27 July 2016

7 Tips for Healthy Joints & Bones for Every Fitness Level

   Joint & bone care is so important, especially if you live an active lifestyle! It's just as important as the training you do & the food you eat to look after your body. It isn't until you have an injury yourself, that you really put this into perspective. Last year I pulled something in my back, simply by picking up a barbell without thinking & taking all the strain with my back. At the time I just thought that oops - that was bad form! But a week later, my back was in BITS! It took a couple of months to properly repair itself, meanwhile I was so limited to the exercise that I could do. Not only did this effect my training & progress, but it scared me. If we don't care for our bones & joints now while we are fit & healthy, then we are condemning them later on in life. And this goes for everyone, even if you are super fit. In fact the super fit more so - HIIT training & things such as running on the road can have quite a strong impact on our bodies, so it's important for us all to know how to stay strong & healthy.
Ingredients to Look Out For
Keep an eye out for these specific ingredients in food, supplements & even down the seasonings isle.
Used in the continual renewal of cartilage & other body tissues.
It's anti-inflammatory properties can be used to reduce pain, stiffness  immobility. It also has significant antioxidant properties. Most of it's goodness is found in it's skin, so don't waste it!
A tropical fruit containing polyphenols, which reduce inflammatory, have anti-microbial, anti-carcinogenic & anti-oxidant properties.
Contributes to the maintenance of normal connective tissues.
Contains anti inflammatory compounds, with similar benefits to ginger.
Foods & Supplements for Healthy Joints & Bones
Containing liquid marine collagen - a major constituent of connective tissues such as skin, tendons, cartilage & bones - Glucosamine, ginger, lychee, copper & vitamin C. This supplement ticks all the nutritional boxes of which your joints & bones need! As well as keeping them healthy, this daily shot helps to increase flexibility & mobility, by relieving any inflammation & stiffness, whilst increasing the strength of the bones, ligaments & tendons. 
2. Omega 3
Oily fish such as salmon, cod liver oil & omega 3 capsules
Contains fatty acids, that relieve inflammation & stiffness in joints by suppressing the production of enzymes that erode cartridge & proteins that regulate inflammation.
3. Vitamin D
Oily fish, yogurt & vitamin D tablets
Helps the body to absorb & process calcium, for strong bones. Our bodies naturally get vitamin D from the sun, however certain skin types need more than others, whilst others are easily damaged by the sun, plus in cloudier climates, you can't rely on the sun!
4. Calcium
Milk, cheese & yogurt
Interestingly enough, lower fat dairy products normally contain more calcium! Soya, rice & oat milks are also calcium rich, as are fish that are eaten with the bones in (such as sardines). Calcium contributes to strong & healthy bones, as well as helping to prevent osteoporosis. Calcium is also used for muscle contraction, so if you lift, that's useful to know!
5. Iron
Red meat, pulses, dark green vegetables (spinach!) & oily fish
It has been recommended not to take iron supplements without consulting with a doctor, but instead to get your daily iron naturally. Iron will help to prevent anaemia & extreme fatigue. People who exercise vigorously may also need up to 30% more! So get eating your spinach!
6. Lean Protein
Chicken, turkey, pulses & fish
Protein is key for building healthy, strong connective tissues, especially if you are active. Keeping your muscles strong & healthy will enable them to take the pressure off your bones & joints.
7. Vitamin C
Citrus fruit, juices, vegetables & vitamin C tablets
Vitamin C primarily is an antioxidant, but it can also maintain healthy connective tissues. It is needed to make collagen, to strengthen the body, including it's muscles & blood vessels & plays an important role in healing wounds.
It's effectiveness: It's hard to access how effective it is, however reading into the product further & it's core ingredients, I am confident it can deliver what it promises. If anything, it is providing my body with the essential nutrients it need, so I can trust in that on the short term. In the long term however, I am hoping it strengthens my joints & bones, to support my active lifestyle.
It's taste: 5/5 When I read all the ingredients I was a little worried it was going to taste like fist oil or have a nasty texture. Neither were true, it has a sweet cherry flavour to it & the texture is the same as any other drink.
It's ease: 5/5 1 shot a day is required & is packed with tones of nutrients, the shots are small & discreet to take out with you, making it far easier to consume once a day than about 5 vitamin tablets.
A Recipe for Joints & Bones
If you would like to know more about Liquid Health's range of supplements, please check out http://www.boots.com/en/LQ-Liquid-Health-Joint-Care-10-x-50ml-Bottles_1577112/

