I’ve always found this subject interesting because I often get told by new clients that they have been doing a lot of core and ab exercises to help flatten their mid sections.
The short answer to this question is no, you cannot simply flatten your stomach by doing ab exercises and here is why..
‘Spot Reducing’ is a concept where you can theoretically focus on one particular area of the body (stomach) and perform exercises for that area and apparently your body will burn the fat in that localized area, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Your body simply doesn’t operate that way.
Everyone is a little bit different as to where they store excess body fat and therefore they burn it off in different areas as well. The body will use this excess body fat as energy to function and recover as a result of exercise and there is no definitive way to tell exactly which area is going to be burned first.
The closest I have gotten to documenting ‘spot reduction’ is by taking tape measurements of my clients every so often to see which areas are dropping the fastest. But even then I structure my client’s training with a lot of variety so it’s impossible to tell which exercises have been responsible for the drop in body fat.
More so, dropping body fat is the result of an elevated heart rate to which your body responds by demanding more energy in the form of calories which equals more body fat burned.
Because the majority of ab exercises do not elevate and sustain a high enough heart rate, they make the process quite slow. I personally class the majority of ab exercises as ‘toning’ exercises, meaning they build lean muscle tone, strengthen and firm that particular muscle group as opposed to say running which elevates your heart rate and sustains it more efficiently.
So what can you actually do to help flatten your stomach?
High Intensity Interval Training of course! I’ve done a really helpful article of why it’s so effective so CLICK HERE to read it.
The process that I use to train my clients and keep their workouts efficient is to choose ‘one consistent cardio interval’ followed by 5-10 ‘toning’ exercises. You’ll do 30secs of cardio, then 30secs of toning then go back to the cardio. Go for as long as you like.
This method is super effective and more importantly keeps your exercise sessions fresh, fun and engaging.
Got Questions? Ask Below!
When Rev asked me to guest blog for Revs Fitness I was pretty honoured and also wondering what in the world will I write about – what is it that I have to share about my journey that could be relevant or helpful for others who need to or want to lose large numbers of kilos?
Well let’s start at the beginning. I have been a YO-YO-er since I was 17. Gaining and losing weight over and over again, never losing everything that I gained. It only got worse after kids until last summer I hit a maximum of 108.9kg. Life was about covering up, about hiding away and not drawing attention to myself. I had tried and failed at every diet program out there. At the end of the day I just didn’t have the ability to control my will power over food – I was a food addict.
This year (Feb 2016) I chose to take drastic measures to stop this cycle and overcome the addiction for once and for all and had the gastric sleeve surgery.
Now some may think of this as an easy way out but I am here to tell you it is just a tool just like any other diet and exercise program this tool isn’t designed to do the work for you – you have to work the tool. Yes, initially people who have been sleeved lose massive amounts of weight however if the core issues aren’t addressed after 6-12 months sleevers are able to start gaining the weight back by abusing the sleeve or not exercising.
As soon as my surgeon gave me the all clear one week after surgery I started walking 3kms 4-5 times a week. As soon as he gave me the all clear to exercise more rigorously at 3 months I signed up to the 6 week challenge with Revs Fitness. As soon as Revel checked in with me around 4-5 weeks of the challenge I signed up for 12 months worth of training. Why? Why did I make that jump from 6 weeks to 12 months so easily – because I know I have to.
After having the sleeve done I know I can lose bulk weight but I also know losing weight isn’t the only thing you need to look good. Properly defined muscle tone is important to getting your sexy back. How else are you really going to have killer curves? I could lose the weight without exercise but I would have been saggy skin and bones – that’s not the look I am after.
Most people don’t think about signing up to outdoor group training at the end of Autumn and then train throughout winter outdoors and yes even I was thinking I was crazy. What I was looking for was a connection with a trainer – I didn’t want to just go to a gym and be a number. I needed someone to notice if I was turning up, pushing me harder to correct my form or go deeper because they know I can push further and I found that with Revel.
