Calories and Fat Loss

How many times have you heard a statement along the following lines?

  • ‘I need to lose weight, I’m going to cut out bread’.
  • ‘Ooh, no chocolate for me, that’s fattening’.

These statements are wildly outdated. Not only that, they’re damn right wrong.

So you want to lose weight? Let’s break it down. When it comes to fat loss, it’s about establishing the correct energy balance to align with your goals.

If you’re unsure what I’m talking about, consider the following:

‘Energy in’ = calories.

‘Energy out’ = energy expenditure (through tasks such as living, moving etc).

  • If energy in is equal to energy out, weight remains the same.
  • If energy in is greater than energy out, weight will be gained.
  • If energy in is lower than energy out, weight will be lost.

Energy-Balance-Diagram

So, as you can see from the picture above, fat loss boils down to calories in vs. calories out. In this sense, whether you decide to obtain your calories from chocolate or lean meat/vegetables is neither here nor there. Obviously, there is a logical approach to fat loss (which basically just consists of not being a moron), but whatever approach you take, calories remain as calories. Now, this is not me suggesting that you shouldn’t consume good, wholesome foods. Let me explain…

Your body does not have a magical trigger system to identify the calories obtained from ‘naughty’ (hate that label) foods, to immediately store them as fat.

Evidently, some foods (typically those which are also ‘hyper-palatable’ – v yummy and totally desirable) are more dense in calories. This means you can eat a much lesser volume, whilst still consuming a relatively high caloric intake. Other food groups (often classified as ‘healthy’ – think lean meats, veggies etc) are not nearly as hefty in calories. What does that mean? You can eat a whole lotta volume and still keep the calories low. In other words, you get a lot more bang for ya buck.

What am I getting at? I want to debunk the idea that certain foods are deemed to be ‘off limits’ when trying to shift some fat. Why? Primarily because I bloody love chocolate. No one should have to live without chocolate. Or pizza. Gal likes her food yo.

So no, dieting doesn’t have to mean absolute avoidance of all hyper-palatable foods. In fact, I’d personally argue the complete opposite. In my experience, the inclusion of more calorie dense foods, often identified as ‘treats’ in this context, can be highly valuable.

For me, and most of the clients I’ve worked with, a small, regular ‘naughty treat’ (for want of a more appropriate label) acts to maintain sanity. Look at the bigger picture: if a small bar of chocolate is going to stop you craving a big dirty binge, then surely that chocolate bar can be identified as a pivotal part of your progress?

It’s about establishing a balance that will keep you on track in moving towards your ultimate long-term goal, but also maintain your sanity in the short term. So, perhaps rather than searching for a single identifiable food source as the cause of your weight gain, why not look at the bigger picture?

Consider your nutrition as a whole. Chocolate or bread will not halt your progress. Weight gain will not occur unless there is a surplus of calories. So, providing you are able to establish a calorie deficit (through either moving more or eating less), then you will lose weight. It’s as simple as that.

In fact, it’s as simple as this:

Use your brain.

Don’t be a moron.

Eat your protein.

Don’t be scared of bread.

Your body loves micronutrients.

Don’t be a moron.

That’s pretty much it.

Peace xoxox

Motivation

IMG_7162

Let’s talk motivation…

It’s a conversation I have with people day in, day out.

‘How are you so motivated all of the time?’

‘Why do you always have so much energy?

‘Don’t you get bored of going to the gym?’

When you work in the fitness industry, people seem to think you’re a crazy superhuman machine, who’s full of beans 100% of the time.

The reality is, that just isn’t true! When you’re waking up at 5am, and finishing work at 9pm most days, of course you get tired. Heck, sometimes tired is an understatement. There are days when I feel like an absolute zombie, and the last thing I want to do is drag my butt to the gym.

Don’t get me wrong, some days the temptation to nap surpasses my desire to train. So I’ll let myself catch up on some Zzzs, and skip out on the gym – and that’s totally okay! Depriving myself of sleep is arguably going to be more detrimental than missing one session.

However, you have to draw a line. When motivation levels are low, it’s all too easy to talk yourself out of training. At times like this, you need that extra bout of dedication to help pull you through. I’m fortunate in that I genuinely enjoy moving, and never want to make a habit out of inactivity. If I don’t train, I feel blergh. Motivation levels drop, diet starts to slip and everything goes a little downhill from there.

