Tips

Blog posts which include some of my top tips to getting you closer to  your health and fitness goals.

I will be honest, I was really struggling to come up with an idea for a blog post for today, I was practically banging my head against my desk. But I took a time out, put a podcast on, and WHAM there it was, what are my favourite podcasts. All the ones I listen to are recommendations from people, so why not give you mine?! Hopefully you will subscribe to one of two of them which catch your eye and get something out of them like I do.

It is very rare nowadays that I will listen to the radio or music whilst I am in the car, but rather I have a subscription to audible.co.uk and have a book on the go, or I listen to podcasts.

I find that it is a much better use of my time than listening to the same songs on a loop over and over again.

If you don’t like listening to them in the car, then alternatively plug something in and go for a 30minute walk every day. Exercise your mind and your body at the same time.

#1 Ted Talks
This is a recent addition to my podcast playlist, and is really the main reason behind my goal of learning something new every day. It was when I was scrolling through the list of episodes that I realised how much ‘stuff’ I had absolutely no idea about.

The episodes are usually 15-20minutes long and are on important subject matters from a huge variety of speakers. They never fail to make me stop, question and think. Recently I have learnt about nuclear weapons, online trolls, and ‘unanswered questions in physics…..’

If you want an episode recommendation to start you off then I loved ‘What I learned from 100 days of rejection by Jia Jiang.’

Ted Talks Link

Ted Talks Podcast

#2 Shredded By Science Radio
This is the company who I am furthering my qualifications with. They are top of the game in terms of the fitness and nutrition sector. If you don’t follow them and you are a Personal Trainer, then get it sorted ASAP.

Lawrence is a brilliant host of the podcast, always engaging and questioning his guests, with plenty of humour thrown in.

Episodes range from interviews with scientists about the latest research and how it should be applied, talks with other personal trainers, and some of my favourite episodes are Q & A’s with questions submitted by listeners.

Always informative and entertaining. It isn’t just for Personal Trainers though, if you are interested in health and nutrition and reaching your goals then get downloading.

Shredded by Science Link

Shredded by Science Podcast

#3 The Food for Fitness Podcast
Scott Baptie has some great guests on this show. From former Olympic Athletes to Fitness Cover models, Scott asks the best questions to find out what you really want to know.

His no nonsense approach to health and fitness is one of the main reasons I started to follow his work and really like to content which he produces.

One of my favourite recent episodes was with Geoff Cooke which was titled ’71 year old Intensive Care patient to World Champion Cyclist in 9 weeks.’ This wasn’t just a clickbait title either, it was true and so inspiring.

Food For Fitness Link

Food for Fitness Podcast

#4 The School of Greatness with Lewis Howes
I wont lie, the amount of adverts on this podcast does my head in, but I realise that they are needed to help profit from such great work!

There are two episodes a week on this podcast, one which is a long interview with somebody extremely successful, and then a shorter one on a Friday which is less information to digest but just and if not more useful.

His guests are from a huge variety of backgrounds, from NBA stars to authors, from DJs to psychologists, but the content is always so entertaining. I always learn something new.

One of my favourite recent episodes was with the founder of crossfire Greg Glassman. I loved hearing from a business point of view the reasons why and how Crossfit has become so successful in recent years.

The School of Greatness Link

The school of greatness podcast

#5 The Body and The Beast
This is a relatively new podcast, there have only been 10 episodes so far. The hosts are Jamie Alderton and Dan Meredith, both extremely successful people in their industries.

Basically this podcast inspires me to ‘get sh*t done!’

The amount of passion they have for success and achieving what they set out to do, is infectious, you almost feel left behind after listening to an episode.

It isn’t for the faint hearted, DEFINITELY don’t play this one if you have kids in the car! However I just feel so motivated and inspired after listening to what they achieve every day. We all have the same number of hours in the day, it is how we use them that determines how successful we are.

These episodes are long. Upwards of an 90minutes so I do have to listen to them on separate occasions, but they are so worth it. If you need a kick up the backside, or to ignite some fire in your belly to go out and do whatever it is you want, then give this one a listen to!!

The Body and The Beast Link

the body and the beast podcast

Thanks of reading! I hope you will go ahead and subscribe to some of these and get learning!

