Tuesday 30 January 2018

Your Best Ways to Beat Belly Fat


Get More Fiber You don’t have to eat a bag of Grandma’s prunes. Leafy greens, whole grains, nuts, and beans are all good for keeping away the fat that stays deep in your belly. That’s called visceral fat, and it’s the most dangerous kind because it can wrap around major organs, including your liver, pancreas, and kidneys.

 Forget These Two Things
There are no “super foods” that burn off visceral fat. And you can’t tone it away with specific moves like crunches. Instead, look for ways to upgrade your eating habits and add activity every day. Think about your average week. Where might you be able to make some changes?

 The Best Thing You Can Do
While anyone can have too much visceral fat ( the deadly fat), it’s more likely if you’ve got a lot of weight to lose. As you start to take those pounds off, it will help your whole body, including belly fat that’s hidden out of your sight.

 Be Choosy About Fat
You can still have some! But limit the “saturated” kind that’s in animal foods, coconut and palm oils, and full-fat dairy. Keep the portions of those foods smaller than you might normally do, for instance. And check nutrition labels to  see how many calories and how much fat is in a serving. Look for fats that are better for you, too, like those from plant foods or fish such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel that are rich in omega-3s.

 Stop Trying to Outrun It
Still trying to “burn off” that belly fat by pounding the pavement for hour upon hour? You cannot out train a bad diet. Research shows that a few quick bursts of high-intensity exercise -- such as a 30-second sprint or intense pullup set -- may be more effective, and easier to fit into your schedule. You can add bursts of higher intensity to any workout. Just speed up or work harder for a brief time, then drop back to a more mellow pace, and repeat.

 Sleep: the Goldilocks Formula
When it comes to weight gain, shut-eye is a bit like porridge: Too little -- less than 5 hours -- may mean more belly fat. But too much -- more than 8 hours -- can do that, too. “Just right” seems to be around 6-8 hours. If you don’t sleep that much now, or if you tend to toss and turn, try to go to bed a little earlier, relax before bedtime, keep your bedroom cool, and try not to text and email right before you turn in.

 Forget a ‘Quick Fix’
Sorry, but cosmetic surgery isn’t the solution here. Liposuction doesn’t reach inside the abdominal wall. So it can’t get rid of visceral belly fat( the deadly fat). Likewise, crash diets aren’t the solution, either. You’re too likely to go off them. The slower, steadier option -- lifestyle changes that you can commit to for a long time -- really is the best bet.

Keep Calm
Are you stressed out? That can make you eat more fat and sugar, and unleash the “stress hormone” cortisol, which can boost belly fat. Stress also can make you sleep less, exercise less, and drink more alcohol -- which can add belly fat, too. It’s a great reason to take up meditation, work out, listen to music you love, or find other healthy ways to unwind and relax.

 Rethink Your Drink
Whether it’s a latte, a regular soda, a mug of beer, or a glass of wine, it’s got calories. And when you’re trying to unwind the numbers on the scale, water (or a smaller glass of your favorite beverage) might be a better choice. If you drink alcohol, remember that it just might make you throw your willpower out the window when you order your meal, too. Try to drink a litre of water daily.

 Don’t Smoke
As if you need another reason to quit. Smoking makes you more likely to store fat in your belly, rather than your hips and thighs. And that’s bad. Oh, and it’s also a cause of diabetes. And cancer. And heart disease. And lung disease. And … you get the idea. If you’ve tried before, try again. Tell your doctor, so you can get pointers on what might help you quit for good.

 Don’t Rely on Clothing Sizes
One company’s size 14 could be another’s size 12. A better method is to measure your waist. If you’re a woman, you want that number to be 35 inches or less. Men get up to 40 inches. The reason? You may lower your chance of having a heart attack, a stroke, or possibly certain types of cancer. A tape measure can’t check on visceral fat. But along with the scale, it can help you track your weight loss.

 Lift Weights
Think about hitting the gym instead of the trail. In one study, healthy middle-aged men who did 20 minutes of daily weight training gained less abdominal fat than men who spent the same time doing aerobic exercises, such as biking. Strength training is also good for women -- and it won’t make you bulky.  You still need to do some cardio, but make sure strength training is in the mix.






