The Million Dollar Question: Should You Get a Fitness Coach?
Motivating yourself is hard, ask anyone who works freelance. Going to the gym is often the same. Sometimes what you need is somebody to motivate you, to tell you that you are doing the right thing and that you can do this, that you are ever-so nearly there.
But hiring a fitness coach can help with more than just motivation. A coach is an expert who can tell you where you’re going wrong, what equipment and what exercises are the most effective. Sometimes a coach is all you need to ensure you meet your goals.
Some people start going to the gym in their teens, others in their 40s or older have never been to the gym. That is ok. The problem is the longer you put it off the harder it can become to know where to start.
Feelings of embarrassment at being unable to use the equipment or feeling you should give up after the first ten minutes are only natural.
A personal fitness coach can give you the confidence to be able to approach your first few times at the gym with the vigor you need to accomplish your goals.
Does the Gym Bore You?
Don’t lie, do you tell everyone you love going to the gym? Everyone says they love it but what they – and you – mean is you love having gone to the gym. You like the end result, the feeling you get after a good workout.
The feeling you get whilst you’re there, however, can be repetitive. And sometimes trying and failing at new routines can be disheartening. We can help keeping you inspired with our tips but they can only go so far in helping you stay in the game.
A personal coach can show you hundreds of different routines and show you how to take advantage of the more complicated equipment. They can also construct a routine that keeps you on your toes and does not involve you losing interest or focus.
Train For a Marathon Or Competition With A Fitness Coach
The biggest reason to hire a personal coach is if you want to train for a marathon or a competition. Some people do competitions or marathons because they involve setting goals on a big scale.
Such goals can help them prove to themselves that they are able to meet their personal goals or because gearing up for something big is the most effective way for them to get fit.
Either way, a gym coach can see you through the dark times as well as the good days if you decide to take on a marathon challenge. As you inevitably consider giving up out of fear or not being able to achieve your goals, they can be your guiding light.
Whilst it is possible to complete a marathon without training from a professional instructor, as celebrities who competed in the London Marathon have claimed, it is not advisable for most people.
As well as the motivating factors, running such a distance requires a level of pacing and self-control that only an instructor can safely advise you on.
Don’t Delay: Hire A Coach.
If you are hesitating about getting a fitness coach then the best advice is to just go for it. You can usually get a free trial and can get a chance to decide if you gel with your coach.
Remember you don’t have to have a coach with you at every session you do at the gym but one session once-a-week could really help you.
If you’re serious about getting fit why not get in touch and try our 9-week challenge with a personal coach.
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Cardio vs Weightlifting: How to Decide Which Is Best for Your Weight Loss
You know how it goes.
You try to prepare healthy meals for yourself. Maybe you even count your calories. Sometimes, it just isn’t enough.
For those of us who want to lose weight, we need to add some exercise to our routine to see the best results.
With so many options, it can be hard to choose what’s best for you. Let’s talk about the two most popular types of exercise. Weightlifting and cardio.
Why Diet Doesn’t Always Cut It
This is a tough one to say because a good diet has so much to offer.
Don’t think that we’re saying diet isn’t important! You’ve probably heard the expression: “Abs start in the kitchen.” It’s true. Diet can account for the majority of our weight loss results. The issue is that for some of us, it just isn’t enough.
For some people, the problem is having too many cheat meals. For others, it’s simple genetics.
A proper combination of diet and exercise is the most effective way to lose weight. Let’s talk about the benefits.
Why Exercise is Important
Let’s start with the basics. To understand which form of exercise is right for you, we need to understand what we’re talking about.
We all know that diet and exercise can lead to a very healthy life, but why?
Here are just a few benefits of regular exercise, in any capacity:
Okay, yes. Sometimes we leave the gym feeling exhausted. There is no denying it.
However, we still benefit from a lot of energy-boosting hormones that develop the more we exercise.
People who work out tend to get better, more effective sleep. This leads to significantly improved levels of energy throughout the day. No more feeling tired at work!
Check out the best times to exercise for better sleep.
