Let’s Talk About Sweat Baby

 

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I feel that there are two big myths surrounding sweating. The first is that sweat is an indicator of how hard you’ve worked during your training session and the second is that the more you sweat the more calories you burn. It’s one of the many reasons that people tend to believe cardio is more effective for fat-loss compared to strength training. I’m not suggesting that you shouldn’t do cardio, there are many benefits of including cardio in your training plan (see my blog The Benefits of Cardio for more info). 

So why do we sweat then? When we workout our body’s internal temperature rises so sweat is produced in order to cool it down. 

The Myths Addressed: 

While you do technically lose weight (water weight) from sweating it is only temporary and once you’ve had something to eat or drink the weight returns. In order to achieve permanent weight-loss you should create a caloric deficit through the use of a good nutrition and training program.

Although one of the results of a good training session can be to get a decent sweat on, how much you sweat does not determine how hard you’ve worked. How much you sweat also depends on the individual in questions as different people have different number of sweat glands, meaning that some people naturally just sweat more than others. Your fitness levels may also determine how much you sweat because the more conditioned your body becomes, the more intensity will be required during exercise to raise its core temperate to produce sweat. 

The Key Message: Make sure you don’t get too caught up in the need to sweat during a workout.

Just some food for thought

Jay 

Tips On How to Maintain Goal Weight

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Achieving a fat-loss goal can be extremely difficult, but arguably maintaining that goal is even harder. Majority of people regain weight and end up in a cycle of losing weight and regaining that weight. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has found that only 20% of individuals are successful at maintaining weight loss in the long-term. 

This shouldn’t however discourage anyone from attempting to achieve their goals. I’ve devised a list with a few tips to help maintain weight loss in the long-term: 

  1. Self-love = This may sound very kumbaya but its important to learn to come from a place of love when it comes to fitness and nutrition. Learning to truly love yourself and your body is important. You need to be realistic and understand that while there are certain things (such as your body measurements and composition) that you can change there are things that you may not be able to change (such as your body structure). 
  1. Make sustainable changes = One of the reasons people fail to maintain weight loss is because of the approaches they take to lose weight. Often times people use approaches to nutrition that are overly restrictive and will throw everything into training (i.e. no rest days or training too many times a week) which results in failure not only to achieve their end goal but also in failure to maintain that goal if they do achieve it. Make sure that you take things a step at a time and make sustainable changes that you can see yourself sticking to long after you’ve achieved your goal 
  1. Consistency = This tip follows on from the last one. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that in the group of individuals who had successfully maintained long-term weight loss one of the factors was “continued adherence to diet and exercise strategies” aka consistency. One of my favourite quotes says that “exercise is not a destination, it is a constant state of becoming.” You need to realise that it’s a lifestyle and that you are creating habits of eating well and exercising regularly which you should continue to practice for the rest of your life and not just for the sole purpose of achieving your goal. 
  1. Mistakes and Setback will happen = While losing weight and maintaining weight loss in theory is simple in practice it can be difficult because we are trying to replace old habits with new ones. Realise that you will make mistakes and that things won’t always go according to plan. The important thing is to learn from those mistakes and avoid repeating them and to keep pushing forward. 
  1. Patience = We live in a society where we are accustomed to things happening in the quickest and easiest way possible. In the case of fat-loss however, we must be patient because things will take a long time. You didn’t get to where you are overnight so you are not going to get to where you want to be overnight. “Don’t let the time it takes to achieve a goal put you off of trying. The time will pass either way, you may as well spend it doing something productive.”

Hope these are helpful. 

Jay 

BDD: Body Dysmorphic Disorder in Fitness

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What is body dysmorphic disorder? Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) or body dysmorphia is a mental health condition in which “a person spends a lot of time worrying about and obsessing over flaws in their appearance.”  The flaws themselves tend to be unnoticeable to others and are either “imagined” by the person suffering from BDD or in the case where there is an actual flaw it’s importance is exaggerated. BDD goes beyond being unhappy with a certain aspect of ones own appearance because for those suffering from it the perceived flaws cause them a great deal of emotional pain and interfere greatly with their lives (e.g they become anti social and engage in extreme acts to either hide or attempt to fix these flaws). 

