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Swap Sugar For These TODAY

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There’s no secret that refined sugar is bad. It’s bad for the body, it plays havoc with your teeth, and more... In this post, I will tell you in detail why Stevia and Erythritol are far better for your body, and why you need to ditch the highly processed sugars entirely and make the switch to one of these sugar substitutes today.

 

Refined Sugar

This is the worst element of the modern-day diet, causing a plethora of harmful effects that can bolster a number of diseases within the body. Refined sugar is highly calorific and has absolutely no nutritional value. It also feeds bacteria in the mouth with can cause and accelerate tooth decay.

On its journey through the digestive system, sugar is broken down into Fructose and Glucose. Glucose is produced naturally by our body whereas Fructose is not. Additionally, Fructose can only be metabolized in the liver which isn’t a problem if you consume sugar in small doses, such as your daily intake of fruit (which is able to be metabolised due to the fibre content). However, if your liver already has enough Glycogen, which is fairly common, the Fructose is instantly converted into fat, which of course, is bad. If you consume processed sugar regularly, and this can be sugar in food, as well as in hot drinks, on cereals etc., then it can result in you having a fatty liver, and lead to other much more serious issues.

Sugar is also known to be one of the contributing factors to Diabetes and Cancer. There are many studies that prove consuming sugar puts you at a higher risk of developing Cancer. It is also a leading cause of obesity, high-cholesterol, and it can lead to Heart Disease.

The list could quite literally go on, and on; however, I have said enough about sugar. The rest of this post will be focussed entirely on why Stevia and Erythritol are both better for your body.

 

Stevia

You might not know this, but the Stevia plant has actually been used by the people of Paraguay and Brazil for more than 1500 years. It has been used to sweeten the traditional Yerba Mate Tea, as a sweetener in foods, and is used in medicine as well.

The product itself originates from a herbal plant and is around 200 times sweeter than typical sugar which is grown in North and South America.

Almost in direct contrast to sugar, Stevia can actually help to prevent some types of Cancer. It can help to control Diabetes, as well as serving as an effective aid to weight loss, protect the teeth and oral health generally, and help to strengthen your bones. Another intriguing fact about the Stevia Plant is the nutritional value is carries. It has a huge array of antioxidant compounds and many other essential minerals.

Weight Loss - Stevia is exceptionally low in calories.
Diabetes Control - It provides essential regulation of blood sugar levels.
Oral Hygiene - It reduces the formation of bacteria in your mouth.
Skin Health - When the plant is used topically, it can help to treat dermatitis and eczema.
Cancer Prevention - Due to its high antioxidant contents, it aids Cancer prevention.
Bone Health – It can help to reduce the likelihood of Osteoporosis

 

Erythritol

This is another sweetener with a very low calorific value and is classified as a sugar substitute that is derived naturally, being made mostly from plant sugars. Specifically, it has 70% of the sweetness of sugar and contains only 6% of the calories. It will not cause blood sugar levels to spike and it has no effect on Insulin in the body.

Unlike sugar, it will not stimulate the production of bacteria in the mouth. There have been many studies carried out that demonstrate a reduction in bacteria and associated plaque, this proving that using Erythritol can help to improve oral health.

Oral Hygiene - It prevents the decay of teeth.
Anti-Aging Properties - Due to the antioxidant contents, it can help to prevent damage from free radicals that can be absorbed into the body.
Obesity - It can aid weight loss and help with treating Obesity and has a zero-glycemic index.
Digestive Issues - It is easily absorbed into the body and can reduce problems which can occur in the gut.
 


As you can see from the list of benefits above, both Stevia and Erythritol are two superb alternatives for sugar. Not only does refined sugar cause harm to your body, it can in fact seriously put your health at risk through prolonged and sustained use, even if only in low doses.

In this post, we have explained just how bad sugar for your body can be. One other important point to mention is that not all sweeteners and sugars substitutes are created equal. The FDA have approved five artificial sugar substitutes as safe for consumption. These are acesulfame, saccharin, neotame, aspartame, and sucralose. Using one of these non-natural sweeteners could in fact be doing more harm than good. This is because of the how the brain and the body respond to these sweeteners. In a study outlined by the Harvard Review, there has also been a suggestion that these artificial sweeteners could also be highly addictive. So, I would urge you to seriously consider a natural alternative to sugar, such as the two I have outlined here for you today.

Both the natural sugar substitutes I have spoken about in this post today will work intrinsically to help repair the damage which has been caused to your body from the consumption of sugar. They are also both heat stable, meaning they can easily and safely be used for baking.

So, the next time you consider using sugar in your everyday foods to sweeten the taste, consider Stevia or Erythritol as two of the best sugar alternatives.

Your teeth, and your body will thank you.             

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Low Carb vs Keto - What's The Difference?

