats like a horse and she is tiny, it’s just the way she is and always has been. Women have the RIGHT to decide EXACTLY how they want to look. If it makes you happy, then go for it. The ONLY piece of advice I have is to keep your body HEALTHY.

So why on earth do we think it’s ok to slam others for the way they look? We either don’t have a choice as we were born this way, or we have CHOSEN our image as it makes us HAPPIER. So where is the justification in slamming that?!

Women in particular KNOW how hard it is to accept themselves the way they are, this difficulty deriving from the ridiculously unrealistic ideas of beauty the media PERSISTENTLY promotes today. So WHY are we buying into it and using it against each other? We are only making OURSELVES unhappier and applying more pressure.

My advice for anyone who is encountering harsh opinion of the way they look is this: If you are happy, hold onto that. If you are unhappy, change it. But whatever you do, do NOT let the single-mindedness of others box you in. Do you.

 


Getting Your Groove Back


This summer, I had a lot of fun intentionally jumping on and off the diet wagon.

I was probably the leanest I’ve ever been at 126lbs in June (far left), training hard, eating on point, feeling really good about my body and excited to wear whatever I wanted on holiday.

I was abroad for 9 days, eating anything and everything in sight (pizza, pasta, bread, ice cream, chocolate, wine, beer…) and doing cardio most mornings purely because I enjoyed it. By the time I returned home, my body had changed COMPLETELY (middle image). I had lost all definition and was weighing in around 135lbs. Yup, I gained on average 1lb a day!

I would like to take this moment to back up my favourite saying: YOU CAN NEVER OUT EXERCISE A BAD DIET!

I spent most of August training to get back to my June weight. Like everyone else it seems, August for me was rammed with weddings, birthdays, weekends away and family gatherings. Although I’ve been training HARD, my diet hasn’t been 100% like it was pre summer.

The image on the far right was taken last week. As you can see I am getting back to my June aesthetic, but I’m not nearly there yet at around 130lbs.

As the summer draws to a close, I know the next few weeks will get me back to my best. I really enjoyed my gluttonous holiday and my celebratory August, but I am really looking forward to getting my lean body back!

I wanted to post this to remind people that if you want to enjoy life, you have to come to terms with the fact that you are not ALWAYS going to be in killer shape. You will have good days and bad days, lean months and rounder months, and that’s ok. While learning to eat clean and train hard IS a lifestyle change, it is not realistic expecting to never have a boozey weekend, a dessert filled holiday or a few days off.

If you are trying to get back into pre summer shape, it will take weeks of weight lifting, HIIT cardio, sleep, water, and above all DIET!

If you’re unsure where to start with any of the above, please email info@fitnessfondue.com, request a questionnaire for online personal training, and come on this journey with me!

With the right plan of action, you can achieve ANYTHING!


CLEAN EATING


When people ask me what the first step should be when trying to get fit and healthy, I always have the same reply: START WITH DIET.

No, I do NOT mean ‘go on a diet’. By diet I am simply referring to daily food intake. And the first thing you need to do is CLEAN UP you food!

Eating ‘clean’ is the healthiest, most sustainable and most enjoyable form of ‘dieting’ there is. Clean means all natural, unprocessed INGREDIENTS that should hit your body’s macronutrient requirements (the three macronutrients are carbohydrates, fats and protein).

If you can make your carbohydrates, fats and protein CLEAN then you will undoubtedly lose weight. And when you manage to adjust and get used to saying no to bad foods, then and only then should you start thinking about calories to further your weight loss.

Processed foods contain sugars, sweeteners, colorings and preservatives that our bodies do not remotely need, and are actually toxic to our biological functions. Putting anything into your body that is nutritionally unhealthy, unnecessary and full of chemicals will inevitably lead to illness and weight gain, as your body has absolutely no use for this fuel.

In our day to day lives, such foods include white breads and pastas, cereals, crisps, crackers, sweets, chocolates, fizzy drinks, pre packaged sauces and takeaways. Avoid all of the above like the plague!

Unfortunately, our bodies and brains have become so used to and addicted to the hidden sugars and sweeteners in our daily intake of processed foods, that it will take a few weeks for you to adjust to a 100% clean diet.

