• 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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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  • S-T-R-E-T-C-H and STAY FLEXIBLE

    Stretching is one of the most helpful – and most overlooked – exercises. It helps to reduce pain and stiffness, improves your range of motion and minimizes wear on your joints. Adding a stretching sequence to your workout routine is a great way to improve your longevity and overall quality of life. Here are 10 Reasons Why You Should Stretch Regularly: -

    1. Decreased Stress – Regular stretching can reduce mental tension, and when combined with breathing techniques, it may also help to decrease anxiety and depression.

    2. Reduced Pain and Stiffness – Muscular tension can increase discomfort throughout the body. Regular stretching can help to decrease stiffness, reduce pain levels and may even reduce the frequency and severity of muscle cramps.

    3. Improved Health – Stretching can help to reduce blood pressure, heart rate and breathing rate, to counteract the body’s physiological responses to stress and muscular tension.

    4. Enhanced Range of Motion – Stretching as well as myofascial releasing using a foam roller/tennis balls, can help to enhance unrestricted movement of the major joints of the body (i.e. hips and shoulders).

    5. Improved Function – Because of poor posture, repetitive movement patterns, improper body mechanics and spending long periods of time seated, muscles in the body can become tense, tight and contracted, causing them to become weak and supple. Regular stretching helps to improve overall function by ensuring that the body can respond more effectively to stressed imposed by various types of movement and activity.

    6. May Reduce Risk of Injury – Dynamic stretches are often used as part of a warm-up to help increase core body temp and prepare the body for movements/exercise. Therefore, stretching is an important part of injury prevention, as cold muscles and tendons in the body have a greater likelihood of rupture, strain or sprain.

    7. Enhanced Performance – Regular flexibility training can help to enhance agility, power, speed and muscular strength.

    8. Improved Blood Circulation - Regular flexibility training can help to improve blood flow and circulation, thus allowing for the enhanced transportation of oxygen and nutrient-rich blood throughout the body.

    9. Minimized Wear and Tear on Joints – When muscles become chronically tight and tense, opposing muscles become weakened, producing unnecessary wear and tear on various joint and structures within the body. Regular stretching helps to ensure the muscles on each side of a joint maintain am equal degree of pull so that the joint can move freely and efficiently in all directions, allowing for optimal movement and less stress on the body.

    10. Improved Quality of Life – Regularly stretching and performing a range of motion exercises can help to increase longevity and enhance overall quality of life.

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  • Hydration Tips for Runners on Race Day

    With the Nail Can Hill Race this Sunday and other races scheduled over the next few months staying hydrated is vital.

    Whether you’re running your first Half Marathon or your second 10km, here are some tips you can use to hydrate properly before your race.....and to help you sprint across the finish line with a smile on your face.

    1. Sip Before you Start - Hydrating before a race is a must. On the morning of a race drink, enough to satisfy your thirst, but stop 30-45mins before the race start.

    2. Stop at Aid Stations – During a race it pays to stop for a few seconds at a drink station to sip some water.

    3. Little and Often – If you drink too much the fluid may slosh around in your bladder, causing strain on your internal organs and muscles. Depending on the weather, take sips and drink to your thirst.

    4. Don’t Over Drink – Opposite to dehydration there is the risk of hyponatremia (over-hydration) when the level of sodium in your bloodstream becomes dangerously low. As you drink and exert yourself during a long race you also dilute the level of sodium in your blood and sweat out key salts and electrolytes. Symptoms of hyponatremia can be decreased ability to think, nausea, poor balance and headaches. Thus, it is important to mix water with the salts you sweat out.

    5. Try Sports Drinks – One way to keep yourself going and prevent over-hydration is to sip both water and electrolyte sports drinks. As well as electrolytes, sodium, magnesium, calcium and potassium, sports drinks also contain carbohydrates which will help fuel you further. Salt tablets or gels that contain electrolytes are also good to use.

    6. Keep Drinking After the Finish Line – Once you have finished your race you will be tempted to put your legs up a reach for a beer/coffee/Tea. Adding a salt sachet into your post exercise drink will help with fluid retention and balance out your sodium levels. Coconut water and plain milk is also good.

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KP

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