It's been said that getting your nutrition on point is the key to a healthy weight and lifestyle. With that in mind, here's three ways that you can cultivate a more balanced diet and lifestyle.
1.Eat breakfast every day
Even if you don’t feel hungry for breakfast at first, getting a high quality breakfast in actually jump-starts your metabolism for the day. By starting your day with breakfast, you allow your metabolism to run at a higher pace, producing more energy in the process. A balanced breakfast should include a variety of high-fiber and nutrient-rich whole grains, fruits, nuts, eggs, and dairy. A good example of this would be porridge with fruit, or eggs on toast.
2. Slow down while eating
This is important. Set aside the proper amount of time to eat and appreciate your meal instead of cramming your food in during an already hectic schedule. Remember, it takes 20 minutes for your hunger and satiety mechanism to send the signal to the rest of your body that you’re full. Try to slow down and enjoy each bite and allow your body to let you know when it’s satisfied.
3. Drink plenty of water
Let's be honest, most of us don't drink nearly enough water. As a rule of thumb, you should aim for 8 glasses a day which is roughly two to three litres. Water is essential for many reasons and is a key factor in maintaining a healthy weight and keeping your organs in good working order. A few ways to ensure your getting more water in is to eat more fruits and vegetables and to keep a big bottle of water with you in the car or at work.
It can happen to anyone. Just as it seems we are on the path to fitness and health success, we fall off. Sometimes it only lasts a few days. Some other times, it's hard to remember the last time we stepped foot in a gym. Either way, you’re likely to fall off the wagon at some point on your fitness journey, and this is not only ok, but to be expected. Its never easy to get back on track, but here's a few ways that you can get the ball rolling again.
1. Take it easy starting back
The key to getting back on track is to ease back in to your exercise regimen. There's no point walking before we can crawl. It doesn't matter matter how long you’ve been off the wagon, never push yourself too hard when getting back on track. The key is patience and acceptance that this is a process that takes time, effort and energy.
2. Just put your training shoes on
We can often overthink or overcomplicate health and fitness. Best advice is to keep it as simple as possible. The hardest part of working out is usually just showing up. From there, things become a little bit easier. If you keep putting off getting back into training, it will become harder and harder. So, get up, get out and get active!
3. Develop a plan
A great way to get back on track is to schedule your workouts in advance. Hold yourself accountable for your success, or lack of it. Show up when you say you would. Put the effort in, and you will reap the rewards of improving health and well being.
4. Seek the help of an experienced trainer
This is the best investment you can make when it comes to your overall health and well being. You can make progress with the guidance, motivation and expertise with an experienced personal trainer that you just couldn’t on your own. Give it a try, you may be surprised with the results you achieve.
We all have comfort zones, whether it be at home, work or at the gym. These comfort zones help to keep you safe, but they can be detrimental when it comes to your growth. I'm sure you’ve heard that “life starts at the edge of your comfort zone,” but what exactly is a comfort zone and just how do you get outside of it?
A comfort zone can be described as a place or situation where one feels safe or at ease without stress. When relating to fitness, that means doing the same workouts, week in and week, with little variation or challenge. It means doing the easier exercises that you know you can do instead of challenging yourself in new ways with more advanced exercises.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with finding workouts and exercises that you love doing and sticking with them. However, it’s great to step outside of your fitness comfort zone to try something different every now and then. It will not only make your workouts more interesting, but it will give you added motivation and excitement when it comes to getting your workout done.
The main way to get out of your comfort zone in the gym is to make your workouts more and more challenging. Try and make your workouts more challenging. Increase the weight on your squats, or go for one more rep on your bench press. Sign up for that boxing class or hire an experienced personal trainer. Find new ways to expand your fitness comfort zone and you'll soon find you are capable of doing much more than you thought possible.
We see it a lot in clients. The excitement. The excitement and eagerness that comes with starting a new programme in the gym, and strength training in particular. Jumping in at the deep end seems inviting, but when it comes to strength training, slow and steady wins the race. Here's three ways to ease into a new programme, or even for those completely new to lifting weights.
1. Master the fundamentals
Once you master the fundamental form and techniques for the essential exercises, you’re going to be more confident and better equipped to handle more challenging workouts. Correct form is essential to help prevent injuries and ensure you get the most out of your workout.
2. Nail your form early on
Exercises like squats, planks and push-ups may seem basic, but they are the key building blocks for any workout. Even with these basic moves, it’s essential to learn the proper form, as you could hurt yourself if you do them wrong. This is where your personal trainer comes in. They can demonstrate the exercise, watch you do it and adjust your form as required.
3. Easy does it at the beginning
Getting, and staying in shape is not a race. It is all too easy to get discouraged if your not progressing as you feel you should be in the early stages of strength training. The thing needed here is patience. Be patient with yourself at the start, the results and the satisfaction will come later on. Aim to improve week on week, month on month, and be patient throughout the process.
The three pillars of good health refer to quality sleep, good nutrition and regular exercise. For optimal health, it is good to be doing all these three things well. Let's look at each pillar in more detail and how you can optimize them in your life.
1. Quality sleep
Up to one-third of your daily routine is spent sleeping. Often dismissed or overlooked, getting adequate sleep is actually one of the most important things you can do for your health. Sleep affects everything from energy and appetite, to performance, mood, attention, memory, and decision making. During sleep, your body is actively working to support healthy brain function by removing toxins while the body repairs itself. On the other hand, regular sleep loss maybe associated with feeling fatigued, high blood pressure, diabetes, depression, and cardiovascular disease.
