Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: The Spot Reduction Myth

Tuesday Tip: The Spot Reduction Myth 🔍

A common thing I hear from people is that they want to lose fat from one particular area, usually stomach, thighs, butt or arms. Often they’re trying to achieve this by focusing on that area; so if it’s belly fat – lots of ab exercises, thighs – squats, lunges, hip abductor machines etc, arms – loads of bicep and tricep work etc.

There’s just one problem: it’s impossible to target fat loss! Spot reduction (i.e. losing fat from specific areas) is a myth. You can’t magically lose fat from a specific body part just by doing exercises on that area. Our bodies can only lose fat from the entire body as a whole and where it comes off first is down to genetics and can’t be changed. Some people lose fat first from their thighs, others from their belly etc. No workout or exercise, or magic slimming drink can change this.

What does happen is that the muscles underneath get worked and get stronger, so when you do lose fat from that area you will look muscular/toned/ shapely etc. So ab exercises will target your abdominal muscles, but not the fat that sits above them. Studies in the “Journal of Strength and Conditioning research” and “Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport” confirm this. They had participants doing ab exercises and found no effect on abdominal fat. Another study on professional tennis players looked at the impact on fat of the extra use of one arm and found no difference between the playing and non-playing arm.

So if you can’t spot reduce fat what do you do? You lose fat from your whole body! At some point the fat will also come off from the body part you wanted to lose fat from in the first place. Sadly you can’t influence when that happens. How do you lose body fat? By eating fewer calories or burning more calories (or a combo of the two) – all you need is a calorie deficit and you will lose fat. So you can stop those hundreds of sit-ups and focus on the food side of the equation instead!

Happy Tuesday 🤗


Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: Top weight-loss foods

Tuesday Tip: Top weight-loss foods 🥗

Sadly there’s no such thing as magic food that makes you lose fat or weight! Only one thing achieves this – a calorie deficit ie eating less than you burn. But there are still things you should be eating. They won’t cause fat loss, but will improve your chances of success.

#1 Protein

After total calories, protein is the next most important thing to help fat loss. Why? Because it helps you feel full which means you’re less likely to over eat. It also helps preserve and repair muscle, important when working out. It has the highest thermic effect (ie you burn more calories digesting it than other nutrients – though the difference is small). Aim for 1g protein per pound of target body weight and spread it across your meals – from any source. BUT don’t sacrifice total calories to hit your protein goal – if you go over your daily calories to get your total protein goal you won’t lose fat.

#2 Fibre

Fibre is also vital to help you feel full. It forms the bulk in food – high volume, low calories – so a large portion of veg (fibre)with your meal will make you feel fuller than the same amount of calories with little fibre. It also helps to stabilise blood sugar levels by slowing digestion meaning you’re less likely to get that blood sugar crash and desire to eat more. Aim for 10 – 17g fibre per pound of target weight a day, and spread it across your meals. High fibre foods include whole vegetables and fruits (not juice), beans, whole grains, nuts and seeds etc.

# 3 food you enjoy

Most important – eat foods you like!

Don’t force yourself to eat foods you hate  or are a pain to prepare – you won’t stick to it and it will only lead to failure. That doesn’t mean go and live off junk food, but if you hate broccoli don’t eat it, choose veg you prefer instead; really dislike brown rice? then eat white rice instead; not a porridge person? go for a different nutrient dense carb source. As long as your total calories are what you need each day it will make zero difference to your fat loss. But it will make a big difference to your enjoyment and likelihood of success!

Happy Tuesday! 🤗


Tuesday Tip

Tuesday tip: Getting back on track

Tuesday tip: Getting back on track 🙌🏼

We all gain weight sometimes and at this time of year, with Summer approaching, it can really get you down and make weight loss seem overwhelming. Here are a few tips to get you back on track.

# Do something

Stop saying “I’ll start tomorrow” you never will! So start small and start today. If it’s exercise that’s slipped then just commit to 5 mins of something – whatever it is, once you do 5 mins, it’s easier to do 10, 15 maybe even 20 mins. Same goes for food –  start with something small – cutting out post dinner chocolate, only having 1 glass of wine, watching your portion size. Small steps quickly equal big leaps.

