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7 Day Plan To Get Back On Track

Get back on track and motivated in 7 days.

Whether it's coming back from a holiday, recovering from sickness or from being just plain lazy for far too long now, it's time to get you back into routine and fit again. I’m helping you with 7 easy steps that can get you motivated again and ready to kick butt!

Day 1: Write down your goals.
You may have set some goals before, but did you write them down? Did you just think of a time you need to be fit for and just hope it would happen? Write them down, stick them on your fridge, near your computer, somewhere.

What do you want? (Specifics E.G. Size 10 jeans, lose 5 kgs 3cms off your arms)
When do you want it?  (E.G. My birthday 21st of July 2016)
Where will it be? (Out with friends, getting dinner)
Why do you want it? (You need to feel confident in your new dress)

How are you going to achieve it?
How is it going to feel when you achieve it?
How is it going to feel if you don’t?


Answer these questions, keep them close.



Day 2: Throw out 'junk' food/processed food.
Try it for 1 week, not only will your body be able to burn fat more efficiently, but your skin will clear up, sickness will drop and you will feel healthier and you will notice a slight change in your waistline.
 


Day 3: Plan out a new routine.
Planning is key, working around a schedule to fit in work, study and play and keeping it balanced is the best way to not burn out and get tired. Sort your day into hourly blocks and work from there. Plan at least a few days in advanced if possible, and each morning sit down and write out your 'to do' list for that day.

 

Day 4: Create a work out playlist.
I’ve written about how music can motivate you and keep you energised throughout your session., release endorphins and get your blood pumping. Make sure you make something long enough that it can take you from the time you need to go to the gym and to the end of your warm down.



Day 5: Buy some workout gear or equipment.
I think investing a bit of money no matter how much or little it is can keep you more inclined to exercise when you have something to show for it. Equipment to use at home, a new training program, some new shoes, clothes even. 



Day 6: Do something different.
Go hiking, try a sport maybe even some new fitness yoga hybrid that your friend Michelle has been raving on about.  Doing exercise is obviously not the most enjoyable thing in the world for many people, but the results are, and if you can do something different that is a step closer to getting you fit, then just do it!

 

Day 7: Book in with a Personal Trainer.
This is the final step when it comes to committing to your results,  some PTs can be can be a luxury, but even just getting them to write you a program can be a great start. Although all of my clients get to experience my dad jokes, missed numbers whilst counting reps and massages. Check out the Eat Run Lift Trainers if you're from Brisbane.

It doesn’t have to stop there, you can do many more things to continue and narrow down your goals. If you need your hormones checked see a doctor, need a meal plan? See a nutritionist.

What have you done in the past to get yourself back on track?

 

Food

Recipe: Choc + Orange Mousse

Makes 4-6 servings (depends on size)
(per 1 - based on 6 servings) Carbs 35g / Fat 22g / Calories 324


Ingredients

  • 6 avocados
  • 3 oranges
  • 1/2 cup rice malt syrup
  • 1 tsp orange extract
  • 6 tbsp cocoa powder (or cacao)

Method

  1. Remove the skin and seeds of 6 avocados.
  2. Wash the exterior of one orange and using a fine grater remove the zest from about half.
  3. Slice up the oranges and manually juice them.
  4. Place the avocados, orange juice, rice malt syrup, orange extract and cocoa powder into a food processor.
  5. Process until the mix is a smooth, but 'heavy' texture (you should be able to put some on a spoon, and turn it upside down and the mix should stay stuck).
  6. Place the mix into a container in the fridge and allow it to cool for a minimum of 1 hour before serving. 
  7. Serve with the orange zest on top.

fitnessinfo

Tips For Managing Common Work-Related Pain

This is a preview of one of the additional articles we provide for our ERL12 participants. The next round of our online fitness challenge, ERL12 will begin in July 2016. Register your interest below this post.

Beau Bressington
Pain can usually be classified as one of three types, neural pain, muscular pain or skeletal pain.  When doing a work out routine it's always important to make sure your body is mechanically sound to complete the exercise. Whether it's preventative, maintenance or repair it’s a good idea to get yourself checked out by a professional.


Most injuries are caused by overloading a muscle or joint, which in turn causes trigger points or inflammation. Commonly a lot of these injuries occur before even stepping into a gym. One we see quite a lot is usually caused by office or retail work, sitting at a desk all day or standing at a counter serving people is one way to create problematic postural abnormalities. Even for me right now typing this I know that I'm putting my neck under stress as I look down at my Macbook, which can cause a lot of back issues and then create pain in my shoulders, chest, neck, arms and much more. So next time you are doing work, study or even just flicking though Instagram, think to yourself, how is your posture effecting your spine?

I’m going to provide some tips on how to prevent pain from occupational hazards.

1. If you’re on your computer you’re more than likely using a mouse, this can create tightness in your upper traps, rotator cuff , arms and back, eventually leading to headaches or migraines.  Make sure your chair isn’t too high, switch mouse from hand to hand time to time, stretch your arms, go for a short walk, or at least stand up and move around every 30 mins. Be aware of your posture, if you feel your self slumping, sit up straight and squeeze your shoulders together for 10 seconds. Not only will this remind you that you have poor posture, but will also strengthen the back muscles that cause slumping in the first place.

