Is Quicker Always Better?

I read an interesting article the other day about a new exercise bike called Car.ol, designed to get you fit in 40 seconds using Maximum Intensity Interval Training (MIIT), sometimes also know as Sprint Interval Training (SIT).

Great headline that 40 seconds is all you need…

BUT, beware of the shiny fad.

When you read on, the actual workout is 9 minutes long, during which you perform two 20 second sprints flat out.

The rest of the time you’re resting or warming up or cooling down.

OK – so the science is solid… ish…

The research paper Car.ol’s makers refer you to, found that Maximum Intensity Interval Training (MIIT) was indeed more effective than 30 minutes of cardio.

However, the misleading fact is – the control group did steady state cardio at 50 – 65% max heart rate.

SPOILER ALERT: Pretty much any interval training at intensity is going to get better results than that.

Claire & I are all in favour of promoting new time efficient ways to train that get results.

But two 20 second blocks is quite frankly not enough.

Let me back up to the SCIENCE of it for a second…

Working at high or maximum intensity for short bursts rapidly depletes glycogen in the body.

It boosts your metabolic rate, burns body fat and over time improves your insulin sensitivity (making you more efficient at processing sugar for energy).

Car.ol achieves that, but so will a decent 10 – 15 minute HIIT session and you get more variety, hit more muscles AND have more fun.

If Car.ol floats your boat, then knock yourself out.

But with the price for one session starting at £24 (and you need 3 a week), and a bike of your own costing from £2995, please be aware that you have far better (and cheaper), more effective alternatives.

As you know we don’t like fads.

And we don’t like people (cleverly) skewing science to make their product sound more sexy.

As always, we’re here to guide and support you.

Is It Time You Non-Conformed?

Engaging With Non-Conformity

When we work with clients one of the things we do is explore existing beliefs and values – so that we have a good idea of the mental filters that client has in place.

Why? Because our pre-conceptions and filters play a role in our own perception of our reality. My reality is different to your reality, and both are different from the actual truth. If we can look at our own reality dispassionately, then we have the power to change it.

Our amazing minds, in an effort to help us process the myriad of information flying at us, carry out a process of filtering renowned psychologist Chomsky broke down into: generalisations, deletions, distortions and personalisations.

For example, if my experience of going to a gym was that it was smelly, I didn’t like the machines, the PT I had was mean and nasty, and that after 2 weeks I got no results – then my filters are likely to round this up into “the gym doesn’t work for me”, or something similar.

This is a perception and clearly not a truth, but that perception is my truth. For now. This is where engaging with non-conformity comes in.

Now, by non-conformity I don’t mean slinging on tie-die clothes and heading off to live in a commune. In fact, I live in Ibiza where many of the ‘non-conformists’ actually all dress and act the same – they confirm to their own social norms. Their non-conformism has paradoxically become their own conformism.

What we are talking about is being prepared to challenge your own filters and beliefs. To “non-conform” with your own set of rules for the world. Why?

Because doing what you have always done is only ever going to get you what you’ve always got.

Fine if what you’ve got is working for you. If it’s not, you’re stuck.

So you need to be prepared to engage with your non-conformity, challenge your rules and beliefs and be prepared to change and grow.

Let’s look at the original example of the bad gym experience. If I’m prepared to challenge that I can reset my filters: “other people get results from going to the gym”, “I just didn’t know what I was doing last time, now I have an expert coach”, and so on.

Be prepared to look at your filters, really look, accept them without judgement and see your own reality as it is with the rules you have put in place.

Take a look at your life and see what filters might be holding you back, and where engaging with non-conformity might give you the opportunity to learn and grow.

With love

James

If I train more, will I get better results?

“If I train more, will I get better results?”

We get asked this all the time. How much should I train. Should I train more to get better results?

The very simple answer is that you should try to move your body every day.

However, the in-depth answer is a more complex. For best results you really should structure your week based on goals and lifestyle.

So what’s your goal?

Are you looking to lower body fat, add muscle, get fitter or a combination?

Next be realistic. How many times a week would you like to train, and for how long. There’s no point committing to a 2 hour training session 6 days a week if you’ve only got 20 minutes twice a week.

FYI….as a minimum you want to be training for 20 minutes, three times a week. Ideally with a day of rest in between each session.

