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’.
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!).
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 (email@example.com) 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.
There’s no secret that refined sugar is bad. It’s bad for the body, it plays havoc with your teeth, and more... In this post, I will tell you in detail why Stevia and Erythritol are far better for your body, and why you need to ditch the highly processed sugars entirely and make the switch to one of these sugar substitutes today.
This is the worst element of the modern-day diet, causing a plethora of harmful effects that can bolster a number of diseases within the body. Refined sugar is highly calorific and has absolutely no nutritional value. It also feeds bacteria in the mouth with can cause and accelerate tooth decay.
On its journey through the digestive system, sugar is broken down into Fructose and Glucose. Glucose is produced naturally by our body whereas Fructose is not. Additionally, Fructose can only be metabolized in the liver which isn’t a problem if you consume sugar in small doses, such as your daily intake of fruit (which is able to be metabolised due to the fibre content). However, if your liver already has enough Glycogen, which is fairly common, the Fructose is instantly converted into fat, which of course, is bad. If you consume processed sugar regularly, and this can be sugar in food, as well as in hot drinks, on cereals etc., then it can result in you having a fatty liver, and lead to other much more serious issues.
Sugar is also known to be one of the contributing factors to Diabetes and Cancer. There are many studies that prove consuming sugar puts you at a higher risk of developing Cancer. It is also a leading cause of obesity, high-cholesterol, and it can lead to Heart Disease.
The list could quite literally go on, and on; however, I have said enough about sugar. The rest of this post will be focussed entirely on why Stevia and Erythritol are both better for your body.
You might not know this, but the Stevia plant has actually been used by the people of Paraguay and Brazil for more than 1500 years. It has been used to sweeten the traditional Yerba Mate Tea, as a sweetener in foods, and is used in medicine as well.
The product itself originates from a herbal plant and is around 200 times sweeter than typical sugar which is grown in North and South America.
Almost in direct contrast to sugar, Stevia can actually help to prevent some types of Cancer. It can help to control Diabetes, as well as serving as an effective aid to weight loss, protect the teeth and oral health generally, and help to strengthen your bones. Another intriguing fact about the Stevia Plant is the nutritional value is carries. It has a huge array of antioxidant compounds and many other essential minerals.
Weight Loss - Stevia is exceptionally low in calories.
Diabetes Control - It provides essential regulation of blood sugar levels.
Oral Hygiene - It reduces the formation of bacteria in your mouth.
Skin Health - When the plant is used topically, it can help to treat dermatitis and eczema.
Cancer Prevention - Due to its high antioxidant contents, it aids Cancer prevention.
Bone Health – It can help to reduce the likelihood of Osteoporosis
This is another sweetener with a very low calorific value and is classified as a sugar substitute that is derived naturally, being made mostly from plant sugars. Specifically, it has 70% of the sweetness of sugar and contains only 6% of the calories. It will not cause blood sugar levels to spike and it has no effect on Insulin in the body.
Unlike sugar, it will not stimulate the production of bacteria in the mouth. There have been many studies carried out that demonstrate a reduction in bacteria and associated plaque, this proving that using Erythritol can help to improve oral health.
Oral Hygiene - It prevents the decay of teeth.
Anti-Aging Properties - Due to the antioxidant contents, it can help to prevent damage from free radicals that can be absorbed into the body.
Obesity - It can aid weight loss and help with treating Obesity and has a zero-glycemic index.
Digestive Issues - It is easily absorbed into the body and can reduce problems which can occur in the gut.
As you can see from the list of benefits above, both Stevia and Erythritol are two superb alternatives for sugar. Not only does refined sugar cause harm to your body, it can in fact seriously put your health at risk through prolonged and sustained use, even if only in low doses.
In this post, we have explained just how bad sugar for your body can be. One other important point to mention is that not all sweeteners and sugars substitutes are created equal. The FDA have approved five artificial sugar substitutes as safe for consumption. These are acesulfame, saccharin, neotame, aspartame, and sucralose. Using one of these non-natural sweeteners could in fact be doing more harm than good. This is because of the how the brain and the body respond to these sweeteners. In a study outlined by the Harvard Review, there has also been a suggestion that these artificial sweeteners could also be highly addictive. So, I would urge you to seriously consider a natural alternative to sugar, such as the two I have outlined here for you today.
