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Showing posts from February, 2019

How bloguary was like a fitness journey...

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Well, today is the final day of Bloguary and I have managed to successfully blog each and every day in February.  It has been a very rewarding process, I have found some days tough and some days have been easier, but overall I believe it has been worth it.  For the final day, I thought that I would share the ways in which Bloguary has been like a fitness journey.  So here we go...


Some days are easy, some are hard...

Like I mentioned above, some days were easy.  The blog posts not only came to mind quickly but the actual words flowed well once I got writing also.  This is similar to completing your workouts and eating to your plan each week.  Some days you will be on fire and things will happen easily and without stress.  Other days you will turn up at the gym and have to grind out a sub-par workout that was harder than it should have been.  This is OK, just turn up, put in the work, and the results will come.  It isn't always going to be a piece of cake, but you will be happy when …

5 reasons you need a personal trainer...

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Some people may not be aware of all the benefits that come with having a personal trainer.  They may also shy away from the rates that personal trainers charge (I'd like to think I am worth my hourly rate to be honest).  So here are 5 great reasons why you should hire a personal trainer.


1: We keep you safe...

As a personal and group fitness trainer, I am a bit of a stickler for technique.  In fact, I am huge on it.  Great exercise technique not only makes exercises look good, but it keeps my clients safe as well.  There is nothing that scares me more than seeing people working out in a gym or local park and performing squats with knees caving in or push-ups with huge arches in their backs.  I can just see the injury potential.  To be honest, good technique is hard to judge for yourself, even if you are exercising in front of a mirror.  Having someone who can look at your technique from all angles is very useful, especially if you are not experienced in the gym.  Pay the money, avoi…

How to keep your motivation up as winter approaches

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With the recent cold snap that has hit us, I thought that I would write today's blog post about keeping your motivation up over winter.  Winter, just the thought makes some people feel cold.  It also makes people think of things like sitting in front of a heater in a nice warm house, sleeping later in the mornings tightly tucked up in bed, and eating comfort foods to keep us warm.

Unfortunately, while these things may be great to think about, they aren't always the best things for helping us to reach our health and fitness goals.  So how can we avoid the dropoff in our exercise habits that can come with the darker mornings and evenings of winter?  Well, here are a few tips to help you combat this.


Firstly, you could get a workout partner.  To be honest, this is a tip that can serve many purposes no matter what time of year it is.  They help provide motivation, accountability, and energy when you aren't feeling like training on a particular day.  They also force you to get ou…

What are your triggers?

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Health and fitness have a lot to do with our state of mind.  I'm sure you all by now are sick of me telling you of the mental health benefits of exercise so I won't go on about that today.  But I will approach the subject from a slightly different angle.

As much as exercise and nutrition can impact our mental health, our thought patterns and emotions can also impact our health choices.  This may come as no surprise to you - the majority of people I would guess know about emotional eating but if we look a little more closely at our emotions then it can help us to work through these thoughts and feelings and not let them derail our healthy fitness and nutrition habits.

First, let's take a look at eating.  It is always useful to see how emotions and stress play a part in our eating habits.  Take me for example, when I am stressed or feeling depressed, I tend to want to eat, and it isn't usually carrots and broccoli that I am craving!  This is useful information.  
This means…

Eating to lose weight...

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Weight loss or more correctly fat loss is one of the most common goals that I come across as a personal trainer.  In today's day and age, we are more sedentary than in the past.  There is also an abundance of calorie-filled food and beverages available to us at a moments notice, often without even leaving the couch.  With this, it is no surprise that a large proportion of us are overweight and want to lose a few kilograms.


Most people who are overweight will have tried a diet at one point or another.  Many of them will have lost weight, and I would venture to say that most would have put it back on again.  Many diet programs out there are not sustainable long-term, or just aren't suited to everyone, and as such are hard to keep at for any reasonable period of time.

There are plenty of options too - the Meditteranean diet, intermittent fasting, ketogenic diets (low carb) and many more.  The options are myriad and often contradictory in what they offer.  It is no surprise that peo…

Essential pieces of kit for your home gym...

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One of the best side benefits of training people out of my home gym is that I get to use it too, and whenever I want.  A home gym can remove some of the excuses that come up for why people don't get to their regular gym.  It's too busy, it's closed when I need it, it's raining outside (I have really heard this one), it's too long a drive to get there.  All of these excuses can be negated by having a dedicated training space in your own home.

