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My Blog

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The Fat Burning Myth

Posted on 16 March, 2011 at 6:37 Comments comments (10)
It is often thought that exercising at lower intensities such as walking, burns more fat than at higher intensities (e.g. running). The science behind it is true in so much as when we work at lower intensities we require less 'quick release' energy (in the form of carbohydrates) therefore our body utilises a higher fat-to-carbohydrate ratio.
 
In order to lose weight you need to burn more calories than your body consumes and uses every day.  In other words you need to be in calorie deficit.  When we walk instead of run for instance, we burn fewer calories in the same amount of time the exercise is performed. More precisely, if you burn 250 calories everyday from a short fast jog, you'll see a bigger difference in weight and fat loss than if you walked everyday for the same amount of time. There is a higher percentage of fat being used during the walk but overall a lower total of fat is lost.
 
Intensity is the key here.  The more effort you put in, the higher your heart rate therefore the more calories you burn.  If you go to the gym and spend an hour chatting to your mate on the cross-trainer next to you, you're not working hard enough!
 
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Monday Morning Motivation

Posted on 14 March, 2011 at 6:06 Comments comments (5)
I often wonder why some individuals are highly motivated and constantly strive for success, while others seem to lack motivation, avoiding evaluation and competition.
 
Motivation is defined as the direction and intensity of one's effort. The direction of effort refers to whether an individual seeks out, approaches, or is attracted to certain situations.  Intensity of effort refers to how much effort a person exerts for any given situation. For most people, direction and intensity of effort are positively correlated.
 
If an individual wants to achieve their desired levels of fitness, they may need to get 'more motivated'.  As a Personal Trainer I help individuals in this pursuit by setting goals and helping them work harder toward achieving those goals.  My belief is that motivation results from an interaction between personality traits, needs, interests and situational factors such as coaching style and environment.
 
Long-term goals are important but short-term goals are crucial to performance improvement. The key to improving health and fitness is to develop a progression of short-term goals that lead to a long-term objective.
 
Monday mornings can be a mixed bag.  We may feel highly motivated at the start of the week or we may feel lethargic and unenthused.  Think about those short-term goals.  What do you want to achieve in the next seven days? How good will you feel by the end of the week if you've had some good quality workouts? How will a productive week of training progress you towards that ultimate goal? 
 
I often remind my circuit training class on a Monday night what a great start they've made to their week.  Clients seen on a Monday end their session feeling really positive about the week ahead. A Monday workout is the most important workout of the week.  Make it a good one.
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Specificity

Posted on 10 March, 2011 at 7:38 Comments comments (1)
The training principle known as Specificity is a simple concept.  For any given goal, you need to be specific in your training i.e. to be a good runner you must run! If your goal is a triathlon you would obviously incorporate all three disciplines into your training schedule.
 
The Specificity principle can be applied to many aspects of your training. For instance, your individual fitness level.  You should only train to your own capability. 'Overloading' too often or too much can result in injury or over-training syndrome.  
 
Personal training sessions are often designed with specificity in mind.  Coming to a Personal Trainer with the goal of Triathlon in your sights means sessions will focus on strengthening the specific muscle groups that are needed for that particular sport and attention paid to cardiovascular stamina and endurance.  
 
Although specificity is important, it is also necessary in every schedule to include exercises of a general nature.  These exercises may not relate too closely to the movement of any athletic event but they do give a balanced development and provide a strong base upon which highly specific exercise can be built.
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Running to Time not Distance

Posted on 9 March, 2011 at 9:41 Comments comments (0)
Some benefits of running for a certain duration instead of a calculated mileage:
 
1. If you're not focused on pace, you'll run based on the appropriate effort level for that day. So, on days when you're not feeling great or the conditions are dreadful, you won't force yourself to go for your miles or feel guilty if you don't cover the distance. Instead, you'll run for your goal time at the right pace.
2. It helps you prevent boredom and explore new routes more easily because you're not worried about the mileage. Running a set route to cover your miles can be too rigid.
3. If you always run by distance, you might be tempted to push the pace and always hit a certain pace per mile during each run, rather than varying the intensity of your workouts.
4. It makes running unfamiliar routes simpler. If you are away from home you can just chuck on your running kit and head out for a set time.
 
Don't throw away that Garmin just yet!  It's always good to do a regular tempo (race pace) run to check your pace and see how well you're doing.
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Signs of Spring

Posted on 14 February, 2011 at 8:07 Comments comments (0)
We often feel incredibly motivated throughout January.  After possible over-indulgence
during the festive period we are ready to put our New Year's resolutions into action and are convinced we'll stick to them.  By the end of January, early February, you may feel your convictions ebbing away.
 
My children love going on a 'Signs of Spring' walk with their Granny.  Now is the perfect time to wrap up and get outside.  New shoots are appearing and daffodils are out. Why not take your Signs of Spring walk up to a jog in places!?  Run for as long as you can and then walk until you feel recovered enough to increase the pace again.  Before you know it, spring will be here in all its glory and you'll be amazed at how long you can run for.  Go for it!!
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My Fitness Pal

Posted on 10 January, 2011 at 8:33 Comments comments (1)
I am inviting all my clients to register with this great website: http://www.myfitnesspal.com
 
It allows you to log what you eat and it will calculate the calories. You can also track
your daily exercise and invite your friends to see your progress and share your success!
 
Remember to email me once you have registered so that I can see how you're doing.
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10 things you need to know about losing weight

Posted on 10 January, 2011 at 8:25 Comments comments (3)
With a science background, I always enjoy hearing about new, good quality research findings. 
 
10 things you need to know about losing weight was on BBC 1 last week.
 
This programme explores some of the myths about dieting and provides well balanced arguments
for how best to lose weight.  Worth catching on iplayer: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer
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