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WHY LIFT WEIGHTS?

Many will have heard that lifting weights is more beneficial for fat loss compared to cardio.

While this may be over simplified, lifting weights will help you to develop and maintain a healthy body composition more easily than cardiovascular exercise.

Throw in a good dose of healthy eating and you’re onto a winner.

The problem with cardio (for the general gym goer) is that there isn’t any thought to it. If you want to improve your running time or prepare for a race, great. The ” I just want to lose fat” line is not good enough nor is “I don’t want to get too big or muscley”.

Sure you may experience “weight loss” but around 25% of this will be muscle loss. So you may end up 2 stone lighter but how much fat have you actually lost?

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Weight loss through weight training will be almost all fat. You may even build some muscle while losing the fat, ending up the same weight but dress sizes/waist sizes smaller. Great!

And for every pound of muscle you gain, you can expect to burn extra calories, all without moving a single one of those muscles. A massive reason to lift weights!

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I feel that a lot of people jump on the cardio equipment because it’s easy to use and once on there they can stay on until they are ready to leave.

A gym can be intimidating and if you’re not sure what you’re doing then trying to copy others can be embarrasing and dangerous.

Programmes can be difficult and complicated. Websites, magazines and gurus all touting the next best thing and newest exercise. Dont fall for the hype. You can’t redesign the wheel and some of the most basic concepts will get the best results.

This is especially true if you are just beginning, what use are a load of advanced techniques, exercises and equipment if you cant yet squat?

Coach Dan John always preaches a list of basics and I feel that these will benefit most folk at the gym, newbie or not.

In fact a lot of people could use this simple approach to get the basics right and correct a lot of the bad habits and poor techniques developed over the years ( or technique that was never developed in the first place!).

Push,

Pull,

Hinge,

Squat,

Loaded Carries

Simple movements but the effect of putting these together in a way suitable for your experience and capabilities will improve your health, fitness and body composition much more effectively than monotonous cardio or over complicated colourful magazine spreads.

Now even putting this simple list of movements will be baffling for most, you may not know a push from a squat or a hinge from a door handle.

That is why I am here to help. I will be your guide if you are looking to start up, improve your knowledge of exercise, create a healthy eating plan and teach you how to train effectively and efficiently in the gym.

Want to become an independent gym goer but don’t know where to start?

The answer is here, give me a shout.

Training doesn’t have to be a chore and should be enjoyable to a certain extent

 

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How alcohol affects your training.

For many years we humans have been searching for new ways to alter our moods.

Using food, sex and when that wasn’t enough trying whatever we could think of from sniffing stuff, smoking stuff or drinking stuff to get some sort of a high.

Alcohol is the most commonly used substance and is also socially acceptable (surprising if you watch folk on a night out).

And when it come to fitness there is an opposites attract relationship with this poisonous beauty. Sports themselves are a social activity by nature, and so is alcohol consumption. This creates a frenzy of after game nights out, or full out all day drinking.

And while over use of this marvellous creation of ours can be harmful to mental health, physical health and relationships with friends and loved ones, an occasional indulgence shouldn’t affect you too much. Although you may feel slightly worse for wear the following morning.

The problem is that as a nation, we take the piss with it. And push from a few drinks to being unable to drink anymore, stand or function as a person.

SO WHAT!?! You may ask. BUT OF COURSE IT DOES THAT’S WHY I DO IT!?! You may say. That’s cool, but if you’re trying your heart out to make progress in training, sports or battling weight issues then this will definitely hinder your progress.

I’m not going to go into fancy nonsense on chemical alterations, nutrient malabsorptions or pancreatic endocrine function.

SO I WILL KEEP TO THE BASICS.

You will get hangovers. This can affect you for a few days and result in skipping training, eating crap, not eating at all and general crappy training sessions.

Alcohol affects the liver and how it converts vitamins you need. So if you weren’t already deficient in some vitamins you probably will be after a sesh.

Alcohol abusers tend to have lower testosterone levels. Most of us don’t want his to happen, so guys keep this in mind!

BEER GOGGLES. Enough said.

