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Desiree's advice for training and nutrition

HealthHi, my name is Desiree Winkel, owner and founder of Fitness Coaching. I've been working for years now with Martijn Steffens, a manual therapist who runs his office in the same studio as mine. We work with clients, who are in pain, need to exercise and want to get healthy.

Over the years, I have visited so many gyms all over the world and on the island. I have always wondered why so many people work out, putting so much time in their fitness regimen, hours and months, never asking themselves WHY they don't reach their fitness potential. Exercise is the spark, and nutrition is the fuel for your metabolism. You can exercise until whatever... but until you master what you eat, you will never reach your true fitness potential.

Eating higher quality foods is not enough

On the surface, it seems that not eating junk food and eating only healthy, living, unprocessed foods would do the trick; but in order to fuel your fat burning engine, you need to take it a step further. You need to eat smaller meals more frequently. Eventually, you'll want to eat five-six small meals per day, with protein and carbs combined in each meal; and about 50 percent or more of your calories should come from healthy fats like avocado, coconut oil, butter, eggs and animal fat that is not heated at high temperatures and is organically- and humanely-raised. In order to get the most results from your fitness routine, read the list below. It will help you.

Try to understand why you have to do this to reach your fitness potential. The timing of your meals in reference to your wake-up-, bed-, and workout-time is very important. Macro-nutrient totals is just a fancy word for the optimal percentage of carbs, proteins and fats in each of your meals. Use good sources of acceptable proteins and carbohydrates.

Beneficial sources of protein include the following:

•Organic chicken (dark meat for protein types)

•Fish (as long as it is free of heavy metals and other contaminants)

•Organic free-range eggs

•Lean, grass-fed red meat

•Whey protein (for women so important – it keeps you young)

•Nuts and seeds

Beneficial sources of carbohydrates include the following:

(Everybody always thinks rice and potatoes...)

•Any vegetable (the more colourful the better)

•Dark green, leafy vegetables such as spinach



The following are good sources of starchy carbohydrates:

•Brown or wild rice

•Yams/sweet potatoes


A typical workout plan

An effective, time efficient workout plan should include two cardio sessions and three resistance (weightlifting) sessions per week or cardio HITT training in between your resistance training. The cardio sessions are for fat burning. The resistance training sessions are for building muscle and sculpting your physique. It is important to combine a quality protein and a carb (fibrous veggie type) together in every meal, no matter whether it's a resistance training day, an interval cardio day, or a non-workout day.

In fact, there's a well-kept nutritional secret in the competitive bodybuilding and fitness world. It is called carb cycling or zig-zag dieting. It works very well for building muscle and losing fat. It is a very simple concept. You simply add a small serving of starchy carbs to two or three meals throughout the day on resistance training days. This helps your body and muscles to have more fuel on days that you are burning lots of energy with the resistance workouts.

For many, it's also comforting to know that you can eat some starchy carbs two or three days per week (on the days that you exercise intensely with weights). This can make it easier to avoid eating starchy carbs like breads and pastas at other times of the week when you are more susceptible to having them stored as fat due to low physical activity. This approach seems to help give most of our clients the mindset that they can stick to this nutritional approach as a long-term solution and a lifestyle. However, every body type is different. For example, I would eat three days starchy carb free and one day, I will add starchy carbs that works crazy well.

How to achieve greater health benefits in less time

Incorporating high intensity interval training can further improve your fitness regimen. These types of exercises dramatically cut down on your exercise time while producing greater benefits simply because you're using your body as it was designed to be used. When doing high-intensity anaerobic exercises, you can literally be done in about 20 to 30 minutes, compared to spending an hour running on the treadmill.

High-intensity exercises target all the different types of muscle fibres in your body, starting with the smaller muscle fibres slow twitch fibres that are primarily aerobic in metabolism, have a lot of endurance, and recover quickly, to the intermediate fibres; followed by the fast-twitch fibres. The key to activating your fast-twitch muscle fibres is speed.

Your fast-twitch fibres are largely glycolytic and store a lot of glucose. When these muscles are recruited, it creates the stimulus needed to grow muscle. At the same time, it enlarges the glucose storage reservoir in the muscle, which in turn enhances your insulin sensitivity. I've often stated that normalizing your insulin is one of the primary health benefits of exercise, and this is particularly true in the case of high-intensity exercise. Conventional aerobics does not do this as efficiently.

How to perform super-slow weight lifting

Essentially, by aggressively working your muscle to fatigue, you're stimulating the muscular adaptation that will improve the metabolic capability of the muscle and cause it to grow. I would recommend using four or five basic compound movements for your exercise set. These exercises can be done using either free weights or machines. The benefit of using a quality machine is that it will allow you to focus your mind on the effort, as opposed on the movement.


