Health & Fitness Blog

Should women lift heavy or light weights?

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Women  don’t like to lift heavy weights because they don’t want to get “big” or because their “legs get big really quickly with weights”.  As you will see this will not happen, plus by lifting heavy weights you will benefit from inches lost, improved energy, better sleep quality, increased sexual drive, stress dissipation, improved self esteem and sense of empowerment.  In fact you can do hundreds and hundreds of reps with light weight and end up with no curves, no definition, no cuts, and no inches lost to show for it.

The problem with light weights

Interestingly, 90% of female gym-goers are wanting fat loss, and yet they are training for endurance; in other words, they doing long, slow workouts with light-to-moderate resistance in order to be able to maintain a steady exertion for the duration of the workout.  If it is fat loss we want, why are we not training ourselves for it???

Hour-long toning classes require the participant complete hundreds of reps, with the goal of increasing weight lifted, all the while performing the same exercises.  Though incremental increases in weight are a great way to increase intensity, how much weight can you really add when you are expected to complete 100 reps with it?  Moreover, you are always doing the same exercises, class after class, to which we know that our bodies adapt more and respond less (i.e. burn less calories, build less muscle, release fewer amounts of fat-burning hormones) over time.

Furthermore, besides being a ridiculously-inefficient use of time, lifting with a weight light enough to complete sets of 30, 40 or even 50 reps elicits a very different hormonal response than that of heavier, more intense training.  Completing hundreds of reps using pink dumbbells essentially does the same thing as jogging in terms of the hormonal response.  It increases the stress hormones cortisol and epinephrine, but without the complementary release of fat-burning hormones like growth hormone, testosterone and even lactic acid.   The low-intensity resultant hormonal soup promotes muscle break-down and potentially even fat storing in the middle.  The only way to increase fat burning while building muscle is to lift heavy weights, preferably quickly and get more done in less time.

Why lift heavy

Contrary to what many trainers may say, bulking up does happen.  However, it occurs when muscle is built underneath layers of fat, without any attention paid to fat-burning.  Thus, the client appears larger.  By now we know that we must lift heavy weights to elicit any physique change, but we also need to burn fat simultaneously to lose inches and gain more definition.   There should be no fear of bulking up when fat-burning is being maximized.

Lifting heavy weights to the point of muscle failure, in general, enhances the release of testosterone, which when increased naturally through weight training will increase fat-burning in women (one of the reasons men are leaner than women).  Lifting heavy enough to generate a strong burning in the muscles enhances the release of human growth hormone, which also aids in fat burning and has anti-aging benefits.

Finally, adding lean muscle mass will enhance your fat burning potential while you are not working out.  A pound of muscle burns 15-30 calories per day at rest, while a pound of fat burns 2-5 calories; it’s a no-brainer of which composition is more desirable.  More muscle makes us more metabolically active. Furthermore, a pound of fat takes up more physical space than a pound of muscle.  So, burning fat and increasing lean muscle will NOT create bulk, but instead strip inches creating a lean, tight, defined physique, not to mention your clothes hanging off you.

How to build muscle, burn fat and lose inches

So how do you do this?  First, stop doing “toning” workouts. If you can complete 50 reps without stopping, you are not “toning,” you are wasting both muscle and time.  Train with heavy weights, choosing a weight that elicits failure by the last rep.  For example, if you are going to do 10 reps, choose a weight with which you can barely complete 10 reps, and definitely not 11.  Next, utilize short-duration workouts by training quickly, sticking to less than 60 seconds between sets.  Workout sessions should be no longer than 40 minutes in duration for best results.  Long rest periods between sets is power lifting and does not burn fat.  Finally, choose the right kinds of exercises and switch them up regularly.  Compound movements like pull-ups, squats, lunges, push-presses, rows and bench presses use multiple muscle groups across several joints.  The more muscle tissue recruited by an exercise, the larger the metabolic effect of the workout.  Change up your movements every couple weeks to keep the muscles responsive and prevent muscle adaptation (i.e. plateau).

