St John’s Wood Blog by Imran Ilahi-

The slogan which should appear on the doors of a gym should be: “half the battle is getting here”. This phrase is true.

It can be very difficult to getting started with a workout. However, most of the time, people really enjoy it and after one or two weeks they are able to stick with a workout. They see the challenge aspect and the consistent results which are involved.

What Happens When You Stop Losing Weight or Getting Stronger?

You can notice results rapidly when you start consistently working out for the first time. You will lose weight if you combine cardio and resistance exercises. Moreover, you will become stronger and more toned.

For people who follow this plan, you can wait for one to two months to see real results but for everyone, there is a point where you stop to progress. At the beginning you think that you had a bad workout and when you continue and you see that there is no more improvements, you start to get concerned.

We speak about a hitting plateau. You need to learn how to manage a plateau so you aren’t totally derailed from working out because stalled progress is extremely frustrating.

You have to understand what a plateau is, if you want to deal with it because your body is not used to the increased actively level when you first start working out. To fuel your workout when you start your body has to burn a lot of calories and because your muscles have not used to being worked, they become stronger.

You can’t obtain the same results after one or two months when you work out: indeed, your body is accustomed to your workouts and it becomes more efficient: it is no longer needed to burn as many calories as before. Therefore, it is not possible to obtain the same results as before.

 

When you’re doing the same number of reps with the same amount of weight, your body’s going to get strong enough to handle that weight and then stop improving. It is the same problem when you search to get a more toned body by increasing your strength because your body stops improving because you do the same number of reps with the same amount of weight and your body is going to get strong enough to handle the weight.

You have to change your workouts if you don’t want to stay to the fitness plateau which is the result of your body adjusting to what you’re doing during your workouts. This change is going to force your body to work as hard as possible.

You may assume that you simply need to increase the amount you’re doing if you’ve been doing the same amount of cardio.

Conversely, breaking through a plateau by increasing the intensity of your cardio may make you more successful. Whether you try different machines or different structures for your sessions, for example you can experiment with different type of cardio. The main aim is to be ramping up your intensity and adding variety.

Mainly if you’ve primarily been doing machine or isolation exercises, perform different resistance exercises is all you need to break through strength plateaus. Conversely, you should try basic exercises with free weights if your workouts were based on machine resistance exercises. A trainer can help you to teaching you proper form if you’re concerned to the exercises incorrectly.

It could be a good solution if you add compound exercises to your workouts to past your plateau, if you used free weight but that you have mainly been doing isolation exercises because they require you to use more supporting muscles and finally your body will have a much time adjusting.

Do You Really Need to Do Resistance Exercises?

Cardio helps to lose weight because it burns out more calories and many people spend all their workouts doing cardio. However, they have to complete them with resistance exercises. Indeed, they can be a good way to slim down and they aren’t only for athletes or people who want to get big.

Muscles being more compact than fat, for example, one pound of muscle takes up less space than one pound of fat, if you add more of muscle to your body and if you get rid of fat in parallel, it will give you a much slimmer physique. This is the reason why resistances exercises can help you to lose weight.

You can lose weight by increasing the amount of calories that you burn out with another way resistance exercises even if you don’t workout. Indeed, even if the amount of calories that you burn out with the cardio can still be important, when you end a session, you’re not going to burn any additional calories as a result of this workout conversely to the resistance exercise.

You can increase the number of calories you burn on daily basis if you add lean muscle to your body because your body has to burn calories to build and maintain muscle. Cardio and resistance exercises are very different.

If the only thing holding you back from doing resistance exercises is a fear of getting bulky, you can safely let this fear go. Since women’s bodies produce less testosterone than men’s, resistance exercises aren’t going to cause you to pack on mass. Instead, they will give you a lean and toned appearance.

The fear to become bulky is an aspect which can restrict people about resistance exercises but you can safely let this fear go because this type of exercises will give you a lean and toned appearance and don’t cause you to pack on mass.

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St – Johns Woods Blog by Imran ilahi

One of the things you may tell yourself when you want to lose weight is that you need to “get up and get moving”. However, it doesn’t mean, even if this phrase is definitely true, that you should be pushing yourself each and every day. The plan to devote all of your free time to this pursuit can actually backfire even if it’s easy to feel like you’re only going to get result from working out.

Giving your body enough time to recover from your workouts is part of successfully losing weight. There are some reasons which are very important if wondering why sleep and rest are such a big deal:

 

1. Reduce the Odds of Getting off Track: if you want to get results from your workouts, you have to push yourself because it’s an important part of the final result.