Until around the 3 week mark, you will find yourself craving the bad stuff, wanting to break your new diet and some even find they get headaches and feel a bit faint. DO NOT PANIC, YOUR BODY IS SIMPLY LEARNING TO LET GO OF A CONSTANT SUGAR OVERLOAD!

If you know you have a sweet tooth and start to wobble, try snacking on berries (frozen berries are a great sweetie equivalent), a little dark chocolate, 1 tbs of nut butter or some Greek yoghurt.

The hardest part of learning to eat clean is learning to exercise your will power, saying no when someone comes into the office with a box of doughnuts. I know it sounds cheesey and cliché, but it is 100% true that will power is like a muscle, and the more you use it, the stronger it gets!

A lot of people find STICKING to a clean diet the hardest part, in which case I suggest you do what I do…

On my days off I cook quadruple what I need for lunch and dinner, put it all into Tupperware boxes and stick them in the fridge. This way, I have HEALTHY, PORTABLE, MICROWAVABLE meals wherever I go.

It’s all about eating INGREDIENTS. Fresh fruit and veg, nuts, seeds, eggs and meats. There are tons of options, you just have to re programme your brain to see REAL FOOD as it’s fuel source and not microwave meals, packets of crisps, bottles of Coke and trans fat loaded pastries.

A big myth of ‘dieting’ is that you need to go low fat. You don’t! Fat is a MACRONUTRIENT, meaning our bodies NEED it to function properly. You just have to choose the RIGHT fats. Ironically enough, low fat shop bought products are NOT a healthier option. ‘Low fat’ often means added sugars, sweeteners and preservatives. Go for GOOD fats such as nuts, seeds, avocado, oily fish and eggs.

Another myth is that you need to cut out carbohydrates to lose weight. Again, this is NOT TRUE and is actually really bad for you. Fruits and veg fall under the ‘carb’ category and are FULL of fibre and vitamins. Fibre makes us feel fuller for longer and aids the digestion of food within our bodies. Vitamins UNLOCK the energy most foods provide and assure that you are using your food for FUEL and NOT storing it as fat.

Stick to your 3 macronutrients and stick to CLEAN ingredients. Good sources include:

CARBOHYDRATES:

Oats

Sweet potato

Brown rice

Vegetables

Fruit

Pulses

FATS:

Nuts

Nut butters

Seeds

Eggs

Avocado

DARK chocolate

Olive oil

Oily fish

PROTEIN:

LEAN meats

Chicken

Fish

Eggs

Greek yoghurt

Cottage Cheese

Tofu

Quorn

NATURAL FAT BURNERS:

Lemon

Cinnamon

Chillis

Green tea

Coffee

 

Try to have your main focus be the protein, with a small accompaniment of carbohydrates and a smaller accompaniment of fats. 


Style PB


It may seem shallow, but I believe fitness fashion has a HUGE role to play in finding the motivation to workout.

When I was starting out on my fitness journey, I wasn’t used to the mental or physical habit of training at all, and it was incredibly difficult to find the drive to get up and go. Thankfully, now it all comes quite easily to me because not only did I break into the habit, I also learnt a few tricks along the way…

People always ask me how I find the drive to workout 6 days a week and my answer is this; although I am adjusted to it now, of course I still have my off days. But the two things that really help me stay motivated? Social media and fitness fashion. 

I would say 50% of the motivational pages I follow on Instagram and Twitter are fitness models and athletes who inspire me, and the other 50% are fitness fashion brands that capture me visually and make me excited to get dressed for the gym.

The fact of the matter is, fashion is something that gets our brains excited. Women in particular tend to find their feelings of confidence and capability will relate directly to what they’re wearing. How you present yourself gives you a feeling of control over how others perceive you, and when it comes to walking into the gym, you need to feel as in control as possible!

If you’re struggling to find the passion to workout, but your passion for shopping is still going strong, make sure you check out StylePB.com .

Style PB is a new website dedicated to women’s sportswear. It’s creator, Natalie Dale, a 28 year old stylist and yoga instructor tells us “Whilst training for the London Marathon, I struggled to find stylish sportswear in one place online. I realised there wasn’t really a dedicated website catering for this, so I thought I’d create one. I want Style PB to be accessible to every woman wanting to do sport whatever budget. I want to encourage women to feel strong, healthy and empowered through sport whilst looking stylish”.

