We’re obsessed with celebrity PT Svava Sigbertsdottir, so we asked for her favourite weight loss hacks – are you as surprised by them as us?
Weight-loss, fat loss, muscle gain, home workouts, gym plans – where do you even start? The amount of health and fitness information out there can be seriously overwhelming.
So when we had the chance to chat with Icelandic native Svava Sigbertsdottir, with her super effective Viking Method we were all ears.
Taking inspiration from her home nation, she trains her clients with a no-nonsense and simple approach to health and fitness, that delivers some serious #bodygoals results. And just look at her!
As well as inspiring many of us normal folk, Svava’s clients have included drop-dead gorgeous celebrities such as Nicole Scherzinger and Amanda Holden.
Svava is also the star of HealthistaTV’s new 30 day home workout challenge which kicks off today. Each day, Svava will bring you a new ten minute home workout challenge – and let us warn you in advance, these workouts might involve no equipment but that doesn’t mean they’re not super-hard.
Anyway, Healthista had to find out everything Svava has to say about health, fitness and weight loss, so here are 11 body hacks she swears by.
#1 Stop training for looks
I have been a personal trainer for nine years, but I have always been into fitness, even when I was a child. I loved sports at school such as handball and dancing, I especially loved the competitiveness of it all.
As the years have gone on and I took up personal training, for me it has never been about training to look a certain way. In the same way that I enjoyed competitive sports as a kid, I enjoy challenging myself and my body. I love the way it makes me feel and that’s what fitness should be about.
So the message I want everyone to understand is stop training only to look good. Make a healthy change for yourself, not for your Instagram.
some people can’t physically even have a thigh gap
Stop with the ‘I want a thigh gap’ and ‘I want a smaller waist’ thoughts. If your whole life and happiness is dependent on whether you have a thigh gap, do you really think you’ll ever be happy? I mean some people can’t physically even have a thigh gap or small waist due to your genetics and bone structure.
Many of the ways people want to look are unobtainable, and because of this you’ll start to feel like s*** both mentally and physically because you’re not getting what you think you should have, and that’s a vicous circle to get in to.
As soon as you stop training for looks and stop comparing yourself to others, then and only then can you finally be truly happy with yourself. Train for performance, to challenge your mind and body and to be the healthiest version of yourself.
Instead of seeing a thigh gap as a goal, see being able to do ten press ups as a goal.
#2 Work on your mental strength as well as your physical strength
Many people only seem to focus on training their bodies, but what about your mind?
Obviously you need to move your body as much as you can and take care of what you are putting into your body as well, but you also need to train your thoughts and emotions that surround fitness.
When it comes to my clients it’s their mental strength that is often the challenge. They never can’t physically do an exercise, it’s their mind that tells them they can’t.
train your mind into thinking positively about the gym and about yourself
For many it’s the fear of failure or thinking they aren’t good enough when comparing themselves to others. I often hear, ‘I’m worried about going to the gym, because everyone will stare at me and know I am doing it all wrong’.
Only you won’t be doing it wrong, but the doubts in your mind will tell you you are and honestly nobody is staring at you, because they’ll probably all be thinking you’re staring at them.
So as well as physical training, you need to train your mind into thinking positively about the gym and about yourself. You can do it, you will do it and nobody will be staring at you – trust me.
#3 F*** motivation
I am not a big believer in motivation. I believe that motivation is what holds people back, especially in the beginning. People believe that to achieve their goals they absolutely have to be motivated all of the time.
Let’s say you’ve never been to the gym, and you have decided you are going to go to the gym five times this week – it’s hard work and you feel uncomfortable, you are not going to be motivated because let’s face it, it’s a horrible feeling. People think: Why am not motivated? Why am I not feeling inspired? Why is this too hard? How do people do it?
The truth is nobody feels motivated to make a change, it’s always hard and difficult. So I encourage people to make the change but without all the motivation. Once you start doing something and then feel the benefits, it’s then that you will start to feel motivated.
#4 Don’t waste time over complicating food
Stick to the simple stuff, nothing too complicated, no ingredients that you have to get from special or expensive places. Eat a diet that consists of lots of protein and healthy fats. Poultry, meat, a lot of fish, nuts seeds, vegetables.
When I see all the food perfectly laid out on Instagram, it just isn’t realistic.
Once people know what is healthy, they can use the recipes and just throw some healthy meals together – it’s as simple as that. Don’t make a fuss.
#5 Weight training and cardio should not be seen as two separate things
Women should do resistance training all of the time. I always use weights, they are always incorporated into my programmes, the body needs that resistance training – especially women.
I don’t understand why people think they should run for an hour and then lift some weights afterwards. Why not do some high intensity moves whilst holding some weights? That way you are doing both right? It will save you lots of time.
Women seem to think of strength training the wrong way, because they say they don’t want to bulk up … have you seen how hard guys have to work to get bulky? They eat all day, they are in the gym for two hours and still it takes them forever to ‘bulk up.
Women think that by picking up a 5kg weight that they are going to be bulky the next day, it’s just such a wrong way of thinking.
What weight training really does, is strengthen your bones, tone your muscles, things that us women need for things like the menopause – the older you get the more important it is to lift weights – it’s so good for us.
Plus weight training is more beneficial for fat burning – if you want to lose weight, use weights. Think, squats, shoulder press into burpees, that kind of stuff and add weights where you can.
