Protein is known for its numerous benefits including fighting off hunger and preventing the loss of muscle tissue associated with weight loss (generally two-thirds of this is fat tissue, other is lean tissue). It is a repairing macronutrient and a regenerative for skin, nails and hair – although some people only associate protein consumption with ‘gains’.
Whether it’s because you’re travelling, don’t have a gym membership, or simply haven’t plucked up the courage to go yet, it’s always a great idea to have an upper body workout on hand that can target more than just your biceps and triceps.
Exercise and Nutrition for Hypothyroidism
Hypothyroidism is a hormone disorder where the thyroid does not make enough thyroid hormones – leading to an under-active thyroid. The disease affects 1-2% of people worldwide and is 10 times more likely to affect women.
The most common type of hypothyroidism (in the United States) is Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. Causes may include iodine deficiency, a genetic disorder, taking certain medication, or surgery where part of the thyroid gland has been removed. Having an under-active thyroid disrupts the ability for growth, repair and metabolism.
· Slower metabolism
· Gradual weight gain
· Feeling cold year round
· Muscle weakness
· Joint and muscle pain
· Sadness or depression
· Pale, dry skin
· Slow heart rate
· Heavy menstrual bleeding
It may feel like a vicious cycle - the symptoms of fatigue, achy joints and weight gain causes muscle weakness, which in turn can make exercise feel like a chore. It can be difficult to find the energy to exercise due to a slow metabolism however it is vital to establish a routine to help elevate metabolism, improve energy and relieve depression.
Moderate or high intensity cardio including fast-paced walking, running, hiking or rowing where the heart and lungs are working >50% can help to alleviate symptoms. Exercising 150 minutes per week split as 30-60 minutes over 5 days can help to boost mood, ease constipation, promote muscle and joint flexibility and help manage weight.
If you are new to exercise begin with stretching and weight bearing exercises – you can find our free stretch guide here! You can begin to increase weights and intensity as your tolerance grows. Avoid pushing through fatigue as this will trigger exhaustion and make exercising less desirable.
Diet & Nutrition
Although food won’t cure hypothyroidism, consuming the right combination of nutrients and medication can help restore function and minimise symptoms. Iodine (seaweed, fish, dairy, eggs), selenium (antioxidant, brazil nuts, tuna, sardines, eggs, legumes) and zinc (oysters, shellfish, beef, chicken) assist in activating the thyroid hormones and are preferably consumed as wholefoods rather than supplements unless otherwise prescribed by your health practitioner.
Avoid goitrogens in the case of iodine deficiency, or eat in moderation, ideally cooked, as these may interfere with normal function of the thyroid. Goitrogens include soy foods (tofu, tempeh, edamame), cruciferous vegetables (cabbage, raw kale), fruit and starchy plants (sweet potato, cassava, peaches, strawberries), and nuts/seeds (millet, pine nuts, peanuts).
"What about a high protein diet?"
Higher protein diets can increase the speed of metabolism; consider 1.5-2g per kilogram of body weight. This will also assist in muscle recovery and growth. It is important to consume a healthy diet of eggs, lean meats, fish, vegetables (cruciferous in moderation, cooked), fruits, gluten-free grains and seeds, and dairy. It would be suitable to consider a low to moderate carbohydrate diet.
"SHOULD I DO A Low Carb / Ketogenic Diet?"
Thyroid hormones are essential to maintain and regulate the metabolism of energy and carbohydrates. Energy (glucose) that we get from carbs is required to fuel production of thyroid hormones – carbohydrates influence the conversion of T3 from T4 which is important for hypothyroidism as T3 is the active thyroid hormone that needs to be increased. When carbohydrate intake is reduced the conversion declines. Prolonged calorie restriction or fasting reduces T3, which slows down metabolism (ultimately leading to weight gain).
A low carb diet without ketosis is unlikely to influence thyroid levels, whereas keto can cause other hormonal imbalances (particularly in women) that which would be unnecessarily risky. It is not recommended to follow a very low carb or ketogenic diet if you have hypothyroidism
Eleise Britt (nutritionist), Is Low Carb Bad for Hypothyroidism, Diet VS Disease, retrieved from [https://www.dietvsdisease.org/low-carb-hypothyroidism/]
Thyroid Disease, Office on Women’s Health, retrieved from [https://www.womenshealth.gov/a-z-topics/thyroid-disease]
Authority Nutrition, Best Diet for Hypothyroidism; Foods to Eat, Foods to Avoid, Health Line, retrieved from [https://www.healthline.com./nutrition/hypothyroidism-diet#section9]
Greene, C. 2013 The Permanently Beat Hypothyroidism Diet & Exercise Shortcuts Cookbook, Createspace Independent Publishing.
Exercise and Nutrition for Hyperthyroidism
Hyperthyroidism, commonly caused by Grave’s disease, is a disease that attacks the thyroid gland (located at the lower front of the neck) by the overproduction of thyroid hormones.
What does the thyroid gland do?
The thyroid gland creates thyroid hormones, which are secreted into the blood and then carried to every tissue in the body to keep the brain, heart, muscles and other organs functioning. Thyroid hormones regulate metabolism in animals and humans. The thyroid gland creates thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3), which play an important role in the way the whole body functions – by making too much, is defined, as hyper.
Thyroid, Metabolism and Weight Loss
There is a complex relationship between thyroid disease, body weight and metabolism. Many patients with an overactive thyroid gland experience weight loss relative to the severity of the over-working thyroid.
Unlike hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism creates an increase in appetite. Whilst the metabolism is working over time, some may gain weight depending on how much the caloric intake increases. In some cases the metabolism turns destructive leading the body to consume tissue and muscles to obtain raw materials to maintain BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate).
There are a number of symptoms of hyperthyroidism that may prevent a patient from enjoying a healthy lifestyle, including experiences of anxiety, rapid heartbeat, hand tremor, excessive sweating, weight loss and sleep problems.
Typical medication to assist in the treatment of hyperthyroidism includes methimazole and beta-blockers. Common side effects of these include muscle, joint or nerve pain (methimazole) and drowsiness/fatigue (beta-blockers). Exercise and a healthy diet can help manage all of these symptoms and improve overall health.
Due to a hyper-metabolic state, there is little to no way of regulating the amount of nutrients ingested and can often lead to unexplained weight loss. Trace minerals such as selenium, iron, zinc, copper and magnesium are important. Selenium converts thyroxine to its active form (T3) needed for glutathione production to help decrease thyroid antibodies (note – those with Hashimoto’s should avoid).
Brazil nuts are the richest dietary source of selenium and are also a good source of magnesium, zinc, calcium, vitamin E and some B vitamins. Chlorophyll will help to boost energy levels and remove heavy metals that may be inhibiting thyroid function.
Make sure to avoid or limit foods, supplements and medication containing iodine (seafood, eggs, iodised salt, milk), too much may cause the thyroid gland to overproduce thyroid hormones. Avoid soy products as they can impact an already over-stimulated thyroid, and avoid alcohol, smoking, and excessive tea, coffee and sodas.
It is important to create a regular exercise routine focusing on engaging the larger muscle groups. Avoid overtraining muscles by involving aerobic exercises (dancing, cycling, swimming, etc.) and resistance training 2-3 times per week with rest and recovery. Resistance bands, body weight exercises and even light gardening are great ways to keep active.
Excessive exercise can play havoc on cortisol which can further escalate thyroid levels and worsen symptoms. Yoga and meditation will assist in coping, increasing calm, improve psychological balance and improve overall health, ease anxiety and insomnia.
The American Thyroid Association (2016) Thyroid and Weight, retrieved from https://www.thyroid.org/wp-content/uploads/pationes/brochures/Thryoid_and_Weight.pdf
Thyromate (January 2016) The Best Natural Supplements for Hyperthyroidism, retrieved https://www.thyromate.com/blog/the-best-natural-supplements-for-hyperthyroidism
Grazie Aleppo; Endocrine Web (July 2017) Hyperthyroidism Overview, retrieved https://www.endocrineweb.com/conditions/hyperthyroidism/hyperthyroidism-overview-overactive-thyroid
Amy Sutton; Live Strong (September 2017) Exercises for Hyperthyroidism, retrieved https://www.livestrong.com/article/433648-natural-remedies-vitamins-minerals-for-hyperthyroidism
Hashimoto’s Disease, or Thyroiditis, is a condition in which the immune system attacks the thyroid gland. It is an autoimmune condition that can cause symptoms of weight gain, fatigue, joint and muscle pain.