19 July 2016

Lean, Bulk, Gain, Shred: How to Build the Physique You Want this Summer! Q+A with MaxiNutrition

   Have you ever noticed that upon the arrival of summer, we all start eating healthier & becoming more active, trying to follow all or any trends we read online, all in the hope of achieving the body we've longed for all winter! The only problem with this is do we really understand what we are doing or why we must do it for our certain body types? I personally have been struggling for years, following blind advice from 'health' magazines or googling answers that just don't help my situation. So what has changed this year compared to last year that has helped me progress far more than ever before? It's simple - it's my knowledge! From the type of exercise I need to do to achieve my goals with my body type to what type of healthy meal plan I need to follow. And most importantly I now have a basic knowledge of why & how it'll help me reach my goals.
   With so much fitness advise now at your fingertips however, it can be hard to know what really works for you & what is just clever marketing. With millions of fitness related questions typed into Google each month, MaxiNutrition has curated a Q+A to bring you the facts & a solid starting point to how you can build the physique you've always longed for!

  And before we start, remember one thing... It's not how you start, it's how you finish!

You Googled: How do I Loose Weight Fast? 
40,500 average monthly searches!

   MaxiNutrition: Quick weight loss is a huge query online. Unfortunately, the best way to loose weight is to healthily change your diet & your exercise habits. There's no quick fix - but you can loose lots of weight & build a better body by changing your lifestyle.
   My Tip: If you are desperate to trim down fast, a quick fix would be a clean eating detox or a teatox, which will flush out toxins & reduce bloating. However these can be teamed with a healthier diet & more exercise, to keep the results for the long term & to kick start a new healthier lifestyle. Check out The Best Diet Plan? Common Diets Explained for more information on diet plans.
YG: What is the Best Way to Loose Weight?
14,800 searches/month
   MN: The second most common question is also centred on weight loss. While there's no easy answer, one of the best ways to lose weight is to work out your calorie intake & make sure you are eating at a deficit. Combined with good exercise, the weight will fly off.
   My Tip: Nothing beats a clean diet & increasing exercise. Use an app like My Fitness Pal to calculate the average amount of calories you are currently eating in a day & how many you actually need; then start eating with a small daily calorie deficit (I deduct 300-400 calories when I'm trimming down, don't over do it or you'll plateau). For ideas of how how to eat healthier, read Healthy Food Guide for Exercise.
YG: How do I Get a Six Pack?
12,100 searches/month
   MN: One of the most common signs of a high standard of fitness, lots of people in the UK want to know how to get a six pack. You might be surprised to learn that almost everyone has ab muscles - but getting them to show is the hard part. Far from lots of sit-up's you'll need to slim down to around 10-12% body fat if you're male or around 16-18% if you're female.
   My Tip: Start with basic core exercises to gain strength & endurance in your abs. Try to isolate each area & do all over exercises too - for example a plank is great for the whole core, use crunches for upper abs, leg raises & reverse crunches for lower abs & Russian twists for obliques. Do high reps & bodyweight exercises for a trim waist or add weighted exercises for a thicker core. Once you've got the strength, it's time to eat clean & get leaner to show off the abs! For more detailed advice, read Six Pack Diet Advice.
YG: How Can I Gain Weight?
6,600 searches/month
   MN: Gaining weight is a less common search, compared to those wanting to lose it, but if you're trying to pack on the weight you'll need to eat a calorie surplus. Consuming lots of protein will help aid muscle growth.
   My Tip: Increase your intake of protein & complex carbohydrates. Don't just think that gaining weight means you can eat tones of junk food. You'll gain weight, but not the strength you'd ideally want. If you find large meals hard to eat, fit in your extra calories with 5-6 meals per day instead. For more Nutrition Tips - How to Build Muscle & Size is a great article.

