Zara McDermott’s personal trainer shares the philosophies for a healthy and balanced life

Right now, all we’re focused on is eating as many mince pies and guzzling as much mulled wine as possible to distract us from the absolute sh**show of 2020. However, when we welcome a New Year in January, thoughts will undoubtedly turn to our wellness regimes to enhance our health as we continue in our fight against Coronavirus.

At GLAMOUR, we don’t advocate dieting. Full stop. We believe that you should embrace and love your body in all its glory and follow a wellness regime that suits you. That’s why we’re here for Chris Barker, a Master Trainer over at One LDN whose philosophy is all about balance and sustainability.

“I do not put any of my clients on any crash diets or overly intense programs; I like to try and get them to learn how to make their lifestyle healthier to fit their goals, this way they are more likely to not only reach their goals but maintain those goals once they have reached them.”

Chris has been working with former Love Islander, Zara McDermott, for 18 months, and also has a roster of female clients who want to enhance their wellness regime without crash diets. Here, Chris exclusively shares his health and wellness philosophies with us….

Consistency is key

On an average week, Chris books in three resistance sessions and asks Zara to do some additional cardio work in between sessions. “A usual week would be Monday, Wednesday and Friday training with me with two additional cardio sessions if she can. I like to program full body days, so we are working out as much of the body as possible, however I will make sure that we are able to focus at the same time on certain areas like her bum, for example, which she has wanted to focus on.”

Deadlifts and squats are the secret to a toned derrière

Chris explains that despite her newfound passion for the gym, when Zara came to him, she was very inexperienced and new to weight training so the main thing at the start was introducing her to the key exercises used in resistance training programs (deadlifts and squats). “Learning how to perform these exercises correctly are a key foundation in any exercise program,” he said.

With Zara – and many of his female clients who want to shape their bum, Chris starts with teaching them how to activate their glutes properly so that the right muscles are working in the exercises he chooses.

“It is then using the key exercises like deadlifts, squats and hip thrusts and focusing on progressive overload (the principal behind most resistance training programs where you are either trying to lift a greater load or the lift the same load a greater number of times, thus putting the muscles under enough stress to elicit a response – meaning the muscle grows and becomes stronger).” He then usually adds additional isolation exercises towards the end of the workout to focus more on specific areas and creating a greater burn/pump in the muscle (using exercises like kickbacks, abduction machine and hamstring curl) to shape your behind.

Why a healthy eating regime is the key to a toned stomach

Should you want to tone up your stomach (which is totally your call), Chris says diet is everything when it comes to really changing the body. “Everyone has abs they are just hidden beneath a layer of fat, the only way we can reduce this layer of fat is by being in a calorie deficit, whether that be from eating less or exercising more; we need to be in a deficit to reduce our body fat levels enough to see those abs.”

And no, that doesn’t mean starving yourself but making healthy swaps. Chris also likes to finish workout sessions with some direct abdominal work to help strengthen the area but explains that you cannot spot reduce fat, so no number of crunches or special ab exercises will be able to get you that toned stomach look if you are not in a calorie deficit.

The app Zara uses to track her nutrition

When Zara first started on her healthy journey, she used the fitnesspal app to learn more about calories and what she was putting in her body, as well as portion sizes. Chris says that after a few weeks of tracking things, most people then have a better understanding of what they are eating.

“Like most of my clients, Zara follows a high protein diet; we then reduce her carbohydrates and fats depending on how she is looking and feeling. Zara is a great cook so she has always been very good with this side of things and this is why she looks as amazing as she does.”

Chris says that whilst a healthy diet is super important for any wellness regime, he doesn’t like giving clients a really restrictive diet plan, or tell them they can eat this or never drink alcohol again. “That is setting them up for failure,” he said. “By teaching the importance of nutrition and how you can still achieve your results while having the occasional drink or enjoying a pizza then my clients tend to adhere to the program better and actually achieve longer lasting results.

Zara still enjoys foods that many people would consider ‘bad’ but if you are sticking to a caloric plan and not going over your calorie levels consistently, you are still able to achieve great results ….and Zara is testament to that.”

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