Working Out During the COVID-19 Outbreak

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last month, you’ll have heard about the COVID-19 virus outbreak. Our gym in Lowestoft seems quite a distance from what’s happening elsewhere in the world right now but that could change with the news later tonight. I have heard from gym owners I know in the US who have chosen to close their doors for the time being and some who have been forced to close by their state or county.

While a lot of people who read this aren’t at great risk from the virus, we all know older adults, we all know someone with CFS or ME, we all know someone whose health isn’t quite as good as ours. While there’s no need for us to go out and loot stores for loo roll, we should all be mindful of how our actions will affect others.

Practical tips for keeping yourself, and those you care about, safe during the coming weeks and months include:

  • Getting plenty of sleep
  • Practicing good hygiene
  • Eating well
  • Limiting unnecessary travel
  • Limiting your contact with vulnerable populations
  • Self isolating if you think you’re affected

Effectively, your best defense is wellness. Don’t push yourself too hard, don’t undervalue the importance of sleep, and aim to keep close personal contact to a minimum.

There’s a fair chance that COVID-19 will become widespread in the population despite everyone’s best efforts simply due to the nature of viruses, if that happens you want to be fit and healthy to fight it.

Keeping yourself safe in public places

At this point it is more the duty of the infected to isolate than it is for everyone else to avoid the rest of society however we should still take precautions as it appears that the coronavirus doesn’t always even produce symptoms1.

The owners of businesses have a duty of care to their customers and businesses across the world are increasing the frequency of cleaning, providing practical advice and even closing when necessary.

If you want to take an extra step, pull the sleeve of your jumper or coat over the palm of your hand when opening doors in high traffic areas and do your best not to get coughed on.

Can’t find any hand sanitiser?

Unfortunately, every crisis has its idiots. They’re probably feeling pretty smug in their toilet roll fortresses surrounded by their hand sanitiser moats, however you don’t need to worry. Hand sanitisers are convenient but washing your hands will generally do a better job2.

Wipe down the bars and handles of gym equipment before and after use in the gym and limit hand-to-hand contact when out in public and you’ll be as safe as possible. Modern technology means that you can pay for goods with your card or your phone without needing to exchange anything.

I can’t help you with the toilet roll situation though.. Good luck out there.

References

  1. Cohen, Elizabeth. “Infected people without symptoms might be driving the spread of coronavirus more than we realized”, CNN, 14th March 2020 (https://edition.cnn.com/2020/03/14/health/coronavirus-asymptomatic-spread/index.html). [accessed 15th March 2020].
  2. Hirose, Ryohei, et al. “Situations leading to reduced effectiveness of current hand hygiene against infectious mucus from influenza virus-infected patients.” mSphere 4.5 (2019): e00474-19.

Why We Weigh Every Day (And You Should Too)

What Weight Loss Really Looks Like

Weight is something that a lot of us are quite sensitive about, it’s personal to us and we might not quite fit into what society expects of us. Weighing ourselves is something that is done in halls full of people once per week where a little machine on the floor will give us a number that tells us whether we’ve had a good week, for some people it goes deeper than that and hints at their self worth.

I mean sure, if you wear similar clothes, if you’ve eaten a similar amount, if the scales are in the right place on the floor, if you’re wearing your lucky shirt…

It gets a bit crazy doesn’t it? Even if you control the many variables that might affect your weight to the best of your abilities, you still need to face the fact that four data points per month doesn’t give you a clear picture of your weight loss.

Here’s the massive problem with that, the information isn’t really that reliable!

The image at the top of this post is one client’s weight loss over three weeks, she’s someone I coach online via my fitplans service and I make her weigh every damn day! Take a look at the graph and you’ll see why.

If she’d taken her weight at any of the peaks over these three weeks, no matter how well she was doing by eating the right foods, recording her intake and exercising regularly, she would have seen that number and perhaps even quit because of it. If she’d taken her weight weekly she would have seen a modest loss after the first week and found after her second week she was even heavier than when she started! When we look at all 21 data points, we can see a trend showing a loss of just over a kilogram per week.

It is not the numbers but the trend that matters

See another graph above, different person but there are still significant fluctuations. I could show you dozens of these but there is one thing I can’t show you in any of my client’s progress..