In the last 11 weeks I have lost 11.4kg, (I have lost 34.4kg since the very start of this journey) but better than the number on the scales I have seen massive changes to my entire shape, my waist has come in significantly, my back muscles are becoming defined and my legs have completely changed shape with all the toning and cardio intervals.
So what are my biggest tips to staying motivated and achieving your goals?
Hopefully you have found one thing that has resonated with you. If you are looking to start your journey focus on doing one new thing, build yourself up to do it well then add another goal i.e if you don’t feel you can make a full lifestyle change start with one thing. Go along to 3 fitness classes per week and focus just on that, then once you have that mastered start by cutting out unnecessary calories out of your diet like soft drink, master that then add the next thing. Small changes done daily will add up.
At the end of the day believe in YOU and you CAN do anything.
Written by "The Shrinking Wife"
Follow her journey by liking her Facebook Page below
*Results will vary from person to person
One of the most satisfying feelings about fitness is seeing results. How good would it feel to see all of your early morning training sessions and prepped healthy meals come to fruition and reveal a trimmed, toned and stronger version of you? Well as I help more and more people with their personal fitness goals at Rockingham Bootcamp I am finding that most have never tried to measure their progress with anything other than a set of scales – which we all know can fluctuate like crazy!
#1 – Tape Measure
A fantastic way to measure weight loss (or muscle gain) is to use a tape measure to take certain points on your body, I usually take the following: Left Arm - in the middle of the bicep, Stomach - in line with the belly button, Hips - the biggest circumference of your butt and Left Thigh - in the middle. It’s really interesting to use this method because you get an idea of just where you are dropping cms from the fastest, with my clients I find they drop pretty quickly in the hips and stomach measurements.
#2 – Body Fat Caliper Test
Another method of testing is to use body fat calipers. Basically you measure different points on your body by using the calipers to ‘pinch’ that area. You then put all of those measurements into a calculator and it spits out your body fat percentage as well as a general idea of how much lean muscle you have and your body fat in kilograms. You can buy body fat calipers off of ebay quite cheaply and I use the “Jackson/Pollock 4 Method” on this website here to calculate body fat.
#3 – An Increase in Energy Levels
Being a trainer who enjoys seeing progress in his clients, I always found it so frustrating when clients would say to me they are “Feeling more energetic and alert from exercise” because I couldn’t measure that! Until now. Basal Metabolic Rate is the amount of calories you burn in 24 hours just to function normally. An increase in energy usually means an increase in your basal metabolic rate so if a client now says to me they are feeling more energetic I can refer back to this calculation and see the reasons why. You can use this calculator here to measure your basal metabolic rate. The only hold up with this method of measuring is that it only takes into account your weight (which fluctuates quite a bit). So I actually recommend getting a body composition scan to get a much more accurate portrayal of your basal metabolic rate.
#4 – Body Composition Scans
If I had my way I would have all of my clients get one of these done. They are one of the best ways to get a tonne of data to measure progress. They measure everything from body fat percentage, body fat weight, lean muscle weight, where you’re holding body fat on your body, the amount of lean muscle you have in certain areas (arms, legs, trunk), your basal metabolic rate, water retention, BMI (outdated measurement in my opinion) and that’s just to mention a few. As well as being a great array of measurements they are also very time-efficient as they only take 10 minutes to complete. You can find out if you have a scanner near you by heading over to the Inbody Website.
I really do recommend tracking your weight loss progress with other forms other than just relying on the scales. In my experience it is so enjoyable to see progress in more than one form and ultimately it acts as a motivator to up the training intensity a tad! Speaking of upping the intensity, head over and grab a free training program here
*Results will vary from person to person
Got Questions? Ask Below!
It’s so easy to fall off the bandwagon these days. It’s even easier when you’re alarm goes off at 5:00am and you start telling yourself, “I’m quite comfortable here, warm in bed, it’s going to be very cold outside with the low temp and wind blowing. I feel like I haven’t got enough sleep, I should probably just go back to sleep so I can function for the day.” Can you relate to this?
