Keep It Intense!

There are many reasons, that I’ve seen, why people do not reach their health and fitness goals. A lack of motivation and/or not having a well-structured goal usually leads to the main culprit: no regular, meaningful exercise.

But even among those people who make the effort to train regularly, there is one big factor that is preventing them from achieving the results that they seek: the intensity of the workout. Or, more accurately, the lack of it.

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You Can’t Out-Train A Bad Diet

The phrase “you can’t out-train a bad diet” is one I often use to a client, when emphasising the importance of a healthy eating plan where weight-loss is the main goal.

I’ve lost count of the number of clients who have no problem pushing themselves to their limit during their training sessions but whose diet let’s them down and doesn’t allow them to reach their goals.

During initial consultations with new clients I focus on the individual’s current diet and lifestyle and see which areas are most in need of change. This tends to throw up the usual suspects like too many carbohydrates, too little protein/vegetables, not drinking enough water and long gaps between meals.

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Get Fit For Easter

There are certain times during the year when it feels like it’s physically impossible to stay healthy, fit and motivated. Christmas immediately springs to mind.

Luckily there are also times when it’s a little easier to focus on getting in shape and right now we’re coming up to one of them: Lent. From a purely weight-loss point of view it’s an ideal opportunity to get your health and nutrition in order as it has been a tradition in Ireland for many years to “give up” something for Lent. The usual suspects are alcohol, cigarettes, sweets and chocolate.

Although the original purpose is spiritual and is based on self-sacrifice and repentance, there’s nobody saying that you can’t lose body fat while you’re saving your soul. So that’s why we can use a season like Lent to either start a new health campaign or resurrect the one that died somewhere around the middle of January.

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Get Your Weight Loss Back On Track

It’s the end of January and that means that the New Year’s Fitness Plan is well and truly dead for most people, or at best, it’s hanging on for dear life. Hopefully this does not apply to you and you’re starting to feel the benefits of a well-structured nutrition and exercise regime.

But don’t despair if you’re one of those people who’ve fallen off the fitness wagon – or didn’t manage to get on it in the first place. Today we’ll look at some of the reasons why New Year’s Resolutions don’t make it into February and what you can do to ensure that a healthy lifestyle becomes a natural way of life for you.

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The Perfect Body

At the moment, TV schedules seem to consist entirely of programmes relating to weight loss. Operation Transformation, The Biggest Loser and many other variations on the theme aim to inspire, educate and entertain us as they follow the health and fitness journeys of the contestants.

Although there is a positive side to these types of programme, I feel that there is one major drawback.

The above mentioned TV shows tend to create unrealistic expectations of what constitutes “normal” weekly weight loss and, by extension, create an unhelpful reliance on the weighing scales as the main indicator of body composition.

Without a doubt, I find that one of the biggest problems for clients starting a new training regime is unrealistic expectations. Some people seem to think that the very act of signing up to a gym or hiring a Personal Trainer automatically entitles them to the body of their dreams.

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3 Simple Steps to Weight Loss

Last week we looked at the importance of making one change at a time in order to achieve health or fitness targets. Today I’ll concentrate on one of the most important aspects of any weight-loss programme: Nutrition.

It seems obvious that in order to lose weight, the first area that needs to be addressed is our daily food intake. And yet, so many people seem reluctant to tackle this aspect of their lives in a meaningful way.

The fact is that healthy weight-loss is quite simple and yet, it can appear very complicated. The simple part is the type of food our body needs to survive and allow us to live energetic and healthy lives. The complicated side is why we don’t do it, and this brings up factors like stress, motivation, as well as emotional and hormonal issues. We’ll cover the hard part another time but today let’s keep it simple.

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New Year’s Resolutions – One Thing at a Time

The first week in January can be a time of mixed feelings: There’s the understandable sense of anti-climax following Christmas and the party season, coupled with the optimism of making a fresh start for the New Year.

That fresh start is often motivated by the battle scars of the party season: a few extra pounds on the weighing scales and clothes that suddenly seem to have shrunk. The usual response is either mild panic or a ridiculous sense of confidence that you can fix your entire life – waistline included – in the first couple of weeks in January.

This approach results in gyms packed with motivated, teetotal, non-smoking, diet-conscious, fitness freaks. And it usually lasts for about 3 weeks.

If this scenario sounds depressingly familiar to you, let’s look at why it’s not a great strategy for success and how you can improve on it.

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Lessons From a Diary 6: Sleep Your Way to Success

At this time of year there are a lot of obstacles to those of you who are looking to stay fit and lean. The Festive Season will probably have taken it’s toll, with excessive amounts of calories having been consumed, and the cold weather makes it much more inviting to stay indoors rather than go training. And while the old weight-loss mantra of Eat Less and Move More is always a good place to start, it won’t solve all the issues.

Lifestyle factors like sleep and stress play a huge role in how your body will react to any training regime. Simply put: if you appear to be doing “everything right” but aren’t getting the expected results from your exercise and nutrition programme, the chances are that your sleep or stress patterns are working against you.

Today we’ll look at the importance of a good night’s sleep and what you can do to ensure that you get as much quality rest as possible.

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Lessons From a Diary 5: Drink Up

Although weight loss is the main focus of almost all participants in our Bootcamps, I emphasize at all times the need to achieve it by safe, healthy and sustainable means. One method that ticks all of the above boxes is very simple: drink more water.

I’m not sure if it’s because we’re surrounded by the stuff or because it seems too good to be true, but clients’ Food/Lifestyle diaries consistently show me that most of them do not drink enough of it. I find this frustrating, because of all the nutrition, exercise and lifestyle changes I recommend, this has to be the easiest to implement.

So let’s have a quick re-cap on why water is so important and how it can help you to get leaner and fitter.

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Lessons From A Diary 4: Get S.M.A.R.T

When working with Bootcamp Participants and Personal Training Clients, I always encourage them to have a Goal or Target that they want to achieve by the end of the course or block of sessions. On their Lifestyle/Nutrition Diary there’s a blank space to put that goal in writing. For too many clients, that space stays blank.

This is the equivalent of setting off on a journey in a foreign country without a map or Sat Nav: you MIGHT get to your destination eventually, but the chances are that it will take longer and will be a very frustrating journey. Likewise without a goal to act as your Fitness Sat Nav, you will not reach your potential as quickly as possible.

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