Don't rely willpower!
There was a study made over twenty years ago by Brian Wankink on the sustainability of food packaging. During the study, he accidentally made a discovery.
They were giving moviegoers bags of popcorn to see if they ate more from large packets. They ran out of large packets so had to use much smaller one’s (110-calories). What they found was that people with four small bags at half as much as those with the large 440-calorie bags. The participants also said they would pay 20 percent more if snack companies sold them in smaller packets. So, Wansink had discovered that you could make more money by selling less food! Brian Wansink is a multiple author and has done over 1,200 studies on eating behaviours.
What is clear is that we are totally at the mercy of our environment.
What does this mean?
We don’t know as much as we thought we did about our eating habits. We make hundreds of decisions each day, all based on things in our environment and different cues. In another study by Wansink, they gave 2 out of 4 participants a bowl of soup that (unknown to them) was refilling automatically. These two participants ate over 70% more, yet did not say they felt fuller. The take home here is, we eat with our eyes and not how hungry your stomach feels!
The visibility of foods and utensils has a heavy influence on how we eat. Studies show that the bigger your plate, the more you eat. If you can see a food nearby you are more likely to eat it thank if it’s 6-feet away or more (again another study shows this).
Where you eat, in which room, how you set the dinner table, what you can hear, TV on or off. All of these things will have influence on how you eat and your habits surrounding food.
When you start to look at these factors instead of relying on willpower, you can begin to setup your environment to work for you and thus create more consistent, healthier eating habits.
We talk about “motivation” being our driving factor constantly and yes, motivation is key when trying to kickstart your health journey.
That boost of excitement that causes you to...
✔️Run to the nearest mall to grab a new pair of gym shoes and a few cute workout outfits
✔️Stock your fridge with the freshest ingredients to prepare all of the new healthy meals you found on fitness blogs and Pinterest (guilty!)
✔️Purchase a fancy, shmancy fitness planner to document all of your workouts and track your calories...
Basically just leaving you feeling super excited for what’s to come and the badass results you’re going to get
Then, reality hits...
It hits quickly, without warning.
Maybe you had a shitty, long day at work.
Maybe you had a fight with your significant other.
Maybe you went a wee bit overboard on indulgent food and drinks over the weekend and you’re feeling sluggish and bummed.
Whatever the reason may be, you lose your “exercise mojo” and the realities of life make it difficult to get your workout in.
Listen, it’s freaking awesome to feel enthused and sparked to start a new program, but keep in mind that motivation can be affected by SO many things.
So here is my challenge for YOU: focus on building healthy habits rather than relying solely on motivation to help you reach your fitness goals; habits that you can follow-habits that will just become a part of your daily routine.
This is this key to long-term success.
This is the way to stick to your fitness/nutrition plan even when your motivation level is low and you just don’t feel like doing the damn thing!
Stop guessing & start progressing....
There's lots of misconceptions about weight loss and a lot of confusion over which foods to eat, which exercises to do and which one's to avoid.
It's so confusing for most folks, especially as you hear different things all the time and it changes from one week to the next.
Here are 9 things you don't want to do (although you think you do) for weight loss.
1. Don't rely on exercise (only) to lose weight.
Exercise alone is certainly not the ket to weight loss! In fact you have to make sure your exercising properly for your goals, your body type etc. Some studies have shown that too much of the wrong kind of exercise can actually holt weight loss all together.
Don't neglect exercise though as the overall health benefits are untold and gaining lean muscle the right way will help with fat loss. Nutrition is king when it comes to weight loss. You could train every day but if you don't change what's going in your body, your body won't change.
Remember, you can't out-train a poor diet!
2. You don't have to skip meals or snacks.
If you purposely ship meals to cut calories you will probably end up eating more. You will make yourself more hungry, more irritable and likely to snack on something unhealthy. Skipping meals will also throw your blood sugar levels (insulin) around which is the opposite of what you want to be doing. In general it is better to eat less but more frequently, spaced out during the day, including snacks. Be aware of your portion size and eat snacks that are high in nutrients and fibre (veggies are always a good choice).
