Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

It is one of those facts that I like quite a lot of fitness pages on Facebook. I like the normal mainstream pages like Men’s and Women’s health, numerous other health and fitness magazines and then the good old t-nation and bodybuilding.com for some really insightful articles and very clever workout ideas. Then of course the not so mainstream, yet extremely clever guys and girls that are miles ahead of the pack when it comes to heath, fitness and training principles. My point is, that when I log on to Facebook for my daily (ok hourly) fix, I am overwhelmed with fitness images.

My point is this, many people do the same, we like these pages to inspire us and give us a goal to go out there on a daily basis and kick some ass during our training sessions. But seriously, the images that bombard us on these pages are what gives me a headache sometimes. It is all shiny, bulging bodyparts that scream unnatural and not at all normal. Yes, maybe they inspire you to get out of your pajamas, into your training gear and go for that run, or just a bunch of push ups while still in your pajamas. (Whatever floats your fitness boat) Not everybody is inspired by this though, they look at these pictures and then glare at themselves in the mirror and they stare back at themselves in horror. 9 Times out of 10, there is not much wrong with the self looking back at you. Although you might not be as shiny as the guy in the photo (but who is first thing in the morning, unless you sleep in a bath of baby oil) something to consider? Ok, sorry, back to reality. Shiny and bulging muscles are not a realistic thing for a mom of two (who does not have nannies and chefs) Said mom must get kids up, dressed and fed before school. Mom must then dress and feed self (often a forgotten task) and then off to work. Workout you say? When? You say? What, you need an hour to do the workout in said article and then drink an all important shake directly after the workout and before you leave the gym, then go eat 120.23g of this and 23.98g of that within an hour of training. Say what??

So we give a glaring and critical eye to the person staring back at us in the mirror. All we can see is the ab muscles popping from the model in the Facebook picture. Guys and girls, this is not realistic and sometimes never attainable and that is 100% ok. Most of these people, I am sad to say, are using some kind of stimulant to get these amazing bodies and we need to realize that when we stumble into gym for our little training session 3 times a week. It is perfectly normal to crave (insert your favorite food here) so don’t beat yourself up just because you see perfect bodies all over the internet. These bodies get paid to look like that. That is their livelihood and their bread and butter (so to speak, more like rice and chicken, right?)

It is the small stuff that will make the big difference. Drink water, lots of it. Eat your vegetables, you know you should. Eat some fruit. It is not from the devil, even if the high fat, low carb people say so and eat your meat, fish and chicken. Again, you know all this, so keep at it and you will start looking and feeling better than you have in many moons. Forget about all those pictures that you are bombarded with and go with the flow. Like Dan John would say, eat adult food and get moving every other day. That is a good start, keep at it and you will see the difference.

Oh, before I forget, I promised you a little workout to try.

I did 10 minutes of hill on the bike today. 1 minute seated climb and 1 minute standing climb.
Straight into 10 minutes of a kettlebell flow – Alternating kb swing/snatch/clean/reverse lunge/burpee/push up

Into a 10 minute seated climb cycle

Every minute on the minute of:

5 BB bench press
5 Deadlifts

And finally….

3 Rounds of:

10 Bulgarian hip hinges – each leg
5 Landmine kneeling shoulder press

Enjoy the sweat….

Jump in, today.

Posted: February 1, 2017 in Uncategorized

Isn’t it just wonderful and funny in the same breath when someone fall off the wagon on a Monday afternoon after tea and a muffin with friends and then just say, aah, I will start again on Monday. What?? Monday? That is like seven days away! Do you know how much good can happen in seven days?

I have this little secret weapon that I use. It helps me to have a piece or 3 of pizza on the odd Wednesday evening or a glass of wine with hubby every other day or so. It is called myfitnesspal, there you go, my secret is out. I count calories. I will wait for the gasps to quiet down and then I will explain. I am a fitness enthusiast, a trainer, a wife and a mother. After my second little one I really tried everything to get the excess weight off and get going again. It was stuck on me like bubblegum in your hair. It went nowhere even though I was eating low carb, drinking mostly water (and the odd coffee) So I went back to basics, looked at my macros (carbohydrates, proteins and fats) decided what my percentages are going to be and I really just started logging everything I ate. It took a couple of weeks to refine and test and change, but guess what? The weight started falling off, literally. I went 10 kilograms down in just over 3 months and kept it off for about a year now.

