Ana Maria

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What do You Really Know About Fitness and Nutrition?

fitness and nutrition quiz

Fitness and nutrition are topics that create so many myths and misinformation.

Everyone seems to have an idea that is the latest and greatest way to lose weight, build muscle and generally turn yourself into an amazonian woman. 

But do you really even have a basic knowledge of fitness and nutrition? 

Take this quick ten question quiz and find out how your knowledge rates.

You might be surprised!

If you passed this test, you should find out what your food personality is as well. 

Click the image below and learn what it is;

fruit basket

Once you're finished here check out these super easy clean eating recipes, that you can mix and match to serve your food personality.

Best Fitness Motivation Online

fitness motivation

Finding fitness motivation is a very important part of how a woman takes care of her body, and a lot of us feel the need to find places that will help us get on a diet, change out overall lifestyle, and improve how we look. 

There are a lot of people who are writing and posting about fitness online, so you can get lost trawling through it all, and still not find anything of real value. 

There are some blogs below that I like, that will help women get on a plan and stay on that plan.

They are all a little bit different, but they all have something to offer you some new ideas to keep you motivated and on track. 

Fitness Motivation with Carrots and Cake;

fitness motivation with Tina

Carrots and Cake by Tina, who wants people to have their cake and eat it too. She's a married mum, so she knows the challenges that so many women face balancing everything life throws your way. 

Apart from having the most wonderful friendly smile, Tina will help make you feel better about including healthy cheat treats into your diet.

Her blog was created to help women find a diet plan that would allow them to get their diet on track, learn how to exercise, and learn how to cook.

Learn how to cheat on your diet in a good way, and you can see some comic relief on the site that makes it a much better place to be. ​

Tina is also responsive to any questions left on her site, so I suggest you reach out to her for any personal tips that you might want.

Fitness Motivation with Fit Bottomed Girls;

fitness motivation with fit bottomed girls

fit bottomed girls

Fit Bottomed Girls is a blog that is dedicated to making women fit and strong, without any fad diets.

Follow this site to see your curves change, and you will start to feel like what you are doing will work.

There are many women who I think come to this site because they want to look their best. They can learn how to diet, and they can learn a lot of things about how they can lift and get strong.

Plus, the name of the sit is a good play on a Queen title, and that's pretty cool in itself:).

Fit Bottomed Girls is a place where women can come to learn something that they did not know about their bodies, and feel encouraged by seeing other regular women who are following a healthy lifestyle, without becoming obsessed with the latest fitness fad.

Fitness Motivation with Blogilates;

fitness motivation with blogalates

blogilates

Blogilates is the new yoga.

Created by Cassey Ho, this site will introduce you to her own style of fitness blended with fun.

Pilates is just one thing that you can do to get fit, but you will find that coming to this site will help you learn how the Pilates program will change your life, and you will feel like you can get the best tips for this.

You have to do something that you can feel comfortable with, and you could learn some tips not just about the mat workouts but about the machines.

The machines in Pilates could be very motivating, and you will find that you can use the blog as a way to pick up tips on the Pilates workout plan.

Pilates can change a woman's whole life because it makes her feel young and look younger. 

Fitness Motivation with Workout Mommy

fitness motivation

workoutmommy

Workout Mommy has created a beautiful blog that chronicles all her adventures with food and dieting with children.

As a single mum with four children, Lisa knows just how hard it can be, and her site is dedicated to helping you stay motivated and on task. 

She is working hard on the diet that she has formulated, and she often explains how a woman could make her own food, change the way that they are managing their food, and help these women look amazing because they are also working out as part of their program. 

Workout Mommy explains the workouts that she does, and she has a lot of motivational tips on the site that are useful to ladies when they need a little bit more help changing their lifestyle or their diet.

Fitness Motivation with Nerd Fitness;

fitness motivation

nerdfitness

Nerd Fitness is a place for people to go when they do not feel like they could actually start working out.

Steve Kamb and his team at Nerd Fitness want to share their message, that fitness is for everyone.  

I think that's a great mindset! 

The women who come to this blog are probably working in sciences, office jobs or other areas that have never given them a chance to learn how to work out or get in shape, and they need assistance learning how to get started.

These women need a boost of confidence in their workout plans because they do not know if they can do it. They go to nerd fitness because it talks to them in their language.

You can have a chance to feel completely different about your body, and they will have many options for changing your workouts or overhauling your lifestyle. 

Anyone who is afraid of starting out should remember that they can check our and join the Nerd Fitness team. 

Fitness Motivation with Breaking Muscle;

Breaking Muscle has done a great job of helping women understand that they can build muscle into their bodies just like anyone else.

The site has a collection of contributed articles by expert fitness trainers and nutritionists, that cover a really broad range of topics, so there is likely to be something new to learn for any of us. 

A woman who wants to get strong without being too muscular could use the site as a way to learn how you can be lean and trim.

These women will start to feel like they have brand new bodies, and they can come back to the site for more tips and tricks.

You will find that you can ask questions in the articles if you want to get more information about working out and changing your body. 

Fitness Motivation with Fitness on Toast;

fitness motivation

Fitness on Toast

Fitness On Toast was created by Faya Nilsson and shares her love of nutrition, fitness and fashion with you. 

The site has a ​really interesting list of categories that will keep you browsing for hours. 

Some of my favorites were the Fit Tech, where Faya shares details of all kinds of great new fitness gadgets to help keep you on track, and the Why To category, that has an interesting collection of articles on why to do things like, cook with spices, or drink coffee.  

The mixture of fashion with fitness and healthy lifestyle that Faya has created here, really aligns with my own heart, and it is one of my favorite sites to go to in search of new fitness motivation.  

Perhaps it will become one of your favorites too.

Fitness Motivation with Hungry Runner Girl;

fitness motivation

Hungry Runner Girl

Hungry Runner Girl is created by Janae who runs often and competitively. She is working very hard to get her body into shape with a run every day, and she has built up a diet around her runs and her lifestyle choices. 

Having three children and a husband to care for as well, it's really motivational that she fits in so much training, and has achieved a sub 3hr marathon time to go with it.

You will find a really useful collection of running workouts and diet tips, so for those who are attracted to running for fitness, this site rocks!

Fitness motivation comes in all styles, and this style appeals to my own heart:).

Fitness Motivation for You;

If you really just need a quick hit of fitness motivation then check out this list of 101 motivational quotes, that's sure to have something that will give you a lift.

The women who come to these websites are looking for the best motivation that they can find, searching for something that speaks to them personally, to find the extra motivation that keeps them going to reach their next goal.

I hope that you will all find something on these sites that motivates you, as I have. 

I find them all to be really genuine and gimmick free, which is a great starting point for me:) 

If you've found another motivational site that has helped you with your fitness or healthy eating, please share it with us in the comments below, as I always love reading new content by people with a passion for health and fitness. 

Beginner Yoga for Weight Loss

yoga for weight loss

Yoga for weight loss really works!

Yoga for weight loss might not seem like the in thing to do, with all the new fancy fitness classes around now, but it is.

Even if you are more the type who enjoys lifting weights and intense cardio sessions, you can gain a lot from incorporating yoga for weight loss into your training. 

Yoga offers so many great benefits and yoga for weight loss is also a thing.

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It turns out that yoga is actually a very effective way to torch calories and to help you to reach your weight loss goals without really feeling like you are trying super hard. 

Yoga is quite enjoyable and also helps to stretch and lengthen your body.

It is also a great way to relax and unwind after a long and stressful day or to start a busy and hectic day.

Either way, it is a great way to give your mind and body an emotional and physical lift.

Yoga helps to reduce cortisol levels which are associated with stress and stress can lead to "bad" actions such as overeating and thus, weight gain. By simply lowering your cortisol levels you will be able to lose weight naturally.

Try a nice deep stretch to relax and unwind, with a pose like the extended side angle pose demonstrated in this video;

Just like with anything that you apply yourself to, the more that you put into it, the more that you will get out of it.

Yoga is all about challenging yourself and trying new things. Even if you do not consider yourself to be extremely fit or flexible, you can work your way to new levels of flexibility and strength as you work on yourself each time you do yoga.

Many people think that they have to be moving at a fast pace and sweating all over the place in order to get a good workout and to lose weight but this a myth.


Yoga for weight loss is a very efficient and effective way to shed access pounds, and it keeps your metabolism revving throughout the day, even after your yoga session.

There are many different asanas or "poses" that you can try. "Asana" actually means "to be in a comfortable seated position."

This type of yoga comes from Ashtanga yoga and refers to the physical exertion as well as the relaxation of your mental state. By practicing asanas, you will enjoy the great benefits of internal and external awareness.

Most of the poses in yoga are repeated, and you will work the muscles on one side of the body at a time instead.

Yoga Poses

One good asana to start your routine with is the wide-legged forward bend, also known as the Prasarita Padottanasana.

yoga for weight loss - wide legged forward bend

For this pose, you will place your hands so that they are touching the floor before you. You can also stretch out your shoulders for an extra stretch. You will spread your feet about 3-4 feet apart and then bend forward at the hips.

You want to keep your back nice and straight. You should feel your hamstrings stretch. Hold this position for about five breaths and then clasp your hands right behind your back before bringing them back up towards the ceiling.

Another asana is the lunge where you stretch out your hips. If you sit for a long period so time this is a good way to stretch out those tight hips.

yoga for weight loss - high lunge

This pose will also help you to become more flexible. You can choose where you want your arms to be, but you will actually be stretching your muscles in the location that your hands are.

For example, if you position your hands on your knee directly in front of you, you will not be stretching your hips as deep as if you were to place them up and tilted backward.

No matter where you decide to put your hands you want to keep your knee at a steady 90-degree angle. Hold your pose for 30 seconds and repeat on your other side.

There are many different asana poses that you can try and you'll want to try as many as you can so that you'll give your body different things to try and to challenge yourself to stretch a little further and to work out different muscle groups.

It will also give you the opportunity to see how flexible you are and what poses are your very favorite.

Some other asana poses to try to include the following;

Yoga for weight loss, poses;

  • Standing Forward Bend; 
yoga for weight loss - forward bend
  • Plank Pose; 
yoga for weight loss - plank pose
  • Tree Pose; 
yoga for weight loss - tree pose
  • Four Limbed Staff; 
yoga for weight loss
  • Warrior I; 
yoga for weight loss - warrior 1
  • Warrior II;
yoga for weight loss - warrior 2
  • Cow Pose;
yoga for weight loss
  • Warrior III pose; and,
yoga for weight loss
  • shoulder stand.
yoga for weight loss - shoulder stand

If you've done aerobic or other types of workout routines or followed along to a workout tape, you may find that some of these moves are incorporated into the workout routines so you'll already know some of these fat-blasting yoga moves.

To do the Shoulder stand, you will actually hold your body upside down. It is considered to be an inversion, and you will lie on your back to begin. Then you will bend your knees slightly as you press your feet into the air.

Put your hands on the ground and use them to slowly roll yourself backward and on your upper back slowly. You will want to bring your hands to the lower part of your back as you do this right above your hips in order to keep yourself upright and balanced. Extend your legs towards the sky and hold for about six breaths, Your goal will be to hold for 30 seconds, but it can take some practice to work up to that.

The Child's Pose is a common stretch that is often done after a workout to help stretch out the muscles that have been worked.

yoga for weight loss - childs pose

It is very simple yet very effective. For this pose, you simply have to bend your knees and sit with your derriere resting on your heels.

You should bend your knees quite wide and rest your head on the mat in front of you. You can rest your arms behind or in front of you.

This pose is also an effective relaxation pose so you should not be tense or strained in any way. You need to simply breathe in and out for six breaths or for as long as you feel you need to.

The Chair Pose is another common type of squat that you may have done in your legs of iron workout video.

yoga for weight loss - chair pose

It seems simple enough but will make your legs and arms burn in no time.

All you do is squat but hold that position with arms raised. It is an effective weight loss move, and you will feel it in your muscles for sure.

You'll also want to keep your feet together and squat as low as you can go. You should be able to see your feet before your knees but if you can't you're not doing it right, and your knees are bent forward too much.

Your yoga for weight loss practice



Yoga is not a new fad or a trend that is going to go away anytime soon. It has been shown to offer great benefits to the body as well as the mind and is all about balance.

Yoga is all about the balance of mind and body and is a quiet way to energize your whole being so that you can face the many challenges that life throws your way.

It is something that you can do anywhere and in a very small space. You do not need to buy any fancy equipment or even go to a gym class to do it.

All you need is a mat, for extra comfort, and yourself. You don't even need to splurge on fancy training shoes. You don't even need socks. Yet it is very effective in helping you to reach your goals in life and to find the balance that you are seeking.

Different yoga poses will offer different benefits to different parts of your body. Some poses will help to stretch out your muscles, some will help to elongate your entire body. Some will help to support the skeletal structure of your body, and still, others will help improve your circulation.

You will also find that you can challenge yourself and as you get more familiar with the moves, you can even bind your poses to give yourself a deeper stretch.

When you bind in yoga, you are basically linking your hands in order to rotate your torso as well as your shoulders.

They are more challenging, so you may not be able to do it right away, but as you increase your flexibility, it is a great way to really up your yoga session and really give your body a good stretch.

Binding requires a considerable amount of strength as well, and you will need to be able to touch your hands together. This is easier said than done but you can always work your way up to it.

It also requires mental balance and concentration.

No matter what your fitness level is or how much or how little you know about yoga, you have to start somewhere.

The important thing is to stick to it. It's like anything, you need to build on what you already know and what you have already done so just spend some time on yourself every day Even if you can only squeeze in a couple of yoga moves into your busy schedule, it is better than nothing.

You need to take time to breathe and to give something back to yourself.

There is no excuse to skip out on your time or to neglect yourself.

