EXERCISE CAN HELP BEAT THE WINTER BLUES.
When it's cold & daylight hours are scarce, it's common to experience a change in mood. You may feel more lethargic than usual & begin to experience sadness, decreased motivation & less interest in leaving the house or being social. This phenomenon is often called the "winter blues'. A more severe version of the 'winter blues' is SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) which is characterised by feelings of depression during the winter months followed by a significant improvement in mood when the seasons change to spring & summer. SAD has many of the same symptoms as the 'winter blues' but with much more intensity, it may help to discuss these symptoms with a friend or Health Care Professional. However, If you think you may have a case of the 'winter blues', the good news is that exercise can help alleviate the symptoms - you just need to beat that dreaded feeling of lethargy to make it happen. So how does exercise help?
Exercise releases endorphins - YES! Endorphins! These are the feel-good hormones that help improve your mood. You know that awesome feeling you get after a workout? (once you have recovered) - yep - endorphins. One of the reasons we get the "winter blues' is because we spend more time sitting huddled around heaters rather than moving (which warms you up too - just sayin'). We tend to exercise less, are less active & more stationary, which can make us feel tired & lethargic - this can in turn make us feel lazy & a little bit bad for not being active. So get off the couch, brave the cold & get some of those endorphins flowing through your system.
It's good for your self esteem to feel productive & active - I already mentioned how sitting around can make you feel lazy & maybe a little guilty... well this can eventually lead to you feeling down-on-yourself - so change the story. If I had a dollar for every time I heard a client say 'I really couldn't be bothered coming today, but now I'm so glad I did' at the end of a workout - I could probably retire! You don't have to repeat the same pattern every winter, make a change this year - remain active! Push-on through the cold months & feel the difference in your mood.
You get to have some fun with your gym buddies - Working out with your gym buddies can defiantly be a mood lifter! You can have a chat, catch up on the (non-gym related) goss, listen to some up-beat tunes & perhaps workout some of your mutual frustrations around the weather!
You get a change of scenery - It can be good for your temperament just to get out of the house for a change of scenery. Ever heard of 'cabin fever'? It's a real thing for me! It can be great heading to the gym for some different surroundings - especially if you are attending an outdoor session like lean 2 run (don't be afraid - you'll warm up). The fresh air & beautiful scenery Eltham has to offer is enough to improve any mood.
So there you have it! Some great reasons to commit to exercising through Winter. Now all you have to do is book a session & make sure you make it an endorphin-pumping mood-altering fun-fest! Easy peasy!
The cold weather is setting in & your thoughts turn away from the yummy salads you finally got used to eating & you find yourself thinking about some of those delish tummy warming meals that you ate last winter... you know the ones... the carb heavy, cheesy, fat laden deliciousness that helped you to put on those extra kilos in the first place?
I can hear you say 'I know they aren't going to support my goals - BUT I WANT THEM!!!'. Or perhaps that was me talking out loud? Anywho, the good news is that comfort food doesn't have to be a calorie fest! There are a few things you can do to make these meals better for you:
Make a few 'swaps':
Swap ingredients within recipes where appropriate to help keep the calories & macros within your chosen healthy range.
Let's use a Home Made Pie as an example. You could use extra lean mince in a shepherds or cottage pie & top the pie with cauliflower mash in place of potato (don't knock it until you try it). You could also cut down on the amount of cheese that the recipe requires. This will help to reduce the calorie & fat content of the pie.
Put your new found portion control skills to good use:
You could portion the pie mix & make the pies in small ramekin dishes. This way you can enjoy your yummy pie without piling too much of it onto your plate. You could perhaps serve the pie with a side of steamed veggies to help fill you up, so you aren't tempted to go back for a 2nd pie.
Search online for 'Healthy Comfort Food Recipes':
They are many sites that list recipes for 'Healthy Comfort Food', so get online & see what you can find. If you find meals that sound too good to be true, and you aren't sure whether they fit in with your Healthy Eating Plan, check with your Trainer (if they are qualified to discuss meal plans) or perhaps your friendly YGT Fitness Weight Loss Practitioner (yeah, that's me).
