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The Forgotten Mineral: Why You Need Magnesium

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Magnesium is a vital mineral for both the brain and the body. However, many people don’t actually know just how important it is, and the many advantages that including it in your diet can bring. In this post, we highlight some of the foremost benefits that Magnesium can deliver.

Essentially, Magnesium is a mineral that is involved in more than 500 different bodily reactions, it is within every cell, and it is vital for the correct functioning of those cells. 

 

Exercise Performance

Magnesium helps to transform the food you eat, into energy the body can use. It helps with exercise performance in a number of ways. First of all, muscle movements are improved with Magnesium. It depends on which type of exercise you are doing; however, it is said that you need to increase your magnesium intake following exercise, in order to get the desired boost. Magnesium also helps to transport blood sugar into your muscles while also helping to get rid of lactic acid, which when left to build up, can cause a great deal of pain. 

Interestingly, during a study that was conducted, it was apparent that Volleyball players who took a supplement of 250Mg daily, where able to realize improvements in their arm movements as well as in their jumping capabilities. 

 

Reducing Blood Pressure

Magnesium can help to reduce both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. 

There are a number of studies to back this up. However, it is most effective on those individuals who have high blood-pressure, to begin with. 

 

Combatting Type-2 Diabetes

Magnesium is considered to be extremely effective for those who have type-2 diabetes. Not only does having a low intake of this mineral contribute to the likelihood of getting the condition; by adding it to your diet, you are less likely to get this. Taking Magnesium can result in blood sugar improvements and Haemoglobin A1c levels as well.  

There have also been many independent studies that show Diabetes patients who have lower than acceptable levels of Magnesium are then faced with having to deal with the inability of their insulin to be able to keep their sugar levels at bay. 

 

Anti-Inflammatory Advantages

There are definitive links between a lack of Magnesium in your diet and chronic inflammation. Foods that are enriched with Magnesium can help to reduce inflammation. A couple of great examples are dark chocolate and fatty fish such as Salmon. 

Having a lack of Magnesium in your diet has been studied in detail, and results show that it can drive obesity, aging, and chronic disease. 

 

Relieves Symptoms of PMS

Pre-menstrual Syndrome affects so many women of all ages. Magnesium has been proven to help alleviate some of those symptoms and offers a way to combat problems with low-mood, water retention and more. 

Research has proven that Magnesium supplements can help with the muscle cramps often caused by PMS due to its muscle relaxing qualities.

 

Aides Treatment of Asthma

Magnesium has been strongly linked with Asthma, and if you suffer from this condition, you’ll be pleased to know that increasing your Magnesium intake can help to ease the wheezing that comes with Asthma, it also helps to regular and controls the breathing, along with helping to relax your bronchial muscles to make breathing easier. 

There have been many studies into the benefits of Magnesium for Asthma sufferers which have proved that it can help to treat symptoms caused by the illness. 

 

Produces Collagen

Contrary to popular belief, Collagen is something which can help the entire body. Magnesium stimulates the same proteins that are needed to produce collagen, meaning it can serve to improve the health of your hair and your skin.

Research has proved that having more collagen in your body can help with digestion, hormonal balancing and joint and bone health in general.  

 

Helps with Bladder Control

Magnesium can help you to keep proper control of your bladder by helping to fight infections, nephritis, and interstitial cystitis. 

 

Healthy Teeth

Given that the bones are responsible for the most consumption of Magnesium within the body, it’s no surprise that this mineral can have a huge impact on the health of your teeth. Magnesium is responsible for the absorption of calcium within the body, it can, therefore, help you to have strong bones and healthy teeth. 

So now you know just some of the benefits of having magnesium in your diet, the next logical questions are, how do you get more of this mega-mineral into your body? Of course, you can take supplements. However, there are also a few other ways you can easily introduce more into your day-to-day regime by consuming foods that are naturally rich in Magnesium.

  • Black Beans

  • Cooked Quinoa

  • Halibut 

  • Cashew Nuts

  • Avocado

  • Salmon

  • Pumpkin Seeds

  • Dark Chocolate

  • Boiled Spinach

  • Almonds 

  • Mackerel

Simply put, Magnesium is essential for your body, whatever your age and whatever your condition. Without enough of this exceptionally beneficial mineral, your body will not be able to perform to its optimal ability. 

 

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My Keto Food List

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Before I provide you with my PDF of keto supplies I need to cover these points:

KETO IS NOT FOR EVERYONE.
This diet needs to be monitored, and you should not be guessing portions.
Speak to a healthcare professional before deciding if it's right for you.

Before I jumped into a ketogenic lifestyle I was eating low carb for around 9 months, this made the transition much easier. The reason that I follow this lifestyle is to help with my PCOS and the symptoms I get from it, you may notice a decline in athletic performance on a ketogenic diet.