3. You don't need to do endless hours of cardio.
This may surprise and delight some of you! Some think that pounding the treadmill four hours is the best way to burn fat. It's no surprise as most of the cardio machines tell you about the 'fat burning zone'. It takes a long time for your body to actually get into the 'fat burning zone' and your body can start to save calories (energy). A well designed mixed program of resistance training and higher intensity cardio is more affective and you will be burning more calories at rest. Genetics will play a role in how your body responds to certain training. You may have to try different things but have some fun along the way!
4. You don't have to achieve a six-pack.
Getting a six-pack or washboard abs may seem like the holy grail of being fit and healthy. This just isn't realistic for most people. Achieving it and staying motivated is very difficult. Improving your health should be a big motivator and of course you will shed pounds along the way. Think about the positive affect on your heart, your bones, your posture and your mental well-being.
Improvements to your diet shouldn't just be about your biceps or buns. Increase your intake of whole nutritious foods, feel energised and reduce the risk of chronic illness.
5. Don't be duped into buying loads of gadgets, apps or equipment.
Any product that promises a big return for little effort should ring alarm bells. You may have seen the infomercials about the latest 'ab blaster' or miracle juice drink. Don't look for the quick fix! Nothing can beat tried and trusted basics of healthy daily habits done consistently. Being consistent with exercise and eating well will help to keep you in the calories deficit, needed for weight loss (approx -500 cals).
This means regular exercise and eating a diet of whole nutritious foods that match your activity, body type and lifestyle. There is no 'one-size-fits-all' exercise or 'diet'. Everyone is different so experiment, try new things, you will find a way that suits you and your life and your goals. Hey, why not speak to a professional? We are here to help!!!
6. You don't have to go 'gluten-free'.
Gluten free diets have been a big thing the last few years and it has been promoted by some as a sure way to lose weight. It will only be healthier to cut out gluten if you have coeliac disease or gluten intolerance, which has a damaging metabolic affect on the autoimmune system which can lead to serious health problems. You won't lose weight or improve your health just by cutting out gluten. Looking at your diet as a whole and making adjustments to your all-round intake is where you will make the biggest impact.
7. You don't have to eat ridiculous amounts of protein.
Yes protein is very important for lean muscle growth and helps you to feel more full. However, protein has the same amount of energy per gram (4 calories) as carbohydrate. In general most people don't eat enough protein so getting some with each meal (1 palm-size for women 2 for men or equivalent) should be ok. This is a starting point that would need to be adjusted depending on your goals, amount of exercise etc. Be aware of protein that is high in fat or protein bars/products that are high in sugars as this will add up in your daily calorie intake.
8. You don't have to cut out fat from your diet.
If you ditch all high fat foods like butter or only choose fat-free versions of your usual favourites then you will probably feel hungry or unsatisfied. Getting a balance of healthy fats like omega 3 and 6 into your daily diet has been shown to help with cravings and feelings of fullness. There are also health benefits of getting healthy fats daily. Be cautious of low-fat versions of foods as they will often have added sugars to compensate for flavour. Choose 'real' natural versions of healthy fats in moderation.
9. You don't have to cut out fruit.
I have seen and read about some 'diets' that ban fruit all together because of their amount of sugar. The natural sugar in fruits is a much slower digesting than added processed sugars so won't cause such a 'spike' in blood sugar levels. There is the added benefit of vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants and fibre in fruits. Like all the food groups, be mindful of how this fits into your diet in the bigger picture.
Stop guessing & start progressing...✌️
The first thing to remember about supplements is that they should only be used to supplement good nutrition, regular exercise and a good recovery strategy. My first recommendation for 'supplements' is to eat real foods and to work on getting a good sleep ritual.
There are so may supplements out there, some good, some bad, some work, some don't. Of course there are many supplements out there that are good.
Before I use or recommend a supplement I research it and look for independent studies that back up the proclaimed benefits. A lot of supplement companies will hold their own 'studies' so you have to be cautious of this.
Here are 10 supplements that I know do work and that I take or have taken myself.
Stop guessing & start progressing!
This is the back and biceps workout that we are using in Simon Pegg's current training cycle.
I always advocate a 'functional' warm-up with mobility drills and one that it relevant to the workout, e.g. spinal flexion and extension.
8-12 Reps @ 80% 1RM
Rest 30-60s between exercises
This will always include static stretches held for 30s on the muscles that have been worked. The TRX is a good way of doing this if you have one near.
Author, Nick Lower
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