What does it mean if I'm not sore after a workout?

What does it mean if my muscles aren't sore after a workout? I get asked this question a lot and I don’t believe that post-workout soreness should be used as an indicator of a good workout. 

This is what you need to know...

What is post-workout muscle soreness and what causes it? 

When we exercise, our muscles are continually contracting (shortening) and extending (lengthening). When a muscle is lengthened a little more than it's used to, for example by lifting a heavier weight, then it can experience small tears (micro tears). This can cause dull, achy pain and stiffness in your muscles 12-72 hours later (otherwise known as DOMS - Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness). 

During a new exercise program, post-workout muscle soreness might occur quite often for the first few weeks because the muscles are being used in a new way and are learning to adapt. 

What does it mean if you don't get sore after a workout?

After doing the same exercises or exercise program for a while, you may find the frequency (how often it happens) and severity (how ‘bad’ it is) of post-workout soreness is reduced. This is because your body has adapted to the style of training and has become fitter and stronger!

Having a consistent workout routine is likely to lead to you only feeling sore when you do a new exercise that forces you to work your muscles in a different way. Or maybe when you do a targeted workout that requires you to work the same muscles (or muscle groups), such as your arms, over and over.

Although DOM's might make you feel like you've had a great workout, you must remember that not being sore in the following days doesn't render your workout as time wasted or useless.

If post-workout soreness isn’t the only indication of a good workout, then what is?

So if I'm not experiencing DOM's, how do I still know if I'm making progress with my workouts?

  1. Is your workout routine is making you fitter? 
  2. Can you do more reps or lift heavier weights than when you started? 
  3. Is your body more toned? 
  4. Are you able to push through a tough workout better than you used to? 
  5. Do you leave your workouts feeling like you’ve given it your all?

If you answered yes to most of the above, then it is likely that your workout routine is still working for you and your body, even if you’re not experiencing DOM's. 

Have a good week. 

Zara xx

Essential Guide to Losing Weight

Weight loss is one of the most popular goals amongst my clients, I’m going to share tops tips for successful weight loss. First and foremost, you’ve got to believe in yourself and realise losing weight requires small changes you can stick to so they build up over time, eventually leading to a healthier lifestyle and a trimmer you.

How does weight loss happen?

Calories in minus calories out: That’s the simple, age-old equation for creating a calorie deficit to lose weight. Burn more calories than you consume and you’ll lose weight, right? If only it were that easy!

The key to creating a calorie deficit is to burn a little more (or eat a little less) than your body requires for weight maintenance. The calories burned through exercise + non-exercise activity + basal metabolic rate need to be more than the calories consumed through food to produce weight loss. In general, you’ll need to create a deficit of 250–500 calories per day to lose 0.25 kg to 0.5 kg per week.

Since your basal metabolic rate (the calories you burn at rest) accounts for 60–70% of the calories burned throughout the day, it’s important to calculate that as a starting point if you’re wanting to create a deficit. How much your body burns at rest depends on many variables such as genetics, age, hormones and muscle mass.

Two ways to lose weight:

OK, so now you know about creating a calorie deficit; let’s talk about how to achieve it. There are two ways to lose weight: changing what you eat and changing how you move. Most people find a combination of the two leads to the most effective weight loss.

1. CHANGE WHAT YOU EAT AND DRINK

Reducing how much you eat and turning to more healthful foods are the prime directives for anyone looking to lose weight. That said, if you don’t just want to eat healthy, but want to lose weight, you’ll want to consider these five tips as well:

    •    Track What You Eat: What you put into your body makes a difference in your health and your weight. That slice of banana bread at the bakery looks divine. But choosing it over a banana adds more than just extra calories — you’ll be piling on more unhealthy fats and added sugar. As you track your intake, you get the bigger picture of what your food contains: carbs, fats, proteins, fiber, vitamins and minerals. To get the biggest nutritional bang for your calorie buck and create a bigger calorie deficit, consume the majority of your calories from unprocessed, whole foods. While it’s important to be as accurate as you can with food tracking when trying to create a calorie deficit, don’t lose your mind in the process. It gets easier with practice. Stick with it: Logging your food consistently (even if it’s not perfect) is one of the most effective ways to lose weight. I recommend clients to use the My Fitness Pal app downloadable from Itunes.

    •    Skip Soda: Added sugars — sweeteners added to foods or beverages when they are processed or prepared — are little more than empty calories that can lead to weight gain and even obesity, which increases the risk for chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Soda is one of the leading contributors of added sugars in the diet, along with cakes, pies, ice cream and even breakfast bars and cereal.