Improved Mood and Brain Health
Exercise is known for the benefits to your body. It can go a long way for your overall health, too.
Regular exercise releases hormones and neurotransmitters. These include:
- Serotonin – Known as the “Happy Hormone”. It regulates mood, social behavior, sleep, memory, and digestion.
- Dopamine – Known for pleasurable effects, as well as improved memory and emotions.
- Norepinephrine – Promotes memory and focuses attention.
These neurotransmitters are naturally formed by your body. Keeping a healthy balance of them is believed to have a critical role in preventing conditions. These conditions include depression, anxiety, and even dementia.
If you haven’t heard enough reasons to start hitting the gym, we’re not even done!
This is an issue more and more people are struggling with. Whether we like it or not, we all want to look good.
Nothing helps build confidence like seeing results in the mirror. The best part: the results can keep coming!
Achieve the body you’ve always wanted, and learn to be happy with how you look!
Increased Strength and Endurance
This is the one we hear about the most.
Have you ever been out of breath after walking up a couple flights of stairs? Maybe you’ve had an embarrassing moment trying to lift up something heavy. We’ve all been there.
This is avoidable. Regular exercise can get us in shape, and build our strength!
Clearly, there are a lot of benefits to exercise. Enough to fill up a book. So let’s talk about the most popular types of exercise.
Strength training has been a popular and effective tool for humans since the start of their existence. But everything evolves.
There are so many different forms of strength training, it’s hard to keep track. So let’s only talk about lifting weights, which has a few subcategories of its own.
Let’s discuss the most popular.
Weight machines are a new development and are very popular. You’ll see them in almost every weight room.
There are a lot of benefits to machines, including:
- Ease of use – Machines do not require training for form. There are usually images that will show you the proper movement. You also only need to move a pin to change the weight.
- Availability – Almost every gym now has incorporated machines into their equipment.
- Muscle growth – Varying your machine use is typically used for muscle growth, more than strength.
Let’s flip to the other side of the coin. Here are some of the downsides of machines:
- Isolation movements – Machines tend to focus on one muscle or one muscle group. Compound movements are more effective for gaining strength.
- Limited function – These are unnatural movements and do not translate well into functional strength.
- Can increase the risk of injury – With the unnatural movements involved, and the added weight, it can lead to injury.
Here is a helpful guide to weight machines if you want to learn more.
Using dumbbells and barbells is great for functional strength and muscular endurance.
Free weight exercises have a lot of benefits:
- Control and stability – Gain more balance and coordination by mastering the movements.
- Strength – You will see strength gains in free weight training a lot more than with machines.
- Function – Gain functional strength to help you with your daily activities.
The risks of free weight exercises include:
- Learning the form – This can take time, but it’s absolutely necessary.
- The potential for injury – This is especially true if we don’t learn the form!
These exercises can include a very wide variety. Here are some examples of free weight exercises.
This is the best for pure strength. Powerlifting consists of only three functional movements:
- Squat – Mimics the motion of sitting down and standing up. Improves leg and core strength.
- Bench Press – Uses a pushing motion. Improves chest, tricep and shoulder strength.
- Deadlift – Practices the act of lifting something off of the ground. Works on core, back and leg strength.
The benefits of powerlifting are simple: building strength.
The downsides are just as clear:
- Training – There is lots of practice involved in learning the proper form to limit the risk of injury.
- Limited movements – You also commit yourself to train three specific movements. That’s not to say you can’t incorporate other training with it. Most powerlifters do.
So we’ve learned a bit about the different forms of weightlifting. You can learn more about weightlifting here. We will get into the benefits in a bit. For now, let’s talk about cardio.
Let’s dive into a few popular forms of cardio.
Every gym has some treadmills. This can be an easy way to get started.
We all know about other machines like:
- Elliptical machines – Not a very functional movement, but great for burning some calories!
- Stair climbers – These are excellent for cardio, but they wear you out quickly.
- Stationary bikes – Very popular and easy to use.
