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  • Why you (might) need Coaching.

    Hi all, Today's topic is one I've often been asked throughout my Fitness career. This one may also seem counter-productive as I am after all a Coach applying myself the question: do we really need a coach or personal trainer? To put it simply or in a word, it depends. I've thought long and hard about this one and can honestly say it is a difficult one to answer as it is very much context dependent. So let's also be real for a second, perhaps not absolutely everyone can or is in a financial position to hire a fitness professional simply to lose weight right? It's probably no secret that some of the most elite in the industry will also charge premium rates for their services deterring some individuals to continue trying to successfully or in most cases unsuccessfully lose weight on their own. How often are we presented with weight management solutions that we know work however we always end up stopping ourselves with: "sorry I'm real busy atm", "Money's a bit tight right now" or the most infamous "let me get back to you when I'm ready?". If you're reading this chances are you've tried just about everything under the sun including social media, netflix documentaries all the whilst forking out hundreds if not thousands of $$ just to unsuccessfully delay the inevitable or get nowhere. Let me tell you this is not what the Fitness Lifestyle should be about nor should the journey of getting there be non-achievable. Now with some minor context there are a LOT of merits in enlisting the aid of certain professional individual(s) whom understand both the 'in's & outs' of dieting and the importance of establishing healthy internal & external relations. So without further adieu, I've boiled down 6 simple reasons on why you (might) need Coaching. 1. Breaking the Diet Train. Now, this probably isn't your first 'dieting' rodeo. Nor should it be according to a past survey conducted by the D.A.A. (Dietitions Association of Australia) finding close to half (~46%) of Australian adults attempting multiple bouts of dieting in the past few years[1]. Many of these 'diet' attempts for most individuals will usually consist of quick-fixes, fad diets to food & alcohol restrictions for brief periods of time. Whilst 'dieting' is more common in obese or overweight individuals, dieting in normal-weight groups i.e. adolescent females & males is also on the rise[2]. Whether if one perceives themselves as 'fat', overweight to weight-specific sports, eager to establish a professional online image or if one is otherwise in fact overweight. The role of psychological body image and disordered eating tends to play a key pivotal role behind most individuals looking to lose weight in the first place[3,4,5]. We now know that fat gain is strongly predicted by the number of weight loss & weight gain cycles[6]. According to research, there may be a correlation between dieting frequency & bf% gain per dieting period throughout the course of someone's life. In other words most individuals attempting to diet for a certain weight, gain more fat through the course of their life compared to those whom simply don't. Most of the phenomena is largely attributed to the body's awakening 'self defense mechanism'[7]. Much of the 'Physiological' changes that typically occur when dieting will include: 👉 decreased metabolic rate 👉 decline in total daily energy expenditure (TDEE) 👉 decreased basal or resting metabolic rate (BMR) 👉 decreased non-exercise adaptive thermogenesis (NEAT) 👉 decreased physical exercise & daily activity 👉 decreased fat oxidation & fat loss 👉 hormonal adaptations 👉 increased hunger signals etc[8] One way to start promoting a positive body image and incorporate healthy eating habits can be from seeking an industry qualified health professional. Enlisting the aid of an industry qualified professional whom specializes in nutrition i.e. Dietitian or Sports Nutrition will likely be of great benefit to begin breaking the constant 'dieting' trend[9]. 2. Accountability. We know exercise much like diet is an important component for successful weight management. In today's society various weight management programs are easily accessible to the general public not just in a face-to-face manner but also online. Many of these online exercise avenues are proving to be not only a great supplement to face-to-face sessions but even as a great alternative to most individuals in amongst an ongoing pandemic. Now let's ask the question; how far can one really go with their fitness goals without paying a single cent? Some of you at some point in time will no doubt have acquired free resource manuals. Whether it be educational, self-help ebooks or a sample exercise overview. Whilst many of these may help individuals initially get motivated and excited, much of the novelty soon begins to fade. One key element where most individuals generally falter in the long run from 'free' is staying accountable. Non-accountability or rather the lack of personal responsibility from 'free' provides next to little financial incentive for individuals to adhere to an exercise program long term[10,11]. In today's age, various web-based services aka programs & coaching help facilitate greater initial weight loss and engagement via online support[12]. Weight management intervention programs delivered in online format are also shown to not only be feasible in improving one's body image but help reduce disordered eating habits[13]. Based on the known number of the effectiveness of personal training in the scientific literature, regular intervention 'meetings', exercising regularly, targeted discussions, problem solving are all added benefits in weight relapse prevention & keeping you on track[14]. 3. Direction. Now a good Coach (not to be confused with seated comfort & travel) is an individual whom not only understands the 'in's & out's of individual-specific goals, but how to apply them to any given individual(s). In sports, coach(s) are heavily involved in the directing, instructing and training of daily operations for a specific sports team or individual. In fitness centers Personal Trainers are more generally involved in the daily operations of assisting the general public reach their fitness goals. Now you're probably wondering what exactly is the difference between the two? On the context of weight management a Coach or PT may likely offer similar modes of intervention methods i.e. Resistance Training exercise. A key difference between a Coach and Personal Trainer however whilst vastly similar is where a PT specializes in certain areas of earned expertise with clientele i.e. weight loss, coaches will help direct an individual i.e. athlete on a more personal level. Personal Trainers much like Coaches can also be teachers. Where Teaching contains ascending levels of