27 June 2008

Get Rid of Man Boobs

Moobs, the modern day name for man boobs, can ruin the look of any shirt and turn men into shrinking violets when it comes to sunbathing. Great pecs are what we all want and before you stop reading, these exercises are for women too who want to have a toned chest.

A tight, toned chest is a great asset for the summer for everyone and so here's how to tone your pecs.

Wide arm press ups
The original chest exercise and still one of the best.
The standard press up works both chest and triceps and by moving the position of your hands you can choose which area works the most. The wide arm position makes the chest work more.
wide arm press up1 to tone man boobs
wide arm press up2 to tone man boobs

Start with your regular press up position with your chest above your hands
Step your hands out so their wider apart than your shoulders
Bend your arms and lower your chest and shoulders almost to the ground
Keep your stomach tight
Straighten your arms to return to the start position
Repeat x 15


flyes1 to tone man boobsflyes2 to tone man boobs

Lie face up with your knees bent and feet flat
Hold a pair of dumbbells above your chest
Maintain a very slight bend in your arms throughout this movement
Keep your tummy tight
Slowly lower the weights towards the floor
Just before your arms touch the floor, squeeze your chest muscles to lift the weights back to the start position
Repeat x 15
At the top of each movement make sure the weights are over your chest and not above your head

25 June 2008

Lose the Love Handles

They're called love handles but did you ever meet anyone who loved them. Those stubborn bits of droopy skin that hang around at the sides of your tummy.

To rid yourself of your love handles quickly, try this combo of tummy toners. Go slow with these exercises and really feel where your working - the stronger you feel the contractions in your muscles, the faster your toning will be. Both exercises are tough and will make you breath but remember you'll need to do some cardio as well.

If you really want to blitz the belly you need to tone the muscles inside and fry the fat from the outside.

Side reach crunches

side reach crucnhside reach crunch

Lie face up with your feet flat and knees bent
Tighten your stomach muscles and lift your head, shoulders and hands off the ground
Keeping relaxed at the neck, reach one hand towards the foot on the same side
Feel the squeeze in your side tummy muscles
Return to the centre position and repeat on the other side
Repeat for 10 reaches on each side

Lunges with a Twist
lunges with twist1
lunges wit twist1lunges with twist3

Stand upright with a dumbbell or bottle of water held out in front of you
Step forward into a lunge position
Make sure you have right angles at both knees and your hips
Holding the position steady by tightening your tummy muscles and slowly turn your upper body to one side
Return your body to the centre
Step up and out of the lunge and then straight into another lunge leading with the other leg
At the bottom of this movement twist your upper body to the other side
Repeat the sequence until you've done 5 twists to each side

23 June 2008

Why a food diary keeps you slim

Why should you bother keeping a food diary? What if I told you it could change the way you eat and what you eat forever?

And what if it could also help you to manage your weight and control your moods? Worth a go isn't it?

The first step to changing your body shape is to find out exactly why your body is in the shape it’s in right now. And that means keeping a food diary. This is one of the first things I get all my clients to complete because without knowing specifically what’s going on at the moment, we’re not in a position to make the best changes to their routine.

This post is for those who really mean business with getting fast and spectacular results.You ready to give it a go?

The reasons for the food diary are simple:

1) You have to be honest. It’s easy to sneak some things that you know aren’t right into your daily food routine but it’s another thing to write them all down. Committing everything to paper always makes people think twice about grabbing junk food or extra little ‘treats’ along the way.

2) Showing the diary to someone else adds accountability. You may be happy to lie to yourself that ‘it’s just a little bit of cake’ but you’re less likely to try and get away with this when someone else is watching.

3) When you write down what you eat and when you eat it, you can then match the way you feel during the day and see how different foods affect you. This is an amazing process. By noting down your diet, you can see why you struggle to get out of bed, why you feel tired in the middle of the day, why you get irritable and why you’re not in the perfect shape you want to be. And better than all of that, you can easily see where the most effective changes to your routine can be made. If you feel generally sluggish, you may just be dehydrated so experiment with more water throughout the day and see how you feel. If you feel tired in the mid-afternoon it may be that lunch is too big. Or contains too much protein or too many carbs for you.

