When you think of eating “healthy” food to lose weight, what do you think of first?

 

Chicken? Broccoli? Protein Shakes? Avocados? No, I’m not a mind reader, we just encounter many people with a similar view on healthy eating.

 

Granted, there are many foods that CAN provide more physical benefits to us (within context), but the issue remains that having a pre-conception of particular foods that you NEED to consume in order to lose body fat and build lean muscle, can often set you up for failure. Especially if these foods are ones that you’re not used to eating and won’t realistically fit into your lifestyle.

 

Health has many components, and we can actually define it into 3 main categories:

 

  • Physical health
  • Emotional
  • Psychological

 

As you can see, just one specific diet couldn’t possibly fulfil the requirements of each category, for every person and for a sustained period of time. Therefore anytime you attempt to follow a set type of diet plan that hasn’t considered your lifestyle and history, comprises in daily life have to be made which may lead to your dieting attempts being unsuccessful.

 

So let’s look at some of the benefits we see when getting clients to eat foods that specifically work for them and fit around their lifestyle.

 

Digestion

 

Everyone has foods that don’t particularly sit well for them. Regardless of intolerances, even the concern about the food you’re going to eat can be enough for your body to respond poorly. That’s enough of a reason not to want to eat it, regardless of how healthy it may be.

 

Yes of course we may look at replacing it with an alternative so that we don’t’ miss out on the nutritional benefit that certain foods bring. For example, replacing salmon for another lean fillet of fish because you hate the taste of it to compensate for protein intake.

 

Relationship with Food

 

Subconsciously, a lot can impact our relationship with food; from the last diet, you tried, to the remarks you receive from co-workers about your lunch and even your childhood (” no dessert until you finish that plate”!).
Subconsciously, a lot can impact our relationship with food, from the diet you last tried, to the remarks you receive from peers growing up about your lunch and even friends telling you what particular foods you should eat and ones to avoid.

 

By taking some time to increase awareness of behaviours around food, you can start to make better choices around meals as well as respond with positive feelings and thoughts around this. This is one of our favourite ways to increase clients knowing of foods that work well for them – their ability to make choices they’re happy with, rather than be reliant on the coach.

 

Adherence

 

Adherence is undoubtedly the underlying factor in any physical change journey, transformation or otherwise. If there is no adherence, then there are no results from lack of consistency.

 

Adherence doesn’t have to mean that you must have superhuman willpower, instead, the journey should be made easy by creating an environment for success. This may include having foods you enjoy whilst still remaining in a calorie deficit, for example planning your highest calorie meal to be in the evening – when eating with family.

 

If you’ve unsuccessfully dieted before, consider whether you included foods in your days/weeks that worked for you.

 

Would you like to find out what works for you from a training and diet perspective? Get in touch to find out more about our packages for Personal Training today

 

After lockdown with gyms reopening, many are back on track with their health & fitness journey. It can be very tempting to force habits while pushing for rapid progress in order to reach your goal faster. This could be in the form of countless hours of HIIT classes, cardio, removing all enjoyable foods from your diet, or trying to lift more weight than you were before lockdown.

Whilst this isn’t necessarily a bad characteristic, it may leave you at a loose end later on.

 

If you were told to run two hours every day to lose weight, would you?

 

Thinking logically our brain tells us not to do things that could lead to potential harm or danger. Unfortunately, when it comes to training and dieting, a lot of us have tendencies to replace rational thinking with emotional going with an “all or nothing” approach. Think back to the last time you gave up on something – did you actually set yourself up for success in the first place?

 

Here are some reasons why we believe that more isn’t better:

 

1. There are a number of tools we have in the toolbox when we are ready to make a change. However, if you use all of them too early, what do you do when results start to stagnate?

It’s important to be patient through the process, and only make a change when it is necessary to do so. Consider at first applying to minimum affective change for your desired result, as this will give you a starting point and give your body something to think about at first. Then create a small, but very easy amount of momentum to sustain.

 

2. Most individuals are actually limited by their recovery time. When a lack of results is seen, it’s immediately presumed that more exercise or a stricter diet needs to take place, when it could actually be the opposite.

