ONE: London's exclusive personal training studio, in the heart of the city.

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Measuring your well being

Measure your well-being

Taking your pulse daily, is a really useful tool in assessing your well-being. The average heart rate is 72 beats per minute (BPM). Take yours now by placing two fingers just underneath the back of your jaw line, to feel your pulse. Count the beats for 1 minute to get your heart rate per minute. Don't worry if it is a little high, that may be due to several factors:

1. You may have just eaten
2. You may be drinking caffeine
3. You may be feeling stressed at work
4. You may have just come back from a training session at One!

The best time to take your heart rate is first thing in the morning after rest, your resting heart rate (RHR). Your average heart rate will be the regular count that you have over several days.

Why is your RHR a measure of your well-being?

If on any given morning your RHR is higher than your usual count, it may mean that your body is working hard to fight off an oncoming illness or that you are over-training and not getting enough recovery. It's a simple warning sign to tell you to slow things down a little because your heart is working harder than normal even after rest.

Of course if your RHR is lower than usual, and stays that way, it means that all of your hard work is paying off!

Eating out

Eating Out

So you’ve been doing really well on the food plan you’ve been given and
you’re already feeling lighter and more energised.  It’s great when you can
control what you are eating, but it’s not so easy when you are out to dinner
with clients, or going to a friend’s for dinner. 

You may prove  to be an
 unwelcome guest if you tell your host that you’re very grateful for their
efforts but your trainer has told you to avoid wheat and go light on the
 starchy carbs after 2pm.

The main thing is to control what you can, and not to beat yourself up about
eating the Eton mess that your host has prepared.  Eating nutritiously most
 of the time, means that treats here and there will have less of an impact on
your waistline.  

If you are out to dinner with clients try to avoid:

1. Delving into the bread basket more than once, ideally not at all

2. Choose protein dishes (meat/fish/pulses) for your starters and mains

3. Avoid pasta and pastry dishes, go for protein dishes with vegetables

4. Don’t worry too much about sauces or how things have been cooked, fried
 steak is better than pasta bake.

5. Go for salad and coloured vegetables for your sides, rather than chips 
and potato wedges

6. Don’t order Eton mess that’s only if you are a dinner guest remember!!

Eating is made more complex than it needs to be.  Unfortunately there is far 
too much conflicting information on food these days making it pretty hard to
make a informed decision on what you should be eating and when. 

Exercise is 
essential, but food is far too important to leave out of the equation.  We
 have some food rules on our site that you can take a look at, or feel free 
to ask your trainer if you’re eating right for your goals.


No lectures this week I promise, just a brief note to introduce you to some of the videos we have been making over the last couple of weeks and have posted on our website.

Choose from the following:

'Med Ball Warm Up' - this is just a refresher of the warm up that most of you do before the main body of your session, you also get a chance to listen to the theory behind each movement whilst it is being perfomed.

'Athletic Warm Up' - this is great to do before any form of training and you don't need any equipment!

'Lower Back Saver' - This circuit is fantastic for mobilising and strengthening the lumbar spine, a must for those of you sat at a desk for most of the day.

'Home Circuit' - This is for all of you who claim they just couldn't squeeze in that extra session over the weekend! It's short and sweet and takes just 10 minutes so no more excuses!!!

'Squat thrusts and burpees' - Another one for those that have "no time" to train. This circuit will leave you gasping for air (watch me about to collapse if you're not convinced!)

We will continue to make vidoes each week, so please let us know if you have any requests for workouts e.g. 'The 100 burpee challenge'...I'll er get BJ to feature in that one!

Aerobics makes you fat!

Aerobic Training Makes You Fat!

That's right I said it. Have a think about it, you see a lot of 'soft' joggers plodding around. However if you head down to your nearest '5 a side' pitch, athletics track, martial arts club (ignore the super-heavy weight judo fighters) you will see a lot more lean bodies.