You need to be revived from time to time so that you can complete the tasks that you need to complete or to be able to give your family the happy self that you can truly be.

In other words, you need a break, and you need to take it. Do something good for your body and your mind, and you'll be more productive as well.

What are Macro Nutrients and Why You Should Care!

what are macro nutrients

What are macro nutrients?

You might think that the question, what are macro nutrients is pretty boring, but you'd be wrong.  You really should care!

So many people think they are eating healthy, but because they miss understand, or don't even think about macro nutrients, their body is actually becoming really unhealthy. 

Those who have no time for healthy eating will sooner or later have to find time for illness. - Edward Stanley

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Mostly, the word nutrition is linked with 'whatever we eat' but in the real sense, the word has a wider perspective and implication.

Sports nutrition is a topic that can be sub-categorized under the broader topic of Nutrition.

The feature that sets apart sorts nutrition from its parent category is that it is different, a lot different.

Have you ever compared the physical structure of a 100 m sprinter with that of an average student who doesn't indulge in sports much? 

There are distinct differences that exist. The extent to which each person's body can perform varies dramatically.

what are macro nutrients - sprinting

The sprinter can run a distance of 100 m in around 12 seconds but that isn’t possible for the skinny college student without any experience in sports.

In the same way, the sprinter can accelerate quickly to high speeds; she can use the power of her shoulders and upper torso to thrust her entire body forward. She is able to do so because her body is physiologically much different from the other college student.

The runner has a higher muscle mass, a properly developed lower body which includes powerful quadriceps, gluteus, hamstring and calves. Her upper body complements with whatever her lower body does.

She has a properly toned body with minimal fat percentage so she has to haul a minimum 'extra' weight at a high speed.

This is just the outer physical features we can observe. What about the internal features? Her lung capacity? Her VO2 threshold? Her lactic acid threshold?

This has to be different as well. What about her energy system? Shouldn't that be different as well? Tweaked and mastered to deliver maximum energy? To produce this explosive energy, shouldn't her food intake be different from that of the other college student?

The answer to all these questions is yes.

Her internal and external physical features are much different and her body behaves, anticipates and works in a much different way as compared to any non-athletic person.

This behavior of her body demands different type of nutrition.

leg workouts for women

This is where sports nutrition sets itself apart from regular nutrition. Regular FDA recommendation may tell you to eat 2200 calories. But 2200 calories doesn't do justice to a weight-lifter who lifts 60 Kg in snatch and clean!

Her requirements, her bodies working capacity is much different from that of the average woman.

The same holds true for people who are active and want to sculpt their body. Their energy demand is much different than that of an average person living a sedentary lifestyle.

Since we're already on the topic of 'energy', this is where we can start our discussion of macro nutrients. Our body needs energy to survive, it is a simple concept. Our bodies have been tuned to extract energy from different resources. These resources include:

  • The food we eat (macro nutrients)
  • The fat we store
  • Our body's lean mass (Muscle and bone)

Our body's prime function is to continue to provide us with energy in order to perform vital bodily tasks.

The energy is mostly extracted from whatever we eat.

This 'food we eat' or better put, 'macro nutrients' are responsible to provide us with basic energy (Hence the name 'Macro'). Macro nutrients come in three broad categories.

They are known as Proteins, Carbohydrates and Fats.

Each of these macro nutrients can be subdivided into a hundred different subcategories!

Each macro nutrient has a particular function and purpose in the body.

Broadly speaking, the general purpose is to provide our body with energy. How much energy does each macro nutrient provide? It is quite simple.

sports nutrition macronutrients

This is merely an oversimplification of how our body produces energy from the supplied macro nutrients.

There are hundreds of different variables and considerations that the body silently takes care of and then switches back and forth to different energy systems.

There are countless hormones, chemical reactions involved and the biochemistry can easily overwhelming.

However, I've made an attempt to simplify all the topics that need to be explained for your understanding of 'Nutrition, for body sculpting and recomposition.'

Let's start by taking a brief look on each of these macro nutrients.

What are macro nutrients; the different types

what are macro nutrients

Fats;

No one likes them, everyone avoids them yet they are responsible for many important bodily functions.

One quality of fats that sets them apart from Carbs and proteins is their energy density.

Unlike carbs or proteins, 1 g of fat yields 9 calories of energy.

This may seem spectacular but fats are the hardest to burn for energy.

They are energy-efficient yet slow, meaning that they are an ideal candidate for energy storage. This energy store comes in handy on a rainy day when there aren't enough calories present from carbs and proteins.

Under such circumstances, the body burns fat for energy. Other functions of fats include:

  • Protects vital organs
  • Act as a solvent for absorption of many vitamins and minerals
  • Important for formation of hormones (Testosterone!)

Fats can be subdivided into 4 categories.

These subcategories are made on the basis of the double bond present between carbon atoms.

My apologies for diving deep into the world of biochemistry but this knowledge will come in handy when you are looking for healthy fats to consume during your weight training regimen.

Saturated Fats: These fats are saturated, meaning, they have no double bonds. This tells us that the fat is already fully saturated with Hydrogen atoms.

These kind fats are usually solid at room temperature.

Examples include animal fat, Lard, fat found in cheese. Saturated fats are important as they are a basic building block of a variety of hormones and cell membranes.

The downside is that an excess of these fats can raise blood cholesterol levels.

Monosaturated Fats: These fats only have a single double bond. These fats are usually liquid at room temperature. Examples include  olive oil and canola oil.

The specialty of Monosaturated fats is that they help us protect against heart disease and blood cholesterol build up. 

Polyunsaturated Fats: Polyunsaturated fats have two or more carbon double bonds.


 Polyunsaturated fats are known to reduce the risk of Coronary heart disease. They are liquids at room temperature as well. 


Polyunsaturated fats can be subdivided into 2 important subcategories:
  • Omega 3 Fatty Acids: Have a positive impact on cardiovascular health. Sources include Oily fish (Salmon, Mackerel), Soybean and rapeseed.
  • Omega 6 Fatty Acids: Have a positive impact on brain function and normal growth. Sources include seeds and nuts (Peanuts, walnuts, Cashews)

We will further explore Omega 3 & 6 essential fatty acids in the section 'Essential fatty acid supplementation.'

Trans Fatty Acids: Trans Fatty acids are chains of unsaturated fats combined together in a Trans configuration.

This is done mainly by hydrogenation of vegetable oil. This is a seriously unhealthy type of fat that must be avoided at all costs.

It is usually found in foods like margarine and baked goods (biscuits, cakes). Trans fat intake elevates the risk of heart disease.

what are macro nutrients - avocado

Proteins;

The favorite macronutrient of anyone who weight trains!

Proteins are made up of smaller biological units called amino acids.

Amino acids come together to form polypeptide chains of varying shape, size and compactness.

A typical protein may consist of 20 Amino Acids, other Proteins may contain thousands of these Amino Acids.

Protein is present abundantly in the body. It is present in your hair, tendons, muscles, ligaments and even skin.

Talking about dietary protein; this protein has multiple functions:

  • Improves Immune system function
  • Required for growth
  • Required for tissue repair
  • Needed for the production of enzymes & hormones
  • Needed for lean muscle mass

In total there are 20 known Amino Acids.

Out of these 20, the body can synthesize (Make on its own using dietary Protein as a source of Amino Acids) almost 11 of them.

The rest of the 9 Amino Acids cannot be synthesized by the body and as a result, they must be included in the diet.

These Amino Acids are known as essential amino acids. The list of essential Amino Acids includes:

  • isoleucine
  • threonine
  • tryptophan
  • valine
  • leucine
  • methionine
  • phenylalanine
  • histidine
We often hear the phrases 'Animal Protein' and 'Plant Protein'. 


Have you ever wondered what the difference is between the two? 


Animal protein is called a high quality Protein or complete Protein because it contains all essential amino acids. 


On the other hand, plant protein doesn't contain the complete profile of essential amino acids. But that doesn't mean animal protein is useless.


Taken with a combination of sources, the amino acid profile can be easily completed. 


For example, rice together with lentils contains the complete essential amino acid profile.


Similarly, chickpeas with bread or potatoes with lentils complete the essential amino acid profile in the same way a grilled beef steak does.


Proteins can also be utilized by the body as a source of energy; however, proteins are hard to break down.

The energy required by the body to break down Proteins is relatively high and for this reason, body's preferred source of fuel isn't Protein.

How much Protein does a healthy person require? We'll calculate that in the section 'Determining ratios of macro nutrients for your diet'.

what are macro nutrients - steak

Carbohydrates;

Next up we have the self sacrificing Carbs! To keep things simple, we'll divide the Carbohydrates group into 2 categories:

Simple Carbohydrates: Simple Carbohydrates or mono-saccharides are ready made sugars. These types of carbohydrates cannot be further broken down into simple sugars.

Examples of simple sugars include glucose and fructose.

Complex Carbohydrates: Complex Carbohydrates or poly-saccharides contain strings of simple sugars.

This means that these Carbohydrates need to be broken down in order to get digested or to be used as fuel.

Some examples of complex carbohydrates include lactose, maltodextrins and amylopectin.

The human body is a master of converting carbohydrates into energy.

Carbohydrate is the body's preferred source of fuel. The brain constantly needs glucose, the liver needs and stores glycogen, the muscles store glycogen as well.

This way, carbohydrates are needed by the entire body in one form or the other. Basic functions of Carbohydrates include:

  • A major energy source for the body
  • Helps to maintain bodyweight
  • Prevents Fat accumulation
  • Helps in digestion and bowel movement
  • Involved in organ repair
  • Food for brain

Dietary fiber is another form of Carbohydrates.

Dietary fiber is a form on non-starch Carbs. Dietary Fiber consists of indigestible parts of plant food (Cellulose).

This property of dietary fiber helps us with our gastro intestinal track.

The indigestible fiber ensures a good transit time (Time interval between eating a particular food and excreting it!), avoids problems like constipation and protects us from serious problems like colon cancer.

How much Carbs does a healthy person require? We'll calculate that in the section 'Determining ratios of macro nutrients for your diet'

what are macro nutrients - spaghetti

What are macro nutrients - calculating macros in your diet;

So now you know what are macro nutrients, but we're not finished yet, because you still need to know how to calculate them in your diet. 

Depending what you are wanting to achieve from your diet, i.e maintain weight, lose weight, gain weight, and how active you are in daily life and training, you will need a different amount of total calories, because, well, everyone is different!

If you really want to to understand the hows and whys of calculating your total caloric requirements, I suggest you take a look at, how to determine your daily caloric needs, by free dieting. 


But, if you'd just like to know the answer, without having to worry about all the scientific stuff, go straight to their free and easy daily caloric needs calculator here.

what are macro nutrients calculator

Daily Caloric Calculator

Once you know your total daily caloric needs, that needs to be broken down into how much of each macro nutrient your body needs. 

Determining the right ratio of Carbs, protein and fats from your diet isn't less than a work of art!

A person consuming 2200 calories in a certain ratio could be losing weight but alter the mix while keeping the calories constant, he/she may start to gain weight.

You can never underestimate the effectiveness of the proportions by which you take your macro nutrients.

Another thing to remember is that macro nutrients are sometimes very unforgiving. 

An extra 100 calories of fat consumed daily adds up to 36500 calories a year which can be translated into 4.7 Kg of fat!

what are macro nutrients - extra fat

And who wants that!!

Of course, the body has its own regulatory system which will resist it gaining this exact 4.7 Kgs as fat but a 2 Kg gain resulting from 36500 excess calories annually doesn't seem like a far-fetched assumption. After all, the human body has a limit to its resilience. 

To give you a summary of all the steps, this is what we are going to do:

  • 1
    Find your recommended protein intake (g/kg) and multiply it by your total weight to get your protein requirement in Calories.
  • 2
    Multiply your total caloric intake (Calculated earlier) and multiply it by 0.3 (Range is 0.25 – 0.35) to get your fat requirement. This is based on the assumption that 25 % - 35 % of your calories should come from fat.
  • 3
    Total Calorie intake – Value in step 1 – Value in step 2 = Calories from Carbohydrates!

What are macro nutrients - Protein calculation

I usually start off with my favorite macro nutrient (The protein). RDA recommends a meager 0.8 grams per Kg of body weight for an individual.

This usually works fine for a couch potato who doesn't do much throughout the day.

For athletes and people who train/workout daily, this recommended dose of Protein isn't enough.

Let's look at another table that categorizes Protein intake for different people:

Category Type

Activity List

Protein Requirement

Category 1

Sedentary Lifestyle. Sitting, talking. Little /Almost no physical activity throughout the day.

0.8 g/kg

Category 2

Sedentary lifestyle 2. Little walking but no exercise. Some physical activity but nothing that can be labeled as ‘Exercise’.

0.8 – 1.2 g/kg

Category 3

Moderately active. Weight training with light weights for 30 – 45 minutes daily.

1.2 - 1.8 g/kg

Category 4

Active Lifestyle. Hitting the weights hard for 45 – 60 minutes + 20 minutes of Cardio training

1.6 – 2.2 g/kg

Category 5

Intense physical activity. Weight training for 60 and over minutes, hitting the weight really hard. 30 - 45 minutes of Cardio Conditioning.

2.2 - 2.8 g/kg

    Pick out a numerical value from column 3 based on the activity list that best describes you and then multiply it with your weight. This will give you the grams of Protein. Multiply this with 4 and you will get calories from Protein. Confused? Here’s an example:

  • If I weigh 60 Kgs and I’m moderately active, this is what I’ll do to calculate my protein requirement:
  • Select Category 3 and my magic number becomes around 1.6
  • Grams from protein: 92 x 1.6 (Weight x Multiplier) = 96 g
  • Calories from Protein: 147.6 g x 4 (Because 1 gram = 4 calories for Protein) =384

What are macro nutrients - Fat calculation

This one is simple. Whatever your daily caloric intake is (As calculated above), multiply it by 0.3. This will be the number of calories you require from fat.

