Wonder Woman Fitness

Archive for the ‘weight loss’ Category

The Carbohydrate debate

 

Good carbsbad carbs

Much debate has been documented and reported that carbs are bad for you, carbs make you put on weight.  Confused?  Well let me explain a little bit.  In this blog I will explain the good sides and the bad sides to carbs and why some are important to your diet.  So if you are confused about whether carbs are good or bad for you then read on……

 First things first some carbs are not bad for you!!!  However choosing the right kinds of carbs is very important for health, wellness and even weight loss.  So heres the science, the human body uses carbs most efficiently for energy production (as opposed to fats and proteins).  So there really isn’t any reason to avoid carbs but there is a big difference between the normal, wholesome good carbs we are designed to eat and the unnatural (although tasty) highly processed refined carbs.  These bad carbs are contributing to a health crisis in the forms of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancers.

 Choosing good carbs is the key to looking and feeling your best, simply put if your diet is based around healthy, natural carbs rather than the unhealthy processed carbs – you will feel the benefit.

 Please remember that carbs give you energy and provide many of the vitamins and minerals necessary for good health, see the right ones are good for you.

 Good carbs are unprocessed carbohydrates in their ‘natural state’ or very close to their natural state.  In other words they have been minimally altered by man or machine i.e. not out of a packet more like out of the ground.  Pretty much all ‘leafy’ green vegetables and fruit are good carbs.  Beans and legumes, nuts and seeds are also included in the good carb category.  Finally wholegrain cereals including wholegrain breads and pastas are also ‘good’ carbs in moderation.  These types of carbs provide a slower and more sustained release of energy than bad carbs and in their natural form they contribute to long-term health gains, appetite control and sustained energy levels.

 Reason you should be eating good carbs:

  • High in fibre – helps you stay fuller for longer
  • Low GI: low glycemic index which stabilizes blood sugar levels and insulin
  • High in nutrients
  • Low ‘energy-density’: which provides sustained energy, promotes healthy weight loss and long-term weight management

 To sum up what good carbs are, have a look at this list below (picture 1 at the top of the blog):

  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Fruit (try to not consume to much though as they contain a lot of natural sugar)
  • Beans
  • Legumes
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Whole cereals, breads, cereals, flour, pasta and rice
  • Oats
  • Root vegetables

 Ok so onto the bad (boo!!!!) carbs.  These are refined processed carbohydrates that have all or most of their natural nutrients and fibre removed in order to make them more consumer friendly.  Most baked goods, white breads, white pastas, snack foods, sweets and soft drinks fit into this category.  Bleached, enriched white flour and white sugar are the most common ingredients used to make bad carbs.

 These carbs are harmful mainly because the human body is not able to process them very well.  Most of the processed carbs we eat wreak havoc on our natural hormone levels.  Insulin production is thrown out of sync as the body attempts to process the huge amounts of starches and simple sugars contained in a bad-carb based meal (i.e. white pastas, white bread etc).  This leads to dramatic fluctuations in blood sugar levels – a big reason you feel tired after eating these bad carb meals.

 Examples of bad carbs and sugary (simply carb) bad foods (picture 2 at the top of the blog):

  • Biscuits, pastries and cakes
  • Pizzas
  • Sugary processed breakfast cereals
  • White bread, flour, pasta, rice
  • Chocolate
  • Honey and jams
  • Jellies
  • Brown and white sugar
  • Soft drinks
  • Sweets and snack bars

 So if you believe that good carbs make you fat please read on.  Obviously bad carbs will make you fat especially in the form of sweets and chocolate but good carbs gram for gram contain less calories than fat, protein and alcohol.  Please remember that eating too much of any food will lead to weight gain, regardless of what food you get your energy from.  Also keep active.  If you are aiming to lose weight then by all means swap your bad carbs for good carbs but hit the gym, get yourself active in the outdoors as this will speed up the weight loss process and increase your energy levels, fitness levels and confidence.

