What Cardio, When


If you’re looking to burn fat, cardio is an unfortunate must.

What I cannot stress enough though is the importance of DIET. If you slave away drenched in sweat and feeling like you’re going to die for half an hour, you may as well reap the rewards instead of backtracking by eating a cheeseburger. The myth that if you exercise you can eat what you want and still get abs is total crap, diet is #1, exercise is #2, results are #3!

If you couple exercise with a spotless diet and you are CONSISTENT, the results will amaze you.

So, here’s what cardio you should be doing and when, in order to burn those stubborn fat stores:

STEADY STATE CARDIO: Steady cardio is basically long walks, jogs and runs. Going for long periods of time at a steady pace is definitely going to improve your fitness levels, and is a great option if you are a beginner. The best way to do SSC is with some form of resistance; so uphill, on the cross trainer or the rowing machine. However, if you are already fit and are looking to really blast the fat, you need to move on to…

HIGH INTENSITY INTERVAL TRAINING: HIIT is the best form of fat burning activity there is. Period. What HIIT means is fully exerting yourself for 30seconds-1minute (depending on your fitness levels) and then stopping completely or slowly recovering for the same amount of time. You do this over and over for 20-30 minutes, again, depending on your fitness levels. Like steady state cardio, if you are new to this then any form of HIIT is great, sprinting, skipping, burpees…but if you are slightly fitter than most, try it resisted. So find a hill or put the treadmill on an incline before you sprint, get on the cross trainer and ramp up the resistance every other minute. You’ll know you’re REALLY fit when you’re doing 30 minutes of resisted HIIT!

There are 2 good options when to do your cardio:

FASTED: Let me start by saying fasted cardio is NOT a must, and in the beginning you will find it particularly challenging. Like all things fitness though, it does get easier and become second nature. Fasted cardio means doing cardio first thing in the morning, before breakfast, with nothing in your system. The idea is that if you have nothing for your body to draw on for energy, it has no choice but to burn fat for fuel. I didn’t do fasted cardio for a long, long time and I still got incredible results. However, I do fasted cardio now and it has to be said that my results come quicker. You don’t need to do fasted HIIT, going for a 20 minute jog will be really effective. However, HIIT is always a better option, you may just need to work up to it. The best thing about fasted cardio is that by the time you’re eating breakfast, your cardio is done for the day, your metabolism is skyrocketing and you do feel pretty great.

AFTER WEIGHTS: Another great time to do your cardio is AFTER weight sessions. This is because when you lift weights, your body uses it’s glycogen (converted carbohydrate) stores for energy. So by the time you hit the treadmill, your body’s preferred use of energy is going to be fat. I would recommend doing cardio after all your weighted sessions, except on leg day. Legs are your biggest muscle group, therefor exercising them burns the most calories and requires the most energy from your body. On top of this, leg exercises such as squats, deadlifts, lunges and step ups are ALL compound movements and incorporate a lot of cardiovascular activity. Use leg days as your rest from cardio.


Enhance LDN asks some questions…


How do you structure your training? 

When I’m trying to gain muscle, I train a different body part a day, 6 days a week. I usually do 3 sets of 8 reps and lift as heavy as I possibly can.

When I’m trying to shed fat I do split sessions, so I train 2 body parts a day, 6 days a week, and I do fasted cardio every morning for 20 minutes.

 

What is your nutritional mantra? 

You cannot out exercise a bad diet! I’ve experienced it myself and every day I go through it with clients, no matter how much your train, if your diet isn’t spot on you’re wasting your time.

 

Do you follow a specific macro plan?

Yes, just so I know I’m not over or under eating. When I’m trying to gain muscle I eat a lot of carbs and I’ll have cheat meals once or twice a week, I’m a lot more relaxed about it all.

When I’m trying to cut up I’m much stricter. I carb cycle and I monitor my macros pretty spotlessly.

 

How do you make your nutrition fit into your lifestyle, do you have to restrict anything?

I have to be very carful with carbohydrates because they really bulk me up, my muscles absolutely love them. However if there’s a birthday or family meal I have no problem ordering whatever I want, because as long as it happens infrequently, it’s a great way to refuel both my mentality and physique.