A straight line.

So if you’re weighing weekly, get off the emotional rollercoaster, stop worshipping the scales and start using them as a tool. You’ll see a lot more ups and downs but you’ll have clarity on your progress.

That is why we weigh every day, and why you should too.

The Ultimate Guide To Cardio

[Updated 06/03/2018]

Cardio seems to have fallen out of favour these days, but that doesn’t stop it from being a powerful tool to help you achieve better health and a more defined body. In this guide to cardio, I’ll tell you why you should definitely be doing some cardiovascular exercise, which types are best for you, and I’ll cover some of the more common cardio-related questions that I hear often as a personal trainer.

Why You Should Definitely Do Cardio

Cardio has a ton of benefits for anyone who wants to look, feel and function better. Better cardiovascular health doesn’t just mean you can run for longer, it means you’ll think more clearly, perform better in other exercise, recover better from all exercise, feel better, and generally be less likely to die.

Cardio is good for you. Given that heart disease cover over one fifth of all premature deaths in the UK, and that cancer covers over two fifths, with a significant portion of those being associated with obesity, there’s really no good argument against keeping your heart healthy and your weight down.

Cardiovascular exercise is like biceps curls for your heart. People bang on about those who skip leg day but then don’t do cardio. Train your whole damn body!

Cardio Benefits

  • Uses up more calories
  • Burns more fat
  • Boosts cardiovascular health
  • Improves mental health
  • Enhances cognitive function
  • May promote growth in some regions of the brain
  • Increases work capacity for other exercise

We lead more sedentary lives than we used to, so a poor cardiovascular base is less noticeable than it would have been 50 years ago. But whether it’s playing sports, working out, or having sex, you don’t want to settle for life with a poor aerobic base.

How Do I Do Cardio?

Cardio is anything that challenges your heart and lungs. It doesn’t have to be a specific movement or exercise and it doesn’t need a piece of expensive equipment. You don’t even need a gym membership if you don’t want one.  You simply move vigorously enough to challenge your heart and lungs. That’s it.

Make sure you pick a form of cardio that you enjoy, or at least don’t hate. I’ve provided a list of cardio exercises below to get you started.

List Of Cardio Exercises

  1. Walking
  2. Running
  3. Hiking
  4. Cycling
  5. Swimming
  6. Rowing
  7. Step Aerobics
  8. Skipping (Jumping Rope)
  9. Star Jumps
  10. Crosstrainer
  11. Stepper machine
  12. Jogging on the spot
  13. Burpee Intervals
  14. Mountain Climber Intervals
  15. Boxing/Air Boxing
  16. Sled Dragging

You’re really only limited by your imagination, anything that gets your heart pumping and your lunges working is great cardiovascular exercise.

What’s The Best Way To Do Cardio?

The best method is the one you stick to. With that said, lets look at a few popular types of cardio.

LSD/LISS Cardio

LSD, in this instance at least, stands for Long Slow Distance, and LISS stands for Low Intensity Steady State. They’re basically the same thing, a low-intensity effort sustained for a fairly long period of time.

While not the most time-effective way to do you cardio, it is the best place for most people to start. It isn’t too hard to recover from and it’s easy enough that you don’t dread your cardio workouts. You improve your fitness not through the intensity of exercise but by enhancing your endurance to sustain the exercise for longer.

In terms of calories burned, it’s pretty effective. You couldn’t sustain the exercise half as long if you doubled the intensity so there’s a greater potential to burn calories with the slower forms of cardio, obviously the actual amount of calories burned depends on how long you sustain the effort and how much time you put in.

Moderate Steady-State Cardio

Moderate Intensity Steady State is a good middle ground when it comes to burning a decent amount of calories. It can be tough and a bit unrelenting at times but it probably comes out on top in terms of calories burned. You want to be pushing your limits a little on this one, it should be hard for you to keep gong but not so hard that you have to stop.

You’ll want to find a pace that has you huffing and puffing, but that you can sustain for at least 15 minutes at a time. This is vary a lot between beginners and advanced exercisers, but that’s fine. Do what you can and aim to improve each time

HIIT

HIIT stands for High-Intensity Interval Training. High Intensity Interval Training is efficient but not always ideal for beginners. Often you’ll hear all about the ‘afterburn effect’ which makes this form of cardio vastly superior to lower intensity training, but unfortunately you must have a genuinely intense session to get a meaningful elevation in metabolic rate after your training sessions. Most people would be better off training a bit longer instead.

