What’s holding back your weight loss?

Many of us want to lose weight, or more specifically shed body fat.  This is met with differing degrees of success.  At BourneFit Personal Training week in week out we see people’s experiences first hand, know what works and what doesn’t.  If you have tried shifting weight without success maybe one of the following is holding  you back.

personal training bournemouth

Too focused on counting Calories

Counting calories does work to a point.  If metabolism dictates calorie needs of 2500kcal and we eat 5000kcal a day, it’s no surprise weight will go on easily.  Counting calories is also very hard work there are easier methods. When it comes to weight loss, all calories are definitely not equal, food type rather than food energy is important.  Think you could lose weight on 4 bags of marshmallows a day..think again!

The wrong exercise

Essentially there is no wrong type of exercise, they all work pretty well – importantly most people don’t get enough.  Working hard in exercise whether interval training, conditioning or playing sport is the key.  Calories burned following exercise are dictated by level of intensity.  Activity most days of the week is optimum for most of us!

Food coming from different accounts

A few choccy biscuits at home, a milkshake out in town, dessert at a restaurant, some wine round a mates – it’s all coming out of the same account!

Good days versus Bad days

Granted we are not all angels (well who would want to be!), but too many treats through the week adds up.  A few wines on a Friday, a birthday meal out, lunch in the pub, chocolate and a movie all adds up too quickly.  Allow a cheat day each week and keep it to just that.  There are only 7 days in a week, mess up 3 or 4 of those and it’s only going one way!

Lifestyle issues

Good nutrition and exercise is essential for weight loss.  Factors such as stress, having too much on your plate work and family commitments all has an effect on the body.  This can change the body systemically. We have commonly seen people leave an unhappy  job for example and suddenly the weight drops off.

Not counting alcohol calories

With nearly as many calories per gram as fat (think eating pure lard!), alcohol is a downfall for many.  Alcohol also affects the body’s metabolism as a toxin and fat storer.


Also related to this post see:

 – Fat storers and burners

 – Fat storers and burners II

For more information on training, recovery and nutrition or for expert advice, visit BourneFit – our  Bournemouth Personal Training Studio website is at www.bourne-fit.co.uk





Why Crash Diets Don’t Work!

The New Year is looming, and it’s easy to resort to crash diets or a detox to shift that Christmas weight! Crash diets just aren’t the answer though, and you’re more than likely to be setting yourself up for disappointment!


What is  a crash diet? 

Crash dieting pays no attention to healthy living or a good balance of foods. It just focuses on the drastic reduction of calories! (below 1500 kcal). They will also focus on a very narrow range of foods, seriously restricting what and when you can eat. Some crash diets completely remove foods all together and replace them with shakes and supplements. Though people show some short term results with crash diets, most gain more weight not long after stopping. These short term results don’t come without their costs though. Most crash dieters find they suffer with hunger pains, lack of energy, poor sleep patterns, mood swings, poor skin and hair, bad breath and lack of concentration……….and all this to lose some weight that you will put straight back on!

Why crash diets don’t work?

Drastically reducing calories causes the body to lower its metabolism. Your metabolism can be summed up as the calories your body uses to maintain all it’s functions throughout the day. A slow metabolism means the body will require less calories throughout the day. This means losing weight through calorie restraint becomes even harder. It also means that when the diet is over or you have a “bad day” the body is unable to deal with the extra calories and is more likely to store them as fat! This is made worse by the fact that when feeling starved, the brain makes the urge for calorific foods higher….making those leftover Xmas crisps, biscuits and chocolate almost impossible to say no to! Crash diets also don’t change people’s behavior towards food or their lifestyle. So when the diet is over, it’s very easy to go straight back to poor eating habits and start putting the weight back on!


How much weight should you be losing dieting properly?

A healthy and maintainable rate of weight loss is 2 lbs a week! When hearing claims of people losing 10 lbs a week, this is almost certainly done with massive calorie restrictions, and wont be long till all the weight comes back! Just remember 2 lbs a week is 7 stone 6 lbs over a year…….sounds pretty good for weight that will stay off!

What’s the right way to do it?

