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

Nutrition and Calorie Tips

‘I’m pretty good at estimating my calories….. ‘

‘I’m pretty good at estimating my calories….. ‘ 🥑

I’m always telling my clients to try to be as accurate as possible when they’re tracking their food and calories. This means actually weighing things – particularly anything that is calorie dense.

Very often people tell me that they’re “pretty good” at estimating the amounts they’re having, that they have the same thing each day so they know what it looks like now, that they can estimate pretty well etc. I’m sure some can, but I know I can’t. I can at first but then often amounts creep up without you even realising it.

In this example on the left is an amount that was estimated at around 40g avocado by a number of people I asked, (calories excluding the toast), on the right is the actual amount – 120g! Now I don’t know about you but I wouldn’t have thought it was that much but look at what a difference it makes in calories. 40g can look very similar to 120g when layered on toast and you may not even realise how much you’re having. The same goes for nut butters, spreads, cheese etc – anything high calorie. With less calorie dense foods it won’t matter as much but with these calorie dense foods when you get it wrong you’re adding a large number of calories. This is also why measure like “a small avocado” are no good – what’s small? my small may not be your small… etc

So if you are trying to lose fat/watching your calories maybe it’s time to go back and get those scales out and double check those estimates and see if you really are as good as you think you are.

🤗

Xx

Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip : Beat The Afternoon Slump

Tuesday Tip : Beat The Afternoon Slump 😴

The mid afternoon energy slump – usually 3-4pm is common to all of us! It can have you reaching for the sugar or caffeine to stay alert but instead try these tips to help beat that slump!

#1 Start right

Not starting the day right can have big impacts later. If you don’t have breakfast you’re far more likely to feel sleepy later in the day. Try a brekkie that combines protein and carbs – eggs on toast, porridge with nuts/fruit. If you’re in a rush take it with you – peanut butter bagel, yogurt pot etc.

# 2 Watch the carbs and fat

Now I’m definitely not saying to cut carbs totally for lunch – you need them for energy. Too few and you’ll find you’re running low by 3pm. But on the flip side too many carbs and you’ll feel sluggish all afternoon. Go for a fist sized portion of carbs with lunch. Also reduce the fat – high fat meals are harder to digest so leave you feeling sluggish. So have a sandwich by all means, or a pasta salad, but load up on the veggies and go easy on the bread/pasta and cheese etc.

# 3 Have a break

Studies have found that taking regular 5-15 min breaks leads to increased productivity at work, and can help combat the afternoon slump. Try to get up and walk around at least once every hour throughout the day. Then, during your break, do a few stretches and take a few deep breaths to invigorate and refresh your mind and your body.

# 4 Drink more

The afternoon slump can also be a result of dehydration. So grab a cold glass of water when you start to feel sleepy. You could add a little lime/cucumber/lemon to your water to add to the flavour. Or try soaking some bits of pineapple in your water for a delicious pineapple-infused burst of energy!

#5 Use your head

It sounds counter intuitive as it’s the last thing you feel like doing but using your brain helps to combat that slump. Try a fun, quick task like crosswords/puzzles etc to give those brain cells a blast. Engaging your brain this way will rouse your concentration levels and refocus you.

Happy Tuesday 🤗

Xx

Nutrition and Calorie Tips

If it’s made from cauliflower it must be healthy…. You

If it’s made from cauliflower it must be healthy…. 🍕

I’m sure we’ve all heard of, if not tried, having cauliflower in place of various carbs. Cauliflower is a vegetable so if something is made from cauliflower, it must be healthier than the “normal” version right?

Cauliflower pizza bases have become quite trendy and they’re marketed as being a healthier, better for you version, of your favourite Pizza.

Cauliflower is great – it’s a fab high fibre vegetable and is definitely a good thing to be eating if you like it. But just because something is made from cauliflower doesn’t automatically ,make it better for you. But in the case of a pizza base it’s very misleading. Have you ever tried to make a cauliflower pizza? It’s actually quite hard to make a “dough” without adding a whole of of other things too. At home you could probably make one with very little flour, but it’s not very stable and certainly wouldn’t survive being packaged and sold in supermarkets. So the sort you buy in health food shops/supermarkets etc are actually mostly flour of one type or another. In this example the main ingredient is actually wheat flour… exactly the same main ingredient as in the “normal” pizza base.