rank i.e. Teacher > Assistant > Lecturer > Professor. Coaches or Personal Trainers also contain their own level of hierarchy i.e. Instructor > Personal Trainer > Advanced PT > PHD etc. For most industry qualified professionals, their knowledge translation will greatly stem from their respective certification, networking prowess, fitness industry, mass media etc. In most cases industry specialists holding lower levels of education are often known to refer to the use of mass media sources in providing basic advice[15]. Industry specialists with higher levels of education regularly stay up to date in the latest evidence-based trends & resources through scientific journals[16]. Coaches & Trainers are generally great active listeners, a critical & required component to help facilitate transformations including assessing one's personal goals, past experience, time frame(s) & limitations[45,46] Having said that whether you enlist in the services of a fitness professional with basic gender-neutral health advice or a more specialized & tailored focus, being pointed in the right direction for achieving your fitness goals is essential. 4. Managing YOU. The Role of both Exercise and Physical Activity for Weight Loss and maintenance is still considered heavily significant based on the current literature. It's been shown Weight loss from specifically tailored exercise programs in most overweight & obese individuals greatly increases the overall likelihood for significant results[17]. Implementing caloric restriction protocols aka 'diets' can also have a considerable effect on weight loss when compared to exercise alone[18]. In comparison, when combining caloric restriction and resistance training can lead to significant weight loss and other improved health benefits including: 👉 Cardiovascular disease 👉 Type2 Diabetes 👉 Cardiovascular fitness 👉 Improved Respiratory[19,20] etc. Part of the lack of resulted outcome and where most individual's tend to go wrong is managing their own expectations. And what better time to make those habit changes or seek weight loss than New Years. One of the most popular new year resolutions there is a focus on improving one's own physical health, mental well-being and eating habits. Individuals wanting to make a change in their lives will most often start at an important milestone date due to the "fresh-start effect". For most people this can be anywhere from the beginning of the day, week *insert diet starts monday* to perhaps the biggest date of all, New Years. New Years is often a critical period when an overwhelming majority of overly-motivated women revisit their current weight standing and enter a weight loss program[21]. Unfortunately most are unsuccessful due to underlying mechanisms behind expected resolution and eventual outcome. During most holiday seasons household expenditure increases by roughly 15% alongside increased calorie intake consumption of higher processed energy dense foods[22,23,24]. These small yet yearly incremental bouts of weight gain cycles (approx 2-4kg) often contributes to a larger obesity pattern when left untreated[25]. When it comes to managing expectation vs reality, there is no one single method for individuals to be 💯% satisfied with their own fitness endeavors[26]. As far as identifying the relationship between the hopes of New Year’s resolutions (weight loss) to the most common eventual grim outcome (weight gain), some evidence suggests the weight loss approach is relative to the rate of weight accumulation[27]. In other words, most individuals having accumulated a gross amount of weight quickly will more-so favor an 'aggressive' weight loss approach as opposed to a more conservative one. A seasonal metabolic risk may also apply and vary based on the starting point of most of the new year 'resolutioners', the aggressiveness of their approach, their environmental support system etc[28]. Whilst new year resolutions have grown in popularity, there is still limited knowledge on the topic. A past study looking at the relationship between resolutions and success rates found individuals using an approach-oriented method as opposed to avoidance-oriented were more successful at maintaining their resolutions[44]. Note: approach-oriented goals where individuals are positively motivated to look good and receive favorable judgment from others. avoidance-oriented goals where individuals are negatively motivated to try to avoid failure and avoid looking incompetent. This study further reveals that New Year’s resolutions with the right methodology can have lasting effects in conjunction with scheduled frequent follow-ups at a 6 month, 1-2 year follow-up mark. Having an external support system to tread the various phases of engagement, goal alignment, short term & long-term dietary intervention can be essential for long-term maintenance for new dietary habits. 5. Covibesity. The war on obesity is rapidly changing. In the last century the shift from what we eat, how much we eat & drink, household behaviors to energy in-balance has changed dramatically. In the last 50 years alone technology has advanced allowing companies to cheaply process most foods i.e. carbohydrates & dietary fats in the globalization for food supply[29]. Much of the war on obesity is still being blamed on fatty, increases in sweet or highly ultra-processed and preservation of cheaper higher caloric food alternatives. Given the dominance of a large complex chain of food handling from farm to consumer, processing of foods may be problematic due to the increased likelihood of induced overeating from ‘empty calories’[30]. The return to consuming basic commodities and wholesome food sources i.e. fruits, vegetables, poultry, lean meat, no ultra-processed foods (or very limited use of such foods) are often highly encouraged as earlier ways of obtaining food and preparing it[31]. However a recent pandemic has caused significant changes in just about everyday life impacting individuals on a global scale in accordance with weight management. Enter the birth of the latest addition to the coronavirus family, 'COVID-19'. The latest in viral outbreaks to not only affect individuals already struggling with their health & fitness, but further impacting those suffering from obesity. In a pre-pandemic world, obese individuals whom spent prolonged periods of time in any one location were more likely to graze or snack frequently[32]. This was of great concern for most stay-at-home or part-time working occupants, as minors with Healthy and Active adult role models were identified as being up to 75% less likely to be obese according to research[33]. March 11th 2020 was marked as the day the World Health Organization (WHO) officially announced to the world of the COVID-19 pandemic involving various physical health complications including lung injury and acute respiratory distress syndrome. However