21 Jun

Get Your ZZZZZZZZs

 

We’re always on the lookout for ways to transform our lives, but sometimes we forget that  along with exercise  there’s another miracle drug within our control,  sleep.

A good nights sleep can make or break your day. Many of clients work long hours & generally party too hard meaning not enough sleep has had through the working week.

If you are not getting enough. This is what you are missing out on………

 

You will be able to build muscle faster

There’s a reason that fitness magazines and forums always focus on the importance of sleep. If you don’t sleep, you can’t build muscle.

Your body uses most of the night (except when you are in REM sleep) to heal damage done to your cells and tissues. At the start of the night and during slow wave sleep, your body also releases growth hormone. Lack of sleep, on the other hand can be linked to muscle atrophy.

Fewer problems with depression and anxiety

People who sleep less tend to have more symptoms of depression, lower self esteem, and more anxiety — though that’s an association and it’s possible that those symptoms cause people to sleep less.

Still, many studies show that sleep loss has an even stronger effect on mood than it does on cognitive ability or motor function, which is a strong indicator that sleeping more could help.

More productive at work and more focused at home

The more tired you are, the harder it to concentrate on something, and distraction can take a toll on both work and your personal life. Attention tasks appear to be particularly sensitive to sleep loss.” So if you want to focus  either on a job or a conversation.

Less likely to catch a cold

While going out in the cold doesn’t make you more likely to catch one, being exposed to one does. But if you haven’t slept before being exposed to a virus, your weakened immune system makes you much more likely to catch it. If you sleep less than seven hours a night you are almost three times more likely to catch the virus.

Fewer heart problems

A study I read recently said sleeping five hours or less a night was associated with a 45% increased risk for heart attacks. Keeping people awake increases their blood pressure  even healthy young men who have one bad night of only 3.5 hours of sleep show significant temporary changes.

Sleep helps control body weight issues

Sleep helps regulate the hormones that affect and control your appetite. Studies have shown that when your body is deprived of sleep, the normal hormone balances are interrupted and your appetite increases. Unfortunately this increase in appetite doesn’t lead to a craving for fruits and veggies. Rather, your body longs for foods high in calories, fats, and carbohydrates.

 

 

31 May

Health Benefits Of Onions

 

 

 

 

 

Onions are probably one of the most versatile vegetables you can eat. It can be used in countless recipes but like all vegetables it has a load of health benefits too. Such as…..

Manage Diabetes:

Onions contain chromium, which is a relatively unusual mineral to find naturally in food. Chromium helps the body manage blood sugar levels & ensure a slow, gradual release of glucose to the muscles and the body cells. Therefore, eating onions can help modulate your blood sugar levels, which is vitally important for diabetic patients.

Glowing Skin:

Onion juice mixed with honey or olive oil is said to be best treatment for treating symptoms or signs of acne. Onions are also notorious anti-inflammatory vegetables, so the active compounds in onions can reduce the redness and swelling that is commonly associated with  skin conditions like acne. It also helps to reduce the associated pain and inflammation of conditions like gout & arthritis.

Anti  -Inflammatory: 

Onions have anti-inflammatory properties help those who suffer from joint pain and arthritis. But the benefits of betalain is not limited to those with swollen joints; all disease is rooted in chronic inflammation, and, therefore, everyone should seek out foods with anti-inflammatory properties.

Immune System Strength:

The phytochemicals that are present in significant amounts in onions act as a stimulant to vitamin C within the body. The efficacy of vitamin C, and subsequently your immune system, is boosted when you eat onions, since it supercharges your immune system against toxins and various foreign bodies that can lead to disease and illness.

Lowers Blood Pressure:

The sulfur in onions acts as a natural blood thinner and it prevents blood platelets from collecting. This is good for lowering blood pressure and preventing risk of heart attack or stroke, because you are more susceptible if blood platelets clog up.

 

25 May

I cooked this the other day & thought i would share it with you as its very easy to make, high in protein , low in fat & hardly any carbohydrates in it.

