Category Archives: Lifestyle

[VLOG] Questions frequently asked by prospective clients

When I hired my first Personal Trainer some 10 years ago or so I had about a million questions and many doubts about the whole thing. I was somewhere in between anxious and terrified as I didn’t really know what to expect.

Now that I have been on the other side of the table for almost a decade I always remember that first experience when I meet a prospective client and try to make the process as fun and laid back as possible.

I tend to treat initial consultations in the same way I would treat a date: as fact finding missions with the sole purpose of initiating a dialogue, understanding my prospective clients wants and needs, history and circumstances.

Bespoke programs are all about the client and so it’s important to get a full picture before we make any plans. After all I want to be sure of the best way to go to help them reach their fitness makeover goals.

The end of the consultation is when we finally to decide if we are likely to make a good team. If it’s a yes, together, we can start the journey towards their fitness success. If it’s a no, then we will go separate ways hoping that maybe one day we will find some common ground.

How do we get to that point?

Usually by having a discussion that goes something like this…

Ready to ask me your burning questions?

 

P.S. The original post is on LinkedIn, you may want to check it out.

The perfect time to start a weight loss program

So many times I see people over complicating their body transformation projects because they think they have to get many things into place before they can start. So they research, read, absorb information, hesitate, get frustrated, get overwhelmed, feel inadequate, worry and so on without ever concluding much.

The truth is the best place to start a weight loss program is exactly wherever you are at when the idea strikes, whenever you feel inspired to create those changes in your body composition. Having a burning desire to succeed is what’s going to keep you going over time and gracefully soar over obstacles on your way towards your goals.

The thing is if you feel overwhelmed at the thought of starting a fitness makeover because you think you have to restock your pantry all at once and somehow find dozens of hours to exercise every week you can breathe a sigh of relief… none of this is necessary. The perfect weight loss program for you is the one that you can follow effortlessly in the long run so you need to be strategic at the outset to ensure long lasting adherence.

Let’s figure this out! When it comes to food…

Start your nutrition adjustments by tweaking what you are doing nowDo you find that your kitchen is full of pre-packed and pre-cooked convenience foods that you can reheat in the microwave and are ready to eat in a jiffy? What about crackers and cookies? Although it’s unlikely that they will be the ideal food for your purposes they are still food and it would be a shame to waste them. You may find that microwave meals contain a few “naughty” ingredients designed to make them come across as full of flavour which can make transitioning to a diet based on fresh produce challenging.

It’s not that fresh fruit and veg are inherently bland in flavour… however, they will appear so if you are used to eating meals that are loaded with salt and strongly flavoured ingredients. It takes a while to get used to “normal food” but if you allow yourself enough time you will learn to appreciate the many subtle nuances of flavours and aromas that make nature’s bounty… well, a bounty!

The best way to start a diet is to not go on a diet, but rather to pick one or two habits that are causing you to gain weight and change them. Slowly. One step at the time. Then choose another “bad habit” and change that and so on until you have seamlessly transformed your old nutritional habits into new ones that will support you every step of the way. The best weight loss methods are the ones that you can follow easily because it is based on your personal preferences with regards to the types of food you eat whilst keeping you in a calorific deficit and your metabolism balanced.

The worse your habits are the harder this is going to be and the kinder you must be with yourself if you are serious about changing. It will take you longer to adopt a more natural approach to nutrition but it’s well worth the effort. One way you can get started is to take a typical meal for you and add something fresh to it: a tomato, a courgette, a side salad, an apple or some nuts. Start getting used to different veggies (or fruit) and before you know it you will be looking forward to having a food rainbow on your plate every day! …and the best part is that by that point you will have forgotten about all the junk you used to crave.

I know that most diets that you purchase online come with a shopping list implying that you are going to start on the day that you have all the ingredients but I would recommend reading and understanding the logic behind that particular diet and then go and buy the things you know you like that you know will fit in. When I feel like experimenting with a different framework for creating my meals I usually give myself a couple of weeks to complete the switch. This gives me time to get used to the principles and to include some of my favourite foods with the diet’s recommended foods. I also use the same strategy with my clients and they all find it easier to change their habits one at the time instead of suddenly changing everything and having a million different things to think about.

When it comes to exercise…

Start your workouts with what you can do right nowThis is an equally daunting area for many of the people I work with. For some reason they are led to believe that if they can’t perform like Olympic athletes they will be derided and won’t get any results from their weight loss programs. They get all shy when it comes to doing structured exercise. Big weights have been lifted off many shoulders whenever I pointed out that exercise is the least important aspect of any fitness makeover project: nutrition comes first, then lifestyle, then movement and then exercise.

Can’t do a full squat? Who cares! Do what you can and build on that. You’ll be surprised at how quickly you’ll make progress if you are consistent and apply yourself. Elegance and finesse within your performance are nice touches and show that you have mastered the art of executing that movement but you shouldn’t be too hung up on this in the beginning and feel that your workout isn’t effective. Smoothness comes with a practice, a lot of practice. As long as you follow the cues for executing each exercise with perfect form and put some effort in you will get results.

A trick that I often use with my clients is to turn each exercise session into something that resembles more play than a workout. I won’t skimp on form or safety (or even hard work) but I too get bored when I do the same thing over and over and over again… so I try to discover what each client enjoys the most and then I inject a little bit of that into each workout. For example: if I come across a lady client who is sassy and enjoys a bit of a boogie I will teach her how to do stripper squats. The first two or three are usually a giggle but by the 6th she will know she is doing them! If the client is a bit more adventurous and averse to traditional exercise I will teach her a few tricks to do with a hula hoop. You know, just to keep the brain extra sharp too. If a client is really adventurous and not afraid to get mucky I will teach her how to get super-strong and beautifully toned by doing quadrupedal body weight exercises. If you can make your workout fun you will always look forward to the next one.

The best strategy for creating a good beginner workout plan is to start by doing exactly what you are capable of doing  and then challenge yourself to go a little bit further every time. You don’t need any equipment or fancy gear to get started: your PJs and some floor space are all that you need to complete your first bodyweight workout. Right now! You will be surprised at how challenging this can be but you will also get a feeling of supreme satisfaction at the end just because you actually took that first step. Eventually, depending on your goals, as you get more nimble you can start adding weights to create more resistance or swiss balls to challenge your balance and co-ordination and then maybe move on to a sport that you love.

When it comes to lifestyle and moving…

As I said earlier these are more important than exercise because they are the foundation of your wellbeing as well as your body transformation. Think about it: making sure that you get plenty of down time and rest is fundamental to your success in business or at work. Your brain cannot perform at its best if you are tired, grouchy, sleep deprived and sour from doing too much stuff without ever enjoying some “me time”. Being able to carve out some time to indulge in the things that matter to you will instantly help you approach nutrition and exercise from a place of excitement instead of a place of drudgery.

Movement, i.e. everything that you do from the moment you wake up to when you go back to sleep is what humans are designed to do. We didn’t evolve to spend our days sitting on a chair staring at a computer screen and just generally being inactive. We are meant to be moving around all day long with walking ranking as the number one activity to ensure maximum wellbeing. As well as keeping your legs nice and strong, walking has the power to relax you deeply and to help you reset your metabolism to keep your stress hormones at bay. You will be surprised at how many calories your N.E.A.T. (Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis) activities will help you burn. Way more than a single exercise session and yet this is an aspect of body transformations that is often overlooked.

Final thoughts on getting started…

Start your fitness makeover journey by tweaking your mindset with help from my bookSee? Once you make the decision to get started the possibilities are endless. But you don’t need anything to get started other than a little bit of faith and willpower.

Sometimes we forget that our best tool when it comes to weight loss is the grey matter in between our ears but it can also be our biggest enemy if we can’t get a handle on our thoughts and understand the many ways in which they affect our moods and our ability to accomplish anything.

After working with many clients over the years I realised that their biggest stumbling block was their mindset which led them to what marketers call “analysis paralysis” i.e. get lost in so many trains of thoughts about fitness and weight loss that they always struggled to get started and then keep on going.

If you recognise yourself as someone whose heart and mind aren’t on the same page when it comes to fitness makeovers then I suggest you check out my book “8 Mindset Tweaks for Effortless Weight Loss” available on Amazon.

Its purpose is to help you focus your intentions so that you are 100% clear on the reasons that brought you to decide that now is the time to get your body transformation project underway. If you feel hesitating or unsure in any way I strongly recommend you read it. You’ll be glad you did!  🙂

6 common mistakes people make when trying to lose weight

Working on a fitness makeover can be a lonesome time for some. My experience as a coach is that a lot of clients are almost ashamed to admit to their friends or colleagues that that’s what they are trying to do. So they tend to isolate themselves and keep their weight loss journey a secret for fear of failure and having to hear “I told you it wouldn’t work”.

There is a lot of conflicting information available on the subjects of fitness and weight loss and it’s very difficult to navigate through a myriad of journals, articles and blogs to decide what might be a good path to follow. I know, I have been there too.

The trick to getting a great ROI for your efforts is to find a protocol that is easy to jump into and that you can follow over a long period of time, turning it into a new set of healthier habits as opposed to a collection of remedies. There are many effective frameworks to choose from and really what works for one person might be disastrous for another one.

Regardless of which protocol you decide to follow and what’s right for you, if you want to be successful at shrinking a dress size (or three) you must be aware of a number of common mistakes that people make which can thwart their efforts. Avoid these and your chances of achieving your goals will skyrocket straight away.

This is what unsuccessful people typically do:

1 – They focus on losing weight

The figure you see on the scale can be extremely depressing if it’s not changing but in reality it’s probably the last thing you need to worry about. Female body builders and athletes are often tiny creatures that nevertheless weigh a tonne. Why? Because they are muscular, yet they can be so minute that you wonder if their legs would snap in strong winds. By the way, not everyone can reasonably expect to achieve this level of leanness but most people can get very close to it if they really want to.

The better strategy would be to focus on achieving an hourglass shape and measure your progress by taking measurements around your chest, waist and hips at regular time intervals. This change is an indication that your hormones and metabolism are in good balance and therefore you are losing fat which is far more important than losing weight. Especially when you start shedding the pounds of visceral fat, the nasty stuff that accumulates around your organs putting you at an increased risk of developing life threatening illnesses. So, don’t give the scale that much importance – focus on your health and the slimmer figure will soon follow.

2 – They go on a diet

When you cut back drastically on the calories or eliminate entire food groups from your plate you are asking for trouble. Your metabolism doesn’t work in a linear way and tends to be adaptive and reactive: whatever action you take, it answers back. Usually not in the way you want it to as its primary objective is to maintain the status quo. So you need to learn to play its game.

Although some would argue that when you first cut back on the calories you seem to lose both weight and circumference, after 4 to 10 days of low calories and zero carbs you will reach a plateau. Chicken and broccoli can be very nice… but not all day every day. To lose fat you do need to cut back on the calories a little bit but if you deprive yourself of all the foods that you like your willpower will soon get weak and you will start to crave cakes and chips. Eventually you will cave in and go on a binge, cry crocodile tears the next day and start the dieting process all over again. Never really going very far in your journey.

