Make Mum’s Day With These Simple But Touching Gestures

Mother’s Day is here once again, and many of us will be scrambling last minute to grab gifts and cards. But are they really that personal? Here are three no-fuss gestures you can make that will show your mama that you appreciate her.

Buy her a yoga membership

Hey, so we are a little biased here, but a membership to a yoga studio might be just what the doctor ordered. A little me time for your mum to escape from the seemingly endless woes of the kids (thanks for putting up with me, mum)! You can even go together for some quality bonding time – after all, you’re never going to be short on laughs after one of you has gone bowling over in forearm stand!

Tell her why you love her

Mums can be complicated, but chances are that if you’re reading this article, you love yours. Tell her all the reasons that you love her – and if that’s too cringeworthy face-to-face, write her a letter. It’s amazing how little we say these things to our mums, even when we call them daily to moan about the fact that the beautiful shoes you just bought have a small scuff on the inside ankle or that the girl from the floor below in your office has the same coat and it’s soooo embarrassing.

Book her in to a spa

After all, she’s been carrying the weight of all our woes on her shoulders – she needs a massage! Bonus points for booking a nutritional consulation/ayurvedic reading too. Your mum will feel fabulous and take some new knowledge away with her that will keep her feeling good in the long run. This one takes no time at all but will leave you in mum’s good books for ages.

Take the time today to let your mum know you appreciate her. If your mum isn’t around for you to pamper, write down all the fond memories you had together and set an intention to model her best qualities. To all the mums out there – you are doing an amazing job. If your little ones aren’t big enough to pamper you yet, treat yourself! You deserve it.

MoreFit are currently offering half price memberships at our Brixton studio, opening on April 1st. To book in with our nutrition consultant, email info@morefit.co.uk.

Follow Your Heart: How to Spot An Imbalance In Your Heart Chakra

The Chakras are a key component of your yoga practice and each asana gives you a clue as to what your chakras are up to. If Camel Pose makes you want to scream, and Wild Thing has you uttering expletives not fit for the studio floor, you may need to do some work on your heart chakra.

The heart chakra (Anahata Chakra) is actually located just above the heart, and it works to balance the lower three chakras (navel, sacral and root) with the upper three chakras (throat, third eye and crown).This heart is traditionally seen as the balance between the world of the physical and the world of the spirit. Imbalance or blockage of the heart chakra is more common than you might think – have you seen any of these telltale signs?

If you have a blockage in Anahata Chakra, you may experience:

  • Shyness
  • Loneliness
  • Depression/Anxiety
  • Finding it hard to forgive
  • Finding it hard to feel empathy

On the other hand, if your heart chakra is overactive, you may notice:

  • dependence on others for fulfilment
  • jealousy
  • high expectations of others
  • harsh judgement of other people
  • needing acceptance of others

And let’s not forget the physical symptoms! A lowered immune system (colds, flus, infections), heart and lung issues (heart palpitations common), poor circulation, high/low blood pressure, and respiratory and breathing difficulties are all symptoms of anahata chakra imbalance.

Eek! I have a blocked/overactive heart chakra! What now?

Sounds serious, but you don’t need to get to the GP for this one. The key to balancing out your chakras lies in food and exercise.

Go green

Green foods instil balance in the heart chakra, so chow down on dark green leafy veggies – think spinach, kale, broccoli, bok choi, seaweed (I’m not joking)… The list goes on! If you’re finding you just can’t face a mountain of the green stuff, whack it in a smoothie and get all the good stuff with none of the fuss. Toss in some green fruit and you’re good to go. Bonus points for eating the skin for extra fibre and adding a superfood suplement (spirulina, chlorella, wheat grass, barley grass, matcha powder, green tea or maca powder).

