Fitness tips

Dec 13 2014

How to boost your performance and maximise your results


How to boost your performance and maximise your results

How to boost your performance and maximise your results by Nardia Norman (Fitness Network’s PT of the year 2014). Tips on enhancing your performance whilst training. It’s a good idea to ensure your basic health is good before embarking on a training regime as well as ensuring it’s looked after throughout –whether that be a new Personal Training regime or training for a particular event e.g. a long distance run. Some may say, “Well, I’m starting PT because I wanna get fit!” – TRUE, but there’s still a few things that would be helpful to address in the early stages which will also enhance your progress rather than hinder it. I was thinking about what I would want a client to do and check prior to training them, if I were their Personal Trainer – so, the following are just a few things worth checking in the bloods as well as factors to address during your training. This is not a comprehensive article relating to sports nutrition  – but just some helpful tips that certainly helped me during the marathon training  as well as factors commonly  addressed when seeing patients in the clinical setting. All within the realms of a little blog post- some lifestyle/nutrition factors and some recommended blood tests. Lifestyle/Nutrition factors CLEAN UP THE JUNK! First and foremost, a clean diet is a huge part of your exercise regime. As they say, “abs are made in the kitchen not the gym!”. Of course, your sweat and tears will help as you aim to sculpt that core, but nutrition is at least two thirds of the story.  I won’t repeat the usual stuff you have heard…OK- just very briefly in case you need a reminder! – lots of veggies (ensure anti-oxidant rich berries), some fruit, cut down on gluten/processed foods (gluten especially wheat damages the gut lining in virtually everyone- regardless of whether or not you have gluten intolerance or have coeliac disease), protein at every meal, good fats (absolutely essential for our cell membranes and functioning; caution with “low fat” diets- the other stuff put in there could be relatively crap processed carbs) , adequate hydration and finally – reduce or stop alcohol! STRESS High cortisol levels will contribute towards muscle  loss and fat gain – hence counteract the effort. Although we can’t escape our daily work lives, ensure adequate stress management techniques- whether that be going for short walks, some stretching, meditation- little things that can be incorporated at work as well as scheduling things after work or weekends. SLEEP We need sleep for our rest and restoration. Simple. The critical hours are between 10pm and 2am. Humans spend a third of their lives asleep- it must be important! Various hormones critical here including growth hormone (helps repair after exercise), DHEA and melatonin (anti oxidant and anti aging). ANTIOXIDANTS  Apart from eating from a rainbow- i.e a variety of different fruits and veg, consider taking extra vitamin C  or other antioxidant supplements like NAC (N-acetyl cysteine, a precursor for glutathione- one of our most important endogenous antioxidants). This of course also depends on the level of activity and training. ALKALISE  Exercise is a stress to the body, where free radicals (oxidative stress)  and lactic acid is produced. So ensuring you get a good intake of fruit/veg esp green ones is important. You could consider a green antioxidant powder. MAGNESIUM / B Vitamins  Most of us are probably deficient in magnesium- it is necessary for over 300 biochemical reactions. Consider taking when training and especially if doing endurance/long distance training like running. Common symptoms of magnesium deficiency include tiredness, muscle spasms/cramps, anxiety, irregular heart rhythm, eye twitching, headaches and insomnia. PROTEIN Important for any type of training –not just for building muscles. We all need around 1g/kg of body weight worth of protein – apart from the obvious like muscle growth and repair, we also need protein to make all our hormones including thyroid hormones which are critical in our metabolism. Although best to get from protein rich sources, vegetarians may also need to consider a good quality protein supplement. WATER Obvious but still easy to overlook! Ensure adequate hydration especially between meals. Although 2 litres is usually given as the standard intake, this can certainly vary amongst individuals- an easy way to see if you are getting enough water is that the colour of the urine should be almost clear. Blood tests 1.FULL BLOOD COUNT(FBC) AND IRON –  The FBC shows if you have anaemia (low haemoglobin) which can contribute towards symptoms like tiredness, breathlessness, dizziness, poor immunity  and poor recovery from training. However, this may be  normal but the iron levels could still be suboptimal. Iron is not only needed in relation to carrying oxygen around in the blood (part of haemoglobin), it is also in the myoglobin of muscles, is needed to convert glucose to energy and important in liver detoxification and thyroid health as well as the production of neurotranmitters and hormones.  