Basics of Muscle Building

By John Kain

Building muscle is a key fundamental in changing a person’s body shape and composition, whether it’s for a particular sport, for men and women who want to bulk up / tone up or to simply feel and look better.

Body Type and Genetic Limitations

Before embarking on any muscle building programme it is well worth knowing what the likely outcome of all this sweat and hard work is going to be. This will largely be determined by your natural body type, these are broadly divided into 3 categories, Ectomorph, Mesomorph and Endomorph. Most people will not fit neatly into one or other category but will have crossover traits from other body types, we just need to understand whereabouts we fit on the scale.

Ectomorphs tend to have smaller frames, longer and thinner limbs (and correspondingly longer and thinner muscles), smaller joints and find it hard to gain weight, especially muscle.

Mesomorphs have thicker, sturdier frames, slightly shorter and more powerful limbs, bigger and stronger joints and will find increasing muscle mass a lot easier than ectomorphs.

Endomorphs are the classic rounder shape people with short, thick limbs, softer looking bodies, sturdy or stocky build and tend to be very powerful in moves like squats. They normally find it easy to put on muscle but difficult to avoid gaining fat weight.

Any training programme to build muscle should be specific to that individual’s body type because the training effect could be significantly different. For example, when beginning a programme, an ectomorph should be concentrating on low rep / high weight compound movements that involve as many muscle fibres as possible such as deadlifts, squats, bent over rows, bench press and barbell cleans. This will help to stimulate the bigger, fast twitch muscle fibres and help to provide a solid foundation for the other smaller movements as well as helping to strengthen tendons and ligaments.

An endomorph with their ability to easily gain weight should be looking to refine and sculpt the muscles by moving towards the other end of the rep range with lower weight and using more isolation type exercises like bicep curls, lateral raises and leg extension.

In addition everybody has a ‘genetic ceiling’ that has been pre-determined since conception. It just so happens that Usain Bolt’s, Mo Farah’s or Arnold Schwarzenegger’s genetic ceilings are somewhat higher than most of us, but that’s not to say we can’t push ourselves to achieve our potential and it’s certainly not an excuse to give up before we start!

We just have to be realistic and set goals that may be challenging but are achievable, don’t set targets that you are clearly not going to be able to achieve, that will lead to disappointment and frustration and no doubt a beautifully designed programme ending up in the bin or that funky phone app that tracks your workouts getting deleted.

Muscle and Tendon Physiology

Muscles need to be worked. Without applying a resistance to a muscle it will soon atrophy (waste away) and this can start happening in as little as 3 days if a body is completely inert or in a weightless environment. The body will always try to find the easiest way of doing things and use as little of it’s precious energy reserves as possible, it doesn’t want to be carrying around loads of extra bulky muscle and will attempt to use up this rich source of energy alongside stored fats and glucose. To convince the body that we still need this extra muscle we must constantly subject it to overload, after all, your body doesn’t know that we are doing this for recreation rather than survival. Constantly stressing and overloading a muscle will result in micro tears to the fibres that will grow back stronger and thicker in order to be able to cope with the added resistance. Tendons and ligaments on the other hand take a little bit more persuasion to adapt, they have a poorer blood supply and that means less nutrients and oxygen rich blood getting in to repair, so they must be worked carefully and gradually but over time they too will respond to added resistance by getting stronger.

Training Methods and techniques

Over the years, many methods of lifting a weight have been devised to work a muscle in a particular way for a particular outcome but the main principle behind any of these is the effect that this shock has on the muscle.

A lot of people will get stuck in the same routine, 3 sets of 10 on this, 3 sets of 10 on that, 3 sets of 10 on the other and wonder why any gains they have made seem to have come to an end or they feel they have hit a plateau. Your muscles are very good at adapting to a given programme or a given task and pretty soon they will be doing exactly as you ask but no more. To stimulate them into new growth we have to give them a shock, something they are not used to, a different order of exercises, a different load, a different rate of contraction or less recovery time etc.

This is where the various training methods come in.There are too many to mention here but they all rely on altering one of five variables known as the five R’s, range of motion, reps, resistance, rest and rate (speed) of the contraction. If you want to know more, speak to one of our trainers to book a session and they can go through a range of different techniques with you. Whichever methods you choose there are several key things to remember.

