Santa gets a workout in on Christmas day so you should too else you'll find yourself on the naughty list! With all jokes a side, guys it is Christmas season. I could sit here and write how you should be super strict with your diet and hitting PBs in the gym over Christmas but I am all about practising what you preach and that simply isn't realistic for most.
A break is important:
Use it as an excuse to have a bit of a break from training and dieting! Sometimes sticking to a program for prolonged periods of time gets exhausting and mundane. A small 1-2 week break over Christmas can be what you need to spark your interest in it again when you return to it, just make sure you do return to it! It is also important to give your body a much needed rest from training. Sometimes after a rest period you will find yourself returning to the gym stronger than pre-break!
It is life:
A successful training program is a sustainable one. Life is about living, what is it all about if you can't have a few drinks and mince pies over Christmas? Don't waste 95% of your life to weigh 5% less is how the saying goes!
Re-feeds & Diet Breaks:
If you've been stuck in a bit of a plateau with your diet & training a weeks re-feed could be what you need to break it. Tying this in with Christmas is a great way to feel a little less guilty.
There are times to maintain and times to progress:
Sometimes there are times where you should be progressing your training, other times maintaining is fine. Try to do as much as you can but don't worry about hitting PBs at times you aren't quite taking it as serious.
New years resolutions:
There is a reason why gyms are most busy around the new years time and that's because people feel guilty about indulging so much over Christmas. Make sure you're not one of the people who give up on their 2018 fitness goals 1 month in, find a sustainable plan and stick with it. That way you'll be able to enjoy Christmas 2018 that little bit more!
We hope you have enjoyed our Blogmas posts everyone. We will be trying our best to release 1 blog post a week as of the new year as our little resolution. Have a great Christmas & you know where we are if you feel bursting at the seams come January!
Barbelle Personal Trainer
Stuck inside because of the snow? Don't want to risk your morning run in the ice? Don't let that be your excuse not to get a good workout in! There are plenty of good exercises you can do, at home, with minimal equipment. Here are our top 10:
1 - Jump Jacks
Touch the floor and explode upwards forming a star shape with your body in the air
2 - Tricep Dips
Using a chair or sofa overhang your body to perform tricep dips as if you were in the gym
3 - The Staircase Stepper
Using the bottom stair step up and down as fast as you can
4 - The Burpee
Does this really need introduction? A great, all over exercise that can be performed anywhere!
5 - The Plank
Get onto your elbows and feet and keep a straight body, squeezing your glutes & sucking your belly button in
6 - Jump Squats
As you would normally squat but jump up out the bottom of it and land softly into the next squat
7 - Alternating Lunges
Standing straight step out and lunge so both your knees are at 90 degrees, bring the front leg back & alternate
8 - Pushups
Rather than flaring your elbows at 90 degrees with your body, try having them at 45 degrees and focus on bringing your arms together
9 - Crunches
A great ab burner
10 - Glute Bridges
Lie on your back as if you were doing sit-ups, now take your toes off the floor and thrust your hips up, squeezing your glutes at the top
Make them a workout!
Try doing each of these exercises 3 times 30 seconds on 30 seconds off. A great, all over home workout!
Barbelle Personal Trainer
Stress is a part of every day life for most people. Whatever the cause: work, family, college, etc. little things add up and become a burden. Stress levels are something everyone has to manage else it can lead onto other mental health problems such as depression and anxiety. Stress can also lead to physical problems such as low energy, malnutrition and dehydration.
There are things you can do to manage stress levels, but one of the most effective? Exercise.
Some people don't realise how strong the link is between physical & mental health. Even little things like walking, playing a sport or a touch of weightlifting/cardio can heavily impact your mental health in a positive way.
Exercise releases a thing called endorphins. Endorphins are chemicals that act as a pain killer and help you to sleep better which in turn battles stress. Don't think for one minute that you have to have a super intense session to reap this effect, even gentle things such as yoga and walking can release endorphins.
Stress, anxiety & depression is usually due to being in a viscous cycle of letting your days worries build up to a negative spiral where in turn you neglect your physical health. Putting a routine with exercise in place can help to reverse this spiral. Try to put even 10 minutes a side each day to go for a fast walk or even jog to help build a routine with exercise and their endorphin benefits.
What you're putting in your body can also have a massive effect on your mental health. Trying to eat a little better can have physical benefits and in turn mental benefits. Next time you turn to food as your comfort try exercise instead!