Both the natural sugar substitutes I have spoken about in this post today will work intrinsically to help repair the damage which has been caused to your body from the consumption of sugar. They are also both heat stable, meaning they can easily and safely be used for baking.
So, the next time you consider using sugar in your everyday foods to sweeten the taste, consider Stevia or Erythritol as two of the best sugar alternatives.
Your teeth, and your body will thank you.
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/.
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.
Low carbohydrate and ketogenic diets are often confused, perhaps in part because a ketogenic diet is, by default, also a low carbohydrate diet. That said, there are several important distinctions that set ketogenic diets apart from more generic low carbohydrate diets. Let's look a little more closely at each of those distinctions, so you can better understand why someone might wish to pursue a ketogenic diet.
So, what's a low-carb diet?
Okay, so here's where the greatest confusion generally comes in. A low-carbohydrate diet focuses on limiting carbohydrate intake. A ketogenic diet does the same. So how are they different?
The difference is like that between a doctor and a surgeon. The surgeon is still a doctor but may be far more specialized. Keto diets, similarly, are specialized low-carb diets. So let's look at the generic—the low-carb diet—first.
First, it's important to note that “low” in this case is pretty subjective. There's no clear consensus on how many carbs one can eat before a diet is no longer low-carbohydrate, for instance.
In general, though, the idea here is to be more selective than the standard western diet. Often this means fruits, vegetables, and beans are still acceptable parts of the diet; while grains, baked goods, and processed sugars are either completely eliminated or drastically reduced.
As a result of shifting from carbohydrate-dense foods in your diet, to more low-density foods, the daily carbohydrate quantity you intake is significantly cut.
The subjectivity of the diet, however, can be problematic. For instance, if you were consuming 300 grams of carbohydrates daily, and cut it to 200 grams per day, this is a lower-carbohydrate diet. If you don't replace the lost calories, you may still lose weight, and technically, you could consider this a low carb diet, as you lowered your carbohydrate intake. Conversely, though, if you replace those lost calories with extra proteins or fats, you may have very different outcomes.
As a result, this subjectivity makes it hard to determine whether or not low-carbohydrate diets are effective, as they're not very well defined, and as such, cannot be very well judged.
Then what's the ketogenic diet?
The two biggest differences between low(ish)-carb diets and ketogenic diets are these:
- Low-carbohydrate diets are imprecise; everything in a proper ketogenic diet is measured.
- Low-carbohydrate diets are predicated by cutting back on a single macronutrient (carbohydrates), whereas ketogenic diets require very precise balances of all three.
In short, a successful ketogenic diet is high-fat, moderate-protein, and low-carbohydrate. When done correctly, it allows your body to shift from burning carbohydrates (or glucose) to burning fat in the form of ketones and fatty acids.
In fact, in order for a diet to truly be ketogenic, it has to pursue nutritional ketosis; if it isn't done properly, however, it can go very badly, and leave you feeling terrible—without any of the benefits ketogenesis can provide.
So, how should ketogenesis work?
When ketogenic diets are balanced correctly and appropriately, that carbohydrate restriction should result in increased ketone production. Ketones, which are a byproduct of fat distillation and produced in the liver, can actually be measured (via blood or urine), so if you are a ketogenic diet, you can test progress.
A few guidelines: Traditional western (high-carbohydrate) diets generally result in blood ketone levels between 0.1-0.2 millimoles (mmol), and even moderate-carbohydrate diet (which some may confuse for low-carbohydrate diets, as discussed above) will generally fall in this same range. A truly effective ketogenic diet, however, will result in much higher blood ketone levels, generally above 0.5millimoles but safely as high as 5.0 millimoles. This higher ketone level is a sign that your body has reached a state of “nutritional ketosis,” and shows that the ketogenic diet is working.
But what does this look like as a diet?
For an effective ketogenic diet, consider the following guidelines a starting point for each of the three most major macronutrients.
Standard western diets are frequently between 40-70 percent carbohydrates, by calories. Most research studies equate low-carbohydrate diets as gaining less than 30 percent of their calories from carbohydrates (generally in a range of 50-100 grams per day).
Ketogenic diets, however, often suggest as few as 5-10 percent of your total caloric intake comes from carbohydrates, which is generally in the 25-30 gram range. Many ketogenic plans offer a little more leeway, but almost all suggest a maximum intake of 50 grams on any given day, as keeping carbohydrate intake below that threshold seems necessary for triggering nutritional ketosis, in which your body begins relying on fat for fuel.