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Low carbohydrate and ketogenic diets are often confused, perhaps in part because a ketogenic diet is, by default, also a low carbohydrate diet. That said, there are several important distinctions that set ketogenic diets apart from more generic low carbohydrate diets. Let's look a little more closely at each of those distinctions, so you can better understand why someone might wish to pursue a ketogenic diet.

So, what's a low-carb diet?

Okay, so here's where the greatest confusion generally comes in. A low-carbohydrate diet focuses on limiting carbohydrate intake. A ketogenic diet does the same. So how are they different?

The difference is like that between a doctor and a surgeon. The surgeon is still a doctor but may be far more specialized. Keto diets, similarly, are specialized low-carb diets. So let's look at the generic—the low-carb diet—first.

First, it's important to note that “low” in this case is pretty subjective. There's no clear consensus on how many carbs one can eat before a diet is no longer low-carbohydrate, for instance.

In general, though, the idea here is to be more selective than the standard western diet. Often this means fruits, vegetables, and beans are still acceptable parts of the diet; while grains, baked goods, and processed sugars are either completely eliminated or drastically reduced.

As a result of shifting from carbohydrate-dense foods in your diet, to more low-density foods, the daily carbohydrate quantity you intake is significantly cut.

The subjectivity of the diet, however, can be problematic. For instance, if you were consuming 300 grams of carbohydrates daily, and cut it to 200 grams per day, this is a lower-carbohydrate diet. If you don't replace the lost calories, you may still lose weight, and technically, you could consider this a low carb diet, as you lowered your carbohydrate intake. Conversely, though, if you replace those lost calories with extra proteins or fats, you may have very different outcomes.

As a result, this subjectivity makes it hard to determine whether or not low-carbohydrate diets are effective, as they're not very well defined, and as such, cannot be very well judged.

Then what's the ketogenic diet?

The two biggest differences between low(ish)-carb diets and ketogenic diets are these:

  • Low-carbohydrate diets are imprecise; everything in a proper ketogenic diet is measured.
  • Low-carbohydrate diets are predicated by cutting back on a single macronutrient (carbohydrates), whereas ketogenic diets require very precise balances of all three.

In short, a successful ketogenic diet is high-fat, moderate-protein, and low-carbohydrate. When done correctly, it allows your body to shift from burning carbohydrates (or glucose) to burning fat in the form of ketones and fatty acids.

In fact, in order for a diet to truly be ketogenic, it has to pursue nutritional ketosis; if it isn't done properly, however, it can go very badly, and leave you feeling terrible—without any of the benefits ketogenesis can provide.

So, how should ketogenesis work?

When ketogenic diets are balanced correctly and appropriately, that carbohydrate restriction should result in increased ketone production. Ketones, which are a byproduct of fat distillation and produced in the liver, can actually be measured (via blood or urine), so if you are a ketogenic diet, you can test progress.

A few guidelines: Traditional western (high-carbohydrate) diets generally result in blood ketone levels between 0.1-0.2 millimoles (mmol), and even moderate-carbohydrate diet (which some may confuse for low-carbohydrate diets, as discussed above) will generally fall in this same range. A truly effective ketogenic diet, however, will result in much higher blood ketone levels, generally above 0.5millimoles but safely as high as 5.0 millimoles. This higher ketone level is a sign that your body has reached a state of “nutritional ketosis,” and shows that the ketogenic diet is working.

But what does this look like as a diet?

For an effective ketogenic diet, consider the following guidelines a starting point for each of the three most major macronutrients.

Carbohydrates

Standard western diets are frequently between 40-70 percent carbohydrates, by calories. Most research studies equate low-carbohydrate diets as gaining less than 30 percent of their calories from carbohydrates (generally in a range of 50-100 grams per day).

Ketogenic diets, however, often suggest as few as 5-10 percent of your total caloric intake comes from carbohydrates, which is generally in the 25-30 gram range. Many ketogenic plans offer a little more leeway, but almost all suggest a maximum intake of 50 grams on any given day, as keeping carbohydrate intake below that threshold seems necessary for triggering nutritional ketosis, in which your body begins relying on fat for fuel.

Proteins

This is where ketogenic diets show the greatest range, depending on the goals of the ketogenic diet. If weight loss is the aim, for instance, the plan may suggest moderate to high protein intake, in order to maintain muscle, strength, and satiation, so you aren't left feeling hungry.

Consider the following basic divisions: High-protein diets may recommend 0.7-1 grams per pound of body weight (2 grams per kilogram) or more; moderate-protein diets generally recommend between 0.6-0.7 grams per pound of body weight (1.3-1.5 grams per kilogram); low-protein diets may recommend less than 0.35 grams per pound (0.9 gram per kilogram) of body weight.

One note of caution: As Dr Jacob Wilson, director of the Applied Science and Performance Institute, notes, high-protein diets can make achieving nutritional ketosis impossible. (As a result, he recommends no more than 1.5 grams per kilogram as an upper limit.)

