• How to Burn Fat and Build Muscle

    Muscle and fat are different types of tissue. Muscle is an ‘active’ tissue which keeps your metabolism high and burning calories, even when you sleep. The more you move your muscles, the harder they work and the more you burn.

    Fat is the opposite. It is not metabolically active therefore it doesn’t burn calories, however its is vital for your body. A healthy layer of fat will help keep you warm, protect your organs and keeps your body functioning.

    The key to burning fat and building muscle is ensuring you have enough of the ‘good’ stuff via a balanced diet.

    Protein helps to keep you feeling fuller longer, plus helps to build and repair muscle. Aim for approx 25% of your diet to be protein, especially after exercising.

    Fat also keeps you fuller for longer and slows your appetite and provides your body with essential fatty acids. Aim for around 30% of your diet to be fat, however consume healthy fats (unsaturated or mono-saturated) that are found in foods like avocado, salmon and nuts.

    Then there are Carbohydrates in which should make up approx 45% of your diet. Carbohydrates are necessary to fuel your workouts and keep your energy levels topped up. However, stick to unprocessed whole grain carbs. Sweet potatoes are a great choice as they are slow-releasing, loaded with fibre and contain lots of vitamins and antioxidants.

    Lastly, don’t forget your fruits and vegetables and staying hydrated with water. Snacking on fruits like apples, capsicum, carrot sticks, celery etc will help keep you full, boost muscle strength and aid fat loss.

    Exercise is also ESSENTIAL. Running to burn fat and improve fitness is great, but to build more muscle add strength or resistance training 2-4 times a week. Make sure you include multi-joint exercises like squats, burpee’s, kettlebell swings etc.

    Remember the more muscle you have the higher your metabolic rate, therefore the faster you burn fat. Plus having a day off training each week will help your body repair your muscles and fight off fatigue. And sleep is vital for good health so get plenty of rest.

  • Happy Valentines Day - Tips For Better Heart Health

    1. Stay active - The key to heart health is to keep moving and aim to get your heart rate up with at least 30minutes of aerobic exercise at least 5 days a week. However, any movement will be good for your heart, so keep moving and stay active.

    2. Limit your consumption of red meat, sugar and unhealthy fats - Add fruits and vegetables to your diet to increase your fibre consumption.

    3. Reduce your salt intake - You can re-train your taste buds to become accustomed to a lower sodium diet.

    4. Stop smoking - Smoking not only damages your lungs, it also negatively affects your heart health. Breaking that smoking habit is essential for your overall health.

    5. Keep your weight under control - Obesity increases the risk of heart attacks, heart failure and diabetes. A healthy diet with portion control and regular exercise is the best way to maintain a healthy weight.

    6. Know your cholesterol levels - High cholesterol is a risk factor for heart disease. If you have not had your cholesterol levels checked in the past few years, get them checked to find out if you are at risk of heart disease.

    7. Know your blood pressure - High blood pressure (hypertension) is a major risk factor for heart attacks, strokes and heart failure.

    8. Know your blood sugar levels - Elevated blood sugar levels can lead to diabetes, a strong risk factor for heart disease.

    9. Reduce stress - Stress is a strong risk factor for heart disease, especially for women. Try meditation, yoga, reading a book, or being silent and still for 10minutes a day. Be mindful of stress in your life and how you can reduce it, to take extra care of your heart.

    10. Drink less alcohol - Limit your weekly alcohol intake. Tips to cut down on alcohol - Have regular alcohol free nights; alternate your alcoholic drinks with water or plain mineral water; dilute alcoholic drinks with plain mineral water, soda water or diet soft drinks; use only half measures of spirits; choose a low alcohol or light beer; choose a low-alcohol wine; when you are thirsty drink cold water instead of alcohol, and keep a jug of water on the table with your meals.

    11. See your doctor regularly - Regular medical follow-up is one of the best ways to prevent cardiovascular disease

  • Summer Bodies Are Made in The Winter

    If you want this summer to be the summer you feel amazing in your swimmers, t-shirts, strappy dress or short shorts then start focusing on it now. It’s not about being skinny but it is about looking and feeling your best. When we look and feel our best, it feels like we are on top of the world, we are confident and can achieve our dreams.

    So how do you start working on that summer body when all you want to do is curl up under the covers inside? The answer is to look at what you need to do over the next six months and break it down to what you would like to achieve monthly. This long-term approach will not only bring you results but it will ensure they are long lasting.

    Here are some tips: -

    1. Positive image - Do you have a photo of yourself that you’d like to get back to? Or perhaps an image of someone you feel is the epitome of health. Put it somewhere you can see to help you focus on the health and fitness goals you set.

    2. Focus on habits that will get you there - Consistently eating a healthy breakfast, reducing stress, exercising, cutting out chocolate or alcohol etc. Don’t worry about getting these all right at once. Choose one until it’s a habit and then add another.

    3. Find support - If you don’t currently have people in your life that can help you, then look to join a group such as a walking group, dance class, Gym, Personal Trainer etc. as everyone have tough days and need some moral support.