the pandemic not only effects the physical but is observed to impact various psychological components and mechanisms including: 👉 fear of catching the virus 👉 worrying about family & social isolation 👉 financial pressure 👉 rumors & misinformation 👉 the need to activate brain reward centers via food 👉 stress-induced eating & anxiety 👉 sleep disruption 👉 less tendency for physical activity [34] In a period where some if not most individuals are now confined to their homes, the need to mitigate some of the substantial or permanent weight gain is becoming essential due to extended periods of home confinement[35]. In some countries with higher lockdown measures, prevalent weight gain is often observed due to excess eating & meal frequency[36]. Some of the most common risk factors for weight gain during covid self-quarantine & lockdown include: 🙅‍♂️ inadequate sleep 🙅‍♂️ snacking after dinner 🙅‍♂️ lack of dietary restraint 🙅‍♂️ increased fast food consumption 🙅‍♂️ excess alcohol consumption 🙅‍♂️ eating in response to stress 🙅‍♂️ reduced physical activity 🙅‍♂️ increased depression [37,38,39] Whilst the various health & immune complications stemming from the virus has already claimed the lives of close to ~2 million with ~51 million recovering from the affected ~91 million[40]. Those left in a current covid aftermath are left to overcome the impact of self-quarantine and behaviors associated with further weight gain. Many of the weight gain predictors are closely tied to the obesity epidemic, 'covibesity' can be easily modifiable to one's individual situation to stave off the unnecessary weight gain. Studies looking at incorporating daily exercise activity, exercise programs, meal deliveries helped reduce weight gain whilst identifying 'snacking' as a risk factor for weight gain[41,42]. The need for dietary and physical activity guideline measures & intervention to prevent weight gain during the period of self-isolation is now more essential than ever. Targeting those with overweight and obesity (high risk) with physical & nutritional education is one sure way to not just win one battle against Covid but also win the battle with obesity in the long run[43]. 6. Additionals. Us physicians recognize that things have a tendency for change. From our environment, the biological (metabolism), behavior patterns, experiences & knowledge are all in constant flux. Preparing pathways of success for the future for any individual is vital to setup and maintain healthy relations & habits. Some individuals may taper off from training or fall back into regular old eating habits. This is when follow-up Training, Nutritional or Coaching consultations (in person or online) are great options to keep you in the right Direction, added re-assurance and structure whilst holding you accountable. For those whom are somewhat on the right track with training or diet but need further clarity, follow-up consultations are often good opportunities to ensure you are in an optimal position to reach any current unreachable goals or new ones. These additional avenues i.e. program updates often provide further personalization, create further structure, direct support and progressive results for your journey. The duration of additional coaching services varies and is very individual often ranging from 6-12 weeks up to 20 weeks. Note: an ideal minimum of 6-12 months is often encouraged to ensure long term results. Some additional services & add-ons I personally offer at The Lab PT include: 👇 1 on 1 Personal Training Personalized Resistance Training Programs, Tutorials & Exercise Videos, Cardio Protocols (optional) Nutrition | Macro Coaching Dieting protocols Complete Contest Prep (Reverse or Recovery Diet inc.) 6, 8, 12 Week Online Challenges + Private Fb Groups Educated Dieting, eBooks, Exit Strategy etc. Most individuals having completed a recent 'diet' or online program will also likely benefit from an Exit strategy. An often overlooked resource becoming more valuable to help improve the likelihood for individuals to successfully maintain their results. Incorporating an Exit strategy is most often one of the best ways to avoid sudden spikes in: 👉 Weight | BF% gain 👉 Water retention | loss 👉 Muscle Atrophy (loss) 👉 Reversed Body re-composition For most individuals (if not 💯% in most cases) life happens. Thus having the added additional support from Exit Strategies to regular program updates, supplementary sessions to educational resources & tools can mean the difference between short term and long term success. Lastly, within our individual response & conduct also lies our own growth and freedom. Our duty as fitness professionals as always is to further aid your habitual response to certain influential episodes. Effective action always requires evidence-based & evaluated programs and policies. References: 1. 2. How dieting might make some fatter: modeling weight cycling toward obesity from a perspective of body composition autoregulation. 3. The Role of Body Image, Disordered Eating and Lifestyle on the Quality of Life in Lithuanian University Students 4. Dieting, body weight, body image and self-esteem in young women: doctors' dilemmas 5. Relationship between Body Image and Body Weight Control in Overweight ≥55-Year-Old Adults: A Systematic Review 6. Changes in Diet and Lifestyle and Long-Term Weight Gain in Women and Men 7. The compelling link between physical activity and the body's defense system 8. How dieting makes the lean fatter: from a perspective of body composition autoregulation through adipostats and proteinstats awaiting discovery 9. Effectiveness of Dietetic Consultations in Primary Health Care: A Systematic Review of Randomized Controlled Trials 10. Effects of a personal trainer and financial incentives on exercise adherence in overweight women in a behavioral weight loss program 11. Use of personal trainers and financial incentives to increase exercise in a behavioral weight-loss program 12. An 8-week web-based weight loss challenge with celebrity endorsement and enhanced social support: observational study 13. Promoting positive body image and intuitive eating in women with overweight and obesity via an online intervention: Results from a pilot feasibility study 14. The Effectiveness of Personal Training on Changing Attitudes Towards Physical Activity 15. Personal trainers’ health advice in the fitness gym space from a gender perspective 16. Knowledge translation to fitness trainers: A systematic review 17. The Role of Exercise and Physical Activity in Weight Loss and Maintenance 18. A meta-analysis of the past 25 years of weight loss research using diet, exercise or diet plus exercise intervention. 19. Reduction in obesity and related comorbid conditions after diet-induced weight loss or exercise-induced weight loss in men. 20. Physical activity, cardiorespiratory fitness, and exercise training in primary and secondary coronary prevention. 