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9 Best Foods To Power Your Workouts!

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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!

 

Eggs

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. 

 

Organic Beef

As with eggs, Organic Beef is another extremely effective source of abundant protein that also helps to boost growth and strength.

 

Salmon

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.

 

Apples

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.

 

Wheat Germ

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. 

 

Oats

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.

 

Bananas 

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!

 

Watermelon.  

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

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!

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How To Improve Your Insulin Sensitivity

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:
- PCOS;
- 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;
- Acne;
- (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

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.

 

CINNAMON

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.

 

BLUEBERRIES

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.

 

CHROMIUM

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.

 

SLEEP

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.


References

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.

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Fat Melting Core Workout!

 

Written by Hayleigh Bennett

Eat Run Lift's HIIT and female weight loss specialist. Hayleigh is exclusively available as an online coach.
Learn more about Hayleigh here >

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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.
 

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WhatSupp? [Part 2]

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By Beau:

This is part two of my supplement post series. If you haven't read the first one yet you can find it here.

BCAA

  • Branch Chain Amino Acids are the support mechanisms for keeping hard lean muscle mass, with out BCAAs your body will start eating away at your hard work spent in the squat rack and leave you looking like a pregnant giraffe.
  • You spend hours and hours on the treadmill, or you have gone for that 10k run and think “EFF YEAH, GO ME! IM DOING SAAAAAA WELL!” Correct , you have burnt through so many calories burning all that fat and carbs that was sitting on your arse, but you don’t realize that now your energy source has turned to your protein, and protein is your muscle. This is where BCAAs play their part, they will help your body stop catabolising muscle in to glycogen as fuel.
  • As a general rule of thumb, I keep most work outs 45 mins or less to help the metabolic window use the right fuels at the right time, otherwise the food you eat depletes as an energy source, unless you are going to have a bite to eat mid session I would recommend having your BCAA as a intra-work out supplement to prevent your body producing cortisol and storing fat on your belly!
  • My two favorite BCAAs are: Scivation – Xtend, or Nubreed – Helix. Both come in a range of amazing flavours!

Creatine

  • Creatine is a natural occurring molecule found in the body which helps with the delivery of energy to the body and the brain. When broken down on a cellular level creatine can aid the production and delivery of energy (ATP) to the muscle to help fight off lactic acid and increase strength.
  • When preforming short bursts of energy such as lifting weights creatine is most effective, especially when you get in to the end of a set and pushing out the last rep!

L-Carnitine

  • This supplement is a natural existing amino acid that helps with the break down of food in to energy, this is great for a lot of people such as vegetarians and mothers breastfeeding who would most likely be deficient in L-Carnitine (mainly because its found in dairy, red meats and avocado).
  • The major benefits of L-Carnitine is the oxidation of food into energy to help stimulate muscle growth and endurance, which makes it the perfect supplement for endomorphs doing cardio and burning through the fat. It also helps with fat by heating up your core temperature.
  • Another great benefit of L-Carnitine is that it helps with so many little processes that help the body function normally. For instance, I have found that it is a great supplement to help manage my fibromyalgia. Other disease and disorders can also get beneficially supplementation from L-Carnitine aswell.
  • It can increase energy and and imrpove resistance to muscle fatigue. As a speculated fighter of muscle disease, liver disease, and kidney disease, L-Carnitine has also been shown to help build muscle and even treat some forms of cardiovascular disease. It is great in dieting, as it reduces feelings of hunger and weakness.

Other Supplements you should check out are: CLA, Test-Boosters, E-Blockers, L-Glutamine, Beta-Alanine, ZMA

Check out the supplements we have available HERE.

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