Style PB is a website for women, enabling them to shop for sportswear that performs without compromising on style. PB stands for Personal Best and Style PB aims to allow customers to achieve their personal best in whatever sport they choose in style.

Style PB stocks a variety of brands from Hey Jo, Lucas Hugh, Lexie to Striders Edge, with price points ranging from £30 to £240.

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HEALTHBOX LONDON


If you live in London and you’re a fan of clean eating, make sure to check out http://www.healthboxlondon.com

Healthbox London is a food delivery service based in Islington, specialising in protein based snacks (protein balls etc), healthy fatty nibbles (raw chocolate brownies etc) and delicious granola recipes (tropical, pumpkin and more).

As someone who trains, eats clean and has a pretty severe sweet tooth, their protein balls in particular have saved my craving for sugar on several occasions! On top of this, they will feed your muscle while providing a great energy source from fat sources such as nuts, seeds and raw cacao.

Eating clean does not have to be boring and it does not have to be bland, and these guys are proving that with everything on their menu.

Seriously, it’s worth taking a look for the protein balls alone!


Ali Gordon Explains Metabolic Training


Ali Gordon is one of our favourite fitness models, and a PhD Nutrition brand ambassador.

He recently took to Instagram (@aligordon89) to talk about the metabolic effects of interval training, and we think it’s worth a little read:

 

If your goal is to burn fat, intervals better be a part of your programme!

Besides being a quick method of getting in a great workout, intervals are an extremely effective way of transforming your physique.

By incorporating intense periods of work with short recovery segments (I personally like to split 30 seconds at 100% effort followed by 30 seconds at 0% effort for my intervals) you can keep your workout intensity extremely high while still maintaining form.

The magic of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) lies in its ability to keep your metabolic rate rocketing even after you leave the gym. Your body isn’t able to bring in enough oxygen during periods of extreme hard exercise, therefore you accumulate an oxygen debt that must be repaid post workout in order to get back to normal. The result? Your metabolism is revved for hours after you leave the gym. 

Trainers refer to this phenomenon as Excess Post Exercise Oxygen Consumption, or EPOC. 

 

We suggest you switch your steady cardio to interval cardio by exhausting yourself for 30 seconds – 1 minute and then recovering for the same amount of time, for 20 minutes. You can do this with burpees, mountain climbers, sprinting, skipping, boxing, rowing or on the cross trainer.

Alternatively, circuits are a great form of interval training and will allow you to get in a full body strength workout WHILE you hit your cardio quota!

Interval training – the best fat burner there is!


How to Reach Your Aesthetic Goal


Weight lifting, cardio, diet and lifestyle…

Here are my top tips for how to reach YOUR goal body:

 

START WITH DIET!

If you are a regular to the site you will already know that this is our mantra. You MUST clean up your diet before you do anything else. You WILL lose weight with diet alone, but you will NOT lose weight with exercise alone. If you don’t believe me, know that when I had 2 weeks off my diet recently, I hit the gym every day and trained my butt off, yet I still managed to gain 10lbs.

 

The first thing you’ve GOT to do is get rid of all the processed and sugary foods in your kitchen and at work. No more sweets, chocolates, white carbohydrates, cereals, fizzy drinks, microwave meals, pastries, crisps, sauces, crackers and takeaways.

 

If you want results, you need to invest in CLEAN carbohydrates (oats, potatoes, fruit and veg), LEAN proteins (eggs, white meats and fish) and NATURAL fats (nuts, seeds, eggs, avocado and oils).

 

Once you get this ball rolling, you can start thinking about body transformation, which is when exercise comes into play…

 

 

LIFT WEIGHTS!

There are 6 different body parts you need to focus on; legs, back, shoulders, arms, chest and abs.

 

Either you can focus on one body part per day and train 6 days a week, or you can focus on 2 body parts a day and only be in the gym 3 days a week. If you are really serious about hitting your goals, focus on hitting 2 body parts a day over 6 days and hit every muscle group twice a week.

 

Always have at least 1 rest day a week from weights. Your muscle needs to have a full recovery day to build and regrow.

 

If your aim is to build muscle, lift as HEAVY as you possibly can while completing 3 sets of 8-10 reps per exercise.

 

If your aim is to shed fat, lift as heavy as you can while hitting 4 sets of 12-15 reps per exercise.

 

 

CARDIO!

