15 More Benefits of Exercise

Everyone has their own reasons for making a decision to improve their life by participating in a fitness program. And while most people are concerned with losing weight and looking better, here are some of the many other potential benefits that a good fitness program will provide:

Loss of body fat

Do you know that when you attempt to lose weight by dieting alone, you end up losing some fat, but also lean muscle? Also, calorie restriction causes your body to slow down your metabolism, so as soon as you increase calorie intake again, the fat comes back on faster than ever. I’m sure many of you have experienced this in the past.

A strategy built around sound nutrition and exercise can help you maximize fat loss while maintaining or even gaining valuable lean muscle.

Weight control

Unlike diets, a sound nutrition and exercise strategy will lead to a lifetime of stable weight, getting you off of the weight loss – weight gain roller coaster that comes with diets.

A fad diet may get you back into those pants again for a month, but a well thought out fitness lifestyle can keep you in them forever.

Increased metabolism

Contrary to popular perception, a fast or slow metabolism is not a gift or curse you are given at birth. It is easy to blame your metabolism for weight gain, but in reality, we are NOT the victims of our metabolism, rather we are the CREATORS of our metabolism.

While calorie restricted diets literally destroy your metabolism, a properly designed exercise and nutrition plan can dramatically fire up your metabolism so you burn more calories all day, every day.

Increased muscular strength and endurance

Whether you participate in competitive sports, or just participate in activities of daily living such as carrying your child up and down the stairs or lifting the groceries out of the car, increased strength will allow you to perform better.

Increased cardiorespiratory efficiency and endurance

Do you get winded just going up a flight of stairs? In less time than you think, a properly designed training program can deliver marked improvement in your endurance. Research has repeatedly shown that a regular exercise routine improves the performance of the cardiorespiratory system.

Do you realize that if you were able to reduce your resting heart rate by only 5 beats per minute, that would translate into 7200 fewer times per day your heart needs to beat? That is more than 50,000 fewer beats per week! That is a lot less work that our heart will need to do.

Increased bone, ligament, and tendon strength

Resistance training and weight bearing exercise not only strengthen the muscles but also strengthen the skeletal system and connective tissues as well.

This will greatly reduce your risk of injury, not just now, but make it a lot less likely that you will fall victim to the so-called inevitable hip replacement etc in later years.

Increased muscle mass

Along with an improved physical appearance, increased muscle mass causes you to burn more calories throughout the day. Muscle is a metabolically active tissue and is the furnace in your body where fat is actually used for energy.

More muscle means faster metabolism.

Reduction in resting blood pressure

Did you know that high blood pressure increases the risk for coronary heart disease, and can cause heart attacks or strokes? According to the American Heart Association, one in four adult Americans has high blood pressure, and nearly a third of them do not realize it.

Of the 50million sufferers, nearly half are women. While medications are often warranted, lifestyle changes including improvements in nutrition and regular exercise are key elements in the control of blood pressure. Many people find that they can reduce or remove their need for medications when they improve their lifestyles instead.

Improvements in cholesterol levels

Cholesterol, a fatty substance found in cells and blood, is necessary for many normal bodily functions. Unfortunately many people have cholesterol readings that are too high – 200 and above – putting them at increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

If you are overweight, losing body fat can reduce your LDL (bad) cholesterol and raise your HDL (good) cholesterol, and as little as thirty minutes of intense exercise on most days can help improve overall cholesterol levels.

Decreased risk of diabetes

Type 1 Diabetes, where the body makes little or no insulin, is usually diagnosed in childhood. Currently there is no known way to prevent Type 1 Diabetes.

Type 2 Diabetes usually occurs in adulthood and is far more common, making up 90% of all cases of the disease. Maintaining an ideal body weight and an active lifestyle are two of the main factors in preventing the onset of Type 2 Diabetes.

Decreased risk of osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a disease characterized by low bone mass and bone fragility, which leads to increased risk of fractures. Men, as well as women suffer from it.

Studies have shown that resistance training and weight-bearing exercises are effective in increasing bone mineral density. In fact, exercise is more important than a high calcium intake. Your bones will only get stronger if they are stressed and need to adapt, just like your muscles.

Reduced risk of injury

As noted above, stronger muscles, bones, and connective tissue all contribute to reducing injuries. But regular exercise can also bring on improvements in balance, agility and muscle control that can help prevent slips and falls that could otherwise cause injuries.