You have to be aware about your immune system. If you ignore sleep and rest, you’re going to take your body to its breaking point. You can push yourself without a weak immune system. It’s better for you to get thrown out of routine for several days than take only one day off from working out.

2. Stay Sharp: if you are aware and you get enough sleep each night, you could avoid your weight loss sabortage.

3. Avoid Sabotaging Weight Loss: if you don’t make sleep a priority you can restrict the progress that you’re able to make from workouts. Indeed, if you don’t get enough sleep, it could involve stress on your body and one of its responses to the stress can be to store more fat than normal.

4. Keep a Smile: If you want to maintain a positive outlook, sleep and rest are essential. Losing weight should be something which improves your quality of life but if you don’t sleep or allow your body to recover, it could be causes of temporary depression.

5. Healthy Heart: If you combine enough rest with challenging workouts you can avoids some negatives consequences, like high blood pressure and other cardiovascular issues, and enjoy all the benefits of a healthy heart.

 

 

6. Refuel Your Body: Rest and consistently eating with quality foods are important for supporting the time that you spend working out. In fact, when you work out, you deplete your body of a energy known as glycogen, which is stored and your body can’t function properly if it’s running on empty.

7. Keep Your Motivation High: the motivation is also essential to lose weight. Often, when people give up on losing weight, it’s because they are burnt out. You can avoid that by rest and sleep. Motivation and rest are linked.

                                                                                                  

 

 

 

 

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TOP 3 BONE BUILDING EXERCISES

The foods you eat in your daily diet always have a tremendous influence when it comes to supporting a strong skeletal system.

You would find great difficulty in seeing some solid bone remodelling if you are not getting enough level of calcium and vitamin D.

However, even when your diet is covered, it is essential to realise and understand the importance of an appropriate exercise program that will further boost and improve your overall bone strength and development.

Dieting and exercises go together with pretty much all elements of health, especially building a strong skeletal system and structure which we will talk about. Let’s walk through some of the best exercises to consider performing to help maintain and develop stronger bones.

Lifting Weights
Primarily, you should regularly be participating in weight lifting. Even though bodyweight training is great for building bone strength, nothing beats free weight lifting.

Adding excess weight – in the form of external weights – will work great for building up bone tissue since it will apply overloading force and tension, resulting in your bones repairing and adapting to become stronger.

Just as how your muscles can only develop to a certain point with regular bodyweight training, so does your bones. External weights are best choice for maximum bone strength.

Pilates and Yoga
These are two other forms of exercise to consider when wanting to increase bone strength. You might think these would do much to enhance your bone strength especially since they aren’t overloading in terms of stress applied to the bones, but they work wonders for developing your tendons and ligaments which in turn develop joint and bone strength as well.

Walking
Finally, this exercise should be the easiest one. As far as bone building is concerned, nothing is going to beat walking. Whenever you have the chance, go for a walk, it’s a great weight bearing activity that at the same time wont overstress the bones and not placing far too much tension and strain on them, just enough pressure to keep your joints strong and bones solid.

So take a look at your workout program you are currently taking. Are you incorporating the right exercises to build strong bones?

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TOO MUCH CARDIO WILL MAKE ME FAT?

A lot of studies have been carried out to prove DEVELOPING MUSCLE imposes BURNING FAT.

So we are going to have a look at something that does make you fat… CARDIO.

This is why:

Cardio that is done at a low intensity such as jogging or the cross trainer makes your receptors for muscle building blunt. In the end you will be stopping your body from building muscle.

Not only that, low intensity cardio uses up your muscles to fuel for exercise most of the time. So other than stopping your body from growing and making new muscle, you are actually burning away your current muscle. Think about your arms and your leg muscles decreasing from cardio.

If that doesn’t get to you then here’s another reason:

Your body has an incredible ability to adapt. Cardio can also teach your body to become more inefficient at burning calories. Since your body would have less muscle, your body would adapt by burning less calories, making cardio a lot less affective.

When talking about muscle building, cardio hurts that too.

Cardio actually teaches your body to develop types of muscle fibres that are better at cardio, and that doesn’t grow.

“WHY WOULD THIS MAKE ME FAT?”

In the end, you are going to decrease your body’s ability to burn fat because you are eating away at your muscles and not rebuilding them after you do and you are going to decrease your metabolism.

If your body has less muscle, that means it has less calories to burn, and if you take in the same amount of calories that you usually do, the rest or it will just be stored as fat.

“SO WHAT SHOULD I DO?”