First things first, FORGET THE LONG RUNS AND STEADY JOGS! Steady state cardio is NOT NEARLY as effective as high intensity interval training (HIIT).

 

Focus on exhausting yourself for 30 seconds – 1 minute and recovering for the same amount of time, for 20-30 minutes.

 

ALWAYS do HIIT AFTER weights, this way you are really tapping into your fat stores. Alternatively, do fasted cardio first thing in the morning.

 

If your aim is to build muscle, you don’t need to be doing HIIT more than 1-2 days per week.

 

If you aim is to shed fat, I recommend doing HIIT after every weights session. HOWEVER, you do not NEED to do this whatsoever, you can still shed fat by lifting weights and hitting the cardio 3-4 days a week.

 

 

SLEEP!

This is perhaps the most underrated factor when it comes to getting into killer shape.

 

You NEED sleep to keep your hormones in check, and hormones have a hell of a lot to do with your aesthetic results.

 

When you sleep, your cortisol levels (the stress hormone that leads to weight gain) will lower and your growth hormone (muscle building hormone) will increase.

 

Not to mention the fact that you will train a hell of a lot harder if you are sleeping properly.

 

 

WATER!

Another grossly underrated factor when it comes to shedding the pounds. Don’t forget that muscle is 80% water, it quite literally needs the stuff to function.

 

Your body will utilize the water to flush out all the crap from your system, keep your digestive system functioning properly and force nutrients around the body.

 

 

PATIENCE!

You MUST STICK WITH IT and do not give up! It is going to take you 3 weeks to simply GET USED TO the diet and exercise, and another week or 2 before you even start seeing results.

 

You will have good weeks and bad weeks, but you MUST remember your goals! Remember why you are doing this and BE STRONG!

 

 

 

If you’re interested in more specific advice tailored to you and your goals, please email info@fitnessfondue.com and enquire about our online personal training 


Online Personal Training


Fitness Fondue is now offering online personal training for £50.

 

The £50 buys you a 12 week personalised diet and training programme (we cater to both gym and none gym goers) and continued guidance via email.

 

Tell us exactly what you want to achieve, what’s stopping you, your problem areas, your current training status, your current diet, your lifestyle, your time availability, injuries, allergies etc…

 

We then go away and write you up a 12 week diet and exercise plan that is completely tailored to you, your time and your goals.

 

We stay in touch via email to answer any questions you may have, monitor your progress and guide you along the way.

 

We do guarantee you results – so long as you stick to the plan!

 

If you’re interested please email info@fitnessfondue.com and ask for a questionnaire.


Weights for Beginners – PT Danny Young


I totally understand that stepping into the free weights area in your gym can be scary and unnerving.  We all find it hard to train around the big boys who stop and stare in the mirror every time they finish a set (I may be guilty of this myself).  Please remember that these guys started somewhere and that there was a time when they, too, were a novice.  Focus on your end goal, and a year from now you could be showing the new guy the ropes.

I often get asked where to start with weights. The best place to create a solid foundation from is with endurance work.  This means lower weight but more repetitions. 

You can find the suitable weight by trial and error upon completing 15 repetitions.  If they were easy to complete then you need to increase the weight. If you started to fatigue by the 12th repetition then that’s the weight for you.

Something else that’s important is the speed at which you perform the exercise.  For example, if I was doing a bicep curl, the downward motion is just as important as the upward. Don’t lift a weight and then just let it fall; ensure the repetition is fully controlled.

Try to train every body part (chest, shoulders, bicep, triceps, abs, back and legs) equally. Also, try switching up the way in which you train a specific body part. For example, one day do an incline chest press and next time do a chest fly instead. This enables you to hit the muscle in different ways and helps you to learn different techniques.

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Eggcellent Eggs


Eating clean gets easier when you learn which foods have which nutrients. When you can kill a few birds with one stone, it’s a relief.

Eggs fall under the double whammy category in that they have 2  of the macronutrients we need on a daily basis. The whites are rich in protein and the yolk in fatty acids (plus a natural fat burner called lecithin).

Eggs are staples of a healthy diet for several reasons:

*Egg yolks contain essential fatty acids 

*Egg yolks also contain lecithin – an all natural fat burner

*Egg whites contain essential amino acids (protein)

*Eggs are rich in vitamin A, vitamin D and vitamin B2, making them a surprisingly good energy booster

*Eggs are a great meal AND snack option at any time of the day

*Eggs can be cooked in several ways that all taste different! If you don’t like eggs, you probably just haven’t found the right method of cooking for you. Omelette, scrambled, poached, boiled, hard boiled, sunny side up  - force down an egg a day and discover which type will recruit you!