It causes a reduction in protein synthesis. Because less protein is being turned into muscle tissue you will not grow/ repair as you would otherwise. SO even if your goal isn’t “getting massive” your recovery will still suffer.

Alcohol intake slows glycogen metabolism. This means the brain receives less glycogen, so it doesn’t have much energy. If you’re not the fastest thinker at the best of times then drinking will not help you my friend!

CALORIE INCREASE. Full stop. If you are trying to lose fat then consuming copious amount of this wonderful beverage will push up your calorie count.

AVERAGE GLASS OF WINE – 150cal

AVERAGE PINT OF BEER – 200cal

AVERAGE SHOT OF ALCOHOL – 65cal

Drinking five pints of lager a week adds up to 44,200kcal over a year, equivalent to eating 221 doughnuts. And then there’s the food choices around your night out, takeways, crisps at the bar it all adds up.

So be honest, you could EASILY over do it by 1500-2000 cal on a standard night out. That will put weight loss back massively! So if weight loss is your goal, cut it out and get on track before indulging.

ALL THAT BEING SAID….there are health benefits to MODERATE alcohol consumption. I’m not going to be your ENABLER but at a basic level it helps us unwind, relax and socialise with friends. A few pints with mates can stay at a few with some self control. A glass doesn’t have to turn into the bottle and a binge drinking session doesn’t excuse a binge eating session!

So keep this in mind, enjoy your drinks and if you go overboard then ignorance is not an excuse for not achieving your goals!

p.s – If you are looking to get into shape and on track to success, give me a shout and we’ll see if we can get you ready in 2020!

#boozehurtsmygainsimage

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THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE GOING TO THE GYM…..

This is a little bit of a do’s and don’ts list along with gym gripes and things you get in every gym.

If you’re new to the gym it may bring something you didn’t even think of to light, or prepare you for bizarre incidents that may occur.

If you’ve been in the gym a while you may well be doing some of them, so it could be time to stop it, and you will definitely have seen some!

If you’re starting up then chances are you don’t have a clue. This is nothing to be ashamed of, you need to start somewhere and the basics is that somewhere. Now how you go about that is another thing. Make sure you know the basics before progressing, starting with a gym induction, programme and maybe a few sessions with a trainer.

So you’ve been training for 6 months and watching youtube. It’s great that you are interested and enjoying fitness and while you will want to talk to people about it, don’t start trying to give advice to people who are training around you.

So often you get guys who can’t perform basic movements trying to teach others. This is equally true for people who have been lifting incorrectly for years or months. Listen to people by all means. Respect others opinions, but always get the info backed up by research or a trainer.

DRESS TO IMPRESS without being undressed. This goes for guys and gals. Yeah people you may have made gains and look great, well done. Really. But it doesn’t justify wearing a vest so loose we can see your nipples. Also this is Glasgow not muscle beach. It’s cold outside, cold inside most the time too so wear a proper top. Don’t wear a skin tight sports top (really a bra) hot pants and moan about people staring. Of course people will stare if you’re semi naked in public. It does tend to cause distraction…

index2Following on from the above….DON’T BE A PERV! You know who you are! Ok so some people do wear very skimpy clothes, doesn’t mean you have to gawp. Even if someone is in the gym purely for attention, you’re there to train. SO NO DISTRACTIONS. No checking folk out in the mirror either, yes we can see you, it’s not a magic peeping wall.

SWEATING DOESN’T EXCUSE SMELLING. It’s a gym, you may sweat, A lot. But that doesn’t excuse stinking the place out and turning the stomachs of others! Sweat shouldn’t stink straight away so if you’re smelling chances are you have been for a few hours. Get it sorted out, £1 for a nice antiperspirant deo, no excuses. On the other side of the scale there’s no need for excessive aftershave or perfume, it’s just as off putting. Also. CLEAN UP YOUR SWEAT. Use the spray, a towl or paper provided on the gym floor. Clean your bench or machine after use, it stop the spread of germs and prevents others calling you a dirty.