Through appropriate exercise and recovery methods it is possible to lose weight and/or gain lean muscle mass when diagnosed with Hashimoto’s.
Although the excess stress from exercise can cause fatigue, worsened thyroid function, depressed immunity, increased risk of injury and raised inflammation – it is important to know your own limits when training.
There are two suitable training methods suitable for those with Hashimoto’s Disease:
Short sessions of HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training); and
Weight training with heavy weights and low repetitions.
Short and high intensity workouts such as HIIT will ensure (often limited) energy is dispersed quickly – which means the 30 minutes you had set aside for training can be shortened to 10-15 minutes, giving yourself an increased recovery time.
You’ll know you have trained well if you are breaking a sweat around the 3 minute mark, breathing deeply and rapidly, and hitting 70% or greater of your max. heart rate (220 – age in years = max. heart rate).
Take advantage of the body’s natural cortisol surge in the morning by getting to the gym or completing some at-home training within 10-30 minutes of waking up – before breakfast. It is easier to burn fat during this time, completing fasted will help reduce insulin resistance.
Training the larger muscle groups can increase overall lean muscle mass. Heavier weights are better for your metabolism in low to mid range repetitions.
Constant repetitions of 20+ can cause bad Achilles tendonitis or shoulder problems.
Make sure to work your way up in weights rather than starting heavy – a personal trainer is best to assist you with this.
Over exercising can heighten symptoms of Hashimoto’s, including:
Excess bad gut bacteria; and
Leaky gut (where undigested foods, bacteria, yeast and other pathogens enter the blood stream).
Appropriate exercise boosts the chemicals in the body that improve brain function, increase overall well-being and raise energy levels. There are some pre-exiting factors that will increase your vulnerability to over training with Hashimoto’s such as low-high cortisol levels, systematic inflammation, immune weakness, nutrient deficiencies and obesity.
If you are unsure whether you are over training or just simply experiencing DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness), you may notice that you are experiencing lengthy recovery times or being in a state where you can not imagine getting out of bed the following day due to joint and/or muscle pain.
You may also notice that although you are consistently training, your performance is declining, muscle strength is decreasing, and you are experiencing a lack or loss in motivation and enthusiasm to train.
Aim to feel refreshed and energised after each training session! Taking time to recover is extremely important – especially when it comes to sleeping.
Adequate sleep will encourage muscle repair, improve the metabolic system and help your brain to recharge. It’s important to adopt a lifestyle that will support your diet, exercise and supplementation in order to feel your best and to slow the progress of the autoimmune disease.
Nutrient timing for training is important whether you have an autoimmune disease or not. For those with Hashimoto’s disease it is best to consume a drink of electrolytes before training (avoid sugary ‘sports drink’ options) and look into supplementing with n-acetyl l-carnitine.
Post workout you’ll be best to consume something that will aid in reducing inflammation such as turmeric, alongside another drink of electrolytes.
*It is necessary to eliminate sugars, processed foods and minimise or remove gluten, diary, corn, rice and other simple carbohydrates from your diet.
*Focus on nourishing your body with good quality meats, vegetables (organic where possible) and good fats such as avocados, olive oil and coconut oil.
*Protein is also important and should be consumed at 1.5-2g per kilogram of body weight (around 40% of your diet).
If you feel as though you are eating nutritious and ‘clean’ foods but not experiencing any benefits you may want to consider food sensitivity testing. Probiotics and fermented foods can also encourage a balance of bacterial flora.
Macro & Micro-Nutrients
Our bodies need macro and micronutrients to thrive! If you are malnourishing it by under-eating or following a high calorie deficit your body will sabotage any progress by slowing down the metabolism or causing you to have cravings and even feel hungry when you have had enough.
The most common nutrient deficiencies in people with Hashimoto’s are:
Vitamin D; and
Kalanick, B. (2015, January) When Exercise Harms Your Thyroid, Bottom Line Health. Retrieved from https://bottomlineinc.com/health/thyroid/exercise-harms-thyroid
Dr. Wentz, I. (2018, January) How to Lose Weight With Hashimoto’s, Thyroid Pharmacist. Retrieved from https://thyroidpharmacist.com/articles/how-to-lose-weight-with-hashimotos/
Ryan, M. (2014) How to Exercise With Hashimoto’s, Hashimoto’s Healing. Retrieved from https://hashimotoshealing.com/how-to-exercise-with-hashimotos/
(2017, May) Extreme Exercise is Good for You Right? Not if You Have Hashimoto’s, Functional Medicine; Functional Health News. Retrieved from http://functionalhealthnews.com/2017/05/extreme-exercise-is-good-for-you-right-not-exactly/
How often have you skipped a warm up before a weights or resistance training session, simply because you:
a) Don’t know what to do;
b) Don’t have the time;
c) Don’t think it’s necessary; or
d) All of the above
If you can relate to any of those, you’ll want to read on.
Let’s start with the why; why do we need to warm up before a weights session?
We need to prepare our body for exercise by increasing our heart rate, loosening our joints and increasing blood flow and circulation. We need to perform a warm up prior to training to increase the blood flow to our muscles, which enhances the delivery of oxygen and nutrients, and promotes the energy releasing reactions used during exercise. Warming up also raises our muscle’s temperature (hence the term ‘warm up’) for optimal flexibility and efficiency.
So, does that mean we just need to do a few extra km’s on the treadmill?
Not necessarily, there are multiple ways to help our body prepare for a weights training session.
These aren’t just your average stretches – what we need to achieve with dynamic stretching is activation! Dynamic stretches mimic sports-like movements, prepare the body for activity and increase range of movement (ROM). Unlike static stretches, the end position of the stretch is not held therefore is felt further with each motion. Some examples of dynamic stretches include walking lunges, arm swings/circles, plank windmill/twist, toe touches, hip raises, high knees and bear crawls.
Joint Mobility Exercises
We’d all be lying if we said we didn’t want to jump higher, run faster and move without pain. All of this can be made possible by increasing our range of motion through joint mobility exercises. Increasing the flexibility in our muscles and tendons allow for a greater ROM. Joint mobility exercises are similar to that of dynamic stretching or stretching while moving through movement. Examples of these exercises include walking hip openers and thoracic spine windmills on the floor.
This is something that we do during our training, so think of it as a pre-exercise warm up – or a gradual increase in intensity during sets. In order for our muscles to grow we need to provide them with stressors to adapt to. Start with your bare minimum, whether it’s body weigh bench dips, squats using a barbell without weights or using the 4kg weights before hitting the heavier weights for your bent over rows. This will assist in preparing your body through the proper range of movement to achieve hypertrophy, strength, power and endurance. This is when it can be important to write stuff down: click through to Rachel Aust’s #plantraincreate journal.
Try to keep conditioning as your warm up to a minimum – after all, we want our weights to be the thing that takes up our strength and energy! Skipping, walking with gradual incline on a treadmill, step-ups or using the step machine should be kept to 2-5 minutes before training and are better kept for your HIIT sessions. If you find that you have some energy left after your training and before static stretching you can add your 2km row here. After all, it’s shampoo (exercise) and then conditioner.
Completing a warm up is essential for the time (and sweat) you are putting in to your weights training. Make sure to avoid static stretching (where you hold the stretch in one place for a few seconds) cold muscles before your session by opting for dynamic stretching. Spending 3 – 5 minutes before your training session to increase your blood flow will increase your range of motion, help decrease muscle stiffness and lower the risk of injury (see my 7 Trainer Approved Tips to Prevent Injury here!).
If you don’t already have a long list of reasons to get rid of any excess weight in your waistline, this post explores the direct connection between inflammation and belly fat in detail. As more time passes, there is more research coming to the forefront to confirm that carrying extra weight on your gut area can have a detrimental effect on other parts of the body, including chronic inflammation which could then lead to diabetes, heart disease and more.
Diseases Linked to Belly Fat
· High Blood Pressure
· Inflammatory Bowel Disease
· Type-2 Diabetes
· Rheumatoid and/or Psoriatic Arthritis
· Systemic Lupus
· Colorectal Cancer
· Autoimmune Thyroid Disease
· Multiple Sclerosis
· Cardiovascular Disease
· Sleep Apnoea
Why Is Belly Fat So Much Worse Than Fat in Other Parts?