All you need to create a home gym is a little bit of free floor space.  I use our garage, but it could be a spare bedroom, a covered deck, or even your bedroom if you have enough space to move freely in it.  It doesn't matter as long as the space is clear of clutter and large enough to train safely.  So what do you need to buy to set up your gym?  Well, that depends on your goals, but the below products will suit most people and when put together with the right exercises will give most people a great workout. 

Let's start…

What does being fit even mean?

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This is an important question to ask yourself before you start a training program, or even part way through one as your thoughts around the subject may have changed.  What 'fit' means to me will undoubtedly be different from what it means to you.  To me, it means being able to keep up with my son, having the energy to pursue active hobbies, and being able to move heavy stuff as well.

But what does it mean to you? 


It might mean being able to run a 5k race for charity.  Or just to be able to do 10 full push-ups without stopping.  It might start out being to lose some weight but then morph into getting really strong once you are happy with your weight.

The reasoning behind the answer to this question is just as important as the actual answer as this will be the driver which will push you to achieve the goal.  While the answer may not be important, it is still vital that you ask the question before beginning any training program.  Not only that, but you need to keep asking the quest…

What health and fitness apps are on my phone?

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With the age of the smartphone in full swing, I thought that I'd use today's blog post to share with you the apps that I have on my phone.  Throughout the years these have changed as I have found better and more useful apps.  But the ones I have on my phone at the moment have been there for a while so they're solid, reliable, and useful.  Here they are.

Firstly, we have an interval timer.  This one's pretty self- explanatory - it's a timer I use for my interval training workouts.  Well both mine and my clients, so I guess it's doubly useful for me.  The great thing about this timer is that it's very programmable.  You can change the work and rest times very easily, but it also has a warm-up timer before the workout begins.  You can save the various workouts in an easy to access dropdown menu so you can quickly change between timing protocols which is useful when you have back to back sessions and need to quickly access a different timer setting.  I would def…

Make life easy - plan ahead

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Life is busy, and it seems that it just keeps getting busier.  This can make focussing on eating healthy meals seem like a lot of hard work.  But there are things you can do to make it all a little easier on yourself.

One thing we do in our house is visit the farmer's market each Sunday.  For one thing, this greatly reduces our fruit and vegetable cost.  It also helps us buy produce that is in season, rather than paying high prices at a supermarket for goods that are imported or out of season.  

Having a regular trip planned like this means that there is nothing to think about - on Sunday, it is market day.  So we just get our produce bags and head out.  We usually buy the same items each week as we tend to cook a lot of the same meals which helps as well.  

My wife and I also have a shared shopping list App on our phones which allows both of us to add items that we need to get, which makes our supermarket trips efficient also.  It means that if one of us has time to nip down to the …

Why I prefer full-body workouts...

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Gaining strength is a common reason why people join a gym.  Writing a good strength workout is not as simple as it might first seem. There are many different ways to split up a strength workout.  Each has its benefits and its drawbacks.  Each can work well for specific goals, but you need to know these costs/benefits before choosing a split. 


Before we get into the main part of this blog post, let me say this, If you find a split that works for you and you are getting results then go nuts, you can't argue with results!  But for myself and my clients, I prefer to write full-body workouts where they are appropriate.




You can split a program into body parts (often called the bodybuilder split) such as chest and shoulders on one day, legs on another day (never skip leg day!), and back and biceps on another day.  You can have a push day and a pull day (e.g. squats and bench press on a push day, deadlifts and cable rows on a pull day).  You can have an upper body and a lower body split als…

3 Questions to ask yourself before you join a gym/group fitness program...

Often people will decide to get fit and jump straight into a gym membership, personal training package, or bootcamp program.  This is sometimes done without much thought about how each type of training will suit them.  They might go along with a friend or relative because they have raved about it for a while.  This can sometimes work, but it can also be the wrong setup for their personal needs.  So here are a few questions to ask yourself before joining a training program or gym.

1. What is my goal? Often this will be to lose weight, but what if you want to get really strong?  Or gain muscle mass?  These three goals have very different training and nutrition needs.  A personal trainer would be able to help you with all of these goals, but a bootcamp is not the best setup for gaining a whole lot of lean muscle - the training programs are not usually designed for this goal.  

The same could be said for the strength goal - and I mean powerlifting type strength here.  A bootcamp will most l…

Expand your core exercises...

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Core exercises are important for many reasons.  The core is essential in most human movements.  It gets used in the following ways: transferring power through the body, stabilising us as we move, bracing and protecting us when moving heavy stuff around, and in many other situations too.