For example, if 2400 calories is your magic number

  • Multiplying it by 0.3 gives:

720 Calories.

  • 720 Calories out of 24 00 Calories should come from Fats.

Let’s put it in another way:

720 / 9 = 80 grams

80 grams of fats are allowed ( 1 gram of fat = 9 calories )

What are macro nutrients - Carbohydrate calculation

Whatever number you’re left behind is the amount of calories you need from carbohydrates.

Carbohydrate Requirement =

Total Calorie intake – Protein Calculation – Fat Calculation = Carbs required.

What mix of macro nutrients is right for you?

Again, that's a question that needs a really personalised answer.  

It depends on your current conditioning, life style, training, and what your goals are. 


If losing some weight, and achieving a toned physique sounds like what you are looking for, then I've covered a lot more detail in this blog on sports nutrition for the body you want.

weight training

Even once you've worked out what mix of macro nutrients is correct for you, it can still be a hard task to come up with meal plans that keep your diet healthy.

clean eating recipe, garlic chicken

These 31 clean eating recipes will really help out, giving you easy to make choices for healthy lunch or dinner meals.

Choosing the right balance of macro nutrients will keep your body fueled, with good energy levels to perform at its best, and keep your system functioning and healthy. 

Selecting foods that are rich in nutrients just makes sense, and can have a huge impact on your health.

So, happy eating, and remember;

Your diet is a bank account. Good food choices are good investments - Bethenny Franke

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Your Fit Body Goals Understood

body goals

Body goals are creating your reality

Why are body goals creating your reality?

Whatever goals that you set as a vision for your body, will drive the creation of what it ultimately becomes.

Not having any set body goals, leaves it totally to chance, whereas setting proper body goals gives you direction, and a sense of accomplishment when you've realised your goals.

The tips, resources and advice I'm sharing with you here will help you to cut through all the noise and confusion that's around, and create your own body goals, to ensure that you get the great results, for the body that you want.

Set your own body goals

Just remember, always set your own goals.  Don't become obsessed with constantly comparing yourself with others.  We are all different, and people are all at different stages of training and development, so often comparing yourself to others is not giving you an accurate comparison. 

The images portrayed by many celebrities or fitness models in the main stream media, or on social media, is not the reality of their 24/7 lives, rather it is either an artificially modified image, or a snap shot in a brief period where they have a peak physique, not something they maintain over a long period.  

Lots of us measure our level of fitness by bluntly standing on a weighing scale. The rest of the story depends on what the scale tells us. But if we go a little deeper and analyze the correlation between our weight and fitness, we come to realize that there isn’t any.

Consider a 70- kg female boxer in the heavy weight division and contrast her with an average office assistant who weighs only 50 kg. Can you determine who is more physically fit merely by looking at their weight? I don’t think so.

There must be much more to fitness, and setting proper body goals than just analyzing one’s weight.

How about height? Height is a good identifier when it is coupled with weight as it helps to determine how the weight is distributed around the body.

So far we have two fitness identifiers, height and weight, but there is much more to fitness than just height and weight.

I know a college teenager who was 5’ 9” and weighed only 55 kg. By most standards, she was underweight according to her height and weight. The astonishing thing about this girl was that she was actually underweight and fat.

After some initial measurements, the college student underwent a detailed body composition test that discovered she had a fat percentage of over 30%, which technically made her obese even though she was underweight by all other standards.

To analyze your fitness fully, you should undergo proper testing and measurement first, by getting yourself checked by professionals.

This means checking for vitals (BP, rate of respiration, etc.) and going through the basic medical tests.

Body composition test

Second comes a body composition test. This is crucial for your fitness and body goals as it tells you exactly where you stand in terms of fitness and how far you are from your ideal body goals.

A typical body composition test result would look like the table below:

Body Type

Athletic

Gender

Female

Age

30 Years

Height

175 cm

Weight

62.3 kg

BMI

22

BMR

1411 Kcal

Impedance

530 Ohm

Fat%

13.80%

Fat Mass

8.6 kg

FFM

52.7 kg

TBW

40 kg

*Actual Result extracted from Tanita Body Composition Analyzer TBF 410

While Tanita have a range of body composition monitors that are suited to most people as an in home solution, the In Body company provides equipment on a more industrial / fitness center level, to accurately measure body composition.

If there is a fitness center near you that has one of the In Body monitors that you can use, I'd suggest taking a test, as you will get lot's of great data from which to formulate your body goals.

In Body have a great web page on their site, which explains why focusing on body composition is much better than focusing on weight loss or gain alone, along with other great tips on setting body goals that are right for you. 

I'd suggest that you check it out via this link. 

Cardiovascular fitness

Another good measure of how physically fit you are is to test your cardiovascular fitness. 

This is your bodies ability to transport and use oxygen during exercise.

The K. G. Jebsen Center of Exercise in Medicine at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, put together a test to give yourself a measure of this, compared to a world wide average.  You can try it by going to their site below;

body goals fitness world

Your body goals change

What are healthy body goals for you will change, depending on many factors, such as where you are in your training journey, how disciplined you are able to be with your diet, and realistically your basic genetic make up. 

As your body ages, what are realistic body goals will change as well.

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It's nice to believe that "age is just a number' and I'm  all for pushing yourself as hard as you can no matter what your age, but understanding how you need to adapt to your body's aging process is just a sensible thing to understand. 

ERIBA science hall have built a really good resource, that helps explain what aging means for the human body.  I suggest no matter what your age, you'll find something of interest that improves your understanding of your body.  Check out the site below;

body goals fitness

Important terms for body goals

Before going any further, let’s define some of the terms we’ll be discussing, and that you'll come across along with abbreviations used and some exercises referred to, which may be new to you.

Fat Percentage: Percentage of fat in your body by mass.

Fat % = (Fat Mass / Total Mass) x 100

BMI: Body Mass Index indicates the amount of fat in a body by considering height and weight.

BMI = Mass ( kg) / (Height (m)) ²

The result of the BMI can be analyzed to deduce in which category you fall.

BMI < 18.5

Underweight

18.5 < BMI < 25

Normal

25 < BMI < 30

Overweight

BMI > 30

Obese

BMR: Basal Metabolic Rate. This is the number of calories your body burns in a day if you do not move at all. BMR constitutes the calories consumed in bodily processes such as digestion, respiration, maintaining core temperature, etc.

FFM: Fat Free Mass. This is the total weight of your body if we disregard the weight of the fat.

            FFM = Total Weight - Weight of Fat

TBW: Total Body Water. This is the weight of water contained in the body.

1RM: This is the maximum amount of weight you can lift if you were to perform a single repetition of a given exercise

Repetitions performed until failure: This means that repetitions are continued until you cannot physically move the weight to complete a further repetition.

I note that this is not just till you feel a bit tired during a set, or it’s getting really hard to move the weight.  It means that you physically cannot complete the repetition.

Also, not to confuse the issue, I note that sometimes once completing full repetitions becomes impossible, you may still be able to complete partial repetitions, and this allows you to continue to work the muscles until you cannot move the weight at all.

Training splits: Training splits, or split routines refers to a training methodology wherin workouts are structured so that exercises which work different body parts, or different types of training are programed  to occur during different workouts, or on different days. 

For example, I might train lower body on one training day, and the next training day train upper body.  Or, I might train chest and biceps on one training day, and the next train back and triceps.

Hypertrophy Stimulus: Is a term for activity causing muscle hypertrophy, such as resistance training through such things as body weight exercise or weight lifting.

Muscle Hypertrophy: Is a term for the growth and increase of the size of muscle cells.

Set: A set is the total number of repetitions / lifts that are completed in a row without rest.

For example you might complete three sets, with 20 repetitions in the first 15 repetitions in the second and 5 repetitions in the third, which would commonly be shown as the weight lifted by the number of repetitions in the set. i.e 50 x 20, 80 x 15, 100 x 5.  The workout for that exercise would therefore have comprised of three sets.

Super Setting: In a superset, multiple exercises are performed back-to-back without any rest period.

Smith Machine: A piece of equipment commonly used in weight training, comprising a barbell fixed between two steel posts / rails, usually counterbalanced, allowing only vertical movement of the barbell.  Commonly used for exercises such as overhead pressing, or some variaitions of squatting.

V02 Max: Is the maximum oxygen uptake or the maximum volume of oxygen that can be utilized in one minute during maximum exercise. It is measured as milliliters of oxygen used in one minute per kilogram of body weight. It is used as one factor to assist in determining an athlete’s capacity to perform sustained exercise, and is linked to aerobic endurance.

Deadlift: An exercise in weightlifting in which the weight, being plates fixed to either end of a barbell is lifted from the floor to the level of the hips and then lowered by controlled effort to the floor.

Squat: An exercise in weightlifting where you squat down as if you were sitting in a squat position with your bum touching your heels, then stand back up, with a weighted barbell across your upper back.

DB Flyes: An exercise in which you lay flat on a bench holding a dumbell in both hands and extend your arms out to the side, then raise them up and continue to raise and lower as if flapping your wings, in a controlled motion.

Stasis dermatitis: is an inflammatory skin condition that develops following fluid build-up, or blood pooling (stasis), just under the skin as a result of problematic circulation.

Body goals and target setting

What are your body goals? What do you want ultimately to achieve?

weight training

Realization, and visualisation of your goals is a very important step for the start of your program.

Your goals need to be high enough to make you work hard, but also realistic so that you don’t give up trying.

A sensible goal can make the difference between a well-motivated individual and a dejected person who gives up soon after she starts her quest for the ideal body.

For example, my goal after spending many years behind an office desk was to reduce my body fat percentage from around 26% to 14%, with my weight staying relatively stable at around 62 kg to 65 kg.

This meant that I needed to exchange fat mass for lean body mass. My strength (muscle) content had dropped off over the years and had been replaced by fat, and I needed to reverse that before it got worse in the interest of my health and general performance and enjoyment in all areas of life.

Committing to and achieving measurable body goals like this gives you the confidence to realize that you can continue with the process and achieve further goals.

Achieving your fitness goals will assist you in so many other areas of your life, I assure you.

A further example of a realistic goal, especially for women, is a fat percentage of 16%, with a total body weight remaining unchanged.

To achieve this goal, depending what condition your body is starting in, you may have to gain a considerable amount of lean mass while losing some body fat. 

This goal would indicate someone who is likely to be starting at a better general fitness level, based on the lower body fat levels, but the significant gain in muscle mass combined with trimming down body fat levels will produce impressive results both in appearance and athletic performance.

Generally speaking, women have a higher fat percentage than men.


The bar is much stricter for men than it is for women. There are obvious physiological differences between men and women that cannot be overlooked, which is why I am writing this more specifically for women.

Below is a fat percentage chart that will give you an idea where you stand in terms of body fat quantity.

Women (Fat Percentage)

Men (Fat Percentage)

Essential Fat

10-12%

2-4%

Athletes

14-20%

6-13%

Healthy

21-24%

14-17%

Slightly Overweight

25-31%

18-25%

Obese

Beyond 32%

Beyond 25%

Setting realistic body goals can be broken down into smaller, short-term goals as well.

We are all guilty of setting goals and targets that cannot be tracked. This makes them non-ideal or unrealistic to start with.

Targets and goals like, ‘I want to get into my old dresses,’ or, ‘I want six-pack abs,’ aren’t ideal goals to start with.

A good idea is to translate these goals into something quantitative that can be measured throughout your fitness routine.

A target such as, ‘I want to get into my old dresses,’ may be translated into, ‘I want to decrease my waist from 36’ to 30’ while attaining a BMI of 21’.

This makes it measureable and realistic.

A goal such as, ‘I want six packs’, after a bit of research, can be translated into ‘I want a fat percentage of 14% while keeping my ideal bodyweight of 62 kg.

This will show me my six-packs!’

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Realistic
  • Time-Framed

Step 1. Setting up a SMART goal

Everyone has different objectives, and everyone wants something different from their fitness regime.

The examples above show you just a few of the goals for which you can aim.

Just remember to break down your ultimate body goals into smaller milestones to keep you motivated as you go for the ultimate goal.

Another important aspect is that your body goals should be time-framed.

You should set aside a realistic date by which you want to attain your ideal body.

This can be three months from now or three years from now depending on your current physical shape.

The time frame should once again be realistic. If you want to lose 12 kg, you shouldn’t go for a time frame of one month.

To time-frame your results, you need to calculate accurately how long it will take to achieve your fitness goal based on realistic expectations of body re-composition change caused by your planned diet and training regime.

This is where proper programming becomes important, as I explain further here. And in this blog about proper training and the principles of progressive overload;

leg workouts for women

If you understand what effect an increase in strength generated from an increase in lean body mass (muscle) will have when combined with a correctly tailored diet, you can pre-determine what your changes in body composition will be.

When you program your strength gains, you can accurately time-frame your fitness goals.

This is where strength training becomes much more effective than other forms of exercise.

Women, generally, have a tendency to shy away from everything related to weight training, but as you will soon discover, it is a very effective way of sculpting your body.

Many fitness athletes have personalized goals that have nothing to do with their body.

These may be something like, ‘Running 100 meters in 10 seconds,’ or, ‘Swimming a 50m butterfly under xyz seconds’.

Fitness goals like these can also work for you. It is not necessary that your fitness goal is closely related to your body, as long as you have a smart goal, you have a good starting point.

Your dream body—Facing the facts!

If you’re looking for some motivational prep talk, now is the time to look away!