This is a trend I see in others as well. That ‘day off’ soon turns to a week, then a month. Next thing you know, you’re five months down the line, 10kgs piled on and you’re ‘not sure where it all went wrong’. Hmmm.

For me, wellness and motivation come hand in hand; one spurs on the other. I’ve managed to establish that lovely little thing (and wondrously overused term nowadays) called ‘balance’, where my diet and training routine are flexible to fit with my lifestyle. I drink (occasionally too much) wine at the weekends, and take days off from the gym when I need/when my schedule dictates that I can’t fit in a session for myself.

So, returning to the question: how do I remain motivated?

Firstly, I freakin’ love my job. Yes, the early mornings can be a nuisance, but ultimately it’s very rewarding to help people make positive changes in their life.

Secondly, it’s about structure and organisation, but simultaneously about freedom. Somewhat counterintuitive, I know. The element of structure comes in making a habit out of the good stuff. My body knows that exercise is positive, and the gym is now a foundational part of my routine. I feel kinda lost without it.

Freedom lies in not punishing myself for the little things. If you don’t hit the mark every time, that’s ok. Skipping a session or having a day of questionable nutrition really isn’t the worst thing in the world. It’s not going to be hugely detrimental to your progress, so long as you get back on track at the first opportunity. Use the setback as a chance to push forwards.

Be ya own motivation and all that.

Feels gooooood to be back writing! Hope you enjoyed reading this, and feel free to post any thoughts below.

Peace xoxox

Making the Most of Your Workout

As a Personal Trainer, I come across plenty of people attempting to lose weight, but going about it in the wrong way. I’ve come up with a few tips to help you make the most out of every workout.

1) Plan Ahead:

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again (and again). Getting to the gym with no session plan will lead to time wasting, and plenty of it. Arrive with a structure to follow – it’ll make your session a whole lot easier. If the machine you want to use is occupied, switch up the order and come back to it later. At least the session will be written down for you to see, so there’s no danger of mindblanks… We all know it happens!

2) Form:

Completing an exercise with bad form can make the movement much less effective, not to mention the extent to which it increases risk of injury. Deadlifting with a rounded back, or squatting with excess anterior (frontal) tilt places severe, unnecessary stress upon joints. To ensure you know how to perform exercises correctly, I recommend visiting a reputable website (such as bodybuilding.com), where you can watch a video that demonstrates perfect form. This will help you to gain more out of every movement.

3) Ditch the Phone:

You know as well as I do that taking a phone to the gym is the ULTIMATE distraction. Yet, we all still do it! Whether used for selfies or Facebook stalking, a phone simply isn’t helping you to get results. In order to maximise your time in the gym, leave the damn phone in your bag. You’ll survive without it for an hour…I promise.

Now it’s time to put these into practice. Enjoy!

Training Systems: Supersets

Has your workout routine become a little boring? Perhaps you’re not seeing the results you hoped for? Don’t stress – I may have just the answer for you.

Training systems are specific methods of exercise which can be implemented into your gym routine (very easily might I add!). They come in a variety of forms – supersets, trisets, giant sets, pre/post-exhaust sets, pyramids; the list goes on. To avoid sending you all to sleep, I’m going to focus solely on supersets in this post.

What is a superset?

A superset is when two different exercises are performed back-to-back, with no rest in between; rest is taken when a full set of both exercises is complete. There are two forms of superset (this is where it starts to sound tricky, but I promise, it’s actually pretty simple):

  • Agonist-agonist: working on the same muscle twice, through two different exercises, such as chest press and chest flies, both of which focus primarily on the pectorals.
  • Agonist-antagonist: working on opposing muscles, such as a bicep curl and a tricep extension.

How do supersets work?

A superset places excess stress on the muscle, forcing it to work much harder than during a single set. Working muscles will be pushed outside of their comfort zone, which is essential in stimulating progression.

Why should you use supersets?

