An Email from a Fondue, her Battle, and THAT Poster…


I was reading your latest update on Fitness Fondue and I completely agree with what you’re saying. YES the media, fashion industry, celebrity world, modern society etc have a lot to answer for in influencing men, women, boys and girls on body image (especially impressionable younger generations). BUT, as you said, people are not taking enough responsibility for themselves and their own feelings.

The amount of times I’ve heard the same response from adult women in the past week with regard to the Protein World ad that caused so much controversy – “It MADE me feel so fat!”-  I’m sorry, a poster MADE you feel fat? An inanimate object forced a feeling on you? I find that highly unlikely. More likely is that you already felt unhappy with your body and this advertisement unfortunately brought that feeling to light. Yes, that sucks, but take some responsibility for yourself if you are feeling that way. No person, no object, certainly no poster can make you feel anything; you feel your own feelings, and only you dictate that. Don’t give a poster power – it’s just paper. 

I may sound like that Protein World poster doesn’t bother me in the slightest, and truthfully, it doesn’t. It’s not that I think I’m “beach body ready” (or whatever it was all about), it’s just that I’m FINALLY confident and happy with what I have. With my lot. And I’ve worked hard to get here. At age 29 I’m finally at a place where I actually am proud of my body and I never thought I’d get to this point! How did I get here? Well, therapy, which in itself was obviously hugely beneficial (goodness knows where I’d be without it) and helped me learn to ACCEPT my body and teach me how to have a healthier relationship with food. It can still be a bit of a battle at times (long time habits die hard) but finally the light has gone on in my head – I want to treat me body with respect, I want to nourish it, take care of it and make it the healthiest it can be. I don’t want to punish it or destroy it anymore. If I saw a friend treating their body the way I had been treating mine, I would call them crazy – why on earth would they be trying to kill themselves? Why do they hate themselves so much? But I couldn’t see that I was doing that to myself. Like so many people out there, I just thought I was doing what I could do to keep my body where it was and not gain weight. I didn’t see how much I actually hated myself. Eating disorders have a magical way of pulling the denial curtains over a person’s eyes and not allowing them to see the true extent of the damage they’re causing.

ANYWAY, I’m digressing a tad here…so yes, therapy set me on the right path to finally allowing me to accept my body. Which is a miracle in itself after spending half my life battling my body.

I’ve always been a complete cardio junky – running junky really. After buggering up my ankle training for a marathon a couple years ago, I had to find something else to tide me over while running was a no-go zone. I’d always been under the misconception that weight training was for men. It made you bulky. It didn’t really keep you fit. It certainly wasn’t for girls – especially girls with eating disorders who wanted to be the skinniest wee thing. What utter bollocks. In the past couple of years I have been constantly learning, working, training, achieving new goals with my weight training. And through it I have felt stronger, fitter, happier and ultimately more confident than I ever have.

Sure, it’s tough as hell. I’ve made a lot of sacrifices along the way. Goodbye alcohol. Goodbye processed food. Goodbye late nights. Goodbye sugar. I could go on, BUT, what I keep reminding myself of, when I have those moments of “Oh, its not fair, I just want to have a big slice of cake/bag of sweets/*insert most delicious food item imaginable here*” is that this is my choice. My decision. My responsibility. No one is forcing me to chose this lifestyle – similar to how no one can force me to feel any which way. I can easily go out, get drunk, eat as much as I want to, lie in front of the TV all day and do sweet FA. But I choose not to – I choose to get myself out of bed at 5:45am every morning to train. I choose to plan my meals ahead. I choose to spend my money on gym kit and supplements instead of girly clothes and beauty treatments.

And why? Because I love feeling strong, healthy and fit. I love learning new exercises and techniques and trying them out. I love seeing my body develop and refine itself. I love how when I started, I had no upper body strength whatsoever, now I am continually amazed at how it can push itself further and further. I love looking in the mirror and seeing a 6-pack staring back at me (when my lower abs aren’t feeling shy…the buggers).

There is no ‘end game’ with this, I can’t imagine I will get to a point where I think “ok, that’s me done now”. Because it’s not just about the aesthetic results (although yes they play a huge role) it’s also about how this has made me feel mentally stronger. When you see your body changing and evolving in a way you never thought possible it really makes you think “Damn, I’m pretty strong, I can really focus my goals and achieve what I want to achieve” and that can tap into all aspects of your life.

