Are you feeling fit?

To figure this out we need to address what fitness even is. Here are a few definitions:

The dictionary definition:

what-is-fitness-dictionary3

The United States Department of Health and Human Services define physical fitness as:

A set of attributes that people have or achieve that relates to the ability to perform physical activity

What are these definitions actually telling us? Fitness is a very personal term and relates back to your individualised goals. For me, something called the health triangle demonstrates how we should perceive our own fitness, or health.

Health triangle

health-triangle

This triangle highlights that being fit isn’t just about being physically fit; it’s also about being mentally and socially fit. Let’s break the triangle down in terms of what it can mean for your overall fitness…

Physical
Physical fitness, or physical health, is just one element of the health triangle. As I said before, this is very personal and there is not one size fits all. Your own definition of being physically fit could be;

  • A body weight Olympic lift
  • Running a marathon
  • Walking up the stairs unaided

Physical fitness is a combination of exercise and physical activity.

Physical activity is any movement produced by skeletal muscles that require energy expenditure. This includes exercise, but also any other activities which involve bodily movement and are done as part of playing, working, active transportation, house chores and recreational activities.

Exercise is defined as a subcategory of physical activity. It’s planned, structured, repetitive, and purposeful.

So, exercise could involve big compound lifts (dead lifts, squats and bench presses), mixed with cardiovascular training (running, rowing and cycling) plus gymnastic moves (pull-ups and dips).

Physical activity is a key component of exercise. It could include trying to play as many new sports as possible, learning new skills, walking more, taking the stairs, running for the bus, trying something new and generally challenging your body for the unexpected journey that we call life. By taking part in exercise you are preparing yourself for physical activity, and of course, the other way round.

Here at premium one, we vary workouts to include heavy lifting, aerobic training, strength endurance, gymnastics and Olympic lifting so that should life throw something unexpected at you, you can overcome this and carry on with your daily routine as normal like it never happened.

 

Social
This is why I love our group sessions. Without necessarily realising it, you are interacting and sharing your challenges, expectations and successes with peers.

You can also bring social elements into other areas of your fitness. Running and sports clubs, spending time in the outdoors with your family, walking the dog with a friend – these all count.

Of course this social element of the health triangle is not always linked to exercise and physical activity. Being part of a group, having regular meet ups with friends, enjoying your working environment. These are all part of your social health.

 

Mental/Emotional
One element of mental health is the process of learning. Learning new things and enjoying new experiences challenges your brain in a positive way. You’ll also be learning new ways of coping with whatever life throws at you.

Of course there are many elements of mental health that you won’t find answers to within your fitness routine. However, by challenging yourself to new movements, learning some theory and talking about your individual challenges and focuses you will be helping with this element of the health triangle.

Nathaniel and I are always available to chat before and after sessions. Learning the theory behind fitness is a big part of what we do; we’re always learning and feel really passionately about sharing that with you.

 

Remember the health triangle
So, getting fit is relative to each individual. Next time you’re planning some gym sessions; remember to mix up your routine with new movements, sports, people and places. Bear in mind the health triangle and what that means for your own individual fitness journey.

 

Adam Cheetham, Fitness Specialist at YMCA gym, nottsymca.com/premiumone

 

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Down with exercise!

-Nathaniel Soderberg, Fitness Specialist

I want you to kill exercise with me.

A very strange request from a guy who has been taking part in or encouraging others to exercise for twenty-odd years. So why would I want you to kill exercise? I mean, that would be me out of a job!

Well let’s have a look…

How we ‘exercise’

‘Exercise’ at its most basic is:

“planned, structured, and repetitive for the purpose of conditioning any part of the body. Exercise is used to improve health, maintain fitness and is important as a means of physical rehabilitation.” (source:medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/exercise)

This is normally done over an hour or so at a specific time that we allocate in our day for doing movements to prescribed sets, reps, time or distance.

Exercise has its roots in reversing or preventing health problems. While I believe that this is a very good thing, I also believe that this might have warped our views of exercise and ultimately, fitness.

We generally see exercise as a way to achieve a goal; whether that’s to get stronger or get those abs that have been eluding us for years.