Grab a piece of paper and note down the following for the next 24 hours.

What you eat – the quality of each meal

When you eat it – the time of each meal or snack

How you felt before you ate – are you really hungry?

How you felt as you ate – did you enjoy the experience of each meal or snack

How you felt after you ate – did each meal or snack leave you feeling energized?

When you’ve collected your first day’s worth of information, think about where you can make alternative choices that will ensure you feel energised all day long. And remember, no cheating. Let me know how you get on.

20 June 2008

No Gym Workout

Otherwise known as the The Power Circuit

Returning to Monday's theme of boosting the intensity of your workout, here's a mini circuit that will really shake up your weight loss regime. The key here is to do these exercises one after the other almost as though you were going against the clock.

The power circuit is:

Skipping x 50
Squat jumps x 5
Squat jumps with a tuck x 5

Run through the circuit 4 times and see how you feel. You'll be tired but you'll now know that you're capable of some really tough exercise. Use this as a guide for all future workouts. For the fastest results, you should always work this hard. It's the difference between losing weight and toning up slowly, and doing it fast.


Keep your stomach tight
Keep your shoulders relaxed
Stay light on your feet

Squat jumps
squat jump2squat jump2

Stand with your feet hip width apart
Sit back into a squat position
Using your arms to get momentum, jump as high in the air as you can
Land gently, bend your knees and get into the squat position again
Repeat for 5 jumps

Squat jumps with a tuck
squat jump1

Stand with your feet hip width apart
Sit back into a squat position
Using your arms to get momentum, jump as high in the air as you can and bring your knees up to your chest
Land gently, bend your knees and get into the squat position again
Repeat for 5 jumps
Follow the same pattern as for the squat jumps and this time,
Repeat x 5

18 June 2008

So You Want Toned Arms?

Picking up on Monday's post about not being able to lose weight and so adding some variety to your workouts, here are 3 exercises you can do with a resistance band that are really effective.

If you don't already do much toning, these are great for targeting the shoulders and the arms. If you already do some strength training, working with the bands challenges your muscles from new angles and can kick start a whole new round of muscle growth.

Bands are great to have in the house - available in most sports departments - and you'll usually find them in gyms.

Shoulder Raises

shoulder raisesshoulder raises

Begin with your arm by your side with tension in the band between your hand and your foot
Keeping your shoulders low, lift the band out to the side.
Repeat x 15 then switch to the other arm

Bicep Curls
bicep curlsbicep curls

Holding the ends of the band loop it under your foot with your arms straight and palms forwards.
Keeping your elbows at your sides, curl your arms up to the front
Straighten your arms and repeat x 15.

Tricep Extensions
tricep extensionstricep extensions

Hold one end of the band in the small of your back and the other end behind your head
This start position has a little bit of tension in the band
Keeping your elbow close to your head, straighten your top arm
This end position has a lot of tension in the band
Lower the top arm slowly and repeat x 15 before switching arms

16 June 2008

Why can’t I lose weight?

Many people I come across think they’re doing plenty to lose weight and achieve their health, fitness and body shape goals. They get frustrated because despite all their efforts, they can seem to lose more than 1-2lbs.

Well the sad truth is that they are probably not doing enough or what they are doing, isn't the right thing.

Here are the 3 most common mistakes that people make when it comes to losing weight and some suggestions that will help you shake it up and get the great results you deserve.

1. Variety

Problem: ‘I’ve been going to the gym and doing my workout regularly for months now. Why can’t I lose weight?’

Solution: Chances are that you made a bit of progress when you first started your program but now you’re just too used to it. If you can complete your workout routine easily then you need to raise your game and give your body a more difficult challenge. This 'refreshed' workout will kick start your body into losing weight again. By the end of each cardio workout, you need to feel that you couldn't possibly work any harder and that you have really pushed your body to the limits.

2. Intensity

Problem: ‘I walk for an hour a day but it doesn’t seem to help. Why aren't I losing weight?’