The science behind this is based on a process called gluconeogenesis, by which the body, in a carbohydrate-limited state, breaks down proteins to create glucose, thereby bypassing the aims of ketogenesis, which requires the body not have access to glucose, so that it instead will create ketones for fuel.

Fats

 When it comes to low-carbohydrate diets, you still need a moderate amount of fat, because otherwise, the only way to get calories is through an overabundance of protein. In a low-carbohydrate diet, though, you're still mostly burning the carbohydrates you're still consuming, so this is less important.

In a ketogenic diet, however, fat is what you're burning. As a result, you want 70 percent or more of your daily calories to come from fat, as fat is your new fuel source.

 

For many people, this is the hardest change to accept when looking at a ketogenic diet. After all, isn't it fat which contributes to obesity? The truth is, the research on high-fat diets are inconclusive at worst, whereas as plenty of evidence suggests that the real culprit for so many health issues is the combination of high-carbohydrate and high-fat diets, or what we might consider a standard western diet.

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How To Improve Your Insulin Sensitivity

I’m sure by now you’ve probably heard the term ‘insulin resistance’, or maybe even ‘insulin sensitivity’. If not, no problems, let me run over it for the folks who don’t know. Insulin resistance is associated with elevated levels of insulin circulating throughout your body, followed by an intolerance for glucose, if left ignored this can eventually lead to obesity, cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, and hypertension. So essentially it’s your body losing the ability to effectively control, use, and store glucose.

Here are some of the symptoms of insulin resistance:
- PCOS;
- Inability to lose weight;
- High blood pressure;
- Fluid retention (looking ‘puffy’ due to insulin signalling to your kidneys to hang on to sodium and water. This can be seen with swollen ankles, fingers, or abdomen, and even a ‘puffy’ area under your jawline);
- Elevated blood sugar levels;
- Fat storage in the abdominal area;
- Acne;
- (In women) male-pattern baldness; and/or
- Cravings for sugar/high-carb foods, and a constant feeling of hunger.
Remember this is not a diagnosis, and you should never self-diagnose. If these symptoms seem familiar, please request to have tests done by your healthcare professional.

Insulin is not the bad guy though! Insulin is what tells your body to absorb sugars and use them for energy, and balances your blood glucose levels. High levels of glucose in your blood will be sent to your liver for storage. So when the body has insulin resistance, your cells are responding in an abnormal way. Glucose is inhibited from entering the cells with ease, and it begins to build up in the blood.

From having insulin resistance myself I’ve done a lot of research on methods you can use to improve your body’s insulin sensitivity. I’ll list them below, and I’ve also included all my references at the bottom of this article if you’d like to read the full journal studies.

 

INOSITOL

Inositol is a supplement which is frequently used for treating metabolic syndromes, gestational diabetes, and PCOS. D-chiro-inositol (ie. Inositol) and myo-inositol are able to mimic the effects of insulin, and help your body better absorb the glucose for use, rather than sending it straight to storage. Studies have shown that after three months of myo-inositol treatment HbA1c (Glycated hemoglobin, which is a form of hemoglobin that is measured primarily to identify the three-month average plasma glucose concentration) levels and fasting blood glucose levels had significantly decreased compared to their initial readings (Pintaudi, 2016). Both myo-inositol and d-chiro-inositol showed the ability to mimic insulin in animals and humans.

 

CINNAMON

My naturopath has instructed me to take 1 teaspoon of cinnamon per day, as 1 teaspoon of cinnamon has a very similar effect to one dosage of Metformin. Metformin is a commonly prescribed drug used for treatment of type 2 diabetes. Cinnamon has been show to reduce insulin resistance, lower blood glucose levels, lower lipid levels, decrease inflammation, increase antioxidant activity, decrease body weight, and increase the utilisation of proteins throughout the body in both human and animal studies (Qin, 2010). Cinnamon extracts increased insulin activity more than 20-fold, making the body’s insulin efficient again.

 

BLUEBERRIES

Randomised, double-blinded and placebo-controlled studies on obese and insulin-resistant subjects have shown that incorporating 22.5g of blueberry bioactives into the daily diet insulin sensitivity was increased, with no inflammation, and no changes to the overall daily energy consumption by the participants (Stull, 2010). Blueberries have demonstrated the ability to increase the uptake of glucose into the bloodstream. This is largely believed to be due to their antioxidant properties.

 

CHROMIUM

As early as the 1850s studies have shown that chromium is essential to the human body for the effective metabolism of glucose. Many diets do not contain the adequate amount of chromium, and when your body has lowered levels of Chromium, it requires even higher levels of insulin to effectively use glucose (Anderson, 2003). There are many factors involved in insulin sensitivity, and chromium is just one of those, unfortunately there is still no test available to truly determine if you have chromium deficiency. Chromium should not be self-medicated. If your healthcare professional is treating you for insulin resistance try to make sure at least one of your supplements has chromium in it.