A lift is comprised of two parts, the concentric or shortening phase of the movement and the eccentric or lengthening of a movement, remember to use both parts. It’s common to see people doing an exercise like shoulder lateral raises with dumbbells and getting to the top then letting the weights drop down to their side or ducking underneath the weights when they get to the top. By slowly raising and lowering the weights it keeps the muscle under constant tension and it will be getting much more stimulation, plus the muscle is stronger during that eccentric phase so there’s no excuses for dropping the weights.

Always lift with proper form and technique, there is no use in cheating and using other muscles as the training effect on the muscle you are targeting is lessened. Leave your ego at the door, if the resistance is such that you can’t complete a movement with good form or without using lots of other muscles the weight is too heavy simple as that. Drop it down and do it properly (and when I say drop it down I don’t mean drop the weight crashing to the floor like some people who have forgotten this rule).

Pre and Post Exercise Nutrition

Throughout most of the day we should be looking to consume slow release carbohydrates as well as regular intakes of protein and good fats but fast-digesting carbohydrates are also useful at certain times of the day depending on when we plan to workout. These fast release carbohydrates are known as high glycaemic index foods and should be consumed first thing in the morning and immediately post exercise.

Getting in fast carbohydrates first thing in the morning when you wake will send a signal to your body to stop burning up muscle protein for fuel because while you are asleep or when you go for extended periods of time without eating your body feeds on your muscle for energy. By getting in fast carbohydrates like strawberries, watermelon or more filling breakfasts like white bagels it will stop it quickly and the body will turn to these carbohydrates for fuel.

Your post-workout meal is arguably your most important meal of the day. After a heavy and intense weight training session, your body is depleted of many vital nutrients including protein, glycogen (the stored form of carbohydrates used for energy), amino acids, and important vitamins and minerals. It’s absolutely essential that you replace these nutrients as soon as possible to prevent catabolism (muscle breakdown) and promote anabolism (muscle repair and re-growth) and protein synthesis.

There are many different studies and opinions on just how quickly a meal should be consumed post exercise but most of them recommend not leaving it longer than 75-90 minutes. After this time the body’s ability to use the nutrients effectively starts to diminish. If it looks like it’s going to be a couple of hours before a proper meal, try to consume something like a protein shake and a couple of bananas immediately after your workout until you can get a decent sized meal.

To replace lost muscle glycogen and spike insulin, you need to add fast digesting carbohydrates. Good examples of these are sports drinks, white rice, fat free sweets or white bagels.

The anabolic hormone insulin drives amino acids and carbohydrates (in the form of glucose) into the muscles for recovery and growth, and it also turns on the process of muscle protein synthesis (which is the biochemical steps that lead to muscle growth). Think of insulin as the key that will unlock the muscle for the other nutrients like protein to get in and start it’s repair and growth work.

 

ABOUT JOHN – John has been involved in fitness, one way or another for over 20 years and has a wide range of experience and knowledge in playing and coaching football, instructing clients in resistance training, preparing clients for endurance events and instructing a number of different classes including circuit training, spinning and his own personal favourite, high intensity interval training. He holds qualifications in personal training, nutrition advice, sports conditioning, supple strength, exercise for older adults and exercise referral, all gained through YMCA Fitness Industry Training, one of the UK’s leading training providers. Whether your goals are to lose weight, increase your level of fitness, get in shape for a special event or just to take the first steps towards a more active and healthy lifestyle, then John can help. Once we have established your goals, he will write a safe, effective and progressive programme that is designed specifically for you. Novice to athlete, inclusive of all abilities and ages John will inspire you to achieve your fitness goals. To book a session with John at our St Paul’s studio give us an Email at info@morefit.co.uk

Supplements for Training

sup·ple·ment
noun
noun: supplement; plural noun: supplements
ˈsəpləmənt/
1. something that completes or enhances something else when added to it.

The purpose of this article is to inform you about the supplements we, as trainers often mention.  Just to clarify there is no such thing as a magic pill or powder that will produce results by itself.  YOU are going to have to do the hard graft.