 

As coaches, it is to ensure also what the client needs help with most outside the gym also – how they’re recovering, nutrition tuning with what fits around the client’s current lifestyle and fatigue. Any time these areas are off, recovery won’t be as good and would be detrimental to then introduce more load/volume and food restrictions until they’re addressed.

 

3. If your mobile phone battery represented your daily energy levels, having more screens open would subsequently drain the battery faster and require a more regular recharge. Some daily stressors place greater demand on the body and brain than others but if you let too much accumulate then other functions within the body will be affected such as performance, rest, energy/ fatigue and the immune system.

 

When is it an appropriate time to introduce more?

 What we’re saying here is not to take things easy and not to work hard. There still needs to be an element of working hard for adaptions to occur.

 

So, here are the main factors we insure before introducing more stressors:

  • Little to no muscle soreness and/or fatigue on the day of training.
  • Good sleep quality minimum 7 hours.
  • Progressing performance – increasing strength or stamina.
  • Decent levels of energy.

The next time you’re thinking of increasing volume or adding more to your routine, consider the points above to determine whether its’ the right time to take place.

If you feel you need more structure with your training routine, why not get in touch about our personal training service in Finchley and book a Free Consultation today.

 

This is a common excuse we receive from a lot of guys that start with us.

On the face of it all, “I don’t have time to prepare or cook for like that every day” sounds like a reasonable statement.

However, having a busy life isn’t a reason to not feed your body with good, nutritious foods.

 

If you carve away sometime in preparing food, it’s likely that your progress in dieting will be severely limited. The issue is that in life you will go through phases of having time and not having time, which means you’ll also go through stages of being prepared and unprepared with food.

 

This ends up in yo-yo dieting, but as you can acknowledge from our previous articles, yo-yo diets tend to be the frustration of lasting results and something we strive to advise to keep away from.

There are two solutions we recommend if time and practicality is a limiting factor in preparing nutritious foods.

 

Read More: The key to losing body fat and keeping it off

 

Meal Prep Companies

 One of the benefits a meal prep company can offer is to take away the hassle and time it takes to prepare, cook your own food. We tend to recommend using one of these companies when a clients time isn’t generally flexible or is not practical to prepare or collect food in their day.

 

Some hesitate due to the perceived expense of this service, however, if your time is money, then it can be considered a no-brainer, as well as the fact that it cuts your lost time where you not achieving your goal!

 

 Prioritizing Your Time

 With 168 hours in a week. Even for the busiest individual working 70+ hours per week that still leaves 90+ hours. If you’re sleeping even 8 hours per night, that STILL gives you 42 hours left. But this isn’t about maths, it’s about how you choose to prioritize your time. We all spend our ‘spare time’ on things we value. So you have to ask how much does reaching your goal mean to you?

 

We also tend to waste time nowadays drastically – checking our phone screens, how much time do you find yourself mindlessly scrolling through your apps? And how much value does it add to your life, your health and fitness goals or your professional goals?

 

Even if you’re not the best cook or don’t enjoy cooking, we still encourage cooking what you can. Buying fresh foods do not take long to prepare wherever possible.

So next time you claim to not have time to eat accordingly to your fitness goals, re-read this article.

We say it’s time to take back control of your nutrition.

 

Would you like to find out how we help our clients at Lean Body Training with their nutrition? Download a free copy of the 12 Week Transformation ebook

 

Have you lately become more conscious about your health overall?

You’re not the only one.

It’s been a common conversation our personal trainers in Finchley have been having since Covid became part of our lives and has brought an awareness to most people on just how important looking after our health really is.

With that in mind, we bring you 4 main habits for long term health that we have discovered in our many years of training clients.

 

1. Managing Stress

Are you aware of how you are managing your stress levels on daily basis? If not, try increasing your awareness of when you feel stressed, and how you deal with it (do you drink or smoke to feel relaxed in the evenings?). Stress has a far bigger impact on health than most people pay enough attention to. It’s something we encounter daily so understanding your behaviours around stress are important.

