CategoryFit Tips


THE LIFESTYLE CHANGE


The number one piece of advice any personal trainer or online coach will give you when it comes to changing your body?

STAY CONSISTENT!

Consistency is key because we can all change our bodies with a few weeks of effort, but what you can do with a few months of consistency will blow your mind.

So why doesn’t everybody just give their new diet and training plan a few months then?

BECAUSE CONSISTENCY IS HARD!

In this day and age, with work demands being what they are, the cost of living being what it is, the abundance of truly mind blowing food and wine at our disposal, and the sacrifices diet and training demand, it is pretty impressive that the health and fitness industry has an audience at all.

This is why the term ‘lifestyle change’ gets regurgitated time and time again, because a short term plan such as my Body Blitz is challenging and fun, but a long term plan is just, plain, challenging.

However, if you take that challenge, turn it on its head and say ‘this is not a challenge, this is my new life’, well then, you have immediately succeeded.

So how do we implement this lifestyle change?

Below are some of my psychological and practical tips that might give you the push you’ve been needing…

  1. PIN POINT ALL THE TRIGGERS THAT PULL YOU OFF TRACK 

This could be as simple as ‘I love wine’.

2. LEARN HOW TO MAKE ROOM FOR THESE TRIGGERS WITHIN YOUR LIFESTYLE CHANGE 

That’s probably a very confusing sentence. Let me explain…

If you love wine and you know that cutting it out is going to come full circle and pull you off track, leading to a frustrated cancellation of your brand new lifestyle change, don’t cut it out.

Why are you already starting with an action that you know will lead to your inevitable surrender?

You love wine? So let’s be smart here…

Wine is simply a caloric beverage that contains carbohydrates.

So, how can you implement it within your new lifestyle change?

You say ‘I am going to drink a few glasses of wine later, so today, I will have protein and veg as my meal staples, keeping me happy and healthy, and I will spend the calories I’m saving on carbs and fats throughout the day on wine’.

Now, some people get all hot and bothered about seeing food like this. Numbers, control, forethought…must be an eating disorder, right? WRONG. It is smart, and it is how you are going to have a FLEXIBLE diet WITHIN your goals.

When you start to get into choppy waters is when you let this happen too often. Obviously, this kind of trade off should NOT be happening daily. It’s just not great for optimum nutrition. But weekly? It’s absolutely going to keep you on track, happy and healthy.

3. UNDERSTAND THAT A ‘LIFESTYLE CHANGE’ IS NOT A PRISON SENTENCE

A lifestyle change (in this context) simply means that you’re going to start thinking about your physical health and fitness within your day to day life. And let’s be honest here, you should be thinking about it.

It means that you’re not going to keep eating junk food without a second thought, or sink a bottle of wine every night, or spend all weekend sprawled out on the sofa.

But it doesn’t mean that the above will NEVER happen again.

Just that, actually, maybe you shouldn’t have a McDonalds breakfast every morning. Maybe you should go a few days without drinking. Maybe you should get up and and get some fresh air on the weekend.

And I can promise you this- you WILL feel better when you can finally strike a balance between what you want, and what you need.

 


CARDIO


Let’s start from the beginning, shall we?

  • CARDIO SHOULD BE INCLUDED IN YOUR WEEKLY TRAINING PLAN, REGARDLESS OF SPECIFIC GOALS

Cardio is essential for your overall health and fitness. Period.

I personally believe that 3x weekly cardio sessions should be a staple, regardless of your start point and / or end goal.

This can be achieved in many ways – manipulated in both time and form – to suit your own specific aesthetic and / or training goals.

  • IF YOU ARE A BEGINNER

It is fairly obvious – just get up, and get moving.

Start by planning 3x weekly cardio sessions of between 20-30 minutes a pop.

Go for a walk, swim, dance, take up a new sport or simply jump on any cardio machine you enjoy (treadmill / elliptical / stepper / stairmaster / rower etc.).

If you find that you enjoy cardio, each week, you can add another session, or a few minutes onto your time.

I advise a maximum of 6x weekly, 1hr cardio sessions.

  • THERE ARE 4 DIFFERENT TYPES OF CARDIO

Low Intensity Steady State – A walk or a gentle swim, for example – Typically up to 1hr max

Moderate Intensity Steady State – A jog or a fast paced incline walk, for example – Typically up to 1hr max

High Intensity Interval Training – 100% effort for up to 1 minute max, followed by recovery for up to 2 minutes max – Typically up to 30minutes max

Fartleck – Sporadic intervals of effort designed to mimic sporting activity – Typically up to 30minutes max

  • IF GAINING WEIGHT AND / OR MUSCLE IS YOUR GOAL

If you are trying to gain weight and / or muscle, cardio should obviously take a back to seat to both weight lifting and total rest days.

However, while it may take a back seatit should still take a seat.

The research for the best type of cardio in terms of muscle building is constantly being undermined, overruled and contradicted.

It was once thought that LISS was the best way to preserve muscle, it is now thought that HIIT (being essentially the same training zone as power) is the best way to go.

