Personal trainer Tegan Haining has worked with model Jessica Gomes, Natalie Imbruglia and David Beckham. She’s also the author of fitness and diet plan, The 7 Day Quickie.
Decode your hormones
“Cortisol is our stress hormone and, when it’s elevated, we can hold fat more around our abdominal region, belly button and side profile. When you [address] stress, those extra five kilos might suddenly fall away. Our bodies let go of water weight we’re holding onto, we might not be comfort eating as much, we’re sleeping better. Learning to manage your stress levels is important – even just take a moment in your day for three deep calming breaths.”
“Cardio burns fat, but only while you’re doing that exercise. However, if you add resistance with body weight or weights, you carry on burning fat after you leave the gym. Why? Your body has to work to rebuild the muscle you’ve just broken down. That’s when your metabolism fires up because you need to convert energy to fuel those muscles. It’s not about trying to lift as much weight as you possibly can – I’ll do, say, 60 to 70 percent of the most I could do. Do 10 to 12 reps of an exercise and then move on.”
… And rest!
“People try to do everything very fast in the gym, but I’m always trying to get my clients to slow down. You might do a circuit-style training session with resistance and weights, but don’t be afraid of your rest period – that’s where the magic happens! You could give yourself 30-second rests between exercises. It feels like a long time, but by the 20th set, you’re going to be loving those 30 seconds. That’s when you’re getting a flood of oxygen back into your muscles and regaining strength, so you get the most out of every single working set.”
Turn the lights out
“How you wake up really dictates your day. If you’re feeling irritable and angry, you’re probably going to take that attitude into your day. Your growth hormones are also released at night-time while you’re sleeping – they’re the ones responsible for building lean muscle and helping you burn fat – so not getting adequate sleep really does mean that a lot of people struggle to lose that extra layer. Going to bed at 1am? Try 10pm, bringing it earlier by increments of 15 minutes.”
Ditch bathroom scales
“If you’re gaining muscle and losing fat, you can still weigh the same amount. But people get so discouraged by a number on the scale – and that’s a great way to have a croissant for breakfast, instead of eggs, because you think your efforts aren’t working. There are more accurate ways to track progress, like using a measuring tape, photos or finding a pair or jeans you can’t fit into, then seeing where you’re at after three months of training.”
Always do the maths
“Look at the accumulative effect of your day-to-day patterns. Clients will say, ‘I only have two glasses of wine in the evening’, but that’s still 14 glasses of wine a week. And if you’re struggling to lose the extra layer, could that be a contributing factor? If you cut back to one or two days a week, you’re getting rid of 10 to 12 units. That’s a lot! These are the little things that make a difference to one or two kilos of weight in the body.”
Switch your mindset
“During busy times, it’s better to exercise two or three days a week and be satisfied, rather than putting pressure on yourself to work out every day and then feeling like a failure if you don’t do that. You might not be reaching new goals, but you’re going to stay on course.”