Thursday, 7 February 2013

The Importance of Sleep

With winter drawing in, cold dark nights looming, people everywhere are getting into hibernation mode. Everyone except those athletes whose training continues, regardless of cravings for duvets, biscuits and chocolate.

Sleep aids muscle repair, memory conditioning and hormone regulation for growth and appetite. The functionality of the body the day after sleep depends on how long and how well a person sleeps; the average amount for adults is 7.5 hours per night. Say what? Notice that 7.5 hours is for the average adult too – athletes of any level will require more than average rest. Especially if you are one of those lucky sorts juggling work and rugby.

It may seem like I’m stating the obvious but sleep deprivation is one of the most common lifestyle problems in athletes of any sport, especially at amateur level. It’s definitely not something to ignore. Sleep loss contributes to many of the defects athletes experience in their training and performance and can consequently hinder their overall progress as athletes.

There are many side-effects to sleep deprivation – mood swings, lack of concentration, rate of fatigue in training, just to name a few. Work life too, will be affected which can create a spiral of decline in our ability to function at a high level on a daily basis, physically and cognitively.
It’s especially difficult for an amateur athlete to maintain the balance because they’re juggling a whole host of necessary duties day to day. Training, matches, work, family, friends, and down-time are all part of the regular routine of an amateur’s life.
The way I get around this issue is through planning and choices (not sacrifices). I set myself a desirable bed time for every evening depending on what I have the next day.
If I know I’m getting up early for training, it means I can’t go out for dinner with my friends that night in case I get home late; my friends don’t need as much sleep as I do it seems. “What’s the big deal Nigel? It’s only dinner with friends, relax!” I hear you say. That’s the approach I used to have too, until I noticed my performance level and attitude in the gym wasn’t my best.

There will be many choices like this for you day to day. Places to be, people to see. Choices are easy to make – generally as human beings we do what we want to do. Sometimes though, you’ve got to put your body first. I use the term choice rather than sacrifice because I believe whatever decision I make now will help towards the bigger picture – world domination.

A little bit of sleep goes a long way and a lot of sleep goes even further. So listen to your body and plan ahead.
If you don’t believe me, sleep on it…then get back to me.

Please Comment on This, Tell me Youre Thoughts!

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Hints for a Greater WellBeing!

Are you eager for some tips on achieving greater well-being and overall fitness?
Consider this check list of healthy habits and suggestions for making the right
choices and, more importantly, sticking with them to improve your long term health

Maintain a Healthy Body Weight

This is one of the most important healthy habits you can develop at any stage of life, from childhood through the golden years.
Avoiding extra weight and obesity will help you maintain your health and can help prevent a number of health problems, including cardiovascular disease and diabetes. You'll also feel better without extra weight putting pressure on your joints and organs. A healthy diet, without excess fat and calories, and regular exercise can help you control your weight.

Eat Smaller Portions

Maintaining a healthy diet and cutting back on portion sizes can help you achieve many of your health goals, such as having a slim figure and keeping your cholesterol in check and your blood pressure down. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins to ensure a wide variety of nutrients and avoid excess calories.
Another healthy eating tip is to control carbohydrates throughout the day, We suggests that controlling carbohydrates may work better than restricting overall calories. Make sure you eat small portions of carbohydrates throughout the day rather than getting most of your carbohydrates in one sitting. Your blood sugar is less likely to spike if your carbohydrates are spread throughout the day.

Exercise, Exercise, Exercise

Fitness is one of the basic building blocks of good health. Exercise will help you stay trim and sleep better, and it will ward off disease and ease stress. In addition, exercising at least 150 minutes a week can reduce your risk of developing diabetes.
Set goals and stick to a schedule: You should exercise at least four to six days a week, for at least 30 to 60 minutes each day. If you don't exercise regularly already here are some ways to get started: Get up early in the morning and start your day with a workout, recruit a buddy to exercise with you, and try fun new activities like a class in martial arts or spinning.
Maintaining a healthy body weight by means of a nutritious diet and regular exercise accounts for about 90 percent of a healthy lifestyle,  that's how important these healthy habits are to your overall well-being.

