If you have children, you want them to be healthy and happy. You will do whatever you can to make sure they are enjoying life. If they are feeling unwell you will look after them, and you will take them to a doctor if you think they need it. If they have an interest in sports or activities, you will pay for it, drive them to it and stay and watch them. You will encourage them to eat well and be active.
But what about yourself? Do you look after your own health, fitness and wellbeing? Do you exercise, weight train or workout on a consistent basis? Instead of just telling your kids how to be healthy and happy, why not show them by leading by example. Take care of yourself so that you will be strong and there to take care of others when they need you.
If you want to lose weight, the best combination to make consistent progress is focus on:
Calorie deficit is important as you need to be using up more calories than you are taking in. In order to accomplish this prioritize three things: amount calories you are taking in, control your portion size and increase your steps (e.g. amount of walking you are doing).
Strength training is very important to retain muscle mass and tone. Using a personal trainer 2-3 times a week could really help you. They will show you the right weight exercises to do in a safe and consistent manner, and enable you to progress over time.
The third critical component that is often overlooked is Lifestyle. A key element here is sleep/ rest. You should be aiming for 7–9 quality hours per night. Keeping stress and alcohol low is also vital to accomplishing your weight loss goal. Normally if we are under more stress, or drinking more, we eat more, and often tend to snack more too.
Focusing on the trifecta of calorie deficit, strength training and lifestyle will enable you to make the most progress and sustain the improvements over time. A Personal Trainer will help you accomplish all of this.
Often people think of what types of food they consume (like protein, carbs or fat), but sometimes the portion size is overlooked, or they are not aware the critical impact portion size has on their weight.
A very simply way to measure portion size is to use your hand. Precision Nutrition (https://www.precisionnutrition.com) came up with this very easy guide for determining how much of each type of food we should consume:
For protein, use the palm of the hand to determine right amount of food.
Some protein options include:
For vegetables, use the fist of the hand to judge the minimium amount of food.
For Carbohydrate, use the cup of the hand to determine right amount of food.
Some Carbohydrate options include:
For fats, use the thumb as a guide
Some Fat options include:
Getting the portion size right, with the right types of food resulting in a calorie deficit, as well as Personal Training will ensure you are in great shape and feeling great.
n light of the corona virus, there is a lot of discussion about what can be done to improve the body’s immune system. One definite thing that helps is to exercise on a regular basis. Being fit helps boost the immune systems and working out can improve our ability to fight off germs.
What Research has shown:
There is a wealth of science that suggests being fit boosts our immune systems, and that even a single workout can amplify and improve our ability to fight off germs. For example, a 2017 study published in Brain, Behavior, and Immunity monitored the effects of one 20-minute session of moderate treadmill exercise for 47 participants. These 47 people first gave a blood sample before exercising and then provided another blood sample immediately after exercising. The study found this one singular stint of exercise to have anti-inflammatory effects that boosted the immune system.
Regular physical exercise is a pillar of healthy living. It can boost your immune system in a variety of ways. For example, a regular exercise regime will increase your body's production of antibodies and White Blood Cells; this increased production allows the immune system to detect illnesses earlier than it would have otherwise. Simultaneously, exercising will help to expel toxins from your body. This in turn will energise your cells and metabolism. In plain and simple terms, this will mean a strengthening of your immune system in fighting off a myriad of germs.
It is widely recognised that being fit and active will improve cardiovascular health, lower blood pressure and protect against diabetes. Exercise also promotes good circulation which allows the cells and substances of the immune system to move through the body freely and therefore do their job efficiently. Think of it as servicing your car and ensuring its proper upkeep - it is essential to keep it in running order. There is no mandatory level of exercise required in this sense, a brisk walk, a light jog or a bodyweight workout all have well-documented benefits.
It should be noted that in addition to boosting your immune system's potential response to COVID-19, regular exercise can enhance vaccination response too. Exercise will boost function of the natural killer cells in the immune system in a process known as mobilisation. Through exercise, billions of immune cells are recruited and re-circulated in the blood. These immune cells are primed to recognise and kill virus infected cells. This process stems back to your strengthened immune system having a quicker response to fighting germs and adapting to any vaccine.