I think misinterpretation of Tabata’s work has glorified HIIT and made it appear to be something that it isn’t. When done right, it is very effective for improving anaerobic and aerobic fitness simultaneously, but it isn’t going to get you ripped.

Intervals mix things up and keep your cardio from getting too boring, so I would advise adding at least some intervals into your training to keep it interesting.

Fartlek

More than just a funny sounding word, Fartlek is Swedish for ‘speedplay’. It is a blend of steady state and interval training done within a longer duration effort. While it is unstructured by its nature, it burns calories, improves fitness and is only as boring as you make it. You can combine the above-mentioned methods into a fartlek session to keep things interesting.

The Secrets To Enjoying Cardio

Cardio can seem a bit mundane to many but everyone knows a runner who just loves it. The difference is in the mentality. If you’re on a treadmill just watching the clock then of course you’re going to get bored. If you’re challenging yourself and aiming to beat your past time, or go further than you did last time then you’re going to be more engaged with what you’re doing.

Make A Challenge Of It

Set yourself little targets or milestones and you’ll enjoy cardio a lot more. Cardio is the most efficient way to burn calories, but it doesn’t just have to be burning calories.

Run With Friends

If you’re doing cardio purely for fat loss and have little aspiration for building an incredible aerobic base, then the best advice I can give you is to do cardio with other people (who aren’t wusses). Time flies by when you’re run, cycle, swim or walk, if you have someone else with you.

Common Cardio Questions

How often should I do cardio?

Generally, more often is better. I’d suggest twice per week as the minimum. There’s no harm in doing cardio daily, you may just need to vary the exercise every so often to give your joints a break.

How long should I rest between cardio sessions?

This all depends on how long it takes you to recover from cardio, meaning it could be a day or less, or it could be as long as three or four days. When you start out, you may find that you experience DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) which you’ll have to get out of the way before you can do another high intensity cardio session, but the short answers is this: rest as long as you need to, but not longer.

Should I do cardio on an empty stomach?

You can do cardio on an empty stomach. This may facilitate better fat loss as your body is already in a fasted state. You won’t lose muscle either. It will not be a night and day difference however, consistently doing cardiovascular work is most important.

I hear that cardio will make me lose muscle, is it true?

Nope. Not using your muscles will cause you to lose muscle. Inadequate protein intake, or excessive calorie restriction will cause you to lose muscle. Cardio will not cause you to lose muscle. If you’re worried about muscle loss, you can take some amino acids to make doubly sure. Honestly though, even with cardio when fasted, like I’ll do when intermittent fasting, I’ve never noticed any muscle loss. Lack of sleep will do it, prolonged stress can do it, but unless you’re doing a ton of cardiovascular activity, you needn’t worry.

Should I do cardio before or after weight training?

You can do a short amount of cardio before weight training sessions to warm yourself up, but you should aim to be mostly fresh for weight training sessions because you’ll be weaker if you’ve already fatigued your muscles. When you lift weights, you release a bunch of hormones that are very conducive to fat burning, but weight training doesn’t burn a huge number of calories. Lift then follow with cardio for the best results.

If your goals are centred on endurance training, then this isn’t as clear cut. Even then, a low volume weight training routine would be best placed before running or cycling.

Is running bad for you?

No and yes, like all forms of exercise running can take a toll on your body. If you have weak knees or lower back and hip problems, then running might not be the best option for you. Think of yourself like a car, and your individual parts like parts of a car. The more mileage you put on yourself without proper servicing, the more likely you are to run into problems.

You’re much better to run than to sit down all day, but listen to your body and adjust your approach accordingly. If you experience pain or you are starting out overweight, then lower impact forms of cardio, such as cycling, or using the crosstrainer, are better alternatives.

Can I Do Cardio At Home?