Iron can be low due to poor dietary intake, especially if vegetarian/vegan but can also be lost through the gut if there is “leaky gut” – hence the importance of gut health and diet!  Replacement can be via oral liquid/tablets but injections and creams are also available. Note that vitamin C is required for iron absorption. 2.THYROID TESTS – This could be a whole chapter! – will keep it brief here. Underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism)  is much more common than overactive. Common symptoms include tiredness, weight gain, difficulty losing weight, cold extremities, cold intolerance, palpitations, dry skin, dry hair and hair loss, low mood, heavy periods and chronic constipation. Standard testing only allows for a test called TSH (which least corresponds to thyroid functioning) – even if it is in “normal” limits, there could still be a thyroid issue and further tests are needed- this includes both medicare and non- medicare functional tests . So if you have been told your “tests are normal” , this may well  need to be looked into further.  Other clues that the thyroid may be underactive is high cholesterol. Underactive thyroid is also associated with adrenal fatigue (stress related), oestrogen excess and insulin resistance. Unfortunately, so many people are underdiagnosed and continue to suffer symptoms because their tests are  “normal”. Or they may be treated for depression (anti – depressants), high cholesterol ( statin), heavy periods (painkillers or the contraceptive pill) – and various other drugs to treat the other symptoms-  a complete misdiagnosis and failing on the part of the medical profession! It doesn’t necessarily have to be like this! Please ensure you get tested properly if you have concerns. 3.VITAMIN D  – there are vitamin D receptors in every cell of the body; the role of vitamin D is crucial. It has roles in not just calcium metabolism, but also thyroid function, cardiovascular function, weight management, diabetes, gut health and cancer protection.  Despite the ozzie sun, people can still be low in it- inadequate exposure or just not getting converted properly to its active forms via the kidney and liver. Once again, normal levels are not necessarily optimal. Aim for 100-150 in the blood tests (as per Vitamin D council recommendations.) 4. B VITAMINS –B12, FOLATE – these are the two B vitamins that commonly get measured. Low B12 can cause various symptoms including tiredness, weakness, dizziness, sore tongue, tingling/numbness of extremities, confusion –  and can also be associated with other disorders like pernicious anaemia and gut disorders where the vitamin cannot be absorbed. Again, it can also be low in vegetarians/vegans.  Folic acid (vitamin B9) is absolutely critical for every cell. It is used to convert carbs/proteins/fats into energy/ATP (Krebs cycle), make red blood cells, protect DNA,  neurotransmitter  and hormone production (serotonin, dopamine, melatonin) and it has a role  in the recycling of homocysteine- a known independent risk factor for conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, migraines, recurrent miscarriages, infertility and Alzheimers disease. Abnormal B12/Folate results can also imply problems with a process called methylation, an important biochemical process in the body. Both vitamins need to be converted to their active forms by our genes/enzymes- if there are genetic defects, we cannot do this and hence we have a functional vitamin deficiency- in such a scenario, it would be necessary to have active B vitamins to bypass this roadblock –normal B vitamins may not suffice. 5. GLUCOSE / INSULIN LEVELS – In non -diabetics, a borderline glucose  can  indicate insulin resistance. In those with early insulin resistance, the insulin level could be raised before the glucose has become abnormal -this is relevant as action can be taken so this doesn’t develop further into diabetes. Apart from diet,  certainly the nature of the training program  will be important- and will be a good parameter to monitor. When there is insulin resistance there is rationale for resistance/weights training , as opposed to just cardio. For women, it may also be associated with polcystic ovaries, oestrogen excess as well as thyroid and adrenal issues- they all affect each other and it is important to address all of these appropriately. The basic blood  tests can be ordered by any health care practitioner.  Further testing (e.g thyroid, adrenal hormones, nutrients )  may need to be ordered  via an appropriate health practitioner. So… just a few things to think about as you embark on training for an event or if you are already training – optimise your fitness and health and enjoy the challenge!