 

READ THE FULL INTERVIEW HERE:

http://www.enhancenutritionldn.com/#!Enhance-Nutrition-LDN-talk-to-Chloe-Madeley/cwzj/EC4F73A0-7511-4D61-92CD-86C4F4554FD5


Advanced Dieting – Macros and Carb Cycling


The fact of the matter is, if you’re trying to get in shape and your diet isn’t bang on point, it’s REALLY not going to happen.

In today’s day and age, almost everyone has a few hurdles to clear in their diet before they can start thinking about advanced approaches that will progress weight loss, fat loss or muscle gain.

I want to map out where I believe you should start, and where you can advance towards as you gradually tick the boxes…

STEP 1 – CLEAN UP THE DIET

When I first started training properly the ONLY thing PTs told me to do with my diet was CLEAN IT UP. Eating clean essentially means eating INGREDIENTS. Think fruit, vegetables, chicken, fish, meat, nuts, seeds, eggs…your body has no use for junk food except to store it as fat, so CUT OUT THE CRAP!

By training properly and eating the right foods, my body started changing in a matter of weeks.

STEP 2 - LEARNING ABOUT CARBOHYDRATES 

It took me a few weeks to get the clean diet down (meaning that I wasn’t craving junk food anymore or breaking and having a cheat meal). At that point, my results started to slow down and it was time to take it to the next level.

We all know that carbohydrates can encourage weight gain, this is because carbohydrates are a sugar that get converted into glycogen in the body, which then gets used for energy, stopping you burning fat.

THIS DOES NOT MEAN STOP EATING CARBS! What it means is UNDERSTAND what carbs you should be eating and when you should be eating them.

Fruit and veg are your 2 best carb options. Go easy on the fruit as it’s high in fructose (sugar), 1 piece a day is enough. Do NOT go easy on the veg. Vegetables are full of fibre that will aid digestion, keep you feeling fuller for longer and even discourage food storing as fat.

Starchy, complex carbs such as wholegrains and potatoes should only be eaten in small amounts, directly pre lifting for energy release and post lifting when your body is in anabolic (fat burning, muscle building) mode.

STEP 3 – CALORIE COUNTING

Yes, calorie counting is essential in losing weight, but it should come into play LATER, when your clean diet has taken shape, your understanding of carbohydrates has had an impact on your intake, and your results have started to steady. This happened to me after a few MONTHS, and that’s when I started looking at my calories…

How many calories a day you should be on is 100% subjective. You need to factor in your height, weight, age and daily activity level. Use a method called the Harris Benedict Formula.

You want to be very careful to decrease your calories GRADUAllY, and KNOW WHEN TO STOP! If you go too far, you won’t be able to train properly and you will  push your body into starvation mode, encouraging it to store fat. I have seen this happen countless times. Too low calories will have the OPPOSITE of the desired effect.

STEP 4 – COUNTING MACROS

IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros) is a relatively new dieting method and in my opinion, it is for the more advanced.

Within your specific calorie count, you split the 3 macros – FATS, PROTEIN AND CARBOHYDRATES – into appropriate percentages and then weigh them out into grams. You need MyFitnessPal to do this and it is extremely time consuming and confusing at first, but after a few weeks it does become second nature.

The biggest misconception with macros is that you can eat whatever the hell you want as long as it fits your numbers. I highly recommend you do not do this, I have experimented with it in the past and it definitely did not work for me. In my experience the people it works for tend to have a hell of a lot of muscle mass, which means they can be a lot more gung ho with their diet choices!

Like calorie counting, macro counts are 100% subjective and depend on your aesthetic goals, workout routines and nutritional sensitivities. For example, if your goal is to gain muscle, you would have a high carbohydrate and protein %, but a low fat %. If your goal was to lose weight, you would have a higher protein and fat %, but a lower carbohydrate %. HOWEVER, everybody has different macro splits as everybody has a different body type and method of training.  I cannot stress enough that it is SUBJECTIVE.