Barbelle Personal Trainer
We get it - weights can be an intimidating thing to get involved with, especially if you don't know what you're doing. But done with correct form, with a training program, resistance training provides a whole lot of benefits that you might not have even been aware of. Below we have posted our top 5 reasons to incorporate resistance training into your training:
1 - Strength
Who wants to feel weak and feeble? No one. There is nothing more empowering than lifting more than the last time you stepped in the gym. Whether you're an athlete wanting to increase your strength for a specific sport or just someone who wants to feel a little bit stronger within themselves weight training is what's going to get you there.
With feeling stronger typically means actually being stronger. Seeing as we use our bodies and muscular system on a day to day basis, if this system is stronger it makes day to day living much easier. Maybe you'll even make the shopping bag haul from the car in a 1er!
2 - Increased Muscle Mass
Girls don't be put off! You're not going to turn into a Russian looking shot-putter as soon as you pick up a dumbbell above 5kg. In fact, most of the bikini bodies you fantasise over in the magazines & social media are probably built through resistance training. We have covered this before, there are 2 aspects of having a toned looking body and that is:
Losing fat (Done mainly through diet)
Muscle Hypertrophy (Done mainly through training)
For both men & women it is essential to do resistance training in order to fully maximise the hypertrophy part.
3 - Increased Bone Density
There is a common misconception about weights and making bones & joints weaker, this couldn't be more wrong! If performed correctly weights can delay the onset of osteoporosis. No more brittle bones as you age!
4 - Improved Cardio Vascular Health
I hear it time and time again while training people:
"It's surprising how out of breath I get just from doing weights!"
Weights are also an extremely effective way to improve cardiovascular health. Resistance training has been shown to lower LDL cholesterol and increase your VO2 max. If you aren't sweating or at least feeling breathless after a weights based session the chances are the intensity is not there.
5 - Improved Mental Health
One of the most important parts of a healthy lifestyle is a healthy mind. People who suffer from depression and anxiety are increasing. Regular resistance training is an effective way to release stress, not to mention the extra feel good endorphins you get after a hard session. Having a programme in place can give you a goal to focus and work towards which will take your mind off other things. Health clubs & gyms tend to be a great place to meet focused, like-minded individuals (which is what we pride ourselves for, creating a friendly environment).
Barbelle Personal Trainer
Because they are so calorie dense, it doesn't take much of them to add up to masses amount of calories. Like everything you need to eat them in moderation. They are a key part of a healthy diet, but shouldn't be abused to the point where you're smashing 1000 calories a day of nut butters.
Barbelle Personal Trainer
Photoed above is my super fit & keen group of mums who train with Barbelle at the studio 3x a week! While many people would say "how do they find time to do this?" realistically it is only 3 hours out of their week & there is enough flexibility to bring their kids with them. I have put together a list of tips so time is not an excuse to miss a training session as a busy mum!
Get up & go:
Get your workout in before your day begins. Some people never manage to find the time to train if they leave it to the end of their day as too many activities & arrangements come up. You'll be finished before the kids even wake up!
Write it in:
People are much more likely to adhere to a commitment if the are planned. So write out your workouts in your diary or on your phone. Preplanning when you are going to do your workout can help you avoid booking a coffee date over the top of them.
Plan your workout:
Setting a time to workout is a start but you also need to plan what your workout will entail. Without a plan you are much less likely to complete an efficient workout, have your workout written down in a notepad so your session is structured and you know exactly what to do and how long it will take. Whether this be a run, home circuit or gym workout plan it out!
You don't have to be a model in the gym:
If time really is limited, don't waste precious time making sure you have your best gym outfit on! Don't worry about hair or makeup, just rock up and train!
Include your kids:
Yes it may be hard to find time alone as a parent - but do you really need to be alone? Children really do love being active, get them off their iPad and get them involved! Not only will this mean you're getting a session in but it will be encouraging a healthy & fit lifestyle for your children.
Run with them:
Run & push the stroller with you! It doesn't need to be your 10km PB but at least you are getting some form of exercise in.
Sweeten the deal:
Make a deal with your kids that if they are well behaved while you train they get a treat.
Class for them, class for you:
If your child is about to have a football/music lesson then use that time! Your kid will be occupied for an hour and a good workout can be squeezed in during 30mins easily.
