Monthly Archives: June 2014

Choosing Activities.

A quick guide to giving your body what it needs.

What’s the best way to get active? What makes one activity better than another? There’s no easy answer. It all depends on the shape you’re in and what you like doing.

swimming_activityTo achieve the health benefits that exercise provides, the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology’s physical activity guidelines external link, recommends that adults do 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous aerobic activity each week and incorporate muscle and bone strengthening twice a week.  That’s at least 30 minutes of activity, 5 days a week.

No matter what you choose to do, there are three kinds of exercise your body needs:

Aerobic_activityAerobic exercises make your heart stronger. For those who are able, brisk walking, running, cycling and dancing are all aerobic activities. Team sports like hockey and soccer also give you great aerobic workouts.

Strength exercises build your muscles and are usually involve lifting weights, but any activity where you apply resistance to your muscles can give you a similar workout.

Flexibility exercises improve your range of motion and condition your joints. They usually involve stretching. Activities such as yoga and tai chi can also help you be more flexible. You can also stretch before and after you exercise to stay healthy and prevent injuries.

No matter what you choose to do, make sure you’re enjoying yourself and having lots of fun. That’s a winning combination.

When choosing activities try to balance these three types of exercise. You can do one thing that combines all three at once, group different activities into one exercise period, or do them all at separate times.

Here’s one way of doing this:
If you are able and can walk 30 minutes a day, stretch before and after your walk. Wear wrist/ankle weights or carry small dumbbells while walking to improve your strength. You can also lift weights at a gym three times a week, on top of walking every day. For even more stretching, try a yoga or Tai chi class once a week.

Here’s another way:
Martial arts, such as karate, judo, Tai chi and aikido combine aerobic activity with strength and flexibility training. Why not add a twice-weekly martial arts class to your 30 minutes of brisk daily walking? It’s a fun and challenging way to get the three types of exercise your body needs.

Here’s one final example:
For those who are able swimming and aqua fitness are great aerobic activities that also build strength. Because you’re moving through water instead of air your muscles work harder. Add some stretches before and after you swim and you’ve got a complete workout.

No matter what you choose to do, make sure you’re enjoying yourself and having lots of fun. That’s a winning combination.




Get Leaner, Fitter and Stronger with High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

You may have heard of High Intensity Interval Training already, but do you know how powerful it can be for fat loss, your fitness levels and getting leaner, fitter and stronger fast?

Do you know if it is right for you?

Are you ready to try something new to help you smash through any training plateaus?

This method of training could be just what you need to freshen up and develop some incredible results.

What is High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)?

running _exerciceHigh Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a form of exercise that involves working really hard for short periods followed immediately by short periods of low intensity recovery.

For example, you might sprint at a high intensity for 30 seconds followed by a jog or walk for 60 seconds.

This process is then repeated usually over 20 minutes due to the high levels of intensity.

Why Does HIIT Work So Well?

Well, let’s take a look below.

You Can Burn More Fat:

HIIT encourages metabolic adaptations within the body that enable us to use more fat for fuel.  Research has highlighted HIIT burns fat up to 50% more efficiently than low intensity exercise alone.

You Can Boost Your Metabolism:

HIIT has been shown to raise metabolism for up to 36 hours after the session has ended, helping you to burn more calories while the body recovers.  This process is referred to as Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC).

It is Convenient and Efficient:

HIIT usually lasts only 20 minutes or less, making it a really convenient way to exercise if you have time pressures within your lifestyle.  To perform it also requires no equipment and it can be done anywhere i.e at home, at the gym, on holiday, at work or on your travels.

You Can Increase Your VO2 Max:

HIIT is far superior to lower intensity exercise when it comes to increasing your VO2 max, which is the maximum amount of oxygen you can uptake during exercise.

This means that you will be leaner, fitter, stronger and healthier.

You will perform better in sports you take part in or any physical activities you explore.

Is HIIT Suitable For Everyone?

The mode of HIIT can provide several benefits to improve your training regime and help you to progress.

Despite this, it will be one of the most challenging forms of exercise you can do as you push yourself to your limits.

It is a high intensity challenge, making it unsuitable for some people.

