What are the benefits of Bodyweight Training?

You always hear me harping on about how good weight and resistance training is and why in my opinion everybody should be performing some variation on a weekly basis. However, I realise that access to a gym isn’t available to everybody and therefore they need to be able to put together workout routines which they can do at home or outside. This is where bodyweight training can come in handy.

bodyweight training

Bodyweight training does have its limitations, but there are also a lot of benefits!

#1 It can be done anywhere
You don’t need a fancy gym set up or any weights to do a bodyweight circuit. I especially like to do them whilst I am on holiday! If you are just getting into fitness and are intimidated by the gym setup, it can be a great starting point.

#2 It can be challenging for any fitness level
You can tailor workouts to suit anybody. From the absolute beginner right up to the super advanced, there is a way of putting together an effective workout routine.

#3 It’s free
You own your body, no need for a gym membership.

bodyweight training - the benefits

#4 It can vary up monotonous gym sessions
No gym session should be monotonous or boring, however if you are in a bit of a rut, throw in a 20 minute bodyweight circuit and reignite that fire!

#5 Certain bodyweight exercises will target multiple muscles at once
Bodyweight exercises force you to use your core for stability as you work out instead of relying on outside support such as machines and benches.

#6 Bodyweight exercises can combine both cardio and strength training
Think about how much your heart rate increases when you perform a simple burpee? This type of exercise can therefore be a more efficient way to workout.

HOWEVER, there are a few limitations.

> There are only so many reps of burpees and bodyweight squats you can do and in order to see results you need to be progressing over time, i.e. making things harder.

> Plyometrics are not for everyone. They are very high impact and the force through some peoples joints is just too much and will cause injuries.

> Not everyone has a safe place or area to work out at home. Plus, training outside in the winter isn’t the most fun…unless you live in LA.

> It can be hard to motivate yourself.

Here are a couple of routines from an upcoming project (wink wink) which I am working on for you to have a go at…

bodyweight training workout

bodyweight training workout

Give these a try and send me a snapshot!

Love Abi xxxx

You have just embarked on your fat loss and fitness journey, killing your workouts in the gym, eating great, your friends are telling you how well you are looking and you’re feeling a whole lot better about yourself…you then jump on the scales and the number staring back at you isn’t what you expected; this leaves you feeling deflated, frustrated and questioning everything which have been doing. Ring any bells? You are not alone that’s for sure.

Motivation is a key success factor in fat loss, and there is no bigger motivation killer than the scales not moving. But I want to explain to you in this post why it shouldn’t be the only factor that you base your progress and happiness on.

scales 1

Five Reasons why you shouldn’t rely on just the scales to assess progress

1)Muscle is denser than Fat
You may have heard people say over and over again that muscle weighs more than fat, it doesn’t; muscle weighs the same as fat; 1lb of fat = 1lb of muscle. However as muscle is denser than fat it takes up less room in the body. Although the scale may have stayed the same, your body composition may have completely changed and you will look noticeably different in the mirror, your lumps and bumps will have been replaced with some smooth muscle tone instead. So when you begin a new weights routine at the gym with the aim of building some muscle, don’t be freaked out if the scales even go up a little bit, you may have lost 4 lbs of fat but gained 4 lbs of muscle in the process, you look and feel tons better yet that little number is telling you that you have stayed the same. Not cool.

fat-vs-muscles
2) Your weight will fluctuate day to day depending on many different factors
The scales measure your total bodyweight, which takes into account muscle, fat, water, bone etc. If you weigh yourself one week at 7am just after waking when you are dehydrated and have been in a fasted state for 10hours and then the following week you do so just before bed after consuming 3 litres of water and 4 meals that day, the readings are bound to be different. This is not a consistent accurate measurement. If you are insistent on tracking your scale weight, I recommend that you do so every morning when you wake up and once you have been to the toilet, write it down and then at the end of each week work out the weekly average in order to gage how you are getting on.
Bodyweight will be affected by how much water you drink; how much salt you had in your meals; how many carbs you have eaten; how stressed you are; how well did you sleep; amongst many other different contributing factors which are simply out of our control.