21. New Year’s Resolutions to Lose Weight – Dreams and Reality 22. New Year’s Res-Illusions: Food Shopping in the New Year Competes with Healthy Intentions. 23. Seasonal variation in food intake, physical activity, and body weight in a predominantly overweight population. 24. Daily, week-part, and holiday patterns in consumers' caloric intake. 25. A Prospective Study of Holiday Weight Gain. 26. What is a reasonable weight loss? Patients' expectations and evaluations of obesity treatment outcomes. 27. Effect of the Holiday Season on Weight Gain: A Narrative Review 28. Engagement in New Dietary Habits-Obese Women's Experiences from Participating in a 2-Year Diet Intervention 29. Dietary fats and the nutrition transition: New trends in the global diet. 30. NOW AND THEN: The Global Nutrition Transition: The Pandemic of Obesity in Developing Countries 31. The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals. 11 April 2006. Michael Pollan. 32. "Environmental and lifestyle influences on obesity.", J La State Med Soc. 2005 Jan;157 Spec No 1:S19-27. 33. Brigham and Women's Hospital & Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health: "Growing Up Today Study (GUTS).": 34. The mutual effects of COVID-19 and obesity 35. COVID-19-Related Home Confinement in Adults: Weight Gain Risks and Opportunities 36. WEIGHT GAIN IN CHILDREN DURING THE COVID-19 QUARANTINE PERIOD 37. Self-quarantine and weight gain related risk factors during the COVID-19 pandemic 38. Associations between Changes in Health Behaviours and Body Weight during the COVID-19 Quarantine in Lithuania: The Lithuanian COVIDiet Study 39. Weight Gain in a Sample of Patients Affected by Overweight/Obesity with and without a Psychiatric Diagnosis during the Covid-19 Lockdown 40. COVID-19 Data Repository by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University 41. Effect of lockdown for COVID-19 on self-reported body weight gain in a sample of obese patients 42. COVID-19-Related School Closings and Risk of Weight Gain Among Children 43. “Covibesity,” a new pandemic 44. A large-scale experiment on New Year’s resolutions: Approach-oriented goals are more successful than avoidance-oriented goals 45. The Application of Goal Setting to Sports by Edwin A. Locke University of Maryland Gary P. Latham University of Washington. 46. Christian Swann, Simon Rosenbaum, Alex Lawrence, Stewart A. Vella, Desmond McEwan & Panteleimon Ekkekakis (2020) Updating goal-setting theory in physical activity promotion: a critical conceptual review, Health Psychology Review:


    Do you have what it takes to take your TRAINING & NUTRITION to the next level? Perhaps you're one of the few who's dreamed of stepping on STAGE? Over the years I have helped prep an elite few of natural athletes whom have embarked on the ultimate fitness journey. From Bikini & Fitness models to Figure athletes. All wonderfully gracing the stage and walking away with successful placings! 🏆 Now whilst being 'competitive' is a journey in and of itself: 🛑 WARNING 🛑 Competing is NOT for those whom lack a basic understanding & foundation of general Fitness. To put it simply, you will NEED a good grasp with both your Training and Nutrition respectively to be successfully competitive. Contest Preparation is NOT a Fat loss solution to obesity or any previously diagnosed underlying issues. It is also generally NOT recommended to compete if you suffer from the following: 🛑 anxiety / depression 🛑 food eating disorder 🛑 anorexia / bulimia 🛑 training in-experience 🛑 injury / medical condition 🛑 obesity / overweight Now that we've got the obvious stuff out of the way, let me share something exciting with you. The competitive process is relatively simple. It is so simple that it is in fact the same process used for anyone looking to lose weight. So now you're probably more determined than ever to compete or know what it all entails? Read on for more on the Beautiful & challenging World of Competition Prep. 👇 TO COMPETE OR NOT TO COMPETE? Ok, so lets start with arguably the very first and most important step. At some point in time, you will personally have either asked the question or made the choice whether or not you'd like to compete? This is a personal choice and at the end of the day will ultimately come down to you. No-one can force this choice onto you just as well as no-one can take this decision away from you. It is your own personal right and the desire to want to be competitive should always come from within you. For those whom have made the choice, this is where your will and determination has likely driven you to do it. That being said, if truth be told anybody can choose to compete and just about anyone can grace the stage. How SUCCESSFUL one is will be largely dependent on their preparation, mindset & their reason to want to compete in the first place. Before we discuss the many pitfalls of competing (and there are some), one must understand their reason as to WHY they want to compete in the first place. Perhaps you've been training for years on end & looking for a new challenge? Maybe you're determined to grace the stage and showcase all your hard efforts in and out of the gym? Or perhaps you're just an all-round competitive individual and love competitive sports? Whatever the reason may be, If you struggle to find your why or a valid enough reason to compete, then competing may likely not be for you. If you can answer this without a moment's hesitation then you're probably on the right track. Yet. Competing as a sport is not one to be taken lightly as there are many downsides to competing for those whom are even successful at it. From Post Comp Blues to Post Comp Blowouts, hormonal disruptions, testosterone production to eating disorders. Note: always ensure you have been given the medical all clear before choosing to compete. Competing will also take it's toll on you both mentally and emotionally even for experienced individuals whom decide to 'self-prep'. Those whom enlist the aid of a Contest Preparation Coach benefit greatly simply from removing the constant arduous thought process & emotional component from dieting. Now that we've discussed as to the 'why', lets continue to the first stage of prep.👇 THE OFF-SEASON. Your first step towards starting your contest prep journey starts here. Whether we're a newcomer to the stage or a past competitor, the goal in the off-season is always the same: ✔️ Build as much Lean Muscle Mass as possible. ✔️ Increase overall Energy (calorie) balance. ✔️ Keep Bf% minimal (where possible). In order to build or improve a physique in the off-season, an appropriate amount of energy (calorie) intake balance is always required. If we've been looking to compete and be within 'striking distance' of being stage ready, it helps if we're somewhat physically conditioned prior. It is a far less arduous and grueling process of 'being ready' versus having to get ready. For some seasoned athletes whom are somewhat 'condition' ready, they may generally only have a small amount of bf% to lose i.e. 3-5kg. For most newcomers, they will generally have a more significant amount to drop for their first show i.e. 8-11kg. Note: Lean muscle mass will likely be lost in the dieting process. How much is lost is dependent on diet length, exercise activity and overall energy (calorie) balance. Off-season bf%? 