Unfortunately HIIT may not be the answer if you fall under any of the following criteria:

Beginners New to Exercise:

HIIT is an advanced method of training and should be built up towards gradually.  Jumping in feet first with this exercise can cause you injury and demotivate you to continue with your exercise routine.

Sport Specific Athletes:

Endurance athletes will not benefit from this method of training as they require lower intensity long duration methods of practice.

If You Are Susceptible to Injuries:

If you are prone to injury i.e. back, knee, ankle or hips you may want to proceed with caution or avoid HIIT.

If You Are Overzealous:

So you like the idea of HIIT right?  Remember with this form of exercise it requires that you work flat out for short periods and if used excessively as part of a training routine can quickly lead to over-training.  Consider limiting HIIT to 2-3 times a week and leave time for other important training components i.e. strength training.

Ways You Can Work HIIT into Your Routine:

HIIT can be worked into training routines rather easily and this is one of the reasons it is so effective – easy to incorporate and difficult to perform, but that is the beauty of HIIT.

All type of exercices

Full body & Fat burning exercices

Treadmill / Exercise Bike / Elliptical Trainer / Rowing Machine:

Sprint for 30 seconds at maximal intensity and jog/walk for 60 seconds recovery.  Repeat for 20 minutes.

Landmark Training:

Training outdoors can provide the opportunity to race between landmarks.  For example, here in the UK the streets are filled with lampposts every 50 yards or so and provide a great opportunity to sprint from one lamppost to the next then walk to the following one for recovery, and repeat.  This principle can also be applied in the park with tree’s or something similar.
Woman_jumping _rope

Skipping Rope:

Jump for 60 seconds at maximal intensity and rest or slow walk for 60 seconds recovery.  Repeat for 20 minutes.

Bodyweight Exercises:

Combine
bodyweight exercises including push-ups, squats, lunges, pull-ups for 60 seconds of high intensity work followed by 60 seconds rest (or 30 seconds rest for a more advanced session).  Repeat for 20 minutes.

Hill Sprints:

Locate a hill that will be suitable for running up and getting back down safely.  The steeper you choose the more challenging it will be.  Sprint to the top of the hill and walk back down to recover, when you reach the bottom head straight back up the hill with a sprint.  Repeat for 20 minutes.

Give it a try, good luck, its not easy – but the results it can bring make it all worthwhile.




4 Health Habits to make you more Super Hero Fit than Super Zero Fat

What steps do you currently have in place to ensure you become healthier, stronger and fitter each day?  There are many health habits we can implement to ensure we develop both physically and mentally and find that happier more confident place.  Here are four very simple, yet highly effective, healthy decisions you can start to make immediately:

Eat more Thin Skinned Fruits

thin_skinned_fruitsEating more thin skinned fruits will provide us with an abundance of antioxidants and anti–inflammatory effects, especially useful for athletes and committed exercise enthusiasts to help speed up and improve recovery.

Antioxidants work to defend the body’s cells from the damaging effects of free radicals and other harsh chemicals.  Free radicals present themselves during and after intense exercise sessions or can be acquired from our external environment i.e. pollution.

Thin skinned fruits need extra protection from the sun, unlike their thick skinned counterparts i.e. banana, pineapple, mango.  This is the reason they produce plentiful amounts of antioxidants that we can benefit from.

Thin skinned fruits include strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, black currants, red currants, cherries – basically choose any fruit that is either dark red, dark blue or dark purple and would stain your clothes and you’re good to go!

Do More Sprinting Exercises

running _exerciceSprinting over short distances is what our bodies were designed to do, yet many of us don’t do it enough and our bodies suffer both physically and aesthetically.

Quit the boring and tedious 60 minute treks on the treadmill or stationary bike five days a week and intergrate more sprinting to your exercise regime.

Some major benefits of sprinting include burning more unwanted body fat, boosting our metabolism and increasing Vo2 max.

Sprinting should be integrated with caution – you can learn more about the benefits and special considerations of sprinting by checking out Get Leaner, Fitter and Stronger With High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).

Eat More Leafy Greens

leafy_greenLeafy green vegetables should be a significant part of our diet as we search for optimal health and fitness.