Only a proper diet and workout program are capable of making these things happen. Once you’ve set up both and effectively put them into action, supplements can, at best, only enhance your efforts and results.

The key to losing fat, building muscle, or just improving your body or health in any way is a combination of a proper diet consisting of nutrient dense foods and a solid workout program.  The best supplements in the world won’t do a thing if you don’t get those important factors right first. The supplements discussed in this article are based upon science, not hype or marketing campaigns.

These supplements are the basic and fundamental ones to take as our body requires them to perform daily tasks efficiently, yet due to lifestyles nowadays and environmental factors, we are often deficient. Speak to your trainer if interested and they can recommend trusted brands and the correct dosage or protocols for you.

The basic supplements that should be taking are:

  • Fibre
  • Probiotic
  • Magnesium
  • Zinc
  • Fish Oil
  • Vitamin D

Fibre:

Fibre can be either insoluble or soluble, although most fibre-containing foods have both.

Insoluble fibre speeds up the movement of food through the intestines and promotes regularity. It is excreted largely intact.  Insoluble fibre can be found in whole-grain foods, wheat bran, many vegetables, and fruit with skin.

Soluble fibre dissolves when mixed with water and becomes a gel-like substance, slowing down the movement of food through the small intestine. Sources of soluble fibre include oats, peas, beans, apples, and citrus fruits; one serving of any of these foods provides about one to three grams (g) of soluble fibre. It is recommended to have anything from 20-50 grams per day, which means that unless you’re planning on chowing through 6-8 cups of fruit and vegetables each day then a quality (meaning sugar and synthetic free) supplement could be worth investing in.

Evidence suggests that soluble fibre is more effective at lowering cholesterol, but both types of fibre are important for your health. One of the ways soluble fibre may lower blood cholesterol is through its ability to reduce the amount of bile reabsorbed in the intestines.

How does it work? When fibre interferes with absorption of bile in the intestines, the bile binds to the fibre and is excreted.  To make up for this loss of bile, the liver makes more bile salts. The body uses cholesterol to make bile salts. So in order to obtain the cholesterol necessary to make more bile salts, the liver increases its production of LDL  (Low-density lipoprotein) receptors. These receptors are responsible for pulling cholesterol out of LDL molecules in the bloodstream. Therefore, the more bile salts are made from the liver, the more LDL cholesterol is pulled from the blood. Research has shown that increasing soluble fibre by 5 to 10 g a day reduces LDL cholesterol by about five percent.

Gluten free Oats, as well as psyllium and barley, are rich in beta-glucan, a soluble form of fibre, which has been shown to lower total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol. Please note it is important to rotate your fibers often as using the same blend day in and day out can irritate the lining of the gut wall and leave you at greater risk of food intolerance. This happens due to the close contact fibre has with your intestinal lining.

The main reasons we are consuming less fibre these days is that various food processing methods can strip fibre from the food. We, as a nation are also consuming less fibre as we don’t consume enough fibrous carbs. The main source of carbs should be fibrous. Fibrous carbs typically have very low carb content. Their inherent high fibre brings about a very moderate insulin response, thus making them an ideal fat loss food.

The best sources of fibrous carbs include the following:

  • Broccoli
  • Asparagus
  • Cauliflower
  • Lettuce
  • Cabbage
  • Mushrooms
  • Green beans
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions
  • Cucumber
  • Spinach
  • Pepper

Fiber is important for making solid stools and helping food move through the digestive tract; as such, it is a key factor in helping to prevent many digestive disorders and eliminate bloating.

Probiotic:

Probiotics are essential to basic human nutrition. Probiotics are live microorganisms (in most cases, bacteria) that are similar to the beneficial microorganisms naturally found in the human gut. These “good bacteria” are used to prevent and alleviate many different conditions, but particularly those that affect the gastrointestinal tract.

Furthermore, probiotics can provide multiple benefits for your immune system. When probiotics are abundant in your body, it’s harder for bacteria that cause illness to get a foothold. Probiotics also suppress the growth of harmful bacteria. There are a number of things that will disrupt our balance of gut bacteria, but two of the biggest things for most people are stress and antibiotics.

