Rest and Recovery
No matter how extensive your fitness program may be, the time you spend working out is only a part of the process necessary to achieve your fitness goals. If you’re planning your training but not your recovery, you’re not going to fully reap the rewards from your Workouts.
One thing that is often misunderstood is the fact that your body becomes stronger AFTER you exercise and NOT during the actual workout itself. The real secret to getting results depends on what happens during the recovery period following the workout. This is why the correct recovery and rest is so important.
There are different types of recovery – Short-term (which happens immediately after a workout set) and Long-term (the period of time between workout sessions).
Short-term recovery can be anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes and it’s important to replace energy stores within this period. But the longer recovery period between workouts is the one to focus on, because it’s the time after the workout when the body adapts to the training session. The correct care of your muscles and connective tissue, eating the right type of post workout nutrition, the quality and quantity of sleep and, even the types of clothes you wear, can all promote the post-workout recovery that’s necessary to help you maximise the results from your time spent exercising.
During exercise, your muscles expend energy and experience stress. After exercise, the body needs to replenish energy with carbohydrates and repair tissue with protein so having a post-workout snack with the correct ratio of carbohydrate and protein can help massively. The correct nutrition also assists the release of the muscle-building hormones to repair and build new muscle tissue.
Stretching and Myofascial Release
Stretching, Massage, Foam rollers, Compression balls and Rolling sticks can all help to reduce muscle tightness. If a muscle doesn’t cool-down properly, the collagen fibres (which are part of the connective tissue surrounding each muscle) can create knots. Massage works by manipulating muscle tissue to break up knots and can help reduce muscle tightness and improve joint movement.
Sleep is probably one of the most important factors that can help improve your overall health and fitness. Your body produces most of the hormones needed for tissue repair during sleep so it’s vital to get enough to assist in the recovery process.
Ice, Cold Baths and Cryotherapy
Cold treatments are extremely effective for recovery as they can help cool down the body’s core temperature, reduce inflammation and promote healing in tissue that was used during the workout. The cold temperature brings increased blood to the area, which brings nutrients and oxygen to help promote healing.
Sauna or Hot Tub
The heat from a sauna or hot tub increases the body’s circulation, which removes metabolic waste products while also carrying oxygen and other nutrients necessary to help repair tissue used during the workout.
Alternating between high and low intensity workouts (muscle confusion) either daily, weekly or monthly and taking a few days off every few weeks to allow the body to rest and recover fully.
Wearing Compression clothing before and after a workout is a relatively new form of recovery treatment that may also be effective. The pressure from the tight clothing can improve circulation which will help remove metabolic waste and promote blood flow to help the tissue repair and rebuild.
Too much exercise without enough rest and recovery can lead to injury or illness, both of which could prevent your regular workouts. There are dangers to overtraining without the correct recovery periods between and If you don’t take enough R&R for your muscles to adapt this will certainly affect your ability to achieve your fitness goals.
NEVER forget to include RECOVERY into your Fitness programme!
Reasons for Overeating
If you’re following a balanced, healthy diet to lose weight it can be very frustrating when you suddenly go off the rails for no apparent reason and eat everything in sight! (I know – I’ve done it myself) and if you weren’t even hungry in the first place, you’ll be feeling guilty and thinking ‘Why on earth did I do that?!!!’
We all have occasional moments of madness. However, if overeating (or binge eating) is a reoccurring problem, it may be worth looking into the real reasons you’re doing it.
If you restrict your diet, go hungry, or anything else that restrains your eating you will overeat.
The reason why this happens is because the body sees a period of hunger as starvation and automatically sends out hormones to make you overeat to compensate. Overeating due to biological reasons has nothing to do with willpower or control, it happens because you restricted your body.
This type of overeating has to do with food.
This occurs when you put yourself through a mental restriction. Not allowing yourself to eat certain foods as you think they are bad or you have certain food rules. After a period of depriving yourself, you’ll end up overeating these exact foods you tried so hard to avoid in the first place.
Again, this type of overeating doesn’t have anything to do with willpower or control. This is just how the brain works. The more you mentally fight the food, the more the mind wants the food.
This type of overeating has to do with how you relate to food.
Emotional overeating occurs when we become emotionally dependent on the food and eat when we aren’t physically hungry. Eating to comfort stress, anger, PMT, unhappiness, boredom. depression etc. where food becomes a comfort and a coping mechanism to help you through your problems. This often happens unconsciously and we don’t even know we are choosing food, it just happens and the more you eat, the worse you feel.
This type of overeating has nothing to do with food but is due to emotional reasons.
Over eating due to your social environment – parties, nights out with friends, office treats where celebrating generally revolves around food or drink may be very difficult to avoid and cause you to eat for reasons other than hunger – just to be polite. Other people that are in your social circle can have a massive impact on your choices and if you’re not surrounded by supportive friends and family it can be disastrous to your healthy choices.
This type of overeating is due to your own willpower.
PLEASE remember that overeating occasionally or for a short period of time is merely a blip which can be overcome and you really shouldn’t let it sabotage the rest of your good efforts. Draw a line under the episode, think positive and start afresh – You CAN do this!
What is the best Exercise for me?