 

There are many ways to handle stress, but first, become more aware of the situation. Not by being falsely positive but by rationalizing what is causing you to be stressed out. Immediately we usually have an emotional reaction before we see it from a logical point of view, which tends to increase our stress without any benefit at all.

 

Aside from this, we recommend our clients aim for at least 7 hours of quality sleep every night, along with natural daylight throughout the day. Making an effort to gaining a quality sleep cycle is a great way to improve function, improve your mood and therefore improve responsiveness to stressful situations.

 

2. Physical Exercise

Perhaps the most obvious one on the list. Physical activity is introduced to our lives at an early lives perhaps first at school and team sports, yet as we get older, regularity of exercise or sports get less and less for most.

The irony is that as we age, activity is probably more important to include in our lifestyle.

 

We’re not saying that everyone should have a gym membership, but having some sort of daily/ weekly activity included in our schedule will help prevent age-related health conditions such as sarcopenia, osteoporosis and reduced the risk of severe injury if suffering a fall.

 

Just as you would expect a dog to be exercised and walked regularly exercised, our biology is not dissimilar – we need that regular movement to remain fit and healthy. This could start with regular walking, or joining an activity club or sports club to get involved with.

 

3. Nutrition

There is no special formula on how to eat a healthy certain way. So instead, here’s what we know..

  • Aim for a diet of mostly plant-based foods, with or without lean meats, oily fish and poultry.
  • Limit refined sugars
  • Limit processed foods
  • Avoid trans fats.

 

A lot of our clients find success with nutrition – they don’t have to restrict or yo-yo between diets when they have the knowledge and confidence to eat what they choose to. Even if this means keeping some of their favourite foods – remember there are no unhealthy foods (within reason), only unhealthy diets.

 

4. Mental Health

Mental health has become more of a focus in recent years, which we think is positive. It is not something that should be downplayed as far as overall health is concerned.

 

Psychology is an intricate subject so we won’t dive into a rabbit hole with it all, but one of the most common things we talk to clients about is comparison.

 

It’s important to have goals, but make them relative to your best possible life, not other’s.

It’s easy to forget about this side of health, so aim to build the mindset as much as the body and focus on building lifetime habits.

Move regularly, keep stress low and don’t compare.

Do you need extra guidance to help you get to your health and fitness goals?

 

Why not consider a free consultation with one of our Lean Body Training team? Click Here to arrange a call today.

 

 

 

 

We receive many messages from people asking for what type of workouts and diet planning our clients follow when we get them in shape. They usually get confused when we say “it really does depend”, or we give them a guideline initially, but nothing too specific.

 

Many inexperienced personal trainers may simply send out a generic diet plan when asked for advice, but this isn’t necessarily always sustainable or matches the client’s lifestyle.

 

Remember, for the best results, you must have a nutrition plan that has been designed specifically for you. Fat loss is specific, it’s dependant on many factors for each person.

 

One thing we coach everyone that we work with is how to listen to their body. Do they feel better on certain foods, what time of the day can they realistically make time for their workouts, how many times can they workout to mention a few.

 

Personally, I like to balance the client’s fats, protein and carbs within their diet. After watching how my clients respond, I might get them following higher calorie days than others. By manipulating macronutrients, you can also see if your body looks better after carb-based days, or if it looks better when using a day more prominent when consuming more fatty foods.

 

Normally, I do have a style of nutrition and nutrient timing that I know works pretty well for optimising most peoples body composition progress, but I’m also very happy to switch it around if my clients are struggling to follow it or responding. By responding, I mean if I don’t see the changes that I’m expecting to see, either on the scales, or how they’re telling me how their clothes are fitting.

 

As I’m writing articles on the website to a mixture of inexperienced and more experienced people, please acknowledge which bracket you fall into. For the purpose of this blog, I’m referring to more advanced fat loss strategies.

 

Many of you reading this could simply start getting into shape, by tidying up your diet and by moving a bit more alone, it’s pretty simple, and so many of you over complicate things right at the beginning.

 

So when it comes to more advanced fat loss methods, it really isn’t as simple as sending someone a diet, or a nutrition plan that we’ve created for other successful clients, we’ve in many cases tweaked their diet overtime to insure further progress and ended up with a formula that works for them.