Head to Bed

Here's a healthy habit that's easy to embrace: Get enough sleep. Without consistent sleep, your stress levels rise and your body can't function as well as it should, leaving you vulnerable to disease and illness.
Set a regular sleep schedule for yourself with a consistent bedtime and wake-up time. Make sure your bedroom is conducive to sleep by keeping it dark, quiet, and comfortable and banishing TVs, computers, and other stimulants and stresses.

Inside and Outside Care

Take care of every part of your body, including your skin and teeth, and don’t neglect your mind.
·      Get regular dental check ups, and brush and floss frequently to protect your teeth from decay and disease.
·      Give equal importance to your mental health, and do your best to keep stress under control. People who exercise regularly, generally find that their stress levels are lower. Meditation, yoga, and simply having fun with friends and family are also ways to manage emotional health.

Stay Social

This is particularly important for older people, who tend to feel isolated when they live alone or can't get out and about as much as they used to. Engaging in activities that put you in contact with your peers, like golfing and dancing, actually seems to reduce the risk of developing dementia.

By practising these habits every day, you’ll enjoy the benefits of better health now and for years to come.

Friday, 24 August 2012

How Does your Personal Body Image Affect your Exercise

Your personal body image can have a profound effect on your weight in a number of ways. You can become dangerously overweight or underweight if you have a poor image of yourself, so you need to learn to look at yourself realistically, with help from outside sources if need be.

When Your Image Makes You Lose Weight Excessively

If you look at yourself in the mirror and see someone who's overweight, whether you are or not, you may begin to lose weight at a dangerous pace. The healthiest way to lose weight is to eat a balanced diet and exercise regularly. However, your poor self-image could make you try fad diets and push yourself to the limit. You may engage in bulimic or anorexic tendencies by a combination of starving yourself, purging your food and/or over exercising. Being underweight puts you at risk for many serious health conditions.

When Your Image Makes You Gain Weight

There's another way that a poor body image can impact your weight and that's by making you gain weight. If you find yourself avoiding looking in the mirror because you think your body is unattractive and if you tell yourself that there's no point in trying to lose weight because you'll always be overweight, you may be in danger of not getting adequate exercise and overeating. If you're ashamed of your body, you may be less likely to go out in public to exercise and find the friends who can help encourage you to work out and stick to a diet. If you can't summon the motivation to lose weight or keep your body at a healthy weight, you might gain weight.

When Your Body Image Impacts Your Weight

The easiest way to combat the weight gain or loss you may experience due to a poor self-image is to find a doctor or someone you can trust to tell you the truth without sparing your feelings (within reason). Your body image may be skewed; anorexic people, for example, are dangerously underweight but only see an overweight person in the mirror. Being ashamed of being overweight could be less of an issue than you think; if you're only a few pounds overweight, your health may not be in danger. Friends and loved ones may even find you attractive with more voluptuous curves.
A doctor should be able to tell you if you really do need to lose weight and what you can do to lose weight in a healthy manner. If you still struggle with a poor self-image, your doctor may recommend counselling so that you can work on your self esteem and learn to embrace the positives when it comes to the way your body looks....................................

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Tips to Get the Most of Your Gym Workout

If you're going to spend your valuable time at the gym, don't you want to ensure that you're getting the most out of each workout? Your time is valuable and you deserve to get great value from your time investment. 
The following are a number of tips that ensure that you're not wasting precious time and effort, while getting the results you want.

1. Go in with a plan
Know what you're going to do the minute you step in the gym.  Having that focus and clarity will ensure that no time is wasted and that every second you spend will contribute to your plan.  Also, be sure to know what your fitness goals so you are working towards them, be it fat loss, muscle gain, etc.

2.  Keep a workout journal
Making sure you've got the right weight, knowing the reps you need to shoot for, reviewing how you've felt after previous workouts gives you a great baseline for each workout and something to strive to improve upon.

3. Wear an mp3 player
This does three things: it makes your workout more enjoyable, it prevents people from talking to you and interrupting your workout, and studies show that listening to music can actually improve your performance.