Why your scale can’t be trusted

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We talk a lot about the need to stop playing the weight loss game here at G-Low Fitness Academy.  This is a game where the scale is used daily to judge the progress of a diet and exercise program. Measuring your weight alone tells you NOTHING about the quality of the weight you are losing.


How do you know if you are losing fat, water or worse muscle? If you are using just a scale you have no idea. Losing or gaining 5 pounds of fat over a weekend is physiologically impossible, but the scale has convinced many that it can happen. A significant portion of those playing the weight loss game believe the weight they lose or gain on a day to day basis is fat. And the popular media and weight loss experts do nothing to help them understand that not only is this not true, but it also is one of the major reasons they continue to suffer from yo-yo weight regain and can’t lose fat as they age.


Losing muscle


One of the single most important mind-shifts to break is how much you weigh. Because if you are losing weight indiscriminately and shedding muscle instead of fat (which almost all dieters are), your metabolism is going to be in BIG trouble over the long run.


Muscle is absolutely essential for maintaining basal metabolic rate. Basal metabolic rate (BMR) accounts for over two thirds of the calories burned at rest and more than half of BMR can be accounted for by the amount muscle a person has (1). It was shown as far back as 1988 in the February issue of the New England Journal of medicine that a slowed BMR is a predictor of fat gain over the course of a 2-year period. In this study those with the slowest metabolic rate had a 4-fold increase in gaining 15 or more pounds over the next 2 years. This explains why 66% of individuals going on weight loss diets end up fatter 2 years later compared to when they started the diet.


So, lose muscle and you lose your metabolic potential!! And guess what is a great formula for losing muscle? The “eat less, exercise more” model. A low calorie diet combined with aerobic exercise is a solution that may make you smaller  for a short period of time, but will end up making you either flabbier or fatter in the long run and in a terrible position to make losing weight again that much more difficult, because you lost muscle along the way.


A study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition in April 1999 showed just how damaging the standard weight loss model can be on metabolic efficiency. This study looked at a group of obese individuals who were put on a very low calorie diet and assigned to one of two exercise regimes. One group followed the popular aerobic exercise model (walking, biking, or jogging four times per week), while the second group did resistance training three times per week and no aerobic exercise.


At the end of the twelve-week study, both groups lost weight but the difference in muscle vs. fat loss was striking.  The aerobic group lost 37 pounds over the course of the study.  The resistance-training group lost 32 pounds. Of the 37 pounds lost by the aerobic group, 10 pounds of muscle was lost on average. In comparison, the resistance-training group lost fat exclusively and had no muscle loss. This had consequences on basal metabolic rate (BMR). At the conclusion of the study, the aerobic group was shown to be burning 210 fewer calories at rest per day while the resistance-training group actually increased their metabolism by 63 calories per day. No wonder yo-yo weight regain is such an issue.


So please, resist temptation and do not focus on whether you have gained or lost ½ a pound of weight in a day, and focus more on how you look in the mirror, and how your clothes are feeling on you.

Why Weight Loss Makes You Fat

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Many people are still unaware of the difference between weight loss and fat loss. They are not the same thing and understanding the difference is key in achieving and maintaining optimal body composition.  Our culture is obsessed with weight loss but this obsession may actually be making us fatter.  This is because the traditional weight loss approach of low calorie diets combined with hours of cardiovascular exercise burns fat, but also dramatically lowers muscle mass.

Muscle is the bodies number one metabolic organ.  The muscle mass of an individual determines 40% of his or her insulin sensitivity and 70-90% of a persons ability to remove glucose (sugar) from the blood. Low calorie diets deplete muscle tissue, significantly reduce metabolic rate (the rate that you burn calories) and makes it more and more difficult to lose weight after each month (6).

Adding exercise can help this decline. But, not all exercise is equal. resistance training, NOT aerobic exercise, helps maintain muscle mass and maintain a normal metabolic rate (BMR) BMR can be decreased by 10-20% during traditional weight loss diets this means that, a slower BMR is a predictor of future fat gain.  .

So, the lesson is to seek fat loss NOT weight loss. The more muscle you have, the more calories you will burn and the more likely those calories will come from fat.  Muscle loss means less fat burned during exercise and less fat burned after.

