Fitness and Exercise

Gym closed? Here are some of my tips for home workout options

With yesterday’s announcement about gym closures I know lots of people are worrying about how to stay fit if you can’t (or don’t want) to leave your home.

Now obviously there is always the option of doing outdoor activities like walking, running and cycling – and in fact you should definitely be doing some of these regardless. The fresh air and daylight will do you the world of good!

It’s currently unclear where we stand with outdoor exercise classes – the guidance does suggest that non-essential social gatherings are also a no no , so it’s a bit of a grey area but you have to make your own choice about that.

So in the meantime home workouts are definitely an option. Switching to home workouts isn’t easy – especially if you’re a class-based exerciser like me. You only need a little bit of space (anywhere will do) but you do need a fair bit of motivation. But it’s worth it, as establishing a workout routine could, most importantly, reduce the anxiety that this whole situation is causing, as well as keep you fit and well.

You don’t need any equipment but if you did decide you wanted to get some then a set of resistance bands (https://amzn.to/2J5MKXy) and some handweights (https://amzn.to/2xVeN9P) or adjustable dumbbells (https://amzn.to/2Uovxhf) and a skipping rope (https://amzn.to/33z73Gt) are probably the best options . Right now though everyone and their dog is buying them so you may find it hard to get hold of them. In the meantime there is loads you can do with body weight (like my post I shared last week – https://everystepfitness.com/2020/03/18/if-you-cant-get-to-thegym-here-are-two-easy-equipment-free-home-workouts-for-you-and-your-family/) or get creative and use household items for handweights (bottles of bleach/cans/ a rucksack filled with books etc).

I thought it would be a good idea to share a few options for home workouts. So here are my favourites for all types of exerciser.

If you are looking for workouts you can watch and follow then there are TONNES of free workouts out there.

⁃ Do a YouTube search for whatever type of workout you fancy and it will bring up 1000’s of options – all free! HIIT, yoga, Pilates, dance, strength training etc – everything is there!

⁃ If that’s all a bit bewildering then two great resources are fitness blender (https://www.fitnessblender.com) and the bodycoach (The Body Coach TV – YouTube ) . Both of these offer hundreds of completely free workouts. Fitness blender has a range of cardio, strength and stretch based workouts. The Body Coach is mostly hiit based stuff but he’s also doing some kids based sessions too at the moment.

⁃ If you want something a bit more polished and app based then it’s worth checking out Peloton (https://www.onepeloton.co.uk). They are doing a 90 day free trial at the moment! The app (which doesn’t require you to buy their bike etc) has loads of easy-to-follow and high-quality videos, including yoga, strength, meditation, cardio and bootcamp classes. There are also audio-only classes for outdoor runs, if that’s still an option for you. 

⁃ If you’re already missing your Les Mills classes then definitely check out Les Mills On Demand (https://www.lesmills.com/uk/ondemand/). There are a variety of all your favourite classes – attack, bodystep, pump etc and you can do them all on the comfort of your home! You don’t need to buy specific les mills equipment – any generic weights will do for example. They have some free workouts and they’re also doing a 14 day free trial.

If you’re considering other options then you could think about some personal training. Most of us are still seeing our PT clients (taking extra care with cleaning and maintaining social distancing) and many of us offer online Pt options too.

If that’s all a bit much and you just want some simple workouts to do without the need for an app or a laptop screen in front of you then just drop me a line. I’m happy to put together some home workouts for people, just like I do for my Pt clients. Just ask – anytime and I’d be glad to help out (free).

Hopefully you can find something you will enjoy doing while we wait for those gyms to reopen and we get to see each other again!

Happy working out – wherever you do it!

Xxx

Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: Carbs are ok

Tuesday Tip: Carbs are ok 🥖🍞🥔

Carbs are the devil right? We all know someone that cut carbs and lost a stone in 4 weeks or whatever… so obviously carbs are bad?

There is so much conflicting, scientific sounding rhetoric out there blasting carbs – saying you shouldn’t eat them, or if you do eat them you should only eat them at certain times, or that cutting them will result in massive weight loss (well yeah if you cut any major food group out of your diet you’ll lose weight – you’re eating less!).