It’s such an ace journey (even though I might grumble and moan at some points from hunger/tiredness/achiness), and thats exactly what it is – a journey to keep learning, and keep training.


Female Fitness in the Media


The fact of the matter is, the fashion industry, film industry, music industry, fitness industry and mass media all have a huge say in the way women feel they ‘should’ look.

The blame is not on any one organisation, model, celebrity, TV show or newspaper alone. Truthfully, we have allowed outside influences alter the way we see ourselves and each other, and seemingly enjoyed it in the process.

While I agree that the above culprits are all at fault, I also feel frustrated that we as men and women take no responsibility for allowing it happen, and that change, however insisted upon it may be, is only really in our control.

As anyone who follows my fitness journey will know, I get a hell of a lot of flack on social media, gossip websites, and in the press for both the way I look, and for what I have chosen to do with my life.

A few years ago, such criticism would have torn me apart. But today, I love what I do, I love how I look, and I could not care less what my critics think of it.

If you love being curvy, be curvy! If you love feeling skinny, feel skinny! If you love having muscle, build muscle! The only thing I’d say is try to do all of the above in a healthy way. There are ways to do all of the above and still eat healthy foods and avoid under or over exercising. 

If we can all individually make the choice to look how we want while making health a priority, if we can start supporting each other instead of tearing each other down, and if we can side line the critics, we can actually have an impact on society and body image.

Eat clean most of the time, treat yourself sometimes, move your body, sleep well, drink water, and achieve your own aesthetic goals.

 


Stomach Fat, Thigh Fat, Arm Fat = FAT


Every day I receive emails and comments on my social media from men and women looking to ‘spot fat reduce’.

To ‘spot fat reduce’ means to shed fat from target areas, such as your stomach, legs, arms, back etc…

This is quite a divisive topic amongst fitness professionals, but I am of the opinion that it is IMPOSSIBLE to do.

In both my personal experience of training myself and professional experience of training others, I have come to find that when we shed fat, we shed it evenly from all over our bodies, the more stubborn areas being the last to go.

Stubborn areas are hormonal and genetic footholds of fat, and they WILL respond eventually if you are 100% on point with your diet and training. However, they are often the reason people give up prematurely, and I cannot stress enough that full body transformation IS POSSIBLE if you STAY CONSISTENT!

You need to get your diet and training right, which takes time and research, but if you can get a handle on it, that last roll of belly fat WILL disappear eventually. Trust me.

Still to this day my lower stomach FIGHTS me. It’s always first thing to pop up by the third day of a holiday the last thing to go when I’m getting back into shape. But I’ve shed it before and I know I can do it again, so I stick with it.

So, how do you get rid of your problem area? Diet, exercise, patience and consistency.

There is no magic pill, there is no fitness genie, it is up to you, so DO NOT GIVE UP!


Fat Burning


In the wake of the tragic death of 21 year old Eloise Aimee Parry, I wanted to write once again about fat burning.

The aim of this piece is to explain all of your options if fat burning is your goal, and to try to illustrate how unnecessary fat burners are if your diet and training is 100% on point.

By the same token, they are totally irrelevant if your diet and training is NOT 100% on point. In which case you have a LONG way to go before you start researching supplements…

RESEARCH – you will see this word time and time again in this piece. It is how I got good at what I do, and how you will too.

I will talk about the ingredients most fat burners contain and the fat burners I sometimes take in the build up to a shoot…

 

  • IF YOU WANT TO LOSE WEIGHT/FAT – DIET AND EXERCISE IS ALL YOU NEED! 

If you want to lose weight/fat the simple fact is that you need to move your body, eat CLEAN (aka all natural) foods, eat small portions of said food and STAY CONSISTENT!

When people say “I’ve tried and tried and I CANNOT lose weight!”, the truth of it is that they tried and tried for a short time and then gave up because it was too hard.  Or they tried inconsistently, and the results didn’t come because there was no SIGNIFICANT change. Don’t get me wrong, there can be problematic factors, Thyroids and medications being the most common, but generally speaking if you want to lose weight/fat, you absolutely CAN.

  • IF YOU WANT TO RAMP UP YOUR RESULTS, DO SOME RESEARCH INTO HEALTHY DIETING!

