Why do you exercise?

I read an article in the Metro last week, which said that something like 60-70% of women exercise just so they can eat chocolate and drink wine!

The first thing I want to say is that this used to be me! I used to think that doing regular exercise meant I could eat chocolate, crisps and biscuits and still stay slim. It worked for a while, but when I got past 40 I noticed that some of my clothes were feeling tight and I started to get symptoms of IBS such as bloating and uncomfortable stomach pains. I realised that the exercise wasn’t really working as well as it used to but I still enjoyed it so I kept going to classes and worked out in the gym.

I decided to change my diet and I cut out milk, cheese and yoghurt, which was what I ate on a daily basis and this made a huge difference, not just to my IBS symptoms, but to my weight. The weight I’d put on just dropped off and I could also see the results of what I’d been doing in the gym as my arms and legs were much more toned.

If you are one of those women who are exercising so you can eat treats, that’s good, because at least you are exercising, but bear in mind that staying slim and healthy is a combination of both exercise and healthy eating and it is around 80% diet and 20% exercise.

You can still eat treats, but try to cut down on the amount you eat. I just have chocolate at weekends now.  I believe that everything is OK if eaten in moderation and as long as the majority of your diet is healthy then the odd cake should not do too much damage!

If you have IBS symptoms try replacing milk with alternatives such as almond milk and swap cow’s cheese for goat’s cheese. These small changes may make a big difference.


The best way to lose baby weight

If it’s been a few months since you gave birth but the baby weight refuses to budge, don’t stress about it. Stressing about it is the worst thing you can do because stress leads to the body releasing cortisol, which leads to belly fat! So, to avoid this, I would try the following things to get rid of the weight gradually. If you are breastfeeding or you haven’t exercised for a while, check with your GP before you make any changes to your diet or exercise regime.

Don’t eat for two

This may be too late for you, if you have baby weight to shift but I find the most effective way of getting rid of baby weight is not to put on too much weight in the first place. Midwives are good at monitoring this nowadays, so you should be made aware that you don’t have to eat for two, like women were told a few decades ago. Make sure you eat enough, especially in the third trimester when you will need to eat more than usual, but the first 6 months, you should be able to eat like you used to do before you were pregnant (you will still need to cut out some things such as cream cheese and alcohol etc) in terms of portion size.

Take lots of walks

Walking is the best exercise you can do. You can do it with your baby and it gets you both out in the fresh air. Pushing the pram and lifting it up and down off the kerbs can help tone your arm muscles as well.

Eat plenty of these:

  • Fruit
  • Vegetables
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Brown bread
  • Wholemeal pasta
  • Brown rice
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Fish (all types especially oily)
  • Salads
  • Stir fries with fresh or frozen vegetables. (Make sure the sauce doesn’t contain too much sugar)
  • Eggs
  • Chicken
  • Steak or lean mince beef
  • Raw food bars such as NAKD bars

Cut down on these:

  • Biscuits
  • Cakes
  • Chocolate
  • Crisps
  • Salted or roasted nuts
  • Processed and ready meals
  • Dairy
  • Sugar
  • Pies and pastries
  • Chips
  • Takeout

I know the things on the cut down list are the nicest things but if you want to shift the baby weight cutting down or avoiding some of these things, will make a huge difference. I would wait until you’ve finished breast feeding, but once you have finished, cutting out dairy and sugar will make the biggest difference. Especially if you do more walking and then gradually add in some HITT workout routines.

You need to remember that your body has been through a lot the past couple of years and your baby is the most important thing to focus on. Having said this, I know how horrible I feel when I’m carrying a few extra pounds so, as soon as you feel ready, try taking some of the advice in this post, making sure you’ve consulted your GP first and you should start to see some gradual changes.

If you want a little extra help with those pesky cravings, check out my crave curber program here (currently only 99 cents!)

Tabata Training – What is it and Why Should You do it?

If you are a working mum, or have just had a baby, exercise is probably the last thing on your mind. You’re likely to be exhausted and struggling to balance your busy life and you most likely put yourself last after you’ve finished taking care of everyone else.

If you used to exercise, pre-children, you may think there are other more important things to do now and maybe you think it’s vain to bother about keeping in shape when you have other things you’d rather be doing with the little free time you do have.

If you want to stay healthy and look and feel younger for longer, you really do have to keep up a regular exercise routine.  Not having the time is no longer a reason now that there’s a new popular exercise program that has taken the world by storm. It’s called Tabata training.

You can get fitter, and maintain this fitness, by doing 4 minutes of intense exercise for only 2 or 3 sessions per week. Sounds too good to be true, right? Well, I have been doing tabata and some HITT(high intensity interval training) combined. Tabata is a type of HITT training but it is characterised by its 4-minute duration and aerobic activities.

HITT can be longer and contain a mix of aerobic and resistance exercises. I am a qualified fitness instructor and, when I first qualified, we were told that you couldn’t gain any significant benefits from any exercise routine that was shorter in duration than 30 minutes. I now know they were wrong as I’ve not only lost weight but I’m more toned and have more energy. All this and I’ve got more time for me too! It’s amazing!

So how does it work? The idea is that you do high-intensity activities for 20 seconds and then take a 10 second rest. It is important to take your rest, but believe me, if you do it right you’ll look forward to your rest breaks! The whole session should take 4 minutes and this amounts to about 8 rounds of activity and rest.

So, if you want to take regular exercise without spending hours in the gym, why not give it a go? 

As with any new exercise routine, make sure you consult a medical expert first, especially if you have any underlying medical issues or are pregnant. If you have just had a baby wait at least 12 weeks before starting any intensive exercise program and get permission from your GP first, just to be safe. 

You can find some tabata exercises on Youtube if you want to give it a go.