    4. Buy new exercise clothes - Look good, feel good! Try buying some new exercise clothes. Everyone loves shopping, and exercising will give you a great excuse to buy and wear new items.

    5. Try a Fitness Class - Can't seem to motivate yourself on your own? It's a lot easier to keep going when there's someone motivating you to move.

    6. Find an exercise partner – You can encourage each other to exercise, plus set goals together, which can even make it fun (i.e. compare how many steps you walk each day)

    7. Get on a mat - If vigorous activity isn't your thing, why not try Yoga or Pilates? It not only helps you improve your physical and core strength, but your emotional and mental health as well.

    8. Hop on a bike - Do you hate cardio? Why not try a RPM/Spinning, as these classes will actually get you wanting to move your body!

    9. Don't focus on the number on the scale - Too many people get disgruntled by the number on the scale and give up because they aren't immediately seeing the results they want or think they deserve. If you want to set a goal, check your weight in the beginning, but don't let that number drive you. Be happy and motivated by what you look like in the mirror, not the number on a scale.

    10. Fight the weather - If you are one of those people who stays close to lounge after you get home from work, you're not alone. To fight the urge to stay inside, pack a gym bag and bring it to work. You're already out for the day, so you really have no excuse to skip the gym.

    11. If you're hungry, eat! - The biggest mistake people make is starving themselves. If you do this, all you're doing is slowing down your metabolism! Just remember portion control. The longer you starve yourself, the greater your chances of a binge later on.

    12. Hit an area you've never targeted before - Are you always running on the treadmill? Why not pick up some weights and see what those do for your body. Once you start noticing changes in places you don't typically target, you'll be addicted to the results.

    13. Start being active on the weekends - Stop wasting your weekends, these work-free days are perfect for doing what you couldn't during the week. So why not dedicate at least one hour to making yourself feel better.

    14. Make a schedule - The best way to create a routine is to make and stick to a schedule. Get out the diary and book in exercise time.

    15. Strip your fridge - You can't out-exercise a bad diet, so reinventing your refrigerator is a necessary step when getting into shape. Get rid of all the bad things you know you shouldn't be eating/drinking and replace with fresh fruits, Greek yogurt, vegetables, lean protein etc.

    16. Learn to cook foods you enjoy eating. - Buying healthy food is only step one. You need to buy things you actually like eating. An issue many people have is after they finish preparing a meal, they are still hungry and, as a result, they eat whatever they can get their hands on. You can avoid this by preparing meals designed to feed you, with lots of lean proteins and complex carbs.

    17. Plan a holiday - It's hard to keep yourself motivated if you have nothing to look forward to, which is why planning a holiday can help get the ball rolling. Just make sure not to fall back into your bad habits once the holiday is over.

    18. Keep up maintenance on the rest of your body. - Look good, feel good. If you are keeping up with the rest of your appearance, you are only going to want your body to match. So, don't skip those trips to the nail or hair salon. Feeling good is just as important as looking good, and your mental health is just as important as your physical health.

    19. Work out at home - There are lots of exercises you can do from the comfort of your own home if you don't feel like going to a gym. Facebook and YouTube have lots of videos and workout ideas. Or arrange for a Personal Trainer to come to your home.

    20. Find a way to be accountable - Sign up for classes with a cancellation fee and you'll be penalized for skipping; find an exercise partner who won't take let your excuses be a reason to miss a session; or set a realistic goal that you know you can actually achieve in a reasonable timeframe (i.e. don't aim to drop 5kg by next Thursday).

    It’s easy to hit the snooze button when your alarm is beeping at you on an early chilly winter morning and you’re snuggled up in bed. However, with a little bit of willpower and determination, you can achieve and maintain that fit and healthy body you desire.

    All of the above tips will help you to stick to your routine. Remember: You're doing this for you, so you're only cheating yourself.

  • Exercising Safely During Cold and Flu Season

    Regular exercise plays a key role in keeping you healthy and preventing illnesses. It strengthens your immune system and helps fight viral and bacterial infections. However, most people catch one or two colds a year. Some physical activity when you're sick can be alright, but there are times when exercise can make things worse. The best way to determine whether you should go to the gym/exercise, or go to bed is the extent and location of your symptoms.

    1. Can Exercise Prevent the Flu?

    When you exercise, your white blood cells (the ones that fight infections) travel through your body faster and do their jobs better. Experts say you should do at least 30mins of moderate cardio exercise like walking, swimming, bike riding, or running each day. Other benefits to being more active, are less stress and better sleep. Stress is bad for your body and mind, so you can ease it with regular exercise. Also getting 7-8hours sleep a night is key, because it helps keep your body's defences in good shape.

    On the other hand, too much exercise (like spending hours at the gym or running marathons) can bring your immune system down. Extreme workouts can slash the number of white blood cells you have and boost the level of stress hormones in your bloodstream.