If you have fat on the butt, back, legs or arm, this actually has very little effect in terms of causing serious harm to the body. The reason that abdominal fat is so bad is due in part to its proximity to the intestinal organs. The fat that is in your arms and other areas listed above, is called Subcutaneous Adipose Tissue, whereas the fat around your belly is called Visceral Adipose Tissue; also known as SAT and VAT.
Visceral Fat actually attracts immune cells known as Lymphocytes and Macrophages, which are responsible for releasing cytokines that disrupt your metabolism and end up causing more inflammation and more fat to accumulate in the belly region.
Fat increases inflammation in a number of ways:
1. A Slower Release of Adiponectin (a protein which regulates blood sugar levels and breaks down fatty acids)
2. An Increase in Adipose Tissue Hypoxia (a lack of oxygen reaching the fat cells)
3. Decreased Release of Leptin (the hormone that tells you you're 'full')
Inflammation is stimulated when oxygen struggles to reach cells, and this happens to the fat cells when they are enlarged. When you put on weight, this causes your fat cells to become bigger, and as those cells transition from lean cells to the obese stages, there is less room for the oxygen (even when you lose weight you don't lose fat cells, you just shrink them, leaving more room for the oxygen). This specific process is strongly tied to metabolic irregularities.
In their normal healthy state, the bodily tissues will use oxygen to burn off any excess fat. Some essential immune cells actually depend on oxygen for their normal functioning energy. Other cells, which are the type you see in a person that is obese, such as inflamed immune cells, insulin resistant or metabolically challenged cell do not need oxygen for energy.
There is so much research that confirms the unforgiving effects that sustained belly fat can have on your body. Having an ‘apple shaped’ body is also strongly linked with having inflammatory diseases. On the contrary, those with a ‘pear shaped’ body who tend to store their fat on their hips have a lower risk of diabetes and heart disease in general. This is why some Doctors will measure out the circumference of a persons’ body in order to ascertain any people who may have an elevated risk of these issues.
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What Harm Can Be Caused By Inflammation?
Contrary to popular belief, inflammation is a serious issue. It is a complicated process that your body goes through in order to combat the effects of irritants, pathogens or cells that are damaged. Essentially, it is your body using its natural instinctive ability to safeguard itself through the removal of harmful substances. Simply put, it is part of the immunological response of your body, and it is a way of kickstarting the healing process.
If inflammation occurs within your body frequently, which can easily occur if you have a poor diet, your body might then become chronically inflamed which is essentially a type of autoimmune disease. This is a serious condition as your body will switch from its natural protective state, and turn instead to focus on attacking itself, which will undoubtedly result in more longer-term health consequences.
Chronic fatigue and joint pain are just two of the common symptoms of such a condition, in some cases, this inflammation even spreads to the gums in the form of Gingivitis. In some cases, there will be no warning signs externally or internally until a serious health concern prevails.
There are also many different types of foods that you can consume which are stated to help you to burn belly fat and fight-off inflammation within the body:
· Green Apples
This is not an extensive list by any means, but it will help to get you started and back on track. Nobody wants to carry around excess weight on their belly; however, if you were looking for that extra bit of motivation in order to kick-start your new abdominal regime, we hope you found the inspiration and information you were looking for in this post.
Whether you’re a student, saving for a holiday or already spent your hard-earned money on a pair of training shoes (no seriously, these are important!!) exercising on a budget is super easy! You don’t always need weights to achieve your goals.
1. Exercise From Home
Body-weight exercises come in many variations, and simple home equipment such as resistance bands and skipping ropes can make a huge difference. Most of these things can be found on Amazon or at discount stores, even your local Buy/Sell/Swap page might have something available.
2. Get Out There
There are so many great ways to get fit for free! Try walking or jogging laps around your local sporting ground, swimming laps at the beach, go for a bush walk or hike – not only will you burn up some energy, but you can also get some enviable snaps to share on social media of lush rainforest or waterfalls. Outdoor gyms are also popping up all of the time – hello muscle beach!
3. Group Exercise
Whether it’s at a training studio, gym, or youth center – there are so many different options available when it comes to group training. Maybe it’s a group of 2-5 with a personal trainer or something bigger like mall walking. Some workplaces even have a corporate fitness program in place – if not, why not! Get in touch with a trainer local to you to see if they can get the ball rolling.
4. Apps & Journals
There are so many apps to choose from that are either free or very affordable. Apps such as Lifesum and My Fitness Pal will help you to track your nutrition, or a journal, such as Rachel's Train Journal, will help hold you accountable and on the right way towards your goals.
There are so many fitness specialists sharing their knowledge on YouTube – Rachel Aust has a number of different workouts including at-home and gym options. My fave? Her full body toning workout routine that can be done at home – click me to follow through! Be warned, some routines may not be safe – be sure to keep an eye for the videos that have a higher rating.
6. Cut The Junk!
How much is it hurting not only your budget but also your waistline each time that you’re ordering from a fast food chain? Especially when it’s so convenient to have the food delivered to you. Cut it out! Healthy food isn’t expensive – in Australia you can find fresh produce such as carrots for $1.50/kilo and tuna at 99c a tin.
7. Drink Water
I feel like this should be obvious. It’s basically free. Opt for a reusable bottle and you will save hundreds, if not thousands – not to mention you’ll reduce your one-use-plastic footprint.
A lot of online stores will offer a discount when you sign up to their mailing list (we offer a 15% discount for everyone on our list!) – plus you’ll be the first to hear about their exclusive offers. After a name brand pair of tights but can’t quite afford them? Wait for the end of season sales to snap up a bargain!
9. Change Your Routine
Park further away from the shop front, take the stairs instead of the elevator, get off the bus earlier, cycle or roller blade to work or school… get up 15 minutes earlier and give it a go.
10. Online Community
Accountability – I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. Have someone else keep you accountable! Get a workout buddy, share your progress on social media, read fitness blogs (you’re already off to a great start), join a group challenge and have some fun with it.
The Importance of Accountability: Why & How?
There are hundreds of ways to maintain accountability for your health & fitness habits, whether it be training with a friend, being active in an online group or posting photos and videos to a social media account. It’s the number 1 worst kept secret when it comes to achieving your goals.
noun | ac·count·abil·i·ty
the quality or state of being accountable; especially : an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one's action
Let’s be honest with ourselves, it’s not that hard to work out – it’s all about getting started… and a touch of consistency. Picture this: your goal is to train 3-4 times per week, you’ve download a bunch of inspiration from social media and have signed up to the 24/7 gym down the road. The first 2 weeks go really well, you’re already getting the hang of most of the exercises and haven’t hit snooze on your alarm once!
Week 3 arrives and you’re starting to feel a little bored of your training. You can’t make up your mind about training your arms or your legs so you just stick to using the treadmill and maybe grab a cheat meal (or three) to make up for your efforts. Getting up before work to train no longer appeals to you, yet going after work means that there’s only that one bench left next to the guy whose nipples are hanging out of his stringlet and constantly takes selfies. Goodbye, motivation.
Having someone to help you stay accountable is a win/win situation. You don’t need to feel alone when it comes to your training – at Eat Run Lift we want to help you to achieve your goals, short and long term!
Online Coaching is on par to what we can offer in our Brisbane studio, just without the face-to-face contact. Connecting with your trainer on a weekly basis, they will help to make sure you are on track, maintaining consistency with your training and also help with any questions or concerns you may have during your training – they’ll even view and give educated advice on your food diaries! Your workouts are 100% personalised to help you achieve your goals and to suit your environment. If you’re after the convenience of an eBook, but the accountability of a personal trainer – online coaching is going to be for you. Email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) today to get started!
ERL12 is a challenge that we commit to twice per year (keep your eyes out for an announcement very soon!). Featuring Rachel Aust’s Mindset Coaching, ERL12 will set you up to achieve your short and long terms goals without fail. Each week you receive a checklist, a new set of workouts, articles that cover the important stuff (like the importance of sleeping!!), and much more. Having a challenge that sets you up to get active within a time frame is a great way to for beginners to start training and the perfect way to introduce new workouts for those who have hit a plateau or feeling bored with their current routine (aka cross-training). Sign up with a friend for a bit of friendly competition… even better, complete the workouts together for some extra social time!
Writing down your workouts is a great way to maintain accountable – especially if you’re a visual kind of person. Having your training and goals in one convenient place such as the Train journal can put meaning into your workouts and you’ll start to see a pattern in your training. Achieving your goals takes a lot of hard work, commitment and dedication – self-accountability is extremely important and possible with the #plantraincreate range (click me!).
