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Jeff's Thoughts

  • One Of the Most Powerful Antioxidants Around….

    27 March, 2013

    ….The Sun

    At Studio41 we appreciate one of the powerful supplements you can take is Vitamin D. With the long days of sunshine almost behind us, understanding Vitamin D and its affect to our long term health is crucial.

    Vitamin D is made from exposure to the sun and from eating certain foods such as Salmon, Mackeral and tuna. However even during beautiful summer days, we can still be severely Vitamin D deficient due to spending long days in front of a computer under flourescent lighting, or by piling on the sunscreen in an over protective manner.

    Supplementation of Cod Liver oil, fish oil or even Vitamin D will help. Take note of the Vitamin D supplement you buy though. You should take 35000 IU (International Units) twice per week. So buying a Vitamin D supplement that is only 1000 IU will not get you very far. Buy in either 5000 IU or 10000 IU.

    Reasons why you need Vitamin D.

    Low levels of Vitamin D can lead to osteoporosis and bone fractures. Research has also shown that reduced levels Vitamin D can lead to muscle weakness and abnormalities in the muscle being able to contract and relax.

    Vitamin D deficiency can also contribute to an increased level of bodyfat. A study from 2010 has shown that those with a Vitamin D levels of less than 29 ng/ml had a 24% greater fat infiltration into the muscle than those who had Vitamin D levels higher than 29 ng/ml.

    At Studio41 we are big on improving insulin sensitivity as this helps your body to cope with all the glucose from eating sugary and/or refined foods. New zealand research has shown taking 4000 IU of Vitamin D per day increases your sensitivity to insulin and can help to keep your body fat in check.

    If you are pregnant, Vitamin D is essential. It has been concluded that pregnant women who are Vitamin D deficient during pregnancy may have fetuses who are born with development impairment. According to Charles Poliquin, research has also shown that the offspring of mothers who are Vitamin D deficient are more susceptible to schizophrenia, bone disorders and the development of diabetes.

    Make sure you follow the following tips to make sure you get your share of Vitamin D

    1. You cant absorb Vitamin D through glass. So although it feels great to lie inside you are missing out on your Vitamin D for the day.

    Sunblock, blocks Vitamin D absorption by 95%. So do not put sunblock on straight away. Allow some important Vitamin D absorption time before putting sunblock on. (Make sure you apply sunblock or cover up before burning)

    3. Diet alone is too hard. So you have to rely on a good supplement and sensible exposure to the sun.

    Tagged under: Other

    22 Comments »

  • Why cross-trainers make me cross

    6 March, 2013

    A standard 20 minutes on a cross-trainer seems to be the way many gym-goers spend their time these days. No thought is put into it, just the belief that it must be doing them some good. When weight training, because we have the ability to apply systematic overload, we know that after four to six weeks there is minimal benefit in doing the same exercise routine over and over again. So we change. It’s pretty simple really: work hard and measure your results; when the results stop, change your exercise (we don’t pretend to be clever).
    Too many people, however, are doing 20 minutes on the cross-trainer as if it is a religious edict. Surely we exercise to become better, faster, stronger, leaner… to become something else. To achieve results, you can’t keep doing the same old, same old – something has to change. Be prepared to step out of your comfort zone, and for a start get off the cross-trainer!

    Cross-trainer mistake #1: doing cardio before weights. It is common among gym-goers to use a cross-trainer before doing weights. I don’t know where this comes from but it really doesn’t make sense. To lift the maximum weight possible for the number of repetitions you have chosen, you need your full concentration. It doesn’t matter if it is six or 15 repetitions – you still need to be at your peak. Doing your cross-training before this will make you more tired, meaning less concentration and less strength. So, lift heavy first to become stronger and leaner (and no, women, you will not add bulk when you get stronger), and then if you insist on using the cross-trainer leave it to the end when you don’t need to concentrate.

    Cross-trainer mistake #2: not applying overload. To become better, you must apply overload. Cross-trainers are not great in this respect, as those who use them tend to sit at the same level for the same amount of time each week. At the very least, you must up the intensity level each week until you can improve no more, at which point you should change equipment – to what it doesnt matter, as long as it stresses you in new and different ways.