You can do plenty of cardio workouts at home, but you can’t do all cardio exercises at home. If you’re uncomfortable exercising in public, you can start off with something as simple as walking. Stepping up and down the bottom step of your stairs is another option. As your confidence grows you’ll then be more comfortable exercising in gyms or outdoors. Even if you’d prefer to exercise at home for other reasons, you can still make good progress. Don’t isolate yourself if your efforts however, people with social support nearly always do better.

Does yoga count as cardio?

Nope.

What should my heart rate be?

Typically it’s recommended that you train at 60-80% of your heart rate. You can put your age into the calculator below to work out what that should be.

 

 

That concludes the ultimate guide to cardio!

Until next time,

Theo

List Of Foods Under 100 Calories

When you’re losing weight, it’s often about making the most of your calorie allowance. You need to make sure you fill your diet with healthful foods, but you may also want to have a little treat now and then too. Here you can find quick and easy foods that come in under 100 calories! From fruits and vegetables to healthy carbs and fats, to damage control when you go out for a drink!

Quick & Easy Foods Under 100 Calories

Fruits & Vegetables

apples, healthy and less than 100 calories!

1 Medium-Sized Apple

95 calories

Apples have a ton of health benefits from reducing cholesterol to fighting cancer! And a medium sized apple is only 95 calories!

Read more about the health benefits of apples!

oranges, healthy and less than 100 calories!

1 Large Orange

87 calories

Oranges are nutritional powerhouses, a single fruit could provide 100% of your daily vitamin C needs at less than 100 calories!

Discover more health benefits of oranges!

lemons, healthy and less than 100 calories!

1 Lemon

17 calories

A single lemon provides 50% of your daily vitamin C needs at just 17 calories! If you’re looking for a bit of flavour with barely any calories, grab a lemon!

Read more about the health benefits of lemons and limes!

close-up of punnet of blueberries

1 Cup Of Blueberries (150g)

86 calories

This low sugar, flavour rich fruit provides a ton of nutrition without lots of additional calories, they’re delicious too! A cup of blueberries is only 86 calories!

Find out more about the health benefits of blueberries!

close-up of punnet of raspberries

1 Cup Of Raspberries (125g)

66 calories

Raspberries are another great nutrient-rich food with anti-cancer and anti-obesity effects. A cup of raspberries is just 66 calories!

blackberries

1 Cup Of Blackberries (144g)

62 calories

Blackberries are high in fibre, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. and a cup of blackberries is just 62 calories!

bananas on market stall

1 Small Banana

90 calories

Bananas provide fibre, important minerals and may even boost your mood! A small banana is just 90 calories!

kiwi fruit cut open on kitchen counter

2 Kiwis

84 calories

Kiwis contain more than xx vitamin C and they taste great too!

2 kiwis contain just 84 calories making them a great low-calorie food for losing weight without sacrificing flavour!

close-up of green olives

10 Large Olives

70 calories

Olives are a great way to increase your intake of monounsaturated fat, whilst getting in a number of cancer-fighting, health promoting nutrients! Plus 10 jumbo olives are just 70 calories!

carrots on rustic surface

3 Large Carrots

90 calories

They might not give you predator vision like you might have been led to believe as a kid, but carrots are still a great weight loss food. Plus 3 large carrots contain only 90 calories!

grapes in a barrel

1 Cup Of Grapes (92g)

62 calories

Grapes will help to satisfy a sweet tooth whilst providing resveratrol, antioxidants and important minerals! A cup of grapes weighs in at 92 grams and contains only 62 calories!

close-up of strawberries

1 Cup Of Strawberries (144g)

47 calories

The strawberry might just be the perfect diet fruit. It tastes great and you could have 300 grams of them without going over 100 calories! A standard cup of strawberries is about 144g and contains just 47 calories!

Find out the health benefits of strawberries!

close-up of white grapefruit

Half Grapefruit – White (118g)

39 calories

White grapefruit contains plenty of fibre, plenty of flavour, and even if you eat the whole thing in one go, you’ll still get change from 100 calories!

Find out how grapefruit can boost your health!

pink grapefruit cut open and displayed amongst whole pink grapefruits

Half Grapefruit – Pink (118g)

50 calories

Pink grapefruit contains more calories than white grapefruit but is still a fantastic filling option!

Did you know red grapefruit can lower cholesterol?