2. If you are standing at work, most probably you are leaning to one side, loading up your hip. This one may seem unlikely but it can cause a lot of pain in the future. Loading up your hip creates little contractions in your glutes, that can then tighten up your lower spine, for a lot of you who get a “Sciatica” pain that travels down your lower back, bum, and all through your legs, this is usually the cause. This is a nerve pain that is caused by the impingement of your sciatic nerve in your lower spine and through a muscle called your piriformis. It’s technically not sciatica, but can cause the same symptoms. Switch from leg to leg, be mindful of your posture, awareness is the key! Try and stand on both legs as evenly as possible, walk around, and when no-ones looking, stretch.

3. If your job involves lifting, your lower back is probably pretty sore, if you haven’t been to the gym, or taught how to deadlift properly, chances are you are lifting wrong. If your back feels like that of a camels, straighten that guy up and bend at the hips and knees, keeping a tight tummy and getting down low will help you lift any item safely, if it's too heavy get a friend to help.

4. Got pains already? These are some people to see:
Physiotherapist
For joint pain, niggling injuries, or sports injuries are the best.
Chiropractor
For joint pain, stiffness, nerve pain, mainly through the spine.
Massage therapist
For sore stiff muscles, tight necks, and shoulders, and lower backs.
Osteopath
For sore joints, poor mobility.
These are just the basics, but there are also many other natural healers, everyone is different and different methods work for different people. So try a few and see what works best for you.

A few things you can do yourself is to do isolated stretches, which you can find in the stretching guide [free download here], trigger pointing with a ball, or a friend. Self massage, and foam rolling. Natural remedies and minerals, that can help with inflammation and soreness like magnesium, glucosamine, turmeric, and many more.

Creating a pain management routine will not only help through your work outs, but your work and lifestyle too. Always remember to exercise safely, and if you're not sure on a technique, research or ask a professional.


Interested in taking part in the next 12 week online program?
It begins in July. Places are always limited so that we can provide people with one-on-one email support. Register your interest by entering your email in the form below, you will need to confirm your registration by accepting the confirmation email sent to you.

other

Meal Prep Hacks - Make Your Prep Easier!

Prepping your meals in advanced is a great way to make sure that you're keeping your nutrition in check. Not only does meal prep save time in the long run, but it also means you're less likely to give in to the temptation of sneaking a 'bad' lunch at work or ordering something not-so-healthy for dinner. Depending on how much food you're cooking and for how many people your weekly (or bi-weekly) prep can take anywhere from 1-3 hours, so to make your meal prep a little bit easier I've written some tips that I've learnt along the way.


[1] CHOOSE YOUR MEALS IN ADVANCED AND WRITE A SHOPPING LIST
By selecting the meals you want to eat before you even step foot into the grocery shop or markets, you know exactly what you need to buy. 

[2] HAVE SOME 'GO TO' MEALS
Eating a variety of foods is essential to ensuring that your body is getting all the nutrients it requires to function well, so I would recommend rotating recipes and trying one or two new ones each time you meal prep, but then also have some staple favourites that you rotate between. Having a few 'go to' recipes that you are very familiar with can reduce some of your prep time because you won't have to spend too much time thinking about what you're doing to get the old favourites cooked.

[3] KEEP IT SIMPLE
Don't go creating elaborate meals that take four hours to prepare for your meal prep. To reduce your prep time try to find recipes that can be cooked in a simple manner, because you're not going to be able to focus on one meal at a time, which takes me to my next point:

[4] MULTI-TASK
Cooking one meal at a time just won't cut it with meal prep unfortunately. You're going to need to be cooking multiple meals at once. Try to do all the vegetable slicing together, and then fruit, if possible cook meats at the same time and separate them for flavouring/spicing after. Curries are also a great idea because they only require one pot, and one stove element while other things are cooking around them.

[5] SAVE SOME INGREDIENTS UNTIL LATER
Some ingredients are not going to be too nice if you prep them and then leave them in the fridge, the best examples that I have personally encountered are spinach, avocado, and corn. These guys won't last too long. Consider how long your ingredients will last for and add some of them just before you serve the meals, rather than keeping them in the prep containers. 

[6] CONSIDER PARTIAL-PREP
Full meal prep may not be for everyone, and you might enjoy having salads for lunch/dinner, or cooking at dinner time. In this case, consider prepping just the ingredients before hand, doing the washing, chopping and then storing them away in the fridge or freezer to cut down on meal preparation time in the future.

[7] SPICES
Make your food more interesting by adding in spices, you won't regret it!

[8] LABELS/STICKERS
If you're meal prepping for more than one person I'd recommend placing a small sticker or label on some of the containers so you can identify which meals belong to which person. Because I prep for both Beau and myself I have to do this, his meals are twice the size of mine, and it wouldn't be good for him to take a Rachel-sized lunch to work, he'd be starving in an hour.