The better way of managing your food intake is to find the combination of macro nutrients (protein, carbs, fibre and fat) that you find satisfying and keeps you full for a good 4 – 5 hours, doesn’t make you dream about a pizza the size of the London Eye, gives you steady energy all day long and yet causes you to lose fat. Once you find your very own Holy Grail of macros you are in fat loss Heaven: you have discovered your unique formula and you are set for success. If you count the calories at this stage you will find that you are naturally consuming less without trying.

3 -They only do cardio

Cardio machines at gymHave you noticed how most chain gyms, on average, have 40 cardio machines and one chin-up bar? There’s a reason for it: most people on a crusade to atone for their indiscretions at the dinner table think that if they spend an hour or more on the treadmill every day they will wash away all their sins. The truth is that they are in fact most likely to make matters worse.

Cardiovascular exercise is awesome and should be a part of every exercise plan because it brings along many health benefits. However, when it comes to fat loss frequent long cardio sessions aren’t your best strategy if you want long lasting results. The reason for this is that long cardio sessions can be stressful to the body and cause cortisol levels to rise. Whereas this can be a good thing and can actually help you lose fat, too much of it can be detrimental and cause you to lose muscle as well as making you susceptible to accumulating belly fat. Not to mention that when we are stressed we tend to crave starchy foods…

Sure, if your body type tends towards endomorph you will benefit from long cardio sessions more than others but still, you could save yourself many hours of drudgery by switching some of your long distance cardio with High Intensity Interval Training plus resistance training. I know, I know… everyone keeps mentioning it… the reason being that it works. HIIT cardio saves you time because you only do it for a few minutes at the time. Resistance training doesn’t need to take up a lot of time either and it will help you build the muscles that will keep your metabolism running at a slightly elevated rate day and night.

4 – They use every machine at the gym during each session

The butterfly approach to resistance training usually stems from the individuals not knowing what they are doing. I see this often when I go to the gym: people doing 10 reps on each machine and then moving on to the next one in random order.

Even when they use the machines correctly they are missing out on an important factor when exercising for fat loss: overload. When you exercise a muscle group to the point of overload (i.e. when it burns so much that you want to curl up and cry) you are stimulating muscle growth. This is what will eventually give you the toned look that so many women want.

And ladies, don’t worry about looking like a man and growing a beard: you don’t have enough testosterone for that. The “bulky” effect that so many women worry about is usually temporary and it’s due to the subcutaneous fat laying on top of your muscles. You will shed this. As your muscles grow your metabolic rate at rest will increase slightly causing you to burn a little bit of fat 24/7. So if you want to succeed at shrinking dress sizes you really want to choose 4 or 5 resistance exercises for your session and focus on working those muscles until you burn like crazy. Whether you do full body workouts or split routines isolating specific muscle groups depends largely on which program you wish to follow and the results you wish to get. But in either case you want to work each muscle group hard. And then rest it.

5 – They don’t have a solid plan

This is not how you measure caloriesJust as you wouldn’t launch yourself into an entrepreneurial venture on the fly you wouldn’t want to start a weight loss project without a solid plan. This will include a time for researching and discovering how your metabolism works, a time to act on the outcomes of your research, a time to assess progress, adjust the course as necessary, more execution, more assessing, more adjusting and so on until you succeed.

As you get closer to achieving your goals you may want to start thinking about how you are going to maintain your results over time. This plan is perhaps more important than the first one as fat loss is more of a lifestyle than it is a fixed length journey. If you revert to your old habits the moment you hit the perfect size 8 you won’t remain there for long. Should you lose your inspiration half way through you need to read this post.

6 – They don’t get help from a mentor

As cheesy and cliche’ as this sounds, getting help from a mentor can speed up your results in dramatic ways. You know that’s true in your business so you must accept that it’s also true when it comes to fitness and fat loss. And yet so many people think they know it all and rely on YouTube videos to get fit only to end up concluding that “none of this malarkey” works some time down the road.

Choosing your mentor is a little bit like choosing a lifetime partner or a friend: you get along well naturally, you are on the same page most of the time, he or she can fill in the gaps in your knowledge and can explain things in a language that you understand, you respect each other, you feel comfortable calling them up for a chat if you have any doubts, they help you feel good about yourself AND they will help you cut through the fluff to make your transformational journey as linear as possible despite its non-linear nature. Believe me, it works.

So there you have it. The next time you decide that you want to lose weight and look toned remember this post and make sure to avoid points 1 to 5, go straight for number 6 and book a complimentary breakthrough call to make you sure you walk down the right part immediately and save yourself time, stress and money in the process.

It’s quite normal to hit roadblocks and get stuck in a funk whenever we embark on a project of any kind and health overhaul and fitness projects are no exception to this. People often start off with the intention of improving their health, wealth and fitness levels on Jan 1st each year with all the zest in the world only to find themselves having a crisis somewhere down the line.

By crisis I don’t mean accidents, misfortune or failures. The worst thing that can happen to any of us is reaching the moment when we wake up and realize that we have lost our mojo. We no longer care about being fit, healthy and wealthy, we don’t want to get out of bed, can’t be asked to make an effort and being social is not an option.

And yet life goes on and so do we.

What can we do to get back on track with our fitness makeover project?

There is actually quite a lot that we can do… as summarized below:

 

Infographic: get out of a funk with your fitness project

M = Mindset [what SMART stands for]

Your mindset is the key to success. You will never see any fat loss program through to the end unless your head is in the right place. In fact, being in the wrong frame of mind will often prevent you from getting started altogether. This is, in my opinion, one of the biggest obstacles that a lot of people face in the beginning.

Let’s take my client and friend Lori for example. It’s not unusual for her to work long hours every day of the week doing mostly physical work. It’s a well paid job and she loves it but it takes a toll on her physique and her moods too as she seldom gets to spend quality time with her family in between work, cooking, house chores and sleeping. She is in her mid 40’s and she has been carrying a little bit of extra fat around the middle. Like most women do when they approach peri-menopause.

In the past she joined a weight loss group and lost a lot of weight but eventually gained it back with a little bit of vengeance and is now unhappy with both her weight and shape. Her body type is somewhere in between an ectomorph and a mesomorph and so the spare tyre round the middle is even more prominent as her limbs are long and slim.

Whenever we meet she talks about “going on a diet”. She is not happy about the prospect of dieting as she sees this as a period of time in which she will have to make sacrifices and give up all the foods she loves in order to lose 10Kgs in time for her Summer holidays. Because she hasn’t quite set her mind on a date when the dieting is going to start she is making sure to fill up on large portions of all the comfort foods she can find: fish and chips, pies, mash potatoes, beans, jacket potatoes drowned in butter, sausage rolls, etc. not to mention cakes and chocolates and the occasional glass of wine.

The point here is that this “giving things up” is only meant to be temporary, until she has had her holiday and then she is most likely get back to her old habits. Because in her mind the sacrifices have to end once the reward has been obtained.

My other client Carol has instead rejected the “dieting mindset” altogether. In order to get the results she wanted and keep them over time she accepted that she had to embrace change and create a new way of doing things for the rest of her life. Not radical changes, just a few tweaks to her meals here and there with a view of including all of her favourite foods on a regular basis but in moderation. In fact, over time, she stopped wanting her “favourite” foods which were high in carbs and saturated fats and instead elected more fat loss friendly foods as her new “favourites”.

With regards to exercise she started off wanting to do this 3 times per week but soon discovered that it was hard and stressful to fit 3 workouts around her existing commitments and so she settled on two sessions per week that she could easily find the time for. This allowed her to remain consistent with her efforts thus reaping the rewards in the form of a different shape and the slow but progressive release of fat from the more stubborn areas.

As time went on she was able to sustain her new habits knowing that if she “slipped” from time to time, like she might do at Christmas, she would soon be able to go back to her routine and lose all the festive plumpness in a fairly short time. The compliments started to pour in fairly soon and she became even more inspired to stay the course.

Do you see the difference in the mindset? One client is dreading getting started because of the perceived sacrifices she will have to make whereas the other one was willing to learn how to read her own metabolism and embrace the changes that worked for her. Not what the latest fitness fad says she should do.

Needless to say Lori has been having frequent guilt trips every time she has a slice of cake or an extra portion of chips, whereas Carol can’t really be bothered to have either but if she does she enjoys the cake or the chips knowing that she will be able to use them to her advantage.

How we turned Lori’s story around

Attitude Aptitude Altitude

Lifestyle

The first step was to take a good look at Lori’s weekly schedule to determine just how much walking and lifting she did during the course of her work. The answer was mildly shocking: it turned out that she was on the move all the time and constantly lifting and carrying moderate weights over short distances. This was great news in a way because movement is actually more beneficial than structured exercise for your health and wellbeing BUT too much of it will start causing issues with rising levels of cortisol resulting in increased belly fat. The same goes for adding exercise to a lot of movement.

We decided that we would skip the exercise altogether for the time being and we focused on slowing down the pace a little bit at work by changing from a fast walk to a normal walk. We then tried to create a good sleeping routine as this was an area that she struggled with somewhat. We found a good time to go to bed every night and eliminated any stimulants for up to 3 hours before bed time: no coffee, no wine, no tea, no chocolate, no tablets or electronics.

This worked relatively well but she found that her mind was often racing when she first lay down in bed and this meant a lot of tossing and turning before she could fall asleep. So we went back to the drawing board and found that for her the best thing to do was to have a little bit of wine half an hour prior to bed. Although this wouldn’t be a good policy for some it worked brilliantly for her: not only she could almost fall asleep on command, she would also stay asleep waking up feeling rested and refreshed.

In addition to “fixing” her sleep we tried to find times throughout her day in which she could relax by perhaps adding 5 minutes to her bath or just chilling with her family. She started to benefit from these small changes fairly quickly. Before we even looked at her diet she already lost a little bit of fat all over but especially around her midsection. Nothing dramatic but a good step in the right direction AND she loved it. Most importantly she felt that so far she didn’t give anything up and instead gained in relaxation and downtime. Win.

Diet

Once we established the new routine we started to look at her diet to see where we could introduce changes that would support her fat loss efforts. Her problem was the large amount of foods combining fats and starches that she was consuming on a weekly basis. This was both because she loved them and because they were convenient as she often bought them ready made from the grocery store and only needed reheating.

The first change was to replace some of the starchy foods with fresh non-starchy produce. She was game so for a couple of weeks she made herself bring a salad to work instead of a pastie. We left the option open for her to have starches for dinner but bearing in mind the glass of wine before bedtime (this counts as carbs). After the first two weeks she found that she didn’t really fancy anything other than the meat + salad for lunch as this was keeping her full and feeling better than when she ate convenience foods. Plus she became very creative with the mix of veggies that she used by treating her salad almost like a work of art with lots of different colours and textures. She also learned how to make dressings that were both interesting and flavoursome without adding too many calories from either sugar or fats.

At this point the results really started to show. Her skinny jeans became baggy around her hips and thighs and the muffin tops were soon gone. Most importantly, again, she felt that she gained from the changes instead of losing out. Win.

Exercise

As soon as she abandoned her dieting mentality she was able maintain her new shape and size and to help her get a little bit more toned before her holiday we introduced some exercise. But not all in the form of workouts… because she had very little spare time available we decided to make the most of her work at the warehouse. We agreed that every time she picked something up or drop something on a pallet she would do a squat to get to the right height and then, when possible, she would do a biceps curl to lift the object close to her chest and then reverse the movement.