This is where ketogenic diets show the greatest range, depending on the goals of the ketogenic diet. If weight loss is the aim, for instance, the plan may suggest moderate to high protein intake, in order to maintain muscle, strength, and satiation, so you aren't left feeling hungry.
Consider the following basic divisions: High-protein diets may recommend 0.7-1 grams per pound of body weight (2 grams per kilogram) or more; moderate-protein diets generally recommend between 0.6-0.7 grams per pound of body weight (1.3-1.5 grams per kilogram); low-protein diets may recommend less than 0.35 grams per pound (0.9 gram per kilogram) of body weight.
One note of caution: As Dr Jacob Wilson, director of the Applied Science and Performance Institute, notes, high-protein diets can make achieving nutritional ketosis impossible. (As a result, he recommends no more than 1.5 grams per kilogram as an upper limit.)
The science behind this is based on a process called gluconeogenesis, by which the body, in a carbohydrate-limited state, breaks down proteins to create glucose, thereby bypassing the aims of ketogenesis, which requires the body not have access to glucose, so that it instead will create ketones for fuel.
When it comes to low-carbohydrate diets, you still need a moderate amount of fat, because otherwise, the only way to get calories is through an overabundance of protein. In a low-carbohydrate diet, though, you're still mostly burning the carbohydrates you're still consuming, so this is less important.
For many people, this is the hardest change to accept when looking at a ketogenic diet. After all, isn't it fat which contributes to obesity? The truth is, the research on high-fat diets are inconclusive at worst, whereas as plenty of evidence suggests that the real culprit for so many health issues is the combination of high-carbohydrate and high-fat diets, or what we might consider a standard western diet.
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.
Is your social life hindering your healthy eating habits? It might be an after-work drink that kicks on into after-work drinks, or hanging out with the friend who convinces you going to the dessert restaurant after dinner is a fantastic idea. Regardless of what it is, if you have gut problems, sensitivities, or are just trying to make healthier choices with your eating, it's time to take responsibility for your own actions.
In this article I'm going to share some tips to incorporate your healthy eating habits into your social life.
Before you go to a restaurant read the menu and see if there's things you're able to eat, or if you're able to request changes. Restaurants that won't accept menu alterations will usually have it written on their menus.
Familiarise yourself with cooking terms if you haven't already. Examples:
- Blanch: plunging fruits and veg into boiling water for a very brief period of time and then refreshing them in ice or cold water to cease the cooking process.
- Poach: cook a food by placing it in simmering liquid.
- Steam: cooking food in an enclosed environment infused with steam.
You get the idea, I'm sure ;)
I always opt for water as my drink when I am eating out at a restaurant. There's no need to choose juice, soda, or alcohol to ruin whatever healthy option you're going to choose to eat.
[...if you're up for it... QUIT ALCOHOL]
Temporary or permanent ban, it's up to you. This is a tricky one, but the health benefits that can come from it (and the money you will save) is well worth it, in my opinion anyway. It's now been about 6 months since I've had any alcohol! Is it a permanent change, who knows, I don't like to feel locked in, but it's definitely had a huge impact on the overall effect my diet and exercise has on my body.
Many people use alcohol as a social lubricant. Without it you will actually have to develop some confidence and charisma. This might seem daunting, but did you know that alcohol will inhibit your human growth hormone (which your body needs for recovery and growth) by as much as 70% in the days following a night of drinks. That's a lot of gym work down the drain, especially if you already have a sluggish metabolism or thyroid issues.
[INVITE THEM OVER]
Host a dinner where everyone brings over a meal to share! This option means you can wow (or horrify) your guests with your culinary skills... or lack thereof, and you can have a casual evening in with good company and food that suits your needs!
Ask the waitstaff how something is cooked if it isn't suggested in the name of the dish. And request small changes to adapt your meal to suit you, e.g. for my keto maintenance I'm most likely to ask for "no rice and double veggies". One thing to overcome with this is the mental hurdle of feeling like you're being a hassle or making someone go out of their way for you, feel free to ask, this is your health that you're trying to look after.
Remember that it's totally fine to let yourself relax and not feel restricted by your choices. If you struggle with keeping on top of this and keeping yourself accountable set yourself a set time, or set allowances for having your relaxed meals (treat meals, cheat meals, whatever you like to call them). For example, every Friday night, or two allowances per week. This is just to ensure that you knowhow often you're eating things which don't suit your goals.