Herbal remedies

Herbs have amazing healing and medicinal properties – you only have to look at their traditional use in China and India to know that they have incredible health benefits. If you fancy trying your hand at horticulture but the limits of London flat sizes has stopped you, try growing herbs indoors – even if you kill them within the week at least you’ll have a handful or two of lovely fresh herbs! Herbs for the heart include coriander, mint, oregano, parsley, sage, tarragon, rosemary, thyme and chives. If you really don’t have the green thumb for growing your own herbs, invest in some tasty herbal tisanes. A mint tea in the morning instead of the double-espresso-with-a-shot-of-vanilla-and-chocolate-powder is a refreshingly calming alternative.

Sophie Higgins is our in-house nutritional expert. For a consultation on how to open your heart chakra using your diet, email us on info@morefit.co.uk.

4 Ways To Kickstart A Healthy Eating Habit

The sun has finally got his hat on again and we are all starting to feel human once more. What a perfect time to clear out the pantry and refresh your eating habits! These four tips will keep your body functioning at the highest level it should be (and you don’t have to restrict yourself to do it).

Hydration

Water, water, water. We hear about this so often that it’s easy to forget to do it! If you are one of those eople who just doesn’t find a glass of water alluring, try adding lemon slices or mint. If you still can’t stand that, just promise to always have a glass of water before any other drink you have. Drinking enough water is essential for healthy digestive system function, and helps to keep everything moving along as it should. Eliminate waste and toxins from the body efficiently with 1.5 to 2 litres per day, or more if you exercise regularly.

Mindful eating

How many times this week have you shovelled in a sandwich while typing a report and whatsapping your best mate? Guilty! How you eat your food is super important for healthy gut function. Eat slowly, stop eating when you feel full, and avoid eating just before bedtime. Digestion requires a lot of energy, so take small bites, chew until your food is mush, then swallow completely before taking another bite – your digestive system will thank you for a load off!

Go for complex carbohydrates

Dump the white bread and pasta and replace it with the wholegrain alternative. The sugar in that white bread that is oh so addictive wreaks havoc on our gut lining, and can be a major contributor to an overgrowth of harmful bacteria in the gut. Bloating and digestive issues ahoy! Complex carbohydrates also have a bonus side effect – they keep you fuller for longer, so you won’t be feeling faint by eleven.

Fibre

Remember your mum always forcing Weetabix on you as a kid? There was a reason for it beyond trying to wean you off the sugary cereals of old (Coco Pops, anyone?). Fibre can help your GI tract stay ‘regular’, stabilise blood sugar levels, enhance healthy bowel function, prevent constipation, reduce cholesterol, support cardiovascular health, and keeps you feeling fuller for longer. Wow. All this for adding just a few buts of fruit, vegetables, legumes, beans, pulses, and whole grains to your diet.

Interested in kickstarting a healthy eating habit this year? Talk to Sophie Higgins, our in-house nutritional expert, at info@morefit.co.uk!

3 Daily Digestion Habits You Can Start Today

Your body is a miracle machine. Day in, day out, we can rely on our amazing bodies to get us through anything – running around the office with a to-do list as long as your arm, lugging a million shopping bags home or a hardcore Jivamukti class (sometimes all in the same day). But how much attention do you pay to how you’re fuelling this incredible engine?

We are all guilty of snaffling a meal-deal sandwich at our desks or cramming in a Macdonald’s when it just seems like there aren’t enough hours in the day, but bloating, gas, abdominal discomfort, irregular stools, lethargy, and lowered energy levels are probably not worth the few minutes you save. After all, that super-high priority must-have-done-by-end-of-play task is going to be a lot harder when you’re feeling sluggish and tired.

Here are three solid changes you can make to get your digestion in order – starting today!

Start the day with a hot water and lemon

So simple, and so good for you. Drinking a hot water with lemon in the morning before breakfast will help to kick-start your digestive system for the day ahead. Lemon juice has the effect of stimulating the liver to produce bile, which helps keep food moving through your gastrointestinal tract smoothly. The acids found in lemon juice also encourage the body to process the nutrients in food more slowly, which helps to keep blood sugar and insulin levels balanced. For those who get bloated among us, this is a life saver!

