Wednesday, 25 July 2012

This post is for my mum (even though she's not that old or fat!)

Muscle takes more calories to maintain than fat. The better your muscle to fat ratio, the higher your metabolism will be. The more muscle you have, the greater your ability to store glycogen so it isn't turned to fat.

Unfortunately, if you just live your life and do no exercise, as you get older, your muscle mass naturally decreases.  This is why as we get older, we find it harder to shift fat and tend to put it on more easily than we did in our 20s and 30s.

Many older people try to maintain their weight with cardio, they swim, they walk, they might run or cycle.  The fact is that while these are great activities for cardiovascular health they are not going to build enough muscle mass to make a difference to their fat stores.

If you are getting older and wanting to shift a little body fat and finding your cardio just isn't doing it for you but you are afraid of lifting weights, you don't want to go to a gym and you don't have endless hours in the day, then this post is for you!

Try doing these exercises either first thing in the morning, when you get up for literally a couple of minutes or give yourself a target of a number to have achieved by the end of the day and every time you have a moment, get some in: while you are waiting for the kettle to boil, when you nip to the loo, while you are drying your hair or on the telephone.

Its very simple.


That's it.

'Oh, I can't do pressups,' I hear you say.  'Never been able to do them.'
Well, I don't mean straight away proper press ups.  Start with wall press ups.


Stand about a foot away from the wall.  Place your hands shoulder height, just over shoulder width apart on the wall in front of you.  Lean your whole body forward, not just your shoulders, make sure your hips go with you.  And then push away from the wall.  Do this as many times as you can, it may be that you can only do one the first time you attempt it.  (I'll let you into a secret, I couldn't do any a year or so ago.  Now I can do 60 military press ups in one go and 1000 in a day!)

Try to increase the number you do every couple of days.  Even if you only increase by one.  That's what I just did - one more press up every time I did them.

Once you can do wall press ups really, really well and easily, it's time to progress onto incline press ups.  Place your hands on the garden wall or the arm of your sofa and do the same thing.  Making sure your body stays rigid, and that your hips move forward with your shoulders.

Once you can do these really, really well and easily, move onto bent knee press ups.  On the floor, hands below your shoulders, knees far enough back so your body is in a diagonal line from your knees to your shoulders with no bend, so don't stick your bottom in the air or sag your tummy down.  Dead straight and rigid.  Then do the same thing again, move your shoulders towards the floor but make sure you take your hips with you so that your thighs touch the floor.

Once you can do these really, really well and easily, straighten your legs and do them on your toes!


A high proprtion of people over 60 cannot get out of a chair without using their hands to help them.  Squats are the single best exercise to make sure you are not one of these people.

It's really important with squats that you do them with good form, so there are a few things you need to make sure you get right.  Your heels must stay on the ground all the time.  You must be able to see your toes all the way through the move and you only squat as until your thighs are parallel to the floor to avoid putting excess pressure on your knees.  Try to keep as upright as you can but you will need to lean your upper body forward a little.

Try sitting on the very edge of a chair so that your legs are parallel to the floor and you can see your toes.  This is the perfect squat position, stand up and then squat down just until your bum touches the seat again, then stand up.  Use the chair to help you until you are sure your form is good.  Then do them without!

You can do these exercises wherever you are!  You don't need a gym or equipment, just your body!

I hate scales because muscle weighs 3 times as much as fat, so if you are increasing you muscle mass, you may be dropping fat but not losing weight.  Go on what you look like in the mirror, how you feel, how your clothes fit and your increased strength!

Good luck!

Krish x

Thursday, 19 July 2012

One of my current workouts

As my working hours vary from week to week, I am never sure how often or how regularly I am going to be able to get to the gym, so I always do a full body workout rather than splitting my muscle groups.

If I can't get to my local gym, I can work out on the garage in our little home gym but personally, I am more focused and hard-working away from home. I would like to get to the gym around 3 or 4 times a week. Recently, I've only had time for around 2 or 3 so I try to make each workout count.

This is the workout I did today in the gym - it usually takes around an hour - I don't loiter, I move quickly from one set to another.

Warm up
3 minutes on the Rowing Machine
2 1/2 minutes above 35 s/p/m
1/2 a minute at above 40 s/p/m

I like the rower because it is a total body warm up, using every muscle.
I don't do more than 3 minutes, just enough to get hot,
out of breath and sweaty.

Dynamic Stretches -
I do some shoulder and hip dynamic stretches before I start lifting any weights

Resistance work -
I start with arms
At the moment, I'm a big fan of Dragan Presses
You have to pick a weight you can do 100 with.  It's hard so I always start with these rather than ending with them.
100 x 9kg Dragan presses - no rest

This normally knackers out my arms so I move onto legs.