A good diet should consist of a healthy balance of foods, a healthy reduction in calories, and an increase in activity. A healthy reduction in calories will be between 300-500 calories a day. This will allow the body to adapt without feeling starved, and will begin to burn fat as a source of fuel. It is also good to eat smaller portions more often throughout the day. This keeps the metabolism high, and also evens out the body’s blood sugar. A steady blood glucose level will stop problems like lack of energy, mood swings, and will make you more likely to burn fat.  It’s also essential to avoid quick releasing calorific foods! These are things like sugar, chocolate, white bread, white pasta, crisps, fizzy drinks and highly processed foods. These cause a large rise in blood glucose and stop your body burning fat. A good diet should consist of fresh fruits and vegetables, a mix of proteins, seeds, nuts and slow releasing carbohydrates, and plenty of water. When combined with a productive exercise plan and weight loss should come easily and not become something that is difficult.

For a nutritional assessment why not book in for a session at the BourneFit Studio by clicking here


Fat Storers and Burners – Part II

We recently did an article on foods and factors that store or burn fat.  As an add on to this, we can look a little deeper into the hormones responsible and what we can do to encourage fat burning.

The enemy – Insulin

Insulin is released from the pancreas and in short take energy from food out of the bloodstream and stores it in the body.     This is a healthy response by the body in relation to high levels of sugar that can damaging.

The important bit to remember here is, the  higher the rush of blood sugar, the more insulin is released to bring this down.  The more insulin released the more the body is storing it’s energy, essentially in muscle, but when these are full in excess fat stores.  Ouch.

The helper – Glucagon

Glucagon is the equal and opposite to insulin.  It encourage and mobilizes fat in order to obtain energy, the essence of what many weight loss plans should be about.

How to balance the two.  

Eating sugary or ‘high glycaemic’ foods, that release energy quickly encourages insulin levels.  We all have different thresholds and sensitivities, but essentially avoid anything fast releasing.

When we eat slow release foods, especially protein type foods, glucagon is encouraged.  Generally these foods make us feel fuller for longer and give us goods energy.  We now know they also encourage the body to burn fat another great reason.

6 day food plan for Health / Weight Loss

A common problem when trying to eat healthily can be choosing what works.  Our main concern is with foods that are high in nutrients, high in fibre and release energy slowly.  Check out the meals below, some simple but easily repeatable meal options.

You will notice there are only 6 days..as always, day 7 eat what you like!

Many of these meals can be tweaked or combined as necessary.  Everyone has personal preferences and it’s important to eat what works for you. If you suspect allergies, particularly to wheat, milk or nuts then go for other options.

Essentially we are always trying to educate on lots of fruit, veg and lean protein – these are some practical suggestions along those lines.


Slow release as always is the key, and adding protein will boost metabolism for the day as well as keeping hunger at bay. A decent breakfast is shown to dictate how well the rest of the days food goes.

Porridge with berries and honey – tasty

Smoked Salmon and boiled eggs – high protein amazing breakfast

Beans and scrambled eggs and chorizo – good energy, easy on the chorizo

Porridge with bananas and cinammon  – porridge..so good we have it in twice

Fresh Fruit and yoghurt – quick and simple

Homemade muesli – natural oats, loaded with seeds and nuts



Again slow release, high nutrient meals are the key.  Avoid packet food, shop sandwiches and quick fixes like the plague.  

Tuna salad – your choice of salad veggies.  Go fresh herbs and try spinach leaves.

Chicken salad – again, so good we have salad twice.

Quinoa cucumber and protein – meat, fish or beans.  Quinoa is a power food, complete with essential fats and protein!

Beans and eggs – quick and easy

Turkey wraps – even quicker and easier

Protein jacket – handy for ‘bought lunch’ tuna works well


By dinner time, it’s plain sailing.  Keep it fresh, simple and portion size should be medium not large.  Some dinners work great as lunch the following day.  

Fresh fish and vegetables – Any fish, any veggies (ideally twice a week)

Chilli Con Carne – try minimal or brown rice, lots of the chilli.

Spag Bol – try minimal or brown pasta, lots of the Bol

Homemade Beefburgers, sweet pots, sweetcorn – Use fresh lean steak mince with onion (no buns), Sweet potatoe chips in olive oil and corn on the cob.  Amazing, almost like junk food!

Cajun Chicken and Roasted veggies – Another great lean protein and vegetable option, Also great in salad

Salmon chillie lime noodles – Fresh salmon on noodles, topped with soy sauce, fresh lime and chillies.