You know why people give up on their fitness goals? Because it’s uncomfortable..
Exercising for some people is uncomfortable
Cooking healthy meals for some people is uncomfortable
Eating healthy meals for some people is uncomfortable
Giving up 30mins of your day to exercise instead of staying at home, for some people is uncomfortable
Having to track your progress and take measurements, for some people is uncomfortable
Bottom Line: Working towards a health and fitness goal is uncomfortable
But take a second and think right now, when was the last time you worked towards achieving something? Was it a certain KPI at work? A small project at home? Perhaps saving for a holiday or something you wanted to buy?
Whatever that was, I’m going to assume it wasn’t easy and your busted your butt to get it! Am I right?
One could almost say that you worked so hard that you were uncomfortable whilst working towards it, do you see what I’m getting at?
To encourage change within your body you must be uncomfortable. If you are comfortable while working towards a health and fitness goal there’s a very good chance you aren’t encouraging your body to get stronger, toned and burn more fat. Ultimately your body is lazy, it wants to get stronger and firmer to do these exercises more efficiently and easily, it wants to get used to only 6 hours of sleep a night, it wants to use your body fat as energy to fuel your exercise and recover so that it can adapt to your workouts – If your body adapts to your workouts it too has become comfortable and now you’ll see very little progress (also known as a plateau)
So what do you do?
Be happy being uncomfortable. Take comfort in being uncomfortable. Know that because you’re testing your body and demanding more from it that it will look after you in return by adapting to what you’re doing and ultimately showing you progress for your hard work.
After that your biggest problem is going to be finding a workout routine that still tests you both mentally and physically – And take my word for it, that is the best problem to have. Download a Free Workout Here
So tomorrow…wake up…put on your workout gear…and get uncomfortable.
Got Questions? Ask Below!
PT: “How many sessions would you like to do per week?”
Client: “How many do you think I should do?”
PT: “ Three to Five..”
Excuse the little role play there, I just found that funny as I was writing it down because that is literally almost every consultation that I’ve had with a new client of mine after discussing their personal weight loss goals :)
I think the beauty of the conversation above is how much faith people put in personal trainers to give them a definitive answer as to exactly how long it is going to take to lose the 20-30 maybe even 50 kilos – with the usual answer being “It depends on how good you are with your eating.”
So let’s forget nutrition and focus on the training side of things for a change.
How many times per week for weight loss?
In short, 3 to 5 times per week. Weight loss specifically is about how many calories you ‘expend’ or burn VS how many calories you consume via food. Now as you would know there is an infinite amount of ways to burn calories when it comes to choosing the type of exercise to do it. I always recommend keeping one key point in mind when choosing it – Make Sure You Love It
Put simply, make sure there is some element (however tiny it is) of the exercise that you enjoy because that is what is going to keep to coming back for more before you start seeing results.
I use a very simple system with my clients. We choose a consistent ‘cardio’ interval to do for 30 seconds, then choose 5 to 10 ‘toning’ exercises to do for 30 seconds in between the cardio intervals, then we repeat that process 2 to 3 times. The result is a short 30 minute workout that is incredibly efficient at burning calories EVEN AFTER the session has finished.
Here is an example:
30 seconds each exercise
Run or Skiing
Run or Skiing
Run or Skiing
Run or Skiing
Run or Skiing
Kick and Lunge
Run or Skiiing
CG Push Up on Bench
Run or Skiing
Run or Skiing
Run or Skiing
REST for 1 minute
Repeat 3 times
How many times per week for toning up?
3 to 5 times per week
To be clear, toning up and weight loss are two different outcomes. Weight loss should be all about reducing the body’s fat stores where as toning up is about building lean muscle tone. Why would you want more lean muscle tone? Well put simply the more of it that your body has, the more calories you burn while at rest and the easier it is to keep unwanted weight off.
It also raises your metabolism, increases your strength (important for your eighties just so you can bend down and pick up a box) keeps your skin supple and ultimately fills out those areas where body fat once lived. Sounds awesome right? Why the hell wouldn’t you want to get toned up!