Squats are a great compound exercise and can strengthen your legs, glutes and core muscles simultaneously. When you learn to do them correctly and to apply them to everyday situations you will find that lifting heavy objects becomes a lot easier and you won’t tire out so quickly. Lori found this change also easy to implement and whereas she managed to do a few squats here and there at first, she was soon able to turn this into her normal way of lifting things.

At this point we introduced workouts at home too but these only consisted of doing a few push-ups and planks a couple of times per week to make sure her upper body also looked a bit more muscular. These exercise sessions would only take up 10 minutes of her time so she found it easy to stick to them. As she got closer to the start of her holiday she was delighted with the results and still surprised that she went through a complete body transformation without dreading the process or feeling like she had to make sacrifices.

As you can see it’s as simple as changing your perspective about nutrition and exercise to make the experience more interesting and certainly not one to fear. Once my clients get over this initial hurdle and make the mental switch they begin to enjoy the process of change knowing that they will achieve and often surpass their initial goals.

If you are stuck and can’t find your way out of the dieting mentality book a 30 min. complimentary breakthrough call and I’ll gladly give you a few pointers.


S = Sexy Size [what SMART stands for]

The name SMART Fitness Makeover came about during a conversation that I had with one of my past marketing coaches. We were bouncing ideas back and forth during a re-branding effort and in the end we settled on SMART as it was the perfect acronym for all the things that my approach to fitness and weight loss stands for and also an acronym that is well known in goals setting circles. Amazingly I managed to blog regularly for almost two years without ever talking about it… so time to correct this!

Let’s start with the first letter: S = sexy size.

We all have one in our mind and it’s different for each and every one of us. The common denominator here is the idea that when we reach our “sexy size” is when we feel most powerful and truly capable of taking over the world. Regardless of age, experience and circumstances. Our sexy size might be the result of a combination of personal taste as well as influences from the media and the culture that we live in and it’s very, very personal.

Some people feel more powerful when they are super lean, others prefer voluptuous curves and others still prefer a muscular shape regardless of their body types. So in reality S also stands for “sexy shape” and part of my work is helping women achieve both the size and shape that will make them appear most attractive to both sexes.

This is what most of my clients want. Even when they don’t articulate it in this way being and feeling attractive is the transformation that they are looking for. But they call it “can you help me lose some weight here?”. I have yet to come across a client who was disappointed by the compliments they received from friends, family and colleagues as they worked through their own body transformation and the changes started to show. Not just as a smaller version of themselves but as a slightly different shape too.

The only exception to this, of course, is clients who come to me because they need help managing health conditions that can be improved with lifestyle changes that include nutrition and exercise but eventually, when they realise what’s possible, they also start to think about the way they look.

There is nothing wrong with wanting to look your best. Never.

We are visual creatures and whether we care to admit it or not we react differently to others based on how they present themselves. One of my favourite experiences of this was the time when I was buying building materials to make a step outside my front door. I went to the local building merchant to do a preliminary reconnaissance round and enquire about materials. I was wearing my stables gear consisting of an ugly collection of baggy garments that are great for dealing with mud and straw but do nothing for looks and fashion. The shop assistants barely looked at me and were very curt with their advice but gave me all the info I needed. So when I had all the measurements and I was ready to make a purchase I went back wearing a red outfit that highlighted my “slightly curvy” figure (as my stylist calls it). All the shop assistants came over to have a chat and eventually loaded my car with all the bricks and mortar despite being the client who made the smallest purchase of that entire year.

The thing is our brains are hard wired to be on the lookout for the perfect mating partner and our shape and sizes are indicators of our suitability for that task that we recognise instinctively, before we start taking into account personality traits.
There has been a lot of research carried out in the field of male and female attractiveness. It turns out that the female shape that both genders find attractive is the hourglass figure, that is when chest and hips have similar circumferences and the waist is noticeably smaller. If you divide your waist circumference by your chest and then hips circumference the ideal figure would be somewhere between 0.67 and 0.8 with 0.7 being perceived as the most attractive across cultures. However, studies also showed that both genders tended to consider women with an hourglass figure more attractive if they were also reasonably lean, whereas those with curves but overweight weren’t considered to be as attractive as their leaner counterparts. You can read one of such studies here.

Personally I disagree with some of the findings as there are some voluptuous women who look totally gorgeous even if they tip the BMI scale in the wrong direction. I believe that whereas our instincts drive us to rely on first impressions to decide if someone is attractive to us or not, it’s our ability to discern qualities such as personality style that truly makes the difference. Look at the woman in the picture on the right and tell me she is not attractive.

The way you can get close to achieving the ideal body shape is by addressing your health first and specifically your hormonal balance. This will determine your unique tendency to store fat in certain parts of your body as well as the ability to lose it. For most women fat tends to accumulate more in the lower body: abdomen, hips, bottom and thighs. These are also the areas that they struggle to slim down the most. However that’s not always the case. There are plenty of women who have heavy torsos and slim legs giving them a more masculine shape rather than a feminine one.

The next step is to identify lifestyle and nutrition changes that will support your fat loss efforts. Sleeping patterns, stress both physical and emotional, a sedentary job… all play a part into promoting or affecting your health and body composition. Finally you will need to come up with an exercise plan that will help you build the lovely body that your fat loss efforts will reveal in time.

This combined approach will help you move closer towards the shape and size that is somewhere in between what science has proven to be most appreciated and what you consider to be ideal for you. There is no point in working your arse off for months to achieve the perfect 0.7 hourglass figure and body fat % if you don’t like what you see in the mirror. What makes you feel most empowered always comes first. Exuding this type of confidence is what feeling good in your skin is all about and what I wish to help my clients achieve.

So there… that’s what S also stands for: Supreme Confidence. But also S = Schedule…

If you are stuck and need some guidance in formulating your ideal plan or even deciding what your ideal size and shape are I can help you. Just Schedule a complimentary breakthrough call with me so that we can talk strategy and if we are a good fit we can become a team!

She got into the best shape of her life. After 40. A case study.

Belinda (nor her real name, of course) was a housewife who became a mother later in life, after 40. She came from what I would consider to be a privileged background: living in a luxurious country home with her family and with plenty of time and resources to pursue her interests.

When I met her she was in her early forties and was starting to feel the effects of the peri-menopause. She was in a fairly good shape, her body type tended towards the ectomorph side of body types and therefore she was naturally lean. However she felt that she was starting to accumulate fat around her lower body and on her belly and was finding it very hard to shift it. She dedicated the previous 5 years to raising her young children and so she didn’t have the opportunity to do any of the physical activities that she used to enjoy pre-motherhood. That’s when she sought my help.

As we got to know each other she told me that she recently discovered that she was suffering from what appeared to be an autoimmune disorder that affected her digestive tract. She was under the care of a (private) medical specialist who was carrying out tests to establish the exact nature and severity of her problem. Whilst doing various blood tests it also transpired that she was deficient in a number of vitamins hence she was feeling lethargic most of the time.

Her initial goals were to build up her strength and fitness levels so that she could join the fitness classes at her favourite gym and perhaps even the local bootcamp once both of her children started school. She was also planning to go on a beach holiday the following year but didn’t have anything booked yet. With almost 12 months ahead of us to the time of her holiday we started to reverse engineer her fitness goals and set an initial target for a few weeks ahead.

The first step was to create a new routine that would integrate multiple exercise sessions each week into her existing schedule. We also looked at her nutritional habits and where she could make changes to both support her weight loss goals and help her manage her autoimmune disorder. We devised an initial protocol and we set to work.

It soon became apparent that although she was saying that she wanted to change she wasn’t actually willing to accept the fact that she had to actually make the changes that we discussed. For some reason, despite the fact that we established a pattern of tummy aches after eating certain types of foods, she resisted the idea of cutting back on them and seemed to be able to come up with the most creative “reasons” as to why she couldn’t possibly do it. Keeping up with the exercise regime was easy because I was personally there to make it happen, but the nutrition side of our plan was a bit tricky to manage.

Of course, although her body was becoming stronger and more shapely as the weeks went by she wasn’t quite achieving the extreme leanness that she was hoping for. Fortunately, after many tests, exams and more medical investigations her consultant concluded that she was suffering from coeliac disease and backed up my nutritional suggestions to avoid gluten rich foods and try the gluten free versions instead. She was also prescribed vitamin supplements and injections to help with her energy levels.

Unfortunately when suffering from a gluten intolerance people can suffer a fair amount of damages to their intestinal tract. This makes the absorption of nutrients difficult and even when eating all the “right foods” you can still end up suffering from malnutrition and a lot of inflammation. Taking digestive enzymes can be of help as they break down the food in such a way that makes absorption of nutrients easy. They are not a miracle cure but they can be extremely useful in these circumstances.

As soon as she incorporated these simple changes into her diet her body also started to change. The bloating was gradually disappearing and so was the slight water retention. As the vitamins were starting to take effect her energy levels started to increase. We were on a winning streak but then… she started slacking with the exercise and now the “reasons” were being used to justify why she couldn’t possibly find 10 minutes to do a round of Tabata intervals once or twice per week in between our metabolic boosting and body building sessions.

The truth is that while her holiday was still at the planning stage she didn’t really have a true deadline to meet and so she was floundering a bit. I think the coaching sessions were starting to become a social event rather than a project, not to blow my own trumpet too much but I am good fun to be around!  😉  Anyway, back to Belinda who was working towards her goal but a little bit halfheartedly…

beach holiday as a great motivator

The turning point

The big turnaround came when the holiday was booked and at that point she suddenly transformed into Mrs Motivator and never skipped a workout with or without me there. She discovered that she had the determination of the Terminatrix within her and she wasn’t going to stop. In fact, I had to start reminding her of the importance of rest periods and letting go from time to time!

Her turning point was the prospect of feeling insecure whilst wearing a bikini, that perceived pain became stronger than the pain of having to sweat her heart out doing intervals on her exercise bike or lifting heavy dumbbells. This is a common issue with women over 35. We all age at different rates but we all age. And as we slowly turn into our grandmothers we feel that our sexyness is vanishing and we become invisible and unattractive to our partners. Of course, we know very well that there are more important qualities than beauty that bond us to our mates but we are also instinctively aware that we cannot escape our true nature as visual creatures.

The results that Belinda achieved were stunning: after a few weeks of doing everything I told her to do she looked absolutely amazing. She had curves in all the right places and every inch of her body was screaming “fit!”. Her lower body fat was gone, her tummy was flat and all her clothes started to fit more comfortably. She regained the body shape and freshness that comes with youth and was looking radiant. It was as if she turned the clock back ten years or so. Needless to say she was ecstatic and her husband very appreciative too!

Oh… and her life started to blossom in other ways too. As she reconnected with her youthful self her confidence returned and she started to pursue artistic endeavours that she always dreamed of but never actually had the courage to take up. Her kids responded incredibly well to the transformation too as they suddenly had a happy and fit mum keeping up with them all day long instead of a grumpy parents desperate for a bit of a rest.