Protein Sources

sliced turkey breast

4 Slices Of Turkey Breast (85g)

88 calories

An easy, high-protein snack! You’ll get about 16 grams of protein from just 4 slices of turkey and you’ll only be consumed 88 calories!

fridgeraidersunder100calories

Mini-Bag Of Fridge Raiders (25g)

47 calories

If you’re going to grab something on the go, you may as well do it right. Fridge raiders mini-packs are just 47 calories per bag and provide just over 5 grams of protein.

small glass of milk

Small Glass Of Skimmed Milk (250ml)

91 calories

Milk contains lots of calcium and is also a good source of high-quality protein. A small 250ml glass contains only 91 calories and supplies you with 9 grams of protein.

yoghurt under 100 calories

1 Pot Low/Non-Fat Yoghurt (165g)

96 calories

Yoghurts, even when they have some pretty creative flavours added, are dairy products so you can expect the same health benefits that you get from a glass of milk. I actually took the calorie statistic for this one from Muller Light: Raspberry Doughnut flavour yoghurt!

cottage cheese

Half Pot Of Cottage Cheese (150g)

90 calories

Cottage cheese is a fat loss superfood, it’s one of my fat loss favourites, it has lots of calcium and protein to support fat burning and half a tub is just 90 calories with 15g protein!

boiled eggs

Boiled Egg

75 calories

Eggs are a great food for your health. They provide choline and 6 grams of protein per egg, they’re pretty filling too. Try them pickled, good if you don’t want to worry about them going off.

edamame

Half Cup Of Edamame (80g)

98 calories

Edamame boasts an impressive 9 grams of protein in just a half cup making it a great vegetarian source of protein! If you haven’t tried edamame yet, you really should!

Healthy Carbs

oatcakes

2 Scottish Oatcakes (21g)

96 calories

Oats are great for your health and oatcakes are a great way to get that goodness quickly and easily! Two oatcakes contain only 96 calories. Calorie content may vary based on flavour.

rice cakes

2 Rice Cakes (18g)

70 calories

Rice cakes have the same nutritional value of the rice they’re made from so wholemeal is better than brown, which is better than white. But regardless of colour, they’re a low -calorie food which can be taken anywhere.

Healthy Fats

While a lot of people get enough fat in their diet, most of us do not get enough of the right kinds of fat. Try adding these foods to your diet for better health and weight control!

peanut butter

1 Tablespoon Of Peanut Butter (16g)

94 calories

Peanut butter is good for your heart, and provides nutrients such as potassium, magnesium, and vitamins E and B6. It’s calorie-dense, but a tablespoon won’t hurt!

almonds

12 Almonds (15g)

84 calories

Almonds are high in protein and fibre and have been linked associated with greater losses in weight and waist circumference in studies. They don’t taste bad either!

flaxseeds

1 Tablespoon Of Flaxseeds (10g)

55 calories

Flaxseeds provide lots of fibre and a very decent dose omega-3 fatty acids. If you’re vegetarian or do not eat fish regularly, your health will benefit from flax!

Alcoholic Beverages

With alcohol, it all comes down to moderation. While most drinks can be enjoyed with minimal impact on weight loss, the calories can quickly add up if you’re not careful.

glass of red wine on a table

1 Glass Of Red Wine (125ml)

85 calories

If you love a glass of red. there’s no reason you can’t enjoy one and still lose fat! In addition to being associated with a bunch of health benefits from lowering cholesterol to boosting your memory, a 125ml glass of red wine is only 85 calories!

glass of dry white wine

1 Glass Of Dry White Wine (125ml)

85 calories

Prefer white? A 125ml glass of dry white wine  is just 85 calories too!

four pints of lager against stormy background

Half-Pint Lager

~98 calories

Lager is typically quite heavy in calories, but you can enjoy half a pint of Carling, Carlsberg, Fosters or Skol for less than 100 calories! Typically the stronger the lager is the more calories it will contain.

bulmers cider at the bar

Half Pint Of Cider

~97 calories

Ciders, like beers vary quite considerably depending on alcohol content, ciderss that came in under 200 calories per pint were Strongbow, Scrumpy Jack, and Blackthorn Dry. This list is by no means exhaustive though.

bottle of vodka against wintry background

Shot Of Vodka

55 calories

A single shot of vodka has around 55 calories it it. To moderate your calorie content, just be sure not to use sugary mixers!

