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Spot Fat Reduction.

Spot reduction is a term used to describe the idea that it is possible to selectively reduce fat in specific areas of the body through targeted exercise. However, this idea has been widely discredited by scientific research, as the body does not lose fat in a specific, localized manner. Instead, fat loss occurs evenly across the body, and is influenced by a combination of diet, exercise, and genetics.

 

The human body stores fat in adipose tissue, which is distributed throughout the body. When the body burns fat for energy, it does so by breaking down triglycerides in adipose tissue into free fatty acids, which are then transported to the muscles to be used as fuel. However, the body does not selectively burn fat in specific areas. Instead, fat loss occurs evenly across the body, regardless of the type of exercise being performed.

 

This is due to the fact that the body’s fat burning process is primarily controlled by hormones such as insulin, cortisol, and adrenaline, as well as genetics. These factors influence the body’s ability to burn fat, and can vary greatly from person to person. Additionally, genetics also plays a role in determining where fat is stored on the body.

 

Despite the fact that spot reduction is not possible, there are still effective ways to reduce fat in specific areas of the body. The most effective way to reduce fat in any area of the body is to create a calorie deficit through a combination of diet and exercise. This means consuming fewer calories than the body burns, which will cause the body to burn stored fat for energy.

 

Another effective way to reduce fat in specific areas of the body is to focus on exercises that target those areas. For example, to reduce fat in the abdominal area, exercises such as crunches, roll outs, and leg raises can be effective. To reduce fat in the legs, exercises such as squats, lunges, and leg press can be effective. However, it is important to note that while these exercises can help tone and strengthen the muscles in these areas, they will not selectively reduce fat in those areas.

 

Spot reduction is a widely discredited idea, and the body does not lose fat in a specific, localised manner. Instead, fat loss occurs evenly across the body, and is influenced by a combination of diet, exercise, and genetics. The most effective way to reduce fat in any area of the body is to create a calorie deficit through a combination of diet and exercise. Additionally, exercises that target specific areas can also be effective in toning and strengthening muscles in those areas, but will not selectively reduce fat in those areas.

A good start would be to initially begin to track your calorie intake and place yourself in a 10% deficit to begin with. Try to perform x2 resistance training training sessions per week, a personal trainer could construct a program where you can focus more on specific areas to create a program bespoke to you. Try to perform x2 sessions per week of cardio vascular exercise decide on something that you particularly enjoy and that you can keep consistent.

How to break your snacking habits

 

We all love a snack and snacking can be a great way to fuel your body and keep your energy levels up, but it can also lead to weight gain and other health problems if you’re not careful and make the right choices. We are going to go over some tips and strategies for breaking your snacking habits and developing healthier habits in their place.

 

  1. Identify your triggers: Before you can start breaking your snacking habits, it’s important to understand what triggers your snacking in the first place. Common triggers include boredom, stress, and certain times of the day. Once you know what your triggers are, you can start to develop strategies for avoiding or managing them.
  2. Plan ahead: One of the best ways to avoid snacking is to plan ahead. Make sure you have healthy snacks on hand, like fruits and vegetables, so that you can grab something when you feel the urge to snack. You can also plan your meals in advance so that you know you’ll have something to eat when you’re hungry.
  3. Find healthy alternatives: If you’re used to snacking on junk food, it can be hard to break that habit. But by finding healthy alternatives to your favourite snacks, you can still enjoy the flavours you love without the added calories and unhealthy ingredients.
  4. Get moving: Exercise is a great way to reduce stress and boost your energy levels, which can help reduce the urge to snack. Try to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day, whether it’s a workout at the gym, a walk, or a yoga class. If you have enough in your budget to hire a personal trainer this can be a great way to learn the skills on how to exercise correctly.
  5. Be mindful: Be mindful of your snacking habits. Pay attention to when, where, and why you snack, and try to be aware of your body’s signals of hunger and fullness. By being mindful of your habits, you can make better choices about when and what to eat.
  6. Stay Hydrated: Thirst can make people eat more and increase the urge to snack. When we feel thirsty, our body is actually signalling that it needs water. But sometimes, our brain can confuse thirst for hunger, which can lead us to eat when we actually need to drink. Drinking water can help to curb your appetite and reduce the urge to snack, as well as keep your body hydrated. It’s also important to make sure you are drinking enough water throughout the day, so that you’re not getting dehydrated and mistaking it for hunger. Drinking water before a meal or snack can also help you feel more full and eat less.