STEP 5 – CARB CYCLING

It has taken me almost 2 years to get lean enough that carb cycling is even an option for me. You do not need to carb cycle by any means; eating clean, knowing when to eat starchy carbohydrates, counting calories and counting macros within those calories is DEFINITELY enough! However, I enjoy pushing myself and sort of have to for my job, so carb cycling has been a part of my diet for the last month or so, and I am seeing results.

Carb cycling is a way of calculating your macros so that you have high, medium and low carb days.

A good place to start is to go low carb on none exercise or cardio only days (carbs from vegetables only), and high carb on heavy weight lifting days (leg days for example).

If you lift, it is really important to ensure you have enough carb days in your diet to sustain your training and results. For example, I lift weights 6 days a week and I am on a 3 low day, 1 high day cycle. However, one athlete I know is currently ‘cutting’ for a competition and is doing 1 day low, 1 day high.

As I keep saying, it really is 100% subjective and will totally depend on your body type, training, goals and nutritional sensitivities.

 

 

If you are interested in learning more about your diet and what your specific calorie, macro or cycles should look like, please email info@fitnessfondue.com and enquire about online personal training. 


Lifting for Your Goals


Whether you’re trying to shed fat or gain muscle, resistance training is PIVOTAL for aesthetic progress.

HOW you structure your resistance training will differ depending on your goals…

TO GAIN MUSCLE 

It’s important to understand that gaining muscle is a good starting point no matter what your desired result is. More muscle means more calories burned even at rest, and muscle is what will leave you looking ‘toned’ once you drop some body fat. Not to mention learning to lift heavy is seriously FUN.

To gain muscle, you need to be lifting weights in the right range. Try 3 sets of 8 repetitions per exercise and go AS HEAVY AS YOU POSSIBLY CAN.

Every few weeks, try to increase the weight a little, keep challenging yourself and pushing yourself, and that muscle should really start to build after a few weeks of heavy lifting.

Make sure you train every body part evenly – legs, back, shoulders, arms, chest and abs.

TO SHED FAT

You can start shedding fat with or without taking the time to gain some muscle beforehand, but I don’t recommend you do so. As I said above, more muscle means more calories burned even at rest, and the more muscle you have the more ‘toned’ you will look once you’ve shed some body fat. You are going to lose muscle as you lose fat anyway, so you may as well gain as much of it as you can beforehand.

To shed the fat you need to do some cardio. You can do this first thing in the morning before breakfast (fasted) or AFTER weights. Start with 20 minutes and gradually work your way up to 30 minutes as the weeks progress.

When it comes to resistance training you have 2 options, you can either lift weights, doing 4-5 sets of 12-15 repetitions and going as heavy as you can within this range, or you can just do body strength exercises such as push ups, sit ups, squats, jumps etc. If you choose to do body strength exercises, compile them into a circuit and perform the circuit for 30minutes-1hour each day, or make sure you do 5 sets of 25 repetitions in order to overload the muscle.

 

No matter what your goals are, we recommend training 3-6 days a week and always giving 100%.

Diet is also key in aesthetic progress.

If you are unsure where to start, please email info@fitnessfondue.com and enquire about online personal training.


Enhance Nutrition LDN


As fans of the site well know, Fitness Fondue despises most popular ‘diets’ and cannot rave enough about clean eating…

Eating clean, unprocessed, all natural foods (think ingredients) will get you healthy from the inside out. If you are coming from particularly bad dietary habits, it will also encourage weight loss as your body can actually USE clean food for fuel (calorie burning), instead of storing it as fat.

However, it is absolutely true that calories and food groups play a HUGE roll in weight loss, fat loss and muscle gain. After a few months of cleaning up the diet, you will need to advance your nutritional knowledge in order to advance your aesthetic results…

This happened to me a few months ago. After a year of clean eating, my body had gotten as far as it was going to get and I began experimenting with macros. Counting macros (protein, fats and carbs) is a form of dieting that calculates the right % of each food group, within a specific calorie count.