Solution: If you walk for an hour a day, every day, you’ll have reached a fitness plateau. You need to inject some intensity into your workout. Don’t panic, this doesn’t necessarily mean working out for longer but it does mean working out smarter. Speed your walk up so that you feel warm and out of breathe. Try some new routes to vary the terrain and make your muscles and your heart and lungs work harder. A stroll will not make any difference to your weight but an uphill hike will do it.

I've talked about reaching fitness plateaus before and what you can do to get yourself out of it.

3. Routine

Problem: ‘I watch my diet and stick to my routine carefully. Why have I not lost weight?’

Solution: I’m a big fan of routine as following familiar patterns means you don’t have to think about every decision you have to make around food. But make sure your routine is the right one for you. You’ll only lose weight if you test different routines until you’ve perfected the one that gets you the results you’re looking for.  Maybe you're eating too much.  Or not eating enough. You may be leaving it too long between meals and your body is in the habit of hanging on to fat.  Make sure you experiment with different routines until you hit on the right one for you. Don't copy what your slim friends eat because that diet suits THEM.   If what you are doing now isn't working, from today onwards, try something different.

Here are some suggestions on what to eat in a typical day. It may give you some ideas.

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13 June 2008

Calm yourself in 30 seconds

You've been working hard this week so here's a technique to calm your mind, improve your focus, release tension in your neck and relax your shoulders. You should find a quiet space to practice this technique and once you know how to do it you should aim to do it at least 2 or 3 times each day.

You'll be amazed how effective some short time-outs will be and how they can improve your overall performance and abilities during each day.

Balancing Breath

Sit cross legged and upright



Lower chin to chest and inhale

Exhale turning head to right

Inhale to centre

Exhale turning head to left

Inhale to centre

Exhale looking to sky

Repeat x 5

Now don't you feel calmer?

Happy weekend.

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11 June 2008

How to get a toned back

This is Tank Top Toning. We all know summer vests can be revealing and there’s nothing worse than catching a glimpse of the tell-tale signs of a fat back

Time for some more fitness tips. Try these two exercises to tone your back and keep you looking shapely when your shirt is off. For maximum impact with these moves, concentrate on squeezing your shoulder blades together with each movement and keep your shoulders relaxed at all times to avoid feeling anything in the neck. 2 sets of each, 3 x this week will get the back muscles really working.

Rows with the Band

rows with band 1rows with band 2

Find a post or piece of kit to wrap the band around at chest height

Take a step back and stand with your feet shoulder width apart, knees bent and shoulders relaxed

With your arms extended there should be a little bit of tension in the band

Squeeze your shoulders back and bend your arms to bring the band in towards you

Hold at the back of the movement for 2 seconds before straightening your arms

Keep the tension between your shoulder blades even when your arms are straight

Repeat x 15 reps

Ready for the next one?
Reverse Flys

reverse fly1reverse fly2

Take a step closer to the post and straighten your arms out to the sides

Keeping your arms slightly bent, use your back muscles only to pull the band from just in front of your body to just behind it

Keep your eyes front and your body upright at all times

Repeat x 15

9 June 2008

How To Tone Your Bum Part 2

This time last month I showed you a couple of exercises for toning the butt in time for summer. Hopefully you’ve been practicing them ever since. Today I thought I’d give you some more moves to target the same area in a slightly different way.

These two exercises work really well together so run through 3 sets of each with good technique and deep breathing throughout and you’ll feel the effects on your butt immediately. They’re both quite tough so go slowly and really focus on what body parts you feel working.

Bridge with Leg Lifts

bridge with leg
bridge with leg2

Lie face up with your feet flat and knees bent

Tighten your stomach muscles and then lift your hips off the ground to make a straight line from your shoulders to your knees

Squeeze your butt really tight and then move your weight slowly to one foot so you can lift the other foot off the ground

Hold this position for two seconds. Lower the foot back to the ground and then repeat the exercise moving your weight to the other side and lifting the other leg

Keep the hips in the air until you’ve completed three leg lifts on either side and then lower your hips to the ground

You should now really feel like your butt has been working

Step Downs with Toe Tap

step down2
step down1

Stand on a step or bench with your feet hip width apart and knees slightly bent

Tighten your stomach and your butt and slowly bend one knee while lowering the other foot toward the ground

Control the movement with the leg that’s still on the bench and squeeze your butt to keep your hips level

The back foot should only tap the ground before you lift back up to stand on the bench. Do not be tempted to put the back foot completely on the ground and have a rest! This is what makes this exercise really work.

