Age is just a number

Age is just a number – Do you agree?

I can honestly say that at 45 years old I feel the most content I’ve felt in my life so far!

I was 35 when I started FitSista.  At the time I was so worried that I was too old to be a successful Personal Trainer, as all the trainers I knew were buff 21 year olds.  Luckily for me, I had the Life experience that they didn’t.  I’d been there and done that (not just read about it!).  My age was actually an advantage in my profession – and it still is as I get older!.

So rather than having a moan about the downside of getting older – Here’s to the POSITIVE POINTS!

  • Life Experience – You certainly don’t have that in your 20’s.
  • Greater Knowledge (although I do forget things!) – Hopefully by your 40’s you’ve learnt a few things.
  • Increased Confidence – I do things now that I’d never have done when I was younger.
  • I’m happy in my own skin – It’s taken me 45 years, but I’m extremely comfortable about who I am.
  • I take no shit – The days are well and truly over that I try to keep other people happy at the expense of my own happiness.
  •  I’m much more productive – I’ve got fire in my soul and I’m extremely passionate about my ambitions.
  • I need less sleep – I’m up and at ’em early and I get so much more done in a day than I ever used to.
  • I know exactly what’s important to me and what I want in life – and I really don’t care if I don’t match other peoples expectations.
  • I’m actually living my best life – Life is GOOD!.

This FAR outweighs the wrinkles, grey hairs, flabby bits, mood swings and hot flushes!

So whatever age you’re at – don’t use it as an excuse.  It’s never too late to try something you want to do and quite often, being older has its advantages!

 

Get active at the Office

Get Active at the Office

 

A recent study shows that the average British office worker spends more than 2 months of the year slumped at their office chair!  With just under a third of workers taking a lunch break and 95% saying they don’t see any sunlight in the winter months, it’s not surprising that working long hours leads to a sedentary lifestyle!

 

Inactivity and leading a sedentary lifestyle can not only double your risk of many Chronic illnesses such as Cardiovascular disease, Stroke, Cancer and Type 2 Diabetes, but it can also impact your Mental Health and Well-being and can create many Postural problems.

 

Being more active during the day can massively improve your Health, Happiness AND make you more alert and productive at work.

 

So, if you are one of those who sit at a desk all day, here’s some tips to try.

 

Are you sitting Comfortably?

Making sure your desk, chair, monitor and telephone are all set up correctly.  Your back should be supported, your feet should rest on the floor and your arms horizontal whilst typing.  Sit upright and try not to slump.

Keep Active during the day

At least every hour, try to get up and move away from your desk – even if its just to go to the loo or make a drink.

Take a lunch break

Even a 20-minute break outside in the fresh air will give you a mental boost and you’ll come back to your desk feeling refreshed re-energised and more productive.

Make the Most of your Commute to work

If you know you are going to be completely inactive during office hours, make your journey to and from work as active as possible.  Walk or cycle to work, park further away or get off the bus a couple of stops earlier so you at least get some of your daily steps in.

Get your colleagues on board

Set up a team challenge, get a lunchtime walking group together or arrange to go to the gym before or after work.  Being part of a like-minded group of co-workers can really motivate you all to keep active.

 

It’s not just employees that can benefit, a Healthy workforce makes Happier workers, which will not only be more alert, productive and increase staff morale, but will be less likely to have time off due to illness.  So, get the bosses on board too!

Hormones and Fitness – Part One

Hormones – They’ve got a lot to answer for!

No, it’s not an excuse, but it is a very valid reason for why things can go terribly wrong in your Fitness programme if you don’t understand how your hormones are affecting your training.

Our hormones don’t stop and start. They are constantly flowing through our bodies at fluctuating levels throughout the month and this can mean constant changes to how you feel emotionally and physically during your menstrual cycle.

There’s the ‘Good Weeks’ – When you’re full of energy, your skins glowing and your libido is boosted (make the most of it!)

Then there’s the ‘Bad Weeks’ – When you seriously can’t be bothered to do anything you don’t have to; you feel like a fat pig and you could eat everything in sight!

It’s not surprising that these constant changes in hormone levels mess up our fitness goals!

Our changing hormone levels throughout the month can really affect your ability to exercise and knowing how your menstrual cycle influences your workouts can be really helpful – e.g. If you’re able to push your workout or if you should just go for an easier option. We’ve all been there – frustrated at not running our fastest 5K, not lifting our heaviest squat weight, or just not having the energy for our usual workout. It’s frustrating!

‘Time of the month’ is not a reason NOT to exercise (I remember forging letters from my mum to excuse me from PE because I had my period!). You just need to plan a workout to suit your hormones.

Although everyone’s menstrual cycle is different, here’s a guide to what’s happening during your cycle and which type of exercise is more beneficial at each stage.

Week 1

‘I’ve just started so I’ll watch a Netflix series and eat pizza’

There’s actually no medical reason why you shouldn’t be able to exercise during your period.  In fact, it can be beneficial and for many women it can help ease the symptoms of PMS due to endorphins (which are the body’s natural painkillers) released during exercise. It might be the last thing you feel like doing and you might not reach a PB during this time, but you’ll probably feel better for it.

Week 2

 ‘Woohoo I’ve finished!’

After your period your oestrogen, testosterone and progesterone levels start to increase which is when your energy and motivation rises, so now is the perfect time to use that energy for your most intense workouts. Testosterone (usually associated with men) affects women too and while its in high levels you can really use it to increase your strength training capabilities. So now is the time to go for your deadlift PB!

 

Week 3

And just when you’re back on a roll….

