Author

Rishi Haria

The recent ban on alcohol has hit many people hard during this lockdown era. Being stuck at home all day leaves us with very little to do in our free time except binge watching TV shows. So I can understand a bit of escapism with a few drinks at home from time to time. Is there a silver lining to this ban for our health, at a time where keeping our immune systems strong can be the difference between life and death for some people? I believe it should be our own choice as to whether or not we drink, even during the coronavirus outbreak. 

Optimal health has never been as important as it is now for my generation. Although I am not a doctor, I know what it takes for most people to improve their health. Seeing a daily coronavirus death toll every morning on social media has become the norm for us all. Nobody wants to be under lockdown, but we all understand and necessarily agree with the logic behind it. The silver lining is that the extra time spent at home can enable us to reevaluate certain areas of our lives, including keeping ourselves healthy. If any of us are unfortunate enough to catch the virus it is important that we make sure we are as healthy as possible in order to fight it off. Not everyone has obvious underlying health conditions, but the average person is under exercised, eats badly and fails to keep their immune system in a peak state.  

Handsome bartender making drinking and cocktails at a counter

Part of the fight against Covid-19 should start with taking care of ourselves. Eat nutritious foods, exercise regularly, sleep well, control stress levels, and live a healthy lifestyle. 

Alcohol has barely been a part of my life for many years now. I have been drunk just once in the past 12 months. I have become such a lightweight that my tab was as small as my muscles are becoming due to the closure of the gyms, and I couldn’t even make it to midnight… Having kids definitely changes things. I cannot say that I miss it much at all. I started to feel healthier and more energetic once I put those heavy party days of my youth behind me. Not that I am exactly old, but after reaching the end of my 20s (I am 33 now) I felt that it was the right time to say goodbye to hangovers. Some might call me boring. Others might call me very boring!

Apart from feeling terrible, what are the actual negative effects on our health and fitness? It is a question that would be relevant to a lot of people that try to keep a healthy lifestyle but also like to enjoy a drink or two…. or three. The biggest concern from chronic alcohol consumption during a virus pandemic is that it can hinder our immune system’s ability to fight off infections. Most people that drink alcohol are likely to do so socially as opposed to being a full on alcoholic. So let’s discuss the other less depressing but still important ramifications from alcohol consumption. 

There are 7 calories per gramme of alcohol, 4 calories per gramme of carbohydrate, 4 calories per gramme of protein, and 9 calories per gramme of fat.  When you consume too many calories it can result it weight gain regardless of where these surplus calories come from. The alcohol calories themselves do not directly convert to body fat. The alcohol gets absorbed by the bloodstream and then goes to the liver. Our body will start to use the alcohol as its primary energy source because we cannot store alcohol in the body. The problem is that alcohol slows down fat oxidation. Carbs and dietary fats are now directed to storage rather than being burned off. More often than not we tend to choose less healthy/higher calorie options when our inhibitions are lowered. Not only are we eating too much because of the alcohol, our ability to burn off the extra calories is reduced while there is alcohol in our system. This is why eating high fat junk foods is such a bad idea when you drink alcohol. A chicken breast salad with no dressing anyone?

There is no real physiological benefit of drinking more than a glass of wine in one sitting. It is the least satiating nutrient that you can grab your hands on. It even makes you feel hungrier in most cases. 200 calories that you get from a beer will not suppress your appetite more than 200 calories worth of a tuna steak. If you use up too much of your daily calories on alcohol then it leaves little room for real nutritious food, unless you’re willing to exceed your normal calorie intake. Of course this will lead to weight gain based on the reasons discussed on the first point. On the plus side, a glass of red wine a day is said to improve heart health by reducing blood clots and lowering blood sugar.

The woman running in a gym. Concept for exercising, fitness and healthy lifestyle

Excessive alcohol consumption over a long period of time can reduce testosterone in men by up to 45%. Reduced testosterone has a terrible effect of metabolism, ability to build muscle, libido, and overall energy levels. Effects on testosterone is less of an issue for women. The negative effects on your liver health should be a concern for both genders when it comes to binge drinking. If you want to keep improving your health and fitness then excessive drinking should be avoided.