    Cross-trainer mistake #3: assuming that long periods of cardio exercise are good for fat loss. To become leaner you need to burn calories, and the best way to achieve this is through weight training due to the metabolism being raised for 48 – 72 hours after a weight session but only for 45 mins after a run. However, if you don’t have much experience lifting weights, then I would argue that you should do weight training via a circuit training plan. Long, continuous aerobic activity reduces muscle mass, so will not benefit you in the long run due to lowering your metabolic rate, as Doug McGuff and John Little state in their book Body by Science (2009): “Long continuous activity may improve your ability to perform that chosen activity, but because of its catabolic nature, it may not contribute to your health.”

    At Studio41 we do not have cross-trainers but our members average 3–6 kilograms of fat loss within two weeks of joining the gym. People train hard here, but there is no continuous cardio, just intense interval training that very few people can complete. And guess what? If someone is not getting results, we change the programme and their nutrition. It’s quite simple really.

    Tagged under: Other

    4 Comments »

  • The Healthy Way to Start Your Day

    8 January, 2013

    They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I believe firmly that what you eat for breakfast affects you for the rest of the day, either positively or negatively.  One quick walk down the cereal aisle, you will see that cereal companies do not have your best interests at heart. With sugar being the second ingredient in most breakfast cereals, I take the belief that breakfast cereals are something that should be had once a week as a treat and not as our stable food that builds a generation (maybe that could be part of the reason why as a generation we are getting fatter). Eating any sugary food sets the body up to not only be storing bodyfat but to rely on that next sugar hit as the energy levels are sent into a roller coster ride. This sets up dangerous sugar spiking peaks and then troughs which sends you looking for that mid morning coffee or snack to lift you when your blood sugar levels drop (it is not uncommon for people to say that “I always need my pick me up coffee in the morning). People live day to day moving from one sugar hit to the next relying on more coffee and more sugar over the years while the whole time their bodyfat is increasing.

    When you wake up in the morning you want to turn on your digestive system and have a low sugar food causing the body to turn on its natural bodyfat burning hormones. So this is where I am looking for protein and healthy fats to start the day. Protein forces the digestive system to work harder to break it down than the refined sugary cereal option and therefore wakes you up more, so eggs or meat in the morning are the best options, with a handful of nuts.

    So if you want to trim up and also have the side effect of getting healthy, throw your breakfast cereals out and start eating protein in the form of eggs, beef, chicken or fish. Add some greens and a handful of nuts and you really are off to a good start. Eggs are a great source of protein but buy organic eggs from hens allowed to feed on insects and green plants as they can contain omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids in the beneficial ratio of approximately one-to-one; but commercial supermarket eggs can contain as much as nineteen times more omega-6 than omega-3.

    Remember to also relax when you eat breakfast. When you are relaxed your digestive system works best. However when you are rushing and your flight or fight mode is on (sympathetic nervous system) your digestive system is slowed down and you will not digest your food well. Find the time in the morning to take 5 – 10 minutes to sit down and relax to eat your breakfast. Do not eat it on the run, otherwise even your good choices are not fully reached.  So the healthy way to start your day – eat protein, create the time to relax and who knows, maybe one day you wont have to reach for that coffee.

     

    Tagged under: Other

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  • It All Begins At The Beginning…

    31 December, 2012

    Goal Setting on 3 Levels

    People set out to achieve goals for one of two reasons, they see it as moving themselves towards something they desire (I want to earn more money), or they see it moving away from something they no longer want (I want to get fit as I hate feeling tired and sluggish). You are embarking on this 12 week behaviour change program either because you want to achieve something or are sick of living in a state of fitness and health that you are not happy with – either way your motivation can be traced to either pleasure or pain.