Unlike all posts, books, programs and videos that tell you that body recomposition, weight loss, having legs and abs to die for and being fitness model material is a piece of cake, I’m going to tell you that it is one of the hardest things to do.

Life doesn’t give you shortcuts. Sometimes you do get lucky when you win a lottery or something, but that doesn’t happen in physical training, weight loss and body recomposition.

In my experience  involved in many different aspects of sport, I haven’t heard of anyone suddenly attaining the body she dreamed of when she was a kid.

It’s a long, hard path, and each day you have to fight.

You have to fight with yourself, physically and mentally. ’ 

Every day you have to think, ‘Today I am better than yesterday, and no matter what happens tomorrow, I’ll be better than what I am today.’

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Conviction and commitment are two words that you need to stick by if you want to be physically fit and look good at the same time.

body goals

Watching Tia Clair Toomey’s extraordinary performance winning a gold medal in the 2018 Commonwealth Games was the easiest thing I had to do.

I was sitting on my couch with my chocolate and coffee while she did things that common folks would never even try.

I wondered about the effort, thinking, and the grueling hours of training that went into her preparation to complete the Olympic lifts.

What about the proper type of nutrition that she had to consume to maintain strength and agility in her body? Just thinking about it made my head spin.

Fitness, performance, and a great body come at a price.

This price includes proper effort and time, but the rewards are worth it.

Programs that promise six-packs in a week are a waste of time. Any program that offers a great shortcut is a clear scam.

Any advertisement that tells of a wonder pill will either give a bucket full of side effects and/or have no effect on your body.

The current consumer market is full of pills, wonder diets, supplements and equipment that give you false hope.

What they do is manipulate people into buying these useless products.

Supplements that are animal tested, pills that are placebo, equipment that makes no sense at all. the market is flooded with such things to attract the unwary. Not all of them are worthless, but, to keep a long story short, most of them are.

A really good resource that I would suggest, which helps sort the facts from the fiction for you, is the site from Simple Science Fitness below; 

Body Goals

Their site has lots of great tools to help you understand the different terms and ways of measuring your fitness.  They help you to sort what is scientifically proven from what is just fiction, and how exercise truly benefits your body.

Rather than searching for short cuts, you may want to consider working hard for your dream physique.

This is how  athletes do it. Prepare and follow a program with discipline, a program that will ensure constant and measurable results, and your body will reward you.

You must also consider time management.

If you’re committed enough, you will surely find the odd hour to dedicate to your health and fitness out of your daily 24 hours.

Excuses like, ‘I don’t have the time,’ and, ‘I’m too busy,’ mean you will fail.

The art is to find time and make the most of it. If you can’t work out in the evening, start working out first thing in the morning. If you can’t wake up a bit earlier in the morning then you’re probably too soft to follow a program that guarantees you your ideal physique!

There is always time, before going to work, in between your morning and evening lecture, before going to bed, or in your office lunch break.

It is up to you how you find time to complete your physical training, and remember, the rest of your life will be better for it.

The right nutrition for your body goals

All the training in the world won't achieve great results, without the right nutrition plan to support your training and body goals.

People will often debate what percentage of a great body is built in the gym versus the kitchen.  Even if it's 50-50, you should feel that's important enough to give it some focus in your goal setting and planning.

This post on sports nutrition will explain in detail what you need to know to work out your own proper nutrition plan to support your body goals.

Share your success

I'd love to hear what body goals you've set for yourself, or even already achieved, so please don't be shy and share with me in the comments below, or send me an e-mail with your before and after selfies, and share your success!

Abs Challenge – 30 Day Workout Plan to get Abs

abs challenge

Perfect abs in 30 days, if you complete the abs challenge

Abs challenge may seem like an empty promise.

But if you stick with it, and complete these ab workouts, one a day, for the next thirty days, you'll be surprised and pleased with just how much better your abs look and feel. 

Well defined abs are recognised as the most desired measure of fitness, but it isn't easy to achieve.  This abs challenge is designed to gradually progress in intensity, firming and building strong abs that are functional and sexy.

So get started, stay consistent, and in thirty days, hello abs!

Abs challenge workouts

Day 1

15 second bicycle

10 leg raises with hip thrust

10 second plank

Day 2

20 second bicycle

12 leg raises with hip thrust

15 second plank

Day 3

25 second bicycle

14 leg raises with hip thrust

20 second plank

Day 4

30 second bicycle

16 leg raises with hip thrust

25 second plank

Day 5

35 second bicycle

18 leg raises with hip thrust

30 second plank

Day 6

40 second bicycle

20 leg raises with hip thrust

35 second plank

Day 7

45 second bicycle

22 leg raises with hip thrust

40 second plank

Day 8

50 second bicycle

24 leg raises with hip thrust

40 second plank

Day 9

55 second bicycle

26 leg raises with hip thrust

45 second plank

Day 10

60 second bicycle

28 leg raises with hip thrust

50 second plank

Day 11

65 second bicycle

30 leg raises with hip thrust

55 second plank

Day 12

70 second bicycle

32 leg raises with hip thrust

60 second plank

Day 13

75 second bicycle

34 leg raises with hip thrust

65 second plank

Day 14

80 second bicycle

36 leg raises with hip thrust

70 second plank

Day 15

85 second bicycle

38 leg raises with hip thrust

75 second plank

Day 16

90 second bicycle

40 leg raises with hip thrust

60 second plank

Day 17

95 second bicycle

42 leg raises with hip thrust

65 second plank

Day 18

100 second bicycle

42 leg raises with hip thrust

65 second plank

Day 19

105 second bicycle

44 leg raises with hip thrust

70 second plank

Day 20

110 second bicycle

46 leg raises with hip thrust

75 second plank

Day 21

115 second bicycle

48 leg raises with hip thrust

65 second plank

Day 22

120 second bicycle

50 leg raises with hip thrust

70 second plank

Day 23

125 second bicycle

52 leg raises with hip thrust

75 second plank

Day 24

130 second bicycle

54 leg raises with hip thrust

80 second plank

Day 25

135 second bicycle

56 leg raises with hip thrust

85 second plank

Day 26

140 second bicycle

50 leg raises with hip thrust

70 second plank

Day 27

145 second bicycle

52 leg raises with hip thrust

75 second plank

Day 28

150 second bicycle

54 leg raises with hip thrust

80 second plank

Day 29

155 second bicycle

56 leg raises with hip thrust

85 second plank

Day 30

160 second bicycle

58 leg raises with hip thrust

90 second plank

Exercises explained;

The three exercises included in this 30 day abs challenge are reasonably simple, but with daily repetition and the gradual increase in quantity, they are designed to target and tone your abs.

If you're not familiar with these ab exercises, I've recorded a quick demonstration on each below.

Bicycle

The elbows to knees (otherwise known as the bicycle) works both the upper and lower abdominals.

Lie on the ground / mat, with your hands behind your head supporting the neck.

Pull your stomach muscles in toward the spine and lift your knees to a 90-degree angle.

Twist bringing one elbow to meet the opposite knee as that knee is pulled further toward the chest. The opposite leg will straighten.

From here, twist to the other side pulling the straight leg toward the chest and straightening the already bent leg, essentially making the legs mimic the motion made while riding a bicycle.

It is important to keep your breath at a regular pace and to use your hands to support the head, not pull on it. It is not necessary that the elbows actually touch the knees as long as the twisting motion still occurs.

Leg raises with hip thrust

This exercise targets the lower and middle abdominals.

Begin by lying on the floor with your hands resting along the sides of your body.

Bend your knees and keep your feet raised about two inches off the floor.

Slowly bring your knees up toward your chest, contracting your abdominals while raising the pelvis off the floor.

Hold for a second, and then lower your pelvis and legs back to the starting position.

The movements for this exercise should be done slowly and deliberately.

Plank

The plank is not only a great exercise for your upper, middle and lower abdominals; it is great for the entire body.

Start in the push-up position.

Next bend your elbows and lower down shifting weight from your hands to the forearms.

Pull your stomach into the spine to keep the body in a straight line.

Do not let your hips drop or your rear rise.

Hold for the time noted in each days workout. If this is not possible, hold for as long as possible, then take a five second rest and repeat until the time held in the position reaches a minute, or longer as per that days workout.

The plank is a strength move; the more it is done, the longer it will be possible to hold the position.

Beginners may find it easier to drop the knees to the floor until the muscles have built up enough to hold the plank while resting only on the forearms and toes.

Those more advanced might like to make the plank more challenging by extending an arm and the opposite leg in the air. Hold for a set time, and then change sides.

Eating right for your abs challenge

So now you've got the exercises down and dusted for the 30 day abs challenge, but if you really want people to see those defined abs, you need to get your diet right as well. 

You can train as much as you like, but if your diet isn't good, your body will struggle to make any meaningful changes. 

A good clean eating diet, with the correct amount of macro nutrients like protein, fats and carbohydrate, worked out to suite your personal body and goals, will ensure great results. 

For a full guide on how to calculate your macro nutrients check out this post on sports nutrition.

And for some easy clean eating meal ideas, try these 31 recipes.

clean eating recipe, garlic chicken

Garlic Chicken With Roasted Sweet Potato

Wrapping up your abs challenge

I'm sure you'll enjoy completing this 30 day abs challenge, and I invite you to keep going after you've finished your first thirty days. 

Why stop there?

Reset, and start another thirty day challenge.  Just select some different ab exercises so that your workouts will have some variety, and your body won't get used to the same training.

Keep at it, and before you know it you'll be sharing #fitspo selfies to be proud of!

13 Greatest Myths About Strength Training

myths about strength training

Greatest myths about strength training

Myths about strength training have been around since people started training, there’s nothing new about that.

But it seems to me, that there’s an imbalance, with most of the myths being about women and strength training, often mostly believed by women, who therefore avoid proper strength training.

myths about strength training - fat guys

If you’re a guy, you’re over the age of 18, and you believe more than five of these myths about strength training, well sorry, you’re just a lazy man, and the only part of your body likely to be described as large will be your belly

You really should read on, and start lifting some serious weight.

The status is starting to change, with more women understanding the true benefits of proper strength training, and getting involved.  

But the topic of weight training has been blessed with a plethora of myths and misinformation.

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Let’s debunk some of these myths and find the truth behind them.

You can’t lose weight with strength training

‘Don’t bench press with so much weight! You’re already obese, if you lift weights the fat will become more solid and it will become even harder to lose’

‘You can’t lose weight with weight training. No one becomes thin while doing weight training; everyone gains weight.’

These two statements bring back teenage memories when I had illiterate mentors! Now I can probably write a book on this single myth about strength training alone.

The fact of the matter is that strength training is a form of exercise. You lift weights, you move your body and to do this, you need energy which is derived from the food you eat or from the fuel reserves (Fat) you have.

Strength training can help you lose weight in the following ways:

  • Strength training increases lean mass which needs energy to maintain. As a result you end up using calories just maintaining your muscle mass! This inevitably results in increased metabolic rate.
  • Calories are burnt during a particular workout.
  • Calories are burnt during the process of muscle hypertrophy

NEED MOTIVATION TO LOSE WEIGHT?

Just eat in front of the mirror. Naked.

You get really fat once you give up strength training

‘What happens is that once you give up weight training, the muscle mass you gained, starts to store excessive amounts of fat and you start to gain weight’

Repeat this sentence in front of anyone who knows basic human anatomy and they will probably call you an idiot! 

Muscle mass needs maintenance.

Once you stop working out your muscles, the body feels no need to maintain the same amount of muscle mass so your body starts to lose excess muscle mass that is not required by your daily routine.

The lean mass drop is very gradual.

This decrease in muscle mass doesn’t mean that fat starts to rush into the so called empty spaces.

Most weight trainers get fat because they give up weight training but they don’t give up their eating patterns which were designed to supplement their training routine.

This becomes simple mathematics, they start to eat more than what they burn and as a result they start to become fat.

You will ruin your spine!

‘If you lift weights daily, you will probably dislocate your spinal discs.’

This would have to be one of the all time biggest myths about strength training.

Really, you may or may not; it all depends on how safe you play.

If you lift with proper form for each exercise and the weight you use is well within your control, chances are that your spine will be alright.

The other thing to remember is that weight training actually strengthens your spine.

I’ve known many people with reported back problems whom I suggested light dead lifts coupled with a few other back exercises and the results were very satisfying. Most of them reported that their pain had improved or disappeared altogether.

When I stopped training for a number of years, and my muscles “relaxed” I developed bad back pain, both from previous sporting injury which became active because of the lack of muscle support and just the fact that I was spending hours sitting at a desk. 

I developed bad problems in my lower back, which progressed to my upper back, and then the middle of my back.  I was in my late twenties and sometimes felt crippled by the pain.  I fixed that by weight training to increase my muscle strength.

I told a champion power lifter, I don’t think I should do dead lifts because of my bad back. 

He asked me;

Are you crippled? Do you ever pick up your luggage, or the shopping? 

I understood the point. 

myths about strength training

I refused to accept my fear of doing more injury to my back, which was a natural protective instinct, just the same as when you have bad back pain, you don’t want to brush your teeth or sit in the one spot for too long.  

I started dead lifting, and never looked back. (No pun intended) Yes, sometimes I feel some weakness in my lower back.  Anyone training seriously with dead lifts usually will.  And I listen to my body and adjust my training sets to suite, but I always make sure that I’m working properly.  

As a result, after a period of about six months, I didn't have any more back pain. It feels strong and stable, and I have stopped paying the physios and chiropractors for what used to be almost weekly visits.

Yes, you will find lots of advice from physios and chiropractors, that will tell you to stay well away from moves such as the dead lift, and I’m not saying they’re always wrong. 

But please use some of your own judgment as well, and even just try some gentler strengthening moves for your back first.  

As you feel it improving, your confidence will also improve and you can continue to advance.