What does the fitness industry have to do with it? “Interestingly, distorted body image oftentimes has little to no relation to how an individual actually looks; his or her perception of the physical self is heavily influenced by cultural ideals.” For years society has been defining and setting standards of beauty through television and magazines and now with technological advancements and the rise in time spent scrolling through social media platforms people start to judge their own appearances according to societal/cultural definitions and expectations. With regard to fitness this may be feeling that one is not fit and healthy if they aren’t lean, muscular and have a six-pack. Another example is muscle dysmorphia (a subcategory of BDD affecting mostly males) in which one believes/perceives ones body to be too small. We tend to associate exercising and eating nutritious food in a positive manner (because at their very core these are things that are good for us) however, it is possible to take this to an extreme and transform what should be healthy habits into unhealthy ones. 

Tips to maintain a positive body image: 

  • Learn to admire the beauty and accomplishments of others without calling your own into question. If following a particular page or person online makes you feel negative about yourself simply unfollow it and focus on those that inspire you instead
  • Unplug try to limit time spent scrolling through social media 
  • Stop the negative self-talk. Practice speaking to yourself in a positive manner. Show yourself love and kindness
  • Support network. You are not alone and do not have to suffer in silence. Talk to friends, loved ones or a professional about how you are feeling.
  • Stop trying to live up to societies unrealistic standards. Celebrate what makes you unique, the world would be an extremely dull place if we were all the same. 

Just some food for thought. 

Jay xx

5 Reasons Why Strength Training is the Bomb Dot Com

 

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Strength training (aka resistance training) “is a method of improving muscular strength by gradually increasing the ability to resist force through the use of free weights, machines, or ones own bodyweight.” Traditionally when one thinks of lifting weights the thought of Arnie or Ronnie Coleman may come to mind, but now strength training has become increasingly popular with various sports (i.e. bodybuilding, olympic lifting, powerlifting, rugby, running, football, etc) being composed entirely of strength training or including it in their training plans.

Today I thought I would cover 5 reasons why everyone should include strength training into their workout routines:

  1. Beneficial to your overall health and fitness levels = stronger muscles and joints means making every day tasks much easier (i.e carrying shopping bags, climbing stairs and playing with children). Strength training can also help to fight against the loss of muscle tissue that occurs when we age as well as increasing bone density. This type of training also helps to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
  1. Improves body composition = Strength training allows you to lose fat while retaining muscle mass. “While cardio is effective for burning fat through calorie expenditure, nothing is better when it comes to increasing muscle size and strength than strength training.”
  1. Improves sports performance = strength training can help athletes to improve speed, power, coordination and balance which translates into improved performance for their particular sport.
  1. Improves mood and boosts energy levels = strength training can help to counter off feelings of stress, anxiety and depression. It also leads to increased energy levels which can contribute to the improvement of our mood.
  1. You feel badass = This point speaks for itself

Just some food for thought

Jay xx

Vanilla & Cinnamon Protein Muffins

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Ingredients: 

  • 1 scoop  vanilla protein powder
  • 1 scoop water
  • 1 Tbsp coconut flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 banana
  • 2 tsp almond butter and 2 tsp hazelnut spread

Method: 

  • In a blender or nutribullet blend together the protein powder, coconut flour, cinnamon, baking powder, water and eggs
  • Make sure mixture is completely blended together and place in muffin tin (should make about 4 muffins)
  • Bake at 150 degrees for 8-10 minutes (or until golden)
  • Slice off the muffin tops with a knife and let muffins cool for 3-5 minutes
  • Put the peanut butter on the bottom half of 2 of the muffins and the hazelnut spread on the bottom half of the other 2
  • Slice the banana and place it on the muffins
  • Place the muffin tops back on and enjoy

Jay xx

Accountability: Are You Standing in Your Own Way

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With the start of yet another new month 2018 is now well underway, so how are the goals and intentions you set up at the start of the year shaping up? Are you on track or are things not going according to plan?

