Too often clients come to me, feeling confused about how they should be eating, struggling with motivation, and feeling guilty for their current health and level fitness.
Can you relate?
I don’t believe this is anyone’s fault. There is so much conflicting information and opinions, on top of how we feel inside. It’s all thrown into the too hard basket and we throw that to the back of our minds. Except it doesn’t really go away, we just do our best to avoid that space.
The best step forward is a plan, and planning for a win.
You need a plan for you. Not a copy and paste plan, but sitting down and taking control of your journey. My clients and I work on meal options. They are educated in how to make allowances for days that we want to eat that piece of cake 🤤 or whatever their “go to” treat is.
Being restrictive only boxes us in. Often we aren’t eating a balanced diet and it just makes the cravings even worse. Then we break the diet, feel guilty about our lack of discipline and spiral down, wondering what’s the point.
Empowerment through education and knowledge is the solution. This is your train set, so put it on the track that’s right for you and work at it. ✌🏼
- Train using the most “bang for your buck,” multi-joint lifts like squats, deadlifts, bench press, chin-ups, and Olympic lifts.
- Avoid isolation, single-joint lifts such as bicep or leg curls unless you have unlimited training time.
- Use very short rest periods (10 to 60 seconds) to trigger the greatest growth hormone response.
- Vary the tempo of lifting phases and rest periods to provide new stimulus for the body to adapt.
- To get lean fast, use a hypertrophy-type protocol (8 to 12 reps, more than 3 sets, 70 to 85 percent 1RM load).
- Use a longer time under tension to burn more energy and increase postexercise oxygen consumption—try a 4-second eccentric and 1-second concentric phase.
- Train to create an anabolic response. Increasing growth hormone is the priority because of its significant lipolytic (fat burning) effects.
- Perform circuit training with little rest between sets for maximal growth hormone response.
- For gradual fat loss over a longer period, include strength cycles that favor testosterone release with heavier loads (up to 95 percent 1RM), slightly longer rest (2 to 3 minutes), and lots of sets.
- Work harder. If you’re not getting results, you’re not working hard enough.
- Give priority to training the anaerobic energy system over the aerobic system when strength training and conditioning.
- Do high-intensity sprint intervals for conditioning. Two examples are 60 cycle sprints of 8 seconds each, 12 seconds rest; or 6 all-out 30-second running sprints on a track, 4 minutes rest.
- Be as active as possible in daily life. Move more: Take regular brisk walks during the day, always take the stairs, park far away in any parking lot, or do your own yard work.
- Do relaxing physical activity instead of sitting in front of a screen: yoga, stretching, foam rolling, martial arts, or walking mediation.
- Eliminate all processed foods from your diet—don’t eat them ever.
- Eliminate all trans-fats from your diet such as margarine and shortening—they MUST be removed from the diet.
- Don’t avoid fat. Research shows that people with diets with 30 to 50 percent coming from smart fats have higher androgens and lower body fat.
- Eat smart fat, favoring the omega-3 fats that come from fish and wild meats.
- Take fish oil to boost omega-3 fat intake and ensure your omega-3 to omega-6 fat intake is balanced.
- Eat a diet with high-quality protein—organic meats will provide the largest “bang for your buck” protein.
- Eliminate wheat and avoid grains in favor of vegetables.
- Raise resting metabolic rate (the amount of calories the body burns at rest) by eating a higher protein diet with 15 to 25 percent of the diet coming from high-quality protein.
- Eliminate all high-glycemic carbs and eat only low-glycemic vegetables and berries.
- Eat an antioxidant-rich diet to prevent inflammation, which leads to fat gain. Try kale, broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy, berries, pomegranates, and cherries.
- Non-green veggies that help you lose fat are colored peppers, eggplant, garlic, onions, mushrooms, hearts of palm, spaghetti squash, and water chestnuts.
- Drink a lot of water (at LEAST 3 liters a day) to stay hydrated and help detox the body.
- Avoid alcohol, juice, soda, and sports drinks. Stick to water, tea, and coffee.
