Need help losing those extra lockdown pounds?

    Rob Francis local fitness expert and owner of energie Fitness gym in Kiln Farm and Be Military Fit gives us his top ten tips to losing those “Covid pounds”.

    With lockdown easing and gyms reopening this Saturday 25th July, it’s been widely reported that the population has piled on a few pounds during lockdown. Why have we put on weight and what can we do now to get back in shape?

    Local fitness expert Rob Francis says, “We’ve put on weight for a combination of reasons. Firstly, broadly speaking we have become less active. If people are working from home they no longer need to get up, dressed and travel to work. Instead, many people have fallen into the trap of staying in their pyjamas and making the very short commute to their study, dining table or spare room office for the day."

    He adds, "We’ve become a nation of grazers. With our fridge and cupboards full of food within just a few feet from us and with nobody present to judge us, snacking has become harder to resist. Without the motivation of our normal routines, without gyms and the support of our favourite fitness instructors or gym buddies, we’re less likely to do classes and we don’t have the same opportunity to do the strength training that is so important to burning extra calories."

    Rob also suggests that many of us have experienced heightened anxiety levels throughout lockdown for various reasons which can raise cortisol, the stress hormone, which can encourage our bodies to store fat and also makes comfort eating more likely.

    He continues, "Finally many of us have experienced poor sleeping patterns - maybe staying up later to watch box sets or just having less regular sleep because we don’t necessarily have to get out of bed at the same time every day meaning that we are generally not sleeping as well."

    Rob states that all of these factors have led to the “perfect storm” when it comes to adding inches around our waists!

    Rob's Top Ten Tips to shed those extra lockdown pounds

    1. Reduce those “comfort carbs” and don’t eat after 8pm. It’s not just that we’ve been snacking more and reaching for the biscuit barrel. We have also been consuming more simple carbs like white bread and pasta. This has the effect of creating peaks in our blood sugar levels that our bodies struggle to process and encourages more fat storage. Also these quick release energy foods mean that our bodies don’t have as long to naturally burn them off through moving about or exercise. If we are sat around more we burn less and store it as fat. Making sure that we don’t eat after 8pm will also help our bodies reset themselves through the night.

    2. Count your calories. There are diet systems out there and experts who tell you not to do this but when it comes down to it, if you consume more calories than your body needs or can use, it will be stored as fat. Simple. So make sure you have an understanding of how many calories you are consuming each day. On average we consume at least 300 more calories a day than the recommended 2500 calories for men and 2000 calories for women. This adds up to more than a pound of fat a week. If you want to lose those accumulated pounds the NHS recommends you reduce your calorie intake to around 2000 for men and 1500 for women. But remember we are all different, so if you want to know exactly how many calories you personally need each day you can get help from the team at energie fitness who will use a high tech body scanner to give you your true basal metabolic rate, in other words your body’s actual calorie burning ability.

    3. There’s more to getting a firm stomach than doing crunches! It’s not possible to shift fat from one specific area of our body over another. Instead, our bodies lose fat in the same way they put it on...where ever our genetics, age, and sex dictates it will. When trying to get a leaner physique we must concentrate on using big muscle groups and doing exercises like squats, lunges, burpees. These recruit more muscle fibres and therefore burn more calories per minute of effort.

    4. Try High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). This is where you do short blasts of high intensity, lung busting, calorie burning, big muscle moving, heart pumping time efficient training to help shed those pounds. If you’re not sure of the right exercises for you seek help from the professionals. Good quality gyms, like energie Fitness, have teams of professional staff and programming designed to get you to achieve your personal fitness or weight loss goals.

    5. Practice mindfulness. Anything that calms you, makes you feel more relaxed and helps to reduce anxiety will help reduce stress and therefore your cortisol levels will drop. Maybe try yoga? An Australian study showed that a group of people who did exercise and practiced 2.5 hours of yoga a week had better inch loss than another group who only did the exercise. Energie Fitness gym has a wide range of classes including Yoga and Pilates - so you can tone and firm and centre your mind as well as find the right cardio and strength building programmes.

    6. Move more! Make a conscious effort to move more throughout the day and you could burn as much as 1000 calories more than those who sit still at their desk all day. We aren’t even talking about gym exercises or traditional “fitness activities” we are simply asking you to get up from your seat at least every 30 minutes. Use the stairs rather than a lift, or make the effort to do ten or fifteen climbs of your stairs at home through the day. After lunch don’t sit down, or worse still, don’t sit at your desk and eat. Instead, get up and take a short walk - five to ten minutes will do if you’re short on time. Instead of taking the car to the shop that’s less than a mile away, walk there and carry those bags back. It’s building in almost incidental activity every day that will help burn more calories and encourage muscle growth.

    7. Eat more veg. OK so we’ve been told this since we were only knee high to a grass hopper. But piling up the vegetables, salads and a little bit of fruit introduces good bacteria to our gut, fills us with slow to digest fibre and reduces the amount of simple carbs we want to eat. They also provide our bodies with the right kinds of vitamins and minerals that mean our bodies work more efficiently and effectively. But beware not to eat too much fruit. The natural sugars, or fructose, found in fruit will have the same effect as your more refined “Tate and Lyle” kind. If your body gets too much of this energy that it can’t use, it will store it as fat. Also - sugar, natural or processed, is bad for your teeth.

    8. Cut back on the booze. We’ve all been reaching for the bottle more than ever before during lockdown, with sales of beer and wine reaching record highs. Whilst a glass of wine can help relax us at the end of a day, drinking too much will add inches to your waistline and have a damaging effect on the liver. Alcohol suppresses testosterone levels which increases belly fat storage in particular. The sugars in alcohol (the process of making alcohol is one of fermentation that relies on sugars to create the alcohol itself) are hard for the body to process leading to that insulin spike and fat storage. Alcohol also reduces our bodies ability to build muscle. Try enjoying just the one glass during a meal rather than drinking on its own. And the NHS recommends that you have at least two days a week alcohol free to allow your body to reset and cleanse itself.

    9. Get back to regular sleep patterns. One way to do this is to set your wake up time each day. No matter how late you went to bed or how badly you slept through the night make the effort to get up at this same time every day. It may take a few days, but eventually your body will adjust to this habit and you’ll find it easier to go to sleep at a reasonable time. Also keep your bedroom a little cooler than the rest of your house, open a window for fresh air, and don’t look at screens in the hour before bed. These will all help you get a good nights kip and allow your body that essential reset and repair time. For more tips on getting a better nights sleep visit energie fitness in Kiln Farm where we have a whole work shop dedicated to getting those much needed 40 winks.

    10. Eat more protein. Protein is the coolest food type at the moment, and it’s for some good reason. Eating a palm sized portion of protein in each meal has the beneficial effects of helping to repair and rebuild muscle. It’s also harder to digest so leaves you feeling fuller for longer and releases it’s energy more slowly. At the end of the day you cannot out run or exercise a bad diet - so a good balanced diet is key to reducing unwanted body fat. The team at energie fitness has a programme that ensures that you do the right training for you, helps you build the mind set for success and teaches you all you need to know to ensure you eat the right foods. All this and members on our small group training package get the support of a dedicated instructor and a small team of like minded members.

    For more information please email or call Rob and the team at Energie Fitness in Kiln Farm on 01908 410760.


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