[9] USE YOUR FREEZER
Ideally you only want to store 2-3 days worth of food in the fridge, anything else should be kept in the freezer for the sake of longevity. Anything that sits in the fridge for too long will go off, or not taste too good, and why waste your hard work and food.

[10] CONSIDER YOUR CONTAINERS
Choose your meal prep containers carefully, this may mean the initial investment may be a bit more expensive, but if they're going to last longer it will be cheaper in the long run. Some things that I like to look for in a meal prep container:
- Clear lid (so it's easy to see which meal is inside)
- BPA free (if plastic) - alternatively you could be using glass containers, but I don't like the added weight in my gym bag
- Does not stain easily
- Can survive heat and cold (you're going to be freezing, maybe dishwashing, maybe microwaving - depending on how you like to heat your meals, so you want a very durable container)


other

10 Posts You Might Have Missed

We've compiled a list of our top ten most popular fitness posts just incase you may have missed them! Since we have had an influx of new subscribers lately we thought it would be a great idea to take you back through the blog archives.


(1)

HOW HORMONES CAN INTERFERE WITH WEIGHT LOSS

When it comes to getting in to shape and living a fit and healthy lifestyle, it's not all black and white. We encounter some road blocks, or weight loss blocks, that stop us from having the bodies that we want and desire. Our hormones play a large part in losing weight, being strong, energy levels, mood,  skin and much more, here is a quick guide to where your hormones will visibly react with your body!


(2)

WHERE TO FIND PROTEIN

Protein isn't just for 'gainz', it's actually essential for your body to function, helps in the repair process after exercise or strenuous activity and even maintains your hair, skin and nails. Every day you should aim to be eating 0.8 grams of protein for every kilogram of your body weight, or 1.2 grams per kilogram if you’re training. Proteins give heat and energy to your body and are rarely stored, as your body uses them quite rapidly. Use this blog post to find plant and meat sources of protein to include in your diet.


(3)

12 REASONS YOU AREN'T SEEING RESULTS FROM WORKOUTS

If you have been working out or dieting and haven't seen any results whatsoever it's time to assess what you are doing and why nothing is happening. There can be many causes for results to not occur to it's important to figure out what is relative to you and how you can fix it. Being stuck at the one set of measurements or body fat for an extended period of time even when you are exercising can be frustrating and upsetting, here are a few basic steps to overcome it:


(4)

8 THINGS I WISH I KNEW BEFORE I STARTED TRAINING

Rachel writes about the things she wished she knew before she started training to help her along her journey.


(5)

I LOST WEIGHT BUT I STILL FEEL BIGGER

So you’ve lost weight, you’ve become healthier, you’re a few sizes smaller… but you look in the mirror and you think you look exactly the same? Has anyone else been in this boat? There are so many articles online along the lines of, “this is why you’re not losing weight”… but what happens when you’ve lost the weight but you don’t see it in the mirror?


(6)

20 HEALTH FOODS THAT AREN'T ACTUALLY HEALTHY

These days trying to eat healthy all the time can be difficult with how busy we always are, and many companies know this. They will sell you their products packaged and designed to look like a 'healthy treat' in the hopes that you'll believe what they're telling you. Let's look a bit further.


(7)

OVERCOMING BODY IMAGE ISSUES

A post by Beau. Being a personal trainer people expect you to think and act a certain way, but what many don't realise is that we still have issues on our own. Read Beau's plan to overcome his body image issues and get his fitness back on track.


(8)

HOW I ROLL

The Eat Run Lift guide to foam rolling.


(9)

6 STEPS TO START WORKING OUT (AT HOME)

Back when I first wanted to get fit most of my exercises were done at home, I was too scared to go to the gym because I had no idea what I was doing, and I just didn’t want people to see me exercising. Working out at home is a good first step to increase your fitness and overall confidence. However, it can be difficult to start a workout plan on your own, because although you might have the motivation for a day or two, it can wane if you don’t add fuel to the fire. If you want to make a permanent change and start working out, just follow the steps below.


(10)

THE RISKS OF OVERTRAINING

The more we train the more muscle we will build right? That’s the common misconception I get from a lot of people who ask me about their programs and training schedules. Little do they know that what they are doing is in fact causing them more harm than good.


We hope you found some new information to help you along your journey! If you're new here don't forget to join our mailing list to keep up to date with new fitness information, recipes and discounts off Eat Run Lift products!

fitnessinfo

Do You Have Correct Technique?

Have you ever been mid way though a work out and someone comes up to you and says, “Hey, you're doing it wrong”, “Can I show you something”,  or “Can I give you a hand”?

If that’s the first thing that usually comes out of their mouths, it probably means that they are wrong and you shouldn’t take advice from them. As much as you may suck at the gym lifting weights, we all have different goals, different needs for a type of exercise and injuries and mobility issues.

