Body mass index (BMI)-everyone’s favourite measurement?

This measurement causes much confusion, can make athletes seem like they should be in the obese range, and scare the living daylights out of some people who exericse regularly. If i told you that Johnny Wilkinson is classed as overweight and has been in the obese range, would you believe me? What about martin johnson, former england rugby captain, always lean and in great shape? Yep, he’s obese too! And the list goes on and on of athletes who are classed in the obese and overweight range. I have done my test today and i come out as 27.7, which is comfortably in the overweight range.

To explain it all, you have to dig beneath a bit and in the smaller print, it does say it does overestimate those who have more lean muscle tissue than “normal” people. Since it is desirable to get a leaner, more muscular build, not only for appearance, but to raise your metabolism and burn more fat, the BMI may not be a true reflection for you.

On another scale, some of the senior’s i train have another issue. It may UNDERESTIMATE body fat in older people and others who have lost muscle mass.

In fairness to the BMI, it tries to assess the average person, and unfortunately, it will be the untrained individual who may or may not have a healthy diet. So if you are weight training/using resistance, your results may be a touch inaccurate.

This is no excuse to write the  BMI  scale off though, you will know if your body fat is too high simply by looking in the mirror some of you, if your clothes don’t fit, if you have no energy, you have no drive/enthuisasm, does everything wobble when you shake yourself, it’s important to be honest and all i was doing was clearing up a frequently asked question.

Your new year efforts will be dramatic if you want them to be, and you know that many of you will look an amazingly amount better 20 pounds lighter. As debbie said in a post, you may lose 20 pounds of body fat, yet gain 8 pounds of muscle, so the total weight loss of 12 pounds on the scale may not reflect your true efforts. Don’t always rely on the scales, a before  and after photo is good, your clothes not fitting anymore is fantastic,  your waist being less than half your height in inches, and you know if your efforts have been fantastic, you will FEEL fantastic too, simple as that.


Do i need to work more than 20 mins to burn fat?

Jean brought up a very interesting point today, she said that she always took it that you needed to work for at least 20 minutes before she starting burning fat. In theory, she is right and your body will start burning it’s carbohydrate and simple sugars first, then after the 20 minutes stage depending on energy levels in the body, fat can then be used as a fuel source so that does work-in a perfect world.

What happens if nothing is going to plan that day, we need a quick workout and we can only fit in a 15 minute run, is it worth it? We can only do 20 press ups, 20 arm dips. 20 squats, and 70 squat thrusts, is it worth it? What if you can only get a 10 minute walk in with the dog as you have to go back to work, is it worth going even you put in a light jog? Is it worth going for 15 minute bike ride when we usually do 45 mins? Will we burn fat if we do any of these things?

The answer must be a resounding “yes”! Of course, we would spend a little more time warming up and getting into the workout, it’s not good to rush in and go 200% all the time! What i am saying is that any exercise is good, and i have had some of my best workouts in under 10 mins. Breaking 9 minutes for the first time whilst doing 2500 metres on a rowing machine nearly half killed me! Usain bolt does his best workouts in under 10 seconds! What about the guys and girls who do the run up the stairs every february in the empire state building in new york? There are 1575 stairs and the women’s record is 13 minutes 12 seconds, the men’s rec0rd is 9 minutes and thirty three seconds.

Do you think that any of these workouts/events burnt any body fat or not? Of course they did and often pushed our bodies to new levels of achievement and conditioning.

The key is you are pressed for time is to raise the intensity to suit the workout. For instance, if you are used to running for 30 minutes on a flat surface and that gives you an effort of 8 out of 10 then great. Do make a workout of 15 minutes much more intense, incorporate hills or interval training, do some sprints with minimal rest, in fact do anything that makes it harder and really try and take rest out of the equation.

P.S. To clear up my home workouts post yesterday, my example workout was exactly that, an example. For instance if your best test on your own was 20 press ups, 30 arm dips, 60 squat thrusts etc, your circuit you do 3 times should be half of that. Therefore, it would be 10 press ups, 15 arm dips and 30 squat thrusts. Effectively, you are halving your personal best totals but doing them a total of 3 times instead of once. This will make a very effective workout indeed. Any problems let me know.

How to calculate your workout needs (at home)

I have used many equations to calculate the individual’s needs for working out inside, and the one that seems to work very well  indeed is the following;

This will serve you VERY well into 2010, and you can upgrade it once a month if you’re focused on progress.

Rule number one-Aim for 6-8 exercises in your circuit

Rule number two-aim for those exercises to work each body part

Rule number three-aim for three circuits of the workout

Rule number four-test yourself on each exercise first and write down your best efforts on each exercise

Rule number four-to get your magic number for each exercise, halve your best efforts, for example if you can do 20 press ups on your best efforts, your magic number on your press ups will be 10, because you will need to do them over THREE circuits, does that makes sense?