12 reps x 25kg bar bell squats
followed straight away by 10 Bulgarian split squats on each leg
30 second rest between sets - 3 sets

3 sets of 25kg deadlifts

Next I move onto chest and back

3 sets of 8 reps of 14kg dumb bell chest press
30 second rest between sets

3 sets of 10 reps of 20kg bent over bar bell rows

3 sets of 8 reps 8kg flys

Mix in some abs

Twisted sit ups - 26
fast up - super slow down sit ups - 8

Arms have had a rest by now so I do 3 supersets of

8 reps 6kg shoulder raises (bent over lat raises, front or lat shoulder raises)
supersetted with 10 reps of 6kg triceps kickbacks
30 seconds rest beween sets - 3 sets

8 reps 17.5kg triceps pull down on the cable machine
supersetted with 8 reps of 12.5kg bicep curls on the cable machine
30 seconds rest between sets - 3 sets

Body weight dips - 2 sets of 6
Chin ups - 10kg assistance - 2 sets of 6

Core Stability

Hamstring bridges on stability ball - 2 sets of 20

Back extensions on stability ball - 2 sets of 20

Ab crunches on stability ball - 2 sets of 20

Post Stretches

A variety of developmental and maintenance stretches depending on what was worked really hard today.

There are a lot of exercises here and sometimes I don't do all of them and sometimes I mix in some machines instead of free weights.

This is basically the workout I am doing at the moment but I am upping the weights often.

I recently upped the weights significantly and dropped the reps - meaning less time spent on each set and more progression and adaptation - better results!

Perhaps in a few weeks this will become stale and I will mix it up with something different.

When I change my workout significantly, I'll post the changes.

I'll also post the workout I do at home in the garage - as that is more of a Tabata style workout and it uses kettle bells as well.

Hope you find this interesting and/or useful.

Krish x

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Top Tip

An important way to control portion sizes is to ensure you push away from your meal or snack when you are comfortably full, before the point of no return when you feel uncomfortably stuffed.

After speaking with clients who come to me for nutrition counselling, it is clear that some people find it really hard to decide when they are comfortably full.  Conversely, it is very easy to say when you are clearly hungry.

Instead, then, of trying to tell if you are full, focus on stopping eating when you no longer feel hungry.

The best way to torch fat.

If you are trying to burn fat and lose weight through cardio and it isn't working, here's why.

Firstly, you have to address your nutrition.  


It's so easy to consume, in one meal, more calories than it is possible to burn off in one day.  If you are eating too many calories, no amount of cardio will burn off the excess calories. let alone your fat stores.

When carbohydrates are consumed, they are turned by your body into glucose.  Once you have eaten a certain amount of carbohydrate, your body turns the glucose to glycogen for storage, it gets stored in your muscles and your liver.  Once your liver is overloaded with glycogen, your body ceases to release leptin, which is the hormone responsible for telling your brain you are full.  And once your muscles and liver stores are full, the remainder is stored as fat.

So, it stands to reason that the more muscle you have, the more potential you have for glycogen storage, meaning less is turned to fat in the first place.  Also, muscle takes more calories to maintain than fat does, so again, it stands to reason that the more muscle you have, the more calories you will burn. 

So if you want to become a fat burning machine, you need to build muscle.  That does not necessarily mean bulking up, it simply means changing the ratio of fat to muscle.  Less fat, more muscle rather than the other way around.

The best way to do this is with resistance training, or weights.  Not cardio.

There is evidence to suggest that vast amounts of cardio can actually be counter-productive in the quest to burn fat.  Your body becomes used to the exercise very quickly and allows fat to be stored more effectively for use when you are in the so-called fat-burning zone.

That isn't to say that cardio is bad for you - it is always good to be more active - just that it won't help you in the fight to lose fat.

The two best things you can do to lose fat are:

1     address your nutrition

2     lift some weights.

If you still want to do cardio, that's brilliant. The best thing you can do is to go for lots of long walks.  It's a natural, low-impact way to work your heart and lungs and joints.  Endless hours on the cross trainer or treadmill are not only mind-numbingly dull, they are virtually pointless.  if you want to do some cardio in the gym, go for the rower as you get a full body workout at the same time, killing two birds with one stone.

On the matter of running, it's an addictive thing and people do it for the buzz.  personally, I'm not a fan.  I don't believe it is natural for any animal to run for prolonged periods of time and if I have to choose between an hour in the gym and an hour's run, I'll always opt for the gym.  having said that, if you enjoy running and want to get the most from it, try turning your run into a fartlek session or interval session - much more natural than a straight run.