    The first level of goal setting is understanding the bigger picture. I call it the VISION. This is your long term goal, the thing that will drive all other behaviours. This is the thing that you have to decide first. What is it that you want after 12 weeks. Do not concentrate on what you don’t want (I want to lose that 5 pounds, I don’t want to be out of breath, I don’t want to have this fat etc.). Focus on what you do want – I want to be 60 kg, I want to be able to run and feel breathless, I want to be 18% body-fat). Then make it quantifiable. Making a goal of “I want to feel fitter” is not specific enough. People dislike making goals specific due to the fact that they increase their potential risk of failure. However if you live your life trying to avoid failure you might also find yourself avoiding success as a by product. So…..get that vision specific and within a time frame (in this case 12 weeks) and write it down – writing anything down makes it more serious.

    “By Aug the 13th I will be 53kg and able to run 10km in under 50 mins”

    …..concentrate on it, see it, in-vision it. How do you look, feel, act when you have achieved it. Once you have got this, ask yourself why you want it. And whatever your answer is, ask yourself why you want that? Do this at least 3 – 4 times. You are discovering your “values”, what really drives you to do the things you do. Often people do not just want to lose weight. But want the things that losing the weight will give them (self esteem, increased confidence etc.). Identifying these core drivers or “values” is what will keep you going when things get difficult. Understand your vision, and why you are truly trying to achieve that vision, are your strongest allies in moving forward and achieving great success.

    Once you have this Vision in your mind – concentrate on your first OUTCOME.

    Outcomes are things you have to achieve on the way to achieving your vision. You can think of it as breaking the vision down into smaller chunks. Often thinking of something 12 weeks away is too far, think about what you need to achieve in 3 or 4 weeks is easier to  concentrate on. If you want to lose 6 kg in your 12 week program, then it would make sense that after 4 week you have lost 2 kg. This would be your first “outcome”. If you do not achieve this first outcome you have a choice

    1. Change the goal to what you now know is more realistic
    2. Change your weekly commitment to achieving the goal

    Once you break your vision down into outcomes, you only need to concentrate on your first outcome. You have to ask yourself what you have to do this week to achieve your first outcome. These are called your WEEKLY ACTIONS. Concentrate on just achieving your weekly actions should lead to achieving your first outcome. Then this will put you on track to achieving your vision.  By doing the small things you will achieve the large things. One final point to remember – even though you  are concentrating on achieving your weekly actions, keep in mind both your Outcomes and most importantly your Vision. Your Vision is the ‘why’ behind what you are doing and is what ultimately drives you, and gives you the reason for working so hard on your weekly actions.

    So the essence of goal setting is to put in your mind exactly what you want to have, break it down into workable chunks and then go out and start achieving. One important principle to understand is the concept of NO FAILURE ONLY FEEDBACK. To understand this is to understand that you cannot fail at anything. Workout a goal, put your outcomes in-place and work on your weekly actions. If you do not achieve your weekly actions and therefore do not reach your first outcome, a lot of people give up at this point believing that they have failed. Just take this as feedback, remember when this happens you have 2 choices,

    1. Change the goal to what you now know is more realistic
    2. Change your weekly commitment to achieving the goal

    So….change something and go again, and again, and again until you finally experience success. People put a lot of pressure on themselves to get it right the first time. This is unrealistic if you are doing something without ever having done it before. True failure is giving up in pursuit of your goal.

    So good-luck, set your goal and don’t look back until you have achieved it.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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  • The Ennis Effect

    10 December, 2012

    With the Olympics now well behind us we can look back on the amazing wins, athletes and  highlights of the London 2012 games.  Many of us have been inspired to get into better shape and one of the most talked about bodies is that of British Gold Medal winner for the Heptathlon – Jessica Ennis (well at Studio41 at least).  So how do we do this? How do we get a body that looks like this – toned, lean and athletic, all the attributes that most people would die for.

    1. Have the genes

    Sorry to put this in but if you ever have the chance to choose your parents – take it. The gene pool plays a large role in your fast twitch to slow twitch percentage. The more fast twitch muscle fibers you have the faster you will be. The faster you are the easier it is to put muscle on.

