Today we have a guest post question and answer from someone who on a weekly basis brings me pain, and makes me feel sick….but I forgive him because he lets me punch him. It’s my personal trainer, Matt King.
Under Matt’s guidance I’ve transformed the way I look at exercise and nutrition, and if you follow me on social media you may have seen my body has undergone a transformation too.
The basis of this transformation is long-term sustainable lifestyle changes: no faddy diets, no food or food group is banned, no calorie counting, seeing indulgent food as treats not an emotional fix (I now have boxing to meet my emotional frustration needs!), and finding workouts that I enjoy. Yes, enjoy! The activities include high impact intensity intervals with weights, TRX body weight moves, plyo jumping, press ups, squats, lunges, chucking sandbells, and my beloved boxing. One day, burpees might be included in the ‘enjoy’ list…
There is loads of information – and misinformation – about nutrition and exercise. With so much misinformation out there it can be difficult to know what to believe and trust. A lot of information is issued by a diet industry designed to make us believe we can achieve rapid changes by making few lifestyle changes (think ‘seven days to a bikini body’ or ‘fat free’ foods that are packed full of sugar) but trap us in an endless cycle of weight loss and gain which is unhealthy psychologically as well as physically.
But with no further ado, over to Matt to help demystify some of the most common queries and misconceptions.
Some of these questions are crowd-sourced – thank you if you contributed a question and hope you find the answers useful.
Q: What are your thoughts on rapid weight loss plans – for example detox diets/’get a bikini body in 14 days’ type diets?
A: Absolutely the plague of the fitness industry, anything that is ‘rapid’ normally ends up depleting your body of essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals not to mention the potential damage these can do to the metabolism. These plans can actually make your body store fat easier in the immediate aftermath of completing one.
Q: Do you need a gym membership to improve your fitness?
A: Most definitely not, but it provides a lot more weapons to your armoury. However there is the potential guilt of spending money on something you don’t use. You will be surprised how many people do waste money on memberships.
Q: What kind of workouts can I do at home?
A: At home you are limited, but not nearly as much as you may think. Set up mini resistance circuits using your body weight for example press ups, crunches and squats follow with a 30s blast of cardio such as on the spot runs or burpees for extra intensity.
Alternatively switch between 30 second and one minute bouts of cardio and rest, and repeat for 20 minutes (or stop if you are exhausted before that).
Q: What is the best food to eat before/after working out so you have energy but don’t undo your hard work?
A: A lot comes down to when you work out. I don’t believe in no carbs and post workout is the optimal time to consume carbohydrates: a small portion of fruit immediately before or after is ideal. Always aim to allow a minimum of 90 minutes after a meal before exercising.
Q: I haven’t exercised for years, what is the thing to do to get me started?
A: Jump in head first – you will be amazed by what your body can achieve! Ideally consult a doctor if you have any medical conditions and a professional trainer to get you started, even if it’s just once or twice will make a huge difference to your outlook on what you can do. (I can attest to that! – Leigh)
Q: Will doing weights make me, as a woman, bulk up?
A: Women do not possess the testosterone levels to bulk up or effectively ‘grow’ the muscles. With supplementation or ‘enhancements’ women do build larger muscles but generally are fuelled by substances not ideal for the body.
Weights for ladies would improve muscle density (shape) and therefore increase metabolism for a more effective natural source of calorie burning.
Q: How long does food take to convert to fat in your body? I ask because I’m with a slimming club and we weigh every week. I’d like to be able to identify what parts of my diet are working for me.
A: Unfortunately there is not a straightforward answer for this, many factors from metabolism, digestive system health, and what exactly the type of food is will all change the outcome. I will say the pressure driven slimming clubs are not ideal if you are looking for long-term loss, the stress of the meetings on some people raise cortisol levels (the stress and anxiety hormone) which promotes fat storage.
Q: Is there an optimum time of the day to workout?
A: For me I perform best in the afternoon and therefore I’d always recommend that you workout when you feel at your best. However I believe kick starting your metabolism and day with a tough exercise routine can energise you for the day ahead.
Q: Are there ‘good’ foods and ‘bad’ foods?
A: Too many to name on both sides! My biggest tips are simply
- Avoid anything ‘made’. Anything that has been manufactured or been through processing before packaged and sold.
- Try to avoid consuming fats and carbs together. Eggs are a fantastic nutritional source full of benefits for your health and body. However, serving eggs with toast gives your body two choices for energy: a fast burning carbohydrate or slower process to energy via fat. There is only one winner there and unfortunately that means fat gets stored for later.
- Make the majority of your five a day vegetables rather than fruit. This is because a lot of fruit contains too much sugar, which makes fat storage more prominent and also in excess the sugar will be converted and stored as a fat.
Q: What is the recommended maximum daily calorie intake when coupling it with exercise in order to help a sensible weight loss?
A: This again for me depends on a number of factors including weight, age, and medical conditions. My advice is to find out your BMR (basal metabolic rate – the minimum number of calories your body requires to function and power vital organs). Once you have this number depending on how active your lifestyle is you would multiply to find your recommended daily calorie intake.
I however am not a big fan of calorie counting as not all calories affect the body equally. For me, tracking what you eat to create transparency [about the types of foods you are eating] is the benefit to calorie counting.
If you are in the Bedford area and are interested in improving your fitness and nutrition, he comes highly recommended! He trains at Fitness First, or can train you in a park or in your home if you prefer. Give him a call on 07891 027795