I was trying to figure out exactly what my macro splits should be, when Enhance Nutrition sent me a message. Their advanced knowledge and suggestions really helped me out, so I wanted to share these nutritional maestros with you…

Enhance Nutrition is a company run by two Performance Nutritionists and Personal Trainers, Ash and Dave. Their goal is to educate people on nutrition and inform them as to what does and doesn’t work.  If you are looking to clue up on nutrition, they REALLY know their stuff.

So, I bombarded them with questions and here’s what they had to say…

 

Let’s start with the million dollar question…What is the biggest problem you face when it comes to clients and their diets?

We find people tend to either over think their diet or worry about the 1% details over the 90% details. For example, panic about whether their detox juice is cold pressed or not, yet still go out and drink 3 nights a week. Also people can get too caught up on a “clean” diet and not eat enough food full stop. 


What is the biggest problem you face when it comes to clients and their training?

Not being consistent and giving up on a programme before they have given it time to actually work. 


What would be your number 1 piece of nutritional advice?

Come to an Enhance Nutrition seminar and we’ll tell you! But seriously, the biggest bit of advice would be to keep it simple stupid and start by changing 1 habit at a time. It sounds stupid but starting with the easiest habit to change breeds success, you’d be amazed at how many people try and change something they have no will power to, they fail and then subsequently fall off the wagon.

What would be your number 1 piece of training advice?

Stay away from fads, the old school tried and tested methods still work and as we said be consistent. Training once a week won’t reward you the same as 3x.

 

How did you guys get into health and fitness?

Dave: It started from playing rugby at a young age and playing international rugby where I was lucky enough to work with some great sports scientists. Learning from those guys ignited my passion for learning more about  fitness and specifically nutrition.

Ash: Similar to Dave, I played competitive sport as a kid and always had a passion for fitness. After Uni I decided I wanted to work in the health and fitness world and so moved to Personal Training and Nutrition. Both myself and Dave have continued with our education and now study with the ISSN who are the gold standard in performance nutrition.

 

What made you want to start up Enhance Nutrition LDN?

Enhance Nutrition LDN was started with one goal in mind, and that is to help as many people as possible to learn how simple, yet effective nutrition is to achieving their goals. We were constantly confronted with the same questions and confusions from clients by info in the main stream media and we wanted to provide an unbiased and trustworthy source for people to come and learn. We’ve done this by creating a 6 week course for people to attend and learn a diverse range of nutrition topics which are all aimed at helping them understand nutrition and how it can help them. We also do bespoke nutrition plans working with clients from elite athlete level to weekend warriors. As we say it was created with your health in mind.
What made you want to work together?

Dave: Ash has the beard and knowledge, I have the looks and the books, why wouldn’t it work!

Ash: We had worked together as PT’s for a while and both shared the same outlook on how important nutrition is, we also found we could bounce off each other.


What do you want to achieve with the company?

We want to be a company that people send their friends, family, clients etc to. We aren’t here to promote anyone or anything specific and so want to be seen as the best non-biased providers of nutritional information out there. We also want to be lucky enough to work with as many trainers, coaches, nutritionists, athletes, celebs, house wives, kids, etc as possible.

For more info on us visit wwww.enhancenutritionldn.com or visit our YouTube channel Enhance Nutrition LDN TV.


Diets


The fact of the matter is, everyone wants to eat KFC and still look great naked. Sadly, for the majority of us, that just isn’t going to happen.

Everybody knows that Fitness Fondue promotes CLEAN eating, but in this post I’m going to talk about 3 popular diets and explain the pros and cons of each…

 

1. COUNTING POINTS: There are a few diets like this out there and they are incredibly popular because you really CAN eat that KFC and still lose weight!

First off, let me say that these diets are NOT healthy, so if health is your aim, steer well clear. However, I will say that they are a good starting point for beginners. If you are quite overweight and are looking to ease into the process, counting points is a good way to do so. After a few weeks/months however, they need to be ditched like day old trash. Why? Because at some point, that daily bar of chocolate isn’t going to be a reduction anymore, it will become a dietary staple. Your body will stop responding to the minor changes in your diet and will instead start storing the daily treats as fat.