    •    Drink Water: Hydration is important for everyone, but it can also be a key component of your weight-loss efforts. In addition to keeping your body’s engine burning, water helps to stave off hunger: The more you drink, the less room you have for consuming calories.

    •    Plan Your Meals: Planning healthy meals ahead of time is one of the easiest things you can do to set yourself up for successful weight loss. It not only curbs the last-minute pizza delivery and fast-food drive-thru but will also help you save time, calories and money. It might even inspire you to introduce new meals into your daily routine.

    •    Practice Mindful Eating: Multitasking while eating — munching in front of the TV, snacking while writing emails or constant “sampling” while cooking — makes it challenging to be aware of what you’re putting in your body. Mindful eating is being aware of the taste, texture, smell and your body’s hunger and fullness cues. Knowing your cues and mastering the art of patience and mindfulness is the secret to losing weight for good and keeping it off.

2. BURN THOSE CALORIES (EXERCISE)

Reducing how many calories you eat is the best way to create a calorie deficit, but working it from the other way — burning more calories — works, too. Plus, regular exercise can boost metabolism, making creating a calorie deficit easier.

8 Simple Weight Loss Strategies:

It’s easy enough to say eat less, move more, but often more difficult to do. Here are a few ideas on how to make it easier:

1. REMOVE TEMPTATION: If you’re trying to set yourself up for success, keeping donuts and chips around isn’t doing you any favours. Give your pantry and fridge a little makeover to stay on track with your goals.

2. STOP EATING AFTER DINNER: Late-night noshes are usually high-calorie, large portions or snacky foods eaten mindlessly out of enjoyment to unwind from the stress of the day. It’s a recipe for weight gain and disaster. 

3. LEARN HOW TO ORDER AT RESTAURANTS: Eating out can rack up the calories, so knowing how to make healthy menu swaps is key.

4. MASTER CALORIE SWAPS: Whether it’s swapping hummus for mayo or zucchini noodles in lieu of traditional spaghetti, the calories you save really add up when you’re trying to create a calorie deficit.

5. CONSIDER NON-SCALE VICTORIES: Your weight is determined by a variety of factors, including hydration, climate, when you last ate, bathroom habits and exercise. In other words, weight fluctuation is common, and there’s much more to good health than a number on a scale.

6. GET ADEQUATE SLEEP: Sleep is undervalued. Getting enough quality sleep is holistically tied to your health and weight-loss goals. Sleep offers our bodies a chance at restoration and rejuvenation. When we’re sleep-deprived, we tend to eat more, exercise less and make poor food choices.

If you slip up....

Get right back on track as soon as you can. I get it, we all fall off the wagon sometimes. It’s OK — what’s more important is understanding why you blew it and getting back on track. Try, fail and adjust … it’s a journey.

Good luck xx

The best fitness gifts for girls 2017

Get wrapped up in the spirit of giving this Christmas; check out my top fitness gifts for the female wellness warrior in your life.

1. Ultracor Leggings, £230

2. Happiness Planner, £40

3. P.E.Nation Sports Bra, £90

4. Jimmy Choo Trainers, £395

5. Varley Leggings, £90

6. Apple Watch, £329

7. MZ Wallace Yoga Mat Bag, £98

8. Neom Candle, £45

9. Kenzo Jumper, £175   

10. Lulu Lemon Socks, £18 

11. Pro-Tech Athlectics Ball Roller, £8.08

12. Canda Goose Gilet, £300

ABS-OLUTELY FABULOUS

Check out this killer abs circuit, it can be done almost anywhere & you can do as much or as little as you like. Go on, give it a go....

Have fun, have a great weekend. X

Burn & shred 2017!

Burn & shred this January with this quick workout, no equipment required, so no excuses - get it done!

Round 1:  30 seconds each exercises 

Rest 30 seconds

Round 2: 45 seconds each exercise

Rest 1 minute

Round 3: 1 minutes each exercise

Exercises:

1. High Knees
2. Calf Raises
3. Single Leg Hip Thrusts
4. Squat Jumps
5. Jumping Lunges
6. Jump In
7. Burpies
8. Press Ups

Have fun :-)

#fitfluential

In 2017 I will….. well for at least the first 5 days I will….. & obviously weekends don’t count, do they?!  Like clockwork each January millions of us set out for our annual re launch.

