I'm really excited to have been asked to feature in a new book on weight loss and fitness! I'll keep you posted on when sociaverse release the book, but until then, here's a full copy of the interview questions and the answers I gave.
Hopefully there will be some useful info in there for you too...
1. What is the best way to lose fat?
Without a doubt the best way to lose fat is to remove as much sugar as possible from your diet! That means cutting out sweets, chocolate, cakes, fizzy drinks, fruit juice and everything else that’s full of sugar.
Your body doesn't need it and it’s stopping you losing weight.
2. I have an event coming up in 2 months. What’s my best strategy for getting in better shape by then?
Your best strategy will be to combine good quality food with a good quality exercise routine. Basically you’ll be trying to eat fresh, natural, healthy food whilst challenging yourself physically at least three times per week. No fad diets, no ‘miracle cures’, just hard work and common sense.
3. Is walking or running better for fat loss?
Technically running burns more calories, so I’ll say running. However, what’s most important with any exercise is that you can regularly repeat it. So if you don’t like running, or you have bad knees, then stick to walking.
4. Should I do cardio or weight training?
Whilst cardio can be great, I personally recommend weight training as your main focus. With weight training you’ll be burning calories in the session as well as after the session whilst your muscles recover. You can always add in extra sessions of light cardio if you want the extra challenge each week.
5. What are your recommended workouts for fast results?
I LOVE workouts that mix up sets, reps and intensity. I’ll usually get my clients warmed up then perform 2-3 heavy sets of 4-6 squats. I’ll then get them doing some circuits of three or four exercises. So for example that might mean lunges, dumbbell overhead presses, kettlebell swings and cable rows. I’ll get them performing about 15 repetitions of each exercise back to back with no rest. I might then finish the session off with some sprints or burpees! The variety really forces your body to adapt and change.
6. How can I speed up my recovery period?
Three simple things make a world of difference. Firstly you’ll need to make sure you get at least 8 hours sleep each night. This allows your body to properly rest, repair and rebuild itself. Secondly you’ll want to make sure your nutrition is good. Fresh meats and vegetables will help you recover much better than coffee and a cake! Lastly I’d recommend some gentle foam rolling and stretching, it really helps to relax your muscles and improve your blood flow.
7. How often should I workout?
This is tough question because it’s really specific to you as an individual. Personally I’d say start with twice per week and see how you feel. If you feel good after a few weeks then try three sessions per week. Always make sure you’re recovering well between your sessions, sometimes less is more.
8. How do I get a flat stomach?
Weight loss and Stomach Vacuum Exercises! (Don't worry I'll explain below) Unfortunately there’s no way to specifically target the fat around your stomach, it will come off as you lose weight and nothing you can do will make that happen differently.
However, what you can do is train your Transverse Abdominus (TVA for short) which is a deeper core muscle that acts as your body’s own 'weight belt' and naturally draws your stomach in. I recommend stomach vacuums as an exercise for this. Basically you'll breathe in as you expand your belly, then breathe out as you suck your belly in and hold nice and tight. I recommend five holds of 5 to 10 seconds for beginners. Have a quick look on Google for a demonstration.
9. How do I get rid of flabby arms?
As with your stomach, you can’t specifically target fat in any one area, so the fat on your arms will come off as you lose weight.
Again, though, what you can do is train your arm muscles to add a bit of definition to your arms. Some simple tricep and bicep exercises will help with this.
10. What short workouts can I do between work?
I’d say go for some High Intensity Circuits. High intensity means you'll be aiming to get your heart rate above 80% of maximum. (You shouldn't be able to talk!) I recommend picking 4 of 5 tough exercises and performing them back to back with little or no rest to form 1 round. For your full workout I’d suggest you complete 3 to 5 rounds with about 60 seconds recovery in between. This type of high intensity training is great because it challenges your muscles as well as your heart and lungs, meaning you’ll burn through calories! It's also really quick, so you can fit in a great workout even if you've only got half an hour.
11. What is the best diet to follow?
The ‘No-Diet’ diet. Honestly the most important thing to learn about achieving and staying at a healthy weight is that DIETS DO NOT WORK IN THE LONG TERM. Most people lose loads of weight then rebound and put it all back on.
What you need is a lifestyle change that involves common sense and the 80/20 rule. Basically this means 80% of the stuff you eat should be good quality food. So 80% will be fresh vegetables, meat, eggs, nuts, seeds, pulses and all the stuff we know are good for us. The other 20% can be whatever you want it to be.
The reason most diets fail in the long term is because they’re just not sustainable. They remove too much food or they’re too restrictive. The 80/20 rule works because it’s sustainable long term. You’ll look better, feel better, lose weight and yet still be allowed to have a slice of cake a couple of times a week!
12. Do I need to take dietary supplements?
To cut a long story short, NO. They’re mainly just expensive wastes of money. A good nutrition plan full of fresh vegetables should give you everything you need.
The only thing I might recommend is Fish oil for your Omega 3’s, especially if you’re vegetarian or vegan.
13. What tips do you have for healthy food on the go?
Be prepared. I always advise my clients to prepare lots of healthy food in one go. So if they’re making a tuna and vegetable salad, I tell them to make three times the amount and store it in the fridge. That way they can grab a healthy snack to take with them any time they go out.
14. Who is your ideal client to work with?
When I say I’m a Strength & Conditioning Coach people tend to assume that I only work with men or that I only work with athletes. That is completely false.
I actually work with a huge range of both men and women from the ages of 16 through 60. My ideal client is simply someone who works hard, who listens to the advice I give them and who comes to every session with a good attitude.
15. What are the main benefits of working with a personal trainer?
I could go on for days. First and foremost it means you’ve got someone there to teach you correct form and technique, which are the foundations of an effective workout. You’ve also got someone to design programmes for you and give you specific advice about the types of exercise and food that suit you as an individual.
Most importantly, though, is that you’ve got someone to motivate you and keep you moving towards your goals. We all have bad days and we all have times that we feel like giving up, but a good personal trainer or coach will help you overcome those feelings and push you to achieve your dreams.
End of Interview
Hope there were some useful tips in there folks. If you've got any of your own questions feel free to send them to me, firstname.lastname@example.org
Or, leave your questions and thoughts in the comments section below.