I'm sure most of you know a few core exercises, they are fairly common knowledge really - planks, various crunches, medicine ball twists, and the like.  But if you're looking to add some extra options to your core training, here are some great exercises that I use with my clients to really get their cores firing.

Pallof Press - This is a great exercise for working the anti-rotation element of your core - basically the act of preventing your body rotating.  You get a little bit of light chest and arm work with it too as a bonus.  It looks deceptively simple, but when you select the correct band, it will light up your core.  Give it a try next time you want to add some variety into the core section…

It's in your blood...

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A while ago I wrote a blog post about how I'd been diagnosed with diabetes and the steps I took to battle that diagnosis.  I thought it was time I wrote about why it's important for everyone to keep an eye out for the signs of diabetes (and pre-diabetes) so that they can get on top of the condition before it gets worse.

Firstly, what is diabetes?  According to Diabetes New Zealand, "Diabetes is the result of the body not creating enough insulin to keep blood glucose (sugar) levels in the normal range.  Everyone needs some glucose in their blood, but if it's too high it can damage your body over time.

In type 2 diabetes, either the body doesn't produce enough insulin, or the cells in the body don't recognise the insulin that is present.  The end result is the same: high levels of glucose in your blood."


Having high blood sugars over a significant length of time can lead to complications affecting many different body parts such as your eyes, kidneys, feet, tee…

Keep an eye out...

Too often we look at only one measurement when it comes to our fitness goals.  When looking to lose fat for instance, we take weight and only look at the scales to judge our progress.  But there are a lot more measurements that we can look at.  For most people fat loss is a huge goal so I thought that I would focus on this, if you'd like another goal discussed, send me a message through my website and I can write a separate post about your preferred goal.
For those who can't afford the cost/time of getting expensive scans to judge fat loss, there are some basic measures you can observe to see how you're tracking towards your goal.  Firstly there are the scales as mentioned above.  Scales are great at showing us a trend, but on their own they're a poor judge of fat loss - they vary with water loss, water retention, time of day, whether we've used the toilet, and more.  So if you can only use the scales, then make sure it's at the same time of the day each time an…

Benefits of exercising early...

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Exercise is great at any time of day, but for me, I like to get my training done early when I can.  There are a lot of pluses to getting it in early, here are just a few.


Getting your workout in at the start of the day means that you are more likely to get it done.  At the start of the day, for most people, your day is fairly open in terms of time commitment.  Sure you may have work or study, but those are always around.  Towards the end of the day things tend to crop up that may derail your plan to hit the gym.  After work drinks invites, sick children who need to be picked up and looked after, having to work late to make a deadline, feeling sick yourself, feeling exhausted from your day at work or school, the list goes on and on.  Getting your training session in before your day really starts is a great way to ensure that you get it done.

Another reason to get a workout done early is the feeling of accomplishment that you start the day with.  It is great to get ready for the rest of y…

Mental illness is not set in stone.

A while back I wrote a blog post about my journey with mental illness.  I talked about my struggles with anxiety and depression and how I had sought help to get through these issues after trying to help myself and not quite succeeding.

Last year I had some troubles again.  Around October/November I had another bout of depression which really knocked me back.  But what surprised me was not that I had another bout of depression - that's happened before and I have dealt with it - what surprised me about it was the completely different feelings that were associated with it this time around.

If you'll indulge me, let's take a step back and I'll explain how we got to this point.

In February 2018 I ruptured my Achilles while sparring with a couple of mates, I knew as soon as it happened that I'd done my Achilles, I just felt it go.  It was annoying but I worked my way through it and got back to training.  Way too early as it happens.  I went back to training in July and my f…

What types of cardio do I enjoy more than running?

The answer to the above question is anything.
Really.  I really, really dislike running.
But to be a little more helpful, here are a few of the ways I get my heart rate up when I am not resistance training.
Boxing/Kickboxing:
Boxing is an amazing workout.  Kickboxing is awesome too.  They both provide great cardio benefits and will challenge you mentally too.  You don't have to get in the ring to get the benefits either.  Working a heavy bag is great if you don't have anyone to train with (once you learn how to strike safely of course so you don't injure yourself).  If you have a training partner who can hold focus mitts that's great too.  Even shadowboxing can be a good workout for beginners and it is a great warm-up once you have got some experience working the different strikes and your footwork.  My advice would be to join a class or hire a trainer who can work with you and teach you how to strike safely.  
Stationary Rowing:
Rowing is tough.  It is a full body cardio ch…