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Total Personal Training

Complete fitness inside and out      07815 935147


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Re-proportion Your Plate to Lose Weight

Posted on 12 September, 2011 at 10:29 Comments comments (30)
We all know we need to eat more whole foods and fruits and vegetables to stay healthy. But, knowing the exact portion sizes for every single food out there can be daunting.This past summer, the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) introduced a helpful visual to make life easy. They call it MyPlate; I call it the half plate vegetable rule.
Plate Portions
  • Make half your plate vegetables at mealtime, or combine fruits and vegetables on half your plate. This will help add filling fiber to your plate, keep the calories down, and add some quality nutrition to your meal.
  • One quarter of your plate should be a protein choice. This could be anything that has significant protein like lean meats, fish, eggs, legumes, beans, or tofu. Adding this protein will help make sure you get the amino acids you need in the day, and help to keep you fuller longer.
  • The other quarter of your plate should be a high quality carbohydrate source. An example of this is brown rice, whole wheat pasta, more beans, peas, legumes, or whole grain breads. Adding this carbohydrate will help round out your meal, keep it balanced, and help you feel satisfied.
  • Use added fats sparingly on the plate and make sure they are healthy fats like oils, nuts, seeds, or avocado.
  • Fat free or low fat dairy can be included in moderation. An example is a cup of skim milk or 6 ounces of a fat free yogurt.
ConclusionThe plate rule can be very helpful to those who don't have time to create different meals for the family, or for those who don't want to worry about all the details involved in calorie counting. It's simple, and easy to remember when dining out as well. You can apply the principle anywhere--all you have to do is be determined to stick to it!

5 Solutions to a Bad Lower Back

Posted on 11 September, 2011 at 12:24 Comments comments (28)
According to the British Medical Journal, most people suffer from lower back pain at some point, and while many people recover, between 10 and 25 percent of people with low back pain have long periods where they’re unable to work. Treatments for back pain include painkillers, physiotherapy, osteopathy or even surgery. Most back problems are caused elsewhere in the body and a series of 5 simple exercises can go a long way to preventing or alleviating back pain.
1. Stretch your Hip Flexors
Your Hip Flexors are a group of muscles responsible for raising your knees to your chest. They are a very active and easily get involved in movements that they are not primary designed to do. The Hip Flexors over activation and lack of stretching often results in a shortening of the muscles. As the muscles shorten they start to pull on the Lumbar Spine and ultimately create a more Lordotic curve in lower back. This posture is easily recognized with the buttocks pushed out at the back and belly protruding out at the front.
Solution: Stretch the Hip Flexors by taking a deep lunge position, rotating your pelvic bone towards your chest and bracing your abs.
2. Lengthen your Hamstrings
Following lengthy periods of sitting with bent knees the Hamstrings shorten. Shortened hamstrings attach to the bottom of your pelvis and prevent correct rotation of the pelvis during forward bending. An inability to rotate at the pelvis results in a compensation in the lower back and ultimately lower back problems.
Solution: Stretch the Hamstrings by sitting with your lower back against a wall and straightening your legs. Keep the chest up and proud.
3. Improve Thoracic Spine Mobility
The Thoracic Spine is situated from the base of the neck to the mid back and is anatomically designed for movement. The Lumbar Spine with its larger vertebrae is designed for stability and lack of movement. Most people due to repetitive seating positions have “locked up” Thoracic Spines resulting in limited movement.  The Lumbar spine is then forced to produce movement that it is not anatomically designed to perform and hence lower back issues.
Solution: Mobilise the Thoracic Spine by sitting tall on a backless chair and holding a stick across the shoulders. Brace the abs to lock the lower back and rotate slowly alternating sides.
4. Strengthen the Inner Core
The Inner Core is designed to work as a compression chamber to support the Lower Spine. The Pelvic Floor and Diaphragm are on top and bottom, the Transverse Abdominis goes around the sides and the Multifidus is at the back. An inability, through excess sitting, to activate the inner core leaves the Lumber Spine “Naked” during movement.
Solution: Strengthen the Inner Core by lying face down with the head on the hands. Breathe in deeply and push the belly into the floor, then breathe out deeply and pull the belly off the floor.
5. Use Correct Abdominal Training
The world’s obsession with flat stomachs and 6-pack Abs has resulted in a whole multitude of abdominal exercises. Unfortunately the majority of these exercises go against the true function of the Core muscles and only exacerbate existing problems. The Cores primary role is to provide stabilisation and a strong platform for other muscles to function from.  Sit ups and crunches work in the total opposite direction of the Cores true function and only increase excess flexion in the Lumbar Spine. These exercises in turn increase the hunched over desk seated position and further stimulate and shorten the over active Hip Flexors.
Solution: Work on Core Stability by holding a rigid Press Up position while slowly raising one arm and taping the opposite shoulder. The less conditioned can omit the shoulder taps.

Final Note: Some back pain cannot be fixed or alleviated with the above exercises and a professional consultation with a specialist is always advised before embarking on the above exercises.

written by Greg Brookes of GB Personal Training

The only 5 exercises you will ever need

Posted on 9 September, 2011 at 12:35 Comments comments (28)
Everyone claims to have a magic exercise that will strip the fat in days or give you that flat stomach in only 7 minutes.The truth is, the body is only designed to move in a few key ways. Include these exercise movement patterns in your workout and you’ll hit every muscle in your body resulting in quick fat loss, rapid muscle building and a workout that is totally natural.
1. Lunge – the lunge mimics the natural walking or running pattern. You can lunge forwards, backwards, sideways, and with or without added resistance from weights. The lunge works the legs and buttocks very hard and a degree of core stability is required to remain upright.
2. Squat – every time you sit down you perform a squat. Ensure you squat down so the thighs are parallel to the floor, this activates the buttocks properly. The squat hits the thighs and buttocks hard as well as raising the heart rate quickly. You can squat with or without the addition of a weight.
3. Deadlift – if you pick something up off the floor then chances are you are using a variation of the deadlift. The deadlift works the buttocks, hamstrings and back. One highly effective variation of the deadlift is the kettlebell swing, this adds a more dynamic element to the deadlift and challenges the core too!
4. Press Ups – this exercise teaches the body to push, a fundamental movement. In order to perform an effective Press Up you need good core strength to stop your body from collapsing. If you can’t hold a press up position then work on this first to condition your abs and core strength. Press Ups condition the abs, shoulders, triceps and shoulders.
5. Rows / Pull Ups – a vital movement for any kind of climbing or pulling. This movement works the back of the body and biceps. Rows are particularly important for correcting posture due to the amount of time we spend hunched over at the desk

Try putting all 5 of these exercises in a circuit one after the other for a complete all over body workout.

Perform 8 reps of each exercise and 3 circuits. When you can do 15 reps add more resistance, it is that simple!

written by Greg Brookes of GB Personal Training

If you would like any advice on training or would like to book some 1:1 Personal Training, please do not hesitate to contact Abbie on 07815 935147 or email [email protected]