 

SLEEP

An inappropriate amount of sleep is associated with the incorrect use and storage of glucose in the body (Buxton, 2010). Sleep restriction to a maximum of 5 hours per night for only 1 week was shown to significantly reduce the ability of insulin to function correctly.

 

HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training)

HIIT exercise has shown the ability to lower blood glucose levels, increase fitness levels, increase the body’s basal metabolic rate (rate at which is burns energy), and increase insulin sensitivity (Marcinko, 2015). In clinical trials HIIT has improved insulin sensitivity, regardless of the body weight of participant. You can download My HIIT Guide training program from here.

 

MAINTAINED WEIGHT LOSS

If you’ve lost weight, this is even more incentive to keep it off, rather than returning back to your old habits. Overweight or obese women who maintained at least a 15% reduction in their body weight over 12-18 months have shown to have improved insulin sensitivity, rather than those who gained their lost weight back (Clamp, 2017). The opposite also reflected, with those who gained the weight back showing signs of decreased insulin sensitivity.

 

REDUCING EXCESS FRUCTOSE CONSUMPTION (Ditch the added sugars)

Standard diets now have shown a 26% increase in consumption of sucrose and high-fructose corn syrup compared to the standard diet in 1970 (Elliott, 2002). This is a result of the increase in added sugars to many foods, and there is major concern regarding the impact of health of diets that contain a large amount of free sugars (fructose particularly). Recent human studies (within the past 5 years) show a clear and direct link between changes in metabolic activity and high fructose intake. Fructose does not stimulate insulin secretion, and also does not increase the production of leptin, which play a major role in the regulation of energy expenditure and metabolism of sugars, as mentioned previously (Grant, 1980). The lack of insulin and leptin stimulation can then lead to weight gain, causing more issues for the subject.


References

Anderson RA 2003, ‘Chromium and insulin resistance’, Nutrition Research Reviews, vol. 16, pp. 267-275.

Buxton OM et al 2010, ‘Sleep restriction for 1 week reduces insulin sensitivity in healthy men’, Diabetes, vol. 59, no. 9, pp. 2126-2133.

Clamp LD et al 2017, ‘Maintained weight loss for 1 year increases insulin sensitivity in women’, Nutr Diabetes.

Elliott SS et al 2002, ‘Fructose, weight gain, and the insulin resistance syndrome’, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, vol. 76, no. 5, pp. 911-922.

Grant AM, Christie MR & Ashcroft SJ 1980, ‘Insulin release from human pancreatic islets in vitro’, Diabetologia, vol. 19, pp. 114-117.

Kleefstra N, Bilo HJ, Bakker SJ & Houweling ST 2004, ‘Chromium and insulin resistance’, Nederlands Tijdschrift Voor Geneeskunde, vol. 148, no. 5, pp. 217-220.

Marcinko K et al 2015, ‘High intensity interval training improves liver and adipose tissue insulin sensitivity’, Molecular Metabolism, vol. 4, no. 12, pp. 903-915.

Pintaudi B, Di Vieste G & Bonomo M 2016, ‘The effectiveness of myo-inositol and d-chiro-inositol treatment in type 2 diabetes’.

Qin B, Panickar KS & Anderson R 2010, ‘Cinnamon: Potential role in the prevention of insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes’, J Diabetes Sci Technology, vol. 4, no. 3, pp. 685-693.

Stull AJ et al 2010, ‘Bioactives in blueberries improve insulin sensitivity in obese, insulin-resistant mem and women’, The Journal of Nutrition, vol. 140, no. 10, pp. 1764-1768.

Wilcox G 2005, ‘Insulin and insulin resistance’, Clinical Biochem Rev., vol. 26, no. 2, pp. 19-39.

Woods SC, Chavez M & Park CR, et al 1996, ‘The evaluation of insulin as a metabolic signal influencing behavior via the brain’, Neurosci Biobehav, vol. 20, pp. 139-144.

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Not Seeing Results from your Training Program? Here's Why


 

Written by Matt Stuhmcke

Eat Run Lift's strength training & female fitness coach. Matt is available as a specialist trainer both in studio and online.
Learn more about Matt here>
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How many times have you decided to start working out, then given up because you didn’t get the results you wanted?

Here is the hard truth about why it happens.

1. You don’t really have a program!

It’s all well and good to head into the gym, set up at home or in the park and do a workout. If that's what you’re doing then well done, I am already proud of you! But how much are you really getting out of just doing what you feel like on the day, are you progressing? 

If you are training already, you probably want it all. You want to lose weight and maybe see some abs, get stronger and lift some heavy weights... all at the same time. It's definitely possible, but it's not going to happen without some forethought. How does one workout affect the next? Is my focus on cardio affecting my strength training or vice versa? And at the end of the day, how does everything I do affect my ultimate goal?