Healthy Breakfast Burrito


We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again; there are healthy alternatives to everything you crave.

Here’s our recipe for a healthy breakfast burrito:

 

1 Wholegrain tortilla

1 Scrambled egg OR 2 egg whites

1 Turkey slice

1/2 Sliced avocado

1/2 Sliced tomato

Sprinkling of grated cheese

 

And voila! A very balanced and very healthy meal indeed!


Should I Lift Weights?


The answer to this question is very simple: YES.

To all you men out there that want to lose fat and/or gain muscle mass, introducing weights to your training programme is essential.

Not only does weight training burn fat; added muscle mass requires more calories to maintain itself, therefore it will make your body more efficient at using calories for energy instead of storing them as fat.

A common myth amongst women is that weights will make them manly – this is NOT true.

Women, do not be scared to introduce weights to your workouts; you will never grow as large or be as bulky as a man because genetically you are not made that way!

Testosterone is the muscle building hormone and women have a considerably lower amount than men; making it hard to get big muscles even when that is the aim.  In fact, you can increase a woman’s natural feminine shape by conditioning her body.

Weights will reduce body fat and speed up your metabolic rate (the rate our body converts calories to energy).

Benefits of introducing Weights into your programme:

  • Weights do not just have a positive effect physically but also mentally.  It has been proven that regular weight training can help reduce anxiety and depression whilst improving sleep, and energy levels.
  • Lifting encourages serious fat burn and muscle definition – meaning you will look better naked – which is always a bonus.
  • Lifting weights encourages a 72hr caloric after burn, far greater than cardiovascular activity.
  • Lifting weights also improves the strength of your ligaments and tendons, which leads to stronger more stable joints – decreasing the possibility of injury.
  • Weights reduce blood pressure, blood fats and cholesterol.
  • I know there are lots of myths out there linking weight training to loss of flexibility and injured joints.  This is not true.  If the exercise is performed correctly and your range of movement is technically sound, weights will actually help performance and flexibility.

Please Note: For every muscle in the body there is an opposite muscle.  This is called the agonist and antagonist. So if the agonist is the chest, the antagonist is the back.  For the bicep it is the tricep.  Try to train opposing muscles (agonist and antagonist) at the same intensity – this will help with posture and overall aesthetic look.  Training one more than the other and not having the correct range of movement can reduce flexibility so be aware of this and make sure you always stretch before and after a workout.

We recommend weight training 3-6 days a week, doing split sessions (hitting more than 1 muscle group in one session) or training a different body part each day:

  • Legs
  • Back
  • Shoulders
  • Chest
  • Arms
  • Abs

Follow your weight training with HIIT on the treadmill, cross trainer or stepmill for optimum fat burn!

This means conditioning all those wobbly bits that aren’t responding to cardiovascular training alone…LADIES!

 

If you want to lift but have no idea where or how to start, don’t forget Fitness Fondue do Personal Online Training plans that include structured weight routines WITH illustrations and instructions. 

Plans also available for none gym goers.

 


COCONOM SUGAR


Clients  often tell me that although they enjoy eating clean, they really struggle to cut sugar out of their diet altogether.

When it comes to tea, coffee, porridge, and especially baking clean treats, my recommendation of cinnamon as a sugar alternative doesn’t always do the trick.

I refrain from recommending sweeteners as most of them are chemical based, far from clean, and extremely bad for our bodies (aspartame, xylitol etc). So I was extremely excited when I found out about Coconom!

Coconom is a pure coconut products brand, known for their Coconut Sugar, which comes straight from the coconut blossom and is a 100% natural alternative to sugar! 

Their Organic Coconut Sugar “Nature’s ultimate alternative to sugar!” comes in THREE flavours; Original, Ginger & Turmeric & Tamarind.

Coconom’s products are 100% ethically sourced, vegan society registered and organic certified by both the soil association and overseas as well as positively impacting the lives of small-scale coconut farming communities of Indonesia.

To learn more see their site here: http://coconom.com

 


Alcohol V Fitness


A few fondues have been enquiring about the effects of alcohol on their fitness regime and results.