In my opinion, you should ideally be implementing a bit of both…

This is because while HIIT is great in terms of muscle maintenance and even building, too much of it will increase cortisol levels, stress the body and greatly hinder recovery, which is NOT what you want when trying to promote an anabolic (muscle building) state.

I recommend HIIT sessions directly off the back of ALREADY very physically stressful training sessions (high energy, compound lift days, such as legs for example).

Try 10 minutes of HIIT ( roughly 5 intervals) after leg days.

LISS can play a role on rest days, but in small amounts, such as a 20 minute walk or recovery swim.

  • IF LOSING WEIGHT AND / OR FAT IS YOUR GOAL

Cardio should be seen as an added tool to your calorie deficit.

You should aim to start small, and increase ONLY if and when you plateau.

If you are trying to reserve muscle mass, I recommend starting on 10 minutes of HIIT (roughly 5 intervals) after leg days.

After other training sessions, try 20 minutes of LISS or MISS.

Cardio should start at x4 days TOTAL weekly.

If and when you plateau, you can +1 interval to your weekly HIIT, and +5 minutes to your weekly LISS or MISS.

HIIT should never exceed more than x30minutes total.

LISS or MISS should never exceed more than x1hr total.

You should not be doing cardio more than x6 days week TOTAL.

 


That Fine Line


Doing what I do, telling people how to change their bodies, is quite a morally conflicting job.

I am pro healthy, yes, but I am also pro HAPPY.

So it is very hard sometimes, when I know that spontaneous eating brings so much ease and joy, to tell somebody that they need to buckle down if they want to change their body. Obviously, if you want to reduce body fat, it is going to require some attention to diet and exercise.

I am also pro WOMEN, so it pains me when I share a client’s before and after, only to be told that she was beautiful before and shame on me for changing her.

Let me be very clear right now, I do not give two shits if you are in shape, out of shape, muscley, curvy, skinny, black, white or purple. I happen to work in health and fitness, so I happen to be called upon to help change bodies, be it internal, external, or both.

What I pride myself on doing is EDUCATING those who want to change their shape on how to do it PROPERLY, while effectively.

I have recently come under fire from somebody I very much respect, and this man has been brilliant enough to engage in a private debate with me.

I wanted to share with you all my last email to him, in the hopes that anybody who questions my moral compass, can perhaps begin to understand it better…

Thank you for your email.

I can ASSURE you that my goal is also to help and protect people as much as possible.

I too have conferred with therapists, dieticians, families and friends who have experience with eating disorders, in order to help many of my followers overcome anorexia nervosa, extreme low calorie intakes, binge eating, obesity and everything in between. I feel uncomfortable using this as a weapon in my defence, but the honest truth is that I receive emails and messages of thanks all the time from women of all ages regarding this particular subject matter.

I think what you are judging me on is a short turn around body transformation book aimed at women who want to feel happy and comfortable in their own skin for a wedding, a honeymoon or an important event.

I gather from your email that you don’t accept that this should be the way it is for women, but unfortunately, it is.

So, with that in mind, my goal is then to help women achieve their health, fitness, strength and aesthetic goals WITHOUT starving themselves, overtraining, or hating their bodies in the process.

Instead, they EAT, they MOVE, they think about overlooked but paramount factors such as water, rest and sleep, and they learn to marvel at the strength and science of the human body.

And I honestly feel, although I can see from your email that you would strongly disagree with this, that I am doing a good job.

Before I was qualified and educated on the body, I would panic before a holiday or a big event, and spend weeks on the Atkins diet, under-eating, going for long runs pounding pavement (eventually giving myself such bad shin splints that I still can’t run outdoors) and feeling lost and frustrated at every turn. I was working hard to make changes, so why wasn’t my body responding?

Now that I am educated, what I try to do is explain exactly WHAT resistance training, cardio, protein, fats, carbs, micronutrients, calories, water, rest, sleep, supplementation, hormones and gut health do to the body, so that people have the tools to start treating their bodies incredibly well and getting the results they want simultaneously, instead of trading in health for aesthetics.

Your view of a calorie deficit is that it is dangerous, but it has to be extreme and constant for any harm to be done.
Eating 1500calories a day for a woman is not extreme, nor is it dangerous or damaging.
However, if a woman wants to up her training, I always point out that first and foremost, she needs to up her calories.
At the moment I am power lifting, and eating over 2200 calories daily.
I have been documenting this and explaining it en route, exactly as I do when in a fat loss phase.

You mention metabolic damage (again, I applaud your brilliant references), but again, a diet is to be severely low calorie and long term for this to occur.
Also, are you aware that metabolic damage is never permanent, metabolic adaptation is a much more appropriate phrase, in that the metabolism has adapted to low calories and has come to a screeching halt to prevent further loss of body fat.
It can be fixed in a matter of months, with a gradual calorie increase and focus on the individual.
I know this because not only have I achieved it, I have helped clients achieve it also.