When we train it’s important for our recovery that we are able to rebuild and build muscle effectively. This takes place within the process of protein synthesis. Protein synthesis is strongly reduced when you consume a lot of alcohol. Although adequate protein consumption can help offset some of the negative effects from alcohol, protein synthesis will still be affected. Cutting down on alcohol from my life made it much easier to take my training to the next level. 

The hangover from drinking will always make training the next day an arduous task. I would recommend planning a rest day after a night out drinking. It is hard to get a quality night’s rest because our rapid eye movement sleep (REM) sleep gets shortchanged with alcohol in our system. REM is the period of sleep where people dream and rejuvenates us mentally. Some people use a late night drink as a sleeping aid. While this can potentially help you fall asleep, the quality of your sleep will be disturbed. This is the reason why we wake up feeling groggy after drinking the day before. Marijuana also reduces REM sleep interestingly enough.

The purpose of this article is not to try put people off from drinking. Far from it. It is just important to know how it can affect our health and fitness goals. Moderation is key and when we want to truly maximise our fitness and health progress, it’s probably better to cut down our alcohol intake as much as possible. A couple glasses of wine on the occasional date night with my wife still has its appeal, even to me!

Rishi Haria, [email protected] Fitness professional www.facebook.com/coachrishi

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After you’ve included regular workouts into your daily routine, the only thing left to nail down is your diet. The training aspect for some people is mentally easier than adhering to the nutrition plan needed to achieve their physique goal. It’s a cliché to say that it’s 80% nutrition and 20% training but I would have to agree with it. 

I spent years of trial and error to nail down what was needed to sculpt my body in the way I desired. I’ve tried everything from low carb diets, excessive amounts of cardio, carb cycling, and the list goes on and on. In hindsight it was quite obvious where I was going wrong and many people are following the same path that I used to take. 

Often people are held back by their lack of understanding of the dieting process. I’ve listed below some common dieting mistakes.

Simply eating clean will get you shredded

Foods that are generally considered clean are often high in satiety for relatively low calories. Satiety here refers to the feeling of being full after eating a particular food. Think of lean proteins sources, salads, vegetables etc. When you switch from a diet consisting of high calorie junk foods, which are lower in satiety for relatively higher calories, you will automatically reduce your calorie intake to an extent. Eating in a calorie deficit is what’s needed to reduce your body fat levels. So by switching to clean foods, you will experience some success but generally only to a certain point. To maximise results you have to learn about calories. 

The majority of people that have had issues with their weight will generally have problems with appetite control. Even clean foods have calories and you can easily overeat with clean goods, albeit a more difficult task due to the satiety. Unless you intuitively understand how much food you should be eating for your goal, it’s essential to understand the importance of quantity control and energy balance. It’s not just about what you eat, it’s about how much. 

Not learning how to track calories and macro nutrients

The very first time I could see my abs was when I figured out how to track my calories/macros. Without this skill it’s hard to truly establish if you’re in a calorie deficit and whether or not you’re eating the right types of food for your goal. I won’t go into too much detail here but macro nutrients refer to the proteins, fats, and carbohydrates that are in the foods you consume. This was a huge breakthrough for me, not only on a personal level, but as a trainer you don’t have much credibility with your clients if you don’t even have the knowledge and ability to get yourself into shape. Prior to this breakthrough I was able to get reasonably lean but never as lean as I wanted to be. It might seem like a daunting task to learn how to use apps such as MyFitnessPal but once you master it, it will give you the tools to achieve the body you’re striving for. 

Eating too much early in the day

This might not apply to everyone but by having a huge breakfast and consuming over half of your target calories in one meal, it leaves you less calories for the rest of the day. If this happens then the likelihood of giving into hunger cravings will increase, thus resulting in overeating. I like to fast for the first few hours after waking up so that I have more calories banked for the rest of the day. It’s easier to not eat after waking up, than going to sleep hungry from my experience. It’s a false myth that eating after 6pm increases fat gain. It’s simply a matter of calories in vs calories out and timing your mealtimes that suit your lifestyle, leading to better adherence to your planned diet. 