Be a ninja:
Kids eating, napping, playing or distracted for 15-20 minutes? Perfect! Get your HIIT workout in without them even knowing. Find some space and get your workout in every day!
Barbelle Personal Trainer
As much as you think that you're eating the correct portions for fat loss the chances are you're not. With plates becoming bigger and the normal portion sizes doubling in size, it makes it all the much harder to eyeball the correct serving size for you. To lose weight you simply have to be in a calorie deficit and controlling your portion sizes is the easiest way to create one. We have compiled a list of our top 10 tips for nailing your portion sizes!
1 - Pack your own snacks
By pre packing out your own snacks you are less likely to indulge in bigger bags/packets.
2 - Drink first
Try drinking a glass of water before each meal. Your belly works on volume so filling it up with liquid before you start eating will naturally make you less likely to overeat. Plus, some symptoms of dehydration can be mistaken for hunger, so the next time you feel hungry try drinking first.
3 - Add veggie fillers
This is probably the most important point on this list! Volume out your meals with low calorie veggies that are packed with fibre to make you feel more full. More food for your calorie buck! The half plate rule is a good one to follow: half your plate must be low calorie veggies/salad.
4 - Make carbs the topper, not the base
By slightly rethinking the way you use carbohydrates can also create less calorie dense meals. For example; when you make granola with yoghurt, instead of having a bowl of granola with a dollop of yoghurt on top try it the other way round! Have a small yoghurt and sprinkle some granola on it.
5 - Smaller plates
By using smaller plates & bowls it tricks your mind into thinking that the serving is bigger!
6 - Use measuring cups & scales
By measuring out your food you take all the guessing game out of it. People sometimes say it's obsessive to weigh your food, just have a table top scales out all the time and when you pour your cereal pop the bowl on the scales rather than the work surface! Easy as that.
7 - Use your hands!
Don't have access to scales or measuring cups? Use your hands as a visual reference. As a general rule a serving of fat should be the size of your thumb, a serving of carbs should be the size of your fist and a serving of protein should be the size of your palm.
8 - Eat more protein
Protein takes a lot longer to digest than the other macronutrients so it leaves you feeling fuller for longer. If you struggle with hunger try adding more high protein snacks in your diet.
9 - Serving sizes on packets
Food companies really do try to make it as simple as possible for us when it comes to knowing what's in our food! Read the label - is that pasta bowl 1 or 2 servings? Also look out for things like nuts which will say per 1/3 packet rather than per packet. Sometimes people don't realise just how many calories they are eating or misread the label!
10 - Limit your choices
If measuring or counting really isn't your thing try having less choice in the house. Too many options can zap your willpower, so just have your staples in the cupboards and work with what you know.
Barbelle Personal Trainer
Welcome to the Barbelle Blogmas! 12 blogs packed with information ready for you to pursue your 2018 fitness goals!
Episode 1 is all about coffee & caffeine. In this blog we will be covering the beneficial effects and side effects of caffeine as well as giving you some tips about coffee in general.
Caffeine is a natural stimulant found in drinks such as coffee and tea as well as some sports supplements. It works by stimulating the brain and central nervous system. In today's society it is estimated that 80% of the population consumes caffeine on the daily but why is it so popular and how does it work?
It works by blocking out the effects of adenosine which builds up slowly over the day and makes you feel increasingly more tired throughout the day. Caffeine is really quick to get working and leaves your brain in a state of arousal, alertness & focus. Sounds good hey! Because of all these benefits caffeine becomes highly addictive.
This very much comes down to the individual much like alcohol. Some people will be bouncing off the walls for hours after a cup of coffee and some could be fed constantly through a drip and still feel tired. When it comes to alcohol we hear all the time "I haven't drank in ages so I am going to get drunk quickly tonight". The same goes for caffeine. If you are constantly having caffeine your body will build a tolerance to it and it won't have the same effects. If you don't feel the effects of a coffee anymore I advice having a caffeine break for a week or so before returning to it. When you return don't rely so heavily on it - just have it when you really need it!
Caffeine & weight loss:
People always say that caffeine works wonders when it comes to fat loss. While it will boost your metabolism slightly, this is going to have minor effects on your results compared to your diet & workouts. Saying that, utilising caffeine before your workout can significantly increase your focus and energy; a better workout means better results!