These are great. The most obvious downside is that it can get boring. Staying in one place the whole time can make you lose your motivation.
An added bonus is that a lot of these machines will give you feedback. Many will even estimate the number of calories you burn while using them.
There are a lot of different cardio machines out there. Here is a guide to the best and worst cardio machines if you want to learn more.
This is something you can do anywhere.
Whether you’re jogging or sprinting, running can be very beneficial.
Find out which type of running is better for you.
This could be anything. It often involves strength training, but typically with body-weight movements.
Circuit training can apply to pure weight training, as well.
For cardio, it can apply to combinations of running, jumping rope, or anything you can think of.
Check out some ideas on how to develop a circuit training routine.
Weightlifting and Cardio: Which is Better?
We’ve gone over a lot about how weightlifting and cardio differ. So which one is better? Let’s quickly summarize and talk about their benefits and risks.
Benefits of Weightlifting
Let’s discuss the overall benefits of weightlifting that all types share:
- Increased metabolism – This is a big key to weight loss. Your starving muscles become a fat-burning machine. Calories burned lifting weights are not as much as with cardio. That’s during the workout. The “afterburn” more than makes up for it.
- Improved strength – This can help you in your everyday life, in more ways than you would expect.
- Long-term benefits – It is easier to get out of shape than to lose strength. On top of that, the metabolic benefits tend to last longer with weight training.
Let’s also debunk the myth that lifting weights will make women too bulky. It’s not a risk unless you are training for it.
An added bonus with weightlifting is you have more freedom. There is a large variety of movements. On top of that, you can change up your weight and rep scheme with ease.
Also, weightlifting can be fun! A lot of people get bored with cardio and other exercises. Weight training can be new and exciting almost every time you start a session.
There are a lot more benefits that we haven’t discussed. Talk to a personal trainer or click here to learn more.
Risks of Weightlifting
Let’s face it, you can have all of the practice in the world. It can be any type of weightlifting. There is a higher potential for injury.
Luckily, there are skilled personal trainers out there to help you avoid this.
On top of that, you are more likely to feel sore after a strength training workout. While beneficial, this can be a pain. Literally.
Weightlifting can be tough for beginners. The more you train, the more you gain. The risks will take care of themselves with proper training and consistency.
Benefits of Cardio
There are a lot. Cardio is largely associated with the health benefits that we discussed at the beginning. Let’s go over just a few:
- Fewer restrictions – Cardio can be done anywhere, at any time. No need for equipment.
- Heart health – It’s in the name.
- Burning calories – This is cardio’s claim to fame.
- Brain health – Cardio is a big help for releasing the hormones and neurotransmitters we discussed. There is really nothing better for it.
It’s easy to see why cardio can be appealing. You can let your mind wander and perform your tasks without thinking about it too much.
You also have the benefit of a pleasurable feeling the next day. There is less risk of feeling sore.
Obviously, these rewards don’t come without risks.
Risks of Cardio
One possible side effect of cardio is the loss of muscle. This is especially true for distance runners and joggers.
Another issue is exhaustion. Doing extensive amounts of cardio can lead to a hard desire to go to bed.
Last, but not least: fat retention. That’s right. Over-training with cardio can make your body adapt to stress. This can make your body lose muscle, and lower your metabolic rate. Research about the pros and cons of cardio to learn more.
No good thing comes without downsides. There are ways to avoid these. The longer you keep up with your training, the easier it gets.
Check out the 6 crucial facts of cardio to learn more.
The edge has to go to weight lifting. The benefits of the “afterburn” are too hard to pass up. That increase in metabolism is extremely helpful in losing weight.
This is not to say that a combination of the two is a bad idea. There is nothing wrong with running and lifting weights. Cardio and weightlifting can go hand in hand.
Think about it. The stress reduction and other health benefits of cardio? The strength and metabolism boost from weightlifting? They make a great pair.
None of this can be accomplished without getting started. If you’re already doing cardio, and want to change it up, read up on how to start weightlifting now!
What’s Right For You?
Honestly, there is no right answer here.
