Ana Carolina Corsi Pereira, Fitness Manager and Trainer at Fitness First Middle East discusses the best way to prep for the optimal summer physique.
What do your first 30 mins of the day look like, your morning routine for success?
Every day I follow a certain morning routine/ritual. First thing in the morning, when I get up, I drink a glass of water and then jump into a cold shower to wake my body up for a fresh start to the day. I prepare a healthy breakfast which usually eggs and avocado, accompanied with a black coffee to re-energise my system. Lastly, I do my daily ritual of expressing gratitude and list everything I am blessed with in my life.
In terms of fitness, do you subscribe to the theory you are what you eat?
Yes, our body reflects what we consume. Our diet is central to our health and it provides our body with necessary nutrients that help it function well.
Improper eating habits and unhealthy foods can lead to negative results, such as stomach or liver concerns, diabetes, arthritis, and heart diseases. Maintaining good levels of energy throughout the day is imperative. Bananas, oily fish, brown rice, sweet potatoes and eggs all provide the required energy for your body.
Moreover, the food we consume produces chemicals in our brain that impact our mood, attention and focus. Combining carbohydrates with lean proteins and vegetables can help boost serotonin (the feel-good chemical) in our brain. For improved concentration, include protein foods in your diet as these will help increase the levels of dopamine and norepinephrine. Consume fresh fruits and vegetables rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants as it is linked to heightening happiness.
How long should you ideally give yourself if you want to see results and how consistent do you need to be in training?
As body types differ, the time required to see the expected results will depend on the diet and fitness regime set in place to achieve your fitness goals. Although it might take few weeks, the combination of a well-balanced diet and regular exercise can guarantee permanent, positive changes of the body.
You can expect to see changes from as early as three months if you’re consistent. With the three-month personal training sessions at Fitness First, we discuss fitness goals with the trainees and create realistic timeframes to reach these goals. We also provide them with personalized diet plans, amend daily routines/practices that impact their well-being and develop a workout regime. The most important part of any weight loss journey is patience and consistency. Consistency can help break what seems like a never-ending cycle of wanting to lose weight.
The recently opened Fitness First Dubai Festival City club also offers a variety of innovative and exciting concepts that will help you get back in shape, such as BOX, a multi-sensory boxing studio featuring pulsing sounds and sensory illumination, SPIN, which offers the latest cycling tech, the MyJourney indoor cycling programme, which offers data-visualisation to engage riders by tracking group performance as well as individual achievements. Yoga enthusiasts can sign up for classes in the HOT STUDIO which is powered by an ingenious infrared heating system that warms the body without producing a stuffy atmosphere.
Which are the 5 key exercises that will support an overall transformation in terms of toning?
The five key toning exercises that will help support the overall body transformation are deadlifts, squats, push-ups, pull-ups or ring rows and any cardio exercise of your choice, including jump rope, cycling, running, and burpees. Accompany this with a nutritious and balanced diet and you are on the path to achieving your goals.
How important is diet during this process and what should we be focusing on as fuel?
A well-balanced diet is a key element of a healthy weight loss journey. You cannot out-train a bad diet. What you eat and how much of it is consumed both play a crucial role in optimizing your body. The healthiest path is to understand your body and design the best diet that caters to the entire body and not just the abs or waistline. Consult a dietitian or a nutritionist to develop a diet that can be incorporated into your everyday lifestyle to help you lose weight and also maintain your ideal weight.
Develop a diet that has plenty of delicious options, healthy choices, a few of your favourites but excludes some unhealthy items such as junk food and sugary beverages. Some excellent food items to include in one’s diet are fresh produce, wholegrain bread, healthy fats from avocado, peanuts, olives and more, and lean protein.
What is the optimal time of day to work out and why?
Scientifically, mornings are considered the best time to work out. Exercising in the morning helps draw more energy from the body’s fat reserves as cortisol and the growth hormone, both of which are involved in metabolism, are elevated in the morning. This supports gradual weight loss. Research also states that people who exercise in the morning have lesser of an appetite throughout the day which helps protect them from gaining weight.
Working out first thing in the morning, particularly on an empty stomach, is the most effective way to burn fat and is therefore perfect for weight loss. This is largely due to the fact that the body’s hormonal composition in the morning is programmed to achieve that goal.
Nevertheless, regular exercise is important no matter when you choose to do it. If your mornings are fully occupied, find a time in the day that fits your schedule and stick to it. Consistency is key. By maintaining a consistent workout regime, you will observe greater benefits and reach targets faster than when the workouts are done at different times every day.
How can you ensure to maintain your training whilst on vacation?
Plan the days during your vacation and set aside at least 30 minutes for a quick workout. Develop a condensed yet effective workout regime for your holidays so that it is not time-consuming but guarantees the same benefits as your usual, daily workout plan. Additionally, try to maintain your set diet to ensure sudden changes in meals do not affect your body weight or muscle mass.
Another option to ensure you have an adequate amount of exercise during the holidays is by taking walks instead of car rides whilst visiting places. Walking or cycling is an excellent form of cardio that is necessary for weight loss, therefore, walking or cycling for a good period throughout the day will help maintain body weight and energy.
What key equipment should you pack?
During vacations, I personally think our own body weight is the best partner for an everyday workout. There is a variety of exercises and workouts to try out without the need for any equipment. This also reduces the stress of possible heavy luggage.
If I were to choose travel-friendly equipment to maintain a good physique throughout a vacation, it would be dumbbells. Some exercises that can be practised using dumbbells are lunges, biceps curls, lateral raises, and floor press. A skipping rope is also great travel-fitness equipment. It is lightweight and portable and can be used anywhere at any time. Skipping helps improve flexibility, strength, stamina, and coordination.
Please detail how to achieve the precise movement you need for each of the 5 key exercises above.
Stand with your mid-foot under the bar and your feet shoulder-width apart. With slightly bent knees, grasp the bar with your hands just away from the legs. Lift your chest engaging your scapula and core. Pull the bar close to your body, extending the knees and hip. Keep the abs braced to maintain an arched lower back and a strong and stable body.
Stand straight with feet hip-width apart. Tighten your core muscles. Lower down, as if sitting on an invisible chair. Drive your hip back and down, until the hip joint is lower than your knees. Straighten your legs to lift back up.
Begin at a plank position. Place your hands on the ground slightly wider than your shoulder width. Straighten your arms and legs and tighten your core. Lower your body driving your elbows slightly back until your chest nearly touches the floor. Push yourself back up.
Position yourself beneath the bar. Grip the bar with your hands slightly away from your shoulder-width. With your hands slightly farther than shoulder-width apart, grip the bar. Pull your chest to the bar and drive down with control.
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