Back to falling off the wagon though. I mentioned the odd piece of pizza here and there and if it fits into your basic macro counts and your kilojoules are withing your goal number for the day, why not? Why do you want to deprive yourself of all the good stuff? Let your hair down every now and again, withing your limits and enjoy the food you like. Don’t put a damper on life just because you want to lose a couple of kilograms.So don’t make a piece of pizza or a muffin or a cocktail the evil thing that will make you say you will be off the wagon for another week.

So, moral of this short story is, if you eat or drink something on a Tuesday morning because, well, you were forced of course. Don’t just stay off, get right back on and make your next meal a healthy one. Get those good habits coming and it will become easier as the days, weeks and months come and go. Don’t let another week go by with just stuffing your face with everything bad you can just because, well, you can. One high sugar, high fat meal is not going to derail your efforts.

Keep going and keep strong.

 

Exercise for fat loss

Posted: January 31, 2017 in Uncategorized

I recently read that if you want people to read your article, then write about the stuff that people talk or ask you about the most and that definitely is the question of fat loss. How do I get rid of this? (Showing dimples on the upper thigh) How do I stop this from happening? (waving arm and showing the arm wobble) and on and on.  Now I can always quickly show them some exercises to incorporate into their current workout programs, and hope that they actually follow your advice and do them, because yes, they do help. But we have to start at the beginning and that is what we are going to do in this article.

Right, first things first, they always say it all begins in the kitchen. So, so true, yet, we want to spend more time fixing the obvious wobble and dimple, which will take time in the gym yes, but eating healthy and well is way more important.

Just think about it for a second. The average person will get to the gym 3 times per week, for maybe a 45 minute workout. That gives you a total training time of 135 minutes of training every week.  The average person will eat 3 times a day. That is a whopping 21 meals per week. 3 Training sessions versus 21 meals, that is a big difference and that is why we need to focus more on shopping, prepping and preparing your meals and then we can get your training sorted out.

Now I know, the topic of this is actually exercise for fat loss and I did regress with the whole nutrition nag, sorry, I will get right back to the juicy stuff.

The biggest bang for your buck when you want the fat to just fall off you is strength training. Yes, I am talking to women as well here. No, I am specifically talking to women here because it is not a big stretch to get a man to approach an Olympic bar with some plates on, but we do scare away easily like a dear in headlights when we as women need to approach the bar. The reasons are many, too many for this forum but the big picture here is we need to get more women in front and behind that steel bar. We need to get women strong, because strong is empowering and strong burns fat.

So with this in mind, here is a little circuit that I found recently. These are not my ideas, I don’t claim them for my own, but man, do these little circuits work. I have been trying them and they give you a very good metabolic hit and that is what we crave. I does not, however, kill you and leave you in a puddle of sweat, which is good because you can come back tomorrow and do another quality workout without feeling like a train ran over you the previous day.

Here is the long and short of it. Choose 4 exercises. Exercise 1 is usually a push or upper body exercise. Exercise 2 is a leg dominant exercise. Exercise 3 will be a core exercise and then exercise 4 will be an aerobic type exercise.

This is what I did yesterday:

Alternating KB floor press for 30 seconds

Rest 15 Seconds

Barbell RDL for 30 seconds

Rest 15 seconds

Bosu dead bug for 30 seconds

Rest 15 seconds

Skip for 120 seconds

Rest 1 minute

That is 1 round; you can do 3 – 5 rounds, depending on your time limit and fitness levels.

Give this circuit a try and let me know what you think.

Last week was one of those momentous weeks in a person’s life. My hubby turned 40 on Wednesday and on Friday he went for his yearly medical. It is a pretty comprehensive medical with a VO2max test, bloodwork and so on. We are still waiting for the full report to see all the aspects of the medical but here is the crux of it. The medical professionals these days are in such a pill induced coma that it makes me so cross.

In a nutshell, hubby has lost 19kg since his last medical exactly a year ago (more on our scale at home, but who is counting) It is a combination of us just cleaning up our diet and making sure our macros are kind of spot on. Because seriously, who’s macros are always 100% spot on? He is also running a lot and doing circuits in the gym, but honestly, it is the counting of those calories that really brought on the change. With the kilos lost, he also got fitter and dropped 2 points on his cholesterol count. So now he is just slightly over 5 where we need to be under 5, but again, we are not sure what is LDL and HDL, we will only see that in the report. So if you look at the basic overall results, joy!