Have breakfast every day

Make breakfast a priority. It’s easy to make the excuse of not having enough time, but breakfast should be as important as brushing your teeth or getting dressed in the morning. Avoid refined, processed, sugar rich foods, as this will send blood sugar levels and energy rocketing sky high, and then crashing, setting you up for a slow day ahead, and reaching for the biscuits over and over again. Aim for some protein (eggs, lean meat, fish, maybe a scoop of protein powder), healthy fats (salmon, nuts, seeds, avocado, nut butter, chia seeds, coconut oil), and complex carbs (oats, buckwheat, quinoa, fibrous veggies). If you tend to hit the snooze button a little too often, make sure you buy portable breakfasts for those days when you are really in a rush.

Eat a variety of fresh, colourful whole-foods

Ever looked at your plate and seen a sea of beige? Time to switch it up! Try to fill your plate with as many different colours of fresh produce as possible, as it’s often the colour pigments that contain all of the important nutrients that we need for healthy gut function. Eat a rainbow! You’ll be amazed at how much less sluggish you feel after eating once you mix in a bit of colour. Plus it looks way better on Instagram.

Stay tuned for more digestion tips from our in-house nutrition expert Sophie Higgins. Sophie works with our members to help them understand how to nourish their bodies to their full potential. Interested in a little nutrition revolution for yourself? Give us a call and start your journey towards wellbeing.

Mythbusting: The Truth about Cheat Days

We’ve all heard of cheat days or cheat meals right? Nowadays they seem to be a staple part of almost every diet – some people choose to have one cheat day a week where they binge out on all their favourite foods for a whole day whereas others choose to spread it out and have a few periodic cheat meals. Most people look at this as a way to keep spirits high whilst dieting as chicken breast and broccoli day in day out can break even the most dedicated of us… we’re only human after all.

Well, first of all and most importantly let me clear this up right now – it is never okay to have a full day of bad eating habits especially not as frequently as once a week. Why? For arguments sake let’s say your daily calorie allowance is 2000 and you’ve been on a calorie controlled diet with a 500 calorie deficit per day – that’s 3000 calories deficit in 6 days, enough to lose just under half a kilogram of fat. Not bad. Now you get to day 7 and the cheat day comes into play. So you wake up in the morning and decide to go all out with a McDonald’s breakfast (you earnt it after all!) – double sausage and egg McMuffin, hash brown and a  latte to wash it down – 843 calories. At lunch you meet a friend at Starbucks and grab a chicken and bacon panini with a chocolate chunk cookie for dessert and a delicious frappucino – 1264 calories. Then that evening it’s movie night and of course no movie night would be complete without Dominoes and a bottle of wine! You split a large stuffed crust meat lovers pizza three ways with garlic & herb dip and a side of garlic bread, and of course a tub of Ben & Jerry’s cookie dough ice cream – 2537 calories plus the wine at roughly 600 calories. This gives you a grand total of 5244 which is 3244 calories over your daily limit… more than the deficit you worked so hard all week to achieve!! Because of this one ‘cheat day’ you’ve now got a surplus of calories large enough to more than wipe out the week’s efforts.

The above is obviously an extreme example but calories on so called cheat days can tally up very, very quickly and seriously hinder if not completely halt any progress you’ve made.

Now this leads me on to my next point and again this is very important – cheat days are not to be confused with strategic re-feeds. If you’ve ever done a google search on cheat days you’re guaranteed to have come across lots of claims they are necessary in order to boost the body’s metabolism, these claims usually talk about the hormone Leptin. These claims are false and come from a misunderstanding of an advanced dieting strategy called re-feeding. Re-feeding is almost never to be used in the first several months of dieting. Whilst it is very effective and necessary when used at the right time it only comes into play when you have a very small amount of body fat left to lose.