    2. Can I Exercise out in the Cold?

    It is safe to exercise in cold weather as long as you are properly dressed. Cold-weather clothing tips:

    • Dress in layers to avoid overheating

    • Avoid cotton clothing, which retains moisture and may make you colder once you start sweating

    • opt for synthetic fabric, such as polypropylene, which wicks away moisture

    • Cover your head, neck, hands and feet properly

    3. How can I avoid germs at the Gym to avoid getting Sick?

    Top spots where cold and flu germs lurk are interior door handles and gym equipment (dumbbells, free-weight benches, cardio and weight-training machines). Tips to avoid gym germs-:

    • Bring your own water bottle and avoid the water fountain

    • Shower or wash your hands with antibacterial soap before and after hitting the gym.

    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.

    • Wipe down gym equipment before and after use to avoid the last user’s germs, while also leaving things clean for the next person.

    4. If I'm Sick, when should I take a break from Exercise?

    There is no right or wrong answer for this question as it all depends on how you feel, which is why it’s important to listen to your body. If you have a cold but your symptoms aren't too severe (i.e. runny nose or sneezing), it’s usually fine to stick with your fitness routine. Try not to overdo the workout, as it may worsen your symptoms and can lengthen the illness. If you're feeling less than 100%, stick to light-to-moderate exercise (i.e., walking) until you start feeling better.

    But, if your cold is accompanied by a fever, chest congestion (making it hard to breathe) or flu-like symptoms, it's best to wait a few days until you're feeling better. People usually run a fever for 2-5 days when they have the flu, which means your body is battling the infection. A high temperature pulls moisture out of your body, and so does a workout. If you get too dried out, it could delay your recovery.

    Also, the flu is contagious. You can spread it to others for up to 7 days after your symptoms start. If you work out around other people, wait until your fever breaks and stays down on its own for at least 24 hours before you go back to your routine.

    5. You can Exercise Safely when…

    If your symptoms are from the neck up (runny nose, sneezing, watery eyes, sore throat) then it's okay to exercise. Physical activity won't slow down your recovery, if you don't elevate your heart rate and body temperature too much.

    6. It's best to REST when….

    If your symptoms are below the neck (i.e. tight chest), then your body needs rest. If your oral temperature is at or over 37.5 °C, your body is fighting an infection, and needs rest to recover. Listen to your body, and take comfort that you won't lose any conditioning by taking a few days break. It is best to avoid exercise when you have any of these symptoms::-

    • Coughing

    • Fatigue and tiredness

    • Congested or tight chest

    • Chills and muscle aches

    • Nausea or upset stomach

    • Diarrhea

    • High temperature / fever

    7. When can I start Exercising again?

    As your symptoms diminish, ease back into your exercise with caution. Start out gently to see how you feel, and if the body responds well, gradually increase the intensity and duration over a few days. Avoid jumping straight back into your old level of effort. Modify your intensity until all the symptoms have completely disappeared.

  • How to Burn Fat and Build Muscle

    No matter how hard you try you can’t turn fat into muscle. This is because muscle and fat are different types of tissue. Muscle is an active tissue which keeps your metabolism high and burning calories. The more you move your muscles, the harder they work and the more calories you will burn. Fat is the opposite, it isn’t metabolically active, therefore it doesn’t burn calories. However, a healthy layer of fat is vital to keep your body functioning, to protect your organs and to keep you warm.

    The key to burning fat and building muscle is ensuring you have a balanced diet.

    • It is recommended that you aim for 20-25% of your daily calories from Protein. Make sure you choose lean Protein such as chicken, fish, beans, lentils, nuts or non-fat milk. Protein will help you feel fuller for longer, plus helps to build and repair muscle. For a 2,000-calorie diet, this would be approx 400-500 calories from Protein (100-125 g) per day.

    • Limit your fat intake to 15-20% of your daily calories. Choose "healthy" fats (unsaturated or mono-saturated fats) that can help keep your cholesterol within normal limits. These can be found in olive oil, canola oil, nuts, avocados, and fish. Try to limit your intake of sweets (junk food), since these fats tend to have more saturated fat which can lead to heart disease and high cholesterol. For a 2,000-calorie diet, this is between 300-400 calories from fat (80-100g) per day

    • Aim for 45-60% of your daily calories to come from Carbohydrate. Choose "healthy" Carbohydrates, such as fruit, vegetables, and whole grains. If you consume mainly refined grains (white bread, cookies, crackers, etc.), then it may contribute to weight gain. Find Carbohydrates that are high in fibre content, as this will keep you feeling fuller longer. Beans and legumes are also a good source of Carbohydrates. For a 2,000-calorie diet, this is between 900-1200 calories (225 - 300g) per day.

    Exercise is also essential. Running and other forms of cardio exercise are great to burn fat and improve your fitness, but to build more muscle add in strength and resistance training 2-5 times a week. The more muscle you have the higher your metabolic rate so the faster you burn fat.

    And lastly, remember to rest as sleep is vital for good health. Having a day off training every week will help your body repair your muscles and fight off fatigue or infection.


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