I do want to cover this in more depth, so if you have questions leave them as a comment underneath this article and I can try to address them in a future post or video :)

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Low Carb vs Keto - What's The Difference?

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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.

Carbohydrates

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.

Proteins

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.

Fats

 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.

In a ketogenic diet, however, fat is what you're burning. As a result, you want 70 percent or more of your daily calories to come from fat, as fat is your new fuel source.

 

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.

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How Your Diet Changes Your Skin


 

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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Glowing,
Radiant,
Luminous,

Skin.

The secret won’t be found in the latest X cleanser and it’s definitely not X foundation – the key to maintaining a healthy complexion doesn’t come from a bottle. From the odd-spot to acne, to redness and lacklustre skin – the food you eat is just as important for your skin as it is for your waistline.

This could go one of two ways – simplified “eat this and that” to complicated “what even is gluconeogenesis”... I’m going to try and meet you half way and give you the knowledge about how your diet changes your skin.

Food. We all consume it.

Food gets digested and broken down into vitamins, minerals and amino acids that your body can use to build healthy skin. The less human interference to these foods – the better! This can be broken down into Hi-GI and Low GI (GI – Glycemic Index). Hi-GI means an excess of sugars or carbohydrates (which turn into sugars). Low GI diets have been proven to be beneficial to acne-prone skin which can be seen as reducing sugar and replacing with nutrient-dense foods (fruits, vegetables, omega-3).

Protein is important to develop the amino acids that go into making collagen (strength in your skin) and elastic tissue (suppleness). However, ditch the protein bars (remember our post 20 ‘Health Foods’ That Aren’t Actually Healthy?) – these are essentially a candy bar – the sugar goes into your bloodstream, making your insulin levels spike, which can aggravate acne, wrinkles and rashes.

Some of you might be surprised when I say ditch the dairy. For some people, the hormones found in milk play a role in excess sebum production that promotes acne. Sebum is the bodies natural oil supply made by the sebaceous glands that are found around the hair follicles. When excess sebum is produced and dead skin cells clog the follicles they become irritated and inflamed resulting in pimples, whiteheads and blackheads.

Try to avoid grains and grain-fed animals – including beef (choose grass-fed). Grains make palmitic acid, which settles through the arteries (think of ‘marbling’). Carbohydrates drive the release of cortisol – the stress hormone. Cortisol breaks down muscle tissue and liberates glucose (a process called gluconeogenesis – a normal physiological response to stress). When you’re overstressed you’re creating an over-production of cortisol which competes with testosterone for detoxification and can backlog testosterone. An excessive conversion of testosterone to DHT (dihydrotestosterone) is one of the most common defects seen in acne and has been linked to insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, obesity and PCOS. Stimulants such as coffee can encourage and increase in cortisol levels, particularly when having more than one throughout the day.

So what else can you be doing?

Introducing more zinc into your diet either in a supplement or by consuming nuts (particularly brazil nuts), pumpkin seeds, mushrooms and seafood. Zinc is required to convert beta-carotene into Vitamin A - an antioxidant that assists in maintaining healthy skin, aids skin repair and keeps lines and wrinkles in the skin away by producing more collagen.

Don’t like the idea of a green smoothie? Try liquid chlorophyll. Diluted in water or on it’s own, it oxygenates the skin and works from the inside-out to keep the skin healthy and glowing.

PS: Avocados can supply skin with healthy fats and phytonutrients – we all love avocados here at Eat Run Lift!

References

ATP Science. (2017).  Acne. Episode 94. [ONLINE]. 21 April 2017. Available from: https://soundcloud.com/atpproject/episode-95-acne

Goldberg, D. J., 2017, Secrets of Great Skin: The Definitive Guide to Anti-Aging Skin Care. 1st ed. USA: Innova Publishing.

Forbes. 2017. Eating for Beauty – The Best Diet for Healthy Clear Skin. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/sarahwu/2014/09/16/eating-for-beauty-the-best-diet-for-healthy-clear-skin/#306c13a41e6

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Is Your Social Life Ruining Your Healthy Eating Habits?

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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.


[READ MENUS]
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. 


[COOKING TERMS]
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 ;)


[DRINK WATER]
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!


[CHANGES]
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.


[MODERATION]
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!

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3 Easy Tips To Get Back On Track After Easter

Image from mode.com

Image from mode.com

Written by Taneille Martin
Eat Run Lift's PCOS Training Specialist

Easter, four days of sugar. Whilst most people have a lovely time catching up with friends and family often we are left feeling ill, tired and cranky, after our four day sugar binge. The good news is you don’t have to stay that way for long.

It is important to remember that your body will be craving sugar, so you need to stay focused, with the three easy tips below you should be more then capable of kicking those cravings to the curb in no time.