Toning Up sessions can be performed either in a gym or outside. You just have to plan your sessions beforehand so that you don’t lose intensity. In my experience (and opinion) toning exercises are more so associated with that ‘burning’ sensation that a lot of people are familiar with - “Feel the burn.”
That’s your muscles releasing lactic acid into the area that you’re stimulating, lactic acid is a bi-product of exercise so the more effort you put into your workout the more of this ‘burning’ sensation you tend to feel. On top of that toning exercises are usually ones that don’t leave you completely out-of-breath like traditional cardio exercises i.e running.
Toning exercises include – push ups, squats, dips, lunges, chin ups, bench press, leg press, leg curls, shoulder press…just to name 9 out of a probable million.
But rather than give you an example why don’t you just go and download a free training program here. It incorporates both the weight loss and toning exercises into some very short but effective sessions that take no longer than 15 minutes a session.
Got a Question? Ask Below!
Bad Knees with no idea how to work around it? This post is for you!
How often have you tried to lose a bit of weight and tone up those problem areas whilst never being able to overcome those niggling, irritating and uncomfortable BAD KNEES?
Id say close to 50% of my clients that I train for weight loss and toning have some form of restriction in their knees when doing exercise, it can be incredibly demotivating and often at times enough of an obstacle for people to give up of their own personal fitness goals altogether - Well I'm here to tell you it doesn't have to be that way!
There is an absolute plethora of exercises that you can still do that doesn't put as much pressure on your knee that will still allow you to work on your fitness goals, you just have to be patient and figure out which ones work best for you..
#1 - Toe Taps [Cardio Exercise]
With this exercise we are hopping from one foot to the other in a relatively quick but controlled movement to raise our heart rate and burn more calories. I like to have clients aim for a spot on a wall and aim for that small spot every time that change feet. The best thing about this exercise is that it is relatively low impact and doesn't put a lot of 'sheering' forces on the knee - just a fancy way of saying "bending of the knee joint"
#2 - Fast Feet [Cardio Exercise]
Not too dissimilar from toe taps but even more low impact again. With this exercise I have clients shuffle their feet on the spot - Have you ever seen an American Football Team do that fast feet drill where the coach blows his whistle and they all jump up and down whilst maintaining what looks like running on the spot? - Fast Feet..
#3 - Kettlebell Stiff Leg Deadlifts [Toning Exercise] - Hamstrings
God bless the man or woman who invented the Kettlebell (KB), to date one of the most versatile and efficient pieces of equipment I've ever used. In this exercise we are keeping are knees straight, stiff and locked. While standing up straight with the KB held in two hands hanging in front of you, slowly lower your torso down while letting the KB guide your body down. You're going as far down until you start to feel a stretch in your hamstrings (muscles on the back on your thigh) then start to bring yourself back up again to the starting position. It's important to 'set' your shoulders too, meaning just contract and hold a squeeze between your shoulder blades so your lower and upper back stay nice and straight during the entire movement. Hint: You don't necessarily need a KB for this exercise, a Dumbbell, Barbell or even a weight plate will do.
#4 - Bench Squats [Toning Exercise] - Quads
Hit and miss with most individuals but because we are only coming a short way down most people find this an easier variation of squatting to do. To start, sit down on a bench or chair, find a foot position that is comfortable for your knees and that allows you to stand up from that position easily, sit back down and repeat! The trick with this exercise is to raise your feet off the ground slightly when you sit down and use the momentum you create by putting your feet down again to propel you back up to the starting position.
I want to make it clear that I am a huge endorser of doing deep squats and that if you're knees are giving you grief it's a good idea to get them looked at and ideally fixed so that you can squat deeper and stimulate more muscle to burn more calories! That's the ultimate goal right? Burn more calories and make the exercise more efficient.