Don’t get me wrong, no fitness journey (or any journey for that matter) will work out 100 percent smoothly and according to plan, that being said while it may not be a linear journey you should still ultimately be working towards your end goal. For example if your goal is fat-loss, there may be some weeks where your weight remains the same or where it goes up, which is absolutely normal. However, in the long-term you should still be losing weight and therefore working towards your goal.

I have found from my own personal experience and observing clients, family and friends that often we can be very quick to blame outside factors for sabotaging our goals and refuse to take responsibility. Continuing on from my fat-loss example above sometimes people will be quick to blame other factors for weight gain instead of perhaps being brutally honest with themselves and taking accountability such as accepting that perhaps they aren’t tracking calories properly (i.e.over estimating how much energy is expended and under estimating how much energy is consumed) or assuming that eating whole and organic foods translates differently to our bodies than non-organic foods (cake is cake just because its organic doesn’t mean you can eat more of it). This is just a small example.

The key point and message I hope that you guys take away from todays post is that if things aren’t working out the way that they should make sure that you’re being honest with yourself and taking responsibility where its appropriate.

Just some food for thought.

Jay xx

According to Jay: My Approach to Nutrition

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It’s taken me a while and a lot of trial and error to find an approach to nutrition which works for me. Having spent so many years in a toxic relationship with food, I’ve now been able to find balance and create a healthy relationship. I’m not in any way trying to suggest that anyone else needs to take the same approach as me, because ultimately everyone will have different aspects of nutrition that they struggle with and what works for me won’t necessarily work for you, but if you are struggling I’m hoping that some of these tips which have helped me will be helpful to you as well.

  1. Making it a lifestyle = In the past I was always guilty of relying on quick fixes or going to extremes which were ultimately unsustainable. My number one rule now is always to ensure that I can see myself adhering to any measures I implement in the long-term. If not then it’s not the right approach for me.
  1. De tudo um pouco = Everything in moderation. I find that as soon as I create restriction in my diet I focus on whatever it is that I’m restricting even more which in the past has led to a lot of binge eating and “diet re-starts on Monday” mentality. Instead I focus on ensuring that the majority of my meals are made up of nutrient dense foods while still allowing myself to enjoy all my favourite things.
  1. No labelling and being aware of trigger foods = I no longer label foods as being good or bad. In the past I always considered that to be healthy I had to cut bread out of my diet, whereas now I’ve learned that through portion control I can still enjoy bread (and other foods that I had previously labelled as being bad) and still achieve my goals. The key for me in being able to do this has been to learn which foods I can portion out. For instance If I buy a packet of biscuits I’m eating it all in one sitting. I still enjoy biscuits mind, but I know that it’s one of the foods I just can’t have in the house.
  1. Keep it simple = Far too often we over complicate things for ourselves which can make us feel overwhelmed and then we end up giving up altogether. Ultimately I eat foods that I enjoy in a manner that help me to both achieve my goals and be consistent.

Just some food for thought

Jay xx

Easter is Coming: Dieting on the Holiday’s

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Whenever there is a special occasion or a holiday (i.e. Easter and Christmas) I always notice that people become more aware of that they eat. This is natural given the typically indulgent nature of the meals we consume during these brief periods.

My issue with this is that I feel that people become so concerned with what they do some of the time  (such as the food they eat on these holidays and special occasions) instead of focusing on what they do most of the time (which involves what they eat the rest of the year).

When it comes to fitness its important to remember that consistency is more important than bursts of perfection. What you do most of the time is more important than what you do some of the time. Which means that if you spend the majority of the year making choices which align with your goals and filling your body with nutrient dense foods, enjoying yourself on the odd holiday and special occasion won’t derail your progress or keep you from achieving your goals.

