GymBug

I've caught it. Fortunately, it's not treatable.

Archive for the category “Learning”

Veggies- Cooked or Raw?

Hi there!

I’m sorry (again) for gaps in posts! i have been studying and enjoying the wonderful weather Spain has been blessed with! However, I suddenly realised that something I’ve been thinking about a lot recently is something you might find interesting! There are forever new articles coming out about the raw food diet (exactly as it sounds, raw food). And whilst I do enjoy some food raw I don’t like it all raw and started doing some research into what foods are better cooked and what foods are better raw! I don’t have an exceptionally long list, but they are staples in my meals so might come in handy for you too!

In the cooked corner;

  • Tomatoes
  • Carrots
  • Aspragus
  • Mushrooms
  • Cabbage

In the raw corner;

  • Peppers
  • Broccolli
  • Garlic
  • Beetroot
  • Onions

Have it either way;

  • Spinach

This is a list I will continue to update as I find more information about but the idea behind the ‘optimal methods’ for consuming these depends on the nutrients and what best preserves them. For example, according to BBC Good Food, heating up the foods listed above makes it easier for our bodies to enjoy the benefits from some of their protective antioxidants. Essentially, it helps us better absorb nutrients, like lycopene in tomatoes.
On the other hand, some vegetables like those listed in the raw section are better kept raw because heating them up can damage an enzyme which results in the strength of anti-cancer compunds (glucosinolates) being reduced.

So, here’s a list (that’s incomplete) on how to best prepare your veggies! Let me know what you think and if you know of any others!

As always, I’m a GN Academy member and if you need some protein or any brilliant qualiy supplements/snacks/a lot, lot more then check Go Nutrition out! Use my referral code A5CJC for free 250g of protein when you spend £10 or more!

Gym Bug

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How I drastically cut my 10km run time

Hi there!

When I started running consistently it was during my Christmas break of 2012. I had put on weight in first year (the ‘fresher’s fifteen’) and was really uncomfortable with how my clothes felt and how unfit I was generally. I started running with my dad who had been at it for a while. When I ran my first 10k it was brutal. My time was around 1 hour 15 minutes. It was a struggle the whole way and my evening was spent with me on the couch. It was here I realised just how unfit I had been.

I started running regularly and more and more I started to enjoy my Dad’s and I’s Sunday 10k sessions. By Christmas 2013 we were running 12k’s and made the mistake of doing a 16k too (no one won that one). Our 10k always hovered around the 1 hour mark. My dad is over 50, so we never pushed it.

Fast forward to Summer 2014. I went on a family holiday to Nerja (below you see the view from our villa, which indicates the length of the hill I had to run up). It was here my sister introduced me to hill sprints. Brutal, heart-pounding hill sprints. We only had to do roughly 20-30 minutes to be as worn out as a solid 45 minute run! I fell in love with the new high intensity element, something that I had generally lacked in my running. I continued to do hill sprints when I got home over the summer and I noticed my 10k runs with my Dad were becoming easier and easier (but not faster, because my Dad is over 50, I was warned).

I joined a gym within my first couple of weeks of moving to Madrid for a year abroad for University. I started off with just using the bike, doing some intervals and things. Then I went onto the treadmill and slowly started incorporating more and more intervals and HIIT into my cardio. I now combine HIIT on the treadmill and the bike for 2 cardio sessions a week, I do about 45 minutes each session.
Important; my first stint in Madrid was September-December, and I lost far too much weight. A key part of this was doing too much HIIT and not fuelling my body properly. Even with weight training I ended up being scrawny and unhealthy. If you do HIIT, ensure you’re fuelling your body correctly too. This means good carbs, protein and fats.

Now, onto Christmas 2014. I was limited to my exercise routine because I was putting on weight (because it was absolutely necessary). However, I did go out with my Dad for a 10k during my tme at home. The second we were out the car he said ‘Just you go on and run at your own pace’. I initially resisted, because I enjoyed the time we spent together running, but he refuses to accept it wasn’t my fault we ran a 16k!
It ended up being a mistake anyway, I ran so far ahead he tried to reduce the distance between us and pushed himself to far. However, I ran 11k in 57 minutes! I couldn’t believe it. I thought back to what caused my sudden incrase in speed and realised it was the HIIT. Whilst I did not fuel myself, my fitness and times improved dramatically (the lack of fuel is really bad and embarassing, I’m not endorsing my stupidity, if you do HIIT or speed work, fuel it right)!