The best advice we can give is to utilize the best of both worlds. Weightlifting and cardio. Or at least to try them both out and see what is best for you. Sticking to the plan is the most important part.
Either way, we’ve learned the benefits of exercising. There’s no need to wait. Now is the best time to start losing weight!
Check out our 9-week challenge and get started today!
Keep It Simple: How to Apply the 80/20 Rule to Your Healthy Lifestyle Design
Are you tired of feeling guilty for “cheating” on your diet?
Does the guilt cause you then to overeat for several days afterward which sabotages some of your progress?
Are you looking for an easier way to manage your healthy lifestyle choices? So you can stay on track and finally meet (or maintain) your weight and fitness goals?
If so, then applying the 80/20 rule to your diet and exercise plans may be the right fit for you.
What Is the 80/20 Rule?
The 80/20 rule comes from the famous Pareto principle that 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. While this originally related to the distribution of wealth in Italy, it’s now being applied to other things, including healthy lifestyle choices.
By following the 80-20 rule, you will focus on eating well and exercising 80% of the time. For example, eating well and working out during the week and indulging (a bit) on the weekend. Or, if you tend to go out with your coworkers for lunch on Friday or out with your friends on Friday night, perhaps your indulging days could be Friday and Saturday. The choice is yours.
In short, it doesn’t matter which times/meals you choose to have as your 20% indulging time, you need to keep it under 20% of the time.
What Can You Eat Following the 80-20 Rule?
For the majority (80%) of the time, you should focus on eating healthy, nutritious foods.
This includes a low-calorie breakfast, packed with protein and fiber to keep you full longer and fight off the desire to snack (or eat those bagels one of your coworkers loves to bring to the office). By limiting your calories at breakfast, you start your day off on the right foot.
Lunch and dinner options can vary widely depending on your personal preferences. Focus on whole foods that offer a variety of nutrients: lean proteins, whole grains, and veggies and fruits chosen from the colors of the rainbow.
For snacks, choose foods like nuts, yogurt, fruits or veggies with hummus or salsa.
During your 20% “indulging” time, try to choose things you really enjoy. Don’t grab the first sweet or salty snack that comes your way. Make it something you have been craving all week or that you don’t want to live without.
Keep in mind that this doesn’t mean you get to eat an entire pizza or a whole pint of ice cream.
While following the 80/20 rule, as with any dietary plan, practicing portion control is a key factor for success.
How Much Exercise Do You Need to Do?
This equates to a minimum of a half-hour each day (Monday through Friday) and a weight training session two days a week.
Or, if you prefer or your schedule doesn’t allow time every workday, you can add some time to your workouts and cut the sessions down to a few days per week.
How you choose to get your half-hour of “moderate activity” is up to you.
Walking at a rate where you are breathing harder than normal but can still talk well enough to keep up a conversation works fine.
Of course, biking, rollerskating, dancing, running, or any other kind of physical activity you enjoy works just fine, too!
Many may find keeping an exercise log beneficial in making sure they get the right amount of each type of exercise each week.
You just need to get moving. Your heart and body will thank you!
Give the 80/20 Rule a Try
Try following the 80-20 rule diet for a few weeks and see how great you’ll feel. Say goodbye to guilt and not having flexibility in your healthy lifestyle choices. Losing weight and staying fit doesn’t have to be complicated.
The right mindset doesn’t hurt either. For more about that, here’s a podcast about how to maintain the right mindset to succeed following the 80/20 rule.
Gym Couples: 6 Reasons Why It Pays To Work Out With Your Partner
Have you ever considered becoming one of those gym couples? You know the kind — the partners who lose weight and look great together. Here’s why you should.
For optimum ‘fitness goals‘ and ‘couple goals’ in one, nothing beats exercising with your partner.
But, couples working out together doesn’t just mean plenty of opportunities for Instagram-friendly hashtags and gym selfies featuring coordinating workout gear.
Becoming one of those gym couples can actually be a great way to strengthen your relationship while you both get stronger too!
Here are six great reasons why you and your partner should work out together.