I do understand that for many there may still be anxiety around food and these kind of events so here are a few tips which may help:

  1. Eat what you want
  2. If you don’t want something don’t eat it
  3. Stop when you are full
  4. Stay hydrated
  5. Enjoy the time spent and the memories created with friends, family and loved ones

Ultimately unless you are prepping for a competition or an event you shouldn’t be afraid of enjoying yourself on Easter. Stop focusing on and stressing about what you eat on days like Easter and Christmas  and instead start focussing on what you are putting into your body the rest of the year, because it’s what you do most of the time that determines your results.

Just some food for thought

Jay xx

WIHF: What is Health & Fitness?

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Health is defined as “the state of being free from illness or injury” and fitness is defined as “the condition of being physically fit and healthy.” If you ask me these definitions allow for a broad interpretation of what health and fitness involve and what they look like.

What is health and fitness to you? Is it to be strong, to be explosive, to have endurance, to be lean, to be flexible, to have balance, to be precise, to feel good, to be able to perform daily tasks without feeling pain or fatigue or a combination of these and other things?

The reason I’m asking this question is that I feel that there are far too many people who are influenced by what they see on social media platforms and believe that in order to be fit and healthy they need to look a certain way (i.e be extremely lean and have a six-pack). What a healthy body looks like will depend upon the individual in question, for example for one person being healthy may be to reduce the risk of disease by lowering weight and body fat while for another person being healthy could be to increase body fat and overall weight.

In the age of social media it is easy to get caught up comparing yourself to strangers online. You don’t need to look like your favourite IG model in order to be fit and healthy, you don’t need to do what they do or eat how much they eat. Truth be told doing that doesn’t guarantee you the same results anyway. The fitness industry is so diverse that you should be doing whatever it is that you enjoy be that participating in a sport, bodybuilding, powerlifting, dancing, running, etc.

The key point I want you guys to take away today is to realise that health and fitness are broad and that a healthy body will look different on everyone.

Just some food for thought

Jay xx

Listening to Your Body:Rest & Recovery

 

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Rest and recovery are easily overlooked factors when it comes to the achievement of our fitness goals. It’s easy to get sucked into thinking that the more exercise you do the better off you’ll be, however, when it comes to exercise more is not necessarily better. Even the world’s top athletes will have rest days scheduled into their training programs.

Why are rest days Important?

  • Helps to prevent injury: exercising without taking time to rest means that your muscles run the risk of becoming overused which can lead to injuries
  • Allows your muscles time to repair: rest days give our muscles time to grow and repair which ultimately allows you to gain benefits of the training that you’re doing.
  • Helps to keep you from burning out both physically and mentally: exercising is a form of stress that we place on our bodies, when we place too much stress on our bodies we can burn ourselves out mentally (lacking motivation and enthusiasm to engage in activities that we typically enjoy) and physically (not seeing any progress in our training and even struggling to maintain the same intensity and consistency in our training).

I hear you though. “Jay, I already have rest days in my program” and that’s great, but do you listen to your body and give yourself additional rest days when you need it. It can sometimes be difficult to differentiate between when you need to push yourself a little bit and when you need to back off. I still struggle with this so I thought I would share with you guys a few signs your body gives you when it needs rest and recovery:

  • Intense and prolonged DOMS
  • Prolonged lack of motivation to train
  • Insomnia
  • Feeling more irritated than usual
  • Feeling drained after what usually feels like a good workout
  • Decreased sex drive

I know that for many people taking a day off of training, especially one that they didn’t plan on having can be quite hard, but you will reap the benefits of it. Taking a day off of the gym doesn’t mean that you have to be a couch potato. Go for a walk or a hike or do some other fun activity you keep telling yourself you’ll do but never manage to find the time for.

Just some food for thought

Jay xx