While alcohol may be fat-free, it is full of calories. Your body processes the alcohol for energy first, leaving carbohydrates and sugars to get stored as fat instead of getting used as fuel.

There is a lot of conflicting information out there when it comes to what alcohol ‘dieters’ should be drinking. This is because different choices are better for different diets. For example, if you are on Atkins, spirits are better as they are lower in carbs. But if you are on a low calorie diet, wine would be the better choice for you.

Most health experts recommend that you choose red wine over white wine as it is full of antioxidants and good for your heart; choose wine over beer; choose dark beers over light beers.

Yes, Personal Trainers, fitness fanatics and health freaks do drink occasionally. They just know what to choose, when to do it, and most importantly, when not to…
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SQUAT!


We keep saying it and will continue to say it: SQUAT!

Male, female, looking for fat loss or muscle gain, wanting a pert butt or a defined tummy – squatting is an exercise you SHOULD NOT be missing out on!

Squatting:

  1. Is the highest calorie burning exercise you can do
  2. Is the best exercise you can do for your thighs and glutes
  3. Will build your core muscles more effectively than a stomach crunch
  4. Will trigger the release of fat burning testosterone and human growth hormones in your body
  5. Will strengthen your muscles, ligaments and connective tissues, helping to prevent injury

 

NOTE: Please be aware that proper form is essential when squatting – particularly with weights (which is how we recommend it’s done). Make sure you are taught the proper form and technique before you begin.


Step 2 – HIIT


So, once you’ve got your diet sorted it’s time to think about exercise.

The general rule for any fitness beginner is the law of 4 – give yourself 4 weeks of exercising, at least 4 times a week, and by week 4 not only will you see / feel results, it should become hard NOT to move your butt.

Exercising and the want to do so is a habit, as is getting home from work and heading straight to the sofa.You have to build the habit. Make that sofa sit feel deserved and you’ll enjoy it all the more.

When it comes to breaking into exercise the options are endless, a very good thing considering how hard those first 4 weeks are. Every fitness professional will recommend a different form of exercise, and it’s important to remember that finding what you enjoy and what works best is highly subjective – everybody is different and everybody responds differently to different things.

However, with all the great choices out there it can get pretty confusing, so it’s good to know that there is one fool proof method for beginners - HIIT.

HIIT is high intensity interval training – a form of cardio that will burn optimum fat.

HIIT means doing any form of intense cardio (running, boxing, skipping etc) for a period of time (usually 30 seconds – 1 minute depending on your fitness) followed by a rest period of the same length. You need to do 5-10 intervals to get the best results possible.

Once you start seeing results, your training and physical goals will begin to shift, and cardio can take a secondary position to other forms of exercise like weight lifting, but we’ll get to that later…

As everybody knows, the easiest and cheapest cardiovascular exercise is running - all you need to begin is a good pair of running shoes. If you are a beginner, try a rapid walk, interspersed with some jogging. If that sounds a bit tame for you, try jogging interspersed with some running. If you feel fitter still, try full on sprinting followed by stopping completely.

HIIT is great because just a 20 minute session is a highly effective fat burning and cardiovascular workout.

Not everybody is capable of jogging or running. If you suffer from stressed joints or tight muscles the high impact will aggravate these conditions and you need to seek other options… 

Swimming is great cardio for the injured as it’s physiotherapy through exercise.  If you switch up your speeds and / or strokes in the pool you get a great form of HIIT. Swimming also provides resistance due to the water, meaning it’s a bit of a double whammy.

Another gym option is the cross trainer. Cross trainers are the closest you’ll get to running without the high impact, which makes them perfect for runners needing a rest for their joints and muscles. On top of this, cross trainers provide resistance which means you get a really great all over body workout. Up the resistance every other minute and you can reach the HIIT zone.

A lot of people get incredible results on the rowing machine. It’s a full upper and lower body workout that also provides resistance. The rowing machine is one of the best machines at the gym when it comes to an all over body workout. Again, change the resistance and / or speed minute by minute to make it HIIT focused.

One of the best cardio machines (if not the best) at the gym is the stepper. You know, those dusty old machines that sit a good six feet above everything else? These stairways to heaven are a killer lower body and cardio workout that will have you dripping with sweat in no time. Up your speed every other minute for HIIT.

