10 May 2019

Weight lifting or cardio training first?

weights or cardio first

We get asked this all the time and our answer is the same: it depends on your goals, and here’s why:

If you are a regular gym goer with the aim of general keep fit, staying strong and beating the bulge then it is probable like 99% of other gym goers you will want to incorporate both lifting and cardio training into your workouts.

If you do a cardio session whether it’s a steady state or interval type session you will tire; you will have used up some energy stores. If in the same session you then want to perform some lifts, you may find your strength is depleted and/or your form is poor.

Alternatively, if you started your workout with a weight lifting session your muscles will be exhausted, having been trained to or close to failure and the chances of you pushing out any good cardio training next is unlikely.

So, the overriding answer to the conundrum depends on what you value as important in your own training and you may find it most beneficial to alternate sessions with one starting with cardio and the other weight lifting. In terms of science, recent studies have shown that the most cardio gain is to be had if placed before the strength training component of a mixed workout.

The same does not apply for those with less general goals: If you want to bulk then definitely put the strength before the cardio and perhaps consider interval/HIIT training over steady state cardio when it comes to it (but don’t forget it!). For long distance runners the cardio sessions need to take precedence however it is a good idea to have a couple of dedicated strength sessions pw to add to your long distance running as it is likely you will have run out of time or energy to add anything useful after a session.

17 April 2019

What you should know about sugar

How dietary sugar effects fitness

Sugar is the umbrella term used for natural sugar, added sugar or sugar substitute. As with any food type, eaten in excess or as part of a diet that contributes to excess will lead to weight gain. As sugar is a calorie dense food with very little in it that makes you feel full, it is easy to over consume it. Furthermore, sugars are often added to our foods without us realising. Obesity and being overweight can be a precursor to several conditions such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease.

So what are these sugars?

Let’s start with natural sugar: This is a form of sugar that is found in foods such as fruit which contains fructose, wheat which contains maltose, or beans which contain raffinose amongst many more. The sugar can take the form of simple or complex molecules and is often bound with proteins and fats.

Added sugars: Sugars that get added to food in manufacture in addition to ones naturally occurring. As a rule of thumb, they tend to be the type that are energy dense and nutrient poor i.e. ones that are made of small molecules and not bound to other types of nutrients. Examples include glucose, lactose, maltose, fructose, sucrose and other ingredients ending in ‘ose’

Sugar substitutes: This group of sugars include stevia, aspartame and sucralose and don’t have any calorific value. Studies have shown they can have an effect on gut bacteria and disturb metabolism.

Other substitutes like xylitol, erythritol and sorbitol are not as sweet and do have some calorific value but have been shown to have a negative effect on people who suffer with irritable bowel syndrome.

Moderating sugar intake in particular added sugars and sweeteners that come with very little additional calorific gain would be a sensible first step. Tips to reduce sugar consumption:

  • Try and save sports drinks for workouts of over 60mins only
  • Swap out flavoured yogurts for plain ones (add fresh fruit instead)
  • Swap sweetened canned fruit for natural syrup
  • Save desserts for special occasions
  • Sweeten food with mashed banana or apple sauce instead of sugar or syrup

16 March 2019

A Brighton personal trainers advice on CHANGE

Image result for make small changes

Change is hard, especially if they are habits and behaviours that are your default, that make you feel good, that you have been resorting to for a long time.

But it is possible to change and it is possible to do it without the feeling of sacrifice and it is possible to make change last and become your new normal.

The most common trait that we see in clients is the desire to want to shake everything up simultaneously to quite an extreme degree. Clients decide the time for change is now and they want to go hell bent at it, crash dieting and unsustainable exercise regimes are what they are looking for.

What’s the problem with this approach?