The first step:
Remove any further temptation from your home.
Give it away or store it in the very back of your cupboard for a later date.
Once your fridge is free of those sugary treats, head to the local fruit and veg store to replace them with fresh local produce. This will to help restore and replenish your body. try to avoid those starchy items that tend to make us feel bloated and heavy.

Secondly:
Hydrate!
Your body may be craving sugar because it is dehydrated. Drink plenty of filtered water throughout the day to flush out toxins, and replace your usual caffeine fixes with peppermint tea. Also a sneaky tip might be to add lemon to your water for the first few days, the taste might help with the sugar cravings and lemon water helps hydrate the body faster.

Third Tip:
Exercise.
Get yourself back into a routine, if you are a regular gym goer do not waste any time! Get yourself back into that positive fitness environment and back into your program. Even take up one or two new HIIT sessions (Group classes are always a good idea).
If you are not associated to any fitness group, member at a gym or have a personal trainer now might be the best time to start.
Getting yourself a Personal trainer or a new gym buddy can help introduce you into the fitness world, it is also a great way to help keep you motivated, accountable and keep things enjoyable.

Exercise is not a punishment (even after your four day sugar binge) it’s a test of your mental strength and will power to say, "I no longer want to feel tired, unhealthy and irritable."


Related:

 
Simple 7 Day Detox
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Are you having problems losing those last few kilos? Just don't know how to get started with eating healthy? Need something to kick your sugar addiction?
Or maybe you're just holding some excess weight? Water retention? Frequent colds?
Then it sounds like you need the Simple 7 Day Detox. The Simple 7 Day Detox will help you shed a few kilos all while clearing out nasties from your digestive system, helping you cut out processed sugars and bad fats, and improving your quality of skin and sleep, and it only goes for 7 days!

There are no expensive supplements or juice gimmicks, just real, nutritious food written up into a complete meal plan for you. Designed to help you tackle your health and weight loss goals head on!


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Chlorophyll: Why Use It?

A Brief Outline
Let’s start off by actually outlining what chlorophyll is, for any of you who didn’t already know. Chlorophyll is a green pigment found in plants that helps them absorb sunlight and utilise it for energy. Molecularly it’s very similar to haemoglobin found in human blood (the main difference being the central atom in haemoglobin is iron, and in chlorophyll is magnesium). Chlorophyll is also a great source of beta-carotene, calcium, iron, magnesium, and vitamins A, C, E and K.

How Do You Get Chlorophyll?
Chlorophyll is easily found in dark leafy green vegetables such as chard, kale, broccoli, spinach, green beans, wheatgrass and leaks. An easy way to get chlorophyll naturally is through wheatgrass juice or shots, or to add spinach and kale into your smoothies.

You can buy it in tablet, liquid and powder form, and nutritionists or herbal practitioners usually recommend a dosage of 100mg 2-3 times a day (check with your specialist). Also be aware that chlorophyll supplements can have high levels of copper, which may not suit all diets, so try the natural method first before turning to supplements! As for side effects, it may make your skin slightly more sensitive to the sun, so be careful about sun exposure, and make sure to wear sunscreen!

Alright, so let’s cover what it can actually do…

1. It’s an antioxidant

Aside from containing a large number of vitamins, chlorophyll is also considered to be a superfood. It is able to eliminate free radicals, and in turn protect cells from damage.

2. Effective against Candida

Ever heard of candida? Candida is a fungus/yeast infection which can lead to fatigue, bad breath, brain fog, hormone imbalances, and digestive problems (just to name a few symptoms). Studies have shown that increasing chlorophyll in the diet can slow or stop candida growth.

3. Maintains iron levels

Chlorophyllin (not the regular chlorophyll supplement) can be effective against anaemia or low iron. Regular liquid chlorophyll is used by health practitioners for anaemia or blood loss, due to it’s ability to increase the amount of oxygen blood cells can carry, and speeds up the process of building the red blood cells.

4. Anti-ageing properties

 Because of the aforementioned free-radical fighting properties of chlorophyll, it can also support maintaining healthy tissues in the body. The amount of Vitamin K present in chlorophyll aids the adrenal glands and can improve adrenal function.

5. Hormone balancing

Chlorophyll, and it’s vitamin E content, help stimulate and regulate the production of sex hormones in males and females. The ability of chlorophyll to rebuild hormones is also partially due to the magnesium content.

6. Eases bad breath

Poor gut health and oral bacteria can cause bad breath. Chlorophyll can not only deodorize bad breath, but can also target the source by helping establish better gut health.

7. Blood detoxification

Chlorophyll can aid your liver in the process of eliminating heavy metals and harmful chemicals from the blood.


Most people do not consume enough leafy green vegetables in their diet, so either start adding in more raw/steamed green vegetables, or look out for a chlorophyll supplement!