1. Built-In Accountability
It’s all too easy to skip a workout when you only have to answer to yourself. Training with someone else keeps you accountable, meaning you’re more likely to stick to your exercise plan. And, who better to hold you accountable than your partner?
No one knows you and your usual excuses like your partner. And, no one knows just how to get you motivated when you’re having a bad day or don’t feel like exercising.
Couples that work out together can encourage and inspire each other. Not only will this bring you closer together, you’re both more likely to get a great workout in too.
2. Achieve Fitness Goals Faster
As author Antoine de Saint-Exup?ry said, “love is not just looking at each other, it’s looking in the same direction.” This is a great metaphor to describe how sharing goals with your partner – such as a desire to be healthier – can bring you closer, and makes it easier for you both to achieve those goals.
Bringing exercise and shared fitness goals into the relationship makes you both more aware of health and nutrition as a couple too. That means both of you are less likely to unintentionally sabotage your fitness goals with offers of takeouts or wine.
And, couples working out together also get to enjoy quality time with each other while getting in shape. Which is much more conducive to achieving your health goals than spending every night on the sofa with pizza and beer.
3. Increase Workout Efficiency
For those of you who are already confident in the gym, exercising with your partner can actually result in a more efficient workout.
Without us necessarily being aware of it, the presence of someone else increases performance. Through a combination of motivation and competition, performing a couples gym workout is a great way to boost your energy levels and improve your speed and efficiency.
Ideally, you’ll both be working out in tandem and switching between machines during super sets to save time. But, it’s also helpful having your partner there to spot you or keep an eye on your form. This ensures that you’re completing moves the right way, meaning better workout efficiency.
4. Have Fun
Having a workout buddy helps you enjoy working out and often makes gym sessions feel like less of a chore.
And, while there are plenty of solo gym moves, a great way to have fun during a couples gym workout is to incorporate some partner exercises. From simple in-sync squats to those brutal double dare crunches, partner exercises offer unique and exciting ways to challenge each other as a team.
You’re also more likely to try new methods and exercises if you have the support of your partner. That could mean going heavier on the weights, trying a new tactic such as a HIIT run, or attempting your first Pilates class together. As a result, you get to shake up your old solo routine and find different and enjoyable ways to work out in the process.
5. Boost Love and Attraction
Exercise results in the same symptoms of physiological arousal, such as shortness of breath, sweaty hands and a racing pulse. This has the effect of mirroring the thrill of romantic attraction. As a result, people often mistake physical arousal for romantic attraction.
In fact, studies show that couples report greater relationship satisfaction and increased feelings of romantic love after participating in an exciting physical activity together. The reason for this is the physiological arousal of the activity rather than the difficulty or novelty of the challenge itself.
So, while getting sweaty together might not seem a great way to make you appear more attractive in your partner’s eyes, psychological research shows that it actually does!
Working out as a couple gives you the chance to take advantage of this physiological arousal. And, it means that exercising doesn’t just make you and your partner healthier. Your relationship also becomes healthier and stronger as a result.
6. Reconnect as A Couple
The gym might not be the most romantic setting, but exercising together can be a great way for busy couples to reconnect.
Couples that work out together provide encouragement and support for each other. They also get to witness each other’s success, build trust and have fun as a team. Even suffering through a grueling workout routine or new class can be a great way to strengthen your relationship. Especially when you can both laugh about it afterwards, or console each other with soothing massages.
And, the very act of exercising together can help you reconnect as a couple. That’s because coordinating your actions, such as running at the same pace, creates nonverbal matching, or mimicry.
This nonverbal mimicry helps couples feel emotionally in tune with each other. And, through this, couples working out together report greater a greater sensation of bonding. A couples gym workout gives you both an opportunity to create this connection, benefiting your relationship and your health in the process.
Gym Couples Who Work Out Together Stay Together
If you’re both into health and fitness then it makes sense to combine your passion for exercise with your passion for each other!
And, with all these great benefits to becoming one of those gym couples, what are you waiting for?!