My most recent 10k which I did on a treadmill clocked in at 47 mins 35 seconds. I altered my incline and speed throughout to achieve this and I wasn’t wiped out by the end! (I was tired, don’t get me wrong).

So, after this long (hopefully not boring) story, what’s my point? My point is if you want to cut your time and improve your fitness, logging kilometers and kilometers of steady running will not do it quite the same as using HIIT, hill sprints and lots of intervals. You need to speed train to improve your times!

Here’s an example of what you could do on a treadmill;

Warm-Up; 5 minutes at 9km/h

Sprint; 1 minute at 13-15km/h (wherever you feel you won’t come flying off the treadmill)

Rest; 1 minute at 9km/h

Repeat, repeat, repeat.

Cool-Down; 5 minutes starting at 9km/h then reducing by 0.5km/h every minute.

I do this often, I also mix it up with inclines in place of a sprint. The point is to challenge your body and your speed. You also don’t need to workout for as ong when doing HIIT because your sending your heartrate into a higher zone (if done correctly. Check out my HIIT post for more information on HIIT and routines!

Gym Bug

Energy drinks; recipe for a sugar crash

Hi there!

I found an article recently about energy drinks and how they can contain up to 20 teaspoons of sugar PER CAN! This is insane, especially since our new recommended daily amount of sugar has been reduced to 6 teaspoons according to the WHO. This is insane and what’s even more concerning is that people, especially children, are drinking these regularly! I did a post on child obesity and this links directly with that. Studies have linked energy drink consumption with issues such as obesity, caffeine overdoses, risky behaviour and addiction.

Thee energy drinks are also targetted at those who participate in sports as a way to get that ‘much needed energy boost’ to improve performance. I can’t sit here and say I’ve never drank them and I never will again. I had half a red bull a few weeks ago (I had been drinking a little, so my ability to comprehend it’s awful-ness was hindered somewhat) but I most certainly drink far less. I probably average about 1 every 6-8 months. Prior to my half a can of red bull a few weeks ago, I think the last one I had was in the summer of 2014.

Anyway, energy drinks are getting an increasingly bad reputation. When I say energy drinks I’m referring to brands such as Red Bull, Monster, Rockstar, Bullet and so on. They typically come is huge cans as well. They are also becoming increasingly mixed with artificial fruit juices to make them more appealing. Not only does this amp up the calories but it makes the sugar content sky rocket. For example, Rockstar Tropical Punch contains 260 calories and 31g of sugar! That’s 20 teaspoons of sugar (Note; 1 teaspoon of sugar= 4grams) These energy drinks truly are something to avoid consuming regularly!

Energy Drinks

There are other drinks out there, such as Powerade or Lucozade, that are marketed as ‘sports drinks’ and something athletes should consume to help them. However, you should really only consume these ‘sports drink’ (I’m using the term lightly) when you’re participating in long, intense exercise. Typical standard is to skip the ‘sports drink’ if you’re running anything less than 30 minutes. Consumption of them before, during or after anything longer than this can be beneficial as it provides your body with carbohydrates, which is necessary to endure and recover. I typically opt for water however, whatever the distance or I’ll choose energy tablets, which you dissolve into water, for example I drank High5 Zero Pink Grapefruit before I ran Tough Mudder in 2014. I did notice I didn’t cramp during the race, which I did in 2013. High5 is an electrolyte based ‘sports drink’ and I personally prefer them a lot more to traditional ‘sports drink’ or energy drinks. But again, I only consume them for hard, intense, long exercise (or if I’m hungover, they work wonders).

An increasingly popular alternative is to make your own! Here’s a recipe I found on Everyday Roots.

Make Your Own Electrolyte Drink

Gym Bug

Image 1 Source; http://www.foodnavigator-usa.com/var/plain_site/storage/images/publications/food-beverage-nutrition/foodnavigator-usa.com/markets/bad-press-affecting-energy-drink-category-mintel/8678378-1-eng-GB/Bad-press-affecting-energy-drink-category-Mintel.jpg

Image 2 Source; http://everydayroots.com/homemade-energy-drink

Working out sore muscles; Yaay or Naay?

Hi there!

