Why your Nutrition and Programming Needs to be Personalised if you are Serious About Getting Results

Why your Nutrition and Programming Needs to be Personalised if you are Serious About Getting Results

Body re-composition can be a complex, layered process. Some people respond easily and others don’t, and this is simply unavoidable. Genetics, your athletic background and your emotional/mental state play a HUGE part in this.

I find men often respond easier than women, which comes down to hormones, as well as attitude. Women have been prayed on and taught to hate their bodies for years, and I hear it ALL the time, women saying ‘nothing works for me’, but 9/10 of those women are following generic nutrition and training plans. With the right support and programming/nutrition, transformation is definitely not impossible. The same applies to men when it comes to achieving optimal strength/nutrition

What needs to be considered though is that EVERYONE is different, and I can tell you from personal experience that if I didn’t personalize my clients meal/training programs, AT LEAST 80% of them wouldn’t have gotten any tangible results.


So, why does your programming need to be individualized?

Because you have you own experience level, weak points, strong points, levers, limb lengths, schedules, lifestyles, preferences, etc. Programming should become more difficult over time if you wish to get stronger over time. Likewise, if you follow the same program or intensity of training forever, your results will eventually halt.

I find the worst examples of ‘halt’ programs are the very generic ones such as body-pump and circuit training. You will get results at first, but after a few months you will just get/stay ‘fit’. This is fine, however if it is body re-composition, or strength development you are after you need to lift weights, and push yourself progressively harder in weight/volume/intensity in order to keep getting results. And this needs to be teed up with a good nutritional plan. The human body is like an adaptation machine.

I follow a basic template with my girls as most will have similar weaknesses (eg hips and upper back), but I then adapt this template to suit individual requirements. NONE of them are exactly the same, unless one client has the exact same circumstances as another.

Why does your food plan need to be individualised?

Because no one is the same hormonally, metabolically, physiologically, psychologically, and no one has the same history. Many fitness/nutrition businesses these days work on the following model – make three templates, hand out the closest one to the client, cross fingers, hope for the best. If it doesn’t work, scrap that person and highlight the person that it does work for. It’s more of a business model rather than a service model, but the fitness industry is a big-money business now.

Take for example the following women (and for this example, lets just assume that they are all aiming to increase muscle and decrease body-fat so they can feel good in a bikini in summer);

Client 1: Weighs 90kgs, used to suffer from bulimia, has just introduced some light training, has been predominantly inactive throughout her life, and has little or no education about the fundamentals of nutrition

Client 2: Is tall, thin and underweight, and really wants to build muscle. She has tried to in the past but just doesn’t see results, which effects her motivation

Client 3: Suffers depression, allergies and fatigue, walks 3-4 days per week, works and studies full-time, and has two children

Client 4: Is active, has always been active, had a six-pack since childhood and can eat whatever she wants, and generally remains pretty lean

There are some massive differences there, but this kind of variety is NORMAL. All of these women want to change their body composition but each require a totally different approach to their nutrition

So lets assume I give them all the same 1800-calorie meal plan, and the same program with 5 days of weights and two cardio sessions per week. Here is an example of the potential outcome for each of those clients;

Client 1: Could become overwhelmed and drop off very quickly, returning to old habits

Client 2: Will probably get through the training okay but will struggle to stick to that many calories as she will churn through them once she adds the exercise

Client 3: May struggle to find the time and energy to complete all the workouts, which will leave her feeling doubtful and defeated. The training may also add to her fatigue

Client 4: Most likely, she will breeze through, probably even go off the plan here and there because she’s looking good and feeling confident. This is what you call a high-responding client.

So as you can see in that situation, one of these clients has succeeded and the rest aren’t too happy. Which is why they need to be taken care of individually, which takes effort on the part of your coach, but you shouldn’t be expecting anything less.

If you are just aiming to improve your health and overall wellbeing, then a generalized plan will most often suit. These plans are often much cheaper and also serve as a good starting/introductory point.

