I have never been a natural when it comes to fitness.  I didn’t excel at sport or at any fitness based activity (unless you can call walking to the kitchen an activity or raising a bar of chocolate to my mouth an exercise???).

I used to skip PE, fake injury, lag behind, drop out in the races…….. I would do pretty much anything to avoid being breathless, hot or sweaty!  My lasting memories of school PE was never being picked for any team sports or being shouted at by my PE teacher!  I couldn’t run, throw, catch or do anything remotely sport related!  I hid under baggy clothes, struggled with sleep, binge eating, low moods and back pain.

Some time later after leaving those miserable years at school behind I was lucky enough to try out my first group exercise class!  Being around other women, dancing and moving around to music just gave me such a buzz and I could do it! I was instantly hooked!    I went about trying them all!!!  Step, aerobics, boxercise, tai-boe, spin….. I became a cardio junkie.  I lost weight and felt great.  I qualified to become a fitness instructor and personal trainer and couldn’t wait to start teaching classes.

Healthy lifestyles

Pretty soon I was teaching several spin classes a week and loving it.  On top of this I was training hard too!  Yet despite this I struggled to get as lean as I would have liked.  There was always a little layer of fat over my thighs, hips and belly I couldn’t shift.  I became tired, hungry all the time and couldn’t sleep!  This was the beginning of several experiences and battles with over-training syndrome.  But I didn’t realise this at the time.  I just thought I needed to work harder!  I tried every diet in order to shift the fat, I did more cardio to burn more calories.  I became sore and fed up.  It became impossible to resist sugar and carbs!  And so the cycle continued……..

I went about trying them all!!!  Step, aerobics, Boxercise, Tai-boe, spin….. I became a cardio junkie

As my interest and curiosity grew I started reading more on the Internet about weight lifting.  I start to noticing pictures of ‘buff’ women in the magazines I was subscribing too.  But was of fairly typical female thinking!  I firmly believed I would bulk up if I lifted heavy weights.  I thought weight training was only for men!  I could not have been more wrong!


I followed Christian Finn, I read books by some of the great body builders.  I found Tom Venteuo’s e-book  ‘Burn the Fat and Feed the Muscle’.  I devoured the whole e-book several times and started to change my eating and training regimes…….   as I started to lift the iron, my appetite changed and whats more I started to enjoy the feeling it gave me.   I saw my body fat shrink, I watched my muscles tighten and tone.  I started to feel amazing! What’s more I was spending less time on the treadmill and more time eating great food!

I am in better shape now that I was when I was 18!

I knew from then on that this way of training was much more sustainable.  With a strict and consistent training and eating plan I managed to get my first 6-pack!  After two kids I managed to get something I never thought imaginable or possible!  That girl at school who hid beneath her fat clothes, skipped PE, secretly binged at night finally got in the best shape of her life in her mid-30s! But this was just the start of my journey………..How could I get this kind of results with my clients who couldn’t spend an hour or two in the gym everyday?

So much further down the line, after years of experimenting with different techniques and teaching a variety of classes I fell upon Metabolic Effect and Dr Jade Teta.  I embraced their form of metabolic chains and rest-based training methods.  I loved that the classes could be shortened to 30 minutes and that my own training sessions were halved too. This streamlined my workouts and classes and saved me from further burnouts.   I was lucky enough to complete my Metabolic Effect group exercise qualification with both Dr Jade Teta and his wife Jill Coleman (a Fitness Model, Author and Fitness Icon) and have since used the techniques in my own training, classes and small group training. Dr Jade talks about the rest based training principles in a video clip.

You can order a copy of my own version of the rest based workout on DVD now! SOLD OUT!

I get asked a lot about what and I how I teach my classes and clients now.  So I thought I would answer some of the most common questions here:

So what is it?  What is rest-based training and how is it different? Why is it so good for people that are scared of exercise, pushing themselves or of not being able to do it?