Going too extreme

Ideally you should try to eat as much as possible and still manage to lose fat. Anyone can get leaner by eating 500 calories a day. But this wouldn’t be healthy as you would be lacking nutrients and your metabolism would slow down. Not to mention, that you would most likely rebound and gain all the weight back because it would be too hard to eat so little in the long term. Fat loss should be slow and steady so that you can mentally adapt and keep making progress in the long term. You want your progress to be sustainable. Extreme dieting can even lead you down the path of an eating disorder. Gradually decrease your food intake and slowly increase your activity level. Trust the process, stay consistent, and be patient.

Eating out too often

It’s easier to accurately track your food intake if you weigh everything out yourself with home cooked food. If you’re serious about making proper progress you should be willing to do this during a fat loss phase. I’m not saying that you have be this meticulous forever or for every single meal. But it’s definitely the most effective way of controlling your food intake according to your goal. Once you get a good grasp of food measurements at home, it makes it easier to estimate food quantities when you eat out later down the line. Eventually you should be able to intuitively eat according to your goals once you have a better understanding of food quantities. You can always use clean food delivery services that do the calorie/macro calculations for you if time is a problem. The choice is yours. 

Dieting is just as much a mental challenge as it is a physical one. It’s important to manage your expectation of how much you’re willing to dedicate yourself to versus your expected results. Everyone can dramatically improve their body shape if they really want to. With the right guidance you can get there much faster. 

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drunk

“Apart from feeling terrible, what are the actual negative effects on our health and fitness? It’s a question that would be relevant to a lot of people that try to keep a healthy lifestyle but also like to enjoy a drink or two….. or three”

Alcohol has barely been a part of my life for a few years now. I drank for the first time in 2018 a couple of weeks ago. I’ve become such a lightweight that my tab was as small as my skinny calves and I couldn’t even make it to midnight. Having a kid definitely changes things. I can’t say that I miss it much at all. I started to feel healthier and more energetic once I put those heavy party days of my youth behind me. Not that I’m exactly old but after reaching the end of my 20s (I’m 31 now) I felt that it was the right time to say goodbye to hangovers.

Some might call me boring. Others would call me very boring. Apart from feeling terrible, what are the actual negative effects on our health and fitness? It’s a question that would be relevant to a lot of people that try to keep a healthy lifestyle but also like to enjoy a drink or two…. or three. There are 7 calories per gram of alcohol, 4 calories per gram of carbohydrate, 4 calories per gram of protein, and 9 calories per gram of fat. When you consume too many calories it can result it weight gain regardless of where these surplus calories come from.

alcohol

The alcohol calories themselves do not directly convert to body fat. The alcohol gets absorbed by the bloodstream and then goes to the liver. Our body will start to use the alcohol as its primary energy source because we cannot store alcohol in the body. The problem is that alcohol slows down fat oxidation. Carbs and dietary fats are now directed to storage rather than being burned off. More often than not we tend to choose less healthy/higher calorie options when our inhibitions are lowered.

Not only are we eating too much because of the alcohol, our ability to burn off the extra calories is reduced while there is alcohol in our system. This is why eating high fat junk foods is such a bad idea when you drink alcohol. A chicken breast salad with no dressing anyone? There is no real physiological benefit of drinking more than a glass of wine in one sitting. It is the least satiating nutrient that you can grab your hands on. It even makes you feel hungrier in most cases. 200 calories that you get from a beer will not suppress your appetite more than 200 calories worth of a tuna steak.

If you use up too much of your daily calories on alcohol then it leaves little room for real nutritious food, unless you’re willing to exceed your normal calorie intake. Of course this will lead to weight gain based on the reasons discussed on the first point. On the plus side, a glass of red wine a day is said to improve heart health by reducing blood clots and lowering blood sugar.

running

“Moderation is key and when we want to truly maximise our fitness and health progress, it’s probably better to cut down our alcohol intake as much as possible.”