Apparently the medical team does not see this as joy! Yes, I will say that again, no joy!! Really??  Ok so here we go. They are concerned about his cholesterol and immediately want to put him on statins. He has dropped 2 points since his last appointment and is still going strong in getting himself under 5 with good eating habits and training and the medicals staff is staring blindly into the abyss of “I need to sell medication”

What the hell is wrong with these people? Why can we not try and cure non death threating medical conditions with eating a better with a well-balanced diet, a little less stress, more sleep and a decent exercise program? Why do we always want to just let people spend money by popping pills and telling them that are going to make them better? Do we know what statins do to us? No, why do we bother? A doctor tells us to take it because it will make us better and because we believe they have better judgement than us, we just pop the pill.

I honestly believe that we are just being such lazy asses. Yes, I said it. Why am I being so harsh?  Because we would rather sit on our behinds, eat pizza and pop our precious little pill that will make us all better because it is easy. That is laziness and we can keep on telling ourselves that medical professionals know better and we will just die of all our overweight aches and pains.

We can do something about it people. It will just take some effort from our part. So stop being such followers of pills and get up and do something about your own health. Move, eat better and you WILL feel better. But no, popping a pill is so much easier…. Yes, I am cross. Get cross with me and begin your better life.

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Posted: January 11, 2017 in Uncategorized

We all go to gym everyday (ok maybe not, I am being a bit overzealous here) to train. We like doing the things that come easy to us. Like bench press on a Monday, yip, I know we just love to lie on our backs and push heavy weights, because it is easy (some days) and it is familiar. But is the bench press something that you hate doing? Nope, usually not. Is it something you struggle with? Never! Bench press is so straight forward. Is it something that you need? Well if you are so good at it, why do you need it to become better?

Ooh, tricky.

So what don’t you like doing? Squatting? Yes, squatting is hard. How often do you squat? Not a lot hey. What is the reason? I don’t like it. I struggle with it. It hurts. So, I am not good at it. And bingo, you have just figured out what you need to focus on when you train, what you need to work on to get better and what your body is actually telling you, hey, you, this is what I need to become a better you.

So quickly, just go and write down all the stuff in the gym that you hate. It is usually the things that you skip but you know you have to do. Maybe you struggle to touch your toes. Then go into the gym every day and go touch your toes. You will become better at touching your toes and your body will thank you for it. Do you want to do a pull up? Then go in and do a pull up or six every day you train.  You will get your pull up eventually if you keep at it. And you know what? You know this.  I am just here to remind you quickly that if you want to become better at something, you have to do it on a regular basis to win.

I want to deadlift double bodyweight. Why? Because that is a good standard for strength. I can do a little bit over bodyweight at the moment. Do I work at it? Yes. Do I do it enough? NO! Why? I am human and I also venture to the things I like. I like the kettlebell swing. I love it and I want to do it all the time. Am I good at it? Probably a little bit. This makes me very efficient at the kettlebell swing, I don’t burn a lot of calories while doing them because my body became so used to doing things. So what am I to do? Go do something that I absolutely suck at. Something that will suck the air out of my lungs in records time and will make me double over and make me doubt my sanity and then of course go deadlift.

Ok, this is a bit tongue in cheek but essentially this is what it is about. Do what you suck at and do it often. And that is that. No secrets or magic pills. Just push push and get better

A fresh start

Posted: January 9, 2017 in Uncategorized

So I haven’t written in a while and thought that today is a good day to start. Many reasons, none of which is super exciting so I won’t bore you with the details. This is however me sharing my honest opinion. Many might not like it, so be it. We are all welcome to our opinions and views, I am just sharing mine on a more public platform.

With that out of the way, let me dig into my inner thoughts, mostly about fitness because that is what makes me tick.

This being the season of eating too much, I reverted to old-ish habits of doing a bit more cardio, ramping up the heart rate and seeing the calories burnt on my ever present technology on my arm. We get addicted, you know. We want to see the heart rate up there and we want to see the calorie counter ticking and we get satisfaction out of it. Now we can eat a little more guilt free and have that extra glass of wine. Which is fine, I suppose as damage control, heck, I picked up maybe 1kg during the holiday season and I am already back to pre-holiday weight, so all in all not that bad.