Tips for healthy eating:

  • Your daily diet should be a balance of good carbs and protein
  • Base each of your meals on a complex carb such as potato, sweet potato, wholemeal bread or pasta and include vegetables.  Ensure your protein is lean also
  • Use high fibre wholegrain cereals as part of your breakfast or wholemeal bread for your toast
  • Large carb meals will make you sleepy and slow so save a big carb meal for the evening
  • Cut down on the amount of refined white flour products in your diet, such as white bread, pizza, pasta and rice.  The refining process produces a simple carbohydrate and many vitamins and minerals are lost.
  • Remember fruit is naturally high in sugar as are fruit juices and smoothies so limit these to your diet.  Choose more vegetables to gain your 5 a day.

Happy eating, any questions please feel free to leave comments.

Train with me

I need you!!!!

 

Train with me

Train with me

Do you think your training is going well?  Is it pushing you hard enough?  Want to try something different?  Ok then, I need you to read this and to do this.  I am basically trying to get you moving by giving you a training session a month to try and stick to.  They will be based on weights, intervals, pyramids etc all sound scary but all fun with a wee bit of hard work thrown in.  I will also give a 3 day ‘diet’ to have a look at and to follow, not for the whole month though just a max of 5 days to help with your training.  The idea of this is to show you different ways of training and to see how I train.  I will be giving beginner, intermediate and advanced options so all abilities can do this.  Give it a go what do you have to lose?  If done right the only thing you will lose is a couple of pounds or more.  Keep active………….

Session 1: Intervals

This is ideally suited to the treadmill as you will work harder, but it can be performed on the bike, rower or X Trainer.  All I will say is each session is 20 minutes in total so you should be pretty tired at the end of the session even if you are a beginner.  Also it can be performed outside if you have a hate or a fear of treadmills just make sure you have a stop watch.  Do the interval sessions at least 3-4 times per week.  If you are following a weight program do that alongside this, actually I highly recommend that you do follow one.  Remember to have your rest days to recover.  The next session will be weights based so it will work with this one nicely.

The beginners session:

Time  
2 minutes Brisk walk
30 seconds Jog
90 seconds Brisk walk
45 seconds Jog
90 seconds Brisk walk
60 seconds Jog
90 seconds Brisk walk
90  seconds Jog
90 seconds Brisk walk
90 seconds Jog
90 seconds Brisk walk
60 seconds Jog
90 seconds Brisk walk
45 seconds Jog
90 seconds Brisk walk
30 seconds Jog

The Intermediate session:

Time  
60 seconds Jog
90 seconds Run
60 seconds Jog
120 seconds Run
60 seconds Jog
90 seconds Run
60 seconds Jog
120 seconds Run
60 seconds Jog
90 seconds Run
60 seconds Jog
120 seconds Run
60 seconds Jog
90 seconds Run
60 seconds Jog

 

The advanced session: (To be completed with an incline of 2-4%)

Time  
60 seconds Run
30 seconds Sprint
60 seconds Run
45 seconds Sprint
60 seconds Run
60 seconds Sprint
60 seconds Run
45 seconds Sprint
60 seconds Run
30 seconds Sprint

Repeat this session twice if you dare!!!!!

Diet:

Try this for 3-5 days.  It has limited stodgy carbs so if you are used to them you will find it hard but keep with it.

Meal Food
Breakfast 2 scrambled eggs

Ham

Handful of spinach

Snack Low fat hummus

Celery and carrot batons

Lunch Ham and avocado salad

Salad leaves, spinach, tomatoes, cucumber, ½ avocado and ham

Snack Cooked Chicken

Mixed seeds

Dinner Lean meat (chicken, fish, pork, turkey, steak)Roasted vegetables
Snack Small amount of low fat cottage cheese

Secrets to Weight loss Is there such a thing? With so many diet plans out there surely some of them have to be right, right? Well to be honest most of the diets are out there are money making schemes and make money they do. In America it was estimated that the weight loss industry would make around $68 billion in 2010, through meal replacements, diet pills, diet plans and programs etc and not to mention the amount people spend on gym memberships they never use or home fitness equipment (don’t get me started on that). So how do we lose weight, burn fat and more importantly keep it off and keep active?

