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General Questions

  • What does toning mean?

    "Toning" is a very misunderstood term.  There are two things you can do to alter your physique:


    1. Build/lose muscle mass
    2. Gain/lose fat mass

    For the typical untrained person, "toning" is essentially a combination of building muscle and losing fat.  You need to build a small amount of muscle mass to give shape to your physique.  At the same time however you need to lose the fat that surrounds that muscle mass so you can actually see the definition of the muscle.

    Toning, shaping, sculpting (and all those other fancy terms) are all synonymous.  Build some muscle, lose some fat is the bottom line...easy as.

  • Is it possible to lose fat and gain muscle simultaneously?

    For the vast majority of us, burning fat whilst at the same time building muscle is possible to achieve. How much will greatly depend upon your genetic makeup - whether you are more prone to fat loss and/or muscle gain.

    Generally speaking, the more fat loss you experience, the more of a calorie deficit your body will endure. This will discourage protein synthesis. So at the end of the day, you need to find a happy medium between fat loss and gaining muscle.

    Speaking from personal experience, about a year ago I entered in a 12 week competition where I lost 9.9kg of fat mass and gained 0.8kg of lean mass (as detailed here).  This was achieved by a sound eating plan, alongside consistent high intensity training.

  • Jay, how did you achieve your dramatic 12 week BodyBlitz transformation? Did you use any tricks?

    At the end of the day there are no tricks or gimmicks - it all comes down to being educated and applying this theory effectively.

    Making the initial eating habit changes was not easy - I gave up a number of less healthier foods in my diet and relied heavily upon lean meats, fruits, vegetables, oats/muesli and flax oil/LSA mix.  However once I made these changes, not only did I feel SO much more energetic - I actually realised that these foods can also taste great!

    Secondly my exercise regime was also extremely important in order to compliment my eating.  My major goals were to lose body fat, gain muscle mass and increase my fitness levels.  This required a sound cardio and resistance training program.

    By integrating both a healthy eating lifestyle and an exercise regime I managed such a change in 12 weeks.  Now, a year later, I am in even better condition, simply because this is a new lifestyle - it wasn't a 12 week "diet".  However during my challenge, I can't say it was "easy" - if it was easy to make such significant lifestyle changes then everyone would have a 6 pack.  What is important to remember is that:

    • You need to educate yourself
    • Your lifestyle needs to be changed - permanently
    • Looking after yourself must be your number one priority
    • You need to remain focussed, continually set goals and reward yourself upon achieving those goals
  • I recently took up running after a break of several years and am finding that my shins begin to ache partway through a run and remain sore for some time afterwards. What causes this and what can I do to fix it?

    It sounds like you have a case of medial tibial stress syndrome, commonly known as shin splints. This is a frequent problem with runners, especially those new to running or those who have had a long break from the sport.

    The cause may be one or more of several things, including tight calf muscles, overpronation (excessive rolling in) of the feet, poorly fitted or old, worn out shoes, or being over-enthusiastic about training and doing too much too soon. Running on hard surfaces or doing a lot of hill work can also contribute to the problem.

    If the pain is severe, you need to take a break from training for at least a few days and apply ice to your shins regularly to help reduce inflammation. A visit to a sports physio would probably be a good idea too.

    Once your legs have recovered, there are a few things you can do to minimise the chances of shin splints recurring:

    • Warm up thoroughly before running - a good 10 minutes of walking, then ease into the run.
    • Don't increase distances too quickly or suddenly add a lot of hill work to the training schedule. Gradual build up is the way to go. The usual recommendation is to increase total weekly kms by no more than 10% each week.
    • Apply ice to the shins after running.
    • Massage.
    • See a podiatrist - faulty biomechanics may be contributing to the problem, and orthotics might be required.
    • STRETCH....especially the calf muscles, both the Gastrocnemius and soleus. Warm up, stretch gently, then run, then stretch again afterwards. Every time.
    • Run on softer surfaces – try to avoid concrete and go for gravel or grass or a proper athletic running track.
    • Work on strengthening your shin muscles – ask a trainer or physiotherapist for some appropriate exercises.

    If the problem returns, you again need to rest and apply ice regularly. Pushing through will only make things worse.

  • Why can I look great in the mirror one day and then disgusting the next?

    Self perception plays an extremely important role in how you appear to be in a physical sense.  I have learnt this first hand after undergoing a massive transformation when I undertook the Australian BodyBlitz challenge.  I'm no psychologist, but the way that you see yourself will greatly depend upon your self esteem.

    I wrote this article, My Transformation - Exercise And Diet Just Isnt Enough which went through my personal experiences and how self perception plays an important role in determining your success or failure.

    I think that a very hard thing to do is to learn to view yourself in the mirror objectively - this is why sometimes mirrors can be your best friend and photo's can be your worst enemy...or vice versa.

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