Improved self-esteem and sense of well being

There is truth in the saying “When you look good, you feel good.” The positive changes brought on by a structured exercise and supportive nutrition program are not only physical. Increased confidence, energy, and vitality are all benefits of a fitness lifestyle.

Improved posture

Whether it is behind a desk at work, behind the wheel of a car, or on the couch watching TV, we all spend a lot more time than we should on our butts. These positions lead to lower back problems, weak and rounded shoulders, tight chest muscles, and a hunched over posture.

A properly designed exercise program can address these issues, and help undo the damage we unintentionally do to our bodies all day. By activating the muscles that don’t get used enough in our daily lives (like the whole posterior chain), bad posture and common complaints such as backaches can disappear.

Decreased stress

Studies have shown that exercise causes the brain to release endorphins and other neurotransmitters that actually help to improve your mood and leave you relaxed. Many Bootcampers train solely for the mental aspects only.

Overall improved health

The health benefits of exercise have been known for thousands of years, as evidenced by this quote:

“Speaking generally, all parts of the body which have a function, if used in moderation and exercised inlabors to which each is accustomed, become healthy and well developed and age slowly. But, if unused and left idle, they come liable to disease, defective in growth and age quickly.”Hippocrates 370BC

To find out more about FitterFaster Programs and Packages, complete the form on this page.

The 12 Week Transform Together Project starts on 1st Feb 2016.  Registrations close on 23rd January.  Check it out HERE

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Which Diet Will Work For Me?

 

Which diet will work for you?
Which diet will work for you?

There are so many different diet plans and programs around and it’s so confusing. Counting calories, cutting out carbs, counting protein grams or skipping fat. Counting points, fasting, meal replacements??? What’s the deal?

Most programs will work in the short-term (1-2 weeks) simply because they either cut calories (even if you’re not counting them) or they cause you to improve what you’re eating overall (this happens with some programs, but not most).

Most plans, however, are too confusing or don’t allow enough food and you’ll either be starving and won’t be able to continue, or you’ll simply get sick of counting, measuring and calculating.

Even some programs that recommend real food still don’t work because you are ‘allowed’ foods that cause fat storage in quantities that do not work for you.

I’m tipping you’ve experienced both of these scenarios at some time, possibly both at the same time even.

The thing about counting calories, points or macros is that these types of programs, apart from being tedious to calculate, will allow you to eat whatever you want as long as you hit your ‘numbers’ target.

I am absolutely against that idea and know that by changing ‘what’ you eat, you can get much better results, be less confused and be healthier at the same time.  Not only that, but changing ‘what’ you eat will give you results long term.  Not just for a few weeks.

Research (and not just new research, scientists have known this for years and you can find the studies if you know where to look) shows that what you eat affects every functioning part of your body including hormone production and therefore, your fat storage and fat burning potential.

Just cutting down what you eat and exercising, which is a common prescription, sometimes (actually, more often than not) does not result in more than a few kilos fat loss, even if you have upwards of 10 or more kilos to lose.

If you’re eating the wrong types of food, your body might not even be able to tell that it has fat to burn.  So it thinks it is ‘starving’ and causes you to be hungry and want to eat more food.  I bet you know that feeling!

Counting calories, carbs, proteins, points or fat grams may be your cup of tea. I think it is time-consuming, confusing and actually a total waste of time.

If you’re one of the many people who border on being obsessed with foods, dieting and weight loss, they are a disaster waiting to happen.

The way to look at food is:

  • Does it provide nutrients my body needs in amounts it needs them?  You don’t need to be a scientist to figure this out.  I have a simple process that gives you the answers for this
  • Does it satisfy me?  Do you still feel hungry after meals?  If so, the food is not satisfying.  You should not be hungry.
  • Does it contribute to my health, not just my calorie count?  Just thinking about calories alone DOES NOT WORK!  If the food is something that messes with your bodies systems, but has low calories, you still shouldn’t eat it
  • Will it get me closer to my goals?  Some foods will and some won’t.  Of course, you should be able to eat foods that do not contribute occasionally, and if the rest of your diet is right, you definitely can.

Making nutrition programs as simple as possible to follow while still getting your results without hunger and without mind-numbing calculations is my job.

The easier I can make this for my clients, the more likely they are to follow it and see results.

With all my programs, I give easy to follow instructions with the ‘how to’ being simple and straight forward.

For those who want more info, I also provide the ‘why’.  Not everyone wants to know about this side, but it does help you to make choices if you know why you should and shouldn’t eat certain foods.