- For a radical approach, eliminate all alcohol. If alcohol can’t be eliminated, Sardinian and Spanish red wines are the best worst option.
- Try acupuncture—studies have shown it can aid in treating obesity.
- Make sure your vitamin D level is over 40 ng/ml. Take vitamin D if not.
- Take a probiotic to improve your gut health.
- Make sure your magnesium level is up to par. Scientists suggest 500 mg of magnesium a day.
- Take a liquid zinc test to see if you can taste zinc. If not, you are deficient and should take zinc to speed fat loss.
- Don’t buy cheap, poor quality supplements because they will do more harm than good if they are tainted with heavy metals or pollutants.
- Take B vitamins, especially if you eat a high-protein diet or take BCAAs because the extra amino acids take away from the pool of available B vitamins need for detox.
- Drink coffee or take caffeine before workouts to increase fat burning and work capacity—research shows we will self-select heavier loads if we take caffeine before training.
- Drink organic green tea to elevate fat burning and aid in detoxifying the body.
- Take carnitine to help the body use fat for fuel and increase time to exhaustion when training hard.
- Take the amino acid taurine because it lowers the stress hormone cortisol and helps the body digest fat.
- Take R-form alpha lipoic acid because it supports detox and recovery from training.
- Use the herb fenugreek with meals to improve insulin sensitivity and energy use.
- Remove body piercings to lose fat fast, especially belly piercings.
- Limit fructose in the diet because it gets in the way of losing belly fat.
- Never eat fructose before workouts because it blunts fat burning and lowers metabolic rate.
- Avoid milk before workouts because it is very “insulinotropic,” meaning it causes persistently high insulin levels that make you burn less energy.
- Don’t drink caffeine after workouts because it may raise cortisol at the point where you need to clear it for the best fat-burning and recovery effect.
- Eat high-quality protein for breakfast. Avoid cereal and all processed foods.
- Eliminate all sugar from your diet. It’s way more trouble than it’s worth if you want to lose fat.
- Make an effort to get enough sleep. An early-to-bed, early-to-rise sleep pattern has been shown to improve body composition.
- Know that you have complete control over what you put in your mouth. No one ever ate anything by accident.
How to choose an exercise bike
Exercise bikes are the most familiar pieces of fitness equipment to people and for good reason. Being compact & very simple to use, exercise bikes are a convenient means of performing your daily exercise from the comfort & safety of your home.
When you are choosing an exercise bike, it’s important to look out for these features to ensure you purchase one that feels smooth & comfortable.
The flywheel is a large metal gear that the pedals are connected to. Like the wheels on a push bike, the flywheel is what generates the momentum as you pedal.
The weight of the flywheel is what you need to look out for when comparing different exercise bikes. For example, the Bodyworx AC270M features a “5kg” flywheel while the Horizon Paros Pro has a “7kg” flywheel. As a rule of thumb the heavier the flywheel is the more smoother the bike will feel.
This is what makes it harder or easier as you pedal along. The variability of the resistance will either be provided manually or by a computer. Generally, you will have less variability on a manual exercise bike (typically 1-8 levels) whereas anything up to 32 with a computer controlled bike.
When deciding on which type to go for, you really need to think about what you want out of using an exercise bike. For example, if you’ve been prescribed by a physiotherapist to strengthen your knees pre/post surgery, a manually controlled exercise bike may be sufficient. However if your wanting a little more out of it, then a computer controlled bike might be a better option.
When you choose a computer controlled exercise bike like the York C420, not only do you get 32 levels of resistance, but also programs too. The programs will automatically adjust the tension on the bike to make it harder or easier depending on the program selected. More on them next.
As mentioned above, programs are only provided by exercise bikes which feature computer controlled resistance.
Programs are a useful feature to consider especially if your goal is to lose weight or maintain fitness.
We’ve got a good selection of exercise bikes in our showroom available for your demonstration.
Oran Park Home Gym
Tonight we completed this home gym installation in the South West Sydney suburb of Oran Park.
