GymBug

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

Archive for the tag “online”

A step too far in tackling obesity?

Hi there!

I was on DailyMail (out of boredom, I don’t use it as my key news source) and the following article popped up; “Snacking ‘should be as shameful as smoking’. The article explains that Professor Susan Jebb has said that snacking on unhealthy foods and any meals served without vegetables should be seen as negatively as smoking in doors.

This is opening an already wide open door to socially obliterating obese people. It’s unfair. It’s also further widening the very dangerous door of social media inducing eating disorders such as disordered eating, anorexia, orthorexia nervosa and so on. By shaming people from having ‘an unhealthy meal’ or having ‘an unhealthy snack’ a stigma is being created surrounding these foods. A stigma I’ve fallen victim to myself.

Now I completely understand that we need to start doing something about the obesity  problem. It;s giving rise to a generation of overweight children, increasing the instances of diseases and is a heavy burden on public spending in the UK. But I do not believe making unhealthy foods ‘shameful’ is the way to do it. What about the people who live a healthy, balanced life? Are they not allowed to go out and enjoy a burger or a donut or a slice of cake? I know for a fact when I turn 21 this year I’ll be enjoying a delicious slice of cake and other little, delicious extras!

I believe the key to changing lifestyles is making it clear what health risks obese individuals face, the impact it has not only on themselves but their families, educating these people about how to deal with the issue and trying to life these stigma’s around foods. It’s also important to highlight how easy it can be to make small, healthy changes and start living a healthier lifestyle.

For example, make this more widely available

                                                                       The Eat Well Plate (UK)

There’s also some great resources out there that many proably do not know about. For example, there’s Change4Life in the UK offering tips, recipes, vouchers, information on local activities and support! Eat To Perform is another excellent source for information and some hard to hear facts that are incredibly motivating. (Side note, they’re articles help me deal with having to put on weight).

Now, I’m not saying this is the easiest thing to do. But it’s a lot easier than people think! It’s not about dieting (terrible word and I hate it) it’s about making healthy, sustainable changes in your life. Going for a walk everyday, having an apple instead of crisps (potato chips) at lunch, walking to the next bus stop, the small changes you can make today are endless! It’s also important not to be ashamed of not “eating 100% clean, 100% of the time”. What does that even mean-clean? Google ‘clean eating’ and I guarantee you’ll get numerous definitions!

Just try focus on eating good food, whole grains, vegetables, fruit, lean meats, protein and good fats. Get in a bit of cardio and weight training. Enjoy that slice of cake! Keep highly processed foods to a moderate amount, but don’t go cold turkey, trust me you’ll end binging, it’s not worth it!

If life becomes all about food and exercise (or not doing it) then it’s no fun. Again, trust me. I’m still coming out of some food and exercise related issues but I’m slowly learning food is to be enjoyed and 6-pack abs aren’t necesary to be happy!

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

Documentaries; Odd Source of Motivation?

Hi there!

Weekend is almost over but fear not I have developed a list of educational health, related documentaries for you to look forward to watching next weekend (or to fill your relaxing Sunday)! Yaay for educational activities! Okay, you probably think I’m really sad but these documentaries are actually really interesting and they really opened my eyes up to different health concerns, food production issues and other things. If you have a chance to watch them I recommend doing so! It’s really is interesting and motivational. You may find some of these have you changing what you eat, how you eat, how you view food and how you view the media’s view of “perfect and healthy”. Click on the titles of each movies to see the trailer.

  • Food, Inc; this is about the food production industry and is really interesting (and at times a little upsetting). It’s all about the multinational corporate control of food production and how profit seeking has led to poor health standards and treatment of animals and workers.
  • Fork Over Knives; this is about how degenerative diseases can be controlled (and in some cases reversed) by changing what we eat. The focus of this documentary is rejecting our current go-to diets of meat and processed foods.
  • Food Matters; this is about mass food production making the world sicker and how the constant promotion of “healthy foods” that are actually pumped full of very harmful chemicals.
  • Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead; this follows one man’s journey to regaining his health. Joe Cross (our overweight, sick man in question) not only devotes himself to a 30 day diet of fruit and vegetable juices, he interviews over 500 Americans about food and eating habits. There’s also a special bond created between the main man and someone who shares the same illness as him.
  • I Want To Look Like That Guy; one man’s journey to getting those “magazine perfect” abs. This is great insight into the intense dedication required to get the types of bodies our media (unfortunately) perpetuates as being perfect. It’s an eye-opener and helped me accept that my own limits. However, make sure to read around it, there is some speculation as to the time-frame with this one. None the less, an interesting watch.
  • Bigger, Stronger, Faster; a more intense look into the world of bodybuilding and the unfortunate high use of steroids. It looks at the pressures of making it in the industry. It’s interesting to see how intense it is and the dangers of taking it too far.
  • Supersize Me; we’ve all heard of this one but it took me a long time to watch it. It was not pleasant but very interesting and McDonalds has never been the same for me! It’s a must-see if you’re going to make your way through this list (just don’t eat when watching).

There we have it! This list is not exhaustive; you can find heaps of documentaries related to health and fitness all over the web. I enjoy looking through Films For Action, they have some great ones. They also have a huge variety, so you can find any type of educational or informative movie or documentary for any interest!

Hope you had a great weekend!

Gym Bug

Slow or Fast; who wins this weights race?

Hi there!

Another weight training session today and I tried a slightly different technique based on some research I’d done. I got curious as to whether it was best to do fast repetitions or slow ones, so I researched it and tried out a slower routine today than normal.