Stress, Exercise & The Immune System
Stress and the immune system go hand-in-hand. Research dating back over 25 years has revealed that psychological stress increases susceptibility to illness. Prolonged or chronic stress can negatively impact the immune system by reducing the body's ability to defend against viruses and bacteria. Additionally, when under stress, it's not uncommon for people to engage in coping strategies such as drinking excessive alcohol, smoking cigarettes, eating a poor diet, or not getting enough sleep, which can also negatively impact the immune system. These factors combined with the current pandemic could result in a serious threat to health.
Engaging in regular physical activity is a great way to help manage stress and strengthen your immune system. In fact, research shows, that "fit individuals" (defined as those who partake in regular physical activity), have a lower incidence of infection compared to inactive and sedentary individuals. Exercise is also known to stimulate the production of endorphins which are chemicals in the brain that act as the body's natural painkillers and mood elevators.
Conclusion & Recommendations
By keeping active it will boost your immune system and help to minimise the potential effects of the virus. Furthermore if you exercise regularly, it can reduce stress and improve your mental health.
Here are a few examples of what you can do on a regular basis:
Stay safe and stay strong
That was a trick question! The best way is to have goals and actions together! In fact, there is a great acronym and simple process for setting goals, called “SMART” goals which stands for:
S = Specific
M = Measurable
A = Action oriented
R = Realistic
T = Timely
In this process, ACTION is part of the goal setting, which is the best way to do it.
A few examples to make it practical and real:
I love this quotation by Joel Barker:
However I would modify it slightly and include the word “goal” with “vision”:
"Vision/ Goal without action is just a dream, action without vision/ goal just passes the time, and vision/ goal with action can change the world."
Alcohol can negatively impact our intent to exercise, workout and lose weight.
Impact on workout and exercise
Most people after drinking alcohol will not exercise next day, or if they do, their workout will probably be worse than they normally do. For example, they will not feel in the mood to lift as heavy weight as they normally would, and probably do less sets than they typically would do.
The biggest effect drinking has on workouts involves hydration. Alcohol is a diuretic, meaning it will cause you to lose excess water and cause your kidneys to produce more urine. Normally when you exercise you sweat or dehydrate anyway, alcohol in the body just makes this significantly worse.
Another impact that alcohol has is on your energy level. This is affected because the liver prioritises breaking down the alcohol first, and therefore the glucose we need broken down for energy is impacted. This is why one won’t feel like lifting as much weight or doing as many sets or repetitions.
The third impact is on response. Alcohol causes a relaxed feeling by slowing down the nerves that pass messages around the body. This results in slower response, poorer coordination, and worse balance. This could lead to safety issues if one was not careful.
Drinking alcohol also disrupts the sleep pattern, usually affecting both the quality and quantity of your sleep. It affects your rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, which is where a lot of recovery happens. REM is where the immune system gets rejuvenated, so that could affect muscle synthesis and one wakes up feeling tired.
Impact on weight loss
If you are hoping to lose weight, alcohol significantly hinders that desire cause there are a lot of calories in alcohol (see end of blog for some examples) and it is not easy to process it or utilise it for energy so it packs on as weight. Another negative consequence of drinking is the tendancy to have high calorie food (such as takeaway burger, pizza, kebab) with the alcohol, or on the way home later that night. So it is a double whammy: high calories from alcohol and high calories from processed food!!
It can be very sociable to have a drink. The key thing is to minimise the amount one drinks and drink in moderation. Matt Lovall (who is an elite sports nutritionist) puts it very well: “exercising the day after drinking alcohol can mean you have an all-round lower quality training session or sporting activity. You’ll lack strength and power, be less likely to make split second decisions and more likely to feel tired quicker because your body won’t be able to clear out the lactic acid you produce when you exercise. This is because your liver will be working harder to get rid of the toxic by-products of alcohol in your system,”
After drinking alcohol, make sure to drink loads of water before going to bed! It will help you hydrate and start washing the toxins out of the body.
