Let’s get one thing straight right from the start: you don’t really burn fat during exercise. Yes, that’s right, and I know it’s not what you’ve been told, nor perhaps what you want to hear, and as a personal trainer you may be surprised to hear me say, that but it’s a fact. Simply increasing your amount of exercise is not the answer to burning body fat.
Now that we understand about the real reasons why we store or burn fat, and we’ve cleaned up our nutrition, established more regular and predictable meal timings, and improved our sleeping and waking routine, it’s time to talk about exercise… if not, re-read The 3 best types of exercise to burn fat - part 1.
The first thing to say about the best types of exercise to burn fat is that this is also about chemicals and messages. “But what about calories?” I hear you ask. And I know: it’s what we’ve been taught, probably by the same people who’ve stuffed up the nutrition advice and made us all fat, sick and tired. So let me release you of the shackles of calorie-burning exercise using this quick example:
At then end of an already stressful day, the trend is to go and thrash ourselves at the gym. As if life isn’t stressful enough! We are told by the fitness media and lifestyle bloggers that high intensity exercise is what we should all be doing for maximum results. Wile this may well be true for many people, for someone already just about coping with the levels of stress in their lives, a high intensity exercise regime could be the last thing they need and may even contribute to adrenal fatigue or burnout.
Joining an exercise class can be a fantastic way to kick-start your fitness regime. There are numerous benefits to be gained from instructor-led group exercise, fuelling the growth of small independent studios and boutique gyms that specialise in such classes. Increasingly people are wanting more from their fitness experience and are no longer content with just going to the gym by themselves.
In 2017 I read a book that changed the way I saw my place in the world. The book was called “Let My People Go Surfing” by Yvon Chouinard, the founder and owner of the outdoor clothing company Patagonia. Until this point, it’s safe to say that I was pretty ignorant about the ways in which my lifestyle and decisions were impacting on the environment. l paid little attention to the changes I could have made to reduce my own carbon footprint, thinking “what difference can I make” in the face of the scale of the American automotive industry, the growth of China’s fossil fuel consumption, the emissions from international shipping and an ocean full of plastic. However, in 2017 I posted this letter to the planet Facebook:
We are spoiled for choice for fitness in Bath. There are 12 dedicated yoga companies, 10 personal training studios, 8 well-equipped membership gyms, 5 boutique fitness studios. On top of this there are hundreds of independent fitness instructors working in homes, parks, gyms, church halls and community centres to give us the rich variety of choice that Bath currently enjoys.
Before answering this question, it’s important to put exercise into its correct context. Prior to the modern age, our ancestors would have had considerably more movement in their daily lives - foraging or hunting for food, building shelter, carrying young or collecting firewood. At rest we would have squatted or sat on the floor, and even in these positions there would have been constant movement as we adjusted our position. They had no requirement for formal exercise or daily mobility routine, they just moved regularly. If we all moved more regularly we wouldn’t need formal exercise either, but back to the real wold of chairs, cars, desks and sofas, movement has been replaced by sedentarism. The receptionist beckons you to “come in, take a seat” and we are taught to sit down to work from our first day at school. This is were it all starts to go wrong!
One in seven people in the UK now have gym membership, which makes the fitness market as competitive as it’s even been. Boutique gyms have exploded onto the fitness scene over the past few years, showcasing their immaculately-designed interiors, snazzy lighting and fluffy towels, while offering everything from hot yoga to under-water cycling.
We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.
George Bernard Shaw
A question we frequently get asked is: what are the best type of exercises for older adults?
As we age our muscles become weaker and contract more slowly, our bones become more brittle, our joints become less stable and our balance deteriorates. It sounds like a gloomy prospect but all is not lost, these processes can not only be stopped in their tracks, but even reversed with the right types of exercise. We work with lots of older people and the transformations in their abilities once they start to become more active and build exercise into their lifestyle is incredible!
In terms of gym membership, classes and personal training, we have more choice nowadays about where to go, and how much to pay, then ever. This short article aims to explain the various pricing differences between membership gyms and boutique fitness studios and why people are willing to pay a bit more for the experience.
Imagine not squeezing awkwardly through the steel turnstile, avoiding the vacuous gaze of the receptionist, dropping your bag into a damp locker and venturing on to the gym floor under the shrouded gaze of two-dozen eyes as you select your first machine. Imagine not skulking back to the anonymous changing rooms and under the dribbling shower only to tell yourself you should have waited ‘till you got home. Again.