As you do that, you will leave the back pain behind.  I’m sorry, but your back pain will be replaced by sore leg muscles if you are dead lifting, but I’m sure you’ll find that positively enjoyable, when you start to see the muscle gains that change your body.

In fact, I have known a chiropractor who is a power lifting champion, who has set dead lifting records. 

Yes, he handles extreme weight, and so puts his joints out from time to time, but I’m sure that he doesn’t advise people to stay away from weight training to protect their joints.

The secret is that weight training improves muscle mass and bone density. Your spine is supported by multiple muscle groups and these muscle groups improve their muscle fiber density by virtue of strength training.

Stronger and larger the muscle, the safer is your spine!

This article by the Harvard medical school actually says that weight training increases the strength of bones in the hips, spine and wrists, which they also say are the points most likely to suffer fractures.

You will start using steroids

myths about strength training - steroids

Unless you really want to - there’s no compulsion that you really have to get into steroids while you strength train.

It’s a form of exercise, not a cult!

You are solely responsible for the choices and decisions you make.

Although steroids are strongly associated to body building (the same way rock n roll is associated with drugs.) there are a plenty of body builders, weight trainers, and fitness enthusiast who do it without steroids; some even do it without any supplements; there are a few who even do it without meat (Vegans)!

Keeping this in mind, you will not start using steroids unless you really want to, and I certainly won’t recommend that you do.

Strength training ruins flexibility

There are countless athletes who have a considerable amount of muscle mass but they are equally flexible.

There is no particular relation between lean body mass and flexibility.

Watch a replay of Usane Bolt running the hundred meters, and see flexible muscle mass working like a fine symphony.

Yoga being all about flexibility of the body; there are numerous Yoga instructors that are as flexible as Gumby but as buffed as He-man!

Forgive my analogies but if there’s any relation between strength training and flexibility, it is that strength training actually improves flexibility.

When you train, your joints go through a full range of motion. Your muscles contract & relax and these movements actually improve flexibility.

Just don’t be lazy, and remember to incorporate a good stretching regime into your program.

Strength training is good for building muscle but bad for the heart

This one actually elevates my blood pressure whenever I hear it!

Taking into account, eleven clinical trials that have been conducted on Cholesterol and strength training suggest that strength training helps in reduction of LDL Cholesterol.

This kind of Cholesterol (The unhealthy kind) is responsible for clogging the arteries and increasing the risk of coronary heart disease. This is true for most anaerobic exercises.

This evidence suggests that strength training is actually good for the heart.

On the other hand, if we analyze aerobic exercise, we see that this kind of training additionally helps improve HDL cholesterol (Healthy kind).

This isn’t true for anaerobic exercise. So we may conclude that aerobic exercise is healthier for the heart than its anaerobic counterpart but nevertheless anaerobic exercise like strength training improves the heart’s health.

Another thing to consider is blood flow. Strength training helps reduce blood pressure.

This is true for aerobic exercise as well.

This article from Medical News Today lists some more hearth health benefits of strength training.

Weight training is bad for your joints

‘If you do weight training you will end up with hollow joints!’

I actually got this suggestion from a running coach; maybe he was trying to get me into his running team.

Weight training involves controlled, non-impact movement which improves the health of your joints, ligaments and the muscles surrounding the joint.

So yes, the myth is actually a myth.  

Just a note of caution, some Olympic lifts can put incredible strain on your joints, but we aren’t talking about that type of training here.  

Unless you are gifted, and training to compete in Olympic lifting competitions, you won’t encounter those problems.

If you are, then you should already be aware of what the future holds for some of you.  If you’re not, ask your coach at your next session, and make an informed decision about how much you are prepared to sacrifice.  

It’s a similar decision that most professional athletes will have to make in one way or another.

Doing weights will make you bulky

myths about strength training steroids

‘I don’t train with weights because I don’t want to get bulky!’

This is one of the biggest myths that prevent women from engaging with proper strength training.

If they’ve got a hang up with this belief, then at most you’ll find them using really light weights for higher reps, in the belief that this will help with “toning” and develop “thin muscles”

Firstly, the way muscles are shaped on your body is largely as a result of your natural anatomy, not the type of weight training you’ve done. 

Given two people of equal strength, one short in stature with short limbs, the other tall with long limbs, the shorter one will appear to have larger muscles.

Due to the lack of testosterone, and the presence of estrogen, around 90% of women will never be physiologically able to build the amount of muscle that it takes to look bulky.

So all you are doing by avoiding proper strength straining, is cheating your body out of the results that is could be achieving which would result in a feminine physique with curves in all the right places.

Cardio burns more calories than strength training

Women can often be seen spending hours at the gym running on tread mills, developing scrawny run down systems, sometimes to the extent that they end up suffering from overtraining.

They are likely suffering from this myth.

The truth is that your muscles continue burning calories for longer even after you’ve finished strength training, as apposed to a cardio session.

And someone with a more muscular physique can burn up to an extra 50% more calories than that of a runner, just moving around throughout the day. 

 That can add up to a lot of extra calories used up, just by living, making strength training a really good option if it’s calorie’s out that you’re worried about

Body weight exercises are as good as weight training

weight training


While I love body weight exercises, and it is true that you can build a really wonderful physique full of athletic strength and performance, you cannot achieve the same level of stresses placed on the body as training with heavy weights does. 

And it is that additional stress that you are able to apply to the body through proper weight training, that will achieve the great results that I believe we should all aspire to.


I really like incorporating calisthenics into my training routines, and think that disciplines like yoga and pilates have loads of benefits, but nothing can beat the shear bang for your buck that you get from time spent progressing a proper strength training program.

You should be sore after every strength training workout

Lots of people think that they should feel sore after every weights workout, and that if they don’t then it mustn’t have been a good workout.

While beginners will almost always feel soreness because their muscles are not at all used to handling these types of stresses, as your body becomes more adapted, fitter and stronger, it’s recovery will become better as well.

You will likely still feel soreness after you make changes to a workout routine, or add significant volume or intensity, but if your body is sore all the time, then you may need to allow more time for recovery. 

It is during recovery that your body strengthens and grows new muscles fibers, so this is a critically important part of the process. 

If you are not recovering properly, your progress will suffer.

Instead of using a really bad arbitrary measure like, “how sore do I feel” to gauge how effective your workouts are, you should follow a proper program, and measure your results to ensure that you achieve progressive overload.

Doing this will ensure consistent progress, and avoid improper over training, because you don't want to end up here;

myths about strength training - sore muscles

Women and men should train differently

In most commercial gyms anywhere around the world, you will find trainers who are putting their male clients through workouts that include squats, deadlifts, military presses and bench pressing all with reasonably heavy weights. (most should go heavier)

In those same gyms, and often with the same trainers, women are being “worked out” using light dumb bells, weight machines with only a few plates on the peg, and loads more cardio.

This is rubbish.

There is absolutely no reason that women cannot, and should not complete the same type of exercises that men can.

In fact, training that way will give most women the best chance of obtaining the body which they really want.

While a man may train with weights in a certain way, to grow bigger, a woman training in the same way will achieve the tight, toned look that most want.

Strength training is only for young people

That’s almost as bad as saying that sex is only for young people, and we all know that’s just not true, because we’re never intending to stop doing that.

Do we ever really intend to stop doing the things we enjoy?

myths about strength training

Well, why would picking an age when it suddenly becomes unsafe to lift weights be any different?

 Unless your doctor has advised you, or told you outright to stop strength training, then it’s pretty safe to expect that you will still actually be achieving great benefits from it.

Decreasing the risk of osteoporosis, better balance, weight loss and better mental health are all assisted by strength training, which makes it a great thing for older people to be doing.

This article lists 13 benefits for people over the age of fifty achieved by strength training.

Wrapping up our myths about strength training

You might be able to find more myths about strength training if you go looking and really research it, but if you are motivated enough to do that, then the reality is that your commitment to being lazy and fat is just far too strong.

Better to spend your time researching the benefits, or better yet, just go and start strength training.

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If you are ready to get started, this post on leg workouts or this one about weight training for body sculpting will help.

Sports Nutrition for Body Sculpting

sports nutrition

Sports nutrition for the body you want

Sports nutrition isn't just for top athletes, because you deserve to have the best body you can as well! 

You do want the best body you can have don't you?

Robert Frost;

A person will sometimes devote all his life to the development of one part of his body - the wishbone.

You might have never been to see a sports dietitian or nutritionist, thinking that they are just for sporting teams or top athletes.  That's not the case, and in my experience pretty much everyone can benefit from their expertise.

They can help us become a healthier happier version of ourselves, so we can live our best life, and stay beautiful for longer. Because that's important too!

sports nutrition

What type of eater are you?

Take this easy test to find out. Start here.

The importance of sports nutrition

You are what you eat - It is a simple philosophy that I endorse.

What you eat and what you do, defines your body. If we work this theory the other way around, what you look like, defines what you eat and what you do.  

When I look at an obese teenager, I’m quick to jump to the conclusion sedentary lifestyle, eats a lot of junk food.

On the other hand when I see properly defined six-packs on a lean college student, the conclusion is simple – Works her butt off, thinks before she eats, probably a dedicated sportswomen.

The importance of Sports Nutrition can’t be stressed enough

sports nutrition

Eat Clean, Train Hard

Often people ask me how I rate nutrition vs. training and my answer is 50% vs. 50%. I know a lot of trainers who would say it's more like 70% vs. 30%.

This is usually hard to digest for most people, but it is one of the uneasy truths in the field of fitness, especially weight training.

The truth of the matter is that sports nutrition is as important as the training itself.

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You don’t make muscles in the gym; you make them while you’re resting, by the help of whatever you’ve eaten.

Similar is the case of fat loss. Most of the fat is lost while you’re resting.

The math is pretty simple; work really hard in the gym, eat healthy, and rest plenty! You can’t lose weight without proper nutrition, hell; you can’t even breathe without proper nutrition!

When you dig into the world of sports nutrition, you sink into a deep abyss of Do’s and Don’ts. There is no easy way to wrap it up into a few pages or a few chapters or even a few books.

There is so much that can be said and done when you talk about Nutrition; What you eat, how much you eat, when you eat… are a few questions we can start off with.

Another thing, that is specific to women trying to lose weight, is that there is a common feeling that sports nutrition is detrimental to their weight loss effort.

First of all, by ‘sports nutrition’, I don’t mean ‘eating a muffin’. By sports nutrition I mean making accurate food choices.

It is true that excessive eating isn’t going to help you lose weight or sculpt your body but you can’t quit eating altogether!

Starvation is never the solution. What you need is an eating pattern that can be followed for a life time! It has to be healthy, it has to make sense and it has to cater for your fitness regimen.

If you take into consideration, these simple pointers, you’ll be able to successfully hit each defined milestone and target.

"Give a man a fish; you have fed him for today. Teach a man to fish; and you have fed him for a lifetime”

This quote pretty much sums up what I intend to do in this blog post. Rather than providing you with a custom diet plan, I'm going to teach you everything that you need to know in order to create your very own diet plan.

It is always a hard job to write content that applies to every reader. If I was to consider the needs of each of you I'd probably have to come up with 20 - 30 odd diet plans! Why not create your very own?

Why not learn what ever there is, that helps you to create your very own?

The philosophy is simple but knowledge is infinite. Even after years in the field I learn something new every day. So, to cut it short, I'll teach you how to catch the basic fish. You may use the method or customize it or improve it and catch a whale!

Nutrition for body sculpting

Macro nutrients come in three broad categories. They are known as Proteins, Carbohydrates and Fats. 

Each of these Macro nutrients can be subdivided into a hundred different subcategories! Each macro nutrient has a particular function and purpose in the body.

Broadly speaking, the general purpose is to provide our body with energy. How much energy does each Macro nutrient provide?

It is quite simple.

sports nutrition macronutrients

Proteins

The favorite macro nutrient of anyone who weight trains!

Proteins are made up of smaller biological units called amino acids. Amino acids come together to form polypeptide chains of varying shape, size and compactness.

A typical protein may consist of 20 Amino Acids, other Proteins may contain thousands of these Amino Acids. Protein is present abundantly in the body. It is present in your hair, tendons, muscles, ligaments and even skin.

Talking about dietary protein; this protein has multiple functions:

  • Improves Immune system function
  • Required for growth
  • Required for tissue repair
  • Needed for the production of enzymes & hormones
  • Needed for lean muscle mass
In total there are 20 known Amino Acids. Out of these 20, the body can synthesize (Make on its own using dietary Protein as a source of Amino Acids) almost 11 of them.


The rest of the 9 Amino Acids cannot be synthesized by the body and as a result, they must be included in the diet. 


These Amino Acids are known as essential amino acids. The list of essential Amino Acids includes:
  • isoleucine
  • threonine
  • tryptophan
  • valine
  • leucine
  • methionine
  • phenylalanine
  • histidine

We often hear the phrases 'Animal Protein' and 'Plant Protein'.

Ever wondered what the difference is between the two?

Animal proteins are called a high quality Protein or complete Protein because it contains all essential amino acids. On the other hand, plant protein doesn't contain the complete profile of essential amino acids.

But that doesn't mean plant protein is useless. Taken with a combination of sources, the amino acid profile can be easily completed.

For example, rice together with lentils contains the complete essential amino acid profile. Similarly, chickpeas with bread or potatoes with lentils complete the essential amino acid profile in the same way a grilled steak does.

Proteins can also be utilized by the body as a source of energy; However, proteins are hard to break down. 


The energy required by the body to break down Proteins is relatively high and for this reason, the body's preferred source of fuel isn't Protein. 

How much protein

How much Protein does a healthy person require

That's actually a question that can inspire much debate, and in terms of the scientific / nutritionist opinion, the jury is still very much still considering their verdict. 