The moral of the story is that unless you set yourself a real deadline for your fitness makeover efforts you are likely to be going at it halfheartedly and therefore not see stellar results. In fact, the lack of the amazing results you heard other people achieve so many times will further dampen your enthusiasm. You might even convince yourself that it’s not worth continuing and that it’s much easier to buy a bigger t-shirts. Although that’s true, it’s not entirely true. It’s all down to you. A coach can only give you guidance and iron out the kinks for you but unless you really want to change not much is ever going to happen.

If you would also like to experience the same kind of fitness makeover as my client “Belinda” you can start by booking a complimentary breakthrough call to discuss your goals and intentions. In addition to body building and nutritional consultancy I can also offer help with menopausal fat loss and the management of a number of autoimmune disorders and chronic conditions. 

How to get fit (and stay that way) when you are super busy

I am always a little bit sad when Summer ends because I love the longer hours of daylight, the warmer temperatures, sleeping with all the windows wide open and finding excuses for spending time outdoors. Most importantly, I can upgrade my back garden to outdoors exercise area where I can enjoy a lot more space and plenty of fresh air. Clients are usually on holiday and so I get to slow down too for a short while.

When Autumn starts life gets busy on all fronts again. Not just for me but for my clients too. For many of them the end of the year coincides with the end of their financial year and suddenly work brings a whole new dimension of busy-ness to their already packed lives. When I worked in corporate many years ago, from September onward I knew I would start at my job around  9am but I never knew when I would come home. Not only I had my usual tasks to deal with but heading towards the “festive season” meant more business lunches, more networking events, more parties and so on. I know, it sounds like such a hard life (not!) but believe me, having to kiss arse and get drunk in order not to disappoint clients can take a significant toll on you and your waistline in the long run.

At the time I used to exercise in the evenings as I am a bit of a night owl but from September onwards it became virtually impossible to stick to a regular routine. Nowadays I witness the same issues with some of my clients who are often forced to cancel or reschedule their evening sessions at short notice.

The only way that you get visible and long lasting results when you follow a weight loss and fitness program is if you are consistent with your efforts. It’s not different from running a business or working for one. In fact I look at my fitness regime as one part of the “business of me”: it has to provide the results I want and be enjoyable, in fact make that exciting. This helps me re-frame fitness as something that is vitally important to my own success both as an entrepreneur and as an individual striving to maintain optimum physical and mental health.

How to manage your nutrition when everyone else isn’t

Eating healthy when everyone else isn'tThe first step is always to (re)define your goals and be realistic about them. For example, if you know that you are coming up to an extremely busy few months with plenty of social events that you can’t get out of it might not be the best time to start working on your beach body. Unless of course the people you have to hang out with are also following a fat burning program and won’t mind discussing business over a rocket salad and a glass of still mineral water. It can be really difficult to stick to your meal plans when you are under a bit of peer pressure to have a few drinks and a curry.

So if that’s the case why not allow yourself a bit of slack and revise your goals from going to the gym for weight loss to maintenance/damage limitation with perhaps a bit of slow progress as a bonus instead? You can still achieve a lot, you just have to make the most of the change in circumstances and go with the flow.

I successfully used two strategies for my clients (and myself) to sail through busy times without any damages to the waistline. The first strategy is to alternate binge meeting and eating with fasting, i.e. have as many meetings as you can to include both lunch and dinner in one day followed by a day of fasting. The second strategy consisted of spreading out the meetings as much as possible and use the extra dinners or lunches as part of an intermittent fasting program. The ultimate goal here is to try and break even with calories in vs calories out with a little bit of extra help in the form of more movement and exercise when necessary.

The thing is if you book a table at a restaurant that’s nowhere near a tube station or bus stop you will have to walk there and back. It’s always nice to do this after a large meal and it will help you sober up slightly if you have had one too many. I speak from experience. …hic!

It takes a lot of commitment to yourself and your goals to stick to either strategy but if your health and fitness are important to you you will always find a way. Otherwise you will find excuses masqueraded as reasons. Again no different than running a business.

How to exercise consistently in the face of busy-ness

Internet wisdom suggests that abs are made in the kitchen. I disagree. Abs are made in the gym and are revealed by wise use of your time and energy in the kitchen. If you can’t do the latter you must make sure you are at least focusing on the former for the time being.

The thing is in order to achieve the perfect beach body (I am already thinking about next Summer here…) you have to build the physique and that requires consistent effort with your exercise. When you are super busy there is no need to get all complicated, you can save that for later when you have an easier schedule and you need to put the finishing touches to the solid foundations you have built. But, again, it’s important to make the time for it.

the best workout for weight loss is the one you do, not the one you think about.The solution is super easy. You need to have strong boundaries with yourself first and your co-workers and bosses second, but you must make a point of not starting work earlier than your contract says unless extreme circumstances arise. This is an important part of achieving a healthy work-life balance: if you know your finishing time is a vanishing time you might as well start when you are supposed to and not a minute sooner.

This gives you room to get up 30 minutes earlier than normal in the morning and stick in a quick 20 min. metabolic workout that as well as keeping your physique in tip top condition will also give you a little bit of extra energy for the day. There are many good ways to exercise at home with or without equipment: it depends on your personal preferences and what you are trying to achieve.

I had a few clients in the past who used this strategy very successfully: they would see me at the crack of dawn to check in on their progress since my last visit and then put in a jolly good workout before going to the office. They got energised in the fresh air and started their day with a spring in their steps and their renewed confidence helped them make strides in their careers. Personally I hate getting up early in the morning but when I had to I soon learned to love the feeling that I got after a good workout and in fact I ended up getting up even earlier to do some extra work too.

You don’t have to do anything fancy (but you can if you want to), if you stick with a few basic exercises focusing on form rather than reps or personal bests you can reinforce your neuro-muscular connections. This will ensure that your body is ready for muscle growth and increased strength. If you do this right you will get that sweet feeling of your metabolism burning fat all day long, making you feel a bit warmer and almost buzzing with extra energy. Your mind will be sharper and you will feel and look stronger giving you the edge in the business environment where presenting your ideas with confidence can make or break a career.

If all you can do is work out for 20 min 3 times per week you will still get results and in fact you will be amazed at how remarkable these will be. Then when life allows it again you can go back to being more thorough with your fitness training program but that’s an article for another day.

In the meantime if you would like some help finding the best way to get fit and lose weight through your busiest times with ease and grace book a complimentary breakthrough call now and let’s define some goals. Without obligation but with a lot of enthusiasm.

P.S. If you are reading this article in the run up to Christmas you may want to check out my book “Burn fat, not the turkey” offering tips and tricks for navigating the holiday season in style whilst simultaneously avoiding crocodile tears on January 2nd.

 

Step 4 – Stay Consistent To Keep Off That Stubborn Fat!

Living well on a day-to-day basis brings eternal happiness
By Rich “Slayer of Stubborn Fat” Tweten CPT, Author

I realize that you may have tried a fat loss program and diet in the past only to quit for some reason.

If this is so, please accept the fact that this time, things really could be different for you!

I know you’re searching for more happiness.

The results that you’ll get by becoming more active and eating more healthily will allow you to become happier as a person and hopefully you’ll enjoy the journey as well.

It’s the journey that will ensure your short and long-term fat loss success!

Yes, there’s a reason why so many people (maybe even yourself) have failed to lose weight and keep it off before.

Could it be due to the fact that the journey wasn’t as pleasurable as the old, unhealthy lifestyle that was put on hold?

That’s often the case.

This time, the new journey towards your rapid and permanent fat loss results needs to become more pleasurable than the old, unhealthy lifestyle that you’re now leaving behind.

Here is your goal for this assignment…

To develop more confidence and peace of mind from knowing that you’ll be consistent after switching to a healthier lifestyle.

Effort confidence

Let’s begin by identifying the biggest reasons why a person stops, or is inconsistent soon after beginning a fat loss program or diet.

It’s been my experience that someone can lose motivation if they’re not seeing quick fat loss results, or enjoying themselves while taking action to lose weight.

In other words, try not to learn from trial and error but instead on what works, right away!

Is there anything else that can stop you from adhering to a healthier way of life on a consistent basis?

How about temptations and urges?

Highly emotional situations can cause you to feel an urge to resort back to an old and unproductive action that brought you temporary pleasure despite the painful situation.

So, if this action allowed you to feel relieved and satisfied in the past then there’s a strong chance you’ll act the same way in the future when reacting to a similar feeling.

For example, let’s say you’re caught in a traffic jam and you’re now going to be late for an appointment.

Due to the familiar stress, you suddenly have an urge for a cigarette, knowing full well that you vowed to stay away from them, for good.

Then, you see the driver next to you with one in his hand, so you roll down your window and ask for one.

All of a sudden you’re back to your old and unhealthy habit of smoking!

Instead, couldn’t you have reached for a stick of bubble gum or a squeeze ball?

Wouldn’t that be a healthier habit to form?

It’s up to you in terms of what you reach for, yet I encourage you to go for the healthier alternative since you won’t sabotage your fat loss and health goals.

Realize that it’s important to replace the unhealthy habit with the healthy, since you must have an alternative habit with which to preoccupy yourself with.

Question 1: What are 4 unhealthy remedies such as smoking, drinking, potato chips and doughnuts etc., that you reach for when tempted, or have an urge as a result of any stressful situation.

Also, state the reason as to why you subject yourself to each unhealthy remedy.

Again, think of highly emotional situations that usually trigger a negative feeling. Lastly, identify the painful consequence of using that remedy instead of a healthier alternative.

An Example Of An Unhealthy Remedy: A bag of potato chips.

The Reason You Reach For That Unhealthy Remedy: After a stressful day at work, I’m often tempted and then make the decision to reach for a bag of potato chips.

Painful Consequence Of Using That Unhealthy Remedy: Since I’ve developed the habit of reaching for a bag of potato chips for over a year now after stressful days at work, I’ve been feeling bloated and put on more weight as a result.

Fabulous!

You’ve now identified the unhealthy remedies you reach for during highly emotional situations and matched the painful consequences of resorting to them.

Since it may be overly difficult to interpret the stressful situations in a positive light and feel great as a result, it would be wise to choose a healthier remedy in exchange to comfort yourself in the short-term.

Question 2: Replace your unhealthy remedies with healthier alternatives. Afterwards, I’ll encourage you to explain how the switch will affect your health in a pleasurable and positive way!

An Example Of A Healthy Remedy: Veggie sticks and yogurt instead of potato chips.

The Pleasurable Benefits Of Using That Healthy Remedy: Using this healthy remedy instead of reaching for a bag of potato chips will make me feel less bloated and I’ll consume fewer calories and fat, while still satisfying my body. It won’t take long to drop a few pounds of fat due to this change.

At this point in time a bag of potato chips may seem more satisfying to you than some veggie sticks and yogurt.

The short-term pleasure from eating the chips isn’t worth the long-term painful consequence though, is it?

As you keep the above in mind, you’ll begin to associate more pain in continuing on with the unhealthy remedy due to the way it causes you to look and feel.

In return, you’ll associate more pleasure with the healthy remedy, which in this case, is the veggie sticks and yogurt.

You’ll feel good afterwards instead of feeling bloated and will have the peace of mind knowing that you’ve done something really good for your body and overall health!

Veggie sticks and yogurt taste better already, don’t they?

However, I would recommend taking 1 day off every week when you can eat those sugary, salty and fatty foods.

What else can you do to improve your chances of adhering to this healthier way of living on a regular basis?

