Is calorie restricting diets the best way to lose weight? The answer might surprise you

The default rather lazy advice or instruction for someone wanting to lose weight is to go on a diet or the rather stupid instruction to “eat less”. Then we hear how most diets ultimately fail as people end up putting on more weight. So what’s the answer? Is it worth bothering with?

Essentially when you start consuming less calories than your body is used to your brain will put you into starvation mode. This is in order for you to survive things like your metabolism slows and your appetite increases. so not only are you enclosed to eat more but with your motabolism slowing you are destined to put on more weight essentially not burning as much off.

This isn’t to say you should consume less calories in order to lose weight but it should be part of a larger plan and should be done in a patient and steadfast manner.

The ideal way to lose weight

While cardio may be prescribed to most who want to lose weight the real benefits are within a good resistance plan with the right mix of 80% resistant and 20% cardio

So why is resistance training more beneficial to those who want to lose weight but aren’t interested in becoming muscular. Well if you add some more muscle ( you really don’t have to become a body builder) your body has to work harder to maintain itself. Fat is stored without using energy, while muscles take calories to maintain – even when you are sat watching tv. This means you can start using more calories without having to cut down calorie intake ie you don’t need to totally give up your favourite foods.

At bottom this is the nature of calories- it’s fuel for the body so if you start making changes so that your body needs more fuel you will start to lose weight easier and be able to carry it through long term.

Creative Meditation

Much of what passes for meditation is nothing more than good old relaxation. This is true of any app or service that asks you to focus on nothing other than your breathing etc. True meditation involves an increase in awareness, skill, knowledge or understanding.
You can go to many places around Manchester, such as Clifton Country Park, Monton, or Moses Gate in Bolton and use your surroundings to help guide a succesful meditation for personal growth or to combat stress. But you can also achieve this anywhere by using the Garden Meditation.

Garden Meditation
The garden meditation is a great way to relax, compose your thoughts and overcome any daily stress, anxiety or depression. There are physical ways to get the same effect – by building your own garden or even playing animal crossing.
To form the Garden Meditation, you may draw up in your minds eye a place you have already visited, a place you have read about or seen online or you can invent your own.

  1. Take a deep breath and close your eyes. As you continue to breath naturally you can start to notice yoursefl relaxing. Allow an image of a garden to slowly come into view.
  2. Focus your attention on building your garden as clearly as you can. Adding flowers, fountains, trees, walls, birds and more. Really see them, smell and hear them. Feel the grass, the petals and the breeze from the ocean, the smell of the sea, even taste a fruit from your garden.
  3. Explore & build. Create paths, plant more trees and flowers, explore as long and deeply as possible. Create landmarks, even a garden hut, create helpers of any form you like.
  4. Create a strong association with this garden so you can easily remember it for the next time you come.
    Your garden can help you relax, focus your attention and help with resolutions. If something is not right in your garden it may be a representation of something in your life, you may like to create something that is and then resolve to fix it. Maintenance of your garden will be a daily source of relaxation, organization and escapism.

For 1-2-1 guidance on powerful meditation try a Personal Training Session available in Manchester


Using Amazon Prime for Fitness During Coronavirus Lockdown Manchester

While we may be saving on gym fees during lockdowns, many of us are still feeling the negative costs of the many lockdowns and restrictions, whether regional or local. So any time we can do something to save money certainly helps! Now, it may be of benefit to you to take a look at the following fitness videos available with your Prime sub, you may have a Prime account already or you may be able to use the 30 Day free trial.

Zumba Exhilarate Body Shaping System

Zumba is popular for a good reason, it’s a really effective and fun way to become fitter. You don’t need to follow the movements to the letter, especially if you are obese or have pains, just getting up and doing what you can is a great start.

14-Day Weight Loss Full Body Workout Challenge | Eliz Fitness

A rather decent short 14-day fitness series that you should comfortably fit in a free trial period, or as a less daunting commitment than the 30/90 day plans. Also doesn’t have the step ford wives rather robotic constant smiling super positivity that some people find annoying 🙂

STRONG by Zumba Intense Cardio and Toning

Cardio is great, but I tend to lean more towards developing strength, so it’s great to see Zumba do an albeit short video on building strength. It’s one session, so you should definitely try it out even just the once. Adding strength to cardio training will super boost your results

Jane Fonda’s Original Workout

An oldie but a goodie, and perhaps the best on this list. Don’t worry if you can do everything she does, do what you can while avoiding anything that may injure you – but don’t use that as an excuse not to push yourself. Do it multiple times during the trial period or if you’re already a subscriber try doing it once a week or month and track your progress in a diary.

