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Welcome to our fitness webchat with Virgin Active

Hi everyone

Welcome to our fitness webchat with Carl McCartney from Virgin Active.

Carl has been training people for 13 years and has brought many brides to their physical peak in the run up to their big day - so he's got everything you need to know so you can feel fab for your wedding and confident on your honeymoon with your new husband!

If you'd like to ask Carl a question, simply click "post reply" in this thread and type your question into the box. His reply will appear in the same thread (but please bear with us if we get busy, your question will be answered as soon as we can!)

Enjoy yourselves



  • clareshaunclareshaun Posts: 699
    hi carl

    im 10 st 3lb and i go to 3 different gym classes a week and was just wondering if you have any tips as how to lose inches from all over my body?
  • JessyBukJessyBuk Posts: 29
    Hi Carl,

    I was just wondering what you would recommend to tone up my tum. What exercise is really great for it?


    JB x

  • Hi Clare

    Which classes are you attending at the moment? Depending on the intensity of the class, 3 classes a week should be sufficient.

    Look to attend classes with a good mix of resistance exercises and cardio to tone teh muscles and also raise your heart rate enough to burn a large amount of calories.

  • lu0509lu0509 Posts: 13
    Hi Carl,

    I am getting a little stressed out about myself now. I have 6 weeks to go until the big day & I am still a size 18. I have resigned myself to not losing weight before then, but figured from the chest down, I'll be under a big dress!

    Can you advise me on chest / upper back / arm exercises so that at least the top half will look fabulous!?

    Thank you so much

    L x
  • Hi Jessie

    Toning tummies is always a tough one to answer as generally the toning comes from not only exercise but also a sensible diet.

    Any form of ab exercise is good, such as crunches, sit ups etc but in addition to just crunches look to add in other resitance exercises such as twists holding a light weight, or any torso rotation. These will not only firm up your stomach over a period of time but also make your waist appear thinner due to the muscles in the side of your body having a workout too.

  • clareshaunclareshaun Posts: 699
    on a monday i do an earobics class for 45 mins and its really high intensity i can burn around 613 kcals, on a wednesday i do 1 hour abs class which does a whole body workout and can burn 300 kcals then on a sunday i do 1 hour body combat which is really high impact i love it and i can burn around 800 kcals.
  • matsbridematsbride Posts: 346
    Hi Carl,

    I have read loads of articles about bridal boot camps, but can't find any info on any based in the UK (found one, but it was miles away from me!). Do you know of any in the London area, and what are your opinions on them?


  • bradowellsbradowells Posts: 694
    Hi Carl when I run on the treadmill I have it on an incline of 0.5 is this a good idea? I'd heard its better for training yourself for running outside but I wanted to check with the expert!
  • Hi L

    First of all, you would be surprised what impact you can make in 6 weeks! Many exercisers find that the first 6 weeks are often the time where you see the best results. Even if you are currently exercising, a change up of your programme could be what is needed to see some fast results.

    As far as upper body exercises, any resistance exercise would be great. Two definite suggestions are:

    * Push Ups (dont worry not the full version on your toes, on your knees are just as effective)

    * Tricep Dips ( you can perform this by resting on the edge of a chair, place your hands just outside of your hips and lower your body to the floor, keeping your elbows as close to your body then return to the top. A great exercise for the back of your arms and shoulders)

    Aim to perform these for 2-3x10 times taking about 60-90seconds of rest in between each set of 10.

    In addition to these exercises perhaps try some classes? Body Pump is a fantastic workout that will not only tighten and tone the whole body but also burn lots of calories. It may seem tough at first but it will definitely provide results within 6 weeks.

    Hope that this helps. If you need anything further let me know

  • Hi Clare

    Body Combat is fantastic at burning calories and toning so stick with that. Maybe try to attempt some of the harder options in the upper body tracks to increase the calories burned.

    Have you tried Body Pump? This can burn anything up to 900 cals in an hours class. Maybe try this in place of the abs class?

  • lu0509lu0509 Posts: 13
    Hi Carl,

    Thank you for the advice on the upper body work. And thank you for the encouragement on the 6 week countdown!

    I am currently doing 2 gym sessions (40 mins aerobic - Xtrainer / bike / run) and a little weights and 1 RPM per week.

    Can you point me in another direction to help to shape up then, please?

    Thank you

    L x
  • evelyndentonevelyndenton Posts: 182
    Since Christmas I have been eating a balanced diet and started exercising. The results have been great and I've lost over 1st 7lbs. Only problem is I can't seem to stop shrinking now - I've dropped from a clothes size 14 to an 8 and my top half is closer to a 6! I've added extra treats into my food and don't go crazy with the exercise (roughly 3-4 hours a week) but I'm still losing weight and inches. My mum is now starting to worry about me! Is it possible to have sped up my metabolism with the exercise so I need to eat even more. I don't want to stop exercising all together and undo all my hard work but I don't want to keep loosing more. How do I maintain it?

    Thank you - any advise would be appreciated.
  • clareshaunclareshaun Posts: 699
    is the abs class not a good one to do? i do want a flat stomach.
  • Hi Carl - like everyone i want to tone up my tummy and generally become a bit fitter but can't afford to join a gym unti i've paid for the wedding at least!

    How effective are the mini trampolines? I could bounce on them for hours in front of the telly


  • Hi Kate

    Yes I've seen the Bridal Boot Camps but unfortunately the only ones I'm aware of are a bit of a distance outside of London.

    They definitely provide results, however they are often very short term results given the short time it takes to achieve them. Quite often the weight loss that is experienced is a loss of water and not neccessarily body fat.

    This will provide results though, if only for a short time. Also be prepared for some hard work over the week - they will definitely push you to your limits!