However, if you have specific goals and you feel like there are a few ‘layers’ that you will need to work through, then you may need support and no matter who you hire for the job, make sure what they write up for you is ESPECIALLY FOR YOU – an individualised plan with a long-term goal in mind

Jen 🙂

Fat vs Muscle – Which Weighs More?

Fat vs Muscle – Which Weighs More?

Trying to lose weight? Here are a few examples of why you need to monitor your progress with more than just checking the scales, ESPECIALLY when weight training When it comes to body composition it’s important to note the difference between the density and appearance of fat and muscle. 1kg of fat is soft, lumpy and sits right under the skin, and it takes up more space on the body as 1kg of muscle, which is tightly packed and close to the bone. I get the women I work with to take measurements along the way as well and pictures and bodyweight, as your weight will fluctuate constantly throughout the process. When it does, it can seriously mess with your head! You also want to build and/or maintain as much muscle as possible in the process, so measurements and visual changes are more significant than scale weight So here are some of the girls results over the past 8 weeks just as an example – you can see that the ‘cms’ lost are a lot higher than you would think for the ‘kgs’ lost. You can also see that one girl has actually ‘gained’ weight 2.2kg lost > 20cm down, 4.5kg lost > 34cm down, 1.8kg lost > 20cm down, 4.5kg lost > 34cm down, 4.1kg lost > 35cm down, 2.5kg lost > 19cm down, 3.1kg lost > 22cm down, 700gms gained > 15cm down, 2kg lost > 14.5cm down, 4kg lost > 23.5cm down Preserving muscle and strength is achieved by keeping a good balance between training and calorie consumption, and it will also leave you with more sustainable changes in the long run *Please note that the attached image is not an EXACT representation of size, it is merely being used as an example
Same Weight, Different Body – Lisa’a Transformation

Same Weight, Different Body – Lisa’a Transformation

This is a perfect example of what happens when you approach fitness goals with health as a top priority, and also why you can’t rely on scale weight to track progress. On the left she is 58kgs, on the right she is 70kgs

In 2014, Lisa was eating about 900 calories per day with almost ZERO carbs, and her training routine involved weights AND cardio sessions daily. On the right in 2017, Lisa is doing 5 weights sessions, three cardio and her calories are (on average) 1800 per day. Carbs are around 170gms per day.

Physical changes aside, Lisa is healthier, stronger and happier in her fitness journey compared to when she started. She is also an awesome, very dedicated personal trainer….

Can’t wait for her to hit the stage for a second time this April!

Whether your goals are strength, health, or body composition focused, it is ESPECIALLY important for women to focus on training balance and a healthy metabolism for sustainable results. Patience, consistency and optimal health are key

9 Benefits to Bodybuilding That Are Rarely Talked About

9 Benefits to Bodybuilding That Are Rarely Talked About

Quite often i read posts that complain about bodybuilding competitions, usually from ex-competitors who didn’t enjoy it for one reason or another, or from people who don’t have much knowledge or experience in the sport. Recently I saw a study connecting it to Narcissism! Whilst this is true for some people, its far from true for the women i work with.

Personally I love bodybuilding and I think much can be gained and learned in the process of stepping onstage. So, I thought it was about time to put out some of the GREAT things about competing. When done properly the benefits far outweigh the ‘negatives’. So these are the reasons I love training women for competition;

1/ It can help to improve your body image and self-esteem 

This one is massive, which is why i put it first. Truth be told, it could flip either way, but that completely depends on your mindset. If you compete with the intention of seeing what you are capable of, and bringing YOUR best body forward, you will walk away feeling pretty amazing about your achievements. Going into it with the intention of winning, or looking like someone else will leave you feeling completely the opposite. Competing can be a really great way of learning to love and appreciate your body for what it is, in a whole new way.