I have put together some simple guidelines that I think may help you. If I am honest it is not rocket science it’s about balance and knowing what to do, I am sure I will not tell you anything new but I may be able to iron out some issues.

life, exercise and diet balance

Its all about finding a balance

As the picture states its all about the right balance, from exercise to the food you consume. I have read a lot of diets and fitness plans over the years like most of us have. Read my 6 guidelines and see where the results take you.

• Smaller more frequent meals: Sometimes having 3 main meals (i.e. breakfast, lunch and dinner) can make you feel very full and sluggish. Smaller more frequent meals, every 2-3 hrs, can help maintain more stable blood sugar levels. This is one of the advantages I feel with smaller more frequent meals is that I feel I have more energy and not as sleepy (which is amazing for me). Smaller more frequent meals can help you control your weight because you may be less hungry and less likely to over eat at the next meal. Example of a typical day with smaller more frequent meals: 7 am 1 or 2 poached egg on toast, 10 am snack hummus with some raw veg, 12 noon ham and avocado salad, 3pm snack 3 oatcakes and cooked chicken, 6pm dinner lean meat served with vegetables and some brown rice.

• Cut out refined carbohydrates: There are two types of carbohydrates, the good ones and the bad ones. Refined carbohydrates are the ‘bad’ ones. The body processes this very quickly and causes a high rise in sugar levels like a high followed by a crash. Refined carbs are: In any beverage containing sugar or refined sugar including sweetened fruit juices, beer, wine (Boo!!), soft drinks and sweet tea or coffee. In Fruit, so be careful with it. Stick to berries if you are going to have fruit. Also be careful with tinned fruit as they usually contain sugar if they are covered in syrup also try and pick the tinned fruit with natural juice. Be careful with your grains and opt for the wholemeal or wholegrain version if you can. Stay away from white flour versions of things like your bagels, bread, muffins etc. White flour foods will leave you feeling bloated and heavy and possibly uncomfortable!! High sugar tasty snacks are always tempting but I don’t think I need to tell you that cakes and chocolate and all the tasty treats are not that good for you so limit yourself or if your will power is great get rid of them altogether. Just remember this, that refined carbohydrates are robbed of vital fibre, vitamins and minerals. Stick to a ‘diet’ rich in pulses, nuts, seeds, berries, vegetables, oats, whole grains and wholemeal foods. If you are looking to feel lighter and less bloated then limit the wholemeal and wholegrain foods, like pasta and bread but do not stop eating them, you need them for energy.

• Eat meals based on lean protein: Lean protein can be added to every meal and snack throughout your day, with eggs, chicken, fish, tuna, cottage cheese, feta cheese, etc. Eating more lean protein in our diet can lead to a higher metabolic rate as it requires a higher percentage of energy to process it in our bodies than carbs. It helps with muscle growth and repair and does not increase your insulin levels so having a lean protein diet can control your cravings. I regularly follow this for about a week and I always feel lighter and less bloated. I then include good carbs into my diet the following week so I am getting a good balanced diet for health and for my training.

• Limit your fruit intake: As mentioned in section 2 try and limit your fruit intake. Getting your 5 a day should be mostly from vegetables and try and stay with berries for your fruit. Fruit although very natural is full of sugary and this can hinder your weight loss plans even though you think you are eating healthily. Just as an example here are some of our favourite fruits and there sugar content: banana (5.5g) 1 teaspoon of sugar, 11g golden delicious apple 2 teaspoons of sugar, large bunch of grapes 500g nearly 8 teaspoons of sugar!!!!! Also fruit is packed with fructose which does not make you full as it does not trigger the insulin response of fullness, hence why some people can gobble a whole pack of grapes.