We read endless articles and magazines to find the holy grail of what exercise regime will help us achieve our goals best. We deliberate over the best amount of reps to get those gains; we agonise over whether we should run steady for an hour or do 30 second sprints. We move from one programme to another hoping against all odds that this one programme will change our lives.

Now, I love an exercise plan (you should see me when I am planning my latest exercise regime.) For me, manipulating reps, sets, tempos and rest periods is like being a kid in a sweet shop. I believe that a good trainer should have a good understanding of how to use these variables to get the most out of training sessions.

BUT! I am sure you know someone (or are someone!) who has been going to the gym for as long as you can remember and always does the same thing. They jump on the treadmill and do their cardio; they do their dead-lifts; their bicep curls…month after month, year after year, over and over again.

However,viewing and doing exercise this way turns it into a robotic formula of ‘do X, add Y and you will get Z.’ This is NOT how our bodies really work.

How we move

Exercise is just movement. Movement we have put into a box we call exercise.

Let me hit you with an interesting stat:

There are 10,080 minutes in our 7 day week. If we exercise for 60 minutes a day, 7 days a week, that’s 480 minutes out of a possible 10,080 minutes.

That’s a mere 5% of your week!

That’s 95% of your week not exercising .

We sit, we work and we sleep. We do a bit of exercise to make ourselves feel better. Then we repeat.

And this is why we need to kill exercise. Let’s break that exercise box wide open and release the potential of movement.

I was walking past a school the other day and I watched as the kids were playing. They were jumping up and hanging on some goalposts (I am sure they weren’t really allowed to do this but they were having fun). And do you know what hit me? If you asked these kids what they were doing, what would they say? They’d say they were playing, just messing around. They would not say “exercising.” They would not list off how many jumps they were going to do or how long they were going to hang on to the goalposts for. They were simply moving.

I want to let you into a little secret.

Your body is amazing! It has so much potential; so much potential for awesomeness. Give it the chance to achieve this.

Going from exercise to movement

So, let’s stop exercising and and just start moving.

We have incredible bodies that are able to do mind bending things and instead of looking to get on a treadmill to try and burn off the 170 calories you feel guilty about…why not try and do a movement you haven’t tried before? You have a lunch break; why not try a handstand? A headstand? A different hill? A new stretch? You don’t have to work up a sweat; you don’t have to push yourself to the point where you feel like you are going to throw up. You just have to move.

Not only will trying to learn a new movement help you physically but it will increase your mental capabilities- yes, it will actually help you think better! Your coordination will improve, your spacial awareness will increase and you will end up working muscles in a way they probably haven’t been worked before.

Stop restricting movement by putting it into this little box we call exercise. Just move. Enjoy moving. Move in all kinds of ways. Crawl, climb, run, jump, hop…

…let’s reclaim movement and stop limiting ourselves to exercise.

 

Be an iceberg!

Yes you read that right, be an iceberg! I don’t mean this in the literal sense of you throwing yourself into freezing water and letting yourself be blown around by the winds and currents (although this guy has some good tips if you do want to do that).

No I am talking about being more than what people see. Over 90% of an iceberg isn’t visible, you only get to see 10% of it as it floats around. We all follow on twitter or instagram people who we think are pretty awesome-whether that is a famous sports person, film star or singer- we follow them because we like what they have achieved or can do. We follow their success, or their 10% as it were.

I love reading about athletes, about their training, especially Olympic athletes. They train for 4 years, to compete in an event which will last them no more than a couple of days. And we all get to see them perform, we get to see their 10%. We very rarely get to see them in real training, in the day to day- through the sweat blood and tears. We miss the times they throw up after a really heavy session, the times they just want to give up, the times they are too tired to eat the right food and the times they have had to take it easy because of an injury.

And its because we only see the 10% that sometimes we can get frustrated when things don’t go the way we want them to, whether that’s within our exercise and not being able to lose that extra bit of weight, not being able to lift that bar for one more rep, or not getting to where we would like to be quicker. We get frustrated because everyone else around us seems to be able do the things we want to do with relative ease, and we completely miss their 90%.

