August 2, 2016No Comments

Fad Fitness – #TalkToMeTuesdays

Fad fitness

Fad fitness programmes

There’s no denying that there are literally dozens, hundreds of ways you can get fit and get the body you’ve always wanted. Some take longer, some need to be done more frequently than others and some just don’t hurt at all. What you need to be clear about is what works for you and your body. It may be you haven’t found it yet, but you shouldn’t stop looking. Think about what you would enjoy, give that a go and take it from there. When you find your right thing you’ll love it, going to a class or doing it won’t be a chore, it will be fun and you’ll smile the entire way through.

What does drive me a bit crazy however are the fad fitness programmes. The celebrities that every year have a new ‘smaller in 5 mins’ workout that convince you that if you do this workout just two to three times a week you’ll be sure to have their washboard abs and still feel great. No. Just no.

Let’s be clear, working out is a fantastic way to stay in shape and yes, a side effect is you lose fat in areas and build muscles in others. It doesn’t automatically mean that the scales will be lighter, you may get heavier due to muscle building. It doesn’t automatically mean that you’ll have an amazingly flat stomach either.

Getting to that shape and that body that you see in countless Hollywood movies takes a careful planning of both diet and exercise. A great phrase that I love is that you can’t work off a bad diet. If you exercise, that doesn’t mean you get to treat yourself to a really bad meal every night. Yes, a treat here and there is fine, it’s what keeps you going but I’ve known so many people that do a couple of workouts a week, expect an instant change in their weight AND expect to be able to eat the worst of the worst takeaways.

Your body needs caring. Would you put vegetable oil in your car? No. it needs proper maintenance just like your body and that is not going to happen in a DVD that shows you just 5 mins of information.

Most of the DVDs also do not encourage you to assess yourself. You don’t have the guidance, experience or knowledge of a trained instructor at home, just someone showing you the moves and encouraging you in a very generic way. How do you know if your posture is right? How do you know if you should move your feet an inch forward because you’re arching your back too much? You don’t. That’s why I always advise trying something out in person first and then giving it a go at home.

So next time you’re about to pick up a ‘5 mins washboard abs’ DVD, ask yourself would it be better to just pop along to a class at your local gym, community hall, leisure centre or any of the other hundreds of things going on all across the world?

Ciao for now x

January 31, 2016No Comments

Day 31 – a month in summary

This month has been an outstanding one. Since leaving my banking job at the end of November, December was pretty quiet but January has seen things gain a huge amount of momentum.

I've given you a few recipes, explained some of the moves we use in our upcoming choreography and tried to explain the basics of protein, carbs, fats, fibre and loads of other bits that should be useful to you when thinking about your food intake.

Not only that but you've been on the journey with me as I've started to teach yoga to children and become an ambassador for an amazing range of skincare products.

Hopefully there has been lots for you to learn and you've enjoyed doing so as I've certainly enjoyed writing it and listening to how you've all used my posts or written comments on them.

I will still be writing posts but probably not with as much frequency so keep watching this space and keep enjoying them!

Ciao for now x

January 16, 2016No Comments

Day 16 – Carbohydrates

Today we're discussing the infamous CARBS. Now when you all think of carbs you immediately think of bread, pasta, potatoes and think 'oh they are bad for me', 'I can't eat those', 'they'll make me put on weight'.

Now what if I told you Carbohydrates are one of the most important things your body needs. Carbohydrates are your body's main source of energy. It uses it for everything you do, breathing, moving, sleeping and yes, in some people's case, exercising. So on those 'no carb diets' how do you get your energy?

This is the bit that will confuse you. Carbohydrates are in much much more than what you expect.

Carbohydrates are in grains, beans, bread, pasta and a whole host of vegetables.

Does that mean Carbohydrates aren't bad for you?
When we say the word carbs, the ones that immediately spring to mind are the infamous carbs. Bread, pasta, rice, potatoes. What do they all have in common? Well 1, their colour, and 2, all of them except the potatoes, are highly refined. Which means they do not start out as white. The bread and pasta are refined to remove all the fibre out of the grains, which makes them easier to digest. Without those our body struggles.

So how do you know where to get your carbs from if it's not these places? Try this list:

  • leafy greens have the lowest amount of carbs out of the vegetables, this is your spinach and kale
  • anything with a stem or flower is next up on the list. Broccoli, mushroom, artichokes and cauliflower all fall into this category
  • the fruit of the plant are next up on the list. This includes anything with seeds in them. Aubergine, squash, peppers and avocado.
  • highest on the list are root vegetables. Potatoes, sweet potatoes, yam and other starchy vegetables

Now what that means practically, check out the steps below:

  • Reduce the amount of refined carbs you eat day to day. Find alternatives. Wholegrain rice instead of white rice, wholegrain bread instead of white and sweet potato instead of white potatoes.
  • Bulk up on vegetables. Eating enough of the good vegetables in their natural forms will mean you still get the carbohydrates you need but with all the extra vitamins and minerals that natural, whole foods will give you.
  • You can still eat white carbs, but my rule is you need to earn them. When you've done intense, high energy exercise your body will benefit hugely from an instant shot of carbs and the refined carbs can give it. Eating white carbs straight after intense exercise will give your muscles back the energy they have burnt, much quicker than it would do naturally and will reduce the amount of pains and aches you will feel the day after exercising.