There isn’t just one type of deadlift or squat, in fact, there are many. Cross-Fit, Body Building, Power Lifting all use the one exercise to do work the body in different ways and use different mechanics. The thing that bothers me is that so many people are ready to tell someone they are doing something to make themselves feel more accomplished or more knowledgeable. What they should be asking is, "What are you training for?” By establishing first what you are training for, you can then begin to learn whether your technique is correct for what you're trying to achieve.

Of course there is always going to be bad technique that can lead to injuries, and if someone looks like they are in danger of hurting themselves you should always help! However, one thing that can throw people off is if they have been taught this technique by someone else who isn't completely sure of what they're doing, and they too them selves have been a victim of, “Let me show you how to...”

I encountered this today whilst training a client. A member approached my client and insisted to give him advice on how to get more out of his deadlift by using a certain technique. Luckily my client felt like it was a good time to look back at me and roll his eyes to show his dissatisfaction with his new “PT” so to affirm that he wasn’t going to follow him up on his tips. With one of my clients posture abnormalities this method probably would have seen him massaging his neck for the next few days.

Like everything in health and fitness there isn’t a one size fits all approach.

If you or a friend have suffered from “Brosciencetechniqueintrusion” call your local PT to get the best program to your needs. This post is mainly for those of you who have been going to the gym and have been doing a certain technique and told it's wrong, but have always thought it was right. There can be lots of confusion when doing exercise, and this only adds to the moreconfusing nature of going to the gym!

If something doesn’t seem right, please speak to a professional.

Safe Training!

Food

Recipe: Macadamia & Choc Squares

So this started off as a basic idea, which I changed about 5 times before I was happy with the final outcome, and I am so glad I did because ohhh boy these are amazing (if I may say so myself). Not something to consume every single day, but a much better dessert option than most things you'll find in a store. Enjoy!


Makes 12 slices
(per 1) Carbs 50g / Fat 31g / Protein 8g / Calories 488


Slice Ingredients

  • 20 large dates (pitted)
  • 2 cups of raw cashews
  • 2 cups of desiccated or shredded coconut (with the lowest fat content you can find)
  • 10 tbsp cocoa (or cacao) powder
  • 2 tbsp cacao nibs
  • 2 tbsp rice malt syrup
  • 2 tsp vanilla essence 
  • roughly 1/4 cup of water
  • 1/2 cup of macadamias

'Ganache' Ingredients

  • 200g (7 oz) dark chocolate (or cacao. We are talking over 80% cocoa here, not milk chocolate)
  • 200g (7 oz) coconut cream
  • 2 tbsp rice malt syrup (or manuka honey if you prefer)

Instructions

  1. Place cashews, coconut, dates, cocoa (or cacao), cacao nibs, rice malt syrup and vanilla essence into a food processor. Turn on the processor and allow the ingredients to be broken down.
  2. Once they are no longer whole begin adding in small amounts of water until the mix is able to hold itself together and forms a ball in the processor.
  3. Remove the mix from the processor and mix through 1/2 a cup of macadamia nuts (chopped or whole, your choice)
  4. Take a baking tray (lined with baking paper), or square muffin tray (each square lined with a small amount of coconut oil) and firmly press the mix into the tray, place this in the fridge.
  5. Now to make the 'ganache' topping take a double-boiler, or a saucepan with water in it and a bowl sitting over the top, keep on a low heat so the water in the pot can simmer. In the bowl place the coconut cream, dark chocolate and sweetener of your choice (rice malt syrup or manuka honey). Keep the water at a low temperature and stir the mix occasionally until it is fully melted and mixed together well.
  6. Remove your base ingredients from the fridge and pour the 'ganache' topping over the base. Place back in the fridge for an hour (or until completely cooled) before serving.
  7. Best stored in the fridge.

Workout

Fat Burning Circuit Workout

One of the first ways that I got into training on my own (outside personal training sessions with Beau) was by doing circuits. Beau wrote up a circuit for me to do and had a lot of workouts planned for specific needs, such as core strengthening, fat burning, upper body strength, and the list goes on. We eventually turned this into the 8 Week Challenge eBook. This is one of the workouts from the eBook.

Sometimes it's hard to work out by yourself, so follow along with this workout with me and we'll get through it together!

products

Product Review: Cort RX

By Beau
For the last month or so I have been trialling a new product named Cort RX. Have you ever looked down at your belly and see just this pudge of fat that just sits there? No matter how much you train and follow a strict diet, you just see this fat hanging there like a balcony off the second storey of an apartment building. I was getting that, and it turns out the best thing to do about it is stop stressing about it, literally. Fat stores in the little belly 'pudge' region due to a hormone called cortisol, a stress hormone activated by mild level stress and long training sessions. I've touched on cortisol before and that doing long training sessions doesn't actually equal better results. 

Cort RX is a new product from Australian based Company ATP that has multiple benefits for your body, and your mind too. I haven't seen a product like this before and to tell you the truth it's groundbreaking, I'm not sucking up to ATP Science nor have they paid me for this review and as we have seen in the past Rachel has had a hiccup with the company before, and even she was impressed with the results I was getting.