In order for your body to absorb all the nutrients from food and benefits from supplements you must first ensure you improve your gut health. Some food sources that contain probiotics are Kambucha tea, sauerkraut, live, active yoghurts and kerfir, however supplementation is recommended to deliver large amounts.

Magnesium

Magnesium is a dietary mineral which is the second most common deficiency in the first world (first being Vitamin D), Deficiency appears to increase blood pressure and reduce insulin sensitivity mostly. Magnesium performs a number of critical functions in the body, including helping muscles contract and relax, assisting in nerve function, and keeping heart rhythm steady and strong. In fact, every cell in your body needs magnesium. One of magnesium’s most critical functions is energy production.

Magnesium has been show to:

  • Support insulin sensitively
  • A number of cardiovascular conditions
  • Healthy nerve conduction
  • Bone mineralization
  • Preventing cramps
  • Aids deep, and more rest sleep
  • Lower Cortisol
  • Can increase Growth hormone through improving sleep
  • It’s a synergetic mineral which means it helps other minerals absorb better
  • Can increase testosterone through lowering Cortisol and increasing DHEA (DHEA is a natural steroid and precursor hormone produced by the adrenals. Adequate levels of DHEA are needed to ensure your body can produce the hormones it needs them. When levels are low, your body does not have enough working material for proper endocrine function. DHEA is one of the best “feel-good” hormones we have and it works quickly and effectively when taken with the right combination of support.)
  • Magnesium is best taken in the evening as it promotes sleep. Magnesium baths are a great way of topping up your levels if low as it can be absorbed through the skin.  These baths will help reduce any muscle soreness and aide with recovery.  It is best to have these baths at night time as well.

Zinc

Researchers write that “zinc is such a critical element in human health that even a small deficiency is a disaster.” Zinc is so important because it is found in every tissue in the body and is directly involved in cell division. It is a powerful antioxidant, helping to prevent cancer, but zinc also is directly involved in proper endocrine function and the maintenance of ideal hormone levels.

Zinc deficiency makes both men and women infertile and causes low libido. Low zinc also exacerbates the effects of stress on the body and accelerates ageing. Additionally, adequate zinc is necessary for optimal physical performance, energy levels, and body composition.

Zinc affects protein synthesis and is required for proper function of red and white blood cells. It is highly concentrated in our bones, the pancreas, kidneys, liver, and retina.

Zinc also promotes

  • Healthier skin (helps premature ageing of the skin)
  • Healthier hair
  • Stronger and better-looking nails
  • Better brain function
  • Boosts the immune system  (and recover from colds faster)
  • Helps speed up the bodies healing process

Fish Oil

It is hard to ignore the tremendous amount of research and practical evidence given about the positive effects of fish oil. Research has found fish oil can benefit the body in a number of ways from cardiovascular health, inflammation, skin and eye health to neurological health. Because of the vast benefits of fish oil, you simply can’t go past it. EPA and DHA, the omega-3 fatty acids found only in fish also increases levels of fat-burning enzymes and decreases levels of fat-storage enzymes in your body.

Nowadays our diets are very inflammatory with the amount of wheat, sugar and processed foods and oils we digest.  Products that used to be high in Omega 3 such as meat are now higher in Omega 6 due to stock being fed corn and grain as opposed to grass.  Many of the oils used in foods eg vegetable oils are purely Omega 6 oils creating a huge imbalance within our bodies.  Fish oil is 100% Omega 3, therefore helping to restore balance. By supplementing with Fish Oil, the aim is to restore balance between Omega 3:6 within the body.

Anthropological research suggests that our hunter-gatherer ancestors consumed omega-6 and omega-3 fats in a ratio of roughly 1:1. It also indicates that both ancient and modern hunter-gatherers were free of the modern inflammatory diseases, like heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, which are the primary causes of death and morbidity today.

Nowadays the ratios are about 20:1 and this is the cause of many illnesses we are now facing.   By supplementing with good quality fish oil we aim to restore this balance and reduce the inflammation throughout the body.

Vitamin D3

Vitamin D is different from other essential vitamins because our own bodies can manufacture it with sunlight exposure. The main function of vitamin D is to regulate the absorption of calcium and phosphorus in our bones and aid in cell to cell communication throughout the body.