Here is a great way to use these exercises if your goal is to lose weight and tone up a bit:
30 seconds each exercise/rest
KB Stiff Leg Deadlifts
Repeat 5 times - Only takes 15 minutes!
Got Questions? Ask Below!
If you’ve ever tried something new and had it fail, I know I’ll find you more interesting to talk to than the woman who has had everything work out.
That woman is never trying anything new. You have courage. You are amassing life experience. You are learning where the strength to get back up comes from. You’re headed somewhere good.
Failure creates new choice
You’ve reset your priorities. Unfortunately, there is no other way to learn all of this but its worth to you is huge. It’s when you’re down in a hole that you figure out what’s going to pull you back out. This is the time when you take a look around and decide what you’re not willing to give up.
The best part of failure is that it takes your journey on a path it could never have found without.
New doors might reveal themselves, relationships might become stronger, other relationships might dissolve because they are no longer consistent with your new goal, health and fitness related or not.
It’s easy to feel resentment. It’s natural. You wouldn’t be true to yourself if you denied its presence. But don’t feed it.
Don’t find reasons to excuse and explain it. Once it gets its grapple hooks into your skin, it does not like to let go. You will carry it around and it will infect your every waking moment.
We’ve all seen this, right? A woman who has chosen (because it is a choice) to clutch frustration closely and allow it to affect her reaction to everything. We watch it grow over the years like a cancer, and we see the price the disease makes her pay. We are uncomfortable just being around her and the negativity that keeps falling out of her mouth riding on the back of every word. Gee that got deep..
Where your creativity comes from
Being wrong leads to being creative. If you’re never willing to be wrong, then you’ll never be as innovative as when your imagination is prodded by failure. You’ll just repeat what you already know over and over. That gets stagnant fast. What’s that saying? “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results”
Children are not afraid of being wrong. They’ll give anything a shot. If it doesn’t work out, they move on to another solution immediately. Grownups become afraid of being wrong.
Some of this fear of failure also comes from the natural loss of flexibility and elasticity that comes with age. I think about this often, because I think seeing it very clearly helps you catch it in yourself and fight back.
Expect to fail some of the time
I believe a good teacher will notice the person who takes a chance at a solution much more favorably than someone who won’t. The point is not how it turns out. The point is how another brain assessed the problem and went about solving it.
The point is also that you are taking risk. If you are endlessly conservative, you cannot maximize your potential. I’m going to say that again, If you are endlessly conservative, you cannot maximize your potential.
You gain power by overcoming adversity
The more entirely you dismantle the situation you were in, the more entirely you can recreate a new one. Your experience will influence how you handle every situation and decision from now on.
Most people with a life that appears very positive can give you a list of the negative events that got them there. With maturity comes the patience you need to ride it out.
Pretty soon, it will just be something you remember from your past.
Share your own story - Let me know how you overcame your failure below!
One thing we can say for certain about the common cold – it’s common. It is therefore no surprise that there are lots of cold remedies, folk remedies, pharmaceuticals, and “alternative” treatments. Finding a “cure for the common cold” seems to have become a staple in the media – reporters will jump on any chance to claim that some new research may one day lead to a cure for the common cold. Just about any research into viruses, no matter how basic, seems to get tagged with this headline. (It’s right up there with every diet being the “best way to lose body fat.”)
But despite how common a cold is, the overall success of modern medicine, and the many attempts to treat or prevent the cold – there are very few treatments that are actually of any benefit. The only certain treatment is time. Most colds will get better on their own in about a week. This also creates the impression that any treatment works – no matter what you do, your symptoms are likely to improve. It is also very common to get a mild cold that lasts just a day or so. Many people my feel a cold “coming on” but then it never manifests. This is likely because there was already some partial immunity, so the infection was wiped out quickly by the immune system. But this can also create the impression that whatever treatment was taken at the onset of symptoms worked really well, and even prevented the cold altogether.
There is a short list of treatments that do seem to have some benefit. NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), like aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen, can reduce many of the symptoms of a cold – sore throat, inflamed mucosa, aches, and fever. Acetaminophen may help with the pain and fever, but it is not anti-inflammatory and so will not work as well. NSAIDs basically take the edge off, and may make it easier to sleep.