On around day 14 of your cycle (usually when your workouts are back on top form) – you ovulate – and this rapidly decreases your Oestrogen levels!  You probably feel more tired and workouts become a huge effort again. However, at this stage of your cycle, your lungs function better, so it’s the perfect time to progress your cardio workouts! And according to research, women tend to burn more calories during this phase too – so fuel up!

 

Week 4

If you’re going to have a rest week, then this is the time.

At some point this week your body will begin preparing itself for your next period. Tummy ache, fluid retention and your mood turning slightly psycho! Your body temperature rises which might cause you to sweat more during exercise.  If you don’t feel like an energetic workout, this is the week to focus on stretching and Yoga is the perfect workout.  Your training may not be at its best, but just give yourself a break – your body probably won’t thank you for pushing it to the max this week.

It really is worth Listening to your body and trying to work with your cycle, not against it and by doing this, you may find you don’t lose the plot completely while your hormone levels are constantly changing.

Un-processing your Diet

Un-processing your Diet

Recent studies have found that people who eat more processed food, consume about 500 more calories per day than those that eat wholefoods.  Why? Because processed foods provide limited nutrients and are not as filling, so you tend to eat more to feel full and an extra 500 calories per day, can lead to quite a significant weight gain!

It’s quite a big challenge to switch to an entirely whole-foods diet overnight. But you can start to make healthier choices most of the time by making some small, sustainable changes to “unprocess” your diet.

What are Processed foods?

Most packaged foods such as crisps, sweets, chocolate bars and biscuits are considered ultra-processed along with fast food, most take-out food and packaged bakery items, refined grains such as white rice, sugary cereals and white bread also are processed.  However, foods such as canned or frozen vegetables, whole-grain bread and rice, are considered less processed because they are closer to their original forms (and have more nutritional value).

Here are six practical tips to help you make nutritional improvements that will improve your energy, health and fitness, by switching from a processed to wholefood diet, increasing your fibre and protein intake and making you feel fuller without going over your calorie requirements.

1. Eat more fruits and vegetables.

When it comes to foods high in nutrients, fruits and vegetables can’t be beat. They contain fibre (which will make you feel full) and they also aid digestion.

  • Batch chop and prep salad and veg so it’s ready to go.
  • Add a side salad to your meal.
  • Snack on raw vegetables.

2. Avoid sugary drinks.

Fizzy drinks, alcohol, smoothies and canned coffee drinks often contain a surprising amount of sugar and calories. For example, a Costa caramel latte contains a whopping 34g sugar and 331 calories!

  • opt for tea or black coffee in coffee shops.
  • Choose spirits rather than beer or wine.
  • Read labels on smoothies/canned drinks.

3. Read labels.

In most cases food packaging does not give an accurate representation of a food’s nutritional value no matter what the claim on the front of the pack says! so it’s best to look at the nutritional label on the back of the item and check:

  • Serving size.
  • Amount of added sugar.
  • Ingredient list (keeping in mind that ingredients are listed by quantity, with highest listed first).

4. Skip convenience foods when possible.

There are a lot of foods that although marketed as healthy (such as bars or snacks) are often full of sugar and lack fibre and protein. Carry your own snacks to avoid temptation!

  • Nuts or seeds (portioned) and an apple.
  • Chopped veg with hummus.
  • Greek yogurt with fruit.

5. Eat mindfully at restaurants.

Eating out can feel like an occasion to indulge, but if you’re eating out regularly, learning to make healthy choices is essential.

  • If eating out is an infrequent occurrence, order what you love, but stop eating when your full.
  • You don’t have to go for all 3 courses!
  • If eating out is a common occurrence choose a protein and vegetable meal with whole grains as often as possible. Such as:
    • Sandwich on whole-grain bread with salad.
    • Fish, Chicken or Steak served with veg.
    • Salad (dressing on the side).

Small and sustainable changes are much easier and more beneficial in the long run when it comes to improving nutrition, rather than trying to make too many big changes all at once but to see a change you’ve got to make a change!

Appreciate your Journey

Do you appreciate your Journey?

‘What are your goals?’ is one of the first questions I ask new clients when I see them.  It’s important to establish a goal so I can make sure that the training plan is going to lead them to achieve what they want from personal training.

Losing weight, getting fit, having a flat tummy or shapely arms are the most common answers.

It’s not just about the final destination

It’s great to have a goal in mind and be working towards it, however appreciating the journey to achieve it is also important.  While your working towards your main goal, try not to put too much emphasis on how great your going to feel when achieve your final goal, that you don’t notice or appreciate the changes along the way.  All progress (e.g. losing a pound or running for 5 minutes more etc.) is progress. Yes, you may not have lost a stone yet or ran the full 5K but you should be really proud of yourself for each and every achievement along the way.

Self-appreciation is so important to our well-being – so make sure you learn to love who you are and where you are at every moment of your journey!

Progress is progress

As a PT and Class instructor I see a lot of people on a mission to get Fit and Healthy (obviously, it’s my job!). For those who I see week in and week out, it’s amazing to see their progress! I see fitness confidence improving, increased healthy choices being made and (as my clients will tell you) there’s nothing better than seeing some muscles emerging – it’s the best part of my job!  I always make sure I tell them how well they’re doing.  But what sometimes disappoints me is that they don’t always see it themselves just how fantastic they are doing, because they’re too focused on the end goal and that they’re not there yet.

Remember losing a pound is amazing, completing a workout is amazing, eating a healthy meal is amazing – any progress is amazing! Wherever you are at this very time of your life, remember you are amazing right now, so appreciate how well you’re doing.

If you’re on a Health, Fitness or Weight-loss journey, PLEASE make sure you’re loving and appreciating yourself along the way! X