Toxin Alert!

Did your know your body is amazing!  It may not feel like it at times I know but I promise you it is.

It will do everything it can to survive and keep you safe.

It even has its own very effective methods of eliminating toxins

However, because of our modern day lifestyles and exposure to numerous chemicals, our

Toxins

body needs support when it comes to dealing with the excessive level of toxins that we are now exposed to.

Toxins come from a variety of sources, namely pollution, household cleaners, pesticides and fertilizers, and cosmetics.

There is no doubt that the cocktail of toxins that our bodies have to deal with is detrimental to our health.

The Symptoms of toxic overload are:

  • Difficulty shifting weight
  • Stubborn fat areas
  • Dark circles under eyes
  • Feeling groggy
  • Difficulty dropping body fat
  • Low energy levels
  • Digestive problems
  • Indigestion
  • Problem skin
  • Hormonal issues
  • Mood swings
  • Frequent illness

The impact that toxicity has on the body’s ability to lose body fat is twofold.

Firstly, toxins are a threat to our survival so as a way of protecting itself the body STORES the toxins in our FAT cells.

Therefore, the MORE toxicity you have in your body, the MORE BODY FAT you will need to store for protection.

Secondly, the more toxins within your body fat stores, the LESS WILLING your body will be to burn or shed that stored fat as energy.

Carrying on the way you are currently eating or even just eating less is not going to sort the problem. In fact it will just make things worse.

The first thing to do is cut out the CRAP – Caffeine, Refined sugar, Alcohol and Processed foods.

Don’t try and do it ALL AT ONCE though.  Remove ONE thing at a time so you don’t become overwhelmed.

Increase your water intake to help flush out the toxins.

Drinking hot water with a squeeze of lemon will also help flush out the toxins.

A controlled cleanse will help your body remove toxins from your body by supporting your liver and digestive system.

REMEMBER though a cleanse DOES NOT mean eat LESS food in general it means eat less of CERTAIN foods and ensure your body is supported fully to remove the toxins.

If you have any questions leave a comment below or send me a message and I will help

Why You Must Eat To Lose Weight

It seems counter intuitive I know however it is true – You Must Eat To Lose Weight (the right kinds of food though).  It can take a big mental shift for some people to accept and understand why this is the case.   However once you do you will see the best weight loss results ever.

When most people start trying to lose weight, they reduce their calories by lessening their food intake. That’s fine, but sometimes they can cut their calorie intake too low.

Not eating enough calories causes many metabolic changes. A large calorie deficit might work for a few days or even weeks, but eventually your body will start to sound alarms that it needs to conserve its energy.  Your body is extremely clever. It contains countless contingency plans that kick in whenever something seems to threaten  it, including a reaction called the starvation response. It  is your body’s reaction to what it perceives as a critical food shortage. When your body finds its fuel supply is diminishing, it shuts down unnecessary activities and clings to every possible calorie in order to survive the “famine.”

Your body needs energy to survive so it will do whatever it can to conserve it including:

  • Decrease in your muscle mass – It takes a lot of energy for your body to support your muscles. In a prolonged extreme calorie deficit, it is one of the first things that your body looks to get rid of. Your body needs fat, however your muscle can be spared therefore it breaks down the muscle tissue and uses it for energy.
  • Lowers  your testosterone levels – An important hormone for both men and women, testosterone is just one of many hormones that are affected with severe calorie restriction.  Testosterone helps build muscle tissue. Without it, it becomes harder to maintain your muscle mass.  Muscle mass is important to help with weight loss efforts as it helps you to burn fat.
  • Decrease in your energy levels – Your brain’s neurotransmitter (brain chemicals that communicate information throughout our brain and body) production is limited, which can lead to a lack of motivation. It’s your body’s way of telling you to “slow down” – conserve your energy.
  • Decrease in your leptin levels – Leptin is one of many energy regulating hormones. More importantly, it’s a “hunger” hormone that tells you whether to eat or not. High leptin levels signal that it’s OK to stop eating, while low leptin levels are a signal to eat more for energy. Because of this, leptin levels decrease in calorie restricted environments.  This decrease also encourages your body to hold on to its fat stores and encourage more fat to enter those stores.To lose weight eat this

How Many Calories Should You Be Eating?

There is no exact perfect number. Each person’s metabolism is different. However a general rule of thumb is to reduce your daily calorie amount by 500 calories to lose between 1-2 lbs a week.

The problem is most people who want to lose weight just want it to happen quickly, and they want it gone now. Weight loss is a patience game. It takes time and consistency to make it work. Losing 2lbs per week is the best to aim for. At this pace, it will ensure that the majority of your weight loss is coming from stored body fat instead of muscle. You will also give yourself the best chance to build muscle while you lose fat, which is what you should be striving to do.

So if your progress has reached a plateau, but you think you’re eating the right foods and exercising intensely, more than likely your problem is that you’re not eating enough calories to lose weight. Increase your intake by adding more nutrient rich food to your diet (try adding a healthy snack  in between your meals each day) and your weight loss should start moving forward again.

Note – If you are unsure of the amount of food you need to be consuming in order to remain healthy and keep weight loss occurring consult a fitness professional (Personal Trainer or Exercise Referral Specialist) or nutritional adviser who will be able to help you.

Don’t be fooled by the fat burning zone

The fat burning zone is one of the biggest myths in the fitness industry.  It is everywhere – in magazines, books, stickers and charts on gym walls and there is even a ‘fat burning zone’ fat-burner1button on most CV machines.

During exercise your body uses energy stored primarily in two places: your fat stores or your glycogen stores (your glycogen stores come from the carbohydrates you consume).