I’m sure we’ve all been there. We’ve lifted heavier, pushed harder or returned to training after a break. We wake up the next day and feel like we’ve been hit by a bus. The question some of us may ask is; Can I (or should I) work out? I read an article recently from Greatist that discusses this. The pain is called Exercise Induced Muscle Damage (EIMD) and typically results in the onset of Delayed Onset Muscles Soreness (DOMS). I’ve been there, worst DOMS I experienced was after Tough Mudder, which I completely expected given I ran 11miles and tackled 25 gruelling obstacles. I had to take 2 days off from intense exercise to recover. Greatist also mentions that if your muscles are restricting your movement or limiting your strength then it’s probably best to listen to your body and give it a break.

The reason for taking a break? The muscle pain you feel is caused by microscopic tears in the muscle fibres and overworking these can make it much worse and lead to greater injury, which would see you out of training for a long time (trust me, I’ve been there).

You can opt for light exercise, such as walking or low-intensity cycling. Just make sure it’s low-impact. You can also work different muscle groups, focusing on those that don’t hurt, this is good also for ensuring you have a varied routine to ensure all muscle groups are worked.

Other methods Greatist mentioned to alleviate muscle soreness is ice baths, a massage and good old-fashioned stretching! Personally, I usually go for stretching and foam-rolling to help my achey muscles. I also use a massage bar from Lush which works wonders!

A key thing to mention and trust me, it’s solid advice you must adhere to; do not exercise if the pain is intense, on-going or highly restrictive. You should seek a doctor or a physiotherapists advice if you experience intense pain during, before or after a workout. I found myself with a grade 2 groin strain in January 2014 and was unable to do cardio for 8 weeks and once I could do cardio, it was light cycling for a few weeks before I could build it up. I also had to endure sports ‘massages’ from a physio (unpleasant to say the least). That extra workout when you’re sore is not worth it. Listen to your body. Plus, a sneaky extra rest day is always enjoyable (and good for the mind and motivation).

http://amandastonebarger.com/2014/05/04/mile-806-why-you-shouldnt-feel-guilty-about-rest-days/

Gym Bug

Image source; http://amandastonebarger.com/2014/05/04/mile-806-why-you-shouldnt-feel-guilty-about-rest-days/

Macros

Hi there!

Discovered a brilliant image today on Facebook from The SFN Expo Facebook page. Macros are essentally your daily calori requirements, broken down into detailed calorie requirements for protein, fat and carbohydrates. Some people don’t like calculating macronutrients as they don’t feel it helps attain their fitness goals. However, if you’re interested in calculating your macronutrient requirements, you can do so following the steps below;

  1. Calculate your Total Daily Energy Expenditure
    (Weight in kilograms x 2.2) x (Number training hours per week + 9-12*)
    *you must select your intensity rate here for training, 9 being low intensity and 12 being high intensity)
  2. Calculate your protein requirements (in grams)
    Weight in kilograms x 2 grams (you can adjust this but try stay within 1.4-3.0)
    Multiply this by 4 to get calorie requirements from protein.
  3. Calculate your fat requirements (in grams)
    Weight in kilograms x 1 gram (adjustable but try keep this above 0.7)
    Multiply this by 9 to get calorie requirements from fat.
  4. Calculate your carbohydrate requirements (in grams)
    Total Daily Energy Expenditure- (Calories from protein + Calories from fat)
                                                          4
    Do not divide by 4 to determine your calorie needs from carbohydrates.
  5. Calculate your fibre intake (in grams)
    Total Daily Energy Expenditure
                      100
    It is advised to keep it at around 15g

I was curious about why you would consider calcuating your macros and found a great article on BodyBuilding. They give reasons to macro and reasons not to. I recommend reading the whole article on their website but the reasons are as follows;

Reasons to Macro;

1) You’re lean but you want to be leaner
2) You have no concept of what “enough protein” means
3) Your body signals are out of whack
4) You have a deadline to meet

Reason not to Macro;

1) Your neurosis gets you nowhere
2) You’re a macronutrient veteran
3) You just got your feet wet
4) You want to be healthy, not freaky shredded

There you have it! Macros all summed up. I calculated mine out of interest and my Total Daily Energy Expenditure is apparently around 1604 calories per day with workout intensity of 10, I do a lot of HIIT however, so when I shifted it to 12 (out of curiosity) it said I needed 1814 calories. I wrote a post recently about calorie calculators if you’re interested in seeing how different online calculators calculated my needs differently!

Have a great weekend!

Gym Bug

Why is child obesity so high?

Hi there!