Amount per serving
Total Calories 199
Fat 5 g
Carb 11 g
Protein 30g

Ingredients:

Cod Loin 120g

Handful of asparagus

1 Sliced lemon

Sprinkle of Paprika

Dash of pepper
A little non stick spray

 

  • Preheat oven to 180
  • Use one piece of foil per fish.
  • Sprinkle paprika on top.
  • Add pepper, lemon slices.
  • Add asparagus on top.
  • Fold into foil down from the top leaving air for steaming
  • Place each foil on a cookie sheet and bake for 14-15 min

 

 

25 May

Better Abs For Summer

 

 

The sun is shinning & summer is finally here. This means a lot of people will look to start a drastic diet or detox thinking a quick fix will equate to a dramatic weight drop.

If this is you , stop. Look at a well structed diet that consists of a variety of foods & make sure your daily activity increases.

For many it will be wanting a flatter stomach. This will come from a decrease in calorie / macronutrient intake & can be assisted with additional ab & core activity.

If you want to specifically target this area. I highly recommend these exercises below.

Cable wood chop:

Set the cable to the highest pulley position. With your side to the cable, grab the handle with one hand and step away from the tower. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and reach up with your free hand to grab the same handle. With arms fully extended, pull the handle down and across your body to your front knee while rotating your torso. Pivot your back foot and bend your knees. Return to the start position slowly under control.

Hanging leg raise:

Grab a pull-up bar and lower yourself into a dead hang. Let your legs straighten and pull your pelvis back slightly. Tense your core and raise your legs until your thighs are perpendicular to your torso. Hold then lower slowly back to the starting position.

Medicine ball slam:

Stand with your knees slightly bent holding a medicine ball above your head with your arms extended. Bend forward at the waist and use your core muscles to slam the ball against the floor about a foot in front of you. Let your arms follow through so you don’t fall forward. Catch the ball on its way back up and repeat.

Weighted ab curl:

Attach a rope to a high pulley and kneel in front of it, with the handles held either side of your neck. Without moving your hips, contract your abs to bring your elbows to your thighs. Pause for a moment then slowly return to the starting position.

 

 

 

22 May

My Guide To Shedding Weight For Summer

 

If like many, you are looking to decrease body fat & become leaner it can be a little confusing  as to how to do it. Their are tons of websites &  you tube channels all stating how to do it many of which over complicate things.

The 2 most important factors you should look are calories /macronutrients consumed VS calorie expenditure & with the world of technology at your finger tips at all times its even easier to monitor them both.

Firstly I would look to monitor  your food. My Fitness Pal for example is a great app that allows you to monitor your food in take through out the day & is something I try to get all of my clients to use.

Once you have the app you  will need to work out your exact calorie / macronutrient needs. To do this you will need to work out your total daily energy expenditure ( TDEE). This will consist of your age, height, current weight & planned activity with a calorie deficit of around 400-500 calories a day . As your body weight / fat percentage decreases your calories / macronutrients will have to reflect this too. Hence , one of the reasons why many start a diet & weight seems to drop off the first week or two & then starts to slow or stop completely.

Once you have mastered this. I would also recommend using an app to monitor your daily activity, such as fit bit or if you own a I phone, this has a internal tracker that monitors your daily steps which will contributes to your daily activity.

If I go by most of my clients , I would say most of them average around 7,500 – 8,000 steps a day. This will consist of walking to work , around the office & getting home. You just need to make sure you have your phone with you at all time as this will affect your results.

If you consistently stick too & monitor these two principles , weight loss can be relatively pain free & come in greater success rather than guessing.

26 Apr

Reasons To Keep Hydrated

 

 

I am a firm believer that most people do not drink enough water. I can not express just how good it is for you both internally & externally. I personally consume around 3 – 4 litres a day but I know many do not.

The guideline is 8 ounce glasses a day but that will vary on weight , age & physical activity. I always use a reference of hydration by the colour of my pee. Like everyone , mine is dark yellow first thing in the morning but soon becomes clear like water as the morning goes on.

Here are just some of the benefits of consuming more of it.

