I enlisted his help just two weeks ago when I started an hour session three times a week at the famous Matt Roberts (www.mattroberts.co.uk) gym where Nick is senior personal trainer.
We're all used to seeing articles on how to shape up but this Q&A is pretty special - because, should you choose to follow it, it will work.
Thank you for your questions. Over to you Nick.
Q. I've only got three months to my wedding. Have I left it too late to make a difference? Realistically, what can I achieve? I want to lose half a stone at least and go down a dress size. (Tanya, 31, Bournemouth)
Now depending on how much effort you put in to training, nutrition, quality sleep, hydration the results can vary from ok to very good. Half a stone weight loss and losing a dress size is very doable in that time frame.
Q. My problem areas are tummy and thighs. I don't want to bulk up, just lose the flab. What exercises can I do? (Jen, 28, Brighton)
A. In general it is very difficult for anyone to bulk up. For women in particular since they are low in testosterone (which is the main anabolic hormone responsible for increasing muscle mass) so should not worry about bulking up.
The best exercises for tummy and thighs are squats, lunges, step-ups, glute bridges, planks (front and side variations).
|Protein in peanuts|
Q. If I exercise regularly, can I get away with eating more (or at least the same as I normally do) without putting on weight? (Anne, 34, Glasgow)
A. Yes you can eat the same and possibly a little more without putting on weight. Combining resistance and cardio training is the best way to get in shape as the resistance training will increase lean body mass thereby increasing metabolism so you will burn more calories on a daily bases which means you can eat the same and still lose weight.
|Snack on tuna|
Of course if you then try to eat 200-300 calories less each day in conjunction with the training
that will be the best option.
In general excess protein won't be converted to fat as a lot of the calories will get burned off in the process, but extra carbohydrates get converted easier so the recommendation is that if you are hungry try to snack on protein rich foods such as yoghurts (natural, not flavored), tuna (in spring water), a spoon of peanut butter or a handful of nuts.
|Bingo wings + tats = wrong|
Q. My dress is strapless and I have slightly soft upper arms. What can I do to tone up for my wedding in six months time? (Susan, 36, Sidcup, Kent)
A. The best arm exercises in my opinion are press-ups, close grip press-ups, trx inverted rows, barbell biceps curl, and triceps dumbbell extensions.
|Flying without (bingo) wings|
Q. What's the benefit of a personal trainer as opposed to going to the gym?
A. A personal trainer can make all the difference when it comes to getting in
shape in a short period of time.
Your trainer will be able to push you harder than you would yourself in the gym, and he/she will be able to progress you when needed and scale it down the days when you are not 100% in form so that you prevent getting injured by over training or performing exercises with poor form.
It is a fact most people don't push themselves as hard when they train by alone than with a trainer.
Q. I am happy with my weight but don't feel very healthy (long hours, drinking culture at work) How can exercise help? (Paul, 27, not-a-bride-to-be, London)
A. Exercise will make you feel energetic even though you physically exert yourself during a session mentally you will feel refreshed and clear headed afterwords.
Also once you get into the habit of training regularly you will notice that will start to eat healthier, drink less and sleep better. It is a win win in my opinion.
|Matt Roberts in action|
Q. I jog for half an hour every day on the treadmill at the same speed going quite fast and watch what I eat but never lose weight. What cardio would work? (Ali, 45, Fife)
A. It is very common that people are stuck in an exercise routine that they have been doing for years.
So after a while once the body has adapted to the stress of the exercise the body stops adapting and you are staying in maintenance stage.
My recommendation is to get out of your comfort zone and try something new like a spin class, body combat or try interval training.
Challenge your body by working hard in 30 seconds with 1 min rest.
Repeat that four times. This can be performed on the spin bike, x-trainer, rower, and treadmill.
Q. I feel too scrawny and thin and want to put on a bit of muscle, especially on my arms which are boney. My big day's in six months. Is this possible? (Emma, 31, Manchester)
A. Yes with six months you can make a big change in how you look and feel. Of course in addition to training; nutrition, hydration (plenty of water), sleep, and a positive mental attitude will help you reach your goals much sooner.
Q. What are your favourite success stories with clients?
A. My favorite stories are with 2 of my fat loss clients.
A women I trained lost 20kg in about 4 months just from stopping drinking and training very seriously, about 5 sessions week including 3 with me.
And a man I trained last year lost 4.5 stone in 4 months which was amazing as it changed both his body and mindset.
Q. Any other tips for food and exercise?
A. With food don't follow any crazy diets, because in the end you will put that weight back on again.
Try to eat healthy proper food like meat, fish, vegetables, rice, some fruit, and nuts.
If you want to be serious about hitting your goals cut out all baked goods like cakes, biscuits, crisps and so on.
|Only wedding cake allowed|
Limiting bread and fruit intake seems to help as well.
Have a limit of two fruits a day if you want to lose fat.
If you are happy with your weight then you can have your five a day.
With exercise make sure you know what you are doing as far as technique is concerned.
If you are not sure seek a trainer who can help you with the basics and set up a program for you.
You want to mix your resistance training with cardio training and preferably also some stretching routines or a yoga class.
|A Swedish eye for grammar|
Thanks Nick. Not only is your advice first class, it's hard to believe your native tongue is Swedish as your English is better than many a Brit.
For more information about the London-based training centres go to www.mattroberts.co.uk
And to read more about Nick's background - which spans slalom, football, athletics and martial arts..in Sweden, America, Australia and London click here.