🤔 Now you're probably wondering what's an ideal bf% range to shoot for in the off-season? For natural athletes whom are male about 8%-11%. For females, generally around 19%-22%. The most important body fat range is generally the one we spend the most amount of time at in our off-season due to our Body fat set-point[3]. One of the most common hurdles an athlete will usually struggle with during their off-season is: - being goal focused - putting weight (safely) on pre or post contest. All semantics aside, having some bf% & increased energy (calorie) balance in the off-season is relatively healthy and to be expected. On the context of long term Stability, Performance and making Improvements, maintaining an adequate energy (calorie) balance dietary approach is recommended and further encourages: ✔️ Muscular growth ✔️ Increased metabolism ✔️ Improved mental focus ✔️ Balanced sex drive and libido ✔️ Increased hormone production & balance Maintaining an appropriate amount of energy (calorie) intake also lessens the likelihood of the following: ❌ Binge eating ❌ Weight rebound ❌ Disordered eating behavior ❌ Physique anxiety[1] ❌ Impaired testosterone production ❌ Elevated cortisol levels ❌ HPA axis dysfunction[2] Benefits of low off-season bf%? Maintaining a low amount of bf% pre or post contest whilst not mandatory is often encouraged. At one end of the spectrum if hovering too low of a bf%, most competitors will begin to fight the urge to return their bodies back to homeostasis. At the other end of the spectrum, most athletes will also experience certain levels of 'duress' when body fat levels start increasing post show. These scenarios are almost always often overlooked by many competitors. If you identify with either scenario, here are some harsh truths you may likely need to hear: - you will never be as lean, weak & always hungry as when you stepped on stage. Nor will you ever be as full and strong as in the off-season. Each stage of prep has its own place and time. For most competitors staying within the aforementioned bf% range will experience some of these benefits: 👉 Athlete's only have a small amount of kilos to lose. 👉 Athletes at low bf% set point maintenance have less weight to lose next time. 👉️ Athletes with adequate energy balance minimize the associated effects of the body's 'self-defense' mechanisms post contest diet. 👉 Athletes at low bf% are somewhat conditioned i.e. visible abs, arms, legs, thighs, glutes etc. If you're looking to combine the best of both worlds, consider 'maintaining' at a comfortable bf% level during your off-season. 💪 An off-season is typically the only time where energy is at an all time high & where calories are a plenty. Remember this. Note: bf% varies and is subtly different from person to person due to varying Biological and Genetic predisposition along with other variables i.e. Height, Weight, Training, Nutrition etc. THE PROCESS. As mentioned prior, the process is relatively simple. To lose weight all that is required is a Calorie deficit. Sounds pretty simple right? Well in a word yes. However the process can be a lot more complex depending on an individual's situation & their diet history including: - what they did pre-diet ❔ - what they did during the diet ❔ - how much they dieted on ❔ This is where it pays to have a Contest Preparation Coach or team whom specialize in traversing the various in's & out's of contest prep. However if you're looking to achieve this process (coaching aside) we will want to start fine-tuning the following during prep: 👇 Division & Posing If we're looking to compete, chances are we may already have a certain category aka division in mind to be competitive in. Whilst most competitors have their sights set on a single division only i.e. Bikini, some competitors may also be able to do well in two different categories i.e. Bikini & Fitness or Sports model. In most instances however, a physique will generally suit one category more-so than others: Athletes with overall larger muscular size are generally encouraged to compete in the next category up i.e. Bikini > Fitness or Figure > Physique. Athletes with overall smaller muscular size required for a category may be encouraged to compete in the next category down i.e. Physique > Figure or Fitness > Bikini. Determining which division(s) you are looking at competing is the first step as this will often impact your training focus and nutrition regime in the off-season. Your posing and stage attire will also reflect the respective category chosen. Individuals should always aim to compete in the category in which they are the most comfortably being competitive at and not just for the sake of competing. Now you're probably wondering when should one begin their posing practice? When an individual should start posing can depend how comfortable & graceful one looks and moves displaying one's physique in their off-season. If this is your first rodeo, it's likely we will have embarked in the necessary preparation work prior in the off-season. For experienced individuals, it's likely we have already started 'twisting' & 'turning' whilst flexing in front of a mirror or camera no later than 20 weeks out from a show. As a general rule of thumb, in order to showcase your physique & be comfortable in the best way possible you need to: a) be comfortable in next to little attire Note: individuals are highly encouraged to go through a de-sensitization period for this. b) practice, practice & practice! From 1 on 1 posing sessions to posing workshops! Showcasing one's physique & self-confidence on stage gracefully is part of the primary criteria. Do NOT skimp on your posing. Note: a supplementary posing guide is included covering division judging criteria & posing guidelines for The Lab PT athletes. 