Water Weight

3) It doesn’t define you as a person
Nobody can tell from looking at you how much you weigh, so why do we place such importance on such an insignificant number. You will hear people say all the time; ‘I will be happy when I reach 10stone’, does that mean that they wont be happy if they are 10stone 1lb yet look incredible in the mirror? A number shouldn’t reflect your own self worth and happiness, so don’t place such importance on it. Nobody cares what you weigh, they only care about what you are like as a person.

scales 2
4) Other methods to track progress can be a better marker of your health and fitness journey
I always take body measurements and progress photos of myself and my clients as a method of tracking progress. Take a set of photos every month, front, back and side, in the same lighting at the same time of day and compare. It is important not to simply rely on the mirror, because as we look at ourselves everyday it is hard to see any changes which are taking place even from week to week, but if you look back on what you looked like a month ago…the differences will be much more visible and gratifying.
Taking measurements goes back to my initial point of muscle being denser than fat, your scales may have stayed the same but if your waist and hip measurements have gone down a couple of inches then that is certainly positive progress which you should be ecstatic about!
How your clothes fit is also a great way of knowing how you are getting on. What feels better, the scales saying you have gone down a pound or being able to fit into your favourite pair of jeans without doing some sort of weird wriggle dance to zip them up? I know which one I would rather choose.

54.4kg.jpg

My sister looking incredible once again and showing how different your body can look at the same weight!

5) The number on the scales doesn’t measure everything
That little number doesn’t show:

  • that you can now row 200m without stopping whereas before you struggled with 50m
  • that you can now squat with an Olympic Barbell across your back confidently when you had no idea what a squat even was 4 weeks ago
  • that your favourite dress is now too loose for you to wear
  • that you managed your first set of 5 full press ups yesterday
  • that your work colleagues complimented you on how well you are looking
  • that you now can go and run about without your kids at the park without getting breathless
  • that your blood pressure has decreased from the danger zone into the normal zone
  • that you are a happier and more confident person

 

scale 5

Fitness isn’t just a number, it encompasses a whole range of things in regards to your health and wellbeing. So if you are finding yourself focusing all your results on one little number changing, take a moment and look at how far you have come in other aspects of your life, chances are you have come a lot further than you first thought.

Love Abi xxx

#trainwithabs

*Disclaimer* I am not going to lie and say that the scales are completely useless. They are certainly a good progress indicator if your goal is fat loss, muscle gain or even just maintenance, but they should be used in conjunction with other qualitative and quantitative measurements for a truer reflection on how you are getting on…

So I have been back from Thailand for just over a week now and feel like I am finally back into a some sort of a routine. The tan is already fading (insert sad face) and I feel like I am setting off on an arctic expedition every time I leave the house, but you have to come home in order to look forward to the next adventure, at least that’s what I keep telling myself! This doesn’t stop me from visiting the sky scanner website at least once a day just ‘to check’ the price of flights to various places!

I missed out on doing a blog post highlighting my aims and goals for 2016 at the turn of the year, but it is something that I will be working on as I try and formulate some sort of plan for the year. But I thought I would just jot down a few notes on where I am at currently with my training and nutrition!

View Post

I have mentioned ‘the Glute Guy’ Bret Contreras on here a couple of times and how I have used a couple of his methods in my training to try and grow my glutes and get stronger. I follow him on all social media platforms and recently saw that he re-tweeted an athlete called Sohee Fit. I clicked on her profile and spent some time reading her profile. In brief, Sohee is a bikini competitor, but has also competed in power lifting, she is a certified strength coach, “right hand gal” of Layne Norton and is coached by Bret Contreras. She is a huge advocate of flexible dieting and in preparation for her recent bikini show (which she won!) she ran an experiment where she ate a Snickers Bar every day to show that you can incorporate the foods you like into your diet (in moderation) and achieve the desired results. I knew on first glances that I was going to like this girl!

Untitled design (20)

Check out this incredible inspiring athlete on twitter and Instagram @soheefit.