So what is re-feeding?
Re-feeding is a deliberate period (usually one day) of higher calorie overfeeding during a caloric deficit – sounds like a cheat day but there are several big differences. Re-feeds are strategic and calculated. A re-feed is not a day where you can eat whatever you want. In a diet the amount of calories and macronutrients to be consumed on a re-feed day are different than those on a regular day (more on this in a moment) however they are still to be carefully planned and accounted for.

Why, when and how to use re-feeding  
Why: When on a calorie restricted diet for an extended period of time the body makes adaptations to prevent further fat loss (survival instinct), your metabolic rate goes down and your appetite goes up – this is where the bit about Leptin comes in. Leptin is responsible for controlling satiety and metabolism. Restricting calories causes levels of Leptin in the body to drop – this drop is what causes the above adaptations and grinds your weight loss to a halt. The idea behind the re-feed is to hack the body into normalising Leptin levels so weight loss can continue.

Re-feeding has benefits for your training too. Continuous dieting causes your muscle glycogen stores become depleted and on top of this your body goes into a catabolic state making your workouts more difficult and slowing progress in muscle building. The additional calories and carbohydrate consumed on a re-feed replenish this glyogen and temporarily push your body back into an anabolic state giving you more energy in the gym and allowing your muscles to grow a little faster for the duration of the re-feed.

The hormone changes that occur during prolonged dieting also have a negative impact psychologically. You begin to lose motivation, find yourself unable to concentrate and often feel moody or irritable. Balancing your hormones with a re-feed acts as a ‘pick me up’ to make you feel more human again and give your mood a much needed boost.

When: Re-feeds are only necessary in the final stages of dieting when body fat is already fairly low. This is because while the body has plenty of stored fat, as long as you are not restricting calories too much and pushing it into starvation mode and you are controlling your macronutrients, and your hormone levels are not going to change significantly enough in the ways described above to justify a re-feed. Think about when you first start a diet and the fat drops off just like that, spirits are high, your workouts are full of energy and you feel that you could keep it up for ever! Then you hit a wall.

Whilst you are still sticking to your strict diet and pushing yourself to keep up with your training plan the weight loss grinds to a halt and you’re having trouble motivating yourself to walk up the stairs never mind a killer session in the gym… it’s at THIS point it is necessary to start incorporating re-feeds into your diet. And I assure you when you get there you will know about it! It’s not just sluggishness and waning motivation – your body literally feels like you’ve been hit by a bus. Taking a bath is exhausting and pretty much ALL you can think about is binge eating a kilogram of chocolate (DON’T!).

If in any doubt whatsoever whether you are ready to start incorporating re-feeds into your diet you most likely aren’t there yet. As for how often you should have re-feeds once you start incorporating them, this really is on a personal basis and will need to be worked out through experience. Have your first one, record how long the positive benefits last and when you’re once again depleted have another. You will eventually figure out a pattern that works for you and if done carefully and correctly you can use this as a powerful tool to maintain your weight loss and prevent poor performance in the gym as well as keeping you motivated throughout.
How: So here’s how to set up a re-feed:
1. Only consume calories up to or slightly over your calculated maintenance (BMR multiplied by your activity factor – you should already know this if on a calorie restricted diet)
2. Carbohydrates have the most impact on Leptin so adjust your macronutrient split to around 1.5 – 2.5 times your regular carbohydrate intake. This will mean you will need to take away from your protein and fat intake to accommodate this increase. So for example if your regular diet has a macronutrient split of 20% Carbohydrate, 45% Protein, 35% Fat increase carbohydrate to between 30-50% and take from the others accordingly.

The increased calories and carbohydrate will give you a much welcomed chance to eat some of your favourite foods which will do wonders to keep you motivated psychologically whilst the control over the amount consumed and the macronutrients will prevent you from going over-board and undoing all your hard work as discussed above. Also having this control on a re-feed will mean you are far less likely to slip back into bad eating habits in the days following the re-feed which is a massive danger of the ‘cheat day’.