It is time we stop thinking about metabolism as something you “speed up” or “slow down”.  It is about efficiency. Adding extra muscle is more beneficial because it helps you burn a higher proportion of calories form fat.  Whether you are burning 2,000 calories a day or 2,030 per day does not mattter as much as the percent of fat you are burning.  Burning 60 percent glucose (sugar) and 40% fat vs 50% glucose (sugar) and 50% fat makes a huge difference whether your metabolism speeds up or not.

By playing the weight loss game and not trying to maintain muscle, the metabolism is less efficient when the diet ends. Post-diet, the body is more likely to store fat compared to building muscle and will pack on the fat pounds quicker then before because less muscle is present to stop this effect.  Many people who subscribe to this back and forth “dieting” end up with more fat and less muscle in the long run.  This is the chief reason it gets harder and harder to achieve the body of our younger days as we reach our thirties and beyond.  One study showed one more scary side effect of the “eat less, exercise more approach”. Testosterone levels dropped by a whopping 63%.

Whether you are male or female a drop in testosterone is the last thing on earth you want if you hope to maintain a lean physique.  Testosterone is a chief fat burning and muscle building hormone in both men and women and is a primary factor in decreasing belly fat and keeping the body firm.  A lack of testosterone is easy to detect whether someone is skinny or overweight because the body takes on a “mushy feeling” which is the key sign muscle is lacking. To lose fat takes a different approach.  Here are 3 quick steps to burning fat NOT muscle, turning weight loss into fat loss and regaining a tight body and healthy metabolism. There are more, but get these three things right and you will restore metabolic function within a 3 to 6 month period.

1. Eat more not less.  Eat more of the right foods more often. Eat foods that are more filling and change the hormones towards fat burning and muscle building (which means they control hunger, cravings and energy and result in hormonal balance and less calories eaten without trying).  This means 80-90% of your food should be protein and vegetables with the remaining 10-20% being fruits, dairy, and grain in that order.

2. Skip the treadmill and hit the weights. Heavy weight training elevates testosterone levels and helps regain the muscle mass that many people have lost over the years.  This is the quickest way to tighten the body.

3. Address your estrogen to progesterone ratio.  If you are someone who stores fat in your lower body and/or breasts, your estrogen to progesterone ratio may be elevated, effecting your ability to burn fat.  In order to lower estrogen relative to progesterone, increase foods that help detox estrogen like cruciferous veggies and green tea.  Limit non-organic coffee (or cut coffee out altogether!), limit your exposure to pesticides by incorporating more organic foods and avoid drinking out of plastic bottles if possible. Also, high cortisol levels from stress may impact this ratio also, so try to lower cortisol by walking, doing restorative activities like yoga and Tai Chi, and having quiet time to destress. Implementing high intensity exercise like weight-training and HIIT can help lower cortisol over time, as well as increasing testosterone, a fat-burning/muscle-building hormone that women need to help burn fat.

Why Long Cardio Makes You Fat!!

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Your consistent cardio efforts are not bringing the desired results. The fat still remains where it was when you had started out.  On the contrary the fat percentage has gone up.


Excessive cardio increases stress hormones and down regulates the growth hormone and testosterone, that preserves muscle. And these elevated stress hormones can make you insulin resistant, which eventually lead to overeating especially insulin resistance foods such as sugars and starches


When you are insulin resistant, you body does not hear the use insulin properly to bring blood sugar levels.  Also instead of the sugar going to the muscles to be used for energy, it goes into fat cells instead, which then makes the cells grow bigger and makes you fatter!!


To give you an example, observe closely the bodies of a distance runners/joggers and a sprinters. Many joggers and cyclists are not really lean. They may look slender because they have little muscle mass, but their body fat percentages are often surprisingly high. In contrast, sprinters, thanks to the high percentage of human growth hormone and testosterone level, they are lean and muscular with low body fat percentages.



So the moral of the story is stay away from long cardio machines such as the treadmill, stepper, cross trainer UNLESS you are going to do interval training, where you mix short, sprint segments, with rest and recovery sessions.  If you want to know more information about how to do this properly then please ask.

