Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Healthy Eating on a Budget

When times are tough, it is time to dig deep and come up with strategies that are part and parcel of most health and fitness enthusiasts’ armoury, yet rarely show their face in most people’s day–to-day habits.

If fitness enthusiasts didn’t watch their purse strings when it came to eating right they would be cast aside in an attempt to get leaner or bigger! Their food bills would be astronomical.

So what can you do to a) eat healthier foods b) save time in the kitchen and c) save pennies!

Here are few tried and tested strategies that work really well to cover your nutritional bases and also allow you to eat right on a budget.

1. Buy your meat from a local butcher – this goes without saying. I love going into my butcher. Fresh, traceable meat that is far richer in nutrients and more economical.
Don’t be afraid to mix up and try cheaper organ meats. These are powerhouses of nutrition. Just ask a Premiership Rugby Player – his staple diet, at 18 stone and 12 per cent body fat, is liver and heart kebabs!
2. Buy your meat, fish and poultry in bulk and try and negotiate a discount. You will always need fresh protein on hand any way to keep up with your healthy eating strategies. Why not buy a few days worth and freeze the rest?
3. Use the local farmers markets as your port of call for fresh veggies and fruits. More often than not you will be able to pick up organic produce at half the price than say a supermarket. You will be doing your bit for supporting local produce too! You know the people that actually care about what goes into your mouth when you buy it!

4. Stick to the outside aisles of your supermarket. This will mean that you save a huge amount on costly boxed, packaged and wrapped items. In general these tend to be foods that will scupper your plans to keep fit and healthy over the Winter Months. My food bill is by no means through the roof yet I still tuck away around 3500-4000 calories a day. This is a lot of food!
My Nan always brings to my attention how cooking a stew, roast, casserole costs about a £1.00 whereas you compare this to a serving of waffles, burgers, chips and Ice Cream will knock you back about three times that and the cost of a visit to the Doctor as your Immune System cries out for some nutrients.

5. Buy In Season will mean that you are working with nature rather than against it. Ever wondered why your Strawberries from Columbia are three times the size of a normal Strawberry and looking more like a peach devoid of all colour?

Our love of the humble Strawberry has led us to crave them all year round but this is not how it is suppose to be. The bottom line is that you still pay three times as much for them.

6. Stick to buying loose items too rather than packs of items. This is a cheaper option and will mean that you waste less.

7. It is also funny how a simple Bolognese or chilli sauce can cost three times as much when you choose the jars. Not only are these ladened with hidden sugar but also a Bolognese sauce is so easy and cheap to make.

Simply get a tin of chopped tomatoes, some mixed herbs, garlic, salt and pepper and hey presto. For a chilli sauce add in chilli. A trained chimp could knock that up.
8. Cook More Veggie Based Dishes at this time of year. Veggies are nutrition power houses and let’s face it, we don’t eat anywhere near enough of these. Stir Fries, casseroles, bowls of salad readymade in the fridge are great for this.
9. You can also juice Your Veggies to save on waste. A good juicer is a good investment particularly if your kids like vegetables as much as they like going to the dentist. Celery, Carrot and Apple is a great little formula. Throw in some ginger if you like a bit of a kick!

10. I refuse to fill up with hydrogenated breads, pastries and biscuits so Mr Baker watch out. Swap your normal flour for Spelt, use Coconut Oil instead of Margarine or Raw Organic Butter, Splenda instead of Sugar and hey presto you have your baking basics.

Monday, 28 May 2012

Have a Look What is in Your Fridge...

When it comes to fitness for rugby you have to cover ALL your bases and yes that includes your nutrition. It is like trying to drive a maserati with diesel in the tank.
So here is a glimpse of what is my fridge - all the time.

For those voyeurs amongst you, I thought I would give you a peek into the staples of my fridge (and freezer).

As I have always mentioned, good nutritional choices win out in the end i.e. over fanatically counting calories.

That is not to say calories don’t matter. Of course they do. However, most of us either chronically under-eat or overeat. The middle ground, as always, is to eat healthily 90% of the time with good sound nutritional principles allowing the other 10% for the rules to fly out of the window.

