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!
What exactly is D.O.M.S ?
Aching muscles, sometimes referred to as D.O.M.S (Delayed onset muscle soreness) sets in sometimes 6 to 8 hours after your workout. It may peak around 24 to 48 hours post workout, although this varies depending on the individual. It’s the result of muscle micro trauma, which causes inflammation and soreness, created in your muscles when you’ve introduced a new exercise, activity or increased the intensity or volume of your usual training. It’s your bods way of making adaptations to prepare your muscles to do it again.
Sore Muscles is the most common characteristic of D.O.M.S, but other symptoms such as reduced range of motion and joint stiffness, local swelling and tenderness, and diminished muscle strength can also occur.
How does it occur?
Its the active lengthening of muscle fibres under load (body weight or weights). Think of it like you’re pulling on a rope, and there’s so much force that the rope starts to tear and pull apart. This is when your muscle fibres sustain tiny tears that cause the trauma to them.
When you’ve experienced D.O.M.S before and are a regular exerciser, it may become the Medal after your workout! You’ve pushed yourself and the fact that you can feel it the next day is your reward. However, it doesn’t always mean that you’re not getting a good workout when you’re not crippled the next day. Studies show that muscle soreness isn’t the best indicator of how hard you’ve worked or how fit you are. It’s true that you will start to feel less sore as your body adapts to your training and works more effectively (The reason it’s wise to regularly change your routine) but people also respond differently to pain and soreness.
D.O.M.S isn’t a bad thing!
Muscle trauma is needed to make muscles stimulate protein production and to repair themselves to get bigger and stronger than before so that the muscle soreness doesn’t happen again.
Unfortunately the effects of stretching after your workout don’t always reduce the effects of D.O.M.S. Although while you may not be able to avoid soreness altogether, it’s a good idea to include a warm up and cool-down period as part of your routine. There are other ways to alleviate the symptoms – A massage will move the fluid and blood around in your body which can help the micro trauma in your muscles to heal better, other common ways to treat D.O.M.S include foam rolling, hot and cold showers/baths, Epsom salt, increased protein intake, omega-3 supplementation and sleep. It’s also important to look at your diet to make sure your getting the right balance and enough nutrients to feed your body for the job it’s doing.
There may be times when you overdo it with your workout and feel really bad afterwards. You should be concerned if your level of soreness does not go down significantly after 96 hours, if the pain becomes worse and you start to experience swelling in your limbs, or your urine becomes dark in colour, you should see your doctor. If it’s an injury, you’re more likely to feel it immediately during your workout and you shouldnt ignore this. Soreness, on the other hand, will appear gradually, often the next day.
So although D.O.M.S (unfortunately) can be a horrible after effect of exercise, it happens for a reason – so you can go back and do the workout all over again – this time Stronger!
When Things don’t go to plan
A goal is just a wish without a plan, but what happens when the plan fails?
Progressive programming and periodisation, mathematically and scientifically calculated, works extremely well in theory – but in the real world is it really a SMART Plan for success?
The specifics for how to plan periodised training and nutrition plans to achieve accurately calculated progress are vital for programming athlete’s performance schedules, However, they may not always be as vital or effective for the average person wanting to work towards specific goals.
No matter how dedicated, committed and focused you are, unless your training and diet schedule is the top priority in your life, there are always going to be circumstances that arise in which it will take a backseat. Family, work responsibilities, injury or illness – for most of us happen! And deviating from a strict plan is sometimes inevitable – Life gets in the way!
There are going to be times that your plan will need to change, adapt and re-route to an alternative path to reach your goals so you don’t get to the point of giving up on them altogether! and rather than seeing it as a failure and feeling de-motivated when you’ve missed a scheduled training session and not stuck to your plan with military precision, you need to appreciate that you haven’t failed, you’re not halting your progress, but you’re just adapting your plan to reach your goal. Obviously, if you’re skipping your programme just because you aren’t committed enough and you have no self-control or discipline, you’re not going to be making progress, however it could mean that the programme your following just isn’t the right programme for you.
Is your Training plan torture?
There also has got to be some element of enjoyment to your training to get the most from your workout and the same applies to your diet. You’ll always give more effort if you’re enjoying it and your adherence to you programme won’t continue if you’re not!
Adapting your plan may mean choosing an alternative that’s suitable for your current state. You may have low energy that day for the workout specified on your training schedule, so you may need to switch your workout accordingly or even skip it and rest – which may sometimes be a lot more beneficial than pushing through a workout that’s too intense. Hormone levels may mean that for 3 or 4 days a month you find it impossible to stick to your calorie requirements, so rather than just blowing the diet completely, just allow for extra calories on these days. You’re not failing, you’re still on track, you’ve just varied your route!
And remember, progress isn’t only tracked by the numbers – weight, reps, measurements, calories etc. it’s also about HOW GOOD YOU FEEL!
The importance of leading a Healthy lifestyle
The importance of leading a Healthy lifestyle isn’t just about weight loss and physique. Investing in your Health, following a healthy diet and taking regular exercise helps lower the risk of developing many of chronic diseases associated with being unhealthy.
If you eat too much, drink too much, smoke and are physically inactive, do you honestly expect to be healthy? Would you be surprised if you became ill? If you’re not taking responsibility for your own health who is? You can’t blame the Government, your Employer or the Food and Drink industry, YOU are in control of your health.
The Health risks associated with an unhealthy and inactive lifestyle should be common knowledge, so why would you choose to ignore this information until the inevitable happens? Being at risk of Premature Death, Heart Disease, Stroke, Cancers, High blood pressure, High cholesterol, Type 2 Diabetes, Osteoporosis, Tooth decay, along with being overweight, Tiredness, decreased Memory – it’s an endless list….. Yes many health problems are down to Genetics and circumstances that are out of your control, but there are factors that you are able to control – your attitude, behaviour and how much you value the importance of good health can make a big difference to your future health.
Prevention is better than cure
Why chance being in a Health risk category before you take action when you could be doing something to safeguard your future health NOW?. It just takes willpower – something that won’t help you if you’re unfortunate enough to be diagnosed with a chronic disease. Even taking out Health insurance doesn’t ensure you’re going to be fit and healthy for the rest of your life – it just covers you should you become ill. But why wait until you are advised by medical professionals that you need to change your ways? Isn’t prevention better than cure? There’s a lot of focus on treating symptoms and looking for cures instead of focusing on preventing ill health and it’s shocking that many people only make health changes when they’re at risk of chronic disease a or worse still when they actually develop an illness. Unfortunately, many don’t realise the importance of good Health until its gone.
Take action now!
It doesn’t mean depriving yourself of treats or running daily marathons, however there has to be a balance. You really do have the power to take control and responsibility for your Future health BEFORE it’s too late
- Follow a Healthy diet
- Drink more water
- Get enough Sleep
Following a Healthy lifestyle not only means you’ll BE healthier, but also, you’ll FEEL healthier too – and feeling healthy is a GREAT feeling!