Fat Storers and Fat Burners

Beyond the simple fact that eating ‘hungry man’ size portions, drinking calories and being sedentary will cause weight gain, there are food choices we can make to affect body fat.  Here we will look at a list of fat storers, foods that cause weight gain and fat burners, foods that encourage it to burn off!

Fat Storers

These are a fat fighter’s worst enemy.  Research shows, that although calorie intake, portion size and exercise are all important, the types of food and drink we consume are critical.

Some basic physiology is required here.

Insulin a hormone released by the pancreas in response to high sugar or fast releasing foods.  The higher the blood sugar, the higher the insulin response.  Insulin essentially takes energy out of the blood stream and puts it into the cells of the body.  Fat storing foods are mainly the foods that cause a massive rush of insulin, changing the way the body treats subsequent foods.

Fizzy drinks – these play havoc with insulin levels and the diet versions can be even worse

Alcohol – again, pure calories in liquid form, toxicity and combined with a hangover to prove it

Sugar combined with fat – biscuits, cakes and chocolate would fall into this cateory – KABOOOM!

Dried fruit – beware, considered healthy and natural but loaded with energy

Health food snacks – cereal bars for example are loaded with sugar, not the best snack

Toxins – Wash foods to reduce pesticides, beware of preservatives in foods

Fat Burners

So, you’ve meandered your way through the maze of fat storers, processed foods and sugary muck.  Now you can encourage the body to burn fat from it’s reserves.  These foods are the reverse of the ‘fat storing’ foods.  They create a slow constant release of energy.

Beyond this, foods like fruits and vegetables are high in vitamins and minerals have a positive effect on metabolism.  Other natural foods promote hormone balance, keep us fuller for longer and are often much less calorie dense.

Protein foods – lean meat, fish and beans for example slow insulin in it’s tracks, also boosting metabolism

Citrus fruits – boost metabolism and are high in vitamin C, very powerful fat burners

Oats – another reason to opt for porridge first thing, high in fibre and protein, slow to digest

Raw nuts – foods like almonds and walnuts are high in essential ‘healthy’ fats, a great snack

Oily fish – salmon, mackerel, again high in good fats as well as protein

Water – Don’t forget the clears stuff.  Flushes out toxins, boosts metabolism and aids digestion


Circuit Training at Home

We are always advising our clients about exercising at home between personal training session. Even performing some low intensity body weight exercises in the morning will be enough to jump start the metabolism for the day and allow you to burn more fat. A great way of upping the intensity of these workouts at home and stop them becoming too repetitive is to create your own circuit training routine.

What is circuit training?

Circuit training is a form of body conditioning that combines resistance training with high intensity aerobics. It is designed to increase strength, muscle tone, improve muscular and cardiovascular endurance and burn fat. The exercises are performed at a high intensity with very short rest periods between stations. These factors then increase stress on the body, and yield better all round results than just performing exercises in a conventional fashion.

How to build your circuit?

A circuit can have anything from 4 to 12 stations, and can have a variety of different exercises. You choose the exercise based on what your goals are. F
or fat loss and all round toning, circuits made up of full body movements will be best. For those trying to work on specific areas you can build your circuit for just the upper body, legs or core. The best way to build your circuit is to write down the exercises you want to include, and order them in a way that gives each muscle group a rest between stations. So if you are doing squats on one station, it’s best the next station doesn’t directly work the same muscle. Once you have your stations laid out, chose how many times you want to repeat the circuit, then it’s time get started!!!

How to perform your circuit?

Your main consideration is do you want to perform your circuit based on repetitions or time? This means do you want to set a time limit on each station or have a set amount of reps to perform? Personally we would chose to do time. Having a time limit on each station means you will be able to push as hard as you can for every exercise, and not cheat yourself if the reps are set too low. A good starting time would be 30 seconds on each station, this can then be changed as you improve. Start your watch and begin the first station, perform the exercise with good form for the entire 30 seconds. When the time is up, move as quick as you can to the next exercise. Its important to take little to no rest between each station to maintain the intensity. Perform each exercise until you reach the end, then take your rest. Your rest depends on how long the circuit took. A good rule of thumb is about a third of the time it took to do the entire circuit. Once your rest is over repeat the circuit again. You can repeat the circuit anywhere up to 5 times, starting with 3 laps is normally a good starting point.