1-on-1 Personal Training
Hands down, this is going to be your best way to stay accountable and reach your goals. Connecting with a specialist – whether it be strength & conditioning, injury prevention or recovery, pre & post natal or you’re just after someone who understands your needs. Your trainer will help you to achieve your goals! You can connect with our Eat Run Lift trainers (located in Brisbane) by visiting our studio website (click me!).
Eat Run Lift eBooks
Perfect for any fitness level, we have an excellent range of plans for you to choose from – including our brand new 8WTC 2.0: an at home training plan which can be done with or without equipment! We also offer our Get Lean guides which are split into the 3 different body types, My HIIT Guide, and our Simple 7 Day Detox (goodbye sugar addiction!). You can find these on our website by clicking here.
No more excuses. Get the accountability that you need today!
Whether you've just signed up to the gym or have been going for years, injuries can happen to anyone. Sure, you can cause yourself an injury doing just about anything these days if you're not careful enough! As a qualified personal trainer and head coach at our Eat Run Lift studio, safety is always a priority for my clients. From warming up, to avoiding poor technique - here are my top 7 tips to avoid injury when exercising.
1. Warm Up, Stretch - and Activate!
There’s no point in warming up muscles that you’re not going to use, sadly I’ve seen this before – literally, someone was doing bicep curls as a warm up on leg day. Cold muscles are more likely to get injured, by increasing your body core temperature you will promote blood flow to working muscles. Activating your muscles prior to commencing an exercise (hello, donkey kicks!) will assist in loosening up tight muscles. Eg; your goal is to gain mass in your glutes - if you fail to activate these muscles prior to a deadlift you are more likely to compensate and use other muscles through your lower back, hamstrings and quads which can lead to injury. Cooling down and stretching your muscles for just a few minutes at the end of your session can go a long way in preventing soreness or strain.
Tip: Dynamic stretches and rowing are perfect ways to warm up. Include foam rolling at the end of your training and to your daily routine to help with recovery and improve future performance.
2. Ease Into a Program
Always ease into a program, especially if you are not used to the particular exercises. Most trainers will write a program following three phases – building the foundation, increasing muscle, firming/fat loss. Don’t assume that by jumping straight into an advanced training schedule you’re going to achieve the best results! You may be tempted to train really hard during your first week back in the gym, but the recovery might be a killer if you've pulled a muscle or torn a ligament.
Tip: Is your program not working for you? Try cross-training to prevent overuse of your muscles and help avoid hitting a plateau.
Don’t sacrifice form for a longer workout or to squeeze out more repetitions. When you are not using the correct technique to perform an exercise you can cause your body to become misaligned, placing your tendons, muscles and joints in positions that can potentially cause strains or tears. One of the reasons why you repeat a set of exercises is so that you can perform it more efficiently and subconsciously.
Tip: Unsure of an exercise? Ask for help! Most gyms will have a personal trainer available to give you a hot tip or two about that squat form.
4. Wear the Right Attire
If you have to question how long you’ve owned those shoes for, the answer will almost always be too long! There are a number of different shoes out there in the market – training shoes, walking shoes, running shoes… Having a pair specifically for training can give you both the stability of a lifting-specific shoes and lightweight flexibility of a cross-trainer for HIIT. Opt for a lightweight t-shirt or sweatshirt made from breathable material, and for your bottoms wear something flexible with an elasticated waistband. Make sure to invest in a supportive sports bra as well!
Tip: Functionality should be your top priority when it comes to choosing your training outfit.
5. Fuel Your Body
Want to be faster? Stronger? Leaner? Your diet plays a key role. Proper nutrition will help fuel your muscles, keep you better hydrated and increase the amount of fat you burn. It's not possible to build new muscle tissue or increase your energy levels without an adequate protein intake!
Tip: Check out our Get Lean Nutrition Guide for more information about getting the right nutrients for training and the all-important nutrient timing.
6. Know Your Limits
Listen to your body! If you’re tired, feeling fatigued, sick or ill-prepared you won’t have a good time during your training. Already facing an injury? Make sure to have the approval from your specialist (whether it’s your trainer, physiotherapist, chiropractor or general practitioner) before exercising.
Tip: Wanting to train but you’ve had a big day at work? Grab a foam roller for 15-30 minutes. You can thank me later.
7. Invest in a Personal Trainer
Especially if you are interested in strength training! Not only are personal trainers excellent for that extra accountability, they are there for your safety – number 1!! They can help you correct your technique and form, as well as help to push yourself without going to far to risk an injury.
Tip: Make sure to find a trainer you connect with – most trainers will have a specialty, whether it’s strength & conditioning, boxing, pre/post natal or training for triathalons.
Many people ask whether or not there are significant benefits of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and whether or not it should be part of their regular workout regime. The truth is, and when I say that, this is information which is scientifically-proven, it is the ideal type of workout to make-up part of your exercise routine, especially if you have a hectic schedule or are short of spare time.
You can actually achieve more in a single 20-minute HIIT session, than a drawn-out hour-long session on a treadmill – FACT.
After just a fortnight of HIIT, you can enhance your aerobic capacity to the same extent as if you had done 8 weeks of endurance training – FACT.
If these two facts alone aren’t enough to convince you, here are some of the key advantages to HIIT training to further solidify why you should be training like this for 2-3 sessions weekly.
Improve your Heart Health
Whether or not you are accustomed to peaking your sessions to the dizzy heights where you almost can’t breathe, and your heart is pumping so hard, it feels like it’s about to break out of your chest. HIIT is proven to increase your heart health, improve your blood flow, and strengthens the capabilities within just a matter of months. It is also considered easier to push yourself to an anaerobic level because you have it firmly set in your mind that an immediate rest period is coming along very shortly.
No Equipment Required
HIIT can be anywhere, at any time, without the need to invest in or have the use of any machinery. No gym memberships are required, just commitment to the cause and an appetite for success. Although, a towel is recommended for afterward!
Burn Fat Like Never Before
If you are trying to slim-down and retain muscle mass, it can be a real balancing act. It is scientifically stated that by doing HIIT, those who are trying to lose weight, can do so while retaining their muscles with the weight loss predominantly coming from the fat stores. The other obvious advantage is that you will burn more calories in a much shorter space of time too. After doing a HIIT session, the repair cycle of the body goes wild! In the 24-hours following your session, the body is still burning away calories and fat.
Boost your Metabolism
As well as the increased fat-burning capabilities, HIIT encourages the production of your HGH (Human Growth Hormone) by as much as 450% for the day following your session. For those of you who don’t know, HGH can slow down the aging process, improve caloric burn and generally make you feel stronger and more youthful from the inside out.
Build-Up Your Endurance
This type of training allows you to enhance your endurance by adapting to the cell-structure of the muscles. You can significantly build up your endurance over a short period of time by doing regular HIIT workouts.
Enhanced Oxygen Consumption
So, you might be asking, what difference will this make? Well, quite a big one. Oxygen consumption is important for the effective functioning of the muscles. HIIT training is the perfect way to improve this. Traditionally, endurance training was considered to be the most effective way to do this. However, there is evidence that states you can get the same benefits in less time through this type of training.
How to Get Started with HIIT
One of the other great benefits of doing HIIT is that you can choose your preferred type of exercise and mix-it-up whenever you fancy a change or get bored of your current regime. Running, biking, rowing, squats, skipping and more; there are so many different options. We also have a handy My HIIT Guide for those looking to do one-off HIIT workouts.
To get started, simply choose what activity you want to do. Experts suggest that you do 3 sessions a week, however, at the start, and because everyone is different, you can experiment with the duration you do your HIIT for, and how long you give yourself to recover afterward.
Typically, those who are looking to get started with HIIT will begin with 30 seconds of hard pace, followed by a 2-3-minute resting period, and continue this sequence for between 15-30 minutes. This is ideal for cycling or running.
If you prefer to do squats or skipping, you can apply the same principle. Do either of these for between 30-90 seconds, then rest for the same period. Continue this pattern for between 10-15 minutes.
These are just a few ideas to help you get started, and you can easily vary the timings and types of exercises you do with HIIT.
This is one of the best things about it and probably the reason why so many who start out training in this way, continue to do so with drive, determination and of course, with results.
With an ever-increasing social acceptance of caffeinated products in the fitness industry, are we really making appropriate use and enhancing our performance or are we interfering with our training?