 

Breaking a snacking habit can take time and effort, but with a little patience and persistence, you can develop healthier habits that will benefit your overall health in the long run. Remember to be kind to yourself and don’t get discouraged if you slip up. Don’t give up just keep moving forward and you’ll get there.

Static Stretching on Muscle Thickness.

 

Reference to the Study:

Warneke et. al. (2022), Influence of long-lasting Static Stretching on Maximal Strength, Muscle Thickness and Flexibility. FRONT PHYSIOL

 

Details of the Study:

 

  • Subjects used an orthosis (a brace) to hold the ankle in a dorsi-flexed position for 60 min per day for 6 weeks in total.

 

  • The device stretched the calf muscles to an 8/10 pain rating- as perceived by each individual subject.

 

  • It was found that gastrocnemius muscle thickness increased by around 15% at the end of the 6 weeks, compared with 2% from the control group who did not use the brace.

 

  • These results support the idea that static stretching is an anabolic stimulus.

 

 

Applications to training:

 

  • These results help explain why training through a full range of motion (and partials when overloading a muscle in the lengthened range) often produces superior levels of muscle growth.

 

  • Therefore, focussing on overloading the muscle in the lengthened position may be superior for hypertrophy.

 

 

Considerations:

 

  • The body of evidence supporting this idea is still small, therefore more research into this would need to be done until this is a genuine, evidence supported application to training.

Load vs Rep Progression

 

 

Reference:

Plotkin et. al. (2022) Progressive Overload Without Progressing the Load? The Effects of Load or Repetition Progression on Muscular Adaptations. PERJ.

 

Details of the Study:

 

  • Trainees performed the same lower-body workout 2x per week for 8 weeks, taking all sets to failure.

 

  • One group lifted within the 8-12 rep range and attempted to increase the load over time, still sticking to this rep range.

 

  • The other group also lifted within the 8-12 rep range initially. However they aimed to perform more reps overtime whilst maintaining the same load.

 

Results:

 

  • It was found that both groups saw increases in muscle thickness of all muscles measured, with no notable trends favouring either condition.

 

  • Furthermore, changes in lean mass of the legs were similar between groups.

 

  • This supports the main know drivers of hypertrophy are mechanical tension and metabolic stress are both great for hypertrophy.

 

Real World Application:

  • This study suggests that progression via load or reps results in similar outcomes, as long as the set is taken to failure. Therefore, if muscle growth is the aim then proximity to failure should be prioritized.

 

  • Once you know you can train to failure successfully and it comes the decision to either up the weight or increase reps. Exercise execution is vital for all lifts and movements it would be useful to hire a personal trainer to coach you on exercise execution.

 

  • A useful strategy would be to perform your compound more mid range movements with the progression of load and your isolation movements towards the shortened and lengthened ranges of the muscle towards higher rep ranges.

Benefits of a protein rich diet

When people think about high protein diets, the only thought that may come to mind are your typical huge men in the free weights section walking round with a shaker cup and a stringer top. However, the benefits of a high protein diet go way beyond aiding muscle growth. This article will explore several reasons why a high protein diet can be beneficial for everybody.

 

Firstly, having adequate protein intake will elevate muscle protein synthesis. The benefits of this do include muscle growth for those wanting hypertrophy.