1. Pull-down (or alternatively chin-up)

2. Chest press

3. Seated row

4. Overhead press

5. Leg press

Here's a summary of how to perform each exercise:

1. Begin by lifting the weight as slowly and gradually as you can. The first inch should take about two seconds. Since you're depriving yourself of all the momentum of snatching the weight upward, it will be very difficult to complete the full movement in less than 7-10 seconds. (When pushing, stop about 10 to 15 degrees before your limb is fully straightened; smoothly reverse direction).

2. Slowly lower the weight back down.

3. Repeat until exhaustion.

4. Immediately switch to the next exercise for the next target muscle group, and repeat the first three steps.

When done this way, your workout will take no more than 12 or 15 minutes. While this may sound ridiculously short, once you've tried it, you'll likely realize that it's really all you can muster. This super-slow movement allows your muscle, at the microscopic level, to access the maximum number of cross-bridges between the protein filaments that produce movement in the muscle. Once you reach exhaustion, don't try to jerk the weight to get one last repetition in. Instead, just keep trying to produce the movement, even if it's not "going" anywhere, for another five seconds or so. If you're using the appropriate amount of weight or resistance, you'll be able to perform four to eight repetitions.

Dietary influence

If you're like most people – including many athletes – you're probably eating too many carbs. Your body's need for sugar is, biologically, very small. And when you consume more than you need, your body turns it into fat. As I've stated before, you do not get fat from eating fat; you get fat from eating too many carbs (sugar). Yes sugar!!!!

"Your skeletal muscle – if you're lucky – can hold maybe 250 grams of glucose, and your liver holds about 70. If you take 320 grams of glucose as what your storage capacity is, you can kill that with a single trip to the pastry shop. Once you go beyond that, your body is going to find some sort of way to deal with those excess carbohydrates. If your glycogen storage is full, your body has nowhere else to put it. So instead of going all the way through this metabolic pathway, it produces body fat. That's called the novel glycogenosis.

The result of our modern diet, which is loaded with grains and sugars (especially fructose), is a large percentage of obesity, and people that are overweight. This can be turned around, however, using a wise combination-approach of a high-fat, low-carb diet and high-intensity interval training. When you're doing a high-intensity exercise, you very aggressively empty sugar out of your muscle cells. By doing that and combining over the low-carbohydrate diet, you start to heal the metabolism. You're able to access your energy source finally. That's how you can turn things around. So please remember: You cannot exercise your way out of a bad diet, and the first step toward improving your diet is to cut out as much sugar/fructose and grain-carbs as possible.

What to eat after your workouts

After a cardiovascular workout (fat loss day), wait 30-45 minutes, and then consume a high quality source of protein (whole food) and vegetable-type carbohydrate. An example would be a spinach salad and some chicken. The reason why you'll want to wait a bit after the session to eat is to ride the fat burning wave of your cardio session. However, waiting more than an hour is typically too long, and can start to slow down your metabolism because your body goes into starvation mode. After a resistance workout (muscle building day), you need a different approach. The meal after a resistance workout is the only meal that you ever want to be absorbed rapidly.

Typically, when a meal is absorbed fast because of high glycaemia or simple carbs, there is a good chance your blood sugar will rise too fast, and the carbohydrates will be stored as body fat. But after a resistance workout, you've just primed the pump with an intense workout (with weights), and you have a one hour window of opportunity to shuttle in nutrients, amino acids, glycogen, and other anabolic nutrients to help repair your damaged muscles.

If you miss this one hour window after your intense workout, the chances that your muscles will be able to repair themselves, which makes them bigger and stronger, diminish significantly.

Keep in mind that after a workout, your stomach and digestive tract do not function as efficiently. The reason is because your digestive tract is incredibly vascular and uses significant amounts of blood to do its job. The problem arises because much of your blood is in the muscles that you just finished training. So an adequate amount of blood is not available to digest food eaten after a workout. For this reason, the best post workout meal on resistance training days is whey protein and a higher glycaemia (fast released, starchy) carbohydrate. You can use a banana as your carb. The potassium in the banana seems to help with recovery. The whey protein is already pre-digested so it is absorbed rapidly.

You'll want to consume your fast released post workout meal 15-30 minutes after an intense weight training session. Start to implement these rules of proper fitness nutrition, and you'll likely start to feel your clothes fit better within a couple of weeks. Everyone has the power to change. Many people get in the best shape of their life in their 40s and 50s. You can too! A healthy fitness lifestyle is the only true fountain of youth that exists. Train hard and expect success.

Conclusion: Spend time, change habits and live happy. Let me help you! If you have questions or need more information about Fitness Training, contact Desiree Winkel at 524-7700 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . She is located on Welfare Road, next to Blast and North Eastern Insurance on the first level of the building.

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