A great poet called Ovid once stated that “nothing is stronger than habit”. What makes that person so successful? What makes them be able to do what I can’t? If you want to know the answer just look at what they do, day in day out.

The truth is, it’s not because of some random, “I woke up one morning and boom, I was able do a 100kg deadlift”, or do that unassisted pull-up (although yes there are some freaks of nature). But it’s about doing good and healthy things over and over again. It’s waking up at 5am on a Monday morning to hit the gym, it’s preparing your meals for the week on a Sunday evening, it’s turning down that second or third beer. And this is not just for a couple of weeks or months. This is something that becomes so ingrained in you that to do anything else is just wrong.

I want to challenge you now. I want to challenge you to do something, forget the excuses, and all the reasons you tell yourself why you cant do something. What one thing right now is the thing that you are wanting to do?

Once you have figured out what you want to do start training for it. Start putting things into place so that by the end of this year, or next, you will be able to go “look what I have done”.

And everyone will be amazed and jealous at the 10% you show them, but not realise the 90% you put into it.

Are you ready to be an iceberg?

S​u​p​e​r​m​a​n’​s s​u​p​e​r​f​o​o​d​s​!

Superfood is on the menu today. Looking at what superfoods are and if they actually exist.

The superfood is labeled this because of its supposedly amazing affect it has on the body. From fighting off disease to burning fat they are THE foods to eat, and apparently completely backed up by science… but is this true?

When you first take a look down the list of superfoods they all look pretty good: eggs, fish, oranges, tomatoes, nuts, hot peppers, chia seeds… the list goes on. However does this really make them super? Well yes and no.

I will tackle the no first. When you actually read the studies that have looked at these foods they have tested it in a lab with very high concentrations, meaning you would have to eat  a tonne of the stuff to get the benefits.

Secondly most of the evidence (if not all) is unable to prove that it was the food that had that specific effect and so can not be fully relied upon!

Thirdly (and this one is my own opinion)  – any time I see or hear anything or anyone that says ‘eat this one thing and it will make you thinner/stronger/faster’ I immediately know they are lying! If it was that easy everyone would be doing it!

“So why yes?” I hear you ask.

Because all of the ‘superfoods’ you should be trying to eat, and you will feel better and healthier for it. Lets just not call them ‘superfoods’… they are just foods that are good for you.

Here is a list of ‘superfoods’ to try and put into your diet to mix things up.

L​o​o​k​i​n​g b​a​c​k f​o​r a b​e​t​t​e​r t​o​m​o​r​r​o​w​.​.​.

2016 is fast approaching and when it gets to this time of year I like to take some time out and reflect on ALL that has happened in the past year for me. I don’t just limit this to exercise, but will look at anything from my marriage to my career.

This is something I got into the habit of doing about 5 years ago and I find it really useful as it helps me see what I have or haven’t achieved and then look to the following year.

Sometimes in the day to day we can feel like we have done nothing or we got nowhere, but if you reflect over the year then you can see the change and then you will have a better foundation to base your goals for 2016.

So I have written 6 things to do before the end of this year:

1. Take some time out to think about all you have done. Look back at facebook, gym journals, any notes or things you have written yourself.

2. Consider where you were in January 2015 and where you are currently. Have things changed? are they good changes? Do you feel better or worse?

3. Write this all down or draw it out be as creative as you want to be. I find this allows you to physically see progress.

4. Take all that information and think about 2016- where do you want to be in 2016? What does that look like? Dream BIG! Don’t limit your goals to your current situation.

5. What do you need to do to get to where you want to be? Again physically write this out. I normally will put something together on the computer and print it out and put it somewhere I will see it each day.

and finally

6. Embrace it, dive right in and get excited for a brand new year!

C​a​l​o​r​i​e​s a​r​e K​i​n​g​.​.​. o​r a​r​e t​h​e​y​?

So one of the most important things you should know about nutrition is to do with calories. Now in this crazy world we live in there are many views about calories; should we count them? Should we ignore them? Are they even real or relevant?

I’m sure all of you have come across some kind of conflicting information about calories. I for one feel sorry for these little guys who seem to constantly being beaten up.