4. Drink lots of water
Keeping yourself hydrated is key to ensuring you have a great workout.  Take a water bottle with a goal to try and finish it at each session.

5. Warm up/Cool Down
Prevent injury and improve your performance by doing a light 5 minute warm up before your work out and a 5 minute cool down after your workout.

6.  Wear proper clothing
Sure we all want to look the part, but clothing that is functional should be first and foremost.

7. Use compound exercises
If you're lifting weights, make sure you have some compound or multi-joint exercises within your workout to hit multiple muscles at once.

8. Forget about reading anything
If you can read during your workout, you're not working hard enough.

9. Lift heavy or go to failure
If you're lifting weights and want to see results, be sure to lift heavy so you struggle to complete your last rep.  As a rule of thumb, avoid rep ranges above 15 reps.  If you're doing cardio, make sure you work hard to get that heart rate up while pushing yourself.  The more you put in, the more you'll get out of it.

10.  Change it up
You need to continue to challenge your body and shock it into seeing results.  This means changing up your workout on a regular basis, such as every 4-6 weeks.  If you feel physically comfortable with your workout, then it's time to get out of it.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

The Importance of Wedding Fitness

In preparation for your big day, wedding fitness can be very important, especially when it come to fitting into your dream dress. While your wedding day is a joyous celebratory occasion, it also comes with a reasonable amount of stress.

Preparing for a wedding and making the seemingly endless arrangements can test a young couple's mental and physical fitness. Unfortunately, wedding fitness can often get overlooked because of the other plans that are being made. While brides will want to look beautiful on their wedding day, they often make the mistake of trying fad diets that can be harmful to their overall health and drain them of the energy they need to get ready for their big day.

So, why is fitness so important? Probably the main issue is stress. To clarify, stress isn't always a result of something going "bad." Stress can occur whenever we have extra pressures or huge changes in our lives, even the good kind. Planning a wedding is the perfect example.
In order to cope with the extra stress of planning your wedding, we need to make sure our bodies are prepared. A healthy diet and regular exercise will contribute to our overall fitness and can help us cope with the pressures of wedding planning. For decades, scientific research has shown that healthy eating combined with exercise actually reduces stress levels. Ultimately, the healthier we are, the better equipped we are to deal with stress. This is why wedding fitness is so crucial.
Another reason brides and grooms are often concerned with wedding fitness is because they want to look like absolute perfection. It's totally understandable that you would want to look fantastic with everyone watching you. Other than the excitement of such a wonderful event, one of the great things about your wedding is that you can use it as a motivator to get healthy for the rest of your life.
In the days leading up to your big day, you will need all the energy you have in order to make sure every arrangement goes smoothly. By adopting a healthy lifestyle, you can achieve both wedding fitness and lifetime fitness. The months before your wedding provide the perfect opportunity for you to learn how to cook healthy and delicious meals. You can also incorporate an exercise plan that will help you achieve your ideal fitness goals. A young couple can work together to become more fit and can hopefully take what they've learned and continue their healthy ways after the wedding.
As far as teaching you how to be healthy, fad diets have nothing to offer. They make unrealistic promises about weight loss and rely on short-term solutions to your fitness problems. Looking for fast and easy answers may help you lose weight but cannot help you achieve wedding fitness. Plus, fad diets usually ignore the importance of exercise and can end up draining us of the energy we need. The only healthy way to reach your ideal fitness levels is through a balanced diet and regular exercise.

The good news is that once you learn the skills to live healthy, they'll be with you forever!