YG: What is the Best Exercise to Loose Weight?
5,400 searches/month
   MN: The problem with this question is that it can depend on the person. However, High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is often considered the best way to put your body into fat-burning mode - and it takes less time than steady state cardio.
    My Tip: I hate long periods of cardio! So HIIT is a good option for me & can be built into my weight training, so I'm building strength & fat burning in one workout. Not sure where to start with HIIT training? Check out The 6 Best Dumbell HIIT Exercises.
YG: How do I Build Muscle?
4,400 searches/month
   MN: Building muscle is a matter of training - putting your body under tension to promote the process of muscle breakdown & subsequent repair. Ensuring you get enough protein to help aid this natural process is key.
   My Tip: From my experience... make sure your protein intake is enough & focus on doing 4-6 reps to build strength or 8-12 reps per set for growth, where your last couple of reps feel almost impossible, then take a 1-2 minutes rest in between sets. This will ensure you're working your muscles to their full capacity. For a greater insight, read Training Tips for Hard Gainer Muscle.

YG: What is the Best Foods for Weight Loss?
2,900 searches/month
   MN: The best foods for weight loss are questionable, because if you're eating at a caloric deficit you'll lose weight. However, there are lots of foods to avoid such as sugary, saturated fat-filled junk food. Good examples of food to help aid weight loss are low-GI carbs such as brown rice, quinoa & wholegrains, lean protein such as chicken or tofu & plenty of fruits & vegetables.
  My Tips: Try to avoid fad diets & focus on a more long term, attainable, healthy balanced diet. This will keep you on track, see long lasting results & will still allow you to eat foods you enjoy. For more ideas of how to enjoy food healthily, check out How to Maintain Your Summer Body.
YG: How Much Protein do I Need?
2,400 searches/month
   MN: The answer to this question is tricky, because it depends on your goals. Most fitness websites recommend around 1.5g per kg of bodyweight. You can get this from dietary sources & supplements like protein shakes.
   My Tip: Firstly, what is your goal? Your protein intake will depend greatly on this. You can then use a protein calculator to work out the suggested amounts. For ideas of how to increase your protein intake, read Healthy Protein Snacks for a Healthier You.
YG: How Can I Get Bigger Arms?
1,900 searches/month
   MN: Evidently people in the UK want good abs & good arms. Growing your arms is the same as growing any other muscle - focus on heavy lifts for fewer reps to add mass. You can then use a higher rep range to cause hypertrophy & build definition. Lift heavy weights & eat plenty of calories to see your biceps grow.
   My Tip: Don't just focus on one part of your arms, because they happen to grow quicker - for example biceps, or you'll end up front heavy! Make sure to work the whole arm, along with shoulders, back & chest, which all contribute to a bigger upper body. Try finding a good starting point to build from, such as The Full Arm Workout exercise plan.

YG: How Can I Get Toned?
590 searches/month
   MN: 'Toning' is a term that doesn't technically mean anything - but is searched more than 500 times a month by UK users. Essentially, the process of getting toned means losing weight & then building lean muscle on top of it. By combining a good diet with weight lifting, 'toning' will occur naturally.
   My Tip: The best place to begin is to eat cleaner, to reduce bloating & cut over eating. Then find a training plan that works for you - such as the Lean Definition Training Plan.
   I hope you've found this Q+A useful - I really liked how to the point & factual it was. Use this as a solid starting point, to help guide you towards the more accurate advice online & to build your routine around. If you want any further fitness plans, diet ideas or tips, MaxiNutrition has a lot more to offer than just supplements! So check out their website. Alternatively, if you'd like a mini series or just one off advice on how to lean, bulk, lose or gain weight & what food & exercise is the best, let me know & I shall deliver in time for summer!

* Research curtersy of MaxiNutrition, Google AdWords & Google Trends. To find out more information, please visit MaxiNutrion's website.

11 July 2016

Are You Crowd Surf Ready? with Gymbox + Stubhub!