So what is a calorie? Well pretty simply all they are is a way of measuring the energy/fuel in food. That’s all it is -it’s just a measurement. Some genius went round with a special calorimoter and measured the energy in food.

So are calories important and do we need to know about them? Yes they are important especially in our society where we have access to any kind of fuel we want, whenever we want. Being able to understand the amount of energy/fuel we can get from different foods is important. And how overeating and under eating can affect us.

This leads us to the important rule of energy balance. Put simply if you eat more than you burn throughout the day the more weight you will gain. If you eat less the more weight you will lose.

This is the fundamental rule of nutrition! If you hear anybody tell you otherwise then please slap them! Yes I understand there are and can be other things that can affect this such as hormones, body composition… but when push comes to shove if you eat more than you burn you will gain weight!

This often leads to 2 questions:

1. So if I want to get thin I basically need to starve myself?

2. I can eat whatever I want as long as I don’t eat more calories than I burn?

The answer to the first question is NO!!! While in one sense yes you will lose weight, you will lose a lot of muscle, your metabolism will eventually grind to a halt and you will feel like crap!

The answer to the second question might be a bit more surprising but ultimately yes this is true. But if you do decide to change your diet to a chocolate only diet be prepared for the consequences: sickness, headaches, depression, constant hunger, mood swings and eventually your body will crash as your body will be deprived of vital nutrients.

So how do I know if I am eating enough?

First you need to work out your BMR and then you need to work out your level of activity on a daily basis. There are various calculations that allow you to do this but the most accurate ones are the ones that use your body fat.

Once you have got these calculations then it’s all about monitoring what you eat. Again you can do this either through the fitbit app or through myfitnesspal or just by writing it down.

Now I’m not saying you should weigh all your food out and get exact measurements and calories (if this is something you want to do then go ahead) but you should be able to know in your head how many (rough) calories a chicken breast has in it and a bowl of pasta. (The answer is 150 and 175 respectively). Knowing this information will help you plan better meals and achieve the goals that you want!

Take away points:

Calories are important to understand
Know roughly what calories you burn
Learn how many calories are in your favorite foods

“R​e​s​t​i​n​g m​a​k​e​s m​e f​a​t​!”

I was talking to someone the other day about rest and exercise. They said that in their mind if you’re not exercising or moving then you are going to gain weight. I thought this was a very interesting way of looking at weight loss and decided that this would be a good topic to look at this week.

I want to start off by stating my view on this:

No, resting won’t make you gain weight.

This mindset of flogging yourself until the weight falls off is one of my frustrations with the fitness industry. You see it all the time; people go to class after class and spend hours upon hours running, lifting weights and they keep going and going and going.

This is not healthy.

Yes exercise is good and yes classes are awesome but our bodies were not really designed to be put through such constant brutalising work loads.

To understand why this is true we have to dive a bit into what happens to your body when you exercise.

In it’s simplest form when you exercise you stress your body so it has to adapt to the demands being placed on it . This is the SAID principle. Your body will then rebuild itself stronger/fitter than what it was. This is the theory of supercompensation.

You time this right and job done a stronger you in a couple of months! Get it wrong and train too early while your body is still in recovery and it could lead to a decrease in performance, and if you keep training too early it will eventually lead to over training.

Your body is pretty good at telling you when something isn’t right and it needs a bit of a break. If you ignore it, you will become over trained and at some point your body will decide it’s had enough and will break.

There are many signs of over training:

You feel worse after you exercise
Mentally you feel drained
Sleep deprivation
You take forever to recover from a workout
You’re unable to perform at the same intensity

If you are experiencing any one of these it could suggest you are over training.

What to do if you think you are over training:

Firstly, REST! Book in a day when you allow your body to switch off and don’t do any exercise. You should try and do this at least once a week.

Secondly, start putting in some recovery/de-load weeks every 4 weeks. This isn’t complete rest but is an easier workout for example; lighter weights, slower pace, less classes. This will allow your body to have a bit of a break and help you avoid over training.

So in summary, no – having a rest day won’t make you fat, but it could make you better!