These are the 2 points I'm going to touch on:

- More Energy
- Less Stress = Less Belly Fat

are they not what we all strive for in our busy, day-to-day lives?

Lets start at the more energy.
Cort RX is an adrenal cortex, we use our adrenal glands when we have any stimulative substance like coffee, pre-workout, fat burners etc. We drain the adrenal glands to a point where can't use them again until they start to rebuild and return to functioning order. So after that first coffee for the morning wears off and you go to grab another, you're not going to get that same stimulative effect that you got from that morning cuppa. It also blocks the sleepy chemical serotonin which means you will be more awake, that’s why you find so many stressful people are also insomniacs. More adrenaline = more energy.

Less Stress = Less Fat
Cortisol plays a major part in the bodies defensive systems, basically our bodies act first and think second, so if the body is under attack from any internal or external stress factors, it automatically thinks we are in danger and releases the chemical to our brain to calm ourselves down. Once this hormone has been released through the body it then store on our bellies as fat. Great…… another thing to be stressed about, being fat.

Whats in it? A whole heap of stuff I can't pronounce that's found in the ground which Rachel will probably translate for me when she puts this post up, like:
Schisandra chinensis (nicknamed 'five flavour berry', a woody forest vine, grows in China and Russia)
Withania somnifera (Indian Ginseng - the roots have been used in traditional medicine for centuries)
Rhodiola rosea (Rose root, a herb known to strengthen the immune system)
Turmeric (An Indian spice)

So it's an all natural product which a lot of you like. The thing that really makes me love this product is the many things it can help with as well in day to day life, like inflammation, anxiety, lack of energy and inability to sleep. So many people need help with these things and it's no wonder its been flying off the shelves.

This is definitely a product worth trying if you have at least one of the mentioned symptoms. I know this is something I'll be using for a long time.

Food

Recipe: Banana Nut Icecream

There is something about cold weather and winter that makes me really crave cold foods, I'm not sure what it is, maybe I am broken. If you are like me and enjoy the cold in the cold, or if you're located somewhere warmer than I am give this one a whirl, it's my favourite banana icecream recipe to date!


Makes 1 serving
Carbs 68.6g / Fat 18g / Protein 8.6g / Calories 443


Ingredients

  • 2 bananas
  • 2 ice cubes
  • 1.5 tbsp almond butter
  • 1 tbsp almond milk

Toppings I Used

  • Coconut chips
  • Cacao nibs

Method

  1. Break bananas up into small chunks and place it into a bowl or a zip-lock bag and then into the freezer.
  2. Once the pieces of banana are completely frozen remove them from the freezer and place into a food processor with the ice cubes, almond butter and almond milk
  3. Process until it is a smooth consistency
  4. (Optional) Place it back into the freezer for 30 mins
  5. I served it with coconut chips and cacao nibs but you can get creative here! Nuts, buckinis, berries, go for your life.

other

Have You Weakened Your Immune System?

Feeling run down? Are you frequently getting colds or flus? We all know taking Vitamin C can help give you a boost, but could you accidentally be suppressing your immune system without knowing it?

Our immune system is our shield against the bacteria and diseases from the outside world. There are two components to the immune system: innate immunity (the things you are born ‘equipped’ with, such as skin, body temperature, low pH levels and specialised cells, e.g. white blood cells), and acquired immunity which develops as your body encounters invading pathogens (B- and T- lymphocytes which excrete chemicals and control your immune response). If you find that you are regularly getting sick or run down you may be stopping your immune system from functioning to its full potential, here are some of the common causes:

Stress

Chronic stress, which is caused by stressful situations extended over a long period of time can cause cortisol levels to rise and inhibit the production of good prostaglandins, these are cellular messengers that support immune function and have anti-inflammatory properties. Our bodies trigger chemical reactions to various stimuli that we consider a ‘threat’, even it if it just something as simple as an exam. These chemical reactions still may have physical consequences, stressing our immune system (Miller, 2004). It is important to take time to relax and spend time de-stressing. Go for a walk, meditate, do something fun to help reduce those cortisol levels!

Lack of Sleep

Sleep loss may not only cause your immune system to operate below its optimum functionality, but can also influence how long your sickness will hang around for. A good amount (8-9 hours) of sleep regularly is essential for optimum physical and mental health and studies have shown that interactions between brain chemical systems and immune-signalling molecules are altered during sleep. However, if we are sleep deprived our T-cells decrease (T-Cells are responsible for ‘killing’ infected cells) and the amount of inflammatory cytokines in our bodies increase (a pro-inflammatory which promotes inflammation), this factor alone increases the risk of developing a cold or flu (Imeri & Opp, 2009).

Lack of Exercise

There is a considerable amount of research showing that a moderate amount of exercise on a regular basis enhances the function of the immune system, and a lack of exercise decreases the effectiveness of the immune system. People who are not exercising regularly are not able to take advantage of the increased production of macrophages (cells that attack bacteria which trigger upper respiratory diseases) that people who exercise regularly experience. The physiological changes in the immune system that happen when a person exercises promote more rapid circulation through the body, this effect is able to increase the rate at which viruses and bacteria can be destroyed. The increased circulation and macrophage production only lasts for a few hours after each session of exercise. More than 60% of people who exercise report fewer sicknesses than those who are sedentary (Nieman, 2000). It is important not overdo it however, positive changes to the immune system take place with moderate exercise, but too much exercise with too little rest can also decrease immunity.

