April 28, 2019
How to burn fat fast with HIIT
Feel like you’ve left it too late yet again? Well maybe, but there is still all of August to get into a good exercise habit to absolve all the BBQs and drinking that this summer is bringing. Starting now will also set you up nicely for Christmas, yes I’ve said it…the C word. Those parties are only four months away and I always get inundated in late November with clients asking for that two to four week miracle programme that’ll have them trim and toned for their works party, by which point it’s too late. Burning body fat is not easy, especially as we get older. The programme below is an incredibly efficient way of burning body fat, but it’ll still take time, so get started now.
You may or may not have heard of HIIT, but in last few years it has become an incredibly popular way of training. Proven to have a positive effect on your metabolism, HIIT is a great way of having a hard calorific burning workout in a relatively short period of time. High Intensity Interval Training is all about an all-out effort for a short period of time, followed by a rest period.
The length of these time periods can vary, catering for the individual. Below are some example timings, however, you can manufacture your own time periods to suit your level of fitness, but just remember your work effort must be 100 per cent of your ability. Anything less defeats the object of HIIT.
Beginner – 1:3 ratio
For most people, 20 seconds is the perfect time for maximum all-out effort. With this ratio you would complete 20seconds of exercise followed by a 60second rest.
Intermediate – 1:1 ratio
Sticking with 20 seconds, this timing will have you do 20 seconds of all-out exercise followed by 20 seconds of rest. That rest period will fly by so focus on breathing, get yourself hydrated pre-work out so that you’re not wasting valuable recovery time slurping back your water.
Advanced – 2:1 ratio
This ratio is commonly known in the fitness world as Tabata training. It is 20seconds of all-out exercise followed by just 10 seconds of recovery. You ideally want eight sets. How many sets you do and what exercise(s) you choose are entirely up to you and what you feel comfortable doing and how much time you have. I would say that try to do full body exercises as these require the most amount of energy, thus burning maximum calories, and try to do at least five sets on whichever ratio.
Keep your upper body straight, with your shoulders back and relaxed and chin up. Always engage your core. Step forward with one leg, lowering your hips until both knees are bent at about a 90-degree angle, then explode up, switching your foot stance in the air and repeat as quickly as possible. As well as power, this will also develop balance and coordination.
Assume a push-up position with your arms straight and your body in a straight line from your head to your ankles. Bring your right knee to your chest and place your foot back on the ground behind you. Quickly switch to the other leg and repeat as quickly as possible.
Sat on your bum, set the resistance as high as you can possibly manage and then pedal hell for leather. The momentum and velocity of this exercise will promote exceptional power in the legs and greater core stability.
These are just a few exercises that Ido once a week for HIIT. Personally, I’ll pick one exercise and do a block of eight sets on it before moving onto the next exercise, but you can mix it up if you wish.
January 12, 2018
Training at M Club with MS
Gaynor Jones was diagnosed with MS at 26-years-old and writes: “No one told me how to keep my symptoms at bay so I assumed working full time and eating generally well was OK. “My consultant neurologist advised me to move back up north so my family could help me when I was in a wheelchair. The NHS also just prescribed me general painkillers, anti-spasmodic drugs and/or disease modifying treatment, none of which make you any better, just hopefully stops you getting any worse. “The NHS physio simply prescribed me the simple exercise of standing on my tip toes 10 times daily, along with aids such as the wheelchair and walking stick.
“I felt I needed to do a lot more than just standing on my toes, so after looking at several local gyms I joined M Club because they promised me a personal trainer, and assigned Craig Silkens to help me.
“At first I’m not sure if he knew where my limitations were or how far he could push me, but I’m open to any help, and with Craig’s experience I put my trust in him.
“I am now working on my core to help my balance and posture, which is something I never thought I’d be able to do. I’m also lifting weights, using the gym machines with absolute confidence, and although walking into the gym initially was a daunting experience because of my elbow crutch and unsure as to what people might think, with my new found confidence and self-belief, I don’t care.
“I am really starting to reap the rewards – physically, aesthetically and mentally. Craig has advised me on my diet which has improved dramatically and, in turn, has helped keep certain unwanted symptoms at bay.
“I know that I have to push myself, convincing my mind that my body needs the gym, because if I don’t then my body will go backwards and I’ll be letting myself down, but in a weird way I’d feel like I’m letting Craig down because of the amount of time and energy he has invested in me.
“I know that 18 years of having MS will not reverse back in 18 weeks or 18 months, but seeing how far I’ve come
in the last several weeks under expert guidance, I am genuinely very excited about what the future holds for me now.”
Gaynor is, without doubt, a project of a client and every week I learn
something new about her condition, but every week we also overcome a hurdle.
This is down to Gaynor’s tenacity and willing to experiment with new training ideas and never giving up,even when she’s exhausted.
For this I applaud her and say that everyone reading this article should take inspiration from it. Regardless of your physical ability, we can all make improvements to our health. For further information on MS check out www.mssociety.org.uk
September 11, 2017
Useful tricks to lose tummy fat
With summer in full swing I can’t tell you how many times I’m getting asked the age old question – how do I burn fat from my tummy?
And I find myself constantly breaking people’s hearts by telling them that they can’t, it’s just physiologically not going to happen.
Your body will burn fat from where it wants to, not where you want it to. If you’re lucky enough that it happens to be from the tummy then good for you, but for most of us that’s just not the case. But all is not lost; there are a few ways in which we can have a flatter tummy and the appearance of having a lean stomach.