Overall, it's important to find a lifestyle that suits your goals and works best with your body. So whether you're vegetarian, keto, vegan, fodmaps, sugar-free, or any other plethora of diet-styles out there you'll need to make your lifestyle work with your eating habits, rather than thinking the food you have to eat is a chore and getting in the way of your social life. Find ways to enjoy the whole lifestyle change, not just tolerate them!
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, I'm sorry there hasn't been a blog post from me for a while, and it pretty much comes down to one thing. Inspiration, well and motivation. Yep, me, Beau, the personal trainer who has no motivation. I'm human, this stuff happens, and having Fibromyalgia contributes a lot to it.
I was meant to write a post of activation of the muscles, but I think this is more important to so many people out there who suffer from depression. There are many reasons why people go through a period like this, for me I discovered that it was my surroundings. It's a build up of stress>anxiety>depression, and if it's an ongoing chronic problem it can develop in to adrenal map adaption and auto immune disease. Like my case for example. Once you have it, it can take a while to get rid of. Most of the time when we are depressed there are a few basic things that we all do, it's the first thought of acting against depression: go see a doctor and then a psychologist and then medication. Sometimes that's a quick fix but doesn't change the source of the problem.
Now, I hear you saying, what has this post got to do with me getting a thin waist and a big butt in your face? Everything. It's a revolving door. We help with health, physical and mental, and when you take care of your brain it takes care of your body.
There have been a few things that I have done that you can do too that can help short term and long term. I'm here to help you feel good and smile again.
Here we go:
1. I did this last night when I was feeling bad, no matter what situation you're in, put on a comedy movie, a TV show, something that will make you laugh. It's pretty hard to hold back a laugh or a smile, and in return that can make you feel better.
2. Don't sweat the small stuff. After being in Japan for a week, I realised that here (Australia) so many people work themselves up in to a frenzy of stress for no reason. Tokyo is so busy, people are going to step on other people's toes. Don't take it personally, it's going to happen. So when you're in the city, or driving and someone is in your way, don't make yourself angry for no reason. It's not going to change the outcome. Stress is contagious in a way, when you're angry, you make other people angry, if you don't get the job done, it makes other people fall behind. So just breathe, and understand that's life.
3. Go outside, get some sun. Even if it's for 5 mins a day getting extra vitamin D from the sun can help increase natural happiness hormones and endorphins.
4. Plan some stuff! Whether it's a trip to the beach, a holiday, your finances, movie date or just a chat on the phone with mum. Getting into a routine and having things to look forward to breaks up time and makes the boring days pass quicker!
5. On a larger note, if things aren't looking up, sometimes it's the scene you are in. There maybe a negative force in your life, whether it's work, home, friends, they can majorly impact your happiness, and it's not as hard as you think to change, it's just fear. It's a transitional period. I heard the other day that change is like getting in to the pool. You're comfortable with being on the outside, but when it comes time to jump in, you hesitate. Is it going to be cold? For a little bit, but once you're fully submerged you get used to it. Take a chance.
6. If a dramatic change like that is too much do some stuff around the house. Rearrange the furniture, a little change is a good start. De-clutter. I know when I have too many emails, or files all over my computer it can make the anxiety less rise due to the fact that I don't feel like I'm in control. Create some new folders, keep the stuff you need and delete what you don't. Same with possessions. You know those underwear that have the holes in them, or the dress that's way way way out of fashion. Time to go.
7. Last but not least. Exercise. I've explained this a few times on how it helps with mental illness and how mental illness can slow down results. But it's a big cycle, the less stressed you are, the less cortisol and the less fat you will have around your midsection, as well as motivation, focus and energy! On the other hand, having the motivation to start a work out sometimes is impossible. But start off small and get in to an easy routine, it's not about hammering yourself 100km an hour from the beginning. Start eating fresher food, drink less alcohol and your body will rest better, recover better and release more good endorphins = a healthier attitude and lifestyle.
Don't feel like you are the only one that feels like this, as we all fall apart sometimes. If you need a place to start, a small routine can help, we would recommend starting with the 8 Week Transformation Challenge guide to help you on your way to your fitness goals. Check it out here.