👇 Nutritional Accuracy There are times where being compliant and practicing cognitive restraint is essential. Normally in the off-season there is more 'breathing room' where nutritional accuracy can be loosely applied & individuals have more freedom with food. During contest prep however, every single lick, bite, taste or sip needs to be accounted for. This is where having self-monitoring experience i.e. food logging & weighing becomes critically essential. This becomes even more paramount once an individual enters a nutritional poverty state aka 'Poverty Macros' towards the last leg of their journey. Click for more on POV Macros. Further to this it's been found that some athletes under report their energy intake by up to ~20% according to past studies[5]. Having some form of self-monitoring experience can mean the difference from being ~500 calories over (or under) your Total Daily Energy needs. To put this more in perspective a ~500 daily miscalculation can equate to ~3500 weekly calories! Note: 3500kcals is equivalent to 0.5kg body fat %. Thus, being as accurate as possible during prep has its own advantages: 👉 eat more food volume on a gram per gram basis 👉 achieve further fat loss from energy (calorie) balance discrepancy 👉 allot more 'freed' calories to calorie bank etc. These days how one achieves nutritional accuracy is also dependent on the preparation methods provided. Gone are the days where one need to only follow a Rigid Meal Plan to achieve nutritional accuracy. This is largely due to the success rate of various self-monitoring apps i.e. MyFitnessPal. Whilst there are many benefits of following Meal Plans, following a balanced & flexible approach can also yield favorable results if total energy (calorie) balance is accounted for. 👉 Click for Pro's & Con's of Meal Plans Vs Flexible Dieting. Training Consistency If meeting Calories is the Nutritional component, then meeting overall Training Volume is the Exercise equivalent. Individuals planning on competing will want to have had some form of Resistance Training experience. Without this constant stimuli, we will NOT be able to build or maintain the much desired Muscle Mass required for your chosen division & category. As a general rule of thumb, it is recommended to have at least 1-2 years under your belt before officially embarking into a show. Note: an exception to this rule is a solid 6 - 12 months. Results may vary & largely dependent on the individual. Currently, Resistance Training is the go to for creating a champion and overall balanced physique. This lines up with current research looking at various exercise modes vs caloric expenditure favoring either Resistance Training or Hydraulic based (Weights + Cardio) exercise methods over endurance (Cardio) focused protocols[6]. Establishing a solid relationship with weights in the 'off-season' is very important. From Training Periodisation protocols to scheduled Deload periods, all will play a part by giving an athlete much needed 'breaks' from training. Other supplementary tools and forms of exercise including Cardio & daily step activity are also popular during prep. Whilst said methods are not always required during contest prep, they can further compliment Resistance Training protocols in certain scenarios. 👉 Click for more on Resistance Training, Deloads & Cardio. Overall Adherence Now we come to it at last. Perhaps the overall determinant of an individual's contest preparation success. Without some form of compliance or adherence we can ultimately get nowhere. To put it simply, if we do NOT love what we are eating or enjoy our exercise activity, we will not be able to stick to it overall. This is especially crucial during the last leg of prep where it also becomes overwhelmingly difficult to adhere to a program regardless how sound it is designed to you. In the last few weeks, most of the time individuals will falter. This is where it pays to have a good coach or team whom not only knows you well enough but can also guide you through the last remaining days & weeks which typically 'make' or 'break' a champion. How well we perform on that final leg of prep, followed by peak week & show day protocols is secondary to how successful we were with overall adherence during prep: Mediocre preparation = mediocre results. Great Contest preparation = great results! 👉 Click for more on Consistency and Adherence. POST CONTEST? Now you're probably wondering by now if that is really it? You eat, you train, you pose for a show and then you're done? Well in a word, no. There's still the matter of what happens post show day or contest. Traditionally most contest athletes will step on stage, have their victorious moment or 2 before sharing their efforts with loved ones over a celebratory meal & drink. #IncomingSocialMediaSpam How much celebration can be had can be dependent on the individual & their post contest 'plan'. In most cases if there is no follow-up show, a celebratory meal & drink can lead to another celebratory meal & drink, followed by some more etc. You can quickly see where this is likely going... Most athletes will unfortunately fall into this trap of having no where to go, no Exit Strategy or further guidance and support. For the competitive individual this can lead to devastating results and further the likelihood of: 👉 post comp 'blues' & depression 👉 social physique anxiety 👉 chronic dieting to stay lean 👉 eating disorder development post diet[4] etc. One way to mitigate most of these pitfalls alongside coaching support is by implementing a Reverse or Recovery Diet post competition. A Reverse or Recovery diet is one of the best ways to improve: ✔️ Weight/bf% ✔️ Activity performance ✔️ Lean Body Mass retention ✔️ Hormonal balance ✔️ Metabolic adaptation Remember: "Failure to plan is planning to fail"... 👉 Click for more on Reverse Dieting 101. STARTING YOUR JOURNEY. And there you have it. A general overview of what one can expect for Contest Preparation. By now you will have a clear picture whether or not competing is for you? If so, hopefully the aforementioned information hasn't deterred you but rather inspired you to finally venture into the possibility of competing. All that's required of you is a brief overview of the following: Remember, whichever way you choose to get to stage condition always requires adequate Time, Work & preparation: If you're ready to start your Contest Prep journey, click below to checkout my current packages: ➡ CLICK FOR CONTEST PREP PACKAGES! ⬅ References: 1. Haase AM, Prapavessis H, Owens RG. Perfectionism, social physique anxiety and disordered eating: A comparison of male and female elite athletes. Psychology of sport and Exercise. 2002 Jul 1;3(3):209-22. 2. Healy ML, Gibney J, Pentecost C, Wheeler MJ, Sonksen PH. Endocrine profiles in 693 elite athletes in the postcompetition setting. Clinical endocrinology. 2014 Aug 1;81(2):294-305. 3. Is there evidence for a set point that regulates human body weight? 4. Haase AM, Prapavessis H, Owens RG. Perfectionism, social physique anxiety and disordered eating: A comparison of male and female elite athletes. Psychology of sport and Exercise. 2002 Jul 1;3(3):209-22. 5. Validity of Dietary Assessment in Athletes: A Systematic Review. 6. J Strength Cond Res. 2015 Mar;29(3):779-85. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000000661.Caloric expenditure of aerobic, resistance, or combined high-intensity interval training using a hydraulic resistance system in healthy men.


