How to Stay Positive and Achieve Your Fitness Goals

Staying active and positive can sometimes be a hard goal that people set for themselves. Unfortunately, we can’t always be happy and positive all the time, especially when we have that goal in mind. Sometimes we have bad days and that goal seems so far away it’s almost impossible!

Here at WAMH Fitness we want to ensure our clients have an enjoyable and sustainable health journey. Our health transformation begins within our minds and the attitude we have towards our fitness goals so, we have provided some great tips to help you keep your mind healthy and positive!

Set small and weekly goals, both for food and training

“If I train hard 3 times this week, I can go out to dinner and have a glass of wine”

Don’t compare yourself to others

The only person you should be comparing yourself to is the person you were yesterday, last week, last month, last year.

Get excited about the little wins

“I didn’t eat my usual packet of chips this week, I’m proud of myself!”

Stay off the scales

Progress and strengthening your body can take some time, don’t set yourself up for failure and set your weigh ins for every month, not every week.

Take before and after photos

Seeing a visualisation of your progress can motivate you to keep going that extra mile when things start to get tiring or tough.

Make sure you have a ‘why?’

“Why do I want to be healthier/stronger/fitter/skinnier?”

Visualise the outfit you want to look good in

Keep it out as a reminder and hang that outfit where you can see it daily.

Train in the morning

You want it to be the first on your to-do list and not leave it to last! If you have time in the evenings… train again!

It’s important to not be so hard on yourself as you work towards your fitness goals. As long as you keep on trying then you are not failing. WAMH Fitness will always encourage everyone to find their inner lion and give everything a go with all their heart.

 

 

Breaking it Down; Why Eating Fruit Isn’t as Bad as You Think!

Summer is right around the corner and there’s nothing like having some refreshing fruit for a little snack in between meals. When trying to get healthy, fruit makes a great alternative for those sweet cravings we all endure. Mango and Strawberry are both in season this time of year and have great sustainable and healthy benefits for both our mind and body!

The King of Fruits

The king of fruits, otherwise known as Mango, have many nutritional benefits. Filled with vitamins A, B-6 and C, Mangoes are full of fibre which increases the feeling of being full. They also lower cholesterol by decreasing the absorption of fat and carbohydrates. Among it’s awesome nutritional value, mangoes contain antioxidant compounds which have been found to help prevent colon, breast, leukaemia and prostate cancer. 

This versatile and diverse fruit is also great for weight loss, eyesight and digestion which makes the king of fruits the perfect healthy snack we are all looking for!

The Berry Delicious Fruit

Like many other fruits strawberries are super rich in antioxidants and contain nutrients such as vitamin C, potassium, fibre and magnesium. Like mangoes, strawberries are beneficial for our bodies by preventing cancer, improving eye care and aids in weight loss. 

Not only this, strawberries are also beneficial for the mind. At WAMH Fitness, we believe in improving our mental and physical health and strawberries help us to do just that! Homocysteine is an amino acid which if there is excess of can interfere with the production of serotonin.

Serotonin is a hormone that if imbalanced increases the chance of depression. Strawberries can prevent an excess of homocysteine from forming within the body and acts as an extra hand in ensuring the correct balance of serotonin for our bodies. 

Coming into the new year it is a great time to focus on your goals, whether it be training more or eating healthy. Every small step in the right direction is still moving forward and understanding what foods are best for your body can work wonders for improving your health!

What is Functional Training and Why It's the Best Thing For You To Do!

Watching my 11-year-old cousin running around the other day made me realise just how much of our fitness level we naturally lose as we get older.  Most adults just aren’t as fit as they were at age 11 when climbing the monkey bars, hanging off rope nets pretending to be the next Ninja Warrior and going non-stop all day was the norm; now we are prone to more injuries and little pains in our bodies which often occur when we exercise.

To help our clients avoid these aches and pains WAMH fitness has introduced Functional Training as a great form of exercise into our Bootcamps and Personal Training sessions!

Functional training attempts to mimic potential movements we do in everyday life such as squatting, twisting, reaching and jumping. It focuses on maintaining body strength and endurance which helps improve your movement ability making it safer for you to achieve your health goals.