Caffeine is a naturally occurring stimulant found in various leaves, nuts, seeds and numerous plants – including the more commonly known coffee beans and cacao beans. Coffee, teas, cola, energy drinks and supplements are part of our general social acceptance (Catch up for a coffee, anyone?) and are increasingly popular for helping improve performance when marketed towards the fitness industry. These beverages often contain anywhere from 30mg to 120mg of caffeine and acts as an ergogenic aid during exercise. This helps our body to perform better during physical activity and change our perception on effort while exercising.
While we don't usually promote the use of caffeine or caffeinated products (due to long-term dependance or cortisol-related side-effects, we thought it may be useful for those who do use caffeine to understand what it's doing during your training session!
Does timing affect performance?
Consuming caffeine before or during training will increase our performance by influencing our central nervous system and reducing our perception of effort and perception of fatigue when consumed appropriately to an individual. Timing is important – for example, consuming caffeine prior to fasted cardio will promote the capacity for exercise due to the body’s low glycogen levels.
What benefits does caffeine have for training?
The most efficient way to benefit from caffeine during exercise is to use the lowest effective dose in the best form to minimize side effects. Generally the recommended dose of caffeine (to improve performance) is 1-3mg per kg of body weight. Daily, a 'healthy' amount to consume is 3-400mg of caffeine, which is equivalent to 3-4 cups of brewed coffee (where 1 shot of espresso is 75mg).
Endurance and resistance training session can benefit from caffeine consumption as it promotes a greater power output, increased speed, increased endurance and resistance to fatigue. When performing multiple lifts, throws or plyometric movements (box jumps, squat jumps, etc.), strength training can benefit from caffeine. Focus, vigilance and perception of fatigue are a bonus of the increased dopamine in the brain from caffeine.
Is caffeine effective for everyone?
During exercise a similar dose of caffeine can be effective on a person who is a habitual consumer to someone in withdrawal (of 2 – 4 days), however can be more effective when cycled with other supplements. It is possible to build up a tolerance within a few days of continued use – this is when side effects such as headaches upon withdrawal or trouble sleeping may occur. Try to “reset” your tolerance by taking 1-2 weeks off caffeine, then slowly re-introducing with smaller doses.
Are there any side effects from caffeine?
Whilst caffeine intake can effective for most people, high levels can cause a decline in performance - over-arousal during training may interfere with technique. Other side effects include impaired fine motor skills (shakiness), increased heart rate, high blood pressure and gastro-intestinal upset. Sleep disturbances and anxiety can also be a negative from being over-caffeinated or by incorrectly timing your dosage (check out our previous blog – Why am I tired all the time (part 1) - Adrenal Maladaptation).
Continued use of caffeine in exercise or social situations can lead to a long-term addiction or dependency. Signs and symptoms of caffeine dependency include mood swings, anxiety, insomnia and twitching. Whilst a pre-workout supplement or energy drink may seem like a good idea before your training session try avoid using it every time that you train. Choose 2 training sessions each week (in a situation of training 4-5 times/week) where you feel you may need that boost the most.
Caffeine supplementation can be effective when focusing on endurance and resistance training. Remember to choose sugar-free options to remove the effect of carbohydrates – the benefits from caffeine are smaller in situations when carbs are consumed prior or during training.
Burke, L., Desbrow, B., Spriet, L., 2013. Caffeine for Sports Performance, 1st ed. USA: Human Kinetics.
Eat Right – Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Sarene Alsharif, MPH. 2018. Caffeine and Exercise. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.eatright.org/resource/fitness/sports-and-performance/fueling-you-workout/caffeine-and-exercise.
Live Strong, Grey Evans. 2017. Is Caffeine Pre-Workout Bad? [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.livestrong.com/article/487685-is-caffeine-pre-workoutbad/.
Sports Dieticians Australia. 2018. Caffeine. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.sportsdieticians.com.au/factsheets/supplements/caffeine/.
As we all know, a regular workout is an essential component of a healthy lifestyle and is extremely critical for both your physical and mental wellbeing. There is a huge variety of food you can eat that will help you to fuel your workouts, and in this post, we uncover some of the greats!
These are the most readily available food items which are packed with protein. Eggs play a key role in regulating the amount of testosterone in the body as well as strengthening the muscular cell membranes. Research has also confirmed that a person who consumes about three eggs a day develops muscular mass and strength twice as much as those who consume no eggs.
As with eggs, Organic Beef is another extremely effective source of abundant protein that also helps to boost growth and strength.
This is a vital source of essential Omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA. It improves insulin responsiveness which amplifies protein synthesis and enhances the uptake of amino acids and glucose. Omega –3s also helps in reserving glycogen to enlarge the muscles. Another vital aspect about this almighty food is that Salmon is a significant source of anti-inflammatory compounds that are required to help the muscles to recover after a rigorous workout session. Simply put, Salmon is one of the best foods to consume to fuel your workout, and if not already in your stores, you should be buying this in on a regular basis.
So we all know that eating fruit is good for your health. But Apples? Yes, apples are a great source of fuel that can really help you to invigorate your workout. Apples are brimming with “Quercetin" which significantly uplifts the metabolism and improves longevity and endurance. If you develop a good stamina, you will be able to exercise more regularly and effectively.
Is another essential you must include on your shopping list. It is full of zinc, potassium, and iron and consists of essential fibres that can help decelerate the digestion of carbohydrates. It is rich in "octacosanol" which enhances both muscle strength and endurance and also improves reaction time in runners.
Another fibre-rich food that is prime to help you fuel your workouts, and are able to slowly release carbohydrates in the body. They promote a consistent flow of carbohydrates rather than a spike, which helps in stabilising the energy levels during the workout session.
These yellow gems have proven their worth and are highly beneficial for keeping your nutrient levels high, as well as helping to keep the body calm. Bananas, however, work best when consumed before a workout session because the body is unable to store potassium for any prolonged period of time. Bananas are also enriched with anti-oxidants which help in minimising free radical damage. Although not essential for fuelling workouts, this is for your added reassurance that Bananas are good!
Not only are they tasty and again, another fruit which is a double tick on our list. Watermelon is also rich in amino acid citrulline which raises the quantity of arginine. A Higher quantity of arginine increases the level of Nitric Oxide. Nitric Oxide is crucial to uplift the flow of blood flow to muscles that help the muscles to grow effectively and boost their recovery. Watermelons are rapidly digested as well, which raises the amount of insulin. They are best to be consumed after a workout.
Spinach is another item that has made it on our list! It is high in glutamine and anti-oxidants, both of which help with the development of the muscles, improve the metabolic rate and boost your immune function.
These are just 9 of the finest foods that will leave you fuelled-up beyond belief for your workouts. Not only will you feel like you have an abundance of energy, your muscle performance and recovery will also be substantially affected as well.
That’s a Win-Win-Win by our books!
How many times have you said ‘I’ll start again on Monday’ after skipping a workout or having a few too many cheat meals? I know I’ve said it more than a few times… we all have those days where we feel like we’ve completely sabotaged ourselves.
What I came to realise is that no matter how many Mondays would come and go, I would always see myself starting from the beginning. Giving up mid-week on a Wednesday or Thursday only to treat myself over the weekend with a bottle of wine and a cheese platter. Why is it that we don’t just pick up where we left off? Are we really that lazy to assume that all of that motivation is going to come back to us when it hits a new week? Or even the classic ‘I’ll start again next year’. With 2018 creeping up slowly it may seem like the easy way out to just put off being healthy until then, to wait until the new year to invest in a personal trainer or to buy into whatever the latest fitness craze is.
Motivation comes and goes and to be honest it can take up a whole lot of time and resources. How many photos can we actually save from Instagram before the pressure feels like too much, we feel overwhelmed and once again it all seems too hard. Life happens. Be kind to yourself, challenge yourself and strive for momentum not motivation. It’s alright to have good intentions but good intentions aren’t habits, and after all, good isn’t great.
Progress > Perfection
Nobody is perfect. Even that person on IG that you’re following who has that #goals body has had their fair share of bad days. You’re never going to nail those burpees if you’re going to start back at 5 reps every time you skip a workout. Good habits can be harder to form compared to how simple it is to keep bad habits - progress and persistence is key.
If you delayed your intention to start your healthy habits until Monday you’re more than likely going to find it more difficult to stick the habit. Think of it this way, if you don’t practice how are you going to see any progress? If we ‘practice’ our habits before Monday comes around we’re going to see our results come through much quicker. If we practice the same activity time and again through regular training our muscle memory will develop quickest.