You can definitely eat tummy warming comfort foods this winter & still stay on track with your weight management goals. It all comes down to educating yourself & some simple planning.
Winter is coming - enjoy it!
You put a lot of effort into your workouts, always looking to perform better & reach your goals.
Chances are you've given more thought to your pre-workout meal than your post-workout meal, however consuming the right nutrients after you exercise is just as important as what you eat before.
To understand how the right foods can help you after exercise, it's important to understand how your body is affected by exercise.
When you're working out, your muscles use up their glycogen stores for fuel. This results in your muscles being partially depleted of glycogen. Some of the proteins in your muscles also get broken down & damaged.
After your workout, your body tries to rebuild its glycogen stores & repair & regrow those muscle proteins. Eating the right nutrients soon after you exercise can help your body get this done faster. It is particularly important to eat carbs & protein after your workout.
Doing this helps your body:
Protein Helps Repair & Build Muscle
As explained, exercise triggers the breakdown of muscle protein & consuming an adequate amount of protein after a workout gives your body the amino acids it needs to repair & rebuild these proteins. It also gives you the building blocks required to build new muscle.
It's recommended that you consume 0.3–0.5 grams per kilo of body weight very soon after a workout. Studies have shown that ingesting 20–40 grams of protein seems to maximize the body's ability to recover after exercise.
Carbs Help With Recovery
Your body's glycogen stores are used as fuel during exercise, & consuming carbs after your workout helps replenish them.
The rate at which your glycogen stores are used depends on the activity. For example, endurance sports cause your body to use more glycogen than resistance training. For this reason, if you participate in endurance sports (running, swimming, etc.), you might need to consume more carbs than a bodybuilder.
Many people think that eating fat after a workout slows down digestion & inhibits the absorption of nutrients. While fat might slow down the absorption of your post-workout meal, it will not reduce its benefits. It might be a good idea to limit the amount of fat you eat after exercise, but having some good fats in your post-workout meal will not affect your recovery & provides many other health benefits.
The Timing of Your Post-Workout Meal Matters
Your body's ability to rebuild glycogen & protein is enhanced after you exercise & it's recommended that you consume a combination of carbs & protein as soon as possible after exercising. Although the timing does not need to be exact, many experts recommend eating your post-workout meal within 45 minutes. However, if you consumed a meal before exercising, it's likely that the benefits from that meal still apply after training.
Foods to Eat After You Workout
The primary goal of your post-workout meal is to supply your body with the right nutrients for adequate recovery & to maximize the benefits of your workout. Choosing easily digested foods will promote faster nutrient absorption. The following lists contain examples of simple & easily digested foods:
Sweet potatoes, milk, quinoa, fruits (pineapple, berries, banana, kiwi), rice cakes, rice, oatmeal, potatoes, pasta, dark, leafy green vegetables.
Animal- or plant-based protein powder, eggs, greek yogurt, cottage cheese, salmon, chicken, protein bar, tuna.
Avocado, olives, nuts, nut butters, trail mix (dried fruits & nuts).
Post-workout meal examples
Combinations of the foods listed above can create great meals that provide you with all the nutrients you need after exercise.
Here are a few examples of quick & easy meals to eat after your workout:
Make Sure to Drink Plenty of Water
It is important to drink plenty of water before & after your workout, being properly hydrated ensures the optimal internal environment for your body to maximize results. During exercise, you lose water & electrolytes through sweat. Replenishing these after a workout can help with recovery & performance.
Follow these tips & you will give your body everything it need to recover & grow after your workout sessions - You Got This!
You know that feeling you sometimes get after you eat? You may have eaten too much or was it the type of food you ate? Or perhaps how fast you ate it? Her are some of the common reasons for bloating:
Eating 'gassy' foods - Some foods like beans, broccoli, cabbage & brussels sprouts have a substance called raffinose that the bacteria in your stomach has to breakdown - and this can cause gas, which leads to bloating. You don't have to avoid these foods however, eating them regularly can cause your boy to adjust.