Perform better

Proper hydration contributes to increased athletic performance. Water composes 75% of our muscle tissue!4 Dehydration can lead to weakness, fatigue, dizziness, and electrolyte imbalance.

Lose weight

Sometimes we think we are hungry, when actually we are thirsty. Our body just starts turning on all the alarms when we ignore it. For those of you trying to drop some pounds, staying hydrated can serve as an appetite suppressant and help with weight loss.

Flush out waste and bacteria

Our digestive system needs water to function properly. Waste is flushed out in the form of urine and sweat. If we don’t drink water, we don’t flush out waste and it collects in our body causing a myriad of problems. Also combined with fibre, water can cure constipation.

Make your skin glow

Our skin is the largest organ in our body. Regular and plentiful water consumption can improve the colour and texture of your skin by keeping it building new cells properly. Drinking water also helps the skin do it’s job of regulating the body’s temperature through sweating.

 

 

 

26 Apr

My Leg Workout

In all the years I have trained clients. I don’t think I have ever heard a client say “yay. Legs today”

Training legs is an amazing way to burn calories / reduce body fat as they require a lot of energy to be stimulated.

If you are looking at developing bigger & stronger legs. Follow my routine below.

Leg Press:

  1. Sit down on the machine and place your legs on the platform directly in front of you at a medium (shoulder width) foot stance.
  2. Lower the safety bars holding the weighted platform in place and press the platform all the way up until your legs are fully extended in front of you. Make sure that you do not lock your knees. Your torso and the legs should make a perfect 90-degree angle. This will be your starting position.
  3. As you inhale, slowly lower the platform until your upper and lower legs make around a  90-degree angle.
  4. Pushing mainly with the heels of your feet and using the quadriceps go back to the starting position as you exhale.

I have always preferred leg press over squats first in my routine. I like to do 3 sets of around 8-10 reps , followed by one high volume of around 20 reps.

Barbell Squat:

  1. Begin with the barbell supported on top of the traps. The chest should be up and the head facing forward. Adopt a hip-width stance with the feet turned out as needed.
  2. Descend by flexing the knees, refraining from moving the hips back as much as possible. This requires that the knees travel forward. Ensure that they stay align with the feet. The goal is to keep the torso as upright as possible.
  3. Continue all the way down, keeping the weight on the front of the heel. At the moment the upper legs contact the lower legs reverse the motion, driving the weight upward.

Again . I like to use a rep range of around 8- 10 reps & do 3 sets. Now that my quadriceps are trained , I then move on to hamstrings.

Stiff Leg Deadlifts:

  1. Hold a bar at hip level with your palms facing down. Your shoulders should be back, your back arched, and your knees slightly bent. This will be your starting position.
  2. Lower the bar by moving your backside as far as you can. Keep the bar close to your body, your head looking forward, and your shoulders back. Done correctly, you should reach the maximum range of your hamstring flexibility just below the knee. Any further movement will be compensation and should be avoided for this movement.
  3. At the bottom of your range of motion, return the starting position by thrusting the hips forward to stand up tall.

Rep range here is around 8 – 10 reps

Lying Leg Curls:

  1. Adjust the machine lever to fit your height and lie face down on the leg curl machine with the pad of the lever on the back of your legs (just a few inches under the calves).
  2. Keeping the torso flat on the bench, ensure your legs are fully extended & grab the side handles of the machine. Position your toes straight (or you can also use any of the other two stances described on the foot positioning section). This will be your starting position.
  3. As you exhale, curl your legs up as far as possible without lifting the upper legs from the pad. Once you hit the fully contracted position, hold it for a second.
  4. As you inhale, bring the legs back to the initial position. Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions.

I personally like to use a little higher rep range with leg curls & perform around 12- 15 reps.