The problem is that it can’t last, and even if they reach their dream weight loss or fitness they are unable to sustain it. Why? Because no one, can train alone or with a Brighton personal trainer maximally every day, be on a hugely restrictive calorie intake, hold down a fulltime job and be a functioning member of society. So what happens? They fall off the wagon, they have not spent time building up a strategy to pick themselves up when this happens and they simply drift back into their old habits. What happens then? We usually see them walk back into the Brighton fitness studio a year or two later, looking more unfit than they had the first time and much more unhappy.

How to not be this client?

Understand that you are human, that you will fall off the wagon and that you need to spend time building your recovery strategies into the working out and weight loss program. Once that is clear in your mind you have bought yourself some leeway, you need to decide how you are going to treat yourself when things go wrong and you miss a personal training session or eat a cake. A good way to do this is to say “OK I recognise that wasn’t part of my plan, I am going to drink a pint of water/ brush my teeth and go do something positive now like cook a healthy meal/take the dog out for a long walk” Call it a mental re-set, and this will give you a sense of control rather than a sense of urgency before you loose the motivation to attack this wellness goal and you slip back into your old ways.

How should you attack the training/eating plan from here?

Easy; bit by bit. Just choose one thing to focus on food wise and one thing to focus on training wise. For example let’s say you are eating really late and drinking while waiting for dinner and with dinner and its building into a nightly routine that you feel is your down fall. Try making your food goal to be making sure you eat before 7pm every night and not drinking on weekday evenings. Let’s say you feel you don’t exercise enough, your one training goal could be to exercise once on the weekend and once in the week alone, with a Brighton personal trainer or as part of a group exercise class. After you have fully mastered these changes then, and only then move onto the next two changes. Your food change next could be to ensure you eat the right macronutrients and your next exercise change could be to add another weekly workout to your program. After that becomes habit you could add your next two changes, and so on and so on….until there are no more changes left to make! And continually with the knowledge that you have a fall back plan everytime you fall off the wagon.

29 August 2018

A Brighton personal trainer walks around England

personal trainer brighton

Yup this is my goal! I plan to knock off chunks of the England coastal path on bank holidays and in time off until I’ve walked the whole coast. The England coastal path scheme aims to join up all existing coastal path sections with new paths by 2020. I started this project in 2016 in a relaxed format but have increased the length of trip and miles per day walked each time I’ve attacked it (mainly through fear at the scale of the task every time I go away!)

The coast path is 2800miles and I had originally wanted to add Wales coastal path bringing the total to 3670miles, although this is now under review given that in the 5 trips I have done I’ve only knocked off 200miles!!

However I do have human and canine company (see pic) which makes the whole thing much more pleasurable which is our main goal; the novelty factor for me is participating in a form of exercise that isn’t full on and focuses more on wellness and health.

Perhaps its because I’m a personal trainer in my 40’s now that this is so enjoyable, I certainly think it takes a certain mind set to chip away at something this mahoosive without wanting to run or bike sections to get to the end before I’m 50!!

And it’s been very revealing so far – coastal towns and villages attract an interesting cross section of life from the bohemian to the 2nd homeowners and everyone in between, yet across the board everyone has been welcoming and hospitable to us arriving bedraggled, sometimes soaking wet and cold or sweaty and smelly with dog in tow. Its been a real comfort to meet such a nice cross section of humanity and enjoy the beautiful land that we live on.

2 July 2018

Looking for a new challenge in 2018? Take part in a Tough Mudder for Charity Feed the Minds and help put an end to FGM.

tough mudder

Each year, fundraising fitness and health challenges are being thrown out at us from every angle; Veganuary, Stoptober, fun runs and triathlons. But nothing can compare to the grueling obstacle course that is taking the world by storm. Whether you are swimming through icy waters, dodging electric shocks or just trying to struggle through the 12 mile mud laden track -Tough Mudder will test you further than ever.