And if you’re thinking “but I need cheat days or cheat meals to get me through the diet – I just can’t be that strict all the time”, the golden rule to remember is that to be successful on any diet you need to follow the 90/10 rule – which means as long as you eat clean 90% of the time you don’t have to beat yourself up for having a little treat every now and then. This equates to one or two times a week when you can say yes to something outside of your diet. This does not mean you can have a large pizza for dinner but it does mean you can treat yourself to a small chocolate bar, a croissant, glass of wine etc… once or twice a week without feeling guilty as long as it is just that – a little treat.

By Katy Veldre

10 Reasons to Drink Green Smoothies

Green smoothies are the way forward! I’ve seen first hand how making drinks with natural fresh ingredients can transform ones health, mind and body.

Ever wanted to give your body a rest from whole foods? Ever wanted to feel light and energised? Ever wanted to just get really densely packed nutrients into you in a simple refreshing, appetising drink/snack? Ever wanted to help yourself detox whilst improving your skin and lose weight at the same time? Well if you answered yes to any of the these then green smoothies could be for you.

Nutritional Value of Green Smoothiesjuicer for making healthy smoothies

Here’s a quick look at the nutritional benefits of leafy greens: Leafy greens are packed with nutrition. They are a great source of non-dairy calcium, magnesium and Vitamin C. And they contain carotenoids that may help protect against macular degeneration and foliate to guard against heart disease and cancer.

Ten Reasons to Drink Green Smoothies

1. Green smoothies are very nutritious. It depends on how you like it but the more veggies you put in the more healthy its going to be as we don’t want too much sugar. I like to add an apple and a pear to my smoothies as they’re high in fibre and they’re low GI. But you can make it to your taste. Typical smoothie recipes have all sorts of fruit in them.

2. Green smoothies are easy to digest. When blended well, most of the cells in the greens and fruits are ruptured, making the valuable nutrients easy for the body to assimilate. Green smoothies literally start to get absorbed in your mouth and enable your body to convert into energy easily. And because your body isn’t wasting time breaking down foods, producing acids and enzymes to digest, the body feels a lot lighter and will have a lot more energy available to utilise for daily function.

3. Green smoothies, not to be confused with green juices are whole foods as they contain the fibre as its not removed like in the juicing process which means the sugar load is diluted through having fibre in it. When you juice without the fibre your juice can have a high sugar load depending on the ingredients which can cause the high fructose load to be converted into fat cells.

4. Green smoothies are delicious. A lot of people may turn their nose up at the sound of vegetable and fruit smoothies but you are the master of the creation so if you really find that you’re not liking the flavour then add more things that you like. Certain smoothie journalists like to promote 60% fruit to 40% green veggies but I’m pretty much the other way round. But in the end of the day its about getting raw, enzyme and nutrient dense food into your system with none of the goodness lost so which ever way round you choose its going to be good for you. Just remember too much fruit sugar isn’t good for you.

5. Chlorophyll which is the make up of green veggies is super good for your blood as it had a purifying effect. Studies have shown in general that people in the developed world  don’t eat enough leafy greens and chlorophyll. A green smoothie however has its packed to the brim.

6. Green smoothies are easy to make. Its a misconception that its lots of work. I would really recommend a really good blender like the Vitamix which has super powerful blade. But a blender like this can be expensive. Just shop around and get a good quality powerful machine. Unlike juicing, making a smoothie uses whole foods, so just get your ingredients out, wash, and stick it straight in the blender. A lot of the time theres no need for peeling or cutting, its that simple. And to make things easier you can store the juice for up to 48 hours in the fridge for further portions.  You could make a breakfast smoothie on a Monday morning and be having smoothies ready to go on a Tuesday and Wednesday mornings too – pour, drink and leave for work, easy!! Or if you come home from work on any night and you can’t be bothered to cook, just go for a green smoothie thats ready in the fridge or even if its not made, that takes 5 mins to make.

7. Green smoothies are liked by children of all ages depending on the flavour. I was talking to one of my clients the other day and he was telling me the only way he can get his 4 year old to eat greens is by making them in a smoothie. Where as before they had to hide them in dishes such as fish cakes!