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Dec 03 2014

Healthy Ball Snacks


Healthy Ball Snacks

  330 g raw whole almonds or walnuts 20 fresh dates, pitted 3 generous tablespoons cacao powder 1 teaspoon natural vanilla extract 1/2 teaspoon ground  cinnamon 1 orange coconut, goji berry, cacao, nuts for rolling Throw almonds into the food processor with cinnamon, a little orange zest then process until the mix looks crumbly. Add dates, vanilla extract then process again until the mix starts to come together. Add a splash of water if you need to so that mixture is soft and forms a soft ball. Form into 14 decent sized balls. Roll in coconut or any other  of my suggested coatings and store in the fridge until you feel like a snack or quick meal on the run. Store in the fridge for up to 4 weeks if they last that long. ENJOY!!

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Nov 21 2014

Green Renewal Juice


Green Renewal Juice

Green Renewal Juice This is an enzyme-rich green juice. It’s great for providing energy, detoxifying and alkalising your body It’s quick and easy to make.     Ingredients:- 1 bunch English spinach 1 handful mint 1 handful parsley 1 tablespoon lemon juice 1 Lebanese (short) cucumber, cut in half lengthways A few lettuce leaves 4 celery stalks 2–3 cm (3/4–11/4 inch) knob of fresh ginger, peeled 6 ice cubes Preparation:- Feed all the ingredients except the ice cubes into a juicer one at a time. Pour into a drinking glass, add the ice cubes and sip slowly to enjoy its benefits.  ENJOY!

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Nov 14 2014

TOP 10 WEEKEND TIPS TO STAYING FIT AND HEALTHY


TOP 10 WEEKEND TIPS TO STAYING FIT AND HEALTHY

N-ERGETIC’S WEEKEND TIPS:- We all know how it goes. You make good food choices, avoid temptations, and work out every morning only to find that on Friday or Saturday night, your willpower goes out the window. Somehow you begin noshing on pizza and guzzling beer then snoozing through your spin class the next morning. Sound familiar? The weekend sure can pose a challenge to our health and weight-loss goals. Why? Well, during the week, we tend to plan ahead and follow a schedule. We get up, eat breakfast, head to work, eat planned snacks during our breaks, enjoy lunch at the same scheduled time each day, and find ways to squeeze in a little exercise. Many of us even pack a whole day’s worth of food and do pretty well at making healthy decisions day to day. During the weekend, it might seem that all bets are off. Without a set schedule (and more opportunities for temptation) one weekend can easily undo a whole week of healthy habits. But weekends don’t have to be this way. In fact, weekends are a great time to practice healthy behaviours because you usually have more time to do so. So, how do you change your unhealthy weekend habits? A good start would be to begin incorporating these healthy weekend tips so you can stay healthy—and on track! 1. Squeeze in a longer workout. The best part of the weekend is that you have more free time. So while you might not be able to squeeze in a 30-minute run over lunch during the week, you can use the weekend to go for a longer run at a beautiful park nearby. Or go to the gym to try a new hour-long class. Use the weekend as a time to refresh your workout and get more activity in without feeling rushed. 2. Eat like it’s a weekday. When you think about it, it doesn’t really make much sense to eat differently on the weekend than you do during the week—especially if your food choices during the week keep you fuelled and energised. It can be easy to skip meals on the weekend and then make up for it later by overindulging at dinner. So, make a point to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner while sitting down. Pack snacks for when you’re on the go, and follow a schedule just like you would during the week. Your body will thank you! 3. Stick to your usual sleep schedule. Are you someone who has a firm bedtime during the week only to stay up late and sleep in on the weekends? Changing your sleep patterns could throw off your schedule (hard to eat breakfast when you get up at noon!), and could also interfere with weight loss. Just think of all those times you stayed up later than usual, got hungry and ended up eating something unhealthy! Changing your sleep schedule can also make it harder to fall asleep on Sunday night which could set you up for a tired Monday. 4. Get outdoors. Because most of us work indoors during the daylight hours, the weekend provides a nice opportunity to get outside, see the sun and connect with nature. Heading outside can boost your body’s production of vitamin D, plus studies show that people are happier when they spend time out in nature. So, get out there and enjoy the great outdoors! 5. Fuel yourself for weekday success. Ask yourself honestly if you pushed yourself too hard with workouts or restricted your food or calories too much during the week. If so, come Friday, your body may be hungry and tired, which can lead to overeating and under-exercising on the weekend. Remember to practice moderation every day, eating and exercising in a way that you can sustain for the long haul—not just a few days or weeks. 6. Limit your drinks. While many of us forgo the soda, beer and wine during the week, we loosen up over the weekend and drink more of our calories. Just remember that the calories in beverages can add up quickly if you’re not careful. Go easy on the drinks, or try healthier drink swaps if you just can’t forgo that fancy coffee or sweet tea on Saturday! Practice moderation when it comes to alcohol, too. Just because you were “good” during the week doesn’t mean that it’s OK to make up for that with one night of all-out binge drinking. 7. Plan for relaxation. Most of us are busy during the week and even our weekends seem to become non-stop errands, chores, work and travel. So how do you find time to relax? Take the whole weekend (or at least part of it) to schedule some downtime for at least an hour or two. Whether it’s practicing your favourite hobby, seeing a movie with friends or even meditating quietly, do something every weekend that recharges you. You’ll not only feel better, but also beat stress (which may also ) help you drop a few pounds. 8. Break the on-again, off-again diet mentality. If you have a history in yo-yo dieting, make sure that you’re not alternating between being “good” and “bad” throughout the course of a week. View the weekend as time for you—not a time to rebel or “cheat” on your diet and exercise plan. Remember that being at a healthy weight is about sustainable healthy lifestyle changes, not healthy eating and exercise plan that you can maintain Monday through Friday. Revisit your goals and recommit to making healthy and realistic choices every day that set you up for success in the long term. 9. Weigh in Monday morning. If you need extra help being accountable over the weekend, schedule your weekly weigh-in for Monday morning. Knowing that you’ll step on the scale at the start of the week can help you to stay accountable and be more aware of your weekend choices. 10. Plan for the week ahead. What better way to stay healthy on the weekend than by using your extra time to continue to set yourself up for success? Take a Sunday afternoon or evening to plan your meals, hit the grocery store, and do some big batch cooking for the week ahead. That way, when your busy week gets even busier, you’ll already be ahead of the curve and able to stay on track! Don’t forget about washing your workout clothes, packing your gym bag, and getting prepared for workouts, too. Enjoy your weekend

