Myth Buster – Muscle won’t turn into Fat or vice versa

muscle and fat

Roo Boy and I were having a big discussion about this the other day and it triggered me to write this post because it is definitely one of the biggest myths out there and it’s a phrase I often use but the meaning isn’t literal; “Let’s turn that fat into muscle”. This scientifically cannot happen.

When this is said you are not chemically and magically changing your fat into muscle, you are replacing it, in that you are burning and losing fat whilst building muscle and tone so that you are replacing what you see when you look at yourself. Let’s set the record straight; fat is fat and muscle is muscle. They cannot become one another just as much as I can’t turn my finger into a toe!

In the reverse of this if you stop working out your muscle will not convert in to fat. In fact the more muscle you have the more it will help you to burn fat. When “muscle turns into fat” what is actually happening is that you are not working out and therefore not working your muscles so they can start to slowly reduce in size, you might start consuming more calories than you are burning and therefore not burning the fat, and the fat is going to start getting stored around your body. This is just fat being fat by nature and not your muscle turning into fat!

Hopefully that’s cleared that one up and Roo Boy and I will be able to sleep at night knowing that I’ve spread the word and helped people to understand what is fact and what is fiction.

Love Roo xx

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How to Keep Active At Work

Woo hoo! over 53000 steps in one weekend, what can you do?!

Woo hoo! over 53000 steps in one weekend, what can you do?!

I had the idea to write this post about a week ago because I see and hear so many people using the fact that they work in an office or work long hours as an excuse for putting on weight or struggling to lose it. This absolutely DOES NOT have to be the case. And as if to prove my point my work has decided to do a health and fitness awareness week to help all it’s staff to realise the importance of staying healthy at work. As part of this awareness week my employers are running a pedometer challenge where 10 teams of 5 people have to walk a total of 2500 miles over the course of a week. Thankfully all of my team members are just as fitness crazy as I am so we decided to put ourselves forward for this challenge and there was a prize for the team that walked the furthest – challenge accepted! My lovely colleagues nominated me as their team leader and we will be taking part in the pedometer challenge and I felt this tied in nicely with the post I was planning to write!

I really want to emphasise at this point that the the tips I am going to give you are to enable you to be active during your working day, these are by no means a substitute to a workout. The important thing is that by being active during the day, you are less likely to get that afternoon slump and you’re helping your joints and limbs by moving them often, this should help to prevent aches and pains caused by letting your joints get cold and stiffen up whilst you’re sitting at your computer.

So here’s the list of things I have given to my colleagues to increase the number of steps they are taking during the day, and then I will go on to give another list of other activities that you can perform whilst working that can help you improve

1. Try to park further away from the offices in the morning, this will mean you have to walk further to and from your car. Obviously take into account your safety with this one, don’t park far away in an unlit area in the dodgiest part of town!

2. Don’t phone or email people who work in the same office / building as you, get up and walk to their desk to talk to them – this is good practice in business anyway and isn’t just about getting your steps in!

3. Every half hour or so get up and walk around the office – again it is good to get yourself out of your chair and will help to refocus your brain and isn’t just about improving on being active.

4. At lunch time you MUST go somewhere. I have been the biggest culprit of this, and would often sit and eat lunch at my desk. Now I found it so much better to get away from my computer and away from my phone for 20 minutes. Walking around in the fresh air with a colleague does wonders for you and you go back to work after lunch feeling refreshed and ready to start again

5. If you have a dog make sure you are walking them before and after work. (You should be doing this anyway for your pooches sake, but it benefits you too). I love the time I get on my own before work to get my head in gear for the day ahead, and after work I like to go through and clear my head of everything work related so I’m not taking my work home with me.

7. Morning exercise with your team; you may have seen some videos of Japanese businesses doing this and getting their teams to exercise and stretch before starting work. If you have like minded people in your team, just have a quick jog on the spot, or have a walk and talk meeting and you can talk about what projects you’re working on etc.

8. When you need the bathroom, if you have more than one set of toilets, use the one’s further away. It means you’re walking the extra bit further and keeps those legs active and barely takes any extra time!

9.  When you feel the need to get your heart rate up; take the stairs but take them twice, run back down and do them again.

Some of these might seem a bit excessive but you get the point and if you want to do these then suggest a similar pedometer challenge to your colleagues and compete against each other and bring some fun to the office!

My other tips for exercising at work are as follows:

1. When you go to the bathroom do 20 squats after you’ve been, if you do this every time you go to the toilet you can easily get in at least 100 squats a day – and this solves the mystery of why there is always a queue outside the ladies toilets!!!

2. When you get up from your chair or sit down don’t use the arms of the chair or the desk to support you. Use your legs!

3. When you’re sitting at your desk lift your legs straight and try and hold them up for as long as possible, or pulse your legs.

4. When you’re digging around in the fridge at work and looking for something on the bottom shelf do a squat and hold it or pulse whilst you’re looking.

Stop finding excuses and stop holding yourself back from being as active as you can possibly be. The only thing standing in your way is you!