   With festival season now in full swing, I was lucky enough to be invited along to trial one of Gymbox's new summer fitness classes, in association with Stubhub, called Crowd Surf Ready. Now I don't know about you, but I had never previously visited a Gymbox before, so I was more than excited to receive this chance & to trial the gym itself as well as the class. 
   On first impressions, the entrance seemed like any other chain of gym, but it was when I was directed down the 4 flights of stairs that I realised what a hidden gem it was. Think clubbing, meets lazor quest, teamed with a hard core adventure playground for adults... with a sprinkling of adrenaline. It was like nothing I'd ever seen before from a gym, with so many levels & corners to explore so many different types of fitness.
   As for the class itself - it aimed to teach endurance, strength & correct technique, to achieve fail safe crowd surfing this summer. We started with a few circuits, to get the blood flowing & the muscles alive - it was first thing in the morning after all! We were told each section of the class was symbolic of festival activities - for example the warm up was getting us ready for the dancing & jumping around at festivals. We then moved onto core & upper body strength, to ensure we had good form & endurance when it came to lifting weight above out heads or later a real person above our heads! Then came the scary part - the crowd surfing - in which we were taught techniques as a lifter & as a surfer! Overall it was a fun workout & one completely different to anything I have tried previously!
   Is this class right for you? If you love trying new things, enjoy festivals or music events or prefer fitness classes over cardio machines or free weight, then I'd say yes! You might get a little sweaty with circuits to begin with, but it combines a great mix of cardio, weights & loud music, to allow all fitness backgrounds to enjoy it. Not only will you learn to crowd surf like a pro, but you'll also come out of the sessions stronger & fitter!
   If you are interested in attending the classes, which are running for 6 weeks at Gymbox Farringdon, they start on the 14th July - but spaces are limited, so book in advance via Gymbox. Are you #CrowdSurfReady?

6 July 2016

The 14 Day Tea Challenge - How to Teatox Like a Boss! #BeGoodToYou

   With so many teatox promises out there, today I wanted to share with you how I like to teatox, for the ultimate results & why I do it! So lets start with why first... Nothing can beat a clean diet & hard work when it comes to achieving your goals, but I believe that you should be healthy from the inside out. So once every 2-3 months I like to add a detox to my fitness regime, to cleanse my body of all the bad toxins & excess water weight. Think of it as starting afresh! Now I'm not saying I eat a strictly clean diet - I do get sidetracked once in a while - or that I am forever binging, but whatever stage you are at, a tetox will help to flush out all the unwanted toxins.

   Before we continue, lets clear up a myth here... Do teatoxes make you loose weight? The short answer is no. You can loose weight, but this will mainly be excess water weight & toxins that you are washing out, which will in turn reduce bloating also & loose inches. But these effects are only temporary, if you don't try to live a healthier lifestyle.

   As for all the different brands out there - it is really down to you & your preference. Try to look past fancy marketing & focus on whether it's 100% natural (which will give you better results) & if there are any bonuses of choosing that brand. The brand I am using for my current teatox is Begu Tea - why? Because their 100% natural, ethically farmed, made in the UK & are environmentally friendly. PLUS they offer that added bonus I was talking about... with the purchase of 1 packet, you get a months free membership to their nutrition & fitness guides, which give you all the support needed to continue living a healthy lifestyle & achieving you goals!
The Simple Formula to Help You Tetox Like A Pro for Real Results
   Now for the important part, the how. These are the tips I followed to achieve my goals, it will take hard work & commitment but it's worth it! So here is my 5 tips of how to get real results from a teatox & how you can keep those results long after.