Intermittent Fasting: A Viable Weight Loss Method?

I have a confession to make.

I am an intermittent faster.

Now, I don’t align myself with any views too strongly in fitness, because when you do that you quickly lose sight of the bigger picture.

That said, intermittent fasting is, in my opinion, one of the greatest tools for controlling your weight in modern life. We look at how many calories we eat, and there are a number of ways to influence that, but we seem pretty weary about eating less frequently.

What Is Intermittent Fasting?

Intermittent fasting is simply extending the time that you go without eating. We all fast overnight when we sleep, but those doing intermittent fasting will often break the fast much later than most people, or finish eating much earlier in the day.

What Are The Benefits Of Intermittent fasting?

There are a number of benefits of intermittent fasting. Some are physiological, others are psychological.

Increased Fat Burning Hormones

Insulin levels drop significantly during fasted periods, which helps with fat loss. Growth hormone, a hormone that helps with muscle growth and fat loss, can also increase by as much as five times.

Increased Metabolic Rate

Intermittent fasting causes a short-term increase in metabolic rate of 3-14%. Often increases like this tend to be followed by a decrease later on to nullify the effect, but based on the research so far, I’d say that it probably doesn’t occur with intermittent fasting. That means you simply get more fat loss when you practice intermittent fasting.

It’s Good For Your Brain

Intermittent fasting reduces oxidative stress and inflammation and animal studies suggest it may protect against Alzheimer’s Disease, there’s not much data on humans but what exists seems to be positive.

It May Be Good For Your Heart

We’re always hearing about how eating breakfast is good for your heart right? Well, not necessarily.

Intermittent fasting has been found to improve blood pressure, total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, blood sugar levels and numerous inflammatory markers. Not that breakfast is bad, but it’s certainly not the most important factor.

You Don’t Think About Food All The Time

You’d think that not eating would make you hungry, but hunger is more complex than that. Most people have a harder time stopping eating once they’ve started. If they’re not eating then it’s not so much of a problem.

Have you ever noticed how you get hungry at certain times? Your body is conditioned to expect food at the normal time you eat. This passes and if you stop eating at these times it often disappears completely.

The average person makes a ton of food-related decisions in a given day, this was tested in a study and the results strained belief. I don’t think about food that much during the day anymore but I can see how people do.

When you’re not eating, you shouldn’t be thinking about food. Do something else with your time instead. Psychologically it becomes like an on/off switch, if you’re not eating then you don’t consider eating every time the opportunity arises, you have a clear line in the sand.

It’s Life-Proof

One of the hardest things when losing weight is finding healthy options when you’re constantly on the go, and often having to pay a premium if you do find them. When you don’t have to make that decision, everything becomes pretty easy.

What about if you’re perpetually busy?

Then it gets even better. Not only do you not get the after-lunch brain fog, you don’t have to stop for lunch. This probably has more appeal to people who work for themselves, but hey, if you’re employed then maybe your boss will let you work through lunch and have a longer evening to enjoy.

Portion Control Is Actually Pretty Easy

When it comes time to eat, you are actually hungry. You enjoy your food because you’re eating less often, and best of all? You can eat quite a bit of food!

I don’t know about you but I’d rather eat like a king once a day than eat like a hamster all day.

How To Do Intermittent Fasting

There are two ways to do intermittent fasting. One is much better than the other.

One Meal Per Day

This one actually isn’t that good. Don’t get me wrong, it’s pretty satisfying but you’ll find that your stomach can’t hold a day’s worth of food very easily if you’re eating a decent amount of protein. Frankly, protein intake is more important than meal frequency.

Time Restricted Feeding

This is what i do. You simply split your day into fasted and feeding.

You have 24 hours in a day, you allocate some to fasting and some to feeding.

Common splits are:

16 hours fasting / 8 hours feeding

18 hours fasting / 6 hours feeding

20 hours fasting / 4 hours feeding

Pick whichever one suits you. Just make sure that you eat enough of the right foods and don’t feel sick.

You have to treat it as an on/off switch. You’re either fasting or you’re not.

That means no sugar in your tea or coffee.