Please drink responsibly.
Some examples of Calories and carbs content of various drinks:
Overhead Press Instructions:
Half kneeling Overhead Press
Half kneeling Overhead Press Instructions:
Push up Instructions:
What is Protein?
Protein is a nutrient found in food which is made up of numerous amino acids that are joined together.
What does Protein do?
Protein builds, maintains, and replaces the tissues in your body. Protein is an important component of every cell in the body. Hair and nails are mostly made of protein. You also use protein to make enzymes, hormones, and other body chemicals. Protein is an important building block of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood.
Benefits of protein:
Why is protein important for exercising?
During an exercise session our muscles are constantly challenged, their fibres sustain micro tears and begin to break down. To repair and rebuild they then go through a process known as protein synthesis which use the amino acids from protein to bring about a healthy recovery and growth.
Those who exercise will require increased amounts of protein to people who don’t. Without this we can lose lean body mass through continued breakdown of muscle fibres
How much protein should you have?
The RNI (Reference Nutrient Intake) recommends 0.8g per kg Body Weight.
However, a more accurate guideline for someone who excerises and works out would be a minimum of 1.2g per kg of Body Weight
For example a 100kg person would need a minimum of 120g per day
What are the key protein foods and how much protein do they contain:
The chart below highlights some of the key proteins, and how much protein is in 100g of that food:
Protein is very important food component, particularly if you exercise and work out regularly. One should aim to consciously eat more protein rich foods throughout the day and take at least 0.8g protein per kg Body Weight (increasing to a minimum of 1.2g per kg of Body weight if you exercise).
Dead Bug Instructions:
In order to lose weight, three key things to focus on are calories, exercise, and lifestyle. In this blog we are going to put the spotlight on calories.
In order to change your weight, it is the balance between how many calories you take in versus how many calories you use up (calories out).
Weight Loss = Calorie deficit = Calories out (energy out) is higher than calories in (energy in)
Weight gain = Calorie surplus = Calories in (energy in) is greater than calories out (energy out)
Food can be broken into three macronutrients, namely protein, fats and carbohydrates. In order to have a balanced diet, you need all three nutrients in your plan.
Protein and carbohydrates contain 4 Kcals per gram, whereas fat contains 9Kcals per gram.
Your calorie output (usage) can be broken into a few different groups.
To lose weight:
If for example your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE) is 3000 Kcals per day and you weigh 100 Kg. That means you need 3000 Kcals to maintain your current weight. If you want to lose 10Kg (i.e. 10%) weight, then you need to reduce your calorie count by 10% = 300 Kcals, and your new TDEE goal is 2700 Kcal. You need to achieve that calorie deficit through exercise and appropriate nutrition.
Total daily energy expenditure (TDEE) calculator:
Use the TDEE calculator below to estimate your TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure) and from it your optimal daily calorie intake you need to keep your weight stable, to gain or to lose weight.
Total Daily Energy Expenditure
Tips to hit the target on calorie management:
1. Do a food diary
Take stock of what you currently eat and how many calories are involved.
Do a food diary for 10-14 days. Use this as the bases and foundation. You will see you are doing somethings very well, but you may also see some area’s for improvement.
This can be a manual diary or there are also many online or apps available. A very popular one is “MyfitnessPal”.
2. Focus on your protein intake.
There is a separate blog all about proteins. This is a vital macronutrient and about 30-40% of your daily calorie intake should be proteins
3. Include fruit or vegetables at every meal.
Try and have as much fruit and vegetables as you can. Most people don’t eat enough of them.
4. Make sure you drink loads of water!
Water is a vital ingredient. Drink at least 2 litres of water every day. Additional water should be drank during and after exercising. Review previous blog on the importance of water here.
5. Calorie deficit
If you want to lose weight, keep thinking of calorie deficit i.e. Calories out is greater than calories in. Good nutrition and good exercise routine will help you achieve this.