 

Pay attention to how your body responds to certain foods and eating patterns, start off with a set of guidelines, and don’t be afraid to mix things up as you begin to see your body responding negatively or positively.

Would you like to know how we help our clients with their diet? Book a FREE CONSULTATION at Lean Body Training today to discuss how we can help you with your diet and fitness goals.

 

Summer is around the corner and everyone wants that chiselled torso when they take their top off, which of course includes a flat stomach and toned abs. A lot of guys (wrongly) assume that to achieve a great stomach they have to do hundreds of situps. The truth contrary to what we see in the magazines, its only part of the equation. Having a lean stomach or great looking-abs takes time, a consistent training plan, individualised calorie control (I don’t mean crash diets) and plenty of water.

 

A great set of abs begin first and foremost in the kitchen. It’s helpful to reduce fried foods, sugars, refined and processed foods that are not so nutritious and carry a high calorie content. That means filling your plate with lean proteins, vegetables, fruits, wholegrain rice, sweet potato and drinking lots of water.

 

Another key to having a lean physique and showing stomach muscles is expending more calories. A good way to do this without comprising your nutrition and health is to supplement your training routine with light to medium cardio. This way your body is burning more calories, so you can achieve more results in a shorter period of time. For example, types of cardio that won’t lead you to over-train are cycling, walking, intervals and swimming.

 

For beach ready abs I recommend full-body-workouts, we include full-body-workouts on our small group training programmes and is shown to be one of our most popular. They’re static and perfect for beginners – they’ll build up strength in your core before moving on to more advanced exercise.

 

1. Static Abdominal Crunch

Opposite arm to opposite leg whilst the standing leg is bent

Try holding for a split second and slowly back for each rep. Start with eight each leg and build on it

 

2. Static Plank

  • Keep belly button pulled toward spine the entire time
  • Try holding for 30 seconds and slowly increase time for each side

 

3. Static Isolated Crunches

  • This exercise is to be done in 2 segments. Keep belly button pulled toward spine the entire time.
  • Crunch and squeeze and start with three-sets of ten
  • After the 20 seconds, go slightly higher and go for it again

 

4. Static V-Sit

  • Keep belly button pulled toward spine the entire time
  • Create a V with your body using your arms and legs
  • Push towards your toes for 12 reps without swinging from your back

 

More tips for carving a beach-ready six-pack

1. Perform cardio as often as you can, ideally 3-4 days per week

2. Drink lots of water

3. If you eating fried foods opt for a light drizzle or spray

4. Reduce intake

5. Eat lots of veggies

6. Eat lots of lean protein

7. Full-body workouts (this includes abdominal exercises)

8. Keep a good posture

 

Have a great week,

Coach Paul, Lean Body Training, Finchley

 

All of us know that its easy to pursue something when it’s our passion. We also understand that you can stick to something if you really, really want to achieve it (and you’re clear that it is something you really want).

 

In many cases, getting to a lean body shape isn’t actually someone’s passion, it’s a short term target, and often it’s not something people give a lot of thought to.

 

You may think that you have to plan far into the future or make huge lifestyle changes before starting on your weight loss plan. However, this is not necessarily the case.

 

Those who get to a healthy shape that they’re happy with (and find it easier to stay in shape), at some point whether conscious or unconscious, made small positive changes like deciding to start eating a little healthier or simply start walking more before it escalated into something that became a part of their life.

 

Many people dip in and out of losing weight, for months, if not years, before it finally becomes something that’s easy to manage.

 

Many people overlook to fact that getting to the shape they want is all about making change, it’s all about adapting some of your lifestyle habits and in some cases your social surroundings.

 

We spend so much of our time, helping busy individuals when they dip back into their old habits. It’s inevitable when you work with people who are trying to make changes.

 

The point of this short blog article is not to focus too far ahead right at the beginning. Just get started, surround yourself with people or support groups who have been through or who are wanting to go through what you want to become.

 

Learn bit by bit, don’t get frustrated when you slip up for a couple of days, enjoy the process and learn as you go along and we can assure you it’ll all become a big part of your life before very long at all.