If we are honest most of us eat healthy choices about 50% of the time and wonder why fat starts appearing in awkward places.

“I just can’t seem to get rid of this” as they grab their spare tyre.

Well – start by cleaning up your home. If that is not a safe haven you can be rest assured that being out and about will be an uphill struggle.

If it is in your pantry IT WILL END UP IN YOUR MOUTH. I have never seen this fail. Try
throwing out a packet of unopened biscuits. Go on, try it. It will be like prizing away a kid’s toy. There will be pangs of guilt if you attempt to delve into your bin again, even a feeling of sadness.

“But they were going to bring so much joy and happiness”

You are addicted to sugar. It is not your fault. You just are. Face it. Deal with it. Here are my Top

Ten Foods that are in my fridge and form the cornerstone of my nutrition.
Grass Fed Beef – if you want sustained energy for the day then kick it off with some grass fed beef. Rich in Omega-3 and CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid) both super fat burners and anti-cancer agents.

Salmon – this is one of the best sources of Omega 3, which reduce heart disease and inflammatory conditions. It is also rich in vitamins B, A an D.

Omega 3 Rich Eggs – it is like most food an egg is not just an egg, a fish is not just a fish. It all depends on where it came from, the soil it is raised in, the diet it was exposed to. Eggs are no exception. Buy organic or Omega 3 enriched eggs. These are a super fast food. Whip up omelettes or have a few hard boiled in the fridge as a quick snack.

Flax Seeds – I love my Omega 3s! Flax is a potent source of Omega 3 and works well in
balancing out your hormonal profile. It is also rich in fibre.

Greens Powder – who eats 10-12 servings of veggies a day? Hands up! Veggies maintain the natural acid-alkaline balance that exists within each and every one of our body’s cells. When this becomes unbalanced then problems occur. Stress, intensive training and proteins will tip us towards acidosis. So not only make sure that two thirds of your plate is veggies but also use green drinks as a great pick-me-up throughout the day.

Fish Oil – every man, women and child should be taking this. The benefits are far beyond the scope if this piece. Let’s just say- name any ailment that you can think of and fish oil will help.

Broccoli – men with moobs and overly emotional women listen up. Broccoli (and watercress) will help in shifting fat in embarrassing areas and balancing your emotional state. How? It is rich in phytoestrogens that balance out the bad oestrogen that is within your system. A powerhouse of nutrients and fibre too.

Blueberries – low in sugar, high in fibre rich in antioxidants these little beauties are a powerhouse of nutrition. Try them frozen with natural yoghurt and cinnamon. Lovely.

Spinach – one of the best natural sources of folic acid, a great alkaline food and superb for preventing heart disease. Popeye was right. I use it as a base for salads.

There is more. And variety is the key. But have a close look at the staples in your fridge. Try swapping one poor choice for one of the above and a positive step has been taken already.

When it comes to rugby fitness then make sure that your nutrition matches your efforts on the pitch.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

What Is Boot Camp?

A boot camp fitness class is a highly challenging instructor-led workout routine based upon military fitness regimens. The class is usually held outdoors and involves a mixture of calisthenics, strength training, and flexibility-enhancing moves.

Although it is notoriously physically and psychologically strenuous, the boot camp fitness class can burn as many as 600 calories, greatly stimulate weight loss, and improve cardiovascular health and muscle tone.

Boot camp classes are generally intended to have the no-nonsense ethos associated with military training. This aspect of the program is meant to motivate and discipline participants. Thus classes, which typically meet in an outdoor space such as a park, usually proceed even in inclement weather. In addition, boot camp fitness class instructors often deliver instructions — and in some cases, reprimands — in a stern, drill-sergeant style.

In general, a boot camp fitness class lasts for a period of approximately one hour. This time is usually split into sections which address different elements of physical fitness. Often the first and last sections are devoted to warm-up and cool-down exercises and flexibility-boosting stretches. Perhaps the centrepieces of the workout, however, are its sometimes gruelling calisthenics and strength training moves.