However, it’s also particularly important for anyone over 35 years old. This is because once we reach 35 years old we experience sarcopenia. This can be defined as a natural loss of muscle mass by amount 1% per year. This can be combatted by adequate protein intake and regular resistance training. Starting a high protein diet and regular resistance training younger can have huge benefits in later life. Having a larger amount of muscle mass in old age can help someone keep their independence by allowing them walk without a zimmer frame, climb stairs without a stair lift, and go to the toilet unassisted by a carer. Furthermore, elevated levels of muscle protein synthesis are going to aid the recovery process of any form of physical activity. A common myth is that endurance athletes won’t massively benefit from a high protein diet. However, adequate protein intake helps recovery from all forms of exercise. This is because proteins are the building blocks of muscle tissue. Therefore, stimulating their production (muscle protein synthesis) is going to drastically enhance their recovery.

 

Another benefit of a high protein diet is for bone health. There’s a myth that high protein intake can lead to losses of calcium, and therefore bone density. However, this is not the case as high protein diets have actually been shown to increase bone density. This is going to have benefits to everyone. However, the two populations that will benefit most from this will be the elderly and athletes who participate in impact sports. The elderly is more prone to falls, this means having good bone density is going to be essential in ensuring any injury that is caused is not something which is going to be long term, and something that can contribute to a loss of independence for the rest of their life. This particularly holds true for breaks in the pelvis, as its common for elderly people to not fully recover from this, making walking painful. As a result, they only walk when they absolutely have to, drastically reducing their physical activity levels which, in turn, takes years off their life via accelerated decline of their cardiovascular health.

 

Alternatively, athletes who participate in impact sports are going to have to have bones that can withstand high levels of contact in order to stay injury free. The higher the level of competitor, the more important this will be as higher-level athletes will train more and therefore have to withstand impact more often. Furthermore, higher level athletes may also get paid for performing, meaning that any injury is going to affect their earnings throughout their career. However, if the athlete is already injured, a high protein diet can help accelerate the recovery of the injured tissue. Meaning, that a high protein diet has its place in the prevention and rehabilitation of injuries in sport. It’s also suitable for an injured athlete to replace a given amount of carbohydrates with some more protein, as they will be training less so energy demand is lower.

 

A high protein diet is also essential for anyone trying to lose body fat. Firstly, due to its effects on muscle growth/retention mentioned above, which enhances fat loss in a calorie deficit. Secondly, it provides a higher level of satiety compared with the two other macronutrients (carbohydrates and fats). This will result in less cravings for snacks between meals, making it much easier to achieve a consistent calorie deficit on a daily basis. Lastly, digesting food requires the use of calories, this is called the Thermic Effect of Food (TEF). Protein has a higher level of TEF compared with the two other macronutrients, providing a further benefit to help one achieve a calorie deficit.

 

Overall, I hope these reasons show you how a high protein diet can provide a whole host of benefits to anyone from any sub-section of the population, from the most sedentary of individuals right up to elite athletes. Also, from young children, right up to adults in their elderly years. The ideal way to ensure you are getting enough protein would be to base your meals around a varying your protein source. Some common examples would be eggs for breakfast, chicken for lunch and fish for tea. Each protein source is going to differ in calories so it’s important that you track protein alongside your caloric intake so that your nutrition is in line with your goals.

 

Coach Sam Joinson

An active combat sports athlete in Mixed Martial Arts and Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, Sam is a personal trainer who centres his practice around helping his clients move better, so they can feel better.

 

Sam has an expertise in biomechanics and has a great coaches eye when it comes to identifying discrepancies within movements and creating interventions.

 

He took up exercise in his youth as a way of managing anxiety and improving his body confidence and has been focused on the study of biomechanics, nutrition and psychology ever since, pushing his limits to try and achieve an excellent standard of physical performance and conditioning coaching for his personal training clients.

 

A recovering Scoliotic, Sam has dealt with a wide array of injuries as a result of compromised biomechanics and has used his practice to drastically reduce his symptoms and dysfunctions through a process of elimination.

 

Sam’s approach combines traditional weight lifting, movement training, breath work and concepts from psychology, anthology and sociology to achieve a holistic and balanced approach aimed at getting the most from his clients mental and physical development.

