Eating Primal – Kat’s View on Paleo

You must of heard about ‘Paleo‘ by now right? If you haven’t then I can only assume you’ve been hiding under a rock for quite some time! As far as crazes go, Paleo really is a big one. I’m going to give you my thoughts on and experiences with this way of eating – after following it for just over 4 months I feel I’ve got some good insights to share now.

Before we get into the post, the terms Paleo, Primal, Caveman etc all refer to the same thing – eating in a way that is as close as possible to our distance ancestors of over 10,000 years ago; hunter gatherers.

In a Nutshell – What is Paleo?

OK, so apart from being a massive health buzzword as of late ‘Paleo’ means following a nutritional roadmap that says to eat like human beings are actually supposed to, rather than consuming processed rubbish which is what most people do – at least in the US anyway. Cavemen followed a diet (by necessity, not choice) that is supposedly much healthier than the average American’s today. Why? Well, all they really had access to was meat, fish, fruits, vegetables, nuts etc etc. They literally HAD to eat these foods because the technology or know how required to mass produce or process foods didn’t exist – lucky for them I say!

The result is that over thousands of years our bodies adapted and evolved to thrive on these foods. They are the perfect fuel to keep us well energized, healthy and free of most modern ailments. On this last point, Paleo enthusiasts claim that many of the health epidemics we face today such as cancers and lots of other diseases are actually a direct result of poor diets and processed foods.

Other than general health, the big appeal of following a Primal style diet is the rapid weight loss which can be achieved when you stop worrying about calories and focus instead on eating whole, nutritious foods such as the ones mentioned earlier. It seems that WHAT you eat is actually quite a bit more important than how much you eat – the traditional calorie counting model definitely seems flawed. Paleo followers will basically tell you: Here’s a list of foods to eat, go nuts and eat as much as you like, whenever you like until you’re no longer hungry. As long as you’re eating good things then you can still expect the weight to fall off.

If I’m honest the fat shedding benefits of Paleo were what really attracted me in the first place. Although I don’t keep track of my weight, I can tell that over this last 4 month period I’ve slowly gotten into my best ever shape – and I’m attributing this to following the Paleo lifestyle. Not only am I slimmer, but I feel better, happier and more full of energy!

Kat says: Give Paleo a Go!

Are High Intensity Workouts Effective?

High intensity workouts have been something of a buzzword this last year or so. There is a definite trend of people moving away from more traditional workouts such as lengthy cardio or gym sessions that last hours at a time. Shorter, harder, more intense training is really becoming very popular. Many different workout programs using this strategy have come on to the market in a fairly short period of time – and they all appear to have great track records, with lots of customers achieving impressive results in only a couple of months.

So, what do I think about high intensity training? If it is effective, who should use it and what kinds of results can you expect? Let’s take a look.

Kat’s Thoughts On and Experience With High Intensity Workouts

I actually have a fair bit of experience in this area and have completed more than one of the popular training programs on the market. To be honest I can see why people are starting to favor this kind of workout vs. the more traditional ones – if you’re able to train for just 30 minutes 3-4 times per week, rather than for hours every day then why wouldn’t you choose that approach if the kinds of results you can achieve are comparable? I’d certainly make that choice, and in fact I do now make it every week. I can safely say that I’ve ditched the traditional hours of cardio and to focus purely on HIIT (high intensity interval training). The results have been great!

Here’s what my schedule usually looks like now…

On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays I’ll usually workout for 25-30 minutes. The workouts themselves are very intense and will usually made up of bodyweight exercises such as push ups, pull ups, dips and planks etc – along with sprinting for 30-60 second intervals. My training will be arranged in a circuit, so I’ll complete 4-5 exercises/sprints without a break one after the other. I’ll then rest for 1-2 minutes and complete the circuit again. In total I’ll aim for 5-6 circuit rotations per workout.

