The Pay Off

Paying for a cleaner will get your house nice and clean. Paying for a gardener will mean your lawn is always neatly trimmed. However, paying for a gym membership doesn’t mean you’ll get in shape. In fact, paying an excellent personal trainer to make you run around for an hour a week doesn’t mean you’ll get in shape either. No way near.

Obviously, signing up to the gym is the first step, and assigning a personal trainer is another massive push towards achieving your goals. However, the real results will only come with daily, continued effort, both in the gym and at home. There’s no point trying to out-source your fitness. Many people believe that by paying a personal trainer for an hour a week, they will get results – if this is combined with personal exercise and self-discipline, then yes, absolutely. However, if you’re paying to be fit for an hour a week then forgetting about it for the other 167 hours, you won’t get anywhere – no matter how hard you train during that hour.

In today’s society, there are ways to pay and have virtually anything done for you – from your food shopping to your children’s welfare. However, your fitness is something that can’t be out-sourced. It takes a continued effort to make a change here. Paying the bill is only the first step…

Maximise your workout time

I often hear people talk about how many hours they spend in the gym – almost boasting about it. My immediate reaction is: You must either have alot of time on your hands or you must be doing the wrong exercises. As people are becoming increasingly time poor, it is important that they are given the opportunity to gain maximum bite for the buck or get maximum results in minimal time. Further as most people really dont enjoy the “pain” of exercise they should be given the opportunity to achieve maximum results with minimal effort.

The best form of exercise to increase your metabolism and achieve a great body shape is weight training; and the best weight training exercise are “compound” (those that move multiple joints and muscles at one time). One of the best examples of a compound exercise is the  squat, which works the thighs, hamstrings , calves, abdominals. Other example of these exercises include squats, lunges, leg presses, bench press, lat pulldown and should presses. Isolation exercises on the other hand focus on targeting one muscle group at a time and one of the best examples of isolation exercises is the bicep curl.

Compound exercises general work the largest and strongest muscles of the body. Hence, they also provide the largest muscle gains and stimulate the release of testosterone and growth hormones. Compound exercises are the most demanding, however, the muscle gains from performing compound exercises far outweigh the muscle gains from performing isolation exercises alone. Hence for time poor, I don’t believe there is a need to perform isolation exercises at all. Why would you say perform 3 sets of cable flys for your chest, 3 sets of front dumbbell raises to work our shoulders and 3 sets of tricep pushdowns for your triceps when you can perform 3 sets of the bench press which works the chest, shoulders and triceps at the same time? It makes no sense.

Another major point to consider is the inverse relationship between intensity and volume. Obviously the longer you workout for, the lower the intensity will be and as any improvement in body shape requires overload or high intensity efforts, short sessions are more beneficial. As a result, I would recommend that only 2 x 30 minutes weight training work outs are needed per week for weight loss and no more than 3 x 60 minutes sessions are needed for muscle gain (Compound exercises only of course!)

10 Best Weights Training Exercises for Fast Results

I often get very frustrated when I see Personal Trainers give deconditioned people complex exercises. I believe they do this because they are bored and don’t have their clients best interests at heart. I understand that trainers often train 8-10 clients per day and may want variety, however that excuse is simply unacceptable.

The best weight training exercise for overall strength, toning and weight loss are those which recruit large muscle. Compound exercises are those that involve movement at 2 or more joints. (E.g. the Lat Pulldown)  Isolation exercises only involve movement at one joint. (E.g. the biceps curl).  Most people are time poor and want to get maximum results in minimal time. Therefore, to spend time doing isolation exercises is an inefficient and unnecessary use of time. Why would a trainer subject a client to a cable cross over to isolate the chest muscles and a triceps push down to isolate the triceps, when they can do a bench press which recruits both of those muscles at the same time?  

For time poor people, I believe only compound exercises should be performed. They include:

  1. Bench Presses
  2. Lat Pulldown
  3. Shoulder Presses
  4. Chin Ups
  5. Push Ups
  6. Seated Row
  7. Dips
  8. Squats
  9. Lunges
  10. Leg Press

Weighing the evidence on Exercise

Attached is a great article recently published in the New York Times about the impact of Exercise on weight loss. [Read more…]

The best workout ever!

Which workout has the most influence over whether or not you achieve your results?  Some people may think the biggest muscle of the body would be in their legs or their strongest muscle is their bicep!  

Without a doubt the most workout involves the mind.  The mind allows you to set the intention of not only your overall goal but also gives you the focus to ensure you maximise your training time and stay on track with your nutrition. 

Have you ever seen someone in the gym that looks like they’re day dreaming? Perhaps they were on the leg press just mindlessly pushing the weight or on the treadmill staring out of the window.  This is a clear indication that the focus is not on the training.  To ensure you get the most out of your workout try connecting the mind to the muscle.  Focus on visualising the area you are working and ensure you actually are feeling it in that particular area.  

You will probably find that you will need to drop the weight you normally lift and you will actually perform the exercise slower as you concentrate on the targeted area.  What you most definitely will feel is the difference in intensity and after a short time you will absolutely see the difference in your body.  Remember where the mind goes, the body will follow.  If your heads not in the game then ask yourself why you are there – if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing correctly. 

The mind will also give you the discipline required to eat smart and the focus to stay on your chosen path and not stray. No doubt there have been times when you have doubted your ability or beaten yourself up about your fitness level, work or relationships. This negative self talk can have a massive detrimental impact on the actual desired outcome.  

In these situations staying positive and utilising the power of your mind will be more beneficial to you than staying in a negative mind set.  If you ever find yourself in this place, think about something that makes you happy or a recent time when you last really enjoyed yourself or laughed out loud and let the mind take you there.  Remember the feeling of the experience also and then notice how much better you feel about the whole situation. 

The mind is just like every other muscle in the body and needs to be exercised; it needs to be challenged so that it can perform at its optimum.  When was the last time you sat reading a book rather then watching television in the evening?  When was the last time you actually watched a documentary rather than the same old soap or reality show or tried to complete a crossword or Sudoku puzzle?  These days there are plenty of online memory tests or games consoles that are easily accessible to stimulate and strengthen the mind.  Regular ‘brain training’ will improve the quality of your life, your general functionality as well as keeping the body young and active. 

Remember it’s all in the power of the mind.

My 10 Greatest Fat Loss tips

I know it may seem difficult to narrow it down to just 10, however through my experience, if most people in society simply do the following they generally achieve amazing results: [Read more…]

What is better – High and low intensity exercise?

Hard and low to moderate intensity exercise are each beneficial for burning fat and increasing one’s fitness level. During exercise, we burn combinations of carbohydrate and fat, depending upon the intensity and duration of exercise, as outlined below.

[Read more…]