How about conditioning your mind with a positive and healthy affirmation!

An affirmation is a statement that you hold close to yourself and repeat on a regular basis. It’s a positive reminder as to why you’ve decided to commit yourself to a new and healthier lifestyle.

Your goal is to live by this statement and repeat it on a daily basis.

This is a fantastic way of programming beliefs into your mind that you’re trying to adopt and works great for staying motivated.

Question 3: Create a positive and healthy affirmation. I encourage you to repeat this statement every morning and during the day before your workouts.

Continue on with this for at least 90 days and replace it with another as you go, if you wish.

Your affirmation should be positive and exciting! Study the example below to assist you when creating an affirmation of your own.

Example Of A Positive And Healthy Affirmation: My unhealthy lifestyle of the past is now a lesson that I’ve learned from. The fat loss related actions I take today will affect my tomorrow. So, I’ll enjoy the positive feelings and peace of mind knowing that I’m incorporating a smart fat loss plan into my life. I’m looking forward to gaining more energy, fitting into my good pants again and also inspiring others to change the way they look and feel in a positive way!

The power of the spoken word is great.

We talk ourselves into feeling certain emotions on a regular basis so why not convince ourselves to feel motivated and energized as often as we can?

It’s possible to forget why you’re doing something good for yourself.

If you forget – then your level of motivation will drop – so that’s why I suggest repeating a positive and healthy affirmation every morning and during the day before your workouts.

This task will help you to guarantee a winning day for yourself!

Moving along, I don’t know of anyone who doesn’t look forward to a pleasurable outcome. Waking up can be a difficult task if you refuse to get excited about working towards anything.

Think back to a performance that you worked hard to excel at since you knew the spotlight would soon be on you in the near future.

Do you remember a possession that you once desired, which gave you a new reason to save money?

Would you say that upcoming performance or desire to own that special item increased your level of motivation towards taking the small but consistent steps of action that were needed for you to reach those goals?

You bet!

So, it would be wise to have something special to look forward to.

How about an event where many friends and family members will witness your new body?

Wouldn’t you like to wear a designer outfit that’s worthy of displaying your upcoming masterpiece? It’s always nice to get rewarded for your accomplishments, isn’t it?

Question 4: What special event and possession are you going to reward yourself with once you achieve your fat loss goal in only 90 days?

You’re almost there!

Lastly, we’re going to uncover a very important – yet often unnoticed – area of your life.

It can literally make or break your up-coming fat loss success.

The key word is “association.”

Association is incredibly powerful and it’s up to you for creating your empowering network of associates. We don’t have a choice about who our family is going to be, but we can choose our friends and acquaintances.

It’s safe to say that a little bit of them rubs off on you – and you on – them.

Now that you’re about to get physical, please be aware that you may have some associates who will be rooting for you and others that will root against you.

Have you ever heard of the old saying, “Misery loves company”?

The last thing that some people want is a friend beginning to change in a positive way.

The more that person changes the less the other person can relate to him or her and due to that, they can pull apart.

For example, a group of friends are going out to eat at a favorite restaurant. One of them whose name is Sandy has just started to improve her eating habits, while also exercising on a consistent basis.

All was fine until it came time to order the meals. The waiter took the orders from around the table and as Sandy looked up with anxiety she heard, “I’ll have the fried calamari with extra dip” and “I’ll take the sirloin steak with French fries.”

Then the waiter asks what it is that Sandy would like to eat and she gulped, “Tuna salad with a glass of water.”

Her friends looked at her in disbelief and then she needed to become defensive in order to back up her new and healthy lifestyle change.

Let’s not even get into what happened at dessert!

The fact of the matter is this, people change and it’s important to be aware of this and firm in your beliefs.

Try to spend more time around people who support and encourage your fat loss efforts, while spending less time around those who bring you down.

Ideally, try to find a friend with whom you can workout with.

With each individual pulling for the other – since your fat loss success is dependant upon the others – you’ll increase the odds of adhering to this new way of life and experiencing rapid and permanent fat loss results.

Congratulations!

It’s time for you to realize that your body is the servant of your mind and anything your mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve!

Yet, if you are lacking knowledge on the consistent steps of action that you should be taking in order to achieve rapid and permanent fat loss results, then check out these best weight loss methods found on the author’s website.


Rich Tweten Fat Loss SlayerAbout the Author: Rich “Slayer of Stubborn Fat” Tweten is a Certified Personal Trainer and author of PFL90, The Ultimate Psychologically Based Fat Loss Plan. Since 1999, he’s helped thousands of people who’ve accidentally programmed their bodies to be overweight for life to achieve rapid and permanent fat loss results through the successful transformation of their mindset.

PFL90Click here for more information on PFL90. 

Inside, ALL of the AMAZING psychologically based fat loss secrets are PACKED into a series of simple thought provoking assignments with questions that will help you to make that FINAL decision to begin working towards rapid and permanent fat loss results!

4 Simple Steps to Win Your Day. Every Day. [Infographic]

I am in the very fortunate position of being able to wake up naturally a lot of the time and only having to set the alarm clock some of the time. Even so Mondays can be difficult as they mean leaving behind the chilled pace of the weekend and getting ready to face whatever challenges life will bring as the week unfolds.

I find solace in setting up the alarm clock 30 minutes before the time I actually want to get up to make sure I start the day with some me time to set myself up for success. No matter what. Here is how I do it:

4 simple steps to win your day infographic

Good quality sleep

It may seem as if I am stating the obvious but you cannot expect to win the day without struggle unless you have fully recharged your batteries with a few hours of good quality sleep. How many hours you actually need depends on your unique metabolism, however there seems to be a general consensus that less than 5 hours is not enough sleep and over 10 hours is too much sleep. Again, this also depends on your personal circumstances as if you happen to be sleep deprived for any reason you will certainly need to give yourself the time to make up for the lost sleeping time.

While you are asleep your body repairs itself, gets rid of toxins, tunes down the release of fat storing hormones and turns up the release of fat burning and rejuvenating hormones. I have over simplified an exquisitely complex chain of chemical reactions but it’s enough to give you a good idea of why good quality sleep is so important. Think of how dangerous you are at the wheel when you are tired and how hungry you get when you don’t sleep enough. How can you be a winner when you are in that state?

Practice gratitude

The idea of recognising everything that we can be grateful for seems to be a common thread in any coaching circle under the sun. There is a good reason for it: as we get caught up in the rat race of thinking we have it bad because we don’t have this or that we forget about all the things that we actually have. Therefore getting in the habit of spending a few moments first thing in the morning to reflect on all the good things in our life and express heartfelt gratitude for them is a sure way to get into a good mood before we part company with our duvet.

In fact, it might be the only way that we can feel inspired to get out of bed. Especially when times are tough. And if the only good thing going on in your life is that you are still breathing be grateful for that as you never know when your luck is going to change.

Visualise your day

After you have practiced gratitude and you are in a light and happy mood it’s time to start visualising your day. The idea is to do a practice run in your head before you live your day for real. Athletes and performance artists do this all the time: they prepare for their performances by rehearsing their moves or words in their heads. It’s a great way of overcoming training obstacles and plateaus of any kind.

The secret is to get into as much detail as possible as you do this: what you are going to have for breakfast, how much coffee, what you are going to wear, what you are going to say at that meeting, how are you going to finish that project, what you are going to buy at the shops on the way back from work, what you are going to have for dinner, are you going to exercise? what are you going to watch on tv and what time you are going to bed. It’s like having a to do list in your mind: once it’s compiled all you have to do is go tick every item as you go along.

Planning your day in this way will save you from stress and overwhelm later on as you will have a clearer direction. You can apply this same principle to your weight loss and fitness journey: visualize the end result that you want to achieve and reverse engineer the process of getting there.

Morning rituals

I find morning rituals comforting. They are a part of my daily plan and I try to stick to them almost every day. They allow me that little bit extra mental space at the start of the day when I can make peace with the world and gradually transition from half asleep to fully awake. The first of my morning rituals is feeding the cats. I have no real choice in this matter as the punishment for not obliging is many paws on my face with gradually increasing degrees of clawing.

Then comes breakfast with copious amounts of coffee, then a quick tidying up of the house, wash, dress and then I am ready for my day. I suppose I could call this a “routine” but I find that the word “rituals” infers that these tasks are sacred to me and that nobody should interfere with them. If I am working on my own body transformation I might include a bit of time spent on the stationery bike or hula hooping as part of my morning ritual so it’s done and I don’t have to worry about it anymore. Otherwise I am ready to put into practice everything that I rehearsed while visualising my day.

Personally I find that whenever I stick to these 4 steps I come out a winner at the end of the day and feel like celebrating, no matter how small that win was. The thing is when I feel like I am winning at the game of life I tend to make better decisions which in turn leads to more victories big and small. So, now I am curious… what do you do to set yourself up for victory every day?

Need help with setting yourself up for victory? Book your complimentary breakthrough call using the little popup on the right and let’s give this a go! 

Step 3 – Small But Consistent Steps Of Action To Slay Stubborn Fat

“Make good things happen for yourself or bad things will surely happen to you”
By Rich “Slayer of Stubborn Fat” Tweten CPT, Author

After you make new and empowering decisions related to living a healthier lifestyle, I’m sure you’ll realize that there are more actions you’ll need to perform on an everyday basis.

This will take greater personal effort, but if you don’t take the necessary actions that are needed now, it will take far greater energy in the future to start living a healthier lifestyle and to deal with the painful consequences which will follow.

So, don’t get overwhelmed by looking at all the work that needs to get done.

Instead, I encourage you to focus on taking everything one day at a time, or should I say one step at a time! By taking small but consistent steps of action to slay stubborn fat on a daily basis, you’ll succeed in adopting these best weight loss methods found on the author’s website.

Coming up, you’ll find an assignment with questions that are brought to your attention in a simple, step-by-step format.

Simply print off this article – then write down your answers, or create a text file and type them out as you go.

Here is your goal for this assignment…

To learn how to improve your chances of taking the right steps of action on a consistent basis so you can slay stubborn fat rapidly!

There are 2 preventable and potentially devastating reasons that people use to justify the fact they aren’t taking the action that’s needed in order to realize the great physical results they want to experience.

The first one is called procrastination. When people procrastinate, they normally have a list of excuses as to why they aren’t acting in a productive manner. They feel that those excuses are legitimate and try to live guilt free. Maybe they are legitimate excuses, yet they are still excuses!

From the way I see it, the only way a person can’t start to take small but consistent steps of action to slay stubborn fat is if they’re in a grave!

We all have the same amount of time in a day and it’s up to us in terms of how we use that time.

There are no dress rehearsals in life, so we should all strive to use our time as wisely as possible.

The second preventable and potentially devastating reason is called giving up.

By giving up there is absolutely no hope for a person to realize their fat loss goals and the only thing they can do from there is dream about what could’ve been and deal with the regret and painful consequences to follow.

It’s obvious that you haven’t given up since you’re reading my words right now. Therefore, we’ll focus on the biggest excuses people use to cover up procrastination.

