For many people, a gym membership is a convenient way to stay fit. Whether you want to start visiting the gym regularly, or do already to supplement your weekly personal training, here are some tips to ensure that you are getting the most out of your time and those monthly membership payments!
Make sure you mix it up. If you feel like you are not making progress despite regular gym visits, then you possibly need a new routine. Switch machines and try something new. Swap time spent on the treadmill with a programmed workout on the bike or cross-trainer. Spend one gym visit per week focusing on strength or core training, another on cardio. If you feel you are no longer progressing with exercise, change your routine; a month should be long enough to see whether the alterations are having an effect.
Make the most of gym facilities and classes. It’s easy to stick to what you know, but don’t be intimidated to try new things. Ask your personal trainer or staff at the gym for recommendations, such as spinning, aerobic or even kick-boxing or self-defence classes. If you pay for a membership, many classes will already be included in the price, so they won’t cost you any extra.
Challenge yourself by setting goals that you can accomplish over time. The reason many people begin exercising toward their ideal body weight is because of an important milestone, a birthday, wedding or holiday. Make these milestones part of your regular weekly routine; aim to burn 10,000 calories over a set time frame, or build up to completing a 5k run. Not only will you work harder towards a goal, but achieving it will make you feel justifiably proud of your efforts.
Anyone with pollen sensitivities will know that the hay fever season is upon us. Hay fever, like other allergic reactions, is caused by your bodies immune system overreacting. It thinks that something harmful, like the common cold, is attacking your body.
Symptoms of hay fever include;
- a blocked or runny nose
- itchy eyes, nose, throat and roof of your mouth
These symptoms can be very annoying, and sometimes frustrating. Asthma may be triggered from pollen as well. Usually hay fever is seasonal, but in some cases it can last all year round. In this case you are likely to be allergic to house mites, pet hair, and certain moulds or fungi.
Luckily, Good nutrition can help our body’s defences and may help minimize any allergic reactions. Here are a few tips to help fight back-
1) Eat more onions, garlics, leeks, and cabbage
2) Drink at least 2 litres of water a day to help you flush pollen out of your system.
3) Blackberries, cherries and blueberries are all rich in bioflavonoids which help protect the mucus membrane.
4) Nettle tea helps to ease the symptoms of hay fever. Ginger can help reduce congestion.
5) Support your local bee keeper. Eating honey from local bees where you live can help the symptoms
6) Avoid dairy foods such as milk, cheese and yoghurts, which produce more mucus in our bodies
7) Wash your hands more as this and avoid rubbing your eyes.
Have you ever actually weighed the amount of breakfast you have each morning? If you haven’t you might well be in for a surprise…
The recommended portion of cereals varies but it’s usually around 40grams. However, what is a recommended portion and what we actual pour into our bowls is very different- usually twice this!
We typically just fill the bowl to half way but this can lead to hidden calories- all whilst your thinking you’ve done well for picking a fairly low sugar, low calorie breakfast- (hopefully you are anyway).
If your trying to lose weight and wondering why your finding it difficult try weighing your breakfast bowl and you might find your eating an extra 300 calories a day. A double size breakfast each morning can lead up to 2000 calories per week.
So, when choosing breakfasts look out for what the portion size actually is- and of course try to avoid cereals which contain a lot of added sugar and cereal bars, including the new ‘healthy’ breakfast biscuits!
A well balanced and nutritional diet includes five portions (80g each) of veg and fruits combined each day. Vegetables and fruits are an excellent source of potassium, vitamin C and folate (which is a type of natural acid found in food), as well as a provider of fibre, which promotes a healthy digestive system. Research shows that a diet high in fibre concentrates can also reduce your chances of getting intestinal cancer as well as prevent other cancers, reduce the risk of stroke and heart disease.
While nearly all vegetables and fruits can count toward the recommended five portions, cassava and potatoes do not count because they are considered to be mostly starch. Tinned, fresh and frozen vegetables and fruits will count toward the daily allowance. Dried fruits such as figs, dates and currants count, as will vegetable or fruit juice – as long as it is unsweetened. Beans will also count as one portion of the daily five.
There are a number of ways to make sure that you get the recommended five 80g portions of veg and fruits a day, such as taking one glass of unsweetened fruit juice or veg blend with breakfast and having an orange before the lunch meal. Other suggestions include having an apple as an afternoon snack and adding broccoli, cauliflower and cucumber with your lunch or dinner. Frozen vegetables and fruits are yet another way to get the proper daily amount of nutrients. Modern technology for freezing actually preserves the natural nutrients found in fruits and veg.
Look for ways to increase your daily intake of veg and fruits by adding a portion to each meal. Exchanging a healthy fruit or veg for chips, a chocolate bar or fizzy drink will go a long way in increasing your intake as well as promote a healthier diet and lifestyle.
If you want to achieve a flat and toned tummy, try these exercises that are great for giving you strong and toned abs as well as getting rid of love handles! Stomach crunches are perfect for toning the abdominal area. To begin, lay on the floor with your knees bent. Place your hands, one beneath the other, behind your head. Do not clasp your fingers. Slowly lift your shoulders off the floor approximately three inches and hold for a count of three and then slowly lower your shoulders to the floor. Repeat these steps for two sets of 20 repetitions.