Why? Well there are a number of reasons. Here are 5 reasons why training aerobically can make you fat:
1. When training at 60% (often prescribed) you aren't working hard enough (burning enough calories) to change your body composition
2. Training aerobically can be catabolic (breaks down muscle tissue) which slows metabolism - slow metabolism = more fat!
3. It can cause you to increase cortisol, a stress hormone which can lay down fat.
4. It can increase stress and disrupt sleep patterns which your body needs to defend itself against storing more fat.
5. Repetitive and long, slow aerobic work can lead to repetition induced injuries (knees, lower backs), which in turn lead to inactivity which causes more fat storage.

We aren't to blame. For years we have been told that all you need to do is workout 3 times a week at approximately 60%. Well to be honest this doesn't quite cut it. The same people who put out these recommendations nearly 20 years ago last year amended this statement. Recommendations now state that exercise should be strenuous and vigorous and individuals should be doing something most days for health and body composition benefits.

CV machines in gyms don't help either. Fat Burning Zones are given at 60% of your maximum heart rate. Now this in itself isn't false, however it is hugely misguiding. It is true that at 60% of your maximum heart rate your main fuel source is fat- so what? Your main fuel source while you sleep, sit at your desk and do very little is fat. What's important is that at 60% of your maximum heart rate you don't burn enough fat to make any significant changes to your body composition. You need to be working harder!

Now that I've told you that what you've been doing up until now has been a waste, it would be amiss of me not to let you know what you should do. So what should you do?

Here are 5 things that will help you to burn fat:
1. Perform 2-3 sessions of weight training per week.
2. Perform whole body compound movements: Squats; Lunges; Pushes; Pulls - seem familiar?
3. Increase your intensity; intervals are fantastic. Try 5 bouts of 1min on 1min off. Think of boxers, 'lean as butchers dogs' comes to mind, their whole training is based around 2 or 3 minutes on and 1min off
4. Have protein at every meal and cut sugar from your diet
5. Chill out, meditate, play a game of something, have some you time. Try and do something at least once a week that will help reduce your stress levels- for how this helps to burn fat, see all the correlations between stress and fat above. Exercise is great but you also need some down time, this may be walking the dog or reading a book.

There you go. I've given you 5 reasons why aerobic training makes you fat and I've also given you 5 things you should do if you want to get rid of your blubber. We'll all hopefully be a little more "as fit as a butchers dog"!

Training Nutrition

I was happily training a client at 4pm the other week working through the sets and reps required to reach her goals. She was feeling a little tired about 15 minutes into the session and hadn't eaten since breakfast!

If you are not adequately prepared for a session in terms of what you consume both before and after, you may be creating the reverse effect of what you are trying to achieve. Apart from having low energy levels during the session, training hard on an empty stomach means that you may get your energy from breaking down muscle tissue rather than glycogen (carbohydrates when digested), or fat. A reduction in muscle tissue, means a reduction in metabolism, and we all know what that means, more visits from the friendly fat cell fairy!

So what to do? Well you have a couple of options, obviously some of you train early morning and you may not have time for a feed before your sessions, and some of you train in the daytime or evening. Regardless of what time of day it is, here are some pre-training energy ideas.

No time at all - Bring an isotonic drink with you to drink during the session, e.g. lucozade, gatorade etc. Full of sugar I hear you cry!! For the virtuous among you, you can make your own by mixing:

250ml of fruit juice,
250ml of water,
a pinch of salt.

The juice gives you the energy required for the session, the water reduces the sugar rush from the juice, and the salt replenishes the salts lost in sweat as you train.

5 minutes before a session - Fruit juice and a banana if you can stomach it

30min-1 hour before a session - A piece of fruit, with some nuts or yoghurt.

2 hours before a session - A combination of complex carbohydrates (not the processed stuff that has a sugar fest in your bloodstream), protein, and good fats. So perhaps a jacket potato with chicken, and salad dressed in olive oil, or some tuna and rice.

Post-training nutrition is pretty much the same. You have a 1-2 hour window in which your body is super-charged to replenish your energy systems. So try and grab a juice or a banana immediately after your session and ensure you have a proper meal within that 1-2 hour window. The only thing to avoid immediately post-training is fat as your body will still be in super-replenishment mode and will store any fat you consume.

So that's it folks, I expect to see lots of homemade mixtures around the gym for the early risers among you! There are lots of options for what you can eat pre- and post-training so ask your trainer for more ideas if you get bored.