Excess Use of Medications

Now, we are not saying “don’t take medication”, this is just a “watch out you’re not taking too much medication, but probably talk to your doctor about this we are just presenting the facts” haha. Excessive uses of antibiotics, cold and fever medications, steroid drugs and SSRIs have been found to weaken the immune system. All steroid drugs, from corticosteroids to anabolic steroids suppress the immune response; this is why it’s recommended you take a probiotic or immune support when you are on antibiotics. Even asthma inhalers contain synthetic steroids. Although the synthetic steroid is able to reduce inflammation in the airways it can still reduce the ability of the lungs to fight bacterial and viral infections (Journal of the American Medical Association, 2004). Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor antidepressant drugs (SSRIs) such as Zoloft and Prozac help to increase serotonin levels, but according to researchers at Georgetown University Medical Centre, this boost can push the immune system into overdrive and the body can begin attacking itself, leading to an autoimmune disease. Even long-term use of pain killing opioids such as codeine and morphine can seriously alter the effectiveness of the immune system against viral and bacterial invaders.

Dehydration

Dehydration is much more than just “not drinking enough water”, the side effects that result from being dehydrated can eventually be life threatening, and thus it is vital to maintain a good level of hydration. Water makes up a large percentage of blood, and a lack of hydration can cause the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to slow, and decrease immunity in the body (Vuong, 2004). Dehydration can allow cellular waste products to stay in the body for longer and can also have a negative effect on the brain. The brain continuously consumes a large amount of glucose, and this is delivered via the blood supply, so a lack of water means a lack of blood and glucose being delivered to the brain (Germain, 2006).

Fake Fragrances

Although most products that contain fake fragrances contain chemicals in small amounts, if you are regularly getting sick and none of the other factors seem to suit, perhaps take a look at these and limit your exposure to see if it makes a difference. Fake fragrances in products such as perfumes, colognes, deodorants, detergents and other beauty/cleaning products can be lung irritants and even cause asthma in children. Wearing fake fragranced clothing, sleeping in bed sheets washed in scented fabric softeners and having air fresheners around can definitely impact your lungs. For example, camphor which is found in perfume, shaving cream, nail polish and air fresheners is readily absorbed into body tissues, has been shown to be a local irritant and an irritant to the central nervous system (Kendall, 1997). A study titled Twenty Most Common Chemicals in Thirty-One Fragrance Products completed in 1991 also shows that a commonly used chemical a-terpineol, found in perfume, detergent, fabric softener, air freshener, hairspray and deodorants is highly irritating to mucous membranes, can cause headaches and repeated or prolonged skin contact should be avoided.

Smoking

I don't think we even need to explain this one!

Excess Refined Sugar

When your body is fighting an infection your white blood cells “swallow” the viruses and bacteria. In order to be able to do this your white blood cells need to have a very high amount of Vitamin C. The problem with consuming too much refined sugar, or even letting your blood sugar level exceed 120, is that your white blood cells confuse glucose (sugar in the blood stream) with vitamin C as they are chemically very similar. When your white blood cells are taking in glucose instead of vitamin c, their vitamin c level is not high enough to effectively combat bacteria and viruses. In fact, their ability to destroy the invading pathogens is reduced by up to 75% (Afkani-Ardekani, Shojaoddiny-Ardekani, 2007). Once your blood sugar level is back below 120 it can take a further 4-6 hours for your white blood cells to regain the amount of vitamin c they need to be completely effective again. Therefore, if you are consistently eating products with lots of refined sugar, and allowing your blood sugar levels to spike frequently, you’re actually reducing your body’s ability to fight off infection and bacteria.

Bad Diet

Following on from refined sugar, a bad diet in general can suppress the body’s immune response. People who are eating very low calorie diets (~1200kcal per day, often found in many popular meal plans nowadays) are at greater risk of infection and have decreased immune function compared to those eating an appropriate amount of calories per day (Wikstrand, Torgerson & Brostrom, 2010). Conversely, excessive calorie intake (overeating) can also have a negative effect on the immune system. Obesity is linked to an increased rate of disease (Karlsson, Sjostrom & Sullivan, 1998). Diets that are high in saturated fats appear to suppress the response of the immune system, and therefore increase the rate of infections. It is important to have a balanced diet full of fruits, vegetables and wholegrains, limit the intake of saturated fats (not all fats, your body does need ‘good’ fats for brain function, check our Get Lean guide to learn more), and restrict the amount of refined sugar you include in your diet.

Zinc Deficiency

Studies conducted by Oregon State University are showing that Zinc appears to effect immune response in the human body. Particularly when it comes to inflammation.

