When it comes to fitness, the only way to conquer your goals is by arming yourself with the best information available. The internet is full of fitness tips, diet plans and workout routines, but the best fount of knowledge for all things fitness and health will always be the professionals. The wrong workout routine could make you lose weight when what you actually want to do is tone up — the wrong diet could just leave you miserable without any results. A fitness expert can give you personalised advice and sort through the dense masses of information confusing you online. This week at the Mashion HQ we had Sana Garib come in, a nutrition coach, and the founder of active wear brand, Livingfit Apparel. She gave us the tips and tricks we didn’t know we needed to improve our fitness game. Here’s everything we learnt from her.
1. The Myth Of Spot Reduction
Most women have problem areas: excess fat on their upper arms, thighs or hip. Whatever it is, we all have something or the other we’re insecure about. We often workout with the goal of specifically reducing weight or toning up those areas specifically. There are exercises that target particular sets of muscles in isolation, but that doesn’t mean much. According to Sana, it’s nearly impossible to only lose weight in certain regions of your body over others. Health science has always said targeting specific areas of fat for weight loss is futile, because the body simply doesn’t work that way. Within each fat cell is a fat known as triglyceride, which is broken down into glycerol, and other free fatty acids by exercising. During exercise, these fats get broken down all over the body, making it virtually impossible to spot reduce. Instead, Sana suggests embrace the reality that working out will result in a more gradual, overall weight loss. With the help of the right nutrition and exercises, you’ll still be able to get your desired results.
2. The Right Way To Squat
Squats are known as the king of exercise, and rightly so. Whether you’re trying to strengthen your muscles or lose weight (or both), squats have got your back — no pun intended. They are a full body exercise that work the hips, glutes, quads, and hamstrings, while also strengthening the core. More than making you physically stronger, they improve balance, coordination, and bone density too. Like most exercises though, their effectiveness depends on your form and stance. You can do a thousand squats a day, but if you’re not doing them correctly, there’s no real point — you could even injure yourself. Our expert showed us the correct way to do squats — start with your feet placed apart and point your toes out at an angle, get your arms out and keep your chest upright. Then go down in the same position, while making sure your hips drop down below your knees.
3. The Ideal Pre And Post Workout Meals
No workout plan is really healthy without the right nutrition and exercise. Most people think eating right after or before working out will give them cramps, but they’re mistaken. It’s actually essential for anyone hoping to transform their body. Pre-workout meals fuel your body and give you the boost of energy you need to exercise harder, whereas post workout meals re-fuel it to recover from the exertion. It’s all about eating the right foods. Our expert suggests keeping your pre workout intake much lighter. Snacks like peanut butter and toast are her personal favourite because they pack a quick punch of healthy fats, protein, and carbs. Oats, fruit and dried fruit are great options as well. Post workout is the best time to have carb loaded meal according to Sana, since the body is in a state of fat burning for the next hour or so.
4. The Road To Weight Gain
Being underweight can carry as many health risks as being overweight. The solution to both problems are ironically very similar. People losing weight need to zero in on eating the right food and putting the time in with exercise. The key to gaining weight is the same. According to our expert, one secret to gaining weight is to make sure you burn less calories than you consume. “First thing is that your calorie intake should always exceed your calorie outputs. If you’re eating more than your calorie expenditure that should help with weight gain.” says Sana. She also emphasises the need to exercise and states, “people assume that exercising is only essential for weight loss, but it also play a huge role in weight gain.” Learn more here about healthy ways to gain weight.
5. Aerobic + Anaerobic = Killer Combo
The debate about whether aerobic exercises are better than anaerobic ones has been a long standing one — it’s time to put that debate to rest. Both forms of exercise are proven to burn fat as well as boost metabolism, an effect that lasts for hours after the workout. Having said that, optimum results are obtained with a workout that incorporates both — aerobic and anaerobic. While aerobic workouts burn fat, anaerobic workouts help give you the toned, more muscular appearance you might be after. Sana swears by the killer combo of aerobic and anaerobic exercises. She says, “you should always have a mix of aerobic and anaerobic exercise. While cardio is your aerobic exercise, for anaerobic include sprinting and strength training in your workout as well.”
6. The Other Side Of The Keto Diet
You’ve probably been living under a rock if you haven’t heard of the keto diet. If you’re someone that’s been trying to educate yourself about fitness, then you’re likely sick of hearing about keto altogether. With so many people sharing their successful weight loss stories, the keto diet has caught everyones attention. keto basically works as an extremely low carbohydrate, high fat diet that forces the body into a state of ketosis. This makes you burn fat instead of carbohydrate stores. There’s no doubt the diet has worked for thousands of people, but it can cause a number of unseen problems in the long term. Once the body enters ketosis, the individual begins to lose muscle, become fatigued, and may ultimately enter starvation mode. That eventually makes it even harder to lose weight. Sana can’t emphasise enough the drawbacks of the keto diet. She says, “the keto diet might work for you in the short run, but there are a lot of long term complications with it. It slows your body down because you can’t follow a high intensity exercise routine.”
7. The Secret To Optimising Your Treadmill Warm Up
We all know that running outdoors is better than on the treadmill, but since it’s the most convenient thing to do while you’re already at the gym, make it worthwhile! The treadmill can get boring fast, and there’s a high probability of you being tempted to hit the stop button. According to our expert, intervals could actually be way better for you. “Start by sprinting at intervals,” says Sana. “For instance, you can run for 20 seconds, take a 10 second break, and then run again. Keep going for a total of 15 minutes for a good warm up.”
8. Weight Loss With PCOS
Women with PCOS have been told time and again how losing weight could help improve their symptoms. If only it were that simple — losing weight with PCOS can be a huge struggle due to the elevated levels of insulin. The higher insulin levels lead to an increase in the production of male hormones called androgens, which then lead to weight gain, along with other hormone related problems like body hair growth, acne and irregular periods. According to Sana, working out is the healthiest way to lose weight for someone with PCOS. “The main problem with PCOS is high insulin, which is the cause of all the symptoms. Try working out as that will help lower your insulin levels, which in turn can help all the symptoms fade in the long run.” says Sana.