Samstag, 11. Oktober 2014

Fitness to strength - why you need to get stronger

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” We’ve all heard the adage in response to facing adversity. When something negative is introduced to our bodies, be it disease or trauma, it could kill us. But if we are lucky enough to survive it, we come out stronger. But what if we look at it differently and assume the stimulus is positive, not negative? A positive stimulus probably WILL NOT kill you. If anything it may make you stronger. We’ll expand on that shortly. Let us consider fitness. We all try to get fitter. Some are either already fit and others are at the beginning of a fitness journey. Previously we discussed that good nutrition was paramount, and an understanding of how we feed our bodies was key to maintenance. Here we begin to discuss why.

We all have goals. We want to lower our percentage body fat, turn that fat into muscle i.e. be more toned, and be more efficient at burning up energy (calories). As we get older throughout life the amount of lean muscle in our bodies begins to decrease. What happens when the lost muscle is not replenished is that fat takes its place - according to data from the Mayo Clinic in the USA. So what can you do to ensure that this outcome is stopped? Simple, as you begin to exercise, incorporate a significant amount of strength training into your workout. Increasing your strength as you start to work towards becoming fitter has various benefits including, improving stamina during exercise, strengthening bones, and managing weight if weight loss is the goal.

Muscle is made up of bundles of fibres densely packed together. In each fibre is millions of specialised “batteries” called mitochondria that power them, using the food you eat to generate energy. This process of generating energy is called metabolism. The more muscle fibres you have the more energy is being generated (the higher your metabolism). Obviously the process of growing muscle involves exercise. But the process is strange because by exercising, you are destroying these bundles of fibres. The body then repairs these fibres, making them bigger or by making new fibres to patch up the breaks. As a result the muscle grows and you get stronger. Just like you need nutrients for exercise; it is even more essential that nutrients are available during this phase of rebuilding. Once rebuilt you now have more batteries that need more energy because you have more fibres or larger fibres. Therefore the energy requirements increase because your muscles are producing more energy. Ever wonder why you feel hungrier as you exercise more and more. This is why!

Once again, we ask, what and how should we be eating? You should aim to get a balance of nutrients. But this will differ in proportions depending on your fitness goals. Nutrient amounts and the types of training will be addressed in our last discussion. However if you are growing muscle, it is very important to “refuel”. Have a meal or snack that is high in carbohydrate but moderate in protein. This might confuse many, because protein is known to be the stuff that grows your muscles. Well yes, but protein is made of smaller components called amino acids. When you eat, the protein is broken down into these components but the process of using them to build muscle requires a lot of energy. Energy for muscle building comes from carbohydrates mainly glucose. So supplying glucose to the muscles is very important, which is why carbohydrate content must be higher. Does that mean you sit with a bag of sugar after a workout? No but healthier foods can be eaten instead of processed sugars. This will be discussed next time. Coupling the positives STRENGTH TRAINING and GOOD ADEQUATE NUTRITION WILL NOT KILL YOU, but it WILL MAKE YOU STRONGER.

Dienstag, 30. September 2014

Nutrition and Exercise: A balancing act

What’s on your fork? What’s eating you? More importantly though, WHAT ARE YOU EATING? We talked about what “eats us” last time, when we addressed mindsets and adjusting our attitudes towards fitness and achieving. Today we introduce one of the most important aspects of that journey, drum roll please - FOOD. That’s right. Nutrition is one thing we seem to take for granted when we start on our fitness journey. Let’s break this down into steps by asking a few questions.

·         What is nutrition? Simply put, it is the food and various ingredients that we put into ourselves so that our bodies can use them.
·         Is there such a thing as bad nutrition? Yes there is. But perhaps let us answer this by looking at the extremes. Most of us tend to think of bad nutrition as excessive intake of nutrients, such as fats, sugars, but we seem to favour large amounts of protein. A recent study linked excessive amount of protein such as you find in shakes and supplements to shorter lifespans, meaning that even large protein amounts aren’t necessarily good for us. On the flip side, bad nutrition can constitute not eating nearly enough, in other words undereating. We see this in prevalent eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa.

