THE BLOG

Women's Fitness: Your Questions Answered

17/11/2014 15:32 GMT | Updated 17/01/2015 10:59 GMT

You specialise in women's fat loss. Is there a difference between training women and training men?

Women can multitask. They manage to juggle all sorts of logistics during the day from business to family. You could be a big shot lawyer in the middle of a high profile trial but you will never forget to still pick up your kids from a softball game. With that comes a lot of stress and hormonal imbalance and weight gain. In fact, if you find yourself losing weight during a holiday, that will be a good indication that your struggle with weight is linked to daily stress. This is on top of giving birth, monthly cycles or menopause. The training has to offer physical as well as psychological benefits if you want it to succeed.

How many times a week should someone train?

As many times a week as you can. People ask me about celebrities and how they look the way they look. Victoria Beckham is a mother of four, looks great but also trains daily. Every morning she goes for a run at 6am. She also watches her diet and has good genes. Of course not everyone has the "help" that comes with a celebrity status but I am sure everyone will agree she is a very busy woman and still finds time to devote to her training.

Some say overtraining elevates stress level and can actually make you gain fat.

This can happen but it is not common. You would have to put your body through extreme training to increase your stress level and cortisol that high. That would mean very intense but also prolonged training with no sufficient recovery time. Athletes train a lot but you don't see many in need of losing weight! In fact if you train in the morning you will set your energy levels and hormones into the right track to continue to burn calories during the day.

So is training in the morning the best time to exercise?

First thing in the morning is the best time to train if you are after fat loss. High intensity interval training in combination with resistance training will set your body in metabolic boost and help you burn fat even long after you finish exercising. Obviously you want to make sure you get sufficient sleep the night before. Women and mothers, especially, are often overstressed and they are in their habit of pushing themselves year after year with no breaks even when the kids are older. So if you train at 6am in the morning with very little sleep you will be very tired during the rest of the day. Always listen to your body.

You are a firm believer of holistic training. Do you believe in diets?

There are a number of nutrition plans out there. The one to follow will depend on your goals. If you are Hugh Jackman getting ready for the next X-men movie you will follow a different eating plan from someone who is after fat loss. I specialise in fat loss and as diets are not forever, you would be better off going for one that gives you the best healthy results in the shortest time. In just 10 days you can lose an average of 5-10% body fat if you cut down on high G.I. carbs and sugar and emphasise instead on protein and healthy fats. Remember, fat does not make you fat; Sugar does!

Then why so much hype on low fat foods? Are you suggesting going for full fat versus low fat?

Look at the label for sugar content. A lot of low fat foods have added sugar for better taste which causes addiction and get you to eat more. When it comes to deciding on which Total yogurt to get, the deciding factor should be the sugar content rather than the percentage of fat.

What are the best training exercises for a woman who is after fat loss?

What you want is to follow a programme that not only helps you burn fat but it also makes you feel stronger and younger over time while doing something fun. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is based on short and intense energy bursts that alternate with low intensity "breaks". This method of training has become very popular because not only it burns maximum fat in the shortest time but it also keeps training less boring. HIIT can be applied to a number of exercises. Boxing is a good example which most women enjoy and find it a great stress reliever. It is amazing how much stronger my clients' jabs get when I ask them to visualise punching someone they don't like!