The obliques are the muscles that run on the outer edge of your waist and are also known as the love handles. Oblique exercises are a great way to tone the love handles and give you a trim waistline. The best way to perform oblique exercises is to lay on the floor with your knees bent and your feet off the floor, but with your calves parallel to the floor. Extend your right arm out to the side and place your left hand beneath your head. Slowly raise your shoulders from the floor and curl your left shoulder toward the right knee. Hold for a count of three and then lower to the floor. Repeat 15 times and then change sides. Do 2 sets for best results.
For an increased benefit in toning tums, lie on the floor with your arms raised and extended above your head and your legs stretched out. Slowly left your legs and raise your arms up and hold for a count of three; then lower to the starting position. Do two sets of 12 repetitions.
To strengthen your core, pull your navel into your spine and tighten your tums with each repetition.
Squats are a great way to tone up your legs and bums. Begin in a standing position. Your feet should not be farther than shoulder width apart. Extend your arms straight out in front of you. Bend your knees and lower your body until your thighs are parallel to the floor as if you are sitting in a chair. Make sure you keep your back straight and your knees should not move beyond your toes. For the best toning, do two sets of 15 repetitions.
Lunges are a great way to firm and tone your thighs and bums. To do lunges, stand with your right leg slightly in front of your left leg. Bend your knee slowly while you lower the left knee almost to the floor. Make sure that your back is straight and do not let your knees move beyond your toes. For added resistance, hold weights or water bottles in your hands while doing lunges. For the best firming and toning, do two sets of 15 repetitions.
Calf lifts are another exercise that is excellent for firming and toning calves and legs. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Make sure that you do not lock your knees. Rotate your body weight to the ball of your foot and lift your heels off the ground. Hold for a count of five and then lower your heels to the ground. For the best results, do two sets of 15 repetitions.
Bridges are great exercises to firm and tone bums. Lie on the floor on your back. Bend your knees and keep your heels as close to your bum as possible. Keeping your feet no more than shoulder width apart, slowly lift your hips and make a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. For best results, do two sets of 15 repetitions.
Winter is approaching slowly and unfortunately brings with it an increased chance of getting that rotten cold or flu. There are so many different types of cold and flu virus the body can never be completely immune to them. However, by making sure your immune system is working at full strength you can ensure that your body is in the best place to fight them. Here are 5 foods that can keep your immune system strong over Christmas…
1) ORANGES:- Oranges seem to be a lot more abundant over the Christmas period. They are also a rich source of vitamin C which helps by promoting the production of white blood cells that fight infection.
2 )TURKEY:- Turkey is probably the most festive food you can find. It is rich in vitamin B1, B6 and zinc. B vitamins have been linked with enhancing the immune system whilst zinc helps the body produce infection fighting white blood cells.
3) NUTS:- Nuts are rich in vitamin B6, vitamin B9, vitamin E and selenium. Research suggests that both vitamin B6 and B9 support a healthy immune system. Vitamin E and selenium work together to enhance the production of immune system B-cells that produce antibodies.
4) Vegetables:- Alongside your turkey will probably be some nice fresh vegetables, which are perfect for helping to beat that pesky cold or flu. A few great vegetables are Spinach- an important role in immune function because of its naturally high antioxidants. Broccoli- an excellent source of Vitamin C with one stalk containing 220% of the daily value. Carrots- delivering 110% of the daily value for Vitamin A-which is useful for immune function support.
5) GREEN TEA:- Green tea isn’t the most popular drink, however, of the hot drinks available it is one of the best for your immune system. Research suggests that green tea can enhance the disease
fighting capacity of the immune system’s T cells. Try some Green tea instead of the coffee with dessert.
Enjoy your Christmas indulgence, and Happy Christmas!!
Well, we’re here!!!!!!
Not much else to say lol. Definitely read my blog fom earlier today below as you’ll see what we’ve been through today.
The wind didn’t let off. When we ‘popped’ to Dunnet’s Head, which is the most Northern point of Britain mainland, we were actually pushed up one of the hills by the wind without even pedalling!!
Anyway, we’re here! Knackered and releaved. An amazing journey, which at the moment is a bit of a blur but I’m sure it wil become clearer. Will try and put up some pics from my mobile but may have to get someone else to do it.
WOHOOOOO- no more cycling tomorrow!! Oh no, wait, we have to cycle 30 miles to the airport.
Last blog post from me about our journey so thanks for reading an following us. Your support has Ben very helpful on days like today. If your tempted to do something like this then of course I can give some advice…get a motorbike!!
Well we’ve had a horrendous day so far!!
We’ve had the worst weather of our whole trip. It started nice and sunny but then turned into an absolute nightmare. We had for 50 miles, some all at the same time and some separately;
-Gail force winds which kept blowing us to the other side of the road
- torrential rain with only a few seconds warning
- bitterly cold winds
- hail storms
- severe crosswinds throwing us back and forth
- and yet more gail force winds.
Unbelievable! We had to laugh in the end as it was so bad.
Nonetheless we carried on pushing, only going 5mph at some instances as the wind was that bad.
Oh and I forgot to mention the relentless 800 foot climbs, then the death drop with winds and then straight back up to 800 foot climbs again.
Come on John O’Groats! We’re nearly there- having a quick rest in Thurso at the moment.