Coffee in general:
While caffeine can help you towards your fitness goals unfortunately that does not mean smashing a triple shot hazelnut nutella latte 3x a day! Some coffees can have upwards of 600 calories in which can be almost half of some peoples total daily calories! Play it sensible go for the black coffees with a dash of milk and if you want something more exciting go for skimmed milk and sugar free syrups.
Barbelle Personal Trainer
Breakfast comes under scrutiny in the media all the time. Sometimes it is labelled as the "Most important meal of the day", but is this really true?
It depends what your goal is! If your goal is fat loss the only thing that matters is your total daily calories in vs your total daily calories out. Meal timing might make 1% of the difference but if you're not in a calorie deficit for the day you will NOT lose weight.
I for one can't start my day without breakfast, I feel lethargic by mid morning if I miss it. So I make sure I smash a good breakfast every morning without fail. Other people don't find this necessary and might be able to last until 2/3pm before they feel like they need any food. It all comes down to the individual, if you like breakfast... eat it; If you don't... don't!
This brings me onto my top 5 breakfast meals to kick start your day:
1 - The #EatWellFashion Plate (Pictured Above)
It is safe to say avocado is a massive fashion food at the moment and it deserves to be! This breakfast has EVERYTHING:
All totalling to roughly 500 calories.
2 - The Busy Bee Breakfast
This one is for the people in a rush! No more "I haven't got time for breakfast" excuses.
Wack it all in a shaker and shake! Drink on the way to work.
Totalling 400 Calories.
3 - Replacement Bacon Sarnie
Yes you can still have a bacon sandwich!
The classic British bacon sandwich, only less calories dense! Sitting at 250 calories.
4 - The Mighty Battleoats Bar
If you train in the morning or are busy then a meal replacement bar could be ideal for you. We couldn't recommend Battleoats bars enough, some protein bars taste gritty (Like chewing on powdered protein). Battleoats taste just like your morning oats but in a bar form. They are packed with protein, fibre and enough calories to fuel a workout. Our favourite flavour is White Chocolate Coconut which sit at 300 calories per bar.
5 - The Greek Yoghurt Club
Try this super quick, super simple breakfast!
Sitting at 300 calories.
Photo Credit - Georgina
Maybe you've tried, maybe you picked up some light dumbbells and have done some dumbbell curls or a few squats with a preset bar. But every time you have tried to venture into the weight section something doesn't feel right. You feel a little insecure, fearful and out of place. You've heard all the rumours that lifting weights makes you bulky, it's dangerous, it's bad for your joints etc.
This blog post should lay some of those myths to rest and make you understand that weight training is probably the piece of the puzzle missing for your training.
1 - BURN FAT MORE EFFECTIVELY
Think that weight lifting only benefits people wanting to get massive and not people looking to lose weight? You thought wrong! When contrasted with CV style of training, in terms of calorie burning, weightlifting comes out on top. The post exercise oxygen consumption from weight training allows your body to burn calories for hours after your session.
2 - CURVES
It is safe to say that the peach bum is very much in at the moment. Lifting weights allows you to lose fat and gain muscle, creating that hour glass figure through a smaller waist and bigger glutes.
3 - SLEEP QUALITY
Training with heavy weights improves your sleep, allowing you to fall asleep faster, sleep deeper and wake up less during the night.
4 - YOUR BODY BURNS MORE CALORIES WHEN NOT DOING ANYTHING!
As your lean muscle mass increases your body burns more calories while resting. The more muscle contractions you experience in a day, the more calories you burn. Having increased muscle density and mass increases this effect as there is more muscle, thus more calories are burnt.
5 - BONE HEALTH
As you get older you become more at risk to loss of bone density and muscle mass. Weight training is a great way to delay the onset of losing bone density and helps prevent osteoporosis. Some studies show that the earlier you start weight training, the greater chance you have of maintaining bone health in later life.
6 - INCREASED ENERGY
As stated under number 1 weight lifting boosts your energy expenditure and fat oxidisation. This effect can also simply make you feel more awake after training. Rather than going for a 400 calories cappuccino, go lift some weights!
7 - STRESS RELIEF
Exercise is simply one of the best releases from life and stress. Research shows that people who train regularly and put their bodies under stress in the gym can deal with stress better in day to day situations.
8 - FEEL STRONG, LOOK STRONG, BE STRONG
Everyone wants to feel strong, determined and confident in their own body, which is why we couldn't recommend weight lifting enough!
IN CONCLUSION... LADIES LIFT & LIFT HEAVY!