When I talk about harnessing feelings of hunger, I talk about it in the context of the body’s response to being in a fat loss phase.
When you are losing body fat, even if you have an unhealthy amount to lose, your body will fight you to keep it, hence the increase in hunger.
The fact of the matter is, if you are trying to go from 30% body fat down to 20% body fat, you are going to need to implement a calorie deficit, and when it starts to take effect, your brain is going to start to tell you that you’re hungry.
But that doesn’t mean that you have to eat, I strongly disagree with you on this point, what it means is that your brain is telling you to eat because it doesn’t want to lose body fat.
The fact of the matter is we are simply not meant to have a very high body fat, but we do because of our environment now.
Have you ever read a book called The Hungry Brain? If not, I think you would find it fascinating.

What I will say for you is this; it is a GREAT comfort to have a MAN looking out for women. Especially a man with such an excellent platform. I am extremely impressed by you.

Thank you for your email,

Chloe Madeley


Long Term Goals


Hello Fondues!

A lot of you are currently on my 4 Week Body Blitz, so have a short term goal to work towards.

As I have said many times, both on my social media and on this blog, pushing yourself to achieve a short term goal is not a bad thing. There is something to be said for the mental focus and physical push that comes with it, and the results of both will benefit you in the long run.

However, there does come a point when you need to start thinking about how to slowly reverse out of a short term goal, and find your long term balance in the process.

Whether this goes from implementing a weekly carb cycle to implementing daily carbs, or from intensive training sessions into more enjoyable workouts, or finding a way to include days off diet and training into your week, ‘balance’ looks different for everyone.

My suggestion is that no matter what plan you are on, start to reverse out of it until you find your happy spot.

For me personally, this usually includes pre and post workout carbohydrates daily, so my training is both enjoyable and beneficial, the rest of the time focusing on fats instead so my hormones are happy.

It includes 6 days of intensive training a week, with one full day off to rest and eat intuitively.

It includes being OK with not being lean, and embracing my body in a more natural and happy state.

Whatever your ‘balance’ looks like, remember that health and fitness includes mental, physical and emotional well being. As long as you can tick those 3 boxes, you are doing it right.


The Facts


I’ve been thinking over the last few weeks – probably as a result of The 4 Week Body Blitz release – that there are a few universal truths that should be understood before anybody embarks on any kind of aesthetic plan.

The rules of the Blitz are explained throughout – why I want you ding HIIT circuits, why some food options are missing, why I don’t want you having cheat nights – but these are all very specific rules to The Blitz.

The rules in general are of course, more general. I want to explain some of them now…

DIET

First of all, you must understand that the dietary factor that will get you results is CALORIES.

Whether you want to gain muscle or lose fat, CALORIES are your priority.

If you implement a calorie deficit (eat less), you will lose.

If you implement a calorie surplus (eat more), you will gain.

All food has calories. You could eat 6 chicken salads a day and come out at 1200 calories, OR you could eat 4 slices of pizza a day and come out at 1200 calories.

The reason I am strict with food in The 4 Week Body Blitz is because I want you eating AS MUCH food as possible throughout the day, with as much NUTRITIONAL value as possible. I do this to ensure you feel FULL, you become HEALTHY and you are AIDING YOUR AESTHETIC RESULTS with the ideal nutrition.

So why the carb cycle? Because this is The 4 Week Body Blitz, so even though calories are the main factor, I am pulling out all the stops to get your the BEST results possible in the SHORTEST time frame possible. Your body needs to burn SOMETHING for energy, and if you are already in a calorie deficit, you are already burning more calories than you’re consuming. I then want to deplete your glycogen (carb) stores, in the hopes that your body then turns to that adipose tissue (fat) around your mid section!

TRAINING

As above, the main factor here is CALORIES.

Your body needs a certain number of calories just to function (your Basal Metabolic Rate), but you then need to eat more to increase your BMR up to your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (exercise).

You could easily just hit your BMR and be slim and nutritionally healthy, but you wouldn’t be fit, strong, energetic, or have a metabolic rate or aesthetic look to shout about.

The same logic applies to WHAT exercise you are choosing to do.

You could go for a walk every day and tick the fit, energetic and metabolic boxes, but you wouldn’t tick the strong or aesthetic boxes.

You could lift weights every day and hit the strong and metabolic boxes, but you’d fall short in the fit, energetic and again, aesthetic boxes.

The reason the exercises in The Blitz are what they are, is because I want you ticking ALL THE BOXES.

Fit, strong, energetic, metabolic and aesthetic…all of these are covered with circuit training.

The exercises alternate between resistance and cardio and everything in between.

Yes you can replace a circuit with a PT session, a spin class or a Metafit every few days, but it wont work as well if you do this daily.

The general rule? Make sure you are getting some form of cardio and some form of resistance training done 4-6 days a week.

The Blitz is more specific than the general rule, yes, but it works. Trust it, and learn from it. 

If you are interested in following a diet that explains how to calculate your own specific calories and macros for your own specific goals, make sure you download the Food Philosophy Guide at the top of this page.