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Sep 26 2014

SUMMER BODIES……Only 65 days to go!


SUMMER BODIES……Only 65 days to go!

Summer Bodies……Only 65 days to SUMMER! Have you started your bikini body exercise plan? NO…? Well, it’s not too late! Start by writing down your goals and your time frame. Then, write a plan on how you are going to reach your goals. Plan your start date, your finishing date, the days that you can exercise and your daily food intake. PLANNING is the key! Good Luck! Nat

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Feb 05 2014

H.I.I.T is the way to train


H.I.I.T is the way to train

H.I.I.T is the way to train High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) can include exercises you already know or new ones. The difference between HIIT and a regular workout is that HIIT alternates between periods of intense activity and periods of low activity or even rest. With a regular workout you’d get sustained effort throughout the entire process. Not just time-effective But how would the HIIT approach help you more than the classic workout? One of the most important benefits of HIIT is that it’s highly efficient, which makes it perfect for people with busy schedules. HIIT It might hurt a bit, but it’s worth it! Researchers are strongly backing up the benefits of HIIT training as it can help you burn more fat than a regular, lengthier workout. Through the high-bursts of intense effort you’ll maximize the quantity of oxygen (VO2 MAX) used by your body during exercise. After your body got in the VO2 MAX area, it will continue to consume oxygen for hours after the workout. HIIT training also boosts your metabolism for as long as 48 hours after your training routine has ended having a longer, more powerful effect than you’d get from a regular workout. HIIT also helps you gain lean muscle mass easier. Gets you into shape faster Another great thing about HIIT, is you can increase your fitness level faster that using the classic, sustained effort type of workout. It’s great for people that are trying to quickly get back into shape, as well as for individuals that are already active but fell they’ve reached a plateau. Keeps your heart healthy What happens during the high intensity time intervals is that your heart gets pushed to maximum (or close) effort, something most of us are not getting at all. A 2006 study proved that after 8 weeks of short-term sprint interval training the subjects were able to bicycle 2x longer than before the study, while keeping the same pace. One of the most versatile forms of training Because pretty much any form of exercise can be incorporated into a HIIT routine you can still do your favourite types of workouts. Anything from running, cycling, swimming, climbing, rowing and CrossFit training to weight-lifting and body weight exercises you can do at home. A few interval training methods Tabata : 3 minute warm-up; 8x 20 seconds high-intensity/10 seconds rest. Total time: 4 minutes Varied : 3 minute warm-up; 12x 60 seconds high-intensity/75 seconds low-intensity. Total time: 27 minutes Mix it up: 5 minute warm-up; 8-rep weight training sets/1-2 minute of cardio exercise, repeated for up to 45 minutes. Start H.I.I.T’ing today!

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Jul 18 2013

THE MOTIVATION YOU NEED


THE MOTIVATION YOU NEED

   

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Aug 24 2011

Core Strength Training


Core Strength Training

Equipment Used For Core Strength Training Equipment that are genuinely useful for strengthening the core region Medicine Balls Stability Balls  

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Aug 24 2011

Core Strength Training For Reducing Back Problems & Injuries


Core Strength Training For Reducing Back Problems & Injuries Weak or poorly controlled core muscles have been associated with low back pain (3,4). The back muscles are responsible for movements such as extension and flexion of the spine and rotation of the trunk. Excessive or uneven shock on the spine may lead to back problems. This may be exaggerated because weak core muscles lead to improper positioning or a forward tilt. In many exercises that use the back muscles, the abdominal muscles contract isometrically stabilizing the body. The stronger and more correctly balanced the core muscles are, the less the uneven strain on the spine

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Aug 10 2011

Cheap Fitness Wear & Runners


For cheaper fitness wear…..go to  www.eastbay.com/  or  www.wiggle.co.uk.   Why pay more!!!  

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