When it comes to exercise and weight loss, there are so many different theories it's hard to know if you're doing the right thing!
You posted your burning questions on our Facebook page and we asked Kelly Marshall, Nutracheck's Fitness Specialist to give her expert advice. Read Kelly's responses below and start getting fit for summer!
"What is a good workout routine to tone up the whole body, especially my muffin top!"
A total body approach ('TBA') workout is one that targets all the big muscle groups and combines movement patterns to optimise calorie burning and lean muscle development. This can be done with equipment in a gym-type setting (cables, TRX, Olympic bars etc) or in the comfort of your own home with bodyweight exercises, depending on your circumstances and preferences.
An example of a simple home TBA workout could include the following:
(See previous post for videos showing you how to do some these exercises).
Work through all 6 exercises without rest, then have a break at the end of the sequence for 25 seconds before going again. Repeat for 3-4 sets. The idea is to achieve intensity to burn calories during the session, elevate the metabolic rate (to optimise calorie burn after the session) as well as target the hips, bums, thighs and upper body for a total body approach with emphasis for muffin top area.
"I'm considering taking up running, in the gym initially then I hope to do the C25k on the road. My question is will running tone and slim down my hips and thighs? (I'm a pear shape!) Do I need to do weights for my legs as well? What would you suggest?"
Running (the longer the distance the better) is an effective aerobic exercise that can contribute to toning and slimming the legs. It promotes improvements in heart health and supports fat loss by developing a better ability to utilise fat stores for fuel. The lean muscle development that occurs more in the initial few months of taking up running does have a ceiling, so once the improvements appear to reach a limit, bodyweight strength training can take the toning benefits further.
A simple bodyweight circuit to target all the muscles in the leg / hip area would not only shape and tone the legs, but also support your running mechanics and progression as well. Exercises such as walking lunges, floor bridges, single leg squats and donkey kicks (on all fours and kicking one leg up in the air then switching legs) could be done in a circuit-style format and repeated with minimal rest 2-3 sets. This would be a good addition to an existing workout or useful as a stand along one to do at home on days when you're not running.
"I have been doing Nutracheck for 7 weeks and have been really good but the last 3 weeks I have stayed the same weight. I find it hard to exercise as I am waiting to have a kidney transplant, but I need to lose more weight. I have been sticking to my calories. Help!"
Well done for your initial weight loss so far and don't worry about the plateau during the last 3 weeks. It is important to remember that fluctuations in body water can vary by several pounds within a few hours and the timing of your "weigh-in" is also important as having gone without something to eat or drink for a few hours or having just been to the loo could make several pounds of a difference and give a low reading. Whereas the opposite scenario could give a higher than actual weight - and the difference between the two results could be as much as half a stone.
I would suggest you consider the following to figure out the reason for the 'plateau':
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Nutritionist Emma Brown, MSc Human Nutrition is passionate about how food science applies to the human body, and how the nutrients in what we eat affect us and ultimately have an impact on our health.