How to Get Lean

Fit & Get Lean

Fit & Get Lean

Do you want to lose weight but avoid getting the muscled bodybuilder look? You will want to focus on burning fat while building lean muscle. Be aware that some people are more prone to a muscular look, but if you use special exercises and are careful about what you eat, you can achieve that lean look. You may not see results after the first day, or even the first week, but your patience will pay off in the end with a lean, tone and fit body. Getting lean is not easy-it takes drive and determination, but you can do it by approaching it the correct way.

A – Make Your Plan

1 – Set goals for yourself. By making a list of your goals, whether it simply be losing some weight, being able to run a mile under a certain time, or just looking better, you will be able to stick to your principles. Write your goals down, and keep them in plain sight so you are reminded about what all your hard work is going toward.
2 – Create a calorie deficit. By eating fewer calories than the amount of calories you shed, you give your body a chance to convert your muscle to fat without starving yourself. Healthy foods have a lower caloric value and are rich with nutrients that help tone your body.
  • The prescribed calorie deficit ranges from 10% to 20%. This can be calculated by multiplying your caloric intake by the deficit you hope to achieve; for example, 3000 calories consumed per day multiplied by .10 (10%) means that you will need to burn at least 300 calories per day. Thankfully, that’s not very difficult at all. Fit and Get Lean
3 – Consult with professionals. Talk with your physician or a registered dietician for great advice on how to lose weight and build lean muscle. They can tell you more about exercise plans, diet plans, and give you warnings about any health issues which might arise.
  • If you have a heart condition, asthma, or any health condition you feel may inhibit your ability to lose weight, consult with your doctor immediately.
  • Beware of any “professional” trying to sell you supplements. Especially if those supplements come in a powder form. Doctors and dieticians will usually prefer a healthy diet and lots of exercise, as supplements are largely unproven and poorly studied.

B – Exercise Correctly

1 – Focus on

aerobic exercise.

.
aerobic3These are exercises which raise your heart rate and burn calories without building too much muscle. This will help give you that lean look that is so frequently seen on athletes that specialize in these types of exercise.
  • Avoid strength training exercises, as these will increase the size of your muscles, making you look bigger, rather than smaller. Lifting weights, pull-ups and push-ups are examples of exercises to avoid.
2 – Try biking. Biking is a great way to give yourself a lean physique. You can bike at home or at the gym on a stationary machine or you can get outside on a real bike. This is a great exercise for busy people, as it can be used as an alternative form of transportation. Ride your bike to work to fit a workout into your daily commute.
3 – Try swimming.Swimming is another great way to lose weight and get a lean body. Whether swimming at home in your pool or going to a gym, public pool, or nearby body of water. Be sure that no matter where you swim, you do so safely and with someone nearby to keep an eye on you.
  • Swimming is an especially good exercise if you are very overweight or have knee or bone structure problems, as it distributes your weight away from your skeleton.
running _exercice4 – Try running or jogging. running is a great aerobic exercise which can quickly help you lose weight and build lean muscle. You can run alone or in groups, around your neighborhood, at a local track, or at your gym. Try to run for at least half an hour.
  • Be aware that running is very hard on the knees and bone structure. If you have previously had a knee injury, running may not be the best option for you.
  • Keep yourself entertained by listening to music.
5 – Try rock climbing. Rock climbing is another great way to build lean muscle. Be aware, however: it’s harder than it looks! Rock climbing does build upper body strength, so be aware that your arms and shoulders may become more muscular.
  • Make sure that you use proper safety equipment and are trained on what to do. This is a potentially dangerous exercise. It is best to do this in a gym or in a specialized rock climbing location.
6 – Try Pilates. Pilates is a series of forms, positions, and movements which can increase your balance, flexibility, and help build lean muscle. Sometimes tools, such as weights or exercise balls, are involved. You can take Pilates classes, study online guides, or watch videos on the internet.

C – Eat the Right Foods

 

foods_to_avoid1 – Eat foods low in fat and sugar. Eating foods like these will lead you to gain weight and build fat. Avoid foods which are high in unhealthy fat and sugar (like fried foods, hot dogs, pizza, twinkies, chips of any kind, etc) and instead eat foods which are low in fat and high in nutrients (like quinoa, kale, broccoli, salmon, and oranges).



How to Build a Strong, Fit and Lean Body like an Athlete

Athletes and fitness enthusiasts are always looking for new and correct ways to build a strong, fit and lean body.