The problem came this morning in the gym, when I was doing deadlifts. Slow and boring some would say and that is why the cardio junkies stay away from this type of training because you do not see the calories ticking away so quickly. But man, was I disgusted in the drop of strength that all the high intensity training brought me during the last 3 weeks. I struggled with bodyweight deadlifts! That is really not on. Hard lesson learnt and one that I would like to put across to you, my fellow gym junky of health nut or whatever we would like to call ourselves.

It is fun (ok, maybe not so much , but bear with me) to sweat doing something torturous in the gym and it is addicted (to some, not all) but let me just remind you quickly of all the benefits of the weight section of your gym. Now after you have chased all the men, steroid junkies and the squat rack curlers out of the area with a broomstick (I dare you) take an olympic bar, make it one without any weights, its ok, we will get there and just run through a very basic sequence of stiff legged deadlifts, bent over rows, upright rows and overhead press. Do 5 reps of each, don’t put the bar down between every exercise and then rest of 1 minute after your simple sequence. Now if you are a technology wearing junky, check your heart rate. Hmmmm, not so low hey, and that shimmer on your forehead is sweat and it came fairly quickly as well. Now try this sequence for 3 – 5 sets and see how you feel afterwards.

There are many of these little exercises that you can throw together to build a super workout without jumping on a machine to get your heart rate up. It will benefit you in more ways as well. You will build strong muscles, that will use more energy while you sit down to watch your favourite tv program tonight.

So I will be taking my own advice and get off my heart rate high horse and build some proper strength again.

Should we leave gas in the tank?

Posted: January 18, 2016 in Uncategorized

It has become a common practice among us mere mortals to always leave everything on the gym floor (or more gross – somewhere in a dustbin or a corner somewhere) yeah, you hear me, I am calling you out.
The above mentioned mere mortals feel like if they do not kill themselves on a daily basis, they do not get a descent workout and thus, will not reach their fitness goals. This is a trend set by a lot of fitness websites out there and no, I am not hinting towards a certain bands of fitness people out there, I am just saying. So the question begs. Do we have to kill ourselves daily to get to where we want to be at the end of our fitness journey?

………Pregnant pause here while everybody hold their breaths in anticipation for the answer.  Nope, you don’t have to. That is the short answer to a rather complicated explanation that I will not bore you with, too much, today. You will probably kill your gains if you kill yourself on a daily basis, so the long and short of it is to just back off some days, do some heavy lifting with long – ish, rest periods between your working sets. Leave a lot of gas in the tank, go home and eat some healthy food. Rest and repeat.

Now that is hard. Believe me. We have created a culture of “LET US DIE IN THE GYM EVERY DAY.” and to get rid of that is not easy. It is an addiction and you have to scale it down slowly. Now I am not totally against the odd, let us die today workout every now and again. I usually like them on a Saturday because then I am not usually bound by time (and still that workout only takes me about 45 minutes, before I crawl out of the gym, totally exhausted)

So, back to the problem, if you kill yourself on an average of 4 to 5 times per week, let us start with substituting one killer workout a week with a workout of say, deadlifts. Do a nice little mobility warm up. Do a couple of barbell compound sets.

What’s that you ask?

Choose 5 exercises you can do without putting down the bar. Load the bar with the weight you can do, say 5 reps, for your weakest exercise, load up and move through your 5 chosen exercises without putting the bar down. For an example, here are 5 exercises I use a lot.

  • RDL
  • Bent over row
  • Hang power cleans
  • Overhead press
  • Front squats
Rest as needed and repeat as needed, usually about 3 – 5 sets.

All warmed up, set up your trusted barbell for 5 sets of deadlifts, do between 5 and 8 reps per set. Adjust your weight as needed. If you feel strong, up your weight, if you feel tired, back off with the weight and/or reps.
This is your workout so use your recipe. Make sure you write down reps and sets for a future workout measure.

Guess what? Workout done.

Now feel free to go kill yourself for the rest of the week and come back next week and give such a workout a try again. Maybe a different barbell move or something you would like to get better at, like a barbell clean maybe.

I am just making suggestions here, but if you want to get better at something you cannot just carrying on killing yourself on a daily basis, trying to beat a previous time and just doing sloppy push ups and injuring yourself. So get to the gym on some days and just practice your movements to get better at them, you don’t even have to sweat, although, you probably will.

This might just put the fun back into your training again as well. Just give it a bash.

Happy training.