Did you learn how to ride a bike through childhood? You’re probably never going to forget how to do that! Our muscle memory registers certain muscle movements, and these movements can be performed flawlessly after a decade long break. This automatic response from muscle memory is the key to a healthy lifestyle.
For example, you’ve perfected your deadlift now it’s time to decide on your weights - maybe it’s even been a month since you last stepped into the gym and you were previously lifting 80kg, start off small with 50% during your warm up and go from there. Maybe last week you were doing 3 sets of 15 burpees, you’ve skipped a week because of illness and you’re thinking that you’ll just revert back to 3 sets of 5… what are you going to achieve from this? Let’s pick up where we left off - willpower! Your body has learnt how to perform, repair and rebuild muscles after all of this time - and this is how we progress, develop and get results.
How To Make It Stick
1. Forget the idea of ‘all or nothing’ - giving it your all on Monday is an easy way out and a negative state of mind setting yourself up for an inevitable failure.
2. Pay attention to your thoughts - if you catch yourself thinking ‘I shouldn’t have eaten that’ you’re responding to your negative reaction and now’s your chance to correct it - ‘I shouldn’t have eaten that, but I’ll allow it this time - I know that my lunch is a healthy option and I’ll make sure to spend that extra 5 minutes on the rower at the gym this evening’.
3. Stop hating on yourself - positivity can do wonders for our mental and physical health, positivity is progress and feeds momentum. Self love is important, it’s your body and you should be the one to control what happens with it.
4. Embrace the small changes - giving up your 1 can of soft drink per day may not seem like it’s paying off in the short term, but over 1 year that’s 58765 calories / 14600g (14.6kg or 32lb) of sugar that you’re not consuming.
5. Don’t start again, start where you left off - often we find that around 4-6 weeks into a training program people start to drop off the band wagon or revert to starting again after missing a week or 2, whether it’s because an event, holiday or illness or from simply being too busy… our muscle memory is there for a reason! Pick up where you left off - not from the very start.
6. Have someone to hold you accountable - whether it’s a workout buddy, housemate or a personal trainer, accountability means you’re being transparent with your responsibility and results with someone. After all, who are you going to brag to when you’ve hit your goals
1] C. Jacoby. 2017. Health Guidance. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.healthguidance.org/entry/14351/1/What-Is-Muscle-Memory.html.
I’m sure by now you’ve probably heard the term ‘insulin resistance’, or maybe even ‘insulin sensitivity’. If not, no problems, let me run over it for the folks who don’t know. Insulin resistance is associated with elevated levels of insulin circulating throughout your body, followed by an intolerance for glucose, if left ignored this can eventually lead to obesity, cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, and hypertension. So essentially it’s your body losing the ability to effectively control, use, and store glucose.
Here are some of the symptoms of insulin resistance:
- Inability to lose weight;
- High blood pressure;
- Fluid retention (looking ‘puffy’ due to insulin signalling to your kidneys to hang on to sodium and water. This can be seen with swollen ankles, fingers, or abdomen, and even a ‘puffy’ area under your jawline);
- Elevated blood sugar levels;
- Fat storage in the abdominal area;
- (In women) male-pattern baldness; and/or
- Cravings for sugar/high-carb foods, and a constant feeling of hunger.
Remember this is not a diagnosis, and you should never self-diagnose. If these symptoms seem familiar, please request to have tests done by your healthcare professional.
Insulin is not the bad guy though! Insulin is what tells your body to absorb sugars and use them for energy, and balances your blood glucose levels. High levels of glucose in your blood will be sent to your liver for storage. So when the body has insulin resistance, your cells are responding in an abnormal way. Glucose is inhibited from entering the cells with ease, and it begins to build up in the blood.
From having insulin resistance myself I’ve done a lot of research on methods you can use to improve your body’s insulin sensitivity. I’ll list them below, and I’ve also included all my references at the bottom of this article if you’d like to read the full journal studies.
Inositol is a supplement which is frequently used for treating metabolic syndromes, gestational diabetes, and PCOS. D-chiro-inositol (ie. Inositol) and myo-inositol are able to mimic the effects of insulin, and help your body better absorb the glucose for use, rather than sending it straight to storage. Studies have shown that after three months of myo-inositol treatment HbA1c (Glycated hemoglobin, which is a form of hemoglobin that is measured primarily to identify the three-month average plasma glucose concentration) levels and fasting blood glucose levels had significantly decreased compared to their initial readings (Pintaudi, 2016). Both myo-inositol and d-chiro-inositol showed the ability to mimic insulin in animals and humans.
My naturopath has instructed me to take 1 teaspoon of cinnamon per day, as 1 teaspoon of cinnamon has a very similar effect to one dosage of Metformin. Metformin is a commonly prescribed drug used for treatment of type 2 diabetes. Cinnamon has been show to reduce insulin resistance, lower blood glucose levels, lower lipid levels, decrease inflammation, increase antioxidant activity, decrease body weight, and increase the utilisation of proteins throughout the body in both human and animal studies (Qin, 2010). Cinnamon extracts increased insulin activity more than 20-fold, making the body’s insulin efficient again.
Randomised, double-blinded and placebo-controlled studies on obese and insulin-resistant subjects have shown that incorporating 22.5g of blueberry bioactives into the daily diet insulin sensitivity was increased, with no inflammation, and no changes to the overall daily energy consumption by the participants (Stull, 2010). Blueberries have demonstrated the ability to increase the uptake of glucose into the bloodstream. This is largely believed to be due to their antioxidant properties.
As early as the 1850s studies have shown that chromium is essential to the human body for the effective metabolism of glucose. Many diets do not contain the adequate amount of chromium, and when your body has lowered levels of Chromium, it requires even higher levels of insulin to effectively use glucose (Anderson, 2003). There are many factors involved in insulin sensitivity, and chromium is just one of those, unfortunately there is still no test available to truly determine if you have chromium deficiency. Chromium should not be self-medicated. If your healthcare professional is treating you for insulin resistance try to make sure at least one of your supplements has chromium in it.
An inappropriate amount of sleep is associated with the incorrect use and storage of glucose in the body (Buxton, 2010). Sleep restriction to a maximum of 5 hours per night for only 1 week was shown to significantly reduce the ability of insulin to function correctly.
HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training)
HIIT exercise has shown the ability to lower blood glucose levels, increase fitness levels, increase the body’s basal metabolic rate (rate at which is burns energy), and increase insulin sensitivity (Marcinko, 2015). In clinical trials HIIT has improved insulin sensitivity, regardless of the body weight of participant. You can download My HIIT Guide training program from here.
MAINTAINED WEIGHT LOSS
If you’ve lost weight, this is even more incentive to keep it off, rather than returning back to your old habits. Overweight or obese women who maintained at least a 15% reduction in their body weight over 12-18 months have shown to have improved insulin sensitivity, rather than those who gained their lost weight back (Clamp, 2017). The opposite also reflected, with those who gained the weight back showing signs of decreased insulin sensitivity.
REDUCING EXCESS FRUCTOSE CONSUMPTION (Ditch the added sugars)
Standard diets now have shown a 26% increase in consumption of sucrose and high-fructose corn syrup compared to the standard diet in 1970 (Elliott, 2002). This is a result of the increase in added sugars to many foods, and there is major concern regarding the impact of health of diets that contain a large amount of free sugars (fructose particularly). Recent human studies (within the past 5 years) show a clear and direct link between changes in metabolic activity and high fructose intake. Fructose does not stimulate insulin secretion, and also does not increase the production of leptin, which play a major role in the regulation of energy expenditure and metabolism of sugars, as mentioned previously (Grant, 1980). The lack of insulin and leptin stimulation can then lead to weight gain, causing more issues for the subject.
Anderson RA 2003, ‘Chromium and insulin resistance’, Nutrition Research Reviews, vol. 16, pp. 267-275.
Buxton OM et al 2010, ‘Sleep restriction for 1 week reduces insulin sensitivity in healthy men’, Diabetes, vol. 59, no. 9, pp. 2126-2133.
Clamp LD et al 2017, ‘Maintained weight loss for 1 year increases insulin sensitivity in women’, Nutr Diabetes.
Elliott SS et al 2002, ‘Fructose, weight gain, and the insulin resistance syndrome’, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, vol. 76, no. 5, pp. 911-922.
Grant AM, Christie MR & Ashcroft SJ 1980, ‘Insulin release from human pancreatic islets in vitro’, Diabetologia, vol. 19, pp. 114-117.