  1. It is self paced.  In others words YOU choose when to rest!
  2. You push yourself as hard YOU can for as long as YOU can.  YOU decided when YOU CAN’T push anymore.
  3. There is no set times to pace yourself too so you don’t need to worry about being the only one to drop stop and rest!
  4. You are encouraged to rest and congratulated when you rest!  When you rest you know you have pushed yourself really hard and you are likely to push yourself harder!
  5. You push for short bursts.  The exercise sessions are intense but short and quick!
  6. You will enjoy benefits such as reduced appetite, better body composition, more flexibility, more stamina, stronger joints and cardiovascular system, better fat burning during lower intensity workouts, lower stress levels and a stronger immune system
  7. It is great for any age or shape!  Anyone can do it regardless of their co-ordination, age or fitness levels
  8. Minimal space or equipment is required.  We use only dumbbells and a mat!  You can do it without any equipment!
  • How do we generate such intensity?
We use full body movements.  We don’t isolate any body parts with moves such as bicep curls as this has little impact on hormones and fat burning.  So we would use a lunge along with a bicep curl or a multi-joint move, dynamic such as a burpee for example.  By using large muscle groups along with smaller muscles we generate an aerobic benefit whilst producing an anaerobic effect. This anaerobic effect is caused by demanding more oxygen than the body can process.  This is when we get the burning sensation in our muscles and deep heavy breathing.  When you get to the point where you can’t continue you will stop, rest and then resume when you are recovered.
Burn fat with failure – Jill Coleman
  • Why is such high intensity so important and why are aerobic based classes such as Zumba or spinning less useful for fat loss?
A Zumba or spin class for example are generally at least 45-60 Min’s long.  The participant will naturally pace themselves to complete the whole workout and I would class this as steady state training or aerobic intervals.  The very fact you can complete a whole 45-60 min class tells us that the intensity was not such that you had to physically rest.  To put it into perspective, a sprinter can only generate the level of speed he does in very short bursts.  If you double his distance in a race he would not be able to sprint as fast and he would naturally pace himself to complete the course.  He would never reach the intensity required to generate the hormonal response or after burn that we are looking to achieve.  Yet the sprinter will burn less calories during his session, spend less time on his exercise session but burn greater amounts of fat after and during rest.  You only have to compare a sprint to a marathon runner to see the difference in body composition.
  • What is the after burn? and Why does hormones matter more than calories?
Rest based training is about the hormonal impact on the body.  The after burn is the oxygen debt that your body creates during intense activities.  After a Zumba or Spinning class often the heart rate, oxygen levels and metabolism will return back to normal over a shorter period of time when compared with high intensity intervals such as rest based training.  Because the oxygen debt is so much bigger it can take up you 24-48 hours for your body’s resting metabolic rate to return back to pre-existing levels.  In Spinning, Zumba or other steady state training the proportion of calories burnt is during the activity and slows down after.  With rest based training the proportion of calories burnt is higher after the session and for longer.  And what’s more the type of calorie burnt is very different.  Rest based training has a much more positive effect on hormones – so increases and encourages fat burning and muscle building unlike steady state training such as long duration running which can actually increase stress hormones and lead to muscle wastage, increased appetite and stress levels.  Further increasing the risk of injury and burnout.
  • Does it mean I can’t engage in Zumba or spinning?  
Absolutely you can engage in these activities if you enjoy them but it’s important to understand that healthy exercise is not always the same as fat loss exercise.  You may need to find what balance works for you but generally for body change you want to engage in resistance based training at least 3-4 times per week and incorporating some of the rest based training protocols in there too.  Lower intensity exercises such as walking and Yoga are hugely beneficial for helping burn body fat between higher intensity sessions.  Be aware that steady state based training could be causing compensatory reactions with hunger, appetite, cravings and therefore your ability to sleep or burn fat.
  • With such heavy dumbbells won’t I get bulky?
Definitely not!  You would only get ‘bulky’ if your body fat increased along with your muscles.  Muscles take up far less space than fat so you may find that the scales won’t reflect any weight loss because you have increased your lean mass despite your clothes feeling loser.  So ditch the scales and get those heavy dumbbells.  Women have much less testosterone than men and as we age we have even less.  Along with less amounts of human growth hormone.  Without sufficient resistance training we will experience a less efficient metabolism and increased body fat levels and in some women this can happen around the hips, thighs and belly!  Another added benefit to weight training is increased bone density!
A pound of muscle burns 30-50 calories at rest each day, whereas a pound of fat burns only 2-5 calories at rest each day – Jill Coleman
Click here to see how we test what dumbbell size to start with.  I would advise to go a little heavier than you think you can.  Remember that it is impossible for women to build muscles like men without drugs!
Push until you can’t, rest until you can
[youtube url=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WJkPDxPvj2Y”]
So come along to a class, group training session or try a workout for yourself!  I would love to know what you think.
Big love, small tummies!
Jill – The Fat Controller


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