References

Balder HF, et al. 2006, 'Heme and chlorophyl intake and risk of colorectal cancer in the Netherlands cohort study', Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev, vol 15, no 4, pp. 717-725.

Dingley KH, et al. 2003, 'Effect of dietary constituents with chemopreventative potential on adduct formation of a low dose of the heterocyclic amines PhIP and IQ and phase II hepatic enzymes', Nutr Cancer, vol 26, no 2, pp. 212-221.

Maekawa LE et al. 2007, 'Antimicrobial activity of chlorophyll-based solution on Candida albicans and Enterococcus faecalis', Revista Sul-brasiliera de Odontologia.

Miret S, Tascioglu S, van der Burg M, Frenken L, & Klaffke W 2010, 'In vitro bioavailability of iron from the heme analogue sodium iron chlorophyllin', J Agric Food Chem, vol 58, no 2, pp. 1327-1332.

Klatz R & Goldman R 2003, Stopping The Clock, Basic Health Publications Ic.

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Depression vs Training: 7 Tips

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.

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Sources of Calcium: 27 Food Suggestions!

It's common knowledge that we all need calcium, everyone knows it helps with healthy teeth and strong bones. Did you know calcium is also what makes your muscles move? Muscle contraction is regulated by calcium, and too much or too little can result in pins and needles, or even cramps. Aside from this calcium also helps your blood clot properly if you get a cut or injury, and it helps to maintain good blood pressure throughout your body.

RECOMMENDED DAILY INTAKE OF CALCIUM (RDI)

0-6 months: 200mg
7-12 months: 260mg
1-3 years: 700mg
4-8 years: 1000mg
9-18 years: 1300mg
Adult men (51-70 years): 1000mg
Adult women (51-70 years): 1200mg
71+ years: 1200mg

Calcium is also a key electrolyte, and if your level of calcium drops too low your body secretes parathyroid hormone to increase your useable calcium and phosphate, and in order to do this it has to leech from your body's stored calcium in your bones and teeth! Creating a loss in bone density.

I decided to put together this blog post because many people consume below the daily recommended intake (RDI) of calcium, and we often have people contacting us how they can reach their RDI if they don't drink milk. The thing is, you don't actually need traditional dairy to reach your RDI of calcium, and as you'll see on the graph below, regular cow's milk is surprisingly low in calcium compared to some of the other sources you could be consuming.

Groups of people who are likely to be low in calcium include:

  • Post-menopausal women because they are experiencing a loss in bone density;
  • People with lactose intolerance;
  • People on a plant-based diet who don't substitute dairy for other high calcium foods; and
  • Women of childbearing age who do not get their periods or have them infrequently (whether it's from a low body fat percentage, PCOS, or otherwise).

So what are the general symptoms of calcium deficiency?

  • Sleep problems (calcium helps to produce melatonin which will result in better sleep);
  • Difficulty with losing weight; and/or
  • Paresthesia (tingling, numbness and poor memory)

There are also extreme symptoms of calcium deficiency, which include:

  • Confusion;
  • Memory loss;
  • Depression;
  • Muscle spasms and cramps;
  • Brittle bones;
  • Numbness;
  • Hallucinations; and/or
  • Weak/brittle nails.

There are also a few conditions which can inhibit how much calcium your body is willing to absorb. One of these is age, as you get older the rate at which your body can absorb calcium decreases. Another is Vitamin D intake. If your body is not receiving enough Vitamin D (10~ minutes exposure per day) it will not be able to absorb calcium efficiently. And occasionally other components in food can inhibit your absorption. This is not for everybody, but in some individuals poor timing of phytic acid (found in wholegrains) and oralic acid (in beans and some vegetables) can stop the body from absorbing or processing calcium correctly.

So where can you find your calcium? Check the graph below for our suggestions, as well as some alternatives to the regular dairy! Some of these foods you wouldn't consume 100g of in one sitting, but this is to show an even comparison.

References:

Zemel, M 2004, 'Role of calcium and dairy products in energy partitioning and weight management', American Society for Clinical Nutrition, vol. 79, no. 5, pp. 9075-9125.

Chaturehdi, P et al 2013, 'Comparison of calcium absorption from various calcium containing products in healthy human adults: a bioavailability study', The FASEB Journal, vol. 20.

Langsetmo, L et al 2013, 'Calcium and vitamin D intake and mortality: results from the Canadian multicentre osteoporisis study (CIAMOS)', The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, vol. 98, no. 7.

Hwang, G et al 2012, 'Micronutrient deficiencies in inflammatory bowel diseases: from A to Zinc', Inflammatory Bowel Disease, vol. 18.

Straus, D 2007, 'Calcium supplementation in clinical practice: a review of form, doses and indications', Nutrition in Clinical Practice, vol. 22, pp. 286.