Which brings me to my next point...
 

2. You don’t actually have a goal!

Now this one seems obvious, but you would be surprised how many people I talk to don't have a specific goal they want to work towards. Focus on the word specific in that sentence. Saying your goal is something like “be healthy”, “lose weight” or “get stronger” is a good start, but you need to go further and think about specifics.

The key to a successful training program is creating an achievable and specific goal. Anyone can “lose weight’ or ‘get stronger’, but how much weight exactly?  Where do you want be stronger? Do you want to barbell squat your bodyweight, do a set of chin ups un-assisted or be able to do push-ups from your feet. These are all specific and measurable goals, but it's not just down to that, you need to think about when, or how quickly, you want to achieve your goal. Maybe you want to look amazing in the outfit for your best friends birthday, or have an awesome summer body. Whatever the reason may be, having a date set out will provide you that extra push to achieve the goal.

By creating a specific goal, and a specific time frame, you can customise any training program to get you there as quickly and efficiently as possible. This brings us to number 3 on the list….


3. You’re scared of pushing yourself.

I’ll be the first to admit that training can be scary. Some people might be scared of the weights, for others it’s a fear of failure. Regardless of your fear, learning to embrace, and push past it will be the best thing you can do to ensure you improve in your training. There are many different strategies to overcoming your fear, whether it's a daily reminder of your goals on your phone or a note on your mirror so it's the first thing you see in the morning. Any reminder that keeps the ‘WHY’ in the forefront of your mind will be your most powerful tool.

Everyone has fear, and each person deals with it in their own way. Just don’t let it stop you. If you can accept the fear for what it is…an emotion, and continue to work towards your goals, then you will overcome it; you will beat it.


4. You don’t have the right knowledge or motivation.

You have set your goal, you know where you want to finish, but you don’t know how to get there. So you keep doing the same things. You need some extra knowledge and motivation to help you get there. You're lucky though, the world we live in today means that information is literally in your pocket all day. You can check out different resources like blogs, journal articles, “how to” videos or get the help of the people putting that information out there.

This is exactly why we designed our Eat Run Lift online coaching system – a tailored program from a fitness specialist that you can trust (I am one of the Eat Run Lift specialists offering online coaching, you can email me directly through here if you'd like to learn more). An online coach will create a program to suit your goals and how you like to train, while providing the knowledge to guide you through new exercises and training styles, and keep you on track and motivated. We believe everyone should have access to the same amount of care and commitment when it comes to their health and fitness. We’re here to help you to overcome any limitation, any obstacle that has been holding you back. Your trainer should feel more like a coach, a mentor, a friend - someone who takes time to take into account your health, your fitness and your lifestyle. Your biggest commitment in life should be your health and fitness, so you should feel certain that your coach is there for you, with all the same service you would experience at our Brisbane studio.

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10 Signs Your Workout Isn't Actually Working

It’s all well and good to go to the gym and train, but how do you know if your workout is actually working? If you’ve been training for a while and your results have plateaued, or never changed at all, it’s time to figure out whether it’s your food plan or your training plan that’s dampening your results. So let’s take a look at your training plan, and go through the signs that your exercise program just isn’t what it should be.

1. You’re Never Sore
It should be a given that when starting new training program, or making some big switch-ups in your current training program that you’ll be a little sore. Your fast-twitch muscle fibres (the ones that you’re going to be using for any rigorous activity like sprints, weight lifting, boxing, etc) take time to recover, and while they’re repairing you may have a little pain that comes along with it, the more your body gets used to a training program, the less post-workout soreness you’ll have. If you’re not feeling any soreness at all 1-2 days after your workouts, then you are probably not actually training as hard as you could (and should) be. A training program should be designed to push you a little to ensure that you’re getting fitter, stronger, or closer to your physical goal.

2. Your Reps or Weights Haven’t Changed
As you make your way through your training program over a few months, the amount of weight you are lifting, and/or the number of reps you are doing should change to ensure that there is progression in your workout. For example, the Get Lean training program has a section dedicated to teaching you progress your reps and weights in a way that is safe and sustainable. If you’re not changing what you’re doing, you’re not moving forward.

3. You Always Have An Injury
Are you doing the workouts correctly? Poor form can lead to poor results, and injury. For example, squatting one way will build your quads, but squatting with slightly different form will focus more on your hamstrings and glutes. Little changes can make a world of difference to your time in the gym. And if you’re not focused on how to do an exercise correctly, or you have no recovery routine (stretch/foam roll/physio/chiro/etc) a common sign is regular injury. If your recovery routine has no need for adjustment, then it’s time to start looking at your form during your workouts.