# Ditch the guilt

It’s natural to feel guilty, embarrassed , even ashamed if you’ve regained weight. But everyone gains sometimes – Beating yourself up over that chocolate bar won’t help, so instead focus your energy on how you’ll make sure your next meal is healthier. Strive for progress, not perfection.

# Plan to succeed

Meal planning is helpful to prevent you reaching for easy, not so good, options. It doesn’t need to be a highly detailed plan – just decide on main meals for the next few days/week and have a list of snack options. Write it out and put it somewhere visible (like the fridge)

# Friends

Tell your friends what you’re doing and ask for their support. You could even suggest doing a challenge together. Also get your family on side and ask them to hide their junk food or better yet not bring it in the house. Sometimes it just helps to have someone to vent to.

# Ask for help

Whether it’s from the dr, a nutritionist or a PT it can help to have someone to hold you accountable. A professional can help unpack why you may have gained the weight and what you can do to make a change that sticks. If you’re coming back from injury then speak to a physio to learn what exercises you may have to modify or avoid long term. I often work closely with clients’ physios to design safe and effective programs for them.

Weight gain happens and weight loss is hard work, so if you’re struggling don’t give up or feel defeated, we all feel like this and you’re not alone.

Happy Tuesday 🤗 xx

Tuesday Tip

Tuesday tip: Coffee-free boost

Tuesday tip: Coffee-free boost ☕️

Coffee – the go to pick me up eh? how many cups are you drinking a day – 1,2,5, more? Does it matter? Isn’t caffeine good for you? Yes in small amounts. It stimulates adrenaline production, hence the energy boost, increases heart rate and blood sugar levels. But this is an acute stress response – not something you want to put your body through several times a day! If you want to reduce your caffeine intake here are some tips to give you a caffeine-free boost!

# Cold shower

Ensure your morning shower isn’t too warm – the colder the better. It gets your blood pumping, wakes you up and strengthens your immune system. It’s best to cycle the temperature – start warm and gradually lower the temperature, rinse your legs, arms, then rest of the body and repeat.

# Avoid big meals

Digesting big meals diverts blood to your digestive system, which means less oxygen to the brain and tiredness. If you’re prone to that post-lunch slump then try smaller high fibre, low sugar, meals spread across the day for a steady supply of energy without the overload.

# Start right

Without the morning coffee what should you drink? Try a big glass of water as soon as you get up and continue to drink all day. Try Ice and lemon or cucumber to give you an extra boost.

# Inhale essential oils

Dabbing lemon or peppermint essential oil on your clothing or having a sniff of the bottle will give you a boost! Ensure you’re buying good quality therapeutic essential oils and apply to clothing rather than to your skin.

# Work out first thing

Exercise gives your body a natural boost – producing endorphins and adrenaline (but at a lower, safer level). Try a few bodyweight exercises after you wake – squats, push ups, a few skips etc to give you a boost.

# Other tips include massaging your ears or, according to recent research, belting out your favourite song! Research also suggests that actively learning something new (e.g via podcast, reading etc) can combat the mid-afternoon slump. Finally try chewing gum to increase heart rate and oxygen to the brain, This and the mint flavour stimulates the autonomic nervous system increasing alertness.

Happy Tuesday 🤗 xx

Tuesday Tip

Tuesday tip: Burn baby burn

Tuesday tip: Burn baby burn 🏃🏼‍♀️

I’ve said before that calories count so as well as knowing how many you’re consuming it’s important to know how many you’re expending too. Many gym machines estimate calories burned, but sadly they aren’t always accurate. In fact, many inflate the number of calories you burn. They usually only take into account your weight and age, and some don’t even do that!

A study from the University of California found that machines like treadmills, spin bikes, elliptical trainers etc over estimate by 13 – 42 percent

So how much are you actually burning? Actual burn varies with height, gender, age, body composition and fitness so the figures below are still estimates, but they’re based on a recent Harvard study which measured averages from a broad selection of people. They concluded that the cardio exercises that burnt the most included spinning, swimming, circuit training, treadmill running and vigorous weight lifting

# Stationary biking / spinning

Moderate cycling on a stationary bike burns approx 210–311 calories per 30 mins. An intense 30 min spin class burns 315–466.

# Swimming

This is far better than you’d expect -burning 300–444 calories per 30-mins. It’s a great cardiovascular exercise and easy on your joints.

# Circuit training

A combo of intense cardio and resistance training like circuits, hiit, or even attack/grit classes will burn 240–355 cals per 30 mins.