Repeat this 5 times before switching for 5 reps on the other side

6 June 2008

Free 1 Day Health & Fitness Guide

Thank you to the many people who have been emailing me this week about the 7 Day Fitness, Food & Relaxation Guide. It's always wonderful to hear about your aches and pains and I'm delighted so many of you have got stuck in already.  I'm going to keep the Guide up for another 7 days so if you haven't had a chance to get your copy, there's a little time left. Here's a few of your very kind comments - 
'Loving these daily tips - especially the trick for drinking 8 glasses of water. My home study is covered in stickies! Thanks'
'Hey Jeff, my thighs are aching this morning after all the exercises I did yesterday. I hope this means its working. When are you doing the next 7 days?'
'Just to let you know that I got my guide and started following it and its made me see how easy living healthily can be. I like the way you make it look so simple and it is. I'm going to try to stick at it.'

As it's the weekend, I thought it would be good to reproduce a day here in full for you to all get working on over the weekend. Hope you enjoy the tips.

Taken from 7 Day Fitness, Food & Relaxation Guide

Get outside today and fit in an extra 30-minutes of fast walking. It could be one half-hour burst, three lots of 10-minutes or six short bursts of 5-minute activity. However you approach it, maintain good posture throughout, walk as fast as you can squeeze the bum and breathe deeply to flood your lungs, heart, muscles and brain with oxygen.

Excellent for great cardio workout if you keep the pace up, tones legs. Do it with the kids or pushing the pram.

Reach up to the sky taking a deep breath in as you do so. Stretch as high as you can while holding your breath and then lower your arms slowly behind the line of your body as you breath out slowly. Repeat three times.

Choose a food product you wouldn’t normally opt for and take it as part of a meal or a snack. It could be a new fruit or vegetable or a whole new meal choice. Just try something different and engage with how it makes you feel before, during and after you eat it.

Are you excited or nervous about trying something new?
Does it taste good?
Does it leave you feeling energised or regretful?

New Habit
Delegate something today. Just one thing. It could be anything, just find something on your list that you feel you ought not to be spending time on and find an alternative way to get the job done.

Feeling in control is the key to success. Make a list of the main areas of your life (work, family, healthy, money) and then ask yourself if you are in control of each of them. If you feel any area is out of control, isolate what is required to happen to bring it back within your control and take immediate action to move forward in that area.

For more like this, get your copy of the 7 Day Fitness, Food & Relaxation Guide. Link on the left hand side of this blog.  New Guides coming soon!

Image by iirraa (Flickr)

5 June 2008

I can't stop craving chocolate

choc cupcake We all know what it feels like to crave something. When the idea pops in your head, it wont go away till you feed it - literally. This wouldn't be so bad if the cravings weren't usually for foods that are unhealthy.

Can you imagine what great shape the world would be in if people craved superfood salads instead of chocolate or burgers? But alas, it doesn't seem to happen that way.

The reason that junky foods are the most appealing is that because these foods are processed and refined, they offer a quick way for us to address any imbalances in our body that are being flagged up by the craving. Natural foods take a bit longer to break down in the digestive system but ultimately are the best way to satisfy cravings and keep the body on an even footing as they come with lots of other nutrients and aren't laden with sugar, fat and salt.

Here's a list of the most common cravings, what they are really telling us our bodies need and what we can eat to satisfy them that won't mean you pile on the pounds.

I'm craving

Chocolate indicates you're in need of magnesium. Opt for raw nuts and seeds or fruit.