Workout in your head

Excuses Related To Time

Question 1: Identify all of the excuses you’ve used in the past and present to avoid taking the appropriate steps of action so you can slay that unwanted stubborn fat. Remember, that these excuses are all a form of procrastination. Afterwards, remind yourself how you were affected by using those excuses instead of working towards your fat loss goals. Lastly, I’ll provide a few tips that will help you to eliminate each excuse.

Example Of An Excuse Related To Time: I told myself in the past that I didn’t have the time to exercise. With the kids, work and my other responsibilities it seemed impossible to take the time to look after myself.

Example Of How I Was And Will Continue To Be Affected By Using That Excuse: By using that time-related excuse I missed out on 2 years of my life when I could’ve been healthier while feeling better about myself. If I continue to use that excuse, then I’ll gain more body fat and will lose extra energy as a result.

Tips From Rich: Ask yourself how you can afford not to have the time! Making the time to exercise should be near the top on your list of priorities since your body is your most precious possession. It’s a possession that you’ll never be able to replace. By taking the appropriate action steps to improve your health and slay stubborn fat, you’ll gain energy and will become more efficient in the day and as a result, get more done!

Look at your calendar and block off all the times when you’re booked up with usual responsibilities. Fit in three, 20 minute time slots for your weight training and cardiovascular workouts on alternate days of the week, or even on the same days if you wish.

If you can’t find the time for exercise then you’ll need to cancel something else out that isn’t as high of a priority.

Also, I’d encourage you to workout in the comfort of your own home, since this is more convenient than training at a gym. Make sure to schedule in your workouts ahead of time so you’ll have the peace of mind knowing that you already fit them into your schedule.

Excuses Related To Money

Example Of An Excuse Related To Money: Currently, I don’t have much money to buy a gym membership and the food I need in order to lose fat. I can’t look after myself since I need to look after my family first.

Example Of How I Was And Will Continue To Be Affected By Using That Excuse: By using that money-related excuse I now can’t fit into my good clothes that I used to wear. If I continue to blame my lack of activity and proper nutrition on a lack of funds, then I’ll gain more fat and won’t feel as good about myself. Not only that, but I won’t have the energy needed to take care of my family.

Tips From Rich: If you can’t afford to purchase a gym membership that costs roughly $25 to $50 dollars a month, then I suggest looking for ways to fit it into your budget. If you’re looking to purchase in-home workout equipment, simply think of all the ways in which you can save money during the month. You can cut down on going out to eat, coffees, smoking etc. Keep cutting out unnecessary expenses until you can afford the tools that are needed so you can achieve your fat loss goals.

As far as eating the right food goes, this shouldn’t be a problem for you financially since good food normally doesn’t cost more than the unhealthy alternative. If it is a stretch, perhaps use money-saving coupons to bridge the gap.

If you’re truly living on a shoestring budget then I encourage you to invest in a reasonably priced set of free weights, a bench and a stability ball that should come with a one-time cost of $200 dollars, or less. With this inexpensive option, you won’t need to buy a gym membership or more expensive in-home workout equipment and can still take the action that’s needed to get great results from your exercise plan.

Excuses Related To Energy

Example Of An Excuse Related To A Lack Of Energy: At this time in my life I don’t have the energy to exercise, due to my hectic work schedule.

Example Of How I Was And Will Continue To Be Affected By Using That Excuse: By using that lack of energy-related excuse I haven’t gained energy in the day and it’s only gotten worse. If I continue to use that excuse then I fear that I’ll become heavier and my performance will suffer as a result.

Tips From Rich: If you have a lack of energy, then realize that there’s a reason for that. Could it be possible that you have low energy because there’s not enough activity in your life? A more active body is a more energetic one! The new activities that your body isn’t used to will force you to become stronger and fitter. Everyday activities will become easier as a result.

Great job!

Hopefully you’ve now decided to eliminate any excuses that you’ve been using to avoid exercise and healthy eating. After standing up to your own excuses and dismissing them, you’re now free to take the small but consistent steps of action that will slay the stubborn fat all over your body!

How can you ensure that you’ll continue to take the correct steps of action on a regular basis? The answers lie in the next and last step that relates to weight loss management


Rich Tweten Fat Loss SlayerAbout the Author: Rich “Slayer of Stubborn Fat” Tweten is a Certified Personal Trainer and author of PFL90, The Ultimate Psychologically Based Fat Loss Plan. Since 1999, he’s helped thousands of people who’ve accidentally programmed their bodies to be overweight for life to achieve rapid and permanent fat loss results through the successful transformation of their mindset.

PFL90Click here for more information on PFL90. 

Inside, ALL of the AMAZING psychologically based fat loss secrets are PACKED into a series of simple thought provoking assignments with questions that will help you to make that FINAL decision to begin working towards rapid and permanent fat loss results!

Don’t let SAD drown your spirit. 5 tips for excellent mental health this Winter.

In the past few weeks (I am writing this in October, 2016) I have noticed a resurgence of social media posts about mental health to raise awareness and dispel the myth that it’s something to be ashamed of. I am totally on board with this as there is nothing worse than realising that someone who is near and dear to us is putting on a brave face to appear “normal” whereas in reality they are fighting an almighty battle with depression inside their heads all day every day. It’s heart breaking.

Spring is only 5 months away in October...It’s not my place to discuss severe mental health issues or mental health programs as I am not qualified to do so and these should be the exclusive domain of doctors and psychiatrists.

I am however professionally qualified to help clients cope and manage with mild occurrences of mood disorders like depression, stress and anxiety, also in conjunction with their medical consultants.

Therefore as we are just about to enter the 5 months of almost perpetual darkness here in the UK I thought it would be good to look at a few health tips to help us stay cheerful while we count down the days to the next Spring Equinox.

From my point of view as a fitness professional good mental health is a natural consequence of good physical health. Since I can remember I was surrounded by quotes from ancient Roman and Greek philosophers and the one that stuck with me is “Orandum est ut sit mens sana in corpore sano” i.e. let’s pray for a healthy mind in a healthy body (Giovenale, Satire, X, 356). Although at the time of Giovenale this line was meant to encourage readers to move away from the pursuit of fame and fortune and instead focus on their health, today “mens sana in corpore sano” has become the motto of many in the health and sports industry. The meaning slightly changed to suggest that in order to have a healthy mind you must first have a healthy body.

Research seems to support this idea: a study conducted in the field of academic performance showed that pre-adolescent students who were physically active and healthy achieved better academic scores across a range of diverse subjects to include maths and reading. You can read the full study here (3). If you want to learn even more you can follow the references to similar studies conducted on adults, reaching similar conclusions.

Keeping your brain healthy is in fact not that difficult and from my point of view it looks a lot like laying the foundations to become physically fit and healthy. You see, as always, there are no magic pills that will make up for a sedentary lifestyle with questionable nutrition and unhealthy habits like smoking, taking drugs and excessive alcohol consumption. However here are some health and wellness tips that will help you cope with the Winter months.

Your lifestyle

Provided you are otherwise reasonably healthy and not taking medications that can cause you depression or anxiety, the first thing to look at if you are feeling down more often than up is your lifestyle and how this is affected by the time of the year. For example if you work a 9-5 job and have to commute daily chances are you won’t see much daylight Mon to Fri in the Winter months. The same goes if you work night shifts and sleep during the day: no matter what time you wake up, you will miss a lot of the daylight hours or miss out on your sleep. Daylight is important because it helps your body produce Serotonin which has been linked to positive moods and a calm yet focused outlook on life (4).

older lady cycling in the park on a sunny dayThis is great news for business: who doesn’t want to feel calm, happy and in control in every situation you may come across at work?

Your best strategy in this respect is to honour your lunch break and go out for a walk whenever you can so that you can soak up some of the daylight. This is mandatory on sunny days.

If at all possible make sure you have to cross a park to go and get your lunch but it would be even better if you could make that at home so you are 100% sure that your macro nutrients are carefully balanced. This will help you stay full for longer and keep cravings at bay thus reducing the chances of you over-consuming starches and fat (i.e. cakes, biscuits, crisps, pizza, etc.) later in the day.

Your diet

The next place to look at for great emotional health is your diet and, by association, your intestine because this is where the good nutrients you take in are processed and sent off to the various organs, including the brain. We want our gut to be as healthy and efficient as possible. We give it a hand by ensuring it is populated by “friendly bacteria” and that there is enough fibre going through to keep evacuation of toxins regular and smooth. Switching to a natural diet rich in fresh produce and poor in convenience foods will go a long way in ensuring your body is nourished and your moods stay stable.

Moving and Exercising

Once you have your lifestyle and nutrition under control you need to look at moving and exercising. There is a difference between the two: movement is what we are designed to do, exercise is what we have come up with to address specific goals. Truth is we need both to stay healthy and in good shape but if you are strapped for time or lacking inspiration then choose movement over exercise. A good walk around the shops is better than a half-hearted workout at the gym.

Walking will give you a chance to relax and reflect on your day, making peace with yourself and the whole world. It could also be an opportunity to reconnect with friends and have a jolly good laugh.

Supplements

If you feel that you need a little bit extra help you may want to consider supplements. These are exactly the same supplements that I would recommend to anyone wanting to improve their health and fitness and lose weight. Why? Because when the body is healthy it’s more willing to release unwanted fat.

The first supplement on my list would be a good multi-vitamins and minerals blend carefully formulated by a reputable company as opposed to the cheap-issimo you find at the local supermarket. The vitamins that are especially useful for brain chemistry are Vitamin C, E, Folate and B12 plus you need adequate quantities of magnesium, but there are many others that your body needs to function so don’t just focus on a few, go broad spectrum. Unless, of course, you have a known deficiency that your doctor determined via a blood test.

The next supplements, which are really ex-aequo in order of importance with the above, are your Omega 3 oil capsules rich in both EPA and DHA. The latter is a major building block of the cerebral cortex, the part of the brain that is responsible for memory, language, creativity, emotion and attention (1). Omega 3 supplements are powerful anti-inflammatories and can help with joint pain too. Personally I got the most benefit in terms of improved cognition from taking Krill Oil as it’s a super powerful source of Omega 3 much stronger than even to strongest fish oil capsules.

Amino-acids are also important and perhaps unexpected here. They are the building blocks of your whole body and will help you retain a healthy ration of muscle vs. body fat as well as helping you recover from exercise quickly. These are typically obtained from your food but if in doubt you could consider using a whey protein supplement which is naturally rich in amino acids.

Food intolerances can affect your mental health

Finally, although we are encroaching into medical territory, let’s not dismiss the possibility of food intolerances as a cause of mood problems. Gluten intolerance has been linked to many mental health disorders like anxiety, depression, ADHD, autism and schizophrenia (2). Although for the majority of these conditions medical help is your priority, if in doubt it’s worth removing gluten containing foods from your diet for a while and see if you get better.

Good mental health is a cup of hot cocoaTo conclude, if you find yourself getting moody as the hours of daylight gradually disappear don’t feel bad because of it. As you can see there is plenty that you can do to take care of yourself and then there are doctors and specialists who will be able to help you if you can’t shake off the black dog.

Remember that once the clocks go back and Summer time ends you are only a few weeks away from the Winter Solstice when the hours of daylight start to increase again. Might as well sit back with a cup of hot cocoa and enjoy catching up on the Walking Dead. Probably the only good thing about Winter.

