Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Muscle Weighs More Than Fat - Or Does It?

I sure you've all heard the saying that muscle weighs more than fat. However, this is not true as a one pound of fat and one pound of muscle is still one pound. Where the difference between the two comes in is there density, with muscle being around 18% denser than fat. All this meaning that one pound of muscle will take up a lot less space within the body than one pound of fat.

This can also be seen in the below picture, which shows five pounds of fat (on the left) and five pounds of muscles (on the right). You can see that the muscle is a lot smaller than the fat of the same weight meaning that it will take up a lot less space, be less "lumpy" under the skin and between your organs, which is why it is a good idea not to just use the bathroom scales to record your success, but also other measurements too.

Are you setting yourself up to fail with the scales?

I am sure that we have all been there before, we start a new weight loss regime and the first thing we do is step on the scales to see our starting weight. We then go to the gym and sweat blood, sweat and tears and eat a healthy balanced diet as well. we then get back on the scales look at the reading and it has staid the same, even after a couple of weeks of training. This can then ultimately lead to disappoint and the termination of your new weight loss regime. How many of you are feeling this at the moment with new year resolutions that you have started? 

If you can relate to this feeling then my one suggestion to you is to get rid of the scales, start thinking positive thoughts again and lets start to think of over ways that we can measure the success of your new health and fitness regime.

firstly what you need to remember is that scales only tell you a numerical value for your relationship with gravity - It only calculates your total body weight, which includes fat, muscle, bones etc. It doesn't tell you the composition of that weight within your body.

One of my favourite ways to measure the success of a programme is the good old fashioned how to your clothes feel/fit. Are they starting to become to bagging or have you dropped a dress size? Taking waist and hip measurements. Again really simple all you need is a tape measure and for your waist measurement the tape just goes around the body at belly button level making sure that the tape is level and not twisted anywhere. For your hip measurement you need to stand with your feet together place the tape measure round the widest part of the hips and bum and again making sure that the tape is level and there is no twist in it. Each week/fortnight/month go back measure in exactly the same place and see as you increase your lean muscle the measurement size drop.

Another way to measure the success is by doing a body composition test. Body Composition/Body Fat percentage testing looks at giving you an accurate sense of how much of your body is made up from fat and how much of the body is made up from muscle. When it comes to starting a new weight loss programme then waist and hip measurements and body fat percentage measure sure form a vital part of your progress checks as when the body as a larger amount of body fat compared to lean muscle the body will appear to be heavier, than when the number is lower. High body fat percentage can also lead too a heighten risk of high blood pressure, cardiovascular diseases and diabetes.

All of this is why when you sign up for Personal Training with PB Fitness then all will receive a free fitness consolation where we will sit down and have a chat about your exercise goals and go through a complete fitness assessment looking at you height, weight, waist to hip ratio and body fat percentage.

Thank you for reading.


Thursday, 16 January 2014

Finding Time to Train

The most important piece of kit for many of my busiest clients is a stopwatch. I have clients who are regularly going away on business trips, and can't get to the gym on a regular basis, so I set them a bodyweight exercise routine - press ups, squats lunges and dead lifts - that they can do in their hotel room. Their stopwatch (usually an iPhone) is vital to them. By manipulating the rest and recovery time between exercises, they can easily change the intensity of their workouts.

I believe it is the failure to put fitness goals on the same level of importance as other goals, that hampers our attempts to get fitter, healthier and faster. When I first meet clients I am now initial trying to change their ways of thinking about heathly living, so they can make it high priority regardless of how busy they are. However with modern life and commitments this is much easier said then done. This is why I believe it is about educating and giving my clients the tools to make training an unmissable part of their life, as well as ensuring their workouts are of the highest quality. Many of my clients have very limited home exercise kit, however, if you know how to manipulate exercise variables such as tempo, volume, speed, rest and load you can still progress them effectively.

Here are ten tips for finding time to exercise:

1 - Prepare Your Kit
Lay out your training kit the night before an early start - and get your gear on before you look at the weather outside, so you won't be deterred.

2 - Diarise It
Log your training sessions in your diary and treat the as unmissable meetings. Once training is part of your routine it will feel peculiar to miss a session.

3 - Plan Ahead
Plot trails and cycle routes using local maps or digital software (try MapMyRun and MapMyRide0 to give every session, journey or commute a purpose.

4. Pal Up
It pays to buddy up with a running partner, club mate, colleague or personal trainer - someone you'll let down if you skip a session.

5. Double Up
Keep spare training kit in a holdall in the car or at work so you can never 'forget your kit' and can make the most of unexpected chances to squeeze in an extra session. Keep baby wipes with you, if you can't shower afterwards.

6. Set the Alarm

You can't make more time, but you can regulate your hours you're awake. So get up a little earlier, adding 30 minutes to your day for a run or ride. You'll arrive at work buzzing and won't need to motivate yourself in that early evening lull.

7. Make Every Second Count
Plan an out-and-back run or ride, then make it your aim to ensure the homeward leg is faster than the outwards leg. You'll race yourself all the way home. This is known as the negative split.

8. Flex Your Plans
Forget the all or nothing approach. If time runs out on the training you'd planned, simply re-calibrate your programme. A brisk couple of miles are still worthwhile.

9. Warm Up Indoors
A few stair climbs or runs on the spot will help you hit the ground running when you get outdoors, squeezing every ounce of benefit from whatever time you have.

10. Mutli-Task
Work on your proprioception and balance by standing on one leg while doing domestic tasks like brushing your teeth. You could even stretch your calf muscles while waiting for the train.

Thanks for reading