Finding the ‘best’ Exercise for you can be very confusing. You hear it all the time “The Perfect Workout Plan”, “The one secret workout you need to lose weight”, “Guaranteed to give you a six pack” and for most people who start a fitness plan they’ll eventually stop either through boredom, exhaustion, or because it just isn’t sustainable long term. There really isn’t the ‘best’ workout! The best workout for you is the one that works towards your personal goals, gets results, fits in with your lifestyle and most importantly that you enjoy doing – because if you really don’t enjoy exercising, you’re not going to stick to it!
To find the right Exercise for you ask yourself:
What are your goals?
Are you exercising to lose weight? to sculpt your body? to gain strength? to increase flexibility? to run a marathon? or just to increase your fitness levels? The type of training you choose should be specific to your goals.
Are you seeing results?
Seeing results is a sure indicator that you’re doing the right type of exercise for your goals and generally getting results from your training will motivate you to keep at it. If nothing seems to be changing how you’d like it to be, you’re probably not doing the right exercise for your goals.
Does your training fit into your lifestyle?
You need to determine realistically, what time you have available for training, can you get to the gym or get out for a run? Does a Wednesday evening class cause childcare issues? etc. There’s no point in a 2-hour training session being part of your plan if you don’t have the time to spare. If you’re short of time, planning in a 20-minute home workout will be far more sustainable.
Do you enjoy it?
Probably the most important factor of all! If you look forward to your sessions rather than dread the thought of them, then you’re more likely to keep at it and it’s the consistency of your workouts that will get you to your goal. So, as soon as you feel boredom setting in and your workout starts becomes a chore, change it around!
So, if you’ve been doing the same workout for months and have stopped seeing results – try something new today!
Which is the Best diet to follow?
It’s the question I get asked most often…….
Dieting is always confusing as there are so many different approaches and so much misleading information about the best way to do it. It’s unfortunate that those wanting fast results will more often than not resort to those diets with the biggest weight loss claims.
So whats the Magic Ingredient?
There really is no magic in drinking a magic shake for breakfast, a magic bar for lunch and a healthy meal in an evening – if you cut your calorie intake down to extremely low levels WHATEVER you’re eating, of course you’re going to lose weight fast! and despite very cleverly worded advertisements, there really is no single food that will make you lose weight, just as there is no single food that will cause you to gain weight beyond its calorie value (i.e. 500 calories of chocolate is no more fattening than 500 calories of chicken breast) however, the healthier option will always have more nutritional value and therefor be of greater benefit to your body.
To put it in basic terms (and it really is pretty basic)
If your wanting to reduce your weight sensibly, by losing body fat rather than muscle CALORIES are the main factor. You must consume less calories than you expend but still enough for your body to be able to function and perform as it should. This is so important. Yes you will lose weight a lot faster if you can survive on 500 calories a day, however, it’s not sustainable, you will feel crap, it’s not healthy and more often than not the results won’t be long term – do you really want to be a size 8 for your summer holiday and back to a size 16 for Christmas?
Secondary MACRO’S (Protein, Carbohydrates and Fats) are also an important factor to consider and they can be manipulated depending on what goals you’re wanting to achieve. It may sound confusing doing the calculations but many Food tracker apps (such as MyFitnessPal) do all the maths for you.
And finally Meal TIMINGS can fine-tune your diet if you’re working your diet and nutrition around your training goals.
Meals off plan don’t have to jeopardise your results as long as they are part of the overall plan – life would be boring without them.
So if you’re wanting to lose weight, don’t be misled by all the hype. Start with the basic maths calories and then work on the rest – it really is that simple!
The Festive Season unfortunately isn’t all about sitting around a log fire, eating Mince pies and listening to Christmas Carols … For many of us, it’s a super stressful time where we run around like lunatics, trying to do everything and please everybody. Shopping, Wrapping, School Plays, Cooking, Travelling and Xmas drinks with friends take up so much time and planning that the festive season becomes a full-time job and the stress of it all can play havoc with your health.
The symptoms of Stress can affect your body, your thoughts and feelings, and your behaviour so being able to limit your stress symptoms at this busy time of year is really important for your health as it can contribute to many health problems, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and weight gain (blame the stress not the mince pies!) To avoid getting caught up in the frenzy of it all, try to make sure you’re still sleeping, eating well and keeping up with your usual exercise, if at all possible.
Learn to say No
Saying no to Christmas party Invitations can be a challenge especially if you want to please others by constantly saying yes, when really you want to say no – this can have an impact on your wellbeing and stress levels. Just tell your friends or family the truth; that you love them and want to do it for them but you are just so busy and you have other things to take care of. Most people will understand as they’re probably juggling their own diary.
So many get super stressed out at this time of year feeling the pressure to buy everyone and their dog presents. Although it’s nice to, you shouldn’t need to buy a gift to show your love and appreciation for someone, especially if it’s going to put you in debt. Good friends and family will understand.
In the run up to Christmas, make some time for yourself. Whether it’s an hour at the gym, a massage, reading a book or sitting and having an uninterrupted coffee, It’s important to give yourself the same care and consideration that you would others, so take a break from thinking about the shopping, cooking and organising and have a few minutes of me time.
And don’t forget, you can always delegate. A problem shared is a problem halved, so get someone else to do the gift wrapping (even if it doesn’t look as neat as when you do it yourself) You can’t do everything singlehandedly!
Wishing you a Merry (Stress-free) Christmas!