Why exercise is bad for you

When you treat exercise as something 'you should' be doing, you could soon be in trouble.

You go through a cycle of 'being motivated' and start training obsessively. Then you miss a training session and feel bad about yourself. You've failed. After that you punish yourself by exercising more intensely. Of course this cannot last, and ultimately you'll come to a halt again and pretty much stop exercising altogether. Until you feel that motivation again.

I had a client in the past who was training a lot. She lost over 5 stone. I have a degree in psychology and very much use that to my advantage in dealing with clients, but sometimes it's hard to know whether they are training because they genuinely enjoy it so much, or whether it's become an obsession that's going to lead to bad things.

I found out this client tried to kill herself not so long back. Training had become an obsession. No matter how much she achieved, she never felt truly happy.

Important note: Nobody is ever going to be 100 % happy with their bodies. That's just something we need to try and live with. So if you strive for perfection, you'll never get there. Those Instagram babes only show their best sides, and sometimes cry themselves to sleep because they're not 'good enough' (to who?).

In a way my old client's fitness journey was a true success story. She lost all that weight and looked absolutely incredible after having been overweight for so long. But that's of course just the snippet of her best possible fitness achievements. On the other hand it's a tragic story of how any extreme behaviour nearly always ends up in what we percieve as failure. During her recovery she's had to work with really understanding that being as thin as possible is not a route to happiness. Now she's put all the weight back on, and then some.

So when you see incredible weight loss transformations, don't assume they've 'done really well'. It should be so much more important to understand that getting to true fitness and eating healthily should be about feeling better, not worse about yourself.

Only then, even if you're still classed as 'overweight' by the rubbish official BMI standards, you can truly be happy. Just strive to be a little better.

Eat when you're hungry. Chew your food well. Notice how good you can feel after a balanced healthy meal. And how terrible and lethargic you can feel for days after eating too much crap. When you eat better, your body will reward you with more energy and a better hormonal profile, which will automatically lead to a healthy weight as a side product. Focus on adding good things to your diet, not taking anything away.

Weight loss is nothing more complicated than eating fewer calories than what your body burns. Whether you exercise or not, you'll lose weight if you're in a calorie deficit. So use exercise as a tool to feel better -- choose a sport you truly enjoy, or even just get out for a walk to get some fresh air to burn a few calories. Anything helps. And seriously, training less than 10 minutes a day a few times a week can get you in the best shape of your life. Move little and often, and don't use exercise as some sort of punishment. Humans were born to move. I don't believe in wasting your life doing something you don't enjoy (like going to the gym for many people), so choose to do nice things. Try out a new sport, you might love it.

Exercising too much can destroy you. But more importantly, exercising can also truly heal you. Just enjoy it. That's a great start.

The best bodyweight exercise for weight loss

Let's cut to the chase here.

The number one bodyweight exercise, if you want to lose weight (and especially body fat), is the squat. King squat.

Not only does it work the biggest muscle groups in your body, all at the same time (which increases the amount of calories your body burns at rest), but it also tones up your thighs, calves and butt like no other exercise.

The beauty about bodyweight exercises (when done with correct technique) is that you can do them anywhere, (pretty much) any time. And when done correctly, they'll shape up your body fast and give you the results you want.

Altering your squat (foot) position between wide and narrow helps your shape up all areas in your lower body evenly, and keeping your core tight and chest up makes it a full body exercise that'll effectively boost your metabolism.

Squat technique tips:

  • Knees always stay in line with your toes throughout the move (don't let them bend in)
  • Stick your bum back as if you were going to sit down on a seat behind you
  • Weight stays on your heels/mid foot, never on your toes
  • If your flexibility allows, go so slow your thighs are parallel with the floor (but remember previous tip)
  • Keep your chest up and core tight (you should not be hunched over)
  • Take a deep breath in as you start to lower down to a squat, and breath out as you're standing back up.

If you're just starting up with wanting to get fitter, practice your squat first by doing just 3 sets of 15 repetitions a day. Learn to control the move, pause at the bottom of the move for a second before standing up again.

Once you've nailed down the technique, move onto a killer tabata workout - and work your way up to being able to complete a full tabata set of squats with the following structure: 20 seconds constant squats -> just 10 seconds rest, repeated for 8 rounds. (Total: 4 minute super effective fat loss workout)

I can guarantee you'll get results within a week.

What are you waiting for? SQUAT!

How to easily burn up to 800 kcal more in a day

This is another one of those things....

If you think you need to go to the gym  or out for a jog to burn calories.............. you're wrong

People often mistakenly think they have to do exercise to burn calories

You don't need to complete an official workout to burn energy

Instead..... There is this thing called NEAT. It stands for Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis. It's revolutionary.

The idea is that every activity you do that is not classed as exercise still burns calories.

Every little bit of fiddling, choosing the stairs over escalators, parking a bit further away so you have to walk more, standing up instead of sitting down, cleaning up.... Everything counts.

And just by focusing on this, increasing your activity a little bit where you can, can make a HUGE difference.

So next time you're making a cup of tea...... Keep yourself warm by jumping around the kitchen (imagine the view)

Research shows you can easily burn 500 extra calories a day by increasing your NEAT... And even 800 kcals if you really go for it.

 

So....... GO FOR IT!

 

NOW

Top 3 practical tips for sustained weight loss

If you’re serious about losing weight, you need to stop doing diets. They’ll only fuck your body up (read more about it —here—), essentially because they’ll reduce your BMR.

My three most important tips for losing weight to you are: 1) Eat less than what your body burns by tracking your food, 2) allow yourself treats (YES!!!) and 3) do something active you actually enjoy.

1. To lose weight you need to know you’re eating fewer calories than what your body burns. Research shows that even just keeping a handwritten food journal makes you eat less, mainly because you become more conscious of what goes into your mouth. This is good.

If you’re serious about losing weight, log your food and drinks onto an app like MyFitnessPal. It takes the guesswork out of it. If you eat less than what your body burns, you’ll lose weight. Simple as that. You can calculate how many calories your body burns in a day on my BMR calculator, and then when you on average eat fewer calories than that number, you’ll be on your way to sustainable weight loss.

2. If you don’t allow yourself the things you enjoy the most, you’re doomed for failure in the long term. The beauty about flexible dieting is that you can eat whatever you want, as long as it’s in moderation. So you can eat cake, but if you eat cake all day you’ll feel shit after the sugar crash. And hungry. If you eat a ton of vegetables instead you’ll feel like you’re eating loads and cant get enough of food. So just find your balance, eat healthy things that you like - that’s the base of your nutrition. Then add treats, preferably at special occasions only (like eating out, going out with friends, at parties etc.). But even if you want to eat a chocolate bar every night, that’s not really a problem. Just log it on MFP and make sure you’re not going over your calories.

3. Doing something active you enjoy is so so so so important. The worst thing is when people see exercise as something horrible, a chore to do. Don’t go from zero exercise to getting a gym membership with no trainer or a plan, because it is veeeeeery unlikely you’ll keep doing it long term. Plus deep down you’ll probably hate going, even though it makes you feel better afterwards.

Instead, think of active things you actually enjoy doing. Is it walking? Cycling? Rock climbing? Swimming? Even just playing pool? No matter what it is, if it gets you up on your feet it’s a hell of a lot better than lying down on the couch eating crisps.

The bottom line. Losing weight should not be a chore, but something quite fun because you know how good it’ll make you feel when you’ve lost some. I personally LOVE veg, because I so strongly associate them to feeling and looking good. I LOVE feeling sore after exercise, because I know I’ve done something really good to my body. That’ll make me healthier and stronger, and live longer.

To life!