Love Abi xxxx

January Blog a Day 28/31

Sometimes when I go to the gym with the intention of training myself after clients, it looks like I am moving in with the amount of bags which I have! I am now in the habit of getting changed in between ‘work’ or ‘play’ which has hugely benefited my own workouts, but then I also have a bag full of other ‘stuff.’

I get questions about what I actually have in there and whether it is necessary, so I thought I would do a blog post on the subject! I have also done a video which you can click on down below!

what's in my gym bag

Gym Bag – Olivia & Joy
I got this bag whilst I was in LA back in October, I am pretty sure I didn’t pay as much as $98 for it but that is the price on the website. I love it, mainly down to the colour combination but also because it is nice and big with lots of pockets!

Nike Metcons 
I purchased these about a year ago as I wanted some specific shoes for squatting in. They are great because of the flat sole and I always feel more confident and sturdy doing squats (Especially heavy ones) when I wear them. I always carry them in my bag and put them on at the gym so they haven’t been outside at all!

Smartshaker 
I have a cupboard full of different shakers. I swear it expands on a weekly basis. I like the smart shakers because they have detachable compartments where you can store protein powders or supplements when you are travelling.

Hip Circle – Slingshot 
If I could pick just one piece of gym equipment to have, this would be it. I use my hip circle in every gym session. It is great for activation and warming up your legs before your main workout. I love using it at the end for glute (bum) supersets as well, in particular crab walks and glute bridges. I prefer this one over other bands because it is a bit more sturdy, the rubber loop on the inside ensures that it doesn’t slip down your legs, and I just find it has more tension in it so feel it more!

Weight Belt – Harbinger

I use my weight belt on my top sets of squats and deadlifts, I don’t use it for every set and rep. It just allows me to create more tension in my core area which helps with the actual big lift. They are not necessary, but personally I find it helps reduce risk of hurting my back when I use one.

Workout Diary
I cannot stress the importance of having a proper plan based on progression when you enter the gym. How do you know if you are progressing unless you write things down? It enables you to check back over previous weeks and sessions and track how you are getting on. I just have a regular notebook; each session has a separate page where I will write down the date, time, how I am feeling that day and then the actual lifting session including sets, reps and weights.

I am also extremely OCD and have a different coloured pen to distinguish between upper and lower body days…

Beats by Dre Headphones
I need music in the gym, it helps me zone out and really concentrate on my session. I now make sure I also have my charger with me as too many times i have turned up and they have been out of battery! I love my Beats as they cancel out all noise, I cant hear anything else except my own music playing.

Liquid Chalk – MyProtein
I use this to help my grip on big lifts such as the deadlifts, rows and pullups. I find that by using a little bit of chalk my grip doesn’t give out as quickly as the muscle which I am trying to work. Females especially have less forearm strength, so on exercises like the deadlift, it is their grip which will tire before their legs. By using chalk we can help alleviate this and work the muscle for a bit longer.

Lifting Straps 
This is another bit of kit which I like to use to help with my grip on certain exercises. These are just cheap ones which I have had for years. You wrap them round your wrists and the bar which you are lifting to help with grip.

Ankle Cuff
I have one of these to be able to attach to the cable machine at the gym and perform exercises such as glute kickbacks, abductions and adductions.

Squat Pad 
This wasn’t actually in my bag but I think it would be useful to leave a link to where I purchased mine from in case you are after one. This is essential if you are doing heavy flute bridges and hip thrusts to protect your pelvic area and make it a bit more comfortable. You can also use it if you experience pain from the barbell on your back when you are squatting.

Resistance Bands
I have a simple long resistance band which I will use for warming up and sometimes stretching at the end of sessions.

Headbands 
Like to keep spare headbands in my bag in case I forget them, or if I am doing cardio and want to keep my hair off my face.

Deodorant and Body Spray.
No explanation needed. Don’t be that stinky person in the gym.

Hand Towel
Have one on hand, especially if you know that you tend to sweat a lot when working out, make sure that you clean up after yourself!

Money

Rice Crispie Square
I have some sort of fast acting carbs in my bag just in case I am in need of some extra energy during sessions.

Protein Bar – Grenade Carb Killa
If I am lifting after a morning of clients, then sometimes I will need to just have something on hand to eat and help fuel my sessions. Or if I am not going to be able to get a proper meal in within a certain amount of time these are useful to have. You must be tired of you telling you by now but the Grenade Carb Killa bars are my favourites!!

Hopefully you found this post useful!
Any questions, let me know in the comments down below and I will be happy to help.