Here’s what I love about this arrangement…

Firstly I don’t need any equipment. I’ll usually training like in my local park – I no longer have a monthly gym membership either, so that’s another $80 saved each month. If I want to head to a gym every now and again (at the moment I do this around once each month) then I can just pay $5 for a day pass.

Secondly I have a lot more balance between staying fit and healthy and actually enjoying life. I spend less than 2 hours TOTAL per week training and am in totally awesome shape.

How to Get Started With Intense Workouts

I now have my own schedule I’ve put together, but it is pretty closely based on the kinds of routines contained in some of the more popular workout programs on the market. The two programs I completed before making my own schedule were Insanity and Max Workouts. I don’t really have a preference for one over the other, so I’d check them both out and decide which one you like the look of most. I chose them based on a couple of reviews found online – if you want to see them you can find the review of MaxWorkouts here and Insanity here. The editors of that site have completed both programs and gotten great results with them, just as I have.

Whichever program you choose, make sure you see it through to the end. Having a fixed schedule to follow really helps and keeps you on track. Don’t be tempted to get creative and start making up your own routines until you’ve gone through at least one full course (takes about 3 months) from beginning to end. After doing that you’ll have a great idea of what is effective and what isn’t, and then can get into putting together your own sessions based on what you enjoyed in your chosen course.

OK so that’s all for today. Go get started choosing an intense workout to follow now – then come back here with any questions, comments and results.!

Thanks for reading,

Kat.

 

 

 

Kat’s Advice for Healthy Living

This is my first post for BalancingKat.com

I wanted to start with an overview about how I approach healthy living in general – a guide of rough guide to follow and fall back on if you’re every unsure about a new direction, diet, workout or whatever. These rules have helped me stay on track over the years, and avoid sweating the small stuff that doesn’t really matter. Hopefully you’ll find the rules useful as well – I actually shouldn’t call them rules to be honest, but just guidelines which should help you to make sensible decisions and keep moving in the right direction.

Kat’s First Rule – Be Realistic

In order to actually follow through and stay on track with healthier lifestyle choices you need to be realistic about what changes you can implement into your life. For example, if you haven’t worked out for years and have mostly been eating unhealthy convenience food for quite a while then the chances of you suddenly sticking to a 5 day per week gym routine and cooking every night are very slim. Most people just cannot make those kinds of changes at the flick of a switch and actually keep them. You may think you can, but trust me – the odds are against you.

Start with small changes – maybe aim to eat a healthy breakfast every day or go for a quick run 3 times per week. You’re much more likely to keep up with those smaller commitments. Don’t try and change your whole life in one go – it is just setting yourself up for failure.

Kat’s Second Rule – Pick Something and Stick with It

If you’re going to succeed with anything in health and fitness then you have to resist the urge to try every new diet, workout or cosmetic procedure that hits the market. Consistency is the key to long term success; I cannot stress that enough. Any healthy eating plan or exercise schedule should be given at least one month to produce some kind of result before you judge its effectiveness. Believe me, I know how tempting it is to try the latest workout being promoted on TV or online by your favorite celebrities. The number 1 reason why people fail to meet their weight loss or fitness goals is just because they don’t ‘stick with it’ for long enough. It doesn’t really matter what ‘it’ happens to be for you personally, just make sure you give it a chance and don’t jump around from one program to another. Any exercise or eating program you start – see it through to the end!

Kat’s Third Rule – Have Clear Goals 

Setting goals for yourself is extremely important in any area of life. If you’re trying to lose weight or get fit goals are absolutely vital. Pick a date 3 months away in the future and picture where you’d like be at that point in your life. Pick a goal that is difficult but achievable – one you’d be very happy with if you achieved it, but not too hard that it puts you off. Just making this one change can really multiple the results you get. For a good goal setting guide and resource be sure to check out Mindtools which explains the process well.

That’s all for today. Follow those three rules as closely as you can – they’ll definitely help you to achieve what’s important to you.

Until next time,

Kat