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.


Our Fitspo Hannah Ross Talks Overtraining


Here at Fitness Fondue, we too have ‘fitspos’ that we keep track of and who continually inspire and interest us.

One of these girls is Hannah Ross (@hannahelaine624), who recently wrote a very agreeable rant on her Instagram feed…

I personally don’t believe in training for more than an hour at a time. A lot of people feel that training for extensive periods can put the body into a catabolic (muscle eating) state and exhaust your body in all the wrong ways.

Here is what this little fittie has to say about overtraining:

 

So many people are overtraining, including a lot of your fitness icons. I am here to say DO NOT BE LIKE THEM!

So many people flaunt their ridiculous cardio routines and hours of weight training each day. Overtraining is a real thing that can lead to a range of serious and not so serious health issues. 

A few things your should know are:

  1. Training for a long amount of time ultimately increases cortisol (bad) and decreases testosterone (also bad). You are putting your body under too much stress and instead of building muscle and shedding fat, you are going to go into a catabolic state where your body will actually eat muscle and hold onto fat.
  2. Your body needs recovery time. REST IS JUST AS IMPORTANT AS DIET AND EXERCISE! When you overwork your body you are not allowing it to rest. People who overtrain typically have difficulty sleeping because their bodies are in constant go mode and are unable to relax. If you do not get adequate rest you will experience more soreness after workouts and an inability to recover.
  3. Overtraining weakens your immune system. So ultimately if you don’t stop overtraining, your body will hit you with constant illness and an overall feeling of in-balance.

These are just a few things among many that your body will go through when overtraining. 

Now, how to avoid it:

  1. Keep weight to training to around an hour a day. Less time does not mean less results. BE EFFICIENT WITH YOUR WORKOUTS. Keep the pace fast and intense. 
  2. Take rest days and GET ENOUGH SLEEP!
  3. Quit doing hours of cardio everyday. For real. Cardio sucks anyway. It’s all about balance.
  4. EAT A WELL BALANCED AND HEALTHY DIET WITH LOTS OF NUTRIENTS. Starvation is never the way. 
  5. ALWAYS DRINK PLENTY OF WATER! 

 

 

And that about sums up Hannah’s very good argument!

Do not overtrain. Stick to a good, hard, varied weights workout and a little cardio afterwards. Eat healthy, drink water and get enough sleep!


Our Top 5 Glute Exercises!


If your goal is to slim down your tush, do the below exercises with a light weight, aiming for 4 sets of 15 reps.

If your goal is to get some junk in the trunk, do the below exercises with a heavy weight, aiming for 3 sets of 12 reps.

 

1. SQUATS - If you want to work your bum , there really is no better exercise than squatting. Squats are a compound exercise, meaning they hit more than one muscle at once, in fact, squats hit several. When you squat, you’re hitting pretty much ever muscle group in your legs and glutes while strengthening your core, hips and lower back. Make sure you get your form right (feet shoulder width apart, toes pointing slightly outward, knees over toes, straight back) and go as low as possible. The lower you go, the more you hit those glutes and hamstrings. Perform 6-12 reps at a weight you really struggle with towards the end. 

 

2. DONKEY-KICK-BACKS - These are a serious compound exercise and will have you sweating in no time! I perform DKBs on the Smith Machine, but you can also do them on the Cable Machine or even with (heavy) ankle weights. On all fours, make sure your lower leg (below the knee) is vertical. Hook / attach the cable to your foot or place the Smith bar on top of it. Keeping your body completely in line on all fours (no wavering limbs please!) kick upwards, using your leg and glute muscles to lift the bar / pull the cable up.

 

3. STIFF-LEGGED-DEADLIFTS - SLDs are great for hitting your glutes as well as your hamstrings. Hold the bar in front of your hips and keeping your upper back straight with a slight arch in your lower back, lower it. Make sure the bar is as close to your legs as possible and keep going until you feel a deep stretch in your hamstrings, then bring your back up.

 

4. WALKING-WEIGHTED-LUNGES - WWLs are incredible cardio as well as weight training. To be honest, these are the only glute exercise that I get DOMS from, so I make sure I include them in every leg day! You can hold a dumbbell, kettlebell or disc in each hand OR you can do these with a barbell on your back. Lunge forward, alternating legs each step. Make sure to go as wide and low as you can, keeping your knees over your toes and engaging your core.

 

5. BARBELL-HIP-THRUSTS - Hip thrusts focus on the upper glutes. Sit on the floor with your back against a bench, feet planted shoulder width apart in front of you, barbell on your lap. Pushing up through your glutes and hips so your body raises (upper back now coming onto the bench) keep going until your body forms a straight line, clenching your glutes at peak position.


How to Break in the Diet


Every day we receive emails from people asking about portion sizes, food groups, calories and macros.

There is so much conflicting information out there, but it’s actually a lot simpler than you think…

I am a strong believer that unless you are ALREADY 100% committed to your training and clean dieting, you should NOT be obsessing over calories and macros yet.

In other words, if you still struggle to cut out beer, chocolate and cake on a daily basis, this is the first thing that needs to change BEFORE anyone tells you to start counting your food grams.

Macros and calorie counting are, in my opinion, for those who have already broken into a healthy diet and are ready to step it up.

YOU WILL GET RESULTS IF YOU SIMPLY CLEAN UP YOUR DIET! YOU DO NOT NEED TO BE ON MY FITNESS PAL YET!