The cauliflower pizza is actually higher in calories and lower in protein than the “normal” one and despite often marketed as being high fibre (thanks to the cauliflower) it’s actually lower in fibre than the “normal” pizza base as well.

So all in all, you’re better off sticking to a normal pizza base, unless you particularly enjoy the taste of the cauliflower one!

Enjoy 🤗

Xx

Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: Post-workout Munchies

Tuesday Tip: Post-workout Munchies 🥤🥪

Feeling very hungry after your workout? Regular workouts boost your metabolism and often increase your hunger. Those dreaded post-workout munchies can make you reach for extra snacks and eat more than you want to which could derail your fitness goals.

# 1 Reconsider your burn

Did you really burn as much as you’re about to eat? Studies have shown that we usually underestimate the calories consumed through food and overestimate the number of calories burned by exercise. As I’ve said in previous posts those fitness machines almost always over estimate and even fitness trackers aren’t as accurate as we’re led to believe. So be realistic when it comes to choosing post-workout foods. Go for something with protein, carbs and fat – and if it’s not a main meal then aim for only about 150-200 cals. A glass of milk (dairy or soya) or chocolate milk is an excellent post workout refuel.

# 2 Are you really hungry?

Ask yourself are you really hungry? Unless it’s a definite yes don’t reach for that protein shake or snack (and remember as I said last week – protein shakes aren’t really necessary for most of us anyway!)

Drink a big glass of water first and then decide. Try not to just get in to the habit of eating after workouts for the sake of it.

#3 Eat regular meals

If you’re starving after your workouts then maybe you haven’t eaten enough earlier in the day. Studies have shown regular meals with a good balance of proteins, carbs and fats results in less desire to eat extra snacks post workout and curb that hunger.

# 4 Schedule your workouts

If you always feel hungry after working out, then simply make sure to schedule exercise before one of your main meals.

That way you won’t need to eat any extra snacks, and thus additional calories, between meals.

# 5 Don’t try to earn calories to eat later

Try not to workout simply for the reward of eating later. Again something I’ve talked about before – try not to reward yourself with food. Exercise itself should be the reward so find something you enjoy – cycling, running, classes, dancing etc and then enjoy the endorphins!

Happy Tuesday 🤗

Xx

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

Nutrition and Calorie Tips

Avoiding cravings… or listening to them…

Avoiding cravings… or listening to them… 🍫

We all have cravings for certain foods or drinks at certain times. It may be for chocolate, biscuits, cheese, toast, wine – etc, whatever it is it’s usually perceived as a “bad” food.

If you’re trying to lose fat/weight then when a chocolate craving hits you may avoid it at all costs. Why? because it’s “bad”. It’s not a snack packed with protein or fats, or vitamins or all those things we know we should be eating. It’s full of sugar (omg!) so it is definitely evil and must be avoided at all costs…..So you avoid it when you’re desperate for some at 3pm. But you spend the rest of the day thinking about it… By the time you’re back from work and have had your dinner the craving is so strong that you dive straight into the a giant bar and inhale it without even tasting it. Then you’ll feel guilty, probably fairly stuffed, uncomfy and miserable. You’ll also have taken in an extra 1920 cals.

Instead, if you really want some chocolate at 3pm – have it! You don’t need to earn it. You don’t need to justify it. Not every item of food you eat needs to be packed with vitamins, protein etc. If you have a balanced diet overall then it’s absolutely fine to have some foods in your diet that aren’t nutritionally great but that give you pleasure!

Chances are that in most cases if you enjoy that chocolate for your snack, factor it into your day’s calories, then you won’t feel the need to inhale a giant bar later that day. So instead of ending up gorging on 1920 cals of chocolate you will have had 240 cals of it when you wanted it.

So rather than creating rules about foods that are good or bad, try to view all foods as things you can have – in moderation.

Enjoy 🤗

Xx