RESULTS

10 WEEK LEAN PHASE

24 KG WEIGHT LOSS

 

Understanding ‘Cardio’

‘Cardio’ is a term you will hear a lot in the gym. Usually in a negative way, with thoughts of, mundane, prolonged incline walking on a treadmill springing to mind. However, ‘cardio’ encompasses much more than long slow distance training. This article will delve into the many different types of ‘cardio’ and how you can use it to help reach your training goals.

 

Firstly, ‘cardio’ is short for cardiovascular exercise and can be defined as any exercise that increases heart rate and keeps it up. However, heart rate can be raised in so many different ways, all of which bring about a different adaptation. Therefore, it’s important to have your goals clearly defined because a training session to develop aerobic capacity will look very different from sessions used to build speed, speed endurance or lactate threshold. If you aren’t an athlete, it is likely you will be wanting to use CV exercise to improve your overall health or to lose weight. In which case, you will want to familiarise yourself with all types and use some of each in your training throughout the year.

 

When it comes to cardiovascular exercise, our body uses three energy systems. These are called the alactic system, lactic system and aerobic system. There is almost never a time at which all three systems aren’t working simultaneously. However, for most forms of exercise, one energy system will be being used a lot more than the other two.

 

 

If you want to develop speed, then you want your training to be focused on building the alactic system. The alactic system is used for high intensity exercise for up to approximately 13 seconds. It does not use oxygen and instead forms energy from recycling ATP using phosphocreatine stores in the muscle. These stores are very small however, hence why we can only utilise this system for 13 seconds before a prolonged rest (>3 minutes) so that the body can restore phosphocreatine levels. With that in mind, we can apply this to a training sessions to help develop this system. An example being 8 sets of 10 second sprints with 3 minutes rest. Many people don’t feel like they’re ‘working hard enough’ when doing this sort of training as they aren’t out of breath. However, looking back at what this system uses, it does not use oxygen, therefore when we train this system correctly, we do not create an oxygen debt and therefore do not feel out of breath. We can apply specificity to make this session more applicable to the goal. In very simple terms, runners will do this session on a track, cyclists on a bike and rowers on a row-erg or boat and so on.

 

The next system we can develop is the lactic acid energy system. The popular ‘HIT’ training falls into this category. This energy system derives energy from glucose. However, the oxygen debt from high intensity exercise results in lactic acid being produced, causing pain and this is why this energy can only be the predominant energy system for up to 3 minutes. When training, work intervals will be between 30 seconds and 3 minutes with rest intervals no longer than the work interval. This is so that the lactic acid cannot fully clear prior to the next interval, resulting in a gradually increasing tolerance to lactic acid. This is useful training for events which use this energy system such as 800m running. Sessions for this energy system can look very different. For example, 3 sets of 30 second sprints with 15 seconds rest. As well as, 6 sets of 3 minutes working hard with 3 minutes rest. Despite targeting the same energy system, the latter session is more aerobic, so it’s important to know what event you are targeting and tailoring your sessions towards that goal.

 

The final energy system is the aerobic energy system. This utilises oxygen and is best developed at around 70% of your maximum heart rate. An example for a 40-year-old would be (220-age) = Max Heart rate estimation. (220-40) = 180. 70% of 180= 126bpm. This will be the predominant energy system for any exercise lasting over 3 minutes. Therefore, this is going to be the predominant energy system for events such as 5km run or above.

It is worth noting, that if you are using cardiovascular exercise for general health then it is most productive to add a bit of each type of energy system training throughout the year. However, adherence is key, therefore it’s important to prioritise the type that you enjoy most and fits into your lifestyle.

Beginning the fitness journey for elderly populations

During the later years of life, certain things can start to become harder, we gradually start to lose our strength, speed and co-ordination. For some people, this can unfortunately lead to a loss of independence. It is widely known that regular exercise can aid with vastly slowing down the ageing process, however, the proportion of people taking part in regular activity actually decreases with age. Therefore, it’s important to identify what barriers elderly people, exclusively, face when it comes to partaking in regular physical activity and try to combat them, as oppose to simply telling them that they should exercise.