 

SO, if you are still in the chocolate and cake phase, here’s what I suggest:

 

  • All your meals need to be protein based, with small accompaniments of CLEAN fats and carbs. Think 50% protein, 30% carbs, 20% fats.
  • Think of the % in relation to your hand. So a large chicken breast would cover the entire inside of your hand, then a large handful of broccoli would be a slightly smaller accompaniment, and a small fistful of nuts would pretty much hit all the macros you need in every meal.
  • We recommend that your more stodgy carbs (oats, sweet potato etc) should be kept to breakfast, pre and post workout meals only. The rest of the time, keep your carbohydrates on the vegetable side of things only.
  • To make it simple for yourself, pick one of each food group (chicken as protein, broccoli as a carb, sweet potato as a starchy carb, nuts as a fat) and focus on that structure for a few days until you get bored. Then change each option. 
  • Your food does not need to be plain! Soy Sauce, pesto, lemon, Tobasco, chilli, cinnamon, a sprinkling of cheese (that could be your fat in the meal) melted on top…there are LOADS of HEALTHY options to kick up your meals! Just stay away from pre packaged sauces!
  • Try to eat every 3 hours. Aim for a breakfast, a snack, lunch, a second snack, dinner.
  • You may find it quite hard to get your fats in your meals (unless you’re having eggs or avocado), so we suggest snacking on nuts, seeds and peanut butter.
  • If you feel you need to graze and you know you’ve had your snack / meal already, always choose protein. Our body doesn’t store protein like it does fats and carbs, so this really is your best option, especially if you’re lifting.

Vegetables and Fat Loss – Jordan Saunders PT


Vegetables…
We all disliked them as children and pushed them to the side of plate. But how important are they? And do they help fat loss?Many people think going to the gym alone will shed that body fat / weight…but one secret I will share with you is vegetables (and lots of them). A diet rich in a combination of lean protein and fibrous vegetables as a source of carbohydrate is the best way to get truly lean and lose that body fat.

The fibre from the veg tricks the stomach, producing a full feeling. But the body cannot absorb large amounts of fibre, so it is forced to burn off stubborn body fat for fuel. This does not mean you can eat a side salad at lunch and expect results – you need real vegetables!
Veg are loaded with vitamins and minerals that are crucial for your body, all the way from youth into old age. The B vitamins found in green veggies help convert the food we eat into usable energy, antioxidants help decrease the free radical-induced inflammation, oxidative stress, and muscle cell damage we experience from training.

Fill your plate with greens! 
My top 5?
  • Broccoli (otherwise none as broccolean because it is truly magical for fat loss)
  • Asparagus
  • Green beans
  • Spinach
  • Kale

 

Jordan Saunders is a qualified Personal Trainer. Follow her on Twitter @bodybyjord and @bodybyJR_


Fasted Cardio


Anyone who reads this site regularly will know we don’t rant and rave about fasted cardio. This isn’t because it doesn’t work, it’s just because there are so many great options when it comes to cardio that doing it fasted isn’t the be all and end all of success. On top of this, most people find it particularly unpleasant.

However, today we’re going to talk about the pros of fasted cardio…

  • Fasted cardio means doing cardio first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. When we say first thing, we quite literally mean upon waking.
  • Don’t do high intensity the entire time, choose between interval sprints, a light jog or even a fast paced, steep incline walk.
  • The recommended performance times for fasted cardio are between 10 minutes – 30 minutes, depending on the intensity you choose.
  • Upon completing your fasted cardio you must eat breakfast immediately to stop your body going into catabolic (muscle eating) mode.
  • The reason a lot of fitties swear by fasted cardio is because there is nothing for your body to use for fuel, other than its fat stores.
  • If you do it properly (follow our instructions!) you will definitely see great results.
  • If you try it and despise it, don’t worry, HIIT sprints really do work at any time of day!

 


Post Holiday Pounds!


Good morning Fondues!

Most of theFF team has recently been or is currently on holibobs. I myself have just returned from 10 days of sun, sea, sand and sugar!

While it is true that most fitties manage to stick to their diet and some form of training whilst abroad, I personally like to take a physical and mental break from fitness every now and then. 

I do this because for me personally, knowing when to step back and take a break is pivotal to progress. If every single day of the rest of my life was planned out around the gym and my diet, I think I would give in after a year at best. I need to know that somewhere in my calendar there is some downtime.

Taking little breaks here and there is, for some people at least, vital to the long game. As long as you ENJOY training and eating clean, and are EXCITED to get back on track after a few days or even weeks off, it is perfectly safe to take a break.

So, post holiday, I am 6lbs heavier and lacking any kind of definition whatsoever!

Muscle memory is a wonderful thing, and because I have been training for as long as I have, I predict what would have once taken me 12 weeks to achieve, will now take me around 5. This may be extremely optimistic, but I guess we’ll see!

6 days a week I will be doing:

*Intense HIIT

*Lifting as heavy as I can while hitting 4 sets of 12-15 reps per exercise 

*Doing lots of supersets (two different exercise sets back to back)

*Eating plenty of oats, chicken and broccoli

*Drinking an ocean of water every day

*I won’t be having cheats for the first 2 weeks at least, I simply don’t need them after 10 days of pizza and ice cream, but I may start to reintroduce them around week 3.

I will be posting progress pictures and sharing my results in the coming weeks, so if you’re interested in losing the holiday pounds, be sure to check in!