Friday, 29 June 2012

5 Weekend Weight Loss Tricks

The weekend is upon you. Do you have plans? Do those plans include exercising, eating well, and staying fit? If not, and for most people this is rarely a part of the plan, there are some things you can do to keep from gaining weight or falling too far off the wagon. According to some research, women consume about 115 more calories each day over the weekend than they do during the week. Those extra calories can tack on about nine to ten pounds each year. That is why you need a few tips to help you to avoid weekend weight gain.
Put Down the Alcohol
What you may not realize about the alcoholic beverages you are drinking is that they are high in calories. It may be hard to stop drinking them, but at least minimize what you are drinking. Choose lighter versions of beer, for example, to get fewer calories. It is a good idea to skip those desert-like drinks altogether since those drinks tend to have the highest number of calories in them.
Don't Forget to Eat
You are busy shopping and hanging out with friends. You may shop your way right through your Saturday lunch. That is not a good idea because once you do catch up to a meal, you will find yourself consuming too much. In addition, you may find yourself eating more of the wrong foods as a result. If you will be busy during lunchtime, you should at least pack a snack to take with you, such as nuts or granola.
Monitor Cinema Eating
Are you heading to the cinema this weekend? If so, put down the popcorn and the diet coke. Both of these can kill any of your good eating habits during the week. In fact, a pop and popcorn combo can pack a hefty 1600 calories, depending on the size. That is a lot of calories for just one person for one meal. The better option, then, is to bring your own foods, if your movie theatre lets you. Try the 100 calorie packs of goodies available pre-packaged for you otherwise. Many cinema theatres now offer these.
Date Night Dinner Mistakes
When heading out for that special dinner, do take the time to focus on what you are eating. Choose foods that are healthy for you. Skip out on fatty deserts that make you feel bad after that date, too. You may want to choose the smallest steak or go for the vegetables instead of the baked potato. These small changes will help to reduce the weekend weight gain.
Stay Active
Perhaps the biggest mistake you can make on the weekends is not doing anything. Get busy. Go for a run, swim or play a game of football with your friends.
By doing these things, you keep your body in line for your health goals throughout the week. At the same time, though, you are not depriving yourself of the things you love to do or of the time that you get to spend with your friends.
Thank you! Have a great weekend.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Fun Facts

Did you know.....

That Olive Oil has an abundance of polyphenols, monounsaturated fat and vitamin E? What does this mean? Read to find out.

Olive Oil is one of the most heart-healthiest options in the oil department. 75 percent of calories come from monounsaturated fat, which confers heart protection by lowering LDL (Bad) cholesterol while simultaneously raising HDL (good) cholesterol levels.

Polyphenols is a potent antioxidant plant compound which has been shown to reduce bone loss, improve cholesterol levels, decrease blood pressure, stemming the spread of cancerous cells, reduce inflammation and prevent the bunching together of blood platelets which protect against stroke and heart attacks.

This doesn’t mean to take a bottle of extra virgin or virgin olive oil and drink it straight. Use it moderately in your cooking and you have a great flavourful component that is on your side for all the good reasons.

Avocado Oil

· Rich in Vitamin E and cholesterol-lowering monounsaturated fat(72 percent of calories come from this heart-friendly fat)
· Ohio state University researchers showed that adding avocado oil to salad improves absorption of fat-soluble antioxidants, such as beta-carotene and eye-protecting lutein, found in salad vegetables.

Coconut Oil

· Loaded with saturated fat (about 12 grams per table spoon) BUT most of this is in the form of lauric acid-a medium chain triglyceride(MCT)
· Because of the unique structure, MCTs are more likely to be burned for energy in our bodies rather than stored as body fat.

Flaxseed Oil
· Flaxseed is the best source of the polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) of all the dietary oils.

· ALA helps quell inflammation, a trigger for several chronic diseases.
· 2009 study published in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that omega-3 can help regulate heart rate.

Grape Seed Oil

· Great source of antioxidant and vitamin E as well as a beneficial monounsaturated fats, including oleic acid, an omega-9 fatty acid.
· Oleic Acid has been found, during digestion is converted into oleoylethanolamide (OEA), a hunger fighting hormone that stimulates cells which tell the brain that you’re full.

Hemp Oil
· Verdant hemp oil abounds with essential omega-6 and omega-3 fats.
· These fats are present in a 3:1 ration in hem oil which is the best ratio for wellbeing.

Pumpkin Seed Oil

· High in healthful polyunsaturated fat and is loaded with vitamin E, a potent antioxidant that research suggests reduces inflammation and slashes lung and prostate cancer risk.
· Antioxidants like vitamin E protect our cells against the harmful effects of free radicals.