*Special Offer* – FREE 4 Week Nutrition Plan worth £60

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I have been really pleased with the effort everyone has put in at Boot Camp this year and I have been very impressed by the results.


Some of which you can see here…


I care about your goals as much as you do and I take great pride in helping you make them goals become reality.


BUT, I’m always looking to improve my service and help people achieve a greater outcome.


So I am running an offer during August that will help maximise your weight and inch loss results….


** Anyone who signs up to a 4 week block booking at Morning or Evening Boot Camp during August will receive a FREE 4 week Nutrition Plan with Shopping List – worth £60**


This offer comes at the right time, probably just before or after your summer holiday when you need to lose a few lbs or drop a dress size! The nutrition plan lays out every meal so you don’t need to worry about what you can and can’t have. All you have to do is take the shopping list to the supermarket, buy the ingredients and start cooking the healthy, nutritious meals!


This nutrition plan will really take your results to the next level!


To take advantage of the offer, call or text me on 07875 548 880 to secure your place on a 4 week block booking. Don’t hesitate, I’m expecting a big response 🙂


For more details about boot camp click here


Hope to see you sometime during August.





Spartacus Workout

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The Spartacus Workout consists of 10 exercises that collectively work every part of your body. Each exercise a 60-second station so you can challenge your heart and lungs as well as your muscles. The final product is a high-intensity circuit designed to torch fat, define your chest, abs, and arms, and send your fitness level soaring. You’ll sculpt a lean, athletic-looking body—and be in the best shape of your life.


Perform 1 set of each exercise in succession. Each station lasts 60 seconds. Do as many reps as you can (with perfect technique) in that time, and then move on to the next station. Give yourself 15 seconds to move between stations, and rest for 2 minutes after you’ve completed 1 circuit of all 10 exercises. Then repeat twice. If you can’t go the entire minute, rest a few seconds and then resume until your time at that station is up. Use a weight that’s challenging for 15 to 20 reps.


Station 1

Dumbbell  Squat
With both hands, grab one end of a dumbbell to hold it vertically in front of your chest, and stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width [A]. Keeping your back naturally arched, push your hips back, bend your knees, and lower your body until the tops of your thighs are at least parallel to the floor [B]. Pause, and push yourself up to the starting position. If that’s too hard, do a body-weight squat instead.

Station 2

Hill Climbs
Get into a pushup position with your arms completely straight. Your body should form a straight line from your head to your ankles [A]. Without allowing your lower-back posture to change, lift your right foot off the floor and slowly move your right knee toward your chest [B]. Return to the starting position, and repeat with your left leg. Alternate back and forth for the duration of the set.

Station 3

Dumbbell Swing
Hold a dumbbell at arm’s length in front of your waist. Without rounding your lower back, bend at your hips and knees and swing the dumbbell between your legs [A]. Keeping your arm straight, thrust your hips forward and swing the dumbbell to shoulder level as you rise to a standing position [B]. Swing the weight back and forth. At the 30-second mark, switch arms

Station 4

T-Press Up
Grab a pair of dumbbells and get into a pushup position, your arms straight [A]. Bend your elbows and lower your body until your chest nearly touches the floor [B]. As you push yourself back up, lift your right hand and rotate the right side of your body as you raise the dumbbell straight up over your shoulder until your body forms a T [C]. Reverse the move and repeat, this time rotating your left side.

Station 5

Plyometric Split Squat
Stand in a staggered stance with your feet 2 to 3 feet apart, your right foot in front of your left. Keeping your torso upright, bend your legs and lower your body into a lunge [A]. Now jump with enough force to propel both feet off the floor [B]. While you’re in the air, scissor-kick your legs so you land with your left leg forward. Repeat, alternating your forward leg for the duration of the set.

Station 6

Bent Over Row
Grab a pair of dumbbells, bend at your hips (don’t round your lower back), and lower your torso until it’s nearly parallel to the floor. Let the dumbbells hang at arm’s length [A]. Without moving your torso, row the weights upward by raising your upper arms, bending your elbows, and squeezing your shoulder blades together [B]. Pause, lower the dumbbells, and repeat.

