Health & Fitness Blog

2 simple rules about carbohydrates!

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Everybody knows that nutrition is important. Whether your goal is fat-burning or human performance, if the proper fuel isn’t there, your goal won’t be achieved.

The following piece of information is the one single most important aspect of the human body science that you need to understand if you want your body to feel better, perform better and look better.

Insulin is a hormone secreted by an organ called the pancreas. Its role is to take sugar in the bloodstream and get that sugar into muscles, to be used for energy.

Unfortunately, if insulin levels are always high, then the sensitive insulin receptors in the body’s cells eventually become unresponsive to insulin, resulting in a host of problems related to what is called “insulin insensitivity”. These problems can include weight gain, fatigue, appetite cravings, and even cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

If you want to control your insulin levels, there are two very important things you can instantly do…

1) Don’t Go Hungry. If you’re going more than 4 hours between meals, it’s likely that your blood sugar levels are dropping very low. When this happens, and you eventually do eat, blood sugar levels rise more rapidly than usual, resulting in a big surge in insulin levels. Rather than waiting to eat until you’re about to gnaw off your arm, give yourself a rule of snacking or eating at least every 3 hours. By planning, preparing, packaging and pre-cooking, you’ll ensure that you have adequate snacks on hand to make this happen.

2) Choose Carbs Wisely. The more quickly a sugar is released into the bloodstream, the faster your insulin levels are going to rise. Some carbs are “quick-release” carbs and include things like sport drinks, sweets, biscuits and white pastas, rice or bread. Other carbs, are “slow-release” carbs, and the best ones are lean dairy foods, vegetable carbs like carrots and squash, nuts and seeds, pears, berries and green apples. Choose the quick-release carbs only before, during and after heavy exercise, and use the slow-release carbs the rest of the day.

With these two simple rules, you can suddenly have enormous control over your insulin levels, your health, your performance and your body.

8 top tips to speed up your metabolism

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1. Don’t starve yourself

If you are consuming less than 1000 calories per day your body will go into starvation mode. When this happens your body tries to conserve stores of fat and carbohydrate and in turn slows down your metabolism.

2. Eat smaller meals more frequently

To stop the starvation mode setting in eat smaller meals more frequently. The longer you wait between meals the more your metabolism conserves energy by slowing down. Try to eat 4-6 mini meals every 2-3 hours. Small, frequent meals
keep your blood sugar levels stable, provide a steady source of energy and help reduce hunger later in the day.

3. Make sure you eat breakfast!

I know you have probably heard this a million times before, but breakfast really is a ‘must’ if you want to speed up your metabolism. If you don’t eat breakfast you’re probably going a long time without food (8-10 hours or more).

4. Build lean muscle

I know a lot of people (mostly women) are put off by the thought of building muscle. But let’s get one thing straight – you are not going to look like Arnold Schwarzenegger by lifting a few weights!!!

For a start, women have 10 times less testosterone (a muscle building hormone) in their body than men, so women find it very hard to gain a lot of muscle.

Plus, you would have to be lifting very heavy weights to see a big difference in muscle bulk.

But, here’s the interesting thing; the more muscle you have the more calories you burn off, even at rest! It is thought that just 2.7kgs of extra muscle will burn off 150 calories per day at rest. Yes, that’s an extra 150 calories per day for nothing!

So, the best way to gain more muscle is to start with a progressive resistance workout programme and build up to lifting heavy weights (remember, lifting heavy weights does not necessarily mean you will look like a pumped up muscle man).
When lifting heavy weights it causes stress to your muscle fibres. Researchers at Wayne State University found that when your body repairs those muscle fibres, it causes your metabolism to increase for up to 3 days after the workout.

5. Eat Protein

To maintain good muscle tone and keep your metabolism high make sure you consume optimum protein.

To build a little muscle and tone up you should be aiming for around 1.6grams of protein for every kg of body weight per day. So, for example, if you weight 70kgs you should be consuming 112grams of protein per day.

Good sources of protein are meat, fish, eggs, nuts and dairy.

However, a lot of people find it difficult or inconvenient to get the right amount of protein on a daily basis. If you are one of these people you should think seriously about using a protein supplement. You can get protein supplements
low in carbohydrates and fat, they are affordable, convenient and help keep your metabolism ticking over.

Follow this link to my website to see which protein supplement I recommend. I highly recommend Reflex protein, it is the best on the market at the minute. To find out more about it or to buy it click on my amazon widget on the right of this page>>>>

6. Drink plenty of water

Another one that you have probably heard a million times, consume at least 2 litres of water per day. This will help regulate your digestive system and help other bodily functions operate.

For an added metabolism boost add ice to your water. Although the increase is not huge, cold water can cause a small surge in metabolic rate. How? Well, your body maintains a core temperature of around 98.6 Fahrenheit and when you
drink cold water your body works to bring the water up to that temperature. This warming process burns off extra calories.

7. Interval Training

Mixing in fast paced intervals raises your metabolic rate higher than doing steady cardio workouts. You can do interval training with many types of exercise including running, cycling and swimming. An Australian study found that women
who done intervals while cycling lost 3 times as much fat as those who worked out at steady pace.

