It can be difficult sometimes to know if you’re making the healthiest choices. That’s why we’ve put this simple table together to help you:
Working out is only half of your journey to smashing your goals…What you do after your workout is as, if not more important.
We’ve got 5 simple, yet essential tips to help you recover and get the most from your exercise:
Post workout the muscles and joints that you have used/targeted will be in a damaged state. Training them before they have recovered increases your risk of injury but also hinders progression as your body hasn’t had time to adapt to the previous workout. We recommend 24-48 hours rest for muscle groups before re-training. A good rule of thumb is ‘if it’s sore, rest it’.
We use the analogy ‘a workout is like taking a sledgehammer to your house, you’re breaking down muscle fibres in order to rebuild them. A lack of protein is like employing a bricklayer who has no bricks, to rebuild your house’. Amino Acids (protein) are the building blocks of muscle, you cannot recover & rebuild muscle to be stronger and fitter if you don’t have the nutrients required.
Post resistance training your protein requirements are elevated to 2.2g/kg for roughly 48 hours..eg. if you weigh 100kg you will require 220g/day of complete proteins.
Water & electrolytes play vital roles in many metabolic functions. When we exercise we lose these at an accelerated rate…Therefore it’s essential to consume water throughout a workout as well as after..It is not essential to replace electrolytes unless you are exercising for 4 hours or longer, don’t believe the Lucozade hype!
Sleep is where we heal the fastest, many amazing things happen whilst we sleep including the production of human growth hormone which helps us to repair and build new tissue. Current guidance suggests that we need 7-9 hours/night, we all know where we sit on this scale. There are plenty things you can do to improve your sleep, we will cover this in future posts.
Stretching & Mobility:
Stretching immediately after and during your recovery period will help to reduce tension in the muscles & joints, promoting a faster recovery. This will also increase your flexibility, helping you to perform better and greatly reducing your risk of injury. We have 2 stretch routines below that you can follow:
We hope that you find this helpful.
Counting calories is a great tool for managing your weight and has a proven track record for many reasons, these being:
- the numbers don’t lie
- we often have a distorted perception of what we’re eating, kcals and portion sizes (research has proven this)
- we have bias beliefs on what is healthy & unhealthy
- it’s almost impossible to accurately recall from memory all that we eat & drink and then estimate the calories
- calorie counting makes you accountable
- calorie counting gives you an honest understanding of what you’re eating and your relationships with food & drink
However, whilst an excellent tool tracking doesn’t fit with everybody. It can be time consuming at first and is not a sustainable long term approach. It can also encourage unhealthy mindsets around food. We’ve also found that people fear counting calories. In this article we’ve got some top tips to help you manage your calories without counting them.
>>>You can lose weight without counting calories and still enjoy your favourite foods<<<
This means eating without emotional attachment to food whether positive or negative (guilt). Understanding when to eat and choosing foods that will nurture your body. Eating high fibre and protein rich foods at regular intervals will help you to manage hunger drastically reducing the chances of binging on high energy foods when you’re hungry. A good rule of thumb is to rate hunger from 1-10, 1 being extremely hungry and 10 being full..Ideally we should eat when we’re at 4/10..any lower and you’ve left it too long, any higher, ask yourself ‘do I really need this?’
Cravings vs Hunger
Often we overlook the reasons why we eat when we do. Unknowingly we all develop relationships between certain environments & feelings and foods, for example ice cream sales are much higher in the summer than winter. The more that we respond to these triggers the more ingrained and automatic our responses become, this is the formation of habits whether healthy or unhealthy.
A helpful exercise is to write a list of triggers that could cause you to make unhealthy choices eg. stressed = binge on sugar, in a parallel column make a list of positive responses eg. take 20 mins to relax/exercise etc.
Cravings = Specific foods, situational, pass within a short time – distract your mind!
Hunger = non specific, will eat anything, gets worse if ignored
By far the most effective way to drop fat. Smaller portions = less calories! (the basis of every diet & fad)
– use a smaller plate or bowl
– take longer to eat, enjoy every mouthful and savour the flavours
– pack out your meals with vegetables
– balance your macros
– Focus on how much & how often you eat
– consume smaller meals at regular intervals
– prioritise vegetables and proteins over carbs and fats
– it’s ok to enjoy snacks – low kcal snacks are great for keeping hunger at bay
– there is room for sweets etc in your diet, in moderation and for the right reasons
– identify your negative triggers and create a positive responses
– set yourself short term goals that lead to your ultimate target
– monitor the outcomes – if you’re still not losing weight you’re not quite in a calorie deficit yet
– review and adjust the process when needed
– don’t stress, this is a long term lifestyle not a short term ‘diet’
Stretching plays a crucial role in developing your flexibility as well as preventing injury and supporting your recovery.