 

Standing Calf Raises:

  1. Adjust the padded lever of the calf raise machine to fit your height.
  2. Place your shoulders under the pads provided and position your toes facing forward (or using any of the two other positions described at the beginning of the chapter). The balls of your feet should be secured on top of the calf block with the heels extending off it. Push the lever up by extending your hips and knees until your torso is standing erect. The knees should be kept with a slight bend; never locked. Toes should be facing forward, outwards or inwards as described at the beginning of the chapter. This will be your starting position.
  3. Raise your heels as you breathe out by extending your ankles as high as possible and flexing your calf. Ensure that the knee is kept stationary at all times. There should be no bending at any time. Hold the contracted position by a second before you start to go back down.
  4. Go back slowly to the starting position as you breathe in by lowering your heels as you bend the ankles until calves are stretched.

I like to perform around 8 – 10 reps / 4 sets.

20 Apr

Tasty Greek Salad

 

 

Salads can be dull & boring especially if you find eating healthily hard but fear not as you can easily rectify this by spending a few minutes more preparing this tasty salad which I personally love to eat with a good either steak.

 

Ingredients: 

  • 3 large ripe tomatoes, cut into medium pieces or wedges
  • 1 cucumber, sliced
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 /2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 100g feta cheese, crumbled
  • handful black Greek olives

 

Prep:

In shallow salad bowl, combine tomatoes, cucumber and onion. Sprinkle with salt to taste and let sit for a few minutes so that the salt can draw out the natural juices from the tomato and cucumber.

Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with oregano, and pepper to taste. Sprinkle feta cheese and olives over salad. Serve.

 

19 Apr

Peanut Butter and Banana Smoothie Recipe

 

 

Smoothies can be  an excellent go-to food to replenish the body after a tough workout.

High in protein & healthy fat, this hunger curbing recipe makes for a hearty breakfast, lunch, or after-workout refresher.

Ingredients
200g plain  yogurt
2 Tbs Peanut Butter
1 Banana
100ml Cup milk
1 scoop of ice

How to make it
Add the milk, yogurt, and banana; blend. Add the peanut butter (smooth or crunchy) and blend again. Lastly, blend in desired amount of ice; the more ice, the thicker the consistency.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 433
Fat: 20 g
Carbohydrates: 48 g
Protein: 21 g

11 Apr

My Bigger, Leaner Triceps WorkOut

 

 

If you want bigger/ leaner arms focus more on your tricep training. I have seen plenty of guys & girls spend hours doing countless bicep exercises. The simple fact that the tricep is made up of 3 muscles ( the bicep 2) , will tell you that training this harder will equate to larger arms.

These 3 exercises have been part of my training for may years as I consider these my go to exercises. I personally perform sets of each with a rep range of around 8 – 10 with the exception of rope pushdowns as I like to go higher , around 12 – 15 reps.

Rope Tricep Pushdown

Attach a rope attachment to a high pulley and grab with a neutral grip (palms facing each other). Standing upright with the torso straight and a very small inclination forward, bring the upper arms close to your body and perpendicular to the floor. The forearms should be pointing up towards the pulley as they hold the rope with the palms facing each other. This is your starting position.

Using the triceps, bring the rope down as you bring each side of the rope to the side of your thighs. At the end of the movement the arms are fully extended and perpendicular to the floor. The upper arms should always remain stationary next to your torso and only the forearms should move. Exhale as you perform this movement. After holding for a second, at the contracted position, bring the rope slowly up to the starting point. Breathe in as you perform this step.

Skull Crushers

Using a close grip, lift the EZ bar and hold it with your elbows in as you lie on the bench. Your arms should be perpendicular to the floor. This will be your starting position.

Keeping the upper arms stationary, lower the bar by allowing the elbows to flex. Inhale as you perform this portion of the movement. Pause once the bar is directly above the forehead. Lift the bar back to the starting position by extending the elbow and exhaling.

Close Grip Bench Press

Lie back on a flat bench. Using a close grip (around shoulder width), lift the bar from the rack and hold it straight over you with your arms locked. This will be your starting position. As you breathe in, come down slowly until you feel the bar on your middle chest.  Make sure that – as opposed to a regular bench press – you keep the elbows close to the torso at all times in order to maximize triceps involvement.

After a second pause, bring the bar back to the starting position as you breathe out and push the bar using your triceps muscles. Lock your arms in the contracted position, hold for a second and then start coming down slowly again. When you are done, place the bar back in the rack.