FODMAPs - These are a group of carbs that are hard to digest for some people, causing bloating, gas & fluid buildup. FODMAPs include lactose in dairy foods, fructose in fruit & honey & many others. If you think these foods may affect you, keep notes on how your body handles them & share it with your GP to help with a diagnosis.
Eating too fast - The faster you eat, the more air you can swallow. This air can become trapped in your stomach & passed to your intestines. Eating fast can also make you overeat, as it takes up to 30 minutes for your brain to tell your stomach you are full - & overeating can definitely make you feel bloated.
Over eating - Your stomach is only about the size of a fist, & although food compacts somewhat in the digestive process, eating too much can leave you feeling bloated as your stomach starts to stretch - aaaaahhhhhh!
Fizzy drinks - When you drink fizzy drinks the the gas you drink can fill up your digestive system. Although you may burp some away, some remains & moves through to your digestive system until it 'passes' out the other end - yep that's where the term 'passing gas' comes from.
Too much salt - Consuming too much salt can make you retain water, which again can make you feel bloated. Read your food labels to see how much salt is in the everyday foods you consume.
Too much fat - Fat takes a while to digest which means it can stick around in your stomach for a while making you feel bloated. Skip the deep fried foods - you don't need them anyway.
Constipation - Feeling 'stopped up' can make you feel bloated. This mostly happens when you need more water, fiber or exercise, but it can also be caused by illness or changes in diet & stress. Consult your GP if constipation is an issue for you.
Medical conditions - They are a range of conditions that can cause bloating, so if bloating is an issue for you, make sure you consult your GP or another medical professional for some expert advice.
MACROS - You've probably heard this buzz word when people refer to their diet or meal plans, but what are they? The term 'Macros' is used to describe macronutrients which by definition are, “energy providing chemicals” or “substances required in relatively large amounts by living organisms.” In other words, they are the fuel we need for our bodies to function.
The three main macronutrients are fats, protein & carbohydrates. They all have their own specific roles & functions in the body & supply us with energy. For this reason, the body requires these nutrients in relatively large amounts to grow, develop, repair & thrive!
Each macronutrient is almost always found in every item of food in some amount, whether that’s a healthy snack bar or a raw vegetable; the only difference is how the macronutrients are balanced. The macronutrient that has the highest percentage in each food will determine how it is classified, e.g. as protein, carb or fat.
For instance, avocados consist of about 70% fat, 8% carb, & 2% protein, so even though they contain some of the other macros, they would be classified as a fat. Another example would be an apple which consists of about 95% carb, 2% protein, & 3% fat. If you didn’t guess it already, that meals apples are classified as a carb.
Carbohydrates are made up of chains of starch & sugar that the body breaks down into glucose. These are the body’s main source of energy & the brain’s primary source. This is important to know because, since your brain requires fuel at all times in order to function, your body is very efficient at storing glucose (in the form of glycogen) in the liver & muscles.
Good sources of carbohydrates:
Fats are needed for brain development, making hormones & aiding in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K). They have the highest calorie count per gram, meaning that they require more energy to burn, but at the same time, are helpful for increasing feelings of satiety - they will keep you feeling fuller for longer.
Good sources of fat:
Protein provides amino acids which are the building blocks of cell & muscle structure. In total, there are 20 types of amino acids, nine of which are essential, meaning that your body requires them from food. Protein in the body is used beyond just muscle — it is the core component of organs, bones, hair, enzymes, & all tissue. Protein also helps support a healthy immune system.
Good sources of protein (organic preferred):
Just like diet & fitness, macronutrient ratios are not one-size-fits-all. There is no ideal macronutrient ratio that suits everyone & your needs will change according to different factors in your life. Some people may do better on a lower carbohydrate diet, while someone else may feel more energized on a higher fat diet. Trying different macronutrient targets will allow you to determine which levels work best for you.