Makes 2 servings
(per 1) Carbs 57.5g / Fat 27.9g /Protein 11.6g / Calories 509
- 6 large kale leaves
- 50g rice vermicelli
- 1 lemon
- A pinch of himalayan salt
- 1 brown onion
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp Pad Thai paste
- 1 can of chickpeas (rinsed)
- 1 tsp curry powder
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp onion salt
- Baby spinach
- Grated carrot
- 3 tbsp avocado oil
- 1/2 tsp sesame oil
- To prepare your kale take six large, washed leaves and cut around the spine of the leaf before chopping into small pieces.
- Place the kale in a bowl and add the juice of 1 lemon and a pinch of Himalayan salt, massage these into the kale and leave it to sit on it's own while you prepare the other ingredients.
- Place a skillet on medium heat with 1 tsp of olive oil.
- Cut up 1 brown onion and place it in the warm skillet.
- Allow the onion to cook on it's own for five minutes before adding in 1 tin of rinsed and drained chickpeas and turn down to a lower heat.
- Also add paprika, curry powder and onion salt to the onion/chickpea mix.
- In a new bowl place 50g of rice vermicelli and enough boiled water to completely cover the vermicelli. After 5 minutes use some kitchen scissors to cut up the vermicelli. Allow this to also sit on it's own for a few minutes.
- After the chickpea/onion mix has cooked for 20 minutes add 2 tablespoons of Pad Thai paste and allow it to cook on a low heat for a further 5 minutes.
- While the chickpeas are finishing begin constructing your salad bowls. Combine the pre-prepared kale and vermicelli with some baby spinach leaves, grated carrot and coriander.
- Add the chickpeas on top once they are finished.
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?
Makes 4-6 servings (depends on size)
(per 1 - based on 6 servings) Carbs 35g / Fat 22g / Calories 324
- 6 avocados
- 3 oranges
- 1/2 cup rice malt syrup
- 1 tsp orange extract
- 6 tbsp cocoa powder (or cacao)
- Remove the skin and seeds of 6 avocados.
- Wash the exterior of one orange and using a fine grater remove the zest from about half.
- Slice up the oranges and manually juice them.
- Place the avocados, orange juice, rice malt syrup, orange extract and cocoa powder into a food processor.
- 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).
- Place the mix into a container in the fridge and allow it to cool for a minimum of 1 hour before serving.
- Serve with the orange zest on top.
A common event we see take place when people start a new training or exercise program, or start adjusting their diet, is that they often opt for low calorie foods. From a young age the media, people around us, and even the education system have told us that calories (and counting them daily) is a way to stay on top of what you're eating, or a way to lose weight. "Low calorie" is a selling point on the labels of products you'll commonly see in the grocery store. While yes, it's true that a caloric surplus over an extended period of time can cause weight gain, most people don't realise that they simply aren't eating enough (for some, this can be noticed by bad cravings or wanting to binge eat).
After a few weeks of eating a low calorie diet a change will take place in your body. Your metabolism will begin to slow and your weight loss will plateau. In this situation it is common for people to cut calories again to see more weight loss. After a few months you may begin to find yourself getting fatigue, nausea, constipation or diarrhoea and even gallstones. If you still continue to stay on a low calorie diet after a few months you may see more serious side-effects, such as extremely low blood pressure, swelling of the joints, trouble concentrating, anaemia, brittle fingernails, potassium deficiency, heart abnormalities, and depression.
Often diet plans or online advice will tell women to opt for calorie ranges as low as "1200-1400" (note: depending on your height, age, sex 1200 cal/day may be acceptable for your body). We've also noticed that apps such as MyFitnessPal will generally set your "calorie goal" for the day at 1200, as standard. Calories are not something you should be overly worried about, just something to check in on from time to time; you should be more concerned about the type of foods you are eating. 500 calories of vegetables will not have the same impact on your body as 500 calories of a doughnut. Often, a correctly calculated and sustainable caloric intake will be higher than you think, you'd be surprised how difficult it can be some days to get enough calories in of the right foods (especially if you're someone who eats a plant-based diet). The Get Lean: Nutrition Guide offers a full explanation and way to calculate your daily caloric intake if you're unsure what it really is.
I have compiled a list of some calorie-dense healthy foods to help ensure that you're not under-eating!
If you'd like to learn more, grab your copy of the Nutrition Guide, or subscribe to the blog so we can keep in touch!