 

 

As you start to break yourself in and see results, you can move onto the free weights…


Step 1 – Diet


Here at FF, we know how hard it is to wrap your head around getting into shape.

 

With so much conflicting information out there, it’s a nightmare trying to figure out where to start. Atkins, calorie counting, running, weights, yoga, Zumba…all you really want is a simple routine that will get you results.

 

Everyone on the FF team recommends the same starting place: Diet.

 

By diet we do not mean ‘go on a diet’, we just mean your daily intake of food.

 

It’s 100% true what you read; results are mostly down to your diet. This is for a number of reasons; for starters, if you eat clean foods your body becomes much more efficient at using food for fuel and burning it off as energy, rather than not knowing what to do with it and storing it as fat. Secondly, if you’re working out, your diet staples need to compliment your training so you can really maximise your results. Thirdly, switching up your diet is a great way to shock your body into changing. The list goes on, but our point is simple: clean up your diet!

 

Here at FF we don’t promote starting off with calorie counting. If you struggle to eat healthily this should be your primary goal. Calorie counting, in my opinion, is for those who have mastered a healthy diet and are looking to kick their weight loss up a notch. When it comes to calorie counting, you also need to consider your macro split (carbs, proteins and fats). Your first job should be understanding what foods are good, what foods are bad, and trying to implement that into your daily lifestyle. This is a hard enough change initially, so don’t go too far too soon or you could become overwhelmed and give up.

 

We hate The Atkins Diet. This isn’t because it diet doesn’t work, it does. But carbohydrates (vegetables, fruit, grains and pulses) are ESSENTIAL to your body and brain function. Cutting them out is EXTREMELY unhealthy and can really mess up your metabolism. Permanently. It is ALL about EATING CLEAN and EATING IN CONJUNCTION WITH YOUR TRAINING. 

 

So, we recommend a CLEAN diet. By clean we mean all natural foods that have no added sugars, flavours or preservatives – foods that are 100% unprocessed.

1.    Carbohydrates – Oats, sweet potato, brown rice, pulses, fruits, vegetables

2.    Fats – Avocados, eggs, nuts, seeds, meats, fish, shellfish, oils

3.    Protein – Meat, fish, poultry, eggs, cottage cheese, Greek yoghurt

Carbohydrates, fats and proteins are what your body needs to run on, you just need to make the right decisions when it comes to these 3 food groups.

 

All natural fat burners include lemon juice, cinnamon and green tea.

 

Also, drink as much water as you can throughout the day to keep your muscles hydrated, nutrients moving around your body and continually flush out your system.

 

Of course it would be impossible never have a glass of wine or a chocolate biscuit again (not to mention maddening in this day and age) which is why we recommend one evening a week when you can indulge. This one evening will not reverse your progress – in fact it will refresh your body’s response to the diet by boosting your Leptin (fat storing hormone) levels. The best of both worlds!

 

A clean diet – it works.


Training Towards Your Goals


The paramount factor in reaching your aesthetic goals is diet.

Whether you’re trying to lost fat, gain muscle, or maintain, it all comes down to what you feed your body.

However, the FINAL frontier of body transformation does take place in the pump, the burn and the metabolic after effects of training.

 

When training to gain muscle: If gaining muscle mass is your goal, your training needs to be focused in the weights section.

You want to stick to the low end of the Hypertrophy range, so 3 sets of 6-10 reps with heavy weights.

You want to exhaust your muscle by the second to last rep, so you really have to force out the last one.

Although a lot of brilliant muscle building exercises are compound exercises, try to focus on isolation exercises also.

You also need to eat. A lot. Eat clean, but eat plenty. Large meals of clean carbohydrates, fats and proteins. NEVER MISSING a post workout meal!

Stick to HIIT cardio once or twice a week, no more.

 

 

When training to lose fat: If shedding fat is your goal, you need to perform HIIT (at least 4x pw) and keep lifting also, just in a different range.

You want to perform to high sets and high reps, so 4-5 sets of 12-15 repetitions.

Supersetting (2 exercises back to back as 1 set) and compound exercises are also a great way to keep lifting WHILE shedding fat.

You want to keep your rest periods short, 45 seconds or so.

When it comes to diet, you need to reign in your calories and have a good split between your 3 food groups (fats, proteins and carbs). We recommend 25% fats, 30% carbs and 45% protein.