I know this to be true because it applies to me. When I started 3 years ago, I ate 100% clean and trained 6 days a week and it was HELL. I cried, I was tired, I was grumpy. I simply wasn’t used to it. My body didn’t know what to think. And this is why I got such great results in a matter of weeks.

HOWEVER, said results started to slow after a few months – why? Because our bodies and very clever and trust me, they will adapt and they will get into a happy and healthy pattern and settle down. If you want aesthetic results, this is when you need to start to do some RESEARCH as to how to advance your diet.

If you do your research properly, you will probably move on to calorie counting first. PLEASE DO THIS IN A HEALTHY WAY, TOO LOW CALORIES MEAN YOU WILL HAVE NO ENERGY TO TRAIN, YOUR BODY WILL GO INTO A CATABOLIC (MUSCLE EATING) STATE AND YOUR TRANSFORMATION WILL START TO LOOK VERY WONKY INDEED.

Or, research could lead you to do a rudimental carb cycle first, so clean starchy carbs pre and post workout only, the rest of the time protein and veg.

The next step will probably be macro splitting within said calorie count. Most start on a 40% protein, 30% carb, 30% fat split and tweak from there over the course of a few months.

And lastly, more advanced carb cycling is probably the last step (that I’m aware of at least), so a calorie count first, macro splits within said calorie count second, and a carb cycle third. It took me 3 years to get to this point, and if health and fitness wasn’t my job, I probably would have stopped at rudimental carb cycle. In fact, I definitely would have.

  • IF YOU WANT TO RAMP UP YOUR RESULTS, DO SOME RESEARCH INTO TRAINING!

Fasted cardio (cardio before breakfast) is a great way to burn fat.

HIIT (high intensity interval training) is a great way to burn fat.

Lifting weights builds muscle, and increased muscle means more calories burned even at rest.

Training 6 days a week will get you better results than training 3 days a week.

Switch up your training! If you’re starting to plateau, change your sets/reps/weights/overall routine.

DO. SOME. RESEARCH! THERE ARE OPTIONS!

  • BE PATIENT AND BE CONSISTENT, IT MIGHT TAKE A FEW WEEKS OR EVEN A FEW MONTHS, BUT IF YOU STICK WITH IT, THE RESULTS WILL COME!

This is the number one problem both personal trainers and their clients have.

IT IS HARD TO TURN DOWN JUNK FOOD EVERY DAY.

IT IS HARD TO TRAIN MOST DAYS.

So why do we do it? Because we have a goal, we want something, and some things take WORK…

SO WORK!

  • FAT BURNERS SHOULD ONLY COME INTO THE PICTURE IF YOU ARE ADVANCED WITH YOUR DIET AND TRAINING, ARE DOING ALL OF THE ABOVE AND HAVE BEEN FOR A WHILE, AND YOU HAVE DONE YOU RESEARCH!

Research research research.

How many people take fat burners and have no idea what’s in them? I’d venture to guess most. Why on EARTH are you swallowing tablets if you don’t know what is in them?

How many people take fat burners, can tell you what’s in them, but have no idea WHY? Do you realise that most fat burners are straight caffeine, which you can get from black coffee? Do you realise most fat burners have green tea extract, which you can get from, shock horror, green tea? Do you realise illegal fat burners contain ephedrine, which you can get from taking speed? Do you want speed as a part of your daily diet? No. No probably not.

BOTTOM LINE: If your diet and training isn’t 100% on point, why on earth are you popping fat burners?

Because I don’t believe the ‘CELIBACY PREVENTS PREGNANCY’ theory, I am going to tell you about the fat burners I will take in the weeks leading up to a shoot. Please bear in mind that they are not a daily, weekly or even monthly fixture in my diet, they are a last ditch effort pre fitness shoot.

Also, the fat burners I take are tested to athletic standards, meaning they are 100% safe…

HELLA 

UnknownBefore I start talking about Hella, I should probably flag that this IS my boyfriend’s product (which is how I came across it in the first place), but I am by no means pimping it for him.

The reason I like Hella is because it doesn’t make me feel shaky or sick like a lot of pre workouts do, it just focuses my training and makes it feel very energetic while I workout. This is probably because it’s 100% natural ingredients.

 The fat burning effects are visible after a few weeks, which again is a rarity, and it’s tested to athletic standards which means it’s a supplement athletes are totally fine to take.

Have a look here if you’re interested: http://www.jhbodyfire.com/products.html