If you need help with any of this you can start by booking a complimentary, non obligation, 30 min breakthrough call. Beating the Winter sadness doesn’t need to be difficult and small actions can make a big difference. Book your call now!


References:

1 – Greenberg JA, Bell SJ, Ausdal WV. “Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplementation During Pregnancy”.Reviews in Obstetrics and Gynecology. 2008;1(4):162-169.

2 – Jackson, Jessica et al. “A Gluten-Free Diet in People with Schizophrenia and Anti-Tissue Transglutaminase or Anti-Gliadin Antibodies.”Schizophrenia research 0 (2012): 262–263. PMC. Web. 11 Oct. 2016.

3 – Darla M. Castelli, Charles H. Hillman, Sarah M. Buck, Heather E. Erwin,Physical Fitness and Academic Achievement in Third and Fifth Grade Students (PDF), in Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 2007.

4 – Mead MN. “Benefits of Sunlight: A Bright Spot for Human Health”. Environmental Health Perspectives. 2008;116(4):A160-A167.

Set Your Reasonable Fitness Goals Using Visualization

“To get what you want, you must know what you want”
By Rich “Slayer of Stubborn Fat” Tweten CPT, Author

I’m about to guide you through an exciting and fun journey inside your imagination.

What once was the impossible dream is now going to become very real as you visualize exactly how your new body is going to look and feel after using an effective exercise and nutrition plan for 90 days.

By seeing the target and aiming for it, you’ll have a much greater chance of hitting the bulls-eye!

Coming up, you’ll find an assignment with questions that are brought to your attention in a simple, step-by-step format.

However, before you answer the first question, make sure to open a text file so you can simply type out the answers as you advance.

Here is your goal for this assignment…

To set the reasonable fitness goals you need to achieve in 90 days.

Walk over to a comfortable chair and relax in your seat. Read through the following assignment until you arrive at a question.

Woman sitting on chair thinking about reasonable fitness goals

Afterwards, shut your eyes and visualize exactly what you see and feel.

You’re now watching over yourself as your spirit has left your body!

You see yourself seated in the same chair, yet something’s different. You’re smiling and begin to talk with enthusiasm and conviction:

It all began 90 days ago when I was thinking about losing weight. I discovered an effective exercise and nutrition plan then decided to give it a try. As I advanced through the plan, I went from thinking about transforming the way my body looked and the way I felt in a positive way, to actually deciding to do it!

As I remained true to my decision, my body started to transform! First, I noticed that my everyday tasks were becoming easier since I was gaining more energy.

Question 1: What are the 3 everyday tasks that are going to be easier for you to perform in only 90 days? Think of walking home or climbing up a flight of stairs after a long day at work.

Before you answer, visualize yourself performing the task with ease. How do you feel now as you’re lighter on your feet and quicker as well?

Example: Standing up and walking around the office.

You start talking again…

After I realized that these everyday tasks were becoming easier to perform, it definitely helped to motivate me in continuing on with the new lifestyle. Next, I found my body was moving around more swiftly and objects that I needed to pick-up seemed lighter than before since I was gaining flexibility and strength.”

Question 2: What are the 3 objects that you’ll be able to move or pick-up more easily in only 90 days? Think of a bag of groceries or a child.

Before you answer, visualize yourself lifting, pulling or pushing the object. How light does it feel now compared to before?

Example: Moving the couch out of the way as I vacuum.

You continue to speak…

It wasnt long at all until my physical appearance started to transform, in a positive way! Now I get comments all the time from my friends expressing how great I look and that I seem happier with more confidence.

It feels fantastic knowing that I can now accept and admire the way I look, so I think its time to try on my favourite outfit that I couldnt fit into only 90 days ago.

You watch yourself stand up with good posture and then walk towards the same mirror you stood before wearing only your underwear or bathing suit.

You then hear yourself talking again…

All over my body, Ive lost inches and become more defined. I can see extra shape around parts that were once flat and I definitely dont feel as smooth as before. Instead, I feel firm and toned.

Question 3: What do you see in the mirror after following an effective exercise and nutrition plan for only 90 days?

Before you answer, visualize the way you look and feel, then describe your facial expression. Where do you notice the loss of inches? How much definition do you see now and where is it most striking? How does it feel when you rub your hands all over your body? Be as descriptive as possible in your response.

You then say…

Its time to try on my favourite outfit that I couldnt fit into only 90 days ago. Wow! It fits me like a glove. Its looser than before around certain parts of my body, especially my waist, hips and thighs.

Question 4: What is the size of the outfit that will fit you just right in only 90 days?

Before you answer, visualize the way you appear in the outfit. Describe how it looks and feels on you now compared to before. If you don’t have an outfit you like that doesn’t fit you right now, is there one you’d like to buy? If so, describe it and how you can see yourself appearing in it.

To conclude, you exclaim…

I feel fantastic! When I started to transform my lifestyle it seemed as though I was making many sacrifices, but that wasnt the case at all. I wouldve been sacrificing so much more if I never made the healthy switch.

Question 5: How do you feel now as you’re admiring your rapid and permanent fat loss results?

Congratulations!

I encourage you to complete all of the previous questions to get the best possible results.

Does that image of your new body appear after closing your eyes?

I’m sure it does, as it’s burning you up inside to reach that thrilling goal!

What we’re about to focus on now is what influences you to make decisions.

Decisions, that lead to specific actions which will guide you towards the rapid and permanent fat loss results you desire and deserve.

The strong magnetic force that causes you to make a decision lies in what you believe.

In this next step towards guaranteed weight loss, I’m going to help you to identify and confront your beliefs head on. Afterwards, I’ll show you how to break down the unhealthy beliefs that hold you back and replace them with healthier alternatives so you’ll have a much greater chance of making the right lifestyle decisions on an everyday basis!

Guarantee the weight loss results you crave by breaking down your unhealthy beliefs.


Rich Tweten Fat Loss SlayerAbout the Author: Rich “Slayer of Stubborn Fat” Tweten is a Certified Personal Trainer and author of PFL90, The Ultimate Psychologically Based Fat Loss Plan. Since 1999, he’s helped thousands of people who’ve accidentally programmed their bodies to be overweight for life to achieve rapid and permanent fat loss results through the successful transformation of their mindset.

PFL90Click here for more information on PFL90. 

Inside, ALL of the AMAZING psychologically based fat loss secrets are PACKED into a series of simple thought provoking assignments with questions that will help you to make that FINAL decision to begin working towards rapid and permanent fat loss results!

DNA testing for fitness and fat loss: my experience so far.

As a New Year’s treat in January 2016 I decided to have a go at DNA testing after it came highly recommended to me by a successful professional fighter that I met at a social event. I was curious as to what information about my physiology it would reveal that I hadn’t already worked out with experience, intuition and a huge amount of fitness tests that I undertook in my youth when I was a competitive gymnast.

Where can I get a DNA test?

I looked up a number of companies offering genetic testing in relation to fitness and nutrition and approached a few to get clarifications on how the test works and what security measures are taken to ensure such sensitive information is not leaked or used inappropriately. I also compared the type of results that were being offered and the cost for the DNA analysis.

In the end I decided to go with Fitness Genes who were the company that was recommended to me as they seemed to offer the most comprehensive testing results with strong practical applications at a competitive price. My questions were answered by the founder himself who was very polite and gave me all the info I needed to feel confident about doing this. In addition to the straight forward genetic test Fitness Genes also offer the opportunity to receive nutrition and training plans customised to fit with your unique genetic makeup. I went for the Female Fat Loss plan because I was curious.

How does it work?

Lab technician DNA testingWithin days of making my purchase I received a DNA test kit consisting of a vial with a stabilizing fluid, instructions and the return address. As soon as I registered the test kit I was asked to submit a short lifestyle survey that included questions about my body type, perceived speed of my metabolism, whether I thought I was lactose and/or gluten intolerant and my reaction to caffeine. This part is very important as the information provided will subsequently help the researchers compile your DNA profile.

The actual testing part is incredibly complicated and you can find out how it all works and how the various pieces of information are shared between the DNA Diagnostics Centre and the Science Team on the Fitness Genes website at this link and this link.

What did I learn?

As the results from testing the 40+ gene variations were trickling through I must admit that after receiving the first batch I thought “OMG have I just discovered hot water?” but then as more results were being released I realised that I was actually learning invaluable information about my physiology. Even after all the results were released I can honestly say that the majority of what I learned was very much in line with what I already knew about my body after nearly 50 years of feeding it and moving it with different degrees of intensity.

However, there were many aspects of my metabolism that were still a mystery to me and now they are less so. In essence the test confirmed that I have the ability to grow muscles AND gain strength easily and on top of that I also have good aerobic potential giving me the genetic makeup of an athlete that can do strength, explosive movements and endurance all at the same time. Hello gymnastics, pole fitness, dancing, martial arts and Parkour training.

What I also learned is that genetic test results can be incredibly confusing as what you find for each individual gene can contradict what you find for all the others. For example one gene result indicates that I have a fast metabolism, whereas another gene says I have a slow metabolism. I carry the obesity gene and am at increased risk of developing metabolic syndrome but I also carry the gene that helps lose fat fast. I carry the gene that makes me overeat (great excuse for eating 3 large packs of crisps on my own: “the FTO gene made me do it”) but my insulin works fine despite this. I have the strength of an ox but don’t do too well with Vitamin D (contributes to strength) and it’s best to supplement (which I do). This is why taking the test results and looking at them on their own isn’t very useful as their expression is always related to environmental influences, how the genes interact with each other and our existing lifestyle. They must never be looked at in isolation and it’s always best to have an expert in the subject extract the meaning of the various findings.

This is where the reports and nutritional blueprints really came into their own as all the results were combined and analysed in relation to the information that I provided with the lifestyle survey that I submitted before sending off the sample of saliva. Most importantly the findings are written in plain English that any lay person can understand. My “DNA Diet” and nutritional recommendations were spot on and helped me overcome a fat loss plateau at the time to get “attract-random-compliments-everywhere” lean.

D|NA testing night owlSome of the results are a bit hit and miss like the circadian rhythms test which suggests I am an early bird and that my sleep patterns are unlikely to be easily disrupted. Well, since I can remember I have been a night owl and both dangerous and slow to get started when woken up early in the morning. It’s much easier for me to be up all night working or studying than it is getting up at 5am to exercise. I can do it and have done so without spilling any innocent blood or causing a break up but it’s not my natural tendency. So whatever determines this predisposition wasn’t analysed on this occasion.

The only aspect of all this that left me slightly puzzled is the training plan. It involves doing resistance training 5 days and HIIT 1 day with just one day rest each week. Whereas this level of might have served me well in my 20’s and 30’s now that I am approaching 50 it wouldn’t work, not even by splitting the muscle groups so that I hit each one only once per week. First of all my DNA test results show that I might now have that much of a great ability to recover from a workout quickly and completely (hello stress fractures) so how on earth would I be able to cope with 6 weight lifting sessions per week? My lifestyle questionnaire clearly states my age so I feel that this is something that should be looked into.

As women approach menopause, when they want to lose fat, they tend to benefit more from relaxing activities to counteract the increased impact that stress has on their bodies following the gradual drop in oestrogen and progesterone. Because of this I got the best results, both for myself and my clients, by doing short sharp intense workouts 3 times per week max with a lot of leisurely walking in between. The exercises of the plan are beautifully put together but in my opinion it’s way too much for me. So I changed them slightly to what I normally do and it worked.

