WANTED: Washboard Abs

Belly fat…

Probably the most stubborn and problematic fat to try and lose. So, how do people manage to get those toned, tight and washboard abs?
Like with the rest of our weight loss, healthy and fit lifestyle, it comes down to two things: balance and dedication. No one is going to get the abs they want overnight, it requires a huge amount of work and persistence. There will be lapses throughout, that’s inevitable, but if you put in the work and effort, you have the power to do anything. 

One of the biggest myths and mistakes that people make (myself included when I was younger) is attempting to do 100’s of sit-ups per day in the hope that those will do it. Unfortunately that isn’t the case and sit ups alone are not enough. Granted I do think they have their place in toning, it’s just they are not the sole exercise that is needed.

Key tips to flatter abs include: 

Cardio – aerobic exercises that burn a lot of calories is better than resistance exercises when it comes to burning stubborn fat. Something that gets your heart rate up like running, cycling or swimming. A recent study at Duke University suggests that’s running 12 miles per week is a target to aim for when burning fat. 

Eat more protein! – as you get older, your body produces more insulin, which aids in fat storage. A diet high in protein can protect you against insulin resistance, which will help your muscles respond to the extra insulin, preventing the extra fat storage. 

Eat less unsaturated fats – everyone has heard about how bad unsaturated fats are, so the best thing to do is eat as little of them as possible. Try swapping them for polyunsaturated fats such as nuts, seeds and fish. This can help you gain muscle mass and less body fat ☺️ 

Sleep – less than your recommended eight hours of sleep a night can unfortunately result in gaining visceral fat (the type that belly fat is). Also people who wake up and go to bed at the same time each evening have lower levels of body fat, according to a recent Brigham Young University study and chaotic sleep habits can cause your internal clock to go a bit crazy, which in turn causes your body to secrete fat-storing hormones (cortisol). 

Green tea – green tea is full of antioxidants like catechins. This can aid in the loss of abdominal fat, when combined with a good workout routine. 

Ab toning exercises 

   
 
Persistence, dedication and motivation will always pay off. The secret to getting flatter abs and burning the stubborn visceral fat is a combination of appropriate diet, cardiovascular fat burning exercises and toning exercises. 
They will not appear over night and require you to persist for months, working hard to achieve your goal (like most things). The points listed above are just the beginning, I am sure there are other things that would need to be cut out or added in, but the outline above could get you started on the right track towards burning away that belly fat! 

Healthfoodtips πŸ‘ŠπŸΌπŸ‘ŠπŸΌπŸ’ͺ

Balance

  
When we undertake a new healthy lifestyle and fitness regime, the key element that all of us need to learn about and learn quickly about, is balance. 

The balance between your diet and exercise is crucial and it can take a couple of mistakes to see what balance is right for us individually. 

When it comes to the time when you add exercise into your daily routine, you need to ensure that you eat enough to provide you with energy for your workout, but if you are looking to lose weight, you can’t overcompensate because no matter how hard you work in the gym, it will not cancel out a bad diet. 

Some people when the begin like to think that because they are doing more exercise than ever before, that it gives them a reason to eat what they want, and in some cases this may work in the first week, but it will soon catch up with you and not be the case. Inevitably these people will then be puzzled as to how they aren’t losing weight?! 

As well as making sure you eat the right amount of food, you need to make sure then that you are eating the right types of food: plenty of protein, carbohydrates and a small amount of sugar and fat. 

  

Now, once you have the balance to help you through your day and exercise, you need to ensure you eat the right types of food after your workout, to help your recovery. 

It goes without question that as well as eating right and exercising, you must must drink plenty of water. The benefits to drinking your 2L a day of water are endless and I can’t stress enough to make sure you drink plenty of water. 

To be honest when first undertaking this kind of journey, getting the balance right can be a struggle and frustrating, but once you do get it right and start to see results in your weight loss, all the hard work becomes worth it. 

Don’t stress if you struggle at first, the longer you persist with it and work hard, you will figure out what works best for you and then you won’t look back! 

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Rest days!

    

Rest days are probably the hardest days of the week for fitness fanatics! However I know with my journey they were always truly welcome when I first started, now somehow I have done a complete turn around and don’t like them! 

Rest days are an essential part of any workout/fitness regime, to help you recuperate physically, mentally and for your muscles to recover and heal. 

I normally time my rest days on each alternate day, so ideally a Tuesday and a Thursday. At the weekend I don’t tend to have a rest day, because after I have done my workout the rest of the day I don’t do anything! Haha. 

I never thought I would become someone who is fidgety and wanting to do exercise on my designated rest days, but alas I have become one of those people! For example today is my rest day this week and I feel like and getting out for a run, and most likely will (having a rest day later in the week). 

An important part of a rest day also includes sleep! Getting enough sleep is key to helping your body recover and in fact, numerous studies have shown that even a small amount of sleep deprivation can dramatically decrease athletic performance. The reasons for this are not hugely clear, but some research does point to the role of glucose metabolism and cortisol (a stress hormone) production as a major factor. 

One thing that I always fear is that the more rest days I take, I will set myself back in my progress and the level I have built myself up to, however in general it takes your body about two weeks of non activity to start to affect your progress and performance, so taking one or two rest days will not set you back. Phew 😝

Taking a rest day or two will improve your mental attitude towards your workout regime because if you overtrain, it can start to become a struggle to motivate yourself. So by taking a couple of rest days, it can help reignite your drive and determination to exercise and thus you will be (hopefully) back in a position where you enjoy your workouts. 