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Smart Phones, Dumb Injuries

As humans, we already do enough dumb stuff to add to our list of things that do our bodies no good.  With the launch of the new iPhone 7 and bigger and better smart phones, that weigh more and are a lot harder to handle than phones of the past I think we will see some subtle injuries arise as a result of you swiping right on tinder too much.

I’m not even joking, before I had met Rachel I had a bit of a flutter on the new-at-the-time dating app. The thing for guys was that you could just keep on swiping right until someone matched with you. I guess karma got me back. I remember flicking with my thumb and out of no where instant RSI. I had to wear a wrist guard when I did exercise to help support it was that bad (Rachel here editing this, and HAHA I had no idea this happened).

“RSI” aka Repetitive Strain Injury, comes from the overuse of tendons, muscles nerves; usually sufferers will get it from the type of work or activity that they do on heavy basis. Hairdressers are most commonly known for it, using scissors and holding other tools for long periods of time.

Along the same lines of RSI, a lot of shoulder problems come into play too from holding up your smart phone.  With the upgraded iPhone 7 Plus, or any large phone (ie Samsung Note), the weight is slightly more than the 7 or the 6 or any smaller device, and this can put an extra load though your rotator cuff and back down the arm and though the elbow joint, eventually causing pain.

I found that now when I want to use my phone on one hand it sits in a man made groove in my pinky finger. The phone is too awkward to hold in one hand comfortably if I’m flicking though Instagram on the toil- um, I mean between sessions. The pain traveling up my finger and the outside of my arm made doing upper body training painful, yes I know that sounds ridiculous, but with Fibromyalgia, any added pain doesn't help me whatsoever.

Last but not least, the head facing down in the screen. You will see it on public transport a lot of the time when people are on the train or bus, yeah those rides can be long and boring, but look at what you are doing now (most probably) head down reading this blog post. Now you are looking up and noticing how stiff your neck is. Is this how we evolve? Our spines curved to this manner? With all the nerves that run from your head to your body, no doubt somewhere in your body, physical or mentally, its probably being impacted from over uses of your devices.

I'm not saying phones are bad and that we are all going to hell, just that we can do some things to help with the injuries.

Here are 5 tips on how to prevent injuries associated with Smart Phones, music devices and tablets:

1. Swap hands on the regular. Giving your hands a rest whether you are watching Rachel on YouTube, typing a message to a friend, change your grip, use your finger to type.

2. Place the phone up against an object or on the wall, you could even get a magnetic case holder.

3. Stretch your nerves. There are a few exercises I like doing, try spreading your fingers apart as much as you can 5 times. I'm sure with the internet at your finger tips you can find a few other stretches and exercises to help with phone injuries.

4. If you feel your body hunching over, stand up and try and touch the sky, or sit up as high as you can and squeeze your shoulder blades together for 10 seconds.

5. If it can wait, let it wait. If you have a long video to watch, just wait till you are home, trying to squint and look at the screen for a long period of time can cause headaches and hurt your joints. It's probably better watching it at home or computer on a more comfortable chair.

I almost forgot two other injuries. Pokémon, and driving, that can end badly for you and whoever is around you. And a less serious one, lying in bed with the phone above your face... don’t drop it, that can hurt a fair bit.

Have you got any niggling injuries that you think may have been caused by the over use of technology?

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Doctor, Who? Does Your GP Know What You Need?

Does Your GP Know What You Need?
Beau Bressington
 

How many times have you come back from the doctors with no answers, still scratching your head a week later and thinking that nothing has changed, and that you haven't seen any improvement in your health? I bet it's more than amount of fingers you have on your hands. Do you start to ask yourself if your doctor is an idiot or if the pain is all in your head? I know I do!

As many of you know I have Fibromyalgia, an Auto Immune Disease that has a number of symptoms and side effects. Since I've had it I've seen it get worse and dramatically better in the space of 12 months. Who helped me? Not doctors, all they wanted to do was pump me with pills which made me feel even worse if I missed taking one, so I decided to try another option. A Naturopath.

I started helping myself initially with a lot of the ATP science products, mainly Cort RX, after a while I saw great results, and I applied to be apart of a small knit community known as The "ATP Tribe" a group of like minded Health Professionals, Customers and the guys who run the company. One of the members was Jess Blair, a clinical nutritionist (the step before naturopath) she had previously been a bikini competitor which meant she was on the same wave length as Rachel and myself, fitness, but on a natural level.