    2. Variety.

    The trick here is balance. People say you need to “keep the body guessing”. This is true to a point, too much guessing and you get no where. The key thing is Jessica has had the time to become good at her disciplines so there is lots of repeated practice, but enough variety within the chosen disciplines to be beneficial. Each event in the Heptathlon requires different muscle contractions, one of the best ways to ensure variety in a workout.

    The worst thing you can do is do the same old 20 mins on a crosstrainer time and time again.

    3. Do things fast

    This is key. Long aerobic training that sees you train in the medium HR zone does not yeild better results than those who train at maximum intensity for shorter periods of time. I think that Jessica has proved we do not need to run for more than 400 meters to look great. How can we put this into our own practice? Go to the track, run 400 meters 10 times, but each time you run a lap, run it so fast you have to rest between each one.  Run fast, rest – repeat. Pretty simple really.  If a track isn’t the place for you, simply choose a path up Mount Vic and sprint up a hill that takes you about 60 sec to go up and then walk back down to recover, then repeat. Or even a flight of stairs will do the job.

    4. Eat clean

    Base your nutrition around wholefoods. Cereal for breakfast is the worst thing you can do. Protein and good fats such as eggs and smoked salmon will take you further than coco pops or weetbix will ever do. When you eat carbs go for rice or quinoa as they are  tolerated better by the body than the gluten filled pasta or noodles. Don’t be afraid of fat, hummus is a great snack with vegetables for throughout the day. If you are as lean as you want to be, then add sugar into your post workout shake. But only once you are lean. Until then sugar is the enemy.

    5. No need to run more than 800 meters.

    Running for 45 mins only burns muscle and makes you look skinny. But athletic looks are not achieved by long aerobic running. Keep it short and fast. You can also mix it up with interval training in the gym in a circuit format.

     

     

    Tagged under: Other

    13 Comments »

  • The Great Battle That Saw Low Fat Win!!

    25 September, 2012

    Not everyone knows where the ideas or recommendations for food that we eat on a daily basis come from. We hope (maybe a little blindly) that it is with excellent science and irrefutable research that governments make their recommendations for a healthier nation.

    In the early 70s the American government decided to create recommendations to the public about food and chose a senator (not a nutritionalist) to decide on what those recommendations would be. And so the McGovern report was born, named after Senator George McGovern. For the first time the government recommended four nutritional guidelines.

    1. We should reduce our consumption of fat
    2. We should switch from animal fats to vegetables fats
    3. Reduce cholesterol to 1 egg per day
    4. Eat more carbohydrates, especially grains.

    Where did these suggestions come from? Ancel Keys was a scientist that produced research in 1953 that changed everything for ever. His study undeniably showed that fat consumption was linked with heart disease from research from 6 different countries. And it was born – the obsession with fat, health and heart disease (or the lipid hypothesis to be technical). However no one knows that at the same time there was a another world renowned researcher called John Yudkin producing relevant research blaming sugar on the rising fat epidemic and increase in heart disease.

    And so the great battle was on, Ancel Keys on one side showing that the more fat a nation consumes, the more that population dies from heart disease, and John Yudkin, also showing that the more sugar a nation consumes, the more heart disease is present.

    So Senator George McGovern had a choice – Yudkin or Keys? A choice that today still influences us as we buy low fat milk and low fat cheese from the supermarket. George McGovern choose Ancel Keys’s work and recommended the four nutritional guidelines stated above to the american public. Lets hope this was the right decision!!

    These recommendations helped to drive the creation of the food pyramid that saw whole natural foods such as meat and fish pushed to the top while refined carbohydrates sit underneath creating a smug foundation.

    Since Ancel Keys research in 1953, there have been many national and international studies that have gone out to scientifically prove the link between fat and heart disease. The most prominent was the American National Institute Of Health in the 1970s who put 12000 men on a low fat diet which avoided red meat and restricted their cholesterol which cost $115 000 000 and took years to do. The result was that the lower fat group suffered more heart attacks!!

    Ancel Keys and consequently Senator McGovern got it wrong!!