So carbs aren't all that bad, you just need to understand them and know them properly and they can be added to your diet. Remember, the key to eating well is to understand your food, understand your body and use them both together effectively.

Ciao for now x

January 6, 2016No Comments

Day 6 – Fats

This post may scare a lot of you as it's going to try and challenge you to think differently about fats and what you think you know about them!

There's just 1 type of fat isn't there? Bad?!
Well no actually, there's lots that are good for you! Let's start with what types of fat there actually are in our bodies:
- Essential Fat - which is used by our body as tissue structure
- Sex-specific Fat - which is used for hormonal function
- Storage Fat - which is used for energy

More than you expected? 🙂

I shouldn't have any body fat should I?
Wrong again! We all need body fat to help our bodies work so let's take a look at the recommended ranges for body fat for both men and women. For men, it's 13-18% and women it's 18-25%! That should be the percentage of your overall body weight that is body fat....interesting huh?

It won't cause me problems to have very low body fat levels though will it?
Well, what if I told you that low body fat levels have been associated to hormonal imbalances, infertility, higher risk of osteoporosis for women as well as missing fat-soluble vitamins.

Now I'm not telling you that it's fine to go out and eat all the naughty, sweet, fatty or fried fast foods you want you want even though it's dripping with fat but it is very important to be clear about what types of fats we are talking about, what they are needed for, which ones are essential, where and how we get them.

Two specific fats are essential for our bodies, these are Linolenic acid (Omega 3) and Linoleic acid (Omega 6). These two fats are part of all of our cell membranes, brain tissue, nerve sheaths, bone marrow and help to cushion our organs. But, did you also know that our bodies cannot produce them. Nope, not at all. So we HAVE to consume them. Not only that but some vitamins such as vitamins A, D and E are fat soluble which means if you don't eat fat then you cannot absorb or use the fat-soluble vitamins!!

How much fat should I have a day?
The UK government recommend that no more than 35% of your daily calorie intake should be from fats. You should have already done your calorie calculations from one of the previous posts so you should be able to calculate that figure. In addition, The American College of Sports and Medicine the American Dietetic Association both recommend an intake of 20-35% of fat per daily calorie intake for active people and athletes.

I exercise regularly, is there anything that can specifically help me?
Omega 3 is the answer to that. For athletes or very active people the benefits of Omega 3 are very wide ranging. Why? They help to deliver more oxygen to your muscles, reduce inflammation and stiffness and can even help endurance and speed up your recovery time. It helps with dry skin conditions such as eczema, dandruff or Psoriasis. Improves sleep, helps with attention deficit or hyperactivity. The list really is a long one!

What are the bad fats?
Let's be clear here. I am not saying that ALL fats are good for you at all, some are very bad for you. They can increase your cholesterol, cause heart disease, increase the chances of type 2 diabetes, just to name a few issues they can cause.

The worst is by far TRANS FATS. These are found in all of the below:
- Fried Foods
- Fast Foods
- Snacks such as crisps, cookies, biscuits etc
- Quite a few pastries

So all the things you know you shouldn't be eating anyway! ha!

What are the good fats?
The two UNSATURATED FATS are the good ones: MONOUNSATURATED and POLYUNSATURATED.

Monounsaturated fats have been found to help lower your bad cholesterol levels and promote a strong and healthy heart which reduces your risk of heart disease and stroke

Polyunsaturated fats are your Omega-3 and Omega-6, which contains GLA (we've already covered some of the good bits of these!)

Where do I find the good fats?
That list is probably one you know of already. They are usually allocated as 'high in calories' for a lot of the crash diets that do your body so much harm. Even just talking to people about fats it's amazing how many people reply with 'but that's got lots of calories in it and lots of fats'. It's true, some do, but that doesn't mean they are not GOOD fats and GOOD calories. Eating 500 calories worth of McDonalds takeaway is going to have a very different affect on your body than eating 500 calories worth of a mixed nuts bag. Here's a few examples of foods with good fats:

- Almonds, Walnuts, Hazelnuts, Macademia nuts (most nuts in general)
- Avocados
- Vegetable oils
- Seeds
- Salmon, Sardines and lots of other oily fish

There is a 'grey' fat?
The grey fat, as I call it, is when which sits between both good and bad. SATURATED fats are not necessarily bad however, they can have a negative effect on your body, especially if you are not very active or have a medical condition that can be aggravated by saturated fats. The key here is to limit the amount of saturated fats you consume while becoming more active. The Department of Health recommends a maximum of 11% of your daily calorie intake is from saturated fats. If you think that earlier we said they recommend up to 35% from fats, that leaves almost 20% of the recommendation should be from UNsaturated fats. So where do we find saturated fats, here's a small list:

- Dairy products (milk, cheese, cream)
- Red meats (pork, beef, lamb)
- Skin from poultry (chicken, turkey)

In summary, fats are way more complicated than you probably expected or knew about and yet if you know the right types of fats and how to eat them it can have huge benefits for your body.

So today, instead of that snack of saturated fats in your crisps or biscuits, why not reach for some nuts, a mashed avocado on some wholegrain bread or a lovely salmon filled salad?

Have fun learning

Ciao for now x

  
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