Try this to start:

Walk for 30 seconds then run for 30 seoconds – repeat this sequence for 30 minutes or longer.

When you become comfortable with this, increase your run to 60 seconds. So you will walk for 30 seconds then run for 60 seconds.

8. Vitamin B

B vitamins play a key part in the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and protein.
Inadequate amount of certain B vitamins can cause depression and fatigue as well as slowing down your metabolism.

So make sure you are consuming enough vitamin B to boost your metabolism and to keep you filled with energy. You can get the bulk of your vitamin B from foods like spinach, asparagus, beans, melon, broccoli, fish and eggs.

But, if you feel like you do not consume enough of these types of foods a vitamin B complex supplement may help. Follow the link to the Amazon widget on my website to find out which Vitamin B supplement I recommend.

Can Yoga Help Your Stress?

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The human body is a wonderful thing. It can take an unusual amount of punishment and stress, and still heal itself. But it needs your help to accomplish this cure. In order to rejuvenate your body’s natural defense system, you need to relax. Relaxation and rest will cure many diseases.

Certain yoga poses will help to stimulate glands in the brain, and will put the body into the Alpha state. The Alpha state will help increase the creative thought process, as well as help the body heal itself. The Alpha state is often attained during savasana, the final resting pose in yoga practice.

Yoga exercise consists of smooth stretches and twists combined with deep symmetrical breathing to help the body loosen up tight strained muscles, stretching the spinal column and relieving stress on the discs and joints. The muscles are stretched out releasing the poisons and toxins in the body. Pranayam (breathing exercises) help flush the lung tissues, allowing an increased oxygen level to enter the bloodstream, which fights off infection and helps the body heal itself.

On a physical level, yoga will increase strength, flexibility and grace. But equally important, yoga exercise will reduce stress levels by the process of healing and cleansing the mind along with healing the body. Yoga views the body as having multiple levels or layers, and the various exercises and postures help create an energy flow throughout the mind and body.

All of the stress that we are subject to results in a great deal of physical tension in your body. Yoga can reduce this stress and tension level and eliminate toxins from the body. Yoga also helps clear the mind and spirit. Asana (posture), pranayama (breathing) and dhyana (meditation) will help release muscular tension which leads to better stress management and generates an overall feeling of well being.

Yoga resting poses help to release abdominal tension, allowing improved digestive functions. The yoga resting poses also allow the body to enter into a relaxed calm state, which is free from the fight or flight stress, which also helps the body to rejuvenate itself. Yoga also helps create focus, which allows our mind to relax and clear negative thoughts.

For those who just now discovering yoga, it truly is the best exercise method that not only increases your body’s strength, but will reduce your stress levels and improve your mental health.

20 Super Foods for Building Muscle

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To build muscle & lose fat, you need a variety of proteins, veggies, fruits, carbs, and healthy fats. Eating protein helps building & maintaining muscle. But it also helps fat loss: protein has a higher thermic effect than carbs/fats. Eating fats also helps fat loss: your body holds fat if you don’t eat fats. Fruits & veggies contain vitamins & minerals, necessary for recovery from your workouts. And carbs fuel your muscles so you feel full of energy at the gym.

Lots of you struggle to get these foods. Sometimes because you’re too busy or sometimes because you just lack information. This list will help you — 20 super foods you need to build muscle & lose fat.

1. Whole Eggs. Cheap & rich source of protein: 7g/egg. The yolk contains most nutrients: half the protein, vitamins A/D/E and cholesterol to naturally increase your testosterone levels.

Don’t worry about cholesterol in eggs. Dietary cholesterol isn’t bound to blood cholesterol. Read this, this, this & this. If you have bad cholesterol, lower your body fat rather than throwing the yolk away.

2. Fish Oil. Reduces inflammation (joints/skin), lowers body fat and increases testosterone levels. You need 9000mg EPA/DHA per day. Since you’ll probably struggle to get that from eating fatty fish, consider a fish oil supplement.

3. Wild Salmon. One of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids that also gets you 20g protein per 100g serving. Farm raised salmon is, however, omega-3 deficient: it’s corn/grain fed. Go with wild salmon.

4. Berries. Strong antioxidants that prevent cancer, heart & eye diseases. Any kind works: cranberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, etc. Buy fresh or frozen berries and mix with oatmeal.

5. Yogurt. Contain bacteria that improve your gastrointestinal health. Don’t buy frozen yogurt or yogurt with added sugar and fruits at the bottom. Get plain low fat yogurt. Eat it with berries & flax seeds.

6. Flax Seeds. Source of fiber, protein & omega-3. Grind the flax seeds to get the most out of them. Take 1 tbsp with yogurt & berries before going to bed. Stay away from flax oil: it’s unstable and contains no fiber.

7. Extra Virgin Olive Oil. 70% monounsaturated fats that protect against heart diseases and cancer. Add 1-2 tbsp olive oil to your salads. Buy Extra Virgin Olive Oil: it contains more polyphenols and tastes better.