Love Abi xxxx

January Blog a Day 27/31

I love a routine. I like knowing what I am doing every day. However, sometimes these routines can get us into a little bit of a rut. The key to reaching goals is progressive overload, consistency and adherence. If you aren’t achieving these then I am afraid you are just plateauing.

I see it so often at the gym, people coming in doing the exact same workout, using the exact same weights, lifting for the exact same number of repetitions and sets, week after week. Then they wonder why they are not waking up looking like Tom Hardy or Jessica Alba?

‘A goal without a plan is just a wish.’

hollywood hike sign

You do not need to change what you are doing every session or every week, there is absolutely no need to shock your muscles by doing something different. However there are times when a change is necessary. If any of these points ring a bell then maybe it is time you did something about it!

#1 Progress has stalled
Is your workout helping you get closer to your goals? If not then you need to reevaluate and think about getting a new plan that will. Your goal will depend on you, it could be muscle gain, fat loss, strength, running time, but if you are not getting any closer to achieving it something has to change.

#2 Boredom has set in
If you are going in to the gym doing whatever fitness activity of your choice, but you are bored then I think it is time to find something which excites you. Fitness should be fun. There is no point in doing something if you are not enjoying it. Boredom means you are probably more likely to skip a session, or two, which is a slippery slope to be on. Find something new which you enjoy, the possibilities are endless. Rope a friend in, sign up to a new class, ask somebody to write you up a new workout programme, but don’t get bored!!

Boredom will affect motivation which will affect adherence which will affect results.

#3 Your goals have changed
If your initial goal was fat loss, but now you are happy with your figure and want to start gaining some strength, it is time to change programme. A plan to improve your 10km run speed will not help you reach that 100kg deadlift that you are now after.

#4 Your workout no longer challenges you
Every time you enter the gym you should be aiming to do better than the previous occasion. This could be in terms of lifting more weight, doing more sets, trying harder exercises. In order to make progress, your programme needs to challenge you so that your body has to react and adapt. Don’t go in and do the same 3 sets of 12 reps at the same weight every single week, your body will adapt and progress will stall.

abi durrant personal trainer

#5 You have been doing the same routine for longer than 3 months
Like I mentioned, you do not need to ‘shock’ your muscles by changing it up every workout or even every week. To see some form of results you need to be on some sort of progressive plan for a certain period of time. But if you have been following the same plan, with the same exercises, weights and reps for longer than 3 months, it is probably time to find a new one.

#6 You are getting injuries and feel beat up all the time
It may be time to take a little bit of time out and give your body time to recover. This doesn’t mean that you need stop doing everything all together, but it may mean that you take a step back for a couple of weeks. Try incorporating some yoga and stretching; change up your rep scheme and exercise choice. Yes your muscles may hurt after a particularly tough gym session, but you shouldnt consistently feel like you have gone 10 rounds with Mike Tyson.

Your body is the most valuable asset you have, so look after it.

Make sure you are taking time to rest and recover. I do this by scheduling in a deload week every 4-6 weeks.

golds gym venice

#7 You don’t have any sort of plan at all
If you don’t have any sort of plan then it is time you got one. How do you think you are going to reach your end goal if you don’t know how to get there. If you are just going into the gym, hopping on whatever machine is available, lifting random weights and reps each time, and generally just feeling defeated and unmotivated once you have left, then it is time you got a little bit of structure.

Ask an instructor at your gym to help, it is what they are paid to do. Or failing that there are so many resources available online. I recommend www.bodybuilding.com if you want to find a routine. Youtube is great if you are unsure of how to perform exercises or just want some inspiration. But get a pen and paper, write something down, and have something to follow next time you enter the gym. You will feel much more accomplished afterwards.

If any of the above apply to you, then set aside a little bit of time to doing some research. Rather than just spinning your wheels and getting nowhere, freshen things up and jump back on that wagon!

If you are in need of any ideas or help then just drop me a comment or a message!

Love Abi xxxx

January Blog a Day 21/31

Exposed: The truth about skinny tea….and other fad diets

The BBC showed a programme entitled ‘Clean Eating – The Dirty Truth.’  It created quite a stir in the fitness and health industry so I thought I should write up a blog post with my personal feelings.

Clean eating is just one of the many current ‘fad diets’ which are popular in the health and fitness industry. There are 100s, so in this blog I just want to address a few which I think need to be wiped out!

