From the monthly archives:

February 2012

I just read a very interesting article in Harpers Bazaar about Gwyneth Paltrow and how she manages to look so good at 39 years old.

So basically she works out for one and a half hours a day with a personal trainer, changing the exercise routines every ten days to get the muscle confusion I was talking about in my last article.

Now, that’s all fine and I think if anyone has the time to work out for an hour and a half every day, and follow a careful diet then you are going to look pretty good. In fact, when you see photos in the magazines and online of people with fabulous bodies, you can be pretty sure that they spend at least an hour a day working out and they will be following a very healthy diet.Gwyneth Paltrow

But this doesn’t mean that you have to do the same. Especially if you don’t do any exercise at the moment. When I started on my weight loss journey last year there was no way I could do more than ten or twenty minutes exercise a day, and to be honest I wouldn’t have wanted to even had I been able.

I think for a lot of people, the idea of having to do that much work, and change your lifestyle that much, to be healthy is so off putting that you’d never do it. But as I’ve proven over the last year, ¬†just making small changes makes a huge difference over time. In the beginning I only ever exercised a few minutes a day, and that was easy enough to fit into my day and to enable me to get used to the idea of exercising a bit each day.

Now that I’ve lost my gut (mostly) and have a new goal of getting ‘ripped’, I have stepped up my exercise. Now I exercise for around an hour, five days a week. This is something I could never have seen myself doing a year ago, as I wouldn’t have been able to, nor wanted to. But that was fine.

So don’t feel like you have to workout like an athlete to get in shape. Start slow, set long term goals (years, not weeks) and take it one step at a time. You will get there as long as you give yourself the chance to do so, and for many people, myself included, jumping into a massive workout and going on a strict diet from the outset is just not going to work.

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Muscle Confusion

February 6, 2012

So it’s been business as usual with good healthy eating and some exercise most days. Weekends still involve a bit of excess on both food and alcohol which always takes me back a step, so I lose in the week and put some back on the weekend, but as long as overall I’m moving in the right direction then I’m happy with that.

My next big goal is to get in even better shape by the time of my next vacation on 30th March, which gives me eight weeks to make some progress.

I’ve decided to step up the exercise as I’ve taken it pretty easy for the last year and am certainly fitter and leaner and probably ready to start ‘working it’ as they say. Again, I’m not going to force myself to do anything but I just feel ready to do it so why not?

I’ve been researching different fitness programs and from what I’ve learned the real key to getting good results is something called Muscle Confusion.

Apparently, if you do the same exercises all the time, your muscles adapt and become very efficient at doing them. That’s why they are so good at what they do. But this means that they require a lot more working to get the same gains as you would have got when you first started and often this is really difficult to do.

So what you have to do is change the specific exercises you do on a fairly regular basis. This means your muscles don’t get a chance to adapt to the exercise and are being constantly forced to work hard. This in turn means burning more calories and, if the correct nutrition is taken, more muscle growth, which is something I’m keen on, being a bloke!

So I’ll be having a go at some new things over the next few weeks and I’ll report on my progress as I go along.

Eight weeks and counting, lets see what happens.

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