How to change your circuit over time?

After performing your circuit for a couple of weeks, you will begin to adapt. Its good to make a note of roughly how many reps you perform in the time limt, this will show you how well your progressing. Below is a list of things to change to maintain the intensity of your circuit.

  • Add stations
  • Increase station time
  • Decrease rest time
  • Perform reps quicker (maintaining good form)
  • Add weight to certain exercises
  • Increase the amount of laps
Things to consider
Make sure your perform each station with good safe form, when under a time limit its easy to start cheating, so don’t break into bad habits. Its also important to maintain the intensity, so if you ever feel the circuit is becoming easy, make some changes and keep the body guessing! You don’t have to be limited to the house, you can take your circuit to the gym, the beach or the park. This will help you throw in some new stations, like some hill runs, or jogging on the sand or taking on some stairs. The main thing is to enjoy it and set yourself some goals, this will give you more of a boost to keep going when it gets tough. Below we have provided an example beginners circuit, take a look and give it a go!
30 seconds per station – 1 minute rest – 3 laps
1. Squats
2. Push ups
3. Walking lunges
4. Dips on a chair
5. Burpees with a jump
Try it out and feel free to tinker with it so it suits you! For more exercise ideas check out the rest of our blog or book in for a free Personal training taster session at http://www.bourne-fit.co.uk/

Meal planning : A simple guide to success

Planning meals in advance can be tough at times but is a real indicator to success.  Whatever your health and fitness goals are sufficient planning will go a long way to determining how well you do.

Going shopping for food, planning meals and going out to eat should be enjoyable but also in line with your goals.  Use this guide to ensure you stay on track, particularly if trying to boost energy levels or lose weight.

Consider the following at every meal time, especially main meals:

1.       Food choice

This is really where the battle is won and lost.  Ingredients should be as natural as possible coming from vegetables, lean protein and whole grains.

Use lean protein as the main part of any meal.  Avoid fast releasing foods like cereals, breads and processed foods as much as possible, as well as all other high fat and high sugar foods. They cause a massive rise in blood sugar levels, inhibiting weight loss and wrecking energy levels.

2.       Portion size

No matter where you are eating, portion size is absolutely essential.  Even a highly processed meal can be damage limited if you reduce portion size.  Ideally use a small plate or bowl to control portion size.

Along the same lines, eat your food slowly chewing it well and stop eating before you feel full.  This tends to increase energy levels and reduce calories very effectively.

3.       Always include lean proteins

This includes lean meats like chicken and turkey, fish, dairy, nuts, peas and beans.  These foods are lower in fat and higher in protein which ensures a slower release of energy.

4.       Stay keep starters and extras to a minimum

A perfectly balanced meal can be ruined by adding bread from the bread basket, alcohol and dessert.  If you have to, have  something more natural as an extra.

5.       Eating out

Eating out can mean starters, side plates, desserts and alcohol.  Foods are often fried or cooked in creamy sauces or high in fat.  Look out for these and choose wisely.  Lean protein and vegetables is the best way as always and remember to keep portion size right down.

You have to be determined in order to achieve true results.  How you eat has a huge impact on life and means the difference between success and failure!


About us:  We work from BourneFit Personal Training Studio in Bournemouth.  Visit the website for more information and see how we can help you achieve your health and fitness goals.

Quinoa: a complete superfood

Quinoa (pronounced “keen-wa”) is growing in popularity as a hot superfood.  It has the character of a grain but the personality of a seed.  Packed with nutrients, essential fats and protein – is this the perfect food?

Grain like, but actually a seed

For those looking to ditch the wheat and grains quinoa is perfect.  It cooks and looks similar to rice, but is actually a seed. Quinoa is loaded with nutrients, high in B vitamins, fibre and even some essential fatty acids. Additionally it is good source of zinc, iron, calcium, copper, manganese and magnesium and it contains folic acid and vitamin E.  It’s easy to see why many consider quinoa to be the most complete food for humans!

A great protein source

Many plant based foods are lacking in some off the protein blocks known as amino acids.  Quinoa contains all of them and is 12-18% protein, a high percentage.