Frequent exposure of the skin to sunlight promotes sufficient Vitamin D synthesis without the need for supplements, however with long winters and less time outdoors soaking up the rays as well as cloud cover and smog coupled with the application of sunscreens when in the sun, we often stop the bodies ability to absorb vitamin D and this has led many of us, especially those who have darker skin pigmentation to become Vitamin D deficient.

Vitamin D is one of those key nutrients, which acts as a hormone in the body. Known as the sunlight vitamin, due to synthesis occurring in the skin from the sun’s radiation. It has a multitude of benefits: The list of benefits is long and includes:

  • Bone health
  • Mood state
  • Improves calcium absorption
  • Brain health
  • Disease inhibitory effects
  • Supports cardiovascular health
  • Supports nerve health
  • Virtually every disease and condition and adverse condition is associated with low vitamin D3 levels
  • Blood sugar regulation
  • Muscle mass and strength
  • Weight loss

So to conclude, these supplements should accompany your current training and nutrition programme to enhance your results and support your body. It is important however that you before you spend your hard earned cash on supplements, you are consistent in your training and good nutrition and working towards improving your gut health. To purchase high grade, quality supplements or for more information, please speak to your trainer who can advise accordingly.

• Rachelle With 8 years experience in Personal Training, Rachelle is very dedicated to each and every one of her clients ensuring they get the best out of each workout and giving them the tools to better themselves outside of the gym through improved nutrition and making small yet significant lifestyle changes. Whether your goals are improved body composition, strength training or endurance events, Rachelle will help you get there whilst addressing postural and muscle imbalances along the way. Over the years, Rachelle has completed several endurance cycling events, and having recently returned to London after travelling, her focus is now more on strength training. Rachelle is also available for sports massage and has worked alongside Triathletes, Cyclists, Rugby Players, Marathon Runners and helped many office workers that succumb to the effects of sitting all day. Rachelle is a firm yet fair trainer and encourages people to be the best version of themselves possible.

To shake or not to protein shake

Many of my clients ask me about protein supplements, especially if they want to lose weight. There are plenty of myths going around the internet about well-marketed ‘must-have’ protein shakes causing confusion amongst people new to exercise – let’s see what protein is and why and how much we need!

What’s Protein? Protein is one of the basic building blocks of the human body, found literally everywhere in your system making up about 16 percent of our total body weight. Muscle, hair, skin, and connective tissue are mainly made up of protein. It plays a major role in all of the cells and most of the fluids in our bodies. It includes repair of muscles, red blood cells, hair and fingernail growth, regulation of hormone secretion, movement (muscle contraction), digestion, maintenance of the body’s water balance, protection against disease, transport of nutrients to and from cells, the carrying of oxygen and regulation of blood clotting. In addition, many of our bodies’ important chemicals – enzymes, hormones, neurotransmitters, and even our DNA – are at least partially made up of protein. Although our bodies are good at “recycling” protein, we use up protein constantly, so it is important to continually replace it.

How much should we eat? Our protein needs depend on our age, size, and activity level. The standard method used by nutritionists to estimate our minimum daily protein requirement is to multiply the body weight in kilograms by 0.8, or weight in pounds by 0.37. This is the number of grams of protein that should be the daily minimum for a sedentary person who is uninterested in gaining muscle (and free of health issues that might compromise your lean mass). Athletes need more protein than the average person, but perhaps not as much as most fitness enthusiasts think (or consume).

  • If you complete regular weekly weight training or low impact cardio exercise and you’re in search of muscle definition or maintenance: 1.2-1.5g protein per kilogram body weight
  • If you combine weight training with HIIT cardio exercise, look to consume: 1.4-1.7g protein per kilogram of body weight.
  • If you complete regular weekly weight training and are in search of muscle growth: 1.5-2g protein per kilogram of body weight.Healing wounds increases protein requirements. After all, you’re literally rebuilding lost or damaged tissue. If you have an injury the recommended intake is around 1.5 g protein/kg bodyweight or close to 0.7 g protein/lb bodyweight.

