From Clay to Cup
HOW TO REMAIN MOTIVATED TO EXERCISE
Your mind rules your body not the other way round. Your body tells you when it is tired and when it cannot be bothered. There are reasons for this such as not having enough sleep, not eating a cleaner diet, not resting and not getting enough sleep. You need to recognise what you are doing and use your mind to change it, pushing your body through the dip. It is not too dissimilar to ‘hitting the wall’. We have all heard this term before, in simple terms the body becomes exhausted because it has run out of energy but the body has more to give. You may hit the wall after 10 minutes or 30minutes.
If you push over or through the wall, your body will kick into another source of energy. If you can just keep going for a few more minutes you will feel a rush of refreshment through your body and you will be good to carry on. Breathing correctly when exercising will help with this. I have trained people who need to stop running after 2 minutes because they cannot breathe. No oxygen no energy = exercise is too hard.
It is important to focus on your breathing, slow it down, make it deeper; get into a rhythm. If you focus on your breathing you will be surprised how your thoughts move away from what you are doing, before you know it you have exercised for longer, gone further, lifted more than before. If you are in the gym, breathe out when you push or pull, breathe in when you are lowering or relaxing the weight. You need to sound like a steam train, but not too loud.
We have all gone to bed early and then got stuck on social media for another hour or three. Sleep is so important to your exercise routine. In simple terms your body recovers when you sleep. Your body does all sorts of funky things whilst it is asleep so you can get up and go again. You need at least 7-9 hours of sleep at night.
When you get your joggers on, tie up your trainers the next step is warming up your body before going all out during your routine. Warming up is you basically saying to your body that in about 5 minutes you are going to get your ass kicked. Your body has a quick word with your muscles and energy systems, in effect saying ‘on your marks, get set’. Imagine someone waking you up in the middle of the night asking you to run 5km compared to someone bringing you a cup of tea in bed and saying ‘be ready to leave in 5 minutes’
Eat or not to eat, that is the question? This part is definitely not rocket science. To drive your car, you need petrol/diesel. If you fill the car up too much it overflows, so manage what goes into your body to give it enough energy to exercise and recover. You need twice as many grams of protein than your body weight in kgs. So eat more chicken and have a few protein shakes on the go Get this bit right and when you are sleeping for 7-9 hours your body will be recovering real good. Before your workout get some porridge, fruit, brown or wholemeal bread down you. My favourite is peanut butter on toast with chocolate spread and a banana.
Some of us can get carried away at times and get consumed by needing to exercise every day. Rest is as good as a visit to the gym. If you are in a good routine and are training hard make sure you rest. You may get that guilty feeling of being lazy but your body will love you. You will see improvements quicker and you will avoid injury. It sounds crazy but if you are on it like a car bonnet your body will need 2-3 days to recover if you are doing similar exercise during each exercise session. If you are focusing on strength or building muscle, then you can get away with training each body part twice a week.
SIX REASONS WHY YOU AREN'T SEEING RESULTS FROM YOUR WORKOUTS
Becoming consistent with your workout routine can be a challenge, but when you’re seeing no significant results it can be even more frustrating. Whether you’re experienced with working out or you’re new to exercise as part of a new year’s resolution, it’s helpful to know what will hinder your results to keep you on the right path.
Never underestimate the importance of sleep. If you’re not getting enough shut eye at night, you’ll lack energy for your workouts and therefore won’t reach your full potential when it comes to your performance. On top of this, muscles release amino acids that build protein into the bloodstream during sleep which allows them to grow and recover, meaning you can get back to exercising sooner; aim for around 7-9 hours of sleep each night, even if it means going to bed earlier than usual.
Not warming up
Warm-ups are often overlooked, despite them being a crucial element of a workout. Without warming up, you won’t have your maximum capabilities and you won’t be fully prepared for exercises as your muscles won’t be activated. Warm-ups will vary depending on your specific workout, but in general, you need to get your blood flowing into your body by some simple steps like jogging. As well as this, perform a mobility routine to help with your joints that will be most used in your workout, such as arm and shoulder circles if you are training upper body. If you’re specifically focusing on weightlifting, you can warm up by practising the exercise with no weight – doing so will help with your form, too.
Skipping food before a workout
Skipping a meal before your workout may sound practical if you’re heading for an early morning session as soon as you wake up, but it’s vital that you eat beforehand to give your body energy. Carbohydrates in particular will give your body the fuel it needs, so opt for foods such as whole-grain cereals or whole-wheat toast with some fruit. However, stick to a small portion size so that you don’t feel sluggish for your workout.