Reference List:

2001, ‘Does exercise alter immune function and respiratory infections?’ Research Digest, vol. 3, no. 13.

Afkhami-Ardekani, M & Shojaoddiny-Ardekani, M 2007, ‘Effect of vitamin c on blood glucose, serum lipids, and serum insulin in type 2 diabetes patients’, Indian Journal of Medical Research, vol. 126, pp. 471-474.

Germain, R et al 2006, ‘Dynamic imaging of the immune system: progress, pitfalls and promise’, Nature Reviews Immunology, pp. 497-507.

Imeri, L & Opp, M 2009, ‘How (and why) the immune system makes us sleep’, Nature Reviews Neuroscience, vol. 10, pp. 199-210.

Karlsson, J, Sjostrom, L & Sullivan, M 1998, ‘Swedish obesity subjects (SOS) – an intervention study of obesity. Two-year follow-up of health-related quality of life (HRQL) and eating behaviour after gastric surgery for severe obesity’, International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders, vol. 22, no. 2, pp. 113-126.

Kendall, J 1997, ‘Twenty most common chemicals in thirty-one fragrance products based on a 1991 EPA study’ Health Hazard Information. Neiman, D et al 2000, ‘Immune function in female elite rowers and nonathletes’, British Journal of Sports Medicine, vol. 34, pp. 181-187.

Segerstrom, S & Miller, G 2004, ‘Psychological stress and the human immune system. A meta-analytic study of 30 years of inquiry’, Psychol Bull, vol. 130, no. 4, pp. 601-630.

Shankar, A & Prasad, A 1998, ‘Zinc and immune: the biological basis of altered resistance to infection’, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, vol. 68.

Vuong, C et al 2004, ‘Polysaccharide intercellular adhesion (PIA) protects Staphylococcus epidermis against major components of the human innate immune system’, Cellular Microbiology, doi: 10.146/j.1462-5022.2004.00367.x.

Wikstrand, I, Torgerson, J & Bostrom, K 2010, ‘Very low calorie diet (VLCD) followed by a randomised trial of corset treatment for obesity in primary car’, Scandinavian Journal of Primary Health Care, vol. 28, no. 2, pp. 89-94.

fitnessinfo

Bored of Your Workouts? This is How To Fix It

Getting bored of your work out?
Want to really make your blood pump?

Here’s 5 Tips & Tricks that will take your work out to the next level!

Advanced overload techniques are the secret weapon that will make your muscles pump and your heart jump out of your chest. When trying to burn fat or gain muscle its all about time under tension and going above and beyond with your work out. Seriously….. you think walking on the tread mill for 30 mins is going to get you the best results? Let's put your Lululemon tights to the test and try some of these in your next work out.

1. Super setting

Most of you will be familiar with super setting, doing 2 exercises back-to-back without rest. Not only is this efficient, but it can really make your muscle work and keep that heart rate high so you can burn fat faster and increase your cardiovascular system. The fitter you are, the more fat you can burn! You can team this up with the same muscle group or something different depending on your program!

2. Partials

What the heck is a partial? You may have heard the term “21’s” if  not, nevermind, I'll explain now. Imagine that your range of motion is divided in to 2 halves, top and bottom. Let's use the leg press as an example. Start at the top with your knees locked out and do 7 reps halfway then 7 reps from the bottom of your range to the middle and then all the way to the top and back down to the bottom. Because you have different stopping and starting points this will separate your focus in to different parts of the legs. You must make sure your weights are light with this as it does get hard!

3. Drop Sets

This is where we see the load (weight) of an exercise start high and the reps low. After each set you drop the weight and increase the number reps. You can do this to your own configuration and set your own challenges. Lets use bench press as an example. Start with 100kg and do 2 reps, then change it to 80kgs for 4 reps. Then reduce the weight again to 60kg for 6 reps, then 40kg for 8 reps and finally 20kg for 10 reps. Do this with as little rest between sets and get someone to help you rack off the weights to get the best results. This will fatigue you and help with strength & size building. Make sure you warm up before doing this too! A way you can warm up is to do a pyramid set (start light with high reps, then slowly increase the weight and decrease the reps, then do your drop set). This can take a fair bit of time during your session, but its great to challenge yourself.

4. Super slow

We’re stronger on our eccentric phase (the easy part of a rep) so what we can do is slow the pace down. Making an exercise last longer puts extended contraction through the muscles and results in more lactic acid build up which helps us fire up our muscles and burn fat, plus helps us condition our bodies to help improve in a functional movement you may need in sports or other activities! Another pretty neat trick you can do is make it a plyometric exercise. Here is another example! When doing something like a squat you can do down for about 5 seconds and then explode out of it. This creates a connection between your muscle and brain and every time you do this it becomes stronger and more explosive. Just imagine a conversation you have with someone for the first time, its usually a bit slow and stuttered, but over time as you get to know them you can blab on about crap for hours. This is you + plyometrics.  So controlling your tempo and explosion can really help improve stability, power and burn a boat load of fat!