High protein diets. Protein is essential for making sure you lose fat, not muscle. Your body uses the amino acids in protein to build lean muscle, which not only makes you stronger and more toned but also fries calories even when you’re not active. A study in women showed that a 1.6 g protein/kg bodyweight (or 0.7 g protein/lb bodyweight) diet led to more weight loss, more fat loss, and less lean mass loss than a 0.8 g protein/kg bodyweight diet. Among dieting athletes,2.3 g protein/kg bodyweight (or a little over 1 g protein/lb bodyweight) was far superior to 1.0 g protein/kg bodyweight in preserving lean mass. And this happens without dieters being sidetracked with constant hunger.

Also remarkable, that protein requires a lot more energy from the body to break down –roughly 15% more energy to break down then carbs. High-protein foods take more work to digest, metabolize, and use, which means you burn more calories processing them. They also take longer to leave your stomach, so you feel full sooner and for a longer amount of time. The cumulative effect has obvious benefits for anyone who is watching her weight. If you are seeking fat loss then real, natural, least-processed foods, which have minimal amounts of fat (such as chicken breast, eggs, lean beef and pork, low-fat dairy, fish and seafood) are your best choices.

Protein in our diet. Everyone, including athletes and inactive people, can meet their daily protein needs by eating a well-balanced diet containing high-protein foods. Aim to consume about one-third of your daily protein needs during each meal, at least 30 of those grams at breakfast. (That’s roughly the amount you’ll get from two eggs and a cup of cottage cheese.) After fasting all night, your body is running on empty and may start drawing on muscle tissue for fuel if you don’t replenish its protein stores first thing in the a.m. Plus protein-rich breakfasts can help regulate your appetite all day.

Good sources of dietary protein include lean meats, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products, soy products, legumes, nuts and seeds.

Basic list of the most common high protein foods. You just need to know that 1 gram of protein contains 4 calories.

  • Chicken (skinless)
  • Turkey (skinless)
  • Fish (all kinds)
  • Beef (leaner cuts)
  • Pork (leaner cuts)
  • Whole Eggs
  • Egg Whites
  • Beans (all kinds)
  • Nuts (all kinds)
  • Milk
  • Cheese

Here are examples of amounts of protein in food:  

  • 1 cup of milk has 8 grams of protein
  • Two eggs contain about 12 grams of protein
  • 1 cup of cottage cheese provides about 25 grams
  • An 8-ounce container of yogurt has about 11 grams of protein
  • 3-ounce piece of meat or grilled salmon has about 21 grams of protein
  • 1 cup of dry beans has about 16 grams of protein

Why and when do we need protein in relation to workout?   When it comes to gaining muscle, there are three cardinal rules: train, rest and eat protein. But even if first two rules, you still can’t build muscle without the critical amino acids that protein provides.

After a workout your body needs to repair itself. If you do not give it what it needs to accomplish this, it will take it from other sources within your body. Resistance training increases the rates of both protein synthesis and muscle breakdown for at least a 24-hour period afterwards and is one of the reasons why you might feel sore the next day. Now whilst this may sound bad, it’s actually the first part of developing stronger muscles. However if a protein rich meal is not consumed during the recovery period and your body cannot find new sources to make this happen, it will resort to what it can find. This means it will actually tear down the muscles you have in order to get what it needs, muscle breakdown will exceed synthesis, resulting in the loss of muscle mass, which is the exact opposite effect of what you just worked toward.

The elevated sensitivity to protein lasts at least 24 hours after a workout. The effect is higher immediately after exercise and diminishes over time, but that certainly doesn’t imply a ‘magical window’ closes after an hour. Unless you need immediate muscle glycogen replenishment for the next day of training (athletes), you don’t need immediate post workout shake/meal.

Should I drink protein shakes?   Protein and carbohydrates work together to help rebuild your newly broken down muscles. Ideally, protein should come from food sources, not from supplements, as the additional vitamins, minerals, and essential fats also play a role in building more muscle (and burning fat too), but many of us lean on shakes for convenience to help hit our high protein targets.