Not eating enough protein
Protein is an essential nutrient in your diet, whether you wish to build muscle or lose weight. If weight loss is your goal, protein supports a healthy metabolism and reduces your appetite, while it helps to build muscle by helping to repair and maintain muscle tissue. It’s recommended to consume around 1 gram of protein per pound of your body weight for optimal results, so consider adding foods like chicken, Greek yoghurt, cottage cheese, and walnuts to your diet which are all high in protein. If you struggle to reach your suggested intake, consider protein shakes which you can even have on the go if you have a hectic schedule.
Not pushing yourself hard enough
It may be easy to get comfortable with the same workout routine, but this habit can only lead to losing your determination by getting bored. As your body gets used to the workout, you’ll build strength and resilience and will eventually have the ability to push yourself to the next level. For example, you will find that you will soon be able to run for a longer amount of time on the treadmill or will be able to lift heavier weights if you stay consistent with your workout. Pushing yourself to the next level avoids a plateau and keeps your muscles challenged to continue building strength.
Not letting your body rest
You may assume that the more days you spend in the gym the better your results will be, but if you’re not leaving any time to rest, this can slow the process down. Over-exercising leads your body to exhaustion, thus affecting your performance when working out and preventing you from building strength. Not to mention, letting your body recover avoids injuries which would only cause lack of exercise in the long run.
LET'S TALK ABOUT BODY FAT
Let’s talk about body fat, let's talk about you and me, let's talk about all the good things and the bad things that may be……Not the exact lyrics to a very well-known song by Salt and Pepper or should I say Papa.
Up front and personal, body fat chooses where it sits within your body and when it is converted to energy. We all know the common places for our fat stores thighs, tums and bums for females (including under arms and boobs); men carry it up front. No matter how much exercise you do you will not be able to target certain parts of your body to loose fat. Your body fat sits on top of your muscles like a heavy all weather jacket, you will not see the designer clothes underneath unless you remove the jacket or change it for a summer jacket. If you fill a glass of water standing in a bowl and you fill the glass with too much water it will over flow and be caught in the bowl. The water is food, the bowl is your body, the over flow of water now becomes body fat. If you drink the full glass of water before it overflows, then there is no water in the bowl (body fat). Drinking the water by being active and exercising is the only way to ensure the glass does not overflow.
So how do we burn the body fat we have, the answer is obviously exercise but not all exercise achieves the same goals. The other answer is that we still need food, so starvation is not an option. If you choose to starve yourself then any food you eat will be stored as body fat as your body goes into shock and thinks its needs to store food because It does not know when the next meal is coming. Your body then diverts its attention to other sources of energy and will start to break down the muscle fibres for energy. We have heard it all before but that is because it is only to maintain your current status quo or change your body size, eat healthy and get active. To burn fat muscle density is important, the more powerful the engine the more fuel it burns in combination with activities that raise the heart rate, but not too high. Strength training is just as important to improve the density of your muscles. Do not be scared of lifting weights, keep the weight low and repetitions high. Increase the weight as you feel the exercise becoming easier and change your strength training routine every 3-4 weeks. Keeps the body guessing what is coming next and keeps you from getting bored. Increasing muscle density will increase your ability to burn calories.
Each Personal Trainer has a different approach but my advice is to work with your body and listen to your heart as it is an automatic regulator. Depending on your everyday stress levels, sleep and diet your heart will always tell you how you are feeling, guiding you to what you can achieve on any particular day. The scientific method to find your optimum fat burning range is the formula 220 – Age = this gives you your Maximum Heart Rate (MHR). You then need to calculate 60% and 70% of your MHR. This will then give you the range that your heart rate (HR) needs to work in to efficiently burn fat give or take 5-10 beats per minute. You can normally set these ranges on your smartwatch but if you do not have one, exercise at a pace that allows you to talk at the same time. This means you are breathing in enough oxygen for your body to use to break down fat. Once you start to find it difficult to exercise and talk then you are probably moving out of your fat burning zone, breathing becomes shallow and less oxygen will trigger your body to use different sources of energy and transition away from burning fat. I would recommend you choose an exercise you can do constantly for 30-45minutes like walking, slow jogging, cycling or rowing.
There is no quick fix to burning fat or getting fit. I would suggest focusing on getting into a routine and aim for noticeable changes in your body size within 3 months. Do not forget that rest is just as important so give yourself a day off every now and again from your routine so your body can repair itself and be stronger to go again.