Weightloss

6 Fitness Fads we want to die in 2018

Well friends, we're a few weeks into the start of year.

Are you closer to any of the health and fitness goals that you set yourself at the start of the year? Hopefully you have made great progress towards your goals already (and perhaps just haven't been sucked in by the classic health and fitness fads.)

Either way, that's an achievement.

But if you did fall for the slick marketing, that's ok because at some stage, we all have all believed the promises that seemed to good to be true. So we'd just like to give this to you as a little reminder to know what to look out for (and avoid like the plague) over the next few months.


 

1. Diet Teas

In short, drinking tea will not make you lose weight. I love a good cup of tea as much as the next person but ones that contain diuretics - and maybe laxatives - not so much. Any weight you will lose will be water weight or 'digested food'... stick to a normal cuppa.

 

2. Vibrating ab belts

Although Ronaldo's rippling 6-pack is convincing - let me be clear from the start; an 'ab belt' is NOT going to give you abs. Giving you electric shocks as you sit on the commute to work (or on the lavatory after your diet tea) is not going to give you the solid abdominal you're looking for.

 

3. InstaFit Celebrities

There are literally hundreds of Instagram Celebrities, a small number of which post good content, a big number of which don't. They will generally be ‘genetically gifted’, performing exercises that focus on their booty (even when they are training arms), posting physique updates - all whilst promoting body positivity and remaining 'humble.'

You’ll not see posts about the great results they get with clients or the courses they have been on to further their education. So try to follow coaches that actually train people and put out useful, relevant content.

 

4. Merging Principles

The hybrid class has been on the rise this year. I’m all for people trying something new and trying interesting new classes but on this occasion, I feel that it dilutes your long term development rather than add to it. If you want to get better at Yoga, go to a yoga class and if you want to get better at boxing to a boxing class. Combining both might initially be fun but for long term develop stick the individual classes.

(And 'Boxoga' isn't that catchy.)

 

5. Detox Cleanses

There is no scientific evidence that any so-called cleanses really benefit a person's health. Our livers and kidneys, if fully functionally, do a great job of cleansing our bodies. Increasing fruit and vegetable intake and drinking more water over sweetened drinks would do a lot more to improve your long term health and its far cheaper. Win win.

 

6. Interval training

Interval Training has been a massive success story of the past few years, encouraging a lots of people to get active. However if you've not been in the gym for the past 5 years, starting to do three HIIT classes a week is not the best choice as you’ll probably break yourself.

Exercising at max effort is very risky in terms of picking up an injury and it would be more beneficial to include more daily movement and learning how to perform basic movements properly before increasing the intensity.

I know it's not sexy, but learning to walk before you run is always a good idea.

 

Anyway - that's all from me for now. Here's to a cracking 2018 for you, smashing goals and dodging detoxes.

(Don't forget we're always happy to chat with you if you're ever feeling overwhelmed by information. You can catch us on Instagram at @639pt - drop us a DM!)

Darran


Calories and Christmas Coffees

Ahhh Christmas, the time for festive joy, work parties, pigs in blankets and of course the marketing barrage of special xmas drinks. For the many of you who are reading this blog post, being conscious of your health around this time of the year can be very tricky.

Lets take the afternoon coffee run for example (a staple of any sensibly run business). Gingerbread Lattes, Salted Caramel Cappuccinos, Billionaires Hot Chocolate are hard to resist when the whole office is holding red cups.

What once started as a drink at the start of the process generally ends up closer to a dessert by the end. As active and healthy people, how can we successfully navigate ourselves around this time whilst being able to get involved in the festivities?
 

 

Decadent Beverages - What you need to know.

We may not always be directly counting them but calories will always count. Understanding that the amount you consume vs the amount you use for energy will dictate how our body composition changes, is a powerful tool that can allow you to make better informed decisions.

Let’s take a look at some examples and what impact they may have on a typical 2,000 calorie day:

SIX3NINEStarbucksEggNog
SIX3NIChristmasCoffees
SIX3NINE Christmas Coffee Cafe Nero

1. Small Starbucks Egg Nog Latte - 169 kcals
2. Large Costa Coffee Gingerbread Latte - 339 kcals
3. Large Cafe Nero Toffe Nut Latte - 623 kcals


As you can see from the above, each of these drinks can be included within the example diet, however they will all take up different percentages of your daily targets. Each of these can impact the rest of the days consumption in many different ways. Opting for a small, lower calorie order might not make much of a difference, such as the Egg Nog Latte at Starbucks which is only 8% of the calorie target. However going for a large, creamy Latte is 24% and dramatically impacts the available calories over the rest of the day.