  • Hi Bradowells

    Running on a treadmill is a great form of exercise. Having the incline at 0.5% will allow you to recruit the Gluteals (the muscles in your backside) more effectively and also increase the intensity slightly.

    As far as whether running on a treadmill is any better than outside, they both have their strengths and weaknesses. If its a nice day outside is so much better but if its raining staying inside may be more appealing.

    Running either way will provide great calorie burning results, and increase health and fitness whether it be indoors or outdoors.

  • Hi L

    No worries about the advice, we all get a little down when time is running away from you!

    RPM is one of the best forms of exercise for weight loss, try attending another class a week.

    As I said before, maybe try Body Pump? Or as an alternative to the X Trainer, try adding the rowing machine into your workout. Ask one of the instructors at your gym for advice on correct technique (I'd love to go through it with you now but I dont think we'd have time) and suggestions for interval training. You dont have to row for long durations, short intense bursts with recovery is a very effective way of training. Also ask if there are any Rowing classes? Many gyms run these, and working out with others is always more interesting!

  • bradowellsbradowells Posts: 694
    aw thanks Carl great advice and very pleased i'm recruiting my gluteals more effectively -the more help the better in that department! you've inspired me i'm going out for a run tonight!
  • Hi Angel

    What an interesting dilema! Congratulations on some impressive results I can understand why you are concerned though.

    My advice would be to look at what you are eating. If you ar eating the same balanced diet as before you started exercising, you are probably not taking on board enough calories to cope with the extra levels of physical activity so your body is looking for energy in the form of the body fat stores. Do you feel over tired either during or post exercise?

    A suggestion here would be to increase the amount of carbohydrates in your diet (potatoes, pasta etc). These will not only provide more energy but also replenish the energy stores that you use during exercise.

    By increasing the calories available your body wont experience a deficit and hopefully you wont see any further weight loss.

    I hope that this helps

  • MrsDunsmore2006MrsDunsmore2006 Posts: 2,061
    Hi Carl,

    I was wondering if you could tell me the best classes/exercises to shift inches from my hips, as I'm one of the unfortunates that seem to carry all their weight there! I currently use the treadmill (alternating walking and running over 30 minutes), the bike and the cross trainer, and I've just started back at body combat last night (so sore today!). I'm thinking about trying body pump, but I'd love to be pointed in the right direction without having to book a one to one which I simply don't have the time for.

    Thanks in advance,

  • Hi Clare

    There is nothing wrong with an ab class, however you would be surprised how much your abs work in other forms of exercise. By trying different forms of training your body will keep on guessing and not become accustomed to one routine. When it does this you often see slower results.

    The other alternative is to continue with the abs class but try some advanced options given by the instructor, new exercises or harder levels will encourage your body to work harder and burn more calories.

  • TABSukTABSuk Posts: 1,479
    Hi Carl,

    I'm getting married in 6 wks, have already lost a stone through diet and joined a gym 2 wks ago.

    Been told by dressmaker I can't afford to lose too much more weight / inches.

    Currently doing 1 hr at the gym 3 times a wk. Haven't exercised for over 2 yrs so starting with 4 mins walking on treadmill, 25 mins on various weight machines, 12 mins x trainer and 12 mins recumbent bike.

    Prob is I still have 'back fat' when my corest is done up tight, is there any way to reduce this at all in that time without losing weight?



  • Hi DB

    Mini Trampolines are a great form of exercise!

    You will not only burn lots of calories but they are great fun! And if exercise is fun you are more likely to want to do it more - which means great results!

  • Hi Kirsten

    You have started down the right track with Body Combat, I would definitely add Body Pump to the list too, I'd also look at maybe RPM/Group Cycling.

    All three of the above will burn lots of calories and tone lots of muscles, however if you have the time, try ang attend 2x Body Pump classes a week. The company that created the programme call it the fastest way to get in shape and it definitely is as the format of the class encourages you to use lots of different muscles (the more muscles you use the more calories you burn) without bulking up.

    Before you attend though look to see if your gym holds any technique classes. This is where an instructor will run trhough the basics of technique and which weights to use so that you can get the best results from your first class. I hate to say this though, you may feel a little sore from this but that is just your body getting used to it.

    Good luck and I hope that this helps

  • kirstymgkirstymg Posts: 519
    Hi Carl,

    I have a really wide back and quite a big bust so my wedding dress would need to be ordered a size bigger unless I can lose 2 inches off my back measurement by August!! I am currently swimming 3 times a week but will this make my back broader? I only really enjoy swimming and the treadmill but would be willing to consider any excercises, any advice greatly appreciated!

  • Hi Tabs

    It sounds to me that the exercise component is fine, its probably the amount of calories that you are consuming that is the issue. If you are consuming less than you are burning, you will continue to lose weight.

    Look to add more carbohydrates into your diet so that your body isnt using body weight for energy, but using the fuel that you are consuming.

    As far as the "back fat" goes, this is probably a short term effect due to the weight you have already lost. If you continue what you are doing you should see this area decrease without losing any more weight

  • clareshaunclareshaun Posts: 699

    my gym dont do body pump classes they do body control and cardio pump.

    are these any good?
  • Hi Kirsty

    When you swim which stroke do you use?

    If it is the front crawl then you will absolutely be using the muscles of your back lots! Even with breast stroke you will be using these muscles and they may develop more if overused. Try introducing some lower body drills to your swimming session. You can do this by just using a float and kicking your legs, its more difficult than it seems.

  • Hi Clare

    Cardio Pump sounds like a great alternative!
  • IEatWell29840IEatWell29840 Posts: 601

    I swim 3 times a week (a Virgin Active!) and want to tone my legs, bum and tum! I usually do breast stroke and back stroke. will this be enough to make a noticeable difference along with a change in diet of course? thanks
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