To conclude…

Overall, DNA testing was a great experience and I keep referring back to the results whenever I am wondering why something isn’t quite working as expected or to check that I am still taking the best supplements for me. Most of this stuff can be worked out with a little bit of Sherlocking but if you wanted to have a more accurate picture of what makes your metabolism tick and what helps you get stronger, leaner or faster then I would highly recommend the test. If you wonder how much genetic testing cost you can get the full report from Fitness Genes for around £150 and the fat loss or muscle building plans for a little bit more. Plus there are upgrades in the pipeline for existing customers which means that new and revised information will be available in the near future. I find this rather exciting and can’t wait for the day when it will be easy and affordable to have the full genome sequenced and results presented in a similar way.

I would be interested in hearing about your experience with DNA testing and whether you followed similar training and nutrition plans to the letter and if it worked straight “off the shelves”. Of course if you need help adapting the workout or DNA diet to your needs all you have to do is book a complimentary breakthrough call and I will gladly give you some pointers to make the plan work for you.

Step 1 – You Must Transform Your Body Now!

“The first step towards transformation is awareness”
By Rich “Slayer of Stubborn Fat” Tweten CPT, Author

Have you accidentally programmed your body to be fat for life?

That’s an incredibly scary thought, yet it may be true!

Remember back to a time when you made the decision to slay stubborn fat.

Once motivated, I’m sure you did whatever you believed was necessary at the time to drop those ugly and unwanted pounds.

Did you go on a diet?

Did you start an exercise program?

Did you buy a fat loss product that promised amazing results?

Regardless of the path you chose, obviously your efforts were not fully rewarded since you’re here with me right now.

Even the most effective actions for slaying stubborn fat and improving health mean nothing, if you have unconsciously programmed your body to be fat for life.

What stopped you before and may continue to prevent you from achieving rapid and permanent fat loss results?

It definitely isn’t your body.

Instead, it’s your mind that orders your body to respond to its every command!

To actually achieve rapid and permanent fat loss results, it’s essential to install a new and positive program into your mind.

Otherwise, your body will have no other choice but to follow the old and negative programming that has brought you disheartening fat loss results in the past that comes with a guarantee for fat loss failure in the future.

This positive program will allow you to create and own your new body, instead of renting mediocre fat loss results, if any!

Coming up, you’ll find an assignment with questions that are brought to your attention in a simple, step-by-step format.

Valuable insight and self-actualization will be yours for the taking.

However, before you answer the first question, make sure to open a text file so you can simply type out the answers as you advance.

Here is your goal for this assignment…

To take responsibility for the body you’ve created and increase your awareness about why you need to achieve rapid and permanent fat loss results, then make the decision to get started.

This is going to sound strange, but you need to trust me on this.

Create a private moment for yourself and strip off your clothes.

Yes! I mean it.

Strip off and look in the mirrorKeep your underwear on, or get into a bathing suit and walk over to a mirror (ideally a full length one) and stand in front of it.

Ask yourself the following list of questions as you study your body.

I’d like you to verbally respond to all of the questions and then type out your answers.

For the record, this assignment is intense!

It needs to be in order for you to feel the tenacious drive to create a positive lifestyle transformation and as a result, an improved self-image and new-found happiness.

Question 1: What is your immediate reaction when you stare at the body you’ve created? Make certain that you’re standing in a relaxed position and speak out the feelings that enter your mind.

Question 2: Do you believe that your inner health is being affected in a negative way when your body is living in this state? If so, how? Think of your heart, lungs and arteries, etc.

Question 3: How is the condition of your body affecting your everyday attitude, productivity and performance?

Question 4: How is the condition of your body affecting the people around you and the way they treat you?

Question 5: What has your physical condition cost you in the past and present? Think of your health, self-esteem and other areas that have been affected such as your family, relationships and career.

Question 6: Do you understand why you look and feel the way you do? What are some unhealthy habits which contributed towards that result? Think about inactivity and poor nutrition.

Question 7: Imagine how you will look and feel in 5 years from now if you continue to pick-up more unhealthy habits. How about 10 or 20 years?

Question 8: Describe your physical appearance right now after answering the first 7 questions. Are you smiling, frowning or sad? Yell it out with emotion!

Question 9: Do you know of anyone who is at least 5 years older than yourself and has a similar lifestyle as yours? Assuming that you’re both of the same gender and have a similar bone structure, answer the following questions:

In your opinion, how does that person look and feel?

Do you think that person is happy?

Are you going to allow yourself to look and feel a similar way as this person in the future?

Question 10: Are you worth more than what you see in the mirror?

Question 11: Are you ready to work towards rapid and permanent fat loss results?

If you answered “Yes” to the last question, then way to go!

On the other hand, if you answered “No”… don’t worry, you’re just not ready to commit to a new, healthy lifestyle for a healthier mind and body.

Continue to live your life as happily as can be.

If you change your mind in the future, only then do I want you to continue on from here.

If you haven’t answered all of the previous questions, then I encourage you to go back and complete them.

Since you’ve now decided to work towards rapid and permanent fat loss results, understand that you’ve unlocked the magical door that’s at the beginning of your pathway to a heavenly body!

In this next step, you’re going to get excited and have fun as you set your realistic weight loss goals using visualization…


Rich Tweten Fat Loss SlayerAbout the Author: Rich “Slayer of Stubborn Fat” Tweten is a Certified Personal Trainer and author of PFL90, The Ultimate Psychologically Based Fat Loss Plan. Since 1999, he’s helped thousands of people who’ve accidentally programmed their bodies to be overweight for life to achieve rapid and permanent fat loss results through the successful transformation of their mindset.

PFL90Click here for more information on PFL90. 

Inside, ALL of the AMAZING psychologically based fat loss secrets are PACKED into a series of simple thought provoking assignments with questions that will help you to make that FINAL decision to begin working towards rapid and permanent fat loss results!

Bone bruising: a year into my convalescence

Last week (5th September) I celebrated a year since my infamous injury that caused me extensive bone bruising to the femur and tibia. A lot has happened since I last wrote about it back in March and as I learned many new things I thought it was time to record my progress for posterity and in hope that anyone in my situation will find it useful.

Between March and the end of May not much had changed in the way of my regimen: I still had physiotherapy sessions albeit further apart and I carried on exercising at the gym at least twice per week, most weeks. I went for it wholeheartedly within my limitations. I had to make up for muscle loss in my left leg possibly due to nerve damage and had to improve my ROM as the joint was still rather stiff.

It’s all about QUALITY of exercise, not QUANTITY

This meant sticking with the basics for a little bit longer. Basic leg exercises like static lunges and squats are a great way to develop strength and co-ordination when we get back to working out after a long break. By focusing on technique rather than number of reps I was able to encourage my joints to work correctly and therefore make them stronger rather than compounding on the damage. I can’t emphasize enough how important this aspect is. Using mirrors for this purpose was key to making progress.

For example, although it felt right my squats were all skew-wiffy as the left knee wasn’t keen on bending in the correct way and so I was shoving my right hip out to allow myself to go into a deeper squat. Bad Crissy!! When I corrected the technique I could no longer squat particularly deep and it hurt like buggery as soon as I tried to go past doing 1/3rd of the movement. Not only that, it made me really wobbly and had to hold on to the punch bag at the gym to be able to do anything at all, ready to pull myself up with my arms in case my legs refused to budge.

It was scary and depressing at the same time and on occasions I found it hard not to burst into tears. Still, I carried on and lo and behold the rewards of consistent training, self-Thai-Massaging myself and physio came. I became strong and lean and my cardiovascular fitness also improved. By the time I had my last physio appointment at the end of May I was told that the progress I made was beyond any expectations from both the knee specialist at the hospital and the physiotherapist herself as she said many people in my situation make only small progress and don’t regain full ROM in the joint. Bollocks to that!

More enforced rest

As I approached the end of June I hit a massive roadblock in my convalescence. For some reason my knee started to hurt again all the time and so I was forced to stop all non-essential movement, i.e. I had to give up the gym temporarily. On top of this I had to deal with a wounded cat who didn’t like the idea of being on lockdown that much and did his utmost to drive us up the wall in his attempts to escape!

Why do I mention my cat in this story? Because his slow healing wound was the key to the next step in my recovery. He appeared to be suffering from Flea Allergic Dermatitis which caused him severe pruritus (itching) of the wound that he kept on licking and biting like a feline emo. This caused all sorts of issues that required many rounds of steroids and antibiotics plus the purchase of several buster collars. As I was looking for natural remedies that I could give the fluffy beast to help him heal I discovered that MSM was the closest to a magic potion as I could get.

As well as being ace as a joint supplement, MSM is also a great supplement if you suffer from allergies of any kind and it’s especially useful in keeping the pruritus at bay. So I went shopping and purchased a large bag to cover both of our needs.

MSM bone bruising

I review my supplements regime every month to make sure I am still on target and after reading up on healing times for bone bruising I decided to carry on with my usual Lysine, Cysteine, Vit C and D3 and Omega 3 supplements plus my very strong multivitamins and Kombucha. I simply added 2 doses of MSM every day. Oh and carried on resting.

As I approached the anniversary of my injury most of the pain in the left knee subsided and almost suddenly my ROM in that joint increased significantly. The healing hasn’t stopped and I still have some way to go however the swelling in the joint is almost completely gone which is now leaving room for the nerves to do their job and communicate with the mitochondria in my quads. As a result my thighs are now virtually the same size and the muscles feel plump and bouncy on both sides.

The possibility of having suffered from permanent nerve damage became a major concern but it seems that 2 months of almost complete rest was what I needed to let this phase of healing complete before moving on to the next one. The physiotherapist warned me that it would be a very slow process from now on but I am happy to report that as of now I hardly get any pain from the bones and only a few twinges from the soft tissues which I would say are congruent with the nature of the injury.

I am now in my second week of training again working on basic movements and have even managed a few rounds of switch jumps on a soft surface without negative consequences. I call this a win as I can now focus on rebuilding the physique as opposed to thinking about the rehab. Admittedly during my latest period of enforced rest I kept on eating like a bodybuilder without exercising like one which means that my clothes are a snug fit and the steps make creeky noises when I go up and down the wooden staircase.

Because I am exercising again I am back to using the post-workout recovery blend and this too is making a major difference. I am planning to increase my workload in the next week or so by going back to the gym and resume using the cardio machines to increase my range of motion further (the rower is marvelous for this purpose) and also to burn some of the extra fat I acquired during the Summer.

When I stretch my quads I am three quarters of the way to touching my glutes with my left foot whereas the right knee is already 100%. In view of all this I am now almost certain that in time I will make a 100% recovery and I look forward to be able to kneel down without seeing stars. The cat is almost 100% too, by the way.

As an Exercise Referral Specialist in addition to weight loss and fitness consultancy I can offer help with the management of injuries like mine as well as a number of medical conditions ranging from Hypertension, Obesity, COPD, Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Depression and Anxiety, Stress, Diabetes. I can also help you manage PCOS, Menopause and sluggish Metabolism. If you need help with any of the above you can get started by booking a complimentary, non-obligation, 30 min breakthrough call using the popup on the right.