Love Roo xx

PS – I also want to point out that my enthusiastic and eager beaver team won this challenge hands down! A bit of healthy competition can really encourage you to achieve your greatest results 🙂

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Muscle Strength Imbalance

muscle anatomy editSome people may notice that one side of their body is stronger than the other, I have noticed that my right arm is stronger than my left and this is something I really have to work on and find really frustrating. It’s quite normal but it just takes some clever exercising to get yourself even! Here’s some tips on what you should do if you find you have a muscular imbalance.

 

 

Firstly – You need to assess why there is an imbalance. If it’s as a result of a medical issue then it is always best to speak to your doctor for specific advice about this. But you need to figure out where the imbalance is and where you need to work on. With me for example the weakness is not just my left arm but my left shoulder in particular, you need to really drill down in to and find out where the imbalance is so you can target and rectify it.

Secondly – Start working on single side exercises. By doing this you will need to focus on getting your weaker side to match your stronger side. Don’t increase the weight on your strong side; just try and maintain the muscle and strength. And then gradually work your weaker side to match your stronger side. And once they match you can then start to increase together. By doing single side exercises it will really challenge your core as well as you will need to ensure you don’t lose your form.

Thirdly – You MUST make sure you are warming up and cooling down / stretching out afterwards to improve your flexibility. This will really help you to progress with each attempt.

And finally, don’t forget that you can cause your own imbalances by not doing opposing exercises. If you are working on your abs you need to do an opposing exercise to work your back, otherwise the front side of your core muscles will be getting stronger but your back isn’t keeping up. The same goes for your chest and upper back etc. for everything you do on one side make sure you even it out and work the opposing muscles to ensure you don’t cause yourself an imbalance or injury.

Love Roo xx

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Spot Reduction – It’s A Myth

fat burningHow many times have you heard someone claiming that they do 200 situps in a day and accredit their washboard stomach to it? Yes, those situps will help develop the muscle but it won’t do jack about the layer of fat over those abdominals. It’s a common misconception that you can exercise to target a specific area and thereby reduce the fat in that area – wrong. Spot reduction of fat is a myth. Fact. Keep reading and I will tell you why and what you can do about it!

Unfortunately your genetics play a HUGE part in how you individually lose body fat. If the first place you put weight on is around your butt, then your thighs, then your stomach and back, then it will come off again in the reverse order. I’m not telling you this to be mean or to make you feel like this is an impossible task, I am telling you this to set your expectations and to keep you motivated when you look at your before and after photos and you’re not losing fat in the place you want to lose it the most. It will come though, you just have to work hard and be patient and you will get the results you want. Remember; if it was easy then everyone would look like a Victoria Secret model!! In the first few months I cried a lot from frustration because I so desperately wanted my legs to be smaller and all I could think was I am working my butt off on leg exercises and whilst there was a noticeable difference it wasn’t as big of a difference as I wanted it to be or had expected it to be, but if you look at my before and after photo now the change is obvious and worth it! It’s taken time and effort.

The best analogy I’ve heard it described as is like filling up a swimming pool. You can’t fill up one end of the pool first and it’s exactly the same for draining it. Your body acts in the same way, to lose body fat you need to burn it. In order to burn it you need to eat less calories than you burn through exercising and then your body will start to burn the fat stored in your body for energy. It can take a while to get the balance right with this because you need to also take in enough calories to be able to perform the exercises and build muscle, so think of food as fuel everything you put into your body will help you to have the energy to perform the moves to burn the fat. You can use calculators on apps such as my fitness pal to get a guide on how many calories you should be eating daily.

A common mistake to make is to confuse muscle and definition building with fat loss. You can do target exercises to strengthen the muscle in an area i.e. glutes, abs, arms, legs etc. however if you want the fat over that muscle to go away you need to eat well, and exercise and to ensure your body burns the fat stored for energy you need to consume less calories than you can burn.

And if it really helps when you’re working out imagine the sound of your fat screaming as it burns! It never fails to bring a smile to my face and urge me on when I feel like quitting!

Love Roo xx

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Health & Fitness Apps

fitness AppsI am constantly downloading apps and then deleting them months later because I never actually use them but these are my top apps that always survive the app cull! And what’s more they are all free! Yippee!!! Read on to see which of these might help you get your health and fitness regime off to a good start in the new year!

My Fitness Pal – This one really helped me to begin with when I was trying to understand what food I was putting in to my body and how it was fuelling it. It helped me to get to grips with how many calories were in certain foods, and when I was putting whole meals together from scratch I could figure out how many calories were in each portion size. It’s really handy because you can scan barcodes of produce and the legwork has already been done by somebody else. It also enables you to set your goals and to see where you are matching up to those each day and you can also link up with friends and share progress with them etc. so if you want a bit of healthy competition this is great for that!

Nike Training Club – This is one that I keep on my phone for a back up when I travelling with work. You can find some fun, simple and short workouts based on whether you want to tone up, get lean, get fit and so on. They update the content quite frequently so there is always something you can get access to that will suit your current situation, surroundings and equipment.