My next 12-week challenge starts on 1st February with registrations closing on 23rd January 2016.

You’ll get specifics on exactly what to eat, what not to eat, recipes and new habits to follow each week that will help you to stick with the program and will improve results.

You also get unlimited training at FitterFaster for the entire 12 weeks.

You can find more details here:

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Balance Cortisol to Lose Weight

Cortisol is a hormone produced by your adrenal glands and its job is to metabolise fat, protein and carbs and to help you manage your response to stress.

In quick, short bursts, cortisol does its job effectively. However, constant higher levels of cortisol, brought on by every day stresses such as deadlines, ‘busyness’, relationship issues, bad nutrition, lack of exercise and more are damaging to your body.

Some side effects of chronic high levels of cortisol are your cravings for sugary, high fat foods, weight gain especially in the abdominal area, trouble with falling or staying asleep and a massive increase in the risk of heart disease and diabetes.  Not good news!

Your body produces different chemicals during the day and night that control your sleep, energy and mood. The natural rhythm of this cycle is known as the Circadian Rhythm, and cortisol is a key player.

Under normal circumstances, your body produces cortisol in amounts largely determined by the clock. Levels tend to be higher in morning—triggered by the emerging daylight–giving you a boost of energy to jumpstart your day.

As the day wears on, cortisol levels should drop, helping to prepare you for a good night’s sleep. Likewise, Melatonin (another hormone that affects your energy and sleep habits) levels should be lower in the morning but as the daylight fades, they should increase, helping you to begin relaxing and preparing for sleep.

However, if you are under constant stress or if your adrenal glands are not functioning properly, your cortisol level may not drop off during the day. Instead, Cortisol may actually rise and stay at a dangerously high level. By the time bedtime rolls around, you will not feel sleepy. You will feel “tired but wired,” and be unable to relax and fall asleep or if you do fall asleep, you may keep waking and not have good quality sleep.

How to Reset Your Circadian Clock
If you suspect that your natural, circadian rhythm is disrupted, don’t despair. There are several things you can do to reset your clock so you can start sleeping better at night and waking up more refreshed in the morning.


Try the following tips:

Reduce stress. Easier said than done, I know. But many times our stress levels are correlated to our response to stressful situations. Learning how to cope with stress more effectively may be all it takes to balance your cortisol.

Be consistent. Going to bed and getting at the same time each day will help to regulate your circadian rhythm. Practice this habit to slowly coax your body into a schedule.

Use light wisely. Since your circadian rhythm is partially controlled by light, darken your room well when you go to bed, and flood it with light when it is time to get up.

Avoid naps. If your circadian clock is off, you may find that you get very sleepy in the afternoon. However, taking a nap may make it more difficult to fall asleep at night. Try to resist naps at least until you have gotten yourself into a better sleep routine.

Eat most of your calories early. If you can eat the bulk of your daily calories earlier in the day as opposed to later in the day, you may find that you can recalibrate your circadian rhythms more easily.  So eat more lightly at tea time, always still including protein and low energy carbs in your meal.

Exercise. Exercising daily helps to lower cortisol levels as long as you are recovering properly between training sessions.  Getting enough sleep and fuelling your body properly will ensure that exercise helps to lower your levels of stress and not increase them.  Too much exercise is detrimental to your cortisol levels and will increase the likelihood of you storing excess body fat!

 


Importance of Digestive and Bowel Health

Optimum health depends on the food you eat being digested and nutrients being absorbed properly.  It also depends on waste and toxins being continuously moved out through your bowels.

80% of our immune system is in the digestive system too, so proper immune function also depends on everything working properly.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), diarrhoea, constipation, wind, bloating, diverticulosis,  and other inflammatory bowel or auto immune conditions are all caused by a digestive and/or bowel system working at a less than optimal level.

Lack of sleep, stress, a poor diet, too much or not enough exercise, medications (including over the counter) are some of the factors that cause your digestive system to become faulty.