Excessive alcohol consumption over a long period of time can reduce testosterone in men by up to 45%. Reduced testosterone has a terrible effect of metabolism, ability to build muscle, libido, and overall energy levels. Effects on testosterone is less of an issue for women. The negative effects on your liver health should be a concern for both genders when it comes to binge drinking. If you want to keep improving your health and fitness then excessive drinking should be avoided.

When we train it’s important for our recovery that we are able to rebuild and build muscle effectively. This takes place within the process of protein synthesis. Protein synthesis is strongly reduced when you consume a lot of alcohol. Although adequate protein consumption can help offset some of the negative effects from alcohol, protein synthesis will still be affected. Cutting down on alcohol from my life made it much easier to take my training to the next level. The hangover from drinking will always make training the next day an arduous task.

glass

I’d recommend planning a rest day after a night out drinking. It’s hard to get a quality night’s rest because our rapid eye movement sleep (REM) sleep gets shortchanged with alcohol in our system. REM is the period of sleep where people dream and rejuvenates us mentally. Some people use a late night drink as a sleeping aid. While this can potentially help you fall asleep, the quality of your sleep will be disturbed. This is the reason why we wake up feeling groggy after drinking the day before. Feelings of tiredness will certainly lead to lacklustre workouts.

In addition to this, bad sleep decreases the appetite controlling leptin hormone in our body. This causes people to feel hungrier and more likely to overeat. This is not the recipe for improved fitness. Marijuana will also reduce our REM sleep interestingly enough. The purpose of this article is not to try put people off from drinking. Far from it. It’s just important to know how it can affect our health and fitness goals. Moderation is key and when we want to truly maximise our fitness and health progress, it’s probably better to cut down our alcohol intake as much as possible. A couple of glasses of wine on the occasional date night with my wife still has its appeal, even to me!

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sleeping

“You may lose or gain weight by manipulating your carb consumption but there’s a lot more to it than meal timing…”

The role of carbohydrates are often misunderstood in regards to how it can change our body composition. I shake my head each time I hear a personal trainer give misinformed advice about the significance of eating carbs at night. You may lose or gain weight by manipulating your carb consumption but there’s a lot more to it than meal timing. Once you start to properly understand how your body works it becomes easier to make the necessary changes to keep progressing with your physique. I love a big bowl of porridge oats not too long before I sleep. I find that it keeps me satiated through the night. If I was to gain weight I would not attribute it to this meal in isolation, but to the accumulation of the other calories I ate prior to this meal also.

rest day

The myth

People often believe that it is harder to use carbs as a fuel source at night because of a slowdown of your metabolism when you sleep. So any carbs you eat during this period will convert to fat. There are also suggestions that insulin sensitivity is lower at night so it’s better to avoid carbs for this reason as well. Hopefully by the end of this article you will start to think differently.

Dispelling the myth

Energy expenditure and carbs Our body uses energy in a variety of ways. Our resting metabolic rate (RMR) is the energy needed to make sure everything functions properly internally. About half of our daily energy expenditure is for our RMR. Our RMR still uses up a lot of calories whether or not we are active. The energy we use for exercise is the exercise activity thermogenesis (EAT) and the energy we expend for all other physical activity called our non￾exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT).

feet

Energy is also expended on the thermic effect of food (TEF) but is smaller quantities than the other processes. Protein has the highest TEF so that’s one of the reasons higher protein diets are great during a fat-loss phase. The myth would suggest that our RMR would decrease when we sleep because our expenditure is lower than during the day.

We will not be exercising or doing any other activity when we’re sleeping (unless you sleepwalk!) so our EAT and NEAT do not need to be considered in depth here. Studies have found that our RMR is not significantly different when we sleep than during the day. If this is the case, eating carbs at night will not cause an increase of fat gain compared to if you eat those same carbs throughout the day.

food

The main cause of body composition change is the total caloric intake for the day. Staying in a daily calorie deficit (eating less than your weight maintenance calories) will result in fat-loss over time regardless of the timing of your carb consumption. On the flip side, if you eat in a calorie surplus you will still gain weight even if you refrain from eating carbs at night.