Fad diets | the truth.

Good Carbs vs Bad Carbs.
A carb is a carb. Once eaten, your body digests them all in the same way. It has no idea if you have had brown or white rice. It is a carbohydrate and will process it as such and provide energy for you to function. The only difference will be fibre content. So if are getting enough fibre from other sources and you prefer the taste of white rice, then eat white rice. But again, if you prefer brown rice, have that.

white rice or brown rice

Sugar is what is making you fat.
It is not solely sugar which is making you fat. In fact, over the past few years as the rate of obesity has increased, our consumption of sugar has decreased… ‘But I am addicted to sugar.’ How many people do you see eating teaspoons of sugar, or downing glugfuls of honey? You don’t. They are not addicted to sugar, they are addicted to the combination of sugar and fat in these highly palatable foods such as doughnuts, cookies, cake, chocolate etc. Cut down on these, and yes you will be cutting down on calories, which will lead to fat loss. But don’t single out sugar as the main culprit.

sugar is making us fat

Juice Detoxes/Cleanses
I touched on the word detox in a previous blog post earlier this month. Essentially, your body detoxifies itself, so why do you need to follow a certain plan of only drinking juices to do it for you? You don’t. If you are just drinking these juices everyday and avoiding all other food, then you will be missing out on a serious amount of important nutrients and calories. They are expensive, and surely you miss the taste of actual food rather than just a drink?

Skinny Teas
AKA a laxative in a mug. Tea will not make you skinny. It won’t. There is nothing magical about them at all. They may contain the smallest amount of green tea which some science has shown to improve fat burning (although that is also a bit of a contentious subject, this study is a good starting point to read.), which enables them to be labelled as fat burning. If you are drinking this tea but continuing eating as usual then I’m afraid you are just throwing money down the drain.

Fat Burners
Go in to Holland and Barrett and there is no doubt a shelf dedicated to a range of these tablets and capsules, in fact they are now making their way into your average supermarket as well. Again, they may just contain a small amount of green tea and/or caffeine which enables them to be labelled as fat burning. They are not. If you are after caffeine then just have a cup of coffee instead.

raspberry ketones truth in regards to fad diets

Gluten Free
Unless you have a food intolerance or allergy, then there is absolutely no reason to go gluten free. Bread will not kill you. Pasta is not the devil. A lot of people take these foods out of their diets and say that it is the best thing they have ever done for fat loss. They don’t mention that they haven’t actually replaced these foods with anything else, therefore they have unintentionally created a calorie deficit which of course will lead to fat loss! If you are replacing these types of foods with gluten free alternatives then you are just having the same amount of calories but with less of the taste for no reason….

*But if you do have a diagnosed intolerance or allergy, do not consume.

I just want to finish off by saying that there are no ‘good’ or ‘bad’ foods, there are no ‘clean’ or ‘dirty’ foods. Use your brain and think about it logically. Of course some food choices are going to be better for you than others, but labelling them as bad or dirty isn’t right.

Eat what makes you feel good on the inside.
Eat food which makes you perform optimally.
Eat food which will get you closer to your goals.
Eat food which you enjoy.

best diet food

Don’t be scared of food, or overcomplicate things. Do your research before opting for the latest diet which you have read about in your weekly magazine, or what some Z-list celebrity is endorsing.

There is no quick fix. If there was I am pretty sure the NHS would be handing out prescriptions for it.

Fad diets are just that; a fad.

Love Abi xxx

January Blog a Day 20/31

Willpower. What is it? And why do some people seem to have loads of it, and some cave in at the very first sight of a square of chocolate?

willpower
ˈwɪlpaʊə(r)/
noun
noun: willpower; noun: will power
1 control exerted to do something or restrain impulses.

This is a topic which I have been interested in for a while, especially with my interests and field of business in which I operate. Clients are constantly asking me ‘How do you have so much willpower?’ or commenting ‘If I had any willpower I would be doing great.’ So do we all have the same amount of willpower? Can we train ourselves to have more willpower?

the marshmallow test. willpower in fitness

I started reading a book on holiday called ‘The Marshmallow Test’ by Walter Mischel. He is a researcher in America who conducted the famous experiment with children to test their willpower when it came to being giving treats. In brief, children were given the choice of having one marshmallow immediately, or they could wait a certain amount of time and they would be given two. The marshmallow was placed on the table in front of them, and the experiment looks at all the different ways in which the children tried to avoid eating it. Some could last, but others gave in straight away.