Here’s an upper body routine that you can do anywhere..
Remember to hold each stretch for 8-10 seconds.
We’ve got a super healthy slow cooker recipe for you that only takes 10 minutes to prepare.
Stick it in the slow cooker in the morning and forget about dinner for the rest of the day, it’s taken care of.
Prep: 10 Minutes
Cook: 4 hours on medium / 8 on low
2x Chicken Breasts (skinless)
1 Tin of Chopped Tomatoes
1 Chicken Stock Cube
80g Wholewheat Pasta
vegetables of your choice
1 garlic clove
cheddar or Parmesan to taste
– Chop Pepper, Onion & Carrot (or veg of your choice) and crush garlic and place in the bottom of the slow cooker (cut fairly chunky to stop cooking too quickly)
– Dice the chicken and place in the cooker
– Add chopped tomatoes and diluted chicken stock to just cover the ingredients
– season to taste
– Cook on medium for approximately 3 hours
– Add uncooked pasta and cook for 1 more hour
– add cheese to taste for the last 30 minutes
– Serve & Enjoy
How you do an exercise is just as important as which exercise you do.
Today we’re showing you how to maximise the Upper Pectoral engagement when doing Incline Dumbbell Bench Press.
By understanding the way in which a muscle contracts you can adapt your exercises to maximise your engagement and fibre recruitment through a full range of movement.
Today we’re resurrecting 3 great shoulder exercises that you rarely see..
Each one primarily targets a different head of the deltoids and when combined offer a great, well rounded shoulder workout.
The concept of a cheat day is nothing new and is very simple, it’s a given day within a period of clean eating or dieting where you allow yourself a re-feed day where you eat whatever you want.
STOP: They Are More Likely To Kill Your Progress Than Aid It!
Theories Behind Cheat Days:
1) eating lot’s of food can help boost your metabolism, counteracting it’s slowing from calorie restriction
- The reality is that the boost has been shown to only be somewhere between 3-10% and only lasts for 24 hours
- Exercise is a far superior method for increasing your metabolism to counter act calorie restriction
2) It aids motivation and a mental boost as you get to eat the foods that you like
- A good diet whether for weight loss or not can and should include a healthy dose of your favourite foods – eating clean doesn’t mean complete denial of junk food therefore rendering this point invalid
What Happens When Most People Have A Cheat Day
So, you’ve been really good Monday-Friday and hit your cumulative calorie target regardless of whether it’s for weight loss or maintenance, at this rate you’ll finish your week on target, however you heard that you should have a cheat day for the reasons above (or others).
So, on Saturday you go crazy and consume double your daily allowance of calories. If you are very good you’ll then be able to return to your normal target for Sunday, however even with only 1 cheat day you’re now over your target for the entire week meaning that if you haven’t gained weight you definitely didn’t lose any.
What You Should Be Doing:
- Remember the golden rule: there is room for all foods in a controlled, balanced diet
- 1st & foremost weight management is a numbers game, calories in vs calories out
- Set yourself a realistic calorie target, you can gradually reduce this down if needed
- Understand what your current calorie intake is
- Calorie restriction & weight loss should be gradual over a period of months, not days or week
- Use a calorie tracker initially to understand how many calories are in your favourite foods
- Use exercise to stoke the fires of metabolism
- Have a re-feed/cheat day monthly or even more infrequent (should still be controlled)
- Remember, your diet should be fairly consistent over the majority of your life, therefore drastic and extreme interventions are unlikely to have longevity
- Play the long game & you’ll enjoy better mental health surrounding your diet
We hope that you find this helpful, happy health,
Try this great Triceps workout at home or the next time you’re away…All you need is your own body weight…
Beginners: Each exercise 3 sets to failure
Intermediate: Each exercise 4 sets to failure
Advanced: Each exercise 5 sets to failure
With the UK set to reach record highs today we’ve got some top tips to help you stay fit during the summer.
It’s important to stay active even during the warm summer months, we need to be safe though, here’s how:
- workout early in the morning or late at night
- exercise in the shade
- dial back the duration & intensity of your workout
- consider paying to use an air conditioned gym instead of training outside
- drink plenty of water throughout the day
- limit your salt intake to protect your blood pressure & hydration levels
- limit your caffeine & alcohol intake as they can promote dehydration
- wear sun cream & light clothing
- ensure you’re still eating regularly even if the meals are lighter
- listen to your body, if you feel faint or dizzy you must stop and seek shade
- take a cold shower
- room temperature drinks will hydrate you faster than cold ones
- extend your warm up & cool down
- Remember: it will feel harder in the heat…Expect this & just go with it
Have a great summer Fitness Friends,