• Introduce interval training into your exercise regime: By mixing burst of high intensity work with low intensity periods of recovery, you’re overloading both the aerobic and anaerobic systems at the same time, getting the benefits of both aspects of training simultaneously. This type of training saves you time, it can be done in 20 – 30 minutes, it is a great way to relieve boredom and pass the training plateau, and most importantly it can help you lose weight. This is because you are challenging both training systems in your body and improving your bodies ability to burn more calories. Your adding new muscle groups to your training which speeds up your metabolism of fat, your getting an aerobic workout that burns calories, you’re pushing yourself beyond your limits, so your body is becoming a fat burning machine. But trust me when I say that interval training is hard work, sometimes uncomfortable and you never look sexy doing it but you can reap the fitness and fat loss benefits from doing it. General rules of interval training can be done on any machine in the gym or outside. Train intensely for 1 minute to 2 minutes then actively rest for 1 to 2 minutes. You are looking to feel the burn and repeat this process 4 – 10 times depending on your fitness levels. I will be adding a few interval training blogs for you to attempt soon so keep an eye out. With interval training it is also important to weight train to accompany it and get the overall lean look that you are looking for. Remember with weights try to lift heavier and use more full body movements. This will increase your fat burning efficiency and also give you a sleeker look if you use exercises for all your muscles.

• Most importantly listen to your body: This is the one I usually forget. It is important to listen to your body and not over train. Remember to stretch after your training, helps you look leaner and less sore, perhaps try yoga or pilates. Also treat yourself, this does not have to be food or alcohol based, for all your hard work maybe buy some new clothes a night out, a massage or a trip away. I always feel that if you have something to look forward to the training and the diet regime seems slightly easier. I also find that entering an event will boost your motivation and your training for example a 5k or 10k run, a walk, or even a triathlon!!! Anything that will keep you motivated, keep your training intensity up, keep your diet in check and keep you training hard will help you lose weight and burn fat.

A wee point to remember I am no saint when it comes to training or my diet. I enjoy food and red wine way too much but I also enjoy training. I understand the benefits of a good diet and a planned training session but I also like to enjoy my life and treat myself. My advice is find something you enjoy and make it part of your life, train hard, get the benefits and you will see results from all your hard work.

Any questions on diet or training leave a comment and I will get back to you

Keep active folks……………

Personal Training – What’s all the fuss about?

Personal Training

 Have you ever wondered what its like to get some personal training?  If you are training for a specific event, need extra motivation or are stuck in an exercise rut personal training can be the answer for you.  Depending on their experience they will design programs and sessions around your own personal goals, give dietary advice, do specific types of training, motivate you and make your sessions fun and worthwhile.  As a personal trainer myself I really enjoy my job as I can let my clients see their own potential, its amazing how people do not realize their own ability until pushed.  I have a great time with my clients and I try to make it as fun as possible, well if I’m going to train you hard then lets do it with a smile on your face.  So if you have ever thought about personal training and want to know what goes on then read on….

 I have asked one of my Personal training clients to make a blog of her sessions and her experiences with me:

Session 1:

“I have tried various types of exercise in the past, but as the date to my civil partnership celebration approached, I realised I needed some more expert help to help me feel in better shape.  I did a series of sessions with Kelly, and although it was a bit late to make a significant improvement, it did make me feel more confident for my big day.  It also left me wondering what if I continued?  Could I actually get rid of my wobbly bits, and even tone up my belly? 

So I’ve submitted myself to the rigours of Kelly’s sessions again.  Kelly has designed a programme I can work on my own, and also comes up with different things to do with her each week. This week she got me running uphill, which is quite an achievement given my lifelong avoidance of running!  I felt a good sense of achievement in managing to complete the run, even if my face did match my pink top afterwards!  By interval training, the minute walking gave me the respite I need to continue, and the target to not need them in the future! There was also exercises on the Swiss Ball, which test my poor sense of balance to the limit, but I can feel it working!  I make the most ridiculous noises while attempting things I never thought I could do, but Kelly makes it fun and while it’s challenging, it’s not totally impossible!”