4. You’re Fatigued, A Lot
Over-training is also a thing! If your training program is poorly designed (e.g. rest days vs training days, or even the order of your training days) you may begin to get fatigued. This can also happen if you take on too much, too soon. If you’re new to training you should build up your resistance, starting with 2-3 days a week, and over the course of 6 months work your way up to 4-5 days a week. At first it may seem exciting and new, and you might want to exercise every day to get results faster, but it will all come crashing down like a pile of bricks if you’re unable to keep up with the schedule for a prolonged period of time. Slow it down, and figure out a training program that not only suits your lifestyle, but also your fitness level.

5. You Can Converse During Your Workout
Having a good ‘ol chat at the gym with your buddy and not feeling out of breath once? Maybe it’s time to step it up a notch. You’ll know you’ve had a good workout when you’re sweating, and when it’s hard to talk afterwards. It’s usually a little easier to get a word in during your breaks if you’re doing weight lifting sets, but if you’re doing cardio you’ll know you’re working hard enough when you just don’t want anybody to speak to you in the fear that you cannot speak back.

6. Your Workout Is The Same Every Day
The problem that I see with a lot of people following YouTube demonstration videos as their only workouts (don’t get me wrong, this is a good way to start) is that the exercises don’t change. The same thing with those who do the same kind of workout every day. If your workout is not changing then you are not changing. As you become fitter, lighter, stronger or gain muscle (whatever you’re working towards) your program needs to be adapted to make sure that you can keep going further. 

7. You’re Not Noticing Changes
You’re not noticing any changes, and in fact you might even be going backwards from where you started! Not every training program is designed the same. Some programs focus more on weight loss, some on muscle and weight gain, some on just general fitness. Make sure that you have a fitness program that’s designed for your body and your goals, not just a generic one-size-fits-all.

8. You’re Not Tired At Night
If you’ve worked hard during the day you should feel it at night. Now, naturally some people are slightly more nocturnal than others, but if you’re able to get a good workout in during your day, you will start to feel tired earlier at night than your usual bed-time hour. 

9. Your Heart Rate Isn’t High Enough
During your workout you should actually be able to feel that you’re training hard enough, sometimes you might even feel a little bit sick from the lactic acid build up. If your heart rate isn’t high enough, you will never feel this. During exercise you should be between 50% and 85% of your maximum heart rate (maximum hear rate is 220 - your age). Example: 25 year old heart rate zone during exercise: 97 bpm - 165 bpm. To record your heart rate, either measure your pulse for 10 seconds and multiply by 6, or invest in a heart rate monitor that will accurately monitor your heart rate throughout your entire workout.

10. You Can Complete All Your Reps
If you’re having no problems completing all the reps listed for your in your workout, then you have a problem (your workout is too easy)! You should be starting to struggle with your reps toward the last 2-3, particularly on the last few sets of your workout. 

If you’ve gone through this list and it seems like your workout might actually be difficult enough for you, but you’re still not getting the results you’re after if may be time to look at the other factors: food, alcohol, and the rest of your lifestyle.

If, on the other hand, you’ve decided your workout is too easy for you, make sure you check out our Get Lean Guides here. They’re dictated by your body type, are 6 month training programs, and are designed to progress with you.

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Overcoming Body Image Issues + Getting Back On Track

A Personal Trainer with body issues.
My plan to overcome them and get my training back on track.

By Beau 

You have just seen this picture and thought to yourself, “Put your shirt back on”, or have judged it some way or another.

Good, that’s what I want you to do. This was a spur of the moment photo taken by Rachel at my request to help me get something off my chest (there’s the pun already folks) I was taking pictures of Rachel and thinking to myself she looks so good and I’m so proud of her! So I whipped my shirt off and said, “Take a picture of me with my shirt off, I don’t care who sees, I need to be open about this” and this is why...

As a PT, your clients expect a lot from you, you show up to sessions and get them results as per usual, but they also look up to us as inspiration and motivation. They see us as these fit gods who never eat a bad thing in our lives, can lift cars over our heads and can run for miles with out puffing, well maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but I do feel like there is a bit of pressure on me to look my best to set an example, not only to those who train with me, but for the likes of you who are reading this blog.

I look around gyms these days and I see trainers who have come along way with their bodies and making improvements, but honestly, not many people know the story and I get told a lot that if I didn’t look like I trained, or if I wasn’t in better shape than them I wouldn’t be hired as a PT. Who is going to take advice from someone who cant practice what they preach?

This is what’s been playing on my mind lately. I’ve been so over worked, stressed, depressed and having health issues that I haven’t had the time to focus on me. My training went to shit, my eating went to shit, my 'me time' was non-existent… my life went to shit and it was making me upset.  I’ve been looking in the mirror recently and what I see back in the reflection doesn’t impress me at all. What happened to the abs? Why do I have love handles again? What happened to my arms? It wasn’t just the physical, my strength was down, and my fitness had become a victim of my lifestyle change. I used to say there are no excuses for not exercising, and there aren't, but I was making them, I honestly couldn’t string working 13 hours a day and consistent training together, if I did have the time to fit it in, I would just be shattered and want to sleep, sometimes I would get home and collapse on the bed. 

