Sunday, 29 September 2013

Are you carrying too much VAT to SCAT?

No we're not talking in monetary terms but 'fat' terms.  Let me explain further, VAT stands for visceral adipose tissue and SCAT stands for subcutaneous adipose tissue.  So which one do you think you carry more of?  Well if you look down and can't see your toes then your shape may be typically 'apple' shaped.  And you may be at risk of carrying fat viscerally (around your organs).  If you carry most of your weight in the lower half of your body such as around hips, butt and thighs.  Your shape may be referred to as 'pear' shape.  The 'pear' shape is said to carry a lower risk of obesity related diseases such as diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure and CHD. 

Now SCAT even though it does not impede on internal organs is a little unsightly and it doesn't have a preference to what kind of shape you have.  I have seen some toned and strong women with a little bit of 'bingo wing' and cellulite.  Men can also suffer with SCAT if you are a man with man boobs, sometimes referred to as 'moobs' then unfortunately this is  also SCAT.  Subcutaneous fat has also been linked with high levels of Oestrogen.  Please click on the link for an interesting read on the effects of hormones and weight loss/gain.

A simple and un invasive way to determine your shape and your risk of possible obesity related conditions is to take your waist to hip ratio. Divide your waist number by your hip number in inches. Although I must point out if you are seriously overweight or obese this could be detrimental to your health regardless of where you carry your fat.

Find the smallest part of your waist, usually somewhere between the top of your hip and your bottom rib.  Your hip measurement should be taken around your largest part i.e. your buttocks. 

Ladies your waist to hip ratio should be less than 0.8"
Gents  your waist to hip ratio should be less than 1.0"

Searching the Internet I have found that the so called 'ideal' is 0.7"

If after taking your measurement you find you are an 'apple' shape, here are 5 easy tips you can implement straight away to kick start reducing that number.

  1. Drink more water.  Thirst is often mistook for hunger, so next time the hunger pangs come on drink a glass of water.  Wait for 10 minutes if you are hungry 'real hunger' then by all means eat something healthy.
  2. Try and cut down on white carbohydrates, especially in the evening unless (see next tip....)
  3. Starchy or white carbohydrates may be eaten after intense exercise as the sugar (broken down carbohydrates) will help replace the sugar (known as glycogen) in your muscles and liver (which is an energy source).
  4. In regard to the above tip, exercise.  Now slow to moderate exercise will burn fat (as fat is burnt when oxygen is present) although it will not give you an after burn effect.  By all means it is a good start especially if you are new to exercise, BUT if you can do something that challenges you and gets you out of your comfort zone you will increase your endorphins and will feel great that you accomplished something.
  5. Get support.  You may want to go alone, but having support from a loved one or friend will keep you motivated.  They will help keep you on the straight and narrow and offer support if you lose your way. 
If these 5 tips are a little too much to handle, try one or two of them.  Remember small steps all add up to achieving the end result.

Here's to your success, all the best.
Till next time

PS If you are lady reading this I train a wonderful group of ladies in a Tabata style ladies only class outside in Rudgwick, West Sussex.  Some may be there for different reasons, but the thing they all have in common is that they are all beautiful strong and focused ladies!

For details visit
(now starts at 6.45)

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Legs & Lungs in the Gym - Workout No7

A very tough HIIT routine that will improve both strength and cardiovascular fitness.  If you are short on time this (like all the other ones) hits all bases J
So we’re using one of my favourite cardio machines the ‘rower’ and teaming it with probably one of the most hated and feared body weight exercises, the ‘burpee’ (don’t panic I’ve added a regression below).  Set the rowing machine to ‘Row Variables’ and set up a rest period after each interval (if unsure ask an instructor).


1) Row
1a) Burpees
x 10
Rest period
5 minutes
2) Row
2a) Burpees
x 8
Rest period
4 minutes
3) Row
3a) Burpees
X 6
Rest period
3 minutes
4) Row
4a) Burpees
x 4
Rest period
2 minutes
5) Row
5a) Burpees
x 2
Rest period
1 minute


As you can see it’s a toughie.  A descending or down ladder on the distance, number of burpees and rest period.  At the end you will have completed 3,000 metres and 30 burpees!!  That distance is pretty good, considering most gym goers would not even spend 5 minutes on there.  But 30 burpees is a huge accomplishment.
Now by all means please adapt as you wish depending on your fitness levels.  You could give yourself greater rest periods or a shorter distance or less burpees.  For example 5 lots of 500 metres with 5 minutes rest in between each interval to do 2 or 3 burpees would be a cracking start J

Now for the Burpee regression, you could step back into your press up position instead of jumping back and / or take away the jump at the end.  Or elevating your hands on a step would also make this exercise a little easier.
Don’t let a little old burpee defeat you.  Honestly people will be very impressed that you’re giving them a go.  Give it your best shot and let me know your thoughts. 

Stay tuned I've another bodyweight and rower workout to come :)

Till next time, all the best