We booked in to see Jess in a week, answered a couple of questions online and explained our situation. I didn't know what to expect, was she some hippy lady in a corner burning incense or was she going to question everything I had been doing and judging me? Nope, none of that, just chatting like a group of people in relation to the answers we gave her online about our problems. She also asked us to bring in our blood test results that we got done by our doctor a few weeks earlier....... Let's skip back in time for a sec. Rachel and I wanted to get our hormones tested again as we both know that they aren't the best. When we went back to the doctors, they told me there was no concern everything is normal. Now this is the point of this post... even though I don't feel normal, I know I'm not. The range for a doctor for someone to be normal is a lot broader than it is for a specialist, nutritionist or naturopath. "You don't want to be normal, you want to be optimal," Jess explains. Looking over my blood test results, Jess shows me testosterone, normal range is 11-41. I'm 12. Now this is pretty concerning to me, as testosterone is what helps us maintain muscle, strength, reproductive systems and burn fat, as well as motivation and stable mindset. Why would I want to be on the bottom end of normal? I want to be smack bang in the middle!

So after the hour chat, Rachel and I went home and got a follow up email from Jess explaining how we can get our hormones healthier. We already had the exercise down, we were eating healthy, and we're both quite fit, but we want to be next level. Diet is how we are going to attack this, and it's not a fad diet, we've taken her guidelines and created something that suits our needs, health specifications and budget. After I did the anti-candida protocol and saw dramatic changes, it was time to step up my game. Adding a smorgasbord board of vitamins and minerals, and health supplements I've seen a noticeable change in pain over the last 3 weeks.

If you aren't seeing changes I urge you to get in contact with a naturopath, and get your health sorted today. It's the only thing you have that supports you, make this relationship work.

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Meal Prep Hacks - Make Your Prep Easier!

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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10 Posts You Might Have Missed

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


(1)

HOW HORMONES CAN INTERFERE WITH WEIGHT LOSS

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


(2)

WHERE TO FIND PROTEIN

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


(3)

12 REASONS YOU AREN'T SEEING RESULTS FROM WORKOUTS

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


(4)

8 THINGS I WISH I KNEW BEFORE I STARTED TRAINING

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


(5)

I LOST WEIGHT BUT I STILL FEEL BIGGER

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


(6)

20 HEALTH FOODS THAT AREN'T ACTUALLY HEALTHY

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


(7)

OVERCOMING BODY IMAGE ISSUES

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


(8)

HOW I ROLL

The Eat Run Lift guide to foam rolling.


(9)

6 STEPS TO START WORKING OUT (AT HOME)

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


(10)

THE RISKS OF OVERTRAINING

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


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

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Overcoming Body Image Issues + Getting Back On Track

A Personal Trainer with body issues.
My plan to overcome them and get my training back on track.

By Beau 

You have just seen this picture and thought to yourself, “Put your shirt back on”, or have judged it some way or another.

Good, that’s what I want you to do. This was a spur of the moment photo taken by Rachel at my request to help me get something off my chest (there’s the pun already folks) I was taking pictures of Rachel and thinking to myself she looks so good and I’m so proud of her! So I whipped my shirt off and said, “Take a picture of me with my shirt off, I don’t care who sees, I need to be open about this” and this is why...

As a PT, your clients expect a lot from you, you show up to sessions and get them results as per usual, but they also look up to us as inspiration and motivation. They see us as these fit gods who never eat a bad thing in our lives, can lift cars over our heads and can run for miles with out puffing, well maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but I do feel like there is a bit of pressure on me to look my best to set an example, not only to those who train with me, but for the likes of you who are reading this blog.

I look around gyms these days and I see trainers who have come along way with their bodies and making improvements, but honestly, not many people know the story and I get told a lot that if I didn’t look like I trained, or if I wasn’t in better shape than them I wouldn’t be hired as a PT. Who is going to take advice from someone who cant practice what they preach?

This is what’s been playing on my mind lately. I’ve been so over worked, stressed, depressed and having health issues that I haven’t had the time to focus on me. My training went to shit, my eating went to shit, my 'me time' was non-existent… my life went to shit and it was making me upset.  I’ve been looking in the mirror recently and what I see back in the reflection doesn’t impress me at all. What happened to the abs? Why do I have love handles again? What happened to my arms? It wasn’t just the physical, my strength was down, and my fitness had become a victim of my lifestyle change. I used to say there are no excuses for not exercising, and there aren't, but I was making them, I honestly couldn’t string working 13 hours a day and consistent training together, if I did have the time to fit it in, I would just be shattered and want to sleep, sometimes I would get home and collapse on the bed. 

Enough about me blabbering on most of you know my story but for those whom don’t, I suffer from fibromyalgia, if you don’t know what it is, look it up because I don’t want this to drag on. It got really bad over the last 6 months, so I had to make a tough decision and leave my full time job. I now have time on my hands to get everything back in order, including my stress.