The fat burning zone gains its name because in this zone (approx. 60% – 70% of your maximum heart rate (MHR)) you are working at an intensity where the majority of your energy is coming from your fat stores rather than your glycogen stores. So in theory it sounds great however here is the full science bit!

Take a look below at the example calories being used in two 30 minute session on a treadmill.  In session 1 the person is exercising in the fat burning zone (60%-70% MHR).  In session 2 the same person is working at a higher intensity of 70%-80% MHR.

Session 1 – 60%-70% MHR Session 2 – 70% – 80% MHR
Time

30 minutes

30 minutes

Total calories

140

190

Glycogen calories

56 (40%)

114 (60%)

Fat calories

84 (60%)

76 (40%)

Due to the increase in intensity in session 2 there is a larger amount of calories being used overall and even with the differing ratios of fat between both sessions the fat calorie figures are very close.  However the best is still to come………

The Afterburn Effect

Basically when you use your glycogen stores during activity the body has to restock them once the exercise has finished.  In order to replenish these stores your body uses an energy system called the Aerobic energy system.  The Aerobic energy system favours your fat stores as its main source of energy.  Therefore the more glycogen stores you use (as in session 2 above) the more of your fat stores are used to fuel the replenishment of them which is great for reducing fat!

Next time you read about the fat burning zone or use a CV machine and see the Fat Burning Zone button you now know the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth!

Take a look here to find out more on interval training and the afterburn effect

Why Women (and Men) Shouldn’t Be Afraid of Gaining Muscle

Here it comes I thought to myself. ‘I can’t do THAT, I don’t want to have big muscles and look like a man!’ my friend proclaimed.  She has been trying to lose weight for a few months and wanted a boost to her efforts and had asked me which exercises would help her.

My answer, well that was quite simply all she has to do is include some form of resistance I Love Weightsexercises to her workout.  Sadly, her response is very common from females when it comes to using weights.  They are terrified they will suddenly look like Arnie or see an image of themselves as a female body builder. The truth is it is physiologically impossible for women to gain muscle in the same way as a man because women don’t naturally have enough testosterone (studies have shown that women have 15 to 20 times less testosterone than men).

Yes, there are female body builders but those ladies train up to 2 times a day and 7 days a week.  Their diet is extremely prescriptive to building muscle and dropping nearly all of their body fat.  In some cases they may even take artificial testosterone in order to build muscle.

So, why should you include resistance exercises in your workout?

You’ll Have Less Body Fat – By using resistance, you will elevate a hormone called Human Growth Hormone (HGH), which helps burn fat in the body.  This hormone also helps build muscle and the more muscle mass someone you have the more energy you burn (mostly in the form of fat) even at rest.  For every 1lb of muscle mass you have you burn an additional 50 calories per day.

You’ll Look Amazing – Using resistance exercises can give women amazing curves…in all the ‘right’ places. Once you have started to lose ‘fat’ you will be able to see the muscles underneath which will give you a great looking bum, stomach, legs and arms.  Your posture will start to improve as a strong lower back and core will help you stand up tall and will help you develop better body awareness.

You Will Reduce Some Of The Effects of Aging – Building muscle mass helps strengthen connective tissues, which increases bone density.   By strengthening these areas, you are reducing your risk of injury, and your chance of developing osteoporosis later in life.  As you get older your muscles start to naturally ‘waste’ (known as Sarcopenia).  By using weights you will be able to reduce the effects of aging on your muscles by keeping the fibres stimulated.

Remember Muscle Won’t Turn to Fat – Resistance training will not “turn fat into muscle,” nor will muscle that has been built turn into fat. Find out more here on this.

Hopefully, you can now see the benefits of including resistance exercises into your program in order to build up muscle mass.  My friend (thankfully) saw the benefits and looks amazing as a result…..and no she doesn’t look a thing like Arnie!

Why Muscle Cannot Turn Into Fat?

Whilst out shopping last week I overheard 2 ladies talking about the exercises they do at the gym, in particular using weights.  One lady was telling the other that she did not want to start using weights as it would mean she would have to use them forever as her muscles would turn into fat once she stopped.  By the time I turned around the ladies had moved away and it took all of my willpower not to shout after them THAT’S NOT TRUE!!!  So I’ll just explain it to you!People Exercising at a Gymnasium

Fat cells and muscle cells are completely different things and one cannot turn into the other, it is simply impossible.

When someone’s exercise plan involves using weights or body weight exercises their muscle cells will start to increase in number and size (by how much depends on the type of training they are doing).  The more muscle cells we have the more energy we burn throughout the day therefore reducing the number of fat cells we have as the body will start to use these for some of that energy.

If someone stops using these types of exercises, over time their muscle cells will reduce in number and size. The effect of this is that the toned or muscley look they had will diminish.  This reduction also means the energy needed by the body to support those muscle’s cells will reduce therefore less fat cells are used for energy.  This can cause weight gain if the person does not adjust their eating or exercise accordingly.

In fact as we get older we lose muscle tissue naturally and as a result our fat cells will increase unless we are active enough to stimulate the growth of more muscle cells.  Some studies have shown that in people who are not active their muscle mass can start to diminish as young as 20 years old.

The rate we lose muscle mass increases with age, with it significantly reducing more after the age of 50 years old (hence the dreaded ‘middle-age spread’).

So you can see now why I wanted to tell those ladies muscle cannot turn into fat, it’s simply not true.  In fact what they (and you) should absolutely be doing is including some form of resistance work into their workouts whether by using weights or using their own body weight in order to stay healthy and stop those muscle cells disappearing………….. Oh, whilst we are talking about muscle it does not weigh more than fat and Ladies, using weights will NOT make you look like a body builder but we’ll talk about that more next time!