Every athelete, coach, trainer and regular joe (like myself) will tell you that they aren’t fans of rest days, but truthfully we all need them and are better for them. (despite what we think when we are sitting in our workout gear on a rest day, wishing we were out getting fit and pushing ourselves). We inevitably are subconsciously grateful for them when we notice improvements and progress in our fitness levels and training regimes.

Enjoy your rest days everyone! We should make the most of them! πŸ‘πŸŽ‰

Rest. (It’s part of the program)

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Running Essentials

Running has become the staple exercise in my fitness/workout regime. When I first started I could barely run for a minute without getting out of breath, now I’m running up to 10km per run and loving it. 

Here are some of my tips and essential items for if you are thinking of taking up running. 

  • Stay hydrated! πŸ’§πŸ’§- keeping yourself hydrated is key to ensuring you have a comfortable run. Ideally we should be drinking 2L of water a day. When it comes to your run, I have found it best to drink a couple of glasses of water about an hour before I begin my run and then I also carry a flask of water with me in the car for when I have completed my run. I then stay hydrated throughout the day to keep my fluid levels up. 
  • FootwearπŸ‘Ÿ – it is essential to ensure that you have appropriate footwear for the type of run you are undertaking. Your shoes must be supportive to avoid any form of ankle injury, but also not too tight: preventing rubbinng and subsequent blisters. I personally opt for Nike Freeruns both 3.0 (which I keep for indoor treadmill running) and 5.0 (which I use for all types of outdoor running). I will post a link at the bottom of this post which best explains these awesome shoes. 
  • ClothingπŸ‘šπŸ‘– – running obviously is not a weather dependant sport, so you have to be prepared for all types of weather (especially here in the UK!!). Lightweight running jackets are what I tend to opt for, Karrimor I have found, have the best ones. Although I am sure everyone has their own favourites. Karrimor are also who I opt for when it comes to shorts. Although I when it comes to my leg, I always tend to pick leggings. They keep me warm and dry, while also not showing off my pasty white legs! 
  • Apps and MusicπŸ“±πŸŽ§ – If running alone, I find music is an essential to help get me through my run. It can take your mind of the task ahead and help it pass quicker. When it comes to apps, I like to use an app to track my run whenever I go out for one: however slow or fast I run, I like to see how far I have gone, my pace and calories burned. To me, the best app I have used so far is Strava. I know you can get this for the iPhone and it honestly is ideal for tracking your progress. 

Running is something that gets better the more you do it and most of the time I don’t notice the progress I have made until I look back over my runs on my app and see that I have completed a distance in less time than previous or have a faster average pace (even though it doesn’t feel like that during the run).

Running is something I have come to love and the more I do it, the more I learn about it. 

Check out this link to learn more about Nike Freeruns: http://m.nike.com/gb/en_gb/c/innovation/free

Happy running πŸ‘ŠπŸΌπŸƒπŸƒ

Motivation

Motivation is defined as a reason or reasons for acting or behaving in a particular way. Now when reading it like that it sounds very simple, however motivation during a weight loss programme or new fitness regime can be hard to keep, hard to remember and is what can be lost along the way. 

For me, the motivation to begin on my journey was seeing myself in a picture and not being happy with how I looked, which I think is a common beginning for a lot of individuals weight loss attempts. However unfortunately to keep myself motivated, I personally need to keep that picture available to me, so that I can remind myself why I started, as much as I don’t like looking at it, I have to. 

Along the way I have found some other forms of motivation helpful and would like to share these with you: 

  1. As mentioned above, looking at an old picture is what has really helped me. Seeing myself in a way that I don’t want to see again drives me towards my goal every day.
  2. Having a workout buddy. I am lucky enough to have a very supportive group around me in my family and friends. Luckily when it comes to working out, my other half is just as interested in fitness as me and he pushes me further every time we workout together. Having someone to workout is a very good motivational point as you can support one another and help push each other towards your limit, thus getting more from your workout. It also makes it less lonely when out running through a Forrest! 
  3. Having a goal is a great way to motivate yourself. By setting up dates of when you would like to have lost a certain amount of weight can add pressure, but sometimes that pressure is what some people strive on and the thought of getting to your target by your goal time can drive you that little bit further. For some people failure is not an option and hence they will push their boundaries to reach that target. 
  4. Going to a specific class or group meeting can be a good way to motivate yourself. Now the diet part of this is another issue in itself, which I will address in another post, but for some people following a structured diet plan and attending the group meetings is the way to go. I personally have never attended such a group, but the thought of being weighed in front of others is enough to make me want to get up and go to the gym right now!  These groups do show proven success and being surrounded by people going through the same journey as you, can probably help inspire and motivate when hearing other people’s experiences. 

When it comes to motivation some days t can be very hard to find it, but it was keeps us on track and helps us make changes we, at one point, desperately wanted to make. 

When exhausted in the gym or extremely hungry because we are in between meals it can be difficult to remember why we started, but when we do remember, the motivation it gives us can be a very powerful tool and can only lead to better things. 

Motivation: the reason or reasons for acting or behaving in a particular way. The most powerful tool when it comes to your weight loss/fitness journey. 

Stay motivated πŸ’ͺ #mondaymotivation

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Hello world!

This is my very first post and I intend to update this blog as regularly as I can with my advice, tips and opinions on healthy eating, lifestyle and fitness. All of my opinions, tips and advice are based of my own experiences in changing to a healthier lifestyle and losing weight.

I hope you enjoy what I write and find what I have to say interesting.

Health food tips ☺️