 

2. JUICING: Juicing is the new craze, and there is definitely a place for it in everyone’s diet. However, this place is SHORT TERM and should work on cycles ONLY.

I have had clients who juiced every day for weeks or even months at a time, lost tons of weight and then gained it all back as soon as they reintroduced solids to their diets. They completely damaged their metabolism, which took months to fix and was incredibly disheartening for them.

If you are going to juice, I recommend you do so as a DETOX option. So after a holiday or a few days off the healthy wagon, try juicing for 2-6 days to detox your system.

 

3. ATKINS: Atkins has come back into fashion thanks to a certain Kardashian who has made some pretty misinformed statements about weight loss! Pieces us PTs have to then pick up and scramble to explain!

So, Atkins, does it work? Of course it works, you’ve cut out a MAJOR energy providing food group! Is it healthy? HELL NO.

Look, when it comes to carbs, they should be in your DAILY diet. HOWEVER, you do not need STARCHY carbs in your daily diet. Fruits and vegetables are carbohydrates and are ESSENTIAL for health AND weight loss. They provide fibre which aids the digestive system and discourages food from storing as fat. They also provide vitamins and minerals which allows your body to use food for FUEL instead of storing it as fat, not to mention keep you healthy, healthy, healthy.

STARCHY carbohydrates such as bread, rice and pasta should only ever be WHOLEMEAL and if weight loss is your goal, should only be included if you are resistance training (using weights or performing body strength exercises).

 


eProtein


When it comes to supplements, Fitness Fondue are constantly trying new brands and weeding out which ones we like. Believe us when we say that if we don’t like the product, we don’t put it on the site.

All the brands on FF have something to offer our fitties, whether it’s great value for money or great quality products, and we are pleased to add eProtein to the mix!

eProtein has an amazing range of supplements, including straight Whey Protein, Ultimate Whey Protein with added BCAAS, Diet Whey, Weight Gainers, fat burners, pre workouts, vitamins and more.

What we really, REALLY like about eProtein is their quality and taste. We’ve all ordered a protein and been disappointed with how it tastes, dreading post workout shakes and feeling a bit queasy at the thought of them, but we can honestly say that eProtein has the BEST tasting products we have tried yet.

Take a look at their website by clicking on the eProtein banner on the right hand side of the page. If there’s anything you like the look of, don’t forget your 10% discount with the code FITFOND and your FREE shaker!

Happy hunting, Fondues!

 


Stubborn Scales


Before I start this piece, I want to highlight the many, many faults of weighing scales…

So many of my clients have had issues with these evil little contraptions, becoming obsessive and even starving themselves just to see numbers drop…THIS IS A RIDICULOUS, UNINFORMED AND UNHEALTHY WAY TO ‘PROGRESS’!

The scales are one of the most UNRELIABLE ways to track physical changes. Remember, WEIGHT LOSS, FAT LOSS AND MUSCLE GAIN ARE 3 VERY DIFFERENT THINGS!

In the past, I have been VISIBLY leaning up week on week, but the scales  have remained stagnant and even risen as the days have passed. This is EXTREMELY common.

You must understand that several factors will affect the number you see on the scales, all of which I am about to list. However, my paramount piece of advice when it comes to monitoring the lbs? DO NOT TAKE IT SERIOUSLY! If your diet, training and lifestyle are 100% on track, ignore the scales and TRUST THE PROCESS!

If the scales have been stagnant for a while or have even started to rise, please don’t starve yourself or spend an hour on the treadmill! Here are some of the potential reasons:

