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Health and Wellbeing - May 2015

28 Apr 2015

Exercise and fat loss

Losing weight, more specifically losing body fat, is a common health and fitness goal amongst most of us. I can’t remember the last time anyone approached me for advice and asked ‘How can I put on just a little more fat around my tummy?’. It just doesn’t happen. And the reality is that we, as a culture and broad community, have a problem with weight gain and the continually increasing levels of obesity that relate to over consumption and lack of physical activity.

So here are some updated tips for you when it comes to planning your exercise routines and schedule:

Fasted exercise - early morning is better exercise for body fat loss. This doesn’t mean you have to fast for 40 days before you exercise. What recent research shows is that exercising before you eat in the morning (in a fasted state) results in greater levels of fat oxidization. After the consumption of food, the presence of higher levels of insulin will inhibit your ability to oxidize fat.

Green tea and coffee - they are not your enemy, and can neutralise or even assist in body fat loss, but don’t over consume! Also, don’t get ‘coffee’ confused with a double choc latte with cream.


High intensity exercise – do I have to?

I am sure we have all heard of high-intensity interval training or HIIT as a way of working out - right now it is HOT.  The reality is though that high-intensity interval training, done properly is extremely taxing on you and your body. It’s literally taking you to your physical limits and sometimes beyond – it is also mostly very uncomfortable.

Once you have built up your fitness levels, you should increase the intensity, and, if you are at that level, it can be high. But don’t think that the only good workout is the one that you cannot walk home from.  And that message goes to the trainers out there; we don’t need to smash our clients to get them the results they need.

As a trainer or someone working in the industry; your challenge is to make sure your people and your community exercise today, tomorrow and the day after. When they begin to advocate their healthy lifestyle to others, that’s when you have done your job. Not when the people you work with become injured or can’t get off the floor after your so-called high-intensity workout.


Increasing your flexibility, mobility and wellbeing

One of the most physically impressive athletes has to be the prima ballerina, or any ballet dancer for that matter. Their grace, posture, power and strength come from years of disciplined training. If you have participated in yoga, pilates or stretch class recently you will be able to pick the dancers a mile away. They are the ones that just seem to fall into the splits as if they were born that way, and we were not. No, the reality is they have probably stretched every day of their lives since they could walk and talk. And we, well, not so much.

I am not saying we should all start stretching every day for two hours for the rest of our lives. What I am saying is that we must start to incorporate some stretching, mobility and relaxation exercises into our weekly routine in the interest of our own wellbeing.

Let’s start with some basics - we should all be exercising, or at least be physically active for 30-45 minutes per day, every day. Now you may be close or even on top of this, but have you incorporated your stretching and mobility exercises into this routine? If you are taking yoga, stretching and pilates classes regularly you most likely have this covered. If not, your regular exercise without stretching and mobility exercises will be great for building muscles, muscle tone and strength, and improving your cardiovascular fitness. But without stretching, it is likely to be having an adverse impact on your mobility and flexibility.  

So for every workout you do, make sure you are stretching the muscles worked, and also all the muscles around your spine and hips. This will help reduce neck and back pain. You should also incorporate flowing stretches with movement as a preference to just static stretching. If you are not sure, join a stretch or yoga glass and get your own feel for it.

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