Step 1. Diet - No one says you have to only eat plain meat & veg, so get rid of that illusion immediately. The best thing to do is download an app like My Fitness Pal & calculate what you eat roughly in a day, just to see how many calories etc you consume. The app will do the hard work & tell you if you are over or under you macro nutrients. Your aim then over the teatox is to stick within as many of your macros as possible & to eat as clean as possible! I find three meals a day, plus 2-3 small snacks prevents any cravings & keeps me full. Don't know what to eat or cook that is clean & healthy? I like to use recipes from Fit Men Cook, Get Fit With DavinaBegu Tea. Also Joe Wicks' Lean in 15 book is on my wishlist - it has tones of clean recipes! Just see bellow some of the meals I've cooked that are delicious & healthy. By sticking to the healthy eating regime (note I am not calling it a diet, as it is not a fad, but a lifestyle!) you'll really see results during your teatox.
Step 2. Drink - Much like food, drinks can be just as bad for you. I love sugar in tea & this massively ups my daily sugar intake! So now I've replaced tea with green tea (any herbal tea is a good substitute, but green tea is known to decrease bloating & improve energy levels), coffees with black coffee after lunch (as it boosts the metabolism, spikes energy & is easy to gulp down cold if you don't like the taste at first) & drink as much water in the day as possible. Think of all those calories, sugars & fats you're avoiding by ditching juices, fancy coffees & fizzy drinks! I do treat myself however to a sugary tea & a homemade cappuccino once a day!
Step 3. Exercise - If you hate the idea of running on a treadmill for an hour or doing boot camps, just don't do them. Find exercise you enjoy, it could be weight training, cardio, yoga, dancing, fast walking, dog walking, swimming... the list goes on. But find something you enjoy & mix it up if ever you get bored. The main thing is that you are increasing the amount of exercise that you were initially doing, but with that said, if you're already down the gym 2hrs a day 6 days a week, I think you've earnt a break! It's important to have at least 1 rest day a week.
Step 4. Goals - Set yourself personal goals & don't try looking for results immediately. On a teatox, you are likely to see changes within 2 weeks, but realistically give it a month or two before looking for big changes - they will come, I promise. You need to set yourself 2 main goals - What is your long term goal? What would you like to achieve overall? And a smaller goal that you can work to within a month. For example my long term goal might be to drop my body fat percentage & get toned abs, but my short term goal might be to improve in an area I'm weakest (eg. upper body strength) or to loose some of the stored fat from my lower body through weight training & HIIT. However be realistic with your goals, if - like me - you're short & curvy, you will never have a body like Taylor Swift, so admire other's, but try to find similar body shapes to aspire to. I also find it helpful to take measurements, weigh myself & record my body fat percent, so that I can get a true picture of my results, rather than getting disheartened by gaining a few pounds because of extra water weight.
Step 5. Commitment - Nothing will effect your teatox more than your commitment! Be strong for those 14 days (or however long). I now stick to a regime where I eat clean & within my macros during the week & eat normal (including a cheat meal) during the weekends, as I find this easier to stick to & it increases my commitment. Likewise with exercise, my commitment would waver when all I was doing was cardio, because I did not enjoy it, but now doing weight training, 90% of the time I'm excited to go & work out.

'What do you want more? The snack you've been craving for an hour, or the body you've been crazing for a lifetime?'

   So now that you are armed with all the vital information of how to see real results from teatoxing, it's time to begin! Firstly find your teatox - mine being Begu Tea System Cleanse & take your measurements & photos. Then I want you to stick to these simple steps...
1. Eat clean 5 days a week. See the suggested recipe websites above for ideas. The main focus is to eat nothing processed for the 5 days a week & to at least stick within your calorie allowance, if not all your macros which can be found via the My Fitness Pal app.
2. Cut out at least half of your naughty drinks! If they're sugary, creamy, fizzy or fatty, cut the number of them you consume by at least half & replace them with green tea, black coffee & water.
3. Increase your exercise. Get a free trial at the gym, go for a brisk walk or cycle to work. Just do more physical activity than normal - aim for 2hrs a week if you're a beginner or 5-6hrs if you're more experienced.
4. Write your goals. Where do you want to be in a year? Where could you realistically be in 1 month? And how will you work towards them?
5. Commit, stay focused & stay strong! This is only 14 days, it's not forever - but please feel free to make healthier changes in the long run too!
Let me know how you get on after your 14 days - tag me on twitter or instagram @sallylouisep & hashtag #BeGoodToYou. Good luck & let your 14 days to a healthier you begin!