When most people come see me their goal is to lose weight.  I would say that probably around 90% of people go to the gym to lose weight.  However, this is clearly not the underlying factor – as I say, “I could quite easily make you lose about 4kg in a few minutes by chopping off your arm; however, you probably want your arm”.  What I am trying to say is that actually the majority of people exercise to look better.  Therefore, a better indicator than weight loss of whether your goals are being achieved may be to take a before and after picture of yourself.  For a lot of people, losing weight will not necessarily make them look better, but losing body fat will, as before and after pictures show. 

In 1lb of fat there are 3500 calories (kcal), which means that to lose 2lbs in a week you need to burn an additional 1000kcal a day.  There is no secret to losing body fat; it comes down to simply burning more kcal than what you consume.  In other words – eat less and be more active.  However this can be easier said than done unless you have some good tips to help you. 

Although going to the gym can be very effective way of losing weight, the majority of people hate going to the gym and feel like it is something that they have to do to keep fit and healthy.  I believe that it is more important to have an overall healthy lifestyle as opposed to that obligatory trip to the gym.  If you set the dreaded alarm clock so that you have to get up earlier before work, or pop into the gym after a long day’s work then you are likely to turn up completely drained and disenchanted about any exercise. This means that as soon as you get to gym you are probably super grumpy and don’t want to speak to anyone, let alone some of the unengaging fitness staff walking around the gym like lost lemons, so you either resort to a session you did a while ago or just stick with the trusty old treadmill / cross-trainer.  If this is the case there is a lot you can do outside of the gym to get great results with little effort and a lot more fun

Simple tips for eating less

Addressing your diet is probably the best way of losing weight but can also be very difficult.  Here are some pro tips: 

·         Make slow progressive changes – A mistake that a lot of people make is going on extreme diets or taking the advice of an extreme diet plan from a personal trainer.  This may work for a month or two but for the majority people this is not fun or sustainable.  The secret is to make slow progressive changes to your diet that will be more sustainable.  This is because it easier to make slow changes that will help you see the positive effects of a healthy diet.   

·         Monitor what you eat – Keep a food dairy for a few weeks every now and then.  If you can monitor what you are eating then you will be able to see how many kcal you are consuming and how many you should be consuming.  It can get fairly tedious having to monitor all your food, but you only need to do it for a few weeks to be able see which foods are kcal-dense.  A good app to monitor this is myfitnesspal, which is available on iOS and Android.

·         Set yourself goals – Setting goals is a great way of motivating yourself.  Examples of goals may be working towards looking good for a holiday or the amount of kcal consumed in a day.  It is a great way of focusing on something.

·         Limit number of high kcal foods / meals – If you have unhealthy foods or meals that you really like, then instead of cutting them out completely, just try and limit them as much as possible through the week.  For example my weakness is cookies and pizza so I try and limit myself to one bag of cookies and one pizza a week.  Once you have limited it for a few weeks try and limit it a little more. 

Simple tips for increasing activity

Our bodies are designed to move, but the problem is the majority of people are stuck working at a desk.  There is no secret to increasing activity – you just have to move more.  Some of my pro tips are:

·         Move more – Monitor your steps per day, because just by being a bit more conscious about walking more can make a dramatic effect on your activity.  Monitoring your steps per day is a great way of increasing your activity.  A good goal would be to achieve over 10,000 steps a day.  Try and use the stairs instead of the lift or walk up and down escalatorsMoves is a fantastic app which you can use that will not only monitor your steps per day but also your running and cycling distance – it's available on iOS and Android.

·         Walk faster – If you walk faster than you will burn more kcal, as your body will be working harder.  It seems super simple, but it's these small things that will add up and make a big difference.

·         Set yourself goals – Again setting goals is a great way of motivating yourself.  It gives you something to work towards.  It may be a holiday, 10km run or another challenge.

·         Stand up more – Just by standing up more will burn more kcal.  For example at work you could stand up every 10 minutes or get a desk which lets you work standing up.  If you are on the train or bus, make sure you give up your seat to an old person or a pregnant lady!!!

·         Walk, cycle or run to work – Everyone hates public transport so this is a perfect opportunity to burn some kcal.  If you live too away to walk, cycle or run, then catch public transport part of the way and then just get off at a stop that isn’t too far.  

·         Take up a sport – There are so many different sports, which means there should be something for everyone.  Not only will taking up a sport increase your activity levels it is a good way of being social and can be a lot of fun.

So although going to the gym may help you lose weight or body fat and feel happier about how you look, it could be better for you first to look at your lifestyle and start making slow progressive changes towards consuming less kcal and being more active.  I would then recommend looking at doing some of the basic fundamental exercises well in order to achieve that underlying goal of looking better.