I’m exhausted today since I was exploring a new city yesterday! Salamanca is gorgeous by the way if anyone is looking for somewhere to visit. Maybe not yet, it’s freezing. I think I’ve had a better workout shivering than an hour at the gym! But today I read a disturbing news article. It was from the Daily Mail so I looked around for better, more reliable sources to confirm the claims. Unfortunately, I didn’t struggle. Child obesity now affects 1 in 3 of Britain’s children. Whilst these levels appear to be ‘leveling off’ un under 10’s according to the BBC , it is still a shockingly high number. Obesity brings all sort of health risks including diabetes, heart disease, increased risks of cancer, high blood and more.

It’s not just children either, UK obesity rates in the UK have almost trebled (see the ‘more’ link above). This is shocking, especially with such focus now on leading healthier lifestyles! What can we do? Unfortunately, we can’t change a nation. But you can make small changes to yours and your families life to start leading a healthier lifestyle and (if required) lose weight! It requires hard work and focus but once you’ve made these little changes and turned them into habits, you’ll notice a huge difference. There’s so many little things you can do!

  • Walk to work if you’re close enough.
  • Get off/on at an earlier bus stop if you can.
  • Walk if these trip is 20 minutes or less.
  • Don’t bring temptation into the house (buy one chocolate bar if you’re craving it, not a multipack, for example).
  • Never grocery shop hungry.
  • Fit in at least 20 minutes of physical activity every day (a walk, for example).
  • Have a salad or soup at lunch.
  • Swap the crisps for an apple.
  • Eat porridge for breakfast to fuel you up until lunch.

Little steps like this can make a huge difference. Obesity does not need to be such a problem. We can change and we can help others change too. If you’ve got a group of friends who always complain about feeling overweight or uncomfortable then start a group and challenge yourselves! Doing things with a friend typically helps motivation because you feel a sense of commitment and don’t want to give up before the other (a little friendly competition never hurt anyone). Make some healthier choices to change your life!

What are your thoughts on obesity?

Gym Bug

Calorie Requirement Calculators

Hi there!

I decided to take a look at online calorie calculators that are supposed to give an indication of how many calories you need to consume to lose weight. I’ve done this to show you that these can be widely different but can give you a very rough guide to the number of calories you should consume (not including exercise unless stated)

My Calorie Counter; 1942 calories

Calorie King; 1100 to 1300 calories

Fitness Magazine; (with exercise level included) 2395 calories

WebMd; (with exercise level included) 2000

Anita Bean’s Calculation; (with exercise level included) 2788 calories

These are 5 of many different ways of calculatng your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) and required calorie intake. However, these are clearly vastly different from each other. It seems I should be aiming for around 2000, which is the guideline daily amount for adult females. You can also get it professionally checked by having a test conducted to measure your BMR using heart rate, CO2 production and working you to exhausting which is significantly more accurate.

I just wanted to let you see that these calculators cannot be taken as the law for losing weight! Eat well and exercise regularly and you can do this!

Gym Bug

Getting oot’n’aboot

Hi there!

For non Scottish readers “oo’n’aboot” translates to ” out and about”. It’s highly stereotypical and I love the phrase, I have no idea why. Anyway, now that I’m home I do not have access to a gym, which is really, really, really nice. I get to spend my cardio days outside in the gorgeous (haha) Scottish weather.

I love getting out and going for a good run outdoors. My first run since returning was great and it didn’t feel like a workout. I ran at an average pace of 5.33 minutes per km, which was faster than I usually run and I really enjoyed being outdoors rather than looking at my reflection in the gym window on the treadmill. Not getting sweat in my eyes was also an added bonus.

Running outdoors is not only more aesthetically pleasing, it also has additional heath benefits that you can’t get from a gym. Outdoor running means you’re exposed to a variety of different terrains. This adds to the development of muscles in your legs and gets them nice and strong!
Anyone who has run outdoors will also have probably, at least once, faced wind. Running against the wind requires more energy which requires more calories! You won’t get that kind of natural resistance in a gym.
You get fresh air! The gym can become a hot box and the air becomes thick and warm, but outdoors your lungs, body and mind can rejuvenate and benefit from getting decent fresh air.
I also find that running outdoors leaves me feeling more refreshed. I can come in from a run outside feeling more energised. I attribute this mainly to the fact that I’m not drowning in my own sweat and I smell of outside.

If you can’t run, I still recommend trying to get outside as much as possible. There’s so much to do! Go for a walk, a hike, a cycle, even sit outside and enjoy the fresh air. A well-balanced, healthy lifestyle is not achieved by powering it out in a gym. You need nature to help keep your lungs and mind fresh!

