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!

 

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

Exercise for Mental Health and Well-being

Exercise for Mental Health and Well-being

We know how exercise improves our general Health and Fitness, but along with the physical benefits, exercise can also have a huge impact on your mental health and well-being.  Exercise is not only great for the body, but also great for the mind.  It’s a mood changer!

There’s a strong link between being physically active and improved mental well-being, especially when we learn that depression is strongly associated with illness and even cardiovascular mortality.  People who engage in regular exercise at any intensity are less likely to suffer from mental health problems and there’s a vast amount of research showing that exercise can be as effective as medication when it comes to treating certain conditions.

Physical activity is proven to have positive effects on:

Anxiety problems

Depression

Stress Management

Self esteem

Sleep disorders

Relaxation

Positivity

Happiness

General Well-being

Physical activity that is practised as a group also helps enormously in combating social isolation.  During a group activity – such as running, classes, dance, team sports, etc. a person is included and engaged in a group of like-minded people. This helps improve motivation levels and alleviate stress and anxiety.

Exercise really can make you feel better WHATEVER your mood is: Motivated, Tired, Angry, Sad or Stressed, so make sure you plan your workout accordingly.  Although you may have a training plan to follow or a class you regularly attend, if you’re not on top form that particular day, change your usual workout for something else to suit your mood. There’s really no point in doing a workout that you’re not going to enjoy as it will only worsen your mood if you fail. If you tailor your workout to your emotional needs rather than physical needs, you’ll not only avoid a meltdown but you’ll enjoy the session much more!.

There’s no point in enduring a gruelling run if you’re feeling really tired – go for a brisk walk instead.  If you’re feeling angry or stressed, do some weightlifting or boxing (you’ll give your best punches!).  But if you’re feeling at your best that day – give it all you’ve got!.

Sometimes the hardest part of a workout is actually getting started, but lace up your trainers, take a deep breath and just do it – I guarantee you’ll feel better for it!.

Which is the Best Diet to follow?

Which is the Best diet to follow?
It’s the question I get asked most often…….

Dieting is always confusing as there are so many different approaches and so much misleading information about the best way to do it. It’s unfortunate that those wanting fast results will more often than not resort to those diets with the biggest weight loss claims.

So whats the Magic Ingredient?

There really is no magic in drinking a magic shake for breakfast, a magic bar for lunch and a healthy meal in an evening – if you cut your calorie intake down to extremely low levels WHATEVER you’re eating, of course you’re going to lose weight fast! and despite very cleverly worded advertisements, there really is no single food that will make you lose weight, just as there is no single food that will cause you to gain weight beyond its calorie value (i.e. 500 calories of chocolate is no more fattening than 500 calories of chicken breast) however, the healthier option will always have more nutritional value and therefor be of greater benefit to your body.
To put it in basic terms (and it really is pretty basic)

If your wanting to reduce your weight sensibly, by losing body fat rather than muscle CALORIES are the main factor.  You must consume less calories than you expend but still enough for your body to be able to function and perform as it should. This is so important. Yes you will lose weight a lot faster if you can survive on 500 calories a day, however, it’s not sustainable, you will feel crap, it’s not healthy and more often than not the results won’t be long term – do you really want to be a size 8 for your summer holiday and back to a size 16 for Christmas?
Secondary MACRO’S (Protein, Carbohydrates and Fats) are also an important factor to consider and they can be manipulated depending on what goals you’re wanting to achieve. It may sound confusing doing the calculations but many Food tracker apps (such as MyFitnessPal) do all the maths for you.
And finally Meal TIMINGS can fine-tune your diet if you’re working your diet and nutrition around your training goals.

And remember…….

Meals off plan don’t have to jeopardise your results as long as they are part of the overall plan – life would be boring without them.

So if you’re wanting to lose weight, don’t be misled by all the hype. Start with the basic maths calories and then work on the rest – it really is that simple!