We can form our own opinion though, based on what you would like to achieve and your current condition. 

The recommended daily dietary intake is 0.8 grams of protein per kg of body weight.  You can do the math, or use this simple online protein calculator.

That doesn't work out to be much, and is usually less than the average person is already eating.  

A sports nutrition diet plan will often be based around a higher protein intake, which is probably approximately twice the recommended daily dietary intake, or around 30% of the total caloric intake.

A protein summit of some 40 nutritionists who gathered in Washington DC reported that the potential benefits of a diet higher in protein included;

  • preserving muscle strength despite ageing
  • maintaining a lean fat burning phsique

Sounds good to me, high protein all the way!

If you'd like to read more about the debate and research on protein in the diet, Harvard Medical School have published an interesting article; How much protein do you need every day?

Carbohydrates

Next up we have the self sacrificing Carbs! To keep things simple, we'll divide the Carbohydrates group into 2 categories:

Simple carbohydrates

Simple Carbohydrates or mono-saccharides are ready made sugars. These types of carbohydrates cannot be further broken down into simple sugars.

Examples of simple sugars include glucose and fructose.

Complex carbohydrates

Complex Carbohydrates or poly-saccharides contain strings of simple sugars.

This means that these Carbohydrates need to be broken down in order to get digested or to be used as fuel.

Some examples of complex carbohydrates include lactose, maltodextrins and amylopectin.

The human body is a master of converting carbohydrates into energy.

Carbohydrate is the body's preferred source of fuel. The brain constantly needs glucose, the liver needs and stores glycogen, the muscles store glycogen as well.

This way, carbohydrates are needed by the entire body in one form or the other. Basic functions of Carbohydrates include:

  • A major energy source for the body
  • Helps to maintain bodyweight
  • Prevents Fat accumulation
  • Helps in digestion and bowel movement
  • Involved in organ repair
  • Food for the brain

Dietary fiber is another form of Carbohydrates.

Dietary fiber is a form on non-starch Carbs. Dietary Fiber consists of indigestible parts of plant food (Cellulose).

This property of dietary fiber helps us with our gastro intestinal tract.

The indigestible fiber ensures a good transit time (Time interval between eating a particular food and excreting it!), avoids problems like constipation and protects us from serious problems like colon cancer.

How much carbohydrate

How much Carbs does a healthy person require?

Dietary guidelines recommend a range of between 45% to 65% of your total daily caloric intake. 

In a sports nutrition plan that focuses on higher protein intake, your carbohydrate intake will likely be towards the lower end of that range.  

Obviously sports nutrition can cover a wide variety of sports, and depending on the particular requirements of each, some may need higher Carbs to provide quick energy replacement. 

The quality and type of carbohydrate that you're eating will have an impact on your results as well.  some further tips about proper carbohydrate intake can be read in this article by the Mayo Clinic on nutrition and healthy eating.

Fats

No one likes them, everyone avoids them yet they are responsible for many important bodily functions.

Fats have gotten a really bad rap for the past few decades, based on guidance from government organisations.  That's changing, and much of that guidance is being seen as based on advice from lobby groups or studies sponsored by other food groups. 

Who would have thought, special interest groups misleading the government, who then mislead the rest of us. Even about our diets!

Their is a growing body of research which contends that healthy natural sources of fat in our diet are actually really good for us. 

There is also a growing movement that says that high fat diets have advantages and can be best for weight loss. Many people following sports nutrition plans for body sculpting will in the later stages of their preparation, start following a Keto diet, with the intent of achieving a Ketogenic state in their body, intended to help burn the last of the fat off their frame.

The scientific jury is still out on that one too. (they just love continual studies!) But some interesting research on the topic is discussed in this article by Brad Deiter Phd on, Science Driven Nutrition.

Just look at the comments his article received for an example of how controversial this topic is.  I'm glad he closed the comments before it got really nasty:)

One quality of fats that sets them apart from Carbs and proteins is their energy density.

Unlike carbs or proteins, 1 g of fat yields 9 calories of energy. This may seem spectacular but fats are the hardest to burn for energy.

They are energy-efficient yet slow, meaning that they are an ideal candidate for energy storage. This energy store comes in handy on a rainy day when there aren't enough calories present from carbs and proteins. Under such circumstances, the body burns fat for energy.

Other functions of fats include:

  • Protects vital organs
  • Act as a solvent for absorption of many vitamins and minerals
  • Important for formation of hormones (E.g. Estrogen)

Fats can be subdivided into 4 categories. These subcategories are made on the basis of the double bond present between carbon atoms.

My apologies for diving deep into the world of biochemistry but this knowledge will come in handy when you are looking for healthy fats to consume during your training regimen.

Saturated Fats: 

These fats are saturated, meaning, they have no double bonds. This tells us that the fat is already fully saturated with Hydrogen atoms.

These kind fats are usually solid at room temperature. Examples include animal fat, Lard, fat found in cheese.

Saturated fats are important as they are a basic building block of a variety of hormones and cell membranes. The downside is that an excess of these fats can raise blood cholesterol levels.

Monosaturated Fats: 

These fats only have a single double bond.

These fats are usually liquid at room temperature. Examples include olive oil and canola oil.

The specialty of Monosaturated fats is that they help us protect against heart disease and blood cholesterol build up. 

Polysaturated Fats: 

Polyunsaturated fats have two or more carbon double bonds.

Polyunsaturated fats are known to reduce the risk of Coronary heart disease. They are liquids at room temperature as well. Polyunsaturated fats can be subdivided into 2 important subcategories:

  • Omega 3 Fatty Acids: Have a positive impact on cardiovascular health. Sources include Oily fish (Salmon, Mackerel), Soybean and rapeseed.
  • Omega 6 Fatty Acids: Have a positive impact on brain function and normal growth. Sources include seeds and nuts (Peanuts, walnuts, Cashews)
Trans Fatty Acids: 

Trans Fatty acids are chains of unsaturated fats combined together in a Trans configuration.

This is done mainly by hydrogenation of vegetable oil. This is a seriously unhealthy type of fat that must be avoided at all costs. It is usually found in foods like margarine and baked goods (biscuits, cakes).

Trans fat intake elevates the risk of heart disease.

Micronutrients and macronutrients are equally important for the body. The body cannot function properly without both.

The difference between the two is the quantity in which they are consumed.

Micronutrients are required in minute quantities by the body. Any imbalance (Usually deficiency) in these quantities can cause problems in bodily functions.

Vitamins and Minerals make up most of the micronutrients. This list can be further divided into 30 (Approximately) different Vitamins and minerals that the body extracts from the food we eat.

Each Vitamin and mineral has a different part to play.

For example, Vitamin A is responsible for physical growth, immunity and development of white blood cells. Similarly, all 30 vitamins and minerals have a different story to tell.

To acquire all these micronutrients along with the required macronutrients, we are required to eat a variety of food.

Nature has been kind enough to supply these micronutrients abundantly in raw fruits and vegetables but unfortunately, the modern woman isn’t a big fan of the Broccoli! 

For this reason we are forced to go with the artificial alternative – supplementing vitamins and minerals.

The following table shows the normal daily requirement of various vitamins and minerals.

As a general guide line for people doing strength training, a good idea would be to go with the RDA’s recommendation of the listed dosage just to be on the safe side.

To make it simpler, go for a broad spectrum multivitamin that covers most multivitamins and minerals.

Try to get the RDA recommended dosage from the multivitamin pill itself. The rest you can extract from the diet you’ve opted for.

But be careful, anything in excess can create toxicity for the body. For this reason I wouldn’t go for supplements that provide 4000% of a typical micronutrient that is famous among the body builders; for example, Nitric Oxide (NO2) supplementation.

I’ll start by a typical statement: It depends on your goals and your current body type.

The statement holds; the number of calories you take daily depends on what your current body is like. Your height, age, BMI and weight can narrow down what your current body type is like.

Next comes your goal. What do you want to achieve?

Personally, I’m a big fan of mathematics. It allows you to quantify exactly what should be done.

Nutrition is no different. By using a few equations and simple Mathematics we can work out almost everything that is associated with Nutrition.

Let’s start by working out your daily caloric requirement.

Step 1 - Calculating Your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate)

For Women, the following formula must be used:

BMR = 0.9 x body weight (in Kg) x 24

Step 2 - Finding Your BMR Multiplier

Find your body fat percentage. This can be done by using a body composition analyzer, or by measurement of skin folds.  Once you’re certain about your body fat percentage, refer to the table shown to find out the multiplier that applies to your body type.

For Women

Body Fat Percentage of 14% - 18%

Multiplier is 1

Body Fat Percentage of 18% - 28%

Multiplier is 0.95

Body Fat Percentage of 28% - 38%

Multiplier is 0.90

Body Fat Percentage of Over 38%

Multiplier is 0.85

From the chart, we can draw a few important conclusions.

The first one is that people with a higher muscle mass have a higher BMR and thus, a higher metabolic rate.  Secondly, women have a slightly greater body fat percentage as compared to men.

Step 3 - Determining Caloric expenditure with respect to daily physical activity.

Steps 1 and 2 helped us to accurately calculate our BMR.

BMR, as we already know, signifies the amount of Calories we burn by doing absolutely nothing. It is our resting Caloric expenditure.

In step 3, we’ll calculate the number of Calories we burn by the physical activity we indulge in.

This step includes identifying the category you fit best. The categories are based on how much physical activity you perform on daily basis.

Category Type

Activity List

Physical activity Multiplier

Category 1

Sedentary Lifestyle. Sitting, talking. Little /Almost no physical activity throughout the day.

1.3

Category 2

Sedentary lifestyle 2. Little walking but no exercise. Some physical activity but nothing that can be labeled as ‘Exercise’

1.55

Category 3

Moderately active. Weight training with light weights for 30 – 45 minutes daily.

1.65

Category 4

Active Lifestyle. Hitting the weights hard for 45 – 60 minutes + 20 minutes of Cardio training.

1.8

Category 5

Intense physical activity. Weight training for 60 and over minutes, hitting the weight really hard. 30 - 45 minutes of Cardio Conditioning.

2

Step 4 - Final calculation: Compiling results.

Your Caloric Needs = (Value in Step 1) x (Value in Step 2) x (Value in Step 3)

Let’s take an example. 


Jane is an average working woman. She is 58 Kg, pretty lean and usually alternates between Cardio and weight training days. Her Cardio days involve Running/Cycling/Swimming (On average) for an hour and weight training days include lifting weights for 45 minutes (No or little warm-up Cardio). 


Jane has a day job where she mostly sits and does her work on a computer. Various other physical activities done throughout the day include the average post-dinner stroll in the street or walking the dog early in the morning. 


She had herself checked recently and her body fat composition test indicated that she had 15% body fat percentage. This is pretty much all the information you need to calculate the daily Caloric requirement.


Putting this into perspective, let’s see what the Calorie indicator suggests.

BMR Multiplier (Body fat percentage) = 1

Category Level 4 = 1.80

Calories = 1656 x 1 x 1.80 = 2255

or maintenance, Jane’s Calorie requirement is 2255.

The word to remember here is ‘maintenance’. Maintenance means that you don’t want to gain or lose weight. Anything above this caloric intake will prompt your body to start gaining weight while anything seriously below this intake and you’ll start to lose weight.

BMR X BMR Multiplier X Physical Activity Multiplier = Your caloric Needs 

Determining the right ratio of Carbs, protein and fats from your diet isn't less than a work of art!

A person consuming 2600 calories in a certain ratio could be losing weight but alter the mix while keeping the calories constant, he/she may start to gain weight.

You can never underestimate the effectiveness of the proportions by which you take your Macronutrients.

Another thing to remember is that Macronutrients are sometimes very unforgiving. An extra 100 calories of fat consumed daily adds up to 36500 calories a year which can be translated into 4.7 Kg of fat!

Of course, the body has its own regulatory system which will resist it to gain this exact 4.7 Kg as fat but a 2 Kg gain resulting from 36500 excess calories annually doesn't seem like a far fetched assumption.

After all, the human body has a limit to its resilience.  

Category Type

Activity List

Protein Requirement

Category 1

Sedentary Lifestyle. Sitting, talking. Little /Almost no physical activity throughout the day.

0.8 g/kg

Category 2

Sedentary lifestyle 2. Little walking but no exercise. Some physical activity but nothing that can be labeled as ‘Exercise’

0.8 – 1.2 g/kg

Category 3

Moderately active. Weight training with light weights for 30 – 45 minutes daily.

1.2 - 1.8 g/kg

Category 4

Active Lifestyle. Hitting the weights hard for 45 – 60 minutes + 20 minutes of Cardio training.

6 – 2.2 g/kg

Category 5

Intense physical activity. Weight training for 60 and over minutes, hitting the weight really hard. 30 - 45 minutes of Cardio Conditioning.

2.2 - 2.8 g/kg

I usually start off with my favorite macronutrient (The protein).

RDA recommends a meager 0.8 grams per Kg of body weight for an individual. This usually works fine for a couch potato who doesn't do much throughout the day.

For athletes and people who train/workout daily, this recommended dose of Protein isn't enough. Let's go with another table that categorizes Protein intake for different people (See previous page):

Going back to the example of Jane, her maintenance calories were 2255. Consulting the Protein chart, she would likely fall into category 4 which means that he requires around 2.2 g / Kg (Bodyweight) of proteins. Protein requirement for Jane:

2.2 x 58 (Bodyweight in Kg) = 128 grams of protein

152 grams of protein add up to 512 calories from protein.

So, out of 2255 calories, we have so far dedicated 512 calories to proteins. 

Next comes the fat intake. You fat intake must be around the 20 – 30% mark of your total calories.