Rugby Revenge Bootcamp


Boot camp workouts are efficient because you work your entire body-- heart and muscles--by going from one exercise to another with no rest. The workouts involve calisthenics like push ups, star jumps, crunches and other body weight exercises...the difference lies in the intensity.

In boot camp, your challenge is to take your body to its limit!

You work, you sweat and, best of all, you burn calories like crazy! Fantastic for body sculpting, stamina, endurance and overall fitness.

  • Warm up with 5-10 minutes of light cardio.Perform each exercise one after the other for 60 seconds, modifying as needed.
  • Complete all ten exercises for a 10 minute workout, or repeat the series 2-3 more times for longer workout.
  • Finish with competitive team relays.
  • Cool down with 5-10 minutes of light cardio and stretching

Overall this is an excellent, fun and enjoyable way to keep your fitness up, build strength and endurance to stay the distance.

Rugby Team:  £2.50 per session

Everyone else: £5.00 per session

The more you sweat in training the less you bleed in battle!

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Have You Really Not Got The Time To Exercise

It’s seems so easy to put off exercising. The long work hours, jobs to do at home, friends and family to see … hitting the gym ends up being yet another forgotten item on an overwhelming to-do list.

After all, “I don’t have time” seems like a decent enough excuse. You’ve got other priorities. You might not even like exercise much. And those folks who do spend an hour or two every day walking, cycling or working out? They’re clearly not very focused on their work or the other “should do’s in their life.
The thing is, if you’re busy, you can’t afford not to exercise.
Exercise Will Give You More Energy
Maybe you’re put off exercising because you’re worried about being tired. If you hit the gym at lunch, you’ll be exhausted all afternoon, won’t you?
Actually, probably not. Sure, if you overdo things and push yourself too hard, you might feel tired – but moderate exercise will get your blood pumping and leave you more alert and energetic.
If you’re struggling with just getting through the day, then try taking some exercise. Sitting at the computer for ten hours straight might feel productive (“I got into work at six this morning…”) but you’re probably slowing down, making mistakes and missing out on creative insights.
Exercise Lowers Your Stress Levels
It’s hard to work when you’re feeling anxious, upset or angry. Yes, you might be able to pour some of that negative energy into your work (“I’m going to get this $%”& report done!”) – But overall, you’re going to find that it’s hard to concentrate.
Being stressed out isn’t good for you or for the people around you. How often have you snapped at a colleague or family member, just because you were in a bad mood? How often have you had to spend time patching up that relationship?
When you’re stressed, you might feel that the last thing you want to do is summon up the motivation to get some exercise. Get moving anyway. Once you’ve been jogging or cycling for a few minutes, you’ll find the stress melting away – almost miraculously. Exercising has a proven effect on our mental state, so much so that doctors now “prescribe” exercise for milder cases of depression.
Exercise Prevents Health Problems
How much work are you going to get done if you land up in a hospital bed? A lot of health conditions – especially long term, chronic ones – are heavily linked to lifestyle factors. If you’re unfit and rarely or never exercise, you’re putting yourself at greater risk of stroke, heart disease and cancer.
If you have a piece of equipment at work that’s vital to your job, you take good care of it: you wouldn’t be able to do any work at all if it broke down. Do you take similarly good care of your body?
Along with a healthy diet and getting enough Sleep, exercising is hugely important in staying healthy – or even getting back to a greater state of health.
Exercise Can Help You Think
I’ll bet that, at some point in your life, you’ve had the experience of a great idea coming to you when you’re not at your desk. Perhaps you were in the shower, out walking, chilling out with friends, or doing something else totally unrelated to your work.
When you’re busy, it’s tempting to keep on trying to do your work. That makes it hard to think about it in a creative way, or with new perspective. Getting away from your desk and heading to the gym (or pool or running track) gives you the “head space” which you need in order to come up with new ideas.
You might even want to keep a notebook or voice recorder to hand, so that you can jot your ideas down.
So … have you really got the time not to exercise? What could you do today to be more active?