The last week that had gone by I indulged myself to a cheat meal……….. every night instead of just the usual 2 meals a week, and in result it had left me feeling really uneasy about how I felt and looked, I said to Rachel, “ I need to make a change, as a challenge I don’t want to have any cheat meals at all for the next week” so I could focus and get my gut looking like that of a Bay Watch star (I hope you are old enough to remember Bay Watch).  Rachel thought I was joking, but I wasn’t. Rachel gets so much attention from other women and men and I can’t remember when the last time someone actually even blinked and eye at me. It made me feel undesirable, and this coming from a guy is really a different topic a lot of people don’t think about.  After a bit of a chat to her about it all she was 100% behind me and is helping me stick to just 1 week. 1 week of eating is all it takes to see a difference, a change in someone’s lifestyle that can see it last for 8 weeks (yes another 8 week challenge plug); I really do mean it thought, this could be the change of your life. It got me thinking, what are the steps you need to consider to get your fitness back on track or started in the first place, coming from someone in the fitness industry.

 
 

1.     Set a Goal.

Make this as specific as you can. A lot of people say “I’m not too worried about what my weight is” or “I don’t look at the scales”.  I can guarantee the first thing out of most people’s mouths is that they want to lose weight. Re-word it to what you want then. “On the 12th of January I want to have those lines that run down your belly that are kind of like abs but not, in my white bikini on the beaches of Thailand hanging out with my boyfriend, he looks to me and says he’s proud that I’m smiling because I am finally confident enough to wear a bikini in public."

  • When
  • What
  • Location
  • Body difference
  • Why

Fill in the tiniest bit of detail so it seems like reality and you can see it in your head. If you are once of those people that likes dot points and want to see the numbers make it like this.

When – 3 months time
What – lose fat, tone up
Location I see myself in - night clubs (or 'going out')
Body difference  - Bigger butt 4 cm, smaller waist 8 cm
Why - To look better in clothes

These not only help with getting you excited about your goals, but help your trainer or your self make a plan of action


2. Set little goals, fitness missions if you will.

You don’t have to achieve everything in one big go, but overcome little obstacles that may hinder your training. Your first mission may even be to work out where the heck you start, for many, finding a gym, starting an online program or even buying roller blades is a start. Do you need to get your back looked at, see a physiotherapist? Start there, or like me? How about just start off with one week of clean eating, or try and go to the gym an extra day!


3. Having loved ones or friends help support you, or do the challenges with you!

Having someone go through the same pains and sharing the same satisfying results can help boost each other’s morale or pick the other one up when they are falling. Remember a couple that trains together, stays together.
 

4. Get a Personal Trainer.

I’ve had one for 8 years, yes they can be expensive, but a good one can be a great investment. Not only will you have someone spot you, motivate you, be there for you, help you with your diet, put the weights away for you, put together the program for you, make awesome jokes, but they will also be a great friend! I know with all of my clients we share some sort of connection and bond, and I think that when you have the right trainer, you will know. It's like when you have a pet and you look just like it. One thing I do get from a few of my clients is that I make them responsible to show up and lift things, if they weren’t paying me money or just had a gym membership, they would be able to hold themselves accountable.  Turning up is only half the challenge.


5. Don’t over work yourself. 

Working long hours and stressing can really affect your ability to lose weight, and set back your motivation. Wanting to go to the gym is the last thing on most people’s minds after a long, hard day at work. So make sure your work life and personal life are balanced. You need to have time to be able to enjoy what you have worked for. If you don’t spend enough time relaxing and doing the things you enjoy your brain reacts differently, creating more stressors whether they be physical, emotional, internal or external, and this creates cortisol which can strip down your muscle and create belly fat, not to mention your routine falls out of play and you find your self playing catch up.

If anyone, and I mean anyone wants to have a chat to me, do not hesitate to email me at Beau@eatrunlift.me.

Or just want to start your own fitness plan? Register for the 8WTC:

Registrations close August 15, 2015.

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Have You Weakened Your Immune System?

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

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

Stress

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

Lack of Sleep

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

Lack of Exercise

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

Excess Use of Medications

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

Dehydration

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

Fake Fragrances

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

Smoking

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

Excess Refined Sugar

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

Bad Diet

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

Zinc Deficiency

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

Reference List:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Rise and Shine

By Beau

This is the second time I’ve written this blog post - so I hope I remember everything! 

I’m writing this from bed now knowing I have to go to sleep, I have a client at 7am so that means waking up early and getting there on time. It’s funny, a year ago I never had anyone before 11am, let alone 6am. I found it hard to get to sleep, staying up 'til 3 doing nothing, just looking at the ceiling. 

About 3 months ago I became the busiest I had ever been, 70 sessions per week booked in and I only had time left for clients at 6am. I had never done such an early start before, but I was just like YOLO!

I set my alarms and I got there and I couldn’t believe how many people were there, and here I am thinking, "There is a 6 o’clock in the morning now?" The gym was packed, it had a great vibe, and I was digging this! My client had a great session and I was happy and full of energy so instead of going home I did my paperwork, sent some emails and even trained my self, all of this done and it was only 9am, crazy! After having her booked in I felt it was a waste not to utilise my time around it, so I had more clients booked in and my mornings were packed! This is it, I have become a morning person!