Human digestive system

What can you do to help? Follow these simple steps to improve your digestive health, but if symptoms persist, see you health professional:

  • Stop taking unnecessary medications.  Some people are popping anti-inflammatories, paracetamol and other drugs like they’re lollies.  If you’re taking them on medical advice, make sure you keep seeing your professional health care provider and check if  you should still be taking them.
  • Drink more water which as a bonus will help with your fat loss if that is one of your goals
  • Try L-glutmine which is an inexpensive amino acid which nourishes and helps to repair the intestinal mucosa.  It benefits the immune system as well and helps with nutrient absorption.  Taken dissolved in a little water on an empty stomach ( I have it first thing in the morning) is the best way to get the best results.
  • Increase fibre by eating more fibrous vegetables and a little fruit. And guess what, also has the side effect of helping with fat loss.
  • Get more sleep.  This is sometimes not possible, but do you really need to sit up and watch some of the TV shows that are on at night.  You’d be heaps better off by getting an extra hour or 2 of sleep for many reasons, including better digestive health and FAT LOSS!
  • Take probiotics.  Its just not enough to eat yoghurt.  You may need to take a probiotic at least until you see (or feel) improvement.  I take one daily and notice a huge difference with my digestive health symptoms.
  • Digestive Enzymes.  I recommend these for most of my clients as part of reestabishing a healthy diet.  Till everything is functioning again 100% digestive enzymes will help your body to digest and absorb more nutrients from your food.
  • Eat less (or preferable none) high reaction foods.  Some of these are; grains, dairy products, fructose, honey, cabbage, sweet corn, all sweeteners that end in ” ‘ol” , legumes, pulses, mushrooms for some, eggs for some, capsicum, tomatoes, eggplant.  You may not even realise that some of these are a problem for you till you eliminate them for a while and then add them back in.

Also taking simple steps like chewing food properly (did you know this is actually a step in the digestion process, not just something to make it easier to swallow?) and going to the toilet when you need to (as opposed to hanging on) will really, really help!

So if you suffer from any of the above symptoms, start straight away on the above tips and you’ll notice a difference.  As a bonus, you’ll also be improving your immune system health which is always important but especially at this time of year.


Are You Triggering Your Cravings Without Knowing It?

Most people find that cutting out processed foods, sweet treats and sugary drinks causes a massive decrease in cravings once the initial withdrawal phase passes.  This phase can take a few days to  a couple of weeks depending on how addicted you were.

But there are some foods that cause cravings to continue if you’re consuming them. And sometimes, those foods are ones you wouldn’t suspect.

I’ve listed some of the common culprits below.  How many of them are you still eating on a regular basis?

Cutting down on the use of these products and foods or even cutting them out altogether if you’re trying to lose weight will help with cravings and, therefore, help you to stay on track with your fat loss and healthy eating plan.

Dried Fruit – is notorious for causing ongoing cravings due to its high sugar content

Nuts and Seeds – while these have many health benefits, over-consumption not only usually causes overall calorie intake to be too high, they can cause cravings as well.

Despite having some health benefits, dried fruit should be avoided and nuts consumed with care
Despite having some health benefits, dried fruit should be avoided and nuts consumed with care

Dried fruit and nuts can also be combined to make yummy sweet treats that we can kid ourselves are okay to eat freely even if we are consciously trying to lose body fat.  The extremely high sugar and fat content of these treats, combined with the delicious ‘I want more’ taste is a recipe for causing more cravings and for binge eating.  Including binge eating other not so healthy treats as well.

Diet Drinks  are a major cause of binge eating and cravings.  Unfortunately, the lack of calories is irrelevant because the sweet ‘taste’ is what is causing cravings in this example.  The insulin response in your body starts when you consume any food, particularly sweet foods.  And by ‘consume’ I mean, when you are tasting it in your mouth.

There is some evidence that the thought of eating some sweet foods can start the insulin response too, but till that is proven, we will only think of that as a possibility, not fact.

So despite the fact that these foods have little or no calories, avoid them if you’re trying to lose weight.  In fact, I’d avoid them all together anyway.

Avoid diet drinks at all times
Avoid diet drinks at all times

Diet, No Fat, Low Fat, Reduced Fat Etc Products are a recipe for disaster on several levels.

Firstly, they often are loaded up with extra sugar or other additives to make them taste better – as above, a recipe for binge eating and cravings.

Secondly, often people eat more of these foods because the don’t feel guilty doing so.  This can cause binging and cravings for other sweet or salty foods as well as a tendency to overeat the diet foods themselves.

Thirdly, diet products often do not satisfy you fully.  When fat is removed from real foods, such as cheese or dairy products, they do not have the same taste, mouth feel or satiety as the original foods.  This means that usually, you’ll either still be hungry or you will have cravings for more food to feel satisfied.

Protein, Breakfast, Low Carb, Sugar-Free, Natural or any other BARS  should be avoided for the most part.

I used to consume protein bars after training thinking I was doing the right thing.  But after experimenting, I found that the bars were causing me to crave sugar and I’d often find myself eating more than one or eating more sweet food in an effort to feel satisfied.