You want to get rid of that body fat and have a slimmed toned body? LIFT WEIGHTS! Build muscle and watch as your fat melt away, even while you rest.

I am NOT saying don’t do cardio. I am saying weight lifting will help enforce losing weight more efficiently AND develop your muscles.

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WHY IS MY DIET KILLING MY METABOLISM?

The amount of clients and just people I know in general turn around and tell me they are on the new “21 day transformation” or the new “3 week fat burner” they have ripped out from a random lifestyle or fitness magazine or read online.

Let me just make it clear from now… DO NOT USE OTHER DIETS!

Everyone’s diet needs to be personalised to that person. Everyone is unique; you have a different metabolic rate, exercise schedule, lean body mass, physical and lifestyle activity level and so on. When it comes to diets, there is no one size fits all, so why would anyone think another person’s diet would work for them?!

So, as some people find out, what would happen if you were to follow some of these crazy diets (most of the time aimed at females)? Yes, you lose weight.

“But that is my goal, so how is that bad?”

I am going to give you a really good example from one of my clients who actually went through one of these diets. For the clients protection let’s call her “Karen”, she needs to eat 2000 calories every day to maintain her body weight. This means that if she ate that amount every day she would stay at the same weight.

However Karen is not satisfied with her current looks and wants to “tone up”, so she decided to lose some “bodyfat”. Not the right way, but let us see what happened.She found a plan in one of her fitness magazines and put it to use straight away.

The diet plan that she was working on had her eating only 1000 calories per day. This means she is eating 1000 calories LESS than what her body is burning, every day. This is great in theory, but the bodies anatomy is smarter than that… and you should be too.

So Karen ended up losing 5lbs in the first week, 3lbs in the second and 2lbs in the third. So she in 3 weeks lost about 10lbs. Great right? For now.

WRONG

Let’s take a little closer look at what really happened.

She first lost a significant amount of weight by dropping 1000 calories out of her diet, most of which were carbohydrates. This means her body had to use up a lot of glycogen to keep her blood sugar levels high. Each of those molecules of glycogen is bound to almost 3x as much water by weight.

If you haven’t figured it by now, she pretty much lost a lot of water weight.
Another thing is that, since the human body is so smart, Karen’s body ADAPTED, yes, bodies do that. (Notice how the numbers started to decrease as the weeks went on)

Her body realised that she wasn’t getting enough calories that she usually does, so it cut out some of the tissue which is the most energy costing to maintain… MUSCLES!

This is hitting two birds with one stone by eating away her muscles to keep her burning less calories since she is taking in less. Efficient and effective.

To satisfy the calorie needs and also cutting out its need for calories in the future, the body is able to “eat up” the muscles to get the aminos it needs.

So ultimately Karen probably lost about 5lbs of muscle, 2lbs of fat and 3lbs of water at the end of her 3 weeks.

The WORST part is, since her body is now accustomed and adapted to a 1000 calorie intake and is also burning that much, when she goes back to taking 2000 calories per day again, that will be 1000 calories MORE than what her body needs now, so she will end up with more fat that when she even started the diet AND less muscle mass.

“SO WHAT CAN I DO TO AVOIDE THIS?”

Gradually decrease your calorie intake moderately while increasing your physical activity. ALSO the more physical activity and training you do, the more calories you will need, so actually over time you will need to eat MORE not LESS, and still burn fat!

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HOW TO FIX YOUR METABOLISM

You may have been on a fat loss diet in the past or are on one now, and have had a generally good diet, leading to a decent metabolism, with good progress. You may have soon released, as you fade off from your healthy diet, thinking your metabolism can handle it, it is actually running a lot slower than it should be. Consequently you are also not burning as much calories on a daily bases as you should be, leading to progress moving at a slower pace.

For you to really boost up your metabolism and fire it up again, you have to understand what you need to do to correct your slow and sluggish metabolism and how to correct it properly. Here are the steps you should take:

Your Target Calorie Intake

You need to first consider how much your target calorie intake needs to be. What calorie level do you want to reach?

It’s said that for the majority of people doing only a few workouts per week, leading normal lives, your maintenance calorie intake is assumingly around 15 – 16 calories per pound of body weight. For people who are much more sedentary, 14 would be a better number so adjust it accordingly.

Gradually Add Calories

Here you have found out your target calorie intake, what you need to do now is begin to add calories to that number gradually. You shouldn’t add them at the same time or you can risk some excess fat gains because of your slower than normal metabolism.