  • It’s ‘that time of the month’: In the days leading up to menstruation, during and even after, women’s bodies can retain a lot of water. I have lost count of how many women have told me the scales have risen suddenly and dramatically, and this is almost always the cause. What’s the best way to manage it? Drink more water! Your body needs to be well hydrated to let go of fluid retention. I recommend drinking 8 pints a day. 
  • Water retention: As I’ve mentioned above, along with diet and exercise, WATER is a PIVOTAL factor of weight loss. The more H20 you drink, the more your body can start to let go of ‘water weight’ and run an efficiently hydrated system. Not to mention water will replenish muscle tissue, flush out toxins that can encourage weight gain and push vitamins and minerals to circulate the body, ensuring your nutrition intake is being used for fuel. I recommend drinking 8 pints a day.
  • Sleep deprivation: Water and sleep are largely overlooked factors when it comes to weight loss. If the scales are stagnant or rising yet your diet and exercise are on point, it could be due to hormonal changes. Hormones like cortisol will drastically effect your weight by encouraging your body to hold on to fat stores. The best ways to lower cortisol? Exercise and sleep! Your body needs be able to relax, especially if you are working hard, training hard or both. Any kind of pressure will cause cortisol levels to rise, so you HAVE to take the time to recharge your batteries, or weight gain could creep up on you.
  • You are new to weight training: Some of my online clients have become highly confused when they are a week or 2 into their brand new, spotless diet, training properly for the first time in their life and watching the scales rise simultaneously. They do not understand how lucky they are! When you start weight training for the first time, even if you are on a calorie deficit and/or doing a lot of cardio, you can actually burn fat WHILE gaining muscle! This does not last long, a couple months at best, and it is a gift from the fitness Gods so ENJOY IT! Some people are genetically gifted when it comes to gaining muscle, I know because I am one of them, and even if I myself am on a calorie deficit and/or doing a lot of cardio, the scales will creep up if I switch up my weight training routine. Again, I consider myself pretty lucky that this is the case.
  • Your body just doesn’t feel like it: It may seem like a cop out, but I’m sorry to say it is true. I have seen amazing changes take place both on my own body and on my clients’ without the scales budging for WEEKS at a time. Sometimes, your body is just happy sitting at a number, even when its aesthetic is changing. If this happens to you, take progress pictures, measurements, body fat %s instead and I guarantee you will see progress. If you do NOT see any changes, then it’s time to switch up your training! Increase the weights you’re lifting, the number of sets and reps you’re performing, the kind of training you’re doing, and re shock your body into responding. Changing up your exercise routine every few months is pivotal to weight loss.

The Truth About Abs


Abs are a 4 part process…

You can do crunches until the sun goes down, but if you have a layer of fat covering your abs, they will never show.

So, here are the 4 steps you need to take if you want to see those stubborn abdominal muscles:

 

1. Clean up the diet: The first thing you’d do if you realised you were putting the wrong petrol in your car is let go of the pump. There is absolutely no point in your quest for abs if you’re going to keep eating crap. It won’t work. You can not out exercise a bad diet. You need CLEAN (aka all natural) carbs, proteins and fats. You also need to be CONSISTENT. I have lost track of the amount of clients I have who did not realise their diet needs to be spot on Monday-Sunday, NOT Monday-Friday!

2. Start burning the fat: The best way to do this is HIIT. Interval sprints, interval boxing drills, interval rows, interval stair runs etc… You want to fully exert yourself for 30 seconds – 1 minute and then stop completely or slow to a walk for 30 seconds – 1 minute. Do this for 20-30 minutes.

3. Resistance training: If you CAN’T get to the weights section (which is what we recommend), then you can do body weight exercises. We’re talking squats, jumps, lunges, burpees, mountain climbers, push ups, tricep dips etc…Anything you can do to build some muscle. Investing in things like barbells and kettlebells is also a good idea.If you CAN get to a gym, start training different areas of your body with heavy weights, do 4 sets of 12 reps per exercise – this is a good fat burning zone to be in.

4. Abs: NOW and only now can you start to take on ab exercises. Crunches (on a Swiss ball are best), the plank, side bends, Russian Twists and leg plunges are some of our favourites to work the core…

 

If you want a structured Abs plan that includes all of the above steps in much more instructive detail (food options, workout plans etc), see our Guaranteed Abs plan here: http://fitnessfondue.com/downloads


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.

kXm5Pjh8sdd76G-hEZCrAEfn19sca-eCX1hYU28eChw,U9qKxZTP1qaRCOWfWiwdKUyd_lAdGRJiCxWRanrFiX8

uheWkXAJr6Raf7KGr0Q6C6EKe-_YQnrZ5vPGA9BeJjE


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.

Read More


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!