These ranges can vary depending on which type of diet you are following. Here are some examples of macro ranges:
Standard diet macros range:
Protein: 10-35% of calories
Carbs: 45-65% of calories
Fat: 20-35% of calories
Low-carb diet macros range:
Protein: 20-30% of calories
Carbs: 30-40% of calories
Fat: 30-40% of calories
Keto diet macros range:
Protein: 20-25% of calories
Carbs: 5-10% of calories
Fat: 70-75% of calories
Want a personalised meal plan? Contact Tani @ YGT Fitness.
Seriously... where do I start? There are so many reasons to try Boxing for fitness!
I can't talk it up enough! And if I ever find my love for boxing waning, the reaction from my clients will keep the sessions on our timetable, because I love taking our clients through their first boxing session.
I love the look of excitement they get when they land their first good strikes into the pads, the fire in their eyes when they try combinations, and the look of accomplishment when they finish their first session, a little worn-out, a little sweaty, but definitely looking forward to their next.
Here a some of the reasons I think you should try Boxing for fitness:
I told you, I really can't talk it up enough. I started Boxing for fitness about 4 years ago - and I have not looked back. I've made some great new friends, taken my fitness to a new level & found a great way to relieve stress when I need to - win win win!
Have I given you enough reasons to consider giving boxing a try? Come & try it with us in a 10 Day Free Trial - it could be the best thing you've done in a long time!
You've been eating well & working out - but then you slip up... and now you feel like you have thrown all that good work out the window right? It's easy to come back from a food blow out, much easier than continuing down the path of over eating & regret.
So what can you do to stop the binge & get back on track?
STEP AWAY FROM THE BURGER:
Sometimes it can feel like you are out of control, like you can't stop eating or can't resist particular foods, rather than feeling like you are in control & making the choice to eat outside of your new healthy meal plan.
If that happens, just stop... & take a deep breath. Don't let your internal voice say 'well you've stuff-up now, so you might as well keep going'. You haven't 'stuffed-up'. And you don't need to let a slip-up become a relapse into binge eating . Just stop for second and remind yourself why you are trying to eat better, & then get back on track with the foods that you know will support your health goals.
THINK ABOUT THE WHY:
Situations, places, being bored or feeling sad are just s few reasons that may see you turn to food for comfort. When this happens, you can often consume more than you want or need to, so it's good to think about the situation you were in when you got the urge. Where were you? What were you doing? What was your thought process?
Think about the situation you were in and why you felt the need to turn to food for comfort, so you can better prepare yourself if you're in the same situation in the future.
HAVE A BACK-UP PLAN:
Once you have figured out the why, when & where, you can come up with a plan to distract yourself for long enough for the desire to binge to pass. Maybe you just need to wait 5 minutes rather than acting on impulse. Maybe you need a healthy back-up snack that satisfies your urge while still supporting your goals. Maybe you need to say, ok, I'll have some chocolate or pizza, but I will have this portion only & I'll savour it.
PLAN YOUR RELAXED MEALS:
There are many strategies that can help prevent a binge or lapse when you are trying to make healthy changes in your life. A binge or lapse is very different from having a relaxed meal that you choose to have, & enjoy without experiencing bad feelings afterwards.
Planning your relaxed meal means that you are in control of what you are eating, you are in control of the portion size, and you can savour the food without the guilt that you may experience after binging. It's a yummy win-win.
So if you find yourself in the situation where you are eating out of control or binging, just remember that you can take back control, and you can get straight back on track with your healthy eating plan. It's within your power to make the change. You got this.
You really want to stick to a healthy eating plan over Easter & avoid the Egg & Bun Blow-out – but is it possible? Yeah it is! And you don’t have to miss out either… you just need a plan...you can eat some of the Easter goodies, just not ALL of the Easter goodies!
To put it into perspective, to burn off the calories in one 200g milk chocolate Easter egg, you may have to jog for 3 hours – I’m just saying. So what can you do to enjoy Easter & not feel like you are missing out on the yummies? Here are a few tips:
Treat Easter as one day - not a whole week.