2. Good nutrition
It's clear that good nutrition is an essential cornerstone for optimizing health. The key is to find a balance between what we like to eat and what foods nourish our bodies best. Designing your diet wisely not only enhances health and enjoyment of eating but also can relieve feelings of guilt or worry that you aren’t eating well. All of us appreciate the occasional takeaway, but it’s the overall eating pattern you choose day in and day out that matters most. Choosing an array of healthy foods most of the time, allows you to have less nutritious foods on the odd occasion without harm to your health.
3. Regular exercise
While your daily food choices can greatly affect your health, the combination of good nutrition and physical activity is an even bigger deciding factor in your overall health. Simply put, your body is built to move. Lack of movement can be a possible predictor of developing certain chronic diseases, and also leaves you feeling sluggish and uninspired on a daily basis. In fact, people who regularly engage in moderate physical activity live longer, healthier lives on average than those who are more sedentary.
Most people would agree that giving up their favourite foods while trying to lose weight is a tough task. However, this doesn't have to be the case. Of course, it's true that you can't have a large pizza every day and expect to lose weight. However, there is room for your favorite foods, such as pizza, in your diet.
The key to the whole equation if you want to lose weight you need to be in a calorie deficit. This means that you are burning, or expending more calories than you are taking in. The quality/ type of food is also important i.e. if you are in a calorie deficit but eating all “fast food”, then it is not nourishing for the body, or sustainable long term. So where does pizza or fast food fit in while dieting? Well, it certainly has its place. If you like Pizza or fast food, its beneficial both mentally and physically to have it every now or then. The key is moderation and factor it into your plan. For example, treat yourself at the end of the week, or after you have accomplished your goals, and make allowance for it within your calorie target to accomplish your weight goal. You will want to focus on eating quality, nutritious foods most of the time, but if you want to have a few slices, don't deny yourself either.
To put it in perspective, a slice of your favorite takeaway pizza is roughly 280 calories. That's alot of calories for just one slice. There are however other options available such as making your own pizza from scratch, having less toppings, getting a smaller size pizza, or opting for a lower calorie option from your local supermarket. You can eat pizza and still lose weight. It just takes some careful portion control, variety in your diet, looking at your overall calories for the week, and a positive mindset!
What exactly is Protein?
We've all heard about protein and its benefits, but what exactly is it, and what are its main functions? Protein is a major part of our overall nutrition and is one the three key macronutrients, alongside carbohydrates and fat. It plays a major role in helping to repair and strengthen muscle tissue after exercise. This is why consuming a protein shake or a protein rich meal 30-60 minutes after a training session is recommended. Protein rich foods actually break down into 22 naturally occurring amino acids, which are known as the building blocks of protein. Of these, nine are known as essential amino acids, which means we must get them from food, as the body cannot make them itself.
How much protein should I eat?
It all depends on your diet, lifestyle and goal. As a guideline, it is recommended that an average adult should have 0.75 grams of protein per kilo of bodyweight per day. For example, an adult weighing 72kg needs 0.75 x 72 per day, which is 54g.
A general guideline for someone who exercises and works out and who’s goal is to encourage muscle growth is 1.2 – 2.0 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight daily.
What are the best sources of protein?
The great thing about protein is that there is such a wide variety of foods that can help you reach your intake target. There are hundreds of products, from supplements to energy bars, which are designed to make it easy to get protein in your diet. Some of the best protein sources come from lean meat such as turkey, chicken and beef. Nuts, fish and vegetables are also full of protein. There are also many vegan friendly sources of protein available too, such as tofu, pulses and nuts. Protein powder is also a very convenient and popular supplement choice for many people. For example, it can be mixed in yogurt or taken as a protein shake with milk or water depending on your preference. If you are vegan, you can opt for plant based protein which is just as good.
Getting, and staying in shape can be challenging. Time spent in the gym is important, of course. However, what happens outside of that time is also crucial to your overall success. Here are five key eating habits that will complement your hard work in the gym and keep you on track.
1. Drink water
Make it your business to drink more water throughout the day. Staying hydrated not only increases satiety and boosts your metabolic rate (which aids weight loss) but it also improves physical and mental performance in our daily lives. Try to drink at least 8 glasses of water a day and see the results. You can add a wedge of lime or lemon to add a dash of flavour if you want.
2. Eat whole food products rather than processed products
White bread and white paste tend to be easier to eat and digest, but we tend to eat more of them as they are not as filling. However, whole food products, like brown bread, brown rice and pasta are better as they are nutrient rich. They take longer to eat and digest, and therefore we feel fuller from them.
3. Eat breakfast
Having a nutritious breakfast not only helps start your day on a positive note, it also increases satiety which makes it less likely that you will snack throughout the day. Some great options for breakfast are porridge with berries, eggs with toast or a protein smoothie. The great thing about breakfast is that you can vary it up every day which is a good mood booster first thing in the morning.
4. Eat mindfully and slowly
Ideally, it should take around 15-20 minutes to finish a meal. This is the time it takes for your brain to send out the signals that you are full. So eat slowly and enjoy your meals, keeping them as varied and interesting as possible. Eating slowly helps to aid digestion and reduce stress making you feel calmer and more in control.
5. Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables
The great thing about fruit and vegetables is that they are low in calories yet nutrient dense, so they can be eaten in high quantities. They are rich in dietary fibre, vitamins and minerals, while being low in fat, which is ideal for maintaining or losing weight. You should be aiming for five servings of fruit and vegetables a day as a rule of thumb.