FIT TIP: The most simple way to lose weight and improve your health and appearance is to eat less. Simple as that… or maybe not. Unfortunately, what you eat throughout the day is probably unchanged for many months or years, and as such has become a habit. And like any bad habit, it will take discipline to change. Statistically, you are looking at 2-3 weeks to form a new habit. And during that time, you’ll feel hungry, grumpy and probably be a general pain in the ass! But there are a number of things you can do to ease the transition to make eating less stick long term:
1) Drink more water. Water is a fantastic appetite suppressant. When you get a hunger pang, knock back a big glass of water, and you’ll feel a lot less hungry.
2) Replace highly processed, sugary snacks with nuts. Nuts are awesome. A small handful of nuts contain a lot of energy that is released very slowly and keep you feeling full for much longer between main meals. Note that honey roasted peanuts, scorched almonds etc don’t actually count! Check out the Nice n Natural ‘Nutricious’ range from your supermarket instead, or the ‘pick n mix’ bins!
3) Eat a big breakfast. Rather than stacking your energy intake higher as the day goes on, you will need less to eat if you start big.
4) Reduce dinner. Like substantially reduce dinner. Dinner is by far the worst offender, we all eat more than we need. I’ll split this into 2 techniques: a) Use a physically smaller plate, and you will naturally fill it with less food, or b) Use your normal portions but eat dinner in 2 sittings, one at say 6pm and one at say 7:30pm.
Employ at least 2 of these, and you’ll be well on the way to looking and feeling a million times better. Employ them all, and the journey will be even faster. Remember though that while your new eating habits are formed over the 2-3 weeks of habit forming, you’ll need a lot of DISCIPLINE to stick with it. But trust me, in 2-3 weeks, it will be just as easy as it is for you now
Strength training and ‘the burn’
FIT TIP: When most people think of strength training, they think of lifting weights until reaching ‘the burn’. The burn is the LAST thing you want when strength training! What you want instead is to fatigue the muscles (so they cannot move the weight no matter how much you try) BEFORE the burn happens. Strength training should be conducted in the ‘Phospahte’ Energy system, where the body has maximum power for a very short period (around 10-20 seconds). Any time spent over this means the body breaks down the ATP molecules used to produce the huge power, and a by-product called lactic acid is produced. It is the lactic acid the gives ‘the burn’, and this lactic acid is responsible for the inability to move the weight.
What this means is that you need to lift a heaver weight for less reps! A good rule of thumb is no more than 10 reps (using 2 seconds per rep, 10 reps = 20 secs… or the maximum time within the Phosphate system).
Many advanced level strength trainers go a step further and follow the ’1RM’ principle. This ‘One Rep Max’ system means loading up the absolute heaviest weight that your body can move, and completing just ONE rep only! By the end of the very hard, slow rep, the muscles used are still just as fatigued.
So have a think about how you conduct your strength training session, and whether you are doing it effectively.
The dangers of running
FIT TIP: We’ve all done it at some time – dusted off the old paint stained running shoes and hit the pavement for a run around the block. A lot of people have turned this into a long term commitment. But for all those regular runners out there, be careful! Running can be a very destructive activity for hips, knees and ankles. The constant pounding action wears away the cartilage between the joints and can lead to constant pain even just walking around. The good news is that there are a number of preventative measures to reduce and even remove the risk of this. Firstly, you should have your running gait analysed, and get running shoes that support your stride to counter conditions such as over-pronation, heel striking and so on. This will go a long way to reducing the impact on your body. Don’t be afraid to spend decent money (up to $300) on a pair of running shoes, they’re expensive for a reason. However, the most effective way to REMOVE the risk is with strength training. A properly conducted strength session (just once per week) will greatly increase the muscles’ strength throughout your body. As the muscles get stronger, they will support your joints by holding the bones in the socket allowing much better movement, and provide excellent shock absorbing for the joints. And finally, as the muscles get stronger and pull on the tendons, which pull on the bones, your bones will also get stronger and generate new calcium to become denser. You will be completely fortifying yourself, and continue to enjoy running for many years