Our customer recently lost over 70kgs following surgery and wanted to do some strength training from home. Due to time constraints with work, going to a gym was neither desirable or possible.
The customer settled on the Bodyworx L8000HG home gym which features lat pull down, a dual function pec dec & press, ab crunch plus low row cable & leg extension.
We also supplies a 1-10kg Rubber Hex Dumbbell package & Force USA FID bench.
If your in Oran Park, Gregory Hills or any other surrounding suburbs call us today on 46471119 to see how we can help you with your fitness goals.
Our showroom in Narellan is open 7 days per week.
The age old argument regarding free weights vs machine weights continues. While each can help you build strength there are definite pros & cons for each. Furthermore, one of the key questions I ask customers that are looking to purchase strength equipment has to do with what their strength training goals are.
The most important component in any strength training program is safety. If you are new to strength training or if you are working out alone, variable strength machines like the Bodyworx L8000LP might be a better option initially. While machines can be viable option for serious weight training, they are best for novice, senior and recreational athletes.
For rehabilitating injured athletes, variable strength machines are preferred. They provide a more controlled motion and specifically isolate certain muscle groups. Machines also allow you to track progress and provide objective feedback while increasing the protective participation of the healthy limb or muscle group.
Research has shown us that free weights promote quicker strength gains and they require more balance and coordination than do the weight machines. Free weights recruit more muscle groups than variable resistance machines, which tend to only isolate specific muscles.
Free weights are also more versatile than machines because they allow for more variations in range of motion. An example of a free weights machine is something like the a Power Rack. The power rack while basic in its form allows the serious weight trainer the ability to do a wide range of exercises that focus on the major muscle groups.
Freight weights also require balance, and they tend to promote more activity of the joint stabilization muscles. Also in terms of cost, you can start out with a few dumbbells.
As mentioned above, your goals will also play a part in deciding which strength training system you choose. If your goal is more about toning & general fitness then a machine weight system may be the go.
It’s usually about a week after Christmas that the kids have almost gotten bored with their Christmas presents that cabin fever starts to set in. With Summer really starting to kick in, we’d been talking for ages about grabbing a kayak from the shop & having a bit of fun.
So it was yesterday, New Years Eve that we decided to grab a kayak for a day of some water fun. We decided to go to a place that we have seen others set off kayaks; Bents Basin which is a popular water hole in Sydney’s South West. First thing first though was how to transport the thing? Good news is that Aquayak have really thought of everything which makes getting into kayaking for the beginner so much easier!
When I’m not driving around the van, I get around in a small Hyundai Accent hatchback. It’s tiny, so I was a bit skeptical about being able to transport a kayak on the roof, however these roofracks as you can see in the above image did the job really well! The straps hold down the kayak so well that you don’t even know you’ve got one.
Once we arrived, we placed the kayak onto the trolley and away we went. By the time we got to our chosen location, so excited was my son that the kayak was in the water within a minute or so. Within a few minutes he was all the way on the other side of the basin! Lets say I had initial difficulty getting a turn!
Aquayak Kayaks are known as “Sit on Top” kayaks meaning they are very stable and perfect for the beginner. As I said, none of us have actually ever kayaked before but getting started was so easy.
By the end of the day, we were all very sunburnt & tired. Surprisingly, my upper body felt like I’d done an intense arm & shoulder workout!
I can remember a time not that long ago when a certain shock jock would proclaim that stress was merely something of the sufferers imagination and his advice would often be that we should `harden up’.
Countless studies & research has thankfully now shown that stress is MOST definitely an affliction with seriously life threatening consequences.
An article I’ve been reading on the Juice Daily website recently listed some exercises that we can all do to de-stress!
Recently I had the pleasure of attending a free weight loss information night hosted by local businesswomen & personal trainer Tanisha Tottman of Busyslim. Busyslim was founded by Tanisha as a result of her own weight loss success, having lost 50kg forever over 20 years ago. Knowing how well she felt after this, Tanisha wanted to share her knowledge & experience and developed the Busyslim 12 week weight loss program.