    Do you know how many steps you take per day? If the answer is yes then you may already be up to speed with current technology & device trends. If not, then hopefully this article will not only teach you a thing or two but also inspire you to start moving more. And yes I said the 'm' word.☺️ On the context of Weight management, one significant contributor to expediting Fat Loss (BMR aside) is your daily activity levels through NEAT. Click for more on N.E.A.T. N.E.A.T. (Non-Energy Activity Thermogenesis) includes many forms of: Walking up and down a flight of stairs Moving around constantly or fidgeting Picking things up Active daily tasks Twitching Movement restlessness General every day activity You see, when I design programs for clients I don't just only write up really cool Exercise programs or nutritional outlines of what individuals should follow. But rather incorporate suggestions and further recommendations on how said individual can meet 'x' target by incorporating various methods. (This is where coaching & creating long lasting habits come into play). Tracking steps is also one component. Benefits? Tracking your daily steps no doubt has many of its own benefits. Much like self-monitoring and nutrition when you track steps you are able to gauge roughly how often you are moving around in any given place. Step tracking is also a really great & efficient way to burn those extra calories without having to overthink too much. What was once thought of as pricey & complex available only to those whom splurged on said products. It has now become a simple & non-arduous tool you can partake in everyday. Those whom incorporate step tracking over time are also able to modify their step targets going off of activity levels accordingly. Setting up a step target is a great way to place further emphasis on your daily movement and overall energy (calorie) expenditure. A recent 6 Week Challenge study used step tracker wearable smartphones in measuring step counts through a smartphone app. Participants were given a daily step target of 1500 steps throughout the course of the study. It was surmised the consumer wearable devices used in the study provided both validity and strong correlation with user output including an increase in daily steps in the final 2 weeks of the challenge study[1]. Whether we are a sedentary lifestyle, office worker, stay-at-home mum or busy bee. Step tracking helps improve: ✔️ Daily (average) Activity levels ✔️ Exercise related Health markers ✔️ Fat loss Whilst there may be far greater energy output benefits from following a Resistance Training / Cardio based program. Step tracking can still be an effective promotional tool and focus for health and weight management strategies. Step tracking when supplemented right can be very cost friendly in and of itself. How to start tracking steps? Did I mention tracking your steps is completely free? That's right. All you need to do is this: 👇 - Open the 'Health' app on your smartphone. - Enter a 'step target' to enable the app. - You're done! Note: your phone will record steps once activated. For step tracking accuracy, aim to keep your phone on you where possible. On Step Trackers. Remember when I said that tracking steps is free? Well if you happen to be the owner of a smartphone (chances are you're also reading this on one) than you do NOT need to fork out an extra wad of $$ on the latest & greatest tracker device. According to a recent study examining the validity of a smartphone when compared to consumer grade wristbands found them to be just as accurate tools for step counting[2]. They also further surmised a smartphone's position (where you have it on you) generally does not impact step accuracy in numerous walking conditions. Whilst Fitness trackers have become both economically affordable and fashionable devices. There are also some cons to said devices when it comes to information discrepancy and over / under-estimation of energy expenditure. Click for more. Summary. Remember, you don't need a fancy wrist watch or chest strap just to track how many steps you are taking each day. A simple step tracker or smartphone app is just as good. If you're looking to get started, consider the following step targets going forward: 👇 References: 1. A Mobile Health Team Challenge to Promote Stepping and Stair Climbing Activities: Exploratory Feasibility Study. 2. Validity of activity trackers, smartphones, and phone applications to measure steps in various walking conditions.

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  • ARTICLES | thelabpt

    Jun 30, 2021 Why you (might) need Coaching. Hi all, Today's topic is one I've often been asked throughout my Fitness career. This one may also seem counter-productive as I am after... Jan 2, 2021 CONTEST PREPARATION 101 Do you have what it takes to take your TRAINING & NUTRITION to the next level? Perhaps you're one of the few who's dreamed of stepping on... Apr 27, 2020 STEP TRACKING 👟 Do you know how many steps you take per day? If the answer is yes then you may already be up to speed with current technology & device... Apr 6, 2020 Reverse Barbell Hack Squat 🏋️ Is it leg day in your newly designed workout routine and you are hit with something called 'Reverse Barbell Hack Squat'? If so you're... Jun 27, 2019 CONSISTENCY AND ADHERENCE Ok. This one's been a long time coming and it's time to finally get personal. And by 'personal' I mean less of the usual 'sciency' stuff... Jun 2, 2019 THE BEST DIET FOR YOU! So over the Years I have been constantly asked 'What is the best diet'? 🤔 Do I recommend Keto?', 'Is IIFYM better than Clean Eating?',... Feb 1, 2019 OBESITY AND HEALTH We're back! And boy do we have some things in store for you! Those whom know me will know by now that I am passionate about Health &... Oct 14, 2018 POV MACROS? Ever feel like a tired and overly drained work horse whose hooves are about to fall off from constant dieting? If you're in touch with... Sep 30, 2018 THE VEGAN DIET So we're deciding to switch over to Veganism? After years and years of building muscle on an omnivorous diet, we're now looking to make... Sep 16, 2018 KETO So you're contemplating jumping onboard the 'Ketogenic' diet? Before we proceed any further, one must always remember: Any Diet works so... Aug 19, 2018 REVERSE DIETING 101 Dieting in today's society has become somewhat of the norm. Because of this we are also becoming a rapidly growing population of... Aug 5, 2018 ALCOHOL AND FAT LOSS Welcome back to another edition of the Fat Loss series! 🔥 If you've been avidly reading along and enjoying the Fat Loss series so far,... May 27, 2018 Fat Loss - Part 2 Welcome back to another edition of the Fat Loss series! 🔥 Have you ever muttered or heard someone say "They look that way because of... May 13, 2018 On Intensity. Frequency. Volume. ​​​ Have you ever invested in an Online Training program before? If you have, you will have undoubtedly have encountered by now numerous... Apr 29, 2018 Fat Loss - Part 1 Welcome to the Fat Loss series! 🔥 Over the next few weeks we'll explore some of the science behind Fat Loss from both an... 1 2 3 Featured Posts May 13, 2018 On Intensity. Frequency. Volume. ​​​ Have you ever invested in an Online Training program before? If you have, you will have undoubtedly have encountered by now numerous... Feb 25, 2018 On Training Deloads. Have you been Exercising for long periods with no real planned break? Perhaps you're looking to follow something a little bit more... Jan 28, 2018 H.I.I.T. Vs Cardio Do you suffer from being Time Poor? ⏰ Are you tired of doing continuous hours of Cardio with little to no result? 