The Question I'm often asked by clients, is what's most important; Exercise or Diet? So in this weeks blog we'll look at clearing up some of the confusion. Let's start and take a look at the exercise bit first.
Last week the mainstream press were running articles on the ’new idea’ that exercise could be the key to curing the World’s obesity and cardiovascular epidemic.
So here’s a few of the key points they mentioned, and I've bullet pointed them for easy reading:
1. Weight gain increases risk of heart attacks, strokes, diabetes and cancer
2. Experts think that exercise it the key to a healthy lifestyle and NOT restricting calories
3. As little as 20 mins. A day brisk walking lowers the risk of heart disease by 30%-40%.
4. Regular activity should also include weights as resistance exercises
5. In a recent editorial in the ‘Journal of Cardiology’, Professors from ‘The Charles E. Schmeit College of Medicine’ at Florida Atlantic University evaluated the evidence... Professor C. Hennekens, one of the Co-authors said “If physical activity was a pill then perhaps more people would take it”.
6. Most people have great difficulty achieving and maintaining weight loss solely by restricting calories, therefore modern ‘inactive lifestyles’ seem to be as important as diet in etiology and obesity.
7. The authors note that regular physical activity should include ‘resistance training’ (lifting weights).
8. The maintenance or increase in lean body mass (muscle) derived from lifting weights promotes an increase in the calories you can burn at rest, which significantly adds to control of body weight. (So far there’s no ‘ground breaking’ news there).
9. As well as helping to get body weight under control the authors point out important beneficial effects beyond body weight including: blood pressure, heart attacks, certain types of cancer, strokes and diabetes as well as arthritis, mood, energy, sleep and sex life.
So at this point you should be asking yourself a couple of questions...
If it was just as simple as exercise.....the gyms should be so full you wouldn't be able to get through the door!
And the next one everyone in the gym should look like a Greek God.
But on BOTH points, it’s NOT! So why not?
Well firstly, at the start of the year a lot of published articles in the press were stating that 'DIET' was the main thing to combat the obesity epidemic and had a lot of similar benefits .....and they are right it does.
However, you can ask the same question we did about gyms.
All the diet clubs should be filled with the same Greek Gods, instead everyone starving themselves all day before going to the ‘Monday night weigh in’...
As a side note, from going to some of these occasions ...have you ever tried to get in to the toilets? Everyone’s in there trying to get rid of that extra half pound BEFORE they get on the scales!
I do have a couple of other observations about ‘diet club nights’ ...but maybe I’ll share them later...
OK, I can’t resist... Have you ever tried to go to the chippy after one of those nights?.....it’s the same queue as the one at the toilets.
Yes, I know I’m being flippant but it’s true. There are reasons for it, but I’ll save that for another time.
So, what’s the answer?
The information published in the press doesn’t help! Really, it just seems to confuse and add more mud to already cloudy waters.
Second, if you have read any of my other musings I have always said that there is a formula to ANY and EVERY successful Body Transformation; whether that be fat loss, or muscle/weight gain.
The body, as we all know it IS ‘a system of sytems’. Just to remind you of the obvious ones; you’ve got the nervous and digestive systems, but there are several others...
When it comes to ‘Body Transformation’, some of the experts seem to focus on that one thing that will work for you....
'Diet is the key!'
'No, Exercise is where it’s at!'
then 'NO! it’s a combination of the two! Diet and Exercise is the one for you!'
Well I’ve Good News and Bad News... They are partly right. There are 5 Key Areas of Focus for all long term Body Transformations.
1. Mental Clarity;
Or as I refer to the big ass reason(s) you WANT to change and go from where you are now, to where you want to be. Notice I didn’t say ‘NEED TO’, as change involves lots of different steps, It won’t happen until you want to do it and then take action on it.
The brain is a very powerful mechanism... and a part of the brain is the mind, which is even more powerful. Notice I have actually separated the two, and for very good reason.
Which is probably beyond this article but know this, you may have heard the saying ‘what the mind can conceive, it can achieve’.
You need to have 100% mental clarity on what you want..........not necessarily HOW you’re going to do it yet! That will come through the subconscious mind......trust me!
You need a structured exercise program that caters for your current level/ability AND has progression as you get fitter and stronger.
Just how our ‘Lean-In-14’ Program goes from beginner to advanced. and No! I’m not trying to sell it to you I’m giving it to you as an example!
But back to what I was saying, the ‘Beginner’ program starts very steady but easily adjustable as you can switch it up or down using a lighter or heavier kettlebell, depending on your own ability. For more information on Kettlebell Training, we have a Ultimate 7 Step Beginners Guide for Getting Started. Be sure to Check that Out Here.
Then as you progress you can do the same in the ‘Intermediate’ section, and then so on with the ‘Advanced’ section.
Most people go off like a bull at a gate wanting to kill themselves in the first minute.
In fact that reminds me of when I started out as a Freelance Trainer, I used to do something to gauge new clients progress at the second meeting.
We would do something called the 12 minute test, which basically involved the client covering as much ‘measured’ distance by either walking, running or a combination of the two for 12 minutes.
This system worked by going back and doing it again after a couple of weeks of training, to see how much progress had been made.
No matter how many times I would say to a new starter 'do not try and kill yourself out there'.. they would get all testosteroned up and it would become a test between who had a bigger pair..... me, or them!
Now I do remember one of them in particular, let’s call him ‘Stuart’. Stuart was a Doctor, mid 30’s and looked pretty fit. I’d already done all my usual exams in the first meeting: health screening, weights, measures, goals etc.
So the morning of the test, Stuart turns up in new running gear. I give him all the usual advice .... take it easy, if you feel ill... JUST STOP .... we'll walk it out .... it’s our first session, take your time.
In those days I was pretty quick on my feet (over distance), but not a sprinter.
Anyway I say to Stuart ‘right, let’s go’. Well. He’s like a fleeing gazelle that’s being chased by a hungry pride of lions.......he’s gone!
I’m right on his shoulder.....50m, 100m. At his point I think I’m in trouble and that this guy’s about to ‘smoke’ me........ZOOM, he’s still going.
I’m now blowing (breathing hard) trying to work out........’Do I tell him to stop’? ‘Has someone set me up?‘ How come I didn’t spot this on my questionnaires’?
300m in and he starts to slow slightly and I get chance to catch my breath. 400m he’s now jogging.....500m it’s come down to what looks like a jog but he’s stopped moving forward!
He’s now starting to wander about and not responding to anything I say (now I can actually breathe).
The colour starts to drain from his face and he’s beginning to stumble. ‘Are you going dizzy’? ‘Let’s walk’! I get a feeble nod and then he’s DOWN! Like the proverbial sack of potatoes.
Fortunately we are on soft ground and he’s still conscious.
He’s alive and apart from some grass burns still in one piece! My mind leapt in to hyper drive.
‘How much does a surgeon earn’?
‘Will I have enough insurance’?
‘What would the headline be in the newspaper’?
... you can guess the rest!!
So what I’m trying to say is ‘don’t be like Stuart’!
Having some muscle soreness after a workout is quite normal and sometimes quite good.
BUT start steady. You can always do a little bit more next time. Find your level then build from there.
Stuart lasted approx. 3 mins in to the 12min test and for a minute of that he was on the ground.
He did go on to be an accomplished runner, he also still continued to have some testosterone moments but eventually once he started following advice everything came to in the end.
These are just the first two key areas of Successful Body Transformations, in the next post I will be covering the remaining 3 'Key Areas of Successful Body Transformation’.... and they are Biggies.