Decongestants may also be of mild benefit. Antihistamines have a mild benefit in adults, but not documented in children. There are also concerns about safety and side effect in children. Overall, other than some TLC and NSAIDS (although not aspirin) parents should probably not give their children anything for a cough or cold. The benefit of antihistamines in adults is very mild and of questionable value. There is better evidence for antihistamines in combination with a decongestant, but the benefits are still mild. Nasal sprays are probably better than oral medication, and overall use a much lower dose. These treatments do not seem to have any effect on the course of the cold, but may relieve symptoms. Perhaps the best use of nasal spray decongestants is just prior to going to sleep, to reduce a post nasal-drip cough that can be very disruptive to sleep.
There is weak evidence for the use of hot liquids. There does not seem to be any advantage to chicken soup over other hot liquids, like tea. They may provide a symptomatic benefit in clearing the sinuses and loosening phlegm so that it can be cleared easier. Since this is a low risk intervention (just make sure the liquids are not too hot for small children), if it makes you feel better, go for it. There also may not be any advantage over just humidified air to help keep the membranes moist. Honey may be soothing, but there is no evidence of real benefit.
What Does Not Work
In short – everything else.
Over the counter (OTC) cough suppressants simply do not work and are not safe in children. If you have a serious cough, the kind that can cause injury, you need prescription medication (basically narcotics, like codeine). Also, in most cases using a cough suppressant makes no sense, especially in combination with an expectorant. You want to cough up the mucus and phlegm. If your cough is caused by a sore throat, take an NSAID. If it’s post nasal drip, treat the congestion as above. And if it’s severe, see your doctor. But don’t bother with OTC cough suppressants.
Vitamin C has been a favorite since Linus Pauling promoted in decades ago. But decades of research has not been kind to this claim. The research has failed to find a consistent and convincing effect for vitamin C in treating or preventing the common cold. For routine prevention, the evidence is dead negative. For treating an acute infection, there is mixed evidence for a possible very mild benefit, but this is likely just noise in the research.
What about homeopathic treatments? To be honest, I haven’t looked into it because a lot of the research is very conflicting so I’ll leave that for today.
Finally, there is some evidence that zinc or zinc oxide may reduce symptoms of a cold,but this evidence is mixed and unconvincing at present. At best the benefit is very mild (again, likely within the noise of such studies). Further, zinc comes with a nasty taste (something that also complicates blinding of studies) and many people may find this worse than symptoms it treats.
The common cold remains difficult to treat effectively. In most cases it is best to just let the cold run its course. Limited use of NSAIDs and decongestants may be helpful. Otherwise, if there is an intervention that is risk free and makes you feel better, do it. We all need to feel comforted when we’re sick. But don’t waste your time or money on other medications, supplements, herbs, or other concoctions. There are also endless snake-oil products out there, too many to deal with here. A good default position is simply not to believe any product that claims to prevent or treat the common cold. And don’t be compelled by the anecdotal evidence of your neighbour’s cousin’s boss. Everyone thinks they have the secret to treating the cold, but no one does.
What is your COLD remedy? Comment Below!
So I picked this little gem up from Big W for $25, I would recommend it for beginners but the only downfall is it isn't as firm as some of the more expensive ones you can get. So if you prefer a harder pressure just comment in the box below the video and I'll send you in the right direction.
Watch the Routine Below:
Got questions? Ask Below!
Well it's certainly not the fries pictured above !
It's important to note, this post is not a 'hall pass' to eat yourself silly at Maccas as soon as your finished
#1 - Grilled Chicken Snack Wrap
So what's Number Four?!
The best food item you can actually get from Maccas is to get a 'make it yourself' garden salad by itself and buy the grilled chicken separately to add in. You'll save yourself the unnecessary sugar from the sauce/condiments and the carbs from the crispy noodles.
What do you think? Comment below!