It was not only her take on nutrition which really resonated with me but also her training methods, and in particular how she structures her workouts. Sohee places a huge emphasis on the importance of compound lifts, ie Squat, Deadlift and Bench and prioritizes these movements, with accessory work coming afterwards. Lifting heavy, and ‘dominating’ the weights room is the way to success. I knew that by having Bret Contreras as her coach that a lot of her training would be glute specific.

View Post

Tips for feeling confident in the gym

I am always stressing the importance of lifting weights to achieve the best body composition results, rather than slaving away on the cross trainer counting down the seconds until it’s over. Don’t get me wrong, cardio certainly has its place, especially in regards to fat loss, but I want to empower both women and men to realise that there is a much more efficient and enjoyable way of doing things.

My whole approach to health and fitness changed when I started lifting (heavy) weights consistently. However I do know a lot of people suffer with lack of confidence and are too scared or nervous to enter the weights section of the gym; which to them is equivalent to entering a lion’s den. The main concern I hear is ‘I am worried that I will look stupid and people will laugh at me.’ But there are plenty of others:

“I have no idea what I am doing.
Won’t weights make me bulky?
I don’t know which exercises are best.
I don’t know how to set the machines up.
What are sets and reps? How many should I be doing?”

This is just a quick blog post with some useful tips to help conquer these fears so that you can start to feel more confident and assured when entering the gym and kick some ass in that weights section!Summer breaks

Ask for help

If you have never lifted weights before and have no idea where to start, then the absolute best thing you can do is approach a member of staff at the gym and ask for some help. They will be more than happy to show you how to do certain exercises, how machines work, how to set up benches, what the correct lifting technique is and they may even come up with a workout plan for you. Ultimately it is their job to answer any questions or queries that you may have so use their knowledge!

Have a plan

Once you have learnt the basics, make sure that you have a programme to follow rather than skipping about from machine to machine, with no idea of what reps or how many sets you are doing. Invest in a little notebook where you can write things down. By having a set plan of what you are going to do before entering the gym, you will feel more confident in what you are going there to achieve and you can prepare yourself so that you aren’t getting flustered! You will also feel a lot more accomplished at the end of your workout. Having a programme to follow will also allow you to see progression over time.

There are tons of free resources on the internet which you can use. Websites like www.bodybuilding.com are a great starting point if you are short on idea. Or invest some money in Personal Trainer who can show you what to do and why, and stop you from spinning your wheels for months on end! Skip a couple of nights out in favour of this investment and you are much more likely to see the results you want in less time.

Constant and consistent progression = results.

Nike Metcons

Wear something you feel comfortable and confident in.

I always find that I have a better workout when I like what I am wearing! Be it a favourite pair of leggings or some bright trainers, if I feel confident in my outfit then I feel more confident in myself. This applies to you outside the gym on a day to day basis, so why not inside the gym too?

So I encourage you to pick up some items of clothing which you actually like the look of, rather than turning up in an old baggy t-shirt, holey leggings and trainers which have seen better days! It is one of the reasons I justify buying new items way more than I should….well that’s what I tell my Mum!

Lululemon Align Pants

Good gym playlist

Set yourself up with a new music playlist with all your favourite songs. Subscribing to Spotify Premium has been one of the best decisions I have made in recent months. I now don’t find myself wasting time skipping through songs, or finding something to listen to during my workouts. You won’t see me working out without my Beats by Dre on that’s for sure! Once my headphones are on, I am completely in the zone for the next hour or so, almost like an imaginary ‘do not disturb sign’! I wrote a blog post on it recently if you want to check it out! 

Nike Flyknit Beats by Dre

Don’t worry about other people

Okay, there’s no need to be rude with this one, but you are at the gym to focus on bettering yourself, so try and ignore what other people are doing or what they might be thinking. The chances are that they are too busy worrying about themselves to look at what you’re doing! And if you do find somebody looking over, it is more likely that they are admiring you for working so hard! I have made lots of friends at the gym through asking for advice, offering advice, congratulating them or just simply saying hello!

Be open-minded, everyone is at the gym to better themselves so there’s at least one common interest!

If there is anything which you think I have missed out then let me know in the comments down below and I will look to address it! Good luck!

Love Abi xxxx

January Blog a Day 13/31