We will end up using our stored energy the following day even if we do not use it all up during the night. As long as you refrain from consuming too many calories you should not gain weight. This may surprise you but dietary carbs are not easily converted to fat. It is rare that excess carbs are turned directly into fat through a process called De Novo Lipogenesis. Dietary carbs are used as glycogen in our muscles, liver, and as a source of energy. If you eat an excess of carbs while being in a calorie surplus, this will cause your body to readily store ingested dietary fat as body fat.

yummy food

This is due to fat oxidation being suppressed by the carbs eaten. An overtly high calorie diet full of carbs and fat is recipe for disaster if your goal is to maintain or lose weight. It is the combination of too many calories, carbs, and dietary fat that will results in fat gain. Carbs on their own are not the cause.

Insulin

Our pancreas creates the insulin hormone to control our blood sugar. When our cells are more insulin sensitive, sugar is more easily removed from our blood and moved for storage. Being more insulin resistant causes our body to be less able to effectively use carbohydrates. This could lead to higher levels of fat storage. Having chronically high levels of blood sugar can also lead to health problems such as heart disease and diabetes.

If our insulin sensitivity was truly lower at night then eating your evening carbs could also lead to increased fat storage. Studies have shown that insulin sensitivity is consistently the same in the afternoon and evening. So it really is not a big deal in regards to insulin sensitivity to eat more carbs later in the day. You can improve insulin sensitivity in the long term by training consistently and controlling your diet. This should be the focus of concern as opposed to simply trying to cut carbs at night time.

food i eat was yummy

If you saved all of your calories for the evening you would still not gain weight as long as you were in a calorie deficit for the day overall. People that follow intermittent fasting would swear by this and only allow themselves to eat within a given time frame for the day. When it comes to fat-loss and meal timings you want to choose a method that helps you stick to your calorie and macro nutrient target the most. I personally like to eat 5 smaller meals each day that amount to my total caloric needs.

I find this suppresses my appetite the most effectively. If you do not feel hungry in the morning but usually get hungrier as the day wears on, you might want to consider fasting in the morning and then saving your calories for later in the day. This way you can eat larger meals without exceeding you daily food target. Your body is not a fat storage machine at night so there’s no need to treat it like one!

hiking

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Dieting

It’s taken months of painstaking dieting and hard graft in the gym to finally achieve a body transformation to be proud of. Time to celebrate with a bottle of Champagne and a well deserved mouthwatering cheat meal of your choice.

You wake up the next morning feeling a justifiable sense of accomplishment and achievement, and not to mention a full stomach for a change. The next obvious question you should ask yourself is, “How do I maintain my progress in a sustainable way?”

Transitioning from intense dieting to a maintenance or further progression phase, can be tricky and a common pitfall for many people. After my first physique show I made the mistake of not having a long term goal.

I had achieved my dream body but felt a lack of direction after the competition.

Instead of slowly increasing my calories to a more sustainable and bearable amount, I went on a 2 week binge and gained over 8 kilos (of mostly fat) in that short space of time. I had no long term goal and was deprived of my favorite foods for so long that I created a ‘screw it’ attitude.

This was definitely the worst approach to take and most of my hard work went to waste.

After learning from these past mistakes, I came up with effective strategies to help transition from a period of dieting into longer term progress.

Reverse dieting & body recompostion

It’s not feasible to constantly be in a calorie deficit once you have reached your original goal. Your energy levels, motivation, metabolism, and performance in the gym will all eventually suffer. A viable option would be to reverse diet out of a fat loss phase.

This is where you slowly taper up your calories on a week by week basis in conjunction with keeping your training levels high – which will enable you to boost your metabolism back up. Your scale weight might increase a bit but you should prevent any future rebound because you’re allowing yourself to gradually eat more. A sudden but significant increase of calories might be too hard for your body to process.

