Body & Fitness

Ask the experts: Losing 5kgs, breakfast time, exercising too much

Sovereign ambassadors Nicola Reilly, a personal trainer, nutrition and lifestyle coach, and Pua Magasiva, an actor and personal trainer, answer your nutrition and fitness questions.
Ask the experts, nutrition and fitness.

Q. I want to lose around 5kg. Should I do equal amounts of cardio and strength training?

A. The most important thing is to control your eating. Cardio and strength training are also important – the more muscle you have the more efficiently your metabolism will work to burn fat. But remember, muscle outweighs fat, so you need to know what kind of weight you want to lose, 5kg of fat or 5kg on the scales? I hate scales because they can’t accurately tell you if you’re losing fat.

Try this:

Monday Strength (push/pull)

Tuesday Cardio

Wednesday Strength (circuit)

Thursday Cardio

Friday Strength (push/pull)

Try to incorporate a circuit into your strength training because it’s a great way to balance both strength and cardio. The push/pull days involve a series of pushing exercises (e.g. chest press) alternating with pull exercises (e.g. lat pulldown) at a weight that allows you to pump out high reps while pushing yourself at the same time. Choose a cardio workout that you enjoy. Good luck and never give up!


Q. Should I eat breakfast as soon as I wake up?

A. If your goal is to have energy throughout the day to reduce cravings and enhance your body’s ability to burn fat, then eating breakfast is a good idea. It is probably the most important meal of the day.

Not having breakfast as soon as you wake causes your blood sugar levels to drop, which in turn stresses the body because your cortisol levels spike. Cortisol is a stress hormone and when it has to work overtime you will feel tired, crave quick-fix foods and your body will want to store fat.

Not having breakfast means you are also likely to compensate by having a bigger dinner. Doing so affects the quality of your sleep, your recovery and how much energy you have the next day. You then wake up not feeling hungry the next morning and repeat the cycle.

The best strategy is to make breakfast the largest meal of your day, followed by a medium-sized lunch and then a light dinner, eaten at least three hours before bed.

Your breakfast should contain protein. The first 30g goes straight towards supporting your immune system, helping stabilise your leptin and ghrelin hormones. These hormones regulate your cravings and how satisfied you feel. They are involved in how you burn body fat.

Protein also stabilises your blood-sugar levels, which is so important in the morning. You have to think of fuelling your body for the day ahead, stabilising blood sugar levels and setting your body’s hormones up for the day.

In that regard, eating a good quality breakfast as soon as you wake up is a great idea.


Q. Is it possible to exercise too much?

A. I am a firm believer that you can’t train too much. Only listen to what your body is telling you.

If you can train hard constantly, then go ahead and train hard. But if your body is saying it needs a rest and you can’t workout for now, then give it the rest it needs. That’s not to say you can rest three to five days in a row though! Make it your lifestyle and enjoy training.


Photos: Getty Images

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