 

DO PULL A SICKIE. It’s not tough going to the gym full of cold and flu, it’s irresponsible and you need rest. So stop getting everyone else ill and preventing yur recovery. STAY AT HOME.

rerackRE-RACK THE DUMBBELLS. If you use it, put it back, discs, dumbbells, whatever. Use it then put it back where it goes. Even if you picked it up off the floor, put it back where it goes. Keep things easy for others and hopefully it will be easier for you. You’re in a gym with grown ups so take some responsibility and keep the place clean. Don’t hog all the weights or machines, share equipment if you’re going to be using it a while.

GIVE FOLK SOME ROOM. Now when it’s busy you may need to get close to folk to use equipment and to train. But when it’s 7am, quiet with 10 treadmills available, don’t go and jump on the one beside someone else. It’s creepy, others will think so too. Avoid the awkwardness and give some distance. (Same thing goes for guys at the urinals, don’t be that guy)

 

LEAVE YOUR PHONE IN THE LOCKER. Keep focus in the gym, no messing on facebook, texting or taking selfies. Train. If you use it for music set a playlist and leave it be.

LIGHT WEIGHT!! Ok if you’re pushing out a max lift then some noise is expected. But every rep from warm up to cool down is taking the piss. Keep calm and lift with muscular effort not vocal!

GET IN AND GET OUT. A motto many could be doing with applying to their workouts. Make sure you plan your session time along with your training programme and time your recovery. No need to take 3 minutes when you’re recovered after 45 seconds! This leads to waiting around for no reason and not making the progress you think you will achieve, aking 3 hours for a session that should take 45 minutes is not productive.

DROPPING WEIGHTS. If you can’t put it down, then you shouldn’t pick it up. It doesn’t make you look cool, it breaks the weights. (accidents happen but pretending to be Kai Green and dropping 25’s makes you look like a div)

BICEP CURLS IN SQUAT RACK. Just NO. NO. Don’t do it. Don’t be that person. Bicep curls don’t need a rack.

DON’T be afraid to ask for a spot. People in the gym help each other out. Ask for help if you need it, whether from staff or other members. If someone wont help you that’s them being an asshole not you being awkward. (unless it’s a weight you clearly can’t lift, then it’s just dangerous!)

BE NICE. No one likes an asshole, you can be focused and determined but there’s no need to be nasty to others. At the same time, if you can see someone has earphones in, is focusing on their training and gasping during recovery, don’t 20 question them or pester them, leave them to train and save the gossip for the changing room.

 

USE MACHINES CORRECTLY, machines are designed with a purpose. You will see endless videos of variations you can do on machines, many of which are dangerous to yourself and damage the equipment. If you want to know how you can do an exercise you can’t find a machine for, ask a trainer! We will show you alternatives.

Not an extensive list by far.

What else can you guys think of that newbies should know?

Happy Gyming Folks

#gymgripes #etiquette #do+dont #gymrules

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CHOOSE LIFE, CHOOSE YOUR FRIENDS.

CHOOSE YOUR SOCIAL INFLUENCES CAREFULLY, THEY CAN DICTATE WHO YOU ARE!

We all like to think we are in control of our lives and the way we live. But much of it is dictated by our surroundings and more importantlty the people in those surroundings!

‘You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.’ Jim Rohn

Now stop and have a think, who are the 5 people you spend most of your time with and how are they affecting me? Do these people share the same goals that I have for myself? Do they support me in my personal goals or do they give resistance to them?

We know about the affects of alcohol, drugs and tobacco on our health, but what about our friendships and social circles?

Often these are all related, as we tend to adopt our friends’ habits and interests, for the positive or the negative is to be determined!

So if you’re looking to improve your fitness, surrounding yourself with like minded people will often help with your chances of success. Whatever is the norm in your social group, usually becomes the norm for you too. Drinking, eating, sleeping patterns and even relationships can be determined by those you “hang around” with.
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This also counts for moods and thoughts, actions and habits, which is why it’s so important to surround yourself with people whose values and habits support your vision of who you want to be.

If you struggle to resist temptation, surrounding yourself with people who possess a high degree of self-discipline can help.

To be fit, surround yourself with fit people. To be positive and successfull…. OK you get the picture.