During the evening, I heard from 3 of Tanisha’s clients whom shared intimate details of their weight loss successes. A common thread among the stories was the ongoing support provided by Tanisha. Reflecting on my own weight loss journey some years ago, I can say that having the ongoing support of someone specialised like a Personal Trainer or weight loss consultant of which Busyslim have both, can be the difference between long term weight loss success or yo-yoing from one diet to another.
Tanisha and her Busyslim team hold regular information sessions regarding her upcoming 12 week weight loss programs. To find out more, please contact Tanisha on 1300134494 or visit the Busyslim website, www.busyslim.com.au.
How to reduce pain associated with Arthritis of the Knee
By far one of the most prevalent conditions that we here at the store is Arthritis, especially of the Knee. If you’re a sufferer then you’ll only know too well how painful it can be.
While medication can be effective in treating pain associated with Arthritis, exercising is also an effective means. `reduce knee pain, improve motion, decrease stiffness, and increase flexibility’ says Brian Wu, author of 10 Exercises for Arthritis of the Knee.
1. Leg lifts (standing)
Targets: Hips and glutes (buttocks).
Purpose: Leg lifts are an important leg exercise to improve stability, balance, and strength, reducing the impact on the knees.
- Stand against a wall
- Raise a leg to the side without rotating toe to the side; keep toe pointing forward or slightly in
- Avoid leaning to stationary side
- Lower leg down
- Repeat 15-20 times on each side
2. Sit and stand (seated and standing)
Targets: Quadriceps (front of thigh) and glutes.
Purpose: This repetitive motion is central to improving the range of knee movement and overall leg strength. Over time, it will become easier to stand up pain-free in everyday life.
- Sit straight in a chair with feet flat on floor
- Cross arms over chest
- Stand straight up slowly
- Slowly return to seated
- Repeat for 1 minute
3. Kick-backs (standing)
Targets: Hamstrings (back of thigh).
Purpose: This exercise is great for strengthening leg muscles and reducing knee stiffness.
- Stand up straight
- Lift a foot off the floor and bend the knee, bringing the heel toward the buttocks
- Hold for a few seconds, then lower down
- Knees should be aligned and posture straight
- Repeat 10-25 times, and repeat a few times per day
4. The “clam” (lying down)
Purpose: Knee strain is often at least partially due to weak glutes, resulting in too much shock being absorbed by the knee joint. Strengthening the buttocks leads to a reduced impact on knees.
- Lie down on side
- Bend hips and knees to 90 degrees with shoulders, hips, and feet aligned
- Keep feet together
- Lift top knee up as far as possible, then slowly lower it
- Hold for 3-5 seconds and repeat 10-25 times, twice daily
- Repeat on both sides
If lying exercises are too difficult or painful, people can still work their glutes by doing seated buttock clenches or backward leg lifts.
Exercises to improve knee flexibility
5. Quadriceps stretch (lying down)
Purpose: To improve the flexibility of the quadriceps, and the range of motion for the knee.
- Lie down on stomach
- Place right forearm in front for support
- Bend left knee and grab ankle or shin with left hand
- Gently lift knee off floor until feeling slight stretch
- Hold for a few seconds, repeating alternative sides a few times
- Switch sides
6. Hamstrings stretch (lying down)
Stretching the hamstring can help improve a knee’s range of motion.
Purpose: To improve the flexibility of the hamstrings, improving range of motion of the knee.
- Lie down on back with legs outstretched
- Bend right knee and grab the back of thigh with both hands
- Gently pull the leg toward the chest
- Relax arms so knee is pointed straight up
- Straighten this leg toward the sky, or as much as possible
- Bend knee again, then outstretch it once more
- Repeat on both legs for a few times each
7. Leg cross (seated)
Targets: Whole leg, especially quadriceps.
Purpose: To improve the range of motion of knees as well as strengthen every muscle surrounding the knees.