Looking at the nutritional information provided for consumers on the websites/menus can allow you to make good decisions and pick a drink and size relative to you. Because it is important to indulge at times over Christmas


 

Managing Expectations & Being Realistic

I can remember the nerves and anxiety I would feel around the festive period; I was convinced that joining in on the food festivities with my colleagues could in fact undo all of the progress that I had made this year. Was I really no longer “a healthy person” by having one of these drinks?

Several years further down the line and far better educated, I now know that actually moderating rather than restricting my nutrition choices is probably the “healthiest” decision that I ever made. It dawned on me how important mindset and managing expectations throughout the year are, especially around Christmas. It’s very possible that we’re already setting ourselves up for failure from the outset by placing unrealistic expectations on ourselves.

 

Context is always key of course. We’re most likely striving to be a healthy mum, dad or partner rather than bodybuilder, professional athlete or olympian.

A more positive strategy for most of us around this period would generally be one of maintenance and moderation rather than over restriction and guilt.

Is it time we all thought about the bigger picture more and learnt to adjust our expectations according to where we are right now?

Calories in High-street Christmas Sandwiches

Deep filled mince pies and 'pigs in blankets' have already made an reappearance on the supermarket shelves; yes, Christmas time is almost upon us.

Whilst festive food can often be highly indulgent and calorific it doesn’t mean that you should avoid them all together, it's about having a basic awareness of whats in the food you're eating so you can manage your expectations. (It doesn’t have to be an all or nothing scenario.)

So here's two strategies on how to enjoy Christmas food whilst still working towards your goals.


1. Make informed decisions.

We know food choices will be on the higher end of the calorie spectrum than the rest of the year. Being mindful of the choices that are presented to you and ascertain if they take you towards your goal or away from it. No decision is 'good' or 'bad', it just means you're in tune with where you're at.

For example, if you are popping out for lunch to grab a sandwich you can still enjoy the Christmas themed meals if you are being mindful of your weight. There is often a large variance in calories from shop to shop - It's just a case of working out which one suits your target most.

 

1. Pret a Manger Christmas Lunch Sandwich
482 kcals

2. Boots Turkey, Stuffing and Redcurrant Sandwich
328 kcals

3. Marks & Spencer Turkey Feast
502

4. Waitrose Turkey Roast Vegetable Sandwich
301


Again, it's not about one being 'better' than the other, it's just about awareness. The lower calorie options shown here are just as delicious however the higher calorie options donate a percent of sales to Charity which is a wonderful gesture. Do what works for you.
 

2. Take your time.

It takes around 15-20 mins for your digestive system to signal to your brain that you are satiated. So with that in mind, slowing things down is a good strategy to avoid that uncomfortable post-Christmas dinner bloat.

Take it easy, enjoy yourself and be fully present at meals rather than viewing them as an opportunity to consume to excess, or feeling guilty and going without the trimmings. The festive period is a great time to be able to relax and unwind from the stresses of work and enjoy yourself with friends and family - so don't spend it stuck in the all or nothing cycle of guilt.

There's a lot of talk about 'surviving' Christmas when it comes to fitness. Let's embrace this season and thrive instead.



4 things that happen when you reach a low body fat percentage

How having a better understanding of human biology and evolution can help you make sense of what’s going on with your body whilst dieting to low body fat levels.

You are a survival machine. Every process in your body is governed by your genes. Genes control what you do, you don’t control your genes. Your genes want to survive and be replicated in your offspring. If you die before reproducing, they can’t do this.

In a way then your genes could be described as having selfish but not sentient character traits which are all geared towards their own survival. It is because of this that the genes contained inside of you have survived this far, and given the right set of conditions can continue to replicate and exist for generations long after you are dead.

 

Ok so how does this relate to dieting?