Easter eggs & hot cross buns are for sale months in advance & are everywhere you turn. Avoid turning Easter into a week/month-long binge fest by planning to enjoy your favourite Easter treats on just one day, say Easter Sunday, & then eat your usual healthy foods on the other days.
Plan your indulgence & stick to it.
Decide before-hand what you’ll be eating & when you’ll be eating it. Re-train your brain - think about how the amount you’ve decided on will be enough & that you will be satisfied. Don’t tell yourself you are missing out – be positive about your plan.
It can also help to think about how pleased you will be that you stuck to your plan, as opposed to how you would feel if you had a blow-out.
Size does matter:
Buy small individually wrapped eggs instead of the biggest egg you can find! A 100g milk chocolate egg contains about 500 calories (2100 kJ), which is a big chunk of your daily intake when you are trying to lose weight. Choose small eggs, decide how many you are going to eat & savor them throughout the day.
Easter treats calorie counts:
Sorry for the bad news, but it's true - there are no free Easter calories. So keep this in mind when you're devising your plan;
2 x mini solid Easter eggs = 300kJ (70 calories)
1 x small hollow egg (20g) = 580kJ (140 calories)
1 x mini Hot Cross Bun (40g) = 460kJ (110 calories)
1 x medium Hot Cross Bun (65g) = 880kJ (210 calories)
Quality over quantity:
It's best to choose a small piece of good quality chocolate instead of a large amount of basic chocolate. Better still. choose dark chocolate (70-80%) which has a higher percentage of coco than milk chocolate & will leave you feeling satisfied with a smaller portion than milk chocolate would.
Only buy what you need:
We often tend to buy more eggs & bunnies than we need & end up with too many in the pantry at home. Write a list of people you need to buy eggs for & stick to it - & don’t include your own name on this list.
Be prepared for temptation
You may be gifted chocolate over Easter, so it’s best to have a plan to deal with these gifts so you stay on track & in control.
Make your Easter activities about being active & having fun.
Make the most of the weekend & embrace the holiday element. Shift the emphasis from chocolate to spending time with friends & family, getting active & enjoying a break from the day-to-day routine. An Easter Egg hunt is being active right? Right.
Planning is key
Help yourself stay in control on Easter Sunday by planning your meals ahead of time. Organise your breakfast, lunch, dinner & some healthy snacks to ensure you aren’t hungry - it will make it easier for you to stick to your chocolate damage limitation plan.
The upcoming chocolate fest doesn’t need to bring your healthy eating habits crashing down. Follow these tips & you can have your cake & eat it too – just make it portion controlled cake - & then get back to healthy eating as per usual.
Just as the trees shed their leaves, autumn feels like the perfect opportunity to shed our bad habits, so instead of sleeping that extra hour on Monday morning, how about using this extra hour to build a new healthy habit?
Your internal clock doesn't know about the end of Daylight Saving, so when your alarm goes off at 5:30 am on Monday 8th of april, your body will still think it's 6:30 am. If you continue to get up at your usual internal clock time, your body won't even realise you are getting up early to workout & if you persist, you will eventually get used to the new time & a new habit is born!
You have gained an extra hour in the day so why not use it for some healthy 'you time'?
It's a great feeling to have your workout done & dusted in the morning - it gives you a euphoric feeling & it is an amazing way to start each day. Yeah it can be tough some days, but it is absolutely worth it!
Anyone can create a new routine with persistence - so why not use the end of Daylight Saving to kickstart this healthy new habit.
See you in the AM! You Got This!
Most people eat enough protein to prevent deficiency, but some individuals would do better with a much higher protein intake. Numerous studies suggest that a high-protein diet has major benefits for weight loss & metabolic health.
Here are some science-based reasons to eat more protein.
REDUCES APPETITE & HUNGER LEVELS
The three macronutrients — fats, carbs, and protein — affect your body in different ways.
Studies show that protein is by far the most filling, it helps you feel more full — with less food.
This is partly because protein reduces your level of the hunger hormone ghrelin. It also boosts the levels of peptide YY, a hormone that makes you feel full.
