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Post-holiday flab? All is not lost!
Well, if you’re anything like me, you’re feeling just a little on the flabby side of perfect at the end of the summer holiday season.
A few too many cakes, sausages and sambucas might have also left you a bit groggy, lethargic and lacking in get-up-and-go.
If that’s the case, take heart, as getting back into a healthier routine is easier than you might think – and below are some suggestions for small steps you can take to ease yourself back in, and start feeling more like it relatively quickly.
Take baby steps – there’s no need to do everything overnight
Punishing yourself with a drastic exercise or diet routine could be counterproductive because, firstly, it won’t actually help your health and fitness in the long term. And, secondly, you’re much less likely to stick to it.
Here are some alternative suggestions that could be much more effective:
• Healthy options. Cut out rubbish, but replace the forbidden things with healthier alternatives that you’ll still fancy. If your thing is ice cream, buy some nice yoghurt; if its chocolate, choose a plain option with less sugar and fat than the milk variety. Replace sugary cereals with slow-burning porridge, good quality honey and banana for breakfast, and instead of chips try oven baked potato or sweet potato wedges – seasoned with herbs and spices these can be really tasty.
• Protein. Replace some of your processed carbohydrates with protein and vegetables. Eggs are a fantastic source of protein and very quick and easy to prepare. Whipping up an omelette, for example, takes minutes and you can make it even more appetising and nutritious by adding ingredients like spinach and mushrooms. Not only will foods like this fill you up, but they will help you avoid sugar slumps during the course of the day, and therefore cravings for things that are less good for you. Bread is one of the foods most likely to bloat you up and add fat. If you must eat it, reserve it for your lunchtime sandwich, as you’re more likely to be able to burn it off then.
• Bananas for sweet cravings. If you get an unbearable sweet craving, have a banana in reserve. These are a good option for filling you up and giving you a quick sugar burst.
• Lean meat. Use this as an opportunity to experiment and choose some different, healthy options when you’re out shopping. Try a different kind of fish fillet, or a new sort of meat like ostrich. Opt for lean meats like chicken and if you must have sausages, choose 98 per cent meat varieties. Steam or oven bake everything and try to avoid frying where possible. You can also experiment with alterative types of seasoning to make your healthier options as tasty as possible.
• Fat. It’s a good idea to cut down on your fat intake, but you don’t have to rule it out altogether. Just choose healthier alternatives. Butter, as a natural fat, is a healthier option than you would think, in moderation. Oils such as groundnut and coconut are better for you than vegetable oils, which are often hydrogenated. Coconut oil actually has some famous additional health benefits, such as increasing your healthy cholesterol, improving your digestion and even boosting your immune system.
• Oily fish. Having salmon, mackerel, sea bass or any other oily fish at least once a week is a good idea, not only because they are hyper-tasty, but also because they are full of essential fatty acids which are tremendously good for you and even aid fat burning.
• Alcohol. It’s an old chestnut, but limiting your alcohol intake is one of the most beneficial steps you can take. This is because alcohol is full of empty calories. It also puts extra pressure on your liver to detox your body. This distracts it from processing your food properly and extracting the best nutrition from the food you eat, and encourages it to produce more fat cells instead. There’s nothing wrong with the odd glass of wine at the weekend, but you ought to keep it to that.
• Water. Drinking water is one of the simplest and most powerful steps you can take. The exact amount each person needs depends on their height and weight but as a rule of thumb, it’s good to work on an average of two litres a day. Make water the first thing you have in a morning, before you reach for your tea and coffee, and you’ll be amazed how much additional energy this gives you. Don’t gulp it either – as this can wash vital salts from your system – keep a bottle with you and take regular sips throughout the day. This will keep you fresh and hydrated by making sure all the cells in your body, including your brain, have the optimum amount of hydration.
While diet is the real foundation for a healthier lifestyle, exercise is also important. Again, you don’t have to jump in and try to run a marathon all at once, but introducing 20 minutes of exercise into your routine, a few times a week, will make a real difference to your energy levels, how you feel about yourself and your general motivation. It also boosts your metabolic rate, stimulates a healthy appetite and – perhaps most importantly – makes you more mindful of what you’re putting in your mouth and less prone to undo your good work by eating garbage.
Once you’ve made a positive start, you might find that you want to build and build on it, in which case the world’s your oyster. However, for now, just try getting up a few minutes earlier and introducing 20 reps of a variety of exercises into your morning regime. For example, 20 squats, 20 lunges, 20 press ups, 20 crunches and 20 leg raises. Start with one set of each, and then gradually increase it to two, three and so on, progressing at your own pace. Look out for my forthcoming video series, in which I’ll be demonstrating these exercises to show you how to get the most out of them.
Make it a friendly affair and increase your motivation
Sometimes it’s hard to find the will power to do something new, which is out of your comfort zone. If you encounter this problem, try telling a friend what you’re doing, and see if they want to join in. You’ll be surprised how motivational this can be, and how much they will encourage you to stick with it.