 

The first, and in my opinion by far the most significant, barrier is social norms. Amongst the elderly generation, it is widely considered that exercise is something for younger people. This holds specifically true for resistance training, which is not only stereotyped for being exclusively for young people, but young men specifically- making older women twice as likely to disregard it. As well as being the most significant barrier, I also believe it is by far the most difficult to change. If someone has held a belief for 60+ years, the chances of them changing it are slim. Although, education goes a long way and it’s important to make small steps. An example of this would be encouraging a group of elderly people who already partake in aqua aerobics to try the light resistance class. And for the sedentary, instead of trying and get a book club into a strength training programme, start them off by encouraging a group walk. Also, from an individual point of view, if you are an elderly person who wants to become more physically active then putting yourself in the right environment, like a water aerobics class, is going to surround you with more like-minded individuals, and make it a lot less daunting should you choose to tackle a more demanding form of physical activity.

 

Next, there’s the physical barriers. Older people may have sustained many injuries over the years, which, combined with a natural loss of muscle elasticity and strength from sarcopenia, can make the prospect of more movement particularly less appealing than if someone had proposed the idea to them 30 years prior. To combat this, hiring the right professional can be key in making exercise pain free and enjoyable. A good personal trainer can identify any movement limitations you may have and provide an exercise programme which addresses these issues as well as making you stronger and healthier. For more serious issues, the right medical professional will be needed.

 

Next, there’s the fear of venturing into the unknown. Most people in their 20’s will have at least been to a gym a few times, even if they have not adhered to a programme they will have familiarity to what basic movements look like such as a squat or shoulder press. However, 40-60 years ago, gyms were a lot less common and therefore elderly people now haven’t acquired any knowledge of resistance training. Therefore, if they were to feel confident enough to go into a gym, they simply would not know where to begin, which can make the experience even more daunting and overwhelming than it already is. To combat this, there is a few options depending on one’s budget. The gold standard would be to hire a good personal trainer, who will provide a bespoke programme to you as well as educating you on correct exercise execution and the benefits of each exercise, so you can truly value the experience and the positive impact each part of the session can have on your life.

 

One important thing to note which often gets missed with elderly people is that their nutritional needs change as they get older. For instance, within the fitness industry it’s common knowledge that 2.2g of protein per kg of bodyweight per day, spread out over 4-6 servings will optimise protein synthesis, leading to optimal recovery. However, what is less widely documented is that protein requirements increase with age. The amount it increases is approximately 0.2g of protein per kg of bodyweight per day for every decade after 20’s. For example, someone in their 30’s would need 2.4g per kg of bodyweight per day and someone in their 40’s would need 2.6g per kg of bodyweight per day and so on. Now, this amount is particularly large once you get into the 60’s etc. Therefore, it’s important to recommend supplements that elderly people will enjoy, so that every meal isn’t just an enormous serving of meat in which will take a large amount of digestive power to breakdown.

 

Overall, many elderly people do experience barriers to exercise that many people fail to identify. That is why it’s important to meet them where they’re at, and help them in addressing them in a way that’s bespoke to that individual, to give them the best chance at adhering to a lifestyle of regular physical activity.

Are you reading this and are some points resonating with you? Would a small group personal training session for more elderly populations be something that you would be interested in? If so send us a message and if we can get a few individuals interested this is something that we would be happy to facilitate.

Journey of a 50kg weight loss transformation by Coach Jonny Molloy.

Celeste is a mum of 3 children. Her alarm goes off at 4:00am daily to begin her day. Her occupation is quite high stress as a highly successful manager at a supermarket. Celeste had never stepped foot in a gym in her life prior to this transformation.