As adults, we become busy in our daily work routines, which for some can limit us to sitting at a desk all day and we tend to restrict our bodies movements. This lack of movement becomes an issue when we try and to do intense workouts our bodies aren’t used to and can then lead to pains and injuries.

Functional training is a great form of exercise to do as it allows the body to be worked in all planes of movement such as frontal, sagittal and transverse. This allows the body to be more flexible by using core, back and posterior chain muscles.

The posterior chain is predominantly made up of the calf muscles, hamstrings, gluteus maximus, latissimus dorsi and the erector spinae muscles (see below). Training the posterior chain can benefit you in many ways, including, opening up your diaphragm by pulling your shoulders back, and keeping the joints stable, such as the knee, hips and spine. If these muscles are nice and strong, there is a decreased risk of you getting an injury during training or day-to-day activity.

Source: Anatomy Trains. Myers, T (2010)

Functional Training is a great form of exercise for those who are pregnant, injured or are training athletes but also for those of us who don’t belong to any of those categories and here is why!

  1. It implements low impact exercise
  2. Targets specific muscles which help improve balance and posture
  3. Helps with joint pain
  4. Mimics everyday life movements which makes moving in everyday life easier
  5. Allows our bodies to strengthen which helps reduce risk of injury.

These benefits of functional training will help us feel good, strong, fit and healthy as we go about our daily routine and live our lives. No matter what your fitness level or fitness goals are, functional training is an awesome form of exercise which allows us to move easier throughout the world! 

Pomegranate, The Messy Superfood

There are many natural foods that we can eat which are beneficial for our bodies.   For a lot of people salads are at the top of the list when trying to lose a few kilos and eat a healthy diet.  But sometimes you need to add something to sweeten up your favourite salads and provide a bit of variety.  Introducing the humble pomegranate!

The benefits and long term effects of pomegranates:

Research shows that the pomegranate not only contains nutrients which are full of fiber, vitamins and minerals but has long term lasting effects which can aid in lowering risks for certain diseases.

These long-term effects and benefits may include:

  1. Prevention of cancer – Pomegranates include high levels of antioxidants called flavonoids which are effective in counteracting various cancer radials. Other foods which also contain high levels of flavonoids include parsley, onions and blueberries. For those of us who enjoy being a little naughty, dark chocolate and red wine also contain high levels of Flavonoids.
  2. Reduce Risk of Heart Disease – Drinking pomegranate juice regularly can assist in maintaining good blood flow within the body. It can also assist to lower cholesterol by keeping the arteries clear; this reduces the risk of heart attacks or strokes.
  3. Anti-inflammatory Effects – Pomegranate contains 2 plant compounds with very powerful medical properties known as Punicalagins and Punicic Acid these have been known to reduce inflammation.

Among these benefits recent studies have shown that Pomegranate can also offer performance benefits to athletes and fitness buffs. By drinking Pomegranate juice before a high intensity workout, individuals are able to perform more intensely and longer.  This is because of the increased blood flow effect caused by the pomegranate.

Pomegranates are also great for a little post workout pick me up.  Drinking pomegranate juice can ease those post-workout aches and pains.

By simply adding some pomegranate to your average salad you can gain all of these health benefits as stated above. It’s not only these healthy benefits that makes the pomegranate so special it’s also the unique taste which can make your salads a little bit more exciting and delicious!

Even though pomegranate juice is easier to consume than the fruit itself,  the seeds of this messy superfood are worth the trouble!  WAMH Fitness bootcamps and personal training sessions are all about reaching your goals in a healthy and fun way. By knowing what foods are the best to put in our bodies you can achieve your goals and feel good while doing it.  

So don’t be scared of this messy superfood…the pomegranate seems to be the fruit that just keeps on giving so it’s time to start reaping in these delicious benefits!

Can You Do An effective Workout Without Weights?

Whether or not you use weights in your workout routine, will ultimately depend on the fitness goals. 

  • Do you want to lose weight?
  • Are you aiming for fat loss?
  • Are you trying to build muscle mass?
  • Do you want to increase fitness or flexibility?
  • Are you trying to increase your functional movement?

So for a workout to be an ‘effective workout’ will depend on what you want to achieve. 

To lose weight effectively for example, you need to raise your resting metabolic rate (RMR) to burn calories.  By working out what your fat burning target heart rate is and working out in this zone, you will burn through the fat calories. 