5. Holds

Don’t think you have done enough or you still have a bit in the tank? Once you have done half a rep and you’re at the weakest/hardest point try holding it for a few seconds, or alternatively at the end of a set.  This just increases your time under tension and yet again pumps the blood in to the muscle and creates lactic acid, either your best friend or worst enemy depending on how much you like pain, also known as the burnnnnnn. This example will feature a seated row, I like to do this trick with my clients. Ok, example time. Once they get to their last rep I get them to hold the handle of the cable into their stomach and keep it there for 10 seconds, and then because I'm mean I actually try and pull the weight away from them and they have to keep holding it until the time has elapsed. So try this without me first and enjoy.

In conclusion, these aren't something that you’re going to do every training session, just a way to spice up the relationship you have with weights, and the thing is you can play with it a bit and combine them together. Try doing a super set, drop set with a super slow hold partial. If you want to learn more ways to enhance your results in the gym, or want to follow my training program check out our Get Lean Guides.

I would love to see what you come up with, video and tag us on instagram. @eatrunlift.me #eatrunlift

Food

How To Stop (Unhealthy) Snacking At Work

Working all day (particularly if you’re sitting down at a desk all day), seeing other people eating bad food, and stressing out from deadlines, co-workers or customers can all be triggers which lead people to snack on unhealthy foods while at work. Once you’ve gotten into the habit it can be difficult to break, so we have a few tips for you to get your snack attacks under control!

Find out when you are most vulnerable

Before you can stop the unwanted behaviour, you need to figure out why and when it’s happening. Is there are certain time of day that you’re always craving a chocolate? Or do you find you just *need* to have a can of coke at 3pm in the afternoon? Perhaps after dealing with certain people you need to hit up the vending machine. Start realising when and where you are when you are craving particular food items at work. Did you just come out of a stressful meeting? Are you getting tired because it’s getting towards the end of the day? Or do you just need a little ‘pick me up’? Find the trigger and then we can proceed.

Write it down

Write down what you’re craving each time you want it. You’ll start to see patterns emerging. Once you have figured out what type of foods you want and when you can start to tackle the problem at the source, it usually starts off as a way to ‘self medicate’ emotions with food, and then becomes an addiction or habit.

Bring a good lunch and healthy snacks

Make sure you have brought enough food to last the day. You want to aim to bring a lunch that you actually look forward to having, it doesn’t have to be as boring as chicken and broccoli (I mean, if you like that, go for it), check out these recipes here. By making sure the lunch you bring is something that you want to eat you are less likely to feel like you ‘need’ to indulge at some point in the day. As well as a yummy lunch ensure that the snacks you are bringing to work are healthy. If you’ve already brought all your food it would be a waste to not eat it.

Focus on your food

Try to make sure that when you are eating your snacks at work it’s not while you’re in the middle of doing something. If you’re watching a screen, talking on the phone or have some other task at hand you are more likely to eat a larger serving than usual, or feel like you have barely eaten at all. Try to take at least 5 minutes out of your day if you can to relax, give yourself some quiet time and enjoy your food!

Have some fun

As I briefly mentioned before, many people use unhealthy foods as a ‘reward’, in an attempt to self-medicate their feelings, or to reduce stress. You do not need to reward yourself with food, that’s how animals are trained, you do not need to train yourself the same way. Make sure your emotional needs are fulfilled throughout the day and that you have some time to relax (even if it's just 5 minutes out of your day to truly relax), walk to work, go to the gym on your lunch break or when you’re finished for the day, call up a friend when you’ve got some time, just take a small amount of time out of your day to do something you can enjoy.

Food

Recipe: Coconut Chicken Curry

I love spice, I love coconut, and I love meals that don't take long to put together. So for me this is a meal from heaven haha. I really don't like spending too long cooking, and most of the time I make a lot of food that can be packed up and eaten at a later date. I know I usually post a lot of vegetarian/vegan recipes, but I'm not either of those, and sometimes I do in fact eat meat, so this recipe does contain that. If you can handle spice, give this one a go!


Makes 4 servings
(per 1) Carbs 37.6g / Fat 15.8g / Protein 36.2g / Calories 445.8


Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups brown rice
  • 500g chicken breast
  • 2 cups frozen vegetables (I just used green veg)
  • 3 tbsp desiccated coconut
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp olive oil
  • 1.5 tsp chilli powder
  • 200mL coconut cream

Method

  1. First take your brown rice and place it in a saucepan with 3 cups of water, place this on a high heat on a stove element until it boils, then turn it down to a low temperature and allow it to simmer, stir occasionally (it should take 30-40 mins to cook depending on your stove)
  2. While the rice is cooking cut up your chicken and place it in a frying pan on medium heat with 1/2 tsp of olive oil
  3. Add in the curry powder and chilli powder, allow the chicken to cook most of the way through
  4. When the chicken is nearly cooked all the way through add in the desiccated coconut, coconut cream and frozen vegetables, cook for a further 10-15 mins on a low heat (place a lid over your pan if you have one for it).
  5. Serve, or store, whatever you need to do!

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