Fresh bread means your low in nitrogen. Seek out some high protein foods such as fish, meat, nuts or beans

Fatty foods could mean you are low in calcium so keep your eyes peeled for broccoli, kale, cheese or sesame seeds

Salty foods means a deficiency in chloride. Eat fish or drink goat's milk to beat the craving

Remember too that many cravings can be triggered by dehydration so make sure you drink plenty of water. Take a look at our 7 day fitness program for sneaky tips on how to make sure you get your 8 glasses each day.

Delicious Photograph by rachel is... (Flickr)

2 June 2008

Lose The Fat Roll Above Your Jeans Part 2

Now you may be feeling it a bit in the stomach after yesterdays tummy tightening exercises (I really hope you had a go) but today we're going to keep up the intensity. I guarantee that if you do all 4 of these exercise at least 5 days this week, you will notice the difference after one week. What better guarantee could you ask for than that. Let's get started.

Crunch with twist

crunch with twist 1
crunch with twist 2

  • Lie face up with your knees bent and your feet flat
  • Cross your arms over your stomach
  • Pull in at the stomach to lift your shoulders off the ground
  • Reach your right arm forwards by contracting the right side of your stomach
  • Return to the centre position and then lower your shoulders back to the ground
  • Repeat for the opposite side
  • Alternate sides until you have completed 20 repetitions altogether

Double crunch

double crunch 1
double crunch 2

  • Lie on the floor with your hips and knees at 90 degree angles
  • Squeeze your stomach to lift your shoulders slightly off the ground
  • Now lift your shoulders further while at the same time bringing your knees towards your chest
  • Feel your whole abdominal area working
  • Return to the start position and repeat 15 repetitions

Cardio for today
Once you've warmed up, go straight to the highest level you finished on yesterday, keep this up for a minute and then lower the intensity each minute until you reach a low intensity to cool down. Then repeat the sequence.

Lose the Fat Roll Above Your Jeans - Part 1

Or as some say, lose the muffin top; Lose the beer belly; Lose the belly fat or the jelly belly...etc. Such lovely terms of endearment for something no one likes the look of. Whether you're trying to get rid of post pregnancy weight or years of indulgence, the fat on your tummy can seem a little tricky to get rid of.

Want to get rid of it? I'll show you two exercises to start doing today and you should do them every day to start getting toned up results. Say good bye to overhang.
Wikipedia defines a muffin top as follows:
"Muffin-top" is a term used to describe the phenomenon of overhanging flesh when it spills over the waistline of trousers or skirt in a manner that resembles the top of a muffin spilling over its paper casing."

But not so funny for anyone suffering from any unwanted wobbly bits in this area. So here's what to do to make sure that any muffins you eat don't turn into muffin top.

Side Plank

side plank to tone fat tummy

  • Lie on your side with the top half of your body propped up on your forearm
  • Lift your hips to create a straight line from your feet to your shoulders
  • Hold this position by tightening the whole of your abdominal area
  • Breath deeply as you hold and relax when you feel the position beginning to drop

  • Repeat for 5 holds on one side and then repeat on the other side

Pullover with crunch

pullover with crunch 1 to tone fat bellypullover with crunch 2 to tone fat belly

  • Lie face up with your knees bent and your feet flat
  • Hold a water bottle (full!) or some weights in your hands keeping your abs tight so your back doesn't arch
  • Lift the water bottle up above you and then squeeze your abs to lift your shoulders off the floor
  • Lower to the start position and repeat 15 times

As with the exercise I posted to help you get a small waist, keeping up with some high intensity cardio is also vital to accompany these moves.

Cardio - One challenge you could try today is to pick a piece of cardio equipment and warm up for 4 minutes before increasing the intensity every minute until you have to stop. Try cycling, treadmill or if you can't get to the gym, skipping will work well too. This is challenging but it is a really great way to boost your fitness fast.

Part 2 will be posted this later this week...if you can't wait till then, try some of the other fast burn, fast tone exercises included the 7 Day Fitness, Food and Relaxation Guide which I'm giving away this month on the blog. To get your copy, sign up on the form at the top of the page and the programme will be sent to you pronto.