8. Mixed Nuts. Contain mono- & polyunsaturated fats, proteins, fiber, vitamin E, zinc, potassium, magnesium, etc. Mixed nuts are caloric dense, great if you’re a skinny guy who wants to gain weight.

Anything works: almonds, walnuts, cashews, hazelnuts, … Peanut butter also works as long as you buy natural peanut butter without added salts/sugars.

9. Red Meat. Protein, vitamin B12, heme iron, zinc, creatine, carnosine and even omega-3 if you eat grass-fed beef. Eat steaks & hamburgers from top round or sirloin. Read Dr. Lonnie Lowery’s article on Meat.

10. Broccoli. High in cancer-fighting phytochemicals and anti-estrogenic indoles. Broccoli is also high in soluble fiber and low calorie, helping fat loss. Eat other cruciferous vegetables for a change: cabbage, bok choy, cauliflower, kale, …

11. Spinach. One of the most alkaline foods. Spinach prevents muscle & bone loss, but also cancer and heart diseases because of its high nutrient profile. Try one of the spinach recipes I shared a while back.

12. Turkey. If you don’t believe saturated fat is good for you, try white turkey. The leanest beef has about 4.5g saturated fat/100g, while white turkey has close to 0g (that why it’s so dry). Eat turkey with spinach & quinoa.

13. Quinoa. South American “king of grains”. Quinoa is higher in fiber & protein than rice or oats, tastes a lot better and is gluten free. Buy the whiter grain, it’s better quality. Eat it post workout with meat & spinach.

14. Oats. Reduce cholesterol, provide you with low-gi carbs for energy, and high in soluble fiber. Try this post workout shake of whey & oats.

15. Tomatoes. High in lycopene, which prevents cancer. The lycopene in tomato paste is 4 times more bioavailable than in fresh tomatoes. Have pizza or pasta with tomato sauce & olive oil post strength training.

16. Oranges. Vitamin C to fight diseases, magnesium to lower blood pressure, anti-oxidant beta-carotenes, etc. Quit drinking processed orange juice which often has added sugars. Eat oranges or make your own orange juice.

17. Apples. Pectin in apples helps weight loss by increasing satiety. Apples are also the strongest antioxidiant after cranberries (eat the peels). Unfortunately apples are one of the most pesticide-contaminated fruits. Go organic.

18. Carrots. Their huge vitamin A content improves eye-health, especially night vision. Carrots are also rich in fiber, low calorie and taste good, even raw.

19. Water. Your body holds water if you don’t drink enough. Drinking prevents water retention, helps muscle recovery and prevents dehydration from strength training. Get a brita filter and drink 2 cups of water with each meal.

20. Green Tea. Strong antioxidant and natural diuretic. Green tea also speeds up fat loss, prevents cancer and improves blood sugar & circulation. Drink green tea in the morning instead of coffee. Real green tea, not the teabags.

Putting it All Together. Eat proteins, veggies, fruits & fats every 3 hours. 2 cups water with each meal. Carbs post workout only. Junk food 10% of the time. Get stronger in the meanwhile and you’ll build muscle & lose fat.

Top 5 Cardio Exercises

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Cardiovascular fitness is important. Heart disease doesn’t just affect the heart but the vessels of the body as well. Peripheral vascular disease can lead painful joints and fluid retention in the tissues – even amputations. The best way to keep this from happening is to keep the body healthy.

If you are looking for cardio fitness tips , here are my top 5 cardio exercises you can perform today.

1. Aerobics – Like the name says, it uses oxygen to improve your fitness level. As you get better, you will lower your heart rate and blood pressure while increasing your oxygenation throughout the tissues. That means less lactic acid build-up in the muscles, which causes cramps. But aerobics is a general name for several types of activities: kickboxing, dancing, step aerobics and more.

2. Bicycling – This can be done outside or inside. Inside it is called spinning. This is a low-impact, high-energy workout that takes you up hills and down them again by adjusting the tension on your bike. Music keeps you moving even when your legs want to give out. Outside, you can bike trails and even go mountain biking. To get the most out of your workout, choose the appropriate bike for the terrain. Wear light breathable clothing, a helmet and comfortable shoes.

3. Swimming – Unfortunately swimming does more for men in the way of a weight-loss exercise than it does for women. It doesn’t heat your body up enough in the cold water to burn fat, but it does give you an excellent cardiovascular workout. We are not talking about doggie paddling here. Swimming freestyle, backstroke and butterfly laps all require power and good lung capacity. You will increase your ability to swim farther and faster the more you practice.

4. Jogging – Jogging is a cross between running and walking fast. For those who have trouble with their knees and can’t stand the impact, you can get the same jogging workout on the elliptical trainer. It increases your heart rate, uses the arms and all without wear and tear on your joints.

5. Walking – This is one of the best overall exercises. You can walk up hills, down hills, over rough terrain and on flat surfaces. Pumping your arms increases the involvement of your heart and lungs. Anyone can do it at any age. It strengthens your entire body and burns calories.

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