Station 7

Dumbbell Side Lunge
Hold a pair of dumbbells at arm’s length at your sides [A]. Take a big step to your left and lower your body by pushing your hips backward and bending your left knee. As you lower your body, bend forward at your hips and touch the dumbbells to the floor [B]. Repeat for 30 seconds, and then switch to your right leg. If the exercise is too hard, do the move without the dumbbells; just reach for the floor with your hands.

Station 8

Plank Row
Grab a pair of  dumbbells and assume a pushup position, your arms straight [A]. Keeping your core stiff, row the dumbbell in your right hand to the side of your chest, bending your arm as you pull it upward [B]. Pause, and then quickly lower the dumbbell. Repeat with your left arm.

Station 9

Rotational Lunge
Grab a dumbbell and hold it horizontally by its ends, just under your chin [A]. Step forward with your right foot and lower your body into a lunge. As you lunge, rotate your upper body to the right [B]. Return to the starting position, and repeat with your left leg. Alternate left and right until your 60 seconds are up. If the exercise is too hard, perform the movement without the dumbbell.

Station 10

Dumbbell Push Press
Stand holding a pair of dumbbells just outside your shoulders, with your arms bent and palms facing each other. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent [A]. Dip your knees [B], and then explosively push up with your legs as you press the weights straight over your shoulders [C]. Lower the dumbbells back to the starting position and repeat.


**Boot Camp Offer** Refer a Friend – 1 FREE Session

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Your friend must sign up for 4 weeks.

Your free session will be added to the end of your four week block booking.

All that you have to do is bring a friend to any boot camp session to take advantage of this offer. Remember, your friend must make a 4 week block booking your free session can be redeemed.

**Boot Camp Offer** Early Bird Catches the Worm

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Boot Camp Special Offer – Early Bird Catches the Worm!

 Book in advance to save £££.

Book 3 months and receive 10% discount (saving £7.50)

Book 6 months and receive 15% discount (saving £22.50)

Book 12 months and receive 20% discount (saving £60.00)


Time Period

**Boot Camp Offer** Check in on facebook and get money off your next block booking!

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For every session that you ‘Check In’ on facebook you receive £1 off your next 4 week course! So if you check in at all 8 sessions, you get £8 off your next month!

To check in, go to your Facebook App on your phone and click on the ‘Places’ icon (circled to the right). Once it has found your location enter a comment about ‘G-Low Fitness Academy’ to claim £1 off your next session.

My Top 7 Tips for shifting those last few pounds…

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Tip 1 – Build a Little Bit of Muscle

You metabolic rate is the speed that you burn calories. The higher you can get your metabolic rate, the more body fat you will burn.

And, you can increase your metabolic rate quite a lot by increasing your muscle mass.

In real simple terms… more muscle = more fat burned

Don’t worry though, it doesn’t mean you have to look like a body builder, you can gain an extra couple of kilograms of muscle without looking bulky; just nice and toned.

You should concentrate on performing compound exercises like squats, lunges and press ups which will help build muscle and burn fat at the same time!

Tip 2 – Don’t Starve Yourself

This is the worst thing you can do because if you don’t get enough energy from food your body will go into starvation mode. When your body goes into starvation mode it protects its fat stores, so instead of burning your body fat, your body will start to use muscle to get the calories it needs to function. This leads to a loss of muscle mass, which slows down your metabolism and will slow your weight loss down.

Here’s a healthy 1 day meal schedule from my ‘Guaranteed Body Fat Reduction Plan’ to show you that you don’t have to starve yourself

Pre-Breakfast, Glass of water, multi-vitamin, 2 x krill oil capsules.

Breakfast, natural yogurt, blueberries, blackberries, and walnuts. Or egg white omelets with plenty of vegetables.

Snack, Fruit, dark in colour best choice, again blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, nuts and fruit.
Lunch, Chicken salad, 1x chicken breast, cherry tomatoes, watercress, spinach leaves, radishes.
Snack, pumpkin seeds or nuts.
Bootcamp session.
Post workout, 1 scoop of whey protein.
Dinner, Pork, broccoli, parsnip mash with watercress and red onion.