The book then looks at what became of these children. Did their willpower in regards to taking the marshmallows, have any correlation with certain traits later on in life. Interestingly it did. Those which were able to demonstrate higher levels of willpower and wait for the two marshamllaows, in general were more successful as they grew up. They were less likely to suffer from addictions, had better jobs, relationships and were happier.

Super interesting.

This isn’t the original experiment, but is the same concept. I love seeing how the children think of ways not to eat the marshmallow. From shutting their eyes so they cant see it, to smelling it, some put it right up to their mouths and then put it back!

Okay, I will stop talking about marshmallows now and look at how we can relate it to health and fitness.

According to some research, willpower is a resource which gradually drains throughout the day and then gets replenished at night. When we are faced with stressful situations, and lots of decision making, people use up their willpower little by little as the day goes on. So as we go about our day making these tough decisions our willpower and self control will become less and less, to the point where we just completely give in. Ransacking the cupboards and fridge on an evening ring any warning bells?

What can we do to change this?

Try and make life as easy as possible.

I am going to relate this to fat loss, but it can be done for any situation in which you think you suffer from lack of willpower.

Morning willpower = 100%

You hate getting up in a morning to do exercise, the idea of going for a run is like hell, after snoozing the alarm 5 times; you drag yourself out of bed on a morning, wrap up and go for that run which you promised yourself you would do. -20% willpower points

When you get to work, your colleague asks if you want a McDonalds breakfast as he is getting one. You do want one. But you have some cold hard boiled eggs which make you gag instead. -20% willpower points

You have a bar of chocolate in your top drawer for emergencies. It is calling your name. But you resist. You know you shouldnt. -10% willpower points

Lunchtime comes around, your other half rings up to see if you want to meet for lunch at the cafe down the road. They do amazing macaroni and cheese. You are tempted, but you prepared your lunch last night and are looking forward to that instead, even though it would have been nice to see him. – 10% willpower points

It’s sometime. You said you would meet Becky at the gym. You promised her. But it is freezing outside, it is dark, and all you want to do is go home and sit in front of the fire. Your willpower is beginning to wane. However, you have to drive past the gym on the way home so get yourself there and feel much better for it. – 15% willpower points

By this point your willpower is beginning dry up. The smell of the local fish and chip shop is making you go doolally. It is all you can think about. You’re allowed one cheat meal right? No, no, no. You have done so well all day. You can do this. Even if Fish and Chips is your favourite. Chicken and soggy broccoli will do. -25% willpower points.

Your other half comes home with a bottle of wine. That’s it. You cant do it anymore. One glass wont hurt. Oops one glass turned into half a bottle. May as well crack open those chocolates now as well….

Can you see how much willpower this example has had to use up throughout the day? So that when she gets home, she is absolutely drained. Her willpower is gone, and that glass of wine was too tempting.

So what can you do to stop this?

You need to have less decision making. Make life easier for yourself.

Find an exercise that you do enjoy. Don’t like getting up on a morning to run? Then don’t. Would you prefer catching up with a friend at a zumba class? Do that instead.

Find and cook healthy foods which you look forward too and enjoy the taste of. This way you aren’t tempted by a McDonalds breakfast or a takeaway at the end of the day.

Don’t surround yourself with things which you don’t want to have. If you are trying to cut down on eating chocolate, biscuits, sweets etc. Don’t buy it. Don’t have them in the cupboards, or at least don’t have them on show. Hide them away. This way your willpower isn’t tested overtime you walk past them and think about having one. It is going to take a lot more effort to go out and drive to the shops to pick up that bag of crisps which you are craving, rather than walking to the kitchen cupboard.

Do you get peckish and hungry when you are bored? Distract yourself. Go out for a walk. Get into a good book. Meet up with friends. If you know this happens to you, then have a plan!

Do you want instant gratification now or that greater sense of achievement when you have reached your goal at some point in the future?

Hopefully this one makes sense to you. It is a really fascinating topic, and one which I have only scraped the surface with. If you are interested I would recommend picking up the book and having a read yourself.

Thank you for taking the time to visit my site and read this blog. I appreciate it. Leave a comment down below if you have any questions or feedback!

Love Abi xxxx

January Blog a Day 17/31