Dieting to low body fat levels is difficult. But if you understand that the difficulty is down to your genes wanting you to live, survive and replicate then we can be better placed to understand the process and try and find a solution to the problem in order to keep fat loss progress going.

Let us examine some common problems that occur when dieting to low body fat levels.

 

1.  My body is holding on to fat / weight loss has stalled.

Weight loss has plateaued so you must reduce calories right? Maybe.

Being in a calorie deficit is essentially starving to death, albeit slowly. Now you may know that you are not going to actually starve to death but your genes don’t. So they will try their best to limit energy expenditure if they feel that energy intake is inadequate. This will translate into feeling tired and lethargic, an unconscious reduction in NEAT and a slowing of the metabolism as well as a lack of motivation to train etc.  This is bad for fat loss but good for your gene survival because it means you maintain your weight and halt the “starvation process”. You can counteract this process by setting a smaller deficit and dieting for longer rather than a severe deficit, not killing yourself with your training, experiment with refeeds or calorie cycling, ensuring sleep is adequate and keeping external stress to a minimum. This will hopefully convince your genes that you are in a safe enough situation to continue losing fat.

 

2.  I’ve lost my libido.

Hang on a second, genes want to replicate, that’s not going to happen if you don’t want sex right? Good thought process but let’s examine this a little more closely. Your genes want you to survive and replicate but they also want your offspring to survive. If food is scarce (dieting) then the last thing your genes want to happen is for you to have a baby and reproduce, this leaves another mouth to feed and could ultimately compromise the survival of both you and your offspring. I know what you’re thinking, “but there’s loads of food about and my baby won’t be dieting, and I’m using contraceptives so there won’t be a baby anyway”. Your genes again don’t know this, through most of human evolution food has been scarce, contraception hasn’t existed and it has been a useful tool for our survival for you to lose your libido in times of food scarcity.

OK, so how can we counteract lack of libido; this is a tough one, sex is great and we should all have more of it. If you are in a relationship talk about it with your partner so that it doesn’t become something that drives you apart. Ensure your calorie deficit is not too low and that sleep and vitamin/mineral levels are adequate. Ensure fat consumption is enough to maintain healthy hormonal processes and experiment with diet breaks. Don’t overthink it but understand the reasons behind your lack of libido are entirely normal rather than problematic.

 

3.  I store fat easily and lose fat slowly.

Surely if I get fat easily then I’m more likely to die?

Congratulations. You’ve just identified a trait that has allowed our species to survive through droughts and famines and times of severe cold weather but you’re disappointed that you possess these genes too? Genes that encouraged rapid fat loss and slow fat storage would have died out long ago as the people who possessed them would not have survived without food for as long as people who had the fat storage genes. How can we use this information to our advantage? Accept that fat loss is going to be a slow process and be aware that if you do overfeed then your body will store fat very quickly. It’s not unlucky, it’s advantageous, or at least was before super markets and central heating and not having to catch your own dinner.

 

4.  Why do I feel more stressed/Not getting enough sleep?

These are bad things to be happening so my genes can’t be working in my best interests by allowing this to happen can they? Yes.

By hard dieting you have created an environment in your body where it is in an unfed state and your body is unconsciously worrying about when your next meal is coming from. This will make cortisol (the stress hormone) levels rise which can lead to sugar cravings if left unchecked. By limiting sleep, your body spends more time awake which from an evolutionary standpoint allows more time for you to hunt for food. Having no food would have been a primary point of stress for early man. Although we now have various lifestyle and environmental factors that can cause us stress, your genes don’t know the difference between each individual stimulus so will respond similarly in any stressful scenario. These genes have been useful for our survival for generations and will likely continue to be.

So how can we use this information to help with the dieting process? Make sure you are not in too large a deficit, try and do things that are relaxing and that allow the body to rest and recover, ensure your diet is sufficient in carbohydrates and maybe experiment with eating carbs towards the end of the day.

 

Hopefully now you have a better understanding of why dieting is an uncomfortable process for your body to go through. You are trying to fight an instinctual process that has been successful in keeping humans alive since the dawn of our species. By appreciating this perhaps you can make the journey a little smoother and more collaborative with your physiology rather than against it.

 

If you fancy some extra reading;

The Selfish Gene – Richard Dawkins.
A Guide to Flexible Dieting – Lyle McDonald.