You should be looking to add about 10 – 15% of your total intake every 2 – 3 days, and keep doing this until you have reached the target calorie level. You should stay at this level for at least a week, two weeks would be better, before you start to go back to dieting.

Get Sufficient Carbs

You have to focus on carbohydrate dense foods when you are trying to make up calories by adding food. Carbohydrates may not have as much calories as fat, but they are broken down a lot easier and are the body’s main source of energy, making dense carbohydrates the ones that have the most significant influence on your metabolic rate, and so it will be what produces your optimal results. You still must be taking in your proteins and fats, but focus on carbs.

There you have it; if you are suffering from a slow and damaged metabolism, try out these steps to boost it up and see faster fat loss.

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IT’S NOT ENOUGH TO JUST BE MOTIVATED

At first when starting out as a personal trainer, I believed there were two main components for anyone to achieve their goals, great intense workouts and even greater nutrition plans which is all you need to succeed.

Surprisingly not long later I had released, that’s not the case, and about half of my clients weren’t seeing the results they intended for.

I always thought to myself that they were either missing far too many sessions just coming on and off their training, or they were slacking a lot in their nutrition programs and not following them.

Soon after, what I then came to realise is that the majority of clients are not committed enough. Commitment means staying dedicated in your efforts and make sure you get it done, after you have brought together your main goal. This is a main sign in the Stages of Change.

Even after commitment has been put in place by the client, there was more for me than just planning good nutrition and workout programs for clients. That’s when I said “MOTIVATION IS WHAT THEY NEED!”

And I was dead wrong…

The amount of hard work I put into motivating my clients, from being enthusiastic, friendly and making sure they are on point with teaching points, to giving them daily advice on how to improve on their nutrition and progress in training.

I made it my goal to get in touch with clients on a more personal manor and inspire them not just as a personal trainer, but also as their friend, also to ensure they do a better job in and out of the gym.

This definitely made a significant improvement. Combining motivation to training and nutrition did a lot better than just training and nutrition on its own. However, unfortunately, motivation has a big flaw, it doesn’t last!

Don’t get me mistaken; I still believe motivation is a big factor in anything you do. Everyone has to be pushed, inspired and encouraged. But the truth of it is, when looking for long term permanent results, motivation starts you up and GETS you going, but DISCIPLINE is what’s going to KEEP you going!

In anything you do, especially in regards to fitness consistency is the key. Ask any personal trainer, and they will tell you, the hardest thing about training and fitness is being consistent. After you have mastered that, your nutrition and fitness program will come to you so easy you wouldn’t even have to think about that. It needs to become part of your lifestyle.

That’s why I say to my clients you need to make the time AT LEAST to train 2-3 a week. Just to follow the process.

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Do you have a healthy diet mind set?

Before telling yourself “I need to be healthy, I need to diet”, it’s more important to make sure you get yourself in the right mind set to being. People who don’t start off with the right mind set are sure to drop out and give in to the health wrecking foods, rather than those who are focused on their goals and choose their nutrition based on their lifestyle and regular daily diet.

Three things you need to focus on when thinking about a healthy diet and setting yourself up to a proper mind set:

You’re Willing To Accept Mistakes

You need to understand that no one is “perfect”. Mistakes happen and don’t pretend they don’t. If you are expecting to be 100% perfect as soon as you start, then you’ve set yourself up for problems. It is how you go about with these mistakes that determine the outcome of your success.

You Focus on Effort

The next thing you need to do is to make sure you focus on the effort you are putting in rather than the outcome, having a healthy mind set and a balanced diet should be part of your lifestyle instead of something you need to do to achieve a goal. Losing weight is hardly ever linear, instead, most of the times you will see different periods of weight loss either being faster or slower than usual, don’t let this put you off. Remember, it’s about effort and lifestyle, not outcome.

You won’t progress and achieve any significant results if you are just going to be thrown off by every little barrier that comes your way. Your body adapts to change in different ways which you can’t control and this could end you up feeling powerless, instead give maximum effort into what you can control – work out and eat right.

Be Flexible

It’s important that you are willing to be flexible towards your approach. A lot of things always happen in life, some of which could get in the way of your diet at times, make sure you are flexible in dealing with it.

Not everything works for everyone, you won’t have a perfect daily diet from the first day, you will need to adjust your diet as you go along with what life throws at you. If you try making your diet so fixed that one little change will throw you off, you probably won’t follow that diet for very long.