In this instance you might put the weight back on that you spent ages trying to lose. Staying fit and healthy needs to be a holistic lifestyle choice that needs adhering on a regular basis. The progress you make from a crash diet will only be temporary.

It is possible to improve your body shape without the need to keep losing weight. You can stay the same weight or even gain a little bit. This type of goal is described in the fitness world as a body recomposition phase. This is achieved by eating at maintenance (not a deficit) in addition to training hard and progressively.

Strength training will help you sculpt your physique without needing to cut your calories too low. If you want firmer glutes and stronger thighs then you better get squatting! Performance related goals are a fun way to stay motivated with your training and new dietary habits.

There are many athletes that are in great shape but have a higher calorie diet than the average person trying to drop some body fat. Maybe training for the Spartan Race or a marathon will keep your interest going and also keep you in the shape that you worked so hard to achieve.

A massive plus side of performance goals is that you won’t have to limit your carbohydrate intake as much as before. Pancakes anyone?

“Staying fit and healthy needs to be a holistic lifestyle choice that needs adhering on a regular basis. The progress you make from a crash diet will only be temporary.”

Enhancing your life

The point of getting into shape is to improve your life somehow. Whether it be for your health, sense of wellbeing, self-confidence, or just to be pain free, there needs be a solid reason for your hard work to be sustainable.

For me, staying 7% body fat all year round is not a fun goal to have (for some it might be).

I look great shirtless but it’s a pain in my backside being an avid foodie when I’m so restricted on my calorie intake. You have to find the right balance that fits your lifestyle. It has to enhance it as opposed to making you get fed up with the constant dieting and hours of cardio.

An enjoyable lifestyle is an easily maintainable one. Eating healthy with a decent level of quantity control goes a long way when it’s combined with a few hours of training a week. You can also schedule in a couple of sensible cheat meals a week to keep you sane!

Coke

After you effectively learn how to track your calories/macros, it should set you up nicely to be able to intuitively grasp how much you should be eating. The MyFitnessPal app is a great tool to help you understand more about food quantities, but it’s not something you have to keep using for the rest of your life if you don’t want to.

A well executed dieting phase is a great starting point to a healthy, fit, and sustainable lifestyle moving forwards for many years to come.

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Women Train Hard With Rishi

The ratio of men to women in a yoga studio is vastly different to the free weights area of your typical commercial gym. I could easily count on one hand the number of men that take part in yoga classes in the studio next to my work.

I’ve trained myself in many of the big gyms in Bangkok and you still see less women lifting weights than men. You may think that this a reflection on what each gender requires to reach their fitness and body shape goals. It is in fact quite the contrary. I believe that this is a result of cultural expectations and misconceptions about strength training. A lot more women are weight training now compared to before – but still more women should start to include it into their exercise regimes.

The type of training you do should be structured according to your goal, as opposed to it being gender  specific. A man and a woman with the exact same goal should train in almost the same way other than small nuances. Men naturally have higher levels of testosterone than women so they generally have more potential for muscle gain. This is one reason why women generally are unable to become as muscular as men. In extreme cases, women resort to injecting testosterone in order to build more muscle than they naturally are capable of doing. That is why a lot of female bodybuilders begin to develop masculine characteristics.

Women do naturally have higher levels of oestrogen than men. This allows them to recover faster from training and to fatigue less than men. Therefore, it is normally better for women to have shorter rest periods during their sessions when compared to men. These are just minor differences that should not affect the overall programming of your training.

The general advice I would give for fat loss and ‘toning’ would be to strength train at least three times a week, be strict with your diet, and to do a slowly progressive amount of cardio. I would give the same advice regardless of gender. If you’re looking to sculpt your body as much as possible, strength training should be a staple in your training routine.

Women Lift

Activities such as yoga and pilates have numerous benefits, but they will not have the same effect as strength training. Think of anything to do with barbells, dumbbells, and free weights when you talk about this form of exercise. Strength training will help you lose those inches off your waist – providing that you control your food intake.

