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On the Right Road to Fitness
4/20/2012 10:49:33 AM

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:- 
  1. Squats: hands on your temples, bend the knees until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Repeat10-20 times.  
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.  
Top 5 Reasons to Eat (at Least) an Apple a Day
4/19/2012 1:12:18 PM

Beyond its fabulous flavour and perfect portability, apples are packed with major health benefits.

 1. They're Slow Food
Firm and packed with fibre (5 grams, or 20% of your daily value), they demand a chewing commitment, giving your body time to register itself "full" before you scarf down too many calories. And the natural sweeteners in apples enter the bloodstream gradually, helping keep your blood sugar and insulin levels steady so you feel full longer - the opposite of many sugary snacks, which produce a quick rush followed by a hunger-inducing crash.

2. They Help You Breathe Easy
Kids of women who ate the most apples while pregnant were less likely to wheeze or develop asthma by age 5, researchers from the UK found recently. The fruit may also protect the lungs of adults, lowering the risk of asthma, lung cancer, and other diseases.

3. They Zap Cholesterol 
Thanks to two key components, pectin (a type of fibre) and polyphenols (powerful antioxidants), apples can take a bite out of blood cholesterol levels and prevent the oxidation of LDL ("bad") cholesterol - the chemical process that turns it into artery-clogging plaque. The trick to maximizing the benefit: Don't toss the peel; apple skin has two to six times the antioxidant compounds as the flesh.

4. They Fight Cancer
Lab studies have shown that several compounds in this juicy fruit curb the growth of cancer cells - but they're most potent when the apple is eaten whole (minus the stem and seeds, of course). People who munch more than one a day lower their risk for several cancers (oral, esophageal, colon, breast, ovarian, prostate, and others) by 9 to 42%, Italian researchers found.

5. They Make You Smarter 
Possibly because they boost the production of acetylcholine, a chemical that transmits messages between nerve cells, apples are now thought to keep your brain sharp as you age, enhance memory, and potentially lessen the odds of getting Alzheimer's disease, suggests one recent animal study from the University of Massachusetts at Lowell. With this sort of nutritious nosh at your disposal, it might be time to rethink the idea of a "smart cookie."

Benefits of a Personal Trainer
4/4/2012 2:13:22 PM
Personal trainers aren't for everyone, but a trainer provides certain benefits that you can't find when working out on your own. Here are ten reasons a personal trainer may be right for you.
  1. Motivation
    One of the main reasons people benefit from a personal trainer is that they loss motivation to stick with a consistent exercise program. Certified personal trainers can provide structure and accountability, and help you develop a lifestyle that encourages health.
  2. Individualised program
    If you have any chronic health conditions, injuries or training goals (running a marathon, for example) a trainer will work with you and your health care provider to plan a safe, efficient program that considers these needs and enable you to reach your health goals.
  3. Efficiency
    Personal trainers help you focus on results and stop wasting your time doing inefficient workouts. A personal trainer has a plan and will help you get maximum results in minimum time.
  4. Improve technical skills
    If you play a particular sport, the right personal trainer will help you improve your skill by showing you new training techniques specific to your sport. The trainer will incorporate skills training into your program so you improve not only your strength and endurance, but your agility and mental focus as well.
  5. You are new to exercise
    If you are an absolute beginner, a personal trainer is the ultimate fitness coach. A good trainer will introduce you to a very simple, effective routine and build efficiently so before you know it, you have the confidence and knowledge to decide what is right for you.
  6. Break through plateaus
    Ok, you are already in pretty decent shape, but you've been there for years. If you are stuck in the same routine and want to break out of a rut, a personal trainer is the perfect solution. A trainer will jump start, not only your motivation, but your routine as well.
  7. Learn how to go it alone
    If you ultimately want to learn all the facets of designing your own routines so you don't need to use a personal trainer, going for a few months may be all you need. All good personal trainers will teach you the basics of building and modifying a fitness program to achieve maximum results.
  8. Workout Safely
    A personal trainer watches your form, monitors your vitals and can provide objective feedback about your limits and strengths. Most of us tend to ignore some of the subtle signals our body provides. We either push through pain or give up too soon. Because a personal trainer can watch what you are doing while you are doing it, they can help push you or slow you down as necessary.
  9. Workout at home
    Many personal trainers make house calls. If you don't have the type or interest in going to a gym, but have a hard time knowing what to do on your own at home, a personal trainer can bring fitness into your living room.
  10. Lose Weight
    There is a good reason that the number one reason people hire personal trainers is to lose weight and get into shape - it works! If you made a resolution to lose the fat and build the muscle, a trainer can keep you on track and help you realize that goal.
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April, 2012
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