So after such a long intro I’m going to give you 5 tips on how to transform from a nighttime person, to a morning person!

1.     Set alarms, you have to do this! You need to make sure something is waking you up in the morning. If you sleep through your first alarm set a second or a third! You can’t fall away from the routine, stick to the plan. It will be hard on day one, but you need to be consistent!

2.     Go to sleep at a certain time every night, it may be hard to force yourself to go to sleep but your body will need the rest so it has enough energy for tomorrow and recovery from your day just gone! If sleeping is a challenge for you I really recommend creating a routine before you go to bed. Have a shower, brush your teeth, do some stretches or read a book. Stick away from things like scrolling through Facebook or Instagram because they can over stimulate your brain and keep it running in to the later hours.

3.     Make a routine, training program or some sort of commitment in the morning, something you have to be at. If you have a PT I find a lot of people book in with me to make sure they are sticking to something, and sticking to something at 6 am is a bit harder than something in the afternoon. Stick to it, do it with someone else and don’t let them down!

4.     If your routine you have doesn’t consist of doing something early in the morning still get up at the same time and do something new, send emails, stretch, do some cleaning, whatever! Keep your body clock consistent and it will get easier to wake up everyday

5.     Last but not least, caffeine!!! I don’t recommend this all the time but when you need to try and wake up and your head isn’t in the game have a coffee or a stimulant supplement. I used these when I first started getting up and felt that it really did improve my focus, energy and getting my day started! Don’t do it all the time, just when it is needed, as it can be very addictive!

Well I hope you are ready for bed and excited about tackling your morning duties! If I can change so can you!

Goodnight!

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How taking selfies helps you lose weight

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Left early August 2014, right early January 2015

Hear me out for a second... it's actually the psychology behind it. As many of you know I am still on my own fitness journey trying to achieve the body that I want. This started back in February 2014. It's been nearly a year now and although I feel healthier, my skin is a million times better, I have more energy and I am much stronger, I look at my body and don't actually feel that 'different'. I was never unhappy with my body, it's a sack of meat that you use to walk around and do stuff in, so I think that's pretty awesome and you should be happy regardless. However because the changes in progress are pretty slow (you don't wake up slim after a week) and they fluctuated depending on how strict I was being with training and exercise it meant that when I looked at myself, and when people who saw me very frequently looked at me, they weren't noticing any changes.

I only heard that I looked different when I ran into people I hadn't seen in a while, they would exclaim how much weight I had lost and that I look great, but again, I couldn't see it. This is where taking photos has come in handy and I love looking back through them every couple of weeks. I think for your own motivation and to see the changes you have made you should take a photo of your body once a week, at the very least once a fortnight, to track your progress. It's great when you get measured or weighed and the numbers have come down, but in the end numbers and just numbers and you can't see what they look like unless you have photo evidence.

Even if your aim is the opposite, to gain weight, or gain muscle, this is such a useful exercise for you to do. Most of us snap selfies anyway so just take one in your training clothes next time! It's not even about putting them up all the time either, I know most of mine remain unposted - I just keep them on my own phone for reference.

For those doing the 8 Week Transformation Challenge I strongly urge you to take photos of your progress once a week! These will help you so much. We'd love to see your results too, so don't forget to follow and tag us @eatrunlift.me #eatrunlift8

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Also a quick side note, to anyone who has registered for the challenge and hasn't received their 'Welcome to the 8 Week Transformation Challenge' email yet please check your junk/spam inbox and if it's still not there contact me: rachel@eatrunlift.me A few of the emails looked like they had typing errors and I use an external program to automatically send out the welcome pack emails. Registration shuts 9:00am AEST and the book is being sent out tomorrow night.

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Cleansing Green Facial Mask

fmingredients

If you need help evening out the complexion of your face this mask works a treat! If used regularly it should help clear and control your skin. Green clay is known for is absorptive properties and will help draw the nasty stuff out of your skin that you don't want in there (note: this means that the first few times you use this mask your skin might purge before it gets better - mine got bad for about a 4-5 days), if you keep at it you will see your skin start to look firmer and smoother. The mask also contains lemon, which has fantastic antibacterial properties, and apple cider vinegar. ACV also has antibacterial properties, but more importantly, it can help restore the pH balance of your skin and fade scarring.

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp green clay powder
  • 1/4 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp water
  • Juice from a small wedge of lemon

Method

1. Combine all ingredients and apply to clean skin for 15-20 minutes 2. Wash off with warm water 3. Follow with a light moisturiser (Lemon juice can make your skin more sensitive to UV rays, so pop on some SPF before heading outside if you use this mask frequently)

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