Lilly Sabri is a chartered physiotherapist and specialist Pilates instructor. In this article, she shares her tips on healthy living with us - from the best home workouts and basic physiotherapy to diet and nutrition.
1. Physiotherapy & prevention of injury
Like with any machine, your body requires servicing and maintenance, to prevent injury and allow progression to take place, particularly when you are training hard. Our bodies are amazing at telling us when they require attention, so don’t ignore the signs.
My top physiotherapy tips are:
- Foam roll and stretch your target muscle groups before and after every session
- Listen to the early warning signs. If you’re experiencing pain during or after any of your workouts get assessed by a Chartered Physiotherapist ASAP. Although it may not be a serious injury, it needs to be assessed. The longer you leave the injury the worse it can become, which in turn will prevent training progression
- Have regular deep tissue/sports massage. I recommend once a month if you’re training hard. This will prevent injury, flush out toxins and help with sporting performance
2. A balanced lifestyle
One of the questions I get asked most frequently by my followers and clients is... How do I stay lean all year round?
I’m proud to say that I have never dieted before. My secret is: I live a healthy, enjoyable and balanced lifestyle. This includes working out daily, eating healthily, juicing and getting plenty of rest. But I don’t deprive myself of naughty treats when I want them. More importantly, I don't feel guilty about having those treats.
The moment someone tells me I can't have something, because of a diet, I immediately want it more.
A great tip is to replace the unhealthy treats with healthy treats – that way you are almost tricking the body as it is still having something sweet, without the naughty content of a chocolate bar. My favourite at the moment are Nutri-bombz (@nutribombz) for a sweet treat and Chirps Two Chicks egg white snacks (@twochicksproducts) for a savory snack.
3. Home workouts
The biggest limitation to achieving goals for my clients are time constraints. I fully appreciate that for the average person committing to five, hour long sessions during a full working week is a big ask. The good news is, that is by no means necessary for you to achieve your goals. Cut out the travel time by completing some workouts out home. The key to making working out at home successful is by:
- Setting aside an allocated time slot, a minimum of 30 minutes to complete your workout. I am now running live stream Facebook workout sessions for you to follow and interactively join ‘Lilly Sabri.’
- Have a programme and stick to it. This can be designed by a trainer or an online programme you follow.
- Keep the exercise varied
- Invest in a small amount of equipment to complete a varied exercise programme. I would recommend a kettle bell, dumbbells, a yoga mat and a KO8 fitness suspension/resistance band. You can see demos of how to use this on my Instagram @lillysabri.
4. Keep your exercise fun and challenging
To achieve your fitness goals it’s so important to keep your exercise plan fun and challenging. Gone are the days of staying on a treadmill for hours to burn a certain amount of calories. There are so many fun, exciting classes and fitness concepts available on most people's doorsteps. Find the exercise type that suits yet challenges your body, and most importantly something that you find enjoyable - that way you are far more likely to stick at it and achieve your goals.
5. Workout buddies
There are lots of pros and cons to workout buddies and it ultimately comes down to what works best for you.
If you’re someone who struggles for motivation or even someone who is a bit nervous of going to the gym or a class alone, having a workout buddy may be a good idea for you.
My key advice is:
- Don’t be overly reliant on your buddy - don’t let their schedule effect yours, and if they need to cancel, that’s not an excuse for you to not go to the gym.
- Have a workout plan for each session - otherwise no exercise will get completed in between catch ups and gossip
- Keep phone use to a minimum - I’m not going to say phones in lockers as I advise a lot of my clients follow my fitness videos on Instagram when training, but do try to avoid using it too much as you’ll never get anything done.
6. Variation & Progression
It’s so important to keep your training programme varied, firstly to prevent boredom, and secondly to get results. Your body becomes accustomed to the exercise you are doing and without progressing your training to the next level your progress will plateau.
My best recommendation is to make sure your weekly programme involves a variety of different types of training for each body part. My weekly schedule includes HIIT, weights, cardio and classes. Check out my attempt at Jazz Carlin's training plan with health and fitness blogger Cat Meffan:
7. Sleep and Rest
Don’t learn the hard way… to progress towards achieving your fitness goals, your body needs to be given time to REST. The most common mistake that people make is to put too much pressure on themselves to train harder and forget that your body needs rest. Rest and adequate sleep is so important:
- Recovery - to allow your muscles to recover and to prevent delayed onset of muscle soreness (DOMs) preventing you from completing your next training session
- Growth - without adequate rest, your body will fail to adapt, preventing you from getting greater results from your training. Furthermore, during sleep, growth hormone is produced and protein synthesis takes place - which in turn will help your muscles to grow
- Brain cell restoration and energy consumption, allowing your body and mind to prepare for another busy, active day ahead
The question I am most frequently asked is how do I get abs and how clean is my diet? As you have probably heard and seen over and over… Abs are made in the kitchen. True, but this does however have to be coupled with the right training programme.
To get a flat stomach and the appearance of abs you have to have a pretty low body fat % which means that you have to couple together a healthy, balanced diet with enough cardio training/fat burning exercise.
My top diet tips are as follows:
- Eat smaller more frequent meals, approx. six small meals rather than three large meals. This helps to keep your blood sugar levels steady so you don’t have big energy dips and also aids digestion
- Keep your plate colourful; full of vegetables and vitamins
- Have enough protein for your weight and size. There are measurements you can complete to work out exactly how much protein you should be having based on your weight and sex.
- Don’t be scared of having healthy fats. The right fats are an important part of your diet - oily fish, nuts and seeds
- Plenty of water - 3-4 litres per day is ideal
- Try to avoid snacking after 10pm and avoid eating carbohydrates after 8pm
- Protein supplements - protein shakes are ideal before and after workouts in you’re unable to have high protein straight after working out
9. Monitor your progress
Progress, even in the smallest form, is still progress. Sometimes when you’re working so hard towards achieving your goals, you can loose sight of how far you have come. A great way to monitor progression is with the use of progress pictures. Try to avoid taking pictures too often, every three weeks is ideal.
Another key piece of advice is to not assess your progress solely by your weight - remember muscle weighs more than fat. I would recommend accurate caliper testing of body fat every four weeks to get more accurate measurements
10. Set yourself a goal.
Make your goal SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and to a time scale). You don't have to tell anyone what the goal is. Be your own motivation then… MAKE IT HAPPEN.
I hope you're feeling motivated... I certainly am. Let's do this!