Tuesday, 31 January 2012

My Good Morning Shake

Well I call it my good morning shake, but its quick, convenient and yummy at any time of the day, even pre or post workout.

1 scoop of Herbalife Formula 1 Strawberry Shake
1 tablespoon porridge oats
1 teaspoon extra virgin coconut oil
250ml of soya, coconut or almond milk
Several pinches of cinnamon
several ice cubes

Simply blend all ingredients together and drink.  Optional extras are a small handful of nuts and seeds or your favourite fruit or berries, chopped and either blended in the shake or eaten on the side. 

Coconuts contain MCFA's (medium chained fatty acids) these are not readily stored in the body but are absorbed directly from the intestines and sent to the liver to be metabolised where they are mostly burned as fuel. This will lead to greater fat burn and extra energy output.  Also the high protein content will keep you full for longer. 

Visit www.herbalife.co.uk for further information on product range.

Calories 225
Protein 26g
Carbs 23g
Fat 6g
Fibre 3.5g

Yum, enjoy, let me know your thoughts.

Till next time,

Monday, 30 January 2012

Could running be making you fatter?

Sadly I think the answer to this question maybe YES. 

First off I am not totally against running, it is a natural endorphin busting, bone building, cardiovascular type of exercise.  This is great if you are built for running and are not carrying too much extra weight. At the moment I am seeing many 'New Year's Resolution must lose weight' runners pounding the pavements in an attempt to drop the pounds!  Running seems to be the most common activity associated with losing weight and toning up.  Unfortunately you are not doing yourself any favours and could actually be doing yourself more harm than good, let me explain further.

Running is impact exercise, in fact your putting 3 x your body weight force through your hips, knees and ankles.  That could be 300kg your putting through your body every time your foot strikes the ground if your a 100kg man!  If you are overweight your joints are not going to be able to deal with that amount of repetitive forceful stress.  The problem is you are more than likely not strong enough to run properly, its like trying to run before you can walk.  You will most definitely be setting yourself up to fail, eventually leading to hip, back, groin, knee and possible ankle injuries along the way.

Now the truth about running and burning calories, yes you will burn calories and yes you will lose weight.  But its the difference between getting a sprinters body and a marathon runners body. A sprinters body say Usain Bolt for example is lean, athletic, muscular with great definition.  A marathon runners body say Paula Radcliffe for example is smaller with less muscle definition.

Without getting too scientific I just want to explain quickly about 'twitch fibres'.  Muscle fibres are categorised as fast and slow (fast twitch fibres are also broken down into type 2a and 2b).  Some scientists believe we are predisposed to either more slow or fast twitch fibres, making us better at either endurance type events or shorter explosive type events.  Marathon or long distance runners predominantly use slow twitch fibres, as these fibres are enduring.  Sprinters on the other hand are said to use more fast twitch fibres, and could possess up to 80% of them.  Fast twitch fibres are the ones that are responsible for revving up your metabolic rate, which could keep you burning from fat for many hours after you've finished your workout!
  • Running for long distances are the least effective for fat burning.
  • Running for long distances will cause your body to conserve energy and store fat.
  • Running for long distances will cause your metabolic rate to slow and you will store more fat.
  • Running for long distances will increase your stress hormone 'cortisol' and cause you to store more fat.
  • Running for long distances may cause more inflammation in your body.
  • Running for long distances may suppress your immune system.
So unless you are training for a marathon or long distance event, what is a overweight unconditioned runner to do?

Well you do 'intervals', anyone whose read my previous blogs or knows me, know I do 'intervals'.  You want to intersperse short periods of intensity with active recovery (see my HIIT blog).  This way you’re only putting pressure on your joints for a short period of time followed by some recovery. You can repeat this process as many times as you want, or as many as your body lets you.  Try and keep to easy on your joints surfaces, such as grass, tracks, roads (often made from tarmac) opposed to pavements (often made from concrete). 

Another option would be to get on your bike!  This is low impact, non - weight bearing exercise, that will work you both aerobically and anaerobically (such as when your going up a steep hill).  The weather is starting to improve so get outside, find an easy route to start with, progressing distance when getting more familiar with your bike.  Alternatively try a 'spin' or indoor cycling class.  Just like riding a bike with gears except your inside with other like minded people.  And at least you haven't got inclement weather, cars getting too close or dogs at your heels! 


And of course goes without saying, but it is also vital to include a strengthening type programme to help build more lean muscle which increases the ability to burn more calories from fat, you will get leaner and fitter - but remember no long slow distances!


Sunday, 29 January 2012

What's the best time to exercise?

I enjoy a workout in the morning as it sets me up for the rest of the day, others find working out in the afternoon or evening fits in with their routine. 

Surprisingly in a study at the Clinical Research Centre of the University of Chicago, scientists believe that those who go to the gym or exercise after work or in the evening are more likely to have a higher level of fitness than those who exercise in the morning.