8. When consuming your greens in the form of green smoothies, you are greatly reducing the consumption of processed food, additives, hydrogenated oils and salt.

9. Regular consumption of green smoothies forms a good habit of eating greens. After a few weeks of drinking green smoothies, most people start to crave and enjoy eating more greens. Eating enough greens is often a problem with many people.

10.Green smoothies are really good for your skin and nails restoring a glow to your skin and removing toxins from liver and body. Also they’ve very good for weight loss and generally as long as they don’t contain too much sugar you’ll be on a calorie deficit on a daily basis. Greens are enormously nutrient dense and extremely calorie light which makes a perfect combination for weight loss.

Ingredients you can use in a green smoothie

VEGETABLES

Spinach, Fennel, Kale, Celery, Broccoli, courgette, Iceberg lettuce,Romaine lettuce. Parsley, Cucumber, Mint, Collard greens, Baby beet greens, Watercress, Swiss chard, Garden cress, Cabbage, Parsley. Don’t just be bound by these veggies, you can add literally any other vegetable you want to the smoothie. Try it out and see what you like. actually, a bit of variety in terms of colour will be great for the nutrient profile.

FRUIT

Green fruit – Kiwifruit, Pears, Green apples, Green grapes. But don’t over restrict yourself. If you really need to make it sweeter then use other fruit. If its too sweet then be careful on the effects that it will have regarding fat gain and insulin resistance. As said previously I would  go for a percentage of 60/40 in favour of veggies, but play around with it.  Other examples of fruit to use – Pineapple, Bananas, Mango, Oranges, Grapefruit, Peaches, Apricots, Papaya, Melon.

Liquid I personally regularly use water and ice but you can add other liquids to it which would be fine. The ones I would recommend are: Green tea, Yerba mate, Lemongrass tea, Mint tea, Wheatgrass juice, Coconut milk, Coconut water, Ginger tea, White tea, Lemon juice+water, Vinegar+water. Id stay away from juices to add.

Texture – you could add any of these for texture, to supercharge the nutrition. Avocado, Almonds, Cashews, Pecans, Brazil nuts, Walnuts, Ground flaxseed, Sunflower seeds. Extras Hemp seeds, Chia seeds,Bee pollen, Maca powder, Spirulina, Cinnamon, Cocoa powder, Minced ginger, Grated coconut, Vanilla extract, bran, Psyllium husk

So from these lists you can see that the combinations are endless so if you’re not much of a recipe follower then get cracking now. If you want a recipes your best bet is just googling it. Here’s an example of a green smoothie recipe. Happy Blending.

All Green Smoothie Recipe

  • 60 ml (1/4 cup) water
  • 260 g (1 3/4 cups) green grapes
  • 55 g (1/4) ripe pear, halved
  • 50 g (1/2) avocado, pitted, peeled
  • 25 g (1/4 cup) coarsely chopped broccoli
  • 20 g (1/2 cup) spinach, washed
  • 60 ml (1/4 cup) ice cubes

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://www.morefit.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Shamir-Sidhu-MoreFit-Owner-Personal-Trainer.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Shamir Sidhu is the CEO/Founder of MoreFit and Personal Trainer. For fitness and nutrition advice, email info@morefit.co.uk[/author_info] [/author]

Simple Eating

By Chris McKeown

There is no secret to losing weight and having a good diet. It’s all about eating a good quality well balanced meals at the right time.

For weight loss we want to make it simple. To start with we want to look at basing all our meals around protein, vegetables and use pulses and whole grains to bulk out the meal to keep you full for longer. We also want smaller meals more often throughout the day. As this keeps your blood sugar and insulin levels in balance and prevents you craving these snack foods like biscuits and crisps.

Foods we really want to stay away from are simple carbohydrates and processed foods. These are the foods that your body converts and stores as fat very easily.

We also want to have a good meal 1 to 2 hours before your workout then again within 20 minutes post workout. If you cannot eat within this time I recommend a quality protein shake to help your body start recovering.