The biggest advantage of supplements is convenience, digestibility and their well-balanced profile. Shakes are easy to consume, handy to grab, and travel through the gastrointestinal tract faster than solid food. Whole foods have a major advantage over protein supplements — they stimulate the metabolism more and take more time and energy to be digested and absorbed than shakes. This is known as the Thermic Effect and while all protein scores the highest — around 30 per cent of all the energy it provides is used up in processing — your body uses more energy to metabolise steak than a protein shake. (Fat has a Thermic Effect of around 3 per cent and carbohydrates range from five to 30 per cent of all available calories.)

Protein shakes are convenient so it does not take a lot of effort to make something after you are done working out. It also goes down easy, especially if you are not feeling hungry after working out. The need to use protein supplements should be based on whether or not you are getting enough protein through your regular diet. Food should be your priority; no bar, shake or pill will ever replace all the goodness of the meals made from scratch. If you do not meet your required daily protein intake then a supplement is a great option. If you do, then there’s no reason to. In fact, too much protein can lead to increases in body fat and excessive strain on your kidneys and liver. This suggests that sticking to your body’s daily need for protein is the best approach to healing.

>> Blog by Orshi Domjan | MoreFit Personal Trainer

After many years of battling with her own weight, 5 years ago Orshi decided to enter the health and fitness industry. She is now an Advanced Personal Trainer who is passionate about passing this knowledge onto her clients to improve their quality of life and to become healthier, happier, and confident. She inspires and motivates her clients to achieve their fitness goals with a personalised structured and progressive programme whether it’s for weight management, toning, postural imbalances, functional training, cardiovascular fitness, muscular development or training for a 100 mile cycle challenge! She is keen to advise on nutrition and constantly reviews new training methods to ensure the sessions are varied and enjoyable. “Your goal becomes my goal. I will give you full support and take you beyond your existing limitations to help you fulfil your potential and achieve your desired results.” If you’d like to book a taster session with Orshi please contact us on info@morefit.co.uk.

14 Tips on How to Stay Motivated!

Exercise regularly, eat healthily, try to avoid harmful things, we all know these phrases.  To work out a few times a week and trying to eat good foods is hard work, but the most difficult part is to stay motivated and focused.

There are many reasons why we lose our motivation. Maybe it seems easy to start to train and change your diet, but after few weeks or month if we don’t see the results what we expected we tend to stop or completely give it up. I think that this is the most difficult part of a healthy lifestyle to keep motivated and have as much willpower as we had at the beginning.

Here are 14 tips on how to stay focused and motivated.