Pretty much all bars including 'nature' should be avoided.  Eat real food instead
Pretty much all bars including ‘nature’ should be avoided. Eat real food instead

People also often kid themselves that they can eat these often because of the low calorie content, the perceived nutritional value or the fact that the marketing promises certain outcomes from eating them (such as muscle building, fat loss etc)  Convenience is also a factor in the consumption of bars on a regular basis.

How many of the above foods/products are you eating?  Starting today, replace them with real fresh food and water and watch your cravings disappear.


Getting Through Christmas and New Year

With Christmas and New Year fast approaching, a lot of the conversations seems to be about ‘getting through’ the holidays and then ‘getting on’ with pursuing health and fitness goals from January 1st.
Nothing wrong with that, of course (though personally, I find that those who achieve the most impressive and rapid results are always those who start TODAY), after all, people are busy, they’re distracted and they have all manner of obstacles preventing them from getting what they want when the holiday season rolls around. (read excuses)
But here’s the interesting thing.
Considering people are waiting til ‘the time is right’ to get started on pursuing their goals (presumably ‘right’ meaning that there’s nothing standing in their way), there still seems to be a lot of discussion about avoiding the disappointment of failure by not setting goals too high and not over reaching.

In effect, these conversations are saying “Don’t go for what you REALLY want, go for what you think you can get”
I can understand why people think this way.

They’re scared of ‘failing’ at their diets, their exercise programs, their performance goals and their dreams so instead they play it small by choosing to rationalise and justify their goals instead of going for what they really want.
What they REALLY dream about.

Instead of dreaming the big, amazing, inspiring dreams they settle for what’s ‘realistic’.
In other words, they settle for what someone else has told them either is or is not possible.

I see it all the time at FitterFaster where people who really, desperately want to lose 15kgs set goals of only 5kgs ‘because it’s more realistic’ and who, in doing so, rob themselves of all the power, passion and purpose required to not only achieve the big goal but, ultimately, the small goal too.
It’s true!

Most of the people who set themselves smaller goals because they’ve rationalised them to be more ‘realistic’ have just as hard a time bringing these small goals to life as they would have had if they’d committed to the big ones.
Strange but true.

And here’s why;
Small goals are all fine and dandy but, the truth is, most people aren’t looking for small improvements in their lives. They want big, Huge, ENORMOUS, life-changing things to happen to them rather than small, incremental and often inconsequential goals.

Big goals get you out of bed on cold, damp and dark winter mornings. Small ones have you telling yourself “Go back to sleep, you can do it later”

Big goals have you sticking with your healthy diet no matter what. Small goals have you saying “Well, ONE piece won’t hurt…”
Big goals have you thinking and acting big. Small goals have you thinking and acting… small!
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure this out does it?

The key to making big, dramatic changes to your life, whether they be in your weight, your fitness, your relationships, your finances or anything else is to set yourself goals that would literally revolutionise your life rather than those that only serve to rationalise why you can’t have more.
The word ‘revolution’ comes from the Latin ‘Revolutio’ and means literally ‘a turn around’. Your life turns around by thinking big, powerful, passionate thoughts of what you WANT from your life and then taking the steps to make that happen, NOT by containing your thinking only to those things that you believe are easy.

The truth is, those things that are easiest to do are also the exact same things that are easy NOT to do.

Pushing your plate away when you’re full is easy to do… but easy not to.

Taking 15 minutes a day to exercise is easy to do… but easy not to.

Saving $1 a day is easy to do… but easy not to.

There’s no power, passion, purpose or promise in the small goals that don’t really get your juices flowing. The real power is in those big, scary, exciting goals that, once achieved, would literally turn your life around.
In other words, Revolutionary Goals NOT rational ones.

Think big.
Then, when you’ve thought big, think BIGGER!

Design the grandest, highest, most perfect vision of your goal in your mind THEN take action to make that goal become a reality.
Set a revolutionary goal TODAY. Don’t wait for New Year or for after Christmas.

Set it today and you’ll have almost 3 weeks toward your goal in the bag before the first day of 2016.

Not to mention that I’m not taking new clients in the first 2 weeks of January 2016.  I want anyone who is serious about changing their bodies to commit now.

Contact me today to book a look around, a chat and an assessment.  Start your $49 JumpStart program before Christmas (28 days unlimited training) and I will give you the entire month of January free!  (you’ll finish your 28 days after January 31st)

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