 

If you focus too much on the future initially, it all becomes way too daunting in one go, and often pull out of the fear and overwhelm of the change you can see ahead.

 

Enjoy the journey, it really is life-changing.

 

If you’d like more guidance on your fat loss journey, apply now if you’re looking for a personal trainer in Finchley or enquire about group coaching services by booking your free consultation with one of the Lean Body team.

 

After all, guys can workout twice a day, train for years, build an awesome set of muscles, and still not see their abs coming through. That’s because when it comes to building a strong, polished set of abs, the amount of time you spend in the gym and all the crunches in the world is not the determining factor – following the right strategies outside the gym is.

 

So whether you’re a gym newbie, or just never had any real success in having the type of six-pack which ‘turn heads’, here’s everything you need to know to get the abs every guy wants.

 

1. Work your Rectus Abdominis

When guys mention six-pack’s, they are really talking about one muscle, called the Rectus Abdominis. “The rectus abdominis runs from our lower ribs down to the top of our pubic bone, and fibrous bands of tissue break up the muscle along the way to give us the six-pack look we all desire,” explains kinesiologist David Cary, C.P.T. If you want a sprout six-pack, this is the muscle you need to train.

Since the muscle is designed to bring your lower ribs and pelvis closer together or farther apart, you need to work them that way— with focused crunches.

 

But instead of trying to go for volume on reps, slow down the tempo and really focus on the movement and contraction of the intended muscle. Focusing on quality over quantity will also help protect your back. Performing crunches poorly can be potentially troublesome for the lower back.

 

2. Don’t forget your deep core muscles

Even though a flat, strong stomach is what you want to see in the mirror, the inner core muscles, obliques and transverse abdominis, are the foundation of your six-pack. Try adding some creative core exercises to your workouts such as planks, dead bugs or core rotations. All these tap your core’s ability to stabilize it, rather than crunch your core.

 

3. Get to know your body fat percentage

No matter how strong your core gets, you aren’t going to see a six-pack if your muscles are hiding behind layers of fat. Each person is going to be slightly different, but the ideal range of body fat in men is ten to 18 percent. Get below 8 percent and you could be compromising your health.

 

4. Cleaning up your diet

Apart from helping your body-fat percentage levels where it needs to be, eating the right foods (and avoiding too much of the wrong ones) will help chisel away any unwanted belly fat. Eating wholesome carbs like brown rice, quinoa, sweet potatoes and fruit will help give you fuel so that you can burn more calories in your workouts, protein-rich foods like lean meats, fish and eggs will help your muscles recover so they can get stronger and build. Unsaturated fats from almond butter, olive oil and avocado, will help your metabolism and hormone levels function at its best and will absorb all of the nutrients it needs.

 

Read More: Why Consuming Protein Helps You Lose Fat

 

As a general rule, opt for whole foods which contain lean protein, fibre, healthy fats and whole carbohydrates. Avoid processed ones that contain added sugars, refined carbohydrates and tons of salt. Remember, you can’t out-train a bad diet.

 

5. Work your legs

When it comes to chiselling a six-pack, many men don’t think to work on the muscles outside their core. But to uncover your abs, you need to train your entire body, especially your leg muscles. Some of the largest and metabolically consuming muscles in our body are in our lower-half. Coach Paul says: “Work your lower body by doing compound exercises such as squats, lunges and deadlifts.” If you can engage your core whilst performing these exercises, even better.

 

6. Drink more water

Whilst staying hydrated is important no matter your health and fitness goals, you absolutely need to drink up if your working so hard for your abs to sculpt. Our bodies consist of two-thirds of water, and you want to make sure it stays that way. If you’re dehydrated and puffy, your abs are not going to look and sharp as they could.

 

At Lean Body Training, we have a reputation locally for helping our clients achieve body transformations they never thought were possible. This isn’t simply a case of going on a very low-calorie diet and training every day to bring their body fat to low levels, but it’s about creating an environment, both internally and externally, that allows their physical progress to excel.