Fat burning occurs at a much lower intensity than most people realise and is different for each individual.

Are you one of those people that loves looking at how many calories you have expended after your workout?  Your fitbit may show you that you have burnt more calories after doing an intense workout but it is important to know what sort of calories you are burning through.  Maintaining your heart rate in your fat burning zone will mean you are targeting where your body stores fat – this will give you real results if you are aiming for fat loss rather than just weight loss.

Working out with weights is often called strength training or anaerobic training.  There are numerous benefits offered by strength training for instance, you will not just lose fat but will also build and protect your muscles.  However, you don’t necessarily need to use actual weights (dumbells, barbells, kettlebells etc) in order to workout with weights.  Using your own body weight (squats, push-ups etc) can achieve similar results, however it may be a slightly slower process.

Using weights is one way to train, but there are many ways to train in order to get the results you are looking for. For a workout to be effective it really needs to be designed around your fitness goals, which is where an expert personal trainer fits in.  So be sure to have a chat to your trainer to ensure you achieve your fitness goals. 

What Workout Burns the Most Calories

If you are like most people who these days have a hectic schedule and don’t have a lot of time to workout, you’ll want to get the most out of your workout.

And if your fitness goal is to lose weight or lose body fat, you will probably be focused on finding a workout that burns the most calories.  But be careful as not all calories are equal! 

Your body burns calories or gets its energy from 2 places – fat or glycogen stores in the body. 

  1. Excess energy or calories we consume which are not needed immediately, is converted into glycogen (with the assistance of insulin) for the body to use later.  This glycogen is stored in the liver and muscles. 
  2. When there is enough glycogen stored in your liver and muscles, your body will convert the excess energy into fat and store this in the body to use later. 

So when you are burning glycogen you are using up calories but not actually burning through fat stored in your body.  In order to burn through fat your body must first use up its stores of glycogen in the liver and muscles.

Some people think that by doing an intense workout and sweating it out will mean you are losing body fat.  However, this isn’t necessarily the case.  You could just be burning off the sandwich you had prior to your workout rather than shifting the body fat. 

Working out at high intensity through a program such as Metafit will enable you to burn through calories during the workout, but with an added ‘after-burn’ benefit. 

The ‘after-burn’ effect basically means that your body will continue to burn calories after your workout as it works towards getting your body back to its normal resting levels.  So a high intensity workout can burn more calories as it continues to work long after you have finished training.

High intensity workouts like Metafit will also increase muscle mass through the combinations of high intensity exercise followed by low intensity periods or complete rest or active rest.  These combos can be completed using weight equipment or your own body weight, thereby giving you a great aerobic and anaerobic workout. 

The more muscle mass you have in your body the higher your metabolism which increases calories burned.

It may seem like a simple question – what workout burns the most calories – but the answer is not so simple.  The best workout for you will depend on your current level of fitness, your fitness goals, what you have eaten prior to training, your age, and so on.  That is why it can be useful to talk to your personal trainer about what workouts will suit you best.

Is working out in the morning a good idea?

Working out at any time of the day is a good idea, but there is no doubt that doing a workout or bootcamp at different times of the day will produce different results.  And we can all do with a helping hand in getting the most out of our daily workout!

So which is better?

There are many benefits of working out in the morning besides the obvious one of time management – getting it done early in the morning means you don’t have to try and squeeze it in during your busy workday.  Ticking it off your list early can leave you free to focus on your day.

Some people say that a morning workout leaves them energised for the rest of the day which could be because of the increase in neurotransmitters training produces in your brain.  Exercise can also increase your serotonin levels – the “happy hormone” which can actually make it addictive in some people.  And speaking of hormones – for men their testosterone levels are higher in themorning, so working out early and doing weight training for example will build muscle faster by taking advantage of that.

Morning workouts kick start your metabolism too helping your body to burn more calories during the day.  This effect will go on throughout the day which means you actually burn the calories while you are awake and consuming food as opposed to the effect of doing a workout late in the evening.

Working out in the evening can also leave you feeling pumped and wide awake, which if done too late in the day can make it difficult to sleep.  However, this may be a generalisation as it really depends on the type of training you do in the evening as to the quality of your sleep.