You can calculate all of this on MyFitnessPal if you’re ready to step it up a notch, but be warned, this is for the more serious as it can be quite time consuming and somewhat draining initially. Like all things though, it does get a easier after a while.

 

 

If you’re interested in personalised diet and training plans catered to your goals, please email info@fitnessfondue.com 


Your Cardio Options


We’ve spoken about cardio at length before on FF, but the questions still come in thick and fast.

With so much conflicting information out there, we understand how hard it can be trying to figure out what methods are best, when.

So, we’re going to try and keep it simple. There are 3 different types of cardiovascular exercise:

 

1. Long Slow Duration (LSD) - Exactly what it says on the tin: long, slow, for a considerable duration. We online train a few marathon runners here at Fitness Fondue and these are the only clients we recommend LSD to. For them we structure training programmes that incorporate all 3 cardio methods, in order to get their bodies fully prepped and ready for the race.

 

2. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) - This is the form of cardio we most recommend. HIIT is yet again, exactly what it says on the tin: high intensity intervals. Sprinting, boxing, rowing etc for an extremely intense period (30 seconds – 1 minute) followed by a recovery period (stopping completely) of the same time. HIIT is the best cardio you can do when it comes to burning out fat stores while maintaining muscle.

 

3. Fartlek - A different type of HIIT, but not so much what it says on the tin! Fartlek is ideal for sportsmen as it randomly switches up the intensity of the intervals in a totally unpredictable order. You may find yourself sprinting, walking, jogging and stopping all in a matter of minutes. If you’re a little bored of HIIT, give Fartlek a go for a session or 2.

 

As we state above, we highly recommend HIIT as your chosen form of cardio. We suggest you perform 5-10 intense intervals after a weighted session, or try a gentler approach as your fasted cardio. 

LSD can have a negative effect on muscle (essential for fat loss and body transformation of any kind), metabolism, joints and overall health. As incredible, respectable and admirable as marathon running is, it’s also very hard on the body.

Fartlek is what we suggest if you’re trying to get ready for a sporting season, or as we said as an alternative to HIIT some days.

Good luck Fondues!


Weight Loss, Muscle Building and Fat Loss – One at a Time!


Most people want to achieve a specific aesthetic goal. It’s usually weight loss, sometimes muscle gain, always fat loss, sometimes it’s all three…

Let me start by saying that it is impossible to lose weight, gain muscle and shed fat at the same time. These are THREE different goals entirely.

 

Weight Loss - Weight loss programmes are generic plans to help people lose a stone, drop a dress size, or simply get in better shape. When a client comes to me and asks for any of these things, I put them on a very clean diet and I train them in a way that will burn serious fat and calories and encourage their metabolism to sky rocket. This will lead to them losing the extra weight or dress size, and whittle them down to the smaller shape that’s been hiding underneath. While they can maintain this weight loss for the rest of their lives if they wish, a lot of their goal posts soon shift, and the images they show me start to lean toward full body transformation, which needs…

Muscle Gain - When a client comes to me and tells me they want to pack on the muscle, I tell them to lock their goal body in a drawer for a while. You can not pack on muscle and shed serious fat at the same time. It’s a 2 part process. If you want muscle you need to eat, A LOT. And you need to take a big old step back from cardio. As you get closer and closer to your desired muscle mass, you’ll also get further and further away from the beautifully crafted physique you’re aiming for. That comes later, with…

Fat Loss - After the desired muscle had been slapped on (this usually takes 2 – 6 months depending on how much you want to gain) it’s time to shed the fat and see all those lovely lumps and bumps. This is when calories, cardio and serious determination come into play. To shed fat you need to continue to lift heavy weights while throwing in serious cardio to your workouts. I’m talking treadmills, stepmills, cross trainers, circuits and hardcore HIIT. On top of the added workout load, your calories will start to deplete (gradually) from your muscle building days, and your diet will get much stricter.

 

So, as you can see, every goal requires an entirely different approach. But remember, you don’t have to be great to start, you have to start to be great.

If you have a long road ahead of you but you are determined to get there, start off with a simple diet and exercise programme. Eat clean and MOVE! Once that excess weight has dropped off you, you can start planning out your body transformation.

It may take a year, it may take 2. Don’t concern yourself with the time it requires, the time will pass anyway.