If you do decide to go outside for a run and don’t want a monotonous run, try mix it up a bit. You can sprint for 1-minute and jog for 1-minute (or any length of time). I like finding a hill and doing hill runs too. There’s a long hill next to my house and I find a good, challenging run is to run one full length at a moderate pace, walk down, sprint half the hill, walk to the bottom and repeat for a maximum of 5 times. I don’t plan on going beyond 5 repetitions of this because it will most likely end in injury. Instead I focus on improving my speed and recovery.

So get out there and enjoy the fresh air!

Gym Bug

http://www.buzzle.com/articles/treadmill-vs-running-outside.html

http://healthontrack.info/outdoor-running-benefits/

Stretches to get you through your day

Hi there!

I’ve already done a post on the importance of stretching but this is about some stretches to do whilst at work, studying, sitting at desk etc to help prevent aches and pains associated with sitting down (which is becoming an increasingly covered health risk). I like doing these as mini-revision breaks to clear my mind a bit and help stretch out muscles that have lay idle for too long. I’ve decided it’s best to give you the links to th stretches I use, since it’s easier to be shown how to perform the stretch through photos than it is to explain!

I also do basic likes bending over with straight legs and back, doing arm circles, reaching for the ceiling without lifting my feet from the ground and giving myself a big hug to stretch off my back.

Not only will these help stretch out any aches and pains from repetitive desk work sitting but it will also get your body moving a bit. As I’ve said, sitting is getting an increasingly bad reputation. It is becoming associated with poorer mental health, increased risk of heart disease, increased risk of becoming disabled and more. It’s also linked with obesity, high blood pressure and stress.
Other issues associated with sitting relate to increased risk of blood clots, increased pressure on the spine, poor circulation and fluid collecting in your legs.

This doesn’t mean you must invest in a standing desk or refuse to sit when you eat or watch TV. Instead, try move more, make it a habit to get up once and hour and pace around the room, stretch, just stand. Try reduce the amount your sitting down and you’ll hopefully feel more energised and focused. It’s also a nice break from the computer or TV!

Have a great weekend!

Gym Bug

Sources;

http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/news/20140407/sitting-disease-faq

Fit Not Thin

Hi there!

In the midst of my revision I stumbled upon this article (it’s in Spanish) which talks about the editor of de Revistas de El Mercurio (Mercury Magazines). She has decided that they will no longer photoshop any photographs featured in their publications, only use models who are 18 or older and not use any model with a BMI below 18.5. BRILLIANT.

I understand there’s this constant pressure for people to be thin or incredibly muscular, I’ve felt it and it’s horrible. What this magazine is doing is perfect and something that needs to be done by all of them. People have been saying for ages it’s time to change the way the media represents what’s socially accepted as ‘beautiful’.

If you’re looking to be slim, this blog is not for you. Healthy? Then I’d like to think some of my experiences, posts and insights can help you. It’s so easy to make small changes to start you on your path to becoming FIT AND HEALTHY;

  • Reduce saturated fat intake; swap semi-skimmed/whole milk for skimmed milk, for example.
  • Reduce refined sugar intake; as simple as having an apple instead of a chocolate bar as a snack.
  • Fit in exercise; it can be a 7-minute HIIT session or a 30-minute walk. Check out my post on HIITLIIT  (lower intensity interval training) or have a look at strength workouts (one example linked for a bodyweight workout) for more information.
  • Make smart swaps; wholewheat pasta/rice/bread instead of white, refined bread/pasta/rice, for example.
  • Do a bit of trial and error; there’s not a ‘one size fits all’ plan for leading a fit and healthy lifestyle, try things out, do some research.
  • Do it with friends/family; it’s added motivation, you don’t want to stop until they do and chances are they feel the same so you won’t stop until you’re done.
  • Don’t give up; you will slip up, you’re allowed, just make sure it doen’t completel demotivate you and stop you from reaching your end goal.
  • Set a goal; fit into that pair of jeans, get to a healthier weight, tone up a bit. Whatever it is, set it and tell people what it is, that way you’ll find more motivation to stick with it and avoid being a ‘quitter’. Setting challenges such as a marathon, 10k, Tough Mudder, Spartan Race etc are also great motivators (you don’t really want to be photographed as a pile on the floor, you want to be photographed holding that medal or tackling that obstacle).
It doesn’t have to be a huge mountain, small steps can make big changes.
Gym Bug

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