This is not actually true. The common argument is that carbs cause insulin to be released and to spike and therefore it’s bad because that insulin will somehow cause fat to be stored ….well sorry but all meals do this and in fact some proteins cause a greater response than carbs! In addition those insulin level changes have no direct impact on weight gain or weight loss. You have to be eating more than you’re using to store fat.

Carbs are the body’s preferred fuel source – breaking them down to glucose, but if there are no carbs around the body simply breaks protein to glucose instead. This applies at any time – not just when you’re exercising- because we need glucose to function – both physically and mentally.

Does that mean that there is no point in eating more carbs at certain times and fewer at others? No – you can definitely choose to have more carbs when your body may need extra fuel e.g. when working out, or in the morning when you’ve not eaten all night. But it’s not black and white and you certainly don’t need to ONLY eat carbs at these times and you definitely shouldn’t be avoiding carbs altogether.

How many carbs you eat doesn’t determine your weight loss – it’s total number of calories eaten and calories expended that matter. Carbs are just one part of the equation that you can play around with to help you meet those goals. There’s no need to obsess over carbs – yes small tweaks may help and you MAY find it easier to only eat carbs in the morning, or whenever, but if you like carbs eat them – just manage your portion size.

Happy Tuesday 🤗xx

Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: Always Tired?

Tuesday Tip: Always Tired? 😴

Are you constantly tired although you slept enough? Barring any medical issues there are other reasons why you feel so lethargic.

#1 Rhythm

It’s not just hours of sleep but the rhythm too. So if you always go to bed at different times this can have a negative impact on your health (just like sleeping too little).

#2 Diet

Eating too little leaves you lacking energy of course, but equally eating too much can make you lethargic. Meat, bananas and legumes contain tryptophan which makes us sleepy. Meat is also requires the digestive system to work harder to digest it, which requires additional energy. Too much coffee can be a problem too, initially it stimulates adrenaline production , but leaves you feeling more tired afterwards.

#3 Water

The body is over 50% water. If we drink too little, our metabolism slows down and our body shifts into low gear. So, it is no surprise that we feel dead tired.

#4 Exercise

I know exercise is the last thing you feel like when tired but it gets the heart pumping, boosts metabolism, and increases circulation. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine showed that regular exercise can improve the quality of your sleep. So, get moving! Park your car farther away, take the stairs or go to the gym!

#5 Light

We need daylight to stimulate our circadian rhythms (internal clock). Try to spend as much time outside as possible. Even on cloudy days, you will get more light outside than inside so go for a short walk. You can also try the special daylight lamps, or leave curtains slightly open to allow morning light in.

#6 Stimuli Stress

We are inundated with so many stimuli every day and this can really wear you down. Our brain has to constantly decide which sensory impressions are important and which can be ignored. With more stimuli the brain has to work harder which uses more energy. So if you’re feeling bombarded try setting specific times to address emails etc rather than checking them at all times of day etc.

So if you are always tired consider if some of these reasons may be contributing.

Happy Tuesday 🤗xx

Nutrition and Calorie Tips

I started my day with a clean brekkie…

I started my day with a clean brekkie… 🍉

‘Clean’ eating is a recent trend we often see on social media and I often hear people telling me they are ‘eating clean’ in order to lose weight/fat.

‘Eating clean’ is essentially the idea that you’re eating foods which are perceived to be better for one reason or another (that might be based on properties the food supposedly has, or nutrients it contains etc).

There is nothing wrong with that at all, though I’m not a fan of demonising foods, but if you want to eat certain foods for whatever reason then that’s fine. The problem is that the common misconception is that because a food is ‘clean’ or promoted as healthy, that it is automatically going to help you lose weight/fat and that it must be a ‘better’ option than other foods you may also love.

The breakfast granola and smoothie bowl is a great example of this. They’re very photogenic and found all over Instagram. It’s essentially granola and smoothie in a bowl topped with fruit, seeds, nuts etc. They’re delicious and full of great nutritious foods, but they’re also rather high in calories and sugar (mostly from the large amount of fruit used). In this example, based on a standard instagram smoothie bowl recipe, there are 761 cals in one bowl! Combine that with a bottle of “healthy” smoothie and you’re looking at over 1100 calories in total.