But this event isn’t just about testing your fitness. Already the course has raised £3 million in the UK for charity. Feed the Minds is recruiting now for Tough Mudders in Sussex and needs your help to transform people’s lives through education. Here are just a few reasons on why you should sign up…

Fundraising for Feed the Minds gives you a purpose

Although you may gain some satisfaction from finishing a Tough Mudder, it cannot be denied that fundraising for us will enhance your motivation to train for and complete the course. By taking part in the Tough Mudder in West Sussex for Feed the Minds you will help women and girls around the world, like Bridget (pictured), to say no to female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM), to stand up for their rights and transform their own lives.

When you join our team, we ask that you set yourself a goal to raise a minimum £350 for Feed the Minds. To put this into perspective, just £25 could support one girl in Kenya to complete our Girl’s Education Program, providing them with knowledge on their rights, building their confidence and helping them to stay in school, without going through FGM.

Although fundraising can be daunting, you don’t need to worry as Feed the Minds will be there to support you throughout your campaign. Often, all it takes is a few emails to friends and family with your fundraising page, which we will help you set up.What better way to do it than for a brilliant cause? Signing up for a Tough Mudder can help to transform the lives of more vulnerable women and girls like Bridget

The Challenge of Tough Mudder

Tough Mudder is more than just a race that gets you muddy- it is a combined test of stamina, endurance and determination. There are 25 obstacles overall, all placed strategically on the 12 mile mud track of the various rural locations that this event is hosted at. From the brand new ‘Kong Infinity’ obstacle, described by Tough Mudder as a legionnaire style challenge, to the icy waters of the ‘Arctic Enema’. There is even the small matter of running through a field of hanging Tasers in the aptly named ‘Electroshock Therapy’. Not only do you have to have strength, but you must also be prepared to push past a further pain barrier that cannot be tested in most endurance challenges.

Therefore, it will stretch not only your physical abilities but it will also take all of your mental grit to finish. Tough Mudder pushes your perseverance and resolve right to the edge.

Support network during your training

You may want to take part individually or with others, but either way Feed the Minds will provide you with a constant support network for both your fundraising and advice on preparation. Unlike any run, cycle or even triathlon this obstacle course takes teamwork and unity, akin to a military training course. You are not racing others but challenging yourself to simply do one thing: finish. Feed the Minds will offer whatever assistance you may need throughout the build up to Tough Mudder. Sign up here today

23 March 2018

Brightonfit personal trainer workouts

Ever wondered what kind of workouts we do? Well the answer is we do all of the workouts we ask you to do! Otherwise how would we know what to ask of you and where the difficult sections were and how to coach you through and design a balanced program?

This Brighton personal training session is designed for intermediates. It should take you about 45mins and some of the exercises use a weight (ball, kettlebell or dumbell), you should be able to perform this at home, in a park or your gym.

The session is split into 3 x 15 minute sections. Each section contains 5 exercises. You should aim to complete each exercise 10 times each side (ie split jacks) or 20 time if using both sides of your body together (ie a box jump). You must not rest between exercises and when you get to the end of the first 5 you rest for up to 60 seconds before repeating 4 more times. That will be the end of the first section and you may rest for up to 3 minutes before repeating the same format for the second and third section.

This is a fast paced session, each exercise must be performed with the focus on form, power and speed with the goal of keeping your heart rate as high as you can for as long as you can whilst maintaining form.

The explosive exercises (tucks, jacks, jumps, squats and thrusts) are very important to make sure you are really jumping/pushing hard and fast in combination. These are the plyometric sections of the workout and improve the power capacity of your muscles in a slightly different way to some of the pure strength based ones.

This workout can be repeated as often as you like. Remember not to train on sore muscles. You will develop lean muscle and burn excess fat very effectively training like this, but remember even as personal trainers doing these sessions we don’t rely on just one type of training and we mix these sessions up with running in Brighton and Hove, pure strength training and training specifically for the sports we play and recommend that you do the same. Watch this blog for more training sessions.

Click on the photo below for a link to a bigger image you can print out if you like.

Let us know how it goes….any questions, get in touch.

brightonfit personal trainer workout