Now the big question – How do we apply this to exercise? Let’s throw one more word into the mix. CALORIES. What’s a calorie? A lot of us equate calories with fat, but in fact they couldn’t be more different. They are related but different. Calories are a unit for measuring how much energy is produced specifically how much energy is needed to raise the temperature by 1 degree Celsius. So when you’re looking at that bar of chocolate and it says 250 calories, it’s not telling us how much fat is in it but how much energy is required to burn it up - if we literally set the bar of chocolate on fire.
As we exercise, we look at creating a balance between the energy we put in, which we are yet to burn and the energy we already burning up. So when you have burned 300 calories in your workout, what you’re saying is I have done enough to use up the energy in that bar of chocolate. 

Now the question is how much should I be eating? Simply put, the answer is ENOUGH. What does that mean? If you’re losing weight you need to be putting less energy dense foods in so that you are burning up more than you are putting in, but this does not mean starving yourself. Alternatively if you are building muscle, your regime will involve more food but here I advocate for a more natural way to increase muscle mass. We will explore this further as we delve into the different types of fitness goals and how to monitor our nutrition. So until next time, keep well.

Mittwoch, 17. September 2014

The rules to success

Picture if you will hands, lowering to the ground, finger tips barely touching the start line in front as the body lowers into a sprinter's stance. Beads of perspiration graze the forehead in anticipation of the starting gun. This person will run fast and win. The distance, 100 metres. The finishing time, 9.58 seconds.  This man will be called the fastest man in world, Usain Bolt. What the world sees for those 10 seconds is the result of hours of hard work. They will rejoice, they will shower him with praise and admire his athleticism. Once the cheering is over, the world goes on, but that leaves behind important questions. How did he arrive at that moment? What steps did he need to take to achieve this outcome? What was the first practical step to athletic greatness?  Does it come down to genetics, maybe natural talent? Can we as ordinary Joes and Janes get there?

Renowned athletics coach Eric Orton answers that question simply, "Being an athlete isn't something you're 'born with'. That’s a misconception, a myth, really....Being an athlete is a choice. And making that choice, taking up that mind-set, is the step that allows you to move toward a new level of achievement." Whether you are a newbie starting out on the road to fitness or an already able athlete, the first step is to make the choice to become something greater. Once you have made that choice you will need to make the mental adjustments for the journey. 7-time winner of Mr Olympia and former Mr Universe, Arnold Schwarzenegger, advises 6 mind resets for the journey to achieve greatness:

1.      Trust yourself – Believe in the destination you have set for yourself.
2.      Break the Rules – Don’t ever set limits to what you can do. Challenge the status quo.
3.      Don’t Be Afraid to Fail- Failure is not the end. Failure is a stepping stone to greatness.
4.      Don’t listen to the Naysayers – Don’t let anyone tell you what you can and cannot do.
5.      Work Your Butt Off – The journey isn’t easy. Be prepared to work hard to get there.
6.      Give Back - Don’t forget to contribute to your community or to help others.

Truth be told we are not Usain Bolt. We may never scale those heights of achievement, but we can relish in our choice to improve ourselves. To run that 5K, 10K, marathon, to one day finish a triathlon, and more importantly to enrich our lives. Today I encourage you to reset your mind-set. Turn your "Only that guy can do it" into a "Why not me?” The greatest tool in the achievement of such success, whether on the field or in the arena of life is your mind. To quote Henry Ford: "The man who thinks he can and the man who thinks he can't are both right. Which one are you?” Take the plunge. Commit to becoming something great today.

Samstag, 6. September 2014

You are what you eat

Food that you consume on a daily basis has a big influence on your whole body and health. The look of your hair, skin and nails is also impacted by the food you consume. So why don't living a better life by feeding your body with proper food?

To have a healthy and balanced diet, you should make sure that you eat a variety of food that is not processed and has healthy calories.

