Shape up!

So many women whinge to me all the time about how unlucky they are because their bodies like to store fat and ‘it’s just too hard to keep it off’. Let me get one thing straight. Anybody, without a physical defect preventing them from exercising can have the body they want. And most female’s bodies like to store fat- this is a fact. My body would love to store 20% more body fat if I gave it the chance to. I have learnt to appreciate that I have to work that bit harder than some because as a result I put all the right things into my body, I get outdoors and exercise each day and experience an endorphin release that I live for, I am highly functional, I have great skin, I have way too much energy, I am positive, happy, healthy and I will probably live till I’m 100… and I could go on. Can I suggest you look at this terrible disadvantage in the same way??

I have been running girls only group sessions for over 12 years now and one of the things I love doing is getting to the venue 30 minutes before the sessions starts, sitting on a park bench, I-pod in and planning my session. My sessions are always roughly the same in intensity- hard, fast, a resistance exercise for each muscle group with particular focus on the typical ‘problem area’s’, fun (of course) and effective in terms of burning calories, getting our heart rates up there and keeping our little engines purring and burning calories for the entire day. People who do my sessions will tell you they feel amazing afterward and for the entire day.  People who do my sessions 2-3 times per week for months or even years will tell you how amazing they feel and how much their fitness levels increased from my sessions. So many girls start my sessions after years of going to the gym and they say ‘I have no idea what I have been doing in the gym this whole time’.  Another common observation my clients find is that a 30 minute run (which they used to find hard) suddenly becomes easy after just 4 weeks of doing my sessions. I am not surprised. My sessions aim to get you fit fast and will make a 30 minute jog become easy. And this is how you should be training!

A great, effective and convenient way to train is to include short bursts of intense cardio throughout the session which is responsible for getting you fit fast and burning enormous amounts of calories. You must also include a resistance exercise for each muscle in your body which will see your body change shape and tone up in all the right places. The beauty of resistance training is that you can literally change the shape of your body and create the body you want by focusing on the muscles you want to change. For me- I want a perky butt, flat abdominals,, toned limbs and great posture.. You cannot achieve these sorts of benefits through cardio. The other benefits that come with resistance training is that you don’t just burn calories during your workout, you continue to burn calories all day long. As your muscles get more toned they weight more (hence your weight can go up on the scales) but they actually get smaller in size and by having more lean muscle weight your ability to burn calories increases and you become a fat burning power house- this is what we want!!

Cardio, on the other hand only burns calories, whilst you are doing it although at a much higher rate. It also gets your heart going, raises your metabolic rate and increases your fitness levels, particularly the forms of cardio outlined in these session. These sessions are also designed for maximum release of endorphins (your happy hormone!) to get you feeling addicted and keep you coming back for more.

I didn’t need to be brain surgeon to come to the conclusion of combining resistance training and intense cardio and get all these positives out of the one session, train effectively while making every second count. The reason these sorts of sessions are so effective is that they are just that- A unique combination of cardio and resistance training. They are designed for maximum effectiveness and efficiency and to give you all the pluses from both resistance training and cardio with the intention of giving you results and giving you results fast! Aim to perform these sorts of training programs 2-3 times per week as your muscle need recovery after strength training. I would recommend just cardio and stretching in between.

Another great practise for you, is while you are exercising imagine your body changing and transforming. Focus on the area you want to change or with your resistance training the areas you are working and imagine it decreasing in size or changing shape. Imagine the cellulite disappearing. Imagine yourself standing on the beach in a bikini and people staring at you enviously. And then know that you can achieve this. Because you can, like I said, anyone can have the body they want. Obviously, there are things that cannot be changed without the help of a good surgeon (i.e. breasts) but beyond that you can have the perfect body. Don’t ever listen to the little negative voice that tries to tell you otherwise. Laugh at it!!

Happy training!

Hayley x

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