- Cross ankles over each other while contracting the thighs
- Hold to 10-30 seconds
- Switch sides, and do three to four sets per side
- Alternatively, repeat the same exercise with legs outstretched
This movement is great “hidden” exercise that can be done anywhere, even at the office. It also improves posture.
Exercises to increase stamina
8. Elliptical training
Recumbent bicycles put less weight and strain on the knees than traditional bicycles.
Targets: Arms and legs.
Purpose: A low-impact cardiovascular exercise preferable to running or jogging for those with knee pain or weak knees.
The exercise uses a device called an elliptical trainer, also known as a cross trainer, that copies the movement of walking, running, and climbing.
Click here to see some example of elliptical trainers.
9. Recumbent cycling
Targets: A low-impact cardiovascular exercise targeting the whole leg.
Purpose: Cycling is usually considered a lower-impact exercise than walking or running. However, cycling on hilly terrain or with incorrect form can put great strain on knees.
A recumbent bike positions the rider in a lying-down position. Doing so reduces the weight and strain on knees. It also decreases the risk of pedaling with the knees pointing outwards, which can be harmful to the joints over time.
Click here to view examples of recumbent bikes.
Targets: A low-impact cardiovascular exercise targeting the whole body.
Purpose: Swimming is a great form of exercise for people of any age. Many people suffering from arthritis find swimming to be a comfortable, meditative routine that’s easy on all joints, especially the knees.
If swimming is too difficult, many of its benefits can also be gained in slower, standing water aerobic exercises performed in shallow water.
How adopting a morning ritual helped me lose 40 kilos (and keep it off!)
Ok, so not all of us are `morning people’. When I was at my heaviest, mornings were a real struggle and while I do consider myself a morning person, the last thing I felt like doing was springing out of bed! Feeling lethargic, tired & stressed was how I felt everyday, that is until I introduced certain things into my daily routine that helped me lose 40 kilos. These things have become a morning ritual that I deliberately make time for no matter what.
- Lemon water: The first I do each morning is prepare a glass of warm water with a squeeze of lemon juice. Lemon is rich in vitamin C which is just the thing we need to boost our immune system, especially this time of the year! I’ve also found that it aids in appetite control. Lemons contain `pectin’ which is a fibre found in citrus fruits which make us feel full.
- Read or listen to a podcast: I love nothing more than enjoying the quietest part of the day reading or listening to my favourite podcast. Nourishing mind with positive thoughts & ideas is a great way to kick the day off. I make it part of my morning ritual to not default to checking emails etc.
- Exercise: This part of my morning ritual actually begins the night before. I try to layout the clothes that I want to wear during my workout just before I go to bed. The benefits of exercise became obvious to me as I became more experienced. Feelings of lethargy & having no energy vanished (infact I had more energy!). While I am a believer that diet plays a larger role in one’s weight loss success, regular exercise has been shown to improve heart health & lower the chances of developing diabetes.
- Breakfast: I actually look forward to tucking into a creamy bowl of porridge with a cut up Apple & a sprinkling of chia seeds after my workout. This is part of my morning ritual at the moment. Fuelling our bodies with good quality food is essential for weight management & having sufficient energy to perform at your best throughout the day.
- To-do list: Your either a list person or your not. I couldn’t function without my task list. For me it serves a dual purpose; 1. A brain dump: any ideas or goals I want to accomplish, I record it on my to-do list. Some of those ideas come from point 2. 2. Day planner: Like most small business operators, I’m a wearer of many hats! So while I need to have time to chat with customers or suppliers, there are somethings that must be done. A well set out to-do list helps me ensure I’m on top of these things. I use a free app called “Wunderlist”. It seamlessly syncs with multiple devices so no matter where I am I can jot down tasks & ideas as I need to.
What’s your morning ritual?
About the author
Eric Giddio is the owner of Macarthur Fitness Equipment. His passion for the fitness industry stems from his own weight loss journey and the desire to help his local community with their health & fitness goals. Eric does this by taking the time to listen to his customers & educating them on the best piece of fitness equipment matched to their needs.