    It has also been shown also that Ancel Keys had originally 22 counties to choose his data from for his original study, but he only chose to plot the data from 6 (hence the 6 nation study). Why did he do this? Because if you plot the data from all 22 countries – their was no link between fat and heart disease.

    So if you are looking for true health, don’t use the food pyramid as your guide, stick to whole foods that are natural regardless of how much fat or cholesterol they contain and stay away from refined breads, pasta, rice and cereal and never ever choose low fat products – unless of course you don’t value your health!

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Tagged under: Other

    3 Comments »

  • Breaking The Myths of Protein

    19 September, 2012

    There have been a couple of myths out there in the general public about nutrition plans that consist of higher than usual proteins levels that is recommended by the FSA. Lets have a look at these one by one and unravel the truth behind each one.

    High protein diets cause kidney disease

    This myth comes from 2 different sources as far a I can find. The first is by reversing a medical fact. That fact is that people with a preexisting renal function, a low protein diet seems to lessen the decline of the kidney. Therefore people have concluded that high levels of protein lead to impaired kidney function.

    Jonny Bowden sums it up in a very simplistic way in his book “Living Low Carb: Controlled Carbohydrate Eating for Long Term Weight Loss”.
    “If you have a broken leg, or a sprained ankle, or shin splints, I’m going to suggest that you not take a step class until the injury heals. Under these special circumstances, the very weight-bearing that does so much good for the normal person is going to be more stress than you need during the healing phase. I’m going to tell you to stay off the leg, let it heal, and avoid putting additional stress on it at this time. Does the fact that step class is not good for a person with a broken leg mean that the step class led to the broken leg? No. And ketogenic diets do not—I repeat, do not—cause kidney disease. If your doctor says they do, politely ask him or her to show you the studies. (They don’t exist.) Ketogenic diets are, however, not a good thing if you have an existing kidney disease, much the way a step class is not a good thing if your leg is already broken”.

    So yes, one study with only 8 people with renal failure showed that a high kidney diet did not help the kidney to repair. This is completely different from having healthy subjects eat a high protein diet and concluding that this is bad.

    Louis Newburgh was a scientist who worked in the era of the 1920s, also claimed that inducing a diet high on protein would elicit chronic kidney problems. However his research was not done in the most compelling way. His research was done on Rabbits. These are animals that do not eat meat (their diets are largely based on buds and bark). So he fed herbivores diets high in egg whites, beef protein and noticed that this diets caused kidney problems with rabbits. Once again flimsy research interpreted that the same thing that happened to herbivores (the rabbits) would also happen to meat eating humans. This is simply not the case.

    What really causes the liver to be stressed? It is sugar-sticky proteins that are a result of excess sugar floating around in the blood stream bumping into protein molecules. These sugar-sticky molecules start to clump together becoming to big to pass through the network of blood capillaries in the kidneys that act as a filter system for waste products form the blood. This reduces kidney function. If you don’t currently have a kidney problem, then eating a low carbohydrate (and hence high protein diet) is an ideal way to control blood sugar levels which eventually could lead to kidney disease.

    2. The absence of fresh fruit and vegetables in these diets would cause mineral deficiency diseases.

    B vitamins are depleted from the body by the consumption of carbohydrates and the same can be said for vitamin C. Type 2 diabetics have roughly 30 percent lower levels of vitamin C in their circulation than do non-diabetics. Metabolic syndrome is also associated with significantly lower levels of circulating vitamin C. The explanation that Gary Taubes gives in his book Good Calories Bad Calories is from 1997 by the nutritionalists Julie Will and Tim Byers of the center of disease control and the university of colorado respectively. They suggest that the high blood sugar and/or high levels of insulin work to increase the body’s requirement for vitamin C. The vitamin C molecule is similar in configuration to glucose and other sugars in the body. It is shuttled from the bloodstream into the cells by the same insulin-dependent transport system used by the glucose. So hence they compete in this process. Because blood sugar is favoured in this competition, vitamin C is globally inhibited when blood sugar levels are elevated. Hence if blood sugar goes up, vitamin C uptake drops accordingly.