#6 Shut out your ‘I cant be bothered’ thoughts with music
The mind is not your friend, it’s your worst enemy. When you come home after work to pick up your gym clothes after work, it’s the mind that tells you you’ve had a long day at work, just stay at home.
The brain wants to avoid pain, hardship and change at all costs. Even though change is good for you the brain will always go against you, that’s just how it works.
So to trick your mind you have to shut it out. I don’t allow myself any thoughts unless it’s about what I’m doing. I come home, I get my things and I go.
upbeat music will help to drown out your thoughts that are telling you to stay at home
Putting on music can really help. Upbeat music will help to drown out your thoughts that are telling you to stay at home. Walk out without a thought. I mean it’s not like you would get half dressed and then be like, ‘oh I can’t be bothered anymore’.
If I ever have thoughts about not wanting to do something, I take my mind out of it, by putting on my music and not letting my mind wander, but instead I kind of occupy my mind on the way to the gym and as soon as you’re there it’s fine.
We often don’t feel like going to work or paying our bills or getting dressed, but we know we have to do it, it’s not an option that we can give into and not do. That’s why we don’t complain about it the whole time we’re getting dressed, we just do it because it’s just something that we have to do.
Treat exercise the same way. Want to be healthy? Make in a necessity like getting dressed is.
#7 Calorie counting can be helpful
This won’t come as any surprise, but the key to weight loss is achieving a calorie deficit. You need to eat fewer calories than you burn off.
For many people, they have no idea how many calories they consume let alone how many they have to burn off in order to create a deficit.
I used to be against counting calories, thinking that it was too obsessive and controlled, but I take that back for those of you who are starting to eat healthy.
If you are staring out and don’t know that much about nutrition, counting calories is a good idea. You can do this using apps such as MyFitnessPal.
As well as tracking calories, start writing down what you eat
If weight loss is your goal, try tracking your calories for about a month, you’ll start to understand and see first hand the amount of calories you should and shouldn’t be eating and what that looks like in terms of food.
Often when people are training hard and think they are eating well, most of the time if they aren’t seeing results it’s because they are eating too much.
People forget what they eat, how many times have you forgotten about that biscuit or that half a muffin that was being handed out around the office?
As well as tracking calories, start writing down what you eat. Again you won’t have to do this forever, just long enough so that you can see your habits and behaviours.
#8 Home workouts are just as efficient as the gym
Everyone is busy. Busy with work, busy walking the dogs, busy being parents. So naturally, taking the time to go to the gym just isn’t possible. But everyone will still tell you, ‘you have to have to go to the gym to be healthy and get in shape’ – but obviously some people don’t have that option.
This is where home workouts can be seriously helpful. Obviosuly if your goal is to gain loads of muscle, you are going to have to go to the gym.
But for those of you who want to lose some weight, get in shape or stay in shape, or if exercise just makes you feel great then why not do a ten to 20 minute home workout. You can squeeze it in before work or when you get home.
That’s why I have created Healthista’s 30 day home workout challenge which starts today – every day you will get a new ten minute home workout video. I’d love to see your progress, so message me on Instagram.
High intensity, body weight exercises such as squats, lunges, burpees and mountain climbers are just as effective done at home as they are being done at the gym.
If you usually use dumbbells, grab some water bottles or cans of beans for extra weight. I’ve also had clients that have a sports bag and they just put heavy stuff in it and use that as their weight.
Aim to do around three to four home workouts a week and increase the time you do these for where you can. Start with ten minutes and build up to 30 minute workouts.
Like what you see? Don’t miss a workout by subscribing to HealthistaTV’s YouTube channel here and clicking on the bell so you get notifications
#9 Use your core in every exercise
OK so by now I think we all know that you can do all the isolated stomach exercises such as sit ups you possibly can and you still won’t have a flat stomach.
Abs and a flat stomach take time, consistency, a very clean diet and using your core in every exercise.
Focusing more on using your core muscles in every exercise and moves like press ups, will be the best thing you can do for your chance at a flat stomach.
Because the core is not separate within the body, it’s like a connector. The core works better as soon as you bring your limbs and the rest of your body into it, because then all of a sudden it has to go up against movement, or hold back or stop, and all of that that makes it work so much harder.
#10 Don’t complain. Get on with it.
I grew up in Iceland, we don’t live in huts or anything but we are quite tough; winters are dark, it gets really cold, and if you’re going to complain about s***, well it doesn’t matter, you are still going to do all of the things that you have to do.
I am very grateful to my mother for how I am today, she had a very good balance of being tough, we were not allowed to feel sorry for ourselves.
If we complained about something it was more like, ‘Okay, can you do something about it? Yes? Then do it. No? Then stop complaining about it’.
#11 You can stop a craving in 10 days
I have trained myself to not be a snacker, I don’t have a square of chocolate everyday or a chocolate bar on the weekends, I don’t feel the need for it.
I used to love biscuits, they were my thing. I got into the habit of having hobnobs after my meals and I decided that probably wasn’t best. So I stopped eating biscuits for ten days and now I no longer have the cravings.
So if you do find yourself eating something frequently that you shouldn’t be, try giving it up for ten days and see if your cravings go away.
Svava’s book The Viking Method is available buy now on Amazon.