But not all social circles are negative and just because our friends don’t have the same dreams as us doesn’t mean you have to ditch them. There will also always be people you can’t escape from wether it be family or work colleagues, but you can try and influence them more or buffer their effect on you.

Feeling alone in your views? It may be time to include more like minded people in your life and get that ‘average of 5’ in your favour. This is where joining like minded groups, teams or talking to people with similar interests can really help you get to where you want to be.

With social networking becoming so huge there really is no excuse, but just remeber that Facebook friends can have just the same impact….

ALSO IF YOU ARE ONE OF THE NEGATIVE PEOPLE THEN THINK HOW YOUR ACTIONS AFFECT THOSE AROUND YOU!

Have a good one and stay positive!

 

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WHY SO SAD???

Feeling down in the dumps and out of sorts?

Well it’s not surprising with the change in weather and lack of daylight, those long summer nights seem very long ago!

Don’t fear we are all succeptible to SAD.

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Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) sometimes known as “winter depression”, is a type of depression that comes and goes in a seasonal pattern.

The lack of bright light in winter is the cause for SAD as bright light makes a difference to the brain chemistry.

The nerve centres in our brain that control our daily rhythms and moods are stimulated by the amount of light entering the eyes. During hours of darkness, the pineal gland starts to produce a substance called melatonin that tells our body clock it’s night.

Bright light at daybreak is the signal for the gland to stop producing this melatonin. But on dull winter days, especially indoors, not enough light is received to trigger this waking up process. Why do you think so many of us attack coffee every morning?!

Right about now is when most people start to feel the affect of the weather.

Although the festive period brightens many up, December, January and February tend to be the most troublesome months. (Only a 1/4 of the year then?!?)

So how do I know if SAD if affecting me??

SAD-2

Have you been experiencing any of the following;

  • PERSISTENT LOW MOOD
  • LOSS OF PLEASURE OR INTEREST IN YOUR NORMAL DAY ACTIVITIES
  • IRRITABILITY
  • FEELINGS OF DESPAIR, GUILT and WORTHLESSNESS
  • FEELING LETHARGIC (LACKING IN ENERGY)
  • SLEEP DURING THE DAY
  • SLEEPING LONGER THAN NORMAL AND STILL FINDING IT HARD TO GET UP
  • CRAVING CARBS AND GAINING WEIGHT

The list is enough to depress you!

But most of us will experience at least a few and pass it off as nothing, it can affect people badly and a visit to the doctors may be in order. BEFORE that though why not try some of the following?

Sunlight-GET MORE NATURAL SUNLIGHT – Easier said than done with the little time available! But if you get the chance get outside for some fresh air and daylight. (Stay outside for your coffee break and walk about).

EXERCISING REGULARLY – This should be part of any healthy lifestyle but will help during the winter depression. (It may be tempting to miss it out but it this is when you need it most!) runner

MANAGE YOUR STRESS – Try not to give yourself extra stress during this period, exercise will help with this!

LIGHT THERAPY – Using a special lamp called a light box, sad lamp or daylight lamp, they simulate exposure to sunlight. You can pick them up from £30 but also fork out £150 if you’re a flush bugger, (mind you it may be as close to summer as you’ll get in Glasgow so it’s cheaper than a plane ticket!)  http://www.sad.org.uk/buying-a-sad-light/

talk-to-meTALKING – If you are feeling crappy and down, make sure you tell someone! I don’t mean just telling everyone and anyone your every mood, but those close to you should know if you’re feeling down and just talking about it may help.

VITAMIN D3 – Supplementing with Vitamin D3 can help fight the affects lack of sunlight bring. Vitamin D3 is the only vitamin the body can manufacture from sunlight, so for most of us it may be lacking. Testing by your GP may be required to find out the dosage required for you.

So while you may be feeling the weight of winter and although cold weather is likely to have a lot of us wishing for spring, it’s important not to cast off SAD as an inevitable winter side effect.

Taking action when symptoms hit could make the difference between a lonesome stretch and a happy winter season.

GET OUT AND ABOUT,

GET ACTIVE,

EAT WELL,

LAUGH AND CHAT.