Kleefstra N, Bilo HJ, Bakker SJ & Houweling ST 2004, ‘Chromium and insulin resistance’, Nederlands Tijdschrift Voor Geneeskunde, vol. 148, no. 5, pp. 217-220.
Marcinko K et al 2015, ‘High intensity interval training improves liver and adipose tissue insulin sensitivity’, Molecular Metabolism, vol. 4, no. 12, pp. 903-915.
Pintaudi B, Di Vieste G & Bonomo M 2016, ‘The effectiveness of myo-inositol and d-chiro-inositol treatment in type 2 diabetes’.
Qin B, Panickar KS & Anderson R 2010, ‘Cinnamon: Potential role in the prevention of insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes’, J Diabetes Sci Technology, vol. 4, no. 3, pp. 685-693.
Stull AJ et al 2010, ‘Bioactives in blueberries improve insulin sensitivity in obese, insulin-resistant mem and women’, The Journal of Nutrition, vol. 140, no. 10, pp. 1764-1768.
Wilcox G 2005, ‘Insulin and insulin resistance’, Clinical Biochem Rev., vol. 26, no. 2, pp. 19-39.
Woods SC, Chavez M & Park CR, et al 1996, ‘The evaluation of insulin as a metabolic signal influencing behavior via the brain’, Neurosci Biobehav, vol. 20, pp. 139-144.
How many times have you decided to start working out, then given up because you didn’t get the results you wanted?
Here is the hard truth about why it happens.
1. You don’t really have a program!
It’s all well and good to head into the gym, set up at home or in the park and do a workout. If that's what you’re doing then well done, I am already proud of you! But how much are you really getting out of just doing what you feel like on the day, are you progressing?
If you are training already, you probably want it all. You want to lose weight and maybe see some abs, get stronger and lift some heavy weights... all at the same time. It's definitely possible, but it's not going to happen without some forethought. How does one workout affect the next? Is my focus on cardio affecting my strength training or vice versa? And at the end of the day, how does everything I do affect my ultimate goal?
Which brings me to my next point...
2. You don’t actually have a goal!
Now this one seems obvious, but you would be surprised how many people I talk to don't have a specific goal they want to work towards. Focus on the word specific in that sentence. Saying your goal is something like “be healthy”, “lose weight” or “get stronger” is a good start, but you need to go further and think about specifics.
The key to a successful training program is creating an achievable and specific goal. Anyone can “lose weight’ or ‘get stronger’, but how much weight exactly? Where do you want be stronger? Do you want to barbell squat your bodyweight, do a set of chin ups un-assisted or be able to do push-ups from your feet. These are all specific and measurable goals, but it's not just down to that, you need to think about when, or how quickly, you want to achieve your goal. Maybe you want to look amazing in the outfit for your best friends birthday, or have an awesome summer body. Whatever the reason may be, having a date set out will provide you that extra push to achieve the goal.
By creating a specific goal, and a specific time frame, you can customise any training program to get you there as quickly and efficiently as possible. This brings us to number 3 on the list….
3. You’re scared of pushing yourself.
I’ll be the first to admit that training can be scary. Some people might be scared of the weights, for others it’s a fear of failure. Regardless of your fear, learning to embrace, and push past it will be the best thing you can do to ensure you improve in your training. There are many different strategies to overcoming your fear, whether it's a daily reminder of your goals on your phone or a note on your mirror so it's the first thing you see in the morning. Any reminder that keeps the ‘WHY’ in the forefront of your mind will be your most powerful tool.
Everyone has fear, and each person deals with it in their own way. Just don’t let it stop you. If you can accept the fear for what it is…an emotion, and continue to work towards your goals, then you will overcome it; you will beat it.
4. You don’t have the right knowledge or motivation.
You have set your goal, you know where you want to finish, but you don’t know how to get there. So you keep doing the same things. You need some extra knowledge and motivation to help you get there. You're lucky though, the world we live in today means that information is literally in your pocket all day. You can check out different resources like blogs, journal articles, “how to” videos or get the help of the people putting that information out there.
This is exactly why we designed our Eat Run Lift online coaching system – a tailored program from a fitness specialist that you can trust (I am one of the Eat Run Lift specialists offering online coaching, you can email me directly through here if you'd like to learn more). An online coach will create a program to suit your goals and how you like to train, while providing the knowledge to guide you through new exercises and training styles, and keep you on track and motivated. We believe everyone should have access to the same amount of care and commitment when it comes to their health and fitness. We’re here to help you to overcome any limitation, any obstacle that has been holding you back. Your trainer should feel more like a coach, a mentor, a friend - someone who takes time to take into account your health, your fitness and your lifestyle. Your biggest commitment in life should be your health and fitness, so you should feel certain that your coach is there for you, with all the same service you would experience at our Brisbane studio.
Have you ever felt insecure about your mid-section? You’re definitely not alone. Whether you’ve felt uncomfortable without a shirt on in summer or less-than-average in those jeans through winter… we’ve all been there.
Did you know that there are two types of abdominal fat?
Subcutaneous fat is the type that you can pinch and prevents us from seeing any sign of ‘abs’. Although it is not necessarily bad for our health, it can make us feel insecure about our appearance. Visceral fat is hormonal and relates to the fat cells sitting around your heart, lungs, liver and other organs – this stuff is harmful! Sure, we need some of it for ‘cushioning’ around our organs, but if you have too much of it you are more likely to be at risk. Some of the biggest risk factors of visceral fat include increased blood pressure, cholesterol and insulin sensitivity and is linked to diabetes and heart disease.
When people slim down through exercise and diet, visceral fat disappears twice as fast as subcutaneous fat according to Dr. Klein, Professor of Medicine and Nutritional Science at Washington University School of Medicine. One of the easiest ways to measure this is to get a body scan – enquire through your GP or local fitness centre.
Spot-training your abdominal muscles will help grow and strengthen your core - the higher the intensity of this training the better chance of burning fat. Just remember, good nutrition is just as important for losing belly fat – eat fewer processed foods, watch your portions and increase your protein and fibre intake.
Having strength through your core will improve your stability and your range of motion as well as helping to maintain a good posture. The following workout will target your abdominal muscles that connect to the spine, pelvis and shoulders. Exercising these muscles provide the foundation for all arm and leg movements and will help to prevent injury from poor posture.
What I want you to do during the workout (especially the first time that you try this one out!) is to focus on the activation and movement of the muscles. Make sure to move from your waist rather than your hips – and don’t forget to breathe!
Equipment needed: none!
All you need is a carpeted floor or mat.
10 x Burpees
20 x Leg Raises
30 x Reverse Crunches
40 x Bicycle Crunches
50 x Mountain Climbers
Repeat 3 – 5 times.
Rest for 30 - 45 seconds between each set.
Complete this 2 – 3 times per week – try to include it as a ‘cool down’ after your cardio sessions. This workout should only take 15-20 minutes.
So, this is a post for those who go into the weights room, and want to take their technique to the next level! Have you ever seen people doing a bench press with a really arched back and thought
1. What the hell? And…
2. Does it hurt?
Well, I’m here to answer your questions and explain why people bench press on a flat bench with an arched back.
Firstly, you don't have to go as crazy as a powerlifter and become a human pretzel, a slight arch will do, as long as you can create your 3 points of stability. The main reason for the arch is stability - imagine when you are laying flat on your back, your body is more like a long log that can roll side to side, with no true fixed (and I mean really stuck to the bench) points of contact. With an arched back you have 3 very stable points of contact, your shoulders and glutes on the bench, and your feet on the floor. This means you have more control of the weight coming down towards your body and back up, like a sturdy table. Another advantage of an arched back bench press is that it restricts your movement, particularly through your shoulders. When we get weak, or lose power to use the correct muscles, our body goes searching for different muscles to use when lifting weights to compensate with, which will make you look like a worm squiggling about when you're trying to press, and we definitely don’t want this! Provided your elbows are coming down at the correct angle, the arch in your back should help prevent hyperextension of your rotator cuff in your shoulder (back when I was new to bench press, and just had a flat back and non-refined technique, I had this happen. It was no fun and took a while to heal).
The arch does not hurt one bit. The load is from the barbell, and this drives directly down through your arms, and then your chest, and only puts weight through your pecs, rather than also running down your back and into other muscle groups that we're not trying to train.
How do you do this technique? Here are some easy steps for you to follow.