With this, all in mind, is it possible to still create the same conditions in our current climate with our current restrictions in place?

 

It’s important first of all to establish what a transformation really is:

 

Most people will see a body transformation to be a muscular, six-packed figure, reflective of somebody in a photoshoot. We like to think that everyone has a potential for a transformation, whether it be to lose 5kg and gain a flatter stomach, goals may differ from person-to-person, all will see remarkable improvements in their physical shape and mental health.

 

1. Progressive and Structured Training Plan

Whether you’re at home, a commercial gym facility, a training programme should have elements of progression that help you build or retain muscle. The key to revealing a great body shape at the end of a transformation period is, still train as if you are building muscle tissue, even while you’re dieting. This includes progressive and correct strength training and prioritising recovery from sessions.

Regardless of whether it’s with resistance bands, dumbbells or just bodyweight, training at home can still provide effective workouts which are goal-driven.

Read More: 4 Ways to Increase Muscle Tissue

2. Structured and Tracking Nutrition

Eating within a small daily calorie drop – is the universal principle that leads to all transformations, as it’s the underlying factor to losing weight.

 

As simple as this sounds, however, it can be surprisingly challenging to remain in a calorie deficit unless you choose an appropriate method that you can sustain for a long period of time ie. Months on months. It’s important then to have a good setpoint with calories, food behaviours and habits with where you want your nutrition to move to.

 

Food behaviours can change based on change on environment or circumstances we find ourselves in, therefore it’s important to take on-board that the lockdown situation will be an easier environment for some to diet, and harder for others. It’s certainly a position where many can take control of their eating habits and capitalise on the free time that’s become available.

 

3. Consistent Positive Habits

Without adherence, even the best plan in the world won’t amount to anything. Not just workouts and nutrition, but all the positive daily habits need to be upheld for a period of time to reach a body shape that once seemed impossible.

 

One of the most challenging aspects of transforming your body shape in lockdown will come from resistance to positive habits, from struggling to find a good sleep pattern, to having a poor work-life balance.

 

Thankfully. Lockdown provides an opportunity to address these areas of habit, and find some consistency in them due to the time we currently face – groundhog days will give you the chance to adapt your routine.

 

If you change your perception of a lockdown, and what it provides, it quickly becomes apparent that it might actually be the ideal time to address health and work towards a transformation.

 

There are many guys who message or speak to us on a daily basis about having issues with gaining and maintaining muscle tissue. No matter how much they’ve trained, they don’t seem to be seeing the growth that they are wanting.

Does this sound like you? And have you questioned why?

Here are some things for you to think about:

1. Training Frequency

So many people limit training certain muscle groups to once a week. What happens when you limit to load placed on a certain muscle is that you don’t give enough stimulus to the muscle over time to progress. For example, you don’t have to train legs three times per week, you could maybe look at two. What you will have to do, is lower your volume on certain other muscle groups, to allow for the extra volume.

 

2. Eating enough to Stimulate Repair and Growth

Many people eat way too little to even support muscle development. Its easy to tell when someone doesn’t eat much, as they gulp when their given a new meal plan.

 

At the first instance try increasing your protein intake to 1.5 grams per kilogram of body weight, and you’ll have a nice ball park figure for muscle development. So, somebody weighing 70kg then they should aim for at least 105 grams of protein spread throughout each day.

 

Read More: Which Are The Best Exercises To Lose Body Fat

 

3. Exercise Variation

Many guys stick to the same exercise, year in, year out. They don’t change angles, overload their weaker points, and as a result their muscles get used to the movements and are slow to respond. Vary your exercises regularly, and hit your muscles from as many angles as possible.

 

4. Isolated Training

A lot of people stick to the big compound lifts (bench press, squats, rows, deadlifts), in the hope that their muscles will develop will keep developing. Unfortunately overdeveloped or over-dominant muscles often take over the exercise, and smaller, lagging muscles receive less stimulation. To really develop and grow a lagging muscle you have to place specific focus and attention to it. So if you want your shoulders to grow, train them in isolation. Many people will not see shoulder development from doing bench press and overhead press alone.

 

 Written by: Paul Karoullas