Simple Fitness | Abs

While Manchester and the Rest of England face tough restrictions under Tier 4, with a potential National Lockdown coming with tougher restrictions, simple exercises to keep strong and fit can help during this period. Your core is one of the most important areas so I always like to start here. Below are a few simple exercises to challenge and work your abs.

Ab Rollout 

You may need an Ab Roller for this exercise

This simple exercise is a great way to build proper strength in your abs. It targets your abs, and lower back, as well as your Obliques, Hamstrings, Glutes and Forearms!

On your knees, extend your body forwards using your core to control the motion. Hold and then pull back.

Dragon Flag 

Made famous by Bruce Lee, this simple move is hugely popular with enthusiasts who want a super strong core. The tension that your abs are under will increase your whole body strength.

Lie on a Bench, Bed or floor. Reach Behind and grab the headboard / the end of the bench. If doing on the floor, you can use a kettlebell to grab hold of or any fixed / heavy item. Slowly lift your feet up, keeping your legs straight, until your body is almost vertical. Slowly Lower until your feet are inches away from the floor etc, then raise again. 

KBell Squats 

This is one of those moves that creates instability, challenging your core to get stronger quicker. A kettlebell or other weight is required, and will force you to keep your posture by engaging your abs.

Primary Muscles involved: Abs, obliques

Secondary: Hamstrings, Quads

Hold a heavy weight/ bell in front of your chest and lower into a squat, go as deep and as close to the floor as possible. Hold the puch back up. 

Hanging Pike 

Very much like the hanging leg raise. You will need a pull up bar for this exercise. 

Without bending your legs, slowly raise your legs, aiming your toes at the bar. When your legs are vertical pointing up to the ceiling, slowly lower back down. If you start to swing, stop and start again. 

Get Up 

You will need a Kbell or other form of weight. 

This functional move employs your entire core and never lets your abs rest, to build sufficient strength. It quickly burns calories for a lean look too. 

Lie down holding a Kbell in your right or left hand. Roll to a kneeling position, then stand up, keeping the weight high above your head the entire time. Reverse the move then repeat with the weight on the other arm.

Alternative Tech for Fitness

ROXi: Music Entertainment System

While many gadgets are capable of performing many functions, it still pays to have some dedicated to a single idea. They tend to be more simple, effective and provide something unique. Music is perhaps the most used fitness accessory, providing tempo to train to, motivation, focus, energy and just more fun. For home workouts with or without a personal trainer, the Roxi Music system is a good bit of equipment to have.

It provides millions of songs to train to, worldwide radio and therapeutic sounds for yoga and meditation

Taking Up Photography to Improve Fitness

Manchester and Lancashire have many areas that are very photogenic, and some of these places are only possible to reach with a good amount of walking – an often overlooked but amazing exercise with one of the most health benefits compared to other forms of exercise. One of the easiest ways to getting fitter and doing more exercise is to take up a hobby that includes some form of exercise, especially if you don’t have to think about it. Photography is one such hobby. Below is a curated selection of cameras to help you get out there and start taking pics and getting fit!

Upgrade your mobile

But not with your network (if possible). It usually works out cheaper in the long run to buy mobiles out-right and the get a sim only plan. One of the best phone makers on tha merket today is Nokia, providing excellent camera phones at good prices. My pick is the Nokia 7.2 (click the image to buy)

Upgrade FROM your mobile

It is well worth investing in a true camera, and one of the best and easiest to use is the Olympus OM-D Mark 4. You WILL notice the difference in your images, plus you have the option of many different lenses that will give you different abilities. Cameras on phones are still no match for Oly’s (click the image to buy)

The Best Games Console for Fitness

Local Croronavirus Spikes mean there is the reuglar possibility of local lockdown’s in Manchester, Bolton and other areas around the North West. This can make maintaining fitness or starting fitness a little more difficult. While local lockdowns in Manchester usually mean you cannot visit other peoples houses and certain public spaces like gyms, you can usually still go to parks and other open spaces.