1. Lay on bench (on your back) with your hands on the bar, usually you try and line your eyes up under the bar, but this time line the bar up to the centre of your chest
2. Place feet shoulder-width apart, with a 90 degree bend in your knees.
3. Lift your chest up to the bar, and without putting your body down, move your body towards your feet until your eyes are directly underneath the bar, but do this without letting your feet move from the spot they were just in! Your knees should be at a tighter angle now.
*TIP* Before you put your back down on the bench, squeeze your shoulder blades together, and keep them like that. This way you get more stability through your shoulder joint and rotator cuff and minimise your chance of a shoulder injury.
This technique is best used for those who want to gain strength and lift heavier amounts of weight and who are doing a lower number of reps.
Give it a try next session!
It’s all well and good to go to the gym and train, but how do you know if your workout is actually working? If you’ve been training for a while and your results have plateaued, or never changed at all, it’s time to figure out whether it’s your food plan or your training plan that’s dampening your results. So let’s take a look at your training plan, and go through the signs that your exercise program just isn’t what it should be.
1. You’re Never Sore
It should be a given that when starting new training program, or making some big switch-ups in your current training program that you’ll be a little sore. Your fast-twitch muscle fibres (the ones that you’re going to be using for any rigorous activity like sprints, weight lifting, boxing, etc) take time to recover, and while they’re repairing you may have a little pain that comes along with it, the more your body gets used to a training program, the less post-workout soreness you’ll have. If you’re not feeling any soreness at all 1-2 days after your workouts, then you are probably not actually training as hard as you could (and should) be. A training program should be designed to push you a little to ensure that you’re getting fitter, stronger, or closer to your physical goal.
2. Your Reps or Weights Haven’t Changed
As you make your way through your training program over a few months, the amount of weight you are lifting, and/or the number of reps you are doing should change to ensure that there is progression in your workout. For example, the Get Lean training program has a section dedicated to teaching you progress your reps and weights in a way that is safe and sustainable. If you’re not changing what you’re doing, you’re not moving forward.
3. You Always Have An Injury
Are you doing the workouts correctly? Poor form can lead to poor results, and injury. For example, squatting one way will build your quads, but squatting with slightly different form will focus more on your hamstrings and glutes. Little changes can make a world of difference to your time in the gym. And if you’re not focused on how to do an exercise correctly, or you have no recovery routine (stretch/foam roll/physio/chiro/etc) a common sign is regular injury. If your recovery routine has no need for adjustment, then it’s time to start looking at your form during your workouts.
4. You’re Fatigued, A Lot
Over-training is also a thing! If your training program is poorly designed (e.g. rest days vs training days, or even the order of your training days) you may begin to get fatigued. This can also happen if you take on too much, too soon. If you’re new to training you should build up your resistance, starting with 2-3 days a week, and over the course of 6 months work your way up to 4-5 days a week. At first it may seem exciting and new, and you might want to exercise every day to get results faster, but it will all come crashing down like a pile of bricks if you’re unable to keep up with the schedule for a prolonged period of time. Slow it down, and figure out a training program that not only suits your lifestyle, but also your fitness level.
5. You Can Converse During Your Workout
Having a good ‘ol chat at the gym with your buddy and not feeling out of breath once? Maybe it’s time to step it up a notch. You’ll know you’ve had a good workout when you’re sweating, and when it’s hard to talk afterwards. It’s usually a little easier to get a word in during your breaks if you’re doing weight lifting sets, but if you’re doing cardio you’ll know you’re working hard enough when you just don’t want anybody to speak to you in the fear that you cannot speak back.
6. Your Workout Is The Same Every Day
The problem that I see with a lot of people following YouTube demonstration videos as their only workouts (don’t get me wrong, this is a good way to start) is that the exercises don’t change. The same thing with those who do the same kind of workout every day. If your workout is not changing then you are not changing. As you become fitter, lighter, stronger or gain muscle (whatever you’re working towards) your program needs to be adapted to make sure that you can keep going further.
7. You’re Not Noticing Changes
You’re not noticing any changes, and in fact you might even be going backwards from where you started! Not every training program is designed the same. Some programs focus more on weight loss, some on muscle and weight gain, some on just general fitness. Make sure that you have a fitness program that’s designed for your body and your goals, not just a generic one-size-fits-all.
8. You’re Not Tired At Night
If you’ve worked hard during the day you should feel it at night. Now, naturally some people are slightly more nocturnal than others, but if you’re able to get a good workout in during your day, you will start to feel tired earlier at night than your usual bed-time hour.
9. Your Heart Rate Isn’t High Enough
During your workout you should actually be able to feel that you’re training hard enough, sometimes you might even feel a little bit sick from the lactic acid build up. If your heart rate isn’t high enough, you will never feel this. During exercise you should be between 50% and 85% of your maximum heart rate (maximum hear rate is 220 - your age). Example: 25 year old heart rate zone during exercise: 97 bpm - 165 bpm. To record your heart rate, either measure your pulse for 10 seconds and multiply by 6, or invest in a heart rate monitor that will accurately monitor your heart rate throughout your entire workout.
10. You Can Complete All Your Reps
If you’re having no problems completing all the reps listed for your in your workout, then you have a problem (your workout is too easy)! You should be starting to struggle with your reps toward the last 2-3, particularly on the last few sets of your workout.
If you’ve gone through this list and it seems like your workout might actually be difficult enough for you, but you’re still not getting the results you’re after if may be time to look at the other factors: food, alcohol, and the rest of your lifestyle.
If, on the other hand, you’ve decided your workout is too easy for you, make sure you check out our Get Lean Guides here. They’re dictated by your body type, are 6 month training programs, and are designed to progress with you.
So the clock struck 12, and now it's 2017. Remember how a few weeks ago you decided to make some changes... maybe get on top of your fitness as your new year’s resolution. Now that it's here, knowing where to start is the biggest obstacle. What is going to suit you: time-wise, goal-wise and budget-wise. Depending on the type of person you are, you may be able to just step in the gym and pick it up from there, but knowing what all the machines do, how many reps to do, when do you have your protein shake and if butter is a carb? These are all the things that may put up road blocks before you even start.
So with that in mind, this is your NYR Checklist:
1. Get a program: it’s the easiest way to start. It's planned for you, it takes out all the guessing, you just have to do all the hard work. Programs can be done up by Personal Trainers, Online Coaches, 12 Week Challenges or you can find an eBook. Each option has it's ups and downs, so choose one that is going to get you results.
2. Set a goal. This is your absolute dream, what you picture in your head when all the hard work is done. Make it specific: date, location, what you will look like, where on your body you want to see the change, how much weight/muscle, what you want to feel like etc. Write it all down and put it in a place you can see.
3. Throw out all of your junk food. This can be a cleansing process. Refined carbs, sugary treats, soft drinks. Anything that you know is naughty, throw it out. This will help you resist temptation, boredom is one of the many reasons we overeat.
4. Set missions throughout. So let’s say the first mission is to get to the middle of February and stay on track with the plan. Having mini goals to look forward to helps the time pass, as results won't happen over night, so you must be patient! Set little reminders in your diary.
5. Always have a bottle of water. Keeping hydrated can increase energy levels, keep you healthy and help fight of food cravings.
6. Up your game, some people will plateau throughout their fitness journey, so it's up to you to find out why... you can get a PT, see a dietitian, naturopath, do more exercise, research vitamins and minerals, start using supplements, there is a whole new level you can step up to.
7. If you fall off the program, don’t worry, don’t stress. The last thing you want to do get upset and feel like you haven’t done anything. You have laid down the foundation for what is your fitness journey. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither are your biceps.
8. Assess! If its not working, are you doing the right thing for your goals? Are you just going for runs, are just lifting weights, have you been doing any ab work? Making sure you are following the right program for you goals is integral to your outcome. I've seen a lot of people doing the wrong things when it comes to there pushing forward and trying to achieve results. Your body type plays a big role in what you have to do. Weights or Cardio, do you want to be strong and lean or do you have a few extra KGs to lose? The ERL12 challenge was put together to help define your body. Not everyone wants to be skinny, some people actually want to be bigger, and that’s including girls, if you want a nice butt to look nice in a pair of jeans, you're not just going to go for walks. We designed the programs so you can do what you want to do, beginner, intermediate, advanced, the ERL12 will get you results. Registrations for the January round of ERL12 are still currently open. The next 12 week program will begin January 16, 2017. Register here today>>>