Throughout the year I go through periods of wanting to gain muscle mass followed by a fat loss phase. This is just a personal preference and I would not recommend this to everyone. My weight training always stays consistent – the only difference is that I will start to add in cardio and eat less once I enter the fat loss phase. When you gain muscle your metabolism improves and you become more efficient at burning calories from the food you consume.

That’s not to say that you will become big and ‘bulky’ from lifting weights. To gain weight you need to be eating more than your body needs. So whether or not you’re strength training, you will end up becoming heavier if you eat too much. Strength training combined with overeating will result in some of the weight gain being muscle. It’s important to look at all the variables and adjust your training and diet accordingly.

Women Lift Barbell

It’s not just body composition that strength training is beneficial for. The positive effects on your posture, bone health, and disease prevention cannot be understated. You might be surprised by how helpful lifting weights can be towards getting rid of lower back pain. Vanity is what initially got me into this fitness lifestyle. However, it’s the importance I place on my overall health that will keep me training well into my senior years.

As you can probably tell by now, I’m a strong advocator of strength training for both men and women. More women are realising how important it is to include weight training to their lifestyles. Around 50% of my clients are women and I focus on strength training with all of them. There are still some incorrect myths out there about women and strength training.

I feel this is preventing more of them from joining this positive trend. You won’t start looking like Arnold Schwarzenegger the moment you pick up a barbell. It’s not that easy to gain a massive amount of muscle even if you wanted to. My strongest female clients are generally the ones with the leanest physiques. Even if your goal was different to fat loss and you wanted to gain weight or improve athletic performance, then strength training will also enhance that. One of the main things that need to be adjusted is your nutrition to coincide with your goal. Eat more to gain weight and/or improve output, or eat less to get leaner for your summertime bikini body.

If you rely too heavily on cardio to get into shape, you start to burn through muscle mass and begin to look super skinny. Think of a marathon runner that does hours of cardio every week compared to a fitness model on the front of Women’s Health magazine. Many women aspire to look like the cover model rather than becoming too scrawny, unless their primary focus is endurance events. Having said that, even top-level marathon runners do a bit of strength training to help their race performance. Fitness models are a prime example of women that rely on weight training to give them that strong, aesthetic, healthy look.

If you find that they’re too muscular for your preferences, you can easily dial it down a notch by eating less and adjusting your cardio. The periodisation of your training and diet will determine whether or not you look like a fitness chick or an underwear model. Even Victoria’s Secret’s models have videos of themselves doing strength training so it really caters to everyone.

There’s more to improving your body shape than simply dropping the number on the scales. Strength training can significantly help both men and women to achieving their fitness goals for 2018. Start now and reap the all the benefits of lifting those weights!

 

Rishi Gym Trainer

Rishi is a strength coach and takes a holistic approach to training and body transformations. He holds a Sports Science BSc from Brunel University (UK) and has also competed in Men’s Physique and Strongman competitions. He believes that training should be, progressive, enjoyable and goal oriented. [email protected]

 

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science behind fat exercise using a ball ft

I started off as that fat kid in school for the majority of my teens before deciding to elevate my fitness lifestyle to what it is today. My body had to endure years of trial and error before I was content with my knowledge on training and nutrition. Anyone’s brain would scramble with all the misconceptions and the contradicting information there is out there on fat loss and creating that perfect body.

Fat loss can be made to look overly complicated by all the latest diet trends and fads that come and go year after year. I’m not saying it’s necessarily easy, but it is quite straightforward. There are scientifically proven methods that will help you achieve your fat loss goal if executed correctly.

In order lose fat it is essential that your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE) exceeds how many calories you consume – creating a calorie deficit. In other words, you need to eat less and do more. Obvious you might think. However, it’s the finer details within this concept that will help you get leaner.

This is going to get a little bit scientific but fear not, I will break it down as simply and digestible as possible. The energy your body uses to digest nutrients is the Thermic Effect of Food (TEF), or the increase in metabolic rate after ingestion of a meal. This thermic breakdown of a meal is produced by the energy required for the consumption, digestion, metabolism, and storage of food.