There are so many reasons to use supersets! Here are just a few:

  • Efficiency: supersets are incredibly time-efficient. If your whole workout consisted of them (not that I would necessarily recommend this for everyone), you could almost double your workload in the same amount of time! As we know too well, time is always of the essence – I don’t know anyone who has enough of it.
  • Results: supersets are an incredible addition to any programme, particularly if you are training for hypertrophy (muscle growth). Don’t fret… Increased muscle mass won’t make you ‘bulky’ (for more information on lifting weights, check out this post). Instead, it will lead to a more toned appearance and a higher resting metabolic rate. Who can argue with that!?
  • Variety: supersets will mix up your workout. A boring programme won’t make you get your butt to the gym. Shaking things up every so often is the key to maintaining motivation, and also crucial in avoiding plateaus.

Try adding some supersets to your workouts, and don’t forget to let me know how you get on! Contact me on: charlotteshelley1@gmail.com

The Big Move: Dubai

Hi friends. So, this post is a little different. I won’t bombard you with health-related information, and I’m not going to give you a recipe. Instead, this one is aimed at connecting with you lovely lot.

I’m currently on the lookout for a job as a Personal Trainer, but I’ll also be setting aside some time each week to work on my blog, and I’ll be more consistent with creating new content on here… I promise! If you’re looking for more regular updates, you can follow my adventure on Instagram (@charlotte_shelley), Snapchat (charshelley), or Twitter (@charlotte_shell).

I’m so excited to immerse myself within Dubai’s fitness industry. Judging by previous visits (and some top notch Instagram stalking), the health and fitness scene out there has much to offer. It’s pretty damn enticing for someone like me.

So, here comes the bit where I need your help… I don’t yet know many people in Dubai, so I’m looking to connect with others, and particularly those with an interest in health and fitness. Whether you may be a Personal Trainer, a blogger, or someone who just really loves a spin class, I would love love love to meet you.

We could train together, and maybe even teach each other a thing or two about fitness. If you want to get in contact, or perhaps you have a friend in mind that may be interested, either pop me a message on Instagram, or contact me on this email address: charlotteshelley1@gmail.com

Big love X

Review: Fit-Pharm UK

I have two questions to ask, the second of which is particularly important. So listen up.

  • Do you take any form of supplement, such as protein powder, pre workout or Branched Chain Amino Acids?
  • If so, have you any idea what these individual products contain?

If you haven’t already (tut tut), take a look at the ingredients. It’s more than likely that the list is extensive, and hellllla hard to pronounce. Guess what? Those substances are equally as alien to your body as they are to your eyes. We’re talking thickeners, artificial flavours/sweeteners and a whole load of other chemicals. It’s just plain nasty. The truth is, our bodies aren’t meant to take in such densely processed products; it simply won’t recognise them. However, it’s not all doom and gloom.

I’m a supplement girl myself. There’s no denying that it’s a quick, easy and convenient way to assist you in achieving your goals. But I’m just not down with the idea of filling my body with the unnatural substances listed above. After all, what’s the point in eating clean, and purposefully avoiding anything artificial, to then consume a whole load of chemicals in the form of a shake? It doesn’t make sense.

I was fortunate enough to stumble across the perfect solution, thanks to my lovely friend Lauren (check out her page here). Praise the Lord – there’s no reason to ditch the supps all together. You can still stumble out of the gym, muscles trembling and a protein shake in hand. The gainzzz are here to stay.

IMG_3237

What is this miraculous solution, I hear you ask? The answer: Fit-Pharm. This is an independent, UK-based fitness supplement and clothing brand. Their ethos is to create clean, natural products, free from artificial colours, flavours and preservatives. They taste incredible: Fit-Pharm is just a whole different level when compared to mainstream alternatives. The best part? Your body loves these products just as much as your taste buds.

My personal favourite is Vanilla. I’m a sucker for Vanilla ice cream generally, so I use Fit-Pharm Epic Whey Protein to make my very own ‘Nice Cream’ (keep your eyes peeled for the recipe at some stage). The chocolate and strawberry flavours are also deeeeelicious.

I would never promote or recommend something that I didn’t believe in, because that’s just not me. But I honestly cannot recommend these products highly enough. Without Fit-Pharm, I would have stopped using supps a long time ago. Check out their website here, and make the change. You can thank me later.

When purchasing products, don’t forget to use my discount code: charshelley10

The Importance of Rest Days

We all know the importance of working out and training hard. However, something that is so often overlooked is the importance of taking rest days. If you want to achieve maximum results from your strength training, you need to allow your body time to recuperate.