2/ It teaches you about what your body needs and how healthy it is

When you compete, it is crucial that you are on a healthy eating plan. IIFYM works for some, but not most women. Your body stores fat out of stress, so if your organs aren’t healthy, if your mindset isn’t right, you will have toxins running through your system and hit a few roadblocks along the way to losing body-fat. This may sound ‘bad’, but overcoming these obstacles will improve your overall health, leaving you with a clean slate to work with in the future once you’re done

3/ It shows you what it feels like to be running on good fuel

When right in the middle of your prep, if you are doing it properly (i.e. not starving yourself or smashing yourself on cardio), then you will reach a point where you feel ridiculously healthy, light, and clear-minded. It really teaches you what optimal health feels like, and it’s pretty eye-opening. It gives you something to strive for in everyday life as you will have a new baseline goal from there-on out.

4/ It teaches you some insane will-power

Competing makes you realise how much of our lives revolve around food and drink. Its your birthday? have some cake. Just got a promotion? Go out for drinks. Feeling sad? Go buy a tub of Ben & Jerry’s and sit in bed eating the whole tub. Getting through these situations without ‘caving in’ gives you a chance to actually reflect on these habits which leaves you feeling strong, empowered and in control.

5/ It brings your vulnerabilities to the surface so you can understand yourself better

Competing also makes you realise how much food and drink is used as a way of stuffing down your emotions. This is a pretty big one. Many women have an emotional connection to food, and when feeling low, we overindulge. When you are competing and you don’t squash your feelings down with food, it forces you to learn to understand yourself better – your patterns, your insecurities, and your vulnerabilities. The more you know yourself, the stronger you will be both inside and out.

6/ When you step off stage, you feel like you could conquer anything 

Usually when you set this goal of competing, you aren’t 100% sure if you will be able to do it. You are also not aware of the challenging journey ahead until you’re right in the middle of it. Once you get off that stage, and you think back about all the obstacles you had to overcome to achieve it, you seriously feel like you can conquer anything.

7/ You get to wear sparkly things and essentially, perform on stage 

This one is superficial but, its one of the reasons I did it. If you have a dance background, you love to perform, and you LOVE going to the gym, this is an awesome way to express yourself and all your hard work in the most feminine way.

8/ You can make great friends

If you find yourself in a great team, you will make friends for life. You share struggles and triumphs and these are the key to building great friendships. Most of the people competing will have the same motivations as you; self-improvements, empowerment, a love for good food and physical fitness. Who doesn’t want friends like that??

9/ It’s practically an art-form – a way of expressing yourself

So this one is why i did it. I am creative by nature and i loved the idea of using the body as a canvas and sculpting it how i wanted it to be. So, it’s art. Weight lifting has countless benefits, and being able to create a shape you love can seriously improve your body-confidence and self-expression.

So there you have it. This isn’t to say that I don’t think there are a lot of things that could be improved, things that could go wrong, or that there aren’t certain things to be considered before you take the leap, but that is a different post altogether. The trick to making it a great experience is to find the right guidance and a good team fit for you. Then you will walk away from the experience a happier, stronger, and more empowered woman

Jen 🙂

Finding your Inner Strength through Body Transformation

Finding your Inner Strength through Body Transformation

Everyone who embarks on a health/lifestyle transformation has one common goal; to become a healthier, happier and stronger version of themselves. There are many choices you need to make along the way when it comes to nutrition, training and mindset that can either make it a journey full of strength and empowerment, or one that can be filled with feelings of disappointment and self-defeat. Here are some tips I learned along my journey, and through other womens journeys, that may help you stay on the path of true strength and empowerment…

1/ Assess whether your goals are realistic or not

This one is make-or-break. Behaviours such as believing everything you see on social media, expecting someone to have the ‘secret’, or using crash-diets as solutions to long-term weight struggles, are health and fitness myths that can lead you down a negative path. Empowered approach: Understand that the world is out to make money! Companies will say anything to get you to buy their products. Your goals however (no matter how big or small), are achievable, if approached in the right way. There are many amazing people in the health and fitness industry that are experienced, realistic and honest. My suggestion is to find a professional, talk to anyone you know and TRUST that has transformed and inspired you, and ask them for their personal perspective on their own journey. Realistic expectations will always serve you in the long run