Below are a few ideas of good foods and also foods that you should try and cut down on.

THE GOOD STUFF

PROTEIN

  • Poultry (chicken, turkey)
  • Oily or White Fish (mackerel, salmon, tuna, cod, haddock)
  • Red Meat (small amount of lean meat)
  • Eggs (scrambled, poached, boiled)
  • Lentils
  • Soya or tofu

CARBOHYDRATES

Vegetables: You want to eat plenty of vegetables of all different types and colours as they all contain different vitamins, minerals and fibre.

  • Kale
  • Sweet potato
  • Beetroot
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Tomato
  • Spinach
  • Tomato,
  • Peppers
  • Cucumber
  • Courgette
  • Cabbage
  • Artichoke
  • Asparagus * Squash * Watercress * Parsnip
  • Peas

Grains and Pulses: Key point here is that you want to be eating whole grains

  • Lentils
  • Quinoa
  • Barley * Pulses (kidney beans, green beans, chickpeas, cannellini beans) * Oats * Buckwheat * Millet * Rye * Wholegrain rice * Wholegrain bread and pasta (eaten in small amounts)

FATS

It is good to have a small amount of fat in your diet

  • Fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines, anchovies, herrings)
  • Coconut oil (cooking in)
  • Olive oil, Some nuts and seeds (almonds, pumpkin, seeds, walnuts, flax seeds, chia seeds)
  • Avocado

BREAKFAST IDEAS * 2 eggs with spinach, avocado and wholegrain toast * Porridge with banana honey and cinnamon * Natural yogurt with berries  * Oat cake with cottage cheese

SNACK IDEAS * A piece of fruit * Handful of nuts & seeds

LUNCH/DINNER IDEAS / pre and post workout ideas * Chicken with brown rice, sweet potato, kale and tomato * Salmon with lentils, sweet potato and broccoli

THE BAD STUFF

* Fried food * Fast food * Sugary snacks * Processed foods * Refined carbs * Biscuits, crisps, chocolate * Pop drinks * Juice * Sandwiches

These are just ideas. Mix and match the foods from the above lists to your taste. Food you enjoy is food you will stick to. AWAYS BASE YOUR MEAL AROUND PROTEIN AND VEG.

If you struggle to make your lunches there are always great options around your work there is no excuse for just picking up a sandwich from Pret A Manger. You all put in so much effort into training don’t waste it buy eating crap food just because it is easy.

Easy ideas near MoreFit Personal Training Studio in St Paul’s:

  • Hummus Bros. It doesn’t get much easier than that. It right above us and serves great and healthy food.
  • Porterford Butchers on Watling Street.  Top quality chicken and meat cooked an ready to go after a tough training session there is a better meal then a chicken breast from them and a chunky salad from M&S.

For more food options near you talk to your trainer they will have many great ideas to make your life easy.

Enjoy Simple Eating!

 

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://www.morefit.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Chris-McKeown-MoreFit-Personal-Trainer.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Chris is a Personal Trainer at MoreFit St Paul’s and has worked with people from many different backgrounds, all with their own goals and abilities. He is passionate about exercise and physical activity and truly believes that we are happier when we are healthier. Throughout my life I have taken part in a variety or sports from rugby and rowing to my true passion of adventure races and running, were I have competed in events from coast 2 coast races to ultra marathons. I use this passion for health and fitness to inspire and motivate my clients to reach and surpass any goals they have and live a happier, healthier and MOREFIT LIFE.[/author_info] [/author]

The Truth About Abs Training

Many of my clients ask why I don’t put much abdominal training into their sessions or programs. Despite the fact that over 90% of the exercises I give them forces them to engage their core much more than most isolated core exercises such as your traditional sit ups or planks. There seems to be this old school conception amongst most people that in order to have strong abdominals & core you need to do some form of isolated abdominal exercises, generally those done on the floor. Well I disagree. I hardly do or did in the past any isolated abdominal exercises, mainly because I hate doing them and they are not as effective as when I was unconditioned. I can squat 1.5 times my body weight and deadlift 2.5 my body weight, that means I can deadlift 200kg… Do you think I need a strong core for that?