Hopefully the tips included will help to see you through the gloomy winter and into the sunshine of spring. (or as close to sunshine as we get in Scotland).

Keep smiling and stay in the light!

Have a good one guys

 

 

 

 

BEST CARDIO EXERCISES FOR WEIGHT LOSS….

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HOW TO LOSE FAT!

SO…. HOW DO YOU LOSE FAT?

Simple question but do you really know?

How many people do you think hit the gym fat loss of their goal? Quite a few, so it may help if you know how your body gets rid of
it!

 

Sounds silly but after talking to folk the last few weeks not many
people actually know.

Does it melt away with sweat? Can you choose areas to loose it from? Do you pee or poop it out? Or does it just disappear?

According to the Law of Conservation of Mass, matter is
neither created nor destroyed, but it may alter its form through
chemical reaction.

Basically, that tells us that as we lose mass by burning up fat, it does not just disappear. It simply changes form, like water and
steam.

SO WHAT IS FAT?

The human body is dependent on fat for optimal health. Fat
functions as an insulator to preserve body heat and protect organs in the body, along with absorption and transportation of certain vitamins.

Fat is stored as a result of excessive calorie consumption, which
may be excessive protein, carbohydrate or fat consumption. So don’t think by skipping on your fats you can avoid putting more on, a calorie is a calorie wherever that source is from. Eat more than you use and you will gain weight.

 

Typically fat provides around half of the body’s energy needs,
with 1 g of Fat being 9 calories, over double the calories of protein and carbs.

Fat from food is broken down into fatty acids, which can travel in
the blood. Fatty acids that aren’t needed right away are packaged in bundles called triglycerides and stored in fat cells.

As we gain weight and become fatter, the fat cells expand to become larger. Once these cells are filled Fat cells will then multiply.

SO HOW DO WE USE FAT?

Fat serves as the primary fuel for low intensity aerobic exercise and long duration activities such as marathons and triathlons. In
high intensity activity, where carbohydrate is the primary fuel, fat is necessary to fully release the available energy in carbohydrate.

You cannot spot reduce fat from your body.

This means you can’t pick which area the fat will come from by picking certain foods or doing certain body part exercises. While you can promote muscular stimulation to areas you cannot pick the area you want to target for fat loss. However studies show that, unlike aerobic exercise, weight training increases the calories you burn at rest for up to 39 hours after your workout.

So adding weight training to your routine will help boost that fat loss.

You will also increase muscle mass. The more muscle your body has, the more calories you burn each day. Even if your goal is solely to lose body fat, you need to train with weights.

 

When the body uses stored fat for energy, it breaks down the contents of the fat cell via enzymes to release glycerol and fatty acids into the blood. This action of breaking down fat into usable energy is called lipolysis.

As the circulating fatty acids reach muscle cells that require extra energy, they are transported across the membrane and into the muscle cell. The fatty acid enters the mitochondria of the cell. Here energy is extracted from fat and carbohydrates to produce the cell’s usable form of energy – ATP, along with heat, water and carbon dioxide.

burncalories

We use the ATP (adenosine triphosphate) as our energy source for exercise, excrete the water through sweat and urine (hopefully the later occurs after exercise) and breathe out the carbon dioxide.

 

Now that the body has relieved fat cells of some glycerol and fatty acids, they get smaller.

So to lose excess body fat, we need to INCREASE physical activity and/or DECREASE calorie consumption.

THE TAKEHOME…..

Fat-lossIdentify items that you consume that contain high amounts of
calories and cut them out! (or make the portion size smaller)

It doesn’t matter if it’s excess fat, protein or carbohydrate,
excess is EXCESS even if it’s food that is “good for you”.

To lose weight you have to burn more calories than you consume.

If you are gaining weight you need to reduce caloric intake or
increase physical activity or both.

Train with weights. You will not get massive by accident but it
will help with fat loss.

Fat does not simply disappear, but we can make good use of it if
given the chance!

Happy Fat loss folks!

‪#‎fatloss‬ ‪#‎fat101‬ ‪#‎losethegut‬

http://macneilfitness.com

JOIN ME IN 2020….

REDUCE YOUR STRESS IN 2020…

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