  1. One Goal. Whenever I’ve been in a slump, I’ve discovered that it’s often because I have too much going on in my life. I’m trying to do too much. And it saps my energy and motivation. It’s probably the most common mistake that people make: they try to take on too much, try to accomplish too many goals at once. You cannot maintain energy and focus (the two most important things in accomplishing a goal) if you are trying to do two or more goals at once. It’s not possible — I’ve tried it many times. You have to choose one goal, for now, and focus on it completely. I know, that’s hard. Still, I speak from experience. You can always do your other goals when you’ve accomplished your One Goal.
  2. Find inspiration. Inspiration, for me, comes from myself, but i have always been sporty since childhood, so exercising a habit for me and a completely daily routine. Once you feel the benefits of working out and that it makes you less stressed and that is the best thing to do to make your mood better you will be addicted to it just as i am.:) .
  3. Get excited. This sounds obvious, but most people don’t think about it much: if you want to break out of a slump, get yourself excited about a goal. But how can you do that when you don’t feel motivated? Well, it starts with inspiration from others if u don’t have it on your own but you have to take that excitement and build on it. If you can’t inpire yourself get motivated from your friends or other people. Find a training partner or a trainer… I get excited about a goal. Once I’ve done that, it’s just a matter of carrying that energy forward and keeping it going.
  4. Build anticipation. This will sound hard, and many people will skip this tip. But it really works. If you find inspiration and want to do a goal, don’t start right away. Many of us will get excited and want to start today. That’s a mistake. Set a date in the future — a week or two, or even a month — and make that your Start Date. Mark it on the calendar. Get excited about that date. Make it the most important date in your life. In the meantime, start writing out a plan. And do some of the steps below. Because by delaying your start, you are building anticipation, and increasing your focus and energy for your goal.
  5. Post your goal. Print out your goal in big words. Make your goal just a few words long, like a mantra (“Exercise 15 mins. Daily”), and post it up on your wall. Post it at home and work. Put it on your computer desktop. You want to have big reminders about your goal, to keep your focus and keep your excitement going. A picture of your goal (like a model with good abs, for example) also helps.
  6. Commit publicly. None of us likes to look bad in front of others. We will go the extra mile to do something we’ve said publicly. For example, when I wanted to train for my first fitness model competition, I started to tell everyone about it, so many people knew about my goal, I couldn’t back down, and even though my motivation came and went, I stuck with it and completed it. You can do it with friends and family and co-workers, and you can do it on your blog if you have one. And hold yourself accountable — don’t just commit once, but commit to giving progress updates to everyone every week or so.
  7. Think about it daily. If you think about your goal every day, it is much more likely to become true. To this end, posting the goal on your wall or computer desktop (as mentioned above) helps a lot. Sending yourself daily reminders also helps. And if you can commit to doing one small thing to further your goal (even just 5 minutes) every single day, your goal will almost certainly come true.
  8. Realise that there’s an ebb and flow. Motivation is not a constant thing that is always there for you. It comes and goes, and comes and goes again, like the tide. But realize that while it may go away, it doesn’t do so permanently. It will come back. Just stick it out and wait for that motivation to come back. In the meantime, read about your goal, ask for help and do some of the other things listed here until your motivation comes back.
  9. Stick with it. Whatever you do, don’t give up. Even if you aren’t feeling any motivation today, or this week, don’t give up. Again, that motivation will come back. Think of your goal as a long journey, and your slump is just a little bump in the road. You can’t give up with every little bump. Stay with it for the long term, ride out the ebbs and surf on the flows, and you’ll get there.
  10. Start small. Really small. If you are having a hard time getting started, it may be because you’re thinking too big. If you want to exercise, for example, you may be thinking that you have to do these intense workouts 5 days a week. No — instead, do small, tiny, baby steps. Just do once a week at the beginning. Commit to one work out a week for one week or two. You may want to do more, but just stick to one. It’s so easy, you can’t fail.. Just some crunches, 2 pushups, and some jogging in place. Once you’ve done a work out a week or two or few weeks increase it to 2, and stick with that for a week or few. In a few months, you’ll be doing 3-4 work outs.
  11. Build on small successes. Again, if you start small for a week, you’re going to be successful. You can’t fail if you start with something ridiculously easy. Who can’t exercise once a week? And you’ll feel successful, and good about yourself. Take that successful feeling and build on it, with another baby step.
  12. Call for help when your motivation ebbs. Having trouble? Ask for help. Get a partner to join you. Call your mum. It doesn’t matter who, just tell them your problems, and talking about it will help. Ask them for advice. Ask them to help you overcome your slump. It works.
  13. Think about the benefits, not the difficulties. One common problem is that we think about how hard something is. Exercise sounds so hard! Just thinking about it makes you tired. But instead of thinking about how hard something is, think about what you will get out of it. For example, instead of thinking about how tiring exercise can be, focus on how good you’ll feel when you’re done, and how you’ll be healthier and slimmer over the work out. The benefits of something will help energize you.
  14. The most important that you have to learn is how to squash negative thoughts and replace them with positive ones. Along those lines, it’s important to start monitoring your thoughts. Recognise negative self-talk, which is really what’s causing your slump. Just spend a few days becoming aware of every negative thoughts. Then, after a few days, try squashing those negative thoughts like a bug, and then replacing them with a corresponding positive thought. Squash, “This is too hard!” and replace it with, “I can do this!”

Good luck!

About Anita Tar  Originally from Hungary, she has had a passion for health and fitness for eight years since competing as a Fitness Model. From this passion Anita attended Semmelweis University where she qualified as an elite Sports Coach (Fitness) Reps Level 4. Anita specialises in shaping, toning and weight loss. “Exercise and fitness can be life changing. I am enthusiastic and motivated and will use whatever it takes to encourage clients to achieve their goals.” If you like to train with Anita then email info@morefit.co.uk

 

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