# Treadmill running

Running at a 12 min mile pace will burn 270 – 380 cals per 30 mins. Adding an incline will increase this. Even better, try some intervals to burn even more and give you an after burn too.

# Vigorous weight lifting

You’ll burn 90–133 cals per 30 mins, but remember the more muscle you build, the more energy your body burns at rest. So despite the lower burn during it you should still include it!

These are only averages – more accurate than the numbers on the machine – but not necessarily correct for you. So take your exercise calories burn with a pinch of salt, treat it as a bonus and try not to ‘eat back’ all of them!

Happy working out! 🤗


Tuesday Tip

Tuesday tip: Perfect Pineapple

Tuesday tip: Perfect Pineapple 🍍

Last week I talked about beating sugar cravings by increasing fruit intake (amongst other things) and an ideal fruit to have is pineapple! It’s one of my fave fruits and here’s why!

# 1 Guilt-free – it’s low calories, fat free and low in sodium with only 82 cals per serving. It’s a great sweet snack to curb those cravings

# 2 Boost immunity – pineapple contains half your daily recommended dose of vitamin C. This boosts your immune system, prevents heart disease and joint pains and helps prevent colds and flu.

# 3 Bone strength – pineapples contain 75% of the daily recommended dose of manganese, an essential mineral for developing strong bones and connective tissue. Recent studies suggest it also prevents osteoporosis in post-menopausal women, so even more reason to enjoy it.

# 4 Eye Health – pineapples help reduce the risk of macular degeneration, a disease that affects the eyes as people age. It’s a great source of beta-carotene for eye health too.

# 5 Gut health – pineapples are rich in fibre which is essential for intestinal health and linked to reduced risk of colon and bowel cancer and reduces constipation.

# 6 Respiratory health – pineapples contain enzymes called bromelain, which have strong anti-inflammatory properties. They help ease respiratory issues such as asthma, allergies and coughs. They also have mucolytic properties to break up and expel mucus.

# 7 General inflammation – those same bromelains have an anti-inflammatory effect on the rest of the body too – helping with muscle recovery and joint protection

So eat it as it is, throw it in a smoothie? Or grill it for a delicious carameliased dessert but get snacking on some pineapple this week!

Happy Tuesday 🤗


Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: Combat sugar cravings

Tuesday Tip: Combat sugar cravings 🍬

Reducing sugar has loads of health benefits: boosting the immune system, improving mood and helping reduce calorie intake. But it’s hard to cut back and beat the cravings for sweet things. So after Easter (and no doubt a lot of sugar!) I thought I’d offer tips to combat those cravings.

#1 Regular meals – have balanced meals spread throughout the day to avoid getting overly hungry and reaching for a sugar fix. Ensure meals have a combination of protein, fats and fibre to keep you satisfied.

#2 Sleep – I’ve talked before about how important sleep is. Less sleep means more hunger hormone ghrelin is produced, so you’re likely to eat more. If you’re not getting enough sleep you’re also likely to reach for a sugar high to get you through your day.

#3 Boost natural sugars – try to up your intake of fruits and sweet vegetables early in the day to combat later cravings. Try berries, applies, sweet potato, beetroot etc, but eat them rather than drink their juice. It’s the fibre in them that helps to slow sugar absorption, thereby avoiding the sugar high and subsequent crash.

#4 Boost gut bacteria – recent research shows that gut bacteria affects which foods you crave. Fermented foods like yoghurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi etc actually reduce sugar cravings. They contain probiotics which supplement “good” bacteria in your gut and help them multiply.

#5 Eat Bitter foods – this is a toughie but bitterness counteracts sweet cravings. When you’re dying for something sweet if you can have something bitter instead it will reduce your craving. Things like grapefruit, rocket, radicchio, radishes and kale are good (try kale “crisps” as an easy snack option). Also after eating bitter food sweet foods taste even sweeter which means you can satisfy the craving with less sugar. So something like an apple will satisfy you when usually it wouldn’t.

Your taste buds regenerate every 3 weeks or so, so the longer you reduce your sugar intake and consume more bitter foods, the fewer sweet-craving taste buds you’ll have left making it easier in the long term.

So time to pair all that left over choc with a nice bowl of kale!

Happy Tuesday 🤗