Enough about me blabbering on most of you know my story but for those whom don’t, I suffer from fibromyalgia, if you don’t know what it is, look it up because I don’t want this to drag on. It got really bad over the last 6 months, so I had to make a tough decision and leave my full time job. I now have time on my hands to get everything back in order, including my stress.

The last week that had gone by I indulged myself to a cheat meal……….. every night instead of just the usual 2 meals a week, and in result it had left me feeling really uneasy about how I felt and looked, I said to Rachel, “ I need to make a change, as a challenge I don’t want to have any cheat meals at all for the next week” so I could focus and get my gut looking like that of a Bay Watch star (I hope you are old enough to remember Bay Watch).  Rachel thought I was joking, but I wasn’t. Rachel gets so much attention from other women and men and I can’t remember when the last time someone actually even blinked and eye at me. It made me feel undesirable, and this coming from a guy is really a different topic a lot of people don’t think about.  After a bit of a chat to her about it all she was 100% behind me and is helping me stick to just 1 week. 1 week of eating is all it takes to see a difference, a change in someone’s lifestyle that can see it last for 8 weeks (yes another 8 week challenge plug); I really do mean it thought, this could be the change of your life. It got me thinking, what are the steps you need to consider to get your fitness back on track or started in the first place, coming from someone in the fitness industry.

 
 

1.     Set a Goal.

Make this as specific as you can. A lot of people say “I’m not too worried about what my weight is” or “I don’t look at the scales”.  I can guarantee the first thing out of most people’s mouths is that they want to lose weight. Re-word it to what you want then. “On the 12th of January I want to have those lines that run down your belly that are kind of like abs but not, in my white bikini on the beaches of Thailand hanging out with my boyfriend, he looks to me and says he’s proud that I’m smiling because I am finally confident enough to wear a bikini in public."

  • When
  • What
  • Location
  • Body difference
  • Why

Fill in the tiniest bit of detail so it seems like reality and you can see it in your head. If you are once of those people that likes dot points and want to see the numbers make it like this.

When – 3 months time
What – lose fat, tone up
Location I see myself in - night clubs (or 'going out')
Body difference  - Bigger butt 4 cm, smaller waist 8 cm
Why - To look better in clothes

These not only help with getting you excited about your goals, but help your trainer or your self make a plan of action


2. Set little goals, fitness missions if you will.

You don’t have to achieve everything in one big go, but overcome little obstacles that may hinder your training. Your first mission may even be to work out where the heck you start, for many, finding a gym, starting an online program or even buying roller blades is a start. Do you need to get your back looked at, see a physiotherapist? Start there, or like me? How about just start off with one week of clean eating, or try and go to the gym an extra day!


3. Having loved ones or friends help support you, or do the challenges with you!

Having someone go through the same pains and sharing the same satisfying results can help boost each other’s morale or pick the other one up when they are falling. Remember a couple that trains together, stays together.
 

4. Get a Personal Trainer.

I’ve had one for 8 years, yes they can be expensive, but a good one can be a great investment. Not only will you have someone spot you, motivate you, be there for you, help you with your diet, put the weights away for you, put together the program for you, make awesome jokes, but they will also be a great friend! I know with all of my clients we share some sort of connection and bond, and I think that when you have the right trainer, you will know. It's like when you have a pet and you look just like it. One thing I do get from a few of my clients is that I make them responsible to show up and lift things, if they weren’t paying me money or just had a gym membership, they would be able to hold themselves accountable.  Turning up is only half the challenge.


5. Don’t over work yourself. 

Working long hours and stressing can really affect your ability to lose weight, and set back your motivation. Wanting to go to the gym is the last thing on most people’s minds after a long, hard day at work. So make sure your work life and personal life are balanced. You need to have time to be able to enjoy what you have worked for. If you don’t spend enough time relaxing and doing the things you enjoy your brain reacts differently, creating more stressors whether they be physical, emotional, internal or external, and this creates cortisol which can strip down your muscle and create belly fat, not to mention your routine falls out of play and you find your self playing catch up.

If anyone, and I mean anyone wants to have a chat to me, do not hesitate to email me at Beau@eatrunlift.me.

Or just want to start your own fitness plan? Register for the 8WTC:

Registrations close August 15, 2015.

Food

Recipe: Tabbouleh Pita Pocket

I generally like to make sure I have a few base ingredients pre-prepared for days where I want to eat 'lazy' food. If you pre-prep your tabbouleh you can whip up this dish in a matter of minutes. You're just stuffing food into other food, it's so simple I'm sure anyone could do it!