‘THE YEAR OF THE FIT TIGER’

Health is a usual contender when it comes to New Year’s resolutions. I mean it has great credentials & packs a mean punch, so it’s no surprise:

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I want to share with you a few key #fitfluencial sources that keep me motivated, so at the end of 2017 you can say ‘I did.….’! Here we go… 

Brian Johnson

I’m a big fan of his ‘Optimal Living 101 Master Classes’; sign up & receive daily thought provoking emails that look to optimise every aspect of your life, so you can realise your potential.

Headspace

Mindfulness – what, ex-squeeze-me?! Life can be (is) mental, taking 5 minutes each day to meditate, can enhance your life no end. This free nifty app, holds your hand & walks you step by step through the process of meditation.

Furthermore.com from Equinox

Move over dailmail.co.uk, office web browsing is having a makeover, check out furthermore.equinox.com. Equinox’s banging blog is 100% click worthy, covering the science, the food, the style, movement & more – LOVE!

Ben Coomber’s Podcast

Nothing like a podcast on the way to work, this full fat weekly podcast covers everything from nutrition, to mind-set, exercise & human performance. Plug in your headphones; it gets thumbs up from me!

http://www.wellandgood.com/

A cracking website that nails the good sweat, good looks, good advice & good food.

My Fitness Pal

The hall monitor of nutrition apps, scan your vino blanco bottle & hey presto the ‘nutritional’ content appears in a log, tracking your daily macros.

Secrets of a PT: Sleep for the “wow, they got hot!”

Sssshhhh secrets of a London PT, uncovering top tips for wellbeing, fitness & nutrition.

Sleep for that killer body, ok. You have got this. I believe in you.

Do you wake up naturally, fresh, energized, ready to kick some serious ass each day?

No? The chances are your alarm goes off, you hit snooze, you feel tired, you calculate how many days it is until Friday, drag yourself to work, grab a large skinny cappuccino and the cycle continues….

Sacrificing sleep is the norm and the truth is most of us are sleep deprived. I urge you, STOP underestimating the importance of sleep. Sleep is fundamental to our wellbeing, fitness and our nutritional goals.

Why sleep for that killer body?

Depriving your body of sleep means you run up a sleep debt; the body then borrows energy from the immune system, resulting in sub optimal performance. Let me explain:

1. Sleep deprivation disrupts and limits your body’s ability to use insulin. This is bad news as insulin’s job is to remove fatty acids and lipids from your blood stream and prevent fat storage. As your insulin function declines, more fat circulates in your blood and gets stored in all the wrong places like your tissues and liver, leading to weight gain and eventually diabetes.

2. Hunger is controlled by the hormones leptin and ghrelin, not willpower, ok! Leptin is produced in our fat cells, the less you produce the more your stomach feels empty. The more ghrelin you produce, the hungrier you feel and the fewer calories you burn and the more fat you store. Successful weight management comes from controlling these hormones; the problem is sleep deprivation makes controlling them nearly impossible. So gorgeous people, get more sleep, have better hormone control and you will eat less.

3. Lack of sleep leads to higher cortisol levels – the naughty stress hormone associated with fat gain (piss off cortisol)! This little bugger Mr.cortisol activates reward centres in our brain that make us want food! Along with rising levels of Ghrelin this is not good news, as this duo shut down areas of your brain that leave you feeling satisfied after a meal, leaving you feeling hungry, even after a serious chow-down.

4. Back away from the cookie jar! Sleep deprivation pushes you in the direction of foods you know you shouldn’t eat as it impairs activity in your frontal lobe, which controls complex decisions such as to eat or not to eat a [all the] cookie[s]!

5. Muscle helps us burn fat and stay young – LIKE! Sleep deprivation decreases protein synthesis, the body’s ability to make muscle, causing muscle loss.

6. Human growth hormone (HGH) has its highest production during slow-wave sleep, it is a key player in keeping us wrinkle free and looking fine!

How much sleep do you need?

The million $ question – between 7 – 9 hours is advisable, the more active you are, the more sleep your body requires.

Good Zzzzzz’s strategy:

Schedule your bedtime like an important meeting; you wouldn’t cancel on your boss. Ideally at 10.30pm or at least the same time each day. Darkness, oh hello there, turn off all electricals, put down the mobile and don’t bother to email your boss back! Sex, scientist say 6 minutes extra shut eye is had if we sexercise before bed! Temperature, keep it low as otherwise it will inhibit melatonin, which is the hormone that regulates sleep.

Now you are armed with some facts, I will leave you with some good news, sleep is free and it is available tonight!

Good night, sleep tight and don’t let the bedbugs bite.