Another great way of getting in the right mindset to reach your goal, is to find a picture that illustrates either how you want to look, or how you look now and what you want to change. Pin it up somewhere prominent – like the fridge – as a reminder of the goal you’re aiming for and it will encourage you in in moments of weakness, by reminding you why you started your journey in the first place. Talk to yourself regularly, and remind yourself of the reason you wanted to do this in the first place.
Special post-holiday Fat Buster offer
If all of this has spurred you on to transform your lifestyle, you might be interested in my special promotional Fat buster offer. For £199.00, you could benefit from:
• A free food journal, to record your diet and your thoughts, feelings and experiences en route to your goal
• A free diet plan based on your own personal metabolic rate analysis
• A bespoke exercise regime tailored to your circumstances and needs
• Bags of support and encouragement to help you re-discover your fitter, healthier self!
Passing the gruelling fitness test at this year's Miss Galaxy Universe competition in May
Me with my children John and Jane on holiday in Zante this year - being an inspirational mum to them is part of my 'why?'
Overcoming my demons - posing on stage last May
You can achieve ANYTHING, you just need to decide to do so!
Hi and welcome to my first blog.
It seems to make sense to start the series by sharing my story – the journey which took me from full-time mum to fitness trainer and Miss Galaxy Universe competitor.
Not because I like talking about myself, but because that story is integral to my ‘why’. I also hope it will inspire you to believe you can be more than you ever imagined.
Discovering my ‘why?’
I want to help people live the life they love. To make more of everything they hold dearest – family, hobby, career – for longer.
I believe passionately in this, because I started this journey with a recognition that I needed to change things for the better. I’m a mum, first and foremost, and adore nothing more than spending time with my children, John, 10, and Jane, eight.
However, five years ago, I realised I wanted to be more than just their mum, too. For my own self-fulfilment and to be the kind of parent and role model I aspired to.
Losing, then re-gaining, my mojo
When I was young, I was really into sport at school, largely as a means of fulfilling my goal to join the Army. However, a birth defect which restricts movement in my right wrist put paid to that. I lost interest in sport for a while and followed a Business Studies route into a sales career instead.
As a real people person, I enjoyed my sales job, but started to lost fitness and put on weight because I was doing a lot of sitting down and little exercise. Things came to a head when I had John and then Jane, and grew by a couple of dress sizes. I started running seven miles two or three times a week, and feeling leaner and fitter. Unfortunately, shortly after that my partner Darren and I decided to split.
This marked a new start for me and the kids, we moved town and I started to add some gym work and weight training to my fitness routine. It was then a natural progression to want to help others take similarly positive steps, by becoming a personal trainer.
There’s always a way, when things are meant…
I know this because it happened to me. I graduated from an intensive six-week course with an internationally recognised personal training qualification in 2011.
I achieved this despite being a single mum to two children, and having to make it to Leeds from Malton five days a week by 9am, for my classes.
When you’re becoming a personal trainer, you need to follow up your formal qualification with gym training experience and I was fortunate enough to get a job at the Wolds Way to Health gym in Driffield. There, I launched a series of really popular fitness bootcamps, and it was then a natural progression to set up my own business, Body Bootcamp Ltd, four years later, in 2015.
Inspired by changing lives
I’m motivated by results, changes which alter people’s whole perception of themselves, and what they’re capable of.
What other job could I possibly have where I can help improve people’s overall health, lifestyle and, ultimately, longevity?
It’s not always just about getting fitter, or thinner, I find that people’s reasons for coming to me are often much deeper rooted than that. So I spend quite a lot of time with them initially, understanding what’s underlying their visit. For example, if someone tells me they want to lose weight, I’ll ask them a lot of questions to understand why they want to lose weight, before putting a programme together for them.
I get to know my clients very well over the weeks and months and often it’s about helping someone find their confidence and sense of self again. It’s easy for everyone to lose that sometimes, and get side-tracked by life. When people book training programme with me, they’re booking time for themselves.
Pushing my own limits – inspiring others to push theirs
If anyone had told me, back in 2011, that I’d end up competing in Miss Galaxy Universe, I wouldn’t have believed them. Partly due to the level of fitness and dietary discipline you have to achieve to compete, but primarily because I had a complete phobia of standing on stage in front of hundreds of people wearing only a bikini!
But I guess that’s the point. I did get fit and toned enough to do it, overcame one of my greatest fears – and even had an amazing, enjoyable time along the way.
It started in 2014, when I spotted an article about it in a fitness magazine by chance. It struck me as a way of showing others that you can achieve anything when you set your mind to it. I was encouraging my clients to push their limits on a daily basis, and I felt it was time to practice what I preached.
I’ll share a little more about Miss Galaxy and the regime I followed to get there in future blogs. However, suffice it to say, it transformed my fitness regime and diet and gave me a whole new level of confidence, which I now share with others through my personal training work.
Hence the title of this blog – you really can achieve anything, you just have to make the decision to do so!
If this blog has inspired you to make a change, why not get in touch to see how I could help you?