What many people don’t know is that lifting weights actually breaks down fibres in the working muscles. Increased strength and mass occur when these fibres heal and rebuild themselves. This is why rest and recovery (alongside a clean diet, high in protein) are so crucial if you want to see progression. Not giving your muscles adequate time to repair leads to increased risk of injury.

If you overtrain by not allowing your body sufficient recovery, performance will plateau. This is why it’s a good idea to split your workouts into muscles groups, targeting certain areas on specific days. This method enables you to train one area of your body whilst another is recovering.

The required amount of rest varies from person to person. The trick is to listen to your own body: if your muscles are sore/you feel fatigued, take a rest day. Just make sure you’re able to determine the difference between necessary recovery time and laziness.

I tend to take two rest days per week, although I’m not the sort of person who can sit around and do nothing all day. So if you’re anything like me, and get itchy feet if you’re not moving, here are some ideas of activities to perform on your rest day:

Cardio: walk, run, cycle, swim – whatever you fancy. Cardio is a great way to get fresh blood pumping around your body. Providing freshly oxygenated blood to the recovering muscles will aid in recovery and repair.

Yoga/stretching: this is a great way to de-stress and clear your mind. Not to mention, it aids in easing muscle tension. Increasing your flexibility greatly reduces the risk of injury, so it’s important to take some time to focus on this.

Foam rolling: getting rid of those nasty niggles is crucial, and strangely satisfying (I always feel about a stone lighter, and a lot more bouncy once I’ve finished rolling my legs). Rolling out your muscles can help increase blood flow, and will also assist in improving mobility.

Why You Need to Start Weight Training

Lifting weights is often a challenging prospect for someone who has never done it before. Most women have never ventured into the ‘man cave’ that is the weights room in their local gym. Admittedly, it can be daunting to walk into a generally male-dominated environment and start lifting. If you can get over that first hurdle, your body will thank you later.

So many women are hesitant to start strength training because they’re afraid to get ‘bulky’. Fortunately, this is a misconception ladies, and one that needs to be shattered ASAP. Sure, if your ambition is to get bulky, lifting weights can achieve this with the right programme and a strict diet. However, your everyday woman at the gym doing her barbell squats isn’t suddenly going to turn into the incredible hulk.

weight-lifting-woman

The truth about weight training is that it’s the door to a more lean, toned and defined body. I’ve listed some of the key benefits below.

Calorie Burn: In comparison to cardiovascular exercise, resistance training burns more calories. Also, after a heavy lifting session, your body’s oxygen demand remains high for an extended period of time. This is referred to as ‘excess post-exercise oxygen consumption’, or EPOC. Whilst your body requires more oxygen, your calorific expenditure is also increased, so you continue to burn calories once you’ve finished training.

Metabolism: For me this is the absolute best thing about strength training. Building lean muscle contributes hugely to fat loss. The higher your muscle percentage, the more calories the body is able to burn whilst at rest. Yes, you understood me correctly: the more muscle you have, the higher your resting metabolic rate. Pretty amazing, hey?

Bone Health: Lifting weights on a regular basis aids in increasing bone density, which helps keep problems such as osteoporosis at bay in later life.

medium_Weight_Training_for_Women

Heart Health: Studies have shown that those who lift weights are significantly less at risk of heart disease due to a reduction of triglycerides, blood pressure and blood glucose levels.

That Body: Unlike cardio, which helps you lose weight through reduction of both fat and muscle tissue, strength training helps you to burn fat and build muscle. This means you start to sculpt those curves you’ve always wanted; hello new booty.

Confidence: Resistance training will help your confidence endlessly. You’ll feel stronger and able to accomplish so much more. It’s pretty hard not to be happy with a new, lean and toned body!

Stress Relief: Personally, I can’t think of a better way to combat stress than a heavy lifting session. Rather than letting the little things get to you, head to the gym and smash out a resistance workout – afterwards, you’ll feel revitalized and ready to combat anything.

weight-lifting-women7-reasons-why-women-must-lift-3

BodyBuilding.com is a great website to visit for some inspiration. This website gives a muscle-by-muscle breakdown of exercises to try:

http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/workout-muscle-groups.html