This means that Jane’s calories from fat equal:

0.3 X 2255 = 676 calories

For fat, 1 gram equals 9 calories so,

676 calories equal around 75 grams of fat.


So far;

Protein : 128 grams or 512 calories

Fat: 75 grams or 676 calories

This means that we are left with

2255 - (512 + 676) = 1067 calories


These resultant calories will come from carbohydrates. 266 grams of carbohydrates will be included in Jane’s diet. Her final Macronutrient breakdown looks something like this:

Proteins

Carbohydrates

Fats

Total

in grams

128

266

75

469

Calories

512

1067

676

2255

Percentage

22.7%

47.3%

30.0%

100.00%

I’m certain that your head must be spinning due to the mathematics I’ve been throwing your way. So to wrap it up, let’s summarise how you would go about, determining your macronutrient breakdown.

  • 1
    Find your total caloric needs (step 4 above)
  • 2
    Protein recommendation X weight X 4 = Protein calories
  • 3
    Total caloric needs X 0.3 = Fat calories
  • 4
    Total caloric needs - Protein calories - Fat calories = Carbohydrate calories

Customizing nutrition

The discussion so far in this post deals with how to calculate your base caloric intake and macro-nutritional needs.

This means that if you continue to consume these amounts of calories or macro-nutrients, your Body Composition will remain pretty much the same; hence the word ‘Maintenance’ is used time and again.

Once you understand your base requirements, it becomes easy to tweak your diet plan according to your goals.

For example, if your goal is to lose fat while maintaining your current lean mass, you tweak your diet plan, do a few adjustments to your protein and carbohydrate and there you have it; a diet plan that helps you lose the fat without compromising on your lean body mass.

The same holds true for diet plans that enable you to gain muscle mass.


I know that this isn’t a very hot topic for women since they are usually looking for a leaner look compared to men, but all the options are there! 


Adjusting the timing of your nutrition, recalibrating your macro-nutrional breakdown and making minor adjustments to your diet can enable you to customize your diet according to your goals and preferences. 


Did I mention additional supplementation to aid your cause?


One of the most useful supplements is protein.  When on a high protein diet, it can be a challenge sometimes to get the correct amount of protein from your natural foods, so supplementing with a high quality protein powder as a snack can really help.

Let's start cooking!

Now that we have done the mathematics, now it’s time to convert those numbers into food items!

Now you can easily read food labels and decide what you’re going to eat. You can easily translate 6 g of protein into ‘An egg’ or 60 grams of carbs into ‘A cup of boiled rice.’

Nutrition is a very vast field and I’ve tried to squeeze in as much practical information here as possible.

I’ve tried to provide you with a starting point and an understanding of how to design your diet plan, following a sports nutrition pathway. However, most of the discussion has revolved around numbers and percentages.

Once you know your numbers, you can choose your food alternatives more wisely

If you'd like some inspiration for planning healthy meals, start with these 31 Easy Clean Eating Recipes.

clean eating recipe, garlic chicken

Garlic Chicken With Roasted Sweet Potato

Remember that the more you can get your nutrients from fresh wholesome food, like animal proteins, vegetables, grains and fruits, rather than from a packet or a tin, the less artificial additives you'll be eating, and the better you will feel. 

Get your sports nutrition right, and the results from your training will accelerate.  Focus on both, and achieve your body sculpting goals!

For those of you who are interested in the science of nutrition for weight loss, this Tedx talk by Ruben Meerman on the mathematics of weight loss makes for entertaining and interesting viewing.

Carmen Miranda;

Look at me and tell me if I don't have Brazil in every curve of my body.

*Nothing in this article is intended or should be understood as specific nutritional advice for you.  Before commencing any new nutrition plan you should consult with a qualified medical practitioner and nutritionist about your own particular circumstance to receive personalised advice on a sports nutrition plan. 

Weight Training Effectively for Body Sculpting

weight training

Weight Training for Women to Sculpt Your Body

Weight training if the truth be told, and you really want to sculpt your body, is really the only way to get the results you need.

The great thing about weight training and muscle mass is that you can tweak individual muscle groups and change the shape of your body, the way you like it.

If you want to, you can work on your Gluteus (The butt as it is commonly known as!) while keeping the rest of your body pretty much the same. If you want to work on your abdominals without changing how your shoulders look; that can be done as well.

It’s similar to working on a specific part of the painting while not touching the rest of the canvas.

This can only be done through weight training and this is one cosmetic, or pure vanity reason why weight training is advantageous over other forms of exercise.

Dave Barry

"Albert Einstein discovered that a tiny amount of mass is equal to a huge amount of energy, which explains why, as Einstein himself so eloquently put it in a famous 1939 speech to the Physics Department at Princeton, 'You have to exercise for a week to work off the thigh fat from a single Snickers.'"

Where do you start with weight training

Moving you onto hardcore strength training, but just a few notes of caution here though.

If you’re a beginner, it’s best to focus on building overall body strength, before shifting any focus onto sculpting individual muscles.  

Advanced lifters and body builders will focus on fine tuning specific muscles through isolation movements, but they already have a well developed foundation, which they will continue to maintain, by continuing with their compound lifts, while adding additional isolation moves into their program. 

If you maintain your focus on the big compound moves I would recommend to you, you will develop your muscular physique far quicker.

These gains will then allow you to progress onto specific fine tuning once your body has developed to a stage where you will be able to recognize the areas which can benefit from more specific focus, incorporating isolation exercises.

Compound V isolation exercises

Compound exercises

Compound exercises use your entire body (or multiple parts of your body). They span over multiple muscle groups and joints that work together in the given exercise.

You will maximize the gains achieved from weight training, as the multiple major muscle groups engaged in compound exercises can move more weight, thereby having a greater impact on the body. 

The amount of stress / impact your body goes through during training, triggers a corresponding recovery process, where the magic happens.  Your body adapts and improves itself to allow it to cope with the additional stresses which it is encountering. 

It's therefore only logical that.  If you don't put your body under much stress while training, it won't need to adapt and improve, and there wont be much change. 

A very good example of a compound movement is the Push-up.

When you’re doing push-ups, you’re immediately targeting your Pectoral region. But your shoulders come into play too, you use your core for stabilization, and your triceps get pumped up as well. This is a classic case of a compound movement exercise.

Good examples include:

  • Push-ups
  • Squats
  • Bench press
  • Bent-over rows
  • Shoulder press or military press
  • Pull-ups
  • Bar dips
  • Dead lifts
weight training squat

Isolation exercises

Isolation exercises are different in this respect. Isolation exercises put all the stress on a particular muscle.

There is no sharing of load with other muscle groups. Isolation exercises mostly work on muscle groups that are smaller in size E.g. Biceps, Triceps, Calves.

We often talk about ‘definition’ when we talk about isolation exercise.

The truth of the matter is that isolation exercise concentrate on smaller muscle groups. Hence, it is true that isolation exercises help to define your body.

Another factor of isolation moves is that you can’t lift as much weight as you do in compound moves.

For example, you can’t lift 120 Kg on a Barbell Bicep curl but 120 Kg seems plausible when you’re lifting it off the floor while performing the dead lift. 

Obviously you are not going to be able to continually progress to heavier weights in the same way that you can with compound exercises which are using multiple major muscle groups, and it's therefore important to continue training your compound lifts, for greater progressive overload.

Good examples of isolation exercises include:

  • Triceps push down on a pulley
  • Barbell preacher curl
  • Front shoulder raises
  • Leg extension
  • Dumbbell flies
  • Calf raises

If you're not sure what compound moves to start with, try these five strength training exercises.

Progress

By that stage, when you're adding isolation exercises into your program, you will find that you already have people in the gym asking you for training tips, because the body you’re developing tells them that you know what you’re doing.

Spend less time in the gym, but spend it wisely doing effective training, which means feeling some pain while you’re training, and you’ll have more time to rest, relax and do other things in life.  And your body will thank you for it, by making better gains.

You will also see many women who shape up certain parts of their body but lack in others.

A common example is toning your arms and shoulders but the love handles never seem to go away.  

They may give you meaningless reasons like, “I’ve always had love handles and it is a genetic thing!”  

The reality is, they are most likely avoiding, or not doing enough of the hard work that needs to be done.  

This is where your personal judgment and knowledge, or the advice of an experienced strength coach comes in handy. You can always reconfigure your workout plan according to the situation.

So, quit giving lame excuses for your failure and say hello to your two new friends; hard work and pain!

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weight training

Avoid weight training in the mirror

I hope you're aware, about how good the muscles on your back can look, before I mention how good the muscles on your front can look.  

There’s method to that.  Don’t fall into the habit of only training what you can see in the mirror.  

You need to train both the rear chain and the front chain of your body, otherwise, you will almost certainly end up with posture problems through muscle imbalances.  This leads to injury, including back and neck pain.  You’ll also just end up looking funny.

Remember that other people can see you when you are going as well as when you are coming!

And also, the muscles on your back comprise some big slabs of your lean mass, so work it hard, and you will be rewarded.

weight training results

Don't waste your time on isolation myths

Don’t think that I am saying that isolating a muscle group will cause you to lose fat on that part of your body first either.  

So many “fitness guru” programs that are sold, are marketed in a way that makes you think that you can target fat reduction on a certain part of your body, to melt the fat and see the abs, by some incredible abs magic move, or the like.

There is never, ever, any "magic muscle genie" waiting to transform your body overnight, with little to no effort.

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Don't ever waste your time or money on such false promises. 

Your body loses fat in a mostly even pattern, with the reality being that the last fat to be lost from your body will be from your stomach, or sometimes for women your legs and butt.

It's a bit cruel, I know. What you'd probably most like to fix first, will be the last thing to achieve satisfactory results.  But lets remember, these areas will continually improve, you just won't be satisfied with them too quickly, in most cases. 

Train your body with compound moves, remembering that it’s all about how much weight you’ve moved, because that’s what weight training is all about, and you’ll expend the most energy (calories) to lose the most fat. 

Think like a professional and do weight training like one

Let’s be clear on one thing; your ‘gender’ doesn’t define how hard you should work out!

The equation is simple, you need to push, you need to exert yourself and you need to feel like you gave all you had to give, after each workout.

If you don’t out-do yourself in each following workout, you won’t be progressing forward in terms of sculpting your body. It's a really important fundamental of proper weight training.

You can read more about this principle, including how to make sure you are achieving progress, in this blog on progressive overload.

‘Women don’t need to go at it with such intensity’; I’ve heard this phrase from fitness trainers to common folks and it is another misconception that plagues the fitness industry.

The truth is that gender doesn’t define the intensity of your training! Go hard or go home!

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Work out, or train?

Throughout this blog we talk about “training” not “working out”.  

There is an important reason for that too.  

While many people commonly refer to “working out at the gym” if you spend time around professional athletes from any sport, you will hear them refer to all the work that they do as, “training”.  

So do you think that you will get a better result doing things the way that the majority of people “commonly” do, or by doing things the way that athletes do?

I know which group I’ve always been inspired by.

Even if you don’t aspire to become a professional athlete, by adopting similar approaches to training as they do, you will be using your time more effectively, and producing far better results. 

The professional athlete will simply spend more time every day training, because it’s their job, and usually their all consuming passion.

So what do we mean when we say “training”? 

We mean consistently setting and monitoring “smart” goals, which are achieved because we ensure that our performance and therefore our results are improved upon, each time we train.

This concept is just so critical, if you want to achieve significant improvement.  It doesn’t mean that you will never have a bad session where you don’t manage to achieve what you set out to. 

Sometimes even the best athletes have off days, but you need to recognize it as such, work out what was wrong (did I not get enough sleep / rest, was my nutrition not good enough, was I not quite over a cold, did my technique let me down today, etc) and fix it for the next session so that you are training effectively. 

When you do weight training like this, you will see continual improvement, and this will continue to motivate you, and you will find that it also inspires others around you.

If you would like some inspiration for challenging weight training workouts take a look at these 20 killer leg workouts.

Fuel your body well

If you are training properly, you need to ensure that you are also eating properly.  You need to fuel the body properly so it can perform during your training sessions. 

It's really a whole other topic to study and perfect, but as a guideline;

  • You need to be eating a consistent diet with a proper balance of the three main macro nutrients; Protein, Carbohydrates and Fats. 
  • Know what your overall caloric intake should be, to achieve your goals, including consideration of energy expended completing your weight training sessions and any other intense activity, along with regular daily calorie burn.
  • When you're shopping for food, remember to read the nutrition labels, and wherever possible, buy fresh food; I.e food that's not processed or comes from a tin.
  • Remember that everything that you put into your body, will have an affect on it.  Good food will have a good affect, and bad / junk food will have a negative affect.  It's your choice!

A great start is to make sure that you are "eating clean", so for some inspiration check out these 31 easy clean eating recipes.

clean eating recipe, almond crusted salmon

Almond Crusted Salmon

Once you have been "eating clean" for a while, you will really start to feel the positive affect of good nutrition on your body, and will find that you have less and less desire for bad / junk foods. 

Good nutrition has a massive positive affect on your body, and even on your mental health. When your body is healthy and operating well, you'll feel better energy which leads to a happier more positive life.

Rest your body well

Make sure that you are getting plenty of rest and recovery as well.  Our body repairs itself while we sleep, so it's just common sense that if you aren't getting enough sleep, then your body is not able to recover properly. 

Everyone knows that sleep deprivation is actually used as a form of torture, so don't do it to yourself!

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Wrap up our weight training

If for some crazy nonsensical reason, you still don't think that strength training is for you, then read this research article from The American College of Sports Medicine, who tested 35,754 women and found that strength training reduced the risk of type 2 diabetes by 30% and cardiovascular disease by 17%.

I'm sure you'll agree they're good reasons to give it a try.

Author Unknown

"I consider my refusal to go to the gym today as resistance training."