These effects on appetite can be powerful. In one study, increasing protein intake from 15% to 30% of calories resulted in overweight women eat 441 fewer calories each day without intentionally restricting anything.
If you need to lose weight or belly fat, consider replacing some of your carbs and fats with protein. It can be as simple as making your potato or rice serving smaller while adding a few extra bites of meat or fish.
INCREASES MUSCLE MASS & STRENGTH
Protein is the building block of your muscles. Therefore, eating adequate amounts of protein helps you maintain your muscle mass & promotes muscle growth when you do strength training. Numerous studies show that eating plenty of protein can help increase muscle mass & strength. If you're physically active, lifting weights, or trying to gain muscle, you need to make sure you're getting enough protein. Keeping protein intake high can also help prevent muscle loss during weight loss.
GOOD FOR YOUR BONES
Long-term studies indicate that protein has major benefits for bone health. People who eat more protein tend to maintain bone mass better as they age & have a much lower risk of osteoporosis & fractures.
This is especially important for women, who are at high risk of osteoporosis after menopause. Eating plenty of protein & staying active is a good way to help prevent that from happening.
REDUCES CRAVINGS & DESIRE FOR LATE-NIGHT SNACKING
A food craving is different from normal hunger. It is not just about your body needing energy or nutrients but your brain needing a reward. Yet, cravings can be incredibly hard to control. The best way to overcome them may be to prevent them from occurring in the first place. One of the best prevention methods is to increase your protein intake.
A study in overweight adolescent girls found that eating a high-protein breakfast reduced cravings & late-night snacking. This may be mediated by an improvement in the function of dopamine, one of the main brain hormones involved in cravings & addiction.
BOOSTS METABOLISM & INCREASES FAT BURNING
Eating can boost your metabolism for a short while because your body uses calories to digest & make use of the nutrients in foods. This is referred to as the thermic effect of food (TEF). However, not all foods are the same in this regard. In fact, protein has a much higher thermic effect than fat or carbs — 20–35% compared to 5–15%.
High protein intake has been shown to significantly boost metabolism & increase the number of calories you burn. This can amount to 80–100 more calories burned each day. In fact, some research suggests you can burn even more. In one study, a high-protein group burned 260 more calories per day than a low-protein group. That’s equivalent to an hour of moderate-intensity exercise every day.
HELPS MAINTAIN WEIGHT LOSS
Because a high-protein diet boosts metabolism & leads to an automatic reduction in calorie intake & cravings, many people who increase their protein intake tend to lose weight almost instantly. One study found that overweight women who ate 30% of their calories from protein lost 5 kg in 12 weeks — though they didn’t intentionally restrict their diet.
Protein also has benefits for fat loss during intentional calorie restriction. In a 12-month study in 130 overweight people on a calorie-restricted diet, the high-protein group lost 53% more body fat than a normal-protein group eating the same number of calories.
Of course, losing weight is just the beginning. Maintaining weight loss is a much greater challenge for most people. A modest increase in protein intake has been shown to help with weight maintenance. In one study, increasing protein from 15% to 18% of calories reduced weight regain by 50%. If you want to keep off excess weight, consider making a permanent increase in your protein intake.
HELPS YOUR BODY REPAIR ITSELF AFTER INJURY
Protein can help your body repair after it has been injured. This makes perfect sense, as it forms the main building blocks of your tissues & organs. Numerous studies demonstrate that eating more protein after injury can help speed up recovery.
HELPS YOU STAY FIT AS YOU AGE
One of the consequences of aging is that your muscles gradually weaken. The most severe cases are referred to as age-related sarcopenia, which is one of the main causes of frailty, bone fractures & reduced quality of life among older adults. Eating more protein is one of the best ways to reduce age-related muscle deterioration & prevent sarcopenia.
Staying physically active is also crucial & lifting weights or doing some sort of resistance exercise can work wonders.
I f you need to lose weight, improve your metabolic health, or gain muscle mass & strength, make sure you’re eating enough protein - people can benefit from eating up to as much as 25–30% of calories from protein.