I personally believe it is more important to try to fit some moderate to vigorous exercise or activity into your day regardless of what part of the day it is.  Also the intensity of that exercise is key.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-55222/Why-evening-best-time-exercise.html#ixzz1ktNDcj2b

Sunday, 22 January 2012

The Short of Time Workout

We know how hectic our weekends can be, mine is no different, theirs the visit to the supermarket, washing, cleaning, ferrying my daughter to here there and everywhere etc.  I also want to fit a workout in to my day also. I'd like to incorporate weights and get my heart rate up to and stay no longer than around 20 minutes.

So yesterday I did a PHA workout, what is this?  PHA stands for Peripheral Heart Action.  PHA training is a dynamic way of exercising, it burns fat and strengthens and tones muscle by alternating an upper and lower body exercise using resistance training.  The heart will pump faster shunting blood from one part of the body to the other, therefore giving you a good cardio workout, as well as a strengthening effect.  You can also add in an extra dynamic move at the end of each mini circuit for good measure.

Why not just go and attend an hours aerobic class then, I here you ask.  Aerobic classes may make you a smaller version of yourself, but you will not look lean and toned with definition.  For this to happen you need to make some muscle and work against resistance whether it be your own body weight or an external force such as dumbbells, medicine balls, kettlebells, resistance bands etc. 

PHA blends both aerobic and resistance training into one effective training session that will leave you with a elevated heart rate and fat burning metabolic effect.

Try this next time your in the gym.  Of course don't forget 5 - 10 minutes warm up and mobility, and a cool down and stretch at the end of your workout.  Also remember when selecting your weights, find a weight that challenges you, example when completing your chest presses the last 2 or 3 reps of that set should be pretty difficult.

1st pairing
20 reps chest press (machine or dumbbells)
20 squats
1 min rest    -  Jogging on the spot (1 minute)

2nd paring
20 reps lat pulldown or bent over row
20 (10 each side) lateral lunges
1 min rest    -  Mountain Climbers (1 minute)

3rd pairing
20 reps shoulder press (machine or dumbbells)
20 (10 each side) forward lunges
1 min rest     -  Bench step ups, alternate legs (1 minute)

4th pairing
20 reps seated row (machine or cable)
20 stability ball hamstring curls
1 min rest    -  Bench bunny hops (1 minute)

5th pairing
20 lateral raises (dumbbells or resistance band)
20 (10 each side) reverse lunges
1 min rest  -   Squat thrusts (1 minute)

There you go all your major muscle groups done, should you want to add some specific abs and lower back exercises in, then add in to the end or use them as another circuit or do before your cool down.  Of course if any of these exercises are new to you ask a professional to show them to you first.  And listen to your body, a minutes rest in between circuits should be fine if your fit, but the more unconditioned you are you may need more rest.

Give them a go, there a good way to break the boredom and great if your short on time!

Please take advice from a professional (like myself) before attempting these workouts if you are in any doubt whatsoever.

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Chronological age 'v' Biological age

Just watched 'Biggest Loser'.  Tonights episode looked at amongst other things the contestants chronological and biological ages.  Our chronological age is our true age, the number of years we have lived, obviously this can't be changed, although we like to think we can turn back the clock! 

Our biological age on the other hand could be changed, but it can go both ways, you can look both older or younger than your true age.  For example if your chronological age is 44 and your biological age is 57, then you really should be doing something about that! A 44 year old with the body of a 57 year old is not a good look, especially if people mistake your true age as the latter.  Conversely should you be 57 and look and have the body of a 44 year then fantastic, keep doing what your doing! 

Sadly some of the contestants on the programme had incredibly high biological ages, some as much as 10 years, one had added an extra 20 years to her chronological age! You are putting yourself one step closer to the grave!

This has mostly been achieved through inactivity and sedentary lifestyles and unhealthy eating habits or most likely a combination of all three.  Avoid people mistaking you for your older sister (or brother) by implementing these three small steps:
  1. Walk more - if you are overweight or obese walking is a natural low impact activity.  Get some walking activity into your day, such as parking the car further away from work and not two feet from the front door!  Walking your children to school instead of taking the car.  At the super- market park as far away as you can from the front entrance. You may also be encouraged to walk more frequently if you headed to the shops 2 or 3 times per week instead of going once for a big shop.
  2. Spend less time social networking on the Internet, we've all done it.  Five minutes checking emails or updating your facebook page can easily turn into hour!  Imagine what you could have done in that hour; ran or walked 5km, hoovered your house, done some gardening, washed the car, etc the list is endless. 
  3. Seriously look at your eating habits, after all nutrition is around 80% of the big picture.  No doubt if you put crap in to your body, you will feel crap.  You will get bigger, your joints may get sore, you'll pick up illnesses easily, you may lose confidence, you may want to stay indoors and not come out, and so the story goes on and on.  Or better still drink plenty of water, and eat little and often of a variety of foods - its not rocket science!  Think about what food you are about to eat and what affect it will have on your body, negative or positive.
These three small steps are a good beginning and can easily be implemented into your lives. 

Make this year, the one you use to turn your life around.  Best of luck.