Tip 3 – Always Eat Breakfast

Eating breakfast can reduce hunger throughout the day and help make better choices for lunch and dinner. If you are starving by the time lunch comes, you are more likely to grab the quickest/easiest thing regardless of whether it’s healthy or not and probably eat more than you normally would. So the calories you think that you are saving by skipping breakfast, you are probably consuming at other meals.

A favourite breakfast of mine is natural yogurt mixed with fresh berries like blueberries, raspberries, strawberries and blackberries.

Tip 4 – Cut Out Alcohol

Drinking alcohol doesn’t slow down your metabolism directly, but it can have a knock on effect and damage your body’s ability to burn fat. Your body cannot burn alcohol in its natural form, so your body converts the alcohol into something called acetaldehyde in your liver. When this happens your body burns the acetaldehyde first before it burns off calories from other things like carbohydrates, fats and proteins. This is what causes most drinkers to gain weight.

Plus there’s the fact that alcohol contains a large amount of unwanted calories. Just look at these popular drinks below…

Wine contains about 640 calories per bottle.
Lager contains about 230 calories per pint.

I bet a lot people reading this could consume nearly their full recommended daily allowance of calories in one drinking session!

Just think, if you were to have 5 pints of lager you will consume nearly 1000 calories – all of which will need to be burned off before your body starts use fat as energy again.

So next time you open a bottle of wine think twice about finishing the bottle off!

Tip 5 – Use Supplements

If your average day is anything like mine you will be on the go most of the day. Your workload puts a big demand on your body, and if that’s not enough, we live in an environment with a lot of pollution and chemical toxins that cause damage to our bodies.

Plus there’s the fact that foods now aren’t as good quality as they used to be. A lot of farmed foods are grown in depleted soil which means they have less nutrients and minerals. Plus they are sprayed with pesticides and other chemicals that reduce the quality even more!

This is when supplements can help out. Notice I said ‘help out’, you shouldn’t rely on supplements only, they need to be taken in line with a healthy diet. They should be used to top up the nutrients that you are lacking through your diet, not a replacement!

These are the supplements I recommend:

Multi Vitamins – A good multi-vitamin contains selenium, zinc, manganese, vitamin A,D,E and B6. When we are detoxing our liver and losing body fat our bodies release huge amounts of toxins into our body stream. This multivitamin will help support the detox of your body and help you lose more body fat.


Omega 3 Krill Oil – 80% of us are omega 3 deficient and the omega 3 supplies our body with essential fatty acids which can help stop our bodies holding onto fat around our stomach and hips. Krill oil is a good choice as its 100% pure. It’s a little expensive but will last a while and you would have to take 40 seven seas fish oil tablets a day to equal 2 teaspoons of krill oil.

Tip 6 – Reduce Carbohydrate Intake

If you reduce your carbohydrate intake it will help to control your body’s insulin levels and stop your body holding onto its fat stores.

Let me tell you a little bit about insulin and what it does…..

Insulin is a hormone that your body releases to control blood sugar levels. When we eat foods like carbohydrates, they are digested and are broken down into glucose (a simple sugar that is the body’s main source of energy). Insulin then transports the glucose into the bloodstream to supply your muscles with energy.

Insulin can only transport a certain amount of sugar into the bloodstream so if we consume too many carbohydrates (sugars) the insulin leaves them behind and they are stored in our body as fat.

So in simple terms – Too many carbohydrates = increase in body fat.

Reduce the amount of carbs in your diet to get rid of those last few pounds that your body is holding on to!



Tip 7 – Drink Teapigs Matcha Green Tea

more info coming soon

  • Timetable & Booking


    Date: Monday & Friday
    Time: 06:00 – 06:45
    Venue: Seaham Youth Centre (Strangford Road, Seaham, SR7 8QE)
    Price: £30 for 4 week block booking / £85 for 12 week block booking (saving £5) / £160 for 24 week block booking (saving £20)

    Morning Boot Camp – Seaham


    Date: Tuesday & Thursday
    Time: 18:30 – 19:30
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