    So therefore it is not the absence of fresh fruit and vegetables that maybe causing deficiencies, it is the presence of blood glucose from refined carbohydrates that do the damage. Infact you could be eating fresh fruit and vegetables and still be minerval and vitamin deficient due to the high presence of blood glucose.

    “When we discuss the long-term effects of diets that might reverse or prevent obesity, we must not let our preconceptions about the nature of a healthy diet bias the science and the interpretation of the evidence itself”

    Gary Taubes. Good Calories, Bad Calories.

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    16 Comments »

  • Can We Be Fit Without Cardio?

    15 August, 2012

    One thing that has always niggled at me about the health and fitness industry is the idea that cardio is separate to weight training and we need to do both to be “fit”. I can train someone in a room full of weights, pushing them through a whole body training session where they are absolutely on their knees by the end of the 50 mins, sweat is pouring off them and their heart is thumping out of their chest and still they say – “now tomorrow I have to go for a run for my “Cardio”.

    After attending a program design course held by olympic strength coach Charles Poliquin in 2005 the very thought of long continuos cardio was challenged, and ever since then I have been playing with this idea – Can we be fit without “Cardio”?

    The scientific literature is filled with data that strongly makes the case that long-distance runners are much more likely to develop cardiovascular disease, atrial fibrillation, cancer/liver and gallbladder disorders, muscle damage/ kidney dysfunction (renal abnormalities), acute microthrombosis in the vascular system, spinal degeneration, and germ-cell cancers than are their less active counterparts.

    McGuff, D. Little, J. Body By Science 2009.

    I have taken many marathon runners into the gym and after 15 mins they had to stop as they felt sick. Not one of these “cardio” people can keep up with me in terms of intensity or volume when we step into a gym. So I question the terminology of “fitness”. Are we really making ourselves fitter by pounding out hours of cardiovascular fitness and burning so much muscle tissue that inevitably lowers our resting metabolism when we do long continuous cardio, or can we be fit without cardio?

    I often use Usain Bolt as a great example, he would never dream of running more than 200 meters as it would hinder his chosen sport. When he runs – he runs fast. But I don’t think you will walk into a gym and see Usain doing his 20 Minutes on the crosstrainer before his weights session! The fact is 100 meter runners have better bodies than their 5000 meter counterparts, this is not an average, this is a rule. More muscle mass equates to being leaner simply due to higher caloric demand at rest. So is Usain Bolt Fit? I would say yes – but does he do cardio – no.

    Therefore if you want to get fit, running does not need to be done, nor I would argue should it be done. Not even the good old “20 minutes on the crosstrainer”. Do activity that keeps the heart rate high (stressing the cardiovascular system) but helps to build lean muscle. This is done by lifting weights with limited rest periods (we often do not people rest for longer than 60 sec here at Studio41).

    If you are able to recruit, fatigue, and weaken muscle fibers within a defined time frame, then you are going to recruit all of the different muscle fiber types aggressively and therefore get the most mechanical and metabolic effect for producing an adaptation (and improving your fitness)

    McGuff, D. Little, J. Body By Science 2009.

    If you insist on pounding the streets then stick to short interval based runs, use the hills of Mount Vic and the many steps of Wellington to do more high intensity workouts that are shorter in duration but harder to do. Combine this with hard weight sessions that keep you moving – although no long aerobic cardio, and you will be fitter than ever!!!!

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    19 Comments »

  • Learn The Secret To Burning Fat More Effectively

    17 July, 2012

    Day after day I see people pounding the streets, often in a vain attempt to lose the bodyfat that seems to creep on little by little every year. I recently saw a quote that said

    “Calories – Those things that sit in your cupboard and stitch your clothes a little tighter each year”

    Of course I laughed but this is what really happens each year. Our training must be effective and in this current climate of go/go/go also time efficient. If we have 30 – 45mins to exercise only you need to know that their are more effective things than going for a long run. This is especially true for people who carry their weight in the lower body (thighs). These people have been shown to have excess estrogen (a female sex hormone), and knowing how to effectively get rid of this could change the way you exercise forever. It all comes down to growth hormone, this hormone is your a great estrogen destroyer. Your exercise must maximise growth hormone release, then you are truly helping to shift that fat on the thighs.