Rule number five-do each exercise non-stop and have a breather/sip of water after each circuit, or the fittest amongst you will work up to be able to do 3 circuits non-stop without a break (this may take some considerable time)

Rule number six-Do each exercise with perfect form, do each exercise SLOWLY and don’t cheat, or you won’t progress and you may get injured, i can’t stress this enough!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Rule number seven-do this circuit at least twice a week but i like THREE times, typically monday, wednesday and friday, always at least 48 hours in between each workout

Rule number eight-upgrade and re-test your workout needs ONCE a month, we are focused on progress and not comfort zones!

Rule number nine-don’t be tempted to add on needless exercises and turn your workouts into marathons! keep it to 6-8 exercises that will really test you, once you go over this number, your ideal intensity is lost trust me!

Rule number ten-believe in this! Working with resistance can and will re-shape your body, raise your metabolism (the rate you  burn calories) for LONGER than your cycling and running, broken down muscle from resistance training burns lots of calories in the re-building stage, this is a massive secret in your programme so you need this workout AND your outside stuff (walking, running, cycling etc).

So, the plan in practice, test yourself on the following after a warm up

Hyper extensions


Press ups

Arm dips

Sit ups

Alternate squat thrusts

So if you can do 20 press ups in one go at your best, 10 arm dips, 10 sit ups, 20 alternate squat thrusts, 10 squats, and always keep your hyper extensions at 10

Your circuit done a total of 3 times should be

hyper extensions-10


press ups-10

arm dips-5

sit ups-5

alternate squat thrusts-10

Do this 3 times per week (monday, wednesday, friday ideally)

Let me know how you get on!


*How to do the exercises

Hyper extensions-(lower back)

Lie flat out on stomach with hands right in front of you. When ready, raise arms and legs together slowly, so your whole body raises, then lower yourself slowly to really stretch and strengthen your lower back.

Squats (legs)

Often called the “king” of exercises, the squat not gives your legs a tremendous boost, but your stomach and lower back too. It also gets you breathing really well and can have a good effect on your heart and lungs once you get used to it and advance.

Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and a bar resting on your shoulders or dumbbells to your side. Keep your back straight and slowly squat down until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Push yourself back up to a standing position and repeat.

 Key points-never lean forward (you’ll strain your back) and keep looking up directly in front of you, never look down. Keep your feet straight and don’t let the weight come onto the balls of your feet. Keep the movement slow to be safe and have big results.

 Press ups (upper body)

Full press up

Place hands directly under your shoulders, keep fingers pointing forward and your upper body and legs straight.

Bend your arms to 90 degrees and lower your body gently, keeping your head still, your stomach will need to be tensed, which keeps your legs straight. Breathe in on the way down and out on the way up.

 Recommended to start-try press ups on knees

Keep arms directly under shoulders again, but this time keep your knees on the floor on mat, slowly lower your body, and back up slowly.

Arm dips (backs of arms)

Using any bench literally anywhere, lower yourself down slowly with your hands behind you with your knees bent, then come back up slowly. To make it harder, straighten your legs out, aim for as many as possible without straining yourself of course!

 Sit ups (stomach)

Lie on the floor with knees bent and your feet placed flat on the floor. Support with your head gently with your hands as if you were holding a baby. Tense your stomach and then start off by raising your torso forward, raising your head and shoulders slightly off the floor and push your lower back into the floor to extra feel on the movement. Hold it for one second and then lower yourself back to the floor, then repeat.

Alternate squat thrusts

A great exercise for aerobic conditioning that’s low on joint pressure which is always good. Get in a position as if you were in starting blocks going for a 100m sprint. Hold it there, and simply interchange your legs pushing them back and forth, with your knees nearly touching your elbows. Aim for as many as possible. 

1st workout after christmas

Went for my first run today, the first workout after christmas. Shouldn’t have talked about illness so much before christmas, as i had a 24 hour bug like the rest of the family. Everything felt rough, trust me!

Anyway, back to normal now and like the way this workout made me feel myself again, no struggle either and was in the dark at 7am, and can’t beat the fresh air that time of the morning, even if it seemed that everyone else was in bed!

The first workout back is always a struggle too because you really wonder whether should you be doing it. Should you have another day off? Should you have another lie in? Should you just laze around another day or another week because its christmas?

Whatever your decision, i just know it takes longer to get back into shape the longer you leave it simple as that. I know it’s more painful too, and my chest hurts if i left it another week, yes its that bad!! So while the temptation is there with all of us to give it just one more week until the new year, our bodies like routine and the sooner we get back to feeling good, the better in my book! It doesn’t have to be flat out and killing yourself, it could be a longer walk, a lighter weights session, a gentle bike ride, there’s no better feeling than getting your heart pumping again, and simply “feeling yourself” again.

Your choice!


Christmas thought from Nevil Williams

Renowned local history author,  Part time DJ  and tireless community christian/church senior, Nevil Williams, has sent an email to me that he agreed to be posted here for christmas. Nevil has overcome many challenges in his life and had trained for many, many years, and his story is to come in the future, quite inspirational! Nevil is enjoying his holidays with friends in blackpool, and he will be back for his session next wednesday!!

“Christmas is a time for giving, God is no exception for in the gospel of john we read “for God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life”.