Here is an interesting article by strength coach Charles Poliquin where he discusses this topic making good comparisons to Olympic weightlifters whom don’t implement a great deal of isolated abdominal exercises into their program. Yet they are considered top athletes with stronger and thicker external & internal obliques and deep abdominal walls than athletes in other sports.

To further back this point is a study published in 2011 by Physical Therapy clearly showing as I have mentioned above making comparisons between female weightlifters to other active control groups.

So don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that isolated core exercises are a waste of time, as a matter of fact they are great. I would even recommend that most people learn some key core exercises deriving from gymnastics such as the hollow body which done correctly forces you to engage more than just your core. If you are a total beginner to exercise core exercises will be challenging and effective and will hopefully learn how to engage your core consciously. However, I have also found that, as mentioned by Charles, after 4-6 weeks of abdominal training they are not very effective.

A lot of my training revolves around Olympic weightlifting, tennis, rock climbing and gymnastics. Fortunately most of it is very functional and forces me to always engage a lot of muscles in my body. So this is what I get most of my clients doing and I also recommend you implement into your training.

Here are a few tips to improve core strength:

  1. Perform compound lifts such as the deadlift or squat. I also recommend going heavy, 8 reps or less. Your core will be put under a lot more pressure at this intensity as apposed to doing high reps like you find in a typical body pump class. Furthermore the squat & deadlift are both very functional movements in nature,  for instance the deadlift is simply picking something from the ground which we tend to do everyday. So learn to engage your core in movement patterns similar to our daily activities and you are more likely to prevent injury.
  2. Presses and pull ups are also great for core strength if done properly, remember your abdominals link the upper and lower part of the body. Performing a standing military press for instance will force you not only to engage your core but also back and legs. Done with sufficient weight and you will feel how you have to embrace your core.
  3. Most functional exercises are also beneficial, I particularly enjoy using the kettlebell for single arm squats or Turkish get ups which put your body in a slightly compromised position putting more emphasis on core stability.
  4. Focus on breathing techniques where you have to consciously activate you TVA (transverse abdominus). Even Pilates or yoga classes would be great place to learn this, where you will also be taught how to engage the rest of your body whilst doing the abdominal exercises.
  5. Address your stress and lifestyle. Cortisol plays an important role within the body, those that find they put a lot of fat on around the stomach is most likely due to some form of stress whether it be nutritional, physical or even mental. This will inevitably affect how well your body performs in general, hence your core. If you are interested in the role of cortisol read “The cortisol connection” by Shawn Talbott.
  6. Nutrition and gut health is also very important, over 75% of the population are carb intolerant. More specifically the carbs that derive from processed foods such as cereals, bread, rice, pasta etc. Most of us have learnt to live with the consequences of a high carb diet and consider it normal I.e the bloated and lethargic feeling after eating, indigestion, poor sleep and so forth. Those that built up intolerances to carbs will build up more inflammation within their gut. Unfortunately anything that inflames your gut will shut off the neurological reflex to your deep abdominal wall, thus it won’t work as well. So, in simple words, address diet and lifestyle. For more detail on this topic read this article by Paul Chek where he discusses leaky gut syndrome.
  7. Play with gymnastics. Gymnasts have great trunk musculature due to the amazing movements they practice. Hollow body being one of the fundamental exercises they use and is incorporated into most of their movements whether it be a handstand, press up or ring work. This is simply body weight exercises taken to high levels. When was the last time you did a handstand, cartwheel or backflip? Rediscover these movements and see how different it feels. Here is a link to an advanced hollow body exercise. http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=qgV51C4ebRs There is plenty I have not mentioned or gone into depth with but I hope this enough to get you started and thinking on how to improve your core strength.

>> Blog by Anthony Masters – MoreFit Personal Trainer