Goal Setting

As it's the end of the month your trainer is currently preparing your new programme for next month. They are deciding which exercises to select in what order, what homework to prescribe and what nutritional tweaks need to be made to get you where you want to be.

You can help make their jobs a little easier by giving them some better defined goals. A lot of people say they want to "lose a little weight" or "get fit" or both. These are quite vague goals and don't have alot of power. A more accurate and powerful way of setting goals would be "I need to be fit enough to run 5km by November 1st, 2008" or "I will reduce two dress sizes by my friends wedding on the 2nd of December.".

There are a number of ways you can set a goal, the following is a step by step process which you can use to set a goal:

1. Visualise yourself reaching your goal/s (5km, marathon, beach bod etc.)
2. Write your goal/s down (commit to paper)
3. Give your goal a deadline (set a time frame)
4. Positive Pressure (make a bet with a colleague, tell your partner, tell your trainer)
5. Put the steps in place (work out what needs to be done to achieve your goal)
6. Know when you've arrived (reward yourself when you reach your goal)

Give it some thought, try the above steps and set a couple of goals. Treat this as your homework for the weekend and discuss it with your trainer next week.

Beginning Running

I was talking to a friend the other day, and she was asking me how she should increase her 30 minute run to 1 hour. I started to tell her that increasing it by approximately 5 minutes each week should do the job. At this point I hadn't really asked her why she had set her goal for an hour?

She then said that she really wanted to tone up, and felt that running was the way forward. Knowing this I then told her not to increase the distance of her run anymore, and just to up the intensity instead, by adding some interval sprints to the run.

The benefits you gain from exercise are not dependent on the time it takes for you to workout, more the intensity level you work at in the time given. So a high intensity session of say just 15 minutes, will have more impact than a long run at a steady state for 1 hour. Not convinced...try this workout:

On any CV equipment of your choice or outdoors:

Warm up for 5 minutes
Go hard for 20 seconds, and recover for 40 seconds x 15
Cool down for 5 minutes.

If you do this properly, you'll want to crawl home! You will also get the added benefit of increasing your distance without much effort, should you still wish to do so.

Glutes, glutes, glutes

Hands up if your trainer has never told you to use/clench/drive/squeeze your glutes
(bum) as you train…if so, your trainer will be given a swift kick to their own buttocks
out of the studio.

Not only are the glutes aesthetically pleasing . . . think cute little Rugby league players
in miniscule shorts ahem, sorry I digress . . . they also, when working, make your
structure solid and injury-free.

Your glutes are the driving force behind walking, running, biking, pretty much any
physical activity you do. However, being seated for most of the day, leads to our glutes
being under-used and allows for other muscles, namely the lower back, quads and hip
flexors to do all of the work instead. Over time this is too much work for these muscles
and before you know it you’ve got a dull ache that just won’t go away, dodgy knees, or
sore hips.

So people, just in case you didn’t catch it before, that’s why we focus so much on
getting your glutes working. I just wanted to make sure that was clear with everyone,
especially as one of my own beloved clients thought she might share that essential
information with me last week after reading a “great” article on why the glutes are so
important for runners. I’m not sure she noticed the look of horror on my face as she
proceeded to tell me all the benefits of having strong glutes!! - “Why do you think
I’ve been telling you to squeeze your
bum at the end of every squat, swing and step up for the last 3 years!!!!!!” I barked.

Maybe it’s just my clients that switch off to me yabbering on about their technique each
session, but just for the record, every single exercise that you do here at the studio has a
purpose, a scientific reason behind why you’re doing it. So if you ever wonder why
your swinging a med ball around at the start of a session, or why you’re doing a certain
number of reps and sets for an exercise, just ask your trainer, there is always method to
our madness.

Barefoot Training

Alot of you already train barefoot in the studio. For most of you this may be because you can't be bothered to bring your shoes. For others it may be from our recommendations because of the benefits of being barefoot. If you are intersted in finding out more reasons to ditch your shoes, have a read of this:

You've also probably been told by your trainer that you should be supplementing with essential fatty acids. For more reasons why there is some information on the forum:

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