The health and fitness industry is big business and there is lots of useful and creditable information available to help us along our way to achieving such goals.

Building_lean_bodyHere at foodandfitness.co.uk we get to spend time with and observe some of the greatest coaches and finest elite athletes in the UK and afar.

It is from these encounters and experiences that we have compiled some top tips and advice on how to achieve a strong, fit and lean body:

Master and  Perform Compound Exercises Often:

Isolation exercises undoubtedly provide their own benefits (mainly correcting muscle imbalances or weakness after injury or during deadlift2rehabilitation), but it is compound exercises that will ensure we truly become successful when aiming to achieve a strong, lean and complete functional body.

Compound exercises implement multi-joint movements and requires the work of several muscles or muscle groups at one time.

Using several muscles at one time provides lot’s of benefits:  more calories will be used up during the activity, improved coordination, improved reaction time, improved balance, improved joint stability, improved muscle balance across joints, decreased risk of injury, improved cardiovascular system, improved fitness levels and larger amounts of acquired strength.

Compound exercises include deadlifts, squats, lunges, pull ups and push ups – just to name a few.

‘Women Should Not Lift Weights’ is Complete Nonsense:

Contrary to popular belief, lifting weights will not turn women into burly, masculine looking bodybuilders – women just do not have the genetics or hormonal structure to achieve this without some kind of stimulant i.e. steroids.

When women lift weights the results they can achieve are incredible – lean, toned and the figure most try to achieve via painful fad dieting.

You May Need to Change Your Workout Routine:

You may have a workout that you really enjoy using and it may provide you with great results, but it is highly unlikely that these results will last forever.

Why?

Our bodies become accustomed to specific long term routine and progression grinds to a halt – or the dreaded plateau known and experienced by many.

It is good to equip ourselves with multiple routines or methods of exercise so we can change it up as often as necessary.

Do Not Neglect Working Out Your lower Body:

The lower body can often become a neglected part of a workout routine, are you one of these many people?

The legs contain some of the largest and strongest muscles in the body and training them provides the same benefits mentioned earlier with compound exercise.

Keep your body in balance to avoid poor posture and injuries.

Your Diet Plays a Bigger Role Than You Might Believe:

You can spend hours in the gym or training in the great outdoors with great passion and determination, but if your diet is not up to scratch then you may well just be wasting your precious time.

Diet_dishes

This Is The Healthiest And Most Beneficial Diet We Can Follow

Nutrition plays a bigger part in achieving successful health and fitness than actual exercise itself.

This isn’t to say exercise is not of significance, but rather a statement about just how important it is to obtain adequate and relevant amounts of protein, fats, carbohydrates, fibre, vitamins, minerals and water.

Fat Reduction is a Total Body Process:

Forget about what you have heard before about spot reduction, it is not possible.

You will not loose unwanted stomach fat by performing countless sit ups every day.

Fat loss is a result of consistent and adequate cardiovascular exercise, which encourages fat loss from all areas of the body rather than just one specific area.

Remember this one if you want to stop wasting your time and achieve real results by performing compound exercises and cardiovascular work instead.

Do Not Neglect Cardiovascular Exercise:

Cardiovascular exercise is an essential ingredient to any fitness program, yet it is understandably a dreaded word for many.

Why understandably?
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Because lots of people spend hours on the treadmill, exercise bike or elliptical trainer slogging away each week trying to burn that unwanted fat.

If it feels like a chore then you shouldn’t be doing it – it wont last and it will make you unhappy.

Seek out a suitable and favourable exercise that you can perform long term and that you will enjoy.

Cardiovascular exercise needs to be a comfortable part of your lifestyle rather than something you have a bad relationship with Short intense bouts of exercise (High Intensity Interval Training, aka – HIIT) have proven to be highly effective and are easy to build into the end of a training session – but HIIT isn’t suitable for everyone and should be approached with caution.

Getting Fit is Not Just About Attending a Gym:

Not one for the gym environment?  That’s no problem – you can achieve great results at home.

Check out the benefits of exercising outdoors and the benefits of suspended body weight training.  Body weight exercise, when applied correctly, should never be underestimated.
Source: foodandfitness.co.uk




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