In comparison a Gregg’s sausage bap with a small white coffee is often perceived as a bad or dirty choice. In fact it has less than half the calories of the clean option with only 511 cals in total. It still provides carbs, protein and fat so will keep you satisfied until lunch. I’m not suggesting you have one every day, but it’s certainly not terrible!.

So if you’re trying to lose weight/fat, and you really enjoy a sausage bap for breakfast then go for it! As long as it’s part of a balanced diet which contains fruit and veg etc it’s fine! Don’t be swayed by beautiful Instagram photos and Instagram experts telling you that you need to eat clean to be lean. You don’t.

Enjoy a range of foods and be mindful of the calories and you’ll be fine! 🤗xx

Enjoy 🤗

xxx

Nutrition and Calorie Tips

Consider your snacks…

Consider your snacks…

I think we’ve all experienced that mid-afternoon snack attack. You might be tempted to grab a muffin with your coffee. Now I’m not suggesting that a muffin is a great choice for a snack, nor are the items on the other side either as both are probably far more calories than you need for a snack, but I think the comparison is really useful.

I think most people realise muffins are quite high calorie and sometimes you may just want to spend those calories on one, and that’s fine! But whilst the muffin might taste good, in terms of keeping you full it’s not going to be that effective. It’s a calorie dense option – high cals, high sugar, in a relatively small package.

If you are trying to lose weight/fat and tracking your calories then it’s worth considering the volume of the food you’re having as well as the absolute calories. Higher volume foods will help to keep you fuller for longer. For fewer calories than a blueberry muffin you could have a bag of popcorn, a yoghurt, two squares of dark choc and a skinny flat white! Now that will definitely keep you full! And it has the added bonus of more fibre and protein which also help keep you fuller.

So if you’re looking for a snack – try to consider volume as well as absolute calories. If you really want a muffin, then have it, be aware of the calories it contains though.

Enjoy 🤗

xxx

Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: Try something new

Tuesday Tip: Try something new ! ⭐️

Ok, ok, I know.. It’s a cliche – new year, new start blah blah blah but … Bear with me… Thinking about it, what better time to try something new than the start of a new year?

So my tip today is to do just that – commit yourself to trying one new thing today, this week, or even this month! Just one thing! It might be a new workout or exercise class, it might be a new food (time to finally try that recipe you spotted the other day etc?), or try a new hobby/local club or activity, or just try a new habit – always having a healthy breakfast, or walking at least 20 mins a day for example? It doesn’t have to be physical – try something new that’s good for your mental health too – take 10 mins a day to meditate, try saying ‘no’ to a few things when you actually mean no, commit to a few hours a week doing something (whatever that is) for you…. The possibilities are endless!

So there is my challenge for you today – try something new, no matter how big or small! Let me know how you get on!

Happy New whatever you try and Happy Tuesday! 😁

Xxx

Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: Can I eat too little to lose weight?

Tuesday Tip: Can I eat too little to lose weight? 🥗

I am often asked whether consuming too few calories causes your metabolism to slow down so that you stop losing weight, and even gain weight, as the body “hangs on to fat”. People say that to get out of this “starvation mode” you need to eat more. One small problem – starvation mode is a myth!

As long as you have a calorie deficit (eating less than you burn) you will lose weight – regardless. Calories in vs calories out is what matters. A long term calorie deficit does cause adaptive thermogenesis (metabolic rate slow down) BUT it is not significant enough to stop weight loss and can’t cause weight gain! It just slows the rate of weight loss down, but what slows it even more is the fact that you’ve already lost weight so the body isn’t burning as many calories as it did initially. That’s why you need to adjust your calorie intake as you lose weight and why plateaus are common. In one famous large scale study – the Minnesota study – 36 men were put on a 24 week low calorie diet (1560 cals) and also had to complete physical tasks. ALL the men lost approx 25% body weight and ended up at approx 5% body fat. No one stopped losing weight, no one gained weight. You can’t defy the laws of thermodynamics – you need energy to fuel your body, you can’t magic it out of thin air, if you don’t eat enough you will lose

So what’s the moral of the story? If you’re not losing any weight/fat or your shape isn’t changing over a significant period of time, it’s not because your calories are too low, or because you’re in starvation mode. It’s because there is no deficit. Even if you think there is… there isn’t. If there was, you’d be losing weight!

Happy Tuesday🤗

Xx