Slow release

Quinoa also happens to have a low glycemic index (GI) compared to whole grains. The GI rates foods depending on how much they make our blood glucose levels increase. Keeping your blood sugar balanced can help you to manage your weight and improve cholesterol, and that’s why whole, unrefined foodstuffs that are low in sugar and high in fibre are promoted for their health advantages. A further advantage for those concerned about their weight is that quinoa comes in at about 50 calories less per serving than brown rice and also has less carbohydrate than any other grain beside corn.


Quinoa is typically eaten in a variety of ways, e.g. in soups, stews, salads, casseroles, or as a side dish with any meal. It can even be used with puddings and used as a hot or cold breakfast cereal. We believe it works great as a substitute to rice or pasta in lunchtime meals.  It can even be cooked up and kept in the fridge for a few days.


About the author

Simon Lesser works as a Personal Trainer at BourneFit Personal Training Studio in Bournemouth.  For more info visit us at www.bourne-fit.co.uk.

25 Top tips for weight loss

Here are 25 simple top tips for ultimate weight loss.  Sometimes we simply need reminding of the basics!

  1. Eat larger meals earlier in the day and smaller meals later in the day.
  2. Don’t overeat.  Whatever you don’t burn is stored as fat.
  3. Get active on most or all days of the week.
  4. Stay away from simple sugars like sweets, chocolate and cakes.
  5. Ensure you are well hydrated as poor hydration can limit fat burning potential.
  6. Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables, high in fibre and water.
  7. Exercise regularly. It boosts metabolism and fat burning potential.
  8. Stop kidding yourself!
  9. Avoid saturated fats.  Essential fats found in oily fish, nuts and seeds are much better.
  10. Dieting doesn’t work. The results are short term with negative long term effects.
  11. Have a qualified body fat test done or use clothes sizes.  The scales never tell the full story.
  12. Limit alcohol due to its high calorie content.
  13. Exercise, but make sure you’re at the right level.
  14. Eat 5-6 smaller meals every day.  (graze as opposed to binge!)
  15. Train with weights to boost metabolism.
  16. Fight fat with fibre.  It keeps you full, keeping hunger at bay and also helps to control blood sugar levels.
  17. Never miss breakfast.  We need to boost metabolism and energy levels for the day.
  18. Watch what you consume when eating out.  Go for the healthier options as far as possible and look out for alcohol and desserts.
  19. Drink plenty of water, particularly with meals.
  20. You are looking to lose weight not muscle so eat plenty of protein rich foods.
  21. Eat slowly.  It takes 20 minutes for the brain to realize you are full.  Eating quickly causes overeating and is a strain on the digestive system.
  22. Ensure you get plenty of vitamins and minerals.  Eating a well balanced diet will help massively and you may want to consider a decent multivitamin.
  23. Eat less calories than you burn!
  24. Set realistic goals and aim to lose no more than 2lb / 0.8kg a week.
  25. If you want something badly enough it’s as good as yours – go get it!!

Weight Loss: Alternative lunch ideas

Following a couple of client queries regarding lunches over the past couple of weeks we found it easier to share a post.

The problem:  It’s winter and I’m still eating salads, possibly getting slightly bored.    I need some variety and something that suits the time of year more.

The answer: Here goes..


Personal Training in Bournemouth

The principles or all meals designed towards weight loss (or fat loss) remain the same.  High in protein, loaded with vegetables and slow releasing energy.  We are aiming to eliminate certain food groups such as wheat and dairy to be safe as they often slow weight loss.  A protein salad is the perfect option here as it ticks all the boxes, can be eaten cold and varied easily.

Other options

Ok ok, now for a couple of other options.  We are trying to use the same principles here but may suffer ever so slightly on quality.

  • Home made vegetable soup, but use protein as a side dish (ie half a can of  tuna, a turkey breast).
  • Chilli con carne with little or no rice.  Easily made in abundance one evening and kept for a few days.
  • Any evening meal works well here, but may be less convenient to take to work.
  • Eggs and beans option works here as well.
  • Protein Wraps – particularly chicken or bean based with lots of salad and minimal dressing.  Can even be shop bought but beware.
  • Shop bought options – would include fish, chicken or bean based options. These will work well in a snip and be infinitely better than sandwiches. Again beware of what’s been added!

Ways to approach it

If at all possible a main meal at lunch is great or as mentioned above some of a previous evening meal.  For some alternating protein salads and these other options may be enough to relieve the boredom. Just ensure that high portion of protein, a little fat and loads of veg.