Think About the Long Term

Make it a long term goal that you will keep being healthy, not something to do from now until you reach your goal. Picture it as something you need to do to go on about your life every day and forward.  If you are thinking to yourself you’re going to be fine after you have reached your goal and drop all the habits you picked up on the way, the odds are you won’t reach your goal in the first place.

So stick with these points and set your mind to a healthy frame, it will make the difference.

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ONE WAY TO DECREASE FAT

INCREASE MUSCLE:

If you continuously attempt to lose weight, it’s expected in most cases that you will probably lose some or, sometimes, A GREAT DEAL of muscle also.

You need to pick up some weight. Some heavy weight. It’s called “resistance” training for a reason – to resist weight. You can swing around your pretty pink dumbbells all you want, but that’s not putting enough resistance on your muscles and you won’t see results.

To achieve a firm toned body and lose fat, first I’m going to drive out some myths about muscle.

-          “I don’t want to get muscly”

The image of female bodybuilders has driven away women from lifting some heavy iron. Lifting weights will make you look good!

Here are 3 reasons why lifting weights WON’T make you bulky like you believe.

1)      Most female bodybuilders are likely to take steroids, you are not (at least I hope so).

2)      Naturally men have up to 8x the testosterone than in women, and how many men STILL struggle to build muscle. So if men are struggling even with this substantial advantage, you can be assured you won’t turn into she-hulk from touching some weight.

3)      The muscle building process is slow and takes time. It takes a lot of years of hard work for a body builder to get to where they are

Here is something else that you should take in – if you don’t lift weight or exercise to keep your muscles active, after you turn 30 your body can lose an average of 1lb per year which also makes you burn fewer calories and in turn makes you gain fat again. This is the main reason gradually gain fat as they’re older.

If that isn’t enough for you how about this – if you don’t lift weight that is challenging, your body will slowly lose bone mass and decrease bone density, this can lead to osteoporosis and osteopenia.

Here are 3 reasons how muscle can help you avoid that and make you lose weight.

1)      When you are resting, muscle can help you burn fat (resting metabolic rate). This means you don’t have to starve yourself to lose weight.

2)      Muscles are what shape your body, to look good you need to be muscularly toned and developed. If you try to lose weight by just cardio and no resistance, you will burn into your muscle fibres and you won’t have a great shape. Working your muscles under tension and pressure will force it to burn the fat around.

3)      Lifting weights and being stronger promotes osteoblast, making your bone density higher and stronger.

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NOT BUILDING MUSCLE? HERE’S THREE REASONS WHY

:

“There are a few key things you need to make sure are put in place if you are focused on building lean muscle mass.”

Either yourself, or you know a lot of people, who have time after time again set the goal of building lean muscle mass but always fail, because they are missing probably the most vital basics which hold them back from achieving results. Here are our TOP THREE fundamentals for building muscle:

1.YOU ARE NOT EATING ENOUGH!

The number one cause for you not gaining any muscle size that you’re looking for is not eating enough. Ask any fitness professional, they will tell you the first basic of putting on any kind of mass is that energy input needs to be greater than energy output (this is not to say you shouldn’t work as hard as you can in the gym).

You need calories to grow, if not enough are coming in, you won’t grow – it’s that simple. It is recommended to consume 200 – 300 calories over maintenance value to notice any sort of increase in mass.


2. NOT ENOUGH REST!

The second most important reason why you are not building muscle mass (and probably the most important in relevance to any exercise) is that you are not resting enough. Would more regular exercise in the gym guarantee you fast results? – Sort of, but not quite.

When you put your muscles under tension and pressure of exercise, you are tearing and damaging the muscle fibers. When you rest, especially when you sleep, that is when your body repairs these damaged fibers and THAT is when they GROW and DEVELOP. If you are not giving your body enough rest, then your growth and recovery will slow down immensely.

 

3. YOU ARE DOING THE SAME WORKOUT!

And here is our final basic principle to make sure you get the best out of your workouts. An amazing thing about being human is that we have the capability to adapt to change, physically and psychologically. If you train your body with the same movements and exercises in every workout, your body and your mind will familiarise itself with that routine causing you to stop developing. This is what we call “plateau” which is a word you might hear a lot. In the fitness industry this means “reaching a state of little or no change after a period of activity or progress”.

The best way to avoid a plateau is to always “shock” your body so it never becomes accustomed to your exercise. The way to do this is by changing different variants in your work outs, this includes doing different exercises, changing the weight, sets, reps, rest time, advanced methods (supersets, drop sets, pyramids, circuits, interval cardio) and how many times a week you work out.

Put all these 3 factors into play and watch your body grow before your eyes.

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