Timing your workout is not the same for everyone.  It can depend on your gender, fitness and workout goals and your lifestyle.  In order to get the best impact have a chat with your trainer so they can personalise your exercise sessions and make sure you get the results you are looking for.

 

The benefits of exercise are not just physical

It is widely accepted that doing regular physical exercise can have many benefits for your physical wellbeing.  From helping you to reduce or control your weight, reducing your risk of developing diseases such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and even some cancers to strengthening your bones…regular exercise is definitely something we should all be aiming for.

We read an article recently that indicated that the benefits of regular physical exercise may not only be physical.  This may not come as a surprise to many people.  In fact a lot of our clients tell us that after they exercise they feel pumped for the rest of the day!  So, safe to say there are links between your mood and physical exercise.  

The study that this article discussed took it a step further than this though and found that there are “Nine factors that contribute to the risk of dementia”.  One of the nine risk factors was physical activity or to be specific – the lack of physical activity.  According to the study not taking part in regular exercise can increase the risk of dementia by 3%.  The nine factors in total represents a 35% reduction in the risk of developing dementia.  The other 65% may be out of your control, but it is good to know that there may be something you can do to ward off this debilitating disease.

What is anaerobic training?

The key difference between aerobic training and anaerobic training is oxygen.  Aerobic training relies on oxygen and how efficiently your body transports it through your circulatory system to your muscles.  Anaerobic training which lierally means “without oxygen” - is fuelled by the energy already stored in your muscles.  It is commonly referred to as strength training.

Now here is where we get a bit technical…fair warning!  In order for your muscles to access that stored energy, your body conducts a process called glycolysis.  In short this is when sugar is converted into energy and is a process which occurs in your muscle cells during anaerobic exercise.  It does this without the use of oxygen and as a result your body produces lactic acid or lactate.  Lactate can be converted to energy without the use of oxygen.

Lactic acid can accumulate in your body faster than your body can convert it to energy.  This is why you tire quickly when performing anaerobic exercise as your muscles fatigue.  Regularly participating in anaerobic training will enable your body to tolerate and eliminate lactic acid more quickly and efficiently.

There are a lot of benefits of anaerobic exercise.  The main one being that it will build lean muscle mass and overall strength.  This will in turn increase your metabolism and protect your bones and joints.  Anaerobic training will also boost your energy levels.

Anaerobic exercise is not recommended if you are pregnant and if you are a beginner it is best to work up to a well-structured anaerobic workout, which we can help you with here at WAMH Fitness.

What is aerobic training?

Aerobic training in laymans terms is also known as “cardio exercises”.  Cardio refers to cardiovascular fitness which basically means that this type of training gets your heart rate up to strengthen both your heart and lungs with a goal of improving your body’s use of oxygen.

Whilst this type of exercise strengthens your heart and lungs it also trains the cardiovascular system (i.e., your arteries, veins and capillaries) to deliver oxygen efficiently throughout your entire body.

Aerobic exercises are generally sustained for a period of time to enable you to keep your heart rate above your normal heart rate.  You will generally feel that you are breathing hard and sweating during an aerobic workout, as your heart is pumping fast to get the blood to your muscles.

During aerobic training you will use your large muscle groups such as your gluteal muscles (“glutes”), Latissimus dorsi (“lats”), quads and hamstrings.  And you will generally continue the exercise rhythmically for at least 10 minutes. 

Examples of aerobic training are; running or jogging, walking, cycling, swimming.  Boxing can be both an aerobic exercise as well as an anaerobic exercise.

Your aerobic fitness refers to your body’s ability to use oxygen to meet the demands of exercise or exertion, by providing oxygen to your muscles.  Your level of aerobic fitness is one of the main drivers responsible for participating in many sports successfully.

Besides enabling you to be more competitive in sport, there are other significant benefits of aerobic training;

  • Improves circulation
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Increase energy and endurance
  • Reduces risk of heart disease and diabetes,
  • Reduce body fat
  • Improve sleep
  • Improve symptoms of depression
  • Alleviate stress and anxiety

As with any training program it is important to consult your medical professional if you are concerned about any health issues as it is always better to get expert advice.  But it is good to know that you can enjoy the many benefits of an exercise program once you take that first step.