First, although performing a million sit-ups a day will not burn fat from the stomach, it will certainly develop the abdominal muscle groups and thus they will become much tighter. At the same time they will draw the abdominal wall inwards rather than being slack and hanging outwards. Doing a million sit-ups is a little bit excessive so I would look to perform 10 to start with, working up to 20 – depending on your ability – and try to achieve three to five sets of these. The key thing when doing sit-ups, in fact any kind of abdominal work, is to perform the exercise slowly and under control. Literally think about your abs as you are doing the exercises, you’ll feel them engage so much harder and you’ll soon learn how to engage them when you’re not doing a specific exercise but you just want to tense them.
Something I practice and encourage my clients to practice is a bodybuilder’s trick called abdominal vacuuming. This is simply sucking the abs in and up to create a vacuum in the abdominal wall – giving the impression of a hollow, slimmer stomach.The trick is to be able to hold this position and continue to breath and do light daily tasks. Doing this exercise as often as possible daily can also help with core control.
Secondly watch what you eat! Most people who approach me on how to burn belly fat are already changing their ways on food; perhaps reducing calories or eliminating a macro nutrient.
But what about foods that make you bloated? Most processed foods such as pasta and bread are the normal guilty parties, but what foods or food groups cause you to bloat out? If you can figure that out then simply avoid these foods and you’ll feel much better within yourself.
There are number of foods that can even reverse stomach bloat – fennel seeds, green tea, lemons and onions, to name a few – but remember you are individual and certain “anti-bloat” foods could have the exact opposite effect.
My final word of advice is try to avoid water retention. Granted this just cannot be helped sometimes, because of medication or even just the heat, but there are a few ways in which you can reduce the effects, leaving you looking less puffy and offering the appearance of a leaner you.
Avoid salt and refined carbohydrates as these are the perfect sources to hold onto water.
Try to increase your vitamin B6, magnesium and potassium intake as these have shown in past studies to aid female subjects with reducing water retention.
Certain diuretics will help by pulling the water out from the soft tissue, but please be very careful because the last thing you want is to become dehydrated and fall ill, particularly with all this warm weather.
Ultimately, in order to have a lean figure and flat tummy you will need to live an active lifestyle and be mindful of what you are eating and drinking. If you are feeling motivated to be more active and change your physical appearance because the sun is out then perhaps now is a good time to join a gym and set good solid training habits that will hopefully carry over into the winter months when you will almost certainly be less interested in joining a gym.
February 15, 2017
The pros and cons of pre-workout supplements
M Clubs own Personal Trainer and Fitness Instructor Kevin Bennett reflects on the pros and cons of pre-workout supplements. Pre workout is quite possibly the most spoken about and most used supplement today, used by both gym goers and athletes.
One of the main ingredients in pre workout is caffeine, the doses of which are quite high, the amount of caffeine in most of the popular pre workouts are anywhere from 150mg to 250mg per scoop. Some, not all, of these products even recommend taking two scoops per drink. One of the higher dosed products is 200mg per scoop and they recommend taking 1-2 scoops per drink. That’s a total of 400mg of caffeine in a single serving, an average cup of coffee is between 94mg to 100mg. the total recommended daily intake of caffeine is 400mg. This is without other types of caffeine you intake from known or unknown sources, these include energy drinks, fizzy drinks, fat loss pills, coffee, tea and pain relief tablets, caffeine can also show up in some strange places such as ice cream and even decaf coffee.
The positives to using a pre-workout are:
- Caffeine has been shown to block pain in the muscle during workouts (good for a one off race or event.)
- A small study done with high level athletes taking high amounts of caffeine and carbohydrates after training had 66% more glycogen in their muscles four hours after finishing intense glycogen-depleting exercise than athletes who didn’t.
- Improves focus
- Improves stamina
- Improves motivation
- Improves energy
The drawbacks to using a pre-workout are:
- Over stimulating
- Increased blood pressure
- Adrenal fatigue
- Drug test fail (if a competing athlete in particular sports)
- Energy crash
In my opinion pre workout can be a good tool to use, if used as a tool and not something to rely on. If you’ve been training really intense for a few weeks and coming to the end of a training cycle, or to the end of a really tough week and you really need something to help you get motivated this could help. I would not recommend taking a full 400mg serving. Maybe half or less is all you need to get the energy to finish that last day or two.
Also if you’re an athlete of any type, a kick of caffeine on game or race day could be a good way to push a little harder, provided it’s not deemed an illegal substance by the sport’s governing body. You should not rely upon pre-workout to get you to the gym every day or to get you through training. It is not a necessity. Too many people reply on this product to train.
I’m hearing more and more that people are taking high brand pre-workout and it has stopped having an effect on them. From over use and there body is adapted to really high amounts of caffeine. All they want is a product with higher caffeine levels or taking more scoops of the one they have. You should never end up in this position. If you do you should cut back. Caffeine is the same as any other stimulant or drug, the more you take of the product, the less it will work, then the more you feel the need to take. People can develop dependence to caffeine, as previously stated, it can become addictive.
Think about one of the first pros in the list, blocks pain to the muscles during training, also gives you extra energy and focus. This appears good but together it’s not quite as it seems. Everyone has a training limit for each day, let’s say 100%; the most highly motivated people may only get to 80-90% of this on a select day. With proper recovery and sleep the body will adapt and be ready to train in the next day or two. With pre workout and the effects stated previously, you could be pushing into the 100-110%. This may sound great but doing day after day, workout after workout, your body will not recover from this and could end in you taking time off for either injury or fatigue. If you do want a kick of energy before a workout, you could always try having a black coffee. You will get your caffeine kick also black coffee has other great benefits. But that’s another topic!
This is just a small look into pre workout pros and cons. If you are currently taking or thinking of taking pre workout, carefully research around the products you are considering.