As winter is coming and that usally means lots of rain in Manchester one of the better ways of keeping fit (aside from a personal trainer :)) is to use technology, and video games are proving immensley popular.

The clear winner is the Nintendo Switch with the Ring Fit Adventure, I have it myself and can confirm it is super. It is such a great way to get into exercise and maintain fitness levels.

click the image to buy
Click the image to buy

But the Switch has other great fitness related titles as well. Here is a quick look at some of my faves:

Fitness Boxing

Click the image to buy

Just Dance

Click the image to buy


Click the image to buy

3 Top Places to Walk or Go Running In / Near Manchester

The beauty of living in Lancashire is the abundance of places to go walking or running which just happen to be the best ways for starting and maintaining good fitness. Going for a walk or run is a great way to start losing weight and just improving overall physical and mental health. Below I will reveal my top 3 places for walking or running, including Lanacshires very own secret Japanese Garden and the Norths only Wetland. All images taken on the Nokia 9 Pureview Smartphone which you can buy here.

Clifton Country Park

Clifton Country park may not seem like much at first, but start walking left as you reach the lake and soon you will come up on the small and secret ‘Manchester Beach’ . The trek around the entire lake represents a decent walk and a good run. Be sure to do as many ‘laps’ as possible and for anyone interested in building muscle, try completing walking lunches all the way around.

Rivington Terrace Gardens

Type Rvinington Terrace gardens into google maps and make sure you arrive at entrance C. This will give you the chance to climb up to the terrace gardens – this will not only reward you with a very good exercise, but also some fantastic views. Be warned it is very steep and a long trek, but the rewards are great. Try not to miss anything out when you reach the Gardens, and make the most of all the stairs!

Kersal Wetlands

Park by the casino and you can go straight into the wetlands, or go further and go through Kersal Dale for a more adventurous trek through some pleasant surroundings. Kersal Wetlands are perfect for walking, running and biking. Again try to complete as many laps around the wetlands as possible, and for strength training make sure to include walking lunges.

Trips out to these places and more included in all regular personal training plans

Vintage Gaming Technology to help you be fit – Wii U

The Wii U was one of the most underrated fitness gadgets ever. But you can still grab one and on the cheap to add something more to your fitness routine.

No other fitness game or technology is as easy to get into and as fun as Nintendo’s Wii Fit U. I can’t recommend any other product that will help you in your fitness goals. It has helped many already and brought families together as a unit rather than all separately watching their own TV shows in different rooms. If you don’t have a Wii U then get one here. 
 Not only is it good for fitness, but you can pick up a free copy of brain training plus future releases like Art Academy to teach everyone how to draw. It is cheap to run, only using the fraction of energy compared to most current gen consoles on the market.

Wii Fit U

It’s time to get fit and take your exercise to the next level! Play Wii Fit U and check out a range of great new exercises that use the Wii U GamePad, Wii Balance Board or both, as well as some of the exercises you already know from Wii Fit and Wii Fit Plus. Available exclusively for Wii U, you’ll experience a work out that is as engaging and fun as it is effective when you buy Wii Fit U. Thanks to the unique combination of the Wii Balance Board and incredible Wii U GamePad controller, you’ll be able to take in all sorts of body training activities.In this release, Wii Fit U offers everything that made the original title a success but brings in new elements that improve on the series. Now, you can do activities and exercises without your TV using the GamePad, pretty handy if the main living room screen is in use! In addition, use the controller to run a Body Test, check your progress and keep track of your results and weight, as well as add photographs with the integrated camera that will help you chart your physical development.

You can pick up the game and the Balance Board, then you can play Wii Fit U games like Dessert Course, which challenges you to take steps and balance desserts using the GamePad like a tray. In Core Luge, you’ll need to sit on the board and tilt to negotiate the icy course, while Trampoline Target will ask you to lean carefully and land your character at the centre of the trampoline. The TV will show what height your Mii character is reaching, while the GamePad offers a bird’s-eye view on its integrated second screen.

Extra Games for Fitness on Wii U

Not only are there a multitude of fitness games and activity games like just dance, but you can also pick up games to teach you how to draw, such as Art Academy. You can also download many, many brain training games to keep your mental health as tight as your physical health.

Best of luck with your fitness, whether you go to the gym, diy or with a personal trainer!