Makes 1 serving
Carbs 134.5g / Fat 10.4g / Protein 25.9g / Calories 721


Tabbouleh Ingredients
If you are pre-prepping this and plan on using it frequently double or triple the ingredients below.

  • 1 cup of rinsed quinoa
  • 1 red onion, finely diced
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 pinch of himalayan salt
  • 1 pinch of black pepper
  • 2/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped

Pita Pocket Ingredients

  • Some of the tabbouleh which we will make
  • Large handful of rocket
  • 1-2 tablespoons of hummus
  • 1 pita bread (wholewheat or wholegrain is the best option)

Instructions

  1. First we are making the tabbouleh! Grab your rinsed quinoa and place it in a saucepan with a 2:1 ratio of water:quinoa. Bring it to the boil. Reduce the heat and allow to simmer for 15 minutes.
  2. While the quinoa is cooking prep all your other tabbouleh ingredients (mincing the garlic, chopping the onion and tomatoes, etc, see above list). 
  3. When the quinoa is done mix it in with the other ingredients. It's best to serve this cold for the pita pocket so pop it in the fridge.
  4. When you want to make the pita pocket open it however you like, there are a variety of methods, but I like to just cut mine in half. Spoon some hummus and then pack in your tabbouleh and some fresh rocket! Good to go.

Workout

Fat Burning Circuit Workout

One of the first ways that I got into training on my own (outside personal training sessions with Beau) was by doing circuits. Beau wrote up a circuit for me to do and had a lot of workouts planned for specific needs, such as core strengthening, fat burning, upper body strength, and the list goes on. We eventually turned this into the 8 Week Challenge eBook. This is one of the workouts from the eBook.

Sometimes it's hard to work out by yourself, so follow along with this workout with me and we'll get through it together!

8 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started Training

1. Progress is not always linear
When I first began with my fitness routine there would be months where I would lose a few kilos and a few centimetres, and other months where I would get measured and I had actually gained size. Remember that the progress doesn't always go the way that you expect. Use the unexpected changes to help you establish what in your routine is or isn't working for you. Find what your body adapts to best and roll with that.

2. Rest, rest and more rest
It's important to actually make sure that you are getting 8-9 hours of sleep per night. If you are training regularly, still busy with every-day activities and then not sleep enough you will become rundown and potentially get sick or injured. Never underestimate the value of getting a full nights sleep.

3. Workout buddies aren't for everyone
I used to always read that you should have a workout buddy to keep you motivated. Are you a competitive person? Because I am. If you have a workout buddy don't try to out-do them just for the sake of being 'better' at something, this can lead to injury. Workout buddies are good for some people, but not everyone.

4. There will be days you will hate exercise
Some mornings you are probably going to wake up and go, "No". If you have exercised for the last 4 or 5 days in a row, then listen to your body and give it a rest. If you haven't, get up, get out and get moving. Too often people skip, "just one day here" and "just one day there" and before you know it the entire routine has fallen to pieces. You're not always going to be motivated to go to the gym, that's the harsh reality of it, but it's about how you can get around that and still make yourself exercise.

5. Motivation is a beast that needs to be fed constantly
Regularly find things that inspire you to change up your routine, add in something new, or just try a new fitness activity. If you need motivation we have the perfection solution right now, the 8 Week Transformation Challenge. We will provide you with 'fitness missions' for each week to keep you motivated, a whole workout plan to follow, online coaching (so you can be anywhere in the world), and exclusive tips, recipes and video content. Register today 8-wtc.com (registrations close August 15, 2015).

6. Find the real reason you are exercising
Exercising to get your 'bikini body' isn't something that's going to keep you going in winter, just as exercising to fit into a dress for your *whatever event* isn't going to keep you motivated after that date passes. Find something more substantial that motivates you, you don't need to tell anyone else what it is. Only you need to know. Be healthier for your family? Set a good example for someone else? Fight off illnesses or health conditions you may be genetically predisposed to? There are plenty of good reasons to be fit and healthy.

7. Comparing yourself does more damage than good
Don't compare where you are at in your journey to where someone else is at in theirs. Everyone has different challenges, different set backs, different body types and follows a different routine. Comparisons often lead to self-doubt.

8. Learn when to re-adjust your goals
Adjusting your goals is a good way to help you stay motivated, and to achieve greater results. At first you might focus on healthy eating, and then shift your focus to gaining muscle, which will in turn help you burn fat. Notice your body changing and learn when you need to shake things up - this will help prevent plateaus. If you have lost a bunch of weight, but aren't looking toned at all, perhaps it's time for less cardio and more weights? Or if you're eating a high carbohydrate diet, but you're not exercising as frequently any more, you could be gaining weight by eating more than you need to.

It's important to remember that a 'successful fitness journey' is going to look different for everyone. There will be ups and downs, times where you feel like you are on top of the world, and other times where you want to give up. Just keep taking it day by day and eventually you will wonder why you hadn't started sooner.