2/ Focus on the inner wins, not just the physical

Thinking that changing your body is going to make you happier is a disillusion like no other. If your happiness is compromised you tend to want to blame something, and in a world fueled by media’s idea of a ‘perfect woman’, we can often get caught up in thinking its our body that is the culprit. I can tell you from experience that getting ‘hot’ will not make you happy all by itself. Empowered approach: Understand that the way your body looks is quite often a mixture of your genetics and your emotional state. Personally I think body transformation is one of the most empowering things you can do, but its not the end resulting ‘body’ that brings you happiness, but rather the improved nutrition, regular exercise, nervous system adaptations, improved sleep, and your newly-refined rubbish-behaviour-in-your-friends detector (a.k.a your ability to see who wants to see you happy and who wants to see you fail), that gives you this feeling of inner happiness. Buying smaller clothes is great, but it’s truly an afterthought once you have made these changes in your life.

3/ Approach the switch from unhealthy to healthy gradually, and be patient!

Thinking that you can go from an unhealthy lifestyle to one full of nourishment can be unrealistic and disempowering. It can often leave you putting too many restraints on yourself and as saying goes ‘what you resist, persists.’ Once the persistence becomes too much and you ‘cave’, you are likely to be left feeling as if you cannot achieve your goal, and that you are not good enough. Empowered approach: You can, however, change it gradually and even the smallest of changes will lead to positive outcomes. Most often if your lifestyle isn’t optimal then it’s because either you were never taught it, or something has happened in your life that sent you down a less-healthy path. The trick here is not to judge yourself. The first part of lifestyle change is deciding to change, and you have to give yourself the respect you deserve to change it slowly. Think something along the lines of; ‘in 12 months I will be eating healthy at least 90% of the time and exercising 4 days a week’. Then come up with a realistic path to follow that will lead you there. If you ‘slip up’, laugh at yourself, recognize that it’s a part of you that you are ready and willing to let go of – IN TIME – and keep moving forward.

4/ Try to avoid focusing on the scales

Getting caught up in your weight will have you feeling you aren’t getting anywhere. You can gain 5kgs of muscle and lose 5kgs of fat, but you’re still going to weigh the same, so relying on that can take away your power and leave you feeling like you’re not achieving what you want. Empowered approach: If your goal is body transformation or weight-loss, use measurements and photos and appreciate all the little changes along the way. Also remember (as mentioned above) that most of the changes will be ones that have NOTHING to do with your physical appearance, so don’t overlook them.

5/ Avoid comparing yourself to others

Self-comparison is a self-growth killer. Aiming to transform into a replica of your favorite fitness model feels empowering to begin with, but becomes disempowering in the long-run when reality hits and you realise what it takes to achieve the look you’re after. Empowered approach: Keep in mind that you are unique and beautiful in every way before you even begin, and you are just embarking on a journey to a stronger, fitter and healthier you. We all have a unique physical structure which cannot be changed. Sure, someone can inspire you, but at the end of the day your power comes from owning your own space in the world. Use the CONCEPT of an image to inspire you but not the exact ‘look’. This way you will feel like you have ownership of your personal journey to improve on YOURSELF, rather than feeling like your unrealistic attempts – to look like another person – aren’t working.