A bit of boxing

Session 2:

“Kelly has a wide range of tricks up her sleeve, which means the sessions always seem to go quickly, and there’s often something new to try.  This week, there was an emphasis on legs.  I’ve always thought my legs were reasonably strong, but that running uphill made me realise they need a bit of attention too!  So, just to make squats more difficult – and effective! – I was holding a kettle weight in the air while doing big forward squats, and then backwards.  Deceptively difficult, and one I’ll need to practice before I can actually manage it without making increasingly strange noises, and feeling it for days afterwards!  Back to working on my stomach, Kelly introduced another new exercise, stretching a band across the body, which gets those side muscles working – I like it when I can feel the right muscles working, it reminds me what this is all about!”

Session 3:

Kelly really tried to make me think this session, with the co-ordination challenge known as spotty dogs, followed by boxing to different counts – but when I’m thinking so much, it distracts me from how hard work it is! 

 We then tried peak running – when I was attempting to run longer and faster than before, but I didn’t quite manage to get up to 12, given I was running at 10 and 11 for a few minutes beforehand, and Kelly warned me there was more hard work to come! 

This included lots of steps – which started off not too bad, but soon my legs got pretty shaky!  So then there were sumo lunge, while heaving a medicine ball about, followed by arm weights, and more medicine ball action, while doing sit ups.  We finished with more arm weights, although at least I got to lie down this time!

Altogether it was another varied and challenging workout, and I’m pleased to have managed it!

Bit of fun

Session 4:

Circuits were the name of the pain this session!  Mixing up the cardio work with resistance type moves meant just as I was about to give up on one, we moved to the other!  Each set concentrated on one area, so we started with squats and lunges, interspersed with rowing – my legs certainly felt it!  It was then time to work my arms, lifting weights which felt pretty light to start with, but seemed to get heavier as I did more!  Just as my legs had about recovered, it was time to run!  We tried running faster, with slower jogs in between.  This is not something I could even have attempted a few weeks ago, and I was chuffed to find it not entirely impossible!  Running has always been one of those things I just didn’t do, but now I find myself wanting to see if I can go fast, go uphill or more – not that I’ll be running marathons any time soon, but maybe I managed to run continuously for  12 minutes the other day!

 The circuits continued with steps challenging my co-ordination to the max!  The last set combined the cross trainer with mat work working on my stomach – the Russian twists are getting easier and although my interpretation of “as fast as possible” is probably a little different to Kelly’s, I did get through the cross trainer as well. 

 Session 5:

We did various circuit type exercises, including leaping over a bench in practice for those movie chase scenes, as well as pull ups and press ups – also seen in movie scenes!  Hadn’t done any lunges in a while, and they didn’t seem as bad as I remembered!  After my legs had had just about enough, it was time for the treadmill. And still I managed to run slightly faster than before, even if it was for a very short time. But I did manage to jog and then run faster, which is one target – just need to keep going longer and not get quite so out of breath! But it is a definite improvement from earlier sessions. There was still boxing to go, and this time there were combinations that required me to think even when my brain was mush! I managed not to miss the pads and avoided inflicting too much unnecessary damage to Kelly- a certain amount is payback for all those push ups! Boxing is really satisfying, even when I’m knackered!

 Over the time I’ve been working with Kelly, I’ve noticed an improvement in my strength and there is now some definition in my arms, but had I managed to change my eating habits and get the the gym more often in between sessions, I’m sure it would have made more of an impact.  I have definitely worked harder during sessions with Kelly than I would do on my own, and I enjoy the variety and challenges that she puts me through!

 I may be biased here as I am a personal trainer, however, I really see the benefits that my clients get from my sessions.  They change in shape, they increase their strength and they increase their fitness as well normally all without them realising. 

You will be worked harder than ever

Give personal training a go I promise you will not be disappointed.  They will push you harder than you will ever train on your own, if you train harder then you will hopefully reach your goals quicker, so seriously give it a go.  Keep active folks…………..


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