 

Celeste had a consultation with Coach Jonny and discussed seeking help on improving her health and well-being, her main goal was to drive weight loss and some guidance and support on what program to focus on and how to begin her program as a complete stranger to the gym.

 

When most embark on a fitness journey a lot of the focus is on what the client needs to start doing but without the guidance and coaching of what the client needs to stop doing in order to achieve sustainable lasting results. A coach can help you navigate through all of this along your journey and provide you with the correct tools to stay on track with your goals.

 

Jonny believes that anyone can achieve life changing results as long they are willing to change and have trust in the process that their coach plans out for them.

 

Some people want to change but are you willing to change you?

 

Jonny’s coaching style strips back the shiny stuff and helps clients understand the fundamentals of what is required to lose weight and build lean muscle mass.

 

“It isn’t about what I can do for the client. The process is about what we can achieve when we work together as a team. When that clicks, anything is possible just like how Celeste has turned her life around by us working together.”

Principles of Training – Individualisation

Each and every one of us is physically and mentally different. This is why, when it comes to training, everyone’s approach needs to be bespoke to them, if it’s going to be optimal.

 

One of these factors will be their starting point, in terms of ability, in their fitness journey. For example, if two people come to a personal trainer saying they wish to build better whole-body strength, then both will be assessed to see where their starting point is at. If it becomes clear one athlete has a proportionately stronger upper body than their lower body, and the other person vice versa then despite the same goal, their programmes will look different. The first person will need a more lower body focussed approach whereas the other person would need the opposite, this is an example of applying the principle of individualisation.

 

Another key factor to consider is lifestyle variations. Everyone has a life outside of the gym, all of which will include factors which influence their performance inside the gym. Therefore, this needs to be considered when programming. To give another example, imagine someone wants to become generally fitter all round. If they’re a labourer then you need to consider that their job is very taxing, therefore workload needs to be managed more carefully as to avoid overtraining and injury.

 

 

Next, there’s anatomical variants between each individual which can affect performance in the gym. For example, someone with a larger rib cage convexity, steeper sternum angle and short limbs is going to have a better chance at being better at the Bench Press compared to someone with a smaller ribcage, flatter sternum angle and long limbs, due to the first person having a shorter range of motion to achieve a full repetition and the line of pull on the pecs from insertion to origin. Another way in which anatomical differences influence training, can be down to active range. Everyone’s active range for a given movement is different. A common example would be overhead mobility. If someone cannot lift their hands directly above their heads (180 degrees of shoulder flexion) then trying to perform an overhead press is going to take them out of their active range and they will lean back to achieve the overhead position. This person will be putting a lot of stress on joint structures outside of this range and also increase the risk of injury when lifting outside of it. Therefore, consider this individual difference and give them an exercise that challenges them in their active range, for instance an incline press, set to a height whereby they are working in the active range that they can achieve.

 

Next, there’s two factors that link together. These are tolerance to training loads and responsiveness to training load. One’s tolerance to training load is going to help you in the initial phase of deciding things like how frequently they should train and how demanding each session should be. Their responsiveness to training will link closely with progressive overload. So, someone who responds very quickly to training will need to increase their training load more frequently than a slow responder. It’s important however that progressive overload is applied correctly to both people to prevent any from overtraining or undertraining.

 

Finally, the psychology behind training must also be taken into consideration. As with most things, intrinsic motivation is the key to long term adherence and this is achieved when someone feels competent, so the training programme must not feel too difficult for the participant. They also need relatedness, this comes from good relationships attached with the activity. Therefore, having great rapport with your PT, or attending the gym with a friend is a great idea. It’s also a reason why exercise groups with a more ‘community feel’ are more popular, the biggest example of this being the rapid growth of CrossFit over the past 10-15 years. Also, the participant must feel like they have autonomy, this can come via a number of ways such as having the freedom to train when they want, as well as being able to have a say in what they do during sessions (if they want that).

 

Overall, there’s many factors here to consider, it’s important to manage them all carefully, in order to ensure you are getting the most out of your training.