💦 If this sounds like... Dec 3, 2017 Bench Press 101 Welcome to the Bench Press guide. If you haven't already check out our recent guides on How to Squat and How to Deadlift. What is the... Nov 4, 2017 How to Deadlift? Welcome to the How to Deadlift guide. If you haven't already, check out our recent guide on How to Squat. What is a Deadlift? The... Oct 15, 2017 Do you even Squat? Hey Guys, Over the next few weeks we'll be covering some basics on the 3 major compound exercises. These include the Squat, Deadlift and... Mar 28, 2017 Daily Macros Vs Weekly Calories So you're about to eat lots of yummy food this festive weekend? Lots of Chocolates, maybe some Alcohol or a good old fashioned Australian... Mar 16, 2017 Lean Bulking As we start to lead back into the New Year, many of us start to shift our focus from the post Winter weight gain blues to really get... Recent Posts Why you (might) need Coaching. Franz Cruz Jun 30, 2021 CONTEST PREPARATION 101 Franz Cruz Jan 2, 2021 STEP TRACKING 👟 Franz Cruz Apr 27, 2020 Reverse Barbell Hack Squat 🏋️ Franz Cruz Apr 6, 2020 CONSISTENCY AND ADHERENCE Franz Cruz Jun 27, 2019 THE BEST DIET FOR YOU! Franz Cruz Jun 2, 2019 OBESITY AND HEALTH Franz Cruz Feb 1, 2019 POV MACROS? Franz Cruz Oct 14, 2018 THE VEGAN DIET Franz Cruz Sep 30, 2018 KETO Franz Cruz Sep 16, 2018 Search By Tags Exercise Fat Loss Health Muscle Building Nutrition Weight Loss

  • Training Programs | thelabpt

    Training Programs Tired of going through exercise motions with no motivation, drive or end goal focus? ​ Looking for accountability & support in an online setting? We offer 100% personalized Training Programs from a range of home based, Resistance Training and Cardio focused protocols. Online Training Programs are suitable for all entry levels including: beginners, experienced and advanced athletes looking for supplementary training. & results. ​ Includes: ​ ✔ Periodized Training Plans: Resistance Training|Cardio|Step activity ​✔ Online Coaching Support: Bi-weekly email check-ins| ​✔ eGuide Support: Exercise Tutorials & Videos *NEW Strength, Core & Booty building options also available! 💪🍑 ​ ​​​Training Program Outcomes: - Build Lean Body Mass - Improve Body Composition – Improve Strength | Cardiovascular | General Fitness – Build Physique Structure – Optimize Stability | Flexibility ​ ​​Personalized Programs are $60 Past Transformations 1/1 Common Q's: Are training plans 100% personalized? Yes. How long until I see results? A minimum of 5-10 weeks is generally required for muscle building potential, strength & visual results. Do I need to update my training plan frequently? No. Personalized Training plans are once off purchases. Do I need to perform cardio for my physique goals? No, cardio protocols is always optional. What are my training focus areas? This is based off of your physique, fitness goals & completed Online Coaching form. I really just want a bigger booty, can I pick a booty building option? Yes. Do I need to gym access or additional equipment? Yes. Gym access or at home equipment is highly beneficial. T&C's: **All Personal Training sessions and Online services once bought are non-refundable.** - The Payee must ensure they havepaidfor Personal Training sessions | Online Services upfront as to not cause Delays or Conflicts with future Training sessions/Online updates. - In the case of a missed workout or scheduled service update, it is up to the Payee to notify and arrange a proposed date for re-scheduling to occur. - If the Payee misses a scheduled payment, it will be assumed the individual no longer wishes to continue their Personal Training | Online services and will forfeit their allotted spot and further support. - The Fitness Instructor and/or Client has the right to terminate and forfeit their Personal Training | Online Services if there is a conflict of interest. By paying the invoice you also agree to: - The publication of Body Composition results and collective data on social media and mailing list(s). - Agree to actively check-in and provide constant feedback & updates to assist with overall adherence (frequency dependent per service), progress and prevent any regression. - Whereby difficult situations arise in person's circumstances i.e. lack of progress | regression or health risks occur , to not hold the coach accountable and seek medical assistance from an Allied Health Professional. - Agree to regularly contribute to the online community group. - Agree to follow through with the respective programs to the best of their ability and ask questions where required. - Understand that the Fitness Instructor's role is to merely provide resources, guidance and recommendations to said individual. It is ultimately up to the individual to take ownership and accountability for their own respective transformation and actions.

  • Training Singlets | thelabpt

    Training Singlets Have you grabbed your The Lab PT singlet yet? These Versatile Lightweight singlets not only Look good but also Feel good too! � ​ Made out of a breathable Micro-dry mesh it will leave you feeling refreshed after every single workout. Did we mention you will also look and feel Aesthetically pleasing? � ​ Grab your singlet and become a member today! ​ Note: singlet included with Competition Prep! 1/2 What's included? ​ ✔ Sports Training Singlet ✔ Free '5 Steps for Success' eBook ✔ Free 'Tracking Macros' eGuide ✔ Mailing list access Product Description: ​ • womens, plain regular fit sports singlet tank top • 165gsm 100% polyester mini mesh Mirco-Dry™ • cool breathable fabric • open weave panel under arms for improved breathability • full back coverage • colourfast • high UPF factor • perfect for print or embroidery • womens size || 8 | 10 | 12 | 14 | 16 | 18 • navy (tolerance: +/- 1cm) • not all computer monitors will display colour accurately • ask if needing to match precise size specifications ​ $10.00 Pick-up ​ $15.00 Express postage T&C's: **All Personal Training sessions and Online services once bought are non-refundable.** - The Payee must ensure they havepaidfor Personal Training sessions | Online Services upfront as to not cause Delays or Conflicts with future Training sessions/Online updates. - In the case of a missed workout or scheduled service update, it is up to the Payee to notify and arrange a proposed date for re-scheduling to occur. - If the Payee misses a scheduled payment, it will be assumed the individual no longer wishes to continue their Personal Training | Online services and will forfeit their allotted spot and further support. - The Fitness Instructor and/or Client has the right to terminate and forfeit their Personal Training | Online Services if there is a conflict of interest. By paying the invoice you also agree to: - The publication of Body Composition results and collective data on social media and mailing list(s). - Agree to actively check-in and provide constant feedback & updates to assist with overall adherence (frequency dependent per service), progress and prevent any regression. - Whereby difficult situations arise in person's circumstances i.e. lack of progress | regression or health risks occur , to not hold the coach accountable and seek medical assistance from an Allied Health Professional. - Agree to regularly contribute to the online community group. - Agree to follow through with the respective programs to the best of their ability and ask questions where required. - Understand that the Fitness Instructor's role is to merely provide resources, guidance and recommendations to said individual. It is ultimately up to the individual to take ownership and accountability for their own respective transformation and actions.

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