There are 3 macro nutrients in foods (proteins, fats, carbs), and all 3 have different thermic rates. Macro ratios are important and necessary considerations to burn fat, followed by the total calories you consume. Your body uses the most energy to break down protein, followed by carbs, and then dietary fats. That’s why during a fat loss phase, a relatively high protein diet is effective to help you lean down while preserving muscle mass. This preserving effect is great because it reduces the risk of becoming too scrawny. Most of us want our abs to pop and our backsides to stay perky rather than being wafer thin.

Not only is protein great for your metabolism but it’s highly satiating and suppresses your hunger for longer. I could easily eat a whole box sugary cereal in one sitting. My stomach will just absorb carbs like water to a sponge. That’s the fat kid in me. However, give me a couple of chicken breasts and then I can barely finish one without starting to feel full. It’s always a struggle when you’re trying to lose fat to stop yourself feeling hungry. So try attributing a solid amount of your daily calories to protein every meal, and reap the fat loss benefits from it.

Now we have the nutrition side of things covered, let’s move on to the exercise side of things. Active Energy Expenditure (AEE) can be divided into Physical Activity (PA) and Spontaneous Physical Activity (SPA). Both are ways that we use up the calories from the foods we eat on a day to day basis. PA includes forms of exercising both anaerobic (weight training) and aerobic (cardio). SPA involves activities that might not be a direct form of exercise.

Whether it’s walking to the BTS station, cleaning your room, or helping your friend move apartment, you burn through calories because you are physically doing something. If you are cooped up in an office from 9-5 it’s likely that your SPA will be lower than someone doing manual labour. The calories burned through SPA really does accumulate more than you might think. We all need to make the effort to be as active as possible, both in and out of the gym.

The fitness scene in Thailand is noticeably growing every year and I don’t see this trend ending any time soon. There are more and more commercial and boutique gyms popping up around Bangkok over the past few years. Even the latest gadgets such as Fit Bit and Apple watches help us stay more active by counting our steps and calories burned.

Weight training/resistance training has been proven to increase Excess Post Exercise Energy Consumption (EPOC), or the “after-burn”, more than simply doing cardio. This basically means your body becomes more efficient at burning calories after a lifting session for up to 2 days. Our muscles require calories to maintain and rebuild itself. If you increase your muscle mass then your Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) will improve too – meaning you will burn through calories quicker than before.

You might plough through more calories in 1 hour of cardio vs 1 hour of strength training, but that doesn’t mean weight training is not an essential part of shedding those excess kilos. The combination of weight training and cardio will not only enhance your fat loss results, but also your cardiovascular health. You can afford to eat more food and still stay in a calorie deficit if you do both cardio and strength training. Hopefully by this point I’m motivating you to start pumping iron.

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The fitness scene in Thailand is noticeably growing every year and I don’t see this trend ending any time soon

More woman are beginning to realise the benefits of weight training when it comes to staying trim. Your muscles won’t immediately bulge through your shirt simply by staring at a dumbbell. Woman will generally have less potential for muscle growth than compared to men as they have lower levels of testosterone. Weight training will help you sculpt your body in ways that cardio and dieting alone cannot. Other benefits of weight training include better posture, healthier bones, and disease prevention. You will only get that bulky look if combine weight training with eating a lot. When we overeat, our belly’s expand regardless of the training anyway!

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Starting our own body transformation journeys can be daunting without expert help. My advice would be to set clear short and long term goals with a realistic timeline for achieving it. Track your food intake using apps such as My Fitness Pal as well as keeping a record of your gym performance and general level of physical activity. We can all make the effort to be more active and eat better. Even those of us with busy lifestyles can rely on clean meal delivery services to help keep us on track. Above everything else, it’s important to enjoy the journey to a healthier, happier, and fitter version of yourself!

 

rishi cropped

Rishi is a strength coach and takes a holistic approach to training and body transformations. He holds a Sports Science BSc from Brunel University (UK) and has also competed in Men’s Physique and Strongman competitions. He believes that training should be, progressive, enjoyable and goal oriented.
[email protected]

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