Now onto how you might structure a week…

If your goal is to get fitter and or strip body fat, you might want to focus on a HIIT workout twice a week with one resistance circuit. Or just straight out HIIT three times a week, say on a Monday, Wednesday, Friday.

If you’d like to condition the muscles for a lean strong look and blast body fat, then an option could be to go for 2 resistance sessions a week, say Tuesday and Thursday, with HIIT 3 times a week on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

If adding mass is your goal, then focus on more resistance training and less HIIT and cardio. If you’re going to do full body workouts then 2 to 3 times a week with a day of rest between. Or you can split into push and pull movements and do 4 sessions a week. Or break it down into body parts and do a part a day (yes the options might seem endless!)

FOR MOST PEOPLE…
Mixing up 2 to 3 HIIT sessions with 2 to 3 resistance training sessions three times a week is going to get you awesome results.

But, remember everyone is different. Listen to your body and track your results over a decent amount of time so you can see what works for you.

People tend to give up on a workout programme too early. Always give it at least 2 weeks before you decide to change it. But do change your programme completely every 6 to 8 weeks as your body will adapt and your progress will plateau.

A final word…
Don’t forget to add in some of what you love – a run at the weekend, a long walk, a bike ride and do try to get outdoors at least once a week.

OK, a final, final word!
Remember, if you’re easing back into training after time off, or you’re new to it, take it steady. At the other end of the spectrum, more can be less. Overtraining will see you going backwards and becoming ill. Recovery is as important as the exercise.

How can we support you?
In our Academy, we have a bunch of 4 week training programmes which our members follow. They’re also great for learning how to put together, and formulate your own plan.

On our retreats we’ll aim to get you through as many different types of workouts and methodologies as we can (with recovery time!) so that you have the knowledge and tools to go home with. We also give you a follow up training plan.

And if you do want some more personalised help and support, please get in touch as we take on a handful of clients each month to work with on a one to one basis.

38nacademy.com

Exercise Snacking – A Time Poor Solution That Yields Results

Modern life can be hectic and we know that many of clients are super busy and struggle to fit workout time into their schedule. Our approach is all about enabling people to get results through short, effective workouts, and this is what we coach on our retreats (along with other hacks to help you hit your goals). But what if you’re too time pressed even for a 15 or 20 minute workout?

Well, exercise snacking could be the way forward! First up, let’s start by saying that though exercise snacking can be effective, we wouldn’t recommend it as an ongoing programme, time-wise and results wise you would be better off spending 20 to 40 minutes in the gym, (except blood sugar wise – more on that later) and let’s face it – while snacking might sound enticing – it’s probably easier to fit one workout window into your day than lots of short ones. But… sometimes we are pressed for time, so here’s the low down on exercise snacking…

Exercise snacking is breaking your exercise up into very small chunks of around 1 to 5 minutes. There have been two main studies on this so far.

The first looked at cardio chunks, in the study examining the benefits of exercise snacking, researchers compared blood sugar in participants who exercised for 30 continuous minutes and, in the same group, when they broke their exercise up into three small portions performed shortly before breakfast, lunch and dinner. This “exercise snacking” lowered blood sugar for about 24 hours and did so much better than the 30-minute continuous exercise, in blood sugar terms.

A second study by the University of Bath study aimed at helping older adults maintain strength past 50 (when we start to lose about 1% of our muscle mass per year, that loss accelerating even more from around 60) also looked at exercise snacking but with bodyweight resistance exercises.

As part of the study, 10 older adults (aged 65 – 80) completed 5 minutes of home-based exercise snacking twice a day for 28 days, and another 10 older adults continued their normal daily activity to act as controls. The exercises were very basic body-weight resistance exercises. The participants did each exercise for one minute, completing as many repetitions as they could, and then rested for one minute before doing the next exercise.

After four weeks of exercise snacking, the number of sit-to-stand repetitions that the snacking group could complete in 60 seconds increased by 30%, and leg strength and power increased by 5% and 6% respectively. Alongside this, thigh muscle size increased by 2%, with no changes in the control group.
So there you go, as we always coach our clients, doing something is better than nothing, and with the benefits of exercise snacking clear, there really are no excuses!

