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General Questions

  • I am in my last week of my 12-week challenge and I can't help but be disappointed in myself for not doing better. I lead a busy lifestyle and have only managed to lose 6.5kg. I also feel too large in the lower body and am reluctant to submit my after photos.

    Why are you so dissapointed??  That 6.5kg is GONE - COMPLETELY DISAPPEARED. Look at where you are now compared to 12 weeks ago - compare your photos and be proud of this big achievement. Aren't you glad you're where you are now and not where you were 12 weeks ago? 

    I'm all for for demanding more from yourself, but don't be discouraged by what you haven't achieved. Be encouraged by what you HAVE achieved and what you will CONTINUE to achieve.

    I also think you deserve a lot of credit, leading a very busy lifestyle yet still managing to lose over an average of half a kilo a week on a regular basis! Appreciate the fact that you haven't used this busy lifestyle as an excuse and have been very proactive in your quest to a better body.

  • What are the best exercises to tone up the back of your arms?

    Toning is a confusing term.  In regards to your physique, you can do the following main things:

    1) Increase or decrease muscle size

    2) Increase or decrease body fat

    Toning, as vauge as the word is, is a combination of the two.  If you are overweight you are not going to have good "tone" because the fat will cover your muscles, no matter how large they are.  Conversely, you may be skinny and have very small muscles - as a result you won't have enough muscle mass to produce a nice "toned" effect.

    So, now that's settled, if you want to have a "toned" look around your tricep area it's quite simple really:

    1) If you have poor tricep development, effectively train your triceps to increase the muscle size.  At the same time however, ensure you perform resistance training on your entire body - you want a nice, even physique without muscular imbalances.

    2) Decrease your body fat.  You cannot spot reduce, so performing tricep exercises is NOT going to effectively reduce the body fat from beneath your upper arm.  Jump on a bike, go for a run - perform some cardiovascular exercise.  Personally I'm a very strong beleiver in high intensity cardio - you will maximise your results this way.  However you must also consider your training experience and medical considerations before training this intensely.

    Also bare in mind that when I refer to "increasing muscle size" - I don't mean building significant amounts of muscle that it looks like you're a bodybuilder.  You need to build muscle, but this is a very slow process - you're not going to wake up the next morning and have 18" arms!

  • I started a 12 week challenge and after 2 great weeks I ate one bad thing and I gave up. I have no idea why I do this, because after 2 weeks I was feeling great and already getting comments on my progress. Now, I'm eating badly and not exercising - I can't see the point if I can't stick to it. I really want this to be a lifestyle change.

    You're not alone Shae - a lot of people seem to do this sort of thing.

    The thing is, you need to figure out why. There will be a reason or reasons. Ask your self some questions and give it a bit of time to come up with the answer:

    • Do you REALLY want to do the challenge?
    • WHY do you want to do the challenge?
    • Do you honestly believe that you CAN transform yourself?
    • Also, what obstacles are you likely to come up against, and how can you get around those?

    All this sort of stuff is important to understand - sit down with a pen and paper, and write down your reasons for taking this on, and come up with some goals to strive for - make them realistic, but challenging.

    Once you have this sorted out (and it may take you some time - several days even), you need to make sure that you're ready to start. This means meticulous planning, so that everything is in place to make it easier for you to stick with it. All the practical stuff like food shopping, planning workouts, preparing some meals in advance, etc.

    Make sure that your plans for both food and exercise include things that you enjoy, or you'll never stick with it. Who wants to spend 12 weeks feeling miserable?

    And as you say, it needs to be a lifestyle change - so make your program and diet a base that you can build on, something that only needs a little adaptatation to become the way you live your life.

  • Jay, I was wondering if you have a diet and exercise log for your winning BodyBlitz challenge?

    I have it all here on the computer.  I'm just formatting it ready to publish online and it will be available soon!  Every member of this website will have first priority at taking a look at all the gorey details of my 12 week challenge - so if you haven't signed up already do it now!

  • Previously I stopped smoking for 3 months and put on 10 kilos - only to start smoking again. For my 12 week challenge I have again stopped smoking - will this affect my fat loss results?

    Many people will experience some fat gain initially after quitting smoking.  The nicotine contained within the cigarettes causes your liver to release glycogen, raising your blood sugar levels and suppresses the appetite.  Your heart rate is artificially elevated and your metabolism is increased.  As soon as you stop smoking, your bodies metabolic rate will lower.  As a result, if you eat exactly the same as what you were eating previously you will quite possibly notice some fat gain - as your body is now storing more energy in the form of body fat.  Apart from this, after quitting, food taste is more prominent and also many smokers will consume extra to compensate for the lack of cigarettes.

    That said, your 12 week challenge is much more than a weight loss challenge.  It's about recreating your lifestyle, becoming healthy and feeling great.  Quitting smoking should be at the forefront of your priorities.

    There was a study published in the American Journal of Physiology Endocrinol metab. 2003. whereby it was determined that smoking could inhibit carbohydrate uptake into muscles - resulting in significantly lower glycogen levels.  Low glycogen levels will negatively impact your performance in the gym as your muscles will lack the energy to perform the work required.

    Here's a plan of attack.  Number 1 - Quit smoking.  Now, devise a sound diet and exercise plan for your challenge.  Monitor your results, and if you see significant fat gain, adjust your diet and exercise plan accordingly.  Exercise will help assist and cravings you get and help relieve stress.  Ensure you receive adequate rest - 7-8 hours of sleep every night.  Also if you have cravings, a great tool to use is sugarless gum.

    Think about the big picture - where will you be at the end of the 12 weeks?  No doubt you want to be fit, healthy and happy - without the burden of smoking.

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