Normal amounts of milk are fine but you want to keep your calorie consumption to practically nothing throughout your fasted hours to get the most out of intermittent fasting.

Summary

Intermittent Fasting offers lots of benefits that make fat loss easier not just by making the process more efficient, but by making the execution of it more practical. If it is something that would fit well in your lifestyle then it’s a really great way to enjoy your food and still achieve your fitness goals.

If not?

Do what’s right for you.

Until next time,

Theo

Should Women Lift Weights?

Thoughts have changed a lot over the last few years, it’s become more and more acceptable for women to lift weights and this is a good thing.

Not every woman needs to be an athlete, not every woman needs to be physically strong, but there are a lot of benefits to be gained from adding weight training to your lifestyle.

#1 You’ll Lose More Fat

When you lose weight, you typically lose a combination of muscle and fat. This makes you smaller and normally improves appearance but not nearly as much as it could. If you maintain or add muscle mass whilst losing weight, that means 100% or more of your net weight loss will be fat loss. The way to maintain it is to train it.

I’ve trained men who have had only small decreases in weight but lost massive amounts of fat, this is because when muscle mass is gained quickly and fat loss occurs gradually, the makeup of the body is changed more than the size of it.

Women don’t generally gain muscle at this rate, but you can still take advantage of weight training to lose more fat and improve definition much faster than you otherwise could.

#2 It Won’t Make You Bulky

Lots of women avoid lifting weights, particularly heavier ones for fear that it will make them bulky or give them a thick waist. I’ve heard bodybuilders say the same thing!

It just doesn’t happen like that.

Certainly a woman should think about which parts of her body to emphasise if she wants to maintain and improve on her feminine physique but if you’re not going heavy on arms every day then you should be fine. And the waist thing? Despite lifting squatting and deadlifting heavy for years, I have additional holes in my lifting belt because it became too big for me. Lifting doesn’t make your waist thick, fat does.

#3 It Will Help You Fight Ageing

As you get older, things often start going downhill. Your bones become weaker (especially in women), your muscles shrink and your body loses its toned appearance.

Guess what improves all three signs of ageing? Weight training!

Maintenance of Muscle Mass

When you place a stress on the muscular system, it responds with muscle growth. If there is little stress on the muscular system, it responds with muscle loss. Most people do less as they age, which leads to muscle wasting. If you lift weights and aim to improve your strength along the way then you will stay fit when everyone else is having trouble getting out of their chairs.

Maintenance of Bone Mass

The skeletal system is quite similar to the muscular system. Although it appears that there is a limit to new bone growth as you age, you can certainly maintain your bone density and offset many of the ills that are considered by many to be part of the normal ageing process.

Maintenance of Good Looks

Everyone wants a toned body. Even if you have no aspirations for washboard abs, you’d still probably like to have a flat belly. As you get older and activity levels go down, you typically gain weight in the form of fat and lose muscle each year. This combination can leave many with what can only be described as a flabby body. If you put the brake on this process with weight training then you can maintain your tone and eat more without fat gain.

#4 You’ll Become more Injury Resistant

Weak muscles often amplify forces on the body. Strong muscles protect against most things.

I’ve been in a few accidents that I know would have been way worse if I didn’t have strong muscles supporting my joints and acting as shock absorbers for my bones.

Even the little things in daily life are improved. You’ll have better balance so you’ll be less likely to fall, you’ll have stronger muscles to stop joints from overextending and causing injury and if you do hurt yourself? Your bones and muscles will be stronger and less likely to suffer a significant injury.

:Learning to lift also teaches you proper movement patterns so you don’t herniate a disc when moving furniture!

#5 You’ll Become Fitter

Weight training gives you many of the benefits from exercise, even if you’re not huffing and puffing for an hour at a time.

  • Better mental health
  • Better heart health
  • Better cardiovascular fitness
  • Stronger bones
  • Stronger muscles
  • Stronger tendons
  • Better co-ordination
  • Better metabolic profile

Plus, squats and deadlifts built a great butt, and who doesn’t love a great butt?

So if you’re not doing weight training as part of your routine, why the hell not?

Until next time,

Theo

P.S If you want to learn how to lift with the best of them, check out the women’s strength group. Email me and I’ll hook you up with a free taster session if I have spaces available 😉