Tuesday 23 January 2018


“Habits are like cobwebs at first, cables at last” — Proverb
With the New Year come and gone, I thought I’d explore the relationship between our habits and the outcomes we experience in training and in life. The concept of “New Year’s resolutions” has always been interesting to me, primarily because so few people manage to keep them. Since the conventional route rarely works, let’s explore a less conventional approach...

What Are Habits?
Habits are consistent patterns that reveal our character and determine our effectiveness in life. Steven Covey describes habits as “the intersection of knowledge, skill, and desire.” In Covey’s representation, knowledge represents the paradigm we apply to a situation, or the “how to do. “Skill is the “how to do,” and desire is the motivation or the “want to do.”

Benefits & Costs
Anthony Robbins has suggested that we do not change “bad” habits until the negative consequences of those habits begin to outweigh the perceived benefits. For example, you might find yourself in the habit of eating a pint of ice cream every night before going to bed. You enjoy the experience of eating that ice cream, and, at least for the short term, that enjoyment greatly outweighs the negative outcomes of your habit, since it takes time for those extra calories to cause weight gain. After several weeks however, it becomes evident that your ice cream habit has caused you to gain15 pounds. At this point, the negative outcome of the habit is quite tangible, and because you have been eating that ice cream every day for weeks, you don’t get the same enjoyment from it that you used to. Because the negatives are now outweighing the positives, you’re now much more likely to change your ice cream habit.
Changing Unproductive Habits

Knowledge .In some cases, we are unaware of the negative consequences of our habits. For example, excessive intake of processed carbohydrates can promote inflammatory responses in the joints. You may assume that your painful joints are simply part of life, or the outcome of old athletic injuries. It isn’t until you reduce your intake of processed carbs that you realize the negative consequences of your former habit. On a similar note, we often do not realize the benefits of our good habits until we discontinue them for a period of time. We commonly assume that it takes discipline to change bad habits. It’s interesting to note that the word “discipline” evolved from the root word “disciple” which means “one who learns.” And in fact, when you encounter a highly disciplined person, you’re not looking at someone who gets his/her kicks from self-denial, but instead, someone who has learned that the negative outcomes of certain behaviours is not worth the benefits associated with them. It really comes down to self-awareness.

The skills required to change undesirable habits can be learned by anyone and are widely available to those who seek it. The primary skill involved is the simply decision to take action. I recently saw a great sketch on a television show, where Bob Newhart played a psychologist who billed himself as being able to cure anyone’s problems in 5 minutes. A female patient comes in whereupon he asks “How may I help you?” She proceeds to explain that she has a terrible eating disorder where sheets copious amounts of food, only to purge the meal shortly thereafter. “Is that all?” Newhart asks? “No” she replies, and begins to describe her terrible drug and alcohol problems. “Anything else? “Newhart inquires. “Yes,” the patient continued, explaining that she also has Obsessive-compulsive tendencies, and can’t manage to leave her house without making sure that the stove if off dozens of times.

Finally, the patient had fully detailed her numerous psychological problems. Newhart reflects for a
Moment, and then simply says “OK, here’s what you need to do: STOP IT!”
“Just STOP IT!”
“I also pull my eyelashes out”
“Stop that too”

Unfortunately, simply stopping your bad habits, in and of itself, is an insufficient strategy. A much more effective plan is to substitute a new, more productive habit in place of the one you’ve decided to end. For example: Sitting in front of the television at night is the enemy of good eating habits. You’re being bombarded with tremendously effective food commercials, and you’re in close proximity to the fridge. If you find that you’re most vulnerable to making poor eating choices at night, this could be the reason why. If you can terminate the night-time TV habit and substitute it with (for example), a bike ride, a lot of good things start to happen:

1. You’re away from the pervasive food commercials and the access to the fridge

2. You’re burning calories while you exercise

3. Exercise tends to blunt your appetite

4. When you exercise, you’re more likely to eat right, as a way of further leveraging the good effects of the exercise

The motivation required to change bad habits comes from the realization that the benefits you experience from your habits are not worth the negative outcomes of those habits. The following is an exercise to help you become more aware of the benefit/cost ratio of your habits.
Spend a few minutes on this exercise right now:
My 3 most effective/empowering training/nutritional habits are:




My 3 most destructive training/nutritional habits are:



Now take a moment to identify the benefits or rewards you experience from each habit, and also the negative outcomes (if any) of each habit.
Example: Under the effective habit list, you may have listed that you eat 5 times a day (as opposed to 2 or 3). The benefits of this habit are that your energy levels are more stable, your cravings for sugary foods has diminished, you can eat more without gaining weight, and that your body composition has improved. The negative aspects of this habit are that itis occasionally inconvenient to eat so often, and that you need to give more thought to meal preparation than you used to. Are the benefits worth the cost?

The nice thing about establishing new habits is that most of the hard work takes place in the first3-4 weeks...after that initial period of time, the amount of effort required to sustain the new habit diminishes considerably. The bottom line is that whatever strategy you choose to change undesirable habits, at some point, you simply need to take action; you need to interrupt the pattern. You might find it helpful to recall a positive experience from your past as you managed to stop a bad habit. How did you do it?

Was it worth the effort? Was it really as hard as you had anticipated?


Monday 1 January 2018

It's Time for a Change

                            The great physicist and one of my personal heroes Albert Einstein once remarked "The measure of intelligence is the ability to change".

     What he meant was that being able to adapt to your situation and changing surroundings is a key part of intelligence. Resisting change is futile because life is always changing and this ability to adapt largely explains why the human race has made it this far as we have.   The ability to constantly change and improve how you train and compete is also a key requirement in sport, and with 2018 dawning, Einstein's quote got me thinking about the changes I made last year to my training, lifestyle and nutrition  Did I simply plough on regardless or did I - on the basis of new scientific evidence - change my approach for the better?

   As a Professional Personal Trainer and founder of LA Success Fitness Training, I am very fortunate. I get to read about the very latest scientific findings from the world of nutrition and performance and how to practically apply this knowledge to boost performance and help my clients reach their goals efficiently and safely.  And yes, thanks to this knowledge, I was able to make positive changees. 

In 2017 alone, some of the key findings that we reported on and which helped me personally included:
        What still doesn't work and what still does.
       Specific resistance exercises that can cause you serious harm
         Improved swimming performance thanks to new findings on hand positioning during freestyle and optimum breathing patterns to develop a smooth stroke and increase endurance.
    Better pacing strategies during run events and the role of the mind in executing them.
     A new approach to strength training that enhance endurance while being quick to perform and easy to integrate into an endurance programme.
    How to use hot-weather training as a substitute for altitude training in order to boost endurance.
      Why the traditional approach to carbohydrate nutrition (i.e. plenty at all times) might not work for endurance athletes seeking the fastest race times rather than just good training times!
      How to use new theories on muscle and tendon function to maximise running efficiency while minimising effort.

         The hazards of high volume endurance training to long-term bone health, and how athletes can make dietary changes to keep themselves in tip-top condition
         How to utilise resistance training more effectively to enhance fat loss and increase muscle tone
 These findings are just a few from dozens and dozens of published  articles and papers I researched during 2017. Importantly, all articles and paers are based on peer-reviewed scientific evidence. Not "my mate reckons this" or  "I read somewhere that" but based on recent science and our best understanding of the truth at current time.
Looking Forward !
     Applying these findings doesn't make me especially intelligent - the credit lies with the scientists who diligently carry out this research so that we can all benefit. But I am a firm believer in the old adage: "If you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always had".
The good news is that if you're someone who strives to be the best you can be, you too can reach new heights in 2018.
     Here at LA Success Fitness Training my goal is to continue to provide my clients  with the latest thinking and best practice to get ahead of the pack. And in the year ahead, I will be there for you every step of the way. You don't have to be Einstein to see what the potential benefits could be! Let me help you separate the training myths from the science based facts
Training prepares you, Education sustains you !
 Eric Hartzell
LA Success Fitness Training



Success Fitness Training

Professional Personal Fitness Trainer