On the right track to fitness...?
In need of some hints ‘n’ tips to bulk up, tone up or even get through a marathon...?!
What do I need to do?
1. Eat the right foods to maximise your performance
2. Stay motivated and you’ll soon shift those pounds off
Where do I start?
A healthy diet should be the foundation for any active person and fuelling your body with the right foods is essential. Eating a variety of carbohydrates (carbs), fruit and veg, dairy and lean protein, will give you the wide range of nutrients your body needs to remain healthy and function properly.
- Eat slow releasing carbs like whole-wheat pasta, granary bread, brown rice and porridge to keep you feeling fuller for longer
- Eat lean protein like fish, eggs, beans and pulses and yoghurt
- Nuts, seeds and dried fruit are nutrient rich and an easy way to get more fibre, vitamins and minerals into your diet
- Fruit and veg are a low fat way to replace essential fluids and vitamins essential for energy production
- Avoid energy dips and peaks by avoiding refined sugar found in cakes, biscuits, sweets and fizzy drinks
- Cook healthily - stir-fry, poach and grill food and trim away visible fat from meal
Rise ‘n’ Shine
An early morning start has several benefits! Research suggests that exercise is best done first thing in the morning, as it kick starts your metabolism for the rest of the day and your muscles will be fully rested after a good night’s sleep.
What can I do?
- A run in the morning is good because your legs have the biggest muscle groups in the body. The more you work them, the tougher they become increasing your metabolism which will help burn fat and flab from your body even when relaxing.
- Walk, jog or cycle to work - it’s an easy way to fit fitness into your day.
- Chose a gym or swimming pool near work or school - once you’re home there’s less motivation to go out again
- Hit the gym during your lunch break - giving your mind a rest and your heart a work out
I don’t feel like eating first thing in the morning...!! You’ll need something light and carbohydrate based to sustain your energy. Try bananas or a bowl of cereal with milk or yoghurt. These foods are easy to digest.
When you’re dehydrated you tend to feel tired and lethargic, so keep drinking before, during and after training to get the most out of your efforts. Scientific studies have shown that if a person who is exercising loses more than 2% of their body weight through sweating and dehydration, their physical and mental performance will suffer...most people can easily exceed this 2% threshold within the first hour of a work out.
Bulk up in the evening
It is generally considered better to weight train later in the day, as first thing in the morning muscles can be stiff and joints loose. Men tend to have big arms and a solid build, but many neglect the necessity to work their back. Your back again contains many large muscle groups and neglecting to work these will inhibit growth elsewhere and lead to poor posture and physique. Compound exercises are the best way to bulk up as they involve movement through more than one joint - squat (hip, knee, and ankle), bench press (elbow, shoulder) and seated row (elbow, shoulder).
To get all your muscles working and tone from tip to toe, here’s a few pointers in the right direction:-
- Squats: hands on your temples, bend the knees until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Repeat10-20 times.
- Lunges: keep legs shoulder width apart, stride forwards then dip your knee towards the ground and back up. Step back, change legs and repeat 10-20 times on each leg.
- Pull ups: find a solid bar that is at approximately chest height, taking an underhand grip, keep your feet on the floor in front of you and hang underneath looking towards the sky (your body should be at approximately a 45-degree angle). Pull your chest right up to the bar and lower steadily keeping your body rigid and straight. Repeat 5 to10 times.
- Press-ups: arms shoulder width apart, legs and back straight behind you, toes tucked in, chest to the floor. Using core muscles and arms raise your body until arms are straight, repeat 10 to 20 times.
- Curl and press: hold a weight in each hand (could be a filled water bottle) curl your bicep and them immediately press the weight above your head. Lower under control and repeat 8 to 12 times.
Weight training is a great addition to aerobic training for those in the quest for improved muscle definition. When undertaking strenuous exercise, particularly weight training, muscle breakdown occurs and to repair damaged muscles, protein is required.
You’ll need to trim the fat off your figure to see the results of your weight training and this can’t be done from protein alone. After training it’s essential to restore your glycogen (energy) levels and the nutrients you’re body has used up. Eat lean protein and carbohydrates and fruit and veg which are a low fat, non-stodgy, way to replace essential protein, fluids and vitamins essential for energy production.
Eat well, drink more and train right and you’ll start to see a big difference in your energy levels, health and sports performance.