6/ Be mindful of social media

In terms of business, social media can be deceiving, for many it’s a marketing tool and far from honest and trustworthy. Phone editing is easy to do now and no-one mentions what is really going on behind-the-scenes to achieve the bodies that they are using in exchange for money. You also never really know what, or who, is behind each account. In terms of your personal use, relying on likes or followers to validate you can be disempowering and leave you questioning weather your efforts (which you were pleased with before you posted them) are anything special. Empowered approach: I definitely see nothing wrong with social media if you focus on its positives, being that it’s a place of sharing and inspiration. But you have to see through the crap and be realistic. Some people have thousands of followers and have no idea what they are doing, and some have next-to-no followers and are AMAZING at what they do. I have had clients who have had abs since childhood and some that are meticulous with diet and exercise who have never had them. Abs don’t always equal expertise. So, use social media to inspire you to change and if your are detached from the outcome then go ahead and share, but don’t allow the result to leave you feeling doubtful about your own journey, and keep in mind that if something seems to good to be true, it usually is.

The biggest take-away here really is just to always keep in mind that transformation takes time in ANY discipline. There is much to be gained from changing your lifestyle for the better, but true empowerment comes from a healthy and realistic attitude, respecting yourself and your individual journey, having integrity, and staying true to yourself!


7 Benefits of Weight Training that have Nothing to do with ‘Getting Hot’

7 Benefits of Weight Training that have Nothing to do with ‘Getting Hot’

Most people start of weight training in order to achieve a bikini body. Most people don’t even think of the other benefits. So here are a few of my faves;

1/ You will strengthen your bones

Osteoporosis is a condition where your bones weaken over time. My grandma passed away from a broken hip at just 73, after years of muscle atrophy (wasting away of the muscles). I remember her being immobile for years before then. By resistance training – of any kind, even bodyweight exercises count – you are helping to reduce age-related bone loss. I have a client who is 57, has been lifting weights for 8 years, and last time she was tested she was told she has the bone density of a woman in her 30’s. So, it’s a fact

2/ It can lift your mood

Lifting weight strengthens your nervous system, and a stronger nervous system lifts your mood. I don’t have a scientific study to prove that one. but I do know it to be a fact. It also releases endorphins, which as most people know are happy hormones. Even just that feeling of pride and satisfaction associated with doing something that is for the betterment of your health and well being can contribute to an elevated mood and positive self-image

3/ It gives a sense of personal empowerment

I think this one is attributed to nervous system adaptation, but lifting weights genuinely make you feel good about yourself. The feeling you get when you gain strength, feel your body coming together structurally, find ease in everyday activities (ESPECIALLY as a woman) is priceless, and cannot be achieved through cardio activity alone (and I know this, as I have done both). Anyone who lifts weights will attest to this, its a feeling that cannot really be explained in words

4/ It will get you thinking about the food you are eating

When you get into weight training you start to feel better (as explained above), so the next thing that most people will tackle is their nutrition. Its natural for a body increasing in health and strength to start craving things that are good for you. Then if you really get into it, you can start learning about food quality, nutrient timing, macros, etc, and this will in turn improve on points 2 and 3

5/ You will have a faster metabolism, which means you can eat more

All girls love to eat, but we often restrict our eating because we are afraid of gaining fat. When you lift weights you build skeletal muscle, and this muscle is metabolically active, meaning it will require greater calories to maintain its size and shape. Whether you use this extra capacity to burn off body-fat, alter your body composition or merely enjoy eating more food, is up to you

6/ If you do it properly, it never gets boring

Jogging can get boring (or painful), staring at the bottom of the pool while you swim laps can get boring, group fitness is repetitive and all of these are results-limiting. When you learn how to lift properly, it will bring you ENDLESS benefits. Proper technique leads to better and faster results, which in turn leaves you feeling more satisfied (see points above). Compound lifts like Squats and Deadlifts can always be improved and the benefits will just keep on coming. The key to doing it ‘properly’ is to hire a professional, even if just to start you off in the right direction

7/ It has countless health benefits

These really are countless, so here are just a few; reduced blood pressure, lowered blood sugar, alleviation of autoimmune symptoms, imporoved sleep and sleep quality, improved cardiovascular health, mobility, circulation, flexibility, and an improved, much healthier body-composition.

So there you go, time to go lift some weights. You wont be disappointed!

Jen 🙂






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