Nike Running + – This is one I use when I go running with my friends, it tracks my route, and tells me what my average pace is, how far I ran, the time I ran it in. You can set goals and targets by time or distance. You can link it up to facebook and get your friends to cheer you on as you run! you can share your results to facebook too. You can link your music up to the app and even set up a power song that will spur you on when the going gets tough 🙂

Trace Snow – This app is specific for snow sports as the name would imply! This one is really just for a bit of one. You can set it up for when you’re heading up the mountain and it will track your routes, how much time was spent on lifts, resting, and will tell you what your average speed is as well as what your fastest speed for the day is. It will also rank you against other people using the same app at the same resort so you’ll know if you were the fastest on the piste! I never made it even close but it was my first time and 15mph felt pretty scary to me! ha ha!!

Sporty Pal – The sporty pal app is another favourite of mine because you can link it up to various sports including running, cycling, roller blading, swimming, sailing, surfing, rowing,horse riding, walking, hiking, skiing, snowboarding, golfing and a few more. for all of these activities it will track your distance, time and estimated calories burned.

Love Roo xx

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1 Legged 10 – 2 Squats

These are tricky as not only is it working your legs and bum but it is also working on your core and balancing.

1. Stand with your feet hip width apart.

2. Lift your right leg off the floor and start to bend your left leg into a squat position.

3. As you near the floor place your hands at a 10 o’clock position (to your left) and tap the floor.

4. Straighten up to standing.

5. Repeat the squat but this time tap the floor at 11 o’clock and straighten up to standing.

6. Repeat this process until you reach 2 o’clock, and then work your way back round to 10 o’clock.

7. Change legs and repeat.

 

Love Roo xx




Spring Forward and Get Active :)

Wooo hoooooooo! It’s one of my most favourite times of the year. The clocks have gone forward which means summer is on it’s way and the evenings are going to start staying lighter for longer!

This is the perfect time to start getting active. There’s nothing better than coming home from work whilst the sun is still shining and getting outdoors and doing something fun with your friends and family.

There are a whole host of activities you can do that are great for your fitness and to help you lose weight but the brilliance of it is that you’re having so much fun that you won’t even notice that your working off all those calories!

Here are some of my favourites, I may not be any good at these but I still enjoy them anyway!:

  • Stand up paddleboarding
  • Surfing
  • Wakeboarding
  • Windsurfing
  • Walking (anywhere – forest, beach, lake, hilly walks, walk to and from work)
  • Salsa dancing on a sunny evening!
  • Rock climbing
  • Bike ride
  • Rounders (I think that;s softball to those of you across the pond!)
  • Tennis or badminton

Kite surfing is on my bucket list for this year! It’s always fun to try something new and exciting and I love having something to look forward to. It makes going to work every day totally worth while!

 

Love Roo xx




30 Day Abs Challenge

If you’re anything like me, I need a plan in order to stay on top of my goals and to keep me motivated. Sometimes it is really easy to not push yourself and just say it’s better than not doing it at all. Whilst that statement is true, it’s not the way you will ever see results! So try taking the 30 day abs challenge. Push yourself and see what you can achieve! And to really encourage yourself take photos throughout the 30 days to see your progress. Good luck!

Abs-olutely worth it!

Abs-olutely worth it!

 

Love Roo xx




Tricep Dips – Farewell Bingo Wings!

Again this is an exercise that again is easy to do anywhere and at any time. So there’s no excuses and no expensive equipment needed.

1. Sit on the floor with your back to a chair or bench and your knees bent, and your feet placed firmly on the floor hip width apart.

2. Then bend your arms and place the palms of your hands (fingertips pointing towards your body) on to the seat of a chair or a bench if you’re going to do this outdoors.

3. Then using your arms push yourself up until your arms are straight (don’t lock your elbows), remember to keep your core tight and your knees in line (don’t let them drift inwards to touch each other).

4. Then slowly and keeping control of the movement lower yourself back down until your bottom is a couple of inches from the floor.

5. Repeat steps 3 and 4. I would do 1 rep of 5, rest, then 1 rep of 10, rest and 1 rep of 15, then work my way back down to 10 and finally 5.

 

Love Roo xx




Plankedy Plank

What I like most about the plank is that it engages your whole body and whilst it’s tough you can really see progression through this simple yet effective exercise.

There are 2 options with this and I would always recommend starting off with “easier” option just so you can perfect your positioning before rushing ahead.

1. Lie on the floor face down and put your elbows directly under your shoulders and join your hands to make a triangle.

2. Make sure your toes are pressed into the floor

3. Using your core raise yourself off the ground supporting your weight on your forearms and toes and keep that belly button squeezed in but keeping your butt down so your body is perfectly aligned from feet through to the top of your head.

4. Hold for 1 minute and then release and lower yourself back to the floor.

5. Give yourself a 45 second break and then repeat another 2 times.

The advanced option is to repeat all of the above only rather than resting on your forearms you should be placing the palms of your hands directly below your shoulders and pushing yourself up completely into a press-up starting position and holding yourself there, again keeping your spine neutral and in line.

If it starts getting too easy start increasing the amount of time you hold the position and reducing the rest period in between.

 

Love Roo xx