Women’s Health Mag has discussed that both can have great benefits for the body. The key is the point in your training you’re at. If you’re a beginner, going fast will likely lead to injury. Going slow is also great if you’re looking to build strength. What you want to do is really focus on slowing down on the “release” stage of the lift. For example, doing a bicep curl, really focus on slowing the rate on the way down rather than on the way up.  By going too fast, too soon you risk injury to muscles and joints, especially if your technique isn’t quite on form. However, when performing the repetitions it’s best that you slow it down on the ‘release’ phase. I tried it today and I could definitely feel more of a burn, particularly with my abs. By doing the repetitions slower (for example, with a bicycle crunch) I could really feel my abs working hard.

Men’s Fitness also discuss this and state that lifting slow will see you develop more muscle mass. Again, it’s all about going slow on the ‘release’ phase of the repetition, this way you’re really working the muscles hard and developing more strength. Don’t worry ladies though, going slow won’t mean walking out the gym one day a bodybuilder, as I’ve mentioned in previous posts, it takes more than just lifting to get those types of muscles. Females lack testosterone, which is what’s needed to give you those bulging muscles. Always remember female bodybuilders or very muscular females are probably taking supplements to enable that type of muscle growth!

But does that mean fast isn’t beneficial? Not at all, however, it’s only wise to use faster repetitions when you’ve got the overall technique nailed down. This will help prevent injury. It’s also pertinent you’ve got muscle strength to maintain a safe technique whilst going through the more intense workout. By going faster you improve power and burn more calories but you need to be physically capable of maintaining a proper technique when more fatigued. By forcing the weight to move faster you’re using more energy, so you will notice you’re more tired, sweaty and out of breath by following this technique.  Be careful though!  Jerky, poor controlled movements will cause injury. You must remain in control of the weights to reap the rewards!

Here are a couple of exercises you can do both fast and slow;

  • Kettlebell Swings
  • Bicep Curls
  • Squats (maybe not too fast if you’re using a bar)
  • Push Ups
  • Bicycle Crunches
  • Tricep Dips

I’m going to do a session of 10 slow repetitions of different exercises, then next session try 15 repetitions in the same time frame for the same exercises. This way I’ll get to experience both! Hopefully it’s a new way to mix up my workouts. You should give it a try too!

Almost Friday. Keep going!

Gym Bug

Bounce Balls; Energy from Nature

Hi there!

When my sister picked up my first Bounce Ball, she raised her arm to launch it at the ground, not quite realising what she was holding. A Bounce Ball is not a bouncey ball that you played with as a kid and probably got hit by (small, round bruises, anyone?), although give me a bouncey ball now and I’ll be quite content for a while. Anyway, back on point, Bounce Balls are food. A great kind of food. They’re energy balls. The idea behind them is to get an excellent boost of energy from small, delicious, nutrient-dense foods.
I’ve only tried one flavour (still making my way around them) but here’s a run-down of their excellent, energy balls.

There are 8 amazing flavours to choose from, made from the highest quality ingredients (messing with quality is not an option here). Each different flavour provides something different whether it’s only flavour, or the function or the nutritional value is provides. Bounce Balls have made sure you will find exactly what you need.
HP= High Protein
V= Suitable for vegetarians
GF= Gluten Free
HF= High Fibre

  • Cacao Mint Protein Bomb; this is their newest flavour. Sunflower seeds, cacao nibs, quality proteins and rice bran. Get your protein pick me up from this incredible new ball! (HP)
  • Apple & Cinnamon Protein Punch; cashews, whey, pea proteins, excellent carbs and heart healthy fats. An excellent high protein which will curb even the meanest of hunger pangs to help you maintain your fast-paced day. (V & GF)
  • Peanut Protein Blast; they’re all on my bucket list, but this is next. I’m a huge peanut fan. Titled “The Golden Nugget” on their website, this ball is packed full of delicious peanut. High protein, energy packed ball of incredible. (HP)
  • Coconut & Macadamia Protein Bliss; an antioxidant packed ball with excellently healthy macadamias, coconut and cashews. This is definitely one for the lovers of coconut and summer flavours (HP & HF).
  • Spirulina & Ginseng Energy Balls; I hear a lot about Spirulina and I wasn’t sure what it was, so I did some research. It’s a superfood which is high in protein, essential amino acids and iron. Excellent sources of iron and great boost for the immune system. This particular energy ball is packed with superfood Spirulina and superfood Ginseng. This seems like a body’s cup of gold. Packed with delicious almonds, oat, sesame seeds, spirulina and ginseng. This is literally a health boost in a packet, it’s got fibre, unsaturated fats, vitamins E and B12 (HF)
  • Almond Protein Hit; I’ve tried this one ad I really enjoyed it, it’s got a bit of marzipan flavour to it, and it did give me a fantastic energy boost (I enjoyed it whilst on an energy slump on holiday, instant pick me up). Another ball packed with heart healthy fats, protein and complex carbohydrates. (HP & HF)
  • Cashew & Pecan Vitality Lift; another heart healthy packed ball packed with delicious nuts and seeds. This one also contains an excellent antioxidant called manganese. Get your mono and unsaturated fat hit from this one! (HF)
  • Fudgie Walnut Health Storm; walnuts, peanuts, carob and sesame seeds. This is an excellent ‘free-from’ option for all gluten free readers. Again it’s packed with manganese, heart healthy fats and fibre. (HF & GF)

All their products are great on-the-go snacks that are packed with healthy but filling ingredients. Once I’ve got some more monies in the bank (curse the student budget) I have every intention to getting my hands on these balls of power to fuel my long days. They’re too convenient not to try!

These are available in a wide variety of stores; find them in Holland & Barrett, Waitrose, Boots.com and other health food shops. You can also purchase them online on their own website. A pack of 12 costs £19.45 or a pack of 40 for £63.95. It sounds like a lot but consider how nutritionally dense they are, I think if you’re really serious about healthy energy, these are worth it.

Gym Bug

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