    So how do we do this? The answer is in  interval training. The start stop nature of interval training increases your lactate, and it is lactate that increases growth hormone. With increased growth hormone you are destroying that body fat more effectively than any form of long continuous aerobic activity.

    A recent study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research showed that a decreasing sprint interval scheme (400, 300, 200 and 100 meters) produced a large growth hormone and lactate response

    So try this as your summer workout. Go to the Newtown (or any) 400 m track and run 4 x 400 meters with 90 sec rest in-between each one. Then 4 x 300 meters with 75 rest in-between and 4 x 200 meters with 60 sec rest in-between and then finally finish off by 4 x 100 meters with only 30 sec rest in-between. Not  only will this be one of the hardest workouts you will ever do, it will take less than 40 mins and you will burn more bodyfat than pounding the streets for hours.

    Or you could utilise Wellingtons waterfront by sprinting 4 x 4 streetlight lengths, 4 x 3 streetlight lengths and so on. You will be in great shape in no time.

     

     

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    3 Comments »

  • 10 Biggest Mistakes of Strength Training – No 10

    10 July, 2012

    Sleep

    We seem to have so many different fitness options, from differing opinions on exercise to machines that cost thousands to gadgets that take “only take 3 mins per day”, all claiming the same thing – to get us fit and healthy. Even personal trainers offer a wide range of seemingly “industries best” qualifications that make them the best. Yet I find there is only 1 element of our modern fitness regime that has stood the test of time – yet is completely underrated by so many and under appreciated on the power it can have – sorry no pill magic here, but good old sleep.

    When you first close your eyes, the body starts its physical repair, this happens between  the hours of 10 pm and 2 am, between the hours of 2 am and 6 am is when the physiological repair happens.  Thus if you are going to bed later than 10 or 10.30 then you are already missing out on valuable recovery time that your body needs from those personal training sessions or the brutal 6 am bootcamp session.  The 8 hours starts at 10 pm so sleeping for 8 hours from 2 am to 10 am has been proven to not be as effective

    Detoxification of the liver happens in deep stage sleep, thus if you are not allowing yourself those valuable hours of deep stage sleep your body cannot detoxify all the chemicals it takes in on a daily basis. Over months and years this level of toxicity builds and will show itself one day with someone struggling to lose weight or being more prone to sickness and disease.

    Dr Sonja Peterson  N.M.D who has written an article labelled “A Good Nights Sleep” points out some key reasons why sleep is so important.

    1. Your metabolism declines due to a Thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) decrease. With a lower metabolism you will not be burning as many calories on a daily basis.
    2. “Research has shown that after just one week of insufficient sleep, the body can no longer metabolise carbs efficiently. Blood sugar takes 40% longer to decrease after a high carb meal”. With the above information it is easy to see why a high carbohydrate meal combined with a lack of quality sleep leeds us to ill health and weight gain very quickly.

    The way your bedroom is set up can make a big impact on your sleep. Follow the below rules and you should be set for a good night sleep.

    1. Make your room as dark as possible. It is only when you are in complete dark that melatonin is released. It is melatonin that helps your body get into deep stage sleep.   You should not be able to see your hand in front of your face when you hop into bed.
    2. Take all electronic equipment out of your room. This includes TVs to your mobile phones. If you insist on having your phone in your room. The electromagnetic fields from these machines have been shown to affect your sleep patterns.
    3. Make sure you associate your bedroom with sleep (and maybe one other activity). I.e. do not sit on your laptop doing work emails just before try to sleep.

    A good indicator to tell if you have had a good nights sleep is the fact that you do not wake up tired. You should be able to go to bed at 10 pm and wake up the next morning refreshed. Just remember that whatever your goals are, from building muscle to losing fat, or simply for long term health and vitality, being able to sleep through the night is the critical factor and best yet – it is free!!!

     

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