So, get fit, inspire others and help others attain the same fitness level. That has been part of my own journey, and I continue to learn from and be inspired by others!

How do you find inspiration to train? 

Let me know in the comments below.

Kettlebell Workout Routine For Women: Kettlebell Exercises

Kettlebell workout routine for a full body blast

Kettlebell workout routine that will give you amazing toning benefits, with kettlebell exercises for the whole body. 

Designed to sculpt your body, these awesome kettlebell exercises are also a great way to introduce some fun into your training routine. 

Training in the gym all the time can get boring, so take it outside with a kettlebell workout routine!

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Kettlebell Workout Routine

**This is only an example exercise routine, and is not providing any specific advice to any person. As with any new exercise activity, you should check with your own medical and health professionals for advice on your own personal condition prior to commencing any new activity

Exercise

Reps

Rest

Sets

kettlebell swings

20

15 seconds

x 4

double kettlebell bent over row

30

15 seconds

x 4

kettlebell front sqaut

30

15 seconds

x 4

kettlebell double snatch

20

15 seconds

x 4

kettlebell double clean and jerk

20

15 seconds

x 4

kettlebell Turkish get up

10

15 seconds

x 4

*Instructions for each kettlebell exercise follow below.

Depending on how much training you've done before, and whether you've ever used kettlebells before, you might find this workout to be a bit challenging.

If that's you, then just double the rest between sets to 30 seconds, and cut back on the amount of sets you do to say three instead of four.  But try to at least some sets of each exercise, so you get the benefit of a whole body workout.

But it you'be been training for a while and are in good shape, you might want to add some ab exercises in between sets, or following your kettlebell workout routine.

Kettlebells as exercise equipment

I came across this strange looking piece of equipment in 2010.  I know, lots of people discovered it before me:)

It appeared very crude to me, and I was reluctant to use it for exercises initially. I started with standard squats and lunges where I was focusing for leg training routines.

Then I moved on to start a few 'swinging' moves for my core synergistic muscle groups and after a little while I became familiar with this brilliant piece of equipment. Ever since, I've been recommending kettlebells for  an alternate to traditional strength training workouts. 

Firstly, there's the advantage of the handle. Women who are lifting a great deal of weight often come across gripping problems. Whether it’s the barbell or the dumbbell, the firmness of your grip will play an important part in how well you can perform an exercise. In the case of kettlebells, the handle does the magic and you don't face any problems due to grip.

kettlebell exercises

Kettlebells are cheap to buy as well. They don't cost as much as fancy 'Aluminum coated' dumbbells so you can always go ahead and buy new one's when you grow out of your old pair!

If you are interested in more information about the history, terminology and rules of kettlebell lifting, you can find that here, and here.

Kettlebell benefits

Then comes the question of using kettlebells for exercises; 

Performing kettlebell workouts can be very beneficial for a large number of muscle groups at a given time. 

Kettlebells enable you to improve on your core. The core becomes involved when you complete actions that involve 'swinging' the weight. With dumbbells and barbells, swinging actions are usually negative and should be avoided, but with kettle bells, moves like 'Double windmill' will strengthen your mid section. 

Your mid section is a very important part of the body. It serves as a bridge between your lower and upper body.

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Your bodies ability to engage it's true strength can be limited by the strength of your mid section, but this fact is often forgotten in the world of weight training. Stability and swinging moves can be incorporated using kettle bells to strengthen your core, and you will feel the improvement in your traditional lifts in the gym.

Kettlebells engage your forearms a great deal, as compared to the dumbbell or barbell.

For most exercises, the grip is such that your arm is not in its natural straight line. The classic 'briefcase grip' engages the forearm and the stronger grip causes strengthening of your forearms.

The same holds true for functional strength. A Kettlebell workout routine is great to add raw strength to your armory. Since almost all of the moves are compound moves, anything involving the kettle bells will be a complete body workout.

The best thing about kettlebells is the size of the equipment. You can keep it anywhere; Under the bed, in your closet or just by your bedside table. Since it is a single piece of equipment, it doesn't require much space but this brings us to a problem as well.

Since kettlebells are fixed weight equipment, you'll probably have to upgrade to a heavier one every once in a while. If you keep working out with the same resistance level for an extended period of time, chances are that you'll hit a plateau. So, this is a major down side of kettlebells training and body weight training which needs to be kept into mind.

As mentioned in my post on progressive overload, your muscles need to 'overload' in order to hypertrophy. The same level of resistance, over and over again doesn't overload the muscles as the body becomes accustomed to the same resistance level. In order to progress, you'll need to increase the resistance level somehow.

Kettlebell workout routine versus traditional weight training

A good analogy between 'kettlebell workout routine' and a traditional 'weight training session' would be that of a classic muscle car and a new generation sports car! If you need raw strength, grunt and power without worrying too much about external looks, you go with a muscle car. But if you want a car that performs and has a clean look with exquisite styling, you'll be happy with a new BMW rather than going for a Chevy Impaler! Same logic applies to kettle bells training. You may not achieve the very best muscle isolation with kettle bells but it does wonders with functional strength, core stability, muscle endurance and even flexibility.

The workout routine that follows contains some of the best kettlebell exercises you can do.

As you've no doubt heard before, proper form is the key. Sacrificing form for even a single repetition can end up in an injury that can haunt you for months so always be wary of what you're about to do. Belts and gloves are there for a reason, so use them when it makes sense!

Also, it is best to work out with a spotter even when you're working out with body weight or kettlebells. Your partner can help you with your form and can assist you in performing additional repetitions which are crucial for muscle growth.

Kettlebell exercises

Kettlebell swings

kettlebell workout routine
kettlebell workout routine kettlebell swings

Kettlebell swings may look clumsy, but it is one of the most effective total body exercises you can do with the kettlebell.

It gets your shoulders engaged in particular, not to mention the balancing act of your core to oppose the swinging motion of the kettlebell.

This move will strengthen your lower body as most of the stress is endured in your mid-section and your legs during the 'return swing' of the kettlebell.

  • The proper starting point of this move requires you to squat with your feet shoulder width apart. 
  • The kettlebell is extended downwards and your arm must be placed between your legs. Use the overhand grip for this move. 
  • Your back must be taut, avoid excessive hunching. This is the starting point of this move.
  • Now, swing the kettlebell under the hips and swing it in the opposite direction while raising the upper body.
  • Extend the legs and help yourself with the swinging action. The kettlebell should swing back and forth between the distance of your legs and slightly above shoulder height.

The move is similar to Front shoulder raises, but with kettlebells the move is more 'dynamic' and compound engaging your entire body.

Double kettlebell bent over row

kettlebell workout routine bent over rows
kettlebell workout routine bent over row

This move is similar to the classic single dumb bell row. 

The difference is that double kettlebell bent-over rows focuses on both sides (Left and right) simultaneously and the grip is a little different as compared to the conventional dumb bell row. 

  • For the correct starting position stand with your feet shoulder width apart, knees slightly bent and straight back. 
  • Squat down from this position and grip two kettlebells like briefcases and return to your starting position with the kettlebells hanging freely, vertically downwards.
  • From here lift the kettlebells by bending your elbows, like you would in the class dumb bell row.
  • Make sure that you lift both kettlebells simultaneously and bring them towards your ribs.
  • The only difference in this move is that due to the changed grip, you may not perform much of a 'swing'; rather, it'll be more of a vertical 'lift'. 

The benefit is that this move is a better stressor for the lower back as you're lifting more weight and using both sides of the body simultaneously.

This is a great exercise to consider if you're looking for an alternate to classic single dumbbell rows for the back.

Kettlebell front squat

kettlebell workout routine

This is a squatting move which can be executed with the help of a kettlebell.

  • To start off, stand with your feet shoulder width apart (or a bit wider). 
  • Next important thing is how you hold the kettle bells for this particular exercise.
  • The kettle bells are to be held right in front of the shoulders whereas the arms should be kept really close to the body for the correct execution of the starting point.
  • From here, you need to bend your knees and squat down (The way you do in the classic squat or weighted squats).
  • Keep lowering your body, keeping your back straight and bent hips.
  • Lower yourself until your butt is as low as it can go, in a full squat (ass to grass). Once you hit this point, elevate your body by extending the knees and hips, standing back up straight.

The kettlebell grip is important as well, hold them as you would hold a barbell in a shoulder press.

Kettlebell double snatch

kettlebell workout routine
kettlebell exercises double snatch
kettlebell exercises double snatch move

This is similar to the snatch performed in weight lifting.

The idea is to pick the weight up from ground level and raise it above your head in one quick action.

For this two major moves are required; the squat compounded with shoulder raises.

This is a very useful move for building functional strength but without proper form or care, this move is prone to injuries. Here is the proper form:

  • Straddle two kettlebells (Which are placed on the ground) with both hands (Single KB snatch can also be done) and stand with your feet shoulder width apart; 
  • Squatting down to grasp the kettlebells.
  • Your back should be straight and your shoulders shoulder be vertically above the kettlebells.
  • Without jerking, pull the kettlesbells off the floor by extending your knees and hips, to stand up straight.
  • This initial motion is quickly followed by ballistic upward movement of the shoulder and arms to raise the kettlebells further.
  • While the kettlebells reach their maximum height, extend your arms straight above your head and aggressively pull your body right beneath the kettlebells to support their weight.
  • During this 'pulling the body underneath the kettlebells, you should go into a squat to 'catch' the kettle bell without any impact. 
  • Once the kettle bells are stably held over your head, extend hips and knees to come out of the 'cushioning' squat and stand straight holding the kettlebells straight over your head. 

This is the first repetition, lower the kettlebells back to the floor by doing a partial shoulder press followed by a smooth dead lift and repeat!

Kettlebell double clean and jerk

kettlebell workout routine double clean and jerk
kettlebell workout routine double clean
kettlebell workout routine double clean move

This is similar to the clean and jerk performed in weight lifting.

If you've already performed the kettlebell snatch, this will become pretty easy. 

The moves are quite similar and the idea is to pick the weight up from ground level and raise it above your head in two quick actions.

For this two major moves are required; the squat compounded with shoulder raises, with a little pause in between (Unlike snatch).

This is a very useful move for building functional strength but without proper form or care, this move is prone to injuries.

Here is the proper form:

  • Start with 'Clean'. Straddle two kettlebells (Which are placed on the ground with both hands) and stand with your feet shoulder width apart; 
  • Squatting down to grasp the kettlebells. 
  • Your back should be straight and your shoulders shoulder be vertically above the kettlebells.
  • Without jerking, pull the kettlebell off the floor by extending your knees and hips.
  • This initial motion is quickly followed by folding of the elbows and brings your arms beneath the kettlebells to support their weight. This is the 'Clean'.
  • Now rest briefly with your shoulders and arms supporting the weight of the kettlebells.
  •  Continue with the 'Jerk'; continue with a ballistic upward movement driven by the legs and supported by shoulder and arms to raise the kettlebells further. 

  • Extend your arms straight above your head and aggressively pull your body right beneath the kettlebells to support their weight. 

  • Once the kettlebells are stably held over your head,  stand straight holding the kettlebells straight over your head. 

This is the first repetition, lower the kettlebells back to the floor by doing a partial shoulder press followed by a smooth dead lift and repeat.

Kettlebell Turkish get up

kettlebell workout routine turkish get up
kettlebell exercises turkish get up

The Turkish get up; they don't make exercises any weirder than this!

Well the goal is to lay down with a raised kettlebell and then lift your whole body into an upright standing stance.

For this, your body transitions into many different postures and for this reason it is a total body workout.

There are many different variations of the kettlebell Turkish get up but with this version, we'll be starting while lying on the ground.

  • For the starting position, lay down on the floor, fold your right knee and abduct your left leg slightly away from your body. 
  • Hold the KB in your right hand and raise it vertically above your right shoulder.
  • Your left arm should be placed comfortably on the floor.
  • From here, while keeping your right arm raised, crunch towards your left elbow, shifting your bodyweight to your left elbow and raising the right side of your body.
  • Also use your folded right leg to power yourself to the left side.
  • Now, shift your bodyweight to the left hand, keeping your chest up and out.
  • From here it's time to get your butt off the floor!
  • From the hand supportive position, drive your body into a high bridge.
  • The key to this position is to really squeeze your right side glutes, keep your chest out and position your body in such a way that you turn into a tripod with your bodyweight being supported by your feet an left hand while your right hand is still extended vertically upwards.
  • Now sweep your left leg and position your left knee on the ground, try to get up into a lunge position with your left knee supporting the weight of your body, right knee folded at 90 degrees, left arm hanging freely and right arm holding the kettlebell.
  • Now, one simple lunging move and you're standing up straight! 

Let's not forget that you've performed only 1 repetition. Let's repeat the whole thing in reverse for more!

Kettlebell workout routine wrap up

I hope that if you haven't tried kettlebell workout routines before, that you will now, as I'm sure you'll find it fun and will feel the benefits. 

It will change your training, and reshape your body.

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If you'd like to try more kettlebell routines and learn more about training with them, then I recommend that you check out Greg Brooks site.  His Complete Guide to Kettlebell Workouts for Women will give you instructions on a few more different kettlebell exercises and some further examples of kettlebell workout routines that are really good.

And if all this throwing around of kettlebells is just making you hungry, that ok. Good nutrition is a must for anyone who wants to maintain good health and shape up, so I'm with you there.

Try one of these easy clean eating recipes, guaranteed to fix a hungry tummy, with no added fat:)

clean eating recipe, garlic chicken

Garlic chicken roasted sweet potato

I'd love to hear about anyone else's experiences training with kettlebells, because it's always great to get different perspectives and keep learning, so leave a comment bellow, and let me know how you like to use kettlebells in your own workout routines.

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