If you’d like to join us on a retreat or have us coach you, drop us an email or join us at our Academy here.

Taking Your Retreat-Acquired Knowledge Home To Your Busy Life

Fitness retreats are all the rage right now with a mounting number of people looking to incorporate a fitter lifestyle into one that includes traveling to exotic destinations. Wellness tourism, of which fitness retreats forms a part, is booming with the industry growing nearly 50% faster than overall global tourism in 2017 according to the Global Wellness Tourism Economy Report (GWTER).  Our lives have become so busy that it is easy to lose track of what is important: our own health and well-being. At a fitness retreat, we are privy to invaluable guidance from seasoned professionals pertaining to our general health and well-being, fitness and nutrition. In order for the fitness retreat to be of real value to us, we need to take the knowledge we gain back home and apply it to various areas of our busy lives. That’s why we developed our Academy – to support you and keep you on track for your body goals, where ever you are.

Make an effort to eat healthily

Regardless of where in the world you go on a retreat, healthy nutrition is bound to be a focal point, especially considering that over 50% of adults in the UK are overweight or obese according to the NHS.  While on your fitness retreat you will become accustomed to eating nutritious meals that not only fuel your body but your mind as well. Once you return home you need to find a way to continue with your newly-acquired healthy eating habits despite a very demanding work schedule. One way to ensure that your eating practices change for the better is to rid your home of junk food. You should also start packing your own healthy lunches for work instead of buying takeaways or eating at the work canteen. If you are pressed for time to make your own healthy dinners, set aside an hour at the start of every month and draw up a menu. You can even prep some of the food in advance and refrigerate or freeze it for later use.

Forget fad diets, miracle supplements and  “promise the world” slimming teas and coffees. We focus on coaching you for sustainable fat (not weight) loss, and maintenance, whilst still living in balance and enjoying life. Our flexible nutrition approach based around knowing your TDEE (if you don’t know – come see us!) and ideal macro ratios make it simple to eat well for your goals. This is what we teach on our retreats and via our Academy, with a host of resources to make it easy to eat healthily even when you’re pressed for time.

You’ll have our nutrition workshop on your retreat to set you up for simple to follow, sustainable healthy eating, and in our Academy we have meal planners, recipes, nutritional videos and guides to help you.

Exercise regularly

The foremost purpose of a fitness retreat is to instill a healthy attitude towards exercise in attendees. Despite the importance of regular exercise being common knowledge, half of British adults never do any exercise according to the British Heart Foundation. Regardless of how demanding your work life is, you need to engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic a week once you return from your retreat as recommended by the NHS. One of the easiest ways to incorporate exercise into a busy lifestyle is to start setting your alarm for 30 minutes earlier in the morning to either go for a brisk walk or jog, do some yoga or even engage in some kettlebell exercises. You can also remain active while at work, opting to go for walks during your breaks instead of staying at your desk or even squeezing in a gym session.

Most of our clients are time-poor so we focus on short yet effective training protocols both on our retreats and with our coaching clients. Why spend hours in the gym when you can get the same results with informed eating and training?

Stay well hydrated

During your fitness retreat, you would have often been encouraged to drink enough water not only during your periods of physical exertion but during the day in general as well. Sometimes it becomes difficult amidst a very demanding day to get through even a single bottle of water regardless of the recommended daily intake of 8 glasses.  If you struggle to drink plain water you can spruce it up easily with a couple of lemon slices, a sprig of lime or other fruit including pineapple, kiwi, and berries. Drinking a glass of water prior to a meal can help you eat less, aiding your weight loss efforts while keeping your body well-hydrated.

The success of any fitness retreat lies in its ability to change your lifestyle in the long run. If you only engage in healthy eating habits and regular exercise while on retreat but return to your unhealthy habits as soon as you return home, your time at the retreat would be futile. Try to incorporate what you have learned into your everyday life and fully enjoy the benefits of your time away on a potentially life-changing fitness retreat.

If you want to keep in shape post-retreat and be supported then why not join our  Academy? It’s an online resource brimming with workout videos, programmes, nutritional information, hundreds of recipes, mindset, goal setting and motivation tools, and a private facebook group where we host live training and webinars. It’s free for 5 days then just $37 a month – less than a PT session or a coffee a day!

Check out the Academy here.

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