Brain needs lots of calories

Make sure that you feed your brain with healthy calories. If you eat food that is good for your brain you can expect to solve certain problems or situations more easily. You should also note that 70 to 80 percent of your brain is consisted of water, so you should keep it hydrated. While working, your brain produces lots of oxidants that are not good for your body, so you should remove them by eating food such as beans, berries and apples that are rich in antioxidants.

Happy food

There are certain types of food that can really make us happy. These types of food are responsible for production of serotonin, a hormone of happiness. If you consume foods such as bananas, sour cherries, sea food and dark chocolate, you can be sure that you are going to have a great day. So, the saying “You are what you eat” is really true.

High fat diet

Some studies that were conducted on rats showed that high fat food made the rats less intelligent and slower. Probably same goes for people. Make sure that you have a balanced diet that will benefit your body and your mind.

Well balanced diet

To have a well balanced diet it is recommended that you put a priority on consuming fruits, vegetables and grain products. They are rich with minerals, vitamins and complex carbohydrates that are essential for your health.

The secret to get a sixpack

Are you looking to have your sixpack in a very short period of time? If that is the case with you, then you should know that there are few secrets that can help you to get to your sixpack more easily.

Abs should not be trained every single day

Abs should be treated like every other muscle. If you work on your abs today, then you should wait at least two days to continue with your workout. It is advised that you workout 2 or 3 times per week.

Proper nutrition

A well balanced diet is crucial to having great abs. You need to eat properly in order to create a foundation for your abs. If you are eating healthy and doing exercises for your abs, then you can expect great results. You should avoid eating processed food as it has unhealthy calories and no nutritional value.

Drink enough fluids

When it comes to fluids you should opt yourself for water. Water will help you to prepare your body for losing weight and it will help your body to get rid of toxins.

Burning fat

Everybody has abs, you just have to make them visible by burning fat!! When it comes to burning fat from your abs, then you should know that there is no such thing as focused burning. You can not lose fat only on your abs. With proper nutrition, limited calories and intense exercises, your body will burn the excess fat and you will have a nice and defined body.

Don't be hungry

It is advised that you eat three meals per day and that you add three snacks. It is good for your body that you eat often rather than eating two or three huge portions of food. If you choose to eat healthy food instead of processed one, you will satisfy your hunger much sooner, so you will eat less, but healthy.

Getting to your perfect abs can be done with little discipline and will when it comes to food and exercising. Make sure that you supply your body with all the healthy food it needs and you will see the results on your abs in no time.

Donnerstag, 4. September 2014

Everything is possible with proper mindset

Proper mindset can make a difference in succeeding and failing. If a person has a proper mindset and if it is determined to achieve something, then it is most likely that it will get the desired results.

Depending from our mindset we can be successful in any type of business we set our minds to. When it comes to learning about business, mindset is often underestimated and neglected although it plays a very important part. When a group of people or a person has a correct mindset that is directed towards accomplishing a certain goal, then the chances of success are getting higher.

Correct mindset can be achieved if a person surrounds itself with positive people, things, news and events. If you are constantly surrounded by negative people, reading bad news, and thinking that you will not succeed than you are not protecting your mindset. You should feed yourself with positive thoughts, surround yourself with positive things and enjoy the company of people that have a positive view on life.

Having a wrong mindset can limit your chances to success as you are limiting your mind. Once you imagine that you have succeeded in a certain venture, then you can be sure that you are on a half way to your goal. If you can not imagine a certain event, goal or success, then probably you will not experience it. Try to imagine yourself in situations that you want to experience and put your efforts to get to them.

If you want to be successful in a certain sport, then you should imagine yourself receiving a medal or achieving a certain score. When it comes to business, it would be best to imagine the position you want to be on and then work on accomplishing that.

Setting your mind onto something should not be interrupted by your emotions, fears or negative thoughts. You should focus on your goal and if it gets hard in the middle, you should not give up and get frightened. Accomplishing a certain goal is not easy, but it will pay out at the end and you will be able to enjoy the fruits of your work.

Getting started is the hardest part, but once you set your mind onto a certain thing that you want to have or a goal that you want to reach, everything will be much easier.